Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Kings are killed Mr. Garrison, politics is power

I was perusing the internets last night while trying to stay awake during the bodog. Along my journey I was directed to a few sites that held my attention for about 2 minutes. Then one by waffles that is now bookmarked for life. Thank god for middle aged trolls/nerds/magoo's who know where to find the good stuff! "DUDE! SHE'S NEAR YOU"!! ... Just what I need.

After all of the tom foolery and ballywho, I stumbled across this gem of a report. Apparently, a Russian professor at their Ministry of Foreign Affairs has predicted that by spring, the good people of the US of A will see that their newly elected messiah will not be the miracle worker everyone has made him out to be. And because of that, with the addition of our escalating foreign debt, and the uncertainty of our own currency, unemployment will strike rampant, and private folk will lose their savings.

This will all end up with the country splitting into 6 parts. The Pacific coast; the South; Texas; the Atlantic coast, central states and the northern states. I love how even a Russian professor can deduce that Texas will go on its own.

His hypothesis, or hope here is that the US will no longer be the world regulator. That will be left to Russia and China.

So lets say that this actually would happen. We could label each region in comparison to its european counterpart.

Like for example: "The South" would certainly be like Bosnia-Herzogovina. Plus they both have a Georgia. Texas would end up being the Spain of Americas. Pretty much keeping to themselves and having a ton of fun.

The northern states would be almost like Ireland. This because the Atlantic States, (England) would put them under their control and and the Northerners would act like terrorists, a'la the IRA trying to gain their independance. Plus all of the catholics and protestants would try to beat each other up.

The central states would turn ito France. A bunch of cheese eating, whiny little bithces because the cubs suck, and they have no access to culture being so far away from any major metropolis. Waahh, we feel left out. We cant get natural resources shipped to us. WAAAAH!!!

Ok, now I'm just having fun. I could see the Pacific coast being like switzerland, norway, finland, germany, and deutchland combined. Everyone would want to live there. The lifestyle would be so laid back. All the hippies legalizig pot and other drugs. All of the good outdoor recreational things to do are out in the west. At least the best places.

It would become a shop where academia meets business and everything of significance comes out of there.

He also states in his article that it wouldn't be long before Russia takes over Alaska. Well, I wonder what Sara Palin has to say about that?!?!?! HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM???

I guess Japan would take over Hawaii. Or maybe Hawaii signs a pact with Key West, and become one sovereign nation called Mauii Conk? I bet they would figure out border patrol real quick.

I wonder if this is really something this professor has vetted out, or if this is something he would like to see happen? You think he has ever been to the states? what about Canada? How are they effected? Everyone in Canada seems so interested in US politics because, as I've been told, they are directly effected by our policies and economy. So does Canada go down as well?

How about Mexico? Poor mexicans would be crushed. No more crossing into Texas. I would surmise that the United Townships of Texas would enact legislation to kill on site any person that looks suspicious enough of trying to enter the "nation" illegally.

Anywho... Enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving. It will probably be your last as a citizen of the United States. Most likey Thanksgiving won't even be a national holiday next year. Of course, depending in which Nation you live in, it may or may not be called by the same name.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Be Calm! ALL IS WELL!!

I had some interesting conversations last night. Its seems that a lot of people are in a complete panic mode. Future plans are being re-evaluated, re-assessed, or even being squashed. If these steps were being taken to figure out how to keep moving forward, I would be OK with it. But these folk seem to be frightened, and sad, and almost giving up, without a plan to start over.

This makes me sad and confused. These are smart people who know how to generate income. Smart people with advanced degrees, and strong support systems.

Times like these affect everyone. They listen to the TV and radio, and read the papers and magazines. They hear the talking heads prediction of ensuing doom, and how they need to prepare. They listen to the reports of a newly elected President talk about needing 4 years to gain any traction. How it will get worse before it gets better.

Either way, indivdual responsibility and circumstances should be looked at harder and closer than what is going on in the world. Portfolios are being effected right now. That is a huge concern to people who need those monies within the next ten years. Whether it be to pay for college, or to retire. It can be very discerning. But lets look at reality here. There are many things that we can do to prepare ourselves to combat these issues. You hold your own financial destiny in your hands. Make a plan. Stick to it. Get it done.

There will be obstacles to overcome, and there will be some sacrifices to make. But all is far from lost. Even those in the worst positions. Start with yourselves, and don't pay attention to anything else. Seek advice from trusted players. Be smart. Don't give up.

Nothing kills me more than when I listen to people who had grand plans, worked hard to reach their goals, and are now seemingly giving up, waiting for this crisis to figure itself out. Don't wait for it. Assumptions can be made of course, but continue with your short and long term goals.

Because of the circumstances, you may have to change the nomanclature, but certainly don't quit. To these friends, colleagues, family members, and associates, I say:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Fiat justitia ruat caelum

The season is over for the Eagles. The team is in complete disarray, with no one showing any sign of any ability to right the ship.

Reid benched McNabb yesterday after the first half. I don't know if it was the right decision, and I certainly won't opine about the timing. Should it have been last week, last year? That's what sports writers get paid for. But what I want to look at is how it happened.

At his press conference yesterday, when asked about benching McNabb, Reid stated that the coaches talked to him at halftime. Lets look at a timeline:

2 years ago, the Eagles drafted with their first pick in the draft, Kevin Kolb, a QB from Houston. This was a very surprising pick. Especially when everyone in the media was anticipating a WR. They had just lost TO, ad were coming off a very succesfull run. Then they pick a quarterback. Which had more to do with the issue then who the player actually was.

McNabb was thrown off completely. Apparently, only the brass knew that pick was coming. The next year (last) there was all sorts of speculation the McNabb was going to be traded, etc. etc. That never happened.

Reid has been the biggest advocate for McNabb his whole career here in Philadelphia. And McNabb has reciprocated with undying loyalty, playing the way he has been told to play. McNabb gave up his running style of qb'ing as requested by the coaches, to become a pocket passer. And he did so with a lot of success. Let's not forget that the guy led the Eagles to 4 NFC championships in 10 years. And lets not forget that he is the winningest qb, with the most yards thrown in franchise history.

Let's fast forward to yesterday.

As long as he has been coach here, the first 5 minutes of every single press conference after every single loss have been almost exactly the same. He starts out with injuries, then goes to a single statement, that always includes, "I gotta do a better job at putting guys in the right situation. It all starts with me".

Yesterday was no different. But for the first time, he seemed to be grasping. Look, there has to be an action taken. Someone has to go. McNabb is getting long in the tooth, Reid has his own troubles. He has two sons that are both drug addicts of the worst kind, both convicted fellons. Last year, one was arrested after an acciddent that occured about 2 miles from my house. He was high on heroin, and was found with hand guns and "cop killer" bullets in his trunk. The other was arrested for driving while intoxicated and was also found with heroin.

They searched the Reid home and found more weapons, drug paraphanalia, and banned ammo. They were sent to prison and one had heroin smuggled in his pooper. This is crazy stuff that all happened in the offseason and right before camp started. Reid went about his business as the caoch of the Eagles.

Now, I don't proclaim to be the greatest parent in the world, but don't you think your kids would take precedent over anything else. Especially in this situation, with these circumstances?

These are young kids as well. Just barely in their 20's. Do you think this could be affecting his capacity to coach an NFL team? I digress...

I don't want to make any undue judgements here, and if they want to go with Kolb, then fine. But the way yesterday was handled was JV (junior varsity for my lady and nerd readers) at best. You make a snap decision out of character for yourself, without handling it yourself. Then you throw your #1 draft pick into the lions den without him having the slightest inclination that it would even be a possibility. Obviously he had very little reps.

Not to mention that the Eagles were still in the game at that point Demps had returned a 100 yard kickoff for a TD right before the half. However, Reid felt he needed to make a statement. and he picked his number one guy to do so. He had also benched LJ Smith (who he called an all-pro tight end not three weeks ago), and Omar gaither before the game. McNabb was playing lousy, and the offense wasn't producing much. Westbrook was playing hurt, and Correll Buckhalter got hurt early on. That forced Westbrook to play the rest of the game because they don't have another rb.

If you ask me, coaching has had more to do with the retardedness of this season than anything else. McNabb is a vetera with a lot of success, but I wouldn't say he is the type you keep around to groom the next sensation. I don't know that he has the ability. But if Kolb is the guy, someone needs to be around, other than coaches, to help bring him together.

So that begs the question... McNabb ro Reid? And that doesn't necesarrily means who goes. It's who deserves more of the blame? I can't see Reid going because his contract is huge. If they let him go he sits at home collecting 3 mil for the next two years. They can trade, or at least try to trade McNabb, but how much will they get for him at this point?

In less than an hour and a half (at the time of this posting) Reid will announce who will start on Thursday. How he goes with McNabb I will never know. The fans will boo him out of the stadium and really wouldn't be an environment condusive to success. McNabb is pretty thin skinned. And if yesterday was an idication to Kolb that he was getting his shot, how bad is it to give McNabb the start and hint to Kolb that he now has to look over his shoulder?

I hate to see the Eagles in turmoil like this. Especially after the run they have had for the last 10 years. But I guess this is what it takes. A few years of crap to get back on track with rebuilding. And as fans, this is what we do. Give our outlook and opinions. But for me, and many more, the biggest injustice yesterday was Reid not giving his franchise quarterback, and someone who really could be credited with Reids success, not even the common courtesy of letting him know in person, that he was being benched. Just super super ghey for me. Be a goddamned man. Such a joke.

I played Bodog last night for the first time in a long time. $100 PLO table. There was one funny thing I had to write here. I was in a hand where I had raised up from the button with QQAT, hearts and spades. The utg limper was the only caller.

Flop came a Q and two diamonds to a lone opponent. He raised and I repotted. He thought and shoved the rest of his stack. I called, and he showed 7d 2d Qc 4h. He hit the diamond on the turn, and and the board paired on the river giving me the boat and the win.

He wrote, wow! in the chat. WOW? lol... you gotta get on that site.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Out of Order

I am laptopless. Al has it and is trying to redefine its working capabilities. I almost am enjoying the time (week or so) that I have had without it.

I get all my emails throught he phone and have really almost enjoyed the ability to ignore everything else. Although the work is really piling up.

It gets fixed in the next two days or I buy a new one.

The CHOP event went really well, and I need to thank everyone who helped out, dealt, or had any part in making it a succesful event.

Be back soon!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Why are you so into Pinot?

Uh, I don't know, I don't know. Um, it's a hard grape to grow, as you know. Right? It's uh, it's thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It's, you know, it's not a survivor like Cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and uh, thrive even when it's neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot's potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they're just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and... ancient on the planet.

The Eagles play the Giants tonight and I have a very easy day planned. Two of the kids are heading out on play dates, the other daughter will spend most of the day outside playing with the neighbors, and the boy will sleep at least 4 hours of the day away. I have some cleaning up to do, some leaves to blow, and some laundry I'd like to get done.

I don't really care about football today other than the eagles tonight, and the poker thing is just pissing me off cause I can't be there. It would be cool to be there and hand out with these folk, but December is just around the corner and I suppose I'll have some time to do it then.

So after all of my chores are finished, I am planning on making a dinner for the wife and myself to enjoy BEFORE the Eagles game, so that I can go over to the neighbors house and dust off a good weeks worth of pay playing some heart hand diamond, Acey Deucy, and Skat.

The dinner along with all of the house cleaning should buy me some nice equity to do this without being called and "asshole". Cause I' doing it anyway. Just now it will be with permission.

So the dinner is something I am going to do Brazillian style. This really has become my favorite cuisin as of late because of the fantastic flavors, yet ease and simplicity in preparation and cooking.

I am making Chicken and Rice. That might sound boring, and you might think something along the lines of "who cares if its Brazillian or Polish? It's chicken and rice for christs sake?!?"

But alas, this all come down to HOW it's prepared. I have a soapstone cooking pot which really is the catalyst for the unique flavors of this dish. First step is to saute the chicken in a 12" skillet. I will oly be using breast meat ("give me two big breasts!"), with the skin on, on medium high heat, in some olive oil and a little butter. To that I add lime juice until it is browned crispy, yet the meat still tender.

The rice is just as simple. In the stone pot, you sweat some onions and garlic in vegetable or canola oil. You add the dry rice once the onions have become barely browned, and saute the dry rice for a good 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Then you cover the rice with water and put the lid on the pot.

Keeping you eye on the rice, you continue to add water in little bits just to keep the rice moist. You will notice that the sides almost carmalize and that's when you know it's done.

As soon as the rice is finished, you remove from the heat and head back to the chicken. I will pour some passion fruit juice, which is very syrupy, into the pa and let reduce for about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the pan, plate it, and sprinkle some chilli powder, Cumin, or a mixture of both over top. One more splash of lime juice and it's ready to go.

Add some chopped up fresh Cilantro to the rice, fluff up, and plate that as well. I will usually plate the rice first and put the chicken right one top of it.

Then I watch the Eagles win! Enjoy your Sunday

Friday, November 7, 2008

It rubs the lotion on it's skin, it does this whenever it's told

Spent the day in NYC yesterday and didn't get home until very late. I had a few meetings up there and met a friend who I haven't seen in quite some time afterwards for dinner.

One of the meetings had to do with an event we are planning for next wednesday. Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia is holding a Texas Holdem' Tournament at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Manhatten.

We are running the event, and I have recruited some bloggers to help deal and for no other reason than I can say that they are now under my employ!!! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH!!!

The event is going to be a blast. It is a $5000 buyin. Phil Helmuth, Phil Ivey, Annie Duke, and some other pros will be in attendance. I have Phil Helmuth doing the MC'ing this time around, and we are working to get it on the radio for broadcast. I'll update everyone on that as soon as I get details.

It will also be live blogged and I hope to have some video uploads on the live blog as well. Should be a very fun night.

The true heros here are Dan and Beth Shak. They are the headline sponsors and have put up an unbelievable amount of money for one event. Kudos to them.

All this good news and I leave you with something from a movie I watched last night at 2am as I tried to get a few quick things done after spending most of the day away from a computer.

Have a Great Weekend~!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Conspiracy I tell ya!

This certainly was a wierd election. It had everything any election really needs. But there were some things a little out of skew for me. Certain things about the Dems that the Republicans refused to address. Where in past years they would have been all over it to ensure a victory, they did nothing this time around. McCain and his running mate spent a whole lot less money than the Dem candidate. In a race so important to either party, you would think that the Republicans would have fought harder.

Then, after Obama is actually announced the winner, and less than 2 minutes after McCain gives his concession speach, Karl Rove is on Fox news just KILLING McCain for running a horrid campaign. A lot of the right started turning on this guy, publicly, in the last few weeks of the race.

So I started thinking. And started researching. The information and facts I came up with are mindblowing, and substantiated by high ranking pols throughout my state, and different affiliations I have in Washington. I was asked to write a book about this, but I just didn't feel that this type of info could wait. It has to be released immediately. In addition, I couldn't wait to let it be found out by the party before I got my story out. They would definately do everything in their power to stop it.

I started my rersearch with a simple basis for inquiry. That basis being relevant to the question of why in the world would the Republicans lay down so easy for the Dems. Think about it. They managed to get Bush elected TWICE! How could they not get anyone else elected, running against a man who had zero experience, spent 85% of his time in his only government position campaigning for the presidency, runs on a platform of taxes taxes taxes, and is black?

Certainly the GOP has it in them to oust a candidate like that. With the resources and talent they have in their political machine, this election should have been a laydown. So lets look at what happened.

Eyebrow Raiser #1: John McCain wins the primary. McCain was never really a republican party favorite. Most view him as too liberal, and he has faced a pile of resistance from inside his own party anytime he tried to run for office.

Eyebrow Raiser #2: The general theme of the Republican campaign. Was this the weakest campaing ever ran by a republican? Very little attacks that cut right to the bone. Leaving the issues that could have been game changers virtually alone, and unnoticed. No requesting or vetting of the opponents unknown past. Just quite simple a laydown. Furthermore, the only thing they ran on was reform. Mavericks. Cut the spending. Then the candidate himself signs off on a $700 billion package. Then states he'll look for another $300 billion during a debate.

Eyebrow Raiser #3: Running Mate. When Palin was picked for VP, the media, and the country were confused. Is this a good thing? Who is this chic? What has she done? This could be a great move! October surprise in July! Democrats were worried, Republicans were excited! Then she spoke. And spoke, and spoke, and spoke...

I did some interviews among my sources. One high level insider was flabbergasted at my questions, and very apprehensive to my inquiries. After several assurances that he had complete anonymity, that his identity would go to the grave with me, and finally, a little "persuasion", he offered up this little nugget. In an exchange that was more like a desperate argument between the two of us, I was relentless in my efforts to get what I wanted. He knew! And by god, he was going to tell me. I I had to beat it out of him, he was going to tell me.

"Are you blind??", he screamed. I had him in the corner. literally. I was imposing, and threatning. "NO!, TEll ME!". "I can't tell you. They'll kill me." he said as he wiped the trickle of blood streaming down from the corner of his mouth. "I'll kill you, so choose your poison." I whispered as I drew my spyderco blade across his cheek. "OK, OK! I"ll talk." I sat back with pen in hand in complete and utter suspense. I was about to break a huge conspiracy that had been perpetrated, or, even still, was in the middle of being conducted on the American people. Thoughts of JFK flashed in my head.

"It was decided almost 3 years ago by the powers that be that we didn't want to win the next election. That it would be a step back for the party to actually stay in power after 8 years of Bush. Everyone knew what was coming. Even the Democrats knew what was coming Their plan backfired. The economic crisis was supposed to happen a lot earlier than it did. Bush would take the blame and they would be a shoe in. What they don't understand is that this election was theirs anyway." I scrambled to keep up with my shorthand.

"The powers that be knew that this next term would be strapped with a resurgance in terrorism, an economic crisis that would not be able to be remedied, or at least see results of being fixed within the 4 years. Whoever took the election would almost be assured of only having one term.". It was making sense to me, but was so obvious I could't see where a conspiracy lied.

"Why allow the most liberal of all senators a chance at the whitehouse?" I asked. "That was Mr. X's decision. We could have turned the primaries for Hillary just as easy as we did for Obama. But losing to Hillary would be harder than losing to anyone else. Plus, Obama had, what soon came to be known as, "The X Factor".

"X factor?! What is that?", I demanded. "It's reffered to as the white rabbit. The one thing that the republicans could use in order to get who they want into office in 2012." "and who is that?" "I don't, I don't know who... it was an agenda put together by the organization..." He started stuttering.

"What the hell are you getting at? You're starting to jump all over the place? What organization?". "YOU PEOPLE ARE SO BLIND! I'm tired and I want to go home. please let me go home, I've told you all I know... pleeaasee", He whimpered and started to sob.

"I swear to god, if you don't tell me right now I will gut you like a pig. SUUUUWEEE!" I started getting frantic. I was blood thirsty. I almost didn't want him to tell me.

"The X factor is something from Obama's past. Something we could use to ensure we could get our specific guy into the whitehouse come 2012." I was confused. Why would they need something from Obama's background to ensure anyone specific person getting into the whitehouse. "Let's start with who that person is." "NO! I won't tell. That will end me. But I will tell you what the plan is. You will be able to figure it out yourself."

He went on to explain that a lawyer in Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit to stop Obama from running for president because he didn't qualify. The lawsuit stated that he did not me the requirements of the constitution to be able to run for the highest office in the land. That one requirement had been the cornerstone of the plan, specifically related to who they wanted in office in 2012.

He continued with the plan to try and get this specific person in this time around, but it was too risky, given the circumstances that this next administration would face. They feared that they wouln't be able to guarantee two terms. "What is the requirement?" I asked. "Thats all I can tell you. Look up the lawsuit. You'll figue it out yourself."

I left him there bleeding, giving him one last kick to show off my manliness and power before I left. "don't let me see you again".

I went to the nearest starbucks and logged on my wireless laptop and hit google. The lawsuit was filed by Phillip Berg. I knew Phillip Berg! I could go and ask him directly. But as I read it became clear.

The lawsuit charged that Obama was not born in the US! His birth certificate was not official. His sister had said in interviews that he was born in a different hospital that Obama himself asserted to being born in. And his own grandmother had been quoted in interviews that she was in the delivery room in Kenya when he was birthed.

Schwartzenegger!!! It was clear. The republicans where going to prove that Obama was elected as an unqualified candidate. I called another contact to verify. "What the hell are you talking about? Where did you get this info?". I explained to him that I would not divuldge my sources, and he went silent on the other side of the phone.

"Ok, I'm going to tell you, but we never had this conversation. I can't believe this had gotten out so early." he said in disbelief. "Obama will be outed sometime in early spring. Instead of asking for his resigation, we will submit legislation that changes the constitution to allow him to stay. But this will also allow any foreigner, who has served in any politcal position the ability to run for the presidency."

"Reagan defeated Carter, and we see the same outcome with Schwartzenegger. The hope that history repeats itself. 8 years of Arnie, 4 years of a dem hot shot, and 8 years of..."

"OF WHO???" I screamed and sat in utter anticipation. "It's not just about Arnold?" "No." He sounded sad. "It's about Jeb."

I must have passed out. When I awoke, the phone was sitting in a puddle of vanilla latte that had spilled after my head hit the table. The starbucks employee was standing over me telling me that it was closing time. I packed up and started on the drive back to PA wondering how I would report this. There had to be more....

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

hail to the chief

Congratulations to Barrak Obama and the democratic party. And congrats to the citizens of the United States and the people of the World. I don't really know where to start.

First, I am happy and excited with the election of Obama. I truly am. I didn't vote for him because I resented the fact of being called selfish for not wanting to change the foundation of what are country was built on. I was insulted when I was told it was time to be Patriotic. But I recognize the need for change. Whatever that change may be. However it may come.

But the last years have been so mired in hatred, that a complete shift of leadership in this country is obviously what people wanted. Regardless of the change of values on how this country was built, and what this may mean for the future of our country and how opportunity will flow, and more importantly, be able to be taken advantage of. Or even questionably, will want to even be taken advantage of.

This country has always been about doing it yourself. It was founded on the belief that everyone would be able to have the opportunity to create their own wealth. Or they could create their own opportunities. The land of the free. The home of the brave... Brave.

The meaning of this word in this context escapes most I think. It doesn't just mean shedding your fear and standing your ground in the face of danger. It means having the fortitude to accomplish your dreams, regardless of risk, with hard work and determination. Doing this while keeping in line with your values and shunning the skeptiscism and doubt of everyone else around you. That is true bravery. That is what is missing from this country.

It also means you reap what you sow. You pay taxes for bridges and roads, and services that will help the greater good of the people. Not to help some prince or sheriff get rich. I don't want to help anyone else get rich either unless they show that they are willing to work for it. And I wont do it with money. I will do it with knowledge and sweat. but no free rides.

I remember learning about the land rush in 1893. America was in the worst depression it had seen since the founding of the country. What was the governments decision? Have a race. It wasn't, lets divide it up and give a little piece to everyone. It wasn't, lets take care of our richest friends. It wasn't lets give it to the poorest people. It was first come first serve. Opportunity. Go get it. have at it. May the best man win.

These are things I love about his country. We will see if it's about to change.

I salute Obama, and pledge to him my full support. I will hold him and his administration accountable, as I have every single previous administration. I do not, and will not hate. I want the hate to stop. I have already seen posts out there still spewing hate about Bush. I have also seen posts speaking to voters who didn't vote for Obama calling for the end to hatred. "Regardless of your values and stances on issues, he is your President now, and you should offer him your support." Where was that credo when it came to Bush?

The world is certainly happy today. They have no idea why, other than Bush is out of office. I guess. And they probably have no idea why that is either. But I'm glad we could appease the rest of the world. That makes up for a lot.

Now its time for us.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

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...well I have the microphone and you don't, so will listen to EVERY GODDAMN WORD I HAVE TO SAY!

It all comes down to today. I was out at the polls early this morning casting my vote. My poling station is never crowded. It serves my neighborhood alone, and there aren't very many of us. No reason to go super early really, other than the fact that I was up. So, done and done.
My father on the other hand is the Judge of Elections for the Borough of Norristown. His polling station is huge. Well, it services a huge amount of people. The joint itself is very small. It also services a very large population of minorities. Mainly hispanic, but also large percentage of the black vote as well. I called him after I left my station to see how he was doing. I figured it would be packed.
On the contrary, to his surprise, the traffic was very light. It is supposed to rain here today later in the afternoon. For Obama to really win, you gotta figure that he needs people to vote. They will always have the majority, but it is getting them out to actually vote that has been the problem.
If the Dems lose today it will be a testament to several things:
1) How the networks and cable news companies just literally destroyed the election coverage with their bias. I talk about that bias in the terms of what has been reported and how it has been reported. For the largest indication, look no further than the polls. It has been reported through different oulets that the Dems are as far as 13 point favorites. The others had it a closer race at 3 points.
2) That no matter how much money you spend as a candidate, to rely on the younger and minority vote, is a risky business. It seems that the Obama camp has done everything in their power to make sure that they get out this year, to his credit. That and the fact that people who normally vote, who just want change, will be out there as well casting their voice, there should be no excuse for losing this election.
3) John McCain is his opponent. The core of the GOP don't really like this guy. How does the party you run against not even like who they have put up against you and you still lose? republicans everywhere have some real valid concerns about this guy, but what has been Obamas platform has done a lot to put them back to the Repulican vote.
I still don't think the Republicans have any real shot here. If they do pull it off the whole Democratic party should be fired, renamed, and reworked as almost a corporate brand that gives away free pot and promotes gambling.
The scarier thing about Obama losing is the fact that the GOP will remain complacent. I don't think anything changes. And that is certainly worse than a democratic house, senate, and administration all together. At least in the short term.
Either way, at least get out there and vote. And be sure to do it EVERY SINGLE TIME it comes available to you. I can't understand how people think, well, this time it matters so I will vote. Voting is not a right to be taken so lightly. If you didn't vote last time, or other times because you just didn't care, then, IMO, you lose your right to complain about anything.
Apathy kills this country. Never is its damage seen worse than in elections. The people should decide who runs this country, based on their values and who they think is not only qualified to do it, but who shares their line of thinking. If you only feel passionate about voting because that is what has become "popular" then you are doing yourself and the country a disservice. Vote all the time. Not just when its cool to do so.
History will be made today. Be a part of it.
EDIT: Blogger sucks balls. It never ever spaces correctly, and never allows me to fix it. I'm thinking of making a change. Anyone have any advice??

Monday, November 3, 2008

Parade of Champions, Part Deux

I am currently on a bottle of advil and some other type of flu medicine. I feel I am about to die at any minute. But I need to finish this report.

... Once we got into Suburban Square, the subway started emptying very quickly. The conductor had tried to let people know that this was the best place to get off of over the intercom, but the cars were packed with people chanting, "way to go Phillies, Way to go", and all other sorts of stuff.

The issue became clear as we all started to head for the stairwells up into City Hall. They were all blocked. The stairs lead out to this circular type outdoor vestebule (Sp?), that is higher than street level, so everyone was stopping and climbing up on top of it. Which blocked the stairways.
This is the west side of city hall, so it's exactly where the parade is coming to and heading from there south on broad and towards the stadiums. So it was a good spot to be. Except that it was already about 50 deep.

We grabed up the kids and started making our way through the courtyard of City Hall towards the east side of Market st. From there we figured we would work our way back up towards broad and maybe get a better spot to see the players as they came through. No Dice. It was worse. The kids were taking notice of the 18 helicopters above us. They counted. They also noticed all the people hanging out of the tall buildings throwing toilet paper, and confetti. They were having fun taking it all in.

We made our way down Filbert st, which is a side street but runs North thru South all the way down to about Locust st. We jumped on 13th st from there all the way down to Washington Ave, which is sort of the street that demarkates "South Philly from "Philly". All the way down we would look up towards broad when we reached an intersection. Broad was only 2 blocks west of us. Every street was jammed back toward Filbert. It was almost retarded. We just kept walking south expecting the crowds to fill out at some point. We had to be able to find a spot somewhere along the way.

We headed back up to South st (which I think is 7 blocks south of Market), because everyone kept going south, and once there we headed towards Broad. We made it to about 20 people deep. I figured we could put the kids on our shoulders and at least they would get a nice look at the players coming by. Every lamp post, every tree, every roof top, was cluttered with people. It was really sick. On the way down, the traveling crowds would be singing Phillies chants, and songs. People were hugging each other, high fiving each other. There was a lot of kids, tons of them. Teenagers, young adults, middle aged men and women, and even an old lady in a wheel chair being pushed by her husband who I thought deserved the chair more than she did.

Under normal situations, this is probably something you would never ever deal with. These estimates where coming in at 2 million people showing up for this event. It felt every bit of it. to deal with the crowds, the people, the sounds, the sights... normally it would be "fugghetaboutit".
The parade was coming close to our location and the kids, who could see everything were screaming, and hootin' and hollarin'. I saw Cole Hamels and started the MVP chant. Everyone joined in. The players were up on pretty tall floats so we could see them as well from ground level. They were getting into it, and pointing to the crowd, and throwing pretzels, and tshirts, and other stuff. It was truly an awesome time.

Once the parade passed us, we figured to head up towards the main station and try to get back via train. People were just starting to celebrate. For me, it was over. I was content with heading back home and getting ready for Halloween. But for everyone else, the party was just starting. There were convience stores, and town markets selling beer by the bottle. Ther were bands set up on the street just letting it rip. There were people playing wiffleball, football, even horseshoes in the alley ways.

We saw some folk get taken away on stretchers. 2 young women who obviously had enough to drink. We saw a bunch of guys, and gals peeing in the alley ways, behind cars, etc. But there wasn't anything that went wrong that was over the top or unacceptable.

For an event this large, and the fact that it IS Philadelphia, AND that the Phillies won a championship, you would think that there would be at least some looting, or some murders, or a car set on fire, or something for the city to live up to that brand of the worst sports city in the world.

But alas, all we did was come together and celebrate as hard as anyone has ever celebrated before. There was a guy who was painting faces with Phillies stuff. I asked him how much, and he responded, "free as long as they're Phillies fans!". I paid him $40 for the three of them.
As we made our way back to city hall, we stopped at a market. The kids were thirsty, etc, so we popped in for some drinks and some snacks. There was a line around the whole inside of the store and the two workers were moving as fast as possible. Every so often someone would snap into a "YO! HOW ABOUT THOSE PHILLIES?!?!?!?" shout or something to that affect. The whole store would erupt in kind and everyone would laugh and high five.

The police were spectacular for this event. They were patient, kind, and very very tempered. There was a lot of pushing going on as you can imagine. I applaud the force for the job they did. Everyone who was there knows how bad it could have gotten out of hand. I think the Police Department deserves a huge hand of applause for not letting it get out of control.

This is a map of center city. The parade started at 20th and Market st. It then turned on Broad (which is also 14th st.), and head south. To get a good idea of how many people, take 4 blocks on either side of broad, fill it with wall to wall people, and take it all the way down towards the stadium. Then add the 112,000 people that were acutally sitting in the stadiums, and the other 200,000 people that were in the parking lots tailgating. Prett sick scene. And a memory the kids will never forget. One that I will never forget.

The kids (two of my daughters, and my friends kid)

Walking down Filbert st.

Some band from Oregon who decided the World Series Parade in Philadelphia would be as good as any to get a huge audience. They were pretty good actually.

Fun Times indeed. Septa had shut down inbound service around 1:30pm and I heard that it was a little nutty trying to get home. People were showing up at the train stations around 2pm to go home and waiting until 6pm to actually get on.
My neighbor was in Center City working that day. He does surveillence and was down there very early. He texted me and said he could give us a ride home. We walked towards old city and caught a ride with him back home.
The end of a perfect day! My daughter asked if we would be able to do this again in February. "You know, when the Eagles win?". My brother laughed, and I said, "Only if something magical happens C, only if something magical happens"

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Parade of Champions! Part 1

Yesterday was the Parade in Philadelphia to celebrate the World Champion Phillies. Philly has done this before. Like... 4 times. And not since 1983. This one was going to be special though. The population back in the 80's was like, what? 3 million? Today it's close to 6 million, and a large percentge of that number falls within the demographic of 25-40 years olds.

That means that most of those people have never witnessed a championship in Phila. They heard, watched and read about the '80 Phils, the '83 Sixers, even the 70's champs of the Flyers.

But they have never witnessed a parade or celebtatrion that has been spoken about in the press, and by family members who were there. This was their opportunity to show off their pride, celebrate with the other fans, and show their appeciation to the team and organization.


The first correspondence I got about the parade was around 11:30pm wednesday night. About 2 hours after Lidge K'd Heinke. It was from my oldest brother and it read, "taking the train down friday?" I knew what he meant and figured there would be a lot more planning that would go into it before then. Thursday was a bunch of phone calls, posts on the RPT boards, and emails from several different group of friends all solidifying their plans and sending invitations to everyone who wated to go.

The Phils had offered seats to both the Linc and the Bank Park for people to be able to sit and watch the festivities after the parade down broad. As a season ticket holder, we were entitled to 2 seats. The rest would be put up for grabs on the Phillies site at 3pm Thursday. First come, First serve. I heard all 112,000 seats were taken in like 45 minutes, and within the hour their were some up for sale on Ebay. Some going for $300 a piece. Capitalism baby! Who said it's dead?

I decided that having to be back in time for Halloween, I would just go for the Parade, and head back by three in order to help with the kids.

One group was heading out of the Devon area. Taking the R9 train into Suburban Station. Another group was heading out of Norristown. Their plan was to hop the R6 express to the same destination. Yet another group was heading out of Bridgeport on the R100 speedline. This took you into 69th st, and from there you could catch the "EL" into center city. They figured the express lines would be jammed up and the transfer route would be the way to go.

Thursday night came and I got a call from a dear friend who lives in the Allentown (yes, of Billy Joel fame), area. This is a guy who I have taken to many games throughout the last 10 years. We both are huge fans of the game, and the Phillies. He said to me that he was thinking of taking Chase down to the parade. Chase is his 10 year old boy who grew up with my daughter.

I thought about it for ten seconds and thought, "OK", we can take the kids, I guess.

Taking the kids never entered my mind. I thought the situation would be too volatile to try and keep track of them, keep them safe in a huge crowd like that, and selfishly, I didn't want to either. I wanted to celebrate. I didn't need two little urchins running along side of me, trying to keep up, getting ran over, having to go to the bathroom, etc.

He said he was going to talk to the wife, and call me back that night, or in the morning. We could decide then if we would take the kids. I hung up the phone and prepared myself to tell the wife what may happen. The school had sent a letter home saying it was ok for the kids to skip school in order to go to the parade, but that they would not be closing the schoool for that reason.

I was off the hook there. But the wife thought about the same things I did. Safety. Big Crowds. Trains!. Getting back in time for Halloween in time, and, of course, the question of if I was really responsible, and could be trusted enough to take care of two children. I told her, I was 11 when I went to the '80's Phillies parade. It was something would never forget. In the least, the 10 year old needed to go.

My man showed up at 9:00am on friday morning with his boy in tow. I had the two girls, C, and Syd, all ready for departure. We decided on the 10am R6 train out of Norrisown. My neighbor was getting her son into a minivan in her driveway. He is 13. I aksed if they were going, and of course the boy was, but she said something a little troublesome.

Her husband went to get the train into work at 7 am. It went right by him. Never stopped. It was him, and about 500 other people, all trying to get into the city either work, or celebrate the Phils. Word started coming down from friends as far away north as an hour giving reports that thousands of people where trying to get the trains and but they were full from either further stops. It was going to be a mess.

We loaded up the kids and headed to the train station. Norristown is the county seat, and has a very large legal community. It borders Phila, and to handle the commuters coming in and out of Philly, there are 5 stations all within 6 block of each other. We approached the first one. I could see a sea of red walking from blocks away toward the station. As we got there, the parking lot was full, there were cars parking illegally, and people walking from neighborhoods where they normally would never park for reasons of saftey.

As we drove past, we couldn't count the amount of people that were there. This station was the end of the line for the R6. It didn't go any further. There was too many people to even form a line The platform was packed, and there were lines coming down the steps that lead into a ass of people who stood around the paking lot, and into the street. The funny thing was, the same scene was another two blocks away. On the same line.

I thought for a second that taking the train wouldn't be too smart of an idea. Everyone apparently was doing it, so the roads had to be wide open. Not the case, so said Mr. Traffic reporter. "Jesus, is the whole state going to this parade?", asked my daughter.

We made our way round Norristown, into Conshohoken, and finally back towards Gulph Mills. Gulph Mills is a station where the wealthy people live! No oe takes the train from there. Plus, its in the middle nowhere. You need a car to get to the station. So I figured it was a good bet.

BOOOOOOOOOOOM! It was! We pulled up and there was a stopped train. With no one on the platform. It took us a while to park because both sides of the platform parking lots where full. I found a little side road and parked illegally not caring if the car was towed. We needed to get down there.

We were the first ones on the platform. Within 10 minutes, there was 50 people. Then 100. Then 300. It was gettting ridiculous. I called my brother and he was still waiting in Bridgeport. But he was getting the same train that was coming to us.

4 trains passed the station without stopping. Everyone was getting pissed. I thought for a second that we should drive to 69th st, and grab the "El" from there. IF we couldn't get a train, what ws the point? The I came up with a brilliant idea.

The train heading into Norristown kept stopping on the other side. I thought, lets jump it going North Bound. We could just stay on it, and the round trip from Norristown back to here was only 20 minutes. We had waited an hour already. About 1/3 of the people who were on the other side saw what I w doing and they followed. Now, in order to get to the other side of the platform, you have to walk down a flight of stairs, go through the tunnels, and come up another flight of stairs.

Here comes the northbound train, and I'm digging my plan. Only it doesn't stop. It keeps going. To add insult, here comes the south bound train.. and it's stopping! SHIT! We all take off down the stairs, through the tunnel, and back up the other flight of stairs. My brother calls me, and is yelling, "hurry up fat ass!". He was on that train and in the front car.

I was the last one up the stairs, and got into the last car. I think a few saftely violations were committed that day. We started on down the line, and everyone was singing Phillies chants, and songs, and Rocky, and everything else.

(this is a picture from the front of the last car. the kids are behind me sitting on the ledge of the front windshield next to the conductor)

As crammped as it was, everyone was having a great time. We all knew where we were going, and WHY we were going. Not one person didn't have red on. Peoplof all ages were represented, infants, to 80 year olds. It was breathtaking, spectacular, and exciting. It was relieving.

My 7 year old looked at me and said, "Hey Dad, how many trains go into the city? Like, all over the world, how many go into the city?" I responded, "I don't know, what's your point?". She said "I wonder if they are all this."

The Septa operator laughed and shook his head. "You right little one. You definately right."

We got into 69th st. station passing every single stop on the way, with each station holding at least 500 people. We got through the 69th street terminal in about 30 minutes. There are stories there, but I have pictures below that will give you an idea.

They opened up the terminal and we headed down stairs to the subway, instead of the "el" because they had added more cars. Everyone was relieved to be on the train and about 10 minutes away from party time.