Home-grown terrorists or desperate, clueless cultists?

by Steve, June 23rd, 2006

politicsIf you want to cut through the bullshit and braggadocio of Alberto Gonzales, you should read Juan Cole’s analysis of the arrest of seven would-be bombers in Miami. In fact, you should read Juan’s blog daily. It is very enlightening.

Why hockey doesn’t suck

by Steve, June 20th, 2006

hockey entryCarolina skated away with the cup last night, after an amazing series with Edmonton. Edmonton battled back from a 3-1 disadvantage to force a game seven Stanley Cup Final, by far and away the single most exciting event in sports. What a playoff series for both teams. And what an ending. I was rooting for Edmonton, but I really liked the Carolina squad. Brind’Amour, Recchi, Staal, Cam Ward!, to name just a few, holy cow, what a great team, what incredible grit and character.

But while all this went on, most Americans snoozed trhough baseball games or some stinkin’ golf tournament. Tennis anyone? (Don’t get me wrong, I went to a baseball game Friday night and had a fine time. But in what other sport can you gaze out upon 9 guys standing stock still for extended periods of time?) So in the face of jokes like those told by Jay Leno (“The Stanley Cup finals on NBC in prime time last night got a two. Not a two rating. Two people watched.”), herewith my list of reasons hockey doesn’t suck:

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Redneck hockey, politics, and Alex Charns

by Steve, June 14th, 2006

Yours truly is not the only one who is nuts for hockey and world peace. Durham, N.C. civil rights attorney and author Alex Charns has been making the news (at least in Edmonton) and raising some redneck hockey fan eyebrows with his game night protests in Raleigh.

Both the Edmonton Journal and Sun have run articles about him and his righteous antics during the Stanley Cup Final between the Edmonton Oilers and the Carolina Hurricanes.

Charns is the author of “How Hockey Saved the World* (and defeated George W. Bush, but not necessarily in that order)”.

Sing it loud, and sing it proud: More Hockey! Less War! More Hockey! Less War!

Thanks, Alex.

Thank God we didn’t shoot him

by Steve, June 12th, 2006

politics entryThe brutal death of brutal killer Abu Musab al-Zarqawi should bring a tear no no one’s eye.

But what irony to hear US officials broadly brushing off any rumors that Zarqawi was killed while in custody. No, he died from the result of us dropping two 500 lb. bombs on his head, not by gunshot or beating. Somehow, half a ton of military-grade explosives is acceptable but fists are not. It’s war after all, and we all accept war as legal and legitimate for a modern civilization, don’t we? Dropping bombs on people (and their family and neighbors) is the civilized, acceptable way to kill them.

Well, I don’t accept that. Especially since Zarqawi is largely a product of this ill-begotten war in the first place. He was nothing but a low-life thug until Geo. W. came along to elevate him to the thrown of uber-terrorista. I’ve read only spotty reports of the several other people killed in this attack. Who were these three women? His wife and daughters? Neighbors? Terrorists? We may never know.

War is the problem. Peace is the solution.

Iran and our “successes” in Iraq and Afghanistan

by Steve, June 12th, 2006

politics entryFrom Juan Cole’s Informed Comment, Al Hayat reports that an Iranian official “joked that there was not need for the US to invade Iran. He said that the US had invaded Afghanistan and established an Islamic republic there. Then it had done the same thing in Iraq. Since Iran has had an Islamic republic for 27 years, he said, there really isn’t a point in a US invasion.” Ouch.

Meanwhile, back at Guantanamo, US State Department official Colleen Graffy called the suicides of three men held for years without charges or access to legal representation “a good PR move.” Camp commander Rear Admiral Harry Harris called it “asymmetrical warfare.” You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. This is a sickening disgrace to all Americans with any sense of human decency.

Close Guantanamo now.

How much do I suck?

by Steve, June 9th, 2006

(At hockey, that is.) I haven’t been playing hockey all that long, just a couple of years. I grew up skating, but didn’t pick up a stick until recently. So I’m not all that good, especially considering some of the crew I play with (which typically includes some Junior B and college players and occasionally a minor league pro in the off season). But they cut me slack and don’t laugh at me too much.

Turns out, I’m my own harshest critic. It is particularly hard to get a sense of my skills since I just play pick up, and we never keep score. Sometimes we don’t even have goalies. So the other day, I decided to keep track of my fuck-ups vs. good plays. That is, every time I make an offensive or defensive move, I make a mental note as to whether it was good or bad. For instance: a pass that connects: good. A pass that connects with an opponent: bad. A defensive take-away: good. Getting stood up at the blue line: bad. Then when I come off the ice, I have a fine-grained +/- in my head for each shift. And whattaya know? I’m not as bad as I thought. Also, it makes me better because I’m trying to make good plays since I’m keeping track.

Now, of course, I’m taking it off the ice into life. Not a bad way to live. Look at every action and consider it in the context of the global good. At the end of the day, you’ve got a pretty good idea where you stand with the universe. Once again, hockey is nothing but a metaphor for life. And a damn good workout.

That one rink in Or-uh-gone

by Steve, June 2nd, 2006

So the Buffalo Sabres, with local boy Paul Gaustad, have been eliminated from the quest for Lord Stanley’s cup. Quite disappointing, but they put up a heck of a fight.

Gaustad grew up in Beaverton, and played youth hockey at Valley, my regular rink. He was there quite a bit last summer working on his skills.

Now, it’s nice that the TV guys have finally realized that even though he was born in Fargo, he’s really “from” Oregon. So last night, they talked about his “amazing story” (true, it is) about how he moved here when he was six and there was only one rink in the state. Huh? There are three hockey rinks in the Portland metro area alone (OK, one’s actually in Washington state), and there was one more when Paul was playing youth. Yeah, okay, Sherwood and Mt. View are pretty new, so maybe they weren’t available to him. But there are (and have been) other rinks in the state with youth hockey, e.g. Eugene. A minor point, true, but come on.

Anyway, now it’s Stanley time. Edmonton vs. Carolina. Got to root for Edmonton, even though there’s a former Portland Winter Hawks player (Glen Wesley) on the ‘Canes. Go Oilers!