7/25/18 – I Love Brisket

I love brisket. Well done pork ribs and turkey are fantastic, but if I go get barbecue the brisket needs to be top notch. Smoked meats are a labor of love. A quality packer brisket cooked appropriately will take about 90 minutes per pound, and these suckers can be 15 pounds. A cook has to love doing it to do it, and do it well.

That labor of love is a big part of the appeal brisket has to me. The first brisket I ever cooked was for my ex-wife’s birthday seven years ago.
Brisket1

It was a piece of shit! Look at all that unrendered fat in there. I didn’t cook it for nearly long enough. I didn’t crutch it to make it cook faster. All those crumbs lying around aren’t a good sign either. It wasn’t good. I had no real idea what I was doing, but I did my best. It was still delicious.

The craft of brisket has appealed to me for years. Listening to people talk about their barbecue process fascinates me to no end. I’ve watched Aaron Franklin’s Austin PBS show detailing the steps he takes to make the world’s perfect brisket at least four times.

I think “process” in general might be what I’m attracted to. I remember when the Rangers traded for Jonathan Lucroy then being enthralled with listening to him talk the nuts and bolts of the game, or listening to Ken Hitchcock or Jim Montgomery do it.

I don’t think I’ve ever really written about barbecue or the process behind barbecue before despite being in love with it. I got silly enough that I even made a Google Map go track the places I’ve been starting a few years back.

BBQMap

What makes good brisket? That’s up for debate I suppose, but I always look for a good solid bark, nice smokiness, and brisket that can easily be torn apart by hand with incredibly little force.

Franklin’s is the best, though there are many really good briskets in Texas.

Franklin

Nothing really compares to it though. Pecan Lodge in Dallas is great. Willow’s from a trailer parked in a bar parking lot in The Heights is easily the best I’ve had in Houston proper. Reveille in Magnolia, out of a trailer that might actually be on the owner’s front yard. is top notch too.

Brisket isn’t everything. Some places have excelled at getting other meats perfected. Pinkerton’s in The Heights has immaculate ribs that come close to Franklin’s. Feges near Reliant Stadium has smoked pork belly, which I never knew I needed. My favorite non-brisket item I’ve ever had is the bacon burnt ends at Heim in Fort Worth. They may actually kill me, but I think I’m ok with that happening.

I like to think all of these places put that same level of love into their meat. You almost have to when you sit in a hot trailer serving meat or live above your restaurant (Pinkerton’s).

I love brisket. That’s all. Shrug.

7/19/18 – Revolution vs Silly Love Songs

I finished reading Rob Sheffield’s “Dreaming The Beatles” yesterday. It’s legitimately one of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read. I now know more about John Lennon’s penis, the depressing nature of Ringo Starr just wanting to be happy with his bickering friends on a submarine, and the threads connecting Revolution with Silly Love Songs than I ever thought imaginable.

I think I might be Paul McCartney if you remove the money, talent, good looks, and famous friends. This observation on page 261 threw me through a loop for a little while. It described (describes?) my outlook on life to an alarmingly accurate degree.

Paul selected a life, closed the menu, and then lived the fuck out of that life without ever worrying his pretty little head about the other adventures he could be chasing. That’s not just rare, it’s insane. His friends probably felt sorry for him. He brought that same level of follow-through to music.

I never put my outlook on life into words, but Sheffield did it for me through Paul McCartney.

Under a certain lens “selecting a life and closing the menu” is also called settling. Some view it as being content with things that add value to your life. Potato, potatoh. Revolution 9, Silly Love Songs. The easy path is to condemn the choice, expecting “more” out of a person. His friends probably did feel sorry for him, as if it were their place to feel sorry for a man pursuing what made him happy.

I chose my partner early, and clung to the shared experiences and happiness I drew from the relationship. I was satisfied working through life’s problems with this person, and helping her do everything necessary to reach her lofty dreams. It ultimately didn’t work out because she didn’t share that satisfaction, and wanted to aim for a better, more fulfilling life. So it goes.

But who am I to judge a person I care about for honestly pursuing what they feel is right for them? The pain lasted for a long time, but the bitterness didn’t. I know I’m a vastly different person in the aftermath (the jury is hung over whether I’m better or worse), but I still want the same things. In the one relationship I’ve had after my marriage I know I’ve given my all too, often to my detriment in that search for consistent happiness.

When I see John Tavares take a truckload of money to go home to Toronto then tweet out a picture of himself as a little kid wrapped up in Maple Leafs sheets I can’t possibly fault him for it. When LeBron James decides he would rather live in Los Angeles than Cleveland I nod. If Tyler Seguin decides he would rather be somewhere else after the Dallas Stars 2019 season I’ll link to this story, shrug my shoulders, and start making money off of looking at the different ways the Stars can replace his production.

Sometimes life sucks, bad and/or unexpected shit happens that can be really difficult to deal with, but even more challenging alone.¬† My situation opened me up to a world I never wanted to see: divorced in my early 30’s trying to find happiness while not knowing what that is or how to do anything. I’ve stumbled a lot, putting myself in situations I’m ashamed to even admit.

Those situations arose from pursuing happiness. Tavares in Toronto may not work out. Lebron the Laker may fail. Tyler Seguin joining a third team, should that come to pass, may work out for both the Stars and Seguin. Who knows? As long as people are pursuing what makes them happy without trampling over others then screw it. My newly identified inner-Paul will never allow me to burn a jersey. I’ll laugh when you do it though, and commend you on your little $200 fire.

 

 

 

7/14/18 – The mystery man not traded for Roman Turek

One of the things I remember most about the Dallas Stars parade and rally inside Reunion Arena was the Stars announcing that Roman Turek had been traded to the St. Louis Blues. They ended up getting a 2nd round pick for him, but as a 13 year old child with no real access to the internet I wasn’t yet Aggressively Online so some aspects of the story were beyond my grasp.

In doing a little research for a project coming up on Mooterati I came across this nugget I’ve been trying to track down for, oh I don’t know, 20 minutes. This is from the September 20, 1999 issue of Sports Illustrated from Kostya Kennedy.

Dudley Turek

Rick Dudley eventually moved the fourth pick in the draft for Dan Cloutier, but had agreed to move “a good, established NHL player” for Turek prior to Lightning owner Art Williams killing the deal. (See, owners do kill trades at the last minute Erik Karlsson fans.)

Curiosity is getting the best of me big time. Tampa Bay was pretty terrible and the list of good, established players on that roster isn’t long. The Stars wouldn’t have been looking to get a goalie back just to risk losing in the draft. Tampa didn’t have any defensemen that fit the bill.

Pavel Kubina and Vincent Lecavalier were there, but neither was going to be moved so it isn’t them. The candidates are few, but interesting.

Lightning

Wendel Clark left as a free agent. Lecavalier and Kubina weren’t happening. I don’t see how Alex Selivanov or Rob Zamuner fit. Surely the Stars weren’t targeting a reunion with Benoit Hogue. Craig Janney was traded for a 6th round pick the next season. The only names that fit are Chris Gratton, Darcy Tucker, and Stephane Richer.

And boy, do those names fit. Darcy Tucker and Chris Gratton especially.¬† Tucker is known for this. And this¬†entitled: “My Job Was to Drive Everyone Else Crazy On The Ice”. Yeah, that sounds like a Ken Hitchcock guy in 1999. Brenden Morrow would make his debut the next season playing a rugged power forward game, though he was never that kind of player. Steve Ott had some aspects of that reputation though, and he debuted shortly thereafter too. In 2000 the Stars also tried Scott Thornton out on LW. Tucker checks a lot of boxes.

Gratton could have fit too. A big scoring center? This is exactly the kind of player Hitchcock would have wanted, and also the exact type of center the Stars would acquire several years later when Joe Nieuwendyk was dealt to the New Jersey Devils for Jason Arnott. Arnott ultimately had a better career, but the similarities between the two are obvious.

I don’t know who the player ultimately was, but I would really like to find out. Someone out there knows, and it may be common knowledge that passed by my young brain at the time. I’m determined to find out.

At the Morning News

How much can the Stars expect from Mattias Janmark going forward?

Who would make a bigger impact for the Stars: Artemi Panarin or Erik Karlsson?

Blake Comeau comfortably replaces Antoine Roussel, but potentially blocks prospects

I appreciate your clicks, even if they end up being incognito. They still count. Also if you do decide you want to subscribe to the Dallas Morning News I’ll get a little if you do it from one of my Stars posts. I would not be offended if you did this.

 

7/6/18 – Erik Karlsson and Other Drugs

The Dallas Stars really did almost acquire Erik Karlsson. As of this writing he still hasn’t been traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning so honestly who knows what is going to happen. We’re essentially at the point now where the Stars were on July 3rd. There are many people who thought for sure Karlsson was headed to Dallas.

Then reports surfaced that Ottawa wasn’t satisfied with offers from multiple sources in Ottawa as sources in Dallas went mostly quiet. Now the Lightning are on the brink of acquiring him, reportedly, despite having virtually no cap space and a ton of major free agents coming up.

If Tampa Bay can pull it off then more power to them, but as long as the ask from the Stars turned into Miro Heiskanen the Stars were never acquiring Karlsson. Many of us tried to tell you. A spirited debate kicked up which is great. I took a stab at going into it here.

The debate is good. I strongly disagree with one side of it, but I can’t in good conscience tell them they are outright wrong when the position ends with “trade for Erik Karlsson”. Nothing in my conscience allows me to call the concept wrong. What did blow my mind was the number of people who replied on Twitter or Reddit to people who actually know some information with statements like “how do you know that” or some variant.

But I guess that’s the point of all of this, eh? People want information and they want it now. Instant satisfaction is king while people call for the head of Jim Nill after he made spirited efforts to acquire John Tavares and Erik Karlsson. Names. And I can tell you they aren’t done trying. Keep your heads about you and everything should be fine. If they end up not handling business I’ll be right there with you, but we’re way too early in the process to bring the pitchforks out yet.

An aggressive amount of links:

A quick PSA: clicking on any Morning News link is helpful. If you or anyone you know is looking at a subscription for the Morning News online have them do it from a Stars article with my name on it and I’ll get a slight monetary kiss. I like monetary kisses.

Also if there’s anything you want to see from me at the Morning News (or here) just give me a shout.

Why Stars shouldn’t let Bobby Ryan get in the way of completing an Erik Karlsson trade

Stars have reportedly ’emerged as a front runner’ for Erik Karlsson; Senators ‘focusing’ on Miro Heiskanen in possible deal

Tyler Seguin should follow Jamie Benn, not Drew Doughty, when negotiating his new contract

Dallas Stars sign model backup goaltender in Anton Khudobin, and that’s perfectly fine

John Tavares isn’t coming to Dallas, so where do the Stars go from here?

Stars’ deal with Blake Comeau leaves room to afford John Tavares

Why the Stars saw reason to give Valeri Nichushkin another go

Stars reportedly will sign Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Roman Polak to a one year deal

Dallas Stars reach agreement with ex-Bruins goaltender Anton Khudobin

Antoine Roussel, Greg Pateryn reportedly find new homes; Dan Hamhuis, Kari Lehtonen still looking

As Stars wait for John Tavares news, backup goalies are on the radar

There’s even more, but damn. I wrote a lot of shit the past week, eh? Thanks a lot Tavares and Karlsson. For the record, this story is still pre-written in my drafts.

Karlsson

I was told to have it written because a deal was coming. They were that close.