Monthly Archives: June 2006

NHL Season Fails

If the “New NHL” triumphalists mean by “success” a few small and/or Canadian teams going deeper into the playoffs than usual, then arguably this season was a success. (Of course Calgary went to game 7 in 2004, so what’s the difference?)

But by any other measure, this season ended up being a farce. In the end, the pre-ordained team wins the Cup–the one with the big time regular season record and the blockbuster trade deadline deals, the one in the market that the NHL wants to grow. Nothing against Canes fans–they showed they are for real, but somewhere in the league office, toasts are being made to the continued dominance of the South and the big-time US hockey markets. In fact, with the exception of the Devils wins in 95, 00, and 03, the Stanley cup has had a Bettman era run of big market and/or Southern Champions. New York, Colorado, Detroit, Dallas, Tampa Bay, and Carolina. And Bettman and his ilk made it clear time and again how they felt about the Devils winning by continuing to change the rules to penalize their players.

Does anyone doubt that next year, the champion will be selected from these choices: Nashville, New York, or–wait for it–Phoenix?

So, sure–the territorial sweep of Cup champions has expanded in Bettman’s time, but the popularity of the game has not. Take a victory lap on the CBA, Gary, and call it a career.

Super Powers' Super Heroes

The popular superhero movies of the late 90s through the beginning of Iraq War II were an attempt to work out America’s “hyperpower” anxiety. Whatever their artistic merits, all of these movies elementally concern the consequences of “super power” being exercised. This felt especially pertinent during the rabid Dali-Meets-Orwell run up to Iraq War II. With the techno-marvel of Iraq War I still fresh in mind and rehashed on the Discovery Channel it was not unreasonable to think of America’s military as a collective super hero with its ability to shoot bombs down chimneys and survive underwater, and with its foot soldiers who could see in the dark and readily tell friend from foe.

As Iraq War II has blundered and bloodied into a sandy sorta’-Vietnam the super hero movies have become trite and meaningless. X-Men III, to tell from the reviews, is more of an inchoate FX show as opposed to the first two films’ use of eye candy to explore the themes of racism and general exclusion. The genre appears to be shifting from a focus on the consequences and responsibility of super power towards an almost-meaningless demonstration that those powers are still there.

Enter the Return of Superman a character that, despites its roots in the very ambiguous morality of the Jewish mythological character the Golem, has come to represent the most perfectly American of superheroes: an immigrant that is yet raised with agrarian virtue in middle America that matures into a bookish go-getter in the big city by day and an establishment world-saving champion by night (notice that Superman does not have the vigilante issues or angst of many other superheroes.) As non-Ted Rall America begins to at least acknowledge our see-no-evil concentration camp in Cuba, government surveillance of citizens, and standard warfare atrocities committed by our troops it will be interesting to see if this Superman represents super power in its most innocent and unambiguous purity: a force to combat evil that has no complicated amplication, no collateral consequences and invites no blow back.

Selanne Back With Ducks

As the Battle of the Reddest Province versus a Red State continues, the Anaheim Ducks resigned Teemu Selanne for “less money” than he could have had elsewhere.

Even though J.S. Giguere was in net for the last two games of the playoffs, speculation still exists that he will be traded. If he can fetch a quality player in return, the Ducks should have more than $10M of cap room to add, even after others get raises.

Apology to Carolina Fans

I can admit when I’m wrong.

I’ve seen enough evidence of Hurricane fans actually caring about their team to be convinced that they’re actually deserving of what they’re about to get. Do they have the legacy of an Original Six team or the Oilers? No. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t entitled to win when they deserve it.

I still believe Edmonton would have given them a run for it if Roloson hadn’t gone down. But do I believe that under no circumstances Carolina couuld have won even with Rolo in? No. I sure hope we don’t hear a lot of “they didn’t deserve it” from the press, especially the Canadian press.

Carolina was a good team all year. They made some good moves at the deadline. They played good hockey in the playoffs. Yeah, they’ve had some big luck–but so does every champion.

Congrats to Carolina and their fans, assuming this goes the way it is seeming it inevitably will.

UPDATE: Al Strachan’s snarky comparison between Carolina and New Jersey’s parade route, or lack thereof, underscored this point for me. Everyone underestimates the fervor of New Jersey’s fans. Having never been to Raleigh, I’m not sure I can say first hand, but based on everything I’ve seen, read, and heard, they are really into it down there.

The Liberal Blogopshere Is Calcifying

Have you tried posting at DailyKos lately? Beware, the commenters there no longer brook any dissent. I called bullshit when a prominent dKoser claimed that it was the “DC Dems’” fault that Busby lost in the CA-50 election in a 33% Democrat district. I assume they would have taken their props if she had won.

It’s sad to see that a force that is so dedicated to putting some balls back in the Democratic party is turning into a dogmatic force of its own. (If you’ve ever exchanged personal e-mails with Kos, you’ll see he pretty much knows everything…) For the last 5 years or so, there’s been nothing more important in the Democratic world. But it my have peaked.

The Internet allows people to come together and combine forces, but it also allows for a mob mentality to prevail. Opposing the Iraq war, promoting Dean and Kerry, and coordinating the counterrevolution on Social Security have all been part of the blogosphere’s legacy.

But no tangible electoral gains have come yet. It’s not that they’re wrong. Dems need to be Dems and need to run everywhere and restore a 50-state philosophy. But it needs to be done by experts — maybe not the current crop who have been failing for a while, but not by a mob who will scare away the voters…

California Primary

I agree with Kos. If Angelides and Westly run the general election as stupidly as they’ve run their primary campaign, neither of them will be able to beat Schwarezenegger, blue state or not.

I’m fairly confident that Angelides is going to win in a close race. He has a lot of mainstream support. I think the Feinstein endoresement helps him out quite a bit. But listing off a bunch of endoresements, like he did, doesn’t really give you much of a feeling about him, unless you are used to just voting for whom you’re told to vote for. The CTA, for example, says vote for Angelides.

I’m going to vote for Westley. I don’t think either of them are different enough for it to offend my principles. But I think Westley has a better chance of beating Schwarzenegger for two totally superficial reasons.

First, a two-part opinion. I believe Westley has made his campaign about him, not about lists — lists of endorsements or lists of policies. He sounds like an interesting guy. Part of this, too, is his name. Westley. It’s very milquetoast American. That will appeal to some Californians after Ahhnold, and in this environment of heightened anti-Mexican scapegoating.

Second, they’ve already managed to make Angelides look like a “tax and spend” liberal.

Two things matter in California politics to Republican voters. Mexicans and taxes. There are very few here who care about social conservative issues. If they are scared of getting a tax and spend guy with a Mexican name (I know, I know, I know he’s not…) then, well, the opposition could be amplified.

These are stupid reasons, but they get votes. I simply am more interested in Westley as a man.
So, I’m voting for him.

UPDATE: An Exit Poll Of One…

Governor: Westley
Atty General: Brown
Insurance: The guy who was running against Cruz Bustamante (yes, for that reason).
Prop. 81: No
Prop. 82: No

"Iraq" by Frank Herbert

After reading a story about insurgents/smugglers exploitation and selective destruction of Iraq’s oil infrastructure I am convinced that Iraq is basically a “Dune” with malevolent Fremen, several House Harkonens and no House Atredies.

The solution to the quagmire? Gigantic Sandworms.

Upside.

If the CandyCanes win and Brindy takes the Smythe, the one upside is the complete and total humiliation of Bob Clarke. The downside is that Canadian kids are already taking up soccer quicker than hockey. In 20 years, you might have to go to Sweden to see a world-class hockey game.

The Grumpy Cup Finals

I really don’t give a wrinkled hamster’s booger about this mofo either. Because, in hockey more than any other sport, any team in the tournament has a legitimate chance of winning, and with the variables in each game being so tremendous and meaningful that every instant is excruciating it is just so damn thrilling that once your team is out of it the details of everything become dull and blurry. It’s like living in a Mexican slum and inhaling particulate matter all day. I find “other” hockey interesting when the Devils are still kicking, but Canes/Oil will be background-noise-while-reading-the-newspaper fare.

There is a lot to hate about the Hurricanes. Coach Laviolette is the embodiment of the drunken semi-successful 30-something lout at the corner of the bar who just snorted six lines of coke in the bathroom and is busy trying to look up every college girl’s skirt. Their players bitch like a peacock in heat about every call. Between the “accidental” blinding of Koivu to Buffalo’s myriad injuries they have had more than their share of luck. Moreover, say what you will about the research triangle, they represent a red state full of the pathetic, insecure, reactionary petits blancs that have been the scrounge of this great nation since the end of the Civil War. It’s painfully difficult, but just looking at their roster top to bottom; they’re a helluva team that would be competitive playing any style under any rules. A healthy Buffalo would have beaten them and they will be facing true superstar defensemen for the first time in the playoffs. Still, magic carpet rides like the Oil’s rarely land well, and with the long layoff the Oil could be in a big hole before they regain their legs. Also, practicing in the Rag$’ facilities = bad bad bad bad bad karma.

It’s the 23 Rednecks of the Apocalypse in 5 (Yes the players aren’t from there, but once you set down roots you become part of the Cotton Crush). Brind’amour wins the Smythe. My stomach hurts.

Stanley Cup Finals

So, my record is now meaninglessly even because I got both 2 series wrong.

I don’t care anymore, but I’m tired of teams from the South winning at the expense of teams from hockey passionate areas (Buffalo, Calgary, etc.)

Going with the heart, it’s Edmonton in 6.