I can’t imagine why they’d want to change the name

tom raper

 

Reminds me of Tobias Fünke on Arrested Development

Separated at birth

NCAA Final Four hero Tyus Jones and 60’s TV show character Eddie Munster

Commerce City, CO - October 6: USAB Head shots and team photo Eddie_Munster

Sports of all sorts

It’s Opening Day for baseball in Cincinnati, which is an unofficial civic holiday around here – a parade, kids playing hooky from school, day-drinking… and tonight is the NCAA men’s basketball finals. A feast for the sports fanatic.

The Cincinnati Reds are picked to finish last in their division this year, mainly because they fared poorly last year and lost two starters from that team via trade, while not really picking up much, other than Marlon Byrd to play left field. I think they’ll do better than the prognosticators say… or at least I hope so. There was an interesting article in the Cincinnati Enquirer recently about the diametrically opposite batting approaches favored by two of the Reds biggest stars, Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips. Joey is new school all the way, a Sabermetrics dream come true. He’d rather walk than swing at a bad pitch. Which is fine if the folks behind you in the lineup  have some pop, but that’s not the case for the Reds. I prefer the Brandon Phillips approach – if there’s a dude on 3rd with less than 2 outs, your job is to get him home… and a walk isn’t going to do that. So if you’re counting votes, put me down for Team Brandon.

Now on to hoops. Turns out Kentucky was beatable after all. Sorry Ashley Judd.

I know some college basketball fans wanted to see a perfect season, but I wasn’t one of them, mainly because of the insufferable better-than-thou attitude of many in Big Blue Nation. Halfway through the season, I was watching a UK game on TV and saw a UK fan in the stands wearing this shirt:

title-bound-royal-1_grande

That sort of hubris deserves a comeuppance, and that’s exactly what Frank the Tank and the Wisconsin Badgers delivered.  Now they just need to knock off Duke, or else we’ll have another set of insufferable fans to deal with.

duke

NPR… it’s not just for breakfast anymore

If you think National Public Radio is just a bunch of news anchors who speak in very calm, measured tones and talk shows about books or cooking, guess again.

tumblr_mw2psjpCC71skwwmyo1_500

NPR actually rocks. Their entire music section is fantastic. One of my favorite features is “First Listen” where you can preview albums in their entirety prior to their release date. Right now they’re streaming new releases from Dwight Yoakam, Calexico, The Mountain Goats, Waxahatchee, Wire, Jessie Baylin and Toro Y Moi. Take that, Pitchfork!

 

Egg on my face

Happy Easter! Here’s hoping your kids feel like these kids today:

Parents, just a few Easter Egg Hunt reminders…

1. Don’t hide hard-boiled eggs unless:

A. you really really would like egg salad for lunch for the next 3 weeks

B. you keep a map with the location of every egg. If not, it’s guaranteed that at least one egg will go undiscovered… and your house will stink to high heaven in a couple of weeks.

2. Be prepared to find that fake plastic Easter basket “grass” around your house until at least the 4th of July.

3. Using leftover Halloween candy in Easter baskets is unacceptable.

4. Coconut may help your cake look more like a bunny, but most kids won’t eat it.

5. Get the hollow chocolate bunnies unless you want to make an emergency visit to the dentist

choco_bunnies

 

My Italian cousin… not named Vinny

My mom died when I was three years old, so I don’t really remember her, no matter how desperately I try to conjure up any sort of memories or recollections.

40 some odd years later, I’m learning so much more about her thanks the the magic of the interweb. LinkedIn hasn’t helped me find my dream job (they never have postings for “be the next Harry Shearer”), but it did help me connect with one of my mom’s first cousins living in Italy. She has helped fill in so many blanks in my knowledge of my mom’s side of the family.

My mom’s parents immigrated to the US from Italy. Her mom (my maternal grandmother) died young. Her sister died as a child (I think she was 12). My mom died at 33, from leukemia. Trying to connect the dots when most of the relatives are deceased isn’t easy. But thanks to my cousin Evelina in Italy, I’ve:

  • learned what town my mom’s family came from. Montebelluna… it’s fun to say, go ahead, try it!
  • learned the names of dozens of relatives
  • learned the real name of my grandfather. I always knew him as “Louie” but his real name was Luigi…  640-luigi
  • seen (via Google Maps) the house where my great-grandfather and grandfather were born

Osellame house

  • seen photos of my mom’s relatives that I’d never seen before

Giovanni and Luigi - grandpa - Osellame Luigi mario osellame

  • Most importantly, seen photos of my mom that I’d never laid eyes on before.

Mom’s the youngest child in this photo

Mom’s on the lower left, with her brother Remo, Aunt Concetta, cousin Aldo, Uncle Guido and cousin Rosetta

 

Olga in winter

Evelina’s English isn’t that good, and I don’t speak any Italian, but we use Google Translate to communicate via email. So while the Internet may have cursed us with such time-wasters as Lolcats and Perez Hilton, it has also helped me fill in some missing pieces from my life, and for that I am eternally grateful. Grazie, Evelina!