Sidewalk Art

In case you haven't seen these, they're incredible. Julian Beever is renowned for his sidewalk art creations all over the world. These are really spectacular, especially the one of some of our politicians "going to hell."

I hope you enjoy looking at these as much as I am.









Thanks for reading.

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This just in: Oil prices fell sharply Thursday after the Energy Department reported unexpected declines in crude oil supplies last week but said the drop was due to temporary delays in unloading oil tankers along the Gulf Coast. The decline of more than $4 came as a stronger dollar and concerns about gas demand also weighed on prices.

Retail gas prices, meanwhile, rose to a new record above $3.95 a gallon. Here in western North Carolina, it's $4.09 for regular unleaded. The average national price of a gallon of gas rose 0.8 cent Thursday to a record $3.952, according to a survey of stations by AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. Analysts and the Energy Department forecast prices will rise above the psychologically important $4 level soon on a national basis. Prices are already that high in many parts of the country, and are averaging more than $4 in 11 states and the District of Columbia.

Diesel prices are also soaring. The national average price of a gallon of diesel fuel rose 0.9 cent Thursday to a record national average of $4.787. Diesel prices are above $5 a gallon in some areas, and are pulling prices of food and consumer goods higher because diesel is used by most trucks, trains and ships.

In Washington, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) revealed that it is six months into a wide-ranging investigation of U.S. oil markets, with a focus on possible price manipulation. The CFTC also announced a handful of initiatives designed to increase transparency of the energy futures markets. The commission said it started the probe in December and was publicizing the investigation "because of today's unprecedented market conditions."


I think it's great that the CFTC has been investigating oil markets for the last six months. Really, I do. But as the song goes, how bout a little less talk and a little more action?

In a January 23, 2002 New York Times article: Congressional Memo; Senator Attacks Oil Policy As Top Democrats Jockey, John Kerry was talking about our country's lack of a comprehensive energy policy. Well guess what? Six years later, all up and down the campaign trail, we're still talking about it. We've been talking about it. Non-stop. This conversation isn't going anywhere.

It's time to stop talking and start doing. Do we really have to wait until the end of this year's presidential election cycle and prey that a democrat gets in office to make change? And if so, what is the new president going to do? I mean, really!

I'm beginning to be of the opinion that high oil prices are in our politicians' best interests because it gives them something to talk about and something to promise us to make us feel good as we plop down $5 for a Subway Value Meal Footlong Sandwich, which, if you get the chips and the drink costs $8.50 with tax. Not to mention the $4-6 you spent driving to the Subway and back on your lunch hour from work. That's almost fifteen bucks folks! For lunch! Five days a week, $75.00! I'm wondering what $75.00 would buy me in groceries at WalMart these days? But I digress.


It's not my intent to go over the top and rant, but really, enough is enough. I truly believe it's time that we did something ourselves. Let's do something right now. On my left sidebar, is a Take Action Widget. If you live in the United States, type in your zip code. You'll find a list of all your US Senators and Representatives and State and Local Officials.

I'm just asking you to write them!

You don't have to beg, you don't have to shout, you don't have to threaten, but you do have to raise your voice! Just write to them. Tell them that it's unacceptable that we don't have a national energy policy that makes sense. Tell them that it's unacceptable to have to be able to choose between food or medicine and gasoline for your car. Tell them that it's there responsibility to get this taken care of, and tell them the time for talk is over. Get the job done.

I promise you, that if all 300 Million of us who live in the US would just write to all of our representatives and ask for the same thing, our government will finally sit up, raise their eyebrows, and take notice. But if we don't raise our voices and make ourselves heard in the appropriate forum in a constructive way, then nothing will change and we'll only have ourselves to blame as we forgo that Memorial Day vacation travel once again, not to mention all the other sacrifices we're going to have to make on a daily basis.

Thanks for reading.

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The Tradition of the Octopus

Opening Night of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Detroit

The tradition of slinging the octopus onto the ice before a Detroit Red Wings playoff game originated quite humbly, and even logically. Back when there were the original six hockey teams, a team needed to win only two playoff series to earn the league's coveted Stanley Cup. On their way to sweeping Montreal in the Stanley Cup finals, the Red Wings of Gordie Howe and Sid Abel, et. al., won eight straight games in the spring of 1952, a rare occurrence. A couple of brothers and business owners from Detroit's Eastern Market decided to commemorate the feat.

Pete and Jerry Cusimano, because they owned a fish market, decided for the end of Game 4 on April 15, 1952, to toss an octopus onto the Olympia Stadium surface, with each of its tentacles representing a postseason victory.

"Octopus has a great flavor," said Kevin Dean, owner of the Superior Fish Company in suburban Royal Oak, MI, famed for selling more than 100 pounds of octopusses on a single Red Wings gameday, some even to ingest (in salad, spreads, dip and octochili). "You are what you eat, and octopi basically eat crustaceans, crabs, other mollusks. They'll dine on sharks. Even ducks."

And yes, even Penguins.

Al, the Octopus--stoked and ready for the Finals!

A hockey tradition unlike any other continued this week at The Joe--as Joe Louis Arena is affectionately known--where security guards reputedly attempted to stop cephalopod smugglers at the doors. Red Wings spokeswoman Lisa Hickok said at least three octopuses have been confiscated from ticket-holders through the first three rounds of the playoffs, and promptly pitched. Hopefully, not into the Detroit River beside the arena.

"Sometimes, they can smell them coming in on people," she said.


Ms. Hickok said octopus tossers are, if possible, apprehended and taken to Detroit city police on patrol at The Joe. The tossers aren't usually escorted from the building, but they can receive a ticket and fine, she said. This was news to a Detroit police spokeswoman, who declined to give her name but said she never heard of such a thing. Could be a disorderly conduct charge, she offered. Or, maybe, if the object actually hit a player or official on the ice, assault with ... a deadly appetizer?

It is indeed "octomania," as eloquently phrased by Superior Fish's Mr. Dean, who runs the family business with his brother, David. The roof of The Joe is adorned in the postseason with a huge, inflatable octopus mascot named Al. Some Detroit radio stations hold contests for tickets such as bobbing for cephalopods or mollusk catching.

Earlier this postseason, the Nashville Predators raised a fuss about fabled building operations manager/ice-lord Al Sobotka whipping The Joe crowd into a frenzy by picking up a thrown octopus and spinning it over his head. As a result, the NHL--I couldn't make this up, either--threatened a $10,000 fine if Al Sobotka or anyone twirls around a mollusk anywhere on the ice surface.

Al Sobotka Wielding the Octopus

So Al Sobotka waits until he has returned to the safety of the Zamboni doorway, still within full view of the 20,058 Joe seats.

"I was kind of surprised by the rule, but what am I going to do?" said Sobotka, in his 37th season with the Red Wings. "The fans get a big jolt out of it. The TV people get a big jolt out of it."

And he shared his spinning secret: "You got to get a firm grip on it and kind of twirl it real fast, otherwise the tentacles hit you in the face."

Superior Fish offers a how-to guide and ice-pitching protocol the Dean brothers dub "Octoquette":

1. Boil the octopus for a half-hour to remove the natural moisture so the ice doesn't get slimed.

2. Hurl an octopus only after a Red Wings goal or at the completion of the national anthem. A Game 2 hurler noticed how somebody tossed one at the end of that Detroit victory: "It was a ... sea monster. The thing had to be 30 pounds. How the hell do you get that over the glass?"

3. Throw it "away from any players, officials and personnel," to quote the Web site. "If you have any doubt in your ability [to hit such a target area], PLEASE refrain from propelling your Octopi."

Mr. Dean and his employees go so far as to ask potential hurlers for their seat assignment, physical shape and throwing ability when selling octopuses that normally range from 1 to 16 pounds. They also will set up buyers with a kit containing large plastic bags and gloves to deal with boiling and hiding the octopus. Thanks to Superior, it has become so easy that parents have been known to celebrate the end of Pee Wee hockey seasons with a ceremonial cephalopod fling.

Any Detroit fans who plan to attend any of the Cup games in Pittsburgh better stash their eight-legged friends in their carry-on luggage because they'll have a hard time buying them in Pittsburgh. (See article from the Detroit Free Press below.) Dan Wholey, owner of the legendary Strip District fish market that bears his family's surname, said that anyone trying to purchase an octopus during the Finals has to present a valid Pennsylvania ID. He said Wholey's will not sell their octopuses to visiting Red Wings fans; a sign above the store's octopus display says as much.

No Octopus For You

"Octopus is for eating, not for throwing," Mr. Wholey said. "It's a beautiful part of the seafood diet and we don't want any of ours on the Penguins ice, and that's a fact. The Penguins are going to win the Stanley Cup and we're strong supporters of them."

Game and mollusk on.

Operation Octopus: Pittsburgh purchase try is firmly denied

PITTSBURGH -- The octopus police pounced almost immediately after I took 10 steps Tuesday into Pittsburgh's most famous downtown fish market. In my red-and-white Red Wings sweater, I strolled toward the octopi. They were packed in open freezer cases full of ice and wrapped neatly in plastic.

My undercover assignment: Test Dan Wholey on his proclamation that Red Wings fans can't buy the eight-legged creatures from his store, Wholey's Fish Market, located in the meat and produce warehouse area known as the Strip District. The mission was painful enough. I live and work in metro Detroit and cheer for the area's professional sports teams. But I grew up in Pittsburgh, and my heart remains with the black and gold. Now, I was the enemy in my hometown.

I walked into the 20,000-square-foot market, past a stuffed animal Penguin and a "Go Pens" sign, at 1:50 p.m. A model train rolled along tracks hung just below the ceiling.

"Dan Wholey, get him!" shouted an employee. "He's a Red Wing fan."

Pretending not to hear him, I walked right up to the octopi. I picked one up, ignoring the warning sign: "If you're from Detroit, you're not allowed to buy the octopus. Must show identification."

Moving toward the counter, Dan Wholey intercepted me.

"Excuse me, sir," he said.

"Hey, how you doing?" I replied.

"You're with the Red Wings, right?" he said in a soft-spoken tone.

"No, not with the organization," I answered.

He was polite, but serious.

"I can't sell that to you," Wholey said.

"What do you mean?" I retorted.

"Didn't you see the sign? C'mon, I'll show you."

He walked me back to the warning sign and pointed.

"You can buy anything else in the store," Wholey said with a sweeping gesture. "But I can't sell you an octopus."

He was very apologetic, but insistent. "I cannot."

I turned to leave, all in good sport. A few customers in the small crowd that had gathered cheered as I headed toward the door. Then I turned around with a chuckle and revealed my identity: Detroit Free Press reporter.

Wholey burst out laughing.

I was the first person to challenge him in person on his octopi-refusing stance, he said, one that made national news last week. "Boy, you scared me," Wholey admitted. "I thought, 'Oh God, here we go. I'm really going to have to deny someone.' " He lamented the Penguins' losses in the first two Stanley Cup finals games.

"My goodness, we are behind the eight ball," he said. "The Red Wings have the toughest defense I've ever seen."

Turns out the guy who alerted Wholey of my presence, Mike Hartman, carries the self-imposed title of head octopus cutter.

"That sign's been up for a week, and as soon as you walked in I thought: 'Someone from Detroit is trying to test us,' " Hartman said. "I wasn't really sure that someone would want to throw one on the ice of Mellon Arena. But you had me convinced."

Wholey said he planned to stand his ground and would continue to do so today if other Wings fans appear at his store as Games 3 and 4 shift to the 'Burgh starting tonight.

"I was nervous about the confrontation, but I really do stand behind the policy," he said. "It's not gonna happen, at least not from here."

We shook hands. I started to leave when a customer who witnessed the exchange pulled me aside. She quietly told me of another fish market, a half-mile away, that would sell me an octopus. I headed toward my car, still in my Wings sweater.

A man in a black T-shirt and jeans walked nearby as I crossed Penn Avenue. "That's a dangerous thing to be wearing today," he said.

I drove up to the next stop: Benkovitz Seafoods on Smallman Street.

I asked for octopus.

"Sold out," said a man behind the counter.

I asked to order some. A female employee chimed in: "No one's going to sell it to you in that shirt."

I pressed on and asked for the store manager.

Manager Devenee Schumacher was not only willing to sell it to me, she agreed to place an order because the store was out.

"I'll order it for tomorrow," she said.

The female employee protested, pointing out my clothing.

"I know, he's a Red Wing fan," Schumacher said. "What do I care?"

She wanted to know why octopi were so popular with metro Detroiters. I explained the tradition and how it originated because eight wins were formerly needed to win the Stanley Cup.

She wrote my name on a small order slip, next to the words "1-octopus."

"I don't believe in superstitions. I don't think it would hurt the Penguins in any way," Schumacher said. "I love our team dearly and I root for them."

Contact BEN SCHMITT at 313-222-4296



And thanks for reading.

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Almost Wordless Wednesday: Stanley Cup Finals

March of the Penguins

Et tu, Brute?

Jedi Knights (L to R: Henrik Zetterberg & Nicklas Lidstrom)

Tastes Like Chicken

Happy Feet

Nicklas Lidstrom: Not only the Captain of the Detroit Red Wings, but Lidstrom is also favored to win his sixth Norris Trophy--awarded to the best defenseman in the NHL. A win would move him past Defensive Great Ray Bourque and give him sole possession of 3rd place among the all-time winners of the Norris Trophy.


The Other White Meat

Motor City Octopus

Penguins Running for their Lives

The Octopus That Ate Pittsburgh


Experience Is Everything. All eight Red Wings pictured in the background have hoisted the Stanley Cup over their heads previously as champions. Four of those pictured and six overall have been a part of three Detroit Stanley Cup Winning Teams. Detroit is half way to its eleventh championship as a franchise.

Henrik Zetterberg: Demise of the Penguins

Have Wings, Will Fly

Dawn of a New Day

Thanks to Chris Osgood's stellar goaltending--he's only the fourth goalie ever to begin the Stanley Cup Finals with two shutouts--and awesome defensive play and puck possession by the entire Detroit team, Detroit enjoys a 2-0 lead in this best of seven series. Game 3 begins in Pittsburgh at 8:00 pm tonight, and will be televised on NBC.

Thanks for reading.

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Yesterday Once More


Last night was one of those nights when the sun sets like a neon floodlight and memories from a similar sunset 19 years ago came back, and so, here is the poem written for the one whose memory that neon sun evokes.

Goodbye, My Friend

I watched that neon sun go down
as a jet flew through
electric red and purple rays
in between soft clouds
pushed and pulled by the wind.

And as I watched, I wondered:
what happens to a cloud
when it is torn asunder in the winds,
almost like a loaf of french bread
in a game of tug-o-war
with the white blur of fur
that snatched it from the dinner table.

Does the cloud die
and fade to nothingness,
never to be seen again,
or do memories remain
like scattered breadcrumbs on the floor
after the tug-o-war?


I remember
sitting with her in the waiting room.
She would walk back and forth on the tiled floor,
lie down under my chair,
get up and walk back and forth again—
bumping into a table covered with magazines…

Come here, girl!
Roll over.
Don’t die.



It is night now.
The sun has gone
and I no longer see the clouds.
So I lament
like that old McCartney song
of life and love and loss.

When I see that neon sun again
I’ll remember
the game,
and the breadcrumbs too.
I’ll watch the wind
blowing the clouds around
and feel
my gentle rain.

Tomboy Buffy, Age: 1


Buffy, Age: 7. All groomed and lady-like


And for those of you who thought this post was going to be about a Carpenters song... 'bout a rare live cover of the song by Olivia Newton-John?

Thanks for reading.

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The Remarkables

An MTMD Guest Post from Dave at Is a mans world.


The Remarkables are an extremely steep, rugged mountain range that rise to a height of 2234 meters and dominate the Queenstown, New Zealand landscape. In 1857, a European surveyor gave the range its English name. They are located in the south-west of the South Island, or about 285 km (177 mi) west of Dunedin in the Otago region.

In pre-European times, the Queenstown area was a stopover for Maori prospectors on the fabled greenstone (a type of jade, called pounamu by Maori) route to the West Coast. European sheep-farming settlers arrived in 1860, followed two years later by gold miners seeking nuggets and powdered gold in the Shotover River. The gold rush that ensued lasted only until 1865, but small gold-mining ventures still remain which can still be explored by 4WD wilderness tours.

The mountains were allegedly named The Remarkables because they are one of only two mountain ranges in the world which run directly north to south. An alternate explanation for the name given by locals is that early Queenstown settlers, upon seeing the mountain range during sunset one evening, named them the Remarkables to describe the sight.

Queenstown is the South Island's premier tourist resort, and tourists agree that the Remarkables live up to its name by rising sharply to create an impressive backdrop for the lake waters that lap at the shore Queenstown is built upon. Queenstown is not only famous for jet boating, skiing (there's 220 skiable hectares accessed by three quad chair lifts within three sunny, wide open bowls. For the first timer through to the seasoned expert, skiers of all skill levels will be challenged by narrow chutes and rock drops;) bungee jumping, adventure sports, and spectacular scenery, but it's also famous for the filming of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.


Compare the mountains above in this still from The Return of the King with this daylight shot of The Remarkables below:


Can you tell that they are the same mountains? This same shot of The Remarkables was used over and over again throughout The Lord of the Rings and the various landscapes were digitally added at the base of the mountains and the features of Queenstown removed. Here's another view of The Remarkables just peaking out above the clouds. Shots like this were also used dramatically in the scenes where the beacons at Minas Tirith where lit and in succession from the White City to Rohan in the pivotal scene where Gondor calls on Rohan for aid.


The area contains a number of beautiful features, such as Lake Alta, a small lake nestled within a natural amphitheater at the head of a glacial valley and below the towering Double Cone peaks. Glacial tarns, schist outcrops and bluffs, waterfalls, unique flora and fauna, recreation opportunities and spectacular views over Lake Wakatipu draw large numbers of visitors to this special area. High points in the range include Double Cone (2340 meters) and Ben Nevis (2330 meters, which is named after a Scottish mountain of the same name).


If you are in New Zealand and you are looking for fun then you can't go past The Remarkables. The Remarkables are all about fun, families, freestyle and the love of the big mountain environment. Sitting high above Queenstown the scenery is stunning. The sun shines all day, and the fun & entertainment never stops. The emphasis here is on entertainment with live music on the decks of the ski resorts and the festivals such as The Remarkables Spring Carnival which attract a huge following. There are plenty of places to just kick back, fuel up and bask in the sun too. Then when you feel recharged, head to the UP&GO Terrain Park or go off-piste for extreme riding and skiing. For something a little different, try the Ozone Tubing Park.


Thanks Dave for an awesome post. For more like this, please visit the most awesome Kiwi I know! Cheers, Mate!


Thanks for reading.

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Red Wings Take Game One!


Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals began as a chaotic and nervous exchange on both sides of the ice. Both Goaltenders, Fleury of Pittsburgh and Osgood of Detroit had to make brilliant saves, but after a first penalty-filled period, the score remained tied at zero despite a brilliant shot by Niklas Lidstrom into the Pittsburgh goal that was waived off as no-goal in a disputed penalty by Thomas Holmstrom of Detroit.

In the second period, however, both teams settled and played cleaner. Kronwall from Detroit was everywhere with hard hits for those not paying attention, but ultimately Detroit scored first and the crowd of the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit erupted with raucous cheers and noise.

In the final period, Pittsburgh began to get sloppy--while on a powerplay, they allowed Detroit to score short-handed and go up 3-0 which sealed the deal, and Niklas Lidstrom scored a final goal after Pittsburgh committed a penalty with 1:52 left in the game.

Chris Osgood was absolutely brilliant and the packed SRO crowd at Joe Louis Arena were chanting Ozzie through much of the game. He made all the tough shots when he needed to. And he's going to need to. It's certain that Pittsburgh will regroup and come out fighting in Game 2 Monday Night!

Thanks for reading.

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NEW EntreCard Features


Within the last week, the folks at EntreCard have added lots of new features to make the site easier and more flexible for its users. If you are not a member of EntreCard but you are trying to increase traffic to your blog, I can honestly say that no blog promotion service has had more of an impact generating traffic to my blog than EntreCard, and I strongly suggest you check it out. For those of you who haven't been online in a while, here is a brief summary of the new EntreCard features:

Now you can add all your blogs to Entrecard simply by going to your Dashboard and clicking "Linked Blogs" in your Dashboard navigation. You will be able to choose whether to link your account with another EXISTING account, or to register a NEW BLOG with Entrecard, and automatically link it to your account.

You can switch from one blog to another, and drop or advertise as either one, from the very top right of your Entrecard screen. Where your email address is displayed there will be a link to "switch" to another account of yours.

Add just one more blog to your account, and you're automatically entered to win 15,000 credits!


EntreCard's free ebook has arrived for everyone to download! If you're new to Entrecard, and wondering what to do first, this ebook will guide you along the way. And if you're an intermediate of advanced user, it's packed full of strategies you can use to get the absolute most from our service. Download from the link above

We are holding a contest to help us spread the word on our "add new blog" feature and our new E-Book, so anyone who posts on their blog, mentions our new "add a blog" feature, and posts a link to our new ebook on their blog wins 2000 credits. Just leave a comment on this blog post with the link for us to see.

Credits will be paid to all winners on June 25th

We're giving away 15,000 credits to people who add new blogs to their accounts. We will randomly select one winner in each of the following classes:

2-5 blogs in account

5-10 blogs in account
10-15 blogs in account
15-20 blogs in account
20-25 blogs in account

We're giving away a total of 75,000 credits, as there will be one 15,000 credit winner for each class. All you have to do is use our new feature to add Entrecard to your other blogs, or simply link your other blogs together using the "switch" button in the top right of the site. Winners will be picked on June 25th

If you haven't been around in a while, then you haven't seen our new homepage! It automatically posts links to YOUR posts, every time you update your blog. You can also use it to see in real time what Entrecarders are talking about on their blog!

On your "Campaign" page We added simple quick jump tabs to the campaign page, to easily see the newest, cheapest, and more at just the click of a button. The "Search" tab on the end of the campaign navigation will bring you to the browser that you are currently familiar with.

The people who visit your blog more frequently than any other members are known as your top droppers. We just created an RSS feed, found on your "Statistics" page, that will allow you to subscribe.

Whew, so that's what we've been up to. Our new E-Book and all these new features are designed to help you get MORE traffic, MORE exposure, and MORE value for your blog and your time. Don't forget to enter our contests by adding other blogs to your account, and posting a link to our new E-Book!

Entrecard Team

Thanks for reading.

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MTMD Unveils New Look!

Hello, and welcome to the new look of MTMD!

After two years, it was time to update the design of the site. The site is now brighter and a little easier on the eyes to read, and with the addition of a right sidebar, some new sidebar icons, and some stylistic cleanup, hopefully it's more pleasing to the eye as well.

Zoe, at Chic & Sassy Designs has really done a remarkable job updating the site, giving it a brand new template, but maintaining and enhancing the design elements that have given Meltwater. Torrents. Meanderings. Delta. it's distinctive look and feel that bloggers have come to know over the last 2 1/2 years.

The major highlight of the update is the new set of 4 seasonal headers and footers. As it's spring here in the Northern Hemisphere, the Spring header is now front and center along with the summer footer--so make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom to check the footer out--it's gorgeous.

And to continue with the flowing water and change/evolution theme of the site, the header and footer will be staggered so that each season will flow into the next. The spring header will flow into the summer footer which will become the summer header in June, flowing into the fall footer, which will become the fall header in September and so on and so on. In December, as a special holiday gift to all of you, the new winter header will debut. I'm pleased to say that the winter header is the most striking header of them all and is derivative from the old MTMD header that's just been retired, but far more breathtaking and expansive.

Please leave a comment and tell me what you think of the new look! I've still got some tweaking to do, so please excuse the mess as all the widgets and sections of the sidebar move around a little, are deleted or replaced as befits the new theme. I apologize in advance for any inconvenience or disorientation, and I sincerely hope the site does a bit better at catching your eye.

Thanks for reading.

Almost Wordless Wednesday: Memorial Day

The Vietnam Memorial

The Arizona Memorial

Arlington National Cemetery

Let Freedom Ring

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday that is observed on the last Monday of May (observed in 2008 on May 26). It was formerly known as Decoration Day. This holiday commemorates U.S. men and women who have died in military service to their country. It began first to honor Union soldiers who died during the American Civil War. After World War I, it was expanded to include those who died in any war or military action. One of the longest standing traditions is the running of the Indianapolis 500, which has been held in conjunction with Memorial Day since 1911. It is also traditionally viewed as the beginning of summer.

Thanks for reading.

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Teamwork Returns the Detroit Red Wings to the Stanley Cup Finals!


WOOHOO! Dominant in the regular season, superb again in the postseason, the Detroit Red Wings are headed back to the Stanley Cup finals!

Just when the Red Wings lost consecutive games and were starting to look vulnerable, they bounced back strong in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals, getting first-period goals from Kris Draper, Pavel Datsyuk and Dallas Drake on their way to knocking out the Dallas Stars 4-1 on Monday night.

Now Detroit goes from worrying about becoming the third team to blow a 3-0 series lead to trying to win its fourth championship in 11 seasons. The Red Wings will face the Pittsburgh Penguins, with the first two games at The storied Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. The series opens Saturday, with the schedule following a Saturday-Monday-Wednesday pattern.

Detroit will be the home team because it had more regular-season points - most in the league, in fact. The Red Wings are the first recipient of the Presidents' Trophy to play for the Cup since they did so in 2002. That also was the last time they were in the finals.

As good as Detroit was the first 82 games, the Red Wings were even better for much of the last six weeks. They went nearly a month between losses, winning a franchise-record nine straight playoff games. It was the longest run by any team in 15 years and it put them a win away from eliminating the fifth-seeded Stars.

Dallas won Games 4 and 5 by limiting Detroit to a goal each game. The Red Wings exceeded that output in the first period Monday, with all three goals coming on uncontested shots right in front of the net. Henrik Zetterberg added a short-handed goal early in the second period and the series was all but over then.

Detroit's walloping knockout punch shouldn't have been a surprise. The Red Wings beat Nashville 3-0 to end the opening round, then crushed Colorado 8-2 to end the second round. In each game in the regular season, and now in each game of the playoffs, Detroit is performing better and better as a team. Each night, different Red Wings have contributed goals. In the last series against the Colorado Avalanche, Franzen scored more goals than the entire Colorado Team for the entire series. This series, Franzen has been out with injuries, so other players have had to step up.

Through it all, Chris Osgood has been superb. Osgood improved to 10-2 this postseason. It was his 100th career playoff game and his 55th victory - his 48th for Detroit, passing Hall of Famer Terry Sawchuk for the franchise record.

Notes: The Red Wings and Penguins did not meet this season. They did the two previous years and Detroit won both. ... This will be the first Detroit-Pittsburgh finals. ... It also will be the first all-American finals since 2003, when New Jersey faced Anaheim.

Banner 2 Banner 1 go!

Tonya Harding is coming out with a new book, The Tonya Tapes, in which she speaks frankly, if a bit confusingly, about the Tonya and Nancy Scandal. And about being abused during childhood, comtemplating suicide, having a gun placed to her head and getting raped. the book is a compilation of interviews with author Lynda D. Prouse conducted over eight years. In 1994, Harding's then husband Jeff Gillooly, helped plan an assault on Nancy Kerrigan that triggered a melodrama complete with headlines and huge television ratings at the Lillehammer Olympics.

Kristi Yamaguchi scored a perfect 60 out of 60 in both her routines last night on Dancing with the Stars. She was far and away the best performer and is 7 points ahead of Christien and 8 points ahead of NFL Man of the Year Jason Taylor. We'll see if the scores hold up after the votes are all tabulated tonight at 9:00 pm on ABC.

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8 Random Things About Me


I have been auto-tagged by Matt over at Matt-Speak with a Meme called "8 Random Things About Me". Actually, Matt was tagged, but he hasn't tagged anyone in return because he doesn't believe he knows enough bloggers to tag yet, so I'm auto-tagging myself to help Matt out a bit! ;-) For someone knew to Memes and tagging, Matt has an awesome philosophy. Matt says:
This is my first tag so I will do my best to uphold the tradition with honor, or in this case, with humility since I have to talk about myself. But how in the world do you decide which eight things about yourself, after spending a lifetime developing these characteristics, to list in such an exercise? I suppose they should be things that you would want other people to know about you, things that most closely describe the person you have become, and why. But, then, which things you decide to list will help people who do not know you well form their perception of you, so do you list eight funny things, or eight intellectual things, or a mixture of the two? I suppose our personalities are made up of many different character traits, so perhaps a hodgepodge of items would do the most to describe one's self to an unknowing audience.
I think Matt's a pretty smart guy, don't you?
Here are the rules:

* Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
* People who are tagged, write a blog post about their own 8 random things, and post these rules.
* At the end of your post you need to tag 8 people and include their names.
* Don’t forget to leave them a comment and tell them they’ve been tagged, and to read your blog post.
* Go ahead and follow the rules if you want to, I normally don't perpetuate tags. But please, feel free to auto-tag yourself if this is something you'd like to post about.


  1. I love whitewater rafting. They say that if you choose a job you love, you'll never work a day in your life. Actually, that was "Aristotle" who said that, not "They." Who is "they" anyway? I don't know. No matter. Anyway, I've had a lot of jobs: I worked in a public library for 17 years, I coached high school debate, I was a General Manager of a 21 screen mega-plex as well as Ryan's and a senior manager in several other restaurant concepts, most recently Applebee's. But when I had the chance to go to work for a rafting company, it was a like a dream come true. Reasonable hours, great play, physical exercise in the course of a day's work, travel opportunities, and all the stress of a fast-paced life and an hour-long commute one way melted away here in the mountains of western North Carolina.

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  3. I absolutely, wholeheartedly, and unabashedly love ABBA! ABBA is the greatest thing that happened to music since The Beatles. I can fill a whole year's worth of posts about ABBA if I wanted to, but to spare you, I won't. But did you know that the 7th highest grossing movie of 1977 (Star Wars was the highest) was ABBA: The Movie which documented their 1977 concert tour in Australia? I bet you didn't, because until recently the movie had never been released in the United States. That's right, #7 in the world without US Ticket Sales. Pretty impressive. There are many reasons why I love ABBA, but mostly it's because when I was a kid growing up in the '70s, my parents divorced. It was ugly. That's when I retreated in music. More than anything else, ABBA's song Knowing Me, Knowing You which came out at the time my parent's divorce was taking place in 1977, was a 4 minute and 2 second encapsulation of what was happening in my life.
    It's no coincidence that Fleetwood Mac's Rumours and ABBA's The Album thus became the first two albums I ever bought. Twenty-one years later, this paid off big time because when my brother Paul went to see Mamma Mia! with his wife April in Chicago, Paul realized that he knew all the words to the songs. Ah ha!

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  5. Baskin Robbins Mint Chocolate Chip is my favorite ice cream. Goes back to weekly one hour summer night outings with my brothers and Grandparents just to get ice cream. In metro-Detroit, it was Baskin Robbins. In Charlevoix, it was Dairy Queen.

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  7. I have never broken a bone in my body, and it's my mother's fault. I was a very picky eater when I was a kid. Mom used to make horrible food like stuffed tomatoes with couscous, salads with taboulli, casseroles with mushrooms in it, and all other dishes with peas in a white sauce and broccoli. Blechh! (I love all this stuff now by the way, except the mushrooms.) So for dinner, I would eat these gaint bowls of cereal with lots of calcium-rich milk. Consequently, my bones became really strong. And this sucked! Two years ago I was playing softball and fell on my shoulder. I separated it. 3rd Degree. Pretty darn bad. The irony is, I could have just as easily broken my collar bone, and if I had, it would have hurt more and took longer to heal, but when bones break, they heal back even stronger than they were prior to the break, or so "they" say. But because of all the cereal I ate growing up, with milk, my collar bone was just way too strong. It wouldn't give, so my shoulder ligaments had to. 3rd Degree Separation--much worse than the separations you hear about football players getting. Theirs are usually minor 1st degree ones that heal back just fine. I've got a permanent bump now on my left shoulder, I can't do push-ups or dips or lift a lot of weight over my head. But I've never broken a bone!

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  9. I was in a rollover car accident on a lonely Alaskan Highway in the middle of January at 6 am when it was 35 below zero outside. (The above photo shows the skidmarks on the highway and the tracks in the snow my rental car made as I left the road and knew I was about to die--but contrary to what "they" say, I never saw my life pass before my eyes.) Didn't get a scratch. The site of the accident was two miles away from the ONLY towing facility on the entire 300+ mile highway between Fairbanks and Anchorage. And less than 60 seconds after the accident, an off-duty police officer (James Brown--real name, I'm not kidding) from the University of Alaska Fairbanks pulled right over besides me to make sure I was okay, helped me, drove me to the next town to get to a phone because the guy at the towing facility wasn't there (he was at home in bed asleep--go figure), then he drove me back to the towing facility where AJ took over. Trust me on this, James Brown wasn't the only angel watching over me that day.

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  11. I like to go to movies alone. No, it's true. As much as I enjoy dates, and the company of others, the fact is, when you go to a movie with your friends, your mother, your father, your grandmother, your date, whatever, you have to compromise and be badgered. There's the incessant talking, there's the "I don't want to sit that close, let's go to the back row" from your father, there's the "I don't want to sit in the back row, let's move closer" from your date, there's the falling asleep of your mother or grandmother, there's the "Oh, would you go get me a drink," halfway through the movie right in the critical scene and you have to get up and not only miss the scene, but disturb everyone else getting in and out of your seat because you're sitting in the middle of the row, etc, etc, etc....

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  13. Whenever I go out to eat I ask for a glass of water with TONS of lemon. And I mean TONS. If a server brings back one puny wedge attached to my glass after I asked for TONS of lemon, like the server NOT PAYING ATTENTION at the Cracker Barrell yesterday morning, the server has lost half of his or her tip right there because I know that no matter what, this server just doesn't get it and my dining experience is in jeopardy. I like lemon. I like just a little bit of water with my lemon-flavored citric acid. It's not that I need the Vitamin C to ward off scurvy or anything dramatic like that, but that's the way it is. It's genetic. My brothers take a ton of lemon in their water and iced tea as well. I eat lemons straight. Don't try and play a prank on us by putting some kind of sour tasting substance in our food, it's not worth your time. We'd never notice it.

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  15. Finally, I'm a Sagittarius with a Scorpio Ascendant. Do you know what that means? "THEY" say that the Ascendant--the constellation that is on the horizon at the time of your birth is just as influential in your personality as your sun sign--or the constellation that the sun is in when you are born. Sagitarians are the nicest, most easy going people around and Scorpios have a sharp tongue and know how to use it and Sagitarians have no tact and say what they mean. What do you think that means for me? Sagittarius is a FIRE sign. Scorpio is a WATER sign. Fire and Water extinguish each other for God's sake! It's like Jekyl and Hyde. I'm an internal contradiction.

    Fortunately, I'm very passionate (FIRE) about WATER (whitewater rafting.) But I'm telling you, on any given day, you never know what's going to come out of my mouth, the friendly Jovial Sagittarian words, or the bitter, sour-lemon acidic and acerbic words of the Scorpio. I'm telling you, life with me is never boring.

Thanks for reading.

Oh, and I love Giant Sequoias! The first picture in this post is me in front of the largest living thing on earth, the General Sherman Giant Sequoia Tree in Sequoia National Park.

Thanks for reading even more.

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