A year ago, I was in Washington DC for work when I received a text message from my daughter that a bomb exploded at the Boston Marathon. So surreal. Washington almost immediately folded up shop and was on high alert.
One of my colleagues had taken his kids to the Red Sox game earlier in the day, with the intention of heading to the finish line at the end of the game. Neither of the kids were of a mind to head down, so they just left the area.
Such a scary time in the city. A week or so later, suspects identified, began a wild chase, the city of Waterown locked down for the better part of the day. I was driving to western Connecticut from Massachusetts. At the state border, there were several state troopers…and for every few miles thereafter. I knew it had something to do with what was going on in Boston, but wasn’t sure what – it turns out there were reports that the suspects had taken a car and were headed to New Haven. Later, the report was that they had jumped a train. Neither was true.
In the midst of this, Boston stood tall. In the immortal words of David Ortiz, “this is our effing city.” The Red Sox rode #BostonStrong to the World Series Championship. It was an amazing run.
Today, the 118th Boston Marathon will be run. There will be noticeable changes – there will be no bandit runners this year; and bags will have to be mesh or clear. Even at the Lexington, Mass revolutionary war reenactment has new security measures. Earlier this week, some dunce deliberately put some bags on the finish line – the bomb squad detonated the packages.
It does make me wonder what the hell is wrong with people. It’s more than just attention getting. For every Tsarnaev out there who carries out a remarkably cold act, there is another couple of idiots who think it’s a good idea to try something like it. It’s easy to lose sight of this fact, but of the 117 other races, 116 went off without a terrorist attack. While taking a look at security procedures makes sense, I have to question the wholesale throwing out civil liberties. I should be able to walk down the street carrying my crap and not get hassled because I’m not carrying it in a mesh bag. It is still a public space.
The race will be the largest ever. The race will easily be the most emotional ever. At 11:05 AM, the Red Sox will throw the first pitch to Orioles batters. About 1:30 or so, the Fenway crowd will empty out into the streets and make their way to the finish line. There will be several winners – men, women, wheelchair, the athletes who have fulfilled a life long dream of running the marathon – but I wonder if the general public will be among the big losers. I question the willingness to give up these liberties without a much larger conversation. I wonder how much of the “enhancements” are really overreaction.
Happy Easter all! I hope the Easter Bunny was good to you and yours! When I got home from work Saturday night, I had to do my job of playing Easter Bunny...The wife had all the stuff stashed...But I had no idea just how much...Some things are getting lost in the communication, because we text more lately, since we work opposite schedules...Well, she went a bit overboard...There are still a few bags of candy stashed, that will be taken to our respective work places to get rid of it all...Damn these kids are spoiled...But seeing just how excited Molly was, and even Little Beeze who lead the scoring in the egg hunt, made it worth it...Even if it was too early to wake up....
So, I'm still very much out of the loop when it comes to news and sports...When I get home from work, I may catch a bit of a late NHL Playoff game, or a west coast baseball game...But I mostly nod off in the chair with that...Although Chicago and St. Louis' 3 OT playoff game kept me up...Way too late!
So I thought I'd get into a topic that has been on my mind for awhile now...I pretty much have always been willing to share anything in my blogs, but I've held back a bit lately...I had an incident a couple months ago that slightly rattled me...And since, has had me questioning where we are as a society, and where I am as a human...
It was a Saturday night...My daughter had a couple friends sleeping over...We had eaten a mess of Chinese food...Then, around 8:00PM my wife remembered our son was suppose to go to a birthday party the next day, and we hadn't gotten a gift for his friend...So I ran up to the Wal-Mart that's less then 5 minutes away...When I was walking back to my car, A guy popped out, and demanded my phone, and wallet...I had my keys in my hand, so I was already plotting what to do...I didn't see a weapon, and told him I didn't have a phone, and had no cash...He demanded again...I told him my cards were all maxed out, it's not worth it...(Give me credit for trying to at least defuse the situation)...He got agitated, and demanded again, and stepped closer, I reached toward my pocket, with the hand that had my keys, and then I swung and unlocked his face with a key...He bounced off the car and ran...
Some one saw a bit of it, ran over and called the police...They were there in seconds...I gave them a description, even saying he has a keyhole in his face...I went home, put an ice pack on my hand, and sat alone in the kitchen, trying to calm down...I'm pretty sure I broke something in my hand, but I never got it checked...My wife came in and kept asking what was wrong...I kept trying not to tell her, because I didn't want her worried, plus I didn't want the kids to hear...Eventually, I told her, which lead to her worrying, and saying, "What if he had a gun?" My first response was, "Then I would have kept punching him." Now, if I actually saw a gun, I would have reacted differently...I assume...But calming myself down, turned into calming her down...So the tension lasted for a longer then I would have liked...
Now, I've never been a very trusting person...And I would classify myself as cynical...But I feel like I've become worse since this event...A couple weeks ago, I was driving to the store, and a older woman, older then my mother, was walking across the street, holding up a finger, asking me to wait...I rolled down the window, and she asked where I was going, which lead me to abruptly respond, "What do you want?" She said her "mother fell in her apartment and needs help, could you give me a ride there?" I very rudely said no and drove off...
As I was driving, this was my thought process...'what was this little old lady going to do to me'...'what kind of scam is she really pulling off? What an asshole I am!'....'wait, how the hell old is her mother?...fuck that, something shady is going on.'
Later in the evening, I thought about it more, and really wondered, 'what the fuck is wrong with me?' Then, a week later, coming the opposite way down the same street...There she was, doing the same thing, stopping cars, and asking for a ride...I felt validated...'Old bitch is running some fucking scam!'
As I drove by, and noticed multiple car ignore her, I had two thoughts...'Does everyone in this town know about this lady?' followed by, 'What is wrong with all of us, that we are so unwilling, or afraid to take an old lady at her word, and help her out?'
Is this really what we are, or are becoming? I won't deny being a negative fucker most my life, but it's gotten worse since some piece of shit tried to rob me...The thing that really bothers me, is I know, there is so much to be happy and positive about...My kids show me that every day...But the evil shit seems to be doing it's best to stuff the good shit down...And I know, I'm not alone...I saw other people blow that lady off...
There was a time, including in my lifetime, that I or some one else wouldn't have had a second thought about helping that lady out...Now we say fuck her...What happened?
While still recovering from a spring cold that managed to kick my ass all over the place this week...
The long nightmarish, though sort of expected, season has come to a conclusion.
The Celtics dropped their final two games of the season to finish at 25-57 for the year.
They lost to the Sixers 113-108. Kelly Olynyk established a new career high with 28 points and had 9 rebounds as well. Jeff Green scored 27 points and Avery Bradley added 23 points. Rajon Rondo scored just 8 points, but had 11 boards and 14 assists.
The season finale on Wednesday night saw the Wizards win 118-102. It was Olynyk again leading the way offensively with 24 points and 7 boards. Green scored 20 points and Bradley had 18. Brandon Bass scored 16 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. Chris Johnson hit double figures with 10 points. Rondo sat out the last game and Phil Pressey scored 9 points and dished out 10 assists in his place.
It is hard not to be disappointed in a 25-57 season. There is no way to sugar coat such a bad record. And while a lot of people will be disappointed that the Celtics are likely not going to get one of those top 3 draft picks, given the level to which the expected names to fill those three slots were exposed in the college basketball tournament, they may not really be missing out on much.
The Celtics have a good coach who actually coaches. Brad Stevens did the best possible job he could given the situation. And it isn't like he doesn't have talent on the team. The Celtics have a ton of guys that are decent players and seemingly pretty good people off the court. They are missing that one dominant player to tie everyone together.
I'm not sure how they will go about finding that type of player or even who that player might be, but if they can tie the team together through that type of upgrade, the puzzle pieces they have in place right now just might be enough to turn things around faster than expected.
Kelly Olynyk has shown that he can be a force on the court. Jeff Green may never be the #1 scoring option he shows flashes of being able to do, but being able to put up 20 plus points on any given night is a nice second or third option to have.
The point guard situation is nicely outfitted with Rondo as the started and Phil Pressey showing he can be a capable backup and spot starter as needed.
Avery Bradley has developed into a capable two guard as an offensive player (his defensive capabilities having already been established), Brandon Bass is a solid post player and I love the hustle shown by Chris Johnson.
Of course, I know that some of the players are likely to hit the road in the offseason and I'm by no means suggesting that my thoughts on the players are going to be correct. But I liked the team on the court this year despite their struggles. Why? Because they played their asses off. It was not good enough to win a lot of games, but seeing the effort night in and night out during a "lost" season gives you a little bit of hope.
In other NBA news, Minnesota Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman will not be returning to the job next season. While his record over three seasons was not good, the reason for the departure is tied more to the health situation with his wife than anything else. He was profiled in a SI.com piece that I read this week written by Joan Niesen and it delves into how great a coach he is on a variety of levels. You can read the piece here: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/nba/news/20140415/rick-adelman-minnesota-timberwolves-kevin-love/index.html
ORR Girls Track - The Bulldogs track team keeps destroying their competition when it comes to track and field. They beat Bourne 122-13 this past week and my former player Rachel won the 800 meters event in 2:36.
Wareham Girls Track - My former player Paige had a huge week this past week. She finished 3rd in the 800 meters (2:31.4) during the Freshman/Sophomore meet which qualified her for States in that event.
When the Vikings faced GNB Voc-Tech later in the week, they ran away from their competition 94-36 to improve their record to 2-1. Paige was a big part of that as well. She won the 2 mile event in 12:16. She qualified for states in the event and broke the 37 year old school record (12:31). She was also part of the winning 4x400 relay team that finished with a states
qualifying time of 4:32.2.
Wareham Girls Softball - The varsity team dropped to 0-7 on the season after an 11-6 loss to Seekonk and a 6-5 loss to Bourne. Breanna had 2 hits in the Seekonk game. Raelyn got tagged with both losses on the mound.
Upper Cape Girls Softball - Improving upon their no-hitter earlier in the season, the Lady Rams beat South Shore 18-0 in a five inning PERFECT GAME! They are now 6-1 on the season.
I don't write a lot about the Bruins, I know. But with the playoffs starting I thought I'd make note that the Bruins finished as the best team in the NHL. This finish brings them the President's Cup and makes me wonder...so what?
Okay, now I'm not opposed to them being the best team in the league heading into the Quest for the Cup, but the press over them beating the Sabres and sealing the President's Cup was completely ridiculous.
Personally, as long as a team qualifies for the playoffs, do you really care where they end up? Any team can win from whatever seed they start out as. Winning the President's Cup doesn't mean you will win the Stanley Cup. And being the best regular season team means nothing if you aren't the best team after the playoffs are over.
And while it is only the first game of the series, the Bruins losing 1-0 to the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night does not exactly inspire confidence.
Heading into the game, I was listening to the sports guy on the radio station I have on in the car. He was voicing the opinion I've heard from others that the Bruins facing the Red Wings is not a typical one vs. 8 seed kind of matchup.
Boston College - The Eagles finally got some good news when Olivier Hanlan, the men's basketball team's best player announced he would be returning to school for his junior year. There had been talk of him entering the NBA draft.
He met with new coach Jim Christian and made the decision to come back to school. For me, I think he made the right decision. He's the team's best player but I don't see him making a big impact on the NBA level just yet. I know if you stay and become a four year player in college, you are seen as having something wrong with you in this day and age. But I think that is pure poppycock. Some players might just benefit from a full college experience and have matured enough that you don't have to worry about a team babysitting him in the NBA.
By the way, Twitter helped rake NCAA president Mark Emmert over the coals this week. It seems he was a guest on the Mike & Mike radio show when they took questions via Twitter with the #AskEmmert hashtag.
TV - The network shows are heading into their season finales with the CBS comedies Mom (already renewed) and The Crazy Ones (fate yet unknown) ending this past week.
BBC America started the second season of their critical and cult hit Orphan Black last night.
Still nothing could top last Sunday's episode of Game of Thrones which featured the most well deserved and well earned death in cinematic history.
Movies - You can check out the final trailer for the X-Men: Days of Future Past movie below.
I saw the movie Frozen last week and found it to be pretty enjoyable. Even funnier was the Honest Trailer for the movie.
Books - I finished reading the Rob Thomas / Jennifer Graham mystery novel Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line before I got sick this week. It is set right after the events of the Veronica Mars movie and with the series/movie creator Rob Thomas involved with the writing, the book did have the right feel to it. The only flaw I saw in the book was the continued insanity of the fully grown adult title character to use a gun, or learn basic self defense tactics.
Music - Did anyone take part in Record Store Day yesterday? I usually try to go to the event which celebrates independent record shops with exclusive vinyl releases from artists both big and small. You can check out what was offered to fans yesterday via http://www.recordstoreday.com
I didn't pick up any of the vinyl releases, but I got three new CDs with the help of the special Buy 2 Get 1 sale at the Newbury Comics location closest to me.
I picked up the debut solo album from former Nightwish singer Anette Olzon called Shine. I grabbed a disc from last year called All Hell Breaks Loose from the band Black Star Riders (the remaining guys from Thin Lizzy). And finally, Bad Company singer Paul Rodgers had a solo album out last year called The Royal Sessions. It celebrates the songs and musicians of Memphis.
I also picked up (via online purchase) the 2013 self-titled debut from the rock trio The Winery Dogs. I had heard three songs when the album was originally released but hadn't yet gotten around to purchasing the CD. Now I have and hopefully there will be a review coming soon.
Happy Easter and welcome Gabbers and others to my NASCAR updates and other fast stuff. Just imagine being able to handle a bird as majestic and powerful as an eagle like this young Mongolian boy is. Right now he's being trained to hunt with the eagle. Puts your falcon to shame. If that eagle is anything like my sisters macaw, I'll pass. Bugger pulls my barrettes out of my hair or tries to pull my earrings out every time it sees me. He makes me his personal jungle gym.
Not a whole lot of news from NASCAR this week. Swann Racing laid off employees this week. Seems they can't get sponsorship so Cole Whitt and Parker Kligerman are out of rides. Supposedly Whitt could have a ride at BK Racing. I'm betting Ryan Truex gets the boot. Not sure if Swann is keeping Kligerman or folding completely. Last I read they don't have the money to go to Richmond coming up on the 26th. I guess every thing is in the air. Sad. Another low budget team goes down.
I told you last week that Haas got his green light F1 ownership and speculation has started for who gets the seat. Haas assured every one that no way could any of his drivers go from a NASCAR race to an F1 race every weekend. Just no physically possible. Pretty much I think one look at both schedules and we could all figure that out. That's why doing the double (Indy 500 & Coca Cola 500 ) is so special and only a few drivers have done it. I'm sure there are drivers handing in their business cards as we speak. He'll have choices.
Mr Joby Ogwyn is set to jump off Mt Everst LIVE on May 11th on Discovery Channel....Weather permitting of course. May is that time of year that mountain climbers go to climb Everest. They have one month to do it. I'm wondering how Discovery Channel is going to finagle that one? Literally hundreds of climbers, guides and Sherpa's fight and jockey for position on that trail to the top. Joby plans to climb to the top, jump off that summit and fly down to base camp more than 10,000 ft down @ speeds of 150 mph. Still wondering if it will be the same trail as every one else or if some how Discovery Channel paid for that day some how. Any way, look for it. Reality TV at it's finest.
I want those goggles. This young man is Jamie Barrow. He's 21 years old and holding the future of extreme sports. At least that's what Adam Contoret of Dreamscience Propulsion based in the UK thinks. He designed this battery powered hand held electric jet engine. Jamie took it out on a frozen lake with his snowboard and did runs with it. His best speed was a little over 80 Kilometers Per Hour. Don't know how close that is to 80 mph but I bet it's fast. Adam says that with some tweaking he bets this device will be used by extreme sports enthusiasts for example if they needed power to wind surf and there was no wind that day. Some types of this engine is already being used in paragliders. So there you have it. All you Gabbers on the verge of a mid life crisis can fore go the little red sports car and get one of these. I want to see how it does with a skate board......down hill..... Yeah buddy.
This month marks Fender Stratocaster's 60th birthday. Not bad for a guitar born in a small workshop in Fullerton, CA. I bought my son a cherry red one back when he was in high school. Cue Jimi Hendrix and his version of The Star Spangled Banner, please.
So no race this weekend. The drivers need time with their families just like us. Sure does make for a really boring weekend sports wise for me. Love my racing.
Last year at this time, Harvick came from 7th place on the restart of the GWC to take the win. He won the race that Kenseth led the most laps in with 140. Sux to lead that many and have a caution come out at the end and rip the W from you but that's exactly what happened. I'm betting it will happen again on Saturday too. It's been a crazy season so far. New rules have left the crew chief's with way more options in their set ups and they are taking those options to the edge with catastrophic results in the tire malfunction direction. They best get that figured out.
Richmond is a D shaped track that is a .75 mile lap. That's 400 laps of tight quarters and short tempers that will rule the day or I mean night. So the D shape says hitting that sweet spot where the car is good enough the whole way around the track will be tough on the crew chief to figure out. And the tempers will flair up on the track in the mean time.
So out of the last 4 races there, 2 in spring and 2 in the fall of the last 2 years we have a hand full of drivers that do well here. Kenseth with an average finish of 7.25 is the highest on that list. Top 10 for sure. Stewart, Edwards, Bowyer, Dale Jr, Harvick, Newman, Gordon and Hamlin would be your others on that list.
Hamlin was really good here in the past but I chose the last 4 races because they're the ones in the Gen 6 car. He's led 202 laps in those 4 races though but no W. Top 10.
Harvick only led 18 laps at this track but has a W, 1 top 5 and 2 top 10's. He's been fast but he's blown 2 motors and burned up a hub. Can he keep up the momentum after his win at Darlington? Maybe.
Stewart has a 8.37 average finish in 4 races. 2 top 5's & 2 top 10's. I think he's making a come back. Info from team mates Harvick & Ku Bu can only help.
Ku Bu finished 9th here last spring. He's not so good with the temper thing but he's good at short tracks.
Bowyer led 113 laps here in the spring race. Damn late race restarts. He did come in 2nd. Lucks not so good this year.Only has 2 top 10's so far. Really needs cautions to fall his way and to stay out of the wall.
Newman ended in 5th last year and I expect another top 10 out of him.
Edwards should be top 10 too.
Biffle and Stenhouse...top 15
Gordon used to own this track. I'll say top 10
Keselowski leads laps but has issues and falls back. Last year he was 30th minus 8 laps. Had a right front go down and he hit the wall on lap 157. Never recovered. I'll say top 20.
Logano was 3rd last year. I give him a top 10. He's had some solid runs so far this year.
Dale Jr gets a top 10. He's focused and ready this year for that championship.
Johnson...not one of his better tracks. Top 15.
Menard has been struggling but showing flashes of what could be. Top 10.
Ky Bu is either brilliant or epic failure here. He's got 1 W. Top 15.
Rookie to look out for would be Larson. Kids a quick learner and I would not rule out a top 10. Dillon would be the other to look out for and I bet a top 15.
Nemechek has been driving the #66 for MWR Racing and I'm wondering when Mikie is going to pull the plug. They may be using that car as experimental but he should be doing way way better than 35th or worse every week. I'm hoping they borrow Hornish from Gibbs Racing. I need a cheap driver that's good to pick up in my NASCAR Live salary cap league. He would be awesome. One can only hope. Reality is more like they might pick up Kligerman if Swann Racing lets him go.
The entry list doesn't come out till Monday or Tuesday so I have to wait and see how my line up will change if at all. Right now it's Kenseth $28.25 - Stewart 423.25 - Keselowski $25.75 - Allmendinger $17.25 - Sorenson $5.00 and that adds up to $99.50. My salary cap is too tight. Lets hope I hit pay dirt on Saturday.
Still trying to cut back on the sugar and up my water intake. I walk around with a cup of ice water all the time. It's helping. What's not helping is they had a candyfest at work. I avoided the back break room like the plague but damn it if some body didn't track me down and hand me a box of marshmallow peeps. They just knew I'd want them. I smiled and thanked him. Somebody else gave me a dyed Easter egg. with my name on it. Haven't decided if I'm sacrificing the peeps on the grill or slicing the cello open to let them get stale. Choices choices choices. So how do you like your peeps?
Have a blessed Easter. Hope everyone enjoys their dinner & family time or whatever the tradition is in your life. Have a good one. Have a safe one. Just make sure you have one.