Archive | December, 2012
31 Dec

There is a lot of talk in the news these days about the difficulties facing small business owners around the world. Nowhere are these difficulties felt as deeply as in the travel industry. The rapid growth of the control of travel by big business with its multi-billion-dollar internet and advertising power has caused many small travel business owners to be pushed aside. As a result the consumer ends up with limited access to travel choices while the Mom and Pop hotel or tour or shop ends up on the brink of extinction. We know this firsthand, as we are one of those small businesses being unfairly crushed under the weight of travel industry giant Expedia. In fact we think Expedia is trying to put us, and small independent businesses like ours, out of business. And here’s why:

Expedia and its many affiliates, including Hotels.com and Venere.com, invite people to come to their sites to book our hotel, the Luna Blue Hotel. Yet when people get to these websites they are told that our hotel is completely occupied for all dates now and in the future. If someone calls on the telephone, they are told that our hotel is going out of business! They are then directed to book another more expensive hotel, which provides Expedia greater commission. It seems that Expedia and its affiliates use small hotels like ours to attract people to their sites so they can get those people to book with bigger resorts. It is the classic “bait and switch” scam.

Tony & Cheri's PlayaZone

There is a lot of talk in the news these days about the difficulties facing small business owners around the world. Nowhere are these difficulties felt as deeply as in the travel industry. The rapid growth of the control of travel by big business with its multi-billion-dollar internet and advertising power has caused many small travel business owners to be pushed aside. As a result the consumer ends up with limited access to travel choices while the Mom and Pop hotel or tour or shop ends up on the brink of extinction. We know this firsthand, as we are one of those small businesses being unfairly crushed under the weight of travel industry giant Expedia. In fact we think Expedia is trying to put us, and small independent businesses like ours, out of business. And here’s why:

Expedia and its many affiliates, including Hotels.com and Venere.com, invite people to come…

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30 Dec

Last year at this time, I set my goals for 2012 and for the most part, I met them all, including the top goal of them all — acquire a 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth rookie card.

Well, as we again prepare to flip the calendar, it’s only right that I take a few moments to set my collecting goals for 2013.

But before I do, I will throw this unofficial one out there:  I will not try to match or best the performance I had in 2012.  About a week ago, I documented here my top 25 acquisitions of 2012.  While I was compiling the list, it was apparent to me that I had gained so many new “trophy” cards in the last calendar year that I might go broke if I tried to do that again.

So if you think I’m going to intentionally try to improve my…

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The Wizard Of Oz- Ozzie Smith -Baseball Hall Of Famer 58 Today

26 Dec

Ozzie Smith the spectacular defensive shortstop and Baseball Hall of Famer turns 58 today. Ozzie started his career as a very light hitting defensive wizard for the San Diego Padres. He played with the Padres from 1978-81. After the 1981 season he was traded to the St.Louis Cardinals for Garry Templeton another shortstop. At the time of the trade it was looked at as Cardinal manager Whitey Herzog dumping a problem player and getting the best deal he could. It appeared to be a one sided trade. Templeton may have been the most talented shortstop of the late 70′s -early 80′s. A shortstop who was also an outstanding hitter, which wasn’t that common back then. Templeton though had issues. Like when he was booed by the Cardinal fans coming off the field and he gave them the bird. He also had off-the field issues. Whitey wasn’t one to put up with crap so he traded him off to the Padres. After that point Ozzie became a better hitter and a key member of the 1980′s St.Louis Cardinals. Templeton would never be the player he was in the first few years of his career when he looked like a future Hall of Famer. Smith would play for the Cardinals from 1982 until his retirement at age 41 in 1996.

via The Wizard Of Oz- Ozzie Smith -Baseball Hall Of Famer 58 Today.

via The Wizard Of Oz- Ozzie Smith -Baseball Hall Of Famer 58 Today.

Valladolid 1 FC Barcelona 3

22 Dec

Barça continued the triumphant march towards a 22nd league title this evening with a hard-earned 1-3 victory at Valladolid. With Jordi Roura in charge of the team while Tito Vilanova recovers from surgery, Barça put in a serious performance with Xavi Hernandez breaking the deadlock just before half time. Leo Messi added a second after an hour with his 91st goal of 2012 but a goal from Javi Guerra near the end left a nervous finish before substitute Cristian Tello wrapped things up for Barça in injury time.valladolid 1-3 barcelona seny pit i collonsJordi Roura made three changes to last week’s team. Andrés Iniesta was not considered to be completely at 100% and started on the bench with Thiago coming into midfield, while Dani Alves returned at right back due to Adriano’s muscular problems.

via Valladolid 1 FC Barcelona 3.

via Valladolid 1 FC Barcelona 3.

Vallodolid vs FC Barcelona (game 17 liga 2012/13)

21 Dec

After the last couple of days of concern over the recurrence of Tito Vilanova’s illness it is somewhat difficult to return to the everyday normality of another league fixture. However, with Jordi Roura temporarily in charge of the team, Barça travel to Valladolid for the last game before the Christmas break with Leo Messi getting one last chance to increase on the astonishing total of 90 goals scored this year.Roura will take the final training session this afternoon at 5 pm before naming the squad for the trip. Adriano and Iniesta have both been working in the gym this week though both should travel and it seems unlikely there will be any surprises in the squad list though Roura’s team selection will be more interesting.

via Vallodolid vs FC Barcelona (game 17 liga 2012/13).

via Vallodolid vs FC Barcelona (game 17 liga 2012/13).

FC Barcelona 4 Atlético Madrid 1

17 Dec

Football Club Barcelona moved nine points clear at the top of La Liga after beating second-placed Atlético Madrid 4-1 at Camp Nou tonight. It might have been a very different story after Diego Simeone’s side clearly had the better of the first half an hour with the always dangerous Radamel Falcao putting the visitors in front. However, a splendid strike from Adriano Correira brought Barça level before Sergio Busquets put Barça ahead on the stroke of half time. Leo Messi had had a quiet first half but he struck twice in the second half to secure the points for Barça and take his goal tally for 2012 to the ridiculous figure of 90. With third-placed Real Madrid now thirteen points adrift after drawing 2-2 with Espanyol there are many who will say the Liga is already in the bag though with 22 games still to play there is still a long way to the finish line.Barcelona 4-1 Atletico Madrid team photoThere were few surprises in the starting lineups. Atlético coach Diego Simeone started with his expected XI whereas Tito Vilanova made the important decision to continue with Adriano at right back, while with Cesc Fabregas out injured he returned to the classic midfield of Xavi, Busquets and Iniesta while bringing in Alexis Sanchez to play on the left wing, meaning David Villa again started on the bench along with Mascherano, Alves, Song, Thiago and Tello.

via FC Barcelona 4 Atlético Madrid 1.

via FC Barcelona 4 Atlético Madrid 1.

Preview: FC Barcelona vs Atlético Madrid (game 16 liga 2012/13)

15 Dec

Barça versus Atlético. A game to really get excited about. Traditionally, of course, the biggest game of the season is against the evil empire Real Madrid, but if Barça-Madrid has earned the name of el clásico then Barça-Atléti should really be called el espectáculo for all the amazing games between the sides over the last 20 years.Some of those games have remained in the memory of those fortunate enough to witness them. There was the incredible 5-3 victory in March 1994 with Romario and Stoichkov in tremendous form in a game that was so mad it even had a (march) hare run on the pitch to get involved. Then in 1997 there was the amazing comeback from a 0-3 deficit at half time to win 5-4 in the Copa del Rey with a hat-trick from the original Ronaldo.

via Preview: FC Barcelona vs Atlético Madrid (game 16 liga 2012/13).

via Preview: FC Barcelona vs Atlético Madrid (game 16 liga 2012/13).