Random thoughts, dubious rants, curiosities and worthy citations on the media, politics, marketing, music, inanity, and animals, among other things. Words and pictures and stuff, mostly from south central Wisconsin USA
To quote legendary Wisconsin hockey coach Bob Johnson, "It's a great day for hockey!" Indeed, it is.
Happy? I'm f***ing delirious!
Updated June 10, 2010 at 5:30 PM CDT...
Patrick Kane's winning goal is worth another look:
I find it amusing that even after the game is well over, Flyers fans are still mealy-mouthing the game ending, calling it horrible, questionable, controversial... and so on. Laughable. But fitting, given the Flyers' fans' collective reputation.
Meanwhile, Lord Stanley's Cup is where it belongs right now: Chicago!
I love the Chicago Blackhawks. While watching them take game one of the Stanley Cup finals just now, I couldn't help but think my favorite Hawk player ever... Denis Savard. Loved the guy so much we named our dog after him. (That's Savvy over to the right...my avatar for all things needing an avatar. Her official AKC registered name: Blackhawks' Savoir Faire, of course.)
The best thing about Savard, aside from his spirit, was his Spinorama...
Here's hoping the Chicgao Blackhawks bring home Lord Stanley's Cup this season!
The previous five foals from our Friesian mare, Salvana, have all come in the early, early morning hours. As such, we have never actually witnessed a birth. We've been close, and Tom caught the last push one time, which is more than I ever saw.
Not this time.
Last evening after dinner, I went into the barn to give Salvana some carrots. She was acting kind of spacey, and less interested in treats that usual. A short time later, Tom and his mother went in to check on her. She was pawing the ground, sweating, and showing what looked like contractions. No sooner did we drag some chairs in to wait, her water broke. Within a few minutes, out popped the foal. We have been hoping, after three colts in a row, to get a filly... and we did.
Everything went as well as we could possibly expect. Completely normal in every way. The foal was quick to get up -- within an hour -- and was nursing, peeing and pooping within the next hour... all good signs. By 10:30 last night, we left mom and baby to themselves and called it a night.
Early this morning we introduced "Elpis," named for the Greek goddess of hope, to the outside world. This takes a little doing, since mother will not allow herself to be more than a few feet from the baby. So with me leading Salvana very slowly, and Tom urging Elpis along, we made it out to the nearest pasture and let them in. Our other horses called out to them, as did the donkey. The barn cats both came out to see the show. (Dogs are banished for the time being, as Salvana will consider them predators and stomp the living crap out of them if given the chance.)
Gigger, the miniature donkey with the big mouth and bigger attitude, slipped out of where he was being kept and came up to the fence to gawk at the foal. Mother was NOT happy. She put on her most menacing look, charges the fence, spun around and bucked. Point made. Gigger sounded an immediate retreat. Amusing to witness, yet also a clear demonstration of how protective an 1800 pound horse can be when given a reason. I'm glad she trusts us.
We always think we'll sell the foals. So far, we've sold exactly one of the five Salvana has had since we bought her eight years ago. The first of those was purchased in utero by a good friend before we took possession of Mom-horse. We still own the four year old gelding Orion. Three-year-old Ulfie was sold to people who live nearby, so we see him all the time. Poor little Zevon from two years ago had to be put down because of a birth defect. Something tells me that Elpis has found a permanent home already. And I bet this is the last time Salvana will be doing the baby thing. But one never knows.
One thing is for certain: Salvana is a great mare, and seeing her give birth to a foal was one of the coolest things I've ever witnessed.
Honestly, it's the first thing I thought of. Unfortunately, Billo the Clown was taking the day off. Maybe he's in seclusion. Maybe he's out getting drunk. Maybe he was realizing that he doesn't shape the world after all.
I've been waiting for this day so that I could say something special to you.
You see, Bill, I remember exactly where I was when I heard you
declare on your radio show, shortly after Election Day 2008, that "that
guttersnipe" Al Franken would "never" set foot inside the United States
It wasn't a toss-away line. You were emphatic. You called Al Franken a guttersnipe and swore he'd never
become a United States Senator. Do you remember that, Bill? I do. I was
in the car with my partner driving down Falmouth Street in Portland. As
we turned the corner onto Oakdale Street, you made your bitter,
non-negotiable declaration. I seared that moment into my brain, Bill.
And here we are, at the intersection of Psychic Friends Network Avenue
and Reality Boulevard.
This morning I want to tell you something, Bill O'Reilly. Come closer... Closer... Cloooooser...
Okay, man, that's close enough.
Now, with my lips a quarter-inch from your---whoo---abnormally-waxy ear canal, I can finally whisper the words I've waited nearly eight months to say:
"Game over, Bill. You lose. And not just another battle with Al. This time you lost the ."
I couldn't have said it better myself. Now excuse me while I laugh my ass off before I get back to that thesis thing.
True, it sucks to be Detroit these days, what with GM and Chrysler going bankrupt and all. But it's nice to see a city like Pittsburgh and a team like the Penguins get to spend the next year owning Lord Stanley's cup.
From the winner's hometown daily paper...
It was said that the Detroit Red Wings could not lose Game 7 of a Stanley Cup final on home ice. They did.
That Marc-Andre Fleury could not be counted on to win big games. He has.
That these Penguins were not ready to be champions. They are.
They defeated the Red Wings, 2-1, in Game 7 at Joe Louis Arena last night to earn the third Stanley Cup in franchise history.
The driving forces behind the victory were forward Max Talbot, who
scored both goals, and Fleury, who turned aside 23 of 24 shots and made
a lunging game-, season- and Cup-saving stop on Nicklas Lidstrom with
about a second to play.
Penguins center Evgeni Malkin, who led the playoffs in scoring with
36 points, received the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player
in the postseason.
"He told us before the playoffs that he was going to lead us to the
Stanley Cup," right winger Bill Guerin said. "He's an amazing
competitor, an amazing player."
Meanwhile, from the loser's no-longer-daily* paper...
The last 6 minutes could have ripped out your insides. Fans on their
feet, screeching their vocal cords. The Red Wings surging, their lungs
burning, as they chased the only thing that mattered. One goal. One
goal. One goal could make up for the whole night and turn this thing
from hopeless to hopeful, reverse destiny, roll the stalled parade
floats. Music blared in the breaks: “I want it all, and I want it now!”
Chins up. No complaints. The Red Wings, who led their series, 2-0 and
3-2, lost the last two chances at the Stanley Cup, and then lost the
Cup itself. It was no cheapie. No cursed bounce or haunted ricochet.
The Penguins were the better team this night. Their defense was better.
Their offense was better. Their pressure was better. And their puck
protection was better. You aren’t likely to win when you give away that
little rubber thing 11 times more than the other guy, as the Wings did.
Yeah, as a long suffering Blackhawks fan, I loathe the Red Wings... mostly because their fans are so freakin' smug. Every season they seem to have this air of entitlement about the cup, in the same way Yankee fans are about the World Series. Of course, when you have the history to back up all that arrogance, you can get act like you've already won each season. And they do.
Not this year, Detroit. And for those who would say the City of Detroit needed something good to happen, I suppose another cup victory would have been nice for the broken down city that is home to the failed US Auto industry.
Oh, who am I kidding? I couldn't be happier.
* I know, they create an edition daily, but no longer deliver it every day of the week. I'm just a Detroit hater today. (Today?) Shame, shame, shame on me.
AUGUSTA, Maine -- Maine's governor signed a freshly passed bill
Wednesday approving gay marriage, making it the fifth state to approve
the practice and moving New England closer to allowing it throughout
New Hampshire legislators were also poised to send a gay marriage
bill to their governor, who hasn't indicated whether he'll sign it. If
he does, Rhode Island would be the region's sole holdout.
The Maine Senate voted 21-13, with one absent, for a bill that
authorizes marriage between any two people rather than between one man
and one woman, as state law currently allows. The House had passed the
Democratic Gov. John Baldacci, who hadn't previously indicated how
he would handle the bill, signed it shortly afterward. In the past, he
said he opposed gay marriage but supported civil unions, which provide
many benefits of marriage.
I find it to be a real credit to Governor Baldacci's sense of the big picture that he quickly signed the bill into law, even though he had hoped to stop short at the inferior "separate but equal" concept of civil unions. He went along with what the people wanted, as demonstrated by their elected legislative representatives. Good on him.
Republican Sen. Debra Plowman of Hampden argued that the bill was being passed "at the expense of the people of faith."
"You are making a decision that is not well-founded," warned Plowman.
How's that, Senator Plowman? How will this change anything -- anything -- in how "people of faith" view, practice, and enjoy marriage (and it's companion, divorce)?
But Senate Majority Leader Philip Bartlett II said the bill does not compel religious institutions to recognize gay marriage.
"We respect religious liberties. ... This is long overdue," said Bartlett, D-Gorham.
Exactly. It changes nothing for people in terms of opposing religious factions. Well, almost nothing. It does strike a blow to their endeavors to impose their beliefs on the overall population. But that's why the United States Constitution gives us all the right to follow our own religious beliefs, even if those beliefs are secular.
Fairness and equality... what a concept. Thank you, people of Mane.
Top-seeded Notre Dame joined the parade of upset victims in the NCAA Hockey Tournament when Bemidji State, the last seed in the 16-team field, stunned the Fighting Irish 5-1 in their Midwest Regional semifinal game at Grand Rapids, Mich.
The Beavers, champions of College Hockey America, will face third-seeded Cornell in Sunday's championship game for a berth in the Frozen Four on April 9 in Washington. The Big Red rallied from a 2-0 deficit and beat second-seeded Northeastern 3-2 in the first game when Evan Barlow scored with 17.2 seconds left in regulation.
The Irish, the second seed in the tournament, were expected to make short work of the Beavers, who earned their conference's automatic bid. Instead, it was Bemidji State that made the most of its opportunities, scoring five times on 19 shots for the school's first NCAA tournament victory and first win over a ranked opponent since 2006. (NHL.com)
For me, this story is great for a few reasons. First, I have always rooted against Notre Dame. I can't explain why; there's just something about their fans that seems so... jerkish. But the real reason I love this is that I went to summer hockey camp for a few years at Bemidji State when I was a kid. It was my only summer camp experience, I went with my brother and a lot of guys from my local hockey league, and we lived in the dorms. As much as I sucked at hockey, I loved hanging around that campus.
An angle i never considered, but makes total sense, has to do with skyrocketing sales of logoed merchandising. As a direct result of the Beavers' success on the ice, things are looking up for the retail community in Bemidji, Minnesota. At least, they are for one guy. Suddenly anything with the Bemidji State Beavers' logo on it is flying off the local shelves.
BEMIDJI, Minn. — Ziggy Zerott arrived at his modest downtown clothing store, Cool Threads, in this small northern Minnesota city on Thursday morning to find something he had never seen in his 27 years of business: a line. Fifteen to 20 people, he said, were waiting for him to open.
Four days earlier the men’s hockey team from little Bemidji (Be-MIDGE-ee) State University, Zerott’s alma mater, had advanced to the Frozen Four, the semifinals of the N.C.A.A. hockey tournament, for the first time. Zerott stocks Bemidji State apparel, and once Beavers fans heard Frozen Four T-shirts had come in, a run was on. Unwilling to let customers stand in the cold, Zerott opened his store with the imitation log cabin front a half-hour early, at 9:30 a.m.
“By 10:15 we were wiped out,” Zerott said. The day’s receipts, he said, exceeded his previous best day by 50 percent. “And Friday was a little bit better,” he said. So on Saturday, when Cool Threads is normally closed, Zerott and an employee manned the register while customers perused racks of green B.S.U. gear. “We can’t even keep up with our regular Bemidji State stuff,” he said. “We didn’t expect this. I was in Grand Rapids for the regional. I didn’t think we’d beat Notre Dame.”
Notre Dame is stunningly humiliated by an unranked team, Bemidji State gets some national exposure at a time when they are trying to gain membership in the WCHA conference, and the small City of Bemidji gets some publicity and a small economic bump. From my perspective, it's a win-win-win. Suck it, Notre Dame! Go Beavers!
We were in the Old Fashioned, a great tavern on Madison's capital square last night before the hockey game. That is the place that serves the best friend walleye sammich you will ever taste. Ever, ever, ever.
Aside from the great food, the Old Fashioned sports one of the most extensive Wisconsin beer lists around. That's one of the best things about going there, along with their 30 tap lines. You can drink three different Wisconsin beers each week for a year without repeating a single brew. Of course, that would mean including cans of Blatz, Schlitz and Hamms as part of your rail, but that can be done if they are ice cold... and for a buck a can on special, why not? (I'm told they make a great old fashioned there too -- brandy, of course, since this is Wisconsin -- but I've never gotten past that beer list.)
I try to look for obscure truly micro brews that I would never get anywhere else when I'm at the Old Fashioned. I even shy away from otherwise favorite products from nearby breweries like Capital, Gray's and New Glarus. I'm glad I didn't do that last night. Otherwise I would not have had the pleasure of enjoying a New Glarus Crack'd Wheat. I was looking for something unfiltered, kind of wheaty, that might rival a Bell's Oberon, a Michigan favorite of mine.
Crack'd Wheat jumped to the front of my favorites list before I finished the first pint. The second confirmed it. The brewery describes it as follows...
This is Dan's bold creation. You hold the international marriage of a sophisticated Bavarian Hefeweiss and an assertive American Pale Ale. Amarillo dry hopping drives Wisconsin Red Wheat. Traditional open top fermentation cultivates our proprietary Bavarian Weiss yeast in our own Wheat Beer Cellars. Absolutely 100% natural bottle conditioned. This is a living beer.
Expect to pour a thick creamy head into your glass. Savor the fierce onslaught of clove, cinnamon, and citrus nose. Our very popular Imperial Weizen ratchets down for the session. Drink to adventure and friends in Wisconsin. We are the state of beer.
Yeah, well-crafted marketing language. But freakin' excellent beer. Crisp, nice finish, hint of citrus. The website says it is sold in six-packs as well as in half and quarter barrels. I'm sure it's great out of a bottle but hopefully it will grab some tap space at more places as the warmer weather approaches. If it wasn't 11pm on a Sunday night I might have to go looking for one now.