Monday, May 30, 2005

Posted by Mark at 8:46 PM

Memorial Day Musings

As I sit here writing this, fresh from a trip to the US Air Force Museum at Wright Patterson AFB, I feel the need to write some things about Memorial Day.

Today we celebrate those who gave the utmost for our freedom, paid the ultimate price. From those at Lexington and Concord and beyond, those who birthed our freedom and paid for it in blood and toil, who gave shape to our freedom and molded our country from a chaotic morass of confederation into a bold new experiment in freedom,

To those who helped secure once and for all the independence from Great Britain, and showed that this new nation would not sit idly by as the hemisphere was carved up;

To those who paid a terrible and horrid price, fighting and killer brother to cleanse this nation of its oversight of the freedom of some of its people, who fought each in their own ways to protect what they thought was freedom, those who fought for their families, and honor, who provided the sacrifice to usher in Civil Liberties for all--from 1st Manassas to Shiloh, to Gettysburg to Appamattox;

To those who fought to restore freedom to our ancestral beginnings, to keep a ruthless empire from expanding and destroying Europe--the doughboys, General Pershing and the cavalry, Rickenbacker and the flyers;

To those who fought to avenge the ignoble attack on our shores, to bring liberty to people oppressed in Europe and Asia, to restore freedom to conquered lands, asking only that we have enough land to bury our dead, who did not conquer and rule, but conquered and gave back, and gave blood, money, and toil to restore the hope of many peoples;

To those who fought at Seoul and Pyongyang, who fought to preserve the freedom of a peaceful people, who fought to keep a conquering power from destroying a fragile armistice;

To those who sought to prevent the spread of an insidious form of totalitarian dictatorship, those who were not appreciated for their noble sacrifices, those who were defeated not by the enemy but by their own press, those who were not baby killers but loyal and brave soldiers;

To those who braved the desert sand, not for materiel, but to bring a nation back to its rightful independence,

To those who fight to see we are not again attacked, who brave the mountains around Kabul and the heat of Baghdad, who brave not only the vicious attacks of the enemy, but the hateful and misguided attacks by their own press:

THANK YOU, ONE AND ALL, FOR GIVING EVERYTHING...YOUR FAMILIES, YOUR JOYS, DREAMS, CAREERS, EVEN YOUR LIVES, TO PROTECT OUR FREEDOM....Long may freedom reign, long may America be considered the land of the free and the home of the brave....

Do not report propaganda, do not inflate stories, but please be fair to the troops...that is all those who have gone before ask...don't repeat the hate of the past toward our brave citizen soldiers, just be fair...after all--they are fighting, bleeding, dying--so you don't have to....

To those who use the name of our valiant men and women who gave all for their own selfish ends--shame on you...honor them, revere them, don't exploit them....Honor men like Mike Carlson, Rafael Peralta, Nick Messmer, Gary Eckert, Jr., Dustin Derga, Taylor Prazynski, Nick Erdy, Chris Dixon, and many more....Honor them by telling the truth, not just saying the bad...honor them by not painting our troops as the bottom of the barrel (Bill Maher), or painting them all as torturers (Newsweek, et. al.)...Honor them by supporting them...honor them by finishing the mission...Honor them, by loving the country and doing what they can no longer do--live and love....and thank God for brave citizen soldiers like them who fight so we don't have to, who protect and defend our freedom....

God bless our troops, past present, living, passed, yet to fight...God bless you all, and God bless America...

The President's Memorial Day Radio Address

President's Address at Naval Commencement 2005

Glenn Beck Essay

Michael Carlson's Credo--Powerline

Friday, May 06, 2005

Posted by Mark at 8:23 AM

Sports: Danny Graves: Idiot Athlete of the Month

The Situation

The Cincinnati Reds, my hometown team, have been in the news lately, and not for good things. They have dropped several games in a row, and are off to their worst start in a couple of years. The false promises by the management are wearing thin, and fans expressed their displeasure at this past Monday's blowing of a 9-3 Reds lead against the Cardinals. The gamewinning homer was given up by who? Yep, Reds "closer"(choker) Danny Graves. Graves has been a joke for a couple of years now. Closers are supposed to be lights out. The only lights Graves puts out are those of the lightstand when he gets blasted again. Fans booed Graves for poor pitch selection and for 6 years of accounting for at least 7 or 8 losses that should have been wins a year. One would think Graves, a veteran ballplayer, would take it in stride, maybe even use it as a motivator. Nope!

The Choker Lashes Out

Yes, you would think the seasoned vet would realize that fans who paid their hard earned cash are frustrated with a decade of losing, and are frustrated that their closer is not a certainty to save games. Yes, he was 8of 9 in save opportunities, but how many elderly fans did Graves give heart attacks to with his dangerous and often blatantly choreographed pitching. Every outing is an adventure. Someone with maturity would have simply said, that's baseball. Graves decided to lash out.

Graves said he couldn't believe the fans would boo him. He said he was trying his best, and that hometown fans should not boo him. He said it made him feel small. Gosh, I guess that 6 million a year will help cool your hurts, Gravy. When I don't get results, I don't get paid. You blow a lead, you still laugh to the bank. That's reality.

The Backlash

If Danny was shocked at the boos, I am sure he was livid at the reaction on talk radio and across Reds Nation. Many fans called for his head. At the next home game, people wore bags with tears on the eyes with the name Graves on it. Many called him a crybaby, a spoiled brat, and with good reason. Most professional athletes fall into this category. They have been coddled their whole lives, and when they get booed they either suck it up or cry or insult people's intelligence. Graves chose option C. More on that later.

Many people wanted the Reds to dump Graves. They won't eat 6 mill a year. Few teams want a never-will-be like Graves, who was a flash in the pan for two and a half years before the league caught up with him. He may be the Reds alltime leader in Saves, but he is also the leader in blown saves and earned runs for a closer. Look at the former Reds all time save leader, John Franco. When he came into games, it was over. He converted a better percentage of saves for a poor set of Reds teams.

Of course, in many cases, the fans need to look at themselves. Cincinnati is much too lenient with its teams. It put up with a decade of Bengals losses and still almost filled Paul Brown Stadium. It has put up with a decade or more of Reds Suckitude and the fans have still sang the praises of washouts like Graves. Now, of course, the fans have been fed a line of crap for years and are wanting results. Graves has been shocked by the fans holding him accountable. What a novel Concept.

The Idiot Just Won't Shut Up

You would think 24 hours later would change Graves's tune. You would think he would get a reality check. You would think he would revise his comments, or better yet, just keep his trap shut. Nope. Here are his comments with my own response.
It was embarrassing that our hometown fans are booing us," he said. "Embarrassing to the city. This is supposed to be such a great baseball city, and in all my years here, I believe it is."

If you read, Dannyboy, you will see on the back of a ticket that fans have the right to cheer and boo. If the Reds do something worth a crap, like, you know, not give up the biggest comeback in 50 years, then the fans will cheer. And Danny, it is a great baseball city. Baseball was born here, you dolt! Thanks for the vote of confidence, your opinion, really, means a lot.

Do they honestly believe I tried to give up a three-run homer to (Jim) Edmonds? And a two-run homer to (John) Mabry?"
Given how you threw three consecutive of the same pitches to Edmonds in pretty much the same location, I have to wonder. Given how you consistently seek to give fans' heart attacks, I have to wonder. Given how you continue to be rewarded for mediocrity, I have to wonder.

They have every right to cheer or boo, do whatever they want.
Gosh, thanks for the permission, Danny. Not like the hundreds of dollars people put down for games gives them the right to boo or anything. I mean, words hurt, don't they Danny? Would you rather be playing in New York? I am sure Joe YankeeFan has a nice battery with your name on it if you think booing is so horrible. But wait, it gets better.
But as a player, I believe our hometown fans should be behind us and not against us. When Sean Casey misses a ground ball (by the Cardinals' Mark Grudzielanek, just before Mabry's game-winning blast), you're going to boo Sean Casey, the nicest guy in baseball? Plays harder than anybody on this team? That's what I don't understand

OK, dunderhead, they were booing the poor play, not Sean Casey. Unlike you, Casey is consistently good. He is widely respected as one of the nicest guys and one of the premier hitters in the league. You, however, are a joke. When are you going to quit acting how you look, like a 12 year old? Has all the tatoo dye gone to your small brain?

Maybe the fans wouldn't boo you guys, if you like, you know, won some games and didn't give up before summer. Maybe they wouldn't boo if you sought to connect with the fans, if you actually showed you care vs. collecting a paycheck.
"Because I make a lot of money, I have to be perfect? Is Bill Gates perfect? Donald Trump? I've (converted) eight out of nine (save opportunities). Does that mean I'm not earning my keep? Eight out of nine is pretty good.

"Are these the people that know the game?" Graves asked of those who booed. "That played the game? Or wished they'd played the game? I don't know."

He said the fans "disappointed" him.

No, Danny, you don't have to be perfect. You do, however, have to perform and act like a professional. Sadly, you have done neither. As for questioning the fans' knowledge, shame on you. Many of those people can throw 85 mph cheese over the plate just as easily as you can. And who cares if they don't know the game? They paid their hard earned cash (remember what it was like to earn money, Gravy?) to see you pitch. They came to be entertained. They obviously were not, so what recourse do they have? You can't be "fired" in the sense of losing your job and salary. You have a guaranteed contract that will pay you even if released or even if you suck.

And as for knowing the game: Cincinnati IS baseball. This is where the pro game was born. Wait, I forgot, you probably can't read. This is where Pete Rose and Johnny Bench won championships, where Tony Perez showed grace and leadership. And you presume fans don't know the game?

Besides, Danny boy, the fans weren't getting personal. They weren't saying Graves sucks! They weren't threatening you, they weren't throwing batteries. They were merely booing. Wow, you really are a pressure player, getting all hot and bothered over boos. Wow, you are amazing. Amazingly juvenile.

Donald Trump and Bill Gates have stakes in their products success. If the products stink overall, they don't get paid and they go bankrupt. You suck, you get booed. Oh the humanity!

Graves, who disappointed who? You claim you are disappointed in the fans. Me too. I am disappointed they put up with this crap of an organization and the likes of you for the past decade.

Please, ask for a trade. Tell the Reds you don't want paid and ask for your release. Something....Just get out of town.

Pro Athletes Need a Reality Check

I say, every pro athlete needs to work a week of the season in a real job. Take a fan's job for a day, then go out and watch the team play. You know, athletes gripe about all their preparation....You don't think teachers have a lot of prep? You don't think construction workers have prep? They talk about the grind and physical toil....Guess what? You are getting paid to PLAY!!!!!!!!!!! You are getting paid to entertain. When you stink up a field, you should expect repercussions. But wait, I forgot, we don't like repercussions, especially for athletes. We coddle them and we gloss over their issues, and we continue to put up with the poor attitudes and lower standards of performance. If this continues, every sport will look like the NBA.

Athletes need a wake up call. I hope the fans of Cincinnati don't forget Gravy's comments. I hope he lives to regret them. I hope he gets booed everytime he shows his face. I hope he wakes up. However, I am not counting on it.

This was Mark, thanks for reading....

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Posted by Mark at 9:04 PM

They Haven't Gone Gently Into the Good Night--DUCKS WIN SERIES!!!

Mark's Game 5 hockey Remarks

From the Ducks Home Office in Cincy:
Ducks stave off elimination with 3-1 win over Admirals

CINCINNATI, Ohio -- Zenon Konopka broke a 1-1 tie with a power play goal with 4:55 left in the third period to help the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks defeat the Milwaukee Admirals, 3-1, Wednesday in Game Five of the West Division semifinals at Cincinnati Gardens.

Shane O'Brien had goal and an assist for the Ducks, who now trail the best-of-seven series three games to two.

Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 20 shots in the win for Cincinnati, which has won its last nine home games.

Andrew Hutchinson had the lone goal for Milwaukee with a power play tally in the second period.

Brian Finley finished with 31 saves in the loss.


First period: 1. Cin, O'Brien 1 (Foster, Getzlaf), 12:29 (ppg).

Second period: 2. Mil, Hutchinson 1 (Hamhuis, Hrkac), 10:07 (ppg).

Third period: 3. Cin, Konopka 3 (Lupul, O'Brien), 15:55 (ppg). 4. Cin, Holmqvist 1 (Lupul, Getzlaf), 18:34 (ppg).

Shots on goal: Milwaukee 2-11-8=21; Cincinnati 13-8-13=34.

Power play opportunities: Milwaukee 1-for-4; Cincinnati 3-for-7. Goaltenders: Milwaukee,
Finley (34 shots, 31 saves; record 3-2); Cincinnati, Bryzgalov (21 shots, 20 saves; record
1-0). A: 1,684. Referee: Dumas. Linesmen: Lord, Mallin.

What a great game! Ilja got the start after Frederic Cassivi valiantly played but lost two games in Milwaukee. Ilja showed no signs of rust, and made key saves when he had to. Konopka scored a great goal that got the crowd to their feet. What a great game, and the momentum seemed to shift greatly!

Game Six Mark's Hockey Remarks

I was very emotional for this game, especially thinking it could have been the last Ducks Game in Cincy, having gotten word from team officials that the move to Portland was all but done. Here is the lowdown from the Ducks Home Office:
Ducks defeat Admirals 5-1 to force seventh game

CINCINNATI, Ohio -- Aaron Rome scored two goals and Mark Popovic had a goal and an assist, as the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks defeated the Milwaukee Admirals 5-1 to even the best-of-seven series at three games each.

Michael Holmqvist and Kurtis Foster also scored for the Ducks, who have won their last 10 home games.

Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 29 shots in the win for the Ducks, who killed all seven of the Admirals power play chances.

Wyatt Smith scored the lone goal and Brian Finley finished with 22 saves for Milwaukee.

The Ducks and Admirals will play Game Seven Sunday at 5:30 p.m. ET at the Bradley Center.


First period: 1. Cin, Holmqvist 2 (Konopka), 3:18 (shg). 2. Mil, Smith 1, 5:16 (shg). 3. Cin,
Foster 1 (Kunitz, Chistov), 8:09 (ppg).

Second period: 4. Cin, Rome 1 (Kunitz, Popovic), 19:43.

Third period: 5. Cin, Popovic 1, 15:20 (shg). 6. Cin, Rome 2 (Getzlaf, Lupul), 16:25 (ppg).

Shots on goal: Milwaukee 12-13-5=30; Cincinnati 9-8-10=27.

Power play opportunities: Milwaukee 0-for-7; Cincinnati 2-for-9. Goaltenders: Milwaukee,
Finley (27 shots, 22 saves; record 3-3); Cincinnati, Bryzgalov (30 shots, 29 saves; record
2-0). A: 2,688. Referee: Dumas. Linesmen: Dunne, Lord.

I was very emotional for this game. I actually had tears during the National Anthem, and I tried to save everything in my memory. This could be the last go round for the boys in Cincy. However, they did not go gently. They showed true heart and desire.

Mark Popovic played the game of his career. He had a great shortie that got the crowd fired up, and he provided a key screen for an earlier goal by Aaron Rome. Ilja showed great skill and dynamic play as he stopped 29 of 30 shots. That cheapshotting eskimo Jordin "I love to Wear a " Tootoo had several penalties, and eventually got the gate for his actions. He has shown himself, in his attitude toward fans and his play, to be nothing more than a cheap poser. He is a hack, a 4th liner at best. However, this was the Ducks' night, if they were going out, they were going to give Cincy a last rush. It was fun to hear the Gardens hum again with intensity. The Ads looked shocked at the results even as we dominated.

If the boys play this way the rest of the playoffs, we might be hoisting the Cup...but Game 7 awaits in Milwaukee!

Game 7--Popovic Strikes Again!

From the Ducks Home Office:
Late goal by Popovic sends Ducks past Admirals in Game 7

MILWAUKEE, WI - Mark Popovic scored the game-winning goal with 13 seconds left in the game to lift the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks to a 4-3 win over the Milwaukee Admirals in Game Seven of the West Division finals.

Casey Hankinson had a goal and an assist and Chris Kunitz recorded three assists for the Ducks, who advance to the West Division finals where they'll face Chicago beginning Wednesday at the Allstate Arena.

Popovic, who scored a shorthanded goal in Game Six Friday, fired a slap shot from just inside the left point past Milwaukee goaltender Brian Finley for his first career playoff game-winning goal.

Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 23 shots for Cincinnati, which rallied from a 3-1 series deficit for its second lifetime series win.

Simon Gamache had a goal and an assist for the Admirals, who defeated the Ducks last season in seven games in the West Division semifinals.


First period: 1. Cin, Hankinson 1 (Foster, Kunitz), 4:37. 2. Cin, Parenteau 1 (Kunitz), 6:50.
3. Cin, Foster 2 (Hankinson), 8:13. 4. Mil, Segal 1 (Tiley, Pivko), 10:22. 5. Mil, Haydar 3 (Hutchinson, Gamache), 17:50 (ppg).

Second period: 6. Cin, Gamache 6 (Haydar, Zanon), 19:09.

Third period: 7. Cin, Popovic 2 (Lupul, Kunitz), 19:47.

Shots on goal: Cincinnati 11-10-7=28; Milwaukee 9-7-10=26.

Power play opportunties: Cincinnati 0-for-4; Milwaukee 1-for-2. Goaltenders: Cincinnati, Bryzgalov (26 shots, 23 saves; record 3-0); Milwaukee, Finley (57:49; 28 shots, 24 saves; record 3-4), Kotyk (2:01; 0 shots, 0 saves). A: 3,384. Referee: St. Pierre. Linesmen: Behling, Jacobs.

Take that, crock of crap Anaheim owner! WE aren't done yet! Go Ducks Go!

Ilja and the D did not have as good a game as game 6, but they did enough to keep us in it until the suddenly red hot Mark Popovic scored the game winning goal with 13 seconds to go in the game!!!! Take that, eskimo boy, and the rest of the hack crew that now disgraces the Ads uniform (my friend Jeremy played for those guys). Milwaukee has great fans and I want to congratulate them on the season. Bring on the Chicago Wolves!!!! DUCKS LIKE, REIGN!!!!!!