Skip to content →

Jason Crane Posts

Raymond Street, a logic-free zone

I just picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, figuring I’d better read the series before I’m the last person in the English-speaking world who hasn’t read it.

While I was reading the book, the neighbor kids came over and said that they’re not allowed to read Harry Potter books because the books are “bad.” I asked why the books are bad.

KIDS: “Because they have witches in them.”

ME: “And why is that bad?”

KIDS: “Because they do magic.”

ME: “What’s wrong with magic?”

KIDS: “Because we’re Christians.”

ME: “But didn’t Jesus do magic? You know, water into wine, bringing people back from the dead, things like that.”

KIDS: “God doesn’t do magic.”

ME: “How do you know?”

KIDS: “It’s in the Bible.”

ME: “But the Bible’s just a story, just like this Harry Potter book.”

KIDS: Blank stare.

And there you have it. As the conservative blogger Kung Fu Monkey recently wrote: “”Everybody who wants to live in the 21st century over here. Everybody who wants to live in the 1800’s over there. Good. Thanks. Good luck with that.”

Comments closed

Dig this, ladies!

I thought the Savannah Sand Gnats had a lock on the most embarrassing contest at a minor-league baseball game: a fan racing around the bases trying to beat a guy dressed like a big toilet bowl. But that was before I went to see the Rochester Red Wings the other night.

After the game, about 75 women were given tiny shovels — roughly the size of grapefruit spoons — with which they were to dig in the infield dirt, looking for a poker chip that they could then redeem for a diamond.

Maybe you should go back and read the previous paragraph one more time.

So there you have it. The prize for the most demeaning contest ever goes to the Rochester Red Wings and Frontier Field, where it’s always 1951! Dig that, ladies!

Comments closed

An important anniversary

It was 108 years ago today — 3 August 1897 — that my great-grandmother, Louise Josephine Lay, arrived at Ellis Island with her sister, Christina, aboard the S.S. Kensington. Louise was 11, Christina was 13. They lived in Trier, Germany, and traveled to Antwerp, Belgium to board the ship.

Louise and Christina went to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, to stay with their aunt Johanna (Lay) Honecker and her husband Francis. Johanna, my great-great-great-aunt, paid for the girls to travel to the U.S. Two years later, on 28 June 1899, the rest of the family came over from Germany, also aboard the Kensington: parents Peter and Catharina; brothers Jacob, Bernard and Carl; and sister Johanna. (The youngest sister, Anna, was born after the family arrived in the U.S.)

On 28 September 1908, Louise married my great-grandfather, Orren Elmer Flanders. On 30 November 1912, they welcomed my grandfather, Bernard Orren Flanders, into the family. The rest, as they say, is history.

(Louise Lay was born May 1866. She died on 31 May 1956 and was buried in St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.)

And here’s a little more history about the S.S. Kensington — the ship that carried the Lays across the Atlantic:

Kensington and Southwark were sister ships which began their careers with the American Line, and then served Red Star and the Dominion lines before heading to the shipbreakers. Despite these changes, both ships retained their original names.

Southwark was built by William Denny & Bros. of Dumbarton, while Kensington was built by J&G Thompson of Glasgow. Both ships were launched in 1893. They each made their maiden voyage on the American Line’s Liverpool-Philadelphia service, Southwark on 27 December 1893 and Kensington on 27 June 1894. In August 1895, both of them were transferred to Red Star and placed on that line’s Antwerp-New York service. (At the time, both Red Star and American were operated by the International Navigation Co.)

In 1902, International Navigation changed its name to International Mercantile Marine and acquired a number of other lines, including the Dominion Line. After making their final Red Star voyages in March 1903, Southwark and Kensington were placed on Dominion’s Liverpool-Canada service and remained there for the rest of their careers. Kensington made her final voyage in November 1908 and was broken up in 1910. Southwark made her final trip in May 1911 and was scrapped later that same year.

(Source: greatships.net)

Comments closed

Vintage Base Ball Report: Excelsiors vs. Knickerbockers

A note about my reports: I don’t really know how to keep a real box score, which is why my match recaps contain fewer fielding notes than you might expect. If you want good stats, talk to Dick Terboss. If you want fairly shallow and uninformed opinions of the match, keep reading. Huzzah!

The players in today’s match had no problem getting on base. In fact, they excelled at it. Getting back home again … let’s just say that came a little harder.

First Inning: The Knickerbockers get off to a nice start, as Harvey “Kid Brooklyn” Shapiro tallies an ace on his first trip to the line. But in a harbinger of coming events (and really, what other kind of harbinger is there?), the Knicks leave three men on base to end the inning. The Excelsiors answer the challenge, with team captain Ryan “Doc” Brecker tallying his own first-strike ace. The inning ends with two men on. Score tied at 1 apiece.

Second Inning: No aces for either side, one man left on for both teams. Score still tied.

Third Inning: Nick “Leprechaun” Dobbertin (who had a fine game) makes it to second base. But that’s it for the side, as Rich “Professor” Dolan retires the next three strikers. (And yes, I know it’s not really a pitcher’s game. I just enjoy being needlessly anachronistic. Zing!) The Excelsiors’ bats warm up, though, with aces tallied by Dr. Brecker (his second) and by Mr. Dolan (his first). And Kevin “Longarm” Owens, playing third base for the Knicks, makes a couple amazing catches in a row, before leaving the game with an injured ankle. (I encouraged him to stay in, given his ability to catch the ball without moving. He rightly pointed out that not moving makes it slightly more difficult to run the bases when your team is up to bat.) Score: Excelsiors 3, Knickerbockers 1.

Fourth Inning: The first striker, Jim “T-Bone” Cook, tallies an ace. The Knicks leave one man on to end the inning. The Excelsiors go down in order. They don’t know it, but they won’t send a man around the bases for the next six innings. Score: Excelsiors 3, Knickerbockers 2.

Fifth Inning: The Knicks leave one man on. The Excelsiors leave three, after loading the bases with two outs. Score: Excelsiors 3, Knickerbockers 2.

Sixth Inning: The Knicks go down in order. The Excelsiors leave two men on. Score: Excelsiors 3, Knickerbockers 2.

Seventh Inning: Tim “Kid” Zimmer, in for his brother, Matt, tallies an ace on his first trip to the line. This is the first ace tallied by either team since the fourth inning. The Knicks leave two more men on to end the inning. The Excelsiors go down in order. Score: Excelsiors 3, Knickerbockers 3.

Eighth Inning: No aces, no men left on for the Knicks. No aces, one man left on for the Excelsiors. Score: Excelsiors 3, Knickerbockers 3.

Ninth Inning: The Knicks go down in order. The Excelsiors leave two on. And that means we go to extra innings for the first time this season! Score: Excelsiors 3, Knickerbockers 3.

Tenth Inning: The Knicks go down in order. OK, this isn’t a pitcher’s game, but that happened a lot today. The Excelsiors leave one man on. Score: Excelsiors 3, Knickerbockers 3. So we go to the…

Eleventh Inning: The Knickerbockers leave one man on. But the ice finally cracks, as Doc Brecker tallies his third ace (from five hits — nice work!) to win the game for the Excelsiors. Final score: Excelsiors 4, Knickerbockers 3.

Some items of interest:

  • Matt “Pins” Zimmer tallied his ninth ace of the season, after playing only three games. He also celebrated his birthday!
  • Dr. Brecker and Mr. Dolan both “made their first” five times. As noted above, Dr. Brecker tallied three aces, Mr. Dolan one.
  • The teams left a combined total of 24 men on, by my count — 10 for the Knickerbockers, 14 for the Excelsiors.
  • Glenn “Geezer” Drinkwater did an exceptional job of umpiring the match.
  • Everyone thoroughly enjoyed learning about the Bronte sisters. What’s that you say? Enough about the Bronte sisters? Fie, sir, fie!
Comments closed

Vintage Base Ball Report: Excelsiors vs. Rochesters

Kevin “Hardtack” Pietrzak put the “base” in base ball today, making it to first base an astonishing eight out of eight times, and tallying three aces to lead the Rochesters to a 14-7 victory over the Excelsiors.

Pietrzak may have been the standout player in today’s match, but he wasn’t alone, as both teams thrilled the crowd with excellent play and gentlemanly behavior on what was surely one of the most beautiful afternoons we’ll see this summer.

First Inning: The Rochesters open the match with two aces from seven batters, those aces being tallied by first-year player Mike “Hawkeye” Iacobucci and veteran Todd “Tea-totaller” Pschirer. The Excelsiors aren’t so lucky, seeing their first three batters retired. Score: 2-0, Rochesters

Second Inning: Both the Rochesters and Excelsiors struggle in the second, putting five men on base between them, but coming up with two duck eggs to show for it. All was not lost, though, as umpire “Dirty” Jim Feuerstein hits upon the brilliant plan of frying the two eggs at home plate. Complemented by a sausage from the refreshment stand, they make for a lovely end-of-inning snack.

Third Inning: Tom “Pick-One” Hildebrandt retires three in a row to send the Rochesters back to the bench. Jose Pagan rallies for the Excelsiors, tallying the team’s first ace of the match. Jose had a great day, going on to score another ace, and making it to first base five times. Score: 2-1, Rochesters

Fourth Inning: In the fourth, Joe “Hot Bitter” Territo tallies an ace for the Rochesters, but John “Old Hoss” Spaulding, Sr., replies for the Excelsiors, holding the Rochester’s to a one-ace lead. Score: 3-2, Rochesters

Fifth Inning: Mr. Pietrzak makes it to first base for the fourth time, and also tallies his first ace. The Rochesters take a two-ace lead as the Excelsiors leave two runners on. Score: 4-2, Rochesters

Sixth Inning: Bats burn as the Rochester’s second, third, fourth and fifth hitters all tally aces, including second aces for Pietrzak and Territo, and first aces for Dave “Wild Oats” Nesbitt and team captain Steve “The Colonel” Michener. A scoreless inning from the Excelsiors puts the Rochesters up by six aces. Score: 8-2, Rochesters.

Seventh Inning: The Rochesters score two aces, one from Mark “Scotch” Hopkins and one from Mr. Territo, his third of the match. But the Excelsiors reply with three of their own from Mr. Pagan (his second), team captain Ryan “Doc” Brecker and Curt “The Barber” Kirchmaier. Score: 10-5, Rochesters.

Eighth Inning: Mr. Pietrzak is cheered by the fans and both benches as he reaches first for the seventh consecutive time, and Frank “Shorty” Devito tallies the team’s loan ace of the inning. Dr. Brecker comes up with his second ace for the Excelsiors. John “Sparky” Spaulding, Jr., also scores. Score: 11-7, Rochesters.

Ninth Inning: Mr. Pietrzak leads off the inning by arriving on first base for the eighth time, tallying his third ace in the bargain. Mr. Territo tallies his impressive fourth ace of the day, and Mr. Nesbitt scores his second. The Excelsiors leave to men on two end the inning and the match. Final Score: Rochesters 14 – Excelsiors 7

Comments closed

The Flanders family

A few years ago, I started to try to trace my family history back as far as I could go. I had several surnames to try — Doyle, Coughlin, Borders, Flanders, Lay and others. Flanders is the last name of my grandfather, Bernie, after whom my son is named. It’s also my mother’s maiden name. I was eager to try to trace it, except for one small problem. My grandfather knows nothing about his family. And I mean nothing. He knows the names of his parents, and there it ends.

Imagine my surprise, then, when just a few weeks of digging turned up a goldmine of family history. Turns out the Flanders clan has been exhaustively researched, and I was able to link my branch to the main trunk of the family tree. My ninth-great-grandfather, Steven Flanders, came to Massachusetts in the 1640s, and the line has been traced all the way from then to now.

The only problem was that no one seemed to be talking to anyone else about all these distant cousins we all have. So I decided to jumpstart the conversation with a Web site, newsletter and e-mail list. You can find out about all those things at flandersfamily.org. Enjoy!

Comments closed