Friday, November 20, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
I'll start out by asking, does anyone know where I can get some more bags, as I'm down to like two and my oak leaves are just starting to fall? I think we avoided the shortage that last few years because of shorter raking seasons due to inclement weather. I remember years when the snow fell before my maples were even all down, not to mention the oaks. Well, this year the weather has been wonderful for raking and people have been taking advantage of it. I guess one option is raking the leaves into the street, which is actually illegal. The city seems to discourage this practice up front at least, but I have never heard of anyone being fined for it. Then, there is the burning route and my neighbor has a burn barrel....
But, I'd really just like to bag them. It's supposed to be another nice week. The problem, of course, is that I need to get more bags. Now, as I said in my previous post, I appreciate what the city is trying to do with the biodegradable bags and all, but they need to come up with a contingency plan for when the bags run out. Part of the problem is the very nature of the bags, which start to disintegrate within a year, so it is impossible to stock up on them. And they are fairly expensive, so you hate to buy too many and then find them biodegrading in your garage the next year. Because of the weather, predicting leaf volume is a very inexact science.
I jokingly (I think I was joking, sorry Joe) suggested we all take our leaves up to the mayor's front lawn. Maybe we could we could dress up like Indians or something.... but my wife insists it's not his fault. I am going to put a call (or e-mail) down to City Hall, however, and at least suggest they make some sort of public pronouncement and give people an idea of what they'd like them to do with their leaves; or at least give us some assurance that more bags will be in before next weekend. As I said before, I assume they have some sort of contract or contact with what is apparently the only company that manufactures the bags we're supposed to use.
Anyhow, in the greater scheme of things, this is probably a very small problem, but one that should be addressed at least, as, according to Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point, addressing small problems is a great way to start solving your larger problems. Gladwell specifically detailed how New York City started its turnaround by addressing graffiti in the subways. Letting people know you care about the little things seems to go a long way towards getting them to cooperate and help you fix the big things.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Just to address Mayor's Sinnott's easy win over Republican Jack Anderson: In my memory, a Republican has never seriously challenged for the Erie mayor's office and Anderson had already lost like 4 times before, so he has proven pretty well that he doesn't have much support. Plus, Sinnott is a fairly conservative Democrat, especially when it comes to spending, and I think people in Erie like that. Congrats Joe!
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
To his credit, Grossman seemed less surprised than anybody over this narrow margin. He pretty much attributed it to people voting across party lines. And, from a quick Google, it appears that the 2005 County Executive race was decided by even a smaller margin.
However, you would think outspending your opponent 33-to-one (and I don't know if Barry used all his campaign money) would buy you some breathing room, but I think the whole Obama backlash thing really came back to hurt Grossman. Kerner cited voters' lack of support for County funding of a proposed community college (something which Barry is in favor of and Kerner is against) as a big factor in helping him get votes. He was probably right on this.
Also, I think people in general are sick of government spending following last year's multi-trillion dollar stimulus packages, that really don't seem to have helped the Erie County economy at all. I thought Kerner actually came off as a bit of teabagger/kook during the debate I watched, but apparently, more people are embracing that type of old-thyme Republican thinking. Heck, one guy got elected to County Council who reportedly owes $2 million in back taxes because he refuses to pay the government. He also wants to sell of the County library system.
Yeah, the political landscape is changing again. The Democrats were given their chance to turn things around with liberal policies and apparently the public has decided they've failed. Now, I think we really better start paying attention to the Libertarian crowd, because they seem to be gaining some steam.
I'm not saying this is good or bad, and I do support some of the fresh ideas and enthusiasm that Libertarians bring to the table. I'm really just saying that we can all learn a lesson from Barry and be careful not to dismiss these teabaggers as kooks. Their views seem to hold some sway with the populace, especially in small town America.
From a personal standpoint, I promise not to make the same mistakes I made with G.W. Bush and Phil English, as dismiss them as unelectable.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Yes, I realize Flutie was a CFL all-star when we signed him and Vick is still recovering from his stint in the joint and hasn't been an all-star in any league for a few years, but still both guys have/had legs that can help make up for some deficiencies in the O-line. Because of that I think we should roll the dice with Vick. I mean, really, what have we got to lose? If you put anyone else back there, they are going to get killed.
Monday, November 09, 2009
Really though, I haven't talked to anyone who didn't like the movie and some people like it a whole lot. One of our friends thought it was the funniest movie ever made: funnier than Animal House and Caddyshack. Both my wife and I liked it, which means it scores with diverse audiences, as our movie tastes are fairly different. I guess the point I'm getting at, is can a low-brow comedy like this be nominated for best picture?
I think the Academy has been catching some heat in recent years, for ignoring "popular" pictures like this and wouldn't be surprised if they threw a curve ball this year just to change their image. I mean those Hollywood types are awfully image conscious you know. I don't know what the qualifications are for Best Picture, but I know I saw Slumdog Millionaire last year, and while it was good, in my opinion, The Hangover was better- whatever that means.
But, let's take Caddyshack, for example. I my opinion (once again), that was maybe the funniest movie ever. Granted, I caddied for a few years at Kahkwa, so my perspective is skewed, but everyone else seems to like it as well- and it has to be one of the all-time most quoted movies.
According to a Google search, Caddyshack came out in 1980. In 1980, here were the five pictures nominated for Best Picture: ORDINARY PEOPLE (which won I guess), Coal Miner's Daughter, The Elephant Man, Raging Bull, and Tess. Okay, Raging Bull may be a better movie than Caddyshack, but those other four... I'm sure they have their charms, but 30 years later, nobody is suggesting I watch them. Caddyshack, meanwhile, holds up.
I guess my point is that great comedies really don't get enough credit. It's always been my contention that a comedy is the toughest movie to make well. I base this on the fact that I've seen so many bad ones. Of course, it's certainly easier to make a niche comedy, like a formulaic romantic chick flick, because there are certain demographics that find comfort in that sort of thing. I remember this kid in college who I thought was perfectly normal and fairly intelligent until he told me he thought the "Earnest" series of movies was the greatest. I immediately thought less of him, but as I continued to hang out with him and get to know him, I realized this did not necessarily make him a dumb person, just someone with a different sort of comedic taste than I have.
The thing that makes Hangover great is that it seems to satisfy every comedic taste (well, maybe not the Christian right wingers, who I haven't heard weight in on it yet). I don't know how it will hold up in years to come, but it's fairly hot right now. And I certainly think it deserves consideration for best picture of 2010.
Friday, November 06, 2009
But Rick Riley's blog entry today really put things into perspective. Here are the last two paragraphs:
"Oh -- and the next Yankees fan who looks to the heavens and sighs happily, 'It's been nine long years!' gets tied to the front of the 4 train and run into a wall. Nine years? Nine years is a cigarette break to most teams in MLB. Chicago Cubs fans are at 101 years and counting. Cleveland Indians' fans: 62. New York/San Francisco Giants: 55. Pittsburgh Pirates: 30. Gee, nine whole years? The Boston Red Sox waited 86 years for theirs. The Chicago White Sox -- 88! There are people in swine flu lines longer than nine years.
Hope your parade takes a wrong turn off a pier."
Thursday, November 05, 2009
It was kind of fun watching Jeter, Posada, and Petite celebrate, because these are guys who had so much success winning the World Series early in their careers, they might not have appreciated fully how hard that is to do, until they went eight years without one. I'm thinking this one has to be extra special for that reason. As for Rivera, he's just a cold-blooded assassin, and I'm not sure how much winning the World Series means to him. I mean he always pitches well enough to win the thing - it's his teammates who let him down. Also, it was good to see veterans like A-Rod and Matsui finally get their first titles - especially because they both contributed so much in the playoffs. Matsui was a monster (his nickname is Godzilla) last night, and it sure is going to be tough for the Yankees to let him walk now.
As I've said, the core of the team is past its prime and logic would tell you that we have to become younger, but Posada and Jeter aren't going anywhere, and with left fielders Bay and Holiday coming on the market this winter, it would make sense to get rid of Damon and/or Matsui. Ahh, the dilemmas of managing a $200 million payroll and 25 roster spots.
Oh well, at least for now, let them all celebrate a really special season!
Monday, November 02, 2009
As for the Yankees, they had yet another, well, it wasn't a comeback win, but it was pretty close. After having young reliever Joba Chamberlain give up the game-tying home run with two outs and two strikes on the Phillies' seventh-place hitter, the Yanks had every reason to pack it in, as the Philadelphia crowd was roaring and all the 'mo seemed against the New Yorkers (the Eagles had even beat the Giants across the street earlier in the day). Of course, the Phillies then brought in closer Brad Lidge to throw the top of the ninth, a match-up I have been waiting for. You see, Lidge had a terrible regular season, with an E.R.A. of over seven and blowing more than 10 saves. Last year, he was unhittable through the Series, so I guess the Phils felt they owed him some loyalty, and he'd been pretty good with postseason so far this year, going three-for-three in saves, but from what I recall, at least two of these saves were shaky, meaning he got men on base before escaping. This is usually a bad sign for a struggling closer.
Well, Lidge came out last night and dominated pinch-hitter Matsui and then Jeter. Then Damon battled him and finally broke him for a single to left. Lidge got two strikes on Damon early and then the catcher looked like he dropped a potential foul-tip third strike. That was all the Yankees needed. Lidge beaned Teixiera, A-Rod followed with a tie-breaking double and Posada cleared the bases. Game over. (Rivera pitched a perfect ninth-also true to form.)
So, I guess my point is that everyone played true to form yesterday and with the brisk weather and the colorful falling leaves, it was a stereotypically great autumn day. And stereotypes, because of their familiarity, can sometimes be comforting.