My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Look what I found 

It started with one bloke and a metal detector. It ended with more than eleven pounds of gold; weapons, helmet decorations, and coins, a total amounting to more than 1500 pieces. It was discovered in Staffordshire, England in a fallow field by a local pensioner, Terry Herbert. Archaeologists were eventually brought in and have dated the haul to between 550 and 750. They speculate it might have been the booty of a particularly successful raiding party, especially since there are no feminine items amidst the jewel encrusted hoard that includes gem studded pieces that were the ornamentation for Angle-Saxon swords and pommels.

Herbert is looking at a more than $1 million reward.

Read the whole story here in the UK's Guardian.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009


There are many differences between the Obama presidency and the reign of George Bush the II. One of them is that if someone had done this during the Bush II presidency, they would have been water-boarded in the search for co-conspirators, then locked up in a foreign prison beyond the reach of the United States' Constitution.

According to the Los Angeles Times and numerous other sources, "The Secret Service launched an investigation into a Facebook poll asking if President Obama should be assassinated." The paper reported that "The question, "Should Obama be killed?" had received 730 responses since its posting on Saturday. The four possible answers: Yes. Maybe. If he cuts my healthcare. No."

Wow! Bush engendered a heckuva lot of hostility, be wethinks nobody was getting away with that without facing the wrath of Dick Cheney.

Read the whole story here.

Labels: , ,

Monday, September 28, 2009

Meditations on Yom Kippur 

The holiest day of the Jewish calendar is today, Yom Kippur, the day of Repentance. A few thoughts to meditate on (regardless of your spirtiual persuasion) from sources wiser than us...

We are asked to take a leap of action rather than a leap of thought. We are asked to surpass our needs, to do more than we understand in order to understand more than we do. It is in deeds that a human becomes aware of what one's life really is. It is in the employment of the will through action, not in the ego though internal reflection that we meet ourself as it really is.

Whom can I accuse, of whom revenge demand,
When I have born deep suffering at my own hand?

A human is not granted something unconditionally, rather we have to decide for something unconditionally.

There were once some lawless men who caused Rabbi Meir a great deal of trouble. Rabbi Meir accordingly prayed that they should die. His wife Beruiah said to him: "How can think such a prayer is permitted? ...When sin ceases there will be no more wicked men. Therefore pray for them that they turn from their ways, and that there will be no more wicked." Then he prayed on their behalf.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Italian Stallion 

Regular readers know that the Clarion Content loves to tweak American politicians for their sexual shenanigans. But we know even California has nothing on Italy when it comes to the scandalous sex stories. This one goes all the way to the top, implicating sleazy, media-dominating, criminally despotic, Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi.

According to the UK's Daily Telegraph five women were paid more than $1000 each per night to attend dinner parties at the Italian prime minister's lavish residence spend the night and offer the prime minister sexual services. The news surfaced at the trial of Gianpaolo Tarantini, who is being investigated in the southern port city of Bari, Italy on charges of providing women for prostitution. According to the Telegraph, Tarantini testified, "that between September 2008 and January 2009, he recruited Italian and foreign girls, including some from Eastern Europe, to attend the gatherings. They were flown to Rome, put up in hotels and taken to Mr Berlusconi's imposing mansion, Palazzo Grazioli." There were more than eighteen dinner parties total. Tarantini told Italian investigators that he had arranged for the women to attend with the hope that the aging prime minister would help him secure a business contract with Italy's Civil Protection agency, a national emergency services organization.

Read more here. Its dirty. To think Italy is in NATO, the G-20, the EU, etc. Continuing to sanction this kind of corruption indicts Italy and all the organizations it participates in, making it significantly more difficult for these bodies to attack state-sanctioned corruption elsewhere.

Labels: ,

Revolutionary Ladies 

The past month saw two notable and under-publicized achievements in women's tennis. In a scene that produced some delightfully joyous photos, Kim Clisters became the first mother to win a Grand Slam tournament in 27 years (since Evonne Goolagong Cawley won Wimbledon in 1980). Clisters accepted post match hugs from her eighteen month old daughter Jada after winning the U.S. Open last month. Score one for motherhood!

Evonne Goolagong Cawley.......................Billie Jean King

Yesterday Japan's Kimiko Date Krumm became the oldest winner of a WTA Tour tournament
since Billie Jean King in 1983. Date Krum, nearly thirty-nine, won the Korean Open, beating top-seeded Daniela Hantuchova along the way. King was thirty-nine and seven months. It was Date Krum's eighth career title. For perspective, the last one was thirteen years ago over Arantxa Sanchez Vicario. Congratulations.

Labels: ,

What are they watching...Episode III 

Our weekly look at what the teens and tweens of America are watching. You may have caught our first couple of episodes. This week we highlight a song that we have heard as the ring tone for some young ballers.

Do the youngsters in a college town understand what this song is about? Is the conglomerate a response by outsiders to the structure and strictures of government?

Labels: , ,

Rapid Fire Reaction 

A few quick thoughts from the Sports Editor having just watched the Tennessee Titans fall to 0-3 at the surprising New York Jets. As you know if you read the Clarion Content's AFC preview we didn't buy into the Jets and rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez. Sanchez has the limitations you might expect of green rookie, the Jets missed their last nine third down conversion attempts. The Jets defense is stout. They are built around solid linebackers, led by Bart Scott and David Harris. They have all world might-mite safety Jim Leonhard, and a great scheme. With Kris Jenkins still healthy and playing at nose tackle, they are a dominating bunch especially at home where the deafening crowd sounds like a college stadium.

The long overrated Kerry Collins wasn't up to the task for the Titans. The play calling, influenced by trailing throughout the fourth quarter, negated one of Tennessee's best players super quick running back Kris Johnson. Collins was incomplete on his last thirteen pass attempts (to be fair there were a couple drops). He looked like a statue getting demolished by a bulldozer against the Jets blitz. Tennessee deep behind the eight ball, out of the gate 0-3, all three losses in conference, needs to give some thought to going to Vince Young (as we Twittered during the game).

*Just a sidenote, it was an awful abuse of its monopoly by the NFL and their partner Fox Sports to deny the city of Detroit the opportunity to watch their team's first victory in two years. The game was blacked-out on local television, in a city with 30% plus unemployment, because they did not sell out the game tickets. Sport's greed will yet be visited by comeuppance.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thanks again, America 

We are quite sure that is not what Iraqis are thinking. "Thanks again America for stopping by. Appreciate ya," not exactly likely after more than 100,00 civilian deaths America disgustingly and callously labeled "collateral damage." Now there is another reason for Iraqis to be far less than grateful for the tsunami of destruction that America unleashed on their country, "shock and awe," indeed.

The Associated Press is reporting that a massive wave of violent and deadly crime is sweeping across Iraq. Kidnappings, murders and armed robberies have increased dramatically. The AP notes that it is largely being precipitated by well armed former insurgents, whom as we recall, America birthed via Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz's ingenious decision to disband the Iraqi army and send them home armed and jobless. The Iraqi government, divided against itself, and still fighting car bombings and the like in Baghdad, Mosul and elsewhere hardly has the time or verve to do anything about the crime wave.

The Associated Press notes that next to the lack of electricity and clean water, crime has become one of Iraqis' biggest complaints. America has shown it has the power to take a 2nd world state and drop it deeply into the 3rd world. However, as American policymakers already should have known from Vietnam and Somalia, America and outsiders are incapable of building such states back to stability.

Read more here.

Labels: , ,


The Clarion Content's editorial board, by-in-large, believes that the Earth should be viewed as a self-correcting, holistic, Gaian entity- part of a larger universe of the same. This shapes our view on global warming, it is part of a process, not something that is going to wipe Earth out. However, that does not imply global warming cannot have environmental impacts which will be deleterious for humankind. Witness the epic sandstorms enveloping Sydney, Australia.

The BBC reports that Sydney has been covered in red dust blown in from the deserts of the Australian outback. It says visibility is so bad that international air flights have been diverted. Aussie emergency services have reported a surge in calls from people suffering with breathing and respiratory problems. Traffic on major roads is snarled. Local landmarks are barely visible beneath the swirling red clouds of dirt picked up by winds sweeping across the drought ravaged state of New South Wales.

Read more here.

See more pictures here.

Labels: , ,

Monday, September 21, 2009

SEC considering banning flash trading 

What you mean those with the most information about the stock market shouldn't be able to sell an exclusive ability to privileged clients to place their trades before the general public? You don't say?

But that is what the SEC is considering! Last week SEC commissioners unanimously voted to consider banning the practice known as flash trading, a notoriously rigged insider game that governments and most financial services honchos have blithely ignored for years. Nasdaq banned the practice last month. The London Stock Exchange recently eliminated a policy that encouraged it.

Flash trading may account for as much as 50% of market volume. Troublingly enough no one really knows for certain. It is a computing and algorithmic arms race that is going on beneath the conscious eye of the public that introduces real systemic risk, (and apocalyptic visions of machines gone haywire.)

Labels: , ,

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Unauthorized Autobiography of G.Ia.M'Rock, ch. 3 

Welcome to an on-going work of meta-fiction and gonzo journalism reminiscent of the late Hunter S. Thompson.

Brought to you by one of Durham's very own.

Some language and situations may not be appropriate for younger readers!!!

Follow this link to Chapter One.

Follow this link to Chapter Two.

Chapter Three, "No Ian"

There are good ways and bad ways to wake up in the morning.

A good way is to be awoken by an alarm clock playing some early Led Zeppelin, while a scantily-clad bathycolpian woman flounces into your bedroom bearing scalding coffee and a plate of eggs, in preparation for the first day on the job of a new promotion which came with a brand new company car which you discovered the evening before could hit 120 mph without any trouble.

A bad way to wake up in the morning is with a throbbing hangover and the vision of a large, hairy caucasion buttock being thrust into your line of sight.

"Dude, is this a zit or an abscess? Can you lance it?"

My Chuck tends to tilt my mornings in one way, rather than the other.

Now the Chuck is not the only person in the world who mistakenly tries to utilize me for medical advice, he just happens to do so in the most memorable ways.

I should explain that I do work at a hospital. This does, in many ways, explain why many people ask but, of course, is despite the fact that I am no more qualified to tell you if your ankle is broken or merely sprained than your average tattoo artist or aromatherapist. Even when I get to work, the fact that I'm the guy wearing a suit instead of a nurse's uniform means that I get all sorts of hacking coughs sprayed in my face, befouled infants posteriors presented to me, or hideous wounds shoved in front of my face in the mistaken impression that I can fix them. Really, people, I'm just here to take your money. Take your problems to the guy with the stethoscope. Especially if I'm not at work, and all you know is that I've got a hospital ID tag unfortunately still pinned onto my shirt.

So it ain't easy being the guy who works in a hospital and doesn't wear scrubs. On some days where I'm feeling particularly like an asshole, I'll actually offer a medical opinion in these cases, which tends to involve a cursory look, a jabbing finger into a sore spot, and a quick pronouncement of "It's lupus or leprosy. Either way, it'll have to come off."

No the worst part of not being a clinical staffer is that there's a very distinct hierarchy in the hospital world. The doctors are lords of the manor. They're everyone's boss, and they know it. Immediately below them come the nurses: that fun breed of women and devil-may-care gay men who think they're your mother. All of them think they're smarter than the docs. Below them, there's a swarm nurses' aids, radiology technicians, lab rats, and other assorted first-aid certified folks that still barely count as human beings in the eyes of our first two categories.

At the bottom of the heap, barely above the true scum, the enemy: the patients(!) come the herd of unskilled labor: security, the cleaning staff, the gruel sloppers in the cafeteria, the porters who shove the patients back and forth between floors.

Now I fall somewhere in the middle of this feudal system, between the clinical staff and the peasant worker-bees, which generally means that when one side gets miffed with the other, I'm lumped in with the enemy. This suits me very much, of course, as I don't want to go to their birthday parties, anyway.

A few weeks before our story begins, there had been a rash of theft from the emergency room breakroom. Lunches eaten, umbrellas borrowed, and the outright theft of an apparently expensive pair of earrings that had no business being left unattended in any office breakroom, much less one where hundreds of people have access. The result of the outcry and hub-bub was the obvious conclusion that the thievery must have been committed by a member of the serf-caste, and therefore anyone without a fancy set of initials after their name would be henceforth banned from said breakroom. While this meant that eating lunch was a tad difficult, it was something I could deal with.

A few days later, one of the lockers in the male employee's bathroom was broken into. These lockers were split between myself, Lou the Security Guard (an old buddy of mine), and about 20 assorted doctors and male nurses. A few years back, there was a more even split between the clinical staff and the 'others' in the men's locker rooms, but this balance had slowly shifted when the MDs decided to not let new pond scum store their dirty Nikes in the same room as the docs did.

But I digress. Two non-clinicals in the locker room (also the bathroom, remember), the theft had to be one of us. Much discussion was made of putting a lock on the door, which would have been inconvenient. It's one thing to find a quiet corner of a stairwell to eat your tuna sandwich. It's quite another thing to find a nice comfy supply closet to relieve oneself in. Oh, it can be done, especially after Pedro, the internist with really bad gas has been in the proper bathrooms, but you won't be making friends with the janitorial staff, who find the excuse of "It's just a frickin' drain!" to be less than comforting. Happily, things never came to the lock on the locker/bathroom door, but the whole situation put me on my guard.

I walked into work one evening to see a sad sight. Lou's locker was cleaned out: the old Minnesota Vikings sticker had been peeled off the front, and a quick check with some of the other security guards confirmed that Lou had finally retired and moved back to Duluth. Summer was rapidly approaching, he was fully vested in his pension, and his old lady decided she wasn't interested in another July or August in North Carolina. I can hardly blame the guy, so don't think this was the reason that I turned red with rage, yanked the paper towel dispenser off the wall, and only barely restrained myself from hurling it into the mirror behind the sinks.

No. What got me more aggravated than a ballet instructor with a class full of epileptics was that the new occupant of the locker had attached a strip of scotch tape to the front of Lou's old locker. Written, in simple block letters was "No Ian"

Now this was one step too far. Being included in a general cast of the distrusted, squalid masses was one thing. Being singled out as an object of suspicion by whatever ass had co-opted Lou's old locker? This meant war.

War, for a bureaucrat, means a lot of angry phone calls. Frothing with the rage of a fat child sent to bed before dessert, I rang up my boss. My manager is a phlegmatic sort, and shrugged off with my demands for a witch hunt, inquisition, and some good old fashioned torturing or the guilty party.

"Could you just pull the tape off?" passed his lips.

I hung up. I was dealing with a man who never felt a kinship with the Furies such as I did at that moment.

The head of nursing, my next contact, was a little more sympathetic.

"Figure out whose locker it is, and I'll have a talk with him."

"A talk? You mean you'll rip their toenails out with a rusty pair of pliers?"

"I think my pliers are all stainless, Ian. We'll see."

Now that I had my source of righteous vengeance, all I needed was a target.

Laying in wait, hidden in the depths of the hospital, was Ernest. Ernest should be sympathetic to me, as a fellow paper-pusher caught somewhere in the middle of scalpel-wielders and minimum-wage labor. Alas, he's been at his job too long. He'd spent years of keeping records of which patient is sleeping in which room, how many cases of chamber pots had been delivered to the rehab floor, and yes, which locker had been assigned to which staffer. You put a man in an office alone for enough years with nothing to do but tally down names and numbers, and he goes a bit weird. And from what I heard, Ernest came in a little more than halfway to weird.
His office was in the bowels of the hospital, far from anywhere a human being might willingly roam. It was dimly-lit, which kept you from clearly seeing the faded motivational posters left there by his predecessor. His desk was filled with stacks and stacks of books containing the whereabouts of pretty much everything in the hospital, and a phone. No computer: he didn't trust 'em. No items reflecting a personal life, perhaps because he didn't have one. No blotter to write his appointments on, because who would ever want to make an appointment with Ernest?
There was also a funk in the room. Not that Ernest didn't shower, but the scent of failure about the place. Ernest kept records, but he had a reputation for not sharing them. This was a place where hopes of finding out the information in those records came to die. I'd heard stories about people trying to get him to divulge the information he was required to keep, and none of them ended without tears.

"Ernest, I need to know who most recently was assigned a locker in the ER men's room."

"That's classified."

He didn't even take a breath. Denying information was this man's one soul purpose in life.

"Classified? This isn't like tax information, or psychiatric information, or somebody's underwear size. This is just a locker."

"It's protected health information." Ernest pointed to a sign behind me, with a dancing purple hippo explaining the guarantees of HIPAA.

"That protects patient privacy... not..."

I stopped. I knew that going down this road would not lead to anything. More persuasive people than I had tried and failed this course.

I started again, "Wait.... I'm curious, why are you so possessive of these things? Do you not share them because you just don't bother to keep the damn records in the first place?"

Ernest's eyebrows shot up. He'd been accused of many things before, but I doubt anyone had ever outright accused the little troll of outright neglecting his job. His hand reached out and rested somewhat protectively atop a red binder towards the front of his desk. I saw it had "Locker Assignments" written in very small, very precise handwriting on a label stuck to the corner.

"How dare you?"

Silly Ernest, I dare plenty of things. One such thing, of course, is a little theft for a good cause. My hand shot out, I snatched the binder, and I booked it out of there before he could get around his desk. As I pounded down the bright and empty hallways back towards civilization, I felt the flush of victory spread throughout my chest. In my hands, the "No Ian" writer's identity was kept. Once I knew who it was, I could finally strike a blow back against one of the over-lording clinical staffers who dared to accuse me of having poor moral fiber.

I slipped into an unused room, wedging my foot against the door in case Ernest came hunting for his book.

I carefully opened the binder, and looked for the most recent assigned locker. Sure enough, it was marked as being in the men's bathroom in the ER.

The locker was signed out to a nurse, with the last name of Barton. Yes... Nolan Barton, you would soon be ...


I looked at the name written in Ernest's small precise hand... and then imagined a sloppier hand mistakenly leaving a little bit more space between the O and the L than the other letters.


Write it out yourself, it was an easy mistake for anyone to make.


I crept back to Ernest's office, and leaned the binder up against the closed door as quietly as I could, and then snuck back to my post in the ER. As it turned out, Nolan had just started that day, and was a funny and engaging guy, despite being Canadian. The rest of the night went wonderfully.

If Ernest finds out that the head of nursing doesn't mind wielding a pair of toenail pliers for a good cause though, I'm fucked.

Labels: ,

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Meditations on Rosh Hashanah 

The Jewish New Year 5770 began this weekend. A few thoughts from folks wiser than ourselves in commemoration.

"A prominent Jewish prayer concludes, 'May the One who made peace in the heavens grant peace to us on earth.' What does it mean to create peace in the heavens? Ancient man looked up into the sky and he saw the sun and the rainclouds. And he would say to himself, 'How can fire and water, sun and rain co-exist in the same sky? Either the water would put out the fire or the fire would dry up the water.' How do they get along? It must be a miracle. The sun says, 'If I dry up the rainclouds, as I probably could, the world will not survive without rain.' The clouds say, 'If we extinguish the sun, the world will perish in darkness.' So the fire and the water make peace, realizing that if either one of them achieved a total victory, the world could not endure."---Rabbi Harold Kushner

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."---Mother Theresa


Friday, September 18, 2009


Who would of thought back fifteen years ago when they were writing lyrics like, "When masturbation's lost its fun / You're fucking lazy," that Greenday would become one of the preeminent political statement bands of their era. They have. In 2003 they released the highly regarded and very political, American Idiot. This year they are back at it with their new album 21st Century Breakdown.

The biggest single hit off of the album is the cry for peace "21 Guns."

Labels: ,

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mafia Dumping 

The BBC reports that a shipwreck (not pictured) potentially containing toxic waste is being investigated by Italian authorities amidst claims that it was deliberately sunk by the Mafia. The story caught the Clarion Content's eye because we have heard rumblings about the Mafia dumping chemical and nuclear waste in connection with East African piracy. This is a slightly different tale because according to the BBC the sunken ship was found 18 miles off of the southwestern coast of Italy.

Apparently, this is but the tip of the iceberg of what may have happened. The BBC says, "An informant from the Calabrian Mafia said the ship was one of a number he blew up as part of an illegal operation to bypass laws on toxic waste disposal." Italian officials said there may be as many as thirty other scuttled vessels.

Read the whole story here.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Old Master 

The old master, Pedro Martinez, still has it. He is 5 and 0 since returning to MLB. The Phillies are 7 and 0 in the games he has started. He is pitching to a 2.87 ERA. Scintillating hardly even begins to cover it. Sunday evening he threw eight innings of shutout ball, yielding a bare six hits in a tense 1-0 victory over the Mets. The Clarion Content would love to see Pedro, one of our all-time favs, get starts for the Phils in postseason.

Labels: ,

Poorest workers hit hardest 

The long fight for fairness for the American worker is nowhere near over.

There was bad news from the New York Times last week. It reported that a comprehensive examination low wage workers, found that 68% of the workers interviewed had experienced at least one pay-related violation in the previous work week. The survey had nearly 4,400 participants. The survey determined that the average worker had lost $51 the previous week through wage violations, out of weekly earnings of $339, almost 15% of their earnings. One quarter of the workers had been paid less than the minimum wage, one in seven had worked off the clock. Three quarters of those who had worked overtime the week before were not paid their properly for it.

The survey also found that only 8% of those who suffered serious injuries on the job filed for workers compensation to pay for medical care and missed days at work due to those injuries.

Worse yet, the survey was conducted last year before the brunt of the current economic slump took hold. Anecdotal reports indicate the situation has only worsened.

Read the whole article here.

Labels: ,

Durham Skate Park 

Durham is getting a skate park! Just east of where the Durham Farmer's Market is held Wednesdays and Saturdays in the Durham Central Park. Durham has been doing a good bit of upgrading of its park system even in face of the national economic slump. The skate park is under construction along Rigsbee Avenue, ironically for the skaters, directly across from the new police substation.The official address is 502 Foster Street.

Check out this conceptual drawing and some shots of the on-going construction. The site will include a floating quarter pipe, floating launch boxes, an 8 foot trog bowl, a street clam and three sets of stairs with rails, plus numerous other hype skate features. The overall park design will be 10,000 square feet.

Looks pretty cool!

This is the view up the hill from the Farmer's Market

Here is where things are now

Labels: ,

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Be careful in San Jose 

Our last post was about being careful in Las Vegas because the vice cops are working overtime. This time there were no cops on the scene when a series of fights broke out in this San Jose bar, Club Wet. According the San Jose Mercury News, "For the second time in two months, San Jose police temporarily yanked the entertainment license of Club Wet. They quoted the cops, "There has been a slew of different things that happened at this particular club, all related to violence."

Patrick Swayze was sorely missed. Chaos 1 --- Security 0


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Football Preview, Part I, the AFC 

The Clarion Content is attempting to shorten our football preview from some of the notoriously long pieces we have penned in the past. It is also noteworthy before reading these predictions to recall that the Clarion Content picked the Yankees to miss the playoffs, the Cubs to win the N.L. Central and the Tigers to finish last in the A.L. Central. Last year in the knockout pool, the Sports Editor tried to get creative and picked the Detroit Lions to win in week one. You know how that went. So suffice it say that these predictions are for entertainment purposes only.

This looks like a Super QB...

AFC West

The worst division in the American Football Conference, featuring two rookie coaches and the Raiders. Like most, the Clarion Contents likes the Chargers to win the division.

1st---San Diego Chargers over 10

Shawn Merriman was just trying to stop Tia Tequilla from driving. As long as he is
rushing the quarterback and Phillip Rivers is under center the Chargers will be hard to beat. We think LD will have something of a comeback year.

2nd---Denver Broncos over 6.5

The Clarion Content likes Kyle Orton a lot more than most. His regular season record looks good. It would help if rookie running back out of Georgia, Knowshon Moreno lit it up.

3rd---Kansas City Chiefs under 6

Tough call who will be worse, Chiefs or Raiders. Firing the offensive coordinator, risky. Counting on Larry Johnson when the going gets tough, riskier. How will Matt Cassell do with less talent around him? He will surely wish the Chiefs kept tight end Tony Gonzales.

4th---Oakland Raiders under 5.5

The Clarion Content was feeling halfway okay about the Raiders until the focus became Tom Cable's uppercut. Then we heard Ja'Marcus Russell the quarterback reported to camp at nearly 300 pounds, and the Raiders still cut Jeff Garcia. Worst news for old school Raiders fans this week, learning from Bill Simmons column that Al Davis's mom lived to be 103.

AFC Central

A tough top of the division for Carson Palmer and the Bengals to breakthrough.

1st---Pittsburgh Steelers over 10.5

Can Ben Roethlisberger stay healthy all season, holding the ball as long as he does? Fast Willie Parker looks a little slow a foot. Troy Polamalu has been bitten by the Madden curse...

2nd---Baltimore Ravens over 8.5

The Clarion Content loves the young guys Joe Flacco and Ray Rice. If Ed Reed isn't the best safety in the division in just might be because there are two future Hall of Fame safeties in this division.

3rd---Cincinnati Bengals over 6.5

We would love to see Marvin Lewis and his team succeed. Palmer is a good quarterback. How much talent to the have around him? It didn't help that Bengals fatty offensive lineman Andre Smith held out, then broke his foot two days after reporting. Look for a career season from Laveranues Coles and breakout year from fullback Brian Leonard.

4th---Cleveland Browns under 7

How fast is Eric Mangini going to wear out his welcome? Six games? Eight? He already painted over a mural of Browns greats and alienated the local media. Brady Quinn is set up to fail. The defense looks terrible. The competition looks tough.

AFC South

Perhaps the hardest division to figure. The Jacksonville Jaguars are? The Colts without Tony Dungy will? The Titans led by Kerry Collins can? And all the experts like Houston...

1st place---Tennessee Titans over 9

Even if Kerry Collins, gets hurt with think Vince Young is poised to succeed. We love Kris Johnson and their defense, led by Keith Bullock.

2nd place---Indianapolis Colts under 10

They will miss Marvin Harrison and Tony Dungy. The offensive line has question marks. The defense is vulnerable.

3rd place---Jacksonville Jaguars over 8

We like David Garrard more than most. We worry about Marcus Jones Drew holding up while getting all the carries, but if he can, look out. The Jags fans are the most likely to screwed by the NFL TV blackout rules. Sorry the bottom fell out of the economy, but, no, no you can't watch your team on TV.

4th place---Houston Texans under 8

The best fourth place team in the conference. They have stars on both sides of the ball. Too bad Andre Johnson can't play quarterback and wideout. Their defensive line gets pressure on people, but the Texans are just a find a way to lose games kind of team, even after exiling Sage Rosenfelds. Is it coach Gary Kubiak?

AFC East

All four of these teams can't finish over .500 can they? Even the Jets with a rookie quarterback and new coach could still be halfway decent. Tom Brady's return makes all the difference.

1st place---New England Patriots under 11.5

Could there be a little slippage in New England? There has appeared to be some defensively over the last couple of years. Won't Brady be a little rusty? We'd be shocked if the Pats won the Lombardi Trophy this year.

2nd place---Miami Dolphins over 7

We like the wildcat offense, especially now that they have added former WVU quarterback Pat White. Good defense, good running game, Bill Parcells picking the players, what's not to like? Did you know Chad Pennington has led his team to the playoffs every year of his career that he has played ten healthy games?

3rd place---Buffalo Bills over 7.5

We like Trent Edwards. We like the defense. Will TO help or hurt? If he is the good TO, he and Lee Evans could be a terrific wideout combo. Dick Jauron gets the most out of his teams' talent.

4th place---The New York Jets under 7

This was a good defense already and then they added Bart Scott and Jim Leonhard. But can the offense keep up? Thomas Jones is slowing. They don't have a true number one receiver, much as we like Jerricho Cotchery. And no less than Pete Carroll said rookie QB Mark Sanchez should have stayed in school.

Labels: ,


Do they think America is on their side?

The Clarion Content has declared our recommendation to President Obama and Congress for a policy on Afghanistan, "We (the Clarion Content) believe America and its allies should rapidly and massively draw down their forces in Afghanistan to a level of small counterinsurgency ops only, while supplying significant development aid, especially for literacy and modern irrigation." We imagine the first response of many politicians on both sides of the aisle to be, but Afghan President, "our guy," Hamid Karzai would be thrown out. This is our pre-response to that argument. Call it a pre-joinder, if you will.

Firstly is this whole perception that Karzai is American's guy, and indeed he is. His administration is widely considered corrupt and incompetent. Afghans have centuries old traditions of resisting centralized rule. America is foolishly attempting to buck the trend that is the socio-cultural norm. Worse, by backing a sullied regime America is tainted by its failings.

What would be so bad if Karzai fell? Rather than having to hypocritically look the other way, America could harp on the corruption and failings of any replacement. America's position could be reversed, instead of being co-opted by the existing dishonest structure, it could work to expose venality and dirt.

But what if the new regime were hostile to America? All the better for holding their feet to the ethical fire. Should America see a Kim Jong-il-esque figure rise to power or a Burmese Junta, it would be able to call it out for what it is. Furthermore, America could continue to wield a big stick. Proponents of our existing policy would tell you that America could not give aid to things like irrigation and literacy without Army boots on the ground.

We disagree, again withdrawal is the catalyst to a position flip. Right now, it is on America and allied forces to keep the peace so that services can be distributed and life can proceed as normally as possible. If America withdraws and Karzai falls, maintaining order, providing sustenance and stability is on the successor. America, rather than being blamed for the failings of the status quo, can give aid that highlights the issues of any less than optimal regime that succeeds its puppet. The objection might be, but it (the Taliban or other successor) will resist American help. Again, by allowing the other party to become aligned with and acknowledged as the force of the center, America has turned the tables. Right now, the Taliban and other disgruntled groups whether strictly separatists, clan aligned, tribe aligned, ethnically aligned or else-wise can foment enough trouble to make it very difficult for America and its allies to achieve the political stability necessary to move its development goals forward. Post the fall of Karzai, America can take a very carrot and stick approach. It could make clear to a successor regime, that you are only in power with America's grace. America might not be able to take over, but it could surely bomb you and yours back to the hills and caves. America's price for allowing you to stabilize the country is proceeding with its irrigation and literacy aid programs.

But the new regime, especially if it were affiliated with the Taliban, might still push things that America finds morally objectionable would be the claim of the defenders of the status quo. For example, literacy programs won't be extended to females. The Clarion Content surely agrees that, as always with these things, the devil will be in the details. The Americans will need terrific negotiators, and a brave, firm hand. For example, literacy programs will be extended to Afghan females, but only in classes taught by females.

The most obvious rational for America to change its Afghan policy is, of course, that it is not working. Thousands of Afghan civilians are being killed annually, alienating the populace, undermining America's high hopes and intentions, not to mention its standing in the wider world. Hundreds of American military personnel are being sacrificed on the altar of the military industrial complex. It is time to go a different route.

President Obama's course on Afghanistan has been a tremendous disappointment to the Clarion Content, one of the many ways in which his presidency seems to have fallen victim to the culture of Washington. The more things change, the more things stay the same is doubly true in DC. The President's naive insistence on tackling health care reform above all else has left many important priorities shunted aside. Where are the wholesale changes and advances to infrastructure that the Obama presidency was supposed to bring? Has the work started on the first high speed rail-line? Where are the public access internet connected computers? Heck, where are the plain old bricks and mortar projects as the American economy continues its slow implosion? Just this week the Clarion Content was reading about cracks appearing in the Bay Bridge between San Francisco and Oakland and thinking back on the terrible tragedy that befell Minnesota. The 73-year-old California structure carries about 260,000 vehicles a day. Has the President done anything to push the pedal to the metal on infrastructure investment?

Now we read the President is going to open talks with Iran. To what end? Another needless distraction in the face of much greater problems at home. Every time we look up from our desks, it looks more like Jimmy Carter all over again. Good intentions, lousy execution. Problems in Afghanistan, attempts to reign in Iran, massive unemployment, an economy teetering between stagflation and a double dip recession with no clear bottom in sight. This is a terrible time to be pouring blood and treasure into a Central Asian war for no gain. Hopefully, President Obama is about to change course.

Labels: , ,

Friday, September 11, 2009

So that's how it is in California 

Well, well, well, if California isn't the forefront of American culture again! In this case with a slimy scandal in its State Legislature, where although Caly is a trendsetter, it is not alone in corruption. State Legislatures nationwide have run amok. Their power of patronage, more in making laws than appointments, has the opportunity to sway billions of dollars on the balance sheets of various industries. It is no surprise these industries and interests hire lobbyists to push their positions, a great deal of money is at stake, they want to have a say. The Clarion Content's possible solution set: redistricting via algorithms, district-by-district citizen watchdogs, term limits, higher pay for State Legislators.

Here is what happened in California where the seamy, slithered to the surface of the cesspool. The Associated Press reports 54-year-old lawmaker, married California Assemblyman, Mike Duvall is caught in a recording of a legislative hearing, "bragging in graphic detail about having sex with a female lobbyist and another woman..."I'm getting into spanking her," Duvall is heard to say on the videotape.

The other man asks if she likes it, too. Duvall responds: "She goes, 'I know you like spanking me.' I said, 'Yeah, that's 'cause you're such a bad girl.' Duvall said he joked with the lobbyist that she was getting old after turning 36 and told her, "I am going to have to trade you in...the lawmaker then brags about an affair he is having with another woman.

"Oh, she is hot! I talked to her yesterday. She goes, 'So are we finished?' I go, 'No, we're not finished.' I go, 'You know about the other one, but she doesn't know about you!'" Duvall can be heard saying in an apparent reference to his affair with the lobbyist."

Ah, California, America's cultural beacon, home of her reality TV shows, her defense industry and Silicon Valley. Assemblyman Mike Duvall represents an Orange County district that includes Orange, Anaheim, Fullerton, and Yorba Linda. He is yet another in the long line of Larry Craig, John Ensign, Mark Sanford, "okay for me, not okay for you" Theoconservatives. The Associated Press reports, "Duvall received a 100 percent rating from Capitol Resource Institute, a conservative advocacy group, for his votes on legislation considered pro-family during the 2007-08 legislative session."

The AP says, "Several media outlets reported the lobbyist Duvall refers to in his comments works for Sempra Energy, a San Diego-based energy services company that operates San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and Southern California Gas Co. Sempra issued an e-mail statement saying it was investigating the claims."

Assemblyman Duvall was vice chairman of the utilities committee.

Read the whole story here.

Labels: ,

Our Afghan Policy position 

Give Peace a chance!

We wish to clarify a piece we wrote on the front page recently, "No Gain." (For those of you haven't been following our discussion with the M'Rock in the comments.)

We believe America and its allies should rapidly and massively draw down their forces in Afghanistan to a level of small counterinsurgency ops only, while supplying significant development aid, especially for literacy and modern irrigation.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Football Preview, Part II, the NFC 

This looks like a Super QB...

NFC West

The worst division in the National Football Conference?

1st---Arizona Cardinals over 8.5

Even if Warner gets hurt.

2nd---San Francisco 49ers over 7

The Clarion Content loves Mike Singletary. We like gutsy former Maryland QB, S. Hill, too.

3rd---Seattle Seahawks under 7.5

Bad o-line, limited wideouts.

4th---St. Louis Rams under 5.5

Will challenge Detroit for the title of the worst team in football.

NFC Central

The most overrated division in football.

1st---Green Packers over 9

They will be consistently up and down.

2nd---Minnesota Vikings under 9

If Peterson stays healthy they will just miss the playoffs. If he gets hurt, look for under .500.

3rd---Chicago Bears under 8.5

Will the Jay Cutler acquisition really turn out to be even more overblown than the Favre signing? We think there is a good chance. The defense looks old and slow.

4th---Detroit Lions under 4.5

The citizens of Detroit have done exactly what to deserve this? We like Calvin Johnson. We not sure Matt Stafford has the accuracy and touch of a successful NFL starter.

NFC South

The ups and downs of this division are meteoric. The last two years the Clarion Content has picked the Panthers to the Super Bowl, we will quit jinxing them this year.

1st place---New Oreleans Saints over 9

Imagine the Chargers had Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers, Ladamaian Tomlinson, Michael Turner and Darren Spoles at the same time! The Saints will score boatloads.

2nd place---Atlanta Falcons over 8.5

It was the fourth place schedule, right? Matt Ryan can't do that again, can he? Tony Gonzales was a huge addition.

3rd place---Carolina Panthers under 8.5

Last year's draft day trades and the off-season resigning of Julius Peppers hamstrung this franchise. Next year the bottom could fall out.

4th place---Tampa Bay Bucaneers under 6.5

We're not sold on the defense, the running game or the new coach.

NFC East

The best division in the NFC, maybe the league.

1st place---New York Giants over 10

Wide receiving corps has slipped, but great defense and running game will propel the G-men to a strong regular season.

2nd place---Philadelphia Eagles over 9.5

Is this the year Donovan McNabb goes back to the Super Bowl? The Eagles are loaded on both sides of the ball.

3rd place---Dallas Cowboys over 9

The race for third in this division is a battle for a playoff spot. Our hearts are with the Jason Campbell and the Skins, our heads say it be Jerry's Cowboys. Word on the street is the monstrous new Dallas stadium TV screen blocks the view from almost all but the lowest seats. Brilliant!

4th place---Washington Redskins over 8

If Portis stays healthy and they catch a few breaks, they could easily make the playoffs.

Labels: , ,

Pithy F*rging Sayings (Aug. 2009) 

Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. ---Dalai Lama

The level of our success is limited only by our imagination and no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted. ---Aesop

Remember there's no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end. ---Scott Adams

Follow this link to old P.F. Sayings posts. You will see this one again first. Scroll down for older ones.


Be careful in Vegas 

The pool at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
courtesy of Oyster.com

Recently, in our politics section the Clarion Content noted that even the normally slump proof Las Vegas was struggling in this deep downturn. While looking into the issue we did see that there are some great deals for hotels, shows and entertainment in Vegas right now. However, if you are traveling there, dear reader, a word of caution.

Anecdotally we are hearing and reading that in many parts of the country, police are more active, and thereby are generating more revenue for their state, county or municipality. (Many of which are financially in the pits post the reign of King George the II.) This is especially true for speeding tickets, which are not only more expensive, but are being handed out with greater frequency. You may recall our post on not so welcoming Virginia. Insofar as Vegas goes, looks like the cops may be being more active there as well. Of course, in Sin City, the cops who are on the prowl are often vice.

This note in the San Jose Mercury News caught our eye the other day, "Las Vegas police say they have arrested seven people on drug charges and one for soliciting prostitution at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino pool." This was daytime on a Sunday afternoon. The Mercury News continues, "Authorities say the undercover operation is part of an increased effort by police to fight increased occurrences of "illicit activities" at resort pools throughout Las Vegas."

A word to the wise, behave or be careful, even in Sin City.

Labels: ,

Cautionary Tale 

Young men, be careful. That was the thought that assailed the Clarion Content's Sports Editor this morning when we saw brief item in the New York Times Sports page reading, "The Detroit Lions have gone to federal court to recover $6.1 million from the former receiver Charles Rogers."

Rogers was the second overall NFL draft pick in 2003 out of Michigan State. Only one incoming player in all the land was deemed better than Charles Rogers by the talent evaluators. He has been out of the NFL since the Lions released him in 2006 citing his work ethic. At the time he was coming off of his third violation of the NFL substance abuse policy which mandated a four game suspension.

Talent alone guarantees nothing.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

What are they watching...Episode II 

Last week you may have caught our first episode of "What are they watching?" It will be a weekly look at some of the most popular You Tube videos amongst Americas tweens and teens. We are counting on our public to send these videos our way. If you have one, please post a comment or email us at clarioncontent@gmail.com. We would love to hear your feedback.

This week we are featuring a video by the New Boyz called "You're a Jerk." It centers around an initially underground dance movement called Jerkin that sprung up not that long ago in Los Angeles in California. Though many dance crews are into Jerkin', the New Boyz are credited with popularizing it.

Labels: , ,

Vegas baby? 

The Clarion Content has run a series of articles on how widespread the impact of the massive economic downturn in the world economy has been. The last one was on how the normally countercyclical industries of vice, including porn, haven't been exempt from this huge slump. Logically enough, the countercyclical locales are struggling as much as their industries, even Las Vegas.

The Los Angeles Times says that the Vegas model, "which was to tap into an ever-expanding supply of free-spending visitors clamoring for first-class hotel rooms, four-star restaurant fare and high-priced shows, has been shattered by its worst recession in decades." They report that convention business is down about 27% from a year ago. Las Vegas tourist visits in general, after years of record setting new highs, have now declined for two years in a row, and this year look set to drop all the way back to 1999 levels.

The good news is there are deals for visitors all over the Las Vegas landscape. The LA Times reports that even the priciest of the luxury events and accommodations in Vegas are offering deep discounts. They cite the example of the normally $500/night Bellagio hotel offering rooms for as little as $90/night. Even the legendary Cirque du Soleil and some of the city's fanciest restaurants have been offering massively reduced prices.

Sounds like if you have got the duckets it is a great time to head to Vegas, baby!

Labels: ,

Serial Killer: Milwaukee police solve a cold case 

Working on what they called "shoe leather and science" Milwaukee police have connected a local man, Walter E. Ellis, 49, to the murders of as many as nine women. Eight of the victims were African-American prostitutes who were strangled, two were also stabbed. The ninth victim was a white 16-year-old runaway whose throat was slashed, and though Ellis's DNA was identified on her body, police are unsure if he was the actual killer. All of the women were killed in a small area of Milwaukee bounded by N. King Drive, N. 27th St., W. North Ave. and W. Capitol Drive.

The police knew that the victims were likely from the same serial killer when DNA matches started to pop up back in 2007. The DNA found did not match any samples in state or federal databases. Reportedly they received as many as 193 tips in its first three months of operation. As they worked through them Ellis's name was linked to several of the cases. Friday they executed a search warrant on his apartment while he was not home, taking his toothbrush and razors. Tests at the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory showed DNA matches. Saturday his vehicle was spotted in the parking lot of a local motel and police descended. He was apprehended after a brief struggle.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "In two of the homicides linked to Ellis, other men had been charged in the slayings. Curtis McCoy was charged in October 1994 with killing Carron Kilpatrick, 32, his live-in girlfriend and the mother of his daughter, but he was later acquitted by a jury. Chaunte Ott was convicted of killing Jessica Payne, the 16-year-old runaway. Ott served 13 years in prison before he was released in January, after DNA analysis showed semen found on the girl's body was not his."

Read the whole story here.


Monday, September 07, 2009

Six months 

England convicted three men of plotting to blow up planes on flights between Britain and the United States and Canada. The plan was to blow up planes with liquid explosives in soft-drink bottles.

English justice is not American justice
. Punishment is far less punitive and severe. If the convicted Lockerbie bomber who has been freed and is home in Libya is any indication, these guys will be out in six months. After all the Lockerbie bomber was convicted of killing 270 people, these guys were only found guilty of conspiracy to murder.

On the other hand, English justice is not American justice. The rights of the defendant are far slimmer. These men were convicted on their second trial for the same crime. That's double jeopardy in America. These men are going away on a majority verdict of 11 to 1. That's a hung jury in America.

If the deconstructionists have convinced the Clarion Content of anything, it is that the law is always gray.

Labels: ,

Sunday, September 06, 2009

No gain 

As long time readers know, the Clarion Content has been opposed to the American war in Afghanistan since its beginning in 2001-02. We have never seen the connection to the terrorism of September 11th, 2001, an event rooted far more in Saudi Arabia. We have never believed that there was a unified Afghan nation to fight for. The shape and division of the population within the borders of the western conceit of the state of Afghanistan has doomed centralized authority to failure since its inception. The United States and its allies by holding with the forces of central authority risk becoming the new Soviets, universally detested and resisted by all save for their paid lackeys. President Obama must reverse course and withdraw from Afghanistan posthaste leaving behind only small teams of Special Forces to hunt for Osama bin Laden and his cohorts. Who, by the by, are far more likely to be hiding in Pakistan, a nuclear armed country that America increasingly risks destabilizing every day that it keeps a 100,000 troops in the Central Asian theater. A radical revolution in Pakistan could threaten the lives of all Earth's inhabitants.

Sadly, President Obama has only increased the United States ground forces commitment to Afghanistan since taking office, from 60,000 troops, to now nearly, 100,000 with recent reports indicating United States commanders are asking for more. This despite their own concerns about strategic failure. It is utterly remarkable that with the redux of the failure of nation-building that was tried in Vietnam still smoldering in Iraq, the United States is embarking on a similar strategy in Afghanistan. The Clarion Content believes you cannot pacify people over a long hall by bombing them. (Pacification via boming is doomed to fail unless one is willing to kill them all, the implied threat in the unconditional surrender demanded during World War II. The United States must not favor genocide.)

Nor should Americans ever accept that other people's lives can be labeled, "collateral damage," and forgotten.

None of this diminishes the tremendous sacrifice being made by the Americans serving in Afghanistan.

Labels: ,

NFL Twitter rules 

The National Football League finalized its policy and announced rules governing its personnel, players and coaches twittering. The Clarion Content highlighted this story for you over in the Politics Section a few weeks back when discussing the Marine Corps ban on its personal twittering.

The NFL, rather than adopting an outright ban, has instituted a policy which says players, coaches and other team-affiliated personnel must refrain from tweeting 90 minutes before games and are not allowed to tweet after games until meeting with so-called "traditional" media outlets. (No tweeting until after the post-game press conferences.) These rules ostensibly apply to player agents and friends, too.

The league also said regarding media members twittering, "Longstanding policies prohibiting play-by-play descriptions of NFL games in progress apply fully to Twitter and other social media platforms. Internet sites may not post detailed information that approximates play-by-play during a game. While a game is in progress, any forms of accounts of the game must be sufficiently time-delayed and limited in amount (e.g., score updates with detail given only in quarterly game updates) so that the accredited organization's game coverage cannot be used as a substitute for, or otherwise approximate, authorized play-by-play accounts."

Read more here at CNet.news.

Labels: ,

Petros and Money 

Petros and Money do bang-up radio

The Clarion Content's Sports Editor has happened upon an excellent, new (to our offices) sports talk radio show. Here is a little background on what we listen to at the office. We have long been Jim Rome fans, since he was working on Extra Sports 690 in San Diego. We were also aficionados of the now broken up duo, Mike and the Mad Dog, long of sports radio 660 WFAN, New York City.

We still listen to Rome, the best interviewer doing sports talk radio, when the midday opportunity avails itself, he is on 12pm until 3pm locally in Durham. We stream WFAN's Mike Francesca from the station's website, though he takes half the Summer off and is replaced by lesser lights. We also enjoy the podcasts of ESPN's best writer and Jimmy Kimmel's pal, Bill Simmons.

It was just recently that our local sports talk radio station "620 the Bull" started carrying the syndicated Fox Radio show, "Petros and Money" which is hosted by KLAC AM 570 out of Los Angeles. These two guys are a hilarious combo. They have some of the modern, moderately vulgar humor of the Jim Rome show and Bill Simmons, as well as their pop culture references. Petros and Money are knowledgeable about their sports. They wear their homer-ism proudly on their respective sleeves for teams such as the LA Dodgers and the USC Trojans, which is an attitude and a mindset the Clarion Content respects.

They are funny, smart, big city perspective guys. They know how to cover a national story. They have some fascinating and creative bits including alternate personalities such as dating advice guru Lance Romance, a persona assumed by Petros Papadakis and Matt "Money" Smith's financial adviser alter-ego, Vance Finance, who distributes fiscal wisdom over their airwaves. They also do, "I'm a horse," Mondays and "Win Forever," Wednesdays with USC Coach Pete Carroll.

In Durham, they air at 7pm normally, unless the lowly, local station hacks are screwing up the programming with some kind of lame high school football show or Appalachian State football call-in garbage. Rarely does Durham feel more podunk than when this happens. Stand by while we get the injury report on the junior split-end for Wake Forest Rolesville High School. Let's talk about a Division I-AA football school that's more than 150 miles distant. Pul-leeze! We can't flip the dial fast enough. Unfortunately, we have yet to discover a place to stream Petros and Money. If any of you dear readers know, please advise us. Thanks!

Labels: ,

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Fred and Ginger role over 

Miley and Mandy are here.

Dance is as popular as ever. Teen icon Miley Cyrus and her pal, back-up dancer, Mandy Jiroux throw down and cut some rug. They bring out all their dancing peeps in the latest installment of their dance battle with the ACDC dance crew. They even have a sense of humor...

These are the boys Miley and Mandy are responding to in what is billed as the biggest on-line dance battle ever. They can move it, move it. Jon M. Chu and Adam Servani along with the ACDC dance crew, kick it here. Look out!

Dang that looks like fun...

Labels: , ,

Friday, September 04, 2009

Rumblings and grumblings 

What we're hearing...

We are pestering some of our erstwhile restaurant reviewers and local bon vivants to give us an official statement, (as yet no luck). In the meantime, this what they are saying about a couple of local restaurants which we hope to review in full at a later date.

The word of mouth has been almost universally good about Tonali at #3642 Shannon Road near the newly remodeled Durham-27707 Post Office.

On the flip side, unfortunately, we have heard some negative comments, (overpriced, not that tasty) about the newly opened Dos Perros right around the corner from City Hall in a new Greenfire development called Rogers Alley. Clearly though, not everybody feels the same way.

Unfortunately, we have yet to be able to find the time to try either as a staff.

Check'em out for yourselves and let us know!

Labels: , ,

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Old Master shows young Jedi a trick or two 

The old master, Pedro Martinez, showed the young Jedi, and odds-on Cy Young Award favorite, Tim Lincecum a thing or two the other night when he beat him and the San Francisco Giants, 2-1. Now pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies, Pedro is not quite his former self, but Friday night he was good enough. He struck nine and walked none. In an era sullied by cheating, Pedro Martinez is one baseball player the Clarion Content will tell the proverbial grandchildren we saw. For his career, opponents bat a mere .217 against Pedro. And only the Hall of Fame Yankee, Whitey Ford, has a higher all-time winning percentage than Pedro's .687. At his peak, he was must see, don't turn away for a pitch entertainment, and positively unhittable.

Labels: ,

Is Virginia Tech next? 

College Football kicks off tonight in Raleigh, NC

The start of the college football season is upon us, and despite what some New Yorkers might disdainfully think, for much of the rest of the American nation, it is cause for wild celebration. Very few things are as universally popular in the lower 48 as college football.

It opens with a slate of nine games on a Thursday. College football having long emulated their older cousins in the NFL by playing on as many days and in as many time-slots as possible, tonight's games will be followed by one tomorrow night, a full day Saturday that runs from 12pm Eastern to past 12am, two Sunday games, and even two Monday night games. What a weekend!

In Durham, North Carolina, we are deep in Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) country. One of Thursday night's leading prime time tilts pits the ACC's North Carolina State against the Southeastern Conference's South Carolina and legendary yapper, Coach Steve Spurrier. In ACC country the perennial debate during college football season is about the conference's perceived relative weakness in football. Defenders of the ACC point to the number of players selected in the NFL's April Draft. Critics point to the ACC's abysmal bowl record, especially in the highly ranked battles of the so-called BCS games. The ACC has taken a pounding at the top level, 2-9 in their last eleven BCS bowl games.

The Clarion Content's editorial board, currently, transplants one and all, has long contended that the ACC is primarily a basketball league. We would concede it is almost unarguable, year in and year out, it is the premier college basketball league in the country. Despite public and private wishes to the contrary, this does not help the football programs in the conference. Across the competitive athletic college landscape, schools are identified as either a basketball or a football school. It is the extremely rare crossover that is Florida, Texas or Oklahoma. Much, much more common is the Penn State (great football, average basketball) and Kentucky (very good basketball, average football) side of the ledger, see also: Notre Dame, Indiana, Georgia, Alabama, UCLA, Arizona and so on. The ACC is no different, save that it is happening on a league wide scale, it is a basketball league, ergo it can't be a football league, too.

The Clarion Content would postulate that this a perception that is held largely in high school athletes collective heads, but by existing as a perception, it is actively made into reality through action. (Cinco Storey having long ago convinced us that perception is reality.) As we noted earlier there are exceptions and exceptional coaches who can overcome perceptions, there are schools that can succeed at both football and basketball. The question we posed in the title of this piece asked whether or not the Virginia Tech Hokies can overcome the ACC's basketball mindset and continue to flourish on the gridiron. The ACC has killed two of the premier college football programs in the country in the last decade plus in Florida State and Miami. As the New York Times noted today, Boise State versus Oregon pits two higher ranked teams against each other this week than does the game Sunday between Miami and Florida State. That would have been unthinkable before Miami and Florida State were crippled by the ACC.

The numbers are brutal. In the decade plus before joining the ACC Miami was a gaudy 149 up and 32 down (1989-2003). The Hurricanes won three national championships during that period. Since becoming a member of the ACC in 2004 the Canes are a mere 37 and 25, their winning percentage plummeting from over 82% of their games to under 60%. The results for Florida State took a little bit longer to percolate. When Florida State first joined the conference in 1992 for several years they used the rest of the ACC as their personal punching bag. Still, their winning percentage from 1979 to 1991 does barely trump their winning percentage post-ACC from 1992 to the present, 79% to 78%. However, when examined more detail, since the ACC expanded, Florida State's winning percentage has declined dramatically to 62.5%. Florida State has also done much worse in the biggest of games since joining up with basketball-centric ACC. From 1979 through 1991 FSU was 9-2-1 in bowl games, from 1991 to the present the boys from Tallahassee were a much more pedestrian 10 up and 7 down.

So the Clarion Content asks, are the Virginia Tech Hokies next to fall victim to the ACC's basketball center of gravity? And even if they are, before one feels too, too bad for them, recognize their basketball program is on the rise. One can also observe that nary an SEC (football conference) school had a basketball season of note this past year. Let the inter-conference rivalries and the debates begin, first tonight in Raleigh, and then again this weekend as Virgina Tech begins their reply to our query hosting #5 in the country, legendary SEC football powerhouse, Alabama.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

What if nobody came? 

Empty seats follow the Pirates around...here in Houston

What if they played a game and nobody came? What if they played two and nobody came? The Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates attempted to answer this question earlier this week with a twin bill in the Queen City. The Yahoo blog the Big League Stew reported that no more than 2,000 people were in the 42,000 seat stadium, turning it into a giant echo chamber. The photo attached to the story is pretty amazing. A rookie by the name of Drew Stubbs was quoted as saying that the crowds reminded him of the Florida rookie instructional league.

The Clarion Content has been relentlessly hammering the theme that says there is an earthquake of economic comeuppance that is soon to be visited on American sports. This was another tiny tremor.

Labels: , ,

Mets continue to deny they are strapped 

The New York Mets baseball club continues to deny that they are having financial difficulties, but mounting evidence suggests otherwise. The Clarion Content had been down this road with you even before they let reliever Billy Wagner go to the Red Sox in a patently cost-cutting move. We didn't hit on that transaction because we thought it made baseball sense too. Wagner was an expensive loud-mouth on a team that was and is going nowhere. Getting him gone was a good idea.

The latest Mets maneuvering to cut costs came to our attention via the New York Times Richard Sandomir. It was not a player transaction. Rather the Mets are moving 75 prospects from the team’s program in the Florida instructional league to the Dominican Republic. The Mets, of course, claim that this is not a cost cutting move. However, there is no denying that there will be significant savings in the living and maintenance expenses for the franchise and the players. For example, the per diem the team doles out to the roster can be far less.

These are times when a great many organizations are trimming expenses. The Mets have no compelling reason to be different. It is only the continued rumors of the ownership's massive Madoff related losses that bring these moves under such scrutiny.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Death of the Apostrophe 

The long rumored death of the apostrophe occurred last night at 9.42pm Eastern Standard Time. The final death blow was a text message exchange. According to Verizon Wireless it read, "Lauras boys goin to da party." Reply, "Sorry cant make it." After millions of pinprick woundings in various emails, Facebook posts and previous text messages this was the final blow to the aging and atrophied apostrophe. Commentators such as Lynne Truss had sounded the alarm many years ago, but the long decline was unstoppable.

Farewell, old sod, theyll be less punctuation without you.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?