Monday, December 31, 2007

Corry Pub turnover rate

OK, just to tie up a loose end... I worked at Corry Pub for like six years. It really afforded me some great opportunities while I was there. In fact, the current business I am in was purchased from Corry Pub, it's a pretty good gig, and I wouldn't have it, nor would I probably be able to live in Erie (for better or for worse) without Corry Pub.

That said, they have historically had a very high turnover rate, no matter what they say. When I started there in 1996, I think there were eight people in the editorial department. By the time I left in 2002, all eight were gone. As far back as 1993-94, I remember a friend of mine (who incidentally still works there) told me I should apply for a writer's job. However, I was working in Union City at the time (just up the road from Corry) and was warned by people there that they churned through people pretty good. I resisted applying until they advertised anonimously (presumably because of their reputation), and then point blank asked the publisher about the turnover rate. He, of course, assured me their policies had changed.

Of course, many things have happened there since I was hired as employee number 25. Maybe, they really have changed their policies to reduce turnover. But, if you're applying there and you're worried about that sort of thing, I'd ask to see some hard numbers.

Okay, I just wanted to get that all out there, so nobody can say Ralph's Place is hiding "the truth" from the people.

Cheers.

X

Friday, December 28, 2007

Commenting on deleted Corry Pub post

Shit, I was just doing a Google to locate my blog on an alternate computer and came across this post, which really takes me to task.

(Here's my comment, which I attempted to post on the linked to site, but for some reason I wasn't allowed to because comments on that blog are restricted to team members. Seems like an ironic policy for a blog that is basically ripping on me for deleting a comment I never even saw, but hey, it's a free world)
Sorry - I never saw the comment that the anonymous person has posted here. My colleague at the blog, Dr.D - a former Corry employee like myself made the original post. I think basically what he posted is accurate - or at least moreso than the story Corry tells, but hell, everybody lies a little... (and Brutus is an honorable man.)
Anyways, after Dr.D posted it, we both decided that it might appear a bit unprofessional, so we made a decision to take it down.
I guess it's back up now- as I'm including this link that has the original post plus the comments. Please feel free to comment, but I don't really appreciate snide, behind the back, peronal attacks. I really had no idea that anyone had even read this post and honsetly never saw the comment.
I am all about encouraging open, honest discussion.
Cheers.
Ralph

Thursday, December 27, 2007

You know you're a Bills fan if....

1. You think Lou Saban is one of the greatest coaches ever.
2. You know O.J. did it, but you’re willing to forgive him.
3. You’ve ever wanted a Joe Cribbs throwback jersey.
4. You know that Jim Kelly was a better quarterback than Dan Marino.
5. You can name all 10 backs who’ve ever gained 1,000 yards for the Bills.
6. You wonder whatever happened to Cookie Gilchrist
7. You lament the trade of Joe DeLamielleure to the Browns.
8. You revere Joe Ferguson.
9. You considered voting for Jack Kemp for president even though you’re a liberal.
10. You remember where you were the day the Bills traded Greg Bell and draft picks to the Rams to get Cornelius Bennett from the Colts. ( with Eric Dickerson going to the Colts.)
11. You remember that Scott Norwood was once a Pro Bowl kicker.

These are some of the things I think about on holidays. Also, I figured 11 was a perfect number because, well that was Mr. Norwood's number.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry X-Mas

That's about it.
We've been pretty busy on this end, getting busy, buying the kids toys..
Got my wife a neat gift, but I can't say what it is, for fear she might read this and ruin the surprise.
I can say we went shopping for two hours yesterday
And I was passed out by 8, after watching Jeopardy. (Remember that old Greg Kihn? song - "Our love's in Jeopardy" that Wierd Al converted to "I Lost on Jeopardy.")

Anyways, hope you all have a wonderful holiday season.

And yes, I love eggnog and rum.

Cheers.

X

Monday, December 17, 2007

Winter Weekend

Lot of snow. Did some shoveling and lit two fires. Can't ask for much more.

Cheers.

Ralph

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Viking of the Year

If they can pull this off, I nominate Continental Airlines for the Viking of the Year. I could barely make it driving the 15-20 minutes from my house to the Erie Airport this morning and saw one person spinout on the short stretech of I-79 between 26th and 12the streets. But, per usual, Continental's 24-seater or whatever is warming up and ready to go on the runway when I got here. "We're boarding at 6:45 because we have to de-ice" is all they told me. I sure hope we get out of here, because I'm headed for Miami, which will be a lot nicer if I have some time to unwind there this afternoon before conference festivities begin tonight.

Cheers.

X

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Vanity Fair-Transylvania Heist

I keep trying to let my subscription to Vanity Fair run out, but they keep sending it, which is fine, because, it really contains some entertaining (and sometimes even informative) stories when you have time to read it. I got the December issue last week and found this wonderful article on a theft of some rare books by these pot-smoking college freshman/sophomores. Unfortunately, the article is not available online, Here it is - but there is a fairly decent summary posted on a Kentucky newsite. The heist took place in Lexington, Kentucky.

These guys almost pulled off this $10 million theft of some rare books stored at the University of Transylvania library. Now, they did mug a librarian, and this sort of theivery is by no means an honorable thing, but I was quite impressed by their ambition and that fact that they really almost succeeded. It took some serious planning and major cajones.

Basically, these three or four late-teens were sitting around getting high, going to college, and getting involved with petty crime. Then, they came up with this idea for this major heist and actually followed through with it. Personally, I've been through the first three things, and we may have fantasized about major crime back in the day, but we never had the ambition or wherewithal to actually go for it. I have to applaud these guys for their initiative.

It turns out, however, that there was one hole in their otherwise very smart plan. I blame too much marajuana for the fact they didn't recognize this hole ahead of time. The article makes a reference that one of the guys kept thinking the heist would be called off when they hit a major snag in the planning, but then describes how they were able to seemingly circumvent every snag. However, as I was reading the article, I could tell that their idea for getting an appraisal at Christie's was a bad one. This indeed is where the plan fell apart.

I guess the coup de grace about this whole thing is that these guys don't feel bad about what they've done. From my standpoint, it serves kind of like a brilliant college project for them - almost something you'd be proud to put on your resume. So, they're all serving seven years in the federal pen right now. The conclusion is that they're young, they'll be out in a few years, and that the whole thing was a great experience and gives them a great story to tell.

If you taking it from the mythological standpoint, the experience seems to have helped them cross the threshold into adulthood. Prior to the event, you get the feeling they felt they were suburban youths whose manhood was being suffocated. Now, they have established their own identity was would-be big time thieves.

Cheers.

X

Monday, December 03, 2007

Bizarre Bills win

The first thing I told my neighbor when he called yesterday after the Bills' game was, "We're supposed to lose those kind of games." And, maybe it's the curse of having former Bills head coach Gregg Williams as their defensive coordinator, but the Redskins truly lost in Bills-like fashion.

With 23 seconds to go, Bills wideout Josh Reed managed to get open 30 yards down the field on a post and make a catch to put us in field goal position -albeit a long 51-yarder in the rain. Well, thanks to Redskins Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs calling 2 consecutive time outs, the Bills found themselve 15 yards closer, on an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and the kick was up and good. Bills win by a point.

The pass that rookie quarterback Trend Edwards threw to Reed was money. It looked like star receiver Lee Evans ran a deep route over the middle to clear some people out, and then Reed ran a post underneath. Edwards released the ball as Reed as making his cut, so the defense had little time to react. That landed perfectly in Reed's arms 35 yards from where it was launched and Reed was summarily smothered, but it was too late.

A great catch and run for 10 yards on the play before by Roscoe Parrish set up the Reed play. Parrish even managed to fumble out of bounds on the play to stop the clock. These are the types of games we always lose.

To add to the bizarre feel of the game was the fact that the Redskins were grieving safety Sean Taylor's shooting death earlier in the week. They may have been a bit off because of this, but it was a home game, and they also should have been somewhat inspired. However, inspired once again was not good enough in the cutthroat world of the NFL. (If you remember the Bills had severly injured tight-end Kevin Everett gives an inspirational talk right before they got waxed by New England two weeks ago.)

Here's SI columnmist Peter King's account of the first play of the game from his excellent Monday Morning Quarterback column on SI.com:

"In an attempt to fire up his unit, assistant head coach in charge of defense Gregg Williams told his players on Saturday night they would play the Bills' first offensive snap with 10 players, as a tribute to the absent Taylor.

'When coach told us that,' Fletcher told me Sunday night, 'I can't tell you how excited we were. We thought it was a perfect tribute to Sean.' One problem: Williams neglected to tell Joe Gibbs, who, from all indications, did not know about it until the game began.

It wasn't a happy surprise for Gibbs, who watched Buffalo running back Fred Jackson rip off a 22-yard run on the first snap."

Right. Not to mention that the game-winning pass was completed in an area of the field that likely would have been Taylor's responsibility as a safety.

Anyhow, we're headed up to the Bills-Dolphins game next week. Takin' Joey to bust his NFL cherry. Got some pretty inexpensive seats off of eBay. Should be cold. Should be fun. A win would move the Bills to 7-6 with three games remaining - Browns, Giants and Eagles in that order, with the toughtest team-the Giants, in Buffalo

They're all must-wins if the Bills hope to make the playoffs, but the Browns game at Cleveland is shaping up to be the biggie-especially for fans around here. Cleveland is one of the teams battling the Bills for an AFC Wild Card spot. Now, I'm not saying the Bills have a legitimate shot at the Super Bowl or anything, but a 10-6 finish and makng the playoffs would at least take some sting out of that embarrassing national TV waxing by the Patriots.

Cheers.

Ralph

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Erie Airport Runway

Curious juxtaposition today of the two Times-News editorials. On top was this one calling for $80 million in government funding to extend the runway at the Erie Airport. Below it was this article complaining that the state is wasting $.5 million polling taxpayers to find out their opinions. What's that old saying about the forrest and the trees?

We've had some discussion here about whether this runway extension is really worth the money, and another blogger has asked for a cost-justification study on the matter. The airport Web site actually has a special section on the runway extension project. There, I was able to find the FAA's 2005 report that explains why the runway extension would have no significant impact on the environment and surrounding area.

This is great, and this study seems to be the charter that the Airport Authority is using to push the project ahead. However, there is a line item in the report regarding funding: "Prior to any funding decision concerning the proposed project, determination under 49 U.S.C. § 44502(b) that the airport development is reasonably necessary for use in air commerce or in the interests of national defense." It seems to me like this could be the hold-up that the Times is blaming the FAA for. After all, have we indeed determined the necessity of this project? I don't recall seeing many detailed arguments saying why the extension is "necessary" for air commerce and national defense." Maybe that's all the stuff Phil English is doing behind the scenes...

One thing I can say from reading the report, is that the necessity of the project has apparently evolved from being driven by a desire to increase passenger traffic, to a desire to increase cargo traffic. The whole extension seems to be based around being able to fly DC-9 jets in and out of Erie. But, I guess with passenger traffic dropping from over 180,000 in 2005 to around 160,000 in 2006, there doesn't seem to be much necessity for accomodating increasing passenger traffic. This trend apparently was obvious as far back as 2005, because the report makes mention of changing the "critical aircraft design" for the runway extension from accomodating DC-9 passenger jets to DC-9 cargo jets.

So great, now we just need to determine what that cargo is and where it will be coming from, in order to cost-justify an investment of $80 million, minus, of course, whatever investment is being made for national security purposes. Apparently Erie Aviation has done some research on this topic. Maybe I just missed it when they published their findings. However, I suspect with the runway project at such a critical juncture, as reported in the Times today, some of the cost -justifcation findings will be showing up in the news again. I'm looking forward to seeing them.

Cheers.

Ralph

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving

One thing I'm thankful for is my wireless network.

I really missed it the past couple weeks. I was picking up interference from something; I'm not sure what, but it would kick me off my wireless Internet connection everytime I tried to do anything that required the slightest bandwidth...and then, for awhile, I couldn't even get on it. The interference seemed to be coming in on Channel 9, from what looked like some sort of secure wireless network with an odd name. I finally solved the problem by switching my network signal from channel 11 to channel 9. This seems to have elminated the interference from the other signal.

I'm now back up and running on wireless, which is much better than trying to move around connected to a three-foot Ethernet cable. Now, when the new laptop batter arrives...

What are you thankful for?

Cheers.

Ralph

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mossed

It's official (if not a bit belated, but I've finally seen it with my own eyes against my own team), what I said about the Tom Brady-Randy Moss combo at the beginning of the season, was completely off base. Last night it was proven so off base, that I nthought that someone must have forwarded my article off of the AFC East Report to Misters Brady and Moss, who seemed to be going out of their way, if only slightly (the way a steamroller might swerve to squash a chipmunk), to spite me. Brady hit Moss for four TDs in the first half! Then, they went for a record-tyring fifth in the third quarter, only to have a Bills defender miraculously make a play to break it up. Of course, Brady followed up with a TD to his tight-end, so what did it matter?

I must admit, in contrast to what many of his critics were saying at the beginning of the year, Moss is a complete football player when he wants to be. Last night he was running around throwing blocks, jumping on fumbles, playing D, and oh yes, even catching passes, incluidng TDs. He, Brady, and the rest of the Pats looked like the varsity going against a Bills' JV squad.

One sad thing about the game was that it made me recall how good the Bills used to be. Heck, with the K-Gun in full force, we beat the Raiders 51-3 in the AFC Championship game in 1990. But, that was a long time ago. Last night ,the score was 35-7 and half, and I recalled that 15 years ago, we trailed by a similar margin at the half against the Houston Oilers. But back then, even though we were down, we knew we had a better team. So, there was at least a glimmer of hope. Last night, the Patriots were clearly that "better" team, except they were winning. But, if they had been down 7-35, they still wouldn't have been out of it...

The Metamorphisis
So, what happened between then and now? Bill Polian. Polian, of course, is now the GM of the defending Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts. But, in the late 1980s, he built the Bills, from a 2-14 squad to a four-time AFC champion. Then, in the middle of our Super Bowl run, he was dismissed. Why? No one is quite sure, from what I've read. But, he has a notoriously bad temper and apparently he pissed off Ralph Wilson. Now, I hate to rip on another member of the disappearing breed of people with "Ralph" as their first name, but Mr. Wilson looks like a fool. Did you see him last night propped up in the owner's box with the brand new, not even broken-in Bills hat and coat. Granted, he is 90 years ago, and shouldn't be expected to be fully lively and vigorous, but Wilson still fancies himself the CEO of our team. (Well, I guess in many respects it is his team.) But, the fact that he let Polian walk... I mean, Wilson deserves credit for promoting Polian to GM in the first place, giving him his first big break in the NFL, but it was almost like Wilson couldn't deal with the success the Polian brought. By all accounts Poiian was basically fired, and it has been a downward sprial (absolutely no pun intended, but Brady thows a helluva spiral, doesn't he?) ever since. I'm thinkin' if Wilson would have appreciated properly what Polian did, he'd still be in Buffalo, and the Bills-Colts rivalry would be akin to the Red Sox-Yankees, and, well, there'd be no talk of moving to Toronto, because the NFL wouldn't want to upset the balance of things.

Psychopathy and success
This brings me to the previous point we have discussed previously (mainly in reference to anther Buffalo icon, O.J.) about psychopaths and their ability to succeed in professional football. Terrell Owens and Randy Moss each had 4 TD receptions yesterday. Yes, I think you have to be a bit crazy to run across the middle of the field in an NFL game with your eyes trained on a spiraling football while some 200-pound, chiseled athletic maniac like Bob Sanders or Troy Polamalu has his eyes trained on you and is chomping at the bit to split your spine in half with one crushing blow. Moss and Owens take their craziness to the extreme and both enjoy tremendous success in the NFL, partially at least, because of it. Even Bill Belichick is nuts. He has pretty much sacrificed the rest of his life to be a great football coach. Like Richard Nixon, he's even sacrificed ethics when he really didn't need to.

Which brings us back to Polian. So, he was a little off-kilter, a little (well, maybe a lot, based on some of stuff I've read about him reportedly jacking-up a Jets PR guy) tempermental, a little, dare we say, psychopathic. If that's what it takes to win in the NFL these days, so be it. Wilson really dropped the ball by not recognizing this 15 years ago, when he canned Polian. Sadly, it seems that Leo Duroucher's old addage about "nice guys finishing last" was never more evident than in today's NFL. And it's too bad that Wilson, Levy, and Jauron are always getting praised for being such nice guys.

But, luckily for the Bills, everyone in the NFL isn't crazy, and we still have a chance of finishing at .500. By the way, that new Steelers' coach seems like a pretty down-to-earth guy, especially compared to that yelling, spitting, Super Bowl-winning lunatic that he replaced.

Cheers

Ralph

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Gene Simmons Says College Kids Killed the Music Business

Gene Simmons (formerly of the band KISS) makes me laugh out loud.

In a recent interview, Simmons calls college students "crooks" and claims they have created a situation of "chaos and anarchy" where music artists can no longer earn an honest living.

[Point: Chris Cornell was in Allentown last Thursday. The show cost $32.50 and it was sold out. Let's see, 2000 people times $32.50 = $65,000. That's not a bad payday for a musician.]

But back to the Simmons article: Ironically, Simmons begins by commenting about how big KISS's marketing/merchandising empire is. He says "in the music world...nobody can shine our shoes [when it comes to peddling merchandise]". Obviously, he's making lots of money as a result of his time spent in the music industry. so, what's his beef?

Well, right after that, he launches into a tirade against college students, claiming that "Every little college kid, every freshly-scrubbed little kid's face should have been sued off the face of the earth [by the RIAA for stealing music]."

But wait a minute. If you sue all those kids, who will buy KISS merchandise?

Most ironic of all, Simmons later claims that "The most important part is the music. Without that, why would you care?"

Huuuuhhh? Music? Was that the priority of KISS? So, like Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Bob Dylan, and Paul Simon, KISS were all about the music. Riiiiiight.

That's not how I remember it. They were merchandising monsters from the outset, and, apparently, they are still cashing in.

Besides, hasn't Gene Simmons has made tons of money as the face of Mr. Counter-Culture? So what happened to Mr. Paint-Your-Face-and-Stick-Your-Tongue-Out-at-People-So-You-Can-Make-Money? What happened to the guy who encouraged you to give the finger to the man?

He's now saying that "fresh faced college kids" stole the music and ruined the industry. Apparently, he didn't mean for you to REALLy give the finger to the man. It was just a prank...it was just Simmons' schtick.

But speaking of stealing music, I thought KISS stole the music. Talk about a band where costumes and spectacle outranked good songwriting and you have KISS. Outside of one or two good songs, KISS pretty much sucked when it came to writing good music. They were comic book characters with guitars and stage antics. The music was secondary.

And, let me ask, who is he selling all of his junk to? Not me. I expect it's a bunch of kids who think KISS is cool because they own the KISS action figures. Geez...Mr. Music-Comes-First. What bullshit.

Ironic, isn't it? Today, the once-iconoclastic Gene Simmons sounds like an old fuddy-duddy: "Those young whipper-snappers...they ruined everything and they ought to be punished." What a dick.

You know, I can remember the day when oldsters said the same thing about Gene Simmons...

DDDDDDDDDDD

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Erie Community Foundation gets $100 Million

Did the Times-News report this. I searched GoErie and couldn't find it.

I hope Camp Notre Dame gets some of the windfall. They can set up lots of sponsorships with a nice chunk of change.

DDDDDDDDDDDDD

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Prep-McDowell Classic

Another great night of football on Friday between these two arch rivals. The final was 15-13 in favor of Prep in what was a pretty average game until the second half of the last quarter. The only problem was that you had to sit through a 40-degree night and an hour-and-a-half of drizzle to get there...

Here's what went down: Prep is leading 15-0 with about nine minutes left in the game. The Ramblers had scored three times: 1) on a solid drive late in the first quarter, 2) on a safety on a muffed punt by McDowell, and 3) on a short TD drive set up by a bad snap on a punt. They weren't blowing McDowell away, but the Trojans were having trouble moving the ball. And, when McDowell did move it, something stupid happened, like a holding penalty that ruined a long TD pass and a pair of interceptions.

But, finally, McDowell's running game clicked. They drove down the field on some nice long gains to score with just over five minutes to play. Oh yes, to go back to Prep's second TD: After the score, the Ramblers executed this wonderful fake-kick on the extra point, and it looked like the kicker had just lofted a beautiful conversion pass to the tight-end. But, alas, the ref said the Prep holder had his knee on the ground when he caught the snap before pitching it to the kicker. The holder argued vehemently, and I would guess not having your knee on the ground would be a key element of the play that you would practice and be very careful about executing, but to no avail. This miscue - or perhaps, bad call - kept the Trojans in the game, if only barely, as two TDs with successful conversions could still tie, or even win the game.

Here's where it gets tricky. After McDowell scores its first TD, Coach Joe Tarasovitch is faced with the decision to go for one or two. Sitting in the stands, having just watched the McDowell running attack shred the Prep D, the obvious choice for me is to go for two. Of course, a couple years ago in a D-10 Championship game, Tarasovitch notoriously went for two with his team down by one, and ended up losing by that very one point. So, this year, he decides to kick, and of course the kick gets blocked - now it's 15-6 Prep. This is probably not a big deal, especially after Prep cleanly fields the ensuing onside kick...

On top of that, the Ramblers start to drive downfield, with their star back Akeem Satterfield ripping off a 30-yard run to about the 12 yard-line. It was a great run. He took on about seven McDowell defenders, spinning and driving his way forward, while staying in bounds, before finally being pushed out, apparently, wa-a-a-y out, because he was a bit steamed following the play. I think the Prep coaches abided his wishes and gave him the ball three straight times after that, but after getting five yards on first down, he got stuffed the next two times. This set up a fourth-and-two inside the McDowell 10, with just over two minutes to play.

Prep has a number of options here and going for it on fourth down is probably the best one. And apparently, Coach Donnie Hall makes an ingenius, with a play action fake to Satterfield, and quarterback Branden Seyler lofting a pass over the head of McDowell linebacker Zach Stano for an easy six. But wait! Stano leaps high in the air, tips the ball to himself and gains possession. A couple zigs, zags, stops, starts, jukes and maybe broken tackle later, he's at the 20 and racing down the sideline in front of the Prep bench, with a clear path to the end zone.

Here comes Satterfield. The angry one is flying up the field after Stano gaining yards with each stride. He looks like he's about to catch Stano and stop him at midfield, when out of the nowhere Brad Gore (at least that was his name accoridng to the paper; I didn't catch the number of that truck that hit Satterfield), who must have been smartly trailing the play, shows up and blasts Satterfield, knocking him about five yards into the Prep bench. This time McDowell makes the extra point and it's 15-13 Ramblers.

Unfortunately for McDowell, Prep again does a great job covering the onside kick, and by the time the Trojans get the ball back on a punt (Prep's punt teams, both kicking and reciving, were outstanding all night and may have made the difference in the game), there's too little time, and they can't do anything with it.

Another Prep-McDowell classic and definitley worth spending two-and-a-half hours in the cold rain, if you appreciate that kind of thing.

Cheers.

Ralph

Friday, November 09, 2007

War Casualties

I know the Iraq War is bad and we've lost something like 4,000 soliders, not to mention many times more Iraqis, but I must admit I am absolutley astounded at the death toll numbers from WWII. I've watched a few episodes of that Ken Burns documentary on PBS, and there are several times we lost thousands of soldiers in a single battle. Overall, it appears that in about the same amount of time we've been in Iraq, the U.S. lost 100 times as many solidies in WWII - something like 400,000. I guess with better medical care we get more wounded survivors now, but sill... and we won WWII. The countries that lost, lost many times more solidiers. I guess the world and warfare has changed a lot in a relatively short period of time.

Any perspectives on this?

Ralph

Thursday, November 08, 2007





Vikings Coach Brad Childress - and the Late Michael Jeter, who played the assistant football coach on Evening Shade.

Which brings me to the observation that Adrian Peterson's current season can be compared to one season in history that I'm aware of. That is OJ's '73 season when O.J. gained 2003 yards and averaged 6.0 yards per carry despite a rookie QB that threw for four TDs all year. Vikings QB Tarvaris Jackson is currently on pace to throw four TDs, as well. The Bills finished 9-5 that year but missed the playoffs, because there was only one wild card back then. (I thought Eric Dickerson might fall into the same categorey as Peterson and Jackson, as he has some pretty mediorcre starting quaterbacks like Dieter Brock and Jeff Kemp, but they both achieved over double-digit TD totals, so they were somewhat of a threat.)

That's it for now.

Ralph

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Baseball-Free enterprise

I came across this setiment last night in a book by Attorney Henry D. Fetter called Taking on the Yankees - "Winning and Losing in the Business of Baseball." (Note: The book was written in the early 2000s, when the Yankees were on a run of World Series appearances.)

"Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, major league baseball has been, is, and likely will be what it has always been-the sporting world's last frontier of unbridled individualism on the field and off, a relic perhaps of a distant time, removed from the orchestrated mechinations of professional football and basketball with their owners marching in lockstep to a master plan of marketers and broadcasters."

Just some food for thought.

Ralph

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

No Power Today

Going on five hours. Great....

Monday, November 05, 2007

Adrian Peterson

I was lucky enough to see a Vikings game yesterday...and when they let that dude return the second-quarter field goal attempt 109 yards for a TD, I figured it was going to be another rough day for the Vikes.

But how about Adrian Peterson? He had 296 yards rushing! That's an all-time, single-game record! He's fun to watch.

They just kept giving him the ball and he kept running roughshod over the Chargers defense.

Kudos to the VIkings front line...they can hold some serious blocks.

I don't expect that Vikes to go anywhere this year, as they've already got five losses and no QB.

However, if they can get their hands on a good QB (Tavaris Jackson is not the man), they have the makings of a pretty good team. They should look to the free agent market for an established QB.

Steelers vs. Ravens tonight on MNF.

DDDDD

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Erie Regional Gov. - When is an expense an asset?

Pat Howard ran an interesting column today, in which he makes a lot of points that have come up both on our blog and in "real-world" discussions over the past couple months. He addresses this whole city vs. county mentality, which is a bad thing for progress. One of the main points he makes is one DrD has been making for at least a year - the City is part of the County!

Interestingly, Mayor Joe Sinnott, who I think is often seen at odds with Howard, published a newsletter last week that really asks for a lot of the same things that Howard is asking for. Contrary to the way I've seen him portrayed in the paper, Sinnott really comes out as a proponent for regional government.

This is great, as it appears more leaders seem to be getting on the same boat, to steal Howard's analogy. The major discrepency between Howard's and Sinnott's views seems to have to do with the value of the some of the city assets, such as the zoo and EMTA - and even the airport to some extent. Sinnott seems reluctant to give up City-control of these "assets" even though, in Howard's view, they don't make money - in fact, they cost money, and there is no way the city could sell them. (Well, maybe it could sell the airport, so that might be an exception. And, maybe the airport could make money too, if it wasn't run by the government, ala the State Liquor stores.) Sinnott basically seems to be asking for County funding for these City assets, as a gesture by the County toward regionalization. He's got a point, because so far, it seems the City seems to be doing all the pushing toward regionalizaiton, while County people want to distance themselves from the city's balance sheet as much as possible.

Anyways, it;'s good to see that this white elephant of regionalization is now being discussed at least in more than a pipe dream form. Here's to hoping we can continue to move forward with this agenda. It's the 21st Century now. The Age of Globalization. Having turf rivalries and squabbles among 25 entities (some of which are overlapping) in a space of 800 square miles in northwestern PA is no way to go about encouraging progress.

Cheers.

Ralph

Friday, November 02, 2007

Some rumors about Phil

And just in case you all were wondering what I meant when I made those comments about Phil's potential downfall coming in an airport bathroom, here's some stuff that showed up on a left-wing blog during the Porter campaign last year. I'm not saying any of this stuff is true... but I'm not saying it isn't. Does anyone have further info on this?

English in for a race?

Dr Dee, I feel bad that I dismissed your endorsement of Kathy Dahlkemper so off-handedly (is that a word?) It appears that for once the Democrats are interested in putting up a serious challenge against Phat Phil. I'm shocked, but I guess they see this whole Bush-driven negative-Repulican backlash thing as making Phil vulnerable.

Personally, I couldn't believe it when Phil got elected back in 1992, after Ridge vacated the seat. From what I recall, the Erie County Democrats, with Ian Murray acting as the party director at the time, badly mismanaged the race and ended up sending three or four fairly strong candidates against each other, which split the vote up here and allowed a badly underqualified guy from Mercer or Butler - Bill Leavens I think was his name, to walk away with the Democratic nomination. Phil, who I always thought came off as a clown (of course, I felt the same way about George W., so that shows what I know), ended up crushing Leavans in November and hasn't looked back since. Sure, Ronnie DiNicola gave it another go in 1996, but he was a bit too California for people around here, not to mention the Mercer County area where I was living at the time.

I will say Phil has managed to fix up his image, at least in my eyes, during his years in office, and I'm interested to see how the Dems will attack him. I guess I could say I'm also disappointed that it has taken the Dems so long to mount a serious campaign against him. I mean has it really taken everyone this long to figure out that Bush and his cronies have been mucking things up? Phil's been in office for like 15 years and the best you could come up with was Stephen Porter? Come on. Now that the guy is finally gaining some serious seniority, experience, and allies, you want to throw him out. Oh well, maybe some fresh air would be good.

Cheers.

Ralph

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Charles I of England

Part One

A study of Charles I of England is quite useful in this modern age.

It all happened in the first half of the 1600s. Much like our own President Bush/Cheney, Charles I was an advocate of the Divine Right of Kings.

According to Wikipedia, Charles' "last years were marked by the English Civil War, in which he was opposed by the forces of Parliament, which challenged his attempts to augment his own power, and by Puritans, who were hostile to his religious policies and Catholic sympathy."

Sounds familiar. We've got the Iraq War--which is clearly a Civil War---that is threatening to spill over into Iran, Israel, and Turkey. We've got a Democratic Congress who is (at least on paper) hostile to Bush's edicts, and we've got the Christian Right, who has grown increasingly dissatisfied with King George's various policies.

We've also got a president who, at every turn, has tried to gain more power for the presidency. Dick Cheney, in particular, has been very clear about his notion that Presidential Authority trumps everything...even the US Constitution.

Part Two

Wiki continues: Charles "remained defiant by attempting to forge an alliance with Scotland and escaping to the Isle of Man. This provoked a second Civil War (1648 - 1649) and a second defeat for Charles, who was subsequently captured, tried, convicted, and executed for high treason. The monarchy was then abolished and a republic called the Commonwealth of England was declared. Charles's son, Charles II, became King after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660."

In other words, the more powerful Charles became, the more he thought he was above the law. Turned out he wasn't. Eventually, the people caught up to him and "took care of business" by separating his head from his body.

Now, I'm not suggesting that Bush will be tried, convicted, and beheaded. Instead, I want to conjure up a separate troubling point discussed on this blog a few days ago: The US has inherited the monarchy that England trashed four hundred years ago.

The first piece of evidence is that the current US president behaves like King Charles. And, as Ralph pointed out, we may--if Hilary Clinton is elected--be in a position where we could be under the reign of either a Clinton or Bush for 28 years in a row (Bush I: 4; Clinton I: 8; Bush II: 8; Clinton II: possibly 8).

Is that a democracy or a monarchy? It's rule by blood, so I'd say the latter.

It seems we've inherited entirely too much from England on this count...even governing parts of England that the English didn't want.

Part Three

Finally, this article from The Economist describes the circumstances of Charles I's execution. It's worth reading.

DDDDDDDDDDDDD

Socialism vs. Communism

Ralph,

Your comments on Socialism vs. Communism are accurate, from what I've been reading.

Basically, Socialism is the notion that the community should own and control the means of production and the distribution of wealth.

Communism takes that idea further, taking most (all?) private property away from the individual, turning it over to the state. Bad idea.

From my view, Communism goes too far, because who can trust the State to behave equitably?

Like Communism, Capitalism can go too far as well, and should be resisted at certain points. For example, there are multi-billion-dollar conglomerates that own many (most?) of the companies in the world. When this happens, you have too much power in the hands of too few.

For example, there is a company called Diageo that owns Tanqueray, Bailey's, Guinness, Smirnoff, and several other brands. This is not unusual (I read a book about these conglomerates several years ago...The bottom line is that it's hard to compete against these investment companies, so we don't see many new brands [except for wineries]).

Isn't it ironic? Competition is at the heart of Capitalism, but Capitalism, taken to its extreme, becomes Communism, where a few big companies take control, making decisions that effect everyone.

Personally, I like a blend of Socialism and Capitalism. It's good to have State Parks, for example, don't you think? And it's good to have the Allegheny National Forest as public lands (rather than some rich dude's 500,000 acre estate).

At the same time, it's important for average people to own their own homes and their own plots of land. Private ownership is critical to personal liberty. It is also critical for the economy.

Out.

DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

Nature Boy

Check out this mezmorizing performance by Nat King Cole.

Here's a Web site about the guy who wrote the song. Apparently, he was one of the country's first hippies, like way back in the 1940s.

Cheers.

X

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Good vs. Evil

The latest Game of the Century, is the most intriguing mid-season NFL-game that I can remember in some time. Seriously, you have two teams, both of which could potentially go undefeated if they weren't playing each other this week. Then, you've got the history between them over the past few years, and finally, you've got a whole good vs. evil undertone.

I mean, everybody loves the Colts, and if you don't, it's probably just because they are so squeaky clean, they make you sick. Kinda' like Roger Staubach back in the day. Peyton Manning is by all accounts a good guy, who lives, sleeps, eats, and breathes football (and he's really funny in commercials). Coach Tony Dungy is a renowned Christian and a sympathetic figure whose son committed suicide. Their best defensive player is 5-8 and he's from Erie...

And then, there's the bad guys. Cheatin' Bill Belichick and super model/actress fuckin' Tom Brady. Dope smokin' Randy Moss. A team that has such a chip on its shoulder that it feels the need to run up the score every week just to prove its dominance. I really hope the Colts kick their ass this week, if just to increase the Patriots bloodlust and set the stage for much bigger game in January-when the shit really counts.

Either way, the morality play that will occur on the field on Sunday is one of reasons I love sports. It should be fun.

Cheers.

Ralph

Monday, October 29, 2007

Pro Sports Parity

It's interesting, but the way the Patriots and Colts are running roughshod through the NFL, with a showdown set for Sunday, you could argue that there is less parity in the salary-cap controlled NFL right now than there is in free-enterprise driven professional baseball, where of eight playoff teams, only one was a repeat from last year. Communism, once again, is going to be defeated.

U.S. Becoming Third World

Interesting story about the Argentinian former first lady who was elected president yesterday. Sound familiar? Was listening to an NPR report on the story this morning and someone from Argentina was quoted as saying how in Latin America power seems to consolidate in the hands of a few and how this made them nervous. Then, I remember reading somewhere a couple weeks ago how the election of Hillary, who seems to be the front-runner, would cement over 20 years of rule by the Bush-Clinton dynasty. And, you wonder why we can't/won't catch Osama bin Laden.

Cheers.

Ralph

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Kathy Dahlkemper vs. Phil English

The Times-News ran an article announcing Kathy Dahlkemper's bid for Phil English's house seat.

She could win. The Dahlkempers know a lot of people....

I predict she will have widespread support in Erie County.

Personally, I'd vote for her.

DDDDDDDDDDDD

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hitler mustache

This is a tremendously darkly funny article written by a Jewish guy who walked around New York for a week with a the "toothbrush-"/Hitler-mustache. My favorite line is something like, "If you want to be left alone in coach on a crowded airplane, wear a Hitler mustache." Anyhow, it's got great laugh-out-loud lines like that, while all along enveloping the tragedy that was Hitler. Sad and funny -always a great combo.

Cheers.

Ralph

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Adventures of "Girls Gone Wild Creator" Joe Francis

I've been fascinated with the dealings of Joe Francis, creator of the Girls Gone Wild DVDs.

For me, a guy like Francis is a case study in karma. I mean, how long can you go around coercing drunken young women into taking off their bikinis without any consequences?

You know what I mean? These girls have fathers and brothers. Wouldn't you be afraid that someone would find you and kick the shit out of you? I would.

And if, by pure luck, that never happened, what about all the money you make dealing in such an enterprise? Don't you think that The Man--in whatever form he might take--might actually catch up to you and ask you to "pay to play"? Shouldn't you be ready for that?

And finally, hanging out with scantily clad coeds is going to lead to sex of one kind or another. Don't you think that some of the women (in conjunction with their angry families) might eventually sue you? You better have the checkbook ready for them, too.

As it stands now, Francis is in jail on a contempt of court violation: he doesn't want to pay the family of one of the girls, whom they claim was underage.

But, in reality, he wants to be there, because there are lots of people after him. Surprise, surprise. He's safer in jail.

I watched an interview that Greta Van Susteren did with him in prison, and he is quite a showman...he managed to choke out some tears and otherwise pretend to be incredulous that all this could be happening to him. Almost made me feel sorry for him...

But he built his own cage and that's where he now lives. Strikes me as another sociopath (see our conversation on OJ).

Just wondering whether anyone has followed this character and knows any more than I do about the drama.

Here's my research question (and I'm sure there's been research on this): what makes people into sociopaths? Nature? Nurture? Both? What makes a person so self-interested that he or she will disregard social norms and conventions to get what they want?

I'm going to check out some of the basics and I'll get back to this.

DDDDDDDDDDD

Tire-to-fuel PR

I'm thinking the tire-to-fuel/energy thing might need a new PR agent. I ran a Google on the concept, and the best thing I could find said something about it "burning cleaner than coal," which doesn't seem like a ringing endorsement. And Erie is by no means the first community with concerns about pollution from these types of facilities, which everyone else also seems to think involves burning tires....I think the first thing we need to do is find out who currently has the largest one of these facilties and send someone to visit it. I mean we seem to visit everywhere else for research...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Manufacturing Pollution

Pat Howard had a great column today questioning critics on this tires-to-energy plant planned for the old IP site. He makes a great point about the double standard of our bemoaning the loss of the manufacuting base of old, but also bemoaning the side effects of new manufacturing proposals. He even brings up the smell from Hammermill, which, of course, was my first thought when people started protesting this tire-burning plant. Dr.D, as both an environmentalist and somebody who grew up in the shadow of the 'Mill, do you have any thoughts on this? Do your parents like the fresh air, or would they rather see economic development in their neck of the woods? Any other Eastsiders out there?

X

Friday, October 19, 2007

Coming Up Big In The Clutch

Congratulations to Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett who is establishing himself as one of the greatest clutch pitchers of all-time. If you, remember, back in 2003, this was the kid that shut down the Yankees in game six at Yankee Stadium to clinch the World Series for the Marlins. This is the first time he's been back in the playoffs since, and after becoming the first 20-game winner in the majors in two years during the regular season, he's been even better in the playoffs. After last night, he's 3-0, with an ERA somewhere south of 1.50, and he has both the Sox wins vs. the Indians.

Which brings us to the age old quesiton, why do some guys perform better in the clutch than others? I mean, why does A-Rod, for example, or even C.C. Sabathia for this year's Indians, seem to choke in big games, while guys like Beckett and the erstwhile Manny Ramirez turn it up a notch. Is this a psychological thing? If so, what charateristics do Beckett and Manny share, and the same for A-Rod and C.C? Has there been any work or study done on this? The other day, Dr. D made a comment about a field of study that looked at gaps between planning and reality, how about something on clutch-performing? I would think this topic could cover a wider spectrum that sports. I mean, are there doctors that seem great in routine procedures, but choke when a real challenge shows up in the OR? Are there lawyers that are better in high-pressure trials than others? And if so, why? and what can we do to help those that can't perform under pressure?

Just wondering...

Cheers.

Ralph

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Forward Hall is Back

Apparently, Erie's Froward Hall is back online. That's terrific news.

Donna the Buffalo and Sim Redmond are slated for November 9.

For more information, visit Forward Hall .

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Erie Driving Range

Erie Golf Course is back in the news today, and it's probably a good time for that. Remember, this is the place the city spent $2 million upgrading under the previous administration, and then when the new guys came in, they closed it, despite the $2 million in debt still sitting on the books. Well, despite what it's detractors say, I loved the course, the layout, the bar, the whole place was pretty cool. It was no country club, but for a publinx, it could hold its own.

It now seems the city has offered the golf course to Millcreek in exchange for the land needed to expand the airport runway, which would theoretically run through the current Millcreek Golf Course. Oh, yes, and the City wants the County to take on the $2 million in debt, pay it off with slots/gaming revenue, I guess... Seems like a good plan, but for a couple of details:

1. Millcreek Golf Course is a superfund site, which means its construction was funded because it was built on a toxic waste dump. There is no guarantee that the powers that be will agree to building an airport runway there, although according someone in the know (quoted in the article I linked to), there is a good chance this could be worked around. I'm all in favor of the proposed workaround.
2. Erie Golf Course has been labeled a "money loser." Now, whether you could make money up there or not is open to debate. Yes, it was losing money when the City closed it, but it had also only been open with the redesign for a year and the new holes were still growing in. Millcreek, however, seems to think that if they were to install a $25,000 range, they could make the place profitable. This is interesting, because I've always questioned why a range wasn't included in the original upgrade. I mean if you want to have a first-class course, one that you're investing $2 million in, could you not at least include a range, especially if it only costs $25,000? I'm a bit skeptikal about how realistic the discussed range plan is, but once again it sounds great. The other odd thing is that Millcreek seems reluctant to fund the range, even though they would theoretically be profiting from it.

In conclusion, this plan looks great when discussed on paper; however, this seems to be the case with an inordinate number of other recent failed projects as well.

Cheers.

X

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Putting

The key for me putting well today was taking my time and really thinking about putting. Instead of putting all my focus on hitting strong shots, I really thought about making my putts and how each shot was going to set up my putting. Then I found myself actually trying to make my putts for a change, thinking about them and taking my time, instead of just stabbing blindly and hoping they went in. I'm not sure how much damage this did to the rest of my game, as I didn't hit the ball particularly stellar, but that could just be because I haven't played that much this year.

Anyways, it was very satisfying to make some putts, and when I missed, to actually be consistently close for a change. Of course, the greens we played on, at the Stafford Country Club outside Rochester, were wonderful. Smooth and pretty fast, with some interesting hills to them. I'm not sure if the good fast greens actually helped my stroke or not, but maybe that contributed.

Cheers.


X

Monday, October 15, 2007

Monster in Wheelchair

Ran into this video on the local cable access channel of the weekend.

Champions of Faith

This was kind of a cool movie we saw last night. It's like a documentary about Catholic professional baseball players. St. George, our parish, put on a screening of it last night. I was pleasantly suprised at the high quality of the production.

The most intriguing part of the film was a story told by Dodgers third base coach Rich Donnelly. Donnelly is a former Pirates third base coach whose daughter died from a brain turmor a few years back. Before dying, however, she made what turned out to be a very prophetic off-the-cuff comment about the "chicken runs at midnight." If you're in to that kind of paranormal thing, here's a story about it.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Tribe Wins

Beautiful morning, but it's bitchin' cold out. There is a gorgeous blue jay frolicking outside my window Speaking of baseball, in case you didn't see it, as the game ended pretty late, the Indians pulled off a tremendous 11-inning win over the Bosox last night. I must admit, this Indians team has really won me over. There is no quit in them. A real scrappy bunch. (I'll limit myself to two cliches.) They got pummeled in game 1, twice had the Red Sox come back on them last night, but kept fighting until they got to the Red Sox' weakness- poor Eric Gagne (pronounced Gone-yea). By all accounts, this ex-hockey playing Canadian is a great guy, but his three-month tenure with the Red Sox has been a disaster. Only fitting he took their first playoff loss last night... If Sam Adams were still hangin' around Boston and was a Red Sox fan, instead of a revolutionary, you can bet Mr. Gagne would have been at least hanged in effigy and perhaps tarred and feathered... probably sent back to Canada as a Torey, as well.

Cheers.

X

Friday, October 12, 2007

Pumpkin Time

Cool pumpkin carvings...


Kathleen Parker and Samuel Johnson

This Samuel Johnson character was apparently quite a wit. He is the author of one of my favorite quotes: "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." Today's Kathleen Parker column that appears on the opinion page of the Erie Times-News, does a nice job reflecting on some of the substance behind Johnson's quote. Parker actually never mentions the quote, but her discussion of Barack Obama's refusal to wear a flag lapel pin embodies the concept. She basically says Obama is against showy patriotism vs. "real" patriotism. She then goes on to discuss the importance that trinkets and symbols have come to have in our fear-driven society. It's a very interesting two-side article.

By the way, Johnson also coined the phrase, "He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man." But we'll leave discussion on that to a drunken night sometime in the future.

Cheers.

X

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Community College

A few quick points today:
1. Got a great night sleep last night. Felt like I was coming down with something with the change of the weather. Baby has been sick for a couple weeks and waking up sometimes at night. After a solid hour-long dose of Rob Hoff's jazz show on WQLN last night, he slept for 11 hours straight. Gave me a chance to stretech my back out and get some solid uninterrupted sleep.
2. If you haven't heard it, Hoff's show is amazing and consistently strong. Soup, if you're out there, check out if you have a copy of the Haitian Fight Song by the Charles Mingus Big Band. Blew me away the other night and based on your personal knowledge of Haiti, I thought you might get a kick out of it.
3. I've followed through with my vow, for a couple days, at least, of not watching any professional sports. I have also cut down my time on the sports pages. Not that there has been much going on. I did read an interesting article on the Pitt loss to Navy last night.
4. Oh yes, and the Bills have managed to piss off JP Losman. Not surprising.
5. Finally, I'm in favor of this local community college idea. I think education is a great business. Look how well LECOM has done, (financially, at least). I guess, we should probably talk to some of the other two-year schools in the area and find out why/if they are struggling, but I think, Mercyhurst North East, for example, is doing great. A state funded conglomerate of trade schools and some JUCO stuff, should do well.
6. One more thing: This guy has some amazing content on his Web site. He's an old-school journalist, with a very intense style. It looks like he's retired in Erie after a long and adventerous career. I think he's on the list of people I'd like to meet.

Cheers.

Ralph

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

M. Night Shyamalan

It's funny how life works. Since we moved to the Greater Philly area, we've suddenly found ourselves watching the movies of Manoj Night Shyamalan.

Born in India and raised in Philadelphia, Shyamalan has quite an impressive movie resume. In addition to The Sixth Sense, which most people know, he has a slew of other excellent movies.

For example, a few weeks ago, we watched The Lady in the Water, which is basically about a mermaid ("undine," in the pagan lexicon). Very well done.

Then we watched Unbreakable, which stars Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson. It is about comic book super heroes.

My students want to watch Signs for Halloween (I let them pick any movie and that's what they picked). I haven't seen it yet, but it stars Mel Gibson and it's about crop circles.

He also wrote and directed The Village, starring John Hurt. I thought it was very good, as well.

So, if you're at your local Movie Stop and you're not sure what to get, check out one of the films by M. Night Shyamalan. He writes tight scripts and certainly attracts big-name acting talent.

Out.

DDDDDDDDDDDDD

Hot Fuzz

This is one of the best dark comedies I've seen recently. Starts out a little slow-to-medium, but if you stick with it, it will both blow your mind and have you laughing out loud. Check it out if you're in the mood. (Oh yes, and you have to deal with two hours of some pretty heavy English accents.)

Cheers.

Ralph

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Solo Home Runs and an end-of-summer poem

There's obviously some serious sorting out to do after the crazy dual-events of last night. First off, the Yankees left 11 men on base, while hitting three solo home runs to account for three of their four runs. Call it what you want: lack of team spirit, no clutch hitting, but the Bronx Bombers didn't deliver the goods. I know I came out in favor of the Wang start, but that was obviously the wrong start, as Mussina, who came on in relief was much sharper. Dr.D made the battle cry last month not to give up on the Moose, and it looks like he was right, while Torre and I were wrong.

As a result, it may be time for Torre to go. Yeah, he's been a great steadying hand for all these veterans over the years, but the new Yankees and the future of the Yankees are the kids: Hughes, Chamerlain, Melky, Cano, Kennedy, etc. We'll keep Jeter around, cuz he's Jeter, but I'm up for a house cleaning on the rest: Giambi, Abreu, A-Rod, even Jorge, Mussina, Clemens, Rivera (sadly). It's time to move on and build a young team that will stick together and not hit solo homers while leaving men on base in other situations. And Joe Girardi is that guy to build that team. I know it's not all as simple as it sounds, but that would be my ultimate vision.

As for the Bills, forget about it. (Check out my prediciton from a couple days ago.) They still have some of the best fans in the league and will be formidable at home as long as their fans turn out and cheer like they did last night. That place can be a scary place for opposing teams, and the Cowboys sure got a scare put into them.

Warning: attempted verse ahead
Finally, as the dark clouds moved in this morning, on the heels of yesterday's very summer-like 85-degree day , I went outside to take the cushions off the swing in the back yard. I could feel the fall chill rolling in with the clouds and thought I saw a green leaf turn to orange right before my eyes. As the breeze pushed me toward the garage, I began to brace myself for another long, cold Erie winter, and I felt my eyes well up, for it hit me that I might not be pulling those cushions out again for another six months.

For me last night marked the end of another glorious summer, the end of the baseball year, and the end of hope... at least until next year!

Cheers

Ralph

Gouge My Eyes Out

Yes, as DrD just posted, it was an amazing confluence of professional sports events/disaters tonight. When my neighbor and I arrived at the Mannechor at about 9 p.m. the night seemed so promising. Yes, the Yanks were down 0-4 or something, but the night was young and there was no reason to think we couldn't hit Paul Byrd after all. And the Bills were beating the Cowboys..

But as the night ran down, around midnight, it was apparent the Yankees were going to lose, undone by a lack of clutch hitting. And the Bills game, yes, it was absolutely amazing. How many chances indeed did they want to give the Cowboys and their old coach Wade Phillips? I was literally screaming at the TV that they should run the ball three times, go for the field goal and make it a two score game. But little did it matter. A head butted on-side kick, two open down and outs, and two 52-yard field goals in a row and it was all over. The Bills made it a one-score game, but the Cowboys scored twice anyhow.

I guess the bottom line is that it's pro sports, and it's all about entertainment. Even though both were tough losses to take, at least I was entertained. I drank my Blue Moons, watched both games simultaneously, and, really, it's all Bread and Circuses, itsn't it?

Cheers.

Ralph

Bills Lose; Yanks Lose

Romo turns the ball over six times and the Bills still can't manage to win?

And why were the Bills throwing the ball late in the game when they were in field goal range? Their offense wasn't doing shit and that three points would have meant the difference in the game, but they put it up and it gets picked. Who is coaching this team?

And, in baseball, when I finally root for the Evil Empire against the Western Hordes, the Yankee bats go silent.

I'm sure Ralph is crying in his beer....it's a tough night to be a Bills fan AND a Yankees fan.

Go Red Sox....I'm going to bed.

DDDDDDDDDDD

Monday, October 08, 2007

The kid comes through

Yankees' rookie right-hander Phil Hughes saved our ass yesterday, throwing three-and-a-third shutout innings after our horse, veteren Roger Clemens, had to leave due to leg/arm/old-age problems. At least Clemens went out with a K, if his career is to end with that outing. Hughes, a 21-year-old kid came off the bench with the Yanks down 0-2, and when Joba came to relieve him, the Yanks were up 8-3. (The run he gave up was a guy Clemens' put on base). They won 8-4.

Hughes, who was kind of hot-and-cold this year for the Yanks, struck out four and walked none, which are the kind of strike-out-to-walk numbers he put up consistently in the minors before his call up. Big clutch performance last night.

It was good to see because Hughes seemed like a class act when he visited Erie a couple years ago. He was pitching for Trenton, the Yankees' double-A team, and threw five scoreless innings against the Seawolves in the first game of a doubleheader. He was pretty well known then as "a phenom," and to accomadate the fans, between games, he stood against the wall next to the Thunder dugout and made himself available for autographs. He must have signed at least 50, but was polite and took his time with each one. We were near the end of the line, and he signed my son's mitt for him and made the usual small talk. My son used the mitt all year, we used to joke that is was a Philip Hughes autograph model. We also used to joke, that Joey had a better year pitching than Hughes, well, until now.

Tonight the Yanks are coming back with Wang, on three-days rest, going against Paul Byrd, the veteran journeyman right-hander for the Tribe. I'll go on record as saying I'm in favor of the Wang move. He usually pitches on four days rest and got shelled in the opener Thursday. However, he's a sinkerball specialist, so he doesn't necessarily have to throw hard to be effective. Sometimes, they say overthrowing, like when you're pumped up for the playoffs, can harm a sinkerballer. Plus, he's been a much better pitcher at home this year than on the road and tonight is our final home game of the series either way. Byrd, with his old school wind-up is fun to watch, but tonight I'll be cheering for the Yanks to hit him.

A final note: The heart of the Yankes line-up Jeter, A-Rod, and Posada, primarily, have very much struggled, but, as I've said all year, the bottom of our line-up with Cano and Melkey, and Matsu last night, has to be the strongest bottom-third in the league. Of course, Damon's strong game at the top of the order dovetailed into a good performance by the bottom third and helped us produce 8 runs. Eight runs is good, and I'd like to see a total like that again tonight.

Cheers.
Ralph

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Jewel

Just finished watching a PBS Sound Stage episode on Jewel. Wow, what an artist. She kind of looks like just some normal blonde chick singer, but then she opens her mouth, and the shit, wonderful shit I mean, that comes out. She's a great singer, but aside from her voice, the words she throws out and the phrasing she uses really captivate me. She doesn't seem to mess around too much, really tries to hit you with what's on her mind and seems like a pretty serious person.

I dug her first CD back in the day, but I can't really listen to it anymore. However, tonight it was kind of nice hearing her do a couple songs from it. She has really matured and grown as an artist and her voice has grown up as well. She can make those old songs sound even more soulful. She also mixed in some pretty solid new stuff. I would almost say she delivered about 70% of her material (at least until she brought out the orchestra) in a very similar manner, but the subtle changes that she would make had such intensity that she was able to pull it off beautifully. I'll have to say I liked the acoustic stuff better than the orchestra, but the whole thing was worth watching.

Anyone else have any opinions on Jewel. Is she as underrated as I think?

Sidenote: I guess it's back to the Yanks tomorrow at home, and the joint will be rocking. We really need A-Rod to get some hits!

Cheers.

Ralph

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Drats, gnats

The Indians turned to their secret weapon last night: insects. It's hard to believe that gnats are still active in October, but that's global warming, I guess.

Joba should have taken a time out and called for a towel. Either that, or Joe Torre or Ron Guidry (or Posada) should have called time out and taken a towel out to Joba. It was clear that he was being attacked by bugs, and he kept trying to wipe his face on his sleeve, and his sleeve was covered with bug spray. It was a freakin' mess.

With the man on third, I kept saying, "Call time out and wipe your face and hands with a towel." But he never did. Then he threw several pitches in the dirt, allowing the runner to score.

Joba's face and neck were covered with bugs. It looked like he was in hell.

So, my little venture into rooting for the Yankees has been met with misery. Who knows? Maybe they can win three in a row...

DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDd

Friday, October 05, 2007

Super Bowl Trivia

Aside from being the only NFL coaches ever to lose four Super Bowls, what do Bud Grant (Vikings) and Marv Levy (Bills) have in common?


Answer: They each won Grey Cup championships in the CFL. Must be some kind of a jinx. After the Hugh Campbell disaser in Houston, I don' t know that another CFL coach will ever get a shot.

Cheers.

Ralph

Travis Henry

I know we just had a Ricky Williams post and now Travis Herny, what do you know? Anyhow, it's kind of fashionable for people in the media, and some Bills fans I guess, to bemoan the fact that the Bills basically wrote Henry's ticket out-of-town when they drafted Willis McGahee after Henry had just given them a 1,400-yard, 14-TD season. While McGahee was busy rehabbing his knee in 2003, Henry followed up with a 1,300-yard, 11-TD season that he played half of with a broken leg. The Bills then gave McGahee the starting job a few games into the next season and I believe Travis walked for nothing (the Bills got nothing for him) at the end of the year.

But, you see, it turns out the Bills knew things. The next season, when he tried to come back with Tennessee, he was suspened for four games for smoking pot and never got untracked. Then, last season, he kicked ass, including a big game against the Bills to kill our playoff hopes near the end of the year. And, this offseason, he signed huge contract with Denver and burst out of the gates, leading the league in rushing after four games. Now, it looks like he's going to be suspended for a whole year for failing a drug test.

Talk about a conumdrum. The Bills were truly damned if they did and damned if they didn't regarding Henry. But, trying to replace him with McGahee? Well, that was Donahoe, and he's gone now. At least Marshawn Lynch looks like a good back, even if the rest of the team has deteriorated to the point where it doesn't matter much.

Anyways, I thought about Henry after reading this great blurb on him in Sports Guy Bill Simmons' column: "I thought pot killed sperm cells? How many kids would this guy have sired if he wasn't a fan of the Mary Jane? 20? 30? And did you ever think the same person could potentially shatter Shawn Kemp's fertility records and Ricky Williams' drug test records? Put it this way: You are making a STRONG statement when you purchase a Henry jersey right now. You're basically saying, "I love pot, I love sex, and your dad would have a heart attack if he knew I was dating you.")

That's it for now.

Ralph

Yanks walloped

The Yanks didn't perform in the clutch last night, and the Indians did. Bottom line. The key to winning in the playoffs is getting hits with two outs. Last night 40-year-old Kenny Lofton, who I figured was way over-the-hill, pulled out some magic and drove in five runs. The first two came on a bases loaded single with two outs that put the Indians up 4-1. After pulling within 4-3 and loading the bases with one out a couple innings later, Indians pitcher C.C. Sabathia delivered, Yankees hitters Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui did not. Indians held the lead, then exploded for five runs in the next inning. Game over.

Playoff baseball is wierd. Sabathia, who was a phenominal control pitcher all years, like a 10-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, walked six in five innings. But, he rose to the occasion and managed to pitch his way out of jams. The Indians won. Yankees starter Chien Ming Wang failed to deliver in a big start for the second time in a row. A couple weeks ago, coming off a big comeback win that pulled the Yankees a game or two away from Boston for first place, Wang was scheduled to go against Josh Beckett, the Red Sox ace, in a match-up that was billed as the "Battle for the Cy Young," of course, leaving Sabathia out of the picture. Wang got shelled. The guy just might not have the make-up to be an ace, a number one starter. He might be better cast as a number two guy that can hide behind the ace who deflects all the attention. Unfortunately, all the other potential Yankees aces are too old or too young right now. We're going to need a strong game from Pettite tonight to keep from going down 0-2. Going into the series, I liked our chances better last night that this one, but we'll see. Fausto Carmona, Indians 19-game winning sinkerballer goes tonght.

Cheers.

Ralph

Thursday, October 04, 2007

1973 Vikings

DrD:

Check this out. How about them licks they're puttin' on Staubach? And you're right about Fran looking like one of the greatest of all-time in this video. I'm not sure they make 'um like they used to.

Cheers.

Ralph

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

49ers, Montana, Walsh

I don't know why I feel compelled to write this... but a couple days ago, we were trying to figure out greatest NFL quarterbacks, and of course, Joe Montana came up. I don't know if everyone remembers this, but when Montana led the 49ers to their improbable Super Bowl victory in 1981, no one had ever heard of the West Coast offense before. We've certainly heard a lot about it since.... I mean those things just didn't happen in those days. Throughout the '70s, the NFL was basically controlled by a handful of teams, the Steelers, Dolphins, Cowboys, Rams, Vikings, Raiders, and Rams. The Broncos and Redskins I think each snuck into the Super Bowl once, but they were always solid, good playoff contending teams. The 49ers and Montana, well, they came out of nowhere. They went from back-to-back 2-14 seasons (one of which they didn't even have a first-round pick after because they traded it to the Bills for O.J.) to 6-10, to Super Bowl champions. After that, they were pretty much a power for the next 20 years. When you come from such humble beginnings to achieve such great heights, people take notice, which is what they did of 49ers coach Bill Walsh and his West Coast offense. Some form of this offense is now probably used by at least half the teams in the league. But at that time...

Well, at that time, it was all about establishing the run, then throwing deep off the play action. All the aforementioned power teams of the '70s had great power running games. The West Coast offense turned the accepted offensive theory of the day on its head. It established the short passing game first and used that to open up the run. And, Montana, who was a third-round pick because he didn't have the classic big arm needed to throw the long ball, acceled in the accuracy-driven West Coast system.

In three years, he went from rookie back-up, to being a starter halfway through his second year, to a Super Bowl champion. And the 'Niners never looked back. In fact, it was the rest of the league that was looking ahead and them and saw the future.

Obviously, Montana excelled in the West Coast offense, but he was also kind of the right guy, in the right place, at the right time. Suppose Tampa Bay had taken him two picks earlier, instead of the erstwhile Rick Berns, a halfback from Nebraska, who I don't remember if he ever played a single down in the NFL? Would San Francisco have taken hometown kid Steve Dils from Stanford, who ended up going to the Vikes in the 4th round, and tried to run the West Coast offense through him? And as Montana settled into the kind of mediocrity that plagued Archie Manning with the Saints, would Dils have emerged as a superstar? These are the kind of questions that kill me.

Anyways, suffice to say that Walsh and Montana were certainly a breath of fresh air in 1981 and that the NFL has not been the same since. The only thing I can compare it to is when the Bears unveiled the Wing-T in the 1940 NFL Championship game and whupped the Redskins, a team they had lost to only a couple weeks earlier, 73-0. Reportedly, soon after that, everyone else in the league had their own version of the Wing-T.

That's about it. Long live the 49ers and the glorious days of Joe Montana.

Ralph

Ricky Williams

Part of me is hoping that Ricky Williams can make a comeback in the NFL. At the same time, he seems to like the ganja too much to gain reinstatement.

It makes me wonder---is he the only guy in the NFL that smokes weed? That seems absurd. Why isn't anyone else in trouble over marijuana?

And don't some of these guys take steroids? What's the deal with that? Suspend a guy for smoking joints, but injection with a needle is okay? How does that work?

Then there is the NBA. From what I've heard, NBA players are notorious for smoking pot. I believe my hero, Robert Parish, sampled it once or twice (among many others).

Does the NBA look away from this problem? I don't know, but it seems like the NFL is singling out Ricky Williams for some reason. Maybe he's too public about it.

Pundits think he might go to Tampa Bay, if reinstated.

DDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

Bill-Cowboys

Opening line is Cowboys by 10. This seems like an awful lot for a Monday home game and the Bills have covered both their previous home dates. Granted, it is Wade Philip's chance to gain some revenge on a team that fired him - very unjustly it appears in retrospect, seven years ago. Heck, he made the playoffs two out of three years, and the Bills haven't made the playoff since! Anyhow, I think 10 is a bit much, and I expect the Bills to give the Cowboys a battle before collapsing in the fourth quarter and losing by 7-8.


Ralph

Monday, October 01, 2007

"Editor"

I read recently that the sponsors of Roman gladiators were called "editors." I'm not sure I buy that, but it might be true. I haven't been able to confirm it through a second source.

This is from Oxford English Dictionary:

Editor
1 a person who is in charge of a newspaper, magazine, or multi-author book.
2 a person who commissions written texts for publication.
3 a person who prepares texts or recorded material for publication or broadcasting.
— DERIVATIVES editorship noun.
— ORIGIN Latin, from "edere" meaning to ‘put out’.

Then, I found this NY Times Article from 1915 that discusses the use of the term in various publications. Interesting.

I want to learn where this word originally comes from.

DDDDD

Great Plays (and Players) in the NFL

I didn't watch a lot of football yesterday, but--based on the plays that I did see--I am happy to report that the quality of the game seems to be sky-high. There were some amazing plays!

First, to Ralph's obvious pleasure, Terrence McGee continues to amaze. I watched him knock down a pass that appeared to be 15 feet in the air; his timing was perfect. Then he picked a pass to win the game. Good work.

I didn't see the Vikings loss to the Packers, but I did see a highlight of a Vikes receiver catching a ball over a defender...it was all hands. Really nice.

Then there were some amazing passes: Big Ben threw a couple of nice TD passes yesterday; one was a bomb and the other was a dart. Both very strong. Too bad Whisenhunt has the Steelers' number...

And Brett Favre, what can you say? I love that guy. Even though he slices and dices my Vikings, I still root for him. He is definitely in my top five QBs of all time.

Speaking of top QBs, Caesar Contraras has posted a useful Top Ten List. Check it out and see if you agree.

My top five would be:
  1. Montana
  2. Favre
  3. Marino
  4. Manning
  5. Elway
Sorry, Fran Tarkenton...

I'm sure there were other great plays on Sunday, I can't account for all of them. I'm just happy to see the athletes excelling at this point in the season.

It's only going to get better.

DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

French Creek State Park

We went camping this weekend at French Creek State Park. Nice place: 7,500 overall acres, 30 miles of hiking trails, and two lakes.

We slept, hiked, ate sloppy joes, meditated, and watched the faces in the fire. The park is only 42 miles from our apartment, so it is easy for us.

We plan to visit Philly and NYC in the near future. We are also supposed to visit Shimmons in DC sometime soon.

That's the big benefit of living here on the East Coast: everything it relatively close. Philly is less than an hour, NYC is about an hour and a half, DC is about three hours, the ocean is 80 miles, and the Poconos are an hour away. Now we just need the time to check it all out.

I'll keep you posted.

DDDDDD

More Yankees

Rick Sayers, the executive editor over at the Times-News has an interesting perspective on what it's like to be a Yankees fan, especially in an office full of Indians' lovers. Sayers does come off a bit high-handed with comments like "Yankees fans are a special breed." "Winning isn't the first thing, it's the only thing for the Yankees." "When they win, we celebrate their greatness." There's nothing better than being a Yankees fan."

In fact, the first time I read through this column, I almost felt like cheering for the Indians in the upcoming playoff series. Then, I rationalized that I might be being a bit hard on Mr. Sayers. I assume at least part of this is tongue-in-cheek, just to get the goat of the Tribe fans down at the paper. Isn't it?

After all, it's kind of a beautiful metaphor if you think about it: all these proletariat Tribe fans being forced to cowtow to their boss, this monstrously arrogant Yankee fan. And even if the Indians should knock off the Yankees this year in the playoffs, in the long-run they don't stand a chance, because George Steinbrenner will stop at nothing then to get 6-foot-seven lefty C.C. Sabathia in pinstripes. And when the Indians return to the bottom of the heap, due to having fewer resources than a monstrousity like the corporate Yankees, C.C. will be parading down Wall Street after the Yankees win their 40th World Series.... or something like that.

Anyhow, it appears the playoff series will actually start on Thursday, not Wed. as I originally stated in my blog. They implemented a new rule this year than enables the team with the best record in the league to pick the playoff schedule they want to follow. Instead of picking the Thursday start, like most people thought they would, the Red Sox went with the Wed. start. Starting times are not determined yet, however, as the N.L. still has to complete its Wild Card playoff.

Two other stories from today's GoErie site that really sucked:
This woman dying becuase she was late for a plane and US Air wouldn't let her on. I've been there before, but forutnately, my temper didn't escalate far enough to get be arrested, although I can easily see how that could happen.
This hit and run driver really messed two people up at 26th and Hazel last night around 10 p.m.

That's about it for now.

Ralph

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bill-Jets

Well, it's early (and we're playing the Jets), but the Bills are at least moving the ball against the Jets, making first downs, and keeping the defense off the field a little bit. The sustained drive is something we have failed miserably at through the first three games. Maybe Trent Edwards is going to be the Man in Buffalo at QB.

Midway through the 3Q, Bills just scored on a run by rookie Marshawn Lynch, the tough kid from Cal (funny, Edwards is a rookie from Stanford, and our coach is from Yale, and GM from Harvard). Bills up 7-0 and actually have more first downs than the Jets, after running up a 35-74 deficit in this categorey over the past three weeks.

Jets came down and scored to tie it up, Pennington (Jets QB from Marshall) is clutch like that. (He's no Morelli.) But Bills answered with a solid drive and a field goal 10-7. Plus, we're still leading in first downs. Whoopie. We might have a chance hear without having to rely totally on luck, as we were hoping for in the opener vs. the Broncos.

Halfway through the fourth quarter, Bills get stuffed on the one on third down, after an interception and facemask call on the Jets give the Bills the ball deep in New York territory. Bills are going for the field goal. As a fan, I was going to say I was agains this, but the Bills changed up, as I'm typing this (following a timeout)- and end up going for it, and scored on a play action fake - Edwards to Gaines, this new tight-end we picked up who has made a few plays. Bills lead 17-7. I guess fans can be right sometimes!

Jets, of course, march right down in score in about three minutes. Even with the time-of-possession and first d0wn advantage (which has now disappeared) our defense is gassed in the fourth quarter - again! Now we've got to see if we can get a couple more first downs to close it out. Should be interesting.

Well, that sucks, Bills went three-and-out. Had a third-and-three after two decent runs, and then threw it. Pass was broken up. No first down, clock stops. Double-sucky-whammy. We have a great punter who got it down field to the 25. Jets have to go like 50 yards to kick and tie it.
-Jets completion for 11 yards
- Jets completion for 4 yards (clock running)
-Jets completion for 2 yards (clock running :52 seconds, tick, tick)
-Third-and-five, swing pass, for gain of one (27 seconds left, Jets call final TO)
-Fourth and three at Jets 44-yard-line. First down near mid-field (21 second left, clock stops top move the chains... must have gone out of bounds)
- Incomplete pass on first down (17 seconds left)
- Second and 10 at the 50, caought and out-of-bounds at Bills 40. That sucks. We let them complete the out. Jets do have a big leg kicker (11 seconds left)
- from shotgun, INTERCEPTION - Terrance Magee - he's a player.

BILLS FINALLY WIN ONE!

Wade Philips and Cowboys coming in next Monday.

Yankees-Indians

Let the Yankee-hating begin. The Bronx Bombers will be opening their 2007 playoffs against none other than the Cleveland Indians, down the road at Jacobs Field. First game match-up looks like a good one, with Yankees 19-game winner Chien-Ming Wang (yeah, he last name is Wang, but pronounced Waung) going against Indians Cy Young-candidate C.C. Sabathia. Interestingly enough, Sabathia, a 6-foot-seven, hefty left-hander, has barely pitched against the Yankees in his career. Obviously, he's a helluva pitcher, having thrown 241 innings this year, striking out 209 and walking only 37. A two-to-one strikeout-to-walk ratio is usually considered good. The Indians have also won his last six starts, with C.C. picking up wins in five of them.

The Yankees hitters are famously patient, but it doesn't appear that will do them much good vs. C.C. And, of course, having a heavily left-handed team designed to accel at Yankee Stadium won't help much either. Lefties have hit only .203 vs. Sabathia this year. In the Yankees favor, however, is the fact that A-Rod is right-handed.

Other Yankee positives, I think, are that Jacobs field is a power hitters' park and the Yankees led the league in home runs. Also, Wang is a sinker-baller, and if he keeps it down, the Tribe will be pressed to generate offense.

The weather report looks promising with temperatures in the '70s all week, so this should enable the teams to play mid-season-form ball, instead of the much colder, pitching-heavy version of the game that I call Fall Ball. Anyhow, I look for the Yanks and Wang to pull an upset in game one and come away with a 4-3 win.

Check back with me on Thursday.

Ralph

Friday, September 28, 2007

Koehler Landmark

I've pretty much held off saying anything about this Koehler site development stuff because I have a friend that's involved with it. The the letter to the editor that appeared in today's Erie-Times regarding it was kind of amusing. I guess the thing that gets me is the bemoaning of that fact that an "Erie landmark" was destroyed. If old, crumbling, deserted buildings pass for landmarks in this town (and remember the developers reportedly tried to save the building until is was found to be structureally unsound), well let's just say, we are desparetely in need of some re-development. Does anyone realize that the Niagra has been rebuilt like three times and that the current version doesn't contain any of the original materials. Yeah, it's kind of cool to be nostalgic, but stuff gets old and broken down, and sometimes we need to move on.

Speaking of which, the Yankees 20-year-old pitcher Philip Hughes threw six strong innings last night, albiet against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Torre has already announced that Wang and Pettite will start the first two games of the playoffs, and Clemens, assuming he's healthy will likely go the third game. The fourth game will then likely fall to either Hughes or Mussina, who starts tonight. Should be fun.

Ralph

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Foust Plan

I think City leaders have to be crapping their pants over this recent proposal by Erie County Councilman Kyle Foust to give the city some $23 million basically for control of the aiport, EMTA, the Zoo, and Erie Golf Course. Clearly, Erie needs the money, but they would be asked to give up control of some of their biggest assets. It would quite a transition of power, but one, in my opinion that needs to get done.

We've been discussing the benefits of a regional government for some years now, and I don't see anything bad about pooling more resources, the region, toward one common goal of a healhy economic community. More people and more resources simply get more things done when working together, than several splinter groups.

Yeah, the city has held a position of power for many years, but (as Dylan says) "Times, they are achangin'." The tax base is moving out to the County, so the County needs to seize control. I know it will be painful for people on City Council (and probably the mayor's office too) to deal with, giving up some of the power they've worked so hard to obtain (you can see some of this in Jenkins' quote in the artcle), but like Nietzsche says, the most honorable thing you can do is give yourself up for the Overman and the greater good, and it's time for the City to capitulate to the County.

I'm not saying Foust is offering the perfect deal, as with all deals there is probably some negotiating that needs to be done to get the City a bigger piece of the pie than what is now on the table. But Foust's concept is sound. Didn't I say yesterday we need to focus on the Airport and Golf Course is we want to attract tourists? EMTA and the Zoo also follow under the same categorey (I think EMTA does at least).

I say we need to move forward with Foust's plan as a step toward a regional government. Let's see what happens.

Cheers.

Ralph

Yankees apologist

I always feel I am defending the Yankees, maybe because I have a guilty consious, or maybe just because people around here seem to hate them. At least the Indians have a better record than the New York-based Evil Empire this year, so that has kept their fans mostly quiet. Although with a New York-Cleveland first-round playoff series looming, it could get ugly if the Yankees win. (I might want to take down that flag I put up last week.) Anyhow, I still here it from Pirate fans how the Yankees are ruining baseball by buying their way into the playoffs every year.

However, this theory would seem to be in contrast with this article that appeared in today's paper, saying that the game is healthier than ever, and in fact, there is more parity than ever.

My basic Yankees aplogogist tenent has been that the Yankees have always bought their way to the top, so they're not ruining anything, rather they are just continuing the tradition of how the professional version of the National Pastime has always been played out. Granted, making the playoffs 13 years in a row is a team records, but it's not that far of a cry from the period of 1949-1964 when the Yankees made the playoffs 14 out of 16 years, and finished second and third the other two years... mearning under today's expanded playoff structure, they likely would have made the playoffs 16 years in a row, and maybe 18 or 19 if you go back to 1947 and/or 1946, because they finished third in 1948, first in '47 and third in '46. If you're really liberal and let a fourth place finish in 1945 slide in, you could say, that if the top four teams in each league always make the playoffs (as conceivably they could today), the Yankees could have conceivably made the playoffs everty year from 1926 to 1964, which is almost 40 straight years.

Just something to think about.

Regards,

Ralph

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Yankees clinch?

Sounds like the Yanks area about to clinch a playoff spot tonight for I think the 11th straight year, does that sound right? Since 1995, the year before Torre started, which was also Don Mattingly's last year. The Big Unit, an old nemisis (unfortunately, he remained a nemisis even after we signed him) and his Mariners knocked us out of the playoffs that year. Been in every year since. I guess that's a pretty incredible string, even if you have the highest payroll this side of the Itatian Premier League. However, I might add that the Cowboys, Raiders, Vikings, and Rams all seemed like they had similar streaks in the NFL back when I was a kid. Sooner or later that Yankees will falter won't they. I mean the Bills made four straight Super Bowls and look at them now.

Anyhow, I'm trying to catch the game on WCBS, but because of the rain, the reception blows. I heard the end of a Cano home run that "broke it open." I think their up like 12-1.

Read an intersting column today, don't remember where, the suggested a wild-card play-in round be added to give teams some incentive for winning the division. However, I really don't think we need an extra round of playoffs, seeing how the World Series is already bumping up near the beginning of November. I love baseball and all, but as I said before, we're really starting to get into football season.

Cheers.

Ralph