Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Caps Shutout Tonight

Or should I say, fans who wanted to watch tonight's Caps-Islanders game were shutout by NewsChannel8, one of three local cable networks which rotate game broadcasts, determined by I-don't-know-what.

Tonight was NC8's turn to broadcast the game, but they decided to pre-empt the game in order to broadcast the (shaky) State of The Union address (yawn). Apparently, it wasn't enough that the SOTU address could be seen on at least fifty-six other channels on our local cable outlet. It just so happens that NC8's owner, Joe Allbriton, is an influential Republican and Bush family friend.

The game actually is being carried locally on something called MHz 2, which sounds like one of the elements that fell off the periodic table.

What this means for NC8's viewership is that probably 0.0003 percent of all DC area households will be tuned in to watch the speech on NC8. Dang, they would have had twice as many viewers if they carried the game instead!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Site Highlight: YouTube.com

Youtube.com is a year-old video hosting website that enables people to upload and share video over the web. The site contains amateur video as well as video obviously uploaded from commercial sources. My main interest in the site is that it contains a treasure trove of vintage music videos and performance clips from TV shows of the '60s such as "Shindig", "Hullabaloo", "The Ed Sullivan Show" and more. Not to be missed: The Rolling Stones campy send-up of "I Got You Babe", and a video mashup "Paperback Believer" featuring The Beatles and The Monkees together in 1966. Also, check out a 1976 Saturday Night Live performance of George Harrison and Paul Simon on acoustic guitars duetting on "Here Comes The Sun" and "Homeward Bound", and you will understand why I will forever be playing guitar in the "back part of the basement"!

Go the YouTube main page and enter your favorite band, song, TV show, or whatever in the search box. (NOTE: The site is "clean", but be forwarned: your search may return some results that you may find objectionable or inappropriate. Viewer discretion is advised.)

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Washington Capitals 2, Tampa Bay Lightning 1

Enjoyed the Caps 2-1 defeat of the Lightning this afternoon, five rows up from the ice (thanks John and Marianne!). Both goalies were solid throughout (although the Caps only registered four shots in the opening frame), and the Caps scored the game winner on a quick passing play with about three minutes left in regulation. They then held off the Bolts' power play flurry around the net in the waning seconds of the game. The skating was very fast and the hitting was hard and clean. The Caps now have 13 wins and no losses this season when they surrender two or fewer goals per game.

Famous Lionel Fans

It's cool to know that some very famous people are Lionel Train fans, or model railroad enthusiasts of any scale. (Not that my hobby needs any validation or justification!). Some famous Lionel fans of the past and present include Joe DiMaggio, Roy Campanella, Arthur Godfrey, Frank Sinatra, talk show host Tom Snyder, Mandy Patinkin, PGA golfer Ed Dougherty, and rock icon Neil Young. In fact, in 1995 Neil became a twenty precent owner of Lionel and has worked extensively to develop state-of-the-art control and sound systems for Lionel Trains. He brought along a huge layout for concertgoers during 1997's H.O.R.D.E. tour, and often attends the Train Collectors Association semi-annual train meet in York, PA.

Here is a long list of famous model railoaders with their gauge preferences. (Photo: Neil and me at York, Oct. '99)

"Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?". "To the back part of the basement to run the trains, of course!"

Will It Go 'Round In Circles?

Ran the trains for a solid hour after dinner last night, accompanied by some Elijah Craig bourbon and a Padron 3000 cigar. Since I ran diesel engines and not smoking steam engines, my cigar only set off the smoke detector once, briefly. Dang! This afternoon, it's off to the Caps game at MCI center. Since my wife is a feeling a bit under the weather, I'll be taking my son on this rainy Sunday.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Added Some Links Today

Today I added some links to this blog. The titles of the links should be self-explanatory.

Watching the Caps tonight who just gave up the go-ahead goal with 39 seconds left in the second period. Last night, versus Pittsburg, the Caps went into the third trailing 3-1 and then gave up 5 goals. We're going to Sunday's game versus Tampa Bay. Looking forward to seeing Ovechkin play in person; we've got fifth-row seats, which is a helluva lot closer than our seats for Paul McCartney last October, where our seats were more like fifth-row from the roof!

It Works From Work!

Good morning. Just arrived to the job a few minutes ago. Checked to see if I could access this site from my work PC, which is heavily filtered for naughty stuff like gambling and sex. Looks like I can login, update, and post with no problem from my desk. Cool! Of course, I will be posting before work hours, not during!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Welcome To "The Back Part Of The Basement"

Welcome to my new blog, "The Back Part Of The Basement". I was trying to come up with a catchy name for this blog and that's the best I could come up with. But it is true that "the back part of the basement" is the area of my house where all my important "stuff" is - my Martin 6-string, Fender 12-string acoustic guitars, Squire Stratocaster electric guitar; my 4x8 foot Lionel Train layout; my CD and DVD collection; and collection of toy train and music books and magazines. My stuff shares this small space with the furnace and hot water heater, with the washer and dryer close by. I like to turn off the lights back here and run the trains, the only illumination coming from the headlights of the locomotives and accessories on the layout. My enjoyment of this activity is enhanced with a nice cigar and a good bourbon. I get a kick when the smoke from my cigar and the steam locomotives sets off the smoke alarm! Weird, I know. The back part of the basement easily converts to the "Club L", where my wife and I hang out, have a few drinks, and sing (she's the singer, I'm the guitar player) after the kids are asleep. Well, that's about it for now. Please feel free stop by again and leave a message.