Countdown

31 December, 2007

Happy 2008!

Another year is gone, and a new one is upon us. I wanted to take a few moments to look back at a year gone, and forward to the next.

What were some of the big news stories that happened this year? A few things stick out..

  • Barry Bonds at the pinnacle of the steroid era of baseball
  • The diaper wearing astronaut
  • The fires of So-Cal
  • The assassination of Bhutto
  • The K-Fed and Britney saga
  • 16-0 (and almost 0-16)
  • The writers strike
Whatever you will remember '07 for, whatever you are looking forward to in '08, it is what you make of it.

Here's to a great '08!

Leave comments with what you think is the biggest story of 07 and predictions for 08.




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23 December, 2007

Merry Christmas

I wanted to take this chance to wish you and yours a wonderful Christmas Season. A friend of mine sent me this, it is a Christmas Medley that is done quite well.

Enjoy, and thanx for reading! :)




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Is it really necessary?

In these days of not trusting the police, TASER has introduced a TASER cam. They have upgraded a model of their hand-held non-lethal immobilizer. The X26 model is able to be fitted with a video camera that can capture as much as an hour and a half of video with sound.

I saw a report on the news about this new feature, and a debate on the concept.

What does this mean for law enforcement? Well, if it is anything like the dash cams in patrol cars, it doesn't bode well. Remember when they started to go into cars? They were supposed to be to verify police officers actions. Instead what what they have done is bread police misconduct complaints.

The problem I have with all of the complaints about it is, the TASER was designed to be a non-lethal way for law enforcement to subdue potentially violent assailants before they become violent. To prove the safety and efficacy of their devices, many employees and all of senior management have taken shots (including several by CEO Rick Smith) from the TASERs they produce.

Why is it that someone is threatening civilians or law enforcement officials, they can only act when it seems it is too late? Isn't that what the TASER was supposed to be? A non-permanent way to save innocent lives? Now, like in so many cases in today's legal system, the criminals have more rights than the victims. And no, a bank robber who got TASERed is not the victim.

My piece of advice, if a cop is telling you to do something, 'do it'. If you don't, the officer's choice is the .40 cal or the TASER. Which would you prefer?


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16 December, 2007

In the news...

There have been a couple of big stories in the news this past week, the CIA interrogation tapes being destroyed and the Mitchell report.

The first story, the NY Times reported that 2 tapes featuring several hours of interrogation of two high ranking Al Qaeda lieutenants that allegedly featured severe tactics including waterboarding.

Regardless on your thoughts on torture, this story only serves one purpose. First of all, these tapes were destroyed 2 years ago. This is just another chance for those who hate America to attack the current administration.

I'm not one to give the CIA carte blanche when it comes to questioning detainees. If we pull out all the stops, we are no better than the heathens that they are protecting us from, but they should be given some latitude to do their job. Remember, these are the guys who aren't afraid to die. otherwise, they are not going to be willing to pilot a plane into a building, or put on a dynamite vest on and walk into a crowded market. Don't these guys get a free pass to heaven when they die for Allah? One of these guys gave up information that saved countless American lives after less than 35 seconds.

The CIA claims the reason for the tapes being destroyed is that the agents doing the interrogating can be identified. My reaction to that is if you don't want the agents to be identifiable on your interrogation tapes, don't make the tapes.

To those who say the CIA should be able to keep the tapes secure, keep in mind that the CIA isn't the only intelligence agency that is tasked with using covert means to secure information. And if the NY Times can break the story that the tapes were destroyed, imagine what a trained field agent can do if they wanted to.

==========================

The other story that is dominating the news is that of the Mitchell Report. It's the 400+ page report authored by former Maine Senator George Mitchell at the request of commissioner Bud Selig. In the report, more than 80 current and former Major League Baseball players are named in connection with steroid or human growth hormone (HGH). Some of the names are surprising (Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens) others are not (Barry Bonds). The report names players from all 30 teams, but it is curious that 25% of the list authored by a member of the Red Sox board of directors is made up of current and former Yankees.

This report was nearly 2 years in the making. It was met with a myriad of reactions. Will it make a difference? That is to be seen. Do the fans really care? As a whole, not really. Individually, perhaps.. Will it effect entrance into the Hall of Fame? I think it may. I don't see it keeping anyone out of the Hall, but it may delay their entrance. Someone like Bonds who was well on his way to be a near unanimous first ballot inductee will likely not be voted in for a year or two.

The question that keeps getting asked is: what should the League do with the players? First off, many of those on the list are no longer players, so there isn't anything that MLB can do. For those who are still active, the recommendation from Mitchell is to do nothing to them. I have to say I agree. Too much of the information is circumstantial, and there is the whole spectrum of involvement. Some were offered HGH and declined (David Justice, in an interview on ESPN Radio with Colin Cowherd on Friday) others had a more in depth involvement. Keep in mind, steroids and HGH were not against the rules of baseball until just recently.

When you start talking about wiping records, you have to consider all of the implications. If you take away Barry Bond's home runs, do you take away wins from the Giants? What about the runs scored by the players already on base when he hit it? The pitchers' ERA? All of the sudden it isn't such an easy solution.

The bigger implication in the report is the hundreds of thousands of non-professional athletes, many high school and college athletes who are on the juice. That is the problem that really needs to get addressed. That is the real problem here.

** My disclaimer.. this is the second time I wrote this today, right before I published it, my web browser crashed, and I lost it, so I had to start it over..


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13 December, 2007

It's not easy being green.

It's that time of year again. Time to pick how you want to be billed for your energy, and who will bill you for it.

This is thanks to the genius of Charles Schumer. You see, we aren't smart enough to take care of ourselves, so it's a good thing that we have such a smart, benevolent senator like Schumer.

He came up with this brilliant idea of de-regulating the power industry of NY. This allows for a bunch of other companies to start billing us for power that is still provided by RG&E, along lines that are owned and maintained by RG&E, so it only makes sense that another company can come in and do a better job of billing than the company whose infrastructure is being used, and whose product is being used.

The thing that throws me off is the company that is offering green energy. It costs more, but you can get that warm feeling when you turn on your furnace to get warm. How is it that a company that doesn't produce the power control where the power comes from? And how do they keep the coal and nuclear power from those customers who worship the gods of global warming? What's even better, they have different levels of green plans. That way, you can choose how much you love the planet.

Don't get me wrong.. I am not advocating for waste, I just want to save money.

And it seems that you cannot ever win with Al Gore's disciples. (see my column from back in August of my thoughts about wind farms).


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10 December, 2007

Who let the dogs out?

Former NFL quarterback Michael Vick was sentenced for his part in a dog fighting ring this morning. As you may already know, a house owned by the former Atlanta Falcon was used for an underground dog fighting ring.

When it came to light, the new gestapo of the NFL, commissioner Roger Godell issued an indefinite suspension. As the investigation developed, several of the people involved in the ring, took plea deals. Vick and his attorneys decided that the best thing to do is to plead out himself. The sentencing came down today, 23 months.

The questions that this raises is was that fair? Speculation was that it would have been closer to 12-18 months, but the statute allowed for as much as 5 years.

Will we see him back in the NFL? Well, if he serves his full sentence, he will be in jail until midway through the 2009 season (October 2009). He then will have to serve whatever sentence the League sees fit to impose. So it is likely that he won't be eligible to play until at least the 2010 season. At that point, he will be 29, and out of the league for 3 years. Sure, he will have the opportunity to stay physically fit while in prison, but that isn't NFL game condition.

Reaction to the sentence was varied. Many were satisfied that he got a stiffer sentence than expected, while others played the 'he was a victim' card and got a stiffer penalty than someone who fit a different demographic would get.

Bottom line, I feel the sentence was fair. He got hit in the pocket book much harder than the jail time. He lost millions in endorsements that will likely never come back even if he does make it back to the league. Do I think he will be back in the league? Probably. If the QB shortage is anything like it is now, someone will give him a shot. I think that he will have paid his debt to society by then. After all, this is the land of second (and third and fourth) chances.


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06 December, 2007

Here they come again! Our heroes!

The federal government must think we can't survive without them. I guess we have given them plenty of reasons to think that, but it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The more someone (or someones) come to the rescue, the more they become dependent on the help.

The latest example of the white knight that is the Federal government is the announcement that they are going to freeze the adjustable rates on all of those mortgages. Sounds like a good thing, but here is what is being missed.. If borrowers can't afford the rates where they are frozen (which by the way is among the lowest on record), how are they going to be able to afford the payments in 5 years, when the rates thaw?

I understand that one of the key indicators of the health of the economy is housing sales, but isn't this just another form of welfare?

If there hadn't been the pressure to relax the standards for loans, there wouldn't be the need to bail out those who didn't plan ahead enough to get a loan they would be able to afford.

I'll be the first to tell you that I am no Warren Buffet, but I was smart enough to not get a loan for the max I was approved for, and I got a fixed rate. The only time my payment will change is when my taxes go up to help pay for everyone else that needs the government to bail them out.


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05 December, 2007

Why does it matter?

I'm about to talk about the two things you aren't supposed to talk about.. and I'm going to do it in the same column.. Religion and politics.

I don't understand the hypocrisy of it. One candidate is automatically disqualified because of where he spends his Sunday mornings.

It doesn't matter that the church in question teaches fiscal responsibility and personal accountability.

A church that developed a welfare program that fosters self improvement, a program that is designed to ween people off it. This program doesn't breed generations of dependents.

On the other hand, if a person pays homage to the same deity as those guys who flew planes into the Twin Towers, that is off limits.

I guess what it comes down to, does it really matter what church a person belongs to? Politically speaking? I don't think so.

One last question to consider.. Why is religion such a big deal for a former governor from the land of the Kennedys, but no one cares or even knows that a senator from the Silver State goes to the same church??


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04 December, 2007

It must be fair..

I mean, it has to be.. people much smarter than me came up with it, and ESPN talking heads keep drilling it..

I'm talking about the rules that say a NFL franchise has to interview minority coaching candidates before they fill a vacancy. Now they are trying to force the rule into the college ranks.

Is it fair that of the 119 Division I-A football programs in the country, only a small handful is a minority. I think the number is less than 1 in 10 programs.

This comes up every year when the coaching carousel starts spinning.. It becomes big news when black assistants remain assistants.

Is the 'good old boys' club as strong as they would have us believe? Should organizations be forced to parade token candidates to comply with the rules? The theory is that it gets the name out there.. but If I am a hiring manager and I pass on a candidate, what does it say about the candidate? Are you more or less likely to hire someone who I passed on?

Do we have a ways to go? Yes. Is mandating affirmative action the right thing to do? I don't think so.


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Heroes Season Finale

It's been a while since I added something new here.. so I figured it was time I put something up, I'll start with my take on last night's season finale of what is quite possibly the best TV series ever, Heroes.

I know, it wasn't officially the season finale... but if they don't settle the petty dispute between the producers and writers, it is unlikely the show will return before next fall. More on the strike in a bit..

A few weeks ago, I ran across a podcast and website dedicated to the show that is very well done. It has a very active forum. It can be found at http://www.thetenthwonder.com/ if you are a fan of the show, it is worth checking out.

Let me start out with saying if you haven't already watched the episode, there are spoilers here.. you have been warned... :)

The obvious first question is who shot Nathan and is he really dead? I think that we have seen the last of Nathan Petrelli, but Adrian Pasdar may reprise his role in a flashback sequence in future episodes. As far as his killer goes.. I would bet that it is Noah. After re-watching the episode, and pausing it as the lone person walks away from the commotion, it really looks like that person is wearing horn-rimed glasses (or as he is known in the forums as HRG)

My take on what Hiro did to Adam/Kensei is this.. I know that he (Hiro) felt that he needed to do something to put an end to what Adam/Kensei was up to, but if he is supposed to be the good guy, is trapping him in a coffin underground (was it LT Sulu's coffin?) the way to go? It seems that it is more of a cruel thing to do than to just cut his head off. Someone in the forums suggested that the super hearing that Sylar picked up last season from the mechanic will help him to locate him and dig him up.. interesting theory, but I'm not sure how much stock I put into it. I believe David Anders is done (except for possible flashback sequences).

Is there any significance to the other visible objects in the vault? From what I saw, there was a dagger, a brain, 3 cards (3 queens), a pyramid, a gold key, and a few other things. Honestly, I think that most of these objects have little to no plot value. People may be just looking for something to speculate on.

Does anyone else have any thoughts on this series or episode? Predictions for volume 3? Drop me a line!

Now, getting to the strike. More often than not, a strike is the most selfish thing a worker can do (conversely, a lockout is the most selfish thing an employer can do). I understand that getting about $0.04 per DVD is not much, but the strike is hurting more than just the producers and actors. Most of them can afford to take a couple of weeks off.

What about all the rest of the staff? The cameramen, the grips, the set builders and countless more.. most of them are working stiffs.. they aren't making ton of money for the work they do, especially in comparison to the others..

And what about those who are indirectly related to the productions? People like drivers and caterers.. When the person that put their life savings into opening a catering business goes under because their biggest client is a TV studio, what happens?

And what about the advertisers? They put up good money to advertise in primetime shows that have been forced into re-runs? Do they get a refund or discount?

But what do I know?

I just hope this strike doesn't effect the upcoming season of Lost.


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12 September, 2007

Do we remember 9/11 for the right reasons?

This may seem like this is a day late, but this isn't your typical 9/11 column. It's more of a reaction of the reaction.

Yesterday, I saw a video clip online that was a montage of pictures, videos, and news clips from 6 years ago. It was quite well done. There were several pages of comments about it. Most of them were from the vein of 'I was getting ready for work' or 'my brother was there' or 'the firemen were so brave'. Very heart felt. Many were poignant.

And then there was the other end of spectrum.

There were several from the whack jobs on the other end of the spectrum. There were countless comments from people who ended the post with "I HATE BUSH" or "BUSH LIED" and the like.

These are the types of people that are bad for America. Oh, they think they are being good Americans, and that they are what America needs.

I wasn't around for Pearl Harbor or the Lusitania, but after these events, did we criticize the government for planning the events? Did you ever hear about people who claimed that we bombed the USS Arizona?

I'm not saying that the government is always blameless, but attacking its own citizens? That's what Sadam did, not Bush. There is no credible evidence that the towers came down due to anything other than those planes. They were not imploded by pre-planted explosives. It's amazing how hot a 757 full of fuel will burn. It is hot enough to compromise the integrity of structural steel.

We were right to act out with emotion. We just reacted with the wrong emotion. We shouldn't be acting with sorrow, it should be anger. Not with vengeance, but with a purpose.

We need to take stock in what we lost 6 years ago. What we have given away since. Are we honoring those who gave their lives in the towers?


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30 August, 2007

What will it take to sink this ship?

Just when you thought we had heard the last about the fast ferry, it is back in the news. It seems that a law suit has been filed against the city. The suit alleges that the city had no authority to purchase the failed venture.

Now, I completely agree that it was about the dumbest thing for the city of Rochester to do, but will a law suit fix it? It will just end up costing the city more money.

First, the city will have to spend money to defend itself.

Second.. if they lose, what happens? Will they have to buy the boat back from Germany to let it get repoed by the myriad of creditors?

We should just let it go. Cut our loses, and move on to the next waste of tax dollars.. Renaissance Square.


Just remember, when the Renaissance Square project fails, we can't sell it to the Germans.


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06 August, 2007

Milestone weekend

It finally happened. The other untouchable record was touched. It used to be said that no one would get 61 homeruns in one year, then two players did it in the same year, and it has been broken since..

Now Bonds has tied Hammerin' Hank, and will likely be the career HR king within a week. Whether or not you believe he took steroids, it is still an accomplishment. You still have to make contact with a projectile coming at you at upwards of 100 mph from less than 60 feet away. A projectile that isn't coming straight, it is moving left to right, right to left, up to down..

Other milestones reached this weekend include Alex Rodriguez becoming the youngest to get to 500 career homeruns. Will we be doing this career HR chace in 5 years? Who knows.

Those of you who know me, know how much I dislike the Yankees, but I do have a respect for A-Rod. I think it's funny how fickle Yankees fans are. Wasn't it just a few months ago that they were begging Cashman to dump him? Now, he is their savior.

Lastly, a milestone that is unlikely to be duplicated ever again, Tom Glavine recorded career win number 300. In todays era of the middle and long reliever, it is unlikely that anyone will sniff that number again. The next closest is Randy Johnson, who is one strong healthy season from hitting it. Unfortunately for him, he is about to go under the knife for another back surgery.


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24 July, 2007

What should Stern do?

That is easier asked than answered.

I am referring to what the NBA should do about former referee Tim Donaghy. He was recently flipped by the Feds as part of an organized crime gambling bust.

It turns out that Donaghy was helping to fix games to meet or beat the point spread.

All over the sports web sites, the poles are which is a bigger black eye on the sport, Bonds and his steroids, Vick and his dog fighting, or Donaghy and his fixed games. As bad as the first two options are, there is no comparison.

Bonds may be well on his way to cheating his way to the most hallowed record in sports, and dog fighting is unspeakable at best, but a dirty ref is goes a lot further. It strikes to the core of the integrity of the game.

It goes beyond what Pete Rose did. When Pete bet on the Reds as a manager, he was betting that his team would win. When a referee bets on a game, or effects a game in another way, it goes so much deeper. It directly effected the outcome of games.

When games are decided by other than players and coaches, so much more is affected. How often does one game change who makes the play-offs or seeding in the play-offs? How many player contracts were affected? How many coaches have been fired because they didn't win enough games?

There is no way of knowing how deep the wounds may go.

What is commissioner to do? Like I said earlier, there is no easy answer.

Can the league survive it? I'm sure it will.

Will the league lose fans? I'm sure it will.

Sports fans will always come back.

Should the league have the right to audit the finances for its officials? I think it isn't too much to ask. They don't have to be made public, just made available to league brass.

Now, this isn't going to be a fool proof system, people will always find ways to hide their ill-gotten gains. I think it may be a good start.




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02 July, 2007

Full of Hot Air?

I wish they will just make up their mind.

I'm referring to the people who insist on finding alternative fuel sources. It seems that they don't always think things through.

If, like the High Priest of Global Warming Al Gore insists, we have a limited amount of fossil fuels, and a growing thirst for it, we need to find a new way to quench that thirst.

I read a letter to the editor in today's paper that caught my eye. It was attacking the investors interested in putting up windmills. Particularly the ones planned for Wayne County, NY.

It seems that the biggest complaint about them is that they are eye sores.

I am not sure that I buy off on that. I rather like the look of those giant majestic propellers on the sky line. I remember driving over the Altamont Pass, where I-580 passes through the Diablo Range in California, home to over 4000 wind turbines. It is truly a site to behold.

Here is where the hypocrisy comes into play. If there is a way to generate the electricity to run our electric cars, (so we can get away from that evil brew of hydrocarbons we are currently hooked on..) wouldn't it make sense to do it? I mean, where do we currently get our electricity from? Coal fired and nuclear power plants, and dams. The trifecta of evil earth haters.

Shouldn't we want to make that sacrifice? Isn't that what we are supposed to be willing to do? Give something up so we don't feel so guilty about our lifestyles? Isn't that the tithing that we pay to be members of the Church of Inconvenient Truth? Shouldn't we be willing to endure the eye sores so we can avoid drilling in Alaska, and offshore in the Gulf of Mexico? And don't forget all the oil that we import from other countries.

I'm no scientist or engineer, but it seems that we have several viable alternative energy sources, but the tree huggers that force us to seek out such sources shoot us down before we can implement any of them (after all, isn't it better to shoot an oil worker than a spotted owl?).

By the way, what type of fertilizer do you use on a wind farm?

28 June, 2007

Why do we hate cops?

It seems that in this day and age, there is a growing disdain for our law enforcement officers, whether on the local level, or national.

Recently, there were 2 separate chases involving criminals and local police departments that ended in the death of one of the alleged criminals fleeing the authorities.

The first occurred on 15 May, 2007. Pam Chatman (a woman with 30+ aliases and a rap sheet "literately 20 feet long") was fleeing the police after shoplifting from the Grease Towne Mall, the other happened more recently. A passenger in the fleeing car was killed at the end of the pursuit. In the car, the Police found unregistered, loaded weapons and drugs.

On the national level, boarder guards are not being able to do their job. When they are threatened by drug smugglers and coyotes, and return fire, they are put in jail.

Why is it that when someone is arrested, we blame the cops? Why is it that when the person fleeing the police gets hurt in a chase, we immediately look to see if the cops were at fault? What ever happened to 'you do the crime, you do the time?'

Granted, there are some bad cops out there, but they are by far the exception, rather than the rule.

I don't really have an answer to this, I just thought I would throw this out and see what you had to say about it...

09 June, 2007

I can't belive I'm saying this...

Al Sharpton was right.

Yes, you read that right. I am actually agreeing with the Reverend.

When Hotel heiress, Paris Hilton was reassigned to house arrest to serve out the rest of her already shortened sentence, it stank of favoritism.

The fact that less than a day later, she is back in jail shows that perhaps the LA justice system might not be as messed up as initially thought.

Does a person's race or economic status play a part in the treatment they receive from law enforcement? Perhaps. Does it happen as often or as blatantly as the good reverend would have us think? I don't think so.

Playing the race card when race isn't the factor only hurts the real victims of racial bigotry. In fact, in todays society, it seems that we bend over backwards to avoid any hint that race might be a factor. Without getting into detail, I have seen it happen.

In the Paris Hilton situation, I think the message is that if you are famous, you are above the law. The list of celebrities who have gotten favorable treatment includes people from several different races, not just Caucasians.

So much for Justice's blind fold, I think it might be slipping.

03 June, 2007

He should be in jail.

And now he's talking of suing the government for putting him in quarantine.

I'm talking about the lawyer that flew to Italy and back after being diagnosed with a rare form of TB.

Ok, so maybe he wasn't aware of his condition before his flight to Italy, but reports indicate that he was advised not to fly home on a commercial flight, and the fact that he changed his flight to Montreal and drove across the boarder seems to indicate that he knew he would be flagged at the airports.

Who knows how many he could have infected. He put countless people in danger. Now, I am by no means an expert on infectious diseases (like his father-in-law), but it seems that a trans-Atlantic flight would expose him to a myriad of people, both directly and indirectly.

He acted with reckless abandon (can you tell I watch Law and Order?).

One good thing has come from this, it exposed a weakness in the boarder crossing that can be addressed and corrected.

25 May, 2007

Isn't it just the case...

OK, so now if you don't come to the defense of a complete whack-job, you are a coward? Even if that fat cow is a complete 180 from where you stand on a subject..

I just want to make sure I know all the rules.

In case you missed it, (and unless you are living in a cave, you probably didn't) that annoying waste of space Rosie O'Donught used her soap box to once again prove her ignorance to the world on her show.

A few weeks ago, she compared the US Troops to terrorists. Surprise, people didn't like that insinuation, and she got a reaction.

When co-host Elisibeth Hasselbeck didn't come running to her defense, Rosie called her a coward.

So, the lesson of the day is: If a co-worker who could eat you says something stupid, something that you don't agree with, and when people get mad, if you don't kiss her fat backside, you are the coward.

You see, Rosie is smarter than all of us, and if she says it, it must be right. (like when she said that George W. planted bombs in the World Trade Center #7, the evil conservatives must have done it. Since I'm not as smart as she is, I wondered why if we bombed ourselves, why we couldn't sneak WMD into the Iraqi desert.. but like I said, I'm not that smart.)

I'll step down from my soap box now.

24 May, 2007

Season Finales

This week, two of the best shows on TV had their season finales, 'Lost' and 'Heroes'. I wanted to give my takes on both.

I'll start with the older of the two shows, 'Lost'. I will include spoilers, so if you haven't seen it yet, and plan to, be warned.

This years season was kind of a weird one. It featured a long hiatus 6 episodes into the season.

I wasn't sure how I liked the emphasis on 'the others' in season 3, but the last couple of weeks made it worth it. There was some interesting developments of Ben, Juliette and 'The Others' in general. Having said that, I thought the episode that they spent developing Nikki and Paulo (Expose, s03e14) was misplaced. They spent too much of the episode developing characters that were minor at best before this episode, only to kill them off at the end. I didn't remember them at all, but after discussing the episode with friends, I vaguely remember them (or at least her) from the past.

Overall, I felt that the 2-hour grand finale raised more questions than it answered. I like the way that the 'flashback' was actually foreshadowing. But the beard doesn't work on Jack.

Questions like:

--Whose funeral did no one go to? (Ben? Locke? Sawyer?)
--Who is at home wondering where she might be when she is meeting Jack at the airport? (Ben? Sawyer? Kate and Jack's kid?)
--Was Naomi really the problem that Ben said that she was?
--Did Desmond make it out of the 'Looking glass Station'?
--What was the work that Walt said Locke has to do? (and where have he and Michael been?

Also, some questionable plot turns, like why does Charlie close the door of the station from the inside instead of the outside?

I know that a lot of people got turned off by the season. From the huge gap in the middle of the season to the (at times) drawn out plot lines. I felt that I had enough invested in the first 2+ seasons to at least stick out the end of this season. Now that it's over, I will be looking forward to the 4th season this fall.

++ Heroes ++

When this show first started, I wasn't sure if I would like it. Enough people told me it was good, so I gave it a shot, and after an episode or two, I got hooked.

I wasn't keen on having to read all the subtitles when Hiro and Ando (and Lt. Sulu as well) when they were talking to each other in Japanese, but I get it.

I liked how they dragged out how long it took to figure out if Claire's dad was a good guy or not.

After 22 excellent episodes, I have to say that I was disappointed in the finale. I felt it was rather anti-climactic.

The final show-down with Sylar was a let down.

My prediction for next season is that Micah and Molly will be a big part of next season. They left a huge opening for it when they were waiting for the elevator.

Have we seen the last of the Petrelli brothers? What is their mother's power? Will DL come through from the bullet? Is Niki or Jessica going to dominate? Is one of them done? Are we going to find out that Suresh has an ability (it is in his blood, his sister had the same power as Molly)? What happened with the Haitian? What is going to come of Hiro in feudal Japan?

Both shows have potential to have strong seasons next year.

What are your predictions for next year? What about reactions to my thoughts/questions?

30 April, 2007

Baseball needs to re-think its scheduling practice

I meant to write this a while back but I didn't want to over shadow the events that lead to my last two posts.

Now that the baseball season (both Major and Minor leagues) are starting earlier and earlier, they need to rethink the idea of having cities in the northeast host games in the early season.

Those of us who live in the northeast (I'm in Rochester, NY) know that weather is, at best, unpredictable.

It doesn't seem to be as much of a problem for the majors, since they have larger travel budgets and multiple trips to each city (except for the inter-league games, which don't occur in early April).

Why is it that the southern and western teams consistently travel to the colder climbs to open the season. Who was the brainiac who sent the L.A. Angels of Anaheim to open the season in Cleveland, OH? With several feet of snow on the field, the games were moved to Milwaukee, WI, into their domed stadium. (did anyone else notice that the games were moved to the home stadium of the team owned by the sister of the commissioner?)

Now I understand that the southern teams don't want to lose home game dates in the summer when more people are likely to attend, as opposed to the days that schools are still in session.

What becomes unfair, is now that the Rochester Red Wings of the International League (an AAA League) will lose 3 home games this year because of bad weather. Since the teams involved, aren't scheduled to make another trip to the Flower City, the games will be made up when the Red Wings travel south later this summer.

To make matters worse, in the make-up games, the Wings won't even get the benefit of last ups in these games.

Now is the time to make the change. If the season isn't going to start later in the year, than have the first 2 weeks take place in southern and western cities, or cities that have domed stadiums. Would you rather sit at the stands of a game in August in South Carolina, or in Rochester?

Or, here's a novel idea.. how about going back to playing more double-headers? That would allow the season to start later, but not shorten the number of games (which might not be a bad idea either..).

Play ball!

19 April, 2007

More gun laws are not the answer

Given the recent events in Blacksburg, VA this week, one might be quick to say that we need more laws to control the possession and use of firearms in this country.

Without turning this into a 2nd Amendment discussion, I would have to whole-heartedly disagree.

Anyone who says otherwise either hasn't thought it through, is just plain ignorant.

First of all, do you think that Cho Seung-Hui was concerned with the law when he gunned down 30+ people on campus Monday?

Would another law have prevented the tragedy? In a word, 'No'.

Sure, it may have slowed him down, but as hell-bent on destruction as he was, he would have found a way to secure weapons to fulfill his manifesto.

If the gun dealer had not legally sold him guns, he could have gone to many urban street corners to pick up a Saturday night special, or he could have gone into a garden center, and picked up a bag of ammonium nitrate and a Ryder truck like Timothy McVeigh did 12 years ago today.

Despite your stand on the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment, the more restrictions the government places on it's law-abiding citizens, the less protected the citizens become.

One thing that I don't hear being mentioned is the comparison to the shooting in Trolley Square in Salt Lake City two months ago. No one has stopped to say how much worse that tragedy could or would have been, had Kenneth Hammond (an off duty police officer) not been there with his legally registered hand gun, how many more innocent lives would have Sulejman Talovic taken if he wasn't stopped by a citizen with a gun?

Let's apply that hypothetical to the Va. Tech. scenario. If one of the students in the engineering building (or in the dorm for that matter) had been allowed to carry a gun, how many of those 30 people killed would still be alive? Given this, one could hypothesize that gun laws exaggerated the casualties.

In full disclosure, I am a member of the NRA, and a gun owner.

As always, I welcome, and invite your thoughts and comments.

13 April, 2007

Imus got a raw deal

Don't get me wrong.. he is an idiot for what he said on the air, but was it grounds for the wrath of Sharpton?

Was anyone really surprised that he was capable of saying something so stupid on the air? He's been saying stupid, ignorant, controversial things on the air for nearly 40 years now. He invented the profession of shock-jock. Was he over the top this time? Perhaps.

Here's a novel idea, if you don't like what someone says on the radio or TV, change the channel. Let's all be serious... it's 2007, we have more choices for media than ever before. How many people actually heard what Imus said live? He's not even on the air in my market, and if he was, I wouldn't be a listener (well, I guess he was on MSNBC, but I'm not one of the 4 people that watch that network).

It is one of the biggest double standard in today's society. And before you play the oppressed slave card, lets really take a look at it. First of all, who do you think sold the slaves to the slave traders? That's right, other black Africans. And if they hadn't, how likely is it that Al Sharpton would even be in this country? He is a descendant of slaves (ironically, descended from a slave owned by the ancestors of former Senator Thurman). If slavery hadn't happened, would he be here to cry out against the devastation caused by some idiot on the radio? If I were one of the players, I don't know who I would be more upset at. No, I do know. Imus is some ignorant radio shock jock, Sharpton is arrogant enough to think that I need his protection. He thinks that the players aren't tough enough to let it go.

Why is it that Kramer gets lambasted for his moronic tirade, Imus gets fired for saying less, yet Chris Rock and Richard Pryor's routines are full of 'cracker' references and N-bombs, and audiences are in hysterics.

And have you heard the lyrics for Snoop Dogg, or Jay-Z, or countless other rap/hip hop artist. How many times do they talk down to black women, and all they get is the 'parental warning' label on the CD and sell countless albums.

The scariest part about this whole thing is that I agree with that fat slob on The View, if they can take down an icon like Imus, who is next? Rush? Beck? Savage? Hannity?

Another racially motivated story in the news that seemed to disappear recently. Those 3 lacrosse players that raped the stripper last year (oh yea, that's right, they didn't). The story that forced the pre-season number one ranked college lacrosse team to sit out the season. The story that got the coach fired, the story that blacklisted those 3 boys. Oh yea, the story that will likely get the Durham County DA disbarred for trying to grab headlines and kowtowing to Jackson and Sharpton about the 3 evil, privileged, white boys that were less than civil to the black stripper, who couldn't keep her story straight.

Bottom line, we have taken this whole politically correct thing way to far. We all need to take a step back. We need to be more sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of other. Thumper's mother had it right when she said "if you can't say something nice, don't say nuttin' at all."

But we also need to be less sensitive and not be so quick to take offense to the things that others say, you know the whole sticks and stones thing.

Let the flame war begin.

11 March, 2007

I went to see my brother Michael's performance as Adam and Noah in his high school's (and my alma mater) production of Children of Eden this weekend.

I don't know how much of my opinion comes from the fact that he is my brother, but I thought the production was fantastic. It was a long show, over 3 hours. But it moves right along, and before you know it, the first 90 minute act is over.

He doesn't have the most powerful singing voice in the cast, but he didn't detract from it (and it is much better than I would ever be), but he makes up for it with stage presence. When the little things that happen in every performance came up, he didn't miss a beat, even when his pants fell down mid-dance. :) (he was wearing a tunic, so it wasn't the obvious wardrobe malfunction we had a few years back in the Superbowl).

He also starred in productions of Our Town (he was the narrator, and a toss up for my favorite of his performances, tied with his Adam/Noah role), Pippen (he was the head), and Greater Tuna (he was one of the radio guys).

The house was pretty full, the fire marshal sign in the back of the house says capacity is 1045, there was probably over 800 people in attendance.

I wanted to give kudos to some of the other fantastic performers (in no particular order) from the show. Scooter Rosenthal (Father), Susannah Hallagan (Eve/Momma), Claire Walton (part of the snake/Yonah) and Tim Crawford II (Cain/Japheth). This is by no means the list of the cast that did a phenomenal job, but these are the ones that stood out in my mind as I watched the performance.

Kudos also go out to the army of parents and volunteers that helped out with costumes, sets, tickets, etc.. the animal costumes were very clever. I liked the alligators slinking around the stage on skateboards and the giraffes with the canes as front legs.

Great job guys, you all have a ton of talent, and if you keep up the hard work that you obviously put into this production, there is no limit to what you can achieve in the future.

This is likely my brother's last high school performance. He will graduate this spring. He plans on attending college for film production at either BYU or RIT in the fall.

For more on the play, and photos of rehearsals, click on the school's web site, here (it's a pdf, so you need adobe).

02 March, 2007

Does the ACLU really have our best interests in mind?

Recently, News10 (the local NBC affiliate) did a story about how easy it is for anyone to walk in off the street and view adult themed web sites at the public library.

Shortly after the story, complete with hidden camera footage and a convicted pedophile sent back to jail on a parole violation, County Executive Maggie Brooks threatened to pull county funding of the library if they didn't do something to filter out the porno sites.

Cue the ACLU.

They come riding in on their high horse and start screaming 1st amendment violations. They came in shouting about government censorship.

Here is why the ACLU is full of crap..

Sure adult themed websites are (for the most part) well within the bounds of the law. Adults, who are so inclined, have the right to view the material if they so chose, but is it the tax payers responsibility to provide it? In a word, No.

Now, an argument can be made that that is the government censoring what can and cannot be viewed at the library.

Perhaps.

There are books about Nazis, Marxism, all sorts religions, and many more subjects that some people may find offensive, and if you wanted to, you could do internet browsing on such topics.

The library is a place where people of all ages can come to do research on any number of subjects. It is an open source of knowledge.

Here is where I show a bit of ignorance. I do not remember the last time I was in a public library. I know you can read magazines, but I doubt you can read the latest issue of Playboy. You may be able to, I didn't check.

About the censorship, where I work, I can't even view my bank's website. There are a number of reasons why, but one reason is the whole 'unsafe work environment' thing. I can't go to an adult site from work because it might offend someone else.

The library employs people, why can't we use this reason?

What about that stupid 'no smoking' law? It's the same thing. I bet if there was a physical health effect like second hand smoke, there would be all sorts of people lobbying to block it.

Bottom line, If you are a consenting adult, you can pick up a copy of a porno mag in any number of places, but I don't want to pay for you to read it. If you want to view this material online, I don't want to pay for you to view websites of similar content.

The funding should be pulled until they install a state of the art filtering system, or until the computers are pulled from the libraries.

12 February, 2007

Well, I'm back in school.. I took a couple of weeks off, and reset my annual allowance of tuition assistance from work.. (boy, $8000 goes quick at a college...)

I am starting out in a financial management class. It is starting out as another accounting class. I really don't like accounting. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me, and after the last accounting class I took, all of the sudden Enron doesn't look so bad.. it is almost conceivable that it was all an honest mistake. :)

In the month or so since my last posting, a couple of things have piqued my interest, but not enough to devote an entire column to it.

First of all, I appreciate any and all comments I get for my columns, but please leave your name (at least a first name) so I know who is responding to what I have to say.

There are a couple of things that seem to always be headline news of late (besides the war), the '08 presidential election, and the farce of global warming.

On the election front, I really am not too excited. The one candidate that I would like to see, probably won't win his party's nomination. Most of the Democrats scare me for one reason or an other, and the RINOs on the right are only slightly right of center, and for some, that is giving them too much credit, but given a McCain/Giuliani ticket verses a Clinton/Obama ticket, I think you know where I would come out on that.

On the global warming issue, I think the good people of Oswego, NY have a few things to say about that, and what about the 3 inches of snow that fell in Malabu, CA last month, or all of the citrus groves that were frozen?

Anyone who believes in the concept of global warming, and that we have anything to do to cause or have any power to stop it should read 'State of Fear' by Michael Crichton. I know it is a fiction, but it makes you think.

Besides, I don't recall seeing any pictures of dinosaurs driving their SUVs to cause the end of the last ice age. If they had, perhaps we wouldn't have any oil left for our use.
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