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Teams, Trophies and Tenders

 

Let me plug you into my ever-so-nimble Tuesday brain.

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Don't make me watch Kobasew! nooooOOO

Don't make me watch Kobasew! nooooOOO

1) I went to the Coyotes game last night, versus the Wild.  I Clockwork Oranged my eyeballs open as best as possible, but really, a 2-0 Monday night game against a piss-poor Wild team was a battle to endure.  Buuut, the Coyotes continue to look really sound defensively (Bryzgalov is ridiculous), so I’ll give my hard-done-by Coyote readership this – your boys will be looking at a tight “every point matters” six through 10 seed battle heading into the playoff push. 

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2) It’s time to change the Hart Trophy from “Most Valuable Player” to “Best Year”.   Voting for “Most Valuable” misses the point, and clouds what most of us really want to judge.

Hart TrophyMost people are just debating who had the best season anyway – but there’s always a few people following the technicalities of the award title, which leaves people arguing about different things… which sucks crappy suckballs.  It ends up being a circular argument “yes, but without the waterboy, the guys would die of thirst, thus his value is…”  shut up.  I wonder if the NHL admits that the guy who had the best season won’t always win the award?

Also, it punishes players on good teams.  Maybe Joe Thornton scores 120 points this year, but the Sharks would still be a good squad without him, because they’re so deep.  Same with Chicago – are all their players ineligible?  Without Tavares, the Isles are probably teasing the basement again.  Maybe Matt Moulson doesn’t get a few big goals early that develop huge confidence.  Maybe John Tavares has the most value to his team.  But nobody’s giving him the Hart, are they?

Let’s just call it the “Best Year” award, and judge the best few offensive players against the best defensive and goaltenders, and give it to that guy.  Congrats.  You had the best year. 

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With greatness, you too can achieve living in Michigan and Buffalo

With greatness, you too can achieve living in Michigan and Buffalo

3) There seems to be an inordinate amount of goaltender parity in the league these days.  You gotta believe, with only 60 NHL  jobs available, NHL scouts don’t have to try too hard to find quality goaltending.  Seems like every team has at least a “pretty good” goalie.  I mean, really, teams could just rummage through another teams trash to dig up a viable tender at this point.

This is why having one of the few real top-end elite guys, like Ryan Miller, makes such a huge difference.  What’s the Sabres record this year with Chris Osgood in net? (Sorry to pick on Chris, he’s a great guy, and had a great career.  But c’mon.  He’s in the home stretch now.) 

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4) There’s a captainly duty that’s both hilarious and stressful.  I talked to a guy playing pro somewhere yesterday, and he had to go to deal with it.

"Who's calling??" "COACH?"

"Who's calling??" "COACH?"

Lets say the boys have a day off on Sunday, and played at home that Saturday night.  The guys are going out after the game.  You’re the captain, and thus, you’re expected to communicate well with coach.  You have three missed calls from coach on Sunday morning, you’re just waking up, and it’s 11 a.m.  You’re a bit foggy.  (Coach doesn’t call to “chat”, FYI.).  Someone is in trouble.

This is the captains job – you need to put out the fire (and make sure you’re not in it) before the truth gets back to coach, so it can be dealt with by the guys, and not made into a “lock the door” team-meeting crisis.  Clearly, something has happened.  Somebody did some dirt.  Did the bar kick a bunch of teammates out?  Is it something serious, like someone got a DUI?  Or is it something funny, like guys broke into the arena and “wrote their names” in the crease? 

The hidden captain’s job: Damage control (especially in college).

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5) Some like, 19 year old dude at NYPD Pizza here in Phoenix, brought my fiance (27) her slice, put it down, and proceeded to give her a real fatherly ”there ya go sweetheart”… then walks away.

“Sweetheart” is reserved for a) A Grandfather to his grand-daughter  b) Father to daughter  c) A couple in love  or D) Trying to get punched by people who find you condescending.  He deserved a D+.  What is this, the ’50′s?  Slap her on the ass and give her a wink at least, pops.  Jeesh.

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That’s all for Tuesday kiddo’s.  Closer to my birthday (and the huge donation you’ll be giving to the blog on it).  Closer to Christmas.  And most importantly, closer to my birthday.  …Did I mention that already?

D-Baggery Transcends Race, Gender, Sexual Preference

 

Yayyyyy, it’s my birthday week!

….you don’t get a whole week?  Eff that you don’t.  Gotta find something to celebrate.

So, I was born on 12/12 at 12:12.  Hence, I wore #12 everywhere it was available.

My birthday is now also the anniversary of a less awesome event.  This Saturday marks the one year anniversary of the slapshot that hit my face, which I may have mentioned, was about as fun as hanging out in the laundry room with “the sisters” in Shawshank.

So, I’m gonna have my “year-in-review” up on Friday - a recap of my journey to becoming an engaged blogumnist living in Arizona (Friday, because on my actual b’day, I’ll be cutting and pasting magazine letters into a vaguely threatening sentence to send to the guy who shot the puck), with some pictures.

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Hockey Greats Fantasy Camp's "VT Cup"

Hockey Greats Fantasy Camp's "VT Cup"

Follow me closely here: Some people are dicks.  All disabled people are people.  Therefore, some disabled people are bound to be dicks.  I’ll do a Venn diagram later.

I explained it like that because the sentence “some disabled people are dicks” seemed a little harsh to lead with, but it’s true.

Similarly, during the course of the “lay off the gay slurs in hockey” stuff, I realized something.  Some gay people, like straight ones, are entirely capable of being assholes too.

The less-than-desireables, of course, don’t take away from the fact that everybody deserves equality, regardless of our differences, but lets face it - in every group, there’s some people who’d rather trip you for a laugh than give you a stick of gum.

I found that little tidbit out playing disabled sports with my brother.  Here’s equal rights at it’s finest: It’s equally possible that this parapalegic deserves a face-punch as much as ’ol walkey-pants over there.  When you get to the point that you can say “go eff yourself, a-hole”, because a disabled guy is an a-hole, you’re really seeing past the wheelchair.

I’d show up to the court for wheelchair basketball all excited.  Just daydreaming… So cool that these athletes exercise as-much or more than most able-bodied people.  So cool that that these people are making the best out of their abilities.  So cool that – “Dude, you just ran over my toe again”.  Well then get outta the f***in’ way”.

“…Dick.”

Which brings me to some of my favourite stories of “true equality”.

(In my defense of the following, when Jeff, the bigger, stronger brother, got a hold of me, I was generally a pretzel before I could say “a-salt”.  I had about as much chance of out-muscling him as my kitten has of paving the driveway)  (….okay, fine, booooo salt joke).

Nice Isles jacket1) When we were kids, we sat across from each other at the kitchen table.  My side was against the wall, and Jeff’s side had stairs (going down) behind it.  When I was pissed at him, I’d push the table into him so he’d roll backwards towards the stairs.  He started setting his brakes at dinner.  High comedy.

2) We had an elevator in our house, from the deck to the downstairs, where our rooms were.  The outdoor elevator had a sensor on the bottom, so when we were fighting, I’d chuck a basketball under there so it couldn’t go all the way down.

Picking on each other and fighting is part of what being brothers is about.  Jeff routinely shot tennis balls at my junk, because it’s really funny when any dude gets hit in the junk with a tennis ball, and I couldn’t move fast enough to avoid it.  Well played, sir.

He’s just about the nicest, kindest dude in the world, and the guy has played his metaphorical two – seven off-suit like he’s holding aces.  And of course, on the rare occasions he was being a dick, I told him so.  And vice versa.

My point with all this?  I’ve learned from my experiences with the disabled community that it’s okay to say this:  Some of the member of the gay community have been epic-level assholes towards me throughout my attempt at minimizing gay slurs.  Lighten up.  Just because I wanted a major publication to correct an article they wrote that misrepresented me as gay, doesn’t mean I hate gays, and doesn’t mean I don’t get to point out when you’re being d-bags, just like everyone else.  Cause you know what?  A few of you are d-bags, again, just like every other group of people on the planet.

Can’t we all just get along?

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And for the rest of you that’ve been ever-so kind and polite towards me…

It’s my birthday week yaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

Hockey Greats Camp, houseboat style.

...Annnd cap it with a postcard style pic. Perfect.

Friday Free-For-All

 

So, Steven Seagal: Lawman is a real show, huh?  I’m getting a kick out of TV just mailing it in right now.

I long for natural selection.

I long for natural selection.

They’re like, eff it, people just want to stare at their TV and call other people idiots anyways (whether it’s CNN or MTV), so make “Jersey Shore” a show.  And yes, let’s do more seasons of The City and Hills.  MTV, you’re just so good at sucking, any new suggestions?  Bully Beatdown? Tough Love?  It all sounds great.  Get ‘em made.  People will hate it, then watch anyways.  Why?  Because there’s nothing but crap on any channel, dipshit.”

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soooothing....

soooothing....

Readers from earlier this year know I’m a sucker for golf majors.  Like, during The Masters, I have a no-leaving-the-house rule on the weekend. If Tiger somehow botched my weekend with his whole debacle, he’s got bigger problems than a shattered marriage and tarnished public image.  I’m flying to Windemere to finish the job his wife started with that nine-iron.

On another Tiger note – if you’re the girl, are you crazy to let that phone message out, knowing what it’ll do to his wife and family?  Or are you crazy to not accept the money?  Do you have zero obligation to not chuck him under the front wheels of the bus at that point?  I guess bangin’ a married guy sort of eliminates any chance you’re concerned about his wife, huh?

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Looking for reviews on Bud Lights “Golden Wheat”.

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Okay guys, it’s time to talk. 

Say something about it, I dare you...

Say something about it, I dare you...

Bad news….  Most of us are over the mustache thing. 

Sucks right?  They were such a gold mine of humour for so many years.  But too many people are in on the joke now.  And like mullets, some people still rock them despite our culture’s obvious penchant for verbally abusing the owner, so those people can still be the butt-end of a few cookie-duster barbs.  But for the most part… it’s over.  Someone tell George Parros (and I suggest you do it nicely).

(Sidebar – we all agree he rocks the ‘stache just so he can get somebody to talk shit, and thus give himself more chances to justify his role on the team as a fighter, right?)

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So I got thinking, in the wake of Tiger sleeping with more people than Ambien… who are our holy saints now?

Here’s the best of what we got left.  Top three.

Wanna see me comb my hair, really fast?

Wanna see me comb my hair, really fast?

Third Place: Albert Pujols (as Deadspin pointed out)

It’s amazing that his name hasn’t come up in any steroid allegations for two reasons.  One, he’s built like from-ten-years-ago never-that-popular cartoon character Johnny Bravo.  And two, during the steroid era, all he’s done is hit the stuffing out of the ball, every year, consistently and politely, while winning MVP awards.  But it’s baseball, so I’m less inclined to care (Go Mets!).

Second Place: Lebron James

The homie’s still only 25, but for a man with stature like his, the slate is pretty damn sparkly.

First Place: Sid “I’m taking over Tigers ‘most boring athlete’ title” Crosby

If you found out Sid was up to some dirt, you’d be floored, wouldn’t you?  Anything beyond a speeding ticket from the guy and I’d be completely befuddled.  The carefully cultivated image, the boring-but-proper interviews…. he’s Tiger, minus the mystique.  He really does seem straight up bland.  By the way, is he still living at Lemieux’s, does anyone know?  That’s officially well past acceptable if he is.  Hey, wait a second… maybe Brendan Burke will have some support soon!

[*Note - Blog has been up for two hours, and I've already been dominated by two reader suggestions.  Joe Mauer and Peyton Manning should definitely be on that list.  Or a longer one, at worst.]

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Frrrrrriiiiiiiiiidddddddaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy!  And I’m ready to admit it’s almost Christmas.  And almost my birthday.  And still 70 degrees here.  All of which, you may have noticed, are great things.  So have a wonderful weekend, peeps.  Lookin’ forward to the comments!

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{RANDOM LIST: TOP FIVE CHRISTMAS MOVIES

5. A Christmas Carol
4. A Charlie Brown Christmas
3. The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
2. It’s a Wonderful Life
1. Christmas Vacation}

Timing, Tiger and Tomatoes

 

Breakaways are pretty rare.  In practice, if you beat the goalie on a deke, he sort of gives up and slides out of the net.  There’s no desperate swing/dive reaction, because, whatever.  It’s practice.  And most of the time, Tendy’s not even gonna go down. He’s going through the motions out there, with that “starter” spot pretty well locked up.

the more you knowSo it’s hard to know just how effective your moves are.  Thus, when you’d get a breakaway in the olden days, it was panic central.  Holy-crap, holy-crap, holy-crap-time.

The shootout era has changed this.  It’s given guys more opportunities to take uncontested breakaways on goalies that are actually trying.  Guys are getting a better feel for what’s effective, what timing and what pacing works, all that good stuff. 

So here’s what I learned thanks to shootouts: the speed of attack is key.  Mostly, that the goalie can’t vary his speed as easy as the shooter can.

So, starting out top speed will get the tender backing up quick, then you can slow it right down, let him back up damn-near under the crossbar, and shoot.  For deke’s, the opposite.  Start slow, and pick up speed so the goalie is still at the top of his crease.

Thanks for the help on breakaways, whoever introduced the shootout!

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I love the “do athletes deserve privacy” question that keeps coming up as a result of the Tiger Woods case. 

Yyyyyes.  Yes they do.

I don’t get it.  People say stuff like “if you take all that money, and you’re in the spotlight, you’re willingly sacrificing your privacy for a public life”.  Why?

So you’re really really good at hockey as a kid, dominating everyone, and an NHL team wants to sign you.  They offer you millions of dollars.  You’re supposed to pass up being a millionaire because you don’t want people to know when you fight with your wife?  “Sorry, Blackhawks, I appreciate the millions of dollars you offered, but I’d rather not have my picture taken.  Like, ever”.  Athletes need to choose between being successful at their sport and not being TMZStalked now?

In Tiger’s case, maybe you can argue that by doing advertisements for stuff, he’s sacrificed some right to his own privacy, but honestly, I’m not seeing that either (but it’s still super-petty to hock razors as a f**king billionaire).

{Tangent Brackets: I said this in a comment below, but thought it was worth running in the body of the blog:

The “Hey… It’s Tiger” is funny in so many ways I’m not sure where to start.  ….it’s like the phrase the police would try to get you to say to officially incriminate you in a drug bust “…so you’re, willing to sell me this COCAINE for MONEY. What’s the powdery white stuff called again?” is equal to “Hi, it’s TIGER”.}

"I'm Josh Elliot" --- "And I've got a porn name"

"I'm Josh Elliot" --- "And I've got a porn name"

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Hannah Storm wore straight-up camo today. 

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If you get up and pour a bowl Special K Red Berries, and don’t actually get any red berries, do you think it forecasts your day?  Like, lets say you were eating Lucky Charms.  You pour a bowl.  ZERO marshmallows.  The odds of that are near impossible.  Do you let that convince you that that day is going to suck?

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tomatoesAnd last – the slightly more expensive “on the vine” tomatoes at the grocery store.  What’s the etiquette on just picking the ones I need, like, right off the vine?  You pay by weight, and I don’t need to donate 18 cents to stems do I? 

I needed two tomatoes for a salad yesterday.  Some guy is watching me pick my tomatoes off-the-vine at the on-the-vine section.  There was an audible “pff”.  Like, disappointed in me.  F**k him, right?

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 (Language warning for those of you who take life to seriously)


Report: Most College Males Admit To Regularly Getting Stoked

Sugar Cookies Suck. And Other Stuff.

Ahh, I’m back and feeling refreshed today.  Lets dive in.

My “rec hockey tip of the week” is for defenceman, on stick position.

When a guy is coming down on you one-on-one (or two-on-two, whatever), you aren’t being sneaky by keeping your stick out to the side for the big swing check.  I’m aware you have a stick, I haven’t forgotten from the previous thousand games I’ve played, like a puppy re-biting on the fake-thrown tennis ball.  Hiding it isn’t helping your cause. 

With huge eyes and head.

With huge eyes and head.

Lil silver tiger.

Lil silver tiger.

In fact, 90% of the time, I’m looking for your stick to put the puck under.  And when you swing it, I’m gonna skate to the side you’re swinging from everytime, slide the puck close to your feet so said stick misses badly, and cross you over.  The stick-swing weight-shift f**ks you.  Keep it in front of you, “on” the puck. 

{kitten just walked up my legs, and stuck his stupid round head over the screen, like a whack-a-mole.  He’s a healthy happy boy, judging by the purrs/terrorism}.

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Is Hannah Storm hot or not?  I’m confused.

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Hey, fellow Canadians.  Inconsisent but talented defenseman Tomas Kaberle just passed Tim freaking Horton on the all-time assist-list for Toronto Maple Leafs.  Nothing warms your heart like that I bet.  Save for the occassional double-double.  Those things are like crack.

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Being 100% honest, my blog is less fun to write now than when I started it in January/Febuary of this year, minus the fact that I can open my mouth to consume sustinence now (see: the tale of Bourne’s busted face).  Big perk.  Reason being is that now I make an effort to keep it about hockey, which occassionally doesn’t hold my interest.  It was more of a poorly-written review of documentaries and stand-up comedy in it’s inception, my two favourite things to watch (or Seinfeldian “what’s the deal with’s”). 

Point is, I have a running argument with a friend where I explain that sugar cookies are at the bottom of the cookie totem pole, and he’s in denial (my mom makes mmm, ballpark, 90 varieties of Christmas cookies/squares, general deliciousnesses, and he picks the sugar cookies off the chocolate-laden tray).  Which brings me to a long-time-due re-running of this Gary Gulman bit on sugar cookies that I ran allll the way back then:

[frustratedly still searching for clip I know is somewhere on the internet]

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The ice cream on the back of the lid rules. 

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So, after watching Rick Nash fall post-shootout attempt (again), it’s safe to say that, as a goalie, he’s the last person you want to see coming down on a breakaway, right?  Three reasons – A) He can score  B) He’s huge, and very well might fall/run you over  C) He might do them simultaneously.




Third Video: Shootout where he destroys tender and net, scores (still looking for that too)

Also on Nash: If you do a Youtube search of his shootout goals, they’re identical.  I don’t know why goalies don’t know this yet.  Everytime he almost falls, it’s because he’s doing something different.  We have the internet now. Goalies need to Nash is going forehand to the blocker side.  Tambellini is going high glove.  EVERY TIME.  Research, people!

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And last, a little bit of disappointing news.

Dan Friedell

Dan Friedell

This summer, I got a call from a guy named Dan Friedell.  Dan was the online hockey editor for USA Today, and at the urgings of a mutual friend, had read a little of my hockey writing.

Dan called me out of the blue one day, thinking we might be able to help each other out.  I agreed to write a hockey “blog” for them (aka the best I could possibly write a column ever), they get free hockey content, and in turn, I got the hope that if the stories were good, and people liked them, he would push to have me on as staff for the 09-10 season.

Well, the blogumns went well, and true to his word, Dan hired me to write a bi-weekly column.  I was ecstatic.

Dan got laid off yesterday (hopefully not for hiring me), as a result of the newspaper industry’s continued need to hack costs (and in turn, often quality) in an attempt to keep up with us “new media” folk and all our free content.  Because nothing say “news” like “Is Hannah Storm hot?”

So anyways, thanks Dan.  I really appreciate you giving me the opportunity to do what I do on a larger scale, and I’ll do my best to make that column something people look forward to reading, to show you’re a guy who makes good decisions.  My most recent, on old school coaches, came out yesterday.

Mush Minded Madness

I mean… what can you say besides…. “What?”

Or “what the f**k was that?”

Did that really just happen?

Ballard just took a baseball swing at Vokouns head.  You and I both know what he’s trying to do.  It doesn’t speak to some larger message about the game.

Just… what a first class moron.  I hated playing Ballard, partly because of the stickwork behind the play… who knew it was worse to be on his team.

If I’m the coach, Ballard is in a whole heap of trouble.  He cost your team it’s starting goaltender, which equates to taking money out of the owners pocket.  He needs to taste a team-imposed vicious fine.  And lord knows what else.  Whatever Vokoun wants.  Trade the guy if that’s what your goalie asks for.

I don’t care how bad the guy feels, that’s just inexcusable.  And to not stay there spilling out apologies and helping?  And then to continue to make sure that stick gets broken?  WTF mate?

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I’m retarded today.  I slept on the floor of the bathroom where our new meowmix slept last night – we wanted him to stay in there so he’d use the litterbox, and he was all scared and meowy without company.  Needless to say, my sleep was subpar.  Thus, you get a “to blog about” file emptying.  Comment as you feel necessary.

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20 things worth knowing about beer.  It’s hilarious, courtesy Nicky Robinson.  Thanks!

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Dudes – what’s the best style urinal for avoiding splashback?  Trough?  Low urinal?  Full length urinal?

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Dumb Athlete Ads – when’s it okay for guys like Emmitt Smith to appear in commercials for stuff like “Just For Men”.  This guy is a legend.  Or supposed to be.  Really, Dan Marino is in weight loss commercials?  I’m not opposed to guys makin a couple extra bucks but… there’s just something sad about it.

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I’ve lived my life between six and 10 percent body fat until I retired.  I’m easily at 20 now.  What’s surprising, is I can still flex and see some faint implications that somewhere, back there, are abs.  Can all fat people do this?  At what weight are the abs indistinguishable?

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Empty net goals counting towards plus/minus is horseshit.  You HAVE NO GOALIE.  Give the coach a minus if you want.  Nothing like having your six best skaters take a “dash” 2/3rds of the games you lose.  Yeah, nice reward for being good.

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Just found out I own my college’s record for games played – 144 or something.  I missed one my whole career, my junior year, at home against North Dakota.  Why, you ask?  Healthy scratch.  Thanks coach.

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Oh noooo, you’re tires all flat ‘n junnk.

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 RA’s (resident advisors?) suck.  Must’ve put that one in the phone when I was drinking and angry.

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Wouldn’t the same people who care enough about music to take the time to call in to a radio show and request a song be the same people who have iPods and CD’s nowadays?  They like music.  They’re willing to put the effort into calling, waiting, and requesting a song.  But they haven’t dug up a way to play said songs without the help of an FM radio station, a cell phone, some time on hold and a host’s approval?  Seems odd.

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