Yay, Caps!

The beloved Washington Capitals finally managed to make it out of the first round of the playoffs for the first time in a decade tonight, beating the deplorable Rangers in Game 7 of a series in which they’d trailed 3-1 after four games. This is a good win for them, as they’ve been foldmasters in years past, and the psychology of that had to be weighing on them heavily.

It appears, however, that with the Carolina Hurricanes’ upset Game 7 victory over the New Jersey Devils, the Caps will be meeting the detested Pittsburgh Penguins in Round Two. Some of their most epic taco folds in the past have come at the hands of the Pens, so this is another important hurdle for them as they seek not only to return to the Stanley Cup finals for the second time in franchise history, but to actually win the hardware for the first time ever to boot.

Yay, Caps! Boo, Pens! Let the fun begin. (I’m lookin’ at you, Mike G.)

Tell, Not Show

I feel like I’ve been a bad, bad blogger of late, only posting links and videos and pictures here, the last recourse of the web writer too lazy or unimaginative to write. Tonight I finally have (some) energy and (some) time to write, so will move one tier up on the food chain of blog posts, and do a “miscellaneous short thoughts” update. Maybe if I clear my head of the sundry noise, a big, grand, thought-provoking post will emerge in a couple of days. Or maybe not. We’ll see.

Heat 1: Many people up here assume that since I’m from the Deep South, I must like and/or have some better ability to cope with stifling heat of the variety that we’ve had here for the past couple of days. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m of the post-air conditioning era, and left to my own devices, I would turn it on in February and leave it on through November, just in case. I prefer my air dry, cold and forced through the house at gusty speeds. When I am indoors, I do not wish to have any glisten or sheen as the weather outside warms. Outside, that’s a different story: I want to sweat. I want to get baked to a golden bronze hue. But not indoors. Indoors is for air conditioning. When you come visit me, please enter and exit quickly, as nothing gets me crazier than watching my carefully cached cold air drifting out the door while you stand there making pleasantries. The sound you hear? That’s me grinding my teeth.

Heat 2: Really now: whatever happened to spring up here? It seems like we always have these long, endless dreary late winters, and then, BAM! 90 degrees and scorching. The crocuses come up, and then they perish from heat stroke. And then the black flies come. This is just wrong. As much as I love autumn up here, I’d give up a couple of weeks of it to have something resembling a real spring.

Sports: Having replaced their sieve of a goalie, the beloved Capitals have pushed the Rangers to a Game 7 tomorrow night in their first round battle. This is an important series for the Caps, who did exactly the same come-from-behind thing last year in their first round series against the detested Flyers, then lost in Game 7. There’s a long history of massive post-season collapses and folds behind this team, in fact, so psychologically, they really need to hammer this door shut and move on. Astonishing, the beloved Royals are playing .500 ball still and are only a game out of first place in the somewhat-dodgy AL Central, even as the season reaches the one-eighth-over mark. This is good news for my boys in blue. They’re usually out of the running by the end of April. Go Beloved Royals! Don’t Suck!

Music: Digging new albums from Super Furry Animals, The Veils and DM Stith. Surprised to discover an album that I missed last year from Einsturzende Neubauten. Also re-discovering how much I love The Residents‘ relatively-recent masterpieces Demons Dance Alone and Animal Lover. They are both poignant, lovely works that match the Singing Residents’ deep, think Louisiana accent with the Left Coast stylings of the lovely Molly Harvey. Fine albums, both.

Vanna, I Would Like to Sell A Vowel

Here’s a live-from-the-gaming-table action shot of Marcia getting ready to play her second bingo of the game last night:

Yes, those would be my tiles in the lower left hand corner, here magnified so you don’t have to get your reading glasses. In case you aren’t a Scrabble player, suffice to say that this tray translates to “EPIC FAIL.”

Even the Nice White Cat was appalled and discombobulated by this unfortunate turn of Scrabbling events:

Final Score: 421 to 297. Me on the short end, obviously. I retire to the hot tub to sulk.

Steve Zuckerman: Greatest Songwriter Ever?

You be the judge, based on these two songs Steve Zuckerman wrote and performed before his 20th birthday for Sesame Street way back in its glorious, subversive, pre-Elmo heyday:

What kind of mad talent does it take to make you care so much about the love life of a lowercase letter? And don’t you just want to go out and scrub the hell out of your vinyl siding after watching the little dudes who do nothing but buff their Capital I every day? Man. That’s some kind of dense-packed songwriting and storytelling there, and I guarantee that anybody who heard either of those melodies, even once, as a child, will recall having done so to this day once they watch this video.

LOLSports (Literally)

This is the funniest television commercial I’ve seen in ages and ages. If the top seeds win out, the Caps will play the Bruins for the Eastern Conference Championship. Hopefully, the Bruins do a better job at advertising than scoring goals.

Beloved Royals Crush Rivals (Updated)

UPDATE: The NHL pairings are set, with the Caps getting the Rangers in the first round. The teams have played four times in the playoffs, with the series tied 2-2. (It surprised me that they hadn’t played more in the post-season, since they are former Patrick Division rivals). Also, the detested Penguins will indeed meet the despised Flyers in the first round, so there’s one potential nemesis dispatched without effort. The way the seedings work out, if higher seeds win, the Caps can only meet a Pennsylvania team in the Eastern Conference Finals. Here’s hoping they don’t.

I’ve written before about the loneliness of the long distance Royals fan, so figure that I need to quickly get online this morning to crow about the fact that my beloved Kansas City baseball club is sitting atop the American League Central Division, a titanic one game above .500, and with a commanding half-game lead over Marcia’s Twinkies. Yeah, I know it’s only day four of the season, but as a long-suffering victim of The Curse of Joaquin Andujar (see the first link above for explanation, since no one other than a serious Royals fan, all seven of us, would get that reference), I figure that I need to get my gloat in while I can. So take that, Twinkies! And all the rest of you Central Division scum, too! How do you like the view of the (rarely seen) Royals’ back end, eh?

In other sports news, after a couple of seasons of twitchy, spasmodic near-success, my beloved Washington Ex-Bullets have returned to their normal bottom-feeding mode this season, which is disappointing, although I have to admit feeling more love for and interest in the NBA this year than I have in a long time. There are so many interesting storylines this year, the list of awe-inspiring, charismatic, game-changing players seems higher than it’s been in years, and the league and many of its stars seem to be taking themselves a bit less seriously this year, which makes the whole affair much more fun to follow. Some of the potential playoff matchups this year look epic, so I’m looking forward to watching all of that, just like the beloved Ex-Bullets will be doing.

On the other side of the spectrum, though, my beloved Washington Capitals are having a banner season, having broken their franchise record for points with a game yet to play. I was living in the DC metropolitan area when the Caps played their first season in the winter of 1974-75. They were playoff regulars for most of the ’80s and ’90s, even reaching the Stanely Cup finals once, where they were swept in four games by Detroit in 1997-98. They also experienced some of the most heartbreaking post-season meltdowns ever during those years, typically at the hands of the detested Pittsburgh Penguins or the despised Philadelphia Flyers. Grrr, Pennsylvania hockey teams make me angry!

But this year, they’ve got at least two rounds of home games locked up, and an exciting, young, high-scoring team, and they’re not going to face the Penguins or the Flyers in the first round, so that’s a good sign. (In fact, the two loathesome Pennsylvania teams could end up playing each other in the first round, so that’s a nice way of eliminating at least one nemesis, should it happen that way).

So go Caps! And Go Royals! And pass the popcorn, Ex-Bullets!