Nasty weather here today in the Armpit of New England. I was planning to head down to Long Island to join my friends in ringing in the New Year, but the large amounts of white stuff precluded that. I did, however, make some rounds about the area. I wanted to pick up the revised and expanded ("second edition," if you will) I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell, knowing it dropped yesterday. But neither of the two places I checked had it in, and that was as far as I was going. That was followed by lunch and grocery shopping, and then back home...which took longer than I thought. I live on a hill, and my car completely lost traction near the entrance to the parking lot. It took several revs to get the power to put enough speed on it to get it in. That is going to take some getting used to; the Minivan o' War was a beast in the snow, a trait not shared by the Blue Trooper. I am, however, glad I got some practice in the snow; given that I work at a job that doesn't give snow days, I'm certain I'll be required to make a snowy trek into work sometime this winter.
I don't like the fact that the Giants head into the playoffs on a 1-3 skid, but they put up a good effort in Minnesota on Sunday. The bye week they've earned will be very important in getting everybody - especially Brandon Jacobs. New York has faced each of the other NFC playoff teams except Atlanta, so there aren't many unknown quantities. The one thing I do know is that if the Panthers return to Giants Stadium on the 18th, it's gonna be a total war. All in all, this set of twelve teams is a good crop - the 11-5 Patriots are sitting at home, and even 8-8 San Diego is dangerous (especially at home to Indianapolis in the opening round).
I'm looking forward to tomorrow's Winter Classic to take my mind off other NHL-related matters. Why? As of this morning, the Islanders are dead effing last in the NHL Z-Ratings. A 1-10-2 stretch has left them gunning not for a playoff spot, but for the top pick in next summer's draft. Even With this being the case, I think the decision to stick with Scott Gordon as the head coach is a good call. If the Isles can develop the players they have within the system, and maybe land a top prospect or a hot free agent in the off-season, they'll be back near the top soon enough. Complementing home-grown talent with imported players is the best way to produce a winner. You can't completely buy your way to a championship - if you need proof, take a trip to the South Bronx.
On the other hand, if you have a team built to win now, making a play for a big free agent can make sense. The Mets have already done that by taking Francisco Rodriguez from the Angels, and they're making overtures to Derek Lowe. I'm holding out hope that this will be the year that the National League East title returns to Flushing.
Finally - the beeping noise stopped sometime early Monday morning. But a noise far more sinister visited itself upon my ears this morning - a blaring public address announcement about the City of New London's winter parking restrictions. The monthly test of the PA on Submarine Base is bad enough, but now this? Interrupt everyone's morning with information that's available from many other sources? New London, you fail it - it being common courtesy to your residents.
This is not my last word for 2008 - I'll be back later tonight with a final "year in review" post...