Blogging has been light of late as I take care of issues at work and at home. Sorry about that. Here are some random thoughts about what has been rattling through my pea-sized brain over the last few weeks.
1) That "cease fire" in Gaza has really worked out well for Israel, hasn't it? Only one side has ceased firing (that would be Israel), while rockets and mortars still get launched regularly from Israel. Gilad Shalit is still a hostage, and the public opprobrium against the Jewish state has if anything increased--we now have the spectacle of possible "war crimes" trials starting in Spain against Israeli leaders and officials. Funny how no one on the left seems very concerned about what Hamas did (and is continuing to do). Well, something will change in the next few days, if only because Israel is about to hold an election. Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party currently holds a slim lead, but Ehud Olmert's Kadima Party is rapidly closing the gap. Given Olmert's miserable leadership over the last 3+ years, I have to wonder what Israelis are thinking, but maybe this is more a commentary on the opposition that he is facing.
And we thought that it was bad over here?
2) It's old news now, but the Pittsburgh Steelers won their sixth Super Bowl title eight days ago with a 27-23 come-from-behind win over the Arizona Cardinals. After a fairly dull first three quarters of the game (with the notable exception of James Harrison's 100-yard interception return for a touchdown to end the first half), the fourth quarter featured 23 points, two lead changes and Ben Roethlisberger stamping his name among the great Super Bowl quarterbacks with a defining 88-yard touchdown drive that rivaled any done by Montana, Elway or the other NFL greats.
Here are some interesting Super Bowl Facts: The Cowboys and 49ers have five apiece. The Patriots, Raiders, Packers, Giants and Redskins each have three. That means that a total of eight franchises have won 31 of the 43 Super Bowls played, leaving the other 24 franchises to share the other 12 titles. When you add in Miami's two titles and Denver's pair, that means that the other 22 franchises have combined to win eight titles.
3) The Montreal Canadiens of 2008-2009 are officially the "Hab-Nots". As readers of this blog, I am a die-hard Montreal Canadiens fan. I grew up in Montreal, and being a Habs fan is in my blood. But, this year's team is as dislikeable as any team in recent memory, because it is wildly inconsistent and, more importantly, the players as a group seem to not even care if they win or lose. Right now, the Canadiens are lollygagging in fifth place in the conference, playing well below their potential, and not even within shouting distance of the first place Boston Bruins. In fact, even making the playoffs is lock for this collection of underachieving stiffs. In a year which had so much in the way of expectation, compounded with it being the 100th anniversary of the team, that is simply unacceptable. There will be blood in the streets of Montreal (figuratively speaking, of course) if that happens.........
4) The Iranians have for the first time launched a satellite into orbit. Yes, yes, I know that this is no ICBM, and that the technology used to launch is closer to that which the Russians used to launch Sputnik into space 52 years ago, but the fact that they did it is worrisome to say the least. I know that it won't make a bit of difference to the Obama Administration in its rush to "engage" with the Mullahs who run the Islamic theocracy, but this is a warning shot across our bow, and it is especially troubling--or, it should be, anyway--to Israeli leaders. Iran is not launching satellites and pursuing nuclear technology because it has nothing else to do. There is an end-game for the Iranians, and that end game will, if the Iranians have their way, involve a direct military confrontation with Israel and then the United States. Like it or not, Israel is the canary in the coal mine here, and the Iranians are going to gauge how we will react to its actions by how we respond to what it does vis-a-vis Israel.
5) There are reports out that New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids (A-Roid?) in 2003, when he was still with the Texas Rangers, leading a friend to e-mail this to me:
TEXAS RANGERS' ALL-JUICED TEAM
It goes from the position to the player and how they are linked to steroid use:
Gary Matthews Jr.
A-Rod of course is the biggest "fish" to be linked to steroid use since Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. He is also the most prominent player on the most prominent franchise in the sport. I guess that if you needed another reason to cheer against the Yankees, here it is.
6) Being an Obama government appointee doesn't mean never having to say you're sorry. What it does apparently mean is that you don't have to pay your taxes (those same taxes that Vice-President Biden told us it is patriotic for us to pay--I guess that Tim Geithner, Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer aren't very patriotic). The MSM has reported on the story, which has led Daschle and Killefer to withdraw their names from consideration. However, the inevitable tone of the reports has been to complain about Republican opposition to confirming these individuals. You can be sure that if this had been a Republican President seeking to name his/her government officials, this would have been Page One, above-the-fold headlines in virtually every newspaper in the country for days on end. MSNBC would probably have devoted at least one specific show to the story every day...........
7) On Saturday, January 31, I took the oldest BHG child to his first ever Hockey game in Montreal for his tenth birthday. I have to say, even as ticked off as I am at the team this season, there is no sporting environment--none whatsoever--which equals watching a Montreal Canadiens game live in Montreal. The Canadiens won the game 4-3 over the Los Angeles Kings by scoring two goals in the final two minutes of the game. He now has a memory that will hopefully last him a lifetime, and the best thing about it is, so do I................
8) The Australian Open tends to be the least regarded of Tennis' four "Majors", but I always try to watch at least some of it. On the men's side, Rafael Nadal stamped himself as the clear #1 in the world with an impressive five-set victory over Roger Federer. Last year, we witnessed Nadal take two of the four Majors, including the monumental five-set win over Federer at Wimbledon in what many are already calling the greatest tennis match ever. Down Under, they went five sets again, and Nadal emerged victorious one more time. He now has a 5-2 record against Federer in the Majors, and he has proven to be Federer's superior on clay (where he never loses. Period.), grass and hardcourt. He also has six Major titles, and even assuming that Federer does as expected break Pete Sampras' record of 14 Grand Slam titles (he's only one away), one has to wonder how long that record will last anyway. Nadal is still in his early twenties, and his best tennis may still be ahead of him.
On the women's side, we saw what happens when Serena Williams is serious about playing tennis. When she is, she wins Majors. Nobody else on the women's side can play with her when she is focused. She now has 10 Major titles, and while I don't think that she'll catch Steffie Graf's record of 19, she may come close.