Sunday, April 24, 2011

Here comes B. Rabbit with his bastketful of crap

Happy Easter and Fin de Passover!  And welcome to Tulip, our second follower!  I spent the day either watching Netflix or trying to watch Netflix because after about 230pm CDT, Netflix refused to give it up and I was sent to my computer to work on my blog.  After watching CBS Sunday Morning, of which I am most fond, I watched the following:

1.  Salt.  Angelina Jolie plays Evelyn Salt, a Woman of Danger, dealing with the sudden onset of trouble and characters that exist for no other reason than to be killed by said Woman of Danger or be the reason she kills even more people.  There are other people who also kill or are killed.  There is an arachnid plot device that, along with the Great Barrier Reef and the Great Wall of China, could be seen from space.  If you watch it, make sure to bring your own fleet of trucks and have them ride side by side through the holes in the plot! 

2.  La Femme Nikita.  Luke Bresson's star turn for his ex-wife, Annie Parillaud.  Very solid performances but the holes start to pop up here and there in the middle.  Still a very watchable and interesting movie.  It is subtitled but you do know how to read, yes?

3.  Glee, season 1, episode: Journey.  Glee fell by the wayside for me when Fox did Seasonus Interruptus, took it off for several month, ABC put on LOST opposite Glee, I don't have cable (so no DVR) and those insane little converter boxes on my TV and VCR made me want to run headlong into a wall.  Therefore, no taping, so something had to go and what went was Glee.  I mostly fast-forwarded through it because there were so many songs! And so much teenaged angst!

And then Netflix decided to stop giving it up and I decided it is best to offer up my weekly blog offering.

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The Bulls are up on the Pacers 3-1 and it is a foregone conclusion that they just need one more game to finish off the Pacers.  Go, Bulls!  I hope Derrick Rose did not busticate his ankle.

The Blackhawks were down 3-0 and then, out of their rumps, they pulled themselves up, got really pissed off about the hit Brent Seabrook took from Raffi Torres, and became the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, trouncing the Vancouver Canucks in the next two games.  They play tonight at the United Center and I am being so nuts in my thinking, that they can beat the Canucks tonight, get it to 3-3, then go back to Vancouver and whip them some Canucks on their home ice.  I am hopeful and I am also very distressed about the hit taken by Brent Seabrook.  MONDAY, 25 April, ADDENDUM:  Suck it, Vancouver!  The Blackhawks prevailed in OT and it is on to Game 7!!

Raffi Torres of the Canucks hit Seabrook so hard, Seabrook's helmeted head hit the ice and he sustained a concussion.  The league decided to not penalize Raffi Torres, saying it was legal play.  It is well documented by me what repeated concussions can do to a player and I hope that down the road Brent Seabrook suffers no ill from this and that Raffi Torres gets a little visit from karma in whatever form karma chooses to take.  Oh, hmmm, that is a smidge mean.  Oh, hmmm, so was that hit.

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The NFL announced the schedule for the 2011-2012 season.  The Bears are playing a game in London.  England.  Why is that exciting?  Jet lag is no traveler's friend.  Since when are the citizens of the UK fans of gridiron glory?  I can't see Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, getting all ticked off at her secretary because their ticket broker could get them nothing at the 50-yard line.  What is the point of a game in London?  Maybe the same point as the University of Illinois vs. Northwestern University game played at Wrigley Field:  greed.  Yeah, that sounds right.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Impasse

The NFL players and the owners remain at an impasse because the owners want bigger profits (even though profits are at record highs) and in order to do this, they want the season expanded from 16 to 18 games.  The players don't want to agree to an 18-game season because playing more games increases the chance of injury.  When I heard the players' reasoning while driving around this past week (I was on vacation and nothing says vacation as much as driving in a car, mine or a rental, and looking at stuff or getting things done and, best of all, not going to work and still getting paid for it), what sprang to mind is that maybe football does, indeed, need to go.  Players suffer bone- and brain-shattering injuries that plague them and their loved ones -- families and close friends -- for decades to come simply to move a ball forward 10 yards in four attempts.  Stadiums are filled with fans who buy products and souvenirs and seats.  There are lucrative television deals.  In the northerly climes -- Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo, Boston, New York -- it can get below freezing and the playing surface will be like solid concrete and the stands no warmer at all and the fans pour in like it's a day in early fall.  The owners make vast profits and it is still not enough, apparently.  I wonder how this will end up and while I enjoy football, while I like a turnover, and I like seeing Julius Pepper flying through the air to stop some opponent while said opponent is still in the air making the catch, I feel very conflicted and in my own head, have come to an impasse.  My enjoyment comes at the expense of someone's future good health.  It's a war of the fastest and the strongest and the one with the most accurate arm.   Young men in the prime of their lives putting themselves in physical jeopardy to move a ball ten yards in four attempts -- is it worth it for two more games and a bigger bottom line?   Do they deserve better treatment than a soldier sent to the battlefield?  No.  Who does our society truly revere?

Impasse.

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The Bulls and Hawks are now in the first games of their first of the playoff series.  The Vancouver Canucks made total mincemeat out of Chicago in the first game, then simply beat them in the second; the Indiana Pacers made the Bulls work for it but the Bulls -- and especially Derrick Rose -- prevailed and beat the Pacers in the final quarter, 104-99.  Danny Granger of Pacers had the most terrific line about playing against the Bulls and if he felt safe that the Pacers would win:   “With Derrick Rose on the other team, no. It’s like a crazy stalker ex-girlfriend. Everytime you tell her you don’t want to talk to her, she’ll show up at your door again.”  The best thing about it is that Derrick Rose knows he needs to stay the crazy stalker ex-girlfriend so they can go all the way.  On the Blackhawks, Jonathan Toews is kind of like that but not quite enough stalker to beat the Canucks.   Maybe not this year for the Hawks but next season will be here before we know it and Toews can be the stalker gal all men dread.

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Unsolicted endorsement:  www.strainee.com

100% cornstarch drains for the shower, bath, and kitchen sink that will biodegrade in your garden or in the landfill.  Use it for a couple of months and then toss it.  Clean it out and put it back in.  You can buy a whole mess of them for almost no money and shipping-and-handling charges are reasonable.  Note:  it may not fit all sinks but you can check with owner who will, no doubt, be able to advise you of the specs.   I use bathroom-tub and kitchen-sink Strainees and am very pleased.  Check out the website which is, again, www.strainee.com.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dallas loses and the Hawks advance; the Bulls continue into post-season play; Schwartzel wins the Masters; the NFL's baseline

The Blackhawks are in the playoffs not because they won, but because the Dallas Stars lost to the Minnesota Wild in their season finale.  The Detroit Red Wings beat the Hawks fairly at the United Center today and it came down to Dallas winning or losing their game.  Since Dallas lost the Hawks win and all the polite fans will keep filtering through Ogilive Transportation Center with more excitement because it is now the playoffs.  I am not so pleased that someone else had to suck more to get them in the playoffs but their loss is our gain.  I am hoping that they can (1) get it together and (2) keep it together throughout the playoffs and into the finals where there can be more Stanley Cup pandemonium and we can get daily reports of where it can be viewed, touched, caressed, or have a baby pose in it wearing just a diaper and a smile.

The Chicago Bulls are also in the playoffs so suck it, Mr. LeBron James and your talents.  The Bulls are in their playoff series because they excelled and played like the team of teams.  Their fans flock from all around but dang, if you want to see the ill-behaved and the entitled, stand at the bus stop that takes them to United Center.  Loud, rude, dopey, antsy, and the kind of exuberant that comes from too much hooch -- I don't understand how Hawks fans and Bulls fans are so different.  Except in the parking lot -- yikes!

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Fifty years to the day that South African Gary Player won the Masters in Augusta, GA, his countryman, Charl Schwartzel won a green jacket of his very own.  While Tiger Woods didn't come in even second, he seemed to be regaining his pre-screwed-around-and-got-caught glory.

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Here is something that will probably never happen at a golf tournament:  someone getting a life-altering concussion. When I more closely read the article I posted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, I found a link to another article that talks about what the NFL will do this season (if the lockout ever ends).

If someone suffers from what the sideline medical staff thinks might be a concussion and within a 6-to-8-minute window, "The NFL Sidelines Concussion Exam" will be performed -- a battery of tests that evaluate basic thinking skills, balance, and concentration.   Every player will have been tested at the beginning of the season, when healthy, to establish a baseline.  The same tests will be given after the suspected injury and if the dropoff exceeds a threshold, the player will be taken out of the game.  In other words, when in doubt, the player goes out.

Commissioner Roger Gooddell himself made the request.  Might I suggest a thank-you note to Commissioner Gooddell?  This is a huge step in addressing an enormous problem in a game that slams football-playing young men from the time they are boys, culminating in the scorched earth that is the NFL.  It almost seems like I dislike football and y'all know I don't.  I like men performing well at something in which they excel, saving their money, falling in love, and raising families while they grow old in good health.  They are athletes and know how to take care of their bodies, how to keep themselves in fine working order.  Addressing this situation is one less thing to be concerned with as they leave the center of the sports world and become regular citizens like you or me.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Home of the Chicago Blackhawks and the Chicago Bulls; I have a goal!

The United Center was visited by me on April 3, 2011, to see the Hawks potentially cream the corn of Tampa Bay.
The Hawks swarm the ice for practice!  All of them!  AT ONCE!!  Along with a zillion pucks!

A souvenir of my visit.


My dear friend has connections like no one else I know.  Through her job, she gets groovy tickets to exciting things and, on occasion, I am invited and it is always a great time.  She invited me and her two nephews to join her as the Hawks took on the Tampa Bay Lightning at the United Center.  It was a generous invitation with very good company (I have known her nephews since they were little or a gleam in their parents' eyes, respectively, and they are both excellent men just like my friend is a stellar human being).  We were all thrilled by everything and were all very grateful to have been in attendance.  Ah, what a shame the Blackhawks had a night of intense nothingness and lost not just big but sensationally big -- 2-0 with this the first shut out of the Lightning's season.  No else stank as much as we??  How hard does that bite?  Really hard but I know it is all supposed to be how the Hawks played the game and that, frankly, was lackluster.  I got to see one of the Stanley Cup championship rings up close (weighs a ton and the ring the players have is 10% larger) and it is way less garish than it appeared on TV.  I still think Hawks fans are way polite except in the parking lot going home in their cars and all I can say about that is, "Yikes," but I bet the fans heading into Ogilvie Transportation Center were as nice as always.

I was going to download a movie of the opening minutes shown on the jumbotron but (1) it was taking forever to download and (2) it is 7 minutes that you would never get back.  If you ever go and see it for yourself, it will be that much more special.  I have done this for YOU (and for me because the size of the file was just taking forever to download but mostly for YOU).

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Ex-Broncos/Falcons lineman Shane Dronett was a great, gentle guy, a good husband, and an involved dad.  Then he wasn't any longer and three years after retiring, committed suicide.  After his brain was studied at Boston University, it was verified that Dornett suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.  I have made the long story short so please click on the link below to read the story by Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/04/01/brain.concussion.dronett/index.html?hpt=C2

After reading it, I want you to think about writing letters to the NFL and NHL owners asking them to set up a fund for all players regarding this disease.  They might also give more loot to the Boston University lab that is studying the brains of deceased players, verifying that those who passed indeed had CTE.  I bet you can find the name and address of every owner on line; write an email if not a snail mail letter.  Let them know you care about the long-term health of people who are giving you so much enjoyment.  Then you won't be one of those people who say, "Wow, I could have said something."  Say something. Make me proud of you.

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As I sat in our skybox -- my friend is awesome -- and watched the Zambonis curl and sweep around the ice, I thought how cool it would be to ride a Zamboni as it floats and drifts back and forth and around.  I have an outfit planned:  a faux-fur shrug (I've a pattern and can make it) over a simple but full-length gown and a tiara (I know a drag queen or two who won a contest or six who just might lend me one of the smaller crowns).  It will be awesome and  I will wave.  The likelihood of it happening = <5%.  But it's a goal and everyone needs a goal.  Mine will allow me to be fabulous on a Zamboni which is almost more than I could hope for.