Thwwwwwack! Do you recognize that sound? It’s the crack of the baseball bat hitting that first ball of the season. You can hear it in your mind can’t you? Indeed, we all know that sound and baseball is called the Great American pastime for a reason. The sport is imbedded deeply into our souls as well as into our culture and for those of us that are baseball fans, it might even go a bit deeper.
Historically our Baseball heroes have become almost God-like legends over time. Great baseball players seem to live on forever in our hearts. We pay homage to them through songs, movies - and even baseball costumes - made to remember them and the great sport of baseball. Films have been made to celebrate baseball—no one could forget the epic “Field of Dreams” where the building of a baseball field became a man’s life passion as well as his obsession. True baseball fans loved the idea that legendary baseball players who have gone on into the great beyond could come back (as ghosts) to play their beloved sport on hallowed ground--an Iowa cornfield. Who would believe that such a tale would be so revered? It wasn’t really about men coming back to life at all as these weren’t just men-they were baseball players. We do tend to hold many of our baseball players up on pedestals. Even some of the more colorful baseball rogues are forgiven for their life’s transgressions because they could play a memorable and great game. These athletes live a bit of a charmed existence for that reason.
Everyone knows a song or two celebrating baseball. John Fogerty’s “Centerfield” is my personal favorite and just hearing the line “Put me in coach!” makes me suddenly crave a Dodger Dog. If I even mention “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” you are likely to be singing it in your head for the rest of the day—“Buy me some peanuts and Crackerjack’s—I don’t care if we ever come back!” It’s just how it is—everyone knows that song whether they’ve been to a baseball game or not. It’s part of who we are.
This year, April 1st marks baseball season’s opening day. It’s not really surprising to me that a day known for silly pranks and tomfoolery would be the perfect and appropriate day to celebrate the beginning of Baseball season. Baseball’s history is shrouded in superstition and myth and yes--probably more than a few silly pranks.
There are more superstitions surrounding baseball than really any other sport. You may have heard of “The Curse of the Goat.” Billy Slanis, (the owner of Billy Goat Tavern) brought his goat to one of the games at Wrigley Field in 1945. He was asked to leave as fans were offended by the smelly odor of the goat. When leaving, Billy was outraged at his dismissal and shouted out loud for all to hear, “Them Cubs will not win no more”—this statement is often interpreted to mean that the Cubs will never win another World Series game at Wrigley Field. Many believe that this curse will not be lifted either, until Wrigley makes nice with all goats and welcomes them openly to Wrigley Field. Many attempts have been made over the years to break the curse but all have apparently failed.
Baseball players are notoriously superstitious. When on a winning streak players have been known to not cut their hair or shave or some will not even launder various parts of their uniform while they are still winning. We’ve all seen players tap the base while getting ready to bat. Is tapping lucky? Some players have a “lucky” bat or glove that they like to use as well. It’s a very well known fact amongst players and sports commentators that it is very bad luck to even mention the possibility of a no-hitter while it is still indefinite. Dare not even mention the subject or utter the words “no-hitter”—it is a known jinx to do so amongst baseball circles until the game has officially ended.
Whether you are a little leaguer, a die-hard fan, or just love the game, baseball season is now upon us and that’s reason enough to celebrate. From now until November you can find yourself rooting for your favorite home team. It’s time to dust off your baseball player bobbleheads, start wearing your rally caps and get ready to eat the best darn hot dogs known to mankind. Joe DiMaggio once said, “You always get a special kick on Opening Day, no matter how many you go through. You look forward to it like a birthday party when you were a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen.” Take me out to the ball game—indeed!
March is the month when the college spring breakers are off and running...to the beach! Even though the spring break destinations for sun and fun are endless, many of the twenty something year olds head to the "Sunshine State" of Florida - Daytona, Panama City, Ft Lauderdale, Ft Myers and Miami are just a few of the beaches bombarded with these crazy kids looking to relax and have fun after midterms! April is the month for the high school seniors to hit the beaches and for families to get away for a week. I like the fact that the colleges go earlier in the year than the family spring breakers. It's better for everyone involved! Spring break is enjoyed by every age; toddlers, kids, tweens, teens and parents alike. It's the first break of the year from school and believe me the kids are more than ready! If you're planning to go away for spring break this year, enjoy yourselves and be safe. If your plans involve staying home (between gas prices and the economy, I don't blame you), there are plenty of activities to keep your kids busy and to keep from hearing those words every parent dreads, "I'm bored!" Here are some ideas for you "stay at home" spring breakers!
- Camp Out - throw a tent out in the backyard, light up a bonfire, roast some marshmallows and don't forget the scary ghost stories.
- Picnics - plan a day where you can pack up a lunch and go exploring. Local parks have picnic tables and lots to do for the kids!
- Biking, Fishing, Hiking - pack up the car with your bikes, rollerblades and fishing gear and make a day of it!
- Costume Party - have all the neighborhood kids over for a huge costume party. Make a theme or let it be a free for all - wear whatever costume you want party!
You don't look a day over . . . eh . . . 20?
When I was a little girl I was absolutely obsessed with Barbie. Yes, I am talking about the teenage fashion doll made famous by toy maker Mattel. She was blonde, beautiful and had an extremely glamorous life. Not to mention she also had lots of really cool clothes and costumes. Barbie has been a doctor, an astronaut as well as a Racecar driver—just to name a few. It almost seems absurd to think it that it would ever be enough just to play in that imaginary Barbie world. I think on some level I wanted to actually be Barbie. And what young girl wouldn’t want to be this girl that seemed to become anything she wanted to be and look simply gorgeous while doing it? Barbie epitomizes so many young girls dreams, realistic or not. As far as I was concerned she had the perfect life. In fact, she had more than the perfect life—she had several perfect lives all being lived simultaneously. I wanted to be her—yet as impossible as it was it was still always fun to delve into childhood dreams for a while and live Barbie’s life in my imagination. No one ever told me that Barbie was a ridiculous fantasy—and that you could never be that perfect or live such a great and fantastic life. Real life would actually turn out to be much more difficult, far less glamorous and certainly more mundane. But no one would ever try to squelch the dreams of that 7-year old and back then I loved being a Barbie girl.
Barbie has evolved quite a bit over her 52 years. Barbie skipped infancy and childhood and was born as teenage beauty with a stunning figure any girl would envy yet no one could possibly emulate. Back in the 60’s when I fancied myself a “Barbie girl” I only owned one bathing suit clad doll and later added one of her friends (Midge) to my collection. Barbie outfits were sold separately and I do remember owning many and mixing and matching Barbie’s wardrobe extensively in various combinations. My earliest thoughts toward a career in fashion were probably inspired by Barbie but back then it was just fun to imagine dressing her for every possible event. This included of course her wedding and I’m sure I married Barbie off to Ken dozens of different times. Nowadays if you want a new outfit for your Barbie you usually have to buy a new doll along with it. It wasn’t always that way and I had a Barbie sanctioned clothing trunk that conveniently stored all her (very high end) fashions on tiny plastic hangers. The matching and ridiculous little plastic shoes would go on her forever tippy toed feet--to stay on for all of a about a minute. (I guess those high-heeled shoes hurt her feet as much as they do mine today!) I recall my Barbie often wearing a hat as well—she dressed as if she were British Royalty—pretty good for a girl named Barbra Millicent Roberts that supposedly hailed from Willows, Wisconsin. Barbie also had a thing for boas—not really sure why but my Barbie had several.
Not much has ever been said about where Barbie got her education but obviously there must have been a period of intense study for her at some point to end up being both a teacher as well as a nurse. Who knows how she ever managed to find the time to tool around town in her Pink Mustang convertible with her gorgeous and sexy boyfriend, Ken Carson. Ken never was allowed to drive Barbie’s car in my world—he rode in the passenger seat, probably one of the few guys in the world that wouldn’t mind riding shotgun in a flaming magenta Mustang. Ken had male model good looks and was also always impeccably dressed (looking back on it he was a little too perfect), certainly like no man I’d ever known. It didn’t help that I was the owner of a first edition “Malibu Ken” so he also had a deep orange-ish tan. I’m sure this made him look that much better as he sat silently happy in the pink Mustang. My childhood clearly was setting myself up for many disappointments later on in life. In my 7-year old mind Ken was the perfect boyfriend because he sat in the car and didn’t utter a word while Barbie drove him around. She talked endlessly about her various careers and shopping expeditions. I don’t actually recall my Ken doll doing much of anything else—certainly not the endless torturous and childish acts akin to my two younger brothers. Oh no—Ken was a much more civilized male being.
As shocking as it seems on March 9, Barbie will turn 52 years old. She doesn’t look a day over 20 though and from what I can see her 36-18-33 measurements are still pretty much intact. Even though she and Ken were rumored to have split up back in 2004, the lovebirds rekindled their romance in 2006 after Ken reportedly got a complete makeover. (Hey, even I can’t make this stuff up!) I wish them well—for as many times as I myself walked an ebullient Barbie bride (along with a perfunctory silent Ken) down the aisle, it seems only fitting that they should stay forever young standing by one another’s side. So here’s to you, girl-- Happy Birthday Barbie! To eternal youth and ridiculous perfection! I’m also pretty darn sure your fifty-second birthday looks much better on you than it does on your old pink Mustang. It’s good to know you’re still out there still living that perfect life that seems to elude the rest of us.
PS: For more history on Barbie, visit the official Mattel website.
Wow I can't believe how big Jersey Shore has become! It's like watching a train wreck, you don't want to but you just can't help yourself. MTV really hit the big time with this little reality series about a group of twenty-something year olds living together and partying it up (GTL - gym, tan, laundry) for the summer in Seaside Heights, NJ. Can you believe season one premiered in December 2009 to 1.37 million viewers and season 3 premiered in January 2011 with record ratings of 8.45 million viewers! It's so popular that the cast of Jersey Shore made Barbara Walter's "10 Most Fascinating People" list! Because it's such a huge hit with high school and religiously watched by college students, it's no surprise that the stars of Jersey Shore were popular Halloween costumes last year. Snooki was the most popular by far! It's an easy costume - lots of poof in the hair, lots of bronzer and a short skirt and you're ready to go! Pauly D was also fun to portray with tons of hair gel and Ed Hardy t-shirt and jeans and you've got the look. You couldn't have made up a better cast of characters for all the college students to dress up as for Halloween. Season one and three were filmed at the Jersey Shore and season two was filmed in Miami, Florida. But wait, there's still another season to come with the group heading to Italy for season four. Now that should be interesting! I don't think we've heard the last of Snooki, JWoww, Sammi, Pauly D, the Situation, Ronnie and Vinny!