Guest blogger: Latona

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As many of you may or may not know, I traveled to Prague, CZE for the NHL Premiere to watch our (trolls and Carp aside) beloved New York Rangers face off against our adopted Tampa Bay Lightning. This guest blog will just be a collection of memories, hockey related and non-hockey related, I had on my trip.

Both teams offered packages for the trip. However, Tampa’s included a longer stay, more hockey events, and was just an overall better deal. So I booked with them. A surprisingly large number of Tampa fans took up the offer as well, more than the official Rangers contingent. In the crowd, however, Rangers supporters far outweighed the Tampa fans. I did, of course, purchase my own tickets as to fly directly out of JFK instead of Tampa.

The flight there included a stop over in Paris, where, after accidentally going the wrong way through customs, a large Frenchman with an automatic rifle ever-so-kindly redirected me. One of the scariest
moments of my life. On the way across the Atlantic, the planes were equipped with touch-screens on the back of each seat. I, of course, had a small child behind me who relentlessly tapped the screen, playing Tetris or something and shouting each time his blocks didn’t fit quite right. No sleep for me.

The first day was a short one. Mostly included venturing outside the hotel. I think I ordered pizza or something, along with some rip-off Mountain Dew that made me want to vomit. Not much else.

The second day featured a tour of Prague. Most beautiful place I’ve ever been, rich in history and culture. The city was also big on public restrooms (one I walked through at a later time was the remnants of an underground prison or something). I was reassured and reassured by the tour guide that we needn’t pay for this specific restroom she was taking us to. I guess it was foolish of me, but for some reason, I didn’t have any money on me. And so after I answered nature’s call, and was exiting the bathroom, the Czech woman behind the counter started SCREAMING. I didn’t seem to notice, of course, being my unobservant self. Shortly thereafter, an older man approached me and told me that he covered my charge. I said that I didn’t even realize I had to pay, and when I told him I didn’t have any money at the time, he gave me a pat on the back and said “Hey, anything for a fellow Lightning fan, right?” I smiled and nodded.

The following day included watching the Lightning practice at the O2 Arena, a really neat venue. After the practice, which, to be honest, was kinda boring, there was a meet and greet with the fans. There were hors d’oeuvres out, including these delicious chicken wings in a ginger-sauce. Since I didn’t really care for any of the other selections, I made myself at home in front of the hot plate. And knocked over the display of deviled eggs as I tried to grab some of the farther back wings. As I turn around to begin cleaning up the mess, who do I see bent over collecting some fallen eggs? Oren Koules. He was really chill about the whole thing, too. I am the only person in the world that can say Oren Koules helped me pick up deviled eggs (most likely). After that minor incident, the players came out. I met and got signatures with many, including my personal favorite Marty St. Louis (what a guy), Radim Vrbata (now of the Phoenix Coyotes), South African Olaf Kolzig, and the disappearing act that is Paul Ranger. I don’t know what ever happened to him, he was a good defenseman. I think he left for personal reasons and just never got back into the game. They were all really nice dudes. But then there was Vinny Lecavalier. You know what he did? He snubbed me! Walked right by me – bfffft – never said a word. I guess I was lucky he was in a good mood, coulda been a lot worse.

The games themselves didn’t exactly live up to all the hype. As we know, our Blueshirts won both by the score of 2-1. I think good old Wade “CT Whale” Redden and Scotty Blowmez had goals. Anyway, Stamkos hit the crossbar on a shot. That was the fastest live wrist shot I’ve ever seen.
I did switch seats with a partially-paralyzed Vietnam veteran so that he could rest his one leg on the stairwell. The crowd was really interesting to me. I felt like I was at a tennis match, noise only came after a goal was scored, a fight broke out, or if it was generated by us North Americaners. There was also this smoking room, which I immediately had to exit due to severe risk of asphyxiation (I don’t smoke, I just wanted to check it out). Anyway, the bus to the arena posed a hazardous quandary. Up until this point, I had been accepted as a brother-in-Bolts. But I was NOT going to be prevented from wearing a Rangers sweater to these games. When I heard there was a keg on the bus (which may or may not have been true), I had to get out of there. Fortunately, the Rangers official tour was staying across the street from our hotel, and I was able to bribe their tour guide to let me on the bus.

The McDonald’s in Prague executed my order perfectly, while the McDonald’s right up the street from me hasn’t gotten it right in years. I once asked for a “hamburger with nothing on it” from this establishment, they gave me a bun.

I also purchased a small painting from a local artist. The transaction took about an hour and a half and three credit cards later, I finally had my piece of art. If I were to go back to that shop today, I’m sure I
would find a “Closed Indefinitely – Vacationing in Rome” sign on the front door.

There’s plenty more I could talk about, but I think that’s enough for you boneheads. Youse all rock.

PS: First one to get the Seinfeld reference wins five lunch points!

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169 Comments

  1. Latona

    what a charming and funny post! I loved every second of it. You’re quite the world traveler. ( It’s not easy being a Ranger fan in Panther and Lightning country
    here in Florida. ) They love to black out Ranger games when they’re on TV. As though we Space Coast fans would drive the 400 mile round trip to the Miami area to see the Panthers if they blacked other teams games out.) Or the 180 round trip to Tampa….same with Rays and Marlins). The write up was delicious also.

    Do us a favor…go on another trip and bring along
    a camera. And write it all up again. Moskva perhaps?

  2. Wow what a story about my old pals from the Czech !

    But they are not as thirsty then we can become when we have to face those cold temperatures…

    They like their cruzevice kind of black beer as we like our vodka to face any adversity…

  3. onecupin72yearsandcounting on

    Latona , you sound like a blond.. I think its the bathroom incident..
    but you must be some fan to follow them to europe and it figures that the rangers rip off the loyal fans

  4. JimboWoodside on

    Carp was up pretty late – he posted Latona’s contribution at around 3 AM…so he may be sleeping now.

  5. Eddie Eddie Eddie on

    Latona – great story …. I imagine a soda with no ice would have been a cup only a third full…. How is Brooke doing by the way? Well I hope :)

  6. Good morning, boneheads! Is everyone ok? Loss of power for me since midnight. But no damage otherwise. Thank god AT&T 3G is working.

    Good post, Latona. Nice memories.

  7. Latona may not have power right now – I heard on the radio that Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, NJ is operating on emergency backup power, and I think that Latona is not very far from there.

    Things are good here in Woodside, Queens. I got a little water in my basement due to a temporarily blocked storm drain, but I cleared it, and all was OK after that – lots of trees came down in other neighborhoods, but no discernible damage on my property – sorry that your power is out, ilb….

  8. Wicky(grating PIBG)© (The she/it on our D is sofa king SOFT!!!) on

    Morning ILB and all!!

    I hope all is well with all of you on the East Coast and that general direction!

    Latona
    great post…LMFAO!! Did you ever stop to think that perhaps Vinny L might have been a deviled egg fan??

    jimbo
    stormpansy, LMFAO!!

    Carp???

  9. Yeah, Wicky – Irene turned out to be a stormpansy – she won a lot of fights down in the minors, and scored a lot of goals down there too, but when she came up to “the big team”, she fizzled out!

  10. nothing major at all (as far as i can see outside my window) here in Brooklyn. will go out to see more later, but never lost power, so all was good. even slept with an opened window (yes i know that was quite stupid), but it was just too damn humid.

  11. Good morning all! Hey, a guest post from Latona! Lunch points for everyone!!!

    Great job L, perhaps I’ll do one when I get back from Sweden :)
    I wanna say the bun joke?

  12. I am safe and with power, sadly many parts of town are being evacuated..

    Hope you are all doing well. Thanks for the kind words about the post as well.

  13. I said whoever posted the Seinfeld reference got 5 points, mama, and nobody’s done that yet!

  14. Not too bad up here in Albany, although we do have a maple tree down in the back yard. 19,000 without power. Some flooding around here, but it’s south of Albany. It’s supposed to get a bit worse in the next couple of hours. This isn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.

  15. According to my statistics, you only had two. If you can find me proof of myself awarding you more, by all means. I’ll gladly add them to your total.

  16. Wicky(grating PIBG)© (The she/it on our D is sofa king SOFT!!!) on

    I must have like a hundred lunch points by now, or at least 5!!

  17. Good afternoon all. I live at the bottom of a long driveway (in an apartment complex) and feared the worst but we made out okay. We put dirt in plastic bags and blocked the entrance to our walkway trying to prevent water from going in the crawl space under the building and, worst case, coming into the kitchen! That worked. The elec stayed on so the sump pump kept running all night.

    The next drama I want to see is when they drop the puck! LGR.

  18. wicky,

    According to my chart, you have exactly five!

    Marji,

    Once was enough for me. It was an awesome experience I wouldn’t trade anything for, but, I’m not a big traveler.

  19. I had a furry overnight guest… a shih tzu named Maxie. His parents had to take his sister back to college this weekend. Naturally. Maxie is supposed to stay at his house but it was too dangerous to be out and about last night so Maxie bunked in here. Had to be brave for Maxie!

  20. LOL Marji!!! Gotta say, I’m really lucky where I live. No damage, no loss of powers, no flooding near me….only thing I lost was the morning paper.

    Actually, one outdoor plant got broken, but I did that inside…hartnell!

  21. Haven’t been out, so I don’t know what’s what….I don’t have to leave, I have provisions for days! :)

    Really, except for some trees/limbs down, WP escaped unscathed far as I know….phew! I know I’m really lucky….living by the water or in a home surrounded by woods is lovely, but at times like this, I bless my underground power lines, indoor garage, and 7th-floor apartment :)

  22. OK, back to the DVR :) Later all!

    Must be a lot of folks digging out (oops, wrong season, but you get it) or without power….awfully quiet here today, even for a carcilloy late August Sunday….Hope all is well out there.

  23. Boom Boom Bathgate on

    Eddie Eddie Eddie – Late getting back with you from yesterday. I am missing this Saratoga season, but you mention a horse, Stay Thirsty, a longtime friend and by far the best horseplayer I know liked, at long odds, in the Triple Crown races. So he may be a late bloomer. If he comes back at four, he may amount to something special.

  24. JimboWoodside on

    Great posting, Latona! How were the Czech women? I’ve heard that they are some of the most beautiful women in all of Europe!

    Glad all is OK in your area – when I heard about Valley Hospital, I thought “oh-oh – Latona may not have power!”

  25. CCCP,

    I have Slovak blood. It was nice to be in the general vicinity of from where my family hailed. And that beer is real beer. We’re Amero-pansy with our beer compared to those pilsners. The Staropramen was the best.

    Jimbo,

    The Czech women did not disappoint one bit. And fortunately, my side of town, other than one downed tree which miraculously missed all the homes and vehicles around it (even more miraculous considering it’s in a cul-de-sac). Other areas of town are completely submerged. My aunt lives on a slight hill; she’s the last house before the elevation decreases and everything below her is inaccessible. I’m actually heading over there tonight (you can access the other end of her block) to play cards. My uncle’s family, in from Minnesota, are all stuck there.

  26. JimboWoodside on

    Latona, I’m glad that you found the Czech women to be beautiful – I’ve always heard a lot about their collective beauty.

    Glad that your damage was minimal – I got some water in my basement due to a clogged storm drain in my driveway – damned pine needles can clog anything up, even though I swept up a ton of them before the storm hit! More new ones blew off the fir tree and did their work on my drain grate.

    Byfugliens!

  27. Our power was out since 12:45 today–finally came back on a few minutes ago. Minimal damage around my neighborhood. A few trees down, but no flooding. Man, it’s no fun without power! I’m happy it’s back on.

  28. Con Ed is now saying to expect the power back on Tuesday at best. Big tree fell on a power pole and broke it in half. It’ll take time. Byfuiglen!

  29. Glad to hear you all made it through A-OK.

    Don’t we have some Boneheads up in Vermont? I’ve seen and heard that it’s a mess up there. I hope they are OK as well.

  30. Good morning, boneheads!

    Please check in so we can do our own head (pun intended) count. Is everyone ok?

  31. Good morning ilb. I’m fine. Another tree came down in our back yard last night. It was kind of scary last night with the winds picking up again, but we survived! Have you heard from your neighbors from upstate about your place?

  32. So….Irene was WEAK (in NYC). Nothing at all happened here in the city. My commute this morning was so lovely. My 2 Train was empty and we made it to Times Square in record time. Luckily, my co-workers are mostly from Jersey and none of them came in. Relaxin’ time!

  33. I am working from home today. Couldn’t face going to the office. Called my neighbor last night to see how they made out. She answers the phone by saying “there are 4 fire engines and 1 police car here. We have a kitchen fire.” HOLY CARCILLO. I go running over there hoping the wind isn’t going to drop something on my head. The fire was out when I got there. Firemen everywhere. It wasn’t bad at all. The neighbor was annoyed that they sent 4 fire engines. I could have smacked her. With the winds the way they were, if the fire got out of control the whole neighborhood would have been on fire! Anyhow, after that I was WIDE AWAKE half the night. I needed to take a TIME OUT and regroup.

  34. Carp,
    I’m on MANDATORY vacation!!! At least until the flooding goes down in Denville, then I probably have cleanup and possibly alot of stuff to replace.

  35. Man I hope you guys are all OK. Sounds like everybody got his a lot harder than Brooklyn. Glad you all have INTERNET! Woo Hoo!

  36. Nothing really happened in Forest Hills, where I reside, however my brother’s family in residential part of Queens still without power. Much worse with my son’s family in DE, they were evacuated in hotel (kids-3 years and 11 months and a dog), where generator wasn’t working and there was no telephone and cell service. Back to their house they found basement totally flooded and substantial damage to the house. So, I’m on my way to help and babysit. Good recovery to all of you guys and your loved ones.

  37. New Rochelle had the sewer problem again. The surge pushed the sewage back up the line into peoples basements. On cue my basement began to flood. As soon As the tide came in. My wife and I pushed all the water from the finished basement into the area with the sump pump. Nas the tide came in each hour the water coming through my trap caps got worse and the water flowing out of my shower basin became a river. Still we squeegeed. We would not lose this basement again like we did in 2007. I got as second pump from my neighbor and stuck it in the shower. That got the river under control. The main pump got the rest from the unfinished part of the basement. By three thirty we were out of the woods. Basement saved. Still twelve hours of backbreaking work to save it. What a birthday.

  38. Wicky(grating PIBG)© (The she/it on our D is sofa king SOFT!!!) on

    Morning ILB and all!!

    John M
    Happy squeegee day (I mean Birthday)

    Carp???

  39. Wicky(grating PIBG)© (The she/it on our D is sofa king SOFT!!!) on

    manny, whew…I was getting worried.

    I saw carp playing street hockey shirtless in the video on wasabi—>

    No wonder we haven’t heard from him!

  40. glad that nyc wasn’t hit as hard as feared but my sympathies
    to all the other areas that were hit hard.

    good luck!

    how are Boneheads doing after Irene passed by?

  41. JimboWoodside on

    Still doing OK here – everything is fine in my part of Woodside – can’t say the same about all of Queens, though. Lots of trees came down, and lots of people lost electrical power where there are overhead power lines.

    Has anyone heard from Carp via other media?

  42. Anyone know if the Giants game tonight can be watched online? I live in LA and have Time Warner, so i don’t get the NFL Network feed.

  43. Last weekend I helped my friend stay put. It was a lot easier than helping him move. I just went to his apartment and made sure he did not start to load stuff into a truck.

  44. JimboWoodside on

    Glad to hear it, Manny – things are good here, too! Still waiting for some hockey, though.

  45. Boom Boom Bathgate on

    I see Calgary just acquired a 34-year old for a 28-year old, in a deal with Phoenix. They must really believe the end of the world is near. What a short-sighted way to run a hockey club.

    Maybe the Rangers can comb the Calgary roster for some young, or mid-career talent. Except, bless the Rangers hearts, not too much, if any, old junk to offer other teams in return. Way to go, Rangers!

  46. Now Sharapova has fought back and is leading the final set 4-1. LOL!

    Doesn’t matter though. She’s having trouble against a nobody in the 1st round. She wont last long. Her glory days are behind her.

    Good trade for the Flames. Stempniak looked good when he was first traded to the Yotes, at the deadline. Both teams suck, either way.

  47. Do you think Cindy Crybaby is an automatic hall of famer even if he never plays another game? He won Art Ross and Rocket Richard trophy, was a Stanley Cup team captain and scored the “golden goal” in the Olympics. Is it already enough to qualify?

  48. Yeah, for Cindy, if his mentor would be Messier instead of Lemieux, he, probably, would cry, listening national anthem before game, or seeing baby in a 10th raw, but never whined on ice, and be more of a man, and complete player, don’t you think?

  49. Yeah, 4ever. I always said that if Messier was his mentor (fun to imagine), he’d be much more respected around the league….his style of play would command fear and respect by the opposition…much like Messier’s did…and Rangers fans would crown him the best thing since ham in a can….

    Man, this is like the longest off-season ever!! When is the Traverse City Lemons tournament? Couple of weeks, right? That is some hockey that yearn to see!!

  50. Wicky(grating PIBG)© (The she/it on our D is sofa king SOFT!!!) on

    I hope they are on line as well!! We don’t have msg on optimum here (tossers)

  51. It’s been a deadly dull summer, hockey-wise. That tourney will be something to look forward to!

  52. Yeah, I think this has to be the worst off-season since I’ve been a fan of hockey. Nothing exciting going on, except the potential of Crosby missing the start of the season, which is like a full body orgasm! I need multiples, dammit!

  53. Pics from Schenectady and Troy (my hometown) are horrific. All of Schenectady is underwater, as is most of Schoharie County. Troy’s had bad flooding along the Hudson River and the various creeks. Theres a year old Dinosaur BBQ right along the Hudson that could a boat could dock at right now and order food from. Been reading the Bennington, VT, a place I know quite well, was hit hard and that the only way OUT of town is Route 9 North.

    Thankfully, the entire family is OK up there.

  54. ORR, in addition to the boredom of the summer, hockey-wise, we had the death of Boogaard, the death of this Rypien fellow…….the hand-wringing of the league folks about Skidley….it’s just been an awful off-season…

  55. Glad that your family is OK up there in upper New York State, Mickey……Yow! They have a Dinosaur BBQ up there? I hear their stuff is pretty good – maybe they’ll serve seafood now! ;-)

  56. Yep, Jimbo. Although from what I hear, it’s not that good and overpriced.

    Again, glad to hear from you ‘heads that have checked in that you are OK.

  57. Boom Boom – If in fact Phoenix is up for a few more of those trades, I’d love to fleece them of Turris, Hanzal, Boedker, or, if all else fails, Tikhonov(the grandson of Viktor). Maybe they’re interested in Redden. But seriously, great deal for Calgary. Langkow is done. No way he returns to 50-point form. Stempiak is a decent young player with good upside.

    Mickey – Yeah, it’s pretty brutal up there. There was one Schoharie town that lost something 75 homes, just washed away by the flood. Nothing left. It’s kind of funny to hear people say we dodged this massive bullet when there’s such destruction upstate.

  58. Still no power at home, hopefully today….Anyone want to adopt me for a day? All I want is a hot shower..Anyone? :-)

  59. Yea I was really hoping to see some new post up today signifying that Carp was OK. I am sure Latona is happy to get all this exposure though. I am sure we don’t have to worry. Irene was no match for the Carp-inator.

  60. oh i hat that ilb. but yea, u really hustle to get done when its cold. i find that if i have to tak a cold shower, i wash the vitals, and thats it. 3 minute tops.

    anyway, adam rotter posted playoff game from 81-82 season on waseka. vs the philthy its pretty good. i know all the names, but nver got to see these guys play as i was only few months old at the time of this game.

  61. i dont know why i posted “hey carp” twice. ok, well u guys take care today and hope you get power back and take nice hot showers

  62. manny, i was just a little bugged out by your toilet comment, then i realized whayt was goin on

  63. I’m pretty sure your brain is even smaller, idiot. Have fun, you’ll be here alone for awhile….

  64. I cant speak for the rest of europe but if you want noise at a hockey game go to the UK. the level of play is far below what you’ll be used to but the fans are likea good natured football (soccer to you) crowd, all the singing and chanting whether your team is winning or losing with a good sense of humour. the only thing different from football is you dont get angry arseholes wanting to fight and spoil it for everyone else

  65. I apologize for any actions that were taken on my behalf and without my express or implied authorization Grabby!!!! I would never do that!

  66. Hey, troll! Change your doggie position and spit dick out of your mouth before you talk to us, pathetic waste of donkey sperm.

  67. As I said, judging by how you sound, you have it in full, stinking moron.Talk to you stained inflatable girl – that’s your level, – same IQ.

  68. Jlone2Bubblehead on

    Luckily, no trees fell on my house. We have underground lines but still dont have power…. Internet is out, Phones are out. Yesterday was mandatory leave. Today they let us come back to work… Could have been a lot worse.

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