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


Thursday, September 30, 2010

My knid of campaign ad

I've mentioned several times lately that I find the latest Tom Hayhurst campaign ad amusing. They claim that Marlin Stutzman has done things in his current position that are "not so conservative", in a derogatory way. And I think to myself, if Tom Hayhurst is the liberal, and Stutzman acting "not so conservative" is a bad thing, and the opposite of conservative is liberal, are they then saying that their man Dr. Tom is worse yet? Or are democrats now conservative? Point being, this is a poorly thought out ad, as most attack ads on both sides are. I still recall cringing at the RNC ads for local candidates- you could tell that they were written by someone who had no idea what Indiana is about, and probably wasn't sure where it was. In a similar vein, this is why I am weighing whether to vote for Dan (hand picked by the RNC) Coats and make sure that Mama Pelosi's little boy Ellsworth gets beat, of vote for write in candidate Jim Miller and send the GOP a message that we don't need them to run local elections.

So, what kind of campaign ads would I like? Hm. Let's see. I haven't heard one democrat ad pointing to the great contributions that Obama et. al. have made in the last couple years, so I think it's safe to say that a majority of people think Obama sucks and more ads that tell us that are not needed. I'm also not thrilled with the ads that say that the hon. Joe Blow will "stand up for American/Hoosier/family values", because that means that the hon. Blow will be yet another obstructionist in a playpen full of them already. How about one where the candidate says, "I promise to listen carefully to both sides of every debate, work to achieve a true consensus, and actually try to get something constructive done while you, the people, are paying me"? I mean, if Olympia Snowe can do it, why can't we string a few people together who will vote for what is good for the country and not what the party leadership demands?

I know I'm asking the impossible. Any days of true bipartisanship died when the democrats joined the NY Times and Washington Post in crucifying Nixon. (now, I'm a big enough man to admit that Nixon brought much of it on himself; haters out there, are you man enough to admit that no democrat president guilty of the same things would have gotten nearly the same treatment?) Regardless, the nation's politics was irreparably damaged by the Watergate feeding frenzy; neither party would be willing now to say, "as long as you're in the majority, we'll follow your lead; if you fail, and we become the majority, we expect the same respect." That's what this country needs, and I'm sure that 90% of politically minded people in America would laugh their butts off at me for saying it.

But here, let's face something. We have the liberal ideas of big government, offend nobody, and cradle to grave care. We can see by reading the Times of London on a daily basis that this doesn't work because it becomes too tied in P.C. and its leaders take advantage of the chance to belly up to the trough. In the liberal scenario, human nature draws us into a world where the government fattens itself at the expense of the people, and business grovels to suck at the teat. In the conservative scenario of less government, don't worry who you piss off in doing the right thing and up by the bootstraps, you have the bad thing about the Reagan years- that the de-regulation that was supposed to spur business combined with the lack of regulation to create an army of amoral money chasers who have drove the nation's finance to the edge of oblivion. So in the conservative scenario, it's business that gorges itself while the government follows along with hand out. And as people get increasingly frustrated, they become polarized until I can't even talk science and theory with someone without it becoming a whole political thing- and I'm not leaving myself out here. The thing we have to face is, that any government run by men is subject to corruption. Human nature what it is, we're only debating our choice of crooks.

And no, I'm not suggesting a theocracy. Israel couldn't pay attention long enough for God to write the Ten Commandments, and our good friend in Iran, Mahmud Iamanutjob, is another poor example. What I'm saying is, that as long as we are human beings, we will inevitably put ourselves under leaders who, given enough time, will be corrupted by power. So if all things are even, why not just say, you're in the majority, you tell us what to do. Once you've fubared it to a sufficient level, you'll get voted out and it will be our turn. Relax, it's just not worth hating your brother because he goes to tea party meetings.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fantasy Football week 3


Boy, the biggest point scoring week in NHFFL history pushed the league's average score to an incredible 46 points, with half the league hitting at least 50 in regulation. The big shootout between the unbeaten Elks and KCA's lived up to the billing, Anquan Boldin's 3 TDs topping Phillip Rivers's big game to give the Elks a 62-50 win. The Elks flip spots in the overall rankings as a result, moving into second whilst the white elephants drop into third. The Overall leader remains the Buzz Lightyears, after they rout the Angels 52-27. Again Peyton (the Cape) Manning led the way for Buzz, who has more points than anyone but the KCAs, have given up 18 fewer than anyone else, and has an 82-point lead over the Elks in the rankings- that's huge this early on. The T-Cubs just missed being the second team this week to break 60, with 5 of their eight "TD guys" (RBs and WRs) scoring at leats once in a 58-29 romp over the Beagles. The battle of the two winless teams was a classic too, with Robbie Gould's 8 Monday Night points tying the Rangers with the B2s at 50-50, sending the game into OT. Mark Sanchez (go figure) had 12 points to lead the Rangers reserves over the B2s backups 23-14 to give the Rangers a 73-64 overtime win. Just missing OT was the Rhinos/Ducks game; Miami's Dan Carpenter's last field goal Sunday night was a 50-yarder, and the extra 1 point gave the Rhinos a 37-36 win that leaves the Ducks still winless. Finally, SVA scored 17 Sunday night/Monday night points to none for the opposition to snap a 21-21 tie and take a 38-21 win over the Clock BBQs.

Shenan now has a 6-3 record to lead the owner race; Laurie and KC are 5-4, while I, sadly, drop to 2-7.




Clock BBQs12102109134



Saturday, September 25, 2010

FCS this weekend

With a little more info and a little more knowledge, I can now make a top 20 for the FCS football, and this expansion means that teams I missed last time will be added this time. So without further ado...

James Madison remains numero uno with a 10-3 victory over LW#6 Liberty. Second is North Dakota State after a 38-16 rout of LW #3 South Dakota. Liberty will drop 2 to #8, while South Dakota slips all the way to #12.

Delaware beats up on former powerhouse Richmond 34-13 to go 4-0 and climb to #3. Montana St. routed LW#14 Eastern Washington 30-7 to move up to #4. I moved previously unnoticed Georgia Southern into the #5 slot after they rolled over LW#12 Elon 38-21, which means Jacksonville St. slips all the way to 6 after a lackluster 28-23 win over Eastern Illinois.

Another team I slighted last week, Western Illinois, I put into the #7 slot notwithstanding their 40-7 rout of perennial noodle Indiana St. The next 3 teams after Liberty, UMass (3-1), Villanova (3-1), and Appalachian St. (4-0), all get squeezed down a notch. #9 UMass had a snoozy 26-21 win over Stony Brook; #10 'Nova (the official #1 coming in) waited until the last 5 minutes to put together a 22-10 win over crosstown rival Penn; and App St. beat up on lowly Samford 35-17.

That brings us to #13 Stephen F. Austin, who blasted local doormat Lamar 17-0 (in the first quarter), 21-3 (in the second quarter), 33-0 (in the third quarter, 21 of that in the last 6:40), and 71-3 overall. Another team that got slighted was Youngstown St., which I put in at #14 after a 31-28 win over Southern Illinois (who was in the official top 5 last week despite being 1-2 coming in). South Carolina St. (2-1) took the week off, and slip to 15th for the privilege. Furman (2-1) comes in at 16th, having been on last weeks' official chart, and posting a 31-14 over The Citadel (who always sounds much more impressive than they really are). Also coming in new this week is Jacksonville U (3-1), with a 42-15 rout of Davidson.

William and Mary (3-1) show up at 18 despite a hard fought 24-21 win over Maine, in which they came back from 14-3 at the half and 21-17 with under 5 minutes left. Rounding out the list is #19 Robert Morris (3-1), who rolled over Wagner 30-9; and #20 Montana (2-2), who reached .500 with a less than impressive 28-25 win over Sacramento St.

Elmo's play date

Last night on time machine I made an offhand comment about Katy Perry and her being bounced off Sesame Street for "wearing too revealing clothing". But, ya know what? There's something serious that needs to be said here. I smell hypocrisy- and if I'm to have credibility when I point out liberal/secular hypocrisy, I need to say it works both ways.

First off, have you seen the video? I have. And if her outfit is revealing, it is no more so than these children's moms have been wearing since the mid sixties. Good night, she's showing some non-bouncy cleavage and her KNEES! OMG! I can't help but think there's something more to this "wave of protests" than this.

Could it be her parents? As I understand it, her parents are fundamentalists who weren't thrilled with her "conversion to the dark side" and have waged an on and off battle with her in the press over it. But, let's face it. She tried it her folks' way, released a couple of stinko Christian pop albums that went nowhere because, most likely, her heart wasn't in it. Good Christian parents in this situation should counsel her, pray for her, but in the end realize that she has to make the choice; their press war served no purpose than to steel her resolve and make themselves (and by extension, all Christian parents with non-christian children) look bad. I asked myself, was it her parents that launched this, or Christians in sympathy with them? If so, come out and say it, and don't be HYPOCRITES!

Another theory, which may be closer to the point, is the sexual orientation issue. Yes, she did a totally disgusting song called I Kissed A Girl, and much of her material has sexually ambiguous material. And if she did a skit based on that song, I would be in line with the protesters like a shot. I find it reprehensible the way that the LGBT "community" is constantly trying to win acceptance by working to convince kids that perversion is ok. (BTW I was told recently that my use of quotation marks "shows my bias". In this case, I say "tough cookies".) BUUUUT... What she did for the show had nothing to do with that. She pushed no agenda, she made no hintings. She sang a song about a play date with Elmo- period. So, is she being ostracized for her off-screen philosophies (whether she is or not being irrelevant). WHAT DID THE KIDS SEE? Did they she her orientation or her politics? If that's the beef, I'd like to point out that Neil Patrick Harris, Rosie O'Donnell, and Ellen DeGeneris have ALL guested on Sesame Street. They are all openly gay; does that matter to a 4, 5, or 6 year old who doesn't comprehend what it means, and probably hasn't heard about it anyway? ( I doubt that they caught the irony of Harris appearing as the "fairy shoe person".)

What did the kids see? I saw nothing attacking innocence in the video. I would like to hear from one of those who complained who actually, truly thought that her outfit was "too revealing". I'm not sure what the true motivation was, but to my eyes, in the words of Shakespeare (sorta): "'Tis a crock of sh!t, and it stinketh."

Friday, September 24, 2010

Step into my time machine week twenty-two

Man, we got a lotta bad mojo this week, guys. Gangstas, destruction, bands falling apart, murder, rejected records- and a new number one. Follow if you dare.

12 songs debut in the hot 100 this week, only two do I immediately recognize. Keep in mind though, that a lot of songs I don't recognize make the top 40 and higher. Nonetheless, this week the ones I know are two: Diamonds and Rust by Joan Baez (and if you don't recognize this one, find and listen to it.)at 95 ; and Linda Ronstadt's excellent cover of Martha and the Vandellas' Heat Wave all the way up at 77. The big dropper was a bit of a competition this week, with the former top dog Jive Talkin' winning with a 43-notch fall to 70. Our big jumper we'll see in the top 40.

First special is the next five of my personal favorites of the 70's. We are at 45 this week, which is Marvin Gaye's Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology). I think this and his What's Going On are among the most haunting songs of all time. 44 is Top Of The World by the Carpenters, which due to its association with a certain girl I knew was my all time fave from 1974-6. 43 brings us to Carole King's magnificent album Tapestry, and its unreleased title track.

"As I watched in sorrow, there suddenly appeared/A figure gray and ghostly beneath a flowing beard/In times of deepest darkness, I've seen him dressed in black/Now my tapestry's unravelling; he's come to take me back/He's came to take me back..."

42 is the Beatles (who will feature prominently later on) with The Long And Winding Road (which will also feature prominently). Finally, 41 needs no further introduction than it's had the last 10 weeks- Love Will Keep Us Together.

5 songs come down airplay alley this week: up 2 to 40 is Money by Gladys Knight And The Pips- a song among those I didn't know, but is basically For The Love Of Money by the O'Jays in a different song; up 8 to 39 is Art Garfunkel's remake of I Only Have Eyes For You; up 5 to 36 is Leon Russell's Lady Blue; up 10 to 34 is another song I didn't know, Esther Phillip's first top 40 since 1962, the disco hit What A Difference A Day Makes; and at 22, up thirty spots- yes, the week's big jumper- in just its second week in the hot 100, Lyin' Eyes by the Eagles.

The tops of other years feature takes us through the 5's this week. I guess you can attach my comments about 1994's #1 last week to 1995's #1 this week- Gangsta's Paradise by Coolio. 1985 this week had Dire Straits at #1 with Money For Nothing, which was pretty much the song of the summer in a year that I listened to more country than rock. 1975 will be at the end of the post, natch- no peeking! 1965 this week was headlined by Barry McGuire's Eve Of Destruction. You can say that was a failed prophecy- but sit down, listen to the words and think about how narrowly we escaped that dark destiny. I still get chills to this song.

McGuire also mentioned that "Eve of Destruction" was recorded in one take on a Thursday morning (from words scrawled on a crumpled piece of paper), and he got a call from the record company at 7:00 the following Monday morning, telling him to turn on the radio - his song was playing. The recording includes an "ahhh" where McGuire couldn't read the words.


Finally, the number one song of 1955 this week was Mitch Miller and his Orchestra with the semi-legendary Yellow Rose Of Texas. Our almost but not quite this week is America's Daisy Jane. It moves up 1 to 27 this week; it will drop 1 back to 28 next week as it begins its descent. I wish I could have found a cute little story to put in for this song; the best I can do is that writer Gary Beckley's son, Matthew, has toured with Katy Perry, best known for getting booted off of Sesame Street this week.

Four join the top 10 this week, four drop out. The unlucky fallers are: Could It Be Magic, which peaked at 7 and falls to 23; former top dog Fallin' In Love, tumbling from 8 t0 29; Fight The Power, goin' dooowwwn from 9 to 31 after peaking at 6; and Feel like Makin' Love, sliding from 10 to 32.

Now, on to the messy soap opera of the number one albums of the 70's. We start on my 8th birthday (May 16) when Deja Vu by Crosby Stills Nash And Young hits the top for 1 week. This powerful album (which, yes, I own) not only had the chart hits Our House (#30), Teach Your Children (16), and Woodstock (11), but AOR hits Carry On (my favorite), Helpless, Everybody I Love You, Almost Cut My Hair, and the title track. And here's where the story gets messy, as in the messy breakup of the Beatles. Abby Road, the last recorded Beatles' album, had already started it's downhill run when Let It Be was released. This album was originally recorded as Get Back, and the would-be title track and its b-side, Don't Let Me Down, had already hit 1/35 before Abbey Road came out. But there were creative problems with the mixing by Glyn Johns, and after months of squabbling, it was shelved and Abbey Road got released instead. Eventually, the remixing job was given to music's favorite convict, Phil Spector. I'll let Wikipaedia tell the story from here.

In March 1970, as Phil Spector was concurrently mixing the Let It Be album, McCartney(the new solo album by Paul) was completed.
The other Beatles realised that McCartney could conflict with the impending release of the Let It Be album and film.
Ringo Starr, whose own first album was almost ready for release, was sent to ask McCartney to delay his solo debut. McCartney later commented, "They eventually sent Ringo round to my house at Cavendish with a message: 'We want you to put your release date back, it's for the good of the group', and all of this sort of shit. He was giving me the party line; they just made him come round, so I did something I'd never done before or since: I told him to get out. I had to do something like that in order to assert myself because I was just sinking. I was getting pummeled about the head, in my mind anyway."

On 10 April, after intense disputes with Phil Spector over the final results of the long-delayed Let It Be album, McCartney snapped and publicly announced his departure from the Beatles.

The upshot comes as McCartney became the fifth #1 of the decade, topping the chart for 3 weeks, despite having no single (Maybe I'm Amazed would be released live a few years later) and containing almost 13 minutes of instrumentals. Let It Be, the remade "Get Back" (sans Don't Let Me Down and a short cover of Save The Last Dance For Me) then road the top for 4 weeks, ending on the week of the fourth of July. Fireworks, anyone? Let It Be contained the much covered Across The Universe, along with the previously released #1 Get Back and the subsequently released #1's Let It Be and the controversial Long And Winding Road.

In the spring of 1970, Lennon and the Beatles' manager, Allen Klein, turned over the recordings to Phil Spector with the hope of salvaging an album, which was then titled Let It Be.
Spector made various changes to the songs, but his most dramatic embellishments would occur on 1 April 1970, when he turned his attention to "The Long and Winding Road". At Abbey Road Studios, he recorded the orchestral and choir accompaniment for the song. The only member of the Beatles present was Starr. Already known for his eccentric behaviour in the studio, Spector was in a peculiar mood that day, as balance engineer Pete Bown recalled: "He wanted tape echo on everything, he had to take a different pill every half hour and had his bodyguard with him constantly. He was on the point of throwing a wobbly, saying 'I want to hear this, I want to hear that. I must have this, I must have that.'" Bown and the orchestra eventually became so annoyed by Spector's behaviour that the orchestra refused to play any further, and at one point, Bown left for home, forcing Spector to telephone him and persuade him into coming back after Starr had told Spector to calm down.Finally, Spector succeeded in remixing "The Long and Winding Road", using 18 violins, four violas, four cellos, three trumpets, three trombones, two guitars, and a choir of 14 womenThe orchestra was scored and conducted by Richard Hewson, who would later work with McCartney on his album, Thrillington.This lush orchestral treatment was in direct contrast to the Beatles' stated intentions for a "real" recording when they began work on Get Back.
When McCartney first heard the Spector version of the song, he was outraged. Nine days after Spector overdubbed "The Long and Winding Road", McCartney announced The Beatles' breakup. On 14 April, he sent a sharply worded letter to Apple Records business manager Allen Klein, demanding that the added instrumentation be reduced, the harp part eliminated, and "Don't ever do it again."These requests went unheeded, and the Spector version was included on the album.

Apparently, Paul envisioned the song as something like Ray Charles would do, with only a piano and no other accompaniment. I think it is the best Beatles song of all time. Go figure.

Okay, I've got all the ancillary stuff done, let's get to the main event. Leaping 7 notches to 10 is a song that had its official name change mid-climb: the Spinners with Games People Play (or, if you prefer, They Just Can't Stop It [Games People Play]); I'm thinking this was done to avert a lawsuit from Joe South and his song of the same name. Moving in after a 3 spot climb to 9 is Orleans with Dance With Me. Helen Reddy joins the club, up three to 8 with Ain't No Way To Treat A Lady; and Dickie Goodman laughs his way from 18 to 7 with Mr. Jaws. Freddy Fender holds at 6 with Wasted Days And Wasted Nights; Glen Campbell trots down 2 to #5 with former top dog Rhinestone Cowboy. Last week's top Dog, Janis Ian's At Seventeen, drops three to #4; climbing two to take the cowboy's spot is John Denver's I'm Sorry. David Geddes runs up to #2 with Run Joey Run, up 2. Making the new top dog...

David Bowie with Fame Fame Fame Fame. ... Fame!

Whew, that's it for this trip... see you next time...!

Winnie the Booogle and the blustery day...

...which definitely made our morning walk a lot more comfortable. I finally told Scrappy it was time to get up around 8:40 (isn't vacation great?) and were immediately greeted by Mr. Bunny Rabbit out the bedroom window. This served to make Scrappy unwilling to eat breakfast before we left. However, my sitting down and looking at the morning e-mails and making my Fox NFL "Frank's Picks" (which I hope to do better than the 1-3 last week) seemed to convince him.

We've been taking the path along the top of the meadow to the woods lately, in hopes of seeing the foxes again. Which we did, yesterday, tearing out of the corner house's yard, stopping just long enough to check us out. Not today, though, so I told Scrappy to look for the small path into the woods (about halfway to the main entrance) that we've been using. Now, some days, he can almost read my mind when it comes to trails; others, he couldn't find his butt with a spotlight. Today was one of the latter. I, however, knew the trail in, and we went on across the main trail and into the west side of the woods.

This woods is easy to travel. There are a ton of deer tracks and dry stream beds to follow. We were following such a trail, and I was just thinking that, by the way Scrappy was acting, that no deer had been by lately. That's when I learned how truly one-dimensional the great hunter's schnozz is, because a young buck was standing about 15 feet to my right. His rack only cleared his ears by about 2 inches. He stood there, and I talked to him for a bit, and then he turned to my right and took off for the edge of the woods (which was about 50 feet straight in front of us. Mr. Boy was oblivious to the entire event, and soon we continued on.

Just a bit in front of us, a stream bed ran north and south. I turned us south on it, grateful to avoid the nearby track that the buck had been on. (Had Scrappy smelled where he was, I'd have been careening the other way, and it wasn't my intention to chase him around.) We managed about 20 feet down this path when the young doe appeared in front of us. Once again, Scrappy hadn't noticed, and wouldn't have except that just then the buck came charging back down the track that ran parallel to us along the woods' edge, and when he got there, the doe went with him. This time, Scrappy couldn't help but see a running deer just 10 feet in front of his nose. Standing with his front paws up on a log, he watched dumbfounded as the buck ran right past him, met up with his mate, and disappeared to the south. It took him about a three-count before his pea brain said, "Hey, that was a deer!" and he decided to try and go after them.

As I said, though, I wasn't interested in turning their morning into a panic, so I forced him to stay the course. There are a lot of these little bed and trails on the west side, and we quickly separated from their track and moved on. Soon as you head south, you hit this big ridge that runs almost the width of the west side as the woods begins to drop towards the creek. A little ways before that the bed we were in has an enormous downed trunk across it. High enough up for Mr. Boy to get under, and me if I wanted to go on my belly, but thick enough that when I tried a while back to scootch over it, I about didn't make it. So this time we went around, and on the way, the two deer were watching about 30 feet towards the main trail. I kept to our path, so they knew we weren't heading their way, but looked right at them so they knew I saw them. As we moved on, they wandered back off to where they were when our dance started.

At the top of the ridge is a long log, flat to the ground, which has a row of branches stacked together like a blind. Since there's no hunting allowed on IPFW property, I've always assumed it was a leftover from the paintball battle we blundered into our first autumn here. You go down then into a depression shielded from the trail by a north-south extension of the ridge, and one past that you drop into the largest of the dry beds. It runs east-west from trail to wood's edge and forks down to the creek, right where we took Laurie across a few weeks back.

So of course, we went to the creek, and crossed to the south bank. The creek makes a slow left-hand turn here, and so there's a sizable "beach" on the south bank. Here I got a drink from my canteen while Scrappy went swimming. He decided then to follow a trail he found up from the creek. It ran between a large tree and accompanying treelets and an enormous mound of overgrown dirt, which I assume was left over from artificial trail sculpting. It also circles back to the creek, and after convincing him that he really didn't want to go 'round in circles, we made our way back to the main trail and spent the rest of the walk without incident.

Since I mentioned our recent animal sightings, I may as well get that up to date. A walk around Waterloo with Tina and clan netted three black squirrels (or "Mexican" squirrels, as Tina calls them). Our trips to Fallen Timbers and Wildwood had enough chipmunks that I am lumping them in with regular squirrels in the "too numerous to bother with" category. One day last week, we woke up to 2 deer in the back yard; and a pair of coon sightings, one in the back yard making his nightly trip to the dumpster, and one on Hillegas on our way to dinner with Laurie's family. So all this brings us to 38 deer, 19 rabbit, 7 bat, 4 skunk, 5 raccoon, 5 groundhog, 2 opossum, 5 fox, 4 black squirrel, the 2 weasel-like unknowns, and the longhorn steer.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

what I did on vacation day 11

Today, Laurie and I, and special guest KC, toured Wildwood Nature Preserve near Toledo. This was the former 800-acre estate of the founder of Champion spark plugs, and a tour of his family manor is part of the package.

First we hit the trails- a maze of hiking and biking trails that we spent some 4 miles in.

(the Ottawa River)

They had benches that were paid for as memorials throughout the park. Of course, some memorials you don't want to show KC and I together...

There was a long boardwalk with great overlooks and some odd features...

(The tree is the odd one, BTW...)
( And these berries I can't find anything about...)

Now, let me take you into the Manor. The first picture I took (actually, Laurie took this one) was a room where the servants did nothing but arrainge flowers for the day. New ones EVERY day...

Then there was this AWESOME doll house. I was hoping the plaque came out better. What it says is it took 22 years to build; 18,000 little tiny bricks, mahogany floors, Marble fireplaces, and all electrical switches actually work!

The house pictured was the model, the George Wythe house in Williamsburg, VA (home of the university of William and Mary!)

This next room, the guide explained was the lady of the house's CLOSET...

The ROOM, mind you. The picture doesn't do it justice.

These next two pictures are of the formal garden, from a bedroom window...

Here's our guide, Angela, at the bar (which according to her was usually used to serve ice cream)...

This was downstairs near the game room, which had an indoor SHOOTING RANGE...

Then back into the red room with a 1940 tv/radio/record player...

And back upstairs to the glassed-in all-season patio...

And Finally, the living room with one of two original chandeliers...

And that was the end of the tour. Then we wound our way back down through the garden, into the trail, and back to the car.

We finished it off with a great meal at Calvinos, a nice hard to find Italian place downtown.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Chris' FCS page

This story starts out three years ago. As KC and I watched college football, we had fun with a team named William and Mary. They play in the Football Championship Subdivision, which is NCAA for "the teams that aren't big enough to warrant bowl games, and have a playoff to determine their champions". Last year I decided to follow Wm & Mary after they upset Football Bowl Subdivision (NCAA for, "the big boys") member Virginia in their opener. This was a couple seasons after Appalachian St. (also FCS) upset Michigan in that much ballyhooed game. Actually managed to watch a couple of their games, as they ended up ranked 4th and losing in the semifinals to eventual champion Villanova.
When I would check on their national ranking on (which otherwise is the best general sports site) I would find that their ranking had them listed by abbreviations ( i.e. W&M, App, Vil) which you often couldn't tell who's who. Last year, at least, you could click the name and get a team page that had their names and schedules, if no news like the big boys. This year, on the new improved, you can still click the link, but it takes you to a page with NO info. So I finally fought my way through the NCAA site, only to question their poll. Why? Well, for one thing, the 5th through 9th teams have one win and 2 losses, and the #20 is 0-2! So, I looked at the factors that led to this(i.e. that they all play a certain amount of big boy teams; the poll is heavily skewed to the bigger conferences-16 of the top 25 come from 4 conferences, and 10 come from just 2- and the conference mates tend to beat each other up; a tendency of the voters to name recognition rather than quality of results), and decided I could do better.
Thus, I came up with a rather ill-defined point system based on how they fared against a) big boy teams, b) teams at their level of assumed quality, and c) "guys they should have beat". This gave me a workable framework which, while not perfect, is better than the "official" rankings. Here then is my first FCS top 15 (my one caveat to my non-expertness is that I'm only including teams in the official top 25).

1. James Madison (2-0, ranked 3 on the "official" poll), Harrisonburg, VA. Member of the Colonial Athletic Conf. They combined the aforementioned upset of #16 big boy VA Tech with a 48-7 rout of Morehead St.
2. Jacksonville State (3-0, #4) Jacksonville, FL, Ohio Valley Conf. Among their wins is a 49-48, 2OT win over Ole Miss.
3.South Dakota (2-1, #25) Vermillion, SD, Great West Conf. They've actually had 2 big boy games, including a 41-38 win over Minnesota.
4. North Dakota State (2-1, #23) Fargo, ND, Missouri Valley Conf. Among their wins is the 6-3 opening upset of Kansas, and their loss was to perennial power Northern Iowa.
5. Delaware (3-0, #11) Newark, DE, Colonial Ath. While they don't have a big boy on the schedule, they have outscored three opponents 87-9.
6. Liberty (2-1, # 15) Lynchburg, VA, Big South Conf. They beat big boy Ball State 27-23, and lost to always tough Robert Morris.
7. Montana State (2-1, #22) Bozeman, MT, Big Sky Conf. Their big boy game was a 23-22 loss to Washington State.
8. UMass (2-1, #16) Amhearst, MA, Colonial Ath. Not only did they top William and Mary in their opener 27-23, but narrowly lost to Michigan 42-37 this weekend.
9.Villanova (2-1, #1) Radnor Township (near Philly), PA, Colonial Ath. Blasted two kids their own size by a combined 78-7, but lost their big boy game to Temple 31-24.
10. Appalaichian State (3-0, #2) Boone, NC, Southern Conf. A couple of easy games weighed down by a narrow 42-41 win vs Chattanooga.
11. Stephen F. Austin (2-1, #10) Nacogdoches, TX, Southland Conf. Blown out in their big boy game 48-7 by Texas A&M and a 22-20 win over Northern Iowa (that knocked NI off my list).
12. Elon (1-2, #7) Elon, NC, Southern Conf. They were competitive in a 41-27 loss to big boy Duke, and lost in OT to Richmond (who just misses my list).
13.South Carolina State (2-1, #14) Orangeburg, SC, Mid- East Athletic Conf. While they lost their big boy game to GA Tech 41-10, they've outscored their other opponents 105-20.
14. Eastern Washington (2-1, #18) Cheney, WA, Big Sky. They were competitive in 49-24 loss to big boy Nevada, and upset "official" #6 Montana 36-27.
15. William and Mary (2-1, #12) Williamsburg, VA, Colonial Ath. Did you think I'd leave them out? Their only loss was the opener to UMass.

And there it is, the first FCS Martin poll.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

what I did on vacation day 9

A group of us got together and picked yesterday to go to the dunes. Normally, I would have been more excited, but, as you can see, it was cold...

(Mary on the lighthouse walk...)

An unwilling poser...

Rachel, Alex, and Christian...

And if that weren't enough, not only were we close to Homer Simpson's workplace...

But as Captain Chuck could see, the rain was coming!

So we did the only thing left to us in such a situation-

After which we returned to the beach. While the rain had stopped, it was still cold...

...but obviously not cold enough for some freaks. I, of course, was not to be denied at least partial satisfaction...

But here, Laurie took a video so you can see for yourself if I was chicken...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Step into my time machine week twenty-one

Hi kids, and welcome back. This week: will the rhinestone cowboy face his last roundup? Will Janis Ian learn the truth at number one? Will Joey run to the top? Will John Denver say I'm sorry, cutting through? Or will Freddy Fender end his wasted days and wasted nights? All this and the disproportionality of debuts, Harry Nilsson gets the point, and a brand new feature (WHAT? ANOTHER FEATURE?). Let's go!

First things first, we had fifteen debuts on the hot 100 this week- and I only know 2 of them. The lucky winners are: The Captain and Tenille at 78 with The Way I Want To Touch You, and WAAY up at 52, the Eagles with Lyin' Eyes. The big dropper was Why Can't We Be Friends at 55, down 23; we'll see the big jumper in the top 40.

This week I'm going a little out of usual order on the specials, and first up are the almost but not quite trifecta. Yes, 3 songs peak this week that I wanted to note, and they peaked at 13, 14, and 15. At 15 we have the Carpenters with Solitaire, which is yet another member of the "Sedaka's Back" song club. More about Neil later on; let's see what the Carpenters thought of his song:

Richard Carpenter has stated that he felt that this song was yet another "perfect vehicle for Karen's voice." However Karen herself never really cared for the song even though the majority of The Carpenters' fanbase consider it to be one of Karen's finest recorded performances. (From Wikipaedia)

The second song of the group, at 14, is the latest in the big Paul Anka comeback, (I Believe There's)Nothing Stronger Than Our Love, which I thought was better than the top ten I Don't Like To Sleep Alone, but que sera sera. Finally, peaking at 13 was That's The Way Of The World by Earth Wind And Fire, which gets some comeback in that Rolling Stone magazine named it 329 on their list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. And no, that's not the new feature.

What is a list I feature is my top songs of the 70's, and this week we start at #50. Me And My Arrow was from the cartoon movie The Point, which exposed the obsurdity of prejudice by the vehicle of a round-headed child in an all-pointy-headed society. The entire thing was conceived by Harry Nilsson, who says:

"I was on acid and I looked at the trees and I realized that they all came to points, and the little branches came to points, and the houses came to point. I thought, 'Oh! Everything has a point, and if it doesn't, then there's a point to it.'" (Again, Wikipaedia)

Okay then, but I remember the original airing and it remains my favorite animated movie. At 49 I have Hamilton, Joe Frank, and Reynolds with a song that will be among our debuts in a couple weeks, Winners And Losers. At 48 is Rikki Don't Lose That Number by Steely Dan; 47 is Yvonne Eliman's cover of Barbara Lewis' Hello Stranger; and at 46 is the late great Jim Croce with Operator (That's Not The Way It Feels).

Three songs enter the top 40 this week, and 2 of them contended for the biggest jumper. At 40, up 14, is Tony Orlando and Dawn with a song I didn't recognize, You're All I Need To Get By. At 39, roaring up from 61, are the Four Seasons with Who Loves You. And at 34, up 29 spots from 63 last week, is the man hisself, Neil Sedaka with Bad Blood. Did I mention I hated this song back then? I guess you always had to have a song out there you really couldn't stand. This was mine. I grew out of it, though. I guess what I didn't like was Elton John's screechy backup vocals, which I mistook for a woman with a really annoying voice.

Only one goes in, only one goes out this week. The dropper from the heights is former top dog Get Down Tonight, which gets down 17 notches from 4 to 21.

We are visiting the fours this week in our look at other years' number ones. In 1994, Boyz II Men were in the midst of a 2-song run that would stretch from 3 weeks earlier to 6 weeks into the next year(!). The song was I'll Make Love To You, and stands as a shining example of why I had abandoned mainstream pop by this point.

1984 saw John Waite, ex- of The Babys, at 1 with Missing You; 1974 at this point was headed by bedroom Beethoven Barry White with Can't Get Enough Of Your Love Baby; 1964 was the Animals with House Of The Rising Sun; and in 1954, a doo-wop song called Sh-Boom was at the top. This was playing at the time by 2 different acts (which Cashbox mashes into one entry, but Billboard separates): the Chords had their only hit with their version, which Billboard Peaked at 5; and the Crew Cuts, whose version Billboard had #1 for 9 weeks. A typical, enjoyable, doo-wop song.

My new feature is, we're going to look at the #1 albums of the 70's, three at a time. The first Number one album of the 70's first hit #1 on the first week of November 1969, skipped the last week of the old decade, resumed the first two weeks of January, slipped down again, and retook the top one last time in the last week of January. The Beatles Abbey Road featured, along with the double-sided #1 Something/ Come Together, a lot of airplay hits such as Oh Darling, Octopus' Garden, Here Comes The Sun, and the Abbey Road Medley which included She Came In Through The Bathroom Window and I Want You (She's So Heavy). The second Number one of the decade filled in all those spaces between Abbey Road and added the entire moth of February- Led Zeppelin II. This lp included the #4 Whole Lotta Love, along with favorites Ramble On and Livin' Lovin' Maid. The third #1 spent 10 weeks, all the way to May 9th, at the top- Bridge Over Troubled Water. Simon and Garfunkel's swan song included the #1 title track, The Boxer (#7), Cecillia (#4), and El Condor Pasa (#18).

Top Ten, anybody? Coming in at leadoff is Bad Company, up one with Feel Like Makin' Love; 9 is the Isley's Fight The Power, which peaked at 6 last week. 8 is former top dog Fallin' In Love by Hamilton and his amazing friends, dropping from numero duo last week. Barry Manilow creeps up one to 7 with Could It Be Magic; Freddy Fender does likewise to 6 with Wasted Days And Wasted Nights. John Denver leaps 5 to #5 with I'm Sorry; David Geddes does likewise to 4 with Run Joey Run (what a buncha copycats!). Glen Campbell, concedes the top spot, dropping to 3 with Rhinestone Cowboy. David Bowie rises 3 to #2 with Fame; and that means our new top dog is .... Janis Ian with At Seventeen. See, Janis, I KNEW you could take a good picture!

That's it for this trip. See ya next time!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

As you know, my heroes have always been newsmen. And this year, we lost the best of them all.

Edwin Newman, Journalist, Dies at 91

Published: September 15, 2010
Mr. Newman, a genially grumpy NBC newsman, was equally famous as a defender of the English language. Edwin Newman, the genteelly rumpled, genially grumpy
NBC newsman who was equally famous as a stalwart defender of the honor of English, has died in Oxford, England. He was 91.
Edwin Newman moderated the first Ford-Carter debate in 1976.
He died of pneumonia on Aug. 13, but the announcement was delayed until Wednesday so that the family could spend time grieving privately, his lawyer, Rupert Mead, said. He said Mr. Newman and his wife had moved to England in 2007 to live closer to their daughter.
Mr. Newman, recognizable for his balding head and fierce dark eyebrows, was known to three decades of postwar television viewers for his erudition, droll wit and seemingly limitless penchant for puns. (There was, for example, the one about the man who blotted his wet shoes with newspapers, explaining, “These are The Times that dry men’s soles.”) He began his association with NBC in the early 1950s and was variously a correspondent, anchor and critic there before retiring in 1984.
An anchor on the “Today” show in the early 1960s and a familiar presence on the program for many years afterward, Mr. Newman also appeared regularly on “Meet the Press.” He won seven New York Emmy Awards for his work in the 1960s and ’70s with NBC’s local affiliate, WNBC-TV, on which he was a drama critic and the host of the interview program “Speaking Freely.”
He also moderated two
presidential debates — the first Ford-Carter debate in 1976 and the second Reagan-Mondale debate in 1984 — and covered some of the signal events of the 20th century, from the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Mr. Newman’s best-known books, both published by Bobbs-Merrill, are
“Strictly Speaking: Will America Be the Death of English?” (1974) and “A Civil Tongue” (1976). In them he declared what he called “a protective interest in the English language,” which, he warned, was falling prey to windiness, witlessness, ungrammaticality, obfuscation and other depredations.
But Mr. Newman “was never preachy or pedantic,”
Brian Williams, the anchor and managing editor of the NBC “Nightly News,” said in a statement.
“To those of us watching at home,” Mr. Williams added, “he made us feel like we had a very smart, classy friend in the broadcast news business.”
Edwin Harold Newman was born in New York City on Jan. 25, 1919, the second of three children of Myron Newman and the former Rose Parker.
He graduated from George Washington High School in Washington Heights in Manhattan and in 1940 earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the
University of Wisconsin, where he worked on the campus newspaper. In 1947 Mr. Newman joined the Washington bureau of CBS News, where he helped the commentator Eric Sevareid prepare his nightly radio broadcasts. Two years later he moved to London to work as a freelance journalist, joining NBC as a correspondent there in 1952. He went on to become the network’s bureau chief in London, Rome and Paris before settling in New York in 1961.
Mr. Newman was fond of saying that he had “a spotless record of being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” as he told
Newsweek in 1961. There was the time in 1952, for instance, that he left London for Morocco, only to learn on arriving that King George VI of England had just died.
But in fact Mr. Newman helped cover numerous historic events, among them the shootings of
Robert F. Kennedy, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., George Wallace and Ronald Reagan. He announced the death of President John F. Kennedy on NBC radio.
He also narrated many well-received NBC television documentaries, including “Japan: East Is West” (1961) and “Politics: The Outer Fringe” (1966), about extremism.
His role as a moderator for presidential debates seemed only fitting, for it was the dense thicket of political discourse, Mr. Newman often said, that helped spur him to become a public guardian of grammar and usage.
Among the sins that set Mr. Newman’s teeth articulately on edge were these: all jargon; idiosyncratic spellings like “
Amtrak”; the non-adverbial use of “hopefully” (he was said to have had a sign in his office reading, “Abandon ‘Hopefully’ All Ye Who Enter Here”); “y’know” as a conversational stopgap; a passel of prefixes and suffixes (“de-,” “non-,” “un-,” “-ize,” “-wise” and “-ee”); and using a preposition to end a sentence with.
His survivors include his wife, the former Rigel Grell; a daughter, Nancy Drucker; and a sister, Evelyn Newman Lee.
Despite his acclaim, Mr. Newman’s constitutional waggishness kept him from taking himself too seriously. In 1984, the year he retired from NBC, he appeared on the network as a host of “
Saturday Night Live.” (One of the show’s sketches portrayed a distraught woman phoning a suicide hot line. Mr. Newman answers — and corrects her grammar.) A few years before that he delivered the news, in front of a studio audience, on David Letterman’s NBC morning show. He was also a guest on the game show “Hollywood Squares.”“Apparently it is thought that my presence lends some authority,” Mr. Newman told The Washington Post that year. He added, “If I’m leading into a story about a couple with a poltergeist in their lavatory, I have to do it soberly.”
I read one story about how, in the course of his news update during the Letterman morning show, his desk caught on fire- and he went on as if nothing had happened. I remember a time they cut over to him early- and he had a finger up his nose. Needless to say, his reaction was less than a happy one, and I'd be less than surprised if Letterman set him up on it. But the main thing I remember about Edwin is the same thing Brian Williams said in the quote I boldened above. As correct, precise, and 'sober' as he was, you could sense the fun in him- the ability to not take himself seriously that led to 4 Saturday Night Live appearances. SNL viewers back then could sniff a phony a mile away, and they loved him. He was genuine, interesting, and a bit naughty behind the prim and proper facade.
Godspeed, my friend, my teacher. They never made another one like you back then- and they'll sure never do it now.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chris' eurohockey stuff starts

As you might guess, this has been a wind-down day, so I thought I'd look at the already-opening euro-hockey seasons.
Sweden's Elitserien opened today, with Linkoping topping AIK 5-1 in the opener. Defending champ HV71 plays Djurgardens tomorrow in a playoff rematch.
The Czech Extraliga, including Karlovy Vary, who tried and failed to get permission to join the KHL, opens Friday. The Finnish S-M Liga opens tomorrow.
The Slovak Extraliga, including Poprad who tried and failed to get permission to join the KHL, opened a week ago, and defending champ Kosice is already in a battle with MHC Mountfield Martin for the top spot. The Swiss National League A opened last Friday, and last year's runner up HC Davos is tied with 2 others at 2-0; one of those is EV Zug, who whupped defending champ SC Bern in their openner 4-1.
The German DEL openned two Fridays ago, and the defending champs Hanover Scorpions have rolled to a 3-1 record, their only loss a 2-1 OT affair to last year's regular season winner, the Icebears of Berlin. Unfortunately for the Berliners, that is their only win thus far.
The AL-Bank Ligaen of Denmark is having a season-opening tourney, in which they have just reached the semis. Both the Norwegian GET-Ligaen and the French Ligue Magnus open Saturday, while the Italian Serie A waits till next Thursday.
The Austrian Erste-Bank Liga opened earlier in the week with a replay of last year's final. Same result- Red Bull Salzburg beat Black Wings Linz 5-3.
In Jolly ol', the EIHL opened 2 weeks ago, with Nottingham running to a 4-0 record, the most recent a 9-4 rout of Dundee on the road. Defending champ Belfast is 3-1 having suffered a shootout loss to the Nottinghammers in their second match.
Last but not least, the KHL is well underway, with the early lead belonging to 2 surprise teams. Sibir Novosibirsk is one of the 3-1 teams, rolling their first 3 games (albeit 2 of them were against usually hapless Amur) before losing to the other 3-1 team, Dinamo Minsk. The Belorussians have made more of an achievement, though, beating Ak Bars and Lokomotiv in addition to Sibir. Their loss was a 2-1 setback to Torpedo Nizhny-Novgorod. Thankfully, my beloved Lokomotiv recovered to top Atlant and Torpedo to move to 2-1. Media favorite and early choice to be new champ SKA St. Petersburg has struggled to a merely human 2-2 record. To make it worse, their losses were to Spartak in a 5-1 rout and to Amur (!) in OT.
My source in the Asia Hockey League complains that here we are with the season opening Sunday and the league website is "under construction". Also, apparently they were considering expanding the league presence in mainland China by splitting the team from last year into two, which he hoped doesn't happen because "they were brutal last year as one squad". Let's see- last year's attempt to expand the Chinese presence was to have the one crappy team call two cities home. This year they want to split one crappy team into two crappier teams so that each city might suffer. And they wonder why the website wasn't up! (PS I checked the site. It is up... but you can't do anything on it yet.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

what I did on vacation day 3, 4 and 5

Day 3: took a walk, saw 2 deer and one unknown, possibly a spry ground hog. Watched football.

Day 4: Took the "long walk" (down to Coliseum Blvd, over to Clinton, up to Washington Ctr., and home). Watched football.

Day 5: Today we visited the Fallen Timbers Memorial in Maumee, OH. As I am gonna be putting in a LOT of pictures, you can learn about the battle
here. Me, I had more than enough trouble with the google maps, the Ohio tourism sites, and etc. trying to find out what was where and how you got in. The whole thing is set up in 4 parts, of which we visited 3: the actual battle site; the memorial; and Fort Megis down the way. After spending much of day 4 afternoon studying the maps, I was mainly confident of what I was doing; after all, it was 99% on US 24, eh?

We went to the memorial first. The memorial consisted of one main monument and 2 smaller ones. Each side saluted a different group involved. This side saluted Little Turtle and the indians.

Here's Laurie at the main side.

Cool, no?

The next monument was the Indian monument. This included Turkey Foot Rock, whose story you can read on the plaque.

This was to the west of the monument. On the east was the soldiers' monument, with all the names of the fallen, except for ten men they couldn't name.

Trails led far and wide down a bluff that was a good two miles from the river, despite one
website's claim that it "overlooked the rapids".(link)

The little white speck is the monument from the valley floor.

A foot bridge over 24 led to where the actual battle took place.

It was only when we got to the other side that I learned why the "access points" weren't on the map: And here I am showing the scofflaw streak we'd need later on.

So next we went on to Fort Megis, which withstood 2 out of 3 sieges by the Brits and their drunken indian footsoldiers in the War of 1812. There was an awesome monument to the soldiers from Pennsylvania who died here:

And here's the Fort itself. Not much different inside form outside, save for the monument.

If Laurie looks a bit nervous, she was. You see, the visitor's center is closed on Monday and Tuesday, and so when we got to the fort's gate, we saw:

However, we also saw that the gate was wide open:

and went right on in. I wasn't coming back tomorrow, damn their eyes!

At any rate, then it was time to eat, and we went to the Fallen Timbers Mall, which is store-wise a lot like Jefferson Pointe. But the layout kicks JP's butt!

After a satisfying meal at Red Robin, it was home again and another well deserved nap.