Hockey Nirvana!!

by Woody

Its Tourny Time!!! Growing up, that meant only one thing in our house, it was the High School Hockey Tournament. The Holy Grail of high school sports in Minnesota. If your team made it to the tourny, skipping school to watch was not only ok, it was required. Now truthfully, there is more basketball played in Minnesota than hockey, but the passion for hockey in this state is unmatched, its a religion, like football in Pennsylvania, and basketball in Indiana. Sports Illustrated has done pieces on it, ESPN has done stories on it, and just recently it was on ESPN’s Top Ten list.

In our house it was no different. The first hockey tournament I can remember was years ago. A buddy’s older brother was playing on the high school team, they had made the tourny, and it was on TV. My brothers and friends and I all watched at the warming house at Lake Harriet on a little black and white TV and it was the coolest thing I had ever seen! Our school, Southwest High School, or as the TV always said, Minneapolis Southwest, was becoming a hockey power. As a grade schooler, this was so cool, like being in the presence of greatness. Being around Paulie’s older brother, that original neighborhood kid who made the team, was like being around a movie star.

The next year was the year the tourny went into the stratosphere. Big rich city school Edina playing little tiny Warroad. Even though Edina was our neighbors right across France Ave, they were the hated “cake eaters”, and we were all pulling for Warroad and their leader Henry Boucha. After what we all thought was a cheap shot on Boucha (really wasn’t, but hey, we hated Edina so it had to be a cheap shot!), Edina would go on to win the title and forever be hated by everyone in the state.

The next year was nirvana.  Southwest and Edina had both gone undefeated (Southwest with two ties, Edina with one) and YES, they would play each other in the championship game. On TV, and in color, it was captivating like nothing I have ever seen (until the Miracle on Ice). Scoreless after 3 periods, Southwest finally dethrones the champs in OT and I remember jumping around with my brothers like it was the greatest thing of all time.  And it was.

The opening game of the next season was Edina vs Southwest at Braemar arena. My dad (who thought all his boys were crazy for playing hockey, he was a basketball guy) took my brother and I to the game. It was standing room only, and one of the greatest games I have ever seen. Edina finally prevailed 2-1, but it was a great game and a harbinger of things to come. Both Edina and SW would make to the tourny that year and for many years after that. SW made it every year save 1, my junior year for the next 17 years. The galling thing about the year they didn’t make it, that was probably the best team they ever had.  SW made it back the next year only to be crushed in the title game by Grand Rapids (1980 Olympian Bill Baker, and current Gopher coach Don Lucia were on that team).

After my college days, moving to California, having a family, moving back to Minnesota, hockey wasn’t such a strong passion for me. I loved the sport, but I hadn’t been on skates in 10 years. Then my son was old enough to skate and we signed him up for hockey. He hated it. Ugh, no fun. I told him he had to finish the season, then next year if he didn’t want to play that was fine. When the season ended I figured that was it, no more hockey for us.

Then the Tourny came on, and my son and I watched. Bloomington Jefferson was in the tourny and their best player was a guy named Chris Tucker. My son was awed by what he watched during that tournament, he decided he wanted to be like Chris Tucker. And another lifelong love affair with hockey was born. He played for the next 12 years and he still loves the game.

Time is unrelenting in its passage and things change. I’ve lived in Edina now for over 20 years and both my kids graduated from Edina. Southwest is still there, but no longer a hockey power, in fact it doesn’t even field a team anymore. Edina has won 9 titles, more than anyone else in the state. Cake Eaters they may be, but they can play!

I’ve been watching the tourny now for 42 years, and yes, all the sappy things you read about, hear about, are true. March Madness for sure, there is nothing like the Minnesota State Hockey Tournament.

Published in: on March 13, 2010 at 6:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hard To Believe … It’s Been 30 Years

by Woody

I remember it like it was yesterday. February 22, 1980. I was working at Jennings Liquors, doing the 4p to close shift. I was supposed to do the deliveries, but we just told customers no deliveries this night, we told them the truck was down. Why? Because we were able to pick up a Canadian radio station and listen to the USA/USSR hockey game at Lake Placid. You want beer? Not tonight baby, we’re closed.

For those who weren’t around in 1980, or were too young to remember, the cold war was in full swing. We had hostages in Iran, and the morale of the entire country was in the toilet. 2 weeks earlier the US had played the Soviets in New York and got smoked 10-3. We hated the Russians and they hated us. Neither side trusted the other.

TV was not as prevelent as it is today, no internet, no cell phones, not much of anything that we have today. ABC had the Olympics, and although by the time the US/USSR game had come around, everyone was interested, but they still were not going to televise live. The game started at 4p CT. In the store we were able to find a really scratchy, hissing Canadian radio station that was carrying the game. We could barely hear it, but we were glued to it. For the next 2 hours, if any customers came in the store, they would stop and listen as well for a while, then leave. After a few minutes they would come back in because they couldn’t get it in their car.

We were all jumping around the last 10 minutes of the game… it was absolutely crazy. It was also the longest 10 minutes of all time. It seemed to take hours. Timothy O’Toole’s was the bar right next door, and they also had a the game on. Nobody was talking, just drinking and listening. It was so weird. When the game finally ended, and the the unthinkable had happened.. everything just exploded! The bar went crazy unlike anything I had ever seen. My buddy John and I ran outside and took down all the sale stuff on the marque sign and just put up this..

USA 4 USSR 3 Final.

Cars were honking up and down Excelsior Boulevard. It was the bizarre.

As soon as the store closed, we bolted for home to watch the broadcast. Even though we knew the outcome, we still had to watch. This was where I first heard the chant USA, USA, USA…. Today you here it everywhere. But that was the first time. Watching it, I was just as nervous as when we were listening on the radio, like somehow the outcome would change, and we were dreaming.

But as the seconds wound down and Al Michaels is saying “Do You Believe in Miracles..YES!!”.. we realized it was true, and a country rejoiced.

Last night the USA hockey team beat the Canadians 5-3, and I’ve heard media people say its another miracle. No, that wasn’t a miracle. That was a really good USA professional team beating a better Canadian team because we had the better goalie for that game. For me, there were only be one Miracle On Ice.

February 22, 1980.

Published in: on February 22, 2010 at 11:34 pm  Comments (1)  

Its Still Hurts….

by Woody

I’ve been around long enough to remember the first time the Vikings had a chance to go to the Super Bowl. It was only the 4th Super Bowl ever, but it seemed like a huge deal to a football crazed 8th grader. It wasn’t the media circus it is today, but it was still a big deal as the year before Joe Willie made his boast and then followed through and won. I remember how crappy I felt watching the Chiefs kick our ass all over the field, and listening to that little troll Hank Stram ridicule our defense. When we blew them out in the first game of the season the next year, it made me feel a little better, but only a little.

Now I’m over a decade older than my own father was in 1968, and I can’t believe how frustrating and pissed off I am after watching the purple go down to a Saints team they were clearly better than. Time does not heal all wounds. And this was going to be the year when the demons were killed. We did it in 1987 when the Twins finally overcame being the Twinkies and became World Champions. In 1991 we expected it.

The Vikings however are a whole nother story. From 1968 to 1980, they were the best franchise in football, that never won a damn thing. The Cowboys became America’s team because they demanded it, and they won. The Vikings??? 2nd best. Watching Dallas or Pittsburgh raise the trophy was aggravating. DAMN IT WE’RE BETTER THEN THEM!!!!! Except they finished the deal.

In the 80’s the Vikings became a joke, remember the Les Steckel Era? We sucked, and football was painful to watch. In 89 we made the best trade in the history of the Dallas Cowboys. We get Hershal, they get Emmit Smith, Troy Aikman, and Michael Irvin. Nice. Built the dynasty of the 90’s. In 98 we were again the best fucking team in football.. we killed everyone. Then Denny chokes and ends up ripping our heart out by taking a knee and Gary Anderson finally misses. We all said that was our year.. Randall Cunningham was re-born, Randy “The Freak” Moss, Robert Smith, a great offense and a very good defense, all for naught. Daunte shows up the next year and in 2000 we roll all the way to the conferenence championship game again.. only to put up a 0-41 perfomance to Kerry fucking Collins and the Giants. Who then were bitched slapped by Trent Dilfer and the Ravens. Trent Dilfer has a RING for CRISSAKES!

This year was different. Brett Favre had told the Packers to F-OFF and was finally here. Adrian Peterson was only going to get better, Sidney, Percy, Visanthe and the wild bunch on D. We were damn good. Yea, the Saints and Colts were good, but we were something special. We took the Cowboys apart without even trying. New Orleans? Bring em on!

We rolled down the field first drive of the game and scored. Easy. Took the crowd right out of the game. Yea, the Saints answered, but we showed them this is the big time baby, be ready to bring it and scored again. As my brother said, “WELCOME TO MIDNIGHT CINDERELLA”. We basically stomped the Saints in their own house. The Saints scored two TD’s early in the game, then we shut them down. Nothing. Nada. Zip. I’m thinking to myself finally, we are going back to the dance. And against a Colt team we can beat. Then the nightmare started up again. The fucking ball became alleric to Vikings. No matter who it was they couldn’t hang on to it. What the hell? I mean it was unbelievable. Saints fumble at the end of the half on their own 10 and we give it back on the next play. 2 picks and 5 times we put it on the ground, losing 3. Jaysus! Finally its all tied at 28 and we make another stop, offense gets the ball and just over 2 minutes to play. This is it, its really going to happen! We’re in field goal range…. and, holy shit, did we just get called for 12 players? Come’on, thats a pee wee football mistake. OMIGAWDWHATTHEHELLWASTHATTHROW? Overtime? Are you kidding me? OVERTIME? Then some hippie kid comes out and kicks it, and Bourbon Street explodes and the purple dreams are just that, dreams.

In my younger years it hurt like nothing else when the Vikings were beaten in the Super Bowl. This year, it hurts almost more, and its been over 40 years, you’d think I learn by now.

Published in: on January 25, 2010 at 9:58 pm  Comments (3)  

The DEMONS!!!!

Growing up, learning to play golf at the knee of our father, was always an adventure. Dad loves golf, and has been a member of a local club for over 50 years.

 The 5 boys of the family love golf, and the husbands of the 4 girls love it as well.   The grandkids love it.  Golf is the family game.  John G tried to get the girls interested in playing the game, even had them all take lessons.  That didn’t work out so well, they were more interested in firing shots into their brothers then getting the ball in the hole, (Bill still has the mark on his chest from a Margy 4 iron from the edge of the green) so that experiment went by the wayside a number of years ago.  But you can’t say he didn’t try. 

Although its no longer ranked as one of the absolute best courses in Minnesota by the pundits, you ask anyone who knows anything about Minnesota golf, and MGC is right at the top of the list. You can have your Hazeltines, Interlachens, Deacon’s Lodges, etc.   MGC is a great course, and will always be tops in our book.

Little does anyone realize what monster demons hide on the beautiful green of MGC.

Now that my brothers, brothers-in-law and I are older, we can admit it.  That damn course has more demons on it then the fires of hell.  It matters not how well you’ve been playing, when those wonderful words “we’re playing at MGC” are spoken, your game will go to hell in a handbasket faster than the blink of an eye.

Once the date has been set, your brain goes into some sort of freeze.   All you think about is playing MGC.   Even if you have a round somewhere else, if you hit a good shot, you think “damn, I need to remember that for Wednesday”, or if a putt drops you think “MGC will be faster, need to take that into account”.   Soon you are consumed with the thought of your game at MGC.   The Demons of MGC have already started getting into your kitchen and they are a mean and nasty bunch.

John G never has the demons, he plays there so much they leave him alone.   But his boys,  who only play there once or twice a summer, 3 times of you’re really lucky, thats a different story.  All of us have had our share of good to great rounds, close to or under par at other tracks.  One brother-in-law shot 65 a few years ago at Albion Ridges, yet when we go to MGC, its beyond mortal comprehension as to how badly we all fall apart.   Thats not to say we can’t have the occasional good r0und, I’ve put up a couple of 73’s over the years, but thats a rarity.  Its the DEMONS.

Standing on the first tee, a relatively benign, short par 5 with a beautifully wide fairway enticing you to just hit it, the demons start their slow move into your kitchen. Out of nowhere a pulled drive left into the trees. Haven’t pulled a drive since, well the last time we played MGC. Finally get the ball to the green, with about 35 ft. for birdie. Thinking “oh, greens are fast, be careful” and leave it 8 ft short. Hit the next putt like you have a head cover on, leaving it 3 ft short. Bogey. GAAAAAAAA, the DEMONS have opened the door!   I was playing with John G, Andy and my son Mike. Andy was fighting off the demons on the front side, he actually birdied the first hole.  On the second hole, Andy and I both bombed drives down the fairway, leaving short wedges to the green.   I chunk it about halfway there, Andy fans it way out to the right of the green. I get up and down, quieting the screaming going in my head.   Same with Andy, he makes par.

Now normally, my kitchen is closed.  Unless I’m going to shoot in the 60’s (and have gagged that away more than once), most of the time mentally I’m a rock.  Anyone trying to get in my head just rounds into a steel door.  Just doesn’t happen.  Except at MGC.   The steel door turns to cheese. 

Each of us has our own set of demons, standing on the 3rd tee, as Andy was getting ready for his tee shot, I told Mike, the demons were coming out.  He looked at me and said I was his demon.  He never plays well when he plays with me.  Then he proceeds to go way left.   We get to the 4th hole, a short par 3 with a 2 tier green thats big, pin in back. At Meadowbrook, no problem, just nail a 9 iron in there.   At MGC, NOOOOOO says those fucking DEMONS.  Both Andy and I fan our shots to the right of the trap.  Both of us our lucky to get bogeys.  When  we get to 7, a long dogleg right par 4 Andy bombs a drive as far as I’ve seen on the hole, well over the hill. Easy shot to the green. HAHAHAHA says the demons, and his wedge comes up way short. Then blade chip over the green, pitch back and make long putt for 5. Its starting, the demons are singing in his ears.  He bogeys 8, I birdie to quiet the shouting in my own head.  On 9, a short par 4 Andy bombs a driver, just kills it. I also hit driver, (something I haven’t done on 9 in probably 20 years), and bomb it down the middle.    Both of us have very short shots into the green.  60 yards tops. HELLO says the demons.  Chunky chunky chunky chunky.  I’m fortunate enough to drop a 15 ft putt for par. Andy? Double. The soft sirens of hell are now growing large in his noggin.

The clearest sign the Demons are out was on 11, a nice par 4. Both Andy and I crush our drives. When we come over last hill, we are astounded. I’m only 55 yards from the green in the middle of the fairway and Andy is 20 yards ahead of me.  The last time I saw a drive that far on 11 was John Daly at the Lehman get together 10 years ago.  I go chunky, then thin, then blade long by, 2 putts for double.   5 shots from 55 yards, f*&^ing DEMONS!  Andy struggles, but makes a long putt for par. Of course the singing is only getting louder.  We come to 12 on appearances a short par 5, but now with  the bunkers from hell, Andy hits a bomb down the left side.  Bounding towards the trap it actually bounces over it but stays on the hump.  Mike now has the Demons working him as well. He has gone to the right and finds his ball in a clump of grass that can only be said hasn’t been mowed since the civil war.  He makes the fatal mistake of cursing out the grounds crew for being morons, and proceeds to hit the ball into another clump of grass even longer.  After making his displeasure known to his grandpa about the mental capacity of the grounds crew (Grandpa agreed by the way), the hole is a lost cause.  Back to Andy, who is thinking “I can get home with a 5 iron”. Grandpa makes the subtle comment, “lot of wind up there” DEMONS!… Andy goes to the 4, and hits a beautiful shot, gorgeous, straight on line with the flag.   The ball waves at the flag as it sails over it into the uncut, 8 inch high US Open style rough at the back of the green.  UGGGGGHHHH. DEMONS!!!!!    And thats the way the round goes.  We struggle to the finish. At the end of the day we’ve put up an 8 on a par 5 (Andy hit it into the parking lot of the grounds crew on 15), and multiple other high numbers, all that we want to blame on the DEMONS. Our round finished, we slump wearily into the grill for liquid refreshment.  All of say at end of the round,  we drove the ball well, putted well, but the demons, they are to blame.

On almost all the courses we play during the year, there is a good chance to be around par, at least thats the intent. At MGC, the goal is to fight off the DEMONS, finish without being humiliated, and maybe stay out of triple figures.

MGC is a beautiful golf course, a fun layout and a joy to play. Yet the DEMONS are always there. Oh to slay the DEMONS. Can we play there again???? can we, can we?

Published in: on July 6, 2009 at 3:05 am  Comments (1)  

Called Out, Kicked ASS!

I’ve written in the past about old man hockey, so I won’t get into all the details about that. Last night White got called out by Dark. That is, our NHL alumni who has a Stanley Cup Ring was called out by a “jackass” on dark, saying that it was hard to believe that his name was on the Cup. White had been beaten by Dark the week before and they were feeling it. The “Jackass”, otherwise known as Strats, had challenged White full on!

Our NHL alumni (otherwise known as Chor) responded with “If you don’t back it up with a similar performance your new nickname will be” Fred”…as in Right Said Fred. One hit wonder! Oh, I suppose you’re all ready too sexy for yourself, or whatever they sang…so maybe we’ll call you “Ice” as in “Vanilla Ice.”another one hit wonder. I know its on your ipod workout mix, Bring it Burner!”

Of course Strats had to respond to that….”Actually, I have Jitter Bug on mine by Wham.  We will win tonight! Also, bring that Chris May bitch again” Chris May, who only started skating again 2 weeks ago, was wondering what he did to get called out… but he was up to the challenge.

So this was shaping up to be an interesting night. As you might expect, everyone showed up to be involved with the fireworks. And as is always the case, the fireworks were a dud. White came firing right out of the gate early, and Chor, (who’s usually late was 15 minutes early) cranked it up a notch. And believe me when I say.. there is a world of difference between good hockey players and guys that played at the highest level. It wasn’t much of a contest. Chor scored twice in the first 3 minutes of the game with what can only be called lazer shots, and White bitched slapped Dark 3 games to 0, outscoring them 15 to 7. Even I, the old man of the crowd, scored on a gorgeous tip in (yes, I’m calling my own goal gorgeous) and set up a couple of others. It was a blast for those of us on White, and humiliating for the dark side.

Couldn’t ask for a better day, golf in the afternoon, finish with 2 straight birdies, then when called out, White kicks dark’s ass. Its a beautiful day.

Published in: on June 12, 2009 at 2:45 am  Leave a Comment  

A Guy’s Take On The Oscars

By whubbs

The 81st annual “pat-each-other-on-the-back, aren’t-we-the-best” awards show was last night. Now unlike many guys, I don’t mind watching the Oscars. Although it’s no more than a Hollywood love-fest, it’s usually a good time. Besides, there’s never anything else on against it other than NBA basketball, and frankly that’s just as boring these days.

I know a lot of people watch to see what the ladies are wearing, who’s willing to show the most boob, which guy shows up the most hammered (Mickey Rourke in a walk, I think he’s been drunk since the nominations went out).. who can we laugh at the most. This year was was no exception.

Hugh Jackman tried hard, I have to give him credit. The opening sequence was painful, though not because of him. If the audience liked what they saw, we couldn’t tell. We couldn’t hear them. No laughter, no booing, no clapping, no nothing. It felt like it just laid there flat. Too bad for Hugh.

Then 5 ladies who’ve all won Best Supporting Actress came out. And all anyone could think of was, “What the hell is Whoopie wearing?” She looked like she was wearing an old stretched out pair of men’s Zubas as a dress. It looked like someone wiped their ass with them. And then used them to apply Sophia Loren’s makeup. Bad, bad look. And Tilda Swinton? Two years running she shows up wearing a grocery bag. Ok, some people want to give her credit for being “orginal”. Sorry, she looked like a hag. Halle Berry.. as always.. HOTTIEHOTTIEHOTTIE. David Justice, you’re a jackass. Penelope Cruz won. Didn’t see the movie, couldn’t tell you what it’s called. Don’t care.

Now we have 5 previous Best Supporting Actors come out. No chance anyone’s winning other than Heath Ledger. And so it goes. Sorry boys, you’re all just window dressing this year, thanks for coming, hey, you know the rules. You die, you win. End of story.

Instead of coming up with something new for Best Actor/Actress, we have to do it again, twice. Kate Winslet wasn’t a shock, although it wouldn’t have been a surprise if Meryl Streep had won. Again, didn’t see the movie, don’t want to. I thought she looked OK, kind of a weird hair thing going on, but all in all, not bad.

Best lines of the night were Robert DeNiro on Sean Penn, and Penn saying he knows he a royal pain the ass. And who picked Adrian Brody as A-list? You couldn’t get Jack for chrissake? Or anyone else? Has Brody even done a movie since he won? And he looked like he wanted to join Jaquin Phoenix in the I’m a Whackjob club. And Mickey Rourke, c’mon dude, quit acting like you came back from a tough career as a boxer/wrestler… in the few fights you were in that anyone ever heard about you got your ass kicked so fast you didn’t have time to break your nose. That busted-up look you’re sporting nowadays has to be from bouncing your face off the pavement after too many all nighters.

Best Picture goes to Slumdog Millionaire. Slumdog actually won most of the awards of the night, and Danny Boyle actually looked nervous, like they weren’t going to win. Haven’t seen Slumdog, although I do want to see that it.

Not quite sure what that musical thing was all about with Hugh and Beyonce. Best laugh had to be James Franco and Seth Rogan. That was funny stuff. Had me rolling. Also, when they did the “remember the dead” bit, was it just me? Why did they leave off Heath? Just because he won? Thats a little cold.

editor’s note: They left Heath off because he died in ’07. He was in last year’s parade of death.

Published in: on February 24, 2009 at 3:30 am  Comments (5)  

Frost/Nixon.. See It.

By whubbs

This was not something I wanted to go see; Frost/Nixon just didn’t tickle my fancy.

I’d seen an interveiw with the producer and thought he was an arrogant ass, as if his stupid movie was going to save the world.

Part of me thought, “Why don’t they just leave him alone?” meaning Nixon, not the producer. Why speak ill of the dead, for Chrissake? Wait, he’s dead, right? Yes. He is. Nixon, not the producer.  Is “Chrissake” capitalized?

For all the good things he did, the man was a disgraced President. His legacy for all time will be that of a crook.

Out of the blue, my delightful wife says “Lets’ go see a movie!”  Now as I’ve stated in an earlier missive, she’s rarely interested in going to movies.

“How about Last Chance Harvey?” She asks. Oh gawd.

“I can’t believe you don’t read the new blog,” I replied.  She ignored me. 

“How about Nixon/Frost?”

OK. So with very low expectations, off we go to see what I think is going to be a “let’s-slam-Tricky Dick one-more-time” fest. I was in high school when Nixon resigned, and those images between 1972 and 1974 are burned into my mind. I was in college when the real interviews took place. I remember them happening, but frankly I didn’t care anymore, I’d moved on and was more interested in baseball, girls and beer (and yes, in that order).

I was stunned. This is a great movie. 2 hours goes by in a heartbeat and not once do you start moving around in your seat because you’re bored. You do move around in your seat because the asshole in front of you has a stovepipe hat on and smells like pot-stickers, but I digress.

Everyone knows the story, Watergate, I am not a crook, blah blah blah, which is to be expected and deserved, but they didn’t pull an Oliver Stone and attempt to remake history as if it were fact. The movie is about the backstory of the multi-year attempt to make this interview happen and why Nixon wanted to do the interview as much as Frost did. Frank Langella does not play Nixon as the caricature that we have seen in other movies.

Richard Nixon is a stiff, no nonsense, lonely man who knew he was the smartest guy in the room. And in a lot of ways he hated being that guy. But FL doesn’t play him as some sort of monster, he has his reasons for doing what he did. David Frost is a journalistic lightweight. In today’s world it would be equivalent to Howie Mandel interviewing um, someone smart. Both men have their reasons for wanting to do this interview, and it’s great fun watching the chess match between the two sides.

The performances are outstanding, Frank Langella is spectacular and although I doubt he’ll win, has jumped to the head of the class in the Oscar race. Oliver Platt should have received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor. This is as big an oversight as when Val Kilmer was passed over for Tombstone, damnit! That a nomination went to Robert Downey Jr. for Tropic Thunder and not to Platt, I guess that’s all you need to know about Hollywood.

 A+. You have the “I want Nixon in Jail” and the “Nixon is a great man” elements but both sides are done well and are believable. It doesn’t try to remake history, it just tells a fascinating story.

Published in: on January 26, 2009 at 2:26 am  Comments (2)  

Listen To My Gut

By Whubbs

Going to the movies these days takes a lot more thought than in the past, when my drunken grandpappy would toss me a nickel and bark at me to “Git Gone” ’til he was asleep.

Now I have to consider the following: first,  will my better half have any interest? If a movie features war, crime, cowboys or spies, then nope. If it’s supposed to be funny, a chick-flick or a tear-jerker, then she might.

Since conflict is the heart of any good movie, most of the time she’s not real interested in them. Who needs someone else’s conflicts after a long day? Plus she’d rather rent ’em and watch ’em at home. I happen to love watching them on the big screen, but between the ten-spot price tag and trying to please the both of us, they better be good.

Pay attention to the trailers. Good ones do exactly what they are supposed too, make you want to see the movie. Sure, in some cases the trailer is the only interesting part of the movie, but most of the time you can tell if it’s going to suck. Trust your instincts.

If your first thought after the trailer is “that’s just cool, I want to see that”, you’re probably right.

Example: The Dark Knight. Nobody who saw the trailer didn’t want to see the movie, and it delivered.

If your gut says “chick-flick”, plan accordingly. If you don’t have a pair of ovaries or more than two pairs of shoes, you probably won’t like it but your gal might, which increases your chances of getting lucky afterward.

When I saw the trailer for Last Chance Harvey, it screamed “chick-flick” and my gut screamed “Nope!”

And from what I hear, I was right and the movie blows. Not all chick flicks suck by the way, Sleepless in Seattle for example was stellar, and the trailer made you want to see it.

Pay no attention to movie reviewers, or figure the opposite. Most of the time they just prove what total art house mushballs they are by gushing over movies that suck or hating movies that Everyman loves. All the “respectable” reviewers said the Benjamin Button is a great movie experience, that Brad Pitt had the role of a lifetime. Real live reaction is “yeah, it’s OK, but damn it was long, and the love story is …creepy…”

The reviewer of my local rag didn’t think much of Defiance, the new World War II movie. He said he doesn’t like the movies of the director Edward Zwick, calling them heavy-handed and boring. I say he’s a moron who probably loved Benjamin Button. Zwick was the director of The Last Samurai, which had everything: war, pretty girls and battle scenes. A+.

Defiance is likewise an A. It’s got a lot of stuff in it, war, intrigue, brothers who don’t always agree with each other (and having 4 brothers, I know about that), it was very well done, well-acted and I liked it.

I want to see Gran Torino. First of all Clint Eastwood is in it, and he directed it. How bad can it be? Clint hasn’t done anything bad since Brono Billy, and that was nearly 30 years ago. The trailer looks cool, and the gut says, a thumbs up.

So, off to the movies.

Published in: on January 22, 2009 at 1:43 am  Comments (6)  

It’s Just Another Manic…. Wednesday?

“Six o’clock already I was just in the middle of a dream…. I was dangling Valentino on crystal blue Italian stream.  I can’t get up, cuz I guess I’m just in too much pain…. Susannah Hoffs is still really hot and my hockey life is circling the drain…”

Wednesday’ are the toughest day of the week for me.   Nothing against the day itself, I mean c’mon , who doesn’t like a day whose nickname is hump day?    It’s just that Wednesdays always seem to follow Tuesday night– and Tuesday night is old-man hockey night.   I’m like most guys who play hockey long after their high school glory days (ok, so I didn’t have any high school glory days, but again, like most guys,  the older I get, the better I was in high school) I love playing, its fun as hell, and best of all after the game we sit around and drink beer.  

And Tuesday night guy just never seems to care or give any thought at all to Wednesday morning guy.  Wednesday morning guy would like to wake up in a hot tub and have a breakfast of Ibuprofen with a side of deep-tissue massage.

We don’t play in any league, its the same bunch of guys every week, more or less.    There is a  White Team (my team–the good guys)  and there is the evil empire Dark Team.   I’ve been part of the White team since I started skating with these guys over 10 years ago.   A few guys are swing guys, they will skate with whichever side is low on players,  hockey whores with no sense of right or wrong, they are essentially roster fillers.

 Now I don’t pretend to have ever been a great hockey player, in fact I’m bad.  I like to pretend like I used to be good, but the truth of the matter is, as a hockey player I was a pretty good baseball player.  I’m not a total lop, I  have some decent hockey sense, but the limited skills that I had disappeared years ago.    Not a big deal, I’ll make it up by being a savvy player.  The only problem with that is …. when your skills go, nobody gives a shit that you knew what you were supposed to do, you still didn’t do it.   I make up for my lack of skills by staying on my side and getting in front of the other teams goalie, and if I have to play defense, well, we’re in trouble.    The Lord blessed me with a big ass, and I use it to great affect in front of the opposing goalie.   I’ll load up on beans, lettuce, whatever it takes to increase the nastiness– just good ole time hockey stuff– Eddie Shore would be proud.

My game is pretty simple– like a quarterback wearing a red vest, I wear a bright yellow jersey among a team of whites (the yellow screams “think twice before you pass it over here”).  I don’t try to do too much (Clint said it: “A man’s got to know his limitations”.)  I stay in my lane and I take short shifts.   Last week I actually scored 3 times during the night.  If you added  up the total distance of my goals traveled, it was less than 2 feet.  Garbage baby, thats me. 

It’s a great weekly game– there’s tons of needling, nobody takes it too seriously and it gets my ass off the couch at least one night a week.  Of course the best part of the night is afterwards, sitting around and having a cold one (or two… or who’s counting?).  In the summer we’re out in the parking lot, in the winter inside the locker room.  In the summer, the Bloomington cops will drive in once and a while, but when the y see it’s not a group of high-schoolers,  they’ll just wish us a good night and tell us not to stay too long.  Who brings the beer is a rotating deal and there are no rules except: it better be cold and it better not be Blatz or Old Milwaukee.  If I’ve played well and my side has won the night, the beer seems to taste just a little bit better and the stories in the parking lot are a little bit funnier.

But before I know it, it’s Wednesday morning.  Everything hurts on Wednesdays.   Walking down the stairs is an adventure, will I make it, or fall on my face?  Boy, I really shouldn’t have blocked that shot.  Where the hell did that welt come from?  It takes a few days, but eventually the body starts to feel normal again.  By the weekend I feel fine and by Monday night I’m chomping at the bit.  Then it’s Tuesday and there’s an extra bounce in my step– it’s Hockey Night!

— Whubbs

Published in: on January 14, 2009 at 9:25 pm  Comments (3)