Thursday, October 08, 2015


I can't watch a sports show without a spot from the Native American Rights Fund.  NARF for short.  It's well intentioned, and worth looking into.  Still, I can't see the word "Narf" without thinking of Pinky and the Brain....

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Hockey Post

This was originally posted on Ye Olde Facebooke.  A group I follow, called Southern Hockey Problems, which generally laments the treatment of southern hockey fans by the northern folk, shared the following picture:

And I wrote the following:

I like this photo on a few levels.
First, the reminder that unaffiliated minor league hockey will be back soon makes me happy.
Second, that's a picture of long time SPHL journeyman enforcer Dennis Sicard and Knoxville Ice Bears coach Mike Craigen.
Sicard's one of those guys you love to hate. His job, plain and simple, for many years, was to act as a disruption. He's smaller than most of the other players (he's listed at 5'11," a number that I will tell you from having walked next to the man is Bull Shit. He's not even 5'11" on skates...). He runs his mouth. And he fights. A lot. And sometimes, he did it dirty. I had my problems with him, because while I'm not against players dropping gloves from time to time, it seemed to be the only thing Sicard was good for. The picture below, I like, because these two have history on the ice. Sicard, feeling that Craigen had sucker punched him during a game back in Craigen's playing days, shaved Craigen's numbers onto his head, and spent the rest of the season planning on getting even. Which he did. And then some.
I was kinda upset when I'd heard Knoxville had traded for him, to replace their long-time enforcer David Segal. Segal could and did scrap, but he also remained a leader out on the ice. Sicard? A fighter. And last year, Knoxville had guys like Corey Fulton and Brad Pawlowski, who had stepped up into Enforcer rolls. I didn't see that Knoxville needed a body like Sicard, who's entertaining, but ultimately plays a frustrating brand of hockey.
Which isn't to say I wasn't interested. I'm always curious about team dynamics. Especially when you bring a guy like Sicard with so much history on board. Hell, it had only been a couple weeks before that Sicard, taking umbrage to Ice Bears' defenseman Ryan Hill taking perceived liberties with Peoria's line, and wanting to get even for a scrap between two other players earlier on, had dropped the (legit) 6'4" hill like a toilet seat when they dropped gloves. Now, Sicard, with history between he and and Craigen, with history with a number of players on the roster, was now lacing them up along side. I know it's a job, and maybe they can not take that stuff personally. I don't know.
It hit me maybe a couple times in, seeing him play in Knoxville. 1.) He's capable of much, much more than simply fighting. And 2.) His reputation as a fighter and enforcer left of a lot of opposing players (and coaches) underestimating his potential as a goal-scorer.
He's like a wolverine, out there on the ice. He went out there, and played harder than just about everybody lacing them up, all year, after he arrived. He did fight, from time to time. I guess that's unavoidable, when that's your reputation. He got called for penalties that he didn't deserve, which sucked, but then, that's SPHL officiating for you--those guys are clownshoes, and they hold grudges just like players. But he also scored a lot.
The Ice Bears won the league championship last year. I don't think they would have done it, if they'd kept David Segal in his role. That pains me to say. Segal had lost a step or two, age and injuries taking their toll. Sicard stepped into a roll that others weren't (and maybe he himself wasn't) used to him playing. I can tell you that there was a coach and a defense or two that weren't ready for Sicard to be the one bringing the puck down the ice....the guy was a fighter, not a skater....often, they had no answer for him. It was Sicard who scored the goal that sent them to the playoffs.
I don't know that if there was anybody else happier holding up the President's Cup at the end of the Championship game last spring, than Dennis Sicard. He's played several season in the SPHL, with something like 8 or 9 teams in the league (3 or 4 of which are no longer even in operation, as is the carny atmosphere in the league). This was his first championship.
As much as I say I hate painting a story on an athletic competition, I guess I end up loving the drama as much as the next guy. Last season was a cool one. Looking forward to another....

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Blood Moon

We went to watch the Blood Moon.  They have a pontoon raft.  We floated on the lake, and watched the sky.

It was cloudy.  We got excited for a sliver of moon emerging from the mists, only to retreat.

The company was grand.

Best night in weeks, campers.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

I'm up to the P's in my alphabetical wander through my movies shelf.  To get you up to speed:  I watch movies as I get ready for work in the morning.  The back bedroom doesn't have a cable line to it, and I haven't got an antenna.  So, I watch movies on that TV, as I'm getting dressed.  I was spending too much time deciding what to watch before I threw in Ghostbusters for the 490th time.  So, I started an alphabetical wander through my collection.

I was doing capsule reviews for a while, and I may restart as a way to make my lazy self write some more.  I slacked off, because slackers slack.  I'm into the P's.  I've been going for about 17 months now.  I figure I won't finish until March 2016, or so.

I'm up to the P's.  There are some good ones in P.  Paranorman, which is an underrated little animated flick from two or three years back.  Parenthood continues to be a favorite, and out of all Ron Howard has done, I'm thinking this might be my favorite flick of his.

Then there's Planes, Trains and Automobiles.  Always a favorite.  Contains some of the best lines ever put onto screen.  And a couple of the funniest visuals to ever come down the pike.

How can you not like that?

As I was getting ready, though, after finishing that flick for probably the 100th time, something hit me:  Much of the movie is dependent on the audience's lack of knowledge concerning geography.

See?  Neal and Del get diverted from Chicago to Wichita because of bad weather.  Now, I get that you might want to stay the night, to see if air traffic gets going again.  But then you're Neal, and you wake up (with Del's hands between two pillows and with your money stolen), and then Del convinces you to go to the train station, since the hope of catching a flight is slim.  Which, of course, is in Stubbville, since you can't ride the train out of Wichita, unless you're a hog, or a cattle.

Which leads to more misadventures, including a busride across Missouri, getting beaten up by a dispatcher and all manner of hilarity.

Don't get me wrong.  It's a great movie.

But it's written with a pre-interstate highway mentality.

We had interstates in 1987.  Even in snowy Kansas, Missouri and Illinois.

That's the thing.  Do people know that Wichita is roughly 700 miles from Chicago?  That's a good haul, but definitely not insurmountable.  I drove from Des Moines to Athens a few years back in right around 13 hours, by myself.  Granted, that was without snow and holiday traffic, but still.  It's doable.

Neal and Del should have gone back to the airport, and rented a car.  They could have split the cost, since they both needed to get to Chicago.  They could have split the driving, so no need to stay at a motel. Even with holiday traffic, they would have been home Wednesday evening, easily.

Hell, they could have rented a car Tuesday night, and driven for a couple or three hours, making Wednesday's drive even less of a beast.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

A thought worth saving

Seems appropriate.  Some days, I want to start passing out flannel night shirts and hunting caps.  We've raised a nation of Ignatius Reillys, it seems.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Sofa King Something

I have a new couch.

It's a new, old couch.

See, my old couch was falling apart.  Literally.  I was the third owner of that couch, owing to that I don't sit on a couch much, and didn't want to spend money on something I wouldn't use.  You may call it "cheap," and you wouldn't be wrong.  However, I prefer the term "Thrifty Asshole."  But, I did use that couch some, and due to that use, it was falling apart.  And by falling apart, I mean I was becoming wary of sitting down on the thing and not stopping until my butt hit the floor.

Again, I don't use the couch much, I say, this despite sitting on the couch as I write this.

I didn't want to spend money on something I didn't use much.  Especially since Shyam and I are looking at moving in together.  I didn't want to spend money on something I might potentially need to jettison in the somewhat near future.

It so happened that Eric had a couch coming available.

Last night, there was a game of logistical Tetris played as we all tried to mesh and match schedules and vehicles.  It was only the 289th time since my truck was stolen last year that I've missed having a pickup truck.  Had to borrow Dad's.   Had to figure out a way to get my old couch to the dump, which so conveniently for everybody closes at four, according to the recording I got at 4:03 PM.  Because nobody works and everybody is able to get to the dump by 4 PM on a weekday.  Thanks, Obama!

So, what ensued was a trading of vehicles and sofas and sweat and bruised hands (sorry, Eric).  We got the sofas traded.  I sit on it now.

I took the old sofa to the dump today, after it opened.  By the way, I'm thinking banker's ought to be wistful for landfill worker hours.  8-4?  That's sweet!

Instead of taking the couch to the dumpsters, I got to take it all the way back to the pile, complete with bulldozers waiting on my ass to dump the couch onto the pile so he could bulldoze the shit out of it.

While I was there, I looked down, and realized I was stepping on a goodly number of porn DVDs.  I had to wonder if they were dismissed at the landfill with the same moment of sentimentality I had with my sofa?  It wasn't a long moment, but there was a brief moment of " ass has had contact with that thing off and on for 15 years...."

I would be remiss if I didn't note that I did enjoy playing gorilla and heaving a piece of furniture in front of a bulldozer for a man to shove it down a hill, cover it with dirt and leave it so some future archaeologist might dig it out and place it in a museum in the year 2422.  I enjoyed it immensely.

Also?  I'm going to need a new BluRay player.  Mine's got a bunch of tape and landfill dirt in it for some reason.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Two Deaths.

I found out today that my Uncle Johnny passed away.  It wasn't unexpected.  He'd been ailing.  A diagnosis of lung cancer came not long ago.  He had a heart attack a few days back.  It took a heart attack on top of lung cancer to take him out.

I didn't know him well.  In fact, I was thinking about it today, after I found out, and I figure that the number of times he and I actually saw each other in person in my couldn't have numbered much more than a dozen.  It was an issue of proximity, more than anything.  Johnny, his wife Linda and their four daughters lived in Michigan, which isn't ridiculously far away, I know, but is far enough away that it wasn't convenient for every Labor Day or Thanksgiving get together at my Aunt Brenda's house in Kentucky.

Still, he was always cool to me when we did meet.  He had a dry wit, and he had the kind of disposition where he didn't really require you to be in on the jokes.

He was quite kind about the stuff I'd written.  And when I lamented that work was eating up my writing time, he said "if it's important enough, you make the time."

He's right.  Was, and is.

Thanks, Uncle Johnny.  I wish I'd known you better.


Tonight at work, I saw that somebody had posted to my Facebook that Rowdy Roddy Piper had passed away.

I hope you won't think it too maudlin of me that I had to take a minute in the back of the store.

It's one thing to say that Piper was my favorite wrestler.

It's another to think of why.

I was a quiet kid.  Smart enough, but never fully trusting of my verbal skills, at least when it came to one of the most important places--with the other kids.  When it came to any sort of confrontation, I let myself be horribly outclassed, verbally.  I'd stammer, I'd trip on my tongue.  Or I'd just stay silent, fearing the stammering.

I was in awe of Roddy Piper.  Who never seemed to be the most popular guy.  Or the biggest.  Or the toughest.  But he always had something to say.  I admired that.  That complete inability to be cowed into silence.

I still admire that.  I have moments still, where I don't trust myself to speak my mind.  It's bullshit, and I get angry with myself about it.  But it still happens.

Less, though, than when I was growing up.  I'd like to think Hot Rod not being afraid to step up to Hulk Hogan, or Andre the Giant, or Mr. T., had something to do with that.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sports Czar

I want to be Sports Czar.

I want to be the final authority on all questions sports.

Used to be, their commissioners were enough.

Now?  I want to be that body to appeal to, when a Commissioner hands down a decision.

All sports would be able to appeal to me.  Professional or Amateur.

For this, I ask only a small stipend.  Roughly $1500 week.

Also, a cloak to wear.  For I don't want people to know my identity.  I'd like a hooded cloak.  So I might be shrouded in mystery.

Also, I want a huge mission control type room where I might watch all these sports.

And I want the right of one arbitrary murder a year.  You piss me off?  I point at you, and say "Dead."  And then government agents would wisk you off and destroy you.  Or, if I'm driving, and some asshole cuts me off?  I call a number, and attack helicopters swoop in and destroy the offending party.

I wouldn't use it often.  Just enough to for it to be effective.  And I'll give some back...if I don't use my arbitrary murder in a calendar year, there are no rollovers.  I don't use it, I lose it.  I would recommend that the year run from birthday to birthday...because that would be a hella cool birthday gift.  It would also make that corridor from Christmas to my birthday a tricky one to navigate, if you're prone to pissing me off, and I haven't used up that murder yet.

Yep.  Sports Czar.  That's me.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

In which he should stay off the social media until he's had his coffee

I wake up.  I sit there on the edge of the bed.  I look at the text message I received at 2 in the morning from a co-worker.  I then go scrolling through Facebooke.

It turns out, I'd never done the math on the propensity for my friends named Rachel to marry guys named Matt.  I've got three sets of Rachel and Matt among my friends.

Just two of those sets are are on social media, but it was the third that I was getting confused.

One set had a baby.

It was the set is made of my friend Rachel, whom I used to see often, but then stopped seeing as much when I got transferred up to the Loudon, and then we just never hooked back up as often, after that.  She married a fellow named Matt, who's a pretty cool dude.

However, my sleep-addled brain didn't grasp that it was that Rachel, as she posts infrequently on the Facebook.  Without saying too much myself, she didn't mention the pregnancy much due to the personal risks.  I read this, and understood, though in my mind, I had the complete wrong Rachel in mind saying this.  the one I had in mind was one I see somewhat often, if irregularly, as she shops in my store from time to time.  The thought running through my mind:  I had no idea she was pregnant.  She didn't look pregnant.

I got up.  Took a pee.  Made a cup of coffee.

Sat down at my computer, and wanted to read the post again.  I typed in Rachel, and the first that pops up is a friend from my home town, that I went to school and church with.  She had no posts about being pregnant, and I was again confused for a couple seconds.

Anyway.  This long and boring post was made possible by a cup of coffee.  I've sorted my Rachel/Matt combos out.  Congrats to the one with a new daughter.  Congrats to all of them for being married to Matts.  I like to think that somewhere up on the astral plane, there's a chortle about this.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

A note from the ether....

Spray tan, son.  Someday, you'll understand that you didn't dodge a bullet so much as had the Crazy Train pass you by on the station.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Strange Women Lying in Ponds

Any time anybody expresses their religious views as part of a political argument, I can't help but think of this scene.

Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.....

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Half Year Book Post

We're coming up on the end of June, which marks 6 months down, you goons.

I've had a minor goal of 52 books a year for a few years running.  I usually do well with the goal until I hit holiday buzzsaw in mid November.  So far, I'm a couple ahead of pace.

I'm currently reading The Likeness, by Tana French, and Finders Keepers, by Stephen King, though I won't finish them until July, most likely.....

Anyway, month-by-month, here's what I've been reading in 2015.


1.  The Plague Dogs, by Richard Adams
2.  Moonshine: A Cultural History of America's Infamous Liquor, by Jaime Joyce
3.  A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole
4.  Silver Screen Fiend, by Patton Oswalt
5.  So, Anyway..., by John Cleese


6.  City Behind a Fence:  Oak Ridge, Tennessee 1942-1946
                                     by Charles W. Johnson & Charles O. Jackson
7.  Revival, by Stephen King
8.  All Clear, by Connie Willis


9.  Tretiak: the Legend      by Vadislav Tretiak
10.  In the Kingdom of Ice, by Hampton Sides
11.  Black Swan Green,  by David Mitchell
12.  Dead Wake, by Erik Larson
13.  the Outlaw Album, by Daniel Woodrell
14.  Trigger Warning, by Neil Gaiman


15.  the Eye of God, by James Rollins
16.  the Guns of August, by Barbara W. Tuchman
17.  Prisoner 489, by Joe R. Lansdale
18.  the Prague Cemetary, by Umberto Eco
19.  the Martian, by Andy Weir


20.  Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: the Untold History of English, by John McWhorter
21.  the Dark Tower:  Gunslinger      by Stephen King
22.  I am Radar, by Reif Larsen
23.  Dust and Decay, by Jonathan Maberry
24.  Long Black Curl, by Alex Bledsoe
25.  Finding Nouf, by Zoe Ferraris


26.  the Jesus Cow, by Michael Perry
27.  Heir to the Empire, by Timothy Zahn
28.  the Great Movies, by Roger Ebert

Monday, June 22, 2015

Punch n' Juicy

Nephew:  Uncle Tommy, what is that?
Me:  That's a kind of bubble gum.
Nephew:  Can I have some?
Me:  I don't think it exists any more.
Nephew:  Why not?
Me:  Well, they stopped selling it?
Nephew:  How come?
Me:  I guess it wasn't very good.
Nephew:  Did you have any?
Me:  I don't think so.
Nephew:  Can we try some?
Me:  No.
Nephew:  Why not?
Me:  Because they don't make it anymore.
Nephew:  Why not?
Me:  I guess it didn't sell very well.
Nephew:  How much did it cost?
Me:  I don't know.
Nephew:  Didn't you have any money?
Me:  Not in 1983.
Nephew:  Did they make gum in 1983?
Me:  Of course they made gum in 1983.
Nephew:  Did you buy any?
Me:  Sometimes my Dad bought me some at the store.
Nephew:  Some of that gum?
Me:  No.  Other gum.
Nephew:  But not that gum?
Me:  No.  Other gum.
Nephew:  Was it better than that gum?
Me:  I don't know.  I never tried that gum.
Nephew:  Why not?
Me:  Don't remember knowing about that gum.
Nephew:  But didn't you have this comic when you were little?
Me:  Yes, but I don't remember the gum.
Nephew:  You don't remember gum?
Me: I remember gum, but I don't remember that gum.
Nephew:  Why not?
Me:  I just don't.
Nephew (after a long pause):  I think it looks good.  I want some.
Me: You can't have any.
Nephew:  Why not?
Me: Because they don't make it anymore.
Nephew:  Why not?
Me:  Can we read the comic story?
Nephew (rolls eyes, skeptically):  oooookay......

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Minor thoughts on the Blackhawks

Didn't get to see the Blackhawks win the Cup tonight.  I'd told somebody at work that my head said the Lightning would take this game, but my gut said Chicago would take it, if only because I wasn't home to watch, and I'd be out of hockey to watch until next season.

Congrats to Chicago.

It puts me in an odd position on Twitter.  I follow a lot of Cubs fans.  A lot of those Cubs fans are also Blackhawks fans.

During the season, it's aggravating.  Especially when they play.  In a playoff series.

Still.  I'm happy for them.  They're good folks.

It's worth noting, I would suppose, that I've still not had a team win a title in a major professional or college league....

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Notes on the Day

  • I have worked 10 out of the last 11 days.   And 21 of the 25 since I got back from vacation.  My ass is tired.  As is the rest of me.  I'd made the mistake of noting to Shyam that 2015 has been a little easier on my schedule-wise than was 2014, and the latter half of 2013.  
  • I'm off tomorrow.  hooray.
  • Christopher Lee and Dusty Rhodes both died today.  Two folks who inhabited that odd, near unnameable concentric circle of "Shit Tommy thinks is cool."  If I was the type of guy who believed Things Happen in Threes, I'd want Ryne Sandberg, Elvira and Stephen King to take some notice, and make the proper arrangements to stay safe tonight.
  • I shared this on Facebook.  It is one of the first things I thought of when I heard Dusty passed.  The man had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand.  It was a shitty, half-assed storyline, but Dusty made it work.  Plus, in this video, you can see my smiling mug around the 19-second mark:   
  • Aggravation is turning on MLB.TV to watch the Cubs, only to remember that they're playing the Reds, and that I live in what is considered the Reds' media area.  And the channel they normally play on is instead broadcasting a WNBA game.  Nothing against WNBA.  Just wanted to watch the Cubs.
  • Relief is realizing that SportSouth was showing the game, since the Braves played this afternoon.
  • May I recommend Illusive Traveler's Grapefruit Ale?  Fruit Ales aren't normally my cup of tea, but this one has a nice tartness to it.  I dig.