Thursday, May 28, 2009

Moving On Ugh!

So, once again I have made the decision to move. My current place of two years is way too small and too far from my job at Newark Airport. So, I feel the desire to move and man is it frustrating and it's making me a bit depressed.

Now, two years ago when I moved to my teeny tiny apartment I was coming off a bitter end of a relationship which involved me losing most of my savings paying both shares of the rent the last four months of the lease that she co-signed.

So, I lost my relationship, can't afford to live in my then current apartment, and soon lost my job due to the stress. That's 3 for 4 on the great trauma list, thankfully no one close to me had died.

So, I was desperate when it came to apartment hunting. I was waiting for word on my current job but until then I had to find an affordable apartment that I found to be next to impossible.

I did find an apartment that I felt I could afford with my little savings left. I had gotten a part time job at UPS that with Unemployment Insurance would hold me for about half a year. I had to show my pay stubs to get the apartment, which I did with the pay stubs of the job I had just lost.

I got turned down. It was the cheapest apartment I could find on Rent.com. I was freaking out, desperately trying to find another job quickly enough to show new pay stubs. Meanwhile my ex is trying to get sympathy from me about our breakup that I didn't initiate. My brain nearly exploded.

Before it did, I finally decided to check Craigslist for apartments. I had used it to look for jobs and had been more successful in getting interviews. So I found one that were cheaper than the one I got turned down for, this was a good thing. However I was shown two apartments in the same building that were of different qualities. I was concerned for a bait and switch plus I was unsure of the neighborhood with my car. Plus they specifically wanted the W-2 form from the previous year, a year I was out of work for a few months.

The second place I saw was a tiny apartment in Atlantic Highlands in a nice neighborhood, walking distance to movie theaters and shopping. But the reason I took it was the landlord merely asked me where I worked, I said UPS and that was good enough. When the check of course cleared, I moved in.

I had only planned to be there a year but I had some other financial situations and had not seen any place that inspired me enough to move. Plus I like the shore in the summer and made great use of it.

But now, I look for a bigger place and man is it stressful. One problem is that after I finish a lease I gotta sign a new lease, I don't get the option to go month to month. This limits when I can look for a new apartment. Now, I look at Rent.com et al, where it seems they need about 3-6 months notice for an apartment to be available wheras Craigslist has more variety and less lead time. Meanwhile I had to give notice on my current place so he can put an ad in the paper. I dunno why I feel guilty about leaving but I do, Damn my Catholic upbringing.

One place I liked has an apartment I like not available until September. I want to move in August. The Craigslist apartments in Millburn which was so available for May is slim pickings now, and I gotta hope that I can get a good one in the coming month.

God I hate looking for apartments.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pilot Error...












So I'm minding my own business flipping through the morning news programs determining which of the cable ones is gonna piss me off the most.


And the winner is....CNN

Now usually, it would be Fox and its morning fiends with their vapid stories and Donald Trump worship.

But CNN pissed me off but for the right reason. I was outraged at the content of a story they reported. They reported the story on why the plane that was flying to Buffalo, New York crashed. It turned out it may have had to do with pilot error and that fatigue may have been the cause. What opened my eyes was how much money the co-pilot, Rebecca Shaw, 24 made last year. It turns out she made 16,254 dollars. That's pathetic

Now it was mentioned how much she was paid an hour, $21 an hour but it didn't specify at what point did she get paid. Did she only get paid for air time? Or did she get paid for airport time? I'm thinking she only gets paid for air time which is only a small amount of time to be paid. $21 an hour is an insulting wage for a skilled pilot to be paid. I mean, the training that must be involved, the skills that need to be mastered, and the stress that must be endured has got to be worth much more than that.

Now pilots are expected to provide for their own sleeping quarters when they are not at their home base. The co-pilot, Lynn Morris lived in Seattle with her parents. She couldn't afford to rent a place in the Newark Airport area to crash, so whenever she does rest it would be in the airport crew lounge. It was against the rules to sleep there but because of her low pay and high pressure, she would sneak it in. This is
no business running airlines have taken over and priority number one is to make cost cuts. That means breaking unions, using old planes, salary cuts for pilots and substandard service so that shareholders and hedge managers make their profits. How much is enough though?

A Sobering Thought.
















I always read the death notices on Wikipedia. and along with all the pro wrestlers dying in their mid thirties, I occasionally see a death of someone who served in WWI or as it was once called, the "War to End All Worlds" They are more than 110 years old and there are less than a dozen living veterans left. Now we always hear about WWII veterans are dying at a rapid rate. Most are in their 80's and early 90's. I get the feeling that I will die before the last of the WWII veterans pass on.

And I will be old when I do.

wow.

New Cartoon

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

An Updated Longwinded Baseball Blog

I am one of those guys who wants to see a baseball game in every baseball park during one season. I have been in several and plan on going to a few more this summer. So, when I look at the list of stadium names I come across names of stadiums I'm not familiar with. This is due to the decade long trend of naming ballparks after corporate sponsors. I'm going to rant about the names of all the ballparks and how it much it reflects the team, the owners and the look of the ballpark.

I first noticed corporate naming of parks was when I saw a "Game of The Week" with San Francisco Giants playing in a place called 3com park. Now, these were the days many teams were getting new ballparks but I had not heard of the Giants getting a ballpark at that time. I noticed that it was Candlestick Park but with a name change a corporate name change. Now, ballparks had name changes in the past but usually it was in tribute to a late owner like Kaufmann Field in Kansas City or a beloved sportswriter like Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego. This was different, the name change was purchased in a naming rights scheme that had limited use beforehand in new venues but was now coming to established structures whose previous name was ingrained in the minds of fans for decades. The new trend was disturbing by how awful the names were. 3com? Qualcomm? Network Associates Stadium? Ugh!

Here are the names of all the baseball parks in various categories to get an idea of where the name comes from.

THE WHO PLAYS HERE BALLPARKS

Dodger Stadium, Yankee Stadium, Nationals Ballpark, and Angels Stadium.

Do you need to figure out how what team plays here? I always figured if I was a rebellious sportscaster I would refer to every park's name that's named for a corporation that doesn't own the team by its team name. We're here at Mariners Field in Seattle. The roof is closed on blistering hot day at Diamondbacks Stadium etc, etc.

Angels Stadium doesn't really count, it's been around since 1966 and has been called Angels Stadium for only a few years. Before that they were called Edison Field ( A Public Utility company) when it was owned by Disney curiously enough. Before that it was called Anaheim Stadium and when they played in Dodger Stadium, they referred to THAT as Chavez Ravine. Of course the team can't figure out what city they want to belong to, they've been the Los Angeles Angels, the California Angels, the Anaheim Angels and The Los Angeles Angels OF Anaheim. Hoo boy.

I know Nationals Ballpark is temporary, like Seahawks Stadium. They couldn't get a sponsor for the new ballpark in DC. Still, when they change it, the fans will continue to call it the old name.

THE WHO ELSE PLAYS THERE.

Dolphin Stadium-Florida Marlins

Only one team fits this category. The Florida Marlins play in Dolphin Stadium named for the football team who's played there since the late 80's when it was known as Joe Robbie Stadium named for the owner of the Dolphins. It was named Pro Player when that company bought the naming rights, at least the name is sports related.

CORPORATE NAMES THAT MAKE SENSE

Wrigley Field-Chicago Cubs, Busch Stadium-St. Louis Cardinals, Coors Field-Colorado Rockies, Miller Park- Milwaukee Brewers.

I guess because all these parks are named after companies named after real people, I kinda like these names. Also, I find that since beer is a big part of sports, naming it after a beer company that's big in the region is fine. Besides, the Wrigley and Busch families owned their teams and I think an owner can name his stadium whatever he wants. I just hope there are different beers available at these places. I wonder how much gum is sold at Wrigley during a game?

GOOD NAMES/BAD BALLPARKS

Hubert H Humphrey Metrodome-Minnesota Twins

I like ballparks that are named after people, especially ones that you have to research to figure out who it's named after. Minnesota had an odd way of paying tribute to its favorite son Senator Hubert Humphrey by naming its awful dome with the hefty bag outfield fence after him.

GOOD NAMES/GREAT BALLPARKS

Camden Yards-Baltimore Orioles, Jacobs Field- Cleveland Indians, Kauffman Stadium-Kansas City Royals.

These ballparks are shining examples of how good a ballpark for baseball should be, Kauffman Stadium was built only for baseball in the 70's in the era of multi-purpose stadiums. It has a beautiful fountain in the bleacher area of the outfield and great sightlines. It was known as Royals Stadium until their owner Earl Kauffman died, then they renamed it in his honor while removing the only blight on the ballpark, the astroturf.

Jacobs Field and Camden Yards are the jewels that started the trend of retro look ballparks that continue to this day. Jacobs Field was named for a former owner of the Cleveland Indians, Richard Jacobs. It's a huge honor considering how beautiful Jacobs Field is compared to Cleveland Stadium a.k.a. The Mistake By The Lake. It also brought a winning tradition to the lowly Indians.

(2009 update- Jacobs Field is now know as Progressive Field)

Camden Yards is actually called Oriole Park at Camden Yards. It was a compromise name between the governor of Maryland and the owner of the Orioles. Camden Yards name stuck though. It sounds cool.

I OWN THE TEAM DAMMIT!

Turner Field-Atlanta Braves, Rogers Centre-Toronto(Canada) Blue Jays

There are only two ballparks named after current team owners and both would qualify as corporate naming. Turner Field was named for Ted Turner, owner of the Atlanta Braves. It was built for the 1996 Olympics and converted to a baseball stadium after the Olympics ended. Rogers Centre in Canada was renamed from Skydome when Rogers Communications CEO, The late Ted Rogers bought the Blue Jays of Canada. Skydome was the last of the forward looking stadiums built for baseball use, every park built for baseball since then was built retro style.

USED TO HAVE A MEMORABLE NAME

Ameriquest Field-Texas Rangers , U.S. Cellular-Chicago White Sox.

These two parks were built in the early 90's to replace two inadequate ballparks. One was too small and the other too old. Ameriquest Field was named the Ballpark at Arlington when it was built in 1994, a dull name to be sure. It was one of the new ballparks that basically used a land grab, a tax hike and lawsuits to get the stadium built, of course what do you expect with a team owned by George W. Bush? The naming rights went to Ameriquest, a mortgage company. Yawn.

Greetings from Rangers Park!

U.S. Cellular is a curious renaming of New Comiskey Park. Comiskey Park was an aging park that needed to be replaced in 1990. Instead of renaming it after someone or something that wasn't a scumbag, they kept the name of cheapskate Comiskey on the new venue, which may be appropriate because with the cost-cutting involved in the building of New Comiskey it looked cheap compared to any ballpark built since then. U.S. Cellular company bought the naming rights in 2003 at around the time major renovations were being done to the park.


CORPORATE NAMES FROM DAY ONE OR BAD NAMES/GREAT PARKS

PNC Park- Pittsburgh Pirates, Safeco Field-Seattle Mariners, Citizen Bank Park-Philadelphia Phillies, Petco Park-San Diego Padres, Comerica Park- Detroit Tigers CitiField- New York Mets.


All these parks are beautiful ballparks that have been built in the last 15 years. All get their names from corporate sponsorships. All have names that really don't reflect the personality of the team. My problem with many of the corporate names is that they are sponsored by dull financial institutions that obtain their wealth through the exploitation of their customers. How good does it feel to have your insurance company spend millions on a ballpark while cutting your benefits and raising your rates?

PNC and Comerica are financial services companies, Safeco is an insurance company, and Citizen Bank is a, well, bank company. Petco Park is a minor improvement name wise from the Padres previous home, Qualcomm Park. Still, it is a name that inspires chuckles, makes the team seem silly, however the cross promotion involving bringing dogs to the park is appealing.

PNC can stand for Pirates New C.........I dunno. Safeco is nicknamed the Safe as in safe at home, Citizen Bank features a liberty bell as its logo that rings when the Phillies hit a home run. Comerica has tigers but the name....sounds like America if the commies were in control. CitiField opened in 2009 and may be the most egregious corporate name since Enron Field in Houston. Citi-Group is a failing corporation getting tons of tax dollars and yet gets to keep their name on the new ballpark. It won't last. Trust me.

YEP, IT'S CORPORATE

Great American Park-Cincinnati Reds, Tropicana Field-Tampa Bay Devil Rays

These two ballparks are as different from each other as night and day. One is brand new and beautiful the other is dull, gray and a relic of the 80's. Tropicana Field is not a field, it's a domed stadium built for a non existent team in the late 80's. Tampa Bay tried to woo the White Sox, the Giants, and the Mariners to the area with a new stadium that was superior to the ones the teams had back then. However in the years since, they settled for an expansion team in 1998. The stadium was already a eyesore compared to all the parks that had been built in that time period. It got it's name from Tropicana Orange Juice and it's a good fit in that the stadium looks like and orange squeezer. The sponsor's orange lighting on the roof of the dome looks almost attractive.

The Great American Ballpark is a good name because most people would not associate it with the insurance division of the American Financial Group, Inc. They would think patriotic thoughts about the oldest team in professional baseball. It's much better than Cinergy Field which was the renamed Riverfront Stadium, one of the cookie cutters from the 70's.

WHAT THE HELL IS THE NAME OF THIS PARK ANYWAY?

Chase Field-Arizona Diamondbacks, McAfee Associates Coliseum-Oakland A's , Minute Maid Field-Houston Astros, Angels Stadium-Los Angeles Angels of Aneheim, AT&T Park-San Francisco Giants.

These are ballparks that have changed their name several times in recent years. All are corporate named and none have names that inspire awe. Chase Field was once known as Bank One Ballpark, nicknamed the BOB. Not only the name changed but the type of venue changed from ballpark to field. The name changed due to a merger of Bank One with Chase, which is why I hate corporate names. Minute Maid Field was originally called Enron Field. Due to the scandal involving Enron the name was short-lived. It was called Astros Field until Minute Maid took over the naming rights. I'm sorry but Minute Maid Field is the wimpiest name for any sports venue not involving tennis. Enron was bad enough even before the scandal, what the hell is an Enron? But Minute Maid? I'm sorry, but that's the name for a All-American Girls Professional Baseball League ballpark.

And what's the deal with the bay area teams? Both the Giants and the A's have changed their venue names at least twice in the last 10 years. The Giants played at Candlestick Park until it got re-named to the loathsome 3com. When they built their new beautiful new ballpark, the fact that it would have a corporate name was forgivable, especially since no taxpayer's money was being used to build it. It was named for a local phone company Pacific Bell Park or PacBell, which is less obnoxious than 3com. The name only lasted for four seasons when SBC communications PacBell's parent company wanted to take over the name of the park. That only lasted for two years when SBC merged with AT&T much like Exxon merging with Mobil. AT&T renamed the venue AT&T Park. this is like when you keep the same bank account, when your banks keep changing names. How obnoxious! The unfortunate thing is that without a non corporate name in its past what would you call the place that would be immune to the name changes.

The A's on the other hand don't get any respect. They have been as good of any team in the majors since they moved to Oakland in 1968. Only the Yankees have won more championships since then. They have played in McCafee Coliseum since it was known as Oakland-Alamdea County Coliseum (yikes!) . They have had to share the stadium with the Oakland Raiders every year the Raiders were in Oakland. It was fine for baseball the first era with the Raiders with large foul areas for the pitchers to take advantage of, after the Raiders moved to Los Angeles, the A's had themselves a decent ballpark to themselves with teams that reached the World Series three times in the late 80's. The Raiders moved back to Oakland and ruined the look of the field by blocking the view of the surrounding hills that made for pleasant baseball viewing. This made attendances to A's games so spartan that the A's cover up half the seats with a tarp. Soon after the Raiders moved back, the name changed to Network Associates Coliseum after the computer security company bought out the naming rights and when Network Associates changed their own name to McAffe the neme of the stadium changed with it.


Okay, I believe that takes care of all the ballpark names in major league baseball. Like I said, I love it when they name it after people like Jack Murphy or William Shea. Corporate names are fine if it will last a long time, like Busch Stadium through three different venues no less. I think that the broadcasters from visiting teams should refer the ballpark to the teams name so there's less confusion. Sorry to waste your time but I wanted to write about this.

An Update

I have updated my list of the 30 baseball teams in the order of my rooting interests and a brief statement why.


1. New York Mets- Naturally it's my favorite team.
2. Seattle Mariners- I lived in Seattle for 14 years, I grew to like them in the Ken Griffey Jr. years. They have got great uniforms and got gypped by the terrorists in 2001.
3. Chicago Cubs- They haven't won since 1908! Could there be anyone alive who remembers?
4. Cleveland Indians- A team that didn't get respect and were beaten in the World Series recently by annoying teams like the Braves and the Marlins.
5. San Francisco Giants- They have yet to win since they moved to California. Willie Mays made that catch the last time they won against the Indians no less!
6. San Diego Padres- They have been around since 1969 and have been in the World Series twice but lost. I do like the city and just like the Mets, they have yet to throw a no-hitter.
7. Milwaukee Brewers- I like them, but they were the team that took over for the Seattle Pilots after only one season.
8. Kansas City Royals- Like the Phillies they were perennial winners in the American League West back in the 70's. They won one World Series title and it was tainted by a bad call.
9. Colorado Rockies-When they came into the league I like their uniforms and the fan support they had in the first few years was amazing. They are due.
10. Pittsburgh Pirates- They have suffered enough! They have the best ballpark, It's time!
11. Tampa Bay Devil Rays- They haven't been around that long but boy have they suffered until 2008! Give them one soon!
12. Washington Nationals-They haven't been in Washington long but they used to be the Montreal Expos who only had one post season experience during a strike shortened season that ended badly and worse had the best record by far in 1994 when the baseball lockout happened. I'd put them higher if they were still in Montreal.
13. Baltimore Orioles- They last won a World Series back in 1983 when I didn't care who won.
14. Detroit Tigers- I rooted for them last World Series, and the fact they almost had the most losses in history a mere 4 years ago....
15. Boston Red Sox- They would be number three if they hadn't won in 2004, but I do like them plus as a Yankee hater, A Bosox win is alllll good. Except in 1986 of course!
16. Philadelphia Phillies- When I first followed baseball, they were perennial winners in the National League East. They won a World Series in 1980. Years later they have rubbed it in to the Mets on their recent win and they fall down the list now. Still in some 140 years of existence, they have won the same amount of World Series as the Marlins.
17. Cincinnati Reds- They were my go to team in the 70's when the Mets sucked. They won in 1990 in a sweep against the A's with Sweet Lou as manager, I loved it!
18. Oakland A's- They are near the top of the bottom of the list which means every team that follows I'm not so interested in. Though, losing two out of three World Series back in the late 80s makes me have sympathy.
19. Houston Astros- They haven't won the World Series yet but are down this low for one reason: George H. W. Bush is a fan.
20. Chicago White Sox- They won in 2005, if they hadn't, they would be higher on the list.
21. Saint Louis Cardinals- Yeah, they beat my Mets in 2006, but they are the closest to the Yankees to World Series wins, 26-10. Plus they have great fans who tip well.
22. Minnesota Twins- Their stadium sucks, they do good in a limited budget, but they have won two World Series since the Mets last won.
23. Toronto Blue Jays- They also have won two World Series since the Mets last won and they have only been around since 1977, so there you are....
24. Atlanta Braves- I know it's heresy as a Mets fan but they could have been the team of the 90's merely by winning one more World Series title! Especially in 1996, or 1999 against the Yankees.
25. Los Angeles Dodgers- They beat my Mets back in 1988 but they have had some hard luck in recent years since the O'Malleys sold the team, They can win after the Mets win some.
26. Texas Rangers- They are the lowest team who has not won a World Series. They are this low for one reason, They made George W. Bush rich by doing land grabs and taxing the residents hard.
27. California Angels- They should be higher, after all, they have been around longer than the Mets and humiliates the Yankees in post season, I guess I put them this low cuz they didn't win when Gene Autrey was alive.
28. Arizona Diamondbacks- I don't hate them and they did beat the Yankees in a great World Series in 2001 but they are just to new to root for.
29. Florida Marlins- They are dull, they have no fans, they had two winning seasons in their first ten years of existence and they won the World Series each times as a Wild Card team. Please.
30. New York Yankees- Last, certainly not least. They have won 26 World Series they can wait a century to win another. When you become a Mets fan, you have to hate the Yankees, it's not so much the other way around.