Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Game Three

Red Wings Nicklas Lidstrom (5) celebrates Pavel Datsyuk's (13) goal in the second period with Henrik Zetterberg (40), Tomas Holmstrom (96) and Brian Rafalski (28) as Colorado goalie Jose Theodore skates away dejected. (caption and photo: Detroit News)
Two… out of 148. That’s the number of teams that have come back from a 0-3 deficit in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Ever. From the Rocky Mountain News:
So, for now, the Avalanche will just try to keep the postseason going with a win Thursday night at the Pepsi Center instead of thinking about the prospect of joining the 1975 New York Islanders and 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs as the only teams in Stanley Cup playoff history to claim a series after dropping the first three games.
"We have to win one game," captain Joe Sakic said Tuesday night after the Avalanche's 4-3 loss. "Just keep your heads up and try and get that game and then you never know . . . see what happens. We can only worry about one thing at a time.
"They've got a great hockey team. Definitely they deserve to be up 3-0 the way the series has gone. They've outskated us, outworked us. We didn't quit, we battled back. But it wasn't enough. Hopefully, next game we can find a way to win it and at least extend it and get some momentum."
Interestingly enough, fans in New York and San Jose are singing the same sad song as those in the Mile High City. The Rangers are down 0-3 to the Pens, who have been perfect in the playoffs so far… that would be 7-0, what with sweeping the Sens in the first round and winning all three so far against the Rangers. And Dallas! How ‘bout them Stars? The Stars took second-seeded San Jose to the brink last night, winning a thriller in OT…the second overtime game of the series. No one, and I mean NO one, saw this coming… except maybe for Marty Turco, who’s been hotter than hot. Dallas can wind their series up tonight with a win at home, but I’ll be rooting for the Sharks. I want to see this series go on just a little bit longer…say two more games… before Dallas moseys on up to Deetroit for the conference finals.
But…who’d a thunk it? Not one, not two, but three teams in that 0-3 hole in the second round? In this age of NHL “parity?” Amazing.
About last night, specifically last night in Denver. The game wasn’t nearly as close as the score (or the shots-on-goal) would make it seem. The Wings were in control all the way and handled everything the Avs could throw at them, as well as self-inflicted wounds in the form of two back-to-back bench minors in the third period for too many men on the ice. From The Freep:
A furious attack by the Avs in the third period saw Detroit’s two-goal lead reduced to one when Andrew Brunette scored his second of the game, whacking in Joe Sakic’s rebound at 5:19 during the first of two straight penalties the Wings received for too many men. This baffled Mike Babcock, because he doesn’t remember the Wings taking more than one such bench minor all season.
“It’s not like we were matching or anything, we just made a couple mistakes,” he said. “I guess that’s excitement; I don’t know exactly. But we gave them momentum and then we were able to fight through it. I thought Ozzie made some good saves and yet down the stretch, I thought we got on top of them again.”
The Wings were on top…as evidenced in the final minute of the final period when the majority of play was in Colorado’s zone, with goalie Theodore on the bench. The Avs, try as they might, just couldn’t pull together enough offense to score that last-second desperation goal to tie it. And now they’re staring into the abyss.
I love it.
And…as always, last night’s highlights. All the goals, some of the hits, and some of the saves.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Good Writing, Redux

My Bud Ed in Florida sends the following along… and note the final paragraph. Oh Hell. I’ll highlight it, just so you can’t miss it, Gentle Reader:


Dear Abby,
A couple of women moved in across the hall from me. One is a middle-aged gym teacher and the other is a social worker in her mid twenties. These two women go everywhere together and I've never seen a man go into or leave the apartment. Do you think they could be Lebanese?

Dear Abby,
What can I do about all the Sex, Nudity, Fowl Language and Violence On My VCR?

Dear Abby,
I have a man I can't trust. He cheats so much, I'm not even sure the baby I'm carrying is his.

Dear Abby,
I am a twenty-three year old liberated woman who has been on the pill for two years. It's getting expensive and I think my boyfriend should share half the cost, but I don't know him well enough to discuss money with him.

Dear Abby,
I've suspected that my husband has been fooling around, and when confronted with the evidence, he denied everything and said it would never happen again.

Dear Abby,
Our son writes that he is taking Judo. Why would a boy who was raised in a good Christian home turn against his own?

Dear Abby,
I joined the Navy to see the world. I've seen it. Now, how do I get out?

Dear Abby,
My forty year old son has been paying a psychiatrist $50.00 an hour every week for two and a half years. He must be crazy.

Dear Abby,
I was married to Bill for three months and I didn't know he drank until one night he came home sober.

Dear Abby,
My mother is mean and short tempered. I think she is going through mental pause.

Dear Abby,
You told some woman whose husband had lost all interest in sex to send him to a doctor. Well, my husband lost all interest in sex and he is a doctor. Now what do I do?

Remember these people can vote which probably explains the current situation in Washington, DC.

It probably most definitely explains Barack Obama. But leave us not digress. Too much, anyway.


Via Phlegmmy

I’ve always liked this song (which: Gary Jules' version of Mad World by Tears for Fears), and this video struck me in just the right way this morning. Some people’s creativity is simply astounding, innit? The video is more than worth the wait to download, even if you’re on dial-up. If you have broadband just sit back and enjoy. Twice, even.


Yesterday’s “Quote of the Day,” (that would be MY term in quotes, not AFA’s) from the Air Force Association’s web site:

“What’s it like being retired?”
“My wife was asking me the other day, ‘What’s it like being retired?’ ... For the first year or so, I had plenty of time on my hands. I would get up whenever I would want in the morning. Nobody called me at night. I didn’t have anybody bugging me about work. No expectations. I could play golf whenever I wanted. And I told her I always wanted to know what it was like to be a Navy admiral.”
—retired Gen. Chuck Wald, joking about his experiences after leaving the Air Force in July 2006 following 36 years of service while addressing a Capitol Hill audience on energy security issues, April 15, 2008.

From a recurring feature titled “Verbatim,” which changes daily…

Monday, April 28, 2008

Word Verification...

Most of you have noticed Blogger's word verification feature has taken on a "new look" lately... and that ain't A Good Thing. I turned my word verification OFF this morning, simply because the new word pictures are nearly impossible to read. I've had to make four or more attempts at deciphering the word puzzle-pic at numerous blogs today and it's extremely irritating!

If you don't like this new "feature," go here to complain! You'll have to join the group first, though, but it's a fairly easy process. Hell, this Ol' Geezer (that would be me) figured it out, so it can't be THAT hard, eh?

That Was Quick...

Just off the Brown Truck of Happiness... not six minutes ago. Pretty cool, eh? (The shirt, Gentle Reader...the shirt.)

An Early Start

I did something quite unusual (for me) today: I set my alarm clock. Well, that’s not quite true since I no longer own an alarm clock. I set my cell phone, same diff. I had to get up early, as today was The Annual Feeding of the Vampires, courtesy of the Cannon AFB hospital clinic. At 0830 hrs. Which, as you know, Gentle Reader, is as close to the crack o’ dawn as it gets these days, unless I watch the sun come up from the wrong side of the bed. But I was a good boy last evening, retiring sometime just after midnite and sleeping fitfully until the cell phone went off at 0600. I also set the timer on the coffee pot last evening before I hit the sack, so all I had to do this morning was roll out, get the half and half out of the fridge, and pour that first cup: no waiting required.
Nice, that. I’d do it more often… if I kept regular hours.
So…I’m back from the base, the vampires are fed, and the car has been fed, too. At $3.73/gallon (premium). About which: Aiiieee! The Green Hornet took a lil over eight gallons this morning, for a total of slightly less than $32.00. I’d damned sure hate to fill up El Casa Móvil De Pennington at these prices…
Well, this guy might know a lil something about the Rangers, but it’s clear he don’t know sh!t about Deetroit:
I never liked the Avalanche. Still don't. But, rooting interests aside, I have to give them the edge over Detroit.
Right from the get-go, I never endorsed Mike Babcock having ancient Dom Hasek in goal. Sure, Chris Osgood has been an effective pinch-goalie, but Jose Theodore has been out of his mind all year. In goal, it's no-contest.
Colorado's defense hardly impresses me, while Detroit's -- thanks to Nik Lidstrom -- does. But what I can't feel strongly about is the Red Wings' offense delivering in the clutch.
Nashville proved that the Wings are vulnerable, and I expect that Colorado will be more invasive than the talent-short Predators. Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Ryan Smyth and Paul Stastny comprise a formidable quartet. They should drive Hasek or Osgood nuts, and either replacement will have migraines.
Heh. Need some picanté sauce with them words?
So… there was this interesting link in Site Meter this morning and I chased it up to find…

Buck Pennington: Docked in Portales

Monday, Apr 28 2008, 6:00 am
If you Google "Portales" you will soon find this Web log:
Buck Pennington describes himself as a "retired guy who lives in a motor home, currently docked in Portales, NM."
That’s in the Clovis News-Journal’s Editor’s Blog. Other breaking news: the opera is coming to Tucumcari, just in case you wanted to know.
I need to finish making the rounds now. I may be back later with more interesting stuff, depending on what I find…

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Game Two

Colorado coach Joel Quenneville, center, and the Avalanche look glum on their bench after Johan Franzen scored his third goal of the game, making it 5-1 and sealing the victory.”
(Detroit News photo and caption.)
The gloves hit the ice, albeit delicately, and the Joe Louis Arena crowd practically jumped to the roof.
Darren McCarty and Colorado's Cody McCormick engaged in the old hockey warrior's tribal dance -- slowly circling, then gradually moving toward each other, one tempting the other with the question all have waited to be asked in this young series.
Do you want to go?
But in the new NHL, you must first politely request a skirmish with your potential adversary.
"I had to ask him again," McCarty said. "Are you sure? Then let's go."
The pair staged a pugilistic throwback Saturday, reminding us that although the majority of names have changed on the sweaters, there remains an inner hostility when it's the Wings and Colorado on the ice in the playoffs.
The Wings are forcing the fight, applying relentless pressure on the Avalanche and precipitating an avalanche of rapidly falling Colorado intensity and discipline. The Avs already are gasping for breath, and they're a mile down at sea level.
The Wings assumed a 2-0 series lead with their 5-1 win.
But because it's the Stanley Cup playoffs where momentum change is often one unfortunate bounce away, everyone must resist the urge to immediately take a shovel to the Avalanche's chances of making this an interesting series.
The Avs are beaten down physically and mentally. But wasn't Nashville as well two games into the last series?
Franzen has been this series' star with five goals in two games, including the Wings' first playoff hat trick since McCarty did it six years ago against the Avalanche in the conference finals.
"That's pretty cool," said McCarty, told he had the previous hat trick. "But (Franzen's) caught me now, so that means I've got to do it again."
McCarty perfectly performed his role. This was precisely why fans wanted him back. He's the old-school policeman trying to find his identity within a league that now frowns upon frontier justice.
That’s Drew Sharp, writing in today’s Freep, and note the highlighted bits. D-Mac ain't just an enforcer, to make things perfectly clear. But when it comes to fighting... McCarty can hang in there with the best of 'em. Joe Lewis Arena literally erupted when McCarty and McCormick went at it yesterday, and although the fight was a draw, it certainly energized the crowd. Interestingly, McCarty gets the honor of being in the Wings’ first fight during these play-offs, and yesterday’s fisticuffs at The Joe was just the fifth fight in ALL play-off games to date. The NHL on NBC commentators threw out some fast facts about play-off fights to illustrate just how much the NHL has changed of late. Their first exchange drew knowing chuckles from both color guys… both of whom are ex-players… who began their discussion by mentioning the Wings were “a very different team back in ‘87… when Probert and Kocur were still around.” I’m quoting from memory here, but I seem to recall the announcers saying something to the effect there were 17 fights in the first round alone that year, followed by some astronomical number (that I don’t remember) for the entire play-offs. As for today? Well…this ain’t your father’s NHL. I’ll not get too nostalgic — it’s sufficient to say I miss the old league.
The bigger story, of course, is the Wings’ dominating performance in yesterday’s game, not the least of which was Johan Franzen’s previously mentioned hat trick. Franzen’s nickname is “The Mule” but he’s more like a horse, in that the Wings have saddled him up and rode him to victory in these first two games of the second round. Franzen is also tied for the most goals in the play-offs so far (seven, along with the Flyers Briere)…and to say he’s been stellar in the play-offs so far is an understatement of massive proportions.
Franzen’s performance is just one of the things that make this year’s Wings so dangerous for the opposition, along with guys like Zetterburg, Datsyuk, Holmstrom, Lidstrom, Draper, McCarty…yadda, yadda. And let’s not forget great goaltending… Osgood’s 1.09 goals-against-average is third in play-offs (as of today), and first amongst starting goalies. So, yeah…the sticks are falling the right direction. It looks like the intangibles are there, too, but that remains to be seen. The next two games in Denver will reveal a lot… if not everything… about how far the Wings can go this year.
As for the Avs? Only a fool would count them out, but it sure ain’t looking good for them right about now. Everyone seems to think the Avs will be a completely different team when and if Peter Forsberg gets healthy and returns to the line up. But Forsberg is just one guy. Yeah, he’s good… great, even. Yes, he’s a leader. Yes, he’s a motivator. Yes, his performance has been a key factor in the Avs’ past successes. But Sakic and Foote, just to name two guys, were also “keys to success” in the past, and they haven’t shown up in this series…so far. As I said: all (or most) will be revealed next week at the Pepsi Center. Some guys in Denver ain’t optimistic.
Highlights from yesterday’s game. All the goals, some of the hits, and a brief view of the fight:

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Just Before the Game Starts...

Which city in the world has the most billionaires? The answer might surprise ya… I sure was (surprised). It ain’t Noo Yawk but you’d be close, if that was your guess. And Bill Gates is no longer the richest person in the world. He’s slipped to Number Three. Poor Bill, eh?


Your elected officials (if ya live in Florida) at work:

TALLAHASSEE, Florida (Reuters) - Senate lawmakers in Florida have voted to ban the fake bull testicles that dangle from the trailer hitches of many trucks and cars throughout the state.

Republican Sen. Cary Baker, a gun shop owner from Eustis, Florida, called the adornments offensive and proposed the ban. Motorists would be fined $60 for displaying the novelty items, which are known by brand names like "Truck Nutz" and resemble the south end of a bull moving north.

The Florida Senate voted last week to add the measure to a broader transportation bill, but it is not included in the House version.

In a spirited debate laced with double entendre, Senate lawmakers questioned whether the state should curtail freedom of expression in vehicle accessories.

Critics of the ban included the Senate Rules Chairman, Sen. Jim King, a Jacksonville Republican whose truck sported a pair until his wife protested.

The bill's sponsor doubted it would succeed.

"It's probably not going to make it through the process," Baker said on Thursday. "It won't be much of story in a few days."

Yep, they got no balls, those guys… and they don’t want YOU to have any, either. Not visibly, anyway.

Don’t these guys have something better to do? Like change the date on the state’s primary election, or something? Anything?


One of the downsides of the hockey play-offs is the games pre-empt things I would otherwise watch… for reasons various and sundry. A classic example: The Obamanon’s former pastor, Reverend Wright, was on Bill Moyers Journal (transcript here, which I haven’t read, yet. But I will. After hockey.) last evening for an extended interview, in case you missed all the brouhaha surrounding this very public event.

Fox News touched on Wright-Moyers lightly, but CNN had extensive clips from the show and waaay too much “analysis” on the subject, which devolved into both extended navel-gazing interspersed with moments of highly charged, partisan argument between Hillary and Obama supporters. But… I don’t have first-hand knowledge of the interview itself because, as noted, I was watching hockey all evening and late into the night. That said, Ann Althouse has a lengthy and quite good post up on the subject today… if you’re at all interested. Excerpt:

Moyers plays a long chunk of the sermon that ends "God damn America," and asks "What did you mean when you said that?"

Wright answers that governments can deviate from the will of God and says "you are made in the image of God, you're not made in the image of any particular government." What should follow is a statement about the degree of allegiance people owe to their country, but Wright jumps to an invocation of free speech: "We have the freedom here in this country to talk about that publicly, whereas some other places, you're dead if say the wrong thing about your government."

At this point, Moyers could follow up either with a question about the allegiance religious people owe to a country they think has deviated from the will of God or a question about how, while it's true that Americans have free speech, free speech includes criticizing the things people say. But Moyers observes, inanely: "Well, you can be almost crucified for saying what you've said here in this country." Moyers extends his heartfelt sympathy to Wright for the suffering — the suffering of Christ! — he's endured over mere words.

Wright accepts the comforting: "That's true. That's true. But you can be crucified, you can be crucified publicly, you can be crucified by corporate-owned media." You know, you could be nailed to a cross or you could be lambasted in the media. The corporate-owned media. (Getting criticized on independent blogs may not quite equate with crucifixion. Maybe we bloggers correspond to mere flogging or piercing with thorns.)

Moyers and Wright are fellow-travelers in my view. Moyers, as an über-lib, has never met anyone critical of America he didn’t/doesn’t like. That said, Moyers is usually standard Friday-night fare for me… “know your enemy,” and all that. I was gonna do the UCR strike-out thingie with “enemy” and replace it with “opposition,” but…nope. Moyers IS the frickin’ enemy, as far as I’m concerned. I have a serious dislike for that guy. That’s putting it mildly.

Anyhoo. If you don’t want to wade through Moyers’ puff-piece, Ms. Althouse has the salient points. Long, it is, but quite good.


And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a hockey game to watch in about 10 minutes or so. One must prepare, ya know.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Lessons in Writing Humility

(OK… I was saving this post for tomorrow. But My Bud Dan’s comment to the post immediately below cut me to the quick. He’s right. I’ve been phoning it in of late. So here’s something that contains a lil bit more “substance.” Not a lot, mind you…just some.)

Apropos of not much…but, by way of introduction, this: I’m often struck by the quality of writing I encounter in my wanderings around these here inter-tubes. Or, more better, the absolute dismal state of most of the writing I encounter. Present company excepted, of course. All y’all write well, for the most part. There are exceptions…and all I can offer is: “if the shoe fits…” But in most cases it won’t fit. Mainly coz I have little or no tolerance for poor writing, there being some exceptions. I’ll leave it at that… criticizing others is not what we’re on about in this post.

The Second Mrs. Pennington and I, the both of us being professional writers (of a sort) and more to the point… she being an English teacher (of a sort)… used to have this on-going argument discussion as to whether good writing can be taught, or not. My position has changed back and forth over the years and still isn’t firmed up to this very day. On the one hand, the mechanics of writing most certainly can be taught… which is to say grammar, punctuation, subject-verb agreement, and the like. Anyone with half a brain can go out and buy a copy of Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style,” study it intently, absorb all the lessons therein, and call himself a writer. And a lot of people do just that. On the Other Hand… good grammar and punctuation doesn’t begin to make what we know as “good” writing. It’s a start, but only a start.

Once upon a time I considered myself a “good” writer. I’d taken several undergrad courses in English and composition, I had a fairly extensive writing background acquired as an additional-duty Public Affairs Officer (NCO, actually, but the title was “PAO”), and was recognized by various and sundry Air Force supervisors and such as a “go-to” guy when it came to putting words on paper. So, it came to pass (in my post-USAF career) I was assigned to a proposal writing team sometime in 1986 or thereabouts. And here for your illumination, Gentle Reader, is my very first effort in this space, as returned “for corrections” by my proposal editor:

(click for larger, if you have the inclination)

Bloody. Literally dripping with blood, in the form of the dread red editor’s pen, and this is but four of 14 pages, all similarly deeply scarred and dripping red. Including all 14 pages in this post would be overkill, not to mention boring beyond belief. My draft was returned with a post-it attached that said “Good Work!” (the post-it has gone missing after all these years). I scanned my draft, bloody as it was, and immediately went to my proposal manager/editor and said words to the effect of “You think this is Good?”… to which she replied “Yeah. I didn’t tell you to re-write it, did I?” Well, OK, then.

So... I returned to my desk, made the corrections and re-submitted my draft, which was accepted without further edits. Things got progressively better for me (and my editor) as time went on. At the end of the six-month pursuit cycle I came out a much better writer than when I went in. My first proposal was a learning experience of the first order.

I became very, very close to my editor… a woman by the name of Mary who later went on to become an EDS corporate VP, and I had the delightful opportunity to work with her on a couple of other proposals while she was still doing that particular gig. I learned nearly everything I know about writing today from that woman… lessons that are much too detailed to repeat here but had a lot… nay, everything… to do with word-choice, economy of language, what to leave in your writing, and… much more importantly… what to take out. Another thing Mary emphasized is one needs to recognize good writing before one can even begin to emulate it. In other words: good writers are voracious readers. Mary was also of the opinion that the best writers read a wide variety of “stuff…” fiction, non-fiction, op-eds, soup cans, cereal boxes, and (she emphasized) poetry. Mary maintained poets are all about economy of language, which, to her way of thinking, is the very essence of communication.

Mary was a wise woman indeed. My only regret is I failed to keep in touch with her. So... take what you will from this, and leave the rest. Such as it is.

Small Stuff

I know most of you Gentle Readers don’t give two hoots in Hell about my hockey posts (Becky), so here’s a few mundane, trivial, most un-interesting bits from life this past week…

I had an interesting sort of experience yesterday. So… there I was (all war stories told by USAF veterans begin this way, no matter how hair-raising or mundane they may be, and no matter if you’re still part of The World’s Greatest Air Force, or not. That’s just the way it IS, Gentle Reader.)… sitting at my desk around 1145 hrs, drinking the third cup of the day and making the rounds when the phone rings. Dr.Thompson’s office on the line…asking if I might could come in today and have that MRI done? Early? Dr. Thompson got his new MRI machine installed and the staff were going through training with a factory rep and they wanted real, live patients to practice on. Well, sure… but ya gotta give me a half-hour to clean up and get dressed.

I did just that (showered and scraped my face) and scooted on downtown. The ensuing 45 minutes were pretty cool, what with four women fussing over me, the Good Doctor hovering in the background, and such. The staff took two MRIs, and then I went on my way, but not before briefly discussing the wonderfulness of the new machine with the factory rep and staff. I was most gratified to learn the machine is American-made, and I said so…which prompted a brief round of vigorous north-south head nods and a couple of “ain’t that the truth” war stories. Until I said “But who am I to talk? I drive a Japanese car…” followed by incredulous looks from the staff and then (thankfully) laughter.

I really like my dentist, Gentle Reader, and the whole staff, for that matter. Good folks, they are. The best.


My motivational mojo has kinda-sorta returned. Enough for me to buy myself a new vacuum cleaner earlier this week (Hey. I said this was “small stuff.” Whaddaya expect?). I’ve been living with this lil piece o’ crap vacuum for the last five years or so, which is essentially a hand-held vac that fits into a handle with a built-in and supremely ineffective carpet brush as part of the bargain. But it was small and fit into my closet quite well, and space (specifically storage space and the lack of same in El Casa Móvil De Pennington) was the driving criterion behind its purchase.

So. I bring the new vacuum home and have to try it out immediately. Imagine my shock: after vacuuming this oh-so-small space I was startled to discover the dirt canister was half-full. This, after I had vacuumed a scant three days earlier. God only knows how many years have been taken off the life of my carpet because of inadequate cleaning. But: no more.

Still more evidence of returning motivation… I attempted to replace the tinted window film on the afternoon-sun-side of the house yesterday and was semi-successful. I’d bought new film at the same time I bought the new vacuum and set about trying to install it yesterday… only to give up in disgust. The instructions for said film said there was a “transparent protective film on the adhesive side” which must be separated from the film before application. Well, that might be true but I strongly suspect it’s NOT… coz I spent a half-hour trying to separate the non-existent “protective layer” from what was CLEARLY one single piece of film. I gave up in disgust and threw the whole shootin’ match in the trash. Fortunately I had some static-cling film left over from last year’s application and the remnants were just enough to cover one window.

It's not often you encounter situations like this without having to make a return trip to the store. I like it when a plan comes together...accidently, or otherwise.


“Walk away with victory…”

It’s an Al Green sort of day. And guess what? There’s NO wind to speak of! I’m gonna put this post up and go outside and fire up the first stick from a new box of Spanish Rosados, which the nice lady who drives the Brown Truck of Happiness put in my grubby lil hands this past Wednesday. And I’m gonna have a hefeweizen with it, too. Or two. Whatev.

So there you have it: an oh-so-mundane, yet 100% hockey-free post. You’re welcome.

Game One

Ozzie Makes THE Save of the Game, with 8.4 seconds on the the third. (Detroit News photo)

Well, we took Game One…and the game was nearly as good as Wings – Avs games of old. Here’s Helene St. James, writing in The Freep:
The Red Wings saw their lead dwindle goal by goal but held on through a fierce, last-minute attack to defeat their old playoff rivals.
Pumped up by two goals from Johan Franzen and saved by a particularly big stop by Chris Osgood, the Wings took Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal against Colorado, 4-3, on Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena.
Franzen helped the Wings build a 4-1 lead 21:13 into the game, chasing goalie Jose Theodore, but the Avs scored twice in the second period to make it a one-goal game for the final 20 minutes. Osgood made 18 saves, his biggest on former Spartan John-Michael Liles with eight seconds remaining.
"We have to play with more focus, a little more solid defense, otherwise they're going to take advantage of it," Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg said.
The Wings showed the same tendency in Round 1, allowing Nashville to get back into games rather than putting them away.
"We owned the first period and the first half of the second, but then we let them back in," Franzen said. "We're usually better playing with a one-goal lead than we are playing with a multi-goal lead. We relax and let them back in. It's a mix from them being desperate, as well. They have nothing to lose when they're down. We haven't been able to stop them so far, so we have to do a little bit better job there to play for 60 minutes."
(ed: about the octopi…for the uninitiated yet curious among you.)
When I say nearly as good as the Old Days I mostly mean edge-of-your-seat suspense, coupled with some really beautiful hockey. There wasn’t one fight last night, no one was ejected, and the penalties were relatively few (five on the Avs, three on Detroit)…considering this IS the Wings – Avs we’re talking about. All in all… a most interesting game. Or, as I told SN1 last evening after Colorado scored its third goal, “this is getting TOO interesting!” But the Wings hung on to get the “W.” They’ll have to be a lil bit better than they were in the final period of last night’s game to take the series. There’s not much doubt in my mind they will be, but I’m thinking this series will last at least six games, if not seven.
Highlights from… all the goals, some of the hits and Ozzie’s brilliant save with 8-point-four-seconds left in the third to win it:
Game Two is tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. (EDT) on NBC.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


About which:
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Thank you for your recent order from Despair, Inc.
I'd like to personally welcome you to our growing body of Dissatisfied Customers(tm), but to do so might evidence some actual concern for service and protocol. This might then lead to customer satisfaction, which would defeat the purpose altogether. That is why you have received this generic, form-generated email, written by some nameless lackey in our marketing department.
Having established that any pretense of consideration for *your* needs would be counter-productive to our raison d'etre at Despair Inc, let us now ponder a subject of greater interest to those among us who are worthy of both of our collective attentions – that person being me.
[lots more dot-dot-dot]
[still more dot-dot-dot]
If any of the information shown below is inaccurate, please notify us immediately using our new Troubled Ticketing system.
We will rectify your error immediately, and on some occasions, without snickering.
It is the least we can do, which, as a matter of policy, is the most we can do.
Sincerely not really writing you this email,
E.L.Kersten, Ph.D.
Founder & COO,
Despair, Inc.
Should be here sometime next week. With any luck that will delay laundry yet another day. Or two.
Thanks, Anon.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Barrel, Bottom Of...

I’m having the damndest time viewing videos today and it’s irritating the living HELL out of me. At first I thought it might be me, or rather my system, so I cleared my cache. Nothing. Then I closed out Firefox and re-opened it. No joy. So I rebooted the whole box, and things worked “normally”… for about six or seven minutes. And then: nothing. I click on a video…any video… and I get that swirly thingie in the center of the vid that indicates loading is in progress, but it’s clearly NOT. There’s also a message in Firefox’s status bar at the bottom of the screen that sez something to the effect of “connecting to” while the swirly thingie continues to swirl…but NO frickin’ video. This is driving me NUTS.
Which, as Mom used to say, is a short trip. A very short trip.
Further on “Procrastination…” It occurred to me last evening that one of my “issues” these days is the decided lack of nagging in my life. Now most men would consider this particular lack a blessing, and I most certainly DO… most of the time. But, let’s be honest about this, Guys. A lot of stuff gets done around the house (other places, too) simply because the nag-ee desperately wants the nag-er to STFU. Or more diplomatic words to that effect. Men being men, inertia will raise its ugly lil head in the absence of “motivation.” We’ll do what’s expedient, we’ll do the absolute minimum of what’s required to keep us breathing, fed, and smelling less bad to those we encounter, and we’ll most definitely accomplish things that must be done in the face of penalties…such as paying the bills on time. But we’ll also put off to the VERY LAST MICROSECOND those things we find distasteful or even boring. If left to our own devices, that is. In my current situation, for example, I find reading every single game recap and poring over obscure hockey stats infinitely preferable to, say, doing laundry. Especially since I haven’t even come close to tapping the emergency vintage tee shirt supply, and I don’t wear socks once the temp is consistently over 60 degrees. Ergo: there’s no real need to do laundry, yet. That changes, once the supply of clean clothes runs out. Or: I’ll be off to the laundromat in my LAST clean tee shirt at the very last microsecond.
Necessity is the Mom of Execution in My World. NOT invention, as is commonly thought.
Oh. I don’t want a live-in nag, thankyouverymuch, if you’re thinking along those lines. Procrastination may be bad, but there are worse things in life.
I’ve been keeping a weather eye (heh) on the skies all day… we’re under a severe t-storm watch as I speak, and although there’s been storms all around P-Ville today we’ve received nary a drop. Lotsa wind, though.
What’s new?
Today’s Pics: From the “Wishing I Were Somewhere Else” files… and this place would be as good as any and better than MOST. An interior shot of my room at the Swissotel Hotel in A-dam, and the view from my window in that very same room. Taken during the Great European Divorce Tour of 1999.
Yes… we ARE scraping the bottom of the barrel. Time to fire up the ol’ scanner, innit?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


... but not the monetary sort of shilling, which no longer exists anyway (if you don't count Austrian schillings, with a "c," to be accurate). It's the "go-look-at-this-stuff" sort of shill. Just for grins and giggles I went over to to check out the latest de-motivational posters (one of which headlined my post, below) and found they're doing merchandise now. They've got some pretty funny stuff there.

I'd buy the shirt above if the verbiage was changed from "your blog" to "my blog." Coz it would be entirely (and sadly) true...but funny. I've always been into self-deprecating humor and this would most certainly fit if the change was made.


… is getting the better best of me. There are any number of things that should be done around El Casa Móvil De Pennington but, sad to say, aren’t. Things like “wash the car,” which really, reeelly needs it, since the rain last week (last week!) made a complete and total mess out of it. Things like the full laundry bag, which sits in plain sight and silently nags me each time I glance over at the corner where it sits. Things like take Ms. Zukiko in for her first service, which has been delayed since January (!) because it’s still pretty danged chilly in the morning and I don’t ride if the temp is below 60 degrees (now we’re into serious rationalizations, which includes the fact that Zia Powersports doesn’t “do” appointments, it’s “get it in before 0830 hours.” That’s out of the frickin’ question this time of year. As I said: serious rationalization.). So... we're not even close to beginning these things, let alone completing them. They're not even on the “To-Do” list except for the one I keep mentally, and that particular list is kicking my butt, as we speak. Otherwise, why would I be whining about it, in public, even?
In my defense (now here I go…playing point – counterpoint with myself!), I have taken care of everything on the formal (written) To-Do list, the last of which I scratched off this morning, to wit: order new tires. This is a classic example of the seriousness of the problema I’m moaning about… in that I became aware I need new tires on April 4th, and finally took action today, April 22. Also on the To-Do, and done: call my broker and arrange to have money transferred out of my 401(k) into my cash account to cover the first installment on my new teeth. That lil item contributed in no small part to the angst I’m baring in this public space, as well.
About which… astute readers will note the two month lag between my Adventures in Magnetic Resonance Imaging and the transfer of money to cover the ensuing and subsequent dental adventure, the first installment of which begins next month with sinus lifts on both sides of my face. That is major surgery accompanied by general anesthesia, an event that, while necessary, fails to (a) fill me with anticipation and (b) excite me. Quite the contrary, but back to the delay. It seems the quality of MRIs done at the local hôpital is somewhat lacking. So much so that Dr. Thompson (who I dearly love, this screed should in NO way be construed as being critical of him or his services, which are frickin’ great) is having his very own MRI machine installed in his offices, and we’ll do that MRI thing one more time before my surgery. But the Good Doctor will do this next MRI gratis, which is a Good Thing indeed. Coz MRIs are pretty danged pricey, Gentle Reader.
But… back to the whining. I was also informed that my situation is worse than originally estimated, thus the two vs. one sinus lift that was originally called for. That, of course, results in increased cost, which is now up to the equivalent of 72.4% of a new Miata (and that is an actual percentage figure, not an estimate. According to the Kelley Blue Book.). And we’re not talking your basic Miata here, Gentle Reader… nope, we’re talking loaded, full-boat Miata…top o’ the line with retractable hardtop, satellite radio, Bose audio, sport suspension, six-speed, leather, yadda, yadda.
{sigh} It’s always sumthin’, ain’t it? But what does all this moaning and groaning have to do with my To-Do list, you ask? It’s state-of-mind, Gentle Reader…just state-of-mind. Which ain’t too good these days.
But we’ll get over it. We always do. I’ll not whine again for at least a month. That’s my promise to you.
Thanks for listening.


...from the comments to the front page:

As promised, you are now a character in the stupidest play ever written. Well, actually, I didn't promise to make you a character in the stupidest play ever written, but that's how it turned out. Come see for yourself...

That's Jim talking. Do go. In addition to being entertained (highly entertained!), you’ll probably see some folks you know from the neighborhood in addition to YrHmblScrb. Who, methinks, delivers his lines quite well. (he said, modestly)

Monday, April 21, 2008

P.J. on the T.R.

Via (who else?) Lex… one of my favorite auteurs visits The Big Stick… ostensibly looking for “background” on one of our presidential candidates. And he finds it… In Spades:

Some say John McCain's character was formed in a North Vietnamese prison. I say those people should take a gander at what John chose to do--voluntarily. Being a carrier pilot requires aptitude, intelligence, skill, knowledge, discernment, and courage of a kind rarely found anywhere but in a poem of Homer's or a half gallon of Dewar's. I look from John McCain to what the opposition has to offer. There's Ms. Smarty-Pantsuit, the Bosnia-Under-Sniper-Fire poster gal, former prominent Washington hostess, and now the JV senator from the state that brought you Eliot Spitzer and Bear Stearns. And there's the happy-talk boy wonder, the plaster Balthazar in the Cook County political crèche, whose policy pronouncements sound like a walk through Greenwich Village in 1968: "Change, man? Got any spare change? Change?"

Some people say John McCain isn't conservative enough. But there's more to conservatism than low taxes, Jesus, and waterboarding at Gitmo. Conservatism is also a matter of honor, duty, valor, patriotism, self-discipline, responsibility, good order, respect for our national institutions, reverence for the traditions of civilization, and adherence to the political honesty upon which all principles of democracy are based. Given what screw-ups we humans are in these respects, conservatism is also a matter of sense of humor. Heard any good quips lately from Hillary or Barack?

Oh, my. Yes. Do read the whole thing, coz P.J. is at his finest here. And it’s more of a tour of (and a paean about) magnificent machinery and the kids that make it go than a political piece. I just chose the political bits because they rang MY bell, ya know?

After-Action Report

So. SN1 pulled in to El Casa Móvil De Pennington around 1230 hrs yesterday afternoon and is on the road again this morning, headed back to South Carolina. The visit, short as it was, was a good one. We drank a few beers, shared a few war-stories, and watched hockey… two games, in fact. We watched ALL of the Deetroit game and most of the Dallas-Anaheim tilt before Buck had to take off and spend time with his in-laws. All in all: good times, and they happen way too infrequently these days.
As for yesterday’s (premier) game? Well, the outcome was as good as it gets. From The Detroit News:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Shades of 2002 against the Canucks, that's exactly what it was.
Same player, Nicklas Lidstrom. Identical type of goal.
Lidstrom took a shot from the neutral zone officially listed at 103 feet that bounced, hit a bump, took off in a direction unexpected by Nashville Predators goalie Dan Ellis on Sunday and into the net in the second period.
The improbable goal triggered a 3-0 Wings victory over the Predators, helping the Wings win the first-round series in six games.
Detroit now awaits the identity of its second-round opponent. Calgary beat San Jose, 2-0, Sunday to force a Game 7 in that series. If Calgary wins that series, Detroit would face Colorado Calgary (ed: a rare screw-up by a sportswriter). If San Jose wins, Detroit will play Colorado.
Shades of 2002, indeed. The Wings were on the ropes in that first round series, down 0-2 to eighth seed Vancouver. And then Lidstrom scored that fluky goal and the Wings proceeded to win four straight, advancing to the second round on their way to winning the Stanley Cup. They faced Colorado in the conference final that year… an exciting series that went seven games, ending with a 7-0 blowout in Game Seven.
I watched that game in a sports bar in San Francisco… which was filled to over-flowing with Wings and Avs fans in approximately equal numbers. My fondest memory of that game…and that series… was a particularly loud Avs fan that ripped off his Patrick Roy jersey at the end of the game and stomped on it in frustration, accompanied by LOUD cheers from the Wings fans in the bar. As for me? I was at a table with three other expat Wings fans, and we celebrated like there was no tomorrow. But there was a tomorrow, and it just kept getting better and better. The Wings, as previously noted, went on to win the Cup, beating Carolina in five games.
So. Shades of 2002. One can only hope
One thing we know for sure: The Wings won’t face Anaheim anytime soon. The Stars sent the Ducks off to the golf course last night, coming from behind to beat Anaheim by a score of 4-1. In Dallas, which was way-cool. This might just end my rooting for the Stars this year… unless San Jose prevails over Calgary. At which point I’ll back the Stars against the Sharks.
Tonight I’ll be rooting for the B’s when they play game seven against the Habs in Montreal. This particular series has been among the best in the first round, and tonight’s game ought to be a real classic…what with two Original Six teams going head-to-head in a game seven for the seventh time in their long-standing rivalry. It’s gonna take some REAL doing to get more exciting than Boston’s 5-4 win in this past Friday’s game, however. I don’t want to seem like a guy who’s overly impressed with the last game he saw… but Friday night’s game was simply superlative, what with Boston overcoming one-goal deficits three times to win it in the last three minutes of the game. Hockey rarely gets any better than that, period. I don’t expect any less tonight.
Photo: Nashville goalie Dan Ellis shakes Chris Osgood’s hand after yesterday’s game. David Guralnick / The Detroit News
Just for grins… My Bud Ed in Florida sends the following along…
Jake is 5 and learning to read. He points at a picture in a zoo book and says,
"Look Mama! It's a frickin' Elephant!"
Deep breath. "What did you call it?"
"It's a frickin' Elephant, Mama! It says so on the picture!"
and so it does ...
"A f r i c a n Elephant "
Hooked on phonics!!! Ain't it wonderful?
Indeed. Wonderful!
And now it’s off to make the rounds…

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Late and Oh-So-Abbreviated Saturday Post

It was a major housecleaning day here at El Casa Móvil De Pennington, mostly because of SN1’s imminent arrival, which I believe is supposed to be sometime late tomorrow morning. At any rate… he’s on the road as we speak, having left Beautiful Lost Wages, NV sometime earlier today.

And about that major housecleaning: we wouldn’t want our offspring to think we live like pigs, now, would we? I’m VERY glad whenever visitors come through P-Ville. Incentive, ya know. It’s waaay too easy for me to do that “mañana” thing when it comes to housecleaning. I keep the place reasonably well picked up, dusted, and I do vacuum occasionally. But I did some major work today, such as getting rid of eleventy pounds of old NatGeos, Air Force magazines, and such. It was past time to purge, judging from the heft of the garbage bags I trundled off to the dumpster… and there was more, too. But I’ll not give you the play-by-play of my housecleaning activities.

You’re welcome.

So. All that is done and I finished off a late lunch from Subway about an hour or so ago. About which: as I was getting into the car to leave Subway, a 50-ish woman with a teenager and a couple of dogs in her Subaru pulled into the parking space adjacent to mine. I gave her a polite smile as she got out of her car and she quickly turned her head away from me. That puzzled me for a brief moment, but all was revealed as I backed out of my parking space and got a good long look at the back of her Subaru. The thing was literally covered with moonbat bumper stickers… a pristine “Kerry-Edwards” sticker (obviously well-cared for, maybe even waxed), several flavors of “Bush Lied – People Died” stickers, an Eastern NM U sticker, and an “Honor Teachers!” sticker, among many others. The last of which made me chuckle to myself. I do “honor teachers,” but I most definitely don’t honor those who flagrantly flaunt their ideological immersion, especially those of the “Bush Lied” persuasion. It doesn’t take too much imagination to picture what this woman’s classroom environment is like…

Oh. And why, you may ask, Gentle Reader, did the woman turn away and avoid my smile? I suspect it might have been this:

Ya think?

Today's Question: Why does it seem like it’s always Subarus that are festooned with moonbat shit? You rarely see a Ford or Chevy so adorned, unless it’s over 20 years of age (the car, not the owner).


Friday, April 18, 2008

Yet Another Good Read

Today is the 66th anniversary of the famous Tokyo Raid, led by General (then Lieutenant Colonel) Jimmy Doolittle. Wherein Gen. Doolittle and his brave men flew B-25s off of aircraft carriers to strike the heart of Imperial Japan. USAAF bombers…flying off of Navy carriers. As SJS sez: "Joint" before Joint was kewl.

Steeljaw Scribe has a great post (with video!) commemorating the event. And, as noted in the title, yet another good great read.

Do go.


Have you ever seen mammatus clouds, Gentle Reader? Well, here's a shot of some, from that Wiki link:

But... there are more, and MUCH better, photos here...which is THE reason for this post. I'd have posted one of those pics, but the images are clearly copyrighted, much to my dismay. So you gotta chase the link. It's oh-so-worth your time to do just that. I had a hard time believing the images weren't photo-shopped. Amazing.

And... I think the clouds are aptly-yclept. Coz they look like huge celestial mammary glands. Thus spake The Dirty Ol' Man, reverently.

(h/t: Phlegmmy)

All The Buzz That Fits...

This lil item, while not the lede on memeorandum, is the second-from-the-top story as I type. From the LA Times: Barack Obama makes a one-fingered gesture while speaking of Hillary Clinton.”

Whaddaya think? I think the Times has frickin’ lost it. You know I think Barry’s nothing but an opportunistic empty suit, Gentle Reader. But I just don’t believe he’s flipping Hillary off here, despite the Times’ claims, to wit:

He pauses. He smiles slyly as the crowd begins to mumble and then he tries, somewhat distracted, to continue his remarks, smiling as the buzz spreads through the crowd.

He'll no doubt deny it later, but that mischievous smile seems to confirm plenty. And the crowd sure sees something.

I call bullshit, as do most people commenting on the Times site. Some Dems, however, wanna believe!

Sheesh. (That's for The LA Times, not Taylor Marsh.)

Update: A comment at Hot Air:

If he mooned Hillary, now that would be something.

hepcat on April 18, 2008 at 7:06 AM


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Just a Lil Sumthin I Found In Site Meter...

This doesn’t qualify as a “Fun With Site Meter” post… but I just had to share. Pay attention to the search term, OK?

Continent: Europe
: Germany (Facts)
: Baden-Wurttemberg
: Stuttgart

Language Danish
Time of Visit: Apr 17 2008 1:17:29 pm
Last Page View: Apr 17 2008 1:21:49 pm
Visit Length: 4 minutes 20 seconds
Page Views: 2
Referring URL:
Search Engine:
Search Words: dog humping painting
Visit Entry Page: http://exileinportal...7_02_01_archive.html
Visit Exit Page: http://exileinportal...7_02_01_archive.html

Now, don't get me wrong. The search term is crude, not funny. But the image this Danish googler clicked through on?


Your 15 minutes of fame may be up, Cindy… but your dog-humping persona (or would that be personality?) lives on.

PS: Click the search link if you doubt me. S'true.