Thursday, November 30, 2006

NFL Football Moving Away from Low-Income Fans

I have been watching a disturbing trend lately concerning the NFL. It seems that the NFL---in order to pay astronomical player and coach salaries---has been forced to seek new revenue streams.

The solution is to televise Monday Night Football on ESPN and, now, Thursday evening games on NFL Network.

I do not have ESPN and I do not have NFL Network, so I cannot watch these games. That's the thanks I get for being a loyal fan of the NFL my entire life (and occasionally buying its merchandise...hats, t-shirts, sweatshirts).

I'm curious to hear the thoughts of Ralph's readers. I see it as more evidence of the widening gap between those with plenty of disposable income and those without.

Any thoughts?


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

J.P. Losman

If you haven't seen it yet, check out J.P. Losman's game winning pass from this past Sunday's game vs. the Texans. This is an absolute bullet, on the money, in the back of the end zone. Yes, as a Bills fan, we haven't had much to celebrate this year, but this was one of those rare moments... of course, until I read this excerpt from DJ Gallo's column on ESPN page 2, which kind of put it in perspective:

"After Losman led the Bills on a last-minute drive to defeat the Texans, Houston cornerback Dunta Robinson had this to say: 'If that had been Peyton Manning, you'd expect it. But it was J.P. Losman. That's embarrassing. I hope he doesn't feel too good, because we just shot ourselves in the foot.' Yeah, Losman, you shouldn't feel too good. You had to resort to a last-minute drive to beat Dunta Robinson and the Texans. Most teams usually put them away long before the fourth quarter. You should be embarrassed. You're so pathetic I'm surprised you're not a Houston Texan."


Monday, November 20, 2006

Erie's Dick Chaney

So, I'm sure you've all seen by now that the City of Erie is considering putting Erie Golf Course on the market. Most interesting thing about this is that the City reportedly paid almost $2 million to upgrade the course just a couple years ago, but now say the best they could hope to sell it for as a golf course is $600,000. Wow, talk about a bad investment. The story says council approved this investment - does anyone else think this should be investigated? Shouldn't council have to accept some responsibility for this.

I remember when the funds were being allocated, and I was scratching my head as to how they expected to make that money back. Apparently, someone must have sold council a bill of goods on this. On a much smaller scale, the whole thing reminds me of the Iraq War, which for the life of me never made sense from the get go.

My question is, who will benefit the most from this waste of our city taxpayers money? The waste in Iraq clearly benefits Dick Cheney and his ilk. Who is Erie's Dick Cheney?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Abe Lincoln

Here's a quote that my buddy Soup sent me last week in response to my post on addiction:

"It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues."

It's from our beloved 16th president. It's kind of a hard one to shake. It reminds me of the old Mike Tyson, back when he was the heavyweight king of the world. He was a bad man. I remember seeing an interview with him at the time and, in his funny kind of high-pitched voice, he was bemoaning the fact that he'd be out running at five in the morning and see his buddies just getting in from being out all night. He said he wished he was with them. That said a lot about his character right there. He was also manic depressive, which in my opinion meant he had somed heightened sensibilities, which enabled him to channel the excitement of a heavyweight fight, the crowed and the moment, and really kick some ass. If you remember, he could really kick some ass. Come at you with both hands flailing like jackhammers. But then all sorts of shit started to distract him. And I don't know if he got medicated or what following his attempted suicide/murder of Robin Givens by crashing his car into the tree, but he went downhill after that.

The only other person I've come across who openly supports my theory that psychosis helps the performance of some athletes is Dr. Z. - the grizzled verteran football writer for SI.

But, like Tyson, Abe L. apparently drove his wife crazy too. Greatness is a tough thing.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Leaf bags

Does anyone else live in the city? And is it the same in the county? Apparenlty, there has been an ordinance passed that requires you to use biodegradable bags for your leaves. Seems like a decent enough idea. Same the environment and all that. But, why is it that we are restricted to one brand of bag? I mean who voted on this? Is the company that makes these clear green biodegradable bags owned by the brother-in-law of someone in local government? These things cost $4.00 for 10 - 40 cents per bag and they're not very sturdy, so you can't stuff too many leaves in. And ther is no competition, so I can can't see prices going down or quality improving any time soon. What's behind this monopoly? Did the city sell the rights like they would a cable franchise?

I guess you have the option of using a fleet of trash cans instead, which is nice, but I have to admit the whole thing caught me kind of out of left field. One year, I've got a system down with the clear bags, and even have some saved from last year, and the next thing I'm hit with these new rules. I guess it's maybe listed on the recycling guide I got at the beginning of the year, but who reads these that closely? Did any of the local news outlets cover this? Leaf bags might not seem like a big story, but we've got some big ass trees around town, and I know plenty of people who fill 30-40 bags per year - and that was with sturdier, clear ones. We could be talking 100 of these biodegradable things. That $40 on leaf bags.

Anyway, I need to do some research on the company that makes these biodegradable bags and find out how they got legislated into my life.



Thursday, November 09, 2006


Wow, was Bush quick to throw Rummy under the bus. Not even a moment's hesitation. This guy has been messing up for at least four years now, and Bush finally decides to get rid of him. Doesn't he see that it's too late? Or is this some sort of peace offering to the Democrats? Either way, if that's the way Bush treats his loyal followers - well, I guess the Colin Powell episode should have shown us that it is.

Funny thing is that I saw Rummy's now infamous press conference on C-Span last week. I happened to be feeding the baby and I've found that C-Span has a very calming effect on him - it almost always puts him to sleep. I used baseball for the same effect on my first born. But Rummy was in his legendary rude, condescending and obnoxious form. It was the first time I'd seen it live and uncut for such a long period of time. Boy, did he treat the press shabbily. Anyhow, if it took this last election for Bush to realize what a jack-ass this guy was...well, as I've said before, Bush's obtuseness is remarkable.



Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Matthew Good

More politicians should have quotes like this one: "I doubt that if I cut off my right arm that they’d be satisfied with it.” Good was discussing voters dissatisfaction with him for voting in favor of that midnight pay raise last year.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Krauthammer on elections

Speaking of voting, has anyone checked out Charles Krauthammer's column appearing in today's Erie paper? (I used the Seattle Times link because some people have complained about having trouble opening my GoErie links.) Krauty makes some interesting points about the historical dissastisfaction with sixth-year presidents and how we've seen this type of Cogressional changing of the guard before. Is it the typical Republican series of selected numbers that only tell their slant of the story? Probably, but it does seem to provide some interesting historical perspective.


Voting, Part II

Well, I went and took care of business. I kind of surprised myself with the way I voted. I had full intentions of voting for two or even all three Republicans on the ballot, but as I stood at the voting machine, the anger in me over the Iraq War and the deficit started to swell up, and I just couldn't do it. Plus, I thought of all the money Rendell has pledged to the Kohler project and figured he couldn't be that bad of a guy, even if he does come across as an old-school, glad-handler, politician...


Monday, November 06, 2006

Addiction and Grace

I was recently thinking about all the people I know who are addicted to something, whether that be drinking, smoking, sex, work, washing their hands, or all of the above, sometimes at once. This got me thinking about the causes of addictions. They clearly exist to fill some void, create some sort of security blanket for people to clutch to, because we all need that. So, are addictions inevitable? My theory is no -that trust can enable a person to let go. Trust in society, or fellow man, or God (the Church) or whatever you want to call it. You have to able to let go of that security blanket and allow yourself to fall into the great unknown with faith the something will pick you up....Well, that's the short of it at least. I've just launched into a book entitled Addiction and Grace - Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions, that I hope will provide some more insights. It's written by a psychiatrist, Gerald G. May, M.D., and for some reason the previews just seem to connect with me and my state of mind. So I bought a used copy on Amazon.

I just finished the preface and came across this nugget: ..."major addiction is the sacred disease of our time." Not sure what that means, but I like the way it sounds. More on this topic later.




Don't you hate it when people rotely encourage others to get out and vote? I really don't think you should encourage anyone to vote unless they are educated on the candidates and issues. Why would you just want people to vote for the sake of voting? All that does is dilute the vote of those who take the time to make an educated decision. I wish we'd reconsider the way we market our right to vote.

Speaking of voting, this will be the first time I vote on the new electronic touch-screen machines. I guess they debuted in May, but I was out of town and missed the primaries. Let it be know, that I am staunchly against the use of these devices-at least the way they are being currently implimented. In my professional life, I've had occasion to speak with developers of alternative, more trustworthy technology. Granted, these guys had their own agenda to push... but if you need any convincing, wade through this Vanity Fair article from a couple years ago. Granted, Vanity Fair is a clearly biased, liberal rag, but still, this article is pretty damn convincing, when coupled with everything else I've heard. (When I say "wade" - it's acutally a great read, but the quality of the image viewing experience in this link is pretty low. If you can find a printed, or electronic copy of the article, it would probably be better, but I stress again, it's an eye-opening piece.)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Undercover Brother

I have to recommend this movie to you on several levels. Mainly, it's one of the funniest movie I can remember seeing since The Naked Gun: Part II - that was at least 15 years ago, and I was stoned when I saw that, so this may be even funnier, if you did an apples to apples comparison. One caveat I will insert is that it probably helps to have a 70s frame of reference to fully enjoy Undercover Brother. I was born in '67, so the 70s were definintely my formative years, but someone a little older, who was even more a part of the 70s scene, might enjoy this even more. Great kicks, I'm telling you. (And the soundtrack was just cool.)

I think I laughed out loud about 30 times during this flick. This compares to something like Ancorman, during which I may have laughed out-loud once. Interestingly, during my recent trip to Prague, a couple guys I was with insisted Ancorman was really funny - and that's the consensus I get from 90% of everyone I talk to. Well, I thought this was 10 times funnier. Has anyone else seen both flicks?

I thought Ancorman's jokes were predicable, hackneyed, and played out for the most part. This flick, even though it was made in 2002, seemed pretty fresh. And it had the special quality, that almost whenever you thought it was getting stupid, they'd throw you a curve and make you laugh and "suspend the disbelief." It's really a tightrope walk to achieve this type of effect in a farcical flick, like this one is, but in my opionion, they pull it off masterfully. Check it out if you get a chance.



Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Harold Ford ad

Here's a link to that infamous Harold Ford Ad paid for by the Republican National Comittee. I've read and heard so much about it over the past couple days, I thought I finally had to give it a looksee. Check it out, it's really a pretty funny, well done, watchable ad. And I'm not sure I read the racism that most Dems seem to be reading. The Dem read seems to be that the flirting bimbo is there to insinuate that Harold Ford fools around with white women and therefore stir up all the Tennessee folk who believe interacial dating is wrong. If you ask me, this interpretation is just as much of an insult to white folk in Tennessee as the ad is to African Americans/black folk.

I'm from the north, so maybe I'm discounting the angst the interacial dating causes in some parts of the country, but the first time I watched it, I just thought they were trying to suggest that Harold Ford consorted with bimbos and hangs out at the Playboy mansion, which is a strategy that could conceivably be used to attack white as well as black politicians. I mean look what they did to Clinton over Monica L., and they were both white. I'd have to say that the liberal Dems are just as guilty as the Republicans here, in there efforts to make a mountain out of a molehill - but I must add, that like the Republicans have traditionally been, they seem to be succeeding with the help of the national media.

Just some food for thought.