Monday, March 29, 2010

Asshat - Holy

Normally I will pick Asshats with their ass firmly intact, but that isn't the case today and this week's winner, Officer Bryan Mallin.  Read on, oh lovers of ye olde Asshat....

Off-duty UIC cop accidentally shoots himself in store

Cop under investigation after Vernon Hills incident

By Carolyn Rusin and Jodi S. Cohen, Chicago Tribune

March 24, 2010

A police officer for the University of Illinois at Chicago is under investigation after his gun accidentally discharged, wounding him in the buttocks while he shopped at a Vernon Hills shopping center, officials said Tuesday.

Police are looking into whether Officer Bryan Mallin may have violated department policy, though officers are allowed to carry guns off-duty, said Bill Burton, a university spokesman.

UIC officers can carry weapons off-duty because "they are sworn officers with statewide statutory power," Burton said.

Mallin, 39, was shopping at a Best Buy store in Rivertree Court Shopping Center around 5:30 p.m. Monday when the .40-caliber gun tucked in his waistband went off, said Sgt. Kevin Grampo of the Vernon Hills Police Department.

The weapon discharged when either his finger or clothing got "hooked" in the trigger, Grampo said.

Vernon Hills police, he said, do not expect charges against Mallin, who was taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, where he was treated and released.

"We feel it was a true accident," Grampo said, who cited federal law that allows off-duty officers to carry weapons.

Burton declined to discuss the university's policy for officers who carry weapons off-duty, specifically whether it requires guns to be in holsters instead of waistbands.

"I am not able to get into that level of detail while the investigation is ongoing," he said, adding that officers get training in weapon safety.

Mallin has been an officer for UIC police for five years. He is on medical leave while police investigate the incident, Burton said.

Every law enforcement agency has its own internal policies for carrying weapons off-duty, said Chief Ronald Swan of the Illinois State University police. "We don't require them to carry them, but they can if they wish," he said.

Some rules require a gun to be concealed, and if an officer is going to consume alcohol, the gun must be left behind.

"It doesn't make any difference if the officer is carrying it on his ankle, his shoulder, his belt … it must be concealed," the chief said. "We also expect a level of professionalism if they are going to carry it. Discretion plays a big part of the role."

Carolyn Rusin is a freelance reporter; Jodi S. Cohen is a Tribune staff reporter.

Copyright © 2010, Chicago Tribune

March Madness - Round 4

If my bracket needed a final nail in the coffin this round provided it.  I had a chance to have three of the final four teams picked correctly but managed to get only one right.  Thus ends any hope I had of a respectable bracket this year.  Thank god I didn't do this for money.

Round 4 (4 games)

Record 1-3

Overall 40-20

Worst round selection - I am going with Baylor here, not because they lost, after all they were the three seed in their region and they were playing the number one seed in Duke, but the manner in which they lost, where they all but fell apart the last 5 minutes of the contest.  With 3:50 to go Baylor had a 1 point lead, 61-60 but would not get another basket until 47 seconds remained and by then Duke had an 8 point lead, 72-64.  It was an epic collapse for a team that had a chance to pull off the upset.

Best round selection - Has to be West Virginia, which is the only team I have left.

Going forward - I can only win one more game, that is if West Virginia knocks off Duke in the next round.  Other than that, the rest of my bracket is nothing but losers.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

March Madness - Round 3

A little bit of a comeback in the offing.  Not that my bracket is great mind you, but at least I had one decent round

Round 3 (8 games)

Record 6-2

Overall record 39-17

Worst Round selection - Midwest bracket  With me having the region coming down to Kansas and Georgetown this part of my bracket is a complete and utter mess. 

Best Round selection - West Region  Almost the antithesis of my Midwest bracket, I have only missed one game in the entire region (I had Pitt over Xavier), but I correctly picked that the region's winner would come down to #2 Kansas State and #5 Butler. 

Going forward - I have mentioned already that my pick for the tournament's winner has long since been eliminated (Kansas), but I still have 6 of the remaining 8 and three of my final 4, small consolation but it is about as good as I could hope for.

Monday, March 22, 2010

March Madness - Round 2

I expect my entry will end up on in the near future.  Round 2 was that bad.  Not as bad as the President's mind you, but pretty darn close.  As for how bad it was read on.


Round 2 (16 games)

Record  9-7

Overall rercord 33-15

Worst second round selection - It was the downfall of many a bracket, mine included, having Kansas winning the entire tournament only to have them bow out to Northern Iowa in the second round.  Rock Chalk Jayhawk my ass!!!

Best second round selection - Butler The #5 seed in the West Region, i have them going all the way to the Elite Eight, which is now just one game away, against a Syracuse team that has dominated its first two opponents, winning by 23 and 22 points,  If Butler manages to win again, look for them to be my best third round selection as well.

Going forward - As I said I had Kansas winning the tournament, so that pick is all but blown for me, but three of my Final Four remain (Kansas State, Baylor, WVU), which puts me one ahead of our fearless leader (he had Villanova and Kansas in the Final Four and also had Kansas winning the tournament).  Chances are all but blown of me winning my group on Yahoo, so I have to take comfort in the little things, like beating the President.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

March Madness - Round 1

Yes I did a bracket, like many Americans including the President of the United States, I once again ventured into the world of NCAA bracket pools.  I didn't throw any money at it, so the only thing on the line is pride and pride alone.  Rather than bore you with details about how each and every game turns out and how good or poorly I picked I will stick here with simply recapping each round and go from there.  Since the conclusion of games on Friday ends the tourney's first round, here is a quick recap of how I did.

First Round (32 games)

Record 24-8

Overall record 24-8

Worst first round selection - Georgetown; I had the Hoyas making the Elite 8, they got bounced in the first round of the tournament by Ohio University.  Georgetown (3) is the highest seeded team to lose in the tournament's first round and it wasn't all that close (97-83) and was the worst of the many bad entries from the Big East Conference, who recieved 8 bids to the tournament and saw half of those teams packing their bags after one game. 

Best first round selection - Murray State; Plenty of upsets in the first round of the tournament (St Marys over Richmond, Old Dominion over Notre Dame, Missouri over Clemson, Washington over Marquette,  Wake Forest over Texas, Northern Iowa over UNLV, Georgia Tech over Oklahoma State, Cornell over Temple), but I managed to get a 13/4 upset correct on my bracket entry, having Murray State over Vanderbilt and I had the 12/5 Cornell/Temple upset as well.

Going forward - On the bad side is the Georgetown loss, guaranteeing me at least two more losses in the tournament, but other than that bad pick on my part, the other 7 losses in round one were teams that I didn't have getting out of round 2 anyway, so hopefully those games will not hurt my overall entry too much.  And I do have one perfect region left (West), correctly picking that Syracuse (1), Kansas State (2), Pittsburgh (3), Butler (5), Xavier (6), BYU (7), Gonzaga (8) and Murray State (13) would all make the second round. 

It looks like I wasn't the only one to have Georgetown in the Elite 8, Barack Obama made the same mistake;

 He and I both have Kansas winning the whole tournament as well, actually our entries are similar, though not exactly the same.  The differences between our entries become more pronounced later in the tournament, where he has Kentucky in the final game, I have WVU, and in the final 4 he has Villanova where I have Baylor, but for now he has 14 of his Sweet 16 still around, I have 15 with the only difference being Marquette.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Duck and cover

For those of you that read my last entry, which I am thinking isn't all that many, but that is neither here nor there, I mentioned the damage that occurred to our building at work from the snow event, since technically is wasn't storm damage so much as left over snow damage followed by horrible building maintenance.  I mention it again only because it is the part of the upcoming story.

First a trivia question.  If Lance Armstrong and a woman live together, do they also cycle together?  Yeah I know you didn't want me to ask that but sometimes those type of questions just pop int my cranium.  Such as I have been seeing new commercials for Stride Mystery flavor gum.  Okay, but what if the mystery flavor is ass?  Technically to the chewer it is still a mystery until they bite into it, but do I want a mouthful of ass flavor?  Likewise I have been seeing commercials for Everest Technical School.  During the commercial you see some down on his luck girl or guy, who, after making a phone call and taking some classes have everything in life figured out.  Good for them I say, but later in the commercial they ask "If he/she can do it so can you" and I ask, why?  Were they complete and utter fucking morons?  If I go to school there am I going to be surrounded by people who took the short bus to school?

     I suppose I should explain why I am up typing in the middle of the night.  Work was hectic today, partially due to the reconstruction.  They are currently replacing the bricks above the chute we have to the stock room.  The chute come in handy because when we get our larger beverage deliveries we can just drop them down and have someone catch them in the basement and put them away, but with the work being done on the outside of the building the chute is currently unavailable, meaning we had to lug the beverage orders up and down steps.  138 cases from Pepsi and another 38 from 7 UP, plus doing all of the stuff I normally do and by the end of the day I was indeed a tired puppy.  So tired that I cam home after a couple of beers at my watering hole and fell into bed for a much needed respite.  The problem with that is now I am awake.  So much so that I ran out and did some laundry at 12:30am, where I originally started this blog entry on my laptop, then I came home and am trying to pick up where I left off because I am still not sleepy yet, though I am a tad bit thirsty. 

     I suppose I should gte back to the title of this here blog and stop with the prattling.  I get into work Monday morning and shortly thereafter the work crew comes in to begin once again the process of removing loose bricks and replacing them with new ones.  Because we are the closest place to their work, they will run an extension cord from our store, through our back alley, where we keep the trash and what not, and out to the work site.  All had been going well with that process until Monday, when Animal Control had to be called in, as apparently there was a duck stuck in our back alley.  Now how a duck would have gotten back there to begin with is anybody's guess.  Some people are suggesting that maybe someone put it back there as a prank, others were saying that perhaps it had flown over the area from the nearby Monongahela River and just landed back there but now didn't have the room to take off again, but whatever the reason all I know is that it was a duck and it was pretty pissed off, so the folks at Animal Control had to come in and remove it before the workers outside could begin. 

       If that were the only thing that happened Monday I would have considered it a good day, but sadly it wasn't.  And of course it was the last thing to happen that nearly set me off.  A man came in the store just before I was getting ready to leave, saying that he bought batteries and that they didn't work.  This, to me, seemed like nothing more than a simple customer complaint and something that I should just stay out of.  So I did, at least at first.  The guy proceeds to tell his story, whether it was the truth or not isn't for me to say.  He could have gotten batteries that were bad, he could have just as easily switched out the batteries he bought for the ones that were bad to begin with when he left the store and was looking to scam us to get his money back.  I know people a little to well to give them the benefit of the doubt, but it wasn't my call.  Anyway he asks to speak to the manager, and the only one on duty at that point was Dee, who was in the office on a phone call, trying to get the newly installed camera system operational, as earlier in the day, Wayne, my partner in crime at work, had caught someone shoplifting a magazine and Dee was trying to get the new system to printout a picture of the criminal, but was having problems getting the system to work right.  The thing is, we did have a system before, but the information storage on it only lasted a few days, this new system we should be able to pull up footage from any of our cameras in any of our stores for the last 30 days, a pretty big improvement if it actually works, but the system kept freezing up so Dee was on the phone in the office trying to get the system fixed.  Amber explained to the guy that Dee was on an important call and would be with him as soon as possible. But that wasn't good enough, so he starts bitching.  She suggested that since she doesn't know when Dee will be done he might want to come back later on or the next day, which leads to him bitching some more, including letting a few curse words fly.  At this point Wayne steps in and tells him that he needs to calm down or leave. 

     Dee comes up from the office, so the customer with the complaint is pointed out to her and he begins his spiel about the batteries.  Dee asks if he still has the package from them and he doesn't.  She asks the same question I mentioned earlier, that how is she to know he actually got them there and those are the batteries he bought there.  He proceeds to start another tirade finished by calling Dee a bitch.  Wrong move.  That put me right in front of him, telling him to get out.  He starts running his mouth again and again I step closer to him and tell him to get out.  He backs up a couple of steps, starts running his mouth again and again I get right in front of his face and tell him to get out.  At this point Wayne is now trying to grab hold of me, for fear that he thinks I am going to hit the guy.  Not that hitting him was my intent, but I'll admit I was certainly not afraid of him and part of me wanting him to take a swing because I would have dropped him like a bad habit.  Well, save for smoking, which is a bad habit that I enjoy, but that is another matter. 

    The thing is, I can't say that I ever really thought about how I would feel in such a situation.  I didn't know if I would be afraid, technically he did threaten to "kick my white boy ass" when I got off work, so there was the potential of a threat lingering when I got off of work, but I almost welcomed it.  I was hoping he would be waiting, but to my disappointment he scurried off.  Don't get me wrong, I am far from an ideal physical specimen and I may very well have gotten my ass kicked had anything actually happened, but I was more than content to roll the dice and take my chances in that situation. 

        And the worst part is, this nonsense made me miss my bus. 

       Okay, enough rambling for one night, I am going to try to sneak an hour of sleep in before getting up for work.  Laters.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Hands, hands, fingers, dumb

      I don't have to do this, not even sure I want to.  That, my friends, is what we call a non sell in the land of blogging, a verifiable reason to not read further than this.  Truth be told I am not a guy that feels a definable need to blog, there are certainly times when I like to, just as there are times when I am less than enthralled at the prospect.  This would be one of the latter times, where I could just as easily walk away from this entry and not miss it all that much, but it has been a while since I did blog and things have happened so I guess I better get down to it if for no other reason than to clear off my mental desk.

      Had I written this a week ago I would have been almost proud to say I was a Pittsburgh sports fan.  First there was the Olympic gold medal hockey game, pitting the United States against the pretournament favorite Canadian squad and what a game it was.  Canada won 3-2 in overtime but the skill and level of play was magnificent from both teams.  Ryan Miller, the goaltender for the US team, would win the MVP of the tournament for his work in Vancouver.  The US was a best a dark horse team for a medal, yet the squad they put together just seemed to have the right elements for a team, not overly stacked with superstars, just guys who knew their roles and played them particularly well.  Hockey has shown what can be done right about having professionals play in the games, the diffusion of talent is such that while there are some more heavily stacked teams, on almost any given night any team can beat any other team.  I know much was made about the use of professionals from back in the days of the original Dream Team for basketball, when the US sent for the first time pros instead of amateur athletes, but if the test of the Olympics is to determine who is best in the world, even if it is just at a singular venue once every four years, why should anyone handicap themselves and send a B-squad?  The way the level of play gets raised is when everybody is supposed to get better, not in sending a nation's second or third rate team in hopes of leveling the playing field. 

    Two nights after the Olympics the NHL season resumed in Pittsburgh, with the Penguins playing host to the Buffalo Sabres.  Prior to the game the Penguins took time out to recognize the members of the Penguins and Sabres who represented their nations in the Olympics.  certainly there were some for the Penguins, Sidney Crosby (who scored the game winning goal in the gold medal game) and Marc Andre Fleury for Canada, Brooks Orpik for the United States, and Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar for Russia.  What made me proud to be a hockey fan though was that the loudest ovation wasn't for any of the Penguins but for Buffalo's Ryan Miller, who received a standing ovation from the local faithful.  Pittsburgh is definitely a hockey kind of town, ratings for the Olympic hockey games here were some of the highest for any market in the country (we were second nationally for the gold medal game, as well as 1st for the Canada-USA matchup during pool play) but it was nice to see the hometowners appreciate the work of someone who, while playing for the other team, just a couple of nights earlier was playing on their country's behalf.

      But as quickly as one can be proud of being a local sports fan it can all be taken away just as quickly.  Stellers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger looks to be in trouble once again with allegations of sexual assault occcuring at a college bar in Georgia.  This is the second time in the last year such allegations were made.  In the earlier instance involving a woman in Las Vegas there were surely some issues of credibility on the claimant's part (not reporting it to the police, incriminating emails, etc.) but those don't seem to be the case here.  Don't get me wrong, I am not pronouncing a judgement of guilty or innocence in either case, but from an outsider's perspective the current accusation seems to have a little more credibility.  Even if Roethlisberger is found innocent, one has to question his judgement of bar hopping with a bunch of college kids.  When you are being paid over $100 million dollars on your current NFL contract, one should be a tad more discreet in their comings and goings and not bar hopping with a bunch of kids. 

      And, as much as I like the Penguins and hockey in general, seeing this on Sunday was not what I would hope for from one of our players.  I am all for a physical game and I even condone fighting to some degree in the NHL, but an elbow to the head of a defenseless player is just bush league.  While no penalty was issued on the play (and why the hell not NHL?), for every positive the league gets from such things as the gold medal game in the Olympics, it is goonishness such as this that will chase away prospective viewers.  Worse was the Penguins post game show where the hosts tried to defend the shot.  Trust me, had this been one of the Penguins stars (Crosby, Malkin to name two) who was on the receiving end of this as opposed to Boston's leading scorer this season, Marc Savard, they would have been up in arms in outrage over the shot.  This shit really has no place in the game and the sooner the league does away with it, the better off the game will be.

Okay, enough of the sports chatter, there are certainly other things I can venture off into, not the least of which would be updates.  My quest for 200 Coke reward points continues, albeit slowly.  I am at 335, but the weather until this past wekend has been pretty shitty, so I haven't been able to take one of my walking tours looking for caps and have been relegated to the few I find here and there.  That being said things have looked up on other mindless projects that I do for personal amusement.  I have picked up my 8th $5 Amazon gift card on swagbucks, that's $40 I otherwise wouldn't have had.  I also got a $10 check from mysurvey, free vanilla oreo doublestuff cookies from Facebook, a free bottle of hot sauce from Marlboro and I am currently in the midst of the second most successful year in change meter history.  Of course it helped that I found a $20 bill laying on the floor at work, the largest amount I have found at any one time to date.  The result is I am adding a very nice $22.26 to the total and am now up to $162.59.


     Yes I took a break.  People familiar with this blog are used to this type of thing, others not so much.  A couple of quick updates on the above.  Added another $1.25 to my mysurvey account, I am in the middle of a month long survey that will award me $10 upon completion.  Relatively easy too, as all I have to do is keep track of any medications I take on a daily basis, and since I almost never take anything, maybe an occasional aspirin for a headache, all I am doing is getting paid to say I take nothing.  Freer cash has rarely been found on the web.

     Also I snagged Amazon gift card #9 from swagbucks.  It will be a few days until it gets awarded, but that is okay, I have nothing but time on my hands.  I might even have enough money in my account once it is approved to gets something I have been looking for, a new copy of Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction.  My old copy is scratched and will not install properly, and even if it did I need a new CD Key anyway.  I tried one I found on the internet but no luck with my old copy so probably just as well I go back to square one and start over with a new copy.

     Anyway, this blog has a title and it is something that I hadn't gotten into yet, but might as well now, if for no other reason than to let everyone know that some times I do have a method to the proverbial madness.  A few weeks back I injured my thumb on my right hand.  Not sure how or why, I just woke up one day and the top joint in it wouldn't bend at all.  Not that there is a terribly great range of motion in that joint to begin with, but when you spend a decent portion of your day carrying things and writing out orders you gain a new found appreciation for movement in that particular digit.  And let's not forget that I am right handed and masturbating without a thumb can be quite a challenge for us guys, but that is another matter.  Anyway since then the movement in that joint sort of comes and goes, though it is still quite painful.  Worse is when it inadvertently gets bent  and almost locks into a bent position barring a rather painful process of getting back into it's proper position.  If that weren't bad enough, the challenge of working around that injury has now made my left wrist sore from trying to compensate for it.  The problem only gets aggravated when in the course of the last two days I have caught 220 cases of beverages and a grocery order in deliveries.  Oh well, as the saying goes, I can always rest it when I am dead.

     One other update I need to get out of the way, earlier in the blog I had mentioned how I thought that the Pittsburgh Penguins Matt Cooke should have been suspended for his hit on Marc Savard, which left Savard with a grade 2 concussion and most likely ended his season.  Apparently the league didn't agree with me, as no penalty, suspension, fine or otherwise was issued.  And that my friends is part of the reason why hockey will always have a loyal fanbase but not grow any new fans.  When garbage hits like that aren't dealt with swiftly and decisively, but are just treated as part of the game then sure it will appease some of those that are already fans of the game, but to anyone watching their first game it amounts to watching thugs on ice and grants them no reason whatsoever to tune into another game, unless their sole enjoyment of watching sports is to see people carted off the playing surface on stretchers.

      I just realized that this blog is pretty long and I haven't even got to half of the stuff I wanted to talk about.  I guess that is the price I pay for taking weeks off of the blog page, eventually the amount of stuff that I feel needs to be talked about is just overwhelming and then it becomes a battle of not wanting to start because you see that there is no end in sight once you do.  But hell I am this far in, might as well continue.

     I believe that during the last time we spoke I had mentioned a potential job offer, or what I had hoped would be one.  Alas nothing came of it, I remain in contact with Marshall Adams (via Facebook) but if there was an opening he was contacting me about, it seems to have closed up pretty quickly.  I know they hired a new host on KDKA AM to do an evening shift, a person who has experience in doing that sort of thing in a neighboring market and while I haven't listened to his show yet, I would grant that it is far better to have someone who has hosted on a day to day basis than someone who has more talent on the other side of the glass running things than actually hosting a show like myself.  Don't get me wrong, I have no doubts about my ability to do so, but I would certainly understand the reasoning if that was the job I was being called about.  Likewise the new KDKA FM has launched since those conversations with Mr. Adams, an all sports talk FM here in Pittsburgh, and I have had the opportunity to listen to it, heck most of the time it is what I have on at work and for the most part I like most of what they are doing.  The launch wasn't flawless, but fairly smooth given all that goes into getting a newly formatted station off of the ground.  Probably the worst thing they have going is their evening sports update announcer Kalena Bell, who obviously they had to get cheap because her broadcasting skills leave much to be desired.  No understanding of typical sports vernacular (players don't make goals, they score them) and she continues to mispronouce the names of local sports players (it is Brent Johnson, not Brett) which is a sin when a station is claiming to specialize in sports to have someone who can't even get a name right.  I have been keeping an eye to see if there are any openings there, but as of last check on the CBS Radio website I didn't see any.  Hope does spring eternal, but I don't plan on living quite that long.

     Still, while nothing panned out on the KDKA's (AM or FM) front, a job offer did come my way. It was one I passed on, but it needs to be addressed here, so here goes.  A quick refresher course, I spent most of my time in radio working at 1360AM, a station that started as all sports, then flipped to talk and finally to business talk.  The last flip of formats was the one that eventually ended my stay there, though not by my choosing.  Before the flip we were down to just Lynn Cullen and myself doing a three hour morning show (9am-12pm) and the rest of the programming was syndicated.  Mind you with my side projects there doing production work for our station and our sister station (1320 AM) I was still easily putting in 40-50 hour weeks, but a large chunk of my time was spent on Lynn's show, doing research, gathering guests, etc.  When the plug was pulled on her show, for me it was the writing on the wall that soon I wuld be gone as well.  The station changed to business talk to accommodate Ron Morris, who originally was buying time for a show on Saturdays, but wanted to expand that and have a show for three hours Monday through Friday as well.  Ron was going to be buying time for those slots as well, so the station was left with the option of catering to a guy who would be writing checks to be on 6 days a week, or staying with the status quo and trying to sell one talk show to potential advertisers and pay the salaries of Lynn and myself.  I managed to stay an extra 3 months, but that was due in large part to the fact that we had some contractural obligations to the shows that we were cancelling, we had to clear their commercial spot load for the next three months or be in violation of our agreement, so my last three months were spent basically just recording commercial after commercial, a waste of my talents if I do say so myself.  So Ron comes in, the station is now removed of all but it most elementary obligations, it's now Ron's job to sell his own show, so the sales staff is free to focus on the other two stations, and the engineer and program director are the same people that do that job for the other two stations.  Basically all of the salaries that were associated with 1360 were now officially off the books. Ron had to provide his own producer and sales people to market his show.  To me this was a recipe for disaster, going all business during an economic downturn was bad to begin with, the fact Ron's show never drew numbers on Saturdays, so the notion it would garner anything Monday through Friday was a ludicrous proposition, and with lower ratings you could all but forget generating any revenue besides the checks Ron would cut to be on the air.  The station magnified the problem by going with some of the worst syndicated business related programming I had ever heard in my life.  The shows all but consisted of hosts interviewing people that were advertising on their programs to tell you how wonderful their product or service was.  It was snake oil salesmen in business suits to be sure. And as far as Ron goes, I had had some friends who had the dubious honor of working with him in the past, only to find that they couldn't stomach him, too much ego is just the beginning of a list of many flaws that go into that package.  Of course I had more of a reason to not like him, as far as I was concerned he cost me a job that I had for 12+ years, so I admit that my bitterness is amplified somewhat.

     I guess that sets the background tone for what I am about to say.  I get a call from John Poister, a former program director of ours who, after a brief stint as a news director at WPXI TV, was now working on Ron Morris's weekday project, called Pittsburgh Business Radio.  John called to ask if I would be interested in being Ron's producer, it seems he had managed to chase someone else out of that chair (another friend of mine, Darryl) and they were looking for someone to fill in on at least a temporary basis.  Of course for me to even consider taking the gig I would have had to give up my current job, something that I will not do for just anyone.  Sure if the right radio gig were to come along I would jump at it, but this isn't the right gig.  I do not like Ron and the idea of being subservient to him is one that makes my skin crawl.  Plus, like I said before, the whole idea behind the new format struck me as ill advised and a recipe for disaster.  I am not blind to what is happening out there, I saw the ratings for the station go from a 1.0 (which let's be hoinest, isn't all that good to begin with) to what it is now, a consistent .1.  I often joke that if the Titanic were to sink I would like to be the captain  just so I could plow that mother into the ocean myself, but this ship has already sunk, the people on board just haven't realized they hit the iceberg yet.  Before anyone fires off a missive at me saying that I am just being too bitter, perhaps they might want to take a look at this first.  Yes, things are going so well there that they are begging for cash and not paying their employees.  This from a guy who claims to be an entrepreneur.  So let's examine the facts shall we.  1)  Come up with an idea (a radio show), 2) fail miserably with no audience and no ratings, 3) ask the general public for a bailout.  Why again should people seek business advice from a man whose business acumen leads to a dubious plan such as this?  Needless to say, I did not take the job offer, but I will admit it warms the cockles of my heart to watch Ron fail in such an excellent fashion.

     Not that things are all peaches and cream in my current job.  While we aren't having problems keeping the lights on, we have issues all unto themselves.  For instance, I know I blogged about the snowfall recently, actually more photgraphs than anything else but the snow certainly created problems.  One problem was the weight of the snow on buildings.  For instance, my apartment is the back part of what used to be a pretty sizeable house.  The house has now been broken into 5 apartments, the main house, two apartments in the back (mine and the one above me) and the garage was remodeled and their are two apartments their as well.  The main house has two porches, one facing the street and a second side porch that abuts the driveway.  Well the side porch had an aluminum awning over it.  The problem was that between the snow and the ice from snow melting off of the house and then hitting the driveway and refreezing, there was actually a point where a giant ice column connected the awning to the driveway itself.  That is until the weight on the awning became so great that it actually collapse and fell right off the side of the house and into the driveway.  But that wasn't the only snowstorm related damage that I would encounter.  Apparently the weight of the snow was so great on the roof of the building at work that a section of it actually collapsed, and the resulting hole started having water leak first into the porn shop above us and then eventually into our store as well.  As a result the landlord had to have the hole in the roof fixed, or so he thought.  It seems that building maintainence was not high on the list of priorities in the past, previous holes in the roof were just patched as opposed to being adequately fixed, so much so that when it came time to see the damage that was done by the new hole it was realized that their were 8 layers of patches up there.  Worse still, no other work had been done to upkeep the integrity of the structure, which I admit is quite old to begin with, but when the roofers were called to actually fix the hole in the roof, part of the side of the building actually fell right out onto the sidewalk.  Thankfully no one was out there at the time, because we most certainly would have seriously injured if not killed them.  So we roped off the sidewalk and not more than a couple of hours later another chunk of building came down, nearly landing on one of the roofers below.  At that point it was realized that not only does the roof have to be replaced, but the brick on the top floor was so run down that it was now all loose and it too would have to be replaced.  So what started as what was believed to be a simple patch job is not turning into a giant masory project followed by roof replacement.  What a mess to say the least. 

      Plus Ed did make it back for a couple of weeks, which meant all of the hard work I had put into cleaning up the basement, which Ed did compliment me on, created my worst nightmare.  The empty space meant that Ed viewed it as an opportunity to acquire more junk that will be hard, if not impossible, to sell.  It seems for everything that we had too much of that I some how managed to peddle off on the unsuspecting public (like $11,000 of Easter candy, 40 cases of cake frosting, 20 boxes of gumballs to name a few of his purchases that I managed to actually sell) is now being replaced with new items that I have to find a way to rid us of. 

     Actually after Ed left I had an opportunity to walk through the store one day and I noticed some cookies we had on one of the shelves.  The cookies were part of a display that Ed had ordered to sit in the middle of one of the aisles and they really didn't sell all that well.  Most of the stuff we ended up marking down just to get rid of it, because unlike our major grocery vendor, Sledd, some of the things Ed purchases are just one shot deals.  He will get them at a certain price and then we have to sell them, they can't be returned even if they end up being out of date.  Well I saw some of these individually wrapped oatmeal cookies that were part of the display, we must have had like 40 of them left.  They just didn't move at all.  At .99 per cookie there are cheaper ones out there, such as Little Debbie, and they weren't name brand enough to overcome their higher price, which meant they just sat there.  And sat there.  And sat there.  Finally I grabbed one of them off the shelf the other day and noticed that the expiration date on them was Oct of 2009.  Not sure what to do with them since we couldn't return them I went into the office and asked Brian.  Technically it isn't against the law to sell out of date stuff, but by the same token anyone seeing the expiration date will most certainly not purchase them.  And we couldn't return them which left us with a dilemna.  One which Brian solved by asking me to get him a box, which I did.  In the box went the cookies, as well as some office paperwork and to top it off Brian asked me to go root through our old collection of porn mags and find an all male mag and throw it in there as well.  With the box now packed full of paperwork, out of date cookies and hot man on man action, we sealed up the box and Brian mailed it to Ed in Florida.  Priceless!!!  I still laugh about it even now when I think about his dad opening that box.

     Okay I think I have babbled enough for one entry, let's call it a night and hopefully I will find the time and motivation to frequent this page a little more often in the future.  Nite all.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Stolen Content - Apparently I wasn't the only one

Being a hocky fan I sometimes lose sight of what is practical when it comes to the viewing habits of the public at large.  I admit that seeing a hockey game in person is a far better experience to seeing it on TV, heck it was seeing games in person that really got me into the sport in general.  And living in a city with a fairly rabid hockey fan base, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that someone living in say, Iowa, has no real connection to the game and therefore no reason to watch.  So I was pleasantly surprised to read this on one of my favorite blogs, Puck Daddy, when I got home from work.


People watch hockey: Gold medal ratings huge for USA/Canada

Steve Lepore of Puck The Media passed along the first glimpse of the enormous ratings success in the U.S. for the gold medal game against Canada: 17.6/33 overnight rating, via Sports Business Daily, and 27.6 million viewers on average. Writes Lepore:

This is up 46% from the 2002 USA/Canada showdown, and will very likely be the highest-rated hockey game since 1980.  The share means that 1 in every 3 Americans with a TV were watching the game. This is, to put it professionally, out of this world.

Sports Media Watch offers further perspective on the hockey numbers:

Sunday's game drew a higher overnight rating than every World Series game since 2004 (including every game of Yankees/Phillies last year), every NBA Finals telecast since 1998, and every NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four game since at least '98.

Excluding the NFL, the 17.6 overnight for the game is the second-highest of the year for any sporting event, behind only the Texas/Alabama BCS National Championship Game in January (18.2).

Even here in Vancouver, I could still sense how huge this game was playing back in the States. I didn't have non-hockey friends texting me about the USA/Canada smackdown -- I had non-sports fans talking to me about it. This really hit home when Lady Wysh touched base and said my hockey allergic mother-in-law was (a) watching the game, (b) kept mishearing Roberto Luongo's(notes) name as "Ulongo" which led to (c) her believing he was Samoan.

What a great day for hockey. Hopefully some of the newbies stick around to watch that level of pace and anxiety in the Stanley Cup playoffs. And, hopefully, the ratings and reviews don't create a new wave of "FIX THE NHL, FOR THE SAKE OF THE CHILDREN!!!" nonsensical pacifist arguments that Barry Petchesky of Deadspin anticipated in a great column last week.

UPDATE: From Puck The Media, the release from NBC regarding to the game's final audience, billed as "the most-watched hockey game in 30 years":

TOPS 2002 SALT LAKE GOLD MEDAL GAME BY 10.5 MILLION VIEWERS: The 27.6 million viewers for Sunday's gold medal game was 10.5 million more (up 61 percent) from the Canada-USA gold medal game from the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics (17.1 million viewers). The 15.2/30 rating for yesterday's game was four-and-a-half rating points higher than the 10.7/24 for the 2002 gold medal game and was the highest-rated hockey game of any kind since the USA vs. Finland 1980 gold medal game (23.2/61).  The "Miracle on Ice" semifinal game between the USA and Russia had a household rating of a 23.9/37.

The audience peaked at 34.8 million viewers (18.6/34 hh rating) from 5:30-6 p.m. ET, when the USA's Zach Parise(notes) (New Jersey Devils) sent the game to overtime with the tying goal with just 24.4 seconds left in regulation.

Check out the city-by-city breakdown of the ratings on PTM. Game broke a 50 share in Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Minneapolis. Amazing. 

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