Saturday, October 31, 2009

Kids Light Up Halloween

I spent my evening with my grandson, trick-or-treating in the neighborhood. I tell you there's nothing like watching a costumed kid, face smudged with candy and face paint, walking with a bag full of candy and smiling from ear to ear.

My grandson ditched all four masks he'd collected over the months for a red & black face-painted zombie effect. With my army style cap on he looked more like a zombie GI returning from war. He decided to leave the stabbing knife with the "Psycho" sounds at home so that his hands were free to scoop up candy; smart kid. I'd put my creative juices together and came up with a pretty decent lumberjack outfit, thanks in part to the neighborhood Goodwill Store and a Davy Crockett coon skin hat I'd acquired a few months ago.

Living in a city has its advantages when Halloween comes around, especially a city like San Francisco which considers it a Holiday. There's no need to knock on doors and hope the homeowner isn't some demented hater of the world. You simply walk down the store lined street and enter the establishments singing trick-or-treat. Easily 95% of the stores participated this year. My Grandson was amazed at the amount of candy he collected in so short a time. He would soon blame his heavy bag and sore over-worked feet as the reason to return back to the apartment.

I was able to keep my promise to his mom by limiting his candy eating, but more satisfying was seeing him spread out the candy on the table and separate it into two piles, the smaller pile being for his mom. How can you not love a child for their thoughts and unconditional love of family?

So Halloween 2009 was one of the best I've had in some time. There were no parties, no intoxicating beverages, no worries of unsafe candy, just a festive evening of childhood memories and grandfatherly pride thanks to my grandson wanting to spend it with his grandpa.

Some of the exciting costumes we saw:

5 Ninja's kicking and doing swordplay
Men In Black character with the MIB gun
The Scream
Robin (no batman)
Michael Myers (halloween movie)
3 yr old Toy Story Woody Cowboy
Many many cute little costumed kids
Older couple from Denmark/Holland who took picture of us (No Halloween In Holland)
Business Establishments giving smiles and open heart
Women who thought us so cute

Happy Halloween Raiders! Now SCARE Somebody

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Finkelstein Gives Philly Fanatic New Meaning

Susan Finkelstein, a Philadelphia Phillies fan, proves loyalty befitting the Philly Fanatic.

The 43-year-old housewife offered sexual relations on craigslist in exchange for two World Series game tickets featuring her beloved Phillies against the N.Y. Yanks.

Though the Philly Fanatic, a deranged fluffy green sesame street looking mascot for the team, would find it hard to win a beauty contest much less a sex for tix raffle, Susan is one step down from a buxom blonde MILF and willing to do "anything" for tix.

As buzzards luck would have it, an undercover police officer responded to the ad and Susan bit on the bait. Our buxom Philly fan was arrested for sexual solicitation. Her attorney says the wording on her craigslist ad was simply misunderstood. Meanwhile, the ad has been removed and Susan's home phone number has been disconnected, sorry fellas.

But I do hear that the Philly Fanatic is still looking to take a bite out of the Big Apple if there's someone in New York who likes fluffy green monsters between the sheets; services negotiable.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Charges Dropped / Cable Free

Cable - New Mutants Marvel Comic Book Character
Enhanced physical attributes
Expert marksman and hand-to-hand fighter

Today the Napa district attorney's office announced that Oakland Raiders coach Tom Cable will not be charged with felony or misdemeanor assault charges. It was determined that Raiders assistant coach Randy Hanson's case against Cable did not carry enough evidence to warrant prosecution.

So there it is. Coach cable is free to focus on game planning for football instead of a legal defense. Now lets see the Raiders go out and do what DE Richard Seymour has confidently guaranteed they'd do; get to the 2009 playoffs!

Gotta luv Seymour. Who else in the Raiders organization could make such a bold prediction and have us believe it?

Just Win Baby!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

1949 "Walk Of Death Murderer Dies.........Finally

I've never heard of this guy, but from reading his obituary he was one sick puppy. Maybe it was his serving in WWII that cracked his nut. He was tank gunner in the Army during the war and tanks can make a man a bit squirrely I'm sure.

Howard Barton Unruh, an expert marksman from his army days, went on a shooting spree in 1949 that killed 13 people in Camden,N.J., the worst mass murder in U.S. history at the time. There were two things in this mass murder that make it so psychotic for its day. One is that Howard spent more than a year planning for this horrific day writing down names of intended targets in his journal for his day of glory and revenge. Two is that he targeted innocent children as well as women and men who'd done him no physical harm.

His killing spree, known as the "Walk of Death," claimed the lives of five men, five women and three children. Some were intended targets while others were simply strangers in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Howard was a bible loving recluse who's inner voice told him people were against him and making derogatory remarks about his character. When someone stole the gate to his fence it was the flame that ignited the kerosene and Howard was engulfed in the inferno.

Armed with a war souvenir Luger and 33 rounds of ammo, Howard left his apartment, of which he shared with his mother, and walked to his predetermined area of target. His mother had seen the dazed look in his eyes earlier before running for help after he threatened her with a wrench.

He then calmly began his "Walk of Death" entering various businesses and shooting dead his victims. The coldness of his calculated killing is evident in who he killed and how. It seems as if Howard's inner voice told him that all the business owner's he'd done business with were against him, so he must kill them. Here's the sad list in order of execution:

Shoe Repair Shop - Cobbler shot in the head
Barber Shop - 6-year-old boy shot dead on a hobbyhorse chair
Barber Shop - Barber shot dead
Tailor Shop - Bride of tailor (married six weeks) shot in head while begging (Tailor had left shop to run errand)
On Street - Man at wheel of his car shot dead
On Street - Two women in another car shot dead
Along Street - 3-year-old boy peeking out a window at home shot and died the next day

Tavern owner shoots Howard in hip with .38-caliber pistol but Howard continues "Walk of Death"

Neighbor's Apartment - Shot three (husband, wife, mother-in-law) while a boy hid in clothes closet. Neighbors had complained he played his music too loud.

Wounded two others before returning to his own apartment where he eventually surrendered to police after they'd pumped tear gas into the apartment.

If there was anyone who ever deserved going to hell in a gasoline suit, Howard was it. Eventually pronounced insane, he was committed to a unit for the criminally insane at Trenton Psychiatric Hospital and I suppose lived a long crazy life in this institution.

For those who suffered at the hands of a sick man who's sicknesss may have been caused by war, may your souls rest in peace and you forgive man for his warring ways. For Howard, I pray he's found peace and his nightmare is over. But a warning to Lucifer, don't go saying negative things about Howard or telling him he can't play his music loud in the land of lost souls. If so there might be "Hell to Pay" for it.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dodgers Blow NLCS Game 4

Final 1 2 3
4 5 6
7 8 9
LA Dodgers0 0 0
2 1 1
0 0 0
Philadelphia2 0 0
0 0 1
0 0 2

With the Phillies fans and players still celebrating their amazing bottom of the ninth walk-off-double to win game 4 of the NLCS, I'm sure L.A. Dodger fans are cursing Brooklyn for ever sending them the Bums in Blue a half century ago. That's how deep and painful this Dodger loss must hurt their fans at this moment. Don't worry L.A., it'll be over soon and then the healing process can begin.

The Philadelphia Phillies take a 3 games to 1 lead in this best of 7 series. I really don't see the Dodgers bouncing back from this devastating loss in Philadelphia. Yeah, its a sad sad night in MannyWood this evening, and it couldn't have happened to a more deserving bunch of bums.

Go Phillies!

Samuel L. Jackson's MNF Introduction

I've always applauded the acting talent of Samuel L. Jackson. He just has a natural ability at lighting up a scene with real life drama.

I came across this Monday Night Football intro with him that adds evidence to why he's such a great dramatic actor. Watch as the slick smile, the disturbing stare, the rising voice of hysterical anger all culminate into this heated introduction of a clash between two rival teams. This he pulls off while sitting immobile in a chair with only the close-up camera shots and spliced in highlight reel as illusions of movement. The beauty of his escalating delivery is that its convincingly directed toward you, the viewer, as a challenge. So are you ready for some football? Well, are you Punk?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Raiders Super Duper Win!

Oakland Raiders tight end Zach Miller, top, jumps in the arms of teammate JaMarcus Russell after Miller's 86-yard touchdown reception against the Philadelphia Eagles in the first quarter of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 18, 2009. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
It was a loud and proud day at the Oakland Coliseum for the Raiders today as they knocked the Philadelphia Eagles the freak out in a 13-9 win. The place was ecstatic with the surprise play of the Oakland Defense, as well as the improved offensive output.

We fans didn't realize that what we were witnessing was one of the greatest team efforts in a young Raiders team since their dominating loss to the Chargers in the Monday Night opener. QB JaMarcus Russell had some questionable moments in his accuracy and decision making, but showed improvement in his foot work, avoiding the pressure and gaminess to win. JaMarcus had a signature run on one play where he faked out a defender with a spin move for positive yardage, a play that set a fire under the offense.

The Defense? 6 sacks of QB Donovan McNabb and an interception returned for a touchdown that was questionably called back. The Oakland Raider defense gets my game ball for their unrelenting pressure. They gave up some big plays but always seemed to hold when it mattered. Many Eagle offensive series were interrupted for player injury, an indication of the hard hitting Raider "D." The Raiders were hitting hard and made a huge physical statement early and often.

RB Gary Russell played fullback as Justin Fargas took over lead running back duties for an injured Darren McFadden. The combination worked very well. Gary Russell caught 5 passes for 55 yards out of the backfield, none bigger than his final catch and run for a first down that iced the game. Fargas was back to his usual batterramming self with 23 rushes for 87 yards. Michael Bush also played a role in the return-to-glory rushing attack that was key to resting the defense.

Tight End Zack Miller had the lone touchdown for the Raiders but believe me when I say it was one of the biggest plays I've witnessed at the Coliseum ever. Zack caught a 16 yard pass then ran 70 yards for the touchdown thanks to an outstanding blocking effort by WR Louis Murphy. Catch the play on NFL highlights if you get a chance, it should be there.

An all around team effort. The play calling improved, the special teams held, the offensive line protected and the running backs found daylight to keep the offense on the field. And it must be acknowledged, the coaches coached.

The Eagles came into today's game with the second ranked offense in the NFL averaging 32 points. The Raiders limited them to three field goals and no points in the 3rd quarter. The Raiders did their homework and played a scheme for 60 minutes that proved they can win when executing plays.

JaMarcus Russell's improved stats in today's win:

17 of 28 for 224 yds 1 touchdown 2 interceptions

Friday, October 16, 2009

Got Fight? by Forrest Griffin

Just finished reading Got Fight? by Forrest Griffin. I'd consider it recommended reading for men who enjoy competing and/or just like to fight.

I'm not sure, but I think I just read the biography of "HellBOY." Forrest Griffin's "Got Fight" is an exciting fun-filled journey into the dark caverns of the male ego's need to conquer. Real men will love it. They'll find Forrest as a brother-in-arms, one who appreciates what it is to be a strong no-nonsense man in a world trying to turn "Us" into wimps. What Forrest in his book reminds today's man of is that regardless of his build, religion, ethnicity or economic status, if he has the heart to stand-up for himself, even if it means taking a butt kicking, then he is a man. Sound a bit childish and immature?, sure, but aren't men depicted as such today anyways, with their sports, cars and lust for hot chicks?

In this book, Forrest keeps it raw and real with splashes of raunchy man humor thrown in for good measure. I pride myself on being a so-called educated and cultured man, but that doesn't prevent me from relating to and agreeing with some of what Forrest shares in this book. Its about more than just fighting, though fighters will gain invaluable information and tips in it. Bottom line, a man earns his manhood through courage and honor. He doesn't have to jump into an MMA cage to prove it, but he has to be willing to let out that primal scream of rage and kick some butt should he find all other avenues of making-nice closed.

Forrest seems to agree that training in some form of combat will help a man hone his basic fighting techniques should the but kicking time arise. He's a survivor and reminds us that survival in any jungle takes some skill and plenty of heart. Losing a fight doesn't make you less of a man, it should earn you respect from peers of men.

For someone I'd never heard of, I must say that Forrest Griffin is alright in my book. He analyzes, then makes fun of his and all men weaknesses which makes a reader feel this book is a sort of private mens journal. Its a very quick read and the writing is easy enough for all levels of homo sapiens to digest (not to be confused with ....), just some Forrest humor.

If you are sensitive to words and/or phrases that can be taken as politically incorrect, or if you didn't find the old movie "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" a funny dude movie, then you've been forewarned. Men all have that deep down demon locked away in the recesses of their humanity. Forrest talks to that demon in "Us". Come to think of it, maybe he's the one that escaped to live above ground in daylight. I thought this book was a great read probably for all the wrong manly reasons. Great job Forrest! Those who say otherwise are "Just a bunch of Wimps (The Warriors 1979)."

"Where there is no man, do your best to be a man" Jewish Rabbi Hillel


Flogging Molly is a Band. I saw a guy wearing a Flogging Molly tee-shirt and it caught my attention, cool name. So I says to the little fella, "cool name, is it a band?" I suppose he didn't quite hear the "what is it" part. He turns to me smiling like a leprechaun and says, "Oh, you heard of em?" Sounding as Irish as "Mickey from the movie Snatch" . So I says, "No, but judging from that tee-shirt they must be a pretty cool band." He happily shucks out an agreeing comment I couldn't decipher. I says, "what type of music do they play?" He says "well, they h'ave a sort ov folk, keltic, Irish rock sound." I says, "Cool!" He strolls onward heading toward the Bart station and I feel as if I've been granted a bit of Irish luck for the day.

So this is Flogging Molly, "If I Ever Leave This World Alive." In tribute to the little guy with the cool shirt, leprechaun smile and Irish Pride.

In The News

Scientists create a scary sexual revolution:

Its reported today that Scientists, by genetically tweaking fruit flies so they no longer produce a certain type of sexual pheromone or odour, turns them irresistible to their species. Sounds like a breakthrough along the lines of Viagra right? Well not so fast tiger, it appears that this irresistible attraction does not discriminate between sex, race, gender or political orientation. In other words, by removing an odor from this fly they've eliminated the barriers of breeding. What they found is that other flies of the same sex and even different breeds began paying mating calls to the fly who's pheromone production was removed. Maybe prop.8 for same sex marriage still has a chance after all. But just for the record, I'm keeping my bottle of Obsession For Men cologne made from male perspiration because I know it still attracts the female kind, my kind.

Goldman Sachs Giving Billions in Employee Bonuses:

Goldman Sachs, the investment banking firm, has set aside $16.7 billion dollars for annual compensation (Bonuses) to its 31,700 employees. That calculates to roughly $700, 000.00 per employee. There's no financial crisis at Sachs and the company is standing by their decision as a fair practice of compensation in order to retain its staff, who deserve it for their hard work. And why are we so surprised. Greed is as Greed does. Greed doesn't share with those who are humble, giving or in need. Greed retains its wealth and invests in gaining more of it. Financial Crisis? In the famous words of Alfred E. Neuman, "What Me Worry?"

Wrestling Pioneer Passes Away:
Louis Vincent Albano
July 29, 1933 – October 14, 2009
Lou Albano (Captain Lou), the colorful italian manager of wrestling days past, passed away at the ripe age of 76. I remember Lou from the early 70's, Hawaiian shirt wearing over-the-top wrestler/manager/entertainer. Lou brought excitement to the wrestling industry in the early days and would continue right on into the revival of the sport in the 80's with Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Roddy Piper and company. Lou was deservedly inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1996. I've never seen the Cyndi Lauper movie "Girls Just Want To Have Fun," but Lou played the role of Cyndi's father in it. Happy sailing captain Lou. And may you get to heaven an hour before the devil knows your dead.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Final Score

Raiders 7
Giants 44

JaMarucs Russell's improving stats in today's loss:

8 of 13 for 100 yds 0 interceptions 3 lost fumbles

Angels Sweep Red Sox In Stunner

The California/Anaheim/L.A. Angels pulled off a stunning top of the ninth inning, two out, 3 run come from behind victory over the wild-card Boston Red Sox in the ALDS at Fenway Park today.

The Angels overcame some base running mistakes earlier in the inning to win the series and advance to the American League Championship Series against either the Yankees or Twins.

As baseball fans know, the Red Sox have had their share of cursed games in the past. Whether this game was proof of a curse's return or simply a blessed Angels team using their angelic batter's (s)wings to rise above the confines of Fenway park, is a discussion for future classic baseball television.

As of now the Angels are wing flapping toward the ALCS, trusting in the baseball God's to continue lifting them possibly to the World Series. Wow, talk about being the wind beneath their wings, Sheesh!

123456789 R H E
LAA 000101023 7 11 0
BOS 003200010 6 7 1


Scoring Summary

3rdD Pedroia doubled to deep center, A Gonzalez and J Ellsbury scored.02
3rdV Martinez singled to left, D Pedroia scored.03
4thK Morales homered to right.13
4thJ Drew homered to center, M Lowell scored.15
6thJ Rivera grounded into double play, third to second to first, T Hunter scored, K Morales out at second, V Guerrero to third.25
8thJ Rivera singled to right center, B Abreu and V Guerrero scored.45
8thM Lowell singled to right, J Gathright scored.46
9thB Abreu doubled to deep left, E Aybar scored, C Figgins to third.56
9thV Guerrero singled to center, C Figgins and B Abreu scored, T Hunter to second.76

Raiders Overmatched Against Giants

In 1 qtr of play you know one team is playing like GIANTS over the lesser visiting team. In 1 Qtr you can surmise that the GIANTS will take pity on this lesser team and bring in their second or third string players by the 2nd half. 1 Qtr is all it took for anyone watching to know that the New York GIANTS are a championship caliber football team while the Oakland Raiders are trying to grow up and someday play with the big boys. Not today little raiders, not today.

Score 1st Qtr
Raiders 0
Giants 14

First Downs0
Total Yards18
Passing Yards7
Rushing Yards11
Penalties (Yds)3(21)
Punts (AVG)2(58)
Time of Pos.3:53

Friday, October 09, 2009

Race Relations Awareness Week In San Francisco

San Francisco, once known for its ethnically diverse population, is now a place of those who have, those who are trying to have and those who have-not. Although gentrification and economics has changed the racial landscape of this beautiful city, I've been holding on to that old Jesse Jackson hope of a rainbow coalition of races coming together and making for stronger cities and a united nation. Regrettably, today the haves, the wanna-haves and the have-nots are speaking different languages and misinterpreting each others wants and needs. The "Us" that Jesse once preached on has become "Yours," "Mines" and "Theirs."

Whether we choose to agree or disagree with each other we must be able to communicate intelligently to avoid warring with one another. I strongly believe that tone of voice and hand gestures are critical tools when trying to communicate with peoples of other languages. Our body language and facial expressions send many signals that can be taken wrongly and we may not know we're even sending these signals. On the other hand, those who haven't learned the language of the land should desist from using the few offensive words they've learned from ugly Americans and/or television. Case and point:

The clip above is from an incident that occurred on a Municipal Transit bus traveling through San Francisco's Chinatown. If you look closely you'll see the face of the man filming this footage, a Caucasian man, as he adjusts his angle. If our translator is to be believed the misunderstanding between these two women of different language and ethnic backgrounds is over a seat. If they'd only stopped to consider there may have been a misunderstanding of actions, their heated verbal exchange may not have come to blows. And again, if our translator is to be believed, instigators in the crowd can fuel the flames of misunderstanding. Was it Jesse or Rodney King that said " Can't we all just get along?"

The Highly Anticipated Translation

Old Man#1(0:01) Beat that bitches ass.
Old Lady#1(0:02): Don't hit her.
Chinese Lady in the Pink(0:23): Don't let that bitch bully you.
Chinese Lady: (0:09): This bitch got the nerve to yell at me for me asking her politely if i may sit down. She is hogging the seat and won't let me sit. (0:48): If that bitch didn't want to let me sit down don't mean she got to bitch at me. (0:59): I didn't yell at you bitch why you going off on me. If I don't stand up for myself, she won't get scared. (1:44): Dare to fucking pick on chinese people?
(2:05): This bitch hogging the seat and I asked nicely if I may sit and that bitch kept hogging the seat. She has no heart, always bullying chinese people.
Old Man#2(1:26): Hit that bitch.
Old Man#3(1:33): Beat that bitch ass.
Old Lady#2(1:37): Don't fight no more.
Old Man#2((1:59): Beat the fuck out of her till she is scared!

Location: Clay St./Stockton St. Chinatown, San Francisco
30 stockton or 45 union/stockton at 10:00AM October 7th, 2009

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?

Why would I post a picture of a man in a HazMat (hazardous materials) suit on my Oakland Raiders sports blog you may wonder?

Here's why:


About two weeks ago a resident of my apartment building came to me with one hellluva horror story. He looked scared, tired, frustrated, angry and ready to move out of his rent controlled apartment he'd been in for over fifteen years. The reason was Bed Bugs. While talking in low tones in the hallway he informed me that new tenants had brought the bed bugs in and were now living in a hotel, hopefully an uninfected one, while their apartment was being fumigated.....again. He lives below them and believes when their apartment was detoxed the first time, the bed bugs simply moved one floor down to his warm and cozy abode.

I noticed as he talked that he was slurring a bit. he confessed that he hasn't slept much since the bug invasion and has slightly relapsed on his drinking problem because of the stress. He's mad at the tenants who brought them into the building, he's mad at the building manager for not immediately addressing the problem and trying to keep it hush, he's mad at the city of San Francisco for not warning its residents of the city-wide infestation that's been spreading over the past four years or so and he's definitely fed up with the bed bugs themselves.

To hear him talk of the abuse he's received from the biting bed bugs you'd think he was going to file a police report. The more he talked about the bugs the more agitated and upset he would get. Finally, as if he'd seen my impatience at listening to him vent, he felt he had to show me proof and so pulled up his shirt.

Now that I think of it, maybe it was I who asked what the bites looked like. Either way, the proof was definitely in the pudding. Looking at his pale white skin covered with red bed bug battle scars front to back was enough to get me quizzing him about the best toxic sprays to keep bed bugs away. He lowered his shirt, looked at me with sad puppy dog eyelids and whispered, "none work, you can kill the big ones but the eggs continue to hatch in a few days and the biting starts all over again."

The sound of his whisper convinced me that I was talking to a man who'd been shocked into submission by these critters. I'll never forget his final warning to me as he walked down the stairs, head lowered and shoulders slumped, a defeated man, he said "they only come out at night, you don't see them, you feel them, biting your flesh and slurping your blood."

I've been surfing the web for information about bed bugs ever since. You could say I'm now an expert on this field of bug control that just a month ago I would've thought foolish. There are many horror stories online, many like the one I just shared about my neighbor. What still scares me though is the cover-up. Because no city and or the stores in it, that depend on tourism, want to cause a panic and chase away good paying customers. One article I read was of a woman in the mission district who went to a neighborhood bookstore, sat in one of their comfortable old Victorian arnchairs to read and was bitten all over within an hour. She informed the store owners who are supposedly fumigating the store.

Not to scare the citizens of San Fransisco but it may not be a question of if you get bed bugs but when you get bed bugs. New York City is supposedly dealing with an infestation as well, along with Boston, Chicago and Orlando,Florida. Still wanna go to Disneyland?

So how do you get rid of bed bugs? The most convincing method I saw was to "heat" them out using a product called "Thermapure." They say its expensive but having a room heated to over 120 degrees for 24hrs kills the bugs and their eggs. All other methods take time and there's no guarantee. Putting Vaseline on the legs of your bed prevents them from crawling up onto the mattress, but they're very persistent creatures and will find other ways like scaling a wall and dropping down from the ceiling.

Or you could do as one biology student suggested; buy a HazMat uniform and sleep until your hearts content. Starve the little critters to death. If you choose this method of extermination understand that bed bugs can survive for as long as 365 days, a full year, without eating.

Oh, what do they eat you ask? Blood. They follow the food, which is a warm human body or a small mammal like a rodent will due temporarily. They feed at night and return to their lair, your mattress, come sunrise. They were exterminated in the U.S. in the 1940's & 50's using DDT which was later determined to be a health hazard to us humans. The United States began seeing their return in the last fifteen years or so. It is reported that cities with international travelers are at high risk for bed bug infestations. Again, its not a matter of if bed bugs will hit your city, its a question of when.

Arm Yourself By Getting Informed:

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Golfing On Top Of Graves

The 2009 Presidents Cup golfing event arrived in San Francisco this week with Tiger, Furyk, Cink, Leonard, Mickelson and a host of celebrities the likes of Michael Jordan. President Bill Clinton is on hand to help kick off the event which is being held at Harding Park in San Francsco.

The other city Golf Course is in Lincoln Park and as you San Francisco History buffs know, was once the burial grounds of the city's poor. As a matter of fact, many these early San Franciscans were so poor that their funerary arrangements were paid for and handled by a city public works department. Yes class, Lincoln Park where Lincoln Park Golf Course sits, was once San Francisco's Potter's Field.

While alive they were poor spiritually and financially. Once dead they were given a late 1800's style of transport (trolley or buggy) to this San Francisco land's end, to allow their poor soul a final resting place where nothing but salty sea breezes, sand dunes and the sound of the ocean crashing against the rocky shore could possibly disturb their state of death.

Golden Gate Cemetery 1868-1909 (aka Potter's Field) was one of a number of cemeteries within city limits at that time. You'd be amazed at some of the locations in SF that once housed the dead below ground. Chances are if you live in the city you probably shop, attend school, exercise or live on top of what was once a cemetery.

The city of San Francisco has a unique distinction of being the only city in the world that conducted a mass cemetery relocation project that in effect removed all graves to places outside of the city's limits. Most were relocated to Colma. The reason was most likely greed for property. As of today there are only two cemeteries that remain in San Francisco; Mission Delores and the Presidio.

The city in the early 1900's, especially following the 1906 earthquake was rapidly expanding westward and land was in high demand. Burials were banned in San Francisco in 1902. The subject of cemetery removal had been brewing in San Francisco for years and I suppose the catastrophic earthquake provided the kick in the pants to stop talking and get busy digging.

They say where there's tragedy there's opportunity, so I suppose a few fellows with deep pockets and plenty of leisure time paid the city to evict the dead bodies of these poor soulless western pioneers so that a fully functional golf course could be developed. Golf at that time was still considered a game to be played on linksland as near to the ocean as possible. Golden Gate Cemetery was just about as close to the ocean as one could get without falling off the cliffs of Land's End and into the Pacific.

In wrapping up this story of rich man poor man I must share something with you. Atop the hill where the golf course sprawls below today lies the Legion of Honor museum. The museum opened in 1924. In 1993 while excavating beneath the museum for a retrofit project there were found thousands of skeletal remains in graves. 700 were relocated to a mass grave site in San Mateo. Its estimated that as many as 11,000 could still be buried there. An old resident of San Francisco remembers that when laying the foundation for the museum in 1924 there were skeletons from burials found. Those skeletons were supposedly dumped into a cornerstone of the museum and sealed up. The resident did not remember which corner of the museum housed the remains.

University of San Francisco
Civic Center Plaza
Sears/Toys R Us
California Pacific (formerly Children's Hospital)
Dolores Park

These are just some of today's locations where once laid the dead of San Francisco. Lincoln Park is the only known one of these former cemeteries that still houses the dead underground.

Coincidentally I had a chance to attend the viewing of a film that talked about what happened to the cemeteries in San Francisco just last week at the main library. The film is titled "A Second Final Rest: The History of San Francisco's Lost Cemeteries" by Trina Lopez.

A must see for any San Francisco history buff.

For more San Francisco Cemetary information check out some of these interesting sites:

Minnesota Twins & Vikes Flying High

The Monday Night Football game this week featured a special match-up of divisional rivals. The Minnesota Vikings played the Green Bay Packers in a game that lived up to the hype. What made the game so spectacular was QB Brett Favre playing against his former team for the first time as a Viking. Talk about anticipation.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers stood his ground in the loud and proud Metrodome of Minneapolis. Rodgers would make some plays with his arm as well as his legs, but the Vikings defense would pressure him all evening and with pressure mistakes happen.

The game was an exciting clash of two teams who obviously know each other well. Rodgers finished 26 of 37 for 384 yards 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. Those interceptions were no fluke, the Vikings defense came out hungry for a victory and would finish with 8 sacks.

There were many heroes in the Vikings win, one being defensive end Jared Allen with 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble on the night. But it was Brett Favre who stole the show with his pinpoint passing and generalship of the field. Favre went 24 of 31 for 271 yards and no interceptions. The night for Brett was just another game, but for us watching it was a historic sports event featuring one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever have played the game. No signs of retirement in Brett's game, that's for sure. Vikings are an undefeated 4-0 on the season.

Final Score
Vikings 30
Packers 23

The following afternoon the same loud and proud crowd in the Metrodome would cheer their Minnesota Twins baseball team in a one game playoff for the AL Central Division championship. Their opponent would be division rival Detroit Tigers who were trying to avoid a late season collapse that would rate right up there with some of the greatest sports collapses of all-time. The Twins had won the last 17 out of 21 and were miraculously in it for the division crown.

The game was a thing of beauty, a back and forth struggle with all the ingredients to appear of MLB Classic games sometime in the future. Controversial calls, big-time defensive plays, every hit game altering and every pitch a nail biter. Both teams played the game like it was the most important game of their lives and afterward many players expressed it being the greatest competitive game they'd ever been involved with.

Unfortunately, someone had to lose the game, but it would take extra innings before it would be decided. Both teams are to be commended for an incredible display of playoff baseball to kick off October. If you missed this battle I suggest you search out an online site that might be streaming the game non-stop, such is the greatness of this game. Yes, Minnesota is the place to be in sports this season. And to the fans who were blessed by the sporting Gods to have tickets to both these Metrodome events: Consider yourselves the luckiest fans on the face of the earth today.

Final Score
Twins 6
Tigers 5

Monday, October 05, 2009

RB Darren McFadden to miss 2-4 Weeks

Coach Tom Cable announced that starting running back Darren McFadden will miss 2-4 weeks with a knee injury. Fan concensus seems to be "So What?"

D-Mac was supposed to bring to the Raiders an Adrian Peterson style of play. So far he's been injury prone, fumble prone and a low impact offensive weapon. Sorry D-Mac but the only threat you've shown us so far is the threat of early retirement.

Here is one fan's comment after hearing the news:

o no o heavens no how will the raiders continue to win so much how will they be good without him fumbling on every other run. how will my fantasy team survive with out his 10 rushing yards and fumble in every game he plays. how will that superstar russel throw all those touchdown passes and lead his team with out mcfadden there to sell the play fake. o gosh fellows this is the worst thing that could have ever happened to the raiders.

Think of what they'd say if it had been JaMarcus Russell getting injured. Ever heard of "Crocodile Tears?" I thought so!

crocodile tears

An insincere display of grief, as in When the play's star broke her leg, her understudy wept crocodile tears. This term comes from the mistaken notion that crocodiles weep while eating their prey, one held in ancient Roman times. The actual term was picked up by Shakespeare and many other writers after him, and remains current.
[Late 1500s]

Raiders Should Come Clean With Fans

The Oakland Raiders lost to the Houston Texans today, 29-6. You could see the Texans enjoying themselves as if it were an exhibition game. The Raiders are getting worse instead of better. As much as we don't want to put the blame on quarterback Jamarcus Russell, he's the man at the helm on the field. The ship has sunk and the man at the helm is still telling his mates to "stay the course." What course? The one that leads him straight to the bank is about the only course any Raiders fan sees in sight.

This one my fellow Raider fans has Big Al written all over it. What coach in his right mind who wants to keep his job will continue fielding a quarterback who can't read defenses, can't lead an offense and doesn't take responsibility for his poor performance on the field? Heck, Jamarcus should be embarrassed enough about his performance to bench himself. As they say in the south, "that dog just won't hunt."

So here we are again wondering what wise ol' Al is thinking in continuing with Russell as the starting quarterback. For a man who pulled off a great pickup in DE Richard Seymour at the start of the season, could it be Al is completely blinded by Russell's strong arm? or maybe just trying to squeeze some miracle juice out of a lemon and caring not what anyone else says. Al, baby, say it ain't so.

We are now in the phase of the season where as a Raiders fan you must adopt the phrase: Pay No Attention To The Man Standing Behind The Offensive Line.

Please, someone in the Raiders organization just come clean and tell us why? Is it the money? Is it the Madness of the man above? Is it the Contract? What is it that keeps an unproductive quarterback on a professional football team from being benched? Are the backups that bad? Are we too proud to bring back Jeff Garcia, even if he did say some hurtful things about the organization? What Gives? Thank goodness for kicker Sebastian Janokowski who's produced 12 of the 19 Raiders points the past three games. Go Jano!

The Raiders were 2-for-15 converting third downs and their possession chart (not including the end of the first half) read punt, punt, field goal, punt, punt, field goal, punt, fumble, safety, punt, punt, downs, fumble, punt. As for penalties, 9 for 60 yds against the Texans 1 for 5. Included in those 60 yds of penalties was a 15-yarder against Raiders cornerback Chris Johnson for excessive celebration after an interception in the endzone. What was the excessive celebration you may ask? Taking a knee to Pray.
Guess there's no praying in hell!

As of this late Sunday hour, here's what we do know:

Russell's lethargic stats in today's loss:
12 of 33 for 128 yds 0 interceptions
1 fumble lost / endzone sack safety

Friday, October 02, 2009

Baseball Season Closed

Shoeless Joe Jackson: Man, I did love this game. I'd have played for food money. It was the game... The sounds, the smells. Did you ever hold a ball or a glove to your face?
(from the movie "Field of Dreams")

The good thing is that the store will open for business again next April. The sad news yesterday was that AT&T park was hosting the final Giants game of the season and we fans are going to miss our San Francisco Giants, the ballpark and all that comes with being baseball fans who attend games.

What a Wednesday afternoon it was. It was the final home game and I really wanted to just take it all in. The Indian summer weather, the Oz-like shine of the ballpark, the enchanted fans. Every morsel of the final home game I ingested with sentimental hunger. I knew I'd need to store every bit of it in my cells for this winter's season of baseball hibernation.

How do you explain to non-sports fans what it feels like to end a baseball season? I suppose its like watching the summer fade to autumn, only its a more abrupt change with so much to let go of. Sure the football season has already come to life as a tell-tale sign of baseball's coming hibernation, but you still find yourself unwilling or unable to fully put away those summer shorts and begin sporting corduroys just yet.

I suppose what makes baseball so near and dear to my heart immediately following the season is its lasting impact on all my senses. Baseball and baseball parks have a way of captivating the senses of a fan. You may not realize it while in its summertime midst but once you return to what military personnel call "civilian life" you know you've just returned from a sort of "tour of duty" that felt dangerous yet exciting.

When I'm not at the ballpark during a game, I'm usually listening to the game and seeing the sights through the sensational Jon Miller's play-by-play radio broadcast on KNBR. Whether at the park or while listening to the game on the radio my ears take in every subtle sound of the game; the crack of the bat, the yelling of the fans, the disturbing voice of public announcer Renel, vendors in the stands (Ice Cold Lemonaaadddeee), the seventh inning stretch's "take me out to the ballgame" jingle and of course that AT&T Ballpark traditional victory song, "I left my heart in San Francisco," sung in a way that only Anthony Dominick Benedetto , 'aka'
Tony Bennett, can.

Visuals of the game can all be had just from the sounds. Benji Molini (Bullet Benji) stretching a single into a double, Eugenio Velez hitting a leadoff single or turning a doubleplay, Tim Lincecum pitching seven shutout innings with seven "K-ville" strikeouts, Rich Aurilla getting a standing 'O' for what was likely his final game as a Giant in SF, Randy Johnson unexpectedly pitching the final inning, the Diamondbacks pitching coach and manager both getting thrown out of the game within minutes of one another in the fourth inning, a Home Run by Andres Torres and triples by Pablo Panda Sandoval and Andres, doubles by Bullet Benji Molina and Ryan Rohlinger. The SF Giants had it all working on this day of finality with a 7-3 win capping a three game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Believe it or not there is a smell to all this that one remembers and savors. Nothing says baseball like the smell of a leather glove. I brought mine for this final game along with a ball. The garlic fries, hot dogs, infield dirt & grass, the tension of the players and fans, I smell it all. The feel of a game is all in the vibrations & pauses. The crisp air carries the action from the field right to your seat where you smell the bat smashing the ball or the ball smacking the dirt from the leather glove. Let's not forget the sting of a high-five slap from fellow fans, electrifying.

All other senses combine to culminate in a taste of the game. Like ingredients in a recipe the game is seasoned to perfection, never tasting quite the same and always flavorful. Belching up polish hot dog and kraut flavors hours after the game is a common game day occurrence.

So here I am, writing to keep from moping around, tossing my ball into my leather baseball glove over and over like a child who's playmate had to leave much too early. The baseball season is officially over at my home ballpark and sure there's the playoffs and a world series approaching, but without my Giants in it life just seems to carry a bitter taste about now.

There is however one consolation we Giants fans can look forward to the rest of this season that gives us reason to possibly watch the playoffs:

Dodger fans blogging their disgust at their team's losing slump going into the NL playoffs. See what Dugout Daisy says about her loveable bums. All ain't well in Mannywood.

Baseball is definitely more than just a sport.