Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Legacy" Promo & Previews

Just found these on the "Daily Motion" website. Have been looking for these to be posted somewhere...anywhere...all the live-long week. I suppose some good things do eventually come to those of us who wait. Anyway...please enjoy.


Preview 1

Preview 2
Mmm...Bobby with a beard and wearing the same duds as last time. Guess we'll have a lot of "similar" screen caps like those from "Vanishing Act" to gaze upon. Who cares? It is our luscious Bobby after all.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Quotes From "The Faithful"

I find that I am enjoying going back to the beginning, capping and “reviewing” the early Law & Order Criminal Intent episodes one by one. I noticed or rather re-noticed a lot about Bobby in this episode: “The Faithful.”

For example, I noticed that Bobby does a pretty mean balancing act atop those church pews at the murder scene. I don’t think he’ll be auditioning for “The Flying Wallendas” anytime soon, but he held his own.

Other things I find worth mentioning: he obviously likes to give direction, he wasn’t wearing a tie tack…at least not the first few scenes…but he did wear a watch in this episode, and he doesn’t often wear a timepiece.

I noticed that Bobby can get downright “physical” when the occasion warrants it. He tossed Kevin around that video arcade pretty good before he slapped the cuffs on him and hauled his sorry ass off to 1PP for questioning.

According to Deakins, Bobby has his own “show,” but as we all know, that’s just the dear boy’s own particular interrogation style…a style he has honed to perfection over the years. Apparently, however, he was fresh out of "dazzling insights" when confronted by his captain.

And he’s educational, too, pointing out that the best “butts” (of the cigarette variety) can be found outside subway entrances, then he proceeded to take a drag off the butt the homeless man offered him. (Eewwww!!)

I discovered that…as incredibly handsome and charming as Bobby is…he’s not much of a poet.

It was revealed that Bobby has had lots of practice talking with mentally dysfunctional folks, that he is a lapsed altar boy, who has a disrespect for authority and a fascination with bad behavior.

Finally, I learned that Bobby is a man of his convictions. He is a compassionate man, who risked his job to spare an innocent family from certain ruination. He is an honorable man…a good man.

Part I

Part II

Part III

What A World, What A World

The headlines the past few days have been filled with some pretty atrocious occurrences; i.e., starting with the church shooting in Knoxville, Tennessee this past Sunday by the nut-job who hated liberals. From that emerged the story of one extreme act of heroism with the revelation that one man stood in front of the shooter to save other parishioners. What an act of uncommon valor. How sad for his family to lose such an honorable soul to such an extreme act of dishonor and hate.

Then, I guess it was Monday when I saw on the Internet the story about the Welsh couple that was honeymooning in Antigua, and they were attacked in their hotel room. She was shot in the head, he in the neck…she died…he’s in critical condition. Robbery was the apparent motive. Evidently, the police there have assured everyone they are on top of things. Hopefully, they will prove to be a good deal more competent than the Aruba authorities who were in charge of finding Natalee Holloway’s murderer.

The icing on the cake, however, was the snippet I read yesterday …and I promise you I didn’t delve very deeply into this one after reading the headline. Basically, it read, “Canadian couple at center of vicious machete attack comes home.” (They had been in Kenya.) I read something about someone’s arms being hacked off, and I couldn’t go any further.

I guess that’s why I’ve become a veritable hermit in my old age. I don’t go out much anymore, and I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to travel abroad. This world we live in has turned into one scary place.

From those horrendous stories, we go to the insanely stupid in that I am evidently supposed to be concerned about Keira Knightley and the fact that she is fighting some producer or somebody to keep them from digitally “enhancing” her less than ample bosom in an upcoming movie. Why is this important, I ask you? Why is this considered “newsworthy?” I mean I like her okay, but I don’t give a rat’s ass about the size of her breasts, or if Lindsay is in or out of rehab this week, or the latest catastrophe surrounding Britney. I am forever amazed and appalled by what the so-called “press” considers worth reporting about in this country.

So, this morning as I was about to walk out the door, I happened upon the following story on the “Today Show.” It tells a unique story. The very best kind of story actually…one of trust and hope and unconditional love. You may have seen the video already…more than seven million people have. But I wanted it here on my blog as a reminder to myself that there are still some stories worth telling, worth sharing…some valuable lessons still to be taught…to be learned. And though it sure doesn’t feel like it sometimes, the world…and those of us who stumble-bumble along trying to make our way through it…can still be a pretty neat place.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

"Vanishing" Bobby

Here…such as it is…is my “homage” to Bobby in “Vanishing Act.” I’m not one who is inspired to write lengthy reviews about what I think of each episode. There are others out there who do a much more accomplished job of that than I ever could, so I happily leave them to their analysis.

Typically, there might be a particular comment or scene that stands out above the rest that I mention. Well, in this episode...happily... there are a considerable number of scenes/comments that I find worth mentioning. The problem is...where to start?

How about I start with Bobby explaining the mysteries of the blade box? He is so animated as he goes about it…even mentioning that his uncle used to take him to Tannen’s Magic Shop when he was a kid. It was nice to learn that there was someone in Bobby’s childhood who paid attention to him, did things with him, perhaps encouraged him and served as a role model. Because we all know what a rat-bastard his “father” turned out to be.

Moving along, we arrive at the supposed scene of the crime and Bobby is pulling and pushing and pounding and looking every which way at the casket, trying to figure out how the heck the guy got out of there, especially given the fact he was buried six feet under. He says, “Gotta be a trapdoor somewhere.” But Eames gets the good line when she looks at the other cop and says, “When my partner’s done playing, send this over to the trap specialist at the garage.”

My next mentionable scene takes place in the squad room when the captain is talking to Goren and Eames, and he comments, “Out of his casket and into a blade box, without anyone seeing how it was done.” Then he looks at Bobby and says, “You have a theory, Detective?” Bobby blinks, looks at Eames, looks back at the captain, shrugs, gives a sly smile that reaches all the way to those magnificent brown eyes of his and says, “I’d tell ya, but…you know…” And Ross promptly interjects, “The code.”

I half-expected Bobby to say, “I’d tell ya, but then I’d have to kill ya.” Turns out the writers saved that line for Holiday when he was “reading” the redhead during his onstage act.

Then they find the empty cell where the old guy was supposed to be. The young cop seems genuinely perplexed that Carmine has flown the coop and states that he could not have just disappeared. Bobby examines the empty cell and the door, specifically the lock, then he walks over to Eames and quips, “Well, he is…you know…the “Great” Carmine.” Then Bobby proceeds to show Officer Jones how the old guy hoodwinked him and lifted the key off his person by doing, as Bobby called it, “the classic misdirect.”

Next, we go to Carmine’s place that is chockfull of all sorts of magic paraphernalia and every magic trick imaginable. Eames is going through the drawer and Bobby is playing with one of the props. She turns to give him her report of what she’s found, and he just stares at her…deadpan expression…and holds up the pan he is carrying for her “inspection.” Then he puts the lid on the pan, appears to struggle a bit, then…presto change-o…the scarves appear as if…you know…magic. He tosses them into the air and smiles…again.

Then Bobby actually LAUGHS out loud as he turns to find the doll house illusion. He tells Eames he had wanted one when he was a kid and as he begins to inspect it, a magic wand appears in his hand. (No, not “that” magic wand.) I have to admit that Eames looked like she was having fun watching Bobby having fun as he went about his antics. But the thing that got me the most about this scene was watching the play of expressions on Bobby’s face when it dawned on him that Carmine was actually hiding in the illusion. It was...for me...a “classic” Bobby moment.

Finally, we come to the big “reveal” scene. I suppose the fact that Bobby had an 11-foot guillotine to play with as a kid explains a lot. This is perhaps my favorite scene when he sees the one trick and haltingly makes his way over to it. He assures the girl that he knows how the trick works and “begs” her to get inside. He is so thrilled that he’s barely speaking in literate sentences, telling Eames, “I know how to do this...I” (Anybody notice how the young woman inside the box looked a wee bit wary of our dashing detective’s declaration?)

And, lastly, I loved it when Bobby took out his handcuffs and Holiday offered up his wrists in front of him. Bobby studies Holiday for a moment, then says, “I don’t think so.”

A few months back, I rented the movie “The Prestige” which tells the story of two rival magicians. If you want to see just how insanely fanatical magicians can be…the bizarre lengths to which they are willing to go to protect their secrets…rent this movie. Besides, you’ll get to spend a couple of hours looking at Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale, which is not a bad thing.

Or, you could spend a couple of minutes looking at this gorgeous face.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"Vanishing" Partners

With a little bit of Ross thrown in for good measure. I know it has been said many times over, but it was so-o-o-o-o-o good to see a smiling Detective Robert Goren for a change.

The Quicker Flicker...

...I believe is the name of the pencil that Bobby frequently uses on LOCI. Something very different comes to mind, however, after viewing the following...very brief...slideshow.

Ah, the normally ubiquitous "tongue flick." I haven't noticed it as much this season, so this was a treat and one to be given an honorable mention.

Post Script: As I was about to drift off to sleep, it dawned on me: Quicker CLICKER not Flicker. Oh well, it's 1:30a.m., and I'm back on the computer to correct a mistake that no one will care about. Anal much? Welcome to my world.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"Vanishing" Eames & Ross

For those of you who like a little Eames and Ross with your Bobby, this slideshow is for you. Sorry, all the Ross pictures seem to be jumbled together; it's just where he showed up in the storyline. I do have several of him talking with Bobby though, so I'm sure he'll pop up again.

You may or may not notice the missing USA logo, as well as the annoying "commercials" that usually appear at the bottom of the screen. That is because I finally, FINALLY figured out how to get my Amazon downloads to play in my screen capping program. You cannot see me, but I am so happy I'm doing the "dance of joy." Now, if we could just persuade the "powers that be" at Universal to release Season 4 on DVD, or even as Amazon downloads, my life would be...just about...complete.

Friday, July 18, 2008

NaFF Revisited

Back in April, Vincent D'Onofrio appeared as a panelist at the Nashville Film Festival. One of the "highlights" -- for me at any rate -- was the interview that took place following the panel discussion. Even though the girl conducting the interview proved to be quite annoying, the comments by VDO proved to be most entertaining; especially his very own impression of how to "talk southern."

I posted it at the time, but the host site ( mucked-up the code and, by the time they got around to fixin' it, I had lost all patience and given up on them ever repairing the link. So, I ended up deleting the post...along with all your wonderful comments. Well, today as I was combing the Internet for all things VDO, I happened upon the video once more and thought "what the heck." I have been meaning to restore it for my own viewing pleasure, but... will enjoy another peek, too.

Update as of July 4, 2009. Well, I was checking old posts last night and discovered that this video had "disappeared" again. The previous host site, jumpcut, no longer exists, so any video that was stored there is now kaput. In a flash, I was off to appeal to my source for all things VDO...that good and kind and wonderful goddess Eliza...and she did not fail me. Eliza very generously made it available so I could download it to my computer, then upload it here. Hopefully, it is here to stay because this is one of my favorite "candid" interviews with Vincent D'Onofrio...ever...despite the annoying interviewer.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I'm Not Normally Politically Inclined...But

One of the work today insisted I look at this political "cartoon" from JibJab. Actually, my buddy in St. Louis sent it to me yesterday, but I couldn't get it to open at work... again... experienced mega computer difficulties yesterday. Today, things were different. Now, Mike and I are on completely opposite ends of the political spectrum, as it were, but the thing about JibJab has no shows no mercy.

It takes political...dare I say it...JABS at everyone. No one is safe. Nothing is sacred. That's one of the great things about the good ol' U.S.A., we can make "fun" of our political leaders and political wannabes. That is the thing that amazes me about politics. What with all the public scrutiny and all the constant criticism, why would anyone...who has a lick of sense...want to run for political office in this country?

Ah, well. Somebody has to do it, I suppose. Anyway, here is the latest JibJab ditty. I am especially partial to Barack Obama's take on change; i.e., "I've got one or two things to say about change. Like the change we must change to the change we hold dear. I really like change, have I made myself clear?"

Uh...scratching my head

Send a JibJab Sendables® eCard Today!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bobby Close-Ups From Please Note

A little something for BASRIC when she gets off her shift in the Trauma Unit at Vanderbilt. It's just bits of Detective Robert Goren...specifically...his face. That glorious, wondrous, fantastically expressive...yes...BEAUTIFUL face. Sigh...I want him.

It's so refreshing to not have to thank anyone for the pictures since I've been capping my own for quite a while now. I would, however, like to thank Vincent D'Onofrio's mother and father for the "source" material. Lovely work...quite die for.

"Vanishing Act" Clips & Promo

I've had the devil of a time accessing YouTube all day. Of course, I was at the office and should have know...WORKING, but a girl has to have some bit of diversion to get her through the day. Anyway, TXCANY finally came through with the promo and a couple of clips for "Vanishing Act."

First, the promo.

The "exclusive" clip.

My favorite clip. Bobby, looking like a kid in a toy store...or magic shop as the case may be...explaining the secrets of the blade box to Eames. Did anyone catch the name of the magic shop Bobby said his uncle took him to when he was a kid?

It's so good to see him smile.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

USA Marketing For LOCI

I believe Law & Order Criminal Intent fans realized early on that USA was committed to making the transition from NBC to USA a most successful and lucrative one. I "loved" the following ads that USA ran to announce the "big move," and I had added them to my YouTube playlists when they first aired. Since then, the first one has disappeared and the second one was always a bit blurry.

So, today as I was searching the Internet for a "Vanishing Act" promo to post, I found these instead and thought, "What the heck." Flustered, confused Bobby is always worth another look.

USA: Law & Order Criminal Intent Crime Scene
Uploaded by ElectricArtists

USA: Law & Order Criminal Intent New Logo
Uploaded by ElectricArtists
I will, of course, keep looking for the "Vanishing Act" promos. The one on the USA Network looks pretty darn good.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Happy Birthday, Music Wench!!!

Well, if I did the math right, today...that would be Friday, July Music Wench's birthday. (I posted this before going to bed last night, so the date will say it's Thursday.) Anyway, I just wanted to say that it has been great fun getting to know you through our mutual blogs and look forward to continuing this "blossoming" friendship in the weeks and months to come.

I hope you have a very wonderful birthday filled with all the things you love doing most. Do something fun. Do something special...just for you.

I sent this to your private email, but thought I would post it here, so the others who are getting to know you can share in your special day. Make it a GREAT one!!!

Click to play Music Wench's Birthday
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Pay Attention To Your Dreams

Ten years and two weeks ago…give or take…I had a dream about my oldest brother, Leland. I dreamed he died.

While I cannot recall the particulars of the dream now, I do remember waking-up with a start very early in the morning, feeling a bit anxious…yet extremely relieved…that it was only a dream. I instinctively reached for the phone, thinking I would call just to check on him and make sure everyone was okay without actually blurting out, “Oh, by the way, I had a death dream about you last night.” Hey, all evidence to the contrary, I do know how to be discreet.

But, I didn’t call. It was very early for one thing and, for another, my mom had always told me that a dream did not necessarily mean what you thought it meant; i.e., the obvious. I mean, I had had death dreams before and no one actually died. So, I didn’t call. Still, for days afterward, I had the nagging memory of this dream hovering in the back of my head...taunting me...haunting me.

This was back in July 1998, and I had been living in Cincinnati for all of seven months. I still had my house in South Point and went home almost every weekend. On Saturday, July 11th of that year, my nephew, Mike, was getting married, so I had naturally planned to go home that weekend.

The Thursday night before the wedding, I had this overwhelming sensation, compelling me to pick up the phone and call Leland. I actually remember going to the phone, picking it up and then thinking how silly this was. After all, I was going to see him at the rehearsal dinner the next evening…whatever I had to say could wait until then...right? That was back in the day when money was tighter than it is now and way before I had unlimited long distance. So, again...I didn’t call.

I left work early Friday afternoon for the two and a half hour drive home. I got in town with plenty of time to spare before dinner, so I thought I would stop by the church to see how the rehearsal was going. When I stepped inside the church, everyone stopped what they were doing and turned to look at me. That was my first clue...something was definitely wrong. Then my brother, Harold, walked down the aisle to where I was standing and asked me to walk with him; he had something to tell me.

I could tell by the look on his face that I didn’t want to hear what he had to tell me, so I hung back a bit and said, “No, I don't think I want to. I don't want to hear whatever it is you have to tell me, do I?” He stopped, his eyes filled with tears, and he looked down at me and said, “You’re right.” Then he went on to tell me that Leland had died around 4:00 that afternoon.

He was 60 years young…and I do mean young. Leland was an elementary school teacher, and he was still teaching up to the very end despite the fact that he could have retired years earlier. I remember my last conversation with him, I had asked him if he was going to retire that year, and he had said, “No, I’m going to teach one more year.” That was what he always said…he was going to teach one more year.

You may think it odd that a man had spent that many years in the school room. The fact is that many people in the profession had approached him numerous times to go into the administrative side of education…he did have a Masters Degree in the field after all, but he preferred the classroom to the boardroom. He touched a lot of lives.

In the summer, when he wasn’t teaching, he mowed lawns for a few elderly people in the neighborhood. It was a way of making some extra cash and a way to stay in shape, because he did it the old fashioned way; i.e., he used a push mower not a riding mower. On the day he died, he had mowed two lawns. Then he came home, took a shower, and sat down in his favorite chair to take a nap before heading down to South Point for the wedding rehearsal.

He never woke up. He just went to sleep…and died.

My sister-in-law, Marge, was in the next room, and she heard a gurgling sound, but by the time she got to him…for all intents and purposes…he was gone. Marge, of course, tried to revive him, but Leland was over 6’ tall and weighed around 225, and he was leaning back in the recliner. Marge simply could not get him out of the chair or even maneuver him around so she could get at him to administer CPR.

To compound matters, their two kids were out of town. Julie, my niece, had gone back to Indiana for the weekend to visit with college friends. Jeff, my nephew, was already en route to South Point because his little guy, Zachary, was going to be the ring bearer in the wedding. There is a lot of rural area between Springfield, Ohio (where Leland lived) and South Point, Ohio, and there wasn’t a cell phone tower every whipstitch like there is now, so Marge was unable to reach Jeff by phone.

So, my brother, Tom, had to meet Jeff and his family at the hotel when they arrived and deliver the devastating news…that he needed to turn around and go straight back to Springfield because his father had died that afternoon. I can only imagine how incredibly long and difficult that three and a half hour drive back to Springfield had to have been for all of them.

The wedding? Well, the wedding went on as planned. We got Mike and Joey married and off on their honeymoon, then the rest of us turned around and headed to Springfield for a funeral. Does that qualify as being ironic?

Leland was almost 14 years old when I was born. By the time I was old enough to “enjoy” having a big brother, he was away in the army. When he came home, he enrolled in the local branch campus of Ohio University and got his Bachelor’s degree in education. He taught one year locally, then applied for and got a teaching position in Springfield, Ohio.

What can I tell you about my brother? He was always good to me…took me places...wanted me to experience life, you know? One of my earliest memories is of him taking me to movies at the old Ro-Na Theater in Ironton, Ohio. I remember him taking me to see “Old Yeller” and “Babes In Toyland” and “Ben Hur.” He loved “West Side Story.” Mom used to talk about how he would sing “Maria” at the top of his lungs while in the shower. He introduced me to books, and music, and theater, and literature. I got my love of sports from my dad, and Tom, and Harold. I got my love of the more “refined” things life has to offer from my big brother Leland.

When I say he was a “young” 60, I mean that. The fact that he…literally…keeled over dead knocked us all for a loop. I mean, he did everything right. He exercised. He watched everything he put in his mouth. If he had a weakness, it was sweets. Hello…it kind of runs in the family. Our dad was the skinniest one of the bunch, but he had to have a bite of something sweet after dinner.

Leland was a big guy...but not overweight. Not like the rest of my family. I said after he died that the rest of us didn’t stand a chance…so why bother.

Now, I buried my mother in 1991 and my father in 1992, and both of those funerals were extremely hard to bear, but I got through them. You get “through” these things, you know, you just never get “over” them. Now, I have to say that the way Leland the best possible way to die...especially if you're the one doing the dying, but it is hard as hell on the ones left behind. I suppose there is something to be said for having the chance to "say good-bye." But when I saw my brother lying dead in that casket…looking like he had never been sick a day in his life…and that he was lying there asleep…it took every ounce of self-restraint I could muster to keep from grabbing hold of his shoulders to shake him awake.

His was the far.

I don't dwell on it, but at the same time, I’ll never get over it. I told everyone right then and there that I’d better be the next one to “go” because I was “done” going to funerals. I will go to the wake or visitation to pay my respects to friends and family, but that is as far as I’ll go. So far, I have stuck to that self-imposed edict.

As in most things in life, there is a bit of humor to be derived from this tragedy. That’s just me…I have to find the laughter. Well, at the wake, I was sitting off in a corner of the room away from the main crowd. Leland had lived in Springfield for almost thirty-five years…there were few people we knew.

So, my other brothers, their families, and I were sitting in a group together when this woman approached us and in a big, booming voice, she said, “Which one of you is Lee’s sister?” I kind of laughed to myself and turned an apprehensive expression on her, raised my hand and replied, “That would be me.”

She went on to explain that she had taught with Leland for several years, and she just wanted me to know how proud he was when I got my first book published. “I taught her everything she knows,” the lady (sorry, I cannot recall her name) told me is what he had announced in the teacher’s lounge one day. Then my book came out, and they read it.

Let me explain. The title of my first book was “Tides Of Ecstasy.” It was an historical romance novel filled with several…shall we say…rather “explicit” amorous love making scenes. After reading the book, Leland burst into the teacher’s lounge and soundly informed them, “Well, I didn’t teach her THAT!”

That’s a good memory I take from this heartbreaking event.

And, I suppose, if there is a moral to this story it’ attention to your dreams. I assure you, ever since then, if I ever have a disturbing dream about someone I know…someone I care about…I call them. Just to check…just to make sure. You just never know when the last time you talk to someone will indeed be the very last time.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Please Note...The Main Attraction

Well, I've capped this episode TWICE now...once from the DVD I recorded myself. It usually works okay, but...for some reason...the pictures didn't look as sharp to me, plus the DVD drive in my laptop is going bad, the DVD get the idea...another frustrating evening in computer land. So, I prevailed upon sweet Eliza to share her "Please Note" upload with me and, after fiddling with my desktop PC, I managed to burn it to another DVD and spent last night capping to my heart's content...and then some.

I needed a night away from Bobby anyway. I know...that's borderline sacrilege, but Sunday's episode touched a nerve, and I needed a small respite. Anyway, after playing with the Others and the Partners, I can now share the "Main Attraction." Gee, I wonder who that might be.

With many thanks to that most precious of all angels...Eliza. You are truly special!

Please Note...The Partners

And I mean that in the STRICTEST "professional" sense of the word. "There will be no shipping on this blog," sayeth the Queen. There were just too dang many good shots of G&E together, I thought I'd present them in a wee slideshow.

Please Note...The Others

Here are a few screen caps of Eames and Ross from "Please Note..." for those who actually notice the other...most excellent...actors on the show.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

"Smothered" In Quotes

You will most likely notice that a couple of the scenes are a little off-sync picture-wise, but the ones that went with the dialog were... well...boring. So, I improvised with better pictures of "you know who."

First Set:

Second Set:

Just Because:
And just for the hell of it, I give you the BTSOH scene all by itself. Forget the dialog. Who cares what he was saying...he just looked so unbelievably yummy in this scene. The shirt, the jeans, the hair, the expressive face...and just a "hint" of stubble. It's all there, wrapped-up in one big, gorgeous hunka-doodle-do package we call Detective Robert Goren.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Betrayed...Just Bobby

A fleeting look back at Bobby from "Betrayed" to get me all psyched-up for tomorrow's episode with the incredibly long name that starts with "Please Note" and ends with "Kissinger." He's so a completely virile, masculine sort of way.

Friday, July 4, 2008

My Most Memorable 4th Of July

For years, the A&E network broadcast a show called “Pop Goes The Fourth” live from Boston, starting around 7:30p.m. and running through until around 10:00p.m. or so. There were musical guests and performances by the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra in which they played a wide variety of tunes, sprinkled with a generous portion of patriotic melodies. They were especially famous for their rendition of Tchaikovsky’s "1812 Overture," complete with booming fireworks and exploding cannonades. The festivities always culminated with one of the most spectacular fireworks shows I have ever seen… synchronized to music. Remember, I was watching all of this on TV and was impressed by its grandeur, I could only imagine what it would be like to experience it in person. I always told everyone that one thing I wanted to do before I die was to be in Boston on the 4th of July to experience this “party” firsthand.

Now, I realize there are similar events…that are just as impressive…that take place in every major city in this great land of ours, but I was most familiar with Boston’s 4th of July party because of the exposure it received on A&E. So, back in 1999, I got my brother, Harold, and sister-in-law, Patty (whose birthday just happens to be July 4th) to watch the show. Afterwards, Harold told me if I wanted to plan a trip to Boston for the following summer, they were on board.

So, during the winter and into the spring, we made our plans. You must understand, we are a baseball family, so once I knew for sure the trip was on, I started checking baseball schedules for teams en route to Boston. The Red Sox were out of town, so no luck there, but the Phillies and Mets were playing at home, so I was able to get us tickets for a Friday night game between the Phillies and Pirates and the Saturday day game between the Mets and Braves.

Harold and Patty rented a car and drove to Cincinnati to pick me up on Thursday, June 29th. Now, it probably would have been easier for them if I had gone in their direction, but I happened to have Reds tickets for a day game that day…not just any tickets mind you. I had Marge Schott’s seats (former owner of the Reds) in the second row behind the Reds on deck circle. I was close enough I could have reached out and touched the guys' nice, firm butts. I didn’t, but I was close enough. Oh, I guess I should also mention that the Reds were playing the Cardinals and that was back when Mark McGwire was with the team, and I had a thing for McGwire and...welll...blah, blah, blah.

After the game, I hurried home to meet up with H&P. We loaded my stuff into the car and we were off on our Boston adventure. Harold and I split the driving time and that first night we made it pretty far into Pennsylvania. We got into Philadelphia with enough time to spare on Friday to allow us time for a nice lunch, a visit to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall and a carriage ride through the historic district before heading over to the stadium for the ball game.

I don’t remember much about the game that night other than the fact that Randy Wolf pitched for the Phillies, and he had a fan following called the “Wolf Pack.” They were an absolute hoot to watch. They dressed up in wolf masks and sat in the upper deck and danced and pranced about when he struck out batters and such. It was fun. The Phillies had a pretty impressive fireworks show after the game, but that was just a prelude of what was to come.

The next morning, we were up and on the road early in our quest to get to Shea Stadium for the Mets game. My sister-in-law had never seen the Statue of Liberty, and that was the only request she had made of this entire trip…she wanted to see the Statue. She didn’t necessarily want to take the boat over to the Statue, she was content just to admire it from a distance. So, Harold had mapped out the route that took us into the park where you caught the ferry over to Lady Liberty. We got out and looked around, Patty got to see the Statue and when we turned around, there was a spectacular view of Manhattan…including the World Trade Center.

Then it was back in the car and a drive through Manhattan to Queens and Flushing Meadows. Ah, if it had only been that simple. I was the pilot…Harold was the navigator. Actually, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Granted, it is not a trip I would care to make alone...driving through New York City. We made a few wrong turns and had to double back a couple of times, (I think we crossed the same bridge…like…six times) but eventually…and without a lot of yelling and screaming at one another…we found our way to Shea Stadium before the first pitch.

We were squeezed-in like sardines in our upper deck seats, Mike Piazza hit a monster home run, and they played “Macho Man” as he circled the bases. That was the first time the Braves had been back in New York following the racist comments Braves pitcher John Rocker had made about New York and the people who rode the Number 7 train to the ballpark, so security was tight. There were a couple of Braves fans sitting in front of us and they looked scared…didn’t open their mouths throughout the game. I mean, if you're gonna be brazen enough to wear the opposing team's colors in their ballpark; especially Braves get-up after what Rocker said, then you better be prepared to take a little verbal razzing.

After the game, Harold drove us to the next stopping off point…somewhere in Connecticut. The thing we remember about this leg of the journey was, as we were driving along this very busy expressway…I mean there were five or six lanes of traffic going in each direction…we were passed by a couple of guys on motorcycles. Now, what is significant to note is, they passed us “between” vehicles…not from their own, individual lane. Then, as they were speeding along…Harold said we were going 70 mph, so who knows how fast these nitwits were going…one of the guys STOOD UP on his bike and proceeded to “ride” like that for several seconds. (Remember my mantra…idiots and assholes…they’re everywhere.) We still talk about this…lunatic. Only time on the trip I recall "white knuckling" the dashboard; if this moron would have wiped out, he would have taken a whole lot of people with him.

Anyway, we arrived in Boston on Sunday in time to do a little sight-seeing. We started walking the “Freedom Trail” and went back and picked up where we left off and finished the tour on Monday. We got to see things I had only read about or seen pictures of…things like Boston Common, Old North Church, the site of the Boston Massacre, the USS Constitution (“Old Ironsides”) and the Charlestown Navy Yard. I was a history major in college, so I ate up this stuff with a spoon. All that walking about killed me, but it was worth it, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to do it then because there is no way I could do it now.

The next day, Tuesday, was the 4th of July. Now, I had read and researched this event for years and I knew that in order to get the absolutely BEST “seats” in the pavilion area…you had to get there early…like by five or six in the morning. There was no way H&P were going to do that, so I contented myself with getting there around 8:00a.m. The pavilion was full by then, but we did find a nice shady and grassy spot along the Charles River, not too far removed from the stage area. We had brought a cooler with us, but luckily there were food vendors and restroom facilities close-by.

It was a long day, however, waiting for the show to start at 7:30p.m. Patty and I took a boat ride along the Charles River and the harbor to break up the monotony while Harold remained behind to “guard” our little spot of grass to which we had laid claim. By the time the show started, the river was lined with boats and the riverbank was crowded with people. Back then, they estimated that…approximately…750,000 people attend this event. Now it is closer to a million. That’s just wayyyyyyyyy too many people, folks. I could not handle that crowd today.

But I did then…and it was great. Granted, I would have liked to have found a space inside the pavilion where I could have seen the stage, but I got to hear the music…most of it...and got to hear those canon…in person…when they exploded in perfect synchronization with the "1812 Overture." And I got to see that splendiferous fireworks extravaganza in person. In short, I got to be in Boston on the 4th of July…before I die. One thing I can check off my "Bucket List."

The trip back to the parking lot…on a CROWDED subway…is worthy of an entry of its own. I mean, everyone arrived intermittently throughout the day, but once the party was over…everyone headed home at the same time. I’ve never seen or experienced anything like it in my life. There is a reason I live in a “relatively” small town. Cincinnati is sometimes…most times…too big for my liking. There is no way I could handle living in a city like Boston or New York.

The next day, we slept in a bit, then drove in to Fenway Park to take a tour of the ballpark. The two kids…and they were high school and college-aged young men and lifelong friends…who conducted the tour knew more about Red Sox history than the most wizened baseball historian. They told great stories about the park and players and superstitions and curses. We got to sit in the Red Sox dugout. I have a picture of my brother sitting in that dugout that has seen the likes of Carl Yastrzemski, Carlton Fisk, and Louis Tiant. He was 56 years old at the time and looked like a giddy twelve-year old…grinning ear to ear…in that photo. It’s one of my favorite pictures of him. I, myself, who shy away from the camera…with good reason…actually requested to have my picture taken in front of the “green monster.” No one will ever see it but me, but it does exist.

All in all…it was a good day…a great trip, but it wasn’t over yet.

When we left Boston the following morning, we drove across the state of New York to Cooperstown. Yep, our predominantly baseball vacation culminated with a visit to that most hallowed of all baseball venues…The Baseball Hall of Fame. That was a couple of years after Mark McGwire had broken Roger Maris’s single season home run record of 61 by blasting a total of 70 dingers in 1998. That was pre-steroid accusations and denials and congressional hearings and not being forthcoming with answers and such, however.

There was a significant display of McGwire paraphernalia at the HOF. After I looked around all I wanted, you know, checked out the Reds stuff…especially Johnny Bench, I sort of naturally gravitated back to the display on “Big Mac.” I was just sitting there, obviously look a wee bit moonstruck at the bat and glove and uniform and spikes (he had HUGE feet) that were featured in this tall, circular, glass enclosure when this man walks up to me. He looked at me looking with longing at the McGwire exhibit, and he said, “Have you had your picture taken beside it yet?” I told him no, and he offered to do the honors, so I handed him my camera and I did the “standard” pose by the glass display and the nice gentleman took the picture.

Then, on impulse, I said, “Just one more.” And then I actually wrapped my arms around the display as far as they would go and “kissed” the glass…thank God no alarms sounded…and he snapped that photo as well. Hey, I figured that was the closest I was ever gonna get to the man, so why not? Turns out, I did have another opportunity…sort of…but that is a story for another time.

Oh, and I have to say that, for an institution that stalwartly refuses to "formally" induct one Peter Edward Rose into its austere midst, the man's name is plastered all over the place. He played the game, he accumulated the stats, he made the records. Yeah, he screwed up and bet on baseball. He's a schmuck in real life, but he was one hell of a ballplayer. over it already. (I'll climb back down off my soapbox now.)

Next day, we drove back to Cincinnati and Harold and Patty drove on home to South Point. So, that brings to a conclusion the novella that was our baseball/4th of July vacation back in 2000. I enjoyed recounting it…remembering the fun we had. I, of course, did a YouTube search and found a couple of Boston Pops videos from previous 4th of July celebrations. It will get me in the mood for watching "A Capitol Fourth" later this evening.

The first video is by JimTheUmp and features the "Star Spangled Banner" and the end of the "1812 Overture" and the second one is by ZobVa and features "Stars & Stripes Forever."

Okay, that's it for the day. I'm officially done "flag waving."

God Bless The U.S.A.

Well, I had not planned to do a typical I'm proud to be an American, red, white and blue "rah rah" post today, and yet here I am doing precisely that. Later, I plan to do a post about my favorite 4th of July of all time, but for now here is the "typical" one. No offense to my blogging friends from the U.K. It was a happened. We're all friends and allies now.

I'm not big on making "political" statements. I'll leave that to those of you who are far more knowledgeable and eloquent in that arena than am I. I am not, however, always proud of some of the things our political leaders do in the name of democracy or freedom. I happen to agree with Music Wench's 4th of July post in that there are times when I do not necessarily love my government, but I do love my country.

So, on this day, when I am reminded that I live in a land that was founded for such basic and noble things as religious freedom...that, as a nation, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator, with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," (No, that's not the "Age of Aquarius" by the Fifth Dimension...that's our Declaration of Independence) then I guess when all is said and the end of the day...I have to admit that, yes, I am indeed "Proud To Be An American."

Perhaps these videos I found on YouTube can best express the sentiment felt by Americans throughout the land on this 4th of July. The first is a series of photos put together to the music of "God Bless The U.S.A" sung by Lee Greenwood and posted by steev1969. The second is Martina McBride singing "God Bless America," and it was posted by mikel9955.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Knocking On The Door To The Hall Of Fame

I have been so preoccupied with posts of Detective Goren, LOCI episodes, and possible family-felons of late that I have been remiss in neglecting my first, true love…baseball. So much so in fact that June 9th has come and long gone…the night “the kid” (Ken Griffey, Jr.) hit his 600th home run, and I haven’t even mentioned it in passing. I am really slipping, folks.

I have to confess that I have never been a diehard Junior fan. I saw his dad play with the “Big Red Machine” of the 1970’s. Now, those were the days, my friends. Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, Pete Rose, Griffey, Sr. and George Foster…ah...the sweet, happy memories those gentlemen conjure in my mind. That was back when baseball was baseball; i.e., no steroids or growth hormones, no obscenely ridiculous salaries, no pitch counts, and...more freakin' cheerleaders prancing about in short costumes. Hello!! It's baseball!

When the Reds traded a bunch of players for Junior back in 2000, I think I was the only person in Cincinnati who wasn’t overjoyed with the trade. I mean, my only frame of reference of Junior was from clips I had seen of him on Sports Center…mainly of him making some spectacular play in the outfield; i.e., diving to the turf or leaping up against the wall. But, mostly, the image of Junior that stuck in my mind was after he hit a home run, instead of tossing his bad aside, lowering his head and going into his home run trot, he would stand there and watch the ball as it left the park…admire his handiwork…if you will.

Now, Junior didn’t initiate this trend and lord knows he won’t be the last ballplayer to stand at home plate and watch his "dinger" be swallowed by the warm summer night. It’s just that, well, I am an “old school” kind of baseball girl and there was a time when that kind of bush league, chicken shit behavior was considered “showing up” the pitcher. The way I see it, if you're the batter, you have already shown up the pitcher by jacking the ball out of the park, so get your scrawny ass on around the bases and take a seat in the dugout. You can admire yourself later on Sports Center.

All I can say is, it’s a good thing these young whippersnappers didn’t play “back in the day” when guys like Bob Gibson, Juan Marischal, or Don Drysdale (to name a few) pitched. Because, I promise you, if Junior had pulled that kind of crap on one of them, the next time he came up to bat, the first pitch to home plate would have been in his ear. At the very least, he would have been sucking dirt. It’s called “respect” and sadly that is one concept that is lacking in so many aspects of our lives these days.

I vividly remember the night Carl Lindner (primary owner of the Reds at the time) flew Junior to Cincinnati on his private jet for a press conference that was held down at the stadium to officially announce Junior’s addition to the team. The local press went nuts. WLW, the local NBC affiliate, aired a commercial (I saw it only once) that was short and sweet. There was a placard stating “Welcome home, Junior" or "Junior’s Home” (something like that) then that slide faded away and the next one slowly came into view, stating a brazen, “See you in the World Series.” Well, that’s all well and good and a nice sentiment and all, but that’s one hell of a burden to put on one guy. Baseball is, after all, a TEAM sport. That’s one hell of an expectation for a young man to be saddled with right off the bat.

I’m not going to list all of Junior’s accomplishments and the record or near record-breaking numbers he has accumulated over the years. There are tons of websites devoted to that sort of thing. I mean, if there is one thing that baseball is absolutely fanatical about…it’s statistics. They keep track of everything and I do mean everything. The thing that was supposed to be “special” for all concerned was the fact that Junior was coming home. His dad played in Cincinnati …was a part of the "Big Red Machine" that won back-to-back World Series championships in 1975 and 1976. Junior grew up here, went to school here…Cincinnati is his “hometown.”

But things did not go according to plan for Junior here in Cincinnati; ever since "coming home," his career has been plagued with injuries. And the fans…well…the fans have not always been kind to him. Hell, some of them have been downright abusive. I was at the game…game five of the 2003 season in the new ballpark, as I recall…when he dove for a ball in the outfield and dislocated his shoulder. Fans…and I’m using the term loosely here…in the stands above him actually “taunted” him as he lay writhing in pain on the field. What can I say…idiots and assholes…they’re everywhere.

Anyway, Junior has hit home runs number 400, 500 and now 600 – and all those in between – in a Reds uniform. My baseball buddy, Mark, who lives in St. Louis has always been a Griffey fan. When the trade was announced back in 2000, he told me that I would enjoy watching him play and kept talking about Griffey's “sweet swing.” Now, I’ve watched a lot of baseball in my time and I’ve seen a lot of ballplayers swing the bat, but I didn’t know what Mark meant until I saw it for myself. It is hard to describe, but when Junior is “on,” when he’s in a groove, he is really something to watch. And that sweet's like a hot knife cutting through butter...smooth and fluid.

Unfortunately for Reds fans…true followers of the game…Junior hit number 600 on the road in front of a paltry crowd of 16,000 in Florida against the Marlins. The game was on TV, but I missed seeing it “actually” hit because I was fiddling with my PC at the time. Of course, I saw it on replay any number of times, but I will always feel a bit cheated that I didn't see him hit it know...real time.

Anyway, unlike his two most recent predecessors into the elite club of 600 home runs; i.e., Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa, Junior’s record setting home run is not tainted with a shroud of doubt as to his character. Junior, in fact, did it the right way…with honor and integrity. To quote Hal McCoy, Hall of Fame sports writer for the "Dayton Daily News," “When home run No. 600 splashed down among a splattering of fans in the orange seats inside the right field foul pole of Dolphin Stadium at 7:22 Monday night, Ken Griffey, Jr., etched his name in history, and he did it with a clean pen.”

Junior’s name has never appeared on a police blotter for…well… anything. His name has never…ever…been linked with those who cheated to gain an unfair advantage, or with drugs or booze or philandering. From all appearances, Griffey is a family-man; respectful of his parents, a devoted husband and loving father…in short…a good man. There is no cloud of suspicion hanging over Junior’s head or his achievements. There will be no asterisk beside his name when it is carved into the hallowed halls at Cooperstown.

As I said, Junior’s career has been riddled with injuries since his arrival to Cincinnati. In fact, injuries from as minor as a dislocated toe to as devastating as a shredded hamstring, between 2000 and 2005 have cost him nearly 450 games (that’s just shy of three seasons) or it is entirely possible that he would have been the one to break Hank Aaron's all time home run record instead of that "other guy." At that infamous press conference, the one welcoming Junior to the Reds, he was introduced as the man who would break Aaron's record in a Reds uniform. Fate…destiny…they’re fickle critters.

The injury that befell Junior that still makes me wince when I think about is the one when he literally ripped his hamstring off the bone. (OUCH!) As Hal McCoy states, “He has played in more pain than any player should have to endure, and he did it without complaint or excuse. He has rebuilt knees and brackets and pins and plates imbedded in every nook and cranny of his body. Three screws in his tailbone keeps his hamstring attached to the bone, six screws hold his shoulders in place.” See what I mean, the man has spent more time in rehab than Lindsay Lohan. Oops…different kind of rehab…but you catch my meaning, don’t you, Bullwinkle?

But Griffey doesn’t complain about his “misfortune.” He says he doesn’t deal with “what-ifs.” He’s only interested in playing the game…as long as it is still fun…and helping his teammates win.

So, while Griffey still isn’t my “favorite” ballplayer, I have come to respect him for the man that he is and how he plays the game. Junior will be a free-agent at the end of this season. The Reds do have an option for 2009, but I doubt if they’ll exercise it. So, chances are, Junior will be wearing another uniform next year. I hope he goes back to the American League where he can DH. And just maybe, one day, I’ll turn on Sports Center to find that “the kid” who still...on occasion...wears his ball cap backwards, has hit No. 700. I sure hope so.

Reds Hall of Fame radio announcer, Marty Brennaman, makes the call.

A slideshow from photos I found in the days following the "historic event."

Get a load of those diamond studs he's sporting in both ears.

USA Promo

Please...just indulge me. I found a downloadable copy of the promo, and I posted it, so sue me. It's a disease. Not sure if it's fatal, but I'm fairly certain that it is quite contagious.

Is it me, or is the sound of that gun being cocked a little reminiscent of the "doink doink" sound we no longer get to enjoy on CI?

Law and Order: Criminal Intent – “Kissinger” Promo
Uploaded by USANetwork. Posted on the "Daily Motion" website by USA.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Please Note...Clip

Found this new site through a Google Alert for Vincent D'Onofrio. Guess this will have to tide us over until Sunday night...huh?

The clip was uploaded by ElectricArtists and can be found on