Yes, housing starts are dismal along with virtually every other economic indicator. But, I believe I know a way to improve that, at least in housing starts. This is just a beginning , mind you but it seems to have lots of potential.
I read a blurb in Sports Illustrated the other day about Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard. Mr Howard is by any estimation a baseball star and plays for what is probably the best team in baseball. For that he is well compensated. For purposes of this post, I make no comment about what Howard makes, except to say that it is enough to afford a nice home.
Mr Howard has plans in place to have a home constructed in the Tampa area that has an estimated completion date of sometime in 2014. With a cost estimate of $23 million, that should be no surprise. The only catch is that the regs in that area require a maximum construction time of 24 months which has required a bit of negotiation with local officials. While they are involved in that, they should not miss a great opportunity to boost the housing starts there and maybe even start a nationwide trend.
Here is my suggestion. Divide the estimated construction cost by ten and voila , you have 10 housing starts. Numbers look better which is really all that matters anyway, right? Besides an expensive home should count for more than a less expensive one. And the trend catches on, before you know it there is a housing “boom” that inspires confidence and inspires companies to hire, consumers to spend etc. Bet the Obama Administration would love this plan. No need for thanks, just trying to do my part.
The nation of Japan has been struck by a massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake, the largest on record in that country. The tsunami spawned by that quake has compounded the death and destruction that the Japanese will have to face. Estimates of those who lost their lives have already topped 1,000. Sadly, I expect that figure to rise considerably. Reports from people in Japan speak of tremendous destruction to roads, buildings, homes etc. A major nuclear power has also suffered damage adding yet another element to what must an almost surreal scene.
For a country already reeling economically, this natural disaster has presented the country with quite a difficult challenge to overcome. Our country is already providing help and people can take part through the American Red Cross and probably other agencies as well.
But what seems to be the biggest news story in our country today? Why, of course it is the ongoing struggle between the NFL owners and the NFLPA which is basically the players labor union. Extended negotiations broke off today as the union voted to decertify, thus tossing the ball into the legal system. Who will prevail and when is anyone’s guess. There will ultimately be a settlement and both the players and owners will do well. Unfortunately, if there is a work stoppage, those most likely affected will be those who depend on the league for their livelihoods. I actualy have almost no sympathy for either side and the angst that many of the pepople involved ( especially the players) seem to be feeling and trying to gert us to feel.
On one side, there are themega rich owners and on the other are the players;many of whom are make quite a hefty income. Admittedly, the average career is relatively short but the average incomes are large. But they will never be large enough, I guess, since a 2009 study by Sports Illustrated estimated that 78% of NFL players will go bankrupt in their lifetimes. Guessing that is higher than in most other occupations. Chew on this additional piece of info. The NFLPA has distributed a booklet to each of its players with advice on to cut costs if the lookout materializes. One of those pieces of advice, cut the size of your entourage.
It is sort of hard for me to balance these labor issues with the stark reality facing the Japanee people. For them, we must pray.
- US says Japan earthquake left billions in damage – Strongest quake in the area in nearly 1,200 years (theboldcorsicanflame.wordpress.com)
Perhaps it is stretching the definition to call our subject a sport. But I have hard of many strange events falling under this broad umbrella and so will borrow the term for this post. What we shall discuss has been occuring for 25 years so it has tradition on its side. Besides it takes place in a quaint English village known as Congham. The little town is located in the eastern part of the country and has a population of less than 500 folks.
But inJuly have the world championships of snail racing, an event which is theirs and theirs alone. Somehow, this strikes me as something Rick Reilly, late of Sports Illustrated and now with ESPN, could include in his next book about unusual sporting events.
The latest champion in the world of mollusks is Sydney who won the title on July 17 with a time of 3 minutes,41 seconds. By the way, that is for a distance of 13 inches. Lest you scoff, Sydney triumphed over a field of 200 of his molluskan challengers. Lest Sydney feel over-confident, he did not match the world record set by Archie in 1995, who set a slime laden pace of 2 minutes. Archie, you are the king of the gastropods. May Sydney be forever delivered from National Escargot Day, celebrated every May 24th in these United States. Hope Sydney never hears about that!
- Sidney the snail races to victory in world championships (telegraph.co.uk)
Many sports fans in general and readers of Sports Illustrated in particular are familiar with a strange phenomenon. It is known as the cover jinx. Briefly it posits that an individual who appears on the magazine’s cover will encounter difficulty in his/her sport by means of an injury or just plain playing poorly. The jinx has been around for along time and while not infallible is rather accurate. I wouldn’t call it the Bermuda Triangle of sports but you get the picture.
The latest example involves the New York Yankees and their “core four.” These four teammates, three of whom have been together for an unprecedented 16 years, were on the magazine’s cover a couple of weeks ago. The aforementioned three are Derek Jeter, Mariano Riviera and Jorge Posada. The fourth, Andy Petite, has been part of the group for a mere 13 years. It was a great cover and an even better article by Tom Verducci.
Now, for the jinx. Since the article appeared, Riviera, Posada and Petite have suffered nagging injuries that either limited their playing time or reduced their effectiveness. As for Jeter, his batting average has only dropped 50+ points. And the team itself has been scuffling somewhat.
So, as a Yankees fan and SI subscriber, I just have one request. Fellows, can you do an article on Tampa Bay and quickly? And be sure it’s a cover article!
We have at last left the oughts and entered the decade of the what, not teens yet. Let’s just call it pre-teens for now. So, we get not only year-end reviews, but end of decade reviews. Some actually have been rather good. I enjoyed Sports Illustrated’s issue of the decade and montage that ESPN did this am. How quickly we forget things that make the news. Some of the all decade stuff seemed eons ago.Right now, Tiger Woods still makes headlines for sports and gossip mags.What will his wife do, when will he play golf, what sponsor will drop him, next(AT&T being the latest) and with whom will they replace him?
What strikes me most is two things. One I have alluded to about the transitory or near disposable nature of an event. Tiger will like that. Example,Charlie Sheen is arrested for alleged domestic abuse. another in a checkered career. Who cares, not his tv audience or his fans. The second and more compelling is how unpredictable the ” news” really is.
Look back at the decade at images that drew us. Of course, the 9/11 attacks come to the fore. What about the death of Michael Jackson, or the election of an unknown , minority senator as President. Global warming now dominates the news in many ways. Alas, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have come and stayed.
What about the rise of Google, You Tube, Twitter and Facebook and the fall of General Motors and the worst recession in many a day. No longer can one live without a cell phone and what you have no Ipod? What a heathen you must be, me too.But what about those things that began the decade with us and are still here. The intractable Middle East with its Arab-Israeli issue, how we relate to Russia and China and vice-versa. Those are still around but whatever happened to the doomsday of y2k?
So, another decade launches and those who purport to tell us with any certainty what will happen should revisit a quote from a former head of the U S Patent Office who offered to resign since everything that could be invented had already been invented. His name was Charles Duell and the quote dates to 1899.
There is a young man playing basketball for the University of Kentucky. This young man is John Wall, a freshman from Raleigh, NC. John is a freshman point guard who has played in eight games as a collegian and has scored the winning points in more than one of those. while averaging a team leading 19 points per game.
Listen to some of the comments made thus far. PTI’s Tony Kornheiser says hew will probably be the first pick in the NBA draft if he turns pro and probably would have been last year had he been allowed in the draft. Sorry, Blake Griffin. Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated has Wall as his top contender for player of the year. Anything wrong with this, not really. Wall is an extremely talented player and may very well earn all the accolades being bestowed on him. But is it not a bit premature? He has played 8 games thus far. Couldn’t we wait just a bit with the comparisons and the greatest this and that. if Wall is as good as he is projected to be right now, the NBA will know and some team will make him a very wealthy young man. For now, a T.O. baby and give things time.
Peter King is a writer for Sports Illustrated who specializes in covering professional football. He has a short column near the back of each issue of the magazine which is entitled, “Things I Think I Think.” I like his musings but, better yet, I like the title, indeed, I am a bit envious of the title. At least, I thing that’s what it is. I would like to have some sort of regular thoughts, nothing profound, just a bit thought-provoking; about something. Obviously, I am not expert enough on any subject to be as specific as Mr King.
He is not the first member of the media to have a regular feature with a catchy title. Paul Harvey had more than one. I well remember, over my shoulder a backward glance and partly personal. There was Charles Kuralt and over the road. And there was President Roosevelt with his fireside chats which was the first great presidential use of the media.
Reagan was known as “The Great Communicator” in some circles and in many instances President Obama has excelled in that area as well . But, alas, I know my sights need to aim more in the Shetland pony than the Palomino or Clydesdale.
From my category list, politics would seem a good area on which to focus, or sports or the media. Withing those areas, there are any number of popular tags that reappear often- Democrats, the media, Israel, among others. Better yet, there are others who desperately seek to provide fodder- Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden,Madame Secretary,etc.
What I shall seek is to provide a wry but not sharp look at folks and things from time to time, not quite like the quotes section of The Limbaugh Letter, but perhaps down a similar path. So, we shall consider this as the first installment of the Grounds from the Percolator and see where the aroma takes us.
Sports Illustrated has a great article in this week’s issue which came today. It didn’t make the cover and for many may not even get much of a notice. It is entitled ” The Last Iconic Baseball Card ” and is written by Luke Winn. What it is really about is the end of an era. The past time of collecting baseball cards has been trending steadily downward for a number of years. For my money, the end began when the makers went from Topps alone to a plethora of other companies. You know, goose and golden egg and all that.
The story took me way back to my childhood in the 50′s and 60′s when for a time, baseball card collecting was at the virtual top of my to-do list. I never collected to buy or sell and never really had that many, although I thought 500+ was a lot. But I dearly enjoyed it. There were 2 places for me to but in small town Leaksville, NC in those days. There was Williams Store on the way home fromschool( yes, I walked home) where cards were purchased individually accompanied by a stick of bubble gum, one penny per card. There was a small department store across town on the Boulevard whose name I forget. Their cards came in wrapped packs of ten with new arrivals usually on Tuesday’s, I think. The joy at getting a new pack or a new handful could hardly be surpassed.
Alas. when I became a bit older and ” more mature”, I decided those childish cards were unnecessary and committed the now recognized cardinal sin of throwing them away. Aargh!! Periodically, I tried to recapture the magic, even convincing my son to collect for a little while. But both he and I soon lost interest and just a handful remain. Thanks to this article, hope may flicker once again. According to Baseball Reference.com, the Yankees have had a total of 1,499 different players in their storied history. Wonder how long it wuld take to collect them all? I have about 30 right now with the one shown
my best, good ole Donnie Baseball. However, I will need to find a new source and that may be a challenge.
Even a nominal sports fan has heard of Florida QB Tim Tebow. The young man has a Heisman Trophy from 2007 and has led Florida to 2 national titles. If you have ever watched him play, he is more like a fullback than a QB. Of course, at 6ft 3in and 240 pounds he is well equipped to be the battering ram type player. Whether or not it translates to pro football stardom remains to be seen, since he does not play an NFL style game.
But somehow I don’t think he minds a whole lot. His story is rather well known, son of a missionary to the Philippines, who survived a potentially life threatening birth to become a star athlete. But I like his non football side even more. His dad considered him a miracle baby since had prayed diligently for a preacher. Although God gave him a quarterback, he could very well end up being both a preacher and a quarterback. He makes mission trips to the Philippines and elsewhere and has an active and somewhat effective prison ministry. Perfect? Of course not and makes no claim to be. A good representative of his school and college sports in general, to be sure. After all, the cover article in last week’s Sports Illustrated by Austin Murphy had very little in the way of negatives.
Here is what I find interesting . One of the blogs that i read regularly is Get Religion. Their focus is on how religion and religious topics are treated in the media, for good or bad. Their post on the SI article wasn’t bad although they noted that more critical questions could have been asked and that it was almost a fawning piece. Some of the comments I read made a similar point. True, the article was overwhelmingly complimentary, but so what? All too often, both college and pro sports stars make off the field news for other reasons. (Fill in your own choices here. ) And interestingly enough, if the “bad boy” in question produces results on the court or field and draws fans, i.e. makes the team money, this boorish behaviour or worse is often overlooked.
So, here we have an All American QB at a famous party school who writes scripture verses in his eye black- a problem, not for me. Guess I won’t have a problem if Florida has a successful season, unless they beat the Tar Heels in the national championship game. I would have to draw the line there.
There are always people who are telling us that the world is approaching its end. Many, if not all, are well meaning and seriously believe what they are saying. In fact, there has been extensive talk in recent years about maybe the end of the world being December 31,2012, according to the Mayan calendar. Well, sorry to disappoint you, this post has noting to do with any of that.
After a hiatus of several years, I renewed my long dormant subscription to Sports Illustrated and rediscovered many things that I like about the magazine, along with some new things. Of course, the photos are top notch and I marvel at the detail in some of the 2 page photos . What I am really enjoying is a little sidebar item called “Sign of the Apocalypse”. For some reason, these quirky little items intrigue me more than a lot of the articles.
Just 2 to brieflyillustrate. there is a minor league baseball team named trhe Hudson Valley Renegades, located in the town of FishkillNY ( bet there is a good story there too). Anyway, as minor league teams must do, they set out to do a promotion, an old-fashioned ladies’ night. Dont’ know any specifics but I suspect that women got a ticket at a free or deduced rate. Not so fast said Duchess County government officials. If you do that you will violate New York State Human Rights Law. More ominously you will violate the federal guarantee to equal protection. Am I the only one who sees a problem there? In reading it to my son, he seemed to lean towards the side of the government. Think those folks in Duchess County might have more important things to deal with?
Ok, one more. This is just pure fun, unless you are a fan of the Detroit Lions football team. The poor Lions went 0-16 in 2008, the first NFL team to accomplish such a feat. Their apocalyptic contribution comes from the team website. An ad on the site encourages fans to watch streaming video and relive the 2008 season. Suppose that was a short video? Maybe it showed the players running on the field for game 1 or something. I understand Lions fans. I was a Washington Redskins fan in the 60″s when a good season was maybe 1-11 or lo and behold, 2-10.
Thanks SI for helping to keep the fun in sports.
- Bible study
- Christian living
- Foreign Policy
- International politics
- Legal system
- Life and Death
- Local Politics
- State Politics