Sunday, September 30, 2007

Just for Fun

Saw this video of one of the best Rube Goldberg devices ever. Over at The Speculist and thought you might enjoy this do-nothing machine. (Kinda like the Democratic Congress.)

Journeyman = Quantum Leap?

I don't watch much television anymore. The networks' lineups of shows just haven't produced anything in the last few years that floats my boat. Reality shows leave be cold--or angry. The "comedies" aren't. And the dramas are awful. Only CSI (the original) really grabbed me until a year or so ago when it just got to damn freaky.

The only reason I tune in lately is to view sports. And I've noticed a decline in the quality of the announcers in many of the college games. Perhaps it's due to ESPN and ABC spreading themselves too thin. (On a side note, I never liked Brent Musberger. He comes across as just too full of himself. Watching him it appears he believes HE is the maker of the story and not the reporter.)

Tonight I'm watching the Sunday Night Football game (with two of the best announcers on the tube: John Madden and Al Michaels) and I've seen ads for NBC's new show Journeyman and all I can think of when hearing what they're saying about it is why didn't they just bring back Quantum Leap? I mean, that is exactly what it sounds like.

Giants vs Eagles

Watching the first half of this game it is painfully obvious that ELI Manning has not achieved the caliber of play that his older brother displays.

Still, because the Eagles' McNabb is having an even worse game (to this point), the Giants lead 7-0 at the half.

McNabb is getting the snot knocked out of him tonight. Without Westbrook (injured ribs) the Eagles had no real running attack so the Giants D is just teeing off on the Eagles offense. The count is now up to something silly like 8 or 9 sacks and half a dozen more hard hits on McNabb.

At the end of three quarters, it's Giants 16, Eagles 0

The Giants' D had 12 sacks of McNabb. Umenyiora had 6 of them. Strahan got a couple and surpasses some guy named Lawrence Taylor in the Giants' record book.

Final score: Giants 16, Eagles 3

Peyton Manning

After my Mets completed the worst collapse in history (from 7 games ahead to out in two weeks) I am consoling myself watching the Indianapolis Colts against the Denver Broncos. I’m marveling at the skills Peyton Manning is displaying. His play calling and execution are like watching a Rembrandt dabble in oils or an Ansel Adams in black and white photography. Or, perhaps more appropriate considering the range of skills, a da Vinci fooling around in his studio.

I know that Manning’s is a team sport and that he is surrounded by many, many talented players, but it’s his leadership skills on the offensive side of the ball that keeps this juggernaut rolling. As for the Colt’s defense, would they be as good if they had to be on the field for more plays? When the offense keeps the ball and grinds out long drives time and again, it gives the defense the rest it needs to go all out on every play. And when the Colts’ offense scores frequently (which it does), that forces the opponents’ offense to approach the game differently.

Colts are now 4-0 with a 38-20 victory over Denver. They lost a few key players during the game to injury, if they can't make it back soon, they're absence may be the only thing that could slow the Colts down.

Post Week 5 Polls

After this Wild Weekend, there are a whole lot of changes in this week’s Top 25.There are also many differences between the AP (Writers’) and Coaches. Here are the new lists and who each team faces this week.

1/2 LSU The Tigers play the #9/7 Florida Gators on Saturday night.

2/1 Southern California The Stanford Cardinal have (has?) the pleasure of facing the Trojans on Saturday.

3 California The Golden Bears have the week off.

4 Ohio State The Buckeyes have a big game (yeah, another one) at #23/20 Purdue in a contest pitting two 5-0 teams against one another.

5 Wisconsin The Badgers are on the road against 4-1 Illinois.

6/9 South Florida The Bulls take their 5-0 record to Boca Rotan to face the Florida Atlantic Owls.

7/6 Boston College The Eagles host Bowling Green as they seek to improve on their 5-0 record.

8 Kentucky The Wildcats travel to #11/18 South Carolina.

9/7 Florida The Gators have little time to lick their wounds as the travel to Baton Rouge to face the #1/2 LSU Tigers.

10 Oklahoma The Sooners head to the Cotton Bowl to face the #19/16 Texas Longhorns.

11/18 South Carolina The Gamecocks host #8 Kentucky.

12/11 Georgia The Bulldogs put the leash on Ugga and head to Knoxville to play the Tennessee Volunteers.

13/12 West Virginia The Mountaineers can get healthy on their trip to Syracuse this week. Can’t they? What do you think Louisville?

14/13 Oregon The Ducks have the week off. It doesn’t mean they can’t move up n next week’s polls.

15/14 Virginia Tech The Hokies are on the road against #22 Clemson.

16/15 Hawaii The Rainbow Warriors host the Utah State Aggies late Saturday/early Sunday.

17 Missouri The Tigers are back in action this week and put their 4-0 record on the line against visiting #25/23 Nebraska.

18/19 Arizona State The Sun Devils will pack up their 5-0 record and travel up to Pullman, Washington to face the Washington State Cougars.

19/16 Texas The Longhorns will host #10 Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl as both teams search for their first conference victory.

20/24 Cincinnati The Bearcats will take their 5-0 record to Piscataway, NJ to face
#21 Rutgers.

21 Rutgers The Scarlet Knights host the undefeated #20/24 Cincinnati Bearcats.

22 Clemson The Tigers host #15/14 Virginia Tech.

23/20 Purdue The Boilermakers host #4 Ohio State in a battle of the unbeatens.

24/NR Kansas State Fresh off their victory over Texas, the Wildcats host undefeated Kansas Jayhawks (4-0). There’s no rest for the weary.

25/23 Nebraska The Cornhuskers host the undefeated #17 Missouri.

NR/25 UCLA The 4-1 Bruins host Notre Dame. If not for their loss to Utah....

Ooooo, I'm Dying!

Tom Glavine got the ball for today's game Mets vs Marlins that the Mets really, really need to win. Glavine's skill is undeniable. He will be in the Hall of Fame once he retires.

BUT, today, he really, really sucked!

1/3 of an inning. One freakin' out. And he gave up 7--count them--7 earned runs in the top of the first.


Dontrelle Willis gets a TRIPLE!!?? Off Orlando Hernandez (aka El Duque) yet.
It's going to be a long, long day.

Twice in three innings the Mets have had the bases loaded, albeit with two out, and they have come up empty both times.
A very, very long day indeed.

That first inning seems to have taken all the life out of the Mets' bats. That and the current 5-1 score by which the Phillies lead the Nats.

It's over: Marlins 8, Mets 1 *sigh*

Meanwhile the Phils win 6-1. They are the NL East Champs and will host the first round of the playoffs.

There can be only one! (Part two)

There were 22 undefeated teams going into this weekend. But seven teams including five with top ten rankings lost their first game of the season.

No longer undefeated (in alphabetical order)
SchoolRecordConference Results of Week 5.
Clemson 4-0 ACC Now 4-1 after losing to Georgia Tech.
Florida 4-0 SEC Now 4-1 after losing to Auburn.
Oklahoma 4-0 Big 12 Now 4-1 after losing to Colorado.
Oregon 4-0 Pac 10 Now 4-1 after losing to California.
Rutgers 3-0 Big East Now 3-1 after losing to Maryland.
Texas 4-0 Big 12 Now 4-1 after losing to Kansas State
West Virginia 4-0 Big East Now 4-1 after losing to South Florida.

But this was a wild weekend in which half of the top 10 teams were defeated. So, who’s left? Only 15 teams remain undefeated and two of those did so by not playing!

Those still undefeated (in alphabetical order):
School Record Conference Results of Week 5.
Arizona State 4-0 Pac 10 Now 5-0 after defeating Stanford.
Boston College 4-0 ACC Now 5-0 after beating UMass.
California 4-0 Pac 10 Now 5-0 after beating Oregon.
Cincinnati 4-0 Big East Now at 5-0 after defeating San Diego State.
Connecticut 4-0 Big East Now 5-0 after beating Akron.
Hawaii 4-0 WAC Now 5-0 after beating Idaho.
Kansas 4-0 Big 12 Remains 4-0: Idle this week.
Kentucky 4-0 SEC Now 5-0 after beating Florida Atlantic.
LSU4-0 SEC Now 5-0 after beating Tulane.
Missouri 4-0 Big 12 Still 4-0: Idle this week.
Ohio State 4-0 Big Ten Now 5-0 after beating Minnesota.
Purdue 4-0 Big Ten Now 5-0 after beating Notre Dame.
South Florida 3-0 Big East Now 4-0 after defeating West Virginia.
Southern California 3-0 Pac 10 Now 4-0 after defeating Washington.
Wisconsin 4-0 Big Ten Now 5-0 after beating Michigan State

Wild, Wacky Week Five

It was a wild ride for many of the ranked teams this week. Nine of the AP Top 25 were defeated including five of the top ten. #20 Missouri is probably very happy they were idle this week.

#1 Southern California (4-0) escaped in a squeeker over Washington (2-3) 27-24.

#2 LSU remains undefeated at 5-0 with a 34-9 victory over Tulane.

#3 Oklahoma took it on the chin in the high altitude of the Colorado Rockies. The traveled to Colorado and the Buffaloes came back with 20 unanswered points in the third and fourth quarters to beat the Sooners 27-24. The go ahead field goal was made with 0:02 on the clock. It was the second time this season the Buffaloes got a “walk-off” field goal to win the game.

Unranked Auburn lead for most of the game but needed a field goal with 3 seconds remaining to defeat #4 Florida 20-17. Coach Tommy Tuberville figured out how to defense the Gators’ Tim Tebow: don’t let him have the ball. Auburn ran 77 offensive plays to Florida’s 61. They also had 320 net yards versus the Gators’ 312. The loss ends Florida’s 11 game winning streak. Their last loss? To Auburn.

All the press #5 West Virginia (4-1) has gotten the last year or two must not have impressed #18 South Florida (4-0). Last year the beat the Mountaineers in Morgantown. This year they whipped ‘em in Tampa, 21-13. The Bulls are now 4-0 and the Mountaineers fall to 4-1.

#6 California (5-0) scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to defeat #11 Oregon (4-1) 31-24. And the Golden Bears needed every point. Even then two late interceptions of Dennis Dixon passes and a freak play were needed to overcome the Ducks. With 22 seconds to play, a fumbled ball by Ducks’ receiver Cameron Colvin that rolled free just short of the goal line and went through the end zone resulting in a touchback thereby preventing a Ducks’ score is the only thing that preserved the victory.

Unranked Kansas State (3-1) knocked off #7 Texas (4-1) by a score of 41-21. K-State ran back two kick returns (one a punt and the other a kickoff) for TDs and an interception for another.

#8 Ohio State (5-0) defeated Minnesota (1-4) by a 30-7 score.

#9 Wisconsin (5-0) held on to defeat Michigan State (4-1) by a score of 37-34 even
thought the Spartans out gained the Badgers 564 net yards to 461.

Unranked Maryland (3-2) powered over #10 Rutgers (3-1) 34-24. The Terps lost their starting QB to a concussion late in the first half but backup Chris Turner led the way to 20 second half points as Maryland overcame a 17-14 half-time deficit. The Terp defense held Ray Rice to just 97 yards on 21 carries. Sixty-eight of those yards came in the first quarter.

#11 Oregon came thiiissss close to upsetting #6 California. But didn’t. (See above.)

#12 Boston College (5-0) continues to have an unblemished record with its 24-14 defeat of Massachusetts (4-1).

#13 Clemson (3-1) fell to Georgia Tech (3-2) in a close contest 13-7.

#14 Kentucky (5-0) Andre Woodson threw his first interception in a very long time but he also threw for 301 yards and 5 TDs in leading the Wildcats over Florida Atlantic (3-2).

#15 Georgia (4-1) was having a tough time with Mississippi (1-4) until they put up 21 points in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs won 45-17.

#16 South Carolina (4-1) scored the final 21 points in their contest with Mississippi State (3-2) and pulled out a 38-21 victory.

#18 South Florida (4-0) beat #5 West Virginia (4-1)

#19 Hawaii's Rainbow Warriors (5-0) traveled to Moscow, Idaho to take on the Vandals (1-4). Colt Brennan threw for two TDs and ran for one. Brennan was 31 for 50 for 395 yards before giving way to backup Tyler Graunke. The Warriors’ defense returned two interceptions for TDs. The final score was 48-20.

#20 Missouri (4-0) had the week off.

#21 Penn State (3-2) fell to Illinois (4-1) 27-20.

#22 Alabama (3-2) lost to Florida State (3-1), 21-14.

#23 Arizona State (5-0) easily handled Stanford (1-3) 41-3.

#24 Cincinnati (5-0) traveled to the west coast and drummed San Diego State (1-3) 52-23 and it wasn’t that close as the Aztecs tacked on 13 points in the final quarter. The Bearcats’ Ben Mauk threw for a career-high 4 TD passes—in the second quarter—as the Bearcats rolled to 30 first downs and 547 yards total offense.

#25 Nebraska (4-1) downed Iowa State (1-4) 35-17.

Unranked Purdue (5-0) defeated Notre Dame (05) 33-19.
In the Big East
Unranked (so far) Connecticut improved to 5-0 by beating Akron 44-10.
Syracuse (1-4) lost to Miami (Ohio) (2-3) by a score of 17-14.
#18 South Florida(4-0) defeated #5 West Virginia (4-1) 21-13.
Maryland (3-2) defeated #10 Rutgers (3-1) 34-24.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Farookin' Mets!

Today they jump all over the Marlins 13-0. The offense had 19 hits and the Marlins committed 3 errors. John Maine did a great job going 7 2/3 inning and giving up just 1 hit. Then the bull pen yielded no hits in the final 1 1/3.

Oh, and the Phillies lost to the Nationals 4-2.

That means they have played 161 games and tomorrow could make the difference. If they both win or both lose then there's a playoff. If one wins and the other loses? The winner is the NL East Champ and goes into the playoffs while the loser goes home.

If you ever, ever hear a manager or player talk about how a game lost in April is not important, laugh in his face.

Rutgers Falls to Maryland, 34-24

Rutgers R.small

With a mere 1:41 left in the first half, Rutgers trailed Maryland 14-3. The Terps were running through the Knights defense and making the afternoon very uncomfortable for the sell-out crowd in Piscataway (and on my couch). But Rutgers got the ball on their own 22 when Maryland’s Chris Roberts missed a 39-yard field goal. Then Mike Teel went to work. In just 49 seconds Teel led the Scarlet Knights 78 yards and found Tim Brown on a 20-yard TD pass.

Maryland got the ball on the ensuing kickoff but was unable to move as the RU defense stiffened. The Terps had to punt and the Scarlet Knights had the ball on their own 31 with 0:29 on the clock. It took Teel just 23 of those seconds and three plays to put the Knights in the end zone again. This time it was Tiquan Underwood from 7-yards out.

The Scarlet Knights go into the half with a 17-14 lead.

Sure hope the guys who played in the last two minutes are the ones that come out of the tunnel for the second half.


Damn! it was the guys who played the first 28 minutes. The Rutgers defense just couldn't consistently stop the Terps' running attack and then had to face the passing of the Terps' second string (?) quarterback.

The RU offense couldn't move the ball when it needed to, either and that put the D on the field for too much of the second half.

It was 27-24 with less than two minutes to go when RU permitted (?) the Terps to score so they could get the ball back. It didn't help.

RU Falls to 3-1 while Maryland improves to 3-2.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Big East Battle

There have been four turnovers in the first half--by each team--eight turnovers in all.

South Florida turned one interception into a TD and cored a second TD on a pass the WVU defenders must have thought wasn't going to happen. Grothe (USF QB) was nearly, but not completely, sacked when he suddenly stood up to deliver a long pass down the sidelines to a very, very free receiver.

WVU managed to get a field goal in the final seconds of the half.

South Florida leads WVU 14-3.

But there are thirty minutes to go.


WVU QB White injured his leg late in the second quarter and will probably sit the entire second half with Derrick Brown being his replacement.

USF took the second half opening kickoff and marched down the field for a TD and a 21-3 lead. WVU came back up field but managed only to put three points on the board. Later the drove into the red zone only to have the drive end on an interception.

At the end of the third quarter USF leads 21-6.


In the final quarter, USF didn't score but their defense shut Steve Slayton down. He was a non-factor with just 54 yards. The Mountaineers did manage a touchdown, however. WVU committed 7 turnovers.

The final score: #18 USF Bulls 21, #5 West Virginia Mountaineers 13.

Jeez, talk about your Nanny State.

Hillary Clinton has proposed that the Federal Government bank $5,000 for every child born in the US the money—and the accrued interest—to be used to pay for college education.
Clinton: $5,000 for Every U.S. Baby

And this at a time when the Democratic Party is decrying the national deficit/debt, proposing Universal Health Care, and not dealing with a Social Security system that is on the verge of failing.

She’s previously on record as saying she intends to take money from the “wealthy” (and to her that’s about anyone who has a full time job) to redistribute to those who are in the bottom third. Is there any question of how she intends to pay for this little program? And do you truly believe it would go to every child? Or, much more likely, would there be a “needs” provision attached that would prevent children from “wealthy” families from collecting?

Plus, just think of how this would look to those who currently sneak across our borders illegally to birth anchor babies. Babies, which by current law, are automatically US citizens. What more incentive would the parents want?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

#(*$&^%# Mets!

Mets lost to Cards 3-0
Phillies beat the Braves 6-4

It's freakin' tied with three games to go.

There can be only one!

(Well, not really since there are no playoffs or anything in BCS college football. It’s possible for there to be two or more but unlikely. But in the Football Championship Subdivision, yeah, one's all there can be. because they, like, really duke it out at the end.)

Anyway, there are three games this weekend that pit undefeated 1-A teams against one another. In THOSE match-ups only one will survive and carry the “unbeaten” label for at least one more week.

Friday night, in the first Big East competition for both teams it will be the #5 West Virginia Mountaineers taking their 4-0 record in Tampa to face the #18 South Florida Bulls who sport a 3-0 record.

I came thiiiiiiiss close to going to Morgantown way back when but early admissions and $$ considerations put me at Rutgers. The line has WVU as 7 point favorites but I’m hoping the Bulls can gore the Mountaineers and slow their high powered offense. The WVU defense is a potential Achille’s Heel. And SF’s sophomore QB may be the one who can stick it. Let’s go Grothe!

For an added touch:
… the Bulls shocked then-No. 7 West Virginia 24-19 at Morgantown to knock the Mountaineers out of contention for a BCS bowl game last season.
This year it’s on home turf, baby!

On Saturday we have two more battles of the unbeatens. (Or is that three—more on that later.)

At 3:30 Eastern Time:

#6 California (4-0) travels up the coast to face #11 Oregon (4-0).

I’ve got no dog in this fight. (Am I allowed to say that when talking about football?) However, whichever team loses is surely going to fall in the rankings, which means others will be moving on up—hopefully #10 RU.

Here’s an interesting observation from the CBS Sports’ preview:
California (4-0, 1-0) has scored at least 34 points in each of its four wins, totaling 166 - 13th-most in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Among Pac-10 teams, only Oregon (4-0, 1-0) has more points, as the Ducks are tied for seventh in the nation with 194.
Sounds like the first team to punt loses. Oregon is favored by 5.

Also at 3:30 Eastern Time:

Unranked Michigan State (4-0) visits #9 Wisconsin (4-0).

Again I’ve no dog in this hunt. (Yeah, that sounds better.) But if #9 Wisconsin gets knocked off it will be good for my #10 RU. It won’t be easy for the second week in a row, Wisconsin got some heroic effort in the second half to win and extend the nation’s longest winning streak to 13.

The Spartans were just 1-7 in the Big Ten last year and under a new coach are looking to exact revenge on their conference rivals. But this week, they might have to wait. The Badgers are favored by 7 ½.

About that third game.

It starts at 1:00 eastern and will take place for bragging rights in Massachusetts and pits the #12 Boston College Eagles (4-0) against 1-AA (or FCS if you prefer) #2 Massachusetts Minutemen (4-0). BC is averaging 37 points per game and UMass 35. This one could get real interesting. They play some exciting ball on the FCS level, just ask Michigan. No line is listed because they are form different divisions.

Interesting story:

My daughter went to UMass and played in the Marching Band. Her first year there, the Minutemen were National Champs as they beat powerhouse Georgia Southern in Chattanooga, GS's backyard, very decisively. She said they got razzed coming into the stadium ("Go home yankees!")but that after three turnovers and three UMass TDs in the first 5 minutes it got awfully quiet. They had a little guy named Marcel Shipp running through defenses like grass through a goose. Played for the Arizona Cardinals for a while but I don't know where he is now.

Oh, BTW; #10 RU is a 16 point favorite against Maryland.


To the east of me to the north of me and to the west of me. Soon they will be above me. has upped the chance of Precip to 100% and we could get upwards to an inch overnight. Damn, I know we need the rain, but a quarter an inch a day would have been far, far better. You know, give it a chance to soak in and all.

I can hear the storms over the mountain on Route 15. let me get the feeders in before it starts.

Here’s something you won’t see everyday.

Witchdoctor caught at poll tribunal

Nigerian police have arrested a witchdoctor employed by a politician to perform rituals at an election tribunal….

Officers caught Oluwole Abiodun Wednesday at the court building in southwestern Ondo state with charms and copies of the Bible and Koran in a black plastic bag.

A pot containing a rabbit, seven eggs, cowrie shells and palm oil was found nearby….

Although, there have been times…

Hundreds of cases are being heard across Nigeria to resolve disputes arising from April elections that were so heavily rigged they were deemed not credible by international observers.

The witchdoctor's rituals would have been intended to ensure that the challenge to the election of the legislator failed.

…say Florida in 2000.

Gives a whole new meaning to “pollsters.”

I Say: Bring back the Woolly Mammoth!

DNA Extracted From Woolly Mammoth Hair

Now let me see. If I remember correctly the next step is to inject the DNA into an elephant’s egg and then….

Wow! Wouldn’t that be cool to see roaming the northern plains and tundra of Canada?!

And, unlike dinosaurs, mammoths did roam the earth in the early days of man. Hell, even the Native Americans met by Lewis and Clark still had their tales and legends of the big fella with huge tusks just over the next range of mountains. Early mountain men and fur trappers spoke of “going to see the elephant.” (Although I'm not sure this is what they meant.)

I don’t know...
maybe they just need their morning coffee.

Cockroaches Are Morons In The Morning, Geniuses In The Evening
Seriously, the article mentions studies with humans that showed time of day to be a factor in ability to learn. I used to have classes like that when I taught high school. When school starts at 7:30 AM (and some of the kids had to be up by 6 to get read and catch the school bus), there aren’t a lot of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed learners on the other side of the lab bench. (Hell, I wasn’t too bright-eyed and bushy-tailed some mornings either. But that’s what Monday Night Football will do to you.)

Yard chores at the Aerie

I’ve got a couple of pictures to show what I’ve been up to in the yard.

First up is the raised bed I’ve constructed on the edge of the lawn area.
Raised Bed 2
The bed is 16 feet long by 8 feet wide with a 4’x4’ square “removed” for the rosebud tree planted in the center. That's 144 square feet of planting area. I used four courses of landscape timbers to create this raised bed. You can only see two because the others are below ground level in an attempt (unsuccessful) to make the whole thing level. There was still too much pitch in the far corner for that to happen.

I dug down to remove as many rocks from the area as possible and screened the loosened clay soil to remove even more. I went about 5 or 6 inches below the bottom tier of timbers. Each timber is 4 inches thick so there's upwards of 20 inches of loosened soil within the bed. Then I shoveled in the top soil we purchased from a local quarry. It’s a bit of a sandy loam mix so I worked the clay into it. I’ll get some peat moss and work that in before the soil freezes for the winter. Then, next spring, it will be ready for planting. It gets a good 8 hours and more of sunlight where it’s located so any garden veggies will do well if I can succeed in fencing out the rabbits.

The second little project was to solve a problem created when I filled behind the retaining walls. Retaining walls
Since the fill material is on a slope and the roof has no gutters there has been some erosion of soil. When it rains, huge amounts of water pour off the roof just in front of the front door. There are two perpendicular sections of roof coming together there and the valley funnels the water to this location. In an attempt to put a halt to the erosion this causes, I've erected two stone walls perpendicular to the flow. This allows me to have several tiered areas where the water will, hopefully, sink into the soil instead of running off.

I tamped down the fill in the areas where I wanted to erect the short walls. Collecting the flatties to construct the walls was just a matter of walking around the yard although if I needed more I’ve got plenty on the 17 acres of land on which the Aerie sits!

The soil here will also get the peat moss treatment and will be planted next spring with perennials that like the shade. Only the section at the bottom gets much sunlight. The trade off is that the section up toward the front door is very protected from the wind.

Freakin' Mets!

The Mets have turned what should have been a cakewalk to the NL East title into a nail biter. Terrible bullpen work mixed with some shaky starting pitching has reduced their lead over the Phillies to just one game. Their "Magic Number" stands at four with just four games to play.

Last night they took a respectable offensive performance (Beltran had two home runs and Alou another as both went 2-for-4 and the team had 10 hits) jumping out to a five run lead over the Nationals only to blow the entire thing 9-6.

Rookie Phil Humber made his major league debut and pitched four decent innings. Unfortunately, he came out to pitch in the fifth. He was finally charged with five earned runs but only because Joe Smith was totally ineffective in relief, allowing inherited runners to score and giving up two earned runs of his own without getting an out in the fifth. Pedro Feliciano also permitted one of Smith's base runners to score and earned the blown save with which he was "credited."

With the score 7-6 in the ninth, Mets' closer Billy Wagner threw gasoline on the fire giving up two more earned runs.

I'm glad I wasn't watching this on TV, I would have thrown something at the screen for sure and I can't afford to go out and buy a new TV right now.

Rain! (Well, a little bit anyway.)

When the alarm went off this morning, I could hear the sound of rain hitting the leaves of the trees and the eaves of the house. Checking the radar maps indicated there could be more during the morning so I opted out of the planned bicycle ride with the bird watching group. No word if they carried on without me yet.

Checking the rain gauge I found that may have been the only shower we got over night. There was considerably less than 0.1 inch in there. This despite the thunderstorms that moved through the area just to the west and north of us. (Elmira, Ithaca and the southern edge of the Finger Lakes got hit pretty hard...again.) This has been the pattern all summer. Storms have struck all around the Aerie but nary a drop has fallen here. The weather gurus are still forecasting scattered showers today and greater likelihood of sustained rains tonight. They say we could get about 0.5 inches. I'll believe it when it happens.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Just checking in.

Terry's off in Dallas, TX for the annual Smocking Arts Guild of America convention where she is to be installed as the President-Elect. Next year she will become President and I've been informed I MUST attend in Atlanta. It'll play hell with my hunting seasons but, what the hey. Domestic tranquility and all that.

I have been slaving away (HA!) here at the Aerie finishing up the raised bed that I began a month ago and trying to figure out what to do with the couple of yards of topsoil I have left over. A couple of small stone walls to enclose a second bed need to be constructed and the dirt moved from its current location to a spot about thirty yards away which means I'll be playing the "laborer's banjo" (aka "shovel") some more in the next couple of days.

The birding group wants to go biking this Thursday on the newly opened stretch of Rails-to-Trails that starts at Darling Run just west of Wellsboro and heads northeast for 5 or 6 miles along Marsh Creek. I've put one of Rick's bicycles together (hopefully correctly) and will try to test that old axiom about never forgetting how to ride a bike. It has been a very, very long time since I was last aboard one and this baby has ten speeds. Luckily the trail is pretty flat.

Fall is definitely in the air but has been somewhat fickle. One day it's a beautiful crisp and clear 60ish degree day with upper 30s at night and the next it's 85 and quite hazy with temps only dropping into the low 70s overnight. At least the trees are starting to change color. The hills are about 10-15% red and yellow now as the maples, oaks and ashes begin their transformation. There's a little more each day. And the sun has begun moving southward. Each night it sets a little further south of west than the night before.

As much as I'm enjoying the clear days and nights, we desperately need some rain here in the Northern Tier. We've recorded just about 0.9 inches since the month began and everything is incredibly dry. Walking in the woods is like walking on cornflakes.

Radio Free NJ: - The Problem with America

Tom at Radio Free NJ has an excellent post on why "they" all seem to hate America. Hint: It's because we are so successful.

Radio Free NJ: - The Problem with America
The next time someone tells you that all the worlds [sic] problems are caused by America, remember, you’re talking to a loser.

I heartily recommend you go read the entire thing.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

What was NBC Sports thinking?

NBC Sports needs to get rid of Kieth Olbermann on its Sunday night broadcasts. His bits are the worst pieces on the pregame and halftime reports. It took me just one week to realize I was better off tuning in at 8:15 PM and either using the mute button or the bathroom during the halftime break.

What the hey!?

Since the Hurricane Center made it's predictons for a certain number of named storms, it seems they're pressured to find them.

For the second time this year they have named a "subtropical" depression. The first was Andrea way back in early May. She formed off the mid-Atlantic Coast of the US and rapidly moved northeast and disappeared.

Now we have Subtropical Storm Jerry. Waaaaaaayyyyyy out there some forty degrees of longitude east of Washington, D.C. and heading north-northeast away from everything.

You don't thing the folks down at NOAA are trying to gin up the numbers, do you?

Giants D comes up HUGE

The NYG offense sputtered and stumbled but put up 24 points with 21 unanswered points in the second half. The points were unanswered because the defense made critical stop after critical stop. They bend at times but never broke in the second half. As a result, the Giants defeated the Redskins 24-17 for their first victory of the year.

Oh, and the Jets used a 98 yard kickoff return by Leon Washington, 110 yards in rushing by Thomas Jones, a passing TD and a rushing TD by Chad Pennington to beat the Miami Dolphins 31-28.

Fall has officially arrived

The Autumnal Equinox has passed and Fall is officially here.

At the Aerie, the Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds have moved south. None have appeared at the feeders for the last few days so we pulled the sugar water feeders. The Gold Finches have shed their bright yellow plumage and are now a drab olive green. (Unlike the Philadelphia Eagles and, now that they're on the tube, the Washington Redskins. Must be a retro uniform thing this weekend.)

The trees are starting to show more and more color as the shorter days trigger the end of chlorophyll production and other colors begin to show through. There's a smattering of red and yellow out there on the hills. Even the pines are showing a bit of brown as some of the older needles are being shut off. Of course, the needles at the tips of the branches are still bright green and will continue to photosynthesize for much of the winter and for a year or two more before they are worn out.

Post Week 4 Polls and more

The new college polls have been released. Nothing too surprising. Penn State slips, Louisville is out. Kentucky moves up a bit more. A couple of new teams at the bottom of the list: Cincinnati, Arizona State, Michigan State and Purdue. Here are the rankings from the AP and Coaches’ Polls along with each team’s next week opponent.

1/1 Southern California Next Saturday the Trojans travel to play Washington.

2/2 LSU Next up for the Tigers is a trip to Tulane.

3/4 Oklahoma The Sooners travel to Colorado this week.

4/3 Florida The Gators host Auburn at the Swamp this week.

5/5 West Virginia The Mountaineers travel to face the #18 South Florida Bulls in a matchup of Big East unbeatens.

6/6 California The Golden Bears travel up the coast to play undefeated #11/12 Oregon.

7/7 Texas The Longhorns are at home against Kansas State.

8/8 Ohio State The Buckeyes travel northwest to face Minnesota.

9/9 Wisconsin The Badgers host undefeated Michigan State.

10/10 Rutgers The Terrapins of Maryland visit The Scarlet Knights Saturday.

11/12 Oregon Host #6/6 California.

12/11 Boston College The Eagles host the 1-AA Minutemen of Massachusetts.

13/13 Clemson The Tigers will be at Georgia Tech.

14/15 Kentucky The Wildcats host the Florida Atlantic Owls.

15/16 Georgia The Bulldogs face off against Mississippi at home.

16/21 South Carolina The Gamecocks play Mississippi State in Columbia, SC.

17/14 Virginia Tech The Hokies host the North Carolina Tarheels.

18/18 South Florida The Bulls hope their new stadium is as tough on visitors as the Gator’s Swamp as they face undefeated #5 West Virginia.

19/17 Hawaii The Warriors come back to the mainland to face Idaho up in Moscow.

20/20 Missouri The Tigers are idle this week.

21/19 Penn State The Nittany Lions travel to Illinois this weekend.

22/24 Alabama The Crimson Tide travels east to Tallahassee to face the Florida State Seminoles.

23/25(T) Arizona State The Sun Devils head west to face Stanford Saturday night.

24/NR Cincinnati It’s “Westward, ho!” for the Bearcats as they face the Aztecs of San Diego State Saturday night.

25/22 Nebraska The Cornhuskers host the Iowa State Cyclones.

NR/23 Michigan State The Spartans are at #9 Wisconsin.

NR/25(T) Purdue The undefeated Boilermakers are at home for 0-4 Notre Dame. (Wonder if they’ll roll out the red carpet?)

Just two questions

1) What the heck are the Philly Eagles wearing today? Pale blue hose, white pants, bright yellow and pale blue jerseys and helmets. What happened to the Green and White?

2) It's 35-21 with 2:30 left in the first half. The FIRST half, for crying out loud! And here I was all set to post about how the college game was far more exciting because of all the offense.


The Eagles just scored from 43 yards out. It's 42-21 with 1:49 left in the first half. McNabb has thrown for 4 TDs.

There was almost too much time left after the Eagles score. The Lions drove the length of the field only to be intercepted in the end zone. with 33 seconds left.

The announcers mentioned that the uniforms are those the Eagles wore when they first entered the league.

Scoring really slowed down in the second half. But the Eagles are still in command midway through the fourth: 49-21.

The Undefeated

As the weeks progress, the number of undefeated teams begins to grows smaller and smaller. Now, with four weeks having gone by, the number has been reduced to just 22. From here on out, with conference play becoming the norm, expect this number to be reduced substantially.

(in alphabetical order)

Arizona State 4-0 Pac 10
Boston College 4-0 ACC
California 4-0 Pac 10
Cincinnati 4-0 Big East
Clemson 4-0 ACC
Connecticut 4-0 Big East
Florida 4-0 SEC
Hawaii 4-0 WAC
Kansas 4-0 Big 12
Kentucky 4-0 SEC
Missouri 4-0 Big 12
Ohio State 4-0 Big Ten
Oklahoma 4-0 Big 12
Oregon 4-0 Pac 10
Purdue 4-0 Big Ten
Rutgers 3-0 Big East
South Florida 3-0 Big East
Southern California 3-0 Pac 10
Texas 4-0 Big 12
West Virginia 4-0 Big East
Wisconsin 4-0 Big Ten

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Top 25 results from Week 4

(Home teams in bold.)

#1 USC defeated Washington State 47-14 The Cougars proved no match for John David Booty and the rest of the USC offense as the Trojans picked up their 35th consecutive victory at home. Booty passed for 279 yards and 4 TDs. The USC offense finished the game with 302 yards passing and another 207 on the ground. In one stretch in the first half Washington State went six straight possessions without a first down.

#2 LSU 28-16 over #12 South Carolina The Tigers spotted the Gamecocks 7 points in the first quarter then proceeded to run off 28 unanswered points. Included in that run was a fake field goal for a TD. LSU was held scoreless in the fourth quarter while South Carolina scored 9 points but it was too late.

#3 Florida 30-24 over Mississippi *yawn* Tim Tebow passed for 2 TDs and ran for 2 more. In total, he ran for 166 yards a school record for a quarterback. But, the Gators actually let Mississippi come back to 27-24 in third quarter of this game and the runs by Tebow were needed to kill the clock and stave off a Rebel attack.

#4 Oklahoma 62-21 over Tulsa (on Friday night) The Sooners have scored more than 50 points in all four games they have played so far. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that although Tulsa scored more TDs than the Sooner’s first three opponents, it just wasn’t enough. Not nearly enough.

#5 WVU 48- 7 over East Carolina. The Pirates didn’t score until the last two minutes. WVU QB Pat White threw for 2 TDs and ran for 2 more. Steve Slaton gained 110 yards on the ground and one TD to tie the school record for TDs in a career. The Mountaineers had a total of 599 offensive yards while holding ECU to just 160 total yards.

#6 California beats Arizona 45-27. The Golden Bears opened with 28 points in the first quarter and continued to ride the Arizona Wildcats all game. Justin Forsett ran for 117 yards and 2 TDs while teammate Nate Longshore passed for 235 yards and one TD. Still, the Golden Bears had to overcome 26 penalties that saw 240 yards marched off against them. Good thing Arizona had 20 penalties for 166 yards! (By my count that means the Zebras had 406 yards of offenses.)

#7 Texas routs Rice 58-14 Colt McCoy (the kid was born to be a Longhorn) threw for 333 yards and 3 TDs as Texas had an easy afternoon against the Owls. It could have been worse as most of the Longhorns’ starters sat after the first series in the second half.

#8 Ohio State crushed Northwestern 58-7 The Buckeyes had 28 points in the first quarter and another 17 in the second to lead at halftime 45-0. But the big story would have to be the Ohio State defense. They permitted the Wildcats just 120 total yards and forced three turnovers. Northwestern rushed 33 times for 0 yards. They netted just 20 yards in the first half. Ohio State has won it last 22 regular season games, their 15th in a row at home.

#9 Wisconsin edged Iowa 17-13 in a come from behind win. The Hawkeyes’ defense surrendered their first touchdowns of the season late in the second quarter and Iowa held a 10-7 lead going into the fourth quarter. The Badgers’ P.J. Hill rushed 10 times for 43 yards, scoring the go ahead touchdown on a third and goal in the fourth quarter. He finished the game with 29 carries for 113 yards.

Michigan over #10 Penn State in a close one 14-9 Wolverine running back Mike Hart carried the ball for a career high 44 times and gained 153 yards. More importantly he scored a TD to put the game away early in the fourth quarter. It was the 23rd time in his career that Hart ran for more than 100 yards. Penn State managed just three field goals.

#11 Rutgers idle

#12 South Carolina lost to #2 LSU by a score of 28-16 (see above)

#13 Oregon over Stanford The Ducks scored 21 in the first quarter but trailed at halftime 31-24, so they came out and scored another 21 in the third and 10 more in the fourth while shutting out Stanford in the second half to roll to a 55-31 victory. Dennis Dixon threw for a career high 4 TDs and rushed for another. Stanford held the Ducks to just 48 yards in the second quarter while tallying 28 points of their own but the Ducks finished the game with 589 total yards.

#14 Boston College defeated Army 37-17 Matt Ryan threw for 356 yards and 4TDs in leading BC over the Black Knights.

#15 Clemson 42-20 over North Carolina State Not even close as the Tigers improve to 4-0. At one point they had 220 total yards to the Wolfpack’s 1.

#16 Alabama vs #22 Georgia Wide left by Georgia with no time on the clock and the score 20-20. Overtime. Alabama gets a field goal but Georgia responds with a TD to win 26-23. Wow!

#17 Virginia Tech beat up on William & Mary 44-3 VT scored 3 TDs and 2 FGs in the first quarter. And then came out in the second half to get 2 more TDs in the third quarter. A 49-yard interception return and a 60-yard punt return marked a return to Beamerball as the Hokies improved to 3-1.

Syracuse over #18 Louisville 38-35 Syracuse’s Andrew Robinson threw for a career–high 423 yards and 4 TDs as the Orange offense came alive for 465 total yards. Brian Brohm completed 45-of-65 for a career-high 555 yards and 4 TDs in the first home loss for Louisville in 22 games. The Cardinals had 628 yards of total offense but committed errors and penalties galore when the game was on the line.

#19 Hawaii crushed Charleston Southern 66-10 Colt Brennan didn’t play because of a sprained ankle, but it made no difference in the outcome against 1-AA Charleston Southern. Replacement Tyler Graunke threw an interception on his first pass attempt and then proceeded to miss receivers badly; at one point throwing five consecutive incompletions. Despite the rough start by the second string B, Hawaii held a 21-10 halftime lead. Defense and special teams came up big. Hawaii’s Ryan Mouton returned the second half opening kickoff 90 yards for a TD and linebacker Adam Leonard returned an interception 36 yards for another just one minute later. Graunke finished the game 22 of 36 for 285 yards with one TD pass and another rushing. His replacement, Inoke Funaki, tossed two TD passes in the fourth quarter.

Miami (Fla.) over #20 Texas A&M 34-17 On Thursday night. The Hurricane defense held the Aggies to just 240 yards while the ‘Canes offense picked up 402. Miami improves to 3-1. The Aggies are now 3-1.

#21 Kentucky defeats Arkansas 42-29 The Razorbacks jumped out to a 20-7 lead late in the second quarter and looked to be cruising. But the Wildcats had other ideas. Kentucky lead 21-20 at the end of the 3rd Quarter, fell behind 29-21, and then scored the final 21 points in a wild and crazy game. Arkansas had just one offensive TD. There other points came off a fumble recovery, an interception return and a safety.

#22 Georgia upsets #16 Alabama 25-23 in overtime. (see above)

#23 South Florida 37-10 over North Carolina SF QB Matt Grothe threw for 230 yards and a td before being replaced in the fourth quarter. The Bulls also rushed for 194 yards and had 428 yards in total offense while holding the Tarheels of NC to just 164. NC’s only TD came with just 1:04 left in the game.

#24 Nebraska holds on against Ball State 41-40 Nate Davis,QB of the Ball State Cardinals, passed for 422 yards and three touchdowns and almost led his team to an upset over the #24 Cornhuskers who had to score a TD with 3:15 remaining to go ahead 41-40 and then had to wish a Ball State 55-yard field goal attempt wide with 17 seconds on the clock. Nebraska’s QB, Sam Keller, threw for a school record 438 yards

#25 Missouri over Illinois State 38-17 The Missouri Tigers racked up 581 yards of total offense using it’s no-huddle system for the entire game. Coach Gary Pinkel: “I want to score -- I'm not worried about grinding it out. Our offense is not milk the clock." Ya gotta love college football! Run and gun coach, run and gun!

Still playing at 11:30 PM EDT
#1 USC vs Washington State
#9 Wisconsin vs Iowa
#13 Oregon vs Stanford
#19 Hawaii vs Charleston Southern

"Preservation" vs. "Conservation"

In walking around the woods I witnessed many, many mature trees blown over by the storm in late August. Huge cherry trees, beeches and red maples either had their tops snapped off or were uprooted completely. Seeing all that very valuable timber laying on the ground where it will be left to rot and return to the soil made me think about the 1894 New York Constitutional Convention that created the “Forever Wild” aspect of the Adirondack Park.

Back in 1894, the push was on to preserve wild areas all around the country, but massive forest fires in the northeast during 1893 and 1894 made preserving the flow of water a paramount goal for those meeting to discuss the new state constitution. To that end, the areas of the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains were seen as a water source for rivers, reservoirs and canals (still a big means of transportation throughout the state). Only as an afterthought were the forests themselves considered. Even so, preservation and not conservation was the goal. Preservation: To save as is. Conservation: Wise use.

The final result of the discussions in the constitutional convention—and the fear of fire overspreading the region—was the current Article XIV.
It begins:

Section 1. The lands of the state, now owned or hereafter acquired, constituting the forest preserve as now fixed by law, shall be forever kept as wild forest lands. They shall not be leased, sold or exchanged, or be taken by any corporation, public or private, nor shall the timber thereon be sold, removed or destroyed.

Sounds good, right?

But does it truly serve the citizens of New York State well?

By locking up the millions of acres of state lands in the Adirondacks and the Catskills the constitution effectively locks up valuable timber and mineral rights. By prohibiting the leasing of lands for either mineral exploration or timber harvesting by any means, the state has written off billions of dollars in assets. Assets which, in the case of the timber, are renewable.

The entire Article XIV is restrictive in nature. It prohibits and prevents and limits what can be done inside the Blue Line, as the Forest Preserve is called.

Certainly I enjoy the access to wild lands adjacent to the Bolt Hole, but I also think of the tax reduction mineral and timber leases could provide. Think also of the employment provided by logging in an area noted for its scarcity.

Contrast the “Forever Wild” policy of New York with the conservation practices of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

State Forest Management and Regulations

Contained in Article 1, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution are these words: "Pennsylvania's public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people."

Instead of creating a “Park”, Pennsylvania has set its woods aside as State Forests. These lands are scattered throughout the state and are open to both mineral leasing and timber harvest.
The Bureau of Forestry will accomplish this mission by:
Managing State Forests under sound ecosystem management, to retain their wild character and maintain biological diversity while providing pure water, opportunities for low density recreation, habitits [sic] for forest plants and animals, sustained yields of quality timber, and environmentally sound utilization of mineral resources.
(emphasis added.)

The Commonwealth has seen fit to use science to determine the best way to manage the assets that belong to the people of the state. Its aim is to provide a healthy environment and a sustainable income from those assets. Its constitution provides flexibility and its Bureau of Forestry can adapt its policies and practices to meet current situations.

Science has shown that permitting timber harvesting can promote a healthier more diverse forest. An old growth forest becomes somewhat sterile. Only storms and fires provide openings in the canopy permitting the understory to bloom.

Perhaps it’s time for the citizens of New York to seriously think about the “Forever Wild” aspect of its constitution. (Although, Lord knows, NYS has had many, many opportunities with several Constitutional Conventions and rewrites over the years.)

Holy Moly!

Syracuse leads Louisville 21-7 at halftime?

That’s 0 and 3 Syracuse?

The Cardinals are self destructing but the Orange are also playing some wild and crazy football.

UPDATE: Oh, Jeez. 56 seconds left and it's now 38-35 The 'Cuse.

And the Cardinals can't execute as simple on-sides kick.

And that is the final. Syracuse ends the second longest home winning steak in the nation. Despite throwing for 555 yards and 3 TDs, Brian Brohm's Cardinal team lost their second game of the season.

Cluster Flies

This past week at the Bolt Hole we first experienced a hard frost with the morning temperature dropping to the upper 20s and then had several days of 75 to 80 degree highs. This resulted in the annual infestation of Cluster Flies.

Now, I’m not sure how wide spread this phenomenon is (but the search I did using Google produced returns from Penn State, U of Kentucky, Iowa State, Virginia Tech, Canada, and Ohio State and that was just on the first page!), I only became aware of it after I had purchased the Bolt Hole and met with several other folks in the Hunter Mountain area of NY. For those of you who do not know what I’m talking about, cluster flies (I’ve also heard them called “buckwheat flies”) look like house flies but they are a dull, drab gray—to-black fly not the iridescent green and blue flies you see feeding at your sugar bowl. In fact, I’m not sure adult cluster flies feed at all.

As fall approaches, the angle of the sun in the sky decreases and the nighttime temperatures drop closer and closer to freezing. Then the cluster flies will start to gather on the sun drenched walls of the cabin. The search is on for any nook and cranny that offers itself. They’ll invade your house (or any warm, protected spot) in the fall of the year with the intention of toughing out the winter in the cracks, crevices and corners of your home. Masses of their tiny bodies may huddle together to conserve energy. In an unheated building like a shed or barn, this isn’t a problem.

It’s in a heated building that they become nuisances. Even if the heat source is panes of glass on the south side of the building, it might be enough to rouse them from their winter torpor and make them think spring has arrived. This, in turn, will set them upon a search for an exit to the great outdoors and, not being too bright, they end up buzzing around on the glass windowpanes and doors in huge numbers. When night arrives and things get cool again, they may slip back into any convenient crack. Of course, if you’ve turned up the heat or built a fire in the stove for your personal comfort, they’ll continue to enjoy the warmth, too. But without an exterior source of light to attract them, they’ll start to buzz around the light bulb in the lamb; rattling and smashing into the light shade as they do so. Like a said a nuisance.

Apparently, preventing their entrance into your home is the best bet at control. But it’s not easy. They can squeeze through the tiniest of cracks and any old home will have lots of places for them to get in. There are dusts ad sprays that can be applied before the infestation starts but once it has occurred, it’s best to forget the insecticides. Carpet beetles may feed on the dead bodies and they can do damage to a multitude of fabric materials in your home. No, I find the vacuum cleaner to the best tool at controlling the flies in the winter. On a sunny afternoon, when they gather by the dozens hundreds on the south facing glass, I‘ll just spend a few minutes hoovering them up. They may not die in the vacuum bag but they can’t get out easily either. Especially if I‘ve also vacuumed the spider webs out of the corners and the rug.

In searching for information about cluster flies, I learned that the larval stage is a parasite of earthworms. That is one of the reasons they are so numerous where healthy, moist soils and lawns exist. I’ve got a sizable lawn around the Bolt Hole and an overgrown field across the road. Portions of both are shaded from the sun and stay rather moist from either dew or runoff. The cabin, however, is painted dark brown and portions of it are exposed to sunlight which it absorbs quite well.

On a side note: Last fall, when Terry was living full time at the Bolt Hole we didn’t have a sizable infestation of cluster flies. I don‘t think the three cats had anything to do with that but they did enjoy chasing down the few errant flies that came within their reach. I do know that the lack of any fall infestation meant there were far fewer flies all winter and into the spring.

Learn more here:

From Penn State: CLUSTER FLIES Pollenia rudis (Figures, they’re illegal aliens:
Cluster flies are thought to be native to Europe and may have found their way to North America in the ballast of ships containing soil and the cluster fly host, earthworms.

From Iowa State: Cluster Flies
From Canada: Effective Control of Cluster Flies

From Virginia Tech: Cluster Fly
Isolated houses in the country are especially prone to invasion, since they offer the only warm shelter for miles around.
Fits the Bolt Hole to a T.

I got just one question: Where did they live before man started building homes?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Back from the wilds (to the merely rural)

So my week in the southwest Adirondacks at the Bolt Hole has come to an end and I've returned to the Aerie in north-central PA. I managed not to find a bear abroad during the day and, as a result, will have to forgo thoughts of bear stew for a while.

I returned because Terry will be leaving on Sunday to head first to her mother's in NJ then to Dallas out of Newark Airport. It's time for the Smocking Arts Guild of America to hold their annual convention and, as current VP of SAGA and next year's President Elect, she will be attending.

I've got some thoughts rolling around in my head from the days of walking alone through the big woods. Now that I'm back in the land of high-speed internet connectivity, I'll probably be posting s few of them over the next day or two. After all, after Sunday noon, it's not like I'll have anyone to talk to here except the cats.

Monday, September 17, 2007

C'mon Mets! Get it together!

So, last week things looked so promising. After taking two out of three from the Braves, the Mets' magic number stood at 11 games. Any combination of Mets wins and Philly losses totaling 11 would clinch the NL East.

And the Mets had a three game series with the Phils starting last Friday. Every game the Mets won would have cut the Magic Number by 2.

Here it is Monday night and the Magic Number is ...11, still. The Mets got swept. At home.

Things don't look an better tonight as the Washington Nationals have a huge lead over the Mets in the late innings and the Phils hold an equally large lead over the Cardinals.


Post Week 3 College Polls

The AP and Coaches’ Polls came out yesterday following the week three games. A number of teams found their presence unwelcome in the Top 25 after they were defeated last week and others made their debut after being victorious over ranked opponents or by just being considered better than some of those who lost this week.

AP/Coaches’ rankings after three weeks:

#1 USC The Trojans continue their dominance in the ranks. This week they host Washington State.

#2 LSU The Tigers also hold on to their second slot. They are at home this week against South Carolina.

#3 Florida After embarrassing Tennessee last week, the Gators moved up from #5. This week they travel to Mississippi.

#4 Oklahoma The Sooners dropped down one slot despite their impressive win last week. I guess even they fell victim of the Tim Tebow show over in the Swamp. This week Oklahoma travels in state to play Tulsa.

#5 West Virginia Another team that slipped despite their week three victory. The Mountaineers host East Carolina.

#6/#8 California Cal moved up slightly this week after an impressive 42-12 win over Louisiana Tech

#7/#6 Texas The Longhorns slipped one notch after a tough game versus unranked University of Central Florida. This week they host Rice.

#8/#9 Ohio State The Buckeyes move up two slots. More because of the games played by those ahead of them on last week’s poll than their victory over Washington State. This week they host Northwestern.

#9/#7 Wisconsin The Badgers, like Ohio State, move up slightly for much the same reason a couple of teams ahead of them didn’t do as well as expected. Iowa visits this week.

#10 Penn State Expected t win big last week, they did. Up 2 slots from last week’s poll. This week they travel to Michigan.

#11 Rutgers Up from #13, the Scarlet Knights did what they had to do last week—and what they were expected to do. They are the only team in the Top 25 that’s idle this week.

#12/#14 South Carolina The Gamecocks move up from #17/#23 after their 38-3 win over South Carolina State. Let’s hope they don’t unpack their bags. This week they visit LSU.
#13 Oregon The Ducks move up from #19/#21. This week they’re off to play Stanford.

#14/#12 Boston College BC moves up from #21/#19 last week after their upset of then #15 Georgia Tech. This week they host Army.

#15/#14 Clemson The Tigers are another team on the move. Up from #20 they travel to North Carolina State this week.

#16/#20 Alabama The Tide makes its debut this week in a lofty position after upsetting Former #16 Arkansas 41-38. This week they take on #22/#21 Georgia at home.

#17 Virginia Tech The Hokies weren’t terribly impressive against Ohio last week in their 28-7 win. This week they host William & Mary and shouldn’t be pressed at all.

#18/#19 Louisville The Cardinals fell from #9 last week after being upset by then unranked Kentucky. This week they should do better at home against Syracuse.

#19/#18 Hawaii After playing a couple of games on the mainland, Hawaii moves up a couple of slots and should really roll up some numbers against visiting Charleston Southern.

#20/#16 Texas A&M The Aggies move up after downing Louisiana-Monroe 54-14. I wouldn’t expect that many points this week as they host Miami of Florida.

#21/#23 Kentucky Unranked last week, they beat intrastate rival then #9 Louisville. They are going to have to work hard to hold on to their position as this week they play former #16 Arkansas.

#22/#21 Georgia last week Georgia rolled over Western Carolina 45-16. The Bulldogs have their work cut out for them this week as they face the new #16/320 Alabama at Alabama.

#23/#24 South Florida The Bulls were idle last week but they cracked into the Top 25 anyway. This week they host North Carolina.

#24/#22 Nebraska The Cornhuskers were ranked #14 last week when they lost to #1 USC and they paid the price. This week they host Ball State.

#25 Missouri Another new team in the Top 25. This week Missouri hosts Illinois State.

Out of the Top 25 this week:
UCLA goes from #11 to OUT after losing to Utah 44-6.
Georgia Tech goes from #15 to OUT after losing to Boston College 24-10.
Arkansas goes from #16 to OUT after Alabama beat them up 41-38.
Tennessee got Tebowed 59-20 against Florida and went from #22/#24 to OUT.

Happy Birthday to Me!

I went out walking this morning in search of Mr. Bruin. I didn't find him and I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or not.

When I got back to the cabin for lunch, I got a phone call from Terry who is still down at the Aerie. She wished me a Happy Birthday. I had forgotten all about the fact that today is my birthday. And I'm not sure that's a good thing or a bad thing!

(And now my daughter emails me that she tried to call but I'm on-line. Another curse (?) of using a dial-up connection.)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

At the Bolt Hole for the week

Fall is definitely in the air here in the Adirondacks. The temperature last night fell to the upper 20s and there was a heavy frost on the ground at sunrise this morning. All day the temperature never got above 58 degrees.

One thing I miss up here is high-speed internet access. Using dial-up to surf the net or make any sort of download is a time consuming process. Forget about listening to a football or baseball game via the internet. Plus, being on the end of the telephone line, should there be any problems with the lines, static fills the circuit and knocks me off line in a blink.This happens at least once a year when there's an ice or wind storm.

I've been able to walk the woods the last couple of days and the number of uprooted trees or trees that had their tops snapped off during the mesocylcone in late August is amazing. The entire character of the woods changes when that happens. Trails are blocked that were open during the summer. New "open" areas are created where sunlight can now reach the forest floor. It's a learning process when you want to walk the woods. As you may know, the Adirondack Park (that is the state land within the Blue Line) is considered "forever wild" which limits what can and can not be done within its boundary. There will be no clearing of storm damage on state land. I will, however, plan on how to either drop the leaning trees to the forest floor or fell those that I can for the purpose of harvesting firewood or speeding the decay of the dead and dying timber. Already I can see that it will be a good deal of work.

College Football Week Three

Week three of the college football season is history and there were some notable games amongst the top 15 teams. The number of undefeated teams is slowly being diminished as the competition becomes tougher.

#1 USC traveled to #14 Nebraska and trounced the Cornhuskers 49-31. Sure, the differential at the end of the game was only 18 points, but Nebraska needed to score 21 in the fourth quarter to make it that close.

#2 LSU hosted Middle Tennessee State, a team that had put up 42 points against Louisville last week. But that was last week. The LSU Tigers devoured Mid Tenn St. 44-0.

#3 Oklahoma played host to Utah State. They were impressive if not gracious hosts. The Sooners rolled for 617 total yards of which 343 were gained on the ground. Utah State managed just 153 yards total. As you might suspect, the Sooners remain undefeated with a 54-3 victory.

#4 West Virginia traveled to Maryland on Thursday night. Having the stage all to themselves, they were able to showcase running back Steve Slayton. Slaton gained 137 yards and scored 3 TDs. His total of 41 TDs for his career is just one shy of the school record. Freshman Noel Devine only carried the ball five times but gained 136 yards for the Mountaineers who topped the Terps 31-14.

#5 Florida had #22 Tennessee as guests (or was it dinner) at the Swamp. When it was over, the Tim Tebow show had racked up 59 points versus Tennessee’s 20.

#6 Texas traveled to Central Florida where they helped open UCF’s new stadium. They almost provided a housewarming gift. Lucky for the Longhorns they brought Brandon Foster, who returned an interception 33 yards for a TD in the first quarter and then covered the attempted onsides kick in the last minute to seal the victory. Having place kicker Ryan Baily on their side didn’t hurt either. He kicked 5 field goals in the 35-32 squeeker.

#7 Wisconsin had The Citadel for company. The Badgers proved victorious 45-31.

#8 California downed Louisiana Tech 42-12.
#9 Louisville played intrastate Kentucky. The Wildcats obtained a victory over the Cardinals when the clock ran out. The game was back and forth. Kentucky sprinted to a 13-0 lead then gave it back by half time when Louisville jumped ahead 21-19. Despite Brian Brohm going 28 of 43 for 366 yards and 2 TDs, Kentucky proved stubborn. Behind Andre Woodson’s passing, 30of 44, 275 yards and 4 TDs, Kentucky pulled off the upset.

#10 Ohio State defeated Washington State 33-14.

#11 UCLA traveled to Utah but must have forgot to pack their A game. The Bruins had 5 turnovers and committed 10 penalties in the second half as they failed to score a TD for the first time in 4 years. The Utes won a laugher (for them) 44-6.

#12 Penn State hosted Buffalo. It wasn’t as close as the 45-24 final score would indicate. Joe Paterno was able to rest much of his first string in the second half—again.

#13 Rutgers played 1-AA Norfolk State on Homecoming in New Brunswick. RU led only 3-0 at the end of the first quarter but then all hell broke loose. The Scarlet Knights scored 42 points in the second quarter, a school record. It took just 11 plays and 91 seconds to amass 277 yards of offense in tallying the 42 points. Ray Rice carried the ball only 12 times for just 72 yards but had 3TDs. Mike Teel completed just 8 passes in 15 attempts but had 269 yards to Tiquan Underwood (4 catches for 148 yards) and Kenny Britt (4 catches, 121 yards). They sat out the second half when backup QB Jabu Lovelace ran for two 1 yard TDs. Oh, and the Scarlet Knights’ defense shutout Norfolk State. Final score: RU 59 Norfolk State 0.

#14 Nebraska—See #1 USC above.

#15 Georgia Tech hosted #21/#19 Boston College. Unfortunately for GT, BC brought Matt Ryan with them. Ryan completed 30 of 44 passes for 435 yards. It was the third time in his career that Ryan had thrown for 400 or more yards and the second time this season. BC had a 21-0 lead in the fourth quarter before Georgia Tech got on the board.

#16 Arkansas traveled to Alabama. ‘Bama jumped out to a 21-0 lead but gave it all back. With a 31-10 lead late in the third quarter, Arkansas scored 21 points of their own in the fourth quarter to forge ahead. The Razorbacks were up 38-31 when the Tide surged in the closing minutes. A TD and field goal with 8 seconds left produced an Alabama victory 41-38.

#17/#23 South Carolina hosted intrastate rival South Carolina State and defeated them 38-3.

#18/#17 Virginia Tech was at home to Ohio and the Hokies came up with a 28-7 win.

#19/#21 Oregon downed Fresno State 52-21.

#20 Clemson defeated Furman 38-10.

#21/#19 Boston College (see #15 above) They won.

#22/#24 Tennessee (see #5 above) They lost—big.

#23/#25 Georgia rolled over Western Carolina.

#24/#22Hhawaii visited UNLV where the odds were in their favor. Hawaii won 49-14.

#25/#18 Texas A&M trounced Louisiana-Monroe 54-14

In the Big East:

West Virginia 31-14 over Maryland. WVU is now 3-0.

Rutgers rolled over Norfolk State 59-0. Rutgers is 3-0 for the season.

Cincinnati 47-10 over Miami of Ohio. Cincinnati improves to 3-0.

UConn 22-17 over Temple. UConn is at 3-0.

Louisville 34-40 losers to Kentucky. Louisville falls to 2-1.

Pittsburgh fell 13-17 to Michigan State. Pitt falls to 2-1.

Syracuse scored 20 but Illinois racked up 41. Syracuse remains winless at 0-3.

South Florida was idle.

Friday, September 14, 2007

From the Bolt Hole to the Aerie and back.

Well, the trip from the Bolt Hole to the Aerie and back went without a problem. (I almost said "hitch" but that would have made hauling the trailer difficult!) It's amazing how much of a hit my gas mileage takes when dragging that 27-foot trailer around.

When we got to the Aerie on Wednesday afternoon I had no difficulty backing the trailer into the slightly winding 200-foot long driveway to park it in the front of our home. But to get out on Thursday morning to take it for inspection required I head up the hill (instead of down where I really wanted to go) until I got to the T at the top. Then I backed the trailer up and made one very long K-turn to go down the hill to head for Mansfield.

As expected, the inspection itself took about 15 minutes and then I was on my way back to the Bolt Hole in the Adirondacks. This time I was traveling solo as I intend to stay here for a week or so.

Backing the trailer into the Bolt Hole yard and the barn by myself went awfully easy compared to previous attempts. The barn is offset from the gate and the yard in front is just open enough that I can get the truck and tailer almost lined up once I snake my way through the gate--backwards. It must be the practice I've been getting. My Dad used to drive semis and then busses. We also trailered a 16-foot boat and I cut my teeth on backing that thing up to the launch ramp and into the driveway. Dad taught me a few tricks but the most important one was to keep your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel and not the top. With you hand on the bottom, the back of the trailer goes where your hand goes. If you want the trailer to go to the left, your hand goes to the left. If your hand is on the top of the wheel, all your movements are the opposite of what you think they should be. And that is when you get into trouble because you have to think too much.

Early bear season starts tomorrow and it will afford a chance to 1) bag a bear on last year's license and 2) scout the woods for deer season. With all the storm damage from the mesocyclone that hit on August 24th, the scouting might be the most important part. Trails we had followed last year and the year before are blocked and landmark trees are either obscured or knocked over. When I think of all the lumberjack work Mark and I put in this summer to down trees for firewood.... Ma nature did it in minutes.

I know there are several bear wandering the Bolt Hole land and the state land adjacent to it. I've seen them. But Terry called last night to say that 15 minutes after she pulled the bird feeders a young black bear showed up in the yard to check the water in the bird bath and scrounge any fallen seed. Unfortunately, PA bear season doesn't happen until mid-November.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

More Storm Damage Photos from the Bolt Hole

Terry and I had intended to walk further up the road at the Bolt Hole to a couple of camps so we could take a peek at the storm damage from August 27 but when we woke up this morning it was raining and the forecast was for even more. We wanted to get back to the Aerie with the trailer in tow before dark so when a break in the rain occurred, we got everything hooked up and hit the road.

We drove in rain as far as Syracuse and then the weather improved as we drove south until you would hardly know there was any precipitation at all for the previous week. (In fact the Southern Tier of NY had some torrential rainfall just three days ago.) We made it safely back to the Aerie where I discovered we had gotten 1/10th of an inch of rain since we left Wednesday morning.

In looking over my picture files I came across some of the photos that Mark took on August 27 just after the mesocyclone struck the area.

Large cherry down
Here is the large cherry that crashed into the gate at the Bolt Hole.

Smaller cherries down
And here are the two smaller cherries that came down in front of the garage.

Mark’s property and right of way didn’t escape either. There were numerous trees that snapped off or were blown down. His power and phone lines were taken to the ground.
Mark's driveway
Looking down the driveway, you can see a few downed trees and several leaners that had to be cut down.

Blow downs along Mark's power line
Several large trees were uprooted but, luckily, didn’t fall toward either Mark’s cabin or his driveway and power lines.

Blow downs along Mark's power line
Looking along the power line from Mark’s cabin it is clear that the line is down.

Blow downs along Mark's power line
You can see a fir tree that blew down across the power line.

I’ll be going back up tomorrow and will post some more pictures of the storm damage when I get to walk around a bit more.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Monarch Butterflies Fueling Up

We walked the road in front of the Bolt Hole to see what damage may have occurred just east of us. We could see quite a few large poplars/aspens partially or completely blown over but what we saw in the field of goldenrod across from our cabin made us stop in awe.

Amongst the bright yellow flower spikes of the goldenrod were dozens and dozens of monarch butterflies. They were obviously feeding and waiting for a favorable tailwind to fly further south on their annual migration. Each butterfly looked like it was just out of its chrysalis as it sported bright colors and unblemished wings.

Field of Goldenrod
Click to enlarge and see the orange and black dots that are monarch butterflies.

Feeding/resting Monarchs
Just two of the many, many butterflies in the field.

And to think, on the way up, I had commented to Terry about not seeing many monarchs in flight. Guess they’re just fueling up.

Storm Damage at the Bolt Hole

Terry and I drove from the Aerie to the Bolt Hole today to pick up the trailer for PA inspection. As we drove the last two miles to the cabin, we noticed many trees blown over by the storm of two weeks ago. When we got to our gate, we noticed things were pretty bad. Mark had cleaned up most of the huge cherry that once stood at the gate but there was still some clean up to do.

Fallen Giant
This very old cherry stood at the gate of my driveway at the Bolt Hole. The winds two weeks ago snapped it at about 10 feet above the ground. The trunk had a rotten core. This 50-60 foot tall tree had many dead branches in its crown that served as resting sites for hawks and other birds. It measured close to 24 inches in diameter where it broke off but had many, many cankers in its upper branches. A similar tree a short distance away also fell before the winds.

Besides cutting a couple of blocks off one end of the trunk so we could handle it more easily, we did very little with this particular tree. That’s because there were a couple of others that we needed to remove so we could get the trailer out of the yard and, eventually, back into the barn.

A pair of smaller trees lay across the lawn.

Split cherry
A much younger pair of cherry trees in front of the garage were split by the winds. Each forked trunk of the pair split in half sending these 25-foot long trunks across the lawn. Each measures about 9 inches in diameter where they split. The two that are still standing will have to come down next spring.

While Terry hauled smaller branches to the side of the yard, I fired up the chainsaw to make sure she had plenty to do. After two hours we felt we had succeeded in making a clear path for the trailer. So we attached the charger to the trailer’s battery and took a walk in the woods to see if there had been any other damage. There were a few blow downs visible but we didn’t explore very thoroughly as there was a threat of showers. (They arrived just as we got back to the safety of the cabin.)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Shuttling up and back

It's that time of year when my travel trailer needs to get inspected here in PA. That's going to require Terry and me traveling up to the Bolt Hole where the trailer is stored in the barn and hauling it down to the Aerie. I've already made an appointment to get it inspected for Thursday morning. So, it will be up tomorrow, down on Wednesday and then back up on Thursday. That's 750 miles (250 each way) just to have a technician walk around to check the tires and lights. And I haven't used it since last September. *sigh*

Once I've returned the trailer to the barn on Thursday evening, I'll be staying at the Bolt Hole for a week or so. Early black bear season starts on Saturday and I've got my hopes up.

New Jersey didn't have this requirement. They probably thought if you were dumb enough to take a trailer out when it wasn't safe, you deserved whatever happened to you. And they were right.

We do have a Big Trip planned for early next summer that will take us out to the left coast and back with stops in between. Family and friends and all that.

College Football: Week 3 Prognostications

I spent some time during the NFL games yesterday perusing the latest College polls and was pleased to see my alma mater, Rutgers, move up to # 13 in both the AP Writers’ Poll and the Coaches’ Poll. Unfortunately, I don’t see them moving up this week unless there are some heavy duty upsets in the games of those teams ahead of them. Playing Norfolk State will do that. They shouldn’t move down any either, however, as the three teams below them have got some tough competition this week.

Anyway, here’s my take on what is in store for the Top 25 this week.

AP Writers’/Coaches’
#1/#1 USC Idle in week 2 they travel to Nebraska to face off against the #14 Cornhuskers in week 3 action.

#2/#2 LSU plays against Middle Tennessee State Saturday. I wonder if anyone will bother to suit up on defense for either squad.

#3/#5 Oklahoma (up from 5/6 last week) host 0-2 Utah State. I wonder how many points the Sooners will put up on the board this week.

#4/#4 West Virginia (was 3/4 last week) travels to College Park, MD on Thursday to face the 2-0 Terps. It will be the Mountaineers strongest test this year.

#5/#3 Florida (was 4/3 last week) host the #22/#24 Tennessee Volunteers in s SEC game that is a must for Tennessee.

#6/#6 Texas (was #7 in both polls last week) has what should be an easy game against the University of Central Florida (UCF) Knights. But the Longhorns better not get caught snoozing or looking ahead.

#7/#7 Wisconsin (fell from #5 in both polls last week) host 1-AA The Citadel. Nothing short of a big win will keep the Badgers from further sliding.

#8/#8 California (up from #10 in both polls last week) host the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs who came within a dropped pass on a 2-point conversion from upsetting Hawaii.

#9/#9 Louisville (down from #8 in both polls) got all they could handle from Middle Tennessee State last week. Now they go and play at in-state rival Kentucky’s stadium this week. If the Cardinals forget to play defense, they could drop this one to the Wildcats. Points could be racked up faster than on a pinball machine.

#10/#10 Ohio State moved up (from #12/#11) despite struggling with Akron. Go figure. The Buckeyes better bring their A-game as they travel to Seattle, Washington this week. The Huskies ended Boise State’s 14-game win streak and knocked them out of the polls. Another game that could be closer than it should be.

#11/#11 UCLA (up from #13/#14 from last week) The Bruins will be traveling to Utah to face the 0-2 Utes.

#12/#12 Penn State (deservedly up from #14/#15 last week after they dismantled Notre Dame) host Buffalo.

#13/#13 Rutgers (up from #15/#16) host Norfolk State. Hey, it’s Homecoming!

#14/#14 Nebraska (up from #16/#17 last week) host #1 USC. Good luck with that.

#15/#15 Georgia Tech (way up from #21 in both polls) hosts 2-0 Boston College which is now #21/#19 in the polls.

#16/#16 Arkansas (#18 in both polls last week) The Razorbacks moved up despite not playing last weekend. This week they are on the road playing 2-0 Alabama, a team that’s knocking on the door of the Top 25.

#17/#23 South Carolina was not ranked last week but knocking off Georgia opened lots of eyes. This week the Gamecocks host South Carolina State.

#18/#17 Virginia Tech (down from #9 in both polls after losing to LSU in a blowout) Look for the Hokies to play better as they host 2-0 Ohio. They better.

#19/#21 Oregon The Ducks were unranked last week but jumped all over Michigan. This week they host the Fresno State Bulldogs who lost a high scoring, triple overtime game to Texas A&M.
#20/#20 Clemson The Tigers were #25 in the AP Poll last week but overlooked by the Coaches. A 49-26 laugher over Louisiana-Monroe got a lot of attention. This week Clemson hosts 1-1 Furman.

#21/#19 Boston College (UR/#25 last week) The Eagles travel to #15 Georgia Tech this week.

#22/#24 Tennessee (#24/#24 last week) The Volunteers travel to #5/#3 Florida this week.

#23/#25 Georgia (down from #11/#12 last week) The Bulldogs lost a close one to South Carolina but can rebound against 1-AA Western Carolina. (Wait a minute. Let me get my map.)

#24/#22 Hawaii (down from #20/#22) The Warriors just managed to squeek past Louisiana Tech in overtime. This week they are at UNLV.

#25/#18 Texas A&M (down from #23 in both polls) The Aggies needed three overtimes and a dropped pass on a 2-point conversion to beat Fresno State. This week they host Louisiana-Monroe.

South Florida is knocking on the door. But the Bulls are idle this week so they're not likely to find it opened very much.

More Rain...finally!

We had several hours of showers during Sunday afternoon and into the night. It was a much needed gentle sort of rain that was allowed to soak into the ground. This morning the gauge read 0.5 inches bringing the total for the month all the way up to 0.7 inches! We still need lots more. Currently it is misty and cloudy here at the Aerie although no rain is actually falling from the sky. At 2100 feet we are literally sitting in the clouds.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Mets Sweep the Astros

The Mets completed a sweep of a three game set against the Houston Astros this afternoon with a 4-1 victory behind five innings by Pedro Martinez, who picked up his 2nd win in as many starts, and one inning each from Mota, Feliciano, Heilman and Wagner, who picked up his 32nd save. This end of the game progression has become SOP for the Mets lately and has been, for the most part, quite effective.

New York has opened a 6 game lead over the second place Phillies and 8.5 games over the Braves. Both teams are in Shea for three game series this week starting with the Braves Monday night and then the Phillies on Friday. The Mets have just 20 games remaining in the regular season.

The Mets have been winning (8 of their last 10) despite hard times at the plate by Jose Reyes who’s average has dropped to .288, and the absence of Carlos Delgado who has been suffering from a hip injury.

Funny line

During the Denver vs Buffalo game on CBS:

"We've seen two quarterbacks today who can do special things. And we have seen two quarterbacks who could pass for Evangelists 'cause they can make 70,000 people stand up and shout out, 'Oh, Jesus!'"

Big East is doing well (mostly)

And the Big East teams remain undefeated for 2007:

Cincinnati 0-02-0(Southeast Missouri State, Oregon State)
Connecticut0-02-0(Duke, Maine)
Louisville0-02-0(Murray State, Middle Tennessee State)
Pittsburgh0-02-0(Eastern Michigan, Grambling State)
Rutgers0-02-0(Buffalo, Navy)
USF0-02-0(Elon, Auburn)
West Virginia0-02-0(Western Michigan, Marshall)
Syracuse0-00-2(Washington, Iowa)

Except, of course, Syracuse. It's beginning to look like they may not win a game all year. And that includes the ones against Illinois, Buffalo and Miami of Ohio. Oh, and who scheduled Rutgers to be Syracuse's Homecoming? There will be more Scarlet in the Carrier Dome than Orange for sure.

Coming up this week:

Thursday, September 13
Maryland @ West Virginia
Saturday, September 15
Miami OH @ Cincinnati
Michigan State @ Pittsburgh
Syracuse @ Illinois
Connecticut @ Temple
Rutgers @ Norfolk St
Kentucky @ Louisville

Rain, glorious rain!

While watching announcements of flash floods in the Carbon County area to the east and the Southern Tier of NY just to the north of here, we had absolutely nothing here at the Aerie. Oh, we could see the flash of lightening to the north (the NY border is only 15 miles or so away) and we could occasionally hear the rumble of thunder, but as has happened far too often this summer, the rain just didn't fall here.

Until around 1 AM. That's when it poured for a very brief time loudly enough that it woke me up. When I checked the rain gauge this morning it said that 3/10ths of an inch of rain had fallen. This is the first measurable amount of rain we have had this month. We are forecast to get some more today but right now, the jet stream is steering the showers in a line across the northwest corner of PA into the Finger Lakes of NY. They are curving right around us here in the north-central part of the state.

Unlike the children's little ditty, I don't want it to go away. I want it here. Today. In copious amounts.

A Year Without Football

In local College Football news, this is the first year in 120 years that Mansfield University will not field a football team. In a decision based purely on $$$ they folded the program which is a damn shame. Most of the players have transferred elsewhere and the coaches have moved on as well.

While the Mansfield team didn’t have much success recently competing in Division II against the likes of Shippensburg and West Chester, they had a storied past. It was at Mansfield that the first night football game was played. The annual celebration of the first night game against Wyoming Seminary in 1892, The Fabulous 1890’s Weekend, will now be held during a soccer game. *sigh*

Businesses in the town saw increased activity on home weekends with people coming in for meals and rooms so this decision by the MU will impact the town’s bottom line.

Already there are discussions of bringing the program back within a year or two at a slightly lower level.

College Football: Week 2

Well, week two of college football’s fall frenzy has ended. While most games ere played outside the conference, there were a few exceptions. In any case, the shake-up of the top 25 rankings has begun as pollsters get a better idea of what a team is actually capable of this year instead of guessing based on last year’s play. (Did Michigan really, really deserve to be a preseason #5 pick? Based upon the first two games, I guess not!)
(Rankings are based upon the AP/Coaches Polls.)
#1 USC was idle this week and will stay in top position.
#2 LSU took #9 Virginia Tech to the woodshed in a 48-7 drubbing. LSU stays put but VT probably falls, but just a notch or two.
#3/#4 West Virginia Had a difficult time getting started against a tough Marshall squad and trailed at the half 13-6. But they play 60 minutes, not 30 and when it was over, WVA, with Slayton and White running over, around and through, had collected a 48-23 victory.
#4/#3 Florida let little Timmy Tebow play with his toys—I mean Troy and the result was a 59-31 win for the Gators that wasn’t really that close as Florida took a siesta in the third quarter.
#5/#6 Oklahoma went out and beat up on the little guys again on Saturday, defeating Miami 51-13. What? It was Miami of Florida, not Ohio? Might not be such a strong Hurricane season after all. Too bad, the teams above did so well, cause the Sooners can’t move up against them.
#6/#5 Wisconsin nearly succumbed to the odds as they needed a late score to edge UNLV 20-13. The Rebels nearly had this one but Donovan’s 29-yard bootleg for a TD with just 1:53 to play saved the Badger’s bacon. This could cost the Badgers a couple of notches in the polls.
#7 Texas was being shut out and trailed #19 Texas Christian 10-0 at the half, but, as I said earlier, they play 60 not 30 minutes. The Long Horns came out of their slumber in the second half and defeated the Horned Frogs 34-13. The slow start might cost the ‘Horns a chance to move up.
#8 Louisville’s offence was impressive in their 58-42 victory in the track meet against Middle Tennessee State, but their defense went AWOL—again. Brohm had a career high 401 yards passing and Anthony Allen a school record 275 yards on the ground for the Cardinals. And they needed every inch of it to beat the Blue Raiders. Sure the Cardinals have scored 131 points in two games (73-10 vs Murray State and 58-42 against Mid Tenn St.), but if they can’t stop anyone, they’re going to have to average those 65 points per game and pray it’s enough. (Slayton, White, Rice, and Teel are probably licking their chops thinking about the Cardinal defense.)
#9 Virginia Tech lost 48-7 to #2 LSU. The Tigers stripped the Hokies to their underwear in this one. While losing to a higher ranked opponent usually isn’t going to hurt you, this one could. Expect the Hokies to fall hard.

#10 California. The Bears offense managed to score enough points to hold off the Colorado State Rams 34-28 but it was a near thing. Leading 34-14, the bears managed to allow Colorado State to score two TDs in a 53 second span in the fourth quarter.

#11/#12 Georgia lost to the south Carolina Gamecocks 16-12 in a game that saw one TD and seven filed goals. This one is going to cost Georgia as it will fall several slots in the polls.

#12/#11 Ohio State. The Buckeyes spotted Akron 2 points via a safety in the first quarter, led just 3-1 at the half, and then ground out a 20-2 victory over the –well, Zips. Should it have been this close? Or were the Buckeyes being neighborly? Up in the polls—no. Down—maybe.

#13/#14 UCLA scored a TD late in the game to seal a close 27-17 victory over the BYU Cougars. The win ended a BYU 11 game winning streak. Whether it will cost them in the polls remains to be seen.
#14/#15 Penn State dismantled Notre Dame 31-10. PSU could move up, but this was not the Notre Dame of the past.

#15/#16 Rutgers handily defeated Navy 41-24. Whether they get to move up or not? [shrugs shoulders]

#16/#17 Nebraska eked out a 20-17 victory over Wake Forest on the road. It probably won;’t help or hurt their ranking in the polls.

#17/#13 Auburn lost to South Florida in overtime 26-23. Expect Auburn’s stock to fall while the South Florida Bulls may crack the top 25 this week.

#18 Arkansas was idle this week. (BTW: Who made up the schedule for Troy (now 0-2)? Week one against Arkansas (46-26) and week two against Florida (59-31)?

#19 TCU. The Horned Frogs gave #7 Texas all they could handle in the first half (they led 10-0 at intermission) before succumbing to the inevitable 34-13. Up? No way. Down? Possibly/probably.

#20/#22 Hawaii won a squeaker of a game at Louisiana Tech 45-44 in overtime. Colt Brennan through for 548 yards and 4 TDs and needed every one of them plus a stopped 2-point conversion in OT to win this Western Athletic Conference contest. This will not inspire voters to move them up in the polls. Down is another matter.

#21 Georgia Tech, after taking apart Notre Dame last week, gave lessons in football to 1-AA opponent Samford. The Yellow Jackets scored 45 points in the first half as they rambled over a wrecked Bulldog squad to a 69-14 victory. Tashard Choice ran for 110 yards and two TD in the first quarter and sat out the rest of the game as the second and third string rolled up time and points to a 62-0 lead at the end of three. Up? Maybe. Down No way, Jose.

#22/#20 Boise State saw their 14-game win streak come to an end at the hands of Washington Huskies 24-10. The Broncos are falling this week.

#23 Texas A & M squeaked past Fresno State in triple overtime 47-45 when a 2-point conversion by the Bulldogs failed. Could cost the Aggies a slot or two.

#24 Tennessee drubbed Southern Miss 39-19.

#25/NR Clemson rolled over Louisiana-Monroe 49-26 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicates. Looking up for the Tigers.

If any team cracks the top 25 this week it will be Boston College (victors over North Carolina State, 37-17 and now 2-0). Boise State may find itself on the outside looking in.