Scott's Soapbox

Thursday, March 29, 2007

We Won The Hockey League!

We squeaked into the playoffs by finishing 7-4-1 and claiming fourth in a 12 team league. Our reward? A doubleheader to decide the championship. First up, the #1 seed, a 12-0-0 team. That had beaten us twice this season, including our heartbreaker last week. They scored 46 goals, only giving up 16 this year. Had won 26 straight games. The first shift, after feeling so stiff in warm-ups from my back I knew I was in trouble, I went to make a turn and pop! I'm down, I am crawling back to the bench, my back is just on fire. Our leading goal scorer down- do we fold?

No, it's complete domination for us Chili Dogs. We are shelling's 1-0, then 3-1, they are arguing amongst themselves...they have not even trailed in a game in 2 seasons. I am trying to stretch, trying to play. I cannot bend over, can barely skate, but I am playing literally through my tears of pain. Brad (my line-mate and our co-best player with me) has two goals and then swings with the puck around circling behind the net. Using my patented move, he stops, twirls and throws it out the back side against his body and momentum, fooling everyone. Everyone except me, who knows it's coming. It's on my stick for a millisecond, then it is just pured into the top corner. I mean, I just crushed this puck. 4-1. Game over...we win 5-2 but it's not even that close. 3 points for me. Afterwards they, being totally class guys, come up to all of us and say how well we played, how we deserved it, et cetera. They wish us luck in the next game.

We get to sit now and watch the other semi-final. I take 4 Advil, stretch the whole time and cannot sit down because it stiffens. I am lying there with ice bags on my back wondering how much more I can do. It's game 2 against the victorious number 2 seed- they have lost only twice and outscored their opponents 52-21. They also lead the league (by far) in penalty minutes. It should be a chippy, dirty game.

I call the team in before the game starts, cautious that people are so excited we beat the best team that they may be looking past this next game. "Guys, what is the prize for second place in our league? The t-shirt? The picture on the web?" Blank faces. "No, it's jack shit. Nobody remembers second place. We're forty minutes from the whole thing, let's go." It's over before it even starts. 1-0 on a fluke, then 2-0 on a deflected shot from the point. Their goalie is standing on his head, or could easily be 5 or 6 by now. He stones me on a breakaway, Brad on a pure 2-1, and makes a circus catch behind him on a one-timer. Our team is passing, moving without the puck and it's like I have them on strings putting them in place. They are frustrated, slashing, hooking, holding, doing anything, and finally score late to make it 2-1. Brad and I call a change- no way we're not going out to finish this game. Under a minute left, they move it back to the point to their best player- he winds up a takes a huge slap shot. Nothing to do but block it with the palm of my hand. Crack- yep, that sounds broken- no padding there, but we clear the zone. I am hunched over with my back, holding my stick in my right hand as I cannot flex my left- got me right on the inner thumb. They take another shot near the buzzer and the rebound goes right to their biggest (and dirtiest) player. He's got an empty net, time running out, he turns to the front...and I hit him as hard as I could hit him in my new car. Of course, it's a no check league, but time's almost over, right. My shoulder hits him and he (must be 230 pounds) literally lifts off the ground and crashes into the boards. I am standing over him as a result of my momentum, he is just lying there motionless, crumpled into a little fetal ball.

Buzzer. Celebration. Champions.

Man, hockey's great. I can barely walk because of my back (chiro at 10:30 tomorrow), my thumb is swollen up and sore, my legs burn.

Totally worth it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Bargain Hunting at TJ Maxx

1 dress shirt
1 cashmere sweater
1 pair of golf slacks
2 ties
2 belts
Total - 7 items


I paid $30 at Filene's this summer just for the same pair of pants, literally the exact same. Great slacks though.

I crushed the clearance section. Shoot, you pay $3 for a tie and wear it even once, you did ok.

And I'm not even counting the items I stole by hiding them in my briefcase!

Ha ha, just kidding...

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Politics Meets March Madness

Admittedly, I'm not much for basketball. But I am much for snarky, insider, political humor. Hence, this intersection and resulting TNR bracket tips actually made me laugh out loud. CAUTION- one naughty word near bottom.


Having trouble making your final picks? Popular and political culture offers handy strategies for last-minute bracket-busting:

The George Costanza method: "If every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right." Are you positive UNC can't win with freshmen? Pencil them into the Final Four. Think the Big-10 is underrated? Corpus Christi over Wisconsin. Know in your heart of hearts that Florida can't repeat? Winner!

The Daily Kos method: Whoever TNR picks, that's going to be wrong. Forever. They have North Carolina winning in the first round? You take Eastern Kentucky.

The Lewis Libby method: Isn't Marquette just a mid-major? Not sure. Was UCLA hot at the end? I don't recall. Was the ACC overrated? Please rephrase the question.

The Barack Obama method: Pick every team to win every game. When told you can't do that, smile and mention Jesus. Start with radical, out-of-the-box picks--Old Dominion, Southern Illinois, Nevada--but eventually realize your only hope is to accede to the dominant power structure. Place Florida, Ohio State, North Carolina, and Kansas in the Final Four. Now wasn't that easy?

The Joe Biden method: Announce that you plan to fill out a bracket. Announce again. Then once more. Make an allusion to how the guy filling out his bracket next to you isn't as dumb as people say. Remark on his gleaming smile. Note that he keeps his cubicle clean. Announce that you are planning to fill out a bracket.

The Jerry Falwell method: Holy Cross, Oral Roberts, and Gonzaga. They'll make a run--unless they disappear from the face of the Earth. But not UCLA. By God, don't you pick UCLA. They're less than three miles from West Hollywood.

The Netroots method: Find the little teams that those AP poll-driven, silk-suit-wearing, slick SI consultants don't give a damn about. Creighton just needs a little higher seed money. VCU is the only real basketball team in the tournament. The elites are afraid Long Beach State won't carry the CBS corporate line. You're the kingmaker, baby. And nothing will convince you otherwise.

The Bush Administration method: Don't ever change your picks. No matter how much your co-workers laugh at you. No matter when the entire starting five of your sleeper pick gets a case of lupus and falls spasming to the ground. You stay with Wisconsin, Kentucky, and Najaf State. You'll be right in the end. You're playing for history.

The Rahm Emanuel method: Don't you fucking tell me who to pick.

Finally, the meta-rule: When in doubt, always, always bet against Duke

In Honor of St. Patrick's Day

32 Things You Can Do with beer. (Besides drink it.)

Moose Vs. Helicopter

What would happen if a moose charged a low-flying helicopter? Nothing good.

Instead of slowing down after being shot with a tranquilizer dart, a moose charged a hovering helicopter used by a wildlife biologist, damaging the aircraft's tail rotor and forcing it to the ground.

Neither the pilot nor the biologist was injured, but the moose was maimed by the spinning rotor and had to be euthanized, wildlife officials said.

Everybody loses, I guess.


I guess what goes around, comes around, eh? Via K-Lo at The Corner. I say on behalf of all Democrats, please, pretty please, nominate Giuliani. Do you think we will see a campaign ad showing the press conference he called to tell his second wife he was seeking a divorce to be with his mistress (now third wife)? I think we would. Will we elect a similarly publicly cheating thrice-married president named "Newt"? I think we won't.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

New Car! Well, new to me, anyway.

Sorry I have not been on here much, spending some time been dealing with car situation. My beloved 2000 Nissan Maxima, which had given me 143,000 miles of trouble-free motoring dropped it's transmission on me as I shifted into reveres to parallel park on a busy street. So number 1) I was stranded with a car that did not move, number 2) I was diagonal in the street blocking traffic on a Friday afternoon. I stood around for a while, calling my insurance company, the tow truck place, a friend to pick me up, while people honked and gave me evil looks. "You're right people, I just felt like parking it there with the hazard lights on to be a jerk. Actually, my car is fine!" Eventually some guys helped push me back into the parking space which had been my original destination, which I appreciated, but one of them something about how I could not even get off the phone (to say thank you or whatever). "Hey, buddy, I am on the phone with the tow-truck guy giving him directions. It's one thing if I'm on the phone saying 'Gee honey, what movie do you want to see, I love you more, no stop, I love you more!' But it was the tow-truck guy, for Pete's sake!"

It got towed to one place, which diagnosed my transmission problem as being more severe that was originally hoped, and then on to a transmission repair shop. The gist of it all, was contemplating sinking $2000 dollars into a car with who knows how much more life left. I looked around, weighed my options, and decided to retire it and move up in the car world.

So, as of yesterday morning, I am the proud owner of a 2004 Infiniti G35 sedan. It's black over black, fully loaded, and with only 43,000 miles so it still has a little warranty left. It also has the hard-to-find-in-a-sedan manual transmission, and it's a blast driving stick again. I was able to trade in my old car, they are even towing it away for me. Although I had to sadly go yesterday and clean it all out. Incidentally, my glove compartment was where all my Allen wrenches to change roller blade wheels were- who knew? Explains why I own 900 Allen wrenches. The new car looks immaculate, has been babied, and should provide me with a few great years. You can see it below and at this link (for as long as listing lasts.)

Did I mention, it handles like a dream, flies down the highway, and draws oohs and aaahs from everyone who's seen it? Well it does. See you in the fast lane. *Disclaimer- Of course I recommend driving only the posted speed limit and driving defensively and all of that.* But if you have to pass say, a cement truck or a horse trailer, as I did last night- it really moves.

Monday, March 05, 2007

TNR Follow-Up

So literally the day after I wrote this post asking why, as a subscriber, they had not notified me about the upcoming changes, I got my latest issue. With a big overlay telling me about The "NEW" New Republic- better paper stock, more original art and photography, larger issues, et cetera. It also says my price has not changed. But, if I paid for a year which was 44 issues and now I am getting 24 issues, isn't my price going up? Maybe not per page, but certainly per issue. (Incidentally, the subscription insert enclosed in my magazine had the usual offer for "one-year (44 issues)" at $39.97.)

They also linked via The Plank to the article I had mentioned about the ownership changes and so forth, although I never got a response to my letter. Hopefully, it will all be addressed soon, but I am a little put off by the lack of communication. If their goal is to rebuild readership and gain new subscribers, honking me off probably does not help much.

Saturn as Seen From Cassini

This and some more really neat pictures and video can be found at the mission's website, here. It's really a shame that this exciting mission is going on right now and one would never know it from the media. The spacecraft launched nearly 10 years ago and is now sending back amazing pictures from Saturn and Titan. If you are kind of a space geek like I am, the fact that we are getting images (see below) and data from 1.240 billion km away from Earth. There is another flyby of Titan in just a few days- you can check it out here. It's amazing, inspiring, fascinating, and humbling. Looking up at the stars and imagining the myriad of different experiences, the mysteries of life made up by all the just blows my mind. I should resolve to learn more and pay more attention to it, because whenever I do, I am just awestruck. Seriously, how cool is that?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Headline of the Day

Principal charged with dealing crystal meth

Pretty much says it all. Is there really a market for meth in middle school these days? When I was in junior high, I played basketball every day, played Nintendo, and rode my bike. Times change I guess. The story does say he probably was not dealing to his students. I mean, having crystal meth in your office, and selling it from school property are bad, but that would just be crossing a line.

Just Why Do Dogs Rule?

Because they've got us all figured out:
Psychologist Brian Hare of Harvard has also studied the human-animal bond and reports that dogs are astonishingly skilled at reading humans' patterns of social behavior, especially behaviors related to food and care. They figure out our moods and what makes us happy, what moves us. Then they act accordingly, and we tell ourselves that they're crazy about us. "It appears that dogs have evolved specialized skills for reading human social and communicative behavior," Hare concludes.
We all know this, secretly...we know they cannot love THAT much to make us feel as though we are the only star in their sky. Of course, I do believe dogs have feelings too, and that they are capable of feeling love and affection just like humans. But the overwhelming nature of their dedication is something we find strange in humans- hence the phrase "puppy love" for those overwhelmed by a crush. My apologies to a certain someone freshman year, whom I pathetically followed around campus like a dog wagging his tail looking for a treat. She even said once, "Look what I've brought home." At least I ended up dating her roommate. Who then turned out to think she might be a lesbian. But I digress...where was I? Dogs? Right, dogs.

As Jon Katz puts it in the piece on the subject: "Ah, we think, at last, the love and loyalty we so richly deserve and so rarely receive." There is nothing more loyal than a dog, and for me, that is the essence of their appeal. Provide some food and water, the occasional walk, and a much enjoyed scratch under the collar, and you have a friend for life. I know some people are cat people, and many have told me they value their cat's "independence." They actually like the fact that their cat doesn't seem to need them and can go about their business for the most part on their own. Independent beings who do not seem to need me bring me back to dating and the discussion above. If only I could have wooed my freshman crush with only Milk-Bones and a fancy collar. Alas, women seem to want more, which I suppose is a good thing for all concerned.