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!

1119080714.jpg


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:
IMG_6981

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.