Elster's World

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Write Young Man, Write

It’s amazing how the time drips away. My last entry was March 24, but my last entry of substance dates back longer. Much longer.

It’s been an amazingly busy time for me. Work has blown up and I have been running on “crazy busy” mode for almost three straight months. Sometimes I wonder how long until I blow, but other times I worry that I’m just “getting used” to this pace. Not quite sure which is worse.

But enough about me. Actually, this is my blog. I guess it’s pretty much all about me. So here goes:

I have been pondering my return to the world of writing recently. Like any addiction, writing can only be held in check so long before it breaks out and demands the next fix. And believe it or not, posts about the New York Jets and their draft day prospects are simply not keeping the sleeping tiger at bay. So I question what to do next.

The most difficult (but strongest desire) undertaking is to commence writing another book. I was thinking about this the other day. I have plenty of half (baked) formed ideas in my head, floating around in the ether, ready to be picked out and molded into my next masterpiece. But I really would like to write something of substance. Not that writing my detective novel wasn’t fun – it was a blast. I loved every minute of it. But now I feel like I have something more valuable to write. Not too valuable mind you, but more valuable. Those ideas, however, are a little more difficult to conjure up. In my head there are visions of cops and robbers, detectives, the occasional jewel thief and the like. Substantive ideas are all right there floating on the periphery, all right outside the sightlines of my mind’s eye.

And besides, I’m not sure I have the mental strength to commence writing another book, KNOWING WHAT I KNOW NOW. When I wrote my first novel, working title Undertow, I honestly, foolishly and naively assumed that since it was going to be good (and that was a given after all, right?), it was going to be published. Now I know better. The chances of getting an unknown “author” published is pretty much akin to our old friend the Needle in the Haystack. And sitting down to a blank Page 1 and thinking about page 300 – and knowing the chances are better that it will never get published than it will see the light of Barnes and Noble - I’m just not sure I can do it.

So then I was thinking about maybe getting myself on the map somehow – perhaps submitting to magazines and getting some published credits. But then I think - what do I know about magazines? I wouldn’t even begin to know what magazines exist which I could submit fiction to. Does Sports Illustrated do fiction? How about Time? Newsweek? Young Miss? SO that idea pretty much went the way of the T-Rex.

I still firmly believe that my day will come. I believe (notwithstanding the steady stream of manure-type substances I submit here) that I am too talented not to be successful. There, I said it. I never have before and it feels good. I don’t consider myself to be a particularly great person in most ways. But I am a nice person, I’m funny, I’m a good dad and hubby and I have above average writing skills. Otherwise paint me ordinary. So I believe, I hold on to hope, that one day I will get a break. It will come flying out of left field, completely unexpected but overly appreciated, and it will slam into me like an out-of-control 18-wheeler on the Cross Bronx Expressway. And when it comes I’ll be ready. I’ll go down to the garage, open up a steamer trunk, and start pulling out manuscripts, one after the other, like a clown with one of those endless hankies in his sleeve.

In the meantime, I just have to fulfill my part of the deal, scratch the writing itch and give my writing tiger its fix. How I decide to do that, book, article, blog post, angry letter to the county about the goose poop on my lawn, remains to be seen.

But as long as I’m feeding the addiction, it’s all good.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Because It's Worked So Well Up To Now

Good luck to the Georgetown Hoyas who are seeking an Elite Eight spot fpr the first time since the Iverson/Harrington/Williams Era. Tonight's victim is Florida - a long and athletic team.

The best thing about this team is that, unlike years past, they are a good group of kids - not thugs from the juvie center...

Jets Update

The Jets are relatively close to signing a deal with free agent lineman John Runyan. If Runyan signs with the Jets, that might indicate that New York will not be taking D'brickershaw Fergueson with the #4 overall pick.

Laying On The Couch

Why do we do things we don’t want to do? I was thinking about this last night while doing something I didn’t want to do. Allow me to elaborate:

Some local buddies of mine (not to be confused with my real buddies from back in the day, who are now spread out over the universe – or at least New York, New Jersey and Canada) started a weekly Thursday night poker game about a year ago. I played with them for a while (I was new in the ‘hood and trying to make friends) but as the game became more competitive (and less friendly), I lost interest and dropped out. It also happened to be right around the time I was writing my book and didn’t want to sacrifice my writing time for the game.

So I stopped playing. My choice. Of course, they all decided that I stopped because I didn’t like one of the players. Not true. Well, it’s true that I don’t particularly care for this person, but that certainly isn’t why I stopped playing. And then when that person stopped playing, it was always “Come play again, X doesn’t come anymore”, followed by me patiently explaining (for the 1,342nd time) that person X was never the reason I stopped playing to begin with. Urgh. (Bangs head against wall repeatedly.)

Anyway, I got the email last night. “A bunch of players can’t make it tonight, we need you to fill in. Oh and by the way, person X isn’t going to be there”. Did I say urgh already? So despite the fact that I had no interest in going, I went. (Oh and on a side note, I won the first of the two tournament style games. Go me.)

But the question is, why did I go? What drives people to do things they don’t want to do? Certainly, there are different categories. Some things we do out of necessity (see any of a dozen of my infamous hate job/work because I need to feed my family posts). Others we do because it’s the “right thing to do” like visiting sick people in the hospital. No one LIKES going to the hospital, but you bite down on a stick and suck it up.

But then we come to the other side of the spectrum. Those things we do out of peer pressure or simply doing a “bad thing” that you cannot control. My transgression falls in the former category. I bowed to peer pressure. I went because I am on the periphery with these guys (fine with me) but Mrs. Elster is pretty tight with their wives. Ergo I need to “make an effort” to be friendly with these guys. Thus, I end up saying “yes, I will come”, and then bitching about it all night. And that bothers me. I hate peer pressure. I have spent the last ten years learning not to care what other people think about me. Believe me, it ain’t an easy thing to do and obviously I’m still a work in progress.

My point? None. But I like working through my issues. It makes me feel better. So thanks for being my shrink today. Where should I send the check?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Sports Net New York

SNY just announced a long term deal with Cablevision. Which would be fantastic except that I have DirecTV. Does anyone know if a deal is imminent/already in place? I called DTV, but the moron I spoke with was about as Cluless as Alicia Slverstone in Clueless.

SNY will be showing about 125 Met games each season. So if I don't have SNY, that's 125 games a season I will be missing. Not good times.

New York Sports Update

Some random sports observations from the last few days:

With the Jets recent signing of free agents Kimo von Oelhoffen (35) and Tim Dwight (age unknown), all the talk of a youth movement has seemingly been chucked out the window. I know there is a need for veteran leadership on every team, but the Jets already have a number of veterans. You can't sign old free agents and then say you are committed to getting younger. Why was Kevin Mawae too old but Kimo isn’t? Is there really a market for old white wide receivers like Dwight that I’m not aware of? (On the flip side, the Jets now have a guy named “Kimo” on the team who also happens to be the guy who set the Bengals back at least 2 years when he injured QB Carson Palmer in the playoffs last year.)

This April’s draft becomes more important than ever now. Do the Jets trade the 4th and 29th (received in the John Abraham trade) picks to move up to second? If so, will they take Matt Leinert or rising prospect Jay Cutler (who wowed scouts at his private workout at Vanderbilt, apparently throwing lasers in the wind)? If they stay at 4, do they go for D’brickershaw Fergueson or do they nab Ohio State’s AJ Hawk to help with the 3-4 base front they will be playing next year? This situation bears watching.

Another situation that bears close scrutiny is the New York Met opening day pitching staff. The starting five seems to have one spot open (a competition between Brian Bannister and Aaron Heilman) and the bullpen is a mess. With none of the lefty relievers standing out, will the Mets move Heilman and his nasty changeup to the pen?

Early reports on Jorge Lugo are not promising. The Mets gave up started Kris Benson for this guy, very generously listed as 235 pounds by the Mets. It seems from reports that they might have gotten the 2 and 3 mixed up. On top of that, this Armando Benitez clone can’t seem to find the plate. Luckily the Mets had so much starting depth, they were able to trade away two guys (Benson and Jae So). They were smart enough, however, to hold on to Victor Zambrano and his “hall of fame stuff”. And yes, those last two sentences were written with great amounts of sarcasm.

The Rangers loss last night to Philly doesn’t trouble me all that much (Ryan Hollweg’s brain fart major penalty cost them the game yesterday). They do need to find a little more consistency (and a way to clear big bodies from in front of Lundqvist – who, if he has any real weakness, appears to lose sight of pucks when heavily screened). The good news is that the Rangers are playing well overall and will battle for the Atlantic division title until the very end.

And then you have the Knicks. Ah, what is there to say? Describing this team as a train wreck is a compliment. Isaiah Thomas is a terrible GM and Larry Brown has already lost the team. The last time there were this many heartless people in one place, we were watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Steve Francis has deteriorated before our very eyes. The Marbury/Brown feud is a league joke. They just lost their best young player (Channing Frye) for the remained of the season. What else is going to go wrong? Will Madison Square Garden be collapsing soon? Is James Dolan going to fire Isaiah Thomas and Glen Sather and announce that he will be running the teams personally?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Post 101

I cannot believe I missed it but apparently my previous post, Sweet 16, was the 100th post at Elster's World. I'm not sure if this is particularly large accomplishment for some of my fellow bloggers (Joe and Jack, this means you) but for me it is.

I have been posting since May, 2005 which is, give or take, 10 months (minus one month, June 2005, where I didn't post). So on average I've been cranking out 10 posts a month. Looking back in some self-analysis, Elster's World is uneven at best.

When I started back in May or 2005, I had no idea what I wanted to use this space for. Ten months later, I haven't found any direction. Is this a blog about sports? Television? Random literature? Nonsense? I'd say it's about all of the above and none of the above.

(At the end of the day, I believe that this is the reason I can't really hold a large viewership, despite the fact that I write well and I have an easy to read style about me (just being honest). You read Jack to hear what is on his mind. You read Joe to hear about Israel, the Jets and the Jews. You read McAryeh to see what is going on in his life. You go to Jameel to find out about life in the Promised Land. But why does anyone come here? If you want incoherent ramblings, you can turn on your own computer and vent.)

But at the end of the end of the day, this is perfect for Elster. Why? Because it's me. I write only what is on my mind and never what I think others want to hear (as evidenced by my 2,000 word treatise on Battlestar Galactica - one of my favorite posts of all time to write - even though it killed an entire Sunday afternoon and brought about the ire of Mrs. Elster). It could be a three paragraph story about a sudden rain in the park (Story Time Part II, August, 2005), my top movies of all time (July, 2005) a story about a jewel thief (in two parts, January, 2006) or Fear's Ugly Face (December, 2005). They are all about me. Who I am. What I want to say. For those of you who want continuity, try somewhere else. Like prison.

So there is it. Post 100 (or 101 as the case may be). An accomplishment for someone who, in May of 2005, wasn't sure if he would ever find his voice.

Now, what the Hell will I write about for the next 10 months?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Sweet 16

With Georgetown's upset victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Hoyas have reached the round of 16. An impressive feat for a number 7 seed. Only 4 Hoyas scored but led by seven foot, two inch center oy Hibbert, it was enough.

And congradulations to me for writing my first drunken post (thanks to my shul dinner this evening). Good times all around.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Update on Grandma

She is doing MUCH better. I just spoke with her, which means that not only is she coherent and lucid (thank g-d), she is even picking up her own phone. Very very good news....

Thursday, March 16, 2006

No Luck of the Irish For Me

The memories of a man in his old age
Are the deeds of a man in his prime.
You shuffle in gloom of the sickroom
And talk to yourself as you die.

Will the Jewish month of Adar is supposed to be one of increased luck and joy, I've actually been finding it to be one of ill luck and pain. On Monday night (Taanis Ester) my grandmother was taken to the hoapital with pnuemonia. She was in the ER all night and into the following day (Purim). I went to visit her with my sister and brother in law. She was weak but she was coherent.

Life is a short, warm moment
And death is a long cold rest.
You get your chance to try in the twinkling of an eye:
Eighty years, with luck, or even less.

Yesterday she took a turn for the worse. I have been so busy at work that I barely had a chance to breath even on Purim. Meanwhile and more importantly, my grandmother was much less coherent yesterday. She barely recognized my mom (her daughter).

So all aboard for the American tour,
And maybe you'll make it to the top.
And mind how you go, and I can tell you, 'cause I know
You may find it hard to get off.

My grandmother is an extremely independent woman. She still lives alone and was even driving to and from the market, etc. well into her eighties. When my grandfather was sick with lung cancer, my grandmother gave her entire life to him; basically cutting off all of her friends and everything else so she could care for him full time. That's what makes this so particularly upsetting; that such a special person can turn so quickly. The good news is that today my mom says she was better.

You are the angel of death
And I am the dead man's son.
And he was buried like a mole in a fox hole.
And everyone is still in the run.

In other bad news, I was told by my job search headhunter that I am no longer being considered for a job position I very much wanted to get. No explanation as to why. This news crushed me particularly hard yesterday. Because...

And who is the master of fox hounds?
And who says the hunt has begun?
And who calls the tune in the courtroom?
And who beats the funeral drum?

Work has become unbearable. I am working harder than ever, am more stressed than ever, and more miserable than ever. That job was like a life preserver that fell too far out of reach. Now I'm sitting with dwindling options and more pressure than I think I can even handle.

The memories of a man in his old age
Are the deeds of a man in his prime.
You shuffle in gloom in the sickroom
And talk to yourself till you die.

Pretty gloomy image of man's time on Earth. But if all we do is go through life walking with our heads down and our hands in our pockets, does it fit?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Hoya Paranoia

Congratulations to the Georgetown University Hoyas on their invitation to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2001. While they got somewhat of a shaft with a number 7 seed, the Hoyas didn't really play well down the stretch, including an awful loss to South Florida at the end of the season. They did make the Big East semi's and are probably thrilled just to be back in the dance.

I will be rooting hard for them this Friday night against #10 seed Northern Iowa.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Why The New Battlestar Galactica Kicks The Old Galactica's Butt

Couple of notes before I begin:

It seems pretty clear to me that no one who actually reads me has even seen the new series of Battlestar Galactica (as it airs on Friday nights) and not too many of them would even be old enough to remember the classic original series which first aired in 1978. So, I suspect that this one’s for Elster and Elster alone.

More important – I have only watched the first season of the new show this far. If anyone stumbles across this and wants to leave a comment about anything that happens after Season I, please DO NOT DO SO.

Finally – This review will of course be spoiler heavy. If you are thinking about watching the first season and want to be surprised, DO NOT READ THIS. You have been warned. On with the article:

When I was a kid (back in the day), I was a huge sci-fi fan. I remember going to see Star Wars for the first time in 1977 (I was 4 years old) and being absolutely hooked from the first scene. I dreamed of being Han Solo, piloting the Millennium Falcon and destroying the Death Star. Yes, I know Luke Skywalker destroyed the death star. It’s called poetic license.

And back in those days, if you were a sci-fi nut, there were limited options. There was Star Wars and, well, a lot of crap. So when Battlestar Galactica burst on the scene, it was a pretty big deal. The premise was simple. In a faraway galaxy there was 12 colonies (or planets), which were involved in long war with the Cylons, robots with artificial intelligence, originally built by humans and who had since rebelled against their human leaders (like the Terminator story without the time travel element). After a long war, the Cylons wish to declare a truce. Under the guise of peace, they come to sign a treaty and instead annihilated the 12 colonies. Only the space ship Battlestar Galactica (thing navy battleship and aircraft carrier all in one) is ready for this attack. All survivors pile into whatever ships can fly, flock to the Galactica, and make a run for the mythical 13th colony, a place called Earth. All as being chased by the Cylons at every turn. Even the opening credits were awesome. “There are those who believe that life here began out there…”

Sure, it was pretty goofy, and the space fighter scenes were the same every week, but for sci-fi nerds everywhere it was pure China White. I was too young for the first run episodes, but when I was in elementary school, I caught the syndicated episodes at 5:00 every night when I got home from school.

Of course, the years passed and Galactica faded away to a somewhat pleasant memory. I still like the occasional sci-fi jaunt, but most of it is completely unwatchable – almost unbearable – so those jaunts are fewer and more far between.

So when the Sci-fi channel announced plans for a reworked Galactica, my interest was slightly piqued. They produced and aired a two-hour pilot, of which I watched only bits and pieces. When they announced that the show had been picked up but the episodes would be run Friday nights, it was dead in the water for me. Despite critical acclaim that was pretty much off the charts (Rolling Stone Magazine called Galactica the best show on TV and TV Guide’s Matt Roush and Michael Ausiello raved about it weekly in their columns), Galactica was off my radar.

But earlier this winter, I had the opportunity to watch the complete first season on DVD. Quite simply, I was blown away. This was not a sci-fi show. This was a great drama that happened to take place somewhere other than Earth. The characters were real, they were gritty - and most important- totally believable. In the wake of George Lucas’ dreadful Star Wars remakes, this show is the greatest sci-fi product to be produced since the original Star Wars trilogy. I was completely sucked in. Had it not been for my Miami Vacation, I probably would have taken off a day from work and watched all 12 episodes in a row. I can’t even think of a better winter’s day off.

Enough background. Now let’s explain why this show is so much better than its predecessor, the original Galactica. For the sake of shorthand (I already feel the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome setting in), the original series will be “BG1” and the new series will be “BG2”. First let’s break down the characters, as Bill Simmons would say, Dr. Jack style.

Commander Adama:

The BG1 Adama (played by the late, great Lorne Greene) was just about the wisest, most likable man in all the fleet. He was unflappable, made a nice worried face when necessary, but never made a wrong decision. He guided the fleet correctly at every turn, never phased by the fire crisis, the Cylon crisis, the Gun on Ice Station Zero crisis, the Commander Cain crisis and not enough food crisis, all while pushing his fleet toward Earth. Therefore, his character was about as unbelievable as can be. Add to that the fact that he played the same character when he was shucking dog food for Alpo it was a little irksome. Though I would have loved to have this guy as a grandfather, there is no way he’s leading the last vestiges of humanity safety from the Cylon Tyranny. He just didn’t have the grit in him to make the tough decisions.

Then there’s the BG2 Adama. He is hardened by life and his complete distrust of the Cylons. He has lost a son (Zak) to the enemy and he knows what they are capable off. He has a human side but can shut it off when necessary to make the bad decisions. For example in the first post-pilot episode (“33”) Adama orders an entire ship with over 1,300 people on board to be destroyed because there is a pretty good chance the ship has been compromised by the Cylons. Now THAT’s the guy you want running leading the last vestiges of humanity from the Cylon Tyranny. No way Lorne Greene makes that call. And that would have been the end of the fleet, right there in the very first episode. Luckily, the writers of BG1 never put Lorne Greene in that position.

Edge: BG2.

Captain Apollo/Capt Lee Adama

BG1: Son of Commander Adama, Richard Hatch plays Apollo straight and narrow. He is the perfect son of the perfect leader. He’s a great pilot, great guy and pretty good in a scrap. His honor and nobility are without question. Of course, he, too, is completely unbelievable as a character, but I always enjoyed the Apollo experience nonetheless.

BG2: Played by Jamie St. John Amber Griffith (the name alone is an article in itself), Lee Adama (Viper call sign Apollo) is just the opposite of his original counterpart. He hates his father, blaming him for the death of his younger brother. He, too, is noble, but follows his own heart, not blindly the wished of his father. While they reach a sort of truce, the tension is always there. In the first Season’s thrilling final episode, Kobol’s Last Gleaming, he pretty much commits treason by backing the president over his father. Powerful stuff. Yet for some reason, his character bugs me.

Edge: Even.

Lieutenant Starbuck/Lt. Kara Thrace

BG1’s Starbuck, played brilliantly by the A-team’s Dirk Benedict, lives off his good looks. Sure he’s the best pilot in the fleet, but this guy would much rather be playing Pyramids (some extremely cool version of poker), drinking Ambrosia or running around with his 2 girlfriends. He’s always getting himself mixed up in some zany trouble, but always ends up smelling like a rose and with some new chick to boot.

BG2’s Kara Thrace (Viper call name Starbuck) is female. Pretty butch, but female nonetheless. She is the fleet’s best pilot but she’s pretty screwed up. She was engaged to the now deceased Adama brother, Zak, but has some feelings for Lee Adama as well. She has a private war with Galactica’s second in command, Col. Tigh. She also has a major crisis of conscience at the end of the first season, eventually betraying father figure Adama for President Laura Roslin and returns to the destroyed planet Caprica instead of taking on a dangerous mission for the fleet.

Edge: BG1. It’s impossible to vote against the original Starbuck. Just impossible. He played Faceman for heaven’s sakes.

Lt. Sharon Valerii/Boomer

BG1 – Nothing to say here. Boomer was the classic Token Black Guy. He added virtually nothing to the show, except to further the stereotype that black actors had nothing worthwhile to contribute to television.

BG2 – Sharon Valerii (Raptor call sign Boomer) is one the new shows great characters. She’s a top pilot and she’s in love with flight deck crew chief Tyrol. Oh, and she also happens to be a Cylon who looks human. And she doesn’t even realize this at first, but comes to this self-discovery over the course of the first season (she blows up the ship’s water supply/almost refuses to report the water she discovers) culminating in her shooting Commander Adama in the chest in the last scene of the season finale as he congratulates her for completing a dangerous mission for the fleet – truly a shocking ending.

Huge Edge: BG2.

Baltar/Gaius Baltar

BG1: Baltar (played with maniacal efficiency by John Colicos) was responsible for allowing the Cylons to destroy the colonies. For his reward, the traitorous Baltar is given a Cylon Base Star and chases the Galactica all over the Galaxy. His second in command, Lucifer, was fantastic as well, adding actual sarcasm to a show in dire need of a realistic touch. This pair would surely get the edge but for…

BG’s Gaius (pronounced Guy-Us) Baltar, played with brilliance by James Callis, is one of televisions great characters. He was a scientist who is tricked into helping the Cylons when he is seduced by Number 6, a hot, human looking Cylon, who uses him to gain Cylon command of all networked computers in the fleet. Now Baltar is aboard the Galactica and Number 6 is in his head. And he’s playing for both teams. Brilliant.

Edge: BG2.

Col. Tigh

The original Col Tigh, ships second in command, was actually a black character from the 70’s who succeeded in bringing something to the table. Played by Terry Carter, Tigh was a steadying influence in times of trouble and kept the bridge running smoothly.

His updated counterpart is a surely drunk. The new Tigh is another in a long line of BG2’s realistic character set. He is a good leader, though the drink causes him to misstep on occasion. His running feud with Lt. Starbuck adds a nice element of humor to the show.

Theme Song:

This was the toughest thing for me to decide. The opening to the original was fantastic. The “there are those who believe” followed by an orchestra doing a 70’s sci-fi thing which I find myself humming to this day. BG2 goes with grit (of course), the music underscored by the dire situation of the show’s protagonists. Unable to pick a winner, I’m going with a tie.

So on a character level, BG2 kicks. Of course, this is totally unfair. The original show was a camp-fest. However, it took itself seriously enough to lose some of its campy-ness. The new version is just a fantastic drama.

So there you have it. Just under2,000 words on an essay about a television show; an essay I seriously doubt anyone is actually going to read. And it’s not even finished. I plan on someday breaking down the first season’s episodes against each other. Of course, even as I wrote that I know I’m never going to do it. But still, it’d the thought that counts.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Birthday Ramblings

Today is my birthday. Number thirty-three. The Patrick Ewing birthday. I like to equate the birthday number to the jersey number of a favorite athlete. For example, 27 was the Alexei Kovalev birthday, 28 the Steve Larmer Birthday and 32 was the Jarrod Mustaf birthday. For those of you with poor memories, Mustaf was a lanky U of Maryland basketball star drafted with a high pick by the New York Knicks. Of course, he ended up being a huge bust, including being implicated in some sort of armed robbery/murder situation with his cousin.

Anyway, it’s B - day number 33 so onto the ramblings:

- It’s scary to me that a country whose leader publicly denies the Holocaust is on the verge of having nuclear capabilities. Why doesn’t the world see Iran as the Next Big Threat. These people are insane. Giving them access to nukes is like giving Hannibal Lechter a knife and access to a Curves gym. It’s just a bad idea. At least the United States seems to have a clue. Vice President “Shooter” Chaney has recently states that the US will not allow Iran to have “nucular” weapons (quoting the President). It’s frightening that insane people could soon have their hands in an instrument that could kill hundreds of thousands of people.

- The Lord should rest the soul of Edgar Stiles, brave computer analyst at the Counter Terrorist Unit, who saved the United States no less than three times last season on 24. His time on this Earth was way too short. And seriously, who wants to go as the victim of Syntox-V nerve gas? There has got to be a better way to go. At least he died with dignity, much like Ma Stiles did last season.

Maybe more later. But work is pouring in and I have to get some done…

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Goodbye Dana Reeve

Dana Reeve, wife of former Superman Christopher Reeve, died today of lung cancer. To be honest with you, the passing of celebrities doesn't really mean that much to me as a general rule - I generally am more saddedned by the death of someone in my community. But Dana Reeve was an exception. Her husband's tragic story is well known and on the heels of his passing, her cancer struck a serious blow.

Last I saw her, she was singing a tribute to Mark Messier at his number retirement celebration at Madison Square Garden. I remember commenting to Mrs. Elster that she looked pretty good even though she was supposedly so sick. Well, it's now a few short months later and she is gone.

I take two things out of all this. First, it seems that the Reeves were struck with more than their fair share of tragedy since the equestrian accident that paralized Mr. Reeve. And second, what we take from any person's death; that life is too short to putz around - you are not going to live forever and your world can get blown apart in a manner of seconds.

The Second Post of the Day

The fact that I have nothing to write about shall not stop me. After all, it has never stopped me in the past.

These last few months I have been creatively dead. I'm not writing anything outside of this blog and what I've been writing at this blog has been about a step and a half above drivel (and I'm trying to be generous to myself).

I see that it has been a problem for a number of bloggers recently. McAryeh http://awhisperingsoul.blogspot.com/ has been struggling to find his blogging soul and young Trophy of the Hour http://trophyofthehour.blogspot.com/2006/02/blogging-has-become-harder.html recently went through this crisis as well. Anysara got married and thus most probably endeth Chosson Hunt/Found http://chossonhunt.blogspot.com/ (I daresay when Sara found the Chosson, she lost the edge that made her blog so compelling in the first place - though I suspect she'd make that tradeoff in a second). Then there are those with no problems like Jack http://wwwjackbenimble.blogspot.com/- who remains as prolific as ever.

I often wonder why I all of a sudden I have nothing to say here. Well, part of the issue is that I'm busier at work - thus making me more tired and less productive when I get home. Part of the problem is that with the finished novel pretty much dead and buried, I have no energy (though no shortage of ideas) to commence another one.

I have been trying to figure out what other venues I could use for writing. I think I'd enjoy writing for magazines and the like but again, I have no way of getting "established credentials" first. And without the street cred, no one wants to publish you. So that's pretty much a dead end.

I used to hope that my blog would be the way to get people to hear my voice, but it's so without directions. Is it a sports blog? A literary blog? What the hell is it? Truth is, I don't know. The blog's lack of focus is a direct result of its owner's lack of focus. (Though I guess I technically don't "own" it either, but I digress.) Without a clear path, you lose your viewers - or you don't gain any new ones. Some people come here to read the sports while other wish I never post about the Jets, Mets, Rangers and Knicks. Others seem to enjoy the snips of stories that I spin here (though not so much recently). Some may even come here to hear me bitch about my job of my failed attempt at being a real live author. But it's all some, some some. I don't have a growing audience, just a set one. So the blog remains just what it is, a passing fancy with a short shelf life - to be used or discarded at my leisure. I'm sure when it's gone, the Elster Faithful will find another way to kill 5 minutes every three days.

But damn, I want to write more. My feelings of creative numbness are a direct result of my lack of writing. I need an outlet - not a trivial outlet like this one, but something more, well "real" for lack of a better word. Much like my dream job, I always assumed that it would simply fall into my lap. With my 33rd birthday coming up tomorrow, I have long since realized that only life's very lucky get the constant breaks. The rest of us shuffle on like the worker drones we are.

This One's For Joe

The Rangers have now lost 2 games in a row; both by the score of 2-1. Both were big games. ONe was New Jersey (the hated Devils and divisional foes to boot) and the second lose came at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes, the team currently leading the Eastern Conference.

Interesting observations from these games:

1 - Teams are no longer going to let Jaromir Jagr skate around and creat havoc. Teams are going to start going after him every chance they get. The Rangers will have to make adjustments like keeping Jagr moving and, more importantly, making sure there are physical presences in the lineup each night to make sure other teams know what goes around will come around. Ryan Hollweg and perhaps Colton Orr both fit this bill to varying degrees, but Orr brings nothing else to the table. So it's Hollweg by default, unless the Rangers make a move fir a Donald Brashear type enforcer before the deadline.

2 - The Rangers defense is much better than people have been giving it credit for. Sure, there are no bangers in the top 6 and no great puck carrying offensive guy, but still. They play together well and feed off each other. They clear the puck and don't turn the puck over too often. Fedor Tyutin has really picked up his play as of late and Tom Poti isn't killing anyone either. Malik and Roszeval are my favorite pairing since Leetch and Book-A-Boom. Their play is subtle, but they are a fantastic team.

3 - You need to score to win games. When the Jagr line is silent, another line will have to pick it up (this means you Martin Rucinsky and friends). Hopefully Rob Lowe, er, I mean Petr Prucha will be back soon and can finish strong.

So while these 2 loses were upsetting, it's certainly not end end of the world territory here. The Rangers are looking pretty good going into the stretch run. Coach Tom Renny might need to do some tinkering, but the key work for management is tinkering, not wholesale changes or stupid trades.

Jet update to hopefully follow later today....

Friday, March 03, 2006

Picking Up Where They Left Off

The New York Rangers smoked the Philadelphia Flyers tonight 6-1 - showing no ill effects of the 2 week Olympics layoff. Kevin Weekes was sharp in goal - actually carrying the team in the first period of play - and Jaromir Jagr and his balky groin scored 2 goals and added an assist.

Important playoff cog Blair Betts returned to the ice and slotted back with his twin brother Jason (don't call me Dixon) Ward and scored a goal to boot. The energy players played with energy and the defense was superb in the last two periods.

All this spells good times and optomism that the commencement of this run wasn't simply a fluke.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Countdown To Cut Day

In the olden days, cut day used to be that day in football training camps when final rosters needed to be pared down and the "Turk" came calling for you.

Now, the NFL has a second cut day - the day that salary-bloated teams need to dump dead weigh (or not such dead weight) in order to get under the salary cap. Reports are flooding in that the Jets will cut center Kevin Mawae, guard Pete Kendall and, unless an agreement can be struck re-structuring his contract, quarterback Chad Pennington.

As I mentioned at the Zionist Conspiracy, I fear for whoever will be taking snaps for the Jets next year. The only starters left (if all these cuts take place) will be Adrian Jones, Brandon Moore and Jonathan Goodwin. All three are young and cheap, but considered below average at this point in their respective careers. If the Jets keep the number four pick, they will probably be deciding between Vince Young and D'Brickershaw Fergeson. So there will be a quality lineman available there.

Another factor to consider is John Abraham and the 8 plus million dollar albatross he has strapped around the team. Obviously, he is wildly talented and just letting him walk away was not a good idea. He's too valuable of a chip. But Sport's Illustrated's truth and rumors section noted that at the scouting combine, a number of football people were quoted off the record as saying that they wouldn't touch his bad attitude and gimpy legs with a 10 foot pole. That being said, I think it's a given that he will be traded for picks in this year's draft. But we shall certainly see. Keep in mind, that he is far and away the Jets best pass rusher. Shaun Ellis may be a better all artound player, but he can't get at the opposing QB like Abraham.

In other Jet-related news, the team cut safety/special teamer Oliver Celestin yesterday. These are the moves that go unheralded because, quite frankly, who the Hell is Oliver Celestin? So here's a shout-out to you Oliver. I noticed that you were cut. I hope you don't end up bagging groceries at the local Safeway. Best of luck to you.