Monday, June 24, 2013

Twinkie Twinkie Little Star, How I Wonder Where You Are...

In less than the reported 45-day shelf life of a sponge cake classic, wonder no more. After a forced bankruptcy in November 2012, the Sweetest Comeback in the History of Ever - coming to stores July 15. No more secret bids on eBay, the suggested manufacturer's retail price for a box of 10 is $3.99.

Be prepared. Sugar rushes and empty store shelves here we come. Need to know exactly when? Here's a link from for the countdown clock.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Remembering James Gandolfini, via The Simpsons

image source: James Gandolfini Online

Yesterday, many of us were shocked and very saddened to learn actor James Gandolfini passed away while vacationing in Rome, Italy.

My former high school classmate Coleen is a huge fan. One of her cats is named Tony, after Mr. Gandolfini's best known and most prolific role in "The Sopranos". Prior to "The Sopranos", I'll always remember his pivotal supporting roles in 2 John Travolta films, "Get Shorty" and "A Civil Action".

Without premium cable, I wasn't able to follow "The Sopranos" as closely as I would have liked. Other than the mighty Tony himself, what stood out for me was the ultra-cool opening theme. When "The Simpsons" dedicated an episode with their version of it, you knew it had to be something good.

Here's the video clip:

 And here's the original opening with the real Tony Soprano:

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Ken Griffey Junior and Senior

image source: Seattle Times
Ken Griffey, Junior (L) and Ken Griffey, Senior (R)

As we reach the end of Father's Day, there have been many sweet, touching pictures and stories of fathers and sons. Anyone who's been a regular reader on my blog for the past year has probably wondered which father and son I'd feature from baseball or bowling.

Bowling, without a doubt, hands down, it's Pete Weber and his dad, Dick Weber. I'm a big admirer of the elder Weber. As for Pete, let's just say I respect his accomplishments tremendously and leave it at that.

In baseball, it'd be easy for me to pick the most well-known father and son in the San Francisco Giants organization, Bobby and Barry Bonds. They both wore the same number, 25. I've got a lot respect for both of them, but I don't have an emotional connection with either of them.

So why Ken Griffey Junior and Senior? I grew up a Cincinnati Reds fan at the height of their Big Red Machine days in the 1970's. The number 2 batter and right fielder in that lineup was Ken Griffey (not yet known as senior until his son came up to play in the majors). He was fast, strong, and played his position well. To me, Senior looked more like a running back in football than he did an outfielder in baseball.

When Junior made his sensational start for the Seattle Mariners, it was so easy to like him. I rarely saw him play without a smile. He looked like the grown up little leaguer out there having fun. His home run power AND his extraordinary ability to shag flies must have made opposing teams cringe.

In the 1990 and 1991 seasons, Junior and Senior played together for the Mariners. They fulfilled the dreams many fathers and sons have - to play next to each other in Major League Baseball. They hold the MLB record for father-son career hits, at 4,926. It's my guess this record will hold up for awhile.

Here's a YouTube video clip highlighting some of their time together, which includes a back-to-back home run for father and son.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Daria "Dasha" Kovalova

image source: Wichita State Bowling
Continuing on my quest to find competitive women's bowling outside the United States, this week's profile was a Wichita State teammate of last week's profile, Jazreel Tan. Her name is Daria Kovalova (also known as Dasha) from Ukraine.

For those of you not familiar with college bowling, Wichita State is to bowling as Kansas is to basketball, a perennial powerhouse. Current PBA bowlers Chris Barnes and Sean Rash are former Wichita State Shockers.

Three of the four finalists in the 2013 Women's Intercollegiate Bowling Championships video I included in last week's blog entry were from Wichita State: Jazreel Tan, Tannya Roumimper, and Dasha.

Like Jazreel, Dasha has captured a few bowling titles outside of Wichita State. In 2011, Dasha won the Girls Singles and All-Events European Youth Championship and in 2012 defeated Birgit Poppler in the Women's European Champions Cup (see November 4, 2012 blog entry or YouTube video below).

As Dasha is only a freshman, she's got a very bright future ahead of her. It's really a shame there's hasn't been a full women's tour since 2003. I have no doubt bowlers like Shayna Ng, Jazreel Tan and Dasha would be a big part of it.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Jazreel Tan

image source: Wichita State Bowling

My May 20, 2012 blog entry featured the 2012 AMF Qubica World Cup Women's Final match between Shayna Ng (Singapore) and Aumi Guerra (Dominican Republic). Aumi was the defending champion but was no match for Shayna.

No stranger to winning and a teammate of Shayna's on Singapore's National Team is Wichita State senior Jazreel Tan. Some of her accomplishments include: 2-time Collegiate Bowler of the Year (2010-11 and 2011-12), 1st Place -2012 Kuwait Women's Open, and Singapore's National Champion in 2004 and 2006.

I've also included a 2013 USBC Intercollegiate Women's Semi-Final featuring Jazreel. Including Jazreel, two of her Wichita State teammates, Daria Kovalova and Tannya Roumimper are also finalists.