Mr. Smith's Neighborhood

It's a beautiful day in the Neighborhood for teachers everywhere! Anything and everything is fair game!

Why the NHL Sucks … besides Colin Campbell April 29, 2007

The NHL lost a fan today at about 4:30 PM EDT. 

He was not an ordinary, everyday hockey fan. He was a long-time season ticket holder for the New York Rangers. He and his family not only attended games at the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, but also traveled to other cities that had difficulties filling their arenas (whether it was due to the team’s fortunes or just a general disinterest in hockey).

Like many hockey fans, he became interested playing the game as a young boy until an injury prevented further play. He was also lucky enough to have a dad who had access to tickets at MSG, and he was a frequent spectator.

Like most Ranger fans, his life as a Ranger fan had nothing to do with winning and everything to do with tradition and loyalty. He had to wait 38 years of his life to finally see Mark Messier hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup in hockey’s top-rated market. Following the joy of 1994, the ensuing twelve seasons were, at best, frustrating and included some of the greatest team failures in the Rangers’ long history.



Consistency on the Ice and in the Classroom April 22, 2007

The Classroom, Corporate Culture and The NHL

One might wonder what the connection is between ice hockey, Corporate America and the classroom, other than the fact that this teacher and his wife (also a teacher) are die-hard season ticket holders for the New York Rangers. And no, this article has nothing to do with my wife’s utter fascination with the “caboose” of Henrik Lundqvist, the Rangers’ phenomenal goalie. However, today’s lesson is about a word that has been lost in this modern day of makeovers and media spin.

What is consistency? How does it apply in the NHL?

Today’s word is consistency. According to the folks at, consistency is “steadfast adherence to the same principles, course, form, etc.: There is consistency in his pattern of behavior. Unfortunately, the lessons from the National Hockey League have to do with the performance of the referees. For those of you not familiar with the NHL, new rules were instituted at the beginning of the 2005 – 2006 season. The new rules required refs to call a two-minute penalty for ALL “obstruction” fouls with zero tolerance – holding, hooking, interference, illegal picks and goalie interference – whereas such fouls in the past were only called when the infraction was highly obvious or prevented a scoring chance.



Imus Sacrificed for Hillary’s Presidency April 16, 2007

In the wake of the Imus termination last week, polls are starting to indicate that that Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have all achieved the true objective of their witch hunt against Don Imus. The country, according to at least three different polls, is split almost right down the middle in their sentiments about the Imus firing. Racial tensions have been manipulated and exacerbated to achieve a massive polarization against middle-of-the-road politics, an uncomfortable scenario ideally suited for highly liberalized players like Eenie, Meanie, Miney and Moe as mentioned above.

The most interesting statistic in an ABC poll is that the only population segment that was decidedly in favor of the Imus firing was black women (70% favored firing). The ONLY reason this statistic is interesting is because this group is far and above the smallest audience segment of Imus’ audience; therefore, they have no familiarity with the embattled radio host other than what a biased media has presented to them.

The news media, particularly CBS in trying to cover its footsteps, continues to disseminate disinformation, spin and twisted documentation to support the firing. It is important that we continue to focus on the true facts. (more…)


Don Imus, Racial Extortion and Hypocrisy April 13, 2007

In fairness, I must begin this piece with the statement that I have been a fan of Don Imus since 1973. Over the last 34 years, Imus has introduced me to lots of new music and artists. Recently, I began listening to some of my favorite artists on Imus’ show (like Bruce Springsteen, Mark Knopfler and Van Morrison) playing Country Western. Although I’ve always liked Hank Williams and Johnny Cash, my reaction to C/W had usually been a little more violent than John Belushi smashing Stephen Bishop’s “folk” guitar in Animal House.

I also spent six years moonlighting as a radio jock (1997 – 2003), influenced by Imus and other great jocks like “Cousin” Bruce Morrow, Dan Ingram, Wolfman Jack and Scott Muni. The best lessons I learned from these men were about the art of entertaining large groups of people. Having sat in their hot seat, I understand how difficult it is to try to be funny all the time. I also have endured the ignominy of making bad jokes that backfired. Although these jokes were not on the air, I shared Imus’ experience of seeing how racial prejudice, white supremacy and the Corporate Culture can choke the sense of fair play. (more…)