Posts Tagged ‘Happy New Year’

Happy New Year, 2018!

December 31, 2017


Happy New Year, 2018!

And, even if you are not a 2017 World Series Champion Houston Astros fan, may you find a way to apply some to all of their proven personal best traits in your own life in 2018!

1) Like reliever Ken Giles, may you enter 2018 in dogged determination to both recognize and overcome the flawed thinking and behavior that get in the way of you using your strongest abilities in the areas of life that are both attractive to you personally and important to you professionally.

The Lesson: Never Give Up on Yourself.

2) Like pitching aces Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel, may you look at your trophy room reminders, the cars you drive, the homes you can afford, and the lovely women and families that are in your lives today as a result – and you may enter 2018 on a never-taken-for-granted reflection of gratitude for every last oozing ounce of these rewards because of all you both are too as incredibly decent people and proven superior talent.

The Lesson: Never Take Greatness for Granted. Keep Getting Better.

3) Like injury/surgery recovering pitchers Lance McCullers, Jr. and Collin McHugh, may you have the patience to overcome over time whatever has stalled or derailed your life plans due to injury or illness.

The Lesson: Injuries Are Obstacles to be Overcome.

4) Like relievers Ken Devenski, Will Harris, Joe Musgrove, and Brad Peacock, may you learn to weather a few bad days on the job for the sake of the greater overall return of good days in your team’s imperfect pursuit of success.

The Lesson: In the L0ng Season of Baseball, Even Champions Win Only a Few More Games Than They Lose.

5) Like starter Charlie Morton, who drew this hand as a reliever in Game 7 of 2017 World Series, remember that life may sometimes may throw us into performance situations which are way beyond both our pay grade levels or our normal levels of successful performance. All we can do when these challenges arise is to give it our best shot. Charlie did. And he walked away as the winning pitcher by doing a pretty darn good impression of the great Christy Mathewson.

The Lesson: At Any Given Big Moment, Be All That You Can Be.

6) Like catcher/DH maestros Ben McCann and Evan Gaddis, sometimes life invites us to remember someone as a force that isn’t going away – no matter how infrequently they arrive to make people pay for forgetting. McCann brought a brainier polish to the table with his act, but he and Gaddis together both looked enough alike by beard, height, and physique to have passed for a 21st century ad version of “Smith Brothers Cough Drops.”

The Lesson: We Are Tough to Beat, and We Aren’t Going Away.

7) Like 1st baseman Yuli Gurriel, hang loose – and pay attention to what you’re doing, without thinking too much. Gurriel is a “see the ball; hit the ball” kind of guy. He gets the kind of positive results one might expect from that state of mind. Translate “see the ball; hit the ball” into your own line of endeavor and you shall also carry with you an advantage that is lacking until it is finally present and working as a benefit.

The Lesson: See The Ball. Hit The Ball.

8) Beyond anyone else in the game today, 2nd baseman Jose Altuve is the model for excellence. Altuve doesn’t just “see the ball; hit the ball.” He kills it. And his small physical size is no burden to his production. As he even admits, once he crosses that line into fair territory before each new game, his size differential from others doesn’t matter a flip. He just goes out and crushes every aspect of the game there is to play. To be like him, you don’t have to be better than him. You simply have to free yourself mentally to be the best player that you are, no matter what the undertaking is. If you want to thank Altuve for what he has taught you, simply remember how much you “literally love him” and that should do it.

The Lesson: Greatness Teaches All. How much Are You Willing to Learn?

9) Like 3rd baseman Alex Bregman, allow your genes to speak. Alex Bregman did so many times during the playoffs and World Series. The homers off Sales of Boston, the incredible instinctive throw on the out at the plate at a much later game, the 10th inning walk-off single in Game 5 of the World Series – all these loom large as reminders. – We weren’t watching Brooks Robinson. We were watching a rookie with only 204 games of MLB experience out there at 3rd for the Astros. – The lesson. – Don’t hold back what already wants to work automatically from within us as though our reflexes were capable of transmitting wisdom.

The Lesson: The Positive DNA Reflexes will Take Care of Themselves. Focus on Learning from Your Errors and Getting Better at Things that Kick In Only After You Learn Them. If It’s Not Broke, Don’t Fix It.

10) Like shortstop Carlos Correa, be grateful as early as possible for all the talent we differently are each born to possess and use.

The Lesson: Learn What You Can from Correa’s Play, But don’t Waste Your Time Trying to Do all the Things this Unique Talent is Naturally Capable of Doing.

11) Like utility genius Marwin Gonzalez, be happy that you learned early that your spread of interests and talents were large enough to make you valuable to whatever your chosen call may be on multiple levels. And Mr. Gonzalez is a beautiful example of the whole picture.

The Lesson: The more you can do, the more you have to offer.

12) Like outfielder George Springer is the powerful offensive and defensive player who also served as the “straw that stirred the Astros’ team drink” in 2017. Between his numerous lead-off homers, beginning with one that started the 2017 season, and his sensational leaping catches near the far outfield walls, Springer was the guy who kept answering their opponent’s question: “Do these guys ever let up?”

The Springer action answer, of course, is always the same: “Nope. We do not. We never let up until we beat you.”

To these, we might add, that outfielders Josh Reddick and Jake Marisnick served admirably on Springer’s 2017 staff of late inning tormentors of the opposition. Springer Squad basically takes what the McCann-Gaddis Duo does to another, more unrelenting level.

The Lesson: The more you frustrate the opposition as an unrelenting force, the more you invite them to give up their own beliefs that they too cannot be stopped.

In General. There’s nothing new here. And we could also write all day if we also chose to included the lessons from Field Manager A.J. Hinch, General Manager Jeff Luhnow, and Owner Jim Crane too, but we would prefer not to carry things that far today.

These aforementioned resolute lesson opportunities for the new year have been around forever. And there are others. We simply haven’t seen those mentioned here served up by a one-season example – as clearly – or profoundly – together – since Houston reached the big leagues back in 1962.

Hopefully, we shall all find a horse to ride as our dedicated lesson for the new year. If not, so be it.




Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle







New Year 2013 Brings Doses of Old, New, & Same

January 1, 2013

happy new year 2013

It didn’t take long for the old to get here. The Democrats and the Republicans held us all over the “Fiscal Cliff” until the very last-minute before finally approving some steps to save the day in some politically face-saving way. We’ll see how much difference these elusive moves actually make, but let’s not hold our collective breath.

The Houston Texans now hang precariously over another familiar cliff to local teams. After establishing themselves in the 2012 NFL race as the odds on favorite for home field advantage in the AFC, they now hang sputtering in a heap, just waiting for a club like the Cincinnati Bengals to come to town and hit them with a fatal feather. – We’ll see, but it makes you wonder: How long is it going to take beyond the end of this football season for the fans to start crying for a new QB or coach? Matt Schaub is already showing that he’s as good as he’s going to get – and that he’s not good enough. Old news again.

Here’s something new: The Houston Astros move to the American League and the DH-rules version of baseball in 2013. – Wait a minute. – What’s new in Houston MLB history about losing over 100 games a season for the third year in a row?

Hey! This is new! – The State of Texas has adjusted certain sections of I-10 West beyond Kerrville on the way to El Paso with new speed limits of 80 and 85 mph, but there’s a touch of old attached to this practical concession to the boredom and impatience of West Texas travelers: All of the little town Justice of the Peace courts along the way and their “cahootie” buddies in the DPS black & whites have made the adjustment from 70 mph to the higher legal speed limits. I have it on anonymous testimony from a conservative driving friend who thought that cruise control at 80 MPH would protect him from a ticket. A DPS officer pulled him over, alleging that his speed actually had been 90 MPH. If he disputed the charge, he had the option of staying in this little town a couple of days and going through a trial – or else – he could plead guilty, pay the fine, and continue on his way. Since it was Christmas, my buddy elected to plead guilty, even though he later checked his speed at 80 MPH under cruise control by the official highway mileage posts and found his car’s rate to have been accurate.

The cost of sacrificing a long-shot chance at justice for the sake of avoiding inconvenience doesn’t come cheap.

The fine for going a pleaded-out 90 in an 80 was $198 in court costs, plus $248 as the fine for exceeding the pleaded out speed at “90 in an 80.” He was also told that an “81 in an 80” would have been $108, plus the aforementioned court costs. – Some things just stay old. – I wish the heck we could catch more drinking and reckless, lane-weaving speeders and stop chopping up our salt-of-the-earth types, but what else is new?

Dancing “Gang-Nam” style is still new, but bound to get old with our young people soon. The inventor of that chiropractor’s dream dance looks too much like the President of North Korea on a “Gang-Nam” style aerobic diet to actually remain popular for too much longer.

Oh yeah. There’s me. The Pecan Park Eagle guy turned 75 yesterday. Nothing new about that, but I do try to keep my mind fresh to what’s new in the world and to embrace the new digital technology for all of its good reasons.

WordPress tells me that my blog here had over 300,000 hits in 2012 from over 157 countries. Most were from the USA, of course, but some were from England and a lot of other countries around the world. I wasn’t sure in advance that there were 157 countries in the world that contained English-speaking people, but that just goes to show again how much I need to still learn about our social planet.

What was new about birthday celebration yesterday? My 28 year-old son Neal picked up the tab for our steak dinners at Taste of Texas restaurant. That was a pretty neat little experience in itself.

1929: Coming Attractions

2029: Coming Attractions

Neal is also a very well-informed astronomical hobbyist. On a clear night anywhere, he can show us lesser informed observers of the universe some parts of the heavens that we may not have even realized were a part of the grand scheme of things, but yesterday, after our meal, he also had one of those popular “stick around, Dad” messages for me.

“Dad,” Neal said, “You really need to stick around for something that is going to happen in 2029. You will only be 92 by that time, but the wait will be well worth it.”

“So, what’s new about 2029?” I asked.

“It’s not actually new, Dad,” Neal answered excitedly. “It’s actually quite old, but, believe me, it’s really going to be something to see.”

What it is – is the coming of a giant meteor, Neal says, and it is predicted to be on a track that will carry it between the earth and the moon on its way back again into the infinite space beyond us.

Is that new and amazing? Or just plain scary for those who probably will be here? What if the projections for its passage arc past earth are just a tad bit off? – Why, a thing like that may be big enough to wipe out the whole 2029 baseball season if it actually hit the earth.

Wouldn’t you think?

Oh well, here’s another something old:


The Pecan Park Eagle

Happy New Year, Friends!

December 30, 2009

Happy New Year, Everybody!

New Year’s Eve. It’s the great time in the year to be optimistic about ourselves and the world around us. And why not? Things get done by people who believe in possibility. They are never improved by pessimistic resignation to the idea that there is nothing we can do as individuals to improve our fit in the human condition.

Symbolically, we treat the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve as though it were the timegate into a better world – one that simply floated into our lives on the pendulum swing of a clock stroke. It’s here! Happy New Year! And who knows? It may be, if we are willing to live the things we so easily promise on New Year’s Eve. It will be too, if we simply take a greater responsibility for doing the things we can actually do something about, and if we are willing to learn from our mistakes along the way and settle for progress over perfection as the most realistic human result. In small consumable bites, we can get there, if “getting there”  is at all possible, and it will all unfold for us on its own timetable, one day at a time.

Pretty cool stuff.

I’m also blown away this time of the year by all the things that seem to symbolize New Year’s Eve. In words and pictures, here are the major ones that occur to me. I’m sure that others may come to mind for you. Some of my selections only come from my personal experience (see the Marx Brothers below), but most of these icons are fairly universal to our American profile of the day so many people pop open the bubbily:

Guy Lombardo was in charge of New Year's Eve from 1929 to 1976.

Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadiens played a New Year’s Eve gig over the radio from New York hotels from 1929 through 1976. Over the six decades his music touched directly, we pretty much placed the Canadian immigrant in charge of the American New Yeat’s Eve celebration. His rendition of “Auld Lang Syne” remains the one we still hear when the big crystal ball descends at Times Square in the 21st century.

Ginger Rogers & Fred Astaire: "Shall we dance? Shall we ever!"

Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire are my second big throwback icons from the time we dressed to the nines on New Year’s Eve and danced our way into the new year. We never performed at the the level of those two Hollywood immortals, but our hearts and hopes still soared where our feet couldn’t go.

... and all that jazz!

Can’t imagine New Year’s Eve without music. Jazz was king when the big new year’s eve celebration came alive back in the boom days of the rhe “Roarin’ Twenties”, but American classic pop, rock ‘n roll, classic, country & western, rap, and hip hop have all since found their own voices and steps to the art of singing and dancing in the new year.

~ drunk again is now a bigger sin ~

Back in the day, many New Year’s Eve partygoers simply lived to get plastered on that special night. Then they got in their cars and attempted driving home. Some people still go this route, but we’ve gotten better over the years at taking better care of ourselves and others where public drinking is concerned. People over age 30 don’t thoughtllessly throw “falling-down-drunk” parties as they once did – and those who do plan drunk nights for themselves also are better at planning designated driver assignments with othera, or for pre-arranging to stay wherever they plan to party.

"Last night I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I'll never know." - Groucho Marx.

The Marx Brothers have long been associated with New Year’s Eve. Perhaps it’s because of all the zany party scenes that pop up in most of their movies from the 1930’s. Maybe it’s just because the boys have a unique talent for making people laugh at the self-importance of all the big egos they disrobe in their consistently anti-authoritarian movie plots. Botom Line: The boys are funny and happy on a day in which funny and happy is exactly what most people want to be.

Even an aging Joe Montana handled the Oilers during his falling apart, ragged last year at QB for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Many people spend New Year’s Eve in rapture over the playing of the last big New Year’s bowl games – or in painful memory of the Houston Oilers. These are the people who need to show more resolve in letting go of past regrets.

Dick Clark counting down another rockin' new year's eve.

He’s today’s Guy Lombardo, Dick Clark sure is, and probably Clark’s bigger than Lombardo because of television and the Internet. We thank God that Mr. Clark is back with us publicly again to bring in 2010 with the dropping of the big new crystal ball in Times Square. We shut-ins, voluntary and otherwise,  especially enjoy it.

"Should auld acquaintaince be forgot, and never brought to mind..."

The singing of auld ang syne is a must on New Year’s Eve. In case you’ve forgotten how it once sounded, here’s how the popular first verse and chorus rings forth in the phonetics of Scottish speech from the 18th century:

Shid ald akwentans bee firgot, an nivir brocht ti mynd? Shid ald akwentans bee firgot, an ald lang syn?

Fir ald lang syn, ma jo,
fir ald lang syn,
wil tak a cup o kyndnes yet,
fir ald lang syn.

"Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?"

Happy New Year, Everybody! Dance like you know what you’re doing this New Year’s Eve and kiss like you really mean it. If we all make it to midnight tomorrow night, we should first pause for a moment of gratitude and then prepare ourselves to live each coming day of 2010 with as much inner directed purpose as we can bring to the table. None of us are ever guaranteed another sunrise, let alone, another new year. No matter how old or young we are, it’s time to lean forward into tomorrow on the strength of today’s hope – and not to fall back into any old regrets we may still have about the past. Our time is now. It always is.

Every moment is a timegate to change when we wake up to the fact it is.

Happy New Year, Friends!