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"Starve Your Distractions, Feed Your Focus" & Other Thoughts for New Year + TCM Tips

 

About a week ago I ran across on espn.com Alex Scarborough's moving piece about the late sport psychologist Trevor Moawad.  

 

Born in Lakeville, Washington, Moawad packed a lot into his 48 years on this earth, a time shortened by cancer that he succumbed to this past September. He kept it secret from his friends and colleagues. 

 

He became a go-to guy for top football coaches Alabama's Nick Saban and Georgia's Kirby Smart, Saban's one-time assistant.

 

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson spent nearly a month at Moawad's home 

after throwing the goal line interception that cost Seattle a Super Bowl title over the Patriots.

 

Marcus Stroman, the former Blue Jays and Mets pitcher (now with the Cubs), was another believer in "Limitless Minds," Moawad's company. 

 

A lot of sports psychology maxims are fairly obvious. I think Moawad's were definitely a cut above.  Like my title today:  "Starve your distractions, Feed your focus."

 

Here's one that can help in constructing a team as well as in personal development:

"When you're green, you grow.  When you're ripe, you rot."  

 

Moawad's last book was called "It Takes What It Takes".  I say that whatever gets us through the next year(s) with some hope and abiding faith is fine with me. 

 

Who really likes wearing a mask except The Lone Ranger?  And his mouth wasn't even

covered so his mask never got fogged up.  But we have to do what we have to do in the immediate future.

 

When even our beloved, consoling sports calendars are thrown into disarray, we know

that we are in unchartered waters.  Here's hoping that a grain of normalcy returns in the

warmer weather.   

 

I am disappointed that I won't be able to see live and in person the start of my Columbia's women's basketball Ivy League season.  But I'll be following on whatever TV or streaming

outlets show their first three big games against Yale (Su Jan 2 at 1P), Princeton (F Jan 7 at 7P) and Penn (Su Jan 8 at 5P).

 

In the meantime here are some TCM tips for the first weeks in January.

Tu January 4: 345P "Johnny Belinda" (1948)  Jane Wyman's Oscar as a deaf-mute brought to sentient life by Lew Ayres. Set in Nova Scotia.  

Max Steiner's soulful music is truly a supporting actor. So are Charles Bickford, Jan Sterling, and Stephen McNally playing a truly awful character.

 

Later that night at 8P "This is Spinal Tap" (1984) - the hilarious rock-a-mentary  

 

Th Jan 6  730A Joe E Brown as Capn Andy in "Show Boat" (1951)

 "   "        415P Brown in his early Hollywood days gets involved in a yacht race in "Top Speed" (1930)  

 

And if you like murderous people, try this trifecta later on Jan 6:

8P Alfred Hitchcock's "Rope" (1948) inspired by the Leopold-Loeb story

 

930P Arthur Penn's "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967) with Warren Beatty/Faye Dunaway and

in important roles Gene Hackman and Estelle Parsons

 

1130P Terence Malick's "Badlands" (1973) inspired by Charles Starkweather

 

Fri Jan 7 8P Howard Hawks's "Red River" (1948) - Montgomery Clift rebels against

John Wayne with Joanne Dru who returns at 1030P in the Noir "711 Ocean Drive" (1950)

with Edmond O'Brien and Otto Kruger

 

Speaking of Noir, Eddie Muller starts new year on Su Jan 2 12M, 10A

"Repeat Performance" (1947) Joan Leslie tries to relive a night of murder with a happier

ending.

 

Su Jan 9 12M 10A  "Nightmare Alley" (1947) the original without the glitz of today's remake

 

Su Jan 16 1230A, also 10A - "The Mob" (1951) with Broderick Crawford and Richard Kiley

who before he became "Man of La Mancha" had many roles in Noir films

 

Su Jan 23 12M, also 10A  "Over-Exposed" (1956)  very little known about this film even on TCM website. I immediately thought it would star Jayne Mansfield but no, it is Isobel Elsom.  

 

That's all for now.   Be healthy and not without faith.

 

I sign off listening to the serenely beautiful strains of the slow movement in Mozart's Clarinet Concerto K. 622 and remembering hearing the other day the caressing of the oboe and clarinet in Rachmaninov's slow movement of his Second Symphony.  Now it's Mahler.

 

I'm reminded of another great adage - "without music life would be a mistake."

So once again take it easy but take it. 

 

 

 

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White Sox and Giants Not Ready For Prime Time and Other Pre-Memorial Day Musings

Memorial Day this year comes on May 31. It's fine with me because the original Decoration Day was May 30 - to honor African-American dead in the Civil War - and by end of 19th century all Civil War dead.  Memorial Day didn't become a national holiday until 1971. 

 

How well I remember MLB's practice of doubleheaders on every May 30, July 4, and Labor Day.  Twin-bills are now ancient relics or at most seven-inning games under the new pandemic rules. 

 

The end of May remains a good first guidepost on how baseball's pennant races are developing.  The White Sox came into Yankee Stadium riding high in a weak AL Central division and got swept by the revived Yankees.

 

The first and last games were tight pitchers' battles but the Yankees prevailed, not even needing to go to the bastardized extra-inning format starting with the unearned runner on second base.  

 

This is an innovation I will never get used to.  Ditto the allowing of a baserunner to use an oven mitt to enhance his sliding into bases.  

 

The Yankees have been getting extraordinary starting pitching, solid defense, and just enough offense. As the last week in May begins, the Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, and Red Sox all have only 19 losses, the Yanks with one less win. 

 

At this juncture, they don't seem to miss Masahiro Tanaka who has returned to his former team the Rakuten Golden Eagles in the Japanese Pacific League.  

 

Thanks to info provided me by our Japanese correspondent Jun Ogawa, Tanaka is 2-3 in 6 starts with a 2.84 ERA.

He has an outstanding 5:31 walk:strikeout ratio, and has given up 4 HR and 32 H in 38 IN.  HIs team is only a 1/2 game behind the first place Nankai Hawks. 

 

The Yankees decision to gamble on the return to form of Corey Kluber, former Cy Young award-winner with Cleveland, is paying off.   He threw a no-hitter at Texas, one of seven so far in 2021.  

 

That's too many this early and a sad commentary on batters' inability to adjust to good pitching. If there is a blessing in disguise in all the no-hitters, it is that pitchers are at least going nine innings.  

 

I often think that pitchers today have been brainwashed into thinking that they can't go through a lineup three or God forbid four times. It becomes an unfortunate self-fulfilling prophecy.

 

The Orioles' only reliable pitcher, John Means, said after his no-hitter that just getting into the eighth inning for the first time in his career was a big thrill.  Means' inability to hold on to a five-run lead against the streaking Rays - 10 in a row as I post - started the O's latest descent into oblivion, 6 losses in a row as I post. 

 

In the National League West, the surprising Giants were riding high until the Dodgers came to town. Three losses later, the Giants find themselves in third behind both Padres and LA.

 

The only possible bright spot for SF is that they have an immediate rematch with the Dodgers in LA starting on

Thursday.  The White Sox don't meet the Yankees again until Th August 12 when they play the Field of Dreams game in Dyersville, Iowa.  After a day off they finish the weekend in Chicago.

 

I still maintain that baseball and any sports and art event must be experienced in person.  Two weeks ago,  

I paid my first visit to CitiField since the 2019 season. 

 

I saw a fine pitcher's battle for six innings between the Mets' Marcus Stroman and John "No-Hit" Means.  

It was the game where Albert Almora of the Mets almost made a great catch at the left center field wall but a collision with the fence knocked the ball free.   

 

Almora is still on the IL as are unfortunately virtually half of the Mets.  They remain in first place in the mediocre NL East but have played fewer games than any of their rivals.  The division is still wide open for every team.

 

Outfielder Kevin Pillar was the unacknowledged hero of that Met game.  With the Mets trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth, Pillar led off with a screaming first-pitch liner close to the left field foul pole. 

 

It was called a home run by the third base umpire and he circled the bases only to find out that after an umpires' conference it was called foul.  I don't think I have ever seen a player trot the bases on a phantom home run.

 

Pillar showed me a lot by digging in for the rest of the at-bat against soft-tossing Oriole closer Cesar Valdez. He singled to start the eventual two-run game-winning rally. 

 

A few days later, Pillar was hit in the face by a fastball by young Braves reliever Jacob Webb.  He suffered multiple nasal fractures and won't be back for a while.

 

If anyone can beat the doctor's estimates, it wil be Pillar.  He was more than gracious to pitcher Webb who was

visibly distraught at his misplaced pitch.

 

I also saw the Liberty home opener at the Barclay's Center.  After going 2-20 last season, the Liberty are off to 4-1 start in 2021.  The return of the justly heralded Sabrina Ionescu has been a big factor. The entire roster remake is also paying off in the early going.   

 

ONE WORD TO THE WISE:  Make sure you carry proof of vaccination with you on the card and/or your cell phone. 

 

Here are two tips for Memorial Day weekend viewing on TCM:

Sat May 29 12M/repeated Su 10A:  "Act of Violence" 1949 with Robert Ryan out to avenge a POW betrayal by

Van Heflin; and Mon May 31 3:15p  "The Steel Helmet" 1951  Sam Fuller's searing view of early Korean War

 

Always remember:  Stay positive, test negative & take it easy but take it!

 

 

  

 

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