Mr. Smith's Neighborhood

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

Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? April 22, 2009

Escape From New York Comes True

Wow! It’s been almost 16 months since my last post, and it is amazing to see the changes in the world and my own life during that span. It’s been an interesting time, hasn’t it?

Let’s see … Hillary didn’t make it, Obama did, but Hillie is playing Secretary of State. I looked at my prediction for an Obama v. McCain Presidential Race and was amazed at my accuracy; overall, it was a good, fair race. The one black spot was the biased attacks from the media on Sarah Palin. Once again, anyone who turns to network news in this country is a damned fool.

In the world of “Nothing Changes” (so true), a hockey fan found this blog yesterday searching for stuff on one of my favorite whipping boys, Colin “Soupy” Campbell (see Why the NHL Sucks … besides Colin Campbell. Our beloved Soupy issued another in a long series of ridiculous suspensions to Boston’s Milan Lucic (one game) for a cross-check that was little more than a love tap … but Soupy did not suspend Ian Lappierre or Mike Komisarek of “Les Habitants” for their cheap shots. Little matter as the Canadiens got flushed down the bowl in four by the Bruins. And, for all the miserable Canadiens fans who booed the “The Star Spangled Banner” on Monday night, go to hell!

Imus, who recently announced that he is battling cancer, survived his first year at Citadel and WABC-AM (New York) in grand fashion and, despite a few backhanded stabs at him, was doing some of the very best radio of his career. While the snipers are still ready to take Imus out, he is not going to leave himself open. The New York Rangers … well, it’s kind of like when Ron Swoboda was playing right field for the Metsies: every day is a new adventure for the Garden Faithful. Even being up 3-1 on OvieCaps doesn’t make a Ranger fan feel safe. Bloomberg … well, he and the entire NYC Department of Education can also kiss my grits.

So what changes are happening in Mr. Smith’s Neighborhood … or, should I say Senor Smith’s Barrio?



Rangers Continue to Roll December 31, 2007

Are All Montreal Fans Brain Damaged?

Last night (Sunday, Dec. 30) the New York Rangers beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 on a breakaway overtime goal by Brendan Shanahan. The real highlight of the game, however, was the hundreds of Montreal fans who paid two and three times the face value of a ticket and then proceeded to act like idiots in the stands. More on that later.

After taking a 2-1 first period lead on goals by Dan Girardi and Jaromir Jagr, the Rangers played a lackluster second period. It was most likely a letdown following a very emotional 6-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.

The league-leading Montreal power play took advantage of the referee’s generosity to score two second period goals and lead 3-2 to start the third period. Montreal scored on three of their four power play opportunities but were a marginal offensive team at even strength. One of Montreal’s goals came after a hit on Dan Girardi that should have been called boarding but was not.

After early success against the highly-touted Canadien defense, the Rangers reverted back to their “excessive passing” game and stopped skating. While the Canadien defense looked like traffic cones on the ice, the Rangers seemed to have lost their offensive drive.



Highway Patrol Officers in Ontario Target Americans December 13, 2007

How One Officer Profiles Americans and Violates Their Rights

During the first week of August this past summer, I was sadly returning to New York from a wonderful vacation in Northern Ontario. I had become quite fond of the people in Northern Ontario because they were friendly, warm and caring.

After spending the summer traveling across the United States and Ontario, I came to the sad conclusion that New York State may well be the worst state in America. Forget the taxes, traffic, dirt, Hillary Clinton and the cost of living … New York simply leads the country in blatant stupidity and greed. My next article will explain that in more detail, so stayed tuned!

However, this article is all about a dumpy little town called Pembroke, Ontario, and its own version of Dudley Do-Right … well, actually, he was more of a combination of Inspector Clouseau and Sheriff Buford T. Justice.

It is highly suggested that all travelers, but especially Americans, should avoid the Trans-Canada Highway (17) between North Bay and Ottawa. If you must travel this horrid stretch of road, go BELOW the speed limit, block traffic and do not stop in any of the towns. You should not stop in Pembroke or spend a single cent within its town limits.

Here is the story of an early afternoon on the first Saturday in August. Some family, straight from The Grapes of Wrath, is driving a truck eastbound on Highway 17 approaching the stink-hole called Pembroke. The truck looks like something from The Little Rascals. Stuff is hanging off the sides and the back, the truck is bouncing up and down, and it is wobbling like it has different sizes of tires on each wheel. It is a menace to itself and other vehicles.



Chris Neil’s Cheap Shot Sidelines New York Ranger Pest Sean Avery October 7, 2007

Chris Neil – Hockey Coward

(October 7) Last night, the New York Rangers proved that the Ottawa Senators aren’t as good a hockey team as the media reports predicted. Despite a miserable performance, a lack of intensity, no offensive presence and a horrible defensive effort, the Rangers lost to Ottawa by a mere 2–0. Both Ottawa goals came in less than one minute of each other and were gifts resulting from bad defensive plays by the Rangers. Although Henrik Lundqvist let in one soft goal, he was brilliant against the highly-touted Ottawa team.

The story of the night, however, was the cheap shot by Chris Neil on Sean Avery, resulting in an apparent dislocated shoulder for Avery. Neil blind-sided Avery, who did not see Neil and was totally defenseless. The referees, playing “homey” for the Ottawa crowd, simply gave Neil a two-minute elbowing penalty and ignored the deliberate intent to injure Avery.

First of all, let’s not have any illusions about Sean Avery. He is a pest and is like a burr under a horse’s saddle or a pebble in your shoe. He knows how to stir the pot and mix things up. He is hardly a hockey angel. Yet his injury is the perfect example of why the NHL and its referees remain horribly inconsistent.



The Waterfalls Lodge is Paradise! August 15, 2007

The Waterfalls Lodge is a Fabulous Northern Ontario Fishing Experience for All!

As part of my plan to spend my summer vacation from teaching out of the house, I gave myself a fishing trip as a combination birthday and Christmas gift. That may sound a little “fishy” to some of you, but I have always wanted to learn to do some serious lake fishing after years of deep sea and trout fishing.

Although I can make some claims as an accomplished trout fisherman, my last foray was eight years and a triple by-pass ago. Trout fishing is also a lot of work. I didn’t want to spend a week on the Great Lakes or deep sea fishing. I always wanted to be a better lake fisherman, and I heard that Northern Ontario is a spectacular place to fish. I’d never been to Northern Ontario, but it sounded like a plan.

As I began my research, I came across some fly-in options that sounded wonderful until I calculated the outlay for against my teacher salary. I don’t have a boat, so I needed a lodge that provided everything. Also, I wanted to be able to drive there and have electricity, a refrigerator, plenty of space, a meal plan and a good atmosphere. I also needed a place suitable for a novice like me. After many dead ends, I was beginning to give up hope when I discovered The Waterfalls Lodge.

The end result was that I booked for one week and stayed for an extra week because I was having so much fun. The Lodge and the lakes cannot be described in words, and pictures barely do justice to its beauty. I caught more fish than I could have imagined and learned a great deal. I became friends with Rob and Kathy (the owners), the staff and many of the guests who plan to be back next year. Let me tell you why everyone loved The Waterfalls Lodge so much.



Just Call Me Bob August 5, 2007

Unsinkable Bluboo

The Wreck of the S.S. Bluboo

The Northern Ontario fishing expedition reached a sad conclusion on Saturday, August 4, as I made it home from Spanish, Ontario, to Cross River, NY, in under 14 hours. I originally headed to Spanish for one week but I didn’t want to leave, so I stayed for an extra week.

I hope you will read my glowing review of of The Waterfalls Lodge and look at all the pictures on my Waterfalls Lodge page. Right now, it is time for me to expose the most embarassing moment of my fishing career.

Since mid-May, when I planned for this wonderful trip, I looked forward to a chance to go to Northern Ontario for a spectacular wilderness adventure and good living.

I had never really driven a boat before, but had watched others do it with envy. I looked forward to a chance to be captain of my own vessel.



On the Road Again July 20, 2007

Driving through Hell in Buffalo and Toronto

After loading the CRV, I was on the road at 8:30 AM and headed northwest towards a little area called Spanish, Ontario, Canada, for 9 days of relaxation, fishing and general keep-me-out-of-the-house fun. Most of the drive was uneventful with the exception of a few brief showers here and there. By the time I hit Rochester, NY, the Sun was out for the remainder of the day.

While driving through my least favorite city on this planet, Buffalo, I hit the first traffic jammof the day. Somebody needs to explain to the folks at the NYS Thruway Authority that E-Z Pass was designed to reward drivers who invested in the tag. The Thruway Authority in Buffalo decided that E-Z Pass should only have two lanes, and both lanes have the old “stop-and-wait-for-the-gate” technology. Traffic control at other tolls, bridges and the border is none existent. In fact, I think we will wait until midnight on our return to go through U.S. Customs to avoid the five-mile back-up we saw today.