MLB acts to suspend Astros manager, g.m.

Kudos to Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred for the suspension of Astros manager A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow for their involvement in electronic sign stealing during the team’s 2017 World Series winning season.

Those weren’t the only penalty for the team and the manager and the g.m. The team was fined $5 million and lost its 2020 and 2021 first and second round draft choices.

The Astros fired Hinch and Luhnow.

Here’s a link to the MLB statement:

https://img.mlbstatic.com/mlb-images/image/upload/mlb/cglrhmlrwwbkacty27l7.pdf

Photos by Ronald Hawkins.

AFI names top 2019 films, tv shows

The American Film Institute has announced its selections for top American made films and television shows of 2019.

Here are the lists:

Films of the Year

1917

THE FAREWELL

THE IRISHMAN

JOJO RABBIT

JOKER

KNIVES OUT

LITTLE WOMEN

MARRIAGE STORY

ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD

RICHARD JEWELL

AFI TELEVISION PROGRAMS OF THE YEAR

CHERNOBYL

THE CROWN

FOSSE/VERDON

GAME OF THRONES

POSE

SUCCESSION

UNBELIEVABLE

VEEP

WATCHMEN

WHEN THEY SEE US

Honorees will gather on January 3, 2020, for recognition at the annual AFI Awards private luncheon in Los Angeles.

Library of Congress names 25 more films to registry

One of our favorite things about the holiday season is that each December the Library of Congress announces the addition of 25 films to the National Film Registry.

In its announcement this year, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden stated that the film were selected because of their cultural, historic and aesthetic importance to the nation’s film heritage. The films in the class of 2019 range from Prince’s 1984 autobiographical hit “Purple Rain” and Spike Lee’s 1986 breakout movie “She’s Gotta Have It” to Disney’s 1959 timeless fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty” and this year’s biggest public vote getter, Kevin Smith’s 1994 “Clerks.”

“The National Film Registry has become an important record of American history, culture and creativity,” said Hayden. “Unlike many other honors, the registry is not restricted to a time, place or genre. It encompasses 130 years of the full American cinematic experience – a virtual Olympiad of motion pictures. With the support of Congress, the studios and other archives, we are ensuring that the nation’s cinematic history will be around for generations to come.”

A musical biopic, a heartwarming tale about man’s best friend, early black cinema, a notorious real-life crime drama and the anatomy of war represent the diversity of the 2019 registry. They include blockbusters, documentaries, silent movies, animation and independent films. The 2019 selections bring the number of films in the registry to 775, which is a small fraction of the Library’s vast moving-image collection of more than 1.6 million items.

The list of 25 includes:

  1. Amadeus (1984)
  2. Becky Sharp (1935)
  3. Before Stonewall (1984)
  4. Body and Soul (1925)
  5. Boys Don’t Cry (1999)
  6. Clerks (1994)
  7. Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)
  8. Emigrants Landing at Ellis Island (1903)
  9. Employees Entrance (1933)
  10. Fog of War (2003)
  11. Gaslight (1944)
  12. George Washington Carver at Tuskegee Institute (1937)
  13. Girlfriends (1978)
  14. I Am Somebody (1970)
  15. Last Waltz, The (1978)
  16. My Name Is Oona (1969)
  17. A New Leaf (1971)
  18. Old Yeller (1957)
  19. The Phenix City Story (1955)
  20. Platoon (1986)
  21. Purple Rain (1984)
  22. Real Women Have Curves (2002)
  23. She’s Gotta Have It (1986)
  24. Sleeping Beauty (1959)
  25. Zoot Suit (1981)

Baseball’s reality, dreams, history make it special

One of the great things about baseball is that in many ways it is a time machine. It is about the game today, future stars and special moments of the past. In these photos by Ronald Hawkins, we see images of today, the future stars and Hall of Famers.

Cincinnati Reds All Star pitcher Luis Castillo allowed the Pittsburgh Pirates just one run in the seven-plus innings he pitched July 31, 2019, as the Reds won 4-1.
Luis Castillo fires.
Red Tucker Barnhart is hit by a pitch July 31, 2019, as the Reds went on to defeat the Pirates 4-1.
The legendary Joey Votto swings away July 31, 2019, against a Pirates pitcher’s offerings.

Prospects

The 2019 season has been a good season for Reds prospects to make it to the major leagues. Below are pictures of two of the successful prospects while playing for the Louisville Bats. They did well initially after advancing, but the MLB season is a long one and these prospects faded after hot starts. advancing.

Nick Senzel, who was the Reds top prospect, has battled back from injuries and vertigo to advance to the majors where he has been one of the top rookies of the year even while playing a new position for him. Unfortunately, the injury bug got him again.
Nick Senzel in center field for the Bats, who were calling themselves the Derby City Mint Juleps in this game in the week before the Kentucky Derby.
Nick Senzel.

Josh VanMeter
earned a trip to the Reds roster by hitting an unexpected, early season 14 home runs for the Bats. He wasn’t even on the Reds 40-man roster, but was hitting over .300 early in his debut for the Reds, but his numbers faded as pitchers caught on to his weaknesses.

Later in the 2019 season, the Reds Aristides “The Destroyer” Aquino emerged with a record-setting August by hitting more than adozen home runs in that month. And like the others, his numbers faded in September. in his first 10 games has tied the Major League record for most home runs in a player’s first 10 games.
Aquino’s Louisville Bats official picture.

Memories

The Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals have impressive halls of fame and figures around their stadiums commemorating the great moments of their past. The Reds are celebrating the 150-year anniversary of establishment of the first all professional team in professional baseball, which was based in Cincinnati. That team was disbanded after the 1870 season.

In the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum an exhibit includes figures representing the 1869 team, which went undefeated and traveled from coast to coast. Check the great, fact-based fictional book on that 1869 team by Darryl Brock called, “If I Never Get Back.”
This statue of Johnny Bench in the Reds hall shows the all-time great baseball catcher in his catching gear.
The Cincinnati Reds isn’t he only team celebrating their history. The St. Louis Cardinals, who have won more World Series titles than the Reds, have an impressive museum adjacent to their park. The shirt is of great Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson, who was a holy terror on the mound and one of baseball’s all-time great pitchers.
Stan “the Man” Musial was one of the greatest hitters in baseball history. He held the National League record for most career hits until Pete Rose broke the record.
One trade Cubs fans have been trying to forget for more than half a century was the trade of Lou Brock to the Cardinals. When Brock retired he held multiple stolen base records and had more than 3,000 hits in his career.
The Rockford Peaches, one of the great women’s baseball teams in the 1940 war years and shortly thereafter, are commemorated in the Cardinals Hall of Fame.
And, of course, the Reds have several mascots including Mr. Redlegs. Here, Kim Hawkins cuddles with a figure of the mascot across the road from the Great American Ballpark.

EAS shares startling report on west Antarctica glacier

From the EAS comes this scary report based on a paper published in Geophysical Research Letters:

By combining 25 years of ESA satellite data, scientists have discovered that warming ocean waters have caused the ice to thin so rapidly that 24 percent of the glacier ice in West Antarctica is now affected.

A paper published in Geophysical Research Letters describes how the UK Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM) used over 800 million measurements of Antarctic ice sheet height recorded by radar altimeter instruments on ESA’s ERS-1, ERS-2, Envisat and CryoSat satellite missions between 1992 and 2017.

The study also used simulations of snowfall over the same period produced by the RACMO regional climate model. Together, these measurements allow changes in ice-sheet height to be separated into those caused by meteorological events, which affect snow, and those caused by longer-term changes in climate, which affect ice.

The ice sheet has thinned by up to 122 metres in places, with the most rapid changes occurring in West Antarctica where ocean melting has triggered glacier imbalance. CPOM Director, Andy Shepherd, explained, “Parts of Antarctica have thinned by extraordinary amounts. So we set out to show how much was down to changes in climate and how much was instead due to weather.”

CryoSat

To do this, the team compared measurements of surface-height change with the simulated changes in snowfall. Where the signal was greater they attributed its origin to glacier imbalance.

They found that fluctuations in snowfall tend to drive small changes in height over large areas for a few years at a time, whereas the most pronounced changes in ice thickness coincide with signals of glacier imbalance that have persisted for decades.

Prof. Shepherd added, “Knowing how much snow has fallen has really helped us to isolate the glacier imbalance within the satellite record. We can see clearly now that a wave of thinning has spread rapidly across some of Antarctica’s most vulnerable glaciers, and their losses are driving up sea levelsaround the planet.

“After 25 years, the pattern of glacier thinning has spread across 24% of West Antarctica, and its largest ice streams – the Pine Island and Thwaites Glaciers – are now losing ice five times faster than they were in the 1990s.

“Altogether, ice losses from East and West Antarctica have added 4.6 mm of water to global sea level since 1992.”

ESA’s Marcus Engdahl, noted, “This is a fantastic demonstration of how satellite missions can help us to understand how our planet is changing. The polar regions are hostile environments and are extremely difficult to access from the ground. Because of this, the view from space is an essential tool for tracking the effects of climate change.”

Scientific results such as this are key to understanding how our planet works and how natural processes are being affected by climate change – and ice is a hot topic at ESA’s Living Planet Symposium, which is currently in full swing in Milan. This study demonstrates that the changing climate is causing real changes in the far reaches of the Antarctic.

(An unrelated note regarding this site: You will see below that this site is advertiser supported. Maybe someday, but in the three years of this site it hasn’t received a single penny from the ads you see on this site. If you click on the ads, there is a possibility we may eventually earn some money that this retiree could use, but we’re glad you’re reading this post regardless of whether you click on the ads. Thank you.)

Swiatek-Hawkins picks contest continues

For nearly 40 years, writer Jeff Swiatek and Ronald Hawkins have shared competing picks regarding the upcoming Major League Baseball season. The person with the most correct picks is the beneficiary of a dinner from his opponent.

An opening day in Cincinnati. Photo by Ronald Hawkins.

This tradition began when the writers were working at a daily newspaper in Carlisle, Pa. Hawkins has moved many times and Swiatek a few times with both somehow ending up in Indiana. Despite the moves, the competition has continued unabated.

Hawkins has completed his 2019 predictions and has agreed to post them here. He confesses to being a lifelong Cincinnati Reds fan, but isn’t blinded to the challenges the team faces in the 150 anniversary of Cincinnati claiming the first all-professional team.

The predictions:

2019 Major League Baseball Predictions

Division/Pennant/world series winners

National League

East: Philadelphia Phillies

Central: Milwaukee Brewers

West: Los Angeles Dodgers

Wild Card: St. Louis Cardinals

Wild Card: Atlanta Braves

Playoffs

National League

Braves over Cardinals

Dodgers over Braves

Phillies over Brewers

Phillies over Dodgers

American League

East: New York Yankees

Central: Cleveland Indians

West: Houston Astros

Wild Card: Boston Red Sox

Wild Card: Tampa Bay Rays

Playoffs

Red Sox over Rays

Houston over Red Sox

Yankees over Cleveland

Houston over Yankees

World Series

Phillies over Astros

Individual Honors

National League

Average: Jesse Winker

Home Runs: Christian Yelich

Wins: Max Scherzer

American League

Average: Mookie Betts

Home Runs: Aaron Judge

Wins: Corey Kluber

ODDITIES

Reds win 87 games and barely miss the playoffs

Bryce Harper and Manny Machado each miss 26 games

Machado benched for failing to hustle.

Christian Yelich hits for the cycle again, the third time in two years, but this time it isn’t against the Reds.

Winker has a six hit game.

Harper hits six homers over two games.

Ten games are showed out in March and the first week of April

Reds beat the Pirates in a snowball fight

Former Trump attorney calls president dishonest, conman

Former Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen is expected to call the 45th U.S. president a cheat, conman, and racist in a prepared statement scheduled to be delivered to Congress later today, Feb. 27, 2019.

Photo by Ronald Hawkins

CNN broke the story just after midnight following the news network’s acquisition of an advance copy of his opening statement.

Cohen has been sentenced to three years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release. During a sentencing hearing in federal court in Manhattan,  Cohen claimed he acted out of “blind loyalty” to President Trump. The judge declared he will serve time for a “smorgasbord” of fraudulent crimes.

In the statement tentatively expected to be delivered to Congress today, Cohen states that Trump was aware of longtime adviser Roger Stone’s efforts to reach out to WikiLeaks in advance of its release of damaging information about Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, according to a copy of his public testimony submitted to Congress.

In the 20-page statement provided Tuesday night to lawmakers, Cohen states that Trump made racist statements about African-Americans, that Trump participated during his presidency in an illegal hush-money scheme to keep an alleged extramarital affairs quiet, Trump faked a medical condition to get out of serving in the Vietnam War and that Trump was involved in an aggressive pursuit of a major project in Russia in 2016.

Cohen is expected to provide new details, according to CNN, saying Trump was engaged in an aggressive pursuit of a major project in Russia in 2016, alleging the President’s attorneys edited Cohen’s 2017 testimony when he lied to Congress, downplaying the efforts to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

Cohen states although Trump never directly ordered him to lie to Congress he believed he was carrying out an order given his interactions with Trump, who was making public statements about not having any business dealings with Russia.

Cohen will allege that, in 2016, he witnessed Trump taking a phone call from Stone, who was on speakerphone.

“Mr. Stone told Mr. Trump that he had just gotten off the phone with Julian Assange and that Mr. Assange told Mr. Stone that, within a couple of days, there would be a massive dump of emails that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” Cohen will say, according to his prepared testimony.

Trump responded, according to Cohen: “Wouldn’t that be great.”

Cohen also said the President’s personal lawyers “reviewed and edited” his 2017 statements when Cohen lied to Congress about the Trump Organization’s pursuit of a massive project in Moscow.

Stone — who has been indicted on charges of making false statements, witness tampering and obstructing justice — has denied discussing the matter with Trump or having any such interactions with WikiLeaks.

Cohen’s opening statement also suggests that Trump may have been aware in advance of a 2016 meeting set up by Donald Trump Jr. and Russians at Trump Tower — something that Trump and his eldest son have long denied.

Cohen reportedly will tell Congress that he witnessed Trump Jr., in June 2016, tell his father: “The meeting is all set.”

Cohen states not knowing for sure that Trump’s son’s comments were in reference to the meeting with Russians.

“I also knew that nothing went on in Trump world, especially the campaign, without Mr. Trump’s knowledge and approval,” according to the statement issued in advance.

“So I concluded that Don Jr. was referring to that June 2016 Trump Tower meeting about dirt on Hillary.”

According to a copy of the opening statement he prepared to deliver to the House Oversight Committee Wednesday, Cohen says Trump lied repeatedly about a number of matters — and made a host of racist statements.

“To be clear, Mr. Trump knew of and directed the Trump Tower negotiations throughout the campaign and lied about it,” Cohen is expected to tell the committee. “He lied about it because he never expected to win the election.

“He also lied about it because he stood to make hundreds of millions of dollars on the Moscow real estate project.”

For the complete advance copy of Cohen’s statement, go to https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/27/politics/cohen-testimony-read/index.html</a></div>