July 31, 2011


A new law in Utah makes it illegal for a person to publicly touch their own genitals.

In other words, Utah is never getting a major league baseball team.

July 28, 2011

Japanese pitcher Hideki Irabu found dead

Former New York Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu was found dead of an apparent suicide in the wealthy Los Angeles suburb of Rancho Palos Verdes, authorities said Thursday.

The body of Irabu, 42, was found at 4:25 p.m. PDT Wednesday, county sheriff's Sgt. Michael Arriaga said. He was found dead by an apparent suicide.

He was unloved in San Diego because the Padres drafted him but he refused to sign. His rights were traded to the Yankees where he was dubbed "The Fat Toad" by George Steinbrenner.

The Yankees do not plan to retire Irabu's uniform No. 14.

July 23, 2011


Click on photos to enlarge


I love railroads. My dad worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad for more than 30 years at Penn Station in New York City as a ticket seller. When I was a youngster, our family traveled on trains a great deal because dad could get free passes. As an adult, in my travels, railroad trips are sought. We have been on them from Finland to New Zealand.

One of my favorites, and only four hours from our home in Las Vegas, is the Grand Canyon Railway from Williams, Ariz. directly to virtually the canyon's rim. Our train was attacked by gunmen on horseback, ala the notorious Jesse James gang.

According to its website (, "Grand Canyon Railway made its first journey to the South Rim in 1901, long before Arizona was dubbed the "Grand Canyon State." With the arrival of the train, people could get to the legendary canyon with ease and comfort. Today, you can travel to Grand Canyon National Park along the same rail line your parents or grandparents did. Select from one of four vintage classes of service which have been lovingly restored. Journey to Grand Canyon National Park aboard Grand Canyon Railway and take a trip not only to America's most recognized spectacle, but a trip back in time."

Vivian and I took the train trip in September 2005 with our friends from Kansas, Anita and Dr. Charles Lenoir. Charles' dad was also a railroader and he has traveled on more trains than anyone else I know. He and I have discussed taking a train trip from Sydney to Perth, Australia, a ride longer than from Maine to California. The Grand Canyon ride was long enough for me, so I am not up to a cross Australia jaunt.

In any case, check out the Grand Canyon Railway on the internet, if this blog post piques your interest.

My photos might give you an idea of what it was like for the Lenoirs (see photo of them at the rim of the canyon) and the Barnings.

Photos by Frank Barning

July 15, 2011

Where I would rather be today: the Grand Canyon

Awesome, but.....

We've been there twice and were somewhat disappointed. Here is the problem. Most of the images that I had seen on TV travel shows were taken from the air. It is not nearly as breathtaking from the ground. For example, you cannot see the Colorado River which flows through the area.

People who visit and see the Grand Canyon from the air via helicopter or small plane are totally impressed. You can also fly there from Las Vegas. Flights are expensive but maybe they are worth it.

My next post will be about the train trip you can book for Williams, Arizona to the Grand Canyon. The travel department at Auto Club in Las Vegas has information, so I assume other AAA offices around the country are also promoting this trip. Getting to the Grand Canyon by vintage train was almost as neat as actually being there.

Photos by Frank Barning

July 12, 2011

The five greatest Yankees. Is Derek Jeter on your list?

As much as most baseball fans admire Derek Jeter, the news surrounding his recently having reached 3,000 hits has been overkill.

This morning I was checking out the ESPN baseball site, one of the first things I do every day. Posted was the story "Jeter's Rank Among All-Time Yankees." Their were several top five lists, some from sportswriters and others from readers.

1. Babe Ruth
2. Lou Gehrig
3. Joe DiMaggio
4. Mickey Mantle
5. Not Derek Jeter

Number five could be several Yankees. I would lean toward Yogi Berra, but others who come to mind are Bill Dickey, Whitey Ford and Mariano Rivera.

So, I went through the posts by readers to see the various lists. One struck me:

Best Yankees Steroid Users
1. A-Rod
2. Roger Clemens
3. Jason Giambi
4. Andy Pettite
5. Bobby Abreu (probably)

Tonight is the All-Star Game which can be enjoyable. I am a National League fan and it helps our cause that several fantastic American League starting pitchers will not appear.

But it will be difficult to top the excitement of last night's Home Run Derby won by Robinson Cano. The Home Run Derby is basically a trash sport but it was thrilling to watch the action.

One last thought. I really don't get it about women's soccer. At least it's better than women's basketball. Don't get me started on women's basketball. Most people don't realize that the women use a smaller ball.