The Junkball 10: TV and movie characters that deserve the RoboCop statue treatment

Welcome to The Junkball 10, an occasional feature running down a random list of some of my favorite … or not so favorite … things.

The RoboCop statue saga playing out in Detroit has amused and inspired me because like most people, I’m a huge RoboCop fan and the story is wonderfully absurd.

There’s really no debating the greatness of RoboCop. There’s no way the movie would be broadcast on American Movie Classics and released as a Criterion Collection DVD if it wasn’t one of the best films of all time. End of discussion.

The only sensible thing to do now that a statue of RoboCop is going to be erected in Detroit is to brainstorm the other parts of America that should pay tribute to TV and/or movie characters.

1. San Francisco: Dirty Harry

I don’t know about you, but when I think about San Francisco and the movies I think about Clint Eastwood scowling, growling and kicking some serious criminal ass. Why not pay tribute to Harry Callahan with a statue? That’d make my day.

2. Texas: Walker Texas Ranger

Chuck Norris is undeniably bigger than life and since everything is bigger in Texas the only way to do this right is to build a skyscraper in Norris’ likeness. The Walker skyscraper would kick the sky’s butt if it dared challenge it.

3. Miami: Tony Montana from “Scarface”

The statue has to capture the signature “Say hello to my little friend” scene in the movie. Would any community really want to pay tribute to an over-the-top big screen cocaine cowboy? Probably not, but if Detroit can show RoboCop some love there’s no reason Tony Montana can’t enjoy being immortalized.

4. Milwaukee: Laverne and Shirley

I could just as easily have chosen Wayne and Garth from “Wayne’s World” or Fonzie from “Happy Days” but I’m in the mood to tip my hat to those fun-loving girls from Shotz Brewery. Now that I look back at the long-running sitcom I can’t believe Shirley dated a guy who called himself the Big Ragoo and sang a song called “Do the Carmine.” I don’t think she ever let him get past second base so if anyone was doing Carmine it probably wasn’t Shirley.

5. New York: John McClane from “Die Hard

There are plenty of other options for TV or movie characters worthy of some respect in the Big Apple but some twisted part of me thinks it would be cool to see a huge statue of Bruce Willis’ unbeatable cop with a big plaque that says, “Yippee-ki-yay mother f%#ker!” The only other movie character I would deem worthy of a statue in New York would be Snake Plisskin from “Escape From New York.”

6. Chicago: Jake and Elwood from “The Blues Brothers

Aside from Dirty Harry in San Francisco this was the easiest call on my list. For my money nothing says Chicago movies like Jake and Elwood Blues. My wife can vouch for the fact that “The Blues Brothers” is as close as I’ll ever come to liking something even vaguely resembling a musical.  If “Sound of Music” had car chases, explosions and heavy drinking I might give it a chance.

7. Hawaii: Thomas Magnum from “Magnum, P.I.” and Steve McGarrett from “Hawaii Five-O

Forget statues for a minute. The only way to do this right is to carve their faces into Diamond Head. It’d be the Mount Rushmore of Big Island crime fighters. If the people of Hawaii want to really be ambitious they can also carve in the likenesses of Rick, TC, Higgins and Danno.

8. San Diego (Close enough to Pacific Beach to work for the sake of this post): Hank and Britt from “Terriers

Am I still annoyed that my favorite new TV show from last season died after drawing miserable ratings? That would be an understatement. I could have gone with “Simon and Simon” in this spot but I’m going to use this as an opportunity pay tribute to a brilliant, underappreciated show.

9. Los Angeles: The Dude from “The Big Lebowski

The Dude abides … why not let him chill out in bronze for eternity? Until I finally get around to watching “Crazy Heart” I’m going to have to say that “The Big Lebowski” is Jeff Bridges’ finest performance.

10. Long Island, Harry and Lloyd from “Dumb and Dumber

The first thing that comes to mind when I think about Long Island is iced tea. But the second thing that comes to mind is the timeless, moronic brilliance of “Dumb and Dumber.” Does it get any better than when they sing “Mocking Bird?”

Honorable mentions: Crash Davis from “Bull Durham” for Durham, North Carolina; Reggie Dunlop from “Slap Shot” for Johnstown, Pa.; The cast of “WKRP in Cincinnati” (or maybe just Lonnie Anderson’s cleavage) for Cincinnati; Raylan Givens from “Justified” for Lexington, Kentucky; Mork from Ork from “Mork and Mindy” for Boulder, Colo.

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I wish I was in Phoenix right now

Taking a break from an increasingly busy life to contemplate all things green and gold in A’s Musings …

*  Twitter is alive with A’s spring training updates which means there’s no better time to blog about the dudes in white shoes.

* If you’re looking for A’s news on Twitter some good places to start are susanslusser, oakclubhouse, joestiglich, JaneMLB, newballpark, WhiteElephantAs, athleticsnation, MUrbanCSN, JohnSheaHey and DaleTafoya.

* If you happen to be marking your calendar for a notable spring date for the A’s, keep an eye on Feb. 27 when they’re scheduled to play their first game.  Stuff like that makes me long for the annual spring training trip I used to take with my friends before marriage, a mortgage and a couple of kids understandably shifted my priorities.

* Another great thing about spring training is that it’s a welcome break from the seemingly neverending and totally frustrating ballpark/relocation issue.  There are some dedicated bloggers who do a nice job following the story (a couple of Web sites to regularly check are here and here) and the more you read, the more frustrating it gets to see the franchise stuck in limbo.  A steady stream of games as the spring and summer rolls along will be a great distraction from the ballpark mess.

* Do I like seeing former A’s third baseman/invalid Eric Chavez don pinstripes for the Yankess in an attempt to revive this playing career?  To say the least, it makes my stomach turn a little bit anytime I see a former Athletic go to the Dark Side but I honestly hope Chavez finally enjoys a healthy season … as long as he goes hitless and commits a few errors when he plays the A’s.

Then again, smart money says Chavez breaks down before he even has a chance to play a dozen innings in spring training.

* Speaking for broken-down former A’s, I’m also pulling for Justin Duchscherer to have a solid season for the Orioles.  The man was a class act while he was in Oakland and an amazingly effective jack-of-all-trades on the pitching staff.  If he can stay healthy and shut down the Red Sox, Yankees and any team in the AL West not wearing white shoes I’ll be a happy man.

* Now that we’re getting closer to having some ballgames on the radio there’s no avoiding the fact that I still miss the late, great Bill King.  Just looking back at the humorous gusto he gave to the “Valero: Gas with vrrrrrroooooom!” promotion during pre-game shows still brings a smile to my face.

* I have to admit that the A’s new yellow jerseys are starting to grow on me.  The first time I saw them I thought they were a nightmare.  But the photo I initially saw via Twitter didn’t do the jersey justice.  The throwback use of yellow as the dominant color is a nice/borderline garish tip of the hat to the team’s rich history.

Winning or losing will make the biggest impact on how those yellow jerseys look in the long run.  If manager Bob Geren can guide the A’s to a division title those new jerseys will look gorgeous but if they stumble to a sub-.500 finish then they’ll be collecting dust at the Coliseum souvenir stands.

* Even though I’m fired up for the regular season to start I have to admit that the the fact that the A’s are getting some buzz as a team to watch this season is making me a little nervous.  This team is definitely full of potential but I’m still  cautious in my optimism.

What’s tempering my enthusiasm?  The injury bug, Geren and the lack of a 30-homer threat in the lineup.

I’m crossing my fingers that the A’s can finally stay healthy, Geren can prove my doubts wrong and the upgrades to the lineup can produce some real run support for an amazing pitching staff.

Spring training arrives and life begins again


Taking a quick swing through the wild world of baseball and making just enough contact to put a Short Stuff blog post in play …

*  I’m up to my neck in diapers and screaming kids now that my wife and I are 2 months into adjusting to life with a newborn daughter in addition to our 21-month-old son but I’ve tried to carve out a little time to get back to blogging since camps are opening all over Florida and Arizona and I can’t help but be pumped up for baseball’s return.

* Did any team get stripped down more in the offseason than the Rays? Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, Rafael Soriano, Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett and Grant Balfour are among the players from last season’s AL East-winning team who are nowhere to be found for Tampa this spring.

But you know what? This is still an intriguing team heading into 2011.

A full season of Jeremy Hellickson and Desmond Jennings is ripe with potential and Manny Ramirez could be the steal of the winter at “just” $2 million. Manager Joe Maddon just might be smart enough and quirky enough to keep Manny’s head in the game for most of the season and signing Johnny Damon provides a decent babysitter in the clubhouse for one of baseball’s biggest head cases.

I’d love to see Maddon’s crew finish ahead of the Yankees this season.

* Speaking of the Yankees, I’m still totally amused that they didn’t land Cliff Lee or any other big-name free agent. Seeing them go dumpster diving for players such as Bartolo Colon and Eric Chavez while having ugly contract negotiations with Derek Jeter just warms the heart of this small-market baseball fan.

Unfortunately, the Yankees are still a formidable team but the Evil Empire ain’t what it used to be.

* Speaking of the Evil Empire, is there really any difference between the Yankees and the Red Sox anymore? The Red Sox added Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford without batting any eye or flinching at the mountains of money involved.

At this point Boston has the willpower and money to get just about any player they want … kind of like that AL East team in pinstripes that so many baseball fans love to hate.

Of course, if the A’s threw money around like the Yankees and the Red Sox I probably wouldn’t complain.

* Am I a geek for getting all fired up after receiving an e-mail alert from Yahoo that 2011 fantasy baseball leagues are open? You bet I am and I can’t wait for my live drafts to roll around in late March.

* Am I the only A’s fan getting tired of the Giants’ seemingly never-ending World Series celebration? Has any team ever beaten the, “We won it all” thing more than San Francisco has this winter?

I won’t pretend to be a Rockies/Dodgers/Padres fan but I certainly won’t shed a tear for the Giants if those clubs start taking charge of the NL West for the next few seasons … or decades if I’m lucky.

* I get the feeling that beat writers get fined if they don’t file a “Player X is in the best shape of his life” and a “Team Y is full of hope and potential” this time of year.

* Are the Angels even trying anymore? From where I’m sitting, that was an awesomely awful offseason for the Halos. I’ll never understand why Angels owner wasn’t willing to shell out enough money to land Carl Crawford or Adrian Beltre but he gladly traded for the aging and grossly overpaid Vernon Wells.

That move still has me scratching my head and I’m sure it has a lot of Angels fans banging their heads against a wall in utter disbelief.

* Getting back to the Yankees for a moment, I took a quick look at Bartolo Colon’s BaseballReference.com page after the Yankees signed him and I noticed that he’s listed at 185 pounds. Anyone else think that number needs to be updated? I bet Colon’s left thigh probably weighs 185 pounds all by itself.

Junkball Earworm: Eye of the Tiger

What’s the best way to get a song that’s stuck in my head out of my noggin?  By sharing it, of course.

The only thing better than watching “Rocky III” two times in a row on AMC last night is driving to work this morning and stumbling across “Eye of the Tiger” on the radio.

It’s like the stars aligned to give me the perfect late-week adrenaline rush.

I am now all fired up and ready to kick Thursday’s ass and that isn’t the double espresso mixed into my coffee talking, it’s the power of Survivor’s music.

Can you believe that Stallone wanted Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” to be the main song in “Rocky III”?  That’s insane.  Want a little more insanity? “Eye of the Tiger” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1982.

Enjoy having “Eye of the Tiger” stuck in your head for the rest of the day.