Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween from Not Another New England Sports Blog!


Today's Train of Thought- Throroughbreds and Pumpkins, Oct 31st, 2014

Today's Train of Thought takes us to a pumpkin patch rural central Pennsylvania that just happens to abut the former Pennsy mainline between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, PA. Here, contributor Rick Erben caught Norfolk Southern C40-9W #9978 leading a motley lashup- including an SD60I, an SD40-2, a GP38-2 still in Conrail blue and a C39-8- as it leads an eastbound manifest through the quiet Juniata County village of Mexico on Oct 21st, 2010. The pumpkins in the foreground still have a few days to be scooped and made into jack-o-lanterns or pies in time for Halloween that year.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Utah National Guardsmen Face Sanction Over Bikini Calendar Shoot on National Guard Property

A number of Utah National Guardsmen and State Troopers are in trouble after allowing a racy calendar shoot to take place at one of their facilities with scantily clad British models firing automatic weapons- some of which were the property of the state of Utah.

British bikini models fired guns owned by the state of Utah as an on-duty state police officer stood by, according the early findings of an ongoing investigation.

A second officer from the Utah Department of Public Safety was off-duty, according to a statement the department issued late Thursday.

DPS is investigating the two officers’ roles in the models’ photo and video shoot for the 2015 bikini calendar called "Hot Shots."

Meanwhile, the Utah National Guard also is investigating how the models entered Camp Williams and used resources there, including riding in a tank and other vehicles, as part of the shoot.

Logs from that day show that one of the officers was on duty and another off. Both belong to the department’s SWAT team.

While part of the photo shoot was at the Utah National Guard's Camp Williams, videos and stills of some of the barely dressed models were filmed at the privately operated Big Shots Ranch in Grantsville, UT.

Although policy for the Utah State Police allows for officers to serve as firearms instructors or display weapons in the department's armory to public officials or groups like the Boy Scouts, such events have to be pre-approved by the chain of command. Some of the guns used by the British models include the Heckler & Koch MP5 9mm submachine gun, a select fire 9mm Glock 18 [which means the gun can fire semiauto of full auto- NANESB!] and the M4 Carbine, the current US Army and National Guard issue rifle which is essentially a scaled down M-16 rifle. Although a Utah State Police spokesman said three of the weapons are believed to be agency-issue, the ammunition was reportedly provided by Big Shots range.

The two Utah State Police officers identified in the video were identified as members of the agency's SWAT team and logs indicate that one of them was on-duty at the time. Both of them were reportedly in uniform at the time, as well.

Meanwhile, the Camp Williams segment of the photo shoot may end up costing some National Guardsmen their jobs.

Maj. Gen. Jeff Burton told lawmakers Thursday that the handful of Guard members involved could face fines, demotions or forced retirements when an investigation is complete. Those involved, which include combat veterans and Purple Heart recipients, didn’t follow guidelines for private use of military equipment at Camp Williams, he said.

The Hot Shots calendar is available in early November and a portion of all sales will go to the UK-based Help for Heroes charitable organization.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Instant Sports Chowdah Update- Failure to Launch, Patriots Survive Jets on Last Second Blocked FG; Wakey Wakey, Boston College Outlasts Deacons; Near Miss, LSU Hands Ole Miss First Loss of Season

NFL- With the longer-than-usual wait after last Thursday night's game, at times it almost felt as though the Patriots had a bye week.

The Patriots got out to an early lead in their only Thursday night game of the season, but a very game New York Jets team was never far behind. New England took a 17-12 lead against New York into halftime, thanks to a 39 yard Gostkowski FG as time expired in the 2nd quarter.

With 9 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter, the Jets took their first lead of the night with a drive that was capped by a short Nick Ivory TD run to give them a 19-17 lead. On the following drive, the Patriots got as far as the Jets red zone, and even though they had to settle for another Gostkowski field goal, the Patriots re-took the lead with 4:10 to go in the first.

It looked as though the Patriots were beginning to pull away midway though the 4th quarter when Brady connected with WR Danny Amendola for a 19 yard TD reception to make it a 27-19 lead, but with just over two and a half minutes to go, the Jets capped an 81 yard drive that took just under 5 minutes with a 10 yard TD pass from Geno Smith to TE Jeff Cumberland to bring the Jets to within two- however, the two point conversion attempt failed and New England still clung to a 27-25 lead.

After the Jets defense held New England to a 3 and out, the Patriots were forced to punt and managed to succeed in pinning the Jets back at their own 12 yard line with just over a minute to go in regulation. With the clock ticking, the Jets were able to get the ball as far as the Patriots 40 yard line with just 5 seconds left on the clock, setting up a potential game-winning FG attempt of nearly 60 yards [difficult, but not impossible- NANESB!]. However, in a bit of payback from last year's Jets win on a FG, DT Chris Jones managed to Block Folk's 58 yard attempt as time expired, giving New England the 27-25 victory- their second straight win against an AFC East opponent.

The Patriots homestand will continue with an early afternoon game against the Chicago Bears with a 1:00 kickoff at Foxbourough on Sunday afternoon. The game will be broadcast on FOX and XM subscribers can listen on channel 85.

WORLD SERIES- Those of you who had their hearts set on an all-Missouri World Series have Giants infielder Travis Ishikawa to blame for that not taking place this year.

Ishikawa belted a walkoff home run in extra innings of Game 5 of the NLCS which ended the Cardinals season and punched the Giants ticket to their 3rd World Series since 2010.

The Giants faced a game Kansas City, who made pretty quick work of the Orioles in the ALCS. Despite San Francisco dominating Game 1 behind a commanding performance by starter Madison Bumgarner, going on to win by a 7-1 final, the Kansas City Royals came storming back in Game Two. This send to series to San Francisco tied at 1 game each.

After winnign Game 3 by one run, Kansas City headed into Saturday night's Game 4 with a 2 games to one lead and things were looking promising when the ROyals batters were able to chase Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong off the mound after just two and two-thirds innings and take a 4-1 lead over San Francisco. However, the Giants batters would go on to score a total of 10 unanswered runs, tying the game with a Hunter Pence RBI single and Juan Perez RBI sac-fly in the bottom of the 5th followed by a 2-RBI single by Pablo Sandoval and a Brandon Belt RBI single in the bottom of the 6th to San Francisco the 7-4 lead. However, the Giants weren't done and got plenty of insurance runs tacked on in the bottom of the 7th and would go on to win Game four by an 11-4 final and tie the series up at 2-2, ensuring that the series would head back to Kansas City regardless of outcome.

DENVER BRONCOS- On Sunday afternoon, Broncos QB Peyton Manning surpassed Brett Favre to become the NFL leader in career TD passes during the October 19th win against the San Francisco at Mile High. Manning recorded a total of 4 TD passes in that game and three TD passes in Thursday night's 35-21 win over the San Diego Chargers at Denver for a career total of 513.

Manning, who has been in the league since 1998, is only one of seven all-time NFL quarterbacks to surpass the 300 career TD mark- although the other two include both Tom Brady and Drew Brees.

NCAA FOOTBALL- After a close loss to Clemson on Chestnut Hill last week, the Boston College Eagles travelled to the Tarheel State to take on Wake Forest on Saturday. The Eagles took a 17-0 halftime lead into the locker room and were able to add onto it in the 3rd and 4th quarters, jumping out as far as 23-3 in the second half before the Deacons could get any kind of offensive rhythm going.

But with BC seemingly cruising in the 4th quarter, the Deacons managed to string together a drive that netted their first TD of the day with just over 8 minutes too go in the ballgame. Still trailing 23-10, Wake got the ball back deep in BC territory when BC sophomore Myles Willis funbled the kickoff deep in Eagles territory. Starting on BC's 15 yard line, the Wake offense was able to punch it in and make it a 1-possession game, with the Eagles still clinging to a 23-17 lead.

However, BC junior Justin Simmons was able to pick off Deacons QB John Wolford on the next Wake Forest possession, sealing the game for Boston College late in the 4th quarter. Eagles QB Tyler Murphy had 165 yards passing and a TD along with 77 yards rushing on the day. RB Jon Hilliman rushed for 101 yards and 2 TDs on the afternoon.

Next Saturday, Boston College will travel down to Blacksburg, VA to take on Virginia Tech. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 ET and the game will be streaming on ESPN3.

ELSEWHERE IN THE ACC- Last week's highly-touted battle of the unbeatens lived up to the billing as #2 Florida State was able to get by #5 Notre Dame last Saturday by a 31-27 final. This leaves Florida State as one of the few remaining undefeated teams in the NCAA top 25 polling.

The Seminoles actually have this week off, but will return to action on Thursday night against 6-2 Louisville. That game gets underway at 7:30 ET and the game will be televised on ESPN.

ELSEWHERE IN NCAA FOOTBALL- And then there was only one undefeated in the Magnolia State.

On Saturday night, the #24 LSU Tigers handed #3 Ole Miss their first loss of the 2014 season in Baton Rouge in what turned out to be a surprisingly low-scoring affair. The Rebels led 7-3 for most of the game until 5:45 to go in the 4th quarter when the bayou Bengals took their first lead of the night on a 4 yard TD pass from QB Anthony Jennings to TE Logan Stokes to put LSU up 10-7.

Although Ole Miss had a couple of late chances to tie the game or go ahead, they were undone by a penalty that put them out of FG range with 14 seconds left in the game. Instead of trying for the game-tying FG, Ole Miss opted for a Hail Mary since the penalty that had pushed them out of FG range. The game would end on LSU intercepting Ole Miss' 30 yard pass attempt with less than 10 seconds left, giving the Ole Miss Rebels their first loss of the season.

NHL- Hockey Night in Canada got underway on Saturday night north of the border with an Original Six matchup that pitted the Boston Bruins against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

This was the first home game for the Maple Leafs since Wednesday's attack on Canada's Parliament, and the pregame ceremony honored Cpl. Cirillo, the Canadian soldier at the War Memorial who was shot dead by the gunman before he made his way to the parliament building.

For the Bruins, this was the first game after their 3-2 loss to the Islanders at home on Thursday night.

Carl Soderberg got the Bruins on the board early just three and a half minutes into the first. Tukka Rask made it hold up, carrying a shutout to the final five minutes of the 3rd period and David Krejci make it a 2-0 Bruins lead late in the 2nd before Greg Campbell and Dougie Hamilton scored less than two and a half minutes apart to give Boston a 4-0 lead.

Toronto broke through with a goal from Richard Panik with just over 5 and a half minutes to go in the 3rd, but the Bruins would go on to win by a final of 4-1.

After Saturday, the Bruins will head back to Boston where they'll face the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night. The game will be televised on NESN and NBC Sports with the puck scheduled to drop at 7:00 ET.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Gunman Fatally Shoots Soldier at Ottawa War Memorial, Opens Fire in Canadian Parliament

A gunman opened fire on a Canadian soldier who was on sentry duty at a War memorial in Canada's capital on Wednesday before advancing to the Parliament building where the assailant was shot and killed by the sergeant-at-arms in an exchange of gunfire.

According to the CBC, witnesses reported a gunman who approached the War Memorial from the west at 9:50 AM local time and fired twice at 24 year old Cpl Nathan Cirillo, striking him in the abdomen and firing a round at another soldier stationed at the memorial, but missing. Although Cirillo and the other soldier had rifles at the time, they were reportedly inert and used for ceremonial purposes. Cirillo would later die of his injuries, leaving behind a five year old son.

As witnesses and paramedics attempted to revive Cirillo, the gunman left the area in a beige car with the license plates removed, abandoning it several blocks from the parliament building and making his way there on foot. After getting through a checkpoint and commandeering a government vehicle, the gunman makes his way into Parliament's Centre Block.

Upon making his way inside the parliament building, members of parliament barricaded themselves in their offices as the gunman shot at sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers, a veteran former Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer from New Brunswick. Vickers returned fire with his sidearm, killing the gunman and stopping his rampage before he could get any further inside the parliament building.

Video released by a Toronto Globe and Mail reporter on the scene as events unfolded show officers advancing down a marble corridor with their weapons drawn. The camera jostles as a single shot rings out- believed to be from the assailant's lever-action .30-30 rifle- followed by a dozen or so shots fired in rapid succession [which could easily be from Vickers 9mm- NANESB!] echo through the corridors amid shouting and additional officers rushing towards the sound of gunfire.

The gunman has been identified by the RCMP as a 32 year old convert to Islam named Michael Zehaf-Bibeau. The weapon used was a lever-action Winchester hunting rifle common in both Canada and the USA, but since Zehaf-Bibeau reportedly had a criminal record, investigators are looking into how he obtained the gun.

Sadly, Cpl Cirillo wasn't the first Canadian soldier killed by a radicalized islamist in eastern Canada this week. The Ottawa shooting comes just days after two Canadian soldiers were struck by a hit and run driver outside of Montreal. The driver, a 25 year old Québécois convert to radical islam named Martin Coutere-Rouleau reportedly waited for more than two hours in the parking lot of a building that housed a number of government and civilian agencies in St Jean sur Richelieu before striking at least two soldiers with his 2000 Nissan Altima. Coutere-Rouleau was later shot and killed by police during a high speed chase.

Both Coutere-Rouleau and Zehaf-Bibeau were reportedly under scrutiny from Canada's CSIS intelligence service as the two of them adorned their social media pages with imagery supporting the ISIS Islamic group and expressing a desire to travel to Syria to fight alongside the Islamic state. Couture-Rouleau's passport was seized in June, but since he hadn't broken any Canadian laws the RCMP and Sûreté du Québec couldn't press charges. One of the soldiers, identified as 53 year old Patrice Vincent, later died of his injuries after being struck by Coutere-Rouleau's Nissan.

Prime minister Stephen Harper, who had recently pledged to support Kurdish and Iraqi forces fighting the Islamic State, described both the Ottawa and St Jean sur Richelieu attacks as terrorism when addressing the nation on TV on Wednesday.

39 Years Ago Tonight

The way the Red Sox 2014 season has progressed, it seems like ages ago that the Olde Towne Team was in the World Series [despite being defending World Series Champions- NANESB!]. And if one season feels like an eternity, imagine the anguish Red Sox fans [before there was a Red Sox Nation- NANESB!] felt during that 86 year wait.

That's not to say the organization didn't have their moments in those 86 years. Despite the lopsided deal that sent Babe Ruth to New York, the Red Sox could boast the game's all time best hitter in Ted Williams. Outfielder Carl Yastrzemski would go on to be baseball's only Triple Crown batting winner for 45 seasons until Detroit's Miguel Cabrera won those honors in 2012.

However, it was During the 1975 World Series against Cincinnati's Big Red Machine, a native son of New England managed to provide even more dramatic flair to what some baseball historians consider the best-ever World Series.

I'm talking, of course, about Bellows Falls, VT native Carlton Fisk's walkoff extra-inning homer in Game 6 of the '75 World Series that was made even more memorable by the Red Sox catcher's copious body English caught on camera. Fisk took Cincinnati reliever Pat Darcy's second pitch into the netting of the Green Monster to end the game with a 7-6 win in the bottom of the 12th for Boston and tied the series up at 3-3.

Unfortunately, that would be as close as the Red Sox got to a World Series title for nine years. The Big Red Machine would later go on to win Game 7 after trailing early 3-0. Interestingly, both Fisk's iconic homer and the Reds win took place on the same day, as Game 6 started on October 21st but went beyond midnight due to extra innings.

Years later, Fisk would joke that he liked to tell people the Red Sox won the Series that year 3 games to four.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Deflated- Environmental Protestors Accidentaly Make Case for Fossil Fuels in Ill-Advised Demonstration

Some of us like staying warm during the winter months. Those of us who don't apparently nag companies about replacing a proven reliable energy source such as coal with renewables like solar or wind.

For instance, a Wisconsin environmental group decided that Madison Gas and Electric [NASDAQ- MGEE] should no longer use coal and instead try to keep people warm through the harsh winter months with unreliable wind, solar or biomass.

To make their case, the set up an inflatable coal plant during a protest in front of the headquarters of Madison Gas & Electric, powered by renewable energy.

As the embedded video shows, the activists couldn't even keep their inflated coal-fired power plant for the duration of the protest with renewable energy. Yet they want Madison Gas and Electric to power southern and central Wisconsin with the same forms of energy that could even keep their prop inflated for fifteen minutes.

While Madison Gas and Electric does utilize wind turbines in Wisconsin and northern Iowa and solar panels in Madison, the company also utilizes both coal and natural gas fired power plants in Portage, Madison and Oak Creek, WI.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Buffalo Springfield Sports Chowdah Update- Pats Put Damper on Coming Out Party for Bills New Onwership; Detroit Block City- Rask, Bruins Outlast Red Wings; Royal Festivities- Kansas City Parties Like Its 1985

NFL- A week after handing the last undefeated team of the 2014 NFL season their first loss, the Patriots travelled to western New York for Bills first game under new owner Terry Pagula. Pagula- a multimillionaire that made his money on the natural gas boom in the Marcellus Shale also owns the Buffalo Sabres and is a major donor to the Penn State hockey program- was approved by the NFL as the teams' new owner in an October 8th owners meeting. Pagula successfully outbid tycoon Donald Trump, rocker John Bon Jovi and Canadian interests who openly supported relocating the franchise to Toronto. Pegula, who promised to keep the franchise in western New York, purchased the Bills from the estate of the late Ralph Wilson earlier this year.

However, the key name to remember from Sunday's game was Patriots WR Brandon LaFell, an unheralded signing in the offseason earlier this year.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Patriots got the ball back with a shorter field when LB Jamie Collins intercepted a pass attempt from Bills QB Kyle Orton at the New England 39 yard line. Thanks to a Bills penalty, the ball moved to the Buffalo 1 yard line where Brady connected with TE Tim Wright for the first score of the game. After a three and out for each team, the Bills got the ball back on their own 33 yard line with 8:43 to go in the half. Orton kept the drive going for the Bills with a 28 yard pass to Scott Chandler to give Buffalo the ball on the Patriots 19 yard line. The Bills would tie the game up at 7-7 when Orton connected with Robert Woods on 2nd and goal from the Pats 7 yard line and the PAT was good.

Although the Bills got the ball back after holding New England to a 3 and out following the kickoff, DE Chandler Jones managed to break through and sack Orton and strip the ball, giving the Patriots the ball back on Buffalo's own 24 yard line. Although the Bills defense were able to keep the Patriots out of the red zone, the ball was still close enough for a Gostkowski chip shot FG to put New England up 10-7.

The following kickoff was a touchback and Buffalo actually lost yards when DE Rob Ninkovitch sacked Orton, pushing the Bills back to their own 13. While the Patriots had good field position at their own 42, they'd once again go three and out after Brady was sacked. After the Patriots kickoff, the Bills got the ball back on their own 30 yard line with 14 seconds to go in the half. On first and 10 for Buffalo, CJ Spiller rushed for 12 yards before he fumbled, which was recovered by Patriots DE Zach Moore at the Bills 42 with all of 6 seconds left in the half. With the clock ticking, Brady completed a quick 7 yard pass to Julian Edelman to give Gostkowski a slightly shorter field to work with for this FG attempt. As time expired, the 53 yard FG attempt was good and the Patriots headed to the locker room with a 13-7 lead.

New England got the ball back to start off the second half, and after a 3 and a half minute drive that started out on their own 20, the Patriots barely crossed into Buffalo territory when Brady connected with WR Brian Tyms for a 43 yard TD pass to put New England up 20-7. However, Buffalo would counter with a nearly 7-minute drive from their own 20 that was capped with a 1 yard Fred Jackson TD run to cut New England's lead to 20-14.

The Patriots replied with a drive that went all the way to the Buffalo 22, where New England had to settle for another Gostkowski FG to make it a 24-14 game. However, the Patriots began to pull away with their first possession of the 4th quarter thanks to an 18 yard TD pass from Brady to WR Brandon LaFell to make it a 30-14 lead. After a touchback on the following kickoff, Buffalo started from their own 20 and after the drive appeared to sputter on the Bills 40, Orton managed to convert a 4th and 2 thanks to a 35 yard completion to WR Robert Woods. With just under 6 minutes to go, Orton connected with Chris Hogan for an 8 yard TD pass to once again make it a 1-score game, with New England now leading 30-22.

However, the Patriots would strike back quickly and take a 37-22 lead thanks to a 56 yard completion from Brady to LaFell for his second TD of the afternoon with 2:39 left in the game.

That would be all New England would need, putting a damper on the celebrations for the start of the Pegula era in Buffalo. With talk of Brady's career being all but over after the Monday Night fiasco in Kansas City, Brady is now 23-2 against Buffalo in his career.

Turns out this is a short week for New England- they head home to take on the Jets for a Thursday night game. Kickoff is 8:25 PM ET and the game will be televised on the NFL Network and CBS.

NHL- It was a rather forgetful weekend for the Bruins- after winning the season opener, Boston dropped three straight to the Red Wings, Washington and Colorado [Washignton shut out Boston 4-1 while the Avalanche won in the final second of regulation- NANESB!].

On Wednesday night, the Bruins travelled to the Motor City hoping to break their 3-game skid and got off to a pretty good start when David Krejci scored a little over five minutes into the first to give Boston a 1-0 lead. However, Tomas Tatar got the equalizer about three minutes later.

The Bruins re-took the lead in the second when Reilly Smith scored an even-strength goal to make it 2-1. The Bruins would take their 2-1 lead to the 3rd period until Gustav Nyquist scored a power play goal just 2:56 into the 3rd. The power play tally was enough to force OT, and after a scoreless OT, the game would head to a shootout. The Red Wings would miss on both of their shootout chances while Krejci and Reilly Smith would score for Boston to give them the shootout win and snap a 3-game losing streak.

The Original Six action continues on Thursday night when the Bruins travel to Montreal for the first meeting of the 2014 season. Puck drops at 7:30 ET and the game will be broadcast on the NHL network.

ELSEWHERE IN THE NHL- Buffalo Sabres announcer Rick Jeanneret missed the team's home opener this month after being diagnosed with throat cancer in July. The Sabres radio and TV play-by-play man- who has been with Buffalo since their inaugural season in 1971- received the diagnosis in his native Canada after doctors discovered a malignant golf-ball sized growth in his throat. Jeanarette will undergo treatment in the USA and was given an 85% chance of recovery.

ALCS- For the first time in 29 years, the Kansas City Royals are going to the World Series....and they got there by making quick work of the teams with the two best records in the American League.

After getting out to a 3-0 series lead against Baltimore, the Royals got out to a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first at Game 4 in Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday. All of the scoring for Kansas City came in the bottom of the first with a one out and runners on second and third when Eric Hosmer hit a ground ball between first and second for a fielder's choice. O's 2B Jonathan Schoop threw home to C Caleb Joseph as Alciedes Escobar slid on, but the throw went past the catcher and Nori Aoki immediately came home on the error to give Kansas City the quick 2-0 lead.

Although he would give up a solo homer to Baltimore's Ryan Flaherty to cut the Royals lead to 3-1 in the top of the 3rd inning, Kansas City starter Jason Vargas would throw 5⅓ innings and the bullpen would allow no additional runs by Baltimore. Despite allowing a leadoff walk to Adam Jones to start off the 9th, Greg Holland got Nelson Cruz to hit into a fielder's choice, erasing the potential tying run at second, before Delmon Young struck out swinging and JJ Hardy hit a groundout up the 3rd base line to finish off the series.

Kansas City has gone an impressive 8-0 this postseason, and have only trailed in a few innings between the Wild Card game, the Division Series and the ALCS. This performance has already drawn comparisons to the 2007 Rockies, who got off to a similar start as a Wild Card in the postseason [but because of inclement weather and a prolonged ALCS between the Indians and Red Sox never were quite the same once the World Series beagn- NANESB!].

The Royals await the winner of the NLCS between the St Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants- San Francisco is taking a 3-1 series lead into tonight's game five and the Cardinals will have to win three in a row if there's to be a rematch of 1985's "I-70" World Series.

NCAA FOOTBALL- A pretty good weekend, although not as turbulent and dramatic as week 6. As far as nationally ranked teams go, the big story would have to be Baylor's roaring-from-behind-in-the-4th-quarter win over Texas Christian to remain the only undefeated team in the Big Twelve conference. The #4 Baylor Bears came all the way back to beat the #12 TCU Horned Frogs by a 61-58 final on Saturday afternoon.

The Magnolia State continues to produce winning football as Ole Miss and Mississippi State are nearly done with the most difficult part of their respective schedules [Ole Miss hosts Auburn on Nov 1st while Mississippi State travels to Alabama on Nov 15th- assuming the two teams run the table, that sets up a matchup between undefeated Mississippi State and Ole Miss on Nov 29th for Rivalry Week- NANESB!].

As for Week 7, the #3 Mississippi State Bulldogs hosted Auburn and would go on to beat them by a 38-25 final while the #1 Runnin' Rebels ran out of College Station, TX with a 35-20 win over the Texas A&M Aggies.

MEANWHILE IN THE ACC- The Boston College Eagles came out of their off week looking pretty good, travelling to the Tarheel State and beating the NC State Wolfpack by a 30-14 final.

Tyler Murphy had 132 rushing yards and ran for two 2 TDs while passing for another 132 yards. John Hilliman and Sherman Alston also had rushing TDs on the day. The win is also Boston College's first against an ACC opponent this season.

This weekend, the Eagles once again return to host a ranked opponent at Chestnut Hill as they host #24 Clemson. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 ET and the game will be televised on ESPNU.

ELSEWHERE IN THE ACC- The game of the week- at least one involving an ACC team- will be a matchup between two undefeateds when #2 Florida State will host #5 Notre Dame at Tallahassee on Saturday. Both teams are sporting 6-0 records coming into Saturday's prime time matchup. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 PM ET and the game will be televised on ESPN.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Texas Mayor Subpoenas Churches to Obtain Sermons

C'mon Texas- I thought you were better than this.

After activists and religious organizations in the Houston area rallied against a city ordinance signed by the city's openly lesbian mayor, pastors in area churches said that they had received subpoenas from city attorneys demanding the content of their sermons.

City attorneys issued subpoenas last month during the case's discovery phase, seeking, among other communications, "all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession."

The subpoenas were issued to several high-profile pastors and religious leaders who have been vocal in opposing the ordinance. The Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a motion on behalf of the pastors seeking to quash the subpoenas.

The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) was signed into law by mayor Annise Parker in May 2014. Supporters of HERO say that the ordinance prevents discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, marital or military status. Opponents say that the language in the ordinance is too sweeping and violates the religious freedoms of those whose faith does not recognize same-sex marriages.

An attempt was made by opponents to put the issue up for referendum via the ballot, but the petition to get it on the ballot was short after 2,000 signatures were deemed invalid by the same city attorneys who attempted to subpoena pastors for the content of their sermons this month [[curiously, there's no word on whether or not city attorneys issued any subpoenas to Houston-area mosques- NANESB!].

A similar ordinance was passed in San Antonio last year, despite objections by numerous religious organizations.

Curiously enough, in either case neither mayor has to worry about re-election after approving the controversial ordinances. In Houston, Mayor Parker is term-limited while in San Antonio, Mayor Juan Castro was appointed to secretary of Housing and Urban development by the Obama Administration in May 2014.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Magnolia State Madness Sports Grits Chowdah Update- Mississippi Blues for Aggies, Crimson Tide; Royal Flush- Kansas City Sweeps Angels to Advance to 1st ALCS Since 1985; Patriots Bounce Back Against Cincinnati.

NCAA FOOTBALL- Every once in awhile, I'll encounter a subset of football fans who are outright dismissive of college football, sneering that REAL football is played on Sundays- as though their favorite NFL player was cultivated in some magic football orchard hidden off from the rest of the world until their product was ready. On Saturday, I genuinely felt bad for those people.

Where to start? Obviously the biggest story of Saturday afternoon was the Ole Miss vs #1 Alabama game in Oxford, MS. For the first time since 2003, when Eli Manning was the Rebels QB, Ole Miss bested the Alabama Crimson Tide thanks to a 4th quarter rally. This also marks the first time since 1962 that the Rebels have gotten out to a 5-0 start.

Midway through the 4th quarter, Mississippi trailed 17-10 before pulling even on a 34 yard TD pass from Bo Wallace to WR Vance Sanders with 5 and a half minutes remaining in regulation. With the ensuing kickoff, Alabama's Christion Jones fumbled and Mississippi recovered on the Alabama 31 yard line. It didn't take long for the Rebels to capitalize, with Wallace connecting with RB Jaylen Walton for a TD catch and run to put Ole Miss up 23-17 with just under 3:00 remaining in the 4th. The Rebels attempted to go for two, but were unsuccessful, giving Alabama one last chance to pull ahead for good in the final minutes.

With just 37 seconds to go, the Tide had one last shot at the end zone, but Rebels outfielder-turned-DB Senquez Golson managed to get his hands on a Blake Sims pass attempt in the end zone and after a lengthy review was able to corral it for a galme-clinching INT.

Wallace ended up throwing for 251 total yards and 3 TDs, including two in the fourth quarter. The victory propels Ole Miss to 3 in college football polling as well.

This Saturday, the Running Rebels will travel to College Station, TX to take on #14 Texas A&M.

ELSEWHERE IN THE SEC- Saturday's stunner in Oxford was by no means the only upset in the SEC, let alone NCAA Football. The only-slightly-less-favored Aggies fell to Mississippi State in Starkville by a 48-31 final in what ended up being a track meet. Like in-state rival Ole Miss, the Mississippi State Bulldogs are out to a 5-0 start and will host #2 Auburn this weekend.

ELSEWHERE IN NCAA FOOTBALL- The upsets actually began as early as Thursday night, with the Arizona Wildcats holding on against the #2 Oregon Ducks by a 31-24 final. On Firday night, the Utah State Aggies handed #18 BYU their first loss of the season, going on to win 35-20.

On Saturday, Texas Christian handed the Oklahoma Sooners their first loss in a wild one at Amon G Carter Stadium in Fort Worth that included Horned Frogs LB Paul Dawson picking off Sooners QB Trevor Knight's pass and running it back 41 yards for a TD early in the 4th quarter. On the point after attempt, it was successfully blocked before being run back for 2 points by Sooners DT Jordan Phillips to cut TCU's lead to 37-33. However, that would be the last of the scoring and #25 TCU remains undefeated and advances to #9 in the college football standings while #4 Oklahoma was handed their first loss and dropped down to #11 in the rankings.

But there was more......especially out on the West Coast. Utah ended up beating #8 UCLA by a final of 30-28 while Arizona State trailed #16 USC late in the fourth. The Sun Devils had the ball on the Trojans 46 and trailed 34-32 with just 7 seconds left in the game when this happened.

The Trojans would go on to lose by a 38-34 final, their second loss since playing Boston College at Chestnut Hill and their first loss of the season within the Pac 12 conference.

MEANWHILE IN THE ACC- The Boston College Eagles had the weekend off after their September 27th 24-21 loss to Colorado state, but will resume this weekend in Raleigh, NC as they take on the North Carolina State Wolfpack on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 ET and the game will be broadcast on ESPN3 streaming.

NFL- And then there were none.

The last of the undefeated teams in the NFL this season turned out to be the Cincinnati Bengals, and that only lasted until Sunday night against New England at Gillette Stadium.

Heading into Sunday night's game there were a number of storylines- could the Pats and Brady bounce back after last week's fiasco at Arrowhead, not to mention the final remaining undefeated team in the NFL [Arizona also got out to a 3-0 start, had a bye and then lost to the Broncos earlier in the day- NANESB!]. But what really had people talking during and after the game was the Patriot's tribute to the cancer-stricken daughter of defensive lineman Devon Still in the 3rd quarter.

During a timeout in the third quarter on Sunday night, the Patriots let Still know that they were with him and his daughter during their battle. Patriots cheerleaders donned Still’s Bengals jersey as the music video played on the big screens, and Patriots owner Robert Kraft donated $25,000 to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Leah’s name.

Still was shown on the big screen following the music video, and got a little emotional when he received an ovation from the Gillette Stadium crowd. You could see tears stream down his face,

Reaction across Social Media was quick, with accolades for the Patriots as well as pledges of support from other NFL players and owners for Devon and Leah Still. Still was sporting a nose strip that had the hashtag #LeahStrong on the Sunday night game.

Meanwhile, on the field Brady seemed to have quieted his critics with a TD pass in the first half as well as a 1 yard Stevan Ridley TD run and 3 Gostkowski field goals to make it a 20-3 game at the half.

Cincinnati scored on their second possession of the second half with a 37 yard TD pass from QB Andy Dalton to WR Mohamed Sanu to make it a 20-10 lead for New England, but on the following possession, Brady capped an 86 yard drive with a 16 yard TD Pass to TE Rob Gronkowski to put New England up 27-10. Things only got worse for the Bengals when they fumbled the ensuing kickoff and it was recovered by Kyle Arrington on special teams and run back for the second Patriots TD in just 6 seconds of playing time.

Unlike Kansas City, the Patriots would go on to cruise to a 43-17 win, with all the scoring in the 4th quarter coming off the leg of Gostkowski. Tom Brady would go 23-35 with 292 yards and 2 TDs while Cincinnati's Andy Dalton would go 15-24 with 204 yards and 2 TDs. Stevan Ridley would lead New England's ground attack after rushing for a total of 113 yards and a TD.

This sets up only the second intra-conference matchup for New England this weekend when the Patriots travel to Orchard Park, NY to take on the Buffalo Bills, who are sporting a similar 3-2 record [but do have at least one win against an AFC East opponent this year- NANESB!]. Kickoff is at 1:00 ET and the game will be televised on CBS.

ELSEWHERE IN THE NFL- Week 6 gets underway with a Thursday night AFC South matchup between the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts. Kickoff is 8:25 PM and the game will be televised on the NFL Network.

MLB PLAYOFFS For the first time since 1985, the Kansas City Royals are advancing to the American League Championship Series. This comes after the team completed a sweep of the Anaheim Angels at Kauffman Stadium on Sunday night- a sweep of the team that could boast the best regular season in MLB, no less.

The only time the favored Angels led was in the first inning when outfielder Mike Trout belted a 412 foot solo homer to deep left center off of starter James Shields- I'm not talking just game 3, but the only time in the entire American League division series. In the bottom of the 3rd, a shaky CJ Wilson ended up loading the bases with singles to Nori Aoki and Lorenzo Cain and waling Billy Butler after striking out Eric Hosmer. That brought up the home-grown Alex Gordon, who belted a 2-2 offering off of the wall in left center field to clear the bases with a 3-RBI double and give the Royals the lead back as they led it 3-1.

Halos manager Mike Socia went to the bullpen early, but that wouldn't slow down the Royals as they got two more runs in the bottom of the 3rd thanks to a 2-run Eric Hosmer homer to make it a 5-1 game. The Angels would close the gap a little thanks to a 391 foot solo homer from Albert Pujols, but the Royals would start of pull away in the 4th thanks to a Mike Moustakas solo homer and Lorenzo Cain RBI sac fly to give KC a 7-2 lead.

The Royals would go on to cruise to an 8-3 win over the Angels, sweeping the team with the best record in the Majors. This sets up a meeting with the Baltimore Orioles, who put the finishing touches on a sweep of their own, bouncing the AL Central winning Detroit Tigers from the first round of the postseason.

NLDS- Meanwhile in the National League Division series, it will be a rematch of the 2012 NLCS after the St Louis Cardinals bested the LA Dodgers 3 games to 1 in the first round while the San Francisco Giants also got by the Washington Nationals by a similar margin, including an 18 inning marathon in the nation's capital last weekend.

That series gets underway on Saturday night and will be televised on FOX and FOX Sports One.

NHL- It's here! It's here!

The NHL regular season got underway on Wednesday night with the Bruins taking on the Flyers at the TD Garden.

Reilly Smith got the scoring started in the first with a power play tally midway through the first. Through 2 periods, Rask turned aside 13 shots from Philadelphia while Steve Mason turned aside 19 of 20 shots from the Bruins, keeping the Flyers very much in the game.

Just four minutes into the 3rd, the Flyer managed to tie the contest up at 1-1 thanks to a Sean Coutourier goal. However, Chris Kelly would notch the go-ahead goal for the B's with just a minute fifty to go. The Bruins hang on to win by a 2-1 final in their home opener and will immediately travel to Detroit to take on the Red Wings for Thursday night's game.

Puck is scheduled to drop at 7:30 ET at Joe Louis Arena and the game will be televised on NESN.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Today's Train of Thought- This is My Kettle, This is My Spout, October 4th 2014.

Today's train of thought takes us to the north central corner of Land of Lincoln with Ominitrax's Illinois Railway. The railway operates just over 100 miles of track over three disconnected lines in northern Illinois, but more notably the line serves as a sort of test track or proving ground for motive power destined for other Omnitrax lines throughout the US and Canada.

Traffic for the Illinois Railway includes steel, paper, fertilizer and other agricultural commodities, but most noticeably in recent years, frac sand. Much of the sand originates from the US Silica mine near Ottawa, IL and moves in unit trains of anywhere from 60 to 100 cars before being handed off to the BNSF in Aurora, IL. In fact- if the Ottawa sand trains aren't running with BNSF power, then chances are that they're using the Hudson Bay SD50s.

Here, contributor Steve Smedley caught Kettle Falls International GP38-3 #2256 is seen leading a local on the former Chicago, Burlington & Quincy tracks outside of Mt. Morris, IL in May 2010 with the IR's Oregon job. The geeps had recently replaced some former Santa Fe GE B23-7s.

As for the Kettle Falls International Railway, they operate more than 130 miles of Y-shaped former Great Northern trackage in north central Washington State and southern British Columbia, hauling lumber, forestry products and chemicals with four axle geeps.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Kansas City Smoked Sports Chowdah Update- Red Sox Season, Jeter's Career Wraps Up At Fenway; Rollin' Royals Eliminate Oakland, Take Game 1 of ALDS; Fail to the Chiefs- Patriots Thrashed at Arrowhead Stadium on Monday Night

RED SOX- The Major League Baseball regular season came to an end on Sunday and with it, the disappointing 2014 seasons for both the New York Yankees and defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox. Fans of the Red Sox were hoping for a more spirited defense of their 2013 title while Yankees fans wanted a postseason appearance for captain Derek Jeter's final season.

Although the Yankees had been mathematically eliminated by that point, Jeter's final home game at Yankee Stadium ended in memorable fashion as the Bronx Bomber's shortstop hit a walkoff RBI single in the bottom of the 9th, breaking a 5-5 tie against the AL East Champion Baltimore Orioles on September 25th.

The Yankee captain's final game on Sunday drew a national TV audience as the game was televised on TBS. The Yankees got out to an early lead in the 3rd inning, thanks to a one out, two RBI single from Ichiro Suzuki. Jeter made it a 3-0 game when he hit a high chopper up the 3rd base line that he beat out for an infield single as Suzuki made his way home. As it turned out, that would be it for Jeter. Manager Joe Girardi immediately decided to pull Jeter for pinch runner Brian McCann.

The Yankees would go on to win by a 9-5 final and would take two out of three from the Red Sox in the weekend series. The Red Sox, finishing a mere 25 games out of first place in the AL East, wrapped up the season with a 71-91 record and were increasingly unrecognizable from the 2013 squad that won the World Series. For instance, the only starting pitcher remaining from the 2013 team was Clay Buchholz after Peavy, Lackey, Lester and Doubront were traded earlier in the season.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS- The Nationals have done nothing less than quietly dominate the National League East this season. Although they were among the first to secure a playoff berth, they ended the regular season in dramatic fashion when Nats starter Jordan Zimmerman threw the Nats first no-hitter.

Heading into the top of the 9th inning, Washington had a 1-0 lead over the Miami Marlins with two away when outfielder Christian Yelich belted what looked like a sure double to not only break up the Zimmerman's no-hit bid, but put the tying run in scoring position for Miami. However, late inning defensive replacement and rookie outfielder Steven Souza, Jr made a spectacular diving catch to rob the Marlins of a base hit, ending the ballgame and sealing Zimmerman's no hitter.

The well-rested Nats will play the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS beginning Friday, October 1st. First pitch is scheduled for 3:07 ET at Nationals Park and the game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.

KANSAS CITY ROYALS- After narrowly missing out on the AL Central pennant, the Kansas City Royals managed to secure their first postseason berth in nearly 30 years, prompting a 1-game playoff with the Oakland A's at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday Night.

With Jon Lester on the mound for Oakland, KC took a 3-2 lead with an RBI double from Lorenzo Cain and an RBI single from Eric Hosmer in the bottom of the 3rd. However, the Royals bullpen would implode in the top of the 6th, allowing a 3-run homer off the bat of Brandon Moss before an out was even recorded. The A's would get two more runs to make it a 7-3 ballgame and quiet down the crowd at Kauffman Stadium. However, the Royals would immediately start to chip away with RBI singles from Cain and Billy Butler in the bottom of the 8th along with Hosmer coming home on a wild pitch to make it a one run game. In the bottom of the 9th, pinch hitter Josh Willingham led off the inning with a single before being pulled for pinch-runner Jarrod Dyson. Dyson moved into scoring position on a sac bunt by Alcides Escobar before stealing 3rd. Dyson would then come home on a Nori Aoki sac-fly to tie the game up at 7-7 and force extra innings.

The 7-7 deadlock wouldn't be broken until the top of the 12th when Alberto Callaspo hit an RBI single for the Athletics, giving them an 8-7 lead over KC. However, Hosmer would get a 1-out triple on ball that barely stayed in the park and Christian Colon would get an RBI infield single in the bottom of the 12th, bringing Hosmer home to tie the game up once more- this time at 8-8. Alex Gordon fouled out to third for the second out, bringing up Salvador Perez, who had gone 0-5 on the night. However, Perez managed to hit a ball fair past a diving Josh Donaldson and into left field to bring home the winning run.

The win set up an ALDS matchup with another AL West team- this time the Angels- on Thursday night. Despite having the best record in all of baseball this season, the Angels never led in what would be an extra innings affair much like Tuesday night's affair. Royals 3rd baseman Mike Moustakas would turn out to be key in this one, hitting a tie-breaking solo homer to lead off the top of the 11th to make it 3-2 Kansas City. Greg Holland would come out of the Royals bullpen and get a clean 1-2-3 inning to close out game one for the Royals.

ELSEWHERE IN THE AMERICAN LEAGUE- The Baltimore Orioles took Game 1 of their series against the Detroit Tigers after the Tigers bullpen imploded and allowed 8 unanswered runs in the bottom of the 8th in what had previously been a close game. In fact, between the bottom of the 2nd and 7th innings, it was a pitcher's duel between Max Scherzer and O's starter Chris Tillman.

The Orioles go on to win game one of their series by a 12-3 final and the series will resume almost immediately on Friday at noon.

MEANWHILE, IN THE NATIONAL LEAGUE- It's actually been pretty quiet in the National League this week, with only one game since the end of the regular season on Sunday- that was the single game Wild Card playoff between the San Francisco Giants and the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on Thursday night.

San Francisco's Brandon Crawford would hit a grand slam off of Pirates starter Edinson Volquez in the top of the 4th inning to give the Giants an early 4-0 lead. That would be all the Giants needed to get past Pittsburgh as Madison Bumgarner threw a complete-game 4-hit shutout on Thursday as San Francisco cruised to an 8-0 win. The victory earns the Giants a matchup against the Nationals inside the beltway for game one of the NLDS on Friday night.

The other NLDS matchup on Friday features the Dodgers hosting the St Louis Cardinals at Chavez Ravine on Friday night.

PATRIOTS- New England's first Monday night game of the 2014 season didn't go particularly well. Coming off a win in which the Pats seemed to just barely hold off the woeful Raiders at Foxborough, the Patriots seemed unprepared and overwhelmed by their Monday night game at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.

The Kansas City Chiefs offense and QB Alex Smith seemed to move the ball at will, and while the Chiefs 17-0 lead at halftime didn't seem insurmountable, things got worse for the Patriots in the second half as Kansas City jumped out to a 27-0 lead before the Patriots finally got on the board. Believe it or not, things actually got worse for the Patriots in the 4th with the Chiefs scoring 14 quick points thanks to an Alex Smith TD and a Hussain Abdullah pick six of Tom Brady.

The only bright spot was when backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo got some playing time and managed to put New England in double-digits on a 3 minute, 81 yard drive that was capped by a 13 yard TD pass to Rob Gronkowski. The Patriots would go on to lose by a 14-41 final.