Chrysler Going Belly Up

1957-chrysler-diablo

Chrysler, it’s been a good ride…actually it hasn’t been a good ride, and that’s most of the problem.  But glad you saw the light.  No more money for you, just a good old Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing that could come as early as next week according to reports in the NY Times.  Come back mean and lean.

And do yourselves a favor Crisisler, I mean Chrysler, or is it Fiat, or some holding company, what’s the name Cerberus Capital Management? – go find Lee Iacocca already and Lee, revive AMC – bring back the Gremlin and Pacer and make that Chrysler Diablo concept car a reality!

250px-1974_gremlin

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Celtics Over the Bulls; Underdogs Thereafter

The Celtics should beat the Bulls at the United Center tonight and ultimately take the series.  The first two games at the TD Boston Garden were close and the Bulls even managed to escape with one win.  In Chicago, the Celtics should take control of the series as their playoff experience and superior talent  begin to wear down on the Bulls.

The defending NBA Champion Celtics as a team have significant playoff experience.  Doc Rivers has coached in 50 playoff games.   His counterpart, Vinny Del Negro has coached in only 2.   On average Celtics players have logged 6 years in the league, versus the Bulls collective 5.

Ben Gordon may be the best player for the Bulls, but the Celtics have two future Hall of Famers in their starting lineup – Pierce and Ray Allen.   And if you look at the coaches, the 6’4″ Rivers was a better guard than the 6’4″ Vinny Del Negro, with more NBA experience.

In Doc’s 13 seasons as a player, he played in 81 playoff games to Vinny’s 54.  Doc averaged 10.9 points per game in his NBA career; Del Negro, 9.1 in 12 seasons.  Del Negro was a slightly better shooter statistically, but Doc had twice as many career assists – 4889 to 2484.   Statistically, Doc was a better defender with more career blocks, steals and rebounds by a considerable margin.

Known for their defense, the Celtics have yet to find a way to stop Ben Gordon and Derrick Rose.  Both players can score in heaps and have given the Celtics fits.  In the first two playoff games at the Garden, Gordon averaged an impressive 31 points; Rose 23.  Who will be the stopper?  Eddie House, Stephon Marbury, Ray Allen, Tony Allen, Rajon Rando, J.R. Giddens, Gabe Pruitt?

Up front, Kendrick Perkins has to stay out of foul trouble.  If he falters, who knows, maybe Brian Scalabrine will come up big.  He’s been out for 2 months recovering from post-concussion syndrome and may play some minutes.  Looking past the Bulls, one thing is certain, without Kevin Garnett, the Celtics will have a hard time with their next opponent.

An interesting side note:   Doc Rivers is from Illinois and Vinny Del Negro is a Massachusetts native whose father is a huge Celtics fan.  GO CELTICS!

Statistics courtesy of basketball-reference.com.

Top 5 Gifts for a Dictator

To avoid another embarrassing gift encounter, the President should keep some emergency gifts at the ready for future meetings with dictators, and there are quite a few that come to mind – dictators that is.

5.  A Sunoco Gas Card because it’s cheaper than Citgo, H. Chavez.

4.  Copland’s Lincoln Portrait .  Nearly caused a revolution among the spectators in the 50’s when Venezuelan dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez attended a Copland conducted performance in Caracus.

3.  Bananas – the Woody Allen spoof on revolutionaries that should have all self-respecting dictators in stitches.

2.  President Obama’s books Dreams From My Father and Audacity of Hope both inscribed “to Hugo with warmest regards”.  Obama himself joked that he should have given Chavez a copy of his book.

1.  EZ Notes Digital Voice Recorder as Seen on TV,  It’s a dictation machine with a built in flashlight and key chain.  By one get one free.  One for Hugo, the other for Fidel.  The perfect gift for the egomaniacs in your life.

And if the President can’t find the EZ Notes Digital Voice Recorder, the one as seen on TV, I think a used Yugo would be a nice gesture.

yugo-us-poster1

B-Day Wine & Dine @ Antonio’s Cucina Italiana

We celebrated my wife’s __th birthday @ Antonio’s Cucina Italiana, a little Wribbie and Myrknown, (to me anyway) but Zagat rated restaurant in Boston.  I say little known, because  it is not in the North End – if you know Boston at all you know that Boston’s North End is also referred to as Little Italy.  No, Antonio’s is located on Beacon Hill, actually at the foot of Beacon Hill, literally downhill from the State House, in a neighborhood known more for its Federal-style row houses, than its restaurants.

Farnese Montepulicano d'Abruzzo with appetizers

As a party of 6 with a reservation for 5, our table suited for 4 was cramped – but we had the best one in the house with a view of Cambridge Street and Mass General Hospital.

We started with a round of apetizers:  proscuitto, mozzarella, tomatoes, pickled peppers and mushrooms;  Artichocke Principese and a Cesar Salad.   All delicious and washed down nicely with a generous flow of water and a 2007 Farnese Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.   This heavier side of light bodied wine had the aroma of cherries and crabapples – slightly sour, but not an off-putting farnese-montepulciano_1nose.   The garnet colored wine was fruity on the palate with a touch of spice, and a subtle tartness that provided some balance.  Slick tannins made for a smooth ride down.  This easy going and flowing affordable Italian table wine went nicely with our appetizers and entrees and paired particularly well with cold mozzarella, prosciutto, salami and pickled vegetables.

For the main courses, we had pasta with shrimp and scallops, shrimp cacciatore over linguine and a savory chicken/sausage, vinegar peppers and potatoes dish.  The wine blended pleasantly with the entres like an ingredient.   By the time we ordered dessert the wine was gone, but the food was not – each entre could have fed three!

I have to commend my eldest daughter for selecting the restaurant and making the arrangements.  Not only was the food and company excellent, the bill was reasonable – definitely an affordable night out for a special occasion.

The next time you’re in Boston and have a craving for Italian food, skip the North End and head for the foothills of Beacon Hill and down to Antonio’s.

Salute!

First Fish

First Fish

I must have been 6 or so judging from the car, a 1966 Chevy Impala, which looks like it had a few miles and years on it.  A great family cruiser.

This tiny bream, or perch – some call them sunfish – was the first fish I remember catching.  I caught it with a cheap Zebco rod and reel using a balled up piece of bread for bait in a pond on the site of the historic Old Mill in North Little Rock where I grew up.  The Old Mill is famous for appearing in one of the opening scenes in Gone with the Wind.

The Old Mill, down on Lake #2 is a pretty good walk from my house, so I must have carried that fish around with me for a while.  I’d have thrown it back, but wanted my picture first.

Old Mill, No. Little Rock, AR

I started fishing a few years before – around ’67 or ’68 with my grandpa crappie-jigs-002up in Northwest Arkansas.  He’d take me and my sister out to Beaver Lake, 23,000 acres of freshwater near Rogers, AR extending into Missouri, and Lake Tenkiller in Oklahoma to fish for Crappie.  Yes, that’s the name of the fish, pronounced \ˈkrä-pē\.  We’d rent a boat with an outboard motor and spend the day fishing with Crappie Jigs and live minnows.  It was fun, but I don’t remember catching any fish until I was a little older.  Gagan (my grandpa) reeled ’em in one after the other.

Fresh Crappie Catch

Hugo Wants Press Not Peace

President Obama and Hugo Chavez, the photo hungry egomaniacal former Lieutenant Colonel and current President of Venezuela (for life it seems) met twice at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad.  According to the Newsweek Blog The Gaggle, President Obama introduced himself to Chavez and reportedly said “¿Como estas?” Later as a meeting of the Union of South American nations was about to begin, Chavez presented President Obama a book highly critical of the history of  U.S. and European foreign policy and colonialism in the region in a obvious ploy for press attention.  Obama later said jokingly that he thought the book was one that Chavez had written himself and that he should have given him his own book in return.  The history book entitled Las Venas Abiertas de América Latina, or the Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent by Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano has been translated into English.  If Chavez had really intended Obama to read the book, he would have presented the translated version.  Obama neither reads nor speaks Spanish.  What is clear is that President Chavez was simply grandstanding.  The book itself does not bother me.  In fact, it is probably a good read and contains a Latin American perspective on the history of colonial domination that American policy makers and diplomats should understand.   It is a book that I would like to read.

If I could present a book to Obama, it would be Howard Zinn‘s classic work,  A People’s History of the United States.

An interesting side note:  The host country of the Summit is Trinidad and Tobago, the birthplace of Nobel Prize winning author V.S. Naipaul who writes of the damaging effects of colonial domination on the colonized.

In retrospect, I think Obama should not have accepted the book because it was clearly intended to embarrass him and the U.S.  Back in the early stages of the presidential debates, then Senator Hillary Clinton said that she did not want to be used as propaganda by enemy leaders and would not just sit down with Hugo Chavez or the Iranian President without some preconditions.   Maybe the preconditions for President Obama’s attendance at the Summit should have been “no gifts”.

Franken Wins MN Senate Seat by 312 Votes

On April 13, a three judge-panel ruled that Al Franken defeated Norm Coleman by 312 votes and recommended Franken be awarded the election certificate.   Coleman plans to appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court arguing that 4,400 rejected absentee ballots should be counted, though his chances on appeal are slim.  In an AP article picked up by the Wall Street Journal, law professor Rick Hansen said the ruling was “a careful and unanimous decision opinion…unlikely to be disturbed on appeal” by the Minnesota Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court if it gets that far.

If Coleman continues to challenge the election results, it may be another year before Franken takes office.   And Minnesota may soon have the dubious distinction of being the only state in modern history to go an entire year with only one U.S. Senator.

Tweeter I mean Twitter Acting Up

Took the twitter plunge a few days ago, and linked it to my blog.  I’m even beginning to write in abbreviated sentences.  Oh no, I’m approaching 140!

Anyway, here’s the deal.  My latest tweets appeared than disappeared and now only my earliest tweets or twits, or whatever they’re called, appear when any appear at all.  I’m tempted to just delete the account, but vow to hang in there for a while.  Just in case something happens to the account, I’m taking matters into my own hands and actually posting/preserving my tweets to date in this admittedly self-indulgent post:

  1. Wribbiewribbie “Hello it’s Me” is the theme song for a new Tums ad. TR’s classic ballad forever linked to an antacid? Makes my stomach sour!
  2. wribbie On the 50 w/ no paper.  Shared an article w/ another rider. http://tinyurl.com/cmu4d8 STOP THE RAIDS ICE!
  3. wribbie…what makes a Subaru a Subaru? I submit that what makes a Subaru a Subaru is that it is a Subaru. from web
  4. wribbie Twitter, for times like these.
  5. wribbieNitrogen in gasoline? What?  For me, gas is gas – 87 octane at the cheapest pump in town; I don’t have a nitro burning funny car, do you?

By the way, Wribbie is the British spelling of my name.

Two Vines Merlot with Cupcakes

Russian Treats with Two Vines Merlot

The 2004 Columbia Crest Two Vines Merlot is a pleasing wine and cheap – $6.99 at my local Trader Joe’s.  A very berry nose with raspberry on the palate giving way to some spice from the cork bits floating in the wine bottle (my bad) and time spent in American and French Oak barrels – international cooperation in this wine!  Good to see American-Franco relations improving.  Nice acid balance to the fruit, with a short burst of pepper on the finish.

Good with beef, Stereolab, and veal, which I don’t eat, but try it with dessert.  This is a cake and candy wine.  Perfect with a cupcake, any kind – store or bakery bought – even Hostess Cupcakes – the yellow ones preferably.   And if you can find a box;  mine was a gift – this Two Vines Merlot pairs perfectly with Russian treats, which I can only describe as soft lemony caramel morsels that bring out the tobacco in the wine, like a good smoke after a meal.

Next time you’re in Moscow, pick yourself up a couple of boxes of the stuff pictured, and on the way home stop by your local Trader Joe’s and stock up on the 2004 Columbia Crest Two Vines Merlot.  Oh, and grab a couple of bottles of the 2005 Shiraz while you’re at it.

Skipping Kitty

I was toying with the idea of playing the guitar over the skip on this record, but when my cat jumped up and began to investigate the sound, I decided to make a video.  Can anyone guess the music?  It’s from a Nonesuch label recorded back in the late 60’s or early 70’s I would guess; I couldn’t find a date stamp anywhere.