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Monthly Archives: December 2009

What a decade it’s been

The 2000’s was the decade in which I became an adult. There are some who might disagree with that statement, of course. Hahaha.

A quick timeline of my decade, more or less…

Mid-1999…Got my first real job and I’ve been there ever since.

Late 1999-Aug. 2003…Resided in nice, little, one-bedroom apartment on Des Moines’ northeast side.

June 2000, June 2001, June 2002…Saw my Lakers win back-to-back-to-back NBA championships.

June 2001…Made my first trip to Los Angeles, the coolest city in the world. Saw two games at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers winning both. Hung out with my brother Tom, who drove up in Phoenix.

Aug. 2003-Dec. 2003…Resided in Urbandale house with my best buddy Al. Enjoyed the phenomenal run of Dodgers closer Eric Gagne (MLB-record 84 consecutive saves).

Dec. 26, 2003…Met Jill, the girl who would eventually become my wife, at an Irish pub. 🙂

Summer 2004…Another trip to Los Angeles, this time with Al. Saw two games at Dodger Stadium, and one game at Petco Park in San Diego. In October, I enjoyed the Dodgers’ first postseason appearance since 1996.

Dec. 2004-Feb. 2005…Got engaged, moved out of Al’s Urbandale house, lived briefly in Beaverdale.

Feb. 2005…Moved into Ankeny townhouse. Joined the ranks of management.

Sept. 3, 2005…Married Jill in her hometown of Westphalia, Iowa.

Aug. 2006 … Traveled to Mexico for my best buddy Al’s wedding.

Oct. 2006…Enjoyed the Dodgers’ second postseason appearance of the decade.

July 2007…Jill and I attended three games at Dodger Stadium. Moved into our current house in northwest Ankeny. We like it here and have good neighbors.

Spring Training 2008…Jill and I visited Vero Beach, Fla., aka Dodgertown. Talked to Larry King, Pat Sajak, Tom Lasorda, Charley Steiner, among others. We also went to Disney World in Orlando.

Sept. 26, 2008…Witnessed the birth of my best little friend, Maisa Clare Kramer.

Oct. 2008…Enjoyed the Dodgers’ third postseason berth of the decade. And the team’s first postseason series victory in 20 years.

2009…Got a kick out of each little milestone Maisa reached. Spent lots of quality time with my little girl. Labored through a difficult year of illnesses and tragedy. Enjoyed the Dodgers’ wonderful season filled with walk-off wins and youthful excellence. Greatly appreciated the sweep against the Cardinals in the NLDS. Watched with satisfaction as the Lakers notched their 14th NBA title.

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Cyclones in Insight Bowl today

The Iowa State football team will try to win the Insight Bowl today in Tempe, Ariz. Minnesota is the opponent.

My brother Tom, an Arizona resident and a casual sports fan, thought it was odd when he saw that both teams were 6-6. To paraphrase Tom: “I thought bowl teams were supposed to have good records.”

A lot of folks are thinking the same thing. But that’s how it goes these days. There are so many bowls that some pretty mediocre teams earn bids.

At any rate, good luck to the Cyclones. A win today gives them a winning record for 2009 — and that’s always an accomplishment for a team that plays in the strong Big 12.

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Today’s trivia, compliments of my good friend Randy: Which pitcher hurled the most 1-0 shutout victories?

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Do you like reading about music?

My friend Dave is a huge music buff, and he recently started a blog. You should check it out — he does a great job with it and gets tons of traffic.

The link is http://theirbatedbreath.wordpress.com/

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My pal Mark was giving me a hard time yesterday about my “bandwagon” teams — USC football, UCLA basketball and the Kansas City Chiefs.

All three teams have fallen on hard times since I became a “fan” a few years ago.” Apparently I have the kiss of death or something.

Thankfully, the two teams I’ve always loved — the Dodgers and the Lakers — are doing just fine.

And, I might add, the USC football team won its bowl game Saturday to finish a respectable 9-4.

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Today’s trivia answer: Walter Johnson, aka The Big Train, pitched a 1-0 shutout 38 times in his career.

Pitchers with the most 1-0 victories, according to sportswriter Joe Posnanski’s research …

Walter Johnson: 38
Pete Alexander: 17
Bert Blyleven: 15
Christy Mathewson: 14
Cy Young: 13
Eddie Plank: 13
Doc White: 13
Ed Walsh: 13
Dean Chance: 13
San Coveleski: 12
Gaylord Perry: 12
Steve Carlton: 12
Fergie Jenkins: 11
Greg Maddux: 11
Nolan Ryan: 11
Sandy Koufax: 10

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Lakers pounded by Suns

Phoenix easily handled the Lakers on Monday night, winning 118-103.

Los Angeles is scuffling, to say the least. The team has lost two of its last three, and needed two overtimes to win at Sacramento.

Tonight the Lakers face Golden State at home. They need a big, bounce-back win.

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Losing is OK in the NFL

Reason No. 314 that Major League Baseball is better than the National Football League: Baseball teams don’t lose important games on purpose.

The Indianapolis Colts, assured of home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, took all of their good players out of Sunday’s game in the third quarter. Leading at the time, the Colts went on to lose to the Jets.

Noooooo problem, Colts management said. Nooooo big deal. We’re perfectly happy with what happened in that game.

I wonder how the 60,000 fans who bought tickets for the game feel about an intentional loss. I’m guessing they have a slightly different view on the matter.

Or how about the AFC playoff contenders hoping to see the Jets lose that game? New York is 8-7 now, and would earn a playoff spot if the season ended today.

There’s an unwritten rule in baseball: If there’s something on the line for either team, you play to win that game. And there have been very few examples over the years of managers failing to follow that rule. 

But, of course, football is a different animal. Injuries are such a major part of the game, that teams can’t afford to play their best guys in games that mean nothing to their own team. If other teams could gain by a Jets loss, well, that’s too bad.

Makes me glad that I’m not an NFL fan.

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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Walk your butt to the can

Today’s USA Today had a chart showing where all the litter in this country comes from.

You won’t believe this, but 38 percent of our litter is tobacco products. Can you imagine? Thirty-eight percent!

That is a stunning statistic. Why can’t smokers properly dispose of their used filters? I don’t understand what’s so hard about that.

A guy I work with says, “If smokers can drop their cigarettes on the sidewalk, why can’t I drop my empty pop can on the sidewalk?” It’s a legitimate question.

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While I’m in a ranting mood, let me suggest one way the City of Des Moines can trim some bucks from its 2010 budget.

Stop scaring off the crows.

Every night during the winter months, city employees fire loud “blanks” into the sky in an effort to move crows out of the downtown area. (The crows congregate downtown because of the warmth provided by the tall buildings).

Seriously, is this necessary? Give it up, already. The crows will go where they want to go, whether or not we’re firing firecrackers into the sky.

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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A different kind of Christmas

Just once, I’d love to see every American skip Christmas gifts — and then take that money they would have used for gifts and give it to charity.

It’ll never happen, I know. But imagine what a difference it would make!

Shoot, almost everyone I know could survive without Christmas gifts. We Americans (most of us, anyway) are blessed with so much. Meanwhile, so many people in this world have nothing.

I saw a piece on the news last week about a cancer-stricken child who organized a toy collection for poor kids. What a wonderful example that child set for the rest of us. I wish I had one-tenth of the generosity and thoughtfulness possessed by that kid.

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

A different time and place

If you could step into a time machine, where would you go?

Just as important: When would you go?

I love asking people those questions. I think it’s fascinating to think about visiting other times/places.

There are two eras/settings that I’d love to visit…

  1. New York City in the 1940s and 1950s. This era has been romanticized to the Nth degree in literature over the years, and who knows how much it’s been exaggerated? Still, this must have been a wonderful time/place to be a kid growing up. Playing stickball in the streets, three great baseball teams in the city, so many different ethnic groups living happily together. There’s a song called “Before the Giants Moved to Frisco” that does a nice job of describing it all. Click here to listen to the song.
  2. Los Angeles from 1920-1950. I’d love to see what Los Angeles was like before all the traffic, congestion, high cost of living and air pollution. When people moved there in the early 20th century, they must have thought they had truly found paradise. And I’d like to see what the town was like before Hollywood became, well, Hollywood. It’s so commercialized now, so public because of the paparazzi. The town was more special and more magical in the days of Cary Grant, Liz Taylor, Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean.

How about you? Where would you like to go if you could change your location and time?

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

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