Wednesday, December 31, 2008

One Hell of A Year

This is a year people will talk about for a very long time, both locally, as well as nationally and globally.

On a local level, the major story is the Phils breaking the curse of Billy Penn and winning it all for the first time in 28 years.  What a season and what a parade!  Chase Utley said it best.  We also had the usual vultures circling Andy Reid, only to see him pull a rabbit out of the hat again and get the Eagles to an improbable playoff bid.

We lost Johnny Marzano and Ann d'Harnoncourt (the only time those names will ever be in the same sentence) and effectively lost Vince Fumo.  Killadelphia was still violent, though 15% fewer people lost their lives.  Michael Nutter slashed city spending and Willie Goode's squeeze got nailed by Jeff Cole.  In South Jersey, Wayne Bryant went from most powerful man in South Jersey to just another convicted felon.  The Fort Dix terror plotters will go to jail, but not for as long as Bryant.

Alicia Lane and Booker got fired, Larry Mendte was creepy, the Comcast Center opened and Striped Bass and Samson Street Oyster House closed.

Nationally the big story was the people doing the right thing and electing the best man regardless of skin color.  Tina Fey was better as a VP candidate than Sarah Palin and John McCain's campaign looked the same when he was running as it did when it was suspended.  One governor had a hooker take him down and another sold a US Senate seat

The economy collapsed, despite every effort to give billions of taxpayer dollars to wealthy people.  Gas prices rocketed to over $4 and then dropped back to $1.35 here in Moorestown.  More than 300 Americans died int Iraq War, a fact that is sadly well down the list of 2008 events.

Michael Phelps outswam everyone in Bejing, including tiny 14 year old Chinese gymnasts.  The big story in China for the year was the earthquake that killed 70,000 people in May.  Terrorists struck Mumbai in an bloody week of fighting that killed more than 300.  Israel began an assault on Gaza this week, preparing for an invasion.

While the economy has had an effect on me personally as well as the rest of the world, I have been lucky this year.  The kids are great, I got to travel to Albuquerque and Santa Fe on a great trip, as well as call the Division III Final Four, visit Sedona, Annapolis, Maine, Disney, DC, Maine again, Gettysburg, Toronto, NYC, Boston, State College and Southern California

I got to watch the Phils clinch with John and my princess walk in a parade the same day the Phils celebrated their second championship in my lifetime.  I've got a challenging job and work with great people.  My family made it through the year with no health crises and we see lots of the greatest friends in the world. 

And I made an important decision about my future that I will talk about another time.

In many ways 2008 was a rough year.  I feel very lucky to be able to be looking forward to 2009 while still being able to say that 2008 was a pretty good year here. 

From Another Delco Guy to you - Happy New Year.  Be safe and enjoy!


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Some Really Great Writing

I'm pretty quick to jump on journalists when they mail one in, so I thought I'd take a moment today to compliment a stunning piece in today's Inquirer.

Melissa Dribben brings light to the sad story of Zal Chapgar, a young man who most of us knew only as the person who threw himself from the Lowes Hotel in Philadelphia earlier this month.  Her prose is warm and empathetic, but also weighty with resolve to tell the tough parts of the story as well.

I'm not going to do a capsule here, I can't possibly do it justice.  Just go here and read it.  It's Dribben's best work in years.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Exhausted

I'm finally back online here and have to thank Hajii - no lie - who works for "The Comcast" for diagnosing and explaining my internet issue this morning.  It was nothing a new Linksys WRT160N router couldn't fix!

I'm pretty close to bed here, but I thought I'd let you know that all is well here at Another Delco Guy and I have been a bit busy with housework, parties and the Wii for the last few days.

I got a chance to meet my cousin Pat's son Larkin today and that was a lot of fun.  He's a bright friendly kid who was more than willing to let his big cousin hold him for a bit.  Now I'm watching a pretty good thriller named Quicksand on Encore and then I may go to bed.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Brief Rest

Another Delco Guy is catching his breath between dropping the kids at their mom's and Christmas Family Event 3.  I wish I had time for a nap.  But I don't.  And I really want to play some Wii boxing, but no time for that either.

Hope Santa was good to you all and that you are enjoying your family and friends today!


Christmas Morn


Getting Started
Originally uploaded by Cavalier92

The kids have come down to their presents, a nice fire is going and we're starting to get hungry.

John's playing on his new DS, Emma is making a potholder and the Wii is updating itself.

Yup. Santa Char brought Another Delco Guy a Wii.

I'm like a kid on Christmas morn!!!!


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Santa Has Been Here!!!


The Gifts
Originally uploaded by Cavalier92
It's just after midnight here in the East and Santa has made his appearance. The two mounds of presents appear to be for my two wonderful children. I think they will both be very happy.

We had a great night of family and friends here in Moorestown and are looking forward to the visit of Grandma and Pop in the morning. As for now, I think I am off to bed.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Christmas Eve Craziness

Well the house is a wreck, the presents aren't wrapped and guests arrive in less than three hours.  Sound familiar?

After a quick trip to work, Another Delco Guy hit BJs, Target and the grocery store with several million other South Jerseyans.  Now that we've got everything home, It's time to make the place presentable!

Please accept my best wishes for a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  We'll be busy with the kids and family and friends here, but check back in between your crazy moments for posts on holidays past and present.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Working Over Break

I know that I have reported that I am off until the end of the year, but I'm back in the office today. The photo shows what's going on that needs my attention.

Last week, my current job was expanded to include leading The University of the Arts student billing operations as well as my old responsibilities in financial aid and enrollment management. One of the key issues facing the student billing folks in improving their relationship with students its that they had really poor physical space. All of their interactions with families were though plastic windows and the space was a warren of tiny, cluttered spaces that were badly planned and didn't function well.

That's all going to change!

We've gotten approval from the powers that be (thanks Sean and Tom!) to gut the old student billing space, reconfigure some furniture and create a space where students will be able to interact directly with the folks that can help them pay their bills here at UArts. It's a tough economy to be spending money in, but we really think that this project will go a long way to helping retain students.

Like a lot of places, we've always spent too much time and effort bouncing students from one office to the other to make them solve their own problems. This project will give us the physical space we need to create place where we can work with students to really solve their problems.

The physical space is old, dating to the 1860s, with many renovations over the years. The most recent renovation in the late 1980s was designed as a temporary solution. Twenty years later, we're still going to use some of that temporary project in this phase. We're working with Cathie at Stephen Varenhorst Architects planning a few more phases to complete the Student Services Center, but they're for another day (or year).

More photos are up here. I'll keep you posted on the progress!


Monday, December 22, 2008

Santa Is Blown Away

With wins of about 25 mph and similar temperatures today, Santa seems to be having a bit of trouble. It's a rough day for the typical pre-holidays in and out of the car routine, but I will cope. I've got the rest of the year off after all!!Santa Is Blown Away


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Making Fire

It's nice that Acme sells the little bundles of firewood from Custis Farms of Nassawadox, VA.  For those of us who won't be getting a firewood drop until Tuesday it makes the thought of a cold Sunday night a bit warmer.

Just the thought though.  Even with the assistance of a Duraflame log and all the cardboard and paper I have, the wood remains unflappably fireproof.  It just sits there sizzling and taunting me.

I teased Kevin pretty badly a few weeks ago when his store-bought wood wouldn't ignite, but tonight I too am humbled.


Guy Shopping

John and I are out at the Moorestown Mall with about 3 billion other procrastinators. You'll recgonize us from the othe father-son pairs out trying to get things finished up before the Eagles-Skins game at 4.Guy Shopping


Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Fantastic Four

It's almost time!  Christmas is darn near upon us!  So here's a holiday-themed Fantastic Four:

What are the four best Christmas songs or pieces of holiday music?

  1. Santa Claus is Coming To Town - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
  2. Linus and Lucy - Vince Guraldi
  3. The 12 Days of Christmas - John Denver and the Muppets
  4. Christmas Island - Jimmy Buffett


You all have a great weekend!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

An Exceprt From the Christmas Letter


Quiet For The Moment
Originally uploaded by Cavalier92
Every year my parents send out a letter to their Christmas list. I don't like it. That's putting it mildly. For the most part my feelings can be summed up as, if you haven't bothered to be in touch all year, do you really care what's been going on all year?

As always I was asked to contribute a few paragraphs about my life. An excerpt follows:


His girlfriend has not yet come to her senses and left him. Key word - yet. They contribute to the economy as often as possible traveling to Maine, Southern California, Annapolis and DC this year without the kids and to Maine, and Orlando with the kids. Chris also had solo trips to Santa Fe (go there), Boston, NYC, Roanoke and Toronto. Neither John, 8, or Emma, 5, are currently incarcerated, though Chris fears that Emma’s shoe dependency problem may lead her to a life of crime. John had a great year playing on an undefeated baseball team, and was there with his Dad at the Ballpark when the Phils clinched the pennant. John said it was the greatest moment of his life. Then we won it all!!!! Emma spent much of the year teaching her cousin Ellie the finer points of girlhood, whispering words like “shoes” and “princesses” to her. Emma has drawn on nearly every surface in the house and enjoys doing ‘her art.’ Chris whimpers softly when he calculates the amount of debt she will go into in order to work as an artist.

I suspect my mother will do some editing.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Another Christmas, Another Santa Photo

Another Delco Guy and family braved the crowds tonight and headed over for our third annual visit to the Moorestown Mall Santa photo operation. It's a pretty good image and the kids were able to run down their lists for the kindly man in red.

John's hoping for the Wii but will settle for the DS and Emma wants more princess things and Pixos and Moon Sand. Can two kids be more archetypal in terms of gender typing?

I'm fading fast here, so that's it from Moorestown!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What A Night!

It's performances like tonight that make working at The University of The Arts an amazing experience!

Here we see the In Synch Singers opening the Caplan Center for the Performing Arts.What A Night!


Monday, December 15, 2008

Blogging Out Hunger

Foodbankbutton3 2008 has been a time of nearly unprecedented economic stress but here in New Jersey and across the country.  As always seems to be the case, the folks hit hardest by the recent recession are, of course, the ones least prepared to handle it.

Those of us who are only marginally affected (so far) are doing what we can to help.  I know I see lost of folks stopping at the Salvation Army kettles and I've brought canned goods to about 4 food drives so far, but there still seems to be a lack of attention on the issue.

I hope that today can change that a bit here in New Jersey.  Last week one of the premier New Jersey Food bloggers, John and Lisa Howard-Fusco asked me to be part of today's Blogging Out Hunger.  The program was put together by Debbie at Jersey Bites, and I am blogger number 51 of 103 who will post today about how the recession is affecting the food banks of New Jersey.

In my regular job I help families figure out how they are going to afford to send their kids to college.  In a good economy it's a tough job.  In a bad economy, well, let's not go there.  I'm lucky to be at a school that has the resources to help.  For years though, I worked at a community college, where literally thousands of our students depended on public assistance, food stamps, church soup kitchens and the generosity of others to squeak by.

From that experience I can tell you that even across the fairly prosperous areas of South Jersey, there are unseen poor, forced to wear winter coats inside to keep heating bills low enough that they can afford to feed their kids.  They guy scavenging newspapers from your curb on recycling day is probably burning them to keep warm.

The recession is especially insidious becasue it's hit the middle class hard.  We're the traditional target population for the appeals by the food banks for funding.  And we're giving less because we have less to give.

But the problem has not gotten smaller.  In fact, food banks across NJ face demand that is far oupacing their ability to help.  Only though direct action can we turn this around.

Please go here and donate.  Today.  You never know when you might be the one in need.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

My Christmas Card Picture


The Hardware and Me
Originally uploaded by Cavalier92
In what is truly a brilliant move to get Phillies Phans to come down to the park and buy more 2008 World Series Champions gear, the Phils made The Commissioner's Trophy available for photos today.

After waiting for about 30 minutes in line, I got my chance to actually touch the trophy and pose for a photo. Carlo and Ann were right behind me and we got a nice shot of them too.

I am guessing thousands of folks came out to the park today to see the hardware. My photos from the day are up here.

Waiting To See The Trophy

It's a bit cold, but I've waited 28 years. I can handle it! Waiting To See The Trophy


Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Fantastic Four

Ok - so given my brush with celebrity (albeit a bit umm older) this morning, today's Fantastic Four is simple:

What four celebrities have you met? If you haven't met four, list some you would like to meet!

1. President Jimmy Carter - my dad got me in the receiving line here in Philly the Sunday before the 1980, Carter was hoarse and tired, but very gracious.

2. Oprah - At Alisson's in 1995. Very odd. She ordered French Fries and just smelled them.

3. Patti LaBelle this morning - she was very nice and thanks me for saying hello to her.

4. Coach K - at the 1993 Final Four in New Orleans. What a classy guy!

You all have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Streets of Philadelphia

As most of you know, I work in Cente1205081501r City Philadelphia and commute in daily  from the South Jersey suburbs.  Most days it takes about 30 minutes.  Some days longer.  But almost every day I see something interesting.

Smart cars, fender benders, clueless dog walkers, movies shoots, girlfriends throwing the ex's stuff out a 3rd floor window.  You never know what the commute will bring.  Lately the Tylenol Taxis have been attracting attention.  Billed as "London Taxis," the Illinois-licensed cars are left hand drive, so I am not sure how accurate that phrase is, but they are a pretty cool ad concept.

Recently the commute has been complicated by the installation of giant brown metal boxes at every intersection.  The brown boxes are everywhere in Center 1203081509 City!  Part of the project that is replacing all of the traffic lights and adding street lights throughout Philly.  It's a great project for the guys tearing up all the streets and installing ribbons of sticky hot patch on every corner, but I'm about done with it.

I'm not sure the long term value of the project outweighs one or two ugly brown boxes on every corner.  These monsters are over five feet tall and two feet square.  I am told by some of the workers that they house the controls for the traffic signals.  And "some other stuff."  Hmm.  Sounds faintly like Dick Cheney might be involved.  I thought that technology had made some advances in terms of miniaturization in the last century or so.  These babies look like they could house a Cray supercomputer.

And finally you've got the recent appearance of these odd ads on the sidewalk in front of various Avenue of the Arts venues.  I'm not sure what they're all about, but they encourage you to call a1205081456 Northern Virginia area code.  Random stuff appears on the sidewalks and streets of Center City all the time, but the fluorescent paint caught my attention.  They didn't hold up well to the recent rain so it's unlikely that the project has any serious legs.

Everyone have a great day and drive safely in the rain!


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Another Governor Arrested

This story just blows me away.  I was pretty certain that there was no way anyone could be more corrupt than former Illinois governor George Ryan.  Ryan's current address is a federal medium security prison, so the bar's pretty darn high.

Then Rod Blagojevich decided to sell president-elect Barack Obama's former US senate seat to the highest bidder. 

What is basically boils down to is this.  The guy got elected governor for the sole reason to pimp out the office and make himself rich.  He's been under federal investigation and wiretap for months.  The US Attorney in the case actually hurried the indictment to quash the Guv's attempt to appoint to the senate whoever paid him the most.

That's just the highest profile of his crimes.  he also allegedly has been extorting huge contributions from companies with state contracts.  He's been bust doing this for the last few months because he's trying to get around campaign finance  reform slated to go into effect in Illinois in January.

In between those scams, he's been pressuring the Chicago Tribune to fire editors that write things about him like 'he's a dirty crooked scumbag.' 

This mess makes New Jersey's scandals look tame in comparison.


Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Lights are Up!

Another Delco Guy and his trusty sidekick John got the lights up after only one trip to the big orange hardware store. Looks pretty, huh?1207081803.jpg


A Fun Night

We had a great night last night at Carin and Kevin's. A roaring fire, warm stew and chili, red wine and flocks of children really make for a lively evening. Add in gingerbread house decoration, caroling and Santa coming to town and you've got a night to remember. And that doesn't even include the ride in the firetruck!

I really like times like this, where we spend time having fun with our family and friends. A bit later today, we'll put up the Christmas decorations outside and get the tree finished up.

After Emma's nap, that is.


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Emma and Her Gingerbread House

We're in Swarthmore getting ready for Santa's arrival. Emma has meticulously decorated her house and has moved on to eating the decorations.Emma and Her Gingerbread House


Lipstick On A Pig

So the stories about Sarah Palin just won't let up.  Turns out $150,000 was only the first installment of what it took to get her ready for prime time.  Well.  At least PHYSICALLY ready for prime time. 

From Bloomberg:

John McCain's campaign spent more than $95,000 on hair and makeup services for vice presidential running mate Sarah Palin in the final weeks of the campaign, according to Federal Election Commission records.


Talk about throwing good money after bad.

And the first shopping spree wasn't enough:

Separately, the Republican National Committee - which caused a ruckus when it spent more than $150,000 to clothe Palin and her family in September - spent about $23,000 in the final weeks at Macy's, Neiman Marcus and other stores for "campaign accessories."


I haven't spent that much on clothes in my life.  Of course I am not trying to go from backwoods GILF hockey mom to a heartbeat away from the presidency.  Goshdarnit!

I also can't see Russia from my house. 

Thank God America.  All I can say is THANK GOD you did the right thing!


Friday, December 05, 2008

Friday Fantastic Four

I love massive projects.  The Big Dig?  Incredible!  I can watch shows about it all day long.  Well.  Unless the show is about this.  I also think that big public works projects, when well-planned and not subject to political whim are generally good for society.  This country has a history of doing it BIG.  But recently, many of the world's massive projects are being done overseas.  Some of that is the NIMBY nature of folks here in the US.  Some of it has to do with ill-informed media naysayers.

I think what our economic crisis needs is some massive construction projects.  Thus, this week's Fantastic Four:

What four BIG projects would you like to see completed?

  1. The American Commerce Center in Center City Philadelphia.
  2. A Big Dig-style project that would bury I-95 though Philadelphia and re-connect the city with its river.
  3. A network of off-shore wind turbines for clean, safe power
  4. The soccer stadium in Chester

How about you?  What would you build?


Thursday, December 04, 2008

PHL to LAX

Reflections in free verse ...

Rude gate clerks

Dogs and Cats on the plane


A horrible odor in the cabin and an hour on the tarmac


Turbulence


$2 water and no change


A stale slimy sandwich


Only 40 minutes into a 5 hour flight


Smooth at 36000 feet over Pittsburgh.


Expected to arrive on time


My rowmate has a role on ER as a nurse


Four corners below and to the left


Monument valley - Cool


The grand canyon - how com it's never on my side?


Smoke on the left on approach

90 degree heat though the gap

Here!


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Tree's Up!


The Tree's Up!
Originally uploaded by Cavalier92
While it needs a bit of fluffing, the tree is assembled and lit in the corner. There are a million things to do around here to get ready for Christmas, but number one is checked off!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Karen Heller Needs A Clue

2322739100_1855512d99_b I saw this article tonight and just feel a need to respond. I have been hanging out in Chester since my mom ran day care centers there when I was a wee lad.  I went to high school there.  I made out in Chester Park.  I worked there for nine years.

If I never set foot in Chester again, I have spent more time there than Karen Heller will spend there in her life. 

My guess is that she wandered in for yesterday's press event breaking ground for the new MLS stadium in the shadow of the Commodore Barry Bridge, looked around for a Starbucks, and damn near ran screaming from the area.  My favorite quote in the story demonstrating her complete and total lack of understanding of the City of Chester is this:

Chester, the state's poorest city, is without a supermarket. There's hardly a place to get a decent cup of coffee.

Karen, sweetheart, you're clueless.  There isn't a SINGLE fucking place to get a


decent cup of coffee.  The fast food places closed in the 90s.  Wawa pulled out in '01.  I'm willing to bet you can't find a decent cup of coffee in the corner markets and bodegas.  A few years back I paid $4 bucks for a cup of pretty average coffee at Crozer.  I got a better cup at the gas station today.

Smart guy Rick Eckstein, a Villanova professor who hates public funding for sports stadiums, is quoted.  Note how little he has to say about his first-hand visits to the city.  He compares the economic impact of the stadium to a bodega.  Listen Ricky, Chester has an earned income tax.  The stadium construction itself is going to raise hundreds of thousands of new tax dollars.  This says nothing of the continuing tax benefits of the visitors to the stadium who might then head up 2nd Street to Harrah's.  Or of the potential benefits of further real estate development.

I feel for people like Joan Broadfield, quoted in the story as saying, " ...I don't think it will do what's needed. There's a whole lot more people could do for Chester than a soccer stadium."  She and the rest of the residents of Chester have been mis-treated and ignored by government for so long they can't see this for the potential boon that it is.  Heller pines for Joan to have a grocery store instead of a stadium.

Karen, the grocery stores left because the people can't afford to buy food.  The stadium will bring them the jobs they need to lure the Save-A-Lot back. 

No, this one project won't fix all that is wrong with Chester.  But when you combine it with the recent development at Harrah's, the expansion at Widener, the money Crozer is spending and the rest of the money being poured into the left-for-dead former industrial giant, you begin to see the outlines of revitalization.

Karen, I see how this looks like just another bailout for soccer heads.  But what it really is is the chance for the soccer heads to bail out the folks industry and government has left behind for decades.

Get your head out of the sand.  Buy a ticket.  I'm not even a soccer fan and I sure will.

And the Decorating Begins!


Emily the Elf
Originally uploaded by Cavalier92

Well the madness is upon us. In the office today, the elves are decorating every available surface, holiday carols are playing and hot cocoa is being consumed.

Ho Ho Ho!!!

Photos are up on Flickr.

Only 14 more work days until break!!!


Sunday, November 30, 2008

It's All Over

The four day Thanksgiving Break is winding to a close and with it my fantasy football playoff hopes.  Another abysmal season marked by under performing draft picks and boneheaded managerial moves will go by the boards with my loss today.  Ahh just ten more weeks until pitchers and catchers report!

This was a largely restful break for me, as the kids spent it away with their mom and I had no work responsibilities.  I took some photos, enjoyed my family and friends, had Carlo and Anne over for dinner, shopped, and did a bit of home wiring in preparation for the increased wattage demands of Christmas.

All in all, a pretty good four days.  It's back to the grind tomorrow as December starts and with it the incredible gridlock of Center City Philly traffic at holiday time.  I guess the extra 1% sales tax doesn't deter many shoppers, and there are the holiday shows around town and all of the office parties and events.  I've got a bunch of them coming up as well as all of the students have their end of semester exhibitions and productions. 

I hope you enjoyed your break.  Now get back to work!  The economy needs you!!


Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday Fantastic Four

A regular reader has reminded me that it is Friday and thus there should be a Fantastic Four post.  I considered taking the day off.  Based on the roads in South Jersey, everyone else did.  But my duty to my hundreds - err uhh - dozens umm more like several loyal readers has won out.

Since many of us are now sitting on the couch recovering from Thanksgiving, or like me, recovering from collateral effects of living near a mall, I will go with a Thanksgiving theme today.

What are your four favorite things about Thanksgiving?

  1. That it's a non-religious, or at least a-religious holiday.  No pressure to get up early and get to church or anything.
  2. That it's entirely permissible to say "I'm gonna get me some dark meat today!"
  3. That I've got Friday off!
  4. That America has turned yet another holiday into an orgy of gluttony, televised sports and shopping.

Go have a turkey sandwich!  And get me one while you're at it


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving

1943-03-06-Saturday-Evening-Post-Norman-Rockwell-article-Freedom-from-Want-430-Digimarc The thanksgiving post and Norman Rockwell's 'Freedom From Want' has become a bit of a tradition at Another Delco Guy.  This is my third Thanksgiving as a blogger and probably the roughest year to be thankful for.  Still, there is so much that we have and so little that we want for.  It's wonderful to have a whole day to think about all the wonderful things in my life and to spend it with family and friends.

I'm most thankful of course for my wonderful kids.  I had the wonderful experience of sharing an undefeated little league season as well as Phillies World Championship with John this year.  He's a great kid and has been through so much.  I am thankful that it has not clouded his positive energy.  He makes me proud in so many ways.

Emma is the sweetest person in the world and it's been wonderful watching her personality develop.  She is still a little girl in so many ways, but more and more she is really showing the woman she is going to grow into.  Shopping, gardening and cooking are favorite things.  She also likes boys.  Sigh.

My family and friends have been there as always this year for me and I don't say thank you to them enough.  I know it's hard to deal with a guy who is always right and often pissed off.  Thanks for listening, advising and taking care of me.  I'm also thankful for all you folks who stop by each day and give me a reason to write!

On the larger themes, I still remain amazed at the ability of the American people to admit a mistake and turn the bastards out.  We live in a place where the government changes peacefully and without serious conflict.  I am so lucky to bring my family up in a place that is safe and has good schools and where we can travel easily.  Most of the people in this world can't say that and we're really lucky.

In my job I deal everyday with families who have been hit hard by the economic disaster that is facing the nation and the world.  I'm especially thankful to have been only marginally affected by the horrible decisions and policies of the last decade.  I'm even more thankful to know that this is only a moment in time and that this too will pass.

Today I encourage all of you to spend some time with your family or friends and reflect on how much they mean to you.  But even more, think about the people who have made where we live so amazing.  The soldiers and sailors and police officers who serve us for so little and provide us so much.  The visionaries who were the architects of this nation and whose brilliance still guides us today.  The people who are working today to help so many in hospitals and soup kitchens and all the other places we're lucky not to have to rely on today.

Happy Thanksgiving from Another Delco Guy to you and yours!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Skipping Amateur Night

On one of the biggest drinking nights of the year, I am happily ensconced at home, waiting for the rib eye roast to finish up and sipping a nice Cabernet.  In what can only be observed as an obvious sign of advancing maturity, I have decided to forgo the insanity and the DUI checkpoints and spend the night before Thanksgiving at home.

After a long day that saw my kids kids head off to Maine for the holiday, a bunch of typical work crap and series of negotiations that saw my CR-V finally returned, I'm actually happy not to be headed out into the maelstrom.  While I would enjoy seeing Mr. Greengenes and all my friend at McFadden's, this is more what I need.

Tomorrow I'll sleep late, eat a big breakfast, set my fantasy lineup and then spend some time at both Arlene's and Carin's houses.  I may even entertain watching a few minutes of the Eagles.  I'll make my traditional Thanksgiving post for all of my readers and try to shake my recent spate of melancholy. 

Time to check on the roast.  Have a great night and be safe!


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Themed Fun

I have really been enjoying this year's AT&T alter-ego commercials where they have the actor saying, "My phone doesn't have any bars here or I would know ..."  They are all really very good.

This one, however,  may be the funniest thing I have ever seen on TV:

I mean we've all done things where the final outcome was not what we thought it was gonna be, right? I love the debris raining down as well as the part at the end where he realizes part of his beard is missing.


Can't We Postpone?

Anyone else feeling overwhelmed?  Not ready for the holidays?  Terrified by the approaching traffic jams around retail outlets?

I sure as hell am.

I'm not sure if it's the current economic crisis, the extra duties at work, my own empty bank account or what, but I am NOT looking forward to the next 5 weeks.  Yeah I'll enjoy the time with family and friends, gathered around the fire watching the Eagles suck, but it's the preparation I dread.

Decorate outside, decorate inside, put up the tree, fluff it up, ornaments, clean clean clean, shop shop shop, bake cookies, buy gifts for the people you thought weren't on the list but got you a cheese wheel.  Wrap up the cheese wheel for the next door neighbor who just showed up smiling.  It's the spirit, not the actual gift right?

I didn't manage to actually get home from work until 7 last night, but as I was coming down 38 I saw the first real sign of the holiday season.  Lines off the highway to get into the Moorestown mall parking lot. 

I'm just not ready


Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Quiet Sunday


Ellie is 2!
Originally uploaded by Cavalier92

We're taking it easy here today, resting up from our night of parties last night.

John and I are watching the Eagles and looking over the photos from Ellie's birthday party last night. We all had a great time last night and if John was 100%, they would have slept over. We'll have to wait until Santa comes to Swarthmore in two weeks.

It was a great party with Carin's usual amazing array of goodies. We took a few hours to head over to my 20th high school reunion. It was fun to see how much some of the guys have changed and how much some have stayed the same. We had a little re-enactment of the lunch table from 20 years ago, with Chris Kopko, Mike Dougherty and I sitting and talking for a long time.

The Doghouse looks great and the bar area was where most of the guys hung out talking about the old days and comparing notes on marriages, kids, jobs and the like. All of the photos and memorabilia really brought back some great memories. I was gratified to hear a number of times that I was told that I look the same. Many of these guys are in sales and obviously lie well.

It was good to see Coach Moke, Mr. Robinson, Mr. Mooney and Mrs. Keenan join the Class of 88 last night. A special shout out to John McCabe for driving the 9.5 hours from Knoxville, TN to be the guy who came the furthest for the party. We left before things got rowdy, but I think the guys may have been there later than the published 11pm ending time.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Blah Saturday

After a week in which I have had two car accidents - neither my fault - and will be headed to an event tonight that confirms that I am rapidly aging, I can't really get up the energy to write much of anything.

On the first accident, I'll say that the kid was very nice, just a terrible driver.  As I sat at a ligt he drove directly into the back of me.  He admitted fault to his insurance company and all is well.  The damages to the CR-V are easily fixable and the $4500 in repairs won't cost me a thing.  I was really pleased with the way that Progressive, Burns Honda and Enterprise worked together to get me into a nice new Saturn Aura by 10 am the next day.

On the second accident, all I can say is deer are really stupid animals.  This one ran right across the road, into the side of the rental Aura, smashing the fender and headlight, then flipped up in the air and smashed the driver's side door.  I was a bit shaken by having to drag the dead animal out of the road, but the kids didn't notice the accident until I pulled the car over.  Once again, kudos to Enterprise, especially Matt Hutchinson and Jessica Karas, for getting me into another Aura after they were supposed to be gone on a Friday night.

Tonight, after Ellie's second birthday, we'll be headed over to Eddystone for my 20th high school reunion at The St. James Doghouse.  I can't say I am super looking forward to seeing a bunch of thickened, balding versions of my high school classmates, but I do have some degree of morbid curiosity.  A few of us have kept up over the years, but for the most part, I have not seem these guys in quite some time. 

I'll let you know how it goes.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday Fantastic Four


First Snow!
Originally uploaded by Cavalier92

While you can't really see it in the photo, there IS snow falling in the Philadelphia region today, causing slick roads and as much as 3 inches in some of the western suburbs.  It's been a wild weather week for me, from a record high temperature of 93 in Los Angeles on Saturday to snow and biting wind today.

So today's Friday Fantastic Four will be weather related:

What are your favorite things about the weather where you live?

1. Leaves turning
2. The first snowfall
3. Indian Summer
4. The earthy dampness that you can smell after spring rainstorms

Everybody have a great weekend and enjoy the snow!!!!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Oh Shit

Philly.com, SR 950 and others are reporting that Chase Utley will undergo hip surgery and could be out until June.

This would explain the August through October slide for the Phils' second baseman who looked like a shoo-in for MVP at the All-Star Break.  It also explains the late pickup for Tadihito Iguchi.  I guess the Phils knew all along this was a problem and decided that they didn't want anyone else to know about it.

I wasn't thinking a trip back to the World Series was a given, but I was hoping the title defense would go better than this is staring out.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Goodbye LA!

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Heavy Fog and A Dead Laptop

I should be watching the sun come up here at LAX, but heavy fog has things pretty dark outside. Hopefully we will get away on time, though there is no aircraft at the gate yet.


In other crappy news, my laptop seems to be dead. The power light comes on and then the caps lock light blinks for a long time and then all the lights go off. Maybe a flight across the country will resurrect it!1119080605.jpg


Sunday, November 16, 2008

The View From Jim Rockford's Trailer

We're having a late lunch at the Paradise Cove Beach Café, which was in a previous life The Sandcastle. Fans of The Rockford Files will remember that Jim's trailer was parked in the parking lot of The Sandcastle.

Today we made the pilgrimage to find that only a few reminders are still in evidence, but it's still an amazing spot. We walked the pier, had a beer and now it's time to eat! The View From Jim Rockford's Trailer


Kate Smith's Hollywood Star

For all you Flyers fans!1116080953.jpg


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Scary Smoky Evening


Scary Smoky Evening
Originally uploaded by Cavalier92

This is the view looking Northwest from the Anaheim Marriott tonight.

There are wildfires burning out of control about 6 miles from here and the smoke is thick in the air. Ash covers the bottom of the hotel pool and it's really a very odd place to be.

We're safe here, but it's the strangest thing I have ever seen.


On the Ground in LA!

It was a pretty good ride in on USAirways 1419. We got to see the Grand Canyon and managed to arrive on time.

My ride for the week is a black Toyota Solera convertible!  


Friday, November 14, 2008

Boom!

I was on my way home from a long day at work yesterday when a really nice young man couldn't stop in time and rear-ended me at a stop light. The damage to the CR-V isn't that bad but I am afraid he totaled his Saturn.

The good news is that there weren't any injuries and my car is already on the way to the body shop. The bad news is I am going to be late for work!Boom!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Yuch

While the rain has stopped here in Center City, it's still pretty cold and gray and nasty.

I hope you have something warm planned tonight!Yuch


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

More Signs of Economic Trouble

I can't believe the number of emails I am getting from major online retailers, chain bookstores, bricks and mortar retailers, gift specialty stores etc offering HUGE discounts if I buy right now.  40% is about average, but some were going as high as 70% off.  I'm used to four or five a week but right now it's more like four or five a day.

I know the holiday shopping season is approaching and retailers are facing some tough times, but this stuff looks more like stores looking to raise cash and drop inventories.  Print ads in this weekend's paper seemed to mirror the trend.

To me, a rather casual observer of all things economic, this looks like a sign that the consumer economy of the United States is bracing for a major tailspin which will dwarf the problems in the housing market.  We don't really manufacture anything here in the US anymore, except cars, and our economy is services and retail-centric.  Most folks don't make things, they sell things or take care of people in one way or another. 

Thus, these signs that retailers are girding their loins for lean times could be the harbinger of an impending economic disaster that could be years in correcting.

It's easy to throw money at major mortgage lenders and Wall Street firms to steady those markets a bit.  It's a lot harder to bailout tens of thousands of small regional and local stores and dozens of major chains.  I'm not sure where all this is going, but I have to admit I am more than a bit scared.


Sunday, November 09, 2008

A Long Day

Well, my back is aching, but I feel pretty fulfilled.  Here's the before picture on the leaves:
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Lots of yellow.  Pretty much everywhere.  And it was wet and heavy yellow too.  So after 4 hours of raking and vacuuming and hauling, here is the after pic:

IMG_7081
In you can't see the front and back yards that also got fully cleaned up of twigs and leaves.  It was quite an afternoon but with lots of help it's done now!

We also managed to get Emma's new Dora scooter assembled and four sets of window blinds hung.  Now I'm ready for some Mad Elf and the Eagles.

Have a great week!


Not a Bad Way to Start a Week

Cat Power is purring on the speakers, John is reading Calvin and Hobbes and realizing why I originally wanted to name him Cal, and Emma is doing one Lite Brite design after another.

It got chilly overnight, but we're all camped out on the big bed staying warm together.

We're going to go make some French toast soon, but for now we're all just enjoying a slow Sunday morning.


Friday, November 07, 2008

Friday Fantastic Four

Lots of folks are saying that Tuesday's election was a seminal moment in history.  I understand why some would say that electing a black man president is historic, and on one hand it is, but on the other hand, the economy is still a disaster, partisan politics still reigns (Rham Emmanuel?) and the globe is still warming.

It is indeed an interesting time we live in.

What are the four most interesting or historic moments in your lifetime?

  1. 9-11.  I drove north on I-95 two days prior and had an odd feeling looking at the skyline.  I know - that sounds weird.
  2. John Lennon killed. 
  3. Katrina.  It's still shocking we let this happen to a major American city.
  4. The fall of apartheid. 

Think about it for a bit. 

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I think the Germans have a word for this?

I think the Germans have a word for this?

Posted using ShareThis


Corzine to DC?

On a day where the Burlington County political landscape looks very different than it has for 33 years, things could be much much different state wide in January. 

Various sources are reporting that the Obama transition team is looking very hard at Gov. Jon Corzine to be the Treasury Secretary in the Obama administration.  A former US Senator and long-time Wall Street insider, Corzine seems a logical pick to help guide the corporate welfare trough bailout.

Corzine's administration seems to have stalled this year and his departure for the greener fields of a freshman presidential administration would leave the door open for Dick Codey to resume the gubernatorial duties for the 4th time.  Codey has done a workmanlike job in the post in the past but isn't likely to break up the Trenton logjam that he has been a central part of for 25 years.

Vetting is reportedly underway on Corzine, and that could take a while given the plethora of scandal-tinged behavior The Guv has been linked to.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

It's History

America has voted ... and John McCain has made a phone call. 

Barack Obama is the 44th president of the United States.


Ohio

Another 'battleground' state goes into the Obama category.  That just about seals the deal on this election. 

John McCain is not going to win the White House.


Looking Good

Pennsylvania just went for Obama and that puts the Dems over the 100 electoral vote mark.  So far the story has been the mantra "It's the economy stupid."

Still a lot of states that are too close to call.  We will see how this goes, but things are looking really good so far.


Monday, November 03, 2008

Quite a Surprise

I have to say I was a bit shocked to discover my daughter on the cover of the local paper today!

Some of you may know that my children live partially with me and partially with their mom.  When they are there, they live on a farm in the middle of the Pine Barrens with about 130 acres of cranberries.  When they are here, they live in a modest twin house on our half acre of happiness in Moorestown.

In another phase of my life I helped out at the farm, first as a field manager for the blueberry operation starting in the summer of 1991 and eventually running the cranberry cleaning machine that took the cranberries out of the bog, cleaned them and loaded them onto trucks.  I took a few weeks off from work each October and we all pitched in to get things wrapped up for the year.

The harvest always drew in folks who came down every year, or who just pulled over on the side of Route 563 to watch.  The media came every year, from the Food Network, to Good Morning America to the little local paper.  At least a part of the job was handling the visitors, the media and doing public relations.  The deep reds of the berries and the golds greens and yellows of the trees make for great photos and vivid memories.

Cranberry farming is a difficult business and this group takes it seriously and do it well. They go out of their way to tell their story carefully and to craft it to include many of the traditional touchstones of American agriculture: family, legacy, hard work.

So I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised to see the beautiful photo of my daughter with her grandfather on the front page of The Burlington County Times today, or to see her clapping and having fun and her brother wearing waders and pushing berries in the video posted to the AP today. 

But still I was a bit surprised because it's a part of my life I have left behind and that I don't hear about from them much.  There's a lot of family-values PR in the video, but I watched it with some real happiness for the window it offered me into this other portion of John and Emma's life.

I'm on the road today, so thanks to everyone who helpd me get the media together to post this!


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Emma Is Five!

It's a bit hard to believe that my princess turns five today. The day of her birth is such a vivid memory for me that It seems much more recent that five years ago that I got a call waking me out of bed telling me Emma was on her way. I dropped John off at his grandparents and drove the 29 miles to the hospital in 28 minutes.

She was 8 weeks early and not ready to wake up. She's still a bit of a terror if she's not ready to get up in the morning. I went with her to another hospital that was better able to take care of her. After the ventilator and feeding tubes were installed, Emma rallied a bit and held my hand for the first time.

She's a very tough kid who deals withe the world on her terms. Still, she is the sweetest person I know and loves her family and friends deeply. I am very happy she has not outgrown tickling or cuddling with her daddy. I know she will, but I am not ready yet.

Besides her special friend Bun, Emma really loves her brother John. When she's upset, she always says the same thing, 'I want my brother.' It's great that they are such good friends and that he is always there to comfort her.

Grandma and Pop live in Pennsylvania and Emma loves when they come to visit. It's always a special treat when she can have a sleep over! While Andrew is the cousin her own age, she is very much into her cousin Ellie, and recently confided that she wants a little sister to take care of.

Emma has always loved to cook and to draw, and it's been a wonderful year of watching her mature in both of these areas. She can pretty much make an entire cake, loving to crack eggs and mix things. She sets up elaborate tea parties and school rooms and nap times for her six babies and is capable of amusing herself for hours at a time.

Like most girls, Emma loves to shop. She's still a big fan of shoes and the color pink. Her trips out on the weekend with Char wear her out and induce two hour naps, but she loves them.

Emma is the most wonderful little girl in the world!

Happy birthday princess! Your daddy loves you very much.


Saturday, November 01, 2008

Wow!

IMG_6440 Yesterday was quite a day.  I ran hither and yon, picking John up in the Pine Barrens, both of us driving into Center City in what was really a very normal commute given that 2 million other folks were headed to town.  We had some fun with the UArts folks and hung out on the steps of Hamilton Hall basking in the sunlight of the best fall day in memory.

The crowd was raucous but well behaved save one small incident that Philadelphia Police handled perfectly.  The brawlers were identified, cuffed and taken away in paddy wagons as the crowd chanted "ASSHOLES."  The arresting officers were warmly cheered by throngs along the 300 block of South Broad Street.

Fans climbed trees, lampposts and fences, vamped, ran nearly naked on Broad Street, drank champagne, wore crowns and silly hats and generally enjoyed themselves as they packed the sidewalks 8 deep.  As the parade wound toward us, the excitement level ramped up and chants of "Let's Go Phils!" drowned out the band playing on Pine Street.

After what seemd to be an interminable procession of helicopters, tow trucks, the media, motorcycle cops, segways, horses and police cars, The Budweiser Clydesdales pulled Pat Burrell, his hot wife and Elvis thought the ecstatic screaming throng who at that moment whould have personally paid him $15 million per year for 4 years.  It ain't happening and this would mark his brightest moment as a Phil, but it was nice to see the fans acknowledge his years with us.

We saw Harry the K, Bill Giles,   the Phanatic, J-Roll, Lidge and Howard, the Mayor with the trophy and random people we didn't know.  And then they were gone and we were left to hug and high-five each other and smile for the camera and wonder what do we do next.  Many folks joined the throngs behind the parade and walked the 3.5 miles down to the stadiums. 

John and I had a cheesesteak and talked about how great this day was.

We cheered our heroes and took our pictures and held each other, trying to imprint the moment in our memories forever.  And we held open our hopes for more parades.  In January and April and next October.


Friday, October 31, 2008

What a Day!

I'll post more on this later, but today was an incredible experience. The parade was wonderful, the players were gracious, the fans were exuberant.

John and I had a great day watching the Parade of Champions.

IMG_6438

Congratulations to the Phils!

At The Parade

IMG_6429 The Phillies are World Champions and we're having a parade!!!  Things are starting to get nuts here in Center City Philadelphia. 

We had no trouble getting into town coming over the Ben Franklin and we're here two hours early with several hundred thousand of our friends.

John and I are going to be at Broad and Pine most of the day enjoying the festivities.  Drop by and say Hi if you're in town!!!



Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Great Day

I've had some very good days in my life.  Meeting a president.  Making out with a girl the first time.  Winning a scholarship to college.  The day my son John was born.  The day my daughter Emma came home from the NICU.  The day I got married.  The day my divorce was finalized.  Cutting down the nets in the old Sacred Heat Gym at Cabrini.  Playing Torrey Pines.  Driving the Green River Valley.  Sitting in the rain at Fenway.

But none of those days compared to yesterday.  The anticipation built all day.  Coming back into Philadelphia from Toronto, I drove past the stadiums and knew in that instant daydreamed of a parade Friday.  My son babbled for an hour as we drove home and his innocent certainty was infectious.  The Phils were going to win. 

I've been racking my brain all day.  Trying to think of a moment in my life that meant more to me than listening to Harry Kalas on the call as John and I held each other and jumped up and down in rapture.

And the truth is that nothing compares. 

I don't ever want this feeling to go away.


Championship Call


It was great listening to Harry on the call last night. Wheels looks like he has been riding on the short bus his whole life.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

World Champions!

We listened to Harry make the call on the radio.  Finally. 

Champions!


It's Time

It's been 28 years since the Phillies won the only World Series Championship in their history.

Tonight they will make it 2.

The Phils will overcome Major League Baseball's mismanagement of the first 5 1/2 innings of Game 5 on Monday night and last night's postponement of the resumption of the game to finish the Rays off tonight.  I can Pheel it.

We're gonna have a parade on Broad Street on Friday.


A Great Way To Be Welcomed Home

On the monitors at Philadelphia International Airport:
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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Well That Sucked

I can't believe that Major League Baseball let that game go on last night.  Yeah I know they didn't want to call it and have the Phils win a tainted World Series title, but to let it go on in a complete monsoon was ridiculous and dangerous.

I know that fans are angry, and so are the players, but I am in the odd position of being happy.  since I am out of town, MLB's moronic decision making process last night will give me the chance to perhaps be in town when the rains let up on Wednesday.  Regardless, I'll be home for the parade.

There is a god and he wants me to see the Phils win the world series in person.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Phils Phans In Toronto

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View From The Room


----------------------------------------- Chris Pesotski 'Another Delco Guy in South Jersey' www.cavalier92.com1027081200.jpg


On The Brink

On the most precipitous day in the last 25 years of Philadelphia sports history, I am in the airport headed to Toronto. The red and white Phillies décor brightens my mood a bit as do the legions of Phils-bedecked fans headed out of town.


It's hard to explain the feeling I had as I drove past The Bank this morning. I can't tell you how much I want to be here in Philly tonight to be part of the mayhem as Cole pitches the Phils to the city's first championship since 1983. Instead I'll be in some sports bar in another country! Ahh the trials of a Philadelphia fan.


Go Phils!1027080724.jpg


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Home Depot Reflections

If you are at Home Depot during an Eagles game buying expanding foam, furring strips and duct tape, butchery is imminent !1001082050.jpg


Palin Bails From Sinking Ship

CNN has an interesting report today that criticizes John McCain's choice for VP, Sarah Palin.

The basics are that McCain insiders are 'increasingly frustrated" with Palin's frequent off-message remarks.  You may remember a few weeks back that McCain had to cover up for his running mate's mangling of his Pakistan Policy when someone actually asked her a question about it at what was supposed to be a feel-good event at Tony Luke's.

Now the GOP campaign is upset at what it sees as 'diva' behavior from Palin.  Several McCain aide suggest that the Alaska governor is looking out for herself to the detriment of the overall strategy. 

Palin's aide's defense of the frequent gaffes is damning in its own right, noting that the woman who would be next in line were the 82 year old McCain elected is 'not good' with process questions.  Uhh ok.  If there's a crisis in the Middle East we'll try to keep the process simple for yah Sarah.

The article goes so far as to quote several Palin and McCain aides saying that Palin was 'not ready' to face the press when she was picked to be the potential leader of the free world.


Great.  Just great. 

The guy who picked her really is the source of all this.  You have to question the judgment of a guy who picks some who isn't ready to face the press, let alone terrorists or Wall Street crooks.  McCain's campaign has been a series of embarrassing mis-steps after another and the only reason he's close in the polls is that he is running against a man of mixed race in a sadly still-racist America.

At least the Phils finally won early this morning.