Sunday, January 28, 2007

It's Definitely Sunday!

I am at work and thinking of ways to save the world. Incidentally, I never did think I would hear Hulk Hogan's old theme song, "Real American" by Rick Derringer, blaring before a Fairfield University basketball game, but I guess that is what has inspired the Stags to a four-game winning streak.

After watching the Sunday morning shows, I am wondering if this motley crew really is the best and brightest America has to offer for Presidential candidates in 2008? I find it funny how Hillary Clinton is always incredibly wide-eyed with a maniacal smile on her face, whenever she is shown on television entering a school or a firehouse. What is she so surprised about anyway? That people are actually buying into her baloney? Let's get pretentious, indeed. Her maniacal facial expressions remind me of the equally crazy Renfield from Bram Stoker's Dracula.

Stay Onsides!

What If?

We've all had situations in our lives - significant and insignificant - where we have wondered what the outcome might have been if we had gone one way or the other. For example, what if I hadn't eaten raw oysters at Hooters? Ha Ha! Well, here's some examples of the important, inane, insane, insignificant, and insipid.

What if John Lennon (December 8, 1980), Tupac Shakur (September 13, 1996), and Biggie Smalls (March 9, 1997) were not gunned down?

What if Woodstock really was about "change" and not just a pretentious gathering of strung-out rich kids?

What if classic rock radio stations expanded their playlist?

What if Keith Moon (drummer) and John"The Ox"Entwistle (bassist) had followed through on their threats to leave The Who and had joined that "new band that Jimmy Page was forming."

What if Steven Tyler was not America's Mick Jagger?

What if someone goes "Sprewell" on Simon Cowell?

What if Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry had not gotten into drugs?

What if Buck Showalter and George Steinbrenner had gotten along?

What if Derek Jeter put his arm around A-Rod and told him everything would be OK?

What if Mark Messier was never traded to the Rangers?

What if Philadelphia Flyers' goalie Pelle Lindbergh (May 24, 1959-November 10, 1985) was never killed in a car accident?

What if Cus D'Amato - Mike Tyson's guardian and handler - had not died when he did (November 1985 when Tyson was 19)?

What if Michael Strahan and Tiki Barber understood that God gave man two ears and one mouth, so he could listen twice as much as he speaks?

What if the United States military marched all the way to Moscow at the end of World War II?

What if 9/11 had not happened?

What if we actually did give peace a chance?

What if Jeanine Pirro, Hillary Clinton, Paris Hilton, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rosie O'Donnell, Donald Trump, and Jane Fonda took a voyage to a faraway planet?

What if Al Gore had not "invented" the Internet?

Then I would not be able to amuse and befuddle you!


Friday, January 26, 2007

State of the Rangers

The Rangers reconvened for practice yesterday after the All-Star Break and are gearing up for the last 34 games of the season, which begins in ernest tomorrow in Philly.

Peter Forsberg is rumored to be going to the Blueshirts which I believe would be a colossal mistake. New York's farm system is in the best shape it has been in since I have been a fan, and I would hate to part with any of the future for an injury-prone player like Forsberg. No question, if Forsberg is healthy he and Jagr are the best players in the NHL - sorry Crosby and Ovechkin you guys have more to prove - but the problem is that the Swedish center is rarely healthy for any significant stretch of time.

There seems to be some disension in the ranks among the Blueshirts. Brendan Shanahan has made comments about how he thinks the power play should be run, while Jagr has voiced an opposing view. It's the classic North American style of crashing the net and getting ugly goals vs. the European genre of pretty passes and hitting the open man for the perfect highlight-film style of goal. Jagr has said that he and Shanahan are much different players and that the North American style is not Jagr's way, and that if Renney went with the Shanny strategy, then he should be on the bench. According to Sam Weinman of The Journal News, Jagr and Shanahan have not talked about their apparent difference of opinion.

My opinion...the Rangers power play is too easy to play against because they are looking for the highlight reel goal, instead of putting the puck on net and getting the ugly tally. If you are a team like the New Jersey Devils you take your chances with giving the Rangers their shots, because you are either going to be able to block a bunch or get a stick on some; and if a shot does happen to get through you have the great Martin Brodeur in between the pipes. Too many teams have stellar goalies for the opposition to be taking shots from outside the perimeter. Plus, the Rangers rarely have a guy in front of the net to create traffic.

The Blueshirts waved aging and slow d-man Darius Kasparaitis, who was well-liked by the fans and his teammates, however, after two surgeries this past summer, he was just not able to play in today's NHL. In doing so the Rangers called up second-year pro Dan Girardi. The recall of the young blueliner is great and he deserves it based on his stellar defensive play with the Wolf Pack. But why should Thomas Pock have to sit? You replace one young defenseman with another. Why not sit Marek Malik, who looks like he is skating in slow motion. Ditto for Karel Rachunek. Slowly the Rangers have built a solid young group of defenseman with Fedor Tyutin, Michal Rozsival, and Thomas Pock. Throw into the mix Girardi and possibly Ivan Baranka; plus Marc Staal, surely ready to play for the big club next season, and you've got a great group to build with.

I'm hoping that Girardi's recall is the start of some housecleaning on the blueline. But let's see...

As far as the forwards go, I have no idea what Head Coach Tom Renney sees in Jason Ward. Martin Straka is out for tomorrow's matinee with the flu, but I have no clue as to why Ward moves up to the top line? Why not Petr Prucha? Why do the young players get buried, while older and much slower guys get rewarded with ice time that is definitely not earned?

Most fans and local reporters were surprised that Brandon Dubinsky was not called up from the Wolf Pack. Dubinsky is also having a fantastic season in Hartford and could really help as the second-line center. Certainly he is a better option than Blair Betts, who is a checking center.

I have been perusing the message boards lately and am quite surprised at the amount of anti-Renney remarks. But when I see Renney put together line combos and defensive pairings like the ones set for tomorrow, it doesn't surprise me.

Last season, I thought the Rangers made great progress in giving the young guys enough opportunity to prove themselves, I guess we're back to playing guys out of position and thus being misused. It seems that the Rangers are being overly cautious with their young guys in Hartford, as opposed to last season when they really allowed their "future" to learn on the job. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. Maybe Renney will read my blog and ask me for my insight, but like a great man once said, "Dare to dream!"

Line Combinations for tomorrow:

J. Ward-Nylander-Jagr

D-Men Pairings:


Ice Chips: Peter Forsberg has reportedly told the Flyers that he would like to play for either the Ducks, Sharks, or Rangers. Meanwhile, Rob Blake and/or Brian Leetch are said to be going to Edmonton; Blake maybe, but Leetch has said repeatedly that it is the Rangers or bust. It looks to me as though B.L. will go quietly into the sunset.

Off the Beaten Path: Adam West on with Bill O'Reilly talking about the old Batman series which ran from 1966-1968. Classic stuff! C'mon you know you do the Batman dance when no one is looking!

Stay Onsides!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

State of the Union

Last night's State of the Union delivered by President George W. Bush gave us nothing that we were not expecting; especially since many of the major networks and newspapers received excerpts of the speech in advance. However, here are some of my observations that I will share with you.

Basically the theme out of Washington, D.C. lately is that we should not get fooled again as we have before. The current rhetoric is very similar to what we saw before the invasion of Iraq and I'm none to happy about it. I support the Iraq war then and now. However, I do not feel that we should be invading another country before we have finished the job in Iraq or Afghanistan. Spring is just around the corner and we should all expect fierce fighting in Afghanistan. So ferocious - as the mujahideen (holy warriors) come out of their caves to fight in more ideal conditions - I bet you that it exceeds what we experienced in the fall of 2001, because al-Qaeda is getting great support from Pakistan.

Nice touch by Bush giving props to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and congratulating the Democrats for their November sweep. I like Bush, but it's a little bit late in the game for him to all of a sudden be interested in working with the "other party." I think that there is just too much of a great divide between the two parties at this point, that a new voice is needed to rally the politicos. But Bush was successful as Governor of Texas in working with both parties, so hopefully he will duplicate that type of diplomacy.

I like how the Democrats have transmogrified Pelosi from a San Francisco liberal to an Italian-Catholic grandma. Nice job! But why was she blinking so much? I read that she was blinking 20-30 times per minute. A record for a Speaker of the House, perhaps?

Here's what I love about the Dems; they have no plan. This non-binding resolution next week that will have Democrats and many Republicans not supporting Bush's surge in Iraq is a joke. It is nothing more than symbolic. But God are those folks going to have egg on their face if the plan works. What will they say then?

If Congress does not support the surge or the war, put some teeth into it. Support cutting off the monies for the troops. It's the same old song in D.C., on one hand they don't support the war, but their actions indicate they do support the war. Hey folks, Bush isn't twisting your arm is he?

I think the President has done OK considering all he has had to go through and the fact that there really are people in this country that rooted against America in Iraq. I used to think otherwise, but now, I have no doubt that there are many politicians who could care less about our soldiers and see it only as a political football. If the Iraq war was an overwhelming success, they would not give President Bush any credit and would probably take it as "business as usual." You may recall that when the United States was really kicking some serious tail at the beginning of the war, Senator Clinton said it was because her husband left Bush with a military that was so superb and could fight under any conditions.

Here's another little tidbit about Hillary: She said that she is not going to be bound to any viewpoint and that ideology is what has made this country so "impotent the last few years." I kid you not she used the word "impotent." Well, Mrs. Senator that sounds like a thing between you and Bubba and not something fit to print. But seriously, her point is that she does not have to stick to any idea. She supports the war until it goes bad, and then she is against it, but not for getting out. Classic! You know she sounds electable as President to me!

Any good news that has occurred throughout our time in Iraq has been met with some sort of whining. When we caught Saddam, it was not soon enough. When Zarqawi got killed, it would do little. I wonder how our brave men and women feel about all of this negativity coming from Washington.

This leads me back to Tehran, I will say that with another fleet being sent to the Persian Gulf in order to put a scare into the folks in Iran, we are asking for big trouble. Terrorists see those giant carriers as potential targets and God knows what they have in mind. But here's my main reason: We did not find WMD in Iraq, and the same people who are saying that Iran has WMD are the exact same people who warned of nukes and such in Iraq. I have not read or seen any evidence that our intelligence community has been brought up to a higher level that would enable the apparatus to fight today's War on Terror. If anything, it is worse than before 9/11.

We shut down the bin Laden unit which was in charge of finding UBL and the resources were never redirected. Also, John Negroponte moving over to work in the State Department, means that we had someone on the job as National Intel Director for a year and a half. J.N.'s credentials are very impressive, but I hardly believe that he accomplished much in that amount of time. So why should I believe anything about our intelligence?

What is positive is that Bush seems to have stepped things up globally, launching airstrikes against al-Qaeda types in Somalia again today. But let's see how his plan in Iraq goes. Can we all just hope that it works, is that a possibility. Again, I repeat, failure in Iraq will have very long-lasting implications that I believe will gravely impact this country and her allies for decades to come.

Anyway enough serious stuff. Go check out some more of the beautiful Kelly Kelly of ECW.

Monday, January 22, 2007

A Quick One...

Rest in Peace to Bam Bam Bigelow who passed away on Friday at the age of 45. Bigelow was trained by Larry Sharpe at the infamous "Monster Factory" in Asbury Park, NJ. The Bammer is originally from Mt. Laurel, N.J. I remember him from World Class in the mid-80s starting out when Sharpe had a whole stable of guys in WCCW. He eventually went to work for Vince McMahon and was lauded as the next great one. A battle for Bam Bam took place as all the managers in the WWF lined up to guide the man with the tattooed head. Eventually a guy named Sir Oliver Humperdink(better known for his days in Florida Championship Wrestling) managed Bam Bam. Bigelow got a lot of attention for his feud with Lawrence Taylor. But as far as wrestling goes, his greatest moments came while working with the upstart ECW. Another wrestler dying at far too young of an age.

I generally am not a big fan of lists or award shows because they are so subjective. If someone tells me what their favorite movies, CDs, or sports moments are then it is more interesting to me as opposed to "Big Brother" telling me what I should and should not like. For example, Joni Mitchell's Blue album was ranked 30th all-time. I have that CD and I like it, but it's probably not even 30th amongst my collection. But someone over at Rolling Stone liked it enough, so what can I say.

Willis Reed and the Knicks' championship ranking first over the Rangers and Ali-Frazier for MSG's 50 Greatest Moments is another reason why I am not into lists. The show was a bit anti-climactic because they have Mark Messier in a hospital with the Stanley Cup cheering up a kid who is getting a heart transplant. He recovers and is on the bench during the banner raising ceremony, which Messier told him would happen. I'm not saying that Messier's visit was the main reason that this young man recovered, but to see the Rangers winning, the euphoria of the city and then this very touching story seemed like a great time to end the show. But then to go to the Knicks and Willis just kind of didn't fit.

The idea of lists, I guess, is to get people talking. Anyway Tommy Dee has his own top moments at The Garden, so click on his name for more...

I saw Freedom Writers over the weekend and it was the best movie I've seen in recent memory. Very inspiring and touching movie based on a true story. Hilary Swank's performance is nothing short of sheer brilliance!

Colts 38, Bears 17.

President Bush delivers his State of the Union tomorrow night, I'll definitely be watching. Won't you?

Two pieces of news from the War On Terror: Documents seized in Iraq from six months ago show al-Qaeda had plans to send fighters from Iraq to America to launch an attack. Also, a tape was intercepted before it could be post on an Islamic website with al-Qaeda's second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri mocking President Bush's plan for more troops in Iraq. The U.S. did not give further information as to how this tape was confiscated.

So who doesn't like happy endings? If you like beautiful women then go check out ECW's Kelly Kelly here.

Stay onsides!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Odds & Sods

Well, things are all jolly between Odds and Sods. Both are tanned, ready, rested and back with a vengeance. However, if you are offended easily than this is the spot to rock out. Actually, I would like to stir the pot today and piss off at least one person, so maybe it's better that if you are someone that gets all bothered quite easily, you should really keep reading, or you can always just kindly exit stage left and try not to let the door hit you where the good Lord split you! Of course, this doesn't apply to any of the people I actually know who read my blog, just you know, those anonymous posters. Pesky bunch! So just who was it that pissed in my Cheerios this morning?

Today marks 26 years since the Iranian hostage crisis ended. It just makes me sick that the media still falls all over itself to put that bastard Jimmy Carter on television. The former President's recent book shows a man who is bitter and an obvious anti-Semite. His Administration is without question the worst in the history of this country. In fact, we are still paying the price for his follies in dealing with Iran. Let's not even go into Carter being "stunned" when Soviet tanks rumbled over the Afghan border and ultimately into Kabul.

Jimmy Carter failed to support the Reza Shah of Iran which allowed the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to return from exile, which he spent in the land of the timid, also known as France.

The Shah was not a great guy by any means, however, he was much more friendly to the West and did not exhibit the violence that Khomeini would come to foment on a regular basis. The Ayatollah during his exile was able to circulate audio tapes with his anti-American rhetoric, which led to things such as the hostage crisis and a sudden surge in his popularity.

Iran is a major problem and again I don't seem to hear any pragmatic solutions from either political party in this country. But why am I not surprised...

I am soooo sick of this stuff about the Saddam execution; that is was a disgrace, messy, undignified. OK once again to our friends in Europe and elsewhere: It was a freakin' execution not a fucking tea party!!!!

You know I'm just really shocked that Hillary is going to run for President, I thought she would surely finish out her term as U.S. Senator. Silly me!

The NHL All-Star break is upon us which means we are in the dead of winter. It is winter, isn't it? So who do I think is the best team in the NHL right now? You might guess that I am going to say Buffalo or Anaheim, but no I am going to stick with that team from across the Hudson, the New Jersey Devils. They need one or two more players before the deadline that would help them to have a long run this spring. A guy that the Devils should target is Miroslav Satan. He would fit in perfect, and not just because of his name, but the guy is fast and is a natural goal scorer. If the Isles fall out of contention for a playoff spot, I expect Satan to get dealt.

The St. Louis Blues will definitely be sellers at the deadline, but buyer beware is urged. There are a lot of aging superstars on that team who are malcontents at best. Exhibit A: Keith Tkachuk.

Speaking of St. Louis, it was good to hear our old buddy Dave Checketts on with Mike and the Mad Dog last week to talk some soccer. Checketts (who leads a group that owns the St. Louis Blues and Real Salt Lake) was absolutely giddy over David Beckham. Meanwhile, Mike Francesa said that he never watches soccer and can't remember the last time he put it on for even a second. But that didn't stop Mr. Genius from telling Checketts and anyone else who was listening what he thought was wrong with soccer in America. Thanks Mike, anything else you would like to blow hard about, kindly give me some notice.

MSG's Fifty Greatest Moments will air tonight on NBC at 7 and then again on MSG Monday night at10 with the top five. I'm betting it's the Rangers' Cup victory, but a case can be made for Ali-Frazier, being that it was truly an international event. I'm interested to see how the top five shake out.

Back to the NHL All-Star Game, funnyman and good guy Denis Leary has put together a concert down in Dallas to benefit the Leary Firefighters Foundation. Click on his name if you want to know more...

Well, I was forewarned by a friend of mine. When ECW was revitalized in the late spring of 2006, he told me it would only be a matter of time before Vince McMahon ruined it. Guess, what? ECW is officially ruined! As a result of Paul Heyman - also known as Paul E. Dangerously - being fired, the "extreme" has been taken out of Extreme Championship Wrestling. Heyman, a Scarsdale native, is the Godfather of ECW and invented the brand of wrestling that everyone else mimicked. It began in the mid 90s in a pool hall in Philly and injected much need life into pro wrestling, which at the time had become stale and very predictable. Yes, even something staged like wrestling can be unpredictable. ECW has become too much like the Raw and Smackdown brands and has lost its edginess. I'm betting it folds by the summer. Hopefully, Paul E. will resurface with something that is more like the old EC'FNW!

Finally, alright I'll admit I have a love-hate relationship with Rachael Ray. The chipmunk-cheeked t.v. star matches her beauty with her uncanny ability to take annoyingness to new heights.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Ice Chips

It wasn't Bure vs. Richter, but yesterday's penalty shot taken by Jed Ortmeyer against Tim Thomas was one of the reasons I love pro sports. Ortmeyer - just six games back from a pulmonary embolism discovered during the summer - is a tireless worker and it was great theater to see him ice the game for the Rangers against the Bruins, 3-1. Mark Messier once referred to Ortmeyer as "a future captain." Not bad, eh?

Say it isn't so! Petr Prucha and Adam Hall to St. Louis for Martin Rucinsky! No way, I believe this latest rumor floated by Larry Brooks of the New York Post. Brooks alleges that Blues' President John Davidson turned the deal down, demanding instead Rangers' super prospect Brandon Dubinsky.

St. Louis has plenty of dead wood to get rid of at the deadline. If I'm Sather and company I don't part with any, and I mean any, of the guys in Hartford.

The Rangers picked up Jason Krog (a Hobey Baker winner while at the University of New Hampshire) off wavers from Atlanta. After the soda I was drinking stopped coming out of my nose, I thought, "well, it's better than Petr Nedved." The Rangers did in deed put in a bid for Nedved while he was on waivers, before he was scooped up by Edmonton. Dress warm, Petr!

Smart move by GM Glen Sather requesting that Jaromir Jagr not go to the All-Star Game in favor of resting his shoulder, which underwent major surgery during the summer. The rest is definitely needed for the Rangers' superstar if the team is to have a good run in the playoffs. Brendan Shanahan is the lone Ranger going to Dallas.

I have been lucky enough to see two of the best goalies ever; Patrick Roy and Martin Brodeur. If I had to win a game seven, I'm going with St. Patrick. But either way you wouldn't have to worry much. I just give the slight edge to Roy because he did not always play with the best defenses in front of him, Brodeur has. The system has benefited Brodeur - especially the last couple of years - with stalwarts Scott Stevens and Ken Daneyko now retired. But make no mistake, I'm not trying to take anything away from Marty, I just prefer Roy.

Glad to see former Blueshirt draft pick Johan Holmqvist playing well for Tampa Bay. Johan was supposed to be the goalie of the future, but got lost in the shuffle. He was drafted in 1997; the same draft the Rangers nabbed Mike York and Hobey Baker Winner Mike Mottau (Boston College).

Stay Onsides!

Bush On Iran

I'm sure by now many of you have heard reviews of President Bush's speech to the nation about Iran, oops, I mean Iraq. People keep asking what is going to change in order for Iraq to become stable, so we can get out of there once and for all.

What I observed from the speech was that the U.S. and Iraqi forces will now have free reign to go after the Shiite death squads, namely the Mahdi army led by Muqtada al-Sadr. His militia reportedly consists of 17,000 fighters. Many of you remember the fierce battle of Najaf that took place in August 2004, when the U.S. was not allowed to go all out, this time, presumably we will be able to give it everything we've got.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has said that he is giving the green light to American and Iraqi forces. The good news about this is that we will have an opportunity to decimate this very dangerous militia. The bad news is that it leaves open the possibility for some pretty bad things to happen. First off, a confrontation with the very well-trained Mahdi army will lead to many casualties. But also we will be in confrontation with Iran. The mullahcratic regime funds Sadr and his militia, so it is no coincidence that the U.S. has sent several battle ships to the region within the last three weeks.

One thing that the Bush Administration has said throughout his tenure is that he will not leave problems for the next administration, as was previously done by the Clinton regime. What that means is that Bush will go all out these final two years of his tenure in Iraq and in the global "War On Terror."

I found it interesting that air strikes were ordered in Somalia last week. What happened guys? All of a sudden you realized Somalia was a haven for terrorists? Maybe you have been reading my blog.

Also, there were some major strikes dished out on some members of the mujahideen crossing from Pakistan into Afghanistan, in which approximately 140 fighters were killed.

Apparently it has also been reported that Usama bin Laden and company are holed up in a part of Pakistan which has allowed them to regroup, presumably for new attacks against the U.S. and her interests. I expect Bush to find a way for the military to enter Pakistan to take out this pocket of terrorists; something that Bush has been reluctant to do because it would possibly endanger the dictatorship of General Pervez Musharraf.

So that leaves North Korea? Do we have a policy with them? I don't know, but let's put it this way, I doubt Kim Jung Il will be wagging his finger at the U.S.A. any time soon.

But back to Iraq and Iran. The feeling is that with the increase of United States' soldiers, we would be able to hold al-Anbar province until the Iraqis are ready to sub in for us when they are ready. Local imams are cooperating in that region against al-Qaeda, so it looks reasonable that we can take control. But we can't leave as we have in the past which would allow UBL's boys to move right back in after we forced them out. The surge in troops is designed to keep out the "holy warriors."

My bigger concern is this: If we go all out against the Mahdi army, do we go into Mosques? Do we fire on Mosques? What if something accidentally happens? What if a member of al-Qaeda or the Mahdi army purposely blows up a mosque and makes it look as though the United States is responsible. The implications would be grave.

A similar tactic was undertaken when the now-deceased Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was behind the bombing of the Golden al-Askari Mosque (built in 1905) in Samarra' in February 2006; leaving the famous golden dome in ruins. The mosque contains the tombs of the tenth and eleventh imams, whom to Shiites were very holy men and are held in the highest regard. This further increased the anger toward the Sunnis and ultimately the Americans. It was definitely one of the darkest moments since we've been in Iraq.

There are many reasons I urge caution when dealing with Iran and Syria. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a Shiite in the same mold as the fiery Ayatollah Khomeini, believes that the 12th imam (in essence the Shiite messiah) will return this year and that his return can only be brought about by some apocalyptic event. When dealing with crazies like this, I hope our leaders have their thinking caps on and that the batteries are, in fact, working.

I disagree with Mr. Bush on many issues, but I believe that President Bush has it right in regards to the "War On Terror." There is so much at stake right now in Iraq. George W. Bush was right, expect a bloody year ahead, but pray that it ends soon and that it does not come to our shores.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

K.I.A. Courtesy of the U.S.A.

All the major news outlets are reporting this morning that Fazul Abdullah Mohammed was killed Monday by a United States airstrike. Mohammed, is an al-Qaeda chief in the very volatile Horn of Africa and is the alleged mastermind of the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. The location of the strike has not been specified to this point, however, it most likely took place in the southern portion of Somalia.

I'm just waiting for our buddies in Europe to say how bad we are and how this man was "misunderstood" etc. etc. He killed 225 innocent people, but I'm sure we will be made out to be the evil ones. Here's what I have to say to the folks in Europe: Go sell crazy and b.s. somewhere else....we're all stocked up here thank you very much.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes

Odds and Sods is still recovering from a pretty joyous weekend as the New York Rangers got their fourth duke in a row, while it is always good to see Bill Parcells get beat. Odds usually makes it home early, but Sods is the one that always seems to be getting into trouble. I hope they get it together, because I can't see the two not being tag team partners. Who would replace Sods? Could we have Odds and Ipods? Odds and Cod? No way. Here's hoping it gets straightened out. Meanwhile,let's give a warm welcome to All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes, something to ponder.

President Bush will address the nation Wednesday night about Iraq. Most of you know from a previous post how I feel. But let me add that at some point in time, both political parties are going to have to figure out how the country and the world wants to deal with radical Islam. It's not going away folks! Many people say that the number of terrorists increased under former President Clinton, due to his failure to respond to repeated attacks on the U.S. and her interests by Islamists. While, some will say that President Bush has increased the populous of the mujahideen by going into Iraq. Those arguments do little to deal with the matter at hand. I don't care who is in charge, America has got to lead the world in having a multifaceted approach to dealing with this crisis. Because the reality is that millions of lives are at stake.

Some people really get fired up about social issues. To me, the most important issue of our time is Islamic terrorism. If we can't protect our country, if the world is not protected, then all those other issues are frivolous at best. I'll argue that all day!

So do you think the Pentagon is reading this blog? OK stop laughing. Really, I have been talking about Somalia and the dire need for there not to be a failed state in any part of the world, which is the case of that war-torn country in the Horn of Africa.

U.S. fighter jets have been conducting air strikes while helicopters have been bombarding a group of six rocky islands known as Ras Kamboniin in the south of Somalia in search of al-Qaeda fighters, some of whom are responsible for the dual embassy bombings in 1998. Namely, America is going after a chap named Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, who allegedly planned the 1998 attacks on the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania that killed 225 people.

Somalia has not had a working government since dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown by warlords in 1991. This country has been a breeding ground for al-Qaeda terrorists and the chaos that has been caused by a failed government in Somalia is a small fraction of what we would see if Iraq and/or Afghanistan are allowed to fall into the hands of Islamists.

A very classy ceremony for an even classier guy when Steve Yzerman's number was retired at Joe Louis Arena. The former Red Wings' Captain was surrounded by former mates at the January 2 festivities, including ex-defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov. The former Russian blueliner can only sometimes walk using a walker, after being seriously injured in a car accident following Detroit's Stanley Cup victory in 1997.

Good to see Igor Larionov who as a player had the uncanny ability to skate as fast backwards as he was able to forward, which by the way was pretty fast.

Other luminaries in attendance were Gordie Howe, Scotty Bowman, Brett Hull and Bob Probert.

A cool twist was when the current Detroit players wore the assorted sweaters that Stevie Y donned throughout his career while competing in Canada Cups, the World Cup, the Olympics, and all the All-Star games, etc.

Steve Yzerman's number 19, now sits besides Howe's 9, Sid Abel's 12, Ted Lindsay's 7, Alex Delvecchio's 10 and Terry Sawchuck's 1.

Yezerman played his entire 22-year career with the Wings and was Captain for 19 seasons, a record. There are few better than Steve Yzerman, anywhere!

If you are looking for something inspirational to read, again, I highly recommend Og Mandino's The Greatest Salesman In The World. I just began The Greatest Salesman in the World Part II, after I ripped through an awesome book about the USS Indianapolis, In Harm's Way by Doug Stanton.

Talk about inspirational! Many people know about the USS Indie from Jaws when the fictional character Quint talks about all the men who were eaten by sharks after a Japanese sub sunk the USS Indie. Here are the numbers: 1,196 men on board, 300 died when the ship went down; amazingly the ship was not missed and the remainder of the men were left floating in shark-infested waters with no lifeboats and no food or water. The survivors were spotted by accident four days later when only 316 men were still alive. There is even more tragedy that took place in the aftermath of this event, but I'd recommend the book.

These men delivered the bomb which saved 100s of thousands of lives. The U.S. was set to launch a full-scale invasion of Japan, and estimates said that 500,000 American lives would have been lost in a successful invasion.

Shouldn't we all thank our luck stars that such brave men existed? I think so.

I saw The Good Shepherd this weekend and absolutely loved it. The film was nearly three hours, but for me it flew by. I look forward to seeing The Kingdom with Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Garner which is about the chase of a notorious terrorist leader inside Saudi Arabia. No date was given for when it would be coming out, but that's next on my list. Unless, there is anything else worth seeing?

Finally, are there really still people who deny the existence of global warming?


Monday, January 08, 2007

They're All Reposted!

I decided to repost my poetic trilogy as one post, basically for my own selfish reasons. I wrote about thirty poems last year, believe it or not. Some I really liked and were received well by some folks. I did get some nasty comments by some anonymous kindred spirits, which is fine with me, because some of those comments I found quite comical. Still, some of my poems are the skeletons for potentially ingenious work. Ha Ha!

Of course, I want people to like my stuff. Many of the great poets have written thousands of poems and how many of them are really liked? I would say a small percentage. Of course, I don't consider myself to be a poet, I just like to write poetry. What do I consider myself to be? Well, I don't like labels, that's for sure. So why don't we start with that I am a human being and go from there. By the way, there's really no deep meaning to any of these, I think. Trying to read into any of my poems and then trying to decipher anything about my life, is a real time waster. I try to write for at least a half hour, roughly four times a week. So I hope to establish a real solid archive of things as time progresses. Well, I'm thinking aloud way too much at the moment. Or am I? Anyway, this is what I wrote when I finally finished this batch which was December 13:

I have been working on this trilogy of poems discontinuously for the last three months. It has been written, edited, edited again, thrown out, ripped up, and put back together again in every which way including but not limited to; front ways, sideways, back ways, and thataways. OK you get the picture. No more editing for me with this anymore. I think...At times I think I got rid of better versions. But who knows, I hate to over edit anything. But I may actually use this to expand on at some point in time. Interestingly enough, when I post things I look at them much differently and quite often come up with new ideas. Anyway, I guess this is an appropriate time to post my poetic trilogy called:A Boy and His Guardian Angel

A Boy And His Guardian Angel:Part I
Part I: A Plea To God

Once A Boy,
No More Than Six,
Wrote A Letter To God,
It Went Something Like This:
If You Only Knew,But Of Course You Do.
The World Seems So Unkind,
To You, Do I Even Exist?
You Don't Notice Me.
There's No Connection,
Which I Sorely Miss What Was Once.
Is This Letter Wasted Time?
No Crime Committed Here,Just Hope For A Written Response.

A Boy and His Guardian Angel: Part II
Part II: The Response
The Lord Responded:
Imbalanced Ineptitude,
You Believe Your Life Hangs In The Balance,
Sounds Melodramatic,
But Ineptness Leaves One With A Blatant Emptiness,
A Feeling Of Disconnect,
In Need Of Some True Affections,
Instead What Surfaces Are Superficial Relations,
Creation Would Not Sustain,If This Was How We Maintained.
Listening To The Pidder Padder Of The Rain,
You Glance Out Your Window Into A World Of Nothingness,
Where Such Darkness Looms Like In The Corner Of Your Soul,
This Bottomless Pit Can Not Be Filled With Man's Creations,
Remember Always What I Tell You,
Never Fail To Count How You Have Been Blessed,
Trust In Me And Watch The Dark Hole Shrink,
Your World Will Expand With Positive Accentuations,
Negative Feelings Arise,
But Peal Back The Onion,Try To Learn To Not Become Undone.
For Now I Send One To Guide You,He Never Leaves Your Side,
Trust In His Guidance,He Acts On My Behest,
Favorably Is How He Looks Upon You,You Will Never Leave His Sight.

A Boy and His Guardian Angel:Part III
Part III: The Journey Home

We Reach For The Stars,
You Crawl Through Space,
They Imagine,I Dream The Impossible,
Walking Into A Great Pasture,You Asked What Heaven Looks Like,
Why This Is It I Proclaimed!
The Great Oceans Roar Is Now Silent,
Calmness Reigns,
While Anarchy Ceases Abruptly,
We Travel Along A Road To A Mansion Of Unseen Stature,
See The Glory In Front Of You,
Only Fear Keeps You Looking Back,
Past Hurts Gripped Tightly Dampens Spirits,
History Lessons Become Points Well-Taken,
Briefly Staring At Yesterdays We Revel In Successes Only,
So Much Will Be Revealed As The Future Unfolds,
Faith, Persistence, Patience Are Our Trusted Guides,
Like Torches They Lead Us Not Astray,But To A Place We Will Always Want To Stay.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Iraq:What's At Stake?

President George W. Bush will reportedly address the nation Wednesday night with his new plan for Iraq. Bush will increase the amount of troops in Iraq by approximately 20,000, with the focus being mostly in and around Baghdad.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has told President Bush that he will go after the Shiite militias, after we take care of the Sunni insurgents. This can not be! Al-Maliki has got to show a committment to us, as we have obviosuly committed so much in blood and money. He's got to get control of the Shiite militias and the death squads while we go after the Sunni insurgents.

Last week, during Meet The Press a reporter stationed in Baghdad described the insurgency as being primarily led by al-Qaeda, which is made up mostly of foreign fighters. So this is who our brave men and women are fighting:

The aforementioned al-Qaeda; The Iranian Revolutionary Guards; the Iranian sponsored Shiite death squads, including the Mahdi army headed up by Moqtada al-Sadr; and then lastly those loyal to Saddam, the Baathists.

The al-Qaeda element is made up of foreign fighters from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, to name but a few.

So let's also think about who is funding the insurgency: definitely the Iranian and Syrian Governments, and parts of the Saudi and Egyptian Governments. But who else? Would anyone be surprised if Russia, Venezuela, Cuba, or China were funding the insurgency with arms and/or cash?

Right now America has a major problem as we all know. If Bush increases the troop level, wouldn't it seem natural that the mujahideen or so-called holy warriors would increase the amount of fighters flowing into the area known as the Green Zone. Also, would it not then seem logical that the folks at the Kremlin and elsewhere would increase the amount of cash and arms going to Baghdad?

Many people will call for Bush to withdraw U.S. Soldiers from Iraq. But let's examine what probably would happen in that war-torn country if the President did withdraw: We pull out, the Iranians increase their influence which would lead to al-Qaeda and the Sunnis increasing their efforts to offset the Shiites. The Saudis and Egyptians would naturally back the Sunnis. However, both of those countries have a minority population of Shiites living in poor areas. Those Shiites would be encouraged to rise up against the very wealthy governments of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and also in Jordan. So how does this play in the United States?

Americans are going to have to be prepared to see more killing on television then we have seen to this point. Again, Iran will try to take over the oil in Iraq and will encourage Shiites to rise up against the Saudi Royal Family and their interests, namely oil. So the world will not only get an unstable Iraq, but if the Shiites start attacking the oil fields inside the Saudi Kingdom, we could also have a shaky government in Saudi Arabia.

That means high oil prices which means we will all have to pay at the pump. Do you want to pay $5 a gallon? How about $10? Skyrocketing oil prices will most surely at the very least lead to a recession. But there is something much bigger here.

If Iran gets control of the oil fields in Iraq, they will definitely be able to obtain a nuke and most likely will be able to get more than one. If the Saudis face an uprising of Shiites, I would not be surprised to see the House of Saud take a heavy handed approach in crushing any sort of rebellion. Thus, the situation would escalate into a regional war and possibly a world war.

The Saudis are going to be desperate to prevent Iran from getting nukes, so they are going to go all out to undermine the mullahcratic regime in Iran. Let's also throw Israel into the mix. According to the Sunday Times of London, Israel has drawn up plans to destroy Iran's uranium enrichment facilities with nuclear weapons.

It basically boils down to this, if we leave, be prepared for at best a regional war that will have international implications which I believe are unfathomable for most people.

Obviously, it is not a pretty picture either way. As I mentioned on here the other day, having an unemployment rate for men at 60% in Iraq needs to be addressed. So in addition to the increase in troop levels, the New York Times is reporting that there will also be a $1 billion jobs program intended to employ Iraqis in projects; including painting schools and cleaning streets.

What has to happen though is that the Iraqis themselves have got to step up to the plate, and take control of their country. If the people of Iraq do not find a way to work together, the results will be catastrophic. Failure in Iraq is not an option. Mr. Bush has a lot riding on this right now, his plan better be the correct one, otherwise, we will all feel the effects of a war gone wrong for many years to come.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Recently Heard At The Water Cooler

This one is too funny...

"Yo, I told him man. Yo don't be comin' round here with that yo yo yo stuff. You don't know me 'nuff to be yo yo yo-in me. Maybe when we're cool and all you can yo yo yo me but that yo yo yo stuff ain't gonna fly."

True story, I kid you not. Shakespeare flipped over about fifty times in his grave after hearing that one.

It won't get much play because it's hockey, but what an incredible story it is that Jed Ortmeyer returned to the Rangers last night against the Devs. Ortmeyer was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism over the summer, however, through meds and training has worked himself back onto the ice...

I used to listen to WFAN a lot, and I mean a lot. But as time has gone on, I basically only listen to Mike and the Mad Dog. Still, I find myself listening to less and less of them. I only listen to ESPN Radio for Rangers' and Knicks' games, although, I keep hearing about Mike and Mike and some of the other hosts on that station. I'm going to have to give it a listen and see.

One of the reasons I don't listen to Mike and The Dog as much anymore is not only that they ignore hockey. But because of their attitude about the sport and their obvious lack of respect for it. Maybe I've also grown tired of Mike's holier-than-thou attitude toward the callers. You know, the folks who pay his salary!

After seeing Rocky Balboa I was thinking about who was the toughest opponent Rocky fought: Apollo Creed(Carl Weathers), Thunderlips (Hulk Hogan), Clubber Lang (Mr.T), "The Siberian Express"Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), Tommy Gunn (Tommy"The Duke"Morrison), or Mason"The Line" Dixon (Antonio Tarver). My vote goes to Clubber Lang...

Yo Adrian, I did it!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy

Odds and Sods decided to take a few extra days off after the holidays so in its place for this week, and this week only, is Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy. First off, Happy New Year to everyone! I ask your indulgence in allowing me to wish for a healthy and prosperous year for one and all. Let's rock...

Gee, I guess I missed another one of those memos that gets sent out when I'm away from my desk. Basically, the legacy of Saddam Hussein is being edited and revised as we speak. I'm not going to name names, however, there is a pretty vocal bunch that are upset at the execution of Saddam, you know some of our buddies in Europe! My question for them is how come they only sound off about things involving the United States? I never heard a peep when it came to all the heinous acts that Saddam committed. I never hear a word about Darfur, or any of the genocides that occur in Africa on a seemingly daily basis. But they also did not speak up when Hitler was slaughtering millions of Jews. Sure they did not know the number was so high, but they were aware of what Adolph was up to. The folks I am speaking of are consistently on the wrong side of history, once again their negative spin on the execution of Saddam illustrates their tiresome appeasement to bad apples.

The death penalty is obviously a very complex issue, but if ever there was a man deserving of execution, it was Saddam. The world is better off without Saddam, there is no question about it. Anyone who thinks otherwise should really question what their motives truly are...

So are you ready? I said are you ready? We're going to find out what the Democrats plan to do. They played the mid-term elections to perfection by keeping their mouths shut, except for John Kerry of course. Now we actually get to see what they have in store for us all. But let me remind everyone that you really need 60 votes in the Senate to accomplish anything, which they do not have, so I see little getting done. What I do foresee for the next two years is a glorified campaign for Hillary Clinton's eventual Oval Office run.

The guys over at Fox News were in Iraq last month. I watched extensive coverage of Bill O'Reilly in Iraq and was really fascinated. O'Reilly was very well received and it genuinely looked as though the troops were thrilled to see him. I give him and Sean Hannity mucho props for going 'over there.' I'm sure their families were not ecstatic, but it's part of the job, at least, their jobs.

Speaking of O'Reilly, New York Times' columnist Tom Friedman was on the radio show with Mr. O and said that the insurgency in Iraq is "beating the U.S. military." Friedman is one of the few scribes over at "The Old Grey Lady" that I like and I hold what he has to say in very high regard. If what he is saying is true, the world is in deep, deep trouble.

January 20th marks the end of a very sad chapter in U.S. history, 26 years since the Iranian hostage crisis. Want to know why former President Jimmy Carter was so inept, the fact that this travesty went on for so long (444 days) is a great place to start.

Iran was recently ordered by a U.S. Federal Judge to pay $254 million to the families of the 17 U.S. servicemen killed in the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers, which were a residence at a U.S. military base in Saudi Arabia.

I have always read that this was a coordinated strike between Iran and al-Qaeda. Interesting that only Iran was named, but that of course does not exonerate bin Laden and company. I ask you why this story did not get more play in the media?

Here's a number that is glossed over frequently, but I believe is at the root of our problems in Iraq: 60% unemployment among men. Does the expression "Idle hands are The Devil's workshop" apply here or what!

A friend of mine mentioned that he did not think that New York Rangers' analyst Joe Micheletti was as good as John Davidson because he supposedly never played. First off, it's not a prerequisite for a sports broadcaster to have played professionally for him to be good at the sport which he calls. But the funny thing is that Micheletti did play, for the St. Louis Blues.

MSG has revamped their network since early October and one of the things they have added is a show called MSG NY. It basically features sports and entertainment stars, and also does a good job of checking the scores and news from that day and/or night. The show is usually hosted by Al Trautwig or Deb Kaufman which is fine, I like both of them. But Deb Kaufman has a penchant for holding a coffee cup in her hand throughout the entire show. She never takes a sip and their is no steam billowing from the mug, so there is no indication that the cup is half-empty or half-full, whichever you prefer. I don't get it! Is she holding the cup for effect? To make people feel like they are hanging out with her? It's neither, but in fact kind of annoying.

Larry Brooks, of the New York Post wrote about an impending deal sending Martin Rucinsky to the Rangers for his fourth tour of duty. Brooks wrote that this deal would save the Rangers' season. Uh, in all due respect to Mr. Rucinsky, if the Blueshirts need him to "save the season" then there is no season to save.

The albums that have gotten the most play in my car this year in no particular order are: The Beatles' One; The Who's Endless Wire and Live At Leeds; Eric Clapton's Unplugged, Montgomery Delaney's Changing Shoes and Walking In The Light; and Rachel Fuller's Cigarettes and Housework. For whatever reason, I have really taken to Fuller's CD and have been listening to it continuously for at least the last six months. Rachel recently wrote on her blog: "I will be doing an exclusive album for itunes from the In The Attic shows in Europe. The album is being released on 14th February and features 17 tracks with the following artists:The Kooks, Ed Harcourt, Martha Wainwright, The Editors, The Raconteurs, The Flaming Lips, Death Cab For Cutie, The Zutons, Regina Spektor, Razorlight, The Fratellis, Foy Vance, Rose Hill Drive, and of course me (Rachel Fuller), Mikey (Cuthbert), Simon (Townshend) and Pete (Townshend).This album is KILLER."

It's one that I am really looking forward to. I've heard Rose Hill Drive and Martha Wainwright and like them both. I am eager to hear the others...

I was in my favorite place the other day, Barnes & Noble, and picked up Mojo Magazine. There was an interesting interview with Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey, in which, they discussed Black Widow's Eyes from Endless Wire. Turns out this song is about a man holding a child during the Beslan massacre. He describes the female terrorist who blew herself up, killing the child he held, as ‘having the most penetrating and beautiful eyes.' The man who held the girl was questioned ruthlessly by the Russians in the aftermath, as many witnesses were, according to Mojo.

This song obviously has taken on greater meaning for me, as the Beslan massacre was Russia's 9/11. Here's a sample of some of the lyrics or you could go and listen to it here:

You Jumped Out Of An Alley
With Surprise In Your Black Widow's Eyes
I Was Prepared To Be Unprepared
Been Preparing For Lights

I Fell Right In Love With You
Into A Thousand Parts I Blew
I Fell Right In Love With You

So long to Mike Evans who died of throat cancer on December 14, 2006. Most of you will remember him as Lionel Jefferson on All In The Family and The Jeffersons, two classic shows, the likes of which we will never see again.

I saw Rocky Balboa and really liked it. The sixth installment did not include Talia Shire although originally she was supposed to be in the script. Shire, when she is allowed to act, I think is tremendous, however, the absence of Adrian made this version of Rocky a better story. Sylvester Stallone did a nice job with this one. If you like Rocky you won't be disappointed in Rocky Balboa.

Finally, check out Snapple's Green Tea which contains EGCG. Maybe you've seen that funny commercial for it, or maybe you haven't. Supposedly EGCG boosts metabolism, but even if it doesn't it still tastes great! Hey, I just bought a case at Target so maybe I'll share, or maybe I won't....