The Phightins have quietly gotten hot. Including tonight's victory over the Pirates, the PHILLIES have won 6 of their last 7, and 7 of their last 10. And most of that's been without Rollins, without Victorino and, for all intents and purposes, without Ryan Howard (yeah, he hit a home run tonight, but he also struck out a couple times, too). Burrell and utley have picked up the offensive slack, while the pitching has been adequate. Their record now stands at 14-11, with three games to go in April. Last season, they finished April with a record of 11-14. So, with nothing worse than a .500 record guaranteed for this April, things are looking pretty good. Fingers crossed.
Blog posts April 2008
Here's how last night's win by Hillary in PA played in the UK (HERE'S the link to the article in The Independent):
Women and white workers prove saviours for Clinton
By Leonard Doyle in Philadelphia
Thursday, 24 April 2008
It was in the end a famous victory for Hillary Clinton. She won it in the clapboard row-houses of white, working-class communities, among religious, gun-loving rural types. She even won in the affluent exurbs of Philadelphia where voters flirted with Barack Obama, only to dump him at the last minute.
As the results of Tuesday's vote came in, Mrs Clinton and her exuberant supporters, including the black Mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, were packed into the Bellevue, a century-old ballroom in downtown Philadelphia.
It was an odd place to celebrate a comeback victory as the Bellevue is notoriously the scene of the world's first outbreak of deadly legionnaires' disease. Back in 1976, members of an American Legion convention were struck by mysterious bacteria, which killed 34 of them.
Thanks to Mrs Clinton, an equally deadly affliction has struck the Democratic Party, one that could deny it the keys to the White House for the third successive time in November. Mrs Clinton beat Mr Obama by a wide enough margin to justify staying in the race. That means that the death spiral the candidates are locked into continues. Just when the Democrats need to unite against the popular Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, they are locked in an unending civil war.
Inside the Bellevue, Mrs Clinton's exuberant supporters waved banners and cheered. One young man wore boxing gloves and punched the air, Rocky-style, invoking the gritty fighting style Mrs Clinton is become famous for. In her speech Mrs Clinton used the words "fight", "fighter" and "fighting", signalling that she has no intention of being bullied out a contest even if she remains incapable of winning it without ripping the party apart.
Amid some of the most negative campaigning seen in the primary contests, Mrs Clinton won through a powerful coalition of women, white voters, the working class and the elderly right across the state. Only in Philadelphia did Mr Obama do well, where he won two-thirds of the largely African-American vote. Even this win was blunted by Mrs Clinton's ally, Mayor Nutter, another charismatic star of the Democratic Party.
Mrs Clinton started the campaign with a huge advantage of name recognition. Pennsylvania, the birthplace of her father and place her family holidayed, is something of a second home for Mrs Clinton. Pennsylvanians, unlike many Americans, tend not to move far from where they were born and loyalty and family ties are powerful forces here.
The young, mobile well educated Americans, who elsewhere flocked to Mr Obama's promise to renew America's politics, were out-gunned by Mrs Clinton's more conservative supporters. And in a grinding campaign that lasted six long weeks, the spell Mr Obama managed to cast over voters in other states with his inspirational message of bringing change to Washington came across as stale and unconvincing.
He also battled against the worst controversy of his campaign, when the incendiary words of his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, in a sermon were broadcast again and again on television. Mr Obama also came across to Pennsylvania's voters as another conventional politician rather than the wunderkind who persuaded the predominantly white state of Iowa to back him back in January.
Mrs Clinton ruthlessly exploited private comments he made saying the people of smalltown Pennsylvania were not supporting him because they were "bitter" about their lot in life and "clinging" to guns and God in response to economic hard times. And in final dying days of the campaign she invoked the image of Osama Bin Laden in an ad to make her point that Mr Obama is not ready to defend the country.
Even as people turned out to vote, Mrs Clinton took a leaf out of George Bush's political playbook to use fear of terrorism to sway voters, adding that as President she would "obliterate" Iran if it threatened to attack Israel. It did the trick and Mrs Clinton won handsomely among the poor, ill-educated voters who get their news from morning television.
Now the danger for the Democratic Party is that the longer the struggle goes on, the more disenchanted each candidate's supporters will be when a candidate finally emerges.
If you'd like to see the results from yesterday's Pennsylvania primary, you can do so HERE. The folks at the PA Dept. of State are ever so helpful and the site has some neat features to help you break down the results of individual races.
Some observations about yesterday's primary from someone who was maybe too close to the action to see what was really happening. Maybe that's why I'm a little surprised by the following:
1. I'm surprised that Hillary won by 10 points. The polls were all over the place, though most showed somewhere in the range of a 5 or 6 point edge for Hillary. Even Survey USA, which had Hillary with a 12-point lead one week ago, ended up with a 6-point margin the day before the election. My guess is that, on election day, the undecided voters largely went for Hillary at the last-minute. Either that or the young people who registered to vote because they support Obama were too busy enjoying the sunshine to step inside for a few moments to cast a ballot. Either way, it seems to be the win Hillary needed. Whether the Democratic party leaders wanted that win is a whole other issue.
2. I'm surprised - a little - that Chris Hackett topped Dan Meuser for the GOP nomination in the 10th CD. My personal feeling was that Hackett would win. But, as I tried to figure out how to staff our election night coverage, I asked around and heard some things that made me believe Meuser had the edge. That belief seemed to be playing out as the early returns favored Meuser. But, around 10PM or so, Hackett grabbed the lead and held it. Even though we guessed wrong on the winner, I think our presence at Meuser's gathering worked out for the best since he spoke to his supporters in time for the 11PM news while Hackett didn't come out until later.
3. I'm surprised - a lot - that Steve Cappelli lost the GOP primary in the 23rd PA Senate District. Cappelli is a sitting state rep. and a former mayor of Williamsport. I figured him to be the odds-on favorite to win the nomination in the race to replace outgoing state senator Roger Madigan. But, Gene Yaw, the Lycoming County solicitor, basically ran away with it. He had almost as many votes as Cappelli and the third Republican, Doug McLinko, combined. HERE is the county-by-county breakdown. At least McLinko carried his home county of Bradford. Cappelli, on the other hand, finished second in his home county of Lycoming and finished third everywhere else. Wow!
I'm not an expert in Central PA politics by any means, but I have to wonder what happened here. As far as I could tell, Yaw was the only candidate in the race who did any kind of TV advertising. About a week or so before the election, he came out with a commercial that went negative on his opponents while going positive on his own behalf. I don't know what he or the other candidates might have done on radio, newspaper, or billboard. If Cappelli made any effort to get name recognition or support outside Lycoming County, it certainly wasn't effective. Why not? If he didn't make much of an effort, why not?
Inquiring minds ... have until October to think about these things. Then, it's time to gear up for November.
and then it will all be over. I spent the day at work doing my best to finalize arrangements for our primary election coverage. Of course, in keeping with my poor sense of timing of late, there was a phone call from work on the way home and an email from work waiting for me when I got here! Anyway, I've done about all I can do. Now it's up to the News Gods to let it happen as I hope it will - or to totally screw it up.
I think I will be glad when this primary is over. I have a candidate I'm rooting for, but I decided to keep my registration as an Independent. So, since I can't legally vote, I don't really have a horse in this race. Or, in any of the very few contested races that are out there. Still, it's been rather exhausting watching it all unfold, listening to all the talk, getting spun right 'round like a record, baby ...
The poor timing I whined about in the PREVIOUS ENTRY has continued.
After I got up this morning, I decided to check for updates on my computer. There was one, so I started the download. About 45 minutes later, it was still downloading. I thought about not leaving for work until it was finished, but it seemed to stall at 94% so I left.
At work, about the only useful thing I did was deliver a disk (our version of videotape) to a crew in Wilkes-Barre. I spent the rest of the day waiting for the phone to ring. I put in calls to the candidates I still need to hear from, and heard back from none of them. At the same time, I was also waiting to hear from the presidential campaigns about where Barack and Hillary will be on election night. Having heard nothing, I left work shortly after 5pm. When I got home, my phone rang. It was someone from work telling me that just moments after I walked out the door the Clinton campaign sent out some initial details. Nothing yet from Obama.
Now I am trying to decide if I want to get up early tomorrow morning and stand in line for a chance to see Bill Clinton. he will be speaking in Wilkes-Barre as the candidates and their minions rush hither and yon in PA in these last few days leading up to Tuesday's primary. Not only will Bill be here on Saturday, but Hillary will be here on Monday. Obama was in Williamsport today and may be back in the area on Sunday.
Just another few days and then the six weeks of relentless campaigning will be over. With that in mind, here's my musical selection for the weekend. Watch out for the hair!
My timing has been a little off lately. For example, I spent much of the early afternoon making election-related phone calls to candidates and the like. Of course, no one called me back - until I left the newsroom to go to the restroom.
Then, I came home and, shortly after 7pm, turned on a softball game between TEAM USA and defending national champion ARIZONA. It wasn't much of a contest. The Wildcats kept it close for a few innings, but Team USA went on to win 16-0, a good start to the team's "Bound 4 Beijing" cross-country schedule of exhibition games. Near the end of the game, I checked the Team USA web site to find out if the tour included a stop in PA. It does. In Williamsport on May 8 (a Thursday, so I suppose I'll be working). I also found out that the game I'd been watching for 2+ hours was actually played in February, despite the indication by the program guide that the game was being played today. That's what I get for tuning in a few minutes late.
While I was watching the softball game, I was monitoring the score of the Phillies-Astros game (which was, in fact, being played tonight). The Phils trailed 3-0 going into the bottom of the 9th. A few minutes later, I saw the score flash across the bottom of the screen - Phillies win 4-3! What?!? I turned on ESPN News hoping for highlights, but they took a commercial break and teased basketball and hockey coming up. So, I went upstairs and listened to the scoring recap on the radio. After that, I headed back downstairs and, as I made my way toward the steps, heard the ESPN guys wrapping up the Phillies highlights. I finally saw the pertinent video at 11:34pm. Was Geoff Jenkins safe at home? Maybe not, but it makes up for that call in NY and the HR that wasn't by the Cubs on Sunday.
Speaking of Sunday, that's when my string of poor timing started. It was maybe 7:45pm, and I was just about to sit down and read. But, I looked out the window and saw a gorgeous swath of pink and purple sky as the sun set. I'll take a picture of that, I thought. But, by the time I got out there, the sun had sunk even lower and I couldn't find a good spot for a good picture. I ended up on the levee and ended up taking a picture of the Luzerne County Courthouse across the Susquehanna river in Wilkes-Barre. I finally got around to downloading it tonight and, after fiddling with the contrast and brightness, here's what I came up with:
I also took this picture of what I think is a bank building in downtown Wilkes-Barre. Obviously, I need to learn more about how to use my camera!
So, I've been reading a lot lately, taking advantage of the TV writers' strike to catch up on some writing by Martha Grimes. Then, I'll move on to some Joan Hess, I think. And, maybe review a little Shakespeare just for fun.
With that in mind, I now present Moxy Fruvous!
I took this picture yesterday, in the early afternoon. The day before, I saw a squirrel (maybe the same one??) and a cardinal! All we need now are some consistently warm temperatures.
The truth is that it's been a pretty slow week so far. The weather's been decent, the presidential candidates have stayed away, and I'm back on the night desk for a while because there's just not a lot of election prep work to be done at the moment. Truthfully, there's not that much to complain about. That's no fun, is it?
Here's the little that has been going on.
Remember THIS entry from last week, in which I reviewed a performance of "Twelfth Night" by the National Players? Well, one of those players, one CORY CUNNINGHAM to be exact, was apparently so taken by my insight into his over-the-top yet nuanced performance, that he excerpted part of my entry for his online resume. He also lifted part of ANOTHER MONKEY'S critique. Now, Cory doesn't mention us by name or provide links to either of our posts. He simply lifted the quotes - without asking, I might add - and referenced each as coming from a "Blog Review." Methinks that this is a mistake on Mr. Cunningham's part as the lack of proper attribution is not only impolite but could also lead a prospective employer to conclude that Cory is making up his own good reviews! Just a thought.
On Monday, one of the station's viewers had a thought. Apparently, he thought we might be making up a story and putting it on the air. The following is an approximate recollection of my phone conversation with said viewer:
CALLER: You just had a story about some wild dogs running loose in the Hughesville area (near Williamsport) and attacking people's pets. Is that true?
ME: Yes. We don't make up stories.
CALLER: I'm not accusing you of making up stories. I just wondered if it was true.
ME: Yes. (while wondering - and not for the first time - how some people manage to get through the day without a lot of help)
See? I told you it's been a slow week. Would I lie?
Woman locks herself in car trunk
NEWINGTON, N.H. — After 22 years as a police officer, Newington Master Patrolman Leonard Kerekes experienced a first recently when he was dispatched to help a woman who locked herself in the trunk of her Mustang.
Kerekes said he took a March 29 call from the department’s emergency dispatch center at 2:32 p.m., reporting a 911 call from the unidentified woman who said she was locked inside the trunk of her red 1996 Mustang in the Fox Run Mall parking lot. The patrolman said he instructed the dispatcher to inform the woman there was probably an emergency release latch inside the trunk, while he made his way over to the mall.
"I get down there and I’m banging on the trunk and she starts yelling," said Kerekes. "She says she has a hide-a-key and I find it and open the trunk."
After freeing the woman he said is in her 50’s, Kerekes asked, "What did you do?"
According to the Mustang owner, she tried to let herself in the car through the driver’s side door and when her key wouldn’t work, she decided to enter through the trunk and "crawl over the seats." The plan was foiled when "she couldn’t get through," said Kerekes, adding "I don’t know how the trunk closed."
"I didn’t ask," he said, "And she didn’t tell me."
Asked if there’s a moral to the story, the Newington officer asked, "Don’t lock yourself in your trunk?"
Kidding aside, Kerekes said people should be aware that "most newer cars" have lock releases on the interior of truck lock mechanisms.
(This was posted on poconorecord.com. I'm guessing it's from the AP)
What I want to know is why was the woman trying to get into the car through the driver's side in the first place?
Can we talk about how crappy this weather is? It's rainy and damp and chilly. I'm worried that this is going to be another one of those years where spring doesn't really get started until it's almost summer.
With that in mind, here's something to cheer you up and warm your heart. From 1987's "Strangeways, Here We Come," I give you ... The Smiths!
That's what you get in Shakespeare's "TWELFTH NIGHT." Of course, it's a comedy, so would you expect anything less?
I wasn't sure what to expect last night when I trekked down to Luzerne County Community College for a performance of "Twelfth Night" by the NATIONAL PLAYERS touring company, especially when I saw the very small stage area. But, the play was better than expected. (And, if you click on the link, you'll find that two of the actors graduated from colleges around here!)
To summarize, "Twelfth Night" is, overall, a play about people pretending to be who they're not. One of the main characters is Viola, who begins the play shipwrecked on the shores of Illyria, where Duke Orsino is the ruler. Viola passes herself off as a man named Cesario, and becomes a servant to Orsino. As Viola, she's in love with the Duke. But, as Cesario, her job is to woo the wealthy Olivia, who the Duke claims to love. Olivia, however, is quite taken with Cesario. So much so, that when Viola's shipwrecked twin brother Sebastian finally shows up, Olivia immediately marries him, thinking that he's Cesario. (The wedding takes place off-stage, so I guess we'll never know if the ceremony included the line "Do you Sebastian...") Of course, in the end, true identities are revealed, the Duke claims Viola, and everyone lives happily ever after.
(Sorry. Have to go. Will finish later)
(And, we're back at 6:25 pm.)
While the Duke and company try to sort out who's who, Sir Toby Belch, a relative of Olivia, is up to his old tricks. He hangs with Sir Andrew, a would-be suitor for Olivia. Maria, Olivia's housekeeper, and Feste, the fool (who's by no means foolish), are also involved in the merry-making. They pull off a scheme to humiliate Malvolio, Olivia's uppity steward, by making him believe that Olivia is in love with him.
In last night's play, the majority of the performances were strong. In particular, the actors who played Toby, Andrew, and Feste stood out, as did the actor who played Malvolio. They took full advantage of their character's comedic opportunities.
The production itself had a very whimsical feel to it. It wasn't set in any particular time period. Sir Andrew looked like a caricature from "Dangerous Liasons" while Feste had a Harry Potter feel to him. The props were also quite fanciful. For example, a putter and a fireplace shovel were used to represent swords. Notes were written on what appeard to be scraps of wrapping paper. Certainly, nothing here was what it seemed. And, as mentioned above, I thought the small set worked well. Having the perpetrators of the jokes so close to the victims enhanced, I think, the play's comedic elements.
I always get a lot more out of Shakespeare when I see it performed, even if I've read the play beforehand. I did read "Twelfth Night" some 20 years ago, but didn't recall much about it (which is why I looked it up on WIKIPEDIA before seeing the play last night). The production by the National Players served not only to refresh my memory, but also to deepen my understanding.