Monday, December 19, 2005

Leafs 4 - Refs 4

What a game! What a joke!

The Leafs have somehow managed to tie it up 4-4 late in the first vs. the Referee-assisted NY Islanders.

This has to be the worst-refed game I can remember. After the Leafs took a 2-1 lead, the Refs basically handed the Islanders a 3-goal handicap after calling 3 straight 5-on-3s on the Leafs, who, at one point, had 3 defenceman in the penalty box. The Islanders were 3-for-6 on the powerplay, with 2 5-on-3 goals, and had a 7-2 advantage in penalties called.

The Leafs appear to have plenty of jump in tonight's game, and should be fired up to put this one away. They have all the motivation they need to win this game on the scoresheet after having to deal with the huge handicap dealt by the refs & all the momentum in the world after scoring twice to tie it back up.

The best news for the Leafs is on the scoreboard, as Czerkawski is starting to warm up, and has scored in two straight games; Allison has two assists; Ponikerovsky has tied his career high with 9 goals on the season (in only 32 games); and Jeff O'Neill's late goal is his first point in 8 games.


Go Leafs!!


Monday, December 12, 2005

Quick Update - Al Franken at the Michigan Theatre - Hyde Street in Charcoal Pencil

I've been all over the place over the past few months, and regret not having much of an opportunity to post to groupThink. Over the weekend, I decided to try my hand at drawing, and picked up some charcoal and graphite pencils. Since Andrea and I spent our honeymoon in the Bay Area, I decided to pick the Hyde Street Cable Car as my first subject. So far, I have to say I'm quite happy with my work, considering that I've never really tried drawing a picture before. So far, I've spent about five hours on the picture above, mostly while watching Calgary Flames defeat the Ottawa Senators, snapping Ray Emery's NHL record 10 straight wins to start his career, the Detroit Lions lose in overtime to the Green Bay Packers after a bad call on what should've been the winning safety for the Lions. and listening to the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Anaheim Mighty Ducks 3-2 this evening. I feel like I'm spending a great deal of time on one drawing, but I don't really have anything to gage it against. I'm estimating that I'll be at the ten to fifteen hour mark by the time I'm ready to say it's finished. I'll post an updated copy of the drawing after it is complete. If you'd like to see a slightly higher resolution version of the image, click here (flickr).

I had the opportunity to catch Al Franken live at the Michigan Theatre this past week. It was a very entertaining evening, and I was really planning on posting about the experience immediately after I got home. I was pleasantly surprised that Al Franken put on a full two hour show at the Michigan Theatre, after already hosting a full three hour radio show at the local Air America affiliate earlier in the day. As a devoted listener of the Al Franken show, many of his jokes and topics were very familiar, yet I still found the lecture to be very entertaining and engaging.

The primary focus of the evening was to promote Franken's new book, The Truth (With Jokes), although it did not feel at all like a sales pitch. Franken expounded on topics such as the tragic conditions of the garment industry in Saipan, his take on religion in politics, the Abramoff/Delay scandals, and, of course, the old stand by - the president lying us into the Iraq War.

The most entertaining portion of the night was surprisingly a very lively question and answer period. Generally, Q&A segments are boring, but Franken had great chemistry with the live audience. I believe the Q&A segment lasted a full 45 minutes, and was only interrupted due to the fact that Al still had to sign about 1,000 books, and then get on the road in a snow storm in order to make it to the noon radio show in Chicago the next morning.

There were several moments during the evening that I'd like to quickly point out. First off, towards the beginning of the evening, Al described a section of his book where he had a dream about the future. In that dream, he is describing the past to his (hypothetical) grandchildren. In his dream of the future, Al Franken announces his candidacy for the 2008 Minnesota governors race, and takes the seat away from Norm Coleman. The democrats take back the house in 2006, and the senate in 2008. In the final two weeks of Bush's reign, Franken announces a quicky impeachment hearing, and Bush is it poetic justice. Later in the evening, one of the audience members asked Al to spell out his vision for the country. In roughly ten minutes, Al was able to quickly sum up exactly what I would describe as my own ideals for the nation, and more succinctly than I could ever manage to do myself. Franken is a bright mind, has a tremendous vision for our nation, and provides the kind of presence and charisma that is sorely needed in the leadership of our country.

At one point, Franken openly commented on his internal struggle over whether or not he should pursue a political career or continue working at Air America. For now, I believe Al Franken is doing exactly what he should be doing. Air America is an important counterpoint to the rash of conservative talk radio in the nation, and the Al Franken show is a huge part of that. The nation is tiring of the corruption and failure of the Republican party, and continual downward trend this country has taken since Republicans took control of the House, Senate, Supreme Court and Presidency. The pendulum has begun to swing back and is rapidly gaining momentum. The democrats are going to gain a few seats in the 2006 midterm elections - the question is really how many. The democrats need 15 in order to gain a majority. Supposedly, about 50 races are in question, with 28 of those being Republican and 22 Democrat. More than likely, the Democrats will not gain a majority, but closing the gap would go a long way in turning the tide.

By the end of the evening, I left feeling reassured about the future of our nation. Al Franken presented a clearer vision for the future of our country than the George W. Bush-led Republican party could ever hope to present.