Monday, April 28, 2008

Peanuts Is Timeless: For Kim Gordon

The singer/bassist/guitarist/artist/writer/style goddess turns 55 today. So this is for Lisa. I mean, Kim.

Making a Mii is easily 20% of the fun in owning a Wii.

Requisite number of football gag refs, with the most mindblowing one courtesy of Within the space of 19 paragraphs concerning the Democratic nominee race, the author manages not only to come off as a simp for his man...not only make a Peanuts mention...but pulls Sophie's Choice out of his ass in making the "observation" that Barack Obama has "left" Hillary Clinton. What the hell is this nonsensical nonsense? That isn't misplacement of gravity at all, sir, no not one bit. I really recommend reading the entire piece, as it is proves people can still type technically (at least) cohesive essays with sheep shavings draped over their eyes.

Now, help yourself to some Kim G.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Ark, the Herald-Mail Angels Sing

Normally, I like rain.

Whether steady or torrid, gentle or thunderous, the anger of the gods somehow comforts me. It stimulates the earth and encourages harvest; it chills the air; and it makes the already tenuous IQ of the average motorist drop at a rapid, potentially fatal pace, another reminder why I've never learned to maneuver a vehicle.

When it causes my bedroom ceiling to leak, however...well, then rain and I have some problems.

Throw in the "wet wood" smell that's currently permeating my sleeping quarters, and I think it's safe to say I'll be conking on the couch tonight.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Take Me to the Pilots

I spent several days in Seattle in the summer of 2006. In that short time I found it to be almost paradisaical with the uncharacteristically sun-drenched skies and temperate climate, walk-friendly neighborhoods, comprehensive public transportation, and headspinning culinary options. It was a big city that had a perfect arrangement of small comforts.

My boyfriend was with me as well, and if anything he fell harder. It was not a case of wish fulfillment, as all we initially expected of the place where coffee goes to be born was: rain, record stores, rain, java, java, Starbucks. (Contrast this with our carefully crafted mythology of Montreal as some fantastic French-toasted artistic haven, only to visit and find out it's really the Canadian version of Philadelphia.) Suddenly, seemingly everything and one connected to Seattle took on a fresh gleam of divine ineffability. As we were both already sports fans, it was only natural then that one of us--in this case, Patrick--would develop a despairing fondness for the teams from the Emerald City. For awhile there, it seemed like a hopeful flirtation; Ichiro breaking records for the Mariners, the Seahawks briefly showing up for Super Bowl XL, and well even the Sonics had to be some entertainment. Sometimes. Occasionally.

It speaks volumes to the affection one can feel for a city, and its denizens, when the mere threat of moving a team that's been playing there for 40 years arises. The whole situation seems unfair, especially when your mind blocks out harsh fiscal realities and considers the (equal?) importance of tradition and loyalty. When you throw in duplicitous team owners, well...

The revelation of "bad faith efforts" by Seattle Sonics ownership is not a new story, exactly, nor is it really a revelation. There was always a foul cloud misting over the efforts to locate a new arena for the team; they seemed as genuine and promising as the investigative tactics of Orenthal James Simpson. But regardless of how predictable the nomadic yen of avaricious maybe-fans with more expendable cash than most people will accumulate in a lifetime is, it still reeks. 40 years means nothing when the money pit of Oklahoma City calls! The brilliance of relocating a storied NBA franchise to a market insane over college football and squat-hell all else cannot be understated! I mean, not even Gary Bettman did that! Truly, David Stern is always one shit-step ahead of his li'l protege.

There exists the possibility that after the current lease has expired, and yeehawin-er pastures have been set out for, Seattle could still host an arena for pro hoops and hockey. Numerous parties have expressed interest, and many potential locales have been offered up. There are only two true consensus: the great expenditures of time and money any project will require; and the overall worthiness of the cause.

At the very least...bring the Metros back!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tuesday Comes After Mundane

Yesterday, I learned many things. More than usual.

--The average wait in the emergency room waiting area at the Washington County Hospital is 4-5 hours unless you have chest pains.

--My chronic costochondritis is actually a byproduct of a greater syndrome: fibromyalgia, a non progressive musculoskeletal disorder that has no certain cause or certain cure. Many in the medical community still view it as a psychosomatic disorder rooted in anxiety and/or depression, instead of an ailment with organic causes. Reducing stress and time spent sitting at a desk can help quell the aches, as can certain medications (2008 supposedly will see the introduction of two new products meant to ease the pains of fibromyalgia).

--People who bring their mothers in for heart problems have no qualms about going out to McDonalds afterward.

--Hillary Clinton didn't get the "quit, bitch, changes are afoot!" memo that so many folk are circulating these days. I like how her campaign is erroneously viewed as having been steamrolled by the runaway Obamanator yet she won Pennsylvania despite having expended much less bucks. A nomination win by Barack Obama may still be inevitable, but I'm getting that sinking feeling regardless of who the Democrats throw out there, John McCain will be Commander in Chief. Do I want that? No. Does the Democratic Party have a seemingly ravenous addiction to cutting itself off at the knees? Yes.

--Referees in the NHL suck this playoff season. If Gary Bettman can do one thing superlative before he leaves, and by superlative I of course mean "thing which atones for giving Phoenix a franchise", it can be to conduct an intense review of his sports officiating crews and maybe even make major overhauls in personnel. The best postseason in sports does not crave the likes of Don Koharski playing God in Game 7 situations.

--Speaking of which, the people who turned on to the Washington Capitals on their improbable run to the division championship should stay on board. They will only improve.

--There will be an ATP in New York this year. Whoa. I'll be blogging more on this the closer it gets (and when the lineup is finalized) but needless to say, I'm going.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

This One's For Gump Worsley!

Suddenly, I'm not so sure I'd be happy if the Montreal Canadiens won the Stanley Cup.

A game 7 win against your longtime rival, your Original Six brethren, in the first round. Let it settle.

The Habs were pushed to the brink of elimination by a Boston Bruins squad that is essentially Zdeno Chara surrounded by AHL players. Virtually every interested party, from bloggers pro and less so, to print journalists, to talking heads to forum dwellers, practically every freaking one of them gave Boston no shot against the top point-getters in the East.

And those bastids almost pulled it off.

If history teaches us anything, it's that Boston can't beat Montreal when it really matters and Montreal hockey fans will riot over anything. Are you familiar with the Rocket Richard riot? Help us all if Guy Charbonneau gets a parking ticket anytime soon.

Peanuts is Timeless, and Snoopy Rocks the Red

Here's a good one: the Failadelphia Failers.

It was a grand week for featuring the football gag on das innawebz, with a couple nice typolitical (my word) refs. I take due umbrage, however, with this post putting Lucy in league with Republicans. Come on, that's damn near libelous.

The sports stories that invoked the gag were numerous, and not astonishingly, none involved the sport of football. We had the poor New Jersey Devils unceremonious exit from the first round of the NHL playoffs (watch as I weep), the Red Sox shedding their zig-zag skin, and the Mets and Cubs trying to graft it on.

I like this mock NFL draft, although really, Snoopy would want to join Steve Hutchinson on the offensive line.

Finally, a fantastic article about the human body and what we think we should or should not be putting into it. An informative chunk of Internet that just so happens to make a Peanuts reference at the end. Salute!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

"I Can't Believe That Fatso Wouldn't Shake My Friggin' Hand"

Potentially racist, certainly an asshole...yet Sean Avery is still the best interview in hockey.

The worst interview in music? I'd like to nominate The Game, after this week's insightful Q & A posted on This guy has two young children. When I make the case for intelligence among hip hop artists, I am clearly not talking about Jayceon Taylor. Then again, this is a man who once had a butterfly tattooed on his face.

Also, I feel compelled to tell you that no asterisk was ever placed by Roger Maris' homerun record. Dunno why I felt the urge to throw that in here, but hey. It's the weekend. Who you got in the election? Who you going for?

The Game: Man, I’m goin’ for the n***a man. Obama. Man I don’t give a f**k what he talkin’ bout I ain’t heard Obama say nothin’. I just know that n***a black and he about to win this s**t. Hillary need to fall back man. I’m going for Obama man, that n***a could say I’m going to kill every n***a in the hood when I get in there – I’m going for Obama man. That’s it. Gotta see a Black man, man I’m biased man. I’m biased. So you have no other reason than that?

The Game: No, I’m following the n****s. Goin’ in. Alright, but you know you got kids now you –

The Game: N***er. N***ers, following the n***ers, man, to the underground railroad ‘til we find the light we goin’ all the way to the White House man, gotta see that. If you Black and you don’t vote for Obama you just need to find a revolver spin that b***h and pop ‘til your noodles’ on the f***in side of the bed man. That’s just a no brainer man. That’s so big man! A Black dude running [for president] – where the f**k did Obama come from man? You sure he ain’t Osama’s nephew or son? Like Obama just out of nowhere - just Obama. We’ve been knowing about Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton all of a sudden, n***a, like a year ago [a] light skinned n***a lookin’ like Tiger Woods’ brother just runnin’ for president and I don’t know man it’s a conspiracy. [Laughs] He’s not really from the Civil Rights Movement which is part of why we didn’t know about him – he’s not like a Jesse or Al from seeing them from back in the day.

The Game: So you’re sayin’ he ain’t like a real n***a? Because I don’t think Obama would like you sayin’ he ain’t a real n***a. No, he did his thing back in the Democratic Convention a couple of years ago that’s when everybody heard of him nationally.

The Game: I want to see his high school pictures and s**t if they exist you see that n***a playin’ with some little n****s when he was little. He was nice on the basketball court.

The Game: You seen like a picture of him doing a lay-up? I’ve seen it on YouTube.

The Game: But today though, these day and times? Not recently.

The Game: You ain’t seen no back in the day he was in high school hoopin’. I’ve seen him play ball back in the day, not recently.

The Game: Ohh, alright so he is an official n***a. So he ain’t just come from Iraq, thinkin’ they tryin’ to sneak a terrorist up in the White House man, but yeah he look Black to me so I’m votin’ for him, man.

The Complete Peanuts...Almost

With volume 9 of The Complete Peanuts soon to hit bookshelves, the last thing I'd expect to see is news that the first printing will be marred by a rather bewildering blunder: the May 1st, 1967 strip is printed twice, and the May 3rd strip does not appear at all. This error will be corrected in subsequent printings (and volume 10 will include the missing panels as well) but what an odd oversight by Fantagraphics, especially when it concerns the title that gave the company immeasurable clout.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

New Documentary Buries Record Store, Or Not

Is the independent record store truly dead? Over 3000 of them have closed shop in America over the past decade, bumped off most brutishly by mp3 technology. The tactile intimacy of walking into a record store, perusing the selections, and plunking down cash seems to have lost its charm for many. A new documentary, I Need That Record!, examines this sweeping purge--and the repercussions both immediate and remote--using found footage and interviews with musicians and retail owners.

The trailer is already up on Youtube, and in addition to ratcheting up my anticipation level several percentage points, it also posits the quintessential artistic absolute: 80% of all your favorite musicians, writers, filmmakers, painters, etc. will be insufferable pricks when removed from the role by which you have come to find them worthy of your time. I mean, isn't Glenn Branca a raging accumulation of smegma when he's not orchestrating thirty guitars to play the same chord for seven minutes? Do not the sounds of the vast ocean spring forth from his gaping yawp? Am I really saying anything that people don't already know here? Hearing him yabber in first the Sonic Youth doc Silver Rockets and Kool Things and now with this quick clip from I Need That Record, I am left with the nagging feeling that Branca is the type genius who interviews himself when alone, then plays back his answers and analyzes everything from his tone of voice to his pauses, and maybe even the content of his words if he still has the time, then redoes the whole thing until it comes out to his satisfaction.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Peanuts Is Timeless, and Impervious to the Demands of Daily Living

My Boredoms concert review delayed due to a recurrence of costochondritis...promise to have it up in a few days. In the meantime, help yourself to some more stock.

Ohio...I totally wanna visit now!

A collection of Chris Rock rants features his fantastic Peanuts riffs on SNL from so many years back it makes me feel unduly old. "Pig Pen's in the house! Pig Pen!" is still my favorite. (And as with all things Chris Rock, it's best heard, not read.)

This past week was a friggin' bonanza for the football gag; it appears in a review of George Clooney's latest film and an article weighing the pros and cons of nation-as-bull. Additionally, a Missouri senator invoked it. Never much the threat, that. It looms over the potential of Main Street renewal as well as the (thin as a) promise of the season. There seems to be no situation which does not lend itself to Schulz' beloved fake-out. (Warning: if the site name didn't tip you off, that last link is family unfriendly.)

Finally, we end with a reminder that, thanks to blogs, no scumbag goes unreported. If I didn't work at a courthouse, oh boy....

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Sonic Youth Plays Battery Park on July 4th

Outstanding! There is a chance that I may have to roll for dolo, but if everything goes according to best-laid plans, this will be my 39th Sonic Youth concert.

Ah...well, costochondritis is kicking in. Again. And a sore throat. Jenn, get off the Internet.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Peanuts Is Timeless, Snoopy is a Caps Fan

Oh, you didn't know?

Not a real tremendous past week for Peanuts on the Internet, as best exemplified by this article, of which the title is the most interesting part. That is very rarely a good thing.

The never-ceasing effect of Schulz on two very divergent artists.

Sports sports sports sports. The only college football game I've ever attended was Penn State vs. Northwestern in the mid '90s. It was a blowout, and the Nittany Lion faithful from early entertained themselves with when-we're-drunk-it's-hilarious chants such as:

"If you wanna go to college, go to Pitt
If you wanna go to college, go to Pitt
If you wanna go to college, but you haven't got the knowledge
If you wanna go to college, go to Pitt"

Now I think of that goddamn chant every time I see or hear the Pitt Panthers mentioned anywhere.

Let's end this on a more positive note, shall we? And for that, we go (as we almost always must) to the Land of the Rising Snoopy. Oh...soon, Corey, soon. Forget the food, I want those dishes and matching silverware.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The J & P Show at the Capitals-Panthers Game

Around a quarter to six last night, a fire truck turned onto 7th Street and passed the snaking line of hockey fans awaiting entrance into Verizon Center. "Man, everyone's into this 'red out'", I chuckled to Patrick. A second later, my joke was split straight down the middle when the driver bellowed out, "LET'S GO CAPS!"

That's what the regular season finale between the Washington Capitals and Florida Panthers meant to the fans, be they diehards (a fan since '93, myself) or bandwagon jumpers. Thanksgiving Day of 2007 the Caps ranked dead last in the entire league, provoking a change in head coach (from Glen Hanlon to Slapshot alumni Bruce Boudreau). A win (or overtime loss) in their final game would secure a playoff spot as Southeast Division champions. The game environment would most assuredly resemble that of a game 7 rather than a game 82.

I've attended numerous sporting events: all four "major" sports and even a college football game up at Penn State back when Ki-Jana Carter looked like a future NFL power back. Every one was a regular season matchup with no palpable implication. Really, prior to Saturday night, the most "important game" was the Vikings-Redskins one that opened up the 2006 Monday Night Football season (on the fifth anniversary of September 11th, no less).

The reality of the Caps game simultaneously thrilled and chilled me. It's one thing to sit in front of the television to watch as your favorite team runs from the face of greatness like it resembled the visage of Large Marge. But to actually be in attendance? To have the dread unfold in front of you? Ugh. I wasn't sure I could handle all that.

Two games had been played at Verizon, with the team encouraging fans to take part in a "red out". Not only is red the primary color of the Caps home jerseys, it's also a hue that research suggests can give the winning edge to competitors. I don't exactly buy into this superstition, but since red also happens to be my favorite color and my wardrobe thus doesn't weep for lack of it, I donned a red Gap sweater. Patrick came up with a Sleater-Kinney and red flannel, possibly the only band shirt of the evening.

Around 6 PM, fans were let into the Verizon Center. Patrick and I briefly checked out merch then went to find our seats in Section 100. This is where the experience became officially chimeric.

Several weeks ago we had purchased tix through Ticketmaster's "Ticket Exchange" program, where fans resell their tickets, some at just above face value, some well above. Patrick found a pair of seats in Section 100, Row C, for just a little over $100 (not much of a markup from their original value of 95 bucks). We knew these would be sweet perches, but uh...

Right behind the Caps bench? Lovely. If you have ever wanted to sit mere inches from a group of people separated only by plexiglass and understand nothing they are screaming to each other, behind the bench at a hockey game is the place for you. (Okay, not entirely true; I did hear an assistant coach tell Donald Brashear to sit down.)

The venue didn't quite have the imposing majesty of, say, the Calgary Flames' famous "C of Red", but it was damned impressive. Fans not only showed up with Caps regalia, but I also spotted jersey and shirts representing the Red Wings, DC United, the Red Sox, the Nationals, the Redskins and the University of Maryland. The Washington Post on Sunday also reported a Hagerstown Bulldogs shirt sighting, which I am beyond peeved went undetected by my radar. I think I may have gone apoplectic at that.

A handily-wielded machete would have been required to mow down the tension which virtually vibrated throughout the building. When the Capitals got on the board first, thanks to an outstanding effort by Tomas Fleischmann, the relief was so great you'd think 18,000 people just got word back from the doctor that the surgery went perfectly and their mothers will be fine. My bottle of Budweiser tasted that much better right afterward.

Then of course Florida tied it up on a goal that had to be reviewed by the judges "upstairs". This ruling came down just as a penalty was called on Sergei Fedorov, and a great deal of air escaped the luft balloon. We could all sense the tide about to turn at the worst possible time.!

Don't stop believin'. Hold on to that feelin'. Streetlights. People. Whoa oh oh.
Which is all very nice and inspirational but you remember how The Sopranos ended, right? I'm just sayin'. And am I the only one who's noticing Semin on the power play? You don't wait for the perfect shot. Any shot you can get off is the perfect shot, especially when you're close enough to smell the goalie's cheesesteak breath.

The single bottle of beer was crucial to insuring I didn't turtle up and I ended up acting much like I do watching games on TV. Chatty, but not loud; opinionated, but not omniscient; nervous, but not pessimistic. My eyes split time between the action on the ice (name a sport better to watch in person than hockey) and the action as shown on the overhead scoreboard. Patrick would watch the 'board when Florida was in the Caps zone, and avert his eyes back to the rink when the Caps were threatening. Both of us vociferously participated in the chanting throughout, and were--guaranteed--among the most excited fans in the place when Washington went ahead on a textbook Fedorov goal in the second period.

The second intermission was jotted with the jitters.

"One more goal, Patrick, I think a two goal lead is the key here. We can do it. Wait, not we. We're not doing shit. It's them out there. We're just lucky enough to be here."

"If we get on KissCam I'll totally slip the tongue."

And at the beginning of the third period: "Where's Ovechkin? I don't see him out there."

"He may be way down on the other end o' the bench. Damn, he really is MVP. Most Vanishing Player!" (Lamentably, Patrick missed my grand comedic flourish. At least I lament it.)

That third period may stand forever as the longest 20 minutes of my life. I don't think that would be a solitary sentiment, either, if anyone polled the crowd.

The Vikings blew it on the last game of the '07-08 season, the Nationals may or may not surpass .500 this year, but goddamnit, the Capitals will not disappoint me. I love this team. They put forth the effort. They want to win. Ovechkin is the new god of hockey and one day we will all go to Verizon Center and marvel at how much better his statue looks than that stupid Crosby one in Pittsburgh. Am I even appreciating this fully? Do the people in my row even realize we could be sitting mere inches from the greatest left winger in hockey history? A man who signed a $124 million dollar contract without an agent? A man who found his girlfriend on the Russian equivalent of Does anyone here tonight have any idea how godhead it is to find love over the Internet? Patrick and I got together through the Sonic Youth message board! Yeah! There, I admitted it! Thank you, Alex, for making the world safe for Internet-abetted love stories. You've made us feel infinitely less nerdy. ONE OF US.

Every shred of doubt, every dry gust of panic, every certainty that Bill McCreary was a douchebag with an IQ too cold for snow who would give the Panthers this game for sure vanished when Alexander Semin finally remembered that power plays are a super time to shoot that li'l rubber thingy with your stick thingy at that mesh thingy. The crowd became a busted tomato and an exuberant Ovechkin skated over and leaped up into his celebrating teammates, taking them all down with him in a dogpile.

Chants of "M-V-P" rained down, with the guy next to Patrick remarking that in Canada, fans would just chant "Hart! Hart!" Jesus how many Canadian hockey writers will just loathe putting Ovy in first place for the Hart? Oh well, fret not, TSN nation, you always have Sidney Crosby's Gatorade commercials. He didn't hurt his ankle doing those, did he?

In the frenzy, Patrick got his Ned Flanders on and yelled, "Yes, eat all of our shirts!" The dude next to him (you may recall him from such paragraphs as the one immediately preceding the one you are reading) turned around and laughed. Ah, when people bond over Simpsons quotes.

You know what rocks about sitting right behind the plexiglass? Banging the shit out of it when the game's over.

After was the traditional "Jerseys Off Our Backs", a giveaway on Fan Appreciation Night that allows randomly selected folk to take the ice across from the Caps players and receive one players game-worn jersey. Ovy's jersey went to a young girl who was already wearing one. I guarantee her parents are regretting that $200 they plunked down, for real. Every Cap handed over their shirt, even injured stars like Cap'n Chris Clark.

Slap Shot pointed at me and later, Patrick, as we took photos. This made us feel happy. Then, as the team skated off the ice, Ovechkin threw his stick up into our section, where it was caught several rows back without one drop of blood drawn. This made us jealous, but hey, the tickets did warn us: "At the end of the game, the best player in the world may throw his hockey stick into the audience. Please be alert." Seriously. Check the back of any Caps home game ticket.

The Mighty Mites, oh how I adore thee. Mainly because "Linus and Lucy" plays as they skate up and down the ice. Number 8 in the white kept diving all over the damn place. "Your number is 8, not 87!"

A very, very cool sign displayed by a couple in our row. A great concept executed wonderfully. And here we were wanting to make a sign that said, SLEATER-KINNEY HEARTS OVY. Ah well.

Two of the most infamous soundbites in modern sports history are Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Mora bleating in disbelief over a reporters query about his teams "playoffs?!" chances and then-76er Allen Iverson expressing his disbelief that such controversy had arisen over his decision to skip team practice. Why were these two fantastic rants were never remixed over a club beat? Or hell, even the "It Takes Two" beat? Missed opportunities.

Bloggers...seeking other bloggers.

Finally, a seat in the house where I can get a clear view of the Caps retired numbers! Dale Hunter starts fights at weddings and funerals.

As is natural, Patrick and I wanted to extend the ecstasy. A trip to the Greene Turtle proved too unnecessarily hectic (by our standards, anyway) so we walked out in search of a Latin-Japanese fusion place called Zengo that we had come across online earlier in the day when surfing for possible places to eat after the game. ("Suitable" meaning, no burgers or fries.) We circled the complex in search of this gastronomical Shangri-la, stopping only to let cars exit the public parking lots, horns blaring in celebration, and to extend our Ovechkin bobblehead boxes in triumph. When we reached the opposite entrance to the Glenmont Metro entrance, Patrick saw and immediately went to, a street directory. Gazing around a part of the area I had never set eyes on before, I noticed the complex next to the escalators, especially the neon letters that spelled out ZENGO. Success! It was totally a trend that night.

Zengo is a two-floor establishment with a bar occupying the lower level and the upper tier reserved for fine dining. It was only a 20 minute wait for our non-reservation-having asses on a Saturday night, not shabby whatsoever. 75% of said time was spent reading the menu, which was like reading a bizarro Encyclopedia Brown book--it didn't solve shit. Everything looked tempting. Even the dishes that had coconut in them.

Once led upstairs, our decidedly unstylish attire and still-unopened bobblehead boxes set us apart immediately. All the guys were either in suits or crisp button-ups while the women were supra-fresh stylee in fine spring tunics and cool boots, immaculately coiffed and confident. The service was as courteous and helpful as either of us has experienced in a restaurant (what up, Fernando), explaining to us the "give and take" concept of Zengo. The food is delivered to your table as it is prepared, allowing all party members to partake of the dish. Sharing, lest any of us forget, is caring. This is mind, we ordered sake sangria to drink, and Volcano sushi rolls, Won Ton Tacos and seared snapper.

The first two dishes best exemplified the restaurants concept. The salmon and blue crab sushi was a fantastic appetizer, with this wow-getting sauce atop each of the six rolls. Unlike our last trap to Sakura, the dish was split evenly between us.

The tacos intrigued us both the most, and ended up delivering the most as well. Charred ahi tuna, rice, pickled ginger and mango salsa in bite-sized shells atop guacamole so good that we left nary a half-bite on the plate.

Finally it was the dish I'd selected for us to share, the seared snapper. It came with plantain puree, chayote and green apple curry. If your face went kinda screwy at the curry, bust out the Phillips. One of the most delicious meals we've ever been fortunate enough to enjoy, and perfectly portioned as well. As I explained before, Zengo is a restaurant with a "concept" and as such one will pay out the ass for it. That said, it wasn't much more than I've paid to celebrate my German heritage with a meal at Schmankerl Stube here in Hagerstown.

We floated back home to discover that not only did Patrick's mother tape the game off Comcast SportsNet, she watched it all the way through and pretty much whenever they showed Coach Boudreau on the bench, there we were too. I got to see it for myself when the network reran the game tonight. Highlights include Patrick running off at the mouth for reasons now lost to time and me necking a Budweiser like the good country girl I remain no matter how many foreign films I am determined to watch or languages I am determined to learn.

Ladies and gentlemen...the 2007-2008 Southeast Division Champions...the Washington Capitals.

Thanks. To the team, to Ted Leonsis and George McPhee, to my fellow fans, to Patrick and especially to the people who just couldn't use their tickets for the final game of the season. Hope you still had fun, no matter what you were doing.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Hottest Ticket in Sports not to the Final Four. A quartet of number one seeds battling it out doesn't trump the frenzy at F Street tonight: the Washington Capitals vs. the Florida Panthers.

The Caps win, they are in the playoffs as a number three seed.

If the Caps lose in overtime or shootout, they are in the playoffs as a number three seed.

If the Caps lose in regulation...the season is over.

No more scoreboard-watching, no more multiple scenarios, no more depending on other teams. You could say they control their own destiny if you were dense enough to not grasp that destiny is predetermined. So I won't say that. I'll just say that the dust has settled, the clouds have cleared, and the hottest team in the league is down to the most important game of the season.

Verizon Center will be awash in red-clad fans bellowing themselves hoarse. If and when the Caps sew up the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the Phone Booth roof will levitate.

Yeah, I said "if"...I thoroughly expect a Capitals win, but I'm going to keep it humble.

For now.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Inherit the Awesome

The glorious return of Free Kitten is upon us, although the girls aren't taking any dips in the deep end this time 'round. It hardly matters; the cult of the Kitten has always thought the insouciant blue whiskers more intriguing and inviting than the blunt brown, anyway.

Odds that Inherit will be superior to the last Sonic Youth album currently at 3 to 1. Odds that it will be superior to Thurston Moore's last solo effort, dead even.