Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Very Special New England Iron Horse Roundup

Dan Nelson/NE
PAN-AM RAILWAYS: Pan Am and New Hampshire's Conway Scenic Railway agreed to a locomotive swap earlier this year, with Pan Am getting FP9's #6506 and #6516 (ex VIA Rail, nee Canadian National) in late may and Conway Scenic getting high hood former Norfolk & Western GP35 #216 and former Maine Central GP38 #252 painted in Maine Central's 'Harvest gold' scheme.

The FP9s were released from the Waterville, ME shops in late June and have been assigned to the Pan Am's business car specials, which had been previously handled by available freight locomotives.

The GP35 and Gp38 acquired by Conway Scenic were equipped with dynamic brakes, something the FP9's lacked, while Pan Am is simply following the example of other railroads like Norfolk Southern, Canadian Pacific or Kansas City Southern and having a pair of classic streamlined diesels available to haul office car specials.

ELSEWHERE ALONG THE PAN AM: In early July, Pan Am Railways ran a pair of light engines from Ayer to the junction of the dormant Revere Branch on the MBTA line while crews began clearing brush and overgrowth along the line. This has led to speculation that the Pan Am is looking to reopen the neglected B&M line in order to bring unit ethanol trains to the tank farms along Route 1A past Logan Airport.

PROVIDENCE & WORCESTER: The P&W has reportedly sold off GP40-2's #3001, 3002 and 3003 to the Luzerne & Susquehanna Railway in North-Eastern Pennsylvania. At the end of September, the EMDs were moved to the Pan Am interchange in Gardner, MA still in P&W paint, but with all Providence & Worcester markings removed and L&S markings stenciled in instead.

And while the BNSF was divesting themselves of some former Santa Fe C40-8Ws, Providence & Worcester decided to buy up a trio of their four-axle counterparts, with former BNSF B40-8Ws #561, 562 and #582 arriving on the property by mid-September as the GP40s were getting ready to leave the property.

DOWNEAST SCENIC: A portion of the 127 mile Calais Branch has experienced a revival with the startup of the Downeast Scenic Railraod between Washington Jct and Ellsworth, ME. So far, four miles of the line are being used with volunteers working to clear the line for future excursions to Green Lake, ME. Power for the line includes a former Belfast & Moosehead Lake GE 70-tonner and an ex-Portland Terminal Alco S4.

Two more former Belfast & Moosehead Lake 70-tonners are being maintained by the Brooks Preservation society on ex B&ML trackage in Brooks, ME.

The Calais Branch ran through Eastern Maine to the border town of Calais until Guilford decided to abandon the branch in 1985 and serve what remaining customers there were in the area by using trackage rights over then-Canadian Pacific (now New Brunswick Southern) line east of the interchange at Mattawamkeag, ME.

Dan Nelson
AMTRAK: Amtrak's Downeaster service between Portland, ME and Boston's North Station will see an expansion of service. A 30-mile extension of service over the former Maine Central line between Portland and Brunswick, ME got underway in the beginning of August and is expected to be completed by the Fall of 2012. Once at Brunswick, the Downeaster will connect to passenger service between Brunswick and Rockland offered by the Maine Eastern Railroad. Improvements include new signals, passenger platforms and continuous welded rail.

Above, Pan Am GP40-2LW #516 is seen trundling past the train full of continuous welded rail it has just dropped off in Brunswick on Aug 1st. Brunswick is also where the Pan Am and Maine Eastern interchange freight.

Matt Rooks
CONWAY SCENIC: As mentioned earlier, the Conway Scenic and Pan Am exchanged motive power so that Pan Am would have dedicated old school streamliners assigned to business train duties while Conway Scenic would obtain locomotives with dynamic braking for their excursions to the Crawford Notch. As it turns out, GP38 #252 was of Maine Central background and believed to have hauled the last revenue train over Crawford Notch before through service on the line was discontinued by MEC in 1983.
The Conway Scenic also sold former Portland Terminal Alco S4 1055 to the Downeast Scenic in Maine back in late May.

[Hat tip: Vermont Rail System & Rutland Yahoo Group]

Happy Blogiversary to Me!

Edward Runci- Happy Birthday Baby, c.1960
Today marks the one year anniversary of Not Another New England Sports Blog! which was started in part as a means of keeping myself occupied during a prolonged period of unemployment as well as a way of keeping in touch with online cohorts from another forum where it became increasingly clear we were no longer welcome.

Of course, this was in addition to my writing about whatever the hell struck my fancy at the time- as my interests tend to be varied- and keeping track of my beloved Sox, Pats, B's and C's (which many other bloggers do a far better job than I) was also of importance.

So to both my regular visitors and some of the newer arrivals, I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to have a look around my little corner of the blogosphere.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Start Spreading the News.

Up in the Air- Gil Elvgren c. 1965
As some of you might've already known, I'm back, Baby!

U.S., European Intelligence Uncover Mumbai-Style European Terror Plot

A plot reminiscent of the 2008 Mumbai Terrorist attacks where armed terrorists would simultaneously storm multiple landmarks across Europe and the UK was disrupted late Tuesday according to US Intelligence officials.

The plot included attacks on hotels frequented by Western tourists in London and hotels and landmarks in France and Germany that was described as 'advanced but not imminent'.

On Tuesday night, French police sealed off the area surrounding the Eiffel Tower after an anonymous bomb threat was called in to firefighters. French police and counterterrorism officials are already on heightened alert after lawmakers passed a ban on wearing burqas in public places earlier this month. The French National Police Chief said that Al Qaeda's North African branch is suspected of plotting to detonate bombs in crowded locations throughout France.

The Mumbai-style plot was believed to have been disrupted by repeated airstrikes from drones in Pakistan's nortwestern tribal areas and information provided by a suspect detained and Germany a few weeks ago. Some of the suspects are believed to be still at large in the UK.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Vets For Freedom Update- Fla. Dems Circulate GOP Candidate's SSN; I Hate Illinois Nazis; Bull in a China Shop

You might recall me mentioning something about the Veteran's for Freedom PAC earlier this year.

Now that the primaries are over and done with, seven of the ten candidates that are part of Vets for Freedom's Operation 10 in 10 have advanced to face their opponents in the general election.

And with barely a month to go until the mid-term elections, it seems that the incumbents in at least three of the races with VFF-backed candidates are getting increasingly desperate- if not incoherent.

FL-22: The Florida Democratic Party sent out at least 10,000 mailers last week showing legal documents pertaining to a tax lien against Allen West with the headline “Allen West has a tax plan: You pay yours. He’ll skip out on his,”. West's address was redacted on the mailer, but his social security number and his wife's employer identification number were still visible.

West's opponent, incumbent Congressman Joe Klein, has denied any involvement in the mailings and asked that all further inquiries be directed to the Florida Democratic party.

The state Democratic Party communications director issued a classic non-apology apology in the wake of circulating West's social security number.
“After making every effort to remove all of Allen West’s private information, unlike West who refuses to apologize to Florida’s taxpayers for not paying his taxes and his bills, we apologize for the oversight of not redacting this information from the public record included in the mailer. To end, while this mail piece does not explicitly identify any Social Security number, in order to stop the crazy West accusations, we will pay for identify theft monitoring for the next two years.”
By his own admission, West had owed around $11,000 in back taxes in 2005, but paid them off a few months later. At the time, Alan West was a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army.

Even if I was inclined to give the Democrats the benefit of the doubt (and I've stopped doing that loooooong ago), this would have to be a Guinness Book of World Records-setting cock-up in a close Congressional election. Nothing conveys the message of 'We're trustworthy and responsible individuals you should feel good about voting for' than publishing the social security number of a private citizen and acting like a petulant child when called out for it. And that's if I choose to attribute the Florida Democrat's actions to simple ineptitude rather than dripping malice.

NY-20 Speaking of mailers, Congressman Scott Murphy of Upstate New York's 20th Congressional district is mailing out some nice ones promoting himself on your dime, no less.

Murphy's also taken to advertising on conservative radio stations in the district touting himself as a champion of small business and a fiscal conservative while apparently hoping that his constituents forgot that he voted for Cap and Trade, Obamacare and the Stimulus.

Both Scott Murphy and his GOP (and VFF) challenger, retired Army Colonel Chris Gibson, ran unopposed in the New York state primaries. This saved both of them considerable money by not having to deal with intra-party fighting while focusing their attention on the November campaign. While Murphy has a considerable war chest of donations from unions, the DCCC and various liberal PACs as well as his own personal fortune, but Gibson's been getting much more support from individual donors.

To be fair, Murphy has yet to send out mailers with Gibson's SSN# or had his campaign volunteers marching around with life-size posters comparing him to nazis. But with that in mind, you'd think the Murphy campaign could put their money towards more coherent ads. Even the Albany Times-Union, no foe of the Democrat party, had a hard time trying to explain a TV ad that claimed Gibson wanted to create jobs in China by allowing the Bush-era tax cuts to continue across the fact, I think they gave up about halfway through.

Using Murphy's logic, I suppose the incumbent is even more eager to send jobs off to China thanks in large part to the 'Green Jobs' provision in the Cap & Trade bill. Already, restrictions have closed down the last remaining incandescent light bulb plant in the USA, leaving the majority of the newer CFL's to be made in China. That's in addition to the majority of solar panel manufacturers and the components for wind turbines being located in China and Europe.

Come to think of it, how come Murphy hasn't touted his votes in favor of cap and trade or Obamacare? When they first passed, the media assured us how popular these bills would be- so why does the incumbent want nothing to do with those votes now?

IL-11: Video has surfaced on Andrew Breitbart's Big Government website of a group of protesters chanting and picketing an Americans for Prosperity event in Joliet, IL earlier this month. That in and of itself wouldn't be noteworthy if it weren't for a few pivotal details. Among the signs the picketers carried were ones that depicted former Alaksa Gov. Sarah Palin, talk show host Glen Beck and GOP/VFF Challenger to Congresswoman Debbie Halvorson, former Air Force captain Adam Kinzinger, with Hitler moustaches that read "Nazi-Tea Party".

Granted, invoking Godwin's Law from the get-go is hardly unusual for Dems in the last decade or so, and it would be easy to dismiss them as a kooky vocal fringe minority who have nothing to do with the candidate herself were it not for the fact that the protesters headed over to Halvorson's Joliet office later on where staffers unlocked the doors for them and let them store their signs and placards there overnight.

Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit was able to identify at least one of the protesters as a member of Obama's Organizing for America who was seen earlier at town hall meetings for Missouri congressman Russ Carnahan ushering in union members through a building's handicapped entrance.

[Hat tip: Big Government, Upstate Political Report, Gateway Pundit]

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Not Another Road Trip!

Fare Maiden/Last Stand- Gil Elvgren c. 1961
Just a quick note that I'll be hitting the road this week.

I don't expect to be completely cut off from the internet, but I suspect updates will be pretty minimal for the next week or so.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sports Chowdah Update- #20 Wolverines Survive Last Minute-man Threat; They Might Be Little Giants in Lansing; Jets Take Flight vs NE

MLB: After finishing off a sweep of the Mariners in Seattle, the Red Sox travelled back to Boston for a weekend homestand against the Toronto Blue Jays. After dropping the first two games of the weekend series, leave it to Jon Lester to stop the bleeding. The starter went 7 shutout innings giving up four hits and striking out four while getting run support from homers by Victor Martinez and JD Drew as well as an RBI single from call-up Yamacio Navarro. Scott Atcheson and Robert Coello closed out the game and preserved the shutout for Boston's 6-0 win on Sunday afternoon.

The homestand continues Monday against Baltimore, with Daisuke Matsuzaka (9-5; 4.82 ERA)getting the start against Brian Matusz (8-12; 4.68 ERA).

NCAA FOOTBALL: Holy crap! I managed to tune in late to the Notre Dame/Michigan State game. Normally you'd think overtime games would be exciting, but the end of regulation and the 1st Irish possession of overtime were almost coma-inducing. The first three downs on the Spartan's possession were actually kinda painful to watch, culminating in a loss of 8 yards after Michigan State QB Kirk Cousins was sacked to bring up what appeared for all the world to be a lengthy field goal attempt on 4th and 13 with an inexperienced kicker.

What happened next defies easy written description, but good thing there's some video embedded.

Apparently Michigan State designates their trick plays with movie titles, and what you just saw was a successful execution of 'Little Giants'. But there would be more- and not just the sour grapes from Irish fans whining about the game clock. Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio was hospitalized with a mild heart attack on Sunday morning. The 54 year old coach underwent surgery to put a stent in one of the blocked blood vessels leading to his heart. It appears that Dantonio will be fine, but he'll be out indefinitely as he's recovering.
AP Photo
MEANWHILE, IN ANN ARBOR: Boston College has the weekend off, but another Massachusetts college football team caught the nation's attention- at least until Dantonio's 'Little Giants' play. Like the Spartans/Fighting Irish game in Lansing, the action took place in the Great Lakes state when the FCS UMass Minutemen of the Colonial Athletic Association paid a visit to Michigan's Big House in Ann Arbor. The Minutemen were actually leading 17-7 for awhile in the 2nd quarter, although Michigan would take a 21-17 lead at the half. Michigan was actually starting to pull away late in the 3rd to make it a 35-17 game, but UMass came charging back in the 4th to make it 42-30 when the Minutemen held the Wolverines to a 3 and out with just over 5 minutes left in the 4th before successfully blocking the punt and recovering on the Michigan 25. Using the short field, UMass got the touchdown on a Kyle Havens pass to TE Andrew Krevis to make it a 37-42 game with just over two minutes left. But before anybody could say Appalachian State, Michigan was able to successfully bleed the clock after getting a first down on their ensuing possession. I know that talk about 'moral victories' is pretty hackneyed and cliched, but overall I'd say the Minutemen acquitted themselves quite well on Saturday. UMass QB Kyle Havens was 22 for 29 passing with 222 yards, two TDs passing, one rushing TD and and interception while Michigan's Denard Robinson was 10 of 14 with 241 yards passing, 104 yards rushing with an interception as well as two TDs through the air and one rushing TD. Pretty safe to say that the other Big 10 teams will be watching the film from this one pretty closely. Michigan is 3-0 having beaten UMass, Notre Dame and Uconn while UMass is off to a 2-1 start, good enough for the current lead in the Colonial Conference and a #15 ranking from the FCS Coaches Poll. MEANWHILE, IN THE BIG EAST: UConn- perhaps somewhat surprisingly- fell to the Mid America Conference's newest member, Temple, by a score of 30-16 on Saturday. UConn will host the Buffalo Bisons this upcoming Saturday at East Hartford NFL: Well, that sure sucked. After Generating almost zero offense in last week's Monday night game against Baltimore, the Jets offense seemed to hit their stride against the visiting Patriots at the new and reportedly improved Meadowlands Sunday afternoon. New England headed into the locker room at the half with a 14-10 lead and were shut out for the entire second half (that one-handed grab by Moss for the TD was awesome, but didn't garner any style points). The Jets were aided considerably by two Brady picks (OK- one of them was kinda flukey) and some costly penalties (39 yards against the Pats D on one Jets posession in the 4th) in their 28-14 win, the Jets first of the season.
Both New York and New England are at 1-1 while Miami beat Minnesota at the Metrodome today to get them off to a 2-0 start.

Avast, Me Scallywags! Today Be 'Talk Like A Pirate' Day!

Hoist the Jolly Roger and set course for the Spanish main! September 19th be talk like a pirate day, and while the dread FenwayBeard be not the most enthusiastic participant, he need little reason to post images like yon':

And let us not be forgettin' what's most important to any pirate worth their salt- a good sea shanty.

But in leiu of that, one of these will have to do....

Friday, September 17, 2010

Los Angeles City Comptroller: $111 Million in Stimulus Money Created Less Than 55 Jobs.

Using the Obama Administration's newest metric, there's still no word on how many 'lives touched' by the stimulus money in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles City Controller said on Thursday the city's use of its share of the $800 billion federal stimulus fund has been disappointing.

The city received $111 million in stimulus under American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) approved by the Congress more than year ago.

"I'm disappointed that we've only created or retained 55 jobs after receiving $111 million," says Wendy Greuel, the city's controller, while releasing an audit report.

"With our local unemployment rate over 12% we need to do a better job cutting red tape and putting Angelenos back to work,” she added.

According to the report, the Los Angeles Department of Public Works generated only 45.46 jobs (the fraction of a job created or retained correlates to the number of actual hours of work) after receiving $70.65 million, while the target was 238 jobs.

Similarly, the city’s department of transportation, armed with a $40.8 million fund, created only 9 jobs in place of an expected 26 jobs.

The audit says the numbers were disappointing due to bureaucratic red tape, absence of competitive bidding for projects in private sectors, inappropriate tracking of stimulus money and a laxity in bringing out timely job reports.
But gosh! Haven't they heard? Since the first stimulus and 'Recovery Summer' was so successful, the Obama Administration wants another $50 billion in infrastructure spending! Even though signifcant infrastructure spending and improvement was promised with the first $787 billion in stimulus funding.

Hat-tip: 3wood over at Correspondence Committee.

UK Police Detain Six in Possible Pope Benedict London Attack Plot.

Six North African Men (I'll let you guess their religous affiliation) working for a Paddington contract cleaning company were detained by Scotland Yard after recieving a tip that the men were planning a direct attack against the Pope or a terrorist attack to concide with his visit.

No names were released, and five of the suspects ranged in age from 26 to 40 while the sixth was arrested by counterterrorism investigators for behaving 'oddly' upon hearing of the arrest of his co-workers.
By late yesterday afternoon police had not discovered any bombs, devices, weapons or hazardous items and speculation was mounting that the suspects could be released without charge after the Pope leaves England tomorrow.

The Metropolitan Police said: ‘Today’s arrests were made after police received information following initial inquiries by detectives.

Following today’s arrests policing arrangements for the papal visit were reviewed and we are satisfied our current plan remains appropriate. The itinerary has not changed.’

The current official threat level in the UK remains at ‘severe’ which means that security chiefs believe a terror attack is ‘highly likely’.
It is understood the information acted on by the police was received by Scotland Yard and did not involve intelligence gathered by MI5, the domestic security service.

One source said: ‘Because of time constraints, it was difficult to assess the quality of this information. It came in from off the radar, but there were sufficient concerns for these men to be arrested.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Yankees Apparel Proves Popular With Criminals

For some reason I'm not the least bit surprised.
A Yankees baseball cap is a popular choice among suspects in a range of crimes, according to an analysis by the New York Times.

The analysis finds that in the past 10 years, more than 100 suspects in serious crimes were wearing Yankees caps at the time of the crime or during their arrest or arraignment.

Criminologists say the suspects may be fans of the Bombers, or simply making a fashion statement.

The Times analysis found Yankees caps were about three times as common as Mets caps among crime suspects
Well- for us Sox fans, there's octegenerian fugitive Irish mobster Whitey Bulger. Many of the available photos of him the FBI circulates show him wearing a Red Sox cap.

But apparently a Yankees cap at some point was considered a must-have accessory by many in the hip-hop world, whether or not you lived in New York or were a baseball fan.

Today's Train of Thought, September 16 2010- Hope and Change of Scenery

Since it's 1999 takeover of shortline operator RailTex, Rail America hasn't been very shy about mixing and matching motive power between several of their properties. Often, this leads to curious sights like Florida East Coast power on the New England Central in Western Massachusetts and Vermont or Kyle railroad power imported from Kansas on Central California's San Joaquin Valley Railroad.

In 2002, Rail America took over the then-independent Kiamichi Railroad, which had operated some 230 miles of former St Louis-San Francisco (Frisco) track between Hope, AR and Madill, OK, with a north-south branchline running between Paris, TX and Antlers, OK meeting with the main east-west route at Hugo, OK. In 1987, the Burlington Northern decided the trackage through southwestern Arkansas, Northeastern Texas and southeastern Oklahoma that they obtained in their acquisition of the Frisco was redundant and the Kiamichi Railroad was born.

About a decade prior, the Indiana & Ohio Railway got off to its modest start as tourist train and shortline freight hauler in Western Ohio. In 1991, after having already acquired some former Penn Central branches, the ambitious shortline expanded considerably when it acquired the former Detroit, Toledo and Ironton line between Washington Courthouse, OH and suburban Detroit. By the time Rail America acquired the I&O in 2000, it was operating nearly 570 miles of track between Cincinnati and Detroit as well as former Conrail and CSX branches in Ohio and southern Indiana.

Since the acquisition by Rail America, some of the I&O units have made their way as far west as Texas, while the I&O continued borrowing rent-a-wrecks and some SD70Ms from the New York, Susquehanna & Western to augment their own fleet. As for the Kiamichi, there hardly any locomotives from their 1987 start-up remaining on the property, simply engines from other Rail America properties re-lettered for Kiamichi.

On a sunny April 2010 morning, contributor Sid Vaught caught Indiana & Ohio GP40 #4050 and a sibling I&O GP40-2 still in their catchy pre Rail America paint scheme crossing Peacock Drive in Ashdown, AR on their way east to the Union Pacific interchange at Hope. The trailing unit is the only one lettered for the 'hometown' Kiamichi this day.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Small Wonder: Longshot Tea Party Candidate Upsets Incumbent Congressman in Delaware Senate Primary.

Giggty....I could caucus with that all night!
Yesterday was pretty much the big wrap-up for primary elections across the country, with voters heading to the polls in Massachusetts, Washington DC, New York, Maryland, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Delaware.
The biggest news from Tuesday night's primaries came from the 2nd smallest state in the union, where upstart Christine O'Donnell defeated former governor and nine-term Congressman Mike Castle in Delaware's Republican primary for Vice President Joe Biden's vacant senate seat.

The result immediately created a schism between GOP Leadership and the Tea Party, who's candidates have defeated other Republican candidates seen as favorites by the GOP establishment at earlier Senate primaries in Nevada, Alaska and Kentucky. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (who were heavily invested in Castle) had to walk back an earlier report that they would not provide any financial support to O'Donnell's campaign on Wednesday. For now, it appears as though Castle has picked up his toys and left in a huff, refusing to endorse his primary opponent after launching a series of attacks against O'Donnell immediately before the Primary. Keep in mind this is the same NRSC that supported such stalwart and loyal conservatives like Charlie Crist, Jim Jeffords and Arlen Specter.

Personally, I figured a fairly dark blue state like Delaware would pick the more liberal/moderate/RINO-ey/whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-call-it Castle to represent them in the Senate, so I was a little surprised. And as far as I know, the state of Delaware doesn't have an open primary, so it's not as though Democrats and liberals were trying to derail Castle's campaign by showing up en masse to vote for his primary opponent.

Unlike Carl Rove, I'm not going to lose too much sleep over this. Castle was one of eight Republicans who voted for the onerous, job-killing cap and trade bill in Congress. If a Congresscritter voted for cap and trade, odds are I wouldn't cross the street to piss on them if they were on fire- unless I could magically piss some sort of flammable liquid [gotta watch out for that splashback tho', NANESB!].

The conventional wisdom was that if Castle lost, the state would automatically go deep, dark blue. However, the more I find out about New Castle County commissioner and self-proclaimed bearded Marxist Chris Coons (the Dem candidate for the Senate seat), the less convinced I am this seat will automatically go to the Dems. Apparently Coons nearly bankrupted New Castle County in his 5 years as Commissioner as well, but is branding himself a fiscal conservative for Halloween this election.
Having said that, I know just as much about O'Donnell herself. Right before the primary, Castle saw it fit to bring up a civil suit in which she was a plaintiff and her falling behind on mortgage payments recently. She was endorsed by Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Express, but I had my doubts about how much weight those endorsements would carry in Biden country.

[New Castle County is the northernmost county in Delaware and includes Delaware's largest city, Wilmington, as well as Amtrak's Northeast Corridor and I-95 in its boundaries- NANESB].
So right now, I think the big takeaway from all this is that not even incumbent Republican seats are safe from the rising tide of anti-incumbent sentiment. Let's also keep in mind that the increasingly influential Tea Party doesn't have the monopoly on anti-incumbent fever. It remains to be seen whether or not O'Donnell can gain any traction after her primary win or if in 50 days people will be having a conversation on whether or not it was better for the GOP and conservatives to have lost a blue state with a more conservative candidate or won it with a very liberal Republican congressman.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Not Quite Past Expiration Date Sports Chowdah Update- Pats 86 Ocho Cinco and Cincy; Lester Pitches Gem in Emerald City; End of Lowell Connector?

It's that most wonderful time of the year.

This is something I can say with little exaggeration or hyperbole as I've taken to referring to the phenomena as the 'glorious overlap' where fans had the enviable dilemma of which game they wanted to tune in for- baseball, NCAA football, NFL Football or (depending on how far some of the baseball teams advance in October) NHL hockey- when those games were being played concurrently. For me, this was a fairly recent phenomena that I was unfamiliar with until my discovery of XM Radio, DirecTV and internet streaming broadcasts.

Of course, as any New England sports fan worth their salt could tell you, we had the dilemma of trying to figure out which playoff caliber (if not championship caliber) team to watch in late September or early October more than one season over the past decade. It's a good problem to have- although I think that this year, the Red Sox may be taking the initiative in helping me whittle down my sports viewing choices in October. But until then, there's still some baseball to be played.

Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images

MLB: After dropping two out of three in Mogadishu by the Bay Oakland over the weekend, the Red Sox travelled north to Seattle to take on the Mariners. On Monday night, Jon Lester got the start against Doug Fister and got some run support in the top of the 2nd off the bats of rookies Daniel Nava and Lars Andersen (plus a run coming in on a Josh Reddick groundout) to make it a 3-0 game. The Mariners couldn't get a runner past 2nd base until the bottom of the 7th when Lester gave up a one out walk to Franklin Guttierez followed by a Jose Lopez single that put Guttierez at 3rd and a Casey Kotchman groundout to make it a 3-1 game before Lester got out of the inning.

More run support came in the top of the 8th when Marco Scutaro drew a leadoff walk and Ryan Kalish homered to right field to make it a 5-1 game. Daniel Bard would close things out in the 9th to make it a 5-1 final for Boston.

Lester allowed just 3 hits, 3 walks, one run while striking out 12 in eight innings of work. This gives Lester his 17th win of the season and became the fifth Red Sox pitcher to have back to back seasons where he reached the 200 strikeout mark, joining Pedro Martinez, Roger Clemens, Cy Young and Smokey Joe Wood. Monday night's win was #17 on the season for Lester.

There was a Jed Lowrie sighting at SafeCo on Tuesday night as the shortstop went 2-4 with two homers and 3 RBI on the night in support of Daisuke Matsuzaka. Dice-K went 6 innings, giving up eight hits and five runs while walking four and striking out three. Reliever Rich Hill got the win by getting the only batter he faced Tuesday night- Casey Kotchman- to ground out. Big Papi managed to put the Sox away for good with a 3 run blast in the top of the 8th inning as the Sox managed to hang on for a 9-6 win.

For tomorrow's day game (Pacific Time) in the series finale, Clay Buchholz (15-7; 2.53 ERA) will go up against David Pauley (2-7; 4.39 ERA) at 6:40 PM Eastern, 3:40 Pacific.

OTHER SOX NEWS: Far more competent sports bloggers than myself are reporting that the Red Sox have already released their 2011 regular season schedule. Reportedly, the Sox will be hosting the Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego Padres for interleague play while travelling to Houston, Philly and Pittsburgh.

Infielder Mike Lowell told the Boston Herald this week that he would be retiring at the end of this season.

"I'm retiring. I just don't want to make it a song and dance because I don't think that's necessary, but if someone needs something official, yeah, I'm going to retire. This is going to be my last year."
The veteran infielder arrived from the Florida Marlins in 2006, included with the Josh Beckett trade as part of a salary dump, but would go on to win MVP of the 2007 World Series. Lowell's playing time would diminish after undergoing hip and thumb surgeries and the arrival of Victor Martinez who could start as catcher, first base or DH.

[Thanks for all you did, Mike. You were a class act all the way and will be missed- NANESB!]

Jim Rogash/Getty Images
NFL: And as it turned out, I was ready for some football now that the games count.

And I wasn't the only one, as this action-packed photo of Wes Welker indicates. Welker looked like he hardly missed a beat after a season ending injury and knee surgery at the end of last season, scoring two TDs on 64 yards and 8 receptions.

Brady went 25 for 35 with 258 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions after getting a new contract and coming away unscathed from a car wreck a few days prior to the season opener. LB Gary Guyton ran an intercepted Carson Palmer pass back for 59 yards and a touchdown while WR Brandon Tate on special teams returned the opening kickoff of the 2nd half for another New England TD to make it 31-3 New England.

Cincinnati would chip away at the lead some, but all the TO's, Ocho Cincos and Pac Man's couldn't help them, as cornerbacks Devin McCourty and Darius Butler were able to stifle 'Batman' and Robin (i.e Ochocinco and Owens).

Patriots win by the final of 38-24 against Cincinnati, although it wasn't even that close. This upcoming weekend, the Pats will take on the Jets at East Rutherford, NJ.
Apparently if dropping the home opener to Baltimore on Monday Night Football wasn't bad enough, the Jets seem to be having a hard time handling sultry TV Azteca sports babe Ines Saenz.

OTHER PATS NEWS: The Lawrence Maroney era is now over. The Pats sent the RB to the Broncos in exchange for a 4th round draft pick in the 2011 draft.

NCAA FOOTBALL: There is no pre-season in college football, but you could make the case that starting off with back-to-back home games against Weber State and Kent State is the next best thing as the BC Eagles handled the Kent State Golden Flashes pretty easily with a 26-13 win on Saturday at Chestnut Hill.

Eagles QB David Shinskie went 18 for 27 with 214 yards and 2 TDs while Clyde Lee had 54 yards receiving and a touchdown. This brings the Eagles record to 2-0, although they have yet to face an ACC opponent. The BC Eagles have this Saturday off before opening up ACC play at Chestnut Hill against Virginia Tech.

Va Tech is coming off a 16-21 loss to James Madison of the FCS Colonial Athletic Association (remember them?) on Saturday.

Elsewhere in New England, UConn's home opener featured a pretty brutal and one-sided beatdown of the Texas Southern Tigers by a final of 62-3. The Huskies will travel to Philadelphia to take on the Temple Owls of the Mid America conference on Saturday.

ELSEWHERE IN NCAAF: Former USC Trojan and current New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush forfeited his 2005 Heisman trophy in an unprecedented move Tuesday. The running back said that the scandal involving him receiving improper benefits while at USC 'should not stain the dignity of this award'. This is the first time in the award's 75 year history that it was forfeited by a winner.

The University of Southern California Trojans are under NCAA sanctions for the 2005 scandal and ineligible to play in any bowl games for the next three seasons. The Heisman Trophy Trust is considering their next move now that the trophy's been returned.

The Western Athletic Conference has initiated a lawsuit with Fresno State and Nevada to remain in the conference trough the 2011-2012 academic season before heading to the Mountain West Conference. WAC Commissioner Karl Benson said that the conference had to be notified prior to July 1 of this year before any such move could be approved, otherwise they're obligated to remain in the conference for the next two years.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Borderline Psychosis Update- 25 Slain in Ciudad Juarez; Mexican Authorities Arrest Cartel Leaders, Disable Car Bombs; US Customs Agent Sentenced

CHIHUAHUA: Twenty five people were slain in the border town of Ciudad Juarez on Thursday when attackers stormed four homes in three hours. The attackers killed men thought to be working with the cartels as well as witnesses.
Two graffiti message appeared in Ciudad Juarez threatening Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the fugitive head of the Sinaloa drug cartel.

"You are killing our sons. You already did, and now we are going to kill your families," one sign read.
State Prosecutors in Chihuahua say this is the bloodiest single day in Juarez in at least two years.

Billy Calzada/San Antonio Express-News

Also in Juarez, local and federal police deactivated a car bomb in the parking lot of a day-care center over the weekend after responding to a tip concerning a dead body in one of the cars. The dead body was found inside a Ford Escape at the scene, but Federal police also found explosives in a blue Kia at the same parking lot. The unidentified victim in the Ford was apparently shot in the face with a rifle.

TAMAULIPAS: Authorities in the border city of Reynosa are investigating a mass jailbreak earlier in the week in which 85 inmates scaled a wall in the prison early Friday morning. Two prison guards were also missing, leading investigators to believe that the escapees had help from the inside. Other guards and employees are being investigated by federal officials on charges of corruption and negligence.

Earlier in the year, Federal investigators chraged seven guards at the same prison for aiding and abetting suspected cartel gunmen during an April 2010 jailbreak attempt which gunmen on the outside exchanged gunfire with guards.

It was also learned over the sumertime that officials at a state prison in Durango freed inmates and provided them with weapons and vehicles to carry out killings before returning to their cells.

PUEBLA: Mexican Marines have captured a key figure in the fractured Beltran-Leyva cartel in Puebla. Sergio 'El Grande' Villareal was captured without a fight and paraded before the media over the weekend. This is the second top figure n the Beltran Leyva cartel that Mexican officials have captured in the last few weeks, with American-born Edgar 'La Barbie' Valdez Villareal being detained by police outside of Mexico City at the end of August. There were conflicting reports of how 'La Barbie' was taken into custody, with Federal police claiming they lured Edgar out to a remote location through a phone call from an arrested associate. However, documents obtained by the Associated Press indicate that La Barbie's three vehicle convoy had raised the suspicions of local police on a highway west of Mexico City. The report seems to indicate the local police were initially unaware of who they had in custody.

TEXAS: The Washington Post is reporting that a former US Customs agent known as 'La Estrella' (the star) to smugglers was sentenced to 20 years of Federal prison on smuggling and corruption charges at the end of August. According to the affidavit, Martha Garnica conspired to smuggle illegal aliens and more than 100kg of marijuana and recruited other Customs officers to allow drug shipments through one of the El Paso border crossings.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11, 2001- Nine Years Later.

This would actually be my first 9/11 observance of any kind since I started up this blog. There are those out there who are much better at this sort thing than I am, but I'll do my best nonetheless. Everybody seems to have their own story to tell about where they were that day. Mine is particularly anticlimactic- I literally slept through the whole thing since I had the day off and slept in and was functioning on West Coast time. On top of that, I decided to busy myself with some paperwork for awhile before I even bothered turning on a TV, radio or computer. On the radio, the 'Morning Zoo' FM DJs were solemnly trying to estimate how many people were in the World Trade Center Complex on any given workday. It was an odd line of discussion, but I didn't give it much thought until I heard one of them interject without the slightest trace of whimsy '...and the Pentagon is still burning'. By that time, I figured I better turn on the TV and see what the hell was going on. No matter what channel I was watching, they were showing the skyline of lower Manhattan minus the WTC towers- just a giant incomprehensible sprawl of smoke, dust and rubble.

I was in a daze for awhile as I tried absorbing what had taken place while I was slumbering. Although I have relatives in Massachusetts and New York, I figured the odds of them being on one of the planes or in lower Manhattan were remote. Almost in a daze, I left for the grocery store and local pizza place, getting cans of soda and two extra large pizzas. From there, I went to the local chapter of the Red Cross, and sure enough, there was a line of people coiled around the block, volunteering to donate blood (this IS America, after all). Since I'm a total wuss who prefers to avoid needles, I simply started passing out slices of pizza and soda to the people waiting in line to give blood.
I wasn't sure what else I should do- although it would be reassuring to hear from some of my relatives (I have a few who are first responders in Upstate NY), I figured the courtesy call could wait, since they were reporting that almost 400 FDNY firefighters and NYPD officers were among those killed by the muslim terrorists that day. A death toll of hundreds- let alone thousands- was hard for me to comprehend (then again, so is rushing into a burning building of any size) and it looked as though some of my relatives would need to fill in for their besieged New York City counterparts. I was also getting word that there were people celebrating the attacks on the WTC towers and Pentagon. 'What kind of sick, vile, sociopathic fuckers would be celebrating this?' I asked myself.

I soon got my answer. Juxtapose the image of a man who decided he was BETTER OFF jumping to his death with the video from below that day.

The shock and sorrow was replaced by a smoldering anger that seemed to gradually intensify when CNN introduced these patronizing 'Islam is a Religion of Peace' puff pieces in the following days along with the occasional reminder that Timothy McVeigh (may he rot in hell) was a terrorist too. As important as it is that we never forget those who were murdered that day, it's just as important to keep in mind who was dancing on their graves.
It's also important to avoid sugar-coating the events of September 11, 2001, such as many in the entertainment industry referring to it in neutral terms like 'tragedy' or 'disaster'. No doubt the end result is tragic, but the Towers didn't collapse in a stiff breeze. The Pentagon didn't get that chunk torn out of due to a ruptured water main. Flight 93 didn't crash in a field in Western Pennsylvania because a bird got sucked into the engine. These were calculated, meticulously planned acts of mass murder by muslim extremists- to gloss over that or say otherwise is a piss-poor attempt at re-writing history.

This is what so many mean when they say 'NEVER FORGET'

Thomas E Franklin/Bergen County Record
I would also like to take this opportunity to extend my appreciation and gratitude for the first responders in police and fire departments nationwide. Although I have rambled on for quite a bit, I don't think there are adequate words to describe the professionalism and selflessness it takes to endanger your own life and rush into a burning building or lead people to safety as exemplified by those in the FDNY and NYPD that September day.

Friday, September 10, 2010

'Green Jobs' in Action- Last Incandescent Bulb Factory in USA Closes Doors

Back in 2009, I remember watching C-SPAN showing live Nancy Pelosi from the floor of the House of Representative smirking that the Cap & Trade vote would mean 'Jobs, Jobs, Jobs'...

I suppose I was a little harsh on the Speaker of the House Human Lamprey at the time, since she was technically correct.

The 'Green' economy this Administration and Congress has been cheerleading for so far has indeed meant more jobs. Particularly in China.
WINCHESTER, VA. - The last major GE factory making ordinary incandescent light bulbs in the United States is closing this month, marking a small, sad exit for a product and company that can trace their roots to Thomas Alva Edison's innovations in the 1870s.

The remaining 200 workers at the plant here will lose their jobs.

During the recession, political and business leaders have held out the promise that American advances, particularly in green technology, might stem the decades-long decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs. But as the lighting industry shows, even when the government pushes companies toward environmental innovations and Americans come up with them, the manufacture of the next generation technology can still end up overseas.

What made the plant here vulnerable is, in part, a 2007 energy conservation measure passed by Congress that set standards essentially banning ordinary incandescents by 2014. The law will force millions of American households to switch to more efficient bulbs.

The resulting savings in energy and greenhouse-gas emissions are expected to be immense. But the move also had unintended consequences.

Rather than setting off a boom in the U.S. manufacture of replacement lights, the leading replacement lights are compact fluorescents, or CFLs, which are made almost entirely overseas, mostly in China.
So the death blow for the plant actually came two years before Cap & Trade.

This leads me to wonder how many 'unintended consequences' are contained in the Cap & Trade bill that passed the House last year but has yet to go before the Senate.

Ground Zero Mosque Update- Muslim Cabbie Stabbed by Ground Zero Mosque Fanboy; Florida Church to Burn Korans Saturday

A New York cabbie was slashed in the neck and arm by a fare after being asked whether or not he was a Muslim. The attacker, who was identified as 21 year old Micheal Enright, was arrested shortly afterwards and has since been charged with attempted murder and hate crimes.

Seems like an open and shut case of anti-mosque sentiment spilling over into real-life attacks against Muslims in the United States, doesn't it? But this case isn't as open and shut as it seems.

For starters, the victim- a 43 year old Bangladeshi immigrant named Ahemd Sharif- was reportedly against opening up a mosque in the former Burlington Coat Factory in which Imam Rauf wants to open up a 13 storey mosque and cultural center. On the other hand, Enright was a volunteer with an interfaith group called Intersetions International that is pro mosque. Enright also reportedly travelled to Afghanistan as a civilian photographer in May of this year to document US Army comat patrols in the Helmland province.

The story apparently died with a whimper because it didn't fit the media template of incidents of racist bigots (who were against the mosque, naturally) viciously attacking innocent Muslims dramamtically rising as a result of the Ground Zero mosque debate. So the mainstream media is left scrambling to shift the narrative with less than 24 hours before the 9 year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. However, the reality is that according to the most recently available statistics, there are more hate crimes comitted against Jews and Chrisitans than there are against Muslims in the USA. Of the 1,732 victims of anti-religious hate crimes:
66.1 percent were targeted because of an offender’s anti-Jewish bias.
7.5 percent were victims because of an anti-Islamic bias.
5.1 percent were victims because of an anti-Catholic bias.
3.6 percent were victims because of an anti-Protestant bias.
0.8 percent were targeted because of an anti-Atheist/Agnostic bias.
12.8 percent were victims because of a bias against other religions (anti-other religion).
4.0 percent were victims because of a bias against groups of individuals of varying religions (anti-multiple religions, group).
-Source, FBI
The rates for hate crimes against people of Middle Eastern background is even lower when compared to crimes directed at blacks (72.9%) and whites (16.8%).

ELSEWHERE: It's been all over the news this week to the point where I'm sick of hearing about it, but a pastor in Gainsville, FL has promised to mark the 9 year anniversary of 9/11 by publicly burning Korans on Saturday.

Just like the Ground Zero mosque and Imam Rauf, pastor Terry Jones is well within his rights to be a pedantic dickweed.....but that doesn't mean he should. That also means the government shouldn't intervene on behalf of a bunch of inanimite objects to avoid offending the sensibilities of people who were pretty antipathetic towards us in the first place.

While I think making a spectacle of publlicly burning the Koran is in bad taste, I also think that Muslims burning down Christian churches in Indonesia and Nigeria....with worshippers still inside in many much worse. Hell, I'd even be willing to go a step further and say that beheading an Islamic cleric and then setting the decapitated corpse on fire is much worse than a Koran-burning publicity stunt.

It's also worth noting that as offensive to some as this Koran burning stunt by a small Florida church may be, it's a one day affair. If completed, the Ground Zero mosque will be around for much longer than that.

Original Navajo Code Talker Passes Away in Arizona

Allen Dale June, one of the first 29 Navajo Code Talkers in WWII, passed away at a Veteran's Assistance center in Prescott, AZ at the age of 91.

Saying that there was nothing to do on the 'rez', June joined the Marine Corps at age 16 after lying about his age to a recruiter.

The Code Talkers were used to send encrypted messages by transmitting and receiving them in their native Navajo language in the Pacific Theater. Throughout the course of the war, the Japanese were never able decipher the transmissions. According to June's widow, the Marine Corps Sargent participated in a number of battles and crossed the equator eight times, leapfrogging from island to island in the Pacific.

After the war, June got his master's degree and worked as an accountant. He leaves behind 10 children from three wives.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Happy Rosh Hashanah, From Not Another New England Sports Blog!

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of my regular Jewish and Israeli visitors [Do I have any? If not, I'll just wish it to Jewish passers-by then- NENESB!].

Since Bar Refaeli is apparently a draft dodger (not an easy feat coming from a nation that has mandatory conscription) I thought the High Holiday observing the New Year could be kicked off with some Israeli eye-candy that's actually wearing the IDF uniform.

Of course, some could argue that there's a sensationalist and exploitative element to pointing out the fact that there's attractive women living in Israel.

But for a more straightforward, slice of life look at contemporary Israeli women serving in the IDF, photographer Rachel Papo has an interesting photo essay called Serial No. 3817131.
It was my observation that if a woman could look good in BDUs (i.e. Battle Dress Uniform- the day-to-day camouflage uniform of the US Army), she could look good in pretty much anything. I think the same analysis could hold true for the IDF olive-drab uniform, although that hasn't hindered the IDF glee club any.

But on this Rosh Hashanah, I will let you, good NANESB! readers, be the judge of that.

Playing Hooky Sports Chowdah Update- BoSox Take 2 of 3 From Blue Rays After Windy City Sox Breeze Thru Fenway; Eagles Soar While UConn's Sore

Elsa/Getty Images
MLB: Well scheisse....I've been a bad little blogger, trying in vain to score some easy cash playing the ponies whilst neglecting my blog. Then again, out of the last 6 games the Red Sox played, the only one I get to watch was Sunday's sucktastic snatching of defeat from the jaws of victory against the White Sox courtesy of Papelbon where the White Sox completed their sweep of the Red Sox.

The bad news is that absolutely NONE of the games in the subsequent homestand against Tampa Bay were close. The good news is that two of them went Boston's way, with Jon Lester going six innings while giving up four hits, two earned runs, three walks and striking out ten. Big Papi and Beltre homered and Ryan Kalish hit a grand slam off of Andy Sonnanstine in Monday's 12-5 win over Tampa.

Tuesday night was Boston's turn to get roughed up, with Daisuke Matsuzaka lasting all of four and 2/3rds innings while giving up eight earned runs in Tampa's 14-5 win over Boston.

Wednesday night's rubber game looked like it was going to be more of the same after Wakefield gave up an RBI sac-fly to Evan Longoria in the 1st, followed by a 3-run homer from BJ Upton in the 2nd. The Sox got on the board with a 2 run homer off the bat of Adrian Beltre before tying the game in the bottom of the 3rd with solo homers from Marcos Scutaro and Big Papi. Tampa briefly re-took the lead with an RBI double from Jason Batlett in the 4th, but the Red Sox re-took the lead in the bottom of the 5th thanks to Victor Martinez solo homer, followed by Ryan Kalish's RBI double and THEN scoring on an Evan Longoria throwing error with 2 away.

Boston would go on to tack on three more runs, including another homer by Scutaro to win by the final of 11-5 (this one being a little closer than it looked, given how quickly Tampa got out of the gate).

Vintage knuckleballer Tim Wakefield got 5 innings of work in, giving up 4 earned runs (plus one unearned) on six hits while walking two and striking out 4. With an abundance of run support, Wake's outing was good enough for the win, making the 44 year old knuckleballer the oldest Red Sox ever pitcher to get a win. Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley was 43 when he got his last win in a Red Sox uniform.

Thursday's a pretty light day in general in the American league, and the Red Sox will be travelling for another West Coast road trip that gets underway with a Friday night start against the Oakland A's with Clay Buchholz (15-6; 2.25 ERA) scheduled to start against Trevor Cahill (15-6; 2.72 ERA) at 10PM Eastern time, 7PM Pacific.

OTHER RED SOX NEWS: Jason Varitek made an appearence with the AAA PawSox for their final two games of the International League season at McCoy stadium, going 2-5, batting .400 and driving in a run in two games against the Syracuse Chiefs before being activiated by Boston on Monday night. The captain made an appearence in Tuesday night's loss, going 0-2 with two groundouts, but sat out Wednesday's game against Tampa with the knuckleballer starting.

NCAA FOOTBALL: The BC Eagles are off to a 1-0 start after their 38-20 win over Weber State at Chestnut Hill on Saturday. Eagles QB David Shinskie was 10-20 with 185 yards, 2 touchdowns and two interceptions and LB Mark Herzlich returned to the lineup after missing the 2009 season to undergo treatment for bone cancer.

This was pretty much a first week 'gimmee' where the hapless Division 1AA/FCS team gets slapped around by their 1A/FBS counterpart. Next week, the BC Eagles will host Kent State for a 3:30 PM ET kickoff.

The UConn Huskies had a much rougher start to their season at the Big House in Ann Arbor, MI. The Husky D couldn't contain an occasionally shoeless Denard Robinson, who was 19-22 with 186 yards and a touchdown passing while rushing for another 197 yards and a TD. Michigan wins their home opener against Connecticut, 30-10.

The Huskies will next host the Texas Southern Tigers at Storrs at noon Saturday.

ELSEWHERE IN NCAAF: Pretty good game Monday night between Virginia Tech and Boise State. The game took place at Fed Ex Field in Landover, MD- home of the Washington Redskins- and had the uncanny ability to time some big plays in the second half when I went out to flip some burgers or brats on the grill on Labor Day. The visiting Broncos held off a late drive by the Hokies to win 33-30.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Christina Hendricks- Scrounging For Designer Clothes?

Jason Merritt/Getty
Turns out besides kickoff for College football, the Emmys were this weekend. Like paint drying or grass growing, I typically could let an event like the Emmys pass by without comment, but it seems realistically-proportioned eye-candy Christina Hendricks was once again the focus of some media buzz.

Or at least her stylist, Lawren Sample, was when she told of how difficult it was to find a designer dress that could fit Hendricks.
"She's a woman, she's got a woman's body. But most actors these days, there's nothing to them - they're a clothes hanger."

Lawren admits with unusual candour that though the 35-year- old actress's curves - her vital statistics are reported to be a 38DD-26-34 - are the envy of Mad Men fans, designers prefer to steer clear.

"If you have a fitting with anyone else - her Mad Men co-star January Jones, for example - she's going to get 50 beautiful runway samples sent to her," says Lawren.

"We need to have dresses made. If we don't have them made, we have to get a larger size that's been made for someone else but never worn, or a vintage piece."

Lawren has to beg, buttering up the designer, saying Christina is a "huge, huge fan" of their work. Yet nine times out of ten, it is still a flat "No".

"They'll say: ''Unfortunately, we don't have the sizes to support her,'' or ''Unfortunately, we only have a size two or four.""
I have to say, this Zac Posen fellow has made me stop and reassess whether or not the fashion industry is comprised exclusively of angry homosexuals who's sole purpose in life it is to try and make attractive women look as much like androgynous urchins as possible.

In the end, New York designer Zac Posen stepped up to the mark to dress Christina for the Emmys.

He wanted to accentuate her shape, rather than hide it. The lilac, cleavage-bearing, hourglass dress in chiffon with hand- stitched feathers was specially made for her, with a structured, boned bodice

"She's got a beautiful body, there's no reason to hide anything. Let's celebrate what she has," he said.
I'll let the final product speak for itself.
Fredrick Brown/Getty
Personally, I think Hendricks almost falls into the 'Hollywood Pudgy' category and I think it's pretty telling that the fashion industry can't or won't make dresses for an actress who's measurements seem to be closer to that of most American women than most of the other actresses or singers out there.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

This Week's Word on the Democrats Word A Week Calendar: 'Firewall'

And the media seems to have picked up on it as well:

Smoke on the Firewall for Senate Dems?
As one of the hottest summers on record begins easing into fall, the political heat has yet to subside. And that has Senate Democrats sweating states they once thought they had made in the shade.

Democrats knew they had trouble in states where their elected incumbents had resigned (Illinois, Delaware, Colorado), retired (Indiana, North Dakota) or lost the primary (Pennsylvania). They knew they had two more incumbents staggering under terrible poll numbers (Nevada, Arkansas).

But even if all eight of these seats were to be lost, and even if they were to capture no new seats from the GOP, the Democrats reasoned they could still hold the majority.

That "firewall theory" was based on the belief that the rest of the majority's current 59 seats would remain in the hands of Democrats or affiliated independents.

But now there's smoke sighted along the firewall as well. Recent polls in California, Washington and Wisconsin show three more Democratic veterans, all first elected in 1992, are tied, trailing or only slightly ahead of their Republican challengers
It isn't just the Senate that the 'Firewall' phrase is being applied to, either. House Democrats in competitive districts appear to be scattering whenever President Obama is in town while the DCCC is trying to figure out who's campaign can be salvaged.

Democrats Trying to Build Firewall Around Strongest Cadidates
Races that are believed to have particularly vulnerable Democrats include those of newcomers who won Republican seats during the last two pro-Democratic election cycles -- like Betsey Markey of Colorado, Tom Perriello of Virginia, Mary Jo Kilroy of Ohio and Frank Kratovil Jr. of Maryland -- as well as more senior members, like John Spratt of South Carolina and Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota, according to the Times.
I suspect there are a few more names on that list as well- the Democrats problems clearly are more widespread than a five or six competitive districts.

Also worth noting, the non-partisan Charlie Cook Political Report last week made 17 updates to House, Senate and Gubenetorial elections. ALL 17 were in favor of the GOP:
•WYOMING Governor: Likely Republican to Solid Republican (9/02/10)
•TENNESSEE Governor: Lean Republican to Likely Republican (9/02/10)
•PENNSYLVANIA Governor: Toss Up to Lean Republican (9/02/10)
•OREGON Governor: Lean Democrat to Toss Up (9/02/10)
•WEST VIRGINIA Senate: Likely Democrat to Lean Democrat (9/02/10)
•OHIO Senate: Toss Up to Lean Republican (9/02/10)
•ARKANSAS Senate: Toss Up to Lean Republican (9/02/10)
WISCONSIN District 8: Lean Democrat to Toss Up (9/02/10)
WASHINGTON District 2: Likely Democrat to Lean Democrat (9/02/10)
TEXAS District 23: Lean Democrat to Toss Up (9/02/10)
NORTH CAROLINA District 11: Likely Democrat to Lean Democrat (9/02/10)
MICHIGAN District 9: Likely Democrat to Lean Democrat (9/02/10)
ILLINOIS District 17: Likely Democrat to Lean Democrat (9/02/10)
FLORIDA District 22: Likely Democrat to Lean Democrat (9/02/10)
COLORADO District 3: Lean Democrat to Toss Up (9/02/10)
ARIZONA District 5: Lean Democrat to Toss Up (9/02/10)
ARIZONA District 1: Lean Democrat to Toss Up (9/02/10)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Magnitude 7.0 Earthquake Strikes New Zealand's South Island

Authorities in the Canterbury reigon of New Zealand's South Island had declared a state of emergency after a 7.0 earthquake struck the island and heavily damaged many structures in and around the city of Christchurch at around 4 AM local time Saturday. Eighty extra police officers were brought in from Auckland to enforce a 7 PM to 7 AM curfew while personnel from New Zealand's Army were brought in to help with relief work.

A fire had flared up in downtown Christchurch, but firefighters efforts were stymied when there was no water pressure due to the broken pipes. There were also reports of sporadic looting, but authorities began making arrests.

Engineers say that at least six major bridges in the Canterbury region were heavily damaged by the quake and even on the roads that were undamaged, debris from collapsed buildings blocked lanes. No tsunami warnings were issued, although concerns that strong aftershocks could knock down already damaged buildings led authorities to seal off the downtown area.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said in a statement that there were no confirmed fatalities, although many people were being treated for injuries from falling debris or broken glass at area hospitals.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sports Chowdah Pre Labor Day Update- O No! Sox Hang On To Take 2 Out Of 3 From Baltimore; Are You Ready For Some (NCAA) Football?

RED SOX: Well, I'd hardly call taking two out of three from the AL East's cellar dwellers a triumph, but after dropping three straight within the division, including the series opener at Camden yards Tuesday night, one takes what one can get.

Daisuke Matuzaka got the start Thursday night and was working with a 5 run lead for much of the night thanks to a very productive 2nd inning that started off with an Adrian Beltre and was punctuated by a 2-RBI single from Big Papi. However, Baltimore would rally in the bottom of the 6th, making it a 1-run game and chasing Matsuzaka from the mound.

Scott Atcheson came on in relief with two away and caught Nolan Riemold looking at strike three to end the threat with the tying run on 2nd. After getting a little insurance on a Mike Lowell RBI groundout in the top half, Atcheson would have a 1-2-3 seventh inning and get the first two batters out in the eights before being relieved by Okajima, who got Luke Scott on a foul pop up along the 3rd base side, retiring the one and only batter he faced.

Papelbon made it interesting in the bottom of the 9th, starting off the inning by giving up singles to Felix Pie and Matt Weiters before Corey Patterson got down a sac-bunt to put runners on 2nd and third with one away before striking out Ceasar Izturis and Josh Bell to end the ballgame, good for his 35th save of the season.

The Sox will face the (Chi)Sox this weekend, which means we apparently traded in one Johnny Damon 'reunion' for two Manny 'reunions'. Friday's scheduled starters were supposed to be John Danks (11-9; 3.65 ERA) against Clay Buccholz (15-4; 2.21 ERA), but that was rained out and will probably be made up as a doubleheader Saturday. With Hurricane Tropical Storm Earl approaching, I'm wondering how they could get the whole series in though.

NCAA Football- My my! The games that count are already here with the NCAA Football kickoff on Thursday night. Just a cursory glance of the TV listings indicated that there were some Thursday night, but I was blindsided by just how many there were when I did some channel surfing.

Presbyterian 13- Wake Forest 53

Rhode Island 0- Buffalo 31

Murray State 10- Kent State 41

SE Missouri State 10- Ball State 27

Hampton 0- Central Michigan 33

Minnesota 24- Middle Tennessee State 17

Norfolk State 0- Rutgers 31

Florida A&M 0- #13 Miami (FL) 45

Marshall 7- #2 Ohio State 45

Towson 17- Indiana 51

Southern Miss. 13- South Carolina 41

Florida Atlantic 32- Alabama-Birmingham 31

SE Louisiana 21- Tulane 27

Northern Illinois 10- Iowa State 27

#15 Pittsburgh 24- Utah 27

North Dakota 0- Idaho 45

Eastern Washington 24- Nevada 49

#14 USC 49- Hawaii 36

NFL- Pats lost to the Giants 20-17 in the final preseason game on Thursday night. They will play host to the Cincinnati Bengals for opening day at Foxboro on Sunday, September 12. Kickoff is at 1PM Eastern, 10AM Pacific.