Tuesday, January 31, 2012

An Attempt to Explain My Love for Hockey

People ask me sometimes why I talk about hockey so much. They wonder why I watch so much of it, read all I can about it, and write about it, too. Let me explain it.

I really miss hockey a lot. Obviously, being in college, I wouldn't be playing anyways. When I played, I could skate fine, had a good wrist shot, and generally loved it, but I wouldn't make the team here in a million years. Strangely enough, just like with soccer, I got better at some things in hockey long after I played. I guess taking time off will do that for you.

I miss the games a ton, but the best parts were in the locker rooms, the hotel rooms on trips, and all the other team stuff. 

My brother plays for the Pittsburgh Hornets, and is a damn good defenseman. He's 14, and much better than I ever was. He has an obsession with hockey that's bordering on insanity, but it keeps him happy. Unfortunately, I worry that he's not getting the same fun out of it that I did.

When I played, I was never on a team that made hockey everything. It was a large part of my life, and definitely the most fun part of my life, but it wasn't everything. Don't get me wrong, I played to win, and so did my teammates. We just didn't kill ourselves over it. I wish my brother knew that experience. For him, hockey is everything, no question about it.

Me? I miss the games, but I miss a lot of other stuff even more.

The smell of the rink is one of the biggest. Exhaust fumes from the zamboni hung in the air, the snack bar always had popcorn and coffee on high, and the locker rooms smelled of something bordering on disgusting, but never straying from comfortable. I even miss the artificial smell of hotel rooms on the occasional trip to Rochester or Mentor.

More than that, I miss the stuff that went on in the locker room. Teasing some kid about a girl he was dating or messing around with, making fun of someone for a missed play...hell, I even miss figuring out who was going to be filling up the water bottles (and then filling them up when nobody else raised a hand).

One thing I don't miss is the odd, empty feeling of coming back from a game, and even more so, a tournament. That feeling is a testament to the fun that preceded it, though.

I wish I had a clearer memory for things. I remember winning the playoff tournament in Indiana, PA, in my second year of pee wee hockey, but not as clearly as I'd like to. That was the most fun I've had in my entire life, just learning to play the game. I'd take a time machine back to those days in a heartbeat, even to hang back as my present self and watch the things I miss so much. 

Eventually, I'll have a kid, and if all goes according to plan, they'll play hockey. Selfishly, I almost wish that if he or she does play, they're not very good. If they are, then that's even better, but with greater skill comes more emphasis on winning, and nothing else. In simpler terms, I hope they don't take it too seriously. 

Things around us always change. People go away, more responsibility sets in, and you seem to have less time for anything. I think that the growing pressures of being a bit older are worth the few years I spent learning to play a game that became a lot more. 

Hockey is a sport, not a chore. If it ever stops being fun, it's time to hang the skates up. When the fumes stop smelling good, and when you stop looking forward to finding out what locker room you're in, and flinging open the door, it just isn't worth it anymore.

I never hit that point, but I know a lot of people who did. My only advice is to take some time off, then go back to where it began. See it all through the eyes you had when you were a kid. You'll find it again. 

One of the best memories I have from the past summer is walking into the old Mt Lebanon rink in early July, sitting down to watch an adult league game, then walking through the hallway, past the locker rooms I learned to tie skates in, and finding the banner we won that year in Indiana. It's still there, and it isn't going anywhere. That old strip of vinyl with my name and my friends' names on it is a little yellowed from time, but I still remember skating over to hold it up. 

I guess my memory isn't so bad, after all.

My last championship, JV, sophomore year

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Random Thoughts: Check Out My Friends + Arby's Story

These are just random thoughts. This is a definite throwaway post. I'm only tweeting it out so I can give my friends a little attention.

-Pretty cool hearing "Melanie Merinayyy" on the radio tonight. I listened to a LOT of twangy cowboy folks before she was on, but it was pretty cool hearing a friend on the radio. Awesome. When I met her, I also pronounced her name wrong, but that dude totally chopped it. Oh well. Melanie Meriney on facebook, look it up. I'd offer to be her background singer, but anybody who knows me will tell you that me singing is worth running from.

This blog is a vehicle for my thoughts and helping my friends.

-While I'm at it, http://iampittbasketball.blogspot.com/. View from the zoo. Catchy name, right there.

-The weather madness continues. There was no snow this morning, and then around 4:45, we got hit with 2 inches or so. Not a lot of snow, in general, but that's a pretty interesting 10 minutes. Tomorrow is supposed to be cold, and then it's right back up to 50. 

-The heat's been off in our building for two days, so I'm bundled up like an eskimo. The good thing is, we don't need a refrigerator right now.

-John hit up the beach yesterday. Got some awesome pictures from it. He's pretty good with a camera. I'm thinking about putting on a swimsuit and hopping in. 

Looks totally safe.

-I didn't get to sleep until around 8 a.m. I tried to get to bed around 5, but had a wicked toothache. I promised I wouldn't touch my debit card until I actually had some money, but I needed advil, so I took a stroll over to CVS. I'm pretty sure everyone thought I was hammered, and I can't honestly blame them. When I saw that I could get generic ibuprofen for 3 bucks, I did a sick fistpump and yelled "wooooooooo" in the store. The kind old lady from Mt. Lebanon, who works there, laughed. She loves me.

Actually, this is VERY accurate.

As I was walking to CVS, I noticed the lights were on at Arby's. I have had a craving for a sausage, egg, and cheese wrap for months, but I'm never awake or not in class to facilitate this endeavor. I asked the lady at CVS if they were open, and she said they were. Dwight Schrute fistpump yet again.

I'm not sure if it was because I was tired, or if it was delirious joy from the fact that I was about to conquer the very food I had desired for months, but when I got to the register at Arby's, I was unable to formulate the words for what I wanted. When the lady asked what I wanted, I simply said "huh", because I guess I had assumed she'd know exactly what I needed. I pointed to the wrap and said "that, but like...in a combo", meaning "hell yeah, I want a drink and hash browns". I assumed she'd be annoyed by this, but I feel like she's seen it all, serving breakfast next to a college. A tired, sober kid with a toothache was nothing. She smiled and laughed, just like CVS lady.

Then I shocked her. The look on her face when I popped open my ibuprofen and drained three of them with a Sprite was priceless. I wish I had it on tape.

The only other people who were in there were two old guys. One of them walked up, paid for some food, and left before it got to him. The other guy went to the counter, asked for some cardboard boxes, and sure enough, he left with 6 empty cardboard boxes. Honestly, I had entered the twilight zone. None of this story makes sense, and I can't believe you're still reading this.

I am very sorry.

Thoughts on the NHL Skills Competition

Haha, tonight was fun.

It's extremely improper to start something off with "haha", but hey...as I just got done telling someone else, one of the reasons I'm not an English major anymore is because I felt like they wanted me to write like a robot. No expression. No feeling. Just good grammar, the way Charles Dickens would have wanted it to be. But I've got news: nobody in their right mind wants to read "Oliver Twist" anymore. Seriously, if it's between that and a root canal, give me a shot of Novocaine and drill. At least I know THAT will eventually end.

Before I begin, I'm listening to "Skeletons on Parade" by Ludo right now. It's a song about a town gathering to worship the dead, and then the skeletons rise from their graves to terrorize the town. I love stuff like that. Songs that tell a story are the best. Not only this, but it's the only song I know that goes from folk, to free form jazz, to semi-metal. It's worth a listen. Ludo's singer, Andrew Volpe, shows off his range as a convincing lounge singer, metal singer, and showtune artist. Really good stuff.


Tonight wasn't only fun for the excellent party. I needed it, though. No b.s., nobody flipped out. Just a lot of music (I rocked the AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, etc upstairs) and a lot of fun. For those who are wondering, answer your question yourself: am I, or am I not typing in coherent fashion. Good? Great.

Tonight was the NHL's skills competition. There are a few "holidays" in the NHL's schedule each year. There's the trade deadline (February 27th, 3 pm....I'm gonna be giddy, to say the least), the start of free agency in the offseason (July 1st, even more giddy), the Stanley Cup playoffs (mid April-June, completely INSANE), and finally, the skills competition. 

The all star game has become secondary to the skills competition. It is an honor to be nominated and go to the game, but honestly...who remembers who won the game between team Lidstrom and team Staal last season? Nobody (team Lidstrom, 11-10). If you ask a fan, "who holds the record for hardest shot", most will say "Zdeno Chara". They might not be able to tell you what team he plays for (Boston), but they know that when it's time to fire some pucks, the big man is bringing the howitzer.

Tonight, the skills competition was what everyone knew it would be: largely gimmicked up, and a ploy for the NHL to make some sponsorship dollars. Don't be fooled by the incoming (or prolonged, depending on who you ask) loss of the Phoenix Coyotes, or the recent loss off the Atlanta Thrashers. Don't be fooled by the NHL's spot on the NBC Sports Network instead of ESPN. The NHL makes serious money. They could just use a bit more. The Skills competition and All Star weekend in general, in addition to the Winter Classic, does just that.

The league made some changes to some events, and kept some bad ideas from past events. They ruined the wildly popular breakaway challenge by giving the shooters one-on-one attempts to beat the goaltender with some measure of creativity, rather than the past 60 seconds of "whatever you want, DO IT", that they had in the past. Tonight, it was "screw up, and sorry, have a seat". Big mistake. Also, they kept the tiny nets for the skills relay, which, just as last year, left some people stranded trying to hit a 6 inch net from 50 feet away.

But the hardest shot competition. That remained real.

They couldn't ruin it, could they?

The fastest skater competition has been lost. The record set in 1996 by Toronto Maple Leaf Mike Gartner, of 13.3 seconds will not be beat in the current format, as it was once a full lap around the ice. Now, it's a head to head race, in a half loop of the ice, which is completely different. The numbers don't compare. They may be the same numbers, but the feat is different.

The accuracy shooting is now a timed event, rather than one based entirely on accuracy. It used to be that 4 for 4 meant something. Now hitting 4 for 6 in 13 seconds is a big deal. Going 4 for 4 is impressive, but if it isn't fast, it means nothing.

But the hardest shot competition, that's still real.

Grab the best stick you've got, and fire. Skate up, bend your knees, put your weight into it, follow through, catch all of the puck, and blast it. Make your Easton, CCM, Bauer, or whatever else you use bend to the breaking point, and then snap forward in defiance of the pressure it's been put through. Crush it.

It cannot be changed. You can't time it, you can't add in any wacky gimmick. It's one guy, one stick, and one puck. It's a kid in his basement, trying to shoot a puck so hard, he has to get on his hands and knees to find it under whichever couch it ricocheted under.

That's why I'll keep watching.

I'll watch year after year, to see if Chara will beat his record. I'll watch to see if Shea Weber will challenge him (106 mph, no shame in that). I'll even watch the preliminary rounds to see if a dark horse like Dion Phaneuf of the Maple Leafs will blast a 105 mph slapper.

In the end, I know what will happen. The big Slovakian they call "Z" will break his last record, and nobody will really come close. But I'll still watch, and the crowd will still go nuts over the superhuman feat of a man making a puck go faster than my beat up old Chrysler could on even its best day.

Go Weber, but really, anybody will do. Just keep firing away, and I'll enjoy it.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Time I Got A Black Eye

I took about two days off, because I was pretty burnt out. I had nothing to talk about. Unfortunately, I still don't. It's still warm in January, and there's still nothing interesting going on.

I've decided I'm going to tell a story.

Which one? The infamous pork story? That might get me in a bit of hot water if the wrong people read it. Perhaps a college weekend story? Definitely not. Hockey story? I don't have anything good coming to mind right now.

I know.

In 1996, the summer Olympics were held in Atlanta, Georgia. Kurt Angle won the gold medal in wrestling with a broken neck, and the US won the medal count with 101. Russia came in second with 63.

Hell yeah!

In addition to this, Some lady named Estela Gimenez won the gold medal in rhythmic gymnastics or something like that for Spain. I don't know much about her, but I'm a big fan, based on this picture:


Anyways, every year in August, my Dad used to take me, my sister (Tommy wasn't born yet), and a bunch of other people to go see a car race in Ohio. We camped, the kids did whatever, and the adults drank a lot of beer. That's what people do at hillbilly events. It was always fun, though.

For two weeks prior to this, the 5-6 year old me had been mesmerized by the things going on at the Olympics, not the least of which was the gymnastics events. 

During the race, the final day of the trip (the first two days are all other races and qualifying for the big race), I was under the grandstands with all the other kids who didn't care at all about the cars speeding by. We were all throwing gravel at each other, smashing bottles, crushing cans, and climbing the bars under the seats.

Then the stupid side of me made its first appearance.

I believe that there's sort of a kickoff moment for each part of an individual. When you're born, you have no personality. You're simply an overly squishy bag of skin, bones, and organs, and are prone to breaking, which is one of many reasons I don't want a kid yet...I can barely keep a phone in one piece. Each different part of your personality, sense of humor, romantic side, whatever else, HAS to begin at one point. The first joke you tell, first girl you stalk....ok, maybe not that, but everything else HAS to have an origin. This is the origin of my stupidity.

I don't know why I did it.

Standing in the shade under the grandstands, I looked around me and saw all the bars. I had seen similar things just weeks before...in the Olympics.

"Maybe I could be like them," I thought to my underdeveloped self. The idea of hard work and a lifetime of training hadn't kicked in yet. In fact, even after this, my first experience with a skateboard also ignored that some things you can't just be good at immediately.

I was going to do it.


In an ideal world, my plan would have worked like this: I would have taken a running start, jumped, and grabbed a low-hanging bar. I would then spin around this low bar, vaulting myself into the air, grab the next bar, then dismount with a flourish. Yes, the idea that "these people are on tv for a reason" hadn't occurred to me, but the idea of  physics and momentum had. 

It would be the perfect thing with which to impress all the kids whose names I don't even remember today, with the exception of three of them. I could even go up afterwards and tell my Dad about the feat I had just accomplished. 

Here's what happened in the all-too-real world, a place dominated by such things as crushing defeat and painful injury: I took a running start.

I saw the bar.

I jumped, and I reached for the bar. I had stars in my eyes! I was gonna do it! 


A second later, I still had stars in my eyes, but they were not stars in the sense that an aspiring actor or possibly-retarded 5-year old who was gonna do something sweet might have.

When I calculated the jump, I neglected one thing: the much closer, much lower bar right in front of me. My face smashed directly into it, causing a nosebleed and an instantly swollen eye. I got up and ran like I had never run before, to find my Dad. Imagine being pleasantly drunk, watching a relaxing car race (it's kind of therapeutic, when the noise of the engines fades away into silence. Very calming), and then having your screaming child come running up to you, covered in blood, in front of 300 other people. 

If you've ever seen a kid get hurt real, real bad, you know that they don't cry immediately. The hyperventilate a little bit while assessing damage, and then they FREAK THE FUCK OUT. This was one of those times. Sorry, adults whose afternoon was ruined by the traumatic experience of seeing me covered in blood and losing my mind. I imagine it was like this:

My dad, kinda drunk and kinda preoccupied with the event he had spent a lot of money on, responded in appropriate fashion: he handed me a Coors Lite and told me to put it on my eye, and we'd deal with it later. I'dve probably done the same thing. What can you really do, you know?

Later that night, I came home, and I'm sure my Mom had a "WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED" moment. I put her through a lot in my life, I'm sure. 

At this point in my extremely short life, I was still going to day-care at Westminster church, and I'm quite certain that everyone had suspicions about where the injury came from. I'm putting it to rest: my parents were not mean to me in the slightest. I am simply an idiot, and I don't think things through before I do them. 

My words are bigger than I am. Philosophical thought, or bad art?

Hope you enjoyed story time. Feel free to share this, if my stupidity amuses you.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Making Fun of Ovechkin/Blues Preview

Jeez, how do I outdo my last post? It's not going to happen today.

First off, a new hockey-related name for those who don't get my gripe with the tv show Glee. This is a reference to the Pens' old arena, referred to as "The Igloo", and my point of view, here in frozen Erie. Or at least what should be frozen Erie. Right now it's annoyingly chilly Erie, in between heavy coat and light jacket weather. My heat's on, but it's too hot in here, so I've got the window open, which is making it cold. I'll find a balance soon enough.

I went back and read my oldest posts last night, and it's interesting how it's changed a lot in only two weeks. A bit of input from others goes a long way. Time to get down to business.

It was announced today that Alexander Ovechkin won't be taking his PASSIONATE brand of hockey with him to Ottawa for the all star game. That's a real shame, because I really wanted to see him get picked last in the draft. 

The Gr8 Ape and Capitals GM George McPhee have played it off as Ovechkin simply "not wanting to be a distraction" at the game. First off, this is the one time of the year where it's ok to be a distraction. It's the all star game. It is meaningless, and serves as a showcase, primarily to younger fans, of the players' personalities. Second, was this not a distraction?
Putting on sunglasses, having Malkin give him a shot of gatorade, and then using two sticks to attempt a trick shot got Ovechkin all the attention he could have possibly wanted. Hell, it even got him on ESPN, which devotes as much time to hockey as I do to changing the channel away from ESPN. 

He wears the C in Washington, and rather than deal with the situation in a dignified and mature manner, he's taking his ball and going home. He could have shown up to the game, done whatever was necessary of him to support the league that's making him rich, and then sat out the rest of his suspension. Instead, he'll be sitting on a beach, wondering why nobody wants his autograph.

Not only is Ovechkin being a bit of a sourpuss about finally getting nabbed by the league for his proclivity to attempt leaping checks, but his owner, Ted Leonsis decided to get in on the action, too. I would link to his post, but he doesn't need any more attention there. All I'll say is that Mr Leonsis, vice chairman of AOL, did not agree with the suspension. I wasted no time in being a little less than serious on the post. Behold:

"Harry Callahan on  said:
The way everybody is trying to spin this, like it’s Ovechkin’s fault. It just isn’t right. I think OV should stop doing anything for the league. Interviews, commercials, whatever. It’s obvious they don’t care about a superstar of his magnitude. Maybe, Ted, you can get involved in the KHL, and my favorite owner and my favorite player can go be dominant in a league that would respect them? Pens suck, Crosby is a whiner, and I’m proud the Capitals have a Captain who truly leads with PASSION on and off the ice. Thank you."

Man, that site has awful mods. I left another, incredibly full of shit comment on there, and it got passed, too. I guess sarcasm doesn't really translate well on the internet. And yeah, I used "Harry Callahan" as an alias because I love Dirty Harry.
In the interest of fairness, I should be honest. In my eyes, OV is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. Either way, I'm going to take the opportunity to make fun of him. I do it because I care. 
The point is, you're an NHL captain. Own up to your mistake and deal with it appropriately. Sometimes in life, young man, you're going to be told "no". 

Tonight, the Pens play the St Louis Blues. Honestly, I like the way the Blues play. They piss you off when they're playing your team, but it's fun to watch them beat up everyone else. I'm also a big TJ Oshie and Dave Backes fan. 
It should also be mentioned that their goaltender, Brian Elliot, leads the league in goals against average, with 1.68. Yes, 1.68. He lets up an average of less than two goals per game. Pretty good, huh? It's a strange turn of events from the Brian Elliot of old. Last time I heard Brian Elliot in a sentence that didn't include the word "sucks", was a sentence that used "blows" instead. Not anymore.
The Blues are 4th in the Western Conference, with 64 points. Statistically, that's good enough for 2nd in the West, but due to the ridiculous seeding format, they are behind Vancouver and San Jose. Their season started off poorly, until a mid-season coaching change brought in Ken Hitchcock. Since then, this young team has been on a tear through the league. Sound familiar?

Yeah, that's not happening for the Blues, but they're a damn good team. Keep an eye on them in the next few seasons.

Tonight, Malkin's tour of destruction continues into the all star break. Geno's sitting comfortably in first place in the points race, with 58, 3 ahead of Philly's Claude Giroux. He shows no signs of stopping any time soon.

Flower's in the cage tonight. Second verse, same as the first. You know the drill.

It's gonna be a good one. Short preview, because I'm on my way to dinner in a minute, and because I don't know too much about the Blues and don't feel like researching too much. They're a strong, balanced, and physical team with excellent coaching. That's all you need to know.

Go Pens.

Monday, January 23, 2012

On Tim Thomas and Irresponsible Journalism.

A lot happened in the NHL today. As usual in times when a lot happens in the NHL, a lot happened outside of the NHL to go along with it. I'm pretty annoyed by most of it, mad at some of it, and I'm going to take out my frustrations here. This will not be a humorous post.

In the morning, it was reported that Tim Thomas, the goaltender of the Boston Bruins, would not be attending the team's trip to the White House, one of the "perks" that comes from winning the Stanley Cup. Thomas, winner of last year's Vezina and Conn Smythe trophies, was the only member of the team who declined the visit.

Immediately, Twitter exploded with writers trying to grab up the story, and rightfully so. Nothing important to the on-ice aspect of the game would really happen until Brendan Shanahan dropped the Shanahammer on Alexander Ovechkin later in the day. Most of these writers simply covered what happened in a respectful way, as was expected of them as hockey reporters. Others, seeing the opportunity for attention, began spinning the story as they felt necessary.

Mostly, those who felt it was necessary to spin the story presumed that Thomas was a close-minded neolithic Republican, making a statement that he did not care for Democrats. To them, he was going to stick it to the arch-liberal, Barack Obama.

In the eyes of many, being a Republican makes you an idiot, incapable of rational thought. One of the things that bothers me most is the people who stereotype either side of the political system, as there are some people who strongly identify with the Republican party and aren't all about blowing up the middle east, just as there are Democrats who aren't in favor of complete socialism. To slander either side as being made up of entirely polar beings, without any consideration of moderate, rational thinking individuals is part of the problem. It's mudslinging, and it solves nothing.

Perhaps that is a statement that may ruffle some feathers. If you take issue, there are two things you can do. Drop me a message somewhere, since everyone knows how to find me, or fill out one of these:

Click on it, actually. It's pretty funny.

Regardless of where you stand, the fact is this: many reporters took it as an opportunity to dissect Thomas's character, and make terrible statements about him as an individual. It was uncalled for. In the end, due to the pressure, Thomas released a statement to explain his decision. In his statement, taken from NHL.com, Thomas expressed discontentment in the way the government operates, stating that they, in all three branches, threaten the rights of the people. 

Thomas continued by stating that this was not a politically motivated decision, but rather his right as a citizen to refuse the company of those whom he felt were directly responsible for the mishandling of the nation's global and domestic affairs. This was not a Democrat vs Republican issue. This was Thomas saying he didn't feel like faking a smile and shaking hands with the President.

In my opinion, Thomas, a known Tea Party supporter, would have perhaps been better off from a PR standpoint by issuing a statement that said something to the effect of "I am a hockey player. I want to keep hockey on the ice, and stay away from politics, as is my right". Instead, he had the forum to say what he wanted to about the state of the government, and actually, I believe it was the more honorable and honest decision. I happen to agree with what he said. 

I'm sure people like Ryan Lambert and Dave Hodge would have something to say about me, too, just like they did about Thomas.

Ryan Lambert is a columnist at Yahoo.com's hockey blog, Puck Daddy. Every week, he writes a column in which he cracks jokes about each team, looking for a reaction from that team's fanbase. I can see the idea behind it: Lambert is a troll, and he gets hits for the website by annoying people. Greg Wyshinski, the editor of PD, a man I respect for his approach to hockey journalism, could fill Lambert's spot with a talented writer, who brings an intelligent and insightful mind for the game. Instead, he fills it with a glorified troll.

Normally, I can tolerate Lambert, as I can tell he is just looking for a reaction. In fact, sometimes it's just funny. Today, though, he took the opportunity to get on his soapbox and spend the entire day ranting about Thomas and fighting on Twitter with people about their political affiliation. This is typical for Lambert, but at what point are you simply an idiot with a forum, instead of a journalist? I think he has found that point. Let me explain.

Lambert spent the entire day talking about Tim Thomas and his off-ice decision. Meanwhile, around 7 o'clock, it was announced that Washington's Alexander Ovechkin, one of the most visible stars of the league, regardless of his lack of offensive production this season, would be sitting three games for his hit on Penguins defenseman Zbynek Michalek. Lambert ignored this major on-ice development in order to spend the evening chirping fans on Twitter.

My issue with him is not that he's a bad person. He's simply a moron who let his personal desire to annoy others get in the way of his responsibility as a journalist to report NHL news. 

He's like an ant, really. Annoying, but easily flicked away. In the end, my issue is not with him, as he simply did what he does, and what he gets paid to do. My real issue is about someone else.

It's about to get mean. I'm pissed off.

When the media firestorm was at its apex, regarding Thomas, every idiot seemed to be getting in on the action. Again, respectable writers stayed out of it, not wishing to demonize a man whose play has been outstanding, and whose character off ice has never been any less than respectful and unusually polite for an athlete of his pedigree. 

The biggest idiot of all, was TSN's Dave Hodge. Hodge, seeing the opportunity to crawl out of his cesspool of obscurity, decided to make a statement about Thomas. This statement was undeniably an attempt to link Thomas's Republican history with the stereotype that hardcore conservative Republicans are racists by nature. Via Twitter:
You can fight this all you want. You can spin it any way you want. I don't buy it. The fact remains, Thomas's family had not been brought up by anyone else, so this was not a mere observation of Tim Thomas's children's names, nor was it a continuation of a topic brought up by someone else.

This is an attempt by Hodge to label Tim Thomas a racist by pointing out that together, the first initials of his children's names spell out "KKK". 

You can hold whatever political prejudices you wish. Thought is not a crime, and cannot really be helped. You simply feel the way you do. However, when you go out of your way to take one's political affiliation, and then make a thinly veiled attempt to label him a racist because of it, you have gone too far. Not just this, but he did it by bringing up Thomas's children.

I have sent several tweets to Hodge, asking him to explain his message, and to perhaps show me that I'm over-analyzing it. He still has yet to explain himself. Perhaps as a TSN analyst, he is too big-time to respond to some plain kid such as myself. The fact remains that I think he is a despicable person for going out of his way to label Tim Thomas as a racist, based on the names of the latter's children. This is not what a journalist with integrity does. This is a classless move, by a classless individual.

What do you think? Am I looking too much into what Hodge said, or do you think I'm right, and that it is quite likely he meant to label Tim Thomas as being in favor of the KKK?

I say lots of bad things, I swear a lot, and I piss people off frequently. I mean well, but I sometimes don't think before I make a joke about something. I also believe that you can joke about almost anything, with a few glaring and obvious exceptions. As such, I'm nearly impossible to offend. Hodge's words were offensive to me, because not only did he cross a professional line, but he took a running start and leaped over a human line. You simply do not say things like that about another person.

What do I know, though? I'm just a kid with a blog. In the morning, Hodge will still have a job, and I'll still be hoping for 30 views on a post. At least I will have my dignity and be writing what I want for the amusement of myself and others, while he will fade back into obscurity, at a company filled with incredibly gifted reporters, whose names are more recognizable to the average fan than Hodge's name is to his own mother.

Sorry this was a long one. Thank you very much for reading it, if you've made it this far.

Lovely Weather We're Having, Isn't It?

Go to sleep....3 inches of snow. Wake up....gone.

Quit using hairspray, ladies, you're turning the polar bears brown.

This time last year, a bunch of us drove down to some shady school, walked down a path, and then we were able to walk about a hundred yards out onto the bay and have a snowball fight. If we did that this year, we'd need Pamela Anderson to save us.

On second thought, let's go.

It's not really a bad trade, though. My first year in Erie, it snowed every day from November to March. Last year, November to late April. Today, I'll be wearing a sweatshirt to class, and maybe if it gets a bit warmer, I'll go naked. Look out, ladies.

That's completely untrue, of course. Don't think too much on that, or you'll burn your retinas. 

That's all I've really got to say on the matter. Pamela Anderson and a brown polar bear. I'll probably write something later, but I felt the need to address the "heat".

On Bug Fights, and a Cool Duck

Congratulations if you found your way to this post. I'm not tweeting it or facebooking it. This post is going to have no flow, and make no sense. Basically, I'm just a bit bummed out at the moment, and I'm bored, so I figure I'll amuse myself, and hopefully a few others.

I like to write, because it alleviates my anger and frustration. Despite my frustration with how awful music is nowadays, and a lot of other things in the world that bug me, at least this day and age has given me this platform for sharing my thoughts. Before this was an option, I could have written everything down on a sheet of paper, but then I couldn't have shared them with anyone. Perhaps I could have written them in a letter and sent it to someone, but that takes too long, only goes to one person, and really, nobody writes letters anymore. People used to write to others, and call people on the phone. Imagine THAT! Look at me, sounding like your parents.

As it is, I can think of an idea during the day, toss it on here, and flesh it out, vomiting up any jokes that come up in my brain. I hit publish, and bam, anyone else can see what ridiculous things are going through my head. Check it out, first thing that came into my head as I said that: a duck. Let me find a duck.


That duck cracks me up. It wants badly to be a person, but will always be a duck. Actually, it's probably dead now, so it'd probably be ok with being a duck. Still, you can see it in its eyes....it wants to be a human. Or maybe it's late and I'm just saying ridiculous stuff. It's only 11:15, so maybe not. Maybe I think really highly of the duck.

[Edit: I've been informed that it is, in fact, a goose. I feel stupid, and I would change everything I said above, but the humor of finding out I'm incredibly wrong is too funny.

Never before has a video been so appropriate.]


Another thing, I checked my stats on this site, because it shows me where people are finding my blog from. Mostly the US, a few Canada, one in Brazil, and one in Australia, all of which I can account for. What I don't get, though? 14 in the Ukraine, and 9 in Russia. I know NOBODY from the Ukraine or Russia, excluding my Russian Politics professor, who is a Ukrainian babe, and I'm pretty sure she doesn't read this. After saying that, I really hope she doesn't. If you do, ma'am, I really enjoy your class, and it's really, really easy to pay attention.

Who are you Ukrainian and Russian people? 

What else is fascinating to me, right now? I've been watching a lot of videos of bugs fighting other bugs. They inevitably culminate in the dominant bug eating its fallen enemy. In my opinion, the preying mantis is the apex-bug of the animal kingdom. So far, I've seen it defeat numerous other bugs, and a few snakes. And in the end, it always feeds on its enemy. Awesome.

Looking at the mantis as a whole, consider a few things:

First off, permanent fighting stance. Second, camouflage. Looks like a leaf, allowing for maximum ninja attack skills. Third, wings, allowing for instantaneous escape. Finally, and most obviously, saw hands. Good thing they aren't 6 feet tall, or the world would be dominated by giant mantises. Their only flaw is lack of venom, and that's only because it'd be too unfair.

The Camel Spider is also a formidable opponent, but I've seen it take a few losses. Also, it's the most disgusting bug-type creature of all time, so I don't feel like talking about it for too long.

Some bugs that really suck in hand-to-hand combat? Spiders generally don't do too well. They have venom, and are pretty fast, but they've got a lot of legs, which allows for many grab-able surfaces. They're also not particularly agile, as it seems they're really only good going forwards and backwards.  Beetles also suck. Slow, not very good on the attack. Plenty of armor, but if they're flipped, it's all over.

Have I given this too much thought? Yes, I have. Freshman year, there was a show on Animal Planet, in which they showed bugs fighting each other, and broke down their various offensive and defensive attributes. My roommate, Tim, and I would watch it, and place bets on who would win. I never, ever lost. Damn proud of it. With my expert knowledge, I can tell you that I would march into battle with the mantis any day. Plus, it's the model for Scyther, from Pokemon, arguably the coolest looking Pokemon of all.

Also completely useless. 

Coming up this week, I'll be breaking down the all stars who made the game. It'll be more analytical, as I'm trying to balance out humorous joke posts and actual writing. I just took Bleacher Report to task for their awful, typo-laden hockey coverage, so I'm making a vow to kick more ass than them, both in content and spelling. Not exactly a tough task.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Usually I post When I'm In A Bad Mood. Pens Win 4-3

Usually I post when I'm not in a good mood at all. Instead, today I'm feeling sort of like....

The Penguins beat the Capitals 4-3 in OT, after goals from Kris Letang (2 goals since returning), James Neal (25 and 26 on the season, to move him into 3rd in the NHL), and then....

To recap, he spins out of the corner, fakes a slapshot, catches the defenseman offguard, loses it, gets it back, send it behind his back off the boards, gets it back, comes out of the corner, dishes it to Z, heads to the front of the net, no pressure on him, scoops it up, and


Oh yeah, and James Neal with the assist.

Excellent stat from JO (http://iampittbasketball.blogspot.com/): Malkin and Neal have combined for 104 points this season. The "dynamic duo" of Henrik and Daniel Sedin have 102 points between them. When will Neal and Malkin get the praise they deserve? The novelty of them being twins isn't there (since they're not), and neither is as into the spotlight as Ovechkin, but their play is simply too dominant to overlook. One can only hope that a little more attention will be sent their way.

On an individual level, when will James Neal get the credit he deserves by himself? The Oshawa, Ontario native is third in the NHL in goals, yet won't be appearing in the all star game. Jason Pominville (BUF), Tyler Seguin (BOS), and Mikko Koivu (MIN) are all going to be playing in this weekend's exhibition game, but Neal will be sitting at home in Pittsburgh. Try finding any of those three on the leading goal scorers list. Two goals today by Neal, both off incredible shots that would make Corporal Craig Harrison proud.

Craig Harrison, for those who don't know, hold the record for longest sniper kill of all time, with a distance of 2,707 yards in Afghanistan, 2009. This blog is humorous and informative.

Basically, it's 6 o'clock, and I've been in a good mood all day. That's the power of hockey. I also got out of bed at 2, so it's partially the power of a really short day.

Go Pens.

Random Late Night Stream of Consciousness.

This, much like most of the other stuff I've said today, is just a random, incoherent collection of thoughts. Whatever comes to mind, it's being written down here. Hopefully it's funny.

My butt hurts. I asked earlier what I should write about, and someone responded, "ASS". I assume he meant the pursuit of women, and said so in an oddly bro-like manner. Someone then responded "don't talk about man ass". Well, I'm talking about man ass, and right now, mine hurts. It's because I'm a bum, and I spent most of the day sitting on mine. By the way, I don't think I've called it a "bum" since I was five.

Enjoying this so far?

Tonight....er...this morning....it was 12:15 a.m., which is the 12:15 that comes directly after "tonight", so I'm saying "tonight". TONIGHT, I went to the cafe and saw somebody in a Mt. Lebanon tennis shirt. How'd I notice her shirt, which was covered up partially by a hoodie? I was looking at her boobs. Sorry. I'm a nice guy, but I'm still a guy. I think any time a guy sees a girl for the first time, regardless of situation, he looks at her boobs.

Regardless, I noticed the Mt Lebo shirt, and spent almost the whole meal thinking about whether or not I should be like "heyyyyy, I went to USC". Would she react positively, or would she respond to my comments with a blast of pepper spray or flat out refusal to converse? I learned my lesson a long time ago, when during a class Freshman year, I spied a kid in a Lebo lacrosse shirt. When I asked if he was from there, he reacted like I was an alien and said "no, I just got this from some kid". Pointless story, but now you know.

I'm currently listening to Soundgarden, which is odd for me. I like them, but not really enough to listen to them as more than background noise. Today, I've listened to a bunch of stand up, Tool, the Ramones, Soundgarden, and Megadeth. If I threw in Weezer or Tenacious D, I'd truly be all over the map. Not a bad day though, musically.

I just mentioned that I need to think of goofy thoughts to write about. Apparently, if you look for "goofy things" on google, this comes up:

Good dog.

I wanted to play my guitar today, but I was too lazy to tune it. That's probably the pinnacle of laziness. All it would have required was for me to sit with it in my lap, reach up, and turn the tuning pegs. I was too lazy for that. It's a wonder I got out of bed. Come to think of it, I shoulda just laid there in my boxers and paid friends to come in and feed me. I have no money, though.

Please send me money. I'm a really nice fellow.

Speaking of money, this website allows you to sign up to put ads on here and earn money. Good idea, right? As I said earlier on Twitter, I'm a whore, and am not such an activist that I'm morally opposed to using this space for ads. Check it out, I'll prove it: 

Looks totally legit.

Anyways, I was signing up to continue the spread of corporate consumerism in the name of the almighty dollar, when it asked me to check off a box saying I wouldn't be using these ads on a page that would be distributing copyrighted material. Given that everything I've posted, including a totally "borrowed" image from seekingarrangement.com, is most likely copyrighted, unless I created it on Microsoft Paint, I couldn't check the box, and will not be making a dime.

Expect this page to be completely eliminated by the morning because I'm giving seekingarrangement.com a bit of free advertisement. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Just a Lot of Nonsense. Taped up Cats, etc

No big post today. I'm not in the mood for it. It's just one of those days where humor isn't flowing as much as it would normally be. In the end, this will probably be a normal-sized post, so perhaps I've spoken too soon.

I often wish that the ridiculous things I say were recorded via computer, in text form. That'd make this easier sometimes, because I frequently say really funny things, and have bizarre conversations that I feel like more people should hear. Also, I'm trying to write one post per day, and it's a bit difficult at times, thinking of things to write about. If the stuff I said was recorded, this would be a piece of cake.

A few minutes ago, John, Alex, and I were discussing my blog, and John mentioned he's a big fan of Hot Dog Eagle Boner. We talked about it for a minute until Alex said "I wonder what an eagle's boner looks like". Long story short, I coined the term "har-penis", a combination of harpoon and....yeah.

Needless to say, John and Alex are currently watching (hilarious) animal videos, as per usual. At the moment, they're viewing a video about a sexually frustrated rhino. Emphasis on "they're", because I want it to be known I have nothing to do with this. It is kinda funny, though.

Next up, a video about people putting tape on cats, and seeing how they walked while taped up. I already knew people were strange, but to tape up a cat and watching its reaction is a stroke of genius.

None of this has anything to do with anything, really. I feel like this post took a turn into Tim Burton territory. Just strange. I think that'll about do it for today. I'll probably write something tonight, since I don't have much else going on. I really want pizza.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Mustache Tribute Day

Today, I got into a confrontation with a kid who had a mustache.

I was in line to get my macaroni and cheese at lunch, when this idiot in front of me decided it would be a good time to ruin my macaroni ecstasy by bumping into me. I should preface this by saying that macaroni and fish Friday to me, is a lot like Pretzel Day to Stanley from The Office. To put it simply...

"I wake up every morning in a bed that's too small, drive my daughter to a school that's too expensive. Then I go to work, to a job for which I get paid too little. But on pretzel day -- well, I like pretzel day."

Moving on, I decided to ignore the kid who made the choice to knock me out of my cheesy pasta trance. Moments later, though, he stumbled backwards into me for a second time. 

It should be known that I have no patience for people who throw their likely-diseased bodies into mine, because I am frequently grumpy in crowded situations. If someone apologizes, though, I instantly feel better about them and the human race. Perhaps I would even offer them a french fry if I had one. This kid did not seem to notice the nearly 200 lbs of annoyed midterm-taking junior standing behind him. 

I had some words for him, at which point he turned around to reveal his ugly face and incredibly ridiculous mustache. After telling him and his mustache to kindly go away, in not so kind terms, I began to consider the mustache. 

The mustache is a distinguished look if done correctly, perilous if done poorly. If you suffer from the same disease as myself, not enough testosterone to punch a bear in the face, you are unable to grow a mustache. Theodore Roosevelt did not have this problem. Check this out:

In this picture, we can see Theodore Roosevelt, clearly speaking softly, and damned pleased with his big stick. By big stick, I of course mean the military of the United States. Did you think I meant another big stick, of sorts? Read on.

If you look closely, you'll notice two things. First, Teddy had a sick mustache, and second he fathered a lot of kids. Growing up, Roosevelt had asthma that was so debilitating, it often left him bedridden. He grew up, climbed mountains, rafted down the Amazon, killed lots of animals, and had a bunch of kids, one of whom won the Congressional Medal of Honor. He did not do it with the usual organs, but rather, with his mustache. People dispute that, but I read it on wikipedia, so it counts. 

He also had a son named Kermit.

Sadly, Kermit killed himself after a long battle with depression.
At least you've got a picture of Kermit the Frog with a mustache.

I was born in 1991. I'm told it was very lovely that year....Communism had just fallen, Metallica was on their record breaking tour for the Black Album, and Justin Bieber wasn't alive yet. There was still hope.

As such, I don't know a thing about Magnum PI. Upon further research, it appears mr. P.I. was a private investigator (WHAT A SHOCK) named...get this....Thomas Magnum. 

The TV show, actually named Magnum P.I., was one of the top shows in the ratings from 1980 until mustaches were no longer cool, in 1988. What's a mustache got to do with it?

It appears that in an episode, Magnum had a terrible accident. For our purposes, and because I'm sure as hell not going back to watch this show (which I'm SURE was great for all the old people, before tv wasn't awful), we'll say he got shot. I'm gonna guess he's been in a coma for days. Notice anything?

Mustache completely intact. Not overgrown. Not disheveled. Perfect.

He also influenced an interesting pun that I found on google images:

His mustache influences math.


The greatest mustache of all time.

While Hulk Hogan may have gone the way of Ozzy Osbourne, Hogan sure as hell knows best when it comes to facial hair. 

Before he broke out as the biggest star in the history of Professional Wrestling, Hogan had a role in Rocky III as Thunderlips, "THE ULTIMATE MALE". He beat the hell out of Rocky, only to lose in the end because hey.....Rocky ended the Cold War. He can probably take on Hogan. Still, I've always wanted to be as cool as Hogan's 5 minute role as Thunderlips

Where's YOUR mustache, bitch?

Hogan went on to win numerous world  championships, in totally real fashion, because wrestling is, was, and always will be totally real. Really. 

The most shocking mustache development regarding Hogan is this: on July 7, 1996, Hogan joined the NWO at WCW's Bash at the Beach. Millions of children cried, and Hogan's turn to the dark side was a threat to national security. After all, who would tell the children to say their prayers and take their vitamins? And what's so shocking about the mustache?

His mustache remained blonde, while the rest of his facial hair turned black. Black, the color of evil....evil, like the NWO.....yet the mustache remained blonde....a secret lies within the 'stache.

Hogan eventually turned back into a good guy, because wrestling is entirely real, and he wanted to do good for the people of earth, again. Guess what?

If you guessed "sued for half his stuff", you're right!

His mustache went back to normal. Score one for the good guys...and women who sue the world champion for half of his money, despite living in a trailer when they met. Mustache karma will get her.


In the end, what is the point of all this? Basically, kid who bumped into me, did not apologize, and then acted completely shocked when I brought it up, take a look at all the mustaches above. Anything in common?

1) They're all thick, full, manly mustaches. Yours is not. 
2) They're all from the years between 1858 (assuming Roosevelt was born with a mustache, which I don't doubt) and 1980. 

It's 2012, and the mustache is dead. You don't look cool, manly, suave, or any of the things....that I am. Or wish I was.

But I grow a sweet patchy beard.