Monday, August 27, 2007

Steelers-Eagles glog

Like any good sporting event, we should start by getting the pregame festivities out of the way first. Unlike any sporting event, none of the festivities to my knowledge will be sports related, rather it will just be me blathering on and on once again.

It is Sunday, which means it is "Matt goes to the radio station and does production duties day". Today it was taping 4 commercial feeds for the upcoming week, burning two episodes of the radio show to CD for people that filled in during Lynn's last vacation, editing and posting three shows for the podcast page, cutting up a fourth show so I can finish editing it in the morning and post it as well, setting up the studio for my 5am shift and recording the Clark Howard minutes to air tomorrow morning. On top of that, I had to stop by the part time job on the way home to recheck my schedule. Usually the schedule gets posted Saturday afternoon for the upcoming week, but Thea, my boss, said that she may have to alter my schedule because she may need me to close Monday as opposed to the Tuesday or Wednesday night that I am scheduled to close. I assumed that this meant I would be trading one shift for the other, but alas it just meant more hours were thrown on my back, which I will be honest, sucks ass. Not what I was hoping to hear this evening, but I suppose I could use the money, so I will not complain too much. At least my diversion there gave me reason to steal a sub for dinner, and given I will be eating dinner there now 4 days this week, my cooking responsibilities on the homefront have diminished somewhat.

I am off Friday night however, which means it is official, I will be on the radio Friday evening from 3pm-6pm on Doug's show. The kicker is that Friday night is the first night of the high school football season, and for the last few years I have been working those games to help supplement the income. I would make an extra $50 to sit in the studio and run the board for the games, the bad part being it meant I wouldn't get out of the radio station until 11pm, and depending on the bus schedules, it was not uncommon to not get in Friday nights until as late as 1am. That being said, I already broke it to our program director that I didn't want the high school games this year, there just isn't enough money in it for me to spend half the night at the station, especially when I have to get there at 5am. I get stuck with the choice in the middle of the day of leaving and coming back or just staying there all day and a 5am-11pm shift is really not all that enjoyable when it comes right down to it. So I opted to let one of the part timers have that shift this year, who they get really doesn't matter to me, but it is going to feel quite nice knowing that I will be leaving the station when the game coverage starts Friday night rather than just settling in for another long 5 hours of radio.

Since I have a few hours before kickoff of the football game and the glogging commencing, I might as well do another change meter update. We add another $.20 to the total and the new tote board amount is $27.91. Chances are I will be finding money more frequently now that the college students have moved back in once again. There goes my summer. Once again it will be trying to sleep on those few occasions where I get to rest my head while contending with incessant partying that goes on in the neighborhood during the school year. The only plus is that college kids are more clumsy with their cash than regular folks (probably because mom and dad give them everything rather than them actually earning it) so the coinage on the ground will most likely pick up.

I didn't get to do any dumpster diving this past week. much to my chagrin. As is the case when students move in or out, apartment leases invariably come to an end and laziness takes the better part of common sense for those college students moving from one apartment to another and stuff just gets thrown out. Not normal stuff like you or I might throw away, bigger stuff like furniture, computer stuff and all kinds of goodies that college kids will throw away rather than pack. I swear they throw away stuff that is better than the stuff I own. The only problem this week was that it rained a bit, so snagging furniture wasn't a possibility because it would have been all wet and mildewy from being outside, and there is no saying what shape and computer stuff may have been in. Which is a shame, because I saw on my way to work the other day, what looked to be either a 19" or 21" Sony Trinitron monitor that I would have loved to have brought back to the apartment just to see if it would work. Worst case scenario, it doesn't and I just throw it out on the curb like its previous owner, best case it does and I either attach it to my computer or sell it. But by the time I had gotten off of work, it had downpoured and the monitor was still sitting outside in the rubbish pile it had been in, only now it was waterlogged as well.

Well, we are an hour and twenty minutes from tonight's kickoff of the game this evening between the Steelers and Eagles, and I am going to do a catch up on some work related emails. Be back soon.

Okay, we are getting closer to kickoff time here. Not that this game means a whole lot, it is still preseason football but I need the practice doing this whole glogging thing, as much as anyone. It is a skill set, that if you don't practice it, it tends to rust up on you. And I can't remember the last time I did a football game, so I am not expecting any miracles or vastly astute insights into my game coverage this evening. For those that are unfamiliar with the glogging concept, it is the nickname for a game blog, which I do from time to time while a live sporting event is on either the radio or television. I comment on the goings on as they happen and then post the blog at the end of the game. It just offers my own unique perspective into that which has taken place, not necessarily better than that found elsewhere, but if you wanted their content, you wouldn't be reading this, would you?

Unlike others that comment on the game, I will throw in abstract stuff that comes across my mind as well. I am just as likely to comment on the weather or some hot chick I saw today as I am to talk about the game itself. Speaking of hot chicks, that is one of the advantages of the college students moving back in, the number of good looking females around the neighborhood increases. Of course, since I am 38 years old, I remind myself that I am way too old for them and if they are looking for a sugar daddy, then I am way too poor for them, instead I would be like a NutraSweet daddy instead.

And we have kickoff, with a touchback, so the Steelers open the game starting at their own 20 yard line. And on first down a reverse to Cedric Wilson for 9 yards, a nice way to start the drive. That gets followed up with a handoff to Willie Parker and it is a a Steeler first down on a 6 yard pick up.

On first and ten it is Willie Parker again, this time on a screen pass and it is another Steeler first down.

Just as the Steelers look to be starting to mount a drive, Ben Roethlisberger throws up an ill advised pass rather than taking a sack and the pass is intercepted, thus ending the drive and giving the Eagles excellent field position. And in an equally stupid move, Pittsburgh throws a red flag to review the advancement of the interception, arguing that the defender was down by contact. Mind you the difference is about 6 yards, and it is hardly worth wasting a review on this early in the game. Well, at least the challenge was was upheld, so the challenge wasn't a complete failure, but the commentators (Michaels and Madden) just brought up the point I made, that it may not be wise to waste a challenge this early.

One play for Philadelphia and one first down, and here come the Eagles. A Brian Westbrook run and a swing pass to the fullback and it is another first down, and the Eagles are inside the Steeler 30 yard line already.

Donovan McNabb coughs up the ball on second and long, but Philadelphia recovers and has a 3rd and 13 on the drive. Tack on an offsides penalty and now it is 3 and 18, the Eagles moving very much in the wrong direction. . A blitz by Pittsburgh on 3rd down, and the Steelers record a sack on McNabb and the sack may push Philly back out of field goal range. And it does, the Eagles opt to punt instead. Yikes, three flags on this drive, this could be a long quarter if this keeps up. But it was an offsides against the Steelers, and the Eagles opted to decline and take the result of the punt, which is to pin the Steelers on their own 9 yard line.

Drive #2 for Pittsburgh, and it begins with a handoff to Willie Parker, but the recurring theme of the first quarter rears its ugly head, a penalty, holding on Pittsburgh, so it is 1st and 14 instead of second and 6.

Two runs result in one yard and the Steelers face 3rd and 13 from their own 5 yard line. An incomplete pass, and we will see a punt by the Steelers, which should give Philadelphia good field position again. Actually better than good, as the kick goes off of the side of the punters foot, and goes for all of 14 yards. The Eagles will get the ball back in muy excellente field position, starting at the Steeler 20.

I think I will grab a shower at halftime, I am feeling all grimy and stuff from the warm weather and the warmer apartment that I dwell in. I managed to get it down to 80 in here last night, but it heated up again a little this afternoon while I was at work. Not as bad as yesterday where it was over 90 in here, but still warmer than is comfortable.

The Eagles go no huddle and two plays later, they are inside the Steeler 10 at the 9 yard line. Correll Buckhalter gains 5 on first down and it is 2nd and 4 for the Eagles. A rollout pass is well covered however and McNabb just throws it away bringing up 3rd and goal from the 4. An incomplete pass and the Eagles will try a field goal, which is good, and we have our first score, Eagles 3 Steelers 0.

I have new reason to root against the Steelers this year. Not that I will mind you, but I do have a reason to if I need one. Turns out Subway is doing a local promotion where if the Steelers score on the first possession of the second half of any game, everyone gets double meat on their subs for free. That screams of a world of suck for those of us making said sandwiches.

We are back to live action and the Steelers return the kickoff to the 25 yard line where they will begin drive #3. Truth be told, given how the first two have turned out, they should be happy that they are only down three points at this juncture., it could easily be 6 or even 10 points but for Pittsburgh playing very good defense.

The drive starts off well for Pittsburgh, with a rollout pass to Dan Kreider the fullback, which goes for a Pittsburgh first down. Another screen pass to Willie Parker and the Steelers have second and 5 and they seem to be using the short pass to negate the Philadelphia blitz package.

The Steelers covert on 3rd and 5 with a 13 yard pass to Hines Ward, getting the Steelers their second first down of the drive. Of course on 1st and 10, a false start makes it 1st and 15 instead.

Heath Miller makes a great catch while getting hit and keeps moving all the way down to the 1 yard line of Philadelphia, making it first and goal for Pittsburgh on the 38 yard pickup. This is of note, because the Steelers haven't used the tight ends or fullbacks all that much this preseason, yet their two big plays this drive involve passes to each of them. Perhaps a new wrinkle to the Steeler playbook? Well, that remains to be seen, you can only take so much from preseason games.

On second and goal from the one, Willie Parker fumbles and the Eagles recover, snuffing out the Steelers best chance so far in this game to score. The Eagles take over possession at the 2 yard line.

McNabb goes deep on 1st and ten, but the pass is incomplete, leaving the Eagles 2nd and 10. A run for 4 yards and it is 3rd and 6 still deep in the eagles end of the field, but the pass is complete for a 1st down and the Eagles drive will continue outside of the shadows of their own goalposts.

The Eagles take a penalty for unnecessary roughness after the play, so a short gain on first down will leave the Eagles with instead second and about 16 to go when we come back to live action, as that play ends the first quarter, with the eagles still ahead 3-0.

Hopefully you all have followed along to this point, like I said, I am still very rusty at this and it may come out like nothing but gibberish, I haven't really went about proofreading what I have written.

Another penalty on the Eagles and it is 2nd and 18 and they are once again pushed back to their own 3 yard line. Not that that stops the Eagles, as they convert on second and long with a pass to Matt Schobel, the tight end, that results in a first down, the second by the Eagles on this drive.

During a timeout in the action, I took it upon myself to pluck a mutant back hair. I say mutant, because I do not have one of those backs that need shaved by any stretch of the imagination. That being said, every now and again, I will have a solitary hair or two pop up on my shoulder blade which I find quite annoying, so I tend to pluck them out whenever I see them.

Corell Buckhalter again with a nice gain on the ground on second and 10, good for about 6 yards, one of the few things the Eagles have done right on offense. That is quickly negated though by another penalty for offsides and it is again 3rd and 9. The Eagles must have been reading my blog, because they tried to run with Buckhalter on 3rd and 9, but it only gets 6, so the Eagles have to punt. Willie Reid to field the punt for Pittsburgh, and he fumbles it, until he recovers it, the Eagles are all over him and he gets taken down at the 2 yard line. The score remains Eagles 3 Steelers 0, 2nd quarter.

At this rate I could take my shower and about the only thing I would miss would be Steeler turnovers and Eagle penalties.

Al Michaels just said that Pittsburgh is home to many Fortune 500 companies. Apparently he is still reading the 70's press materials as most of them have left here. Sure we have a few left, but not nearly the number we used to have.

A three and out from Pittsburgh and the Eagles once again will start in Pittsburgh territory, this time from the Steeler 44 yard line. I will say it is two plays before the Eagles commit another penalty. Any takers on that bet?

A commercial for Bionic Woman on NBC, because all original ideas have officially been used up. On the bright side, maybe Oscar Madison and the OSI will get more face time now. Bonus to the two people in the room that got that reference.

Two plays and no penalties, I guess this is the make or break point, and no flag, just an incomplete pass, so three plays for the Eagles net one yard and it looks like time for another punt. The punt rolls into the end zone and the Steelers will have for them what is good starting field position, from their own 20.

Okay, my second commercial complaint of the ballgame, a bunch of guys sitting around singing Viva Viagra. Did they ever stop to think that maybe it isn't so much they have erectile dysfunction as it is they are sitting around with a bunch of other guys singing when they could at least be trying to hook up with someone? I'm just saying.......

After a loss of 5 yards on first down, another screen pass to Willie Parker results in about a 20 yard gain results in a first down. This is probably the most work Willie Parker has gotten in the preseason to this point, and while his running has been suspect (See the fumble at the 1), he has been more than adequate catch the ball out of the backfield to this point.

Two more Willie Parker runs result in 5 yards total and on third and 5, the Steelers covert again via the pass, this time to Cedric Wilson.

Najeh Davenport in for Parker and on first down he gets about 5 yards, possibly the best run by the Steelers to this point. On 3rd and 4, it is again a first down for Pittsburgh, this time a pass to Santonio Holmes for 22 yards.

On first down from the Eagles 18 yard line Willie Parker breaks through the line and gets into the endzone almost untouched and the Steelers complete the 9 play drive with a touchdown and with 5:34 left in the 2nd quarter its now Steelers 7 Eagles 3.

Pittsburgh will kickoff for the first time tonight, as they received the opening kickoff and the kick will go into the endzone for a touchback. The Eagles will take over possession on their own 20 yard line.

Donovan McNabb is done for the night as the Eagles have inserted their backup QB into the game, and Buckhalter once again has a couple of good runs, for 11 on first down and 4 more on the ensuing first down. But on 3rd and 5, the Eagles new QB attempts to pass, but it is incomplete and they are once again forced to punt. The Steelers will take over possession on their own 23 yard line.

Thankfully no one took me up on my bet from the last Eagle drive, because I am very much poor and probably could have afforded to pay out to all of the winners.

The Steelers are offsides on first down, so it goes from 1st and 10, to 1st and 15. An incomplete pass results in 2nd and 15 and the Steelers once again call for a screen pass, this time to Najeh Davenport, good for 33 yards, plus an additional 15 yards on a personal foul by Philadelphia for a horse collar tackle. Dare I say, the Steelers must have a decided advantage in first downs to this point. As I type that, they hit Heath Miller for 12 yards and another first down. A quick check of the numbers have the Steelers with 11 first downs and the Eagles with 6.

We have reached the 2 minute warning of the first half, or two minutes until I shower and come back. The Steelers will have 2nd and 7 from the Eagles 19 when we return. An incomplete pass results in 3rd and 7, as Roethlisberger pass was behind Hines Ward. Another incomplete pass on third down, this one deflected at the line of scrimmage and the Steelers have to settle for a 37 yard Jeff Reed field goal, and the score is Steelers 10 Eagles 3 2nd quarter.

The Eagles will take over 1st and 10 from their 27 with 1:43 left in the first half. A quick 6 yard pass makes it second and 4 but the clock is running. An incomplete pass makes for 3rd and 4 with just 1:14 left in the half. Ike Taylor records the sack for the Steelers and that ends the Eagles drive. I think the Steelers have called timeout, maybe they are looking to do something, knowing they should get okay field position and have 1:09 to work with. A penalty on the return or lack of one as it was fair caught leaves the Steelers on their own 25 yard line.

A 25 yard pass on first down and here we go again, the Steelers at midfield now, with under a minute to go. Two incomplete passes, one almost an interception by the Eagles and it is 3rd and 10 with just 26 second left. Roethlisberger's pass is complete to Hines Ward for 18 yards, and the Steelers have another first down, with just 16 seconds left. An out pattern to Ward again is complete and he ducks out of bounds to stop the clock with 12 seconds and another first down. Jeff Reed comes in on second and 10 and just 8 seconds left to try a field goal and see if they can't come up with more points on this drive. Jeff Reed hits again, this time from 40 yards and it is Steelers 13 Eagles 3 2nd quarter.

A squib kickoff and the return runs out the clock, so I will retire to my locker room and shower with the halftime score Steelers 13 Eagles 3.

And we are back in time for the second half, feeling much refreshed. The Eagles take over in the second half starting with the ball at their own 16 yard line. On 2nd and 9, they complete a 12 yard pass for a first down. The halftime stats are in, and if it weren't for Steeler miscues, this could be a blowout. The Steelers lead in total yards 297 to 89, and only a shanked punt got points for the Eagles in the first half, meanwhile a fumble at the one kept the Steelers from scoring, so the Eagles should be happy to only be down 10 at this point.

We will see many scrubs in the second half, guys that in two weeks will not be playing in the NFL, so if I miss some names, it is because I have no idea who some of these guys are. The Eagles picked up a second first down on the drive on a nice run by Tony Hunt and now are faced with a 3rd and 1, which they covert and the drive continues. This is a nice drive for the Eagles to start the second half.

By the way, for those wondering about my progress on Hog Heaven slots (see two blogs back), I am now at level 45, only 5 to go.

The drive has stalled a bit, it is 3rd and 13, and the QB has the ball stripped but the Eagles again recover their own fumble, so it will be 4th down and the Eagles will attempt a field goal, which David Akers hits from 44 yards and it is now Steelers 13 Eagles 6 3rd quarter. That was an impressive drive by the Eagles, taking 6 minutes and 11 seconds off of the third quarter clock, impressive if for no other reason that it cuts into time spent watching the scrubs play.

I can see I will have some spell checking to do once I finish this. I am catching some errors, but for every one I catch, I am sure there are three that I missed.

The Steelers start their first drive of the second half from their own 21 and two play later, they have their first first down of the second half, on a pass from Charlie Batch to Nate Washington.

After two Kevan Barlow runs for 9 yards the Steelers again throw to a back out of the backfield on 3rd and 1 and it is another first down. Charlie Batch again hits Nate Washington, good for 30 yards and the Steelers have first and goal at the 1. One play later and Kevan Barlow punches it over for the touchdown and the score is Steelers 20 Eagles 6.

Just looking and wow do I have some typos on names to fix before I post this blog. The question is, will I run out of blog space, I am not sure of the word limit on posts for yahoo, I may ramble on more than they are willing to accept for one post.

The Eagles will get the ball back on the kickoff, and will start their second drive of the second half from the their own 14 yard line after having a holding penalty assessed on the kickoff return. Well, on the bright side again, after two drives in the third quarter, almost 11 minutes have been run off of the clock. On the bad side of things, after I get done with this, I still have laundry to do, but we all have priorities I guess, and for whatever confounded logic, I made this one over clean clothes.

I used the Axe bodywash while in the shower. While it smells nice and all, I don't like the grainy feel of it, it almost feels like someone put some sand in it before they bottled it.

The Eagles are driving again, having picked up a couple of first downs and are out to their own 47 with a 2nd and 3. Two plays and it is 4th and 1 and the Eagles will go for it. It's a QB sneak and it looks to be short, though it will most likely be measured to make sure. And it is short, the Steelers hold on 4th and 1, and the Steelers will go with their third string quarterback the rest of the way.

A commercial for Halloween The Movie just aired. I stand by what I said earlier, all original ideas have been used.

A running play by the Steelers to kickoff the drive and that is the end of the 3rd quarter with the Steelers ahead 20-6.

By the way, I am highly disappointed that no one ventured a guess on any of the tunes I posted, Rest assured, it will be back, simply because I like to annoy people like that. It is one of my endearing qualities. That and my odd ability to produce way too much eye snot when I sleep. I just thought you needed to know that.

Great, just when the game seems like it will be moving along at a semi brisk pace, an official gets in the way and as a result gets toppled so the game stops while they tend to him.

Dallas Baker looks to be collecting an unemployment check in a couple of weeks, as a pass goes right off of his hands for an interception. That, my friends, is not how you make an NFL team.

Kevin Kolb, the second string QB for the Eagles is still in the game in the 4th quarter, so the Eagles must be looking to get him some work here, by letting him play part of the first half and all of the second half to this point.

On third and 6, Kolb throw a 4 yard pass. I will never understand why anyone throws that pass, short of the first down marker. 4th down and the Eagles try to go for it again and again they fail, this time on a poorly thrown pass that ends up incomplete but was almost picked off. I will use the change of possession to pluck more mutant back hairs.

I managed to snag three hairs during the break, which is the only three hairs I could see. Maybe there is a forest of hairs back there that I don't know about, but I did what I could.

The Steelers, after two running plays face third and 7 and much like their counterparts, they throw a pass short of the first down marker, getting 6 yards when they need 7. Inexcusable!!!! Throw the damn ball downfield!!!! The Steelers will punt and the Eagles will once again take over possession, starting this time from their own 22 yard line.

The Eagles are in a hurryup offense, trailing by 14 points with just a little over 8 minutes to go. And once again, the Eagles are putting together an impressive drive, as they have went from their own 22 down to the Steelers 22 in relative short order.

A third and 2 is converted by the Eagles and the drive continues. Two plays later and the Eagles are now inside the Steelers 10 yard line with another first down and 5:02 remaining in the game. In case you were wondering, and I know you were, it is still Steelers 20 Eagles 6.

Third and goal from the 4, the Eagles have yet to punch the ball in, and the clock continues to run. Finally, Kolb hits Vickers for the touchdown from 4 yards out and the extra point makes it a 7 point game with a little over 4 minutes remaining, its Steelers 20 Eagles 13.

Most of the Steeler fans have left the game at this point, probably opting for the comfort of their tailgates in the parking lot, which is something I would never do given how much tickets cost for football games. They usually run 60 or more dollars per game, which for that price I am staying from beginning to end, regardless of score.

The Steelers take possession after the kickoff on their own 18 yard line. And three plays and two Eagles timeouts later and the Steelers will punt the ball back to the Eagles with 3:34 remaining. Good punt coverage by the Steelers as the punt goes 51 yards and there is a -1 on the return.

The Eagles have the ball on their own 21 with just one timeout remaining and of course the clock will also stop at the 2 minute warning. By the time the 2 minute warning rolls around the Steelers have already given up a large chunk of yards as the Eagles have a first and 10 at the Steelers 28 yard line.

On first and 10, the Eagles complete a pass, but the receiver fumbles and the Steelers return the fumble for a touchdown, pending a review from the replay official. And the touchdown stands, so the score is now Steelers 27 Eagles 13.

The Eagles take possession again after the kickoff, this time from their own 24. Most likely we will not see anymore stoppages of play, given it is a 14 point differential and just a little over a minute left.

Once again the Eagles drive, as they are inside the Steeler 10 with 21 seconds remaining. While a score may be academic some of us folks watching, I am sure some people believe their jobs may rely on performing even this late in a game where the outcome is pretty much determined. The Eagles fail to score on the drive, and the final of tonight's contest will be Pittsburgh 27 Philadelphia 10.

It's spell check and laundry time for me kids, and time for you to be thankful that this blog is officially over.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A day early and not a dollar short, it's Asshat time

I wanted to make sure I got this one before the link escaped me, which is why you are getting the Asshat a full day or so (depending on my laziness) early.

For those that didn't know, Friday night was the night of the Miss Teen USA pageant. While I usually pass on such video fare, I happened to click on just as they were weeding the field down to 5. The final 5, if I can remember correctly, was Colorado, New Jersey, West Virginia, maybe Kentucky (though I am not sure about that one), and lastly South Carolina. The final event to separate the wheat from the chaff so to speak, was the dreaded question section, where each of our contestants would pull out a name and that judge would ask a question. South Carolina apparently drew poorly, as her question required her to speak in a crazy little thing we call sentences. That didn't quite happen as you can observe

So while she didn't get the coveted Miss Teen USA crown, South Carolina gets to walk away with something almost as impressive, the crown of the Asshat, provided she can find it on a map.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The big 50

I sit here today, not without anything to say, but just really lacking in motivation to say it. It has been my curse for the last few days really, I get an idea in my head, usually away from the computer, By the time I get to sit down in front of the computer and think of where I might begin, I just drag my feet about getting started. Well, given there isn't much to do right now, what with it being 5:27pm here in Pittsburgh and me off for the evening, yet it being so damned hot (the heat index still has us over 100 degrees currently), blogging seems like as good a thing as any.

For those that don't know, I will get all meteorological for just a moment. The heat index is much like the wind chill factor in reverse, it determines what the temperature feels like when taking into account the actual temperature and throwing in some humidity for good measure. A quick check of the Weather Channel has us currently at 92 degrees with 50% humidity, though those numbers are taken at the airport and not reflective of the inner city temp which is usually a few degrees warmer, given our affinity for all things concrete. Maybe if we opted for grass huts things would be a few degrees cooler, and the rent on my apartment cheaper, but alas we got all crazy with our opposable thumbs and built stuff.

Well, I can start anywhere here, but I think I will start with Mother Theresa. Not that I have an affinity for her, though I don't have the Christopher Hitchens disdain for the woman either, but her writings have come up in the news today. Apparently there were times that, get this, she questioned her faith. Far be it for someone to go about doing good works, the media has been fixated today on some of her personal writings that said, gee, maybe she doesn't have all of the answers and maybe there are moments just like the rest of us, where she has doubts just like the rest of us. While I am sure that the media picked up this story for all of the wrong reasons, so that they can trumpet that she may have had issues with her Christian (Catholic) faith, I find the story quite reassuring for a change from a segment of society that far to often seems to have all of the answers about how I should live my life, she was there questioning those very answers that were being provided. Sometimes the smartest thing we can say is "I don't know", because it forces us to seek out the answer to the question rather than blindly following the edicts of others, so while the media may have been looking to trivialize her faith with the story, they actually increased my respect for the person.

Okay, lets kick the soap box to the corner for a few minutes. If I get on it, it could make for an incredibly long and hot night, longer and hotter than it already promises to be. Instead, we will start by celebrating the big 50. No, I am not 50 years old, though after this week I wish I were, as it would put me 12 years closer to retirement and retirement looks like a good thing right now, but rather the friends list has once again climbed to 50. This number has been crossed before, only to see me weed the friends list back down after finding I had people on it who have taken this 360 thing upon themselves simply to just collect names and add nothing to the conversation, at which point my people (me) would weed them back out of the list for far more deserving folks. The result is a list that it far smaller than many people's but one that gets updated my its contributors enough that hopefully this page, if nothing else, becomes a launch point for you to go check out their work after mine has sufficiently disappointed you. With that being said, after reading this (the dozen or so that made it past the first three paragraphs) I would suggest that you all go check out Charli's page as well, as she is the latest addition to our cast of...well, some.

Oh, if the updates were to stop there, then we could all be happy, but sorry, that is just the beginning. We do have a change meter to take care of after all. Another $.46 gets added to the total, though it could have been more, but once again, that which is noble got in the way of that which is profitable. The new total is now $27.71 and the chance of breaking the $30 barrier by the end of the year looks a little bit better this evening than it did 6 months ago. Some of you old timers will remember the ethical dilemma I had regarding the change meter, which actually brought out a semi spirited debate ( I say semi spirited because anything too spirited in this weather would just lead to profusive sweating) regarding what should and shouldn't be added to the change meter total. Earlier this year I found someones bank card. so provided the card was active, I could have cleaned out the guys account and added to the meter as found money, but more than the ethical question, the overwhelming problem was simply that I didn't have the gentleman's PIN number, so I really had nothing more than a card in my hands. Maybe someone with a larger skill set in scamming people could have come up with a way of profiting on the find, but I am stupid in that regard, so after trying to track the owner down, I just turned the card over to the host bank. Given that the owner of the card didn't even have the decency to call me back when I tried to reach him, it is probably good I didn't have access to the account, because I may have kept something for myself simply because he was a jackass. That being said, after a cigarette break at work the other day (they haven't outlawed cigarettes yet, thank goodness), I stopped to get a can of Pepsi from the vending machine (cigarettes and Pepsi, you can draw alot of correct assumptions about my diet by putting those two together) , there on top of the vending machine was a wallet. Dare I say it was like fate had in fact went back and read some of my early blog entries just to see if reality would play out the same as the argument that was had back then. I opened the wallet to the ID page and realized that it belonged to someone who works on the first floor of our building so I just turned it in to their receptionist, I know there were bills in it, I did see a couple sticking out of the very top, but I didn't check any amounts to see how much treasure that I am passing on, but I do know the owner holds one of the bigger corner offices on the first floor of our building, so it is safe to assume he makes much more money than I do but still, it would have been like taking money from someone that I know. Had I found this wallet out in the middle of nowhere and had no idea who it belonged to, we may be having a different discussion right now and the change meter may be much further along, but instead it remains at its paltry level after almost two years of picking up other people's change.

That being said, I have issue with Chris Hansen. Most of you know the idiot as the guy who does the "To Catch a Predator" crap on Dateline. While I am all for removing people from society that would opt to prey on children, I am equally appalled by someone who would practice something that borders on entrapment simply for the entertainment value of it. There is no followup on these stories to find out if the game they are playing actually leads to convictions of child predators, then again, that isn't why they do it in the first place, they do it because for a few minutes they can put people on the TV screen that you can make fun of. His pseudo pubic service as entertainment is appalling, yet it is cheap to produce and puts some butts in the seats, and that is all TV is good for, so here you have it. That being said, the other night, he did a take off of his "To Catch a Predator" thing, where instead of trying to catch child molesters, they were looking to catch Ipod thieves by leaving unattended packages lying around and seeing if somebody picks them up. Maybe it is just me making the moral distinction here, but if someone leaves a package behind unattended, then it is not stealing. If I come into your home, onto your property or remove something from your person or from a designated area (a stipulation for those who think I would support stealing cars from parking lots), then that is stealing. When you in your infinite wisdom, leave a package behind in a public area unattended and just wander off to parts unknown, then you are an idiot and taping people who pick up said packages that you planted and calling them thieves in order to boost your network's sagging third place ratings is dishonesty in advertising of the highest order. Oh how I wish that I were one of them, that screams of a lawsuit just waiting to happen.

Damn that soapbox, you can tell I haven't done this recently as it keeps getting in the way. Instead I will say that my fantasy baseball team has done a phoenix like rise from the ashes thing. In my 11 team league you will remember that I was flirting with last place quite a bit, and when last place would ply me with enough liquor, I would gladly take bottom. That being said, I can proudly say that the team that was 11th out of 11 teams is now in 5th place out of 11 teams. A nice turn of the bats after the All Star break, as well as me tweaking my pitching to where I am am now throwing out healthy starting pitching pretty much every day has given me new found hope. Not that I will catch the top three mind you, they distanced themselves from the pack a while ago, and there is a healthy 13-15 point difference between my score and theirs, but it is nice to at least be competitive and where I thought before I might only get 10 dollars back (for leading in stolen bases), now getting 30 back isn't out of the question as I still lead in stolen bases, and I now lead in strikeouts as well and cut the lead in pitching wins down to just one, after trailing in that category by as many as 15 just a few weeks ago. Not easy to do, given that we only have American League pitchers to choose from (it's an AL only league). So, I would like to say thanks to my starting rotation, because without them, I would still be being plied even as we speak. The following gentlemen can take a bow; Josh Beckett, Roy Halladay, AJ Burnett, Miguel Batista, Jeff Weaver, Edwin Jackson, Joel Piniero (who was traded to St Louis in the NL, but because I drafted him in the AL, I get his stats as long as I hold onto him, regardless of league), Joe Blanton, and Matt Garza.

For those that may have wondered where I have been recently when I haven't been in here, I did restore my Pogo account for a month and have once again been working on Pogo badges. I have scooped up all three badges the last three weeks that were offered, as well as picking up four game award badges in Hog Heaven slots. I am hoping to complete that game as there are only 5 game award badges there, after every ten levels, and right now I am sitting at level 42 which means I only have the level 50 badge to go. It is just one of the mindless goals I set for myself. Truth be told, I have never completed a Pogo game, so there is a sad sense of accomplishment if I can get to 50. And people wonder why I am single.

Actually, I got to do a funny bit on that during my last radio appearance on Doug's show. I equated working in the producers booth with the Sports Illustrated cover jinx when it comes to women. For those unfamiliar, and I assume there are many, the SI cover jinx goes something like this. Whenever an athlete appears on the cover of Sports Illustrated, for whatever reason, they experience a downturn in their career, even if it is ever so briefly. So if a first place team pops up on the cover, they can expect a losing streak and what not. It is similar to the jinxes associated with the Campbell's Soup commercials or the cover of the Madden football game. Anyway, I said the same applies to guys who work in the producer's booth at the radio station and their luck with women, seeing as how we are all single. It was one of my better performances as a guest on the show, as I also got to contribute by disagreeing with an assessment of Bob Costas of all people. Doug mentioned that he saw Costas on TV talking about how if it weren't for steroids we wouldn't be mentioning Barry Bonds name in the same breath as the greatest players ever in baseball. I disagreed simply because even if you took just Bond's numbers prior to the whole steroid scandal you are still looking at a player with 500 HRs and 500 stolen bases, an accomplishment that only Willie Mays and he are able to take credit for. We then looked up his numbers and if you take out the 73 HR season that Bonds had, the numbers in that category are still remarkable consistent, usually in the 30-40 range both pre and post steroid era (something which I didn't know). I knew he was the only player to have 30 HRs and 50 steals in a season, which he did here in Pittsburgh, but I didn't realize how relatively consistent the power numbers were.

I am tentatively scheduled to be on the show again this coming Friday, provided I am not working my part time job. I didn't ask for it off, I can always use the money, but I have been getting Friday nights off pretty consistently, as evidenced by the fact that here it is on a Friday and I am blogging. If I do end up on the radio, I am sure I will let you all know about it so you can find someplace else to be on the internet while we are streaming the show.

I haven't done much with the Joe Random guy recently either. I guess I have been opting for Pogo instead, but I have snuck a game or three in when possible. That being said, in my third season with the create a player option on MLB 2K6 The Show, I am still in AAA after 52 games. I can request a call up to the major league club in three days, but I am not sure I want to, given it looks like I would be the starting first baseman in the AAA All Star game at this point. Not sure I want to go to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays only to sit on the bench, when I am playing literally everyday in the minor leagues. On days where I am not in the field, the manager (because in create a player, you don't get to set lineups or anything like that, the computer does it) the manager is having me DH, so I am literally playing in 9 out of every 10 games right now. For those that are wondering just what my numbers are (and I admit that there is probably no one that wonders this, but it is my blog so I get to pick the stuff that goes here) in 52 games I have the following: .502 AV, 61 R, 54 RBI, 14 HR, 26 doubles, 1 triple, and 2 stolen bases. The only problem I have with staying in the minors is that the Devil Rays are only 9 games out of first place, and I think I might be able to help out in that department, but I am being greedy and thinking of my own self for the time being.

While TV continues to disappoint this summer, though singling out summer is really not necessary, it usually disappoints all year round, I took last Friday to going to CD Warehouse after the radio appearance, figuring I would treat myself to a DVD of some movie I wanted to see that I could pick up used relatively cheaply. I must say, I outdid myself. I didn't get a movie, rather I got the entire first season of The West Wing. While I got the last season for Christmas, I didn't have anything else from the show, and given the DVD sets usually run between 50-60 bucks, it is not something I can afford to drop alot of money into on a regular basis. But as I am going through the rack, I see a used copy of the show for $19.99, which to me would have been a steal at that price, but then again, I wasn't sure I wanted to spend $20 on DVDs, after all, that could be 4 nights of Chinese food, which is also something I could treat myself with. I kept browsing, and I found another copy of the first season, but this one was $12.99. Check please, we are done here, as I scooped up that amazing deal before my head had a moment to try to talk me out of it. Needless to say, I have had good television in my apartment for the last week, because I will just pop an episode or three in and relax. Of course sitting at home just watching DVDs is yet another reason why I am single. I am a sex change and an apartment full of cats away from being a punch line to a joke.

Well, there you have it kids, a real live blog from yours truly and I didn't steal anything to do it. I will be spending the weekend working, looking for the next Asshat winner, cleaning my apartment and if all goes according to plan, I may even glog the Steelers-Eagles game Sunday night, since I haven't glogged since hockey season. But for now, you are just left with this.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Best of the web revisited again

I add this to the blog page for two reasons. 1) He is one of the best local columnists that Pittsburgh has to offer and 2) I had the honor of working with Tony this past week as he sat in on one of Lynn's vacation days and did so with great aplomb. Far be it from me to pass on the opportunity of sharing, because I do it so well anyway. So everyone, say hi to Tony Norman.

PG Columnists

The promised land and Sudan's exodus

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

It's official: God has a tragic penchant for irony. How else does one explain the moral dilemma confronting Israel? Sudanese refugees are crossing over from Egypt seeking asylum in a land established by refugees who took similar routes into Canaan nearly 4,000 years ago.

What does a modern state born of persecution and genocide in the heart of Europe do when modern victims of persecution and genocide in Africa cross its borders illegally?

When a humanitarian crisis with such an ironic face comes along, one can only hope that Israel's notoriously fractious political culture hasn't gotten around to producing homegrown versions of Lou Dobbs or Tom Tancredo.

For several months, refugees from Darfur have crossed the harsh and inhospitable desert border areas separating Israel from Egypt. The Sudanese refugees are only a small part of a diaspora that includes economic migrants from other distressed African nations.

Africans have been risking their lives to get to Israel to fill low-wage jobs once occupied by Palestinians.

Because Egypt's social welfare system is dangerously overburdened by the unfulfilled aspirations of its own increasingly frustrated citizens, its security forces have looked the other way as African refugees by the hundreds swarm the porous desert border with Israel every week.

According to The Associated Press, up to 50 Africans a day have entered Israel in recent months, sparking fears of an unchecked wave of illegal immigrants. Nearly 3,000 African migrants have entered the country by way of the Sinai already. Of that number, 1,160 are believed to be Sudanese.

Obviously, the plight of refugees fleeing Khartoum's genocidal regime has special resonance for many in Israel where the memory of Jews fleeing the Nazis in the years before and during World War II are still vivid.

In 1942, more than 700 Romanian Jews on the ship Struma were denied entry by the British to then-Palestine or to disembark in Turkey. The damaged ship was towed out to the Black Sea by Turkish authorities and abandoned. The next day, a torpedo from a Russian submarine killed all but one passenger.

Everyone remembers the more than 900 Jews stranded on the St. Louis and denied entry to either the United States or Cuba in 1939. Their plight became the basis for the book "The Voyage of the Damned" and a movie.

Those incidents of international betrayal and many more like it are invoked in every discussion about the Sudanese refugees. No Israeli wants a debacle like that on his or her conscience.

Consequently, the debate has been fierce. That didn't stop Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government from beginning the process of returning all but 500 asylum seekers from Darfur to Egypt last weekend.

Now an inflexible policy that makes no exception for any illegal aliens has gone into effect in Israel. According to the AP, 48 Africans have been returned to Egypt already.

Meanwhile, refugee advocates continue to call upon Israel to remember its moral obligation to do unto others what was not done unto them when Jews have had to flee pogroms in Europe and the Middle East over the centuries.

It is a compelling argument that appeals to the heart of average Israelis. Still, there is a great fear in Israeli society that there aren't enough resources to accommodate these strangers, as much as they would like to.

It shouldn't be up to Israel to bear the weight of these refugees alone. The international community with its incessant foot-dragging and coddling of dictators bears much of the blame for the catastrophe in Darfur.

The Chinese-backed government in Khartoum laughs off U.S. sanctions. Foreign investment in Sudan from the Chinese and our allies reached $2.3 billion in 2006, making the pariah state one of the most prosperous in all of Africa.

Meanwhile, 2.2 million people have been displaced and more than 200,000 have died as a result of the violence, disease and hunger that plagues the western region of Darfur. It is the world's most glaring example of genocide since the Rwandan tragedy more than a decade ago.

Once again, the post-Holocaust promise "never again" has been drowned out by international indifference fueled by economic self-interest. When will we ever learn?

Though Moses was ultimately denied permission to enter the Promised Land after wandering the desert for 40 years, a new generation of Africans hope God's mercy won't be based on the ruthless pragmatism of those who cite political expedience over the biblical mandate to show hospitality to the stranger.

Tony Norman can be reached at or 412-263-1631.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Paint it black, the Asshat edition

Straight from the Ted Danson acting school, we bring you this week's Asshat. Mind you it wasn't an easy selection, there were certainly some valid contenders and even some late arrivals over the weekend that made a mad dash for the title, such as the dwarf that glued his penis to a vacuum cleaner. Still, this just seemed far too good to pass up.

UNICEF in Germany wanted to bring attention to the plight of children in Africa. That in and of itself is a noble cause, but how they went about, maybe not so much. Rather than using some documentary footage for their campaign, or maybe some testimonials from people who live there or previously lived there, UNICEF decided the best way to illustrate the plight of African children put a bunch of German children in black face. Yes, I am sure cultural understanding is definitely going to come about now that a bunch of white kids with mud smeared on their faces are on a billboard.

Thankfully the campaign was pulled, because as it turns out, some people found it offensive, imagine that! Still, it is the thought that counts and I thought this was Asshat worthy, so to quote Jean Luc Picard, "Make it so!", and thus you have this week's winner.

Ad Nauseum

UNICEF Paints it Blackface

What do you get when you gather a group of adorable blond German kids, use mud to paint them in blackface, and then slap the pictures all over Deutschland? Lots of pissed off liberals for starters.

UNICEF Germany is the offending organization behind these PSAs showing "four German kids who appeal for solidarity with their contemporaries in Afrika." Originally meant to draw attention to Africa's education crisis, the ads have been pulled following public outcry.

We can only imagine the meeting in which this campaign was conceived.

Ad Man 1: "What better way to relate to African children and call attention to their plight than by smothering our kids' faces in mud?"

Ad Man 2: "How about reducing its entire population to dirty, neglected tots?"

Together: "Ja!"

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Blog quiz for the adoring public

I know I have been slacking in the blog department. I made up for it this evening though, as a lot of work went into this blog entry, though the text may not show it.

I have done some musical stuff in the blog in the past, both audio and video. Well, here is your chance to test your recall ability, as I give you 15 unlabeled songs, some of which have plopped up in the blog previously, others have only shown up by artist or by mention of yours truly and still others are just songs out of the blue. (Not really, I bought them all on my most recent purchase from rhapsody, 15 dollars well spent I might add). Anyway, have fun and I will add the artists and songs to the playlist as we have correct answers, and if we don't get any answers, I will just post this list ad nauseum till everyone quits frequenting the page altogether.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Ich bin ein Arbitroner

Once again it is about that time, to bring forth the rhythym and the rhyme. Really, how much better to start a blog entry than with a little line form that great Greek philosopher, Marky Mark.

Truth be told, things are just kind of popping up here in radio land. First Doug asks me to be on his show last week, then management starts letting me handle all things Arbitron. For those not in the know, Arbitron is the outfit that measures radio and television audiences, which can affect advertising rates. Stations with higher numbers in listeners/viewers or at least in key demographics can and often do charge more for advertising space that those of fewer listeners/viewers, and usually Arbitron is the outfit that measures those numbers (using some technique that I am sure is quite Greek, or Marky Mark-ish to me). And while actually dealing with them in no way affects listenership, it is now up to me to make sure that all of the information they have about our station is correct. One of the ways they do measure listenership is through diaries, where people keep track of what they are listeneing to and then send the diaries back to Arbitron. A station only gets credit if for a listener if the radio information is filled out properly, so it is now my job make sure that all of our information to Arbitron is correct. Yay me, I guess.

Of course, having read my last entry, and I know you have, you know that I am on Doug's show again this week, which I would attribute more toward an inability to get guests than my my overall radio greatness. Anyway, Doug asked me yesterday to be on, and since I had nothing scheduled I agreed to it, little did I realize that I could have made money at Subway this evening, I would find out last night that they needed someone to come in, and making money versus goofing off on the radio is indeed an interesting dilemna for me. Anyway, after agreeing to do Doug's show, I get a comapny email from the station manager, the same one that I just recently got a raise from, and the email asked me to see him about a new program we were carrying. I can't imagine why I am getting called into a meeting about this, I have little to do with programming, and the show is going to air on a Saturday, when I am not even at the station. Little did I realize that I was called into the meeting to be in a conference call with the syndicator from Salem Radio Network. Apparently the new show is some National Geographic thing or another, and we are going to be carrying it on Saturdays. As the conference call was finishing up, Alan tells the guy any future programming concerns to go through me. Mind you, we already have a program director, so I don't know if this is just a new found confidence in my management abilities (god, I hate the thought of management, it is so not radio), a lack of confidence in our current program director, or just shoveling off a shit task. Could be any of the three.

Well, I need to get off of here, and clear out space in the production room, besides the clock is ticking on the radio appearance, t minus 70 minutes and counting now and I am not nervous enough yet. Have to work on that, maybe some more coffee and cigarettes will put the edge back on, so to speak.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Repeat performance anxiety

Jusdt got word that once again I will be a guest on Doug's show tomorrow (Friday) as part of his normal Doug & the Group thing he does. The show airs from 3pm-6pm on 1360 WPTT here in Pittsburgh and on the web at .

As I told Doug, I will try not to embarrass myself, but I can promise nothing.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

From the seats

I will do an edit thing at some point and add real content to this entry, but for now, just a view from my seat at the ballpark on Monday.

The editing is complete, and the result is this week's Asshat winner. Trudge on dear reader......

"Mock ye not, lest ye be mocked." Having gotten that out of the way, bring forth the mocking. And our victim for the mocking would be the fine Arkansas based company Christian Outdoorsman, who markets, and rather successfully I might add, the Bible. Not just the any Bible however, but a camouflage version of the Holy Book. Apparently there is an epidemic of hunters out there that feel a compelling need to stop, drop and pray in the middle of the forest, yet without the the fear that the standard Holy Book may give away their location to the woodland creatures. Mind you, the company's logo in itself would make them Asshat worthy, what with the C in Christian in the shape of a fishing hook and the O in Outdoorsman a rifle sight. Brings new meaning to the Lord seeing all, especially if he has all of his people in a rifle sight.

It should be noted that should the camo Bible not be enough to fulfill all of your praying and hunting needs, a waterproof version of the good book is also available. But really, take some time and window shop at the first ever store to meet all of your biblical hunting needs;

And while your at it, drop of an Asshat award for me, since they are this week's winner.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Game night

Bonds goes 1 for 3 with a single in a 3-1 loss to the Pirates. Here is a shot of his basehit from my seat in the grandstand seats.

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