Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Memo To The Things That Live In My House

My wife was cleaning up a room and found this memo I wrote for our then teenage kids. Enjoy.


To: The Things That Live In My House

Subject: The Maid Is Dead

My dearest "Things That Live In My House"; Summer is here and it brings you “Things” home on a full time basis. I regret to inform you that, yes indeed, our beloved, yet invisible maid has passed on to greater and better rewards. The Good Lord has called her home and this has a deep and direct effect on all of you.

How, you may ask? Let me count the ways:

1. The Trash. There is a limited capacity in the trash container in the kitchen. I know that since all of you are in school and may have studied science, you may have stumbled upon the theory called displacement. What this essentially means is you can't shove 20 pounds of crap into a five pound bag. You see, when you get to the point where things begin to fall out of the trash container, it is time to remove the liner from the container.

This brings me to Rule #1: Empty the Trash.

The trash bag is an amazing thing, but one must lift it out of the barrel to realize its truly remarkable intrinsic value. From there, it can be tied closed and duly transported to the big round gray things you see in the rear of the house. Those are called trash barrels. Simply place the trash bag into the trash barrel.

2. The Dishes. The dishes you use to eat the food that you consume post-midnight. I realize that sometimes your mother and I go to bed well before you do, but one of us inevitably wakes up before you all do. And, to find a sink full of, well, less than clean dishes along with a dishwasher that's less than full capacity is indeed disheartening. Now, I realize that you all truly didn't mean to leave that disarray for us to clean up, so I give you all the benefit of the doubt.

But, just to be clear, Rule #2 is: All dirty dishes must be cleaned and put into the dishwasher.

The dishwasher is another remarkable convenience for today's modern family on the go. But, one must put dishes and cups in to be washed in order to utilize this great invention of convenience. But, there are times; I regret to inform you, that there are clean dishes in there that must be unloaded.

Which brings me to Rule 2a: Empty the clean dishes from the dishwasher.

And yes, there is a Rule 2b: Put the clean stuff away.

This was unfortunately, one of the invisible maid's duties.

3. The Bathroom. Good Lord, where do I start? OK, the bathroom sink: When you brush your teeth (and you must be commended for good dental hygiene after all that money we invested on all of you for braces)

Please, for the love of all Rule #3: Do not spit all over the entire sink and faucet assembly.

Or at least, if you cannot control the direction of the discharge, please find some way to remove the offending stains from the sink. We can't tell you how demoralizing it is to go into the bathroom and find the entire sink area speckled with white "post brushing by-product".

As you might say "eeewwww."

The shower is also of particular interest. As you know, there is a slight leak in the shower head in the bathroom upstairs; one simply must turn the valve all the way to the right to make sure the drip is minimized. So that means the Niagara Falls affect created post shower is an indicator that the valve is not closed all the way.

Rule 3a: Close the valve tight in the shower.

4. The Computer Room. Ah yes, the place where My Space and AIM rule. Where young burgeoning minds work their magical imaginations to the fullest. And, where you guys leave everything imaginable to rot and fester everywhere. I'll keep this one simple: I counted, there are 11 steps from the stairs to the kitchen.

Rule #4: Transport whatever it is you've consumed to the proper place.

This is where Rule #1 and Rule #2 work beautifully in synchronization. You must use either (or both) the trash or the sink and dishwasher to follow up on this one.

In closing, I know you all do try your level best to keep this house sparkly clean just like on TV. But I hate to tell you, there are some "gaps" like those mentioned above that need a little tightening up. So, please try to follow these rules and even take the initiative to try some new things like picking up your clothes and putting them into the proper laundry bins in the basement. I know, I know, this is an esoteric endeavor and is only for those truly immersed in the AHP (Advanced Housekeeping Program), but little by little you can be trained to participate.

Thank you,

Your loving parents.

PS: Bartering to actually do these things (like you tried in the note you left us this last night) to stay home while we go to the cottage is a little too late. These are the reasons we're making you come with us. :-)

Monday, October 28, 2013

60 Minutes Report on Benghazi

CBS 60 Minutes aired an eye opening report on the events in Benghazi, Libya leading up to the attack on the US Embassy on September 11, 2012.

I only hope the lid gets blown off this disgraceful coverup and President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are exposed. There's enough evidence that this was brushed aside as it would have looked bad in an election year if one of our embassies were attacked.

What's worse was 4 Americans lost their lives needlessly.

But the big question is, why is CBS just getting to this now over a year later?
Would this report have sunk Obama's reelection?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Please, NHL Stop The Headhunters

If you read this blog, you know that I am a Boston Bruins fan. I've wanted to write about this for a while and the incident in last night's game between the Bruins and Buffalo Sabres was the last straw for me.

Forget that I'm a Bruins fan, what John Scott did to Bruins forward Loui Eriksson, was despicable, cowardly and against all common sense and was just a dirty, cheap, vile hit.

The NHL has been on a mission for the past three years to rid the game of head hits. Having lost such good players as Phildaelphia Flyers Chris Pronger, Boston Bruins Marc Savard and almost losing the face of the NHL Pittsburgh Penguins Sydney Crosby, the league has sent a mandate to stop this behavior.

How is it working out?
The 2013-2014 season so far has had far too many head hits.

Dallas Stars Ryan Garbutt was just handed a 5 game suspension yesterday for a hit on Anaheim Ducks Dustin Penner.
New York Islanders Michael Grabner got 2 games for a head hit on Carolina Hurricanes (and former Sabre) Nathan Gerbe.

Here is a list of suspensions so far this year (including preseason)

Regular Season

Ryan GarbuttDAL10/23/20135 games for charging
Michael GrabnerNYI10/21/20132 games for hit to the head
Cody McLeodCOL10/21/20135 games for boarding
Maxim LapierreSTL10/18/20135 games for boarding
Patrick KaletaBUF10/15/201310 games for hit to the head
Alex EdlerVAN10/11/20133 games for hit to the head
Brad StuartSJ10/8/20133 games for elbowing


Phil KesselTOR09/24/20133 pre-season games for slashing
David ClarksonTOR09/23/201310 games for leaving the bench during altercation
Zack KassianVAN09/23/20135 regular season, 3 pre-season games for high stick
Dale WeiseVAN09/23/20133 pre-season games for illegal check to head
Teemu PulkkinenDET09/19/20134 pre-season games for boarding
Adam ErneTB09/19/20133 pre-season games for illegal check to head
Paul BissonnettePHX09/16/201310 games (reduced to 3) for leaving the bench during altercation 
Source: TSN 

If you look at the list, you'll see that among the head hits, Buffalo Sabres Patrick Kaleta is listed for 10 games for a hit to the head.

Here's the NHL suspension video for Kaleta narrated by former player and current NHL Vice President of Hockey and Business Development and Director of Player Safety, Brendan Shanahan

This is what is known as a predatory hit and the head is the point of contact. This type of hitting has no place in the game, or any game for that matter. The NFL is also trying to rid the game of such hits.

So what do we have after the Kaleta suspension? (Kaleta is appealing the 10 game hit by the way)

Here's the situation: The Sabres are down 4-2 in the third period, Sabres coach, Ron Rolston sends out 6' 8" 260 lb. John Scott. Scott is averaging 4:57 (7:06 career) of ice time so far this year and has 1 goal and 4 assists in 180 career games. So it's safe to say that Rolston didn't have Scott out there to try to get within a goal in a tight game early in the third period.

Let's take a look at Scott in a preaseason game against the Toronto Maple Leafs:

Scott lines up against Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel and likely told Kessel he was going to fight him. Kessel retalites by swinging his stick at Scott and rightfully wound up getting suspended. Kessel is no fighter by any means and it's clear to see in the video that Scott is much bigger. 

Loui Eriksson is no fighter either.

Last night Scott went after Eriksson well after Eriksson passed the puck in the neutral zone. Scott cocks his elbow and delivers a head shot to Eriksson just as he begins to turn and see Scott heading toward him.
Eriksson is in a defenseless position and is not in possession of the puck. Scott had plenty of time to either hit through the body (which would have still been a late hit and not likely called) or pull up.

As you can see, Scott does neither and draws his elbow in then extends it into Eriksson's jaw. 

There is no place in hockey or any sport for this. Sabres coach Rolston is very much to blame for this because he sent Scott out there in a close game. Scott, as Bruins head coach Claude Julien said "He's only out there for two reasons: to fight, and hurt."

There's no reason for a "player" like Scott to occupy a roster spot on any team in the NHL. The Sabres are a team that has been poorly mismanaged for many years. Instead of trying to build the team through the draft and smart free agent signings or trades, they have decided to give their fans the illusion that they are not going to be pushed around.

Last night's game was billed as NBC Sportsnet's Wednesday Rivalry game. There's not much of a rivalry from the Bruins perspective as the Sabres aren't really that good. They came into last night's game at 1-8-1 and left it 1-9-1 as the Bruins defeated them 5-2.

For most of the night, the Sabres played uninspired, listless, disinterested hockey. They got within one goal when it was 2-1 in the second period and then started playing with a little more jump and urgency. But the Bruins are a far better team and pulled ahead 3-1 then 4-1 and then Buffalo got it to 4-2. 

Enter John Scott.

For once, I happen to agree with former Bruins player and coach, Mike Milbury (who is no stranger to acting like an idiot on and off the ice - but he is dead on about this)

Both Milbury and Keith Jones are right; John Scott does not belong in this league and coach Rolston should be held accountable. Milbury and Jones are calling for Rolston to be fired.

I agree and they shouldn't stop there, General Manger Darcy Regier needs to go too.If I was a Sabres fan I'd be calling for him to be removed and start over with young kids. There's nothing wrong with building from the bottom up and putting out a team that hustles, plays hard and plays CLEAN.

The Buffalo Sabres are a disgrace to the NHL and to hockey and the NHL has to send a message that this type of play and coaching should be taken out of the game forever.

Oh, and if any Sabres fans want to bring up the Ryan Miller - Milan Lucic incident, you're on the wrong planet. Lucic pushed the puck ahead and was skating full speed and Miller came way out of his crease. If you think Lucic a) had time to stop and/or avoid Miller or b) think it was intentional, go buy a pair of skates, get out on the ice and get back to me when you get a clue.

Lucic was not suspended for this and rightfully so. Miller came out too far.

Monday, October 21, 2013

When It's Not Cool to Be "Edgy"

I just ran across this article about a high school teacher in Dracut, MA who was fired from his $75,000 a year teaching job for reading what is described in the article as a "vulgarity-laden short story which the Bob Dylan obsessed teacher authored".

The story was called "Song To Bob"

Regardless of what Robert Moulton wrote in his homage to Bob Dylan, if it is "vulgarity-laden" then it has no place in the classroom. There are standards for teachers on any level that should be adhered to, and one of them is common sense.

I don't know what was "vulgar-laden" about the piece, whether it was profanity or otherwise, but it was obviously out of line and inappropriate for classroom consumption.

If Mr. Moulton wanted to share his passion for Bob Dylan with his students by his writings, he should have had the common sense to make it available without reading it aloud in class.

The article states that there are 666 (nice number) students and former students who have signed a petition in support of reinstating Moulton.

I personally hate to see anyone get fired from their job for bad judgement and this does on the surface seem to be such a case. BUT, the article does not disclose what he read in class and as mentioned, there are standards of which 17 year veteran teacher should be well aware.

I don't want to hear the argument that these are high school students and they are exposed to and probably commit whatever vulgarities were in Moulton's missive.

That's not the point.

The point is you don't swear at teachers in school and they don't swear at you and off color language in a public school (or any school for that matter) has no place, especially when one is educating students.

It remains to be seen where this case will go, apparently Mr. Moulton is considering hiring noted Boston attorney Alan Dershowitz to press for reinstatement.

In any case this is not a freedom of speech first amendment issue, it's about appropriate behavior by one who is entrusted with education and is in a position of authority.

Along with that comes responsibility and restraint.

"Pushing the envelope" and the edging over the boundaries of what is appropriate has gone on for far too long which is why there is very little respect for rule and decorum. 

In this case, Mr. Moulton likely was out of line.

Just Get It Over With and Replay Every NFL Play

Or put flags on each player.

The NFL is quickly becoming the worst thing to happen in professional sports. In their never ending quest for perfection, (are gambling and fantasy leagues driving this?) each year the NFL Rules Committee adds more and more rules that are making a mockery of NFL football.

Full disclosure, I'm from Massachusetts and I root for the New England Patriots, I despise the New York Jets, but that has nothing to do with this.

The Jets and Patriots were in overtime and the Jets had a field goal attempt miss.
Whoops, a flag goes down on the play.
What's the call?

Unsportsmanlike conduct.


"Pushing a teammate into the pile"

Here's a link to an interview with referee Jerome Boger who explains the call. Transcript below:

Pool reporter Mike Reiss asked Boger: ''Please explain the penalty that was called on No. 94 (Jones) on the field goal.''
Boger: ''The call was that No. 94 on the defense pushed his teammate into the formation. That is a rule change for 2013 that a teammate cannot push a teammate into the opponents' formation.''
Reiss: ''Is it any type of push? Is it a two-handed push?''
''Any push. It could be with the body, not necessarily with the hand, but with the body into his teammate, into the formation. It's any type of pushing action.''
Reiss: ''Is there anything else to go over with this penalty?''
Boger: ''No, the umpire's flag went up almost instantaneously as he observed the action. We just enforced it as he called it.
Reiss: ''And that's a 15-yard penalty.''
Boger: ''For unsportsmanlike conduct.''
Get it over with already and put flags on 'em all and replay every down. The game is fast becoming a real joke.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Bobby Orr

"But the way I played, I got hit a lot. So my style didn't help my problem (knee injuries) I didn't want to play any other way. You know if I came back today and I was able to play, I would hope I'd play the same way.So I can't complain."

Bobby Orr (11:14 mark - link below)

Peter Mansbridge and Bobby Orr
You can see the scars from the surgeries that Orr endured during his brief but amazing career

In an interview with CBC's Peter Mansbridge, NHL and Boston Bruins legend, Bobby Orr reveals that he hurt his knee in his rookie season in an attempt to go around Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Marcel Pronovost.

I'm showing my age here as not only do I remember Pronovost, I saw him play. The old Boston Garden crowd called him "Nutty Nose" because of his misshaped proboscis due to many years of hockey collisions. Remember, back then, there were no helmets or shields.

What's amazing about that little piece of information is that it was the first of many knee injuries that Orr suffered during his career, but he still managed to overcome them early on to become arguably the best player to ever play in the NHL.

That said, I also had the pleasure of seeing Bobby Orr play live. I also saw Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Guy LaFleur, Henri Richard, Ken Dryden, and a host of other Hall of Famers, and Bobby Orr was the greatest of them all.

Please don't tell me about statistics and all the goals the great Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux scored. Bobby Orr was the greatest player of them all. Gretzky and Lemiuex never subjected themselves to the pounding that Orr took, and as he said above, he wouldn't have played any other way.

Here are the awards he won in his career:
  • 1966-67 Calder Memorial Trophy - Rookie of the year - Orr remains the youngest player in NHL history to win the award
  • 1967-68 through 1974-1975 James Norris Trophy - Best defenseman -Orr won the award in 8 straight years including his last full season
  • 1969-70 - 1974-75 Art Ross Trophy - Most points in a season - Orr has been the only defenseman in NHL history to win it - and won it twice and won it in his last full season on ravaged knees
  • 1969-70 - 1970-71 - 1971-72 Hart Memorial Trophy - Regular season MVP - Orr won it 3 consecutive seasons
  • 1969-70 - 1971-72 -  Conn Smythe Trophy -  Playoffs MVP
  • 1974-75 Lester B. Pearson Award (now the Ted Lindsay Award) MVP voted by the NHL Players Association
  • NHL Plus/Minus leader in 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974 and 1975 - the most in NHL history

Orr revolutionized the game of hockey. He was the first "puck carrying defenseman" in the game at a time when blueliners were named that because that's where they stayed on the ice. To this day, a puck carrying defenseman can make the difference between a playoff team and a Stanley Cup contender.

To this day, there's never been another player in the NHL like Bobby Orr.

Orr's new book: Orr: My Story

Just in case you haven't seen Orr in action, I give you this video:

Just more of the many reasons why hockey is the best sport of all!