Archive for April, 2009

Swine Flu Fears Getting Absurd

April 29, 2009

I restrained myself for a couple days and avoided posting some angry screed about the major news outlets going way overboard on their “swine flu” coverage trying to create a panic b/c the panic would drive their ratings and readerships upwards.  It was a hard swallow, but I was pulling if off.  But then I came across this article about people not buying pork products in stores, and about several countries actually banning the importation of American/Mexican pork because of the flu:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/29/business/economy/29trade.html?th&emc=th

You don’t catch the flu from eating meat people!  If you are looking for a really nasty illness causing germ to catch from food, that would be salmonella.  You catch flu from inhaling the flu virus in airborne form, or by touching water droplets recently deposited by an infected person.  And, at the risk of getting too scientific, this new H1N1 strain of influenza is called “swine flu” because it did originate in pigs.  But what is going around now is basically mutated into a human flu.  That is how it is passing from person to person in clusters just like colds and flus always do.  I’m sure we’ve all gotten sick countless times because a bug was going around our school or our workplace.  It happens.  Commonly.  This flu seems to be contagious like the flu always is.  It is killing a few people, like the flu always does.  Mostly, its causing people to be coughy, achy, stuffy head, fevery, just like a NyQuil commercial.  Because that’s what flu does.  If we want to be overly cautious and close schools and play soccer games in empty stadiums because its a new strain, perhaps more pernicious than normal strains and we don’t have a vaccine to protect the most vulnerable with yet, that’s I guess okay.  A bit panicky perhaps, but understandable.  But not eating pork?  Give me a break!  That’s not going to keep anyone a damn bit safer, and that message needs to get out.  I have been eating Virginia ham sandwiches all week at work, and it never occurred to me to not pack a pig product in my lunchbox.  Argh!

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Stanley Cup Conference Semi Pairings Official

April 28, 2009

The NHL has not announced a complete schedule, but we do know the pairings for the 2nd round of the playoffs.  In the East it will be 6. Carolina v 1. Boston and 4. Pittsburgh v 2. Washington.  In the West it will be 8. Anaheim v 2. Detroit and 4. Chicago v 3. Vancouver.  Game 1 action will be Thursday and Friday of this week.  Look for the Canucks to start on Thursday so that Game 2 can be lined up for Hockey Night in Canada Saturday night.  Therefor the Detroit series to start Friday with Game 2 Sunday, perhaps being the NBC game.  Or for the two East series to be on NBC both days this weekend.  Certainly the Pens/Caps series will get the full maximum coverage of all 7 games being on Versus or NBC.  However exactly they write the schedule it should be fun playoff hockey.  Go Pens!

Senator Specter Crosses Aisle

April 28, 2009

In a surprising and at the same not move Senator Specter announced today that he would begin caucusing with the Democrats and seek their nomination for reelection to the Senate in 2010.  Its not shocking because the Northeastern moderate Republican, a dying breed to say the least, was actually a Democrat before until he ran as a Republican for District Attorney in Philadelphia in the late 1950s.  The Democrats had a strong machine in those days that he wasn’t going to be able to rise from within through, but the machine was sufficiently hated that the Republicans could maneuver him into office.  And so, 50 years later, Arlen came back to the Democrats when it was becoming increasingly obvious he would lose the Republican nomination next spring to Grover Norquist disciple Pat Toomey.

I thought Specter would try to hang on by running as an Independent, caucusing with the Republicans the rest of this Congress and then going from there if he got reelected.  And that would have been very entertaining to see what the Democratic Party would’ve done in that general election, if they would run a weakling and hope that Specter beat Toomey with only token opposition from the left.  But this could be entertaining also.  Now we have two potentially fascinating primaries to watch.  Does a prominent full-time Democrat challenge Specter?  Can a prominent full-time Democrat challenge Specter without getting knee-capped by Ed Rendell?  I’m sure Rendell was doing a certain amount of cajoling to get Specter to do this.  As far as that goes, I’m not sure what kind of bench the Democrats have to challenge Specter with.  The statement of support from Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravehnstall was less than compelling.  But I don’t think he has a huge statewide power base yet.

And what about the Republican primary?  I doubt no one steps up to challenge Pat Toomey.  But would a heavyweight like Tom Ridge do it?  The state has more arch-conservatives than it ever used to; that’s what made Rick Santorum possible for 12 years.  But its still on balance an increadibly moderate state and if someone from the moderately conservative or moderate but definitely Republican (ie not Arlen Specter) runs and gets some funding, Pat Toomey is not assured the nomination.  And if that moderate wins the nomination and a lot of more liberal Democrats are not excited about voting for Anita Hill’s inquisitor . . .  Bottom line is I would continue to stay tuned on this one.

Steelers, Cardinals Unlikely To Get Back To Super Bowl

April 27, 2009

They are quite simply screwed.  Troy Polamula and Larry Fitzgerald are both on the cover of the upcoming version of Madden.  So they’re finished, kaput, buried.  Maybe the Steelers could overcome a horrid injury to Polamula, but it would be tough to win in the playoffs.  And maybe Arizona would be okay if they actually keep Anquan Boldin and he plays for them, given they have Steve Breaston.  But talk about being put behind the 8 ball!

Rioting At Kent State

April 26, 2009

Not exactly May 4, 1970, but pretty serious nonetheless:

http://www.vindy.com/news/2009/apr/26/police-arrest-64-students-in-rioting-at-kent-state/

Pens Finish Off Flyers

April 25, 2009

By winning Game 6 5-3.  Remarkable turnaround.  The Flyers scored twice late in the 1st period and got a 3rd goal early in the 2nd to take a 3-0 lead and it seemed certain this series was heading to a decisive Game 7 in Pittsburgh.  However, Max Talbott picked a fight and it seemed to completely change the momentum of the game.  It did nothing to quite the Philadelphia crowd, but it awakened a slumbering Pittsburgh team.  They scored 2 quick goals right afterwards, got it tied by the end of the 2nd, and went ahead early in the 3rd.  After that it was all Marc Andre Fleury somehow stoning several great Philly scoring chances.  Crosby added the empty net frosting on the cake and it was time for the handshake line.

If the Rangers finish off Washington, they would play Boston and the Pens would get the winner of the Carolina v New Jersey series.  But if the Capitals come back the Pens play them if Carolina wins, or they play Boston if New Jersey wins.  The Pens would have home ice on Carolina or open on the road with the other options.  I assume Game 1 will be somewhere between Thursday and Saturday.  Should be fun.

Pens Lose Game 5

April 23, 2009

I didn’t get to see much of this game due to technical difficulties experienced by Fox Sports Pittsburgh (Versus coverage being blacked out) but what I did see was some solid goaltending by Martin Biron of the Flyers but also not the most inspired of efforts by the Penguins.  They just couldn’t get a concerted effort started very often.  Also, the Flyers used a good strategy on their last two goals; take a shot on Fleury with the express thought of using him as a banking board for a rebound to someone trailing down the other wing.  Like Game 3 the Pens simply have to do a better job marking that guy coming late on the rush.  The Pens still carry the 3-2 series lead back to Philadelphia, but its also true the Flyers could very easily have this thing won 4-1 by now.  They led late in Game 2 before the Pens got it to OT, and they dominated Game 4 but Fleury stoned them.  This thing ain’t over yet.

Marc Andre Fleury Wins Game 4

April 21, 2009

Technically speaking the Pittsburgh Penguins as a collective whole won Game 4 in Philadelphia by a 3-1 score to grab the 3-1 series lead.  But that win was all Fleury.  The Flyers should’ve won this game easily.  They got I believe 45 shots on goal and completely dominated the first 5 and last 40 minutes of the game.  But Fleury stopped everything except one shot on a rebound after he had been knocked down.  He even stopped a shot with his butt cheek after being tripped on a play in the 2nd period.  He was lights out phenomenal plain and simple, and it lets the Pens escape with a win as a goal by Crosby crashing the net, a goal on a nice deke move by Tyler Kennedy, and for good measure an empty netter by Max Talbott proved sufficient.  Amazing game by Fleury.  Now the Pens can look for the closeout Thursday night at home in Game 5.

Bad Sports Day

April 19, 2009

Penguins lose Game 3 in Philadelphia, Pirates get hammered by Atlanta a day after they pummeled the Braves, and the Indians fortunes in New York turned on a highly questionable home run.  Oh well.

The Penguins are still in good shape in the series.  They did not play very well defensively and were still in this game with a couple excellent chances to draw within 5-4 in the middle of the 3rd period.  If they can tighten up their defense, specifically making sure to mark the late guy into the play, they’ll be fine.  Special teams and goaltending; the Flyers had a short-handed goal and Biron made several nice saves for them.  Hopefully the Pens can rebound and win Game 4 Tuesday night.

As for the Pirates, they still find themselves at .500 after two weeks.  I would say that early return is ahead of my expectations.  But I have/had no expectations whatsoever, so it would be a vapid statement.

As for the Indians, why have replay if you are not going to use it to reverse reverseable bad calls?  Not as obvious as the Jeffrey Maier play in 1996 against Baltimore, but I thought it pretty clear the fan reached over the plane of the wall and interfered with the Cleveland outfielder.

Indians Club Bronx Bombers

April 18, 2009

22-4 was the absurd final score at the new Yankee Stadium this afternoon.  After a Texiera homer gave the Yanks a 2-0 lead in the 1st inning the Browns, er, Indians bats came alive in the 2nd inning.  17 men batted, 13 recorded a hit, 3 men homered, and a ridiculous 14 runs were recorded, tying a Cleveland Major Professional Baseball record for runs scored in one singular inning.  Obviously a strong combination of good hitting and simply terrible pitching by Chin Wien Wang and his “relief” pitching.  Counts only the same as every other game and tomorrow is a new day; indeed one that seems to favor the Yankees (Burnett v Pavano on the mound).  But its still quite wonderful fun to have a day like that!  And against New York no less!