Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hey Rick, its only the media's fault if "Media" is the pet name for your penis.

So Rick Pitino decided it would be a good idea to have a press conference to attack the dreaded "media" for reporting "lies" about him as stated by Karen Sypher. In the course of the press conference he whined about how unfair all of this was for his wife and said that breaking into normal programming to air excerpts of her interview with police was shameful on the day Ted Kennedy died.

It is becoming clear from Pitino's press conferences that Karen Sypher isn't the only one who has some psychological issues that need to be worked through. If you read between the lines at both of Pitino's press conferences, it is clear that he has zero clue why anyone in the community is disturbed by this. Let me lay it out for you Rick:

  1. You cheated on your wife. Yes, these things happen and it is really none of our business, but let's move on to the rest.
  2. You did it in a local restaurant after hours. Maybe this is something that happens every day in the fast-paced world of college coaches, but many of us here in Yokelville find it a bit seedy and a tad gross. You've got a lot of money, surely you could have ponied up for at least a Motel 6.
  3. You were drunk. No sin there, but the fact that you have an assistant there to help you find your way home indicates that maybe this isn't the first time you've been inebriated. Is that one of the "choices" that your book says you have to make to be a "success"?
  4. You did it while an assistant kicked back and waited. When you have a staff member who is willing to do this and doesn't find it the least bit odd, that would sort of indicate that this thing has happened before and that it was probably common knowledge among your staff. Again, this is something many of us in Yokelville have trouble relating to.
  5. Sypher was the wife of a staff member who apparently knew all about your trysts. Can you see how we might find that one a bit troubling as well?
  6. You gave her $3,000 for "health insurance" and/or an abortion. Abortions aren't exactly smiled upon in this part of the world and the fact you didn't have an issue with it kind of shoots what little remaining shred of that "Devout Catholic" thing you had going for you all to hell.
  7. You fired Winston Bennett from your staff saying, "Winston is a tremendous young man, but he just has one terrible weakness. He’s a womanizer. And we’re trying to help him with that problem, to keep his family together and to turn his life in the right direction." Pot, meet kettle.
  8. You have preached all about the "character" of your young men on your team. I'm guessing that these same men got to witness or at least hear about your behavior a time or two.
  9. You have portrayed yourself as a model of "success", writing books and giving speeches. Can you understand why both of these things seem suspect in light of your character during this incident?
  10. Finally, in your apology, you evoked 9/11. Yes, Rick, we understand that you lost your best friend in 9/11 and like anyone else who lost friends and loved ones that day, it must have been terrible. But can you understand why evoking it when you're apologizing about an affair might seem odd to those of us in Yokelville considering the person you lost was THE BROTHER OF THE WIFE YOU CHEATED ON!?!?!?!?! If you're worried about your wife's feelings, why bring this up at all?
Rick, we understand your wife and family don't deserve this. But YOU need to understand that the reason they're facing this is YOU. No, you didn't ask Karen Sypher to blackmail you or lie about you, but you are the one who cheated on your wife. You are the one who did it in an incredibly unseemly fashion. You brought shame on yourself, your family, and your employer. Be glad that you still have your job and your family to fall back on. Let Karen Sypher continue to dig her hole and keep your mouth shut. That is the only choice that will be a success for you in this matter.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Who would have thought it would be hard to get info from the Louisville Free Public Library.

If I had to pick one resource in Jefferson County/Louisville that I could NOT live without, it would be the public library. Since moving to Jefferson County I'd estimate that I've checked out at least a 1000 or more books from the library for the family, including dozens for my daughter, an avid reader.

Because of this, the news of the library flooding during our heavy downpours in Louisville two weeks ago had me feeling pretty blue. I was angry that the library put all of these things where a flood could damage them, but realized that this was such a freak accident that the library probably assumed they were safe.

That said, I am worried at what appears to be some real issues with disaster planning at the library. From what I've been able to gather from the kind people at my local branch, the following issues exist:

  • There is no/limited ability to access member accounts. My library indicated they were using every available space to store returned books because they couldn't check them back in.
  • Account backups were done once a month. WHile I'm not sure if this is accurate, if it is, it means that a month or more of account info about every patron could be completely wrong. Books that should be checked in could be listed as out, those that are out could be listed as having been returned, etc.
  • Library workers have been told NOTHING. They are frustrated at the lack of information.
  • There appears to be a huge looming problem for the library once they get back online of not having anywhere near an accurate accounting of what is out and what has been returned, nor what people owe. This could result in hours and hours of work to fix the issues manually, lost fines, customers being overcharged, and worst of all, more lost books for the LFPL.
  • Disaster planning for returning operations to normal seems to be lacking. Perhaps there were redundancies built into LFPL's systems in case of catastrophic failure, but it seems as though if there were, they would be up by now.
As a taxpayer and library lover, I think that once this is over, the public deserves a full accounting of what went wrong and why. It also deserves to know what steps are being taken (or are recommended) from preventing or minimizing the effects of such a disaster in the future.

I wish the library and its workers the best of luck in dealing with this mess. Mostly I want everything back up for my own selfish needs.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Richard Poplawski's mom is a real gem....

That Richard Poplawski is a piece of work is no surprise. But if you read the story below, you see that mom is a real gem herself. She's threatening reporters with "the biggest lawsuit in the history of the city of Pittsburgh." Here's an idea for the widows and families of the dead and the neighbors of this woman. How about filing the biggest lawsuit in the history of the city of Pittsburgh against her, her son, the gun makers, the gun sellers, and anyone else involved in bringing about the death of three police officers. Hey Mom, if your child is stockpiling guns inside YOUR house, maybe that's a sign that you needed to get help months or years ago.

Richard Poplawski fired several shots into the body of a wounded Pittsburgh police officer during a siege Saturday that left three officers dead and a fourth wounded, a neighbor told police.

The neighbor was awakened by gunfire shortly after 7 a.m. and rushed to a window. An officer, later identified as Stephen J. Mayhle, was sprawled on the ground near the stoop of 1016 Fairfield St. in Stanton Heights.

The neighbor told police a man standing in the doorway "fired 2-3 more shots into the downed officer, then re-entered the residence," according to a criminal complaint.

Mr. Poplawski, 22, is charged with killing Officer Mayhle, 29, and Officers Eric Kelly, 41, and Paul J. Sciullo II, 37, who were responding to a 911 call placed by Margaret Poplawski, the suspect's mother. He also is charged with multiple counts of attempted homicide as a result of a lengthy gun battle with other police officers. Another officer, Brian Jones, broke a leg while scaling a fence behind the house.

Mr. Poplawski, who told friends that he was afraid the government was going to take his guns and that police could not protect citizens during the economic downturn, was arraigned at 2 a.m. Sunday in his hospital bed at UPMC Presbyterian. His preliminary hearing is set for 2 p.m. Wednesday in City Court.

A spokesman for the Allegheny County district attorney's office would not speculate on whether Mr. Poplawski might face the death penalty on the charges against him.

"It's inappropriate to even talk about this case at this point," said Mike Manko.

The criminal complaint gives this version of the siege:

Mrs. Poplawski called 911 at 7:03 a.m., saying she wanted her son out of the house "because he was giving her a hard time." She said she had awakened and confronted him after discovering that a dog had urinated on the floor, and the two had argued.

Officers Mayhle and Sciullo arrived at 7:11. Mrs. Poplawski opened the door "and admitted them, saying, 'come and take his ass.' Mrs. Poplawski reported that as the officers entered approximately 10 feet into the residence, she heard gunshots, turned and saw her son about six feet away with a rifle in his hands, at which point she fled after screaming, "What the hell have you done?"

Officer Timothy McManaway arrived at 7:17, one minute after a radio call that officers were under fire. He saw Officer Kelly, who was off duty but had driven to the scene to back up the other officers, wounded and supine in the street beside his sport-utility vehicle.

As he tried to assist Officer Kelly, who said he was unable to breathe, more gunfire erupted and Officer McManaway returned fire toward the house. He was hit on the hand by a bullet or shrapnel.

Officer McManaway pulled Officer Kelly to cover behind the SUV, where they awaited rescue by a SWAT unit.

"Officer McManaway reported that he was able to see the one officer lying outside the residence near the front stoop, and it was clear that he was dead, having been shot in the head. He could not see the second officer, who was later found inside," the report said.

Paramedics took Officer Kelly to UPMC Presbyterian, where he died. An autopsy by the medical examiner later found he died of gunshot wounds to the trunk and lower extremities.

Back on Fairfield Street, a three-hour standoff ensued, punctuated by gunfire. Mr. Poplawski fired numerous shots that hit a bulletproof SWAT vehicle occupied by eight officers.

Shots fired by Mr. Poplawski also hit homes at 1021 and 1025 Fairfield, both of them occupied at the time, police said.

A neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said he watched through his window as a police sniper perched on the front stoop of his home at Fairfield and Antoinette streets fired a shot that clearly struck Mr. Poplawski.

The same man later found bullet holes in his Toyota Camry, which had been parked on the street.

Police who tried to get to where Officers Mayhle and Sciullo lay wounded were turned back several times by gunfire from the house, said Don Sand, an Allegheny County 911 administrative shift commander who lives down the street.

"It was terrible to watch the officers lying there because no one could get down there. It was heart-wrenching to see," he said.

"It was just a constant barrage," said Kathleen Gilkey, whose Downlook Street house is directly behind Mr. Poplawski's and was a staging area for SWAT personnel.

Police eventually persuaded Mr. Poplawski, who was wounded in the leg, to surrender. They found Officer Sciullo's body in the living room.

He and Officer Mayhle were pronounced dead at the scene. Autopsies determined that Officer Sciullo died of gunshot wounds to the head and trunk; Officer Mayhle died from a gunshot wound to the head.

Police said Mr. Poplawski wore a bulletproof vest during the siege. They found several firearms in the house, including an AK-47 assault-style rifle.

Mrs. Poplawski told police her son, after being kicked out of Marine Corps boot camp for assaulting his drill sergeant during basic training, had been "stockpiling guns and ammunition, buying and selling the weapons online, because he believed that as a result of the economic collapse, the police were no longer able to protect society."

Reached yesterday afternoon, Mrs. Poplawski declined comment on the police report.

Earlier yesterday, she called David Shribman, executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, to complain about the newspaper's coverage of the shootings and threaten a lawsuit.

She demanded that the newspaper stop publishing information about her and her son, saying the reporting thus far was not factual and should be limited to the officers and their grieving families.

"You're going to have the biggest lawsuit in the history of the city of Pittsburgh," she later told a reporter.

Jon Schmitz can be reached at or 412-263-1868. Moriah Balingit can be reached at or 412-263-2533.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Support Our Stinson????? had a story today about a new website devoted to legal defense for Jason Stinson. Stinson has the right to a fair trial and I'm sure he has many friends and family who support him. But this website leaves a bad taste in my mouth for many reasons.

  1. There is substantial testimony that Jason Stinson DID deny water to players during a very hot day. That's perfectly fine (okay, no it isn't) if you're dealing with adults, but not when you are in charge of minors.
  2. There is substantial testimony that Stinson taunted his players for desiring water, apparently wanting to toughen them up by dehydrating them.
  3. The website never mentions Max Gilpin and his death. While this is perhaps understandable, the martyrdom of Stinson is a bit heavyhanded in light of the fact that a young man is dead and he died on his watch.
  4. The chairperson of the legal defense fund, Rodney Daugherty posts this quote in a message on the website: "I respectfully request that you donate if you can afford to. If you are a coach of any sport from the youth leagues on up, you should pay attention to what is going on. This trial, regardless of its conclusion, will affect the way young athletes are coached and trained all across the United States." Does this mean that Daugherty feels coaches should be concerned that they will no longer be able to deny children water during practice, run them mercilessly in the heat, and to taunt them if they collapse?
  5. There are a number of coaches associations supporting Stinson. While I understand this to some extent, I also think this makes a mockery of the child that has died.
  6. The website states: "Coach Jason Stinson has spent many years in the Louisville area being a Christian friend, mentor, leader, teacher and coach to many." What does his religion have to do with anything? Was there something in the Bible about "thou shall give no water to wussy children who don't want to practice hard?" or "thou shall taunt children who are not able to practice in 90 degree temperatures?" Regardless of whether Stinson is responsible for the death of Max Gilpin or not, there is ample evidence that his coaching methods were harsh and potentially dangerous for impressionable young men. I don't consider that moral or "Christian".
Again, I think Stinson deserves a fair trial, and I don't believe for a second that Jason Stinson wanted any child at his practices to suffer injury or harm. Stinson didn't do anything that I'm sure 75% or more of his colleagues in other schools has done. But to run a practice in unbearable conditions and to deny children water in the name of macho BS is a bit much for my tastes. In the end, I hope the truth about what happened that day comes out and that any necessary changes to the responsiblities of coaches will occur. It sounds like they are long overdue.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Live Blogging the Oscars....

8:29 -- As I wait for Hugh Jackman to start the show, I'm thinking the same thing everyone else is thinking.... was Ryan Seacrest too busy with the red carpet show to host? Seriously. A show known for sucking is going to be worst.

8:30 -- Wow, he's really bad at doing an Australian accent.

Kate Winslet looks about 50.

Wow, it is nice to see that they decided to do something different this year. Instead of a funny opening that was the highlight of the show, they decided to open with a cheesy off, off, off, off, off, off, off,off, off, Broadway number that wouldn't look out of place on the Tony Orlando and Dawn Show.

Hugh Jackman -- A straighter Nathan Lane?

8:38 -- The musical number is over, and I wish

8:39 -- Mickey Rourke looks great? He looks like the victim in last Thursday's CSI.

8:40 -- A montage of Best Supporting Actress nominees. So tonight is going to be like a ---th Anniversary show with lots of nominees who had nothing better to do presenting the awards? Whoopi Goldberg looks like a pregnant leopard. Tilda Swinson got all dressed up in her finest 400 count sheets.

8:44 -- Wow, Anjelica Houston looks no different than she did a couple of decades ago..... unfortunately. So this is how it is going to work, people who aren't going to win tonight pretending to admire those that don't? Whoopi, what's up with that tattoo? Classy.

Goldie Hawn -- So this is what cute looks like it its mid 60s? I wonder how many of the muscles in her face are currently NOT paralized?

8:48 -- The Oscar goes to....... Penelope Cruz. Damn, I've already missed my first prediction. "This ceremony was a moment of unity for the world!". Yes, I understand that Israelis and Palestinians have a big Oscar party that stops the fighting for just a minute. And in case you're wondering, this is what Penelope said in Spanish, "It isn't an honor just to be nominated, I wanted and deserved this, and all you American dogs can stick it in your leveraged and bought-out bums! Long live Spain. Oh, and Generalissimo Fransisco Franco is still dead."

8:52 -- Tina Fey and Steve Martin -- Wow, those would be novel hosts. A Scientology joke. Why not cut to Tom Cruise?

Best Original Screenplay -- Dustin Lance Black for Milk. I love those commercials. It does a body good. What's that? No matter, I got this prediction right. Is it just me or is the podium uncomfortably close to the audience? Wow, by promising that gay people might actually get treated like humans, this guy just provided the fodder for 100 different AM radio stations tomorrow.

Best Adapted Screenplay -- "There's an inept quiet?" You're going to nominate a guy who writes that? Slumdog Millionaire wins and I'm now 2 for 3 in my predictions. And his speech gets our first bleep of the night. Given the FCC, it was probably for saying poo.

9:03 -- Jack Black and Jennifer Anniston -- Who are two people who didn't get nearly enough attention as children?

Best Animated Picture -- What, you mean Space Chimps and Clone Wars weren't nominated? Can't imagine why. This show is slowly taking on the feel of one of those 4 hour AFI 100 biggest movies of all time shows.

Wall-E wins. Wow, big shock. And I'm now 3 for 4.

9:08 -- Best Animated Short -- I have no idea how to spell what won, but any guy who says, "Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto" in a speech that he knows nobody will understand is great. I would have picked this film to win, but for some reason, I left the Animated Short category out of my predictions.

9:16 -- Sarah Jessica Parker & Daniel Craig -- Bond and the Horse he Rode In With. Why would Matthew Broderick want to ever leave that. Did they really give her a line that ends in "...full face-lift?"

Art Direction: -- Winner -- Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I'm now 3 for 5, but did have this as the potential spoiler. Did they bring the set behind them from the Muppet Show?

9:19 -- Costume Design Award -- What is the deal with all the camera movement? Is NFL Films producing this year? Uh oh, The Duchess wins. I'm now 3 for 6.

9:23 -- SJP -- "We don't have to tell you what a makeup artist does." Really, Sarah, have you seen yourself on screen? The Make-Up award goes to.......... Curious Case of Benjamin Button -- 3 for 7. Really? Did you see the Dark Knight? That guy was missing half his face! Oh wait, I forgot that Aaron Eckhart was a method actor who actually had his face ripped off for the role.

9:25 -- The guy from the movie that too many women swooned over and the chick from Mama Mia. The chick from Mama Mia is wearing Aretha's bow under her boobs. Wonder why she took the lights off. A montage of romance from this year's films. A nice match cut between Mickey Rourke and Nicole Kidman shows how much they're starting to look alike. Eve and Wall-E were the least manufactured looking of all the faces shown.

9:31 -- Oh my God, this is how we're trying to improve the Oscars, by giving us a lesson on how movies are made? Ben Stiller is wearing a Joaquin Phoenix beard while Natalie Portman tries to do the intro. Would it have killed her to work on her timing? Ben Stiller derailing the show might be the funniest thing tonight. I'm sure the cinematographers aren't laughing, though. Slumdog Millionaire wins, completely trashing my record. Wouldn't it have been much funnier to have Christian Bale present this f-ing award?

9:39 -- Jessica Biel was the hope of the Sci-Tech awards dinner, and she showed up tonight in the curtains from that event. I just noticed the set looks a bit like the stargate in 2001. Maybe they can warp me to the end of this snoozefest.

9:43 -- Pot jokes from Pineapple Express. Seth Rogan has lost weight, which is the most interesting thing from this montage. Although having the cinematographer from Saving Private Ryan was amusing. This goes on far too long, which isn't surprising since it was done by Judd Apatow. My understanding is that when this bit comes out on DVD, it will be in a four hour director's cut.

Toyland wins best live action short. 3 for 8.

9:52 -- Hugh Jackman has now switched to hosting the Tony Awards. Is that Beyonce? Forgive me, I can't really tell my semi talented R&B stars from one another anymore. Hey look, it's one of the plastic doll toys from High School Musical. Ooops, my bad, that's Zac Efron. The number was created by Baz Luhrman. It was hard to tell because they held each shot for more than one second.

10:03 -- Cuba Gooding Jr. was able to be there? I would have thought Snow Dogs 4 was shooting. Another supporting actor award. Seymour Philip Hoffman showed up in a designer outfit and a watchcap from a BP station. Nice. Joel Gray is able to be there? Josh Brolin did brilliant work in Milk? I think he did brilliant work in winning Diane Lane. Hubba. And look, Christopher Walken decided to grow out his forelocks. Kevin Kline gets the honor of introducing Heath Ledger's award. Kline is looking more and more like John Cleese.

Heath Ledger wins. Awesome. Nice heartfelt speech from his family. And a classy move by the academy to use the "Hoe-down" theme for their playoff.

10:14 -- Best Documentary -- Bill Maher gets serious. Yawn. Man On Wire wins. I am at 5 for 10 or something like that. Cute acceptance speech by the subject of the documentary.

10:17 -- Best Documentary Short -- Smile Pinki wins. Bill Maher is disappointed to find out it isn't one of those movies with the fingers that have mouths painted on.

10:23 -- An annoying quick montage set to loud music. Baz Luhrman strikes again? Will Smith shows up to give out the visual effects award, which oddly enough is one of the least produced award presentations of the night. Winner - Ben Button again.

10:29 -- Sound editing -- Dark Knight. Another random playoff -- Mr. Blue Sky

10:31 -- Sound mixing -- Slumdog Millionaire. Wait a second? Isn't this only to be given to action movies? Hey look, there is John Mayer and Jennifer Aniston. In lousy seats.

10:34 -- Film Editing -- Slumdog Millionaire. Thanks for showing the clip from Benjamin Button, which made it clear the visual effects kind of sucked.

10:41 -- Nice to see Eddie Murphy has managed to get over his anger at Meet Dave not being nominated. Perhaps I'm not French enough, but I still don't see much to laugh about in Jerry Lewis. Of course, the man invented one of the most important pieces of film equipment ever, the spit take glass.

10:44 -- Jerry takes the stage and looks 100 pounds lighter. And apparently he left the funny in that tuxedo.

10:50 -- The Producers, realizing that we're all worked up over the non-stop excitement they've provided us all night, decide to play several minutes of lullabies inspired by the films that have been nominated. Hugh Jackman looks disappointed that they haven't found a way to work in a dance number for him.

10:54 -- Zac Efron shows up to show us his range of emotion from A to A and a half with the award for Best Score. Slumdog Millionaire wins. I'm fighting off sleep.

10:57 -- Best songs goes to show that this was a lousy year for songs. Apparently so bad that they brought John Legend in to sing a song from the Lion King.

11:01 -- Slumdog wins another award. Best song. Honestly, didn't we have our fill of Indian music with Ravi Shankar at Woodstock?

11:07 -- Best foreign language film -- Departures.

11:10 -- Queen Latifah gets to do the death roll call, wearing some sort of blue dress and OMG, she's going to sing for the In Memoriam? To be fair, she originally was going to rap an NWA song, but then thought better of it. I love the way the producers have decided to take full advantage of our big screen TVs by showing us the death montage not on our TV, but on TVs in the hall. Nothing to show how important Paul Newman was by putting him on 1/10th of my screen. BRAVO!

11:19 -- Best director is being given by famed director Reese Witherspoon, who I can't help but stare at and think of last week's Family Guy, in which her chin was used to cut into a safe. Danny Boyle. Slumdog Millionaire.

11:26 -- Is Anne Hathaway pretty or not? I can't decide? What happened to Halle's Berries? Sophia Loren looks good for a 90 year old. And so does Nicole. Hey Nicole, Michael Jackson called and wants his nose back. Kate Winslet wins. And thanks everybody, including her breasts.

11:39 -- Best actor. Bobby DeNiro is the funniest thing tonight, which says a lot about the crapfest this telecast has been. Poor Richard Jenkins has to see Adrian Brody, the most likely person on the stage never to be up there again, talk about his career. Sean Penn wins, and looks instantly depressed that George Bush is no longer in office..

11:54 -- Best picture has been given out...... Slumdog Millionaire. I'm too comatose to care.

12:00 -- Game over, exactly at midnight. In exactly one year, stay tuned for Howie Mandell hosting the show.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Why is this Cartoon Offensive?

Okay...... I'll have to say that when I first saw the headlines about an "offensive" NY Post cartoon, I looked at this and assumed that someone from PETA was up in arms over what is a tasteless picture of a dead chimp, or perhaps just general good taste over the fact that some poor woman suffered greatly in a story that is essentially turned into a joke here.

Now that I realize that it was the tenuous connection between the monkey and Obama's race. Here's the thing...... I don't see it.

Have the people protesting ever been in your average first grade class? Ever seen that it is common for out of control kids to be referred to as monkeys? Ever seen a Super Bowl commercial? How about the one where incompetent coworkers are portrayed as....... Monkeys.

Need a refresher? It's right here:

I'm left leaning, voted for Obama, and generally find the Murdoch owned media reprehensible. But it seems to me that the people furthering a stereotype here are the people who turned this into far more than it actually is. The fact is, most of our politicians are dumb monkeys, to busying flinging poo to do anything serious. That's what I got out of this. If anyone deserves an apology, it is the poor woman who apparently needs a new face after being attacked by a chimp.

Saturday, January 03, 2009