Thursday, October 31, 2013

Turn the Paige- New Documentary Reportedly Looks at Iconic Pin-Up's Years Out of the Spotlight

A documentary set to be released in November will reportedly chronicle the later years of famous pin-up model Bettie Page, with parts of the movie to be narrated by Page herself.

Director Mark Mori, who interviewed Page in the late 1990s, enjoyed nearly unprecedented access to the late Bettie Page, who seemed genuinely perplexed over the popularity of some of her photographs some 50 years later. Her time out of the spotlight included being institutionalized for acute schizophrenia and Page passed away in December 2008 at her southern California home at the age of 85.
Set to be released in select theaters on November 22 in New York and on November 29 in Los Angeles, the documentary finally gives voice to the sultry siren of the Southland as she unveils her previously unknown personal life after 40 years of enigmatic seclusion.

Mr Mori's rapport with the publicity shy star (they often shared Christmas cards and the director visited her in hospital one week before she died) gives way to dozens of rare and intimate audio comments as she recounts her troubled childhood (she spent a brief amount of time in an orphanage) and movie star dreams.

But Page's rise to fame, which coincided with the conservative McCarthy era, was short lived. 'The whole Bettie Page phenomenon developed while she was simply off the scene, Mr Hefner explains in the trailer.

Too racy for the times, her images were confiscated suring a police drug raid, and despite cooperating with an FBI investigation, the trailer alludes to a court case in which Page was embroiled over her sexy pinup images.

Fearing legal reprisals at the time, photographer Irving Klaw destroyed most of the photographs and negatives of his shoots with Page after being summoned to appear before the US Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency in 1957- apparently unaware that his sister Paula had hidden away some of the images. Some surviving images of Page from the Klaw archive were auctioned off earlier this year- along with candid pictures of Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor, Fay Wray and James Dean- at New York's Gurnsey's auctioneers.


For the 3rd time in less than a decade, the Boston Red Sox are World Series Champions, taking the 2013 Fall Classic in 6 gams from the St Louis Cardinals.

Wednesday night's game was the first time the Red Sox have clinched the World Series at Fenway Park since 1918 and came a little over 6 months after the terrorist attack against the Boston Marathon that killed three and maimed hundreds of bystanders.

I'm at a loss for words right now- I can't help but shake the feeling that even if it's on just this brisk autumn night, all is right with the world.

I will post a more detailed re-cap of the game and some of the awards that were given out, but in the meantime I thought I'd end the 2013 MLB season the way I started it- with the late Ernie Harwell's soliloquy on this quirky, wonderful game that traces its roots to New England

Congratulations, to the Boston Red Sox- from worst [at least in the AL East- NANESB!] to first!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Meet Me In St Louis Sports Chowdah Update- Red Sox Take Series Lead on Strong Start by Lester; Ram Tough- St Louis Defense Stout, But Seahawks End Up Winning on Monday Night

Elsa- Getty images
WORLD SERIES- After going through six pitchers- including starter John Lackey- during Sunday night's series-tying Game 4, Red Sox manager Jon Farrell needed a strong start from Jon Lester for Monday night's Game 5 while St Louis starter Adam Wainwright was looking to put his disastrous Game 1 start behind him.

The Red Sox jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when Dustin Pedroia hit a 1-out double in the top of the first and came home when David Ortiz followed that up with a double of his own to put the Red Sox on the board. Wainwright then got Gomes and Nava to strike out to end the Boston threat.

Jon Lester got out to a strong start and was cruising until the bottom of the 4th when he gave up a solo homer to deep center off the bat of Matt Holliday to tie the contest up at 1-1. Carlos Beltran then hit a ball to deep left that looked like it was on its way out of the park before Johnny Gomes was able to run it down. Yadier Molina then grounded out to end the inning with the game knotted up at a run each.

The game would remain deadlocked at 1-1 until the top of the 7th inning when Xander Bogaerts hit a one out single followed by a walk to Drew from Wainwright. That brought David Ross into the batter's box and on a 1-2 count, this happened:

The Red Sox got the go-ahead run on Ross' ground rule double, and manager John Farrell had to decide whether or not to leave Lester in to bat or remove him for a pinch hitter. He stuck with Lester, although the decision didn't pay off immediately as he harmlessly grounded out without advancing the runners. That brought Jacoby Ellsbury to the plate and he singled up the middle, bringing Drew home to make it a 3-1 game. Ross attempted to add to the lead, but he was thrown out at the plate to end the top half of the 7th.

Meanwhile, Lester managed to cruise easily through the bottom half of the second, getting Holliday, Beltran and Molina to hit into outs. In the bottom half of the 8th, Lester got the first two outs before Farrell decided to bring Uehara in out of the bullpen for a 4-out save, getting pinch hitter Matt Adams to strike out and end the inning.

There would be no pickoff throw to end Game 5. Instead, Uehara would get Carpenter, Jay and Holliday out in order to win the game for Boston by a 3-1 final and take a 3-2 series lead over St Louis.

Just like Game 1, Lester goes 7⅔ innings- unlike Game 1 of the World Series, Lester actually gave up a run. Monday night's Game 5 would actually be the first time Lester gave up an earned run in a World Series start.

The series heads back to Fenway on Wednesday night for Game 6 with the Red Sox getting a chance to clinch the World Series at home for the first time since 1918. Although St Louis has a recent history of persevering in Game 6s and will send undefeated rookie hurler Michael Wacha to the mound in Game 6, the series shifts back to an American League park where Farrell can start both Napoli AND Big Papi instead of slotting in Ortiz at first and bringing on Napoli as a pinch hitter or late-inning defensive replacement. Aside from Lester, Farrell has a stable of fairly well-rested arms at his disposal should Game 6 get to an 'All Hands on Deck' type situation.

John Lackey gets the start against Wacha and the first pitch is scheduled for 8:07 PM ET. The game will be televised on FOX and carried on ESPN Radio.

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL- Meanwhile, across town from the new Busch Stadium, the St Louis Rams were playing host to the Seattle Seahawks. In a game that many were expecting to be a one-sided blowout, the Rams defense was quite stingy and didn't give up that many first half yards and even took an early 3-0 lead.

However, Seattle was successfully able to keep the Rams out of the end zone and their more promising drives ended with field goals instead of TD's as Seattle goes on to win by a 14-9 final over St Louis.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Report: White House Knew As Far Back As 2010 That Millions Of Americans Would Lose Insurance Coverage Under 0bamacare

According to an NBC report on Monday, The Obama Administration knew that as many as 67% of Americans already insured would lose their coverage once 0bamacare was passed into law as far back as 2010. This runs contrary to President Obama's numerous promises of "If you like your insurance, you can keep it" while stumping for the passage of the law known as the Affordable Care Act in 2009.
Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC News that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”

None of this should come as a shock to the Obama administration. The law states that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010 will be “grandfathered,” meaning consumers can keep those policies even though they don’t meet requirements of the new health care law. But the Department of Health and Human Services then wrote regulations that narrowed that provision, by saying that if any part of a policy was significantly changed since that date -- the deductible, co-pay, or benefits, for example -- the policy would not be grandfathered.

Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”

That means the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.

Yet President Obama, who had promised in 2009, “if you like your health plan, you will be able to keep your health plan,” was still saying in 2012, “If [you] already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance.”

“This says that when they made the promise, they knew half the people in this market outright couldn’t keep what they had and then they wrote the rules so that others couldn’t make it either,” said Robert Laszewski, of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, a consultant who works for health industry firms. Laszewski estimates that 80 percent of those in the individual market will not be able to keep their current policies and will have to buy insurance that meets requirements of the new law, which generally requires a richer package of benefits than most policies today.

The NBC article drew an immediate and fierce reaction from senior White House staffers on social media.

Curiously, the NBC story disappeared for awhile on Monday night before re-appearing at a different URL- at first with a key paragraph missing and then with the original content posted.

White House press secretary Jay Carney at first blamed the cancellation notices on 'routine turnover within the insurance industry' and Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner said it was the insurance industry that was to blame, not the Obama Administration. However, the insurance industry claims that the cancellation notices are being sent out because the current policies aren't in compliance with 0bamacare.

Elsewhere, Senator Mary Landrieu [D- LA] claimed that Democrats had only promised Americans could keep their insurance policies if it was "good insurance".
According to Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Democrats had only promised that Americans could keep their insurance if it was "good insurance."

"We said when we passed that, 'If you had insurance that was good insurance that you wanted to keep it, you could keep it,'" Landrieu said.

She declined to say if she would support a measure to let Americans keep the plans they had in 2013. "I haven't looked at it specifically," Landrieu said.

So first the White House and the Democrats denied that there was any widespread cancellations of insurance policies taking place, but when the reports of previously insured people receiving cancellations notices or being placed into newer, cost-prohibitive policies for the same level of coverage thanks to Barack Obama's landmark healthcare law became too numerous to ignore, the spin was that those policies millions of Americans were losing were crappy to begin with and that the insurance industry was to blame- all while making sure the individual mandate wasn't delayed during this month's government shutdown.
Other Democrat senators, including those up for re-election in red or swing states, declined to comment on the cancellations

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sports Chowdah Update- Go Go Johnny Gomes, Red Sox Bounce Back to Even Up World Series After Interference Call; All Tannehill Downhill From Here- Patriots Surge Past Miami in Explosive 2nd Half;

Today's Sports Chowdah Update provides an example of New England teams bouncing back after a late call cost them dearly.

Matt Slocum- AP

WORLD SERIES- One night after St Louis took a 2-1 series lead on an interference call in the bottom of the 9th inning, Game 4 of the 2013 World Series came to yet another unbelievable conclusion.

Besides the umpires ruling that Will Middlebrooks interfered with Allen Craig in the basepath when he was attempting to come home on an errant throw from Saltalamacchia in the bottom of the 9th, the biggest storyline was whether or not Clay Buchholz would start for Boston in Game 4 after having his start pushed back- and if so, how many innings would he last.

The answer, as it turned out, was four. Buchholz likely would've lasted a little longer if Game 4 was being played in an American League ballpark. After trailing 1-0 in the top of the 5th, the Red Sox managed to load the bases with nobody out before Stephen Drew managed to tie the contest up at 1-1 with a sac fly to left that brought Big Papi rumbling in from 3rd. Red Sox manager John Farrell decided to bring in Mike Carp to pinch hit for Buchholz with two on and two away, but the Boston rally ended when Carp grounded out.

For the second straight night, Felix Doubront came out of the pen and on Sunday night, he was dealing more gas than a Marcellus Shale rig, getting Carpenter, Beltran and Holliday out in order in the bottom of the 5th. In the top of the 6th, starter Lance Lynn got two quick outs before allowing a 2-out single to Dustin Pedroia and an unintentional intentional walk to David Ortiz. At that point, Cards manager Mike Matheny brought in reliever Seth Maness out of the bullpen to face Johnny Gomes, who was starting for the slumping Shane Victorino. With two strikes and two away, Gomes changed the game with one swing of his bat.

Gomes, who came into Sunday night's game 0-8, managed to hit it into the Red Sox bullpen out in left field to give the Red Sox a 4-1 lead. Doubront, meanwhile, would continue baffling the St Louis batters he faced until the bottom of the 7th when Shane Robinson would pinch hit for reliever Randy Choate. The Cards pinch-hitter would get a two-out double to get a runner in scoring position for the first time since the bottom of the 4th. After Craig Breslow came out of the Boston bullpen, he immediately gave up a single to Matt Carpenter, bringing home Robinson to cut the Red Sox lead in half.

Breslow would then walk Carlos Beltran to bring the go-ahead run up to the plate in the form of Matt Holliday. Junichi Tazawa, however, would come out of the pen and get Holliday to ground out and end the St Louis threat in the 7th. Cards reliever Kevin Siegrist would get two quick outs before allowing a single off the bat of David Ortiz- who then left the game so Quentin Berry could pinch-run for him. Former Brewers reliever Jon Axford came in for the Cards and after Berry successfully stole second, Axford walked Gomes before getting rookie Xander Bogaerts to strike out and end the Red Sox threat in the top of the 8th.

In the bottom of the 8th, none other than Game 2 starter John Lackey came out of the bullpen to pitch an inning of relief. After getting Matt Adams to ground out, Yadier Molina got on base thanks to a throwing error from Bogaerts, advancing to second. The not-exactly-fleet-of-foot catcher advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch, meaning that with any sort of ground ball or reasonably deep fly ball, St Louis could make it a 1-run game. However, Lackey managed to snuff the St Louis rally by getting outfielder Jon Jay to pop out to shortstop and 2011 World Series hero David Freese to ground out to short.

Axford had an efficient 9th inning, getting Drew, Ross and Napoli [who came in after Big Papi was lifted for the pinch runner- NANESB!] in order. In the bottom of the 9th, Koji Uehara came on for the save and got Daniel Descalso to ground out to start off the inning. A hobbled Allen Craig came on to pinch-hit for Axford and belted a ball to deep right where Daniel Nava had to field it off the wall for what amounted to a long single. Craig was lifted for pinch-runner Kolten Wong. Matt Carpenter popped up to shallow right field for the second out with Wong staying at first.

With two away, Carlos Beltran stepped into the batter's box representing the potential tying run for St Louis. The announcers for ESPN Radio, FOX and KMOX kept questioning why Uehara was so focused on the runner at first when it was believed the Red Sox would gladly cede 2nd base if it meant getting the batter out. With a 1-1 count on Carlos Beltran, Uehara demonstrated why he was so intent on the runner at first.

Uehara's pickoff throw took the bat out of Beltran's hands and ended Game 4- the first-ever World Series game to end on a pickoff throw. This means the 2013 World Series is now a best-of-three contest. After coming on for some long relief for the second straight night, Felix Doubront gets the win for Boston- his first career postseason win.

Game 4 is set for 8:07 PM ET on Monday night and will feature a rematch of Game 1 starters Jon Lester and Adam Wainwright. Despite Game 1's disastrous start for Wainwright, the Cards starter has an 11-6 record and 2.83 ERA at home this season. The game will be televised on FOX and broadcast on ESPN Radio.

Michael Dwyer- AP

NFL- After last week's late and costly penalty cost them the game against the Jets, the Patriots fell into an early hole against the Miami Dolphins at Foxboro.

After trailing Miami 14-0 in the second quarter and heading into the locker room at halftime down 17-3 with just 59 offensive yards, New England would need a near flawless second half to bounce back.

While not flawless, the Patriots came up HUGE in the second half of Sunday afternoon's game at Gillette stadium, scoring 24 unanswered points. New England got the ball rolling on their second possession after a missed Dolphins FG attempt gave the Patriots their ball back near their own 40. Stevan Ridley opened up the drive with a 23 yard run before Brady connected with TE Gronkowski for 23 more yards on 2nd and 10 from the Dolphins 41 before capping the drive with their first TD of the day on a 14 yard completion to WR Aaron Dobson to make it a 1-TD game.

New England would manage to tie the game before two minutes came off the game clock. The Dolphins started out on their own 20, but Miami QB Ryan Tannehill was immediately sacked by CB Logan Ryan while DE Rod Ninkovitch recovered the loose ball on the Miami 13. The game would be tied when RB Brandon Bolden would punch it in on first and goal to make it 17-17 after the Gostkowski PAT. The Patriots would get their first lead of the day after Gostkowski kicked a 48 yard FG to make it 20-17 late in the 3rd quarter.

On Miami's first drive of the 4th, a 28 yard Tannehill pass attempt was expertly deflected by DB Devin McCourty while Marquice Cole caught it, managing to keep both feet in-bounds on the play. This gave New England the ball back on their own 18 and the Patriots managed to take the ball 72 yards on a drive lasting nearly 6 minutes- including Brady successfully running for a first down on 4th and 4 from the Miami 34 and a costly penalty against Miami after sacking Brady and batting the loose ball further back- before the drive was capped on a 3 yard TD run by Stevan Ridley to give New England the 27-17 lead.

Miami was able to put another drive together and got as close and the Patriots 15, but on 3rd and 3 Ninkovitch sacked Tannehill to push the Dolphins back 6 yards, forcing them to settle for a FG attempt with just over 2:40 remaining in the game. Caleb Sturgis' FG attempt was blocked by Chandler Jones- essentially ending the ballgame and preserving New England's 2nd half shutout. Patriots snap their 1-game losing streak within the AFC east and go on to win by a 27-17 final.

The Patriots will next host the struggling Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov 3rd. The game will be televised on CBS with kickoff scheduled for 1:25 PM ET and the game will be televised on CBS.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Meanwhile, Obamacare Rollout Going As Well As Expected

Or at least as well as I expected.

Where to start? As President Obama and the Democrats are fond of reminding us, 0bamacare is now the law of the land despite efforts to repeal or defund it [including this month's government shutdown- NANESB!].

The botched and error-plagued rollout of the President's landmark achievement has drawn criticism from both parties and is best embodied by the lethargic and seemingly impossible-to-navigate website- which the most charitable of critics have likened to an experience with all the warmth, efficiency and joy of a 1970s-era DMV visit. Those criticisms may end up being the least of the Democrats' worries, however.

A few weeks into the 0bamacare launch, enrollment numbers are dismal. Contractors for CGI Federal claimed that the $400 million website only underwent minimal testing a few weeks prior to the October 1st launch of Obama's Affordable Care Act- meaning that by law, Americans are required to buy a product or service through a website that doesn't exist.

Interestingly, not even a week after Democrats constantly referred to their Republican colleagues as terrorists, anarchists, hostage-takers and suicide bombers for even the most watered down demands in the budget negotiations where they sought a delay in the individual mandate, some Democrats are petitioning President Obama and the department of Health and Human Services for....a delay in the individual mandate of 0bamacare. Tellingly, many of these Democrats will be facing an uphill campaign in Republican-leaning states or districts where 0bamacare is unpopular to begin with in 2014.

Meanwhile, instead of demanding any sort of accountability from HHS head Kathleen Sebelius, other Democrats- including the President- apparently thought that the GOP was magically capable of crashing the 0bamacare website through their mere dislike of the law.

But to treat the website as the sole problem of the 0bamacare rollout would be misleading. It's believed that more Americans in three states have had their insurance cancelled than Americans in all 50 states have filed applications for coverage through the government's website. Many more Americans who already have insurance have received notices that prices will increase dramatically for coverage under the same policy.

A spokeswoman for California's state-run insurance exchange- Covered California- admitted that there would be 'winners and losers' under 0bamacare- with the 'losers' typically being individuals who were purchasing health insurance for themselves or their families before 0bamacare kicked in. Now the costs have gone up dramatically or they will be dropped altogether by Jan 2014. An article from the San Francisco Chronicle earlier this month points out that a lower 2014 income would qualify an individual to be eligible for insurance subsidies as well- basically encouraging people to earn less in order to qualify for a subsidy for a good or service they were compelled to purchase under threat of fine or imprisonment by the federal government.

While pushing for the law in 2009, President Obama infamously told audiences "If you like your insurance, you can keep it"- a claim that was met with justifiable skepticism at the time.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

404 Error Sports Chowdah Update- Wacha Wahca, Cardinals Rookie Bears Down on Red Sox Batters; Sharks Tanked With Less than a Second to Go in Regulation

Matt Slocum- AP
WORLD SERIES: Not gonna lie to you- I'm a little bummed after Thursday night.

Game two of the 2013 World Series featured Cardinals phenom Michael Wacha going up against veteran John Lackey, and it was every bit the pitchers duel as advertised through the first couple of innings. The Cardinals broke through in the top of the 4th when Matt Holliday led off the inning with a triple to the 'triangle' area of deep center field. After Matt Adams grounded out to second, St Louis got on the board with a Yadier Molina groundout to first to make it a 1-0 ballgame; St Louis' first lead over Boston in the World Series since Game 7 of the 1967 Fall Classic.

The way Wacha was pitching, it was looking as though the 1-0 lead might hold up. However, after the former Aggie allowed a 1-out walk to Dustin Pedroia, DH David Ortiz finally figured the Cards rookie out and belted a 3-2 offering into the Monster Seats to give the Sox a 2-1 lead.

That lead would be short lived, however, after Lackey got Allen Craig to strike out in the top of the 7th, he walked David Freese and gave up a single to Jon Jay before Craig Breslow came in out of the pen to relieve Lackey while Cards manager Mike Matheny would get Pete Kozma to pinch run for Freese. Jay and Kozma would successfully execute a double steal before Breslow ended up walking Daniel Descalso. Carpenter would then hit a sac fly to bring home Kozma- Saltalamacchia couldn't corral the throw to home. Although Breslow was at home to back up Saltalalmacchia, this throw to 3rd went into the seats and allowed Jay to score, giving St Louis the 3-2 lead. However, the Cardinals weren't done yet- Carlos Beltran notched his first World Series RBI with a single that brought home Descalso to make it a 4-2 St Louis lead.

The St Louis uprising took the wind out of the Red Sox sails as they couldn't mount a credible threat against the St Louis bullpen. Although Tazawa, Workman and Uehara would limit the Cardinals batters to a single in the 8th inning, the Red Sox bats were limited to a Big Papi single that was ultimately harmless.

A night after the Cardinals comedy of errors cost them dearly in Game 1, they take the lead on two hits and two errors in the top of the 7th to take a 4-2 and go on to even the series at 1-1.

The series now heads to St Louis with no DH for the Red Sox- David Ortiz is expected to play first base starting with Game 3. Jake Peavy will get the start against Joe Kelly. First pitch for Game 3 is scheduled for 8:07 ET and the game will be televised on FOX.

Mary Schwalm- AP

NHL- With all eyes on Fenway on Thursday night, the Bruins were getting set to host the San Jose Sharks- who had yet to lose in regulation this season. That would all change in a pretty unbelievable fashion in the 3rd period as David Krejci broke a 1-1 tie with exacly 0.8 seconds remaining in regulation.

The Bruins best San Jose by a 2-1 final thanks to some last second heroics by Krejci. Jarome Iginla opened up the scoring for Boston late in the second for his first goal as a Bruin. Patrick Marleau got the equalizer for San Jose just 18 seconds into the 3rd, setting up Krejci's very late heroics.

Both teams went 0-1 on the power play, but what really stands out is the shot differential. San Jose's Antii Niemi faced a grand total of 17 shots while Tukka Rask more than twice that number with 39 shots.

The Bruins will host the struggling New Jersey Devils on Saturday. The puck is scheduled to drop at the garden at 7:00 ET on Saturday night and the game will be televised on NESN.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Today's Train of Thought- The Rockford Files, October 25, 2013

Today's Train of Thought takes us to the Hawkeye State right around harvest time, not to mention Hawkeyes football season.

While not an Iowa alumni himself, Iowa Northern President Dan Sabin has been operating the Hawkeye Express shuttle, taking fans from a station in Coralville, IA to Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City for Iowa Football home games since 2006.

Besides the seasonal Hawkeye Express shuttle, the 163-mile Iowa Northern earns its keep hauling ethanol, corn, RV parts, grain, fertilizer, windmill components and farming machinery. The ethanol boom of the last decade has been particularly good to the Iowa Northern, although management and most industry observers typically caution against a carrier being overly-dependent on a single commodity. Still, inbound trainloads of grain and outbound unit trains of ethanol keep the Cedar Rapids, IA-based line busy.

Here, contributor James House caught a freshly re-crewed Iowa Northern train powered by GP38-2s #3801 and #3805 accelerating as they leave the town of Rockford, IA on a gorgeous, sunny afternoon on October 5th, 2011.

Even in the heart of corn country, there's still some fall foliage to be seen.

What If They Had A Solar Auction and Nobody Came?

In Colorado, you didn't have to imagine. The Denver Business Journal reports that bidders at the nation's first federally-run auction to develop solar projects on public lands were a no-show. And to clarify, I don't mean there were a few internet, telephone or mail-in bids- there were literally ZERO bidders.

To be fair, the Bureau of Land Management had received dozens of inquiries about developing various areas for proposed solar projects, but for whatever reason, none of the interested parties bothered showing up to Thursday's auction.

No bidders showed up for the auction by the federal Bureau of Land Management, which was held Thursday in Lakewood.

“We did not have any bidders come to the sale and we did not receive any sealed bids on the sale,” BLM spokeswoman Vanessa Lacayo said.

“The BLM had received interest in developing the sites, that’s why we moved forward,” she said. “It’s hard to say why we didn’t have any bidders."

In a statement, the BLM said it held the auction because the agency received nine applications and 27 inquiries and expressions of interest after it sought to gauge interest levels from the private sector in March 2013.

The auction offered companies the first chance to bid on the opportunity to file development plans for solar power plants on three parcels in Colorado’s two “Solar Energy Zones” in Conejos and Saguache counties in the sunny San Luis Valley.

While green energy advocates say that the recent government shutdown may have caused uncertainty regarding the auction, recent bankruptcies of solar energy firms such as SunTech, Solyndra, Evergreen Solar or Spectra Watt have likely scared hedge funds and venture capitalists away from the solar companies- despite heavy government subsidies.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Quickie World Series Sports Chowdah Update- Lester Cruises, St Louis Struggles in Game 1; Bruins Add to Buffalo's Woes

Mark L Baer- USA Today
Nothing sends a shiver down my spine like seeing the Green Monster adorned with a giant stars and stripes. But ceremony notwithstanding, there was some baseball to be played on Wednesday night.

Boston Globe
WORLD SERIES- Unlike Game 1 of the ALCS, it didn't take the Red Sox nearly 9 innings to get their first hit in Game 1 of the 2013 World Series. In fact, aside from the Red Sox hosting a Game 1 against a venerable organization from the Midwest, the resemblance stopped right there.

Despite giving up a 2-out single to St Louis' Matt Holliday, Boston starter Jon Lester had a pretty quick first inning. In the bottom half of the first, Lester would even get some run support early [and as it turned out, often- NANESB!] as Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright allowed the leadoff walk to Jacoby Ellsbury before getting ALCS Game 6 hero Shane Victorino to line out. The bases would then get loaded thanks to a Dustin Pedroia single and David Ortiz reaching on a fielding error by Cards shortstop Pete Kozma- second base umpire Dana Demuth blew the call when Pedroia was initially ruled out at second, but after Sox manager John Farrell argued the call and the other umpires conferred, the call was overturned.

The overturned call set up this opportunity for Mike Napoli with the bases loaded and only one out:

Napoli cleared the bases with a 3-RBI double before Wainwright got Johnny Gomes to ground out and Xander Bogaerts to strike out swinging, but the Red Sox had taken a 3-0 lead, something they were unable to accomplish in the first sixteen innings of the ALCS.

Lester had an even more efficient top of the 2nd, getting Yadier Molina and David Freese to strike out before Matt Adams grounded out to second. With Wainwright struggling and the Red Sox hitters smelling blood in the water, the bottom half of the second began when a struggling Stephen Drew reached first after Wainwright initially called for a routine, harmless popup between home and the pitcher's mound but then inexplicable allowed it to drop. Catcher David Ross then singled before Ellsbury flew out to left and Victorino made it safely to first on another Kozma error- once again loading up the bases on an error with only one away. Dustin Pedroia then singled to shallow left, bringing Drew home. This set the table for Big Papi once again, with the bases loaded and only one out. With the crack of Ortiz's bat, it appeared as though he just broke the game wide open with a fly ball towards the dugouts by right-center field, but Carlos Beltran was able to successfully run it down [he paid a price for it, but replay showed he was reaching well into the bullpen when he snagged it- NANESB!], colliding with the wall in the process. David Ross would come on the sac fly, although that was only 25% of the runs the Red Sox faithful were hoping for in that Big Papi at-bat. Mike Napoli would end the inning by grounding out to Wainwright, but now the Red Sox had taken a 5-0 lead.

After Lester struck out Carpenter to get the side in order, Wainwright began to settle down as well, getting the net six batters in order and allowing just a single before reliever John Axford came out of the bullpen in relief of him. Beltran also left the game with what was later disgnosed as bruised ribs after colliding with the bullpen wall when robbing Papi of that grand slam in the 2nd inning.

The Red Sox bats stayed pretty quiet until the bottom of the 7th when Big Papi got to hit one out of the park after all- a two out, 2-run homer off of the first pitch he saw from Cards reliever Kevin Siegrist.

Ortiz's 2-run blast gave Boston a 7-0 lead, and in the top of the 7th with two away, manager John Farrell would pull Lester for Junichi Tazawa would get Beltran's replacement- outfielder Jon Jay- to strike out to end the inning.

In the bottom of the 8th, Daniel Nava came in for Gomes and led off the inning with a double before heading to third on a wild pitch from St Louis reliever Carlos Martinez with Bogaerts at the dish. Bogaerts then hit a fly ball to left-center field deep enough for Nava to come home on, putting Boston up by 8 runs and giving the rookie from Aruba his first career postseason RBI.

Ryan Dempster would come out of the pen for Tazawa in the bottom of the 9th and allow a leadoff homer to Matt Holliday and allow a 2-out single to 2011 World Series hero David Freese before Matt Adams struck out to end the ballgame.

The Boston Red Sox take Game 1- a contest in which the team with the best record in the National League probably wishes they could get a mulligan on. Jon Lester goes 7⅔ shutout innings, despite the Cardinals loading up the bases in the top of the 4th [getting out of it when David Freese grounded into a double play- NANESB!].

Mike Napoli and David Ortiz led the scoring for the Red Sox with 3 RBI's each. Napoli went 1-4 with the bases clearing double while Papi went 2-3 with the just-missed-being-a-grand-slam sac fly for one RBI in the 2nd and the 2-run homer in the 7th.

The Red Sox are now 4-0 in Game 1 of a World Series, dating back to 1975. In fact- the last time the Red Sox lost a World Series Game 1 was in 1967- against the St Louis Cardinals.

I'm expecting a stronger showing from the Cardinals tonight- St Louis, quite frankly, looked ill-prepared and at times startled on the field. Their three errors on the night matches the combined total from the 2013 NLDS and NLCS, prolonging innings when it looked as though their starter might be able to get out of a jam with runners on base.

Thursday night's Game 2 will have Lester on the mound against St Louis rookie Michael Wacha. First pitch is scheduled for 8:07 PM ET and the game will be televised on FOX.

OTHER WORLD SERIES NOTES- Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz- originally slated to start game 3- will have his start pushed back to Game 4 due to what he referred to as fatigue in his throwing shoulder. Jake Peavy's start will instead be moved up to Game 3 at Busch Field in St Louis.

Meanwhile, Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran has been listed day-to-day after his collision with the bullpen wall in Game 1.

Gary Wiepert- AP
BOSTON BRUINS- Apparently the winning formula the Bruins have stumbled across is to play at the exact same time as the Red Sox. With the first two games of the Bruins road trip coinciding with Games 5 and 6 of the ALCS, the Bruins got off to a 2-0 start on their road trip in Florida.

Wednesday night's road game against the Sabres would get underway at almost the exact same time as Game 1 of the World Series. With not quite as many people inside the Hub watching (or at least flipping back and forth between the World Series and Bruins), Boston took on the struggling Sabres who are off the their worst start in franchise history.

Milan Lucic got the Bruins on the board with a goal at the 11 minute mark of the first period and then added to his total with another tally a mere 40 seconds into the second period.

The Sabres were able to cut the Boston lead in half thanks to a Cody Hodgson power play goal at about 8 and a half minutes into the 2nd, but Boston was able to pad their lead to make it 3-1 thanks to a Dougie Hamilton goal.

Nikita Zadorov brought Buffalo back to within one goal with less than 5 minutes to go in the second, but in the third period, Torey Krug would score two unanswered goals- including a power play goal midway through the 3rd- to make it 5-2 Boston.

The Bruins kick the 1-9-1 Sabres while they're down, and Buffalo, Sabres president Ted Black braced fans for more tough times ahead in an interview on WGR radio, basically saying that the franchise is going through a transitionary rebuilding period.

Meanwhile, the Bruins head back to Beantown [just in time for the World Series!- NANESB!] and will take on the 8-0-1 San Jose Sharks at the Garden on Thursday night. Puck is scheduled to drop at 7:00 ET and the game will be televised on NESN and the NHL network- so feel free to flip between that and the World Series if you're so inclined.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fears of a Clown Borderline Psychosis Update- Former Baja Cartel Head Gunned Down By Clowns; Devices Linked to ATF 'Grenade-Walking' Used in Jalisco

JALISCO- Explosives used during a fierce firefight between state police in Jalisco and gunmen from the New Generation Jalisco cartel may have been provided by a fugitive arms trafficker who had been under US surveillance for nearly a decade and was part of a lesser-known 'grenade walking' operation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
The ATF began watching Kingery in "2004 related to AK47 purchases" he was believed to be trafficking to Mexico.

In 2009, ATF also learned Kingery was dealing in grenades; weapons of choice for Mexico's killer cartels. Documents show they developed a secret plan to let him smuggle parts to Mexico in early 2010 and follow him to his factory. Some ATF agents vehemently objected, worried that Kingery would disappear once he crossed the border into Mexico. That's exactly what happened.

Kingery resurfaced several months later in 2010, trying to smuggle a stash of grenade bodies and ammunition into Mexico, but was again let go when prosecutors allegedly said they couldn't build a good case. In 2011, Mexican authorities finally raided Kingery's factory and arrested him -- they say he confessed to teaching cartel members how to build grenades

According to local officials, local police in the city of Tepatitlan were responding to complaints of gunshots being fired in the air earlier this month when they came under fire from the gunmen before their assailants barricaded themselves in a nearby building.

According to the government account, the local police, while under attack, called state police for backup just before 7 p.m. The state police arrived to find the suspects holed up in a house, where, according to news reports and witnesses on Twitter, they kept up a gun battle with the police for three or four hours. Officials said the men threw a number of grenades at the officers.
Sometimes referring to themselves as the 'matazetas' [translates to 'Zeta killers'- NANESB!], the nascent Jalisco New Generation Cartel is one of Mexico's newest cartels, formed after a 2010 break with the Sinaloa Cartel.

BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR- A flamboyant narco who's crime family was reportedly the inspiration for the 2000 Steve Soderbergh film Traffic was gunned down at a children's birthday party in the resort town of Cabo San Lucas. However, what made the assassination of one of the heads of a cartel in decline newsworthy was the fact that the gunmen were disguised as clowns to get close enough to Francisco Rafael Arellano Felix- one of the three brothers that oversaw operations of the Tijuana-based Arellano-Felix Cartel [what are the odds his dying words were "Gunned down by clowns in Cabo! *gurgle* The old fortune-teller was right....."?[NANESB!].
Two bands were entertaining the more than 100 guests, while some local newspapers reported that the party was attended by famous Mexican sports stars.

The gunmen, guests told police, approached him calmly then shot him in the head - with another bullet in the chest to finish him off.

"He was hit by two bullets, one in the body and one in the head," said Isai Arias, prosecutor for the Baja California region.

He was shot at around 8pm on Friday, in the Casa Oceano holiday resort complex, and relatives had identified the body, he added.

Photographs said to be of the scene showed a corpse covered in a blood-soaked sheet, lying on the floor of a grand dining room with tables covered in lurid blue satin. The gunmen, it is said, escaped in a waiting four-wheel drive vehicle.

Francisco Rafael, the eldest brother of the infamous Arellano Felix clan, which ran the Tijuana Cartel, was in his heyday head of the family that for 20 years controlled the most powerful smuggling route from Mexico into the United States. American authorities once described the seven well-dressed and well-spoken brothers as "dashing, multimillionaire, savage criminals".

Arellano Felix was one of 11 children born to a modest family in the Sinaloa region. Alongside his brothers he began by smuggling contraband into the US, before graduating to cocaine.

He also found time to form a band called Los Escorpiones – the scorpions – which played throughout the region. The animal became a symbol of Arellano Felix's, and he took to wearing a four-inch-long diamond-encrusted scorpion pendant around his neck.

To launder the funds through trafficking, he paid for theatre shows and cultural performances in Mazatalan, a sprawling coastal city in Baja California. He also ran what was billed as "the world's largest disco" – a club called Frankie Oh's, emblazoned with scorpion designs.

In an interview with El Noreste newspaper in 1992, he described himself as "a fearless businessman, who risks a huge amount without the fear of losing everything".

For decades, Arellano Felix was seen as untouchable – detained three times for drugs and gun offences, yet miraculously escaping each time. Many believed that the law enforcement officials were in his pay.

With his brothers Benjamin - the brains behind the cartel - and Ramon, the brawn of the organisation, Francisco Rafael was seemingly beyond the law.

He is thought to have masterminded the assassination of the Archbishop of Guadalajara, Cardinal Juan Posadas Ocampo, in 1993 – although authorities were never able to pin the high profile murder on him.

"Wanted by Mexican police since 1978 and on the run from the American law enforcement agencies since 1980, Arellano Felix rubbed shoulders with film stars, television personalities and radio songstresses," said a feature on the drugs capo in Mexican magazine Proceso.

Arellano Felix was eventually captured in 1993, and sent to prison. In 2006 he was extradited to the US, but was released two years later for good behaviour and repatriated to Mexico where he was thought to be living quietly.

In the meantime the power of the Tijuana Cartel had waned, with most of the Arellano Felix brothers either killed or arrested, and rival cartels taking over its territory.

Benjamin was arrested in March 2002, and extradited to the United States in 2011 - where he is currently serving a 25-year sentence. Ramon, the most ruthless of the brothers, had died in a shoot out in Mazatlan a month previously.
With the Tijuana cartel in decline thanks to the arrest and extradition of the Arellano-Felix brothers, the Sinaloa cartel eventually moved into northwestern Mexico to take over the lucrative smuggling routes.

Brothers Benjamin and Eduardo were extradited to the United States in 2012 to face charges of racketeering and conspiracy to launder money.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

38 Years Ago Today

And 28 years before they put seats on the Green Monster.

To be fair, Game 6 of the 1975 World Series between the Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds actually began on October 21st, 1975 but went into extras.

While the timekeeping may not have been as detailed or meticulous back then, it's well known that it was past midnight when Reds reliever Pat Darcy took to the mound in the bottom of the 12th to face leadoff hitter Carlton Fisk.

The thing is that as much as Fisk's walkoff homer propelled him into Red Sox lore, Boston still lost the series in 7 games, the fleeting triumph doing nothing to stem the rise of a cottage industry of 'curse' folklore that persisted until 2004.

In 1975, the NFL was only a few seasons into their merger with the nascent American Football League and this whole 'Super Bowl' thing. There was real concern at the time that football's meteoric rise would marginalize baseball and replace it in a number of markets once considered safe. The 1975 World Series, put those concerns to rest pitting the upstart Red Sox against what many say was the best baseball team in the postwar years- Cincinnati's Big Red Machine.

It will be another National League powerhouse in the Midwest that the Red Sox will face tomorrow- a somewhat familiar one, as Boston and St Louis have already met three times in the World Series since the end of WWII. In fact, out of all the current members of the National League Central, the only club Boston hasn't faced in the World Series is Milwaukee.

Yet, to look at the 2013 Boston Red Sox, with their 12 walkoff wins and defiant bravado in the face of the carnage that was wrought on another Boston sports institution one fateful April afternoon, one can't help but sense that this may very well be only the beginning of something special.

Today's Train of Thought- A Key Deposit, October 22, 2013

Today's Train of Thought takes us to the village of Deposit along New York's Southern Tier.

Located along the former Erie Southern Tier Line between Suffern, NJ and Buffalo, NY, the area around village of Deposit was settled in the 1880s [fairly recent for New York state- NANESB!]. The village itself straddles the Broome and Delaware County lines and reportedly got is name from nearby loggers and their practice of depositing logs along the river before floating them down the west branch of the Delaware River.

Both the highway and the railway that run through the village have undergone some noticeable changes in recent years. Completed in the 1850s, the Southern Tier line started out life as the Erie Railroad's primary link between New York City's western suburbs and the Buffalo area.

By 1960, the Erie had merged with Pennsylvania coal feeder line Delaware, Lackawana & Western to form the Erie Lackawana. However, like many northeastern rail carriers in the 1970s, the E-L would face hard times thanks to Hurricane Agnes, rising fuel costs and a labor dispute. By 1976 was actively seeking to be included in the formation of Conrail along with the Reading, Lehigh Valley, Penn Central and Central New Jersey. Part of the Conrail takeover included allowing trackage rights on the Southern Tier line to other railroads- the Delaware & Hudson's rights agreement with Erie-Lackawana between Buffalo and Binghamton were grandfathered in while the New York, Susquehanna and Western used trackage rights between Sparta Jct, NJ and Binghamton to reach their newly acquired line between Binghamton and Syracuse as well as the branch to Utica.

For Susquehanna, those rights remained intact throughout the Conrail era and during Conrail's 1999 breakup, the Norfolk Southern was awarded much of the former Erie lines. However, after Conrail's breakup, the Southern Tier line east of Binghamton saw decreasing traffic as the Norfolk Southern reached an agreement with Canadian Pacific and the Reading & Northern to route traffic east of Binghamton via Scranton and Allentown, PA.

Prior to the breakup of Conrail, the NYS&W regularly ran intermodal traffic over the Southern Tier line, exercising trackage rights between Buffalo and Sparta Jct, NJ- the line allowed the Chessie System and Norfolk & Western (eventually the CSX and Norfolk Southern) to access New York metropolitan area markets without interchanging with then-rival Conrail. However, that particular selling point of the Susquehanna was rendered moot when both CSX and Norfolk Southern were awarded lines in and out of northern New Jersey in the Conrail breakup.

Still, the Susquehanna had two disconnected lines that relied upon trackage rights over the Southern Tier line to connect them. By 2005, the New York, Susquehanna and Western had entered into an agreement with the Norfolk Southern to lease the 123 miles of line through rural New York and Pennsylvania between Binghamton and Port Jervis, NY to the Central New York- a paper railroad and wholly owned subsidiary of the NYS&W.

Two regularly scheduled freight trains still use the Binghamton-Port Jervis stretch of the line- Little Ferry, NJ to Binghamton freight SU-99 and its eastbound counterpart SU-100, although CSX will sometimes re-route trains via the NYSW if there is a derailment on the Water Level Route or Hudson River line.

Here, contributor David Abeles caught NYS&W SD40T-2 #3016 charging westbound through Deposit, NY on October 22nd, 2011 with a pair of leased SD40-2s trailing on freight SU-99 [and another yellow and black tunnel motor trailing, apparently dead in transit a few cars back- NANESB!]. The sun is out and the leaves have already turned on this fall day- according to the photographer, this was a pretty fortunate catch on his part since the SU-99 run is usually nocturnal- especially with the shorter days starting this time of year. The freight train is beginning its assault on the grade leading up to Gulf Summit to the east.

The highway around and through Deposit has also been undergoing some changes. Four lane New York Route 17 featured some at-grade intersections along the Southern Tier, but those are being eliminated and replaced for the highway's re-designation as Interstate 86, which eventually will run from Erie, PA to the New York State Thruway at Harriman, NY on the west shore of the Hudson River between Newburgh and the Tappan Zee Bridge.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Gran Victorino Sports Chowdah Update- Flyin' Hawaiian Soars in Game 6 As Red Sox Clinch AL Pennant; Folk Implosion- Jets Win in OT Thanks to Supttering Pats Offense, Late Penalty, Obscure Rule; Ride The Lightning- Rask Gets Season's 1st Shutout in Tampa Bay

Its October. The leaves have turned, there's a chill in the air and for the first time in what feels like ages [spoiler alert!- NANESB!] the Red Sox are going to the World Series. All seems right with the world.

Matt Slocum- AP
RED SOX- After fending off a late Detroit surge in Game 5, the ALCS headed back to Boston with the Red Sox one win away from heading back to their first World Series in 6 years.

For Game 6, Clay Buchholz was once again facing off against this year's likely Cy Young winner Max Scherzer and each team managed to get a single but nothing else in the first inning. The game was mostly a pitcher's duel through the first four innings for each starter but after getting the first two batters out in the bottom of the fifth, Scherzer gave up a booking wall ball double to Xander Bogaerts. Jacoby Ellsbury then drove Bogaerts home with an RBI single, but the inning ended when the centerfielder was caught trying to steal second.

Boston's 1-0 lead didn't last long, though. Buchholz struggled immediately in the top of the 6th, allowing a leadoff walk to Torii Hunter and a single to Miguel Cabrera. Farrell had Franklin Morales come out of the pen, but Morales walked Prince Fielder to load the bases with nobody out. Former Indian and Red Sox catcher Victor Martinez then belted a 2-RBI single to put Detroit ahead 2-1. By this point, Workman came out of the pen and the Red Sox looked as though they were willing to concede the run to get a double play with nobody out and runners on first and third, but they didn't have to choose. Jhonny Peralta hit a ground ball up the middle- Pedroia cleanly fielded the ball and got the out at first before noticing that Fielder had hesitated on his way home for whatever reason- Fielder was caught in a rundown before getting tagged out by Saltalamacchia. While Peralta was able to advance to second, the runner at third had been erased and the Red Sox were one out away from getting out of a huge jam, which happened when Workman struck out Aviles.

By the bottom of the 6th, Scherzer was starting to show some signs of fatigue as Victorino led off the inning and was hit by a pitch. Then Pedroia drew a walk to put runners on 2nd and 3rd with nobody out. However, Scherzer would get the next three batters out, ending the Red Sox threat in the bottom of the 6th, despite Victorino and Pedroia advancing into scoring position on a wild pitch.

In the 7th inning, Workman got Infante to fly out to start off the inning before allowing a single to Austin Jackson. However, Jackson then was picked off by Workman for the second out of the inning, which was a good thing since Iglesias then got an infield single followed by Torii Hunter laying down a bunch and reaching first on a fielding error by Workman. Junichi Tazawa would then come out of the bullpen and get Miguel Cabrera to ground out.

Scherzer came back on in the bottom of the 7th, allowing a leadoff double to Johnny Gomes. After getting Drew to strike out swinging, Scherzer then walked Bogaerts before Tigers manager Jim Leyland brought in Drew Smyly. Jacoby Ellsbury then reached first on a fielding error by Iglesias to load up the bases and Leyland went to Veras.

That brought up a struggling Shane Victorino, who had gone 2-23 through the duration of the ALCS and 0-2 on the night, including an attempted bunt that he popped out on in the bottom of the 3rd. A flyout past the infield would be enough to bring a run home and tie the game, but Victorino would do one better.

Heading back to the 9th inning of Game 4, Victorino had gone 0-8, but with one swing of the bat, he put Boston back on top and stunned the Tigers. Pedroia struck out swinging and David Ortiz would ground out to end the inning, but the damage had already been done with Boston up 5-2.

Breslow would come on in the top of the 8th to get Fielder, Martinez and Kelly out before Koji Uehara would come on in the 9th and get Avila to strike out and Infante to ground out before allowing a single off the bat of Austin Jackson. Koji would then strike out former teammate Jose Iglesias to end the ballgame and Detroit's season and clinch the American League Championship Series.

Barry Chin- Boston Globe

One year after their worst season in 50 years, Boston wins the American League Pennant. For the second time since 2004 and fourth time since the end of World War II, Boston will play the St Louis Cardinals in the World Series.

Game 1 is scheduled for Wednesday night at 8:07 ET and will be televised on FOX. Jon Lester was named Boston's Game 1 starter and takes to the mound against Adam Wainwright.

Kathy Willens- AP

NFL- After getting out to an early first half lead, the Patriots needed some last minute heroics just to force overtime at the Meadowlands on Sunday. Sunday also marked the not-quite-triumphant return of Rob Gronkowski.

With the game tied at 7-7 late in the first quarter, CB Logan Ryan put the Patriots up thanks to a pick 6 off of Jets QB Geno Smith. The Jets would make it a 14-10 game thanks to a Nick Folk FG with 11:11 remaining in the first half. With just under 8 minutes to go, the Jets ended up punting from their own 29 yard line- a 38 yard return by Edelman gave New England the ball on the Jets 28 yard line and the Patriots were able to punch it in on a 17 yard TD run from Stevan Ridley to take a 21-10 lead heading into halftime.

The second half was dramatically different for New York as Brady was sacked on the very first play from scrimmage in the second half. For the second play, Brady ended up throwing a pick-six to safety Antonio Allen and the Jets pulled to within four points. The Jets would pull ahead on an 8 yard Geno Smith TD run with 4:33 to go in the 3rd to make it a 24-21 game and Nick Folk added three more points to make it a 27-21 game.

The Patriots seemed to regain their composure in the 4th, getting the ball as far as the Jets 21 before settling for a Gostkowski FG to make it a 24-27 Jets lead. After seemingly an entire quarter that consisted primarily of dropped passes and inopportune penalties for both teams, the Patriots. Last week, Brady needed a 1:13 to move the ball downfield with no timeouts. This Sunday, the Patriots had a couple of timeouts and the 2 minute warning when they got the ball back on their own 8 yard line with 2:10 remaining in the game. Brady had a couple of big completions to Edelman and Gronkowski to move them as far as the Jets 26, but a couple of dropped passes brought up 4th and 10 with less than 30 seconds remaining in the game. With 16 seconds to go, the Patriots tied it up at 27-27 on a Gostkowski FG and managed to force OT- although Brady went for the home run ball more than once.

After Brady made a 16 yard completion to Gronkowski for the first play in OT, the Patriots first possession of the OT fizzled at their own 38 and they were forced to punt. Starting out from their own 20, the Jets managed to advance as far as the New England 36. Nick Folk attempted to put the game away for New York with a 56 yard FG attempt that ended up going wide left.

However, the referees threw a flag on Patriots Defensive tackle Chis Jones- a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for 'pushing a teammate into an opposing formation'. This was a newly instituted rule this season, and apparently 7 weeks into the season the officials decided that 5:07 remaining in OT was the first time a penalty was called on this new infraction. The fifteen yard penalty was enough to move Folk closer and his 42 yard attempt was good for the Jets 30-27 win.

While the Patriots had a number of missed opportunities late in the game that could have avoided OT altogether [including converting a whopping one out of 12 3rd down attempts on the day- NANESB!], the most talked about play was Jones' penalty, which appeared to be a fairly routine maneuver that had never been penalized before. So much for that axiom about NFL and NHL referees generally keeping their whistles in the pocket in overtime for all but the most flagrant of penalties. Shame on me for stereotyping, but part of me is wondering which of New Jersey's numerous 'legitimate businessmen belonging to secretive Italian fraternal organization' had big money riding on this [the only flaw in this theory is that it's actually TOO obvious- NANESB!].

New England splits the season series 1-1 with the Jets and next week's game will keep in the AFC East as the Pats host the Miami Dolphins. It's another Sunday afternoon game with a kickoff scheduled for 1:00 PM and the game will be televised on CBS.

OTHER NFL NEWS- And then there was one.

Seven weeks in and the NFL is down to one undefeated team. Despite a late rally from Peyton Manning, the Denver Broncos came up short in Manning's homecoming at Indianapolis as the Colts with successor Andrew Luck quarterbacking won by a 39-33 final from Indianapolis' Lucas Oil stadium on Sunday night.

One does not need to look outside the AFC West for the remaining undefeated NFL team- Sunday's Bronco loss leaves the surprising Kansas City Chiefs as the only undefeated team in the NFL. The Chiefs managed to outlast the struggling Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium by a 17-16 final on Sunday afternoon. The Chiefs will play host to the Cleveland Browns next weekend and travel to Orchard Park, NY to take on the Buffalo Bills the first weekend in November before their bye week.

Chris O'Meara- AP

NHL- The Boston Bruins continued their road trip through Florida over the weekend, taking on the Tampa Bay Lightning for the second time since the October 3rd regular season opener.

The Bruins got out to a 1-0 lead with about 90 seconds left in the first thanks to a David Krejci goal. Despite going 0-4 on the power play, the Bruins would score four more thanks to McQuaid, Kelly, Bergeron and Thornton as Tukka Rask would turn aside all 23 shots he faced, notching his first shutout of the season in Boston's 5-0 win over Tampa Bay.

Unfortunately, very few people in Boston saw this gem live, as it coincided with Game 6 of the ALCS. Interestingly, the 5-2 Bruins will face a similar problem for their next game, when they take on the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night. The puck is scheduled to drop in Buffalo at 8:00 ET- almost the exact same time as the first pitch of the 2013 World Series- and the game will be televised on the NBC Sports network.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Dozens of Cases of Popular Whisky Stolen From Kentucky Warehouse

More than 60 cases of a bourbon the Wall Street Journal described as "So Popular Even Billionaires Can't Find It" have gone missing from a Frankfort, KY warehouse, prompting a flood of media inquiries and tips [but mostly media inquiries- NANESB!] to the local sheriff's office.

Authorities following up on a number of leads have reason to believe the $20,000 oak-barreled heist was an inside job.
By the time supervisors at Buffalo Trace realized what had happened, dozens of cases were gone — to the tune of about $25,350 retail — along with nine cases of 13-year-old Van Winkle Family Reserve rye, valued at a total of about $675.

“It appears that (the whiskey) was taken off the back of the pallets in the back of the area where they were being stored,” Melton said. The missing Pappy was being stored in an especially secure area of the Buffalo Trace Frankfort facility, one with limited access, so police are examining who would have had regular access to the whiskey, he said.

The 20-year-old bourbon retails for about $130 but the price can skyrocket on the secondary market — generally $300-$400 a bottle, or more. One California liquor store with two bottles of 20-year-old Pappy in stock Thursday was asking about $1,200 each in its online store.

Melton said he did not know how the thief would unload the pilfered Pappy, but was sure they would find a way. “I think you can be creative as you want to be,” he said.

Fortune once described it as “the ultimate cult brand,” and Buffalo Trace’s website describes Pappy as “the No. 1 rated Bourbon Whiskey in the world, with a 99 out of 100 rating by the World Spirits Championship.”

There have been thefts reported from Buffalo Trace in the past, but nothing close to this scale, Melton said. The way the bourbon was stolen — small amounts taken slowly over time — made it difficult to notice it had gone missing until is was far too late, Melton said.
A July 2013 piece in the Wall Street Journal highlighted the cult following of the Pappy Van Winkle brand, including a 500 person waiting list for bottles that have been aged anywhere from 10 to 23 years and fetching as high as $5000 per bottle [although it clarifies that prices ranging from $100 to $500 are more typical- NANESB!].

Friday, October 18, 2013

Five Alive Sports Chowdah Update- Lester, Red Sox Bullpen Keeps Lid on Tigers Bats; Bird Watch- St Louis Advances to World Series; Bruins Encounter Some-Tim Familiar in Florida

Rick Osentoski- USA Today
RED SOX- After Wednesday night's lackluster start by Jake Peavy and Detroit's 7-3 win over Boston, the ALCS became a best of three series with the Tigers evening things up at 2 games each. Tigers manager Jim Leyland's shakeup of the Tigers lineup seemed to pay dividends for Detroit and they were hoping to keep that going for Game 5 on Thursday night.

The last time the Red Sox faced Anibal Sanchez, he didn't allow a single hit and the Tigers bullpen held Boston hitless until the bottom of the 9th in Game 1. Game 5 of the ALCS was a slightly different story. This time, the Red Sox didn't have to wait nearly as long for their first hit against Sanchez, starting with a 2-out single by Pedroia in the top of the first.

On Thursday night, the Red Sox were looking pull ahead in the series and got out of an early jam in the bottom of the first when Miguel Cabrera attempted to come home from second on a two out Jhonny Peralta single, but was cut down at the plate by David Ross to end the early Tigers threat.

The Red Sox got on the board in the top of the second thanks to a leadoff homer by Mike Napoli- a 3-1 offering that was blasted at least 440 feet into dead center. Johnny Gomes then reached first safely on a throwing error by Miguel Cabrera and after Stephen Drew struck out, Xander Bogaerts doubled to left to give the Red Sox had runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out. David Ross then doubled to deep left, plating Gomes and moving Bogaerts to 3rd. Ellsbury then lined a hit off of Sanchez's glove that trickled to a halt on the infield grass behind the pitcher's mound between first and second, allowing Bogarts coming to home and giving the Red Sox a 3-0 lead. Shane Victorino then hit into a fielder's choice where David Ross plowed into catcher Alex Avila at the plate where he was called out. The inning ended when Pedroia grounded into a fielder's choice at shortstop.

Meanwhile, Lester had settled down, allowing only an Austin Jackson single in the bottom of the bottom of the 2nd. In the top of the 3rd, Napoli belted a ground-rule double and advanced to third on a Gomes groundout. Napoli then came home on a wild pitch by Sanchez to make it a 4-0 game.

Lester would then pitch two scoreless innings before Detroit got on the board thanks to a 2-out Miguel Cabrera RBI single. Detroit would then cut the Red Sox lead in half after Victor Martinez led off the inning with a walk to Victor Martinez before striking out Jhonny Peralta and allowing a single to Omar Infante. Lester was pulled for Junichi Tazawa, giving up a single to Barayan Pena before getting Austin Jackson to ground into a double play to end the inning.

Detroit would threaten again in the bottom of the 7th after Tazawa gave up back to back singles to Jose Iglesias and Torii Hunter. While a run did come home, whittling the Boston lead down to 1, the Red Sox got two much-needed outs when Miguel Cabrera hit into a double play. Craig Breslow would then come on in relief of Tazawa and get Prince Fielder to ground out and end the Tigers rally.

Meanwhile, Jose Veras was cruising after coming out of the Tigers bullpen, getting Napoli, Gomes and Drew out in order in the top of the 8th. After Breslow got Victor Martinez out with a groundout to leadoff the inning, manager John Farrell made the unconventional decision to bring Koji Uehara out of the bullpen for a 5-out save, striking out Jhonny Peralta and Omar Infante. While the Red Sox managed to threaten with runners on second and third with one away before Al Albuquerque struck out Victorino and got Pedroia to fly out to shallow center field.

For the bottom of the 9th, Uehara got three straight flyouts to end the ballgame, securing the Red Sox win and securing a 3 games to two advantage in the ALCS, winning by a 4-3 final. The Red Sox head back to Fenway needing just one more win to advance to the World Series and Clay Buchholz is scheduled to get the start against Max Scherzer for Game 6. First pitch is scheduled for 8:07 PM on Saturday and the game will be televised on FOX.

A couple of notes from Game 5- Mike Napoli went 3-4 with 1 homer and an RBI and crossed home plate twice, making him 6 for 16 with 2 homers and 2 RBI in the ALCS. Xander Bogaerts became the youngest starter in Red Sox history to appear in the postseason. All of Boston's ALCS victories have come by a margin of one run.

NLCS- Regardless of who wins the ALCS over the weekend, it will be a rematch of either the 2004 or 2006 World Series as the St Louis Cardinals took the deciding Game 6 of the NLCS by a convincing 9-0 final. Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw was roughed up, allowing 10 hits and 7 earned runs in just four innings of work while Cardinals starter Michael Wacha threw 7 shutout innings of two-hit baseball. Although the first two innings started out as a scoreless tie, the Cardinals broke the game open in the bottom of the third thanks to RBI singles from Carlos Beltran, Yadier Molina and Shane Robinson. Robinson's two out, 2-RBI single would be all the Cardinals needed, getting five more runs in the bottom of the 5th and having their bullpen throw two shutout innings in relief of former Texas A&M Aggie Wacha.

The Cardinals cruise to a 9-0 victory over LA and await the winner of this weekend's ALCS at Fenway after winning the National League championship series 4 games to two.

Alan Diaz- AP
BOSTON BRUINS- The Bruins came up short in that OTHER Detroit vs Boston game this week before embarking on a road trip that started off in the sunshine State.

While in Sunrise, the B's encountered a familiar face in the decidedly un-retired Tim Thomas, who signed on to a 1 year contract with the Florida Panthers after a late September tryout with the team.

In the first, the Bruins were able to notch two tallies past their former teammate- one from Danny Paille and a power play goal from Dougie Hamilton to give Boston a 2-0 lead.

After the first intermission, the Panthers got on the board and cut the Bruins lead in half with a Kris Versteeg goal for the only score of the 2nd period. Florida than got the game-tying goal with six minutes to go in regulation thanks to Jesse Winchester. Acquired in the Tyler Seguin trade with Dallas in the offseason, Reilly Smith notched his first goal with Boston after beating Thomas with 59 seconds to go in the game, giving Boston the 3-2 win as the Bruins held on for the win with less than a minute to go.

Boston goes on to win by the 3-2 final in Sunrise, giving them a 4-2 record in the young 2013/2014 season so far. Rask stopped 27 of 29 shots faced while Thomas turned aside 37 of 40 shots faced [even after Thomas left the Bruins, didn't think I'd be doing a game recap with Rask and Thomas in opposite nets- NANESB!] and Boston was 1-3 on the power play.

The Bruins will stay in Florida for their next game, heading over to Tampa to take on the 5-2 Lightning. Puck is scheduled to drop at 7:00 ET and the game will be televised on NESN.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Today's Train of Though- Dirty Work, October 17, 2013

Today's Train of Thought takes us to the Great Plains, yet features a distinctly northeastern cargo.

After World War II, manufacturing plants owned by General Electric [NYSE- GE] in upstate New York discharged more than 100 metric tons of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) into the Hudson River. By 1983, the recently-formed Environmental Protection Agency declared a 200 mile stretch of the Hudson River from Hudson Falls, NY and New York City a superfund site and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation prohibited fishing in the Upper Hudson due to concerns over PCB studies.

Following more than a decade of studies for remediating the PCB contamination through the Hudson River, there were two possible solutions- leave the riverbed as-is and let additional layers of silt form of the PCB contaminated soil or start a lengthy project of dredging nearly the entire length of the Hudson River.

Phase one was completed in 2009- the contaminated soil was loaded onto barges that went up to Fort Edawrd, NY before being processed, put into liners and placed onto an 81 car train who's final destination is a landfill along the Texas-New Mexico Railroad in Andrews, TX.

In 2013, dredging began on a 12 mile stretch of the Hudson River between Fort Edward and Schulyerville, NY, with a new disposal site selected in Oklahoma.

Here, CSX SD50 #8513 is seen heading westbound through Ellinor, KS on BNSF's Emporia Subdivision with BNSF train U-CSXAVD [CSX interchange at Chicago, IL to Avard, OK] a unit train laden with the Hudson River's toxic bounty. According to photographer Austin Seely, once in Avard, the soil is offloaded from the railcars and onto trucks before being taken to some abandoned quarries in northwestern Oklahoma

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

¡Muy Caliente! Por Teacher- Dallas Area Spanish Teacher Reportedly Fired For Appearence in Playboy As Coed

And just like that, there's one less hot Spanish teacher in the Lone Star State.

First year Spanish teacher Cristy Nicole DeWeese was fired by the Dallas Independent School District earlier this month due to her 2011 appearance as 'Coed of the Month' in Playboy magazine- a publication I'm told attempts to trick buyers into reading pretentious Gore Vidal articles by surrounding them with pictures of naked or near-naked women.

Deweese had apparently just turned 18 when she posed nude for the illustrious men’s magazine. She was not employed by the Dallas Independent School District at the time.

In Playboy’s online videos and photos, Deweese goes by the much sexier name, Cristy Nicole.

In a YouTube clip entitled “Coed Cristy Nicole is One Sexy Hunter,” Deweese can be seen modeling in striped pajamas and lingerie for Playboy. She spends much of the clip chatting with people behind the scenes.

She says hunting is one of her hobbies. She talks about her career goals—even then, at just 18, she knew she wanted to be a Spanish teacher.

Deweese spends much of the clip discussing a bag of beef jerky she brought to snack on during her Playboy modeling shoot.

At least one parent had suggested that Deweese’s presence in front of a classroom was a distraction for students. The parent also charged that students were checking out Deweese’s video and photos on campus.

Students seemed less concerned—at least the ones chirping on the web. Many of them posted comments under Deweese’s Playboy video on YouTube.

“That’s my Spanish teacher!!!” reads a representative YouTube comment.

Other students took to Twitter to defend Deweese and tell critics to stop bothering her. At least one student started a petition in an effort to save the embattled first-year teacher’s job.

While Deweese's photos are much racier than that of fired Florida educator Olivia Sprauer, the end result is the same. Deweese is reportedly looking to resume her modeling career if she's unable to continue teaching [on that note, if the Dallas Independent School District would like to retain my services in performing due diligence to make certain recently hired employees aren't former adult film stars or centerfolds, contact me via this blog; there is the matter of my sizeable fee for services rendered- NANESB!]. Still, credit should be given to Deweese for not sleeping with any of her students, which is more than some school districts can say.

Deweese's firing occurred just a month into the school year, leaving the district scrambling to find a substitute Spanish teacher on short notice. They were able to find a replacement from nearby Arlen, TX. However, her hiring is considered a stopgap measure.... best.

Sad to say, I never had the sultry Selma Hayek or Sofia Vergara-lookalike latina Spanish teacher that's the subject of pretty much every schoolboy fantasy to the point of being cliche. I did take a semester of Russian, and while our teacher was a brusque, dour woman from the Old Country, she had to leave about a week into the semester due to some sort of family emergency back in Russia. Our substitute turned out to be a drop-dead gorgeous, bubbly, statuesque blonde from Poland who showed up for the first day in high heels and a tight little floral print sundress. Очень хорошо!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Lights Out Sports Chowdah Update- Sox Avoid Tiger Trap in Game 3 as Lackey Exceeds Expectations; No Door Matts- Cardinals Take NLCS Game 4 on Carpenter, Holliday RBIs

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
RED SOX- I'll be honest- if someone told me in the 7th inning of Sunday night's Game 2 of the ALCS that the Red Sox would have a 2-1 series lead, I'd ask them what the hell they were smoking and if they brought enough to share.

So here we are, 48 hours later. A large part of the urgency for the Red Sox in Game 2 was that not only would it have been bad enough heading to Detroit down 0-2, but they were also scheduled to face Tigers ace Justin Verlander, which would almost automatically guarantee the Red Sox falling into an ALCS 0-3 hole.

Fortunately for Red Sox Nation, Big Papi and Salty's late-inning heroics made the whole argument a moot point. On Tuesday afternoon, the ALCS resumed from Comerica Park in Detroit, MI with Verlander going up against John Lackey. To hardly anyone's surprise, Verlander was cruising early while Lackey was able to work around two singles he gave up in the bottom of the first to Torii Hunter without doing any damage.

Things took an odd turn in the middle of the second inning when the stadium lights went out. Even though it was a day game, the umpires decided to resume the game only after all the lights were back on given the gloomy and overcast conditions. Michigan utility DTE [NYSE- DTE] said the power outage was likely the result of a nearby cable failure. After a 17-minute delay, play at Comerica Park resumed.

But that wasn't the only power failure in Comerica on Tuesday. While it was almost a given that Verlander would keep the Red Sox bats quiet [true to the nature of the series, the Red Sox were held hitless until the 5th inning- NANESB!], Lackey would match Verlander's performance nearly pitch for pitch...with one key difference.

With one away in the top of the 7th and Napoli in the batter's box working the count full, the Red Sox broke the scoreless tie thanks to a solo homer to deep left center.

Meanwhile, Lackey would leave with one on and two away in the bottom of the 7th. Craig Breslow would come on and walk Alex Avila before getting Omar Infante to ground out and end the Detroit threat. The Sox bullpen would walk a tightrope in the bottom of the 8th- after Breslow got former teammate Jose Iglesias to strike out he walked Austin Jackson. Junichi Tazawa then came out of the pen and gave up a single to Torii Hunter with Jackson advancing all the way to third base. Tazawa would then get Miguel Cabrera to strike out before John Farrell would bring out Koji Uehara for the four out save. Uehara managed to shut down the Detroit threat by striking out Prince Fielder on three pitches.

When Uehara came back on in the 9th, he allowed a leadoff single from former Red Sox and Indian Victor Martinez, but Martinez would be erased from the basepath when Jhonny Peralta grounded into a double play. Avila would strike out to end the ballgame and give Boston a 2-1 series lead in the ALCS after Lackey, Breslow, Tazawa and Uehara made Napoli's solo homer stand up. Lackey would go 6⅔ shutout innings while striking out 8 batters and the bullpen would preserve the shutout for him.

A couple of interesting side notes- Tuesday's 1-0 win is the first 1-0 victory by the Red Sox in the postseason since Game 1 of the 1986 World Series against the Mets. Interestingly, Napoli's first career hit was with the Angels and was a home run off of Justin Verlander in 2006- also at Comerica Park.

Wednesday's Game 4 is scheduled for 8:07 PM ET from Comerica Park. The game will be televised on FOX and Jake Peavy and Doug Fister are slated to be the starters.

Chris Carlson- AP
ELSEWHERE IN MLB- After winning the first two games of the NLCS at Busch Stadium by a 1-0 margin, the Cardinals were shut out by Hyun Jin Ryu in a 3-0 loss on Monday night's Game 3 at Dodger stadium.

Still, the St Louis Cardinals have moved to within one game of advancing to the World Series on Tuesday night after besting the Dodgers in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series at Dodgers Stadium.

St Louis took an early 3-0 lead in the top of the 3rd when Matt Carpenter hit a 1-out RBI double to put the Cards on the board before Matt Holliday hit a 2-out 2-run homer to make it a 3-0 ballgame. The Dodgers shaved the lead to one run in the bottom of the 4th after former Red Sox and Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez led off with a double and moved over to second when Andre Ethier walked. This set the stage for rookie phenom Yasiel Puig, who brought Gonzalez home with an RBI single. After Ethier moved up to 3rd on a Uribe fly ball, AJ Ellis drove in another run with an RBI single to make it 3-2.

However, the Cardinals would get some cushion in the top of the 7th when Shane Robinson belted a pinch hit solo homer to left field with one out to take a 4-2 lead. For the bottom of the 9th, Trevor Rosenthal came out of the Cards bullpen and gave up a leadoff single before Puig grounded into a double play and then got Juan Uribe to strike out to end the ballgame.

The Dodgers look to avoid elimination in Game 5 and will send Zach Greinke to the mound against Joe Kelly on Wednesday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 4:07 PM ET (1:07 Pacific) and the game will be televised on TBS.