Oscars For Dogs

The Oscars will be announced on March 4th. To get myself ready for the occasion, I have decided to choose my own Oscars for Dogs in film. Over the years, there have been many films (hundreds?) where dogs played a key role in their success. The nominees for awards here (as well as the winners) are chosen by me and may (or may not) be the same as your choices. But don’t worry, my opinions are completely subjective.

Nominees: Best Live Action Films About Dogs…

As Good As It Gets

Best in Show

Eight Below

The Artist

White Fang

 

Nominees: Best Animated Films About Dogs…

Frankenweenie

Lady and The Tramp

The Secret Life of Pets

Up

101 Dalmations

 

BestInShow

And my Oscar Goes To: Best Live Action Film: Best In Show. (see above) This was a surprise choice. It is a fine, humorous film but many complaints were heard. The most frequent was: “Too much of the story was about humans.”

 

UP

And my Oscar goes to: Best Animated Film: Up. (see above) A fine cast brought this humorous, and at times poignant, film alive. Special mention must be given to “Dug, the dog” in a supporting role.

 

8below;Maya4L

An Oscar also goes to: Best Actor in Live Action film: Maya, from Eight Below. (see above, 4th from left) She was the Alpha dog in the film. As the pack’s leader, she led them on their adventure when the dogs were left behind by the team of humans.

 

Sparky

An Oscar also goes to: Best Actor in an Animated Film: Sparky, from Frankenweenie. (see above) He showed great range as the hero of this story. We saw 2 versions of him: BD (before death) and AD (after death). His performance was extraordinary in both conditions.

 

Rowlf

A Special Oscar also goes to: Rowlf. Although not in a film recently, his numerous previous efforts (eg, as part of The Muppets on television and in films) deserve this recognition. His next adventure is eagerly awaited. Most critics leave each of his performances with their mouth open –just as Rowlf does. There can be no finer compliment.

What winners would you choose in these categories?

 

 

 

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Sports’ Halls of Fame

HOFs

Recently, baseball announced its 2018 Hall of Fame inductees: Vladimir Guerrero, Chipper Jones, Trevor Hoffman, Jim Thome, Jack Morris, Alan Trammell. However, the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum –while perhaps the most famous Hall of Fame—is not the only sports Hall of Fame within the United States. Perhaps your second favorite sport also has a Hall of its own. Here is a partial list of other such Halls.

America’s Cup Hall of Fame

American Indian Athletic HOF

Auto Racing HOF

Archery HOF

 

Badminton HOF

(U. S.) Ballooning HOF

Bay Area Sports HOF

(Pro) Basketball HOF

Billiard Congress of America HOF

Boxing HOF

Bull Riding HOF

 

California Sports HOF (and many other states, too)

College Football HOF

Cricket HOF

Cycling HOF

 

Fictitious Athlete HOF

Figure Skating HOF

 

Golf HOF

 

Ice Hockey HOF

International Bowling HOF

International Frisbee HOF

International Gymnastics HOF

International Scuba Diving HOF

International Swimming HOF

International Tennis HOF

International Volleyball HOF

 

Mascot HOF

 

Naismith Memorial (College) Basketball HOF

NASCAR HOF

National Cowgirl HOF

National Distance Running HOF

National Fresh Water Fishing HOF

National Lacrosse HOF

National Midget Auto Racing HOF

National Soccer HOF

National Sprint HOF

National Track and Field HOF

National Wrestling HOF

 

(Museum of) Polo and HOF

Pro Football HOF

 

Roller Derby HOF

Rowing HOF

 

(National) Sailing HOF

Skiing HOF

Skateboarding HOF

Softball HOF

 

Tennis HOF

Texas Rodeo Cowboy HOF

Thoroughbred Racing HOF

 

United States Soccer HOF

United States Show Jumping HOF

 

USA Field Hockey HOF

USA Water Polo HOF

 

Valley Preferred Cycling Center

 

Women’s Basketball HOF

World Kite HOF

 

 

Did I miss one of your favorite sports HOF? (Sorry.) Let me know which one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spring (Training) Arrives

SAtop

This Winter has been particularly cold in Philadelphia. Freezing (32 degrees) has been an been an unreached goal many days –eg, today. Many years ago, in a weather spell like this one, my brother and I decided we had had enough of Winter. Rather than rely on Punxsutawney Phil to tell us how long Winter would last, we took matters This Winter has been particularly cold in Philadelphia. Freezing (32 degrees) has into our own hands. Since we both loved baseball, we decided to declare (for us, if no one else) that Spring will begin annually when pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training. For those of you who don’t already know, the Mets and Pirates will start the special occasion on February 12 in 2018, even though Phil has “said” that is about 4 weeks too early.

In anticipation of my Spring, I purchased a MLB preview magazine on Thursday, February 1. At present, I am going through its 224 pages and preparing myself for my arbitrary Spring discussions of “the National Pastime.” (Yes, I know you could present an argument for football and basketball being the National Pastime, but when it comes to baseball, I’m old school.)

Such magazines all cover the same ground. You can find the players’ stats from the previous year, the ratings of players at each position (to help you stock your Rotisserie League team), evaluations and predictions for every team, and at least a dozen other baseball articles to generate interest in the approaching season. This year, topics included: “Whatever happened to baseball cards,” “Fifteen things to watch” (eg, how will Derek Jeter do as a team owner), and “Will the Astros repeat” (as MLB champions)? No team has done so since the 1999-2000 Yankees.

Now the tough part. Without boring you to tears (I’m talking to the baseball lovers reading this—both of you), here are a dozen topics I’ll be following this season. First: everyone will be watching Shohei Ohtani and asking: Is he the next Babe Ruth? Really? Who started that rumor? Supposedly, the Angels will use him in a 6-man pitching rotation and on (how many?) off days use him as a DH. OK; how about 10 wins, a .300 batting average, and 15 homers? Too much/little to expect?

Madison Bumgarner. Three months away due to a dirt bike injury ruined his (and the Giants’) season. How much can he rebound from a 4 and 9 season? Is 15 wins, 200 IP, and 200+ strikeouts realistic?

Miguel Cabrera. I don’t want to think such a great hitter has bottomed out. If his injuries have healed, I hope this 2-time MVP and 4-time batting champ can continue his march to 3,000 hits…and Cooperstown.

Mike Trout. This year, with 2 good thumbs, I’m looking forward to his playing 150+ games and reminding fans this is as close to Willie Mays as anyone can come. Fingers crossed.

Jake Arrieta. Where will he sign and how will he pitch? Is 18 wins, 200 IP, with 200 strikeouts too much to expect. At 32, I don’t think so.

Marcell Ozuna. Coming off his best season, he gives the Cardinals the offensive punch they need (.312, 37 HRs). Will he be enough to get the Cards back to the playoffs? (Yes.)

What is the over/under in home runs for Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge? 60, not enough; 80, minimum expected; 100, what the Yankees are counting on. Why not? They had 111 in 2017.

Who is better: Clayton Kershaw or Max Scherzer? If Kershaw’s back lets him, he’ll get 30 starts and 200 IP, and the wins and strikeouts will follow. If not, Scherzer will get a 4th Cy Young first.

Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor. Both in their early 20s, and the best 2 shortstops in the game. Lindor found HR power last year; Correa already had it. Flip a coin on who is better: you can’t go wrong.

Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt. Who is next NL MVP? They were 4th and 3rd in 2017. Arenado: has averaged 41 HR and 131 RBI for last 3 years, and hit .309 last year. Goldschmidt averaged 31 HRs, 100+ RBI, and .299 last 3 years. Have 5 Gold Gloves between them. If they were in NYC…I’m just sayin’.

Mets’ Pitching staff. Remember when the Mets’ pitching staff scared the NL.  Last year, the Mets used 29 pitchers, tied for their most ever.  deGrom had a great year (201 IP with 239 K, 15 wins). But Syndergaard, Matz, and Wheeler had 37 games between them (injuries).  Harvey’s ERA was 6.70 –worst ever by a Mets’ starter. Ouch. The future is ……

Teams in the Playoffs: NL = Nationals, Cubs, Cardinals, Giants, Dodgers. AL = Astros, Angels, Yankees, Red Sox, Indians. World Series: Dodgers v. Indians. Winner: Indians. I like Terry Francona.

And, finally: I’ve been a Phillies fan since 1950. (That’s not a misprint.) Times have not been good. Three 90+ loss seasons in a row. And 89 losses in the 2 years before that. Good news: The Phils have enough major leaguers to create a line up. Bad news: they have one good starter (Aaron Nola). He led the team in wins and losses (12 – 11). Most major pitching prospects have spent time in the majors –with mixed results at best. In 2017, Rhys Hoskins, in 50 games hit 18 home runs. Will that project to 150 games and 54 homers in 2018. Not likely. Still too early to buy World Series tickets.

What story lines will you be following this season?

 

Berraend 

 

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Winter Olympics

I look forward to watching the Olympics, Summer or Winter. I wonder how many people feel the same way? No doubt NBC, who broadcasts them, hopes their ratings will be excellent. The 2018 Winter Olympics will take place from February 8 to 25. There will be 102 events in 15 sports, from Alpine Skiing to Luge, plus Figure and Speed Skating, not to mention Curling and Skeleton. Oh, and there will be Ice Hockey. (Not to be confused with Boxing-on-Skates which occurs in the NHL.) For me, the Olympics are a source of entertainment, amazement (Are people really going to ski cross country how many miles?), and appreciation of human athletic achievement.

To help you prepare for the Olympics’ arrival, here are some highlights I remember enjoying from previous Winter Olympics. How many do you remember? And what new memories will be created for us this year?

 

Killy

Jean-Claude Killy; 1968; Alpine skiing; He entered 3 events: Downhill, Slalom, Giant Slalom and earned Gold in all of them.

 

Fleming

Peggy Fleming; 1968; Won Gold in Ladies Figure Skating; It was the only Gold medal the United States won at 1968’s Olympics. The country’s entire Figure Skating Team had been killed in an airplane crash in 1961.

 

Heiden-young

 

Heiden-old

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eric Heiden; 1980; Speed Skating; He entered 5 events: 500, 1,000, 1,500, 5,000, and 10,000 meters …winning them all; He won more Gold medals than all but 2 nations; In 1991, he completed his education as a Doctor.

 

T = D

Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean; 1984; Ice Dancing; In their long program, they skated to Ravel’s Bolero; Their scores were the highest figure skating marks of all-time, including 12 perfect 6.0s.

 

Blair

Bonnie Blair; Speed Skating; She competed in 4 Olympics for the United States; 1984, 1988 (winning Gold and Bronze medals), 1992 (winning Gold medals in 500 and 1,000 meters), and 1994 (winning Gold medals in 500 and 1,000 meters again); She became the first American woman to win 5 Gold medals.  

 

 

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Every Day Is Special

Holiday1

“Every day is special.” Has anyone ever said that to you? Here is a website that tells you EXACTLY why every day is special. www.nationaldaycalendar.com I’m giving this information to you well in advance so you can be prepared for: National Multiple Personality Day, National Potato Chip Day, National Everything You Do Is Right Day, and 28 more occasions to celebrate.

cereal2

March 1: National Fruit Compote Day (AKA Eat More Grapefruit Day); March 2: National Old Stuff Day; March 3: National I Want You To Be Happy Day; March 4: Marching Music Day (remember John Philip Sousa?); March 5: Multiple Personality Day; March 6: National Dentist’s Day; March 7: National Cereal Day; March 8: National Proofreading Day; March 9: National Get Over It Day (tip your hat to The Eagles); 10: National Pack Your Lunch Day (Ray Bruckno –a classmate—had a bologna sandwich everyday in high school); March 11: National Worship of Tools Day;

laughs3

March 12: National Napping Day; March 13: National Open An Umbrella Indoors Day; March 14: National Potato Chip Day (Ever try them with, not on, pizza?); March 15: National Kick Butts Day; March 16: National Everything You Do Is Right Day (Finally!); March 17: National Corn Dog Day; March 18: National Awkward Moments Day; March 19: National Let’s Laugh Day (Laugh at yourself first, before anyone else can –Elsa Maxwell); March 20: National Proposal Day; March 21: National French Bread Day;

puppies4

March 22: Goof Off Day (IMO, a future National Holiday); March 23: National Puppy Day (Luna will expect a gift on this day); March 24: National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day; March 25: National Medal of Honor Day; March 26: National Spinach Day; March 27: National Joe Day (eg, DiMaggio, Pesci, Walsh); March 28: National Something on a Stick Day; March 29: National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day; March 30: National Pencil Day (and National Crayon Day is on the 31st); March 31: National Bunsen Burner Day.

 

Enjoy the Holidays!

 

 

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Casablanca’s 75th Anniversary

MovieAd

According to the AFI (ie, American Film Institute), “Casablanca” is the 2nd best film ever made. (See its list of The 100 Best Films of All-Time.) Roger Ebert was quoted as saying he thought it never got a bad review. The film’s 75th Anniversary recently occurred and it’s popularity remains. Why?

The film was completed in 1942. After an opening in NYC, it was put into wide release in January 1943. It was eligible for Academy Awards in 1944. It was nominated for 8 and won 3 (Best Film, Best Director, best screenplay). It was a combination of suspense and romance, with a bit of comedy.

4Actors

Its 4 stars were in top form. Humphrey Bogart was in 1941’s The Maltese Falcon. Ingrid Bergman had 4 Oscars to come and in 1941 starred with Spencer Tracy in “Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde.” Paul Henreid, also in 1942, appeared in “Now Voyager”, lighting a cigarette for Bette Davis –and many movie goers imitated him. Claude Rains was nominated for an Oscar for his 1940 appearance in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” (He was the bad guy to Jimmy Stewart’s good guy.)

You had the script and actors. Plus the United States had entered the North African campaign and many immigrants in the film (eg, the singers in the France v. Germany National Anthems scene) had real tears in their eyes. For them, it was not acting. And you had Dooley Wilson playing “As Time Goes By” for Bergman (“Play it once, Sam. For old times’ sake.”) and, later, for Bogart (“You played it for her, you can play it for me! Sam: “I don’t think I can remember.” Bogart: “If she can stand it, I can! Play it!”) What else do you need?

How about a conversation between the 2 men competing for Bergman’s heart? “Henreid: You ran guns to Ethiopia. You fought against the fascists in Spain.” “Bogart: What of it?” “H: Isn’t it strange you always happen to be fighting on the side of the underdog?” “B: Yes. I found that a very expensive hobby, too. But then I never was much of a businessman.” “H: Are you enough of a businessman to appreciate an offer (ie, bribe) of 100,000 francs?” “B: I appreciate it, but I don’t accept it.”

How about when Bergman asks Bogart if he remembered the last day they were together, when the Germans entered Paris? Bogart: “I remember every detail. The Germans wore gray, you wore blue.”

How about Rains’ officer trying to figure out how Bogart’s bar owner got to Casablanca? “Rains: What in heaven’s name brought you to Casablanca?” “Bogart: My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.” “Rains: The waters? What waters? We’re in the desert.” “Bogart: I was misinformed.”

Here are 3 stills and the dialog that goes with each. Remember them?

GinJoints

LookingYou

Louie

Still wonder why the film is so popular?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wit and Wisdom

Here are a couple dozen bits of Wit and/or Wisdom. I know where about half of them came from and the other half could be from T-shirts. What appeals to you?

 

TrevorNoah

Humor is the anesthetic of the mind. (Trevor Noah)

There are only two seasons: Winter and Baseball. (Bill Veeck)

Love is how excited your dog gets when you come home.

If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention. (Ramsey Bolton, Game of Thrones)

I saw people through the window today. That’s enough social interaction.

The key to an 81 year marriage: “I always let him have my way.”

I tremble for my country when I realize God is just. (Thomas Jefferson)

Some people don’t only have issues; they have whole subscriptions.

Sorry I’m late. I didn’t want to come.

Swing hard in case you hit it. (baseball advice)

If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention. (Time magazine)

I don’t care who dies in a movie, as long as the dog lives.

Women are only good for two things: bringing Life into the world, and making it worthwhile. (old TV show: Have Gun, Will Travel)

Humor always has a grain of truth. It may be the size of a grain of sand or a boulder.

 

LadyGaga

I may not be flawless, but you know I have a diamond heart. (Lady Gaga)

It’s always darkest just before everything turns black. (Mark Shields)

I can’t make everyone happy. I’m not bacon.

Instead of “Have a Nice Day” I think I’ll start saying “Have the Day You Deserve.” You know, let Karma sort that out.

A crisis is never a crisis until it’s validated by a disaster. (Rev. William Sloane Coffin)

As someone said: If you can remember all of the 1960s, you weren’t there.

A well paid slave is still a slave. (Curt Flood)

When you grow up in Texas, you’re taught you’re a little bit bigger, a little bit better, a little bit tougher, and a little bit smarter than anybody else. It was rough on me when I got out in the world and found out I wasn’t. (Waylon Jennings)

Just because an idea is crazy doesn’t mean it’s wrong. (Voyager scientist)

Perhaps they are not Stars in the sky, but rather openings where our Loved Ones shine down to let us know They are happy.

 

 

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