The Daily Puppy

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top 10 sports events of 2008


Here is MY LIST of the top 10 sports events of 2008:

1. Phillies win the World Series with a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays for their first championship in 28 years and the city's first in 25 years.

2. See No. 1

3. See No. 1 and 2

4. Phillies win the National League Championship in 5 games over the Los Angels Dodgers with a 5-1 victory.

5. Eagles rout the hated Dallas Cowboys, 44-6, on the last day of the season and, thanks to a chain of unlikely events, earn a berth in the NFC playoffs.
6. See No. 5
7. Phillies beat the Milwaukee Brewers in 4 games in the National League Division Series.

8. Phillies win National League East as the New York Mets collapse again.

9. Temple wins the Atlantic 10 men's basketball championship and a berth in the NCAA tournament with a win over Big 5 rival St. Joseph's in the conference tournament title game.

10. Penn State football goes 11-1, is co-champion of the Big 10 Conference and earns a berth in the Rose Bowl. The Nittany Lions miss an unbeaten season by one point in a 24-23 loss to Iowa on a last-second field goal.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A holiday miracle


After last week's awful, uninspiring 10-3 loss to the Redskins, it seemed the Eagles were knocked from the playoff chase. Too many outcomes had to fall in line on the season's last day for the Eagles to get back into the playoffs: losses by Tampa and Chicago or Minnesota, then a win over the Cowboys.


But around 4 p.m. Sunday, the holiday miracle began to take shape:


Raiders 31, Tampa 24

Houston 31, Chicago 24


So when the Eagles took the field against the hated Cowboys, they knew a win would get them in the playoffs. And win they did.


EAGLES 44, COWBOYS 6


Don't know if it was the emotion on which the Eagles played, or the lack of intensity from the Cowboys, but after a 3-3 first quarter, the Cowboys imploded, turning the ball over 5 straight times which led to 27 Eagles points. But who cares, we beat the stinkin' Cowboys to get into the playoffs. I watched the game at a little holiday gathering at my house. My dad and uncle and cousin from York and I were all going crazy as each Cowboys' fumble led to an Eagle defender running in for a score.


So now the Eagles will visit Minnesota to play the Vikings in a game at 4:30 p.m. Sunday.


GO EAGLES!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

I hope all readers of this blog and visitors to pottsmerc.com have a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy holiday season.

For any Phillies fans out there, click here for a special holiday greeting from the World Champions!

And in these tough economic times, here's hoping for a joyous and prosperous 2009.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What were they thinking?

A couple in New Jersey is upset that a local supermarket wouldn't bake a cake with their son's full name on it for his third birthday. And not only that, they don't understand the uproar that has followed.

The child's name? Adolph Hitler Campbell.

The parents, Heath and Deborah Campbell, shown with their son, above, wanted an area grocery store to put "Happy Birthday Adolph Hitler" on a birthday cake, and the store refused.

According to the Associated Press, Karen Meleta, a spokeswoman for ShopRite, said the Campbells had similar requests denied at the same store the last two years and said Heath Campbell previously had asked for a swastika to be included in the decoration.

"We reserve the right not to print anything on the cake that we deem to be inappropriate," Meleta said. "We considered this inappropriate."

Heath Campbell said it's just a name and that people need to look to the future and not focus on the past. I hope his son feels the same way when he learns he shares his name with the most evil man of the 20th century.

The Campbells have two other children with unusual names: JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell turns 2 in a few months and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell will be 1 in April.

To read more, click here.

New Year's tradition in jeopardy

One of this area's grandest New Year's traditions may become a victim of the nation's financial meltdown.

Because of escalating city budget cuts, the Mummers parade in Philadelphia could be shortened, or even cancelled. An answer could come Thursday after a meeting between the city and the organization.

According to the Associated Press, The city has told the Mummers it can only contribute $300,000 this year. The Mummers say they are concerned about their costs.

Doug Oliver, a spokesman for Mayor Michael Nutter, says talks went well Wednesday and he's optimistic.

Oliver says he believes the parade could be shortened to six-and-a-half hours and still run its whole route at a cost of $347,000. He says the city needs an answer from the Mummers by Thursday, two weeks before New Year's Day, to allow time for preparation.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A new Miss World


To read the story, click here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sen. Casey tackles important issue in Washington

You'd think Sen. Bob Casey would have better things to worry about.

But according to the Associated Press, Casey isn't happy with new management of the Senate restaurants on Capitol Hill because the restaurants no longer carry two important items made in Pennsylvania: Snyder's Pretzels and Utz Potato Chips.

Casey, a Democrat, has written to two managers who oversee operations of the restaurants asking for the items to be returned. He says the snack foods, both made in York County, have been sold in the restaurants since 1996.

Casey says if complaints to his office are an indication, many other patrons are also unhappy.

Earlier this year, the Senate decided to privatize the restaurants as part of an effort to save taxpayers money.

You won't catch me eating here

You have to wonder what possesses people to do what three workers at a Kentucky Fried Chicken in California did recently.

After closing the restaurant, the three stripped to their underwear and swimwear and cavorted in a deep sink used to clean dishes. They were discovered after one of the girls posted photos of the event on a social networking site.

The workers were suspended.

To read more, click here.

Pat won't be back

The Pat Burrell Era with the Phillies looks like it has ended.

According to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com, the Phillies have signed free agent outfielder Raul Ibanez to a 3-year contract worth $30 million. Ibanez will play left field. To read more, click here.

Burrell, a free agent, finishes his Phillies' career as the team's third-leading all-time home run hitter with 251 and was seventh in RBI with 827. He also was second by striking out 1,273 times. The leader in all three categories is Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's the truth, but...

It's still 2 months until spring training, but the war of the words between the Phillies and Mets has begun.

Phillies ace lefthander Cole Hamels, the World Series MVP, went on New York radio station WFAN, said he believes the Mets have been "choke artists" the past two seasons, according to ESPN.com

For more, click here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Eating apple harmful to NBA rookie's health

For some, an apple a day won't keep the doctor away.

The Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose, the first pick in the NBA draft, needed 10 stitches to close a gash in his left forearm after he rolled onto a knife while eating an apple in bed, according to the Chicago Tribune.

To read more, click here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Senator "Nanny?"


Fran Drescher, who starred in the sitcom "The Nanny," wants to change professions: to Senator Drescher.

Drescher, at right, wants to fill the seat to succeed Sen. Hillary Clinton as the junior senator from New York.

According to her publicist Jordan Bright, Drescher has been an advocate for women's health and a public diplomacy envoy for the U.S. State Department.

In addition to her role as Fran Fine in "The Nanny," Drescher also had roles in "Saturday Night Fever" and "This Is Spinal Tap."

Looks like Mets get closer

It looks like the Mets are going to add former Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez to their bullpen.

Rodriguez, who saved a record 62 games for the Angels last year, and the Mets apparently have agreed to a three-year, $37 million contract.

The Mets bullpen was awful last season and led to their second straight season-ending collapse which left them out of the playoffs.

As a Phillies' fan, I hate to see the Mets get better. But this off-season it doesn't matter, because the Phillies are World Series champions!

Recession hits NFL

Even the money-making machine known as the National Football League isn't immune to the recession.

The league announced Tuesday that it is cutting more than 10 percent of its staff as it deals with the nation's economic downturn.

According to the Associated Press, Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the cuts in a memo to league employees. The NFL is eliminating about 150 of its staff of 1,100 in New York, NFL Films in New Jersey and television and Internet production facilities in Los Angeles.

In September, Forbes called the NFL "the richest game" and the "the strongest sport in the world." The league has revenues of approximately $6.5 billion of which an estimated $4.5 billion goes to players.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Karaoke killing

And I thought my singing was bad.

A man was stabbed to death at a karaoke bar in Malaysia for refusing to give up the microphone, according to Sky News.

To read more, click here.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Penn State mascot suspended

The legal woes that have plagued the Penn State football team over the past 2 years have now extended to its mascot.

James Sheep of Chambersburg, Pa., who plays the Nittany Lion, was suspended Thursday for violating team rules, a week and a half after being charged with DUI.

According to the Associated Press, the university says Sheep will not participate in school events or attend the Rose Bowl game or events. Penn State cheerleading coach Curt White says Sheep will resume his duties in the new year.

University police say Sheep was pulled over on campus around 3:15 a.m. on Nov. 22, hours before Penn State's game against Michigan State. He was later charged with DUI and summary traffic violations.

The school says another member of the cheerleading squad will serve as mascot until Sheep returns.

Police: Man assaults girlfriend with cheeseburger

A Florida man is in trouble with the law after shoving a cheeseburger in his girlfriend's face during an argument.

The man, 22-year-old Vincent Gonzalez of Vero Beach, is facing domestic abuse charges.

The cheeseburger was from McDonald's. To read more, click here.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Why couldn't I think of this?

The Travel Channel debuts a new show at 10 tonight, "Man vs. Food."

According to the show's Web site, host Adam Richman sets out to travel the country in search of the best places to do some serious indulging as he tries to find the best traditional food the nation can serve up. Among this cities Richman visits this season are Atlanta, Chicago, Memphis, Boston and Pittsburgh.

But here's the most interesting angle of the show. After exploring the region's culinary history, the Web site states, Richman will take on the city's toughest food challenge. Among those challenges: the Sasquatch Burger in Memphis, the Atomic Hot Wings platter in Pittsburgh, and a 13-pound pizza in Atlanta.

Now this is one show I wish I had thought of.

Holiday concert Saturday

The Boyertown Alumni Marching Unit will present its fifth annual holiday concert at 7 p.m. Saturday at Morningstar Fellowship Church on Limekiln Road in Bechtelsville.

Among the selections are “Sleigh Ride,” “A Christmas Festival,” “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “March of the Toys,” “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, and “Celtic Carol.”

A free-will donation will be accepted, with the money donated to an area charity.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Les Nessman as news anchor?

It took awhile, but WKRP is back on the air in Cincinnati -- but this time as a TV station.

According to an Associated Press story, the station, which formerly was known as WBQC-TV, changed its call letters to promote its new digital TV signal.

General Manager Elliott Block says the new call letters give the station recognition because so many people remember the television sit-com.

"WKRP in Cincinnati" revolved around the antics of employees of a fictional radio station. The classic sit-com ran on CBS from 1978-1982 and made stars of Howard Hesseman as Johnny "Dr. Johnny Fever" Caravella and Loni Anderson as secretary Jennifer Marlowe. Other cast members were Gordon Jump, Tim Reid, Gary Sandy, Jan Smithers and Frank Bonner. Richard Sanders played clueless newsman Les Nessman.

Check out the new television station.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Wal-Mart worker dies from Black Friday stampede

A worker at a Wal-Mart in Long Island, N.Y., died Friday from injuries he sustained after being trampled by unruly Black Friday shoppers at the opening of the store at 5 a.m. Friday.

According to the Associated Press, Nassau County police said the 34-year-old worker was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead at about 6 a.m., an hour after the store opened. The cause of death was not immediately known.

A police statement said shortly after 5 a.m., a throng of shoppers "physically broke down the doors, knocking (the worker) to the ground." Police also said a 28-year-old pregnant woman was taken to a hospital for observation and three other shoppers suffered minor injuries and were also taken to hospitals.

To read more, click here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Football turkeys on Thanksgiving

Part of the Thanksgiving tradition is watching NFL football on television. But this year, the NFL has provided us with a few turkeys in their daylong extravaganza.

The biggest turkey is the first game at 12:30, when the 0-11 Detroit Lions host the 10-1 Tennessee Titans. Hopefully the Lions can keep the game interesting until most people sit down for dinner. The National Dog Show is on opposite this game. The Lions may qualify as Best of Show.

The second game pits the 2-9 Seattle Seahawks at the 7-4 Dallas Cowboys. At the start of the season this looked like a pretty good game, but the Seahawks are having their worst season in coach Mike Holmgren's last season. But it's always nice to root against the Cowboys no matter whom they are playing.

The third game, for those who still care, has our 5-5-1 Eagles hosting the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals are just 7-4, but lead the NFC West by 4 games. The Eagles, well, stink right now after a tie with the Cincinnati Bengals and a loss to the Baltimore Ravens in which quarterback Donovan McNabb was pulled at halftime. McNabb will start Thursday's game, but who knows what to expect from him. The Eagles' playoff hopes are slim right now; a loss to the Cardinals will likely put an end to those aspirations.

Whatever you do, enjoy the day. And remember to give thanks for what is truly important.

Gifts for the sports fan

With the holiday season upon us, here are a few ideas for the sports fan in your life.

All I've asked for this Christmas is anything that has to do with the Phillies' World Series title. T-shirts, hoodies or caps that say "World Series Champions" or anything celebrating the crown is all any Phillies' fan could want under the tree on Dec. 25. If you can't find it at your favorite retailer, all this stuff is available at mlb.com. You can even get a Philadelphia Phillies 2008 World Champions Collectors Edition of Monopoly.

A set of golf clubs is always a good idea. If you want to do something a little less expensive for your favorite golfer, golf accessories or a gift certificate to their favorite course would do the trick.

How about some tickets to see their favorite professional team in person? You can't go wrong there. Unless you are thinking of buying Eagles' playoff tickets.

If your sports fan likes to read, get him or her a book or two. A great selection can be found at Amazon.com.

Another good gift is a sports-related day-by-day desk calendar. Your sports fan could quiz his friends and co-workersr with the trivia items for each day of the year .

Or buy your fan a jersey of their favorite athlete. That's a good idea --unless it's an athlete who hasn't run into trouble with the law, that is.

Those are just a few ideas to get for the sports fan in your life. Happy holidays!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Eagles bashing


Now that the Eagles have followed up their awful tie with the Cincinnati Bengals with a brutal loss to the Baltimore Ravens that included the halftime benching of Donovan McNabb, it's time to put any thoughts of a playoff run to rest. This season, and perhaps the McNabb/Andy Reid, era is over.

So, here are some Eagles jokes to get you through the rest of the season:

The Philadelphia Police are cracking down on speeders heading into Philadelphia. For the first offense, they give you two Eagle tickets. If you get stopped a second time, they make you use them.

Q. What do you call 47 millionaires around a TV watching the Super Bowl?A. The Philadelphia Eagles.

Q. What do the Philadelphia Eagles and Billy Graham have in common?
A. They both can make 70,000 people stand up and yell 'Jesus Christ'.

Q. How do you keep the Philadelphia Eagles out of your yard?
A. Put up a goal post.

Q. Where do you go in Philadelphia in case of a tornado?
A: To the Eagles Stadium — they never have a touchdown there.

Q. What do you call a Philadelphia EAGLE with a Super Bowl ring?
A. A thief.

Q:What's the difference between the Philadelphia Eagles and a dollar bill?
A. You can still get four quarters out of a dollar bill.

Q. How many Philadelphia Eagles does it take to win a Super Bowl?
A. Nobody knows and we may never find out.

Q. What do the Philadelphia Eagles and a possums have in common?
A. Both play dead at home and get killed on the road.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mark your calendars

On Saturday, Dec. 6, the Boyertown Alumni Band and Marching Unit will present its 5th annual holiday concert at 7 p.m. at Morningstar Fellowship Church on Limekiln Road in Bechtelsville.


Among the selections are "Sleigh Ride," "A Christmas Festival," "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year," "March of the Toys," and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen."

A free will offering will be taken, with the money donated to an area charity.

Don't leave your cell phone at McDonald's

An Arkansas couple is suing McDonald's Corp., a franchise owner and store manager after a man left his cell phone at the restaurant and nude pictures of his wife that he had on the phone appeared online.

According to the Associated Press, the suit was filed Friday and seeks a jury trial and $3 million in damages for suffering, embarrassment and the cost of having to move to a new home.

The suit says that Phillip Sherman left the phone in the Fayetteville store in July and that employees promised to secure it until he returned.

Manager Aaron Brummley declined to comment, and other company officials didn't return messages.

I thought only Eagles' fans threw snow balls?

Notre Dame football fans, frustrated with their team's 24-23 loss to 3-8 Syracuse Saturday afternoon, threw snowballs at the Fighting Irish players during the game.

If you listen to sportscasters from around the country, I thought only Philly sports fans threw snowballs at their teams. I wonder if the Fighting Irish faithful will be vilified like fans are in Philly.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bad start to Phillies offseason

The World Champion Phillies (wow, it's great to write that!) have barely recovered from their World Series parade when they were dealt a blow Thursday.

All-Star second baseman Chase Utley will have surgery on an injured hip and will be unable to participate in baseball activities for 3 to 4 months. Spring training starts in 3 months, on Feb. 14, and Utley may not be fully recovered until May.

Third baseman Pedro Feliz will have surgery on his back and will go through an 8-to-12 week rehabilitation.

Where's your raise?

In this struggling economic time, it's nice to know someone's getting some extra cash.

According to the Harrisburg Patriot-News, Pennsylvania lawmakers and state judges are in line for 2.8 percent cost-of-living raises.

Rank and file members of the state House and Senate will see their base pay increase to just over $78,000 starting next month. Members of leadership will get even more.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille's salary is going up to nearly $192,000. The pay for county judges will be about $162,000.

The increases are tied to the regional consumer price index.

The same increases are due for Gov. Ed Rendell and his Cabinet secretaries. The governor says he might suspend them as part of budgetary belt-tightening.

As a taxpayer, are you getting your money's worth from the costliest state legislature in the country?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tool box lost in space

I always have trouble finding tools throughout the house, but at least they aren't lost in space.

A tool bag drifted away from an astronaut working on the International Space Station and floated out into space.

To read more, click here.

Happy World Toilet Day!

In case you didn't know, a nonprofit organization in Singapore has declared today as World Toilet Day. The group wants to promote sanitation issues around the world.

Can't believe I didn't win

Actor Hugh Jackman was named People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Blown call bad news for gamblers

A blown call by the referees at the end of the Pittsburgh-San Diego game had quite the effect on gamblers.

The Steelers won the game 11-10, but a late touchdown that would have made the final score 17-10 or 18-10 was nullified after an officiating mistake. The Steelers were favored by 4 points, so that blown call kept the Steelers from covering the spread and cost gamblers millions of dollars.

"Anyone who had a bet on the Pittsburgh side and thought they had won weren't too happy," said John Avello, director of the race and sports book at the Wynn resort.

Avello said there might have been $10 million bet on the game statewide, and many times more than that in illegal bets around the country and in offshore Internet betting sites. There was more money bet on Pittsburgh, he said, especially in parlay bets.

Click here to read more.

Rendell knows pathetic

In his part-time gig as an analyst on Comcast SportsNet's "Eagles Post-Game Live," Gov. Ed Rendell, at right, called the Eagles' performance in Sunday's 13-13 tie with the Cincinnati Bengals "Pathetic, with a capital P."

Well, if anyone would know pathetic, it would be Rendell. After all, he's the leader of one of the most pathetic states in the country regarding economic development, jobs, taxes, roads, etc.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Reid should be fired...NOW

After the Eagles' awful 13-13 tie with the now 1-8-1 Cincinnati Bengals, head coach and vice president of player personnel Andy Reid should be fired when the plane lands in Philly...if not over Pittsburgh!!!

It's obvious he is clueless as to what the problems are, let alone be able to fix them. He and quarterback Donovan McNabb have run their course with the Eagles. It's time for them both to go.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Columnist: Andy Reid worst coach in NFL

Jason Whitlock, a columnist for the Kansas City Star and contributor to foxsports.com, has ranked the best and worst coaches in the NFL.

His worst coach for 2008? None other than the Eagles' Andy Reid. And that's saying a lot since the Detroit Lions are 0-9 and the Cincinnati Bengals 1-8.

Here are the rankings.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Open mouth, insert foot

Lindsay Lohan has done it again.

In an interview with "Access Hollywood," the troubled 22-year-actress referred to President-elect Barack Obama as the country's "first colored president."

Yep, she said it.

According to the Associated Press story, in describing her experience on Election Day, Lohan said: "It was really exciting. It's an amazing feeling. It's our first colored president.

A spokesman for the syndicated entertainment news program said in a statement Wednesday: "We believe the word in question that Ms. Lohan used was unintelligible."

To read more, click here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Gee, really Wally"

Wally Cleaver has hit it big as a sculptor.

Tony Dow, at right, who played Beaver's older brother on "Leave It To Beaver," will have one of his sculptures on display at the Louvre in Paris.

To read more, click here.

Anyone else tired of Andy Reid?

How many Eagles fans reading this are tired of Andy Reid and the way he's running the team?

I don't know who ticks me off more: Andy Reid the football coach, or Andy Reid the executive vice president of football operations.

Reid's on-field decisions are just brutal. The offense starts the game so sluggishly, as a fan you wonder if that unit has evened practiced all week. And why Reid insists on running the ball in short-yardage plays in the fourth quarter when he hasn't given the running game a chance to work for the first 3 quarters is bizarre. An interesting stat from Sunday night's loss to the Giants: the Eagles are 5 out of 14 when running the ball on third or fourth down and a yard to go, yet they are 3 of 3 when passing in the same situation.

Of course, part of the problem may lie with Andy Reid the personnel guy. The last 2 years, the Eagles have traded out of the first round of the draft (in 2007, it was to the stinkin' Cowboys!!). This year, they lucked out by having DeSean Jackson fall into their laps in the second round. But trading a fourth-round pick for rarely-used running back Lorenzo Booker hasn't worked out. And using a 2007 third-round pick on recently cut running back Tony Hunt was a mistake.

Maybe if Reid went out and brought in a real fullback, it might help the running game.

His post-game and day-after press conferences are a waste of time. Everyone knows that after a loss, Reid will take the blame and say how he has to do a better job to get his players in a better position to make plays. I'M TIRED OF IT!!!!

Should the Eagles miss the playoffs this year, it will be the third time in four years that has happened. At some point, owner Jeffrey Lurie has to seriously consider letting Reid go as the team doesn't appear headed in the right direction.

A few years ago, though the Eagles had yet to win a Super Bowl, Lurie called the Eagles "the gold standard" of the NFL. After the Phillies' World Series win, the Eagles don't even carry "the gold standard" in their own city.

Waiting for cheaper gas

Gas prices in the Allentown and Quakertown areas have toppled to less than $2.10 a gallon. Other parts of the nation, like at this Ohio gas station in the AP photo at right, have seen gas drop below $2 a gallon. Yet when are we in the Pottstown area going to see even lower prices.

On my drive to work every day from Berks County, I pass at least 5 places selling gas, and no one is selling it for less than $2.30 a gallon. When the prices do drop, it's at 2 cents at a time.

One day last week, one convenience store's gas prices rose 2 cents overnight, and it dropped back 2 cents the next afternoon.

It's time motorists in the Pottstown area pay the same gas prices as others in the region!!!

Elderly woman found living with bodies of dead siblings

In a gruesome story, police said a 90-year-old woman in Illinois has been living in her house with the bodies of three dead siblings.

Two of the bodies were skeletons, and the third was badly decomposed. One of the siblings had been dead since the early 1980s, police said.

To read more, click here.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Say it ain't so, Joe

So much for Penn State's football team being unbeaten and not playing for the national championship.

The Nittany Lions dream season ended Saturday afternoon when they choked at Iowa, losing 24-23 on a field goal with 1 second remaining, to a team that was just 5-4 on the season.

Friday, November 7, 2008

More bad news for Pennsylvanians

Gov. Ed Rendell announced this morning that he plans to serve out the rest of his term that ends in January 2011, rather than pursue a Cabinet position in the Obama administration. That is sad news for taxpayers in the state.

Of course, Rendell, at right, probably called Obama's people to see what he could do, was told he wasn't being considered, and to save face announced he wasn't interested in joining the Cabinet -- at least until his term is over.

Rendell spokesman Chuck Ardo said the state's political factors played a role in the governor's decision. Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll, next in line for governor, is battling cancer. If she couldn't serve, the line of command goes to Joseph Scarnati, the president Pro Tempore of the Republican-led state Senate.

Eagles wide receiver engaged to Playmate

Eagles wide receiver Hank Baskett made the greatest catch of his career last weekend, and it wasn't in the team's 26-7 win over Seattle.

Baskett became engaged to Kendra Wilkinson, at right, one of Hugh Hefner's former girlfriends and one of the stars of the E! network's "Girls Next Door."
Hefner has given his blessing and said the wedding will take place at the Playboy Mansion in June.

To read more, click here.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Mich. woman crosses the line with politics

A woman in Michigan took the presidential campaign a bit too far on Halloween -- she refused to give treats to children whose parents backed Barack Obama.

According to the Associated Press, Shirley Nagel of Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich., passed out candy, but only to those who shared her support for Republican presidential candidate John McCain and running mate Sarah Palin.

Television station WJBK says a sign posted outside Nagel's house, about 10 miles northeast of downtown Detroit, served this notice to trick-or-treaters: "No handouts for Obama supporters, liars, tricksters or kids of supporters."

Nagel tells WJBK that "Obama's scary." When asked about children who were turned away empty-handed and crying, she said: "Oh well. Everybody has a choice."

I'm not an Obama fan, but denying children candy on Halloween because of their parents' political views is a bit extreme. What a witch she is.

Cheerleader booted off Patriots squad

An 18-year-old cheerleader with the New England Patriots was kicked off the squad after some questionable party photos of her appeared on her Facebook page.

To read the full story, click here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

World Series leftovers..

Just wondering....
  • If the Red Sox or Yankees had gone 11-3 in the postseason like the Phillies did, would they be considered among the greatest teams of all-time?
  • Why catcher Carlos Ruiz wasn't the MVP? He drove in the winning run in Games 1 and 3, homered in Game 3, and did a great job handling the pitching staff and defensively. Was he not picked because he's Hispanic?
  • If the Phillies can repeat?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

See, Obama does hang out with losers


First, there is his connection to domestic terrorist William Ayers, then his 20-year association with his anti-American preacher, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.


Now, here is more proof that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama hangs out with losers. In the above photo, Obama is shown at a rally in Tampa with members of the American League champion Rays, who LOST to the Phillies in the World Series

PHINALLY!!!!!




In the words of Phillies Hall of Fame announcer Harry Kalas: "THE PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES ARE THE 2008 WORLD CHAMPIONS OF BASEBALL"

Sixers lose opener

Today, who cares?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Of course I'm worried


Monday night I was confident the Phillies, with ace Cole Hamels on the mound, would bring home the World Series title. That's unusual, since I usually have negative thoughts running through me head in regards to my sports teams.

But I was ready to celebrate when the game ended, with my champagne chilled and ready to be drank. And I was set for a parade, whether I'd be there in person, or relegated to watching it on TV.

Then the rain and wind came, and the game was suspended. Now? Well, let's just say I'm one of those who feel there is a conspiracy between Major League Baseball and the baseball gods to keep the Phillies from winning.

Right now I can see a nightmare scenario unfolding that leaves the Phillies without a title. ESPN.com's Jayson Stark knows the emotions of Philadelphia sports fans and hits it on the head in his most recent column.

I have a lot of nervous energy right now, and the resumption of Game 5 is more than 4 hours away. But I am trying to think positive about tonight: how the Phils have 12 outs to the Rays 9; how the Rays haven't touched the Phillies bullpen; and how resilient this Phillies have been this season.

So let's hope the Phillies can end the World Series tonight and start the celebration after a 25-year drought.

GO PHILLIES!!!

Blame Obama for 8:37 p.m. start

Want to know why the resumption of the suspended Game 5 is at the odd start time of 8:37 p.m.?

Because Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has a 30-minute infomercial running on several networks -- including FOX -- at 8 p.m.

Thank goodness FOX is bagging its 30-minute pre-game show.

Stubs for sale

Anyone interested in going to what remains of Game 5 of the World Series at Citizens Bank Park but don't have tickets?

Well, ticket holders who saw the first 5 1/2 innings are selling them, so you still have the chance to see the Phillies win their first World Series title since 1980 and relish in the region's first major crown in 25 years.

On stubhub.com, tickets for the rest of tonight's game are available in prices ranging from $700 to $3,500.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Michigan Democrats arouse voters

Here's one way to try to get out the vote.

Michigan Democrats trying to arouse interest in absentee voting have accidentally directed people to a phone-sex line.

According to the Associated Press, state party spokeswoman Liz Kerr says a flier that included two absentee ballot applications had a misprint in the number for a campaign hotline.

The flier came from the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee and featured photos of presidential candidate Barack Obama and U.S. Sen. Carl Levin.

The error was first reported by WJBK-TV in Detroit. Kerr says the party apologizes for the misprint.

You blew it, Bud

Too late, Bud.

Major League Baseball and Commissioner Bud Selig, at right, blew it Monday night when Game 5 of the World Series was suspended before the bottom of the 6th inning because of bad weather. I had no problem with the decision; the timing of it is what was wrong.

Conditions were just as bad in the fifth inning when Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins dropped a wind-blown pop-up. In his news conference later, Selig said the game was stopped when it was to save its intergrity. The intergrity of the game was already lost by the time the game was called.

It was obvious by the timing that Major League Baseball wanted the Rays to tie the game before stopping play. I agree with Comcast SportsNet analyst and former Phillies hurler Mitch Williams that the Rays had an unfair advantage by being able to bat in the 6th inning as the Phillies had to be in the field during the awful conditions. When play resumes Wednesday night (weather permitting, as Tuesday's planned start has been pushed back), the Rays will be playing on a dry field and their pitcher throwing off of a dry mound.

You call that integrity. On this night, it was not proud to be a Bud.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ready to party

After 25 years of pain and suffering, Philly sports fans are ready to celebrate a Phillies win in the World Series. Just one more win and the Phillies will end 25 years of the region's champsionship frustrations and their own 28-year drought.

Four hours until the first pitch and I have my bottle of champagne chilling in the fridge. Hopefully, Cole Hamels, at right, can pitch like he has throughout the postseason (4-0 with a 1.55 earned run average) and the Phillies bats will stay hot after Sunday night's 4-home run effort. Then around 11:30 tonight (weather permitting), the Delaware Valley can party like, well, like it's like 1983......the last time the area celebrated a major sports championship!!


GO PHILLIES!!!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Game 1 win was nice, but...

Yes, it was great that the Phillies rode Cole Hamels' arm to a 3-2 win in Game 1 of the World Series Wednesday night. But there were a couple of negatives that need to be fixed for the team to win the series.


First, Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard, the 2007 and 2006 NL MVPs, need to get out of their slumps. The pair batted 0-for-9 with five strikeouts in Game 1. Rollins hit into a double play with the bases loaded in the second inning when Shane Victorino was thrown out at home on Rollins' short fly ball to center field. Howard struck out 3 times with a runner on third and less than 2 outs.

And then hitting with runners in scoring position. The Phillies were 0-for-13 in those situations, the worst in World Series history. This has been a problem all year. If it's not fixed, this team won't win

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The dreaded pick

I don't know what to make of the Phillies chances to win the World Series.

One minute, I think that they're a determined group of 25 players and won't be satisfied until they win it all. I think of Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels at the top of their games and pushing the team to the title.

The next minute, I think of the Phillies' offensive inconsistency all season and some struggles by the starting rotation. And I look at the young, talented Tampa Bay Rays who won 97 games in the regular season and represent the much-tougher American League.

Will the Phillies feel on their shoulders the collective weight of 25 years of failures by Philadelphia major sports teams and the hopes of a few million people? Will the weeklong layoff help, or hurt?

When the Phillies were Cinderella in 1993, their bubble burst on Joe Carter's series-winning home run. When, or will, the Rays' bubble burst?

Check out who simulators feel will win. And here's what ESPN's analysts think.

I was right about the Phillies beating the Brewers in the National League Division Series, and right about them defeating the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series.

Will I be right about the World Series? I hope not. I think the layoff will hurt the Phillies. That, and their 4-11 record in interleague play doesn't instill confidence.

I pick with my head instead of my heart: Rays in 6.

If you've got Phillies Phever, send us your photos at http://allaroundphilly.mycapture.com/mycapture/photos/Album.aspx?EventID=615675&CategoryID=43192

That's a mighty big burger


There are burgers, and then there are burgers.

At just 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, Brad Sciullo doesn't appear to be the kind of guy that could put away a 15-pound burger. But the Clearfield, Pa., man managed to eat such a burger in 4 hours and 39 minutes.
According to an Associated Press story, Sciullo is the first person to eat a monstrosity called the Beer Barrel Belly Bruiser: a 15-pound burger with toppings and a bun that brought the total weight to 20.2 pounds. The mountain of beef is the product of Denny's Beer Barrel Pub, about 100 miles northeast of Pittsburgh in Clearfield.

Sciullo, 21, of Uniontown, said he was surprised he finished the sandwich. "About three hours into it, things got tough," he said.

When asked what possessed him to eat a burger that big, Sciullo said: "I wanted to see if I could."

The burger included a bun, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, onions, mild banana peppers and a cup each of mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard and relish, pub owner Dennis Liegey said.

For completing the challenge in the under-five-hour time limit, Sciullo won $400, three T-shirts, a certificate "and a burger hangover, as I call it," Liegey said.

It's Evan Longoria, not Eva



Note to anyone watching the World Series who is unfamiliar with the Tampa Bay Rays: the Rays third baseman is rookie Evan Longoria, shown above, not to be confused with "Desperate Housewives" actress Eva Longoria Parker, at right.
Evan Longoria will also likely be named American League Rookie of the Year. Eva Longoria likely will NOT be named Mother of the Year on Wisteria Lane.

They are not related.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

28 years ago

Tonight is the 28th anniversary of the Phillies winning their only World Series title.

Tug McGraw struck out Kansas City's Willie Wilson at 11:29 p.m. to set off a wild celebration which began with McGraw leaping into the air in the Associated Press photo at right.
Let's hope the situation repeats next week, with Brad Lidge taking the leap off the mound.

Lame choices for first-game DH

With lefthander Scott Kazmir starting for the Rays in Game 1 of the World Series, Phils manager Charlie Manuel is in a tough spot as to whom to play as designated hitter.

The strength of the Phillies bench is left-handed with Greg Dobbs, Geoff Jenkins and Matt Stairs, but it's unlikely any of them will start the game as the DH.

So what are Charlie's options? Outfielder So Taguchi, who hit just .220 on the season and received less than 100 at bats; infielder Eric Bruntlett, who hit a robust .217 and actually spent more time as Pat Burrell's defensive replacement in left field than Taguchi did; or catcher Chris Coste, who did hit .263 with 9 home runs, but would have to get behind the plate if Carlos Ruiz was injured.

What's likely to happen is that Taguchi or Bruntlett gets that start in left field and Burrell is the DH. Either way, it puts a poor hitter into the lineup.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hollywood liberals lose this one

One of the great sidebars to the Phillies winning the National League pennant was to see the dour faces on all of the Hollywood liberals who attended the games.

Penny Marshall, Laverne from "Laverne and Shirley," had seats next to the Dodgers dugout with her brother, producer/director Garry Marshall. Sitting directly behind home plate was Mary Hart of "Entertainment Tonight."

During one game, Fox kept showing Barbara Streisand, above in an Associated Press photo, in her seats.

And though he wasn't shown, Rob Reiner -- Mike Stivic, aka Meathead, from "All in the Family -- is a Dodgers fan as well.

Now if only they could all see one more defeat on Nov. 4....

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Glad I was wrong on this one

This time I'm happy I was wrong.

Yes, I picked the Phillies to beat the Dodgers in 6 games in the National League Championship Series. But winning in five games is a lot sweeter.
Cole Hamels was brilliant Wednesday night, and the offense did just enough to win to let manager Charlie Manuel hoist the Warren Giles Trophy as National League champion (shown in the Associated Press photo) and send the Phillies into the World Series for the sixth time.
The only thing wrong is that the Phils have to wait until next Wednesday, Oct. 22, for the World Series to start. Hopefully whatever momentum they've built won't be lost by then. Though momentum in baseball is usually gauged by that day's starting pitching.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

FOX may not get its wish

It's painfully obvious while watching the Phillies-Dodgers National League Championship Series that FOX and its lead announcing team of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are blatantly rooting for the Dodgers.

FOX will also broadcast the World Series and I'm sure the corporate suits were pulling for a Dodgers-Red Sox clash so they could beat the Manny Ramirez returns to Boston angle to death. I'm surprised FOX hasn't shown Manny taking a bathroom break in the clubhouse.

My friends and I have been particularly upset about it, especially when the announcers said Monday night that the home runs by Phillies Shane Victorino and Matt Stairs were "a devastating turn of events." Devastating for whom? Not Phillies fans.

And while we may see this through Phillies-colored glasses, one member of the media has noticed it, too. Check out this column by Espn.com Page 2 writer Tim Keown called "Pray for Philly, Tampa Bay and all of us."

Time to get that big money, Cole


Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels was upset with the team in spring training after they renewed his contract for $500,000 instead of signing him to a long-term deal. He felt disrespected.

Hamels had just 51 starts and only 315 inning pitched in his major-league career entering the season, so it's hard to understand why he was so upset.

So this year the 24-year-old went out and proved he's worth a lot more money. His 227 innings were second in the National League. He was sixth in the league with 196 strikeouts and his 3.09 earned run average tied him for fifth. Hamels only won 14 games, but that's because of a lack of run support from his teammates.

And he's been stellar in this postseason, too, winning both of his starts and striking out 17 in 15 innings while allowing just 2 runs.

But if Hamels wants to command a big contract, tonight is his night to show it.

Hamels, in an Associated Press photo above, will take the mound in Los Angeles when the Phillies meet the Dodgers in the fifth game of the National League Championship Series. A win sends the Phillies to the World Series for the first time in 15 years; a loss, and Game 6 is at Citizens Bank Park on Friday night.
So if Hamels wants to establish himself as a money pitcher and deserving of a big new contract from the Phillies, he needs to win tonight.
GO PHILLIES!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Improbable Phillies win


By the time the eighth inning rolled around in Monday night's Phillies-Dodgers NLCS Game 4, I had pretty much convinced myself that the series would be tied.

It was a mood-altering game until that point: Phils score 2 runs in the first, and the Dodgers get 1 back. Then the Dodgers take the lead, and the Phillies tie it, but leave the go-ahead run at third base. Then the Dodgers get two more runs for a 5-3 lead after seven innings.

So I was just laying in bed, biding my time until the final out when I could go to sleep. And then it happened.

First, Shane Victorino -- the man Dodgers fans love to hate -- tied the game with a two-run homer. Then an out and a base-hit later, Matt Stairs launched another homer into the right-field bleachers, shown in the photo above, to give the Phillies an improbable 7-5 win, a 3-1 series lead and one victory away from the World Series.

Of course, I was then too excited to sleep, so I watched "Post-Game Live" on Comcast SportsNet, then "Baseball Tonight" on ESPN for their expert analyiss, finally able to turn in at 1:30 this morning.

But it was worth it, capping off a nice two-day stretch of fandom. Why? The Eagles won a game they needed to on Sunday, but it wasn't just the 40-26 comeback win over the 49ers, but everything that came along with it: division rivals Redskins and Cowboys losing Sunday and the Giants losing Monday, all to teams they shouldn't be losing.

Those outcomes kept the Eagles trailing the Giants by 2 games and the Cowboys and Redskins by 1 in the NFC East Division.

The Eagles have a bye this week, and it will probably benefit them since all the talk will be about the Phillies as they look to wrap up a spot in the World Series, then go for the city's first championship in more than 25 years.

GO PHILLIES!!

Hot dog, wing king now conquers pizza

Joey Chestnut, the Wing Bowl champion and the world's hot-dog eating champion, added another title over the weekend: pizza-eating champ.

Chestnut downed 45 slices in 10 minutes in a contest in New York City over the weekend.

For more details, click here.

Hugh Hefner moves on with twin girlfriends

It didn't take long for Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, 82, to find a new girlfriend after his breakup with Holly Madison, shown together in this Associated Press photo.


Hefner actually found two.

According to Madison in an interview with Us magazine, she introduced Hef to 19-year-old twins Karissa and Kristina Shannon.


To read the full story, click here.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Prediction time

I finally got one right when I picked the Phillies to beat the Brewers in 4 games in their National League Division Series. So I might as well try it again as they meet the Los Angeles Dodgers in the league Championship Series.

The Dodgers had the fewest wins among the playoff teams, but since Sept. 1, they've been among the hottest squads. The acquisition of Manny Ramirez on July 31 stabilized a young lineup and the Dodgers had the National League's best pitching with a 3.68 earned run average.

The Phillies pitching isn't too shabby, either, as the staff posted a 3.88 ERA, good for fourth best in the league; the bullpen was the best in the league, led by closer Brad Lidge, who saved 41 games in 41 chances.

Obviously, both teams have very good pitching. For the Phillies to win, they need Chase Utley, shown above during batting practice, and Ryan Howard to hit. Against Milwaukee, Utley hit just .133, including a two-run double in Game 1, and Howard just .182 with 1 RBI.
It's very simple: if Utley and Howard hit, the Phillies win. I think they will. It won't be easy, but I see the Phillies winning in 6 games in front of a raucous Citizens Bank Park crowd. Or in Game 7 in front of a very nervous home crowd.
GO PHILLIES!!!

Now that's a lot of popcorn

I've heard of movie marathons, but this is a bit ridiculous.

Two people may have set the world record for continuous movie-watching after spending 123 hours glue to a movie screen. I wonder how much popcorn they ate?

According to the Associated Press, Suresh Joachim of Toronto, and Claudia Wavra of Germany claim to have set the record after viewing 57 films in a plastic-glass house in New York's Times Square.

A Guinness World Records spokesman said it will take two weeks to officially verify the record.

The attempt began Oct. 2 when eight challengers started watching "Iron Man." After 72 hours, only two remained. They watched "Thelma and Louise" until the end on 3:10 p.m. Tuesday. Susan Sarandon, a star of that film, dropped off the final film.

The rules: Each movie had to be viewed until the last credit rolled, and competitors couldn't divert their eyes from the screen. They were allowed 10-minute breaks between movies.

Now, I'm not much of a movie watcher, but 123 continuous hours of "The Simpsons" I might be able to do.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

No faith in the Phillies

A poll on Foxsports.com asks readers who will win the National League Championship Series between the Phillies and the Los Angeles Dodgers

Of more than 55,800 votes, 67% think the Dodgers will win the series.

And yes, I was one of the 33% who think the Phillies will win. (Though that could just be wishful thinking.)

ESPN.com is asking its readers which World Series matchup would they rather see. Of more than 6,000 respondents, a Red S0x-Dodgers matchup is sought by 47%.

A Phillies-Rays matchup and a Phillies-Red Sox clash have each garnered just 14% of the votes.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Let's hope I get this one right

Followers of this blog know that my predictions this season regarding the Phillies have, well, been wrong. And for that I am happy.

So now it's time for my prediction on the first-round playoff series against the Brewers.

I believe manager Charlie Manuel this time when he says they will get past the first round. Last year, the team was just happy to get in; this year they want to win.

The Phillies are the better team. The Brewers pitching, save for ace CC Sabathia, is in shambles. The Phillies have a better bullpen.

In this case, I like the Phillies to win the best-of-five series in 4 games. Let's hope this is one prediction I don't get wrong.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Great time to be a sports fan


As October dawns, it's a great time to be a sports fan:

  • The National League Eastern Division champion Phillies, above in an AP photo shown celebrating their division title, open the Division Series Wednesday at home against the Milwaukee Brewers.

  • The 76ers, with new power forward Elton Brand, at righ in an AP photo, began training camp on Tuesday. The team expects to contend for the NBA Eastern Conference title this season.

  • The Eagles, despite their awful loss Sunday night in Chicago, are still among the top teams in the NFC. Unfortunately, they play in the best division in football.
  • Undefeated Penn State has risen to No. 6 in the country in college football. The Nittany Lions' chances to play for a national championship may come down to an Oct. 25 game at Ohio State.

Let's hope that when Halloween comes, I'll feel the same excitement.

Right out of a "Seinfeld" episode

Fans of "Seinfeld" remember Newman, the mailman down the hall who would call in sick on rainy days and plot diabolic schemes within the postal service. In one story line, Newman (played by Wayne Knight) kept mail in Jerry's storage unit.

Well, a former postal worker in Michigan may have gotten an idea from seeing that episode.

According to the Associated Press, Jill Hull has been charged with stealing thousands of pieces of mail that authorities say she had kept in a storage unit northwest of Detroit .

Federal investigators say they've recovered more than 9,000 pieces of mail from a storage unit in Fowlerville. Authorities allege in court documents that Hull admitted storing the mail because she couldn't deliver it on time. Some mail has postmarks from 2005.

Hull worked for the Postal Service in the Howell area for three-and-a-half years. She quit in August, about three weeks before the mail was discovered.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bad vibes about baseball outcomes

It could be my pessimism shining through, but I keep getting more bad vibes about this weekend's Phillies games and their chances for the postseason.

Perhaps it has to do with both the Mets and Brewers winning games Thursday night on walk-off hits, with the Mets rallying from a 6-3, 7th-inning deficit to nip the Cubs.

Then there's also the fact the Washington Nationals, the Phils' opponent to close out the season, plays them as tough as anyone in the league. And then there's the pressure the Phillies will face as they hold their post-season fate in their hands.

All 3 teams play at home this weekend and, of course, the Phillies have the easiest opponent as the Nationals sit on 99 losses -- which strengthens those bad vibes.

I hope I'm wrong and on Monday the Phillies are ready to play the Cubs or Dodgers in the National League Division Series.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I got too confident

Ask anyone I know and they'll say that I rarely show confidence in the success of my favorite sports teams. They say I'm a pessimist; I tell them I'm a realist.

Which is what makes a blog post I made earlier this week regarding the Phillies' magic number and a trip to the post-season so surprising. I actually showed confidence that one of my teams would succeed.

After all, the Phillies were ahead by 2 1/2 games with just 5 games to play all at home. I thought nothing could go wrong.
Can I take it all back?

One night after Cole Hamels got his usual run support in a 3-2 loss to the Braves, manager Charlie Manuel, above, saw Brett Myers and the bullpen stink it up in a 10-4 loss Wednesday. Fortunately, the Mets blew a game Wednesday in a 9-6, 10-inning loss to the Cubs. The magic number to clinch the division or the wild card spot is 3.

So now I'm anxious, and once again fearing the worst, that the Phillies will end the year on a five-game losing streak and miss the playoffs.

In an ideal situation, the Phils will win the division and Milwaukee will take the wild card, leaving the hated Mets out in the cold. But now, as long as the Philies get in, I don't care which team joins them.

Phillie Phanatic accused in bomb scare

A bomb scare at Citizens Bank Park before Wednesday night's game has led authorities to an unlikely figure -- the Phillies Phanatic.

According to The Associated Press, hours before the Phillies-Atlanta Braves' game, a film crew shot a commercial of the mascot shooting heavily wrapped hot dogs from a launcher.

But someone inadvertently left three of the duct taped hot dogs outside the ballpark, sparking security fears. Stadium employees were evacuated and the bomb squad was called in.

Only after the packages were blown up did authorities realize they'd just exploded some sausages.

"We saw something that looked suspicious," said Michael Stiles, Phillies senior vice president, administration and operations. "We did the right thing. It turned out to be nothing. We could have gone over and picked it up and thrown it in the trash and been done with it. But if we had been wrong, somebody might have lost an arm."

After the detonation, the game went on as scheduled.

"I'd rather them blow up some hot dogs or some ketchup and mustard and relish than have it be a real bomb," reliever Chad Durbin said. "Better safe than sorry."

She DOES look like Sarah Palin

She denies it, but Cindy Michaels, a news anchor for WVII-TV in Bangor, Maine, bares quite a resemblance to Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Because of it, Michaels says she has received hate mail from viewers who think she made herself look like Palin. Michaels says she's worn her hair up and glasses for years.

To see for yourself, click here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cheerleader outfits too skimpy for Idaho fans

Cheerleaders at the University of Idaho have to get another uniform after fans complained the new uniforms bought just this year were too skimpy.

"A number of fans were concerned that the uniforms were inappropriate," said Bruce Pitman, dean of students. "To be fair, there were a number of fans who liked them."

The outfits that drew controversy, halter tops and short black skirts with white trim, were similar to what an NFL cheerleader might wear, Pitman said.

Click here to read the story.

Must win tonight

After last night's tough, 3-2 loss to the Braves and wins by the Mets and Brewers, the Phils edge against both teams shrunk by a game. The magic numbers to clinch either a playoff berth or the National League East remained at 3 and 4 games, respectively.

A win tonight against the Braves is essential to ease some of the pressure off the final weekend series against the last-place Washington Nationals.

The Phillies control their playoff destiny. But in the past few years, they seem to play better when they are the chaser, rather than the chasee. Let's hope that's not the case this year.

The truth comes out

After years of speculation, former "American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken admits in a cover story in People that hits newstands Friday that, yes, he is gay.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Aiken, shown above in an Associated Press photo, has an infant son who was conceived by in-vitro fertilization with friend and producer Jaymes Foster. Aiken said it was his son who brought him to the realization that he could no longer hid his sexual orientation.

"It was the first decision I made as a father," Aiken told the magazine. "I cannot raise a child to lie or to hide things. I wasn't raised that way, and I'm not going to raise a child to do that."

Fans of speculated since his 2oo3 "Idol" appearance that Aiken is gay. As one Mercury colleague, an avid Idol fan, said this morning when hearing the news, "I feel vindicated."
To read the story, click here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Magic number 4 - or 3


Thanks to their recent streak of 10 wins in 11 games and a 3-game losing streak by the hated New York Mets, the Phillies enter tonight's game against Atlanta with a 2 1/2-game lead in the National League East with just 5 games to play. (The Mets have 6 games remaining.)

The Phillies' magic number (a combination of Phils' wins and Mets' losses) to win the division is 4.

But the magic number to clinch a playoff spot is just 3, as the Phillies are 3 1/2 games better than Milwaukee, who trail the Mets in the hunt for the National League Wild Card. (Got all that?)

Thanks to contributions from nearly everyone on the now 33-man roster, the Phils find themselves on the verge of a playoff spot. So if things go their way, a post-season berth could be sewn up Wednesday night.

The people have spoken

MSNBC recently conducted a poll asking readers if "In God We Trust" should be removed from U.S. currency.

The choices were "Yes, it's a violation of the principle of separation of church and state" or "No, the motto has historical and patriotic significance and does nothing to establish a state religion."

Overwhelmingly, of more than 841,000 votes, 81% voted no.

To see the poll results, click here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Something's gotta give

The two hottest teams in major league baseball square off tonight in Miami, when the NL East leading Phillies visit the red-hot Marlins for the first of three games.

The Phillies have won 7 straight games, their longest streak of the season. The host Marlins, meanwhile, have won 8 straight. So something has to give.

The Marlins trail the Phillies by 5 1/2 games, with 10 games left. (The Phils have just 9). So the Marlins know they need to sweep the Phils to have any realistic shot at the post-season.

The Phillies lead the Mets by 1/2 game, and are two games ahead of Milwaukee in the Wild Card chase. They need to take care of business and not let the Marlins get into the playoff race. Having to deal with the Mets and Brewers is enough.

The Mets are in Atlanta this weekend to meet the Braves, who were just swept by the Phillies. The Brewers visit Cincinnati.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

This could only happen to Temple football

This year was supposed to be different for Temple football.

The Owls, after decades of ineptness and coming off a 4-8 season in 2007, were supposed to be a much-improved team. Whispers of contention for a title in the Mid-American Conference and a possible bowl bid were heard.

But this is Temple we're talking about. And the Owls have accomplished something this season that is hard to do -- losing 2 straight games on the last play.

On Sept. 6, Temple dropped a 12-9 decision to Connecticut in overtime. Tied at 6-6 after regulation in a game played in heavy rain from Tropical Storm Hanna, the Owls kicked a field goal on their possession, but the Huskies scored a touchdown to win the game.

Then last Saturday in a game against Buffalo, Temple seemed to claim a victory on a touchdown with 38 seconds to go that gave it a 28-24 lead. But this is Temple we're talking about.

The ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, giving Buffalo the ball at its own 40-yard-line. A defensive holding call on an incomplete pass hurt the Owls. With just 5 seconds to go and the ball on Temple's 35-yard-line, Buffalo had to heave the ball into the end zone, where surely the Owls defense would knock the ball down and prevent the winning score.

Uh.....no.

Instead of knocking the ball down, four Temple defenders watched as the Buffalo receiver made the catch in the end zone, giving the Bulls an improbable victory and sending the Owls to their second straight disheartening loss.

But the Owls are making great strides. For most of the past 2 decades, the games have been decided by the end of the first quarter. At least now they are going down to the final play.

Those family reunions must have been fun

A murdered New York couple told relatives just how much they were loved -- or, more to the point, weren't loved -- in drafts of their will, according to the New York Post.

In the Post story, Mark Schwartz and his wife, Christina-Maria Petrowski-Schwartz let their family know just how much they were hated.

"To my brother who I know hopes to be in my will, well, here you are," chided Mark Schwartz, 50, as he bequeathed nothing to his estranged sibling, Robert, in an unsigned April 2006 draft.

In an earlier version, Schwartz had already left his brother "the sum of zero ($0.00) Dollars," zinging, "I believe this sum is fitting, as you are probably the most greedy person I know."

Petrowski-Schwartz first expressed her love for her children, Melissa and Nicholas. She then took an apparent shot at her first husband, James, leaving him no cash but decreeing that a "gift" of $10,000 be made in his name to a battered-women's shelter.

She also gave just $1 each to her mother, father, 2 brothers and sister, "and request that they donate same to their precious church to whom they had a greater allegiance, than to their first child and sister."

OUCH!!!

To read the full story, click here.

The levels to which some parents won't stoop


Put this in the "crazy mom" file.

Police say a woman in Wisconsin stole her daughter's identity and posed as a high school student so she could be a cheerleader.

According to the Associated Press, Wendy Brown, of Green Bay, at right, faces a felony identity theft charge after enrolling in Ashwaubenon High School as her 15-year-old daughter, who lives in Nevada with Brown's mother.

According to the complaint, Brown wanted to get her high school degree and become a cheerleader because she didn't have a childhood and wanted to regain a part of her life that she'd missed.

To read the full story, click here.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Can I take credit for this?

I wonder if "Saturday Night Life" executive producer Lorne Michaels reads my blog.

You might recall that on the day Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was announced as John McCain's running mate, I blogged that Mercury business editor Michelle Karas noted Palin's resemblence to former "SNL" cast member Tina Fey. Apparently, so have others.

Well, according to an Associated Press story, Fey is "likely" to return to play Palin in tonight's season opener:

In an interview earlier this week with The AP, "SNL" executive producer and creator Lorne Michaels said, "The whole world cast her in that role."
The final decision went down to the last minute, apparently. "SNL" premieres Saturday evening with Michael Phelps as host. An appearance had been planned by Sen. Barack Obama, but his campaign said early Saturday that the Democratic nominee for president was canceling.
Fey was a cast member and writer — including a stint as head writer — for "SNL" for nine years before leaving in 2006 to star in "30 Rock," which is also produced by Michaels. On Tuesday, Michaels said that should Fey play Palin, she was unlikely to remain in the part in the long-term, which depending on the election results, could be for four years or longer.
Fey's publicist did not immediately return a call requesting comment.

Friday, September 12, 2008

This guy should be dead

A man in Wisconsin claims to have eaten 23,000 Big Macs since 1972.

Don Gorske says his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder drove him to have 2 of the sandwiches every day for the past 36 years.

Surprisingly, he still is in good shape. Gorske, 54, is 6 foot, 2 inches and weighs 185 pounds He says he walks 10 miles a day.

Gorske is shown at right in an Associated Press photo biting into his 18,000th Big Mac in 2001.

To read the whole story, click here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

DON'T EVER FORGET

Thursday is Patriots Day.

Take time to remember the horrible events of Sept. 11, 2001, when more than 3,000 people lost their lives in the terroristic attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and in a field in Shanksville, Pa.

Honor the police, fire fighters and emergency workers who are first to respond to crime scenes, accidents and work to protect us every day.

And don't forget the more than 4,000 service men and women who have given their lives for our freedom since that awful day.

Don't ever forget.

Good riddance, smoking sections

Friday night, my wife and I went out for a bite to eat. The hostess asked if we wanted the smoking or non-smoking section. We both said "non-smoking," and I excitedly added, "I hope that's the last time I say those words."

The statewide smoking ban in Pennsylvania takes effect tomorrow. To celebrate, we are joining another couple for dinner at that same establishment. (For the record, the nonsmokers at this restaurant were ushered to the back of the dining area and had to walk through the smoking section to exit the building.)

Of course, since our state government can't do anything right, there are loopholes in the smoking ban. State Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, a Republican from eastern Montgomery County, wants to close those loopholes.

Greenleaf announced Wednesday he will introduce a bill in January to eliminate the exceptions to the smoking ban. The new law grants exceptions to some bars, hotel rooms, private clubs, casinos and nursing homes.

According to an Associated Press story, Greenleaf says lawmakers who opposed a stricter law will likely get pressure from their constituents to expand the smoking ban after it's been in effect for a few months.

Businesses that want to continue to allow smoking must apply to the state for an exception. Health Secretary Dr. Calvin Johnson says about 700 have applied so far.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

"What you talkin' about, Willis?"


Did actor Gary Coleman run over a fan last weekend?

The star of 1980s TV show "Different Strokes" was involved in a car accident over the weekend in Utah.


Authorities say a truck driven by Coleman ran over a man's foot after the two argued in a bowling alley.


To read the whole story, click here.

Friday, September 5, 2008

They must remember his bowling skills

In a recent poll at http://www.pottsmerc.com/, nearly 57% of voters believe GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin would beat Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama in a game of one-on-one basketball.

Palin was a point guard on the basketball team in high school and led Wasilla High School in Alaska to the small-school championship in 1982. She was nicknamed Sarah "Barracuda" for her style of play.

Obama, you might remember from an earlier post, was shown rolling gutter balls in an appearance at a bowling alley in Altoona, Pa., during a campaign stop in March.

Criminals can't get much dumber than this

Solving crimes won't get much easier for police in Iowa City, Iowa.

Earlier this week, police were able to find a man accused of using a stolen credit card — because the man signed his own name to the receipts.

In an Associated Press story, police say Kody Merrival of Iowa City used the stolen credit card to buy a latte at a coffee house and to buy cigarettes at a tobacco store.

Police say the credit card was reported stolen from an unlocked apartment last month.

They say Merrival also tried to use it at another store, but the card was declined because it came up as stolen.

Police say Merrival also used the card at a local deli.

He has been charged with four counts of unauthorized use of a credit card.

On second thought...

You may recall that last week the LPGA was going to make foreign players learn to speak English by the end of 2009 or suspend them.

But after further review and mounting criticism, the tour is backing down from that policy.

LPGA Tour commissioner Carolyn Bivens said Friday the tour would have a new plan by the end of the year. That plan would not include any penalties.

Bivens said there are other ways to achieve the tour's objective of "supporting and enhancing the business opportunities for every tour player."

Read the full story here.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Stick a fork in them


Barring a 3-game sweep of the New York Mets this weekend, the Phillies shot at the post-season is over.

Losing 2 of 3 games to the Washington Nationals, the worst team in the league, while the Mets were sweeping the Brewers in Milwaukee, left the Phillies 3 games behind the Mets with just 22 games to play.

The Phillies can't expect the Mets to collapse like they did last year, when they blew a 7 1/2 game lead with 17 games to play.

The bullpen, the Phillies strength for most of the season, has blown several games over the last month. Chad Durbin, above in an Associated Press photo, has been the culprit in many of those losses. Meanwhile, the Mets' bullpen, much maligned and without All-Star closer Billy Wagner, seems to have righted itself.

And every Phillies fan knows how woeful the offense has been since the All-Star Break.

I hope I'm wrong, but unless the Phillies can muster up a sweep this weekend, another baseball season will end in disappointment.

Oh well. At least the Eagles open Sunday. E-A-G-L-E-S!!!!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Separated at birth?


Mercury business editor Michelle Karas gets credit for this one.

While watching newly chosen Republican vice presidential pick Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska speaking, Michelle exclaimed, "She looks like Tina Fey!"

Choose for yourself. Palin is in photo at left, Fey in the photo at right

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

LPGA making foreign players learn English

Kudos to the LPGA for making its foreign players learn to speak English.

More than 120 international players, including 45 from South Korea, are on the LPGA tour. If they don't comply, the tour says it will suspend their membership at the end of 2009.

One South Korea player, Seon-Hwa Lee, said she is working with an English tutor during the offseason and plans to brush up for the evaluation. She thinks everyone "can do a simple interview," according to the report. Her ability to answer questions without a translator has improved during her time on the tour.

"The economy is bad, and we are losing sponsors," she said, according to the report. "Everybody understands."

In a poll on ESPN.com, 66% of more than 20,000 voters agree with the policy.

To read the full story, click here.

It would be nice if major league baseball attempted the same thing. I hate reading quotes from foreign players who have been in the league for several years that are through a translator. These players get paid a lot of money. You'd think they could afford an English tutor to allow them to better communicate with fans, media and yes, maybe even their own teammates.

And if I worked in a foreign country for several years, I would expect to have to learn the language, too.


Phillies getting some love

A poll on ESPN.com asks who will win the National League East.

It could be just the carry over from the Phillies' dramatic 8-7, 13-inning win over the Mets Tuesday night, but of 5,705 votes cast as of 12:15 Wednesday afternoon, 69% think the Phillies will win the division.

Friday, August 22, 2008

T-shirts are a great conversation piece

Spending a week in Walt Disney World, you see a wide variety of attire.

Little princesses dressed as Minnie Mouse, Cinderella, Snow White or Belle. Men, women, teens and kids wearing Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck and Grumpy gear.

And then there are the t-shirts. T-shirts, t-shirts, t-shirts and more t-shirts.T-shirts of a favorite sports team or college. T-shirts promoting an event. T-shirts to tell who’s in your party.

And many times, those T-shirts can be a conversation starter.

On the first night of our vacation, I was walking through the food court of our resort when I noticed the t-shirt of a teenage girl who was sitting at a table with her family. The t-shirt was from the first annual Spring-Ford girls basketball holiday tournament.

There couldn’t be two Spring-Ford School Districts in the country, so I approached the table and asked the group if they were from the Pottstown area. Sure enough they were, and we spoke for a few minutes and talked about our vacations. A few days later our paths crossed again, and we spoke once more.

My new favorite t-shirt, “Waiting for a Championship (above),” was a conversation starter a few times.While waiting in line for the Test Track ride at Epcot, a woman noticed my shirt and struck up a conversation. I knew she and her family shared my pain since the woman and a few members of her party were wearing Eagles t-shirts.

A few days later I had the shirt on again (yes, it had been washed), this time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We were in line to ride Toy Story Mania when a woman in front of us was admiring my shirt.

It turns out the woman and her husband were transplanted Philadelphians now living in West Palm Beach, Fla. She was a die-hard Eagles fan, he a die-hard Flyers fan. So the title drought extends to parts of Florida.

We had a nice chat with them while waiting to get on the ride. My wife asked how they liked living in Florida. They don’t miss the snow, but talked as if they might be soon moving back to Philadelphia.

I passed other park visitors — most wearing Phillies caps and shirts or Eagles shirts — who acknowledged my shirt by either a nod, through eye contact or a chuckle. One day in the Magic Kingdom, I passed a guy wearing the same shirt, but in a different color.

It wasn’t just sports shirts that ignited conversation. On another morning at Hollywood Studios, I wore a “Bar Hopping in Myrtle Beach” shirt which pictured several dining establishments on the back. While waiting in line to get a FastPass for Rock and Roller Coaster, a man behind me asked me how many of them I had been to. I replied, “not enough of them.” He then told me he had a friend in his native West Virginia who bartender in Myrtle Beach each summer and made enough money to live on the rest of the year.

The there’s the flip side. On the first day I wore my t-shirt lamenting the fact Philly fans haven’t seen a sports title in 25 years, I kept passing a guy wearing a shirt proclaiming “We Are The Champions.” On one half of the shirt was the NBA Championshiop trophy honoring the 2008 Boston Celtics. On the other half was the World Series trophy in honor of the 2007 Boston Red Sox.That was one guy I had no intention of talking to.

Big stretch for Phillies


The next 10 days will tell a great deal about the fate of the 2008 Phillies.

Four home games against the Dodgers, two more against the division-leading Mets and then four games in Chicago against the Cubs are what lies ahead for the under-achieving squad.

Just last week, the Dodgers swept four games from the Phillies in Los Angeles, so you'd think the hometown team would like to extract a little revenge from the West Coasters.

As I write this, the Phillies trail the Mets by 2 1/2 games, so depending on the outcomes of this weekend's games, the Phils may need to win both games from the Mets just to stay alive in the pennant race.

And the Cubs only have the best record in the league as they vie for their first World Series title since 1908.
So the outlook for the next 10 games isn't promising, especially with the impotent bats of leadoff hitter Jimmy Rollins, shown above in an Associated Press photo, and cleanup hitter Ryan Howard. Rollins is just 3-for-33 since calling fans "frontrunners" on the recent West Coast trip. Howard has three hits in his last 35 at bats, with 18 strikeouts in that span.
Come Labor Day, either the Phillies are still in the race for a playoff spot, or fans can start chanting "E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles!"