Thursday, September 27, 2007

Touching Base

Hey there! I've been too busy to write recently. Sorry. But I promise to be more communicative in this space. Please don't quit visiting.

-The story of my frustrating attempt to purchase a projector lamp on eBay has a happy ending...sort of. After receiving the new lamp...finally...I installed it and re-positioned the projector. Turned it on....and Voila! It worked fine....for about ten minutes. Then the projector turned itself off and displayed a flashing red LED that had been the problem from the beginning. I assumed that it needed a new lamp because the LED was next to the word lamp on the housing. So, not knowing whether I had another bad lamp...or there was some other problem...I took my frustrated self to the internet to see if I could track down what was going on. Lo and behold on the manufacturer's website there was a forum where customers could discuss problems with the maker's equipment. After about an hour of looking through old customer posts to the forum, I found someone with the same problem I was having. Turns out all I needed to do was take the housing apart and blow the dust out of the thing. I did....and it's been working like new ever since. The bad news is I didn't really need the lamp I bought on eBAy...but it doesn't hurt to have a back-up anyway.

-If the Rams lose at Dallas Sunday...which everyone seems to think they will do...we might be able to start concentrating solely on Blues hockey for the Fall and Winter. The problem with that right now is the Blues are sending some pretty bad signals to fans with the way they're getting handled in the pre-season. But, as I've said before, the pre-season in hockey is all about picking your team...not necessarily winning games. I know Andy Murray and John Davidson would rather win pre-season games...but I don't think anybody should panic until we're a couple of months into the season and still struggling. The one thing I'm a little concerned about is that it looks like we're setting up to put largely the same bunch of players out there that we had last year. I hope some of our David Perron, Roman Polak, Martin Kariya... etc., very impressive in training camp...get a chance to show what they can do.

-I, for one, hope that the Cardinals and Tony LaRussa continue their relationship. I have problems with the guy's moves from time to time. But, you can't argue with the kind of success on the field that our Birds have had with TLR calling the shots. If he was working for the Yankees or Red Sox, he would have been considered a god by now. LaRussa gets more out of his roster than just about anybody could expect. Add up the injuries that he's had to endure this year and then tell me that the Birds should have finished anywhere close to the top of the NL Central. Carpenter, Rolen, Edmonds, Eckstein, Encarnacion, Duncan, Molina, Spiezio, Hancock, Mulder...well, you get the idea. This was the year from Hell as far as injuries go...and we still had a pretty interesting season up until the last few weeks.

-Happened to catch ESPN the other day while they were doing the "Town Hall Meeting" show on Michael Vick. The audience appeared to be loaded with Vick supporters...and it appeared most of them were of the minority persuasion...when the question was asked.."Do you think Michael Vick has been unfairly persecuted in this whole dog-fighting case?" It appeared at least two-thirds of the audience applauded..some while show support for Vick. I have to admit I just don't understand that mindset. Is the minority part of our population so devoid of real heroes that they must support someone who can avoid tackles in football, but is unable to get out of his own way in real life? The day after the show it comes out that he has already broken the pre-trial rules set out for him by testing positive for marijuana use. It appears Mr. Vick is either unable to distinguish right from wrong...or just doesn't care. But, because he is/was a star quarterback of color he is seen in the minority community as some sort of hero. What's wrong with this picture? And haven't we been down that road before with other minority sports heroes? There are plenty of sports heroes of color who are also good solid citizens. Let's recognize them, and let the others deal with their problems unsupported.

-I notice that the Cahokia District 187 school board did what a group of parents asked them to do in settling the teachers' strike there. They went back into a negotiating session and got a deal done. That's all fine. But the school board is charged with running a district and staying within a certain budget. They do so at the behest of the taxpayers of the district. One has to wonder how many of those parents hollering at the school board members to, essentially, give in to the teachers demands A) are taxpayers, and B) will be happy if their tax bills go up significantly. I'll bet the tax bill wasn't foremost on their minds at the meeting. It was getting the offspring out of the house and back to school.

-I've got a son...actually two sons...but the oldest one is looking for work here in the St. Louis area. Rock music stardom is being put on hold for now. He's got an SIU marketing degree in his pocket...and extensive experience as a certified personal trainer. And I happen to think he's a pretty good young guy. Any ideas or leads can be posted in the comments section below.

Monday, September 10, 2007


-First things first. Former broadcasting buddy, and the brains behind, Mike Anderson is going through a rough stretch. His weekend storm damage can be fixed. But, the loss of beloved pet Boy Dog cannot. Both unfortunate occurences made life miserable for my friend this weekend. Mike was so supportive and understanding when we lost our Springer Fergie in July, I wanted to call to offer condolences...but knew that we would both wind up a mess if I did. I'm sure in doggie-heaven "Boy" is singing the praises of the animal-loving Andersons to all of his canine buddies who will listen. In honor of Boy, and at Mike's suggestion, I'm adding links to the Belleville Area, and Metro-East Humane Societies to the links list at the right.

-Thanks to those who've offered advice as to how to approach the apparent attempt to rip me off by an ebay seller that was written about last week. Both comments, one by old friend Matt Gordon, another by Gary, were helpful. As it turns out, I was fortunate enough, (certainly not wise enough) to pay through PayPal which offers a process by which one can report a problem sale and begin a dispute resolution procedure. If, after a reasonable time for both parties to resolve the problem, PayPal's people feel the buyer was "ripped-off", they will refund your money. Since filing a dispute last Friday, the seller has contacted me by e-mail offering to, again, send me a projector lamp...and a little something extra for my trouble. After I demanded it, he also offered to provide a tracking number so the delivery process can be monitored this time. I'll let you know how, and if, things work out.

-Looks like the Cardinals, led by their "urine-weak" pitching, are going into a death-spiral. The World Champions looked anything but after a spanking by the Cubs in Chicago in the make-up of that earlier rain-out. Really good teams rarely lose four-in-a-row at this time of year. But, I guess, our red-feathered friends did it last year before winning it all, didn't they?

-The Gateway Grizzlies found out about the old baseball adage..."Good pitching always beats good hitting" in the Frontier League playoffs. The "Murderer's Row" line-up that manager Phil Warren was able to field all season couldn't outscore the Washington WildThings and Warren's outstanding rookie campaign came to an end with three straight losses. I'm sure it still hurts a bit for Phil. But, he's a smart baseball man and I'm sure will use this lesson when constructing his team in '08.

-I'll be at the Scottrade Center Thursday through Sunday of this week. I'll be on hand to do the p-a announcing for scrimmage games on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Then it's the Blues and Atlanta Thrashers for a pre-season tilt on Sunday at 5. Saturday at Scottrade should be fun with all sorts of fan-friendly stuff going on at FanFest from 9am to 5pm.

-I'm thinking that as soon as Rick Ankiel has his day with the folks at the Major League Baseball offices, that he'll come out with more details about his "prescription drug" involvement back in '04. The way I see it, all he has to do is stand up and say "Yeah, I took HGH at the advice of my physician. It was done to help me heal from surgery. It was perfectly legal at the time. Once it became a substance banned by Baseball, I never touched it again. Thank you very much. Have a nice life of your own. I'm going back to take some BP." I can't see how anyone would think he's a terrible cheater in the category of Barry Bonds if he did that.

-Whatever fantasies anyone ever had about Britney Spears were "cold-showered" by that pitiful display at the MTV VMA's. Geez, what made her think she could get away with that? Her once promising entertainment career is likely at it's cellulite-filled end.

-Speaking of those awards, I'm sure the Ultimate Fighting guys are trying to line up a match between Kid Rock and Tommy Lee after their little dust-up. I might even pay to see that one.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Am I Stupid?

-So, about three weeks ago my projector in the home theater starts acting up. After a little diagnosis, I figure out that the bulb is about to shoot craps. Rather than pay full price by buying a new lamp from the manufacturer, I decide to see what I can do on e-bay. I look around a little and find that someone is selling a new bulb for my projector. I see the opening bid and decide it's worth a shot. So, I put in a bid. Lo and behold I win the auction and am a happy camper.

That is until the last few days. Shortly after making my payment (now two weeks ago)..the guy says in an e-mail that he's putting the bulb in the mail...should have it in a couple of days. Nope. A few days later he e-mails again..."Got it yet?" he says. Nope. Now...after a couple of weeks of waiting for my bulb to be delivered and not seeing it. I lose my patience. I e-mail the guy telling him to call me and explain what the hell is going on. No response.

His profile on e-bay gives his name and where he lives...(supposedly) Gus Somebody on Long Island, New York. Only one previous customer who has dealt with him had anything negative to say about the guy so I thought it was a relatively safe deal. I'll admit that I'm no veteran of internet commerce. What are my options? Is there anybody out there able to provide a little advice on how to proceed to either get my money back...or make this guy sorry for stealing? Any recourse through e-bay? Please post a comment if you can help.

Other stuff...

-Rick Ankiel's comeback story is too impossible to be a Hollywood movie script. If you wrote a story like his...nobody would believe it. Two more homers and seven RBI in today's game with the Pirates. Everybody knew he was a good athlete...but who could have imagined this kind of stuff? Certainly not me. But, if he continues to play like he is...I'm picking the Cardinals to win the Central.
******UPDATE--9/7******** I get up this morning to find that the NY Daily News is reporting that Ankiel received a shipment of HGH in '04 from that on-line pharmacy operation in Florida that's been under investigation. Baseball began regulating HGH in ' he's probably not in much legal jeopardy....but that probably shoots this feel-good story right in the hindquarters. Now, no matter what Ankiel does, baseball fans will now see him in a much different light....guilty or not. What a bummer!!

-Don't look now...but the Blues first pre-season game is right around the corner. Sunday 9/16 5pm vs. Atlanta. Expect good, if not great, things from Andy's boys this year. And I've heard about a few new-and-different things coming in the game night experience. I'll share as soon as I get the go-ahead. Should be fun.

-Well....what to say about the Grizzlies. Here's a team that tore up the Frontier League opposition all season....made amazing comebacks in many games...and set all sorts of franchise records when it comes to offensive output. But, they now find themselves down 2-0 in games to the Washington (PA) WildThings in their first-round, best-of-five playoff series. And both losses were at home. They only thing you can say now is they are primed for another amazing comeback. Don't put it past these guys. They need to get a little better pitching out of their starters in games 3 and 4. And, if they do, they'll come back home to win game 5 on Sunday.

-It's sad. But it appears his daredevil lifestyle has finally caught up with millionaire adenturer Steve Fossett. The guy has defied the odds for years. When you're flying a small plane around in the windswept mountains of western Nevada and eastern better not lose your concentration. I'm afraid he did. No signals from his two potential distress beacons is another bad sign. Our son Ian encountered Fossett a few times at the spa in Beaver Creek, Colorado (Fossett's current home town) when he worked out there. Said he seemed like a great guy...didn't have his nose in the air like some others with money.