Sunday, November 03, 2013

Random Notes

Didja change yer clocks last night?  Well, I fell back this morning.  And kept falling, too... given the fact I didn't roll outta bed until noon, Standard Time.  There's a reason: that bein' my ongoing fight with my lower back and right now my lower back holds the upper hand, to kinda-sorta mix a metaphor.  Stayin' flat on my back on my warm, cozy, and very comfortable Tempurpedic mattress is much more desirable than rolling out to pain, at the moment.  

I thought the other shoe had well and truly dropped on Friday evening... I was bent over quite far attending to a matter of personal hygiene (trimming my toenails, if you must) and when I went to straighten up I found that I could not.  Well, I actually could straighten up but the excruciating pain made the effort a lil more trouble than it was worth.  After about five minutes or so we finally straightened up, hobbled off in search of aspirin (swallowing three), retrieved the heating pad from the bedroom, and ensconced our-self on the couch, where we remained for more than a few hours.

Yesterday was pretty much more of the same, except for the fact the combination of the heating pad and a regular dosing regimen of aspirin took the edge off enough to make life bearable.  And there's no change today, which means I just MIGHT get off my old sorry ass and seek medical attention tomorrow, if only for the muscle relaxants that would be in it.

To repeat the mantra: It's always sumthin'.

History... here's what we were on about five years ago on this date:

Monday, November 03, 2008

This and That

Flavia Nasini is an owner of A Tutta Birra, a shop in Milan that stocks many of Italy's great craft beers, as well as rare brews from around Europe. (Photo: Dave Yoder for The New York Times)

When you think of Europe and beer in the same space, most people think “Germany.” A few will think “England” (including YrHmblScrb), and the cognoscenti immediately think “Belgium!” But beer and Italy? You might think that’s a non-starter, as I did. If so, you need to read “Savoring Italy, One Beer at a Time.” Excerpts (Ed: the link is good, BTW):

We celebrated our arrival with a couple of the brewery’s pilsner-style beers, a ubiquitous, often-overlooked style that Birrificio Italiano’s brewmaster, Agostino Arioli, has attempted to redeem with hoppier, more flavorful versions, traveling to Germany to select his own hops.

As we sipped our lagers, commenting on their vibrant bitterness, a jazz band set up on the pub’s small stage, beginning to play just as our appetizers arrived: a plate of poppy-seed toast with rich toma cheese and a sticky, gooey beer jelly, accompanied by a glass of the brewery’s Scires, a wine-like strong ale flavored with local cherries. Our main courses quickly followed: a chunky, inch-and-a-half-thick pork chop, and scottata alla piastra, a plate of paper-thin grilled pork fillets, both of which were marinated in the brewery’s malty Bibock ale, which made an excellent accompaniment. The same flavors showed up in our shared dessert: a panna cotta made extra sweet and slightly bitter with a dose of Bibock, which combined perfectly with the light dusting of chocolate on the pudding’s top.

As I finished the meal, I found myself thinking: If this is what Italy’s craft beers are like, they can keep the wines.

I keep finding reasons to renew my passport, and this is one of the best I’ve seen lately. Some of the descriptions of the food and drink in this article literally made my mouth water. The article also made me wish I lived in a place with good liquor stores, as well. I’d like to sample a few of the beers named in the article but that’s not even remotely possible here on The High Plains of New Mexico, where Bud, Miller, and Coors rule the roost… such as it is. Well, with the possible exception of the Class VI store out at Cannon Airplane Patch. Thank God for small favors.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery… or however that saying goes. And in the hockey world, the Red Wings are drawing their share of flattery, beginning with the league-leading (at the moment) San Jose Sharks (“New-look Sharks out-Winging their opponents early on in season”). A few excerpts from the linked story:

The reverberations of the 2007 Stanley Cup victory of the Anaheim Ducks, it is fair to say, are still being felt.

The Ducks partially brawled their way to that title, and last season much of the Western Conference added muscle with which to confront Anaheim.


The Detroit Red Wings, needless to say, proved there was another way last season, riding skill, speed and Tre Kronor power to an impressive Stanley Cup title. The Wings hardly fought at all, didn't carry an enforcer and roared through the postseason.

That left the San Jose Sharks, to name one team, in a bit of a conundrum.

Follow the Ducks or follow the Wings?

Simply being the Sharks, after all, wouldn't do. That had become synonymous with strong regular seasons -- 418 points in four seasons -- and disappointing playoff pratfalls.

Well, for better or worse, the Sharks chose to imitate the Wings.

In fact, beating the Red Wings 4-2 in Silicon Valley on Thursday night boosted the Sharks to 9-2 on the season, the best start in San Jose franchise history. It was a game that came on the heels of an impressive win over the Eastern Conference defending champs from Pittsburgh, in which Sidney Crosby and Co. were held to just 11 shots by the stingy Sharks defense.
The Wings, it's fair to say, left town thinking they'd just played themselves.


"Not only are they the Stanley Cup champs," said San Jose winger Ryane Clowe. "But we stole their assistant coach."

That, of course, is the most concrete evidence that San Jose plotted to copy Detroit this season. Detroit assistant coach Todd McLellan was hired by the Sharks to replace the fired Ron Wilson, who was canned somewhat reluctantly by Doug Wilson and was immediately snapped up by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Well, hiring Detroit’s assistant coach certainly goes a long way towards implementing the Wings’ style, doesn’t it? The Sharks have been an impressive regular season team these past few years, yet have consistently failed to advance beyond the second round of the playoffs, come spring. This year might be a different story… and as noted above they’re certainly beginning the season with an impressive showing.

Yeah, it’s early days and a LOT can happen between now and the playoffs. And a lot can happen DURING the playoffs, as well. As Damien Cox says in his closing sentences: “It looks great now. When it comes to the spring, however, it will be a lot tougher to out-Wing the Wings.”

Note the post title... a variation on random notes.  As far as that last bit on the Sharks goes... it's a classic case o' plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.  The Sharks are off to another great start this year but have continued to fall apart in the playoffs, what with losing to the Kings in the second round of last year's playoffs (to continue the trend).  To be a Sharks fan is not QUITE as bad as bein' a Cubbies fan (who are the very definition of "long-suffering" in the sports world), but it's CLOSE.  Mebbe this year.  I wouldn't mind seein' a Wings - Sharks Stanley Cup Final... not at ALL.


  1. Sorry about your back. Get that hydrocodxxx or oxy and hang in there.

    I feel for the Sharks, I really do. I used to fantasize in the '90s about a Cubs-Red Sox series, but not anymore. The stinking red hose have now won a veritable PLETHORA of series compared to us long suffering cub fans. Now that that personal bias is out of the way, if baseball were like wrestling, the powers that be would script a season scenario that sent the Cubs and the R. Sox into the 9th inning of the 7th game of the WS which the Cubs would win on a dramatic, bases loaded, walk off home run by a pinch hitting pitcher whose foot is bandaged up 'cause of his gout. As you can see, Cubs fans have a powerful fantasy life. We're sick. Just plain sick.

    1. if baseball were like wrestling, the powers that be...

      Heh. I'd watch!


Just be polite... that's all I ask.