Thursday, April 30, 2009

Yet Another "Posted Without Comment"

As captioned in the Daily Mail (UK):

Just hanging out with friends: The president and the first lady don 3-D glasses to watch the Super Bowl at a Super Bowl party in the family theatre of the White House

Feel free to suggest captions of your own, Gentle Reader.

Update, 2150 hrs: Meanwhile... over at the Republican National Committee (RNC) HQ...

Right Now

So... here I sit, in a mildly sweaty state, wondering if I'll successfully delay the onset of the air conditioning season until May.

This what we look like now... before the heat of the day is upon us:


And this is the forecast:

I'm not sure I'll make it.

On another, happier note... Happy Hour, which will be held regardless of the temperature, will be a pleasant thing indeed. Just off The Brown Truck of Happiness:

Decisions, decisions. Those nice folks at Cigar.com threw in an unexpected sampler of Drew Estate goodies to compliment the Dirt Torpedoes. I love those guys. I'm reasonably sure they love ME, as well. We have a mutually beneficial relationship.

Heh

A friend sent this along last evening, and I HAVE to share...
While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75 year old rancher whose hand was caught in the gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to Obama and his bid to be our president.
The old rancher said, 'Well, ya know, Obama is a 'Post Turtle''.

Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a 'post turtle' was.

The old rancher said, 'When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a 'post turtle'.

The old rancher saw the puzzled look on the doctor's face so he continued to explain. 'You know he didn't get up there by himself, he doesn't belong up there, and he doesn't know what to do while he's up there, and you just wonder what kind of dumb ass put him up there to begin with'.

Yup. That's about as accurate a description as I've yet to hear or see. I'm thinking this one will spread like wildfire. Or already has... seeing as how it's about Candidate Obama. New to me, tho.

News From the Poor and Obscure... as Opposed to the Rich and Famous

There’s light at the end of my Adventures In Modern Dentistry tunnel in the form of a date: September 21. That’s the day I get my new prosthetic molars installed. Yays!
I had a follow-up with Dr. Thompson yesterday and he says things are looking good. We need to give everything six months to heal, “everything” being the recent (last month) installation of screws in my jaw that hold the prostheses in place. I now get to begin thinking just where I’m gonna go to enjoy my first steak in over a year and a half. It’ll be ABQ, Amarillo, or Lubbock… I’ve eaten in excellent steak houses in all three cities. Neither P-Ville nor The Big(ger) CityTM have first-class steak houses and The Golden Corral… or even Cattle Baron… just ain’t gonna cut it, yanno?
OTOH… I could buy a slab of beef and grill it myself. But let’s be honest here. NO one grills a steak in his or her backyard to the same standard as that found in a first-class steak house. I do good work, true, and so do some of my friends. But I’d give the best backyard steak I’ve ever had a B+… no higher. And this occasion calls for an A… nothing less.
―:☺:―
Speaking of The Big(ger) CityTM… we were over that way yesterday to run the periodic errands, like giving baby a bath, picking up the week’s supply of El Pinto, and such. And new de-flappers for the awning, too. The Velcro strap on one of my old de-flappers came apart in my hands as I was cinching it down yesterday, and de-flappers ONLY work in pairs… one just doesn’t cut it. I bought a pair of High Plains of New Mexico Class de-flappers (which look like they’d be suitable for tornadoes and such), meaning they have approximately four times the clamping surface area of the old units. They may not work any better than the old ones, but they sure as Hell look impressive.
I also have a new scar on The Green Hornet. I was attacked by a passel of tumbleweeds on the way over to Clovis… including about three really big suckers… all of which came at me like a Greek phalanx. There wasn’t any sort of evasive maneuver to be had, at least not for a vehicle confined to two dimensions. So I just held on as I plowed through them, one of which had the nerve to jump about a foot into the air as I made contact. The resulting collision was with my hood and windshield (as opposed to the bumper area which got yet another two or more), leaving a noticeable scratch on my hood. I’m just glad the damned thing didn’t land inside the car (the top was down, of course)… coz those things HURT.
Ah… we do have SUCH exciting news, don’t we?
―:☺:―
Predictions are in for the Wings-Ducks series, which begins tomorrow evening in Detroit. ESPN’s Scott Burnside sez Wings in six, MLive.com's own Ansar Khan sez Wings in seven, The Hockey News sez Wings in six, Eric Duhatschek (Toronto Globe and Mail) sez Wings in six… and so on. Curiously, neither the LA Times nor the OC Register make predictions… and that might be telling. Or not. As for me? I went on the record day before yesterday as saying Wings in six. But these are the playoffs... and anything can happen. See: New Jersey.

One common thread: everyone agrees this will be a fun series. I’m thinking they’re right.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Evening Update

Carolina Hurricanes' Eric Staal, left, celebrates his goal as New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur and Mike Mottau, right, react during the third period of an NHL first-round hockey playoff game Tuesday, April 28, 2009, in Newark, N.J. The goal turned out to be the game winner as the Hurricanes beat the Devils 4-3 to advance to the next round. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Tonight was a great night for hockey, as noted below.
We had two Game Sevens and while one ended predictably (but NOT as I predicted… it was a very near-run thing), the other was a real shocker. The Carolina Hurricanes came back with not one but TWO goals late in the third period to beat the New Jersey Devils… at home. Eric Staal got the game winner with a mere 31.7 seconds left on the clock. This was the second time in this series that Carolina came through with last minute heroics…literally.

So… Boston gets the ‘Canes and Washington gets the Pens in the second round. I’m thinking the Pens will have an easy job of it in the second round, Boston much less so. Carolina could be the Cinderella team of these 2009 playoffs. But you could put all I know of the Eastern Conference in my left eye and it wouldn’t even water. And the playoffs are nothing if not unpredictable.

It will be interesting.

―:☺:―

Ah… it’s NOT just me (all the way at the bottom of the post). A tweet from Greg Wyshynski earlier this evening:

wyshynski: The Devils game is so exciting on NHL.com with all the buffering.

NHL.com is really blowing a good thing by not providing adequate bandwidth for these netcasts… while overcharging for the dubious “privilege” of watching games that end up giving you a headache from eye strain. That’s too bad, coz the league was sitting on a potential gold mine. Hockey fans are among the most dedicated fans in all of sports… and we’ll go to great lengths to follow our team. But I’m betting most won’t pay inflated prices for what is ultimately a piss-poor experience. Not twice, anyway.

I HATE Versus!

So... we have two Game Sevens in the East tonite, and which game do you suppose Versus chose to televise? Rangers-Caps. Now I could be wrong here... simply because one never knows about playoff hockey... but I'm thinking the Caps will roll over New York. The Devils and the Hurricanes, OTOH, have been reasonably close throughout their series, and this game looks to be no different.

Bad call, Versus. You're REALLY disappointing me this year. To say the very least.

We're under way... back to the teevee.

Update, end of the first period: OK... I was wrong. Rangers come out like a house afire and outshoot the Caps 8-2 in the first period. The Rangers have more jump, more hustle, more fire... even though the game is tied 1-1 on a Washington short-handed goal (Semin). This looks like a good game. I stand corrected.

Update, Game Over: Caps win, 2-1. Sergei Federov is the hero with a late third period goal and the Caps become one of the very few teams (21, ever) to come back from a 3-1 series deficit to win. A great game.

Mostly Hockey

But first, a little political-cartoon commentary from Michael Rodriguez Ramirez (sheesh!! I wasn't fully-caffeinated when I posted this morning, and there's a lesson in there.), via Investor's Business Daily:

Much has written about the politicalization... read as: witch hunt... of the so-called enhanced interrogation process and various and sundry other "failings" of the Bush administration. It's pretty ugly, and you're well aware of the fact if you've been following the story at all. If you haven't been following the story a good place to begin is with former DCI Porter Goss' op-ed in the WaPo.

Now... on to things that really matter.

―:☺:―

So. It’s the Ducks in round two. We’ve seen this movie before and the outcome wasn’t good in 2007, when the Ducks eliminated the Wings in the Western Conference Final. Both teams have done some minor re-tooling since then, but both teams continue to play the same style of hockey. Here’s George Malik, writing at M-Live:
The Ducks are bigger and stronger, and play the game the Blue Jackets strove to master--a combination of stifling, trap-based defence, reliance upon a very big goaltender to mop up any trouble spots, and a top-heavy offensive game piqued by an all-around physical edge which can drive teams to distraction and break their desire to go to the "hard areas" on the ice...
But the series boils down to which team can execute its own game better, which team can clear its own crease while making the opposing goaltender's life very difficult, and, in the Red Wings' case...Whether Detroit can play with a Tomas Holmstrom-like sense of discipline and poise, battling through the Ducks' baited traps of slashes, hacks, whacks, and post-whistle scrums to force the Ducks to take penalties out of frustration instead.
Discipline, poise, resolve, and a willingness to smile when a big player wearing an orange-and-black jersey pushes and shoves thanks to whistle-to-whistle-contained intensity. The Wings will either take the Ducks' bait, or they'll out-grind, out-compete, and out-will their opponent by playing (again) the style of hockey which drives Don Cherry nuts, mostly because it works. The Wings can't win an endless stream of intimidation battles, but they can win a determined and composed war.
Well… that’s the “kinder, gentler” politically-correct version of how the Wings should... and probably will... play this series. That said, here’s what Wings fans remember MOST about the 2007 Wings-Ducks series (from M-Live, via Abel to Yzerman):
Pronger is a cheap-shot artist and he got his just desserts with a one-game suspension after that hit to Holmstrom’s head. But I think Chris Pronger will become more than intimate with one Mr. Darren Helm in this year’s series. From the previously-mentioned blog Abel to Yzerman:
Chrissy Pronger? Let me introduce you to Darren Helm. The fastest bastard on the ice and he’s going to hit you like a frigging miniature sledgehammer. Again and again Sasquatch. He’s not going to knock you out but he’s going to whittle you down one little brain cell at a time.
There’s more at the link, and it’s indicative of what Wings fans think of the Ducks.
There will be ugliness in this upcoming series. It will be hard-played and there will be lots of animosity between the two teams… and their fans. But that makes for great hockey, and this series will be a corker. Count on it.
I'm thinking Wings in six, but it could go seven.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Mélange

The weekend was good, although it was but a shadow compared to some folks I know (and you should know ‘em, too… great narrative AND pics of backwater Florida, literally). We ended on a sour note (as evidenced below), but let us not dwell on the negative, especially now that we seem to be on the mend. 

Lots of great hockey this past weekend, but I’ll save the amateur sporting news until (near) the end, out of deference to the great majority of you Gentle Readers who don’t give two hoots in Hell about grown men batting a frozen rubber biscuit up and down a sheet of ice for two hours, while taking the occasional break to beat the snot out of one another. Instead… let’s begin with the weekend’s excitement of another sort.

So… there I was (all USAF war stories begin this way, yanno), headed for the shower just after noon yesterday. The day was quite warm, the sun was out and beating down as only the New Mexico sun can, and the wind was right on the ragged edge of allowing me to put my awning down… which is to say blowing steady around 20 mph, with occasional gusts going into the Awning Red Zone. But we had the awning down, thus tempting fate in order to delay the onset of the air conditioning season. For the savings in it.

I’m standing in the shower lathering up my head when I feel the RV rock rather violently… accompanied by a noticeable and significant downdraft from the bathroom overhead vent. “No big deal,” thinks I, and I continue with the task at hand… and rather leisurely, at that. I get out of the shower, finish up the usual and customary ablutions, throw on a bare minimum of clothes, open up the bathroom door and look out my open entry door to see my awning flapping violently in the breeze… doing a dance even the late James Brown couldn’t possibly duplicate, while oscillating a good ten to 12 inches in the vertical plane. Rapidly. And at a speed sufficient to detach the whole damned thing and send it into the next county. My de-flappers had come undone, the wind had loosened up the awning struts, and we were mere minutes… if not seconds… from the whole she-bang coming undone. And now it’s time for an illustration.


Well. Pictures are worth a thousand words, as it’s said… so video must be priceless. Suffice to say all ended well. We secured the awning and proceeded to prepare for Happy Hour… which was in progress as I shot the lil vid above. We dodged a bullet there… or more like several hundreds of dollars worth of ammunition. Awnings are pricey suckers, they are.

―:☺:―

The requisite yet oh-so-brief hockey update… We now have two series going to Game Seven in the East, while in the West we have one series that looks like it might go to seven games, and one I hope goes seven games. I think the Capitals will win their series with the Rangers, after what has to be the slowest start for a supposedly hot team in recent memory. The Devils-Hurricanes series, on the other hand, is anyone’s guess. I watched the ‘Canes beat the Hell out of Marty Brodeur’s team in Raleigh last evening (in between moans and groans) and I honestly can’t conclude which of these two teams deserves the win. Both are good, bordering on great. Whoever draws the winner of this series in the next round has their work cut out for them.

And the West… wow. San Jose survived Saturday night, winning in OT, to bring the series to a manageable 3-2 deficit (from the Sharks’ POV). Game Six is in Anaheim tonight and I think the Ducks will prevail. San Jose has been too uneven, seems to lack motivation (go figure…), and just doesn’t seem up to the task. The Ducks, OTOH, have everything the Sharks lack, except for San Jose’s high-powered offense… which doesn’t deliver (or hasn’t up until period one of Saturday’s game… and the OT goal, of course). The Ducks also have Hiller in goal, a guy who’s been simply remarkable and is the main reason the Ducks were up 3-1 going into Saturday’s game. The man is a veritable wall in goal!

The Blackhawks can close out Calgary this evening, in Calgary. Here we have a possible elimination game and those idjits at Versus will televise the first period and then cut to the San Jose-Anaheim game, and will probably do so well before that game begins. I don’t know who’s in charge of scheduling at Versus, but I have a damned good idea where he’ll be spending the afterlife. And there ain’t no ice water there, either.

So… there’s quite a bit of speculation in Dee-troit as to which team would be the better match up in the second round… Vancouver, or Anaheim? There’s a great good round-up of such talk at M-Live, if you’re into the sort of thing. I said I would keep this update short, so I’ll just excerpt what I think is the money quote from all this speculation:

I know that comment may leave you saying, "Well, what does somebody wittier, like The Chief, have to say?"
So I give you this: in hockey, you don't worry about whose ass you have to kick--you just worry about getting the details of kicking it as thoroughly as possible down pat before kicking repeatedly. Trash-talking is fun, but if you want to make sure that only you have Stanley Cup parties in June, July, and August, you worry about yourself and doing your damndest to break your opponents' bodies, wills, and spirits when that puck drops.
That's what playoff hockey is about--breaking people, and doing it well.

Yup. Ducks or Canucks… makes no difference. Bring it ON!

―:☺:―

 
Today’s Pic: A rather nice piece of engineering, although one that’s very minor in the great grand scheme of things. There’s not a trace of fluid left in this bottle… none. And there shouldn’t be, for what the Plaid-People charge for this stuff. Yeah, I’m easily amused. Easily impressed, too. But you knew that, Gentle Reader.

Under the WX

So... here it is, a couple o' few minutes past noon and I've just poured my first cup. We had a rather rough night what with being up more often than not, and most definitely against our will, too.

The good news is we're feeling much better, having gotten about two and a half hours of uninterrupted sleep after 0930. The bad news is the day's well and truly shot in the ass... including a blown dental appointment I rescheduled for later this week. But I did reschedule well before I was due at the Good Doctor's office; there's some small saving grace in that.


Back in a few, once I collect my thoughts (heh) and the caffeine takes hold.


(image: Steffen Jensen)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday, Ideological Sunday

(with apologies to Bono for the post title, of course)

The Politico
has an interesting article on one of my favorite conservatives... Newt Gingrich... titled “Gingrich, provocateur, returns.” A few excerpts:
In the three months that Obama has been president, Gingrich has blasted the Democrat on a number of different fronts, from the economy and domestic policy to defense and foreign policy.

Obama’s budget? It “deliberately” reduces charitable deductions in the tax code to wage a “war against churches and charities.” His stimulus plan? An attempt to create a “European socialist model.” At one point during the omnibus spending bill debate, Gingrich said of the Obama administration: “I wonder how dumb they think we are that we wouldn’t notice 8,000 earmarks.”

He doesn’t mince words in his bracing critiques. After North Korea recently tested a missile, Gingrich accused Obama of engaging in “fantasy foreign policy” that could create “enormous trouble” for the United States. As for former Vice President Dick Cheney, Gingrich said he’s “clearly right” that the United States “is running greater risks of getting attacked than we were under President Bush.”

No one, not even the press, is immune from his barbs. The media’s obsession with the president’s new first dog, he said recently, is “fairly stupid.”
[…]
“If anybody doubts that he is the de facto leader of the Republican Party right now, they’re crazy,” said Matt Towery, CEO of the polling firm InsiderAdvantage and a former Gingrich aide. “Newt Gingrich is filling a void that nobody else is stepping up to fill right now.”
[…]
While Gingrich declined to comment for this story, a month into Obama’s presidency, he lifted the curtain on his opposition to the new president in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference.

“We now have more than enough evidence of what this administration thinks of the American people,” Gingrich said before launching into a blistering critique of Obama. “Now, a month ago, I would not have said what I’m about to say, but I’ve watched carefully the first month of the left-wing machine.”

Norquist explained that Gingrich is an obvious choice for who should serve as the GOP’s voice because “he’s got 20 IQ points on some of the alternatives.”
Read the whole thing, as it's said. The article is fairly brief and is a wonderful lead-in to what I really want to talk about today.
I had the opportunity to watch the Speaker in action this past Friday when he gave extensive testimony on pending energy legislation before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. What was most interesting about Speaker Gingrich’s testimony was the fact he followed Algore and former senator John Warner (R-Va), so one had the opportunity to contrast The Goreacle’s bombastic, overly dramatic, “end of the world as we know it” rhetoric with Mr. Gingrich’s cool, fact based, and unruffled testimony… even in the face of an obviously hostile Democrat-controlled committee. There was an exception: former chairman John Dingell (D-Mich) greeted Speaker Gingrich warmly, saying "Nice to see you again, Newt," sounding like he actually meant it. (Newt responded in kind.) But that was the sole exception. The high point of Mr. Gingrich’s appearance was the spirited exchange between resident idiot and committee chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif) and the Speaker. Mr. Gingrich coolly and systematically dismantled arguments advanced by an obviously agitated Congressman Waxman. It was a thing of beauty to behold.
But we digress. The Speaker’s opening statement before the E&C committee is available on-line, in its entirety. Here are a few excerpts:
But as a former environmental studies professor who lectured on the second Earth Day, and as someone who was named Legislative Conservationist of the Year in 1998 by the Georgia Wildlife Federation, it should be no surprise that I care deeply about and am committed to the protection of our environment.
In this commitment, I echo the conviction of two great American leaders. The first is President Theodore Roosevelt, who said that "the nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets, which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value." The other was then-Governor Ronald Reagan who, upon the occasion of the first Earth Day, affirmed the "absolute necessity of waging all-out war against the debauching of the environment."
It was in this spirit that I read the bill that is being discussed before this committee and it is in this spirit that I report to you today my conclusion that this is the wrong bill.
This bill is wrong for our national security.
This bill is wrong for our economy.
This bill is wrong for government of, by, and for the people.
The framework in which I have analyzed this bill can be captured in a very simple phrase: 2+2=4, which was a prominent rallying cry in the late 1980s when the Solidarity free trade union movement was campaigning in Poland's first free elections.
The core idea behind 2+2=4 is that citizens must tell the truth even when governments lie. 2+2=4 forces you back to reality.
As matter of reality, the United States faces three enormous threats: threats to our national security, a threat of further economic decline, and a threat of government for the government (and not government for the people), which leads to corruption, political favoritism, and the fundamental breakdown of the rule of law. On all three of these bases of reality, this is the wrong bill.
[…]
When you consider President Obama's budget, this proposed legislation has a price tag for the American people of at least $646 billion. We know from news reports that senior Obama administration officials have indicated that $646 billion is a conservative amount and that the overall figure may be as much as three times that amount or $1.9 trillion in new taxes.
This is currently a 648 page bill, or, put another way, $1-3 billion per page. This is quite a costly bill, even for the standards of this Congress. It would be two and a half times the size of the giant stimulus package passed earlier this year. And it would be a tax burden not a spending stimulus so it would deeply burden the American people and the economy.
While our economy is in deep recession and Americans are losing jobs by the thousands each month, this bill would worsen both. Make no mistake about it: This bill amounts to a $1-2 trillion energy tax levied on a struggling economy, which is destructive and wrong. With this glorified $1-2 trillion new energy tax, expect utility bill increases up to $3,128 per year per household. Filling up your gas tank will cost anywhere from 60 percent to 144 percent more, your electricity bill will increase by 77 to 129 percent, and the cost of home heating oil and natural gas could nearly double.
If enacted, this energy tax will increase the electricity bill of every American, increase the cost to drive a car, and increase the cost of doing business. This will punish every retired American, every rural American, and every person who drives to work, uses heating oil, or has electricity in their home. This will kill jobs and lead American jobs and investment being shipped to China and India, two countries that have made it quite clear that they will not levy such an enormous tax on their own economies.
Once again… Speaker Gingrich’s complete statement is here, and it’s VERY good reading. C-SPAN has video of the Speaker’s testimony, if video is more your style. And… in the spirit of bipartisanship (heh)… you could also watch The Goreacle’s testimony, if you’re into self-abuse on a grand scale. And yes, that would be ME, as well. I watched the whole Goreacle testimony in real-time and I’m still suffering from the experience. The things I do to keep an open mind amaze even me sometimes. Be advised: both videos are rather long. But they are MOST enlightening.

It should come as no surprise, Gentle Reader, that I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Gingrich's positions... while I think Algore is a prat, and a dangerous prat, too. Gore wields a lot of influence, God only knows why. Maybe it's that Nobel thing. Or perhaps it's his Oscar, which I think would carry more weight with mainstream Obama voters. An inconvenient truth, if ever there was one.

Finally... Mr. Gingrich's website... American Solutions... is also worth a visit if you have some time to kill. Good Stuff be there.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Re-Tweet

Put this up three minutes ago... or so:

BPenni: Watching the Pens-Flyers. Curiously, I find myself rooting for the Flyers (no dog in this fight). Flyers up, 2-0. Can U say Game 7? :-) (3 minutes ago from TwitterGadget)
Two late goals in the first... 51 seconds apart... and the Flyers are up 2-0. As it's said: there's still a lot of hockey left to be played. Yet, still. The Pens have just GOT to be thinking about that ol' "previous year's Stanley Cup Finalist goes out in the first round" curse that's been the norm for the past seven years.

Except for the Wings, of course. I'm thinking
I'd like to see the Flyers come out of this series as the winners. Go figure.

Update, 1545 hrs: Well, there was a lot of hockey left to be played... Pens win 5-3. Five unanswered goals, with Crosby scoring an empty-netter at the end. Sorry, Jimmy. I was rootin' for ya.

Inside North Korea


So... I was surfing around last evening and came upon a 14-part series of video clips entitled "The Vice Guide to North Korea" and I was absolutely fascinated. One sees very little about the north side of the DMZ, so when you come across a fairly lengthy documentary (conveniently split into 14 parts for easy viewing... for those of us with mild cases of ADD), you watch it. Each clip is embeddable, too. Here's episode 12, "The Schoolchildren's Palace," to whet your appetite, Gentle Reader.



This series probably isn't everyone's cuppa. But I found it fascinating
, as noted above.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Heh

Via Blog-Bud Barry... Facebook's World Leaders Group:

You really DO need to go read the whole thing, Gentle Reader. Appearances from The One, Vlad the Imbiber, that crazee Sarkozy, and a host of others...

About That Call

(Photo from Greg Wyshynski's Puck Daddy blog... where's there's more on this subject)

Last night's game in Columbus ended on a sour note for Blue Jackets fans. The game was tied 5-5, there were 94 seconds left in the third period and it looked for all the world like there would be overtime to decide if Detroit would advance to the semi-finals or Columbus would live to play another day. And then Columbus was whistled for too many men on the ice. Detroit scored on the subsequent power play... with 46.6 second left... and the game was over for all intents and purposes. The Columbus fans went berserk, showering the ice with bottles and other debris. Here's Michael Arace, writing in the Columbus Dispatch:
Once I got out of the Jackets' room, I headed straight for the area near the officials' dressing room. I hoped to find Kevin Collins, and ask him about the call. Collins is a supervisor of officials and he was working this series. Prior to his management gig, Collins worked 28 years as an NHL linesman. He worked 11 Stanley Cup Finals. He might have been the best linesman in the game before he hung up his skates in 2005.
I had run into Collins after Game 3, and chatted with him then. He is from the same neck of the woods. We are not pals; in fact, we've only spoken with another a few times over a dozen years. Regardless, he's the expert. He could provide a definitive description of the linesman's point of view.
Collins said he would have made the same call himself. He said it is automatic. He said, "How could I live with myself if I didn't make the call? It's the right call." He said, hypothetically, that if the player in Modin's position doesn't touch the puck, then there is no whistle.
Of course, Collins is going to stick up for his crew. You can take what he says with a grain of salt if you wish. I'm just saying that Collins is a man of vast experience and unquestioned integrity, and he looked me in the eye and said, with no hesitation, that he would have blown down the play had he been wearing the stripes on this night. No hesitation. It's automatic, not unlike when a defenseman flips the puck into the crowd for a delay of game (my words, not Collins').
Automatic. Meaning you don't let that call slide. I can see where the Blue Jackets' fans would be disappointed; it's a helluva way to lose a game and a series. But seriously, now... even if the game had gone to OT, and even if Columbus had won it, does anyone think the Blue Jackets had a snowball's chance in that Hot Spot to do anything other than lose the series? Really?

OK Columbus... here's your mantra: "Next Year!" Your team learned a lot in this series and I'm thinking you'll be just that much better next year. It's the way of the world.

In the meantime... it looks like the Wings are gonna go Duck hunting in the next round. Oooo-weeee. Sucks to be San Jose.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Weird

A Tweet I just put up:
BPenni: Bizarre disconnect: Listening to the Wings game on the radio, watching the Pens-Flyers on the (muted) teevee. Wings up, 3-1 in the 1st. Less than half of the first period gone and the Wings are in command.
I think the night will end with handshakes...

Apropos of That Last Post...

I said I was listening to Keith Richards during Happy Hour, followed up with Sticky Fingers. So... thinking about Sticky Fingers and so on... I got to digging around in YouTube and found this:



"Moonlight Mile" is my ALL-TIME favorite Rolling Stones song, and this song and I go back well over 35 years. The song has had profound meaning to me over the years, even though the meaning has changed radically since I first heard it back in the day when I was in Beautiful-Sinop-by the Sea. In those days I was consumed by the thought of being reunited with The First Mrs. Pennington and our sons; these days the song has a completely different and oh-so-poignant meaning. The "Moonlight Mile" is infinite in its reach these days... and fundamentally out of reach, by definition. Interpret that as you might, Gentle Reader.

Still and even... no matter what sort of interpretation you bring to the song... it remains a classic and arguably the best thing Mick and The Boys ever committed to tape. YMMV, of course.

A Question...

Just in from Happy Hour... and there was a slight deviation from our normal practice, which is to say I listened to a soundtrack provided from our personal music collection, as opposed to the normal (for these days, lately) soundtrack as provided via Pandora.

Which got me to thinking... Why is it I'll defer to someone else's choice in music, as opposed to my own? I don't
ever walk into a bar and say..."whatever you think is right" when it comes to ordering beer, nor do I let someone else choose the cigar I'll enjoy during Happy Hour, yet I always seem to defer to the music provided by Pandora or Bill... of late.

Is it simply convenience? Am I just too lazy to dive into and select appropriate music from my personal collection... which is extensive... albeit not as extensive as that owned by Pandora or Bill? All that said, it was good to listen to Keith Richards... followed up with Sticky Fingers... on a slightly gray day here on the High Plains of New Mexico. And it got me to thinking... how is it with YOU, Gentle Reader, do you tend to defer to others when it comes to your listening habits, which is to say the radio or another source? Or do you listen to your personal music more often than not? Enquiring MindsTM wanna know...

In the mean time... part of today's soundtrack. Here's Keith doing "Eileen Hate It When You Leave..."



Ooooh... Good, innit?

Remember Al Sleet?

Ol Al's apparently at work out at the Cannon AFB WX shop this morning... Here's what we look like, according to The WX Channel:

Reality:

And... Heeeere's AL!



And now I'm gonna pour my first cup. Back in a bit.

Heh

This ad ran while I was watching the Calgary-Chicago game last evening (more about which later, as this is one of those pre-scheduled posts)... one of my all-time faves.



Reminds me of someone I used to know, it does...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Apropos of Nothing...

One of the BEST things about hot weather is stepping out of the shower and letting your body air-dry... no towel required or wanted!

Of course, drying doesn't take long when your relative humidity stands at a paltry 11% (see below). Today is the sort of day I'd sit around the house nekkid if I still lived a conventional sort of existence, which is to say in a house of my own, on a piece of land of my own. That sort of behavior... i.e., sitting around nekkid... just ain't possible when one lives in close-quarters such as those found in Beautiful La Hacienda Trailer Park.

I know, Gentle Reader: TMI. Sorry 'bout that. At least I didn't post pictures.

Hot!

It's warm... to say the least. But I'm OK with that. The windows are wide open as is the door, and there are gentle breezes fragrant with High Plains aromas of Spring (no, Jenny... NOT "the smell of money!") wafting through my living space. But, that said... today just might be the first air-conditioned day here at El Casa Móvil De Pennington. Here's why:

My heat tolerance ends at 90 degrees or so. Once we hit 90 I button up the house and turn the AC on. But, we shall see. Sometimes I surprise myself.


―:☺:―
Your hockey update... The Wings simply dominated Columbus last night, it was never close. From NHL.com:

Detroit Red Wings v Columbus Blue Jackets - Game Three
COLUMBUS, OH - APRIL 21: Chris Osgood #30 of the Detroit Red Wings blocks a Columbus Blue Jackets' shot during Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Nationwide Arena April 21, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)
COLUMBUS - A record crowd of 19,219 witnessed the first Stanley Cup Playoffs game ever at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday with the hope their hometown Blue Jackets would keep the benchmarks going with the franchise's first postseason victory.
But defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings shut down the anticipation with another night of stifling defense. You get the distinct impression Detroit is putting on a clinic of sorts for its Central Division rival: How to Advance in the Playoffs 101.
For the third straight time in this series, the Red Wings struck first to break the ice in the opening period and then shut the door the remainder of the game en route to a 4-1 victory in Game 3 of this best-of-seven Western Conference Quarterfinal. Chris Osgood continued his mastery in goal with 31 saves. Detroit looks to close out the Blue Jackets on Thursday at Nationwide Arena (7 p.m. ET).
Chris Osgood was the game's second star last evening; he was the first star in games one and two in Detroit. I'm kinda-sorta surprised Detroit has been as dominant in this series as they have. I expected Columbus to put up much more of a fight. But there's this about that (Ryan Kennedy, writing at The Hockey News):
If you’re a Detroit Red Wings fan, the first two games of the team’s series against Columbus have been bliss. If you’re just a neutral observer, the first two games have been depressing.

Why? Because Detroit is too good.

Now I’m not ragging on the Wings; I just hope the Blue Jackets can harness what will surely be the awesome energy of Nationwide Arena when the teams square off again Tuesday night. As far as the Jackets should be concerned, one goal in two games does not a series make.

Detroit has been dominant, pretty much to the point that it’s hard to get a read on what the team will be able to do against stiffer competition. Is goalie Chris Osgood rounding into playoff form or is he just untested, having faced a mere 46 shots through two games?

Can the Red Wings survive a physical series against a team such as, say, Anaheim or Calgary? Hard to say, considering it’s the Detroit boys who are putting Columbus rears on the ice more often than not so far.

Not only are the Wings getting physical play from everyone, but some of the big, statement bodychecks are coming from players such as superstar Pavel Datsyuk, who also happens to do a lot of other things pretty well.

The power play is still demonically effective and Tomas Holmstrom is still a better door than a window as far as Columbus goalie Steve Mason is concerned, so things are clicking on all cylinders for the Motor City Boys right now.
Yup... all that is true, to say the very least. Especially the bits about blissful Detroit fans. We have been quite happy, yanno?
In this same vein... I was happy to watch the Sharks win in Anaheim last night. That game was arguably MUCH more entertaining than the Wings-Jackets game... it was most certainly much closer, with the outcome in doubt all the way to the final horn. I want to see the Sharks and Ducks go seven games while beating the dogcrap out of each other. This is another one of those highly-physical and highly entertaining series. If the Ducks win we'll get 'em in the second round; if the Sharks win we'll get Vancouver. Either/or... it makes no difference to me, actually. But I'd sorta prefer the Ducks. We owe them for 2007, and revenge would be SWEET.
The Canucks closed out the Blues last night, as expected, but it took Vancouver nearly a complete period of overtime to get the job done. I feel a little bit sorry for St. Louis... they had a magical end-of-season run simply to make it to the playoffs and then lose four straight to end their season. That's gotta hurt, and hurt mightily. The series was closer than it appears, though... with three of the four games decided by a single goal and the last going deep, deep in OT, as noted. Too bad Versus didn't see fit to cover this series better than they did.
Speaking of Versus...
Anyone else had enough of Versus' coverage of the NHL postseason?
How is it that they pull away from a 3-3 game in Carolina to open a game in Anaheim that wasn't going to start for another 30 minutes? How about skipping the exciting finish in Raleigh for yet another viewing of an Esurance commercial we all know by heart?
In case you missed it, which I'm sure many of you did, the Hurricanes took Game 4 by scoring against the Devils with .02 seconds left.
What was Versus showing? Who cares. It sure wasn't hockey. Heck, they weren't even showing a tied game in St. Louis.
The NHL kowtows to Versus so much it isn't even funny.
It sure as hell isn't deserved.
The managers at the Quarterdeck in Sunrise seem to have as much knowledge about the NHL than those Comcast folks who run Versus.
At least the guys at Quarterdeck change the channel every once in a while, and yeah, they show a game other than one involving the Penguins.
Shame on the NHL for letting this happen night after night after night. Your fans deserve better (and that statement goes to the NHL; Versus has no fans. Nor good spots on the dial save for the gifts handed out from their parent cable network - which sucks Comcastically.)
Where was the Detroit-Columbus game? The entire Carolina-New Jersey series?
Oh yes, I forgot the Comcast-owned Flyers had to be shown on the Comcast-owned 'national' network.
Good thing there wasn't a bull rodeo coming up after the Pens/Flyers game or no one would have seen Carolina's awesome goal just before time expired.
The NHL needs to get off this crummy network pronto.
That said, Versus has Anaheim-San Jose coming up next. Unless the third period gets preempted by a fishing show.
Let's hope the bass aren't biting tonight.
Heh. That would be George Richards, writing in the Miami Herald's On Frozen Pond blog. And he has more to say about Versus, here. I can't say as how I disagree with Mr. Richards. Tomorrow night's Wings game ain't on the Versus schedule, either.
I won't be watching the Wings tomorrow night on my 'puter, for that matter. While I think spending 20 Yankee Dollars on last night's game wasn't a total waste of money... it was pretty damned close. NHL.com supposedly gives you a 1.2 MBps streaming feed but it ain't enough. The video had that herky-jerky, miliseconds-worth-of-delay effect that left me with a headache after the game was over. One's eyes try to compensate for the delay and the end-result is eye strain of the headache inducing sort. My head still hurts this morning from the experience. I have a 4 MBps connection, so I'm quite sure the issue wasn't on MY end of the wire.

Finally... the Pens look to have a stranglehold on the Flyers, what with
winning last evening in the City of Brotherly Love. The series moves back to Pittsburgh Thursday night and I look for the Pens to close it out then. Sorry, Flyers fans... but that's the way it looks.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Today's Burning Question...

This just in from NHL.com...

Should I? It's ONLY 20 Yankee Dollars, but it somehow offends my frugal sensibilities. Decisions, decisions... I think I'll uncap a 1554, cut a cigar, and go sit out under the awning and contemplate the possibilities.

Update, 1615 hrs: Egged on in comments, I was, so I've popped for the price of admission. There WILL be hockey in Portales this evening... Red Wings hockey, that is. They better not let me down... after all, it IS 20 dollars of my hard-earned
(heh) money we're talking about here.

Go Wings!

Potpourri

Ramirez is spot-on, as usual. You have to squint real hard to get the gist of what he's saying, though, as the available sizing of the graphic isn't conducive for easy reading. For us Ol Farts, anyhoo. (Via Townhall.com)

―:☺:―

It appears my experiment in V-Blogging went down well with the commentariat, and that was VERY gratifying for YrHmblScrb. It's one thing to post your written thoughts to a discerning world; it's quite another to put your time-ravaged face and stumbling verbal skills out there for all the world to see (and laugh at). All y'all were MOST kind with your comments. I'm thinking there will be more of these V-logging thingies in future... as an irregular, occasional thing.

―:☺:―

Your hockey update... It seems I was just a little premature in writing off the Capitals. They simply kicked the Rangers' collective asses last night, beating the Blueshirts 4-1 at Madison Square Garden. This series looks like it could go at least six, if not seven, games before it's all over. Ovechkin has yet to score, however... but he DID get two assists last night.

The B's, however, continue the beat-down on Les Habitants. THAT series is over, for all intents and purposes. So much for Montreal's 100-saison celebration. You can bet your boots there will be post-season bloodletting in Montreal. A poor-performing hockey team is one thing that isn't tolerated there. That and Anglais...

The nightcap between the Flames and the Blackhawks was THE game yesterday, though. There's a LOT of bad blood between these two teams and the end of the game was marred by significant violence... or enhanced, depending on your point of view. The game was VERY chippy, what with 116 penalty minutes (including five 10-minute misconducts!) handed out to the two teams... with 12 penalties coming in the final minute of the third period. "Chippy," indeed! But... we have a series here. Calgary is most definitely back in this one, albeit down 2-1. This one might go seven games, and it wouldn't break my heart if it does. It's entirely possible Detroit will get the winner of this series... assuming the Sharks prevail over the Ducks, which is NOT a safe assumption. But I want to see Calgary and Chicago beat the hell out of each other before they get to Detroit. It's only right.

―:☺:―

Broadening Our Horizons yet again... but MUCH more successfully this time. I bought a sixer of New Belgium's Mighty Arrow Pale Ale last week while out at the Class VI store and it's already gone. Buck and I had three while he was visiting... him one and me two... and I killed the remainder of the sixer during yesterday's Happy Hour. This is a very crisp and quite hoppy ale that goes down clean and easy! And its 6% ABV content makes it eminently drinkable on a warm Spring day.

Too bad it's a "seasonal" offering... I could get quite used to this beer!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Cheesy Videos VII: VLog

The state of the state this morning in P-Ville...



More later. Mebbe. Oh... that Garofalo thing? Here. In case you missed it.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Heh

From the new-to-me blog "This Is Ridiculous," by way of Chap... "Pac Man Gone Wild!"



As the original post sez: "These are the kinds of things you really wish happened in your own town."

Yup. But I just don't SEE this happening in P-Ville... ever.

Vets As Nutjobs

(Lisa Benson, via Townhall.com)

Heh. No one has been in touch with ME... yet. But ya never know, do ya? Them there former military right-wing nutjobs are a BIG problem...

Much has been written over the course of this last week about the language used in the Department of Homeland Security's report titled "Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence and Recruitment." And here it is:



DHS Report on Right Wing Extremism - Free Legal Forms


The American Legion, among others, were upset about the language contained in the report, and Legion president David K. Rehbein sent a rather strongly-worded letter to Janet Napolitano which said, in part:

The best that I can say about your recent report is that it is incomplete. The report states, without any statistical evidence, "The possible passage of new restrictions on firearms and the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks."
The American Legion is well aware and horrified at the pain inflicted during the Oklahoma City bombing, but Timothy McVeigh was only one of more than 42 million veterans who have worn this nation's uniform during wartime. To continue to use McVeigh as an example of the stereotypical "disgruntled military veteran" is as unfair as using Osama bin Laden as the sole example of Islam.

Your report states that "Rightwing extremists were concerned during the 1990s with the perception that illegal immigrants were taking away American jobs through their willingness to work at significantly lower wages." Secretary Napolitano, this is more than a perception to those who have lost their job. Would you categorize union members as "Right Wing extremists"?
In spite of this incomplete, and, I fear, politically-biased report, The American Legion and the Department of Homeland Security share many common and crucial interests, such as the Citizen Corps and disaster preparedness. Since you are a graduate of New Mexico Girls State, I trust that you are very familiar with The American Legion. I would be happy to meet with you at a time of mutual convenience to discuss issues such as border security and the war on terrorism. I think it is important for all of us to remember that Americans are not the enemy. The terrorists are.
Napolitano later delivered an apology, of sorts. All this being, of course, old news. But... I figured if I was gonna post the cartoon... I may as well provide the requisite background information.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Recap


DETROIT - APRIL 16: Chris Osgood #30 of the Detroit Red Wings dives to make a save as teammate Jonathan Ericsson #52 ties up Fredrik Modin #33 of the Columbus Blue Jackets during Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 16, 2009 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
DETROIT - APRIL 16: Manny Malhotra #27 of the Columbus Blue Jackets battles for the puck with both Marian Hossa #81 and Henrik Zetterberg #40 of the Detroit Red Wings during Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 16, 2009 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
(Images from NHL.com)
So… Last night… pizza was eaten, beer was drank, and the evening was topped off with Macallan’s and cigars. It don’t get no better than that, Gentle Reader. Oh…wait. Yes, it does get better. The Wings won their opener handily, beating Columbus 4-1. Chris Osgood took a giant step towards silencing his critics and other assorted doubters with a sterling performance in goal, stopping 20 of 21 shots (13 of which came in the first period) and being named as the game’s first star. The recap is here.
The middle game was excellent as well. Chicago trailed Calgary for most of the night yet Martin Havlat managed to tie the game with a little over five minutes left in regulation and win it 12 seconds into overtime. Havlat was the obvious choice for first star in front of a deliriously happy home crowd. The Hawks are back.
SN1 left before the Chicago game went into overtime. He had driven straight through from Riverside, CA to Portales yesterday and was a little bit whipped last night, having grabbed only about four hours sleep after arriving in P-Ville just before sunrise. And he has a long drive back to South Carolina ahead of him today and tomorrow. He needed his beauty rest.
I apparently needed MY beauty rest as well. I didn’t make it all the way through the nightcap game… falling asleep at the second intermission of the Sharks-Ducks game. I don’t have a dog in this fight (or any other sort of animal… fish or fowl) and I have good reason to dislike both teams, based upon their rather rude handling of the Wings in playoff series past. Still and even, my heart is with the underdogs in this one, so I was gratified to learn the Ducks triumphed last evening by a score of 2-0… in San Jose. There’s a lot of hockey left in this series, to be sure. But I think the games are off to a great start.
And… another double-header tonight… Philly and Pittsburgh tilt again and Vancouver hosts the Blues for the nightcap. I love this time of year!