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, April 23, 2004

DROPPING THE BALL...AGAIN

If everybody accused you of being politically biased, wouldn't you be extra careful not to make mistakes in your newspaper? Well not at the NYTimes. Thursday's paper ran the wrong caption and identified GOP senate candidate Pete Coors (yes, the beer guy), of being a KKK member that murdered a black sharecropper. After all their mistakes and Jason Blair the NYTimes still doesn't have their act together. It's either a lack of journalistic integrity or sheer incompetance.
I'M NOT A DRUNK...I'M A SOCIAL DRINKER

I was going to post this one earlier but I ugh, musta forgot...

From Seth...

"Apparently, social drinkers who drink over 100 drinks a month exhibit the same behaviors and physical impairments of alcoholics. However, scientists are quick to point out that they're called completely different things, much like how I show a proper respect for authority at the office but the guy two cubicles down is a major kiss-ass.
 
Which gets me thinking, we Social Drinkers should have Social Drinkers Anonymous Meetings."

I was going to post this one earlier but I ugh, musta forgot.
REDWINGS GAME 1

From Seth...

"Pistons lose game 2. Red Wings lose game 1. Pah!
 
The Pistons don't scare me. It was a night that things were going in for Milwaukee and weren't for the Pistons. There's always nights like that. What's more telling is that down 15 with two minutes to go, the Pistons managed to get the deficit down to 2 with over 9 seconds left on the clock and the ball in their hands. You can't change fate, but with their two top scorers foulded out, we still saw the Pistons giving it everything they got.
 
The Red Wings are killing me! If I had my doubts about Dave Lewis before, they're raging right now. The funny thing is, we should have known this was coming. Lewis came in announcing that he had a veteran team and wouldn't be babysitting anybody. If his highly paid superstars had a bad effort one night, he wasn't going to bench them. Result: the Wings under Lewis play with no heart in the playoffs. Last night's game should have been 3-1, if not 5-1 for the Wings. People will blame the officials for discounting a goal for no reason, but the truth of the matter is, the Red Wings backed off the pressure after the first period....AGAIN! Calgary just got out of a seven game series in which half their team was injured at one point, then flew across the continent to face the President's Cup winners. And throughout the 1st period, every check from Vancouver was evident as the Flames came out looking half dead. But then the Wings fell right back into the lazy shot mode that has become their hallmark under Lewis, Calgary saw that they were in this thing, and an opponent on the ropes was allowed to get back up.
 
They played the same way against Anaheim last year, and the same way against Nashville in the 1st round. They sit back, trying to slow the game down, and take dead-on shots from the blue line without bothering to screen the goalie. So rather than making the other team feel foolish, the Wings end up making opposing butterfly goalies (Vokoun, Giguere, Kiprusoff) look like superheroes. These are butterfly goalies, dammit! They're big hulking number munchers! The only two butterfly boys who could ever move laterally without Vaseline are Patrick Roy (retired) and Martin Brodeur (playing golf after getting beat up by Philly). But the Wings don't seem to want to bother to get these guys moving. Perfect example: last night a loose puck slid back to a wide open Nick Lidstrom on the point - everyone else was in a mass of bodies in the right circle. What does he do? One-times the damn thing right at Kiprusoff's chest. You IDIOT! You had time; you had ice; FAKE THE F'ING SHOT!!! By the time the puck was lazily dropping into Kiprusoff's lap, Yzerman had shrugged off a defender and made himself wide open next to the net. Oh well. Another wide-open shot last night came from Schneider, who had Zetterberg in front of the net and Hull flying down the wing. So why go for a friggin' deflection in hopes that Zett's stick redirects it??? Shoot it high! Pass it to Zetts to set up Hull! Don't fling it at Kiprusoff in hopes that he'll disappear!!! The funny thing is, Calgary made this same mistake during a 3 on 1 last night - and the guy responsible for it got benched until the next period.
 
You don't slow down the playoffs, people. You suck it up and play at double speed. The guys on this team are more than capable of doing that, but they don't. Zetterberg can downright fly along the boards - better than anyone not named Roenick or Iginla. So why is it that when he takes the puck behind the net, friggin' Robin Regher can force him back off the net? If you'll notice, Zetts had a good five chances at a wraparound or behind-the-net centering pass that ended up along the boards instead. Iginla got one: his overtime goal.
 
Look, one thing about being the Red Wings is that you can't expect chance to go your way. CuJo was playing shutout hockey until a freak shot slipped through everyone on the ice (including a linesman) except Kiprusoff. By that point, the Wings were already defeated. Guys got caught standing up in the neutral zone at the end of a shift, leading to lengthy stays for our scoring lines in the defensive zone when by all rights, the Grind Line should have been playing keepaway on fresh legs.
 
The only time these guys have come alive in the post-season since winning the cup in 2002 is for short bursts at the beginning of each period. We've won games when that leads to scores, but once they get turned back a couple of times, the play tails off, the passes go from crisp to wild, the checks disappear, and the power play turns into 2 minutes of Lidstrom chasing the puck back into his own zone.
 
Last night, Calgary was at their worst; how could you hand them a win when they're like that? The Wings were so heartless that they were playing slow hockey even when there was only a minute left in regulation. At that point, a fan tossed a mollusk to the ice - I mean, if that can't motivate these guys then what can. But the Wings looked so dead after that and into the first minutes of overtime that the fans had even gone quiet. In OVERTIME! IN THE FUCKING PLAYOFFS! Get out the damn whips. Yank anyone who doesn't force a turnover or create a scoring chance in Game 2. Time each guy's fastest skating speed and fine them for every mile per hour below it that you see them moving when there's a loose puck. 'Cause Calgary is just bad and tired enough right now that a few lucky bounces could let the Wings slip past them like they did Nashville. But after that comes the Avalance or San Jose - teams that play with Calgary's heart and can match Detroit skill for skill. And after that comes the lock-out, retirement, and golf, where you can move as slowly as you like. Ask Dave Lewis to come along; I'm sure he'll have plenty of time on his hands by then."

Good point, though Mitch Albom would disagree. He did not see any fundamental problem with their play. Personally, I didn't watch the game so I can't really comment though I would like to present a question. In sports theory if a team finishes its series early and has to wait a while for its opponent sometimes the team becomes rusty and becomes removed from the usual flow of their game. Could this possibly be the Wings' problem?
FOLLOWING THE MONEY

A few weeks ago we were talking about campaign contributions. Here is an interesting site that breaks down some of the numbers.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

TALKING PISTONS

Before we discuss what happened tonight with the Red Wings, check out Mitch Albom's FreeP column that specifically tells what went wrong for the Pistons in game two Wednesday night.
FREAKIN' MICHAEL MOORE

Well look who's outsourcing their America First website to save a few bucks on labor

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

SICKENING

Seth and I have often argued over the war in Iraq. I stand by the president, but Seth wanted more U.N. involvement. In theory, I would agree with him but American national security is too important to be left in the hands of some international beauracracy and the whims and ego of the French. Well now ABCNews has found out just what prevented the UN from really getting behind the war. It turns out everybody, was getting a share of Iraqi "Oil for Food money." There was no way they would have traded their share of millions to overthrow a corrupt and evil dictator that was lining their pockets. On top of that if you look at who received the largest share, it was mostly Russia and France. And not just citizens or corporations, but members of the government AND their ruling parties. Plus if you remember, Russia and France were the two members of the security council that would have vetoed any American led effort to topple actually topple Saddam. Of course they would pass resolutions against Iraq, these justified continuing the oil for food money. But to actually overthrow the regime would have hurt them finacially. Take a look at these laundry lists of who was getting paid...

"Russia
The Companies of the Russian Communist Party: 137 million
The Companies of the Liberal Democratic Party: 79.8 million
The Russian Committee for Solidarity with Iraq: 6.5 million and 12.5 million (two separate contracts)
Head of the Russian Presidential Cabinet: 90 million
The Russian Orthodox Church: 5 million

France
Charles Pasqua, former minister of interior: 12 million
Trafigura (Patrick Maugein), businessman: 25 million
Ibex: 47.2 million
Bernard Merimee, former French ambassador to the United Nations: 3 million
Michel Grimard, founder of the French-Iraqi Export Club: 17.1 million"

Not only is this corruption horrible but it was widespread through many levels at the UN, and it even found its way into the Russian Orthodox Church and into the sphere of the vatican...

"Italy
Father Benjamin, a French Catholic priest who arranged a meeting between the pope and Tariq Aziz: 4.5 million
Roberto Frimigoni: 24.5 million"

In theory the UN is a great idea but unfortunately it is composed of men that are inherently weak and susceptible to temptation and bribery. On top of that, corruption becomes even easier when these officials do not have to face any kind of angry electorate. They will simply be replaced by other greedy beauracrats looking to turn their power into financial gain. UN you have just lost all legitimacy. You are hereby invited to SUCK IT.
VOTING ON THE EU

Britain has now decided to go ahead with a referendum before surrendering authority to Brussels. This is a vote that will represent a very important moment in European integration. Either they will come together nicely and form a super state, or negotiations may break down leaving only the economic zone. Eursoc has the details and possible scenarios.
REDWINGS VS. CALGARY PREVIEW

It's not quite Barry Melrose's idiotic ramblings but ESPN does a pretty solid job breaking down the Detroit/Calgary series.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

FORZ'ITALIA

Frank sent me this great little cartoon on life in Italy vs. the rest of Europe. It's funny cuz it's true! The best part was the one about Italian beuracracy. It really is a nightmare. One of my professors was there teaching and for the entire semester he was never paid. Finally on the day before he flew home he was presented with a briefcase full of half a year's pay in Lira. Without anytime to change it back over he had to fly back to the states with this briefcase basically chained to his hand.

Another good one is the clip about Italian buses. I have actually had that happen to me where the damn thing just takes off without you. Italy's a beautiful place, but the people are enough to drive you crazy if you're used to an ORDERED society.
THE PARALYSIS OF THE ENVIRONMENT

Check out this David Brooks column on Seth's "New Source Review." This is the policy Seth blames on evil republicans for costing tax payers $2 billion. He even sent me in the direction of this article in answer to his lack of evidence on the subject in his original post.

However, what Seth and his article neglect is the point that James raised regarding tradable permits. Bush actually does have an alternate plan to cut through the EPA beauracracy and lower emissions. However, it is being held up by Jim Jeffords and the Senate Democrats. But anyways, check out the Brooks column because it raises the same point I made earlier on who can you really trust regarding environmental information. Because nobody wants to ruin the Earth, but environmentalists are a loopy bunch and polluters only care about the bottom line, so who can you really trust in this debate? Secondly, if you have alotta time check out the other article on Seth's lost $2 billion. It talks alot about the gutting of New Source Review but barely mentions (a few sentences on page 11), anything about Bush's Cap and Trade Plan.
SETH ON THE NBA PREVIEW

From Seth...

"Pro hoops isn't really my best subject; I'll admit that my interest is piqued insofar as the Pistons have a chance to win. I promote the value of the defensive team and defend the Eastern Conference from Western fans lording their superiority over us, but truth be told, were Detroit a free-wheeling, high scoring Western Conference team, I'd likely feel differently.

My point is that this homer outlook makes it tough for me to predict how the playoffs will go. I do pretty well with Eastern teams (I've been on
since Indiana) but the East is easy. The big question before us is who's going to come out of the West. The defending champs have the benefit of being underrated because of their time without Duncan this year, but they also have a tougher road ahead. I agree with you concerning the
Twolves; I also think that their town just isn't made for playoff basketball so however talented they may be, there's something to be said for losing ground on home court.

So my picks: Lakers over Pistons. Look at their team and how they've played recently. You have to know that Phil Jackson can get that kind of
talent playing together when there's a big gold trophy motivating them, even if the team of stars couldn't get over themselves in the regular
season. On the other side of the Mississippi, look for the Pistons' coaching move to pay off as Indiana inherits the Carlisle effect (can't lose in winter, can't win in Spring). You've got to love how the Pistons still win like they did in the late '80s: two mega defenders in the paint, two semi-star guards on the perimeter, and a deep bench. That said, I think we'll see a trip down memory lane to 1987-88, with officials so enthralled by LA's stars on the court and in the stands that they hand the series to what papers will call "A team for the ages." ESPN writers will say they were the best team ever. Then the Cavaliers will draft Okafor and we'll all get on our knees and suck LeBron's proverbial cock all summer."

I think what Seth is alluding to is the "David Stern Factor." He seems to have quite the sway over how games are officiated and if it becomes anything like Detroit vs. NJ last year, than the Lakers have this one in the bag "for the good of the league." He could be right but as a basketball fan I like to give Stern the benefit of the doubt. Afterall, look how the league's golden-child, The Knicks, have done the last few years. They didn't get any lottery picks and nor have they made a deep run. But on the other hand I would not discout a little helping hand that puts the second largest tv market (LA) over one of the nations top 10 (Detroit).

Monday, April 19, 2004

MORE EUROPEAN DEPRAVITY

From Pigpen...

"How low can you go? Is this really necessary? Do people think this is an effective statement?"
TURNS OUT IT WAS BOB ROUSE

Turns out the mystery Red Wing was Bob Rouse. However, to get to the answer Seth reveals his vast Red Wing knowledge...

From Seth...

"He's thinking of either ol' #55 Larry Murphy, Slava Fetisov, or Bob Rouse. Konstantinov is actually the only Wings d-man to retire after '97 but I doubt it was Vlad he was thinking of. Murph stuck around until the 2001 playoffs. Fetisov retired in '99 and is now an assistant coach for New Jersey. There were also stop-ins by the now-retired Steve Duchesne, Bob Errey, Bob Rouse, Mike Ramsey, Paul Coffey, Jamie Macoun, Ulf Samuelsson, Uwe Krupp, Dmitri Mironov, and Todd Gill. Anders Ericksson (TOR), Marc Bergevin (TB), and Aaron Ward (CAR) are still in the NHL, while Dmitri Bykov (DET) and Fredrick Olausson (ANA) are playing in Europe.

Here's our playoff defensive pairings from '96 to today (to the best of my recollection):

'95-'96
Konstantinov/Fetisov
Lidstrom/Coffey
Bergevin/Errey

'96-'97
Konstantinov/Fetisov
Lidstrom/Murphy
Rouse/Ward

'97-'98
Lidstrom/Eriksson or Mironov
Fetisov/Murphy
Macoun/Rouse

'98-'99
Lidstrom/Chelios
Samuelsson/Murphy
Gill or Krupp/Macoun

'99-'00
Lidstrom/Murphy
Chelios/Duchesne
Fischer/Ward
Inj: Samuelsson, Krupp, Macoun

'00-'01
Lidstrom/Murphy
Chelios/Fischer
Duchesne/Dandenault

'01-'02
Lidstrom/Olausson
Chelios/Fischer
Duchesne/Dandenault

'02-'03
Lidstrom/Schneider
Chelios/Dandenault
Woolley/Bykov
Inj: Fischer

'03-'04
Lidstrom/Schneider
Chelios/Hatcher
Fischer/Dandenault
Inj: Woolley

I should mention that Dandenault played in every one of those playoffs (even logging full-time hours most seasons) but was on the roster card on offense for many of those games. He and Lidstrom are the only current defenders still around from the late '90s cup runs."
GIGGLE CORNER

FinanceAsia needs to get better editors, especially after publishing a headline like this one.
GREAT CARTOON

If you have some time on your hands check out the Misadventures of Hello Cthulhu. Good stuff :)
GREAT CARTOON

If you have some time on your hands check out the Misadventures of Hello Cthulhu. Good stuff :)
JAPANESE POLITICS

After World War II Japan became pacifist and renounced the ability to make war. However, with the taking of hostages in Iraq this week there is a debate on whether to amend the Japanese Constitution to create war powers. Check out this interesting NRO article that gives the rundown on shifting the balance of power in Asia.
TONDAR'S OBSERVATIONS ON GAME 1

I made my way to the Village today to watch the Pistons beat on Milwaukee in game 1. For those of you watching the "Showdown at the House of the Blue Leaves," instead, here's the summary...

The phrase of the day is forced turnovers. According to the Detroit Free Press, "The Pistons set a team playoff record with 14 steals and scored 28 points off 25 turnovers." Detroit was playing at a frantic level forcing Milwaukee into ALOTTA mistakes. I haven't seen a team this defensively sound since Rodman played for the Bulls. Detroit completely took Milwaukee outta their game. Even ESPN had to focus on Detroit's defense in their game summary, (even though it was burried 2 links deep on their NBA playoff page). However, if you look at their boxscore you can see the Pistons had 6 players in double figures. That's difficult to stop from the Milwaukee point of view. The Pistons are going to score and it doesn't really matter who does it. Though a good chunk of the scoring came off the fast break. Milwaukee was crashing the boards trying to get second chance points. However, what it really did was open up the Pistons fast break (this and the 14 steals), which led to some good "Slamma-Jamma" moments.

Really the only thing that kept Milwaukee in the game was their .427 fg% with most of that coming off of jumpers that happened to fall. Detroit didn't shoot that much better (.429) considering all the fastbreak dunks and layups. Though most of that can be attributed to Chauncey Billups trying to get back into the rhythm on a 4-15, 12 point day. Hopefully Milwaukee's shooting will cool off as the Pistons continue to dominate. Though it's not likely Michael Redd, Milwaukee's best player, will have another 7 turnover game. Together Milwaukee's guard combined for a 9-10 assist to TO ratio (that just will never get the job done). And finally, Detroit's playoff dominance continued over Keith Van Horn (the ugliest man in professional sports), who had 8 pts on 3-11 shooting with 4 turnovers. Last year they had Van Horn's number as they shut him down in beating him and the 76ers in 6 games.

On a personal note, I found a place in Mattan that has PBR on tap for $2.50 a pint. Let's just say there were alotta cooter's punched in celebration this day my friend.
WHO AM I?

Name this player in an email to me. I played for the Detroit Red Wings during the 90's. I was an older defenseman and won the Stanley Cup near the end of my career in 1997. Who am I?