Archive: September, 2009
|photo from flyers.nhl.com|
The NHL season starts Thursday! The Flyers play Carolina on Friday! I'm watching the Red Wings play a team called Farjestad BK right now! Unless the IT people stop me! So. Let's take a look at all the predictions and soothsayings being predicted and soothsaid:
The Hockey News says the Flyers will win the Stanley Cup. It's nice to hear somebody else say that besides myself to myself every year. Read why they love Philly here.
Jon Buccigross of ESPN sees the Flyers coming in 4th in the conference and concludes: "The Flyers are tougher and deeper and have higher expectations. They should. They are good; if they raise the Cup in June, it will not be a shock."
I like Bucci, even though he a) thought it was a good idea for the Flyers to sign a bunch of Uruk-hai defensemen (Hatcher et al.) when everybody else was going for small and quick and b) quotes Guster with a straight face. Generally, though, Bucci doesn't just like hockey, he gets it. Case in point:
The Flyers won a Stanley Cup in their seventh season of existence in 1973-74; they won another Cup the following season. In all, Philadelphia has made seven Cup finals appearances in 30 years. It's quite a run. It's no mystery why the Flyers have such a passionate and loyal fan base. Besides the cool-sounding name, a name that fits like few others in sports, and how the DNA of hockey fits perfectly with the DNA of Philly, the Flyers simply have been good for a long time.
If you were born in the mid-'60s in Philadelphia, you have been privy to one of the most consistent and entertaining hockey teams in the NHL. Cups, Broad Street Bullies, Bob Clarke's toothless grin, Ron Hextall, Eric Lindros, the Legion of Doom, Keith Jones!, 378 goalies since 1997 and the current crop of players (drafted, traded for and/or free agents). The Flyers are once again an elite team, and there is a 7-year-old kid in south Jersey who will put on skates for the first time in the winter, fall in love with the game and this season's Flyers team and become a Flyers fan for life.
Read his assessment of the East here.
Bleacher Report, which I guess is a web site, says the Flyers will come in 4th in their division and dismissed Chris Pronger as old. Read that here, for some reason.
Covers.com, a betting site, calls the Flyers "the new beasts of the East" and praises the Pronger deal. They conclude: "the Flyers are the most complete team in the Eastern Conference and have a great shot finishing at the top." Read it here.
Sports Illustrated calls Ray Emery a wild card but sums it up like this: "On paper, they Flyers boast what could be the league's most balanced and talented team, top to bottom. Anything less than a trip to the conference final would be a grim failure." Read that here.
|Am I scary now?
Last night the Phils got a solid start out of J.A. Happ, incredibly timely hitting off the bats of Pedro Feliz and Jayson Werth, and, perhaps most importantly, a big INCREDIBLY HUGE two-inning save from Ryan Madson. I can't seem to find footage of it (and if you have it, please share), but Madson's ninth inning looks to be the key to the rest of the Phils' season if it continues past this weekend.
Madson had already thrown a dominating 8th and the crowd could see Brad Lidge warming in the bullpen. As the Phils took the field for the top of the ninth inning, I think the entire crowd's ears were perked up, trying to hear if Lidge's intro music would pour out of the stadium speakers. But then Madson's lanky frame emerged from the dugout and the crowd erupted in applause half in appreciation and half in relief.
Madson allowed two of the first three batters in the ninth reach base. With one out and Kaz Matsui and Lance Berkman on second and first, Madson, after a meeting at the mound with pitching coach Rich Dubee, reached down for a little something extra to strike out the always-dangerous Carlos Lee.
Which brought Phillie killer Hunter Pence to the plate.
Madson got two quick strikes on Pence and then and this is why I'd like to see the replay channelled Dickie Noles circa 1980 and knocked Pence on his ass with a pitch thrown, as it appeared from my seat on the first base line, high and tight. We'll probably never know if Madson did this on purpose, but Madson's next pitch froze Pence and he was called out on strikes to end the game.
Did Ryan Madson just discover the nastiness he seemed to be lacking in the closer's role?
What We've Found: Drug smuggling, ivory trafficking, disasters in Southeast Asia, costs of climate change, unsafe car seats and the dangers of texting while driving
Julia Harte with your mid-morning fix.
Two drug smugglers passed a combined $21,500 worth (1.5 lbs) of hashish at local hospitals after being taken into custody at Philadelphia International Airport.
Kenyan authorities seized $10 million worth (1,500 lbs) of ivory in a nighttime raid at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta Airport, where the trafficked tusks were reportedly en route to Thailand.
Vietnam was flooded in the aftermath of Typhoon Ketsana, a tsunami had killed at least 89 people in the Samoan islands, a 7.6-magnitude earthquake trapped thousands of Sumatrans under rubble, and India was facing its worst drought since 1972.
Adapting to the effects of climate change will cost developing countries about $100 billion each year beginning in 2010, a new World Bank study warned. But a study from the International Institute for Environment and Development one month earlier indicated that developing countries would have to use at least twice that amount to ensure climate safety.
4 out of every 5 child-safety seats inspected by Pennsylvania police in a statewide check earlier this month were not properly installed.
A two-day summit in Washington, D.C., tackled the problem of drivers distracted by their cellphones. Studies have found that dialing a cell phone and using or reaching for an electronic device increased risk of collision about six times in cars and trucks.
A while back the Clog was interested in where Phish's upcoming 3 day Halloween festival would be held. At the time California was eliminated, but we correctly guessed it would be added back and announced as the location.
Phish has a tendency to wear "musical costumes" on Halloween and play the entire album of another band. In 1994 it was the Beatles' White Album, the next year it was the Who's Quadrophenia. Other year's saw them take on The Velvet Underground and the Talking Heads. They even did all of Dark Side of the Moon once, but that is another story.
Well the next part of the mystery is upon us.
If you go to the festival portion of their website you'll see a slew of covers getting slain. So far, amongst others, Rubber Soul and Who's Next have been eliminated (I guess they don't want to double up) but many amazing albums from all eras remain.
From Saturday Night Fever to Ziggy Stardust to Hello Nasty the choices are wide and varied. Will they do Pearl Jam's Ten as Pearl Jam is closing down the Spectrum in Philly? (I doubt it, but right now it's a possibility)
My personal hope: Electric Ladyland. Page on Voodoo Chile? Yes please.
|Chase Utley and Cole Hamels|
While the hometown nine's play of late has certainly been cause for concern, let's all remember that last year, with 6 games left to play, the Phillies held just a 1.5 game lead on the Mets (remember them?) and had been in first place all of five days since falling a half game behind them on Sept. 19, 2008.
And please recall 2007 when the Phillies were actually 2 games out of first place with six games left to play (which I guess serves as much as a cautionary tale as inspiration).
All of which is to say that while you shouldn't stop worrying about the bullpen, and Charlie Manuel's predilection for blowing out his starters to avoid using it, you should also remember that it's better to be four games up than up 1.5 or down 2. And that it's much better to have a magic number than to be focusing on someone else's
And for those wondering about 1964, well, consider that the Phillies had already fallen into third by this point in that magical season, and that of current Phillies, only Jamie Moyer was even alive then.
(All figures courtesy of The Baseball Race.)
What We've Found: Brutality in Guinea, G20 discontent, Zoellick's warning, PA poverty, carbon-offset kiosks, long-life conference and a possibly extinct aquatic behemoth
Julia Harte with your morning fix.
Guinean troops reportedly raped, beat and shot hundreds of civilians demonstrating over rumors that the head of the country's military junta would run for president in January. Over a hundred were killed.
Protestors at the G20 conference in Pittsburgh accused the city's police force of issuing unclear dispersal orders, firing rubber bullets at compliant individuals and seizing journalistic footage during the nearly 200 arrests made outside the economic summit on Thursday and Friday.
World Bank President Robert Zoellick warned that other countries may soon rival the United States in economic might, as currencies such as the Chinese renminbi and the euro threaten to replace the dollar as the predominant reserve currency.
The Pennsylvania poverty rate increased to 12.1 percent from 11.6 percent and the percentage of households receiving food stamps went up by three percentage points between 2007 and 2008, according to new census data. Pennsylvania was one of only seven states that reported an increase in poverty during the period.
Kiosks in San Francisco International Airport now collect money from passengers who wish to offset the carbon emitted from their flight. Their money goes to such nonprofits as Conservation Fund, which allows trees in a forest it owns to grow taller so they can trap more carbon dioxide.
Harvard Medical School hosted a conference devoted to pharmaceuticals and lifestyles that prolong youthfulness and may extend life.
The Chinese paddlefish, a freshwater fish that can grow up to 21 feet in length, was feared extinct by ichthyologists after a three-year search for the species failed to find any individuals.
My name's Jeffrey Billman, and as of about 9:34 a.m. today I became CP's brand-new news editor, which means among other things I'll be a frequent contributor to this here weblog. So, I wanted to take a second to introduce myself, and maybe solicit advice on my new hometown from this publication's faithful readers.
I've spent the last decade or so as a writer and editor at the Orlando Weekly in Central Florida (you can check out my prior work at orlandoweekly.com), where I've covered and written about everything under the unflinchingly scorching Florida sun and then some. And last week, my fiancÃ©, our two puppies who are totally cuter than your dogs, by the way and I shoved all of our worldly possessions into a U-haul trailer and our 2005 Scion Xa (importantly, NOT the one that looks like a giant box) and made way to the Keystone State, and its unfamiliar concepts of row houses, winter and income taxes. What's more, we did this virtually sight unseen; our only previous Philly experience came about six weeks ago, when I spent most of our 12 hours here interviewing for this very position.
I say all that to say this: Tell me what's up. Where should I go? Where can I take my fiancÃ© for an evening out on the town (for the love of Christ, no dancing, please)? What bands do I have to see, like now (if you can get me on the guest list, so much the better; moving wiped us out)? What politicians are worth caring about? Which ones are batshit crazy? What communist/anarchist/ straight-edge/hippie/Jesus freak group is totally going to take this city by storm, any day now?
Consider me a blank canvas, eager for all sorts of information both personal and professional. Know of a good dog park? Tell me. (Seriously, this one would be a life-saver. We've found the one in Manayunk a little disappointing, and were hoping for something better somewhere within 15 minutes of our East Falls-area digs.) Have a cause that this paper absolutely, positively needs to know about? Hit me up. Know the best spot to go hiking? Please, fill me in.
My email here is email@example.com. I check it compulsively. I look forward to making your acquaintance.
|This should be interesting|
The folks at It's Our Money, the WHYY/Daily News/William Penn Foundation government watchdog project (where Doron Taussig now calls home away from grad school) are channeling their inner Allen Ginsberg and launching a site this morning called City Howl.
Basically it's a place for you to post (or read) reviews of city services. If you've had a bad experience with the Department of Streets, you can post about it there. If you've had a good experience with Parks and Recreation, you can post about it there. The idea is to bring the private impressions we all get of city services into the public sphere, and to hold city government accountable for both its successes and its failures.
It seems a bit like a Rate My Professor for city government that attempts to harness the awesome power of the elite, astute group known as Philly.com commenters which is to say that the PPA page should get real interesting, real quick.
What We've Found: an ATV menace, terrorist prosecution, outsourced murders, drilling protests, an oil spill and the rising salaries of nonprofit CEOs
Julia Harte with your morning fix.
The streets and vacant lots of Kensington were plagued by swarms of speeding ATV riders, whom local residents were afraid to confront for fear of violent retribution.
Federal agencies rarely agree on who qualifies as a terrorist any more, according to a new study from Syracuse University that found U.S. attorneys have dropped three-quarters of the terrorism cases referred to them by federal investigators.
Southeast Asians in Britain who wanted to off family members or business colleagues were outsourcing the murders to India, where the victims are lured and then killed by local goons.
To protest toxic runoff from natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, which threatens to contaminate the drinking water of Philadelphia, Pennsylvanians were putting spikes in roads and taking down street signs so truck drivers wouldn't be able to access drilling sites.
Gallons of crude oil were continuing to flow into the reef-rich Timor Sea off Australia's coast from a Thai oil well that has been broken and since August 21, and probably won't be fixed for another three weeks.
Banks and insurance companies aren't the only institutions where executive pay has risen since the crash. CEOs at many nonprofits earned more than half a million dollars last year, with a median pay raise of 7 percent, according to a new study by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
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