Saturday, February 23, 2008

Pucks and Politics

Well, it’s been a little longer then I had anticipated for my second post. Unfortunately the day job has really cramped my blogging style the past few weeks with no let up in site…although one bonus is that a lot of my work has resulted in a lot of travel so that has been good, both for my interesting flying and my desire (Mrs. East Coast Wing would say obsession) with keeping my elite status with my airline of choice, United!

A lot is happening now in the world of pucks and politics that deserves attention. In the puck “arena” my Detroit Red Wings are experiencing a really rough patch with a 1-6-1 record going into tonight’s game against the Vancouver Cannucks. Injuries have contributed to the losing streak and the cumulative effect is that the Wings have tremendously reduced their chances of winning the most games ever in a season, ironically set by the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings with 62 wins in the regular season. The Wings still hold 89 points, the best in the league, and firmly command the Western Conference’s Central Division so they certainly are still in good shape. However, it does shake my confidence a bit although if they are going to have a slump then I want it to happen now, and not in the playoffs as has been their practice the last few years!

Politics and especially the race for the Democratic and Republican nominations have really taken off. Since my first post we have seen the impact of the Super Tuesday primaries that made Senator John McCain the essential nominee for the Republicans and wiped out the campaign of former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina. The more surprising result of Super Tuesday is the intense battle currently going on between Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Barrack Obama (D-IL) for the Democratic nomination. As late as last November I was giving remarks at a trade association meeting and told the audience to “get ready for President Clinton II.” Needless to say, I and many others did not see Obama’s surge. I’m pretty happy about the current status of the Democrats…I feel that Senator Clinton approached the primaries as if she was automatically going to be named prom queen for the Democrats. The fact that she now is in a very difficult fight for the nomination, and one she may very well lose, appeals to the political junkie in me. Add in a very intense dislike of the Clintons and I find myself very happy at what is going on with the Democrats. I definitely do not find myself very excited about Arizona Senator John McCain for the Republicans and did not vote for him in my state’s primary. We’ll see what kind of progress he makes with patching up his differences with conservatives as we get into the general election but I, for one, am not excited about McCain as a president. While many will pontificate on the various issues impacting the presidential race, one thing we do know is that a member of the United States Senate will become President in less than a year!

Monday, February 4, 2008

First Post!

Welcome to East Coast Wing’s Hat Trick, my blog dedicated to the three topics I’m very interested in: ice hockey (primarily Detroit Red Wings hockey), politics and travel, especially air travel. I hope that you enjoy my pontifications on these wide ranging, and I admit, diverse topics. The idea for this blog first came together in the Spring of 2007 during the NHL playoffs however it has taken a little longer then anticipated to pull it together…the arrival of Baby East Coast Wing in June put the breaks on this project until now!

For those readers who might not be familiar with what a “Hatrick” is I will explain. In the game of ice hockey if a player scores three goals in one game then it is called a hat trick. For Detroit Red Wings fans, a “Gordie Howe Hat trick” is a saying that means Detroit Red Wing player Gordie Howe would get a goal, an assist and a fight in one game for his very scrappy, yet effective, play. In actuality, Howe only ever had one of these in his career!

Growing up in Detroit, Michigan sealed my interest in ice hockey and I am very loyal, died-in-the-wool Detroit Red Wings fan…Let’s Go Red Wings! I will admit that it’s been pretty easy to be a Red Wings fan the last 15 years since they have always made the playoffs and also have won the Stanley Cup three times in 1997, 1998 and 2002. However, the 1970s and 1980s were extremely bleak years for the Red Wings with consistent last place finishes in many, many seasons. Sometimes it was necessary to turn the Detroit Free Press Sports section upside down to see what it was like to be in first place. Life for the Red Wings improved dramatically when the team was purchased by the Illitch family, the founders of Little Caesars pizza. Probably the biggest challenge of being a Red Wings fan is the years when they play so well during the regular season and then choking in the playoffs…Wings fans have seen this many times, most noticeably in 1996 and in 2003. My hockey interest also extends to college hockey and I especially like to follow the progress of U of M…which you might assume means the University of Michigan but your wrong. I’m actually a big fan of the “other” U of M…the University of Maine Black Bears . Why you might ask? Very easy…Mrs. East Coast Wing is a U of M graduate and was a student when they last won the NCAA championship.

My second interest is politics. I’ve always been interested in government, the history of politics in America and the world and in elections. This interest has extended to my professional life as I currently work as a lobbyist in Washington, DC. It can be challenging sometimes but it has been an interesting job and has allowed me to have some fun experiences including meeting and shaking hands with two Presidents…not bad for a kid from Michigan! My own political views are primarily conservative so you will see a lot of discussion here geared to that political persuasion. However, I do like to think of myself as a “Thinking Conservative” and I would rather have a discussion with a “Thinking Liberal” as opposed to a knee-jerk conservative or liberal…unfortunately we get a lot of those in Washington, DC. I hope that my readers from both sides of the political spectrum will feel comfortable posting a response to political issue…just remember my one rule: You can agree to disagree but please don’t be disagreeable…this blog was not designed to be a partisan battlefield. For political junkies there are a lot of good sites out there, both on the right and the left…or even just reporting on what is going on in Congress. For conservatives, National Review is a great site, as is the Weekly Standard. For my liberal readers looking to hear a forum geared to your viewpoint you may want to check out ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Miami Herald, or any other newspaper or news outlet in America! Just kidding…although this is always a big topic of discussion in conservative communities but we’ll leave that for another day. In all seriousness my liberal readers might enjoy this site!

Finally, my other interest is travel, especially air travel. I have always loved to travel having made my first trip when I was three months old and the love affair has continued to this day. I’m actually writing this first post aboard a United airlines 757 somewhere between Washington and Chicago O’Hare International (love Channel 9!) For some reason I’ve particularly liked commercial air transportation when most airplane enthusiasts enjoy military aircraft, especially fighter jets. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of military aircraft as well and thoroughly enjoy the 20 minute version of Top Gun (watch all the aircraft scenes and then fast forward through the excruciating love story…unless you watch with a date then you do have to stop for the beach volleyball segment!) but for some reason commercial aviation really caught my interest at an early age. According to my parents I announced at age four that I wanted to be a commercial airline pilot when I grew up. That dream didn’t happen, although sometimes I still think I should have pursued it, but that is in the past. One of my favorite pass times is to sit in Gravelly Point, a park at the end of the main runway at Washington Reagan National Airport, and watch the planes land or takeoff, depending on the wind. I also remain very interested in airlines and especially the history of airlines, routes and how hub cities have changed. I have a fairly extensive collection of airline and airport memorabilia that I never grow bored of reading airline timetables from 1985. I used to think I was alone in my airline interests but in 2003 I found a web site called Flyertalk that has a large community of people just like me. It’s also a great site for just regular business travelers and covers a lot of areas including airlines, hotels and rental car companies to name just a few, airport security and many, many, many other topics related to travel.

I’m going to close off for now since I’ve already written quite a bit…I promise future posts won’t be quite this extensive! I welcome your comments so please don’t hesitate to post one, regardless of if you agree or disagree with my content.

Thanks for reading!

East Coast Wing