It’s Deja Vu All Over Again

“It will happen,” I said at the time to anyone who asked, “when I grow a second penis.” I actually didn’t say penis.

Our governor, Hartford’s mayor and a bunch of other prominent Connecticut residents were played. When all was said and done they looked naive and foolish.

PatslogoI remember the fall of ’98 like it was yesterday. Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, spent the summer flirting with Connecticut. He was using us to make his ‘real girlfriend,’ Massachusetts, jealous.

Gov. John G. Rowland of Connecticut and the owner of the New England Patriots scheduled a news conference at the Capitol today to announce an agreement to move the National Football League team from Massachusetts to downtown Hartford, a spokesman for the Governor said this morning. – NYTimes 11/19/98

“It will happen,” I said at the time to anyone who asked, “when I grow a second penis.”

I actually didn’t say penis.

Our governor, Hartford’s mayor and a bunch of other prominent Connecticut residents were played. Kraft saw us as bumpkins. We were.

By the way, I will never root for the Patriots as long as Kraft is associated with it in any way. I am still bitter. It may have been good business, but it was bad faith.

los-angeles-angels-of-anaheim-logoWhere were we?

Oh, yeah… I’m reminded of the Patriots story because of something going on down here. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are going through contentious negotiations over the team’s lease with Anaheim, their stadium’s owner.

Angels owner Arte Moreno wants the Moon and the stars. The City of Anaheim doesn’t want to get fleeced. The prevailing wisdom is the current lease has been a lot better for Moreno than Anaheim.

Now, Moreno has pulled a Kraft!

Angels owner Arte Moreno met with officials from the City of Tustin last week to discuss the possibility of building a new baseball stadium, a team spokesman confirmed Saturday.

One potential site would be the decommissioned Marine Corps Air Station, which would be accessible via the 5, 405 and 55 Freeways and is across the street from the Tustin Metrolink train station. LATimes 2/15/14

Tustin is the next city north from here. It is not the only stranger being kissed while Anaheim looks on.

Amid tense negotiations with Anaheim, the Los Angeles Angels baseball team has said it talked with FivePoint Communities, the developer of homes surrounding the Great Park in Irvine. What kind of talk, no one knows – or will say in much detail. OCRegister 5/2/14

I could walk to the games! We’re around a mile northeast of the park.

I’ll grow a second penis before any of this happens.

Moreno is playing hardball, but he doesn’t want to move ten miles farther from Los Angeles. The Angels are best served staying right where they are with a little stadium upgrade. It’s all about money.

I hope Anaheim remains firm.

When In Doubt, Blame The Weatherman… Again

georgia snow

When in doubt, blame the weatherman! Maybe there was a time that worked. It doesn’t anymore. The governor of Georgia, Nathan Deal, understands that better today than yesterday.

Tuesday at 10:00 AM, as a crippling snow and ice storm was moving through the south, Governor Deal said,

“At that time it was still, in most of the forecasts, anticipated that the city of Atlanta would only have a mild dusting or a very small accumulation if any, and that the majority of the effects of the storm would be south of here. Preparations were made for those predictions.”

Except those weren’t the predictions.

Here’s a segment of the NWS Area Forecast Discussion from Tuesday at 4:11 AM:



The governor has now been taken to task by pretty much everyone who knows the definition of the isobar!

Marshall Shepherd, a meteorologist with the University of Georgia and president of the American Meteorological Society, said neither meteorologists nor the forecast for the Atlanta area was to blame.

“The buses had a tough time getting kids home, but meteorologists should not be thrown under the bus,” he said.

At 3:39 a.m. Tuesday, Marshall said the weather service issued a winter storm warning for the entire Atlanta metro area, expecting 1-2 inches of snow. “Overall, the Atlanta event was a well-forecasted and well-warned event,” he said. – USAToday

This reminds me of Connecticut’s Halloween snowstorm of 2011. You remember Jeff Butler, the president of CL&P.

“But I will assure you, when we had the weather forecast and everything we looked at in preparation for this storm, the amount of snow, which ended up being the problem, was far more significant than what had been forecast,” he said.”This event as it came in Saturday started earlier and lasted longer, with more snow accumulation–and remember, all the trees still had their foliage on them.” Butler’s comments stood in stark contrast to the dire warnings issued by local television meteorologists and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Friday, more than 24 hours before the first flakes fell. “If we get the amount of snow that’s being forecast, a lot of people are going to lose power, and power is going to be out for an extended period of time,” Malloy told reporters at a news conference at the Legislative Office Building late Friday morning. – Hartford Courant

I don’t think so. Here’s what I wrote in my blog a few days before that storm hit.

Whatever falls will be heavier inch-for-inch than a typical storm. The snow to water ratio will be low. It’s the kind of snow that’s good for snowballs and extra slippery for drivers!

There’s one more element of this storm which is worrisome. Sustained 20-30 mph northeasterly wind with higher gusts is likely. If this wet snow clings to trees and leaves we’ll have enough wind to bring down limbs and power lines. – My Permanent Record

I wasn’t alone. NBC30’s Ryan Hanrahan’s early take:

“One of the reasons I’m unusually concerned about this storm is that the amount of leaves on the trees make them particularly vulnerable to damage. If the snow is of the heavy and wet variety we could have major and widespread power outages. We’re in uncharted territory here in terms of this type of storm this early in the season.” – Ryan Hanrahan

This same excuse was trotted out after Hurricane Sandy left Long Island powerless! Are we that easy a target?

What happened in Georgia is truly a tragedy. It would have been nice to get a really long lead on this forecast, but sometimes science doesn’t cooperate. However, once the forecast is there you can’t stick your head in the sand and you can’t blame the weatherman.

Well, you can, but we’ll call you on it in a hurry.

My Open Letter To Governor Elect Malloy

Seriously, does everyone who enters Connecticut really need to know it’s you there in the Governor’s Mansion?

Dear Governor-elect Malloy,

You’re just a few weeks away from officially taking office. I’m sure it’s both exciting and scary. The state’s financial house is pretty shaky. From here on out you’re the one held responsible whether you’re responsible or not!

I wish there was something you could do to fix all our problems in one fell swoop. Of course there’s not. Instead you’re going to have to have to make many difficult and probably unpopular choices.

Luckily there is one choice you can make right away which will be very popular and though it won’t save much money it will symbolize what’s to come.

Don’t put your name on every damn sign in the state!

Seriously, does everyone who enters Connecticut really need to know it’s you there in the Governor’s Mansion?

I’m not sure how many signs there are that need to be changed, but it’s surely a lot–more than most of us probably realize. Doing this in a D.O.T. sign shop is not cheap!

So, what do you say? Take my advice. The repainted signs always look like crap anyway.

All the best,

The State Makes A Bad Deal

A tax break or any other giveback to a single entity is awful. When done following a threat to move it’s awful and distasteful.

Tonight on the news Mark Davis reported on a ‘deal’ to save Pratt and Whitney’s engine plant in Cheshire.

Governor Rell has offered Pratt and Whitney a $100 million tax incentive to keep its engine repair plant open in Cheshire.

The deal would be good for $20 million per year for five years. She presented the proposal to parent United Technologies this morning and reports are that initial reaction is positive.

Really? $100 million and the reaction is positive. Shocker!

I am not involved in news gathering. I am only speaking on behalf of myself.

How is this not extortion? Pratt and Whitney threatens to leave… sorry, a profitable Pratt and Whitney threatens to leave and is, in essence, granted $100 million from the taxes and fees the rest of us pay.

I have always been against pitting states or municipalities against each other seeing who can give the better deal to a big business. It’s a foolish race to the bottom.

I’m against this too.

A tax break or any other giveback to a single entity is awful. When done following a threat to move it’s awful and distasteful.

Isn’t the state already broke? Is there no shame?

Our Busy Weekend

We found out his Mac notebook doesn’t have a VGA out port. He couldn’t plug in to the projector. Seriously–no VGA plug? I am surprised even though my friends with Mac always tell me how much they like their machines and how frustrated they are by some tasks they can’t perform or programs they can’t run.

For the Foxes this was a busy weekend. We had events Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday evening was spent with Harvey and Sandy in Woodbridge. They have an annual Chanukah party. We’ve been going most years for as long as I can remember. Ages ranged from 11 weeks to too old to gracefully ask.

We get to Wodbridge totally on smaller secondary roads. At one point we take a narrow 2-lane road twisting along the shore of a reservoir. There’s water on one side and a fence on the other. Saturday evening was extremely foogy. No fun driving in that.

menorahs-w250-h250.jpgDuring Chanukah Jewish families light the menorah each night at sundown. The tradition at Harvey and Sandy’s party is all the families bring their own menorahs and light them at once–which was great because the party used to be early in Chanukah.

Saturday each family lit seven candles plus an additional ‘helper’ candle. Helaine and I discussed standing by with 9-1 dialed on the cellphone. The dining room was noticably warmed by all those candles.

We look forward to the “pigs in blankets” served each year. As we walked in someone was carrying them to the basement. That’s where the kids usually hang out. Did we go downstairs just for the pigs? I’ll never tell.

Harvey always has fun toys to play with. This time he had X-Plane installed. Running on his Mac with a flight yoke and pedals it was amazingly fun to fly. It was impossible for me to easily control.

One of their three grown, daughters&#185 was home. She works in New York as a production assistant on some Bravo productions. Both Helaine and Stef were impressed she was working on Top Chef, which they enjoy and I’ve never seen.

Sunday the occasion was totally different. It was my friend Farrell’s mother’s 90th birthday. Being 90 is a difficult job. Ruth is equal to the task.

I wrote about Ruth in August 2005. She was about to get caught up in one of the biggest news stories of the decade.

I just got off the phone with my friend’s mom in New Orleans.

We’ve never met in person, but she knows me. I’ve fixed her computer by remote control. She’s seen me on TV while visiting her daughter in Connecticut. I’ve known her son for over 25 years and he’s a trusted friend.

She understands I’m looking out for her.

“Leave,” I said. “Leave now.”

ruth_meisel.jpgRuth lives in Connecticut now, near her daughter. Her home was flooded and destroyed in Katrina’s aftermath.

A few days ago Farrell sent me an email, looking for a way to make a slideshow of family photographs. I suggested Animoto. Farrell came with the slideshow in his laptop…his Mac laptop.

That’s when we found out his Mac notebook doesn’t have a VGA out port. He couldn’t plug in to the projector. Seriously–no VGA plug? I am surprised even though my friends with Mac always tell me how much they like their machines and how frustrated they are by some tasks they can’t perform or programs they can’t run.

I found a way to convert the slideshow video to an m4v file (never heard of it before) which was somehow compatible with another laptop–a Dell. We used ‘sneaker net’ in the form of a USB stick to move it. The slideshow did go on.

At age 90 you get a note from your congressman (Rep. Rosa DeLauro) and a proclamation from the governor declaring your birthday as Ruth Meisel Day in Connecticut.

Ruth wore a crown. It’s good to be Queen.

&#185 – Sandy went to the hospital to give birth to their second child. It was only after the delivery they discovered there was one more child in there. Really.

The Friend Quandary

The bigger question is, who has the time to constantly monitor all of these darn sites?

Are you on Facebook? How about Linkedin? Me too. My friend Jon Wolfert responded via email a few days ago after I tried to connect via Linkedin.

OK, we’re “LinkedIn” now, but I really have no idea what to do with this site. A few months ago I played around with Facebook, mainly because I wanted to see some photos Melissa [his daughter] had posted on her page, and I find that is easier to deal with than this place. But even there I have a seemingly incompatible mix of family, friends and business types.

The bigger question is, who has the time to constantly monitor all of these darn sites? -j

He’s right. It’s a fulltime job.

I forgot to mention Twitter. I’m on Twitter too, but when I tweet it’s automatically relayed to Facebook. Two birds with one stone.

Who should be my friend? Lots of strangers ask. I’ve tried to limit my friendliness to people I actually know–but I don’t want to offend.

If you’re not on Facebook I should explain. Facebook has added one thing life has always needed–an ignore button!

I actually find Facebook reasonably useful. I am watching a community of people I know. Facebook cleverly gives me the opportunity to squelch or amplify certain people without their knowledge.

Now I can look friendly without having to actually be friendly!

I guess there’s also the stalker aspect of this. I know who your friends are. I know where you’ve been. I see pictures from your fun times… and your drunk times. I’ve seen pictures of your friends too.

But I am still in a quandary about who to accept as my friend. I want to be friendly, just not too friendly. Maybe I should take the advice of soon-to-be-former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich:

“I’ve got this thing and it’s f***ing golden, and, uh, uh, I’m just not giving it up for f***in’ nothing. I’m not gonna do it. And I can always use it. I can parachute me there,”

Maybe not.

The Real Problem With A $150,000 Clothing Budget

The McCain campaign has done its best to portray Governor Palin’s connection to mainstream America.

A few headlines from this afternoon:

  • Group files complaint over Palin clothes
  • Salvation Army: We’ll take Palin’s clothes
  • McCain has terse response on Palin shopping spree

There’s some mainstream media traction with the revelation the McCain campaign spent $150,000 on clothes for Sara Palin and family. It seems like a lot of money to me, but that’s not my problem with it. After all, I get a clothing allowance–though a tiny percentage of hers.

I’d like to keep this non-partisan, but I can’t find an easy analog from the Democrats. This is not a $400 haircut and I’ll tell you why. John Edwards is a wealthy man.

The McCain campaign has done its best to portray Governor Palin’s connection to mainstream America. It is among their most repeated bullet points. She is the “hockey mom from Wasilla.” And yet, when they wish to physically portray her, they want to show affluence a hockey mom can’t afford.

Is the real fear a true portrayal of a hockey mom’s clothing budget just isn’t as appealing? Are we being sold sizzle or steak?

Whatever the bottom line, this is a temporary annoyance for the Republicans, but it keeps them off their game while already weak.

Intrade’s VP Scoop–We’ll See

I am paying attention because I sense Intrade is insightful.

The New York Observer’s website has “Intrade Loves Pawlenty’s Chances” as a headline this evening.

What kind of day has Tim Pawlenty had? The kind where your value on the Intrade Republican vice-presidential future markets shoots up by more than 50 points — while your chief opponent’s stock plummets by 31. The Minnesota governor is now trading roughly where Joe Biden was just before word of his selection by Barack Obama broke.

I don’t know a lot about Tim Pawlenty. Oh, who am I kidding? I don’t know anything about Tim Pawlenty. However, I am paying attention because I sense Intrade is insightful. It’s a conversation I had online last night with my friend Farrell. Intrade now has Tim Pawlenty as the prohibitive favorite to be John McCain’s vice presidential running mate.

We’ll know more tomorrow or over the weekend. Can you beat the wisdom of crowds? In the Internet era, can 60 million Frenchmen still be wrong?

Hooked On Hookers

Now that I’ve stood on my high horse about Spitzer’s position, let me throw in a curveball. Why exactly is prostitution illegal in the first place? Seriously.

The big news this afternoon has been the New York Times story about New York’s governor, Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer has been linked to a prostitution ring.

I feel awful for Spitzer’s family. How does one reconcile with a spouse or child after this betrayal of trust? How do you re-establish trust?

Maybe you can’t.

Now that I’ve stood on my high horse about Spitzer’s position, let me throw in a curveball. Why exactly is prostitution illegal in the first place? Seriously.

I understand the act of prostitution in and of itself offends the sense of morality in many people, but do we legislate morality? Should we?

There are certainly serious questions raised about women forced into prostitution. It’s a horrendous and repugnant situation. However, wouldn’t we be better able to police and control that if prostitution was brought out of the shadows? The same goes for questions of disease.

We permit prostitution in much of Nevada (though not Clark County/Las Vegas). It’s also legal and controlled in the Netherlands. I’m not sure what the effects have been, but I suspect the answer is not much. Prostitution will exist with or without the sanction of government.

I suspect some of you will leave a comment and disagree with my opinion. It’s even possible one of you will comment and change my opinion. I’m not afraid to flip-flop on this if I find I’ve missed some crucial fact.

With all that’s wrong in the world, do we really have enough time and resources to go after prostitutes and their tricks?

Too Many Drops Of Rain

When you forecast flooding, there’s really a great deal of faith that all the elements have to fall into line – and they never do exactly. It’s a forecast based on an assumption, based on a supposition.

Rain on the table on our deck“Honey, it’s grey and disgusting out. That’s enough.”

That was Helaine’s response to my asking if a photo truly captured the essence of today? I don’t think it does. I don’t know if I can do any better. Rain is not photogenic.

It is truly awful outside… and yet, I’m tormented by the fear it’s not as bad as I forecast.

Former Governor (and convicted felon) John Rowland once told me, after hearing my forecasts preceding Hurricane Gloria, he was surprised no houses were blowing down the street in Waterbury, his hometown.

IMG_2912.JPGOver the past few days it became more and more likely we were going to have heavy rain. It was a two pronged storm, with heavy elements last night, an overnight break, then more heavy rain today. Flooding was likely.

When you forecast flooding, there’s really a great deal of faith that all the elements have to fall into line – and they never do exactly. It’s a forecast based on an assumption, based on a supposition.

Is the ground as saturated as I think it is? Will the rain be as heavy? Are the historical flooding benchmarks still applicable today?

Here’s an example, from the Yantic River in Eastern Connecticut. The river is forecast to crest at 9.5 feet.

A week ago, 250 cubic feet of water passed by the gauge each second. Right now, it’s 1,770 cu/ft/sec. By the time the river crests, it will be 4,160 cu/ft/sec. Obviously, as rivers rise, they also spread out.





Nearly half the state is under Flash Flood Warnings right now.

I understand the implications of all this rain. It will cost people money. It will, briefly, interrupt lives. It’s a royal pain in the ass.

How strange to want my forecast to be right, and to want my forecast to be wrong, at the same time!

Jury Duty Calls

I opened the envelope and stared at my “SUMMONS FOR PETIT JUROR.”

Hey! Who are you calling ‘petit’?

I assume this just differentiates my service from that of a grand juror. Considering the number of times I’ve heard it said, “a prosecutor could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich,” I’ll stick with this.

I have been summoned to Superior Court in New Haven. To quote the State of Connecticut, Judicial Branch website: “The Superior Court hears civil, criminal, family and juvenile matters.”

It is to the court system as Wal*Mart is to retail – a little of everything.

There’s a checklist of all those ineligible to serve. Too old – no service. No English – no service. Not a resident – no service. Felony conviction – no service. If a judge found that “I exhibit a quality which will impair my ability to serve – no service.

There’s even a discrete checkbox for the governor and other top state officials to disqualify themselves. You don’t want that crew making difficult decisions!

Jury duty appearance time is 8:00 AM. Even worse, it’s 8:00 AM EDT (Hawaiian time would have been fine and should be an option)! What are they thinking? If I’m going to be a juror who is somebody’s peer, shouldn’t that somebody be nocturnal?

Truth is, I’d love to serve on a jury. I like seeing how the sausage is made. No one will deny I’m judgmental. I’m just not sure how attorneys will view me.

Luckily, the court is pretty flexible as far as rescheduling is concerned. I say that because jury duty is set for my birthday! We’ll be in Philadelphia, seeing the Phillies play the night before. There’s no reasonable way to get back to New Haven in time.

Nobody wants a cranky juror.

Going Through The Motions

I am always very critical of rules for rules sake. You know, rules which promote going through the motions with no benefit.

An example would be the little mouse type which rapidly scrolls across your TV screen during any financial or auto commercial. It’s there. It satisfies some law. It provied zero benefit!

I faced another one of these situations this evening. Helaine and I drove to Bradley International to pick up Steffie. Helaine went inside while I hovered. Actually I drove away from the terminals and parked on the curb side of some yellow cones at the very periphery of the airport’s entrance. As far as I can tell, Bradley has no officially designated area to sit and wait.

When Steffie’s flight arrived, and she and Helaine moved downstairs to the baggage claim, they phoned and I pulled into one of the curbside loading spaces adjacent to baggage claim. There are probably 8 or 10 of these spaces, which are separate from where the courtesy vehicles operate. Two were filled.

I turned on my flashers, picked up a magazine and prepared to wait the two minutes until the girls arrived curbside. Well, that was my plan. About a minute later two non-cops, with badges and quasi military sweaters, walked up to my car and asked me to leave.

“My wife and daughter are picking up their bags,” I said.

“You have to move,” was the reply.

It’s a rule. I understand that, and so I left. But, why is it a rule?

It can’t be security, because if I were an evil doer, I’d just park the car, lock the doors and walk away. Tick, tick, tick. Sure they could move it… but it would be sitting at the curb for enough time to cause trouble before anyone would get it out of the way.

It can’t be crowd control. There were no crowds. There was no chance these spaces would be needed in the minute or two I’d probably wait until Helaine and Steffie arrived.

It’s a rule without reason.

I told the non-cop I was going to move away, but I thought the rule was stupid. He told me to complain to Governor Rell. Thanks non-cop.

That he would recommend the governor as the source of my problem shows he doesn’t know what it’s all about either… and that he’s a wise ass.

I pulled out of the space and twenty seconds later my phone rang. The bags were coming out.

I was on a tour of the airport’s arterial road system.

Cover Of The Advocate

Claude Raines, in Casablanca, is not the only one to be “Shocked, shocked.” That’s how I felt when a copy of this week’s New Haven Advocate was thrust at me while getting coffee next door at Roberto’s.

On the cover of the December 28, 2006 issue of the Advocate, in an homage to the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album cover, is a montage of 44 identifiable locals… including #29 – me.

I’m flattered they think enough of me to assume people can identify my mug shot (it’s all part of a contest, which I now seem to be shilling for them). I’m not sure I want to know how many of the entrants actually identify me as someone else.

Our former governor, the one who served jail time, used to tell a story of how he was spotted at the mall. When they said how much they enjoyed him on the weather, he realized they’d confused him for me.

Anyway, it’s nice to be on the cover of anything without being associated with a major crime or Britney Spears!

How Do They Know It’s Us?

Helaine is out-of-town for a few days. She left from Hartford this morning.

Yesterday afternoon we spent about twenty minutes, including a call to Southwest, trying to ascertain if food was as explosive (and restricted by the TSA) as mouthwash or toothpaste.

It is not.

She left Bradley and flew to BWI Airport outside Baltimore. Terminal B arrival. Terminal A departure.

Southwest flies to Houston’s Hobby Airport’s (I wish it were professional as opposed to a hobby&#185), and this particular flight went to Gate 50. Yes, there are gate numbers higher, but none more remote.

How do they always know we’re coming to make it as far as is humanly possible? They do, you know.

A few years ago, when it was a United hub, we changed planes in Denver. We literally walked the walk between their two farthest gates. It was like taking the tour of DEN!

Another night, changing at Detroit’s Wayne County Airport (DTW if you’re checking your baggage tags) we were so far away, with so little time, I slipped some money to a person driving one of those long motorized carts and got chauffeured.

The terminal was so crowded, I’m still not sure we ran someone down. I closed my eyes except when I was staring down my watch. We got to the gate in the nick of time… well, it would have been if the flight hadn’t been delayed.

Back in my SciFi Channel days I changed planes in Minneapolis. I was talking on the cell phone walking slowly to my gate – 15. As I walked, I passed 19, 18, 17, 16, 31, 30, 29!

You’ve got to be kidding. They were out of order! I almost missed that plane.

Of course this is one reason I enjoy flying from Tweed New Haven Airport so much. There’s only one gate currently in use. Unfortunately, you can only fly to Philadelphia.

Actually, if more airlines would come in to New Haven, I’d promise not to kvetch about the walk.

&#185 – I know, Hobby was a Texas governor – Governor William Pettus Hobby. I just can’t resist cheap humor.

Political Prediction

I am writing this while the Connecticut polls are still open. This page doesn’t go ‘live’ until after the polls have closed.

I wanted to make a few predictions. I’ll post them right or wrong.

For US Senate (Democrat), Joe Lieberman squeaks out a win. The Lamont campaign peaked last week. This goes against the most recent polls which show Ned Lamont ahead.

For Connecticut Governor (Democrat), John DeStefano by a significant margin. This prediction pretty much echoes the polls.

I am no political pundit. On the other hand, I predict the future for a living.