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If I could use only one word to describe my past girlfriends, here are those words, counting backwards in time from the most recent to the first ones, which flicker as dim lanterns in the Stygian mists of my mind.












In recent weeks, a verbal feud has developed between CBC’s Don Cherry and the Washington Capital’s Alexander Ovechkin.

Previously on Coaches’ Corner, Don Cherry criticized the young Ovechkin for his “goofy stuff”—that is, celebrating too much after a goal. Celebrating too much has been a perennial complaint of Cherry’s, and he has criticized players besides Ovechkin for this (Though the other targets are usually European.) 

Unfortunately, Cherry didn’t stop at “goofy stuff”:

“I’m going to tell you about this guy: He’s got a free ride. He runs at guys, does this stuff,” Cherry said. “I am predicting somebody’s going to get him. And somebody’s going to get him good. There’s somebody out there—some big defenceman is going to be sitting in the weeds. As he cuts across centre ice, somebody’s going to cut him in half.”

He goes on to compare Ovechkin’s celebrations to those of soccer players and Sean Avery’s idiocy. To a lot of Canadian hockey players, dems fightin words. But I’m not sure the insult lands as squarely on Ovey’s chin as Cherry intended. After all, soccer/football is the most popular sport on the planet. But to some Canadians, that’s no way to be.

Cherry said, “Kids, be like Thornton, be like Sakic, be like Yzerman…” and so on. However, Don forgets that there’s a clip of Steve Yzerman jumping as if he were on the moon after a goal, which CBC shows at the onset of every Hockey Night in Canada. What’s the difference? Yzerman is Canadian. Ovechkin is Russian. 

And what about Eddie “the Entertainer” Shack? He was an old-time hockey player for Toronto, who couldn’t score like Ovechkin, but was famous for riding his hockey stick like a witches’ broom after a goal. Shack is a legend for his goofy stuff. But Ovechkin, he says, is a showboat. 

But get a load of this: A man who dresses like this


like this….


and like this….


is in no position to patronize Alex Ovechkin for “goofy stuff.” 

Cherry also said, “The same guys that think this is entertainment last year thought Avery was entertainment. You know what, it’s the same church, different pew.” Near as I can tell, Don sits on the front row of that same church; for there are plenty of people who can analyze the game as well as Don Cherry does, but they aren’t on CBC every Saturday night. Why? Because they don’t wear flamboyant suits nor do they entertain folks as much. 

Anyway, tonight, there was much anticipation (in Canada, at least) for Don Cherry’s response to Ovechkin’s most recent celebration. Upon scoring his 50th goal, Ovechkin dropped his stick on the ice and pretended it was on fire by attempting to pick it up but not touching it. Many players from the opposing team voiced their displeasure with the show. 

So I wanted to hear what Don was going to say tonight. Wisely, Don Cherry was quite civil and complimentary—he even called Ovechkin the best player in the league. He still maintained that he doesn’t like that kind of celebration. And rightly so: Don is from the old school, and there is a lot to be said for the Canadian tradition. 

Despite what some may say about Cherry, the league needs his older, grumpier voice. But even if he was taught to hate the Russians, he’s got to watch it. He shouldn’t say Russian hockey sucks. He shouldn’t hound Russian players for the very plays he’d call good hockey from Canadians. And he shouldn’t make ominous predictions about players, especially one that sounds vaguely like calling out a mob hit. 

His impunity is startling to me, though. The things Cherry can say on a publicly funded broadcast on CBC would have any US station in scalding hot water. Remember when Rush Limbaugh tried to discredit Donovan McNabb on ESPN? And remember the shitstorm that followed? I’m sure Cherry’s comments would never be tolerated in the States. And on privately owned stations, to boot. 

Even though Ovechkin says he doesn’t care what Don Cherry says about him, I don’t believe him. These big dumb hockey players need to realize how transparent they are. Cherry, despite his antics, is still right most of the time, and I bet it still eats at Ovechkin. That said, Don Cherry is obviously a bit insecure about Russians leading the NHL in scoring. Or perhaps more specifically, a Canadian isn’t leading the scoring. 

Why guys? There is a shit-ton of good hockey players, Candadian, Russian or otherwise. So why can’t hockey be fun and entertaining? Just look at Eddie Shack!
Eddie Shack

The last post was a cliff-hanger; but a misleading one about the Iditarod sled dog race. The only reason I mention it is that the event brings to mind Uwe Krupp (pronounced OO-vah KROOP), who, due to nebulous circumstances, played only 30 games for the Detroit Red Wings.

He didn’t race in the Iditarod. So forget I mentioned it. He did (does) dog sled as a hobby, and he says every other team he’d been on acknowledged this hobby. Which is truly badass, even if animal rights activists disagree. However, he went dog sledding while he was on the mend for a herniated disc, which he sustained in his 22nd game of the ’98-’99 season.

He had signed with the Red Wings shortly after their 1998 Stanley Cup win. It was a four year contract in excess of $16 million. And apparently, dog sledding while injured violated said contract (though I doubt it was explicitly written as such). Consequently, the Wings’ lawyers brought their whole hammer down on Mr. Krupp, depriving him of $12.3 million of his contract. 

As soon as the press got ahold of the news that he was dog sledding while hurt, rumors snowballed. People said he was holding out, or that he had quit the Wings to race in the Iditarod. Others said he was like a lemon car, always breaking down and needing repairs. One of my teammates even said he was an Eskimo (I guess the name threw him off.). Whatever it was, it was clear to Detroit fans that he had no desire to play for the Red Wings. 

Of course, little of that was ever true.

All this makes me wonder. Why did the Wings suspend him without pay for 722 days? Was what he did that unpardonable? He was a great defenseman, a giant (as far as hockey players go) at 6’6″ and 240 lbs. He could have added size, strength and experience to the Red Wings.

Perhaps there was still enmity between Krupp and the Wings. After all, Krupp was a key defenseman for Colorado during their ’96 cup run, in which the Av’s shut down the Wings in six games. Many still remember his triple overtime, Cup-winning goal that year.

The German-born Krupp did try to break into the Red Wing’s line-up again during the 2001-02 season. Unfortunately, the Red Wings were one of the most loaded teams in NHL history, with Nick Lidstrom, Chris Chelios, Steve Duchesne, Sergei Fedorov, Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Luc Robataille, Igor Larionov, and a young Pavel Datsyuk. So it was no surprise that such short shrift was given to the aging Krupp. He only played eight games that season, and little was heard from him again.

But goddammit, Uwe! You were supposed to be this colossus, this legendary thing! And yet you had to go dog sledding with a bum back. I remember how disappointed I was. I was disappointed because I was excited to watch you play for the Wings. And I’m sure a lot of other Detroit fans would say the same thing. We wanted to like you, man!

But all this is proverbial water under the bridge. Today, Uwe, I salute you, as a great hockey player and a true badass.

The vitamin and mineral content Per 100 gram serving of skinless potato is as follows:

Iron 0.31 mg of

potassium 379 mg of 

thiamin 0.106 mg of 

phosphorus 44 mg of 

riboflavin 0.02 mg of 

niacin 1.44 mg of 

Apparently, there is some vitamin C, but most of it also exits the tuber during boiling or frying. This is the runoff, dried on my range tray. 
The runoff from boiled potatoes, crystalized on my range tray

(Potatoes just remind me of how pale I look around this time of year.)

So what gives the runoff that orange color? I thought it was iron, but most of it comes from ….

“and now, stay tuned for the IDITAROD…” the television tells me. More on that tomorrow….

Currently, in my basement room, there is an impasse between certain humidity needs. On the one hand, I have had the flu for six days now. I could use a room humidifier. 60% would clear my sinuses nicely, and would also nurture the wood of my guitars. An ingress of water, however, has soaked the carpet under my workspace. Mildew is becoming visible along the molding.

Last week, it decided to thaw here, and as usual, a torrential rain ensued for the next two days. Consequently, I need to dry the hell out of the place, tear back the carpet and cut away what’s worthless and stinky. But such a project would require some extra energy, which I can’t muster.

This whole thing has gotten out of control. Right now, I’m trying to pretend this goddamn humidity standoff doesn’t exist, so I can fall asleep at night.

Once, when I was a kid, the basement meant freedom. Now it just means mildew. 

I watched Wall-E. Not bad, I guess. I was entertained.

However, when I strip off the amazing animation and the sassy voices (or cute beeps), the plots all look the same. Look at how easy it is to fashion a passable Pixar/Disney scene, entitled The Pot Drawer.

GENERAL CHEESE GRATER: (in a gruff tone) All right, all right, all right, there’s gonna be a few changes around here. 

(groaning from the rest of the pots and pans.)

GENERAL CHEESE GRATER: But I don’t wanna hear any ‘o you guys complainin!  Okay, let’s get Stockpot’s lid out of Sauté’s business there…. Steamer, you’ve been standing up for the past four months. Sit down before you fall down! …right, now send any orphan lids to the lid rack…. if they have any room, that is…

(looking over, as lids of the lid rack clatter to make it look like there’s no room.)


(moving on)

and Greenpot!


GENERAL CHEESE GRATER: I heard you gotta bum wing. That’ll teach you to tuck your handle in next time the Man slams the drawer!

(GREENPOT looking embarrassed.)

GENERAL CHEESE GRATER: Aw… it happens to the best of us, buddy boy bumps. Good to have you back in the drawer. 

GREENPOT: (sheepishly and stammering) Th-th-thank you, ss-sir. 

GENERAL CHEESE GRATER: (moving on) Okay, pots, you all look nestled pretty good there. Small pots… one of you’s gonna get cut. I heard the Man talkin about it yesterday when I was out for Taco Nite. 

(Small pots start to shiver.)

GENERAL CHEESE GRATER: Now don’t be alarmed, I’m sure you’ll be shipped to a nice…er… warm… retirement living center.

BLENDER: Yeah, that’s horse honky for Salvation Army, or worse, the Dump!

(More alarum in the drawer.)

GENERAL CHEESE GRATER: Hey Blender, what are you doing here? This a movie about pots, not kitchen appliances. 

BLENDER: Look who’s talkin, cheese grater.

GENERAL CHEESE GRATER: (livid) Go back to The Brave Little Toaster, you electrified piece of junk!

….and high jinks ensue.

The plot creation is that simple. What if something that isn’t human, lived, acted, and talked like a human? As is the trend, certain aspects of our reality will still be intact, albeit arbitrarily so or in the service of some plot-device.

Moreover, this movie would include immodestly dressed political messages, tearing at you from every angle. In the hypothetical movie about my pot drawer, coated pots (Blacks, say) and stainless steel pots (the Whites) provide good racial commentary. The movie could also explore overcrowding as a problem (a common one in other drawers in my house).  

And in the end, for some reason, that Drawer is everybody’s home. There’s your hypothetical animated movie for the day. The same formula, still going strong for Disney after all these years. Has Disney put out a non-CGI (I’m sure I’m getting this term wrong), aka painted, motion pictures lately? 

Anyway, you might be wondering why the blender and the cheese grater stay there.

(Because that’s where I’ve put it the past 20 years)


I was reading this Tim Dorsey book, and I remembered a while back when a friend corrected my usage, “all of the/a sudden.”

“That’s not a real construction,” he said with finality.

Even though I don’t remember the ensuing conversation, there is still one taking place in my head to this day. So I’ve looked into it.

A cursory search of Wikipedia produced nothing but the fifth studio album by singer-songwriter, John Hiatt. Most of my other queries turned up snooty corrections, such as

I hate when people say all of THEE sudden. It’s all of AY sudden!

I suppose if you pronounce the E long as in pee and the A long as in acorn, perhaps the distinction should be enforced. But nobody talks like that. Most people say either “all of uh sudden” or “all of thuh sudden.” 

Aside from quibbles over articles, “sudden” used to be a noun three or four hundred years ago, but this usage is archaic today. The OED even calls it obsolete. And why not use “suddenly”? If you really must, that is. Reader, I don’t want to give anyone the idea that you should  accentuate your stories with “suddenly” every couple pages. 

But since we can’t keep ourselves from saying, publishing or broadcasting it, let it be named! To wit: The Genitive of the Sudden

(yes, the bold is intended to make it look legitimate)