Saturday, October 31, 2009

OMG! Rutgers Beats UCONN 28-24 in Halloween THRILLER

If I didn't see it, I wouldn't believe it. Rutgers held a 21-10 lead on Connecticut going into the fourth quarter, only to squander the lead and find themselves trailing UCONN 24-21 with 38 seconds to go.

Then after the ensuing kickoff Rutgers freshman quarterback Tom Savage hit Tim Brown, the best friend of slain UCONN cornerbck Jasper Howard, for an 81 yard touchdown to snatch victory from UCONN, 28-24 in front a stunned packed house in Hartford.

Rutgers is now 6-2, 1-2 in the Big East, UCONN 4-4, 1-3 Big East.


I'll be back to tall about this thriller, plus more Big East, college football, and World Series tomorrow in my weekly Rutgers commentary.

What a game!

Happy Halloween....with "YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN"!!!

Happy Halloween everyone!

If Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein is not the funniest movie ever made, I'd like to know what is. I think it was especially effective if you were a fan of the old Boris Karloff/ Bela Lugosi classics from UNIVERSAL in the 1930's and '40's. Mel Brooks went so far as to use the actual sets and props from the first two films of the series, FRANKENSTEIN and BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, which starred Karloff and was directed by James Whale.

I couldn't get through the scene with the monster meeting the blind man without laughing so hard I had tears coming out of my eyes....for the 100th time possibly!

So here's my little holiday treat for you intrepid visitors...three classic scenes from YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, featuring Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, Teri Garr, and Madeline Kahn.....and the blind hermit was played by none other than two time Oscar winner Gene Hackman.

Dr. Frankenstein (exasperated, speaking to Igor)-"DAMN YOUR EYES!!!"
Igor..... "TOO LATE!!!!"

The national touring company of the stage version of Young Frankenstein is in Columbus, Ohio this weekend, and moves on to Chicago, Washington, Baltimore, and Atlanta. Check the website for exact dates.

"That's Franken-STEEN"!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Bob Mulcahy Addresses The Rutgers TOUCHDOWN CLUB

I wanted to talk about this earlier but one World Series game (and a dose of real life) managed to jump in and keep me away from the keyboard for most of today. Last night at the Rutgers Touchdown Club meeting held at The RAC in Piscataway, NJ, former Rutgers Athletic director Bob Mulcahy spoke to the group, about 10 months after he was fired by Rutgers President Richard McCormick.

Bob Mulcahy received much criticism for lack of transparency in his administration, and became, in my opinion (and that of many others in the community), a sacrificial lamb fired to appease certain people of influence who were stirred up by a couple of overzealous writers from New Jersey's largest daily newspaper. Rather than rehash the whole story for the uninitiated, click here to see the dozen blog posts I wrote about the situation involving Bob, the paper, and President McCormick through last fall and into the winter of 2008-09.

Last night Bob Mulcahy told his story to the 500 or so assembled at The RAC. According to Bob he was called into McCormick's office last December, shortly before Christmas. McCormick told Mulcahy that he wanted to make a change at the top of the Department of Athletics; he wanted Mulcahy to resign. Bob refused to resign, and told McCormick that he would have to fire him.

A short time later Mulcahy called McCormick and offered this solution; he would retire at the end of the year. That would have been the logical way to handle a transition from one AD to his successor. But McCormick refused.

Bob Mulcahy talked about some of his favorite moments as athletic director of Rutgers. Clearly THE magical moment was the football win against #3 Louisville on national TV, a game ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit called college football's game of the year in 2006. Bob mentioned Rutgers first bowl game in 28 years, the 2005 INSIGHT BOWL in Phoenix as another highlight, and the warm reception given to the RU fans who had waited so long for that day. Bob told the story about being on the sidelines at last year's PAPA JOHN'S.COM BOWL when Rutgers safety Courtney Greene intercepted a crucial fourth quarter pass from the North Carolina State quarterback. Devin McCourty told Greene to "Give the ball to Mr. Mulcahy". Bob was already on his way out as AD- this would be his last trip with the team in that capacity. Greene gave the ball the Mulcahy. Later the team autographed the ball for him.

But....this ball belonged to North Carolina State! It had their logo on it. Mulcahy sent a check for $100 to NC State Head Coach Tom O'Brien. Coach O'Brien sent the check back, with a note saying "I can't take your money. You've given too much to the game."

Mulcahy told the story about the time his daughter Deidre was asked out on a date by Rutgers quarterback Ryan Hart. Deidre asked for permission to date a guy from the football team. And its been said Ryan asked head coach Greg Schiano for permission to date the AD's daughter! worked. Today Deidre and Ryan are man and wife.

Bob talked about the APR rating of the Rutgers football team, the Academic Progress Report from the NCAA that measures the classroom performance of student athletes. For the past several years Rutgers has finished in the top five with the likes of Navy, Duke, Stanford, and Air Force- they are currently the top rated public university APR wise for football, doing it while going to four straight bowl games and winning three.

In his tenure there were championships in track and in baseball- and the women's basketball team went to two Final fours, and advanced to the National Championship game once.

His hardest decision was to cut six sports that the university could no longer afford to keep funding. The worst part, he said, was telling the student athletes that their teams were to be no more.

Another highlight was the improvements in facilities, particularly the new end zone seating at Rutgers Stadium, increasing the capacity from 42,000 to 53,000- this was a pipe dream back in the days of 19,000 people per game (and he admitted to boosting the number a bit).

There was the revelation by Rutgers assistant coach Joe Susan that Bob would attend Mass before every game, with Joe always sitting in front of him, out of superstition. And there was a member of the audience who stood up and chided the current politicians who never lifted a finger to help Mulcahy during the crisis and the firestorm; the man told the crowd former New Jersey Governor Brendan Byrne once called Bob Mulcahy the most decent man in politics he had ever seen.

How well regarded was Bob Mulcahy? He was an aide to Democrat Byrne, and was retained by Byrne's successor, Republican Tom Kean, as his chief of staff.

Bob admitted that the end hurt him...but it was especially tough on his wife, Terri, and on his children.

He deserved better. Few have given more to the university. Even fewer have been shown the way out more shabbily.

Bob was given a small trophy with a Waterford crystal football at the end of the presentation, with a life time membership in the Rutgers Touchdown Club. It was more than fitting.

This was a night when Bob Mulcahy spoke to us, and thanked us for all of the years of support. That wasn't necessary. It was we, the fans, who owe Bob Mulcahy thanks. It was his vision that brought an untested young head coach to The Banks in 2001.

Together they changed a culture....and helped to change a state.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Yanks Even Series Behind Burnett and Rivera, 3-1

The New York Yankees won the second game of the 2009 World Series behind the strong pitching of starter AJ Burnett beating the Philadelphia Phillies 3-1, with Mariano Rivera coming in to pitch scoreless 8th and 9th innings. Mark Teixeira and Hideki Matsui hit solo home runs 4th and 6th innings respectively after trailing the Phils 1-0 to that point. Pinch hitter Jorge Posada tacked on another run in the 7th, driving in Jerry Hairston, who was starting in rightfield in place of Nick Swisher, with a single.

Burnett and Phillie starter Pedro Martinez dueled into the 7th when Pedro was pulled by Phils manager Charlie Manuel for Chan Ho Park.

Burnett was great, pitching 7 innings, giving up one run on only four hits with nine strikeouts and only two walks.

The evened up Series moves to Philadelphia on Saturday night for Game Three, with Andy Pettitte starting for New York, and Cole Hamels for the Phils.

Wal-Mart starts selling caskets, urns online |

There's nothing like free enterprise and competition in the marketplace....its what makes America great.

Why not buy a couple and store 'em in the basement for future use? And they make a heckuva coversation piece as a Halloween decoration!

READ MORE from |

World Series Game 2- Will There Be Changes For The Yankees?

In the wake of last night's 6-1 win by the Phillies over the Yankees in the first game of the 2009 World Series, in which lefthander Cliff Lee held New York to only six hits in his complete game gem, questions abound for Yanks manager Joe Girardi.

Yankee's right fielder Nick Swisher in in an horrendous post season slump- should speedy Brett Gardner get the start in center, and slide Melky Cabrera to right field?

Will tonight's starter AJ Burnett have personal catcher Jose Molina, or the better offensive weapon Jorge Posada behind the plate?

After the last night's disaster from the bullpen quartet of Phil Hughes, Phil Coke, Brian Bruney and David Robertson, does Girardi tab the enigmatic Joba Chamberlain to be Mariano Rivera's setup man in the 8th and 9th innings?

And potentially down the road....will Girardi go to a fourth starter if necessary in this Series or go with a three man rotation, with a possible three starts by workhorse CC Sabathia?

And people say baseball is boring and nothing ever happens! I scoff at them!

New Jersey Governor's Race; Poll Says Corzine Leads But Its Too Close To Call

The latest average of six polls taken for the 2009 New Jersey Governor's race shows an overall two point lead for Democratic incumbent Governor Jon Corzine over his Republcan challenger Chris Christie, 40.8% to 38.8%, making this race too close to call with five days to go until election day. Independent Chris Daggett remains static at 13.3%.

The website Real Clear Politics has taken the average of the Quinnipiac, Rasmussen Reports, Suffolk University, Survey USA, Rutgers-Eagleton, and Monmouth/Gannett polls.

Their data shows the following;
Quinnipiac- Corzine 43%; Christie 38%; Daggett 13%... Corzine +5
Rasmussen- Corzine 43%; Christie 46%; Daggett 7%... Christie +3
Suffolk- Corzine 42%; Christie 33%; Daggett 7%...Corzine +9
SurveyUSA Corzine 39%; Christie 41% Daggett 19%... Christie +2
Rutgers-Eagleton- Corzine 39%; Christie 36%; Daggett 20%...Corzine +3
Monmouth/Gannett- Corzine 39%; Christie 39%; Daggett 14%... Even

The average of the six polls gives Corzine a two point advantage.

The data from these polls has some interesting trends, or quirks if you will.

Corzine seems to remaining static at around 40% to 43%.

Christie clearly appears to be trending downward. A Monmouth/Gannett Poll from 7/29- 8/2 gave Christie a 14 point lead over Corzine (50 to 36%). A double digit midsummer lead has evaporated into possible negative territory.

Daggett's numbers are fluctuating wildly, from 7% to 20% in the latest polls. Its hard to tell which of the two major party candidates are being effected the most by Daggett's campaign, but it seems that some of the anti- Corzine vote is going to Daggett rather than to Christie. Whether that's a positive reaction to Daggett's campaign or a feeling of alienation to the seeming far right transformation of the GOP is anyone's guess.

The bottom line....with Corzine remaining relatively static in the polls, and Christie dropping like a rock, this looks more like Christie losing the election rather than Corzine winning it.

The old adage is that nobody cares about politics until the end of the World Series. Well, it may play out that the Series may still be going on before and after New Jersey picks its next governor.

Its tightening up...and the race to the finish line is coming up.

Stay tuned.

Corzine takes lead for first time in poll -

According to the latest poll from Quinnipiac University, Democratic incumbent Governor Jon Corzine has taken a lead over Republican challenger Chris Christie, 43% to 38%, with Independent Chris Daggett holding at 13%.

Click the link below for more from The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ) and

Corzine takes lead for first time in poll -

Europeans find 32 new planets outside solar system | Science News |

A very interesting and insightful article. And it is possible that there may be intelligent life on some of these planets.

My sources say that as for now, the National Football League has no plans for any expansion franchises on these planets. They need to have stadiums with luxury boxes first.

READ MORE...from | Science News |

Kim Parrish Collection Moves To ShopNBC

According to her Facebook page, designer Kim Parrish is taking The Kim Parrish Collection to ShopNBC on Friday, November 13th, from 7PM to 9PM EST.

Friday the 13th. Hopefully models will not be wearing hockey masks.

Kim remains one the people most queried on this blog, usually finishing in our Top Ten searches each week.

For more information on Kim Parrish click here.

Update! More about this from our friendly neighborhood Homeshoppingista!

Phils Beat Yankees 6-1, Take A 1-0 Lead in World Series

Cliff Lee was practically unhittable and Chase Utley blasted two home runs as the Philadelphia Phillies won the first game of the 2009 World Series 6-1 over the New York Yankees.

Lee was masterful, pitching a complete game and shutting out the Yanks until the 9th inning on only six hits, three by Derek Jeter. He also made a behind the back catch on a grounder, and another on a pop up that was so relaxed he looked like The Fonz....just too cool to break a sweat.

Utley hit solo homers in the third and sixth innings off Yankee starter CC Sabathia, who gave up two runs on four hits in seven innings of work. The Yankee bullpen wasn't effective, giving up two runs in both the 8th and 9th innings. Phil Hughes walked two in the 8th who eventually came around to score. In the ninth, Brian Bruney was belted for 3 hits and two runs before giving way to Phil Coke.

More on the game and a recap from

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Memories of Yankees Past.....And Some Random Thoughts

I was watching a replay of Game 4 of the 1998 World Series on the YES Network on this rainy Wednesday and was thinking about how the 2009 New York Yankees would stack up against the 1998 edition. Granted, this is premature; the 2009 Yanks (103-59) have yet to play in Game 1 of the '09 Series. But much has been made of the late inning heroics of the 2009 Yankees, and the depth of their lineup and of their bullpen, so naturally there will be comparisons.

The 1998 Yankees are probably the standard by which all teams of the three tiered playoff system modern day MLB should be judged. They were 114-48 in the regular season and went 11-2 in the post season, including a World Series 4-0 sweep over the San Diego Padres- that makes an overall record (including post season) of 125-50, a won-lost Record that may stand forever.

There are four holdovers from the 1998 Yankees eleven years later- Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, and Derek Jeter. Joe Girardi, the Yankees manger in 2009, split catching duties with Posada in 1998.

Taking a look by position

First Base
Tino Martinez (1998) AVG .281, HR 28, RBI 123
Mark Teixeira (2009) AVG .292, HR 39, RBI 122
This was probably the closest call of all. As much as I love Tino I have to go with Tex because of his glove, not that Tino was any slouch. But Mark is one of the two best fielding first basemen I've ever seen- the other two were Keith Hernandez and Don Mattingly

Second Base
Chuck Knoblauch (1998) AVG .265, HR 17, RBI 64
Robinson Cano (2009) Avg .320, HR 25, RBI 85
Here its Robby by a mile. Better hitter and a better fielder. Knobby had an arm like a cannon, but too often the ball would end up in the seats by the first base dugout.

Derek Jeter (1998) AVG .324, HR 19, RBI 84
Derek Jeter (2009) AVG .334, HR 18, RBI 66
Here we compare 24 year old Derek to 35 year old Derek. And the Old Guy wins. His RBI production dropped because he batted leadoff in '09 and second in '98- and the bottom half of the 1998 team was on base more consistently than in 2009. The 2009 Jeets struck out less and walked more than he did in '98, and made one less error (eight) than did the 1998 version

Third Base
Scott Brosius (1998) AVG .300, HR 19 RBI 98
Alex Rodriguez (2009) AVG .286, HR 30 RBI 100
Scott Brosius was a fine third baseman who had the most complete year of his career in 1998. A-Rod missed the first month of the season and still managed 30 homers and 100 ribbies. And he's the best player of his generation- he gets the obvious nod.

Jorge Posada (1998) AVG .268, HR 17, RBI 63
Jorge Posada (2009) AVG .285, HR 22, RBI 81
Jorge Posada shared catching with Joe Girardi in '98, and with Jose Molina in '09. He spent some time on the DL this season, but even so he managed to have a fine season at the plate at age 37....this year's model wins over the 1998 edition

Right Field
Paul O'Neill (1998) AVG .317, HR 24, RBI 116
Nick Swisher (2009) AVG .249, HR 29, RBI 82
As far as personalities go, is there a greater contrast? The intense O'Neill and the free spirited Swisher were fan favorites, but the edge clearly goes to Paulie (aka The Warrior).

Center Field
Bernie Williams (1998) AVG .339, HR 26, RBI 97
Melky Cabrera (2009) AVG .274, HR 13, RBI 68
Going into the season Melky had lost his job to Brett Gardner, but regained it before the All Star break. He's a young player who has yet to hit his stride. Bernie Williams can be found in the Top 5 or Top 10 of most offensive categories in Yankee history. He's the man in centerfield.

Left Field
Chad Curtis (1998) AVG .243, HR 10, RBI 56
Johnny Damon (2009) AVG .282, HR 24, RBI 82
Left field was a trouble spot for the '98 team. Besides Curtis, Darryl Strawberry, Chili Davis, Shane Spencer, and Ricky Ledee played left. Johnny Damon had a fine 2009, his option year.

Designated Hitter
Darryl Strawberry (1998) AVG. .247, HR 24, RBI 57
Hideki Matsui (2009) AVG. .274, HR 28, RBI 90
Straw was on the downside of his career, but not quite finished, as shown by his 24 homers. He was treated for colon cancer during the season and played in only 101 games. Matsui is no longer an everyday outfielder because of his knees, but still has plenty of pop in his bat. Hideki is the choice here.

Starting Pitchers
(1998)- Andy Pettitte- (16-11,4.74 ERA, 146 K's);
David Wells- (18-4, 3.49, 163)
David Cone- (20-7, 3.55, 209)
Hideki Irabu- (13-9, 4.06, 126)
Orlando Hernandez- (12-4, 3.13, 131)

(2009)- CC Sabathia- (19-8, 3.37 ERA, 197 K's);
AJ Burnett- (13-9, 4.04, 195)
Andy Pettitte-(14-8, 4.16, 148)
Joba Chamberlain- (9-6, 4.75, 133)

Clearly the 1998 Yankees were deeper in starting pitching than the 2009 edition. In '98 they went five deep, something few ieams can do, and every starter won between 12 and 20 games. In 2009 it was CC, AJ, Andy, then Joba (with The Joba Rules hindering his progress), an ineffective Chien-Ming Wang, and a supporting cast too long to name here. The pitching staff of 1998 gave the Yankees a chance to win everyday, and there were very few question marks.


Mariano Rivera is the constant. In 1998 he was 3-0, 1.91 ERA, 36 saves. This season he went 3-3, 1.76, 44 saves. In 1998 the pen featured setup men Mike Stanton (4-1), and Jeff Nelson (5-3), and long reliever Ramiro Mendoza (10-2). The 2009 club gave us young Phil Hughes (8-3), Phil Coke (4-3), and long man Alfredo Alceves (10-1).The 2009 was very good for most of the season, but the group in 1998 was nearly perfect from Day One.


The 1998 Yankees had old veterans Tim Raines and Chili Davis in the mix, plus the speedy Homer Bush. The 2009 Yanks have Brett Gardner, Jose Molina, Eric Hinske, and versatile Jerry Hairston, Jr. Its close, but I'll take the 1998 Yankees in this category.

Joe Torre (1998) and Joe Girardi (2009)
Both Italian American, both former catchers, both former managers in the National League who were Joe T's case, three times. Joe Torre manages by his gut, Joe Girardi more by the book. Girardi seems to handle his bullpen better, Torre was always that calm settling influence. Girardi has done a fine job, but Joe Torre (who else?) is the guy.

So the bottom line is its a no brainer...the Yankees of 1998 were a better team than the current Yankees, and most of that can be attributed to better and deeper pitching, both starting and in the bullpen. The current group has a better infield, man for man, than the 1998 team, but the outfield of 1998 was superior to this group in right and in center.

But if you bothered to read all of this, you probably knew it all anyway!


While watching the rebroadcast of the 1998 World Series, I was slightly taken aback when the focus fell on three people, two of who were San Diego Padres, the other the then newly crowned Home Run King, Mark McGwire. He was interviewed in the stands, talking about his accomplishment of hitting 70 home runs in the 1998 season for the St. Louis Cardinals. McGwire mentioned that the home run race he had with Sammy Sosa might have saved baseball, still reeling that year from the affects of the disaster of the 1994 work stoppage in MLB. He was probably right; there was a buzz that he might have been doing steroids, or ATH...but fans, management, ownership, and the media looked the other way. Nobody cared, because there was excitement in baseball's regular season for the first time in many years. It was good for there was silence. When McGwire appeared before Congress years later to testify about steroid use he said nothing about it, but his statement left little doubt that he was indeed a steroid cheat. He'll be back in 2010 as the new hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals, after a self imposed exile of five years after his disgrace.

But there was worse...this morning I could see Ken Caminiti playing in his only World Series. The Padres former MVP hit .252 with 28 homers that year. He would be traded to Houston in 1999, and would leave baseball 2001. On October 10, 2004 he would die of a drug induced heart attack, following years of substance abuse, rehabilitation, and more abuse. He was 41 years old.

But there's more. The '98 Padres also had former Yankee Jim Leyritz; I had forgotten about that until watching the replay this morning. "The King" was at bat against former teammate Andy Pettitte. In recent years Leyritz had been arrested for drunk driving and vehicular homicide, had his bail revoked and ordered back to jail on one occasion (he is awaiting trial on those charges), and in July of this year he was arrested for domestic battery on his ex wife.

It was sad and sobering to watch these three men and their individual falls from grace. In 1998 they were stars- eleven years later one is disgraced, one is dead, another is probably going to prison for many years.


Finally...the first World Series at the new Yankee Stadium. Its like part of a Grand Plan, its October and this is where baseball is meant to be played. I grew up believing that every team in the major leagues had red, white, and blue bunting year round, because its what you would see from cavernous old Yankee Stadium in the Dynasty Days in pictures from the packs of Topps Baseball Cards.

Yankees- Phillies, the Turnpike Series.

I love it! All is right with the world.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More Thoughts On The "Jersey Turnpike" World Series

(1). I can't help but think of Cleveland Indians fans who must be looking at this post season, and quite frankly must be going a little bit bonkers. Tomorrow's starters in the World Series were stars with the Tribe and traded. Carlsten Charles Sabathia went 19-7 in 2007 and won the AL Cy Young Award. The next year he was traded to Milwaukee early in the year, and went 11-2 with the Brewers (he was 6-8 with Cleveland) and led the Brewers to the National League playoffs. This year the free agent made big bucks with the Yankees, and went 19-8.

He's a really big man. His friends, and everyone else, just call him "CC".

But there's more. Not content to deal just one ace to another team, the Indians decided to stretch it into a double. Cliff Lee went 22-3 with a bad Cleveland team in 2008, and won the 2008 AL Cy Young Award. He started 7-9 with the Indians in 2009, was traded to the Phillies and went 7-4 for a record of 14-13. The Cleveland Indians had the two best pitchers in the American League in successive years (2007 and 2008) and traded them during the seasons after they had won the Cy Young Award.

Now they meet in Game One of the World Series for other teams.

But there's more....Lee's teammate Ben Francisco, and Boston's Victor Martinez, and Minnesota pitcher Carl Pavano were others sent packing in 2009 to playoff bound teams. Ryan Garko went to the Giants, who just missed the playoffs.....and down in Dodgerland were a couple of guys named (Jim) Thome and (Manny) Ramirez, former Indians who had parted ways years ago, who continued Hall of Fame quality careers.

Its got to be heartbreaking for the fans of northern Ohio who have been without a World's Championship in any sport since the 1964 Browns won the NFL Championship in the pre-Super Bowl Era. They deserve so much more than what ownership is giving them on the diamond.

(2) The Battle of the All-Star Shortstops. The World Champion Phillies have Jimmy Rollins, who batted an unimpressive .250 but with 21 HR's, 43 doubles, 77 RBI's, 100 runs, and 31 stolen bases. He made only six errors at shortstop.

The Yankees counter with The Captain, Derek Sanderson Jeter- I wonder how many Philly fans remember Derek Sanderson's stay with the Philadelphia Blazers of the old World Hockey League? Mr. Jeter hit .334 in 2009, with 18 homers, 27 doubles, 212 hits, 107 runs, 66 RBI's, 11 stolen bases, and eight errors.

Gotta go with "Mr. November" in a series that will extend into a new month.

(3) Pedro Martinez is set to be the Phillies starter in Game Two of the World Series in Yankee Stadium. I know Phillies' manager Charlie Manuel is usually involved in all matters dealing with the National League....but didn't he ever hear about the notorious "Who's Your Daddy?" chant from 50,000+ Yankee fans in the 2003 ALCS?

If he's never heard it before, he will sometime on Thursday night.

(4) Getting back to the idea of New Jersey being a state divided during the World Series, here's a couple of views from the Star-Ledger, the first from Dan Goldberg and the second by Steve Politi.

And you guys thought I was making this stuff up? Read those two links, they get paid for being right all of the time; I'm just a blogger- I keep throwing stuff at you and hope I'm right.

(5) Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said today in a press conference that the Phillies need to play the Yankees. I understand what he means. Its about validation. The Phillies are the defending World Champions, yet are very much perceived as upstarts, pretenders to a vacated throne. What better way to claim the title of the "Best Team In The World" than to slay the biggest giant of the all, "The Beast that Won 40 American League Championships and 26 World Series"?

If the Phils do win out, they will be the first National League team to win back to back World Series since the great Big Red Machine, the 1975-76 Cincinnati Reds.

I'll be back with more thoughts about all things Series-ous tomorrow, and for the duration.

CNN Drops to Last Place Among Cable News Networks - Media Decoder Blog -

Some Commentary from "Hugh Jee"
Below you'll find a link to a New York Times story about CNN's fall to #4 in the TV ratings for the 24 hour news networks. CNN's sister station, HLN has passed them in the ratings. FOX remains #1 by a country mile, followed by MSNBC a distant second.

Make no much as I have disdain for FOX NEWS, and am a fan of MSNBC and their commentators Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, and Chris Matthews I find the fall of CNN to be troubling. Of all the news nets CNN is probably the one that does report hard news rather than fluff, or entertainment, not withstanding Larry King. Ted Turner created the 24 hour news channel with CNN at a time when most thought it would fail- but it thrived beyond the dreams of its critics.

FOX News, slanted to the right with more opinion based shows than actual reporting, with its array of eye candy female reporters, and its insertion of conservative pundits like Hannity and Beck to reign in the fringe, has managed to reinvent the 24 hours news network as political and cultural infotainment. And that's not a good thing.

About 30 years ago 60 Minutes proved that a TV news program could actually inform and entertain AND get huge ratings at the same time. And that's where the news business began to change...because it wasn't as much about telling people what they needed to know anymore as it was about telling them what they want to hear about, and making money off it. News became ratings driven, and a big moneymaker.

And now we live in a world in which Howard Beale and Paddy Chayefsky's NETWORK have all become a reality.

It...and we...have never been the same since.

READ MORE......CNN Drops to Last Place Among Cable News Networks - Media Decoder Blog -

BREAKING NEWS-Police to disclose developments in UConn probe- Man Charged With Murder

A defense attorney has said that his client has been charged with the stabbing death of UCONN defensive back Jasper Howard

READ MORE...from

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The White House vs FOX NEWS CHANNEL and Rush Gets Punked

Last night on Countdown....the skirmishes between the Obama Administration and FOX NEWS CHANNEL escalate. As long as the ratings are good, who cares about the facts?

And speaking of "facts"...Rush Linbaugh presents a parody about President Obama's college thesis as fact, then is told by someone that the piece is satire, and then trys to pawn it off as some kind of made up stuff that he knows must really be true anyway.

Forget "Worst Person In The World". He just might be the most foolish person in media today this side of Glenn Beck. The only dumber people are the ones who listen to him everyday and acutally believe his "facts".

Seeing is believing, heh?

Click here for more JUMPING IN POOLS.

Monday, October 26, 2009

More "Fair & Balanced" News Reporting From FOX NEWS CHANNEL

Thank God there is one 24 hour news network that adheres to the credo, "We report, you decide".

Yes, as always.... "Fair and Balanced" reporting from FOX NEWS CHANNEL

Also......the world is flat, OJ didn't do it, there IS an Easter Bunny, my other girlfriend is Angelina Jolie, Elvis is working at a 7-11 in Kalamazoo (owned by Andy Kaufmann), Perez Hilton is becoming a priest, if you step on a crack you WILL break your mother's back, and Jim Zorn's job as head coach of the Washington Redskins is safe.


New Jersey- A State Divided By Baseball (And Football, Basketball, Hoagies and Subs)

With all due respect to suffering Mets fans- who must be beside themselves this Monday morning because their worst nightmare has happened- today New Jersey is a battleground, divided by loyalties to the Bronx Bombers and the Fightin' Phils. Its not quite Bleeding Kansas circa 1859, but it is a state cordoned off into two sections, the South rooting for the Philadelphia Phillies, and the North for the New York Yankees in the upcoming "I-95 World Series".

To understand New Jersey and New Jersey sports loyalty, you have to talk about the cities of New York and Philadelphia. In the early days of the republic Benjamin Franklin once referred to New Jersey as a "barrel tapped on both ends". Two cities that became metropolises in the 19th century are on opposite borders of the Garden State. We get our broadcast news from New York and Philly, many of our citizens work in those cities, most of our major roads connect New York and Philadelphia....literally, all roads lead there.

We don't like being called "bedrooms" for New York or Philadelphia, because New Jersey is so much more than that.....but to a certain degree, we are an extension of those two cities and their metropolitan areas. And no where is that more apparent than in the loyalties New Jersey sports fans have for professional sports fans.

So where is this great divide? Where does it became more Eagle fans than Giant/ Jets fans, or in this case Phils vs Yanks? Its a good question. Ask ten different New Jerseyans "Where is the dividing line between North Jersey and South Jersey?" and you'll likely get ten different answers.

The map above will give you a rough idea....but I'll admit, its up to debate because my definition will be different from that of someone else.

Here's my un-official North Jersey/South Jersey test.

(1). Do you eat subs or hoagies?
(2). Do you pronounce "color" as "keller"?
(3). Eagles or Giants?
(4). Wildwood or Seaside Heights?
(5). Bagel and cream cheese or hot pretzel with mustard?




(to the uninitiated- Cicely and Megan are meteorologists for the ABC (Philly) and CBS (NY) affiliates respectively.

OK....if you answered "(1)Hoagie, (2)Yes, (3)Eagles, (4)Wildwood, (5)Hot pretzel with mustard, (BONUS Cicely) ....there is a 99% certainty that you can call yourself a South Jersey Philly centric...and will probably be rooting for the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series.

But then again....even THAT criteria isn't entirely accurate....because I haven't even talked about "what is CENTRAL Jersey", which many, myself included, regard as a separate entity- a microcosm WITHIN a microcosm.

I know....I'm not sounding logical. Fair enough, Mr. Spock.

I think you have to live in New Jersey to really get it. And maybe if you did, you'd be as crazy as I am.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Rep. Rob Andrews of New Jersey vs "Fair and Balanced" Tag Team

We know that Fox News Channel is "fair and balanced".....because they say they are.

(Just like THE PINK PANTHER's Inspector Clouseau, who told his boss Inspector Dreyfuss that the "blind man' who was a lookout at a bank robbery was REALLY blind...."Becuzz he tolld me sooo").

Just look at what happens when Jersey guy Rep. Rob Andrews (Dem, 1st District) asks for that famous "fair and balanced" treatment from FOX anchor Gregg Jarrett and conservative Republican Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee as they try to do a verbal assault (ala WWE tag team) on him in this video.

From his reaction, you'd swear that Mr. Jarrett has a problem with the term "fair and balanced.

I wonder why?

Melissa Suzanne- THE TWITTER SONG.....The Video!

A few weeks ago I posted an entry about Melissa Suzanne's "The Twitter Song".

And today....sneaking in on a night when we have both Sunday Night Football (featuring my Giants) and the ALCS (featuring my Yankees) we have the release on YouTube of the video for The Twitter Song.

So here it is to share with you, ladies and gents. And now I'll retire to couch for the next four quarters or nine innings or whichever comes first.

Seriously....really clever stuff. Well done, Ms. M!


( sure to turn off my somewhat annoying PLAYLIST in the upper left margin before preceding. We cannot be held responsible for competing songs assaulting your senses at the same time).

12 Hours Later (+ Another 12 Hours-) Rutgers Wins; Pitt, Bearcats Dominate; WVU Edges UCONN In A Heartbreaker

This entry is part of ongoing series following Rutgers football in the 2009 season.

So....Friday night I was watching a new episode of MONK. Adrian Monk, a detective suffering from OCD and various phobias, is cleaning his home, when his new "self cleaning" vacuum cleaner spits a cloud of dust in his face. He opens his eyes, and standing before him is his former nurse Sharona Flemming, whom he hasn't seen in five years.

Then a puzzled Adrian asks Sharona, "What year is it?". I know that feeling myself.

"What year is it?" was a question I was asking myself on Friday night while watching the Rutgers- Army game early in the second half. Rutgers lead was cut to one touchdown, 17-10 after Army scored on a quick series. RU struggled running the ball early in the game and I kept thinking that this version of Rutgers resembled the 2004 edition that went 4-7 much more than the program that has gone to four straight bowl games and won three in a row.

After thinking about the 27-10 Rutgers win for more than 24 hours, I'll compare this win to the formula at Maryland a few weeks ago- big plays on defense that disguised an offense that sputtered for long stretches, turnovers that led to Rutgers points, and Joe Martinek running the ball down the throats of a worn out defense in the fourth quarter.....all done in sloppy wet game conditions.

It wasn't pretty, but it was a win. It wasn't the domination we have seen by Rutgers over Army the past few years, like Ray Rice running wild for 240 yards back in '07 (a game played in rain, sleet, snow, wind, and 35 degree temperatures- froze me little butt off that night). But they got the job done, and that's what matters.

The Rutgers defense held Army to 213 total yards, 197 on the ground. Army completed only 2 of 9 passes for 16 yards. An option offense cannot turn the ball over- Army lost three critical fumbles, and had a punt blocked, recovered, and scored on by RU freshman Steve Beauharnais. Army ran the ball at a 4.9 yards per carry clip, only to watch too many drives end in turnovers and subsequent short field Rutgers points.

Tom Savage was an efficient 10 for 20 for 164 yards, no TD's, no INT's, and Tim Brown had four catches for 101 yards...but it is alarming how ineffective Rutgers running game is during early stages of games. Martinek had 139 yards on 24 carries for 2 TD's and a 5.6 per carry average, and Jourdan Brooks had four carries for 30 yards...but as said, most of the damage came in the late stages of the game.

I'm a fan of RU coach Greg Schiano, but I have to ask....what were you thinking on that fake punt early in the third quarter when punter Teddy Dellaganna threw an incomplete pass just inside Army territory, turning the ball over at midfield and setting up Army's lone touchdown?

And these other gadget plays, the "wildcat" variation isn't fooling too many people. Other than Jabu Lovelace's pass, where he threw for a first down when everyone thought there would be a run, there's just too much gimmickry and not enough good north/south running and effective run blocking.

RU is 5-2, but now its back to Big East play, where they are 0-2. Next up they play the UCONN Huskies, who yesterday played the most inspiring game of any Big East team in 2009, if not of any football team in the country.

West Virginia 28- UCONN 24

To me, this was the most memorable football game played this season by any two teams in any conference. It was the first game played by UCONN since the death of starting cornerback Jasper Howard last Sunday, who died in a teammates arms after being stabbed outside of a sanctioned university dance on campus.

It was an amazing game with seven lead changes, a stellar performance by WVU's RB Noel Devine ( 178 yards. 1 TD) and UCONN's receiver Marcus Easley (157 yards, 1TD).

But this game was more than about heroics on the field. It was about Jazz, and how he was honored by those love the game he loved.

Jazz Howard's #6 jersey was on the UCONN sidelines at Morgantown yesterday, and his number six could be seen in the stands, not just by those wearing UCONN blue, but Mountaineer blue and gold. West Virginia fans get an unfair rap for being inhospitable to visiting fans and teams (though I've been to games there and have never experienced it).

But yesterday WVU fans were absolutely stellar- 58,106 West Virginia fans stood and gave the UCONN Huskies a standing ovation as they took the field. During the moment of silence for Jazz Howard, there was hoots or hollers, or chants from the student section.

West Virginia fans you did yourselves, your state, The Big East Conference, and the college football community proud. Coach Bill Stewart is one of the classiest gentleman in a game that has more than a few unsavory characters.

To the UCONN Huskies...I'm a guy that bleeds Rutgers Scarlet, but your courage and resolve is amazing....I salute you. Coach Randy Edsall has been so eloquent and strong in this crisis- no coach should ever be asked to to do what he has had to do this past week.

Jazz was one of yours.....and he belonged to the greater community of college football as well. His loss is a shared by all.

More on the UCONN-WVU game here.

Some other games
Cincinnati 41-Louisville 10- It doesn't matter who's back there at QB for Brian Kelly...the Bearcat Juggernaut rolls on, now 7-0 overall, 3-0 in conference, and ranked #5 at game time. And how far has the Louisville program fallen? Was it only January 2007 when Louisville won the Orange Bowl? Just an incredible fall from grace.

Pitt 42, South Florida 14. Yes Pitt IS THAT GOOD. They're in the Top 20, and deservedly so. And USF...its time for their annual midseason El Foldo. They started at 5-0, lost the last two, with each loss a little worse....and they look lost on offense, defense, and make too many mistakes. The USF vaunted defense? Torched for 24 second quarter points at Pitt, down 31-7 at the half.

Iowa 15, Michigan State 13. I didn't see the game, but did catch the highlights. A last second TD wins the game for Iowa on a fourth down pass. Hawkeyes go 8-0 for the first time ever, and 4-0 in the Big Ten. They're in the driver's seat for a Big Ten title, and the Rose Bowl.

Clemson 40, Miami 37 (OT) There were 12 lead changes and it took overtime to decide, it was indeed the wackiest game of the day, and one of the most entertaining of 2009. When it was all over #10 Miami went down to defeat at home to the Tigers. There were so many big plays in this one I can't do it click here for a recap of the game and some video.

Just on thing....if Rutgers beat Maryland, and Maryland beat Clemson, and Clemson beat Miami, shouldn't Rutgers get more than one vote in the AP poll?

Just curious as to who the voter is....and I don't think The Daily Targum has a vote.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Affidavit: Mom told deputies balloon saga was hoax | National News |

To borrow a line from Claude Raines in CASABLANCA...."A hoax? Here? Mr. Blitzer I'm shocked! SHOCKED!"

READ MORE....from | National News |

Rutgers Beats Army 27-10

Behind a stout defense, Army miscues, and the strong running of Rutgers' Joe Martinek, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights defeated the Army Black Knights 27-10 in a nationally televised game from West Point's Michie Stadium.

I'll be back on Saturday to talk about it in my ongoing series on the 2009 Rutgers football season.

Soup- Soup- Soupy's Gone- Comedian Soupy Sales Exits At Age 83

" The Mouse, yeah! can do it in your house, yeah!"

Another little piece of my childhood passed on with the news of the death on Thursday of 83 year old comedian Soupy Sales. Soupy had a long career in various venues and shows, but his biggest success was probably in the mid 1960's when he did a show on WNEW, Channel 5 in New York City. I believe the show was on about 6:00PM, and had his "friends Pookie", White Fang (America's Meanest Dog), Black Tooth (America's Nicest Dog) and a slew of cast mates, most of who were never seen on camera, only a hand or an arm...or a claw in the case of White Fang and Black Tooth.

It was baggy pants schtick, but anything but a TRUE kiddie show. Everything was just slightly out of control, and it gave the parents something to laugh about...even though they where chiding us for watching such nonsense. It was fun and was a definition of "what is 'camp?'" in those days of The British Invasion/ Op Art/ and "these guys have GOT to be stoned to do this on TV".

Soupy had a decent cult following....stars like Frank Sinatra and Tony Curtis would show up, getting slapped with pies in the face, just like Soupy. His little ditty "The Mouse" became a hit record, and even got him a coast to coast gig on Sunday night's ED SULLIVAN SHOW on CBS, and started a minor dance craze....that is, if you can consider making a gnawing motion with your mouth while your hands simulate a mouses ears flopping around to be "dancing".

Below, Soupy talks about what REALLY happened when he told the kids in the audience to go in their parents wallets while they were sleeping and send him the "little green pieces of paper". No, its not an urban legend. That one really happened.

Also, three clips from a 1965 SOUPY SALES SHOW.

Click here for more on the life and career of Soupy Sales.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Scarborough and O'Donnell Heat It Up On MORNING JOE

Today on Morning Joe a VERY heated exchange between host Joe Scarborough and frequent guest Lawrence O'Donnell, triggered by their reactions to former Vice President Dick Cheney's comments about President Obama "dithering" in Afghanistan.

Looking on were Mika Brzezinski, Mike Barnicle, and Willie Geist. All were wearing kevelar vests and helmets.

Just in case.

The Heene's As "The Aristocrats"

The saga of "Balloon Boy" Falcon Heene and the Heene family echo's back to another famous family trying to break into show biz.

Here Keith Olbermann explains- aided by Gilbert Gottfried, George Carlin, Bob Saget, Lewis Black, Penn and Teller, and others telling the tale of The Aristocrats.

I have a policy of no profanity on the pages of this blog. But if you really "don't get" the analogy of the Heenes to the fictional "Aristocrats" here's a link to Bob Saget's version of the much told Aristocrats joke. Be warned, if you offend easily don't click on to the video....when you look up "raunchy" in your online dictionary, this video is probably embedded as Exhibit A (but you will laugh!).

Or check, or trusty old Wikepedia for "just the facts" behind The Aristocrats.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Richard Lewis On Lieberman, Bachmann, and Beck

Comedian Richard Lewis joins Keith Olbermann on COUNTDOWN, and gives his take on conservatives, the healthcare debate, Glenn Beck, Michelle Bachmann, and tells the bizarre story about a chilly reception he got from Senator Joe Lieberman.

MSNBC is #1 For Cable News!!!!!

Its official.....forget Faux Noise1 The new Number One 24 hour news broadcast network is MSNBC.

Because Keith sez so!!!!

The Miss America Organization Announces Rush Limbaugh as a National Judge for the 2010 Miss America Pageant « PageantCast

I know its an old story, but I had yet to comment on it....until now. The man who the NFL considered to be too divisive to be an owner of the St.Louis Rams will be a judge at the Miss America Pageant.

There he is....."Mr (Rush) Limbaugh".

I especially like this excerpt from the news release....

"Limbaugh will be one of a panel of seven distinguished judges that will help decide which of the 53 contestants will capture the Miss America 2010 title and serve as the Goodwill Ambassador for the Children’s Miracle Network, as well as introduce the first Go Green platform for MAO".

So....a man who doesn't believe in global warming and has publicly ridiculed people who do so, and has made a living attacking environmentalists, is going to be selecting a new Miss America, who's organization will institute a "Go Green platform".

Did I just log unto Bizzaroland? Or am I missing "the Big Picture".

I'm sure the Miss America Organization knows what they're doing....having a judge who refers to feminists as "femi-Nazis" and has openly rooted for the President of The United States to fail will give them that ratings boost the pageant needs...all 20 million Dittoheads MIGHT tune in.

Click the link below for more....

The Miss America Organization Announces Rush Limbaugh as a National Judge for the 2010 Miss America Pageant « PageantCast

Quick Hits For October 21 (Political and Baseball Spikes)

(1) Last week I was surprised to see a huge spike in readership for this blog- it more than doubled over its average on Wednesday (October 15) and remained much higher than average (close to 200 views higher) on the following day. Today I found out why when I checked out the GOOGLE diagnostics.

The previous Monday (October 12) I wrote an entry Star-Ledger Endorses Daggett, and when the largest daily newspaper endorses a third party candidate it does tend to cause some very large ripples. New Jersey readership of this blog surged, and across the board there seemed to be more interest in this story, and in related stories about the Chris Daggett, Chris Christie, and Jon Corzine campaigns.

And its going to get even more interesting in New Jersey before its all over. The latest polls show the breakdown as 39% each for Christie and Corzine, with Daggett holding at 14%. So if these trends hold, no matter who wins in New Jersey, the next governor of New Jersey will take office with 60% of the population voting against him. That is hardly an endorsement of the last four years under Corzine, nor would it be a triumph for the Republicans on the national stage- all it would mean is the Republican base was solid and were able to pick up just enough independents to snatch victory at around 40%. And if Daggett can continue to sway votes away from either candidate.....does the name Jesse Ventura ring any bells?

(2) The Yankees beat down the LA Angels last night behind the strong pitching of CC Sabathia and the continued remarkable hitting of Alex Rodriguez, 10-1 in Anaheim. The Yanks now have a 3-1 lead in the best of seven series, with Game 5 tomorrow night in Anaheim. Sabathia, working on only three days rest, allowed only one run and pitched a strong eight innings while A-Rod had a single, a double, a home run, scored three runs and drove in two. And number nine hitter Melky Cabrera drove in four runs and had three hits.

A-Rod has now driven in at least one run in eight straight post season games, tying an MLB record. His five post season home runs ties him with the legendary Reggie Jackson for second most for a season in Yankee history. In this year's ALCS Rodriguez is 6 for 16 with three homers and five RBI's.

We are on the cusp of seeing a career defining post season, one that could be talked about for a generation. This is getting to be fun.

(3) It looks like the Phillies will close out their NLCS against the Dodgers....though its wise never to count a Joe Torre managed team out. But still, can you imagine the fans in Los Angeles who had visions of a Freeway Series between the Dodgers and Angels, now watching both of their teams on the brink of elimination?

(4) And for that matter, if it does become Phillies- Yankees in the World Series, it could be dubbed the "Jersey Turnpike" or "I-76 Series". They've only met once before for a World Championship- that was back in 1950 (Yankees won). Its nice to get to together every century or so for a World Series.

(5) Still no arrest has been made in the murder of Jasper Howard, the UCONN defensive back who was stabbed to death early Sunday morning. And once again, Bill Stewart, West Virginia's head football coach, proves to be one of the classiest individuals in the game. Stewart referred to Howard as a fallen brother.

And there are other tributes to follow. Click here to read more, from ESPN's Brian Bennett.

(6). I loved seeing Olbermann's take on Fox News "falling out" of the their #1 perch as far as 24 hour news nets. Reasoning that they are not a news organization but a branch of the Republican Party, only MSNBC, CNN, and HLN are left to duke it out for supremacy. And if that's the case, MSNBC would be the new #1 on the strength of its evening lineup.

Makes sense to me.

(7) And what about George HW Bush, in a radio interview following a speech asking for a return to civility, calling Keth Olbermann and Rachel Maddow "sick puppies". OK, he's a dad sticking up for his son, who just managed to break a few things in the old China shop. And Keith can be kind of blunt and pointed in his criticism...but Rachel? Is there a person alive who can rip someone to shreds but do it in such a classy intellectual way that is so lacking in malice, or individual hurtfulness? I think the first President Bush has been watching too much Fox News.

But wait...they aren't a news organization anymore....I think I covered that already.

(8) And in closing...its great to see Julianna Margulies back on series TV, now on The Good Wife on CBS. Its the story of a former political wife who returns to practicing law after her US attorney husband is convicted of corruption and sent to prison. There is a lot of psychological undertones and nuances in the scripts and in the performance- if you want to see subplots spelled out in the conventional way, this is not the series for you. But like the SOPRANOS and MAD MEN (and my fave British import, ASHES TO ASHES), everything is significant- there are no throw away lines or scenes. Chris Noth plays her husband, and the great Christine Baranski is one of her antagonists, a managing partner in the firm she works for.

And obviously...Julianna is as stunning as ever.

That's all for now.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Adding A Little Music To The Mix

Some of you repeat offenders (returnees to this blog; obviously people with much too much time on your idle hands) might have noticed the addition of a music player from And before I go any further, I'm having one of those days when I really don't want to write or talk about politics, healthcare, either war, FAUX News, or any type of current event. If I were to do so my head might explode, so its fluff time for today. Trust me....I know what I'm doing. Its a mental vacation day.

Now....actually I got the idea for the player when I visited Sue's blog, Hellooo....Mr. President, are you listening?,- she had embeddded a player from And I thought to myself...."That is so cool....and its so FREE!".

So later that same day I joined the website, got my own player and embedded it in the left hand margin of this old bloggerooni. That is after I conducted a a long and meaningful search to select 40 (and only 40) songs that are worth attaching to this site.

If you haven't already guessed, I'm what can charitably described as- and pardon the expression- an old fart. And consequently I listen to old fart music, made for old farts mainly by even older old farts. GREENDAY and THE VERVE are about as 21st century as I get musically. But I did make some pretty eclectic selections.

For a few days I led off with Monty Python singing I LIKE CHINESE, but I didn't want any of the readers thinking that they might have slipped into a blackhole and had gone back in time to an English music hall, circa, 1910.. So I deleted song #1 and replaced it with Robbie Robertson's COYOTE DANCE- that one's for all of you visitors who haven't recovered from those peyote buttons you took in Flagstaff back in 1982.

BIG LOVE, the acoustic live version with Lindsay Buckingham burning up his fretboard follows, and I had to include one from the classic Buckingham Nicks album (CRYING IN THE NIGHT). The next three songs have a sad connection. FOTHERINGAY features Fairport Convention's lead singer Sandy Denny, and Sandy sings the duet with Robert Plant on the following song, THE BATTLE OF EVERMORE. Then we have Eva Cassidy with her version of OVER THE RAINBOW. I knew nothing of Eva Cassidy until about 10 years ago. On an episode of NIGHTLINE there was the story of her UK version of OVER THE RAINBOW, which was a huge hit in Britain. But Eva Cassidy had died of melanoma several years before in relative obscurity. Off the top of my head, I think she was only 31 or 32 when she died. And Sandy Denny, who left FAIRPORT, rejoined, and left for good in the late 1970's also died prematurely- she fell down a flight of steps, and was only 27 or 28 when she passed on. Two talented, angelic voices that were with us so briefly, then taken.

It doesn't seem fair.

I wanted to give some mention to country rock, so I've included Poco, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Byrds, Neil Young, and Emmylou Harris with Gram Parsons, and their direct descendants, Tom Petty and The Dixie Chicks. Hard rock with the legendary Humble Pie, Power Station, and The Who, and some classic instrumentals with Jeff Beck, The Allman Brothers Band, Booker T and the MG's, and John Mayall and The Bluesbreakers (featuring Eric Clapton). For da blues some Bonnie Raitt and Buddy Guy. And some sardonic humor with Randy Newman ("Mr. Monk Goes Blogging?") and the incredible Richard Thompson....I wonder if Britney Spears as any idea who the guy is.

And of course, being a Jersey Guy BRUCE has to be represented, as are Bon Jovi and Southside Johnny. In fact, Springsteen is the only person to make the playlist twice, even though one of the songs is one he didn't write....but most "Non-Jerseyans" think he did.

.....Are you still with me?

I didn't think so.

OK....I'm going to end this, and watch the Yankees and Angels in Game Four of the ALCS. Can CC get it done for the Yanks on only three days rest?

"Start spreadin' the news".....

( more time...if you want a free playlist and player for any of your social networking sites, go to Playlistcom. Its so easy even an aging commie pinko can do it.)

Huskies resuming practice after cornerback's death |

In an update from the University of Connecticut in Storrs, an arrest is pending for the person who allegedly stabbed Huskies' cornerback Jasper Howard to death early Sunday morning.

It has been announced that both UCONN and West Virginia University will hold a tribute to Howard before this Saturday's game between UCONN and WVU at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, WV.

READ MORE...from The Associated Press and

Monday, October 19, 2009

Balloon Boys and Boobs; Give The People What They Want

"Give the people what they want
You gotta give the people what they want
Blow out your brains, and do it right
Make sure it's prime time and on a Saturday night.
You gotta give the people what they want
You gotta give the people what they want
Give the people what they want
Give the people what they want
Give the people what they want"
"Give The People What They Want" by the Kinks

Last week two stories became media sensations, and a week later people are still trying to figure out why. Conservative blogger Meghan McCain posted a picture of herself on TWITTER, a self portrait, wearing a low cut top that partially exposed parts of her breasts, but never revealing anything that is not seen on daytime TV. Within minutes the photo became the talk of the the blogesphere. Much of the talk was critical, some of it questioning Ms. McCain's morality, some coming from conservatives, some coming from liberals. Within hours Ms. McCain removed the photo from her TWITTER page, debated closing her TWITTER account, and felt compelled to write a retort in The Daily Beast titled " Don't Call Me a Slut". The mainstream media picked up on the coverage, and the picture that was pulled by Ms. McCain became part of internet domain. GOOGLE "Meghan McCain" and you'll see a subcategory on the drop down menu; "Meghan McCain's breasts".

This blog's coverage OF the coverage of this story can be found here, as well as the link to McCain's post on THE DAILY BEAST, and some reactions to the story.

But that was really small potatoes compared to the saga of young Falcon Heene, the six year old boy from Colorado who was believed to have accidentally flown off in a hot air balloon, as a nation followed with its collective breath held. The media was all over this story from the gitgo. Nothing else mattered; it was three hours of "drama" played to the hilt by CNN, MSNBC, FOX, the broadcast networks, and hundreds of local stations throughout the United States, and before the world.

But even before little Falcon was found hiding in his parents home, the story had a strange smell about it. Some media types (ie CNN"s Jack Cafferty) seemed to sense that we were all being punked. And as the facts began to unfold, and the bizarre story of dad Richard Heene and what may likely be a conspiracy to get this family from left field a reality show more than a few people- not just in media, but on the street- were all thinking the same thing....we were suckered.

PT Barnum said that Americans love a humbug....and this was the latest bit of proof.

Rather than go into chapter and verse of what transpired in the "Balloon Boy" saga (here's a link to the latest on "Balloon Boy", if you must), and give the Heenes more publicity than there entitled to, let's just call them out....these are two parents who have exploited at least one of their children, and have probably put them in danger while storm chasing with their three young sons in the car. These are people obsessed with this pseudo celebrity culture spawned by the unreality of "reality TV".

The old movie To Die For with Nicole Kidman and Matt Dillon told the satirical tale of a beautiful but shallow young woman who actually believed that you were nobody unless you were on television. The film was released in 1996, and predated the era when the networks kept feeding the public more and more unscripted TV. But one of the points this allegory made- that there are individuals who seek validation and meaning of their lives by being on television- has never been more relevant. The internet has given everyone a shot of 15 minutes of celebrity, even more if the 24 hour news media pick up on a person or subject. And one thing the whole Falcon Heene story does bring to focus is that there are persons who will go to any length to manufacture news in order to gain celebrity status.

And we the people eat this stuff up.....and the Big Four networks, the basic cable stations, the 24/7 news media are only happy to oblige- unreality TV is cheap to produce, you don't have to worry about writers, unions, or strikes, and as soon as the "stars" start to lose their luster, you dump them and get some other poor sap with little or no shame.

Remember the good old days when VH1 was actually about MUSIC, and not the mind numbing, unwatchable crap they present now? Back in the day that network, and MTV, were run by music fans, not B-school wonks who only look at the bottom line.

Mr. were right.

Life is a freak show, and in America you have a ticket to the front row.

But you guys are asking for it...

And too many of us....myself included....are aiding and abetting.

New Home Shopping Blog Debuts

Readers to this blog know that on occasion I talk about the wonderful subculture of the home shopping networks (hey, if women can watch sports- OUR domain, can't a guy check out the stuff they watch?). But my references are relatively few and far between, maybe a couple of items per month.

Since the apparent demise of Queen Bea's blog- she's MIA, and hasn't posted anything since May- there has been a void in the blogesphere as far as real news in the home shopping universe.

Now that void has been filled.

Journalist Linda Moss started a blog in September that deals with the world of home shopping. Her blog is on Wordpress and is called Homeshoppingista. It appears to be thorough, behind the scenes reporting, and the lady does speak her mind and calls 'em as she sees 'em.

So....if you're in the market for a new home shopping blog, give "Miss Moss The Homeshoppinista" a try.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

12 Hours Later (Plus).......Some Thoughts About The Week in College Football, Some NFL, and a Tragedy At UCONN

This is part of my ongoing revue of the Rutgers football season from my seat in Section 104, this one with a couple of days delay. "On the seventh day, he rested".

Before I go on to talk about some of the games this past weekend in college football, and a mention of some of today's NFL games, there's some tragic news from the University of Connecticut.

Jasper Howard, the starting cornerback for the UCONN Huskies, was stabbed to death in an on campus incident in Storrs. Howard, along with another student, was attacked after a dance just after midnight Sunday morning. On Saturday UCONN had beaten Louisville 38-25. Jasper Howard, a kid from Miami who went to UCONN to escape the violence of his neighborhood, was only 20 years old.

As I type this no arrests have been made.

My condolences to Jasper's family and friends, to the UCONN football team and coaching staff, and to the University of Connecticut community.

More on this story from ESPN.

Pitt 24- Rutgers 17....The old axiom is simple; in order to win football games on a consistent basis first you must (1) be able to run the football; (2) stop the other team's running game.

On Friday night the Pitt Panthers (now ranked #20 in the BCS poll) were able to roll up 223 yards on the ground against Rutgers, led by freshman phenom Dion Lewis with 180 yards with two touchdowns. Rutgers was able to rush for a net of 38 yards, led by Mohamed Sanu's 29 yards with 1 TD out of RU's variation of the wildcat offense. The Pitt defense was brilliant; stop Rutgers running game, and force RU to a one dimensional air attack. Rutgers qb Tom Savage actually had passing stats similar to those of Pitt counterpart Bill Stull; Savage- 23/39, 248 yards, 6.4 per pass, 1 TD, 1 INT; Stull 16/24, 153 yds, 6.4 per pass, 1 TD, 0 INT. But too often Savage was forced to go to the air to try to keep drives alive in third and long situations, and too often he couldn't get it done.

Consequently, there were too many three and outs, the Rutgers defense was forced out on to the field for long stretches of the game. The 33:46 to 26:14 Pitt time of possession advantage wasn't indicative of how the game played out- Rutgers held the ball for 10:39 in the fourth quarter until an RU fumble ended final drive with 1:02 left in the game. In other words, until that fourth quarter Pitt held an time of possession advantage of nearly three to one.

Very simply, Pitt moved the ball on the ground, and Rutgers couldn't. And if there has been an ongoing theme for Rutgers football in the post Ray Rice/ Brian Leonard era its been this- lack of a consistent ground game. And its wrong to point a finger at Joe Martinek, Jourdan Brooks, Kordell Young, and De'Antwan Williams; each of those players have had a 100 yard games in their careers. The problem is doing it on a week in, week out basis. Its how Rutgers was able to lift itself from the ranks of the also rans to respectability. Rutgers defense is usually there, with rare exceptions. Special teams have not been the problem. The team comes up with turnovers, and is among the nation's leaders in turnover ratio.

Yes, RU does need to develop a third wide receiver to go with veteran Tim Brown and young Mohamed Sanu. They've got the quarterback of the future here in the present in Mr. Savage.

But it all begins in the trenches with an offensive line that can run block, and running backs who are money in the bank on third down. Until Rutgers can get back to doing what took them to those dizzying heights of 2006- running the ball down the other guy's throats- we'll be looking at 7-5 seasons; good enough for a bowl game, but just treading water in the Big Kid's pool.

A Couple of Other Games I did watch the Louisville-UCONN game mentioned before. Andre Dixon once again continued to impress me as a running back, and as a guy who decided to get it together both on the field and in his own life. Kudos to him.

West Virginia 24, Marshall 7.... I only saw the second half of this game, after WVU QB Jarret Brown was hurt and replaced by Geno Smith. At the half in "The Friends of Coal Bowl" The Thundering Herd led the Mountaineers 7-3 in Morgantown in a minor shocker. But there was a little too much Noel Devine on the WVU side, too many miscues from Marshall (2 INT's 2 fumbles lost, 2 fumbles recovered when errant snaps shot over the quarterback's head). The Herd need to play error free ball to win at WVU, probably the best home field advantage in the Big East, and one of the nations best. They didn't...and they fell apart in the second half.

USC 34, Notre Dame 27..... This was the only other college game I watched this weekend. The Irish almost did it again with their last minute heroics. Jimmy Clausen threw three incomplete passes into the end zone as the Trojans held off the Irish, and came out with their eighth straight win over their greatest rivals. I'll admit it- with Notre Dame's penchant for winning games in the last minute this year I has visions of a headline saying "God (And Jimmy Clausen) Lift Irish To Miracle Win" in my head. But, order was restored to the universe; today USC is #7 in the BCS poll, Notre Dame among the missing.

So be it.

This and That..... Are the rest of you as tired of watching every scoring play under review in college football as I am? Why do these BCS conferences hire well paid officiating crews to work these games if they can't see some very obvious plays that broke the plane, or had one foot in bounds? And during Pitt-Rutgers on Friday, Pitt called a timeout for defense after Tim Brown caught a pass for a big gain for Rutgers. ESPN went to commercial. They came out of commercial- then the officiating crew announced to the crowd (on a 40 degree and wet night) that the previous play was under review. Does the NCAA have some sort of arcane rule about reviewing a play during a charged timeout/commercial? Incredible!

The legend of "Little Jovi" goes on. It was the 4th quarter, and young Nicholas Sasso did his Jon Bon Jovi impression on the jumbotron at Rutgers Stadium. Nicholas has become so big that when the stadium camera operator moves on to the lovely Rutgers cheerleaders or dance team, thousands in the crowd start to boo!

Nicholas...this is the business you have chosen!

Some NFL and MLB..... In the NFL; Bills 16, Jets was an OT game that nobody seemed to want to win until the Bills hit a field goal to end it all and send CBS into 60 Minutes. Welcome to New Jersey and cold weather, Mark Sanchez; 10-29 for 119 yards, 0 Tds and 5 INT's. A passer rating of 8.3. No, that is not a typo.

Saints 48, Giants 27.....and it was worse than the score indicates. The Giants never got to Drew Brees who went 23 for 30, 369 yards a 4 TD's. I was late getting to the broadcast, and it was already 14-0 Saints. This could have been the worst embarrassment for any team this Sunday if it wasn't for....

Patriots over Titans, 59-0. I didn't see it, and I'm just as shocked by this score as anyone. At 45-0, the Pats had the biggest halftime lead in league history. Tom Brady had six TD passes, including a record setting five in one quarter. This equals the biggest blowout of the AFL-NFL merger era, since the Rams beat the Falcons 59-0 in 1976. The record, you ask? In 1940 the Bears beat the Giants the NFL Championship game!

A quick shout out to former Rutgers running back Ray Rice who had a great game in a losing cause, as the Ravens lost to the Vikings on a late field goal 33-31. Ray had 10 carries for 77 yards and two TD's, and 10 catches for 117 yards. Great guy, and the best running back we've ever seen On The Banks.

In Closing...those Yankees! Early AM heroics as they win in the 13th inning, and move on to LA with a two games to none lead on the Angels.

Who wants pie?
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