Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weekend Wrapup

Baseball in America,  and bicycle racing plus Formula One in Europe, speak July like nothing else to me. I'm enjoying another lazy Saturday. I didn't even try to get up at 0330 to follow today's big Pyrenean Stage 14, opting instead to set the alarm to catch the final climb to Plateau de Beille.

Three times the TdF has finished atop the Plateau de Beille, and all three times the winner that day went on to win the Tour. Marco Pantani (1998), Lance Armstrong (2002) and Alberto Contador (2007) all stood atop the podium in Paris after their triumphs on the Plateau de Beille.

It turns out I was psychic, there were no fireworks in the Pyrénées today. Getting my beauty sleep was priceless.

Remembering a theme from earlier this week, there was a bear sighting along the Tour de France route in the second week of Le Tour.

OK, I'm kinda in a goofy mood today.

I found myself listening to Sports Talk Radio today...well, SF Giants Talk Radio really...I can't stand sports Talk Radio...everybody who calls in are religious in their fandom, so it's not a real conversation, but serial speechifying...and talk radio's Number One's boring!

So, how come I was listening today? Lazy...mostly...I didn't have the motivation to hunt around for something to listen to...Saturdays in Summertime can be a talk radio many hosts and shows take their vacations in July...programming changes happen mid-summer too.

Normally I'd be listening to the Kim Komando Show. "America's Digital Goddess" does three hours of computer and tech talk, but the station I hear her on in the Inland Valley has another pay-as-they-go Investment Show on in Kim's time slot now. I listened to a couple of TdF Podcasts before the Giants Pre-Game Talkfest aired.

So why Giants Talk? Well, the Giants have been playing very satisfying ball, they've been a ton of fun to watch, and they're on a four game winning streak. Plus I missed 'em during the All Star Break.

Last night's game in San Diego was good...I didn't notice so many Giants fans in opponents' parks last year...last night you could hear them chanting in the first inning! Here-We-Go Gi-ants Here-We-Go! Later in the game you could hear the Cody-Cody-Cody chant for outfielder Cody Ross as he stood in the batter's box. That's got to be a little demoralizing for the Home Team...

Pablo Sandoval's hitting streak ended at 22 last night, though his at bats were productive. His first at bat he hit a sacrifice fly to drive in a run. In his last at bat, they pitched around him for three balls and no strikes before intentionally walking him. Boy oh boy, you could really hear the Giants' fans booing big time!

I remembered how the Giants fans at home would hang rubber chickens on the outfield wall every time opposing pitchers walked Barry Bonds intentionally. I looked it up, not only did Bonds hit the most home runs in baseball history, he's the all-time career leader in walks, too with 2558 BB's.

In tonight's game at Petco Park, you can hear the Giants fans again...only this time they were booing Giants' starter, Barry Zito who gave up 8 runs on 7 hits (including 2 HR's) and 4 walks in 3.2 innings. Not so fun to's 11-2 in the 8th joy in Mudville...

Before the gab and game, I was fortunate to catch that most rare 1943 Cary Grant movie, "Mr Lucky" on TV.

Grant, playing against type, is a grifter and cad who makes the luminous Laraine Day his mark for a swindle...swindling charity funds from Day's Refugee Charity Drive. (This movie was made during World War Two, and Grant's portrayal was wicked and smarmy...and a gamble for Grant)  Grant's Joe Adams / Joe Bascopolous is a fully realized sociopath, cold and amoral. In the end, love conquers all, but it is a very uncomfortable journey.

"Mr Lucky" has been on my wishlist forever, but I gather that there isn't a good DVD transfer on the market's copy was really scratched, and in need of restoration. I don't know if Cary Grant's Estate is wild about this role, Grant's only A-hole on film. I'd love a total restoration ala the 50th Anniversary Edition of Alfred Hitchcock's brilliant collaboration with Grant, "North By Northwest" The Blu-ray NXNW restoration is absolutely beautiful!

I guess I've had Cary Grant on my mind all week...I want to see "Father Goose" again too.

In "Father Goose" Grant wears his role like a comfortable old t-shirt, but mostly I want to hear tipsy Leslie Caron slur: "You think I'm a Picture Straightener, Mr Eckland" in frustration again! "Father Goose" is a warm, good hearted comedy set in  WW2's Pacific Theater. "Father Goose" is warm, optimistic, and confident, made almost 20 years after the war ended. It debuted in 1964 before the Vietnam War turned Hollywood cynical and anti-war.

In contrast to "Father Goose", "Mr Lucky" was filmed when the outcome of the war was still unknown and unknowable, you can feel the undercurrents of desperation and uncertainty throughout the movie, and it makes Grant's character seem much more abhorrent and icy. The satisfying ending comes well after the war ends, after Day's character pines away the war years and beyond, and after Grant's character makes amends for the duration and more. 

They truly don't make movies like that anymore. Beautifully rendered in Black & White, and true to the heart and mind.

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