Saturday, November 03, 2012

Here are MTA photos of flooded subway tunnels under the East River


Earlier tonight, the MTA released its first pictures from flooded subways in the Cranberry Street Tunnel, which carries the A and C lines under the East River.


The water is 28 inches deep here, according to the MTA.




[Images via Flickr]

Burglaries stop after signs posted offering $10,000 reward to police who shoot burglarsdead


After losing thousands of dollars in merchandise, a Texas store owner is using a different tactic to deter thieves. Signs at Debra Trejo's San Antonio clothing store offer a $10,000 reward to any law enforcement officer who shoots and kills burglars.

Not so long ago she was worried about going out of business after a series of break-ins.

"We would have a lot of break-ins. They'd be like once a month or once every two or three months," Trejo said. No matter what she did, the crooks found a way in.


 
Then, she saw a sign on another business and decided to put similar ones on her store. There hasn't been a break-in since. "Once the signs came in, it was a big turnaround. I didn't think it would be this much of a success," she admits.

Video of the week

Watching this tree get uprooted by Superstorm Sandy was both terrorizng and breathtaking. It made you understand the brute force of those winds and question the sanity of anyone running around outside during the storm.

I hate Gary Bettman week


Friday, November 02, 2012

Guess what these people are lining up for?

a) People lined up for gas at at Broolyn Hess station

b) People lined up for the East River Ferry

c) People lined up at Apple's flagship Fifth Avenue store for an iPad Mini

d) People lined up for the bus at the Barclay Centre in Brooklyn to take them into Manhattan

e) People lined up for food at Manhattan's Alphabet City



Of course you knew if was the people lined up for (c) an iPad Mini.

NHL knows how to cut off one's nose to spite one's face

NHL cancels all games through Nov. 1
 
 The cancellation of the 2013 NHL Classic Game today, if that announcement is not reversal, makes no sense.  The value to the league and their sponsors of that game is beyond dollars and a lot of dollars are involved.  There are a lot of TVs tuned in to that game on New Years Day and with the involvement of two Original 6 teams, the audience would have been huge.  It's bigger than the Stanley Cup.

The NHL needs this kind of exposure.

But the NHL seems to be more interested in winning this dispute with the players and showing who is boss.  The economics of a shortened season or a cancelled season makes no sense in light of the amount of money separating the parties.

Unless this is just further posturing by the league to get a better deal from the players. 


New York split between light and darkness from Empire State Building

esb3411212.jpg

Couple hands out cocaine to kids on Halloween

trick_or_treat-769946

Children were handed packets of cocaine instead of sweets on a Halloween trick-or-treating trip, Greater Manchester Police have said.

Two people have been arrested after bags containing the class A drug were handed to children in Royton, Oldham, on Wednesday evening, officers said.


My preference has always been Snickers or Coffee Crisp bars. Now if I had to chose between bags of chips and bags of cocaine I would have to go with the cocaine.  And a couple Snickers bars.

source

Sign of the day


Flashback Friday - The Committments










I hate Gary Bettman week


Thursday, November 01, 2012

So how are New Yorkers doing post-Sandy?

Well many New Yorkers without power have been lining up a charging depots to charge their phones.  You can get by without food for a couple of days but how long can they be expected to get by without their phones?
 


 Those aren't the only lineups in Manhattan.  People are lined up for hours to buy gas.  Consumption is up because diesel fuel is being used to operate emergency backup generators.  The problem is it takes electricity to pump gas into the tankers and to operate the pumps at the stations.



Buses and some subways are operating in Manhattan and they aren't collecting fares.  The problem is the 2 hour wait to catch a bus.


 Then there is Dr. Dave Ores who announced he's offering free medical care at 189 East 2nd Street between avenues A and B (look for that cardboard signage).




 Finally there is MSG Company which includes franchises like the New York Knicks and Rangers, Fuse TV channel and the MSG Network, and venues like the Beacon Theater. They have informed employees that: We know your power’s out, your houses are crumbling, transportation is a mess, and that you’re suffering from myriad health issues, but if you don’t come to work we are going to take away your vacation and personal days.  Nothing like a benevolent employer.

Both Alex Anthopolous and Brian Burke has one season to make things happen

B


Both the Saviour (Brian Burke) and the Boy Wonder (Alex Anthopolous) have had much success since taking over running the Leafs and Jays.

Brian Burke believes the Los Angeles Kings are very similar to his Anaheim Ducks team that won the Stanley Cup in 2007.

Time is really running out Burke who is coming to the end of a long-term contract and has nothing to show for it.  If the Leafs don't make the playoffs whenever the season resumes how can you possible offer him another contract after missing the playoffs in all 5 season while at the helm.  Not a lot of reason to be optimistic.  Other than a new coach and James van Remsdyk, not a lot will look different this season.  Which is why Burke needs to land Roberto Luongo and his ugly contract.  Now that he is officially a lame duck manager why should he worry whether Luongo is worth the money in 5 years.  He has to be worried about today.  Burke may be playing it coy but I believe he is desperate to land Luongo who would put the Leafs in the top 8 in the East.



As for Anthopolous, he has done the best he could over his tenure to rebuild the farm and field a competitive team on the cheap.  But the lack of quality veterans really showed when the injuries piled up.  The team was forced to use a lot of young players who weren't ready to play in the majors.  Lets hope that the payroll goes up to $100 million.  If it went to $120 million the Jays would almost certainly be contenders.  There needs are clearly a first base/dh, second base, left field and two starters.

Edwin Encarnacion will either play dh or first which leaves an opening at the other position.  Anthopolous has clearly written off Adam Lind who will either be thrown in as part of a trade or sit on the bench.  If he can move Lind then that will free up dollars for other needs.

The team will allow Kelly Johnson to become a free agent which means no one on the roster is a second baseman.  The Jays have 3 shortstops on their roster in Yunel Escobar, Mike Aviles and Adeiny Hechavarria, so one could be move to second.  It might be best of Hechavarria return to the minors for further seasoning so Escobar may actually return next season despite the pervailing belief that he will be moved. So perhaps Escobar returns to shortstop and Aviles goes to second.  If Escobar is traded then Hechavarria will begin the season with the Jays.

There is no one with power to man left field.  I thought it would be Cory Snider but he was traded.  It won't be Rajah Davis who is intended to used as an extra outfielder and pinch runner.  He is returned at a lower salary to reflect that role.  There is Anthony Gose but he is really a centre fielder.  Colby Rasmus could be moved to left but it is more likely that Anthoploulos will find a left fielder through free agency or a trade and Gose will return to the minors to work on his hitting.  I'm not so sure the team is sold on Rasmus so he he may start the season with Toronto and get dealt later in the season when Gose is ready to take over centre.

The top two starting positions are set with Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow.  Not sure which is the ace and in fact they could both be dropped a notch if a true ace was brought in (we call still dream of Zach Greinke in a Jays uniform).  A.J. Happ looked pretty good as a starter so he be a third starter though perhaps lower in the rotation.  That leaves two more bodies that have to be filled from outside.  All the other internal candidates including Henderson Alvarez should either be returned to the minors for further development or put in the bullpen.  Should the inevitable injury pop up they will become available to fill in.  The problem with the past season is that the young arms were in the Jays starting rotation providing little pitching depth so when the injuries piled up there were no major league arms in the system to bring up.

So the Jays have 5 spots to fill or perhaps just 4 if they convert a shortstop to second.  I don't expect Anthopolous to make a splash in the free agent market with his limited budget so he will fill most of the spots with trades.  He has a young catcher to move, Escobar or Rasmus and then some pitching prospects.  Not sure these will get him enough to push for a playoff spot.  That's why I'm hoping his salary budget jumps to over $100 million.

UPDATE:  The "ink" was barely dry on this post before Anthopolous made a move.  Aviles had barely enough time in Toronto for a cup of coffee before being shipped with Gomes to Cleveland for Esmil Rogers. So what so great about Rogers other than sharing the same name as the owner?  Well he is cheap and controllable until 2016 - things Anthopolous likes. He also throws hard.  This means that one or both bullpen free agents Jason Frasor and Brandon Lyon may not be returning.

Watch a tree in Long Island get uprooted by Sandy


Missed it by this much


Two would-be smugglers attempting to drive into Arizona from Mexico hit a roadblock when their jeep got stuck on the border fence just after midnight Tuesday.

U.S. Border Patrol agents from Yuma Sector's Yuma station foiled the smuggling attempt when agents came across a silver Jeep Cherokee that had become "high centered" at the top of a make-shift ramp.

The two suspects fled into Mexico just as agents patrolling the Imperial Sand Dunes area arrived at the scene. The incident is currently under investigation and any more details on the suspects was not immediately available.

U.S. Border Patrol seized both the Jeep and ramp equipment after removing the car from the approximately 14-foot-high fence.




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We are the champions....


Sign of the day


This has to be the best campaign ad ever


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Lydia Callis has become the star of the storm

Lydia Callis is pretty hard to miss. She has been a fixture at Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s news briefings, bobbing and nodding her way through the words of city officials as she communicates for the hearing-impaired.  Her expressiveness has caught the attention of the news media and the public.


Satellite view of Hurricane Sandy


Hurricane Sandy is the October surprise

President Obama delivered a statement about Hurricane Sandy during a visit to the Red Cross on Tuesday in Washington.


Every four years there is always talk about an October surprise, a news event staged within a few weeks of the Presidential election that tilts the outcome towards a candidate. 

The term came into use shortly after the 1972 presidential election between Republican incumbent Richard Nixon and Democrat George McGovern, when the United States was in the fourth year of negotiations to end the very long and domestically divisive Vietnam War. On October 26, 1972, twelve days before the election on November 7, the United States' chief negotiator, the presidential National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, appeared at a press conference held at the White House and announced, "We believe that peace is at hand".

Ever since then the media and candidates have tried to label political announcements as an October surprise, mostly as a way to discredit them.

There have been October surprise conspiracy theories like in 1980 when rumours circulated that a deal would be made by Jimmy Carter to release the Iran hostages.

Well Hurricane Sandy will likely fall into the category of October surprise.  The storm has provided President Obama with the opportunity to demonstrate leadership during a crisis.  Always a good thing before an election.  It doesn't hurt that Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (not a supporter of Mitt Romney) has been praising Obama since the storm hit.

Making things worse is that Romney has previously expressed a desire to gut FEMA and hand responsibility over to the states.  Romney has been questioned continually over the past few days on where he stands on FEMA.  The candidate refuses to answer.

 
It will be impossible to tell if the storm tilts the results of the election but it certainly has the potential to be a factor.

Hump day hottie - Halloween edition

Paulina Gretzky

Bad idea for a Halloween costume week


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Oh boy, David Stern calls Hurricane Sandy, Katrina - yeah it's time to retire


Facebook link helps break insurance fraud case




Four Sacramento women are suspected of working together to defraud auto insurers of more than $37,000, according to the California Department of Insurance (CDI).

CDI spokesman Dave Althausen said Susan Lee, 24; Angelique Jones, 20; Angela Medeiros, 40; and, Krystelmaree Marquez, 23 denied knowing each other but investigators obtained Facebook records and determined the foursome did know each other as "friends" on the social media website.

CDI spokesman Dave Althausen  said according to detectives, 23-year-old Krystelmaree Marquez rented a U-Haul truck Dec. 11, 2011 and purchased extra insurance protection. She was driving the truck the next day when she was involved in a collision with a Toyota Yaris drivien by 40-year-old Angela Medeiros with 24-year-old Susan Lee and 20-year-old Angelique Jones as passengers. The women all claimed crash-related injuries. Althausen also said Medeiros denied knowing the other involved parties to insurance company representatives and the other three women said they didn't know Medeiros.

However, Althausen said investigators obtained Facebook account records and determined the foursome did know each other as "friends" on the social media website.

Medeiros, Lee and Jones were arrested on suspicion of three fraud charges including providing false statements in support of an insurance claim and participating in a vehicle collision for the purpose of submitting a false insurance claim. Marquez, who faces the same allegations, hasn't been located.

Althausen said if convicted of all charges, the suspects face two to five years in state prison and/or a $50,000 fine.

source

12-year-old sues parents for drunk driving


Faith, now 12, is suing her parents for the physical and psychological injury they caused. Faith and her brother, John, sustained severe injuries when their alcoholic mother passed out while driving the children home from school. Ava, Faith’s 6-year-old sister, and friend Michaela Logan, 9, died when the vehicle crashed into an embankment.

The children’s mother, Mary Carberry, was “in the middle of a pub crawl and decided to pick up the four kids from school.” Mary remembers bits of the accident that killed her youngest daughter. “All I remember is the thump. Then the flashing blue lights,” she testified in court in 2007. “I did not know what I hit. I remember Ava, I remember her face, I just don’t know what happened. I don’t remember arriving in the hospital.”

After the accident, Mary was sentenced to six years in prison, but her time was later reduced to four years.

 Now, Faith, with the help of her grandfather, is seeking justice for her sister. Faith was injured in the accident, undergoing surgery to her spine and spending ten weeks in a spinal cast at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital. Faith also suffered “severe psychological trauma and upset and she attended a child psychologist for three months after the incident.”

Mary Carberry had already been banned from driving at the time of the accident. After two previous DUIs, Mary had no license and no insured vehicle. Faith’s father – also being targeted in the girl’s lawsuit – claims that he bought Mary a car, but didn’t expect her to drive it. He’d merely purchased the car after Mary allegedly told him that the children were “wet and cold” walking to and from school.

“It pulled at my heart strings. She was seeking for me to provide transport, purchase a car and somebody who was insured and had a full licence would drive it,” Tommy Varden told the court, adding that he never intended for Mary to drive the purchased BMW.

Varden added that Mary was attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings at the time, and “seemed to be turning a new leaf.”

The father recounts the night of the accidents, saying that he received a phone call from Mary. “She said Ava was dead and she thought Faith was dead too,” he said. Vargan notes that it was only when he arrived at the hospital that he discovered Mary had been driving the car. “I was angry. I am still very angry. No way would I have given the car to her if I thought she was going to use it that way. I trusted her,” he said.

Faith, however, still holds her father responsible. He did, after all, purchase Mary a car. Vargan insists that, although he’d purchased the vehicle, it was only later that he discovered Mary had insured it, forging his signature on a check.

The lawsuit was settled on Wednesday, but the official outcome has yet to be disclosed.

According to Yahoo!News, Faith’s story is not a unique one. In the US, more than two-thirds of children fatally injured in car accidents “were riding with drunk drivers.” Young children, unlike adults, often do not have the awareness or option to opt out of getting into a car with an intoxicated driver, especially if a parent is behind the wheel.

In March, a mom in Iowa was allegedly driving drunk, and her 15-year-old daughter called 911 from the passenger’s seat. In 2009, four young kids died in a crash after their guardian was found to have a “blood alcohol level of .19 percent.

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The Gary Bettman Halloween costume


How to ruin a wedding ceremony - maybe an uninvited streaker


David Letterman did his show in front of no audience last night

Hard to do comedy with no audience and therefore no laughs.








That was fun

Well we hunkered down last night and fortunately we weren't hit too hard by Sandy.  Can't say the same for the Jersey shore and New York.












Donald Trump tries to bully BBC into not showing documentary about his bullying tactics

 Donald Trump tried to force the BBC to drop the broadcast of a critically acclaimed documentary on his alleged bullying of residents near his Scottish golf resort. Lawyers for the New York property magnate contacted the BBC two days before the feature-length film You've Been Trumped was screened on BBC2, claiming it was highly defamatory, biased and misleading, and demanding a right of reply.

The BBC went ahead and screened the documentary and did not provide Trump with a right to respond to the allegations.

Residents now fear Trump will launch another eviction onslaught.


Bad idea for a Halloween costume week


Monday, October 29, 2012

Woman killed by Staples sign in Toronto west end

Police have found a dead woman in a lot parking lot next to a dislodged Staples sign off Keele St., just south of St. Clair Ave. W.  This is why you don't leave home in a storm like this.  Sure a tree could come down on your house but its easier to get wiped out walking around.


The most pathetic storm headline

Only in New York would you have an article about dogs being denied access to a park during a major storm.  While the rest of the world prepares for a hurricane by stocking up on batteries, candles and dry goods New Yorkers stock up on cigarettes, vodka and Starbucks VIA instant coffee. It's another world over there in the Big Apple.
 
A Closed Central Park Leaves Dogs at a Loss
 
John Blondel and Rollo, a white Labrador, were denied access to Central Park.
 
 John Blondel and Rollo, a white Labrador, were denied access to Central Park.
 
They were crestfallen, whimpering in disbelief. The city’s dogs walked right up to an east side entrance of Central Park, saw the fence and could not fathom why they – and their owners – were not allowed in. For a little wind? Light rain? They had seen worse.

“I may have to carry him away,” said John Blondel, nodding to Rollo, a spry-looking white Labrador who was 10 and a half years old. Rollo decided to engage in a sit-down strike in front of the 79th Street entrance on Fifth Avenue.

Mr. Blondel, 56, who is in the investment management division for Goldman Sachs, had driven from his apartment in the West Village to give Rollo his daily constitution. Later, he would work from home. “This is going to be it for a while,” he said to his friend.

Soon, Rollo was joined by several other dogs dragging their walkers to yet another blocked entrance.

“They’re just amazed,” Mr. Blondel said.

When a gust of wind blew an opening in the temporary fencing, Rollo was wise to the opportunity. Mr. Blondel had to pull him back and head to the car.

The city’s parks had been closed since Sunday evening, and the morning scene was an abject one indeed. As joggers dashed by on the slippery, leaf-laden sidewalk adjacent to the park – some took advantage of the empty bus lanes to run in the street – they had to dodge the dogs, who were similarly displaced from their morning routine.

source

Some people are taking Frankenstorm seriously


This car spotted in Pennsylvania is headed out of the way of the storm.  Knowing that his home might lose power for several days, he's not taking any chances and taking with his freezer with him, no doubt full of  frozen pizzas, burgers and poppers.

As Hurricane Sandy descends on the Northeast, remember where Romney stands in disaster relief

Not trying to be cruel but conservatives are always quick to cut programs like disaster relief. So as many on the East Coast prepare for whatever Sandy has in store, think about how prepared a Romney admistration would be to provide relief.  The answer would be "absolutely" nothing.

That's what Romney told CNN's John King last year in response to a primary debate question about dismantling FEMA and handing the responsibility of emergency management over to the states.

"Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that's even better."

Romney went on to say that balancing the budget shouldn't be about "what we should cut," but rather" "what should we keep." When King asked if that included disaster relief, Romney responded affirmatively.



Bad idea for a Halloween costume week


For a dreary Monday morning, a compliation of stupid stunts


Please we can work this out


The NHL and NHLPA are about $300 million apart

So I sat down to calculate how far apart the owners and players from reaching an agreement and it's not much.  The chart below shows that the two sides are about $327 million apart when comparing two offers tabled.  The owners have offered a 50:50 split over a 6 year contract.  One of the offers tabled by the players is a 5 year contract where the players drop from the current 57% of hockey revenue to 55%, then 53% in year 2, 51% in year 3 and 50% in the final 2 years.

So despite all the rhetoric, the difference is only in the first 3 years of an agreement.  If the average NHL gate is $1.5 million (I'm just guessing) then the difference between the two is the equivalent of 200 league games or about 16% of a season's schedule.  So if the season is shorter than 75 games, then each side stands to lose $150 million based on a 50:50 split.  If the season is shortened to 68 games then each side Will lose as much as they could possible gain in this dispute. 

This suggests that all those games cancelled by the league could likely be restored once the parties settle and that a settlement is likely soon.  In the end the owners are not going to give up revenue for a moral victory.  I think in this standoff the players can actually win.




Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6
Revenue  $   3,300  $   3,330  $   3,570  $   3,827  $   4,102  $   4,398  $   4,714
Players' share (NHL's offer)  $   1,881  $   1,650  $   1,785  $   1,913  $   2,051  $   2,199  $   2,357
Players' share (NHLPA's offer)  $   1,881  $   1,832  $   1,892  $   1,952  $   2,051  $   2,199  
Diference
 $     182  $     107  $       38  $          -  $          -
 $     327









* All figures in $1,000,000

















Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ominous storm warning from the National Weather Service


From the National Weather Service at Mount Holly, New Jersey:

SANDY IS EXPECTED TO SLAM INTO THE NEW JERSEY COAST LATER MONDAY
NIGHT, BRINGING VERY HEAVY RAIN AND DAMAGING WINDS TO THE REGION.
THE STORM IS A LARGE ONE, THEREFORE DO NOT FOCUS ON THE EXACT CENTER
OF THE STORM AS ALL AREAS WILL HAVE SIGNIFICANT IMPACTS.

THIS HAS THE POTENTIAL TO BE AN HISTORIC STORM, WITH WIDESPREAD WIND
DAMAGE AND POWER OUTAGES, INLAND AND COASTAL FLOODING, AND MASSIVE
BEACH EROSION. THE COMBINATION OF THE HEAVY RAIN AND PROLONGED WIND
WILL CREATE THE POTENTIAL FOR LONG LASTING POWER OUTAGES AND SERIOUS
FLOODING.
 
PREPARATIONS SHOULD BE WRAPPING UP AS CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED TO
WORSEN TONIGHT AND ESPECIALLY ON MONDAY.

SOME IMPORTANT NOTES...

1. IF YOU ARE BEING ASKED TO EVACUATE A COASTAL LOCATION BY STATE
AND LOCAL OFFICIALS, PLEASE DO SO.

2. IF YOU ARE RELUCTANT TO EVACUATE, AND YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO RODE
OUT THE `62 STORM ON THE BARRIER ISLANDS, ASK THEM IF THEY COULD DO
IT AGAIN.

3. IF YOU ARE RELUCTANT, THINK ABOUT YOUR LOVED ONES, THINK ABOUT
THE EMERGENCY RESPONDERS WHO WILL BE UNABLE TO REACH YOU WHEN YOU
MAKE THE PANICKED PHONE CALL TO BE RESCUED, THINK ABOUT THE
RESCUE/RECOVERY TEAMS WHO WILL RESCUE YOU IF YOU ARE INJURED OR
RECOVER YOUR REMAINS IF YOU DO NOT SURVIVE.

4. SANDY IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS STORM. THERE WILL BE MAJOR
PROPERTY DAMAGE, INJURIES ARE PROBABLY UNAVOIDABLE, BUT THE GOAL IS
ZERO FATALITIES.

5. IF YOU THINK THE STORM IS OVER-HYPED AND EXAGGERATED, PLEASE ERR
ON THE SIDE OF CAUTION.

WE WISH EVERYONE IN HARMS WAY ALL THE BEST. STAY SAFE!
 
source 

Bad idea for a Halloween costume week


Bikini Sunday


Elisabetta Canalis