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.



Wednesday, November 21, 2007


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?



Monday, November 19, 2007


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.



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...


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.


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.



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?


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.