Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top 10 to Disappear for 2009

Goodbye 2008. And hopefully goodbye to these people who made headlines in 2008. I could do without them in least most of it:

1. Brett Favre - Princess/Queen Favre needs to just finally retire. Now. Leading the league in interceptions year after year is definitely impressive but enough is enough. Retire Brett Favre. Please.

2. Joe the Plumber - Maybe he had a good point and asked Obama a good question but the media blitz that followed was nothing short of insane. After McCain took him on the campaign trail and lost, Joe told the press that he didn't really like McCain either. Goodbe Joe the Plumber.

3. Rod Blagojevich - Unfortunately the guy won't just resign and disappear. No, he has to appoint a replacement senator and make things even more complicated. As nice as it would be for Blagojevich to disappear, he probably won't. Too bad.

4. The Clintons - I've been wanting them to disappear for about 10 years but they just won't go away. Hillary as Secretary of State? How sad. And now Michael Bloomberg chose the pair to drop the ball on NYC on New Year's Eve. Why? Go away already.

5. Caroline Kennedy - She wants to be a Senator now? Having the last name Kennedy doesn't make you qualified to be a senator. We don't live in pre-revolution France. Get some experience and come back...or don't come back.

6. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - He's been somewhat quiet lately but that's unlikely to continue. He's insane. While we're at it, Hugo Chavez can go away too. And Fidel Castro. Maybe Castro already did? And Vladmir Putin. These people can all go away.

7. The following should stop making music in 2009: Brittney Spears. Heidi Montag. Pink. Nickleback. Daughtry. David Cook. Metallica. I'm sure there are bunch more but those are the firs that come to mind.

8. The Dallas Cowboys. The Boston Red Sox. The Pittsburgh Panthers. The ACC (in football). Did I say Brett Favre earlier? Duke.

9. Middle East. The whole area could probably disappear really...just leave the oil. What a mess. Do we really have to continue to deal with this in 2009?

10. Myself? Sure, why not? If these people are going to be in 2009, maybe I'll just skip to 2010. Ah, if it were only that simple. Nah, instead I'll continue to complain that these people and things exist. We'll see how that goes...Happy New Year.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Let the Crying Begin

The NFL playoffs are set and New England hasn't been invited. Let the crying in Boston commence at once. It's already started -- for those of you that want to cry with New England fans, here are the talking points (and you have to make these points in as whiny of a voice as possible):
  • It's not fair. San Diego went 8-8 and made the playoff and the Patriots won 11 games and don't. WAHHHH!
  • Look at all the obstacles New England overcame this year to win 11 games. WAHHHH!
  • Tom Brady didn't even play and New England won 11 games. WAHHHHH!

Maybe it's not fair that an 8-8 team makes it in over an 11-win team but that's the way the league is setup. Same with baseball. Is it fair that a team with a losing record could technically make it in to the playoffs over a team with over 1oo wins? Probably not but that's what the divisional races are all about. If New England wanted to make the playoffs, they should have beaten Miami in Week 3. Their only win over playoffs teams were Week 12 over the Dolphins and Week 16 over Arizona, who had already wrapped up the NFC West. Pardon me if I don't feel overly sympathetic for the Patriots. But I don't need to...they have ESPN for that.

Okay, other NFL stuff:

  • Watched every second of the Eagles/Cowboys game. Oh, that was just amazing. The only thing that could have made it better would have been a full T.O. meltdown where he rips off his Cowboys jersey, steals an Eagles jersey from a fan in the crowd and tried to rejoin the Eagles team. And then McNabb beats him down and Andy Reid gives him a belly splash. Yeah, that would be better.
  • Does anyone else thing Ben Roethlisberger is a drama queen? He's injured pretty much every game. I really thought Mike Tomlin was going to go out on the field and just laugh at him.
  • Detroit went 0-16. Ha.
  • Philip Rivers v. Jay Cutler. What a rivalry...I guess. I was happy to see San Diego make the playoffs...especially after everyone said they were dead 5 weeks ago.
  • New England. Haahahahahahaha.
  • Goodbye Romeo Crennel....or Art Shell. They are the same person!
  • Goodbye Eric Mangini. That makes me sad. I wanted him to beat Belichick so badly.
  • Goodbye Rod Marinelli. Didn't win many games but you'll go down in history.
  • Goodbye Brett Favre? Maybe? Maybe not? Hey, it's Brett'll know what he's doing when he knows what he's doing.
  • Lastly, some really early picks for your 2009 Super Bowl. This isn't who I want but I think is most likely to be there: NFC - Philadelphia. (McNabb will find a way to blow it but the door is definitely open for them.) AFC - Baltimore. (I hate to say that but if the Ravens can find any offense, they might be unbeatable. Pittsburgh has too much QB drama.)

That's enough for the NFL. I'll comment on the bowl games later or tomorrow or sometime before next season. Bill Stewart...coming later.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Movies

I don't really watch Christmas movies so I'm hardly in a position to rank the worst Christmas movies of all time. I've never watched all of Miracle on 34th Street or It's a Wonderful Life. I've probably seen enough bits and pieces to know the whole movie...but never have watched the whole thing non-stop. Jingle All The Way, Christmas With The Kranks, Fred Claus? Nah, I'll pass on all those too. The one Christmas movie I do watch every year, and how could I possibly miss it, is A Christmas Story.

For a consecutive 24-hours you can watch Ralphie Parker try to convince everyone that he needs an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model BB rifle with a compass in the stock. Watch Randy get bundled up for winter and unable to get up when he falls (Med-Alert, anyone?) A department store Santa, a bully named Scott Farkus and fudge all make appearance in this class. And, of course, the Bumpus hounds destroy a Christmas turkey, leading to the final climax at the Chinese restaurant, a Christmas not to forget, indeed.

This is about the only Christmas movie I know I'll see this year. As every year. I've recited the lines here at work ad naseum. I even received a "Triple Dog Dare You" t-shirt for a Christmas gift, which highlights the amazing scene in which Scott Schwartz valiently sticks his tongue to that flagpole and gets stuck. Truly amazing stuff. If you're one of those people who have refused to watch "A Christmas Story" because it looks dumb or because of the hype, you don't know what you're missing. Check it out.

And, if you're bored, go here: and check out some ugly Christmas light.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Festivus and another Christmas Carol

I almost forgot that today is Festivus. So get out your Festivus Pole (preferably aluminum due to its very high strength-to-weight ratio), air your grievances to friends and family and compete in the feats of strength because everyone knows that Festivus isn't over until you pin me. So, Happy Festivus everyone. Oh, and watch this video below. At least to the me, it's amazing.

Tis the Season

Beginning on Thanksgiving Day, some radio stations insist that they must play Christmas music non-stop. Others are a little more forgiving and wait until the day before Christmas to begin the onslaught of yuletide greetings. I'm usually burnt out on Christmas tunes in about 3-days. But there are a few that just absolutely boil my blood. Here goes:

7. Santa Baby by Madonna - Talk about taking Santa in a bad direction. A lusty Santa is about the last thing I want to think about during the holiday season. And, considering Madonna is now a student of Kabbalah, this song should be banned.

6. Happy Christmas (War Is Over) by John Lennon - Won't be a popular pick to put on this list but I really can't stand this song. The Lennon version is somewhat acceptable but all the covers are extremely bad. Well, come to think of it, the Lennon version is bad too. It's depressing and way below Lennon's standards.

5. Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town by Bruce Springsteen - Can you say overplayed? I can think of better things to listen to than The Boss belting out this Christmas classic. I turn the station every time it comes on.

4. The Twelve Days of Christmas by Way Too Many People - Yes, it is a classic. But it lasts for 12-days. It goes on and on and on. You have to listen to the phrase "and a partridge in a pear tree" 12 times. And who gives that as a gift anyway?

3. Do They Know It's Christmas by Band Aid - I know it's Christmas because I have to listen to this song. Sure, it was for charity. 20+ years ago. Now it's an accepted Christmas carol? Horrible.

2. Christmas Shoes by Newsong - This song has been accepted as a Christmas classic way too quickly. Another depressing song and one that has been blown way out of proportion. They made a movie about it. Kid wants to buy shoes for his dying mother and a stranger helps him. Nice story but, geesh, this isn't what I want to hear on Christmas. Another song that immediately makes me turn the station.

1. I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas by Gayla Peevey - Gayla Peevey was only 10-years old when she recorded this travesty. Had she been older, I would have demanded that a "crimes against humanity" charge be brought against her. It's not funny and the voice is enough to drive a person insane. It is my least favorite Christmas song of all time.

There's more I'm sure. There are lots of bad Christmas songs that receive airplay because radio stations are desparately trying to fill air time. But can't we do something about these 7 this year to get them removed from the air completely? And, after that's done, I'll start on the next list. Trust me, it's a lot longer...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Where is the Global Warming?

Four-degrees this morning. That's a wee-bit chilly. Even worse, it's only about 55-degrees in my office...and it's not warming up. I am cold. And the testing lab can't be more than 48-degrees at the moment. Not a good day.

Did Coldplay rip off Joe Satriani? You be the judge:

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Something You Don't Expect

The Senior Adult Choir. Singing. Hip-Hop?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Football Stuff

I've neglected the NFL completely and haven't said much about college football, other than the lack of enthusiasm for WVU's season. So, I figured I would give a year in review kinda thing for football too...
  • Missouri has to be the biggest disappointment in college football this year. I was banking on Chase Daniel having an amazing year and winning the Heisman. Instead, they limped through the season and got destroyed by Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game and cost me $100. Thanks Mizzou.
  • Tim Tebow was absolutely robbed of the Heisman. He gets the most first place votes and is left off 154 ballots? That makes no sense what-so-ever. Voters just didn't want a back-to-back winner.
  • South Florida is the most bizarre team in college football. They choke every single year. Talented, yes. Consistent, ha!
  • The Steelers have an amazing defense. If they could put some of the defensive players on offense, maybe they could score some points. If the offense can't put up some numbers before the 2-minute warning, I don't know how they expect to go deep in the playoffs.
  • Anyone feel bad for the Patriots? I didn't think so.
  • Joe Paterno is going to coach at least another year. Which means Bobby Bowden will have to coach at least another two. That's fine by me, I suppose. My biggest problem is that Jabba the Weis gets to coach another year.
  • Brett Favre has thrown 17 interceptions this year with the Jets. Not surprisingly, that leads the NFL. Thank you, Brett. For those counting, that's 463 career touchdowns vs. 305 career interceptions.
  • Nick Saban did a heckuva job at Alabama this year. Texas Tech threw the ball a bunch. Texas played well but lost to Texas Tech. Quit crying.
  • Steve Slaton is having a great rookie season with the Titans. Rookie of the Year consideration should be forthcoming.
  • Not going to the Car Bowl. WVU has an uphill battle in Charlotte.
  • Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech. Sounds like a great nap.
  • Florida will win the National Championship against Oklahoma.

That about covers it for football.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Year in Review

With but a couple weeks remaining in 2008, I thought it was a good time to reflect on the year that, mostly so I don't forget...

So, that seems to about cover my 2008. I don't anticipate anything exciting over the next 2 weeks. I am almost certainly not going to the Car Bowl in Charlotte (notice the almost, though). The Year 2009 should be interesting...a new president and a struggling economy should be weighing the heaviest on the minds of citizens. There will be a lot of eyes turning to Mountaineer basketball soon and then growing dissatisfaction with Bill Stewart could turn ugly if 2009 is worse than 2008. Sports...always entertaining...just like politics.

Anyway, that's all for now. Now back to trying to figure out this Vista mess. Some things never seem to end.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Blagojevich Probe

The story of Rod Blagojevich is amazing in its stupidity. Here is a governor that not only was corrupt but relished in his corruption. The guy essentially knew he was under investigation for his "pay to play" schemes and enjoyed the game, daring federal agents to come get him. This is but one in the myriad of corruption charges being levied against Democrats and their alleged integrity.

You have William Jefferson down in Louisiana and his freezer full of money. There's good ol' Charlie Rangel and his tax loopholes to avoid paying taxes (while he wants to raise taxes on you). How about Cynthia McKinney trying to beat up security? What about Edward Mezvinsky, Jim Traficant and Robert Torricelli? How about the fact that Jesse Jackson, Jr., is Senate Candidate #5? Maybe he didn't offer Blagojevich $1 million for the vacant Senate seat...but would it surprise you if he did? And don't forget Obama and there something there? I guess time will tell...

The point is that Republicans hardly have a monopoly on corruption in government over the past 8 years. Democrats are just as guilty. The fact is that many politicians play "the game" in order to advance their careers. Nancy Pelosi's move to rid Washington of the "culture of corruption" is nothing but insincere rhetoric. If it were any more than that, she would have moved for the removal of Jefferson and Rangel from office long ago. But, in Washington, things remain "politics as usual" regardless of who is in control.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Snow = Lost Minds

I always love the first snow of the year that sticks to the roads because it means everyone loses their freakin' minds. They forget how to drive. Some forget that snow = slick roads. Others believe that snow = unmitigated disaster. There's very few in the middle.

So on Saturday the area experienced the first real snow of the year that created hazardous roads. And I needed to run to Wal-Mart (yes, I hate it too) to buy a few provisions (Hot Hands and a white pullover) for the Mountaineer game. I just happened to time my exodus with when the snow began to stick to I-79. Oh, the horror.

I was in no real rush to get to Wal-Mart so I was cruising in the slow lane, getting passed by all these indestructible SUVs. Around the Pleasant Valley exit, I got to see my first accident of the trip. A truck had somehow managed to do a 180 and was now sitting next to the guard rail facing the wrong direction. Apparently I wasn't the only person to see this as everyone decided that moment was a good time to slam on their brakes. No, they don't slow down...they slam on their brakes. A few slammed on their brakes and had a little fishtail

So, now that these people decided they were going to go 15MPH, I had to go over in the passing lane. Mind you, I'm traveling between 55-60 at this point...not slow but not up to the speed limit. That obviously is no where near fast enough for some. Some Escalade decided he wanted me moved and pulled up on the bumper. That really doesn't phase me a bit but I noticed. And, of course, slowed down more. Flashing lights doesn't phase me either. But I eventually let him pass...just in time for him to get stuck in the traffic from the accident on the bridge past the Kingmont exit. By timing my merge into the right lane, I was able to get off at Kingmont and by-pass the accident. Score one for me.

Of course, on my way through Benton's Ferry, I ran into another accident on the bridge. Someone stopped at the stop sign despite the sign that says they don't have to stop when making a right turn. The person behind them was sleeping or speeding or something and slid into their rearend. Not good.

I'm sure there are a dozen more horror stories from the snowfall and ice on Saturday. But it remains evident that people absolutely lose their mind when the snow starts flying. If people would just slow down and pay attention, these issues would go away. Why slam on your brakes? And why tailgate someone or continue to go 80 MPH when you see accidents? Use a little common sense out's snow, not the apocolypse.

4th Hour of Today Show

I woke up late today and after calling work, they decided I could stay home until close to noon so I could bring in lunch. Works for me. So, I decided to watch the Today Show, which still remains my favorite morning show...despite some serious reservations about some of the people on there. At the 10:00 a.m. hour the usual crew I was watching disappeared and Kathie Lee Gifford and this person Hoda appeared. Wow.

First, do we really need a 4th hour of the Today Show? Four hours? It's not that good. Yes, I was going to watch that 4th hour because it's better than Rachel Ray but I'm still not sure a 4th hour of any show is justified. Unless it's Law & Order. Then 4 hours is acceptable.

Second, what is Kathie Lee and someone named Hoda doing on the Today Show? When did this happen and who allowed it to occur? Someone was obviously asleep when this happened. Where's Katie Couric when you need her?

Anyway, this 4th hour lasted about 10 minutes for me. This was horrible. Kathie Lee and this human named Hoda were so busy trying to talk over each other that I could barely understand what either were saying. Hoda apparently went and saw Michael Buble over the weekend. I'm not sure what Kathie Lee did because her voice sent me into seizures. To make matters worse, this woman named Hoda decided to play her IPod in some pig and chose a Kathie Lee song to demonstrate how the IPig worked. At this point my ears began bleeding and I turned off the TV and came to work as quickly as possible.

Maybe the final 50 minutes of the 4th hour of the Today Show goes smoothly. The first 10 minutes that I saw was an absolute train wreck. I can't imagine real people are actually watching this on a daily basis. I can't say it's horrible because I didn't really give it a chance. But, honestly, I don't see any possible way that it could be good. But I'll never know because I'm never watching the 4th hour of the Today Show again.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Great Pitt Debacle

It's taken me a week to prepare statements about the recent WVU / Pitt matchup at Heinz Field. Well, and I'm still not quite prepared to discuss it I guess. With a Big East title possibly still in play, the Mountaineers folded and rolled over for the Panthers. A repeat of the 2007 matchup comes to mind. Identical plays and identical disappointment.

There is something wrong with the 2008 Mountaineer football team. It has been obvious since the first game of the season against Villanova. Losing to ECU and only scoring 3-points showed that there was something seriously wrong with the offense. In 2007, WVU scored over 35 points against 8 opponents. This year they've accomplished that feat once against Villanova. In a year where Bill Stewart promised an expansion of the playbook, we've watched the play calling contract faster than the economy. Pat White threw 5 touchdowns against Villanova but that hardly makes him a passing quarterback.

Anyway, back to the Pitt game. The 2 interceptions that White threw were killers. Both were very poor decisions. But I go back to the playcalling. Pat White had a 54-yard touchdown run and ran the ball 12 times but it felt like he was stifled by his unwillingness to tuck the ball towards the end of the game. Noel Devine was ineffective because he wouldn't run north/south but instead wanted to cut back across the field on every play. The defense played well but the offense was inept.

Bill Stewart has the greatest quarterback running threat in the nation in the backfield and has misused him all season long. This doesn't bode well for 2009 when Pat White is long gone. If we can't win with Patrick White, what can we do without him? Some things need to change, and in a hurry. 2008 has been a wasted year. The question now is how many more years must we watch the same?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Harry Reid is an Idiot

The Capitol Visitor's Center reopened this morning and Harry Reid is happy that he won't have to smell the visitors anymore. "My staff tells me not to say this, but I'm going to say it anyway," said Reid in his remarks. "In the summer because of the heat and high humidity, you could literally smell the tourists coming into the Capitol. It may be descriptive but it's true."

Harry Reid is absolutely the worst type of person. He doesn't represent the people and believes he is superior to the "common folk" who, obviously, stink to him. Does he not realize that those smelly tourists are the people for which he works? Those smelly tourists pay the tax dollars that pay his salary.

Harry Reid is an idiot from way back though. Reid has repeatedly shown his hypocrisy by blasting Republicans during the Jack Abramoff scandal while accepting money from those Abramoff represented. His land deals have long been under scrunity and his misappropriation of campaign funds have snuck under the radar thanks to his position as Senate Majority Leader. Of course, those stinky people in Nevada keep re-electing him...what a shame that is.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Bailout's Cost in Perspective

Rush Limbaugh's site has a great piece putting the cost of the bailout against other great government expenditures over the years. It's definitely worth a look.

The point of the article is that today's bailout has been calculated only up to $4.6 trillion and has already cost more than all of the following government expenditures combined: The Marshall Plan. The Louisiana Purchase. The race to the moon. The S&L crisis. The Korean War. The New Deal. The invasion of Iraq. The Vietnam War. And NASA.

The new debt the government is taking on is eventually going to be crushing. We don't even have the funds to pay interest on the debt. The Russians are predicting a breakup of the union. The Chinese keep buying the debt to hold as leverage. Obama better be the miracle worker because things can't continue to spiral the way they are now. Everyone running to Washington with their hands out and there's not money to go around. Businesses need to go under and it will be a rough go. But by continuing to try to save everyone, the government is going to extend the pain for generations to come. Do you really trust the government to save the economy? I wouldn't...only free enterprise can right this ship.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Goodbye Fiscal Responsibility

Seven hundred billion dollars here, five hundred billion dollars there...what makes the difference? It's all just numbers, right? Well, sure...until someone has to pay for all those numbers.

The Obama economic team has already pledged to pick up where the Bush economic team left off and continue to throw more and more federal money at the current financial crisis. Obama today spoke of an economic rescue in the $500 billion range. Of course, this bailout would be offset by his promise "to scour our federal budget, line-by-line, and make meaningful cuts and sacrifices as well." Where do you think those cuts will be? Entitlement programs? Ha! More like national security cuts...right? Sure.

Nancy Pelosi said Bush should agree to a stimulus plan to "provide a down payment on new job-creating infrastructure investments, help states avoid deep cuts to health care and other essential services, and provide nutrition assistance to struggling families." So with Obama promising to make meaningful cuts, Pelosi is wanting to fund state programs that are in danger and create new federal assistance programs with "stimulus" money.

One of my favorite aspects of the Obama plan is the creation of jobs. Obama has embraced calls for a "green jobs" program that invests as much as $100 billion in projects to slash harmful emissions. This could include projects such as retrofitting buildings to make them more energy-efficient, upgrading the electrical grid and improving mass transit. Sure, the cut of emissions is far more important than maintaining the current transportation infrastructure, like bridges and roads.

This all sounds pretty troubling to me. Only time will tell but I don't look for an economic turnaround any time soon with this type of plan in place.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Random Nonsense

  • Before John Veasey can say it, I paid $1.69 per gallon for gas in Lexington. It was kinda cool to fill up the vehicle for like $20.00. I don't anticipate it lasting too long.
  • ESPN radio is difficult to find when you want it. I just wanted to hear the OU / TTU game coming back from Louisville. I found an ESPN station out of Chicago but they weren't airing the game but at least they gave updates. After hearing a few updates, I was glad I couldn't find the game.
  • Notre Dame is horrible. I can't believe they won't fire Jabba the Weis this season. They lost to Syracuse. And yet bowls are still going to be fighting it out to take them with their bowl eligible 6-6 record. It's really sad.
  • For all Mountaineer fans: Michigan's season is over. It's time to move on from the Rich Rodriguez hatred. One full year is enough time to hold the grudge. They went 3-9 and suffered a lot. He'll probably turn it around within 2 more years and start winning and everyone should just ignore it. Instead, focus on the 7-3 WVU team that started the season #8 but blew games to Colorado and Cincinnati and barely beat some other teams that we should have stomped.
  • The United States government continues to throw money at the current economic downturn. Let's see, the government throws money to fix education...not so good. The government throws money to fix the poor...not so good. The government throws money at health care...not so good. Do you see a trend? How could this bailout go wrong when it's run by these geniuses?

I think that's about it for the moment. I'm sure there's more but I gotta get back to work...there's a government relying on my tax dollars.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

To Louisville and Back

Good ol' Louisville. Last time I was there in 2006, it was a night game and Louisville was on their way to winning the Big East and the Orange Bowl. Two years later, they are barely hanging onto hopes for 6-6 and would be happy to make any bowl. Two years ago, fans flocked to and filled Papa Johns Stadium in an impressive blackout. Now, they were lucky to have over half the fans show up by kickoff and those fans left by 3 minutes left in the third quarter. Here's my Louisville story for 2008:

Left for Louisville on Friday afternoon and it's a pretty long haul really. Following the speed limits, which I tend to do, led to about 6-hours on the road. The GPS took us right to the hotel which was thankfully placed less than a half-mile from Papa Johns Stadium. After getting checked in, we tracked down a local Wal-Mart to get a few things and decided to grab some dinner. Since it was after midnight, the pickings were slim. Unfortunately there was a White Castle nearby and how do you pass that up? Seriously, I wish I knew how because White Castle is disgusting. Took it back to the hotel and ate 2 the time I took a bite of the third, I was sure I was going to throw up. That was the end of dinner.

The night went by pretty quick and headed over to the stadium about 10:30. Since the hotel was close, they said we could leave the vehicle there and walk. It wasn't too bad but it was cold out. I'd say around 22-degrees at 10:30, so it was brisk walk. There were very few tailgaters out and about on this particular Saturday morning. And those few that dared to tailgate for Louisville were somewhat questionable. From one bonfire we could hear great tailgating music, such as "Forever and Ever, Amen" by Randy Travis. Not usually considered a tailgating song...but, hey, whatever gets a Louisville fan fired up.

Since there was an hour to kill before kickoff, we decided to take a brief sojourn around Papa Johns Stadium to look for other activities that had to exist. Other than an old, retired train that was turned into a sports bar and two blow-up games, there was nothing. We attempted to enter the Trager Center, only to be rebuffed by security. A similar fate befell us at the Johnny Unitas Football Museum. We did enter the upper area of the Johnny Unitas area and viewed the warmup facilities before being asked to vacate the premises. Apparently only recruits were allowed in the Johnny Unitas complex and the West Virginia apparel didn't quite mesh with the recruiting requirements.

Since it appeared we had exhausted all pre-game activities at Papa Johns Stadium (NOTE: none), we decided to venture into the stadium. Imagine the surprise when we saw that they sell Papa Johns pizza. We arrived to our seats just in time to watch a little scuffle between Louisville players and WVU players on the Louisville Cardinal at midfield. Apparently Louisville players don't take too kindly to people stomping on the cardinal. According to post-game scuttle, no team has (or had) ever beaten Louisville after taking out any agression on the cardinal. Despite having his face stomped by the Mountaineer football team, the Louisville mascot still went to the fifty and got his groove on.

Since it was Louisville's final home game, they introduced the seniors and the Louisville band performed their pre-game show. I'm not saying it was bad...but they're definitely no "Pride of West Virginia." Louisville entered to a few fireworks and stuff and was applauded heartily by the half-full stadium. Fans eventually showed up but it never approached full. To fire up the Mountaineer fans, none other than the governor was on hand. Somehow watching Joe Manchin attempt to lead the Mountaineers onto the field had the opposite effect on me. Regardless, he was there and Bill Stewart was there too.

The first half went by relatively quickly. We made friends with the ladies sitting in front of us. One got to meet Pat White's father before kickoff and was thrilled. She was also on TV...she received multiple phone calls informing her of this. It was her first football game of the season and it appeared she was enjoying it. The only true excitement of the first half was when WVU was stuffed on third and fourth down at the one. It appeared to me they scored on third down and they were short on fourth...but I was on the opposite side and had to rely on replay, just like the officials. Let me get this out of the way now: Louisville's scoreboard is superior to WVU's. So, we head into the lockerroom with a 7-7 tie and a lot of disgruntled Mountaineer fans.

Let me take this halftime to say that Louisville's PA people love rap music. Young Nitt, Code Red and B Simms, among others. I could go the rest of my life without hearing "Clic Clac, here come the red and black." Don't believe me, check it out for yourself. Clic clac, here come the red and black...clic clac, here come the red and black, repeat ad nauseum. Trust me, the Cardinals repeat this song nonstop throughout every break. R U READY???

Second half goes much better than the first. After a nice scoring drive and a couple turnovers by Louisville, it becomes obvious that WVU probably has the game well in hand. Bill Stewart tries his best to keep Louisville in the game with as many odd calls as possible but Pat White is determined to win and Hunter Cantwell can't seem to get the ball over the defensive line. By the end of the third quarter, the Cardinal fans have given up and leave Papa Johns Stadium and head back to listen to more Randy Travis. Not sure if they're leaving the game because they're losing or because they can't handle anymore B Simms.

At this point, my entertainment is coming from the group sitting in front of us, which includes Newman from Seinfeld:

And this guy who does enjoy Young Nitt and the crew:

35-21, the game drew to a close. The Louisville fans were cordial as we made our way back to the Ramada to retrieve the vehicle. Traffic patterns to depart the stadium area were poor and we sat in traffic for a brief time. Listening to local coverage of the game, fans were more upset with Kragthorpe than with Louisville's play. The commentators and fans agreed that it was a shame that Louisville didn't play with more intensity considering WVU stomped the cardinal. They also agreed that Pat White is classless with his taunting. And there was plenty of taunting going on. They're happy to see him move on. I'm not.

All in all, a successful venture down into the heart of Kentucky. A win is a win...still not sure about some of the coaching decision but you can't argue against a victory. Unfortunately Pittsburgh couldn't do anything with Cincinnati last night so it appears Cincy is probably going to win the Big East and get the BCS bowl. WVU will probably end up in the Car Care Bowl in Charlotte. I'm just debating on whether I'm going to end up there as well. That pretty much covers the was fun and, if Coach Stewart doesn't drive us into the ground before, I may go back in 2010.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Down, down, down

The stock market has fallen to a 5-year low and everyone is tightening their belts, just as I predicted. This has led to a major contraction of available money in the system for businesses and consumers. Credit is shrinking and the economy is joining in the contraction. As a result, deflation has taken hold. Wholesale consumer prices fell for the first time since 1982 and the contraction could continue into next year.

Only now, 2-3 months after the Fed should have seen the risks of deflation, do they acknowledge that deflation should be a concern. The obvious risks of deflation could have been anticipated months ago despite the passing of the government bailout. I'm not sure why Bernake and company didn't begin to develop a plan to stave off deflationary pressures at that point. It may be too late to stop deflation at this point.

Deflation tends to feed upon itself. A credit provider does not want to give a consumer credit for a product that is going to be worth less a month from now than it is now. And a consumer doesn't want to buy a product that is going to be less a month from now than it is now. Therefore, consumers stop spending and credit begins to dry up. As credit dries up and consumers stop spending, the economy continues to contract. And a contracting economy leads to increased deflation.

The next two months will set the trend. If the Fed doesn't immediately cut interest rates again and start spending the bailout money and encourage additional lending, deflation will take hold and it will be a long 2009. January 20, 2009 is too far away. The matters are pressing now and won't wait that long. If Congress and the Fed sit on the sideline much longer, the damage will be irreversible. And long lasting.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Great American Bailout

As General Motors sits back and waits for the government to bail them out from years and years of mismanagement, I'm wondering what it must be like for other companies around the country that have worked hard and effectively managed to maintain profitability, even during difficult times. Companies that are going under are being aided by the federal government and are being given extraordinary breaks while successful companies have been guaranteed additional taxes and fees by the incoming administration.

Where's the incentive to be successful in today's business climate? A successful company is still having problems securing loans and the government won't encourage additional investment in companies that aren't billions upon billions of dollars in debt. And why should a company continue to excel when the government has promised to steal more of its money? It's really a remarkable series of events to watch unfold. Fidel Castro must be proud.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Perfect Storm

I wasn't feeling well at all yesterday and ended up staying home taking a very rare sick day. Over the course of that day off, I watched a program called "Black Blizzard," which recounted the days of the Dust Bowl in the prairie lands of America during the 1930's. Since the pain of the Dust Bowl occurred in the middle of the Great Depression, the farmers of the Great Plains were largely ignored as the country instead focused on the economic woes it faced.

Two things struck me about the Dust Bowl. The first was that environmentalists don't give our planet nearly the credit it deserves. Farmers in the midwest had long abused the earth and the earth took it's revenge and fixed the problem. We live on a very resilient planet. The second was that the Dust Bowl occurred at perhaps the worst possible time for America. Had the earth struck it's revenge a decade earlier, the burgeoning American economy could have helped these poor farmers. Perhaps later, say in the middle of WWII would have been just as devastating but there would have been more efforts to save these people stuck in the middle of a natural disaster.

Despite the pain and suffering for nearly a decade, the Dust Bowl eventually subsided and the American farmer learned from the mistakes it had made previous to 1930 and has never experienced a problem on a similar scale since. Much the same can be said about the economy in a broad sense. While faltering at times, the United States has secured that the economy would not collapse since these dark days of the 1930s. That is until now.

Perhaps the perfect storm is brewing around the United States again. A collapse in the housing market, a serious contraction of available dollars, a crushing debt and a diminishing job sector are swirling around the United States. And with an incoming president promising additional regulation and increased taxes, you wonder whether the storm will claim more victims. Only time will tell how history will look at this time in the United States. I hope the new president can find a way to fix this broken system. FDR is given credit for fixing the Dust Bowl but it truly wasn't fixed until the rains returned. I just don't have faith that Obama can make it rain.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Gosh Darn Mountaineers

West Virginia certainly showd their offensive the last 71-seconds of a game that was as important as any they have played this season. The total lack of offense for the first 58 minutes was totally inexcusable. Every play was predictable and, once again, the offense relied solely on the ability of Pat White to make plays. Unfortunately for WVU, White made as many poor decisions as good ones in a game that could cost WVU a shot at another Big East title. Just a few observations, that are obvious:
  • The special teams at West Virginia is ridiculous. The opening kickoff lost the Mountaineers the game. We are 9 games into the season and the kickoff coverage has not improved one iota. No team in their right mind would ever kneel a ball in the endzone against this team. And McAfee's leg can't get it through the endzone any longer. We're getting close to the point where it might be better just to kick out of bounds and give them the ball at the 40 considering:
  • The defense is playing amazing. The big question at the beginning of the season was whether the offense would be able to score enough points to overcome the poor defense. Well, guess what, it's the other way around. No matter how well the defense plays, it can't overcome the ineptitude of the offense. The defense gave up 260 total yards but were killed by a special teams touchdown and two offensive turnovers.
  • We're 9 games into the season and WVU still cannot figure out a way to pick up yards in short yardage situations. Third-and-one? Might as well just punt and get it over with. And despite numerous failures, the coaches continue to call the same plays to try to pick up the yard. Here's an idea: try something else. Play-action pass? Bootleg? Try something else.
  • The crowd booed again. They are booing the coaches, not the players. And I don't blame them. Fans say Don Nehlen was predictable. Well, guess what, Dandy Don might as well be back. There is no creativity on offense at all. At least Cincinnati tried a few different things.
  • For some reason the crowd cheered the decision of the Mountaineer Marching Band to play Brooks & Dunn's "Boot Scootin' Boogie". Oh, the humanity. And why is it that people like "Cotton Eye Joe"? It's horrible.

A week off and then it's down to Louisville. I think I'll go down and see the Cardinals live and in person on the 22nd. Should be an easy win...but when you don't score any points, nothing is easy. With a loss in conference play, there's nothing for this team to lose now so they should come out and play looser. This is the most uptight team ever. And will eventually go down with the 1998 team as most underachieving if things don't change in a hurry. A big hurry.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Anthrax Scare at Michigan

Michigan football practice was delayed nearly two hours late this morning after a player reported finding an unknown white powdery substance on the practice field. Head coach Rich Rodriguez immediately suspended practice while police and federal agents were called to investigate. After a complete analysis, FBI forensic experts determined that the white substance, unknown to the players, was the goal line. Practice was resumed this afternoon after special agents decided the team was unlikely to encounter the substance again.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A New President

This morning we wake up after having democratically elected the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. In a campaign that seems to have been dragging on forever, it was a relief for this showdown to finally be over. And while I don't necessarily like the choice that was made, it was a choice by the American voters. Now we must move on. But, first, just a few observations:
  1. This wasn't the complete landslide that had been predicted. Considering the internal strife in the Republican party, Democrats should have rolled over the GOP nationwide. Instead, Obama wins the national vote by 6-points and Democrats will fall short of the 60-seats they wished for in the Senate.
  2. There is a major divide between "rural" areas and "urban" areas in the same state. Look at the country breakdown of Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, etc., and you will see that a majority of the state goes red but the few urban counties, which obviously hold more people, go blue. Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland flipped Ohio. Richmond, Arlington and Norfolk flipped Virginia. It's amazing to look at the state maps and see how red they are by land mass but blue by population.
  3. How can Obama possibly meet the lofty expectations that are on his shoulders? He is expected to unite the country and the world. World leaders from every sector of this planet are looking towards him to end strife. It is not possible. So, will his agenda or his popularity decide his future actions?
  4. Despite the full court press applied to Shelly Capito in District 2, she easily defeated her opponent. You have to think Capito could provide quite a race for the Senate when Byrd if no longer available to run.

There's a lot more I could say about this election but I'm sure it will be hashed over for months and I'll leave it to those people. My closing words on it are that I hope Obama does unite the country and succeeds in opening the American dream to everyone. That doesn't mean the distribution of wealth or more government assistance, that means removing the shackles of a government that punishes success and entrepreneurship. If Obama wants this country to prosper, he will encourage others to follow his lead and work hard and prosper and not wait for someone else to show you the way. His rhetoric doesn't show he will do this...but there's always the audacity of hope.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

North Marion Wins!!

I predicted it on Thursday and the long nightmare of North Marion has finally drawn to a close as they defeat the Elkins Tigers 36-35. Some people thought I might have been making fun of North Marion's misery but that is not the case at all. This is a high school that had been known for producing good football teams. They had won a state championship in football as recently as 1997. And to see them in the midst of a 28-game losing streak was somewhat painful.

The victory gives Coach Garry White his 99th career win. And maybe it elevates the program back to where it once stood, as kings of Marion County football. Of course, that may be a stretch. It was one win. Over Elkins. But it's a start and everyone must start somewhere. Their next game is against, cough, it's kinda unlikely they'll get a winning streak going this year. But at least they reset the losing streak counter back to zero for this week. Congratulations Huskies. Good win.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Football Predictions

Since there's nothing important going on, like presidential elections, I will give my predictions for this week's football contests:

Morgantown 28 - University 27 - Isn't that just the way it goes? Would be a game I would like to attend...but I don't think I'm going to.

North Marion 17 - Elkins 13 - Yep. I'm finally going to give North Marion a win and end the 28 game losing streak. Gary White can finally have his 100th victory. This is it, folks. North Marion's nightmare finally ends.

Florida 38 - Georgia 28 - Tim Tebow is just that good. Florida woke up after their loss and I'm not sure they'll lose again.

Fairmont Senior 35 - Bridgeport 27 - If I attend a football game Friday, this is the most likely. I just think West is probably better than Bridgeport...that's all.

East Fairmont 20 - Parkersburg South 17 - East must win to stay in the playoff hunt. They'll pull this one off in an upset to setup a huge East/West game. At least that's what I'm hoping for.

WVU 45 - UConn 20 - If WVU has truly found their stride, they'll whip up on the Huskies. The Auburn win was pretty but this game counts for a whole lot more since it is in-conference and on the road. A must-win for Stewart's boys.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Obama's Infomercial

At 8:00 p.m. tonight you'll likely not be able to avoid the infomercial being aired by the Obama campaign. Barack and his excess of campaign money have bought 30 minutes of airtime on CBS, NBC, Fox, Univision, MSNBC (his official campaign channel), BET and TV One. Obama is going to use the 30 minutes to have "average" Americans air their problems and Obama's plans to help.

With the election just 6 days away, this may seal the deal for Obama. Or it could backfire and tick off would-be voters by forcing them to miss their scheduled program for a political commercial. Personally, I'm wondering if this is just a sample of things to come. Will Obama use the Oval Office as his own personal platform to air to the American public his socialist agenda? Obama has already stated his favorable opinions for the redistribution of wealth by using a liberal judicial system that will favor the "downtrodden." He has stated himself that the courts have failed in establishing "redistributive change." The Warren court, he said, failed to "break free from the essential constraints" in the U.S. Constitution and launch a major redistribution of wealth. Be sure to read that entire link...that's scary stuff. This guy is going to appoint Supreme Court justices that will favor the redistribution of wealth.

Equally scary, U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D. Toledo) whipped the crowd up before Mr. Obama took the stage yesterday telling them that America needed a Second Bill of Rights guaranteeing all Americans a job, health care, homes, an education, and a fair playing field for business and farmers.

Perhaps Obama can create his new bill of rights using this language:

Article 40. Citizens have the right to work (that is, to guaranteed employment and pay in accordance wit the quantity and quality of their work, and not below the state-established minimum), including the right to choose their trade or profession, type of job and work in accordance with their inclinations, abilities, training and education, with due account of the needs of society...
Article 41. Citizens have the right to rest and leisure...
The length of collective farmers' working and leisure time is established by their collective farms. Article 42. Citizens have the right to health protection.

Of course, if that's his new Bill of Rights, he should give credit the original writers who wrote the Constitution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Scary stuff, indeed.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's Over?

Read the paper, watch the news, surf the Internet and you would assume the election was yesterday and Barack Obama is the new President of the United States. It's actually been that way for the past 6 months. Since Hilary fell into decline, the media has pushed relentlessly for the election of Obama.

I'm not going to sit here and whine about the harsh treatment of John McCain or Sarah Palin. Fact is that the media should be digging into Palin's past and her influence as governor. McCain's past mistakes are fair game, like his dealings in the Keating 5 scandal. Cindy McCain's past drug addiction was fair game. Why, then, has the media systematically refused to dig deeper into Obama's past? Where are the interviews with past friends about Obama's history? Why are there pieces missing from his biography? Where is the in-depth study about Obama's past drug interactions?

Perhaps even an in-depth study of Obama's past wouldn't change the outcome of the election but at least it would give the semblance of fair reporting and the electorate would have some greater understanding of the man they are about to elect as president. Only now are we beginning to hear a little about Obama's past comments, like his call for the redistribution of wealth. These are things that should have been investigated months ago. The press has failed the American public. Hopefully the incoming president doesn't do the same.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Wide Open Big East

Rutgers beats Pittsburgh and Louisville defeats South Florida. Welcome to the Big East where West Virginia now leads by default. Obviously the bulk of WVU's Big East schedule lies ahead but the Mountaineers now have the inside track to another Big East title and BCS bowl. No team other that WVU is undefeated in conference play and South Florida, the conference favorite since WVU's fall from grace, already has two losses. There's little doubt now that most will see WVU as the conference favorite following their win over Auburn. It will be interesting to see how Stewart and the gang handle the pressure.

On the other end of the spectrum is a team that will not make a bowl game this year and that is Michigan. Following the win over the then #9 Wisconsin Badgers, the wheels fell off for Michigan. The embarrassing loss to Toledo followed by the shellacking by Penn State and Michigan State all but ended Michigan's 33-year post season appearance streak. Obviously Rodriguez doesn't have the players to run his offense but you have to wonder what happened to Michigan. The defense should have been good enough to at least remain competitive. This team is done. It looks very likely that Rodriguez won't even be able to match the 3-wins he had in his first season at WVU.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Turning the Corner?

Say what you will about Auburn's disappointing season but you can't help but feel a little optimism following WVU's second half shellacking of the Tigers. I expected the Tigers to be as quick as WVU to the corner but it appeared WVU had far more speed. WVU put up 445 yards and 34 points against a tough SEC defense. And Auburn only lost to LSU by 5 points.

After some early sputters, the WVU offense found a groove with the running game and decimated the Auburn defensive line. On the other side of the ball, the WVU defense tightened up after 17 first half points and held the Tigers scoreless in the second half. Auburn's offensive woes were known before the game but no one expected the Mountaineer defense to give up a mere 260 yards.

Auburn came out with a good gameplan, which was to run the ball and chew up as much clock as possible to keep Pat White off the field and the WVU offense sputtering. But too many 3rd and longs killed that strategy by late second quarter and the Tigers were on the rope. Noel Devine found his stride and the rest, as they say, is history. A great win for the Mountaineers.

So, where does it go from here? The loss probably sealed Tuberville's fate at Auburn. I would be very surprised if he comes back for this 11th year. More interesting is what WVU can do from here. Sitting at 5-2 with 5 games remaining, this WVU team looks like a legitimate contender for another Big East crown. The offensive line finally played like a cohesive unit and the defense remained stout against a tough competitor. If WVU continues to play with the urgency and emotion they showed Thursday night, there's not a better team in the Big East. With South Florida playing in Morgantown and Pittsburgh always being de facto home game, there's not much in the way.

I'm not going to go overboard yet. Five games remain. None are easy but there are three that should be in the win column. The other two are substantial tests. Another 10-2 season is not out of the question and, if WVU can do that, another shot at a big time game. If we can bring the team that played the second half last night, that's a game I would look forward to.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Moment of Truth?

Sure, West Virginia could lose to Auburn and still win the Big East, go to a BCS bowl and finish ranked. Sure, WVU could lose to Auburn and Bill Stewart could still navigate the waters through Pittsburgh and South Florida. Sure, the Mountaineers could lose to Auburn and fans would forget by the end of the season if things turn around. But there's still a growing sentiment that if WVU loses this game to Auburn the season could be lost. Fair or not, Auburn is a moment of truth for this Mountaineer team and for head coach Bill Stewart.

At the beginning of the season, this game between WVU and Auburn was supposed to be a battle between the team expected to the win the Big East and the team fighting for an SEC championship. But WVU blew two games early and, beginning with a 3-2 victory over Mississippi State, the wheels fell off the Auburn offense. Since that narrow victory, Auburn has lost 3 of 4 and fired their offensive coordinator. WVU can't score, posting more than 30 points only against FCS Villanova. Auburn can't score, posting more than 30 points only against FCS Louisiana-Monroe.

Auburn is only averaging 292.6 yards per game compared to WVU's 347.0. But WVU hasn't played LSU, Tennessee, Vanderbilt (who is decent) and Arkansas. So to say that WVU holds a distinct offensive advantage is disingenuous. On paper, this appears to be a defensive struggle but it definitely shouldn't be. WVU should have one of the most explosive offenses in the country. And Auburn's offense should be fine. The fact that neither has shown any life at all is a real puzzle.

I don't know what tomorrow will bring but I do know that many more Mountaineer fans will be calling for Bill Stewart's head if the Mountaineers lose to the underachieving Auburn Tigers. It's a sad state of affairs for both teams tomorrow night. Both expected to achieve great things. Both failing miserably.

Monday, October 20, 2008

BCS Standings

The BCS standings are finally here...I didn't know if I could wait any longer. Actually, that's a lie...I really didn't care. But as I was looking down through the Top 10, I was trying to figure out who I would like to see in the national championship game this year since WVU and Mizzou have both been eliminated. So, here's the Top 10 and whether I want to see them play in the big game and why (or why not):

Texas - Eh, not really. Texas won a national championship a few years ago and, well, I just don't care for them that much. Colt McCoy is definitely a great quarterback but something tells me they'll falter down the line.

Alabama - Why not? What a great story if Nick Saban can turn around a team that fast. Plus, it's good to see a program like Alabama rise from the ashes. Of course, it's Alabama and they're fans...well, they're pretty obnoxious. Kinda like West Virginia fans...only with something to back it up. Killer schedule remaining...doubt they can navigate it.

Penn State - JoPa is coaching in his 114th season at Penn State. Who wouldn't like to see him go out on top. Big 10 is down...if they can beat Ohio State, they're in. I like it.

Oklahoma - No, no, no. How do they remain No. 4 despite losing to Texas? Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and and the Big 12 championship game remain in their way...but, knowing Oklahoma, they'll win out and get there...then get crushed.

USC - Bleh, talk about boring. USC should be the best team in the country but they get embarrassed by Oregon State. That should disqualify them immediately but they're USC so, obviously, they get a second chance.

Oklahoma State - Talk to me after they play Texas on Saturday. If they win that, I will consider them a contender.

Georgia - Talk about underrated. USC, Oklahoma, Ohio State and Florida all lose games and they're still talked about in the hunt. Georgia loses to Alabama and theyr'e season is over. Killer schedule left but they should be playing with a chip on their shoulder. Wouldn't mind seeing them get there...

Texas Tech - Lots of offense. Questionable defense. Needed OT to beat Nebraska. The schedule gets tough now with Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma (all in 5 weeks). If they navigate that successfully, I will kneel at the alter of Graham Harrell. (not before)

Ohio State - Please, please, please don't allow them there again. The worst possible matchup? Ohio State - USC. NOOOOO!!!

Florida - Other than Georgia, this team is poised for the SEC championship game. The Mississippi loss appears to be a fluke after the beatdown they laid on LSU. Another underrated team.

So, who would I most like to see in the championship game? Penn State/Florida would be very interesting. Or Penn State / Alabama. I don't want OSU or USC in that game this year...almost any other team would be fine. If Texas Tech wins out and can put that offense on the field against Florida or Georgia, that would be a compelling matchup too. Penn State has the easiest road ahead...everyone else, good luck. By the time it's really over, we might be talking about that Utah / Boise State championship game.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The other shoe...

Following one of the worst weeks in stock market history, the Dow posted a 4.75% gain this week which was the best performance since 2003. And since a lot of people use the stock market as a major indicator of the direction of the economy, it looks like recent moves by the Fed may be working in staving off a major recession. But you have to believe there's a lot more here than just a good week...and you have to wonder when the other shoe will drop?

The Fed has already spent $1.5 trillion dollars in attempting to prop up the faltering economy. The Treasury Department has already borrowed $500 billion from pension plans, foreign governments and other investors to replenish the coffers of the Federal Reserve. This borrowing has pushed the defecit from $9.6 trillion to $10.3 trillion in just a matter of two months. The annual budget deficit is looking to nearly triple this year, from $162 billion to $455 billion. With additional proposals not included, including another $250 billion in bailout requests, there is a scenario where the annual budge deficit starting October 1st could reach $1 trillion dollars.

Both presidential candidates have projects to spend even more money. McCain is proposing a $52 billion dollar stimulus package while Obama's plan tops $175 billion. Nancy Pelosi is calling for another $150 billion - $200 billion for stimulus and mortgage relief. And then you throw in Obama's additional investment in education and expanded health care coverage.

This is one of the reasons I didn't like the bailout. It has essentially opened the floodgates and turned the federal government into a huge bank. Only the bank just gives handouts to everyone. We're overdoing the stimulus work out of fear. And eventually that will come back to haunt us. The pain the bailouts are saving us now could come back and cause real damage later. It may take a little time, but there's always another shoe to drop.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ringo Doesn't Want Your Garbage

Peace and love. Peace and love. Ringo Starr doesn't want your fan mail anymore. He isn't going to sign your pictures of the Beatles. All mail is going straight to the garbage. That includes electric bills, hospital bills and Publisher's Clearinghouse offers. Well, maybe he'll keep reading Publisher's Clearinghouse.

In case you didn't know, Ringo has too much to do. This guy is in high demand so nothing will be opened or signed after October 20th. Don't believe me, just ask the man:

So, anyway, peace and love. Peace and love. Peace and love, ad nauseum.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Republican Candidate

Russ Weeks. That's his name. Russ Weeks is the guy challenging Democratic Governor Joe Machin this election year. Russ Weeks. If you don't know that name, don't feel bad. You're definitely not alone. I happened to know that Manchin was running against a Weeks...but I had no idea what his first name was until I looked it up. Russ Weeks.

So, Russ Weeks is the best the Republican party could come up with in West Virginia. Weeks is a former State Senator from Beckley who lost in 2006. To many, it was a shock that he defeated Bill Wooten in 2002 for the senatorial seat, his first elected position. Weeks might be a nice guy. I don't know anything about him. If you want to learn more, visit his website. After much debate, I decided not to contribute to his campaign despite the fact that "every donor who contributes at least $20 to the Russ Weeks campaign will receive a personalized MBA "diploma" from the University of Mojo." His motto: No Mo MoJo. Which, luckily, also has a website.

It would be rather funny if it weren't so sad. There was very little chance that anyone would have defeated Manchin this election cycle. However, there are a lot of West Virginia citizens who would like a choice and would like to voice their displeasure towards Machin. Weeks hardly gives them that opportunity. A lot of complaints stem from the Heather Bresch incident and Manchin's perceived meddling in WVU affairs, but there are still other real issues that deserve real solutions.

So, Manchin wins a second term by default. If he doesn't get 80% of the vote, he should really be concerned about what people out there really think of him. Of course, what really makes the difference at this point. Republicans have run from Joe and granted him a second term. Not much drama there...the drama comes when Joe makes policy. And only then.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Mountaineer Madness

Headed up Morgantown way on Friday night to get a look at Bobby Huggins' team and check out the new scoreboard and court at the Coliseum. And, I must say, it was very nice. Obviously any upgrade to the scoreboard was welcome. The old one looked a little outdated. The new one shows video in fairly good quality and is definitely a welcome change.

The court looks much, much better than the old one. Gone is the blue inside the 3-point arch and instead just the lane is gold and everything else is wood, which it should be. The court looks clean and isn't nearly as busy as the old one. Again, a very much welcome change. The lighting has improved immensely so the games shouldn't look like they're being played in the dark on TV and the sound system actually makes it possible to hear the announcer.

As for the "madness", it was entertaining I suppose. The "laser light show" was somewhat decent. The crowd enjoyed it anyway. The dunk contest showed the athleticism of Devin Ebanks, Huggins' major recruit. The scrimmages were pretty poor, but what would you expect? It should be an interesting season. And considering the way the football team is playing, basketball can't get here soon enough.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Close the World Market

I don't know about everyone else but when I hear that the Italian Prime Minister is talking about closing the world's market, I get a little nervous. The suspension of world market trading would give international leaders an opportunity to "rewrite the rules of international finance." Ummmm...say what?

The establishment of new rules would echo those of 1944 and the Bretton Woods Agreements. Bretton Woods established exchange rates for all currencies around the world by using the gold standard. Later, the International Monetary Fund handled the exchange rates for international currencies.

A lot has changed since 1945 and the development of Bretton Woods. Obviously a conference probably needs to take place but, honestly, I don't trust the world market at this point to actually solve the problem. To rewrite the rules of international finance, people would have to be somewhat selfless and compromising. I don't know if we live in a world of such character. Additionally, a fully powerful nation must be willing to lead...does anyone trust the United States now to be that leader? And will the US take a backseat and allow anyone else to be that leader? Chances are the answer is no to least at the moment. Eventually, yes...the US will lead becuase, despite it all, the US economy remains the most stable in the world. It's just too soon for everyone else to realize that now...

Football Predictions's that time again...time for me to tell you who is going to win the "big games" this weekend. And by doing so, revealing who will lose the "big games" this weekend. So, here goes:

West Fairmont 27 - Buckhannon 13 - West Fairmont = good. Buckhannon = not as good.

Morgantown 117 - North Marion 3 - Late field goal gives North Marion a moral victory. Can't we get someone like EF Junior High on North Marion's schedule? It's a rough go.

University 24 - Brooke 7 - Is University for real? Someone really needs to tell me.

Oklahoma 42 - Texas 27 - Oklahoma is an amazing team. Until it comes to bowl season and then they turn into Notre Dame.

Florida 21 - LSU 17 - Urban Myer needs to let Tebow go back to being Tebow. He can literally will his team to victory when he's given the opportunity. It comes down to coaching really.

West Virginia 35 - Syracuse 24 - Once again, it comes down to coaching. And there may be no worse coach than Greg Robinson up in Syracuse. That program is 10 years from good now. Robinson seems like a nice guy but something up there is just not right. Syracuse shouldn't be the new Temple.

So, there you go. Brief and to the point. I was 3-3 last week...this week I'll predict I'm 5-1. How about that for a prediction?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Ways to Invest Money

In these trying times it becomes increasingly important to determine the best way to invest your money. Some are just riding out the stock market, some are buying commodities, some are putting it in their mattress and some or just crying and wondering where it went. A little boy in the UK may have found the best way to invest money though: buy toys, candy and games.

Think about it, what a better way to blow that extra $105,000.00 than to spend it on things you can truly enjoy. Sure, candy is perishable and games and such lose value over the long run but they can't lose more value than what we're seeing everything else lose. At least he didn't buy real estate. Smart kid. And, unlike real estate or stocks, he can actually enjoy his investment. Well, until dad comes home...then it's probably game over.

While I fully endorse this young man's investments, I'm sure Jim Cramer does not. He thinks people should put their money in federally insured savings accounts and such...but that's no fun. Candy, yes. Savings accounts, no.

In other economic news, the fed is talking about buying stakes in banks all across the country. That should be pretty interesting. The government is just buying bad loans left and right. I'm just not sure...once this is done, it's done. You can't unring the bell. We're going down a very scary path here.

Oil prices are collapsing, which means these little oil countries are going to feel a real big pinch soon and begin slashing production. OPEC has already called for an emergency meeting. As I said before, OPEC cannot afford to allow oil to fall back down to $60 a barrell. With it at $85 now, it is getting dangerously close. Really, they need it to hang around $100. With countries like Russia fully depending on oil for all revenue, a collapse would be catastrophic.

I'll make football predictions tomorrow. Last week was kinda poor really...went 3-3. (Well, 4-3 if you count the bailout prediction.) I'll do better this week...or worse. That, I guarantee you.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Retirement accounts lose $2 trillion

American retirement accounts have lost $2 trillion dollars over the last 15 months. Now, think about that for just a minute. TWO TRILLION DOLLARS. Gone. Just vanished as though it never existed. And, technically, it never really did exist. It was just on paper. And that paper became worthless and now that money is gone.

It's pretty amazing when you think about it. $2 trillion just gone. It's not like someone else got the $2 trillion. It just disappeared. And with it the ability for perhaps millions of Americans to retire. Which, of course, will only exacerbate unemployment as older Americans hang on to their jobs. Which means high school and college students today may find an unfriendly job market in the next few years. Of course, that's worst case. And, despite my optimism, it seems like everything is going worst case.

On the lighter side, I watched Monday Night Football on Monday night. How dumb do you have to be to continue to punt to Reggie Bush? I hate to say it, but the guy is pretty amazing. Stop punting to him.

The West Virginia Education Association didn't endorse Joe Manchin. They didn't endorse anyone actually but for the WVEA not to blindly endorse the Democratic candidate means he really made them mad. Of course it goes back to last year when Manchin couldn't pull a raise for teacher's out of the air. It's not like it matters anyway considering no one is running against Manchin. Oh, yeah, maybe someone is but I can't remember his name...

The election is approaching quickly. There's a debate tonight. What excitement. I can barely contain myself...

Monday, October 06, 2008

Down, down, down

The injection of $700 billion into the market certainly hasn't done much to help the stock market today as it quickly sheds excess weight and challenges the big 770-point drop last week. Fear is on the rise as credit quickly dries up. Companies that desperately rely on short-term credit (car dealers, small stores needing holiday inventory, etc.) are running into problems getting the credit they needs as banks look for any reason to decline even seemingly good loans. Bad credit loans are pretty much non-existent at the moment.

The chances of avoiding recession are pretty much null at this point considering the problems on the global market. As bad as America looks at the moment, Europe may actually be in greater trouble due to their lack of any action. At the end of the day, the questionable American economy may still turn out to be the great stabilizer in the end. And despite the rocky road it has been on lately, the dollar is still the great hope for the world.

It could get much uglier before it turns around, but it will turn around. Some people will lose their's going to happen. Some people will lose a lot of money. But market corrections are bound to happen and they hurt. Things will turn back around...but it's going to take a little while to get there. The question is just how far down we must go before that occurs.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Wannstache Strikes

Missippi State beats Florida. East Carolina over West Virginia. USC falling to Oregon State. All of that is part of college football. The Wannstache defeating #10 South Florida, now that's something of a greater power.

Pittsburgh lost of Bowling Green to start the season. He tried to lose to Iowa. He tried to lose to Syracuse. The alumni at Pittsburgh wanted the 'stache headed to them on a golden platter. This would certainly be the last year for the 'stache and then the guy has to turn around and beat another Top 10 team. This makes his second victory over a Top 10 opponent in the last 6-games. (Need I remind anyone of the 13-9 debacle in Morgantown last year? Do you remember that? Yeah, that was the Wannstache's team.)
With this victory, Pittsburgh improves to 4-1 and it looks like the 'stache's job will be safe if he can simply win 4-5 more games. If he can get the win at Notre Dame, this guy is going to stick around and probably get another freakin' contract extension. Great. That should be fun. Watching the 'stache trotting up and down the sideline.
On an even worse note, Pittsburgh looked decent at times again South Florida. If it wasn't for a special teams mistake, they probably walk away with that game pretty securely. Of course the dumb penalties that South Florida committed helped Pittsburgh immensely. But, looking down the road, if Pittsburgh's passing game continues to develop, we may have problems. And South Florida's QB is looking pretty stout himself. Just saying...
As you can probably tell, I chose to watch the USF/Pitt game last night over watching the Vice Presidential debate. Actually, I chose to watch old episodes of House over most of the USF/Pitt game and over the entire Vice Presidential debate. And after watching the news this morning regarding the debate, I am pleased with my choice.
Lastly, the bailout bill will probably pass today. Someone had better be watching this economy very, very closely because something has got to give. We're either going to watch the destruction of the dollar and high inflation or, maybe worse, we could see some deflationary forces begin to rumble due to a contraction of money in the market. This bailout is supposed to help stave off deflation but I'm not sure $700 billion is going to get banks to open the piggy bank.
And, really this is last, keep an eye on insurnace companies. Harry Reid's irresponsible comments the other day about a major insurance company on the brink of collapse could actually cause one or two to actually collapse. When investors here a senator say an insurance company could collapse, they quickly cashout...which is what leads to the collapse. Harry Reid should be censured or removed from office for causing even more pain in the private sector. What an idiot.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Football Predictions

Yeah, might as well do it again. I was 6-0 last week, including the Alabama over Georgia game. WVU took care of business against Marshall, which was a bit of a surprise...I figured it would be relatively close. But Marshall is just really, really bad. And East Fairmont hung with Bridgeport much closer than I would have guessed. Oh well, I was still right. So, here's some predictions for this weekend...put your money down:

East Fairmont 45 - North Marion 17 - Looking to bounce back from back-to-back losses, East Fairmont should annihilate the poor Huskies. And considering EF is now a "bubble" playoff team, they need to. I'm not sure if 6-4 will get you in the playoffs...5-5 definitely won't.

University 28 - West Fairmont 17 - This may be the most interesting high school football game of the weekend. If I wasn't at the EFHS game, I would definitely make the trip to Morgantown for this one considering West and University both could win the NCAC crown. I haven't seen West yet this year, but I have seen University and they are relatively amazing.

Preston 24 - Morgantown 21 - Oh, this is my big upset. And what an upset it would be. Preston is good this year. Good enough to beat Morgantown? Probably not but if they're ever going to, this is the time. A little miracle and Preston could win. Well, maybe a big miracle.

South Florida 35 - Pitt 17 - Pittsburgh tried to let Syracuse win. Syracuse is just horrible. Pittsburgh is just a little better. This is Dave Wannstedt's last year.

WVU 38 - Rutgers 21 - What happened to Rutgers? Do you think Schiano is regretting staying this year? This isn't the year that Rutgers gets revenge for the 80-7 drubbing. Or is it? Rutgers is still a better team than Marshall and this should be a test on whether Stewart has actually made any progress.

Jaguars 17 - Steelers 14 - The Steelers are just beat up. Rothelisberger is still hurt. Parker is hurt. Moore is out for the season. And it is at Jacksonville. I just don't see them escaping with a victory.

And lastly,

Bailout Bill - YEA - 230 - NAY - 203 - In a comeback victory, the bailout bill will pass the House and our government will give away $700 billion +. Or maybe I should categorize this game a little differently:

"Elected" Officials 1 - American Taxpayers 0 - Maybe not. Get ready for the dollar to drop an amazing amount after this bill is passed and get ready to spend a lot of more on groceries, toilet paper and every other good you need.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Who's Accountable?

So, who is accountable if the bailout plan passes? Who will take the blame is taxpayers lose $700 billion? George Bush? Nancy Pelosi? Harry Reid? Henry Paulson? Nah. How about you? Me? At the end of the day, it's your money they're spending. And it's my money that they're spending. I hear a lot of doom and gloom being preached and I hear a lot of threats being levied but I have yet to hear anyone who wants to desperately to spend our money truly explain what they hope to accomplish and why we should go along with this hasty plan.

Do you really trust that this government knows how to responsibly spend another $700 billion dollars? I'm not sure I do. I would rather the market work it's way out of the current mess than to see Congress attempt to meddle in the market. There "elected" officials have run up trillions of dollars worth of debt and now they want to control the real estate market and fully control the banking system? Ha.

At the beginning, this looked like a sincere attempt to save the American taxpayer from pain. But it has become very clear that this is nothing more than political games to simply increase the power of those "elected" officials. Thank goodness the House Republicans stood up against ill-conceived plan and are demanding more accountability.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. I've written off the president...he is a man without a party as far as I'm concerned. He's become the worst at attepting to expand government at the expense of the taxpayer. Hopefully he'll find himself going it alone. I'm sure Dems will back his plan and it may very well pass at the end...but remember who continues to foot the bill and it's not those people in Washington.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bailout Fails

The bailout fails, stocks plunge and everyone panics. That was today. This evening, let's play the blame game. Democrats blame Republicans. Republicans blame Democrats. Obama blames McCain. McCain blames Obama. And round and round we go until everyone pays the price.

Honestly, I'm not crying because this bailout failed. Sure, my 401K is taking a hit...but it can't go down too much further. Nothing from nothing is nothing. As I have said before, the American taxpayers shouldn't be burdened for the failures of major corporations. Yes, everyone suffers when banks fail but pushing through a half-hearted, semi-debated and rushed bailout plan seems to be the wrong path.

Of course I do believe the government should do something to prevent another Great Depression. And if that means pumping some money into the private market, so be it. But to hand out $700 billion dollars seems a bit hasty. The government giving away money just further undermines the dollar which means inflation will rise again, possibly at record paces. And with the economy grinding to a halt, we are just a bailout away from stagflation.

Honestly, I don't believe we have the brains in Washington to develop a plan that will spur growth, control inflation and restore faith in the market. And whatever the next administration is going to bring can't be much better. It's going to be a long road ahead for the American taxpayers. I just hope they're paying attention and prepared.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Some Football Predictions

Eh, they're just predictions...don't take them personally:

Bridgeport 35 - East Fairmont 17 - What Morgantown did to East Fairmont last Friday was beastly. I'm not sure if it exposed East as weak or Morgantown as amazing. Regardless, Bridgeport is really good and shouldn't have a problem. I hope they do...but they shouldn't.

Preston 37 - North Marion 14 - I keep saying that Preston is good this year. Lost to West Fairmont by only a touchdown. Poor North Marion.

Morgantown 45 - Buck. Up. 17 - Morgantown is the truth. Obviously the coach lit them up following their Week One loss and they've never looked back. The Mohawk Bowl should be amazing this year.

Alabama 24 - Georgia 21 - Nick Saban leads his team to their biggest win yet. Either SEC football is the most exciting football on earth or the most boring. I wouldn't be surprised if this game is really 7 to 3.

Steelers 17 - Ravens 14 - Was last week just a mistake or are there serious chinks in the Steelers armor? This week will tell since the Ravens are probably Pittsburgh's only competition in the AFC North.

West Virginia 24 - Marshall 17 - Good ol' Coach Stewart will do everything in his power to keep this as close as possible. Can West Virginia run for 24 points this year? That's the question. Oh, the aggravation. If Marshall wins, security may want to get Bill Stewart and Joe Manchin to Zimbabwe as quick as possible.

That's all I have. Really. Go away now.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Why You Should Always Test

There's a reason that software vendors tell you to test your software before you push it out to all users. And, once again, we've had to learn that lesson the hard way.

We moved from Symantec Antivirus 10 to Symantec Endpoint Protection 11. Unfortunately, we kinda jumped the gun on pushing it out to end users. Luckily my office was spared because I wanted a test group of 20-30 user before making a mass push. Not everyone agreed with that standpoint and they pushed it out to 200 or so users.

Well, needless to say, it caused a bit of an issue. Namely, it disabled or at least "jacked up" a percentage of those users NIC cards. And the only way to get them fixed was to actually uninstall the NIC and reinstall. It also screwed up the wireless cards. Good stuff. I mean, when I say messed up, it was more like blocking traffic.

We're now on day 2 of trying to figure out why it's blocking traffic despite up making the exceptions. Probably should have been addressed before installing it on a number of machines. But, live and learn. Or maybe just repeat the same mistakes over and over again...either way, we'll get it figured out.

And here's a couple other dumb things for you:

Civilization in decline? HA!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Economic Mess

So, what do you do when the dollar is worth nothing? $100 for a loaf of bread? $150 for some milk? Serioulsy. What do you do when the dollar is worthless? At the rate the Fed is going, the dollar's buying power will be zip in another year.

Sure, that's a rather dire prediction but continued bailouts for companies that over-extended themselves continues to weaken the dollar in the world economy. Oil shoots up $25 in one day. Why? Weak dollar. Inflation flies? Weak dollar. Granted, we can't let the economy collapse but putting the entire burden of failed corporations on the back of the American taxpayer hardly seems like a solution.

Far be it for me to agree with Hilary Clinton but I caught her this morning on the Today Show and she was talking about oversight for these bailouts. And I agree. These companies should not be given blank checks. There has to be some checks and balances in place and considering the administration change that is coming soon some type of independent oversight is needed. The American government is in no place to give away money. American taxpayers must demand that not on do these companies pay back the money lent to them but do so with profit. And the government, who wants to give away our money, should be forced to do their own cutting to ease the burden on the taxpayers.

It's a real mess. You can't let the economy just collapse but continuing the prop up failed companies hardly seems like a solution. But it's too late to turn back now. I guess America is ready to give communism a try? Seriously...we're getting closer than you think.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Football is bad

Obviously, WVU loses on Thursday. East Fairmont loses on Friday. Rutgers loses to NAVY!! on Saturday. East Carolina also loses on Saturday. And the Steelers lose on Sunday. Not a good weekend for football really. I don't like football anymore. The US won the Ryder Cup so golf is the only sport I like from now on. Well, until tomorrow when I decide I want to watch football again.

Marshall comes to town on Saturday. If WVU loses to Marshall, things are going to go very far south in a hurry. There's already mounting pressure against Stewart. And there's a new site you can visit to see some grievances. Obviously, if Stewart turns it around, the site would quickly become moot. But another loss or two and I figure the list of complaints will grow exponentially. That's about it...more nonsensical ramblings tomorrow.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Another Game, Another Loss

I haven't had an opportunity to hear Bill Stewart's post-game interview from Thursday night. (Nor do I want to.) I'm guessing it went something like this:

BILL STEWART: Well, daggummit, we had them where we wanted them. If I could have punted the ball one more time on 4th and short, the outcome would have been different. But that's only 2 losses this season. Together, this team can still lose 9 more games. Questions?

REPORTER 1: Bill, do you lay the blame for the loss on the offense or defense?

B.S.: Eh, who wants to lay blame? Everyone played as inept as possible. I thought the defense played a little better than I would like but they still managed to give up a lot of 3rd down plays. Pat White tried to get the offense cooking but I made sure we punted on every 4th and short play we could and we narrowed the playbook as much as possible.

REPORTER 2: At the beginning of the year, you said you were going to let Pat White throw the ball. But it sure seemed like the Mountaineers abandoned the passing game against ECU and has never looked back. Why?

B.S.: Throwing the ball would open up the running game for White and Devine, right? Sure it would. So, we don't throw the ball. Pat and Noel need to gain their yards the old-fashioned way and earn them. No shortcuts here. No spreading a defense. You get those yards the hard way, you hear me? If they can't do it, that's not my fault. But we're going to run, run, run. I don't remember saying anything about passing. Are you sure that was me?

REPORTER 1: Fourth and short and you punt every time. Why?

B.S.: I don't want there to be too much continuity on defense. See, I said continuity...that's a big word so stop making fun of me for being a hometown boy. Anyway, I like punting. Pat McAfee likes to punt too. Makes him part of the game.

REPORTER 3: Speaking of McAfee, what about that missed field goal? What was up with that missed field goal man?

B.S.: Well, obviously Pat's disappointed. We put him in the worst possible position we could. Ran a sweep to lose a yard on 3rd-and-one and then gave him a bad angle to kick the ball. We did everything we could to set him up to fail and he didn't disappoint.

REPORTER 2: Looking back, do you wish you went for some of those 4th and shorts?

B.S.: Can't live in the past. Might have won the game if we did. Might not have. I don't make those calls anyway. I just stand here and look happy :)

REPORTER: 3: Clock management seemed to be lacking at the end of the game. What was up with that? Seriously dude.

B.S.: Eh, we forgot the games were timed. Easy mistake to make. Besides, time management is for business people, not football teams. Like oxygen is for astronauts. Ya'll should laugh at that now.

REPORTER 4: Marshall up next. What do you think of your chances against the Thundering Herd?

B.S.: Probably good. We're gonna get out there and run that ball against them. Open up the offense with some draws and bubble screens. Maybe run Devine 25 or 30 times. Punt the ball a good number of times and see how things turn out. I feel confident we can keep the Herd in the game and let it come down to the wire.

Hey boys, it's been fun but I'm gonna head on back to the hills. I got some adoring fans back home that want to greet me with nice signs and stuff. And, just for the record: gosh darnit, dag nabbit and well, i'll be the son of a monkey's uncle. See ya'll in a week or so.