Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

A little disappointed in the turn out of the gouls and goblins today. We've only had four young'uns come to the door so far. They came as a group--ages six to 14--with their folks standing out on the street.

We used to get far, far more soon after the school buses delivered them home in the afternoon.

Changing customs, fear of strangers, multiculturalism and what-not may be the cause of the decrease.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Another Meeting In PA

Terry and I went to PA today to meet with the Don K. our general contractor to discuss some details about our home. After a very nice dinner and an hour of just visiting, we went over the location of windows and doors in the foundation, zones for heating, style of garage doors, fireplace and wood stoves.

Don told us that the home site had recieved about a foot of wet snow earlier in the week so, when our meeting was over, we drove up to see if anything was left on the ground. There was a little snow there but there was also some tree damage. A few aspen trees had been snapped and so had several locust trees. Neither had shed their leaves yet and the weight of the snow must have been just too much. Some of the broken trees/branches were 4-5 inches in diameter. It's kind of amazing that they didn't take down the power line. It runs through a narrow 10-15-foot wide corrider between some aspens that are clearly higher than the wires.

Way To Go RU!

Rutgers 31
Navy 21

Rutgers improves to 6-2, 3-1 in the Big East, their best start since 1979 when they also started 6-2. They also guarantee a winning season and become bowl eligible for the first time since 1992.

Next up is a Big East Game against South Florida (3-3 over all, 1-1 in the Big East) at Rutgers Stadium on November 5th.

USF hasn't played since 10/15 when they lost to Pitt 31-17. Their scheduled 10/22 game against WVA was postponed to Dec. 3rd due to Hurricane Wilma and they had a planed bye week for 10/29.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Other Projects

In between our forays into the woods in quest of deer (or bear), Mark and I have been doing other things. Like rebuilding the chimney on the kitchen fireplace and purchasing three cords of firewood.

The chimney project was made necessary when the clay flue liner collapsed last spring leaving me without a source of heat int he kitchen. The bottom support must have rotted out and the entire liner came sliding to the ground leaving no path for the smoke from the fire box.

We spent one day breaking up the clay liner and removing the top three concrete blocks that had also deteriorated. Then we ran down to Lowes and the Riverside Fireplace and Chimney store in Marcy to get stovepipe to fit through wall and into the sky.

A second day was spent reassembling the stovepipe and geting the thing operational. Now I'm really toasty again!

The wood came from a local jobber who had posted his number at the landramat. At $50 a face cord (that's half a full cord) plus another $5 per face cord for delivery, We decided to split three cords (6 face cords) between us. The wood man deliverd four face cords yesterday and promises to have the other two to us by the weekend.

Now I have a working fireplace in the kitchen (as well as the one in the living room) and enough wood to feed them both. I had cut and stacked two face cords of my own during the summer so I'm in good shape for the winter. If I were living here full time I would need about four times the amount of wood that I have but since I will be splitting time between here and NJ, I'm okay.

More SNOW!

While we had a tiny amount of snow the other day, last night we recieved about 3 inches of heavy wet snow. Areas just to the north, south and east of here (pretty much anywhere where it got over 2000 feet) got as much as 8 inches! Here's what it looked like outside the window whan I woke up.


While the snow on the ground meant we could look for fresh tracks (and we did find some of deer, fox, bear, rabbit and grouse), the snow that clung tothe leaves still on the trees meant breaking branches that scared the critters (and the hunters) as well as limited sight lines through the woods. The wind we hoped for came only in dribs and drabs so the snow was crashing to the ground all afternoon.

What We've Been Hunting

Okay. So I’ve mentioned that I’ve been in the Adirondacks hunting deer with my neighbor Mark, but I haven’t posted any pictures showing what we have been up to. Let me correct that with this post.

First we have photos of some of our quarry. We have a nocturnal visitor whom we have photographed on two separate occasions. (One was before Mark got his deer--see below--and one after. So he's still out there somewhere.) While he may be only a four pointer, noticed the heavy body and short muzzle. This is not a baby deer by any stretch of the imagination.

cam 019

Then we have “the Twins.” These two have been around the cabin all summer with their Momma and we’ve seen them a couple of times during the last two weeks. This photo was taken before the shooting season started but they (and Mom) have left their tracks in the snow around the cabins to prove they are still around.

cam 017

Here’s a picture of a very happy Mark with the 3-1/2 pointer he shot with the muzzleloader on the 19th. I call it a 3-1/2 pointer because one of the tines was broken off at the main beam leaving just a tiny bump where it would have branched off.


We butchered this animal on Friday and have it packaged and in the freezer already. One package is already earmarked for Thanksgiving Dinner when my niece and nephew are coming to visit from California and Illinois, respectfully.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


Remember yesterday's post about the rain? Ferget about it!

It rained really hard yesterday afternoon and into the night. When I went to bed at 11:30 after the ball game it was to the sound of raindrops on the metal roof. Around 2:30 AM I awoke because it had gotten deathly quiet. I groaned because I didn't really want to go out hunting again on Sunday and the forecasters had promised rain through the morning hours. (Not seeing deer, having a sore back, and the prospect of getting wet didn't thrill me.) I rolled over and went back to sleep. When the alarm went off at 5:45 I looked outside to find it was snowing pretty hard and there was an inch to an inch and a half on the ground. The Cold Brook forecast says it is just cloudy. HA! And that there is a 100% chance of showers all day with up to a half inch of rain. If it stays as snow long there could be trouble because there are still a lot of leaves on the trees.

Snow is a mixed blessing: fresh tracks are easy to spot and follow; brown deer against white background are easier to see; but wet snow on trees with leaves can block the sight line and bring down branches; it's still wet, especially when followed by showers.

The winds are still coming off Lake Ontario and even here some 75-100 miles away, we're getting NNW winds full of moisture.

North of here, up in Hamilton County, and east in Warren and Fulton Counties they have had as much as 8-10 inches of snow above the 2000 foot elevation as of 10 AM. That has got to have caused power outages.

I'm sitting at around 1600 feet and it has switched over to a steady drizzle.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Some People DO Need to Be Protected From Themselves

From Sluggo Needs a Nap Sluggo Needs a Nap comes this weird story. Sluggo titled it “Good Thing He Wasn’t a Gretzky Fan”.

With the request alone, the judge should have found him not guilty by reason of insanity. What was he thinking?

(For those of you who are either sports challenged or just otherwise slow, Mr. Gretzky wore number 99.)

Yeah! GO RU!

Rutgers beat Syracuse last Saturday for its first Big East road victory. (I know—Syracuse—now 1 and 6 overall and the new doormat to the Big East.)

Today, with Ryan Hart coming off the bench in the second half (Whose dog house was he in, I wonder.) to throw three TDs and with freshman tailback Ray Rice rushed for a career-high 217 yards, the Scarlet Knights defeated Connecticut in East Hartford by a score of 26-24,. The Scarlet has improved to 5-2, 3-1 in the Big East. (Think back to the WVA game and how important that overtime loss in game one against Illinois was!)

Next up are home games against Navy (Homecoming) and South Florida (another Big East opponent). Then Louisville away and Cincinnati at home. Four tough games to be sure, but four very winnable games. Who knows, they just might have another game down the road.

While the RU offense continued to rewrite record books (Hart has 44 career TD passes, Mosses and Leonard have catches in 29 consecutive games, Harris in 25 games, Moses is now in third place in career TD receptions) the defense continues to shine. They recorded a safety in the third quarter. Defensive lineman Ryan Neill had two more tackles-for-loss (below his average of 2.5) while the team had 10 TFLs for the game (they are ranked second nationally in TFLs). They also recorded four sacks (they are tied for fourth nationally in that category).

Let’s go RU!

Up stream Red Team
Red team up stream
Hoorah, hoorah
Rutgers Rah!

Can I find Home Again?

I’m wondering if I will recognize my New Jersey home when I return on the 28th.

Terry tells me that when the rains ended (almost immediately after I left!), the landscaper was able to get to work on the new lawn (sod), shrubs, retaining wall and walkway. Overhead, the tree company was able to come back to finish clearing some of the dead branches form the oaks overhanging my and my neighbor’s home. Some of those branches were quite thick and could have done serious damage if they fell on either the roof or the cars parked beneath. At least I know the house hasn’t moved so I should be able to locate it just fine. Besides, I still have my GPS unit with me.

Be Vewwy, Vewwy Quiet

Okay, so it’s been a little over a week since I posted anything and you might be wondering why. The facts are: 1- I got tired of all the rain in New Jersey and decided to head north to the Adirondacks 2- the muzzleloader hunting season started in the Adirondacks on the 15th and I wanted to see if I could fill my tag(s)

I wasn’t very successful in either case. First, the rain followed me north. It rained everyday from Friday the 14th through Thursday the 20th. It didn’t rain all the time, but enough of the time that my buddy Mark from across the road and I got wet while we were out hunting almost every day. I did manage to see some deer Saturday, but they were too quick for me to get a shot. Mark had better luck and succeeded in killing a three-point buck on Wednesday morning. I never saw another deer during the week.

Friday, the last day of the muzzleloader season, was our nicest day with the sun shining most of the time. Yet, despite the signs of deer in the area and even pictures taken in my field using Mark’s infrared digital camera, we didn’t see anything at which to shoot.

Most of the week the wind has been coming out of the northwest, as has the rain. The forecasters out of Syracuse have called it “lake effect” rain. It could be worse—it could be “lake effect” snow! It would have been several feet instead of just a couple of inches of wet. (Even with the recent rains, the area is still 8-9 inches below the norm for the year.) My cabin is in the southwest corner of the Adirondack Park and is situated on the southern edge of the snow band that comes off Lake Ontario from November through March. It is not unusual for there to be several feet of snow in the yard from January to March. I’ve had snow –and heavy snow at that—in November.

Today, Saturday the 22nd, was the opening of the rifle season here in the northland. After a reasonable morning, the rains returned. This time they came from the southwest and promise to continue through Sunday. As much as I would like to put some more meat in the freezer, I know the deer aren’t going to wander much in the foul weather and there won’t be too many other hunters out there to move them. I also know that there are many more days to the season here and also in New Jersey and I would rather not get pneumonia. So I’ll go down to town and do my laundry and then out another log on the fire and sit back to watch some football and the World Series until the rains let up.

Since I only have access to dial-up service here, any posting will be few and far between.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Rain, Rain GO AWAY!

Have I mentioned that it’s raining? Has been since last Friday. Parts of Northern New Jersey have received over 10 inches of the stuff. If it hadn’t been for the months of drought from May through September, flooding would have been far worse than it is so far. As it is, the Wanaque Reservoir and the Jersey City Reservoir being so low at the start of this deluge have probably saved many homes down stream. But there’s time for it to get worse yet. The forecast is for 80% chance of rain through Friday night. The Frenchtown NJ Blog has links from NOAA that detail the flooding that is occurring.

Pay special attention to the links for the Passaic River Basin, the Deleware River Basin and the Raritan River Basin.

All Things Halloween: Lots’a Links

It’s another rainy day here in the northeast so I’ve been surfing the net for additional links about Halloween. (It was either that or get out the plans for an Ark and I'm not sure about the size of a cubit.) Here are some of the links I’ve found and would like to share.

A fun look at the holiday all kids (and those who are kids at heart) love is from the Holiday Spot. Lots of ideas for costumes, masks and decorations are here, too.

There’s an entire on-line magazine devoted to Halloween and it has some great links to ideas and crafts for a safe and fun celebration. Take a look at, what else, The Halloween Magazine.

Then there’s Halloween Online-The Internet’s Largest Halloween Resource to be chock full of goodies. Check it out.

Brownielocks (?)and the three bears has a Halloween site that is fun, even if the music is a bit annoying.

Halloween Is Here has lots of delightful (?) recipes for refreshments for your Halloween Party. My favorites are Meatloaf Mice and Guts and Eyeballs. But don’t forget the rest of the site’s offerings.

Pumpkin Masters, the company that created the first pumpkin carving kit and continues to market carving tools, decorations, trick-or-ttreat accessories, etc. has a page with some free pumpkin carving patterns as well as other fun stuff.

From the “Neopagan” viewpoint we have this link to the history and traditions of Halloween.

To give equal time, Annie’s Pages gives the History of Halloween from a Christian perspective. Her History of Halloween page is rather straight forward for, as she says:
Well I thought that I would just put up the information from the Encyclopedia about the History of Halloween along with the connection of the Celts and the Druids along with customs and other information. …I have not added any opinions because the information stands alone and you can then make your own conclusions.

England celebrates Guy Fawkes Day and Bonfire (from Bone Fire) Night, instead of Halloween. Which is a little strange to my mind since his was a failed attempt to blow up Parliament and over throw King James I! (England still does not celebrate the successful American Revolution.)

The History of Halloween

The History of Halloween is fascinating in that it spans the pagan-to-Catholic-to-secular transition of the holiday we celebrate today. Parts of the world, notably Mexico, Latin America, Spain, have maintained the Catholic version of celebrating All Saints’ Day, All Souls' Day and the eve that precedes them as Hallowmas. Those areas that were swept by the Reformation and became more Protestant have either adapted the holiday to a secular version (England’s Guy Fawkes Day) or reverted to the pagan origins (The US and Ireland). The History Channel, as might be expected, has a great compilation of history and traditions of this haunting holiday that has become the second largest commercial holiday in America. Go check it out and be sure to go through all their links.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

How To Carve Your Pumpkin

I saw this over on Ravenwood's Universe and just had to steal the link.

Click the link and follow the directions to learn How To Carve Your Pumpkin. Then go over to Ravenwood's blog.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Angels In the Outfield

The Chicago outfield. Tomorrow night. They just knocked off the Yankees by a score of 5-3. They win the series 3 games to 2.

Matsui left a passle of folks standing on the bases.

18 hours 'til the White Sox play the Angels in Chicago.

And Let’s Not Forget the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus

The rare and elusive cephalopod, the Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus , needs your help! Don't sit idly by as this lovely creature is eradicated. Click the link above to see how you can help today!

From the pages of Zapato Productions

Halloween Is Coming. Time to Protect Pumpkins

I've seen many a poor pumpkin smashed upon the roadway by malicious vandals. It is time for someone to step forward and speak for the gourd. (Or is it a squash? Whatever.) Luckily we have People for The Ethical Treatment of Pumpkins People for The Ethical Treatment of Pumpkins to do the job.

Pronounced pet-poo, we are an organization dedicated to the rights of pumpkins.
We at P.E.T.PU. strongly believe in eating meat. We know far less about a pumpkins state of existence than a cows. Isn't it possible that pumpkins feel pain and anguish? We know how to treat a cow humanely but how does a pumpkin feel when its umbilical like vine is torn from its root system. How long does it take a pumpkin to die? Pumpkins don't have any well-funded, misguided organizations fighting for them. Isn't it hypocritical to fight for animal rights while fattening up on pumpkins? Perhaps total abstinence from food is in order for the animal rights extremists. Pumpkins wouldn't miss them and neither would we at P.E.T.PU.

Go. Now. Read the rest.

Here's What's Really Happenin' in Area 51

This is a cool ad from Hogdon , manufactures of quality reloading supplies and blackpowder and pyrodex

First seen at Scribal Terror Scribal Terror

Rita Sweeps Clean

Mostly Cajun has posted pictures from two of the small towns struck by Rita. You won’t see these pics on the news, they’re stuck on NOLA and Katrina. First he has two sets from Cameron, LA. Set 1. Set 2. As you can see, the damage was extensive. Cameron is only 4 feet above sea level. When the storm surge hit 10 feet the predictable happened.
The third set is from Grand Cheniere and Creole, LA just a few miles east of Cameron.

Go check them out. The power of Mother Nature is nothing to sneeze at. Next time there‘s a hurricane

Home of Wallace & Gromit Destroyed in Fire

After a wonderful weekend in the box office with the unveiling of the full length claymation film Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit the folks at Aardman Animations suffered a terrible loss today as a fire swept through their studio in Bristol, UK. All of their sets and history memorabilia were lost as the roof collapsed. Read about it here, in the Guardian.

Oops! Travel Pics from Back in Sept.

Terry reminded me that I never posted any of the pictures from our trip to Atlanta (didn't take any!) or Sumter, SC.
To make up for that, I have a couple from the family and from our tour of the Yorktown that I mentioned back, oh, about a month ago.

After leaving Atlanta, we made our first stop in Columbia, SC at Terry's cousin Jim's place. Of course his wife Pat was there but several others showed up too. Right after we got there, their nephew Richard (son of Joe and Lorraine from Sumter) walked in.

Jim, Richard, Terry and Pat
Jim, Richard, Terry and Pat

After going to dinner, we found Michelle (Richard's sister), her two boys and her husband on the doorstep waiting for us. (And I forgot to take their picture!)

The next day we drove over to Terry's Aunt Nancy and Uncle Jim's in Sumter where we parked the trailer.

Nancy, Jim and Lorraine
Aunt Nancy, Uncle Jim and Cousin Lorriane

We stayed at Lorraine's Bed & Breakfast just off Memorial Park in Sumter for the next couple of days and enjoyed visiting (and eating) with Nancy and Jim. Lorraine and Joe took us down to Charleston to visit the Citadel (Joe's alma mater) and tour the city.
The old section of the city has many Victorian B & Bs as well as private residences and nearly everything was meticulously maintained.

Victorian Gingerbread
Just some of the gingerbread and stained glass on display.

But many of the shrubs and flowering vines intertwined with the wrought iron fences had creatures crawling around amidst the foliage.

Anole, peek-a-boo
Here's one anole that wasn't camera shy.

Later we stopped at Battery Park from which some of the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter several miles out in the harbor.

Battery Park, Charleston, SC
Battery Park, Charleston, SC

Then we crossed the harbor to Patriots Point where the USS Yorktown is docked along with several other lesser vessels. We spent two hours walking the decks of the Yorktown before heading out to dinner and back to Sumter.

USS Yorktown, Charleston, SC

Of course, if the Yorktown's bakery were still operational we might not have had to go to dinner.

mmmm! Cookies!
I guess they really liked chocolate chip cookies! (Although it only works out to a little over 3 cookies per crewman.)

I wonder if the smell of baking cookies and bread every gets stale?

Log Home Plans, Part II: The Design

The Plans

We obtained a copy of their floor plan book and, selecting the features we liked best form all the floor plans we had already perused, found the base for the home we wanted. In April of 2005 we attended a seminar at Beaver Mountain on the process of purchasing, financing and constructing a log home. We also toured their milling plant in Deposit, New York. At that time we arranged to come back in a couple of weeks to sit down with Joan and a computer draftsman to draw up the preliminary plans of our new home.

When we returned to Beaver Mountain with our ideas we spent three hours with Joan and CAD wizard John tweaking the drawings to get what we desired. Both of these experienced people added to our ideas while pointing out options/errors of which we were unaware. We started with Beaver Mountain’s standard floor plan called the Killington. They call it a chalet style home, but we made some sizable alterations.

killington 2
The Killington Model

First we added two feet on the gable end of the bedrooms making the footprint 28’ x 44’ and giving us first floor bedrooms of 13’-4” x 13’-4” each and a master bedroom on the second floor that was 17’-0” x 13’-4”.

Next, we flipped the interior of the house proper so it was a mirror image of the original and added a dormer that ran the length of the master bath and bedroom on the second floor. This added to the headroom and usable floor space in the master bedroom, allowed the bath to me moved to the exterior wall directly above the first floor bath and expanded the usable loft area.

We placed a zero-clearance fireplace in the corner of the great room and plan to encase the chimney with “cultured” river-run stone. This material is only 1/2-3/4 inch thick and is installed like tile. It is much lighter than a conventional brick chimney so it requires less support.

We widened the breezeway two feet and enclosed it to make it into an entrance foyer and laundry room.

On the side of the house away form the garage, which now held the kitchen, we added a covered porch that ran from the front right corner halfway down the house. Being accessible to the kitchen, this will make a nice area to sit and have dinner while the sun is setting in the distance.

1st floor
First Floor Layout

2nd floor
Second Floor Layout-The Master Suite and Loft

We changed the trusses over the garage to attic trusses (as opposed to the W-shapes of standard trusses, these are H-shaped and provide for storage area with decent headroom down the middle of the attic).

We decided to go with a curved window motif for the gable ends instead of the very triangular design on the model. I thought it gave the home a more Mission or Arts & Crafts style rather than a contemporary look. Since we are talking of decorating in that way and our casement windows and entrance door will be Mission Style I figured that was the way to go.

Because of the slope of our property, the basement (there will be a full basement under everything but the garage) will have a walk out on the gable end beneath the great room/living room. This basement will have a place for all the utilities (under the foyer and laundry), a sizable woodworking shop (under the two first floor bedrooms) and a bathroom (under the first floor bath). The remainder of the basement (under the great room, kitchen and dining room) will be a second family/game room with its own wood-burning stove (directly beneath the first floor fireplace so the chimney can use the same chase).

Front elevation
Front Elevation of the Aerie

The bench on which the house will be built is at an elevation of 2100 feet, hence the name The Aerie. The deck and glass gable end will face the north overlooking the valley through which Route 6 runs and we will have a 210 degree view from the east to the west with the hills of New York State in the distance.

As I have already mentioned we have selected a general contractor, Don K., and made a deposit on our kit. There are a few details to be worked out and financing yet to be obtained, but ground breaking and construction is scheduled for the spring of 2006. (If we can get the excavator to do some work this fall—widening the drive, digging for the foundation, etc.—so much the better.) We are hoping to be able to move in by the end of 2006.

Log Home Plans, Part I: Why Beaver Mountain

I was reminded today that I have not posted details of our log home. Nor have I told the story of how we came to choose Beaver Mountain Log Homes. Therefore, without further ado, let me rectify both issues. This will be rather long so relax.

Home floor plan

About two years ago when we started to think about building a log home, we shopped around for the floor plan that would suit us. We subscribed to several magazines (Log Home Living, Log Home Design Ideas, and Log Homes Illustrated) that showed different design and decorating ideas. Most issues also discussed the varying aspects of the process of selecting a company for your package, a contractor for construction, and a mortgage company for financing. Each magazine also has a section at the end—often half the magazine—showcasing different companies’ floor plans. I also started to build a computer file of various companies on the Internet and spent a lot of time examining the floor plans available there.

While we were looking at plans we also looked at where we wanted to live. After thinking about the mountains of Idaho and Montana we settled on Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains region. We chose this for several reasons. Our first consideration was our desire to keep our property in the Adirondacks of New York; something our son was emphatic about. Second in importance were taxes. Both Terry and I have pensions from public service jobs; Terry’s as a federal employee and mine as a public school teacher. PA doesn’t tax those pensions. Our third criterion was climate. We both agreed that we liked the seasonal changes of the northeast. The colors of autumn are more varied and vibrant along the Appalachians than elsewhere in the country.

As a result of these and a few other points we chose to look for property just south of New York’s Finger Lakes region in the PA counties of Bradford, Tioga and Potter. We found an ideal 10+ acre piece with easy access to Routes 6 and 15 in Tioga County and purchased it in December of 2004.

While looking for land we also decided we would rather work with a log home manufacturer that had a presence in the region rather than one from far away. That narrowed our choice to half a dozen. We arranged to meet with each of these companies’ representatives and finally chose Beaver Mountain Log Homes out of Hancock, New York. Unlike the other companies, there was no “middle man.” When we talked to sales rep Joan Decker, we were talking to the company. With other manufacturers, the sales person was only that—the sales person. Each worked out of his/her home and represented a small geographical area and to contact the company you went through them. Beaver Mountain didn’t have this arrangement. You dealt directly with the company through their offices in Hancock where they maintained several model homes.

We also liked the log home models they had on site. If we could have figured out a way to add a two-car garage to their Classic model and still fit it on our lot, I think we would have jumped on that particular model immediately. But, our building site is a bench on the side of a hill so even though it’s 10 acres, the Classic just didn’t fit our site.

Meeting with Joan we asked about the styles of milled logs Beaver Mountain offered, how they dried their logs, the different options for corners, windows and doors, what the package included, and how they put the logs together. All these were questions we had asked the other companies representatives, but we liked the answers Joan gave us and the package offered by Beaver Mountain much better than those of the other companies we spoke to.

Understand, Beaver Mountain wasn’t the largest company we contacted but it was the most personable and the quality of the materials and workmanship was superb. They manufacture between 125 and 175 log home kits a year and nearly all of them go to the NY-PA area. They do ship further afield but I’d say 90% of their homes are within 300 miles of Hancock, NY.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

In Other Sports News

Tiger Woods came from behind to tie John Daly with 270 after 72 holes of regulation. He then went on to win the WGC-American Express Championship Tournament on the second hole of sudden-death playoff golf. Each player picks up $1,025,000 for their four days of work on the golf course at the Harding Park Golf Club outside San Francisco.

Damn Yankees!

The Yankees came from behind with 3 runs in the 7th inning to defeat the Angels 3-2 tonight. This win knots the series at 2-2 and sends them out to LA/Anaheim for the deciding game tomorrow night.

As I said earlier, I hate the west coast game times but I also hate the Yankees so I'm kinda torn about the victory.

The Neverending Game

The Astros came back from a 6-1 deficit late in regulation, scoring the tying run with two out in the bottom of the ninth. Since then both sides have gone scoreless and the game remains 6-6 in the bottom of the 17th inning. I have no idea how many guys remain on the bench ready for use, but Houston has had Roger Clemens on the mound for the last two innings. (Or was it three. No definitely far.)

Okay, they just announced that Johnny Estrada (Braves) is the last position player available for either team.

Shot of the bench shows a lot of guys with a glaze in their eyes.

Earlier in the game there were two grand slams, one for each team (of course otherwise it wouldn't be 6-6). That's a first.

They now go to the 18th inning. Clemens is still on the mound for the Astros.

I am glad I'm not trying to keep a scorecard for this game. Imagine all the ink, lines through names, etc. Not a lot of hits on either side, but some guys have had 8 at bats already. (Biggio is 0 for 7 with a walk.)

Chris Burke ends the game in the bottom of the 18th with a walk-off home run. The final score is 7-6. Clemens gets the win in relief. Three innings pitched with 1 hit and 4 Ks. Not bad for a 43 year old. (He probably saw V. Testaverde--age 41--playing for the Jets earlier.)

Astros win the series 3-1 and the Braves go home.

Jets 14 Buccaneers 12

Vinny! Vinny!
Vinny and the Jets!

The Jets' offensive line protected Testaverde well and Vinny did a great job in the second half. With Coles catching, Vinny pitching and Martin scoring, the Jets got just enough points to pull it out against the undefeated Tampa Bay.

The defense bent but didn't break. Allowing only four field goals, they also managed to pressure Griese most of the afternoon.

The Jets "improve" to 2-3 while the Bucs drop to 4-1.

Baseball Winding Down

Thank goodness the Cardinals knocked off the Padres. Now the Yanks have to defeat the Angels. Not that I'm rooting for the Yanks to go all the way. No way am I going to do that! I just hate having a series, whether it's the ALCS, NLCS, or the World Series on the west coast now that they have all these mid-week night games for TV. When the games start at 10 or 11 PM here on the east coast...well, that's just too late.

I see a World Series of White Sox vs Cardinals that goes seven with the winner being...?

Log Home: Ordering Engineer's Drawings

Terry and I drove out to Beaver Mountain Log Homes on Friday (before the rain moved in) to meet with sales rep Joan Decker about ordering our log home package and the engineer's drawings (blue prints). We discussed the very few changes that we wanted to make. They were very minor changes dealing with the placement of an attic stairway in the laundry room so we could get up to the space above the garage.

While the changes were minor the commitment made at this meeting was major. With the payment of 10% of the package's price and the setting of a delivery date (April 19, 2006 or the nearest open delivery date) we stepped out onto the bridge over the chasm. (Remember the last Indiana Jones movie? When he has to take that first step off the cliff face and finds himself on the tiny foot bridge leading to the hall where the Holy Grail is located.) Guess we are committed now. (Some might say we should have been committed a long time ago, but that's a different story.)

We have another meeting with our contractor scheduled for October 29th to iron out some details and work out a contract. Then in December we will meet with M & T Mortgage of Lancaster, PA to arrange financing.

RU Glub! Glub!

Yesterday was a disappointment for Scarlet Knights fans. Playing in a deluge on the banks of the Raritan, the Mountaineers of West Virginia capitalized on two first quarter turnovers to jump out to a 14-0 lead and defeat the Knights 27-14.

Positive signs for RU included some good defensive play (although they did give up some long plays with missed tackles, they seemed to be playing bend-but-don't-break) and redshirt freshman QB Mike Teel demonstrating excellent leadership skills when called to replace senior Ryan Hart. Even Hart looked good in spurts moving up the record book charts in passing yards, completions, and attempts for RU. Brian Leonard also moved up the charts in yards, rushing TDs and scoring.

Rutgers fell to 3-2 overall, 1-1 in the Big East. Next up is a BIG GAME at Syracuse next Saturday. Syracuse is having a tough year and the Knights should be able to pick up another Big East victory.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

What Muppet Are You?

One of the TV shows we would all gather to watch when the kids were young was the half hour Muppet Show. We loved the actions of the little guys running around. The weekly running gags were also great as were the songs used in many of the skits. (I mean, Vikings singing "In the Navy" as the head out to pillage.

statler jpeg
You are Statler or Waldorf.
You have a high opinion of yourself, as do others.
But only because you are in the balcony seats.

Those two old guys in the box.
Heckling, complaining, being cantankerous

"Get off the stage, you bum!"

"The Art of Insult" and "How To
Insult Art"

Their pacemakers.

What Muppet are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

It Hurts Just Thinking About It

I’ve spent many days in the field with gun, bow and binoculars. Little did I realize that the binoculars might be the most dangerous. Who would have guessed that bird watching could be so dangerous?

Hat tip to Scribal Terror

Terry Pratchett's Thud!

I bought Terry Pratchett's Thud! Tuesday at Barnes and Noble and finished reading it Wednesday. Like all his books it was a read that I could not put down.
The lead character, Sam Vimes, is one of the best I've ever encountered. He and his multi-species crew on the Ankh-Morpork City Watch must solve a murder and halt a war—again. This time the war is a centuries old conflict between the dwarves and the trolls. Steeped in tradition, neither side knows who started their conflict but each side blames the other. The Watch has its vampires, werewolves, dwarves, trolls, humans and a character named Nobby Nobbs who has to carry a document that says he is human.

Prachett delves into intrigue, double-dealing and human behavior with incredible insight on today's world. He does all this with read aloud humor you'll want to share with others. Try not to give too much away however. Let them read and enjoy it too.

If you haven't read Pratchett before, you can pick up any of the books and start reading, but I recommend you start from the beginning of the Discworld booksThe Color of Magic—and read them all. There are series within the Discworld series. You have the Witches books, the Wizards books (these would include the most inept, but luckiest, wizard on Discworld—Rincewind), the City Watch books, and the Death books (yeah, Death is a character) and there are a few that are truly freestanding. They are all good and they get better with the second and third readings.

Actually, I find all of Pratchett's characters lovable. Whether it's Sam Vimes, Granny Weatherwax, Rincewind or Death who heads the bill or if it's politics, religion or just the modern world's foibles that is the stage I think you'll fall in love with Pratchett's writing.

And I think he's a handsome devil to boot. Just compare his photo to mine then click through some of the links below to check out him and his works.

Terry Pratchett’s Bibliography
Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Web Site
Terry Pratchett’s Books

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Halloween Must Be Coming

I confess that I like Halloween. I like the pumpkins, falling leaves, witches, ghosts, goblins and little kids dressed in costumes. Unfortunately, much of the hoopla that is Halloween has ended in my neighborhood. Twenty years ago, we had an active group of parents and kids in the 3-10 year-old range and we had some excellent celebrations. One or more neighbors would host a Halloween party for the kids and twenty to thirty costumed little ones would show up. We had neighborhood parades, dunking for apples, spooky “houses” and everything else.

All those little ones have grown and gone. They, the little ones, are either on their own or simply moved out of the area and couples with no youngsters have moved in. Last year we had only about a dozen kids show up to Trick-or-Treat. Just a few homes on the block have little kids and their houses are pretty easy to spot as they also have the yard decorations for all the holidays. (They also have the bicycles, toys, etc. the rest of the year.)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Football Weekend

I spent this weekend watching football both live and on TV.

Friday evening I watched Rutgers jump out to a big lead against Big East opponent Pittsburgh and then hold on for a 37-29 win. The defense became a little porous to the air attack in the second half and allowed the Panthers to get back into the game. The Scarlet Knights did NOT allow anything on the ground, however. The Pitt Panthers gained minus 11 yards on the ground. The defense has been playing well but they have been on the field for too many plays.
Rutgers is now 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the Big East. Their only loss occurred in their opener against Big 10 Illinois in overtime. In that game RU had a huge lead at the break but gave it all back in the second half. Ryan Hart is now number one on the Rutgers’ passing yardage list and only a couple of TDs away from number one on that list. (Ray Lucas holds the record with 52 TDs.) RU’s next plays in West Virginia.

Like many NJ residents, Terry and I went to a high school football game Saturday afternoon. We went to see the Morristown Colonials against the West Morris Wolfpack. (We also wanted to see the marching band since we had watched it for seven years as both kids play tuba in the Marching Colonials.) The football game started slowly with a 7-7 score at halftime. The marching band performed extremely well on the field and in the stands.
The Colonials fell behind 10-7 in the third quarter but from then on, they really began to roll. The defense made several interceptions setting up or scoring touchdowns and the running backs/offensive linemen finally got untracked. On one play, the right defensive end reached up to bat a pass out of the air, bounced it off one of his own teammates, caught the rebound and ran it in for a TD. The final score was 42-10.

The Giants’ Eli Manning pulled off an imitation of his older brother. He threw for four TDs against the St. Louis Rams and led the Giants to a 44-24 win. The Giants are now 3-1.

The Jets suffered some horrible luck last week. Both Chad Pennington and Jay Fiedler (quarterbacks #1 & #2) went down with shoulder injuries. They went out and signed Vinny Testaverde to start—next week. But this week, they hand the ball to Brooks Bollinger, a three year pro who was a number one pick out of Wisconsin. He may have led Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl, but he has thrown only 9 passes in the pros. Since the Jets’ running game has been weak these first three games, Mr. Bollinger was in for a rough afternoon.

Luckily, the Jets were going against the Baltimore Ravens. While their injuries haven’t been highlighted the way the Jets’ have been, they too are banged up. And they have been unable to score much in their first three games. At halftime it was 6-0 in favor of the Ravens. The Jets managed only a field goal on a first and goal from the one. The Ravens followed with a third quarter TD and that was the way it ended; 13-3 Ravens. The Jets fall to 1-3 and now occupy last place in the East.
Bollinger looked better in the second half but got little help from the receivers who dropped several balls that were right in their hands. Things aren’t looking good.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

35,000 That Got Away

As a fisherman I can empathize with the guy who lost all those fish (I cry when I lose just one big ‘un) and with the guys in the boats who were catching some of them. Some days you just feel like crying. Whether it’s with sadness or joy depends upon which end of the line you’re on.

Stroh's Light “Commercial”

My guess is you will NOT see this one on TV…but it is a very funny commercial for Stroh's Light Beer. The persons responsible for this should get some kind of reward. The gestures and words are perfectly matched.