Thursday, November 30, 2006

NFL Picks, Week 13

For entertainment purposes only. Picks are against the spread, straight up winners are in bold.

Cincinnati (-1) over Baltimore (W, 13-7)
New England (-13.5) over Detroit (L, 28-21)
New Orleans (-7) over San Francisco (W, 34-10)
San Diego (-6) over Buffalo (L, 24-21)
N.Y. Jets (pick) over Green Bay (W, 38-10)
Minnesota (+9.5) over Chicago (L, 13-23)
Kansas City (-5) over Cleveland (L, 28-31)
St. Louis (-6.5) over Arizona (L, 20-34)
Tennessee (+7.5) over Indianapolis (W, 20-17)
Washington (-2) over Atlanta (L, 14-24)
Oakland (-3) over Houston (L, 14-23)
Miami (pick) over Jacksonville (L, 10-24)
Pittsburgh (-7.5) over Tampa Bay (W, 20-3)
N.Y. Giants (+3.5) over Dallas (L, 20-23)
Denver (-4) over Seattle (L, 20-23)
Carolina (-3) over Philadelphia (L, 24-27)

Against the Spread
LAST WEEK   8-  8- 0  .500
TO DATE 78- 90- 8 .466
THIS WEEK 5- 11- 0 .313
SEASON 83-101- 8 .453

Straight Up
LAST WEEK  13- 3  .813
TO DATE 111-65 .631
THIS WEEK 7- 9 .438
SEASON 118-74 .615

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I told you I could do this all day

At the end of last night's post about the Leominster woman arretsted in Fitchburg because she threw a hot dog at a police cruiser, I suggested I could make up alliterations to describe the act all day.

So I have. Here's what I have so far:

  • frank flinging females
  • weiner whipping wenches
  • sausage slinging sallies
  • wurst wielding women
  • chorizo chucking chicas
  • brat bearing babes
  • schnitzel sending sisters
  • link lobbing ladies
  • kielbasa casting kitties
  • dog delivering damsels
  • hotdog hurling hotties

Please add additional alliterative allusions (there I go again) in the comments.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Fitchburg's Frank Flinging Felon

Recently Fitchburg got a bad rap, being named as one of "worst places to live in America." I wonder if having wenches whip wieners at cops make it a better, 0r worse place to live...

FITCHBURG -- A city police officer arrested a 36-year-old Leominster woman Saturday after she allegedly threw a hot dog at his police cruiser, according to court documents.

Officer John Haidousis said the "violent action" occurred at a hot dog vendor's outside Partner's Pub, on South Street.

"While I was sitting inside the car, I heard a female voice by the hot dog truck yell, 'Hey,'" Haidousis wrote in his police report. "I rolled my window approximately halfway down and looked in the direction of the hot dog truck, making eye contact with a female party.

"... I observed that Ms. (Anita) Seifer was holding a hot dog."

Haidousis wrote that Seifer then launched the hot dog at his window.

"She looked directly at me, then tore a portion off of the hot dog and whipped it at my cruiser, striking the driver's side window," he wrote. "This is a violent action and served no legitimate purpose...."

Seifer is charged with disorderly conduct, assault and battery on a police officer, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and threatening to commit a crime.

I'd say sausage slinging sallies make it a better place. (I could do this all day, really).


Monday, November 27, 2006

Shut up and watch the game!

Just a couple of thoughts for the two cretins sitting behind me at Gillette Stadium last night...

1. My six-month old son enjoys repeatedly banging metal objects to hear the sound. I expect it from him, but even he tires of it after a while. I would expect a couple folks in the coveted 25-54 male demographic to find banging on the aluminum facade behind the last row for three straight hours less self-entertaining. Oh, and I hate to tell you, but the players can't hear you eight stories above the field.

2. Cat-calling "Urlacher equals Homo" and "Chicago equals Homo" at the Bears fan a couple or rows in front of us isn't entertaining either. And when the fans around you started laughing when you called out the oddly constructed "Bears equal Homo"... I'm not sure you realized it, but they were laughing at you, not with you.


Saturday, November 25, 2006

"I like Jasmine Guy."

The Telegram and Gazette is just toying with me now. I'm convinced of it. I present you this morning's letter to the editor in it's entirety, without comment:
I like Jasmine Guy. I watch TV almost too much but it is a good time-killer. There are all sorts of programs, including the weather, news and sports. But I also like this TV show, "A Different World." I watch if for at least a half-hour. I like this gal, Jasmine Guy. She plays the part of Whitley.

I was wondering who she reminded me of. You may not agree, but she reminds me of a young Latin Elizabeth Taylor.

Not bad at all. I believe she has quit TV.

Previous T&G Letters to the Editor:
BREAKING: Election fraud in Auburn
"The sting of unboozed Democrats"
"Why is Mitt Romney ashamed of Massachusetts?"
"hot condiments cause them to be...interested in sex"
Disgust with that nasty Francona grows
It's that dirty Francona's fault
T&G reader takes on terrorism
Worcester: the San Diego of the East
Is State Senator Barrios a Bush Crony
Rem-Dawg Debate Rages in Worcester
Jerry Remy has "lost all touch with reality"


Friday, November 24, 2006

No Gobbling

Just for the record, anyone who asks if you had a "Happy Gobble Gobble Day" is a maroon.

And "Turkey Day" isn't much better.

Would you (and you know who you are) wish someone a "Happy Ham Day" or a "Happy Oink Oink Day" at Easter? No?

Then I beg of you, please, stick to "Thanksgiving."


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

NFL Picks, Week 12

For entertainment purposes only. Picks are against the spread, straight up winners are in bold.

Miami (-3) over Detroit (W, 27-10)
Tampa (+11) over Dallas (L, 10-38)
Kansas City (-1.5) over Denver (W, 19-10)
Carolina (-4) over Washington (L, 13-17)
Baltimore (-3) over Pittsburgh (W, 27-0)
Atlanta (-3) over New Orleans (L, 13-31)
Buffalo (+3) over Jacksonville (W, 27-24)
Minnesota (-6) over Atlanta (L, 31-26)
NY Jets (-6) over Houston (W, 26-11)
Cincinnati (-3) over Cleveland (W, 30-0)
St. Louis (-5.5) over San Francisco (L, 20-17)
San Diego (-13.5) over Oakland (L, 21-14)
NY Giants (-3) over Tennessee (L, 21-24)
New England (-3) over Chicago (W, 17-13)
Indianapolis (-9) over Philadelphia (W, 45-21)
Green Bay (+9.5) over Seattle

Against the Spread
LAST WEEK   7- 8- 1  .469
TO DATE 70-82- 8 .463
THIS WEEK 8- 7- 0 .533
SEASON 78-90- 8 .466

Straight Up
LAST WEEK  10- 6  .625
TO DATE 98-62 .613
THIS WEEK 12- 3 .800
SEASON 111-65 .631

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Leominster's near flood disaster

Apparently while the city of Leominster slept Friday night, city officials were stationed on bridges watching water levels and hoping that tens of millions of gallons of water wouldn't come rushing through town. From today's Telegram and Gazette:

LEOMINSTER-- A large log nearly caused a catastrophe in the city Friday when it punctured a dam at the Notown Reservoir, the city's largest source of drinking water and the highest point in the water system.

"I must have said several hundred 'Our Father's' during the day," said Patrick LaPointe, director of the city's Department of Public Works, who feared that the puncture would lead to a general rupture of the dam, releasing millions of gallons downhill toward downtown Leominster....

However, about noon, DPW worker Rick Cormier looked up and noticed a rush of water, about 3 to 4 inches higher than normal, heading toward the spillway.

" 'What the heck?' I think that's what his initial reaction to this was," said Mr. LaPointe. "There really was no reason for the water coming at them, but it was."

The workers discovered that a large log -- shaped like a telephone pole -- had butted up against a dam upstream at Notown, poking open a hole and sending the water downstream.

Downstream meant toward the city's downtown....

As for the log that caused the problem to begin with, "We would like to get it out of the reservoir to see what it is, exactly," Mr. LaPointe said. "We have no idea how it got there." There is speculation that it might have fallen off a truck on nearby Route 2.
So let me see if I get this straight...a log falls off a truck, rolls into the reservoir, and flows to the dam where it pokes a hole in the side? That's all it might take to drain the town's drinking supply and flood the downtown, devastating a city of 40,000 and injuring or killing countless residents? And this nearly happened this weekend?

Think about that closely. Think about how slowly water "flows" through a reservoir. Yet that is enough force to thrust a log through the dam? Wow.

I guess I owe an apology to that lady who suggested that "We could have a tsunami" earlier this summer.

The map I've created shows the approximate path of the deluge city officials feared.


BREAKING: Election Fraud in Auburn

In a day and age where seemingly every election is tainted by accusations of fraud, we've been lucky here in Central Mass. But in today's Telegram and Gazette, an Auburn voter levels grave accusations of lawbreaking on November 7:

I'm disgusted with the activities and lack of law enforcement that took place in the town of Auburn's polling place during the recent election. When I went to the polling room, the first thing I noticed was there was no police officer at the door. It seemed strange that something so official has no law enforcement. Then, to the left of the first precinct table there was a woman selling pies....

This is all against Massachusetts law, Chapter 54, Section 69.

This calls for an immediate investigation. Were they sugary "Together We Can" pies? Or the more bitter "Inmates on Kitchen Duty for Kerry Healey" pies?

I took a close look at the law in question:
Section 69. No pie.
Ok, so I'm paraphrasing. But shouldn't the Secretary of State and the Attorney General get right on this?

Previous T&G Letters to the Editor:
"The sting of unboozed Democrats"
"Why is Mitt Romney ashamed of Massachusetts?"
"hot condiments cause them to be...interested in sex"
Disgust with that nasty Francona grows
It's that dirty Francona's fault
T&G reader takes on terrorism
Worcester: the San Diego of the East
Is State Senator Barrios a Bush Crony
Rem-Dawg Debate Rages in Worcester
Jerry Remy has "lost all touch with reality"


Sunday, November 19, 2006

NFL Picks, Week 11

For entertainment purposes only. Picks are against the spread, straight up winners are in bold.

New England (-5.5) over Green Bay (W, 35-0)
Kansas City (-9.5) over Oakland (L, 17-13)
Indianapolis (-1) over Dallas (L, 14-21)
New Orleans (-3.5) over Cincinnati (L, 16-31)
Pittsburgh (-3.5) over Cleveland (W, 24-20)
Tennessee (+13) over Philadelphia (W, 31-13)
Baltimore (-4) over Atlanta (W, 24-10)
St. Louis (+7) over Carolina (L, 0-15)
Houston (-2.5) over Buffalo (L, 21-24)
Tampa Bay (-3) over Washington (T, 20-17)
N.Y. Jets (+7) over Chicago (L, 0-10)
Miami (-3.5) over Minnesota (W, 24-20)
Arizona (-2) over Detroit (W, 17-10)
Seattle (-4.5) over San Francisco (L, 14-20)
San Diego (+2.5) Denver (W, 35-27)
N.Y. Giants (+2.5) over Jacksonville (L, 10-26)

Against the Spread
LAST WEEK   3-13- 0  .188
TO DATE 63-74- 7 .462
THIS WEEK 7- 8- 1 .469
SEASON 70-82- 8 .463

Straight Up
LAST WEEK   8- 8  .500
TO DATE 88-56 .611
THIS WEEK 10- 6 .625
SEASON 98-62 .613

Sports anchor, or just a pretty face?

Watching NESN's Sports Desk this morning, and new anchor Kathryn Tappen (or 'K-Tap' as she calls herself), just reported that fans at the Michigan-Ohio State game remembered former Michigan Coach Bob Schembechler.

Bob Schembechler.

Sigh. A real sports anchor would never make that mistake, and no, Hazel Mae doesn't qualify.


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Beware of the ...Squirrel?

I'm not generally in favor of defacing highway signs, but the alteration someone made to this moose crossing sign on route 12 in Ashburnham made me laugh.


Hot Dogs on your head and Democrats on my mind

It's been an unusually busy and stressful week here in the drumlin-free zone, so I haven't had the time to keep up with posting. Plus, I'm still experiencing a sort-of post-election hangover. But there were a couple of things that caught my attention...
  • Last Saturday I attended a Veteran's Day ceremony at a local nursing home. The entertainment was a guy wearing a foam hot dog on his head playing patriotic music on a synthesizer. Not quite what I was expecting.
  • The state legislature took the cowardly way out by not voting on the gay marriage amendment. I may expound on this in a later post (I may not), but I'm bothered by the idea that the legislature can circumvent a constitutional process through a procedural trick. It seems to me that if that is allowed to stand, it makes the legislature an extra-constitutional body, with the power to supersede the law of the land with Robert's Rules of Order.
  • I've had a hard time getting worked up over the leadership elections in the House of Representatives. I keep reading that the defeat of Rep. John Murtha is supposed to be some sort of rebuke of speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi's leadership, but I just don't see it as a big deal. Murtha has too long a history of scandal and pork in his past, and I'd rather be talking about a supposed split among Democrats than an ethically-challenged leadership team.
  • Please please please run for president, Bob Dornan. One of the great things about a presidential campaign is the parade of wacky candidates that are just close enough to the mainstream that they get media attention and provide endless entertainment for the better part of a year. I can't think of a better fringe candidate than you, Rep. Dornan.
  • I can't believe the Bruins have won three games in a row. Bet you didn't know that, did ya?


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Soft, Mr. Kraft, Really Soft

For years, teams have been complaining about the turf at Gillette Stadium. In years past, the sloppy turf was an advantage for the Patriots, as soft teams like the Colts came into town and moaned and complained about the difficulty of playing at Gillette Stadium. The reason: the field conditions.

But now, the Patriots have given in to the complaints of their own players and relinquished their greatest home field advantage. They are replacing the grass with field turf:

After Sunday's driving rain that turned the new sod at Gillette Stadium into a quagmire, Patriots Football Weekly has learned that the Patriots finally decided to pull the trigger and do away with natural grass and will install FieldTurf.

Work crews were on hand Tuesday morning bulldozing what was left of the mangled surface with the intention of installing FieldTurf, a synthetic grass surface used in roughly half of the NFL's stadiums. The new surface will be ready for the team's next home game, Nov. 26 against the Chicago Bears....

Ever since [2003] the conditions have been periodically called into question. But the debates heated up this season when a heavy offseason concert load, the New England Revolution's home schedule and the filming of the Disney movie "The Game Plan" left the field in abysmal shape. Even the opener against Buffalo was played on a chewed up field that more resembled midseason.

When the team was winning Super Bowls they were proud to be "mudders." Now they lose a couple games and it's because of "field conditions?" Boo Hoo. Why don't we put up a dome too so the players don't have to get cold and wet. That would improve the "conditions."

After Sunday's game, some of the players (including Brady) were mentioning "field conditions" as some sort of a mitigating factor. Since Brady became the starter, the Pats are 12-2 at home when it rains or snows, including Sunday's game. The field has suddenly started to cost them? That's soft.

The field has been awful because the Patriots wanted it that way. They play soccer in KC and in Denver, and the weather is just as iffy, yet those fields are fine. There are two football teams that use Heinz Field, not to mention HS state championships, yet it seemed to hold up under the rain Sunday a-ok.

We've got a state of the art field with heaters so it won't freeze and drainage that can suck out tons of water if that's what the team wants to do. For whatever reason, they don't. There are HS and college fields all over the state that get a whole lot more use than Gillette does that don't fall apart like that.

And after all of that work building up a home field advantage, they give it away after a muddy loss.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Jackson's month

I missed out on the usual monthly update a couple of weeks ago, so here are a few pictures showing what Jackson has been up to lately.

Jackson started eating "real food" in the last couple of weeks. He enjoyed his first meal.

He also got to play with a doggie for the first time, while visiting his great-grandmother.

Jackson hasn't started to crawl yet, but he can get up on his elbows and knees and inchworm his way around a little.

Last weekend, he rode in a swings at the playground for the first time. He was a big fan.

Chatting with his cousin and best friend, Kayla.

Traffic update

No Drumlins welcomed it's 6,000th visitor last night. Since adding StatCounter to the site on January 26, here are other milestones:

500th visitor -- May 23
1,000th visitor -- June 30
2,000th visitor -- August 15
3,000th visitor -- September 8
4,000th visitor -- September 28
5,000th visitor -- October 27
6,000th visitor -- November 12

Saturday, November 11, 2006

NFL Picks, Week 10

For entertainment purposes only. Picks are against the spread, straight up winners are in bold.

N.Y. Jets (+10.5) over New England (W, 17-14)
Miami (+1) over Kansas City (W, 13-10)
Jacksonville (-10.5) over Houston (L, 10-14)
Cincinnati (+1) over San Diego (L, 41-49)
Atlanta (-7.5) over Cleveland (L, 13-17)
Baltimore (-7) over Tennessee (L, 27-26)
Indianapolis (-12) over Buffalo (L, 17-16)
Pittsburgh (-4) over New Orleans (W, 38-31)
Washington (+7) over Philadelphia (L, 3-27)
Minnesota (-5.5) over Green Bay (L, 17-23)
Detroit (-6) over San Francisco (L, 13-19)
Denver (-9) over Oakland (L, 17-13)
Seattle (-3) over St. Louis (L, 24-22)
Arizona (+7) over Dallas (L, 10-27)
N.Y. Giants (-3) over Chicago (L, 20-38)
Carolina (-9.5) over Tampa Bay

Against the Spread
LAST WEEK   7- 7- 0  .500
TO DATE 60-61- 7 .496
THIS WEEK 3-12- 0 .200
SEASON 63-73- 7 .465

Straight Up
LAST WEEK   8- 6  .571
TO DATE 79-49 .617
THIS WEEK 8- 7 .533
SEASON 87-56 .608

Dagnabit! I'm a Democrat!

It looks like I caused a little bit of a blogswarm Thursday with my argument that Curt Schilling might be the best chance the Republicans have to save the state Republican party in 2008.

As I occasionally do with political posts, I cross-posted my entry to my page at Blue Mass Group, a community of Democratic and progressive bloggers. The article generated a lot of interest there, and was promoted to the front page, the first time I've had an article fronted.

As the day progressed, my article was picked up at Universal Hub, which is not at all unusual as my blog is registered on their "Boston Blogs" site. The version posted at Blue Mass Group was also picked up by the Boston Globe's political blog, which probably generated quite a bit of traffic to my Blue Mass Group page.

But somewhere along the way, some folks apparently didn't read the rest of my blog, because as time went by, it was assumed that I was a Republican (ewwww!)

The Progressive Democrats of Cambridge - DFA ran a piece declaring the state Republican party was dead, and included me in it!
Sure, there are Republicans grasping for straws today. There are even ruminations about Curt Schilling running for Senate. Nice try, but hardly a convincing case. Schilling's support for Bush will be toxic statewide. Lynn Swann's loss in Pennsylvania shows flaws in these sorts of celebrities-as-politicians arguments. People understand the difference between pitching a baseball and pitching a health care plan.
I don't care if you think my idea is out there (I don't think it is, I made a pretty good case), but please don't call me a "Republican grasping for straws..." That really hurts.

At least the gave me a link, at the Hub Blog, Jay Fitzgerald not only dismisses the idea, he doesn't even give me a link:
...For too many years, the local GOP has put all its eggs in the gubernatorial basket. Now it's over. They need to start fielding candidates at the local legislative level and slowly build. But I have a feeling they won't. Too many of them still believe a magic-wand candidate will emerge. Please. Curt's a good pitcher. But he's not going to save the GOP here. ...
Again, I can't stress this enough. I am a Democrat! I am not a Republican who "still believe[s] a magic-wand candidate will emerge." I couldn't care less if the Republicans nominate Kerry Healey, Curt Schilling, or Daffy Duck. I won't be voting for them in any case.

But I still think Schilling might be their best candidate.


Thursday, November 9, 2006

First Look at '08: Schilling for Senate?

schillingOver the next week or so I'm going start looking ahead at the next big election, and I figured I'd start at the bottom. The state's Republican party is in such shambles it would be fair to ask: Can they find a viable candidate to run for Senate in two years?

I can only think of one really good option for them: Curt Schilling. What do we know about Schilling that would make him a viable candidate?

  1. He is a Republican. After helping the Red Sox win the World Series in 2004, he spent the week between the end of the Series and election day campaigning for President Bush in TV appearances and on the stump. Would his support of the president be a liability? Probably not...there were still a lot of people who supported the president in 2004.

  2. He will be available. His contract with the Red Sox ends at the end of the 2007 season. That would give him five months or so until the primary (it's early in 2008 because of the presidential race), and a little over a year to the general election. He wouldn't have to worry about the primary at all--the minute he announced his candidacy the decks would be clear--and he'd be left with plenty of time to run a general election campaign. In fact, he could get a head start since the Democratic primary could be hotly contested.

  3. 0621sockHe brings instant name recognition and popularity. Everyone in Massachusetts knows who Curt Schilling is, and they probably have a generally positive view of him. The old joke is that a member of the 2004 Red Sox will never have to buy a drink in Massachusetts. That level of built in support would go a long way. Instead of volunteers running around in orange jumpsuits, he'll have his supporters wearing "bloody socks." In a strange way, that would be endearing.

  4. He will have no problem raising money. See number 3. Not only does he have quite a bit of his own money if he needed to tap into it, but he would be able to raise lots of money in both Massachusetts and across the country based on his star power alone. And don't think that national Republicans will forget his support of Bush. He'd instantly have as much money to run as he needs.

  5. He can campaign as a true outsider. Because he won't have a voting record on issues, he will be able to define himself. If I had to guess, I'd imagine him as a strong-defense, low-tax, social libertarian...the only type of Republican that could be successful in Massachusetts. But even if he's not, he'll have the ability to let voters know who he is, and not have to worry about having a trail of votes that can be twisted and used against him.

  6. He can campaign as a local businessman. Just last week, the Boston Business Journal reported that Schilling had rented space in Maynard to house his start-up video game business. Schilling will be able to say that he has "created jobs in Massachusetts," that he "understands the needs of small business," etc. etc.

  7. He has a TV presence. Not every athlete is comfortable with the cameras, but Schilling certainly is. In fact, some of us who follow the Red Sox think he's too much of a publicity hog: always on TV, calls WEEI to vent about this or that issue, frequents internet message boards (I'm one of those who wishes he'd just shut up and pitch). In any event, he is a skilled commentator and would be a media darling.

  8. schilling 2There is no one else. Quick, name a Massachusetts Republican. Mitt Romney's running for president, so he's out. Kerry Healey? Her only chance would be if Deval Patrick failed miserably right out of the gate and people began wondering if she weren't so bad after all. Paul Cellucci might be a possibility I suppose, but his ties to President Bush are so strong that he might have difficulty here, not to mention that he saddled us with two years of Jane Swift (uh, no). Wayne Budd was Deval Patrick before Deval Patrick. Former Suffolk County DA Ralph Martin, perhaps? Do any of those names inspire you?
All of this speculation is based on one huge assumption: John Kerry will run for President and the seat will be an open seat. If Kerry stays on, I'd guess that he will not face any real opposition. But if he goes, there will be a huge fight for the first senate opening in 24 years. I wouldn't be surprised if Curt Schilling is part of the mix.


Tuesday, November 7, 2006

It's over in the house!

Democrats win!

MSNBC projecting 233-202 Dem majority. That would be a 30-seat pickup.

Still holding out hope for the Senate. Jim Webb is within 7,000 votes in Virginia. However, Tennessee and Missouri aren't looking good.

Deval Patrick sweeps the North County...except Lancaster

Look at some of these margins for Patrick in North Central Worcester County. A far cry from 2002 when every city and town in the region went for Mitt Romney.

But what's the deal with Lancaster? Honestly guys...

CITY Patrick Healey
Ashburnham 1,179 937
Clinton 2,448 1,481
Gardner 3,625 1,857
Fitchburg 5,766 3,421
Harvard 1,640 961
Lancaster 1,168 1,174
Leominster 7,029 5,086
Sterling 1,622 1,616
Westminster 1,472 1,354

All ballot questions heading for defeat, more good Dem news in the house

It looks like all three of the ballot questions in Massachusetts are going down to defeat. No wine in supermarkets, no fusion voting, and no collective bargaining for day care workers. While I voted for question 1, it wasn't a big deal to me.

Fox News has called more Dem pickups in PA-07, PA-10, IN-09, and OH-18. That's nine down and six to go.

And there is another, in FL-22...and another in NC-11. Looks like we need just three...

Shea-Porter is still leading Jeb Bradley in NH-01 with 91% in. A huge upset if she hold on!

Union Leader calls race for Hodes, Santorum concedes!

From the front of the Manchester Union Leader:
Updated, 9:52 p.m. Paul Hodes has beaten U.S. Rep. Charles Bass. The GOP has lost one key state Senate seat as Betsi DeVries defeats Manchester Sen. Andre Martel. Democrats swept most of the city's House seats.

And Count Chocola goes down in Indiana. That's four down, 11 to go!

MSNBC calls it for Chris Murphy in Connecticut as I type! Five down, 10 to go.

Rick Santorum concedes. Can't say that breaks my heart at all.

Update from Leominster...Flanagan wins!

Jen Flanagan was reelected by a landslide! What a shocker! I expected her to win closely, but 24 points. I figured it would be around 600 votes...

And Patrick wins Leominster by over 2,000 votes! What a turnaround! Remember, every city and town in Worcester County except Worcester itself went for Romney. What a huge win.

I wonder if the surge for Deval Patrick helped Flanagan.

Flanagan 8,103 (62.1%)
Freda 4,941 (37.9%)

Mitt Romney introduces Kerry Healey's concession speech

Now, if he'd given that speech on the campaign trail instead of at the concession speech, she might have had a chance.

And why did she pick 70's make-out tune "More than a feeling" as her theme song tonight? Just 'cause it's from "Boston?"

Sounds like she's giving the best speech of her campaign....

As Ted Kennedy said, "Reed Who?" I think they had him travel to all 351 towns so he wouldn't have to appear with Healey.

Keeping the momentum up

So far so good. I'm still cautiously excited...

Sheldon Brown called for us in Ohio.
Bob Casey replaces the execrable Rick Santorum in Penna.
A local channel has called R.I. for Sheldon Whitehouse, but nothing on the nets yet.
Holding Maryland and New Jersey.

Looks like we've picked up Kentucky-3, still leading in both N.H. races. 2 down, 13 to go.

Patrick wins! Dems pick up first seat, lead in others

Deval Patrick projected to win! Only question is by how much...

CNN calls Indiana-8 for Democrat Brad Ellsworth. One down, 14 more to go...

Dems still lead in KY-3 and in both (!) New Hampshire races...


Live election coverage all night

I'll be posting all night as the election returns come in (child-sitting duties permitting). I've got NECN and MSNBC on the split-screen, election returns on the web, and a bottle of formula on the table for Jackson.

The real fun starts after 8:00 when the polls in Mass. close, but there is a ton of other stuff going on all night.

First results from Kentucky! Dems lead in KY-3, trail in KY-4.

KY-3 (15% reporting)
Yarmouth (D) 51%
Northup (R) 48%

KY-4 (0.3% reporting)
Davis (R) 50%
Lucas (D) 43%

A lot of great races in New England to watch. More later.

Monday, November 6, 2006

My election ballot and predictions

Tomorrow, after a seemingly unending election season, we finally get to cast our ballots and then sit back and find out what direction our commonwealth and nation are headed in the next few years. Here is my ballot with a brief explanation of my votes, and my predictions for Election evening.

Massachusetts Governor
I am voting for Democrat Deval Patrick. I am convinced that Patrick will bring a positive voice and attitude to the corner office, something that the sate has been missing for the last few years. I support his position to change high school graduation requirements to include additional methods beyond the MCAS of determining the worthiness of students. I do not believe that we can afford to roll back the income tax to 5.0% at this time. I agree with Patrick's assertion that children of illegal immigrants who live in Massachusetts should not be punished for the choices of their parents if they qualify to attend state colleges and universities. I don't think that any of the other candidates for governor have made the case to me that I should vote for them despite my agreement with Patrick on the issues. As such, I heartily endorse his candidacy and will proudly cast my vote for him. Prediction: Deval Patrick 55%, Kerry Healey 35%, Christy Mihos 8%, Grace Ross 2%.

Massachusetts State Representative
I am voting for Democrat Jennifer Flanagan. Representative Flanagan has served Leominster admirably in her first term as state representative and she deserves to be reelected. Despite being a freshman legislator, Flanagan increased local aid to Leominster and city projects by more than $4 million over the previous legislative session. She is unafraid to stand for progressive issues such as marriage equality and a woman's right to choose. She has shown legislative leadership by making school nursing a priority and providing additional so that local schools can hire more school nurses. Flanagan has shown an understanding of Leominster's place as the leading city in North Central Massachusetts and has used that understanding to work with other cities and towns on regional priorities. Representative Flanagan's opponent left the Democratic party because it had become "too liberal" and because she did not believe she could defeat Flanagan in the primary (she lost by a handful of votes in 2004). The challenger has said that regional and health care issues would not be a priority, and that she would focus solely on issues facing the city. Representative Flanagan gets my vote because she is a progressive leader who understands the importance of state and regional issues and their impact on the city. Prediction: Jennifer Flanagan 52%, Claire Freda 48% (a difference of under 600 votes).

Ballot Question 1 -- Selling Wine in Supermarkets
I am voting yes on Question 1. I had been solidly in favor of the initiative until recently, when I became worried that the new law would require towns to add the new category of liquor license, instead of just allowing the town to issue new licenses. After reading the ballot question closely, I am convinced that local cities and towns will still have discretion over the licenses. Prediction: Yes 51%, No 49%.

Ballot Question 2 -- Fusion Voting
I am voting no on Question 2. Allowing multiple parties to endorse the same candidate--thereby allowing candidates to appear more than once on the same ballot--would be unnecessarily confusing. I am in favor of making ballot access easier for minor parties, but not in this fashion. Prediction: No 60%, Yes 40%.

Ballot Question 3 -- Collective Bargaining for Day Care Workers
I am voting No on Question 3. While I am generally in favor of unionization and collective bargaining, I am not comfortable with the thought of individual day care worker who take care of two or three kids in their homes being pressured to join a union. Prediction: Yes 55%, No 45%.

U.S. Senator
I am voting for Senator Ted Kennedy. He is one of the 10 greatest legislators in our nation's history. His opponent once went on the Judge Mathis show to resolve a legal dispute with a campaign aide. Prediction: Ted Kennedy 72%, Ken Chase 28%.

U.S. Representative
I am voting for Representative John Olver. Unfortunately, Leominster has been stuck in a district with Amherst and other Western Mass. towns. Leominster is an afterthought. Even so, Rep. Olver has fought for funding for highway projects in the region, and is a major proponent of the proposed Leominster-Fitchburg Rail Trail. Prediction: John Olver 63%, Billy Szych 37%.

Attorney General
I am voting for Martha Coakley. I believe she has been an excellent District Attorney for Middlesex County and will be an upgrade to current Attorney General Tom Reilly. Prediction: Martha Coakley 62%, Larry Frisoli 38%.

Secretary of State
I am voting for Green-Rainbow candidate Jill Stein. Incumbent Bill Galvin ignored Stein, refused to debate her, and then when he relented, he insisted on a five-minute debate in an undisclosed location. A particularly undemocratic response for the state's top election official. Prediction: Bill Galvin 82%, Jill Stein 18%.

State Treasurer
I am voting for Green-Rainbow candidate James O'Keefe. I have no beef with the job incumbent Timothy Cahill has done; my vote is to help the Green-Rainbow party achieve automatic ballot access by surpassing 3% of the vote. Prediction: Timothy Cahill 90%, O'Keefe 10%.

State Auditor
I an voting for Incumbent Democrat Joe DiNucci. Prediction: Joe DiNucci 78%, Rand Wilson 22%.

Register of Deeds
I am voting for Democrat Kathy Daigneault. She is a perpetual candidate from Leominster, to the point that she recycles her campaign signs by adding stickers with whatever office she is seeking this cycle. I'm hoping that if she wins, she'll ride incumbency to an easy victory in the next cycle and get rid of those signs. Prediction: Kathy Daigneault 44%, George Watts 32%, John Bowen 24%.


Friday, November 3, 2006

NFL Picks, Week 9

For entertainment purposes only. Picks are against the spread, straight up winners are in bold.

St. Louis (-2) over Kansas City (L, 17-31)
Baltimore (-3) over Cincinnati (W, 26-20)
Houston (+13) over NY Giants (W, 10-14)
Jacksonville (-9.5) over Tennessee (W, 37-7)
Washington (+3) over Dallas (W, 22-19)
Buffalo (-3) over Green Bay (W, 24-10)
Tampa Bay (+1) over New Orleans (L, 14-31)
Atlanta (-5.5) over Detroit (L, 14-30)
Chicago (-13.5) over Miami (L, 13-31)
Mnnesota (-5) over San Francisco (L, 3-9)
San Diego (-12.5) over Cleveland (L, 32-25)
Denver (+3) over Pittsburgh (W, 31-20)
New England (-3) over Indianapolis (L, 20-27)
Seattle (-7) over Oakland (W, 16-0)

Against the Spread
LAST WEEK   5- 9- 0  .357
TO DATE 53-54- 7 .496
THIS WEEK 7- 7- 0 .500
SEASON 60-61- 7 .496

Straight Up
LAST WEEK   7- 7  .500
TO DATE 71-43 .623
THIS WEEK 8- 6 .571
SEASON 79-49 .617


Have an old car you want to get rid of?

You can donate it for a tax break, or you can wave goodbye as it rolls into the lake, as a Leominster man did yesterday:

LEOMINSTER-- A man drove his Honda onto a boat ramp yesterday, got out of the car and waved goodbye after it rolled into Lake Whalom, according to police and a witness....

Mr. Angelopoulos was not making a lot of sense before the incident, Lt. Marino said.

Police were told he walked into the Captain's Lounge, which is across the street from the water, and said he wanted to use the phone to call Leominster Police, Lt. Marino said.

He said he wanted to check to see if it was OK to drive his car into the lake, but didn't end up making the call, Lt. Marino said. The man had not been drinking at the bar, he said.

A man who was fishing in the area said he saw Mr. Angelopoulos fooling around with the 1992 Honda Civic, getting in and out of the driver's side door, before he drove it to the boat ramp and it traveled into the water.

"He waved goodbye to it," said the fisherman, who didn't want to provide his name.

A woman asked the motorist, "Is that your car?" the fisherman said.

"It's my car and I can do what I want with it," Mr. Angelopoulos told her, according to the fisherman.

I suppose you can't argue with that.

(via the Worcester Telegram and Gazette).


What could be more fun that another Pats-Colts game?

Everyone this week is talking about this Sunday's huge game between the Patriots and the Colts. But instead of looking ahead, I'm going to take a few moments to look back at some memorable Colts-Patriots matchups.

Oh sure, the recent success against the Colts--especially in the playoffs--has been fantastic and memorable. But those aren't the games I'm talking about. I'm talking about many of the other games that the teams have played over the last 22 seasons.

You see, my brother Scott is a rabid Colts fan. I won't go into the whats and wherefores about how a kid from Leominster becomes a Colts fan; he just is, and always has been. Since 1985, The Colts and Patriots have played in Foxboro 21 times. Scott and I have attended 20 of them together. We also saw a Pats-Colts game in Indianapolis about a dozen years ago.

In those games, the Patriots are 17-4.

Here is a rundown of some of the games that I remember fondly. I'm guessing Scott's recollections aren't quite the same:

2001: Many Patriots fans remember this game as Tom Brady's first start. I fondly remember it for other reasons. Scott wore both his Peyton Manning and Edgerrin James jerseys to the game, with the plan of standing and cheering with the James jersey on if the Colts scored on the ground. If the Colts scored via the pass, he would rip the James jersey off and show his Manning jersey to the crowd (he could get away with this because we sat with a group of people who generally pitied him, and treated him well despite his affiliation).

True to his word, when the Colts scored their first touchdown on a Manning pass, Scott tore off his shirt to reveal the Manning jersey, preening and cheering as he did. The Colts were trailing 37-0 at the time. Three weeks later the Patriots added another new way to win, when David Patten ran, passed, and caught touchdowns for the first time since Walter Payton in the 1970s.

1999: An all-time classic Scott moment. The Colts go into halftime leading 28-7. Then Edgerrin James fumbles away one drive...and Marcus Pollard fumbles away another one...and Jim Mora gets conservative...and the Patriots come back to win 31-28, prompting an all-time great Scott blowup. After watching some version of the Colts collapse nearly every year for, 15 years, he finally has had enough. Following the game, he marches over to the runway where the Colts were leaving the field, hurls a long string of insults and other bits of, er, advice, and then rips the Colts jersey off his back and throws it back to the team. He vows not to wear another piece of Colts clothing until the Colts beat the Patriots again. Luckily, Indy holds on in the second meeting of the season, and Scott is able to pull out the paraphernalia once again.

2003: The Patriots beat the Colts 24-14 to win the AFC title in a steady snow. Among the ways the Patriots score is a safety when the snap is over the punter's head and out the back of the end zone. The play is ironic since the Colts had not been punted in their two preceding playoff games and did not punt on their first try in this game either. Of course the game was in Foxboro because the Patriots had won in Indy on a kickoff return with no time left in the first half, and the Colts inability to score on four tries from the one yard line at the end of the game.

2004: Two games in Foxboro. In the season opener, the Colts manage to lose as Edgerrin James fumbles on the goal line late in the fourth quarter on a drive that would have given the Colts the lead, and then Mike Vanderjagt misses a game-tying kick as time expires after taunting the Patriots by making the "money" sign at the Pats bench before the miss. When they meet again in the playoffs, the Patriots hold the mighty Colts to just three points.

1988: This was the first time that Scott started to get the idea that it's always going to be something. The Colts take a 17-14 lead late into the fourth quarter when Patriots' quarterback Tom Ramsey is replaced by Doug Flutie. Flutie marches the Patriots down the field and scores on a naked bootleg in the final 15 seconds to give the Patriots a 21-17 win. It is the only rushing touchdown of Flutie's Patriots career. It is the only win for the Pats in a five game stretch that includes losses of 36-6, 31-6, and 45-3.

1991: The Patriots score on the last play of regulation to tie the game at 17-17, then wins in overtime with a 60+ yard pass play from Hugh Millen to Michael Timpson. Scott, who I'm sure was standing right next to me as the ball was snapped, vanished before Timpson scored his touchdown.

1994: Our only trip to Indianapolis and another new way for the Colts to lose. The Patriots fail to score a touchdown, but win as the fourth Matt Bahr field goal clanks off the upright and flops over the crossbar with only two minutes left to play.

1987: The Patriots block a Rohn Stark punt on their way to a 24-0 December victory. Scott leaves after three quarters, citing the frigid conditions. It won't be the last time he leaves before the final gun sounds.

1985: Irving Fryar's punt return touchdown keys a 34-15 Patriot win on their way to their first Super Bowl appearance. The Colts have yet to appear in a Super Bowl since moving to Indianapolis in 1984, a 22 year drought.

1986: The Patriots raise the AFC Championship flag (trust me, it was a big deal at the time) as they open the season with a 33-3 win over the Colts. The kid sitting behind us got drunk for the first time and puked all over himself and the walkway between our rows.

There were a couple of memorable Colts wins too...

1990: Scott finally gets to see the Colts win, 13-10, avenging an earlier loss in Indy. The loss in Indy will end up being the Patriots only win of the season.

1992: We had a Northeaster the night before this game, and there was eight inches of snow in the stands that the team was unable to clear. As often happens after a Northeaster, the wind was howling out of the North at over 30 miles per hour, which made not only for an uncomfortable fan experience, but made it nearly impossible to kick or throw. The Colts executed a two-yard punt into the wind, and that wasn't even the worst kick of the day. Patriots kicker Charlie Baumann lined up for a 38-yard FG into the wind and it came up about 10 yards short. The Colts won 6-0, including a 50-yard FG with the wind at his back that Dean Biasucci only got about 15 feet off the ground.

2005: Finally Peyton Manning's Colts win at Foxboro, and Scott can't relax. He's so used to the Patriots finding a new and often odd way to win, that he refuses to believe that the Colts are going to win. Even after I've told him that the Patriots were cooked and many of the fans have left, he refuses to accept the result. It's too bad really. You'd think he could enjoy the win just a little.

So let's take a look at how the Patriots have managed to win over the years: a punt return, a blocked punt, a last second TD run by a local hero, field goals that ricochet off the uprights, an overtime thriller, a 21-point second half comeback, a TD pass run and catch by the same player, a kickoff return and four misses from the one-yard line, a missed FG by the most accurate kicker in history, and a punt snapped out of the end zone for a safety.

Can't wait to see what's next...


Thursday, November 2, 2006

Wearing your religion on your sleeve

Or in this case, on your entire jersey. An Alabama company has taken the jerseys of NFL, MLB, and NBA teams and altered the logos to endorse specific bible verses. While I wouldn't buy one, I can see how this could be clever marketing to a certain population. But I took a look at a couple of the passages referenced on the jerseys, and I can't figure out what they are getting at.

For instance, the knock off of the Spurs' Tim Duncan jersey pictured here points people to Deuteronomy 21. So I looked it up and was baffled that this chapter would be highlighted. The chapter outlines five Mosaic laws:

  1. The procedure a village should take to atone for an unsolved murder;
  2. The procedure to be followed when marrying a woman captured as a prisoner of war;
  3. The proper way to split an inheritance where there are first-born sons of multiple wives;
  4. The requirement that a rebellious son be executed by stoning; and
  5. The requirement that criminals executed by hanging be buried before nightfall.
What in the world does any of that have to do with anything contemporary? I can get on board the "Psalm 23" knockoff of a Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls jersey or the "Exodus 20" knockoff of the NBA all-star jersey, but I have no idea what this one is about.

For locals, there is a Celtics version as well, a mock-up of a Paul Pierce jersey that reads "Psalm 34." This one is actually kind of clever for a guy whose nickname is "The Truth," since verse 13 reads: "keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies."

(Via Deadspin.)


Wednesday, November 1, 2006

"Is there anything that you care about in your soul?"

11-1 debateI suppose Christy Mihos asked the question that everyone's been wondering about Kerry Healey. It's an unfair question, of course, but she hasn't sounded like a real person yet in the campaign, and she hasn't tonight either. She's really in a tough spot: being warm and fuzzy won't make up 25 points, but going on the attack reinforces the perception that Healey is an angry woman.

Watching the debate reminded me of watching the end of an NHL game where the team behind 5-1 sends out the goons and starts fights all over the ice to try to prove some sort of point. Healey's not going to win, but she can try to bloody Patrick before the siren goes.

I thought Patrick let his guard down a time or two and showed a little anger in responding to some of Healey's charges. I don't think that helps him. It won't hurt him enough to make a difference, but he's done a better job of staying above the fray.

Mihos remains a loose cannon. I'm guessing he must get some sort of an employee discount on Red Bull at his convenience stores.

I remained impressed with Grace Ross. She articulates her positions well and does so specifically. In a lot of respects, the fact that she can't win frees her to speak candidly about what she believes in without worrying about turning voters off. I hope that she or another Green-Rainbow candidate down the ballot reaches the three-percent necessary to qualify the party for future ballots. I'd also like to see a Patrick administration find a place for her. I think she would be an asset.

The only question remaining is one of margin. By how much will Patrick win? Can he get to 50%? Winning a majority of votes in a four-way race would be an impressive feat and would allow Patrick to claim the mythical "mandate" that candidates claim give them the ability to aggressively pursue their agenda.


Happy Halloween

We had a Halloween party Monday night and trick-or-treating Tuesday, so naturally Jackson needed two costumes (actually, Michelle liked one and I liked a different one, so we compromised and Jackson got to wear both). Which did you like best? Be sure to vote below.

Jackson Pumpkin

Jackson Rooster

Pumpkin or Rooster?
Free polls from


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