Monday, September 27, 2010

Artisanal Dinner

Homemade pasta and homemade sauce from home-grown tomatoes paired with a mild Chianti makes for a great Monday night dinner.

Now for the Phils to do their thing!


Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Gang's All Here

On Friday night, John Dzik got what he had coming.

A night dedicated solely to him.

Cabrini buried the hatchet with my old friend, mentor and coach, recognizing his 25 years at the helm of one of the most successful men's basketball programs in Division III history. About 300 friends, family and players filled The House that Dzik Built, otherwise known as the Nerney Field House in the Dixon Center.

As a coach, teacher and person, John Dizk is without peer and it was fitting that he went into the Cabrini Athletics Hall of Fame as the only inductee this year. One day soon, Cabrini should also recognize the two men who coached at his side for the entire 25 year run. Mike Keeley and Joe Kelly are guys who deserve a night like Friday night as well.

I don't have a whole lot I can say about the event. To comment too much would take away from it.  The induction was well-done from start to finish. Joe Giunta gets it and is doing a great job as AD at Cabrini. He's done yeoman's work restoring the trust of the alumni and his work as emcee Friday was solid. Marie Angelella George, Cabrini's president said all the right things in admitting Cabrini's error in casting aside a legend 5 years ago.

Michael "Sticks" Bennett represented the players well in remembering what it was like to play for Dzik. Mike Keeley spoke from the heart about his friend John. Joe Kelly covered all the bases talking about the highlights of the program. Gabby Harnett gave a dead-on impersonation. Mike Dzik spoke movingly of Dzik as a Dad, something no one else could cover.

Then The Big Dog took the stage. I'm pretty sure he thanked everyone he ever met in his 20 minutes at the podium. It was clear he was honored by the chance to say good-bye on his terms, and he took the time to let us know that he is doing just fine now that the sting has gone away. He spoke with dignity and pride, and we listened, attentive as always, as he closed the book on his life at Cabrini.

No one deserves the honors and plaudits more than Coach Dzik and I am glad we all got the chance to let him know how much he meant to us all.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Something to Consider

There was an interesting story on NPR this morning discussing the importance of this year's state house and state senate races across the country.  One of the races that was detailed was the contest to replace State Rep. Bryan Lentz (D) in Pennsylvania's 161st Legislative District, covering Central Delaware County. (Yo DELCO!!!!) The race isn't important because of who is running.  In fact, I am not even sure the story mentions either of the forgettable candidates.   Instead it's important because this is a district that could 'flip,' meaning  a seat currently held by a Democrat could easily be won by a Republican.

And that matters in Pennsylvania, because that could mean that control of the state House of Representatives could flip with it from Democratic control to Republicans.

So what, you say.  Sounds pretty normal.  One seat can make the difference.  That's why every votes counts, right?

Right.  Or in this case, every dollar.

Because also riding on PA-161, and a handful of other local races around the nation, is really control of the entire legislative branch of the Federal government.  how is that possible?  Redistricting my friend.

Re-districting is the drawing of congressional districts done after every Census.  In most states (Arizona is a notable exception), the re-districting is controlled by the political party that hold contol of the State House.  Since PA-161 could flip control of the Pennsylvania House from Dems to Republicans, it's of huge interest to those who want to re-draw those lines to squeeze Democratic district out of the Pennsylvania delegation and create a safe Republican district.

Redistricting is a fascinating art, generally creating safe districts for the power party's incumbents while doing everything possible to minimize the number of safe districts for the opponent.  Districts are often odd shaped things, picking up pockets of solid red or blue folks and narrowly connecting them to other solid areas to create a safe district.  An extreme example is FL-3, which is spread over nearly 100 miles, stretching from inner city Jacksonville to central Orlando, connected only by a narrow stretch of uninhabited land. 

Republicans created this district ten years back to minimize the effect of solidly Democratic urban regions by placing the two cities in one district.  Thus, the Republicans kept the suburban districts safely red in each of the cities and tossed the Dems a bone with a blue district.

So the simple fact of the matter is that there are a handful of local races this year that will affect the maps of a dozen of the biggest states in the country.  With those maps swing perhaps a sixth of congress.  Which has the party brass and the special interests salivating.

And that is why Harold Ickes, veteran Democratic strategist on the national scene  is managing the show for the Dems in PA-161.  As he notes in the NPR story, since there are virtually no rules on local campaign finance, the big dogs are free to pour money into the race.  He's forecasting that over $14 million will be spent by the Dems in this election.  Almost $18 million will flow into the race from the Republican side.  Former RNC chief Ed Gillespie is runnin the GOP show.  These guys are going to spend over 10 times what was spent in the last election in this district.

Why?  Bang for the buck.  This one little district could have a major effect on 10 congressional districts.  Elections in th US congressional races have tough spending rules that will limit the impact of money on those races.  So the investment is going into this race to try to create influence on all the others that will be fought over the next 10 years. 

I'm here to say this has to change.  I think Federal election rules should apply in any election year that would decide control of re-districting.  The gerrymandering of districts, while steeped in history, and often hilarious to see on the map board, robs voters of the local representation that our nation's founders envisioned when creating the bicameral legislature.  Finally, while it seems impossible, there has to be a non-partisan way to create fair districts.

Ok - enough of the civics lesson.  Time to watch Roy go for his 20th!

Monday, September 20, 2010

It's A Wrap

Shutting It Down
Originally uploaded by Cavalier92
While the temperatures are supposed to recover into the 80s later this week, summer is clearly already behind us.

The yellow school buses suck kids up at every corner and snarl roadways with flashing lights and extended stop signs. The pool is covered, the vegetable garden in its final throes of production and jeans have re-emerged from the back of the closet.

This past weekend, we admitted that autumn was about to burst full upon the scene. We stacked the chairs, rolled the tables to the shed and turned off the pool filter. There's a nip in the air and I am finally able to enjoy sleeping each night, with cool air settling in from the sliding door.

It's not long now until the mums pop and the pumpkins are cut and wood smoke will again tinge the evening air.

Summer is over and it was fun while it lasted, but now it's on to the best weather of the year here in the Philadelphia region. We've still got some summer projects to complete, like the deck staining that you can see half complete in the photo. More tress will come done over the next few weeks like the one you see piled in the back ground. We've put these tasks off all year and now the morning chill lets us know we don't have much more time to get them done before we've got snow to shovel.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Reflections on 9/11

image from Virtually everyone here in the United States and the world over will be talking about remembering and looking back today.  While this is an entirely appropriate impulse on the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington DC, looking back doesn't do enough.

This is a time to look forward.  To live.   To experience.  It is of immense importance that we spend today being Americans, celebrating our freedom, experiencieng all the wonderful things our country has to offer, gathering to show that we are a people of hope and optimism. 

In doing so though, we must also remember all those that died that day and in the years since who were going about their normal American existences when hatred reached out and took them from us.  The example should be simple.  In their names, we must live our lives without hatred and in support of the ideals that this nation was founded on.

So I say go out today and enjoy baseball games and dance classes, back yard bar-b-ques and dinners out on the town.  Be defiantly free in your ability to do as you wish.  It's the best way to show those who hate us that hatred cannot stand a chance in the face of optimism and determination.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The First Day of School

I've long thought the first day of school should be a national holiday. Given the number of posts from Mommy bloggers today, it seems that many folks either took the day off (me), or were a bit late making it into the office.

After I was informed that it was 'geeky' to wait for the bus with my newly-minted middle-schooler John, I retreated to telephoto lens distance to document his wait for the bus. Not wanting to completely mortify him, I skipped shots of him actually getting on the bus, and settled for a few during his 20 plus minute wait for Mount Laurel Schools Bus #1. He's the last kid to board and apparently some of the other parents did not show my restraint in capturing the morning's activities. Thus the delay.

As our bus (both kids ride the same bus, just about an hour apart) sped off, Emma finished up her breakfast and got herself ready for her first day of first grade by reading "Twas the Night Before First Grade." I was actually permitted to wait out front for the bus with Emma. Apparently the cutoff is Middle School. We got some nice photos of my little angel in her first day dress smiling in the long shadows of September. She was a bit less than patient during the wait. When it was time, Emma practically ran up the steps to the bus and was off!

And then there was quiet.

Now though, they are back with piles of homework for me to read and to sign, lists of more things that we need to get from Target and the Jackson Outlets. The first day went well it seems, for both the first grader and the middle schooler. John thought his homeroom teahcer, Mr. gaddy was 'cool, real cool,' and enjoyed gym the most.  (We've got a guys trip to target for deodorant on tap for tonight).  Emma said her teacher Mrs. Basham was 'super nice,' and lso got a hug from her Kindergarten teacher from last year, Mrs. Kinkler.  Emma brought greetings home for John from his teachers last year Mrs. Siweic and Mrs. Cohen.

Both prefer the bus to being picked up and dropped off. Neither wants to pack tomorrow, both preferring to chance the 'chicken patty' over the potential of being teased for brown bagging it.  Special thanks to Mount Laurel Schhols PR chief Marie Reyonlds for helping me though how to log into the cafeteria system!

Tomorrow the first full school day of the year, with lockers and changing classes as the new things for John and the cafeteria and lunch line for  Emma. It's only a 2 ½ day week with the secular and Jewish holidays making for a light first week, so we will be easing back into to the school year before reality sets with 5 full days next week!090710_1829_TheFirstDay3

Monday, September 06, 2010

Happy Labor Day

Labor Day in America celebrates on the most basic level all of the work that we do every day to to support our families, to pay for our homes, to fill our stomachs and to create. Create wealth, create happiness, create experiences. In short, we work to live. Unless you're Bill Gates in which case you work to give your money away.

It also commemorates the struggle of the American working class to organize and work together to eliminate child labor, improve workplace conditions and establish the basic rights that everyone who will head back to the office, shop or factory takes for granted today. Though the struggles of America's early labor organizers we now enjoy a 40 hour work week, safe places to earn a living, and for some, paid vacations and a chance at health benefits and personal days.

Labor Day has really come to mean a bit less than all that though. It's the holiday that we take to mark the end of summer, prepare for the harvest and to gird our loins for the coming winter. Kids head back to school, adults pull the boats out of the water and plant mums. It's somewhat less of a holiday than say, Thanksgiving, but more of one that Martin Luther King Day.

Everyone here at Another Delco Guy is going to spend the day enjoying the last glimmers of summer on the deck and near the pool. We will have a BBQ, review our fantasy football teams and enjoy the last before school. Enjoy!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Summer of Produce Rolls On

Mobile Uploads 233 This morning's surprise from the garden was a trio of perfectly ripe cantelopes.  While we had been hoping to wait to pick them until the kids get back on Monday, these babies were to ready to leave out for the wildlife to enjoy.  The half I enjoyed for breakfast was very sweet, with delicate flesh and incredible aroma.  I enjoy melons of all types, but this was my first home-grown cantelope.  The fight with powdery mildew and various rusts were worth the flavor.  Cantelpoe is back in the rotation for next year!