Jun 072017

The boys and I were recently discussing one of the terror acts committed against civilians in the name of Islam—in this case, a shooting attack.

“Of course it’s always important to be vigilant and aware of your surroundings, but I’m not particularly worried about that kind of thing happening here.”

“Why not, Dad?”

“Because as soon as some poor bastard got ‘Allahu akbar!’ out of his mouth and/or raised a firearm in a threatening manner, he’d be hit from at least three different directions, dropping him instantly. The only thing the police would have to deal with when they eventually got there would be two good ol’ boys and a sweet, soft-spoken, pretty, impeccably dressed lady arguing over whose bullet had killed him. And the bad guys know that.”

 Posted by at 12:18 pm
Jun 062017

We watched hockey as a family last night for the first time since…uh, well, never.

The Nashville Predators and the Pittsburgh Penguins are in the Stanley Cup Finals this year, and last night the Preds (what you call the Predators if you’re a fan-insider type) beat the Pens (” ” ” ” Penguins ” ” ” ” “) 4-1 to tie the series at two games apiece. Now it goes back to Pittsburgh, resuming Thursday.

I don’t think I ever watched any NHL before HDTV made it so pleasant, and I’m pretty sure this is the first game I’ve ever watched deliberately from beginning to end. Having been similarly drawn into the World Cup a couple of years back, and considering the inherent similarities between the games of hockey and soccer, here are my three big takeaways:

  • Hockey action is much more frenetic and exciting. When there is a genuine scoring threat, it’s 5-10 seconds of intense entertainment, and there’ll be another one along shortly. A soccer scoring threat is usually one shot, and it may be 20 minutes before you see another one.
  • Hockey players are tough. Elbow here, stick there, and it’s got to get sure enough bad before there’s a penalty. “Injured” soccer players too often collapse in heaps and whimper like little babies, which I can’t help but suspect is directly tied to…
  • …the clock. The game clock matters in hockey. As I said at some great length before, time the game or don’t, but don’t pretend to time the game, which is what happens in soccer.

Now I may have soccer apologists preparing frenzied screeds calling me out as a rube for not appreciating the subtleties of “The Beautiful Game,” or for daring to compare barbarism and elegance merely because of superficial similarities, or whatever else, and well, that’s fine. I’m not questioning your wife’s integrity or speculating on whether you’re talking to Jesus enough. I’m just a red-blooded American male sports fan, informed mostly by football and auto racing but also some by baseball and a smidge by basketball, calling it like I see it.

And as I see it, hockey is what soccer wants to be when it grows up.

 Posted by at 10:29 am
Jun 052017

This is part of an ongoing series reviewing hot wings in the Huntsville area. Visit #HsvHotWings for a comprehensive linked list.

BJ’s opened a year or two ago in Bridge Street, right in my work neighborhood. It’s a center-bar place with its own beers, and both the experience and the menu are elevated just a bit from a typical stuff-on-the-wall. I met Melanie for lunch today.

BJ’s is full service, with one size of bone-in and one size of boneless wings on the appetizer menu, each served with celery and Ranch dressing. Each is available with a choice of sauces and rubs. The hottest is EXXXXtra Hot Buffalo, so that’s what I got. My seven drums, three flats, and one ambiguous runt were $12.26. Our server Dwayne did a fine job.

Quality: 7/10. These wings came out ready to go at an ideal temperature, and of a size drawing attention neither way. They were pleasingly juicy, with no excessive fat. The skin could have been a bit crispier.

Flavor: 6/10. I ate them all, and they were good. There is no great gustatory sin here; just no soul. These are very safe buffalo wings, tasting very much like I’d expect the recipe on the side of the wing sauce bottle to taste. There’s a melodic rhythm track here, but no lead.

Heat: 3/10. Again, perhaps wing sauce bottle hot but nothing else. Standard Louisiana hot sauce vibe here, with an immediate but very mild assault and almost no linger. No beverage required for full comfort. It was bit disappointing for a flavor with four Xs in it.

I think this was my third visit to BJ’s, and they’ve all been pleasant. These aren’t bad wings, but they’re about as mainstream as hot wings get.

 Posted by at 12:53 pm
Jun 022017

Can you believe the colors they used to paint Corvettes? This one was at the National Corvette Museum when we visited on our way back through from Indy.

Yes, this is a factory color. It’s called, rather innocuously, Classic Cream. (It looks green to me, but this is right in that band of colors in which I have trouble.)

(Still take it, wouldn’t you?)

Have a good weekend.

 Posted by at 6:28 pm
May 312017

Dad, Nathan, Aaron, and I went back to the Indianapolis 500 this year for the first time since 2013. This time I wanted to get there early enough on Saturday so we could see the museum at the track, so we left about 4:30 in the morning. That worked out fine. (It’s really a pretty painless drive.)

No free parking inside the track, with race weekend stuff going on. But the museum was a lot of fun, even though the bus tour of the track wasn’t available anyway.

(An excuse to go back on a non-race weekend, and couple it with another thing or two to do.)

I love the thrill of being at Indy. Goose bumps, even on Saturday. And they’re pretty much continuous on race day.

Saying hello to Vice President Mike Pence.

I didn’t do such a good job getting us all in the frame. It was hard to see the screen.

Weather was a threat right up to the green flag, and then we never saw any rain until over an hour after the checkered flag. Here’s our view of turn one, with Tony Kanaan leading:

It was an exciting race. Congratulations to Takuma Sato, who drove marvelously to pick up his first Indy 500 win and second IndyCar win overall. As competitive as it was, it was a shame to see so many with cars strong enough to win—Scott Dixon, Fernando Alonso, Ryan Hunter-Reay most notably—put out. (Though I imagine Dixon was pleased to walk away from his accident and call it a day.) The gentlemen behind us were huge Alonso fans, and I felt bad for them when he lost his engine.

Thanks for another marvelous time, Indy! Until next time!

 Posted by at 7:21 pm is using WP-Gravatar