Friday, February 28, 2014

Nostalgia Strikes Yet Again

So there we were, browsing the NYT when we came upon this...



That piece lit off more than a few synapses, as well it should, because we have been there and done that.  The very first road trip The Second Mrs. Pennington and I ever took together was to Kyoto and that trip was the subject of a couple of posts here at EIP.  You long-time Gentle Readers have seen those posts more than once, given as how we tend to overdo certain posts in the form of re-runs.  That said... those posts are here and here, if you're curious.

I really enjoyed the Times piece although the things their travel correspondent(s) did in Kyoto and the things TSMP and I did were wildly divergent, to say the very least.  We didn't eat in fabulous restaurants or drink in trendy bars, nor did we do much shopping beyond buying a poster or two.  That's because we were both young and dirt poor... she a college sophomore and me a Staff Sergeant (Digression: TSMP was indeed young, at a tender 19 years of age.  I, OTOH, was 30... which seems quite young from the perspective of a guy who's pushing 70... hard.).  We were SO poor that we hitch-hiked from Tokyo to Kyoto and took the milk train back... 12 hours sitting bolt upright in third class.  I will say one thing though:  I can't believe the NYT folks had a better time than we did.  That's just not possible.  I mean, look at us:




Ah, to be young and in love again... in Nippon.

Hot Damn! I'm FINALLY Trendy!

From The Daily Dot...
Tee shirt, jeans... normcore!
Yesterday, New York magazine’s the Cut broke some important fashion news. There’s a new trend sweeping the streets of New York City, and it involves dressing like your dad on vacation at Disney World in 1995. It’s called normcore.

Yes, dressing “normal” is apparently the new way to be “edgy.” The Cut traced the origin of the term to the “trend forecasting collective” K-Hole, which promoted it as a way to embrace “sameness” and, in turn, stand out. K-Hole’s Emily Segal explained that it’s not so much a trend, but a theory:  
“It’s not about being simple or forfeiting individuality to become a bland, uniform mass,” she explains. Rather, it’s about welcoming the possibility of being recognizable, of looking like other people—and “seeing that as an opportunity for connection, instead of as evidence that your identity has dissolved.”
This seems to be the next logical next step after the re-emergence of ’90s fashion, which was being recycled on runways and music videos a few years ago. That aestheticjean shorts, t-shirts, sneakers, high-waisted denim, vestswas pretty bleak in the actual ’90s. However, normcore, which the Cut claims is being advocated mostly by “Western millennials and digital natives,” seems to be pushing back against clique mentality by creating its own non-clique clique. We’re at a point in culture where dressing like you’re in a witness protection program has become cooler than buying an identity. Like all trends, it's borrowing from another subculture, and there's nothing that new or innovative about it.
I don't know if I'll be able to handle the pressure of bein' in a non-clique clique.  Whatever the Hell THAT means.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack: Papa John

No, not that Papa John... THIS Papa John:



There's that.  But how'd we get there?  Well, there we were... out on the verandah, soaking up some brilliant sun, finishing up a cigar while halfway into our second beer, and listenin' to a little Hot Tuna when we heard a fiddle break by the inimitable Papa John Creach.  

And that would be this:



That's great good stuff... finest kind.  We first heard Papa John on several Jefferson Airplane tracks in the way-back (read as: Former Happy Days) but really didn't know... or care... about his fiddle playin'.  It was only after we bought our first two or three Hot Tuna albums that we came to appreciate the man and the remarkable things he could do with that fiddle o' his.  Papa John prolly isn't on anyone's list of Top Ten fiddle players in American music but he most certainly is on mine.  YMMV, Gentle Reader, and I suspect it does.

This is yet another case o' me missin' my vinyl, mainly coz all o' our Papa John albums are on vinyl; there are none in my CD collection.  I suppose I should fix that but ya know how that goes: so much music, so little money.

Budget Cuts



You're living under a rock if you've missed all the brouhaha surrounding the proposed cuts in the military budget.  It seems like everyone and their mom has something to say about the proposed cuts, which weigh heavily on the Army, said service to be cut from approximately 500,000 soldiers to 440,000 or 420,000 troops, depending on who you read.  The Navy will mothball a number of cruisers and the buy for the Littoral Combat Ship has been capped at the currently "paid for" number of 32.  One of the most controversial items in the proposed budget is the scrapping of USAF's entire fleet of A-10s... about which, this (from the Usual USAF Source):
USAF Will Scrap, Not Mothball, the A-10

The Air Force isn't planning to mothball its 283 A-10s, but simply retire the type wholesale as part of the Fiscal 2015 budget request, service Secretary Deborah Lee James said Wednesday. James told a Bloomberg defense symposium in Washington, D.C., that "the idea…is to…retire them fully" rather than put the A-10s into Type 1000 storage—meaning they could be returned to operations if needed—at the Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., boneyard. However, she said the A-10s won't be retired all at once, but rather over several years. "The beginning years would tilt toward the Active component," and the Guard and Reserve A-10s would be the last to go, she said. James emphasized that the A-10 is not the only close air support platform in the Air Force, and that in Afghanistan, it has actually only performed 20 percent of the CAS mission. The rest has been done by AC-130s, F-15s, F-16s, B-52s, and B-1s; all of which will be retained. "We have got this," James said of the CAS mission, insisting the service won't let down its brethren in the other services. The F-35 also will eventually take over the CAS role, she said. Retiring the A-10s will save $3.5 billion over the future years defense plan, she said.
—John A. Tirpak
That's the Party Line, of course.  I'm pretty sure the troops on the ground feel differently, at least that's the consensus of what I read about the subject on the milblogs.  Cutting the A-10 will face some serious opposition in Congress, too.  

Yet another case of living in interesting times, eh?

In other news... We poured our first cup at 1245 hrs today and are still reading the overnight mail and stuff.  This is gonna be one of those days when we go directly from coffee to beer... without passing "Go" or collecting 200 dollars.  That's the bad news and I hate it when this happens.  But the good news is we'll be back into the 70s today, so we'll take Happy Hour on the verandah.  Yays!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Interesting

You can kill a LOT o' time at the new-to-me web site Music Machinery.  For instance...


Well, now.  My musical tastes seem to say I should be livin' in New England rather than New Mexico, as I don't own a single Alan Jackson album.  That ain't true about the favorite artists in The Land o' Cold And Snow.  Music geeks can lose a couple o' hours at Music Machinery, particularly on the post that generated this map, mainly because of the wealth of associated links contained therein.  And you know one good link leads to another and then another and then another, and so on.  You are warned.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

A brilliant cover of Jackson Browne's "For a Dancer"...


Just do the steps that you've been shown
By everyone you've ever known
Until the dance becomes your very own
No matter how close to yours
Another's steps have grown
In the end there is one dance you'll do alone
Linda still has the pipes, doesn't she?  And Emmylou is as beautiful as ever.  "For a Dancer" is one of my favorite tunes on "Late for the Sky," which is arguably Mr. Browne's finest album.  That album got a LOT of airplay when I was courting The Second Mrs. Pennington and continued to be heard down through the years, second only to various works by Neil Young and Bobby Dylan, both of whom also figured heavily in our life's soundtrack.

In other news... No outside Happy Hour today for the WX she is dull, dreary, and rather cold.  Like this:


Yeah, we're soft in our old age.  We did give the verandah a shot earlier but gave it up in favor of the warmth we have indoors.  Tomorrow looks like more o' the same but Thursday should be better.  It's actually been a pretty mild winter so far, all things considered.  And that's not a bad thing.

A Few Things

There's this, to begin with...


I suppose that's better than the boy setting himself on fire for his swan song.  Or not.

From the Usual USAF Source... just another day at the office.

B-52H radar navigator Capt. Zachary Proano (left) and navigator Capt. Andrew Parlsen work at their stations during a training mission dropping live ordnance over the Nevada Test and Training Range, Feb. 11, 2014. They are members of the 23rd Bomb Squadron at Minot AFB, N.D. (Air Force photo by SSgt. Jonathan Snyder)

You can't be claustrophobic to work in that environment, eh?

In other news... I was graced with a visit from two of my oldest and dearest friends yesterday... Bernice and Ed... who stopped in on their way to Colorado for their annual ski vacation.  Ed and I were radar team mates at Yokota AB back in the mid-'70s and we tore up a lot o' territory around the Pacific Rim during the two years I was stationed there.  Bernice baby-sat The Second Mrs. Pennington (who was my intended and not yet my wife at that time) while Ed and I were off in exotic places fixing or installing radar and performing quality assurance inspections on various watering holes as part of our additional duties.  E&B also facilitated my introduction to TSMP... I first laid eyes on the woman when she walked into Bernice's living room back in August of 1975.  I don't hold that against them, though.

We went out to dinner last evening and returned directly to El Casa Inmóvil De Pennington for more conversation and lotsa laughs.  E&B said goodnight around 2130 hrs and left for their room at the Cannon Airplane Patch TLQ, proving that old age has indeed caught up with us.  We just ain't quite the party animals we used to be.  Me?  I was in bed at 2230 hrs.  Ain't THAT sumthin'!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

Two takes on one o' my favorite blues/boogie tunes.  First, some flash guitar from Tab Benoit...



Wowie-zowie!  And then there's the better-known version by Jeff Beck...


Well I'm going down
Down, down, down, down, down
I'm going down
Down, down, down, down, down
I've got my head out the window
And my big feet on the ground
Both takes on the tune work for me.  The lyrics don't make a whole helluva lotta sense but the music sure does COOK.

In other news... it's yet another beautiful day here on The High Plains o' New Mexico.  We're taking Happy Hour in two installments today, Installment One taking place around 0930 hrs this morning and Installment Two taking place as we speak.  Don't look at me that way... we got our old ass outta bed at 0400 hrs this morning for the hockey game and the coffee was gone by 0600.  So, 0930 rolls around and what's a boy to do other than have a couple o' beers and a cigar on the verandah?  You know we only do this because we CAN.

And now it's back outdoors to continue as we've begun.

Separated At Birth?

 I've been watching Jeremy Roenick for years, both as a player and as a color commentator for NBC.  And I never noticed this until this morning...




Uncanny.

Canada 1, Sweden 0 after one.  Let's Go Swede Wings!

Update, 0750 hrs:  Well, I watched the whole damned thing... all the way through the medal presentations and the commentary after the game.  Congratulations, Canada... you played an outstanding tournament.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

More Dead Horses

The best hockey tweet ever:


Ms. Szabados is the goalie for Team Canada.

I Turned It Off

I just can't watch any more... my heart's not in it.  Finland goes up 4-0 after another power play goal... with a little over ten minutes left in the third... that goal being the second goal of the game by Teemu Selane, playing in his sixth Olympics.  What a way for the guy to go out and what a disappointment for Team USA fans.

Not our time, indeed.

Saturday: Snowboarding

Well, it ain't the Olympics but it's pretty cool (no pun)...



I'm glad I wasn't in NYC this past month.  Or virtually anywhere in the northeast, actually.

In other news... we're watching USA play for the bronze medal this morning and it's 0-0 at the end of the first period.  This ain't gonna be a cakewalk; the Finns are pretty tough and Tuuka Rask is a stone wall.  We shall see.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Yeah... That's About Right

Courtesy of that Brighton Pensioner, a fun quiz.  My results:



As the post title notes: that's about right.  And we most certainly DO love us some raw fish.  We've been known to go to great lengths to get it, too.  Like this:


The Second Mrs. Pennington and YrHmblScrb in a Tokyo sushi bar, c. mid-1990s.

Ah, Former Happy Days Fish.

Wherein We Flog a Dead Draft Animal

An excerpt from a piece by the world's best hockey writer... Sean McIndoe... writing about yesterday's gold medal game:

The Linesman

With a faceoff deep in the U.S. zone and six Canadian attackers on the ice, the stage was set for one of the most bizarre moments in recent hockey history. The Americans won the faceoff, but Canada quickly gained control and sent a pass back to the point for Catherine Ward.

And then — and there’s really no other way to describe this — Ward was hip checked by a linesman. Even that doesn’t really do the play justice, because the whole thing actually unfolded slowly enough that you had the chance to mumble, “Wait, what the hell is she doing?” The linesman even looks over her shoulder at one point, but she just keeps backing up, eventually colliding with Ward and giving Kelli Stack a chance to whack the puck out of the zone.

The incompetence was borderline comical, until you realized the puck was still going. And going. And it kept on going, agonizingly slowly, all the way down the ice toward the empty Canadian net and the goal that would clinch the gold medal for Team USA.

Madness Scale: 10/10. I’ve watched that play 100 times and still cannot believe it happened.

The Post




GoalPost
@Guyism
Madness Scale: ∞/10. If you saw that happen in your kid’s peewee game, you wouldn’t believe your eyes. It happened in the final minutes of a gold-medal game.
You really should read the whole thing.  I mean REALLY.

And now it's time to stress-test our poor old heart again... The US and Canada men's teams play in about ten or 15 minutes.  Let's hope the outcome is better today.

USA!  USA!!  USA!!!

Update, 1210 hrs:  It's just not our time... Canada 1, USA 0.  The Canadian defense was too strong for USA's offense and Carey Price was stellar in net.  The best Team USA can do in these Olympics will be a bronze medal... IF they beat Finland.

We shall now adjourn to the verandah for a beer or three and a cigar.  Damn. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

A Dave Mason song (done by Traffic), an old favorite of mine that comes close to expressing the way I'm feelin' at the moment...


Seems the simple things are hardest to explain
We're just gonna come too soon, gettin' all the pain
Footprints in the snow will show whether things are still the same
Till you get [Incomprehensible] someone, help to live again
I can't seem to explain... to myself... the way the American women's defeat in today's gold medal game has affected me, but it's just about all I've been thinking about this afternoon.  As for the song... it's not quite perfect, because our girls didn't take more than they gave; they left it ALL out there on the ice.

So close.  So close.

And now it's back out to the verandah to sit in the sun and contemplate things.

For the Gold!

From USA Today:
SOCHI, Russia — And so, the day of reckoning has finally arrived for the United States women's hockey team.

The hours, the days, the months, the years, all of the time spent on the ice, in airplanes, in hotels, in video sessions, preparing for this one magical game.

Team USA vs. Team Canada, noon ET on Thursday. For Olympic gold. Just as it should be.

"We've worked four years for this one moment," said forward Megan Bozek. "We're right where we need to be. There's 60 minutes left for us to achieve our dream."
It's about a half hour to puck drop and the game is on Big NBC (as opposed to CNBC, MSNBC, etc.).   The coffee is brewing as we speak and we're nearly ready to go.

OK, ladies... do your thing!

USA!  USA!!  USA!!! 

Update, 1252 hrs:  BIG-ass sigh.  Bridesmaids, again.  Team USA had a 2-0 lead with two minutes left in the third, Canada tied it up with with less than a minute left, and went on to win in OT with a power play goal.  SO damned close, including a potential empty net goal in the last minute by Team USA that bounced off Canada's goalpost.  Damn.

Well... at least there won't be any beer and cigars at center ice this time.

"Beery gold-medal celebration could get Canada's women's team in trouble."  (That link is mostly photos; story here.)
More than half an hour after they clinched their third consecutive Olympic title, they came back onto the ice. Beer was involved in their festivities.

The International Olympic Committee plans to investigate the matter and whether the players' celebration outside the locker room is harmful to their image and the game's.
Oh, for cryin' out loud. The IOC and its Canadian subsidiary need to get a damned life.  Of COURSE the women were gonna celebrate and of COURSE they were gonna knock back a couple.  As for me?  I wanna party with these girls:
More than half an hour after they beat the United States 2-0 on Thursday, the players came back from the locker room and staged a party on ice — swigging from bottles of champagne, guzzling beer and smoking cigars.
 I wanna party with Gillian Apps. She looks like my kinda gal.

And ride the Zamboni with Colleen!

"Swigging from bottles of champagne" is all well and good, but it's the guzzling beer part that I like.  And driving the Zamboni.  But not at the same time, of course.
That's from a post I put up the last time this happened.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

"Ugly, Ugly, Ugly"

So sez Barry Melrose about Team Russia's early exit in the Olympic hockey tournament in a video clip available here.  A quote from that article (which is a good read and sings the praises of Datsyuk, among others.  It ain't ALL bad.):
As the buzzer sounded Wednesday after the 3-1 quarterfinal loss to Finland, Ovechkin skated toward the bench, staring seemingly into space, no doubt wishing he could be anywhere but here.
He had let his country down. In this, his Olympics.

"It sucks. That's all I can say," Ovechkin said afterward.

Asked what his emotions were, he answered: "No emotion right now."

Sidney Crosby got the golden goal in his Olympics four years ago. Alex Ovechkin was the golden goat in his.
Wow.  Double-wow.  We'll be seein' fallout from this miserable series for a long, long time.  As I said elsewhere: I ALMOST feel sorry for those guys.  Almost.

So.  Hockey Day In Portales is over and two out of the three teams I was rooting for won.  Team USA spanked the Czechs, 5-2 and I switched over from that game after the Americans went up 5-1 in the third period to watch the Canadians get the living HELL scared out of 'em.  Canada was playing Latvia... Latvia!... in their quarter-final game and eventually won, 2-1.  That game was a near-run thing if I've ever seen one, with the score tied until mid-way into the third period when the Canadians got the go-ahead goal on a power play... by yet another defenseman.  The Latvians never gave up, however, and the outcome was in doubt until the final seconds.  Mr. Babcock just HAS to be tearing' his hair out over that one, because what should have been a cakewalk... wasn't.  By any stretch o' the imagination.

It will be USA-Canada and Sweden-Finland in the semi-finals that will be played the day after tomorrow.  Both games should be excellent and I won't dare miss either one.  But right now?  I'm goin' down and try to recover from (a) the excitement and (b) some sort o' sinus affliction that came over me about two hours ago.  We're definitely a lil bit left o' center and the water-works in my head are just killin' me.  The couch calls...

Watching Finland - Russia

There's no joy in Mudville... the Finns are leading 2-1 after one.  Let's hope this game continues as it's begun.  I want to see the Finns win this, in the worst best way.

Update, 0745:  YES!  Finland 3, Russia 1.  Couldn't have happened to a nicer buncha guys.  Next up: the Americans and the Czechs.

USA!  USA!!  USA!!!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

Return with us now to those thrilling days o' yesteryear... that bein' 1973:




The mind works in the strangest ways.  The first two posts I put up today referred to (a) Erica Jong's "Fear of Flying" and (b) librarians.  I had a thing with a librarian back in Former Happy Days... read as 1973... and the woman gifted me with Jong's novel.  Or mebbe it was me that gifted her with the book, I don't remember exactly.  So, flash forward to today where we were sittin' on the verandah, reminiscing about that point in time and most especially about our former lady love.  The woman we're on about had a penchant for "gettin' it on" (thank you, Marvin) in the strangest places... like in her office at the library (after hours) and here:

Monday, January 31, 2011

Confession Is Good for the Soul

Or so I've heard.  I just made a small confession in comments to a rather quirky post over at The Mayor's place and thought "what the Hell, the statute of moral limitations has sorta run out on this one, so I'll blog it."  My comment:
Apropos of nothing, I really was a volunteer at a community suicide prevention hot line once upon a time in the way-back.  I'll reveal one of the most shameful things I ever did in my life now, heretofore known to only a select few.  A select VERY few.  One of the other volunteers and I (we worked in pairs) took the phones off the hook for about a half hour one night so we wouldn't be interrupted while we engaged in other (and MUCH more pleasant) activities on the floor of the center.  It was worth it, in the end, and we consoled ourselves by sayin' it was a slow night.  Coz it was.  Sorta.
True story.  My partner in this episode of severe dereliction of duty was my kinda-sorta girlfriend; she was more like a friend-with-benefits, mainly because the woman had... umm... "other commitments" at the time.   This happened in the very distant way-back, at a time long before my moral code was firmed up, signed, sealed, and delivered.

And now you know one of my deepest and darkest secrets.  If there's any rationalization or justification for the above it would be this: the suicide intervention center I worked at had no record of any "saves" during the 18 months I worked there.  Our clientele mostly consisted of drunk, lonely, neurotic women who just needed someone to dump on... we even had a few "regulars."  So there's that.  But I don't really need to rationalize the activity at all, in the end it was worth it.  Just sayin'.
That was just ONE unconventional place where we "got together."  I could go on and on... for there were more than few odd places where we consummated our love lust...  but I'm sure you get the point, Gentle Reader.  

And now it's back out to the verandah where we shall continue to reminisce while conducting our early start to today's Happy Hour.  We got an early start on Happy Hour because the weather she is brilliant today... not that we actually NEED a reason for an early start, yanno.  We do this because we CAN.

"You Just Have a Dirty Mind"

Well, yes... I guess I do.


More of the same here.

Fear of Flying*

I hate flying and this is part of the reason why:



It's good to know Boeing builds its aircraft to withstand that kinda stress and shock.  Us passengers?  Not so much.  I've more or less resigned myself to flying Back East this year but I'm damned sure NOT looking forward to it.

In other news... we took the day off from watching Olympic hockey and had a lie-in this morning, staying abed until 0945 hrs.  There wasn't much point in getting up early to watch the laggards in the tournament play their last-gasp games in hope of staying alive for the quarter-finals.  Russia was one such team playing this morning and they had a tough time beating winless Norway 4-0, according to ESPN.  I think I'm gonna have to revise my opinion about the Russkis' gold medal chances... they're seeded fifth by the powers-that-be now and even that may be a bit optimistic.  OTOH, if the Russians get by Finland they'll have an easier road to the gold medal game than either the Canadians or the Americans, who will face each other in the semifinals if they win their quarter-final game.  Anything could happen, though... that's the beauty of this game.

Our run of good weather looks like it will continue for the next ten days or so:


It's 68 big-ass degrees outside as we speak... and it's not even noon yet.

* No, Virginia, not that "Fear of Flying."

Monday, February 17, 2014

Oshie! Oshie! Oh-SHE!

Yeah, it was like this:



Keep in mind this was early in the morning in ALL of those venues.  And in Portales, too... where we may have been short on company but not on emotion.  A hockey moment to remember.

Quick Hit

You know the drill... coffee's poured, teevee's tuned in, and we're ready for the women's semi-final: USA vs. Sweden.  The teevee talking heads just HAVE to bring up that upset loss to Sweden in the 2006 Olympic semi-final.  I have just three words for those guys: "Hush yo mouf!"

I'll prolly be back later... in the meantime: USA!  USA!  USA!!

Update, 0750 hrs:  It wasn't even close: USA 6, Sweden 1, with the Americans out-shooting the Swedes by 70-8 (or mebbe 9).  So... the US wimmen can do no worse than a silver medal and will prolly face Canada for the gold, assuming the Canadians get by the Swiss... which isn't as much a lock as you might think.  The Swiss have an awesome goalie and play great defense.  That said, it's hard to see the Canadians losing.  We'll know in a few hours; that game begins at noon ET.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Classic Spam

This made me giggle laugh out loud:
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Heh.  That's pretty gotdamned funny!

In other news... here's our WX at the moment:


Note the forecast high.  We cracked our first beer and sat our old ass out on the verandah at 1030 hrs this morning.  Like the ol' sayin' goes... "How can you drink all day if you don't start in the morning?"  And now it's back outside to continue as we've begun.  Life is GOOD!

Gettin' Ready for the Puck Drop

Yeah, I know about the flag.  They're still Commies.
The coffee's made, the first cup is poured, and we're watching Milbury and Roenick pontificate before the game.  The atmosphere in the arena a half-hour before the game starts is simply electric.  There's a lot o' pressure on the home team... rumor has it Putin will be in the stands... and that pressure's a good thing for Team USA.

USA!  USA!  USA!!

Update, 0830 hrs:  That was one of the best hockey games I have ever seen (aside from the Beloved Wings' wins in the Stanley Cup Final) and it had literally everything... ending up with an eight-round shootout that the Americans won, thanks to four... FOUR!... shootout goals by T.J. Oshie of the St. Louis Blues.  Team USA's special teams were brilliant, scoring two power play goals; their penalty killing was excellent; and Jonathan Quick was stellar in goal.  All that said, the Russians were very, very tough and would have won the game in regulation had a goal not been waved off... after video review... due to the net being ever-so-slightly off its moorings.  I believe the Russians are still going to be the favorite for the gold going forward... but I haven't seen the Canadians yet.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Upside

There's an upside to gettin' up at oh-dark-thirty to watch hockey.  Today we watched the Swedes... our second favorite team in the tournament, after Team USA... beat a surprisingly tough Swiss team, 1-0.  The game was scoreless through two periods and was always in doubt, right up until the final seconds.  Daniel Alfredsson scored in the third to bring it on home for the Tre Kronor team.  And why are the Swedes our second-favorite team, you might ask?  Simply because of the number of Red Wings... five... on the roster, including captain Henrik Zetterberg, who is also the Red Wings' captain.  We heard this morning that Zetterberg will miss the rest of the Olympics due to a recurring back injury.  This does not bode well for the Swedes' gold medal hopes and most certainly will affect the Wings' playoff run.  Zetterberg is suffering from a herniated disc (or discs), a condition that rarely gets better with time*.  NOT good news.

But we digress.  We began by talkin' about an upside to gettin' up early, and that's this: we found ourselves with a strange amount o' energy after the game was over.  So we vacuumed and dusted the whole house, changed the bed, and did three loads o' laundry... for we were perilously close to dippin' into the emergency tee shirt supply, aka "vintage tees."  A further upside: the bed gets made when I change the sheets, like this:



Oh, well.  Once a week is enough to make the bed, eh?  And now it's back out to the verandah to continue to laze around in the sun, drink beer, and smoke cigars.  We've earned it today.

* I know from whence I speak.  I went through a year o' Hell back in 1998-99 with herniated discs, which resulted in surgery followed by six months of excruciating rehabilitation physical therapy.  Not fun, at all.

V-Day

From last year...

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Heh



Happy Valentine's Day, if'n yer in to that sorta thang.  In other words... may the drone of love send a Hellfire straight to yer heart.
And this, from a couple o' years ago...



At which time we said this about that: "Misery Bear and I seem to share a certain gestalt concerning this day.  Sorta."  And this year?  Well, it's a case o' "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Yet Another Early Day

Olympic hockey is definitely messing with my sleep habits, which has seen me resort to using the alarm clock function on my phone more in the past week than I have in the past ten years.  We were up again this morning at oh-dark-thirty (0500 hrs, actually) to put the coffee on and prepare for an 0530 puck drop way off in Sochi... after which we watched the American men beat the snot out o' the Slovaks, 7-1.  Not a bad way to begin the tournament, eh?  The US men will face their first real test on Saturday when they play the Rooshians in what should be one of the better games in the preliminary round.  And another early damned day for me.

And then there's this:


There once was a time when that card would have been most appropriate for the occasion.  These days?  Meh.

Not so Meh... not EVEN:


The question isn't whether we'll be having an outdoor Happy Hour today, it's more like how long will it last*?  And note our forecast for Saturday and Sunday: 80 big-ass degrees!  Hell, yes.

*To my shivering, snow-bound, ice-encrusted friends on the Right Coast: don't be hatin' on me, mmm-kay?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Is There a Holiday or Sumthin'?

That's not a rhetorical question, considerin' this:


Oh yeah!  I almost forgot that V-Day is just around the corner.  I should have bought sumthin' for MY valentine, eh?  "Wait," you might say.  "You have a valentine?"  Why, yes... yes I DO, and here's the card I'm gonna give:

There are more like this here.
So sumthin' off that shelf in the foreground would have been appropriate, no?  I bought beer instead... and we're gonna retire to the verandah and have one just as soon as I hit "post."

USA! USA! USA!

Getting ready for the puck drop between Team USA and Canada, in what we hope will be a preview of the gold medal game.

Update, 0745 hrs:  Well, let's hope this isn't a preview of the gold medal game... Canada 3, USA 2.  The American ladies played a pretty good game but couldn't beat either the Canadians or the officials in one of the worst-officiated games I've ever seen.  Canada got away with at least three (mebbe four) too-many-men-on-the-ice violations and got one bad goal which clearly went into the US net after the whistle had blown.  But, oh well... that's hockey.  On to the elimination round.

You GO, Girls!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Nice Hat!

We received a new ball cap in the mail yesterday... like this:


That's obviously a Red Wings chapeau and it's the 19th addition to my collection o' ball caps, one of which you'll rarely see me without.  We do love our ball caps and our collection... modest as it may be... runs from the military (nine caps, five Navy and four Air Force, which you might think a bit strange for an Air Force guy until you learn SN2 keeps me better supplied with military paraphernalia than does SN1), to the corporate (two caps from former bid'nizes I was associated with), the political (one Bush-Cheney cap), and seven miscellaneous hats, ranging from a preferred cigar brand to various and sundry other items, like the cap from the Brownsville Barnstormers squadron of the Confederate Commemorative Air Force.  Nearly all of these caps are in permanent rotation, save two that are unwearable due to (a) a broken sizing band and (b) severe dirt and mung accumulated over the years.  My collection would be larger if I had been in the habit o' saving USAF organizational ball caps from Former Happy Days but alas, I didn't.  I simply wore those hats out and tossed 'em.  More's the pity.

We're Not Very Pleasant

This is quite interesting...


Click to embiggen

The map is interactive and allows you to find cities with the most "pleasant" weather, defined as shown.  Imagine my surprise when I found Detroit to be more pleasant than P-Ville (66 days vs. 36), and even MORE surprised when I looked at the Rochester, NY area (54 days).  Sorry... I do NOT agree.  That's mainly coz I NEVER shovel snow, although there have been one or two times in the last 11 years when I prolly should have

Go here to see how pleasant YOUR town is.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Today's Happy Hour Soundtrack

One of the more interesting things I heard during this morning's hockey game was some snappy patter from Doc Emrick who was talking about his interview with Hilary Knight (two games,  two goals, two assists -- four points), above.  Doc said they were talking about Team USA's fitness and conditioning program and the fact that Ms. Knight is seriously into weight training.  Doc said he thought Ms. Knight was in superb physical shape and according to him Ms. Knight said "Yeah, I'm like a little brick house."  "Is that a quote?" sez Doc.  "I said it, didn't I?" she replied.

Well, alrighty then!  Here's to YOU, Hilary!



You GO, Girl.

Early to Bed, Early to Rise...

That would be me last evening and this morning... in bed at 2200 hrs with the alarm set for 0300 hrs so I could watch the USA women systematically dismantle the Swiss team, which they most certainly did.  It was never close and the US won by a touchdown (no PAT) and a field goal, setting an Olympic record of three goals in 55 seconds in the process.  And they won in a shutout, just for drill.  From USA Today:
USA forward Amanda Kessel attempts a shot against Switzerland goalkeeper Florence Schelling.(Photo: Winslow Townson, USA TODAY Sports)
SOCHI, Russia – Amanda Kessel often is referred to as Phil Kessel's sister. But the way the women's hockey tournament is unfolding, Phil might soon be called "Amanda Kessel's brother."

Amanda looked dominant Monday, generating two goals and two assists to help the U.S. women's hockey team (2-0) to a 9-0 win against Switzerland in front of a crowd of 3,812.

[...]

Monique Lamoureaux also scored a pair of goals for the USA, while Brianna Decker, Alex Carpenter and Hilary Knight netted one each.
The US women are fast, fast, fast and are SUCH a joy to watch.  So we have a couple o' hours to take care of the morning's physical rituals, finish the coffee, and make the blog rounds.  And then we'll watch the Canadian women take on the Finns.