Places I went in 2011

Every year, I go places and list them. The primary criteria are 1.) Having a sit-down meal 2.) spending the night in that location.

Alexandria, Va.
Arlington, Va.
Burke, Va.
Fairfax, Va.
Falls Church, Va.
Franconia, Va.
McLean, Va.
Reston, Va.
Vienna, Va.
Annapolis, Md.
Baltimore, Md.
Columbia, Md.
Crownsville, Md.
Ellicot City, Md.
Poolesville, Md.
Avalon, N.J.
Ocean City, N.J.
Stone Harbor, N.J.
Wildwood Crest, N.J.
Woodstown, N.J.
Belleville, Pa.
Burnham, Pa.
Harrisburg, Pa.
Hershey, Pa.
Hummelstown, Pa.
Lewistown, Pa.
Mercersburg, Pa.
Philadelphia, Pa.
Reedsville, Pa.
Springfield, Pa.
State College, Pa.
University Park, Pa.
Washington, D.C.

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RIP Jeanne Hall

I was saddened to learn that one of my former professors, Jeanne Hall, died this past week.

Dr. Hall was a film professor — I only had her for COMM 150, the introductory film course. However, I knew her a little bit. In fact, even before I took her class, she introduced herself to me one day — “Oh, your William, I’m Dr. Hall.” This was particularly amusing because my friend Tom, was the class marshal for the film program several years earlier at graduation and had Dr. Hall as his advisor for several years and she couldn’t remember his name. I have held that over Tom ever since. Her long tenure in the College of Communications will be remembered fondly.

Legacy.com obituary: Jeanne Lynn Hall

UPDATED 01.03.2011: A much longer tribute from StateCollege.com: Jeanne Hall Remembered for Generosity, Spirit; ‘Had a Lot of Love to Give’

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2011 Redskins at Eagles Q&A and prediction with @scrappled

The last guest prognosticator of 2011 is @scrappled of Black Shoe Diaries, a Philly sports fan. He’s been here before. Let’s get it on!

WFY: If Michael Vick fought and executed your puppies would you favor irrevocable…Okay, that’s OLD news since Vick went to the Pro Bowl last year and signed a big contract so he’s a good person again, right? How has he done this season, a 7-8 season?

@scrappled: Okay, I suppose. The Eagles massively screwed up by not bolstering their offensive line, which leads to the evasive but undersized Vick taking too many shots. Not to mention, Vick has no idea how to slide. Bambi on ice is more graceful than a Michael Vick hook slide.

WFY: 7-8? D.C. was into falling flat after being OFFSEASON CHAMPIONS way before Philly. Is the clock running out on head coach Andy Reid? Does he still run a worse two minute drill than Penn State and its
3-tiered play calling (of the past, I guess)?

@scrappled: I’d be shocked if Reid didn’t return. For as much as we love to hate our head coaches, Reid is one of the best in the NFL when it comes to weekly preparation. Game management? Ugh. Nightmare.

WFY: Where do the Redskins/D.C. fall in terms of Eagles/Philly rivalries?

@scrappled: I’ve always viewed them as interchangeable, although I suspect thousands of Philly fans would disagree. To me, the level of hate corresponds with the success of rivals at that particular time. If the Redskins were a constant playoff presence, they’d be higher on the list.

WFY: Do you watch Eagles games with the sound turned down and the radio turned up?

@scrappled: Oh, how I wish. I don’t get the Merrill Reese radio broadcast in my house, so I’m usually stuck with whatever garbage announcing crew Fox forces upon me.

WFY: Who are the standouts for Eagles media coverage?

@scrappled: Bleeding Green Nation and Iggles Blog are both excellent, and the traditional Inquirer/Daily News guys on Philly.com have always been good. We’re lucky in the sense that our beat writers and columnists are generally of high quality. The local sports radio? Yeah, not so much. Idiots leading idiots.

WFY: Of the 4 major Philly teams, which one winning a championship would mean more to you? To the city/region?

@scrappled: Oh, it has to be the Eagles, especially with the Phillies breaking the urse a few years ago. Only with the Phillies’ recent success has baseball crept into a virtual tie with football in the region’s heart. But over the course of time? It’s a football city.

WFY: I’ve heard that an upstart, the roast pork sandwich, is challenging the cheesesteak for gastronomical supremacy in the city of brotherly love. I finally had the latter at a Tony Luke’s in Sea Isle City and enjoyed it, but not as much as the former. Which side are you on?

@scrappled: I’m with you, cheesesteaks now and forever. And you know what? I don’t even care who makes it. I try to avoid Pat’s and Geno’s as a matter of convenience, but I’m not a cheesesteak elitist.

WFY: Based on all the time I’ve been around Philly fans, I know you guys want to be told by a Washingtonian how the Eagles uniforms should look. That crushes the current kit every day of the week and twice on Sunday, doesn’t it?

@scrappled: Totally. Love the old Kelly Green. I don’t hate the newer look quite
as much as you, but it’s hard to beat that classic kit.

WFY: Since the Skins and Iggles always split and the road team usually wins how sad are you going to be when the inevitable happens?

@scrappled: Over it. Don’t care. The difference between 7-9 and 8-8 means
nothing to me with our longshot chances of a division title being dashed by the inept Jets, so let’s get the higher draft pick. Die, Eagles, Die!

WFY: On the wings of mediocrity? I-G-G-L-E-S!

I’m going with the burgundy and gold here, they always split the series. Let’s say 23-14

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Joe Posnanski on Joe Maddon, Hazleton

Hazleton – Curiously Long Posts, Sports Illustrated
After spending all fall in State College working on a book at Joe Paterno and what he meant to the Penn State community at large (impeccable timing!) Sports Illustrated columnist Joe Posnanski traveled east along Interstate 80 for a little while to see Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon’s hometown of Hazleton.

My first two years of college were at Penn State Hazleton and I lived in the borough of West Hazleton which is right next to the city of Hazleton. As I have mentioned before, it was an interesting experience. For one thing, growing up in sprawling Northern Virginia, the idea of firmly entrenched white/ethnic neighborhoods and the rivalries between them was eye-opening. I predicted that those rivalries would probably fade as Hispanics moved in; I can’t speak about the former, but the latter has drawn national attention for several years. Maddon is working with family who still live there to build a community center and wants “kids growing up in Hazleton now to look back someday and remember only good things from their childhood.”

And the people around him also nod in agreement when he says that Hazleton isn’t like that anymore. There are cracks in the sidewalk, closed storefronts and blankness where downtown once lit up. Maddon says that even the traffic lights have dimmed.

More: There’s distrust. Many people seem to know why. The Hispanic population has grown dramatically in Hazleton over the last decade or so. According to census numbers, there were about 250 people who identified themselves as Hispanic in 1990, barely over 1,000 in 2000. Now, there are almost 10,000 Latinos living in Hazleton. They have come for jobs, for more affordable housing, for the small town charms that not so long ago brought in the Maddonnis and Scarcellas and Barlettas and Palahniuks.

I wish Maddon and Hazleton luck, even though I have been hard on it over the years. The disparate groups need to realize that they all want to be there and build off that because for 50-60 years, people have been fleeing for better opportunities.

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Caps: Reactions to NHL relaignment from rival fans

The NHL’s decision to realign into 4 conferences with the Washington Capitals being placed into a conference with former Patrick Division rivals was welcomed enthusiastically by D.C. fans like me. Being assigned into the same conference as the New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Philadelphia Flyers, and Pittsburgh Penguins is something Caps fans have been waiting for since the Southeast Division was created. Simply put D.C. fans don’t get fired up for playing South Florida, Atlanta or Tampa Bay like they due New York and Philadelphia. The Carolina Hurricanes also come along from the SE.

I was able to get comments from fans of the Flyers, Penguins, Hurricanes and as of December 22, an Islanders fan. Here is what they had to say:

FLYERS

Chris Grovich, Philly sports fan and editor of Black Shoe Diaries:

I could take or leave the Hurricanes, but otherwise I think it’s a fantastic move by the NHL. As a selfish Flyers fan, it preserves most everything we want. Great to have the Caps back in the group. Washington is a mid-Atlantic/northeast city, and they belong in that kind of division for hockey. The NBA can keep doing whatever they’re doing, mostly because they’re stupid and irrelevant.

PENGUINS

Sam B., The Maryland Bureau Chief Emeritus:

My thoughts are that I am in favor of it. This new format is similar to the Patrick Division which featured the Pens, Isles, Devils, Rangers, etc. I admit that I was concerned by some of the realignment talk that had the Pens joining the southeast division. I think the Pens have a great rivalry with the Caps, but there is no spark with the hurricanes, panthers or lightning. I am especially delighted with the new playoff format. I think its good for these teams to have rivalries intact and hopefully become even stronger.

Muha, La Coupe Hauxer Pengyunz “governor”:

1. Geographically, it makes sense, and it does keep a number of traditional rivalries intact. As you stated on the blog, now it evens out the entire La Coupe Hauxer quite nicely, and should all the teams make it into the playoffs, we could sort of change up the format a bit and tie outcomes based on seeding and finish.

2. Oddly enough, this opens up the possibility for expansion in the “C” and “D” Conferences. I’m not sure how scheduling 32 teams over 82 games will work in this capacity (that might beg to expand the schedule a little further, especially since there are some instances where some teams get a week off between games). If that’s the case, if Winnipeg can get the Jets back, who’s to say that the Whalers can’t return to Hartford, and there have been rumors that the league has wanted to move the Houston Aeros up from the AHL for years. It might even get the Balsillie monkey of Bettman’s back.

3. Going back to the rivalries, that was a major concern for a lot of fans when the talk of realignment began this summer. One of the biggest rumors was the entire East was going to be shuffled into something unrecognizable, especially since it included bringing Detroit in. I mean, if you go back to the “Original Six”, yeah, they’re part of the “West”, but that was already thrown out the window after the (now) Jets came in and took the Leafs with them. It really doesn’t make sense to make moves that affect such “traditions”, plus, it’s just weird.

4. Now to the next point: NAMING. I think one of the worst things the league did was abolish the “traditional” division/conference names back in the late ’90s. It’s what set the NHL apart from every other “major” sports league for a long time due to the unique nature of hockey. That needs to be brought back. Sure, geography can be helpful, and it’s more of an American thing, but hockey is clearly NOT an American thing, at least at its roots.

HURRICANES

Adam P., Hurricanes season ticket holder and Western Pennsylvania expatriot:

I’m actually excited about having the return to the divisional playoff format under the new alignment. The Southeast Division never had any real rivalries because 1) the division was never good enough to get multiple teams into the playoffs often. Southeast teams never faced each other in the playoffs. 2) The Caps were more often than not focused on their old divisional rivals. So the opportunity for the Canes to have real division rivals is great. Unfortunately, the concern of many down here is that the team will not be able to compete with the bigger market and highly competitive teams within the new division. The hope is that this will serve as a wake up call to management in the style of player an money given to a player to be competitive and make the playoffs.

I grew up with the Patrick Division so this is almost like being a kid again. In the divisional format, you really learn to hate a team…not just hate a team but HATE a team. I think it will be good for the newer Canes fans to experience it. It’s a shame that feeling never developed within the old division.

Be sure to check out Adam’s flickr stream for lots of quality hockey photos.

ISLANDERS

Some dissent to realignment from Long Islander Devon Edwards of Onward State

I’m not old enough to remember the Islanders as anything but an Atlantic Division team, so the historical basis has zero appeal and the opportunity to be playing the Hurricanes and Capitals more isn’t particularly exciting, either. But really, the big concern is with the playoff structure. For a team that’ll be on the bubble, it’s harder to break through with the established contenders in our divisions. It’s easier to contend for an 8-seed now than it will be to fight for a 4-seed in the future. I don’t think the league or playoff structures were broken, and so I’m apprehensive about a unnecessary massive overhaul. Especially one that only serves to diminish the Islanders shot at contention in the foreseeable future.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get commentary from the Devils fan I know, so I had to go with this:

I don’t know any Rangers or Islanders fans, so no comments from them.

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Tom Williams out at Yale; Could Jay Paterno be a candidate?

Yale coach Tom Williams resigns after lying about Rhodes candidacy – Campus Rivalry, USA Today
Yale Accepts Coach Williams’ Resignation – Yale Sports Publicity
Yale Bulldogs head coach Tom Williams has resigned effective the end of the year. A controversy over Williams’ Rhodes Scholarship claims that came up in November is the official reason.

When the Williams story broke, I wondered if that would be it for him. Yale would have a hard time firing him in my view, because they did not do their due diligence, but I could certainly see how it would be uncomfortable for him there. Losing to Harvard annually, particularly after a failed 4th and 22 fake punt in the 4th quarter (with the lead) against Harvard in 2009, might have hurt more.

I would not be surprised to see Penn State QB coach Jay Paterno seek the Yale job. Like most or all of Penn State’s staff, he is a lame duck with an expected housecleaning of the football program following the bowl game. Yale is a prestigious university, historic football program, grand stadium and lots of smart players who are there for the love of the game.

Jay’s father, Joe, sought the Yale job in the early 1960s, but Jon Pont was hired instead. After Pont left for Indiana, Yale sought the elder Paterno, but by then he was confident he could get the Penn State job. Carm Cozza was hired instead and led the Bulldogs for about 25 years.

Whether Yale has any interest in a position coach taking over after Williams underwhelming tenure or anybody associated with Penn State is a big question. Call it a decent hunch that Jay Paterno is interested though. Obviously, we don’t know what opportunities in the future (if any), but years from now, would you rather have said you were the head coach at a MAC program or Yale?

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Ski Cherokee: I-66′s lost ski resort

Every once in a while, I have recalled there being a ski resort somewhere off of Interstate 66 about 20 years ago. I never went there, but was curious if my memory was accurate. Recently, I was able to get the right search terms together and came up with this from DCSki.com: Mid-Atlantic Lost Ski Areas: Ski Cherokee. In short, Ski Cherokee was a tiny ski area near Linden (Exit 13) which is about 62 miles from the Washington D.C. border. There wasn’t much to it (one chairlift) and the lifespan was short with warm winters being part of the blame. The area is being turned into a housing development. Oh what could have been!

Anybody make it out to Ski Cherokee during its run?

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What will Penn State’s branding be?

The branding of Penn State athletics (if not the whole university) is probably going to go through a major overhaul following the Jerry Sandusky scandal (just named AP’s #1 sports story of the yearpennlive.com). The familiar “chipmunk” logo may be phased out.

Twitter user @CasaNoVApsu knows what he wants in a new brand identity for Penn State — a return of the block S in a keystone which he details in this Google doc.

proposed new Penn State logo by @CasaNoVApsu

The goal of this branding renewal is to develop a new visual identity for the Nittany Lions; an identity that is bold, timeless, and captures the four keystones of Penn State intercollegiate athletics: TRADITION, INTEGRITY, PRIDE and STRENGTH.

The logic is sound, but the logo just doesn’t do much for me, probably because I am not from Pennsylvania. Also, the whole “P” or “S” or “PS” or “PSU” problem for identifying Penn State is a factor. A strong effort though.

If the athletic logo is truly going to go away, I’d like to see the Nittany Lion Shrine be included. Maybe the Shrine face mark that Lion Ambassadors use:

Penn State Nittany Lions "shrine face" logo

Did you know that the stenciled Penn State logo was removed a few years ago by Guido D’Elia?

Ol’ Guido dumped the stencil and replaced it with a sans serif font. The “chipmunk” + sans serif font looked like somebody had put it together in MS Word. It was cheap looking, yet keeping in line with Guido’s “let’s make Penn State more generic visually” approach. Sadly, his audio approach was the same, only louder. If there is really going to be a full-scale remove everybody movement, the better include Guido.

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Nats and MASN to review TV deal

Jim Williams: Nationals may be in line for bigger TV dealThe Wash. Examiner
Every five years, the Washington Nationals get to review the deal (*cough* corrupt bargain) they have with MASN, the cable channel that is owned by the Baltimore Orioles/Peter Angelos. My objections to the arrangement both historically and currently are well established, so I wont’ rehash them today. I wish the Nats media consultant Chris Bevilacqua luck in getting a better deal for Nats, but in the end, I think the negotiations will look like this:

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Eddie Murphy to star in HBO Marion Barry biopic

Marion Barry biopic in development with Eddie Murphy as star – Reliable Source, The Post
Eddie Murphy is going to star in a HBO movie about Washington D.C.’s “mayor for life” Marion Barry. He’s not the first person I would have selected, but if Murphy wants a serious acting challenge, he just signed on for one. A comic actor portraying a caricature? Murphy is going to have to play it straight for it to work and that won’t be easy.

Local journalists Harry Jaffe and Tom Sherwood‘s book “Dream City” is part of the inspiration for the movie. Spike Lee will direct.

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