Friday, April 30, 2010

Today's Train of Thought- The Ozarks Become the Smokies; April 30 2010

Despite being out of business for 40 years, there remains a certain brand-loyalty to locomotives manufactured by ALCO. Not surprisingly, a good number of the railroads that still use ALCO locomotives are in New York state, not far from the site of ALCO's Schenectady, NY headquarters. However, there are ALCO holdouts as far away as Arizona or even Argentina.

One such holdout is the Arkansas & Missouri railroad, operating 140 miles of former St. Louis-San Francisco ('Frisco') trackage from Ft. Smith, AR through the Ozarks and to a BNSF interchange in the Southwestern corner of Missouri. The line was completed by the Frisco in 1882 and stayed in company hands through the Burlington Northern's 1980 acquisition of the SLSF. In 1986, Burlington Northern decided to lease the line to Tony Hannold's Arkansas & Missouri Railroad. Almost immediately, the A&M cobbled together a roster of ALCO C420s from railroads like the Delaware & Hudson, Indiana Hi Rail and British Columbia Rail, along with smaller ALCO end-cab and road-switchers brought in from Hannold's other shortline operations on the Delmarva Peninsula. The A&M interchanges with the Kansas City Southern and Pioneer Railcorp's Ft. Smith Railroad in Ft Smith, AR; the Union Pacific in Van Bueren, AR and the BNSF in Monnet, MO.

The A&M purchased the line outright from BNSF in 2001 and upgraded the line over the next few years with continuous welded rail. Besides freight and switching, the A&M also offers seasonal excursions on their line between Springdale and Ft. Smith, AR with passenger cars provided by Boston Mountain chapter of the NRHS. Films like Biloxi Blues and Forces of Nature have been filmed along the A&M as well.

Of course, the A&M's bread and butter is freight- primarily grain and feed as well as scrap metal, plastics, food products and lumber. Above, we see A&M C420 #60 (former D&H 413, nee Lehigh Valley 413) on the northern end of the railroad at Butterfield, MO on April 15, 2010. contributor Dane Carlisle caught the quartet of C420s doing what an ALCO does best as they throttle up getting ready to deliver a cut of cars to the nearby grain elevator. A quarter century of the hard-pulling, sure-footed ALCOs still working away in the Ozarks. What's not to love?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday Night Cuppa Chowdah- Jays Feeling Blue After Lester Shutout; Sox to Take a Roll of the Dice-K; Climate Controlled- C's Finish Off Heat

(Darren Calabrese/Canadian Press)
MLB: After giving up 12 runs in the series opener at Toronto on Monday night, the Red Sox pitching staff would go on to allow exactly one run against the Blue Jays lineup in the next two games.

On Tuesday night, Clay Buchholz went 8 innings while giving up seven hits, one run striking out four and walking two on 117 pitches. With Papelbon having the night off, Ramon Ramirez had a 1-2-3 bottom of the 9th to close out the game for his first save. Although Toronto would get on the board first with a Vernon Wells RBI double in the bottom of the first, the Red Sox would get the equalizer on a Jeremy Hermida single that plated Big Papi from 2nd base. The Sox would get the go-ahead run on a bases-loaded walk to Mike Lowell to make it a 2-1 game.

And as good as Buchholz was on Tuesday, Lester followed up with an even more impressive outing the following night, giving up just one hit and striking out 11 in seven innings of work. Darnell McDonald scored on a Pedroia sac-fly in the 6th and drove in Adrian Bletre on a single in the 7th to put Boston up 2-0. The only hit Lester allowed was a leadoff double to Vernon Wells in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Daniel Bard would keep it a scoreless game despite giving up a leadoff double to Alex Gonzalez, and Papelbon would come on to close out the game for his 7th save of the season.

The win gives Boston it's first sweep of the season and puts them at 11-11. The Red Sox had tonight off, but will travel to Camden Yards for a weekend series against Baltimore. David Hernandez is slated to start for the O's while John Lackey will get the start for the Sox.

Other Red Sox News: Dice-K's back! Boston will reportedly have him start on Saturday against Baltimore while moving Tim Wakefield to the bullpen to accomodate Matsuzaka in the starting rotation. Matsuzaka had thrown a 69-pitch simulated game earlier in the week.

Red Sox executive Jeremy Kapstein has submitted paperwork to run for Leuitenant Governor of Rhode Island earlier today. Kapstein will be running as a Democrat and face a primary challenge from current Lt. Gov Elizabeth Roberts. Kapstein was a former agent and is currently the senior advisor for Baseball Projects in the Red Sox organization.

MLB Broadcaster Poll Results: My oh my! Looks like we had some visitors from the Northwest, as the Mariner's Dave Niehaus had a pretty strong showing in my MLB Broadcaster poll. However, L.A's Vin Scully edged out Niehaus, getting 29% of the votes. Niehaus finished second with 21% of the votes and Boston's Joe Castiglione placed 3rd with 11% of the vote tally. Hall of Fame broadcasters like Milo Hamilton, Bob Uecker and Jon Hamilton recieved around 5% of the total votes.

Speaking of Hall of Fame baseball broadcasters, the month of April marks a couple of milestones- some somber, like the one year anniversary of the passing of Phillies broadcaster (and NFL Films narrarator) Harry Kalas.

And I know I'm several weeks late on this, but this month also marks the 36th anniversary of Hank Aaron eclipsing Babe Ruth's home run record. It was a home game for the Braves as they hosted the LA Dodgers on April 8th, 1974 and the game was being televised nationally on NBC. Milo Hamilton was the Braves announcer at the time, while the legendary Curt Gowdy was calling the game for NBC and Vin Scully had been calling the games for the Dodgers since they were in Brooklyn. I hope you enjoy the audio from this clip I came across on YouTube.

Other MLB News: It was announced earlier this week that Milwaukee Brewers broadcaster Bob Uecker will undergo heart surgery on Friday. Uecker's cardiologist said that Uecker had a heart murmur that was likely brought about by a small leak in the aortic valve. The 2003 Ford C Frick winner is expected to miss anywhere from 10-12 weeks while recovering from the procedure. We here at Not Another New England Sports Blog wish Mr. Uecker a speedy recovery and look forward to hearing his voice calling Milwaukee games again.

Nathaniel S Butler/Getty Images

NBA: The Celtics finished off their 1st round series against Miami with a 96-86 win over the Miami Heat at the Garden Tuesday night. Leading by as much as 21 points during the game, Miami cut into the C's lead to make it a 3-point game with about 10 minutes left in regulation before Boston was able to pull away once again. Miami's Dwayne Wade was good for 31 points while Ray Allen had 24 for Boston. Rajon Rondo was good for 16 points and 8 rebounds while Paul Pierce had 21 points and 7 rebounds.

With the Cleveland Cavaliers win to finish off the Bulls for their 1st round series on Tuesday night, this sets up a Cavs-Celtics matchup for second round of the NBA playoffs [Would I come across as too dismissive of the Magic or Hawks if I called the Boston/Cleveland matchup 'The REAL Eastern Conference Finals'?- NANESB!]. Game one of the series is set for Saturday night at Cleveland.

NHL: OK....file this under 'H' for 'Holy Crap! I DID NOT See That Coming!'. Earlier, when I mentioned that the Bruins would wind up playing the Flyers if the #8 seeded Montreal Canadiens beat the President's Trophy-winning Washington Capitals, I meant that you should expect Boston to play the Penguins instead.

Well, after trailing 3-1 in the series to Washington, Montreal came back to force a Game 7 which took place last night. Montreal led 2-0 for much of the game, keeping the Caps off the board until the final 2 minutes of regulation when Washington's Brooks Laich finally figured out how to get one past the Habs Jaroslav Halak. While Halak lost the shutout bid, he did make 41 saves to hold on for the 2-1 win and the improbable series win over the heavily favored Caps. This means that the bottom three seeds in the Eastern conference (#6 Boston, #7 Philadelphia and #8 Montreal) all advance to the next round.

Boston will take on Philly for game 1 Saturday afternoon while Montreal's rally earns them a matchup with the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.

Other NHL News: The Buffalo Sabres have picked up the 1-year option on coach Lindy Ruff's contract, keeping him with the Sabres for the 13th straight season.

A District Without a Congressman & A Candidate Without An Election- The Curious Case of New York's 29th District

Since Representative Eric Tickle-Me-Massa's abrupt resignation in early March, New York's 29th Congressional District has apparently been languishing without a representative, with no special election to fill the vacant seat on the horizon.

This story doesn't seem to be getting much play outside of Albany or the district itself. In some states, a suddenly vacant US House or Senate seat can be appointed by a governor, such as when Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick appointed Paul Kirk when Ted Kennedy passed away last summer. In other states, the governor is required to schedule a date for a special election to fill the vacated seat. We're presently seeing an example of this in Pennsylvania, where Gov. Rendell called for an election set to take place in May to fill the seat in Pennsylvania's 12th district left vacant by the death of John Murtha.

New York is one of those states that requires a special election to fill a vacant seat, with the election date determined by the governor such as last year's race in New York's 23rd Congressional district. However, it appears that the unelected Governor- David Patterson- is dragging his feet on setting up an election date for the 29th district.

We have some serious concerns about the financial impact that a special election could have on the county level, especially because those counties are facing the same fiscal crisis that the state is facing,” said Maggie McKeon, a spokeswoman for the governor. “Furthermore, the Governor has no interest in disenfranchising military voters who are overseas, and who may not be given adequate time to vote given the short time frame of a special election calendar. This is some of what is being considered, but no final decision has been made yet.”
Ah yes.....those pesky concerns over the financial impact; Because nothing says 'deficit hawk' like a Northeastern Democrat.

While it's true that New York state certainly has its share of financial woes, one has to wonder if something else is behind the prolonged delay in setting up an election for NY-29.

Republican and former mayor of Corning, NY Tom Reed is currently a candidate without an election. Reed and others see a possible political motivation in Gov. Patterson's delay, possibly buying time for the Democrats to field a viable candidate from the district or have the election held when reports of Massa's actions aren't as prominently in the news cycle [although I don't think memories are that short in NY-29- NANESB!].

"I would assume it’s for political purposes. I don’t understand it. The governor has already said he would call it as soon as possible,” Reed said of the delay. “Whatever the election results are, we’ve just got to get it done.”

Going back to last year, it took Gov. Patterson all of eight calendar days to call for a special election in NY-23 when the Representative John McHugh vacated his post after being nominated Secretary of the Army. It's been nearly a month since Gov. Patterson's office even made a public statement regarding NY-29.

In theory, NY 29 could go without representation in Washington DC between now and November. Think of all the issues that could come down the pike between now and November....hell, nobody was there to represent NY-29 when the House put 0bamacare to a vote last month. And we're supposed to believe the reason why is because the Democratic 'leadership' in the state has abruptly discovered fiscal responsibility?

I think the folks along the Southern Tier deserve better than Patterson's excuses.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Congress, Obama Resume War on Rich Uncle Pennybags Wall Street.


Less than 2 weeks after Henry Waxman (D-Nostril-ia) threatened to haul the CEOs of Verizon, Caterpillar, 3M, Valero and basically any company that said that 0bamacare would eat into their earnings and harm already existing company healthcare and pensions plans before Congress, Napoleon from Orwell's Animal Farm Waxman has apparently done an about-face.

In lieu of that, we're treated to a dog and pony show chock filled with phony and contrived outrage from Congress over Goldman-Sachs' [NYSE: GS] 'unbridled greed' during the sub-prime lending crisis back in 2008.

I'm not sure, but I think the desired reaction from the public is supposed to be 'GRRRRRR! Those greedy fat-cats at Goldman-Sachs make me so ANGRY! RAAAAAR!! FENWAY SMASH!!!' or something along those lines while overlooking how the Democrats in charge of this week's sad little sideshow as well as Obama himself had benefited mightily from campaign contributions from Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan [which I'm sure they'll be giving back immediately- NANESB].

Even if I made the idiotic assumption that Congress was sincerely calling upon lenders and financial institutions like Goldman Sachs to further explain their activities during the 2008 crisis, I gotta wonder how come Fannie Mae [NYSE: FNM] and Freddie Mac [NYSE: FRE] aren't getting the same treatment as Goldman Sachs from this Congress.

Assuming Goldman Sachs IS guilty of any wrongdoing, maybe the Securities and Exchange Commission could've caught it sooner if their regulators weren't using work computers to surf porn sites for up to 8 hours at a time....on the taxpayer dime, no less.

On a not completely unrelated story, the GOP blocked a vote to allow debate on Chris Dodd's Financial 'reform' legislation earlier today. If you remember less than 2 years ago, it was revealed that Sen. Dodd (D-CT and Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee) had recieved preferntial treatment on mortgages from Countrywide Bank. Earlier this year, Dodd announced that he wouldn't seek re-election and some view his 'reform' bill as Dodd's swan song.

Sweeping nationalization of a sector of the economy cloyingly referred to by this President and Congress as 'reform'. Hmm....sounds familiar.

Tuesday Cuppa Sports Chowdah- Buffalo Shuffles Off in 1st Round; Sox Nearly Blue It in Toronto; Heat Seeking Another Elusive Win Against C's

Wow- where does the time go? After a pretty lackluster weekend where the Bruins dropped Game 5 against Buffalo, the Sox drop a Sunday game to Baltimore and the Celtics lost to Miami in Game 4, this week is off to a pretty good start.

NHL: The Boston Bruins held on to beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 at the Garden Monday night, giving them the 4-2 series win.

The Bruins will await the outcome of the Montreal/Washington series to determine who they'll face in the next round- Montreal won 4-1 to force a Game 7 in their 1st round series with the Capitals. Should Washington win, the Bruins will face Pittsburgh in the next round. If Montreal wins, Boston will face Philly.

For the first time in the series, Boston scored first when David Kejci tipped a Mark Recchi shot in past Ryan Miller at the 13:39 mark in the 1st. Inceidentally, that marks Recchi's 75th career assisst in the playoffs. Recchi would make it a 2-0 game on a 4 on 3 power play early in the 2nd before the Sabres would get a marker from Patrick Kaleta with 13:26 remaining in the period.

Krejci would get his second goal of the night to give the Bruins a 2-goal lead just over the 7 minute mark of the 3rd period. Only 22 seconds later, Buffalo would make it a one goal game again when Michael Ryder turned over the puck to the Sabre's Nathan Gerbe, who shot it past Rask to make it a 3-2 game.

With just over 5 minutes left in regulation, Miroslav Satan would give the Bruins some much-needed insurance when Dennis Wideman shot a puck on net that would bounce off of Milan Lucic's stick before Satan would get it in past Ryan Miller to make it 4-2.

The 2-goal lead came in handy when the Sabres pulled Ryan Miller fo the extra attacker and Thomas Vanek scored with 73 seconds left in the game to make it 4-3. However, Boston would hang on for the series win.

Overall, Tukka Rask stopped 27 of 30 shots faced while Miller stopped 28 of 32 shots faced (I didn't hear the horn go off prematurely like the last game at the Garden, though).

Regrettably, the game was not televised nationally so I was unable to see it. I was able to follow it on XM, however.

Other Bruins News: Marc Savard has been cleared to play according to Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli. Speaking in a conference call earlier today, Chiarelli said that Savard got the thumbs-up to skate from Dr. Jeremy Schmahamann on Monday.

MLB: If last night's Red Sox/Blue Jays game seemed like it took forever, at four hours and three minutes, it probably wasn't just your imagination.

Jason Varitek went 3 for 5 and had 4 RBI's in Monday's game- as many as he had for the whole season. Meanwhile, Marco Scutaro scored a career-high 4 runs in a 13-12 slugfest at the Rogers Center. Josh Beckett only lasted 3 innings and saw his ERA shoot up to 7.22 while Scott Schoenweis was credited with the win and Jonathan Papelbon came on for a 1-2-3 bottom of the 9th and the save. The Red Sox win their first game of 2010 against Toronto 13-12, but as you can imagine, it wasn't pretty.

Tonight's game will have the Jay's Shaun Marcum starting against Clay Buccholz.

NBA: After taking a 3-0 series lead on the road in Miami Friday night, the Celtics lost their first road game of the playoffs Sunday to the Miami Heat, including a 46 point performance by Dwayne Wade for a 101-92 final. Game 5 starts tonight at the Garden.

NFL:After one day of Draft-a-palooza, the Pats selected Rutgers CB Devin McCourty in the is round. But apparently there was more to come after that.

In the second round, New England selected Arizona TE Rob Gronkowski (42nd overall), DE Jermaine Cunningham (53rd overall) and LB Brandon Spikes (62nd overall) both from Florida. While for the 3rd round, the Patriots selected Ohio WR Taylor Price (90th).

On Monday, the Patriots announced that they cut Pro Bowl linebacker Adelius Thomas.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Arizona Governor Signs Strict Illegal Immigration Bill Into Law; Draws Ire From Obama Administration

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on Friday signed into law a bill that would allow police to check on somebody's immigration status in a state that has seen an exponential increase in drug smuggling and human trafficking in recent years. The language of the law makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally. It also allows for law enforcement to question people on their immigration status, allows for litigation against government agencies that hinder the enforcement of immigration laws and makes it illegal to hire or transport illegals for day labor.

Passage of the law comes less than a month after the murder of 58 year old Arizona rancher Robert Krentz on his property in Cochise County. Investigators from the Border Patrol and Cochise County Sherriff's Department reportedly found footprints at the crime scene that led all the way back to the Mexican border, some 25 miles from Krentz's property.

Useless, Pandering Pud-In-Chief President Obama called the bill 'misguided' and said the Arizona bill threatens “to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans..".

The only time I remember President Obama addressing the ongoing state of affairs along the US/Mexican border was to use the spiralling narco-insurgency in Mexico as a call to enact stricter gun-control in the USA. Not a peep from the Southern Poverty Law Center after Krentz and his dog were gunned down on their property, either.

According to critics of the bill, the Arizona state legislature had nothing else to do with their free time but draft up a 'We-hate-Hispanics' bill. Al Sharpton, Chuck Schumer and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg reportedly aren't too happy with the new Arizona law, either. Interestingly, none of these worthless puds lives in a state that borders a perpetually corrupt and dysfunctional third world nation replete with a bloody drug war that's killed thousands and has seen an exponential increase in human trafficking and drug smuggling. Phoenix, AZ was also recently named the 'kidnap capital of the USA' and there has been a general increase in murders, assaults, home-invasion robberies that corresponds with the uptick of violence between the cartels and the Mexican military.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Blue State Graft Watch Update: Feds Shut Down Giannoulias Family's Broadway Bank

Federal regulators shut down a bank owned by the family of Illinois Treasurer and Democrat candidate for US Senate Alexi Giannoulias Friday afternoon. Chicago-based MB Financial bank has taken over the deposits of Broadway, whose four branches will open up next week under MB Financial's control.

While running for Illinois state Treasurer in 2006, Giannoulias touted his experience at his family's bank as qualifying him for the office. The troubled bank made loans worth no less than $22 Million to at least two different organized crime figures while Alexi was the chief loan officer.

No word on how this will affect his Senate campaign, but some Chicago papers are already describing an 'emotional' Alexi Giannoulias 'fighting back tears'. C2's 3Wood is reporting that the Giannoulias family saw this coming and aparently helped themselves to about $70 Million in dividends before regulators closed down Broadway Bank.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fugitive Irish Mobster Whitey Bulger In British Columbia?

Police and FBI agents visited the two largest bookstores in Victoria, British Columbia to circulate posters with a picture of #4 on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List, former Winter Hill Gang leader, current fugitive Southie and octogenarian James 'Whitey' Bulger. There are warrants out for Bulger's arrest on charges of money laundering, extortion, racketeering, drug trafficking and at least 19 counts of murder between the early 1970s to mid 1980s. Law enforcement is focusing on bookstores in the area because the fugitive Bulger is reportedly a history buff.

Bulger continued his criminal activities while being recruited as an FBI informant in the early 1970s. Agents in the Boston office of the FBI willingly overlooked Bulger's ongoing criminal activites with the Winter Hill gang- up to and including murder- in exchange for information from Bulger about the rival Providence, RI-based Patriarca crime family's operations.

Tipped off by then-FBI agent John Connolly about sealed indictments from the Justice Department prior to Christmas 1994, Bulger went on the run. In 1999, he was placed on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List and subject to an Interpol 'Red Notice' (immediate extradition requested) in 2007. The last credible sighting of Bulger was in 2002 in London, England by a British businessman who recognized him after meeting Bulger at a hotel gym in the early 1990s.
Bulger's younger brother William would go on to be a Massachusetts state senator and University of Massachusetts President, although he would resign from the latter position after testifying that, while president of the Massachusetts State Senate, he went to a pre-arranged location to avoid electroinic survaillence and wiretapping while taking a phone call from his fugitive brother.

[Hat tip: Friends of Ours]

Extra Helping of Sports Chowdah- Anybody Else Feel a Draft? Great Satan Burns Former Team in 2OT; Rangers Coralled in 12

NFL Draft: In the first round, with the 27th overall selection, the New England Patriots drafted former Rutgers cornerback Devin McCourty. See? I just saved you several Erin Andrews-less hours of your life that you could've squandered watching ESPN's wall-to-wall draft coverage.

NHL: The Bruins rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the 3rd period of Wednesday's Game 4 matchup against the Buffalo Sabres to tie the contest at 2-2. David Krejci scored Boston's first power play goal since Game 1 to make it a one-goal game just over two minutes into the 3rd. Bergeron would follow suit with a tally to even things at two goals a piece and Tukka Rask kept the Sabres off the board in the 3rd by making several dramatic saves like this:

Of course, Ryan Miller returned the favor in overtime, getting his mitts on a big juicy rebound that everybody from shooter Miroslav Satan to the scoreboard operator thought was destined for the back of the net.

However, you can't keep a good Satan down....even if it takes an extra overtime. Called for too many men on the ice at the 5:50 mark of the 2nd OT, the Bruins would go on their 7th power play of the night.

The Bruins take a 3-1 series lead with the chance to finish off the Sabres tonight at HSBC Arena in Buffalo. Tukka Rask stopped 35 of 37 shots faced while Miller stopped 36 of 39 shots faced throughout regulation and overtime. This is one of those rare instances where we're treated to an outstanding performance in net at both ends of the ice without having to use it as an excuse for why the Bruins lost a meaningful game. The save percentages and other abstract statistics don't do justice for either Rask or Miller's performance, which is why I felt the need to embed the videos above.

MLB: While the Bruins were going the distance (and then some) against the Sabres at the Garden, a few stops down on the orange line (before transferring to the green line) at Fenway, the Red Sox needed all of 12 innings to get past the Texas Rangers. Josh Beckett continued to struggle, going seven innings and giving up 7 runs on seven hits and five walks. There was a JD Drew sighting, as he belted a grand slam in the bottom of the 3rd. Darnell McDonald and Mike Lowell also homered for Boston in the game while Daniel Bard and Papelbon came on for two innings of relief each and only giving up one hit. Hideki Okajima had a 1-2-3 top of the 12th inning while the Ranger's Dustin Nippert would give up a 1-out single to Marco Scutaro. Scutaro would then tag up and just beat the throw into 2nd on JD Drew's fly ball to center and the decision was made to intentionally walk Dustin Pedroia to get bring up Kevin Youkilis, who doubled to dep center field to give the Red Sox the 8-7 win on Wednesday.

However, Boston's modest 2 game win streak would come to an end last night when the Rangers CJ Wilson would shut out Boston in 6 and 2/3rds innings of work for the 3-0 win. Clay Buchholz would strike out 10 and give up 6 hits and 3 runs in his outing- also 6 and 2/3rds innings.

Presently, the Red Sox record is at 6-10, 'good' for 4th place in the AL East. The Sox will play host to the Baltimore Orioles with Jeremy Guthrie getting the start against Jon Lester.

Other Red Sox News: The timetable for Jacoby Ellsbury's return has been put in question after doctors discovered hairline fractures in four of his ribs. Dr. Thomas Gil said that his return would be dependent on the symptoms, saying that as long as he felt he could comfortable run, swing and field effectively, then he can return.

NBA: Its been awhile hasn't it? Just a reminder that game 3 of the Celtics series against Miami takes place tonight. Boston currently holds a 2-0 lead in the series after their fairly brutal 29 point beatdown of Miami on Tuesday night.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's Bettie Page Day!

Right on the heels of what would've been Jayne Mansfield's birthday is what would've been Bettie Page's 87th birthday. Why should all the self-righteous environmentalists and hippies have April 22nd to themselves? I'm starting to think the raven-haired pin-up from Tennessee should get her own holiday. Sure she had issues later on in life marked by acute schizophrenia, assault charges and being placed in a California state mental hospital, but c' is that any worse than murdering hippie and one of Earth Day's founding fathers Ira Einhorn? Hell- we could even observe Mansfield and Paige's birthdays on the same day like what's been done with Washington and Lincoln's birthday.

Curiously, Bettie Page was named Playboy's Playmate of the Month in January 1955. According to wikipedia, Playmate of the Month for February 1955 was none other than Jayne Mansfield [I'm not exactly an in-house expert on Playmates of the Month, but I imagine those respective issues would be worth a small fortune to collectors circa 2010- NANESB!].

Bettie Mae Page was born in Nashville, TN on April 22, 1923. Her early life has been the subject of speculation and innuendo both online and in the biopic The Notorious Bettie Page. But that almost seems irrelevant once the uninhibited Page found herself in front of the camera lens. Perhaps the most iconic images were from a 1954 photo shoot with model/photographer Bunny Yeager that took place in a Florida wilderness park. Page posed both nude and in lingerie with two live cheetahs (and lived to tell the tale) for the shoot.

Leopard-print lingerie- now with 100% more leopard!

Today's Train of Thought- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia; April 22nd 2010

The home opener for the 2010 Phillies season was right around the corner when contributor PRR 6755 caught a quartet of veteran EMD locomotives tiptoeing their way across west Philly with an intermodal train.

The red EMD locomotives are not following Roy Halliday down from Canada, however. This is Canadian Pacific train 164, with red and white SD40-2 #5775 on the point, a grey rent-a-wreck SD40-2 from Citi financial, another red and white CP SD40-2 and a GP38-2 sporting the newer 'golden rodent' logo bringing up the rear. Train 164 is seen in the final stretch of its journey from Montreal to Philadelphia.

Visitors from the great white North aren't so unusual in the City of Brotherly Love. Canadian Pacific inherited trackage rights into Philadelphia with their 1991 acquisition of the Delaware & Hudson over what was then Conrail. In 1996, Conrail spun off their Allentown-Scranton, PA line and sold it to the Reading & Northern. Between Allentown and Philadelphia, Canadian Pacific utilizes CSX trackage rights, which includes their high-flying former Pennsylvania Railroad Trenton Line.

Norfolk Southern and Canadian Pacific have a reciprocating agreement- CP trains are allowed to operate over NS between Detroit and Chicago to access CP subsidiary Soo Line as well as the D&H trackage rights into Philadelphia and Harrisburg via Binghampton, NY while Norfolk Southern trains are allowed to operate over CP's former D&H line between Binghampton and Mechanicsville, NY to interchange with Pan Am Railroad (formerly Boston & Maine) giving NS access to New England.

Amused Obama: Tea Party Protestors 'Should Be Thanking Me'

Whether it's spending Christmas in a spacious Oahu villa or speaking to donors at a $30,000 a head fundraiser in singer Gloria Estefan's Miami Beach mansion, let it not be said that Obama's ever lost his touch with the common man.

"We cut taxes for 95 percent of working Americans, just like I promised we would on the campaign," Obama said.
“So I've been a little amused over the last couple of days where people have been having these rallies, about taxes. You would think they would be saying, "Thank you!" That's what you'd think!
Really? 95% of working Americans? Of course, now that I think about it, there's been alot less of those since President Obama was sworn in. Assuming I took what the president had to say at face value (which would be a fool's errand), I'd have to wonder how much of this wonderful, fantabulous 95% savings would be negated by various fees, mandates and stealth taxes in 0bamacare and other legislation that's waiting in the wings. Plus I have a hard time imagining that the words 'Thank you!' were the first things on the minds of the ongoing parade of motorists dropping their completed tax forms at the mailboxes adjacent to post office that was the venue for last week's Tea Party protest.

Like I predicted last fall, instead of holding off on their job-killing legislative agenda, it looks as though this Administration and Congress and their enablers in the media are establishing the narrative that the high nationwide unemployment rate is part of the 'new normal' and that we're in the midst of a 'jobless recovery'.

Well, like the man said, I guess we should be thanking President Obama. Thank you for this 'Jobless Recovery' and new normal of 9%+ unemployment rate, Mr. President!

Guess we don't know how good we have it. Exactly who should we thank for that?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tuesday Night Sports Chowdah Morsels- McDonald's Lovin' It In Sox Win; Sabres Sheathed by B's; Heat Dampened By KG-Less C's

(AP/Wilson Towson)

RED SOX: Well, after yesterday's embarrassing loss to Tampa Bay in the Patriot's Day game, one would think it couldn't get much worse. I mean, it's not as though the Sox would give up almost as many stolen bases as they had in the 4-game sweep at the hands of Tampa Bay in one game against the Rangers in Tuesday night's opening game of the series at Fenway.


From the looks of it, I'd say everybody's pretty much figured out Wakefield's knuckelball except Victor Martinez. The Rangers Nelson Cruz and Elvis Andrus combined for one-third of the Rangers nine stolen bases- a club record for Texas and Boston. All nine bases were swiped with Wakefield on the mound and Martinez behind the plate.

Believe it or not, it got better.....and I'm not even being sarcastic here. It was a 2-run game when Manny Del Carmen came on the relive the knuckleballer Wakefield in the top of the 7th. After giving up two fly balls, a walk and a strikeout to keep it a 6-4 game in the 7th Del Carmen started off the top of the 8th with the same score, Varitek behind the plate and getting the first two batters to ground out. Del Carmen walked Andrus and Hideki Okajima came on to relieve him only to give up a single and a walk to load the bases before getting Vlad Guererro to pop out and end the inning.

Varitek would hit a leadoff double to start the bottom of the 8th and one Pawtucket call up would replace another when Darnell McDonald would pinch-hit for Josh Reddick (who went 1 for 3 with 2 RBI for the evening). Now, I'd like to think that I'm reasonably up on who's in the pipeline over in Pawtucket.....but if I told you that I had heard of Darnell McDonald before, I would basically be lying my ass off. McDonald signed a minor-league deal with Boston in December 2009 and has been hitting .341 with 2 HR and 8 RBI in AAA Pawtucket.

And he knows how to make a first impression. In his first Red Sox at bat and with 'Tek at 2nd base McDonald belted a 2-2 offering from Darren Oliver into the Monster seats to tie the game at 6-6. This would be the first time a player hit a homer in his first Red Sox at bat since Orlando Cabrera in 2004 at the Metrodome against the Twins.

Papelbon would come on to relieve Okajima in the top of the 9th and not allow a run before the Rangers' Frank Francisco managed to load the bases in the bottom of the 9th after Youkilis' leadoff single and two intentional walks (one to Mike Lowell and another to 'Tek). And with two out and the bases loaded in a tie game in the bottom of the 9th, who should appear? None other than this Darnell McDonald chap, who had earlier demonstrated himself to be quite the capable hitter. Just in case the game-tying 2-run homer wasn't enough to leave an impression, how about a walk-off grand slam?

Ha ha....just kidding. But how about a walkoff 2-out bases-loaded RBI wall-ball in the bottom of the 9th? That's pretty good in that it hits the wall and makes some noise, and when all is said and done, the end result is the same as a grand slam. I'll take it, and I imagine McDonald will take it as well. Congratulations and welcome to Boston, Darnell McDonald!

Other Sox-Centric News: Mike Cameron and Jacoby Ellsbury have been placed on the 15-day DL, which is what prompted Reddick and McDonald's call-up from Pawtucket in the first place. Cameron was a late scratch from the lineup in the Patriot's Day game against Tampa Bay and was placed on the DL retroactive to April 19.

Other MLB News: Colorado Rockies owner Keli McGregor was found dead in his Salt Lake City hotel room Tuesday. Salt Lake City police say that two of McGregor's associates were unable to get in touch with him and somebody entered the room and found the 48-year old McGregor unconscious at around 9AM Mountain time this morning. Detectives say there are no initial signs of forced entry or foul play.
(Elsa/Getty Images)
NHL: The Bruins opened up the home portion of their series against the Buffalo Sabres in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night. Buffalo would score early, but not often when a Mike Grier goal put Buffalo up with just under 7 minutes into the first period. Dennis Wideman would get one past Ryan Miller to deadlock the contest at 1-1.

The deadlock would not be broken until just over 7 minutes remaining in the game when Patrice Bergeron got a quick shot off from the right circle that would beat Ryan Miller. The Bruins would hold off a late flurry by the Sabres when they pulled Miller for the extra attacker. No empty-net goal this time around, but they did manage to get the faceoff in the Buffalo end and kill off the clock from there. Tukka Rask stopped 32 of 33 shots while Ryan Miller stopped 27 of 29 shots faced. The shot totals for Boston in the last 2 games combines for 59 shots on goal.

It's worth noting that the Sabres are without the services of their regular season scoring leader Thomas Vanek (28 goals, 25 assists) who is listed as day-to-day with an injured foot. LW Jochen Hecht, who had 21 goals and 21 assists for Buffalo this season is expected to be out for at least 2 weeks after having surgery on one of his fingers. Sabres RW Drew Stafford also made an appearance, playing for the first time since suffering a concussion on April 10.

As for Boston, there's been a Marc Savard sighting! Savard skated for about half an hour Monday. He could be medically cleared to play this week, although he wouldn't likely start playing unless Boston advances to the second round.

The two teams will go at it again tomorrow night from the Garden.

NBA: Game 2 of the 1st round of the NBA playoffs had to start without Kevin Garnett thanks to Saturday night's shenanigans. Miami at one point actually had the lead, 29-25, after a Jermaine O'Neal dunk, but Boston would go on a 44-8 run over the next 16 and a half minutes of playing time to take a 69-37 lead. Garnett wasn't allowed in the Garden but appeared on a pre-recorded message on the scoreboard during a timeout late in the first half.

Boston wins Tuesday night's game handily, 106-77. The series shifts to Miami Friday night.

Images of Lightning, Molten Lava & Ash From Eyjafjallajokull Provide Hellish, Otherworldly Rorschach Test

(Image: AP/Daily Mail)

The eruption from Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano is expected to intensify further this week, playing even more havoc with European and Trans-Atlantic air travel as the massive cloud of ash continues to expand.

However, the display has provided those foolhardy or intrepid enough to venture close with a camera some striking, otherworldly displays of molten magma, superheated ash and lightning. So what do you see in the image above? The wrathful Norse god of Vengeance Vali gazing angrily down upon the mere mortals that now inhabit this world after being awaken from his millenial slumber? Or fluffy bunnies having a picnic?

You decide.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Happy Birthday Jayne Mansfield!

Today marked what would've been the 77th birthday of the late Jayne Mansfield. Mansfield was killed during a car crash back in 1967. The curvy, voluptuous starlet was born in this day in 1933 in Bryn Mawr, PA. Besides a career in modeling and acting, the buxom Platinum blonde bombshell participated in some contrived publicity stunts some 50 years before the phrase 'wardrobe malfunction' was even coined.
And I cannot let any mention of Jayne Mansfield pass without this photo of her and Sophia Loren sitting at the same of those 'a picture's worth a thousand words' deals.

One of Mansfield's daughters was in the car the night of that fatal wreck. Her name was Mariska Hargitay and she survived the crash and would go on to a career as a model and actress herself, perhaps best know for her role as Detective Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. She even does her own stunts, suffering a collapsed lung during a 2008 shoot for the long-running TV series.
Wyatt Earp reports that curvy, voluptuous actresses are still considered desirable by many in the public to this day.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sports Chowdah Weekend Re-Cap; B's & C's Rally in Playoff Wins; Sox Hit Hard by Death Rays; Proud Papa-lbon

Remember when I said last week that they can't all be gems? The Red Sox provided a stark reminder of that in their weekend home stand against Tampa Bay while the Bruins and Celtics had a pretty good weekend.

MLB: The Red Sox second homestand was off to a forgettable start as they dropped the first three games against Tampa Bay. Friday night's game was tied at 1-1 and suspended in the bottom of the 9th and resumed Saturday which the Red Sox lost on a 2-run Pat Burrell homer in the 12th inning. Then Burrell had a 3-RBI double to lead off the Saturday's game that the Rays would go on to win 5-6. I had a chance to see the nationally televised game Sunday on TBS which had Jon Lester go up against Matt Garza in which the Sox were on the receiving end of a 7-1 spanking [I curse the sporting gods for being able to tune into that one but completely missing both the B's and C's games Saturday- NANESB!]. Tomorrow's Patriot's day game which will have Lackey go up against Rays starter Jeff Nieman will be the Sox's only chance to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Rays before the Texas Rangers come into town.

Sooo they basically haven't won a game since Wednesday in Minnesota while Tampa and New York just keep finding ways to it too early to panic?

Other Sox-Centric News: Daisuke Matsuzaka threw six innings of three-hit shutout ball for the PawSox last week against the Buffalo Bisons and said through his interpreter that he felt 'ready' for a return to Boston. Matsuzaka threw 86 pitches in his start at Buffalo, five days after his 5 innings of shutout ball against Rochester and threw 57 of those 86 pitches for strikes. He is scheduled to start another AAA game against Rochester on Tuesday.

Jonathan Papelbon's wife Ashley gave birth to 8 pound 8 ounce Gunner Robert Papelbon on Saturday afternoon. This is the couple's second child, joining 15 month old daughter Parker. No word on whether or not Gunner gave the Ob-Gyn the 'death stare' during his delivery.

Mike Cameron reurned to the lineup Saturday after passing a kidney stone earlier in the week in Minnesota. Jacoby Ellsbury missed his 6th straight game after the April 11th start against Kansas City when he collided with Adrian Beltre in left field. Bill Hall has been filling in at center field while Jeremy Hermida is in left field during Cameron and Ellsbury's absence.

Other MLB News: Colorado Rockies starter Ubaldo Jiminez threw the first no-hitter in Colorado Rockies history at Atlanta's Turner Field on Saturday. Jiminez threw 128 piches, walked 6 and struck out 7 in the complete game for Colorado's 4-0 win. This is the first no-hitter since the ChiSox's Mark Burhle tossed a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays in July 2009. This leaves the San Diego Padres, New York Mets and Tampa Bay Rays as the only MLB teams that have not thrown a no-hitter.

NHL: Shoot....I cant believe I missed it, but after dropping the first game of the series against the Sabres, the Bruins managed a come-from-behind playoff win against the Sabres on the road Saturday. After falling behind to Buffalo 2-0 in the first, Micheal Ryder got Boston on the board in the 2nd and Zdeno Chara tied the game up midway through the second before Jason Pomminville got one past Rask to make it a 3-2 lead for the Sabres. But that would be last tally for the Sabres.

Heading into the 3rd, Ryder and Chara would again score for Boston to put the Bruins up 4-3 before Mark Recchi would get an empty-netter to seal the 5-3win for Boston and even the series at 1-1. Tukka Rask stopped 26 of 29 shots faces while Ryan Miller (who demonstrated that he's no slouch himself at the Vancouver Winter Games) stopped 26 of 30 shots faced.

The series will resume Monday at the Garden.

NBA: Kevin Garnett delivered an elbow to the jaw of Miami forward Quentin Richardson in the final 40 seconds of Saturday's game and the Celtics delivered an 85-76 loss to the Heat. Garnett was hit with two technicals and at least a one-game suspension after the scrum in front of Miami's bench. Garnett said he was concerned after teammate Paul Pierce fell down next to the Heat bench and let fly with the elbow after exchanging words with Richardson. Boston trailed 41-44 at halftime before coming back late in the 3rd.

Boston leads the series 1-0, which will resume Tuesday night at the Garden.

Other NBA News: Former UMass Minuteman Marcus Camby has found a new sugar-daddy, this time the Portland Trailblazers. The Blazers and Camby are reportedly close to reaching a 2-year extension on his contract after Portland's Game 1 win over the Phoenix Suns.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Icelandic Volano Plays Havoc With Intenational Air Travel; Gives Climate Alarmists New Windmill to Charge At

Looks like everybody across the pond is George Monbiot now, whether they like it or not.

An extensive plume of fine ash from Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano has drifted across much of Europe and the UK , shutting down air travel in the process. Civil Aviation authorities from across Europe are concerned that an accumulation of ash in the engines of aircraft would cause them to shut down mid-flight.
(Daily Mail)
The shutdown already represents the biggest disruption of civilian air travel in that part of the world since WWII and has left thousands of travelers stranded across Europe this week. The shutdown is costing airlines millions of dollars per day, and still isn't known exactly when airspace is expected to reopen. The spreading cloud has prevented heads of state from attending the funeral of Polish President Lech Kaczynski, who was killed with 93 others in what was presumably a non-volcanic ash related plane crash. People with respiratory conditions have also been warned to stay indoors as much as possible.

Already the Global Warming alarmists and shysters have tried holding this Icelandic eruption up as an example of the dire looming threat that global warming (caused by you and me- not them, tho') plays in melting glaciers in Iceland, thus causing more volcanoes there to blow their top

Apparently up until recently, Eyjafjallajokull was encased in a glacier. Look- I'm no geologist....hell....I didn't even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but wouldn't....oh....I dunno....something like molten magma or superheated gases and ash play as much a role in the accelerated melting of a glacier with a freakin' active volcano on top of it as say any given coal-fired power plant?

Also, I'm dying to know which 'carbon footprint' is bigger.....commercial air travel in Europe any given year or Eyjafjallajokull blowing its top and spewing ash for thousands of miles.
[cross posted at Dopenhaagen]

Polish President, Crash Victims To be Laid To Rest Sunday

As many as 100,000 mourners packed into Warsaw's Pilsudski Square on Saturday to honor President and First Lady Kaczynski and the other 92 victims of last week's devastating plane crash in Russia. The services included a Catholic Requiem Mass and a military 3-gun salute with the names of the victims being read out one by one by actors. Kaczynski's twin brother Jaroslaw, a former prime minister and current leader of the opposition party was in attendance along with the late President's 29 year old daughter and two grandchildren. A presidential aide said that an estimated 180,000 people had lined past the coffins of the deceased to pay their respects since they went on public display in front of the Presidential Palace on Tuesday. Over the past week, the space in front of the palace has been a makeshift shrine to the dead, adorned with thousands of flowers, candles, crucifixes and red and white Polish flags.

President Kaczynski and the First Lady were en route to a memorial last week when their plane crashed in the Katyn Forest on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet NKVD (predecessor to the KGB) massacring an estimated 22,000 Polish Army Officers and Prisoners of War. Syrah has a good writeup on the dark significance Katyn holds for Poland both then and now.

President Kaczynski and his wife are scheduled to be laid to rest at the crypt of the Wawel Cathedral in the southern city of Krakow on Sunday. President Obama along with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Spain's King Juan Carlos announced that they could not attend the funeral services due to a lingering cloud of ash from a volcanic eruption in Iceland that spread across much of Europe and made air travel all but impossible over the last few days.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tea Party Confidential; Voting "Present" on April 15th

My curiosity got the better of me and even though it was a bit of a haul and coincided with part of my odd work schedule, I decided to swing by one of the tax day Tea Party protests at the nearest (and unnamed) metropolitan area. Through the magic of this thing called the Internet, I found the location and time of one earlier today that started a few hours before I was supposed to be at work.

One of the advantages of showing up so early is that I got to park nearby. About 30 or so people were already there with hand-made placards, Gadsden Flags or star-spangled doggie sweaters for the pooches that were accompanying them. A few people were also there to circulate petitions and pass out campaign literature for the upcoming Senate race (although I reside in a different district). Earlier in the week, reports were circulating that counterdemonstrators were planning to infiltrate the Tea Parties and hold up racist or outlandish signs for the media to record. That seemed to be the case with one individual who was holding up a large sign claiming the moon landings were faked by NASA, although he was subsequently flanked by people with hand-made brightly colored arrows saying 'FAKE' that were pointing Mr. Mooninite.

It's also worth noting that the Tea Party protest took place directly in front of a Post Office, so as the crowd was growing, one of the postal workers had to wade into it with a ginormous cart to empty out all of the mailboxes [and lived to tell the tale, since to hear CNN and the Southern Poverty Law Center tell it, every last Tea Party protester hates all things from the government and will lash out violently at them with no provocation- NANESB!]. There was also a steady stream of vehicles passing by the drive-up mailboxes, many no doubt dropping off their tax forms by the midnight deadline.

When I first showed up, the crowd was predominantly old or middle-aged, which sort of made sense as this was just getting underway during what would've been a normal workday for alot of people. I tried doing the informal headcount deal-ey, but #1) I suck at that to begin with and #2) I'm easily distracted. Seriously, every time I'd try and count everybody present, my attention would wander and when I'd try and start over, there'd be a knot of people waving signs and placards where there was empty space moments ago. Alot of these newer arrivals were much younger and a few had school-age children with them. My best estimate was that it was in the 'dozens' when I showed up and well into the 'hundreds' by the time I left, with more people making their way in as I was departing. A couple of people showed up selling t-shirts, although I couldn't quite see what they said.

As for imagery, I didn't see anything as offensive as the Tennessee state flag neo-nazi insignias like certain hyperventilating bloggers or MSNBC hosts guaranteed me that I would find. Believe it or not, vexilloligy is one of my strong suits and the only flags present were the stars and stripes and variations of the Gadsden flag. There were more than a few signs that were a variation of the Obama 'O' from the 2008 Campaign that would read 'Enough Already' or 'No New Taxes' featuring the stylized O. One of the kids with the 'later' arriving families was holding up a placard depicting President Obama as a latter day Jack Sparrow-esque pirate, which I'm sure could be construed as racist by the Southern Poverty Law Center those in the professional victimocracy who have been bound and determined to find signs of 'dogwhistle' racism since January 2009. As for race, I'm not as into the 'let's count the minorities' game the mainstream media has taken to playing with the Tea Parties, but there were some older Hispanic and Asian protesters there early on- so right away it was much more ethnically diverse than the lineup of MSNBC hosts. A camera crew from one of the local TV stations was present, but at the time it looked like he was simply filming panoramic shots of the crowd.

Personally, I didn't get to do much more other than mill through the crowd [I would've taken some snapshots, but the batteries in the Fenway-cam were deader then Uday and Qusay Hussein's Iraqi Parliament campaign- NANESB!] and try to figure out where one nearby congressional district ended and the other began with some of the other gets even more convoluted when it comes to the state senate.

So after about 40 minutes or so, I had to take my leave in order to be reasonably on-time for work. At that point, more protesters were showing up and waving signs and flags on the other side of the street, which most passers by were enthusiastically honking while driving along. There was something of a police presence, but they kept their distance of about half a block away.....probably because there was nowhere else to park their patrol cars.

I left before any of the scheduled speakers arrived (I'm not even sure who they were), so I couldn't offer any informed commentary on that. There were actually some Tea Parties scheduled in towns alot closer to where I live, but they were scheduled to start when I was supposed to be at work.

Overall, I'd say it left me with a good first impression, but that was only after some 40 minutes. Certain snide, hypercondescending TV 'personalities' and bloggers would leave their dwindling viewer/readership with the impression that the Tea party was comprised exclusively of racists, birthers and Westboro Baptist-caliber fundies. By and large, they struck me as rational people who are concerned about an ever-expanding and increasingly tone-deaf and unaccountable Congress and Administration cramming through entitlement program after entitlement program- and correct me if I'm wrong, you 'where-were-these-racist-hypocrites-when-Bush-was-running-up-the-deficit' concern trolls waiting in the wings, but President Obama is on par to triple the Bush-era deficit in one year.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Charles Johnson of Little Unseen Footballs. Napoleon Charles, I just wanted to say that if it wasn't for your sneering, intellectually dishonest broadbrusing of Americans practicing their freedom of assembly and freedom of speech expressing the same concerns that at least half the country shares about the economy as foaming-at-the-mouth racists coupled with your blocking the accounts of the lions share of veterans, Jews and conservatives at your blog, I would be less inspired to find out about the whole Tea Party phenomena firsthand. Your abrupt and contrived ideological pivot has cost you far better posters than myself, but your actions have shown you to be nothing more than a lazy hack who's blog has devolved into a reptilian MSNBC, only without intellectual heavyweights like Keith Olberman and Dylan Ratigan. Thank you and don't forget to hit the tip jar!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Happy National Library Week!

(Rare Edition- Gil Elvgren, 1962)

It has been brought to my attention rather belatedly that this week (April 11-17) is National Library Week. The founder of Not Another New England Sports Blog! is a fairly enthusiastic supporter of the local library, and not just for books, either. While I've been known to check out titles like Mark Bowden's Killing Pablo, I also haven't been to Blockbuster or Hollywood Video in years since the local library system is well stocked with films on DVD like The Last King of Scotland, Children of Men and The Kingdom. Heck- I even got to meet former Boston Bruin and the first black NHL player Willie O'Ree at a library.

PLUS they have a fireplace in the wintertime; how kick-ass it that?

It has also come to my attention that I have a couple of books overdue, so I should probably get cracking on that.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Weekday Sports Chowdah Update; The Joy of 6th- Bruins to Face off Against Buffalo; Sox Fall Short of Target in Twin Cities; Bulls Make C's See Red


The Bruins finished the regular season on a high note in the nation's capital on Sunday with a shootout win over the Washington Capitals. There was even a Tim Thomas sighting, with last season's Vezina winner stopping 34 of 37 shots faced in the regular season finale. Thomas also didn't allow a goal in the shootout and got in the grill of Caps LW Jason Chimera in the 1st, letting loose with a series of haymakers. Micheal Ryder had two goals before the Bruins fell behind 3-2 and Marco Sturm tied the game up with about 5 minutes left in the 3rd.

As glad as I was for the point and the win, it didn't change much in the standings. Also worth noting that Washington sat their normal netminder Jose Theodore and went with Seymon Varlamov, who stopped 35 of 38 shots faced in regulation and overtime, but gave up the two shootout goals to David Krejci and Miro Satan.

The one point for the shootout loss left Washington with 121 points on the season, although they had locked up the President's trophy well before Sunday's game with the next closest team (San Jose) finishing with 113 points on the season. Alexander Ovechkin was held scoreless on the day, which left Vancouver's Henrik Sedin the winner of the Art Ross Trophy (the NHL's scoring title) with 112 points versus Ovechkin's 109. Sidney Crosby and Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos both have 51 goals to their name for the 2009-2010 season, one ahead of Ovechkin's tally for the league lead.
Boston, on the other hand finished with 91 points, good for 6th place overall in the Eastern conference. As mediocre or craptastic as that might sound, I think even the most partisan Hub hockey fan would've thought that limping across the finish line barely squeaking past with an 8th place finish would've been unrealistic in the middle of that 10 game skid back in January. The 6th place finish earns them a first round matchup against the Buffalo Sabres beginning Thursday.

ELSEWHERE IN THE NHL: Sunday afternoon's Flyers/Rangers game had alot riding on it- and since there's no shootouts during the Stanley Cup playoffs, why not make the final shootout of the regular season all the more dramatic? Heading into the final day of the regular season, the NY Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers were tied at 86 points each, good for the 8th and final playoff theory. Montreal's regular season finished the night before with an overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, leaving them with 88 points on the season. Montreal had the advantage in a couple of tie-breakers over the Rangers, but a Flyers loss in either regulation or OT would leave Philadelphia a point behind both New York and Montreal and out of the postseason.

Leading 1-0 on Jody Shelly's 1st period goal, the Ranger's Henrik Lundqvist entered the 3rd period stopping all 30 shots on goal from the Flyers until Philly's Matt Carle notched a power-play goal a little over halfway through the 3rd to tie the game up at 1-1 and send it into overtime, and each team being awarded a point did nothing to break the deadlock.
After a scoreless OT, the game went to a shootout where Philly's netminder Brian Boucher stopped 2 of the three shots he faced, both teams' season hinging on Olli Jokinen's attempt that Bouchet saved. Philly wins, gets the 88 points, good for 7th place finish (they had a tie-breaker over the Canadiens) and a first round matchup with the New Jersey Devils. Montreal has the misfortune of landing the Washington Capitals as their 1st round opponent.

NHL draft: The Bruins landed the second overall pick of the 2010 NHL draft Tuesday. The pick was originally the Maple Leaf's, but Toronto gave up their 1st round draft pick as part of the Phil Kessel deal. The Edmonton Oilers were awarded the 1st overall pick, and it's believed that Boston will select Taylor Hall {Windsor Spitfires, OHL} or Tyler Seguin {Plymouth Whalers, OHL}.

(Hanna Foslein/Getty Images)

MLB: Some 24 hours after their 8-6 win over Kansas City on Sunday, the Red Sox traveled to Minnesota to take on the Twins in what would be the regular season debut of Target Field. The game would pit Jon Lester against former Yankee Carl Pavano.

Leading off in the top of the 1st, SS Marco Scutaro would get the first hit in the new ballpark only to get picked off by Pavano. Minnesota's Denard Span had the first walk of the new ballpark in the bottom of the 1st before Lester gave up a single to Orlando Hudson before Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau to pop out. However, with two out, Micheal Cuddyer would have the ballpark's first RBI after his 2-out single drove in Span. Jason Kubel would add to that with an RBI single of his own before Lester would walk Delmon Young to load the bases before getting J.J. hardy to hit into a fielder's choice.

The Twins would add to their lead with a 2-out Joe Mauer RBI double to make it 3-0 in the bottom of the second. The Red Sox were kept off the board until the 4th, when Big Papi hit a booming double (that would've been out of most parks) that clanged off the glove of Delmon Young. However, Minnesota would get one back in the bottom of the 4th to make it 4-1 Twins.

Perhaps the highlight for the partisan crowd was Jason Kubel's leadoff homer in the bottom of the 7th to make it 5-1 Twins, with the home crowd witnessing the 1st ever homerun in the new ballpark. Minnesota would go on to win 5-2 in their Target Field debut. Interestingly, the last time the Red Sox were the visiting team in a ballpark's debut was 1923 in the toilet Yankee Stadium.

After having the day off today, the two teams will go at it again tomorrow in another day game. Kevin Slowey will start for Minnesota against John Lackey.

Other Sox-Centric News: Jacoby Ellsbury bruised his ribs in a collision with 3B Adrian Beltre during Sunday's 8-6 win over Kansas City. He was out for Monday's game against the Twins and is expected to miss a few more days according to Terry Francona. Beltre was able to start at third for Monday's game while Jeremy Hermida is expected to continue play left field in Ellsbury's absence.
Boof 'That's-Not-A-Sound-Effect-That's-My-Name' Bonser had another rough outing with the PawSox on Tuesday, lasting only two innings and giving up 9 runs in a 12-0 loss to the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Bonser was reportedly limited to a 90-pitch count, but only threw for 50 in his outing and currently maintains an ERA of more than 17

A female knuckleballer from Japan who sought pointers from Tim Wakefield during spring training is set to make her debut with the Chico Outlaws of the Golden Baseball League this season. Eri Yoshida, Japan's first female professional ballplayer, will report to the Outlaws for spring training in May.
“I want to practice knuckle pitching more, and I want to become a stable knuckleball player like Wakefield,” Yoshida said. Yoshida had previously pitched for Kobe in the Kansai Independent League in Southern Japan.

NBA: After Boston's win at Milwaukee on Saturday, they seemed to be phoning it in against the Bulls at the United Center Tuesday night. Even for Chicago, the 101-93 win over Boston seemed overshadowed by reports of a physical altercation between head coach Vinny Del Negro and Bulls executive VP John Paxson. The Bulls are currently in 8th place in the Eastern conference heading into the final day of the regular season- one point ahead of Toronto.
Paul Pierce led the scoring for Boston with 28 points, followed by Ray Allen with 25. The Celtics will close out the regular season at home against the Milwaukee Bucks tomorrow night- with the Atlanta Hawks clinching the #3 spot in the conference, it is looking like the Bucks will be #4 Boston's opponent in the first round of the NBA playoffs.