Saturday, August 20, 2005

What the puck, part 1

Now that the silly season has subsided, here's part 1 of a two-part look at the NHL for the 2005-06 season (and doesn't it feel good to see that!)...



Philadelphia - division favorite -- If everyone plays to his potential, this team can win the Cup. Stealing Peter Forsberg was a masterstroke. If youngsters Jeff Carter and Mike Richards are the real deal, Keith Primeau holds to his 2004 playoff form and Simon Gagne plays the way he does for Canada's national team, they'll get enough goals. Robert Esche is a solid goalie, which helps.
New Jersey - contender -- Losing Scott Niedermayer will hurt; if Scott Stevens can't come back, that will add to the hurt. Devils have a lot of 20-30 goal types and the best goalie in the game in Martin Brodeur. That'll be enough.
New York Islanders - on the bubble -- Big changes on defence, with three of the big four gone and the replacements not quite at that level. Offense should be better with Miro Satan, but dealing Michael Peca leaves this team short of leadership. Alexei Yashin can't cut it there. If Rick DiPietro plays to his potential in net, they could contend.
Pittsburgh - on the bubble -- Mario Lemieux had a terrific silly season, adding Ziggy Palffy and John LeClair after winning the Sidney Crosby lottery. The Pens also picked up a decent goalie in Josh Thibault and an offensive defenceman in Sergei Gonchar. The strategy is simple -- the Pens will try to outscore people, because, even with Gonchar, their defence is lame.
New York Rangers - on the outside -- Strange silly season. Only one significant buyout (Bobby Holik) and one relatively significant signing, Martin Straka. Also, subtract Eric Lindros, who for long stretches was the Rangers' best player. Another long season at Madison Square Garden looms.


Ottawa - division favorite -- The Sens have a balanced offence, a solid defence and Dominik Hasek. But they still don't have that certain something to break them through to a conference final, it doesn't appear.
Boston - serious contender -- The Bruins are another team that will try to outscore you, with Joe Thornton, Glen Murray, etc. Patrice Bergeron is a future star. Andrew Raycroft looked like the real deal in goal when he played two years ago. Defence, though, is journeymen... and yes, that's all Brian Leetch is these days.
Toronto - contender -- If the Lindros and Jason Allison signings work out, upgrade the Leafs to serious contender. Someone besides Jeff O'Neill will have to score from the wings and Eddie Belfour will have to be strong again. J-S Aubin is a backup, no more.
Montreal - on the bubble -- Jose Theodore will have to be big for the Habs to make the playoffs. Even with keeping Alexei Kovalev, the Canadiens don't have a particularly potent offense. Their D is underrated, but not that great.
Buffalo - on the outside -- In a way, it's a shame the Sabres play in the best division in the East, and you could make an argument that it's the best division in hockey. Not quite enough offense here, unless Briere, Hecht and Connolly really step up.


Tampa Bay - division favorite -- They're not as good as they were when they won the Cup, losing Khabibulin and Cory Stillman won't help. But playing 32 games in hockey's worst division will make them likely to repeat as President's Cup winners and top seed in the East.
Atlanta - on the bubble -- Signing Bobby Holik is a big plus, even if he's just a 20-goal guy now. Heatley and Kovalchuk are as deadly a 1-2 punch as exists, but a journeyman defence has to step up and rookie Pasi Nurminen must be ready in goal if the Thrashers hope to play into the summer.
Florida - on the bubble -- They added a bunch of old heads (Nieuwendyk, Roberts, Gelinas, Stumpel) to some legitimate young talent. Again, here a young defence corps has to step up. Roberto Luongo is legit in goal, which gives the Panthers a chance. But just a chance.
Carolina - on the outside -- Another team that opted for marginal signings. Big hole in goal right now, a marginal offence and a pedestrian defence means a long season in Raleigh.
Washington - on the outside -- Ovechkin will be good, but few of his teammates will. The Caps' best defenceman, Brendan Witt, wants out. Olaf Kolzig will be shell-shocked. It appears that the Caps' front office decided to roll the dice on next year's free agent crop.

Just one fan's opinion, here. Feel free to disagree or whatever.

It just ain't natural, mate...

Aussies banned from saying "mate"?
Come on. You're kidding.
Sadly, they're not kidding.
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) - No way, mate!
Australian Prime Minister John Howard on Friday said it was "absurd" to require security guards at the country's Parliament House to stop addressing visitors and legislators as "mate."
The ban was imposed this week among guards and attendants at the building in Canberra, Australian media reported.
"These things are all a matter of context, and that's why it's impractical and absurd to try and ban something," Howard, who in the past has used the term to describe U.S. President George W. Bush, told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.
"There are circumstances where a more formal address is appropriate," he said. "But in the same conversation you might start off calling somebody you've just met 'sir' or 'madam,' but as you become more familiar with your conversation and your exchange, you might end up saying 'mate.' "
Hilary Penfold, secretary for the Department of Parliamentary Services, said the ban was intended to ensure staff do not offend visitors.
But Howard said it was not necessary and even he often uses the term of endearment with people he barely knows.
"People will ring me up and I might start off saying 'yes sir' as a matter of courtesy, which I normally do, and then we lapse into it, we might say 'mate'."

Hillary Penfold needs to be re-grooved.
Probably could use a life, too.

Regrooving time again

There's some quality re-grooving required with this week's selections.
Let us begin.
Garth Brooks. The country star has signed a deal where you can only buy any new releases at Wal-Mart or its affiliates. Sorry, Garth. That's gotta be a re-grooving session for you.
Michaëlle Jean. This is Canada's next governor-general... the Queen's representative in the Dominion. She also holds French citizenship. The only time that the French and British have been real allies were in the two World Wars, where both times Britain (and others) pulled France's chestnuts out of the fire. This isn't right. To do the job, she needs to be re-grooved.
Pennsylvania's General Assembly. I'm finally calmed down enough to post on this theft. The 253 thieves (203 representatives, 50 senators) voted themselves whopping pay raises. Under the Pa. constitution, they're not supposed to get the money until their next term... but a loophole in the legislation allows them to take the extra cash as "unvouchered expenses" in the meantime. Is there any chance this will be overturned? No. The bill also includes whopping raises for Pennsylvania's state court judges... one of whom was a leading advocate of the bill. Mass re-grooving needed, please.
Cindy Sheehan. Yes, you all know about the Bush-hating mother of a soldier killed in Iraq. Whatever sympathies she may deserve get washed aside by the fact that when she said, "America is not worth fighting for," she desecrated and defecated all over the memory of her son. She needs intensive re-grooving care.
Christopher Smith. You may not know this joker's name, but he is one of the kings of spam ripoffs. He literally hijacked millions from good people. He deserves to be regrooved and forever denied access to any Internet provider.
For now, that's all, folks.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Carnival alert

The Point Five Mafia which has taken the ludicrous to new heights, is hosting the Sweet 16th Carnival of Comedy. Come and visit and check out the inspired, perspired, and otherwise spired forms of wit and wisdom proffered therein.
If you don't, Uncle Leo will come calling... and he never travels without his trusty Louisville Slugger. "The convincer," he calls it.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Whoops! Wrong fuel...

From Earthlink news comes this tale of mistaken identity... of the right kind of gasoline for this dumb duo's vehicle...

NAPPANEE, Ind. - The high cost of gasoline may have driven them to do it. Picking the wrong fuel pump cut short their getaway. Two men who tried to steal gasoline from a construction company instead filled the tank of their car with off-road-grade diesel fuel Sunday, police said.
An employee of Beer & Slabaugh spotted the men on the company property near Nappanee, about 20 miles southeast of South Bend, as they were siphoning fuel out of the car's tank, Elkhart County deputies said.
The two told the employee that a friend had put the wrong fuel into the tank and they were trying to empty it, deputies said. The employee noticed that the fuel was the distinctive red color of off-road diesel.
He called deputies, who arrested McKinley Chase, 21, and Dajuan L. Lord, 19, both of Gary, on preliminary charges of felony. They acknowledged the theft by explaining their mistake and saying their car would not run.
Lord remained in the Elkhart County Jail on Tuesday. Chase was released on bond, a jail spokeswoman said.

Crime must make you stupid, eh?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Big Mahafs of Left-Wing Spoor Meet

Inside an emergency meeting of the Big Mahafs of Left-Wing Spoor...

"Guys and gals, we are in deep stuff here," said Teddy the Whale. "We aren't getting anywhere."
"Yeah, and we're getting there fast," chirped Dick Turban. "What are we gonna do?"
"Friends, nothing we're throwing out there is sticking," moaned Me, Al Franken. "This is ridiculous already."
"We're the ones who should be running this country," cried Hilliary. "It's our divine right."
"Don't talk about divine in this room," warned Norman Learjet. "You know God is not allowed in our discussions."
"Sorry," whimpered Hilliary.
"Anyway," screamed Howweird, "you all know how badly this is going. We keep throwing crap at the Bushitler Wall, expecting it to stick. Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, the Koran toilet, John Roberts' kids, Harry Belafonte, NARAL, Cindy Sheehan..."
"And," simpered Algore, "all that has happened is that we're up to our eyeballs in crap because none of it stuck."
"The idiots aren't paying attention," said Eason Jordone. "I wonder if they've stopped listening to us."
"Shut up!" screamed Howweird. "We know they're not listening to us. I know damn sure they didn't listen to John Kerryless last year."
"But you have to have something to say first," squeaked Babs Boxershorts.
"I did have something to say," Kerryless retorted.
"Well," boomed Robert the Birdman in his distinctive West Virginny twang, "we did make him use a recess appointment on that jerk Bolton."
"And we did force a deal on a few appeals judges," offered Nancy the Lousy.
"So what? We're still losing big time," offered Maureen Dowdy. "And we're just not getting anywhere."
"Do we need a few more million to buy off Sheehan some more?" asked George Soreass. "I can spare it."
"And where do we go next?" asked the Daily Konstipation.
A moment of silence.
"Can we try Cheney again?" wondered Leakin' Leahy. "Halliburton still has some mileage left."
"No!" declared Dan Rathernot. "Not enough."
"How about we turn Condi into Rice Krispies?" asked Henry Waxhead, the California dreamer.
"Too risky," said Rev. Al Dullton. "You run some serious race problems if you try to torch her."
"Rumsfeld?" asked Howweird.
"Yeah, I'll have some rum," said Teddy the Whale.
"We should all have some," Dennis the Menace piped up.

So the meeting of the Big Mahafs of Left-Wing Spoor ended in a drunken orgy, in which they all screwed each other over while trying to reach for the next real goal... the 2008 presidential nomination.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Watch for the disconnect

The Canadian Broadcasting Company, Canada's government-run TV and radio network, has locked out most of its on-air talent in an ongoing contract dispute.
This is the same government that the leftist network talent basically propped up and kept in power that has now locked them out, with no negotiations scheduled in their ongoing contract impasse, according to the Red Star.
Welcome to reality, Liberal mouthpieces. You've done your job; you've managed to prop up an indefensible government. Now, they don't need you, so they'll lock you out until they need you again... say, around the time for a call for the next election.
Now, I just wonder if any of these la-la-land leftists on the CBC will wake up and smell the coffee.
Doubt it, but...

Monday, August 15, 2005

The post that Big Oil and Wall Street don't want you to read

NOTE: I want to leave this post high through the weekend. Return for Re-Grooving will appear below. Also, the answers to the Odds and Sods game are also up on that post. -- e.o.

Think you're paying a ridiculously inflated price for gasoline these days?
Well, you are. We all are.
And it's all driven by speculation on dubious grounds, according to New York Post business columnist John Crudele (the link hasn't shown up on the Post's site yet; when it does, I'll provide it. Still, the entire column is below in blue, with my asides in the usual black...):
UPDATE: When I first saw Crudele's column, the pumps were at $2.37 for regular here. Two days later... $2.52 for regular. WTF is going on here?

BLAME the media for gasoline hitting a record $2.37 (and it’s gone even higher) this week.
Why? Because instead of being a watchdog, the press has become a lapdog and dupe of the speculators and oil companies that want gasoline prices to stay high.
Here are some facts and some fiction about the current state of the oil market.
Hype: There’s a shortage of oil and that’s why we are paying so much at the pump.
Fact: A government report released (Wednesday) said the U.S. now has 320.8 million barrels of oil in stockpile. That’s 0.9 percent higher than just the week before and 9.7 percent above the same level last year.
The doom-and-gloomers want you to buy the hype. Don't buy the hype.
Hype: Oil could be shut off in the Middle East at any time.
Fact: That’s true. But that has been true for the past four decades. Middle Eastern oil producers need to sell us oil as we need to buy it. So while a disruption is a possibility, we now have 9.7 percent more oil on hand than we did last year. And supplies have risen despite the U.S. government’s purchase of millions of barrels of oil over the past year for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve -- our emergency supply -- which is now 4.9 percent more full than it was last year. The SPR is almost at capacity, so Washington soon won’t be competing with others on the open market.

Tell me something new, huh?
Hype: The Iraqi war, or demand by the Chinese, could cause shortages.
Fact: They could, but they haven’t. The U.S. is still awash in oil.
Hype: There haven’t been any new oil refineries built in this country in decades.
Fact: True… and false. There hasn’t been a new refinery built in the U.S. since 1976. But many of the existing refineries have been expanding and our capacity is now 10 percent greater than it was in 1976. Plus, refineries are being built and expanded all over the world -- especially in friendly countries like the former Soviet republics.
And you know that the NIMBY types and the envirofascists are responsible for that, don't you?
Hype: There will be a lot of hurricanes this year that could disrupt refining.
Fact: Maybe, but this is the kind of scare tactic that oil speculators use to enrich themselves. Hurricanes may not disrupt refining.
Hype: There will be refinery fires this year.
Fact: So what! Fires and breakdowns get fixed and the refineries go back into full operation.
Hype: There’s going to be a shortage of heating oil this winter.
Fact: Our stockpiles of distillate fuel oil -- diesel and home heating oil -- are 5.6 percent higher this year than in 2004.
Hype: But that won’t be enough if it’s a cold winter.
Fact: This is another scare tactic used by speculators. The press shouldn’t simply take the word of so-called experts on Wall Street and in the oil industry who make money when the price of oil rises. The only real fact that matters: Distillate fuel stocks are up a very large 5.6 percent.

Don't they all know there's no way we're going to have a cold winter? Maurice Strong and the Global Warming Industry have decreed that to be so.
Hype: There’s less gasoline today than last year.
Fact: That one does happen to be true -- 3.7 percent less, in fact. But our gasoline stocks are still as high as they were in November 2004. So why is the price of gasoline now at a record?
Yeah, what was it before Christmas? About a buck-ninety, as I recall.
Is the press so desperate for a good summer story that it’s willing to sell out the public and go along with all this Wall Street hype?
Apparently, yes.

They're too interested in Karl Rove, John Roberts' adopted kids, and defending the indefensible to actually tackle a story that would benefit everyday people, aren't they?