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NEW BLOG FEATURES
Author: BobR    Date: 10/25/2007 22:54:08

BLOG UPDATE

I have made several modifications to the blog. They are:
  • Added a "Help" link: This displays a help screen for new users.

  • Added a "Latest" button: This displays the latest blog entry with comments.

  • Added a "Search" button: Allows for simple keyword search of the blog entries.

  • Added a "roll-up" button: This "rolls up" the main blog entry while in the Comments screen. This eliminates the need to scroll down the screen every time to post a comment when the main blog entry is long. The button is like a toggle, and will roll-up/roll-down every other click.

  • Added a time format display option: Now time can be displayed as AM/PM, or as 24hr military time.

  • Graphics: Changed the menu button graphics (necessary because of limited space).

Hopefully, this will make the blog experience even better for our members! Please let us know immediately if you encounter any problems...


15 comments (Latest Comment: 07/23/2008 15:51:28 by IzzyBitz)

A Tale of Two Cities
Author: Raine    Date: 10/25/2007 12:21:07

When hundreds of thousands of Southern California residents were evacuated from their homes in the wake of this week's devastating fires, memories of Hurricane Katrina couldn't help but surface as scores of evacuees ended up taking refuge in the city's Qualcomm Stadium.

But after two days, what has developed here in Qualcomm could hardly stand in sharper contrast to the spectacle of Katrina, especially the chaos in Louisiana's Superdome.

Qualcomm is clean. It is organized. It is, in many regards, at times even festive, with clowns to entertain children who are wearing dust-particle masks to protect their lungs from the hanging smoke and blowing ash.
Compare and contrast...Qualcomm has about 20,000 evacuess and the Superdome had about 25,000
Continue reading...

175 comments (Latest Comment: 10/25/2007 23:10:30 by livingonli)

Fall Classic 2007
Author: TriSec    Date: 10/24/2007 23:03:16

Good Evening!

Well, it looks like the weather is going to hold and we'll be able to get that game in tonight.

Boston is in the unaccustomed position of being the favorite...and it's got some people thinking.

Have we lost our angst?
Life was simpler when we were Idiots.

On its face, this day in Boston, this week, this entire October, couldn't be any better. The Red Sox play in the World Series tonight for the second time in three years. The Patriots are undefeated and seemingly unstoppable. Boston College is ranked number two in America.

"Heaven in New England," yesterday's New York Times declared, in a column in which our mayor bragged about living in a "city of champions." USA Today has proclaimed the Red Sox to be the "biggest attraction in baseball." Fox executives have sore knees from their prayers of thanks that Boston, not Cleveland, has landed in the World Series.

We're rolling sevens everywhere. The perennial bridesmaid is now the odds-on favorite - two-to-one against Colorado, according to the Vegas line. Phones are ringing. Far-flung friends and family members are calling - tell us what it's like, fill us in on the excitement, don't spare a single detail of the city's singular swagger.

So shouldn't it feel better than it does?

The first order of business is to admit it to ourselves: 2004 was more meaningful. Back then, and in the 86 years that preceded it, we knew who we were. We were hapless, though never hopeless. We were the ones that always had something to overcome - a curse, a seemingly in surmountable deficit, a little-brother syndrome.

In the end, until that fabled October, we usually lost, but that was OK. In defeat, we had identity. We got to be the luckless loser. A team, its city, and indeed, an entire national following, thrived on it.

Tom Menino was sitting in his City Hall office yesterday saying what needed to be said. "This is different. In 2004, we never had a taste." He paused, then added, "When you think about Boston, 1 in 3 Bostonians is 20 to 34 years old. You and I know what it's like to lose. They don't."

Which means they don't know about our angst. It was our blanket, our source of comfort, our common bond. If angst were a natural resource, we could have had factories packaging it up 24 hours a day and shipping it to every part of the world.

As it was, we claimed all the angst for ourselves, though the good people of Chicago seemed to have their own supply. Red Sox fans could always blame our misfortunes on New York's payroll, Boston's mismanagement, free agents' unwillingness to come here. It gave us our status as perennial underdogs, the lovable spectacle. We wore that suit, frayed as it sometimes seemed, very comfortably.

Without it, what have we become?

And here's the answer we know but dread: Another free-spending, big market team that buys its way into the postseason with every expectation that it will win.


Continued...



Dan Shaughnessey also has an interesting column today...Dream teams all around

Play Ball!

TIME: 08:00 P.M. EST
VENUE: Fenway Park

Probable Pitchers

Boston: Josh Beckett
http://us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/i/us/sp/v/mlb/players_l/20070627/6403.jpg?x=65&y=85&xc=1&yc=1&wc=164&hc=215&q=100&sig=BdeVYJentQ_SqpvN28f42A--

20-7, 3.27

Colorado: Jeff Francis
http://us.i1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/i/us/sp/v/mlb/players_l/20070627/7383.jpg?x=65&y=85&xc=1&yc=1&wc=164&hc=215&q=100&sig=VTcs3eY1_NUBe0R.AT68Sw--

17-9, 4.22

And don't forget to check out the Head to Head Comparison

But I said it before...if teams played the way the looked on paper, sports would be very boring and predictable indeed.


43 comments (Latest Comment: 10/25/2007 03:22:21 by livingonli)

Think Globally, Act Locally
Author: BobR    Date: 10/24/2007 12:10:18

California is burning. The news coverage has been amazing, from the up-close of a reporter filming his own house burning down to the wide angle of satelite photos showing fires and smoke covering areas larger than some smaller states in the union. Fortunately, there have been very few deaths, and the state has done a good job of managing the evacuation of nearly a million people, but the costs will be horrendous. Could it have been prevented? Is this a harbinger of things to come?

It's been speculated that a warmer planet and changing climate patterns have already begun and may be partly at fault here, although the Santa Anna winds and smaller fires are the norm. But then - so are other climate cycles that seem to be getting worse every year.

From this article describing the melting of polar ice:
The relentless grip of the Arctic Ocean that defied man for centuries is melting away. The sea ice reaches only half as far as it did 50 years ago. In the summer of 2006, it shrank to a record low; this summer the ice pulled back even more, by an area nearly the size of Alaska. Where explorer Robert Peary just 102 years ago saw "a great white disk stretching away apparently infinitely" from Ellesmere Island, there is often nothing now but open water. Glaciers race into the sea from the island of Greenland, beginning an inevitable rise in the oceans.
(The video at the link is like a punch in the gut)
Continue reading...

154 comments (Latest Comment: 10/24/2007 23:07:35 by TriSec)

Ask a Vet
Author: TriSec    Date: 10/23/2007 10:25:31

Good Morning.

Another week at war, our 1,679th day in Iraq.

We'll start this morning as we always do, with the latest casualty figures courtesy of Antiwar.com::

American Deaths
Since war began (3/19/03): 3834
Since "Mission Accomplished" (5/1/03): 3695
Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 3373
Since Handover (6/29/04): 2975
Since Election (1/31/05): 2397

Other Coalition Troops: 303
US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 449


We find this morning's Cost of War standing at
$462,335,150,000.00




Turning to our friends at IAVA, we find an interesting column by a returning Iraq vet. It's something we have spoken of often, the "What, me worry?" attitude of most Americans during a time of war, seemingly without a care for what is going on overseas.

Continue reading...

184 comments (Latest Comment: 10/24/2007 04:17:21 by Raine)

Fire and rain
Author: Raine    Date: 10/22/2007 12:05:02

Good monday morning. First, before we go any further... let me send a HUGE round of applause to Red Sox Nation!!!! I think it is safe to go outside again, untie your shoelaces and do whatever you do regularly. The Red sox will be meeting up with the Rockies for the world series this year. Wow. Congrats. And yes, sympathies to the Indian fans out there.

So I woke up to the sound of rain this morning. Strange sound. The south could get anywhere from a half inch to an inch today. Not nearly enough, but we will take anything we got. Metro Atlanta is facing water rationing.

Yes, it is bad. So I am sure you could assume that people are pulling together to do something right? Wrong, instead, many in the tonier areas of town are trying to install wells on their property so they can continue watering the precious landscaping. You can read about it here. Make sure you don't spit out your coffee
Last week, Laura Askew, co-owner of Askew Drilling Co. in Jonesboro, scheduled a homeowner who had spent some $25,000 on plantings and is now past the 30-day window allowed for watering professionally installed landscaping. The total outdoor watering ban took the home-owner by surprise.

"He was real upset about it," she said.

With neighbors now routinely squealing on each other for outdoor illegal watering, drilling a well has become a sensitive proposition. Several homeowners who had wells drilled in recent days did not return phone calls or declined to talk on the record. The Grayson homeowner said she didn't want to call attention to her property.

Continue reading...

76 comments (Latest Comment: 10/23/2007 02:44:16 by MMB)

A Boston Hat Trick?
Author: TriSec    Date: 10/21/2007 23:08:11

Good Evening!

We've got two in the can already today.

The Patriots game was over in 5 minutes today, and they won going away, 49-28. Squish the Fish indeed!

There was a battle of the "Original Six" at The Vault today, and Da Broons took that one in dramatic fashion, winning with the last chance in a shootout, 1-0 over the Rangers.

Can the Sox finish the trifecta for New England today?

TIME: 08:00 P.M. EST
VENUE: Fenway Park

Probably Pitchers:

Boston:
http://images.sportsline.com/images/baseball/mlb/players/60x80/1145060.jpg

Daisuke Matsuzaka, 15-12, 4.40

Cleveland:
http://images.sportsline.com/images/baseball/mlb/players/60x80/44649.jpg

Jake Westbrook, 6-9, 4.32


We've been here before. October 20, 2004.
Will we see history repeat itself?

18 comments (Latest Comment: 10/22/2007 04:13:58 by livingonli)

ALCS Game 6
Author: TriSec    Date: 10/20/2007 20:48:27

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girs...

Welcome to the confines of Friendly Fenway Park, home of your BOSTON RED SOX!!

http://img.nytstore.com/IMAGES/NSAP568_LARGE.JPG


Let's play two!

TIME: 08:00 P.M. EST
VENUE: Fenway Park

Probable Pitchers

Boston:
http://images.sportsline.com/images/baseball/mlb/players/60x80/8052.jpg

Curt Schilling, 9-8, 3.87

Cleveland:
http://images.sportsline.com/images/baseball/mlb/players/60x80/533051.jpg

Fausto Carmona, 19-8, 3.06


I did post this story on the message board, but I can't resist referring to it again. This proves beyond a doubt that Red Sox Nation is the most superstitious fan base out there for any major sport.

The rumble enveloped Littleton, Mass., and dozens of nearby towns at 1:23 a.m. yesterday, a grating noise that witnesses said sounded like a truck crashing, a lumbering freight train, or a 747 buzzing 100 feet from the ground. As windows rattled and floors vibrated, people sat up in bed, dogs barked, and weary baseball fans awoke on couches with their televisions still flickering, wondering if the Red Sox had won.

"I thought, oh, my God, the furnace blew," said Ann Carey, 64, who was jarred from sleep in her Westford bedroom.

It was a 2.5-magnitude earthquake with an epicenter near Littleton Common. No injuries or damage were reported, but it rattled homes from Milton to Hollis, N.H. Another minor temblor shook the Merrimack Valley earlier this month.

The emergency switchboard lit up at the Littleton police station with reports of explosions and accidents on Interstate 495. "We had two people working the phones, and we still couldn't keep up," said Sergeant Robert Romilly.

A 0.9-magnitude aftershock followed at 6:04 a.m., said John Ebel, director of Boston College's Weston Observatory. There have been a dozen minor tremors near Littleton since the 1970s, with the last coming on Oct. 8, 2004, the day Red Sox slugger David Ortiz hit a 10th-inning home run during a championship playoff run. Is there a correlation?
[See? I told you so! - TriSec]

"One can only hope," Ebel said.


I'll be ready with my 'miracle radio'....how about you?



29 comments (Latest Comment: 10/22/2007 00:55:58 by velveeta jones)

Libertarian Saturday!
Author: TriSec    Date: 10/20/2007 13:01:24

Good Morning!

Well, I haven't done one of these in a while. Let's see what's going on...

You'd think with all the kerfuffle going on in the airport about shoes, and liquids, and carry-ons, and electronics, and everything else that a book is probably the least offensive and safest thing you could take on board. You'd be wrong. Watch out what you read; Uncle Sam wants to know!
"The U.S. government is collecting electronic records on the travel habits of millions of Americans who fly, drive or take cruises abroad, retaining data on the persons with whom they travel or plan to stay, the personal items they carry during their journeys, and even the books that travelers have carried, according to documents obtained by a group of civil liberties advocates and statements by government officials.

"The personal travel records are meant to be stored for as long as 15 years, as part of the Department of Homeland Security's effort to assess the security threat posed by all travelers entering the country."

That's right. Fifteen-year-long records are created and stored, regardless of your innocence, without your knowledge or consent.

That can include even the books you travel with. The Post reports that a group of activists requested information on their travel records, and found the records included a description of a book on marijuana one of them carried.

"The federal government is trying to build a surveillance society," John Gilmore, a libertarian and a heroic civil liberties activist, told the Washington Post. "The job of building a surveillance database and populating it with information about us is happening largely without our awareness and without our consent."

What other personal information is Homeland Security collecting (all to keep you free, of course)? Lots -- like, for instance, the kind of hotel bed you sleep in.

Notes The Washington Post:

"The [Department of Homeland Security] database generally includes 'passenger name record' (PNR) information, as well as notes taken during secondary screenings of travelers. PNR data -- often provided to airlines and other companies when reservations are made -- routinely include names, addresses and credit-card information, as well as telephone and e-mail contact details, itineraries, hotel and rental car reservations, and even the type of bed requested in a hotel."

The Washington Post also told the story of Zakariya Reed, a Toledo firefighter, who said he has been detained at least seven times at the Michigan border since fall 2006.

Twice, Reed said, he was questioned by border officials about "politically charged" opinion pieces critical of U.S. policy in the Middle East he had published in his local newspaper.

Once, during a secondary interview, he said, "they had them printed out on the table in front of me."

Incidentally, your DHS travel file is exempt from Privacy Act requirements. So you have no right to correct even erroneous information that might be there -- waiting to bite you.


Continue reading...

6 comments (Latest Comment: 10/20/2007 17:19:59 by starling310)

It's Friday, Ya Bastahds..
Author: BobR    Date: 10/19/2007 12:03:27

Yesterday afternoon we heard from Ms. Rhodes herself about the "unfortunate incident" that resulted in her missing some teeth, and apparently almost losing an eye. She said she walked outside for a smoke and the next thing she remembered was waking up with her face caved in. Not a mugging?... Not a vicious attack?... Sorry, but I don't believe you get that kind of damage from blacking out and falling down. Not being able to remember seems like a common reaction to trauma. So it seems that there are still a lot of unanswered questions, and she doesn't seem interested in answering them.

So for now, let's just enjoy this mid-October Friday. It's the perfect time of year for carving pumpkins, going to the local spook house, and drinking beer at the local Oktoberfest.

For those of you looking to do more than just the typical carving, there's Pumpkin Masters, the well-known company that has made an industry out of pumpkin art. They have a few basic free patterns, but if you want the good ones, you have to buy them.

...Or you could just go for really weird:
Continue reading...

169 comments (Latest Comment: 10/20/2007 02:10:48 by livingonli)

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