Tondar's Daily Rant

Prepare yourself for the writings of Tondar the Destroyer, Baron of Atlanta, Rightful Heir to the Throne of Spain, from whom all babies come. As his will be blogged, so let it be done.

Friday, March 12, 2004

PIGPEN ON FAKE DIPLOMAS

I like how it is "for novelty use only" - why would you want any of this crap for novelty purposes. Apparently this is the new frontline of resume fraud and convieniently is not responsibly for fraud or misrepresentation

http://www.fakedegrees.com/
SETH ON BERTUZZI

I decided against personally posting anything the Bertuzzi hit on Moore since I don't have a TV and didn't actually see the hit. But Seth makes a very interesting point regarding hockey and the current set of rules governing fighting.

From Seth...

"I thought people were arguing if Bertuzzi should be suspended for the last 13 regular season games, suspended through the playoffs, or just fined. Apparently, a majority (FoxSports poll) of responders wanted to see the guy get more. The poll actually only had three options: NHL did it right, Should be held out of next season too, should be kicked out of hockey.
 
I overheard this from the coat rack in my office today: "I mean, it was way out of line. And this was in his workplace! You can't do that to someone in the workplace. You go to jail."
 
I thought of mentioning the fact that you can't body check people in most jobs either.
 
The real question is what hockey can do to make this kind of thing never happen again. In the past few years, we had the Bertuzzi incident, Marty McSorley, the brutal hits in the Toronto/Boston series last year, and the stick-whack that ruined a budding star defenseman's eye. A lot of time you'll hear people talk about their sport as if in the "old days" all the bad stuff that goes on now wasn't occurring. Usually they're wrong, but in this case, they have a point. They've been talking to the old timers and they all say the same exact thing: "Guys would NEVER do that! You had too much respect for the other team!"
 
I remind you now that a "Gordie Howe Hat Trick" is a goal, an assist, and a fight in one game. Before there were face masks, helmets, massive goalie pads, and 6'4 250 lb. guys like Bertuzzi in the NHL, the players would fight all the time; yet nobody ever seemed to get hurt, and there sure as hell weren't any sucker punches, let alone guys on skates who were too busy treating their stick like a lumberjack's axe to play the puck.
 
What's the difference? Some people say it's the equipment. Some people think the guys are so big that the rink's become too crowded. The really dumb suggest that it's the influx of European players or a loss of values among the younger generation...that would be the younger generation in Canada, mind you. Yet a few point to a more recent rule change that I think has some merit: the Instigator Rule.
 
In the 1990s, hockey all of a sudden decided that it deserved to be a big market sport - what football is, what baseball was, and what ESPN hopes the NBA to be. Franchises left dedicated, yet minute, fan bases in Hartford, Winnepeg, Quebec City, and Minneapolis to set up camp in North Carolina, Phoenix, Colorado and Dallas. New franchises sprung up in Florida, San Jose, Anaheim, Columbus, Atlanta, and Nashville. And in order to make things all cute and cuddly for the newcomers, the NHL announced its strongest measure yet to crack down on fighting.
 
The Instigator Rule decided that if you were clearly the guy who started a fight, you get a 2-minute minor penalty, a 5-minute major, and a fine in addition to the 5-minute major that both combatants receive. Fights could still break out if, say, Darren McCarty and Adam Foote eyed each other for a few seconds and then dropped gloves. Gone, though was the retaliatory fight. Gone was the ability of a team's pugilistic 4th line winger to enforce justice on the ice. Teams kept their enforcers, but taught them how to grab and clip and slash so much that officials would have to give up on calling penalties for it.
 
Hockey isn't going to ever be more than the #4 pro sport in this country. The league has tried to soften that image a bit in recent years as it courts a larger audience. But the game will never be that kind of sell-out, every American kid can give you the lineup kind of sport. America has its NBA, MLB, NASCAR, College Hoops, and enough football to make most every sports fan to ever crack open a beer more than content. As we proved by sticking the Hartford Whalers in the middle of tobacco country, people who've never seen a frozen lake can't be counted on to understand a game that's played on ice, let alone its nuances.
 
One of the most prominent nuances was how well the old anarchist system of fighting managed to police the players. A 6'0 180 lb. guy would think twice about giving a 5'10 160 lb. scorer a cheap shot because you knew his 6'2 200 lb. winger was going to beat the shit out of you for it. You also never knew when it would happen. Hockey players had great memories, and if they ever forgot your transgression, the home fans could be counted on to bring signs with your number in the middle of a target. The game has always been played fast and in the moment, but the fighting soap opera could lend it some long-term appeal and a reason to keep coming back.
 
The Bertuzzi incident demonstrates perfectly how the Instigator Rule has changed all of that. Colorado and Vancouver were in a race to the finish line for the division title, which could also carry with it the #1 seed in the playoffs. In a game at Colorado, Moore, a rookie with the Avalanche, gave Canucks captain Markus Naslund a cheap shot, injuring the star player (and Bertuzzi's longtime linemate) for at least a week. When the Avalanche visited Vancouver, everyone in British Columbia knew that their team would be playing red rookie until Moore got what was coming to him. From the onset, Bertuzzi kept trying to engage him in honorable combat. But Moore wouldn't have any of it; not because he had something against fighting (which he's participated in plenty for a kid) but had something against fighting a monster with a reputation like Todd Bertuzzi's. As the game got out of hand (it ended 8-2 Colorado), Bertuzzi eventually gave up on avoiding an Instigator penalty and went for what he believed was his rightful retribution.
 
Meanwhile, Gary Bettman and the NHL brass were licking their lips for the first two periods. This was one of several NHL games broadcast nationally this season. This night was supposed to be their big break: two fast-skating, high-performance, highly talented teams trying to capture the division title and at least a 2nd seed in the Western Conference Playoffs. They imaged American sports fans tuning in and saying to themselves, "wow, what a cool game, I gotta watch more of this and buy $50 tickets to see my local team."
 
Instead, they got a massacre by the Avalanche that neither the Canucks nor their fans seemed to be taking very well. Then, with 3:00 left in the 3rd period, Bertuzzi snapped.
 
I'm not one who will go around saying Bertuzzi isn't responsible for this actions. He deserves every minute of the NHL's penalty. Terry Frei is right about one thing: when you watch the tape, it doesn't look like anything but sick and wrong.
 
What upsets me is how the league is playing this. Bettman and co. have been on TV the last few days talking about how they're going to make an example of Bertuzzi. They say they'll make re-instatement a possibility but they're not sure if he'll play again. They're pandering to the non-fans, the ESPNBA crowd whom they've identified, for some unknown reason, as people who are just a good playoffs away from throwing down their cash for a little sports on ice. Hockey writers have followed suit, explaining to the uneducated potential fans that we hockey people think Bertuzzi isn't representative of our sport. Look, we even outlawed fighting!
 
Meanwhile, the old guard hockey fans are left out in the cold with the residents of Hartford, Quebec, Winnepeg, and perhaps sooner-than-later Calgary, Vancouver, Edmonton, Ottawa, and Pittsburgh. We know why this keeps happening. Hockey's a rough sport. Emotions run high. Put the two together and you end up with people getting out of hand. But we also know that you can keep it in check by letting the players police themselves. They've certainly done a better job of it than Gary Bettman."
today's players are
DIRTY OLD MAN OR FRIENDLY GRANDPA?

Check out this radio biography of Strom Thurmond. Probably the most unusual thing is the way he would pass out candy to the ladies.

Money Quote: "Senator TRENT LOTT (Republican, Mississippi): Hardly a day goes by when Senator Thurmond is on the floor that he didn't call me over and offer support and offer a piece of candy for my beautiful wife, and reassure me what a beautiful lady she is and what a credit she is to this senator from Mississippi."

Hmmm? Was Strom being polite or is this Trent's roundabout way of saying "Thurmond would always talk about boinking my hottie wife." If it is the case of the later, I bet it just grinds on him to think he lost spot as Senate Majority leader defending this dirty old man. On top of that, what kind of candy did Strom always pass out? Was it something tasty jolly ranchers? Maybe, it was the Wurther's Original 'like my grandfather used to give to me.' Though most likely it was either old people all stuck together candy or a vast supply of starlight mints that he had stolen from some restaurant over the years. Either way, there is something more to this whole "candy for the ladies" bit that the biography is not letting on.
BEST IDEA FOR A MOVIE EVER

If there was ever a true life story that would make a good movie, it would be the fall of Constantinople in 1453. The story has action, adventure, prophecy, a last second escape, and it even would require alot of special effects to account for the atmospheric disturbance caused by a volcano. If you have alotta time on your hands read this factual account that outlines what exactly happened during the 2 month seige. Then afterwords check out the first hand account written by Venetian Nicolo Barbaro. And if you still want to read more there is a great list of web resources here.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

TRAGEDY IN MADRID

Today there were several bombings at train stations throughout the Madrid area. Reports are saying that the bombs all were intended to explode together at Atocha train station. This is the worst terrorist attack in Spanish history with currently 190 people dead and thousands injured. At this time they are not sure who is responsible. Though anyone familiar with Spanish politics would blame Basque seperatists. However, they did not claim responsiblity like they usually do. In addition, Al Qaeda did claim responsibility. If you go to El Pais they have a "foto galaria" that shows how this tragedy has affected the nation.

For me this is a disturbing attack, especially considering that I was in Atocha just last November and I have even used the local transport trains that were attacked. These are some of the most modern trains in Spain. They are like super fast above ground subways. They are not quite as high tech as the EVA high-speed trains which actually require all passangers to have their baggage scanned for bombs before being allowed to board. But either way, it's frightening to think that there are people this evil in the world and that they would attack one of my favorite cities, Madrid.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

ONE-LINING THE ECONOMY

From Seth...

"Reagan in August, 1980: "A recession is when your neighbor loses his job, a depression is when you lose yours, and a recovery is when [Jimmy Carter] loses his."
 
Clinton in July, 1992: "We all agree that there should be a growing economy. What you have to decide is who's got the best economic plan. And we all have ideas out there, and Mr. Bush has a record. So I don't want you to read my lips and I sure don't want you to read his. I do hope you will read our plans."
 
Kerry yesterday: "It's clear that this president will fight like hell to keep his own job, but he won't lift a finger to help Americans keep theirs."
 
Just thought I'd do a little comparison of contenter comments on the economy when battling for the presidency during a recession. Economic problems are great fodder for the old one-liner, eh?"

They certainly are! But unfortunately for Kerry we are not in a recession right now. Though Bush could be in trouble if employment doesn't pick up. Nevertheless, the economy is predicted to grow at 4-5% for the rest of the year. And since employment has always been a lagging indicator, it will be interesting to see what exactly plays out over the next 6 months.
INTERESTING TWIST

From Seth...

"Unlikely, but interesting. Probably heavily over-reported. But interesting. I bet it's a non-story - someone asked him if he'd consider running as Kerry's VP and McCain said, the equivalent of "well, sure I'd think about the idea." But like I said..... interesting."

It's good to hear from Seth again. And this time he's right on. I just don't see either the liberal base or mainstream voters really winning with the Kerry/McCain ticket. Personally, I think it will either be Dick Gephadt, Bill Richardson, or Hillary Clinton. But that's the subject of another post.
BUSH'S WINNING STRATEGY

Check out Dick Morris' latest colum that gives President Bush advice on how to trap and defeat John Kerry. Afterall, if there was one person in politics to listen to it would be the man that kept Bill Clinton popular enough to get re-elected in 1996.

Money Quote: 'By showing Kerry to flip-flop, Bush sets him up for the real charges - that he is too weak and too liberal to be president."
CAN'T GET YOUR HEAD AROUND IT WATCH

I'm not sure why, but this article made me think of Brad Pitt's Tyler Durden when I read it. "Rule #1: Nobody talks about bathing in the dishwasher. Rule #2: Nobody talks about bathing in the dishwasher."

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

STEEL AND GLASS CANYONS

I have two job interviews today. The first was this morning down on Wall Street. The financial district of downtown Manhattan is a very strange place. The roads down there are all winding narrow one lane streets that descend lower and lower towards the harbor. However, all the buildings are at least 20 stories so it creates an eerie canyon effect. This effect was greatly enhanced as the rising sun shot streams of light down the crossroads creating a chiaroscuoro path between the sky scrapers. However, that wasn't the most impressive view of the day. When I got down to the building I was a bit early so I went and checked out the harbor. It was quite a view because dark rain clouds were over Brooklyn so it was the reverse view of the Brooklyn Bridge used by Martin Scorsese at the end of "Gangs of New York." It was quite an impressive view for being a typical modern city.

My second interview today is with a midtown kids clothing company (just down the street from Madison Square Garden, the greatest sports arena in the world). Hopefully I will have something to report soon from either interview because I am getting tired of being unemployed. And maybe with a little luck I may be able to play them off eachother to get a better offer from one of them.
THIS STORY SOUNDS FAMILIAR

If you're going to rip off an episode of the Simpson for a Dear Abby letter, why would you use one of the old ones that aren't funny. A much better episode would be the one where Homer turns gay or when Homer gets his mouth sewn shut and it drives Marge crazy.
WORST PARENTS EVER

It's sickening to imagine that there are people so depraved that they would do this to their own children.
ONLY AT WALMART

Though the U.S. Treasury doesn't make a 1$ million dollar bill, it didn't stop this lady from Georgia from using it at the local Walmart. It kinda makes you wonder, who would be on the $1 million dollar bill? Ronald Reagan? FDR? JFK? Franklin Pierce? Yeah, definately Pierce.

Monday, March 08, 2004

PAT BUCHANAN ON THE PASSION

Check out what Pat Buchanan has to say about Mel Gibson's Passion. Once again, he gets it right and reflects as a Catholic on how the attacks against this film had a larger agenda then simply bad mouthing a movie.

Money quote: "For Catholics, this first week of Lent was a decidedly mixed one. The magnitude of the scandal of pedophile and pervert-priests, now fully documented, testifies that Pope Paul VI was right when he warned, post Vatican II, that the smoke of Hell had entered the vestibule of the Church. But Gibson's "Passion" gives us a Lenten masterpiece, a beautiful moving work of art. To cradle Catholics who can recite the lines of each episode before they are uttered, it is faithful to the Gospels, to the Stations of the Cross, to the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary."
KERRY/BROKAW '04

Check out this column from the Opinion Journal that makes the case for John Kerry to select NBC News' Tom Brokaw as a running mate. It's a very intriguing idea that would give Kerry a lift with more mainstream voters.