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Archive for July, 2009

Gentle Reader, it’s like a switch has been flipped here at stately IPB Manor, and we’ve now entered the second phase of the off-season. Phase One involves a lot of grumbling about how much we hate hockey and hope to never see it again, and any mention of any Devils players prompts us all to screech, “TOO SOON! TOO SOON!!” But Phase Two is completely different. Phase Two is when we can’t stop whining about how much we wish hockey would just come back, and we start being able to laugh about the Devils again. That’s right, Gentle Reader — the holes where our hearts should be have warmed a bit, and we’ve been able to find mirth in our misbegotten favorite team again. Here are the stories:

— We are huge fans of HGTV’s House Hunters, and like to tivo it so we can watch a handful of episodes on Sunday nights to end our weekends. This past Sunday our minds were completely blown thanks to an international episode set in the Czech Republic. In it, an American ex-pat was looking for a flat in some unnamed city outside of Prague, but he was also shown a “rustic” 200-year-old farmhouse. And that farmhouse literally didn’t have indoor plumbing. At all. The only toilet on the property was in the barn. The bathtub had a hose run into it from the garden. The sink in the kitchen was just a basin with no faucet and no drain. And the realtor just shrugged and said that was normal in Czech. Needless to say, Gentle Reader, we have spent the last few days rambling in our Patty Elias voices about how difficult it was for Patty to have all the indoor plumbing taken out of his house in Jersey so he could feel more at home. Frankly, we feel like he makes a lot more sense now.

— We couldn’t help but notice that the Devils’ new twitter feed features an awful lot of information about how all our Minnesota-based players are eating walleye that they’ve caught themselves. We refuse to believe, though, that Zach can catch his own fish. No, we’re convinced that he hops into his little 13-foot fishing boat to be the dreaded Walleye Pirate of Lake of the Woods. He putters up to successful fishermen and fires a musketshot across their bows, then drops a boarding plank that Boxworthy, clad in an eyepatch and wearing a billowing sash of a belt with a cutlass hooked in it, slowly crawls across to relieve their targets of their catches. Perhaps he even carries a basket with him that has a carefully-calligraphied sign on it, “Please hand over your walleye to the turtle”.

— We were also discussing the other day about how sad it is that whenever we see pictures of NHLers clutching bottles of beer, it’s always crappy beer:

Pookie: I bet Travis fills his Coors Light bottles with malt liquor. It’s a trick he learned from Paulie.

Schnookie: Zach fills his Coors Light bottles with butterscotch schnapps.

Pookie: Yup. Buttschlager.

Schnookie: No, Buttschlager is the cheap brand. The top-shelf stuff is Butterschlager.

Pookie: Absolutely. And instead of gold flakes in it, it’s studded with Werther’s candies.

Schnookie: After a successful day on the high seas pirating walleyes, Zach and Boxworthy kick back on their pirate dinghy and do shots of Butterschlager until one of them either passes out or chokes on a Werther’s.

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Dearest Diary,

I did not receive a card from you today, Diary, so I believe it is safe to assume that you have forgotten it is my birthday. It is an understandable mistake, as Boxworthy assures me I do not look a day over 13. I take that as a compliment. It must be hard for you to believe that I am now a strapping young man of something-more-than-13.

I shall confess to you here, Diary, as you are a trusted secret-keeping bosom friend, that I have one specific wish for my day. What I should love above all things is a new Travis.

A robot Travis.

Robot Travis

The human Travis has not panned out, Diary. He keeps insisting he is Batman, not Robin. He does things like get married. And he beats me at cribbage.

My robot Travis will be programmed to not be as good as me, Diary. He will be so much more fun than human Travis, I just know it!

Robot Cribbage

Happy birthday to me! My life with my new robot roommate, linemate and Robin is going to be so grand. It is ever so wonderful being older than 13.

Warmest birthday wishes to me,
Zachary Parise

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1. Yesterday afternoon something really strange happened here at stately IPB Manor — we had a long, rambling conversation about the Devils roster. It’s been about a year since we’ve done that, since all of our conversations last season were all about how much of a disconnect we had from the team thanks to a bunch of old, slow, washed-up one-year free agent signings. And in the course of this conversation, Boomer off-handedly mentioned Kevin Weekes, as she hadn’t read that Weekesie was on his way out. As we explained that the Devils had signed Yann Danis, and then refreshed Boomer’s memory about who Yann Danis is, we had a shocking realization. Danis is not just the latest forgettable guy who’s going to get three starts for the Devils behind Marty; no, he’s part of Lemaire’s new offensive scheme. Remember how last year it always took the Devils about 45 shots to score a single goal against the Islanders? Well, now we’ve got an Islanders goalie facing the Devils during practice. This means that Lemaire’s going to be able to hold up a truly shitty team shooting percentage from practices and issue an edict that they need to rethink their shooting strategy. We figure he’s going to enact a rule that Devils players are only allowed to shoot if they are absolutely certain the puck will go in, and if they don’t, they’ll get tazed.

2. On something of the same note, now that the Islanders have Biron, we are not going to be subjected to low-scoring games against the Islanders anymore. We’re still guaranteed to be able to score 36 goals in six games against one division opponent this coming season, but that opponent is now on the Island instead of in Philly.

3. Also continuing on that same note, is Zach going to have to change the name of Shot Club when shooting is no longer allowed?

4. And continuing even further with some of the themes discussed in item #1, we’ve been very surprised at the vehemence with which Boomer hates the Lemaire hiring. We’ve said it before here, but it bears repeating that Boomer is normally extremely mellow about the Devils. Deeply dedicated to them, yes, but demonstrative? No. And yet she can’t shut up this summer about how miserable she is about Lemaire. How much the team has disappointed her. How much she’s dreading the season starting again. It’s nothing but doom and gloom. So we’ve decided she should start her own “I Hate Lemaire As Coach Of The Devils” blog, just to make us look cheery and optimistic by comparison.

5. And speaking of the Lemaire hiring, we got to discussing yesterday afternoon who we would have chosen in his place. We were forced to admit that we actually pay very little attention to head coaches around the league, because so much of what seems to be genius coaching often smacks just of “the right guy in the right place at the right time” (see: Robinson, Larry, in 2000, and Bylsma, Dan, last year). After agreeing that we didn’t really have any idea who would have been a better choice, the following exchange took place:

Schnookie: Of course, I will be more than happy to admit in mid-June, if necessary, that I was wrong about Lemaire.

Pause.

Schnookie, Pookie, and Boomer, [in unison]: SNORT!

Pookie: I’ve never cared before about our head coaches because no matter who they are, the team is always the same.

Schnookie: That’s why I figured as long as it wasn’t Lemaire, it wouldn’t matter who Lou hired. But the qualifier there was “as long as it wasn’t Lemaire.”

Boomer: [Spluttering in incoherent rage about Lemaire.]

Pookie: I knew all along it was going to be Lemaire, so I didn’t bother even considering “as long as it wasn’t him”. I knew it was going to be him, so it wasn’t worth it.

Schnookie: I can’t think of the last time Boomer was this pissed off about a move the Devils made. I think it might have been when we brought Claude Lemieux back.

Pookie: And look how that turned out! Maybe this time around Jacques will win us two Cups!

Schnookie: I didn’t feel that way about Lemaire. But I was positive before it happened that we were bringing Blobby back last summer.

Boomer: And look how that turned out.

Pookie: Yeah, he won us, like, the opposite of two Cups.

6. Finally, last night we were watching Jeopardy (we know, we know…) and saw a local commercial for Path-Mark. And it was so bizarre and so charmingly “regional grocery store commercial” that we felt like we were watching a hockey game on satellite from Canada. It was a nice feeling. We wish the season would hurry up and get here already.

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WOO HOOO! Travis re-signed for this many years:

Marty

for this much money:

Zach's Goals

TravisNation is so excited that its young emperor/god is sticking around! And you know what else this means, Gentle Reader? It means we’ve got four more years of Travis to help make up for the next four years of Rolston! WOOOOOOOO!

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This week Pookie worked the late shift at the reference desk on Monday instead of Wednesday. And so it was that Boomer and Schnookie found themselves sitting in the living room at stately IPB Manor for hours on end this evening, bored out of their gourds. Why, oh why, can’t it be the hockey season yet!?

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Cowgirl Boomer

Boomer, thinking deep thoughts.

Boomer is normally pretty reserved about the Devils, at least compared to us. She will occasionally hit a giddy high or a mopey low, but for the most part she plays her cards close to her vest. Recently, though, she has become almost despondent about them, and the reason for that is the Lemaire re-hiring. She can’t stop complaining about it. She will, in the middle of completely unrelated conversations, suddenly groan, “I’m just so disappointed about Lou bringing Lemaire back!” She is not a happy camper.

Today we were having a normal quiet stately IPB Manor Saturday, the two of us stitching and emailing and uploading photographs in the living room, while Boomer worked on her sewing machine the next room over at the dining room table. We were chatting through the open doorway about our plans for Patty (In Dallas)’s upcoming visit here, and talk turned to jokes about making Patty spend her week in the Pine Barrens looking for the Jersey Devil. Boomer cracked that watching a Devils game in person is probably scarier than seeing the Jersey Devil itself, and then added solemnly, “I feel like the Lemaire Devils is like the assisted living of the NHL. It’s just one step removed from having to move into the rest home wing.”

It’s going to be a fun season.

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We have learned a valuable lesson today, Gentle Reader, about the dangers of letting yourself disconnect completely from popular culture. Behold:

Okay, we never watched “The Sopranos”. And while we were vaguely aware of what the opening credits were like, it wasn’t until today that we actually watched them. (As an aside, the reason for watching them was that we’re planning Patty (In Dallas)’s visit here [EEEEEEEE!], and wanted to give her an idea of the difference between the drives from Philly and Newark.) The first minute of the credits is, in reverse, our Devils season-ticket experience! It made us so nostalgic, all that Turnpike awesomeness. But the image at 0:37… that just blew our minds.

You see, when we had season tickets, we went to every single game, every year. All the preseason games, all 41 home games, and the two or three playoff games before the end of the first-round flameout. Our glory days only lasted 3 1/2 years, but that’s still roughly 160 drives up and down the Turnpike for our beloved Devils. Needless to say, the entire 90-minute drive became highly ritualized for us, with its own mythology and wildly-spun fictions. We had to say hello to the melted Javy Lopez life-sized blow-up doll on the tarmac at Newark. There were always hearty greetings for Trevor “Big Trev” Linden at the Linden refinery plant. And, most importantly, there was Hydro-Puf.

It’s hard to say what prompted the start of Hydro-Puf’s story, but suffice to say that it ended up thusly: Schnookie and Eric Fichaud (don’t ask) lived in the old, run-down Hyrdro-Pruf factory after the Exit 15 divergence, and in 1997 Fichaud tried to go to the All-Star Game in San Jose by kickboarding through the Panama Canal on his kickboard named Hydro-Puffie. Every time we drove past Hydro-Puf, we all heartily greeted Fiche, and discussed all the amenities his dilapidated surrounds had to offer (like the hot tub on the top of the crumbling industrial tower). There is no more beloved landmark on the New Jersey Turnpike for us than Hydro-Puf. Every time we drove past it — for any reason, Devils or otherwise — we giggled. Every time we took the train into the City, we craned our necks to see if we could catch a glimpse of it, even though we knew we couldn’t. Every time we flew into or out of Newark, we hoped against hope to see it from the plane. Hydro-Puf is as much a part of our Devils experience as the Meadowlands itself. Even after the “F” fell off and it was saddled with the indignity of being called Hydro-Pu.

And all this time, it was featured prominently on the opening credits of “The Sopranos”. Who knew??

Hydro Puf

Hi Fiche!

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