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1

I'm Pulling For RGIII, But Not Because He's A Football Player

 

 

I have read with interest the news of Robert Griffin III signing with the Baltimore Ravens, because regardless of his missteps both on and off the field over the years, I like the guy.

His time with the Redskins were both amazing and frustrating, as he may end up being the most polarizing athlete to ever play in D.C. To fans that liked him, he could do no wrong; any other player who took playing time from RGIII – mainly Kirk Cousins – they gave zero credit to.

Perhaps it’s just the way things are in the current electronic village known as social media, but when there was the battle of Sam or Sonny for Redskins QB in the 70s, you liked one or the other; you were not required to like one and absolutely hate the other. But that was RGIII vs. KC in Washington.

I have always been in the camp of liking whoever makes plays and wins games, so I liked RGIII in 2012, and liked Cousins in subsequent years. But my reasons for really liking the Ravens giving Griffin a chance has nothing to do with either of those occurrences.

It has more to do with a warm October Friday night here in Ashburn (there's a fantastic picture of that evening above the headline by Marianne Thiede). Broad Run was playing a high school football game, and there was an event going on for breast cancer awareness called “Pink’d.” Griffin’s popularity was soaring, so students at Broad Run tweeted at him heavily asking that he make the short drive from Redskins Park over to Ashburn Road for the event. They even had a “Pink’d” T-shirt ready and waiting for him.

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4

If Nats Aren't Careful, Spanky May Not Be In Our Gang For Long

I can’t help but watch Adam Eaton the first seven games this season and think “if the Nationals aren’t careful, we’re not going to have Spanky in our gang much longer.”

Eaton has started the season like a house on fire, and I get it. He wants to play every game, every inning, take every chance and do all the things he didn’t get to do last season. After major knee surgery, he had to sit and watch last year, and this year he’s going to make up for lost time.

But somebody has to stop him.

If you’ve ever had the type of knee surgery Eaton has had (I have), you work hard in rehab, you lift weights, you walk, you run and you get to the point where you can play sports. Your knee is structurally fine. But only a year later, it still hurts. You still occasionally limp. Midway through the second year, it finally feels normal, but for now,  you learn to deal with it, all the while telling everybody your knee couldn’t be better.

You can see this in Eaton. He’s getting big hits and running the bases, but late in games he’s favoring his good knee. He’s trying not to think about it, but I don’t see how you can avoid it. And this is where your manager needs to save you.

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0

Eating Some Of These Sandwiches WILL Make You A Po' Boy

While waiting for the Nationals’ home opener to start, I found myself browsing through Twitter, reading of everyone’s experiences in the cold downtown near the Navy Yard. Over about a 10-minute timespan, the pics you see at the top were posted, and you couldn’t help but notice the contrast.

On the left are pics posted by The Washington Post’s Scott Allen, whose assignment today was to go around and sample all the new foods, with no worry of their cost. Today, it was good to be Scott Allen. But Scott, while giving his reviews of the culinary offerings, also posted signs that showed the prices. Scott posted another pic of his meal of a Nashville hot chicken sandwich and some mac and cheese, and while I’m sure it was wonderful, it looked no different than what I could get at Chick-Fil-A.

According to my math, Scott paid $22 for those two items. Usually when I spend that much for an entrée’ at lunch, they bring a steak knife and serve it with dishes like potatoes lyonnaise. Dire Straights must have been thinking about this meal when they sang, "Money for nothing and the (Nashville Hot) Chicken ain't free"...or something like that.

While these pics were coming over Twitter, the pic at right from Augusta National was posted. There is no more exclusive ticket on the planet than going to see The Masters. They could literally charge whatever they wanted and people would pay it. But they don’t. The make a fair profit and leave it at that. Just like when you would go anywhere in the South, a sandwich is 3 bucks. A drink is 2 bucks, etc., etc.

I get the whole paying more for convenience factor at sporting events. But there should be a limit of just how much of a premium you charge before it’s crossing the line. A soft drink should be $2. A hot dog should be $4. Charge all you want for the gourmet, free-range, organic, gently massaged chicken used in a specialty sandwich, but be realistic with the concession stand staples that are part of the ball park experience.

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1

Just When I Thought I Wouldn't Be Needing A Snowblower...

Yesterday, I finally fixed my snowblower, which had choked on a large edition of a Washington Post I had accidentally run over two weeks previously. I jokingly said I needed it to snow one more time to see if I really had repaired everything.

Then I looked at The Weather Channel app this morning. And they did not seem to get the joke.

Their forecast (as you see above) says the high on Saturday will be 36, the low will be 26, and that there is a 100 percent chance of snow. No hedging, no small crack of escapability in the forecast, 100 percent. Dead. Sold. Certain.

How much? The Weather Channel is saying 5 to 8 inches. Not flurries, not the usual spring slushy mess that is over before it begins. Five to 8 inches. A real storm. And that evening, it’s like an infomercial on a cable channel late at night: Wait, there’s more! The chance drops to 50 percent, but it’s for an additional 1 to 3 inches.

So if my math is correct, The Weather Channel is saying we could have 6 to 11 inches of snow on the ground by Sunday morning. Which is the 7th day of April. This would break all records for snowfall in the month of April in Ashburn, Northern Virginia, and probably most of the Eastern United States.

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0

Yes Tim, I Know They Play 162, But Still....

I’ve slept on it, but this morning I have the same feeling.

Last night’s Nationals game kind of annoyed me.

It’s not that they lost to the Braves – the team was going to eventually lose some time – but it was the cavalier way they sort of gave it away. There were moves that could have been made that might have turned what ended up being a lost cause into something salvageable. But new manager Dave Martinez just sort of went with the flow. Which is the part that annoys me.

You can’t really blame starting pitcher A.J. Cole. He is what he is – a serviceable, at best average pitcher who at times can give you a couple of really good innings. But the Nationals keep believing if they keep sending him out as a starter, maybe one more chance is going to make a difference. As the noted philosopher Harry Callahan once stated, “a man’s got to know his limitations.”

His manager needs to know those limitations too. When someone told Oilers Coach Bum Phillips that his prized running back Earl Campbell couldn’t even finish running a mile, Phillips replied “when it’s first and a mile, I won’t give it to him.” Last night it was first and a mile, and Martinez still kept giving Cole the ball.

It’s only one game, and I have a dear friend named Tim who for 40 years has reminded me “they play 162” whenever I complain about a baseball team. He also says that when you say “good morning” or “you want a hot dog?” but you get the idea. Each game is just a small part of an entire season.

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0

So Close, But So Far In Finally Being On A Jury...

For all of my 61 years, I’ve wanted to be on a jury. And probably half a dozen times, I’ve gotten something in the mail while living in three different cities, called the number they ask you to check the night before, and been told my services were not needed.

Last night, I got another chance. This wasn’t necessarily the night you wanted to be a winner because the NCAA Championship game was going to be on until after midnight, meaning getting up early to go to a courthouse the next morning would not be ideal. But when I called the phone number printed on the jury duty summons, they said Groups 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 AND 8 would need to show up. Numbers 9 through infinity could stay home.

Mine was No. 8.

Let me first say if you’ve reached the stage of life where you’ve retired (like I did two months ago) and you get used to getting up when you want to and easing into the day, that alarm going off at 5:50 AM is a bit of a jolt. I left the house at about 7:20 AM for the trip to neighboring Leesburg, reasoning that it’s one thing to be late to a business meeting; it’s another thing entirely when where you’re going they have people at the entrance with guns and handcuffs. This one I needed to be on time or early too.

Very early in the process I noticed just how addicted I have gotten to my cell phone. You can’t bring one into the Courthouse, so I left mine in my car. I parked at the parking garage across the street from where I thought I needed to go, then walked to where I thought the entrance would be. It wasn’t there and the Loudoun County Courthouse is one huge block where if you walk the wrong way, you’re going to pick up a couple thousand steps on your Fitbit making a lap around the grounds.

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0

With Win Tonight, Nats Can Make History Starting Out 4-0

If you’re impressed that the Nationals have started the season 3-0, well, don’t be.

Don’t get me wrong; they’ve been very impressive, and they never even trailed the entire three-game series at Cincinnati. But if history is any indication, starting out 3-0 hasn't really meant anything.

This is the fourth time the team has done it since moving from Montreal to the most powerful city in the world. The Nats also accomplished this in 2008,  2013 and 2014. How did they do in 2008? Well, after winning those first three, the Nats lost 9 in a row and 15 of their next 17. They would lose 102 games, the franchise’s worst record since the 1976 Montreal Expos ended the season at 55-107. It was the worst ever in Washington, but only until 2009 when they lost 103 games.

In 2013, the Nats went from 3-0 start to buzz saw in Cincinnati and never found themselves in first place again. They lost 15-0 on a Friday night, would bounce back and win 7-6 the next day to keep them in first place (where they had been every game of the season), then lost the Sunday game 6-3.

The loss knocked them out of first, then they returned home to sweep a 3-game series against the White Sox (but gain no ground on the Atlanta Braves). The Braves then came to Nats Park, swept the Nats, and the rest of the season involved looking at Atlanta’s back bumper. Twice they got within a half game of the Braves, but never got back to first, finishing at 86-76. I will always remember that season due to how many times Nats fans on Twitter would say “it’s only April” when the team struggled, followed by “it’s only May”, “it’s only June”, etc. No one wanted to admit the team just didn’t have it that year, hoping instead that in time, they would turn the switch on. They didn’t.

2014 is the only year a 3-0 start ended with a playoff berth. Like the others, however, that team started with 3 wins, then struggled. 23 games into the season, the team was only 12-11 and in third place in the division. They were in second as late as July 18th before getting back on top and staying there, eventually winning the division by 17 games.

The other two years the Nats made the playoffs, the teams started 2-0, lost, then had a strong winning streak. In 2012, they went 2-0, lost two straight, then won 8 of 9 en route to a team-best 98 wins. Last year, they went 2-0, lost 1, then won 7 straight on the way to 95 wins.

So starting with 3 straight has not exactly been the charm for Washington. Four straight? No Washington team has ever done that to start the season. They can make history by doing so tonight against the Atlanta Braves.

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0

Might As Well Turn Those Easter Eggs Into Something...

It’s the day after Easter, which means you need to get two things done today: One is go buy up all the half-priced chocolate. The other is to turn those hard-boiled Easter eggs into something edible, assuming you refrigerated them after all that decorating.

I turned mine into deviled eggs, mainly because it’s very simple, and the people in my house scarf them down like eggs will no longer be available on earth at the end of the day.

Here’s how to make them: Peel them, chop them in half, and put all the yokes into a mixing bowl (a slight push on the bottom of the round part of the egg will pop it out like a lost contact lens. When  you’ve done that to all the eggs, take a fork and mash them until they look more like a powder than an egg.

I add a little minced onion to give the deviled egg some texture. Just take a small amount of onion, chop it until you think you’ve chopped it enough, then go back and chop it two more times. You want a hint of onion, not chunks like it’s chicken salad. Add an equal mixture of mustard and mayonnaise and mix it up thoroughly. I add about 3 or 4 drops of Sriracha into the mix to give it a slight hint of heat (i.e., the devil in deviled eggs) and a subtle smoky flavor. If you decide to do this, be careful. The difference between 3 drops and 5 drops can be the difference between subtle flavor and your mouth on fire. It’s in a squeeze bottle, and I have seen people in my own house give the bottle a firm squeeze and unintentionally put enough Sriracha into a recipe to burn the house down. So you’ve been warned.

Spoon the mixture back into the egg whites. If you want to get fancy, use a piping bag (which you can buy online for about $5) with a pastry tip (again, another $5 online) to get those fancy grooves. But whether pastry bag or spoon, it still tastes the same. As a final touch, I usually put a light dusting of paprika on top of the eggs to give it another layer of very mild heat, and the color looks nice.

With the eggs peeled, it takes about 10 minutes. But since they look fancy, you can lie to your family, say you slaved away for a couple of hours because you knew they liked them, and then get them to clean the kitchen and take out the garbage. A fair trade, if you ask me…..

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0

Just A Little Light Dessert After A Great Easter Meal

Usually at holidays, I post food pictures on Facebook. But I'm not on Facebook any more.

So I guess I'll just have to do it here. This is a chocolate dome cake, filled with chocolate mousse, topped by an Easter bunny face with M&Ms for eyes and a nose.

As a friend noted, the bunny seems to have fear in its eyes. And well it should :)

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moderate rain

49.2°F

Ashburn

Moderate Rain

Humidity: 100%

Wind: 11.41 m/h

Sat

heavy intensity rain

49/50°F

Sun

moderate rain

39/51°F

Mon

sky is clear

32/50°F

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