A Snowy Evening

February 27, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Life 

Last Thursday (2/24/2005), it snowed in our area – with a total of about 4-6 inches by morning.  My wife took this picture when it started snowing:

Birds on Bench in Snow

She has been feeding the birds, so we had lots of them hanging around the backyard.

So what do you do after a long, hard day when it’s snowing?

Wife Sleeping with cat

Curl up with your cat and snooze!

Free the Stanley Cup II

February 23, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Sports 

A reader posted his suggested solution to the Stanley Cup problem this year:

I don’t think it should be given out.  Since the NHL stole it, it lost its Challenge Cup status, and thus shouldn’t rever back to it.  The NHL, while not playing, is an existing League with the rights to the Cup.  They should engrave it “No Cup Awarded Due To Stupidity”.

Now, the Cup should not sit in a vault, especially since travel to the HHOF will probably go down.  So what I propose is this:

Every Season Ticket holder to an NHL franchise should get to have the Cup for a day.  If the League truly wants to make it up to the fans and give back to the fans, reward them a day with the Grail of Sports.  After all, without their money there’d be no League.

Now, I agree with the sentiment.  However, I don’t think the math works.

Let’s assume 3,000 season ticket holders for each team.  There are 30 teams.  That’s 90,000 different people who might want to take the cup home.  Let’s cut that in 1/2 for blocks of seats held by corporations and such to 45,000.

At one day each, it would take 123 years and about 4 months.  Unfortunately, that’s beyond any human lifespan, so you’d better hope that you got an early slot!

Now, if I had the cup, I’d invite friends and family over for a hockey party.  The cup would be placed in a location of distinction in the corner of the family room, and we’d watch a selection of great hockey games of the past (the Miracle on Ice – the game not the movie – and a few game 7’s).

Food would be beer, soda, hot chocolate, and hot dogs and French Fries.  None of this nouveau pizza or nachos – TRADITIONAL hockey food.

Diversity Beans

February 18, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Can't Make This Up, Work 

My wife recently ran a “Diversity Celebration” for her company at two locations.  As part of the celebration, she used Diversity Jelly Beans from iCelebrateDiversity.com.

Diversity Beans are regular jelly beans, except that the flavor doesn’t match the color.  A black bean might be cherry or lemon.  A yellow bean might be licorice.  The whole point is “This candy is just like people–you cannot determine what is on the inside by simply looking at the outside. These beans remind us to experience people one at a time and enjoy their unique qualities.

The colors and flavors are random – it’s not like they just switched the colors.

Here’s the kicker – the package comes labelled “Diversity Beans – Assorted”.  Can you buy just red?  Can you buy just cherry?  Seems a bit redundant to me.

(Note:  This is a little like the “Every Flavor Beans” from Harry Potter, except without the nasty flavors.)

Update on my wife’s job situation

February 17, 2005 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Life, Work 

Yesterday, she formally notified her company that she is declining the offer to relocate.  At this point, she will be made part of the “Transition Team”.  She will be given a termination date sometime in the future with at least 60 days notice.  After that, she gets some severance (though not much for someone with 15 years with the company).

I’ll reiterate – we don’t plan for her to stay until she gets the severance.  If you have new information or contacts that might help, please let us know.

Free the Stanley Cup

February 16, 2005 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Sports 

There’s a movement afoot called “Free Stanley“.

The basic idea here is to free the Stanley Cup.  The Cup existed long before the NHL, and control was only given to the NHL in 1947.  The whole idea of the Stanley Cup was to be a challenge cup – for anyone to be able to challenge the current cup holder to gain control.

Now that the NHL season is dead, I agree that the Stanley Cup should be awarded to SOMEBODY.  The Free Stanley site lists a bunch of leagues (college and minor-league pro) that should be considered for a challenge.

It might work like this:  The winners of the Canada University Hockey Championship, the Allen Cup (senior league), the AHL, the ECHL, and perhaps the NCAA would play in a tournament to award the cup.

Currently, Free Stanley is primarily a Canadian phenomenon, but I think it should be more of a North American phenomenon.

See the site linked above and contact the Hockey Hall of Fame at info@hhof.com.

(Hat Tip:  A Small Victory)

Update:  My letter to the Hockey Hall of Fame:

Dear Board of Trustees:

I would like to recommend that you award the Stanley Cup to a team identified by a playoffs between several leagues who are playing this year, rather than leave it unawarded.  While the NHL players and owners are selfishly fighting for money rather than goals, hockey lives on in other leagues.

I would suggest that a Stanley Cup Tournament be held between several of the following North American league’s champions:
AHL
ECHL
NCAA
Canada University Hockey Champion
Allen Cup champion
Memorial Cup champion
UHL
CHL

The teams would be seeded and then play a standard single-elimination tournament to determine the winner.

The Stanley Cup should be engraved this year – regardless of what the NHL does.

Mark Smith
Hamilton, NJ USA
ECHL Trenton Titans season ticket holder

RIP, NHL 2004-2005 Season

February 16, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Sports 

Today, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced that the entire 2004-2005 season has been cancelled.  This the first time since the league was established that the championship was cancelled with the exception of 1919 (when an influenza epidemic ended the season).

The NHL locked out the players after the players announced a strike against the league before the season started in September.  The league has pushed for a salary cap from the beginning – the players have resisted any salary cap.

I put the entire blame on the players.  There is no reason for someone who plays hockey to make multi-millions per year to play what is at best the lowest rung major league sport in North America.  The inflated salaries have priced the game out of the reach of most fans.  The owners have to raise ticket prices in order to cover these exorbitant salaries.

In Philadelphia, the most expensive seats cost $85 each!  The LEAST expensive cost $23 each!  Contrast that with the NY Yankees, who only charge $12 per tickets for the cheapest seats.

While I’ll miss the season (and I already have missed it from October until now), it’ll only affect my TV viewing as I really can’t afford to go to many NHL games.  I’ll be watching my ECHL Trenton Titans where the entire 36-game season costs no more than $27 per game (including parking), and the cheapest seats are $10.50 for adults and $8.50 for children (who are $8.50 for all seats but the two rows next to the glass).  The caliber of ECHL play has been above par this year, as the lack of injury callups has kept the AHL and ECHL rosters full of high quality players (who would normally move up due to NHL injuries).  In fact, I’ll be at tonight’s game in Trenton!

I Guess They’ll Skip Her House on Halloween …

In Durango, Colorado, two teenage girls (17 and 18) were successfully sued for delivering a gift of cookies to a neighbor’s house.

Wanita Renea Young was at home when her neighbors came over with a Random Act of Kindness – a few cookies.  They had been delivering cookies to their neighbors on Avenida Del Sol in Durango, CO for about an hour, having skipped a dance to be kind to their neighbors.  They even skipped houses that were dark – only going to houses where the light was on and someone was presumably up (at 10:30pm on a Friday summer night).

Ms. Young was so frightened by these scary girls (see picture with Follow Up story below) that she called the Sheriff.  The Sheriff didn’t see anything illegal.  She ended up going to the hospital with symptoms of a heart attack.

Wait – it gets better.  She later sued the girls, and won a judgment from a Small Claims Court judge (who is apparently very small himself) for $900 in medical costs, plus $1 in damages.

The good news is that the kids are alright.  MANY people have offered to pay their costs.  They’ll even be going to NYC to appear on Good Morning America. (Followup #1)

But then it gets even worse.  Apparently, Wanita Young’s husband won’t stop calling the girls’ house.  Herb Young is the subject of a restraining order requested by the father of one of the girls. (Followup #2)

Wanita Young – you are truly a hard-hearted person.

Help my wife find a job!

February 1, 2005 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Life, Work 

Dear Blog Readers,

My wife has just been notified by her company (a large multi-national with foreign headquarters) that they want to relocate her job from Trenton, NJ to Houston, TX.  For various reasons (including my own employment, family location, etc) we’ve decided that we are most likely not interested.  She has until February 18 to decide.

If she chooses not to go, she will still have a job until summer (maybe September), when a small amount of severance will be paid.  She’s also decided that she will leave immediately should the right job come along.

So, she is looking for a job locally.

Her qualifications and experience:

  • 15 Years experience in large, rotating industrial machinery
  • B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Rutgers University’s School of Engineering
  • B.A. in Economics from Rutgers University’s Rutgers College (simultaneous with the engineering degree)
  • New Jersey Professional Engineer (PE) License
  • Project Management Institute PMP certification (Project Management Professional)
  • many years design experience – primarily in large rotating machinery and related support systems but also in small security devices
  • several years supervisory experience
  • has served as Project Engineer and Project Manager on multi-million dollar projects, occasionally filling both roles on the same project
  • ISO 9000 trained.  Was a member of her company’s internal ISO 9000 auditing group in addition to her engineering responsibilities.
  • working knowledge of German, including experience with co-workers in the “home country”
  • some Spanish skills
  • Current Title:  Manager of Project Management
  • currently serves as Diversity Coordinator for her division

If you can help, please send me an e-mail at markrsmith@gmail.com and I can send you her resume.  (We don’t want to post it here in order to keep some control over distribution.)

Thank you.

Thanks to These Bloggers who have helped with publicizing our plight: