It's the holiday season, and it didn't take long for someone to steal the Baby Jesus out of someone else's manger scene. How original. I've only heard of that being done about a million times before. In this particular case, the thief (or thieves) also made off with one of several lighted candy canes that had been set up in the yard. They may be crooks, but it's nice to know that they are aware of both the religious and secular elements of the season.
Blog posts November 2006
Here's the update: On Monday, the FBI said it had recovered the GOYA PAINTING that was stolen in the Poconos while en route from a museum in Toledo to the Guggenheim in New York City. The FBI would not give any particulars about the circumstances of the recovery. But, the announcement was made by agents in Newark, NJ, so possibly the painting was found in that area. The prevailing theory is that there was so much publicity surrounding the theft, that the painting became, basically, too hot to handle.
However, while the painting has been recovered, I still ask the question: How did it get stolen in the first place? It was an inside job, most likely. Well, duh. But, the circumstances that allowed this theft to happen don't make much sense to me (novice of the art world that I am).
To wit: The painting, which was insured for $1 million, was being taken from Toledo to New York by a professional art transport firm. This firm had two guys in a van (or a truck, depending on which article you read). The painting was stolen from the van (or the truck) after the guys got to Monroe County and checked into a HoJo's for the night. In the morning, they realized that the van (or truck) had been broken into and the Goya was gone.
Here's the thing. According to Mapquest, a trip from Toledo to NY should take roughly nine hours. Figure that a good part of the driving is on I-80, so they could probably make it to NY in less than that. With two guys in the van (or truck), why do they have to stop FOR THE NIGHT? Hell, I drove, like, 12 hours from Harrisburg to Tennessee in one day. And that was just me and the dog in the car. You're telling me that two drivers from a PROFESSIONAL ART TRANSPORT company, can't make it from Toledo to NY in a single shot? They ought to be able to do that even if one guy did all the driving. And, don't you think a place like the Guggenheim could arrange to have someone there to meet the painting, no matter what time it arrived?
Here's another thing: The men in the van (or truck) were, as we have noted, from a PROFESSIONAL ART TRANSPORT company. What the hell are they doing leaving a million-dollar painting in an unattended van (or truck) overnight?
And, thirdly, what the hell are they doing staying at a HoJo's? You'd think they could stay someplace that has, oh, I don't know, a safe?????
1. Did you hear about the million-dollar painting that was stolen from NEPA? Seems that, within the past couple of weeks, a painting by Goya was on its way from a museum in Toledo to the Guggenheim in New York. Somewhere in Monroe County, I believe, the painting was stolen while, according to THIS article, the professional art transporter that was, well, transporting the painting left the "transport vehicle" unattended! Hello! You are transporting a 230-year-old painting that's insured for $1 million. Shouldn't someone be attending the "transport vehicle" at all times?
Anyway, the painting is not the important thing here. What I found interesting is that just about every article I could find about the theft refers to it as taking place in "the Scranton area." OK. I guess if you're not a local, Scranton is the most recognizable city that's closest to the vicinity where the theft occurred. But, I really had to crack up at the way THE GUARDIAN newspaper in the UK described the heist. The article specifies that the aforementioned "transport vehicle" was a van. It also says: "The van was travelling on a circuitous route through the backwater of Scranton in Pennsylvania, well away from the main interstate highway 80 that led to its destination, New York."
So, the Brits consider the Poconos to be the "backwater of Scranton?" Well, at least they stopped short of calling Scranton "an old coal-mining town."
2. After holding hearings all around the state, some commission or other recently released its proposal to promote public transportation and get PennDOT the money it needs to fix the damn roads once and for all. All it's going to take is an extra $1.6 billion a year, which the commission suggests should be raised by increasing the state's gasoline tax by about 11.5 cents/gallon, increasing registration fees, and sticking homeowners with some sort of monthly tax on their mortgages.
To recap: PennDOT says that if it could just get its hands on another $1.6 billion of our money each year, it could fix the roads and maintain them just fine. And, maybe more people would use public transportation.
I say it all sounds an awful lot like what PennDOT said the last time fees, etc. went up. So, we should believe them this time because .... ??? (feel free to fill in the blank)
Congratulations to the Juniata College Women's Volleyball team - 2006 Division III National Champions!!! The Eagles made it to the finals last night by defeating Wittenberg 3-0. (I can neither confirm nor deny that I watched the final points on live streaming video from my computer at work.) Then, tonight, they won the title by defeating Washington (Mo.) University 3-2. I logged on to the video just after the match ended - time enough to hear the announcers say that Juniata got 90 of its 117 total points through kills! With rally scoring in effect, that's an incredible percentage. This is Juniata's 2nd national championship in three years. They won the first in 2004 (also against Washington), then finished second in '05.
HERE is a link to the team's web page.
My apologies for the lack of entries this week. The past several days have been very difficult at work as we have dealt with the sudden loss of a young colleague. The dreary weather did not help. It rained almost every day and, on Thursday, we had to cover the extensive flash flooding that resulted when several more inches of rain fell on ground that was already saturated.
The news gods have never been more cruel.
My high school classmate who was running for Congress lost the election last week. He was running as a Republican in Kansas against the state's only Democratic congressman. The incumbent won by a 2-1 margin. Another sign that this wasn't going to be my friend's year - the GOP incumbent in a neighboring district lost to the Democratic challenger.
Speaking of my alma mater, it wasn't a good week for the sports teams. On Friday, the football team lost in the first round of districts. Then, yesterday, the Lehighton field hockey team lost to Upper Perkiomen in the state quarterfinals.
I went down to Emmaus to see the game. It was the first time I had seen Lehighton play this season, so I don't know if what I saw was typical. But, from my perspective, they were beaten by a better team. The final score was 3-2 in OT, but it wasn't that close. Upper Perk had more shots on goal, more corners, and their stick work was better. It seemed that no matter where Lehighton tried to hit the ball, someone from Upper Perk was either in the way or managed to beat a Lehighton player to the ball. I don't know if it's that they were more aggressive or just faster, but they just always seemed to be there. Lehighton played good defense - and had some good saves by the goalie(s), but I thought they were too much on the defensive - waiting for the ball to come to them, rather than going to get it.
Still, Lehighton had a good season. They were undefeated until yesterday, and beat Crestwood, which always has a good team, to get to the quarters. Let's hope next year, they can go even further.
At my other alma mater, Juniata College, the WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL TEAM is still alive in the Division III playoffs. They won a regional match yesterday, and now go to the national quarterfinals. They've only lost one match all year (to Division I Princeton), but it won't be a true Juniata season unless they make the Final Four. Even better, would be another national title. Go Eagles!
OK. So, the election is almost over. Casey's in, Santorum's out. Carney's in, Sherwood's out. Rendell is still in. Eddie beats Christine in the 121st, Carroll beats Tatu in the 118th, and Siptroth gets by Asure in the 189th. None of it really surprises me, though I did think the race in the 118th might be closer.
Anyway, kind of lost in all this political stuff is another story that doesn't really surprise me. Britney Spears is fed up with K-Fed. After two years of marriage, the former Mouseketeer wants out. She also wants the kids. If we're lucky, she'll also manage to get some sort of injunction to prevent her ex-to-be from making "music" or "acting" in the future.
I guess the only thing that surprises me about this is that the marriage actually lasted two years. What took her so long?
Election day is almost here. No matter where you are (in the U.S.), I hope that you will get to the polls and vote. I will. then it will be off to work for a long day of election coverage. On the night of the May primary, I didn't get home until 3 AM the following morning. Hopefully, Tuesday night will not be as long. Should be interesting.