Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday Fantastic Four

After a summer vacation, our regular Friday feature the Friday Fantastic Four is back!!  (I know you were all waiting.)


What are your four dream jobs?


  1. Travel Writer

  2. Free-Lance Photographer

  3. Newspaper Columnist

  4. VP of Enrollment Services at UCSD

Honorable Mentions:



Note - you can make it as fantastic as you like, but I kind of think of this list as jobs that are in the realm of possibility if you got a break, were able to move, etc.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

New Photo Sets

Img_1250After much work trying to learn Photoshop CS3, I have posted three sets of photos from my recent vacation on my Flickr site.  The Boys Night at Fenway is memorialized, including shots of the rain, the Green Monster and us in the bar waiting.  One of my favorite places on earth, Cape Porpoise is caught in a photo shoot.  I got a chance to shoot one of the best sunsets I have ever seen in Newport, RI is recorded in another set.


There will be a bunch more pictures coming, as I have plenty more from that trip and several others I have taken recently.


Look, comment and Enjoy!


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I Had To Laugh

In a recent cleaning of the CR-V, I discovered a petrified breakfast sausage in the side door storage area next to my son's seat.


I had been wondering about the source of a rather odd odor from the back seat, but chalked it up to a 3 year old and a 7 year old and their shoes, sports equipment and crumbs.  I had no idea he was storing food actively.


When I told him to throw it out, he looked sad.  "Why daddy?  I'm going to miss it!"


I had to laugh.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Going to see the Sawx!

JImg_0878ohn, Andrew and I are finishing up lunch here at the beach house and preparing to head south to Boston and Fenway Park.  While the weather forecast is not that great, and we may get rained out tonight, the boys are ready for their first game at Fenway.


Uncles Matt, Billy, Jim and Kevin as well as cousin Danny are making the trip in as well for the game.  Except for Billy and I, it's everyone's first trip to the most revered of America's ballparks.  My last trip to see the Green Monster was the day after   broke his streak.  Today's probables are Javier Vasquez for the White Sox and Daisuke Matsuzaka for the home team.


We'll have photos and a wrap tomorrow.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Here In Maine!


  Kennebunkport Sign 
  Originally uploaded by Cavalier92

Hello all!  Just a quick post to tell you that we're here in our preferred Summer office location of Kennebunk Beach.  We had a great beach day yesterday, but the weather today was less than perfect.


So we went shopping and hit Portsmouth for lunch.


Now the kids are drowsing in front of the TV and there are a few spare moments to relax and rest.


I don't have much in the way of high-speed internet here, but I will get some of today's cool fog pictures up as soon as I can.


Monday, July 16, 2007

Knowing What It's All About

I'm in transit today to my summer vacation spot in Maine.  The kids, the GF and I are packed into the CR-V with everything else we can cram into it.  Since I can't really write much today,  I'll give you a link to a real writer to check out. 


A good friend and co-worker of mine, Bill Mea, put me on to the blog of Patricia Digh.  Her blog (also hosted by Typepad) is entitled 37 days and is subtitled "what would you be doing today if you only had 37 days to live?"


The title derives from the 37 days her step-father lived after his lung cancer diagnosis.  I simply can't imagine what I would do.  I can't even think about how to order my priorities.  I would have no idea where to start. 


Thankfully, i think i have more than 37 days.  At least i think so, but who really knows.  I guess that is Digh's point.  Shouldn't we all be living by the carpe diem model?  Shouldn't we all be living like our lives are in the balance?


Thanks to Patricia for the great photos and writing and to Bill for the referral.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Hilarious

Anyone catch the presentation of the Breakout Athlete award on the ESPYs? 


Josh Duhamel (6' 31/2") of Vegas fame and Maria 'hottie' Sharapova (6'2") comically towered over Devin Hester (listed at 5'11".  Yeah. Right).


Way funnier than Danica Parick, a horse, Jimmy Kimmel and Jerry Tarkanian in the shower.


10,000

The Phillies will lose their 10,000th game tonight.  Over 125 years, that equates to 80 or so losses a year.  We may be unhappy today with the .500 team on a $100 million payroll, but how must 1920s through 40s era phans have felt as the Phils were putting up 30 out of 31 losing seasons?


About the only positive thing that happened tonight was Michael Bourn's ist major league homer.  The speedster broke the shutout up with a ball that just barely got over the right field wall.


It's 10-2 no with an Utley double to CF.  I note the sign from one of the Phans:

I have not failed.  I have simply found 10,000 ways that have not worked.

- Thomas Edison

I can only hope that we find a way to make it work in the second half.




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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Waiting


  Tampa Bay Storm Clouds 
  Originally uploaded by Cavalier92

In Florida during July about the only thing you can count on is thunder storms.  There are about a million in the Orlando Airport area right now, so here i sit at MCO Gate 57.


On the positive side, I can see the plane we are getting on, unlike the flight that was supposed to leave at 3:30 for PHL, which still has no aircraft in sight.  I am assured that I will get home tonight, though we are already delayed by about 40 minutes.


There's free internet, which makes me smile and lets me upload pictures pretty darn fast.  i am sure there are bars with ruder and worse-looking waitresses in the US, but I have never found one.


Hopefully I'll see you in Philly in a few hours!


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

In An Instant

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, but I am in the midst of a two week period in which I will visit 11 states and  DC, using planes, trains and automobiles.


While in DC most recently I had the chance to hear a very compelling and moving story that helped remind me what's important.  Lee Woodruff's book is titled In An Instant and details her husband Bob's recovery from an attack by Iraqi insurgents in 2006.  The Woodruffs were on top of the world, with Bob recently assuming the evening news co-anchor job at ABC News.  They had four great kids and a dream home in West Chester County.


Then a bomb send pieces of rock and metal into Bob's head, neck and brain.  His producer stuck his fingers in the wound and saved his life.  Helicopter pilots ignored orders not to land and rescued the reporter who was near death.  Doctors in Iraq stabilized him and removed a large part of his skull.  Woodruff was moved first to Germany then to Bethesda Naval Hospital.


The president of ABC News called Lee Woodruff and gave her the news.  In that instant, every fear imaginable went through her head. 


Lee Woodruff did an amazing job portraying the emotion of the journey that has brought her husband back from the near-dead to work again as a television reporter.  I can't possibly write well enough to help folks who have not seen her understand the wonderfully calm way that she expresses her devotion for her husband and children, her gratitude for all those involved in her husband's recovery and her fervent desire to help the world better understand brain injuries.


The Woodruffs have established a foundation to help members of the military who have been brain injured.  They say they were ennobled by the experience.  I am humbled by it. 


 

Friday, July 06, 2007

Friday Fantastic Four

This week's installment of the Friday Fantastic Four is a toughie!


What are the four favorite things that you yourself own personally?


  1. My foul ball - Dickie Thon 1990 Phils SS right into my hands against the Astros

  2. My camera - In my case, a lot of the time, it's the equipment not the talent

  3. My coffee table - reclaimed Cherry Valley Stickley, solid cherry and beautiful!

  4. I guess I have to include my laptop - It's where I do all my writing and that makes it pretty important to me.

Honorable Mentions:


  • I'm a big fan of my bed

  • My cell phone keeps me in touch

  • The TV - I don't OWN ESPN, but I sure do love it!!!

  • My stainless steel Movado watch

Have a great weekend and try to stay cool!


Verizon FIOS

This made me LAUGH!!!!  From Verizon.com:


                        
                    System is currently unavailable    

       
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
FiOS For Home
            Packages & Prices
            All About FiOS
            About Installation
            System Requirements
             FAQs          
            Contact Us
             Spacer    


We're sorry.Online Ordering
is Currently Unavailable
         
                                                                         
               

 

We are unable to check FiOS availability and process orders due to a system issue. Please try again later.

If this problem continues, please call 888-933-3331 to speak with a Verizon Online representative.

We apologize for the inconvenience.


Not a good first impression for a company trying to get me to switch from Comcast's Triple Play.  The Verizon commercials with the little kid and the Verizon tech are so good, i decided to stop by the website to see what the pricing is like.


Then they have a system error.  Puts them in the same category with the Comcast guys.


True QAM.  NOT!


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Fourth of July

717317418_a23b2758e0 Over two centuries ago, just a few miles from where I write today, some of the most progressive and enlightened minds of the millennium gathered in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House to discuss the future of the British colonies on the continent.  They met in the midst of a conflict between the best trained and equipped army of the day and a band of farmers, merchants and laborers armed with personal weapons and non-traditional tactics.  The goal of this gathering was to support the popular uprising with the legal and philosophical underpinnings of a new government.


On July 4th, the gathering of men named Jefferson, Hancock, Adams, Franklin, Rush and many others from all across the continent declared that everyone living here was now free from the British crown.  They later drafted documents serving as the basis of the world's first modern representative democracy.  A bill of the basic rights of man would follow.


Some say that the United States is the greatest nation in the history of man.  We have certainly done more than our part to advance freedoms, extend human knowledge and increase the station of human kind.  Today however, we are engaged in a war that sullies the work that those men in Philadelphia did and that so many other men and women have improved and extended in the last two and a half centuries. 


Our place as the first and arguably the best does not give us the moral right to impose our will on others.  We have the responsibility to protect ourselves and our future, but we cannot do so by bullying other peoples into submission.  We need both statesmen AND warriors, and warriors need the advise and consent of the statesmen to be morally empowered.


It seems today that we have forgotten the feelings of oppression and occupation that led to our popular uprising against the world's most powerful empire.  Now we impose our will because we can and that makes it right. 


We need to remember one of the basic tenets that went into the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776.  That is that the consent of the governed is what creates a government's legitimacy.  When a government loses that consent it loses its moral ability to utilize power. 


The folks at 1600 Pennsylvania would do well to pause today to read our country's Declaration of Independence and think about where it has all gone wrong.


Monday, July 02, 2007

Town At A Crossroads

22068146_0e4f819f3a_m I live in Moorestown in South Jersey.  It's the kind of town with flags on the utility poles, parades down Main Street and older, dignified homes with wide green lawns.  According to a marker near my house,the town is named for Thomas Moore, the town's first tavern owner, but the Lenni-Lenape Indians lived here hundreds of years before.    Like many towns with traditional downtown districts or "Main Streets," Moorestown has been facing a number of interesting planning and development issues over the last several years.


There is much controversy and many varied opinions in town about the recent proposed plan for the future of the Main Street area, Lenola and the Route 38 corridor.  Several of the council member have even come up with a separate plan.


Clearly everyone realizes Moorestown is at a crossorads and that development and big-box retailers are pressuring the kind of life that Moorestown has always embraced.  The acme moved out of downtown.  The car dealer moved to Cherry Hill.  Subway and Starbucks took over the bank and the lumber yard is struggling.  There isn't much time left for talking.


Historical Influence


Since 1700, Moorestown has has a significant19810073_d3ed4d2543_mnt Quaker influence.  Moorestown Friends School is a major employer and downtown landowner as well as the area's premier prep school.  The Meeting House and burial ground are still landmarks in the central business district.  The Quaker influence is also still felt in the town's "dry" status.  Several recent proposals would allow alcoholic beverage licenses for restaurants, a move that some estimate could bring in up to $10 million in needed cash.


While some see liquor licenses are a cash windfall as well as an opportunity to re-invigorate the town's portion of the Moorestown Mall area on Route 38, others see it as an abandonment of one of the values that has made Moorestown a hot residential real estate market in recent years.  Personally, I can't understand how a town named for a tavern owner ever went dry and I am not sure that the period of time from Prohibition to the present trumps the 200+ years before that.


Lenola


And then there's Lenola.  You might call it the 'affordable' section of town.  You might also call it the part of town where the 7-11 is, where Milton Street lives, where the Section Eight housing is and where Micky D's has an outpost.  In other words, it's the part of town people say "Oh You live in Lenola," like they just stepped in something when they hear you are from there.  The houses are smaller, many of them are rental units and everything looks just a bit tired.  Plus, it's where the more industrial business have traditionally been centered, leaving a  gritty, tried feeling on this side of town.


Town Hall


In a plan to help both the downtown business district and to kick start the Lenola section, Moorestown council member Seth Broder has proposed moving the town hall from its current location in the center of town to a former industrial waste dump "on the other side of the tracks" in the Lenola section of town.  I agree that the downtown area needs a shot in the arm, and a large parcel of ground downtown could be just the thing the small businesses need to add the critical mass needed to combat Best Buy, Home Depot and Barnes and Noble out at the mall.   But I think this plan is ill-conceived. 


First, the library would stay put, limiting the value and size of any mixed-use development that could inhabit the current town hall location.  Second, you're talking about moving the town hall to a toxic waste dump? 


Surely there have to be some other ways to get things moving in Lenola.  How much will the town hall actually help Lenola if you are going to also keep some services downtown?  Re-hab the old town hall and find another use for the toxic waste dump.


Conclusion


I think that all of the ideas proposed have some merit and serve as a great place for a  properly emnpowered town governing board to make some substantial long-term planning decisions.  These decisions need to take into account he history of the town while acknowledging that even the best place to live in the nation must change to continue to be attractive in the future.


It's time for Moorestown to address that the affordable sections of town look run-down and forgotten in comparison to Vernon Hill's neighborhood and that it's going to be tough to get a decent restaurant in town without a liquor license.  While I will pay for great schools and safe, clean streets, most people have a financial limit that they are willing or able to pay in taxes.  Moorestown needs to attract commercial tax eatables to  provide long-term residential tax relief.  failing to do so will only serve to price the town out of reach of the folks who have lived there for decades.


media credits: Flickr member Guy Noir's photos "Second Street Flags" and "Second Street House." Thanks!!!


Caterpillar Controversy


  Near Four MIle Circle 
  Originally uploaded by Cavalier92

I had a chance last week to drive through some of the sections of the New Jersey Pinelands that have been devastated by Gypsy Moth Caterpillar damage this spring and summer.


I lived and worked in the Pinelands for 5 years and have visited them regularly since the early '90s.  This is the worst damage I have seen in that time.  In many areas, the forest canopy looks similar to its winter condition, with the oaks bare of leaves.  When you get a closer look, you realize that there are tiny bits of leaves left on the oaks and even the pines have some needle damage.


The gypsy moth caterpillars have eaten every green thing in their path.  The lack of leaves in a forest in the middle of the summer is eerie and leaves you with a feeling that there has been some kind of industrial accident that affected only the oaks.


There is a controversial spraying program to try to combat the pests and some homeowners have supplemented the state's aerial spraying program by spraying their own properties.  You can see the places that this was done and they stand in stark contrast to the vast swaths of natural destruction left behind by the ugly little eating machines.


I'm not a botanist, but I can't imagine that the forest can easily recover from the damage. My guess is that many of these tress will die.  That will add to the already high fire danger in the Pinelands due to the recent dry summers. 


Some have said that the application of Union Carbide's Sevin brand of pesticide in substantial amounts applied from the air might have stopped the damage this year.  The Department of Environmentl protection also rejected the use of the pesticide Dimilin as well.  Instead, the state applied the less-controversial, but less-effective Bt.  Tempers have flared.


I've got to say that i don't like the idea of large-scale aerial sprays of toxins over populated areas.  But I think that you have to weigh the relatively small risk of the use of such chemicals versus the very real risk that the entire Pinelands area could be lost over the next several years.


I think we've got to look hard at these pictures and make some tough choices before next spring.  I'm leaning toward spraying Dimilin more widely, but I am open to hearing other viewpoints.


Sunday, July 01, 2007

At Least The Fireworks Were Good


  CPB Fireworks 
  Originally uploaded by Cavalier92

As the Phillies sit on the doorstep to a 4-0 sweep at the hands of the hated Mets, and all around us seems to be in shambles, I have only this to offer as a positive:


Friday's fireworks were the best I've seen in years.


Yup.  That's it sports fans.  I am reduced to analyzing fireworks at this point.


Because I sure don't want to analyze JA Happ, Joe Plate, Pat "I make as much as Big Papi" Burrell or any of even the slumping Jimmy Rollins.


I fully expect the Phils will put a win on the board today to salvage some semblance of respectability, but it will still leave us buried 5 games back and sitting a .500.  As usual.