Saturday, March 31, 2007

Hockey... Hockey... Hockey

The playoffs approach. Its time to start a little hockey talk. I am torn. I have loved the Toronto maple leafs since I was born. I have lived and died with them. I am still mad at my parents for not letting me stay up and watch the final in 1967 the last time they won the cup.
Yes its true I like playing better than watching. This week was a good week for that as my company had some ice time in Toronto and I was in town so I went out to play with the boys. It was great. really great... I hadn't seen a lot of those guys in years and so they were running me and I was running them and fun was had by all. It makes me mad to be slow or make bad passes but still it makes you feel so great to really leave it all out there. I think its the cool air and the freedom skating brings. I really don't know but to me it is the best sport to play.
It kills me to travel so much and not play more. Worse than that -rarely in the US can you see any NHL games and the coverage of the results is absolutely minimal. I have watched sports center for an additional half hour just to see what 15 second snippet I missed.
It will be a wild run to the playoffs. The Leafs will come back make the playoffs and beat buffalo in six games in the first round. They will lose to the penguins in the next round. I think it will be Ottawa as the team from the east. In the west..I predict the Flames will win the west and go to the cup and lose to Ottawa. I love hockey...
Go leafs...

Sunday, March 25, 2007


I went for the first hike of the season today and I was renewed in my spirit and my strength.

What most amazed me from the hike was the incredible renewal that occurs in the forest. There were many many trees down like this one...many rotten ones snapped 20 feet up. Some were obvious candidates- they clung to the rock cliffs with seemingly no soil below them, while others were in the middle flat ground with no weakness apparent. Last year the spring floods decimated this area and changed many trails, this year a wind storm must have wreaked havoc.

The weak are pruned and the strong survive to fight another wild wind or wintery blast..

It was not the killer hike. It was tame, relatively flat with great scenery. Four and a half miles. It was flat so it was not too tough, a two advil hike. Snowed on the way there, was sunny, the wind came up and dumped a few ice pellets, just a regular day.

its a great time to think....

Saturday, March 24, 2007


The ice rink is finished and hockey season won't be far behind it. The snow is gone from the yard and we have already had an official shorts day....

Its always amazing how spring makes us feel optimistic. Tomorrow I will go on the first hike of the year- going nowhere but searching for the good feeling.. I know when I start I will be reticent.."why am I going" I could walk in the city" "its going to be muddy" " I bet the bears are just waking up and they will be hungry" etc etc...
But when its done I will have that satisfied smile the warm feeling that being in nature brings.. I will go myself and so I can think the whole time. what needs to be I can improve.. etc etc...
I am looking at the trail map tonight planning the route..not to hard but not too tough either..
Its spring.. renewal is in the air lets walk or hike or bikram but lets be optimistic
The picture is from last April 23rd's hike so we are a month ahead I hope...

Monday, March 19, 2007

Was there ever a gulag....

I read with interest this article.

Mastermind of USS Cole Attack Confesses

I can't decide whether I was naive then or whether "we" in the west have just swung from leading the good fight for what was right to a right wing hawkish society ready to act regardless of the bill of rights.

When I was a boy we were led to believe that the Soviet union was evil. That the people were good but they were repressed by the government. That Pravda (means truth) the news agency was controlled by the state and did not allow free speech. That the KGB would investigate honest dissent and for punishment if you complained you would end up in a gulag where they would work you to death and "reprogram" you. The police would lock you up and throw away the key without a trial. That once you got a trial that it was a sham. It was so bad they couldn't let the citizens travel because they would defect in a heartbeat..

was that true?

The problem I have is that when I read the article on the guy who confessed to terrorist acts after five years of captivity, is that you get the feeling that the confession was forced from him. He does not get a trial in open court. He spends five years behind bars being questioned in Guantanamo bay. He does not have the protection of the American constitution or the bill or rights. On the surface it sounds a lot like life in the gulag. Have we lost the moral high ground? If this is how we in the west act was the soviet system so bad? I am sure there is a kid reading about this somewhere in the world who believes that his country has the moral high ground and that the US is an evil empire with a neutered media and an out of control department of justice.

I would have never thought this possible. That we in the west would lose the high ground; That John Wayne truly is dead; That we would question whether what is written is really true.

I am sure that this guy is an evil person, that he is guilty -but in our zeal to prove his guilt have we lost the superiority over the gulags of our youth?

Was I incredibly naive back then or have we changed?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Hoover Dam,... and Las Vegas

Yes the hockeyman went south this week to Las Vegas and Kingman Arizona. Interesting is the only way to describe it...
above is a picture of the Hoover dam - the famous american landmark. Built in the 1920's I always thought it was such an important structure because of the power it generates. No... the 720ft high dam only produces enough power for a million homes. I know a million is a million but still -- you would think it would do all of las vegas and half of southern California... The real reason for the dam was always and remains today-- control the flow of the colorado river and eliminate the yearly flooding downstream and two to store water for agriculture irrigation--- electric power is secondary.
Let me assure you .. I was subjected to the 8$ tour of the dam. Its like going to jail.. they lock you in lineups and then feed you dribs and drabs... the best part is walking around which is free and just enjoying the engineering marvel and the beautiful rock formations.
They search the buses that travel across the bridge. you are not allowed to carry over luggage. Security in America... I am sure that it would take an absolutely massive bomb to take out that dam..
Las Vegas was interesting. On Wed night I went to dinner at the Voodoo lounge on top of the Rio. I highly recommend it not just for the food (Stuffed crabs-- fabulous) but you are on the 50th floor and you can walk out and see the city. Decadence money faux art, its breathtaking. As I commented... I imagine an extra terrestrial visiting earth and deciding that las vegas was the capital of earth... New york, Paris, Rio, Bally's Ceasers, the bellagio, the list goes on and on... money, greed and humanity all wrapped up together..
I did spend some time talking to an interesting woman who I invited to visit this blog... I will blog about the las vegas people I met when I blog on the weekend..
yes.. I lost 120$ donated to the hotel via blackjack... it could have been much worse but as I was leaving I had a 16$ slip from the penny slots in my pocket and I used it for a 25 cent slot machine and won 200$
yes I would go back tomorrow