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Nominal Me

I'm falling in love with my camera and taking photos everywhere I go. That, combined with my passions for politics, sports, religion and other things we all agree on, makes this blog persist.

My Photo
Location: Astoria, New York, United States

I'm born in Manhattan and raised in Queens.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Vote For TJ Again

TJ Allard (above) is a finalist for the "Good Day Live" New York correspondent job.

TJ has made finals. Please call this number so he can win it all (same one):


You can vote until 3 AM Eastern. Thanks.

Vote For TJ Update

We will know at about 1 PM Eastern Tuesday if TJ Allard makes the first cut as the Good Day Live New York correspondent.

If he does, there will be three candidates left and another phone number to call. Stop by here at 1 PM Eastern for the number. For background information, click this and scroll down.

Photo Essay: An Old Roll of Film

New York's old skyline.

Recently, I finally got around to developing an old roll of film that had been sitting in my apartment for a long time. The photo above was the first picture I saw.

Apparently, I had taken this roll of film sometime in 1999 or 2000, and didn't get around to developing it until about five years later.

Times change.

The Statue of Liberty

Back view.

Close up.

She's tall.


Monday, November 29, 2004

Monday Morning Musings

Time for Christmas shopping season.

Remember, vote for TJ today. (Scroll down past the first post segment).

TO VOTE FOR TJ, PLEASE CALL 866-613-0004 FROM 1 PM to 3 AM EASTERN TODAY. Rules on calling too much are here.

Here's more from the future of America.

What if George Lucas directed Apocalypse Now?

Here's a very good ad about prevention.

I don't think, in this case, we did a good job winning the hearts and minds of Iraqis.

Here's a Christian against Christmas.

Want to find a date? See what happens when you post a message on Craigslist.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Why Don't We Like Football (Soccer)?

On July 4, 2004, the Greek national team won the European Cup in the greatest upset in sports history. Yet few people in America were watching.

Do you know who Angelos Charisteas is? If you're American, probably not.

He scored the winning goal for Greece to win the 2004 European Cup. If you lived just about anywhere else in the planet, you have a good idea of who he is and what he did.

Why is that?

Greek-Americans in Astoria, Queens (New York City) closed down streets as they celebrated the unlikely championship.

It was a huge party in the streets, and a blast to walk around in.

But that was the vast minority of Americans. It was American Independence Day, and most of us had other things on our minds. Many U.S. newscasts barely mentioned the win, and only a few knew the game was taking place at all. We just don't seem to care about football, uh, soccer.

Part of the reason is that we're not good at it. Probably like most people, admire the things that as a nation we're good at. Americans interest in soccer peaked when the U.S. men's team qualified in the World Cup and the women's team won it all.

Another theory is that the matches are low scoring. This makes some sense, yet it doesn't quite answer the question for me. If you take a look at a game like basketball, which is popular in the U.S., there are plenty of scoring but the first three-and-a-half-quarters of each game is pointless.

Perhaps it's a simple as we like to use our hands? Or that we like expensive sports?

In Athens, Greeks filled Omonia Square after each major win. Americans did not have a similar enthusiasm when the U.S. team qualified for the World Cup playoffs.

Keep in mind that the Greeks had never scored a goal in major international competition -- much less won a game -- yet they were still passionate about it.

Soccer is such a great sport. Yet until recently, I hardly ever followed it.

In the end, like many other things, it's probably just a cultural thing.

As the Guardian recently wrote, "America is not the world."

We just don't pay attention to what goes on outside our boarders. They think that's going to change, at least when it comes to soccer.

I'm not so sure.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Wake Forest Takes the Preseason NIT

Wake Forest beat Arizona to win the Preseason NIT Friday night.

OK, these photos are pretty bad, and I've come to the conclusion that if I'm going to keep blogging, I need to get my hands on a digital camera.

These were taken from my Treo 600 from my courtside seats, and they look like some art student got to the prints. The Treo is good for outdoor shots on a sunny day, and was not really designed for fast-paced indoor action.

But because I have to brag about being courtside, I have to post them. Next time, I'll either scan real photos or get a digital camera.

Wake Forest fans know how to take things up a notch.

The 1/3 capacity crowd had a great time.

I have to say this experience makes me a college basketball fan, as it's so much more fun than a regular season pro game. I'll have to follow Syracuse, UConn, St. Johns, and Wake Forest from now on.

Yeah baby!

Friday, November 26, 2004

Plugs, For My Friends and Other Blogs

It's time for shameless promotion.

It's time to shill. Here's some things I'd like you to do, or some websites I think you should visit. Some of them involve people I know, but most don't. If you'd like to promote your blog, feel free to add it in the comments section.

Some of this I've found through Blog Explosion, in other cases just surfing around.

First, check out Paul Katcher's first assignment on ESPN Page 3, the Best Seinfeld Sports Moments.

Long before I ever knew what a "blog" was, I was going to his website on a daily basis.

His is the only blog by a guy I've never met that I read every day. Check out his blog and his ESPN article. Then check out the post that hooked me on his website, his homage to "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka. You won't be dissapointed.

TJ Allard (above) is one of 12 finalists for the "Good Day Live" New York correspondent job, and he needs your vote.

They will be airing a one minute tape of him during their Monday, November 29th broadcast, at times in these specific cities:

New York WNYW FOX 12:00PM
Cleveland WJW FOX 1:00PM
Detroit WJBK FOX 1:00PM
Chicago WFLD FOX 1:00PM
Minneapolis KMSP FOX 12:00PM
St. Louis KTVI FOX 12:00PM
Kansas City WDAF FOX 1:00PM
San Francisco KTVU FOX 9:00AM
Los Angeles KTTV FOX 9:00AM
San Diego XETV FOX 9:00AM
Dallas KDFW FOX 11:00AM
Houston KRIV FOX 11:00AM
New Orleans WB38 WB 12:00PM
Tampa WTVT FOX 1:00PM
Atlanta WAGA FOX 1:00PM
Philadelphia WTXF FOX 12:00PM

If you can't watch the show (I can't either, I'll be working), stay tuned to this website for voting information, which will be posted as soon as he has it. At the moment, the show will be posting a 1-800 # for voting.

As for some other blogs, there is some great stuff out there, like:

A chilling and thought provoking post by a guy who just broke up with his girlfriend.

A 24 year old woman talks about dealing with being raped. It started with this. I really hope she turns out OK.

Here's a great PowerPoint on Iraqi insurgents use of Moques, and what our troops are up against there.

The Moderate Voice's great summary of Dan Rather's departure.

Here's a post from an "ex-raver" talking about the wilder times in her life.

Then there's Dr. Strangejazz's great interview with actor/writer/director Harold Ramis.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you can count your blessings today.

Terrorism Changes New York, For the Better

Terrorists have made their impact: a greener New York City.

I can remember, back in 1993, walking up to the World Trade Center's Twin Towers and seeing stone structures holding plants near the doors. To the average tourist, it was a nice display of the greener side of New York City.

New Yorkers knew better. This was shortly after the bombing of the World Trade Center, and the stone structures were put near the doors to discourage car bombs from getting into the building.

In a post-September 11th New York, plant-holding barricades have been put up in front of landmarks all over the city.

A few weeks ago, similar stone barriers were erected in front of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

When seeing them for the first time, it occurred to me that terrorism has done more to "green" New York City than any other force I know.

Threats against our city have added to more plants and trees being planted in New York than actions from environmental or civics groups.

How is that for unintended outcomes?

It's a blessing to count.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Things To Do In New York: Preseason NIT

Wake Forest beat Providence and Arizona squeaked by Michigan Wednesday night in Madison Square Garden.

Today, I attended my first Division I college basketball game, attending the semi-finals of the Preseason NIT. It was a lot of fun, with the Arizona/Michigan game being the most enjoyable.

You don't know what the Preseason MIT is? Neither did I until my friend called me up with tickets. Here's a brief explanation.

I'll most likely go to the finals on Friday, and chances are if you want to go there will be seats available. The Garden was more than half empty tonight.

Wake Forest, now the #1 team in the nation, beat Providence.

Arizona needed an overtime to beat Michigan
, almost losing the game with one second left.

I don't follow college basketball until the Final Four, but this is a lot of fun.

Fun times.

Q&A with Matt and Matt: the NYC Buffalo Bills Backers Founders

Matt Kabel (left) and Matt Soreco tailgating at Giants Stadium before a Bills-Jets game.

When Matt Kabel and Matt Soreco founded the New York City chapter of the Buffalo Bills backers, a home-away-from-home organization that gets Bills fans together in various NFL cities, they were happy enough to be able to watch Bills games with a handful of fellow fans.

In just two years, however, the group has mushroomed into over 500 people, packing McFadden's on 42nd and 2nd so tight that the overflow crowd spills into the bar next door.

It has turned into more than just a place to watch games without fans of New Jersey teams giving them crap, it has become a group that reunites old friends and tries to serve the greater community.

As a former fan of the week, joining such luminaries as MSNBC's Tim Russert and other Bills fans, I can say that Sunday afternoons are a blast when you're watching a game with a few hundred of your fellow Bills fans.

So without further ado, here's my Q&A with Matt and Matt, the co-founders of the New York City Buffalo Bills backers:

1. How did you go from 50 Bills fans in a bar to 500?

SORECO: We got the word out. Matt Kabel and I both have backgrounds in marketing, which helps us tremendously. We simply created a web page to start, then made sure people knew to look there. We’ve partnered with some great websites and traded links, made news, and encouraged members to help spread the word. We keep people engaged by sending weekly updates to members to keep them aware of anything new and interesting.

KABEL: It took a lot of hard work. We posted info about the group on message boards, traveled to different bars around the city to recruit fellow fans, and had different articles written on us like buffalobills.com, The Buffalo News, and the Orchard Park Citizen. On several occasions we even stopped random Bills fans on the street and would tell them about our group. I actually just did that 10 min ago on the elevator coming to work when I saw a man wearing a Canisius jacket! Also, the weekly e-newsletters we send get forwarded on to other fans, and I think that was the biggest recruiter for us.

2. What is your favorite Buffalo Bills moment?

KABEL: Anything not involving the Super Bowls! Ha! But I would have to say the Houston Comeback. I remember listening to the game on the radio because it was not televised. I still can hear Van Miller screaming, “It’s Fandamonium!”

SORECO: My favorite is the game against the Jets in 1988 when the Bills clinched a playoff spot for the first time in years. At my age back then, that was at the height of my sports fandom, and being able to strut into school the next day and rub it into Jets fans - who gave me lip for years - was fantastic.

3. What can NYC Bills fans expect when they go to McFadden's?

SORECO: They can expect to watch the game in the company of hundreds of fellow fans. They can expect to cheer together with each score and yell together at each goof. They can expect some Buffalo favorite foods and beer to top off the good time.

KABEL: That you’ll either celebrate a win with hundreds of Bills fans, or mourn with them. Its definitely a family-like atmosphere in there, and anybody that has roots in Western New York will feel right at home. It really is about celebrating Buffalo and Western New York as much as it is about the Bills. Especially when you can sit down and have a Labatt Blue, Sahlen Hot Dog, or a beef-on-weck.

4. Are you hopeful at all about the rest of the season?

KABEL: I’m an eternal optimist. I won’t rule them out until the fat lady sings. (Knock on wood)

SORECO: I’m hopeful that the rest of this season will serve as a springboard for improvements to be made in the 2005 off-season. They’ve showed some signs of life, and I’m proud that there is no quit in this team. Just a few more improvements will make for an exciting 2005 playoff team. Did I just avoid the question???

5. You've done some fundraising for a Buffalo charity. Tell me a little about it.

SORECO: Matt and I decided that we should use some of the momentum we created and do some good with it. Why not benefit a charity? This year, we raised funds for Roswell Cancer Institute. I loved being a part of it, and we’ve received a lot of positive feedback because of it.

KABEL: This year we raised $1,100 for Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, and last year we raised $1,000 for Drew Bledsoe’s Parenting With Dignity foundation. Buffalonians are gracious people, who like giving back to the community, especially when it involves a Buffalo-related charity. We are still new at it and learning how to best raise money. There are ways to do it, and not ways to do it, and we are trying to get better at the former!

6. Any crazy things going on at McFaddens on Sundays?

KABEL: I think the whole atmosphere at McFadden’s is crazy! It’s crazy seeing so many Bills jerseys in Manhattan. Its crazy seeing people you knew as kids all grown up. It’s crazy when after a touchdown, a fan will stand on a barstool and take his removed t-shirt and whip it around. It’s crazy when fans go outside at halftime to play touch-football on a crowded sidewalk in Manhattan. There’s nothing normal about watching the Bills games at McFadden’s, and that is what brings hundreds of fans there!

SORECO: Crazy? How’s this… Two gentlemen walked into McFadden’s yesterday and started watching the game right next to me. I knew they looked out of place and were probably not Bills fans. Anyway, Takeo Spikes intercepts a pass and the place erupts into the customary “TKO!” chant. One of them chants along with us, and when the crowd dies down, asks someone next to me “What’s TKO?”

It turns out the gents were in from South Africa, and this was their first American Football experience! I think it’s nuts that they’ll go home and tell the story of the passionate fans chanting and cheering in unison, NOT knowing that NYCBBB is NOT the norm, rather we set the bar for fandom sky high!

The Buffalo Bills play the Seattle Seahawks at 4:15 PM this coming Sunday, November 28th. The doors at McFadden's (42nd street and 2nd avenue, Manhattan) open at 12:00 PM, with the drinks and wings specials starting at about 2 PM.

More information on the NYC Buffalo Bills Backers (and other chapters):
The New York City Buffalo Bills Backers Website
NYC Bills Backers Transform McFadden's (BuffaloBills.com, October 7, 2004)
New York City Buffalo Bills Backers (BuffaloBills.com, October 24, 2002)
Bills fans know how to tailgate in New Jersey

Also, check out my other Q&As.

Join us for a Bills game on 42nd and 2nd.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The Weekend Brings Moments of Redemption for the NBA and Drew Bledsoe

The Buffalo Bills beat the St. Louis Rams 37-17 Sunday on the strong play of their special teams.

Mark Campbell caught three touchdowns, baffling the Rams defense and fantasy football owners everywhere. The Bills advance to 4-6 and give folks in upstate New York something to cheer about this week.

Bledsoe, who I have given up on, finished 15 of 24 for 185 yards and one interception. The three touchdowns were the most Bledsoe's thrown since he had three in Buffalo's 38-21 win over Miami on Dec. 1, 2002.

Yet as happy as I am for the win, Bledsoe did not play as well as his statistics imply. On a number of occasions, Bledsoe passes were either under- or over-thrown, and sometimes the quarterback's decisions were suspect.

When Sam Aiken had two steps on a Rams defender, Bledsoe's long ball was underthrown, forcing the receiver to slow down for the catch; it was a long completion that should have been a touchdown.

Eric Moulds and Drew Bledsoe seemed to be out of sync with each other, with catchable balls hitting the ground, costing the Bills a touchdown pass and nearly an interception.

Even when Bledsoe completed a pass, it seemed in many instances to be a good play on the part of the receiver, rather than an accurate throw by the quarterback.

This has been frustrating to watch all season long, and I have long wondered what the problem was.

I finally figured it out this past Sunday: Bledsoe's fundamentals are deteriorating.

Take a look at the two photos below, one of Bledsoe earlier in his career with the Patriots, and another from Sunday's game against the Rams.

Pay special attention to Bledsoe's shoulders and feet.

Good passing requires good balance, with the quarterback's lead foot pointed at his target, allowing for greater velocity and accuracy. Each drop back has a rhythm all its own.

In the older photo, Bledsoe is showing good form. He is planting his right foot into the ground before releasing the pass, shifting his weight to his left, and forward foot, as he releases the ball. This shows good balance, and increases the chance for the quarterback to complete the pass.

In Sunday's photo, Bledsoe does not seem to be playing with the right kind of footwork. His shoulders and feet are equidistant to the receiver, making it harder for him to maintain optimum balance. Because his feet are side by side, Bledsoe is shifts his weight to the back of both feet, and putting his elbows out of position to throw the ball. This puts more pressure on his arm to throw a fast and accurate pass, and often leads to problems downfield.

Bledsoe still has a great arm, but not good enough to play with bad mechanics in the NFL.

With this minor detail in his passing motion, Bledsoe's passes continue to sail over- and under-thrown, causing unnecessary incompletions and interceptions.

It is a testament to his arm and grit that he was able to throw three touchdowns Sunday. He truly is a special athlete and a gifted quarterback. He made a lot of good decisions and managed the game well.

But from a technique point of view, Bledsoe threw off his back foot almost every time Sunday afternoon. He's been doing that a lot lately.

The good news is that it seems to be an easy thing to fix.

The bad news is that he doesn't have a whole lot of time to do it.

The NBA did the right thing.

On Saturday, the NBA suspended Ron Artest, Jermaine O'Neal and Stephen Jackson of the Indiana Pacers and Ben Wallace of the Detroit Pistons indefinitely for their participation in Friday's brawl with fans, and each other.

Artest was suspended for the rest of the season, and nine players overall were banned for more than 140 games, including some of the harshest penalties the league ever issued.

The NBA made the right choice, as Friday's incident was a black eye on the sport. I probably would have suspended some of the other players longer, but I applaud the league for the steps it has taken.

Hopefully, by the time the NBA finals come around, the league will have put this shameful incident behind it.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Monday Morning Musings

A quiet moment at Times Square, New York City.

If you haven't seen it yet, Ashlee Simpson screws up.

Ah, the future of America.

Is this the new theme song of the Democratic party?

Here's a woman not to be messed with.

Are you a depressed Democrat? Click here.

Nice clip of an Asian American breaking the glass cieling of hip hop.

And here's more on the future of America.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Movie Preview: Oliver Stone's Alexander

Oliver Stone is back.

Oliver Stone's Alexander comes out next week. It's going to be interesting.

But you don't have to wait for movie to come out. I have an exclusive preview of the film. Remember, this is an exclusive, so don't go blabbing to your friends out it!

THE STORY OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT (356-323 B.C.) BY OLIVER STONE (with special thanks to this website)

Alexander the Great, king of Macedonia and one of the greatest generals in history. He conquered much of what was then the civilized world. Alexander brought Greek ideas and the Greek way of doing things to all the countries he conquered. This great general and king made possible the broadly developed culture of the Hellenistic Age. Oliver Stone brings him to live in a way we've never seen before.

At the start of the movie, Alexander is a happy boy with a wonderful girlfriend and a boyfriend on the side.

But things take a turn for the worse when he meets his girlfriend's sexually abusive father, played by Rodney Dangerfield. With a laugh track in his head, Alexander decides that the best thing for him to do is to kill him, and just about everyone else he runs into for the next few decades.

In a short period of time, just about everyone in Pella, Macedonia is dead. Thanks to Robert Downey, Jr., Alexander is now a media star.

Seeking new challenges, Alexander leaves the town at the ripe young age of 13 years old and enlists in the army. He is sent to Vietnam.

There, he meets Pvt. Charlie Sheen, who has a nasty habit of delivering monologues.

The two become very good friends, going on a killing spree that leaves Tom Cruise paralyzed and millions of Asians dead.

After running out of villages to rape and pillage, Alexander and Sheen leave Vietnam and move to New York.

At the ripe young age of 20, Alexander and Sheen are introduced to Gordon Gekko, and the three begin a mighty financial empire in Wall Street. It is only a matter of time, however, when Alexander becomes annoyed with Gekko and Sheen. Bored of a life of merely screwing people out of money, Alexander has both of his partners decapitated, and goes on another killing spree. Alexander then marries Darryl Hannah and becomes king.

As Alexander's power grew, so did the power of his chief rival...John F. Kennedy. Alexander, knowing that Kennedy was too well guarded for his army to get to, strikes a deal with Larry Hagman to build an army of Cubans, C.I.A. agents, and random Communists living in Louisiana.

The ambitious young king leads the army of 35,000 soldiers into Texas, leading to the slaughter of Kennedy and his men, and opening the Bible belt to him. Inexplicably, the death of Kennedy is blamed on a lone gunman, and the patsy is killed before he can talk.

Local district attorney Jim Garrison, played by Kevin Costner, suspects a conspiracy, and begins a controversial investigation. Alexander is furious at his action, and exiles him to star in movies like Waterworld for the rest of his life.

With JFK out of the picture, a new leader emerges: Richard Nixon, poorly portrayed by Anthony Hopkins. Yet Nixon proves to be too paranoid to seriously challenge Alexander, and his forces rout him at the battle of Watergate. Nixon screams "F*** the Kennedys" as death takes hold of him.

Alexander is now at the height of his power. He busies himself with the organization and administration of his empire, but he is beginning to slip. He struggles to identify with his new general, Willie Beamen, played by Jamie Foxx, who has a style of war far too flashy for his tastes.

But times get tough for Alexander, and he grows tired. He beings to hang out with a Val Kilmer and experiments with hallucinogenic drugs. Many see Alexander's overdose coming.

When he dies, on June 13, 323 B.C., his body was placed in a gold coffin and taken to Memphis. He leaves no choice for a successor, and his empire fractures.

Thus ends the story of a great leader, thus begins a great legend.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

The NBA On The Decline, Again

The NBA found a new way for fans to get involved in the game Friday night, and it wasn't a good thing.

Friday night there was a brawl that consisted of fans and athletes losing control and disgracing a once-proud sport.

The NBA continues to systematically destroy itself with high school kids, bad discipline, and pushing a me-first culture.

It's normal to have fans fight in the stands. It's common to have athletes fight on the court.

It's not OK to have athletes fighting fans.

There are no good guys in this situation. Fans have the right to do many things, but physical contact with players is not one of them. Players, on the other hand, do not have the right to assault the very people who pay their million dollar salaries.

Any player who threw a punch at a fan should be suspended for the rest of the season, without pay.

Any fan who threw a punch or threw an object at a player, or anyone else, should be banned from attending NBA games.

Any one, player or fan, who threw a punch, should have legal charges filed against them.

The NBA must clean up its act now.

It's really that simple.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Retro Moment: Harold Ramis

Harold Ramis has given us so much. It brings a tear to my eye.

Check out Dr. Strangejazz's interview with Harold Ramis.

Other Retro Moments:
The Great White Hype

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Random Quotes

Time to think.

Here are some random quotes of interest that I've come across recently:

"An army of a thousand is easy to find, but, ah, how difficult to find a general."
-- Chinese proverb

On the appointment of Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state in today's Wall Street Journal:

"She is a good person; she has experience and accomplishments; she is stable, hardworking and sophisticated. She is also--this is breathtaking, still--a young black woman raised to the position first held by Thomas Jefferson. It is considered corny to point this out. But corny's not all bad. Look at it this way. In every U.S. embassy and consulate in the world very soon, non-Americans will walk in to see two things: a picture of the American president and next to it a picture of the young black woman who is this nation's secretary of state. They will notice this, and consciously or not they will think: This truly must be some kind of country."
-- Peggy Noonan

"I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live his life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."
-- Henry David Thoreau, Walden

"Sloth is not to be confused with laziness. A lazy man, a man who sits around and watches the grass grow, may be a man at peace. His sun-drenched, bumblebee dreaming may be the prelude to action or itself an act well worth the acting.

"A slothful man, on the other hand, may be a very busy man. He is a man who goes through the motions, who flies on automatic pilot. Like a man with a bad head cold, he has mostly lost his sense of taste and smell. He knows something's wrong with him, but not wrong enough to do anything about. Other people come and go, but through glazed eyes he hardly notices them. He is letting things run their course. He is getting through his life."
-- The November 18th entry of "Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner"

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
-- Matthew 11:26-30 (quoting Jesus)


Update on the Presbyterian Arson Threat

As I noted this past Sunday, the Presbyterian Church USA reported that they received an arson threat this weekend.

There have been some interesting reactions:

Jewish Week implies that the church faked the letter, and said that church officials have praised Hezbollah, and are demanding that the letter be published.

But many Jewish groups, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center, have condemned the threat.

The Washington Times notes that higher security will continue in many churches this coming Sunday.

The investigation is ongoing.

If the purpose of the letter was to raise awareness, this person has succeeded. If the purpose of the letter is to scare me from going to church on Sunday, this person as failed.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Forget the States, Look at the Counties, and the People

A County By County Map Shows George W. Bush's America Posted by Hello

Winners write the history.

George W. Bush may go down in history as a political genius.

In the aftermath of the election, there have been some interesting, under-the-radar, articles looking at it from a more measured point of view.

The supposed fear of the red states seems overblown, says a blogger named Parableman, because those in the blue have very little interaction with evangelical Christians (and vice versa). He has a call to do something about it, and close the "divide" in our country. Very interesting reading.

Another blogger, "Pray Naked...it's good for the soul," came across an interesting statistic: 64% of people who are antagonistic towards Christians voted for John Kerry.

But the evangelicals are taking over, even in the blue states, so says the New York Times. Conversely, also in the New York Times, Democrats are trying to find the "religious left".

Gregg Easterbrook of the New Republic (and NFL.com's TMQ fame) writes that the word "evangelical" is often overused and out of context.

I can understand where the fear of the "red states" comes from when I look at the county map. While "red" county people are more likely to travel into "blue" cities due to work or vacations, it is less likely that people in cities will spend quality time in the "red" areas. This is probably the root of the recent liberal denial about the election, and why so many "blue" people think this is a divided nation. They just have very little exposure to their way of life, and we usually fear what we do not understand.

But then again, as the moderate voice noted, maybe this had to with how the media saw John Kerry: as a green-tea drinker.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Retro Moment: The Great White Hype

The best movie no one has seen. Posted by Hello

Throughout history, there have been motion pictures that have changed the industry forever.

The Great White Hype was not one of them. Nevertheless, it remains one of the funniest movies few people have ever seen.

If you're a fan of boxing or sports movies in general, this one is for you. The plot, described in detail here, leads you to a world of corruption, silliness, and pre-politically-correct humor with an all-star cast.

It begins with a montage later stolen by another film classic, 3000 Miles to Graceland, and takes you into the world of a Don-King like promoter (Samual L. Jackson). The heavyweight champ, played by Damon Wayans is beating his opponents so bad that no one wants to watch him anymore.

So what's a promoter to do? Find a "great white hope" to fight him for the title. But as we all know in real life, finding a white heavyweight contender is pretty hard, and these guys weren't around yet.

So what's a promoter to do? Make a white contender. Comedy ensues.

I mean, where else can you get some great dialogue, like:

"I could beat Conklin and my meat at the same time!" ...and...

"Hey, we ain't duckin' you man. You're just so black we can't find you!"

You will find a great number of actors you recognize in this gem, including Jeff Goldblum, Corbin Bernsen, Jon Lovitz, Cheech Marin, and Jami Foxx. You'll also find a couple of midgets, but I don't know who they are.

Not everyone appreciates the work of art this movie is, but I encourage you to rent it or pick it up for six bucks.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Monday Morning Musings

The J.P. Losman "era" of the Buffalo Bills began on ESPN Sunday night. With the Bills losing to the New England Patriots 29-6 late in the fourth quarter, Drew Bledsoe was benched in favor of the rookie quarterback. Losman went 1/2 for 5 yards, an interception, and a fumble.

Ever work with someone like this?

Looks like Bill Mahr likes hot coco.

RetroCrush is counting down the top 100 TV theme songs of all time.

Thankfully, Wendy's has fired it's unofficial spokesman. That really was an annoying ad campaign. There haven't been any job postings for his replacement.

In my earlier post about the GOP dying, it looks like I was wrong about the hispanic vote. Bush and the Republicans had some significant gains and could be on their way to a longstanding majority. There's even a new dating service for Republicans.

There's a hell of a story on Maurice Clarette and Ohio State in the November 22nd edition of ESPN The Magazine. The full story is here.

War is no joke.

Rick Reilly has a great editorial on Latrell Sprewell.

Check out other Monday Morning Musings:
November 8, 2004
November 1, 2004
October 25, 2004

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Terrorist Threats, But Not Al Queda

New York's Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, along with others in the denomination, was on alert Sunday after the PC-USA received an arson threat.

Walking into church this morning, I noticed more security than usual. During the announcement section of this morning's service, our pastor announced that the Presbyterian Church USA had received an arson threat due to it's "anti-Jewish" policies towards the Middle East.

The letter, postmarked from Queens, NY (my home county), has PC-USA churches all over the country on alert.

While the congregation was unhappy, they did not seem discouraged.

Terrorism, sadly, spans wider than Al-Queda, and darkens more than the Middle East. New Yorkers are getting used to it.

The statement on the potential PC-USA divestment is here.
The PC-USA statement on the Middle East roadmap is here.
More PC-USA thoughts on Palestine may be found here.
The Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church website is here.
The Presbyterian Church USA website is here.

Things To Do In New York: The NFL on CBS

The NFL on CBS in is midtown.

Every Sunday morning, from 10 AM to 1 PM, you can be an audience member of the NFL on CBS pregame show. If you're a fan of guys like Dan Marino, Boomer Esiason, and Shannon Sharpe, just show up on Fifth Avenue and 58th street (where FAO Schwartz used to be).

If you can brave the cold, you can be on TV.

Former Miami Dolphins Coach Dave Wannstedt was in New York to add his commentary to the NFL on CBS pregame show (sorry for the blurry photo, it's the best a Treo can do).

Previous Things To Do In New York:
Mutable, A New Work By Katarina Wong

A Moment of Class at a Storied Rivalry

It was a scary moment for Reggie Brown.

Deep into the third quarter of the Auburn-Georgia college football game, Bulldogs wide receiver Reggie Brown caught a pass up the middle and paid for it.

An Auburn defensive back nailed Brown with a helmet-to-helmet hit, jarring the football from his hands and sending him face first into the ground. As the Auburn football team returned the fumble back a few yards, Brown was motionless.

It was a scary moment. Replays showed that Brown's neck had moved in a really bad direction. Trainers ran immediately on the field. Both teams huddled up to pray for his health. The Auburn Tigers crowd was almost silent, until...

"Reggie...Reggie...Reggie..." the crowd began to chant, cheering for a player only moments before they would have booed.

The crowd erupted again when the stretcher was taken off the field, followed by the loudest applause of the night as Reggie Brown got up and walked to the sideline.

It would be announced that Brown had a concussion, and would walk out of the stadium in a neck brace on his way to a local hospital.

For a brief few moments, the heated rivalry, played by teams that "hated each other," and watched by fans who demanded domination, faded away to more important concerns.

When all was well again, things went back to normal, and the two southern teams could despise each other again.

Sports, more than most other things, can give us truly amazing moments.

The game itself, wasn't memorable.

Aubrn's Carnell Williams led the charge against Georgia Saturday. Posted by Hello

Saturday, November 13, 2004

My Uncle Tom Is Famous

Tom Feeley Talks About His Vietnam War Experience

Here's a follow up to Veteran's Day.

Friday, November 12, 2004

College Kids and Binge Drinking

Was It The Good Old Days, Or Dangerous? Posted by Hello

The New York Times ran a story recently about college kids in Colorado who have died due to binge drinking.

CNN delved a little deeper into the story, citing another example in Oklahoma of a student dying, and what colleges and universities are trying to do to stop the problem.

This Past September, Samantha Spady Was 19 Years Old When She Died of Alcohol Poisoning While A Student At Colorado State University. Posted by Hello

Is this news?

Not really. Not in the sense of the word "new".

In my senior year at college, in a small liberal arts school in upstate New York, the campus was rocked by the news that a student was burned to death when his cigarette fell from his hand onto his bed...and he was too drunk to get up.

Even then, about ten years ago, it seemed too common to be deemed newsworthy.

Unlike a death caused by car accident, or health problems, or some random act "that could happen to anyone," this was the kind of thing that really hit home. Almost all of us in the student body had had many nights where we had no control over ourselves.

Drinking to lose control was a goal; drinking so much that you didn't know where you were was something to be proud of. Being young, invincible, and away from home for the first time, many fellow students reveled in the fact that you could pound down drinks and only worry about having a massive headache the next day.

It was the culture of the time. I imagine on college campuses today, it still is.

To its credit, my college took action. They created a "dry dorm" and took what steps it could to reduce binge drinking among its students.

But the reality is that within four or five years of a binge drinking tragedy, no one in the student body remembers what happened. From what I understand, there was another alcohol-related death just two years later, in spite of the actions the school took.

Each year, young freshmen come to college to learn and to rebel in a really "safe" way. In some respects, they are running away from parental messages like "don't drink too much," and in others they are just simply collapsing under peer pressure.

Colleges and universities are doing what they can. One college thinks that by allowing beer and wine only, that it will curb the problem. Others, like my alma matter, are created alcohol free zones.

But the most hopeful approach comes from students and fraternities themselves. One example is the Sam Spady Foundation, which hopes to spread the word about this dangerous practice and stop it through a different kind of peer pressure.

Ultimately, this may be the only kind of approach that works. I don't see college kids listening to their parents or their professors.

I didn't.

Related Websites:
Donations to the Sam Spady Foundation may be made here.
Facts About Alcohol and Drinking
Is Your Drinking A Problem?