All posts by Rob Darnell

Tigers in Kansas City

Tonight’s game was worrisome. Kansas City put up a good fight. The Royals were  seemingly determined to wreck the Tigers’ winning streak. The Royals got ahead in the bottom of the 8th, but Miggie saved the Tigers in the top of the 9th when he hit a good one and brought home two.

The Royals didn’t score in the bottom of the 9th. The final score: Tigers 7 – Royals 6.

I kept pulling for Kid Jones. He’d made quite an impression since being called up from Triple A and I really want the Tigers to keep him around. I think he’s a valuable player and I wonder what other surprises he has in the bag. But tonight wasn’t a good night for him. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

I love baseball and I love the Tigers.

Hi, my name is Rob and I’m addicted to sports

Since getting cable TV on Monday, my sport watching addiction has come back with vengeance. I need a game a day to keep the doctor away. In the last couple years, I’d watch games on ESPN3.com or at my mom and dad’s house. But mostly all I could get was the Lions. The Tigers and the Wolverines, and even the Red Wings and Pistons, were a rare find on mom and dad’s TV, as well as ESPN3.com. Often I’d just watch different teams, but it’s always better to watch my own.

I know it’s an addiction when I realize none of my teams are playing today and I start to go cold turkey. But wait, that’s not quite right. The NFL preseason started a few weeks ago and isn’t today Thursday?

I went to the official Detroit Lions website and checked their schedule. Thank the Heavens, there is a game on today. It’s just a preseason game, but it’s a game, a game that at least helps us predict the outcome of the regular season… or so we tell ourselves.

What a game it was. Several players made impressive plays. The Lions successfully kept the Bills out of the End Zone. The final score is, Lions 31 and Bills 0.

That was the last game of the preseason. The regular season starts September 11, when the Lions face the Colts. I’ll probably watch that at my mom and dad’s house. It’s what we’ve been doing for the last several years.

So, out of the four preseason games, the Lions won two and lost two. If the preseason could accurately predict the regular season, by the preseason results, I guess that would mean the Lions will win half their regular games and lose the other half.

But in reality, regardless of how the preseason went, the regular season is always iffy. The Lions might fail miserably or this might be the year they break the terrible curse. I say that every year, so we’ll just have to see.

I was pleased to see that the Lions have Jake Rudock. He was Michigan’s starting quarterback last year. I thought he did very well with the Wolverines and he seems to be doing well with the Lions.

Matthew Stafford is still with the Lions too, so I’m not sure who the starting quarterback will be. But maybe they’ll both get playing time during the regular season.

Socks are Worn in Detroit

Yep, the Tigers swept the White Sox, winning all three games of this series. Justin Verlander pitched today and lasted seven innings. He’s still got the arm.

The score was tied up in the eighth inning, 2-2. The Sox did not break the tie in the top of the 9th.

JaCoby Jones just might find himself dubbed Rookie of the Year. Last night was his first time in the show and he’s determined to stay. He was the hero last night and he was the hero today.

In the bottom of the 9th, the score was still tied. Jones was on third base when the ball was hit to centerfield. Jones made a mad dash and slid into homeplate.

Tigers: 3 – White Sox: 2

Will the Tigers Sweep the White Sox?

The answer to the big question will be revealed tomorrow.

Tonight’s game went sour early when the White Sox got in three runs in the second inning, while the Tigers remained scoreless. It sure looked like trouble for the Tigers and I thought I’d be writing a bummer tonight.

The score was still 0-3 in the bottom of the fourth when J.D. Martinez scared the shit out of me. He hit himself in the leg with the bat and was hopping around for a bit. A medic went out on the field to check him out. I thought they would take J.D. out of the game, and then what were we going to do? But J.D. swallowed his pain and returned to the plate.

J.D. didn’t get a square hit that inning, but eventually walked to first base. Justin Upton came up next and he packed a hard hit, sending the ball far and high over centerfield, but unfortunately the ball dropped before it was over the wall and was caught.

The fourth inning ended with the 0-3 score remaining.

It was the bottom of the fifth when Ian Kinsler turned it all around with his home run, bringing the score to 2-3. The Tigers were still behind, but there was hope.

Bottom of the sixth, J.D. hit one deep into left field and hauled ass to second base.  Upton was up next and he wasn’t playing around. He sent the ball rocketing through centerfield and brought J.D. home.

While Upton was hanging out on second base, JaCoby Jones came up to bat. As I understand it, tonight was Jones’ first time in the Show. I believe he was called up to replace the guy who was injured yesterday.

The kid is good and he had family there to see. In the previous inning, Jones’ folks were interviewed as they sat watching the game. Man, they looked so proud when he hit the ball deep into right field, bringing Upton home.

The Tigers were ahead then, 4-3. But the sixth inning wasn’t over yet. Kinsler came up and brought in two more runs.

The Sox pushed back in the top of the seventh, but only managed to get in one run. J.D. was first at bat in the bottom of the seventh. He smashed the ball over the wall and brought the score to 7-4.

JaCoby Jones wasn’t done yet and swatted a hard roller down centerfield bringing in another run before the seventh inning ended. No one scored in the eighth or the ninth.

Tigers: 8 – White Sox: 4

A side note: The White Sox must have a fashion expert in their locker room. I really like the jerseys they wore tonight. I oughta get me one of those. Maybe one with Avila’s name on it.

My First Night Back and the Tigers Win It

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I’ve been without cable TV for a couple years, which meant my sport watching was reduced to the dire minimum. I don’t know how I survived. For the most part, I’d just keep an eye on the box scores and the standings, but it wasn’t the same as watching live games.

Well, I just got cable TV back today, in time for the Tigers-White Sox game. There’s some new faces on the team, but some of the old ones are still there too.

I was surprised and disappointed to see Alex Avila is no longer with the Tigers and is now playing for the White Sox. I found myself rooting for him whenever he stepped up to bat and I wasn’t the only one. Near the end of the game, the camera caught a kid wearing an Avila Tiger jersey. Yeah, we remember you, dude.

It looks like Ausmus still has the top three sluggers in the same order. First Miquel Cabrera bats, followed by Victor Martinez, followed by J.D. Martinez. I have seen that order function very well in the past and I reckon it still functions well.

The Tigers are currently in second place. In order to catch up to Cleveland, the Tigers need to win more games than they lose, and hope Cleveland doesn’t win too many more. Cleveland is leading by four. It looks like a hard, unlikely feat, but just maybe the Tigers can do it.

Tonight’s game was a little tense. The White Sox were ahead for most of the game. but in the bottom of the eighth, Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a home run, scoring two runs for the Tigers. That put the Tigers ahead of the White Sox, finally.

The White Sox did not score in the ninth and the Tigers won, 4-3.

Thank you, Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Conflicting Writer Advice

I’m curious about why successful writers sometimes condemn the practices of other equally successful writers when giving advice to starving writers. It’s not like they’re saying, “This is what worked for me….” Often a successful writer will say something along the lines of “Do A, but don’t do B.” Meanwhile, another writer, who is every bit as successful as the first writer, will say “Do B, but don’t do A.”

What I wonder is, are these writers aware that they are giving conflicting advice? Are they aware that other writers have reached success by doing the exact opposite? I don’t think these writers are in some kind of argument with each other, I think they just don’t know what they’re saying. It would make more sense if they gave their advice in a “this is how I did it” manner, instead of “You must do this and you must not do that.”

My All-American (2015)

A1H6YuL6kRL__SY445_Ouch. This movie hit hard at the end. Last night my brother recommended My All-American. Tonight, I needed a break from playing Grand Theft Auto and decided to watch the movie. After watching this, I feel differently toward the Texas Longhorns. I’m not necessarily a Sooner fan, but I feel more in key with the Sooners, and,  well, the Longhorns are the Sooners’ top rival.

During the first half of the movie, it feels kind of like Rudy. Freddie Steinmark is shorter and lighter than your usual college football player,  but his dream comes true when Coach Royal of the Texas Longhorns recognizes his talent and offers him a full scholarship to attend the University of Texas.

Freddie soon becomes a starter and plays the safety on defense. His role on the team is a big part of the Longhorns’ successful season. After the last regular game–before the Cotton Bowl, Freddie learns that a limp he had during the last few regular games is not a football injury, but is instead a tumor.

It’s a bone cancer and the doctors have to remove his leg. Freddie does make it to the Cotton Bowl, to be with his team while they play, but he dies a year and a half later, on June 6, 1971. He was twenty-two years old.

To this day, the Longhorns continue to honor Freddie Steinmark. His memorial is in the stadium and the players touch his picture on their way out to the field.

Up, Do: Flash Fiction by Women Writers, Edited by Patricia Flaherty Pagan

51CV7P7FZzL__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Edited by Patricia Flaherty Pagan, Up, Do: Flash Fiction by Women Writers is, as the subtitle suggests, an anthology of short stories by women.

I thought all of these stories were very good, outstanding even. Not a single one of them was disappointing in any way. The stories were about a variety of different things and several of them really got to me emotionally.

So, yeah, this is an anthology I’d recommend.

Quantum Night, by Robert J. Sawyer

51dp9x2F0SL__SX329_BO1,204,203,200_“Holy shit, it’s Professor Marchuk! Run!”

Robert J. Sawyer‘s latest novel Quantum Night explores psychology and has me wondering if I’m a Q1, a Q2 or a Q3. Or maybe I’m sometimes one or another, depending on the time of the day and whether I’m wide awake or not. Right now I’m awfully tired and feel like I’m just going through the motions, much like a classical Q1 p-zed.

Jim Marchuk is a professor at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg who developed a procedure that determines whether someone is a psychopath or not. Because of this, he is asked to be an expert witness at a murderer’s trial in Georgia.

Jim travels to Georgia for the trial. Though he’s only there to explain his procedure, the prosecutor grills him about his past and he does not remember things that he should remember. When he returns to Canada, he discovers that he’s missing six months of his life.

Jim’s missing six months are the result of an experiment he took part in twenty years earlier. The experiment changed him from a fully conscious, thinking human being (Q3) to a mindless animation (Q1). Jim is determined to understand what had happened to him during those six months, and what had he done?

A good read and quite fun.

Counting Crows in Blues Traveler’s Run Around Video

Although it’s 3 in the morning and my eyes are pretty heavy, I still got a few beers left and I intend to make use of them before I crash for the night.

What’s the title of this thing all about, yo?

Well, you know, I love Blues Traveler. Remember Woodstock ’94? Yeah, me neither. I wasn’t there, of course. I think it aired live on HBO, but… I didn’t have HBO either. I remember that I really wanted to be at Woodstock ’94. Some of my favorite bands performed, but just like most other people, I didn’t have a ticket and I didn’t really have a way to get there either. It was just a pipe dream.

About a month or two after Woodstock ’94, my brother and I found a VHS tape at, I think, the Walmart in Lapeer. We bought it. It wasn’t the entire festival , but it showed one song from several bands. The third song on that VHS tape was Blues Traveler’s But Anyway.

That was the first time I ever heard Blues Traveler and I was blown away. I loved Bobby Sheehan’s deep basslines and I loved John Popper’s singing and harmonica playing. Since then I couldn’t get enough of Blues Traveler. They quickly became one of my favorite bands.

I saw the Run Around video for the first time on some late night TV show about music videos, when I was still a teenager. Aside from the song being great, one of the things about the video that fascinated me was the guy dancing on the stage.

The way that guy moved, danced, grabbed the microphone and sang, and played the harmonica, I thought that was really neat. If I was twenty years younger and performing Run Around in front of an audience, that’s how I’d want to do it.

So, why am I blogging about this video? That was twenty years ago, man. Who gives a shit, right? Well, my friend Kathy and I were just talking about it a few hours ago. It started with me pointing out that I think the guy dancing on the stage is the singer from Counting Crows.

It’s something that didn’t occur to me until about a year ago. See, I never really got into Counting Crows, although I had heard some of their songs and I “think” I saw them at the DTE Music Theater way back before I could purchase beer legally. I still have the same wallet I had when I was a teenager. Actually, I had this wallet since I was about nine years old. I might have a Counting Crows ticket stub in my wallet somewhere, but I don’t feel like digging through it right now.

I saw this video about a year ago.

I couldn’t help noticing that the singer in the Mr. Jones video was moving exactly like the guy in the Run Around video. And I just thought that was interesting.

When I told Kathy about that and showed her both videos, she decided to do some digging around. She found this article, which was published in the Los Angeles Times back in 1995.

The article says, “The main theme of this video is to make fun of the Counting Crows, something which I applaud. Without actually flashing the name Counting Crows, it pokes fun at this one-hit wonder of a band right down to the bad Van Morrison impression, rhythmless dancing and bar haircut of the lead singer, Adam Duritz.”

I was like, “Huh?” I mean, neat, I wasn’t the only one who noticed the guy in the Run Around video moved like Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz in the Mr. Jones video. But, “make fun of the Counting Crows” and “it pokes fun at this one-hit wonder of a band right down to the bad Van Morrison impression, rhythmless dancing and bar haircut of the lead singer, Adam Duritz”.

Um, really?

I sure as hell didn’t see the Run Around video as making fun of Counting Crows. As far as I’m concerned, the Blues Traveler video is respectful to Counting Crows. It makes Counting Crows look pretty awesome.

Really, you shouldn’t take people who write shit like that seriously. I’ve found time after time that I simply can’t trust people who write negative reviews. I review books and movies all the time, but I don’t write negative reviews. If I really don’t like something I read or watched, I won’t review it. This is because I don’t want to trash someone else’s work. Even if I don’t like the work, someone else might.

I was skeptical about that article from the Los Angeles Times and I decided to do some digging myself. And yep, it turned out that whoever wrote the LA Times article was blowing shit out of his ass, because I found this article on BluesTraveler.net, which contains quotes from an interview with John Popper:

Likewise, the band’s big 1995 hit, “Run-Around”, was sung with Counting Crows’ Adam Duritz’s style on the hit “Mr. Jones” in mind.

“I felt like I was ripping him off on that one, but I don’t think people really make that connection,” he says. “At the same time, though, I’ll hear Sister Hazel and say, ‘God, that guy was thinking of me when he did that.’ ”

“Everybody’s songs can be melded into everyone else’s. I love that tradition of not trying to rip each other off but still musically hear each other. I’ll rip off a Flintstones Chewable Vitamins ad if it’s got a good melody.”

Doesn’t sound like Blues Traveler was making fun of Counting Crows at all. John Popper felt like he was ripping off Counting Crows. I imagine both bands were cool about the whole thing and having fun with it. It’s like how people thought Ronnie Van Zant and Neil Young did not like each other, when in reality they were friends and loved each others’ music.

Okay, it’s 6:15 AM and I just finished my last beer. Good night.