Archive for May, 2010

We have a tall, scraggly tree in our front yard (we think it’s a black locust) that is hardly the most beautiful tree in the neighborhood, but which we love regardless.

Black Locust 7-24-08

It’s kind of the only plant life that was growing in our front yard when we bought the house, and is one of Pookie’s most beloved go-to photography subjects. Haven’t taken a picture yet for Project 365 and it’s not too unpleasant to take a camera outside? The front-yard tree is your man!

Black Locust and Blue Sky 3

November, 2008

Wonky Sunset Continued

May, 2009

B/W Linden

February, 2010

Puffy Cloud Locust Tree

April, 2010

You can imagine how upset we were, Gentle Reader, when a short, intense thunderstorm blew in over stately IPB Manor this afternoon. We were in our usual seats, strewn around the living room, sewing and watching TV, when we heard a enormous “POP!” and saw a shower of tree shrapnel raining down on the front yard. Our beloved ugly tree had been struck by lightning.

Exploded Tree

The camera was running out of battery and the photographer was still feeling a bit shaky. Thus the less-than-stellar focus and composition here.

When the storm abated, we went out in the front to figure out whether our house was damaged or on fire or showing any other signs of lightning strike, and to gather up the chunks of tree carcass scattered across the yard.

Tree Shrapnel

Tree shrapnel. It’s no laughing matter.

We did a cursory search on the interwebs about whether trees that have been struck by lightning can be salvaged, and were feeling pretty confident… until the top of the tree toppled over with a crash and hung there sadly, waiting for its date with an arborist. It looks like Pookie might have to find a new favorite subject.

But in cuter nature news, look who was in our backyard before the storm:

I'm Going To Look For That Baby Deer One More Time



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While some teams are getting all excited to be playing in the Stanley Cup Final, our stupid team is doing no such thing. Instead, they’re hanging around the American Museum of Natural History.

Brian Rolston

Ugh. Brian Rolston. He’s not a Tyrannosaurus Rex in a good sense. He’s a Tyrannosaurus Rex in the “old, dried up stack of bones” sense. –Schn.

Jamie Langenbrunner As A Rock

Jamie Langenbrunner. He’s such a square. — Pk.

Colin White

This is a very appropriate setting for Colin White, because watching him play hockey makes me want to eat arsenic. –Schn.

Dainius Zubrus

For some reason, Zubrus is my favorite Devil to find in the wild. And this is my favorite Zubrus I’ve spotted. –Schn.

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It’s another Memorial Day weekend, and that means it’s another birthday for Schnookie. WOO HOO!

Waxy Monkey Frog Says Happy Birthday, Schnookie!

We’re off for a day of fun at the Museum of Natural History, where we hope all the butterflies and lizards and snakes and dinosaurs will be as festive as this waxy monkey frog is. Sure, it’s not a national holiday until Monday, but it should be.

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So today we watched an episode of “Walker, Texas (New York) Ranger” called Devil’s Turf. In it, an evil bodybuilder/trainer dude, proprietor of the titular Devil’s Gym, introduces a group of high school football players to their one-way ticket to Div I scholarships — “powerball”: a combination of steroids and speed. This prompted this exchange:

Schnookie: The Devils take the opposite of that. They get together before games and gobble down handfuls of quaaludes.

Boomer: Yeah. They take Human Shrink Hormone.

Pookie: Absolutely. Their powerball is a cocktail of Human Shrink Hormone and Ambien.

Whatever the actual chemistry of it, be forewarned — if you stop by at the notorious Devils’ Gym after hours, you’re going to end up like the kid before the opening credits of this episode of Walker. You’ll be so overcome by the effects of the Powerball that you’ll drive your motorcycle into an explosive wreck with a big-rig. Only instead of enjoying the ride like the Walker kid did, you’ll be sound asleep and getting smaller by the minute.

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The scene opens with Jimmy Trivette, Walker’s partner, playing football with some high schoolers, while Walker and the outrageously annoying reporter lady stand on the sidelines. The reporter lady, who helped Walker uncover a UFO mystery in a previous episode, is a very unwelcome addition here.

Walker IPB Post

The sideline conversation is expositing several things:

1. Texans love high school football.
2. This high school team has an unprecedented superstar tandem of “Bo” and “Cully”, a.k.a. “Zach” and “Travis”
3. They are likely to win the State Championship.
4. Texans love high school football.
5. In case you didn’t know, Texans love high school football.

It turns out Trivette is just a “coach for a day”, and just as he exposits that, he notices “Coach Morell” and “Joe Slocumb” fighting up in the room at the back of the grandstand. (In the background, Lou is talking with Paulie:)

Walker IPB Post

Trivette says he has never seen Slocumb look so “agitated”. Cub Reporter says, “No, that doesn’t track with the man I covered two years ago” (ifyouknowwhatshemeans), and then Walker says, as if each word is foreign to him, and he is, perhaps, reading a cue card phonetically, “Yeah. I saw him play college ball. He was really good.” Pookie: “He sounds like a kid with Asperger’s trying to fit in.”

(Perhaps now is a good time to mention that the impetus to spend our summer watching “Walker, Texas Ranger” came from a review of the complete series DVDs on Slate. Mason Currey, the reviewer, describes Chuck Norris’s acting style thusly:

But what finally set Walker apart on my recent viewing spree were the quieter moments—and, in particular, what appears to be Walker/Norris’s profound, almost existential discomfort with the simplest human interactions. Norris is at home only in action; in quotidian situations—answering the phone, kidding around with his partner—he seems totally at sea. [In one example, w]ith the camera tight on his face, his auburn beard and bangs framing his eyes, Norris momentarily looks less like a decisive Texas Ranger than a confused golden retriever.

It’s very true. And because of that, we often softly “woof” at the television during Walker’s more dramatic moments.)

Returning to the action, Cub Reporter is expositing that Slocumb (if that really is his name) was so good that everyone thought he’d go pro, but he blew out his knee and would have been a failure, except then he “made something of his life”. We are all confused by what that means. Schnookie: “How did he make something of his life?” Pookie: “By becoming a high school football coach! They said that high school football is sacred in Texas.” Boomer: “Yeah!” Schnookie: “But I thought Coach Morrell was the coach.” Pookie and Boomer: “::Stunned silence::” Pookie: “You’re thinking way too hard about this.”

(Perhaps now is a good time to point out that we never have any idea what’s happening during an episode of Walker. This is by far the closest we’ve paid attention to any one of them, and here we are, over 500 words in, and we’re not even at the two-minute mark on the episode. This should be fun.)

Trivette walks away from Cub Reporter and Walker to talk to “Cully”/”Travis” (Boomer, looking up from her computer, “No! That’s… Gomez? Or whoever?” We know who here isn’t thinking way too hard about this) and gushes that he’s shown “some real moves out there”. Cully looks annoyed. He complains that there is no offensive imagination on this team, and he could run their plays in his sleep. Huh. Boomer was right. It is Gomez. Trivette tries to pep him up by saying if he wants to be a real blue-chip prospect, he has to bite the bullet. Cully whines, “Yeah, well, lousy play-calling’s not the only thing that sucks around here.” Pookie: “The play calling sucks, the goaltending sucks, the special teams suck, the forwards suck, the defense sucks, the coaching sucks… They suck.” Yup. This high school football team is totally the Devils.

Just then, Slocumb bursts out of the coach’s room thingie as Coach Morrell shouts at him to not come back until he cools down. There is an embarrassingly long shot of Slocumb making slow but steady progress down the stairs of the bleachers. Then a cut to an ominous looking man watching the scene unfold. Pookie: “You can tell he’s bad because… he’s wearing a white hat?”

Walker IPB Post

While the ominous man looks on, Slocumb gets in his car. Pookie squeals, “WHITE LIGHTNING!”

Walker IPB Post

(Perhaps now is a good time to mention that our screen shots look weird because we have our standard DVD player hooked up to our TV with an HDMI cable [don’t ask]. Pookie: “It just further drives home how these shows were made when dinosaurs roamed the earth.” It also makes everyone look hilariously squat.)

Cub Reporter watches Slocumb and White Lightning peel away from the scene, and then turns to Walker to demonstrate her mad investigative reporter skillz: “Something’s wrong, Walker. I was supposed to have lunch with Joe after practice.” Who would ever blow her off??

The scary guitar music (read: “not at all tense or scary”) picks up, and we get an “action” sequence where the white-hatted bad guy in his big black Suburban forces White Lightning off the road. Slocumb screams in horror as White Lightning barrels into an innocent-looking trailer at the side of the road… but this is “Walker, Texas Ranger”. Nothing is as innocent as it seems.

Walker IPB Post

That trailer was full of C4.

Walker IPB Post

You know how it is. Pookie: “Poor White Lightning. Paulie never should have driven into that meth lab.”

And so Slocumb and White Lightning are no more. The evil Suburban screeches to a halt as the bad guy assesses the damage he’s wrought. As he looks on, White Lightning also explodes. Pookie: “Poor White Lightning. Paulie never should have put that meth lab in the trunk of his car.”

Even though they are about 45 seconds away from the football practice, no one notices the chain of fireball explosions. In fact, White Lightning smolders unnoticed until Walker drives by. Cub Reporter watches the flaming wreckage of the trailer and burning pickup truck go by, then, only just when White Lightning is revealed behind them, she screams, “OH MY GOD! THAT’S JOE SLOCUMB’S CAR!” Pookie: “I love that she would have just kept driving if she hadn’t recognized it.”

Finally! The credits! You guys, this song is the most amazing thing we have ever heard. Bar none. Yes, that’s Chuck Norris doing the singing. Watch it a few times to get the full “Summer 2010 at Stately IPB Manor” experience; once you’ve got it deeply stuck in your head, you’ll know how we feel now.

When we come back from credits, it’s the scene of the crime. The local lawman (needless to say, he’s an idiot. They all are, compared to Walker) is saying that this sort of thing happens all the time. Pookie: “Yeah, guys are always driving into meth labs around here.” Local Lawman clarifies that no, he meant that drivers think they’re “like Mario Andretti” and take turns too quickly. Pookie: “Into meth labs.” Walker is unimpressed by Local Lawman’s detective prowess, and insists Slocumb got forced off the road. Meanwhile, Cub Reporter is, one hopes, on her last legs as a recurring character: “Walker, I should have known something was wrong. He wasn’t happy to see us this morning at practice!” That’s how the Devils know they’re making headway in coach killing – when the coach isn’t happy to see them in practice.

(Perhaps now is a good time to point out that we actually came across this episode about a week ago, and put it off to diarize it just for IPB. Because it was just about at this point that we realized this episode was literally about literal coach killing. Literally. Killing the coach. Walker’s going to bust the Devils!)

Cub Reporter then says, “There’s Elaine!” She races over to the sobbing widow and makes the scene all about herself. “Elaine,” she sobs while embracing her, “We still don’t know what happened!” It should be noted that they literally just rolled Slocumb’s charred body off the premises. The fire’s not out yet. Of course they don’t know what happened. Elaine sobs that Slocumb had known this was going to happen because “voices” told him. There is a long pause. Walker: “What kind of voices?” Elaine explains it was telephone calls. Oh, so not “voices” at all. More like… callers. It seems Slocumb conveniently recorded some of them, but didn’t tell Elaine what they were about. Other than that they were threatening him with blowing him up? This exchange makes no sense.

The next scene is at Elaine’s house, as Walker and Cub Reporter take her home. Walker notes the sinister black Suburban parked outside. Then there is some classic “Walker, Texas Ranger” pacing, as they get out of Walker’s truck, walk down the driveway, walk up the front path, walk along the porch, and walk up to the front door. Considering that we’re at 1500+ words describing less than seven and a half minutes of action, we probably don’t have a leg to stand on, but really, some editing wouldn’t have hurt here.

Anyway, the front door is open, but Elaine insists she locked it when she left. Walker tells the ladies to wait outside as he draws his gun and steps inside, looking for trouble.

Walker IPB Post

Perhaps now is a good time to mention that there is a giant sculpture of a muskie in Beaks’s hometown of Kenora, Ontario; it’s called Husky the Muskie. Needless to say, we are delighted that the supervising producer of “Walker, Texas Ranger” is that 40-foot tall muskie. And when we’re really lucky, he’s also the author of the teleplays. The mark of a true Husky the Muskie episode is dialog that makes no sense, which is fair, considering it was written by a fish.

Walker comes upon a guy rooting through Slocumb’s desk. He shouts “Hey!” at the guy, then, as the guy spins around to reveal he’s holding a gun, Walker shoots the gun out of his hand. That makes the guy fall over, perhaps unconscious. That’s one of our favorite “Walker” tropes – people become grievously injured for no apparent reason, but getting shot in the chest is never a big worry. The worst thing that can happen to you in Walker’s world is, like, a paper cut.

It turns out the guy has Slocumb’s tape recorder, and Walker presses play so we can hear a threatening message telling Slocumb that he needs to keep those kids (presumably the Devils) in line, or else. Slocumb probably thought, “Or else what? I go get a job with the Bruins?”

The next scene is at the Clearwater Sherriff’s Office. The break-in guy is sitting in a cell smoking, while Trivette exposits that he couldn’t get the guy to talk. Local Lawman then struts in to tell us the guy is Vern Something-or-Other (Fiddler, we’re sure), and “he never was much of one for words”. Pookie: “That’s because Travis went to Milford Academy.” It seems Vern Fiddler was a bit of a local tough, who has done hard time. Trivette, Cub Reporter, and Walker exposit that they know that Fiddler’s truck was the one that drove Slocumb off the road, so why would Fiddler have wanted him dead??? Local Lawman explains that Fiddler and Slocumb went to school together, where Slocumb was the star football player, and Fiddler was a bully. Oh, that, and many locals wanted Slocumb’s head on a pike after the team lost that game to Middleton (or Middlebury? We’re not paying attention. Pookie just spilled a whole can of Diet Coke on the quilt she’s working on. We can only assume he meant Waverly Polytech), because they blamed the loss on poor play-calling. Trivette is appalled that someone could be killed for poor play-calling. Pookie: “I would really like the sherriff here to shrug that in Texas, high school football is sacred.” Instead, he says something about how you don’t know anything about a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes. Pookie: “Then you can tell whether he should have been killed over play-calling.”

Our intrepid trio of heroes steps out of the Local Constabulary and pauses on the threshold. Fiddler, it seems, worked his last job at the largest car dealership in the county. Walker and Trivette decide to check it out, while Cub Reporter, standing poised with her steno pad and pen like she’s in a dinner-theater production of “Front Page”, says she’s going to stay in town to see what she can dig up. Walker absently mumbles, “Keep us in the loop” while walking to his truck. Pookie: “Please don’t.”

When they arrive at the car dealership, Trivette opens up to Walker about Cully’s remarks at practice. He says that he thinks there’s something more there than just standard team troubles. That’s what the Devils want you to think, Trivette! To make it seem more like it’s not just laziness and selfishness! Anyway, Walker tells Trivette to find out where Cully is, so they can go talk to him. Then he and Walker, Texas Wig, get out to investigate the dealership while, presumably, Trivette just sits in the passenger seat of the truck, hoping Cully will walk by.

Inside the dealership, we meet Ace Perkins, the owner. He claims to have known Fiddler was a trouble-maker. And we find out that Slocumb was the assistant coach. That’s not the Devils’ style at all. Why would they waste their time with Johnny Mac?

Meanwhile, Trivette has located Cully, and is getting off his (clunky) cell phone when Walker returns to the truck. Cully’s father has gotten wind of Slocumb’s death, and won’t let the Rangers near his son because he wants his son to go to college. (That’s sound advice in any setting. You don’t want the Rangers getting anywhere near anything, yo.) Trivette wonders what that means. Walker: “It means something’s wrong.” That’s some fine detective work there, Lou.

Meanwhile, back at the jail, Local Lawman tells Fiddler it’s chow time. We watch as Fiddler gets up, takes his meal, sits back down again, and starts eating. Then we cut to Trivette walking in, striding across the sheriff’s office, stopping to talk to another lawman, then walking past Local Lawman to visit the prisoner. It takes longer for this action to unfold than it takes to write it all down. The pacing is brilliant. Finally we get to the meat of the scene, as Local Lawman looks decidedly shifty after Trivette walks by. And for good reason – Vernon Fiddler chokes on his meal and dies on his cell floor as Trivette stands there helplessly, screaming for someone to come in and do something. He’s really good at his job.

Cut to… a loooong shot of a jukebox. Then Cub Reporter and Walker step into a smoky bar and Cub Reporter clumsily exposits that we’re about to meet “Buddy”, the guy who is “Mr. Football in Clearwater”. Buddy’s wife has informed Cub Reporter that he’s taken Slocumb’s death hard. Pookie: “You can tell because he’s drunk a third of a beer. A light beer.”

Walker IPB Post

When Walker and Cub Reporter walk past the bar to talk to Buddy, they get a long, perhaps sinister look from a barmaid. And then we find out that Buddy and Coach Morrell are one and the same. The pieces are all starting to fall into place now! Husky the Muskie is such a good screenwriter.

Walker presses Buddy about the fight between him and Slocumb at practice, and Buddy explains that a year ago, he would have suggested Slocumb to be his eventual replacement, but in the last month or so, Slocumb had been different. His team is in turmoil, and he’s at his wit’s end. His two star players have been scattered in the last month, and can’t complete a single end-zone rush. A month ago, they were amazing, and now… they suck. All three of us, in unison: “Story of our lives.” Is this the episode of “Walker, Texas Ranger” that’s going to solve the mystery of the March Swoon for us? We bet it is!

Walker wonders if it’s drugs that’s causing the problems, and Buddy insists his kids don’t do drugs. Paulie: “Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha!” Walker then downgrades his suspicions to “pressure”. Nope, Buddy doesn’t think it’s that either. But at the rate they’re going, they’re not going to be winning any State Championships. Walker and Cub Reporter are satisfied with this, and leave, walking past the barmaid who was giving them the stink-eye when they came in. Pookie: “She’s probably just not used to seeing wigs like that.”

When Walker and Cub Reporter get outside, there’s a gang of hoodlums gathered around his truck.

Walker IPB Post

The lead hoodlum, in the pink shirt, strides up to Walker and tells him to get out of town. “We want you and your nose out of our business.” Oooh, Husky’s bringing the street talk from Kenora to this episode! Pookie: “I’m just impressed that guy managed to say ‘nose’ instead of ‘you and your wig‘.” Some random local identified as “Tommy” tries to make Pink Shirt back off, but he doesn’t listen. If you don’t know that this leads to a “Walker beats up everyone in the gang one at a time, but if the gang maybe rushed him as a group, they might have better results… GAH! why do they never learn???” fight sequence, you’ve never watched this show.

Walker thanks Tommy for trying to step in on his behalf, and Pookie says absently, “That guy comes into our library every other week and asks for stamp books.”

Meanwhile, Stink-Eye the Barmaid watches the fight disapprovingly. The various gang guys pick themselves up and vow, “You haven’t heard the last of us, Ranger.” But what about his nose??? Cub Reporter performs her task of gratuitously stating the obvious as stupidly as possible when she says, “Walker, they mean business.” Walker’s nose isn’t worried.

It is only now that Trivette calls Walker on his car phone to tell him Fiddler was fed cyanide. Stink-Eye watches Walker drive off into the romantic stripmall parking lots around them… and scene!

The next scene earns Assistant District Attorney Alix Cahill her paycheck for the week when Trivette explains to her that his trip to the football team has led to a murder investigation. Then we cut to a sequence where Cub Reporter and Walker are grilling Local Lawman about everything that’s happened in the last 18 minutes. Local Lawman has a pat explanation to shut down every line of inquiry. Hm. Curiouser and curiouser. Pookie: “It’s almost like he doesn’t want me asking questions. An exploded trailer. An exploded car. A vivisected puma. What can it all mean?” Pause. “I… may have watched further into this episode than you guys have. Just act surprised when we get to the puma.”

Local Lawman insists that the people in town are being hostile to them because this is a happy place that doesn’t like “outside influences”. Cub Reporter delivers her next line as if she is reading a cue card over Local Lawman’s shoulder: “Joe Slocumb was murdered, and you don’t seem to give a damn!” Local Lawman retorts, “Well this ain’t Dallas, lady!”

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When we pause to take the screen shot of this exchange, Pookie finishes his line for him, “This ain’t Dallas. People get murdered here all the time. Especially if they think they’re Mario Andretti.” Walker watches the whole conversation while thinking, “Woof.”

When they get out to the truck, Walker finds a note on his windshield. After an interminable pause, during which he is probably thinking about how the paper says “This is your line”, Walker monotones, “Someone has information for us.” Long pause. “They want to meet with me alone.”

Walker goes to a moonlit football field, and Boomer happily points out that Cub Reporter is not in this scene. This sets Pookie off onto a long aside about trying to get Cub Reporter to chase a dumb UFO story in the next town over. You would have to have seen the UFO episode, though, to fully appreciate the genius of her riffing, and we wouldn’t wish that episode on anyone, even with Dirk Benedict as a shady government contractor. So… getting back to the matter at hand. The mysterious informer? Is Stink-Eye!

Walker IPB Post

Stink-Eye tells Walker a story about a boy who died two years ago in a car accident that was explained away as drunk driving. But the boy in this story was – GASP! – Stink-Eye’s brother (and a star football player), and he never drank, so she knows something’s fishy here. (Of course something’s fishy! It’s Husky the Muskie, after all!) Oh, and also, her brother was being blackmailed. She’s sure that whoever blackmailed her brother also killed Slocumb. Walker’s response to this information is to dully ask her, “Who was blackmailing him?” Schnookie erupts: “Do some police work, jackass! What kind of question is ‘Who was blackmailing him’??” Pookie: “The same kind of question as, ‘Are you the bad guy?'” Boomer, recalling an actual line from an actual previous episode: “Or, ‘Are you running a chop shop?'” Schnookie: “Right.”

Stink-Eye doesn’t know what the deal was with her brother, because he didn’t even have any money. But she can tell Walker that Slocumb once had a run-in with “a local named Charlie Street”, and they had “a knock-down, drag-out fight.” Pookie: “I know that guy. He gets himself and his nose into all kinds of trouble.” Walker asks her why she didn’t want to be seen with him, and Stink-Eye starts saying something about how someone approached her “after the funeral” to tell her to keep quiet. Schnookie erupts again, talking over the exposition: “After the funeral? Slocumb hasn’t even been dead 24 hours! How was there a funeral already?” Boomer and Pookie, exasperated: “After the brother’s funeral.” Schnookie: “Oh. Wait, who approached her?” Pookie: “I wouldn’t know. I couldn’t hear.” We don’t rewind to find out.

The next scene has Alex Cahill putting in a bit more time for her paycheck, this time joined by retired Ranger, bar-and-grill owner, and goofy-old-man comic relief CD Parker with her in her office. They are somehow helping to solve this crime from Dallas.

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CD tells Walker that football’s a very big deal in that neck of the woods. Just like hockey is in Newark. Alex tells us that Vern Fiddler had “a jacket in Vegas”, then tells Walker she’ll get back to him later when she finds out more about murder charges that were dropped. Walker then spends an embarrassingly long time trying to figure out how to hang up his car phone. Cub Reporter walks up to the open truck window, and they have a very awkward exchange about their respective nights. Walker says, “A motel’s a motel,” and Cub Reporter says, “At least the sheets were clean,” (Boomer: “How would SHE know about Walker’s sheets?”), and then Walker delivers this Husky the Muskie zinger: “Yeah, but Vern [Fiddler] wasn’t.”

Next Walker tells her that he’s going to talk to Charlie Street. “Street?” she exposits, “That’s the name of [the Devils] starting quarterback.” The next scene is at a farm supply business, where it turns out the Street boy is Bo. Bo is working alongside his father, and it’s only now that Pookie drops the first of what should have been a billion “Ah don’t wahnt your laaahf!”s. Wait, an episode about high school football, and it takes us two and a half hours to get to this? We are so off our games.

Charlie is a good, decent man who just wants his son to go to college. He explains that he got in the fight with Slocumb that time because he was out drinking one night and overhead some guys talking about fixing a [Devils] game. “And Slocumb’s name was in the middle of it.” Walker: “Do you think Slocumb was involved?” Pookie: “Lou, you’re killing me with the detective work.” Street continues that he beat Slocumb up over the match fixing, Slocumb promised he wasn’t involved, but gave the impression that he knew who was. Walker thanks Street for his time, asks if Bo’s going to be at practice for the upcoming “biggest game of the season”, Street says yes, Walker smiles broadly and gives him a friendly pat on the arm before walking off, then Street lets out a huge exhalation as if he’s just had the thumbscrews applied. Husky the Muskie is a master of dramatic tension.

Now we’re at [Devils] practice, where the car dealership owner is hanging out with some other locals, watching and expositing about how the [Devils] are going to lay a beating into the Panthers in the big game. Pookie: “I should certainly hope so! They’re the Panthers.” Practice isn’t going well, and Car Dealership guy looks annoyed. Trivette is running practice, and when he calls the kids in for some instruction, no one shoots a puck at his head. We look annoyed.

Walker drives up, and Cub Reporter hands him his script.

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As he looks puzzled about this strange contraption called “paper”, she amateurishly delivers lines to the effect of there wasn’t any investigation of Stink-Eye’s brother’s accident. As we pause to take this screenshot, this conversation ensues:

Boomer: “Wow, everyone in town’s at this practice.”
Pookie: “Well, there’s nothing else to do in Clearwater.”
Boomer: “I thought we were in Middleton.”
Pookie: “No, that’s our rival. The Piddleton Panthers.” Pause. “And you can quote me on that!”

Cut back to practice. Trivette is reading the kids the riot act. He asks them if they “want it” and everyone nods silently except for Bo, who says, “Yeah we want it! Damn right we do!” The huddle breaks, and Trivette pulls Cully aside, demanding to know why his patterns are so ragged. Cully says he won’t talk to Trivette, because he “know[s] what they’ll to do [him]”.

It’s after practice, and Walker’s asking Cub Reporter if she’s heard anything about betting on the games. She hasn’t. Trivette utters some nonsense about betting on Superbowls, as if that’s a bad thing. We’re confused. Husky the Muskie doesn’t seem to understand football.

Later, Trivette and Walker stop Cully at the side of the road and confront him about why his father won’t let him talk to them.

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Cully blathers about his dad scratching out a living, and how he, Cully, needs a scholarship, and blah blah blah Husky doesn’t know what this character’s motivation is. Walker says stolidly, “I wanna know what’s going on, Cully. And I’m going to find out with or without you. What are you scared of?” This breaks Cully. He admits that he and Bo are being blackmailed. There is a long pause before Walker thinks/remembers to ask, “By who?” Cully answers that it’s the guys at a bar – across county lines!! It turns out Cully and Bo were lured there with a promise of girls, and now there are incriminating pictures that will be released publicly if Bo and Cully don’t do as they’re told.

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Trivette is right on top of things when he says, after studying the picture long and hard, “This is clearly you in bed with a girl.” Pause. “What’s with all the drug paraphernalia?” Cully swears he’s never taken drugs – the last thing he remembers is drinking with her, and then he woke up with “white powder” all over himself. And the irony is that he really thought the girl, identified as “Lisa Burns”, liked him. Oh Cully, you sad, dumb fuck.

Walker and Trivette go to the evil bar, and after scoping out the clientele, they seem to recognize someone from Dallas. We, um, don’t recognize him. There is an exchange in which this guy, “Carter” (Farts? Is that you??), oozes disdain for Texas Rangers and general venal racism, although when he calls the pair of Trivette (who is black) and Walker (who is half-Cherokee) “The Lone Ranger and Tonto,” Pookie points out that she’s not sure which one he’s supposed to think is which. Husky the Muskie was clearly losing his grasp of the Walker mythology at this point.

Oh, it turns out Farter is a bookie. He makes a show of “not knowing” Lisa Burns when asked about her, but the lady bartender looks all suspicious while he stalls. Walker decides he’s not taking no for an answer, and says he’s going to look in the back room. “Come on, Tonto,” he says to Trivette (Husky the Muskie was clearly drinking at this point), while Farter insists they can’t go in the back room. Boomer: “Um, don’t they need a search warrant?” As if on cue, Walker punches Farter in the face, knocking him against the flimsy back room door which, of course, falls open, revealing a seedy illegal gambling ring.

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Oh God! The depravity!

Walker and Trivette walk in while shouting, “Texas Rangers! You’re under arrest!” Some of the people get up to maybe walk near them, and Walker and Trivette start beating them up. “You have no right to be here!” one of the gamblers insists. “Well I do now,” Walker glowers, showing off Husky the Muskie’s flimsy grasp of the law.

We cut to the gambling raid’s aftermath, where Walker is trying to get Farter to admit that he’s blackmailing the Devils’ stars to throw the game. Farts insists he’s not. Trivette adds the murders of Slocumb and Stink-Eye’s brother to the list of things Farts has done illegally here, and Farts smugs that they don’t have a case.

Walker wanders off, leaving Farts to Trivette, and approaches the lady bartender who looked all squirrelly earlier when Lisa Burns’s name came up. Walker asks her her name, and she says, “Patty.” ((In Dallas)?????) Pookie: “Patty-Lisa Burns. It’s hyphenated.” Walker says he noticed her looking cagey earlier. Pookie: “I noticed that the camera cut in for a close reaction shot of you when I said ‘Lisa Burns’.” Patty breaks then. Lisa used to work at this bar, but left four days ago. She thinks she was really scared. Patty thinks Lisa’s staying with her mother. Walker thanks her, and Patty walks off. Pookie, as Walker: “Oh, and could you tell me where her mother lives?” Walker doesn’t pick up the cue.

Now Alex walks into the bar, either making a desperate bid for more screen time, or trying to keep Cub Reporter from learning anything else about Walker’s bed sheets. Cub Reporter is hot on her tail. Alex deus ex machinas that Fiddler used to be “a button man” for the mob. Cub Reporter surveys the gambling bust in the background and says, “The mob and gambling? This doesn’t look small-time!” Walker agrees: “It’s not. There’s a computer back there hooked up to Vegas, New Orleans, and Miami.” Hooked up to Vegas, New Orleans, and Miami?!? Never! Walker exposits that that can only mean one thing: a gambling syndicate. Wait a sec… Our computers are also hooked up to Vegas, New Orleans and Miami right now. Does that mean we’re on the internet, or does it mean we’re a gambling syndicate? That’s for us to know and you to find out.

Alex says she and Trivette will investigate the syndicate, and Walker says he and Cub Reporter will go check on Lisa Burns. Alex looks none too pleased at this development; Boomer: “Walker and [Cub Reporter] are going to go investigate some clean sheets.”

The next scene is at the big car dealership. No way! The only unresolved character with a name left in this show is the bad guy? Husky the Muskie, you’ve done it again. Bravo, good sir. Bravo.

Ace the Evil Car Dealer gets news from one of his flunkies that Walker and Trivette have busted his gambling ring, and now they’re looking for Lisa Burns. Ace the Evil Car Dealer tells the guy to round up some men and stop them. Pookie: “I don’t think that you can!”

Walker and Cub Reporter go to Lisa Burns’s house, and she is reluctant to talk to them. Can you blame her?

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Walker and Wig look like they don’t really know what’s going on here, and Cub Reporter looks, as Boomer notes, “so earnest. Like a golden retriever puppy.” Woof.

After some sweet talking, Lisa lets them into the expansive house. She explains how she knew Slocumb – from the bar, where “he had a problem”. Walker, sharp as a brick: “What kind of problem?” Gee, she met him at the gambling syndicate – what kind of problem do you think? It turns out this gambling/blackmailing scheme is a big, big deal, including even pro players, and Slocumb got stuck in it, and blah blah blah. At that point, Ace the Evil Car Dealer’s goons show up and start shooting up the house. Walker, Cub Reporter, and Lisa protect themselves from hail of bullets by hiding behind couches, which are known for being bulletproof. Then the henchmen toss a Molotov cocktail in the window, and the house erupts into massive belching flames in a matter of seconds. Boomer: “Well, if they didn’t store their gasoline inside the house, this wouldn’t happen.” Pookie: “If they didn’t store their gasoline inside the couches.” Walker kicks down a door and walks out with Lisa and Cub Reporter. Wait. Why didn’t they just do that when the guys started shooting?

The next scene shows our intrepid heroes running to an abandoned… um… we don’t know what. There are some metal-sheeting buildings, and some old trucks and farm equipment. The bad guys are following them. Walker uninterestingly ambushes and knocks out two of the bad guys, then leaves Cub Reporter and Lisa to fend for themselves with his gun while he takes on the army of Evil Car Dealer dudes with nothing but his fists and roundhouse kicks to the head. He promptly takes one out with a stealth kick to the head, and then another one, but the last guy gets past his defenses and finds Cub Reporter and Lisa. At her first opportunity, Cub Reporter empties the gun by missing shot after shot at the bad guy. When she’s emptied the clip, Bad Guy asks, “Where’s the Ranger?” Cub Reporter says, “Right behind you.” “Yeah, right!” guffaws Bad Guy. And sure enough, that’s where he is. Boomer: “He should have listened to the theme song. Because when you’re in Texas, where’s the Ranger going to be?” It is extremely anti-climactic when Walker knocks Bad Guy out. That wasn’t much of a fight.

We get a quick cut to the three walking calmly back to Walker’s truck as if nothing has happened at all. Husky the Muskie must not be concerned about how the police are cleaning up all those unconscious bad guys and flaming inferno. Cub Reporter asks Walker who’s behind this all, and he states that it’s Evil Car Dealer. “How do you know?” Cub Reporter goggles. “Because when I told him Joe Slocumb had been murdered,” Walker says blandly, “He didn’t ask how.” Dude, if you knew he did it in that scene, you could have saved us about 6,000 words by just arresting him then and there.

Ominous music starts up, and night has fallen outside the Evil Car Dealership. Ace is holed up inside, getting a call from his henchmen telling him that Walker got away. So, apparently, did the henchmen, since they seem free to be reporting back to their boss. Way to make the arrest there, Ranger. Evil Car Dealer tells the two henchmen in his office with him that it’s “time to get out of Dodge”, and they make haste emptying buckets of cash out of a file cabinet. Loading cash into a briefcase is, apparently, a two-man job.

Meanwhile, Johnny Law is closing in. Trivette and Walker have a warrant now, so Evil Car Dealer better look out. They converge in the parking lot of the Evil Dealership, the bad guys on the way out, the Rangers on the way in. A shoot-out ensues, and you know what a deadly combination bullets and parked cars are in Texas.

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Walker takes one shot…

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Walker admires his handiwork. It’s not a roundhouse kick to the head, but it’s the next best thing.

That one exploding car starts a chain reaction that leads to two more cars blowing up. The Evil Car Dealer, though, hops into a non-exploded car and starts to make his escape. He blows right past Walker, but Walker’s too good to be beaten that easily. He lines up his shot, takes out the rear tire of the getaway car, and the getaway car careens out of control into a parked truck. And you know what comes next.

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We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – if they just stopped filling their parked cars with high-grade explosives, this wouldn’t happen.

The henchmen surrender to Trivette, and Walker pulls Evil Car Dealer out of the flaming wreckage, declaring “sassily”, “Game’s over, [Evil Car Dealer].”

The final scene is the waning seconds of The Big Game. The Devils aren’t winning. They force a turnover, then call a play that Walker spells out for us was Trivette’s signature play with the Cowboys back in the day. Magical chime music plays as the long pass hangs for an eternity in the air, because Husky the Muskie has so earned the emotional swing of The Big Play in The Big Game. The Devils win at the final buzzer (or whatever it’s called in football), bedlam erupts, Trivette gets carried off on the team’s shoulders, and Walker sums everything up perfectly:

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And that, friends, is how and why the Devils coach-kill. Coming at you directly from the fevered brain of a four-story-tall muskie. Truth is, after all, stranger than fiction.

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Hey! There’s hockey again tonight! And we’re watching it! Craziness!

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To paraphrase Flyers announcer J.J., we can’t believe we’re saying this, but join us for an open thread for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Habs (?!) and the Flyers (?!?!?!?).

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