For a while there, it looked as though Brad Lidge had picked the worst possible time to blow his first save of the season. But, then came a ground ball, a great stop by Jimmy Rollins and a great turn by Chase Utley. Ryan Howard remembered to catch the ball and complete the game-saving double play before throwing his arms in the air to celebrate the Phillies' second straight NL East title.
It's all good.
Jamie Moyer, the wily veteran (Photo by Rob Kandel, The Morning Call)
Celebrating the win (Photo by Rob Kandel, The Morning Call)
J-Roll looks good in his champagne goggles (AP photo from Phillies.com)
You know what I felt like these past 24 hours? I felt like someone was always in my way. Seriously. Wherever I was, wherever I was going, there always seemed to be someone else just ahead of me, taking their own sweet time to do whatever it was they were doing or to get to wherever it was they were going.
Today was a school day, so I was up early and out of the house by about 8:40am. I hadn't gone more than half a mile before I got behind a tractor trailer. I followed it for a while before it eventually turned off. Then, I got behind a car that was going slower than it needed to. I followed it for a while until it finally turned off. Then, I was in the home stretch toward campus when I got behind another car that, again, was going slower than necessary. Admittedly, we were in a school zone. But, seriously, slower than necessary.
I finally got to campus, and class was uneventful. But afterwards, on my way to another building, I was walking behind two people who decided to stop and have a conversation at the bottom of the steps I was about to walk up!
Leaving campus turned out to be more adventurous than usual thanks to the two women who were pushing a baby buggy along the side of the road. Well, I shouldn't say that. They were actually walking in the road while pushing a baby buggy. I had to go into the other lane to avoid them. Fortunately, no one waas coming the other way.
I headed home, retracing my route from Main Street in Nanticoke to the Sans Souci Parkway to Carey Ave. in Wilkes-Barre. I'm guessing it was about 12:30 when I got to the area around Meyers HS. I don't know if it was lunchtime or if there was an early dismissal, or what, but it seemed as though all the kids and teachers were getting out of school. A crossing guard stopped traffic to let some kids cross the street. Kids who crossed farther up the street managed to stop traffic on their own. Then, I almost got hit by a guy who made a left turn while I had the green light and made a right. I noticed that he had Iowa tags, but still. The traffic laws in Iowa are basically the same as they are here, aren't they?
Anyway, I managed to make it to the Market Street Bridge without a scratch on me. On the other side of the bridge, I noticed a bus parked in my turning lane. The bus, I think, had brought a band or maybe Obama supporters to the campaign rally with Joe Biden. Whatever it was doing there, it forced me to make my turn from the wrong lane.
I finally made it home for a quick lunch, then set off for work. I stopped at Dunkin' Donuts for coffee, but had to wait in line behind four senior ladies who were all ordering flatbread sandwiches and coolatas or something. Translation - it looked like it would take a while to fill their order. But, another worker stepped up and took my order, so I actually had my coffee before the final sandwich was served. Then, as I'm making my way to the trash can on my way out, who's there but the same woman who took my order. She's doing something or other and, in the process, impeding my access to the trash can.
And, lest you think that is the end of the story, think again. There was one final crowning moment. I was in my lane, headed for the entrance to the parking lot at work, and there was a minivan in front of me. I will say that there are four lanes on this side of the road, and they are clearly marked. The right lane is for right turns only. The lane to the left (my lane), is for traffic going straight. The two left lanes are for drivers turning left to get on Interstate 81. Somehow, the minivan driver missed the signs. As I was coming up from behind, I saw the van's right turn signal go on and the driver stayed put until the minivan could cross into the right turn lane, all of which forced me to slow down when I shouldn't have had to. Another out of state driver who apparently can't read the signs.
I don't know which is more distressing - watching the economy crumble or watching the Phillies limp toward the playoffs. Both situations are currently causing me a lot of anxiety.
Let's start with the Phillies. They were hot. Now? Not so much. Losing two straight to the Braves with the most recent loss being tagged on Brett Myers. What happened to him?!? He was practically unhittable since coming back from the minors. Now, he can't get anybody out! Good thing the Mets aren't doing much better. Otherwise, the Phillies would be in real trouble. I still think they'll make the playoffs, but, jeez, they can't make it easy, can they?
Now for this economy thing. The proposed $700 billion bailout plan. Earlier tonight, Bush took off his rose-colored glasses long enough to predict disaster if Congress doesn't send a bill to his desk, like, yesterday. Supposedly, Bush has been considering making a speech like this for the past several weeks. I guess he wanted to see how low things would go before he took action. Whatever. No one wants to listen to him now. He is the lamest of the lame ducks.
Which brings me to Obama and McCain. Obama, on one hand, says he is perfectly capable of multi-tasking, as a president might have to do sometimes. He plans to campaign, debate on Friday, and still help with the bailout plan.
On the other hand, McCain, who HAS SAID that the economy is not his best subject, is suspending his campaign to focus on the economy! He's going to go back to Washington and lend his economic experience, limited though it may be, to the efforts to finalize the bailout package that Bush says we need ASAP.
Good move on McCain's part? We'll see, I guess. But, I have to wonder why, just 40 days before the election, a presidential candidate would stop spending money on ads, stop raising money for future ads, and suggest delaying a debate that he could use to, in this time of crisis, convince people that he really does know about the economy. Why? Well, I can think of one or two reasons. And, showing off economic expertise isn't one of them.
Remember my first experience with jury duty? No? Well, it was just last year. I wrote about it HERE and HERE. Despite my not actually getting picked to serve on a jury, the powers that be must have been pleased with my service. I know this because they just called me for jury duty again!
Yes. It took more than 40 years for me to be called the first time. But, now that I have been called, it seems I will keep being called. This latest missive arrived in the mail last week and requested my presence at ye olde courthouse at the beginning of the final week in October.
As much as I enjoyed my first experience with jury duty, and as much as I wouldn't mind doing it again, the last week in October really doesn't work for me. Besides, my three year grace period isn't exactly up.
So, call me again when you have a stronger case. Now, excu-u-u-u-u-se me!
Of all the things I have to be thankful for in this life, there is one thing in particular. Namely, that my name is Jennifer and not Scat Dubya. I mention this because Scat Dubya is apparently what I would have been named if Alaska Governor and GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin were my mother. Scat Dubya Palin. Shooo-bee-dooo-beee-dooo. I'd fit right in with my brothers and sisters: Track, Trig, Bristol, Willow and Piper Palin. Yes, those are the real names of the real Palin children. Yes, I am thankful that I am not one of them.
My return to college is now in its third week and, so far, so good. I have taken two quizzes on line, submitted three chapter summaries, and taken part in some online discussions. Next week, I will present a PowerPoint presentation concerning eBay. Never mind the fact that, up until a couple weeks ago, I didn't know how to use PowerPoint and I didn't know much about eBay. The class instructor pegged me as a "good student" and asked me to do the first presentation for the class. So, one recent weekend, I taught myself the basics of PowerPoint and learned the basics of eBay.
Now, I have created a presentation which I will present to the class on Tuesday. For my part, I find eBay a fascinating company even though I'm not particularly interested in buying anything or selling anything. EBay itself is a good story.
In addition to classwork, I have also begun tutoring. I have one student on Tuesdays and I just picked up another one on Thursdays. It doesn't pay a lot, but it should earn me maybe enough cash to cover the cost of the course. We'll see.
That's all for now. Time to take another online quiz.
Dammit. Just when I had given up any hope of the Phillies making the playoffs, they go and sweep the Brewers. Now they're tied for the lead in the Wild Card Race and they're one game in back of the Mets who have a habit of blowing late-inning leads.
Jimmy Rollins is hot, Ryan Howard is, if not hot, at least warm, and Pat Burrell managed three hits in today's double-header. If the pitching holds, there might be some hope yet!
All things considered, it was a rather slow week for news. But, there was this, courtesy of the Associated Press:
BC-ODD--Cheerleading Mom,0212 Mom allegedly used daughter's ID to be cheerleader Eds: APNewsNow. GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - A 33-year-old woman is accused of stealing her daughter's identity to attend high school and join the cheerleading squad. Wendy Brown is charged with felony identity theft after enrolling in a Wisconsin high school as her daughter. The criminal complaint says Brown admitted to telling school officials she was 15 because she wanted to get her high school diploma and join the cheerleading squad. She allegedly attended practices, received a cheerleader's locker and went to a pool party at the coach's house. The complaint says Brown has a history of identity theft. Her daughter lives in Nevada with Brown's mother. There was no attorney listed in Brown's online court records. Her home number could not be found.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
It started with a cryptic email from the governor's office around 2:15 yesterday afternoon. At 3PM, it said, Gov. Rendell would have an important announcement to make. What could it be, we wondered in the newsroom.
As it turned out, we didn't have to wait until 3PM to find out. At approximately 2:50PM, a news alert from the Asociated Press alerted us to the news: No tolls on Interstate 80. The Feds put the kibosh on the plan.
At approximately 3:01PM, we received an email from PENNSYLVANIA TRANSPORTATION PARTNERS, the Spanish-led consortium that is pushing the Rendell-favored rival plan to lease the Turnpike. That email contained a news release which read, in part:
HARRISBURG (September 11, 200 – With the Federal Highway Administration today rejecting an application to add tolls to Interstate 80, the proposed lease of the Pennsylvania Turnpike remains the best option to fill the resulting transportation funding gap in Act 44, according to Pennsylvania Transportation Partners (PTP) – the Citi-Abertis consortium that is the preferred bidder to lease the Turnpike. The Turnpike lease would generate a minimum of $21.6 billion for Pennsylvania’s transportation infrastructure – including an historic $12.8 billion up-front payment, nearly $5.5 billion in Turnpike improvements, and up to $4.2 billion in taxes paid. Former Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Howard Yerusalim, who in his capacity also served as Chair of the Turnpike Commission from 1987 to 1995, said lawmakers should approve the lease proposal when they return to Harrisburg next week. “For the eight years I was Chairman of the Turnpike Commission, I was constantly frustrated by my lack of control over the role politics played in decision making at the Turnpike,” said Yerusalim, who now serves as an advisor to PTP. “In the absence of I-80 tolling, legislators should be cautious of any new scheme the Turnpike Commission comes up with.
Frustration? Scheme? Them's fightin' words!
For it's part, the Turnpike Commission has STRAIGHT TALK, a section of its website where it expounds on the hell that will likely befall us all should PTP be allowed to lease the Turnpike. You may have also noticed a PR effort on behalf of the Turnpike commission. Some recent commercials promote EZ Pass and are generally designed to make the PTC seem all warm and fuzzy and ready to turn I-80 into a nice, smooth toll road.
What's next? Who knows. I'm not convinced that the idea of turning I-80 into a toll road is completely dead. It seems like the reason the feds rejected the plan is because of some sort of technicality involving money (THIS article may help explain). So, I won't be surprised if the PTC reworks its figures and resubmits the plan.
I'm also not convinced that the plan to lease the Turnpike is now a sure thing - at least not as the plan stands now. Specifically, there are quite a few people who don't feel that the bid is high enough. The PTP may also have to rework its figures for the plan to gain any serious traction with lawmakers.
Yesterday, a new credit card arrived in the mail. I knew immediately what that meant. It meant that I would have to call the credit card company to "activate" the card. And, I knew that doing so meant going through the ordeal of listening to them try to sell me other services while my card was being "activated."
Let me just say that the credit card in question is one that I've had for more than 10 years. All they're doing is giving me a new card with a new expiration date. Why they have to "activate" anything is beyond me. I believe it's just an excuse to get you to call them so they can try to sell you more stuff. But, since we're not asking questions here, let's move on.
So, I grit my teeth and steel myself for what's coming. Then, I dial the number. After punching in the account number and the special code, I was transferred to a service center. Where I was promptly put on hold.
After a minute or so, an actual person came on the line. She said she was "activating" my card, then she asked me if I wanted identity theft protection. "No," I said. Undeterred, she tried to convince me of how big a problem it is. Then, she said, "May I ask when is the last time you checked your credit report?" My answer, " No, you may not ask."
Pause. Credit card activated. Call over. End of story.
Now, here's a completely different story as told by the J. Giles Band and as illustrated by some animated characters.
Forgive me, readers, for I have sinned. It has been one week since my last post.
So, what have I been up to? Well, there's work, of course. It's been an active week that led to me staying later than usual on three or four nights. As a result, I have twice put off going to the grocery store. That's now on my list for the weekend.
Then, there's school, which led me to get up earlier than usual on two mornings. Because of school, my weekend plans now include trying to teach myself how to use PowerPoint, and trying to buy/sell something on eBay. I think I also have to prepare for a quiz. Tell me again whose idea it was to take this class??
That's about it, I think. I did, however, find time to go out for drinks one night. Priorities, you know.