Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Day 2009

Here are some of the many photos I promised to upload when we got to a broadband Internet connection. These are from Thanksgiving Day 2009 (and a few from the night before).

You can download any of these shots from Flickr at a variety of resolutions. For printing, download the “original” size. For viewing on a computer, “medium” or “large” should do the trick.

To download a photo, start playing the slideshow then pause it by clicking the || icon. Select the photo you want in the filmstrip at the bottom then click on the photo in the viewer. (Use the left and right triangles to move left or right in the filmstrip.) Select “All Sizes” (just above the photo) then select the resolution you desire and click download.

For a full screen slideshow, click on the icon at the bottom right hand corner that has the four arrows pointing out. Hit the Esc key to return leave full screen mode.



Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

2009 trip to Texas: Day 11

Sarah, being on the east side of Dallas, and Bryan, being on the west side of Fort Worth, makes for an hour-long trip between them. We prayed and hung rosary beads from the rear view mirror, hoping that our rented Chrysler would make the trip without disintegrating on Interstate 30.

We arrived at Bryan’s without incident and he gave us the nickel tour. Typical of a bachelor’s pad, everything was arranged to maximize ergonomics rather than to promote esthetics. Mary went to the bathroom, flipped on the light switch, and on came the boom box located on the toilet tank lid blaring country western music.

Bryan took us to the Kimball Art Museum in Fort Worth which is currently hosting an exhibit featuring privately owned 18th and 19th century European paintings. The museum also is home to an excellent permanent exhibit.

Original works by Matisse, Manet, Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso, Munch, and many others almost seem out of place in this city made famous by its reputation as a cowtown. All of the privately owned artwork was loaned to the museum right out of people’s living rooms in Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston and other nearby towns. Hey, what else are you going to spend your oil fortune on?

Kimball’s centerpiece is Michelangelo’s first painting, The Torment of Saint Anthony. Painted in 1487 by a twelve-year-old budding artist and sculptor, the museum paid an undisclosed sum for it this year. I was intrigued by the way Michelangelo took a German artist’s sculpture of this biblical event, painted his own version of it, changing some of the aspects of it but staying true to the original piece.

A little culture in Texas. Who would have thought?

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

2009 trip to Texas: Day 10

Saturday morning was cool and partly cloudy. We packed the Chrysler POJ (piece of junk) for the drive back to Dallas.

Never Buy This Car


My cousin Cathy and her husband Ronnie from Victoria made the long drive to the ranch to see us. She’s an ICU nurse and had worked the night shift Friday night, so I really appreciated her making the effort to come see us.

Ronnie commented to me before they left that Cathy would probably be snoring by the time they got to the main road. He paused, thinking about that, and then said “Better than me snoring.”

Here’s another idea for you that we came up with while discussing a possible family reunion for next year. I set up a group on Facebook called Hunt Family Reunion. Only family members can join the group and nothing that we share is visible to nonmembers.

There we can post pictures, videos, announcements, reminiscings, and start discussion threads. When we have enough family members signed up, it will also be a resource for the extended family. From trying to figure out where some family heirloom ended up to requesting information about a genetic disease, this Facebook group could prove valuable.

If you’re a Hunt family member, search for Hunt Family Reunion on Facebook and request to join. If you do not have a Facebook account, you can create one while providing only a bare minimum of information. There’s no need to share your life story just to join Facebook.

Tomorrow we meet Bryan in Fort Worth.

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

Saturday, November 28, 2009

2009 trip to Texas: Day 9

The day after Thanksgiving is all about the leftovers and how creative you can be with them. I had turkey quesadillas with cheese, green chile salsa, and a dab of cranberry sauce.

In the evening, Alan and I went out to look for hogs. We took the Kawasaki Mule to a neighboring property and set up at a high point to monitor a couple of large hay fields. By “large” I mean 35 to 40 acres for one and about 25 acres for the other.

We had nearly a full moon, so there was enough light to see large, contrasting objects like hay bales in the field, but not enough light to see animals more than a couple of hundred feet away.

Of course, we were equipped with Alan’s night vision equipment and, with the aid of the moonlight, we could see like owls. The goggles intensify the available light up to 60,000 times, so making out deer at 500 yards was no problem.

In fact, we watched as a buck and four does grazed, moving closer and closer to us until they were no more than 100 yards away. We weren’t interested in deer, however, as they pose no threat to anyone’s ranch or livestock. They were fun to watch and were certainly vigilant, looking up every few seconds to scan for predators.

In the end, after two hours of surveillance, we only spied deer, a few coyotes, and plenty of cattle. By the way, these cattle don’t stop eating at dark. It seems that they just can’t get enough of that coastal grass.

I drove the four-wheel drive utility vehicle back to the ranch with the aid of the night vision goggles and we hung up and stowed away our gear for another time.

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

Friday, November 27, 2009

2009 trip to Texas: Day 8

We had platoon to feed on Thanksgiving and everything came together beautifully. Turkey (baked or deep fried), ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, two styles of dressing, green beans, cranberry sauce, cobblers, pies…

The ranch took on a look more like a Good Sam Club gathering than its much quieter, normal setting. My nephew and his wife brought their travel trailer for additional sleeping and an extra kitchen.

Kids were everywhere. One of my nieces brought a bounce house. There were plenty of other things to do, including taking rides in the cattle tank on a peddle boat, riding the Kawasaki Mule, and tossing footballs, baseballs and Frisbees.

Alan and I took several bags of salt feed out to the feeding troughs, which was a lesson on the natural order of things. The donkeys get first dibs at the trough because the horses and cows are afraid they’ll get kicked. Then the horses take their turn followed by the cattle. Even the cows have their own pecking order.

It’s a very interesting dynamic to watch. I’d want to be a donkey, given what I saw, but I imagine that if Alan had a few elephants on the ranch, they’d probably get to eat whenever they felt like it.

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

Thursday, November 26, 2009

2009 trip to Texas: Day 7

To all of my friends who don’t realize that “animal rights” is an oxymoron, rest easy. All the feral hogs are safe today. We scouted the ranches that Alan has permission to hunt on and we didn’t see any bacon on the hoof.

More kids arrived and more will join us for Thanksgiving, upping the official crowd estimate to 33. There will be a 19-lb turkey baked the conventional way and a second turkey that will be injected with Cajun spices, then deep fried in peanut oil. My nephew, Pat, is a licensed deep fried turkey expert and has yet to burn a house (or doublewide) down preparing one. (Just google “deep fried turkey fire” to see what I’m talking about.)

Here is a list of typical ranch activities that my brother, Alan, and I participated in on Wednesday:

1) Breakfast
2) Chipping golf balls onto his front yard practice green
3) Driving golf balls over the front yard fence into the cow pasture
4) Taking the four-wheel drive Kawasaki Mule into the pasture to recover golf balls
5) Starting to build a hog trap, but stopping ten minutes later because one of the acetylene torch hoses cracked and needs to be replaced
6) Lunch
7) Target practice with his S&W .40 caliber M&P pistol
8) Snack
9) Greeting more kids who arrived in the late afternoon
10) Dinner
11) Bitching about all things Obama
12) Scouting for hogs
13) Bedtime

I’m bushed.

P.S. I have taken lots of pictures and will post them when we get back to Dallas and have a faster Internet connection.

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

2009 trip to Texas: Day 6

We drove down to Alan and Mary’s ranch, a relatively short 4½ hour ride from Rockwall. Interstate 35 passes by Killeen, home of Ft. Hood, and that brought up thoughts about the Islamic terrorist and how that will play out over the next year or so.

We arrived mid-afternoon in our rented POJ (piece of junk) after listening to the unbelievably loud transmission and wheel whirring. The POJ was, you guessed it if you have been following this blog for awhile, a Chrysler.

I’m not even sure what this thing is. Apparently, they’re too embarrassed to put a label on the car to identify it, but it’s kind of a 1930’s looking car with a hatchback that holds far too little luggage and drives like a sailboat.

We unloaded the POJ of everything we could get into it; Sarah and Mark will bring the rest of the stuff on Wednesday.

After dark, Alan and I went on a reconnaissance mission for feral hogs. He loaned me his night vision goggles, which are the same model that is used by the Army in Iraq—they even came with the Army manual. (By the way, pictures of all this stuff will come later. I’m somewhat limited regarding what I can upload via the telephone Internet connection here.)

These things light up the night like you’re watching a black-and-white movie shot in the daytime. We drove several miles down the dirt county roads surrounding the ranch a scoured the fields for sounders of hogs.

Alan had his .308 caliber rifle equipment with a night vision scope and laser targeting light. I was packing a .44 magnum revolver with a laser targeting light built into the grip.

Good for the fields, but bad for hunting, we spotted nothing but a couple of skunks.

We’ll keep trying. Stay tuned.

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

Monday, November 23, 2009

2009 trip to Texas: Day 5

What to do with a two-year-old and a one-and-a-half-year-old?

We pushed a twin stroller from Sarah’s house over to Home Depot to look at tile and paint for my daughter Gayle’s house. Fun for the adults, not so much for the kids.

After a quick stop at Michael’s, we headed for a sure thing: Chuck E. Cheese’s. It’s the perfect place for antsy toddlers and doting grandparents.

I’m pretty sure that “Chuck” is a rat, though it’s lost on me why a restaurant chain would pick a rodent for a mascot. Seems dumb…

I have to say that it’s quite different to be able to stroll over to all of these places on sidewalks with curb cuts. Our off Cape trips to Lowe’s and JC Penney are planned days in advance, especially since the Sagamore Bridge has been tied up with construction. By the way, I heard that it’s open again until next spring. That’s a relief.

Tomorrow we head down to my brother’s ranch.

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

Sunday, November 22, 2009

2009 trip to Texas: Day 4

Last night, Sarah made chicken enchiladas and they were great. With sides of Mexican rice and refried beans, it was a perfect “welcome to Texas” dinner.

But with refried beans comes a well known side-effect. It was time to teach little Timothy the “pull my finger” game. Dan, Jeff and Sarah’s husband Mark take no prisoners when doing guy things.

Mark offered his index finger to two-year-old Timothy, instructing him to “pull my finger.” The result was predictable and everyone laughed, though Timothy’s was more of an I’m-not-sure-why-I’m-laughing laugh.

Then Jeff told Timothy to “pull my finger.” Timothy complied, followed by the same outcome. Everyone laughed again. This time Timothy was laughing because he’d figured it out.

Looking to step it up a notch, actually a lot more than just a notch, Timothy directed Uncle Jeff to “pull my hand.”

Well, when you’re the only participant who’s wearing a diaper, I suppose anything’s fair game.

They’re all still laughing today about Timothy’s invention of Extreme Pull My Finger Game.

Tonight, Gayle joined us. She flew in from El Paso with our second youngest grandchild, Troy. Troy is one of our son Chris’ three kids and we’ll meet Chris, his wife Celina, and their other two kids down at my brother’s ranch next week for Thanksgiving.

My last thought for today came to me while I watched Sarah parading around with Charlotte in her arms to keep her happy while she* (Charlotte) worked on passing some gas.

I wonder if Sarah has tried pulling Charlotte’s finger…

Sarah & Charlotte


Timothy


Jeff & Gayle


Mark & Dan


Troy


* To Sarah: Sorry, I felt compelled to clarify who "she" was.

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

Saturday, November 21, 2009

2009 trip to Texas: Day 3

We went to the zoo today.

I have mixed feelings about zoos. Most zookeepers justify their existence by claiming that, without zoos, many species of animals would disappear. That their efforts bring us closer to nature. That their research somehow benefits the world.

I really doubt that. I consider it pure entertainment. Nothing wrong with that, of course. It’s a step above the circus, but entertainment, nonetheless. When you see the looks of some of the animals on display, you detect a lack of energy. A sadness. A complete loss of free will. Dependence.

So, with that in mind, off we went to have a fun day at the Dallas Zoo. As zoos go, it’s a pretty good one. And, if you go, bring a kid with you. Half the fun is watching kids marvel at the animals, laugh at the monkeys, and recoil into their parents arms at the sight of crocodiles, snakes and lions.

My favorite exhibit was the children’s zoo, which featured an aviary where you could feed the birds. They landed right on your shoulders and arms and impatiently waited for you to hold your seed coated popsicle stick where they could peck at it.

There were also watercolor painting pigs. I can’t even think of something clever to say about that…

The award for the most entertaining animal was a monkey that swung from limb to vine to limb with grace and athleticism that would be hard to match. He finished his incredible gymnastic performance by swinging onto the twine fence in front of us and then… whizzed in the direction of the awestruck observers. I know he’s planning to improve his range by next summer in order to give the crowd an experience they’ll never forget.

Here’s the slideshow. Click the icon in the bottom right corner with the four arrows pointing out if you want to see it in full screen.



Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

Friday, November 20, 2009

2009 trip to Texas: Day 2

Timothy is two years three months old, talking a bunch, and testing his limits (more like testing Sarah’s limits). One of his favorite treats is a banana, and therein lies the problem.

Nana Mary is now officially Banana Mary.

Could be worse. My nephew, Pat, at the same age used to call his grandpa (my dad) “dumpah.”

It was about 60 degrees today and it rained all day. I looked up the weather in Sandwich. Also 60 degrees and rain. The good news is we’ll be sans rain for the next week or so.

Tomorrow, it’s the Dallas Zoo.

Above: Charlotte with Banana Mary.

Right: Jeff holding a football.












Below: Sarah & Timothy.
































Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

Thursday, November 19, 2009

2009 trip to Texas: Day 1

Mary was thrilled with the P&B bus ride from the Sagamore Bridge commuter lot to Logan Airport. I’m not being sarcastic here. She was really excited about it. It turns out that she’s only had to ride a bus maybe once or twice in her entire life. Yes, my princess, this is how lots of people get around.

Just to make it easier for those unfamiliar with our family, our six kids are:

Chris – 27
Sarah – 27
Bryan – 26
Dan – 25
Gayle – 22
Jeff – 20

We arrived at Logan with enough time to enjoy a leisurely lunch before boarding the 4½ hour flight to Dallas. Bryan (2001 Sandwich High School graduate, known to his friends there as “Tex”) picked us up at DFW. He starts a new job Monday after tying up a number of loose ends at his current job this week.

We’re staying at Sarah and Mark’s place in Rockwall (just east of Dallas) until we drive to Alan and Mary’s ranch next Tuesday. Tonight, we were joined by Jeff, who drove up from Austin. He’s at the University of Texas. Bryan graduated from Texas A&M, so the game between the two schools on the 28th will generate some intra-family trash talking.

The precious grandkids are the focus of our trip.


Timothy


Sarah & Charlotte

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

2009 trip to Texas: The day before

We’re flying to Dallas tomorrow to see the newest addition to our family, Charlotte Gayle.

Like I did last year, I’ll post a daily diary entry to the blog to keep everyone apprised of our progress. We’ll be heading down to my brother’s ranch on Tuesday to help them prepare for the 30 some odd relatives that will storm the place on Thanksgiving.

Last night, I priced some options for getting to Logan Airport and it’s unbelievable how much it costs to park a car there. We’ll be leaving Thursday and returning Tuesday, December 1st, which amounts to 13 parking days.

Limosine service – The advantage of this option is skipping the parking fees and it’s door-to-terminal. Cost: $320 round trip plus tip, which at 15%, adds $48 (some people say 20% is the proper tip for a limo driver). Here’s a tip: Keep the limo washed and polished for someone else.

Even a limo can get to and from Logan twice on less than a tank of gas. We’ll say $40. Wear and tear on the car? Maybe 20 cents a mile times 300 miles, or $60. That leaves $220 for the driver (without the tip) and profit.

It takes about four hours to make the round trip once, so figure eight hours of time for the driver. What does a driver pull down? $15 an hour plus tips? I don’t know. Say it’s $15 an hour.

That’s $120 for the driver, leaving $100 profit for the owner, before paying for insurance, workers comp, social security, Medicare, the mortgage, property taxes, utilities, telephone, lawyers, CPAs…

Okay, I can see why it costs so much.

Drive to Logan and park in Central Parking – This has been our regular M.O. when flying out of Logan. Cost: $312 to park plus about $25 of gas. Not cheap. Next alternative please.

Drive to the Park & Fly in Braintree – I haven’t tried this, but I know several people who like this option. Cost: $176 to park and ride the bus to Logan plus about $20 of gas. Now we’re entering the realm of reasonableness.

P&B bus from the Sagamore Bridge commuter lot – This one entails talking someone into dropping us off at the commuter lot because I really don’t want to leave my car sitting there for nearly two weeks. Cost: $82 for two round-trip tickets to Logan. Bingo!

Is anyone interested in dumping us off at the Sagamore commuter lot tomorrow morning around 9:30? I can rake a few leaves for you when we get back.

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

Monday, November 16, 2009

To shoot or not to shoot

I’m wrapping up the editing on a program that’s a story about South Texas ranchers and how they deal with a variety of threats to their livestock and land.

Of primary concern are the millions of feral hogs that roam the open expanses of Texas and destroy hayfields by rooting for wild onions and nut grass. Another threat comes from coyotes preying on calves and other small farm animals.

I was fortunate to capture a few kill shots during the videoing of the program; two feral hogs and one coyote. Yes, animals were injured (actually worse) during the filming of this program.

So here’s my quandary. Do I include the kill shots or not?

By showing these animals being killed, it’s an opportunity to bring the raw reality of ranching to the viewer, bringing home the seriousness of the threats and how ranchers deal with the problem day in and day out.

Leaving the clips on the cutting room floor removes the shock of seeing an animal being hit by a rifle bullet, but also takes the edge off the video, making it suitable for viewers who think the only sacrifice to produce a steak dinner is made by the chef sweating in the kitchen.

Now it’s your turn to log your opinion by commenting on this post and voting in the survey at the top right of this page.

Here is my rough cut of the coyote clip. Don't watch it if you can't handle it.



Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Barack Obama: Actions speak louder than words

Guest editorial by Jim Killion

At some point in our lives we have heard the expression that “actions speak louder than words” and it stems from the fundamental belief that talk is in fact, cheap. This basic rule of modern behavior has never been more prescient as we try to peel the layers off of Barack Obama. We discovered during the campaign that the man is a gifted speaker, but now nearly eleven months into his presidency, his leadership skills leave much to be desired. In fact, besides breaking the bank with a massive government expansion bill which was deceptively portrayed as economic stimulus, he has accomplished very little and continues to compromise our security.

However, in the past few days we got a glimpse at what makes BHO tick and it wasn’t necessarily anything he did or said but rather what he chose to avoid. This week marked the 20th anniversary to the end of communism and Soviet rule in Eastern Europe yet despite an invitation to join with them to celebrate and speak on the occasion, BHO declined. He claimed that he was too busy to make the trip, but honestly, is anyone really buying that story? Somehow, he found the time to fly across the Atlantic to try and work his magic on the Olympic Committee in an attempt to line the pockets of a few cronies, but now he’s completely booked? Nice try.

I am one who believes that the demise of the Soviet Union and communism was one of the greatest American achievements of the 20th century. Despite the fact that Europeans have decided to write Ronald Reagan out of the history books, this great American president was responsible for ending the cold war and freeing millions when the iron curtain fell two decades ago. So why is it that President Obama, who adores sycophantic European crowds almost as much as he adores himself, would choose to take a pass? There has been great speculation as to where his ideology may lie but perhaps he truly laments the demise of communism. Maybe now that he is the first President of the World, Obama feels that the United States had no right to put the Soviet Union out of business.

The jury is still out as to whether President Obama has any ideological leanings toward socialism or communism but it has become perfectly clear that he abhors capitalism and believes in big government control. Where does he plan on taking America in the next three years? I suspect as far left as he possibly can. But I’m guessing that the only way we’ll know what he’s scheming is by turning down the volume and paying very close attention.

Jim Killion
Sandwich, MA

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Making sense of Medicare cuts

I was watching the countdown to passage of PelosiCare, hosted by Geraldo Rivera, with a running commentary by Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Something Steele said caught my ear and reminded me of a TV ad that was airing a few weeks ago. He said that Medicare is bankrupt and the Democrats’ plan will cut $400 billion out of it. He went on to say that that doesn’t make any sense.

On August 24, 2009, Steele wrote this in a Washington Post op ed: “But [the president] and congressional Democrats are planning to raid, not aid, Medicare by cutting $500 billion from the program to fund his healthcare experiment.”

I’m not sure why the $100 billion difference between his two statements, but these days it’s considered chump change anyway.

In the ad that ran recently, Dr. Ami Siems used a similar line: “Washington already controls Medicare and Medicare will be bankrupt in eight years. Despite this looming bankruptcy, some want to pay for health care reform with $500 billion in Medicare spending cuts.”



Let’s step back for a minute and ask ourselves what is being said here. Steele and Siems are arguing that reducing expenses of a program that is headed for bankruptcy doesn’t make sense.

Did I miss a class when I was in business school? I always thought that cutting expenses was essential for a company heading into bankruptcy. Hopefully, with enough cutbacks and restructuring, a company could avoid a bankruptcy altogether.

Apparently, all logic and common sense gets turned on its head when dealing with the government. Or should I say politics?

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Texting while driving worse than billboarding while driving?

I saw this Verizon TV ad cautioning against texting while driving.



It seems a bit ironic to me that Verizon would be erecting giant billboards, which are in and of themselves a source of distracted driving.

I’ve been sending text messages to all my friends warning them not to read billboards while driving.

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

Thursday, November 5, 2009

We will not cut local aid (trust me)

I’ll have to file this in the “you can’t trust him as far as you can throw him” category. I know. I know. What in the world was I thinking, when Governor Deval Patrick said to a Worcester audience on October 29, 2009, “We will not cut local aid,” that he meant “We will not cut local aid?”

I even reported that he had made this commitment at our board of selectmen meeting last Thursday night. What a relief that the $600 million in cuts would not be on the backs of the towns and cities of the commonwealth.

Here’s Deval’s exact comment about local aid cuts: “We will not cut local aid. Local communities are the front line of both our economic and our social life and they are struggling as it is.”

On October 30th (the next day), he filed H4303, which includes local aid cuts and made requests to the legislature to cut PILOT funding and the Quinn Bill (both elements of local aid).

Dear Governor Patrick:

Local aid, as well as assessments, are reported to the towns and cities by the Department of Revenue via what is commonly called the Cherry Sheet. The Cherry Sheet even has its own 56-page manual called the Cherry Sheet Manual. So far, so good.

From page three of the Cherry Sheet Manual:

Named for the cherry-colored paper on which it was originally printed, the Cherry Sheet is the official notification from the Commissioner of Revenue of the upcoming fiscal year’s state aid and assessments to cities, towns and regional school districts.

When you say “local aid,” that means the stuff listed on the Cherry Sheet. Everyone, except you, seems to know this.

For reference, we’ll use the Town of Sandwich’s fiscal year 2010 Cherry Sheet.

Now let’s look at some of the cuts you’re proposing:

1) 50% reduction of Quinn Bill payments – That would be Line 4 under Section B of the Cherry Sheet (aka “local aid”).

2) 39% reduction of PILOT – PILOT stands for payments in lieu of taxes. In this case, it refers to the payments made by the state to cities and towns that host state-owned property. Here in Sandwich, we have quite a bit of state-owned land, the biggest piece of it being the Massachusetts Military Reservation. We were scheduled to receive $551,137 of PILOT. A 39% reduction would correlate to about $215,000. Now, let’s see… Is that on the Cherry Sheet? Yes. Here it is. Line 8 under Section B.

3) You want to cut budget line 7000-9501, Public Libraries Local Aid, by $284,000 (statewide). Do I even need to bother to see if Public Libraries Local Aid might, in fact, be considered local aid? Just so you know, it’s Line 9 under Section B.

4) It gets better. Next, you want to shave $5,174,307 off the Charter School Reimbursement budget line item (7061-9010). You know what’s coming next. There it is. Line 4 under Section A of our Cherry Sheet.

5) Finally, you’re going to lop $18 million off the Regional School Districts Transportation budget (7035-0006). Well, guess what? Sandwich and four other towns pay for Upper Cape Tech, so where do you think the school is going to be forced to go to make up for their transportation budget shortfall? Really. Do I need to answer the question for you?

So, Governor, when you said “We will not cut local aid,” what did you think you were saying? Are you and your staff so unfamiliar with how our budgets work that you didn’t realize that these are all local aid accounts? Or did you think that we wouldn’t notice?

It’s incredible that we can’t trust even the simplest, most straight-forward things that you say. (I’m shaking my head.)

Sincerely,

Incredulous and Stunned in Sandwich


Here’s a fuller analysis of the governor’s proposed cuts: H4303 – Governor’s FY10 Fiscal Solutions Supp

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Yankees' curse, an update

Oh yeah, that thing I was saying about a Yankee's curse...

Never mind.

Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tagliabue's Socialist NFL

A half dozen years ago we were talking about parity in the NFL. Paul Tagliabue, former commissioner, seemed to think that a league filled with 8 and 8 teams would be best for maintaining fan interest. Perhaps they should consider not keeping score and giving everyone a trophy for trying hard.

The rules have always given losers the top picks on draft day, but the trading of draft positions and players has gotten so sophisticated that Wall Street is jealous.

Salary caps were adopted in 1994. It was another attempt to create parity in the league, though many believe that the real intent was to control owners’ costs, thus boosting their profits. Ooooo, those evil profits being made by those evil owners. Bad, bad profits. Bad, bad owners.

So what happened to Tagliabue’s socialist dream? A league where, not only can any given team beat another team on any given Sunday, but every team accomplishes this exactly half the time? A league where the playoff teams are selected by the fourth and fifth tie breakers?

Fortunately, the NFL is chock full of competitors. From the owners to the coaches to every player on every team, the goal is to win. This is capitalism and competition in all its shining glory.

After week eight, we still have two undefeated teams (the Saints and Colts) and two others with only one loss (Vikings and Broncos). This is generating huge fan interest. Peyton, Drew and Brett are in a battle for best quarterback. The skilled position players on these teams are plastered on kids’ bedroom walls and admired by all serious fans, trash talking aside.

On the other hand, there are six teams either winless or with only one win. How exciting was it when the Lions finally won their first game since the 2007 season? You would have thought they were headed to Disney World.

And the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? It’s been a bad year for pirates all the way around. Can they lose it all this year? We’ll be glued to the TV wondering just that.

Perhaps one of the most interesting games this year will be played on November 22nd at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time. Depending on what happens over the next two weeks, it is possible that the 9 and 0 Saints will be playing the 0 and 9 Bucs. Wouldn’t an upset on that day be awesome?

That would never happen in Tagliabue World.


Copyright 2009 Randy Hunt