Friday, March 31, 2006

Log Home Update: Part 5
More progress

Don informs me that they have completed digging and poured the footings. When Terry and I go out tomorrow we’ll swing by and take a look if the predicted rains hold off. Don, Adam, and Ron will lay a bed of gravel inside the footings on Monday. Then on Tuesday they will start to lay the first course of block and the styrafoam forms for the basement walls. (I'll see about getting pictures of concrete drying.)

I also received a call from Beaver Mountain Log and Cedar Homes. They will be cutting and milling the logs for our home next week (if they haven’t started already). Wednesday afternoon they will have the logs for the 28’x’44’ first floor area dry stacked on their mill floor. Each milled log is numbered to indicate its position for easy assembly. The mill crew dry stacks the logs to one log course above the windows and doors on the first floor. They can get a good idea of what the logs look like and how the knots and checks that all pine logs have are arranged. Terry and I will be there early Thursday morning to get our own peek at our future home. (I'll also get some pictures of this.)

After we have seen the walls dry stacked, the logs will be taken down, placed on pallets, bundled and then put onto flat bed trucks for shipping to our construction site. They have already begun stacking and packing some of the lumber, shingles, windows and doors that go with our kit. It will take four—possibly five—trucks to ship the entire home.

Second floor walls on gable ends and dormers as well as those of the garage are not solid log. They are, instead 2x6 stick construction and have log siding to match the real logs. The gables and dormers will be constructed on site while the walls of the garage will arrive on site as preassembled panels.

Delivery is scheduled for Wednesday, April 19th.

Murphy’s Law results in a new car

Terry’s 1995 Lumina died the other night as she was driving home from down Princeton way. She was driving along when the warning lights suddenly came on telling her the car was overheating. She managed to exit the Jersey Thruway in New Brunswick area and find a garage where the mechanic on duty could administer first aid. He poured 4 quarts of oil and one gallon of antifreeze/coolant into the old car and then checked for any leaks. Nothing. Terry limped home with the warning lights coming on anytime she got over 40 mph.

Thursday afternoon we dropped it off at Chevrolet of Morristown to have their mechanic run a diagnostic (we also told them to check the belts, hoses, plugs, and brakes). He called later to say the Lumina had blown a head gasket. Adding all the other things to the list, repairs would have cost us over $3000. The Blue Book value was much less than that so we paid him for his trouble and went into the dealership to pick out a new car.

We had been thinking about replacing the Lumina (it did have 105,000 miles on it) but were really hoping to do so after we had moved. Selling one home and building another as put a crimp on our cash flow. But….

What we came away with was a BRIGHT yellow Aveo. It’s a 5-door (hatchback) model that has the LT package and a 5-speed manual transmission. It can seat four people very comfortably and rides like a sports car only smoother. We took a similar model out for a test drive and Terry proved herself capable of handling the manual gear shift, despite it being nearly 10 years since last she drove one.
2006 Aveo 2

Ain’t it cute. Looks like it could fit into the bed of my Silverado if I took the cap off.

My only concern is if the front wheel drive will be able to handle the dirt roads of PA.

Daylight Saving Time

This weekend, we in the United States will celebrate that annual Rite of Spring known as setting the clocks ahead. I once read Daylight Saving Time described as cutting one end off a blanket and sewing it upon the opposite end to make the blanket longer.

Benjamin Franklin is credited with first proposing the idea of daylight saving. While the American delegate in Paris in 1784 he proposed the concept in his essay, “An Economical Project.”

The idea was not adopted and was not seriously considered until the early 1900s. In a pamphlet entitled, “Waste of Daylight” (1907), London builder William Willett suggested turning the clocks ahead 20 minutes on each of the four Sundays in April, and back by the same amount on four Sundays in September.

In the United States the plan was not formally adopted until a 1918 act of Congress with mixed results.
'An Act to preserve daylight and provide standard time for the United States' was enacted on March 19, 1918. It both established standard time zones and set summer DST to begin on March 31, 1918. Daylight Saving Time was observed for seven months in 1918 and 1919. After the War ended, the law proved so unpopular (mostly because people rose earlier and went to bed earlier than people do today) that it was repealed in 1919 with a Congressional override of President Wilson's veto. Daylight Saving Time became a local option, and was continued in a few states, such as Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and in some cities, such as New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago.
It wasn’t until WWII that a national change in time was once again adopted. President Franklin Roosevelt instituted “War Time,” a year–round Daylight Saving Time, from February 2, 1942 to September 30, 1945. Again, the goal was to save energy for the war effort. Once the war ended, however, there was no national law regulating DST and states and localities within the states were free to decide for themselves whether or not to observe Daylight Saving Time. With increases in television broadcasting and plane, train, bus and truck travel, such a haphazard system created much confusion.

Despite the confusion the next major change in DST took place in 1974.
On January 4, 1974, President Nixon signed into law the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act of 1973. Then, beginning on January 6, 1974, implementing the Daylight Saving Time Energy Act, clocks were set ahead for a 15-month period through April 27, 1975.

Legislation enacted in 1986 set the beginning and end of DST in the US as 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday of April and 2:00 a.m. on the last Sunday of October.
(Daylight Saving Time)

Even so, Daylight Saving Time is still not observed nationwide.

Only Arizona (except for the Navajo Nation), Hawaii, and the territories of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa do not observe DST. Until this year, Indiana—or at least the majority of Indiana—could have been listed among those that didn’t change their clocks.
Under the old system, 77 of the state's 92 counties were in the Eastern Time Zone but did not change to daylight time in April. Instead they remained on standard time all year. That is, except for two counties near Cincinnati, Ohio, and Louisville, Ky., which did use daylight time.

But the counties in the northwest corner of the state (near Chicago) and the southwestern tip (near Evansville), which are in the Central Time Zone, used both standard and daylight time.

After years of contentious battle in the state legislature, the Hoosier State finally adopted DST in April of 2005. The old system remained in place last year but this weekend households across the state will be joining all 47 other states in making the switch.

Only a few months after Indiana joined the ranks of DST observers, in August of 2005, the U. S. Congress passed an energy bill that extended Daylight Saving Time by a month. Beginning in 2007, DST will start the second Sunday of March (instead of the first Sunday of April) and end on the first Sunday of November (instead of the last Sunday of October).

Whatever it's called, When I was working, I know I enjoyed having extra light in the evening in which to enjoy outdoor activities like gardening, birdwatching, hiking and such. Of course, now that I'm no longer attached to the clock for work the Sun is my master. Unless I want to travel, or watch sports on TV, or....


Just thinking of all those digital clocks that need resetting has made me tired. Think I'll go take a nap.

More Links:
Daylight Saving Time (Not Daylight "Savings" Time)
Daylight saving time
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Peep, Peep

Last week the city human rights director of St. Paul, MN banned the Easter Bunny from City Hall. This week the AP reports (via the Grand Forks Herald) several city employees have been protesting that decision by placing those ubiquitous marshmallow chicks and bunnies known as Peeps around a statue of American Indians, along with two signs that temporarily rename the "Vision of Peace" statue as the "Vision of Peeps."

(Speaking of Peeps…Did you know that Just Born, the company that manufactures these seasonal treats, has a web page that documents the exhaustive research to which they subject their squishy little yellow chickies? Well they do.)

h/t to Tongue Tied and commenter Todd at that post who dropped the link to Just Born’s Peep Reasearch.

Some Airline Humor

Morning Glory 2 posts a list from the maintenance logs of Quantas Airlines that matches pilot complaints with ground crew solutions. (She got it from Laura, wife of Frank, of Putting Out The Fire.) It’s good to see the Aussies don’t take everything too seriously. Look at these examples and go read the rest at Morning Glory 2's site:
P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order.

P: Aircraft handles funny.
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.

P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Once more on the road

Terry and I drove out to PA today. We had a few things we needed to put into storage and needed to go tot the bank to sign some papers. We also picked up the mail, visited the property and then met with Don to pick up yet more papers that need signing. (No further progress has been made on site, although Don says they will be pouring the footings later this week.)

It was a beautiful day for a drive and we had a good trip. I did make two observations that I would like to pass on:

1) It amazes me how quickly the minutes of daylight mount just after the equinox. The shortest day of the year falls on December 20 or 21. After that date the minutes of daylight are supposedly increasing, yet they do so at a painstakingly (and infuriatingly) slow rate. Then comes the first day of spring and the daylight just piles on in heaps. You need no watch to note the increase in light, your eyes can see the difference. It is recorded in the number of singing birds, the greenness of the grass and the bursting buds of maple and oak. When you rise with the sun and are on the road within 15 minutes of rising, you really notice the difference in the morning. A couple of weeks ago we traveled the same route at 5:30 AM and were in the dark for an hour. Today it was light when we began.

2) Our roundtrip required 7+ hours to drive approximately 450 miles. In between we did all our little errands and stopped for lunch at the local pizzeria. (Their pie was acceptable and certainly better than either Domino’s or Pizza Hut, both of which are also in town.) Driving my truck 450 miles is not tiring. What does tire me is driving the other five vehicles around me and all those I can see ahead of me or in my rearview mirror. That’s what tires me. Anticipating the actions of the other drivers, making adjustments to my speed and lane position to accommodated the vehicles entering the highway or the disabled vehicle on the shoulder keeps you constantly alert.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Rutgers to name Fred Hill, Jr. Head Coach

Rutgers R.small
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey is prepared to name Fred Hill, Jr. head coach of the Men’s Basketball team. Hill has served 25 years as an assistant coach and has been a tireless recruiter for Maine, Marquette, Lehigh, Villanova and Rutgers. Hill is credited with much of the success of this year’s Villanova team having recruited most of the seniors on that squad including the Big East Player of the Year, Randy Foye.

Under Hills’ tutelage, RU’s Quincy Douby became the dominant player on the Scarlet Knights this year. Douby bettered his per game scoring by nearly ten points as he led the Big East in scoring.

With his personality and strong ties to the New Jersey area, here’s hoping he finds success as head man at RU.

The Newark Star Ledger has much more about the new RU Head Coach here.

Tennessee ends RU’s season, 76-69

Rutgers R.small
Cappie Pondexter’s 22 points and Matee Ajavon’s 24 were not enough to see the Scarlet Knights passed the Tennessee Volunteers in the Cleveland Regional’s semifinals. Candace Parker and Shanna Zolman each scored 29 points for the Lady Vols.

It was the second consecutive year that Tennessee ended the Scarlet Knights’ season. In 2005 the Vols defeated RU in the regional finals.

Get the full story and stats here.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

On Raising Boys

Morning Glory 2 has a post listing 25 lessons learned while raising boys.

1.) A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2000 sq. ft. house 4 inches deep.

4.) If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42-pound boy wearing Batman underwear and a Superman cape. It is strong enough, however, if tied to a paint can, to spread paint on all four walls of a 20x20 ft. room.

20.) The fire department in Austin, Texas has a 5-minute response time.
Go on over and read the rest of the lessons.

I guess I would put myself in category 1, having one boy aged 22 (almost 23).

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Scarlet Knights gig the Frogs, 82-48

Rutgers R.small
After a lackluster performance in their game against Dartmouth on Sunday, the Scarlet Knights put it all together last evening. Playing a Texas Christian team missing its leading scorer and rebounder, Natasha Lacy, who left the team last week to deal with an undisclosed personal matter, Rutgers shot 55% from the field (65% in the first half) and formed a near impenetrable wall the Horned Frogs could not breach with any regularity.

Cappie Pondexter led RU with 24 and Matee Ajavon, despite picking up two very quick personal fouls in the first five minutes, added 18 points and 13 assists. Three other Knights also reached double figures in scoring.

Coach Vivian Stringer notched her 750th win in her 1000 game in a career spanning 34 years. She is currently No. 3 on the all-time list behind Pat Summitt of Tennessee and Texas coach Jody Conradt.

Rutgers trailed 8-2 in the early going but went on a 26-8 tear that left the TCU squad in the dust. Pondexter scored 11 of those points including consecutive 3-point shots. After the break, with RU leading 41-22, Rutgers opened the gap to 56-27 in the first 6 minutes. Pondexter alone outscored TCU 10-5 during that span.

No. 3 seed Rutgers, now in the Sweet Sixteen, moves on to Cleveland to play Tennessee on Sunday. The Vols defeated Rutgers last year’s region finals in Philadelphia by 10 points.

(Game story and stats here.

Monday, March 20, 2006

That’s a lot o’ Legos!

Stephen Green, the Vodkapundit, posts a link to some Lego fun in the form of a Lego aircraft carrier. (He’s also got a link to a full size Volvo.)


I drove out to PA today with some things to put into storage and with the intent of picking up the mail and visiting the property to see what’s been happening.

The drive went well but I found snow squalls when I went to do my chores. And they got heavier as I went from the storage unit (down in the valley) to the post office and up the hill to the property. The dirt road up was pretty well chewed up but there were dump trucks of gravel going on up the hill past the driveway apparently to work on the road at the top of the hill. With any luck, they will be working more on the soft spots down at the bottom of the hill, too.

Don, Adam and Ron were hard at work trying to break up a chunk of rock in the southwest corner of the basement when I got there. During the week, Don thought they would move the footprint of the house northward to avoid that rock ledge but Ron pointed out this would make the driveway coming out of the garage a little steeper and suggested they just spend the time with the jackhammer to make room for the footing. (Since the slope at the bottom of the driveway currently goes from 2100 feet to, oh, about 2050 feet rather quickly, I’m in favor of making the short stretch form the garage to the driveway a little gentler. A retaining rail will definitely be in order.)

Here are just two pictures from the site.
Don (on the jackhammer), Ron with the survey pole) and Adam (supervising) are at the south end of the basement. The ceiling in the basement will be 9 feet. Adam is six feet. Gravel, foam insulation and then 5 inches of concrete will form the floor. The walls will be at least 18 inches above grade. At this point, (except for one stubborn rock) they are within an inch or two of finishing the dig.

Don's truck is parked where the walk-in basement doors will be. The rear wheels are where the basement door will be and the cab is under the deck.

The forms for the poured concrete foundation will be coming soon and then the concrete itself will be poured either the end of the week or early next. That step depends a little upon the weather. Continued cold or rains could postpone that step.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Vernal (Spring) Equinox

Spring officially arrives here in the Northern Hemisphere on Monday, March 20th. Most sources will tell you it is the day when the Sun passes directly over the Equator as it (the Sun) moves northwards. This is not true. The Sun does not move north or south with the seasons. It only appears to do so. In reality, the Earth’s North Pole tips towards or away form the Sun. While doing so, the Earth’s Equator moves under the Sun.

Having gotten that off my chest we have these sites and explanations.

From Infoplease:
The Rite of Spring
On March 20, 2006, at precisely 1:26 P.M. EST (18:26 Universal Time), the Sun will cross directly over the Earth's equator. This moment is known as the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. For the Southern Hemisphere, this is the moment of the autumnal equinox.

The date is significant in Christianity because Easter always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. It is also probably no coincidence that early Egyptians built the Great Sphinx so that it points directly toward the rising Sun on the day of the vernal equinox.

The first day of spring also marks the beginning of Nowruz, the Persian New Year. The celebration lasts 13 days and is rooted in the 3,000-year-old tradition of Zorastrianism.
(This article is duplicated at Fact Monster

Equinox and has this about the rituals associated with the First Day of Spring:
Rituals and invocations for abundance in the new crops being planted would often be held during the new moon closest to the Equinox (traditionally a good time to plant).

Even the latter day celebration (comparatively speaking) of Easter acknowledged the significance of the Vernal Equinox. The Council of Nice decreed in 325 A.D. that "Easter was to fall upon the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the Vernal Equinox."

And Wikipedia contains TEXTthis explanation of why the day isn’t really equal to the night on the Equinox:
In practice, at the equinox, the day is longer than the night. Commonly the day is defined as the period that sunlight may reach the ground in absence of local obstacles. This is firstly because the Sun does not appear as a single point of light, but as a disc. So when the middle of the Sun is still below the horizon, the topmost edge is already visible and sheds light. Furthermore, the atmosphere refracts light downwards, so even when the topmost edge of the Sun is really still below the horizon, its rays already reach around the horizon to the ground. These effects together make the day about 14 minutes longer than the night (at the equator, and more towards the poles). The real equality of day and night happens a few days towards the winter side of the equinox.

Rutgers downs Dartmouth in NCAA's first round

Rutgers R.small
It wasn’t easy and it was far from pretty, but the Scarlet Knights managed to escape a first round scare from Dartmouth this evening and will advance to a second round game Tuesday, March 21, against the winner of Texas A&M—TCU game.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Big East kicks it up

The Big East teams in the NCAA tournament picked things up yesterday. In fact, they went 5-0 against all comers.

Fom the Newark Star Ledger After slow start, Big East gets back on track
The Wildcats, a No. 1 seed, struggled but still had more than enough firepower for a 58-45 victory over No. 16 Monmouth. Georgetown, under-valued as a No. 7 seed, held on to beat a dangerous Northern Iowa team. Then West Virginia won, beating Southern Illinois with ease, and then Connecticut and Pittsburgh won at night -- although the No. 1 seeded Huskies continued to look out of synch, struggling badly for 30 minutes against an Albany team that lost to Sacred Heart and Harvard at home this season.

Trailing by 12 with 11:33 to play, UConn went on a 17-2 run fueled largely by point guard Marcus Williams before pulling away for a 72-59 victory over the Great Danes.

Meanwhile, the Panthers were easy winners over Kent State to complete the Big East's 5-0 day.
To summarize:

Villanova over Monmouth
Georgetown over Northern Iowa
West Virginia over Southern Illinois
Connecticut over Albany
Pittsburgh over Kent State

Yeah, Villanova’s win over Monmouth and UConn’s over Albany should have been no brainers, but a win is a win at this point of the year. Losers go home with a long wait until next season. Three Big East teams have had to go home. Five get to continue playing.

Moose + Car = Trouble

You’re just driving down the road on your way home at 11 PM when ---WHAM!
A 500-pound moose crashed through the windshield of a car in Leominster and ended up sitting in the passenger seat with its head sticking through the glass.
Luckily the woman driving said car was able to get out and walk away without serious injury. The moose wasn't so lucky and I bet neither was the car. yet, only 500-pounds? That’s a youngster.

Now, this didn’t happen in some remote wilderness area. This accident happened just 40 miles west of Boston, Massachusetts.

H/t Yahoo! News

Nothing new under the sun in La-La Land

I’ve noticed that in the last decade or two, Hollywood, movies and network moguls alike, has produced very, very few original works. Much of what comes out of the entertainment industry is recycled whether in the form of remakes or sequels. But this is ridiculous.

Police were investigating a late-night dispute at an Anaheim dance club that spilled over to a restaurant early this morning and ended in a fatal shooting, the third at a Denny's restaurant this week in California.

It’s good to see that strict gun control of California has brought an end to all the violence.

H/t Drudge

Friday, March 17, 2006

He’s baaaack!

Who’s back?

No, no, no. You said, “He’s back.” And I said. “Who’s back?”


Dr. Who has returned to American TV on the SciFi Channel. The current Doctor, the one on the tube tonight, Christopher Eccleston, is the ninth in the series (counting one time wonder, Paul McGann, who played the Doctor only once in a made for TV movie in 1996). The Seventh Doctor was last broadcast in 1989. The show lay comatose until 1996 when the movie played on Fox Network during the May sweeps and was a disappointment. In 2003, the BBC resurrected the concept. On 26th March 2005 the first episode of the New Series, Rose was broadcast.

Christopher Eccleston portrayed the Doctor for just 13 episodes and in June of 2005 David Tennant joined Billie Piper (Rose Tyler) on the TARDIS.

Considering the duration of the Dr. Who series in its first incarnation (It aired continuously from November 1963 until December 1989 and then reappeared briefly in a one-off special in November of 1993.) We could be in for a long ride.

by Shannon Patrick Sullivan
and poke around a bit. If you ever watched the show when it was broadcast on PBS or if you just want to catch up on the history of Dr. Who you will thank me.

Log Home Update: Part 4
Excavation Report

I received a call from Don last night about the hole being dug for the foundation. Seems it’s virtually done!

The excavator did run into one little problem and that’s why Don was calling. There were some huge boulders in the south end of the hole that the excavator couldn’t budge. He could either get an explosives man out there or he could move the location of the house 2 feet to the north.

I remember back in ‘58 when my Dad and Uncle Neal had to blast the side of the hill in Oakland, NJ in order to put in the cellar of our home. It took time and money and wasn’t pretty. (Although for a 9-year-old it was damn exciting!)

I’m a little older than nine now and can do without exciting. (Well sometimes exciting is okay.) I asked if there was room on the shelf on the side of the hill that forms the building site for the house and the proposed deck if we made the move. Don assured me there was, so the house will be 2 feet further north than originally planned. (Hope that doesn't ruin my wife's plans for tomatoes. On the other hand, it should help if Global Warming gets out of hand.)

Don says the man with the forms will be on the job site Monday or Tuesday and pouring of the concrete walls will take place soon after. I think he means there will be a foundation in place by the 25th of the month.

Kangaroo leads cops on chase in the snow

It was early this morning and I hadn’t had my cup of coffee yet when I came across this story.

My first reaction: Why consider this news?
My second: They need kangaroo breeders in Australia? Why?
Third: Wait a minute, it’s summer in Australia. Isn’t it? Where’d the snow come from?

Then my eyes focused and I noticed a few missing letters and the word “Vienna” and realized they were talking about kangaroos in AUSTRIA! Now I knew where the snow came from anyway.

Via Yahoo! News

March Madness treats Big East...
poorly…on Day 1

Texas A&M 66
Syracuse 58

Syracuse’s wunderkind, Gerry McNamara scored just 2 points and was 0-7 from the field as Texas A&M sent the Orange back home.
(Game Story and stats here.)

Seton Hall 66
Witchita State 86

Wichita State's first tournament win in 25 years ended with Seton Hall heading home after a lackluster performance.
(Game Story and stats here.)

Alabama 90
Marquette 85

After San Diego State’s Cox Arena was evacuated due to a suspicious package found at a hotdog stand, Jean Felix and his Alabama teammates shot the lights out. With 3-pointers raining down, Marquette found itself on the short end of an offensive battle.
(Game Story and stats here.)

Big East 0
Others 3

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Today, whether your Irish or not, everybody celebrates St. Patrick’s Day. The questions are why and how? To answer those two questions, I’ve found a couple of sites to help out.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve some potatoes to peel, a soda bread to bake, corned beef and cabbage to prepare, and a few beers to consume.

From The History Channel:
Who Was St. Patrick?
The History of St. Patrick’s Day

Other sources of information:
Customs and Traditions of St Patrick’s Day
History Of St. Patrick’s Day

Thursday, March 16, 2006

St. Joes (Philly) ends RU’s season 71-62
Coach Waters' resignation goes into effect

Rutgers R.small
The Scarlet Knights fell behind early and struggled to make it a game in the second half. Much of the come back by the RU squad can be attributed to Quincy Douby who seemed to score every time he shot after the break. Of course, one of the reasons the Scarlet fell behind in the first half is because Douby had trouble getting the ball in the hoop. Unfortunately, as has happened in several of Rutgers’ loses this year, Douby had little help on the offense. Marquis Webb did his usual good job on defense, but he had little help in the first half.

Rutgers fell behind by 17 points in the first half but fought back. They narrowed it to 8 points and then fell behind again by 17 before narrowing things once more to just 4 points.

St. Joes went from the 11:33 mark to nearly 2 minutes left without a basket in the second half as RU picked up its team defense.

Quincy Douby finished the night with 30 points. He ends his junior year having tallied 839 points, a new single season scoring record for Rutgers.

(Game Story and stats here.)

Rutgers ends the season with a 19-14 record. With Coach Gary Waters having submitted his resignation some four weeks ago, the rumor has it that Associate Head Coach Fred Hill is in line to become the next head coach.

St. Joseph’s will host Hofstra in Philadelphia on Monday night.

Happy Feet

If this little movie trailer doesn’t make you smile…well, forget about it and just tap your toes.

Happy Feet Trailer #1

From Google Video

Turkey gone wild

I’ve had songbirds, ruffed grouse and even hawks crash into windows. Sometimes they lay stunned for a bit and then fly away. Other times they just lay there. (Ruffed grouse, obtained fresh from the yard, tastes pretty good.) But I have never had a wild turkey crash into a window…yet.

I don’t think I would have called the deputies to “rescue” the turkey, however.

I do know what would be for dinner.

Via Yahoo! News

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Iditarod Update

Jeff King crossed the finish line in Nome last night (3/15) at 1:11:36. King, who had won the Iditarod Dog Sled Race three times previously, and 12 of his dogs finished the race in 9 days, 11 hours, 11 minutes and 36 seconds.

The rest of the Top Five:

Second: Doug Swingley (9d, 14h, 18m, 20s)
Third: Paul Gebhardt (9d, 15h, 23m, 20s)
Fourth: DeeDee Jonrowe (9d, 16h, 25m, 50s)
Fifth: John Baker (9d, 17h, 37m, 45s)

At this time, nine racers have completed the course. Sixty-three more are still out and expected to finish sometime in the next couple of days. Eleven others have had to drop out for one reason or another.

Home again, home again, jiggity, jig

Well, not much on the jiggity part.

What is normally a four to four and half hour drive took me nearly six hours today. On the northern end I had a surprise snow storm to contend with. A prediction of one inch turned into six on the ground and more falling every minute. Add the 25-30 mph winds and near white-out existed on the Route 28 from Middleville to Herkimer. I stayed a reasonable distance behind another pickup truck that was following a logger load that was following a plow. Our side of the road was sloppy but blacktop was visible. The opposite side was under a couple of inches of snow.

As is usual, the NY Thruway had little or no snow on it once I got there. There were a few spots where it was wet with blowing snow but the snowfall remained north of me. South bound past Albany and there wasn’t even any snow on the side of the road. I could see some up on the Catskills as I drove past, but there was nothing at road level. Everything moved smoothly until I got through the tollbooths just south of the Harriman exit.

I had seen the flashing yellow lights on the signs about radio messages but, after a full year of hearing about construction on the Tappan Zee Bridge, I no longer tune in the message. I should have this time. A serious accident seven miles south of the tollbooths had two lanes closed and had created a bumper-to-bumper backup some five miles long. It took me over an hour to negotiate that. When I saw what had happened, I was just happy to be on all four wheels. Two vehicles had collided. A white coupe was facing northbound in the southbound slow lane with its front end pretty well smashed in. The second vehicle, an SUV, lay on its roof in the center lane. By the time I reached that point anyone involved in the accident had been removed. Several police cars and a tow truck sat in the closed lanes as they tried to figure out how to remove the SUV without spilling any fuel or other fluids. At least two news crews, including one TV station from the lower Hudson region were also parked along the shoulder.

Once through the bottleneck, the remainder of the trip went smoothly.

Log Home Update: Part 3b
Ground has been broken!

I got an email from Don, the General Contractor on our Log Home. He tells me that the excavator was up on our property yesterday and has begun to dig the hole for the foundation. I’ll have to go out that way later this week to drop off some more stuff for storage so I may swing by to see what’s up.

A little troubling is his report that when he and his wife tried to drive up to see what had been done, they ran into Mud Season problems. (See my previous post on this northland phenomenon.)

The property is on a dirt road near the top of the hill (2100 out of, oh, maybe 2300 feet to be exact) and there has been a lot of truck activity up there. He says part of the road was churned into a quagmire and they had to abandon his wife’s minivan a mile from the building site. (He admits that he should have known better to leave his truck home. Hey, at least he didn’t bury the wife’s car in the mud!) He does say that the township had a work crew out there trying to repair the road and improve the drainage that was causing the problem. Hope they succeeded. The foundation crew will have to get up there in a week or so with concrete trucks and all. And the logs will be coming on tractor trailers in a month.

Mud Season

Mud Season, for those of you living in urban areas where all streets are paved or to the south where the earth seldom if ever freezes, is that time of year between Winter and Spring when the snow has melted and the ground has begun to thaw and roughly corresponds to the maple sugaring season.

Notice I said, “begun to thaw.” The ground thaws from the top down as the sun reaches the earth’s surface and warms things up. Below the surface there may still be a layer of frozen soil that prohibits the water from melting snow and rain from percolating down into the aquifer. Not being able to soak farther into the ground this water mixes with the surface soil to produce mud. Of course, you don’t know that it is mud until you A) step onto what looks like a firm patch of ground or B) try to drive your vehicle on a dirt road. Under either situation you may sink anywhere from a few inches into the soft, squishy earth or half way to China.

Mud Season can literally appear overnight. I have had vehicles drive past my cabin on the dirt road section heading to the few places up the road one evening without any problem and the next evening finds them up to their axles in mud after the sun has had a full day to do its magic. And these weren’t flatlanders either but locals who should have known of the hazards and risks of late Winter-early Spring.

Despite the difficulties Mud Season presents it is actually celebrated by northlanders. Mud Season is a harbinger of Spring as reliable as the robin and woodcock. When it arrives, you know it’s just a matter of days before truly warm, sunny weather graces your doorstep and the frogs, toads and birds all begin to sing, the trees and wildflowers begin to bloom, and all is right with the world for you have survived another Winter.

The “joys” of north country living

I’m sitting in my cabin in the Adirondacks pondering the joy of living up here in the northlands.

When I arrived yesterday I found that there was precious little snow on the ground. But that means Mud Season had arrived. My gate is at the end of the paved road but there was a stream of water running down the dirt section of the road in front of my cabin diverted there by the work of the local logger who has been cutting trees on the acreage across the street. His harvest of red maple, birch and beech lay along the side of the road. Running his equipment through the woods as they thawed in the warm weather last week left ruts that the water followed into the road. The water spills into the field across the street just as the dirt meets the blacktop.

My “driveway”, also known as my lawn, had also succumbed to the mud and I needed the 4-wheel drive to get to the cabin some thirty yards from the gate and that left ruts, too.

Entering the cabin I found water had leaked in around an old and unused brick chimney to drip on the kitchen floor. This had happened before but not to this extent. Another puddle was found near the wood burning stove in the living area. I went outside and discovered that the chimney cap had been blown off.

My good neighbor, Mark, showed up, helped me unload the truck, and then went back to his place to get a replacement cap from his stores as well as a gallon bucket of all-weather roofing tar. I got the extension ladder out and we made the necessary repairs. As we were finishing, the wind picked up blowing 20-30 mph from the northwest and bringing lake effect snows. By mid afternoon we had near white-out conditions as the snow moved in from Lake Ontario as it sometimes does.

With the strong winds continuing it wasn’t long before the power went out. At 4 PM we found ourselves without electricity. A call to National Grid to inform them and all we could do was wait. Still no power at 7:30 PM so it was stoke up the fires and early to bed.

Having gone to sleep early, I awoke at 2 AM to find the power restored (sometime shortly after 10 PM) and myself fully rested. Feed the fires and wait for daylight to arrive.

There looks to be four, maybe five inches of fresh snow on the ground and a few more are predicted later today. The town has already sent a plow up the road so I should be able to get out okay even if I have to use the blower to clear a way to the gate. I’m not in any hurry, however, the band of snow is currently just south of me along the NY Thruway so I’ll wait awhile until I head back to NJ.

No sign of leakage around either spot we worked on yesterday so the cabin is once again snug and quite warm.

A new must read site

MostlyCajun pointed his readers in the direction of The LawDog Files and I found myself reading every one of the posts LawDog has! You should read them too. Go there. Now! (But put the coffee down first and don’t be eatin’ anything as you read or you’ll have to clean your screen and keyboard…*sigh*…trust me on this.)

Rutgers defeats Penn State, 76-71
Douby ties season scoring record

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Led by Quincy Douby’s 32 points, the Scarlet Knights defeated the Nittany Lions in State College, PA. The Lions didn’t make it easy, however.

RU opened a big lead of 52-33 early in the second half with Douby and Marquis Webb drilling the basket from 3-point land. Penn State’s full-court press and some sloppy ball handling (PSU forced RU to commit 19 turnovers) allowed the Lions to creep back to within 6 with 2:20 left in the game. Douby put an end to that with a 3 and then a couple of free throws to put the game out of reach.

Rutgers opened its big lead in the first half. Trailing 14-13, Marquis Webb started a 14-0 run putting RU ahead for good midway through the first half.

Douby was 8 for 14 from beyond the arc. With the 32-point effort, he ties Bob Lloyd’s single season scoring record of 809. With at least one more game to be played, Douby appears on his way to erasing that old mark.

Marquis Webb scored 17 points for the Scarlet Knights. He was 3 of 7 from 3-point range. J.R. Inman returned to action after having a broken leg earlier this season. Inman played 6 minutes scoring 5 points.

Travis Parker had 21 points and 12 rebounds, while Ben Lubber was 5-of-9 from 3-point range and had 17 points for Penn State.

(Game Story and stats here.)

Rutgers next faces St. Joes of Philadelphia in Philly on Thursday.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Don’t eat it!

You know, saw this headline: South Korea issues warning as yellow snow falls and thought the obvious. But then I read the little piece and found out that it was sand that was making it yellow and not…well, you know. Still, little sand particles should not be eaten or inhaled. Apparently the yellow stuff comes from up the Yellow River way in China.

Via Yahoo! News

Iditarod Race: Day 9

With 922 of the 1150 miles of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race under their belt (or runners as the case may be) Jeff King and Doug Swingley have checked into Shaktoolik (pop. 199). Less than forty miles behind are DeeDee Jonrowe, Bjornar Andersen, John Baker and Paul Gebhardt who have all left Unalakleet and are on their way to Shaktoolik.

Beyond Shaktoolik, the mushers and their teams move out onto the ice of Norton Sound. Things are shaping up for a very close finish.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

NCAA and the Big East, Perfect Together

UConn, Villanova, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Marquette, Seton Hall, Georgetown, Syracuse

Remember, only Syracuse got an “automatic” invite to the big dance by reason of winning the Big East Tournament.

Two, count them—two, No. 1 Seeds in the brackets. And neither is the Big East Champion. UConn and Villanova were both awarded No. 1 Seeds despite being knocked off by Syracuse and Pittsburgh in the Big East Tournament this past week. At the time of their demise, they were nationally ranked as No. 1 and No. 2 in the land.

The NCAA selection committee chose eight teams from the Big East Conference. That’s the most from any one conference—ever. And Cincinnati could easily be there too.

It will be interesting to see which Big East teams make it into the NIT. Could be Cincinnati, Rutgers, Louisville and Notre Dame. (Even though ND had a 15-13 record, something like 8 or 9 of their losses were by 3 points.) Twelve of the 16 members of the Big East in post season play. That’s pretty good.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Yep, Syracuse

Syracuse 65
Pittsburgh 61

Ninth seeded in the Big East Tournament and yet Syracuse found a way to defeat not one, not two but three nationally ranked teams (UConn, Georgetown and then Pittsburgh) to become Big East Champions.

VT moose now loose

In Berlin, Vermont you had snow covered ground, a kids’ swing set, a green shrubbery, and a young moose. Mix them all together and you get a chained moose. In the article the police get credit for turning the young moose loose, but it was the maintenance man who did the dangerous work. He climbed onto the swing set to clip the chains that had tangled up the youngster.

ViaYahoo! News

What’s the matter with kids today?

From Seattle Post-Intelligencer comes this report:
The man pulled a ski mask over his face as he walked into the sandwich shop, demanded money and pulled up his sweat shirt to reveal what appeared to be a handgun tucked into his pants.

The sandwich maker, a girl, 17, told the man she could not open the register unless he bought a sandwich.

When the robber began to yell at her, three teen boys, all friends of the girl, who were waiting for her to close up for the night, tackled the man and pinned him to the ground.
It turned out to be a BB gun but the perp did have a knife on him. While her friends held the guy down, she called 911.
Deputies believe the man was involved in at least five robberies in the Bothell and Woodinville areas, and Seattle police believe he committed six in the city, though police spokesman Rich Pruitt said investigators are still trying to determine if the man could have been involved in other crimes.

The 25-year-old man was booked into the King County Jail for investigation of first-degree robbery.
Quick action on the part of all four youths. Well done!

(And before someone says they should have just handed over the money. What's to say that if this *sshole did have a gun, they would have been able to survive? Proactive intervention--if the opportunity presents itself--is always a good idea.)


Global Warming?

An Arctic storm brought a rare mix of patchy blue skies, snow and hail to Southern California on Friday, closing the Grapevine at times, leaving motorists stranded near Big Bear and prompting forecasters to warn that the snow level could dip today to about 1,000 feet.

While downtown Los Angeles was sunny much of Friday, it snowed in areas as low as 2,000 feet in the Santa Clarita, Antelope and San Gabriel valleys. Hailstorms struck large swaths of the region, including Pasadena, Eagle Rock and Glendale.

Frazier Park, Gorman and other mountain communities received a steady dusting, prompting officials to declare the first school "snow day" of the season as residents stocked kitchens and covered pipes to prevent them from freezing.
(From an LA Times article.)

A “dusting” creates a snow day? And makes people run out to stock their kitchens and wrap their pipes?

What a bunch of wussies! Up near the cabin in the Adirondacks it takes 6” before they consider a snow day. Dustings occur almost ever day from Thanksgiving to Easter.


It’s a dog-eat-dog world

From Michigan comes this report of wolves attacking one another on Isle Royale National Park. Seems the moose population levels have declined to the lowest levels in 48 years. With few of their usual prey species around the wolves invade other pack’s territory and hunt the hunters. Actually, the wolves don’t see one another as a food source. No, they see one another as competitors. One of the three packs has already lost its alpha male and may be on the verge of dispersing.

Moose have become unavailable due to an aging population.
The population decline results in part from the aging of a "baby boom" generation dating from the early 1990s, when wolf numbers plummeted because of a parvovirus outbreak, he said. Also, a tick infestation in recent years weakened the animals, making them easy prey for wolves.
Wolves find the elderly and calves more easily attacked. Right now, the bulk of the moose population ins in its prime and pretty much off limits to the wolf packs. They’ve already eaten the old and are working on the calves.
"One-third of the kills this winter were calves," Peterson said. "The wolves need to go down to give more calves a chance of reaching adulthood."

The closed ecosystem of Isle Royale has produced another problem:
The tick problem eased during the past year but remains a threat. Another is a gradual decline of the moose's primary food supply as the island's forests evolve from primarily birch and aspen to less nutritious spruce and balsam fir, Vucetich said.

The changing forest cover has caused a sharp drop in beaver, an alternative food source for wolves, Peterson said.

So, let’s summarize.
1-In the ‘90s, parvovirus and ticks weakened the wolves. Fewer wolves meant more moose calves surviving.
2-More moose calves meant the wolves would remove the elderly from the population as a lone old moose would be easier prey than a calf with an angry mother.
3-Wolf numbers increased along with the teenage moose population.
4-Large numbers of moose (and time) brought about a change in the forest of Isle Royale with the moose’s preferred foods, aspen and birch being replaced by spruce and balsam fir. 5-Declining nutritious foods means weaker old moose—pfft they’re gone. (The change over also means fewer beaver—a secondary food source for the wolves.)
6-No elderly moose means the wolves have to eat calves and that means fewer moose which means fewer wolves can survive.


And this is for just a few species wolves, moose, beaver, aspen, birch, spruce and balsam fir. No mention of the birds affected by the plant change, the insects, other trees and shrubs, any herbaceous plants…. Aw, you get the idea. Next time an environmentalist or wildlife biologist tells you he knows what’s happening…take it with a grain of salt. The variables are tremendous. And predictions are written on tissue paper.

Via Yahoo! News

Log Home Update: Part 3a
Ground Breaking

The fantastic spring weather we have enjoyed the last few days promises to continue through the weekend and into the start of the work week. That means the excavator will be able to break ground Monday or Tuesday.

I stopped at the property today after making a drop at the storage facility and found Don (our General Contractor) had removed the two trees that grew within the house’s footprint. While there’s still some logs to be moved out of the way, the area looked prepped for the excavator to do his thing.

Don has also spoken with the electric utility folks to get a temporary box installed. I noticed that a work crew had been through to clear the right of way beneath the power line. The brush had been trimmed down to the ground and many small poplars up to 5-6 inches in diameter were also dropped. Firewood should be little problem for a year or so. (When I got home I found the incoming mail contained papers from the electric people to complete the hook-up.)

Our NJ home has been on the market for a week now and there have been several visits by prospective buyers but no follow-up calls or offers. Tomorrow we have an Open House. Hopefully, we will have several more visits during the afternoon.

Terry has proven, shall we say, impatient. Although I agree with her in one respect: Mentally we’re out of this house already. We may not know where we will live between the closing in NJ until the CO is issued in PA, but we’re ready to figure that out. There’s always the cabin in the Adirondacks, although I would prefer not to have to move up there until after Mud Season is over—around May 1st.


I went to bed early last night so I could make an early morning run out to PA with a truckload of bench tools from my woodshop. As a result, I didn’t stay up to watch the semifinals in the Big East Tournament. (Okay, I didn’t watch because I was viewing the season finales of SG-1 and SG-Atlantis.) Leaving early, I also didn’t catch the news of which teams won. So imagine my surprise when I flicked on ESPN when I returned home this afternoon to learn the Championship game features Syracuse and Pittsburgh. What happened to Villanova? What happened to Georgetown?

Man, you’ve got to love the Big East!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

'Nova defeats Rutgers. 87-55

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As slow as the start of last night's game against Seton Hall was, Rutgers came out on fire tonight. Quincy Douby in particular has come out hot tonight. He had only 6 points in the first half and finished with 18 points. Tonight Douby has 15 points in the first 10 minutes against No. 2 Villanova. That includes 3 for 5 from beyond the arc. Sometimes so far beyond that he almost needs a ticket.

When Douby sat down for his usual brief rest in the first half, Jaron Griffin made a 3-pointer to put RU ahead 22-21.

When Douby returned he made another three to give him 18 points, matching last nights total, with 6:16 left in the half. (He didn't make his first basket last night until around the 5 minute mark.)

Douby has 24 points at the half, shooting 5-7 from 3-point land. But RU is still trailing by 1-point, 33-34.

The 'Nova Wildcats owned the second half.

Early in the second half (16:21 to go) and 'Nova has put together a 9-0 run to lead by 11, 48-37. 'Nova shutting out Douby after the break.

9:40 to go and 'Nova has opened a 15 point lead. While Douby has been getting no offensive help, four 'Nova players--led by Will Sheridan--are in double figures.

Freshman Anthony Farmer had to sit at the 11:25 mark with four fouls. he didn't return until the 5 minute mark.

Now all five 'Nova starters are in double figures and, while Douby leads everyone with 31 points, he has had no help. Only 18 points from the rest of the team.

'Nova is now up 74-49. With 4:45 to go. Allan Ray now leads 'Nova in scoring.

Game over.

RU is still playing hard, but "Nova continues to double and triple team Douby forcing him to give up the ball to the other players who have been largely ineffective.

Villanova proved tonight that it had too many tools for RU. Playing a 3 and 4 guard offense, all five Wildcat starters scored in double figures. Ray finished with 23 points, Will Sheridan had 17, Kyle Lowry scored 14, Mike Nardi added 12 and Randy FOye made 10. They also out rebounded RU by a count of 45 to 29 and made 23 of 27 from the charity stripe compared to RU's 8 for 13.

RU now goes home to await a call from the NIT. 'Nova, after Connecticut's loss to Syracuse earlier today, may be in line for the Big East title and the No. 1 ranking nationally.


I'm having trouble paying attention to the Purdue-Michigan State game on ESPN2. Part of it has to do with waiting for the Rutgers-Villanova game and a lot of it has to do with Brent Musberger who is just lulling me to sleep.

The players seem enthusiastic but the play-by-play has been...uninspired.

Syracuse 86, UConn 84, in OT

Wow! Big East Basketball—gotta love it!

In the last 10 seconds of OT UConn had two shots that looked like they went below the rim yet came back out to preserve the victory.

McNamara had a 3-pointer to tie the game and send it into overtime.

The victory should put Syracuse in the NCAAs. Even with the loss UConn will be there.

If the Big East isn’t the toughest conference in the nation, I don’t know which conference is.

Coming to a small screen in your living room?

Glenn Reynolds (he of Instapundit fame) has some predictions from J.D. Johannes about an upcoming ad campaign detailing the truth about Iraq from Americas Majority. I don’t know about the predictions, but the ads are something else, so be sure to click through to view each and every one.

I would surely love to see these ads on the MSM networks. But I have my doubts they will ever appear there.

I'm Pooped!

Well, I got up yesterday at 5 AM and drove the rental car from NJ to Waverly, NY (arriving at 8:15) to sign for the repairs they made to the truck. New brakes, calipers, shocks, springs, and wheel; spot welding to the bed; undercoating of the wheel-well; yada, yada, yada. All I had to do was sign the two insurance checks totalling $2800 and I could have my truck back. No out of pocket expenses on that one.

Then I dropped off the Enterpirse rental in Athens. THAT wasn't covered by my insurance policy. (Hey, in nearly 40 years of driving, I have only had two occassions where I absolutely needed a rental after a breakdown. So I took my chances.) Two weeks with insurance cost me $600.

From Waverly/Athens I headed to the cabin just a little north of Utica.

Approximately six inches of snow on the lawn but with bright sunshine there were bare spots starting to spread. Melt water flowed off the roof of the cabin where just a little snow lay in the valleys and a small stream of water meandered in and out of the tire ruts as it headed down the dirt road in front of the cabin. With temperatures for today predicted to climb into the mid to upper 30s and into the 40s for the weekend that "fifth season" of the north country is about to begin. It's called "Mud Season" and arrives between winter and spring.

It took me just two hours to unload and store the boxes of stuff (mostly wood and rocks it turns out) and select a tent from my stores (I promised it to someone and then remembered it was up there and not down here).

I headed home to NJ after stopping at Herb Phillipson's in Herkimer (camping supply store) and hit I-287/I-80 interchange just as it went crazy west bound on I-80. Of course I wanted to go that way. The radio reported an accident every couple of miles from Parsippany to Mt. Arlington; there must have been four or five. I got off immediately and tried Route 46 West, but everyone else did the same. Stop and go at every light until I got to Rockaway. It took me nearly an hour to go 20 miles to the Ramsey Outdoors in Ledgewood. They had the shock cord for tent poles I was looking for so at least my mission was successful. A sack of White Castle burgers to go and I went home.

I pulled into the driveway at 7:15 PM having traveled a little over 600 miles since leaving at 5:15 AM. Actual driving time was probably about 11 hours. Hey, I'm happy with the way the truck behaved. I may treat it to an oil change and some new tires tomorrow. Today it has to go to Grandma's with another load of my daughter's stuff.

BTW, I'm also glad there's no recording device on the truck to indicate the speeds I travelled on the NY Thruway! I must say, however, that even I was being passed by other vehicles.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

RU defeats SH in 1st Round of Big East play

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Scarlet Knights clashed with Pirates on the hardwood surface of Madison Square Garden tonight. The Knights came away with the victory, 61-48, in the first round of the Big East Tournament. The Pirate’s Donald Copland led all scorers with 28. While Quincy Douby was held to just 18 points for RU, he got help from Anthony Farmer (14 points) and Marquis Webb (10 points).

The first half was incredibly low scoring as neither team shot very well—or each team played strong defense—take your pick. Quincy Douby didn’t make a field goal until seventeen minutes had elapsed. But he didn’t get to handle the ball much either as Seton Hall double- and triple-teamed him. The Pirates seemed willing to let anyone else try to score as long as it wasn’t Douby.

On the other end of the court, Copland was scoring nearly all of the Pirates’ points, netting four 3-pointers in those same 17 minutes. He would finish making 6 of 13 from beyond the arc and 9 of 18 from the field. No other player was in double figures and only one (Jamar Nutter with 8 points) had more than four points for the Hall. As a result, despite Copland’s 50% shooting, Seton Hall could only manage 26% (15 for 57) for the game.

Rutgers scoring picked up after the break as Douby, Byron Joynes and Jimmie Inglis found the range with short jumpers and lay-ins. The Scarlet Knights finished the game shooting 41% (19-46) from the field.

(Game Story and stats here.)

With the loss, Seton Hall has placed itself on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament. With the victory, Rutgers moves to the Quaterfinals tomorrow and gets to face nationally No. 2 ranked and 2nd seeded Villanova at 7 PM. To even hope to advance to the NCAAs, RU will have to defeat Villanova and, perhaps, their opponent after that. Otherwise, it’s probably the NIT for the Knights.

(I would have posted this sooner, but Monmouth and Farleigh Dickenson were waging nail-biting battle on ESPN2. In a finish similar to that of the Syracuse-Cincinnati game, Monmouth scored the winner with just 2.1 seconds remaining to gain the NCAA invitation from the Northeast Conference. The final was 49-48.)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Oh Yeah! On the road again!

My truck is ready for pick up!

So early tomorrow I head out to complete the trip I started about a week and a half ago. First I’m off to Waverly, NY to retrieve the truck (and transfer some boxes I have since packed for storage) and drop off the rental car across the border Athens, PA. From there, I’ll head northeast to the cabin in the Adirondacks to drop off the material I had hauled out last week. Once that gets unloaded in NY, and should it be only 4 PM or so, I’ll head back to NJ.

Why carrying all this stuff around? We put our NJ house on the market last Friday. To declutter the place, we’ve been putting an awful lot of “stuff” accumulated over 25 years of life in one location into storage or out on the curb. (Thanks to Appalachian Gun Trash for pointing out Freecycle to all his readers. It’s a very cool site.) Our house now looks roomier and very attractive. See:
Living Room 1 Dining Room Eat In Kit 1 Master BR

Know anyone who wants to buy a house?

Monday, March 06, 2006


The Iditarod Sled Dog Race®, the Last Great Race on Earth, got off to its official start yesterday at 2 pm AST on Willow Lake. Now into Day Two the racers have begun to stretch out a bit. The current order of mushers as well as a history of the race can be found on The Official Iditarod home page.

12th seeded WVA knocks No. 1 seed RU out, 56-40

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The Mountaineers forced RU to commit 23 turnovers and held the Scarlet Knights to just 28% shooting from the field. The Scarlet also committed 22 fouls giving the WVA squad 34 chances from the charity stripe. WVA converted on 21 of those opportunities. In contrast, RU only reached the foul line 13 times and made just 6 of those.

West Virginia had the worst record of all the teams in the tournament and was thus seeded 12th. They will now play for the league Championship Tuesday night in a game to be televised on ESPN2. Their opponent will be the winner of the Connecticut-DePaul game currently under way.

Britney Davis-White led the Mountaineers in scoring with 21 points. Chakhia Cole added 18 points while snagging 9 rebounds.

Cappie Pondexter was the only Scarlet Knight in double figures with 21 points. Kia Vaughn had 12 rebounds for RU.

The loss means the Rutgers women will once again not win the Big East Championship despite their 16-0 regular season record.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Rutgers men earn 10th seed in Big East

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Quincy Douby’s game high 36 points helped the Scarlet Knights to a must-win victory over St. Johns’ Red Storm.

Faced with the possibility of being eliminated from Big East play, Rutgers instead sent the Red Storm packing with an 82-70 road victory in the regular-season finale. It was only the third Big East road victory for the Rutgers squad this year and only their sixth Big East road win in Gary Waters' Rutgers career.

The first half was a scrappy affair and while Rutgers lead for most of it, St. Johns kept fighting back to tie or get within one. RU held just a 2-point lead at the break. The Red Storm shot the lights out early in the second half making their first 8 shots but it wasn’t enough as RU maintained its slim lead. Then with about 15 minutes left, the Scarlet Knights went on a 13-2 run and never looked back.

Marquis Webb added 12 points and Jimmie Inglis had 10 for the Scarlet. Frank Russell had a career high 9 points, which seemed to all come in one brief spurt in the second half. Rutgers out rebounded St. Johns 35-30. RU also shot 50% from the field on 26 for 52 shooting and a blistering 56% (10-18) from beyond the 3-point arc.

Eugene Lawrence led the Storm with 22 points while Lamont Hamilton added 14 and Anthony Mason 12.

Rutgers improves to 17-12, 7-9 BIG EAST and faces Seton Hall in the opening round of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night at 7:00 PM.

The Red Storm fell to 12-15, 5-11 in Big East play, and will miss the Big East tournament for the third straight year.

(Game Story and stats here.)

Rutgers women advance to Big East Quarterfinals

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No. 6/6 Rutgers women took their undefeated Big East record and No. 1 seed in the Big East Tournament into the Hartford Civic Center in Connecticut to face the Villanova Wildcats. They came away with a blow-out victory taming the ‘Cats 60-37.

Cappie Pondexter had 24 points in the win. Matee Ajavon added 10 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals. Kia Vaughn had 8 points and 14 rebounds for the Scarlet Knights. As a team, the Knights out rebounded Villanova 49-23.

Betsy McManus led the Wildcats with 11 points.

RU next faces West Virginia on Monday night at 6:00 PM.

(Game Story and stats here.)

Rutgers’ women receive 5 Big East awards

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Cappie Pondexter was named the Big East’s Player of the Year at the March 4th pre-tournament dinner. The fifth year senior also became the first player in league history to receive four All-Big East certificates. Sophmore Matee Ajavon was also named to the All-Big East First Team while her classmate Essence Carson was recognized as the Big East Defensive Player of the Year and earned a spot on the All-Big East Second Team.

Pondexter’s awards added to an already thick portfolio of awards she has earned this season.
Pondexter, who has already been named a mid-season candidate for the Naismith Award and Women’s Wooden Award (player of the year) as well as one of 11 nominees for the Nancy Lieberman Award (top point guard) and a finalist for the Bayer Advantage Senior CLASS Award, ranks fifth nationally in scoring, averaging 21.4 points per game, adding 4.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.6 steals per contest this season. The MVP at the Junkanoo Jam Nov. 25-26 and the KCRG-TV9 Hawkeye Challenge Dec. 3-4, the 5-9 guard also received four BIG EAST Conference player-of-the-week awards (Jan. 2, Jan. 16, Feb. 6, Feb. 13) and six berths on the BIG EAST Honor Roll (Nov. 28, Dec. 5, Dec. 12, Jan. 9, Jan. 23, Jan. 30). Pondexter was a frequent member of preseason honor lists this fall, earning first-team All-America accolades from the Associated Press and Women’s Basketball News Service, second-team All-America mentions from, Lindy’s and Athlon Sports, and a spot on the Street & Smith’s “Terrific 10” Preseason All-America Team.
Ajavon, provided strong offense for the Knights throughout the year while leading the Big East in several categories.
Ajavon started 18 of 27 games this season, averaging 11.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and a team-high 4.3 assists and 2.6 steals per contest and posting 18 double-digit scoring totals (one 20+ points). The 2005 BIG EAST Freshman of the Year and a second-team all-BIG EAST selection last season, the 5-8 guard led the league in steals and was tied for sixth in assists overall this winter, and she also was tied for first in steals (2.75 spg) and fourth in assists (4.69 apg) in BIG EAST games.
Carson had a strong year while often working on the opposition’s strongest shooter.
Carson started all 27 games for the Scarlet Knights during the regular season, averaging 8.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game while shutting down some of the league’s best perimeter players.
A strong “Hoorah, hoorah, Rutgers’ RAH!” to the Ladies.

(Full Storyhere.)

Saturday, March 04, 2006

It will be a Big East Sunday for RU men and women.

Rutgers R.small
Tomorrow is a busy day for the RU basketball squads.

The No. 6/6 women take to the court in Hartford as the number one seed. They face the Villanova Wildcats in their opening game of the Big East tournament at 2 PM.

At the same time, the men take on St. Johns in Jamaica, NY in their final regular season game before the Big East tournament. A victory (only their third Big East road win) will assure them of solitary possession of 10th place (and the possibility of a tie for 9th with Syracuse at 7-9) finish in the Big East. A loss and they will be tied at 6-10 with Notre Dame, St. Johns, and Louisville.

Waters Out

Rutgers R.small
I’ve been busy running back and forth to PA, cleaning house, painting and basically getting it ready to put it on the market, so I missed this announcement:
Waters Resigns as Rutgers Basketball Coach.

Waters came to RU and had immediate success when a patchwork club. He won 20 games and made the NIT championship game in 2003. There followed some difficult years both in recruiting and on the court. He made some mistakes in player selection while recruiting. Several players didn’t meet up to the NCAA’s academic requirements and ended up in JUCO programs before going elsewhere.

This year’s club looked promising with Douby, Webb, and Hill being joined by Farmer and Inman. Injuries ended Hill and Inman’s seasons early and Farmer played the second half of the season with one arm. Webb seems to have lost his shooting eye but has continued to play staunch defense. Douby has carried the team for most of its games and has proven to be of star caliber.

When Waters missed a game earlier this year when he got snowed in at the airport after Kent State inducted him into their Hall of Fame, and as Rutgers continued to struggle on the road, Waters’ continued service became questionable. With no public support coming from the AD and more vocal students showing up at the RAC things didn’t look good. I remember seeing rumors that two of the top recruits for next year were unhappy with the shaky status and were shopping around for other schools.

Now that Waters has taken himself out of the picture at the end of the season, Rutgers needs to name a quality replacement swiftly or there will be a number of current players seeking transfers and the recruits will find different places to play. Unfortunately, this from AD Mulcahy is not real promising:
“Gary Waters will remain as our coach for the remainder of the season. Therefore, I will have no comment regarding a successor. From this point on, our focus will be on our team, and the remainder of our season.”

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Cat herding!?!

This EDS ad has run on TV many times and every time I see it, it cracks me up.

Cat Herding

From Google Video

Look but can’t touch

A koi pond, some ice and a cat=Cute

From Google Video

Off he goes, into the wild blue yonder

Jimbo over at Parkway Rest Stop posted about his flight in a glider. Sounds like a really neat trip.

I’m not much for flying big jets (only been on two trips where I had to) but I’ve totally enjoyed our short hops in the puddle-jumping Beavers when we go fishing in Quebec and the couple of times I’ve been hot air ballooning out in South Park beyond Pike’s Peak. It must be something about the size of the craft or that there aren’t a hundred other passengers with their whiny little kids, coughs, snores, etc.

Here’s something you won’t see at your local SPCA.

If you’re interested in a very different kind of pet….Norwegian Town Offers Moose Adoptions.

Via Yahoo! News

Steyn hammers the UN

But what does Mark Steyn really think about the UN?
…the UN is a shamefully squalid organization whose corruption is almost impossible to exaggerate.

With broadsword and rapier, Mark Steyn has at the current corrupt U.N. administration, its “peace keeping” activities, and its global ineptitude.
What’s important to understand is that Mr. Annan’s ramshackle UN of humanitarian money-launderers, peacekeeper-rapists and a Human Rights Commission that looks like a lifetime-achievement awards ceremony for the world’s torturers is not a momentary aberration. Nor can it be corrected by bureaucratic reforms designed to ensure that the failed Budget Oversight Committee will henceforth be policed by a Budget Oversight Committee Oversight Committee. The Oil-for-Food fiasco is the UN—the predictable spawn of its utopian fantasies and fetid realities.
O’boy. That gets right down to the theme, doesn’t it?

Okay, so they have a little corruption within the organization. Surely it doesn’t ruin the entire premise of the UN, does it?
It’s a good basic axiom that if you take a quart of ice cream and a quart of dog mess and mix ’em together, the result will taste more like dog mess than ice cream. That’s the problem with the UN. If you make the free nations and the thug states members of the same club, the danger isn’t that they’ll meet each other half-way but that the free world winds up going three-quarters or seven-eighths of the way. Indeed, the UN has met the thug states so much more than half way that they now largely share the dictators’ view of their peoples—as either helpless children who need every decision made for them, or a bunch of dupes whose national wealth can be rerouted to a Swiss bank account.
(I think I preferred the one rotten apple spoils the whole barrel cliché for the mental image. I may never look at a bowl of ice cream the same way again.)

Steyn uses a line from the latest Batman movie to peak behind the curtain of the UN and reveal the uselessness of the bureaucratic cesspool it has become.
The tsunami may have been unprecedented, but what followed was business as usual—the sloth and corruption of government, the feebleness of the brand-name NGOs, the compassion-exhibitionism of the transnational jet set. If we lived in a world where “it’s what you do that defines you,” we’d be heaping praise on the U.S. and Australian militaries, who in the immediate hours after the tsunami dispatched their forces to save lives, distribute food and restore water, power and communications.

According to my favorite foreign minister these days, Australia’s Alexander Downer, “Iraq was a clear example about how outcomes are more important than blind faith in the principles of non-intervention, sovereignty and multilateralism.... Increasingly multilateralism is a synonym for an ineffective and unfocused policy involving internationalism of the lowest common denominator. Multilateral institutions need to become more results-oriented.”

Which is pretty much the Batman thesis: It’s what we do that defines us. And we’ll do more without the UN.
And the UN doesn’t do much right and what it does do it does late, poorly and usually with a tremendous amount of graft.

Imprimis of Hillsdale College

via Instapundit

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Okay, I can agree with the title and the premise, You can’t force cats to do anything, but the guy has 120 cats back in Moscow. 120! I hope he has a large apartment and a staff to deal with the kitty litter!


This by Reuters via Yahoo! News.
Problems with his passport.
You might have the best forgery skills in the world, but it is not much use if you cannot spell.
The forger misspelled “ministry” and “government” while producing a document that would have otherwise fooled event the experts.
"The passport looked perfect and professionally made ... almost deemed original by forensics," a police officer told a magistrate in the Cypriot capital Nicosia.
Let that be a lesson for those who, like my son, are "creative" spellers.


On this day in 1872, President Grant signed a bill creating the nation’s first national park: Yellowstone.

If you’ve never taken the time to stop and visit our national parks, I feel sorry for you. You are missing out on some tremendous and inspirational scenery. My wife and I have made many automobile trips around the country visiting National Parks as far flung as Acadia in Maine, the Everglades in Florida, Olympia in Washington and Yosemite Canyon, Death Valley, Redwood and Kings Canyons in California. (We have yet to make it to Alaska—but some day. And it’s tough to drive to Hawaii.) We drove to Acadia for our honeymoon in ’72 and went back a few years later to continue north to Nova Scotia. In ’76 the two of us went car camping on a four-week jaunt through Rushmore, the Badlands, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Redwood, the Petrified Forest, Bryce and Zion Canyons, and Rocky Mountain. We took one and two week long trips through West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and to the Smokey Mountains and a long the Blue Ridge.

Once the kids were born, we would travel to see relatives in Florida (and stopped at Busch Gardens in Tampa and Disney World), and in Kansas City, Kansas (and stop at Mammoth Cave and the St. Louis Gateway Arch on the way out and swing north to Duluth, Grand Portage and onto the northern shoreline of the Great Lakes before heading home).

Then in 1993 we all took The Road Trip, as the kids still refer to it. In 5 1/2 weeks we made a loop starting and ending in NJ through Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands, Devil’s Tower, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, Banff, Vancouver, Mt. Rainer, Mt. St. Helens, Crater Lake, Redwood and Kings Canyons, Yosemite Canyon, San Diego, Death Valley, Four Corners, Canyon de Chelle, the Grand Canyon, Bryce and Zion Canyons, Dinosaur National Monument, the Petrified Forest and Rocky Mountain National Park.

Since then, we have traveled to Quebec in ones and twos and all together to go fishing. We spent a week at Colonial Williamsburg between Christmas and New Years. We've traveled together to Lexington and Concord and Boston and Salem; to Niagara Falls and Cooperstown

Jessica has spent a semester in Japan, and went away to Maryland and California to work at summer camps. She's traveled with one marching band or another to Orlando, Washington, D.C. and Toronto.

Rick has gone on trips with the Boy Scouts to Boundary Waters and Philmont and now studies Forestry at the University of Idaho. He joined the Marine Reserves out of high school and had basic training at Parris Island, MOS training in Texas and a six-month stint in Iraq. He has traveled with friend back to Yellowstone in winter to cross-country ski, to Crater Lake (where he learned they wouldn’t let them do the Polar bear swim in late March) and to Cabo San Lucas on an invitation from another friend.

Terry has been to New Orleans, Nashville, Atlanta and Minneapolis for the Smocking Arts Guild. When she still worked, she spent a lot of time in Burlington, VT and Plattsburgh, NY. (She never did get to go to Puerto Rico or the Virgin Islands, however.)

I have worked three summers at BSA camp in the Adirondacks and spent several summers at our cabin within the Blue Line.

Terry and I have been to Martha’s Vineyard for Christmas with friends, to Chincoteague Island, and San Francisco (one of only two plane trips we’ve taken) to visit relatives for the Christmas Holidays with side trips to John Muir Woods, Fishermen’s Warf, Ano Neuevo to see the elephant seals, and Sonoma Valley. We flew out to Spokane to see Rick’s Marine unit off and drove out to welcome them back. Terry and I have taken the trailer to Georgia and South Carolina and to Pike’s Peak and the Front Range of the Rockies twice.
We've a list of places we would like to go back to for a longer, slower time and another almost as long of place we look forward to visiting for the first time.

Yeah, it takes longer to get where we are going when we drive versus flying, but time spent in the car traveling is pleasurable and not tortuous as some might suspect. We get to talk and joke, play games, tell stories, sing and just grow closer as we admire the scenery. (And sometimes wonder if every road we choose to travel just happens to be under repair! The road less traveled can be a hell of a journey. That last sentence has two meanings and we've seen 'em both.)

This is a great and diverse country we live in. More people ought to get out and see it rather than merely fly over it.

Start 'em young and they will grow to enjoy the trip as much as the destination.