Let's say that you are a baseball pitcher. And, let's say that your name is Tom Gordon. Now, let's say that it's the first game of the season, and you are brought into the game in the top of the 9th inning with the score tied 6-6. Then, let's say that you manage to get only one out, while giving up four hits, one walk and five earned runs.
Therefore, using the formula that is used to calculate a pitcher's earned run average (divide the total earned runs by the total innings pitched then multiply by nine - so that's 5 divided by 1/3 then multiplied by 9), you, Tom Gordon, have an E.R.A. of 135.00.
Tomorrow night I plan to make the trek to LCCC to see some Shakespeare. A touring company is doing "Twelfth Night." That's the one that starts with the famous phrase, "If music be the food of love, play on..."
Speaking of music, in my PREVIOUS POST, I raved about "Raising Sand," the CD of duets from Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. Truth be told, I'm listening to it right now. The same day I bought that CD, I also bought "ALL THE ROADRUNNING," from Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris. I listened to some of that today on the way into work. "Raising Sand" had me from the start, but "All the Roadrunning" took a couple tracks for me to get into. I'm not in love with it yet, but I think I could be.
After Bowling for Kids' Sake this afternoon (I rolled a 161 - not as good as last year, but still respectable), I rolled on over to Barnes and Noble. They're having some insane CD sale - 40% off if you have a coupon, plus the 10% member discount. So, I added eight CDs to my collection, including "RAISING SAND" from Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. It's absolutely gorgeous!
Just where in the job description for Foreign Minister of Finland does it say "send text messages to stripper?" I can't wait for the follow-up story next week!
From the Associated Press:
Finland's foreign minister feeling pressure to resign over messages to erotic dancer
HELSINKI, Finland (AP) - Pressure is mounting on Finland's foreign minister to resign after he sent reportedly raunchy text messages to an erotic dancer. The official (Ilkka Kanerva) at first denied a magazine's report that he had sent about 200 messages on his mobile phone to the dancer. He later acknowledged sending some messages and apologized, but he insisted they were work-related. The dancer (Johanna Tukiainen) contradicted the minister saying he'd inquired in the messages about what she was wearing under her evening dress. A gossip magazine (Hymy) which broke the story earlier this month, says it will publish some of the text messages next week. The foreign minister's judgment and credibility have been widely questioned since the scandal broke.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
The past few days have been rather uneventful. Nary a presidential candidate in sight (though Bill will reportedly be at tomorrow's St. Patrick's parade in Girardville) and not much real news to speak of. I took advantage of the lull to finally read a 375 page novel that I'd started twice before. This time, I read it in about eight days. Just call me Evelyn Wood, considering that it took me about two months to finish a 180 page book.
In my quest for some decent radio around here, I've started listening to the alternative stylings of VMFM, the radio station at Marywood University. I listened to that station when I lived here the first time. Now, I'm giving them another go. Surprisingly, the reception isn't horrible down here in Kingston, and it improves the closer I get to work.
I also check out 92.1 the Q once in a while. I think that's where I heard this song sometime this week. It seems to suit. I'm not sure why the lip sync is off here, but it was either this version or one with a montage of clips from Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill or a rather creepy video featuring "the sims."
If you're not watching BUSH'S WAR on PBS's Frontline, well, you should be. It's a two-part documentary about the run up to the war in Iraq and the way the administration has executed it for these past five years.
Part One aired last night. It begins with the attacks of September 11th and ends with the first shots falling on Baghdad. The takeaway from the first 2 1/2 hours is how Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld managed to confound and defeat every effort from others in the administration and from other government agencies to prevent war with Iraq - or at least give it more consideration. Almost from the moment the towers fell, Cheney and his cronies began pushing for war with Iraq and they were damned determined to get it.
I also found it interesting that George Bush seemed to have doubts - or at least he raised some questions - about whether there was enough justification, enough solid evidence, for war with Iraq. Of course, every time someone said no, there were Cheney and Rumsfeld, Cheney in particular, to say yes.
Part Two of BUSH'S WAR airs tonight from 9 to 11PM on PBS.
As mentioned in the previous entry, Mussorgsky composed Pictures at an Exhibition after viewing a series of works by his late friend, the architect and painter Viktor Hartmann. HERE is a link to a page that gives you some idea of what Mussorgsky saw. THIS article clarifys the sources of Mussorgsky's inspiration.
Now, we conclude our coverage of Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra at the BBC Proms in August 2006. Here now, "Hut on Fowl's Legs" and "The Great Gate of Kiev"
I've changed my mind about stretching this out over several weeks. I think it will be better to group the entries together.
But first, before we continue, a little more info about Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition. The piece was originally written for piano. Mussorgsky was inspired after seeing an exhibition of paintings set up as a memorial to his friend, Viktor Hartmann. The main promenade theme occurs to indicate walking from one picture (or group of pictures) to another.
HERE are some more notes about Pictures at an Exhibition, and Ravel's orchestration of it, courtesy of the folks at the Kennedy Center.
We are listining to Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra at the BBC Proms in August 2006. In Part Two, we hear "Promenade" - "Tuileries" - "Bydlo" - "Promenade" - "Ballet of the Chicks in their Shells" - "Goldenberg & Schmuyle" (a.k.a. "Two Polish Jews")
Part Three covers "The Marketplace at Limoges" - "The Catacombs" - "Cum mortuis in lingua mortua" (tr. with the dead in a dead language)
When I started college some (ahem) 23 years ago, I wanted very badly to be a DJ at the campus radio station. Usually, you had to wait until you were at least a sophomore to get your own show. But, they needed someone to do the classical show - a few hours on Sunday mornings. I, being an eager freshman, said, "Oooh! Oooh! Pick me!" Since volunteers to get up early on Sundays weren't exactly lining up at the door, I was quickly trained, and soon began scouring the album library in the Music Department for appropriate selections. That's where I first came across Pictures at an Exhibition by Mussorgsky. And, it's still my favorite. It's on YouTube in four parts, so this is what we'll be hearing for the next few weeks.
So, sit back, relax, and enjoy Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra at the BBC Proms in August 2006. Here is "Promenade" - "The Gnome" - "Promenade" - "The Old Castle"
That's about what yesterday's appearance by Barack Obama amounted to. He spoke to a sold-out crowd at the Society of Irish Women dinner in Scranton. His speech lasted just shy of nine minutes and included absolutely nothing of any substance. The most interesting thing he said was that, somewhere in his background, there's some Irish blood. Whoop-dee-doo. How is that going to help get our troops out of Iraq or fix the economy?
Look, we knew from the outset that he wasn't going to speak for long - maybe 15 minutes. But, after a week in which Hillary drew a crowd of thousands and then marched in one of the country's largest St. Patrick's parades, you'd think Obama could have at least managed to say something connected to the issues. Especially to a room filled with people who have money and influence - people he will need if he becomes the nominee. But, no. What we got was nine minutes of nothing.
In fact, as public as Hillary's appearances were, that's how private Obama's were. As far as I can tell, he was hustled in and out of places through back doors, and didn't stop to speak to any of the supporters who gathered outside the events. He did, however, manage to quickly smile and wave when he saw the TV cameras waiting for him in the rear of Whistle's. Of course, it had to be quick since it took him all of three steps to get from the SUV to the door!
All of this makes me wonder just what Obama's campaign strategy is for PA. We still have five weeks or so before the primary, so there's plenty of time for him to campaign here. But, based on what I saw yesterday, I have to wonder if it's an indication of what we'll get from him. Right now, he's behind in the polls. But, does he care? After all, he doesn't need PA like Hillary needs PA.
Later today, Barack Obama will pay his first visit to NEPA. He's scheduled to arrive this afternoon, tape some kind of MTV special at Whistle's in Scranton, then make a dinnertime speech to the Society of Irish Women at the Radisson.
Both of those events are private, so we shouldn't see the throngs of people like we saw last week for Hillary's visits. However, Obama will apparently inconvenience just about everyone who paid good money for a ticket to tonight's dinner (read the article HERE). As they pointed out yesterday on CNN, so far in the campaign for PA, Hillary's the one who seems more like the rock star.
I should also mention that yesterday I received my first campaign-related phone call. It was some woman calling on behalf of Hillary. I promptly hung up the phone, and will do the same if anyone from Obama's camp calls. Now that his campaign office is open in WB, that call could happen anytime over the next couple of weeks. My guess is that they're going after independents, maybe trying to get them to register as Democrats before the primary. Thanks, but no thanks.
The following story appeared yesterday on the AP wire. Really.
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Authorities in western Kansas say a woman who became stuck on her boyfriend's toilet while apparently sitting on it for two years is refusing to cooperate with medical workers at a Wichita hospital. The Ness County Sheriff says the 35-year-old woman wasn't glued or tied, but became "physically stuck by her body." Sheriff Bryan Whipple said the police found the woman after her boyfriend called police late last month to report there was "something wrong" with her. Whipple says the woman initially refused help, but was finally persuaded by emergency medical personnel and her boyfriend to go to a hospital. At that point, the sheriff says, responders pried the entire seat off the toilet. It was later removed from the woman's body at the hospital. The boyfriend told investigators he had brought the woman food and water and asked her every day to come out of the bathroom. But he did not explain what took him so long to call for police. Investigators will present a report to prosecutors who will determine whether any charges should be filed.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
As you might imagine, the TV stations in Wichita were all over it. HERE's a link to the story that the CBS affiliate did (you'll have to click on the video icon). The ABC affiliate got the real scoop and talked to the boyfriend! You can see that story HERE. And, don't forget to read the viewer comments.
The latest ad from 10th CD GOP candidate Chris Hackett seems a little odd to me. You can watch it HERE under the title "Best."
In brief, the ad is designed to promote Hackett as a man with conservative values. OK. But, what's odd - at least to me - is the way the ad begins. A woman's voice asks "Who can best represent our values and take on the liberals in Congress?" and, superimposed on an image of the Capitol, we see a picture of Chris Hackett on the left and a picture of Hillary Clinton on the right.
The first time I saw the spot, I thought "Why is there a picture of Hillary Clinton there?" Last time I checked, Hackett wasn't running for president and Clinton wasn't running for a congressional seat in PA.
Is the picture of Hillary supposed to represent the "liberals in Congress?" If so, I think it's not a great choice because there are Senators and Representatives who are WAY more liberal than she is, aren't there? How about Ted Kennedy? Barney Frank? There must be more, I think.
Anyway, the ad strikes me as being off-base with its use of Hillary's image. It also makes me wonder why Hackett is not going after his real opponent - DAN MEUSER. That's the first choice voters will have to make before either one even gets close to taking on any liberals in Congress.
So, I was listening to the most recent podcast from the gals at 3 FAST 3 FURIOUS in which they tackle the topic of gossip. And, it got me to thinking: What, if anything, is the difference between gossip and news?
Webster's Third New International Dictionary defines news as "reporting on a recent event" while gossip has a more personal, behind-the-scenes, intimate, and not-necessarily-true nature. However, it seems to me, that when gossip proves to be true, it often becomes news. And, is it not often people who make news? And, is news not something that people gossip about?
I never really thought about it before. Now, I'm just askin'.
All this talk of Hillary coming to town - sooner or later - has me thinking of a story from my relatively early days in news. And, if you read the story, there's a special treat at the end!
So. Picture it. The year is 1992. By the time September rolled around, the Pittsburgh Penguins were preparing to defend their Stanley Cup title, Jay Leno had taken over the Tonight Show from Johnny Carson, Sharon Stone had showed everyone what she had to offer in "Basic Instinct," and we all knew the words (and the accompanying line dance) to "Achy Breaky Heart."
Oh yeah, there was also a presidential campaign going on. George Bush was running for a second term. His opponent (for purposes of this story, we'll ignore Ross Perot)? Bill Clinton. Who was married to Hillary Clinton. Who had ties to Scranton. Which is where Bill Clinton promised to visit as he campaigned around the country.
What's so special about September, the month mentioned above? Well, that's when he made the promise to campaign in NEPA. I did some checking and found that on September 1, 1992, a news anchor at WNEP (where I worked, and where I work now) interviewed candidate Clinton via satellite. During that interview, they chatted about Hillary's ties to Scranton and the surrounding area and about Bill's plans to campaign here. Clinton said, "I'll be there a lot."
Fast forward to October 27, 1992. It's one week before the election and Bill Clinton has still not set foot in NEPA to campaign (at least not since the primary). But, on this night, Hillary was to speak at the Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre. A co-worker (who shall remain nameless) said, "Hey. Remember the interview we did with Bill Clinton? Didn't he say HE would be here?" So, we checked the file tape and, sure enough, there was Bill saying, "I'll be there a lot."
On the 11PM news that night, this is how we framed the story: "Hillary's here. Where's Bill?" If I recall correctly, those words were the very first thing the anchor said as video of Hillary rolled following the news open. I'm also pretty sure that we had a "banner" over that video with the words "Where's Bill?"
I did some checking and found the reporter's script from that night. It included the pertinent clip from Bill's September 1 interview, a bite from Hillary, sound from supporters saying they understand how busy Bill is, and a statement from the campaign saying that a stop in NEPA for Bill just didn't fit into their schedule.
Well, a couple of days later (two, maybe three, I don't remember), guess who calls the newsroom? Someone from the Clinton campaign. Just calling to say that Bill Clinton would, in fact, be making a stop in NEPA. I'm almost positive that I am the one who answered that call, and, let me tell you, the campaign staffer on the other end of the phone did not sound happy. I recall his tone being something along the lines of, "We're really pissed about that story you did, but see how nice we are? Bill will be there."
It turned out that where Bill would be was a rally at the airport on Sunday, November 1, just two days before the election. His campaign plane flew in, he got out, waved, maybe said a few words, and took off again. A promise kept, even if it wasn't particularly by choice.
Thanks for reading. Now, as promised, here's a special treat from 1992 (Oh, you love it. You know you do!):
***update: the newspaper seems to have jumped the gun. The latest word is that Hillary will be here "soon," but not tomorrow***
From today's Citizen's Voice:
New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will pay a campaign visit to Northeastern Pennsylvania on Thursday, the first of what is likely to be several visits by the Democratic presidential candidates before the April 22 Pennsylvania primary election.
Clinton and her campaign entourage are expected to fly into the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport late Thursday afternoon for a rally at an undetermined location, airport director of public safety George Bieber said.
Bieber said the campaign wanted to have an indoor rally for about 1,000 people at the airport, but the facility doesn’t have room for one. Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty, a supporter of Clinton and heavily involved in her organization locally, confirmed the visit. He said the airport was likely out as a rally site, but listed the Scranton Cultural Center and the F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre as potential alternatives.
Doherty said a return visit by Clinton or a surrogate could happen the weekend of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which is March 15.
Tom Cawley, chairman of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Association, said the parade does not invite political candidates to march, but allows other organizations to host candidates. Still, he had not been contacted by either campaign about planning for either Clinton or her rival, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, to march in the parade.
“I think we’ll probably know more in a day or two,” he said. “I think they are just waiting to see what happens in Ohio and Texas.”
Mark Nevins, Pennsylvania spokesman for the Clinton campaign, said he could not confirm the visit.
Efforts to reach Obama’s Pennsylvania spokesman were unsuccessful.
The visit to the region will be the second for Clinton in the last year. She and former President Bill Clinton flew in the day before Memorial Day for the baptism of her niece at Court Street United Methodist Church, the church her late father, Hugh Rodham, attended when he lived in Scranton. They later attended a fundraiser.
The Rodham family maintains a cottage at Lake Winola, where the Clintons often vacationed before Clinton was elected governor of Arkansas. They also visited for Rodham’s funeral in 1993 and the baptism of a nephew in 1995.
Yeah. I know it's not the weekend yet. But, with all the rain we had yesterday and this morning, I couldn't pass this up.
Anyway, I hear that COUNTING CROWS have a new CD coming out in a couple of weeks. Well, I'm old school, and this is my favorite song from them. Remember when it was used in THIS episode of "Homicide: Life on the Street" where Kay goes home to the Eastern Shore for some R&R and then has to bust one of her childhood friends for murder? Heartbreaking! Brilliant!
Get ready. Because now it's our turn. After the VOTR primaries, it appears that we're pretty much back where we were. Obama won Vermont. Clinton won Ohio and Rhode Island. As of this writing, Texas is too close to call - Clinton had a slim lead in the primary, and the early caucus numbers showed Obama in the lead.
In summary, nothing much has changed. At least not as far as the numbers go. Obama still has a 120+ lead in pledged delgates. But, Clinton stopped his winning steak and pulled out a fairly decisive win in the important state of Ohio. So, there's no way she's quitting now.
The next big primary is ours on April 22nd. Between now and then, there ain't much. I think there's one on Saturday, and one on Tuesday. Then nothing until us. Five or six weeks where the candidates have no better place to be than Pennsylvania. Five or six weeks during which you won't be able to turn on the TV without seeing an ad for or against one of the candidates. Five or six weeks of pollsters calling you to find out what you think.