Tuesday, December 14, 2010


In a stunning development, free-agent pitcher
Cliff Lee is returning to the Phillies.
Before heading off to bed Monday night, I went on the computer to see what was going on in the world. Much to my surprise, several sports outlets were reporting that the Phillies had become contenders for prized free agent left-handed pitcher Cliff Lee -- whom the Phillies had traded last December in the blockbuster deal to acquire Roy Halladay.

I shrugged it off, thinking they were just being used by Lee and his agent to drive up the price -- which was pretty high. Lee was already offered a 7-year, $154 million contract from the Yankees, and another significant deal from the Texas Rangers, whom Lee pitched to the World Series in October.

But what's the first thing I see Tuesday morning: that sources were reporting that Lee was returning to the Phillies.

I was stunned.

All indications are that Lee enjoyed his 4 months with the Phillies in 2009. And because of that the Phillies got Lee for a bargain: 5 years, $120 million.

So when the Phillies take the field in 2011, they will have quite the
 poker hand: Four aces. With Halladay, Lee, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, the Phillies have the best starting rotation in baseball. Any of them could be the top guy with any other team; the Phils have all of them.

What it will mean next October, who knows? But if all four pitchers stay healthy, it should be a fun season.

Oh, and if this bitter cold pre-winter weather has you down, spring training starts in just 2 months, on Feb. 13.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The cost of "The Twelve Days of Christmas"

For the 27th year, PNC Wealth Management has estimated the cost of "The Twelve Days of Christmas." And if you wanted to buy the 364 items repeated in the song, that price tag would be close to $100,000.

The total is $96,824, an increase of 10.8 percent over last year, according to the annual Christmas Price Index compiled by PNC Wealth Management.

The 27th annual holiday index has historically mirrored the national Consumer Price Index, but not this year. The PNC Christmas Price Index grew 9.2 percent from last year, compared with just a 1.1 percent increase in the much broader Consumer Price Index.

Read more here.

Man says vending machine told him to attack

Here's an odd story out of western Pennsylvania.

According to the Associated Press, a man was arrested on assault charges Tuesday and told police that a vending machine "made him" attack his mother, breaking her wrist.

David Huffman, 33, was jailed after he was unable to post bond.

New Sewickley Township Police Chief Ron Leindecker told the Beaver County Times that Huffman's father said his son was "flipping out" and attacked Ethel Huffman. Police say Huffman claimed "that the Pepsi machine at Costco made him hurt his mother" and he repeatedly apologized for his actions after his arrest.