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I don’t have some grand statement on Texas
There’s no use in bashing you over the head with some thinkpiece on yet another school shooting. A magic pill isn’t removing evil from society and it’s not going to be some Washington D.C. politician who comes up with the magic answer that sends us into some utopia where evil has been sent packing.
What I find interesting is how people have their social media statements ready to go in these cases.
We must do something! NOW!
Uh, you think? No shit.
Yesterday was unacceptable!
Uh, no shit.
This should be a wake-up call to society!
As compared to the past 500 shootings? What about the children gunned down in Chicago on a weekly basis and nightly on weekends?
Just know that people will release their social media statements to make themselves feel better and then they’ll go back to their regularly scheduled lives.
I don’t pretend to be some societal savior, but I like to think Morning Screencaps is exactly what this world needs more of: people coming together to share laughs, life experiences and to spend five minutes forgetting about the ills of the world.
Hopefully I’m getting the job done.
On adult softball leagues
• Bill S. in Nashville writes:
Dang it Joe. I am a relatively recent Screencaps reader and I love this column – read it almost everyday at lunch. I’ve been trying not to write, but I just had to add/reply to Chris A’s death of adult softball piece. I don’t know if I can agree or disagree with each of his five points, but I did want to comment on point #2 – lack of time.
Forty-five years ago, the country club in my small town (small, 9-hole course, nothing terribly special) was booming. The pool was full with kids every day during the summer, and it was an unwritten (?) rule that the golf course was reserved for the adults on the weekends. Most of the dads were there Saturday and Sunday, all day. That started to change about the ‘90s, and I don’t think our little country club was the only one. People just stopped going. Why the decline? I posit the explosion of kids’ sports, and not just during the summer.
There were not a lot of baseball/basketball teams back then, travel or rec-league or whatever. There was no soccer and there were next to no sports for girls. When that changed, it became more important for parents to get involved, at least as chauffeurs and then probably as a coach of some type. While I don’t want to over-generalize for the rest of the country, what I’ve seen in my part of the world (middle Tennessee) are lots and lots of different leagues for several different sports – increasing the opportunities for kids to participate in something.
I’m not making a value judgment here, but if you take a look at why it is important for 30-40 somethings to get out and have epic golf trips, I suspect it’s because that’s the only time they have for something like that (as opposed to twice/week, every week). It’s going to be difficult to impossible to get commitments from the number of people required for a league like Chris A. describes (which sounds awesome, BTW) when parents are dedicated to the sports their children play.
Again – no value judgments here. Frankly, I think the increased opportunities for children are more important than adult leagues. I just also think that in many cases they’re mutually incompatible.
Sorry for the long note. Also, I’m a cyclist, and I will note that some (only some!) can be real d**ks.
I definitely think lack of time has had a big influence on the death of softball. Now I need to figure out why guys in their 20s aren’t playing. I get guys in their 30s and 40s are pinched for time because the kids are active and the parents have made a commitment to their children, which leads to golf trips with the fellas once or twice a summer filling the void for guys’ time.
This softball thing would be a great research project for some college student out there looking to go to the bar and ask questions of the 20-somethings sitting there talking about craft beers instead of slapping a softball the other way.
Are these 20-somethings filling the softball void by playing Call of Duty and gambling on sports via phone apps?
• Louisville Lobbyist Tony C. writes:
Joe – as always, want to open with thanks for the screencaps community – your words and the e-mails from all around the country continue to inspire and amuse every morning.
Having spent my 20s in the Washington, DC metro area (and at one point playing on teams in 4 different leagues), I would posit that adult softball is alive and well there. On any given weeknight from April to September, it is impossible to roam the National Mall or the Ellipse across from the White House without passing by at least a dozen softball games – these are usually pretty low skill, co-ed games with more interest in the post-game bar than the score, but to be fair 20 and 30 somethings in DC are always in desperate need of something to look forward to.
The open-sign up “social sports” and workplace-related leagues were the bottom of the barrel (yes, there is really a “think-tank league”); the Capital Alumni Network league, on the other hand, runs a full 14 game season and two-weekend post-season tournament with catering and multiple beer trucks for 64 teams and over 1,000 guests each year. [Full disclosure, I captained a team in the league for 10 years and served on the tournament committee, so I’m more than a bit biased toward it.]
As you get out of the city, the county leagues in Virginia get more and more competitive, particularly once you get out of the co-ed space and into men’s leagues. After relocating to Louisville, I played in a couple of solid men’s leagues and a co-ed law firm league, but parenthood has wiped softball off the map for a little bit, although if anyone in Louisville ever needs a sub…
One observation, though, having captained a lot of softball over the years – there is a societal shift that I suspect has less to do with indoor kid/outdoor kid dynamics than with a general reluctance to commit to anything. Getting players to RSVP to know we’d have a squad and plan out a lineup became a bigger challenge over the years, even if games were on the same night at the same field every week. “League night” just doesn’t mean what it once did – maybe that’s part of the inherent appeal of TNML!
Speaking of which…I need to prep my fridge for this week. Glad to see you are giving KY Garage Beer a shot!
Putting this on the lack of commitment is a very interesting take and relating it back to TNML is awesome. I’m going to need a psychologist to help me understand why a virtual golf league is so intriguing to people who won’t commit to damn near anything in their real-world lives. One of you reading this has a Ph.D. in psychology. Help me put all of this into perspective.
I don’t even know what I’m after here, but I’m very intrigued by the human brain and why it makes certain decisions like virtual fun versus human-interaction fun.
Dial me up: firstname.lastname@example.org
Speaking of TNML
• Beau in Toledo shared this:
• You guys keep asking for reviews and help picking out the right electric mowers, so here we go. I’m not attaching Amazon Marketplace links in here so I get paid a penny from these reviews. This is just straight-up crowdsourced information. Remember, I don’t take any credit or blame for your purchases! Your mileage may vary. Do your own research.
Here we go:
• Jack V. writes:
Joe: as a fellow Oregonian I want Steve E. In Gresham know he will be happy with a battery-powered mower. Go with the highest voltage rated mower to help push through the wet grass we always have to deal with here in the rainy NW. For that small a yard he should be able to get 3 or 4 cuts per charge. I have a 60 volt black & decker that has been great, 3 years old, one battery is starting to show a decline in power, but the other one is like new.P.s. make sure to get two batteries in case u forget to charge up and get caught empty in mid stripe.
• Jay J. writes:
Nothing unmanly about a battery-powered mower. They start easier, which makes them great for older people. They are quiet, so those of us with tinnitus appreciate that. Less maintenance. Those are all practical values. Ain’t nothing unmanly about being practical. I walked laps at the Y with Butch today, he’s 83. He bought a battery-powered mower because he struggles to start his mower (shoulder issues). Butch’s a great guy, still mows his city lot (and the widow’s next door).
This weekend we drove to my (now deceased) FIL’s farm, and brought back his John Deere ZTR. So I have both gas-powered and electric. The ZTR is fun to drive! And it was free, which is the epitome of practical. Ain’t nothing unmanly about being practical. Although free means I rented a trailer, paid my son to fill his tank twice, lunch, etc. But still a very good deal. . Tractor Supply now sells a $5k electric ZTR. When my John Deere dies I’ll look to buy one like it.
• Jordan in Ohio writes:
Hi Joe, Loving screencaps as always and am now knocking off early on Thursdays as much as possible to get in my league night mowing. Regarding Steve’s question about electric Mowers, I have the Kobalt 40v max push mower and find it adequate for trimming and mowing the ditch.
What I seriously recommend is getting the other cordless lawn equipment. I started down the battery-powered path after a couple of years of struggling with a gas-powered hedge trimmer. After one season using the Kobalt hedge trimmer I decided to go buy as many of the tools as I could reasonably use. So now with a weed eater, a hedge trimmer, a blower, a chainsaw, and a mower, I always have plenty of battery power available since the batteries are interchangeable.
The question about testosterone drop due to electric mower use is concerning. I was blaming the onset of middle age and the constant stress of business management but who knows?
Now let’s do $4k grills!
• Kevin W. in Gibsonia, PA writes:
I don’t know about a 4K grill (too rich for my blood), but for the first time, I took the leap and bought a Weber. Usually, I would just buy a $ 300 charbroil. I must say, I notice a difference. Might be in my head trying to justify a $1200 grill, but I think it cooks better, more evenly, and tastes better. But 4 large for the stuff I cook, don’t think so.
• Guy G. in western New York writes:
I like to think of myself as a grill connoisseur. My collection is expansive, and I have put a lot of time and money into them. I’m working on building a stone oven soon, but wife needs an outdoor shower. I have pizzas and stone pulled pork to make. How is a shower with a view more important?!
I have 5 grills on the deck currently, that don’t add up to the Traeger that was asked about. 2 Pit Boss units—vertical smoker and gas/charcoal/electric smoker combo–, Kudu stick burner, Blackstone 36”, and Char-Griller Akorn. All in for these is about $3000. The hog smoker made from a 1500 gallon propane tank with a vertical 500 gallon tank didn’t cost $4000 to build! And it’s on a trailer! Even my chicken pit built with new steel was put together for under $1000. That one cooks 400 chicken halves.
I thought, when I bought my last Weber, that $400 was a bit much for what that is, but Traeger is getting a little ambitious with this one. I’ve resisted buying a Big Green Egg, due to it being $1200 or so.
I get that they are, or trying to be, the elite name in grilling, but I certainly don’t need that kind of status symbol on my deck. Plus, my friends are about ready to have an intervention for me. It may actually happen on the next one…and my wife will probably put it together.
My name is Guy, and I have a grilling problem.
Any garage sale pickers out there?
• Keith W. wants to know if any of you make the garage sale rounds:
I just wanted to take a guess at what the asking price of that Kentucky land should be… I’m not a real estate agent, nor familiar with that area of the country but I’ve done research on camping/hunting ground (basically pristine land that isn’t prepped for farming or having utilities, etc.) in other parts of the country. I’d say he might be able to get $10,000 per acre. Again, just a total guess and I’ll be interested to hear from a person with ties and experience in Kentucky real estate. I’m sure there is a SC reader who will know.
Real quick: I had mentioned to you about a month ago that I found a nice McClane reel mower at a yard sale. I had been looking to buy a new one, except they are about $1,200 – $1,400 brand new. I bought one at a yard sale lightly used by an older gentleman for $125 because it didn’t start and he didn’t want to haul it into a repair shop. Well, I finally got some time to look at it. I threw in some oil and gas, cleaned out the jet in the carb that was slightly gummed up and it fired right up!
This brings me to my last question – do you or any SC reader go to yard sales or estate sales? I know it’s not nearly in the “do hard thing” category, and it probably has the reputation (partially well deserved) of being gross and boring and mainly consisting of older ladies looking to score a milk glass vase or some Christmas decorations, but it’s actually really fun and can be pretty satisfying.
I really like going to the neighborhoods that are at least 40 years old, that way there is a better chance to have someone selling stuff they’ve accumulated for decades (not just worthless “live, laugh, love” target home decor you find at newer houses).
I’ve found tons of useful/vintage/interesting tools or implements for the garage (I like buying old hand-held toolboxes, and other various vintage metal boxes and metal crates for organizing my storeroom in the garage). My best two scores lately have been this McClane reel mower (basically new for 90% off) as well as a tub of 75 vintage Nintendo and Super Nintendo games for $100 (worth easily 10-15x that amount). I feel like I’m treasure hunting.
Also, I make a Saturday morning of it with my two young boys… they’ll come with me and look around for toys or nerf guns or something, and after a couple hours I take them to lunch and the local bowling alley arcade… nice little Saturday morning bonding with them while Mom gets to sleep in.
Keith, I will go out on a limb and say you’re not alone in this treasure hunting hobby. I spent a few years on the local auction tour buying up all sorts of stuff like a box of newspapers from 1813 for $40 that I flipped for somewhere around $500 or so. You’re not some weirdo, Keith.
Let’s approach this a different way.
Tell us about your recent garage sale/auction scores. And if you find a vintage video game honey hole, please share it with me in an email. I promise to keep it a secret.
On road warriors
• Adam W. in Sidney, NE writes:
Hi Joe, my Dad is the road warrior Midwest sales dad you just described in Screencaps. He is all but retiring this month. He has driven all the roads in the Upper Midwest, and maintained that solid work ethic for life. I’m proud of him retiring. He did or has done all of the described awesome dad things discussed on screen caps like coaching youth sports, etc…My mom does the mowing, I bust him on his low mowing percentage as recent as two days ago.
TLDR: salute to my retiring Dad
Your SC has me fired up and ready to run thru a wall 2 days out from League Night. As always you speak to the solid core of the Midwest and the country every morning.
• Chris B. writes:
Hi, Joe — Audiobooks eat miles when we do an 880-mile road trip couple of times a year between Florida and North Carolina. I check out audiobooks from the library (you can just download them to your phone so you don’t have to return anything) and plug in to a good story. Mysteries and action stories work best for me because you stay interested.
And with that, you road warriors have a great day across this incredible country. It’s going to be one of those wild days on social media where you’re told this country is the most horrible place on earth and how your side is wrong on guns and you hate children and don’t want children to be safe in school.
Resist the urge to spend your energy on such nonsense. The social media fights on a day like today aren’t worth it. Hang in there.