Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Can it get any worse? Why yes, it can!

The NHL trade deadline passed yesterday and Rich Nash remains a Blue Jacket. It is understood that the price General Manager Scott Howson was asking was too high, which is all good and fine.

Then Howson had a press conference and announced that Nash was the one who asked to be traded.

I'm still trying to figure out why he did that. To me, this lowers the asking price for Nash. Twenty nine other teams are now certain that the player is the one who wants out, and what team wants a disgruntled player? A franchise player. A team captain.

How does Nash keep the "C" on his jersey after this?

It's going to be another sad ending to a Blue Jackets season, there are still twenty games to go.

How Howson can be given the keys to reassemble a team that is now shattered is beyond me. He is an architect of failure, what type of ownership would let him have the responsibility again?

I think I know the answer to my own question.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Gotta See it Die!

With two days left in the NHL Trading deadline the Blue Jackets have been quite active. Already Antoine Vermette and Jeff Carter have been jettisoned, with draft picks and the question mark that is defenseman Jack Johnson coming into the fold.

Anyone on the team is fair game for a trade. Whatever they can get for Pahlsson is the best deal for an over priced player who has never really shown any worth in his time here. And what of goaltender Steve Mason? How much longer must we continue to watch him fail and flail in net?

But what of Rick Nash? What happens to the face of the franchise?

Rumors of a deal involving Nash have been going around for weeks, but nothing has been done yet. It is said that GM Scott Howson has been asking too much for the captain, and that's alright by me. Maximize his value, get the most you can. It's also being said that if Nash is not dealt by the deadline he will almost certainly be gone over the summer.

I'm still not sure if he needs to be dealt. When the season started Carter, Wisniewski and Nash were being marketed as the cornerstones of the franchise. Tickets were sold based on their potential. As of Monday afternoon, two of these three players may no longer be on the team. What does that say about marketing and management of this franchise, that has had very little success in its ten years in the league?

I give you the record of the last two seasons of this team.



And this year

18-36-7, with 21 games left, a quarter of the season.

To me its clear that the architect of the team, General Manager Scott Howson, has a lot to answer for. The teams he have assembled have frankly, sucked and he's still being trusted to disassemble and polish the turd he has made. For this, I blame team owner John P. McConnell for allowing bad business to continue. Getting next year's All Star Game is not enough. This franchise is inept from the head on down. Moves at the top have to be made. Howson and Team President Mike Priest must go, along with noncontributing players.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Illegitimi non carborundum

One of the bravest performances I've ever seen.

Here's some of the context.

My respect for Kris Kristofferson went up another notch.

I hope she can keep herself intact. Her new record is pretty damn good.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pictures of Silly

Cleared out the cameras. Here's a photo dump from the past couple of months.

A weird car we saw at a thrift store on the south side. Yes, that's duct tape

Cute gal at the Tip Top

Cute kid at the therapist's office.

Badass kid at my workplace. He can have my job!

Says it all. Saw that in a parking lot on the north side.

Andy Anderson featuring at Writers' Block.

Two Gun McBride at his WB feature.

Using a toy appropriately. Yes, that's been sitting in the camera since Christmas

My friends Tyrone and Dave talking about what it's like to be tall.

Maybe I'll have more pictures soon. I do like taking them, it's too easy putting them on just the Facebook wall with the iPod though.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Saturday Vow Met

After driving by it for years and reading very high praise for the goodies we finally went into Pictacia Vera yesterday. It was around lunch, and I played a hunch that they offered lunch along with all their great desserts, and I was right.

You know how when you go to dinner with someone and you order different things and you sometimes silently think you ordered the better food than your companion. Well yesterday it was not me who ordered the better thing, and I was not silent about it!

I ordered a spinach, bacon and egg quiche that came with a side salad. It was good and all, maybe in comparison to what my wife ordered it was a mere sliver of substance. She ordered a baked egg, cheese and tomato dish that looked amazing, and it came with a toasted, sliced croissant with raspberry jam.

Looked very longingly at it the whole time I put various greens splashed with a vinaigrette into my mouth. Damn, she ordered a good thing.

After eating we hit the dessert case and got some macaroons along with a croissant for me in the morning and a slice of ginger cake for her. The Nutella macaroon was better than the passion fruit one. Both quite tasty. The food and desserts are not cheap, nor are they ridiculously over-priced either. You get quality. Consider Pistacia Vera the Jeni's of desserts.

Apologized to the clerk for living here for twenty one years and never once visiting, found out they have only been in that location for five. Will definitely return, and very soon.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Rest in Peace #8

Gary Carter died yesterday of brain cancer at the age of 57. One of the best catchers I ever saw. He joined the Mets in 1985 after an illustrious career with the Montreal Expos. He was the final piece to the championship puzzle, which would finally be solved in 1986. Without him, they would not have won.

Carter had constant enthusiasm on the field, led his team in hugging his teammates. Off the field he was a family man, but had his critics, especially when it came to having to pay for autographs, which Carter donated to his charity.

I've been reading tributes to him, Mets pitcher Ron Darling in a cancer awareness ad that aired during the World Series, held up a sign that read, "My catcher."

New manager of the Buffalo Bisons (the Mets AAA team) Wally Backman, said yesterday that, "Gary was ... if I had an idol as a player I played with, Gary would definitely be one of them. Without question. In remembering Gary, I'm going to wear 8 until somebody tells me I can't wear it."

I hope he wears it awhile, but I hope the Mets retire #8, in his memory. There's never going to be another like The Kid.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Open the door and let love in

Paying homage to your musical influences while paving your own way in the world of today's music is what The Explorers Club attempts to accomplish with their second record, Grand Hotel.

Each well crafted song is a pleasant game of spot the influence. From The Buckinghams, to Lou Christie, Burt Bachrach to Roy Orbison - Grand Hotel, for the most part, is a sparkling tribute to pop sounds of the late 1960's.

Like their first release, Freedom Wind, which exclusively pays homage to the Beach Boys, Grand Hotel is a shimmering aural display of sunshine, brilliantly mixed by Mark Linnett, made by musicians who play their own instruments. Musicians who sing harmony without the aid of auto tune.

Each room of Grand Hotel offers a treat, a Spanish guitar, Herb Alpert horns, anthem like strings - you want to stay in this Charleston, South Carolina's sextet's world for a long time. Yet I can't help looking for a little oomph, some soul, individual identity - something that tells me this band has more to say, without having to rely on the sounds of the past.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Rest in Peace.

Even if you were not a fan you seriously could not deny the power and range of her voice. It could caress you, slap you, shake you to the core.

I do not know why I always considered her younger than me when she was a year older.

Her debut was a hit machine and she followed it up right. She only had six studio albums. It seems like more. In the end, not enough. Another talent wasted by drugs, bad choices and who knows what else.

Her voice though, listen to it here. Incredible. It always will be.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

It has happened before, it will happen again

You will recall this recent post about editing a poem for time. So when I got up to read the poem during last nights slam I was all giddy because Tyrone was in the room. He's been in the southern hemisphere for a year and a half and is here for a brief visit. It was not like getting a Christmas present in February. It was a Christmas present in February.

The poem got a very positive reaction from the crowd, which caused me to pause a few extra times to let the crowd take it in. They felt it, and I felt them feeling it. Got back to my seat and Vernell gave me a stern look. She pointed at the clock.


Drew a 1.5 point time penalty that knocked me out of the first round by .1.

These things happen. Life goes on. Good to know I have a four minute poem to go with when the opportunity comes. This would probably make the poem in its original form at least six minutes, if not longer. Where the Hell am I going to read that?

I'm in the middle of reading an oral history of the eighties band The Replacements. This is a band that was completely out of my loop during the time they were starting out. It's kind of shocking, since they were a college radio band and I was living in a college radio station. I have no idea why I did not listen to them. Sure, I knew I Will Dare, anyone with indie cred should know that song.

But none of the others. Tim, Hootenanny, I did not listen to any of them. Have no idea what I was thinking. Guess I was listening to too much R.E.M. or something.

I'm at the point of the book where they're being offered a major label contract and the guys in the band a real assholes. I'm not impressed with the behavior of these drunken kids, if I owned a bar, they would have been banned in about ten minutes.

Very cool to note that there was a shout out to local music writer Curtis Scheiber, kind words about how he put the band up in his house for a few days while they were touring.

The music though. I gave a listen to Stink and Let it Be and was very impressed with the energy, the passion and I'm sure if I'd listened at the time they would have made more than a causal impression.

The first record I remember of theirs was Pleased to Meet Me, this got a bunch of spins at BJ's. Their song to Alex Chilton was big, as was Can't Hardly Wait. Their next album, Don't Tell a Soul, had another song I really liked.

They put out one more record in the early nineties before breaking up. Their leader, Paul Westerberg has done some solo work, severely injured his hand a few years back and has had some sporadic appearances since. I still am not sure if I'm giving this band their due, at least I'm giving them a shot now.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A long run

Had a good writing prompt today via Twitter and ran with it, and ran and ran.

Timed it out earlier, it was five minutes long. That's all good and fine but for the rigidly timed world of poetry slam, the poem should be three minutes. So I took a hatchet to it, then some more cutting and editing to get it timed right.

Writing for length is something I have to work on, most of my work ends up in the two minute range. Sometimes I can stretch it with quality to get it to the right length. Most of the time I just leave it be, it's better that way.

Five minutes though, that does not happen often. I can use the outtakes as another poem, perhaps! I'll probably just read the director's cut next week.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A weekend of commerce

We actually had a tax return this year since we were able to claim my son. His mother and I now alternate. It was not a lot, but enough to pay the car insurance, buy some new glasses for my wife and to replace the leaky electric kettle.

We also went to a couple of thrift stores. It had been awhile since I had any luck, still looking for a complete burr grinder, but I did find a Henley shirt and a VCR. Problem with the VCR is hooking it up to the receiver means pulling out wires. Not enough inputs. Oh well.

Walking through the aisles I came across the coats. I was not looking for one, but this one caught my eye. Tried it on and I had to have it. Only seven bucks, a London Fog - I get very brand snobbish in thrift stores.

That's my best Tawny Kitaen.

On the way out my Scottish Wife spotted a tie that looked like one she wore in school as a young lass.


The color has a little more purple in it, like a Gryffindor tie. I've seen a picture of my wife in her school outfit when she was about 11. I do not have it to scan.

I'm sorry, where was I?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Better Day

For the first time in several years, there is a glimmer of optimism at the Everton Football Club. For too long the club has claimed being broke as its main reason for not acquiring players that will improve the team. This was happening while teams with lesser fan bases and scanter coffers were making improvements to the point of passing Everton on the table.

Last month though, team management went all in, or what Chelsea would spend on twenty percent of a useless Spanish striker.

They first sold under achieving winger Diniyar Bilyaletdinov back to Russia, and purchased under achieving and in the doghouse mid-fielder Darren Gibson from Manchester United.

Everton manager David Moyes has been somewhat maligned by the supporters. His loyalty at starting ineffective players is one of his flaws. Recently he has been able to see the error of his ways and has began giving some motivated players such as Royston Drenthe and Denis Stracqualursi starting roles, to modest success.

The team has been lacking in strikers for years and yesterday the team signed FC Rangers leading scorer Nikica Jelavic, giving the team a threat in the front line. Really hoping Jelavic has some success in the EPL, for other Scottish strikers have not been able to score outside the SPL, just ask Kris Boyd.

Everton also loaned out past his prime striker Louis Saha to Tottenham and at the last minute acquired mid-fielder Stephen Pienaar from this same Tottenham side. I liked Pienaar when he played for Everton, he left in a money dispute, and a false promise that he'd get playing time with the Spurs, but he was not able to break into their lineup.

So it was with good feeling that Everton played first place Manchester City yesterday. A point would have been a success but miracles build in Goodison Park as Darron Gibson scored the only goal as the Toffees beat the Blues 1-0.

The game was also marked by a stoppage late in the first half when a clown came out of the crowd and handcuffed himself to Joe Hart's goalpost.

Everton's now ninth in the league. Honestly, I still do not see them getting much higher. Maybe seventh is possible, with luck sixth. After another disastrous start, it will be hard to advance. It was a relief to see Kenwright break out some money for some clear improvements to a stagnating squad.

Kenwright incidentally is in a long term relationship with an actress from one of my favorite films.

Everton's next match is on Saturday against Wigan.