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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Monday, May 31, 2010

A typical walk

Come along with Scrappy Booogle and I for a typical walk. There are two ways to get to the IPFW woods. One is through the neighboring addition. The other is across what we call the Plex Meadow.

This takes you to the north entrance but one.

This is where the trail turns from mud to stone. If you'd come through the addition entrance, you'd be 1/3 of the way to the end now.

Aright about here, we ran into Grace, a dog we'd met before, along with her owner. Owner was amazed when I told her the story of the previous meeting; Grace, all alone, came up behind us. I told her she ought to go home, and she did. Owner couldn't believe she was out here with nobody with her. It's 6 pm. Do you know where your dog is? At any rate, they sniffed each other over calmly and friendly. Although Scrappy didn't care for his p-p getting sniffed, and wanted to climb on her head. Did I tell you Scrappy's dyslexic? We all parted on good terms and moved on.

This is a very pretty area.

Then you come to the middle entrance, or the barn entrance. This is where it switches over to paved trail.

Soon you come upon the famous bridge in the woods. It takes a little doing, but this is Scrappy's favorite part of the trip.

Getting back on the main trail, you don't go far before you hit a side trail that winds along the rim of the creek's canyon.

This is the only time you can get Scrappy to stop.

The trail has a basically hidden exit that comes out on California road, by the new hotel across from the Colisseum.

Then we go back in the entrance to the Plex. The Plex grounds are split in two by the old feeder channel for the Wabash and Erie canal. There are 5 good bridges across the feeder, and one not-so-good:

On the other side is the greenway trail that runs all the way to Washington Center. The edge is guarded by plastic sheet to prevent erosion since I&M had all the vegetation ripped out of the feeder. A large Ground hog, easily bigger and much heavier than Scrappy, noticed us here and smashed into the plastic about 3 times before he managed to get underneath and into the feeder. He needn't have panicked; as usual, Scrappy was oblivious.

Where we crossed is IPFW's soccer field. It's a nice field, fenced off from the Plex's plebian pitches. beyond it is our famous duck pond, which we didn't get too close to due to the high weeds.

Yesterday we found a trail that leads to a good view of what google earth for whatever reason calls Stevie's Island. A duck was also enjoying the view.

By this point it was thundering pretty good, but I think it was all hot air, as no storm clouds presented themselves. Still, it was terribly humid near the river, so we headed back. A cat came across our path; but he apparently had heard from other cats that Scrappy wouldn't notice a cat if it sat on his head. So he just laid down and watched us go by.

And with that, we returned to Scrappy's house. Total time: just over an hour. Total distance: a hair over 2 miles, give or take.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sport shorts

First, let's congratulate Tomas Kopecky, whose goal with less than half the 3rd period to go gives the Blackhawks a 6-5 win in game one over those disgusting, black-hearted Flyers. I almost missed it, busy with last night's rant until just before the happy event. The 28-year-old Kopecky, a Slovak who has spent most of his playing career in the Detroit organization, was a healthy scratch for several of this year's cup run. Probably not so much anymore.
Second, I think that the A's can safely release Eric Chavez now, we have someone else to fill the "perform a yearly cameo and take a seat in the trainer's room" slot. To wit:
Duchscherer to undergo surgery: The Oakland A's announced Saturday that Justin Duchscherer will undergo season-ending surgery on his left hip. "[Duchscherer] got through it, but didn't feel well doing it," general manager David Forst told "He finally saw another doctor down there, and it was just confirmed that it probably wasn't going to hold up. So that's when he decided to go ahead and shut it down." (Updated 05/29/2010).
Yes, this is one of our two starters who played not at all last season, and was 2-1 in a measly 28 innings this year. But he may have competition: Coco Crisp managed to play 2 or three games before returning to the DL last week.
"Every injury is a different situation. The good news with this one it isn't a real long one, so he'll be back," manager Bob Geren said before the A's faced the Baltimore Orioles. "He's a very good player; he does a lot of things to help a team win. That's obviously why we signed him."
What exactly does a player who plays 2 games in two months do to help a team win? I don't know, but obviously we need more guys like Chavez, Justin, and Coco; we are in first by a half game over Texas after all. (Hey, isn't Texas that team that just filed for bankruptcy? Apparently another alternate path to success.)
Finally, congrats to Ray Halladay, who had an 11-strikeout perfect game last night against Florida, just 20 days after the perfecto by Dallas Braden (one of those Oakland players that selfishly hurts his team by actually showing up in uniform to games and playing). This breaks the mark for shortest interval between perfect games, set by the 1 year, 2 months, 18 days between the pair by Jim Bunning of the Phillies against the God-awful "Amazing Mets" on June 21, 1964, and Sandy Koufax of the Dodgers and his gem against the Cubbies on Sept. 9, 1965.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The breaking strain

One of our best cutters told Laurie and I she was quitting. The long, thankless hours, the strain on her kids and her family, was finally too much.

And this is a damn shame. Also, not surprising.

You cannot keep working people 70 hours and tell them they are getting farther and farther behind indefinitely. Eventually you have to either realize that you are in over your head and no amount of worker effort will change that, or you press on and destroy your work force. I warned our production manager this day was coming. But corporate attitude seems to be that we can all reach a bit deeper, find that elusive 30% more efficiency we must be hiding so we can work all this overtime.

The truth is, you have a plant on the edge of the breaking strain. They couldn't even give us an enjoyable holiday: make us work 6 hours today with the veiled threat of "we should have worked you Monday." This is not to bash our production guy, his attitude has been one of the few things that held us together this long. But think about the words- we should have made you give up your memorial day holiday. No, you shouldn't, and it never should have gotten to the point that you thought about it. I've heard them threaten 14 hours in the past, so let me publicly state this- I will NOT leave this house at 5 am and get home at 9:30 pm, period. When they ask that, they will find themselves facing a much bigger problem.

We have a yearly "chairman's award", in which nominations are solicited from all workers, to be sent to our president, who will read them and select someone making far more than the usual factory peon to get the cash prize. I sent mine nominating the cutting department en masse and enclosing a letter showing him the view from our seat and begging for help. I debated long and hard about this before Tina quit, and had talked myself out of it. Just barely. But now comes this news and I know its only going to get worse, because they are far more worried that Fanny Adams in Duluth gets her seat pad with pillow than driving their workers to go postal. (For those who don't know me, I do not have a gun nor any intention to buy one.) And given that, and previous threats coupled with the lack of being able to see we can't give any more, I figure I have nothing to lose.

I tried to step up Friday, work on adrenaline. At 5:00 the adrenaline faded and I became intensely angry, Bruce Banner angry. After about five minutes, that turned to wanting to cry for about 2 minutes, followed by an out-loud discussion with God about "My strength is sufficient" when there is never any light at the end of the tunnel, just the next train coming to crush us yet again. Everything that goes through my mind anymore is one long bitch session. I'm not doing adrenaline any more. I'm doing my best, trying to be quiet and do what I'm told, but no more adrenaline. And no more added hours.
The last week and a half Tina and I barely spoke because of some stupid tiff we got into. I was hoping to buy an I'm sorry card and lay it on her table Tuesday morning. I guess she told Laurie she felt she owed me an apology too. Maybe I should buy some black roses and set them on her table instead. Damn you all for causing this, you incredibly stupid, inhuman, greedy bastards. The only comfort in being forced as regular joes to work for people like this is:
Luke 6:24 "But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. (NASB ©1995)
So no doubt the excrement will hit the air circulator Tuesday morning. I hope you will all pray for us, because I honestly do not want to leave my job (although my chairman's nomination may take that out of my hands) and My ability to pray in such a way that even a vengeful Greek god looking for someone to hit with a thunderbolt probably would just ignore me.

Step into my time machine, week five

...and maybe I can get a fragment of my life being wasted away at work back. I'd go on, but it all becomes bitching after a while, so suffice it to say the end just gets farther and farther away and we'll move on.

On memorial day weekend 35 years ago, we had 12 new additions to the hot 100, 4 to the top 40, and 2 to the top ten, as well as a brand new #1. These list were based on sales and not airplay, which is why they differ somewhat from the billboard charts. The difference being, billboard thinks you should pay for their archive data, and cashbox's is just as good- and free. God bless America!

Of the dozen new songs this week, four posted a major future impact: Glen Campbell's soon to be number one on pop and country, Rhinestone Cowboy, comes in at 96; The Eagles' first chart topper, One of These Nights, at #80; Olivia Newton-John had another of the big country crossovers of 1975, Please Mister Please, at 73; and way up at 69 came McCartney and Wings with Listen to What the Man Says. A couple of other notes to the lower reaches: since I made such a big deal about it last week, the Beach Boys' Sail on Sailor moved up one to 72 this week; and another song more popular on AOR, Supertramp's Bloody Well Right, had peaked at 53 last week and moves down two this week.

The top 40 debuts this week were: Ray Stevens at 40 with Misty; Frankie Valli's Swearing to God (his first true single without the Four Seasons) at 39; the O'Jays with Give the People What They Want (which I sorta remember after just playing a 30-second clip) at 37; and Gwen McRae's Rocking Chair at 31. That song jumped 20 notches, tying for the biggest mover in the countdown with 10cc's I'm Not In Love, which landed at 65 in it's second week. With two moving into the top ten, two fall out: Paul Anka can finally get some sleep as he drifts down from 5 to 11, and Dawn's He Don't Love You tumbles from 7 to 23.

The top ten starts with the song that was most likely my favorite for the week, Chicago's Old Days, moving up 3 to the leadoff position. The sweetheart of covers, Linda Ronstadt, with her redo of the Everly Brothers' 1960 #8, When Will I Be Loved, moves up 2 to #9. Karen and Richard Carpenter move up one to 8 with Only Yesterday; Grand Funk bats cleanup with Bad Time moving from 10 to 7. The Ozark Mountain Daredevils give ground grudgingly, slipping from 4 to 6 with Jackie Blue. America climbs 3 more to the top 5 with Sister Golden Hair; John Denver, with yet another of the country crossovers of 1975, Thank God I'm A Country Boy at 4, up two. In fact, a record six songs would hit #1 on both charts (according to billboard, whom I will now quote after trashing): BJ Thomas' incredibly long titled song; Freddy Fender's Before the Next Teardrop Falls- which is at 3 this week, and holding- the just-debuted Rhinestone Cowboy; CW McCall's truck driving opus Convoy; and Denver's Country Boy as well as the double-sided smash I'm Sorry/ Calypso. John would actually receive country music's entertainer of the year award in 1975; and the controversy over crossover singers being resented by the old guard "flared up" again, as the previous winner, Charlie Rich (who'd had a crossover #1 just the year before) announced the winner, he pulled out a lighter and burned the envelope on stage.

Anyway, as I said, we have a new top dog, which means Earth Wind and Fire have dropped a notch to #2 with Shining Star. The new number one is How Long by Ace, a band led by singer Paul Carrack, better known as the Lead singer for Mike Rutherford's project Mike and the Mechanics. Carrack was the singer for their big hit The living Years which also hit #1 in March of 1989.

Almost left out our biggest dropper this week. Barry Manilow's It's a Miracle tumbles 41 notches to 64. And the mighty Martin Index has a new high of 40 this week. In fact, a couple of years ago I actually did a top 1200 of the seventies. Out of those 1200, one top ten (Listen to what the Man Says at 7), five of my top 50 (Sister Golden Hair at 14, Old Days at 19, Only Yesterday at 22, and Love Will Keep Us Together at 41) 9 out of the top hundred (with Sail on Sailor at 52, Bad Time at 60,Magic by Pilot at 53, and Misty at 83), eleven of the top 200 (Rhinestone Cowboy at 115 and ((Take Me In Your Arms)) Rock Me at 167) and a total (except for those I missed) of 26 out of the top 1000 IN THIS WEEK'S COUNTDOWN. Now do you see why my Wayback Machine stops here?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Number 100

I asked the Lord this morning for an idea to make special my 100th post. The way things have gone lately, I wouldn't have been surprised if He blew me off- after all, I've done it enough to Him. Arguing with co-workers, arguing with Him, even with myself- oh, especially with myself. At church, sometimes I feel a great disconnect, caused by the distance I've travelled from Him. In recent days, He has reminded me to look in the mirror, and that the obedience I owe Him is not being delivered. Prior to the service today, He showed me a powerful lesson about how to get back where I need to be, a message enhanced by an excellent sermon by Pastor Dave today. The lesson Dave taught, which I shall not try to reprise, was on Collosians 3. The lesson I learned myself, which I shall share here, is in Psalm 51. And that lesson titled itself, what are the steps I must take to get back near where I should be.

1. From v. 3- I need to Acknowledge my faults. I need to look at my actions as others see them; in normal view, I can be oblivious. I need to recognize when I am thinking/heading toward sin, and abort course. I need to stop being self-righteous, especially in prayer.

2. From v. 8, - I need to listen for the joy and goodness that He puts into this world. So many times, especially in light of two incidents this week past that I will not mention, all I hear is the crap that man dredges up and the crap Satan feeds me all day that I chew on like a starving dog. The same God that is so awesome in the midst of the beauty of nature exists under the corrugated roofs of factories and the domed halls of legislatures, and even amidst the polished floors of pagan mosques.

3. From v. 10- I need to strive for a steadfast (i.e. stable) spirit. Not be blown so much by the winds of sin and everyday life, but to keep a constant eye toward God in what I'm doing. Pastor Dave suggested we "be excited about our work job", i.e. the prospects and opportunities and being thankful for all of it; I have been better at appreciating it this year, and it makes it so frustrating when it seems that you become perceived as an a-hole with one frustrated incident. More so when you look at number 1 above and say, well, maybe more than one...

4. From v.17- remembering that God's delight is in a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart- and that He is more than willing to set up the means to break it if you don't particularly feel like doing so.

These four things that I need to work on hold the key to not being quite so miserable. The death clock (see says I still have 1 year, seven months, and 3 days to put up with this world, so I might as well start following these pointers and get comfortable. Which puts me in mind of one more thing: Pastor Dave spoke about being in the "end times" and that wouldn't it be nice to get back to heaven and everyone agreed; I hesitated. Not because I'm not ready for this life to end; but because where Dave said it from a mindset of happy, hopeful expectation of the next life, I would have said it from bitter disillusionment over this one. When I get from one mind set to the other, I'll know I'm almost ready.


The world cup ends in dramatic fashion with the Czech Republic breaking Russia's two year reign and 27-game win streak, 2-1. Goalie Tomas Vokoun was the star, stoning Malkin and Ovechkin on breaks, receiving some help from the post on what looked like a sure score by 40-year old Sergei Federov, and having a goal by Pavel Datsyuk waved off as coming just after the second period buzzer sounded. Datsyuk eventually did score with 35 seconds left, but Vokoun kept the door shut from there. Despite almost not making the final eight, the Czechs win their first title since 2005, their 12th overall- 6 of those as Czechoslovakia. Sweden took the bronze, topping Germany 3-1 in the consolation game.

(pictured is Czech captain Tomas Rolinek.) Congrats on a upset victory for the Czechs! and congrats to me. 100 posts are in the book.

Told Ya

Back on April 4th, I posted this about my Oakland Athletics:

And Oakland designates Jack Cust (AKA the guy who hit 60% of your HRs the last 3 years) for assignment (translated: dumps him) to keep roster room for Eric Chavez (AKA the guy whose allegedly bad back has limited him to about a week's work in those 3 years), Coco Crisp (AKA I got it, I got it... oops, I broke my pinky. I think I'll start the year on the DL), and Daric Barton (AKA I could hit my weight... if I was anorexic). Let's see. Dump Cust, let Adam Kennedy go, give the #1 and #2 pitching spots to 2 guys who pitched 0 innings last year, and fail to fire what may be the single most incompetant manager in franchise history. Yeah, we're trying REEEEEEAL hard to compete this year. Thanks Billy Beane. I hope your summer is all wine and cheeses too.

And yet, last night's A's win featured:

Jack Cust, DH

and I wondered why this was, and I found:

Cust now primary DH for A's: According to the team's official website, A's manager Bob Geren said Saturday that Jack Cust would become the team's primary designated hitter after Eric Chavez was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Cust went 0 for 2 with a walk on Saturday against the Giants.

And Eric Chavez is on the DL because:

DL stint could end career for Chavez: A's 3B Eric Chavez was placed on the 15-day disabled list injured once again, on Saturday, and acknowledges his career could be over. "It might be," Chavez said Saturday. "I don't know what the future's going to hold." Oakland placed its longest-tenured player on the DL because of what he called two bulging disks in his neck. The team referred to the injury as neck spasms and manager Bob Geren wouldn't speculate on the severity. The 32-year-old has been having spasms on both sides of his neck since getting hurt during a spring training drill in which a minor-leaguer collided with his right shoulder. The impact jerked his neck to the left in what Chavez described as a "whiplash" motion. "It was like playing pingpong," Chavez said of the spasms on either side. While he has been receiving regular treatment for the spasms, Chavez said he kept the condition between only himself and the training staff - not even telling Geren. A couple of weeks ago, Chavez pushed for an MRI exam because he knew he wasn't right. The results showed the bulges in the C6 and C7 disks.

Respect the manager much, Eric? (I know I don't.) So now, we have Chavez back in his accustomed DL slot and Cust back at DH where he belongs. All of which makes Geren and GM Billy Beane as candidates for the team's DA slot. I think we can all figure that one out.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Step into my time machine, week four

We have a new number one this week! We have three debuts in the top 10, 4 in the top 40, and 9 in the hot hundred. Coming into the count for the first time this week were The Rockford Files theme by Mike Post at 99, the Bee Gees game changer Jive Talkin' at 89, and Steely Dan's Black Friday at 78, along with a lot of songs no one remembers too well (at least me). Into the 40, which was basically the stuff that actually got played in most areas, were Kool and the Gang at 40 with Spirit of the Boogie and Disco Tex and the Sex-o-lettes (real endearing name there) with I Wanna Dance Wit'Choo- neither of which made much of an impression on me- along with two songs that basically defined the upcoming summer of '75: Pilot's Magic, and the Captain and Tenille's breakthrough Love Will Keep Us Together. Toni and Daryl also claimed the weeks big mover with that one, jumping 15 spots to #28, three ahead of Magic. I was going to curse BJ Thomas for making me type out that damn long song name of his (still the longest title of any #1 in history) on the big dropper list, but Chevy Van beat him out by one, dropping 41 notches to 64. BJ only fell 40 to 57.

The top ten, as I said, had three debuts, so, as Casey used to say, the three that fall out of the top ten were the Blackbyrds walking in rythym the other direction to 14, Elton John's former #1 Philly freedom down to 16, and Barry Manilow who apparently thought 1 week in the top ten was miracle enough and fell to 26. Coming in were three of the four songs I would have had trouble picking between for my #1. Grand Funk's Bad Time up 4 to 10; the Carpenters' Only Yesterday up 2 to 9, and America's Sister Golden Hair (the winnah!) up 4 to 8. Tony Orlando and the girls drop 2 to 7 with He Don't Love You (and I've got to get the story in;

When Orlando and the members of Dawn (Telma Hopkins and Joyce Wilson) appeared at a Golden Globes award ceremony, Orlando spoke with Faye Dunaway and her then-husband, Peter Wolf, while waiting in a lobby. Wolf was the lead singer for The J. Geils Band, and the two started singing songs from the 1960s, including "He Will Break Your Heart", which the couple recommended Orlando record. Orlando contacted Mayfield requesting that he and Dawn wanted to do a remake but change the title to the opening lines of the song, and Mayfield gave his permission. Courtesy the name droppers at Wikipedia.)

Thank God I'm a Country Boy, sung by John Denver and written by his fiddle player (no lie!) moves the most within the ten, from 9 to 6. Insomniac Paul Anka climbs another notch to 5 with I Don't Like To Sleep Alone, a song I actually listened to today on LaLa and was not overly excited. The Ozark Mountain Daredevils concede the the top bunk this week, dropping to 4 with Jackie Blue; everyone else moves up one, with Freddy Fender going to 3 with Before the Next Teardrop Falls, Ace with How Long to 2, and the #1 song was the first big hit for Earth Wind and Fire, Shining Star.

The Martin index shows us with 38 songs out of the 100 that I've burned at one point or another. This includes one of my all time faves which was never exalted to the top 40 by a tone deaf listening audience: the Beach Boys' Sail On Salior, which moved up a measly 2 to a measly 73, but I would listen to right now over 98% of the top 100.


It will be Russia vs the Czech Republic in the world cup final tomorrow after the Czechs knocked out Sweden 3-2 in an OT shootout and Russia downed Germany in their hardest fought match of the tourney, getting the winning goal with less than two minutes on the clock. In other news, Morrocco of all places was admitted to the IIHF today. They have one rink, three teams and 90 players in Morrocco, and apparently that's good enough. (Any further questions about Division 3?) In the meantime, Armenia was suspended indefinately for supposedly using ineligible players in their recent tournament, including one who they'd been busted for using previously. Does Kelvin Sampson coach this team, really? Also, my wonderful Blackhawks are now up 3-0 on San Jose and one game away from the Stanley cup finals for the second time since 1973. Hopefully they will avoid this year's Washington/Boston/Pittsburgh virus. Still waiting to see the ugly choice of opponant there. Hopefully (UGGH) Montreal: I'd rather watch them play Israel Bat Yam II than Philadelphia.


Oh and speaking of Philadelphia, we saw yet another skunk, this one sagely avoiding becoming tire food on the way to work this morning. Do they come in threes, like funerals? I hope not, Scrappy and I might want to get another walk in this weekend.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Scrappy at the bedroom window

For Scrappy, the view out the bedroom window is like watching tv. He barks and whines when he sees something; he barks and whines when he smells something. He even barks and whines when nothing is going on, presumably because he wants something to happen. Last night was a good example. After finishing his "I'm here, where's everybody else" whining, he had just settled down when he got a double whammy. First, on our left, the neighbor girl came out top look for something she apparently couldn't find. If you've ever seen the comcast commercial featuring Jen, who can never finish a story, this girl is her after the expresso wears off. Moments later her significant other, having found the item, a jug of whatever roundup knockoff they use, began spraying weeds around their patio. Just then, on the right, big yappy came out to take his evening dump. Now Scrappy is racing back and forth on the bed, unsure of who he wants more to go ballistic about, but leaning toward big yappy. He's so funny at these stages; he'll sniff hard enough to open the window, bark, whine, raise hackles, and then fall into my lap and give me this"you've got to do something" look. He's both desperately aggressive and desperately afraid of big yappy since their summer set-to last year. So after a bit the weeds are all sprayed, the grass has been shat upon, and everyone has went back in. This initiates a 5-minute "going crazy" cool-off lap, in which all the aforementioned still happens but slowly decreases in intensity untill he finally just sits down and peers out at the world once again. About this time a young Afro-american gentleman goes running through the back yard. Of all the things he goes nuts at tonight, this is the one thing that A) I would aprove of and B) he doesn't go nuts over. Go figure. Shortly thereafter, a skunk goes flouncing across the edge of the fence row.
By now Laurie has come up and got to see our odiferous neighbor scamper out of sight. This, by the way, is our first skunk sighting (non-roadkill, that is). Just after Laurie goes to the shower and Scrappy had settled down I see him staring at the sky: I look out to see that he is staring at the butt-end of a bird sitting on the gutter above our window. Of course, he barks, and the bird disappears onto the roof. But , though Scrappy relaxes his guard, the story is not over. For the bird has merely hopped up onto the roof to turn around so that he can now dive down, right past Scrappy at the window who is already seeking out new life and new civilizations. And boy does he jump when the bird dives right past his nose! After a totally miserable day, that was my one and only good laugh.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dear president Calderon

For those of you yet unenlightened, the big story today was how Felipe Calderon, El Presidente de Mejico, came to the US congress to tell us how racist Arizona is and how happy we should be to let illegals into this country because the economy needs them, and how Obama is going to lead us into a new promised land of peace and international cooperation. So to summarize, the president of a country who will throw you out if they don't want you, imprison you if you come in illegally, and make sure you are registered and have submitted your birth certificate even if they let you in, is going to call us racial profilers if we even ask a suspicious person for his documentation. Not only that, but he tells us that by doing this- which is nothing more than enforcing a law that he and Obama seem to think is there just for decoration- we are going against "our nation's core values." And this beloved president of ours who looks at illegal Mexicans and sees registered democrats, backs him up all the way. Well president Calderon, president Obama, this American, who knows what our core values are supposed to be better than any oreo/wetback version of Laurel and Hardy, has one message right back at you:



Moving on, it seems I misinterpreted the way the rest of the world cup goes. It's now a traditional one and done tournament, and those who fell first into the done category are Finland (after a 2-1 shootout loss to the Czechs), cinderella Denmark (complements of the Swedes, 4-2), Switzerland (who was upset by the host country, Germany, 1-0), and .... "Ohhhh Caaan-a-daaaa" (who closed with 3 straight losses, the last a 5-2 rout by Russia that featured 2 Evgeny Malkin goals. Yeah, Sidney, thanks for yer patriotism!) So Saturday the Swedes and Czechs face off, followed by the Russkies and Germany. (By the way, the rumours of Adolph and Uncle Joe being in attendance for that match are probably unfounded.) The losers face off for the bronze, and the winners play for the gold, on Sunday. I thought that today's loseres played to see who got 5th-8th, but I may be wrong on that too.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A different take on Mark Souder

My reactions to Souder's confession and resignation were probably like a lot of people. On a political level, it's all over the blogs. On a personal level, I'm sure his wife and family's disappointment is greater than any of ours. On a religious level, I'm sure there are a whole lot of people who at least have the first stone in hand. As much as I'd love to be among them, that's not me. And these things are not what really bother me here.

What bugs me is this: Satan threw everything he had at a good man and won. Suprising? No. All of us sin and fall short of the glory of God. But this particular man's fall tells me something beyond the individual case. A lesson I should have remembered anyway- The idea of having a good man in Washington, who will be an example and will not be a hypocrite, will not fall and lie about it, is an illusion. It won't be done, it can't be done. Satan will slowly but surely tear down every man in government, in our workplace, in our church, and in our family, and show to the world his feet of clay. It's not Mark's fault in that one respect: he was outmatched. We all are. That's why we pray to God and trust in Jesus for salvation. But the consequence of this man, who did so much to "walk the walk" to the public and had up till now set a very positive example, falling is devastating to me. Like everyone, I need hope to survive. As a Christian, our hope is for and in the next world, I get that. But while submerged in this life, I need hope here, too. I need to know someone will be at home with me at night to listen when I need to talk. I need to know I have a church family to back me up. (Thankfully, these two are covered.) I need to know that the long hours at work will someday earn a reward beyond the paycheck. And I need to know that there is hope for this country, this government. The one is on shaky ground; the other now lies, for me, shattered beyond repair. And like at work, I shall go on and try to be positive, knowing intellectually that we're not at the end of the world. But inside, there's yet another facet of my life in which I question the use in trying. Satan won. He always wins in this life. Is there a reason for the game to go on?


On a less serious note, it is Italy and Kazakhstan who will be dropping out of the great 16 next season. USA topped Italy 3-2 in an OT shootout, while France dominated the Kazakhs 5-3 on Tuesday. Germany won its way into the final 8 with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Slovakia; they were joined by the Czechs who pulled out a 3-2 win over Canada, putting them in and Norway out. Canada for the first time in its history has 3 losses before the final 8. Wrapping up the quarter final round, a pair of 5-0 games: Russia over Finland and Sweden over Switzerland. Now the 2 groups of 4 will play a fresh round robin, the top two will go into the final round robin.

Monday, May 17, 2010

So it isn't just the assistants...

Linked fron Chuck Shepard's news of the weird:

Parents at Coconut Grove Elementary School are calling for the ouster of Principal Eva N. Ravelo this week after she told a parent in an e-mail to ``eat sh-- and die.''
The controversy, which is now under review by the school district's central office, started Monday. Abigail DuBearn, a member of the school's Educational Excellence School Advisory Committee, or EESAC, had asked Ravelo and other council members whether student representatives of the committee ``could be notified today and be invited to attend and participate'' at Monday's meeting.
Ravelo, 45, then replied to DuBearn's e-mail with the message: ``Advise her to eat sh-- and die.'' Ravelo spelled the swear word like it appears here -- without the last two letters.
Maria Orjeda, the school's reading coach, who spoke on behalf of Ravelo, said the principal meant to send the e-mail about DuBearn to her assistant principal, Ramón Dawkins, instead of DuBearn.
DuBearn could not be reached for comment Thursday.
``Ms. Ravelo takes full responsibility for the mistake. She apologized to Mrs. DuBearn on Tuesday,'' Orjeda said.
The principal, who is still running the school, has been instructed not to speak with the media, Orjeda added. Read more:

Ravelo had better check with the state dept. of agriculture and make sure sh-- isn't on the banned food list, like jolly ranchers are in Texas. She may have to instruct the parent to consume a more healthy waste product.

Speaking of the Brazos Texas school system and candy-hating superintendant Jack ellis, look what happened just 2 days after the candy controversy:

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A high school student has been suspended after law enforcement found he had a 'hit list' with fellow students' names on it.
Brazos ISD Superintendent Jack Ellis said the mother of the sophomore student called Brazos High School on April 30 concerned about her son. Several school counselors and officials talked to the teen and were also concerned.
The 'hit list' was found on a spiral notebook on May 4 when Austin County Sheriff's Department went to the teen's home to check everything out. The teen was temporarily put in juvenile authority custody, but was turned back over to his mother on Tuesday.
Ellis said he doesn't know how many people may be on the list, but he described it as a list of people the teen wanted to "get even with." School officials have not seen the list of names. Ellis also says the youth had not reported any problems with anyone in the school, has not been very cooperative, just saying that he "hated everybody."
A letter from Brazos ISD was sent home to parents stating the student was suspended, was withdrawn from the school and will not return to school for the remainder of the school term. The school is also considering expulsion proceedings against the student to extend into the 2010-2011 school year.
Ellis also says in the letter that the school has placed staff on alert, has hired a security officer and has notified Wallis police to keep the school and student's residence under observation

See? this is what happens when you take candy away from kids, Jack. And how about the Highland park Ill. girls b-ball team? Remember how I told you everyone was down on administrator Suzan Hebson?

ROSEMONT, ILL.--With 4,000 Chicago area fans cheering her on, former Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin trained her sights Wednesday night on Highland Park High School, which conservative talk radio has targeted for canceling the girls basketball team's trip to a tournament in Arizona.
"Them are fightin' words when you say a girl can't play in the basketball tournament ... for political reasons ... so we're going to see about that," Palin said.
Arizona's strict crackdown on illegal immigration is projected to cost that state millions in tourism from such cancellations.
"I said, 'Wait, I thought it was already a crime for an illegal alien [to be here]," Palin said to raucous cheers at the Rosemont Theatre.
Noting that the Highland Park girls held bake sales to pay their way to the national finals for the first time in 26 years, Palin suggested conservatives could get the girls to Arizona despite High School District 113's decision to keep the girls home this winter.
Quoting her book "Going Rogue," Palin said: "Everything I ever needed to know, I learned on the Basketball Court: self-discipline, setting goals, teamwork, responsibility." She later added: "faith."
Palin said the school is still sponsoring a trip to China.
"You know how they treat girls in China?" Palin said. "It makes no sense. Even if they have to do this on our own. ... If the kids have to 'Go Rogue' girls."

Go get 'em Sarah! I'd like to thank, in order, the Miami Herald, KENS 5 TV, and the Chicago Tribune for the stories. As you can see, Hebson has learned that you can't whitewash a turd ("This decision isn't political, it's about our student's safety") and make it tastier, and Jack Ellis has learned that he has more important things to worry about than taking candy from babies.


World cup update: Finland topped Slovakia 5-2 today, to join Russia, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and Canada in the final 8. Slovakia plays Germany tomorrow to decide one of the last two spots. Norway stayed alive with a 3-2 win over the Swiss in which the Norse were outshot 45-15. Norway can get in if Canada beats the Czechs tomorrow in regulation time; any other outcome saves the Czechs from major embarrasment. Denmark had already clinched their first trip to the elite eight in history and thus mailed in a 2-1 loss to Belarus, who goes home to play golf or whatever they do in the offseason in former Soviet republics. Latvia will join them after their own 3-1 loss to the Czechs. Tomorrow the relegation group will be decided, as well as those last two tickets to the elite 8.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

World cup update

Ok, so Saturday, the USA finished off with a 10-0 rout of the Kazakhs, and added to that Sunday a 4-0 blanking of France of which score IIHF said "flattered France", i.e. it could've been much worse. France then beat Italy on Saturday 2-1, but the Italians beat the Kazakhs 2-1 on Sunday. Thus, anything could still happen in the Relegation round- although the worst that could happen for USA is a four way tie that would be broken by goal margin and we're +14. In the main rounds, Russia beat Germany 3-2 on Saturday and followed it up with a 6-1 rout of Denmark. Evgeny Malkin had a goal and an assist as the Russians continue a 23 game world cup win streak. The Swiss claimed a 3-2 win over the Czechs on Saturday; also on Sunday, Latvia broke open a game that was scoreless through 2 periods with 2 empty-net goals to beat struggling Norway 5-0. Belarus finally got another win, though probably too little too late as it went to OT when the Germans scored with less than a minute left to tie and were trying to win with time running out in OT and coughed up the puck and the Latvians scored on a 3-man breakaway. But the difference between a regulation win and an OT win is 3 pts to 2 pts, and that point will likely mean the end of the Belarussians. Finally the Swedes won a lackluster 3-1 game over a disappointing Canadian group. Russia now leads one group with 12 pts, double that of second-place Finland and Denmark. Germany's 4 pts lead a trailing group of Slovakia (3) and Belarus (2); in the next round, the bottom two from each group are out and the top 4 go on. In the other group, Switzerland and Sweden each have 9 pts, but the Swiss have a game in hand. Canada is third with 6, and the Czechs, Latvians, and Norse all have three.

I decided to see what all the divisions in the IIHF look like, and here is what I found. The bottom group, division 3, consists (or will next year) of Luxembourg, the UAE, Greece (who were supposed to host this years division 3 shindig but amazingly couldn't find the money- go figure), South Africa, Mongolia, and Armenia, along with Turkey and Israel, who got bounced out of division two . Then comes division 2, with Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Mexico, Romania, China, Iceland, New Zealand, along with Ireland and North Korea who rise up from division three and Serbia and Croatia, who fall from division one. Division one then is Ukraine, Japan, Lithuania, Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, the UK, South Korea, along with Spain and Estonia coming up from division two and whoever loses the relegation round after Tuesday's last games.
Those two losers will then be replaced amongst the big-boys group by Austria and Slovenia.

The Blackhawks Knocked off San Jose 3-1 today to open the NHL semis. I'm hoping they can find a way for both teams to lose in the other semis, but I guess I'll have to root for Montreal because, being a New York Islander fan, I'd sooner cheer for space aliens come to exterminate the entire planet than the Philadelphia Flyers.

Got the weather center up and running with a lot of very appreciated help. Very cool. And one last note: the Reds beat the Cards again today 7-2 and took over first place in the NL Central. What a very nice weekend.

The baseball birthday trip #2

This was one fun day. Started out from Kc and Ashley's apartment, where I was confused by a rug doctor sitting by the door (no Carpet)- I was informed it was for the bedroom which does have the only carpet. Moving out, we stopped at McDonalds in New Haven where there was a bit of a debate over whether Ashley would end up with the sweet tea, no ice that she wanted or the Hi-C, no ice that KC thought she wanted. (Hi-C won). After deciding to disregard the mapquest route KC had copied (it wanted us to head to Indy and turn east!) and just take 30 to 75, we stopped off at the Werling rd. Marathon where I got a pepsi and a new pair of sunglasses (remind me to tell you the story about the other ones later). Ashley's phone had a gps so we turned that on to make fun of and headed east. Near Besancon, I saw that someone had built a house on the pond we used to go swimming at, which really tripped me out.

Flash foreward to near Lima, where 30 actually meats 75. Gps lady said we needed to turn off at one of the Lima exits; we debated it, figured perhaps there was a problem getting onto the highway from thirty, Ashley said gps claimed a 20 minute time savings, so we listened and turned off. What followed was a series of "turn right"s and "turn left"s that almost seemed to take us in a circle until we finally ended up on some secondary road heading south, for no better apparent reason than to keep us out of Lima.

We then played a license plate game where you make phrases out of the letters on the plate (the only example coming to mind right now is "AUU" became "Ashley's underwear's ugly".) This game got abandoned when we discovered that apparently about 90% of Ohio license plates start with an "e". Soon- the trip seemed to go really fast- we entered Wapakoenta, where in a reversal of policy gps lady took us through town and onto- you guessed it- I-75. From here it was a hundred or so miles of scenery and signs, notably the "Solid Rock Church" in Monroe where they have this massive statue of Jesus waist deep in a pond with

fountains and the whole nine yards.

Eventually we passed through Dayton, which is far more massive than I had imagined, and on to Cincy. Again, gps lady tried to take us around the horn to the stadium; we opted to follow the signs instead, which was a good idea. It wasn't long before we found $5 parking on the far side of Paul Brown stadium (home of the Bengals). KC then handed us our tickets (copied off the internet) and we crossed the street towards Paul Brown. I told him to hit the button for the crossing sign, and farted when he did. As we crossed, KC noted that we had four tickets (a friend of Ashley's bailed on us) and he needed to sell one. We no more got to the other side when a black guy riding a bike and wearing a laminated sign saying "I need tickets" called out to us and KC said, "I got one". KC told him he paid $42 for it and wanted 30. Ol' boys says, "I can't sell those paper tickets for 30, I'll give you 10." KC said no thanks as the guy showed us another one he had bought that was printed in black and white. KC said, "Mine's in color, it must be worth more. Give me 15." Ol' boy says ok, and the ticket was sold, to haunt us later.
Our path led us across the north side of Paul Brown (which is a really beautiful stadium, at least form the outside), down the street, across a parking lot, and up a set of stairs that faced some big 1/3 built complex going up between the stadiums (stadia?). At the top of the stairs was an other ol' boy with a radio and a sign saying, "homeless, will work, sorry for asking". This swiftly became a common theme- I've never come across more allegedly homeless beggers in any one place in my life. Mixed among them were the usual people handing out have-you-met-Jesus cards and others trying to raise money to put light on some historic bridge over the Ohio that they're trying to restore ( I think; a good deal of it was shrouded in tarps). At least on of the homeless was a white girl whose sign read "homeless and hungry", but looking at her build, I told KC maybe if she went a little more hungry, she might not be so homeless. Finally we reach the Great American Ballpark, with its statues of Ted Klusewski, Frank Robinson, and Joe Nuxhall out front.
This was the annual civil rights game, and we were among the first 10,000 and got jerseys with the name and # of Chuck Harmon, the Red's first black player. Now this is a really nice building and our seats were good too- maybe fifty feet down the first base line, 12 rows from the field. After finding the seats, we went on a bathroom, souvenier, and food hunt. I got me a Mr. Redlegs hat and a Joey Votto shirt. Ashley got an ice cream cone, and we circled the stadium until behind the outfield wall. They have a nifty overlook of the river where paddlewheelers do donuts in front of the stadium, and we decided to eat there. We got the "meal deal" (a hot dog, a cup of pringles, a candy bar, and a pop. Of course this had to be an adventure as well; they overcharged KC 2.50, couldn't swipe my card right, and the whole think took a good 5 minutes and four of them and three of us to sort out. Afterwards, we were nearly back to our seats when they began wheeling out the award winners that they would be presenting to. The first was Harry Belafonte: I told KC I wanted to see him so we ducked down a corridor to the field as he was being driven around the outfield in the ballcart. He was waving, stopped to look at the field, turned back to the crowd, looked right at me, I waved, he waved, KC's eyes got big and he yelled,"Dad, he looked right at you when he waved!" That was cool! Next, they brought out Billie Jean King, who declined to wave or look at me. The third award-ee was Willie Mays. KC tried to get a picture, but the whole place was standing and waving and Say -Hey was sitting and forgoing the wave. After this we returned to the seats to watch the rest of the civil rights pregame festivities.
By the time we sat down, Marty Brennanman was on-field introducing the rest of the celebrities. Before he got far, the guy that ended up with our ticket showed up. He was pre-inebriated, drinking a Labatts blue tall-boy, and looking like someone you'd see in the non-serious offenders section of your local sex-crimes registry. KC immediately named him "Howard the Drunk", and that was his name the rest of the night.
They celebrities introduced included Mr. Cub Ernie Banks; Hank Aaron; Layla Ali; a preacher that was a former teammate of Mays' in the negro leagues; and some old black former congressman who looked like his diet consisted of sucking lemons. After everyone got their awards, we watched a tribute to the late Lena Horne (who was scheduled to be there), Roberta Flack came out and sang "Imagine" (and KC said managed to turn a three minute song into a ten minute one). Jeffrey Osbourne sang the national anthem, a color guard played "God blees America", and army paragliders chuted in to drop off the game ball, which Ernie banks threw the first pithc with. Ashley took a picture of Howard the Drunk to send to her friend that blew us off, and the game began.
And what a game! Adam Wainwright was going for the Card's against Red's rookie Mike Leake. Both were sharp early; St. louis scraped in a run in the second, and we did likewise inthe bottom of the inning. Colby Rasmus (who next to Chone Figgins is my least-favorite player in baseball) knocked a homer over the 404 sign in dead center to give the Cards a 2-1 lead, which flustered the kid and he walked Pujols and Holliday before getting a long, loud out to end the third. Things settled for a while then. We watched and joked about Howard, followed the scoreboard. Every game playing while we played, with one exception, the team that took the first lead lost it; by nthe time we left, the Mets had blown a 3-1 lead on Florida and lost 7-5; Colorado had lost a 3-1 lead on the Nats and was in process of losing a 4-3 lead; the Indians trailed Baltiomore 2-0 until the 9th, when they scored 8, seven of them after two outs; Boston had went from a 6-1 lead on Detroit to a 6-6 tie; and even the A's had started with a 2-0 1st inning lead only to trail 3-2 in the fourth.
In the mean time, we had been trying to guess who would do what when they came to bat. In the home fifth, just after we had a man thrown out trying to steal second, I told KC that Jonny Gomes would hit a HR. KC says' "He really doesn't hit for Power." 5 pitches later, Gomes put one 433 feet over the short porch in left field and the game was tied at 2-2. The kids decided to go pee in the bottom of the sixth; while they were gone, we got 2 men on and rookie OF Stubbs, hitting .182 and having looked outmatched by Wainwright the whole game, tripled into the right field corner and both runners scored.
At the seventh inning stretch; "teen sax sensation" BJ Jackson played "America the Beautiful" and did a great job.I thought Howard was going to pass out, fall down, or barf on me during it, though. KC took me out to the concourse and showed me a big open area we missed before, where they had a speed gun for pitching, a play park for little kids, a huge kiosk with big-screen video baseball games you could play, a track to time yourself in the forty, and a ton of other stuff. After which, I had to pee; KC warned me the nearest restroom had a line, but this was a LINE. Some guy passing by heard me go , "Ohhhh..." and said to follow him the next one down the other way was always free. Sure enough, no muss, no fuss, and got back in time to join in the last three of six or seven circuits of the wave.
Comes the bottom of the ninth, Reds up 4-2. Closer Francisco Cordero comes in, the locals get nervous. Cordero gets an out, walks a guy, throws a wild pitch. another guy singles in a run. Pujols strikes out looking, argues with the ump, but not enough to get tossed. "Sir, I believe you missed that call." "No, I don't believe I did, please sit down." "Very well, sir, and thank you." Now the whole place, 41,000 +, is on their feet, even the unsteady Howard. Pinch hitter hits a double deep into the left field corner, Schumuker steaming for home. OF hits cutoff man Orlando Cabrera. Cabrera guns a bullet at supersonic speed to catcher Ramon Hernandez. Schumuker slides. Hernandez tags. Joe West yells, "Yer OUT!" Scoreboard sceams Reds Win! Fireworks go off and the world rejoices. What an ending!

Going out we saw an allegedly homeless man with a sign I actually believed- "Why lie? I want beer." I told KC, Him I would've given money to, had I any.
Going home was an adventure too. Gps lady got us onto 75, then trie to get us off again to head towards Indy. She then went to sleep for the night. Ash has a headache, so we stop at the first gas station for aspirin and a pepsi for me. Of course this was deep in the Cincy Ghetto, and the pumps were lined with blacks, none of which were actually pumping gas. Needless to say, we decided to forego the gas and move on. A block down the road we found a much safer BP complete with a cop, a totallt primered convertable with a door that openned up instead of out, and yet another homeless guy ("please, can you help me, sir? Ah'm homeless, ah'm starvin', ah'm about ready to commit suicide..." "Sorry, I don't have any cash on me." "Thank you sir." ) So I decide to buy him a bag of chips, but by the time I got them paid for, somebody gave him a couple of bucks, he came in, bought a bag of ice, and disappeared. I'll eat the chips later on. North of Dayton, we found a radio station that no lie we listened to all the way to Coliseum boulevard. X107.5, Lima, as it turns out. About this time, Ash got nauseous and we stopped off at yet another station so she could barf in the trash can. (Better her in the trash than Howard on my lap, though!) Arrived home at about 2:50 am. Have to say, best birthday present in recent memory. Right now, though, I'm going to go set up my other present- a home weather station! Life is good.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Step into my time machine, week three

We are at May 17, 1975 this week, where we see the Ozark Mountain Daredevils continuing to top the Chart with "Jackie Blue". Earth, Wind, and Fire move into the #2 spot with "Shining Star", and Ace also moves up 2 with "How Long." Freddie Fender's tex-mex classic "Before the next teardrop falls" leaps 3 to #4; Tony Orlando and Dawn slide 3 with the late #1 "He don't love you",; and Paul Anka is still having sleeping problems, moving up 3 with"I do't like to sleep alone". "Walking in rhythym" moves up into the 8-hole, and the last two spots go to debuts- "Thank God I'm a country boy" by John Denver at 9, and Barry Manilow's "It's a miracle" at 10. If I was going to guess at my favorite song that week, I'd have a tough time; in addition to the aforementioned Mr. Manilow, I'd have been choosing from the Carpenters' "Only Yesterday" at 11, America's "Sister golden hair" at 12, Grand Funk Railroad's "Bad Time" at 14, and Chicago's "Old days" at 16. Let's say that, knowing me, "Miracle would have been there last week, "old days" this week, prepping for America to take over in the weeks to come.

Not as big a hot 100 debut week as we've been having; out of 11 new songs, the only ones to make significant noise were Kiss at 91 with "Rock and roll all night" and BTO at 69, the high debut, with "Hey You". The Doobies (pictured) take the fast mover award again this week with "(Take me in your arms)Rock me jumping 25 spots to #31.

The drop like a rock award goes this week to Barry White, who falls 43 spots to 71 with "What am I going to do about you", which I admit I don't know, but I can't imagine its any different than the rest of his basically sound alike songs. He and Al Green probably hold the record for hitting the charts the most times with the same basic song.

3 new songs outher than the Doobies achieved top forty status this week: Bad Company with "Good lovin' gone bad" at 40; Another song I don't know, Tavares with "Remember what I told you to forget"(ironically enough) at 39; and the medley of "The way we were/ Try to remember" by Gladys Knight und der Pipsters at 38. The martin indicator sits at 37 this week.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Ahhh Friday...

Not working tomorrow to celebrate my 48th birthday Sunday. Kc is taking me to a Reds game in Cincy that evening. A much better day than the one at work today. We learned- as if we didn't already know- that fabric vendor Maco is totally retarded. Today we were supposed to get 5 rolls of a certain fabric that Target is ordering the crap out of- a fabric that Laurie finished off the last of- and when it came in, we got somebody else's fabric. Yes, 5 rolls of something we couldn't even identify, which they identified as our R439 daulton black. (Funny how it was orange.) We also learned that engineers should be banned from doing calculations in their heads. Smilin' Bob was absolutely convinced despite two cutters, a sewer, and a quality supervisor telling him he was wrong, that the band was the right size. That is, until he read me off the pertinent numbers which I enterred into my calculator and proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was... WRONG! When we did it a second time and got the same results, he finally capitulated to peals of my near-hysteric laughter.

Moving onto hockey, the second round of world cup games had some real eye openners. Norway scored first on Canada- Canada then scored the remaining 12 goals, including 5 in a 3:06 span near the end of the second period. Denmark blasted a thoroughly humbled Slovak team 6-0; Finland blanked Belarus 2-0; and Sweden topped Latvia 4-2.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Gotta love hockey fans!

Posted by a friend on facebook:
(in case you cn't read it, it says, "Are you pregnant, ref? Because you missed 2 periods!")
Anyhow, I'm finally at a night I have nothing else to bitch about, so its hockey night at TAW.First off, the world cup's first round wrapped up today. Russia not suprisingly beat Belarus 3-1, while Slovakia topped Kazakhstan 5-1 to send them into the relegationround, where they'll get a chance to further humiliate the good ol' USA. Russia finishes the first round 3-0 for 9 pts. Slovakia took second in their group (2-1, 6) and Belarus third(1-2, 3) . The Kazakhs, like the other relegation babies, finish 0-3. Sweden falls to the Czech Republic 2-1 to force a 3-way tie at the top of their group with the Czechs and Norway at 2-1. Norway makes it with a 5-1 piledriving of France, who goes 0-3 and faces Italy in their relegation round openner. The other groups finished last night, with Switzerland going 3-0 to take their group over Canada (2-1), Latvia (1-2) and the aforementioned Italian squad. Finland, with 2 non- OT wins, edges Germany (2-1) and Denmark (likewise) in the group that USA dusted the bottom of. So now, the groups will be Russia, Slovakia, Belarus, Finland , Germany, and Denmark in one and Sweden, Czech Rep., Norway, Canada, Switzerland, and Latvia in the other.
Did a little digging about how the Austrians and Slovenians earned their chance at next season's cup. Austria rolled through their group in division 1 (not sure why they call the second level teams div. 1, but whatever), beating Serbia 13-0, Lithuania 6-2, Japan 3-1, Netherlands 4-1, and the Ukraine 2-1. Serbia got booted to division 2 as a result of going 0-for-also rans. It scares me to think who all is in that group. Slovenia Knocked off Poland 3-2, Croatia 10-1, Great Britain 4-3, Korea 8-3, and Hungary 4-1. Guess who goes down to div. 2 out of this bunch? If you said Croatia...congratulations, you are right.
A word now, and finally, about the NHL playoffs. # 8 Montreal's stunning second upset of Pittsburgh puts the Habs into the eastern conference finals against either #6 Boston or #7 Philly, whom the Bruins are in the similar process of choking a big lead to. The east's top 4 seeds went a combined 13-18 in the playoffs; if you take out the Penguin's first round win, 9-16. In the meantime, the west has a final of #1 Chicago and #2 San Jose. The west's top 4 seeds have gone 23-13, the finalists 16-7. Assuming that the Habs will likely beat either the choke-er or the choke-ee of the other series, One has to wonder if they could pull off the magic one more time against the vastly better teams of the west. Let's hope not; the Canadiens are the Yankees of hockey, with 23 Stanley Cup wins, ten more than anyone else.
Oops, one more little note: Sidney Crosby, who suddenly has time on his hands, has turned down an invite to the Canadian team over in Germany. I can understand that. Why would he want to top off a miserable Quarterfinal loss by having to face Ovechkin again? Yeah, golf'd look pretty good to me, too.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What is it with assistant administrators?

The latest stupidity courtesy FoxNews:

Parents in Illinois are outraged over a move by a local high school to scrap its girls basketball team's trip to Arizona over the Grand Canyon State’s new immigration law.
The Highland Park High School varsity basketball team has been selling cookies for months to raise money for a tournament in Arizona.
Now, after winning their first
conference title in 26 years, the girls are being denied the opportunity to play in the tournament due to uncertainty over how a new Arizona law that makes it a crime to be in the country illegally will be enforced -- and because the trip “would not be aligned” with the school's “beliefs and values,” Assistant Superintendent Suzan Hebson told the Chicago Tribune.
Parents said there was no vote or consultation regarding the decision, which they called confusing, especially since they say no players on the team are illegal immigrants.
“I’m not sure whose values and what values and what beliefs they’re talking about, we were just going to Arizona to play basketball and our daughters were very disappointed to find out the trip had been canceled,” Michael Evans, a father of one of the players told Fox News.
Evans said if for some reason a player was worried about her safety, she could always opt to stay home from the December tournament without forcing the entire team to do the same.
“This tournament was voluntary, so students could decide not to go if they thought they were at some sort of risk of some sort of harm to themselves, but to penalize all the other girls because of some potential risk? I don’t understand it,” he said.
Evans said he also failed to understand why the school allowed so many other trips, but not this one.
“The school has sent children to China, they’ve sent children to South America, they’ve sent children to the Czech Republic, but somehow Arizona is more unsafe for them than those places,” he said.
“The beliefs and values of China are apparently aligned since they approved that trip
,” he added.
One player, who said she is against the Arizona law, told Fox News she didn’t see how the tournament was related.
“It’s ultimately the state’s decision, no matter what I think. Not playing basketball in Arizona is not going to change anything,” she told Fox News.
But for now, Hebson says, Arizona is off limits.
"We would want to ensure that all of our students had the opportunity to be included and be safe and be able to enjoy the experience," Hebson told the
Tribune about the tournament. "We wouldn't necessarily be able to guarantee that."

Once again, that's Suzan Hebson,
Of course in this case, you might have trouble getting through, as it looks like every blogger in the Chicago metro area is stirring the natives to grab their torches and pitchforks. Y'know, we'e got assistants kicking kids out of school for wearing American flag t-shirts on cinco de mayo; we've got assistants giving third graders detention for possessing candy; and now assistants punishing girls for wanting to play in a tourney in the USA, where the school's values are not reflected, rather than someplace they are, like Red China. Aren't you glad all the FWCS assistants are getting pink slips in June? Hopefully we'll replace them with acceptable administrators, perhaps selected from our highly intellectual Burmese community.


Lordy, look at the world cup turned upside down! First we have the hosts, Germany, winning their way into the second round with a 3-1 win over a suddenly Danish Denmark team. Then Latvia wakes up at last with a 5-2 win over hapless Italy. Then (as the tremors begin) Finland stays alive with a 3-2 win over the USA, who joins Italy in the "relagation round" (which means the loser of this bunch gets booted out of the top 16). And THENNNN... In 24 games in 76 years of international competition, Switzerland was 0-for-22 with 2 ties against Canada. In 16 of those games, Switzerland scored one goal or less. I think after yesterday's Norway/Czech Republic game, you see where I'm going here... Switzerland 4, Canada 1!!!!

Canada, Denmark, Finland, Latvia, Germany, and Switzerland have won their way into the "qualification round" which will be a 2-pool round robin. The other two last place teams will join USA and Italy in the relegation round. The last two in this pool will be replaced in the 2011 world cup by Austria and Slovenia. I would hate to be replaced by Slovenia. It would be like being replaced at work by Scrappy.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The heinous crime of candy possession

From FoxNews:

Ten-year-old Leighann Adair came home in tears, terrified to tell her parents she'd been slapped with a week's worth of detention for possessing a contraband substance:
The forbidden fruit: a piece of Jolly Rancher candy.
A teacher at Brazos Elementary School in Wallis, Texas, took the unopened piece of candy away from the third-grader two weeks ago after a friend handed it to her.
Both Leighann and her friend were ordered to serve detention during lunch and recess, and they had to write an essay about what they did and why it was wrong.
"She came home crying," said her mother, Amber Brazda, explaining that Leighann "has never been in trouble before." "It’s an extreme punishment for something so small,” said Leighann’s stepfather Michael Brazda.
"What are they going to do, have candy sniffing dogs next?" her mother said.
But school officials are standing by the punishment. They say they have to be strict in order to enforce their no-gum, no-candy policy. Candy and gum, they say, can cause a mess.
Jack Ellis , superintendent for the Brazos Independent School District, says it's also a matter of following state guidelines to limit the amount of junk food in schools. "Whether or not I agree with the guidelines, we have to follow the rules," Ellis told KHOU-TV in Houston.
A piece of Jolly Ranchers candy has 23 calories and provides 2 percent of the daily value of carbohydrates. But there's nothing in the rules that compels a school to punish a student for possessing junk food, says Texas Department of Agriculture spokesman Bryan Black.
The department sent a letter to the school reminding staff that
state policy doesn’t outline such punishments. "Our policy does not prohibit from sharing a Jolly Rancher with a friend," Black told
"If a parent wants to pack candy, it's their decision, not against school policy. A parent needs to decide what a student eats."

So what's stupider here: Considering candy a detentionable offense, or the superintendant claiming they have to follow state rules while the state SecAg says, hey, it's not our rule? Jack Ellis, you KNOW this whole thing is ridiculous or else you'd not be passing your buck off to the state. "Candy and gum can cause a mess." Good Lord, have we stooped to taking even this piece of childhood from our kids?

Again, that's:

Jack EllisSuperintendentP. O. Box 819Wallis TX 77485


Quick update on world cup with Deadliest catch just 6 minutes away. Ovechkin bagged another as Russia rolled over Kazakhstan 4-1. Norway, who had not only never beaten the Czechs in 73 years and 18 games of international competition, but the only time they scored more than 2 goals in a game against them was in a 10-4 loss in the 1984 olympics, beat the Czech Republic 3-2 despite 2 goals by Jaromir Jagr and being outshot 45-15. Slovakia came from 2 down to top Belarus 4-2; and the Swedes topped a scrappy French team 3-2. Let's fish!

Monday, May 10, 2010

My son the hero

We open tonight with the scoop straight from my son's blog:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Crazy Drama!
Well today i have a story about my nieghbor Sharon!( yes my nieghbor that was missing for like a week) . It all started about 1pm eastern time, when I came home from a less then stellar day of work. I walk up to unlock my door when I hear sharon saying, "please, baby I'm sorry." saying this in tears. I shake my head and then walk to my my apartment. I immediatley say to myself of jeez here we go agian sharon is in trouble with her bf. I stand by the door for a moment just listening as the man she was with says, "dammit girl stop f%$#@&^ crying and give me back my jacket." Sharon responds, " Not your jacket asshole it is mine." I walk away thinking just another one of Sharons infamous arguements, nothing to even care about. So I walk away from the door and start playing Boxing when I hear sharon screaming, "get off of me i didn't lie to you, get out of my apartment." then Ihear a chair slam agianst the wall. I thought here we go the moose is loose on the field. couple minutes go by more yelling and things banging around. Ihear her apartment door open and Isee him running with her cat. Sharon says, "I'm calling the cops." HE runs in to the apartment and, throws her phone to the ground. He must of had a pocket knife on him cause I hear Sharon Screaming for her life, "Call 911 he's got a knife!" So I call 911 they say they are on there way. Two minutes go by and the police are there they knock on my door asking what room number. I said, "right next door in A." Meanwhile, bf doesn't acknowledge that the police is banging on the door and continues to yell for his jacket back.( it is 64 degrees out why did he even have a jacket)The cop bangs agian this time louder and now he has his right hand on his gun ready for anything. Agian no anwser , agian he bang this time louder. finally the door opens the cop goes in. The guy is screaming, "she has my jacket!" and sharon is saying," fuck you, you are going to jail!" The guy then attemps to strike the officer, but misses badly.The cop gracefully ducks and then strikes the bf with is metal police stick. One blow send the guy down to his knees, the cop the strikes him agian on the shoulder blades and the bf is now lying face down on the ground. All of this in one solid motion as the cop puts the guy in handcuffs. Backup arrives and the ambulance is called, because sharon was covered in her own blood . After evrything gets sorted out the detective comes over to me and asked me to spill my gots scince I made the telephone call I told her the same i just told all of you. she says, "Thank you a proscuting attorney will call you tommorrow you just have to verify your story." Sharon walks over to me covered in blood and tears and says, "Thank you for calling the cops he was trying to kill me." stunned for a second taking it all in I mange to say, " Your welcome" Sharon runs around with the worst guys in America. Most of them black and heavier set. Just amazing how one phone call can change the fortune for Sharon and me.
Posted by kcthemainevent at
2:49 PM
Man, what can you say? He's brave, responsible, heroic, and can't spell worth a damn.
From the exciting to another rousing game of who's dumber, courtesy ABC News:
Russian Governor Tells Tale of Alien Abduction, President asked to Investigate
ABC's Alexander Marquardt reports from Moscow:

aliens came for him on September 18, 1997. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov was at home in his Moscow apartment when they came in and abducted him, taking him to their space ship where they communicated with him telepathically.
That’s the tale Ilyumzhinov told a popular Russian television host in a program that aired last week.

But Ilyumzhinov isn’t simply one of the thousands who claim to have been abducted by aliens, he’s also the governor of the Russian republic of Kalmykia and a former president of the World Chess Federation.
Now a Russian parliamentarian wants Ilyumzhinov questioned, fearing he may have given the aliens “secret information,” according to the Echo of Moscow radio station.
And not just interrogated by anybody, but by Russian President
Dmitry Medvedev.
State Duma deputy Andrei Lebedev made the request to the president by letter, news website reports. Lebedev doesn’t believe Ilyumzhinov’s claim that he was simply shown around the ship and released, so he has asked the president to find out what else happened and report back to the Duma.
Lebedev is especially interested in what Ilyumzhinov may have told the aliens about his job and whether the abduction has affected the governor’s ability to perform the duties of office.
Ilyumzhinov said the aliens didn’t make themselves known to the rest of the world because they weren’t ready, adding that he communicated with them telepathically because there wasn’t enough oxygen.
“I believe I talked to them and saw them. I perhaps wouldn’t believe it if it wasn’t for 3 witnesses – my driver, my minister and my assistant,” who were apparently in the apartment at the time, Ilyumzhinov said.

Okay, so we have one guy who claims to have been abducted by aliens; we have another who wants a presidential inquiry into what he told the aliens. Dork vs. dork, Russian style.
More suprises from the world cup! Denmark captures its second straight upset, topping the USA 2-1 in OT. Denmark is an amazing 2-0; the USA has two OT losses to show for their trouble. Switzerland blanked Italy 3-0, despite a dazzling performance by Italian goalie Daniel Bellisimo. The goalie for the Italian league champs Asiago, Bellisimo stood tall as his team was outshot by the Swiss 52-15. Finland overcame the home crowd to beat Germany 1-0, evening both teams at 1-1. And Canada scored 4 power play goals and one with the extra attacker on a delayed penalty to rout Latvia 6-1.
Finally, at the demands of literally thousands, I promise that I will be more conscientious to my readers who are not followers. If I do something like yesterday with the baby names and I don't include you, please leave me a comment and I will catch you on the next post. I aim to please, after all.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


OAKLAND, Calif. -- Dallas Braden definitely owns the mound now.
Braden pitched the 19th perfect game in major league history on Sunday, shutting down the majors' hottest team and leading the Oakland Athletics to a 4-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Braden threw his arms in the air after Gabe Kapler grounded out to shortstop for the final out, his simmering feud with Yankees star Alex Rodriguez merely a footnote to the first perfect game for Oakland in 42 years.
The closest the Rays got to a hit was Jason Bartlett's liner to third leading off the game. Evan Longoria tried to bunt against Braden leading off the fifth, drawing boos from the small crowd.
"It's without a doubt a team effort," Braden said. "You got eight guys out there chasing balls and knocking balls down for me. So this is ours, not just mine, this is ours."
It was the majors' first perfect game since Mark Buehrle did it for the White Sox against the Rays on July 23, and the second no-hitter this season after Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez pulled it off in Atlanta on April 17.
Braden pitched the A's first perfect game since Hall of Famer Jim "Catfish" Hunter's gem on May 8, 1968, against the Minnesota Twins. Only 6,298 were there to witness it. Sunday's crowd at the Coliseum wasn't much better: 12,228.
Braden (4-2) wasn't fazed by anything, throwing two-strike changeups and getting quick outs against a Rays team that lost on the road for just the third time this year. He struck out six in the 109-pitch performance, throwing 77 strikes in his 53rd career start and first complete game.
Braden's teammates mobbed him when the Mother's Day masterpiece was over, leaving bats and gloves scattered on the field. The left-hander pointed to the sky in honor of his mom, Jodie Atwood, who died of cancer when he was a high school senior. He shared a long and tearful hug with his grandma, Peggy Lindsey, the woman who raised him, in front of the dugout.
"It hasn't been a joyous day for me in a while," Braden said. "With my Grandma in the stands it makes it a lot better."
Braden's perfect game was the sixth no-hitter in Oakland history. The 26-year-old Braden, a native of nearby Stockton, was a 24th-round draft pick by the A's in 2004.
Last Mother's Day, Braden was hit by a line drive by Vernon Wells.
"You know, a year later you don't expect anything like this," he said. "I'm just happy to be putting on the costume a year later."
The A's defense didn't even have to make a really tough play in fair territory.
Third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff sprinted to the dirt in front of Oakland's dugout to catch a foul popup by Dioner Navarro for the second out in the sixth. Kapler then fouled out on a 12-pitch at-bat on another ball caught by Kouzmanoff. Navarro fouled off five straight pitches before the popup.
Landon Powell - who caught the game with regular catcher Kurt Suzuki injured -- Kouzmanoff and Ryan Sweeney each singled in runs for the A's, who added two unearned runs in the fourth after catcher Navarro's throwing error. Daric Barton had three hits and scored twice for Oakland.
The A's last no-hitter was by Dave Stewart on June 29, 1990, at Toronto. Before that, rookie Mike Warren against the White Sox on Sept. 29, 1983; a combined effort by Vida Blue, Glenn Abbot, Paul Lindblad, and Rollie Fingers against California on Sept. 28, 1975; Blue by himself on Sept. 21, 1970 against the Twins; The Cat's Perfecto against those same Twins on May 8, 1969; Bill McCahan when the team was in Philly, Sept. 3, 1947(This was his best season at 10-5; he was 6-9 his other 28 MLB games); Dick Fowler, Sept. 9, 1945(It was his only win of the season, going 1-2); Bullet Joe Bush, Aug. 26, 1916(He had 15 of the pathetic A's AL record low 36 wins that season); Hall of famer Albert "Chief" Bender, May 12, 1910; and Weldon Henley, July 22, 1905. Stewart, Blue, and Bender did theirs in World Series years; Cat and Henley in playoff seasons-Henley's a year the A's lost to the hated Giants 4 games to 1, Hunter's a year the A's lost to the Baltimore Orioles in the ALCS. We also have been the victims of no-hitters 14 times, the last by Nolan Ryan for Texas in that same 1990 season as Stewart.
Russia finished their game with a 3-1 win over Slovakia, while Matthias Weihandl got his second goal to snap a 2-2 tie and his hat trick a little later as Sweden beat Norway 5-2.