The Biggest House in America, by Chuck Strom

Biltmore Front View

If you like HGTV or just can’t get enough of seeing how other people live, the Biltmore Estate is an essential place to include in your lifetime travels. Completed in 1895 by George Washington Vanderbilt II near Asheville NC, it has 250 rooms and 178,926 square feet of floor space. It . . . → Read More: The Biggest House in America, by Chuck Strom

A Triple A Baseball Team, A Major League Ballpark, by Chuck Strom

Charlotte, NC has the triple-A baseball farm team for the Chicago White Sox, the Charlotte Knights. This year they opened BB&T Ballpark, and it was one of the priority items on my list to visit on my tour of the East Coast. Rather than explain too much, I will let my pictures speak for . . . → Read More: A Triple A Baseball Team, A Major League Ballpark, by Chuck Strom

Six Hours In Charleston, by Chuck Strom

Prioleau House

This summer, my brother Roger and I spent six hours in Charleston, SC as part of a two-week vacation on the East Coast. Having scheduled visits to the Civil War battlefields of Gettysburg and Antietam, it seemed right to squeeze in a tour of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor where the conflict . . . → Read More: Six Hours In Charleston, by Chuck Strom

A Visit With Frank, by Chuck Strom

A few weeks ago I happened to be in Palm Springs, CA with a couple of spare hours, so I paid Frank Sinatra a visit. For those unfamiliar with his life, he made Palm Springs his permanent home in the 1950s, so far as it was possible for someone whose career required a nomadic . . . → Read More: A Visit With Frank, by Chuck Strom

Another Year, Another No-No, by Chuck Strom

Tim Lincecum on Opening Day

For those of you who don’t follow baseball, I am happy to report that San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum pitched his second career no-hitter against the San Diego Padres on Wednesday. At 112 pitches and only one base-runner allowed, this no-hitter was a model of decorum compared to . . . → Read More: Another Year, Another No-No, by Chuck Strom

Heroes and Comics Night at AT&T Park, By Chuck Strom

Stan Lee is 91 Years Young

Just over a week ago was Heroes and Comics Night at AT&T Park. The highlight of the evening’s pregame festivities was the appearance of Stan Lee, creator of Spiderman and most of the rest of the superheroes of Marvel Comics. Ninety-one years young, he came out to the . . . → Read More: Heroes and Comics Night at AT&T Park, By Chuck Strom

Happy Birthday at the Ballpark, by Chuck Strom

Madison Bumgarner

My daughter Jillian turned 16 just over a week ago. The day coincided with the San Francisco Giants’ first Orange Friday game of 2014, complete with a fireworks show afterward, so we naturally decided to go to AT&T Park to celebrate. The Giants had started the season reasonably well, winning six of . . . → Read More: Happy Birthday at the Ballpark, by Chuck Strom

San Francisco Giants Fan Fest 2014: Success This Time, and Worth the Wait, by Chuck Strom

At the O’Doul Gate

At the 2013 San Francisco Giants Fan Fest at AT&T Park, I waited the entire day on the field for an autograph, left empty-handed and resolved never to do that again. This year, I had my daughter Jillian with me and didn’t want her to endure such a frustrating and . . . → Read More: San Francisco Giants Fan Fest 2014: Success This Time, and Worth the Wait, by Chuck Strom

The 2014 Golden State Warriors – Well Worth The Price Of Admission, by Chuck Strom

Despite their second-round series loss to the San Antonio Spurs, the 2013 NBA playoffs were truly a coming-out party for Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors. Since 1994—basically a generation—the Warriors had been one of the least relevant franchises in all of sports, with the exception of an upset against the Dallas Mavericks . . . → Read More: The 2014 Golden State Warriors – Well Worth The Price Of Admission, by Chuck Strom

A Better Performance, But The Same Result, By Chuck Strom

To anyone who saw the Seattle Seahawks beat down the San Francisco 49ers in the second half of the recently concluded NFC Championship Game, the surprise was not that the 49ers lost, but that they came so close to sending the 12th Man home to an off-season of wailing and gnashing of teeth. Instead, . . . → Read More: A Better Performance, But The Same Result, By Chuck Strom

A Tribute to Candlestick From An Unlikely Niner Fan, by Chuck Strom

The online magazine Grantland featured a farewell essay to Candlestick Park, where the San Francisco 49ers played their final game on Week 16 before winning three more games on the road to earn themselves their third straight trip to the NFC Championship Game. The essay, titled “Closing the Cave of the Winds,” is notable . . . → Read More: A Tribute to Candlestick From An Unlikely Niner Fan, by Chuck Strom

Thoughts on the 49er/Packer Game, by Chuck Strom

Watched the whole game yesterday. A few observations:

1. The cold didn’t impact the game as much as people thought it might. Not a lot of slipping or sliding going on, and both teams were able to throw and catch the ball. The kicking game was affected, though. Kickoffs were noticeably shorter even on . . . → Read More: Thoughts on the 49er/Packer Game, by Chuck Strom

Peter Jackson Has Jumped the Shark, by Chuck Strom

As the title suggests, I am about to disparage Peter Jackson’s latest installment of his Hobbit trilogy, The Desolation of Smaug. Before I do so, however, I should point out a few things. I am as familiar with the Tolkien literature as anyone could be without being totally obsessive, having read most of it . . . → Read More: Peter Jackson Has Jumped the Shark, by Chuck Strom

Everyone Loves Kalle Anka

Here’s an article in Slate on Sweden’s love of Donald Duck, or Kalle Anka, which literally translates to Charlie Duck. It’s an interesting take on Swedish culture and the appeal of similar cultural icons, especially during the holidays.

– Chuck Strom

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2009/12/nordic_quack.html

49ers/Packers Playoff Preview, by Chuck Strom

If there never was a reason before to eliminate divisions in the NFL conferences and go to a playoff structure seeding teams strictly by their regular season record, there is now. There is something unjust about a team tied for the second-best record in the NFC being rewarded by a first-round playoff game in . . . → Read More: 49ers/Packers Playoff Preview, by Chuck Strom

Turning 50 At The Ballpark, by Chuck Strom

The author at 50

When you go to baseball games, what you see at the park can be totally at odds with what happens over the rest of the season. Last October, I watched the Cincinnati Reds beat the Giants nearly to death 9-0 in the second game of the playoffs, which everyone in . . . → Read More: Turning 50 At The Ballpark, by Chuck Strom

Timmy’s Coming Back! by Chuck Strom

Lincecum 2012 NLDS

A few months ago, San Francisco Giants announcer Mike Krukow said that baseball players generally do not sign new contracts with their old teams when they include a pay cut. Worse than a loss of income, he suggested, a cut brings a loss of status that players prefer not to endure . . . → Read More: Timmy’s Coming Back! by Chuck Strom

Feeling the Magic, by Chuck Strom

Jillian with Posey jersey

A week before the All-Star Break, I took my daughter Jillian to AT&T Park to see the Giants play the Dodgers. On the way down she asked if an outfielder had ever caught a fly ball with his bare hand.

“Yes,” I said. “Kevin Mitchell did it in ’89 . . . → Read More: Feeling the Magic, by Chuck Strom

Before Midnight: A Postscript, by Chuck Strom

Last week, I was in Sacramento and saw Before Midnight at the one theater in the city where it played. Those who have seen Before Sunrise and Before Sunset will find the format familiar. The setting is gorgeous–this time in the south of Greece–and the conversation is engaging and intense, with a few more . . . → Read More: Before Midnight: A Postscript, by Chuck Strom

Movies Where People Really Talk to Each Other, By Chuck Strom

Before Sunrise, Directed by Richard Linklater, Columbia Pictures, 1995.

Before Sunset, Directed by Richard Linklater, Warner Independent Pictures, 2004.

Those of you who listen to NPR or read the New York Times probably know already that a third movie in director Richard Linklater’s “Before” Series has been released recently: Before Midnight. In this installment . . . → Read More: Movies Where People Really Talk to Each Other, By Chuck Strom