Monday, January 31, 2011

That Time of Year…

It’s almost that time of year that lonely stretch where there’s no football to watch and we get limited access to good hockey games, as it isn’t truly popular.  I’m an avid sports fan.  During the fall, Sundays are a wash.  I refuse to schedule anything if my beloved Giants are playing.  Sadly, the outcome for them, lately, has been the same thanks to one Eli ‘I can’t throw to people on my team’ Manning.  I try to take in the playoffs, but as more and more teams I like get eliminated, I have a rough time of it.  Like most of the US, I hate the Steelers, so I am hoping that alleged felon, Big Ben, learns a fun life-lesson from Aaron Rodgers and co.  I know, that’s a tad vindictive, but at the same time, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

The point of this blog post isn’t about the dreadful possibility that the hated-Steelers will win/be awarded a Superbowl through bad officiating, again, but about a sport that isn’t getting any press: hockey.  Granted, I have a vested interest in this, I have season tickets for our hometown Washington Capitals and those tickets aren’t easy to come by.  But as I go to more games, I find myself both watching and enjoying more games.  The question is when will ESPN wake up and do some coverage?  The highlights are passing, at best.  It’s a waste.  There are such great games and match-ups and just because Sid the Kid is out with a concussion from a supposedly ‘blind hit’ from David Steckel, there is still a lot of great hockey to go around.  Incidentally, the Penguins are another reason to dislike the city of Pittsburgh.  That whole state has poor fan issues, it’s truly insufferable.  Besides the Red Sox, Pittsburgh needs to stuff it.

Hockey is a great game.  The rules are actually really simple, and the officiating, is, for the most part, un-inhibiting.  That is how it should be for all sports, but isn’t.  The commissioner for the NHL could do a better job promoting the sport, but ESPN is supposedly the World Wide leader in sports, yet hardly covers this sport at all, but drones on about something that isn’t a sport at all: golf!  Golf is a waste of air time.  No one cares anymore.  There was a time when the country was in love with Tiger Woods, but it’s past, he and Big Ben can take a long walk off a short pier, perhaps where there are piranhas as well.

This past Sunday, both the NFL Pro-bowl and the NHL All Star game were on, do you know which got more press?  Of course, football.  Was it a farce of a game, yes, was the other one?  Yes, frankly, they both were, but at the same time, the NHL did some fun things.  They let the team captains pick who played on their teams, how fun is that?  The NBA should try to do that instead of being boring all the time.  MLB is boring period, but I maintain that watching it live is awesome.

Looking at hockey as a whole, it may not have the same draw as other games, but if you look at the skill and luck involved to truly win, that alone should draw more audiences.  In most sports, you can hone your skills to be great.  In hockey, you can be as good as you like, but if the puck bounces an odd way, then you’re not going to have anything to show for it.  These aren’t whole-sale arguments, I realise.  But it makes me angry that I have to go straight to the NHL network to get hockey highlights.  Sometimes, that bottom line on ESPN doesn’t even have hockey listed on it, how annoying is that?  And now that the NFL is practically over, only then will NHL see a slight bump until the chase for the playoffs truly begins.  It is a real travesty that a great sport like NHL gets side-stepped for things as meaningless as golf or spring training baseball, the latter is literally meaningless.  I can only hope, one day, that ESPN gets with it.  Until they buy in, there isn’t much chance for hockey to become a mainstream sport. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Keeps Me Coming Back for More

I partake in few regular shows on TV.  I claim I don’t have the time, but I think this is more of a sign of my lack of commitment.  I do love watching live sports, and now that I’m addicted to our hometown Washington Capitals, I find myself having less and less time to devote to TV shows.

Right now, I stick with the hilarious Family Guy, the sexy boys from Supernatural and the compelling Bones.  I miss Lost already.  Of the three current faves, I am going to spotlight Bones.  In the mid-season finale this year, ‘The Doctor in the Photo,’ the viewer is treated to an episode where we see Dr. Brennan over-identify with the victim.  I may be getting ahead of myself, in this show; the viewers follow an FBI Agent, Booth, who works with a renowned anthropologist, Dr. Brennan to solve missing persons/homicides.

The story and cast has evolved a great amount since its inception.  The driving force for this show isn’t so much the story as the characters, which are all believable and viewers can identify with them.  I didn’t think much of the show the first time I saw it, but it left me wanting more, which was why I came back.  I have since watched all of the episodes and have them on DVD/Blu-Ray.

As I started off, in the mid-season finale, the story finally comes to a head, in a manner of speaking.  Dr. Brennan and Agent Booth, at the end of the last season, confront their feelings, but Brennan tells Booth she can’t handle the intimacy, and the season ends with the characters all parting ways for a year.  When Booth returns, as one would expect, he’s in a committed relationship, and Brennan seems troubled by this throughout.  Their relationship grows increasingly tense as the season progresses, and ultimately Brennan begins to realise her mistake.

In ‘The Doctor in the Photo,’ Brennan is confronted by a person she overly identifies with.  The writers and director, in a very clever ploy, go so far as to make the deceased doctor both look and sound like Dr. Brennan, giving the illusion that she is investigating her own death.  It is a slight homage to Dicken’s Christmas Carol, getting a glimpse of what could happen if she continues down the path she’s on.

At some point, the plot begins to veer away from the usual Bones plot, solely following Dr. Brennan and minimising the other characters.  Again, I’d argue that this helps achieve the effect that is needed, if she continues being alone, focusing only on her work, she’ll never be happy.  And once she makes that realisation, the story comes to a close.

She confronts Booth, about her feelings, and he rebuffs her, however gently, she’s brought to tears, a rare sight for the good doctor.  I was really affected by this episode; it threw me for a loop at every turn.  What made it so good was that it didn’t stick to the norm, it couldn’t, but by that same token, the oneness of it made it memorable.  The show has produced countless memorable episodes, but this one has staying power.  It is so rare to see both the two main protagonists develop into a relationship like this and have it be true and honest.  I think this really says a lot about Fox for continuing the show and Kathy Reichs, whom Dr. Brennan is based on, for keeping the stories and characters compelling.  This is by far one of the best kept secret shows around and as I watched the first new episode for the new season last night, it was good, but it does set things up for something more compelling as the season goes on, definitely not one to miss.  Colour to Yellow and Draw Four.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ramble Me This?

I have a lot on my mind, nothing to do with it really.  Also, I have too much time on my hands, so why not pen some more nonsense?  I didn’t watch the State of the Union address; I find news to be quite boring.  What’s the point of listening or watching something so tragic all the time?  I would rather glean what’s happening from Sports Centre.  That I watch daily.  There’s nothing you can’t discover about the world from watching Sports Centre.  When there are major weather-related issues, I know about it, why, because Sports Centre will have all the re-scheduled or postponed games.

Sure, that may sound strange to most, but really, who needs downer news anyway?  No one, that’s what I say, might as well focus on what is positive, or could be construed as positive, like, cartoons, or video games, or what new movie is out.  I haven’t seen any really good ones lately.  I think the last one I saw was HP.   That was certainly a good addition, but it still did leave me wanting more, more than we’ll probably get from WB.  I think they realised too late that they had more than the bargained for.  If anything, they should re-release the series, animated or in comic book form. That would be masterful and profitable, which, let’s face it, is all WB is after anymore.  Those that went to Harry Potter world know what I mean, it was cool, but more money than it was worth, and much smaller than I’d anticipated.  I wonder why they didn’t allow Universal to re-create the actual school that would have been cool.

And that is all the rambling I can handle as I try to cope with snow and shovelling that is upcoming.  Circle gets the square.