About Me

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Split personality. Liking the arts, especially opera, and hockey and Los Toros. I know, I know THAT one is non pc currently. But I can't help it saw some in Spain and got hooked, but good. But on the other hand right now opera and hockey are in the forefront!


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Nr. 2; Habs did not have it

From the "Florida Hockey Hall of Fame" at the Bankatlantic Center
all photos in the latest blogs by artandhockey
Stephen Weiss honored for franchise record in games played while his family was at the game, too

Clemmensen in goal, Theodore on bench

P. Budai stops Bergenheim's attack

Habs line: ready, set, go?
Panther pet =mascot and cute friend:-)
Was it the unused warmth of Florida that kept the Habs down ?
Because the arena was filled to the brim, truly over 19,000 fans..
and winter Canadiens and Canadians braving the breezy Sunrise night to cheer on THEIR team en Quebecois.. really a 'foreign' language despite my several years of French, albeit the Parisian kind :-).

Vite Habs
Go Habs..
AND a very handsome Carey Price- remembered from his stint with the Hamilton Bulldogs...
back when! :-)

NHL Odds and Ends 1. part

The Ducks had it on 2/19 and The Cats got it on 2/26...
some photos all by artandhockey..
goalies and other delectable actions :-)
Hiller of the Ducks

Beauchemin (no, not the old SoftSpot Mathieu B.) Francois

Powerful save by Theodore

Fighting is alive and well in the NHL

Wondrous food establishements and Flagler's "Folly"?

Just for fun

Rusty Remains of Flagler's Railroad to KW and Havana

Old 7 Mile Bridge from New One.

Good Bye Party Town Key West

Let's go to the races..

I know about dog races, horse races!
But PIG races?
Well, why not...
Florida surprises us continuously.
The light is so darn bright colors hurt eyes, and look washed out in photos. Even the best editing can't really do them justice, but judge for yourself.
A few memorable ones from Miami's Little Havana:
Roosters dead and alive
Gomez Domino park with visitor
Lauderdale Beach Life guard station

Ft Lauderdale Beach and water ways:

Spielberg's Yacht -full permanent crew of 23 keeps it shipshape for charters

And from the keys:
BTW it WAS an Eagle on the Bat Tower-above
Grooming on water's edge

more Key scenes:
Atlantic View... no natural sand beach at this spot

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bats or Eagles

Sugarloaf Key Bat Tower
Wikipedia -photo
 that was the question, when viewing after a difficult search, the Perkins Bat tower on Sugarloaf Key.. asking a native for directions is a must!
We think it was an Eagle, that shadowy big bird perched in the nest way up there. (not seen in pic).
But it sure looks a lot more decrepit now, I urge you to go see it before its too late ;-).
Later the drive slowed to a mile a minute crawl. Unable to see past the truck just in front, we speculated.. accident, highway flooded ...Lol..
None of the above. A huge flea market drew hundreds.. Gigantic Nautical Flea Marketcars parked for miles, eager beaver shoppers walking or being shuttled to and fro. Why dresses are nautical? You tell me.
But one could find boats/yachts at bargain prices $ 24,995... maybe sonar, radar, loran equipment? Anchors, Oars?
Who knows, we did NOT stop.

The historic Flagler Railroad
Photo fkoht.net
Finally faster traffic resumed and we headed for the 2 7-mile bridges and Flagler's rusty railroad trestles (as seen in the old photo above) which the Labor Day Hurricane of '35 ruined. No more railroad to Key West, and Havana.The old highway (build partially on the Flagler bridge-a true engineering feat for that time and even now) was shuttered as the NEW  US 1 opened in the 70's.
Side by side old and new US 1:seven Mile Bridge
And finally on to the monument honoring the many victims of that lethal hurricane 1935 Labor Day hurricanephoto by wikipedia
And since a trip to the Keys is not complete with a stop to browse at the Pink Junktique- we did that, too. And found an unusual pin.... maybe from the thirties? Well, whatever.. it is a rare thing, I believe, and rather funky. Otherwise, the owner/saleslady seemed happy to see us rummage around AND buy a few things, and started to talk about books. Her preference the middle ages and other historic eras.
And seemed stunned by the ignorance of the younger generation in history. I quote her anecdote: 'A browser in her 40's perhaps, overheard her talking with other customer about the Korean War (the 50's one) and WW 1, too, and exclaimed' : " Oh I didn't know we are at war with Korea"
Ahem....nuf said.
Back -tired and sated- in a much cooler and windier, drearily overcast Ft.Lauderdale for one more NHL game tonightMontreal Canadiens vs.
"Cats vs Habs"- for chers readers not of the Hockey persuasion.."The Florida Panthers vs the Montreal Canadiens". Then back to Houston where we can celebrate the latest win by the
Aeros vs The Texas Stars last nightHouston Aeros vs. Texas StarsPhoto courtesy of artshound.com,
with Hackett in the net and Nolan as bug.
Kuemper must be resting up for when Hackett gets called up, pending the Harding trade which seems eminent.
Also it looks like most of the called up Aeros will be returning to the fold.
Will that mean now the chances of a play off spot are  truly increasing?
We'll just have to wait and see.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Another day in Paradise

Hyatt Windward Pointe Resort
pool at Windward Point-Hyatt
so the KW Chamber of Commerce will have us believe. If Paradise for you means ocean, sand, beach, pool, sun, patio, thatched bar, iced drinks, party hearty (the famous bar where Happy Hour starts at 7 AM is right here in KW), water ski, parasailing, yachting (chartered or own) fishing, and shopping, ....
Hyatt Beach House Key West
the other resort by Hyatt
then, chers readers, Key West is THE place for you!

If not, do not come down here!
And that goes for all the Keys.

Now you'll notice I did not say just Florida.
Because further up the peninsula there are diverse attractions for the visitor bored by sand, sea, etc.
Oh yes, there is  NHL hockey: Tampa and Sunrise. And Estero (Echl)
There are operas given in: Sarasota, Miami, Naples, Tampa. And other travelled to venues.
There are art museums... plenty to keep even the most discerning artlover happy.
Fort Lauderdale's Spectacular
shops in ft. Lauderdale
And for sure there is shopping, not only for beach wear and souvenirs.
Yes, those , too, but you'll find Prada, Hermes etc, so necessary for the happiness of the yachting class and second or nth # home owners, the 1 %ers still in the USA!... lol.
But don't just take my word for it.
Come on over or down...and see for yourselves.

After a spin through the volunteer staffed and created Botanical Gardens on Stock Island, right across the street from the gaol of Florida, (no the volunteers are not inmates)  :-), and a last visit to the Martello Towers we shall be heading back up on US1 to Sunrise for one more hockey night with the Panthers,
who have been rather unlucky lately. County Arena and National
Just yesterday they lost to the WILD/Aeros in a SO, providing us with quite an interesting view of Wild/Aeros via TV at the resort. Plus several other games on nbssports.Which was a good way to spend several nights here, since we are no bar hoppers anymore.

Wild 3, Panthers 2, SO
nhl photo: Wild 3 Panthers 2 in SO

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Between the deep blue gulf and the deep blue sea

there lies Key West, the last pearl on the chain of keys - stretching to just 90 miles away from Cuba.
On the drive south, a visit to the Museum of Diving History will - perhaps - inspire you to take up deep sea diving, but at least to scuba dive, no?

Are you into birds? Then a stop at the rehabilitation facility is a must, where pelicans are more prevalent than visitors. But there also owls of all sizes and types, Hawks and Brown Boobies.Brown Boobies are Large All visitors are greeted by a snowy egret. And cranes and other birds fly around, while 2 parrots are caged but very vocal.

Into KW on US 1 toward Mile 0 side by side of the old road, and glimpsing the rusty remnant of Flagler's Railroad. Destroyed in Hurricanes after Henry Flagler used several millions of his own money, of which he had plenty being a partner in Standard Oil (with Rockefeller), to build.
Flagler also built luxury hotels for those trying to escape the cold misery of the north all along his railroad. Arrived in KW he simply loaded the RR cars onto ferries, equipped with rails, for trans shipment to Cuba. Quite innovative, wasn't he? Well, that was then.
Now the Only way to KW is via US 1 in cars, or fly onto the island. 
Being  a rather dry spot in the USA, water is piped into the Key West, thanks to the US Navy, which also created an extra mile or so of  land. Thus the key is becoming known as the 2x4 island.  Also as Cayo Hueso=Island of Bones as discovered by Ponce De Leon, wayyy back in history.
And of course, as the Conch Republic.. seceded briefly from the US in the 70's. ;-).
So one can get conked (here ch is pronounced as K) out at the Conk (ch) Motel.

KW prides itself as the Southernmost place in the USA, which it is not exactly.
But hey, who counts degrees, motels, hotels, restaurants, bars and more all carry that name proudly and prominently.Key West, Florida - Wikipedia,

The busy town of Key West, is chock full of bars, little or not so little white houses, built by ships'carpenters from imported lumber, or imported bricks, usually as ballast in ships. Which kinda kept the building speed slow ..having to wait for the next ballast,  lol.
Plus elevating the house and using wooden pegs to tie planks together seem to be the pre-cursor of hurricane proof architecture..  as you know wood is flexible!

Industrious Key West inhabitants made out, and rather well at that, rescuing ship wrecks, later on treasure hunting, sponge diving and tobacco rolling. For a while.
But the golden times didn't last, UNTIL the tourist industry was started...palm trees were planted, hotels built and the business of fun in the sun took off big! Real big!
Helped by the year round balmy weather...79 average temperatures.
Although today IT reached over 80.
But the lowest temperature recorded was 41 degrees and required schools to declare "snow day" because-you guessed it- no heat in houses.
'Shotgun cottage' architecture with 'beetle browed' houses are the norm... providing through breezes and shade in pre-a/c days.
So you think the isle is surrounded by pristine white sand beaches? Well, not quite so.. some sand has to be imported from elsewhere. Mother Nature 's ocean action seems to take land away not built up.
Mangroves do work hard collecting sand, debris and more with their roots and eventually another key(let) is formed.
Otherwise traffic jams in KW are many. Mostly of bicycles, electric carts, tricycles, mopeds, and the sweet little excursion choo choos with microphone. Conch train, Key West Florida,Trolleys do same, all to point out bars where Hemingway drank, for instance; hotel where Tennessee Williams stayed; Harry Truman's Little White House; Flagler Station Museum, and of course Hemingway's mansion with garden and pool and 6 toed cats. A MAJOR attraction.
Plus there are The Shipwreck -, Ship Treasure Museum. 
The Grotto,Grotto dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes - Key West said to protect Key West from direct hits by major hurricanes since the twenties; Sponge sellers,  Shell sellers, Yachts and seagoing charters galore, and more bars and shops. The 'Western Union' sail ship, so called because it laid cable to Havana, now restored to her wooden gleaming glory and available for charters.

And the laid back environment just beckons visitors to sit and sip in Margarita's Ville; and watch sunsets.
Sunrises are less watched, probably because those late nights sipping and sitting make one too tired to get up early enough.
Interestingly, cocks and chickens do roam freely and crow lots. And most flora appears to have been brought ashore from foreign lands by the numerous sea captains who called Key West home.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Shut outs tonight

Not only had the WILD a win vs Bruins, with Backstrom in goal (48 saves!!!), Chad Rau's second period starter goal from Hedley and Clutterbuck followed by Cullen's goal with Setoguchi and Spurgeon on a PP, the game was enlivened by a fight between Thornton and Kassian in the 3rd.

AND in Sunrise at the Bankamerica Center in front of close to 17,000 fans including yours truly and Better Half the Anaheim Duck's Hiller got a shutout (saved all 31 SoGs) as well , which earned him the Number 1 star honors. And was he ever hot, making saves that seemed impossible. Saves when it looked as if he just did it without really seeing the puck.Somehow he MUST have just sensed it. Stunning.

Not that the Panthers were sweet lil Pussycats on ice. They skated aggressively, gave him a work out. The goal by Ducks, Selanne  (number 2 Star) with Ryan and Koivu (not the Wild brother, a course) stayed the only one until the last minute of period 3 when Hagman from Perry and Getzlaf put the icing on the cake for the Ducks by getting, finally, an empty netter, after at least 4 attempts at such went awry.

Some familiar names were discovered on the various jerseys: 
Theodore (once a Wild) 60 in goal (getting number 3 Star), Yonkman as 34, Robak 47, Strachan 23 in the Blues of the Panthers 3rd. Jersey instead of the Black of the Rampage, or the White as the case may be.

Saku, that is) 11, Beauchemin 23 (no relation to Rejean Beauchemin, a once Aeros, now CHL Goalie), and Getzlaf 15, of course Hiller wearing the number 1, and getting the number 1 star, too.
As already said, he really was HOT tonight

And as entertainment of the masses a fight took place between a ducky Parros and Panther Barch.
Few penalties called, some apparently not seen by any ref- none leading to PP goals.
Even the double minor for high sticking by Visnovsky (Ducks pp kill was effortlessly in evidence here) after a blatent hit in the face of Samuelsson.

A fast paced game, and a rather exciting one, even though neither team is a favorite, except for my neighbours at the rail  a Quebecois couple on a lam from winter in warm Florida who favored the Panthers. With some difficulties in understanding their French I gathered that they promised to watch out for us next Sunday, when the Habs play at Sunrise and we will be there again while they are at home in Quebec and watch it on TV..
Me, wearing purple and black will be handily identified in center ice section 119 at railing, behing the penalty boxes, LOL. I swore I shall wave excitedly into the camera... "bon soir mes amis"!
Or wink :-) exaggeratedly...lookee we are still here.

Photos after returning next week...chers readers, be patient.

Liitle Havana full of chickens and one proud rooster

Yes, well, that was the case this morning.
Live chicks and a rooster the avenida, and sculpture roosters strutting their stuff on street corners.
Cigar store Indians and real hand rolled cigars..
now if one loves them a $35.00 one is certainly worth it -  or is it?
Murals and other fun stuff on walls.

Then taking time out to watch domino players en masse, before heading to Versailles for lunch.
The Versailles Cafe and Bakery that is, on SW8th at 35th Avenue. Where knowing Spanish is a must, the menu is printed strictly in that language and most of the waitstaff seems unable or unwilling to understand English and the diners all seem Cubanos y Cubanas, y chicos.
I healthy menu it is most certainly not.

All is fried or cooked in fatty sauces, which naturally really are tasty.
Rice and black beans abound. Plantains, rolled in honey and fried, THE accompaniment for just about every dish. And 'la lengua asada ' was very tasty indeed , even if the lengua's a bit fatty but was ah, so tender.
And the portions. Each dish feeds two, easily.
Or one could make it a take out for a second meal IF one were not a tourist staying in a hotelroom without a kitchen. Which we are. So lots went back uneaten.

After that huge meal we decided to head for Miami Beach and its Art Deco districtMiami Beach, Art Deco district and the Wolfsonian museum. also dedicated to modern and Deco art.
Which only opens on Sunday at noon.

Well, it seemed like a good idea to spend the rest of the afternoon that way. Culture vulture that I am.
Except, driving over the  McArthur causeway was more like inching and the vaunted Art deco area chock full of cars, pedestrians, Sedgways (?) riders and bicyclists.
After being cut off by some crazy oldster (and youngsters) in cars with Northern plates (they must have been blind to left turn lane arrows) we decided no more. And u-turned back onto McArthur to head north to Ft. Lauderdale so we would Not miss the Panthers and Ducks game starting at 6 PM.

But the VIEW from the causeway in both directions WAS breathtaking.. all those yachts and mansions lining the water edge-just like in CIS Miami.. lol. Just kept us looking for actors of that series toiling in their careers as Crime Scene Investigators....tee hee.
Instead we saw lots - poured into the tightest tees and shortest pants - persons ambling about in this balmy 80's plus degree sunny afternoon.
Ocean Yachts is dedicated
But the yachts.. omg those yachts, a veritable ocean of yachts :-)!!
Now to the game.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Stormy Weather

you can say THAT again. T
Flying this morning to Florida was an -adventure.
Driving soggy roads to airport (and we did not have to use a boat to get to the plane,.
Which was 2 hours late starting from San Antonio.
And then a wild ride....roller coaster style for us.
Arrived all shook up, but safely. lol

While the Wild loose on the road. Their roster is full of Aeros.
The Aeros loose as well. And their roster full of ECHL'lers :-)
Since lots of Aeros players are up, either injured or suspended the Aeros have become a real hot spot for players from the ECHL ....
C. J.Stretch to be back.. and who knows who else will start wearing the Green and Grey.

In other news for followers of Locke and Beaudoin, Dimples and O Sullivan who BTW skates for Portland Pirates as well as Beaudoin....hmm. Interesting.

Locke got the first goal for Binghamton in today's game.
Neither Beaudoin (back from injuriess just a few weeks ago) nor Sullivan scored
Khudobin's loss was Legacy (yes the Man'ino', that veteran of veteran goaltenders) gain.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Home vs Arena and more..

So, the sports leagues,
specifically at College level, wonder about diminishing audiences ?
Dare I guess?
  • too expensive,
  • no name players,
  • no name coaches
  • no need to dress (for success of YOUR team-lol)
  • much to-ing and fro-ing between the same teams
  • the birth of huge digital television sets
  • the comfort of home
  • the easy access to (better) food 
  • and cheaper drinks (lol)
  • the transportability via cell phones
  • and staying in touch with one's world via cellphone for immediate updates.
Such as this clip... classical music a la cellphone

Do I really care?
Do you?

have fun listening to 4 Fagots = bassoons played by a Lady Gaga Clones Quartett ;-)!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

NOT quite a massacre but

Aeros loose to Admirals  0-3 BUT Hackett gets the Nr. 3 Star of the game.
Wild loose to Ducks 1-2.
No flowers for the guys in both teams tonight.

Aeros sign Devin Di Diomete  at 24 he's been around and in several fights.

Celebrating a Birthday

Yes, this 2011/12 season is the 7th Birthday of the AHL Shootout.
Happy 7th Birthday, SO

In the 2004-05 season the shootout to settle ties in regulation games was re-instituted by the AHL And the NHL followed suit in 2005-06.
That is after a game stays tied at Overtime end of 5 minutes.
Three shooters are nominated by the each team. The starter can be from the home team or the visitor. And the SO begins after a two minute intermission and the ice has been cleared to provide a clean fresh surface down the middle.
Scoring no goal, teams continue in a "sudden death" mode.
Both teams have an equal number of shots.
The winning team receives 2 points for a regulation Win, 0 for a Loss
and 1 point for a loss in PT or SO. OtL or SoL.  1 SO point is added to the winner's seasonal stats - independently of the number of goals scored by the team in the SO.

Doesn't that remind you, chers readers, of a certain team  - LOL?

Points are not counted for the individual players stats, be they skaters or goalies and does not influence plus/minus in game stats.
Interestingly, a tied 0-0 game at the end of OT gives both goaltenders a shutout credit.
Individual SO stats are officially calculated separately.
A cool SO goal on 2/11/12

However in  Stanley Cup playoff games, the format remains unchanged. Overtime is the full 20 minute period as often as needed to break the tie, and a Shootout is not used.

And the Aeros play Milwaukee tonight!
A must listen and/or watch!
Just a new slant or is it?

Without Fontaine who was suspended for 2 games.
For more on that read Russo's Rants IF you are really that interested.
Personally, I am royally fed up with the scurrilous misuse of proper words...
go google THAT wind instrument
spelled with either 1 -more often, or 2 Gs) for more information.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Aeros, not so good NEWS

Per Russo-latest:

"The Wild will recall defenseman Marco Scandella and winger Kris Foucault on Monday to infuse some energy into a struggling lineup, sources say.
Scandella, who had six points and was minus-10 in 37 games with the Wild earlier this season, has five points in nine games with Houston. If Foucault, a 2009 fourth-round pick, plays Tuesday against red-hot Anaheim, it'll be his NHL debut. The winger has 10 goals and 23 points in 47 games for Houston.
I'd think this is an indication that Cal Clutterbuck (lower body) is doubtful.
He was hurt in the second period Saturday against Columbus.
The Wild took Sunday off. It practices at the X on Monday morning, followed by the Ducks"

So, methinks, Torchetti and Co. have their work cut out to integrate a Staubitz (who comes with an attidude-perhaps) into a newly diminished team.
And perhaps add more minor leaguers?
And what about the proven duo of Veteran Ortmeyer and Rookie Foucault?
A duo that produced goals in the past?
Does that bode well for Valentine's Day?
Or will it be a Massacre, as I hinted, I thought, jokingly, in a previous post?
Only time will tell.
And I, for one, will be glued to THE VOICE on February 14 clutching a heart as a talisman! :-)!

A voice - what a voice

Yesterday,  finally, I was able to see and hear LA TRAVIATA.
And was moved to tears at times by the stupendous voice of Albina Shagimuratova  (HGO Studio alumna). While her histrionic talents were not overly in evidence, her voice WAS, and HOW!
What can one say more. Opera is all about VOICE in my opinion, and she did it!
The (second, actually) Einspringer - a last minute call up - of Chad Shelton (ex Studio as well) for Alfredo - I personally was rather pleased with his singing.
And Giovanni Meoni as Germont acquitted himself rather well to great applause.
Several other roles were taken and done well by current opera studio singers.
Maestro Summers and the HGO orchestra did a stunning job.
Alas, no more performances.

All that's left for me to write is:
I really teared up at times.
Which I have never done before.
And I have seen La Traviata several times.. traditional, modern, Eurotrashy... you name it! With famous singers, to boot!

This one was a touching portrayal by a great voice.
A touching interpretation by the director-a mystical one, IMO.
And the lightning was superb too!
Setting the various moods so well.

Here is a clip of Shagimuratova but with a different Alfredo (originally scheduled Lomeli, then replaced by Hymel and finally by Shelton).
Giovanni Meoni as Germont pere with Albina Shagimuratova.
Chad Shelton as Alfredo

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Just the facts ....TWO

Jon DiSalvatore, previously,  with a goal at the TC!
Aeros win over Griffins 5-4 with an almost out-of-the-blue last second goal by Di Salvatore (Bagnall), which THE VOICE literally screamed himself hoarse over. 
Darcy K in goal stopped 30 of 34. Tom McCollum 17 of 22.
Now the Aeros seemed a bit challenged in shots on goals at this game - only
8 and 8 and 6 (of which 3 found the net!!!).
And it sure looked like the whole team stepped up to score .. goal by Scandella-Fontaine in the 1. a solo performance by Ortmeyer in the 2. and the other 3 in the third by Foucault (Ortmeyer, Cuma), McIntyre (Fontaine) and the vaunted winner by The Captain Di Sal. with Bagnall. I'm sure the Griffins didn't grasp what hit them.
The-Third-Period Aeros in good mettle... and on to the next enemy they go now.
The Aeros fans' "Sweethearts" to play Valentine's Day at Milwaukee!
Then on to a back-to-back bout with the Heat ( Feb 17/18).
And more on the road games, back at TC on March 10 vs. the Griffins once again!

And we hear Brad Staubitz Brad Staubitzhas cleared waivers and will be on hand WITH the Aeros for the Valentine's Day Game (which - it is hoped - will NOT be a massacre by the Ads).

Yours truly is winging to Florida for a couple games by the Panthers (vs. The Ducks on 19, and the Habs on 26). The starter team in the beginning of 2011/12 season in the video:
In  between the two games we'll be lolling in Hemingway land by way of Flagler route (lol) - see a previous post on Henry Flagler who wanted to build a railroad to Key West only to be bested by the Hurricane of 1935!

R.I. P. Whitney Houston, the big voiced pop diva has died.
Even though I love opera, I must admit I did enjoy her singing.
What a huge gorgeous talent.