Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The direction of the Sharks

As we are less than a day away from the beginning of free agency in the NHL. Let's take a quick look at my Sharks and what they should and need to do.

Goaltender

With the Sharks not tendering a contract offer to Evgeni Nabokov, you can rest assured that he will be signed tomorrow. Where does that leave the Sharks? Thomas Greiss is decent, but the Sharks can't rely on him to take a full season and nobody in the system is ready to come up and split time, so free agency is the way they have to go. What direction is the team in though? If the Sharks want to take one or two last chances at the Cup before rebuilding, they have to go after either Marty Turco or Jose Theodore. Personally, I believe it's time to start over. I think that they should go after Michael Leighton. He showed what he could do with Philadelphia in the playoffs last season and at 30, still has a few more years left to either lead this team or backup Greiss while Harri Sateri, Tyson Sexsmith. abnd Alex Stalock battle to be next in line.

Defense

Although the retirement of Rob Blake leaves a huge hole, this is not a position that is in dire need. Derek Joslin is ready enough to take Blake's roster spot. Again, if the Sharks are going to make one last Cup push, there are a few good defenders that can come in and replace Blake. I think that would only be a short term fix though. With 4 defensemen 30 or older currently under contract, the Sharks need to develop their youth on the blueline than plugging the holes with veterans. The only exception is if the Sharks can put together an offer good enough to convince Dan Hamhuis to leave Pittsburgh.

Forward

Here's the big issue. With Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski resigning already, it does take some pressure off the team. However, the depth of the team in regards to players already signed (Devin Setoguchi has been tendered a qualifying offer, but has yet to accept) is troubling to say the least. Talent really falls off sharply after the top 6 forwards. There are a few guys in the AHL that could be ready to come up, but not into a top spot. There are a lot of decent guys available, but I'm still of the mind that the Sharks need to start looking to the future. If the Sharks agree, you will know as soon as the trade rumors begin to swirl around Joe Thornton. With one year at $7.2 million left on his contract, if the Sharks are committed to rebuilding, he's the best trade option they have to get talented youth.

For me, it's way past time to blow it up. The current team does not have the killer instinct it takes to climb to the pinnacle of the NHL. We saw it last year. Instead of taking charge and going at the Blackhawks, the Sharks looked content to be happy to be where they were. There are too many players who are secure in their position on this team and that has led to a lack of desire to go over and above. Time to start over Mr. Wilson.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Is anyone really shocked?


{SIGH}

Here we go again...

Seriously Mr. Hendry, how long to we have to take this crap? It's not even like his stats are good enough for us to ignore these whiny cry-baby tantrums. I know that at this point,his trade value is as close to zero as a pitcher can be in the majors, but seriously, why is he allowed to continue to do this? I say cut him loose. Who cares at this point if the Cubs have to eat his salary. It's not like they are going anywhere this year anyway.

Personally, I'm glad he went after D Lee. Lee is one of the Cubs few top players. There's no way that the Cubs are trading Lee (unlike Michael Barrett) to keep Zambrano out of trouble. It's got to the point that I no longer enjoy hearing Cubs games and Zambrano is a big part of that.

It's time to clean house Mr. Hendry. Take what you can get for all the overpriced, underpreforming "talent". If I'm going to listen to losing baseball, I would rather hear a bunch of youngsters who will get better as opposed to a bunch of veterans who are only getting worse.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Underground Conservative Part III

Well, now that I have gotten accustomed to my general surroundings, I am comfortable in finding my own detours (and considering I have had to find two in as many weeks, that's a good thing) around street festivals and the such. Up to this point, I know that I'm not in any real high rent district and I have come to terms with that. What I wasn't prepared for, however was this sight:


(not actual location picture)

Now, in case you haven't paid attention, most Popeye's are not going to be located in the elite districts. You will probably never see a Popeye's in Brookfield for example (heck, they fought tooth and nail when Aldi wanted to move in). As a personal observation, EVERY Popeye's I have ever seen has been in a low income or predominantly African American area. Not that I mind...I love Popeye's chicken. The fact that I have one less than a mile from me is still a bit disappointing in some ways. Call me a racist if you want, but a Popeye's in your neighborhood is like a giant, tasty beacon of low income.

Did I really need to see that big sign to know I was in a lower bracket neighborhood? Please. I know where I am. The several times a day police siren blaring past the house is reminder enough. Still, it was one more reminder that, given a choice, I wouldn't be here.

Now before you start screaming "RACIST", I am well aware that the reputation that African Americans have received recently is from a small minority of drug dealers and thugs. Unfortunately, most, if not all, of those thugs hang out in the low rent districts. I also know Milwaukee's reputation. It is far from common, but WAY far from a rare occurrence, that people have been wounded and even killed by stray bullets inside their homes. That's right, I could be sitting here, typing, minding my own business, inside my room, and just because some hormonally imbalanced rageaholic with the impulse control of a gnat decides to try to off someone, I could be snuffed out.

The upcoming weekend will be better. I will have the time to get out more and dig deep into the underside of this town. At least I hope it will be better. I know that what I hear on the news is not what Milwaukee is all about. There are so many things good about this city but they are often overshadowed by the bad. There is a ray of hope however. There is a red fox that seems to live in my neighborhood. Yep, deep in the heart of the city, a real slice of nature is here. Perhaps it won't be all bad.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Random rants

OK, TJ is feeling a little pissy tonight, so it's time to get some things off my chest that have bugged me or annoyed me for a while...

Potheads should not have cute girlfriends

This should violate some law of nature. It's not right! Some hippie wannabe burnout gets the girls? What? Maybe it's because I'm a guy, but I can't see the attractiveness of a person who gets so wasted that they could buy out the local convenience store of munchies and discuss the deep, philosophical meanings behind Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

Blinkers do serve a purpose on your car

Yes folks it is true that when on the road you are not surrounded by a group of mindreaders. We have no earthly clue where you are going unless you give us some kind of hint. I must admit though that I may be asking a bit much out of a small segment of the population. Most of them have no earthly idea where they are going either...

Summer is wasted on baseball season

For those that know me, this comes as no surprise. As a almost lifelong Cubs fan, there has been WAY more disappointment than enjoyment these past 20 years than is healthy. There is nothing better than sitting on a patio, beer in hand, with a baseball game on the radio. Except for perhaps a game being played by a team that has a fraction of a chance to actually do something.

Soccer is a sure fire cure for insomnia

Ok, I know that I said that I would be giving soccer another chance this time around with the World Cup going on, but as a hockey fan, I can't get past the pace of soccer on TV. It is so slow! Maybe it will be better when my adopted team, New Zealand, takes to the pitch, but I doubt it. 90+ minutes of running around for two or three goals if we are lucky? Maybe it would be a bit better if the yellow cards were removed. No penalties until we see teeth on the ground or bones coming through skin. I can dream I guess....

A drum machine and foul language is not music

Sorry rappers. Turning on a drum machine and ranting about your bitches and avoiding the cops is not music. Music has melodies, rhythm, and thought behind it. This falls under the, "textspeak is not writing" category. Which leads me too...

LOL! OMG, WTF?! are not sentences

I do believe that I will be fighting this one to my dying day, but the proliferation of cell phones and text messages is removing the spelling and grammar skills from an entire generation of our people. It needs to stop! Kahlil Gibran turned out to be closer to being correct than I care to admit...At this rate though, we will be down to 7 letters, not words.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Underground Conservative Part II

After a few trips to the new place, I got comfortable enough with the route that I was able to look around a bit. I will have to say that Milwaukee is like any other large city. There are good things (the Milwaukee Art Museum, Miller Park, Meier Festival Park) and bad (high crime, run down neighborhoods). In general though, I have been in worse places.

As I was looking around, a sign caught my eye...

Intrigued by the fact that this is the first evidence of the projects that were sponsored by the stimulus plan that I have seen, I had to stop and see what was going on. I was a little shocked at first because this project was on a small, 6 block street that is right along the Milwaukee River. It is a relatively quiet (Locust Street is a fairly major road) residential street. The more I looked around, the odder it was. Yes, it was a nice area, but not really a major area that would benefit from a project paid for by federal money. As I wandered down to the area that was worked on, I saw another strange sight...


The project seemed to be a cistern of some sort. It went down at least 100 feet and ended with water at the bottom. Based on the proximity to the river, I can only assume that the plan for whatever this is is for it to connect to the river for some purpose.

Yes, I do not know what the details are for this project. No, I do not know how much stimulus money went into this. What I do know is that federal money was spent to make a very large hole in a street in the city of Milwaukee. I also know that I have not seen any activity around this hole for several days. There could also be a good reason for this.

It all makes me wonder though...How many other stimulus projects were of minor importance and not finished? How many other half finished construction projects are there throughout the country? Is this what we can expect for the next few years? Now I'm sure that all of my naysayers will scream, "You don't know anything about it! You don't know it's importance!" True. I did just say that. If it turns out that this is a solution to MMSD having to pump sewage into the lake anytime they get a minor rainstorm, then I am all for it no matter what the cost. I do plan on investigating this further in the next few days, however.

I do believe that what I find will be a very well argued point on why we needed to spend money we don't have on this. However, it will probably be nothing more than a wish list project that got approved in a cash grab. No more important than the ghost train that will be running from Milwaukee to Madison. Are there projects out there that are deserving of this money that need to be done? Sure. I have no doubt about that. Did any of those projects get set aside for piddly little things like this? I have no doubt.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Underground Conservative Part I

Oy Vey...

I never thought that I would be here. Don't get me wrong, Milwaukee is a great city to visit, I just never thought that I would be living here. A conservative stuck in the middle of Gwen Moore's 4th congressional district is not really a safe place. Still, I think that I will try to make the best of it.

A part of me wants to wear my conservatism on my sleeve. A sort of, 'You can't browbeat me into silence' statement. The rest of me says that perhaps the underground method might just let me get out of this town in one piece. So, in a decision that leans towards survival, I have decided to explore Milwaukee as a conservative in hiding.

Cowardly? Perhaps. It is a bit easier to let people be lulled by their assumptions though. If directly asked, I will not lie. Until then though, I will go about my day letting people think what they may.

It's too bad that the governmental meetings cause a conflict with my current work schedule. It would be very interesting to attend a county board meeting or a city council meeting. Until I started working evenings, I was a regular attendee of the village board meetings in Sussex. I really missed those meetings. I know I wrote about it at the time, but it was so odd that I had several members of the village of Sussex government ask me why I was there. They weren't trying to be mean, it was just so odd for them to see someone attend that didn't have a reason to (getting an award, presenting info to the board, etc.) that they wanted to know why.

Well, I guess we'll see where this takes me. Stay tuned fellow travelers!

Sorry....

First things first. I would like to apologize to the 4 readers I had. My real life kinda took a hard left turn on me and writing of any sort was the last thing on my mind. Now that I'm (relatively) settled, things can get back to the way they were a bit. Expect more entries from me in the next month or two (until the shit hits the fan again!).

In the spirit of making lemonade out of lemons, I have come up with a new feature for this blog. As you may have guessed, I'm pretty conservative. So having to move to the second most liberal city in the state wasn't high on my list. However, I was left with few choices. Instead of focusing on the negative that being firmly in the 4th district, I have decided to make it positive. With that thought, 'The Underground Conservative' was born. Over the next two months, I will be taking as much time as I'm allowed and exploring the city with a set of conservative colored glasses.

For security reasons, I will not be disclosing my location other than saying I am inside the city limits of Milwaukee. If you think I'm being melodramatic, ask James T Harris about being conservative in Milwaukee. Several years ago, he had a brick tossed through the window of his home because of something he said on the air.

There may be other features coming up, but as for now they are just in the planning stages. I will continue my other writings as well. It is with some sadness that I have to report that my other feature "The Journey" may be coming to an end. I really can't see myself advancing any farther. I just haven't been able to put my feelings into words yet. Unless something comes along that really changes things, the next entry will probably be the last.

So stay tuned...Things should be worth reading in the next few weeks!