Pittsburgh Pirates Updates

So I’m already getting a little bored/not sure what direction to go in with this theme. So I figured I’d just stick to talking about what I know best, sports! Okay, I don’t know as much as I would like to but it’s something I enjoy talking about and there’s a lot of news to uncover in it. So right now, I’m going to talk a little about the Pittsburgh Pirates. The organization was fairly respected back when Barry Bonds was on the team. But it gradually went down over the years and didn’t show any signs of hope until a hot prospect from Florida named Andrew McCutchen began playing for the Pirates and they really ended up building the team around him. He’s definitely a star and this season, he’s started out as good as ever, except Saturday night he set himself out of the game in the 9th inning due to a knee injury. However, he’s shown that his knee is better and has started since that night. McCutchen has previously started out pretty much every season ready to go and hasn’t in general been setback by injuries. Fingers crossed that this lucky trend continues.

We all know the potential that McCutchen shows and has shown these past 7 seasons, there are also other players on the Pirates team that should also be singled out. The Pirates have one of the best outfields in the MLB right now. One of those spots obviously belongs to Andrew McCutchen but younger players Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco take the other two spots. Marte is one impressive player and has showed tremendous growth as he enters his third full season of playing in the big leagues. He has a ridiculously high number of home runs and steals, plus his on base percentage is also good. Polanco was one of the best minor league players and moving him up to the big leagues was a smart move to say the least. He’s still getting his footing in the big leagues but that doesn’t say he isn’t impressive, he certainly is and he probably has the most room left to grow out of these three guys.

Josh Harrison is one of my personal favorite players besides McCutchen. Harrison has never been a big all-star or a guy who’s received a lot of hype. He’s a player who worked his way out of the minors gradually. I remember him a couple of seasons ago only being in the game when he was a pinch runner during the games. He’s come miles since those days. However, he still has been thrown around to practically every position out there on the field, which goes to show you how adaptable and talented Josh is. He’s just a quality hitter who has the ability to sneak up when you least expect it and get a home run out of you. He’s certainly a big time threat and I love how humble he is.

There are many other players that I want to talk about. I’m just going to mention some other key players including: Pedro Alvarez, Jordy Mercer, and Neil Walker. These are all guys that are okay and pretty good infielders (Alvarez is the one who notably has some crazy random errors every now and then) who are even better hitters. Walker and Mercer aren’t known for being as powerful as Alvarez (nicknamed El Toro because he’s so strong and awesome) but they are still solid players that the Pirates depend on. The Pirates are still working out the whole catcher situation since losing one of the best catchers around Russell Martin.

I haven’t gotten the chance to touch on all of the starting, relief pitchers, and closing pitchers that I really want to. So I’m just going to save a whole post to talk about that situation. But this is what I’ve come up with so far so I hope that gives you an introduction to the Pirates that you may (probably not) want to know in case you end up watching a game or something like that. But anyway, I’ll shut up now but thank you for reading my rambles!

Best Podcasts

Podcasts are pretty much the big thing right now. Here are some of the ones that are really worth listening to. There’s thousands of podcasts but these are the ones in particular that are important and awesome. Check them out!

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Fresh Air is the first podcast that I ever really listened to. I remember being in the sixth grade listening to Terry Gross interview Dave Grohl about the new Foo Fighters album. That was also my introduction to Nirvana. Grohl told stories about his experiences as a drummer for the band and stories about the late Kurt Cobain. It was cool to listen to and has stuck with me for a long time now. I continue listening to this podcast because the guests are always so popular and the interviews always feel really genuine and they aren’t ever boring.

invisibillia

Invibilia is a podcast from NPR that’s actually pretty recent. They’ve completed their first season and it wasn’t nearly as long as I hoped it would be. However, every episode taught me about things I never have previously thought about. Every story told on this podcast is just as interesting as the last. Prepare to be enchanted with all the information this podcast provides listeners with.

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This is easily my favorite music podcast. I love All Songs Considered but I feel like this choice is under the radar and should be recognized. Each episode revolves around some kind of aspect to music. They only talk about topics they feel that no one else is. They uncover things about songs that were written in a dream to political songs to backing tracks. The episodes are fairly short so it’s easy to listen to a bunch of them at once in order to catch up.

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I couldn’t leave Serial off a post about the best podcasts. Serial is obviously the most downloaded podcast of all time for a reason. The first season of this storytelling podcast is about the true story of Adnan Syed who was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend in 2000. He was sentenced to life in prison but a family friend of his contacted Sarah Koenig about looking further into the case. Koenig discovered that there’s a lot of flaws in the case to convict Syed but if he didn’t do it then who did? The way the podcast is structured is one of it’s serious strengths. Each episode focuses on a different aspect in the case and it’s impossible to keep one opinion throughout the whole season. One episode you’ll be sure of Syed’s innocence then the next episode will make you sure that he’s guilty. If you love a good story, listen to Serial. You won’t regret it.

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Criminal is a podcast kind of similar to Serial. However, the episodes are a lot shorter and it focuses on a different criminal case each episode. The stories are all incredible and compelling. The only problem is that there’s not more episodes available. You’re bound to get hooked on the episodes that are currently released.

selected shorts

Selected Shorts is a pretty great podcast. Each episode centers around one central theme. Then famous performers, actors, and actresses read these stories in front of a live audience. The short stories are always beautiful and some of them will be familiar to you but not all of them will be. The cool thing about selected shorts is getting to hear these stories come to life by such brilliant and hilarious performers.

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I’m on a role with storytelling podcasts so why stop now? The thing different about this one from the other storytelling podcasts is that it’s true personal stories. These performers- some famous and some not, tell stories from their personal lives. It’s equally heartbreaking and heartwarming. One of my personal favorite episodes is the story actor Ethan Hawke tells. He talks about his mom’s ex husband Michael and how he was a secret influence in his life. It falls into the category of both heartbreaking and heartwarming because Hawke desperately craved for the attention of Michael and he was a straight up jerk. It makes a hilarious story though. Every episode of The Moth is different but the personal quality of it is always there.

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My brother made me check out this podcast and I don’t regret it. It’s more than just mildly offensive. The podcast is a lot about sex but it talks a lot about what’s going on in the world. KFC is always up to date and it’s always absolutely hilarious. They also had a bunch of episodes dedicated to Serial because KFC was so obsessed with it. The opinions they had about Serial was laugh out loud funny and I recommend that be your introduction to the podcast.

 

Serial Podcast Link Roundup

Serial has become an internet phenomenon since it was released earlier this fall. As a fan of the podcast since the beginning, it’s been hard for me not to share my opinions about the case. I’ve decided to provide my own sort of masterpost of links that I’ve found related to different aspects of the case. Some of these sources were linked up on Reddit, while others I discovered while searching on Google.

Stories about Jay:

Reddit pretty much exploded when The Intercept posted the first interview with Jay, the key witness who’s testimony was the only evidence that put Adnan behind bars for life. Note: Part two should be posted later on today which I will add to the list.

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/12/29/exclusive-interview-jay-wilds-star-witness-adnan-syed-serial-case-pt-1/

http://gawker.com/jay-from-serial-speaks-gives-new-timeline-of-hae-min-l-1676148300

http://m.dailytelegraph.com.au/entertainment/serial-podcast-witness-jay-wilds-breaks-silence-youve-got-to-help-me-or-im-going-to-tell-the-cops-about-you/story-fni0b7jg-1227170153928

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/culture/things-we-learned-serial-jay-interview

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2015/01/01/jay_from_serial_interview_in_the_intercept_part_3_wilds_discusses_reddit.html

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/12/30/exclusive-jay-part-2/

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/12/31/jay-speaks-part-3/

http://observer.com/2014/12/heres-how-the-intercept-landed-serials-star-witness-for-his-first-interview/

http://mashable.com/2015/01/01/jay-serial-stories/?utm_cid=mash-com-fb-main-link

Parodies:

http://entertainthis.usatoday.com/2014/12/23/serial-parody/

http://reductress.com/post/after-serial-police-departments-replace-staff-with-female-npr-hosts/

Law Blogs- Provides well researched and credible information from sources that know what they are talking about in terms of the law aspect of the case.

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/evidenceprof/2014/12/ive-posted-24-entriessarah-koenigsserial-podcast-which-deals-withthe-1999-prosecution-of-17-year-old-adnan-syed-for-murderin.html

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/evidenceprof/2014/12/ive-posted-25-entriessarah-koenigsserial-podcast-which-deals-withthe-1999-prosecution-of-17-year-old-adnan-syed-for-murderin.html

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/evidenceprof/2015/01/the-serial-podcast-what-if-neither-of-them-did-it-marylands-new-dna-standard.html

http://www.lawblogs.net/go/law-practice-management-lessons-learned-from-serials-m-cristina-gutierrez

http://viewfromll2.com/2014/12/29/serial-the-maryland-court-of-special-appeals-unpublished-decision-denying-adnans-appeal-in-2003/

Hae Min Lee

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1999-03-12/news/9903120122_1_min-lee-lacrosse-woodlawn

http://flavorwire.com/493304/what-do-we-really-know-about-hae-min-lee-serials-beautiful-dead-korean-girl

http://www.dailydot.com/geek/serial-hae-min-lee-scholarship-fund/

http://vagendamagazine.com/2014/12/it-starts-with-a-body-why-its-important-to-keep-questioning-the-serial-podcast/

http://www.shakesville.com/2014/12/serial.html

http://thinkprogress.org/culture/2014/11/20/3595208/the-ethics-of-serial/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/11304281/Serial-podcast-How-a-schoolgirls-murder-became-entertainment.html

http://obviweretheladies.com/2014/12/19/we-shouldnt-forget-the-truth-about-serial/

Adnan Syed

http://mashable.com/2014/12/01/adnan-syed-appeal-serial/

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1999-03-01/news/9903010074_1_min-lee-young-lee-woodlawn

https://pdf.yt/d/PUUcby-AZWfEhcuW

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/01/serial-adnan-syed-exonerated-new-trial

http://m.usmagazine.com/entertainment/news/adnan-syed-convict-featured-in-serial-podcast-getting-appeal-case-2014312

Rabia Chaudry – family friend who first brought the case to Sarah Koenig.

She keeps the blog “Split The Moon” where she frequently blogs about Adnan and his case. It’d be difficult to list all of them, I just listed several that provide a lot of interesting information.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/crime/blog/bs-md-syed-murder-case-20141010-story.html#page=2

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/splitthemoon/2014/10/life-plus-30-murder-lies-the-anatomy-of-a-wrongful-conviction/

http://www.splitthemoon.com/where-it-all-began/#more-311

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/splitthemoon/2014/10/not-totally-loosey-goosey/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/24/rabia-chaudry-serial_n_6377442.html

Sarah Koenig

http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/sarah-koenig-on-serial-20141024?page=3

http://www.vulture.com/2014/10/serials-sarah-koenig-on-her-hit-podcast.html

http://time.com/3541264/serial-this-american-life-sarah-koenig/

http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2014/12/18/371636304/sarah-koenig-on-serial-i-think-something-went-wrong-with-this-case

There’s tons and tons more I could post but I decided to stay away from the specific evidence that was in the case. These are just some articles that example the general aspect of the case and the hype surrounding the podcast itself. This will be updated some, let me know if I’ve left any imperative links off.

Gilmore Girls Season 1 Recap

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I’ve decided to do a new feature on my blog where I recap the shows that I’m watching. The main new/important thing about these recaps is that I’ll summarize the episode and then I will list the important characters in the episode and how they’ve grown or annoyed me in this episode. I’m currently watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix for the first time. I just finished watching Season 1 and I have tons of thoughts and feelings that I wanted to share. It’s difficult to summarize 21 episodes so from now on, I’ll do my best to recap the most important episodes.

Summary: Lorelai is a single mom raising her 16 year old daughter in the town of Stars Hollow. Lorelai got pregnant when she was 16 and didn’t want to marry the man who got her pregnant so she ran off with her baby and hardly had much communication with her parents for 16 years. Rory implies that she has in fact met her grandparents before, but only on holidays. Lorelai manages the Inn in town and has hopes of starting her own with her friend Sookie, who runs the kitchen. Rory dreams of going to Harvard and applies for the prestigious private school Chilton. Rory gets in and Lorelai discovers that she won’t be allowed to attend the school unless she pays the expensive tuition fee. Lorelai doesn’t have enough money on the spot, so her only option is to turn to her parents that she’s promised herself not to go to for anything. Her parents agree to giving her the money as long as Lorelai and Rory have weekly family dinners with them.

Basically, the rest of the season is Lorelai and her troubles with her parents. Rory getting her first official boyfriend. Rory having troubles fitting in at her new school with Paris Geller, an overachiever just like Rory. Lorelai ends up dating Rory’s English teacher Andrew, hooks up with Rory’s father when he comes to town, and has some serious chemistry with Luke Danes who runs his own diner that Lorelai is a frequent customer to quench her coffee addiction.

Lorelai: Lorelai is an extremely quirky character. She makes tons of pop culture references every episode. Her attempt to ease the tension between her mother and her is always humorous. Lorelai is constantly making jokes that her mother simply doesn’t get. She’s also a lot more like the child than Rory is. Lorelai has to constantly be entertained and she’s very much a junk food addict and general extrovert. It’s entertaining to watch her banter with Luke and pretty much every other character on the show. Her lines are always catchy and one of a kind. Her commitment issues aren’t as bad at the end of the season so I think she’s already grown a little this first season.

Rory: Rory is a crazy smart 18 year old who brings a book with her everywhere she goes. She’s also well cultured thanks to her mother and her love for pop culture. Rory just has one close friend named Lane who she has to leave behind when she starts attending Chilton but they still stay close. She meets Dean, a new boy who notices that she’s always reading. They hit it off and start talking for awhile. Eventually, he gives her her first kiss in the middle of the supermarket aisle which is where he works. Rory is so socially awkward when it comes to Dean, like it’s seriously painful. He even breaks up with her because homegirl freezes when he tells her he loves her. Overall, Rory is a great girl who really starts to mature throughout this season.

Emily: She’s Lorelai’s rich and uptight mother that Lorelai ran away from as quickly as she could. Emily feels like Lorelai abandoned her and cut her off from her only granddaughter. She gets a little over excited whenever she starts to pay for her Chilton tuition and becomes a little bit over involved. But she has the best of intentions. Her banter with Lorelai is hilarious. This is just a brilliant character and I love her. I think she brings a lot of depth to the role besides just being the snobby rich old lady.

Richard: Lorelai’s father who hasn’t gotten over the fact that Lorelai left just yet. He loves Rory and enjoys spending time and they even bond together during the first season. Richard enjoys the fact that Rory is such an intellectual girl who can hold a conversation. He wanted the best for Lorelai’s future but since that didn’t happen, he still has that dream for Rory.

Sookie: Lorelai’s hilariously awkward best friend who’s always messing something up in the kitchen. She’s always there for Rory and Lorelai and she’s a comic relief. I really love how much her character grew from hardly being able to talk to guys to being in a relationship with Jackson.

Lane: Rory’s best friend who has a strict mother. Poor Lane has to even change out of her preppy clothes into a much preferred t-shirt for a rock band. Lane is just as cultured as Rory and can hold her own when it comes to music, books, TV shows. My favorite moment on the show is when she goes out with Dean’s friend and is attempting to hold a conversation with him. Her attempts at referencing pop culture was definitely extremely similar to all of my opinions about it.

Luke: The cynical guy who runs a diner and is always wearing a baseball cap backwards. Luke and Lorelai have some classic banter and it’s hilarious to watch. Luke is just a really great character who is definitely more complex and it’ll be exciting to watch this unravel throughout the series as we learn more about him.

Dean: Rory’s first real boyfriend. He’s very gorgeous and has awesome hair. He also appreciates Rory’s book knowledge which is a major positive sign in any boyfriend.

Paris: Smart girl who views Rory as serious competition from the first day Rory starts attending Chilton. The two girls have their ups and downs throughout the series. And we realize that Paris has issues with her rich mother and her father that cheated on her. She also is pining after a popular boy who simply dates her to get to Rory. Unfortunately for Rory, the season ends with Paris viewing Rory poorly. She’s jealous of Rory for catching the eye of the guy she’s liked since forever and vows to make her life miserable.