Dear Samantha.2

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fullsizerender2Samantha at 9 months, the morning of the Chiefs’ dramatic Sunday night win over the Broncos.

Dear Samantha,

It happened again.

(I say ‘again’ because as you may remember, I wrote to you when you were a mere 6 3/4 months old about a comeback win by my beloved Red Sox. They overcame enormous odds as they were one out away from defeat (5-2) by that ‘Evil Empire’ – the Yunkees – in the bottom of the ninth. Then, when most people had assumed the game was all but over, they rallied and won 7-5. See Dear Samantha.)

Last night in Denver it wasn’t baseball. It was football, which just happens to be your dad’s ‘life.’

The Kansas City Chiefs (your dad’s employers) were playing one of their big rivals, the Denver Broncos, in a Sunday night game. Both teams had records of 7-3.

The lead changed hands eight times (including being tied twice) before the game was decided in Overtime. Here’s what happened:

2nd Q – 6:16 – Chiefs get a safety and lead 2-0.

2nd Q – 6:05 – Chiefs’ rookie Tyreek Hill runs back a Bronco’s free kick (safety kick) for a touchdown and lead 9-0.

2nd Q – 1:48 – Denver kicks a field goal. Score now 9-3, Chiefs.

3rd Q – 7:38 – Denver passes for a TD & kicks the extra point, now lead the Chiefs, 10-9.

3rd Q – :30 – Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill scores again on a pass from QB Alex Smith and with the extra point, Chiefs retake the lead 16-10.

4th Q – 7:47 – Denver passes for a TD and with the extra point, retake the lead 17-16.

4th Q – 3:02 – Denver passes for another TD and with the extra point, extend their lead to 24-16, with only three minutes remaining in the game. Many fans thought the game was all but over at this point.

4th Q – :12 remaining, the Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill appears stopped at the one yard line, but a review of the play shows he only had possession of the ball once in was down in the end zone. With rookie Hills’ third touch down, the Chiefs are now only two points behind the Broncos, 24-22.

4th Q – :12 – Chiefs go for a two point conversion, and Alex Smith successfully throws the ball into the end zone for a completed pass. Score now tied 24-24 as regulation  time ends.

Overtime: Denver wins the toss and marches down the field.

OT – 8:51 – Denver kicks a field goal and regains the lead 27-24.

NFL rules say the opposing team has one possession to tie the score or go ahead. Otherwise, Denver wins.

OT – 4:19 – The Chiefs march down the field and kick a field goal. Score tied again, now 27-27.

NFL rules state the next team to score any points wins, unless the 15 minute Overtime clock runs out, in which case the game will end in a tie.

OT – 1:08 – Denver decides to try for a 62 yard field go to win. They miss. Chiefs take over.

OT – :05 – Chiefs move the ball from thei Broncos’ 48 yard line to get close enough to try a field goal. Their field goal kicker Cairo Santos hits the left upright, and the ball somehow goes through the uprights. The Chiefs go ahead for the win, 30-27 as the game ends.

Now the reason I’ve written all of this out for you is to once again remind you that no matter what it seems like might happen, you never leave until the game is over. There is always the chance your team can win at the very end.

The Chiefs were actually outplayed in this game as the Bronco’s had more passing yards and more running yards (464 – 273) than the Chiefs. Several times it seemed as the Broncos were within seconds of winning the game.

But in the end, the Chiefs did not give up, and they were able to win in the final five seconds.

In baseball, in football, in other sports, and in life, remember, you always have a chance to be victorious if you do not give up.

Love,

GrandPapa

PS –

To see a replay of the highlights from last night’s game, including all the scoring, use this link. It will take you about 12 minutes to see the highlights of the game, and it is exciting to see.

PPS –

Both of your parents were at the game. Your dad was there because it’s his job, and he loves to watch the Chiefs’ play.

Your mom left you with Nonna and GrandPapa and flew from DC to Denver to be with your dad and to see the game.

Can you imagine how excited they were when the Chiefs won? Be sure to ask them about this game. They will never forget it.

Three New Films to Consider

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Of these three films we have seen over the last couple of weeks, two we highly recommend. One is in the theaters now, and the other will be released Dec. 2.

Jackie ***** – (Ellen *****)

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If you were alive and aware of the political scene when the Kennedys were in the White House, don’t miss this film. And if your knowledge of them, especially First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, came after the assassination of the JFK, I suspect you will also find the film intriguing.

Just as Stephen Spielberg took a brief period in the life of Lincoln to give us a portrait of a man who was President, Chilean Director Pablo Larrain takes a ten day period to portray the most admired First Lady of the 20th century. The story takes place around JFK’s assassination and is interlaced with reported footage from the era.

No matter how much you may know or think you know about Jacqueline Kennedy, you will gain insights into her world as it comes crashing down. The film tells the story of how she deals with the grief of her husband’s unexpected death, of how she works to enhance his legacy, and, most fascinating of all, it explores in detail her often conflicting thoughts and feelings about her husband, his presidency, and her role as First Lady.

Natalie Portman’s portrayal of Jackie is captivating. While neither she nor the other actors may closely physically resemble the characters they are representing, Portman’s performance is hypnotizing. She is on the screen virtually every moment of the film, and you feel almost as if you are inside her head the entire time. This is an award winning performance.

Jackie is scheduled for limited release on Dec. 2, but I’m sure that will be followed by wide availability. Put it on your ‘to see’ list.

The Eagle Huntress ***** (Ellen *****)

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This documentary is worth seeing for the cinematography alone. It is filmed in the Altai Mountains of Western Mongolia, and Simon Niblett’s photography is simply spectacular.

But the film is also enchanting for the true story that it tells. Aisholpan is a 13 year old girl who wants to follow in her Kazahk family’s tradition of becoming an eagle hunter. With the strong support of her father, who believes a girl can do anything a boy can, he helps her capture, train, and hunt with an eagle of her own.

The Eagle Huntress is an unusual film that successfully captures a way of life that is unfamiliar to most of us. You will not only be entertained by the story, but you will also learn about traditional Mongolian culture, landscape, and customs.

This film is currently in the theaters, tho I suspect it might not stay around too long. See it while you can.

The Edge of Seventeen *** 1/2 – (Ellen ***)

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While this coming of age movie has received quite favorable reviews from both critics and audiences, I can’t say I found much new or compelling.

It’s the story of a high school junior, Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld), who is kind of awkward, especially in relationship to her star older brother Darien. Things get difficult for Nadine when her best, and only, friend starts to date her brother. It’s a classic — and good — coming of age story with some contemporary twists, but it didn’t break new ground.

Woodey Harrelson is delightful in his role as Nadine’s main adult confidant and safety valve.

The Edge of Seventeen is in the theaters now.

**          **          **          **          **          **          **

If you missed my Fall Movie Reviews, a post about 15 films we’ve seen since summer, most at the Philadelphia Film Festival, check out those mini-reviews. Many of them are now out in the theaters or will be soon.

Calling for Your Most Favorite Reads in 2016

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“A Best Friend Is Someone Who Gives Me a Book I’ve Never Read”- A. Lincoln

It’s that time of year again — when I request you share with other readers of MillersTime your most favorite books read over the past 12 months.

Here are a few guidelines that may help in drawing your list and in making my compilation easier:

*When I ask for your Most Favorite Reads of 2016, I’m seeking fiction and/or nonfiction books that stood out for you above all you’ve read in the past year. What have been the most enjoyable, the most important, the most thought provoking, the best written, the ones you may go back and read again, the ones you reread this year, and/or the ones you have suggested others read?

* You are welcome to send just one title or up to a half dozen. (Please limit your contributions to six as it takes me many hours to compile the list. For some of you this request may be difficult, but remember the request — MOST Favorite Reads of 2016.)

* Update: At the request of some of you, I’m adding a new category this year. If you have listened to a book(s) in one of the various audio formats, Books on Tape, CDs, Audible, etc., you may add up to three of those if they meet your definition of books “you’ve enjoyed the most in 2016.” This is in addition to the six you (may) have listed. Be sure to identify which ‘books’ on your list were ones you enjoyed audibly.

* List the title, the author, and indicate whether it is fiction (F) or nonfiction (NF).

* If you are willing, please write a sentence or two about why each particular book made it to your list for this year. If you prefer not to add this, no problem, but I’ve found readers enjoy the comments and use them in choosing books to read for the coming year.

* Don’t be concerned about whether others will have the same book(s) on their lists. If we get a number of similar titles, that’s just an indication of the power of a particular book/author.

* Your books do not have to be ones that were written and/or published in 2016, just ones that you read over the past year. If you participated this year in sending titles of books you enjoyed in the first half of 2016, feel free to include one or more of those if they make it to your list of most favorites in 2016.

* Send me your list in an email (Samesty84@gmail.com) by Dec. 18th  so I will be able to post the entire list at the end of the year. (If you send me your list soon, you may be able to avoid my constant email reminders to do so.)

To see previous years’ lists, click on any of these links: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.

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Final Two Baseball Contest Winners

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And the winner you have chosen for Contest #2 (Make a prediction about something that will happen during the 2016 MLB season) is:

“The Sox will sweep the Yankees in New York, and the Yankees will sweep the Sox in Boston.” (Ed. Sox took four straight in NY in Sept., and Yunkees returned the favor by taking three straight in Boston two weeks later.)

Steve Veltri submitted that prediction and his prize is to join me in DC in terrific seats for a Nats game of his choice. If Steve cannot make it to DC in the next year, he can negotiate with me for two tickets to a game he can attend elsewhere.

And the winner you have chosen for the Extra Credit question (Make up your own question and answer it) is:

“Who will win the NL MVP. Kris Bryant.”

Larry Longenecker submitted the question and answered it correctly. That question will appear in the 2017 MillersTime Baseball Contests, and Larry wins his choice of one of these books: The 20 Best Books Ever Written About Baseball.

Summary of 2016 Winners

Contest #1 – Dawn Wilson

Contest #2 – Steve Veltri

Contest #3 – Whitney Limm

Contest #4 – Dawn Wilson

Contest #5 – Chris Bourtourline

Contest #6 – Tie: Matt Wax-Krell and Nick Nyhart

Extra Credit: Larry Longenecker

All of the above win the ‘coveted MillersTime Basebal Contest Winner” T-shirt in addition to their individual contest prize.

If you won and have not sent me your T-shirt size and home address, please do so.

If your win calls for a choice of a book or a game for 2017, please be in touch with me so we can work out those details.

And finally, I’m always looking for feedback about these contests. Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.

Just a bit Over Four Months until Opening Day!

 

Post Election Reading

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In previous posts, I indicated it was time to “listen” to what the election was telling us. Mostly, I have stopped spending so much time on social media (particularly Twitter and Facebook) and also have largely been staying away from some of the more mainstream media which was so inaccurate leading up to election.

I am posting below links to a number of articles of varying lengths and on various topics that have caught my attention and interest.

The End of Identity Liberalism, by Mark Lillanov, NYTimes, Nov. 18, 2016.  A short article that speaks to one area the Democrats need to consider. Bernie Sanders said something similar to this yesterday.

How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul, Matt Stoller, The Atlantic, Oct. 24, 2016. A lengthy article that I think Democrats need to read and discuss as they/we consider how to rebuild a party that has lost what it once stood for. (Stoller once worked with Ellen at the Sunlight Foundation, and I invariably find his thinking and writing thoughtful and valuable.)

Behind the “Make America Great” the Koch Agenda Returns with a Vengence, Nov. 21, 2016. Not as lengthy as the article above but useful in understanding that money did influence this election and that what is ahead is worrisome for those who have concerns about the Koch agendas.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and a Culture in Crisis, by J.D. Vance, 272 pages, Harper, June 28, 2016. This memoir has received a lot of attention as Vance writes from the “inside” about a part of our country that only now is getting significant attention. Vance grew up in the Middletown OH (the Rust Belt) and in Johnston, KY (an Appalachian town) and writes with intimate knowledge of one portion of America that has deservedly gained much attention in this election. Both Ellen and I found the book valuable.

J.D. Vance, the False Prophet of Blue America, by Sarah Jones, New Republic, Nov. 17, 2016.  A very short article calling into question some of the conclusions Vance draws in the book mentioned above.

Revised 2016 Baseball Contest Result

Because of a mistake I made, as was pointed out to me by Matt Wax-Krell, I erred in saying that Nick Nyhart edged out Matt Wax-Krell* in Contest # 6.

Matt said the Cubs would beat the Red Sox (not the White Sox) in the WS. Thus, he ties with Nick who said the Cubs would beat the Rangers in the WS. I have corrected my earlier post on the results of the contests to reflect this change.

Thus, both Nick and Matt each will get one WS ticket for 2017.

In an ideal world, the Sox will be in that WS and Nick and Matt will sit together, and both root for the Sox.

*Matt is my cousin’s son and has been attending Sox games, sometimes with myself and my daughter, since they were both 7 years old. Family, however, had nothing to do with the ‘revised’ decision. A review of Matt’s emailed predictions clearly shows he said Red Sox, not White Sox.

PS – If you have not already voted in the two contests that are to be decided by the votes of all of you on this mailing list, please do so as currently the voting is very close in each contest.

See: Vote for the Best Predictions in These Two Contests.

Results of 2016 MillersTime Baseball Contests

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Two of the seven contests, Contest #2 and the ‘Extra Credit’ contest have yet to be decided as those winners are to be determined by the votes of contestants. If you have not yet voted, please do by Tuesday, Nov. 22. You can see the two contests’ finalists and vote HERE. Please vote in both those contests.

Contest #1: Pick your favorite MLB team (or team you know the most) and answer the following questions to prove whether you’re just a homer or whether you really know something about baseball.

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What Democrats Need to Hear

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The morning after the election I wrote, “The country spoke yesterday. And we must listen.”

For Democrats particularly, but also for some (many?) Republicans and Independents, the article below is one example of the thinking, understanding, and writing I meant when I said we need to listen. (Hat Tip to Richard Margolies for pointing out this article to me.)

Read: What So Many People Don’t Get About the White Working Class, by Joan C. Williams, Harvard Business Review, Nov. 10, 2016.

Williams is Distinguished Professor of Law and Founding Director of the Center of WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College in Law.

As always, please consider adding your thoughts in the Comment section of this post.

Vote for the Best Predictions in These Two 2016 Baseball Contests

Two of the Baseball Contests from 2016 must be decided by MillersTime readers:

Please vote for one winner in each of the two contests listed below. You can put your votes in the Comment section of this post or send them to me at Samesty84@gmail.com. And of course you can vote for your own prediction if it is listed below.

Votes must be sent in by Tuesday, November 22.

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When Politics Interferes with Friendships and Family

Two years ago I ‘lost’ a friend I had had for 50 years over an issue that involved politics, i.e., over differing views about how each of us saw an issue that one of us felt deeply passionate about. It was a painful loss then and remains a painful loss.

Now, the split that has emerged in the country from the presidential election is one that I see and hear spilling into friendships and into families.  I personally don’t want to repeat the experience I had two years ago, and similarly, I am deeply concerned about the conflicts I see emerging on both a national level and personal and family levels.

I don’t have any answers about how we might respond to these current differences nor how we might prevent these conflicts from splitting friends and splitting families.

Do we simply ignore them and pretend they don’t exist?

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“What Do We Do Now?”

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As we near the election day ‘finish line,’ I suspect no matter who wins, our country will remain divided and the frustrations and dysfunctions that have been exposed will continue unless we learn there are some larger changes we need to make.

For me, one of the better essays on where we’re headed, what we can possibly learn, and how we might approach and respond to what is occurring is Michael Slaby’s recent essay. It’s short and seems to me to hit the nail on the head.

See: What Do We Do Now, by Michael Slaby, Medium.com

Fall Movie ‘Reviews’ – 15 Films

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For this post, you’re gonna need a pencil and piece of paper (or whatever you use these days to jot things down, i.e., movie titles that you want to remember or want to add to your ‘to see list.’)

Of the 15 films mini-reviewed below, almost half of them are now out in the theaters or will be out within the next month or two. Most of these we saw recently at a film festival in Philadelphia.

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Why Some of Us Love Baseball

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Grind: Extra Fine (Small Circles & Effect: High Contrast), Brew: Color Gels (1/2 Pic & Full Blended Circles), Serve: Stirred (Flash Burn Tone & Brown Bag Texture)

Photo by Ellen Miller

Great playoffs already.

Starting with two thrilling Wild Card games, moving on thru the losses of my beloved Sox and adopted Nats in their Division series, and to Indians and the Cubs deserved wins in the Championship series, we’ve already seen wonderful playoff baseball.

And tonight to the World Series, where along with the rest of the baseball world — except those who live in Cleveland and those who are related to the players and staff of the Indians — I too hope the Cubs win it all and give relief to all those who have suffered for the past 108 years.

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