Published on: May 15, 2009
I got a number of emails last Friday from MNB
users who wanted to know – with varying levels of indignation – why I had not seen the new ‘Star Trek” movie on Thursday night and report back about it on Friday.
Normally, that would have been my intention. But believe it or not, I was doing something more important.
Last week, I picked up my almost 20-year-old son from Ohio Wesleyan University, where he has just completed his sophomore year, and made the drive home. Alas, we did not go directly.
We left Columbus and first drove south to Cincinnati…where on Thursday night we visited Great American Ballpark to watch the Cincinnati Reds beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-5.
Friday, we drove north to Cleveland…where we visited what used to be called “The Jake,” and now is called Progressive Field, and watched the Indians play a terrific game against the Detroit Tigers (though they lost 1-0 in a pitchers’ duel that was mesmerizing). We also squeezed in a quick visit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which was terrific. And finally, we drove east to Philadelphia to watch the Phillies play the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park, and lose 6-2.
I cannot imagine a better way to spend time with my son. It wasn’t just the time at the ballparks, though that was great; it was the time in the car, over meals, even in a variety of hotel rooms…talking about important things (how the Mets will finish this year) and less important things (pretty much everything else).
It is hard to compare the ballparks, because each had its own charms. The seats at Great American Ballpark were the best, thanks to the considerable pull of an MNB
user who offered us some of the best seats in the house; we also loved the Machine Room Grille, a sports bar and restaurant that sits over the left field corner and features not just great food and beer, but also some of the nicest bartenders you’re likely to run into.
Progressive Field seemed like it had the most mileage on it of the three, but it wears its age well…and they do an excellent job of spotlighting the Indians’ long history. (By the way, the only problem that I had with the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is that it closes at 5:30 pm…which seems more like the time that a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame would open. It is a definitely a visit that requires 4-5 hours, just for future reference…)
And Citizens Bank Park? Well, it probably is the stadium style that I prefer – I like brick and steel construction rather than cement. But it has by the far the worst location of the three – so far from downtown that it almost is in Delaware. And, it has Phillies fans…who spent the entire game obsessing about the Mets (who had won earlier in the day) even though the Phillies were engaged in a perfectly good game against the Braves. (Being Mets fans, it was hard to have a rooting interest in either team…we chose the Braves – very, very quietly – just because the Phillies fans surrounding us were so annoying.)
But I wasn't there just to compare ballparks, or hot dogs, or beer styles. I was there to spend time with my son. Hard to imagine that in just a few weeks he won’t be a teenager anymore, that this little boy I used to coach in Little League has grown into quite a man.
Hard to imagine, and yet pleasant to think about. As parents, there are thousands of ways in which we can and do screw up our kids. It’s good to see when one actually survives the experience.
Days to treasure. Hopefully, we’ll do it again soon.
So, that is why we didn’t see “Star Trek” last Thursday night. But on Sunday, once we got home, the whole family went…
And as far as this long time “Trek” fan is concerned, the new movie is wonderful. Not the “Star Trek” of my youth, of course, but that’s okay…they captured enough of what I loved about it when I was a kid and managed to give it a modern spin that serves the franchise well. The performances are uniformly excellent, and if they played with canon a bit too much for some traditionalists, well, they’ll just have to get over it.
Besides, Leonard Nimoy – the original Spock – has given the new take on “Star Trek” his imprimatur…and that’s good enough for me.
This isn’t to say that ‘Star Trek” is a perfect movie. It isn’t. There are a couple of plot holes that one could drive a starship through…if one chose to. And there are moments that are a little too slapstick for my sensibility. (Though if this film were created with my sensibility in mind, it probably would not have generated almost $80 million in sales the first weekend it was open.) But “Star Trek” was always more about possibilities than realities – it posited a universe in which peace and brotherhood between species was not only possible, but achievable. We’re living in a time now of diminished expectations and petty bickering, and “Star Trek” always has had the audacity to suggest that we are better than this, that we can survive lowest common denominator thinking and, in ways both physical and spiritual, reach for the stars. That we can live long, and prosper.
(As you can tell, I’m a “Star Trek” guy. Always have been. Always have preferred it to “Star Wars.” I can even do the Vulcan hand salute.)
I can’t wait to see it again. You see, the rumor is that somewhere in the film, there is a Tribble to be found. And I plan to keep seeing it until I find it.
BTW…have you seen “Fringe,” the new television series made by the same guys responsible for the new “Star Trek”? If not, find some way to catch up on the season’s episodes…watch them in order…and prepare to have your mind blown. “Fringe” is sort of like “The X-Files,” but on steroids…and I found myself gripped by pretty much every episode. Anna Torv plays an FBI agent investigating phenomena related to so-called “fringe science,” John Noble plays the quite literally mad scientists she recruits to help her, and Joshua Jackson plays the scientist’s ne'er-do-well son, brought in to help control the father he hasn’t seen in decades. (One of the unexpected pleasures of the series has been watching this father-son relationship develop…though recent events on the show suggest that there is more here than meets the eye.)
“Fringe” is terrific television. Check it out.
I have two questions.
1. Who cares what Miss California thinks about anything
2. Who cares whether Miss California
keeps her crown or not?
Talk about news that is utterly useless…and that took up way too much time on all the cable news channels this week.
My wine of the week is a special one: the 2007 Bramble Bump Red from JM Cellars in Washington State – which is a delicious blend of 33 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 31 percent Merlot, 15 percent Syrah, 13 percent Mouvedre, and eight percent Petite Vedot. I’ve never had any of this vintner’s wines before, and this was delicious…
rich and smooth and just about perfect.
That’s it for this week.
Have a great weekend…and I’ll see you Monday.