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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Phillies and Yankees in the Coal Regions


This city not only once lost a baseball team, but also a stadium. In 1954, a year after the Scranton Miners left town, officials had the vacant Scranton Stadium sold, dismantled, and shipped to Richmond, Va.
They didn't play professional baseball in this old coal city -- almost equidistant from Philadelphia and New York -for 36 years, until the Phillies brought in a minor-league affiliate in 1989.

That relationship lasted 18 years, until the Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre Red Barons left after the 2006 season, irritated that local government would not help improve aging Lackawanna County Stadium. The Yankees stepped into the void and took up residence in 2007 to protect and expand a fan base in northeast Pennsylvania.

"It was bittersweet," said John Dimond, a 70-year-old lifelong resident of Kingston, a suburb of nearby WilkesBarre. "Here's a team we've been following for 18 years.
But on the other hand, the Yankees are coming in."

paparazzi. Philadelphia is Chase Utley marrying Jennifer Cooper, caring for hounds.
New York is over-the-top George Steinbrenner. Philadelphia is under-the-radar David Montgomery.
The Yankees have loads of history and tradition and championships.

The Phillies have loads of history and tradition.

"It seems like they have more of everything than we do," said Temple University assistant professor Emily Sparvero, who studies the business of sports. "They have the bigger media market. They have the new billiondollar stadium. They have the stars in the stands."

Given the cities' geographic proximity, "we're literally and figuratively in their shadow."

Yankee fans are used to winning -- and Philadelphia fans, starved for titles, resent them for their expectations.

"If you had to pick one team to beat, it would be the Yankees," said Michael Bare, 28, a Center City informationtechnology specialist.
"There's nothing better than beating the evil empire."

Fans here loathe how the Yankees routinely outspend every other team in baseball, paying whatever it costs to sign the best players for another run at another title.

This year the Yankees' payroll stood at $201 million. The Mets had the second-highest.
The Phillies ranked seventh at $114 million, about $87 million less than the Yankees.

Yet the Phillies and Yankees, as teams, encompass no distinct rivalry. The two play each other only rarely, in interleague games.

Many New York sports fans care no more about Philadelphia than they do about, say, Cincinnati.

At the New York Stadium Souvenir Shop, Marta Gonzalez laughed at the suggestion that, as a Yankees fan, she might harbor particular animus for Philadelphia or the Phillies. Really, how could she dislike a place that's so much smaller?
"You're our neighbor," said Gonzalez, 60, trying to be nice.

Which is part of the problem.

To people in New York, Philadelphia is a city with one- third the economic power, one-sixth the population, and none of the cachet. Theirs is the city that people come from around the world to see. Philadelphia is the place where tourists hop off the bus for a while on their way to New York.

"Everyone wants to beat the Yankees," acknowledged LoPresti, 59, dressed in a Yan- kees T-shirt and blue blazer at the Yankee Tavern. "Been that way since we bought the Bambino in the 1920s."

Bartender John Quirk said he respected the Phillies, but their fans?
"You make Red Sox fans look quiet," he said.

Outside, near the stadium, 63-year-old Luis Perez steered his orange Schwinn across Babe Ruth Plaza, his ride trailing Yankees stream- ers and pennants.

Perez laughed when asked for his World Series predic- tion, as if the answer should be obvious.

" Ya n k e e s , " he s a i d .
"They're the Yankees, the best team, the winning team."

That's part of what infuriates Philadelphians -- New York's assumption of primacy.
How its residents seem to believe the accident of birth or economics that put them in New York also conferred on them an elevated status. That the phrase "I'm a New Yorker" somehow makes them different and better.

The animosity can be traced back nearly 200 years, to the shifting fates of both cities and an era that saw Philadelphia surrender its role as the country's most important town.

In the 1820s, Philadelphia was vibrant and prosperous, host to a spectrum of industries. The city produced fully 25 percent of the nation's steel, and Manayunk was known as "the Lowell of Pennsylvania" because it made so much cotton and wool. But the city had already lost its capital status, the state and federal govern ments having moved to Lan caster and Washington. New York surged ahead in popula tion, making Philadelphia the country's second-largest city.

The banking chiefs were leaving Chestnut Street, long the national center of fi nance, to resettle on a New York avenue called Wall Street.

In her research, Temple's Sparvero found that cities tend to take on the character -- the brand, so to speak -- of their major industries. New York is the financial capital of the United States, and the Yankees, with their spend any thing, buy anyone approach, embody that image.

Which a lot of people don't like -- spawning Web sites for Yankee haters such as one with this slogan: "Pricey new stadium. 'Roids. The same ob noxious fan base. What's not to hate?" The folks at www.bustedtees.com are sell- ing T-shirts that feature a pic- ture of Jesus and the phrase, "Jesus Hates the Yankees."

Nobody is printing "Jesus hates the Phillies" shirts, be- cause the team doesn't in- spire that kind of contempt. Philadelphia has a much dif ferent image, the city and its baseball team more blue-col- lar and scrappy.

The cheers of "Beat L.A!" had hardly faded before fans took up the cry of "Beat New York!" -- and that was one of the milder chants. As thou- sands poured out of Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday, af- ter the Phillies dismissed the Dodgers, they already were sure whom their team would face in the World Series.

"--- the Yankees!" one fan yelled.

"Beautiful!" another called in response.

It was fun to watch the Phillie Phanatic wield a grounds-crew tamping tool to smash Dodgers batting helmets. But the thought of him pulverizing Yankees gear was sublime.

"This is our grudge match," said Gary Papouschek, a 46-year-old transplant coordinator at the Jefferson Kimmel Cancer Center. He wants revenge for the Yanks' 1950 World Series sweep of Philadelphia's Whiz Kids.

Longo, the Reading Terminal Market worker, is rooting for the Phillies even though he's not a big fan. He roots first for the Mets, second for the Phillies, and third for whoever is playing the Yankees.

"The Phillies, that team's got magic," he said. "They got a confidence that's not arrogance. The Yankees confidence is arrogance. I can't stand that."

Outside of Bob & Ron's World Wide Stereo in Montgomeryville stands a huge sign that says, "Phillies fans turn left" -- into the store's parking lot, and -- "Yankees fans may turn right."

It's Cole's way of showing his allegiance to the Phils, and casting his store as the home team in a battle against its across-the-street, out-ofstate competitor, Sixth Avenue Electronics.

"We're rabid Phillies fans here," Cole said. "We're fighting this huge New York-North Jersey firm."

New Jersey endures its own baseball schizophrenia, split between people in the south who adore the Phillies, and those in the north who root for the Mets or Yankees.

The only thing that unites North Jersey and South Jersey is Bruce Springsteen. And he's not scheduled to perform at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are booked, though, starting tomorrow.

"They're a dynasty-type team," said Arun Singh, a medical student at Thomas Jefferson University. "It's time for the Phillies to make a name for themselves. Not just last year, not just this year, but in history."

From the Philadelphia Inquirer

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lost Weekend For Carolina Fans

Thursday night Florida State beat the Carolina football team on ESPN and at Carolina.

Friday FSU soccer beat Carolina's soccer team in a double overtime game.

Today - we just returned home from watching FSU volleyball beat Carolina 3 games to 1.

FSU's volleyball team now leads the ACC with a 17-2 record.

The FSU soccer team is 13-2-1.

Finally Honda Offering an Electric Scooter





My first vehicle in 1965 was a red Honda 50 Cub. It cost $225 brand new and easily got 150 miles per gallon. It had a 3 speed foot shifter but no clutch. While riding that bike I thought I was one of The Beach Boys. The Honda Cub is the top selling vehicle in human history - 65 million and growing. 35 years later - Honda is offering almost the same bike - except it is electric.

After months and years of offerings from start-up electric bike, scooter and motorcycle companies like Vectrix, Zero Motorcycles, Brammo, etc., Honda and Yamaha have finally yielded to the marketplace and are now offering their own electric scooters.

Honda chose to bring back their iconic scooter from times past and will offer the Honda EV-Cub. It has two motors (one for each wheel), offering improved safety and handling on loose terrain and wet pavement. Production is expected to start in the next few months to support a 2010 roll-out.

Yamaha displayed three new electric scooters. The Yamaha EC-f and EC-fs are "high concept" (stylish but impractical to manufacture) scooters and the Yamaha EC03 is a more conventional single motor scooter. No production time-frame was available. -from All Cars Electric

Friday, October 23, 2009

FSU Swept NC State in Volleyball - 3-0


FSU Volleyball team is Number 17 in the nation - their highest ranking so far. I just got home from witnessing the game/games. With a 15-2 record they lead the ACC.

George took this picture of me with his iPhone from across the arena. I am the guy in the blue shirt and blue jeans sitting on the far side by the net.

The next big game is North Carolina on Sunday afternoon. Katy Tran - from Pennsylvania - one of the only nice Tar Heels we know - says she will come to the game Sunday. While I was watching FSU football beat Carolina on TV - Katy was watching FSU beat the Tar Heels in soccer - in double overtime. This is the first time in 14 games that FSU beat UNC. Hopefully - with a volleyball victory - it will be a clean sweep weekend by the Noles of the Baby Blues.

Lulu is still in Chicago - doing AASL stuff. She will be home Sunday in time for the volleyball - game - set - match - series - what ever they call it.

The circus was playing tonight in the big top next to the gym after the game. George - Curt - Joel - and Joan went there.

The Trailing Spouse Buys Bob Dylan's Christmas Album



Back in the summer of 69 - two weeks after I met my lovely bride Lulu - I invited her to come along to Woodstock to see a rock festival. Of course - her mother thought I was nuts and refused to let Lulu go.


My music collection consisted of every album that the Rolling Stones - Beach Boys - Beatles - and Bob Dylan had recorded up to that time. Since the festival was supposed to be held near Woodstock NY - I was positive that Bob would be playing and that alone was worth the trip. The Band had just released an album called, "Music From Big Pink," with the picture of a shabby cottage on the cover - supposedly near Woodstock - this was before Woodstock was - well - WOODSTOCK.


At the time Bob Dylan was a "protest singer/folk singer/rock star." He had written some of the most fantastic lyrics that powered our generation. His singing voice was about as different and recognizable as one could be - but we could forgive that because of his imaginative words and phrasing. Every time he is interviewed today someone always asks where those poetic rhymes came from. His pat answer is "I have no idea."


Since my retirement it seems one of my most used phrases is "fast forward 4o years" so I won't say it.


Last week Dylan released a new CD - of all things - a Christmas album. Bob has always enjoyed playing jokes on his fans and followers - surely this would have to be another one. First off - Bob Dylan was born Robert Zimmerman - one of those lone Jewish kids in a small mining town in Minnesota. Second - many of his protest songs questioned the goodness of man and the benefits of religion.


I checked online - and Best Buy had the album for $9.99. I went to the store and it was marked $13.99 at the shelf. When I took it to the counter - I remind the clerk that I saw it online for $9.99. He asked me, "What store?" I said, "Best Buy!" Would you believe they have a database in their store of all the current prices of items at Sears - Penney - etc.? Anyway - he verified the $9.99 price and in second I was leaving the store with a smile and an afternoon of good listening.


Today when you buy a CD - the first thing you do is put it in your computer and have the songs copied to your hard drive. In my case - my MacBook runs iTunes that immediately files the songs in my database. After that I could use the CD as a coaster - because my computer automatically transfers a copy to my iPhone that plays it wirelessly through my car radio. Like a bacteria multiplying - copies of Bob's Christmas album were on the move. Some people even have the nerve to give friends copies.


Back to the music. Some might say that Bob Dylan sold out to produce a "Christmas Album." On the outside CD cover there is a tradition picture of a couple driving a horse drawn sled. Inside - there is a provocative picture of a sexy lady scantily clothed in a Santa outfit - complete with very high-heeled red boots.


The CD is called "Christmas in the Heart" by Bob Dylan. The label with Columbia Christmas Recording emblazoned across the bright red front reminds me of back when I would sit there for hours and stare at a similar label as it slowly spun around my turntable at 33 and 1/3 RPMs. My hearing was bad even then - and I struggled to memorize every word.


If you love Bob Dylan - you will like the songs. They are not flavored any way special except for Bob's haunting voice. As I read the titles I can envision a sleazy television commercial splashing the titles across the screen as Bob croons in the background.


There are 15 songs - starting with "Here Comes Santa Claus" - through "Little Drummer Boy" - to "the First Noel." There is even a little classically sounding Hawaiian number called, "Christmas on Christmas Island." Bob does a great job on, "The Christmas Blues," but he stays away from Bing Crosby's, "White Christmas." One song that makes me think of back home in Pennsylvania, "Must Be Santa," a rousing polka.


Yes - I am playing Christmas music before Halloween - that has even become an American tradition - trying to stretch the "xmas" shopping season to 6 months.


My review of the music - I like it - the price was right - and I got a few real chuckles of my leather voiced Jewish hero singing about a gentile holiday.


When I went to Woodstock - I wanted to hear some "Music From Big Pink." I didn't hear it then - but now 40 years later - I am listening to "Music From Big Red." I am not sure if Dylan is spoofing us - but I do not care. The music makes me chuckle and think of my youth. Isn't that what Christmas is all about?

Noles Win at Carolina





After falling behind by 18 points in the first half - FSU turns it around the second half and wind 30-27 at UNC. FSU is 15-1-1 against the Heels. Finally - we win a close game. And the FSU offense pinned 30 points on the 3rd best defense in the nation.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lulu Jet Setting to Chicago




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Lulu left Tallahassee this morning on a trip to Chicago. She will be attending some meetings and workshops at the ALA and AASL headquarters.

I am supposed to be on my own - 5 days of taking care of the headquarters here. While the cat is away - this mouse planned to play - but to my dismay an email hit my computer screen. It said it was from Lulu - but she was supposed to be winging her way north. Because her plane was nearly empty - they gave her a seat in the first class cabin. She also had free wifi so she could use her computer to send email and surf the net.

I thought if email worked - why wouldn't ichat - Apple's live video chat program. It did - here is the important information she sent to me. I guest she can't even spend 2 hours on a plane without me :-)

This is the view from Lulu's sweet home Chicago for the next 5 days. The water is not green - that is the reflection of Lulu's sweater.



Recession Not Hurting Apple Computers

From the Washington Post Today -

Recession not making a dent in Apple's pricey product line

Meet your next computer: It's no cheaper than the model it replaced, and its new features consist of processor and memory upgrades you probably won't notice and some design refinements you've lived just fine without until now.

In that light, the rather pricey new desktop and laptop computers Apple introduced Tuesday morning should flop in the market.

Apple's updated $999 MacBook$1,199-and-up iMac and $599 Mac Mini models may look sharp, and some add such thoughtful features as a wireless mouse that includes the "multi-touch" technology first seen on the iPhone. But Windows-based computers can cost half as much -- even before you factor in Apple's inflated charges for memory and storage upgrades. Since there's a recession going on and we're all smart capitalists, buyers will undoubtedly switch to more affordable alternatives. Clearly, Apple is doomed.

Except it's not.

In its quarterly earnings announcement Monday, the Cupertino, Calif., company blew away Wall Street's expectations, shipping more Macs in a quarter than ever before -- 3.05 million -- for a $1.67 billion profit. The New York Times noted that "Macintosh sales have now grown faster than the rest of the PC market in 19 of the last 20 quarters." TechCrunch marveled at the firm's $34 billion cash reserves -- more than the entire market value of Dell or Yahoo.

These results suggest that Apple has been able to accomplish something that a functioning market should make nearly impossible -- rake in consistently higher profit margins for a product that could be replaced by cheaper alternatives from other suppliers.

If anything, that trade-off has only become easier in the last year. The same switch to Web-based applications that has freed Mac users from having to worry about finding a Mac equivalent to some Windows program can also free Windows users from putting up with the hassle of software installs and uninstalls, one of uglier aspects of life in Microsoft's operating systems.

My own computer-shopping advice points out this difference in cost before getting into the comparative advantages of Macs and PCs. When co-workers with tight budgets have asked me directly what laptop to buy, I've told them to go ahead and get a PC (after which I've counseled them on how to uninstall the bundled trialware junk on the average Windows machine).

And yet a year and a half ago, an NPD Group analyst calculated that Apple's sales amounted to one quarter of every dollar spent on computers in the United States.

How can Apple keep printing money as if it were silicon wafers?

It's unwise, not to mention insulting, to explain away Apple's success by calling its customers "fanboys" or describing them as members of a cult. (Though it may be tempting to trot out that theory when observing the Twitter chatter about a new Apple product or the reflexive coverage this company can draw in the traditional media -- things that never happen with PC manufacturers.)

The best explanation for it may be seen sitting in traffic right now: Apple has made a business out of selling a premium product, just like BMW, Cadillac or Lexus.

Analysts and critics can insist that Apple has to ship a netbook to stay competitive, and Mac shoppers can wish that the company would turn its considerable talent for design to that category of computer. But Apple doesn't have to do that any more than Cadillac owes the world an $18,000 subcompact.

As grotesque and incomprehensible as Apple's existence may seem to people content with an affordable PC, the company seems to have taken up residence at a spot in the market that other vendors seem unable to barge into.

Manufacturers of Windows-based PCs can craft higher-end models -- Hewlett-Packard's Voodoo line of desktops and laptops have offered as much style as many Macs. But they can't do much to differentiate the software on those deluxe models -- whether it's Windows Vista or the new Windows 7, shipping Thursday -- from what they ship on the $400 boxes lining mass-market retailers' shelves. Apple won't license Mac OS X to them, and most won't ship the free, open-source Linux operating system on anything bigger than a netbook.

This could be a self-reinforcing trend: As PC builders keep having their profit margins squeezed, they have fewer resources to devote to high-end consumer products, while Apple's focus on the most profitable end of the market leaves it with ever more money to dump into product design. Or buying small islands.

Harry Everhart
1607 Seminole Drive
Tallahassee FL 32301
850-766-1105

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Verna Britton - Our German Teach at Tamaqua High School - Dies

Lulu and I both had the joy of sitting in Verna Britton's German classes at Tamaqua High School. I re-call her spending almost every summer in Germany. She taught German at THS for 35 years.

Verna Mae Britton, 95, of Lansford, died Sunday at Maple Shade Meadows, Nesquehoning.

Born in Lansford, she was a daughter of the late John Daniel and Carrie Agnes Hettinger Britton.

She was a graduate of the former Lansford High School, Penn State University with a bachelor's degree in teaching, and received her master's degree in German Language from Middletown College, Vermont,

Verna was an English teacher for the Lansford School District and for 35 years she was a German teacher at Tamaqua Area High School, where she served as the first advisor for the Blue & White High School newspaper and adviser for the German Club.

She was a member of the former Emmanuel United Church of Christ, Ridge Street, Lansford, and a member of Frieden's Church, New Ringgold.

She was preceded in death by brothers Carl and Norman Britton; and sisters Beulah Britton Coble and Marion Britton.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Frieden's Church, 525 Church St., New Ringgold, with the Rev. Jennifer Oaks officiating. Calling hours will be from 9:30 a.m. until the time of services Wednesday at the church. Committal service will follow at Frieden's Cemetery, New Ringgold. Contributions may be made to Maple Shade Meadows, 50 East Locust St., Nesquehoning PA 18240 or the Hazleton SPCA. Schaeffer Funeral Home, Lehighton, is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be sent to www.schaefferfunerals.com.

Face of Jesus Found Men's Room Door at Glasgow Ikea

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Original Balloon Boy



Do you think the Balloon Boy story was a hoax this week?

It all happened before in California in 1982.

Meet Lawrence Richard Walters, nicknamed "Lawnchair Larry" or the "Lawn Chair Pilot", (April 19, 1949 – October 6, 1993) was an American truck driver who took flight on July 2, 1982 in a homemade aircraft. Dubbed Inspiration I, the "flying machine" consisted of an ordinary patio chair with 45 helium-filled 8 foot weather balloons attached to it. Walters rose to an altitude of 11,000 feet (3,400 m) and floated from his point of origin in San Pedro, California into controlled airspace near Los Angeles International Airport. His flight was widely reported in many newspapers.

Walters had always dreamed of flying, but was unable to become a pilot in the United States Air Force because of his poor eyesight. Walters had first thought of using weather balloons to fly at age 13, after seeing them hanging from the ceiling of a military surplus store. Twenty years later he decided to do so. His intention was to attach a few helium-filled weather balloons to his lawnchair, cut the anchor, and then float above his backyard at a height of about 30 feet (9.1 m) for several hours. He planned to use a pellet gun to burst balloons to float gently to the ground.

In the summer of 1982, Walters and his girlfriend, Carol Van Deusen, purchased 45 eight-foot weather balloons and obtained helium tanks from California Toy Time Balloons. They used a forged requisition from his employer, FilmFair Studios, saying the balloons were for a television commercial. Walters attached the balloons to his lawn chair, filled them with helium, put on a parachute, and strapped himself into the chair in the backyard of a home at 1633 W. 7th St. in San Pedro, CA. He took his pellet gun, a CB radio, sandwiches, cold beer, and a camera. When his friends cut the cord that tied his lawn chair to his Jeep, Walters' lawn chair rose rapidly to a height of about 15,000 feet. He did not dare shoot any balloons, fearing that he might unbalance the load and cause himself to spill out. He slowly drifted over Long Beach and crossed the primary approach corridor of Long Beach Airport. - Wikipedia

Walters said, "It was something I had to do. I had this dream for twenty years, and if I hadn't done it, I think I would have ended up in the funny farm. I didn't think that by fulfilling my goal in life — my dream — that I would create such a stir and make people laugh."

When I was a earth and space science teacher in Pennsylvania - Larry was one of my lesson plans. Like Larry - I enlisted in the Air Force in 1970 but was rejected for my poor hearing and eyesight. In 1983 - I attended flight school under a science teacher program at Loch Haven State College and passed the FAA written test. I always wanted to try Larry's flight - but never had the guts.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Son Keith is in New York City for the Weekend



Keith is spending the long weekend in New York City. To save a few bucks he got a W Hotel in Hoboken NJ. Check out this picture he took of the Manhattan skyline. He used his iphone so that means there was no zoom lens or anything. What a fantastic shot!

There is a bus from DC to NYC for $25 one way. It took 5 hours. He will take the train on the way home Monday. It takes 3.5 hours and costs $50.

Last weekend - Keith was at the FSU game in Boston with us. This weekend NYC. In a couple of weeks he is going to LA. Who raised this kid? He should stay home sometimes. It sounds like Liz is a happy traveler too.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Trailing Spouse Returns from FSU at Boston College Game to This




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Last weekend we went to the Florida State football game at Boston College. Lulu had a speaking engagement in Sturbridge Massachusetts and we were lucky to catch the game and see my grandson - Jack. We had a great time and saw a fantastic game. We saw garnet and gold poison ivy that was strangling a tree in the picture above. When we returned home to Tallahassee we saw something really ugly.

I retired from teaching seventh grade science about 6 years ago. I worked in a small school district in Pennsylvania - spent my entire career in the same building and classroom. When age 55 came along - the school offered incentives to get rid of the older higher paid teachers - full pensions and medical insurance for life for my spouse and I. Never one to turn down a good deal - on my 55th birthday we had a big party and I walked out of the classroom never to return.
Yes - I felt like a dinosaur - the other teachers even to call me "Dirty Harry" like the Clint Eastwood cop character that did things his way. We had a staff of 80 teachers in the district - and in 2 years - 25 of us were gone. We came in together and went out together - spending 30 years of our lives as a team.

Within less than a year - my school dropped my earth and space science course from the curriculum - and even built a new school - condemning my old workplace of 33 years. Kids are now in a brand new school learning "environmental science."

So you can just imagine what my thoughts are about Bobby Bowden.

We came back to Tallahassee to find a "death watch" on Bobby Bowden's career. After going through 25 seasons without a losing record - winning 2 national championship - finishing in the top 5 in the nation for 14 years - Bobby's Noles are posting a losing 2-3 record. The anonymous harpies of the Internet and posters on the Tallahassee Democrat are busy fashioning the noose to hang Bobby Bowden.

Let's review the season so far. On Labor Day - they lost a game to Miami (3-1) in the last seconds. It was one of the most viewed football games on ESPN in all time. Then they barely beat an upstart Jacksonville State (3-2). This was followed by traveling to Utah and pounding then number 8 ranked BYU (4-1) - 52-20. They then lost by 10 points to a University of South Florida which is 5-0 now. Finally - on Saturday they came from 18 points behind to tie the game with Boston College (4-1) - only to lose in the last minute by a touchdown on a rainy Boston College campus.

The combined record of the teams FSU played is 19-5 and yet FSU almost won each game.

We didn't have tickets to the game at Boston College. The stadium is small right in the middle of campus - only holds maybe 45,000 people. You could reach out and touch the players on the sidelines. To our surprise - there were tons of tickets being sold outside - we were able to get 4 tickets on the 40 yard line for $10 each. My family had a blast just being in that atmosphere and cheering the Noles on as they scored 18 straight points to tie the score.

Back in 1988 - we spent the season in Tallahassee and our kids broke their piggy banks to buy FSU season tickets. That was the year Miami beat FSU 31-0 and then FSU ran the table. We ended up in the Sugar Bowl beating Auburn when Deion Sanders intercepted a pass in the last few seconds before his report card arrived home to say he failed algebra . Ever since then we have been loyal FSU fans and big admirers of Bobby Bowden.

In the last 20 years Bobby Bowden and FSU have added too much color and pride to our lives. Lulu parades around like her PhD is tattooed on her butt cheek. We used to make the 200 mile round trip to Philadelphia to watch the games on illegal satellite TV in the old days with the Seminole Boosters there. It was so much fun needling the Penn State alumni in my faculty room when Bobby's Noles - our Noles - were thumping everybody - yes everybody.

The naysayers have had to wait 30 years for Bobby to have a losing record - 2-3 - and now they want to fire him before he can right the ship. Heck - even PSU gave Paterno a chance after TWO losing seasons. Maybe it's time for Ann Bowden to give $2 million to the library.

One of the biggest sources of the venom is the anonymous posts on the Tallahassee Democrat web site. Any crackpot can sit at home in the privacy of his toilet and type such drivel - assured that no one will punch him in the mouth. Few of them have the courage to sign their real names because they are cowards. I think since newspapers are in such financial straits - they will succumb to anything to appease readers and hope they continue to buy the paper edition. No one should be allowed to publish such vitriol without signing their own name and being accountable for their words.

All those years - I wondered how it could be possible for one man to have so much success in college football. How could he take a football team from a little girls' college in the middle of nowhere Florida Panhandle - and beat the big boys week after week? Everybody in the nation looked to FSU for unexpected thrills - the punt rooskie - end arounds - Buddie Reynolds - Charlie Ward - Deion Sanders - Shade Tree Jones - Jungle Joints. Bobby still excites the nation - the Labor Day television audience proved that FSU is still a happening - even if it is only to witness a "wide right" train wreck.

With all the excitement and flavor that he has brought into my life - and the competitive teams that he still produces - Bobby Bowden deserves better than this.

Fight Between FSU Coaches - Chuck Amato and Jimbo Fisher

From Today's Tallahassee Democrat

Amato speaks up

Amato was asked how Florida State players had handled distractions that have centered on the future of Bobby Bowden.

"You bring that up. There is something I would like to clear up," Amato said.

And with that Amato addressed rumors that he said had involved himself and FSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher, FSU's head coach-in-waiting. (Because those rumors could not be substantiated, the Democrat has not written about them previously.) "I've worked all my life to get people to think that I got intergrity, I got class, I got character and I'm a professional," Amato said. "I have no idea how somebody said that me and Coach Fisher were in a fight. … I'm hurt because people read this stuff throughout the country.

"We haven't even had words. I tried to hire him twice. We're extremely good friends. How can people say that there were fights on the airplane. Did the pilot tell you? And there were none — there were no words."

Amato said he was aware of the rumors right away. Amato said he was walking in the coaches' shower and Fisher was walking out.

"Did you hear we had a fight," Amato said Fisher told him. "I said: 'Who won? When? Where? What started it?'

"… Shouldn't somebody write that it was a fabrication?"

Monday, October 05, 2009

Trailing Spouse Enjoys Return to Kissimmee

While Lulu was busy with presentations at the FAME (librarians) convention near Disney - I took another ride into the past. I went to Kissimmee.

Kissimmee holds a special place in my heart. After first visiting Disneyworld after it opened in 1971 - I wanted to move to this cow town about 10 miles east of the Magic Kingdom. Lulu and I just got married and we spent our first month together honeymooning in Miami. We were convinced that we could make it in Florida and thanks to Walt Disney this town seemed to offer the most for us.

No - we didn't move there - but I studied every thing I could about the town. Beside leading in oranges - Florida was the nation's second largest supplier of beef. Both were center near Kissimmee. When Disneyworld opened Kissimmee turned to a boom town. At that time it was about the size of our hometown - and as Florida and Kissimmee grew - Tamaqua and Pennsylvania waned.

In 1972 - Lulu and I returned - spending the summer in Miami. Not only were we there for both the Republican and Democratic conventions - we took summer jobs considering a permanent move. But when the school bells started to ring in the fall - we returned to our roots in Pennsylvania - I as a teacher and Lulu as a college student.

In 1974 - we thought it would be great for my students to experience Florida and Disneyworld even if only for a day. I chartered a jet out of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and flew my students - about 150 - to Florida for a day. We left home at 5 AM - and returned back to the Pennsylvania hills at midnight. Many of them flew in a jet and saw palm trees for their first and only time in their lives.

In 1978 - we bought a tour bus and drove 16 groups on visits to the Sunshine State . We always seemed to end up at Kissimmee usually via Cape Canaveral. But it was always our dream to move to Florida. We just loved the surf - sun - sand - palm trees - oranges - and adventure. Teaching salaries were horrible because they expected you to "take it out in sunshine."

1980 - after teaching 10 years in Pennsylvania - I took a sabbatical leave for a year planning to live in Kissimmee. Lulu studied at the University of Central Florida - so we settled into Winter Park - just a few miles from the tiny campus. While she finished a masters degree in 30 weeks - I watched two toddlers. I always wanted to work for Disney and a night time security job was available - too bad I found it impossible to stay awake past midnight.

In 1982 - my students and I took the train from Philadelphia to the train station in - you guessed it - Kissimmee.

In 1988 - Lulu was offered a scholarship to earn her doctorate at FSU. Once again - I watched two kids while she studied. When Lulu earned her doctorate in two years - she vowed to someday return to Tallahassee and FSU as a professor. We also bought resident passes to Disneyworld.

Finally when I retired in 2003 - Lulu got her wish - FSU recruited her to be a professor.

Kissimmee is much bigger and busier now. A majority of the population is Hispanic. Many of them are employed in the service industry serving the tourists of Disneyworld.

And now it has all come full circle for me. While Lulu is presenting at a FAME Convention - I am walking the streets of Kissimmee thinking about our dreams there to live in Florida - permanently.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Morning After Noles Loss in Boston

It is sad to see Bobby Bowden's career end like this. It is the first time in 30 years his team has a losing 2-3 record. The team fought back from being 18 points down to tie the game.

Regardless the score or weather - it was a wonderful weekend for us. Rain couldn't dampen the day for my family in our matching rainsuits sitting on the 40 yard line in our $10 seats cheering on the Noles - like old times.

Boston College has a compact small stadium right in the middle of campus. Most of the 45,000 fans walk to the game as we did. There is no parking on the town streets - so we walked two miles to our car. The newspaper back home is calling for Bobby to retire. As Patton once said, "All glory is fleeting."

To me - success is gathering all 6 Everharts in one place - and just enjoying the moment.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

4 Tickets on the 40 - $10 each

Rain stopped

Boston - FSU vs BC

Driving to game in rented van.

It is pouring.

We stopped tu buy 4 rainy suits.

Tickets prices are low.

We wonder what Nole team will show up.

It is like the old days - the Beatles - Har - Lulu - Drew - Keith.

Go Noles!!