The "Outta Leftfield" Weblog
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Thursday, June 14, 2012
The special moments of the DIMU party
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
A manly man bus trip
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Father 10th Man and his holy water
I’ve seen a lot of wonderful and magical things happen on a baseball field over the years, but I saw something last weekend that I had never before seen at a baseball game: A priest in a wheelchair was pushed around the infield where he blessed each of the bases and then home plate with holy water taken from the River Jordan in West Asia, where Jesus was baptized.
The pre-game ceremony was held in conjunction with the opening of St. Joseph’s University’s new baseball/softball complex. It was the first home baseball game played on campus since 1958.
Father James Moore, escorted around the bases by St. Joe’s players Kevin Taylor and Drew Stoll, did the honors with the holy water. (The photo that accompanies this post was taken by Jim McWilliams.) Father Moore even mentioned in his pre-game prayer that the St. Joe’s faithful have forgiven God for making them wait so long to play another baseball game on campus.
The opponent for the historical tilt was Iona College, in New Rochelle, N.Y. (A baseball trivia sidebar: New York Yankees Hall of Fame first baseman Lou Gehrig lived in New Rochelle, N.Y.)
Hey, if I’m on the Iona squad, I’m thinking the holy water blessing stacks the deck against my squad and provides quite a home field advantage for the St. Joe’s nine.
Which is apparently exactly what happened. St. Joe’s – off to a disappointing 1-11 start up to that point – got a stellar pitching performance from junior right-hander Kyle Mullen – the pitching may indeed have had more of an impact on the outcome of the game than did the holy water – to defeat Iona 5-1 and christen the new ballpark accordingly.
The reason I was there is that my father-in-law, Walt Wiesenhutter, was a pitcher for the Hawks in the 1960s. In addition, The Blonde Accountant is a graduate of St. Joe’s, so we’ve got some family history there.
And it’s a nice ballpark. It’s got some charm and character. I’m not crazy about the Astroturf surface, but in the northeast, weather usually is a factor for baseball teams, so the synthetic surface makes sense from a field maintenance perspective.
But knowing how superstitious ballplayers can be, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Father Moore will be asked to bless each base with holy water from The River Jordan before each home game, at least for the rest of the season.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
One more run at fun in the sun
And I’m glad I did. For those of us who have been around for a while, the show offered great performances from some of rock’s biggest names, from Bruce Springsteen leading off the show to Paul McCartney closing the festivities.
But I tuned in for the 50-year reunion of all the surviving members of the Beach Boys. The band’s music — and more specifically the music of the group’s co-founder Brian Wilson — have played an important role throughout my life.
Essentially, the Beach Boys have been the foundation of the soundtrack of my life. So it was a personal pleasure for me to watch them reunite publicly for the first time in more than two decades on what was such a big stage for the music industry.
I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing nearly all of the surviving members — Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine and Bruce Johnston — at one time or another in my career. They were all interesting and unique conversations in their own way.
As a matter of record, David Marks, who was one of the original Beach Boys performing on the band’s first four albums before quitting over financial and managerial issues in late 1963, is part of the 50-year reunion tour and was included in the Grammys appearance. It would be interesting to score an interview with him and get his take on the reunion.
And Bruce Johnston, while not one of the original members, joined the group in 1965, replacing none other than Glen Campbell, who was briefly with the group and was himself subbing for Brian Wilson, who had decided not to tour with the band anymore at that point.
Joining the Beach Boys tribute at the Grammys was Maroon 5, which did a credible job on the Beach Boys’ hit “Surfer Girl,” and “Foster the People,” which did likewise on “Wouldn’t It Be Nice.” There are those who didn’t think these other two bands were needed to sing Beach Boys songs in a Beach Boys tribute at the Grammys, but it didn’t matter much to me. The Beach Boys themselves and their performance of “Good Vibrations” was the main event.
There is supposed to be a new CD and tour scheduled around the 50th anniversary of the Beach Boys. The hope here is that they will perform here in Philly.
If so, I’ll be there for all the fun, fun, fun.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Tailgating with Larry the Cable Guy
Larry the Cable Guy knows weenies. As a cocktail weenie aficionado myself, I appreciate that.
Why, Larry even has his own recipe for something he calls “Beanie Weenie Casserole” that he says is sweeping the nation. I know all this because I asked him about it at Sunday’s Eagles game.
Dan Whitney — and his redneck-hillbilly character Larry the Cable Guy — were both in town as part of something called “A Better Way to Tailgate” challenge. Larry is pitching the heartburn-relief product Prilosec OTC and an online contest that gives tailgaters a chance to win tickets to the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis.
I’m all for heartburn relief, but I’m more for the things that give one heartburn to start with, something like the Beanie Weenie Casserole.
That’s the really important news associated with Larry’s visit.
“I filled in for Regis one day on ‘Regis and Kelly’ and they wanted me to bring a recipe,” said Larry, standing out in the freezing cold at the Prilosec tailgate tent Sunday. “And the favorite thing my wife makes is ‘Beanie Weenie Casserole.’ It’s beans and weenies with barbecue sauce baked in a cornbread crust. And we call it the ‘Beanie Weenie Casserole.’ I tell everybody, though, you need to be careful because the last time I had it, my Glade plug-in started a carpet fire. It’s deadly. It ought to come with a side order of Prilosec OTC. But it’s an unbelievable recipe and it’s sweeping the nation.”
I’ll tell you what, that’s funny right there, I don’t care who you are.
Whether he’s in character as Larry or just being himself, Whitney is a hoot to hang with for a while. I got several minutes with him for a one-on-one interview, in which he answered my softball questions. (What, I was going to ask Larry the Cable Guy about how to solve cancer or world hunger? No, when one gets a chance to talk to Larry the Cable Guy, there has to be at least one professional journalistic question about farting.)
“I don’t have the walking farts as bad as my grandmother does,” said Larry. “You know when you get older it’s harder to keep that kind of stuff in. As a matter of fact, she’d be here right now but she’s in a lawsuit with Wal-Mart. She used to get her hair cut up there but they kept screwing up her sideburns. That’s why she’s not here. We sure do like her, though.”
I also found out that Dan and I — both Midwesterners; he from Nebraska — shared an affection for the Oakland Raiders teams of the 1970s. Of course, we thought it wise not to discuss it within earshot of the Eagles fans.
It was a kick talking to both Dan and Larry the Cable Guy. Both seem like guys you’d want to spend the afternoon with at a tailgate party. If it wasn’t so dadgummed cold on Sunday, I would have stayed longer. But the Eagles fans seemed to appreciate spending a little time with Larry and he in turn was fun and gracious with the fans.
When it came to the interview, I was able to “Git-R-Done!” without any problems and it was a hoot. As Larry would say, we “Got-R-Did!”
Monday, November 21, 2011
Stretch limousine on fire
“How come the rich just keep on getting richer
while the rest of us are paying dues?
I try to keep the faith, but when I get the blues,
I think of that . . . stretch limousine on fire.”
It’s a catchy, happy tune with a contemporary message. (In an earlier verse, Curtis writes that “everyone got out alive” so the limo fire didn’t exactly hurt anyone other than maybe the well-to-do folks who were hoping to ride in it prior to the blaze.)
I always enjoy discovering a new singer-songwriter that I haven’t heard before, and Saturday night at World Café Live provided another opportunity to add to my list of favorite artists to come out of the Philly music scene. (I’m unofficially titling Saturday’s date night with The Blonde Accountant “Occupy World Café Live For A Few Hours, At Least Until The Cops Get There With The Pepper Spray.”)
Curtis is from Boston and has been around for a while now, but is new to The Blonde Accountant and me. She’s got a pleasant sound tied to compelling storytelling that makes for an enjoyable evening of music.
Her songs are mostly happy and she appears genuinely pleased up there on stage sharing them with the audience.
Another singer-songwriter, Meg Hutchinson, opened for Catie and I liked her music quite a bit as well.
I got a chance to briefly talk to Catie afterwards. She asked how we found out about the show and I answered that we try to keep an eye out for artists who perform in Philly and attend the shows of the ones we like. I had been on Catie’s website and listened to some of her stuff a few days before the show and based on that, I was pretty sure we would enjoy her music. I think she’d also be an interesting interview if I ever got the opportunity.
So add Catie Curtis to the list of storytellers like Dan May, Mutlu, Lizanne Knott, Carsie Blanton and Anj Granieri. Not only are they artists who are easy on the ears, I like to have their CDs in my car to keep me company.
- Name: Mike Morsch
- Location: Fort Washington, Pennsylvania
Mike Morsch has been executive editor of Montgomery Newspapers since 2003. His award-winning humor column "Outta Leftfield" has been recognized by the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, the Suburban Newspapers of America and the Philadelphia Press Association.
- Never leave a ballgame early
- The special moments of the DIMU party
- A manly man bus trip
- Father 10th Man and his holy water
- One more run at fun in the sun
- Tailgating with Larry the Cable Guy
- Stretch limousine on fire
- Whoa-oh, China Grove!
- It's nice to be nice to the nice
- A tip of the cap to Lady Luck
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