Happy First Day of Fall, y’all! The Autumnal Equinox happened at 4:02 pm EST today. We can now look forward to shorter days and longer nights, and Halloween candy that is already on sale on store shelves everywhere. Where I live, we also get to look forward to apple festivals, pumpkin picking, and vibrant colors all around as the leaves change before falling off for the winter.

Update from last week’s post: all of my cats have gotten over their illness, thank God and thank you to anyone who offered up a prayer on their behalf! Even old Zeke is back to his usual self, here he is snuggled up with my dog, Bellah, on my bed.

Zeke the Cat and Bellah the Dog – cuddle buddies

Bellah is the mother of my puppies, she had six last October and we kept four, two boys and two girls. My two girl puppies got spayed last week and have fully recovered and are back to playing happily with their brothers.

I know they say you can’t catch a cold or whatever from your cats, but I sure caught something from somewhere as I am now dealing with an upper respiratory thing of my own. I just hope my family doesn’t catch it.

And, of course, the world continues doing that spinny thing that it does, so here are some links:

President Donald Trump returned to New York and gave a stellar speech at the UN the other day. Fausta has a nice summary right here at Da Tech Guy Blog.

Our lovely First Lady, Melania Trump, dressed beautifully for her husband’s big UN speech, as you can see by visiting MOTUS for today’s FLOTUS Friday post.

Some lunatic woman made a huge nasty scene at a restaurant over the presence of a veteran’s service dog, and the restaurant has turned the embarrassing incident into an opportunity to do something good.

The answer is YES: Jim Hoft asks an important question.

Curb your human: Hepatitis A Outbreak in San Diego linked to people pooping on the streets.

Being a fat loser who is an “idiot” is no excuse to behead a person, no matter what some shifty defense lawyer says. Pamela Geller has the story about this ludicrous claim from her would be assassin’s attorney.

Mel Brooks outs himself as a fellow thought criminal.

GoreBull Warming Hoax – The science is settled! No so fast…

Related: Da Tech Guy on weather/climate models

Deja Vu? History does repeat, apparently, and that is ay okay in this case! 

The fact is, if you are too young to remember what it was like when Ronald Reagan was President, don’t worry.

You know exactly what it was like — even if you weren’t born yet.

Because we’re living it all over again.   READ THE WHOLE THING

I hope you all have a nice weekend and that you enjoy the beginning of this beautiful new season.

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MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals. 

Maria blows the stars around
Sets the clouds a-flyin’
Maria makes
The mountains sound like folks was out there dyin’
Maria (Maria)
Maria (Maria)
They call
The wind
Maria

The scenes from Puerto Rico are horrific: Ruin, destruction, flooding, and no electricity, cell signals or clean water for three and a half million Americans.

More people live in Puerto Rico than in 20 states.

Consider also that many from the Lesser Antilles who were left homeless were transferred to Puerto Rico for shelter.

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Adding to the anguish: not being able to hear from friends and relatives. CBS Miami has an article on How Family, Friends Can Check On People In Puerto Rico.

The complete blackout combined with the flooding is a clear  imminent threat to public health, not only to safety.

Kevin Lui explains How could a storm knock out power across the whole island?

Puerto Rico’s power grid was already in bad shape even before the 2017 hurricane season. PREPA’s power plants are 44 years old on average, reports Reuters — in contrast with the industry-wide average of 18 years.

The company, which filed for bankruptcy in July, called its own system “degraded and unsafe,” saying in a fiscal plan released this April that “years of under-investment have led to severe degradation of infrastructure,” according to Reuters.

According to Vox, PREPA also faces a manpower shortage that, even before this hurricane season, was already impeding its day-to-day maintenance.
. . .
Puerto Rican officials think that the power distribution infrastructure might be more badly damaged than power stations, the governor told CNN, adding that power could be more quickly restored if transmission lines turn out to be in better shape than thought.

Compounding the problem is Puerto Rico’s economic mess. I have posted about it for years; back to Lui’s article,

The general economic situation is also grim. Puerto Rico’s finances have been in dire straits for years. The island has yet to emerge from a decade-long recession, and unemployment stands at 11%. Its government entered a process similar to bankruptcy protection in May in a bid to restructure its debt load, currently in excess of $70 billion.

At the WSJ,

Maria and Irma hit at a time of financial strain for Puerto Rico. The island’s government and its state-owned public-power monopoly are under bankruptcy protection after years of overborrowing and a decade of economic recession. The U.S. Congress installed an oversight board last year to renegotiate roughly $73 billion in debt and to coax business interests back to the island.

More exasperating is the cell phone situation, where AT&T has exclusive rights, and companies such as FirstNet are not allowed to provide wireless services to first responders. AT&T is completely down.

Puerto Rico was on a downward spiral for years, well before Irma and Maria struck. One can only hope that this disaster becomes an opportunity to rebuild the entire island and cut down on decades’ worth of bloated, useless overspending and waste.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog

Yesterday I wrote about Nolan Ryan greatness in reference to Chris Sale’s 300 Strikeout season. Today it hit me that Ryan is a great example of the follies of convention wisdom. The subject deserves a little more elaboration.

Of all the outs a pitcher can produce a strikeout is the most valuable, in my opinion even more than a double play. A runner can score on a double play, but without an error by the catcher a runner can’t score on a third strike nor can a runner advance on a strikeout without trying to steal a base. With no outs and runners on a strikeout makes an inning ending double play possible and with one a strikeout means that you don’t have to play your infield in, risking a hit getting through.

Nolan Ryan struck out 5714 in his career, he is the ultimate strikeout pitcher in baseball history and to understand just how good he was consider this.

While Ryan struck out 300 men five times in the AL since the DH was adopted he also struck out 300 men the year before (1972) for a total of six 300+ strikeout seasons including one at age 43 (1990). As you do ponder those numbers consider that Bob Gibson, Tom Seaver, Roger Clemens, Gaylord Perry, Don Sutton, Bert Blyleven, Chuck Finley, David Cone, Frank Tanana, Mike Mussina, CC Sabathia, Jim Bunning, Greg Maddux, Phil Niekro, Ferguson Jenkins, John Smoltz, and Cy Flipping Young, all on the top 24 all time strikeout leader list, never managed to do it once.

But believe it or not there was a time when people actually argued if Ryan was a great pitcher, let alone a Hall of Fame caliber pitcher, consider this from The Bill James Baseball abstract’s 1985 edition:

I may get kicked out of the sabermathmatics union for saying this but it seems to me we’ve got to start taking Ryan a little more seriously as a great pitcher. He has had six straight winning seasons (through 1984), which I didn’t expect either, but anyways he is now about twenty wins better than the teams he has pitched for. That doesn’t break any records but it is comparable to man of the pitchers listed here.

Remember when this was written Ryan had already been in the majors 18 years, had already won a world series, won 231 games, held the MLB record for most no hitters with five (he would throw two more) and was already the all time strikeout leader with over 3800k’s. In fact if he had retired that year he would still hold the record for no hitters and would be currently 4th all time in strikeouts (behind Randy Johnson 4875, Clemens 4672 and Steve Carlton 4136).

Yet here was one of the best minds in baseball stating in print that calling Nolan Ryan a great pitcher was a controversial opinion at at the time to many it was.

Of course while the experts argued the fans who saw him pitch got it. I watched him pitch at Fenway once. Everyone in the stands knew we were in the presence of greatness. He pitched deep into the game leaving behind a collection of dumbfounded hitters before giving the game to his bullpen who would give up the lead and then the game to the Red Sox to the delight of the fans.

It wasn’t until he became the grand old man of baseball that people would eventually come around and recognize Ryan for the all time great that he was. The writers got when he was eligible for the hall of fame in 1999 98.8% of the voters had him on their ballots tied with Tom Seaver for the highest percentage of votes all time. Only Ken Griffey Jr’s 99.3% in 2016 would beat it.

If you told Baseball expect’s in 1984 that this would be the case they’d have laughed you out of the room.

Nolan Ryan career is the best example of one of my favorite sayings. Conventional Wisdom is always right, up until the moment it isn’t.

I suspect we’ll have a lot of use for both this example and this saying over the next 7 years.


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Given the omnipresent heaviness of current news around the world, with natural disasters and threatened man made ones on all sides, thought it best to take a moment and breathe.

The NFL seems hellbent on self-destruction, what wth continued permitted player protests during the National Anthem plus a deadly inability to address CTE. You’d think with the tens of bajillions the league rakes in it’d spen some of that money on designing a more protective helmet, but unfortunately it does not appear to be in any way a priority.

Still, football remains the straw that stirs the American sports drink. Baseball might be the national pastime, but football is the national passion. Even more than arguing about politics, believe it or not.

Although I am San Francisco Bay Area born and raised, my football alliances lie with the Colts, for reasons explained here, and the Los Angeles Rams. The latter is most unusual, given the NorCal-SoCal rivalry bordering on open warfare. But I always liked the Rams … when they were in the rather tarnished Golden State. Now they are back home, although based on game attendance this season not many people in Southern California are aware of this.

Doubtless to the eyeroll of many, this weekend’s first prime time football matchup featured the aforementioned Rams, who haven’t had a winning season since the last Bush administration, and the San Francisco 49ers who presently bear zero resemblance to the team that won five Super Bowls. The stands were half-full at best, more than a few news stories passing around how you could buy a secondary market ticket for the game with less money than the price of two pretzels at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, home of the 49ers and Who’s Who in Peninsula Gangbangers.

Naturally, the Rams and 49ers played what will doubtless be considered the season’s most entertaining game, a seesaw battle ultimately decided in the Rams favor by a thwarted two-point conversion and a final defensive stand after the 49ers recovered an onside kick late in the fourth quarter. It was the first game I’ve been able to watch all year (work schedule; same reason I’ve been silent about NASCAR). To say both teams are works in progress would be the strongest understatement since noting as of late the Caribbean weather has been less than stellar. But, Jared Goff is getting a firm grip on this NFL quarterbacking thing; this plus some major personnel upgrades have taken the Rams offense from being offensive period to potent.

It was good for a few hours to forget the controversies; forget the wars raging online and threatened wars in real life, and simply enjoy the game. We are often told we steal much of life’s joy by routinely failing to live in the moment, this coupled with a reminder that Jesus’ first miracle was changing water into wine to keep the party going. (Nevertheless, I do not drink, but that is a story for another time.) Can we allow ourselves the luxury, at least once in a while, to have fun? Tonight was much-needed fun, this due in no small part to my team winning but also to two teams doing what the naysayers insisted couldn’t be done: put on a show.