Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Vacation Day 1 or 2 or 3 or 4

Greetings and salutations and all that jazz.  Since I am on vacation, I really didn't plan to blog. That thought was compounded when my mother said that her home computer blew up, which could mean anything from it actually blowing up to something simple like it being unplugged.  That being said, I hardly felt like being Mr. Fix It while off, so whatever is wrong with it will be a problem that someone else will have to deal with.  Sans computer one may wonder how this blog came to be.  Well trudge on fearless reader, and learn the answers to this and many more probing questions.

Technically my vacation started on Friday, but it wasn't much of a day off.  Actually it wasn't a day off at all, but it ended up being more painful than it should have been.  Friday is the big delivery day at work, we get a Pepsi truck, a Coke truck and usually a grocery order as well.  This means that I am involved in catching the first two trucks and helping put them away, checking in the majority of the grocery order and helping to put that away as well.  Plus I have been handed new found responsibilities, as I am now in charge of inventorying the cigarettes three times a week and putting together a candy order also three times a week, both of which just happen to include Friday as one of those days.  So, under the most normal of circumstances Friday is a busy day for me.  To make this Friday even better, my crew (technically I am now in charge of the stock room people when I am on duty, woohoo more work) consisted of me and one other guy, Gray, who is actually pretty cool and I like working with him, but for reasons known to others higher up the pay scale, they pulled him out and sent him to another store on Friday, which meant all of the above stuff that was listed plus the simple things like, I don't know, making sure the shelves were stocked and we didn't run out of anything, fell solely on my shoulders for the entire day.  Needless to say, I ended up running my ass off.

After work I still had to come home, doing a load of laundry and pack for the trip home, all of which I managed to accomplish in less than three hours (go me and all that jazz) before my mom showed up to start my weekend adventure.

Through the course home I found out that my mom had the anti green thumb on all things technical, as she told me about the computer and apparently the satellite dish for the TV is on the fritz as well, so no TV while I am at home.  Not that a lack of TV is bad, I probably save a few brain cells in that transaction, but still it left me wondering just what I would do for mindless entertainment during my down times.

We stopped to eat on the way back through at a place called Dobros.  It isn't much too look at and even less food wise, It is okay and little more than that, but mom wanted to buy dinner, so I tagged along and at least covered the tip.  Next stop before we would make it back was a quick stop to say hi to my grandma, who was actually sleeping in her chair in the living room when we arrived, with the Tv still blaring on.  I would have been content to just let her sleep, but my mom nudged her awake, so we stayed and chatted for about 45 minutes, then it was back into the car for some late night grocery shopping for the coming weekend.  Two events were planned, one was a trip to DelGrosso park on Saturday and a family picnic/getogether on Sunday, both of which require food of some sort.  I asked what I should bring to the park and was told I didn't have to bring anything, but since it was a picnic type setting, I at least grabbed a few bags of chips to go with the sandwiches and what not that we were going to have.  For Sunday, I was planning on making spinach dip and a veggie tray (I should have just campus fooded it, FB users will get that joke), regardless, it meant I had to do some shopping for both. 

Finally, somewhere around 10;30pm we got in, and after a little chatting, mom and I called it a night.

Saturday was the day at DelGrosso park.  DelGrosso park is a small amusement park in Tipton, PA and was established by the DelGrosso family, whose major claim to fame is spaghetti sauces (www.delgrossosauce.com).  It is not the only park in PA to be named after food, the most famous of course being Hershey Park, but there have been others, such as Boyertown.  Anyway, the last Saturday in June, my uncle Bud offers to pay for anyone who wants to go to the park and it becomes a family outing of sorts.  This was my first trip, my mom opted to stay home so she could help with setting up the stuff for Sunday, so I ended up riding to the park with Bud, his wife Carrie and my cousin Melanie, who is back from Dallas Texas on a vacation.  All was good on the ride to the park until we found out that the cars brakes were dying.  A little geography lesson is in order here, as what cuts through this region of Pennsylvania is something known as the Appalachian Mountains.  Eastern PA is flat, and if you go west into Ohio is also levels out quite nicely, but in the central west portion of the state, it is very hilly to be polite.  And here we were, going up and down these rather large hills in a car that may or may not be able to stop.  We made it to the park in one piece, due in large part to not needing to make any sudden stops, as those would have been an impossibility had they occurred.

The park is unique in that you can get into the park for free, you only have to pay money if you are going to ride the rides.  They have a picnic area where you can set up so in theory you can go to the park and walk around all day and never spend a dime, but Bud does this as a family outing and offers to pay for everyone, we just have to show up and bring stuff to eat and make a day of it, parking and eating and eating and parking.  Mostly we watch the smaller kids ride the rides, though they do have some bigger rides that I partook of a little bit.  They also have some games and what not in the park, I won a couple of stuffed items, a banana and a guitar that I gave away, I think I have enough stuff in my apartment already.

Of course that still meant we had to manage the ride back from the park, and while we did get some more break fluid, the leak in the break line got progressively worse, so bad that the breaks were all but gone by the time we made it back to Bud and Carrie's.  We put the car up on jacks and I pressed the break pedal while Bud looked under the car to see the damage and brake fluid just poured out.    We called my mom, who came out to pick me up rather than try to make it back to her place with the car in that condition.    So I did a little visiting instead and after my mom showed up and we bs-ed even more I headed home, making it back around 11pm.  Of course I still had my spinach dip to throw together for the family outing the next day.

I should note that I took some time off in putting this entry together, and some things that I thought were happening were actually different.  In the attempt to maintain timeline continuity however, I will try to keep them in line as much as possible.  Right now I am technically home from vacation having made it back to Pittsburgh a couple of hours ago.  As for how I was able to blog from home earlier while the computer was on the fritz, my laptop actually managed to garner a really good signal from someplace, a far better signal than I can steal in my apartment, so I was piggybacking on somebody's internet, but I have no idea who's it was.  Okay, back to the story.

We got home Saturday night and I started the spinach dip.  It is really easy to make, just a matter of mixing the ingredients.  Chopping the veggies was more work than the actual dip, and carving the pumpernickel loaf, but the dip itself was pretty easy.  My mom told me about her day while making potato salad, as she didn't go to the park but went to help my aunt Mary set up at her house for the family getogether on Sunday, and she called the satellite TV people to see if they could fix the dish.  That didn't go so well, it still didn't work but since we had stuff to do it wasn't like a lack of TV was a bad thing, plus it probably saved a few brain cells.  After finishing up in the kitchen I headed off to bed for the night.

Sunday morning I was up fairly early, which really wasn't called for, we weren't to see the family until 1pm or so.  I grabbed me some coffee, bagels and cigarettes to greet the day.  On a hunch I happened to turn on the TV, I figured I would see what was tried with the satellite people the day before and after breezing through a couple of menus and resetting the receiver I made the TV functional again.  Go me, I am that good.  Mom left for a bit to run some errands and get a Sunday paper, I just sat around and played on my laptop, getting into a discussion on a friends Facebook page regarding whether or not it was appropriate to talk about the allegations of pedophilia with Michael Jackson in lieu of his death, I was a yes guy, many of the others were a no vote, which hogged up a good portion of my morning, enough so that I didn't realize how long my mom was gone, which would have been a clue as to what was in store.

Anyway, she made it back and we watched part of an episode of that show that is on all the cable channels, Law and Order and we packed the car and headed out to the picnic.  We arrived what I would call fashionably late, around 15 minutes or so afterward and proceeded to unload the car and helped set up the tables so people could grab stuff to eat.  We had loads of food, burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, taco salad, chips, veggies, dip (including my veggie dip), grape salad, cookies, just all kinds of wholesome goodness, plus beverages galore, though I gravitated to the run with pineapple juice like the proverbial moth to a flame.

Then the surprise came.  as well as being a family picnic this was also a surprise birthday party for me.  To say I was floored would be a mild understatement.  That was why my mom didn't make it to the park the day before, and why she ran errands that morning, she was picking up the birthday cake.  I literally had no clue.  Mind you, I didn't get any cards around my birthday, but I chalked that up to two factors, 1) by and large I never really had a huge birthday party previously and 2) I am now 40 years old, after a while you just don't make a big deal out of it.  yet here it was and i had absolutely no idea it was coming.  Yet it happened.  And we have visual evidence....




My mom was upset, I guess the balloons were supposed to be colored, but marble cake with vanilla icing and black lettering and balloons was cool with me.  Like I said, I expected nothing, so it was awesome as far as I knew.  Add that to all of the funny cards I received and it may have been the bestest day I ever had.  We stayed until around 9 or so, just eating and swimming and playing games and having a good time, which I tend to do when spending time with family,  Still, I am in awe of how everyone was ab;le to keep everything quiet, not that I am the most attentive of people, but usually someone slips up somewhere, yet I caught nary a peep that this would happen. 

We made it back home and after a little TV, two days of non stop running and I wa out like a light.

Finally we come to today, which was the easiest to talk about as I got up, had my coffee and started gathering my things for the long trip back.  We ran out and put gas in the car, then made a stop at Ponderosa  for lunch and made the journey back to Pittsburgh, where I am currently.  I will admit, after this weekend, it would have been very easy to just stay at home, but I guess it is time to return to the daily grind and so I shall, it just won't be easy.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Asshat - I would say only in America but that would be a disservice to 49 states

Yes gather ye rosebuds while ye may, it is Asshat time.  Sometimes  hunting down the Asshat can be a troubling proposition.  The bar to be Asshat is really an arbitrary ruling on my part, and some weeks it can be easily achieved, while others the feats have to be of the extraordinary variety.  So I delved into the web to see what I could muster this week and ran across this monstrosity.  Apparently Los Angeles County is proposing to pay parents to care for their kids.  Forget the fact that if you have kids ideally you should care for them anyway, LAC wants to go one better and reward you for doing your parental duty.  Yes, this week, that is Asshat worthy.   For more info....


L.A. County officials offer a novel idea to save millions

Supervisors suggest putting unemployed parents to work caring for their own children as part of proposed changes to CalWorks and other state government aid programs.

By Molly Hennessy-Fiske

June 17, 2009

With steep state budget cuts under debate in Sacramento, Los Angeles County supervisors voted Tuesday to push for changes to CalWorks and other government aid programs they said would save nearly $270 million.

Included in their suggestions is a novel proposal: Put unemployed parents to work caring for their own children.

"What we're saying is do not cut Welfare to Work outright: Target the cuts to the people who are the most expensive," said Miguel Santana, a deputy to the county's chief executive.

Parents now receiving assistance must attend job training and search for work. While they fulfill those requirements, they are eligible for subsidized child care, which typically costs the state about $500 a month per child in L.A. County.

The parents of children under age 1 may stay home and still receive benefits. Now, county officials propose expanding that to parents who have one child under age 2 or two children under age 6. Monthly job training and child-care costs for such parents often exceed their welfare check, Santana said.

In Los Angeles County, 8,000 households with more than one child under age 6 receive CalWorks-subsidized child care, according to the county's department of social services. If adopted, county officials estimate the proposal -- intended to counter Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's threat to eliminate CalWorks -- could save the state $140 million this fiscal year.

Some parents who would be affected by the change had mixed feelings.

After Antoinette Levenson's husband was laid off by a boat dealership two years ago, the mother of two applied for cash assistance and joined the state's Welfare to Work program.

Now Levenson, 27, is about six months from earning her associate degree in culinary arts and has a job lined up at Ralphs. She receives about $750 a month in assistance. The state also pays about $1,000 a month for her sons, Jaden, 4, and Gavyn, 2, to attend Canyon Vista Children's Learning Center in Chatsworth while she finishes school.

"If I had it my way, I'd stay home all day with my kids," Levenson said as she dropped the boys off Tuesday. "Then again, I love day care. My kids have learned so much."

Although Levenson said she is not sure she could replace her eldest son's preschool teachers, she is willing to try.

"There's times I just drive by and watch the kids," she said. "You'll never be able to get the kids' little years back."

But Priscilla Murillo of Canoga Park, a single mother with three children under age 5, said she wants to finish school and find a job as soon as possible. With her youngest child just a month old, Murillo, 27, could stay home now and still receive benefits. But she said the Welfare to Work program motivated her to continue pursuing her associate degree.

Murillo worries that if the state pays fellow single mothers to stay home, they will become dependent on welfare.

"I think it's good to push people," she said. "It helps them and it helps the economy."

Child-care providers also said they are concerned about looming cuts.

Michael Olenick, who heads the nonprofit Child Care Resource Center in Chatsworth, said 12,000 child-care staff members and parents in northern L.A. County alone rely on CalWorks.

"For many of them, it's the only source of revenue that they have," Olenick said of the CalWorks subsidies. "If they lose the revenue, then they end up on cash aid as well."

On Tuesday, a legislative budget committee in Sacramento rejected the governor's plan to eliminate CalWorks, proposing instead to cut it by $270 million. Those cuts include $175 million in reductions to child-care and employment services.

That would allow the county to move forward with its proposal, said Philip K. Browning, director of the county Department of Public Social Services.

"But it's still not a done deal -- the governor hasn't signed off on it yet," Browning said.

A spokeswoman for the governor said he will continue to push for the elimination of CalWorks but remains open to other options as he tries to close the $24.3-billion budget shortfall.

County supervisors -- who plan to pursue a waiver to get federal welfare funds even if CalWorks is eliminated -- also proposed Tuesday that the state cap and overhaul general relief for single people, as well as reduce payments to adoptive parents, disabled foster children and some child-care providers.

The proposal to allow more parents to stay home troubled some of the county supervisors, including Supervisor Mike Antonovich, who voted against exempting parents of children under age 2 from Welfare to Work.

"They should be seeking employment. In the long term it benefits everyone in the county," Antonovich said.

Supervisor Gloria Molina grudgingly voted yes.

"It doesn't fit with the spirit of Welfare to Work, but we're in a different situation," Molina said. "What we're doing is trying to say to them don't eliminate Welfare to Work -- here are some savings."

molly.hennessy-fiske @latimes.com

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Multiply Street View

My job happens to be located on the corner of Blvd. of the Allies and Smithfield Street in downtown Pittsburgh.  What is truly odd about those two street is that they both have popped up on the internet in the last few days.  Obviously the Blvd was there for the Penguins celebratory parade


Not to be outdone however, Smithfield also popped up for less than stellar reasons



fail owned pwned pictures
see more Fail Blog

Asshat - It's not Parker Brothers

Which can only mean it's Milton Bradley.....



Monday, June 15, 2009

The blog goes on the road

Greetings from the laundrymat.  Yes I am in the process of doing the washing clothes thing, Thankfully my local place of all thing wash and dry-y has decided to go to being open 24 hours, so I didn't have to rush right out after work and beer to start washing clothes, rather I could sit at home for a bit and make something to eat, as well as put my feet up for a minute or three, as after today it was very much called for.

Today was the day of the parade for the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, and the parade route followed the one earlier this year when the Steelers won the Super Bowl, that is, it went directly in front of my place of business, and unlike a winter parade, the weather was warm enough that everyone and their brother was stopping by for beverages, mostly water, but beverages nonetheless.  Being humble and lovable stock guy that meant that I was to spend the better part of my day just keeping the coolers filled, or if not filled, at least with enough beverage that we didn't run out, unless we sold out, and on some items we actually did.

I lucked out earlier on the Steeler parade, it was on my off day so I stayed as far away as was humanly possible, no such luck this time.  I thought that maybe I would have some help, we actually had three stock persons on the schedule, but amazingly I was the only one working on the coolers the entire time.  Needless to say, I ran my ass off.  As an added bonus, I completely missed the parade.  The Stanley Cup motored right by with me not even so much as catching a glimpse of it.  I took my camera to work and everything and all I got were a few pics of before the parade and just as the parade was starting.  That's it.  No Crosby no Malkin, no Cup, no nothing.  Just me running up and down stairs all day long carrying loads of carbonated and non carbonated beverages.    Amazingly we had just gotten our Coke and Pepsi trucks on Friday, and we are already oiut of some of their products, such as Dasani and Auquafina waters. 

I wish besides work that their was a lot to report, but really there isn't.  I added some Coke points to my account and got a free computer game, Acropolis, which is a word tile type of game.  I have already went through it once, it isn't all that difficult, just time consuming, but since I had completed my Pogo badges for the week (I did all of them for a change), I figured I might as well give it a try.



Back again, a few days later.  Technically it is my 40th birthday, though it feels like pretty much any other day.  Unliike the last entry, this one I am doing from the home computer, I am still tinkering with the bells and whistles on the laptop, I will probably take it home with me when I head out next weekend.  Anyway, I mentioned in the last blog that I hoped the change meter would crack triple digits by today, and it did with relative ease.  Another $1.47 to the kitty and the grand total is now $101.29.  Over $60 this year and the year is only half over.  Dare I think about making $150 by December?  Actually I doubt that will happen, most of my money was made while running the register at work, and I am down to just one day a week of that, which is fine with me but hurts the meter a little bit.

Anyway, to wrap up this particulatr blog I thought I would clear out the photos on my camera and see if anything there was postable.  Some of which I planned on using in past blogs, others are more recent.  Lets see what was saved in memory shall we.


This was the studio I was working in while doing Lynn's show over at WAMO AM.  A mite bit more spacious than my last digs, there was room enough for a couch in there if one was needed, The only slight difference between this and the old studio, besdies having better equipment to work with was that Lynn and I didn't look right at each other, rather I had a side view of her studio instead.

This would be a view of the David L Lawrence Convention Center from WAMO's location downtown.  It is supposed to be the world's largest green building, all I know is that the furries will be there in a couple of weeks. 

This is one of the toys I have bought myself, besides my laptop.  Just a simple MP3 player, I got tired of lugging CD's around in my bag when I wanted music for my bus ride to and from work.  I have a handful of songs on it, plus it does have a FM tuner built in.  Now if only Pittsburgh had FM radio stations worth listening to.

The US Steel building downtown.  This was actually going to be part of a walking tour type blog that I was putting together one Sunday afternoon, but since I didn't get about the blog in an adequate amount of time, I just thought I would throw the picture in here.

The Civic Arena, which now is the current home of the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, at least for a little while yet....

Until this thing gets finished, which for the time being is called the Consol Energy Center, or something along those lines.  At least with the Civic Arena, it was built before the advent of naming rights, so I could always ignore the corporate sponsorship.  Now all three Pittsburgh teams will play in buildings that started off being named after companies, so ignoring the naming rights becomes a tad more problematic.  Otherwise I will just end up calling them Field, Park and Center.

My place of work was directly along the aparde route on Monday, so here is a few shots of what things looked like, starting around 8am, when people werer already starting to straggle into position, and the road was already being closed off.

10am and still two hours till parade time.  By this time I was officially getting my ass kicked at work and was just hust barely able to keep all of our coolers stocked.

Yes it did get worse by parade time.  It was so packed it was hard to evemn get in and out of the store by this time, so i didn't get any cool shots, like the Stanley Cup rolling by or anything.  Instead I was just busy busting my ass, woe is me. 

Okay enough of the picture stuff, time to make some dinner and call this a blog.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The transition will not be televised

Greetings all from my new laptop. I am tinkering with the new bells and whistles and figured this would be as good a time as any to work on a blog posting. Actually I am thinking this will turn into a glog at some point, seeing as how game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final is tonight and depending on the outcome, it could be the last game of the year, as Detroit holds a 3 games to 2 lead in the best of seven series, so this may be my last opportunity to glog before next hockey season, and I have very little interest in glogging baseball, so the next thing up would be football season.

As if my interest in baseball could wane anymore than what it already has, the Pirates went and traded away Nate McClouth only one of the team's best players, and a player that a mere four months ago team management said was one of the players that the franchise was looking to build around for three minor league prospects. This didn't come as much of a shock to me, I am all to aware of how the team is in the business of trading talented players for prospects, but yet it came as a shock to some of the local faithful. Bad enough that the team has already said that a handful of players are available for trade and they have went and limited the at bats for Freddy Sanchez, who has a contract bonus coming should he get to 600 at bats this year. This is what happens when you run your franchise on the cheap and the only thing you are concerned with is turning a profit and not fielding a competitive team.

Elsewhere I guess there are some things to talk about. Work continues to go well, at least as well as can be expected. I had an overnight shift Friday which messed with my sleeping routine a little bit. Plus it pulled me from my normal stock person duties and stuck me on register. I was actually scheduled for register for three days in a row, Friday overnight as well as Sunday and Monday morning, but neither of the stock people that were scheduled for Monday showed up, so I escaped cashier land and went back to what I enjoy doing. Of course I had to then do the work of two people, and we did get two deliveries Monday, a 7 UP truck I had to catch and a grocery order I had to check in and put away on top of normal stocking duties, plus nobody bothered to put away Friday's cigarette order and among the grocery order was another display that had to be built, so I had my hands full most of the day. I have noticed something, that I am actually getting couple of muscles from all of the lifting and stair climbing involved in my new job. Because we keep all of our back stock in the basement, any time we need to replace an item on the floor, we have to go downstairs, fetch it and then bring it upstairs. Probably the hardest is bring up all of the stuff to fill the beverage coolers, which tend to run out pretty quickly, especially with the weather getting all warmer these days.

Well I am getting all hacky and stuff and busting into a wireless network so I can reset my clock and calendar. I am hardly a computer expert in such matters, but the signal I am stealing looks unsecured so I am content to steal from it for the time being.

I have been staying away from political postings recently, not because I couldn't do them, but because there is way too much vitriol out there and I am not in the mood to be drug down by it. I just have very little interest in the "Democrats are socialists, Republicans are fascists" banter that seems to take place far too often these days. Some people may find that type of stuff to be entertaining, to me it is just the equivalent of two kids sitting in the back of the family car punching each other in the arm. at some point some one needs to pull the car over and either try to straighten them out or just leave them by the roadside. For the time being I am opting for leaving them by the roadside, there are far bigger fish to fry out there.

While I am staying away from the political stuff, I would be remiss in not mentioning that the G20 has decided to visit my little hamlet in September. Again I will not get into the politics of it all, though I wonder just how we were selected for this particular honor and just offer this bit of warning to the to be expected protesters that will surely be here, as they take following around the G20 and yelling slogans much the same way potheads take to following around that epidemic lack of talent known as The Grateful Dead and say that if any protester gets in the way of me trying to make a living at work downtown with one of there silly little chanting sessions, rest assured you will be catching my fist in your face. I don't keep you from earning a living and I expect the same courtesy. The furries come here every year and manage to behave themselves, you can do the same.

Hey, here is a novel thing, I had today off and I managed to not visit the bar. I have been spending a little too much time there recently, though part of the reason I didn't go was I was waiting on the UPS guy to deliver my laptop (I was following the tracking information online, so I knew it should arrive sometime today). According to the website I was to expect a 3-5 business day wait for my purchase, but it arrived in two days. I assumed it would be here today when I saw it arrived in Pittsburgh around 7:30 this morning. Still it didn't get here till after 4pm, which helped me stay away from the alcohol for a change.

Another add to the change meter is forthcoming, another 2.76 brings the total $99.82 and I am thinking I have a very good shot of cracking $100 before my birthday. Yes, the dreaded 40 comes in just 9 days, I trust you all have been out doing the requisite shopping that is required for such an occasion. Truth be told, I have been doing well buying stuff for myself, getting this laptop, my MP3 player and clothes this spring.

Obviously the Multiply upgrade looks to be complete, I have yet to tinker with the bells and whistles. I am not real big on bells and whistles to begin with, just let me post my normal babblings and I am a happy guy. That doesn't seem to be affected all that much, I have added some content since the switch and posted a couple of replys with no problem thus far.

We are getting closer to face off of the hockey game, probably time for some of you to tune out. Once again NBC is blocking broadcast of the game from outside the arena (Versus allowed the Pens to show the games outside) which while I understand the business reasons for such a blackout, NBC is missing the bigger picture of trying to sell the sport to a national audience. They need to show fans enthused about the product they are offering and the last game that was shown outside the arena drew an amazing 10,000 people. The more people you show enjoying the game, the better chance you have of getting people interested in what you are offering.

So I sat through the last episode on the Tonight Show under Jay Leno's tutelage as well as Conan O'Brien's first show and let me say that Jay left the show on a most classy note. The ending of the show with the stage full of all of the children born to members of the Tonight Show cast during Jay's run was a really nice touch, and while Conan didn't really trip over himself or anything his first night, it wasn't a smashing success either. It was a tamed down Conan, which may play well for the older audience he now has, but it wasn't as good as his previous show. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't bad, just not great either, kind of like mac and cheese in that regard.

Okay, the hockey game is about to start, time to open my sportsline window and to turn the volume up on the TV just a tad. Here's hoping that this isn't the last game of the year. Okay, that is just the homer in me coming out.

First thing to note of tonight's telecast is that they opened with a shot outside the arena. Again I stand by what I said earlier, if you allow the broadcast to be shown outside the arena on the big screen, you have a far better visual with a throng of people that you do with just the typical outside of a sporting venue.

First commercial break and so far nothing idiotic to report. I would have expected at least one promo for that insipidly stupid "I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here", where the major claim to fame of all of the participants is they really aren't all that much on the celebrity radar, because god forbid, even celebrities have standards.

One change to report to tonight's contest, Satan is a healthy scratch and is replaced by Petr Sykora. Not sure I like the move, but Satan has been pretty quiet this series so the move isn't unexpected.

Another commercial break and we are just about underway.

Matt Cooke registers the game's first shot for the Penguins, but it is easily handled by Chris Osgood and we are officially underway.

Sidney Crosby has the game's first good scoring opportunity, but is denied by a poke check from Osgood, and it is immediately followed up by a flurry of shots from Detroit, but Marc Andre Fluery is up to the task and the game remains scoreless.

Henrik Zetterberg gets a prime scoring opportunity for the Red Wings but is denied, and in fact, ends up getting penalized for goaltender interference and the Penguins will get the game's first powerplay. The call was a tad bit iffy, it looked more like Zetterberg was shoved into the goaltender than Zetterberg actually ran him. Still the Pens get the man advantage for the next two minutes.

Another flurry of activity in front of Osgood but nothing gets by him, and you start to understand why he is one of the best goaltenders in Stanley Cup history.

Detroit successfully kills off the penalty and the game is 7 minutes old with no score. The Pens have a decided advantage in shots, 6-2 but nothing to show for it.

First commercial break almost 10 minutes in. So far there have been few whistles to stop play, just a couple of icing calls and the penalty from earlier, beyond that the action has been pretty fast paced to this point.

Okay a Chysler commercial is on. Excuse me, but aren't they bankrupt or something? Just asking......

More end to end action and neither goaltender has yielded a goal to this point. Surprisingly, Bill Guerin has been credited with 5 shots already, not what you would expect, but then again this may be Bill Guerin's last chance to play for a Stanley Cup.

Another penalty on Detroit, and the stoppage of play means I can stretch my arm out a bit after leaning on my elbow for the entire game to this point.

Valeri Filppula gets the tripping call, 2 minutes for you, young man. Pittsburgh gets their second power play of tonight's contest. Crosby again denied by Osgood, who has been really good here in this period, standing up to everything the Penguins have thrown at him.

Another penalty kill for the Red Wings, Pittsburgh is now 0 for 2 on the power play.

The Penguins continue to enjoy a shot advantage here, it is now 10-2.

Zetterberg gets another quality scoring chance on Fleury, but is once again denied. The question seems to be which of these goaltenders will crack first.

A promo for the Dew tour, because nothing excites me more than watching grown men do bicycle tricks.

One minute left in the first period, and the best thing I can report to this point is that my laptop is still very much functional. Woohoo. And we are 20 minutes closer to my 40th birthday, I trust you will take the time during the first intermission to do the requisite shopping that is called for during such an occasion.


Okay, second period is underway. I spent part of the first intermission playing Hammerfall on Facebook, I just picked a fight with a Bone Mage that is probably going to take a while to complete, so I will focus on the game and come back to it.

We have our first goal, as Pittsburgh is on the board with a Jordan Staal goal after getting a two on one breakaway in on Osgood. The goal is Staal's fourth of the post season and assists go to Tyler Kennedy and Rob Scuderi. Pittsburgh has a 1-0 lead here in game 6, though this game is far from over. A stoppage in play and I take the opportunity to eat some elbow macaroni with gravy. Yes, I cooked tonight, you can tell because my Facebook status didn't update. I need to quit eating out so much anyway, my wallet will thank me in the long run.

Daniel Cleary with the Red Wings first good scoring opportunity here in the second period, but he was turned away by Fluery, who has only faced a handful of shots to this point, but many of them have been quality scoring chances.

Osgood makes another save, this time against Ruslan Fedetenko who was set up by Evgeni Malkin, and Pittsburgh continues to have a lead in shots to this point, 17-7.

Osgood with another big save to keep the game at 1-0, again Staal with the scoring opportunity but less successful than his previous opportunity.

Meanwhile Pavel Datsyuk is crushed by Matt Cooke along the boards.

Petr Sykora's time in this game may be short lived, as he dove to the ice to block a shot and was clearly at least stunned by it, if not hurt.

Detroit has managed to get some pressure in the offensive zone here about midway through the second period, but still nothing to show for it. Sykora has found his way back to the ice, so he can't be hurt too bad, though he struggled to even get to his feet after blocking the shot earlier.

Johan Franzen nearly ties the game after the Penguins give away the puck behind their own net. Fleury once again equal to the task and the Penguins maintain their 1-0 lead here about 14 minutes into the second period.

Another commercial and more pasta and iced tea for me. Have to keep the batteries charged if I am going to glog this entire game. The only bad part is I have run out of cigarettes, well ones I want to smoke anyway. I have some clove cigarettes my boss gave me, but I'd rather not go there if I don't have to.

More end to end action, but few scoring chances for either team, though Bill Guerin continues to be a shooting machine, he is now credited with 6 of the Penguins 22 shots to this point.

Zetterberg with his third great scoring chance for Detroit, but he is 0 for three in such opportunities, this time ringing the shot off of the post and the puck coming to rest underneath Fleury.

Still only two penalties called to this point, both in the first period and the referees are letting them play with little involvement from the striped shirt guys.

Osgood again comes up big, turning away first Fedetenko and then Malkin and without him in net tonight, Detroit could easily be down 3 or 4 goals.

Okay, that is the end of the second period, Pittsburgh still leads 1-0 and I am headed back to Hammerfall to finish the fight I picked.

Third period underway here and I dispatched of the bone mage in Hammerfall. The downside was that I used lots of supplies to do it and now I am at a point in the game where I need to recruit more guild members to continue.

Now we see if Pittsburgh continues to play the attacking style that has given them a large shot advantage or if they start to get conservative and try to protect the one goal lead.

Early on it is Detroit controlling the action here in the third period, but as has been the case Fleury has been up to the task.

Pittsburgh gets their first good scoring chance, a Pascal Dupuis slap shot that Osgood denies.

We have a Pittsburgh goal, Tyler Kennedy with the goal, his 5th of the post season, assists to Maxime Tablot and Ruslan Fedetenko and it is Pittsburgh with a 2-0 lead now. It isn't the stars tonight for Pittsburgh, but rather their third and fourth line guys that are stepping up here.

6 and a half minutes into the third and Pittsburgh with a two goal lead. For all of the good goaltending Detroit has gotten out of Osgood tonight, they have really gotten very little out of their offense, just 17 shots in 45 minutes of action.

Detroit finally breaks the shutout bid, Kris Draper puts in a rebound and cuts the lead in half, it is now 2-1. The goal was Draper's first this post season and assists get credited to Nicklas Lidstrom and Mikael Samuelsson.

Detroit will get a chance to tie it up here, Evgeni Malkin commits the first infraction for the Penguins tonight, a cross check and Detroit gets its first power play of the evening.

A shot gets through Fleury but before it can get across the line Rob Scuderi clears the puck out of danger to maintain the one goal lead.

Pittsburgh has killed off the penalty, but Detroit has dictated play here in the third period, and are continuing to press for the equalizing goal.

Pittsburgh finally gains the Detroit zone, but Bill Guerin gets called for a high stick and once again Detroit will go on the power play looking for a chance to tie things up. 7 minutes and 20 seconds remain in the third period, and the Stanley Cup is out of its case in the locker room area should Detroit come back and win this game.

Guerin comes out of the box and starts a breakaway feeding Crosby who sets up Kris Letang, but the Penguins can't finish the play, they have to settle for just killing off the penalty instead.

The shot advantage that Pittsburgh had earlier is slowly evaporating here in the third, it is now 30-24 with 4 minutes and change remaining in the contest.

Two and change remaining and Detroit might be pulling their goaltender soon.

Crosby again denied on a set up from Chris Kunitz, Osgood just seems to have his number this series, limiting him to just one goal.

Dan Cleary on a breakaway set up by Datsyuk, but Fleury gets just enough of it to maintain the one goal lead and Detroit is down to 1:12 remaining to try and generate the tying goal.

Osgood is officially out of the goal for the extra attacker. A pileup in front of the Penguins net and with 18 seconds left Rob Scuderi again bails out Fleury in the crease. He may just end up with the game's #1 star for his defense tonight. A faceoff in the Pittsburgh zone and after some action behind the Penguins net, Maxime Tablot clears the puck into the Detroit zone and kills the remaining seconds to preserve a 2-1 win.

Okay, time to proofread, as best as I possibly can, and then off for some nicotene. Maybe I will be back for game 7 Friday night.

Asshat - Sometimes you can see them

Okay, I don't credit the anchor here, but rather the production crew that severely dropped the ball here



Saturday, June 6, 2009

Friday morning

Since I had the morning off, I made my first venture into the world of Ebay.  As for what I ended up with, it looks like this...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Stolen Content - Obamanation

While I settle in for the first Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien I leave you this.


The Obama Infatuation

By Robert J. Samuelson
Monday, June 1, 2009

The Obama infatuation is a great unreported story of our time. Has any recent president basked in so much favorable media coverage? Well, maybe John Kennedy for a moment, but no president since. On the whole, this is not healthy for America.

Our political system works best when a president faces checks on his power. But the main checks on Obama are modest. They come from congressional Democrats, who largely share his goals if not always his means. The leaderless and confused Republicans don't provide effective opposition. And the press -- on domestic, if not foreign, policy -- has so far largely abdicated its role as skeptical observer.

Obama has inspired a collective fawning. What started in the campaign (the chief victim was Hillary Clinton, not John McCain) has continued, as a study by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism shows. It concludes: "President Barack Obama has enjoyed substantially more positive media coverage than either Bill Clinton or George W. Bush during their first months in the White House."

The study examined 1,261 stories by The Post, the New York Times, ABC, CBS and NBC, Newsweek magazine and the "NewsHour" on PBS. Favorable articles (42 percent) were double the unfavorable (20 percent), while the rest were "neutral" or "mixed." Obama's treatment contrasts sharply with coverage in the first two months of the Bush (22 percent of stories favorable) and Clinton (27 percent) presidencies.

Unlike George Bush and Bill Clinton, Obama received favorable coverage in both news columns and opinion pages. The nature of stories also changed. "Roughly twice as much of the coverage of Obama (44 percent) has concerned his personal and leadership qualities than was the case for Bush (22 percent) or Clinton (26 percent)," the report said. "Less of the coverage, meanwhile, has focused on his policy agenda."

When Pew broadened the analysis to 49 outlets -- cable channels, news Web sites, morning news shows, more newspapers and National Public Radio -- the results were similar, despite some outliers. No surprise: MSNBC was favorable, Fox was not. Another study, released by the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University, reached parallel conclusions.

The infatuation matters because Obama's ambitions are so grand. He wants to expand health-care subsidies, tightly control energy use and overhaul immigration. He envisions the greatest growth of government since Lyndon Johnson. The Congressional Budget Office estimates federal spending in 2019 at nearly 25 percent of the economy (gross domestic product). That's well up from the 21 percent in 2008, and far above the post-World War II average; it would also occur before many baby boomers retire.

Are his proposals practical, even if desirable? Maybe they're neither? What might be the unintended consequences? All "reforms" do not succeed; some cause more problems than they solve. Johnson's economic policies, inherited from Kennedy, proved disastrous; they led to the 1970s' "stagflation." The "war on poverty" failed. The press should not be hostile, but it ought to be skeptical.

Mostly, it isn't. The idea of a "critical" Obama story is one about a tactical conflict with congressional Democrats or criticism from an important constituency. Larger issues are minimized, despite ample grounds for skepticism.

Obama's rhetoric brims with inconsistencies. In the campaign, he claimed he would de-emphasize partisanship -- and also enact a highly partisan agenda; both couldn't be true. He got a pass. Now, he claims he will control health-care spending even though he proposes more government spending. He promotes "fiscal responsibility" when projections show huge and continuous budget deficits. Journalists seem to take his pronouncements at face value even when many are two-faced.

The cause of this acquiescence isn't clear. The press sometimes follows opinion polls; popular presidents get good coverage, and Obama is enormously popular. By Pew, his job approval rating is 63 percent. But because favorable coverage began in the campaign, this explanation is at best partial.

Perhaps the preoccupation with the present economic crisis has diverted attention from the long-term implications of other policies. But the deeper explanation may be as straightforward as this: Most journalists like Obama; they admire his command of language; he's a relief after Bush; they agree with his agenda (so it never occurs to them to question basic premises); and they don't want to see the first African American president fail.

Whatever, a great edifice of government may arise on the narrow foundation of Obama's personal popularity. Another Pew survey shows that since the election the numbers of both self-identified Republicans and Democrats have declined. "Independents" have increased, and "there has been no consistent movement away from conservatism, nor a shift toward liberalism."

The press has become Obama's silent ally and seems in a state of denial. But the story goes untold: Unsurprisingly, the study of all the favorable coverage received little coverage.

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