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Interests: music, ecw + ss <br> rangers and blackjacks hockey<br> film, and tv<br> vintage travel posters<br> reading and writing
Recent Activity
My best golf day ever did not start out well, at least not in theory. I was facing a three-hour round trip to my daughter Sophie's camp to see her perform in a one-act play. I was expecting her to have been unfairly cast in an insignificant role yet again, despite her undeniable acting talent. I was undecided and a little trepidatious about possibly stopping in to see my wife's cousins, who live near the camp. And most of all, I was worried that I would be hit with stagefright on the golf course, as I usually am when I play with people I don't know and always am when I play with good golfers, even if I know them well. The drive was the least of my worries, other than the prospect of wasting the time if everything else went south. French Woods, the famed performance arts camp where Sophie goes every summer, is not far from our summer house on Lake Naomi, not as the crow flies (or as the horse flies, as I often like to say, quoting the Marx Borthers). But the second half of the trip is off-highway, a choice between the Syclla of congested two-lane highways like U.S. 6, where you're likely to get stuck behind a truck or a Sunday driver, and the Charybdis of remote country roads that are usually clear but can be slow going and difficult to navigate. This particular summer, Sophie was attending two sessions, so I had already had to a) drop her off at the start, b) take her back after an off-campus trip in the middle of the first session, and c) go for visiting weekend after first session to see the final performances for that session (that was the first big disappointment, when Sophie got an almost invisible ensemble role in Candide while a couple of her friends got major parts, not to mention what a long, drawn-out bore the musical version of Candide is). By this time, I had abandoned the obvious two-lane highway options and was traversing some back roads so obscure that parts of them were unpaved and their bridges were single-lane. One of my passions in life is finding the shortest, fastest routes to where I'm going, even routes that no sane driver would ever consider. So once the main highway gave out, I went a few miles over the crest... Continue reading
Posted Mar 11, 2011 at Ordinary Least Square
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Mar 15, 2010
One of my favorite movies of all time is Toy Story. I actually went to see it before I had any children, that's how much I was looking forward to it. And I loved it so much that, after I had children, I watched it over and over with them. I probably saw it a hundred times, and was amazed to find something new with each viewing. Well, my oldest daughter Sophie is now a teenager and just started high school. And with last year's Slumdog Millionaire, she officially graduated from kids' movies to grown-up fare. So I figured it... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2009 at Sophie's Choices
Ant, unfortunately you would have to choose between the two formats -- Zinio as you can imagine is not hosting the digital version out of the goodness of their hearts, they get a cut of all sales, so for me to give that to current subscribers as a bonus would literally cost me their delivery fee. Sorry!
Toggle Commented Jan 29, 2009 on Rangers Bounced at BB Plus
Well, I always thought Emrick was massively overrated as a play by play guy, and he was obviously not tasked with making a detailed call of this game, but he did take note of Kane's scoring woes and reiterated them when Hank stopped him, but all he said was, "How did Kane miss that one?" and then proceeded to ignore the two replays that showed Hank making a fantastic save. Obviously the director noticed the save because he replayed it twice, and there are spotters who whisper in the announcers' ears to help them get calls right, so you gotta believe that Emrick just didn't want to stop talking about whatever he was talking about to single out Hank -- just as he didn't do so the day before during the skills comp. Was it just him, or was the word out to trump up Thomas and ignore the Ranger?
NC -- It's not backwards, it's French -- League National de Hockey, le LNH.
Yeah, I believe they said he is Ryan Miller's brother, they being Kelly and Kevin Miller's cousins.
Toggle Commented Jan 22, 2009 on Slumpbusters at BB Plus
BHG -- There are several problems with the high sticking call even given your information. First of all, if the linesman didn't see who did it -- that alone should have negated the call. How can you penalize someone when you don't know who to penalize? Rozsival was about 20 feet away from the high stick -- the linesman was across the ice at the blue line. The referee was in fact looking right at it and didn't make a call -- it was not a case of him not seeing it. Second, there was no apparent injury to Sharp. Sevenral minutes ticked off the clock before the next stoppage and he continued to play across two shifts. But of course the penalty had to be a double-minor because there is no basis in the rule book for a lineseman to report a high-stick to the ref if it's not a double minor. Finally, as play continued, there were no calls made when Markus Naslund had a stick wrapped around him from behind while he was trying to play the puck, nor when he was knocked down from behind as he was going for a puck, nor when Zherdev went after Ben Eager well away from the play with what looked like a cross-check or a rough, nor when Rozsival himself was high-sticked on the play that caused the eventual whistle. There may have also been interference or kneeing by Dubinsky, but I'm not 100% sure about that one. Not that five wrongs make it right to skip the missed high stick, but if it was a minor and the ref already decided not to call it, the linesman should not have insinuated himself in a matter that was already several minutes old. As for the other penalties, Staal did not hold his man, Callahan's stick hit the ice and was therefore not a slash, and Staal's should not have been called under the no harm no foul standard if the ref (who was right there) was going to let the trip go uncalled. The calls on Betts and Redden may have been valid by a strict interpretation in a vacuum, but they were marginal at best and therefore open to criticism if similar acts were going to be allowed (and there were similar acts aplenty both ways). I'd love to be able to dissect this one with Damien in its entire context and not just home in on specific instances that might look OK in a vacuum, and I'd also love to learn how the NHL handles the aftermath of a game like this -- especially if they think this game was called properly.
Toggle Commented Jan 17, 2009 on Even a Broken Clock is Right Twice a Day at BB Plus
NC Steve -- Forget about Ovechkin, not that he didn't have a monster game, but nowhere in the story is the name "Callahan". Did you notice what Ovechkin's tying goal looked like? Just like Callahan's 4-0 goal. Not that Callahan is in the same class as Ovechkin, just that it's a damn shame we had to talk to Drury and Gomez last night about blowing a big lead instead of talking to Callahan about building a big lead. If Gomez, Drury, and some others (paging Wade Redden!) played with Callahan's level of effort then we wouldn't get two goals a game and blow it whenever we do get more than two. And to circle back to Ovechkin -- he's the best player in the league, and HE plays at the same level of effort as Callahan.
paulf, in general I'd agree with you that context is needed, but Redden's play is clearly mediocre at best even in the absolute. I'm not about to go through and see what Girardi did in all that time, but I can tell you that the stats say he threw three hits and attempted more shots than Redden. I can also tell you that all those times I saw Redden leave his man unchecked in front of Lundqvist, it was clear that it was his man that was left open because Girardi was covering his man.
Toggle Commented Dec 22, 2008 on A Night in the Life of Wade Redden at BB Plus
i -- I'm with Ant and Matty on this one. You're clearly looking only at the Rangers and reaching a conclusion about them without looking at what is happening elsewhere. What do the Rangers and Devils, Philly and Pitt, Habs and Hawks, Detroit and San Jose all have in common? It's that each team, all in the top 12 in the league, has gone to OT or SO 8 to 12 times this season. Only two teams not in the top 12 in the NHL today have played more than 8 OT/SO games, while only two teams in the top 12 have played fewer than seven. It seems that good teams get to OT and SO's more often than bad teams. And that makes sense. They have more of an ability to come back when they're behind to tie a game up late, and they have better goalies. Bad teams get beaten more easily so they don't last past regulation -- Tampa is the lone exception with its 2-9 OT/SO record. When a bad team has a bad game, they get blown out -- when a good team has a bad game, the limp into OT or a SO as the Rangers did in L.A. So what happens once these teams get to OT and SO? You somehow come to the conclusion that the Rangers' 10-2 record is indicitive of something wrong. Tell that to Flyer and Hawk fans who see a six or a seven in the third column of the standings. They're not re-casting their teams' record to a pre-SO world to make them look worse than they actually are -- they're re-casting their teams' standing to see how much better they could be if only they could win some of those SO's. Consider it a luxury that the Rangers can get to extra time and win extra points -- other teams are getting there and giving those extra points away. The Rangers certainly have issues that need to be addressed, no question about that -- but so do all of these other teams. At least the Rangers don't have to worry about shootouts.
Toggle Commented Dec 20, 2008 on So-So on Sundin's Signing at BB Plus
Well, I goofed and left the comments section open. I'll close it shortly. But just to reiterate where we stand these days: If you like our content and want to see it, it will henceforth be available by subscription only at BB+. This is not a matter of spite, it is a matter of survival -- the alternative is not to return to giving it away for free, the alternative is to shut it down completely. I'm sorry it has come to this, but there is no other choice. If you like the coverage, you have to help support it. If it's not worth it for you, then so be it -- that's your decision to make for yourself.
Anthony -- except for one guy who maybe should have gotten the entire -5 for that goal rather than just his -1, and that's Chris Drury. Sure, Rozsie was hobbled, but what was Drury's excuse for skating to Rozsie's side, where there was no one and where Rozsie could still have played some defense, instead of looking around for the open man, just a few feet behind him? Drury is having just a terrible terrible season. People get on Renney and Gomez, on Rozsie and Redden, and (deservedly so) Kalinin, but Drury gets a free pass. Why?
Toggle Commented Dec 11, 2008 on Upside Downside in Atlanta at BB Plus
ntb -- The only options are trade or waiver, assuming that they're not gonna fake a long term injury or try to get the guys to retire, which of course they won't do. Trading or waiving Redden would be a problem because of his no-movement clause. Unless he seriously hates being in New York, his history suggests that he won't approve any trades. But Kalinin should be an easy salary to eat if they want to -- problem is, it's not all that big, and right now they don't want to. Matty -- Not saying he's lying or embellishing his story. Just wanted to point out who he is -- until recently, the Isles' head PR guy, and still on their payroll as a highly partisan blogger. I wouldn't take offense if anyone accused me at this point of being subjective on the Avery issue given that my primary memories of him are a) he was a great non-stop story line, and b) the Rangers won with him the line-up. So you have to take Botta with a grain of salt considering where he's coming from -- he's the guy who had to run interference for Chris Simon on the Hollweg issue. Still, I'm sure things happened pretty much the way Botta described, although some of it may have been seen through the prism of his particular perspective -- if you were embarrassed about something someone did on your watch, you'd also be apologetic, even if in the grander scheme of things you were on your guy's side. Like if your kid did something bad, you'd apologize, but that doesn't mean you think your kid is a psychopath. But beyond that, the conclusions he reaches are probably more subjective than those of an impartial observer. For one thing, he doesn't take into account that maybe Avery was truly angry at things that happened in that game, like Ken Sutton elbowing Ryan Callahan in the head, Simon going after Hollweg all game in their first meeting since the stick swinging incident, and if you recall what was more than just a fight between Montoya and DiPietro, as the writer puts it, but one in which DiPietro kept hitting Monty after he had him down. In other words, the context wasn't all there in Botta's retelling of the story to support a conclusion that Avery was acting like an uncontrollable sociopath rather than perhaps an angry hockey player.
Toggle Commented Dec 8, 2008 on Possibilities Posed by Potter's Debut at BB Plus
Stan is a fan at heart. That's why he usually takes a pro-team stance. He was very frustrated last night by the outcome, as were we all. While we were waiting to get into the locker room, Stan asked me what I thought was wrong with the team and what needed to be done, and he told me what he thought, and a lot of that seeped into his subsequent commentary. What he said on the air was born out of how he was feeling last night, not as a reflection of some company policy or a foreshadowing of anything to come.
Toggle Commented Dec 8, 2008 on Lundqvist Will Have to Douse Hot Flames at BB Plus
So, let me get this straight -- for the first time in a long long long long time, the Rangers are far and away the best team in the NHL at something. And rather than enjoy it, all you can do is try to figure out how bad things would be if there were no shootouts? Like it or not (and I wish they never adopted it), the shootout is as valid a way of winning two regular season points as anything else.
Toggle Commented Dec 4, 2008 on Good News-Bad News Pens at BB Plus
Marty, I wasn't there, so I can't know for sure, but he was clearly unhappy based on what we saw on TV and read in the papers. I don't think it's the same as last year when he got pouty because his personal stats were jeopardized on behalf of someone else's personal stats, got into it with the media and with his teammates, and then had his father's illness rain down on him at the same time.
Toggle Commented Dec 2, 2008 on It's the Power Play, Period at BB Plus
i, No one is held accountable when a team is in first place, nor should they be. A coach is not going to get fired because he doesn't have his power play working right in November while finding other ways to win, nor should he be. Ditto his players. They have time to figure it out. If they fail when crunch time hits, that's the time to consider that level of accountability. If Renney doesn't figure out that it's the system, not the players, then he's in for hard fall. But that doesn't come now, it comes after he suffers the full consequences of failing to see the flaws in his system. But I want to remind you all that Renney is running his power play EXACTLY the way the vast majority of fans, including many of those who comment here, want him to run it. Jagr's way was wrong -- Renney's was right. That's what almost everyone has said. If you think a power play should be bombs away from the point, as Renney does, then what exactly is the problem? How can the fans be right but Renney be wrong when both believe in the exact same thing? There are only three options: it's the system, it's the execution, or it's the lack of proper personnel to execute the system. You can't think the problem is the system and also yell "shoot!" whenever they have the puck, because that is the system. You can't get place ALL of the blame on Redden and Rozsival for fumbling the puck under pressure at the point when that pressure comes from a flaw in the system -- some of the blame, yes, but not all of the blame. Jagr was right -- not every shot from the point is a good shot. You see that for yourselves every time a point shot is blocked and the puck cleared, breaking up a set-up in the zone, or worse, when a shorthanded rush ensues. There have to be options at the point and down low, on the strong side and on the weak side. The goal is to exploit your manpower advantage by turning a five on four into a three on two or two on one or one on the goalie in a high-percentage scoring area. There are a lot of ways to accomplish that beyond point shots -- but try telling that to Garden fans who yell shoot even when guys have the puck in the corner, or sometimes even when the other team has possession of the puck.
Toggle Commented Dec 2, 2008 on It's the Power Play, Period at BB Plus
Renney's not wrong in what he said about other teams reading about problems in the press and feeling that they have something there they can exploit -- that's why teams would always prefer to said nothing to the press, as in the whole injury reporting policy. That doesn't mean that that's the main problem with the power play, nor was he suggesting that. The problem with what he said once again reflects back to how the power play works -- it all goes to the point. Other teams don't need the press to tell them that they need to pressure the Ranger point men -- their scouts are already telling them that, because that's where it all goes. If he gave his players an outlet other than the point, then the pressure there would be subverted and PPGs would come more easily. But of course, if Renney veers from his bombs away from the point strategy, the fans are gonna go nuts, because all they ever do is yell for them to shoot. Talk about damned if you do, damned if you don't -- if it's not the press talking about how the power play that gives other teams their cue, it will be the fans getting on their case and causing them to press even more.
Toggle Commented Dec 2, 2008 on It's the Power Play, Period at BB Plus
So of course no sooner do I post this than the four D other than Kalinin and his partner Mara each go -2 for a total of -8. But with his giveaways in the Ranger zone, Kalinin could easily be -2 by this time too.
Toggle Commented Nov 30, 2008 on Kalinin Killing His Partners at BB Plus