Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Top Five Songs of My Youth

I can't believe I haven't posted anything here since the Summer Olympics...Good Grief.

Baby steps to get back on the horse. These are the Top Five Songs of my youth, and by youth I mean elementary to middle school.

1. Be Good Johnny - Men At Work, Business As Usual

2. Don't You (Forget About Me) - Simple Minds, The Breakfast Club Soundtrack

3. No One Is To Blame - Howard Jones, Dream Into Action

4. Be Near Me - ABC, How To Be A...Zillionaire

5. Take On Me - A-Ha, Hunting High and Low

What can I say? I was an only child surrounded by Simon and Garfunkel and Joan Baez at home. The kids listening to the local "Classic Rock" station all wore leather jackets, swore, and smoked. While that did become something to aspire to, I just wasn't there yet. Pop music served up by the Morning Zoo. I remind myself of this when I hear some of the music my son is listening to. Tastes change, and this too shall pass.

Still though, this list isn't as bad as I thought it might be. Nice work younger me.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What Is Sport?

First a definition. What is Sport? Sport is a competition between two or more people or teams. Sport can be decided by honest competitors without the use of judges. For example, golf is a sport. Ballet dancing is not a sport. Ballet dancers are in much better physical condition than golfers, and I'd rather watch Ashley Bouder perform with the New York City Ballet than John Daly throwing his back out driving the ball. That still doesn't make ballet a sport.

Let's take a look now at the events in the Summer Olympics and we'll decide which are sports and which are not:

Archery - Sport. Who can put an arrow or five closest to the center of the target? Easy pick.

Track and Field - Sport. All Field events are sports. Who throws farther, jumps higher, or runs faster? another easy pick. All racing events, THAT ARE HUMAN POWERED, are sports. sorry NASCAR and Indy series, you're out of luck. Sailing? We'll get to you in a minute.

Badminton - Sport. But you do that at your summer picnics? How could it be a sport? Simple, two sides competing in an event that is decided by points and is not judged for style or performance.

Basketball - Sport. Two teams. Two baskets. One Ball.

Boxing - Mixed. Tricky one here. Boxing is a sport if the result comes by way of Knockout, one participant quits or his corner throws in the towel. Otherwise...NOT a sport. If a boxing result is decided by judges scorecards it's no better than a beauty pageant.

Canoeing/Kayaking - Sport. Who can paddle fastest.

Cycling Road Racing and Mountain Biking - Sport. Road racing and Mountain biking are both sports. You get on the bike and pedal faster than the other competitors.

Cycling BMX - Not a Sport. BMX is not a sport. It's fun to watch, but you win by getting the most points from the judges. Thus, not a sport.

Diving - Not a Sport. No ifs ands or buts. It's judged. Not a sport.

Equestrian Dressage - Not a Sport. Fun to watch, but while it is a timed event, it is also judged.

Equestrian Jumping - Sport. Horses are taken through a course with a series of jumps set up and finishing places are determined by a combination of fastest time and fewest faults on the course.

Equestrian Eventing - Not a Sport. This event combines Jumping (Sport), Cross Country (Sport), and Dressage (Not a Sport).

Fencing - Sport. This event is scored using sensors worn on the body to determine 'touches'.

Football (We Yanks, correctly, call this Soccer) - Sport. As much as it grieves me to say. Not my sport, but sport nonetheless.

Gymnastics - Not a Sport. If you need further explanation of this I'm happy to oblige. If you count gymnastics as a sport then I challenge you to deny American idol a spot at the opening ceremonies. At least the American idol judges are entertaining. If the North Korean judge can cost you a medal with his low score you are not competing in a sport.

Handball - Sport. Just two teams, a ball, and two goals. Sound familiar?

Field Hockey - Sport. Again with the two teams, a ball and two goals bit.

JudoMixed . Usually a sport. Most of the time. Another tough call because it is judged. How about bouts ending with submission are sport, and bouts that go to the judges scorecards are not sport?

Modern Pentathlon - Sport. Running, swimming, shooting, fencing, and ride a horse? For sure this is sport.

Rowing - Sport. Humans using their bodies to propel a machine across the water? Winner has the fastest time? Sport.

Sailing - Not a Sport. Counter Intuitive? I know. I'll explain. The event is between two or more people or teams? Check. It can be decided between honest competitors without going to the judges scorecards? Check. It is human powered? Not on your life! So? Not a sport.

Shooting - Sport. See Archery.

Swimming - Sport. See Track and Field.

Synchronized Swimming - Not a Sport. The event is judged. If you include this you might as well include the NBA slam dunk competition as an Olympic event.

Table Tennis - Sport. Just like tennis, on a table. Call your own lines guys.

TaekwondoMixed. See Boxing and Judo.

Tennis - Sport. See Table Tennis.

Volleyball - Sport. In the words of George Carlin "Racket less team ping-pong played with an inflated ball and a raised net while standing on the table." Or in the case of beach volleyball, the sand box.

Water Polo - Sport. See Hand Ball.

Weightlifting - Sport. Lift more than your competitor? Check. Sport.

WrestlingMixed. See Taekwondo, Judo, and Boxing.

So that's it. A total of 32 events in the Summer Olympics. 19 sports, 7 non-sports, and 4 mixed events. The London 2012 Olympics run from July 27, 2012 to August 12, 2012.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Top 5 Sports Movies of Ever

Wow! This was so much harder to put together than I thought it was going to be. I finally got it put together, and I hope you enjoy it. Feel free to take me to task in the comments section if one of your favorites didn't crack the top five.


5. Eight Men Out

Directed by John Sayles and starring John Cusack, Clifton James and Michael Lerner.

Before Pete Rose, there was the 1919 Chicago White Sox. The best team of their day, with an owner who thinks money looks better in his pocket than the players. A collection of gamblers get together and arrange to pay key members of the team to lose in the World Series. An ensemble cast including John Cusack, Charlie Sheen,  and DB Sweeney among others.

Most of what I know about the Black Sox scandal I learned from this movie. From Comiskey underpaying, and in some cases cheating his players, to the players relationships with mobsters. A fascinating period not just in baseball but in the sports culture of the United States. So many far reaching changes occurred because of this scandal and it's aftermath.

For myself the enduring image of this movie is Bucky Weaver (played by John Cusack) sitting in the stands watching a banned Shoeless Joe Jackson (D.B. Sweeney) playing under a different name in a minor league  baseball game in New Jersey.

4. Hoosiers

Directed by David Anspaugh and starring Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey and Dennis Hopper.

Gene Hackman plays a newly hired high school basketball coach in Indiana in the 1950's. He's returning to coaching after a 12 year hiatus where he served in the Navy. He works to install a different system than the kids in the school are used to playing. Dennis Hopper plays an alcoholic former high school star who's son plays on the the team. The movie is about perseverance and finishing what you start.

Ollie McClellan: When do we scrimmage?
Coach Dale: We don't scrimmage, No shooting either.
Ollie McClellan: That aint no fun.
Coach Dale: My practices aren't designed for your enjoyment

Coach Dale: Where are you going? 
Rade: in the game 
Coach Dale: Sit down.
Rade: What do you mean? You gotta have five out there!
Coach Dale: Sit down! Sit!
Referee: Coach you need one more.
Coach Dale: My team's on the floor.

The scene where Hackman tells the referee that the four players on the floor are his team is one of my favorites of all time.

3. Tin Cup

Directed by Ron Shelton and starring Kevin Costner, Rene Russo, Don Johnson, and Cheech Marin.

After being embarrassed by his old college teammate, driving range pro Roy McAvoy qualifies for the US Open, but will his all or nothing attitude end up costing him everything?

Cheech Marin makes this movie special. Every scene that he's in is worth watching. About half the scenes that he's not in are worth watching too and that lands this movie on this list. Cheech Marin plays McAvoy's friend, partner, mentor, and caddy. I shouldn't be suprised to find Marin and Don Johnson together here. Tin Cup came out around the time that they both were in Nash Bridges.

Romeo: Your brain was getting in the way.
McAvoy: Well that's hardly ever been the case.

McAvoy: I need to rise to the level of women who think I'm a joke.

McAvoy: Greatness courts failure

2. Waterboy

Directed by Frank Coraci and starring Adam Sandler, Kathy Bates, and Henry Winkler.

After 18 years of being a water boy, Bobby Boucher discovers a talent for playing football that he didn't know he possessed.

Favorite Parts:
All scenes with Farmer Fran. I stole all of my dance moves from him.
Bobby's mama dancing behind Vicki Vallencourt and Lynn Swann in the sideline interview.
Bobby Boucher's first day at practice. Especially the double eye poke. "Captain Insano shows no mercy."
Coach Klein's Roy Orbison tattoo.
Coach Klein diagramming a play and having a nervous breakdown. "The QB fakes left, no he fakes right, no, he doesn't fake, he thinks about faking, he pretends to fake...I don't know where I am. I can't breath."
Lawrence Taylor's football camp.
Lee Corso and Chris Fowler announcing the Muddogs last game before the Bourbon Bowl.
Corso - Here we see Boucher instantly penetrating the pocket
Fowler - There's a lot of pain and shame in those eyes.
Corso - It's all over
QB Boucher tackles (offscreen) - My leg!
Fowler - Wow, that is a disturbing image.
Coach Klein in high heels after Red Beaulieu steals his playbook.
Klein (flashback. With perm, phone receiver unplugged from the base, and womens high heel shoes.) - No Grandma, I didn't get it. I can't believe it myself. I'm so numb. I just hate him, I hate him, I hate him!

I don't know if there are any life lessons to be learned by watching Waterboy. It's more like grabbing a candy bar from the impulse buy rack next to the cash register. You'll feel guilty for getting it, but your day will feel better. At least mine does

1. Bull Durham

Directed by Ron Shelton and starring Susan Sarandon, Kevin Costner and Tim Robbins.

The Raleigh Durham Bulls minor league baseball team signs a veteran catcher to help a rookie pitcher harness his talent and make it to the major leagues. This movie has some of the best lines of all time.

Annie Savoy - I believe in the church of baseball.
Crash Davis - See you at the yard meat!
Crash Davis - ...Don't try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring, besides that they're fascist. Throw some ground balls, it's more democratic.
Crash Davis - Your shower shoes have fungus on them. You'll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes. Think classy, you'll be classy. If you win 20 in the show you can let the fungus grow back on you shower shoes and the press will think you're colorful. Until you win 20 in the show however, it means you're a slob.
Crash Davis - ...You just got lesson number one: don't think, you can only hurt the ball club.
Crash Davis - The rose goes in the front big guy.

More than just a comedy. There's a poignancy that surrounds Crash's realization that it's time for him to hang up the cleats and find something else to do with his life. The older I get the more this theme comes through for me.

Honorable Mentions

Happy Gilmore
Caddy Shack
The Legend of Bagger Vance
North Dallas Forty
Friday Night Lights
The Natural

Thursday, May 31, 2012

NHL Stanley Cup Finals


Sorry, that had to come out. Once again I am late to the party. Game One was played last night. So without further adieu here is my pick.

Stanley Cup Finals

New Jersey Devils vs Los Angeles Kings     I pick: Kings

The Kings won game 1 yesterday 2-1 in Overtime putting them on the path to the championship. The Devils will win game two and the Kings will win the next 3. So the series ends Saturday June 9th in New Jersey with the Kings hoisting the cup. Fans in Philadelphia will get to see Carter and Richards skate the cup and wonder what might have been.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Top 5 Chris Cornell Songs of Ever

Chris Cornell. The once and future front man of Soundgarden. Lead singer for Audioslave and Temple of the Dog. Ranked 4th in the list of Heavy Metal's All-Time Top 100 Vocalists by Hit Parader. A powerful voice with fantastic range. His lyrics make me tilt my head and go "whahuh?" but his sound is excellent.

5. Searching With My Good Eye Closed - Soundgarden - Badmotorfinger

Classic Chris Cornell. I don't understand what he's trying to say.

Stop you're trying to bruise my mind
I can do it on my own
Stop you're trying to kill my time
It's been my death since I was born
I don't remember half the time
If I'm hiding or I'm lost
But I'm on my way

Someone is bruising his mind, but he can do it himself? Someone's killing his time, it's been his death since he was born? He doesn't remember if he's hiding or lost, but he's on his way? Yeah, I don't know either.

4. Show Me How To Live - Audioslave - Audioslave

Hard driving song from beginning to end. I really like the way he gets his voice to bounce from note to note at the end of the song. The lyrics are close to making sense.

Nail in my hand,
From my creator.
You gave me life,
Now show me how to live.
Nail in my hand,
From my creator.
You gave me life,
Now show me how to live.

3. All Night Thing - Temple of the Dog - Temple of the Dog

This is the last song on the Temple of the Dog album and it does a fantastic job of wrapping everything up. This is one of my favorite albums of all time. I was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and this album has always felt like home. It's comfortable and I walk away from it feeling good. It also doesn't feel like Magnetic Poetry which can't be said of all the songs he sings.

2. Doesn't Remind Me of Anything - Out Of Exile - Audioslave

This song is hypnotic. I love the way it transitions from verse to chorus and back. I like not having to decode the lyrics. I also find it strangely uplifting.

I walk the streets of Japan till I get lost
Cause it doesn't remind me of anything
With a graveyard tan carrying a cross
Cause it doesn't remind me of anything

Terrifically vivid lyrics that paint a fantastic picture.

1. Slaves and Bulldozers - Badmotorfinger - Soundgarden

Cornell uses his voice more as an instrument in this song than a tool to tell a story. The repetitive lyrics build tension and the chorus provides relief as his voice soars. It gives me chills when I hear it.

Honorable Mention, Outshined - Badmotorfinger - Soundgarden

I'm looking California, 
And feeling Minnesota oh yeah,

Nuff said!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Top 5 Best Military Science Fiction Novels Of Ever

Why wait? Let's jump right in.

5. Old Man's War - John Scalzi

First Contact has been made, humans are no longer alone in the universe. The Colonial Defense Force has been tasked with taking humanity to the stars. Setting up human colonies and defending them from attack by hostile aliens. The Colonial Defense Force army is an elite group that is different from other army's. For starters you can't join until you turn 75 years old.

To be honest I've never actually read this book. I listened to the unabridged audio book narrated by William Dufris, and it was Awesome! Audio books are tricky, I've listened to fantastic books turned to hash by an uninspired narrator, and I've listened to mediocre books over and over again because of a skilled narrator. This book is both fantastically written and beautifully narrated.

Dufris does a fantastic job of bringing John Scalzi's characters and worlds to life. The book is fast paced without feeling rushed. Great Book.

4. Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card

Humans have discovered faster than light travel and begin their exploration of the Universe when they run into an alien species called the Fornics. Hostilities ensue. Humans soon discover that the generals who led army's on Earth are out of their depth in space. A solution is set forth with the building of Battle School, an orbiting space station that is used to train children in everything they will need to know to command fleets in space.

I have read the short story version published in 1977 and the full length novel published in 1985 (I actually read the version published in 1991, in which Card made some changes in politics to more accurately represent the times).

A little like Lord of the Flies in space, but with at least the appearance of control by the adults set to watch over them. Instead of being a coming of age story, this is a story of children being forced to grow up sooner than they should. I can happily recommend this story to any Young Adult I come across.

3. The Forever War - Joe Haldeman

Earth has begun it's exploration of space when a United Nations Exploratory Force comes under attack by a group of aliens. Earth puts together an elite group of super intelligent soldiers (IQ's above 150) to find out what happened to the UNEF group and to exact revenge. Star ships in this universe can move from point to point between collapsars, but travel between planets and collapsars must be done in normal space at speeds approaching the speed of light. As the soldiers approach the speed of light they experience time dilation. One year of time for the soldiers in space equals decades back on earth. Each expedition sends these soldiers farther away from the life they knew both in time and space.

Where most books in this genre are filled with brave volunteer soldiers doing their duty, this book is filled with conscripts. Draftees who were picked because of their advanced educations and high IQ scores. The story looks at what happens when the culture and way of life an army is asked to fight for change without notice, leaving the soldiers behind.

2. Starship Troopers - Robert A. Heinlein

This story follows Juan Rico from his time as an enlisted soldier on to his promotion first to Non-Commissioned Officer and then to a commissioned officer. Juan's story is set in the middle of an interstellar war with a race humans call the bugs. The story deals with a multitude of issues such as who should be allowed to vote, the meaning of civic virtue and how one should train their puppies.

This is the book that all other military science fiction books draw from. This book wrote the tropes that everyone else is using to this day. The story has bug shaped aliens, rocket ships, space transports, and most importantly a real cool suit of armor that lets its wearer do all kinds of amazing things. Some of the speeches in here are blatantly political. You can almost see Heinlein thumping his fist on a lectern telling us all how things should be. If you have a beef to pick with Libertarians this could set your teeth on edge.

If, however, you have a soft spot in your heart for the good guys beating the bad guys through hard work and ingenuity, then you'll enjoy this book.

1. Armor - John Steakley

Armor is the story of a person who has been pushed so far past any normal physical and psychological limit that the only thing left is survival. Felix's inability to allow himself to die, even as he expects it, propels him from one fight to the next. His story is told through his own eyes, as he looks out through his armor.

The title of this book doesn't just refer to the suit of armor that Felix is assigned to. It also refers to his mental armor. The armor that refuses to let himself be taken or killed. This book breaks down into three acts. The first and third acts focus on Felix and the planet Banshee where the fighting takes place. The second act focuses on a character named Jack Crow. The pace of the second act is slower than the first and third, but if you can ride it out the third act really pays off. It should be noted that I'm putting this book on the top of my list even with a slow chunk right in the middle. IT'S THAT GOOD!

Honorable Mention

Falkenberg's Legion by Jerry Pournelle 

It was a tough call to not include this story in the top 5. I'll be honest with you, this almost beat out Old Man's War. Falkenberg's Legion has been a favorite of mine since I was in High School and Jerry Pournelle is a wonderful writer. I would recommend this book to anyone.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

NHL Conference Finals or Better Late Than Never

This is late coming out, but I've been busy and I'm a front runner anyways, or haven't you read this? At the time of this post the Kings lead the Coyotes 2-0, and the Rangers lead the Devils 1-0.

Eastern Conference Finals

New York Rangers vs New Jersey Devils     I pick: Rangers

The I don't care match-up of the playoffs so far. I'm rooting for the Devils, but I get the feeling that the Rangers will advance to the Stanley Cup. On a side note, how far do the Devils need to go to make Marty Brodeur comfortable retiring? If they win the Cup does he come back next year?

Western Conference Finals

Phoenix Coyotes vs Los Angeles Kings     I pick: Kings

I've picked against the Kings twice now based on the fact that they couldn't find the back of the net all season long. I am now a believer. The Kings will walk all over a Coyotes team that has made it this far using smoke and mirrors. Dave Tippet has implemented a scheme in Phoenix that maximizes his rosters talent, but it won't let them score. Mike Smith has had a heck of a run, but it's all over now. I said it here now, and you can take it to the bank (pay no attention to that donut I put up in Round 2): The Kings are going to win the Stanley Cup. J. Quick is the best goalie left in the playoffs and the rest of the team has remembered how to light the lamp.

Monday, May 14, 2012

It's In The Water

The Portland Winterhawks fell short in game 7 of the WHL Finals last night. So ends their quest for the Memorial Cup, and so continues a favorite saying of a couple of old friends. The Phuc brothers used to say that they didn't know why teams from the Pacific Northwest don't win Championships, but for sure, "It's in the water."

The last team from the Pacific Northwest to win a championship was the 97-98 Portland Winterhawks. Before that you have to go back to the 82-83 Winterhawks. I'm not counting the Huskies shared NCAA football title, BECAUSE IT WAS SHARED! Shared titles don't count. (Co-Champions, what a joke. Get on with that playoff system already NCAA Football!) Before that you have to go back to 78-79 with the Seattle Supersonics, and the 76-77 Blazers.

The late 1970's. Maybe that's when the tainting of the water table in the Pacific Northwest started. There have been teams that have gone to championship games, and series in the meantime. The Blazers had a couple of opportunities in the early 90's. The Sonics made an appearance. The Vancouver Canucks and the Seattle Seahawks both made it to their championship game/series. None of them brought home a championship.

It's in the water. Last year before the deciding game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals Nathan Horton of the Boston Bruins brought some Boston water all the way across North America to pour it onto the ice in Vancouver. The home team had won the first six games of the series. After Horton baptised the ice at Rogers Arena in Vancouver with his Boston water the Bruins went on to win the championship.

As I see it the solution is simple. If I owned a sports franchise, or was the athletic director of a major university in the Pacific Northwest I would not allow any of my players to drink the water. I would provide all the bottled water they wanted. I would tell them that Montezuma's revenge has been creeping steadily north. I would tell them that drinking the water in the Pacific Northwest causes hair loss and a diminished sex drive. I'd truck water in from New York, and Boston. I'd truck it up from Los Angeles, and even from St. Louis. I'd be open to water from almost anywhere but Buffalo, NY. (I'm pretty sure whatever we've got in the water here, they have in the water there.) I would set up a closed water system for each one of the athletes in my organization. I'd include the coaches, the training staff and all of the front office personnel. They would use water from this system for all of their water needs. Bathing, washing, filling water bottles to squirt their dogs to get them to stop barking, ironing, cooking, and washing their cars.

The result? Championships galore! One for everybody! Until someone takes this advice to heart though, us fans will just have to learn to live without championships. You see, it's in the water.

Friday, April 27, 2012

NHL Round Two


New York Rangers vs Washington Capitals     I pick: Capitals

I don't like this match up. I don't like that it took the Rangers seven games to put away the Senators. I don't like that I can't tell if the Capitals are a strong defensive team or the Bruins were just horrible offensively. I don't like that I can't tell if the Capitals are weak offensively or the Bruins are just exceptional defensively. I close my eyes and throw my dart and it lands on...

Philadelphia Flyers vs New Jersey Devils     I pick: Flyers

This one's easy. The Flyer's have too much fire power to not advance. With all due respect to Marty Brodeur, this one could be over early.


St. Louis Blues vs Los Angeles Kings     I pick: Blues

As bad as the Canucks turned out to be defensively, that's how good the Blues are. There's no way the Kings get over that hump. This one too, could be over early.

Phoenix Coyotes vs Nashville Predators     I pick: Predators

This is my series to watch. Two very similar teams. Defense first systems, and two hot goaltenders. In the end I think it's Alexander Radulov that tips this series to Nashville.

Friday, April 20, 2012

2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs Round One Update


Vancouver Canucks vs Los Angeles Kings     I picked: Canucks

The Kings lead the series 3 games to 1. The Canucks have replaced Luongo as their starting goaltender in favor of Corey Schneider and it looks to have worked. At least for one game. This series picks up again on Sunday in Vancouver.

St. Louis Blues vs San Jose Sharks     I picked Blues

The St. Louis Blues lead the series 3 games to 1. I haven't paid a lot of attention to this series. It's enough for me to know that the Blues are ahead and the Sharks are not.

Phoenix Coyotes vs Chicago Blackhawks   I picked Coyotes

The Coyotes lead the series 3 games to 1. This series has been exciting with the running of goalies, open ice head shots, and a @BizNasty being tossed out of the game for not having his jersey tied down. The Coyotes are on my short list of teams to root for. Can you imagine them winning the Cup this year then being sold and starting next year someplace else? Good Times.

Nashville Predators vs Detroit Red Wings     I picked Predators

The Nashville Predators lead the series 3 games to 1. This series has a lot riding on it for my family. Another hockey dad and I have put 50 push-ups from our kids on the outcome. So far Pekka Rinne has been spectacular in net for Nashville. If I had to pick out a prototype to use to build my ultimate goalie it would start with him. Hopefully Shea Weber can avoid throwing any more Red Wings into the turnbuckle and the Preds can finish this off tonight.


New York Rangers vs Ottawa Senators     I picked Rangers

This series is tied 2-2. I wasn't interested in this series to begin with. That's changed now that the Senators have risen up to win two games. Really physical series with lots of hitting, a couple of line brawls and a Brandon Dubinsky match penalty.

Boston Bruins vs Washington Capitals     I picked Bruins

This series is tied 2-2. Riding some hot goaltending by Braden Holtby, the Capitals are making this a series. The Bruins don't seem to be able to find the back of the net. It's a lot to ask of the 22 year old Holtby to carry this Capitals team much further in the playoffs, but a first round upset isn't out of the question. Look out Bruins.

Florida Panthers vs New Jersey Devils     I picked Devils

This series is tied 2-2. Martin Brodeur may be past his prime, but he still has the ability to rise to the occasion. He posted a shutout in game 4 to tie the series. I haven't seen any of these games, but it's good to hear that Marty is having some success in the post season.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Philadelphia Flyers     I picked Penguins

The Flyers lead this series 3 games to 1. If you like rough and tumble, high scoring games then this has been the series to watch. Lots of rough stuff before, between, and after the whistles. Big name goaltenders under-performing (I'm looking at you Fleury and Bryzgalov). It looked like the Flyers would walk away with this one until game four when the Penguins beat them 10-3. If any team can come back from 3 games down it would be the Penguins.

So far so good. The only pick I really want back is the Canucks over the Kings. I did not see that coming.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Round 1 Predictions For the NHL Playoffs

Tonight begins the race for Lord Stanley's Cup. My predictions for winners in round one are at the bottom in Red. If you think I got something wrong leave a comment below.

Seed West Seed East
1 Vancouver Canucks 1 New York Rangers
2 St. Louis Blues 2 Boston Bruins
3 Phoenix Coyotes 3 Florida Panthers
4 Nashville Predators 4 Pittsburgh Penguins
5 Detroit Red Wings 5 Philadelphia Flyers
6 Chicago BlackHawks 6 New Jersey Devils
7 San Jose Sharks 7 Washington Capitals
8 Los Angeles Kings 8 Ottowa Senators
Round 1
West East
Vancouver Canucks New York Rangers
vs vs
Los Angeles Kings Ottowa Senators
St. Louis Blues Boston Bruins
vs vs
San Jose Sharks Washington Capitals
Phoenix Coyotes Florida Panthers
vs vs
Chicago BlackHawks New Jersey Devils
Nashville Predators Pittsburgh Penguins
vs vs
Detroit Red Wings Philadelphia Flyers

Monday, April 9, 2012

What Does It Mean To Be A Fan?

What does it mean to be a fan? This was a discussion we had at Easter dinner yesterday afternoon. I can name for you the date and time that I became a sports fan. It was January 20, 1985 and my dad and I were driving home from Kennewick Wa, to Portland OR. Super Bowl XIX was being played between the San Fransisco 49ers and the Miami Dolphins. We picked up the game on our way out of town. I don't remember how many different stations we changed to on the trip home, but I got the chance to root for Joe Montana as he led the 49ers to a 38-16 victory.

I became a football fan on that day. The next year I rooted for the Seattle Seahawks and I have been ever since. Through ups and downs, thick and thin, I was there. Bo Jackson running over Brian Bosworth on Monday Night Football? I was there. Dave Krieg being sacked 7 times by Derrick Thomas setting the single game sack record? I was there. Ken Behring looking to move the team to Hollywood? I was there. Jeremy Stevens talking trash about Jerome Bettis in Super Bowl XL and then dropping every ball thrown his way in the game (including two in the endzone)? I was there. I was even there when they won their division with a 7-9 record, and then to ensure that they would get a horrible pick in the NFL entry draft, beat the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the playoffs.

You're asking what my point is and I'll tell you. Being a Seattle Seahawks fan this last 27 years has taught me heartbreak, pain, and suffering. I follow other sports as well to a lesser extent. I like the Portland Blazers, Seattle Mariners, and University of Oregon football. I also am a huge fan of the Portland Winterhawks. Do you know how many championships those teams have combined to win since I started watching them? Zero, Zilch, Nada.

The NHL playoffs start on Wednesday, April 11th. Why is that important? What's my NHL team? I don't have one. My favorite NHL team is the one that's going to win the game. I may pick a team to root for during a playoff series, but if they don't win, I'm picking up my pack and moving on. I now have reinforced ankles to accommodate the shameless bandwagon jumping I do. Last season during the Eastern Conference Finals I rooted like crazy for the Tampa Bay Lightning. When they lost in game 7 to the Boston Bruins, I turned around and rooted for the Bruins to beat the Canucks. When the Bruins beat the Canucks in game 7 of the Finals to win the cup, I jumped up and danced around. I had won. My team had beat the other team and won the Championship.

Ellen Etchingham has a great piece that posted today to the Backhand Shelf blog where she pleads for us all to be fans. To dedicate ourselves to a single team and experience the highs and lows that come with that single minded focus. I'm here to tell you that I've done that. A lot. Nothing so far has matched watching my Boston Bruins win the Stanley Cup. Was I long suffering? I was not. Am I rooting for the Bruins again this year? Not yet. Right now I've got my eyes on the Nashville Predators. I'll start with them and see what happens. The best part is that come June I know that My team is going to be lifting the Stanley Cup.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The 100 Best Songs of Ever

A complete, and utterly comprehensive list of the 100 best songs of all time. The list is in no particular order, and yes it does include every song on Led Zeppelin II. Please to enjoy if you can.

Grooveshark Playlist 100 Best Songs of Ever

Title Artist Album
Alive Pearl Jam Ten
Cocaine Eric Clapton Slowhand
Release Pearl Jam Ten
Help The Beatles Help
Running With The Devil Van Halen Van Halen I
Aint Talkin Bout Love Van Halen Van Halen I
Panama Van Halen 1984
Drop Dead Legs Van Halen 1984
Cabo Wabo Van Halen ou812
Poundcake Van Halen For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge
It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock and Roll) AC/DC High Voltage
T.N.T. AC/DC High Voltage
Can I Sit Next to You Girl AC/DC High Voltage
Ride On AC/DC Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
Shot Down In Flames AC/DC Highway to Hell
If You Want Blood (You've Got It) AC/DC Highway to Hell
Night Prowler AC/DC Highway to Hell
Shoot to Thrill AC/DC Back in Black
Back in Black AC/DC Back in Black
Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution AC/DC Back in Black
For Those About to Rock (We Salute You) AC/DC For Those About to Rock
Who Made Who AC/DC Who Made Who
Shake Your Foundation AC/DC Who Made Who
Thunderstruck AC/DC The Razors Edge
Twist and Shout The Beatles Please Please Me
Love Me Do The Beatles Please Please Me
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds The Beatles Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band
When I'm Sixty-Four The Beatles Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band
Helter Skelter The Beatles The White Album
Story Of My Life Social Distortion Social Distortion
Ball and Chain Social Distortion Social Distortion
Paradise City Guns 'n Roses Appetite For Destruction
Patience Guns 'n Roses G N' R Lies
Sweet Emotion Aerosmith Toys in the Attic
Dream On Aerosmith Aerosmith
Sweet Home Alabama Lynnrd Skynnrd Second Helping
Tuesday's Gone Lynnrd Skynnrd Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd
Simple Man Lynnrd Skynnrd Pronounced Leh-nerd Skin-nerd
Cinnamon Girl Neil Young Everybody Knows This is Nowhere
Heart of Gold Neil Young After the Gold Rush
Mr. Soul Buffalo Springfield Buffalo Springfield Again
Old Man Neil Young Harvest
Voodoo Chile (Slight Return) Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble Couldn't Stand the Weather
American Tune Paul Simon There Goes Rhymin Simon
Sharp Dressed Man ZZ Top Eliminator
La Grange ZZ Top Tres Hombres
Shake Your Rump Beastie Boys Paul's Boutique
Whole Lotta Love Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin II
What Is and What Should Never Be Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin II
The Lemon Song Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin II
Thank You Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin II
Heartbreaker Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin II
Living Loving Maid (She's Just a Woman) Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin II
Ramble On Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin II
Moby Dick Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin II
Bring It On Home Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin II
Gallows Pole Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin III
Tangerine Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin III
Bron-Y-Aur Stomp Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin III
Good Times Bad Times Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin
Babe I'm Gonna Leave You Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin
I Can't Quit You Baby Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin
Your Time is Gonna Come Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin
The Song Remains the Same Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy
Dancing Days Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy
The Ocean Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy
In My Time of Dying Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti
Houses of the Holy Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti
In the Light Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti
Down by the Seaside Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti
Nobody's Fault but Mine Led Zeppelin Presence
In the Evening Led Zeppelin In Through the Out Door
Fool in the Rain Led Zeppelin In Through the Out Door
Hey Hey What Can I Do Led Zeppelin Coda
Seven Nation Army White Stripes Elephant
Desperate People Living Colour Vivid
Which Way to America Living Colour Vivid
Solace of You Living Colour Time's Up
Down In It Nine Inch Nails Pretty Hate Machine
Sleep Now in the Fire Rage Against the Machine The Battle of Los Angeles
Outshined Soundgarden BadMotorFinger
Slaves and Bulldozers Soundgarden BadMotorFinger
Searching With My Good Eye Closed Soundgarden BadMotorFinger
Seven Bridges Road The Eagles Eagles Live
Hotel California The Eagles Hotel California
Ripple Grateful Dead American Beauty
Friend of the Devil Grateful Dead American Beauty
No Woman, No Cry Bob Marley Legend
Stir It Up Bob Marley Legend
Redemption Song Bob Marley Legend
Toes Zac Brown Band The Foundation
Chicken Fried Zac Brown Band Home Grown
Where the Boat Leaves From/One Love Zac Brown Band Where the Boat Leaves From
Baba O'Riley The Who Who's Next
Won't Get Fooled Again The Who Who's Next
Behind Blue Eyes The Who Who's Next
Who Are You The Who Who Are You
No Excuses Alice In Chains Jar of Flies
Tones of Home Blind Melon Blind Melon
Brown Sugar The Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers