Saturday, October 31, 2009

Today's Train of Thought: It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! Oct 31st

Despite the timeless appearence of Reading & Northern Baldwin 4-6-2 #425 chugging through the Pennsylvania countryside, this picture was actually taken just over a year ago by contributor Andrew Blaszczyk. Dedicated volunteers painstakingly restored the 1928 ex Gulf Mobile & Ohio 4-6-2 to operating condition in 2007 and the classic locomotive occasionaly sees service hauling excursions for the Reading & Northern out of Jim Thrope, PA- although she gets an assist from some of R&N's much newer SD50s. Here, the blue 425 and a pumpkin patch are the most colorful things in sight on a rainy, blustery Oct 25th, 2008 as she passes through Hometown, PA.

While I'm at it, today's (bonus!) Train of Thought treats us to a glimpse of some west coast pumpkins in their natural habitat (sort of). With about a month to go before they're to be carved up or used in pies, contributor Jared Forcier caught these fine specimens basking in the sun at Encinitas, CA in the early morning hours of September 30, 2009 as North County Transit District F40PHM-2C #2101 hustling past with a commuter train on its San Diego-Oceanside, CA route. The Pacific Ocean is visible in the background.

'Cash For Clunkers' Costlier Than Advertised-; Also, NANESB! Digs up the Railway Equivalent for $$ for Clunkers

The publishers of the Blue Book guide to used-car prices determined that the earlier Cash for Clunkers program actually cost the American taxpayer approximately $24,000 per new car sold during that time frame. According to the study, out of the estimated 690,000 cars that were sold while Cash for Clunkers was in effect all but 125,000 of them went to people who were had decided to purchase a new car anyway.

[Edmunds] crunched the numbers. A valid way to evaluate the program economically, it says, is to look at how many people purchased cars that otherwise wouldn’t have been bought. The firm says that number is about 125,000 cars. By that measure, the government spent $24,000 to generate each sale of a new car.

For comparison, the average price for a new vehicle in August 2009 was $26,915, minus an average cash rebate of $1,667.

In all, the government spent $3 billion on a program that provided cash toward 690,000 car purchases – about $4,348 per car. That makes 565,000 people who got as much as $4,500 to buy a car they would have bought anyway, according to the Edmunds analysis.

While the White House took exception to the claim, the Obama Administration's 'New Media' Chief Macon Phillips decided to quietly take the high road.

/Just kidding!

“In other words,” writes Macon Phillips, the White House’s “new media” chief, “all the other cars were being sold on Mars while the rest of the country was caught up in the excitement of the Cash for Clunkers program. The CEA’s analysis is transparent and comprehensive …, on the other hand, is promoting a bombastic press release without any public access to their underlying analysis. So put on your space suit and compare the two approaches yourself.”

You'll also be pleased to know that the rail industry has what could be considered a long-running predecesor to Cash for Clunkers for the past few years. Straight from National Railway Equipment's website is this PDF file explaining that the purchase of some of the Genset locomotives manufactured by companies like NRE or Railpower International are eligible for state, local and federal subsidies of up to 80%. When these gensets were first introduced, I assumed that Class I Railways like BNSF or Union Pacific were interested in them because they were effective. Instead, it's because of an artificial demand created by a patchwork of emissons laws across various states, matching funds and various subsidies that have the railroad paying only 20% of the purchase price. If I'm not mistaken, I believe for every Genset a railroad purchases, an older locomotive has to be stricken from the roster to qualify. However, unlike this years' Cash for Clunkers, there is no provision for scrapping the retired locomotive and in a few cases, the recently retired locomotives are sold off to a leasing company and promptly leased back by the same railroad.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Today's Train of Thought- Whistling Past the Graveyard; October 30, 2009

Right before Halloween, I thought today's train of thought might be appropriate. However, instead of a creepy, decrepit-looking graveyard in the middle of the night, contributor Nikos Kavoori snapped this image of a CSX local with GP40-2 #6144 as the sole power trundling past the sunny, well-maintained cemetary in Union City, GA on September 30th, 2009.

Failed Nuclear State Watch: Week of Oct 25th

Just days after a car bomb tore through a marketplace and killed 117 people in Peshawar, Pakistan the Taliban has done an abrupt about-face and denied any involvement in the attacks. Instead, they took a page out of American leftist groups like or Code Pink's playbook and blamed private military contractors Blackwater USA for the bombing [caveat- link is from Iran's state-run Press TV, although several Pakistani news outlets are reporting the same story].

Certainly the Taliban wasn't shy about taking credit for earlier attacks this month. I have to wonder what was so beyond the pale about the October 28th attack that they carried out this week that they decided to try and deflect blame to Blackwater [now Xe Services LLC]. This week's attack did coincide with a visit from Secretary of State Clinton, but I think that was meant for the Taliban to show the Pakistani government how powerless they were by staging a mass csualty attack while a high-profile VIP was visiting Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani Army has launched an offensive in South Waziristan, sending seven brigades (approximately 18,000 troops) to cordon off and search the reigon for Tehrik-e-Taliban militants.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sports Chowdah Recap for October 28-29th- WS Updates- Cliff-hanger in the Bronx Before Daddy's Home; Technical Malfunction- #14 VT Upset @ Blacksburg

(Jim McIssac/Getty Images)

In game 1 of the 2009 World Series, Phillies starter de-fanged the formidable Yankees lineup and at times looked bored doing it. Lee gave up six hits and one unearned run in his 121-pitch complete game and Chase Utley had two solo homeruns to put the Phillies up for good. Philadelphia would get a few more insurance runs in the 8th and 9th innings to win Game One by a final of 6-1.

Which brings us to Game 2- certainly more of a pitchers duel than the debut game. This pitted Pedro Martinez against AJ Burnett. Both starters worked hard and Burnett gave up an early RBI single to DH Matt Stairs in the top of the 2nd after a ground-rule double by Raul Ibanez landed just fair before one-hopping into the seats. However, the 1-0 lead only lasted until the bottom of the 4th when Martinez gave up a solo home run to Mark Teixera to lead off the inning. The Yankees took a 2-1 lead in the 6th with another solo home run off of Martinez- this time by Hideki Matsui- and got an insurance run off of a Jorge Posada RBI-triple in the 7th. Mariano Rivera came on for a two-inning save situation, giving up two hits and getting the save in the Yankees 3-1 win.

Pedro Martinez threw 107 pitches in 6 innings worth of work while AJ Burnett threw 108 over 7 innings and got the win.

This sends the series to Philadelphia tied 1-1. Interestingly, the Morris County Daily Record is reporting that an Amtrak spokesman announced that both teams will be taking the train between New York and Philly. With their transportation choice in mind, Game 3's starting time has been announced as 7:57 PM Eastern time on Saturday......December 5th [just kidding!].

In the NBA, the Celtics handily won their home opener against the Charlotte Bobcats last night by a final of 92-59. Kevin Garnett had 10 points, Ray Allen had 18, Rajon Rondo had 10 and Shelden Williams had 12. This was Garnett's first home start since injuring his right knee late last season. Ray Allen was the only Boston starter still in the game by the time the 4th quarter began.

The Bruins hosted the New Jersey Devils last night. Backup goaltender Yann Danis gave NJ starter Martin Brodeur the night off and stopped 31 of 32 shots faced. Patrice Bergeron scored the only goal for the Bruins in a 2-1 loss and Tim Thomas stopped 29 of 31 shots face. The Devils are 6-0 on the road this season while the Bruins are 1-1-1 in their last 3 games and 5-5-1 overall. They face the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday at the Garden.

#14 Ranked Viginia Tech fell to North Carolina at home on Thursday night. After the Tarheels tied the game at 17-17 late in the 4th quarter, Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams fumbled the ball on Tech's own 24 yard line with the Tarheels recovering. North Carolina bled the clock and kicker Casey Barth split the uprights on what was essentially a point-after attempt with 2 seconds remaining in the game to give North Carolina the 20-17 win. North Carolina is 5-3 overall with a 1-3 record within the ACC while Virginia Tech is also 5-3 with a 3-2 record within the ACC.

[Boston College is also 5-3 with a 3-2 record against the ACC]

Today's Train of Thought: Green Mountain Boys- October 29

I'm sure I've said this before, but there's nothing quite like fall in New England. Yet despite the explosion of colors in the forests and hills from northern Maine to southwestern Connecticut and beyond, business carries on as usual. In this case, contributor John Ryan caught the Green Mountain Railroad's Rutland-Bellows Falls turn hustling eastbound over the trestle at Cuttingsville, VT on October 14th, 2009 with GP40-2 #302 on the point. Bracketed by the green and yellow GP40-2s (and looking a tad out of place) is an ex-BNSF B23-7 still in full Santa Fe paint. In 1997, the Vermont Railway acquired a controlling interest in the GMRC.

Unfortunate Headline Watch

From CNN:

Canadian folk singer died doing something she loved, mother says

Um.....hell no. I don't care how into nature you are, nobody loves getting mauled by a pack of coyotes.

Having said that, the whole affair of 19 year-old folk singer Taylor Mitchell getting attacked by a pack of coyotes in Nova Scotia's Cape Breton National Park is bizarre enough to start off with. Couple this with a public statement from the mother where she seems to be mourning the offending coyotes as much as she was her own daughter.

"When the decision had been made to kill the pack of coyotes, I clearly heard Taylor's voice say, 'please don't, this is their space.' She wouldn't have wanted their demise, especially as a result of her own. She was passionate about animals, was an environmentalist and was also planning to volunteer at the Toronto Wildlife Centre in the coming months," Emily Mitchell said in a statement Thursday

[Oh, and thanks for the map of Eastern Canada, CNN. My tiny pea-brain wouldn't have been able to locate Nova Scotia without your visual aides- NANESB!]

Navajo Tribe Mourns the Passing of WWII Vet & Code Talker

WWII Vet and Code Talker Willard V Oliver passed away earlier this month at the Northern Arizona VA Hospital in Prescott, AZ. He was 88.

For those of you who may not know, Oliver was one of about 400 Navajo servicemen recruited in World War II to broadcast messages in the Navajo language in order to successfully confound Japanese codebreakers monitoring communications. The program wasn't declassified until 1968.

Reflecting on his service, Mr. Oliver had this to say in a 2001 interview:

"I did not realize that until the code talkers were recognized that all the victories back during the war came about because of our Diné language," he said.

"Sometimes I think about it," he said. "Why did the government want to use our language when throughout BIA school we would get our mouth washed out with soap when they caught us speaking Navajo?

"I am proud to be a code talker," he said. "And I know we counted for something great, and that we fought to maintain our freedom and for our sacred land."

After the war, Oliver worked as a carpenter, construction worker, hired on with both the Union Pacific and Santa Fe Railroads and was a policeman and ambulance driver in Fort Defiance, AZ. Willard's brother Lloyd, also a Code Talker, accompanied him to a 2001 ceremony in Washington DC where they and other Code Talkers were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President Bush.

On Nov. 21, 2001 Willard Oliver was awarded the Congressional Silver Medal in a ceremony in Window Rock, AZ.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Today's Train of Thought; Black Hills Twilight- October 28, 2009

Almost a year ago to the day, the Canadian Pacific railway acquired the 2500+ mile Dakota Minnesota & Eastern Railway as well as its sister company Iowa Chicago & Eastern. This increased the CPR's presence in the Midwestern USA considerably (having purchased the Soo line some 20 years earlier) and put it right at the cusp of Wyoming's Powder River Coal Basin- a lucrative traffic source for Union Pacific and BNSF to this day.

The Iowa Chicago & Eastern, previously operated by Montana Rail Link's Washington Group as I&MRL connected Minneapolis-St. Paul with Chicago and Kansas City by way of the Quad Cities. Ironically, Soo Line acquired these lines with their purchase of the Milwaukee Road in the 1980s,
but Soo Line's parent company- Canadian Pacific- decided to spin off the Twin-Cities-Chicago and Twin Cities-KC trackage to the Washington Group.

As for the DM&E- it never quite reached the Powder River Basin; should it choose to reach the lucrative Wyoming coalfields, that will be up to Canadian Pacific now. For the most part, its bread and butter [no pun intended] was the wheat, grain, soybeans and other agricultural goods it hauled across former Chicago & North Western lines in Minnesota, South Dakota and parts of Nebraska and Wyoming. Appropriately enough, contributor Bran Kindschy caught SD40-2 #6217 of sister railroad Iowa Chicago & Eastern leading southbound DM&E freight HURC (HUron, SD to Rapid City, SD) over Lance Creek at Wendte, SD just before twilight on September 15, 2008- a little over a month before the CPR took over the regional. With frequent 10 MPH speed restrictions, it takes nearly a whole day for the train to travel the 170 miles between the two towns.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sports Chowdah Update for Oct. 27- Celtic Marauders Raid King James' Castle; Astros Hire BoSox Bench Coach as Manager; Arrest Made in Howard Murder

(Getty images/David Liam Kyle)

[Full disclosure- I'm by no means the most avid NBA fan out there, but given that it's opening night, the game was nationally televised and there was little else in the way of sports on tonight, I figured I could accommodate some Celtics news tonight- NANESB!]

Tonight was the opening tipoff of the NBA season, and the C's started out on the road at Cleveland's Quicken Loans arena- a venue where Boston hasn't won in their last 11 appearances there. It looked as though Boston was on it's way to dropping 12 in a row when the Cavs got out to an early lead, but the C's rallied to take the lead right before halftime and managed to hold on to the lead for the second half, winning 95-89. Paul Pierce had 23 points, Ray Allen 16, Kevin Garnett 12 and offseason free-agent acquisition Rasheed Wallace had 12. Boston's bench outscored Cleveland's 26-10. The home opener for the Celtics is tomorrow night at the garden against the Charlotte Bobcats.

In other Celtics news, Glen 'Big Baby' Davis is expected to miss six weeks after surgery to his fractured right thumb after a fight with a former college teammate. Celtics management is also discussing a suspension of the forward, as his conduct could be considered a breach of contract.

Talks for a contract extension with Rajon Rondo's agent have resumed this week. Agent Bill Duffy and Celtics president Danny Ainge have until Sunday to work out an extension for Rondo. Duffy had said earlier that his client would prefer to become a restricted free agent at the end of this season (Sources: Yahoo! Sports, Boston Herald).

A Bloomfield, CT man has been formally charged in the murder of UConn cornerback Jasper Howard. UConn Police Major Ronald Blicher announced 21-year old John W Lomax III has been charged with murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree assault. Police have also arrested Hakim Muhammed, 20, and charged him with conspiracy to commit first degree assault and Jamal Todd, 21, and charged Todd with reckless endangerment and filing a false report for his role in pulling the fire-alarm at the school-sponsored party that preceded the deadly altercation.
Lomax is being held on $2 million bail. The team travelled from Morgantown WV to Miami over the weekend in order to attend Howard's funeral Monday. (Source: The Hartford Courant)

The Houston Astros have announced the hiring of former Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills as their new manager today. Mills worked with Terry Francona for 6 seasons in the Red Sox dugout and his hiring by the Astros leaves the possibility that he might persuade current Boston 3rd base coach DeMarlo Hale to come down to Houston and sign on as Mills' bench coach.

Today's Train of Thought- Hoosiers; Oct. 27

With the NBA season tipping off tonight, I thought this image from contributor Don Kalkman would be fitting. On a sunny June 2009, we see Indiana Railroad SD40-2 #4003 and a trailing SD9043MAC pass by the water tower and an outdoor basketball court in Campellsburg, IN- just 30 miles as the crow flies from Larry Bird's hometown of French Lick, IN.

The Indiana Railroad operated on CSX trackage rights over the former Monon Hoosier Subdivision between Bedford, IN and Louisville, KY until this summer when CSX shut down the Hoosier subdivision to through traffic. For the time being, this leaves the INRD to re-route Louisville-bound traffic via Indianapolis and onto the Louisville & Indiana Railroad from there via a haulage rights agreement.

Grim Milestone: McDonalds Withdraws From Iceland After 3 Million Served

The Golden Arches announced they were pulling out of Iceland effective next weekend. The collapse of the Icelandic Krona and McDonald's [NYSE: MCD] requirement that the Icelandic franchisee imports much of the ingredients made many of the items on the menu cost prohibitive (just over $5 for a Big Mac, apprently).

Lyst Hr., the franchise holder for McDonalds in Iceland will keep the three locations open, but they will be operating under a different name and use locally available ingredients starting in November.

Is that a Lizard in Your Pants, or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

Can't it be both?

A man was caught by Norwegian customs carrying a tarantula in his bag, and a further 14 royal pythons and 10 albino leopard geckos taped to his body, media reported on Monday.
The 22-year-old Norwegian was stopped in a routine check by Kristiansand customs after arriving on a ferry from Denmark, newspaper Faedrelandsvennen reported.

Customs found the tarantula, before deciding to give him a full body search that revealed 14 stockings -- one for each snake -- taped around his torso, top selling tabloid VG said.
Although Norway isn't the world's most ideal climate for pythons, the constrictors have been known to escape and cause problems elsewhere.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Iron Horse Roundup: Week of October 20-26

( Kilgore)
Canadian National announced that it was purchasing 35 new 4400 HP ES44AC 'GEVO' locmotives from General Electric and 35 new 4350 HP SD70M-2 locomotives from EMD. The GEVOs are expected to arrive in late 2010 while the SD70M-2s are expected to be on the property by January 2011. Here, CNR ES44AC #2305 is seen with another GEVO on the former Elgin, Joliet & Eastern trackage in West Chicago, IL in September 2009.

(Dean Sauvola/

Tourist hauler Wisconsin Great Northern got a substantial increase in horsepower last month with the acquisition of former Wisconsin Central SD40-2 #6006 and Duluth Missabe & Iron Range SD38AC #200 from Canadian National. The railway already owns a 1940-built SW1 and a 1949-built EMD F7A primarily used for their excursions. However, with the recent downturn in traffic on many Class 1 railways, Wisconsin Great Northern agreed to store idle tank cars along its line and in it's Spooner, WI yard. Here, WGN employees are inspecting #6006 shortly after arrival in Spring Brook, WI. It's believed the #6006 and #200 will handle the stored freight cars while the 1940s-vintage diesels will continue with the tourist trains.

The New York, Susquehanna & Western has reportedly put their fleet of GP18s, GP20s and sole operating F45 up for sale. NYS&W F45 #3636 was thought to be one of the last F45s operating in revenue service in the country. Here, the #3636 is seen snaking though downtown Port Jervis, NY with Little Ferry NJ-Binghampton, NY freight SU-99 in June 2006. This would leave NYS&W with their former Denver, Rio Grande & Western and Southern Pacific SD40T-2 'Tunnel Motors' as the backbone of their locomotive fleet.

An Australian baby cheated death when his carriage rolled off a platform and in front of a Connex commuter train in Melbourne earlier this month. The incident was caught was caught on the Ashburton station's CCTV system. 6-month old Saurish Verma survived with some cuts to his face after being dragged roughly 30 meters before the train came to a stop.

*Workers for the largest union representing tranist workers from Philadelphia's SEPTA have voted unanimously to strike if no contract is reached with management this week. A walkout by SEPTA workers could take place when the Phillies are slated to host the Yankees for games 3, 4 and 5 (if neccecary) of the World Series. The strike would include the Broad Street subway line, which links Citcizen's Bank park and Lincoln Financial Field with downtown Philly. SEPTA's suburban commuter rail service wouldn't be affected, as those workers are represented by a different union.

*Authorities in Egypt have filed charges against three railway workers in a deadly 2-train collision that killed at least 18 people over the weekend. The two trains collided at Girzah south of Cairo after the first train hit some livestock that wandered onto the tracks before coming to a stop and the second train plowed into the rear of the stopped train at full speed. One of the rail workers is charged with abandoning his post.

Sports Chowdah Recap for October 25-26

Hmm...after watching that crap-tastic Monday Night Football game between Philly and the Redskins, I can say that week 7 of the NFL season peaked early. And by peaked early, I mean peaked early Greenwich Median Time.

It's not arrogance to predict that one of the premier NFL teams of this decade would easily handle a winless franchise on the skids, and that's exactly what happened in London this weekend when New England took on Tampa Bay. Tom Brady was 23-32 for 308 yards with 3 TD passes and 2 interceptions in the Patriot's 35-7 win over the Buccaneers. Interestingly, this is the first time New England has ever had to fly east for a regular season game.

So heading into the Pats bye week, here's how the AFC East looks right now:

Patriots: 5-2
Jets: 4-3
Bills: 3-4
Dolphins: 2-4

While I'm at it, here are the standings for the NHL's Northeastern conference:

Sabres: 6-1-1 (13 pts)
Senators: 5-2-2 (12 pts)
Canadiens: 6-5-0 (12 pts)
Bruins: 5-4-1 (11 pts)
Maple Leafs 1-7-1 (3 pts)

No Bruins until Thursday and the Celtics don't tip off until tomorrow. And in between those two days, we're going to be treated to a Phillies/Yankees world series, as the Yankees eliminated the Angels, winning 5-2, and clinched the AL pennant at Yankee stadium last night.

Doesn't it feel good to see a scrappy bunch of no-names from a small market team with a modest payroll and oodles of homegrown talent overcome all odds to make it to the World Series?


Well...we don't have to worry about that with the AL Pennant winner this year.

Elsewhere, the rumors that Padres 1B Adrian Gonzalez might be headed to Boston around the trade deadline were heating up again. The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo is reporting that the Red Sox have expressed a renewed interest in the .277 hitting infielder and that Seattle turned down a trade offer earlier this year that would've sent five minor-leaguers to San Diego because they weren't willing to part with a certain prospect. It remains to be seen in there's anybody in the Sox's farm system the Padres would have enough interest in to give up Gonzalez. Further fuelling this speculation is the Padres hiring former Red Sox assistant GM Jed Hoyer as their new GM.

Today's Train of Thought- Change of Seasons; October 26, 2009

There's nothing quite like fall in New England, as exemplified by today's train of thought from contributor Rich Barnett. Sure the highways are crowded, but if you're inclined to take in the scenery without the hassle of traffic, there's always an excursion train like the Berkshire Scenic Railway in the Western corner of Massachusetts.
The Berkshire Scenic Railway actually ceased operations in 1989 due to deteriorating track conditions on what was then Boston & Maine's Canaan Running track- a scenic but lightly-used rail line between Pittsfield, MA and Canaan, CT that was isolated from the rest of Guilford's system. Around this same time, the Housatonic Railway was working on rehabilitating the dormant former New Haven mainline between Canaan and New Milford, CT that connected with the Canaan Running track. In 1991, the Housatonic purchased the Canaan Running Track from B&M and freight traffic has been up considerably on what was once a decrepit New England branchline. However, it wasn't until 2003 that the Berkshire Scenic resumed operations on the line between Lenox, MA and Great Barrington, MA.
Here, painted in colors reminiscent of the New Haven railroad (and matching some of the surrounding foliage), Berkshire Scenic SW8 #8619 is seen passing the Hurlburt-Willows paper mill in West Lee, MA on October 21, 2007 on it's return trip to Lenox.

Stimulus- New Jersey Style.


Meet Stepfanie Velez-Gentry of Bellmawr, NJ. She's the founder of Nookie Parties- which she describes as being like a Tupperware party, only with lingerie and adult toys.

She's also running for State Assembly as a Republican (I bet Nookie Parties isn't even a union workplace- the horror!). We don't really learn too much about where Mrs. Velez-Gentry stands on various issues, let alone who she's running against- a Libertarian pole dancer? a Democrat nude housemaid?- but looks like she has some experience as the owner of a small business if nothing else.

Meanwhile, blogger Ashok has a roundup on the various New Jersey newspapers who think that Jim Corzine must absolutely, positively not be re-elected.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Today's Train of Thought- It's Going to Be a Super (7) Day; Oct. 25 2009

Today's Train of Thought features one odder creations to have come from General Electric's Erie, PA factory in the last 20 years- the experimental 'Super 7' series. The Super 7s were basically heavily rebuilt 'Universal' series locomotives that were traded into General Electric for newer Dash 8 locomotives. Instead of scrapping them completely, GE decided to keep the frames and trucks and give the vintage trade-ins new motors and carbodies. It was only marginally successful- with the Monongahela Railway being the only domestic customer for an order of what was essentially eleven heavily rebuilt ex-Western Pacific U23Bs [U= Universal; 23 = 2300 HP; B = 4-axle wheel arrangement]. However, the Super 7 series generated some interest south of the border, as Mexico's Ferrocarriles Nacionales Mexico (the then state-run railroad) ordered close to 100 to be rebuilt from their retired U36Cs as well as some former Delaware & Hudson and Southern U33Cs and Milwaukee Road and Union Pacific U30Cs. This fleet survived the subsequent privatization of Mexico's railroads and was included in the fleet of TFM (Transportes Ferroviaria Mexicana- now Kansas City Southern de Mexico) and can still be seen operating anywhere between Veracruz and Chicago. Some of the Super 7 demonstrators found their way north to a new home on Quebec ore-hauler Roberval & Saguenay, as well.

Within a few years of ordering the Super 7s, the Monongahela was taken over by Conrail. Conrail, in turn, was split between CSX and Norfolk Southern in 1999. The Super 7s dutifully served Conrail and CSX before the latter decided to sell off the oddities. Takers for the 11-unit fleet included the Providence & Worcester, Ohi-Rail, the New Castle Industrial Railroad, Arkansas & Oklahoma and Ohio Central. On a bright August 2008 day, contributor Mike Mautner caught OHCR B23-S7 #4093 and a sister Super 7 heading up the Coshocton-Zanesville, OH 'Steel train' across the Tuscawaras River bridge in West Lafayette, OH.

Since this photo was taken, shortline operator Genesee & Wyoming announced their acquisition of the Ohio Central railroad. So it's entirely possible that besides wearing the paint of Ohio Central, CSX, Conrail and the Monongehela, the 4093 might also be wearing G&W's trademark orange in due time.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sports Chowdah Recap for Oct 22-24- Game 6 a Wash; Patriots to Take on Silly Nannies in London; ND Golden in Holy War; Et Tu Bruins? B's Slay Sens

(Steven Dunn/Getty Images)

OK- I'll be the first to admit that I've been derelict in my blogger duties. I was out having a late dinner on Thursday night and the Angels had a 4-0 lead when I left and when I was periodically listening for updates on my way to dinner. While waiting for dinner, I'd occasionally check my phone for game updates, so I couldn't believe it when the Angels blew the lead in the span of one inning. Sure enough, this dining establishment had the game on near the bar, so I figured I'd watch just in time to see Brian Fuentes pitch out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the 9th- getting Nick Swisher to pop up and send the series back to a blustery, rainy Bronx for Game 6. So tonight's rainout gave me a chance to follow up on a game I barely caught in the first place. I apparently also missed some piss-poor umpiring in Games 4 and 5. Most of what I did catch was via radio- although at the time I figured it was just the Angels broadcasters being unabashed homers. And I chose to listen to the Angels broadcast because...well, I tend to welcome the sweet sweet embrace of death after listening to two minutes of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Anywhoo, now it turns out MLB is making damn sure this umpiring crew gets nowhere near the World Series.

OK....the thing I'm really starting to enjoy is that even though the 2009 Red Sox are a distant memory, alot of the sportswriters are referencing the 2004 Red Sox and the ALCS. Truth be told, all the pressure is on the Yankees after Game 5. They were the favorites, and they were supposed to run roughshod over the Angels. The longer it takes for them to seal the deal, the more they're going to doubt and second-guess themselves.

The Patriots are scheduled to kick off against the Tampa Bay Silly Nannies in London's Wembley Stadium later on today [Above is a still image from some of the Silly Nannies gameday film- NANESB!]. Curiously, the 0-6 Tampa Bay Club is owned by Malcom Glazer, who also owns one of the most successful and celebrated clubs in the English Premier League- Manchester United. This is the third consecutive season Wembley Stadium has been used as a venue for NFL regular season games.

(Marcus Marter/South Bend Tribune)

Boston College travelled to South Bend, IN for the 'Holy War' against Notre Dame Saturday. The Eagles were able to keep the Irish pinned with poor field position for much of the first half, and even get a safety when ND quarterback Jimmy Clausen was flagged for intentional grounding in the Irish end zone. BC even managed to stop a ND drive on their own 1-foot line late in the 2nd. However, the Eagles managed to turn the ball over five times in today's game, including a Dave Schinskie pass attempt being picked off with less than 2 minutes remaining in the game. RB Montel Harris, who set a BC rushing record against North Carolina State last week with 264 years was held to 38 yards against Notre Dame. This brings Boston College's record to 5-2 overall (3-2 in the ACC) which puts them in a virtual tie with Clemson for first place in the ACC's Atlantic Division. The Eagles will face the 7-1 Central Michigan Chippewas of the Mid-America Conference at Chestnut Hill next week.

[Just out of curiosity, for any visiting fans of the Mountain West, do the contests between Texas Christian and Brigham Young get some sort of 'Holy War'-esque monicker?- NANESB!]

#22 West Virginia managed to hold off UConn at Morgantown, WV Sauturday by a final of 28-24. UConn got as close as the West Virginia 33 yard line when a Cody Endres 4th-down pass was picked off by Chris Nield. This was UConn's first game since the stabbing death of cornerback Jasper Howard last weekend. The team plans to attend the funeral in Miami on Monday.

(Jean Levac/Ottawa Citizen)

Coming off of Thursday's shootout loss in Philly, the Bruins headed to Ottawa on Saturday night. Down 3-1 with less than 1:30 remaining in regulation, the Bruins absolutely stole one from the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place tonight when Tim Thomas was pulled for an extra attacker and Marc Recchi scored at the 18:32 mark to make it a 3-2 game. Thomas was pulled again immediately after the ensuing faceoff and David Krejci managed to get one past Brian Elliot with 22 seconds left in regulation. Nobody scored in overtime and Tim Thomas stopped all the shooters he faced (Kovalev, Alfredsson and Spezza). Patrice Bergeron scored after Krejci missed in the shootout, and Boston wins its first game against a Northeast division opponent. Tim Thomas stopped 27 of 30 shots faced and tonight was career game #1500 for Mark Recchi.

This brings the Bruins overall record to 5-4-1 and they won't play again until Thursday night against the New Jersey Devils at the Garden.

Today's Train of Thought- The Model of a Modern Major General Freight Hauler; Oct 24th

Today's Train of Thought looks more like something out of a detailed HO Scale model railway than anything real. But make no mistake about it- with roughly 32,000 miles of operable track in 20 states and two provinces, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe is anything but toy-like. contributor Joe Blackwell caught this duo of BNSF SD40-2s with some general freight snaking their way through Wind River Canyon near Thermopolis, WY on an early fall afternoon in 2005.

High Jobless Rates Could be 'New Normal'

WASHINGTON — Even with an economic revival, many U.S. jobs lost during the recession may be gone forever and a weak employment market could linger for years. That could add up to a "new normal" of higher joblessness and lower standards of living for many Americans, some economists are suggesting.
Wow. Freakin' brilliant strategy! Call high unemployment and a decline in the standard of living the 'new normal' and Viola! Instant economic recovery! All is right with the world. I'm so glad the White House and congress 'solved' this problem with the Stimulus bill earlier this year- I mean, that was $787 Billion well spent. Who knows....? Without it, the national unempoyment rate might actually soar past 8%! I can rest easy now.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Today's Train of Thought- Dash 8 Through the Snow; Oct 23rd

Today's Train of Thought comes to us from contributor Kevin Burkholder as he catches a southbound Montreal Maine & Atlantic freight at Keegan, ME near the New Brunswick border on a wintry January 2009 day. This section of the MM&A is being considered for abandonment.
Note the high-tech multipurpose snow dispersal and switch clearing implement (aka- a broom) ready for use on the front of MM&A B39-8 #8569

President Obama to Sign Hate Crimes Legislation; WV 'Hate Crime' Victim Admits Hoax.

Just in time for the president to sign new hate crimes legislation, a West Virginia woman has announced that the ordeal she allegedly suffered through at the hands of white supremacists in 2007 was a hoax.

As for the legislation, I have a problem with this on a couple of different levels. For example- if the sentencing should be escalated in a crime where the assailant was motivated by some form of prejudice or hatred to attack the victim, should the sentencing also be increased in the event somebody filed false charges to authorities and perjured themselves such as in this instance or with the Duke lacrosse team a few years ago?

Would hate crimes charges be filed against Abdulhakim Muhammed/Bledsoe in the shooting death of US Army Private William Long and the wounding of Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula in Little Rock, AR earlier this year? Abdulhakim's actions certainly seemed to be motivated by hatred.

Don't get me wrong- bashing somebody's skull in because the assailant didn't like the victim's skin color, religion or sexual preference is pretty horrible. But instead of prosecuting somebody for not liking homosexuals or latinos or what have you....couldn't they be prosecuted for....I dunno- maybe bashing somebody's skull in? I mean- doesn't that carry some pretty heavy jail-time in and of itself? Kind of reminds me of the old In Living Color 'Partner' cop-show parody where the cool, suave detective is killed and the dopey, clueless partner is the one who has to investigate the murder. Cut to 'Partner' chasing one of the suspects at a crosswalk where the light is turning red. The suspect keeps running and the by-the-book partner waits for the light to change and shouts out after the guy 'HA! I've got you for murder one and jaywalking!!'

I can't really think of this as anything more than invasive PC overreaching from this Congress and this President.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Today's Train of Thought- Hard at Work; Oct 22, 2009.

Today's train of thought takes us to the state currently with the lowest unemployment rate (4.2%)- North Dakota.
Here, under the vast expanses of blue skies, contributor Fredrick Wolter catches Northern Plains GP9Us #2297 and #2281 (both still in their Santa Fe paint) at Lansford, ND returning from working the remote Kramer line in July 2009. Barely 12 years old, the Northern Plains is something of a newcomer in the Dakotas

This Day in History, October 22nd 1975.

(AP/Boston Globe)

Today marks the 34th anniversay of Carlton Fisk's 12th-inning walk-off home run off of Reds reliever Pat Darcy in the bottom of the 12th inning in Game 6 of the World Series . According to most baseball writers and fans who were around to witness it live, Game 6 was the stuff of legends. However, Game 6 itself started on October 21st, 1975 with Luis Tiant starting for Boston and Gary Nolan starting for Cincinnati but it was going on 12:30 AM by the time it was the bottom of the 12th at Fenway Park. The iconic footage of Fisk waving the ball fair as he sprinted out of the batter's box was quite inadvertent- the NBC camreaman positioned inside the Green Monster wanted to track the trajectory of the ball, but instead remained still and kept the camera on Fisk while a large rat was crawling across his feet.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sports Chowdah Recap for October 20-21- That's a Big 10-4, Phils Advance to World Series; Predators Fall Further Down Food Chain


OK....first of all, God? Remember when I was praying and telling you 'I don't want to see Joe Torre's team in the World Series again' like...ten years ago? This wasn't what I had in mind!

With that out of the way, congratulations to the National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies. Cole Hammels was ineffective in his game 5 start against the Dodgers, giving up 5 hits- including solo home runs to Andre Ethier and James Loney- 3 earned runs and walking a batter in 4 and a third innings. However, none of that seemed to matter as the Phillies offense did not let up against Vincente Padilla, who only lasted 3 innings and gave up 4 hits and six earned runs while walking two batters. The Dodgers managed to load the bases with nobody out in the top of the 8th inning, but relieer Ryan Madson was able to pitch out of it. Brad Lidge pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for a 10-4 Phillies win.

Meanwhile, a day earlier and on the other side of the country, the Yankees took a 3-1 series lead over the Angels [I hesitate to say 'commanding', since there's recent precedent for teams down 1-3 or 0-3 in the ALDS- NANESB!] with Yankees starter CC Sabathia going with only three days rest and the Yankees winning 10-1.


The Bruins placed Marc Savard (broken foot) and Milan Lucic (broken finger) on injured reserve
this week. Tonight, the Bruins hosted the Nashville Predators at the Garden. Nashville jumped out to the early lead and broke a 1-1 tie on former BU Terrier Colin Wilson's first career NHL goal. Steve Begin scored the go-ahead goal for the B's at 8:33 into the 3rd and Tim Thomas stopped 28 of 30 shots, including several in the final few seconds of regulation, for the win.

Police blotter: Investigators in Connecticut are reviewing video footage from Sunday morning sent in by tipsters that may lead to an arrest in the Jasper Howard case.

Today's Train of Thought: A Moment of Refletcion- October 21, 2009

Today's train of thought was captured in the Nutmeg State by contributor Michael Biehn. Here, we're treated to Providence & Worcester local freight NR-2 trundling along the banks of the Thames river at Ledyard CT, powered by B39-8 #3902 and a cabless B30-7A 'B' unit as its reflection shows up on the tranquil surface of the Thames in August 2009.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Look! Up in the Sky!

It's neither a burning bird or plane or man of steel. It's merely space dust and space pebbles getting torched as they plummet through our atmosphere.

Optimum viewing time is around 6 AM eastern, 3 AM Pacific.

Today's Train of Thought- Fall Colors and Fallen Flags in the Upper Peninsula

Today's train of thought is an excellent catch by contributor Dean Sauvola, proving that New England isn't the only place to catch some good autumn foliage.
Here, we see Wisconsin Central GP40# 3024 cross Moore Road in Bessemer, MI at a leisurely 10MPH with the White Pine local on October 11th, 2009. The Wisconsin Central ceased to exist in 2001, taken over by Canadian National. Since then, WC's fleet of older motive power has been systematically sold off or retired and replaced with newer power from Canadian National (or one of the many railways CNR has acquired this past decade like the Illinois Central; Duluth Missabe & Iron Range or British Columbia Rail). But as this shot illustrates, CN hasn't repainted all of the WC power that it retained.
It was also announced that the copper smelter at White Pine, MI which this line services anticipated shutting down in 2010. So like the leaves on the trees themselves, the 3024 and the line through the northern Michigan woods is on borrowed time.

Iron Horse Roundup: Week of October 12-19

Hawkeye State shortline Iowa Northern is back in one piece as of the end of September. The railway was effectively bisected after the floods of 2008 washed out the Union Pacific bridge over the Cedar River in downtown Waterloo, IA. Although Union Pacific owned the affected bridge, the 163-mile Iowa Northern was the only railway using it when the 2008 floods struck. The loss of the bridge cut the Iowa Northern in half, requiring lengthy and time-consuming detours over other rail lines. Here, Craig Williams catches the first revenue train over the bridge on October 6th, 2009, led by IANR GP40-2LW #4001.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is anticiapting that the filming of Tony Scott's Unstoppable in Western Pennsylvania will bring in an estimated $91 million in revenue to the reigon. The Pennsylvania Deparmtent of Community and Economic Development offers a 25-cent credit to film and TV production companies for every qualifying dollar spent within the state. To qualify, at least 60% of a movie, TV show, game show, commercial or pilot episode must be filmed in Pennsylvania. Although most of Unstoppable is slated to be filmed in the Keystone State, Brewster, OH and Olean, NY are listed among the other filming locations for the movie. Here, 'Alleghany & West Virginia' C44-9W #777 (Canadian Pacific #9777 in real life) is seen on Western New York & Pennsylvania trackage at Portville, NY.

Say Hello to Idaho's newest railroad- WATCO's 26-mile Boise Valley Railroad. Pittsburgh, KS-based WATCO entered into an agreement to lease the 11-mile Wilder branch and 25-mile Boise cutoff from Iowa Pacific's Idaho Northern & Pacific in September. Trackage rights over Union Pacific from Nampa to Caldwell, ID are also included in the deal. This is shortline operator WATCO's fourth railway in Idaho.

Speaking of WATCO, might as well say hello to Alabama's newest railroad while we're at it. WATCO started up operations of the Alabama Warrior railroad in mid-August. The Alabama Warrior operates 15 miles of track in the Birmingham, AL area and interchanges with the Norfolk Southern, BNSF and CSX. The railroad was previously operated as the Jefferson Warrior Railroad.

Union Pacific [NYSE: UNP] announced that they are testing Progress Rail's PR30C Gensets in intermediate line-haul service in Calfornia, Texas and the midwest. If successful, the UP will likely assign the cleaner locomotives to service in California due to the state's increasingly stringent emissions standards.
Rail America [NYSE: RA] made it's IPO debut on the New York Stock Exchange, starting at $13.75 a share on it's first day of trading (RA closed at $14.32 a share on Tuesday afternoon). Fortress Investment Group [NYSE: FIG], which acquired Rail America and the Florida East Coast seperately in 2007, is expected to be a 55% shareholder in RA.

Extrmemly Rare Cobalt Blue Lobster Caught Off New Hampshire Coast

(Foster's Daily Democrat)

New England Aquarium Research Director Mike Tlusty said that the blue shell is a result of the lobster being able to process a red-hued antioxidant known as astaxanthin more efficiently, which in turn bonds with proteins in the lobster's exoskeleton- giving it the bluish pigment.

Tlusty said the odds of this happening were 1 in 5 Million, and that it was still very tasty when served with warm butter.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Today's Train of Thought- What's Blue and White and Running All Over the Place? Oct 19

Today's train of thought comes to us from the Pacific Northwest's Columbia River Basin courtesey of contributor Richard Sugg.
The lead unit shown here- Oakway Leasing SD60#9077- is painted in a scheme reminiscent of EMD Demonstrator locomotives in the 1980s. As the Oakway Photo site explains:
In an industry first, Burlington Northern began purchasing "power by the hour" from a group of 100 SD60s owned by EMD and leased to Oakway, Inc., a subsidiary of Cornnell Rice & Sugar, a New Jersey coporation. Instead of leasing locomotives from a bank or equipment leasing company, BN purchases only the electrical energy exerted by the locomotive.
The Oakway SD60s were built in late 1986 and immediately put into service on the Burlington Northern Railroad. They initially displaced older General Electric locomotives in Powder Basin Coal service but soon found their way onto intermodal and general merchandise freights. However, with the arrival of newer SD70MACs or GE ES44AC GEVOs as well as the general downturn in traffic due to the state of the economy, the Oakways themselves have mostly been sidelined.
But getting back to Oakway 9077, Richard Sugg has caught it here running along the Columbia River Basin at Lyle, WA on a sunny June 2007 day with a general merchandise freight. The trailing SD40-2s are painted for BNSF and Burlington Northern.

Sports Chowdah Recap for Oct 19th- 11th Heaven, Halos Get Past Yanks in Extras; Broncos Special Teams a Royal Pain for Chargers; Phillies J-Rolling

Eddie Royal had a 71-yard punt return and a 93 yard kickoff return in Monday Night's game against San Diego. Darren Sproles had a 77-yard punt return for a touchdown for the Chargers. Same story as last week with the Broncos, right down the the old AFL uniforms and striped socks- Denver trailed at the half then held the opposition to 3 points or less while their offense finally got going (the first offensive TD for Denver came late in the 3rd quarter). The Broncos remain undefeated at 6-0 while the Chargers are 2-3.

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Today's games in both the ALCS and NLCS came down to the final at-bat. After getting out to a quick 2-0 lead, the Phillies found themselves trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the 9th with two out. Jonathan Broxton walked pinch hitter Matt Stairs before getting pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs to line out to 3rd and then hitting Carlos Ruiz with a pitch. Jimmy Rollins then proceeded to hit a deep liner that rolled all the way to the wall in center-field, driving home Stairs and Ruiz and putting Philly up 3-1 in the NLCS [and himself under a pile of enthusiastic teammates].

(Harry How/Getty Images)

Earlier in the afternoon and across the country, Angels backup catcher Jeff Mathis, who had been batting .211 all year came through in a big way at the best possible time for the Angels. After squandering a bases-loaded nobody-out opportunity in the bottom of the 10th, Ervin Santana pitched a hitless top half of the 11th inning for the halos. Alfredo Acevedes came on for the Yankees to replace Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the 11th and got the first two outs before giving up a single to Howie Kendrick- who had already homered in the 5th inning- and the game-winning double to Mathis.
In my fairly humble opinion, this was important for the Angels not just to avoid being down 3-0 in the series, but because they managed to make the Yankees burn through much of their bullpen as well as starters being pulled for pinch-hitters or late-inning defensive replacements [Of course having said that, Kendrick and Mathis are bench players themselves- NANESB!]
The next game will be Tuesday night with CC Sabathia starting against Scott Kazmir. The Angels are down 2-1 in the series.
Police Blotter: Police are questioning a man in Bloomfield, CT in connection with the stabbing death of UConn cornerback Jasper Howard this weekend. Early reports from Sunday indicated that the fatal altercation between students and non-students took place outside a university-sanctioned dance at the UConn student union building after a fire-alarm was pulled.

A Low Down Dirty Shame Poh

What if they had a beauty pageant and none of the contestants wanted to participate?

Since bi-polar kleptomaniac Ris Low was stripped of her crown, the Miss World Singapore organizers have had a hard time finding a replacement. It's not that there aren't any runners-up, it's just that some of them don't want to go to the Miss World Finals in South Africa in Novmber. Runner up Claire Lee was quoted as saying "I don't intend to represent Singapore unless ERM [the pageant's parent comany] threatens to sue me.". The second runner-up is 19-year old Pilar Arlando.

Also, Ms. Low's claims of bi-polar disorder could be an attempt at further reducing her sentence for identity theft and misappropriation charges by pleading insanity.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Today's Train of Thought- Lone Star State of Mind, October 17th

Today's Train of Thought highlights 275-mile Lone Star State shortline Fort Worth & Western. Besides revenue freight on the line running southeast from Ft. Worth, they also have excursions pulled by one of the oldest continuously operated steam locomotives in the country. contributor David Hawkins catches FWWR GP38 #2006 leading a quartet of other 2nd generation EMD hood units as it snakes its way through Trinity Park in Fort Worth on their way to Tolar, TX in April 2009.

Sports Chowdah Recap for Oct 17-18: Tragedy in Storrs; Extra Extra! Yanks Take 2-0 ALCS Lead After 13; Snow Contest @ Gillette; Winning Convincing-Lee

(File Photo/AP)
JASPER HOWARD: 1989-2009

University of Connecticut cornerback Jasper Howard was stabbed in an altercation near the UConn Student union at 12:30AM Sunday morning. Howard was airlifted from Windham Community Memorial Hospital to St. Francis where was pronounced dead.

The Hartford Courant has more on this.

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
The Philadelphia Phillies took a 2-1 lead in the NLCS at Citizen's Bank ballpark Sunday Night on the strength of Cliff Lee's eight shutout innings, winning by a final of 11-0. Lee gave up only three hits in his outing while Dodgers starter Hideki Kuroda lasted only 1 and 1/3rd innings, giving up 6 runs. Ryan Howard was 1 for for with 3 RBI and a run scored while Jason Werth has a 2 run homer and Shane Victorino a 3-run homer. Game 4 will be Monday night with Joe Blanton on the bump for the Phils and Randy Wolf starting for the Dodgers.

It took 13 innings to decide a winner at Yankee stadium on Saturday night (early Sunday, east coast time) but a leadoff solo home run by Alex Rodriguez in the bottom of the 11th off of Brian Fuentes when the Yankees were down by a run extended another cold and occasionally rainy game in the Bronx. More costly errors for the Angels, as Maicer Izturus' throwing error with runners on in the bottom of the 13th, allowing Jerry Hairston Jr. to score the go ahead run.

(Elsa/Getty Images)

To say it wasn't even close in Foxboro on Sunday would be something of an understatement. New England effortlessly rolled over the hapless Tennesee Titans/Houston Oilers 59-0 in the driving Global Warming.....I mean....Climate Change....damn! I mean snow at Gillette Stadium today. Apparently there hasn't been this one-sided a beatdown since the Bicentennial, when the then-L.A. Rams beat the Atlanta Falcons by the same score in 1976. Tom Brady was 29 for 34 with 380 yards and six touchdowns. Just out of curiosity, where was this offense for the 2nd half of last week's game in Denver? Or overtime? Curiously, after facing a bunch of then-undefeated teams (Atlanta, the Jets, Baltimore and Denver), New England winds up with two winless opponents (Tennessee and Tampa Bay) for consecutive weeks.

The New York Jets lost in overtime to the Buffalo Bills at the Meadowlands in E. Rutherford, NJ, 16-13. Joe Namath was 10 of 29 for 119 yards with five turnovers after taking a 13-3 lead today.....wait. Did I say Joe Namath? I did it again....I keep getting him and Mark Sanchez mixed up for some reason. Mark Sanchez was 10 for 29, with 119 yards and five interceptions today. [Five? Wait- that's as many interceptions from Mark Sanchez all day as touchdowns from Tom Brady had in the 2nd quarter- NANESB!]. This brings the Jets record to 3-3, with a 1-2 record within the AFC East.

Boston College running back Montel Harris rushed for 264 yards and 5 TDs as the Eagles beat the North Carolina State Wolfpack 52-20 in former Eagle's coach Tom O'Briens return to Chestnut Hill. Harris broke the school's records for touchdowns in a single game and yardage in a single game; the previous best was 253 in 1972 by Phil Bennet [Yes, I had to look that up- NANESB!]. The Eagles are now 5-2 and take on the 4-2 Fighting Irish next week at South Bend.

Phoenix's Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 22 of the 23 shots he faced for a 4-1 Coyotes win over the Boston Bruins at Glendale, AZ Saturday night. The Bruins also have traded RW Chuck Kobasew to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for RWs Craig Weller and Alexander Fallstrom on Sunday. The next game for the B's will be at home against the Nashville Predators on October 21st.

BREAKING: Senior Iranian Military Commanders Among 37 Killed in Suicide Bombing.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A suicide bomber killed five senior commanders of the powerful Revolutionary Guard and at least 37 others Sunday near the Pakistani border in the heartland of a potentially escalating Sunni insurgency.

The attack — which also left dozens wounded — was the most high-profile strike against security forces in an outlaw region of armed tribal groups, drug smugglers and Sunni rebels known as Jundallah, or Soldiers of God.
That really would be too bad about any civilians killed in the attack. Of course there's not telling how many jailed, dead and 'disappeared' Iranian citizens there are from this springs post-election protests in Iran at the hands of the Revolutionary Guard and Basij.

As for the Revolutionary Guard commanders- what can I say? Not so fun being on the receiving end of those, is it Mahmoud?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Today's Train of Thought: Life in a Northern Town- Oct 17, 2009

Today's Train of thought come to us from contributor Craig Williams as he documents a Minnesota Southern local through dowtown Adrian, MN. Here, Minnestoa Southern #1379 is seen passing through what could be a Garrison Keilor monolgue after it's just picked up 8 cars from the Union Pacific interchange a few miles away in Worthington.

Miss World Singapore STRIPPED.....

Of her crown....jeez....calm down people! It's not like that was a misleading headline or anything.
19 year old Ris Low was found guilty by a Subordinate Court in May this year of mutliple counts of identity theft, misappropriation and using illegaly-obtained credit cards, apparently using credit cards lost or forgotten by clients of the medical clinic she worked at. Court documents show that Ms Low purchased gold jewely, a cell phone, lingerie and food and drinks at upscale resautrants. The court sentenced her to 24 months of supervised probation.