America's game

I have been a Detroit Tigers fan my whole life. I was 12 when they won the World Series in 1984. I memorized the roster, which included classy shortstop Alan Trammell and Chet "The Jet" Lemon, the center-fielder. I loved the personalities on the team, from quiet second baseman Lou Whitaker to raucous right-fielder Kirk Gibson. But when pitching ace Jack Morris signed with Minnesota in 1991, I was sucker-punched with the concept of "baseball as a business." And the major league baseball strike in 1994 left me down for the count.

But in the past few years, I've fallen in love with baseball again. I find myself driving down the road, tuned to Moose Country 106.7, listening to Milwaukee Brewers radio broadcasts. There is something quintessentially summer and American about baseball. The pace of the game is fairly slow, which I find therapeutic in these days of social networking and instant information. I relax as I listen to the even-keel color commentary. Baseball on the radio is nostalgic in that it recalls seemingly simpler days. I have no trouble imagining an old farmer in overalls sitting on a worn porch smoking a pipe and listening to a baseball game after a long day in the sun.

But since I'm not usually driving in the car for hours at a time, I confess that I am glad for ESPN's GameCast and the up-to-the-minute scores and standings. Technology does have some advantages. :)


Is anyone with me on this?

Confession time: I hate John Tesh's radio show. It bothers me that he uses the phrase "intelligence for life." It's not like he's advancing new theories or producing great works of literature! Most of what he shares is trivia or common sense.

Want to know what put me over the edge? About two months ago, I heard him talk about great tips to getting job interviews. The first one was to proofread your resume because typos turn employers away. Really? You think?


Cold War fiction

Growing up in the 70s and 80s when the cold war and arms race was in full steam, I remember being frightened about the idea that America could be threatened by communist Russia. I've always been fascinated by Russian history during the twentieth century. So much changed for Russian people during those 100 years. One of my favorite fiction books ever is Gorky Park, by Martin Cruz Smith. Published in 1981 (and set in the same time period), Gorky Park's protagonist is the homicide detective Arkady Renko.

I recently discovered another author who writes compelling fiction set in Russia. If you like Martin Cruz Smith, read Tom Rob Smith's two books Child 44 and his newest, The Secret Speech. Smith's books are set in the 1950s, during the shaky political times before and after Stalin's death. The main character named Leo Demidov is a flawed MGB agent. Readers get good feel for the social climate of those times, wrapped in a good thriller story.


It was a barn-burner, folks

The high scoring softball game last week may have been a flash-in-the-pan. This week, with the wind blowing in, hits were hard to come by. The Tiefel Tigers ended up winning 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh, on a hit to right field by Elizabeth. Jer sped around the bases and scored to put an end to the tension.

We have a rematch against the same team next week. I have a feeling that they will be looking for revenge.


Coming soon...

It's official. I'm starting my own business. (You probably guessed that I was leaning in this direction if you read this.) It's been a busy couple weeks for me: trying to come up with a business name, writing a business plan, cleaning and organizing my office, and working on my website.

My business will focus on writing and usability. I'm very excited! More information to come...


Triple scoop of sports news

Sports fans: Sorry for my lapse in reporting!

June 24: The Tiefel Tigers played a tight game, all the way to last inning. We lost the game 10-3, but it felt like it was closer than that.

July 1: Despite the cool weather, we won our game 15-7.

July 8: The team we played tonight had only lost one game and we'd just about given up before the game began since we were missing Mark (power) and Jer (speed). We ended up scoring six runs at the bottom of the seventh inning to win the game, 25-24. It was crazy.

Only two games left in the season...


Little buddy

My six-year-old nephew Isaiah stayed with me this past week. We had a good time: biking to Grandma's house, making rice krispie treats and crafts, and going to the movies to see Ice-Age 3 (in 3D).

I introduced him to one of my favorite things: Star Wars. Isaiah and I watched the original trilogy this week. Watching a little boy's reaction to seeing the classic movies for the first time reminds me how great they really are...not just as pop culture references or ground-breaking cinematography.

Isaiah peppered me with questions about plot and character. "Aunt Jill, what kind of spaceship does Luke have?" "Are lightsavers warm?" "Why is the emporer so mean?" His favorite character is Luke Skywalker, followed closely by Yoda. He's disturbed that Darth Vader breathes with a mask. He calls C3PO "that golden guy" and has taken to walking around with his knees locked. We take turns reading during the opening titles. Isaiah's line is "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..." and then it's my turn. The more dramatic the recitation, the better. :)

It was a nice (and lively) way to spend my week.