Monday, April 24, 2006

First "Q" of the Year

After spending 40 minutes scrubbing out the venerable Weber Bulbeque we were richly rewarded last night.

Rib eyes (1 1/2 inch thick Uruguayan free range from Stong's) wet rubbed with extra virgin olive oil, rosemary, kosher salt, cracked pepper, elephant garlic and mustard powder, grilled at excruciating heat for 4 minutes per side then left to "relax" for 5 minutes created perfect MR. The steaks were accompanied by roasted red skin spuds and grilled asparagus/bell pepper combo (Broccoli for daughter who still eschews asparagus) and partnered with 2004 Reserve Carmenere from Cremaschi Furlotti (Chile). All that while basking in warm sunshine with a view of the North Shore mountains.

Daughter may have turned the corner on beef, which she has previously been ambivalent to, in that she hoovered her portion of steak.

If you have never experienced free range, grass fed South American beef before this is a good week to experiment as Stong's has RibEyes on for $5.99 a pound.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Fearless Playoff Predictions - Round 1

OK, everybody else is making their "expert" projections on how the first round of the playoffs will come off, including that damn monkey, so here we go.

Western Conference

Edmonton vs. Detroit

Not one to be shy I'm callin' the upset right here, right now. There is no logic behind this except that Manny Legace leaves me cold and I figure the boys from Edmonton deserve a break. Roloson gets hot, the Red Wings nagging injuries throw them off and the Oil prevail in 6.

Colorado vs. Dallas

A few years ago this would have been the premiere matchup of round 1, now..........Meh!. I don't get too excited by either of these teams but I'll take Dallas in 6, with Turco being the difference,

Anaheim vs. Calgary

Something about the Ducks scares the crap out of me, all that speed and solid goaltending plus Burkie sitting in the executive suite biting the heads off whippets. Also the Flames have been less than impressive lately and Jerome appears a bit confused - still they have "The Kipper" and that might be all they need, I'm cautiously picking Calgary in 6.

San Jose vs. Nashville

I love the Sharks, everything from Joe Thornton down to the excellent use of Teal in their uniforms. The goaltending in San Jose might be a little suspect but I think they just have too much depth up front to succumb to the Preds. San Jose in 6.

Eastern Conference

Tampa Bay vs. Ottawa

Let me start off with the caveat that I hate the Senators, I mean I hate them - they drone on and on in the media about how great this team is and they have won NOTHING, plus I'm pretty sure Alffie is a little light in the loafers. Regardless of my hatred of them I don't think Tampa's got the goaltending so I'll hold my nose and take Ottawa in 5.

Montreal vs. Carolina

I used to hate the Habs but now I just don't care. The "experts" all love Montreal in this series but I just don't see why, Carolina in 6.

Rangers vs. Devils

2 words folks............ Martin Brodeur. It's been a nice renaissance in MSG this year with Jagr and Lundquist et al but New Jersey are hotter than jerk chicken and Marty is stronger than Kryptonite - Devils in 6.

Philadelphia vs. Buffalo

This is truly my "who cares" series - neither of these teams are good enough to win the cup but somebody has to win this series, I'll take Philadelphia because Lindy Ruff is too much of a whiner to win - Philly in 6.

There it is folks - guaranteed, unless I go 0-8 in which case I'll just hit the delete button.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

A Tale of Two Swedish Captains

As my beloved Maple Leafs stumble to the wire, about to come up empty in the quest for the cup for the 39th consecutive season, I am at least compensated by viewing Mats in all his glory.

I joke about the fact that were daughter's gender not female she would have been named Mats Sundin but the truth is that although he has not lead us to the promised land Mats has been a truly great captain. He never ducks a question, stands tall, leads by example and appears to be the unquestioned leader of his team. On more than one occasion I have heard him state the obvious in interviews "we weren't good enough tonight" and it always seems evident that he is taking personal responsibility for the Leafs shortcomings, which must create huge therapy bills.

The Leafs went into the tank in January/February when Brian McCabe was hurt and the puzzle pieces fell apart however since March 1st they provide an interesting contrast to the local squad. In the 20 games each team has played since March 1st the laughable Leafs have earned 25 points while basically playing for pride, whereas the "Parade route runs down Georgia" Canucks may have wasted a playoff opportunity by picking up 17 points.

As to the two Swedish Captains - Naslund has towed the "Happy Valley" party line well in interviews and picked up 4 goals and 15 points overall as opposed to Mats who has managed 16 goals and 29 points.

So since neither team has any chance of winning the cup this year I'll take solace in having the better Swedish captain - and don't bother mentioning that guy in Ottawa - this is a tale of two cities not three.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Stuff that may Turn into a Post - Part 1

A friend of mine, who gets well paid to write his thoughts down, uses this technique quite often, and quite well. Basically these are things that I'm thinking about but am either too busy or too lazy to expand into a full Post.

1) Friendly Fire is a bad term.

2) Was anyone really surprised to discover that FireFighters were sexist and misogynistic ?

3) Referencing point 1 - here's a news flash ....... Soldiers get killed.
I am sad to see anyone die young for any reason but the bottom line is that soldiers face the possibility of violent death as a matter of course. My father spent 32 years in military service so I have a bit of insight into this. Canadian peacekeepers being killed in Afghanistan and US Marines in Iraq are terrible losses but they are the nature of the beast.

4) The NCAA tournament produced a ton of brilliant games ........ until the Final Four when all 3 contests were over early.

5) Neither the Leafs or the Canucks have any chance of winning the Stanley Cup - the difference is that the Leafs, and the media, have acknowledged it.

6) B.C. Wines are getting way too expensive. I recently purchased a batch from Kettle Valley, whose wines I love, at $35 a bottle. Thirty five dollars is a lot of money for wines which have little track record of cellaring, but Mission Hill has upped the ante by offering "Occulus" at $50 FOR THE ADVANCE PURCHASE PRICE - thats right pay your $50 now and wait until September to receive the wine - no barrel tasting available. If you want to wait until release date the price goes up to $60 "if there is any available" - I'm betting there will be some available.

7) David Emerson will run for the NDP in the next Federal election.

8) GSM - stands for G'Day, Sheila, Mate not Grenache-Shiraz-Mourvedre as commonly believed.

9) Baseball has started and RedSox Nation are gushing already.

10) I hate my Rotisserie league team.