Category Archives: basketball

March Ramblin'


Anyone out there on Posterous? I had never heard of it until very recently. I posted something the other day via e-mail, because I could. One can also post a variety of other ways. I’m not seeing the need, but then again, I didn’t get Twitter or Facebook initially either.
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It’s not coming out until May 25, but I’m looking forward to Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook by Bettye LaVette. This great singer who was in the Albany area recently – no, didn’t get a chance to see her – is covering a bunch of songs, many that I know well. It has a definite Beatles tinge.
1. The Word (Beatles)
2. No Time To Live (Traffic)
3. Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood (Animals)
4. All My Love (Led Zeppelin)
5. Isn’t It A Pity (George Harrison)
6. Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd)
7. It Don’t Come Easy (Ringo Starr)
8. Maybe I’m Amazed (Paul McCartney)
9. Salt Of The Earth (Rolling Stones)
10. Nights In White Satin (Moody Blues)
11. Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad (Derek & the Dominoes)
12. Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me (Elton John)
13. Love Reign O’er Me (The Who – live from the Kennedy Center Honors)

That last song, sung to Pete Townsend and Roger Daltry, seemed to have them in tears, especially Townsend.

Check out Bettye’s website for her performances with Paul & Ringo, with Jon Bon Jovi, and her stellar Who cover.
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SamuraiFrog informs me that there is a Soul Train YouTube channel, which is very cool.
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I was listening to Les Brown this week. He had a big hit in the 1940s with Bizet Has His Day, an adaptation of Farandole from L’Arl├ęsienne.
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Ever get a song stuck in your head, but you CAN’T REMEMBER the title? This happened to me the other day. I called up a librarian friend who wasn’t working that day. Then I called a violinist friend of mine; she knew the song I hummed, but couldn’t remember what it was either. She called her sister, and she identified it as In The Hall of the Mountain King from Peer Gynt, music by Edvard Grieg. Don’t think you know this piece? I’ll bet you do, especially if you play any of the three dozen versions from Duke Ellington, Erasure and ELO to Rick Wakeman and the Who. I’m rather partial to the ska version. Somehow, I have it in my mind that this music also inspired the Sugar Crisp commercial theme.
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As a reaction to the Tea Baggers, there is now a Coffee Party. I’m only slightly conflicted in that I really like tea and really don’t like coffee.
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Have I mentioned lately that I really love Betty White? I’ll even record Saturday Night Live on May 8, and I only watched it in 2008 for “Sarah Palin”.
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The greatest 9,331 movies of all time.
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Is my cellphone frying my brain?
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Don’t know why I do that March Madness thing. This year’s results have been worse than ever, thanks to the upsets. Yet I can still win.

For the games today and tomorrow:
I picked: Kansas over Michigan State.
Who’s actually playing: Northern Iowa and Michigan State.
I’m rooting for: Northern Iowa. Their colors are purple and gold, just like my graduate school alma mater. What the heck; I hope they get to the Final Four. Go Panthers!

I picked: Georgetown over Ohio State.
Who’s actually playing: Tennessee and Ohio State.
I’m rooting for: Tennessee. The leader in our group picked Ohio State to win the whole thing.

I picked: Syracuse over UTEP
Who’s actually playing: Syracuse and Butler.
I’m rooting for: Syracuse, who I have going to the Final Four.

I picked: Pittsburgh over Kansas State.
Who’s actually playing: Xavier and Kansas State.
I’m rooting for: Xavier.

I picked: Baylor over Villanova.
Who’s actually playing: Baylor and St. Mary’s.
I’m rooting for: Baylor, who I have in the Final Four.

I picked Louisville over Siena.
Who’s actually playing: Duke and Purdue (yikes).
I’m rooting for: Purdue. Actually, I’m rooting against Duke every round.

I picked: West Virginia over New Mexico
Who’s actually playing: West Virginia and Washington.
I’m rooting for: West Virginia, who I have winning the tournament over (oops) Kansas.

I picked: Kentucky over Cornell.
Who’s actually playing: Kentucky and Cornell!
I’m rooting for: Kentucky on my sheet, the upstate New York team in my heart.

ROG

the Experiment

Usually, I try to write something comprehensive (and ideally, comprehensible) to post the next morning. I have maybe a half dozen things in draft form, not quite ready to go. So as a one-off experience, I have gotten up at 5:03 a.m., slightly foggy, and will write for 20 minutes, and post whatever at 5:30.
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Doing the March Madness thing. For those not familiar, it’s college basketball. I think the idea that, theoretically, ANY ONE of the 65 teams (well, 64 now), can win lends a sense of democracy to the proceedings. I have our local team, Siena, winning their first game, over Purdue, just as they won their first first game the last two years as an underdog. Still haven’t finished my picks, though, tentatively, I have Kansas over Syracuse, west Virginia over Baylor, and because I believe WV got jobbed out of being a #12 seed, WV over Kansas. Anyone who actually FOLLOWS basketball with insights, please comment. SOON.
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Gave blood on Tuesday, BP was uncharacteristically high for me. It’s usually 100 to 120; that day, it was 138. What changed has been a habituation to caffeinated cola; I mean one a day, not multiples, but I’ve just stopped. Yesterday about 4:30 pm, I went to the bathroom and threw cold water on my face.
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Anyone out there use that free wifi searcher from Makayama? I downloaded it, put it on my thumb drive, but couldn’t get it to work on my laptop at home.
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I was checking Dead or Alive this morning.
Knew Peter Graves died. He started on the second season of the show Mission: Impossible, and those two or three seasons with him, Martin Landau and Barbara Bain, were among the best in television. He was also in my top three favorite comedy, Airplane!
Merlin Olson died. I never saw a single fill episode of Little House on the Prairie. I knew him as a football player for the LA Rams, back in the days that Los Angeles actually had a pro football team. I mean besides UCLA and USC.
Caroline McWilliams died last month, which I never noted here. I used to love her in Soap and Benson.
Corey Haim died, and I don’t know that I ever saw him in anything.
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Ah, nuts. Time’s up
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EDIT:
Roger Ebert on Glenn Beck and Beck’s “I beg you, look for the words social justice or economic justice on your church web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can.”
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Bummer: Alex Chilton died at the age of 59.

ROG

Comedy Today

As I’ve long admitted, I can’t tell a joke to save my life, though I can be funny when the situation generates it. April Fools’ Day just does not play to my strength. I do enjoy bad jokes, though. And none are worse than the daily meditations I get from David Pogue, the techie guy from the New York Times. I think I follow him on Twitter just so I can groan. Recent examples from his Twitter feed (Pogue):
The algebra teacher confiscated a kid’s rubber band, believing it to be a weapon of math disruption.
and this one
I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.
and this:
I have kleptomania, but when it gets bad, I take something for it.

From other sources, more terrible humor:

Dan was a single guy living at home with his father and working in the family business. When he found out he was going to inherit a fortune when his sickly father died, he decided he needed a wife with which to share his fortune.

One evening at an investment meeting he spotted the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her natural beauty took his breath away.

I may look like just an ordinary man, he said to her, but in just a few years, my father will die, and I’ll inherit $65 million.

Impressed, the woman obtained his business card and three days later, she became his stepmother.
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Mildred, the church gossip, and self-appointed monitor of the church’s morals, kept sticking her nose in to other people’s business. Several members did not approve of her extra curricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.

She made a mistake, however, when she accused George, a new member, of being an alcoholic after she saw his old pickup parked in front of the town’s only bar one afternoon. She emphatically told George (and several others) that everyone seeing it there would know what he was doing.

George, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just turned and walked away. He didn’t explain, defend, or deny.. He said nothing.

Later that evening, George quietly parked his pickup in front of Mildred’s house, walked home…and left it there all night.
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A woman had just returned to her home from an evening of church services, when she was startled by an intruder. She caught the man in the act of robbing her home of its valuables and yelled: ‘Stop! Acts 2:38!’ (Repent and be Baptized, in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins may be forgiven.)

The burglar stopped in his tracks. The woman calmly called the police and explained what she had done.

As the officer cuffed the man to take him in, he asked the burglar: ‘Why did you just stand there? All the old lady did was yell a scripture to you.’
‘Scripture?’ replied the burglar. ‘She said she had an Ax and Two 38s!’

Ncevy Sbbyf Qnl
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And speaking of fool, I go into the NCAA men’s basketball pool generally having seen no more than two games prior to March Madness – this year it was 4 of the 6 overtime periods Syracuse played vs. Connecticut; that’s it.
Yet I always have a chance going into the final weekend. As it turns out, NO ONE in my pool picked the ultimate champion. They all went for Louisville or Pitt or Syracuse or, like I did, Memphis.
My other Final Four picks (Syracuse, Louisville, Memphis) dried up, but Villanova, who essentially played at home the first two rounds, then beat Duke and Pitt to be my one pick in the Final Four; Final Two, actually.
So the Saturday games will tell the tale. I have a one-point lead. If ‘Nova wins, then I win. If UNC beats ‘Nova, then I end up in the middle of the pack, but if UNC and Connecticut both win, I’ll be hanging out in the lower regions of the pool. Go Wildcats!

ROG

J is for Jazz

The problem with jazz is that it means everything from Kenny G to Madeleine Peyroux to New Orleans’ Preservation Hall Jazz Band. No definition of the American music seems adequate. One I saw recently described it as “cerebral music with rhythm”. This one is about as OK as I can find. Even the word itself, the American Dialect Society’s Word of the Twentieth Century, has been hard to nail down.

Jazz is about discovery. This article expresses the wonder of discover that jazz can bring.

Ultimately, though, jazz can’t be adequately described. It must be experienced. These are all songs I own.
Tutu (live)- Miles Davis
Tutu was one of the last albums I got as an LP; i.e., on vinyl.

Cassandra Wilson – Harvest Moon
A Neil Young cover.

Benny Goodman & His Orchestra – Sing Sing Sing
As the title suggests, this song DOES have lyrics, but I think it’s better as an instrumental.

Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong – STOMPING AT THE SAVOY
Also recommended: any of the Ella Song Books. Or all of them.

Oh, there’s so much, I can’t do the topic justice.

Here’s a peculiar thing about Jazz that perhaps folks not in the United States or Americans who don’t follow basketball might not know. There is a basketball team called the Utah Jazz. Utah is not generally known for jazz, and in disposition seems to be the antithesis of that music. The Jazz was formed in New Orleans in 1974, a most likely place for a team with such a nickname, but the team moved to the Rocky Mountains in 1979. (New Orleans got the Hornets, a team formerly in Charlotte, NC in 2002.)

ROG

SPORTS questions

OK, I’ve gotten myself in another one of those March Madness men’s basketball pools, with, as usual, little idea what I’m doing. I know the seedings not until tomorrow and the first games not until midweek (and the play-in game doesn’t count), but any teams you think are peaking at the right time, I’d consider your advice.

Meanwhile it’s spring training in baseball so it’s time to make my predictions for the division winners:
AL EAST: The NY Yankees. More than ever, they’re trying to buy a pennant. but they have. Haven’t they?
AL CENTRAL: The Minnesota Twins. Not only is it my father-in-law’s favorite team, they started looking like a team last year.
AL WEST: The Los Angeles Angels. Smart money picks the Texas Rangers. And it may be right.
NL EAST: The New York Mets: with a new stopper, they can’t collapse three years in a row. Can they?
NL CENTRAL: the St. Louis Cardinals. I want to pick the Cubbies, but they broke my heart last year, the centennial of their last World Series victory. of course, THIS will be the year they win it.
NL WEST: Colorado Rockies. Because an overpaid Manny won’t help the Dodgers nearly so much.

Meanwhile, I’m more convinced that anyone who was using steroids before 2004, when the MLB ban went into effect, I don’t care. Well, I sorta care, but not enough to think they shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame. Of course, I’m on record thinking that Shoeless Joe Jackson should be in the Hall of Fame. So should Pete Rose – as soon as he dies.

Prediction: Tiger Woods will win one, and only one, Grand Slam tournament in 2009.

What’s boring about the NBA is that only three or five teams have even a reasonable shot at the title; last year’s finalists, the Celtics and the Lakers; and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Maybe the Orlando Magic. MAYBE the San Antonio Spurs.

What sayest thou?

ROG

Russert, Sports, Obamas

Yeah, I know I’ve written a lot about dead people lately, but-
This one was only three years older than I, a political and news junkie from upstate New York, just like me. I RELATED to Tim Russert. He worked for politicians I had voted for, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Mario Cuomo. He was a sports fan. I did not always agree with him. But more than most in his profession, I thought he tried hard to be fair. And he clearly enjoyed his work.

So, I get a terse New York Times message at 3:28 pm, “Tim Russert, the host of the NBC program ‘Meet the Press,’ has died of an apparent heart attack at age 58, his family confirmed.” No story, just a sub-headline. No story on the NBC networks. But soon enough, I found it was all too true, as Tom Brokaw broke the news:

I did not know that he was on the board of the Baseball Hall of fame until I read about it yesterday.

This begs a different question for me. Why did I continue to listen to the news on MSNBC for another hour after his death was confirmed? Why did I watch the CBS Evening News, which Harry Smith was anchoring, but for which Katie Couric showed up to tearfully explain how Russert had hired her to be deputy Pentagon correspondent for NBC some years ago? I don’t know. Sometimes, you keep watching to try to make sense of it all.
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The good news is that In a blow to Bush, the Supreme Court restores habeas corpus re: Gitmo. the bad news? It was a 5-4 vote, and most of the five are considerably older than the four.
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Apparently, the FOX News ‘baby mama’ comment towards Michelle Obama was, I’ve read. FOX trying to be cool by referencing the Tina Fey movie that came out a little while back.
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The basketball officiating scandal had specifically targeted game 6 of a series between Sacramento and the LA Lakers. Apparently, there is a group called the League of Fans who had complained about this years ago. The founder of the League of Fans? Ralph Nader? The page looks as though it was all but defunct for about a year, except for a recent flurry of press releases. the group also has taken positions on steroids, public financing of stadiums and other topics. Interesting, albeit somewhat dated stuff.

ROG

Very short takes

Today is the day folks go to the polls in many locations in New York State, everywhere except in the largest cities and vote for the school budget and the school board members. For some reason, the city of Albany only votes for the budget now, and the school board in November. More on that and Rex Smith speaking at the Friends of the Albany Public Library annual meeting this eveninghere.
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Don’t care about Dancing with the Stars, but I do care about my wife, and SHE cares about DWTS. So I got the phone number from the end of the taped performance and tried to call in a number of times, but kept getting a busy signal. Then I went online to do so, but it required to be registered with ABC.com. Lo and behold, I WAS registered with ABC.com, though I don’t recall why. Five votes for Kristi Yamaguchi & Mark Ballas, who got 60 out of 60 points from the judges (the competition got 51 and 52 votes.)
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I haven’t sent out my mixed CDs yet because I saved them to the drive, then the burner failed to put the data on the disc. I have figured out a workaround, but can’t get to until this weekend; sorry. It is sequenced and I do like it; Gordon will recognize the inspiration immediately. So far got mine from Gordon (like it), Tosy (listened to about half), and Lefty (haven’t played yet). Details to follow.
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Best wishes to Edward Kennedy after his medical episode. I was looking at my Bushisms calendar, where W. referred to him as Theodore, one of the more understandable mistakes in the gaffe-filled daily.
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The Subway series played out this past weekend. For me, the excitement is tempered, maybe because they are, at least so far, two mediocre teams, though the Mets, who swept, less mediocre than the Yankees.
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The only parts of the NBA playoffs I have watched has been when I’ve taped ABC World News and the game has run over. For instance, I saw the last 18 seconds of the Celtics Game-Seven win over Cleveland, which took about 10 minutes, with all the fouls and timeouts.
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Happy birthday, PixieNona!Are you sure it was a cold and not allergies? Your symptoms were very similar to mine last week.
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In answer to a comment to this story DNA cleared them, but they’ll never feel free and some of the comments: “There’s particular disdain for the prosecutors of these crimes because, often, the prosecution withheld evidence that could have exonerated the defendant, esp. in Dallas County, TX. At least some of these people were home and with their families or at work; the assertion that ‘people doing the right thing don’t get mixed up in this stuff’ is simply inaccurate much of the time. There is also mistaken identity by witnesses far more often than most people realize. With all that, there’s no way to blame the juries, who can only weigh the evidence presented.”

ROG

Unsettling

I had the TV on last night just before 7:30 pm, when there was a scroll along the bottom of the screen indicating that an Amber alert had been called. I’ve seen them before and they’re always a bit scary, but not as much as this one. The address listed is the school in my neighborhood; indeed, we were at that very school on Saturday, checking out the Pre-K and kindergarten programs. Fortunately, the boy and the man who allegedly took him were found not far away in Cohoes less than one hour later.
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Saturday as a very busy one for us. First, we went to a pancake breakfast to benefit the FOCUS Churches food pantry, then to the school. We went to our credit union to put money into an IRA to mitigate our taxes, using some of the money we’re going to get from the stimulus package. (Shhh! Don’t tell President Bush!!) Then, that evening, we got a babysitter, went to the Troy Music Hall, and listened to an exquisite performance of the Brahms Requiem and other pieces by Albany Pro Musica; here is feedback from one of the singers.
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My computer at work uses Microsoft Office for e-mail. Friday, and again yesterday morning, when I would click on a hyperlink within my e-mail, it would look as though I were trying to download an executable (.exe) file. Apparently, the problem was that when I downloaded an update to iTunes last week, I also downloaded Safari, and it did not play well with Microsoft Office. Eliminate Safari, reroute the e-mail – which someone else did, trust me – and I was good to go again.
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The big news in the area is that Pat Riley, oh, and some other folks, got into the Basketball Hall of Fame. It’s a huge local story because Riley was a high school star in Schenectady; the high school gym there is named in his honor.

ROG

Just Another Manic Monday

The NCAA final’s tonight. After UCLA lost on Saturday to Memphis, I figured I was destined for 6th or 7th place in my 9-person grouping. But when UNC lost to Kansas, that locked me into 3rd, behind the only person to pick Kansas to win the final, and it doesn’t matter if Kansas wins or not. Congrats, Susan.
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When I heard Charlton Heston died this weekend, three quotes IMMEDIATELY jumped to mind:
“Take your stinking paws off of me, you damn dirty ape!” (66th on the AFI list of great movie quotes)
“Soylent green is…” (77th on the list)
and the one that my wife, of all people, actually parodied without having read Mark Evanier.
I really appreciated his sense of humor at his own expense when I saw him on Saturday Night Live. And I did see him in a LOT of movies, including:
Bowling for Columbine (2002)
Town & Country (2001)
True Lies (1994)
Earthquake (1974) [the “shake” half of “the shake ‘n bake movies”; “bake was “The Towering Inferno”]
The Four Musketeers (1974)
Airport 1975 (1974)
The Three Musketeers (1973)
the aforementioned Soylent Green (1973)
Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) – I saw all five PotA movies in one day; not recommended
the aforementioned Planet of the Apes (1968) at least twice
The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) multiple viewings on TV
El Cid (1961)
Ben-Hur (1959)
The Ten Commandments (1956) I saw him playing Moses on TV probably a half dozen times
The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)
While I chafed at his NRA position, I do remember that he was very active in the civil rights movement for a time. So, goodbye, Chuck; maybe you’ll meet Moses and compare notes.

ROG

Sports Fan QUESTION

Siena College, which is very near Albany, did a <a href="
http://www.siena.edu/level2col.aspx?menu_id=562&id=14981&#8243; target=_new>Sports Fanship Poll, which claims that 73% of All New Yorkers (i.e., people from NYS, not just NYC) are Sports Fans: 89% of Men, 58% of Women. SRI reports that 18% of folks are “Avid” fans, 31% are “Involved” fans, 24% are “Casual” fans and 27% are “Non-fans.”

There was certainly a time when I was an avid baseball and football fan, and briefly, an avid tennis fan. I was at least an involved basketball fan. But now, I’d put my interest level at least one level down. I don’t participate in fantasy leagues or listen to sports radio, though I’ve been known to comment on a sports blog or two.

It also revealed that people think athletes are poor choices for role models, though Derek Jeter and Tiger Woods are a couple exception. For me, it usually has to really stand the test of time. I’ve been fond of Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (a JEOPARDY! champion). Muhammad Ali standing up to the US government forever affected me.

The survey said that people believe that kids learn teamwork, discipline from sports, but that the coaches need to lighten up. I think some of the parents need to lighten up as well.

I’m interested in how you see yourself.

1) Are you an avid fan, involved fan, casual fan or non-sports fans?

2) Who, if anyone, would you consider a sportsperson who is a good role model?

3) What are the positive and negative aspects of sports?

4) Stolen question: what is your favorite times of the sports year? Mine is early September: the NFL season starts, the baseball races heat up, and the U.S. Open (tennis) is in its second week.

5) If you have a subscription to Sports Illustrated, do you receive the swimsuit issue or do you opt out? If you do receive it, do you have an annual conversation with your significant other about it?
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I went out and bought one of those instant publications after the Giants’ Super Bowl win. On page 1, the editorial mentioned the fear that the team wouldn’t even get a “playoff birth”, rather than “playoff berth”. Having read Evanier musing about typos, this definitely made me chuckle. It wasn’t the ONLY typo I found so far, but I’ve been looking.

ROG