Wednesday, November 24, 2010

2010 Beaujolais Nouveau: A return to classic

2010 Beaujolais Noveau
A return to classic, bygone Beaujolais

"Beaujolais Nouveau Day" is celebrated annually on the third Thursday of November with the release of a new year's product, often only a few weeks after harvest.  Beaujolais Nouveau is a lightweight red wine made from Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc grapes and is produced in the Beaujolais region of France.  It is intended for immediate drinking and not for investment.

I am happy to report that we bought two bottles of 2010 Beaujolais Nouveau last week to enjoy during the Thanksgiving holiday, purchased from Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant in Berkeley, Calif. ( ~ arguably, one of the outstanding wine merchants in the country, let alone just in the Bay Area.

The bottle (pictured) that we are currently drinking is from Cédric Vincent, which according to the Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant newsletter is "a return to the roots" ... "a return to classic, bygone Beaujolais, thanks to conditions that used to be typical but have since become rare: a long, cool growing season followed by a late harvest."

Enjoying a glass of Beaujolais Nouveau is simply a good excuse for a good time ~ and, a nice complement with any home-cooked meal, or to serve with Thanksgiving leftovers.


Photograph by Michael Dickens, copyright 2010.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Why not the Moon?

Fly me to the Moon
Let me play among the stars
Let me see what spring is like
on Jupiter and Mars
In other words, hold my hand
In other words, baby, kiss me.

From: "Fly Me to the Moon," lyrics by Bart Howard (1954), recorded by Frank Sinatra (1964) for the album It Might as Well Be Swing with the Count Basie Orchestra, arranged by Quincy Jones.

How high the Moon?

Friday marked the 41st anniversary of Apollo 12 astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean becoming the third and fourth humans to walk on the Moon as their Oceanus Procellarum (the "Ocean of Storms") landed on the lunar surface.  No longer unchartered space in the New Frontier, I guess man on the moon is a 20th century exploration ~ been there, done that. After all, we stopped sending our astronauts to the Moon in 1972.

Yet, those iconic images of man's first landing on the Moon, way back in 1969 ~ "The Eagle has landed" ~ will forever be with us.  Today, this isn't our grandfather's Moon.  Think of the technological clarity that exists now in the 21st century that didn't way back then. When Neil Armstrong first stepped onto the lunar surface, the video images were grainy at best and the audio transmission was extremely choppy.  Today, thanks to more modern satellite technology, the visuals that a Moon landing and walk on the lunar surface could produce would be stunning if not absolutely fabulous.

Tonight, there's a Full Moon in the sky ~ always a pretty sight on a crisp, clear night.  Last Thursday night, I couldn't help but spend a few minutes standing outside on our patio deck admiring a brightly lit, almost-Full Moon ~ and thinking to myself, for reasons neither philosophical or theological, but rather purely astronomical: "Why can't we revisit and explore the surface of the Moon?"

My watch read a quarter past six o'clock.  Although the conditions for viewing the Moon and gazing at the stars weren't picture perfect on that recent night ~ thanks to cloudy conditions that surrounded the Bay Area ~ still, I couldn't resist grabbing my digital camera to shoot some photographs of the Moon ... and dream.

In my dream on this imperfect night, the perfect voice of Frank Sinatra could be heard singing.

Why not the Moon?

Photographs of the Nov. 18, 2010 Moon by Michael Dickens, copyright 2010.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Covers: Interpreting another artist's work

Online music blogs fascinate me.  Because I'm an avid reader and passionate about music, I could easily lose myself perusing online music blogs if only I had enough hours in a day.  There's always something waiting to be read and an artist looking to be discovered.

Online music blogs/ Keeping up with our favorite cutting-edge artists

Just as the iPod has changed the way we routinely listen to music, online music blogs have changed the way we're able to maintain a pulse with our favorite cutting-edge musicians and the music industry, too.  No longer must we rely on daily newspapers or music magazines as the only sources for music news. With online music blogs, there's a sense of immediacy ~ urgency, maybe? ~ and many of the good ones worth reading are always adding new content to keep us coming back for more.  Also, many online music blogs offer links to listen to or legally download mp3s of the artists they are writing about.

While some of my favorite online music blogs include: Britain's New Music Express Daily Download (, Direct Current (, and Naive Harmonies ( ~ and there's even a music blog aggregator, Elbows ( that's great help in searching for everything written about a particular artist like Elvis Costello ~ there are a couple of great music blogs which are endless sources for finding new, recent and interesting covers of original songs. They are: Cover Me ( and Cover Lay Down (

I find great interest in listening to artists interpreting other artist's work and, often, online music blogs provide us with keen insight and, occasionally, back stories about the covers.  I credit both "covers" blogs for inspiring me to search for ~ and discover ~ new, recent and classic covers. 

Among the covers I've recently discovered and have been listening to include:

* "No Cars Go" by Maxence Cyrin (original by Arcade Fire).

* "The Needle and the Damage Done" by Laura Marling from Ghosts (original by Neil Young).

* "Alone and Forsaken" by Emmylou Harris from Timeless: Hank Williams Tribute (original by Hank Williams).

* "Let's Dance" by M. Ward from Transfiguration of Vincent (original by David Bowie).

* "Your Song" by Ellie Goulding from Lights (original by Elton John). 

* "Can't Find My Way Home" by Alison Krauss from Crossing Jordan Soundtrack (original by Blind Faith).

Sometimes, the artists are new to me like Maxence Cyrin, a classically trained, French pianist with a penchant for wonderfully interpreting cutting-edge indie artists like Arcade Fire, Radiohead and Massive Attack, that make me curious to explore more of their work.

Laura Marling/ Showing maturity covering a legend like Neil Young

Other artists, such as 20-year-old British folk revivalist Laura Marling, are quickly becoming recognized by everyone, period. Not only is she building a nice foundation with her own material full of lyricism and melody, but she's also showing great maturity early in her career to cover a legend such as Neil Young.

Until the other day, I had no idea that longtime favorite M. Ward had covered David Bowie's "Let's Dance" ~ and, although the lyrics are the same, you won't immediate recognize the tune.  

The same goes for Ellie Goulding, who does a sweet version of the 1970 Elton John hit, "Your Song," that strips the song bare ~ it's just the singer baring her soul, backed by a piano and some simple strings. 

And, who knew that Alison Krauss could add so much poignancy and the right touch of bluegrass to "Can't Find My Way Home," the 1969 chestnut by British blues-rock super group Blind Faith that was originally sung by Stevie Winwood?  

Finally, with Emmylou Harris covering Hank Williams, it's simply one country legend paying tribute to another ~ and Emmylou have covered some of the best over the years.  I remember early in her career, Harris paid her due to another music legend, the Beatles, by beautifully covering "Here, There and Everywhere" on her 1975 album Elite Hotel that brought out the simplicity and lush melody of the Lennon-McCartney ballad.

Here are links to enjoy listening to some of the covers I've recently discovered that are worth a listen or two:

M. Ward:

Emmylou Harris:

Ellie Goulding:  

Alison Krauss:

There are many more out there for the discovery.

Happy listening!

Friday, November 12, 2010

The pleasure of our gardens, part 13

Less than a week after wearing shorts and enjoying a string of unusually nice, mid-autumn Bay Area days  ~ full of sunshine and temperatures in the middle seventies ~ the start of another rainy season arrived.  Cue up the irritation and annoyance.

On Sunday, we received about 1.2 inches of precipitation, beneficial to the well-being of our flowers and plants as well as to our area reservoirs.  Unfortunately, the weekend's rain wasn't so good for getting out to do any constructive gardening. It did allow us to catch up on some comedies and dramas idly waiting for us in our television's DVR.  So, I guess the day wasn't a total wash.  Still ...

First Prize roses / enjoying mid-autumn sunshine

Although our Bay Area rain isn't nearly as enduring (although maybe it's endearing) as it is for our friends in Seattle, the weather has started turning cold and dreary as winter approaches.  Lately, the mercury has dipped into the low forties overnight ~ prompting us to fire up our space heater in the evening and overnight ~ and our daytime highs have settled down into the low-to-middle sixties since last week's warmer fortunes.  A month from now, as the days continue getting shorter, I'm sure our lowest lows will drop into the thirties and our highest highs will only reach the fifties.

Fuchsia / purplish-red and thriving, rain or shine

Thanks to the recent rain and occasional afternoon sunshine, our camellias and rhododendrons are still nicely blooming as well as the purplish-red fuchsia plant in our front yard.  Rain or shine, our fuchsia reacts equally well.  Plus, our little azalea bush, which blooms periodically throughout the year, is once again active.  Meanwhile, some of the rose bushes in our backyard ~ our First Prize and Mr. Lincoln roses come to mind ~ continue thriving.

Mr. Lincoln rose / bright and open-minded

Our weather be damned.

All photos by Michael Dickens, copyright 2010.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Elvis Costello: An appreciation

"Just play for the people who are listening."
~ Elvis Costello, as told to Nick Paumgarten
"Brilliant Mistakes: Elvis Costello's boundless career.
The New Yorker, Nov. 8, 2010 issue

I am an unabashed fan of Elvis Costello and have been for a very, very long time.

The first time I saw Costello perform live, he was still with his old band, The Attractions, and Jimmy Carter was in the waning days of his presidency.  The night was Jan. 16, 1981 and the Costello show was in the Northrop Auditorium on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis.  Tickets cost less than $10, even then big money for a college sophomore attending nearby Macalester.  I was merely enjoying a nice, platonic evening out with a classmate.  Who knew that I would fall for Costello's music?  As it happened, Costello and his long-time keyboardist, Steve Nieve, began the evening playing "Just a Memory."  The 19-song set list included favorites like "Accidents Will Happen," "Radio Radio," and "Alison." The show's encore was "Pump It Up."

Since that snowy winter's evening 29 years ago, I have seen Costello perform live eight other times.  For the record, I've seen Elvis twice in Minneapolis, twice in Seattle, and five times in the Bay Area.  In Art Deco auditoriums (Oakland's Paramount Theatre), in outdoor stadiums (the old Parade Stadium in Minneapolis and at Seattle's Bumbershoot), in the Lindley Meadow of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.  Solo, with The Attractions, with The Imposters, with The Sugarcubes, with Steve Nieve, with the San Francisco Symphony.  It's always a spectacle, always a great show.  Best of the best was probably the night I saw Costello perform during the "River in Reverse Tour" with Allen Toussaint, the Imposters and the Crescent City Horns on June 20, 2006 at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, Calif.  The set list that night included two long encores and a grand total of 33 songs!

Some musical artists I never grow tired of seeing perform live or listening to their albums.  Elvis Costello is one such musical artist.

Thus, I'm very excited about National Ransom, the ambitious new release by the acclaimed singer/songwriter that Costello is, which hit both iTunes and ~ and let's not forget record stores, too ~ in the United States on Nov. 2. While the album's title isn't necessarily a reflection on last week's nationwide Election Day outcome, it can be said that these new tunes are songs for these bankrupt times.

Elvis Costello / National Ransom
Album illustration ~ 
Tony Millionaire

Last Tuesday, I was very pleasantly surprised to find National Ransom available for mp3 download on at the very affordable ~ and excellent ~ price of $3.99.  Desperate economic times or not, I wasted little time in purchasing the 16-song download of National Ransom, which also included a digital booklet, and by dinner time, I had listened to the entire album twice.  (Since then, I've listened to National Ransom in its entirety two more times.)  Now, is selling the download for $7.99.  Meanwhile, iTunes is offering National Ransom for $9.99 and has sweetened the deal by adding an additional track ("I Hope") that's not on the download.

On National Ransom, Costello continues his association with the bluegrass and American roots-influenced Sugarcanes, whom he worked with on his 2009 release, Secret, Profane and Sugarcane.  Costello and the Sugarcanes recorded National Ransom in only 11 days, shuttling between Los Angeles and Nashville, and the album crosses many music genres and borders, including:  rock ("National Ransom"), jazz (Jimmie Standing in the Rain"), country ("That's Not a Part of Him You're Leaving"), bluegrass ("I Lost You"), blues ("My Lovely Jezebel") and American roots ("Bullets for the New-Born King").  There's even room for a ballad ("You Hung the Moon"), too.  T Bone Burnett, who previously worked with Costello on his under-appreciated 1986 album, King of America, produced National Ransom, and guest artists pop up throughout the album, including:  country singer Vince Gill, legendary rock pianist Leon Russell and the esteemed session guitarist Buddy Miller.

Far and above, Costello remains a truly brilliant lyricist and arranger, and his liner notes on the digital booklet accompanying National Ransom detail the period and setting that bore influence on him in each of the album's tunes, such as: 1929 to the Present Day to describe the album's title cut, "National Ransom."  On another tune, "One Bell Ringing," it's The London Underground, 22nd of July 2005.

Costello gave up on the idea of playing arduous tours in big halls long ago in favor of smaller tours in more intimate surroundings.  It's given him the flexibility to perform with his rock-n-roll ensemble, The Imposters, one night; engage in country and bluegrass with the Sugarcubes the next night, even perform an occasional gig with a symphony orchestra.  At this stage of his career, the ability to reinvent and reinterpret his vast catalog of material is what has enabled Costello to remain fresh and vibrant.  One of my favorite Costello experiences was seeing him perform a very lively and brassy Henry Mancini-esque arrangement of "Watching the Detectives" with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra in 2006.  It was hot and did it swing!

While devoting much of October to a musical residency in the Bay Area, Costello played the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park ~ his set list included several tunes from National Ransom ~ as well as some San Francisco club benefits with his long-time friend Nick Lowe at the Great American Music Hall.  Then, he performed a few weeks later for Neil Young's annual Bridge School Benefit in Mountain View, Calif.

Last week, Costello shifted coasts and made the rounds of late-night, New York City talk shows, including: Late Show with David Letterman on CBS, The Colbert Report on Comedy Central, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on NBC.  Also, Costello and the Sugarcanes played a show at The Greene Space in New York City, sponsored by public radio station WNYC, and he guested last weekend on NPR's Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me in the "Not My Job" segment.  There, he correctly guessed two of three questions about another Elvis ~ no not that Elvis ~ the Canadian Olympic figure skater Elvis Stojko.  It's worth a listen because Costello came off as quite the witty conversationalist.

Finally, the always articulate and often outspoken Costello (he's also host of the Sundance Channel's Spectacle: Elvis Costello with ... ) was the subject of an extensive profile written by Nick Paumgarten in the Nov. 8 issue of The New Yorker, "Brilliant Mistakes: Elvis Costello's boundless career," that is as revealing an article about Costello that I've ever read.

So, in making the rounds of the media to promote National Ransom, Costello assumed the role that Joni Mitchell lyrically described in her 1973 song, "Free Man in Paris" as: "stoking the star maker machinery behind the popular song."  That's okay with me because it's always entertaining when Costello pops up all dapper and properly-attired on TV, whether performing solo or with the Sugarcubes, or even surprising us with a lovely duet of the Everly Brothers ballad, "All I Have to Do is Dream" with Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report.

Elvis Costello just plays for the people who are listening.  I'm listening.

Friday, November 5, 2010

I Love a Parade

I love a parade
The tramping of feet,
I love every beat
I hear of a drum.
I love a parade
When I hear a band,
I just want to stand
And cheer as they come.
~ First stanza, 1930s hit composed by Harold Arlen

Victory is sweet.

On November 3, just two days removed from winning their first World Series title since moving to San Francisco in 1958, the San Francisco Giants threw one great victory party to salute its fans and The City, as San Francisco is known to its locals. Winning a world championship has a keen way of bringing an entire city together.

The weather for the World Series victory parade on Wednesday was summer perfect on this autumn day ~ sunny skies and temperatures in the middle 70s ~ and the crowd was simply high on life and walking on sunshine, showing their admiration for everything Giants.  From the ownership to the manager to the players ~ even the broadcasters ~ everyone was feeling in the right celebratory mood, a little bit awestruck and giddy.

Although I wasn't able to score a reasonably priced ticket to see a World Series game in person at AT&T Park, I wouldn't have missed the Giants' victory parade for the world.  Getting to see the players up close ~ and, sometimes, plain silly ~ made up for having to watch all of the World Series games on TV.  Then, enjoying the City Hall ceremony on a large flat-screen TV while eating lunch seated at the bar in Gordon Biersch Brewery was an added bonus to an already enjoyable day.

While shooting photographs didn't turn into contact sport, it remained competitive ~ and the parade didn't slow down for everyone to capture that picture-perfect moment. Being five or six deep in the crowd, and standing in front of the Palace Hotel on Market Street, I missed being able to photograph every Giants player.  Still, I believe my photographs (displayed below) capture a nice bit of the flavor of the Giants' victory parade.  Plus, after lunch my wife and I decided to cap the afternoon with a few moments down at the Ballpark by the Bay, where we enjoyed a serendipitous encounter with a few of the Giants players as their buses returned from the City Hall ceremony.

The Chronicle Extra headline says it all.

Fans of all ages:
There were plenty of orange and black-clad fans holding signs.

Waiting for the start:
The scene on Montgomery Street an hour before the victory parade.

GI AN TS #1:
A Market Street building spells out a message.

Jessica never stopped believing:
A Giants fan near where I stood held up a sign for all to see.

Rally thong message:
A fan behind me held up a poster.

Kruk and Kuip:
Giants TV broadcasters Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper

Flem and Jon:
Giants radio broadcasters Dave Flemming and Jon Miller

Enjoying the moment:
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom waves at Giants fans.

Framing the moment:
Giants general managing partner Bill Neukom

Thumbs up:
Giants president Larry Baer

Carrying the trophy:
Giants manager Bruce Bochy

World Series pennant:
A Giants fan near me waved a pennant during the parade.

Giants relief pitcher Jeremy Affeldt

Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain won Game 2 of the World Series.

Giants catcher Buster Posey waves at Giants fans.

Pat the Bat:
Giants outfielder Pat Burrell enjoys a cold beverage.

Relaxing for a moment:
Giants first baseman Aubrey Huff on team bus.

Reflecting on the moment:
Giants outfielder Pat Burrell aboard team bus.

Off the bus and ready for the off season:
Giants pitcher Barry Zito greets fans at AT&T Park after the festivities.

A message from The City for the Giants:
A banner near the start of the parade route on Montgomery Street
that also speaks for the Giants' fans.

The torture brought on by 52 years of "wait 'til next year" and plenty of one-run games this year has ended.  It was worth the wait and the agony.  That's baseball.

Cheers to the winners.  Go Giants!

All photographs by Michael Dickens, copyright 2010.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

52 seasons: A long and winding journey ...

The San Francisco Giants celebrated their first World Series title in the city's history Monday night.

"Wait 'til this year!," as someone suggested to San Francisco Chronicle Datebook columnist Leah Garchik, has a nice ring to it.

So does GIANTS WIN IT! as today's front page of the San Francisco Chronicle proclaimed.

San Francisco Chronicle front page, Nov. 2, 2010:
Big headline, "a lot of happy" on the field, says it all.

Although the Giants previously won five World Series titles in the team's long and glorious history, they were all as the New York Giants.  The team's most recent title came in 1954, during the Eisenhower administration, against the Cleveland Indians. Remember the grainy video and black-and-white pictures of Willie Mays' over-the-shoulder catch at the Polo Grounds?

However, until last night, they never had won a World Series title as the San Francisco Giants, a city that's been the Giants' home since 1958.  There have been a few close calls, though. The Giants came within one out in 1962 against the New York Yankees; got swept by the rival Oakland A's in the earthquake-interrupted Series of 1989; and lost a seven-game heart breaker to the Los Angeles Angels in 2002.

Through the years, the Giants' roster was well supplied.  Yet, they never won any titles despite the best efforts from Mays and fellow Hall of Famers Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda and Gaylord Perry, as well as other popular Giants through the years, including: Will Clark, Matt Willams, Kevin Mitchell, J.T. Snow, Jeff Kent and the Home Run King himself, Barry Bonds.

Buster Posey, the Giants' gifted, 23-year-old rookie catcher, nicely summed up the meaning of winning a championship for an organization and city that has been starved for 52 years. "It's crazy to think with all the great baseball players who have come through San Francisco, there hasn't been a World Series championship," Posey told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Over the past week, there's been so much to absorb about this current merry band of baseball misfits ~ "quirky dudes" writes The Hollywood Reporter chief TV critic Tim Goodman ~ these 2010 San Francisco Giants are.  One thing is clear, as Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain told the San Francisco Chronicle's Henry Schulman (and, maybe others, during the pandemonium of last night's victory celebration): "We're the World Series champions of 2010."

Nicely put, Matt, who earned the nickname "Texas Cain-saw" after his mastery of the Rangers in Game 2. Now, let's toast the town with a glass of Champagne and celebrate with a victory parade.

52 seasons:  It's time to celebrate with a victory parade.

The Giants' journey started during spring training in Scottsdale, Ariz., back in February, which by now seems an eternity instead of just nine months ago.  It carried through the marathon of this season ~ baseball is a marathon, never a sprint ~ and took on a life of its own, earning the slogan of "Giants baseball: (dramatic pause) Torture!"  Finally, during the last weekend of the regular season, at home, the Giants caught the San Diego Padres to win the NL West.  The Giants lost their fair share of close games, but they won a lot of one-run nail biters.  Yes, they provided their fans with a lot of torture.

The Giants dugout on a Saturday afternoon in May:
Top of the 9th, a 1-run lead ~ it's torture time ~ and no thoughts
of playing in the World Series.

Then, national baseball critics ~ especially Fox and ESPN ~ didn't give the Giants much of a chance to go deep in baseball's second season. However, they ran the table during the post season, beating the Atlanta Braves in four games; the defending NL champion Philadelphia Phillies in six games and, finally, the Texas Rangers in what seemed like five quick games.   The Giants garnered great pitching and capitalized on some very timely hitting.

"The Freak": Tim Lincecum has won two Cy Young Awards.
He came up big in the final game of the World Series.

On the final night of the 2010 journey, a 3-1 victory over the Rangers at Arlington, Texas, the Giants' two-time Cy Young Award pitcher Tim ("The Freak") Lincecum shut down the AL champion Rangers, hurling eight masterful innings, which included 10 strike outs, and the game produced an unlikely hero in Edgar Renteria.  The soft-spoken, injury-plagued short stop, who earlier in his career played on championship teams with the Florida Marlins (1997) and St. Louis Cardinals (2006), and is considering retirement, hit a three-run home run off Rangers ace Cliff Lee in the top of the 7th that broke a 0-0 tie and gave the Giants all the runs they needed.  Closer Brian ("Fear the Beard") Wilson shut the door on Texas in the ninth by striking out Nelson Cruz for the final out of the World Series, and the celebration was on.

During the post-season playoffs and the World Series, fans got to see Giants pitchers like Lincecum beat Derek Lowe and Roy Halladay, not to mention besting Lee twice.  They saw Cain and Madison Bumgarner shine on a national stage ~ both pitched brilliantly in World Series Games 2 and 4 ~ and quirky players like Cody Ross and Aubrey Huff strutted their bats, too.  Ross was Ruthian at the plate, knocking out four post-season homers, and Huff ~ a true baseball journeyman ~ laid down the perfect bunt of his life in the 7th inning Monday night that set the table two batters later for Renteria's homer.

Taking time for paradise:
A view from the center field bleachers at AT&T Park.

I would've loved snatching a ticket to one of the two World Series games played in San Francisco at AT&T Park, our Ballpark by the Bay, as I prefer to call it.  After all, I've been to many Giants games since the park opened to great fanfare in 2000 and, before that, saw some memorably cold games at old Candlestick Park.  However, tickets to this year's World Series were scarce and extremely costly ~ three-figures-and-up costly.

Instead, I spent about half an hour last Sunday walking around the ballpark, bought a couple of souvenirs at the Giants Dugout store, and stepped inside the area around the outfield bleachers and kid's play area to soak up some sunshine and enjoy the atmosphere.  Then, I went home and watched that night's Game 4 from the comfort of my living room with the Fox TV sound muted in order to enjoy the play-by-play broadcast delivered by the Giants' announcers: Duane Kuiper, Mike Krukow and Dave Flemming, on the radio.  (Giants Hall of Fame announcer Jon Miller called the play-by-play for ESPN Radio, but was on hand for the post-game celebrations on Monday night with his colleagues.) That's right, baseball on the radio, a 20th century invention that's still relevant and enjoyable in the 21st century age of the Internet.

Speaking of the Internet, my wife and I participated in a live Internet chat (my moniker was "micdic") via San Jose Mercury News baseball writer Andrew Baggarly's "Extra Baggs" blog before, during and after Games 3, 4 and 5, that was highly entertaining and provided a forum for many Giants fans like us, near and far, to bond and unite, and share the "torture."  We would have logged in for all five games had I known about it sooner.

It's a beautiful day to reflect on a "torturous" but winning season:
Enjoying the Sunday afternoon sunshine and solitude of AT&T Park.

As I blog, it's time to step back and regroup, reflect, read the headlines and digest the many wonderful stories and blogs about the Giants' triumph.  Tomorrow, there's a victory parade in downtown San Francisco along Market Street. I suspect there will be hundreds of thousands of Giants fans like me from all around the Bay Area lining the parade route.  I know there will be lots and lots of orange and black (the team's colors) worn by fans of all ages, a lot of SF logos displayed, and a lot of congratulatory posters and banners like the one I saw on TV last night after the game ended: "The torture has ended." After the parade ends, we'll collectively sigh, and ask our baseball nines:  "Must you go?"

Fans across the country, including here, enjoy taking pride in supporting their city's winning athletic teams.  Especially ones that just won a World Series title.  Even if it took 52 years ~ more than a lifetime for many fans ~ for the moment to happen.  I've merely been along for the ride since moving to the Bay Area in 1995.

One of my favorite sports columnists, Bruce Jenkins, summed up his feelings ~ and, I imagine, those of many long-time, suffering Giants fans ~ in the front page of today's San Francisco Chronicle Sporting Green section.  Simply stated, he wrote:

"San Francisco Giants. Born, 1958. Blessed, 2010."

True that.