Friday, December 6, 2013


David Mickey Evans' Blog: STACEY McGILLIS PHOTOGRAPHY ON ETSY: Dear Reader, Fisherman at sunrise I'm obviously still far behind on my blog posts about the 20th Anniversary Sandlot Tour, and ...


Dear Reader,

Fisherman at sunrise

I'm obviously still far behind on my blog posts about the 20th Anniversary Sandlot Tour, and I promise there's a new post coming soon about that.   In the meantime, my finacĂ©, Stacey McGillis, has gone live with her photography on Etsy.  She made her first sale less than ten minutes after going live.  Impressive.

Please visit her page, follow, share with everyone and purchase her stunning photos.  You will be glad you did.  And if anyone knows a buyer in the hospitality business - someone who purchases artwork for hotel chains etc... - drop me an email with their info, and feel free to pass Stacey's Etsy page along to them.

Thanks and check back soon.  DME

Here's the link and a few examples of her work:

Sea-Stained Dock

Field of Sunflowers

Monday, September 30, 2013

David Mickey Evans' Blog: 20TH ANNIVERSARY SANDLOT TOUR - 5.10.13 - 5.11.13 ...


20TH ANNIVERSARY SANDLOT TOUR - 5.10.13 - 5.11.13 - DAYS 34 & 35...



Dear Reader,

First of all, apologies for being way behind  on my blog posts about the 20th Anniversary Sandlot Tour.  As the tour progressed, the drives between screenings got longer, The Navigator had to leave a few times for gigs back in FLA and the end of every day of driving leaves little time for anything more than an end-of-day beer and a visit to the chiropractor.  But as the Tour is now 

over, (it’s 10:20 AM 9/30/2013 here in Florida where I have handcuffed myself to my MacBook for the next month or so, to catch up on all the blog posts I've missed) time has re-presented itself enough for me to get back on it, so to speak, and return to chronicling our OTR adventures in, and impressions of, traveling all over America.  I’ve missed writing these posts and I’m anxious to blog, so here we go...

We leave the hotel early for a long day of radio, TV and web interviews for the next day’s screening at Arlington Stadium.  And it’s a good thing FOX provided a car and driver, because in the daylight (we had arrived in Arlington the night before and managed to by-pass having to drive in Dallas) I get my first taste of what can only be described as “The Single Worse Metro Street Grid and Freeway System on Planet Earth.”  This is Dallas.

The worst road sign the American auto traveler can come across is “Road Work Ahead.”  We’ve run into these everywhere in every state on almost every highway - sometimes it seems like half the interstate system in the United States is either under construction or some sort of repair.   These stretches usually last for between 3 and 20 miles - sometimes causing traffic to come to a crushing halt, forcing a single file line of cars and trucks many miles long slogging along at 20 miles an hour if you’re lucky.

“Road Work Ahead” signs, therefore, suck.

But you won’t find any such signs in the greater Dallas, Texas area.  Why?  Because they’d be utterly redundant.  You see, it’s because the ENTIRE Dallas street and freeway system is under repair and construction.  Absolutely all of it.  So there’s no need for a “Road Work Ahead” sign, because everyone already knows that it’s “All Road Work Ahead.”

And it isn’t just the ubiquitous construction that confounds, or the city streets that are more like olympic mogul ski runs than thoroughfares, it’s that the system makes little to no traffic efficiency sense; streets parallel one another going the same direction but ultimately nowhere at all, the freeway on-ramps and off-ramps are narrow corridors of concrete barely wide enough for a motorcyclist to negotiate, and most lead right back onto the same damn freeway you were trying to exit!  Or, worse, onto a freeway or interstate highway, from which, once you are on it, there is literally no escape; you have no choice but to go where it goes, forr-evv-err!  

It begs, in all its bewildering glory, this question: “What the hell were these people thinking?!  Of course that’s just the thing of it - they weren’t.   And furthermore, the monumental gordian knot that it is, I suggest it wasn’t designed by “People” at all.  No sir.  I have a theory.  Go with me here...

Imagine the city of Dallas after a hundred years or so of pumping ludicrously profitable Texas Tea; oil money that is.  All of it piling up in city and county coffers till it’s simply so much that they cannot even count it anymore; no sir, they have to “weigh” it.  Like Pablo Escobar used to have to do with all that cocaine money.  There was literally so much cash, that his brother Roberto (who acted as his accountant) had the boys stack it on pallets - like the big cubes of garden mulch you see at Home Depot or Lowes, wrap it in clear plastic and weigh it.  

To put this in perspective, do this: weigh a $100 bill.  No, don’t, I’ll tell you how much it weighs; all denomination of US currency weigh the same.  One gram - which in a second you’re gonna find so ironic you’ll sh*t your pants laughing...  There are 454 grams in a pound.  There are 10,000 $100 bills in a million.  Ergo, $1,000,000 in $100 bills would weigh 22.026 pounds.  Ya with me so far?

(I pinched the following fun facts and images off the net):

We'll start with a $100 dollar bill. Currently the largest U.S. denomination in general circulation. Most everyone has seen them, slightly fewer have owned them. Guaranteed to make friends wherever they go.

A packet of one hundred $100 bills is less than 1/2" thick and contains $10,000. Fits in your pocket easily and is more than enough for week or two of shamefully decadent fun.

Believe it or not, this next little pile is $1 million dollars (100 packets of $10,000). You could stuff that into a grocery bag and walk around with it.

While a measly $1 million looked a little unimpressive, $100 million is a little more respectable. It fits neatly on a standard pallet...

And $1 BILLION dollars... now we're really getting somewhere...

Next we'll look at ONE TRILLION dollars. This is that number we've been hearing so much about. What is a trillion dollars? Well, it's a million million. It's a thousand billion. It's a one followed by 12 zeros.

You ready for this?

Ladies and gentlemen... I give you $1 trillion dollars...

Notice those pallets are double stacked.

...and remember those are $100 bills.

And just to drive the point home a little harder - because the horse is not quite dead yet - the Escobar empire also had a system of accounting for “cash loss,” which ran to about 10% of the total per year.  Not from theft mind you, from rot. And rats.  The cash on the bottom of the pallets would actually rot, destroying it.  And Rats would eat that.   That’s when they started storing it in temperature and humidity controlled warehouses - yes, warehouses.  And investing in semi’s full of rat traps, and rubber bands.  The Escobar’s monthly “rubber band cost” - to wrap all those stacks of $100 bills - was, are you ready for this?  $2,500 per month spent on rubber bands.  At that time you could get a bag of 1,000 rubber bands for about 50 cents.  Yeah, that much money.

SIDEBAR: remember the weight of a $100 bill?  It's a gram.  Escobar was selling grams of cocaine for about $100, essentially exchanging a gram of alkaloid for the equivalent weight in U.S. Treasury "paper."  I mean real paper, the kind they print money on.  Genius.  Evil, but genius.

Now this is the sort of cash flow that we’re talking about that the TDOT (Texas Department of transportation) had to devote to the Dallas freeway system.

To recap: I suggest the freeway system in Dallas wasn’t designed by “People” at all.  No sir.  I have a theory.  Go with me here...  At some point there was a big meeting with the city council and the state civil engineering boys.  I imagine it went something like this:


A rare early photograph of the fledgling Dallas Civil Engineering Department

W.H. Frank,  D.B. Bob, and T.S. Thomas of the Dallas Metropolitan Transportation and Highway & Byway Planning Department.  On a well deserved day off on the links.

Initial reaction by the Dallas freeway planning department when Dewey-Dupuy suggested utilizing Bonobo Chimpanzees as the initial design team.  They quickly saw the light, and got over the trans-species problem and finally got their heads around the marvelous design possibilities. 

W. H. FRANK (the guy in charge): “Gentlemen. The goal here is to design and build a freeway and street system that will be the transportation envy of the known world."

D. B. BOB (chief design engineer): “That’s a helluva tall order, Frank.  Should we contact the Disney people?”

W. H. FRANK: “Oh pshaw, D. B.  No sir.  We’re sitting on the kind of money Alexander The Great and The Holy Roman Empire had at their disposal.  Did they call the people at Disney to conquer the known world?  I don’t think so.  We’re not talking about “It’s a Small F**king World, son, we’re talking BIG!”

T. S. THOMAS (V.P. of Urban Planning and Development): “So then, W. H., am I right in assuming you are asking us to think outside the box here?”

W. H. FRANK: “Exactly, T. S., I wanna be so far outside the box on this one that the box as a concept will cease to exist.”

At this point a great silence falls over the conference room... heads are scratched, chins are stroked... thinking caps are set on very large engineering craniums...

DEWEY-DUPUY (new hire, Under Secretary of Dallas County infrastructure), raising his hand: “Gentlemen, if I may... ponder this; are you all aware of the Infinite Monkey Theorum?”

W. H. FRANK: “The theory which states that a monkey or monkeys hitting at random on a keyboard for an infinite amount of time will almost surely type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare?  Gosh, no, not all.  What's that?  (Beat) Of course we're aware of the theorum!  Yes, of course, Dewey-Dupuy, go on...”

DEWEY-DUPUY: “Well, considering we’re talking about a design outside-the-box here, what if... now go with me here, what if we were to employ a design team that was so far outside-the-box that they simply had no concept of what a “Box” itself actually is?”

T. S. THOMAS “What are you getting at, Dewey-Dupuy?”

DEWEY-DUPUY: “The new enclosure at the Dallas International Zoo.”

W. H. FRANK: “I’m not following you, son, cut to the chase.”

DEWEY-DUPUY: “The zoo just took possession of a troop, herd, school, gaggle - whatever you call it - of Bonobo Chimpanzees.”

T. S. THOMAS: “Good Lord, man, speak plainly!  What are you getting at?!”

DEWEY-DUPUY: “We hire the Bonobos to design our freeway and street system.”

At this point there is stark raving silence in the conference room.  It is unclear for several minutes whether Dewey-Dupuy is going to hailed as a hero or pink-slipped.

W. H. FRANK: “There's a problem with the idea already, Dewey-Dupuy.  Chimpanzees are not monkeys.  They're apes.  Monkey's have tails."

DEWEY-DUPUY: "Indeed, W. H., however, Bonobos are better typists than monkeys.  Ergo... if you follow my reasoning."

W. H. FRANK: "I do, Dewey-Dupuy.  And... that is... the most brilliant thing I think I have ever heard.”

D. B. BOB: “I have to admit, I was skeptical there for about 19 seconds.  But I have my mind around it now.  It’s genius.  Really.  True, it might take a while, I mean if you consider that - the relevance of the theorem being questionable - the probability of a monkey typing exactly the complete works of Shakespeare’s Hamlet is so tiny that the chance of it occurring during a period of even a hundred thousand orders of magnitude longer than the age of the universe is extremely low, but... and I emphasize this gentlemen in the most forceful way I can muster... but NOT ZERO.  I say we go with it.”

T. S. THOMAS: “I second that.  I mean we’re talking about a freeway system here, boys, not the complete g’damn works of some flowery English hack anyway, right?”

W. H. FRANK: “Dewey-Dupuy contact the Dallas International Zoo and let them know we’ll be delivering the design tools to the Bonobos tomorrow morning.”

Circa 1970. Pre "CAD."  This is an extremely rare photograph of the main (and at the time highly Top Secret) civil engineering design tool the Dallas branch of the Texas State Civil Engineering Department provided the Bonobo Freeway Design team.

Circa 1971. Pre "CAD," post-Spirograph.  When the original design tool proved itself incapable of bringing to fruition the latent genius of The Bonobo Freeway Design Team, manufacturer "KENNER" came out with this upgrade: SUPER-SPIROGRAPH!

The only known picture of the very first moment the Lead Design Chimp, Mr. Gordian Tobias, began committing his transportation ideas to paper...  The center wheel is actually an Oreo cookie Mr. Tobias poked holes in after licking out the creamy center filling.

Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp.  The State of Texas in conjunction with Dallas County and the United States State Department sent Link behind the Iron Curtain to cadge (steal, frankly) what information and pictures he could of the famed German Autobahn.

L. Link and his faithful translator, Mata Hari, arriving incognito, in East Berlin, circa 1969.

Link and Hari, surreptitiously surveying the German AutoBahn system from a rented Alfa Romeo.

When spying from a ragtop wasn't producing the desired results, Link and Hari hit the open road ala Peter Fonda.  That's Link on the right in full "Captain America" regalia.

Upon returning the United States and turning over their smuggled microfilm, here are the government's prints of said AutoBahn survey.  Notice the clean, straight lines of the highway layout.  It all seems to make sense.  The road is actually going somwhere:

And here, by contrast, are the initial designs for the entire Dallas transportation system, by The Dallas Bonobo Freeway Design Team utilizing the Spirograph design technology:

Dallas Freeway Design.  Concept #1.  Copyright, Dallas Bonobo Freeway Design Team.  University of Texas Archives.  Buster Keaton division.

Dallas Freeway Design.  Concept #2.  Copyright, Dallas Bonobo Freeway Design Team.  University of Texas Archives.  Banana Splits division.

Dallas Freeway Design.  Concept #3.  Copyright, Dallas Bonobo Freeway Design Team.  University of Texas archives.   Knucklehead Smith division.

Dallas Freeway Design.  Concept #4.  Copyright, Dallas Bonobo Freeway Design Team.  University of Texas archives.  Cinnamon Toasty Apple Jacks division.

The following are exceptionally rare individual and group photographs of The Dallas Bonobo Freeway Design Team, affectionately known as "TEAM CLUSTERF**K."

The Dallas Bonobo Freeway Design Team.  Day one on the job.  Bewildered.  Confused.  Anxious.  Lost.  Just like every Dallas commuter will be in the decades to come.

First day on the job. Circa 1969. Photo of Mr. Gordian Tobias, Chief design engineer of The Dallas Bonobo Freeway Design team.  Notice the sheer joy, the wonder, and what can only be described as "Ambition" written all over his face.  You can almost feel him carrying the weight of his own bright future, and the future of Dallas commuters.

Rare daguerreotype of an adolescent Gordian Tobias.  Paris, France, Circa 1917.  Seen here, Tobias in Art School at the famed, "L'ecole Artistique Dumbarsette."

After the designs were complete, so enthralled were the Higher-Ups of the Dallas Civil Engineering Department, that rather than bid out the construction of the Dallas Freeway System to qualified contracting firms, by unanimous approval, the job was given to the Bonobo Dallas Freeway Design Team.  This photo is from Day One.  Seen here using a simple Kodak Brownie camera, Mr. Mobious Looptonowhere, is laying out the survey lines for the entire freeway system all at once.

A photo of a rare moment of dissent.  Seen here is The Chief Construction Foreman for The Dallas Bonobo Freeway Design & Construction Crew.  Moments before this photo was taken, Mr. W. H. Frank of the Dallas Civil Engineering Department has said, "Let's see if we can keep the roads straight, lead somewhere and make some sort of navigable sense people!"

Two members of the Freeway Layout and Surveying Sub-Team, investigating an object dropped from above, which landed with a thud and then a "Click."  It turned to be the Kodak Brownie Camera Mr. Mobious Looptonowhere had been using to layout the entire Freeway System.  Mobious developed an embarrassing alcohol problem during the first few weeks of the construction job causing him to drop things, fall asleep and fling his own poop at protesting Union Members during the lunch hours.  The stress was killing him. 

Pondering the age old design question, "Does form follow function?  Or does function follow form?"  The answer this subcommittee came up with regarding the Dallas Freeway system was, "Screw function."

"Oooooo, you're gonna get fiiiired cause you made a road actually go somehwere!"

Mr. Gordian Tobias.  Selfie. Circa 1974.  He could no longer avoid the fame designing the Dallas Freeway System brought him.  Although the designs themselves remain so complicated, that as of this date in 2013, the system, having been under construction for 43 years, is approximately 550 years from completion.

"Dear God..."  The prayer was never finished, the exhortation never completed, because much like any right thinking human being, upon first seeing the Dallas Freeway System, there's not much more that can be said other than... "Dear God..."

First scale model of the Dallas Freeway System, built by The Bonobo Dallas Freeway Design Team.  This mock-up is currently housed at The University of Texas's "Rube Goldberg School of Industrial Design."

Final design model mock-up of The Dallas Freeway System as it was on display at the 1972 World's Fair in Kyoto, Japan.  Sponsored by Mattel and MAD Magazine.

An actual Dallas Freeway system combination "On Ramp / Off Ramp."

The "Downtown Dallas Exit Only" interchange, circa 1971.  It remains much the same today.

Detail of the Dallas Freeway System, now known as "The Mr. Gordian Tobias Memorial Mobious Highway."

And now dear reader, I give you the completed Dallas Freeway System exactly as it exists today:

Quick sidebar (this from Wikipedia with a few extra bits from yours truly): In 2003, lecturers and students from the University of Plymouth MediaLab Arts course used a £2,000 grant from the Arts Council to study the literary output of real monkeys. They left a computer keyboard in the enclosure of six Celebes Crested Macaques in Paignton Zoo in Devon in England for a month, with a radio link to broadcast the results on a website.  Not only did the monkeys produce nothing but five pages, consisting largely of the letter “S”, but the lead male began by bashing the keyboard with a stone, and the monkeys continued by urinating and defecating on it.

They did however manage, oddly enough, to produce the entire E.L. James “50 Shades of Grey” series in ten minutes.  Without a single error.   And they corrected all her grammar.  Blindfolded.  With their hands tied behind their backs.  After they had died.  So there’s that...

But I digress.... Back to the Sandlot screening at Arlington Stadium.

I met up with Pat Renna at a local radio Station for a local morning drive time show.  It was great to see him again after 20 years.  He looked very much the same as the last time I saw him when he was 13 years old - lucky duck.  But his wit was faster and his sense of humor even better than I had remembered.  We had about 20 interviews to do during the day - the last eight or nine to be conducted in a hotel suite where we would stay in one pace while the journalists cycled through.

It was nice to have someone to split up the answering with; having done so many interviews up to this point in the tour (with hundreds more to come) and being asked largely the same questions many times, I had begun to watch my self closely for any signs of insincerity in my answers and tone.  None detected.  But it was a bit of a revelation that many of Pat's answers to the questions I had been posed and answered so many times before, were very much in concert with my own.  Which in and of itself is wonderful, but what really struck me is that twenty years later one of the actors was essentially recounting that he had had much the same wonderful experience in making the film that I had had.

That was just good.  Very, very good.

After the day of interviews, the next day was screening day.  We all arrived early and set up - and the Ranger's staff even let us bring The Captain onto the stadium grounds.  He was a happy pup!  He must've dropped his tennis ball in front of a thousand new friends with a look that said, simply, "Throw it for me!"

And from here I will let the pictures to the talking:

Texas Sandlot fans lining up all the way down the street outside Arlington Stadium.

Pat Renna signing autographs for young Sandlot fans at Arlington Stadium.  Notice the binder that Mom is page turning.  There's a detail of this item further down the page.  It's awesome!

Literally the road to Arlington Stadium.  In the distance is the home of The Dallas Cowboys football team.  Their stadium is currently the sport's hands down winner of the "Mine Is Way Bigger Than Yours" contest NFL Owners seem to perpetually engage in.

Sandlot Character Baseball Card Collection pic 1 of 3.  This kid had an original set of the "Character Baseball Cards" FOX gave away during the film's initial domestic theatrical release in 1993.  His parents purchased the 20th Anniversary DVD at the screening.  Inside that DVD case is a set of re-issues of those cards.  He now has both sets in a tidy display binder!  And is now, eBay's youngest millionaire. ;)

Sandlot Character Baseball Card Collection pic 2 of 3.

Panorama of the fans in the stands for the intro and the trivia contest.  Pat Renna and myself also did a Q&A.  There's about four thousand people here.  It was a little disappointing to learn that The Rangers had limited the attendance to 4,000.  Arlington Stadium holds 48,114 people.  I asked the Staff guy in charge of the event why the Rangers management had limited the screening to 4,000 people.  he said, "None of us has any idea.  We sold out in like a hour for the Sandlot screening.  We could've filled this place to capacity in a few hours of ticket sales."

Sandlot Character Baseball Card Collection pic 3 of 3.

Do Sandlot fans ever age?  Nope!

Everything is bigger in Texas.

This was the reaction when I asked over the house-mike, "Who wants a Sandlot t-shirt?!"

Pat Renna and DME getting ready to toss t-shirts to the crowd.

Here's some actual footage of Sandlot fans reaching and scrambling for the t-shirts we tossed them:

This gives you some idea of the number of fans attending the event as opposed to how many could've attended had the whole stadium been made available.

Local FOX Sports reporter (That would be the tall young lady in the middle), interviewing a group of young Texas Ranger fans.  She asked, "Are you guys here for the game today?"  They answered, "No, we're here to watch The Sandlot!"

Pat and DME getting the crowd stoked.

Rangers Ballpark is a cathedral stadium, meaning you don't see much of the sky or horizon in the outfield because there are stands and seating there as well.  Some fans like this sort of a stadium to watch a ball game in, I prefer something more like Dodger Stadium.  Nonetheless, Arlington is a really pretty ballpark.

We could've filled all those empty seats.  Helluva ballpark though.

DME asking Sandlot trivia questions. T-shirts and posters were the prizes for correct answers.

Ands the fans go wild!

Lined up all the way down the block and around the corner, and down the other block!

Pat Renna and DME signing autographs.  We were there all day and half the night.  No disappointed fans.  Ever!

Pat and DME reenacting the original domestic theatrical Sandlot Poster with some fans who came to get their "Squints on!

The line kept getting longer and longer.  Everyone showed up wit their picnic blankets and sleeping bags, because the Rangers graciously allowed the fans to camp out (overnight even!) in he outfield to watch The Sandlot.  Awesome!

The Sandlot fans literally covering the entire outfield.  When I saw this I cried.

The film was shown on a bunch of these Go-Vision portable jumbotrons.  Apparently showing it on the stadium's jumbotron wasn't an option because the sound system echoes too much.

Is that an awesome sight, or what?!

They had me introduce the Ranger's game (being played away but shown on FOX Sports South Network), and the Sandlot.  Even gave me a cool Ranger's Jersey and hat!  The Producer had no copy for me to read, so I took 3 minutes and wrote it myself.

The fans lined up for autographs from the beginning of the event as they came in the gate, until after the movie was finished screening.

Pat Renna "The Great Hambino" putting another smile on a young fan's face.

The mission control rockstars at Fox Home Entertainment brought a green-screen photo booth.  Fans assumed the pose of, and the iconic piece of costuming worn by, their favorite character - and then were given a baseball card with their picture on it!  Very cool.

Pat Renna being interviewed before the screening.

I will never, EVER get tired of seeing this sight.  It humbles me every time I see it.  Gratitude does not begin to describe the feeling.

"Please catch it.  Please catch it.  Please catch it!"

Thank You, Texas Rangers!

Next up was Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins for the fourth screening (and second at a MLB Stadium) on the tour.  It was scheduled for 5/19/13.  We had five days to roll about 1,000 miles through Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa and Minnesota.  And this time it was on a game day.  And as we had heard it, the game had sold out to the tune of 38,000ish fans.

The anticipation was high because if that many people watched The Sandlot all at once, we would set a World Record for largest audience at a single motion picture screening.

Thanks for reading and check back soon.  And SIGN UP to FOLLOW if you haven't already.