Jennifer D. Wade Journal

Welcome to my online diary, enjoy your stay!

Blog posts February 2009

Say Good-bye, Adam

Wow.  How did I miss this one?  I know I was off work this past week, but still...  When the Phillies FINALLY kick Adam Eaton to the curb, I want to know ASAP.

Kick him to the curb they did on Friday, and I'm just now reading about it online.  EATON has been in the bigs for nine seasons.  The Phillies made him a first-round draft choice, then traded him, then got him back in another trade and signed him to a contract worth some $24 million.  The good news for Eaton is that, even though he's been released, he'll still get paid about $9 million by the Phillies this season whether or not another team signs him.  The Phillies seem to have tried hard during the winter to trade Eaton but, shockingly, no one wanted him.  Maybe that will change now that a team can get him on the cheap and leave the Phillies to suck up the rest of his undeserved, overpaid salary.

In his years in the bigs, Eaton has really never lived up to his status as a first-round pick.  His lifetime ERA is close to 5.00.  In his two seasons with the Phillies (really a season and a half since they sent him to the minors around last year's all-star break), Eaton's modus operandi was generally to give up a run or two in the first inning, settle down for a few innings, and then blow up completely.  So, not only did he put the Phillies in a hole right from the get-go, he then dug one so deep that it was impossible even for an offense with the likes of Utley and Howard to get out of it.

The other thing that bothered me about Eaton is that he never seemed to show any passion, any fire.  It was tough to tell if he cared.  Whether he pitched well or poorly, he always seemed willing to talk to the media, so I give him that.  But, when he pitched poorly, his quotes generally seemed to be along the lines of, "Well, you'll have bad days.  What are you gonna do?"  Need more?  Here's a quote from an AP article on Friday after the Phils released him:

"I thought when we signed the deal, that I would be an integral part in any positives on the field. For the most part, it didn't happen that way," he (Eaton) said. "I did have moments of success, but for whatever reason they were short-lived."

Yeah.  Moments of success that were short-lived FOR WHATEVER REASON.  Whatever reason?????  That doesn't exactly sound like a statement from an athlete with a passion for excellence and winning.  How about saying something like, "I apologize to the fans of Philadelphia for not living up to expectations.  This team put a lot of faith in me and I let them down." 

My idea - and it still holds - is that any team that takes a chance on Eaton should turn him into an outfielder, a la RICK ANKIEL of the St. Louis Cardinals.  Eaton's lifetime batting average is .194, which is pretty good for a pitcher.  And, he did get his share of hits for the Phillies.  So, if he practiced more hitting and less pitching, he could probably get his average up to something fairly respectable in a decent amount of time.  On the downside, though, Eaton is already over 30 and Ankiel, who's just turning 30, made the switch a couple years ago.  So, time may not be on Eaton's side.  And, with a $9 million guaranteed payday, he may not care.  

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Winter into Spring

March 1st is not the official start of spring, but it is the start of what meteorologists consider "meteorological spring."  Hey, after the cold, cold winter we've had, I'll take anything.

Hear now George Winston, performing "Rain" from his smash hit New Age CD, Winter into Spring.

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Maybe It's the Yoga

Here it is less than 48 hours from a mid-term, my 401K is in the crapper, and the county where I live is making NATIONAL HEADLINES for all the wrong reasons.  Yet, what am I doing?  I'm sitting in my home office, tapping my fingernails on the desk as I ponder the points I plan to make.

Yeah, you heard right.  I have fingernails!  Fingernails that are long enough for tapping.  And, strangely, despite all the stressful things going on right how, I have not chewed these new-found nails down to nubs.

People, this is big.  I can't really explain why or how these nails got to be as long as they currently are - which is long enough to have a manicure if I were so inclined - which I'm not - yet - but, here they are.  Fingernails.  Ten of 'em.

It would appear that I have finally broken a habit that, I'm guessing, has been a habit for me for approximately 37 years.

It's not like I never tried to break the habit before.  I did.  Many times.  I tried wearing gloves.  I tried using that stuff that tastes terrible.  I tried sheer willpower.  None of it worked - not for very long anyway. When the nails did manage to grow, they were usually so brittle that they soon broke. And, then I had to bite them to keep them from breaking even more.  You know how it is.

But, this time, it appears that I have broken the habit with no conscious effort at all.  I wasn't even aware that I had stopped biting my fingernails until the day I noticed that I actually had fingernails.  And, try as I might to break them, these current nails seem to be rather sturdy.

So, what gives?  I don't know.  Maybe it's the yoga.

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This Seems Appropriate

What with all the stimulus money and the help for homeowners and not much of it coming my way, I need someone to tell me how to be a millionaire (or a billionaire. Or a zillionaire). If only it were as easy as ABC ...

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A Night at the Theatre

Sunday night I did my part to stimulate the economy.  I went to the theatre.  Well, the tickets were free, but I did go out for dinner beforehand, so I think that still counts.

Anyway, the theatre in question was the SCRANTON CULTURAL CENTER and the show in question was the musical "SWEENEY TODD."  I wanted to see the movie version that came out in the past year or so, but never got around to it.  So, this live musical production was my first experience with the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Honestly, I'm not sure what to make of it.  The performances, for the most part, were fine.  But, I found elements of the staging a bit odd and disconcerting.  HERE is the link to the site for the touring company.  You can check out the actors, and there are some videos there so you can get a sense of what the production was like.

The set itself never changed.  All the action took place on a small stage on the stage.  Scene changes were managed by the actors moving chairs and other props from place to place and by actors moving from the foreground to the background.  Actors whose characters were not actively involved in a particular scene remained on stage, either at the back of the set or on the sides.  Usually, they were playing an instrument since the actors doubled as the orchestra!

The most distracting thing about this staging, I thought, was that it sometimes resulted in characters speaking to each other from different parts of the stage and without being face-to-face.  For example, one character facing the audience from the front of the stage might be speaking with another character who was facing the audience but at the back of the stage.  Odd.

The fact that the actors doubled as the orchestra was also odd.  Maybe unexpected is a better word.  I didn't find it as distracting as it might have been, probably because the actors' movements throughout the play were very deliberate and fluid.  So, it's not like instruments were being thrown all over the place or the actors had to hurry to get to their instruments.

I think this aspect of the staging was handled very well.  I was also impressed by the fact that the actors (or most of them, anyway) played more than one instrument.  They each had one main instrument, but often filled in on the piano or another instrument as required.  Having to memorize lines can be hard enough.  Add music for several instruments on top of that, and you have quite an achievment by a talented group of artists.

However, as I mentioned earlier, the actors' movements were slow and deliberate.  Maybe that was by design, or maybe it was a design necessitated by the confining size of the stage.  Either way, combined with a set/costume design that utilized only black, white, and red, and the effect is soporific (at least on me).  I was glad when it was over.

So, there you have it.  Talented cast doing what it can with awkward staging.  I still think I want to see the movie, though.

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My Sixties Valentine

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Random Thoughts

Please forgive me for I have sinned.  It has been one week since I updated this blog.  My excuses are no good, so I won't even bother.  Please accept this list of seemingly random thoughts as my apology.

  • I spend too much time on Facebook

  • I like Facebook because it brings together friends from all facets of my life. And, it's fun

  • I wonder how it is that I missed out on the cold or virus that everyone else seems to have right now

  • I'm glad that WNEP and the other stations in the market are going ahead with the digital switch on February 17. People have had years to prepare for this. Most of those who aren't prepared now will probably not be prepared four months from now

  • I'm not sure how, when or even if the $787 billion stimulus plan is going to help the economy recover from this mess

  • I wonder how the government came up with the "family of four who earns $250,000 a year" as representative of the average American middle-class family

  • If you answer the phone and take a message for me, I expect you to be able to accurately tell me who called and what they talked about. Those are givens. I should not have to tell you that I expect you to be able to tell me that. Is that expecting too much?

  • I like the yoga class I'm taking this semester, but am kind of regretting the computer class. CSS is a little overwhelming. Or, maybe it's the fact that I have to be on campus four days a week this semester compared to just two days last semester

  • I am leaning toward "not" taking any classes in the fall

  • I reserve the right to change my mind

  • I am so ready for baseball

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Can I Bum a Smoke?

Last night, I took a break from homework and turned on the TV.  The most interesting thing I could find was the 1981 flick BODY HEAT, starring William Hurt, Kathleen Turner and Ted Danson.  (Didn't remember that he was in it, did you?  Mickey Rourke has a role, too!)  It's been a long time since I last saw it, but I recalled it very much living up to its title.

Anyway, by the time I turned it on, the movie was about half-way through and Turner, Hurt, Danson and company are in a conference room at a law office, going over details of a will.  At one point, one of the lawyers pauses to ask if anyone minds if he smokes.  Apparently, no one did, because not only did he smoke (a cigar, I think), but pretty much everyone else took advantage of the opportunity to light up a cigarette.  Right there.  In the conference room!  Only Danson's character refused, saying that he would just breathe in the smoke from everyone else.

Can you imagine a scene like that being filmed today?  Maybe if the movie were set in the past, but I bet the anti-smoking forces would put up a very big fuss.

Oh, how times have changed.  But, the movie?  "Body Heat" is still hot.        

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Ten Years Back

I heard this song once or twice on the radio this week.  It came out in 1999.  I liked it then, and I like it now.  So, here you go.

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A Taxing Situation

Questions, questions, questions.  Sooooo many questions I have about how three of the people the president wants to be on his team could have tax issues.  One guy managed to make it onto the team, but he pretty much ruined it for the other two who had to take their ball and go home.

First question:  I thought that the Obama transition team was supposed to have the most complete, privacy-invading vetting process ever known to man.  So, you have to believe that Obama and his transitioners knew about the tax troubles of Tim Geither, Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer.  Did he think it wouldn't matter, especially when two of those three people (Geithner and Killefer) are supposed to help lead the way to a brighter economic future?

Second question:  If Geithner (Treasury Secretary) and Nancy Killefer (ex-chief White House performance officer nominee) know so much about money, how is it that they made mistakes with their own taxes?  These people should either be smart enough to correctly do them themselves, or smart enough to hire competent accountants to do their taxes for them.  If they can't do either of those things, I'm not sure I want them overseeing trillions of dollars.

Third, fourth, fifth, and maybe sixth questions:  Tom Daschle (ex-HHS Secretary nominee) tried to make good recently by paying $140,000 in back taxes and interest that he owed for the personal car and driver he enjoyed for free courtesy of a private equity firm.  Daschle has called his failure to pay those taxes on time "completely inadvertant."  Really?  That seems like a pretty big oversight.  Did the firm not let him know that he needed to pay taxes on these things?  And, where's his accountant?  For some reason, I just don't believe that a guy who had a personal car and driver was spending his time in the back seat doing his own taxes.  Is it really that hard to find good help?

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