Tag Archives: Opinion

O. D.’s Rant 57-14

Donald Lierman

Sports Editor

Dearest reader, I have been maligned for too little or too many words in this, our last missive, of the book of O.D. I considered writhing or maybe just writing the word “THE” 666 times. But for you, dear faithful, I shall cry once more into the wilderness.

Again, I am forced to watch the Stanley Cup coverage when the national jerk works televise the games with the sound off. Their clear biases either send me to the gym or for a Canadian soda which I imbibe while screaming Iggy chants.

How to beat Phoenix? Find a ref who doesn’t feel it necessary to make up for being a bullied, inept hockey wannabee. Next, bring up the heavy hitters and don’t try to play finesse with wannabee Broad Street Bullies. Gosh, I’d love to see the Coyotes “toughies” on the ice with Dave “The Hammer” Schultz and company. Pant pant.

When I was blessed to meet the great Mickey Redmond, he had much to say about the playoffs.

“With the way the Western Conference is right now,” Redmond said, “I think the Wings are as good as anybody getting into the final four. If we continue to stay healthy and stay on track we have a good shot.”

On the “New” NHL…

“We must get rid of the phantom penalties,” Redmond said. “The way the game has cleaned up, without those calls the players would be able to exhibit their skills.”

No surrender Wings, we’ve battled back from worse than the leg-humping of desert critters.

Now for more hockey news.

Congratulations to Port Huron Icehawks’ Governor and Chief Financial Officer Frank Kinney for being selected 2009-2010 International Hockey League Executive of the Year.

I say it, the league says it, reader please see that the Icehawks are a class organization that excels despite having an arena that seats less than a fifth of some of their rivals.

Eh, Mr. Kinney, I, uhm, am graduating soon. Could you use a true hard-working fan-atic?

The playoffs are here. The Icehawks will be battling the team that defeated them in the seventh game of the finals two years ago. The time for revenge is ripe. Let’s douse the Komets.

Get out there and support the Hawks. I have had the honor to cover the players and the words class and dedication hardly describe these guys. They have an opportunity to bring the Turner Cup to our town.

This is playoff hockey, folks. This is Port Huron hockey. If you have never seen it, try it. Once you see it I feel it impossible you could not be hooked.

Icehawks’ Tab Lardner believes it will be a hard fought series.

“Fort Wayne is a strong team and have excellent older experience,” Lardner said, “but I don’t know what they will bring to the table. We have a lot of depth in our line up so we’ll keep the shifts short.

“Both teams are evenly matched. Whoever plays the game fundamentally will come out on top.”

Take a chance, dear reader, the Icehawks are one addiction that I think you will treasure.

Thanks to all involved. I’d just like to say … (rest chopped by the thought police).

Nihilism & gastronomics: Finding the best burger in town

Robert Kroll

Guest Writer

When presented with the task of reviewing the “Best Burger in Port Huron,” I didn’t back down. Other writers at the ESG were unable to step to the challenge. My reputation as a nihilistic burger eater was picked up on and my quest was laid out.

The only real scientific aspect of this project is that I will just go for a regular, no-frills burger. During my search, I may very well have missed the “great white buffalo” of burgers in town. I will do my best here to fairly present what I have put my body through.

Power’s

I haven’t been to Power’s since I was a regular student here, so this is a treat.

I order a quarter pound burger with cheese, fries and a coke. I am very pleased with what I have been served. The texture is perfect and the beef ground just enough.

Grade:  4 – Win

Calories so far:  4,000

Mama Vicki’s

For the sake of continuity, I once again order a quarter pound cheeseburger, fries, and a coke. I finish it off easily.

But there is nothing significant to sway my opinion about the burger. There is nothing wrong with it, but there is also nothing that I’m going crazy about either.

Grade: 3 – Passing

Calories so far: 5,000

Zebra Bar

I ordered the “Classic” cheeseburger, which is actually 1/3 of a pound, costs about 50 cents cheaper than the Mama Vicki’s, and is amazing.

The major perk though is the bun. While not the texture of the Power’s burger, it was toasted. This is a game changer. This is like pulling Steve Yzerman from a Stanley Cup finals game and replacing him with Gordie Howe.

Grade: 5 – EPIC WIN

Calories so far: 7,000

Quay Street Brewery

I went for the Brew House Burger, which is the Quay version of everything that came before, this time with mandatory beer batter fries. Regrettably, this was the only chance I’d get to have any sort of beer with this meal.

The burger was good, but it occupied a middle ground between Mama Vicki’s and the Zebra. It was better than Mama Vicki’s, but the toasted bun at Zebra set a precedent, like how every new Metallica album is compared to “the old stuff.”

Grade: 4 – WIN

End calories: OVER 9,000

Wrapping it up

I hereby declare that, for now, the Zebra has the best burger in Port Huron.

O. D.‘s Rant 57-13

Donald Lierman

Sports Editor

Cheers to MSU’s NCAA tournament play. The naysayers didn’t have them even picked to make it through the first round. However, without their best player they made a great run.

Usually, I would never cheer for any team that defeated Sparty. However, the Butler Bulldogs come from a second tier conference and have earned the grudging respect of many of us green and whiters (although some say the foul situation gave the Bulldogs an extra link to their chain).

Remember the SC4 baseball team plays their games at Sanborn Park and the softball squad battles at Pine Grove Park. Come out and support your college athletes.

Now for the scoop. Many do not realize that our athletic programs do not have the scholarship allocations that other schools are given in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association. Walk-ons are more necessary in our athletic program than in other schools. Athletic Director Dale Vos addressed this discrepancy.

“Here are some ballpark figures,” Vos said. “Schoolcraft and Oakland have 12 tuition waivers (i.e. 12 players get all of their tuition paid for). Mott gets enough dollars to give 10 players in-district 12- hour scholarships.

“Kirtland get enough money to give eight players 15-hour in-district scholarships. Alpena gets 200 credit hours to allocate per year. Wayne County had eight tuition waivers, but I don’t know what they are going to come back with next year.

“In contrast, SC4 received $6932 this year. At $94 per hour (in-district tuition and fees) – that gives us 73.74 total hours to allocate,” Vos continued. “Delta and Macomb have roughly the same scholarship distribution as us and Henry Ford receives no athletic aid.”

What this tells O.D. is what a great success rate SC4 has accomplished with a minimal amount of money to be allocated to draw student athletes. Kudos to all in the athletic department that have made our sports programs so successful!

Go Gunners! As Arsenal chases their first English Premier League football (soccer for ye Yanks) title in years, there is a three way log jam between them, Chelsea and Manchester United (boo!!!).

For those who still believe that soccer is an effete sport, tune into the EPL or the European Champions League. Better yet, take a couple weeks off for this summer’s World Cup.

O. D. ‘s Rant 57-12

Donald Lierman

Sports Editor

The SC4 men’s basketball team not only made college history this year by making it to the national tournament but performed not too shabbily there either.

The Skippers dropped their first game at the NJCAA Division II National Tournament in Danville, Illinois to Lewis & Clark College (IL) by a score of 78-70.

They won their next two games against Bismarck State College (ND), 93-87, and Monroe CC (NY), 83-67. Finally, on Saturday, March 20, they were downed by Pima (AZ), 59-52.

“We were very disappointed when we lost the opener to Lewis and Clark,” Coach Dale Vos said.  “However, as has been the case with this team all year, we got up and went to work and still finished eighth in the nation, no small feat.

“I just love the work ethic, togetherness, teamwork and defensive intensity of this team. I also love the leadership and love for each other that this team displayed all year.

“What a great ride they gave me and the rest of the coaching staff.”

O.D. say conceptualize ‘dis, please. As a community college, SC4 has two year turnover.  Coach Vos and his staff have two years to mold a team for basically one run per group of players.  Add to that a scholarship difference and boom, was ‘dis not amazing?

Congratulations to all involved. The college should honor these student athletes for their achievements. Be proud. Be a Skipper!

All I can say is ha ha ha, University of North Carolina. Your arrogance, after last year’s victory over MSU, reaped just deserts. Who cares if you win the NIT? You’re a classless organization who didn’t make the Big Dance after winning the year before. Come on. Brag about how great your team is now, coach.

My Wings. First, you knock off Calgary in Calgary with less than two minutes to go. Then, on to Edmonton to tie the game with .5 seconds left. Saturday, you win in overtime in Vancouver with .3 seconds remaining in overtime.

Despite all the injuries, the Red Wings have battled back to make a run for the Cup again.  Forget the Miracle Mets. With the injury (knock on wood) curse fading and those players hitting mid-season form now, look forward to some fun when the playoffs begin.

I cannot get over the negativity towards the Detroit Lions looking at Adam “Pacman” Jones as a potential free agent. Hey, you forgive Michael “I am so tough I torture and murder dogs” Vick.

At least Jones is man enough to whomp on his fellow humans. Give me a mean Jones over a cowardly Vick any day of the week.

1.5 million dollars, no doubt someone in the league would pay Judas Iscariot the same if he could throw a football. Of course, it was Philadelphia who signed Vick.

Health care reform is a mixed bag

Brian Johnston

Editor in Chief

This past Sunday, Congress passed the Health Care Reform Bill. All that’s needed is Barack Obama’s signature. And people are either far too happy or far too upset about it.

For starters, there are the accusations of “socialism” coming from the conservatives. They see it as just another step toward America becoming the Cold War-era Soviet Union.

According to them, we’ll have to wait in line for bread and other essentials, because regulating insurance providers is a slippery slope toward a complete government takeover of all labor and industry.

This rationale falls apart because regulations aren’t the same thing as takeovers. In a perfect world, we’d need no regulations because businesses would always do the right thing. We don’t live in that world.

Liberals are far too happy about Health Care reform passing. According to them, any conservative opposition must be due to conservatives being in the back pocket of the insurance agency.

It’s true that the new Health Care Reform Bill will make health insurance more affordable for lower-income citizens. It’ll also make it harder for citizens to be turned away because of pre-existing conditions.

It doesn’t provide the public option that so many believe it does. It also mandates that all US citizens must have some form of health coverage once the bill takes effect.

The message from the Democratic Party seems to be something along the lines of, “we’re so angry with the insurance industry, we’re forcing you to give them your money.” That’ll show them a thing or two.

Of course, elections don’t just take place every four years. November 2 has a General Election. All 435 Representative seats and 36 Senate seats will be up for grabs.

Do you like Health Care reform? Do you hate it? Don’t just grumble about it around the water cooler.  Don’t just throw your politics online. Vote.

O. D.‘s Rant 57-11

Donald Lierman

Sports Editor

Let ‘em play, let ‘em play, let ‘em play …

Now that’s old time hockey. The Olympics provided a stage for what purists call the way the game should be played.

Few whistles, hard hitting, tight checking… all that was left out was a few droppings of the gloves.  Oh, I forgot no Bettman and no NHL Toronto High Court Tribunal to dictate which team should have extra advantage… oops, I mean whether it was a goal or not.

The final game’s outcome would have hurt much worse if Mike Babcock wasn’t the coach of Team Canada. Mike is a class act who takes both wins and defeats as a true professional.

There are the cretins out there well play the “Nah Nah you lost” card against us U.S. fans. But hey, scoring with 24 seconds left to send it to overtime makes the game a victory in my book.

Both teams were winners. If only anyone but that classless Crosby scored the winning goal.  You have got to admit the Devil got his due, but we got a game for the ages. No whining just good, hard hockey.

Speaking of whiners. O.D. has not only covered but has been a spectator at many events in many diverse sports.

Yet, even he was appalled at the antics of the Oakland women’s basketball coach in last Wednesday’s 66-55 SC4 victory. Throwing fits then rolling over when chastised by refs, acting out. This is how you teach values to your players?

That is only what was viewed from the stands. If only the SC4 players could tell their tales.   Oh, that’s because our team comports themselves as professionals.

Even Bobby Knight would blush.

Congrats, Lady Skips in coming within seven against number one ranked Schoolcraft, Friday.  The next day, Schoolcraft humbled Western Conference and number 14 Lake Michigan College, 85-54. Which leads me to, why wasn’t SC4 ranked?

As to men’s basketball, pending Wednesday’s District 9 quarterfinals result against Alpena, the Skippers should be heading to Mott Community College in Flint on March 5 and 6 for the NJCAA District 8 and 9 semi-finals and championships.

With Henry Ford and Mott ranked nationally in the top five, what an opportunity to attend some highly competitive basketball and support a Skippers basketball squad that should also be ranked.

All right, O.D. will admit when he was wrong. The 2010 Winter Olympics were absolutely fabulous. The camera work allowed home spectators to feel a part of the action. O.D. does not have H.D. but felt like he was there.

Yes, those athletes put in the dues to get there. Only when the professional status gets crossed does this humble reporter tremble.

But O.D. was right about curling which is becoming more and more popular. The U.S. performance was sadly lacking yet the competition overall was superb.

Those who decry the sport because it is different, well, some of those have yet to learn that T.P. is for something besides tossing on a neighbor’s house.

So Johnny Damon (demon?)  is a Detroit Tiger. Wasn’t he the guy who said he would never be a Yankee and now claims to be such a factor in their purchased title?

I used to be a fan until he whored off to New York and went corporate. Remember C,S,N&Y’s “Almost Cut My Hair?” That’s what happens when you trim those locks for a few dollars more.

And they got rid of Curtis Granderson?

Just a reminder that O.D. has gone global.  More rantings can be found on www.bareman25.blogspot.com.

Beaches and Beer

   Everyone wants to have an enjoyable spring break, and for many of us at SC4, this year could very well be our first college spring break experience. Why not make it memorable?

   I personally have many years of travel experience under my belt, and have recently returned from a venture to Cozumel, Mexico aboard the “Royal Caribbeans’ Grandeur of the Seas.”

   For those of you looking for a fun, safe and exciting adventure this spring break, I’d like to share some of my experiences with everyone and dispense some advice, to make this spring break memorable, enjoyable and even affordable!

   The first and most important step in planning a spring break vacation is planning. Flights, cruise bookings, transportation, passports, shore excursions, all need to be accounted for.

   Spring break doesn’t need to be expensive to be enjoyable. Currently cruises around spring break cost as little as 250 dollars, plus fees, all depending what you want to do.

   Most spring breakers, are looking for a party, and in my experience, I can suggest no better place than Cozumel, Mexico.

   Cozumel is a great place to start for those who are less traveled, but still want to go somewhere exotic, and in search of a good time. If you take the cruise option, you can expect to be in port for nearly 12 hours, which is plenty of time to have a blast.

   For those unfamiliar with Cozumel, it is a Mexican island in the Caribbean Sea, off of the Yucatan Peninsula. It is roughly 30 miles long and 10 miles wide, and has a population of around 75,000 people.

   The island is rich with Mayan cultural history, and is host to some of the most breathtaking scenery that one can encounter. Palm trees, white sands, and clear azure waters await visitors.

   When in Cozumel and some other tourist prone cities like Cancun, on the mainland to the North, there are some things American tourists should be aware of.

   The native language of Mexico is Spanish, but most of the locals in Cozumel speak English to some extent. The reason for this is rather simple. “Tourism,” Jose Carlos, my tour guide in Cozumel said, “is our industry. It’s not ‘an’ industry it’s our ‘only’ industry.”

   This is convenient for Americans who do not know Spanish however it should not be abused, and assumed that the person you are talking to understands everything you are saying to them in English. Be courteous, and if necessary speak slower and clearer so that what you’re saying is understood.

   Knowing some Spanish doesn’t hurt either. Though it isn’t expected for tourists to know the native tongue, doing so will earn you much more respect and it will not go unrewarded.

   Haggling is a common practice for store owners, and if you negotiate in their language, you might walk away with some better deals than your strictly English speaking companions.

   Transportation is a factor that should be taken into serious consideration. After experiencing it firsthand, I can say that driving is something best left to the professionals.

   Rental vehicles are available on the island, but many of the places that you will want to visit, unless you are going on a tour, or to one of the remote beaches, are in close proximity to each other.

   Taxis are very inexpensive, in many cases less than 10 dollars for four people to go anywhere on the island. Traffic in Cozumel runs rather quickly and if you are unprepared, or intoxicated, as you may find is the case, you may find yourself in trouble.

   Plus the dust on the country roads is a considerable nuisance if you are exposed and should be avoided.

   Speaking of which, as I said before, Cozumel is a great place to have fun and be safe at the same time. The legal drinking age in Mexico is 18, and therefore judgment is really in your own hands.

   Drinking is not a taboo in Mexico, and tequila and cerveza (Spanish for beer) are less expensive and easier to find than safe drinking water.

   As you walk past or into shops, many times you may be offered free tequila, or margaritas, or even cerveza, as a ploy to get you to step inside, see what the store has to offer, and hopefully take home a bottle of their finest (most expensive) tequila.

   If you’re looking to save some cash, this is an easy way to do it, and you may (if you’re 21 or older) find something you like to bring home with you. Cruise line policies on what you can bring back on board with you vary, so it is always good to ask.

   Remember to be responsible no matter where you go, and not to drive if you’ve had too much.

   For the less party hardy there are many more, equally-fun things to do on the island, from pristine beaches, Eco reserves, gift shopping, tours, dolphin encounters, and some of the best SCUBA diving and snorkeling in the Caribbean. Cozumel is home to a coral reef that can be reached by swimming from shore, and isn’t to be missed.

   The water in Mexico typically is far warmer than in Port Huron, so don’t be dissuaded if the locals tell you it’s cold. Be mindful of your travel, if you’re a SCUBA diver, of course don’t dive within 24 hours of a flight, and always be cautious of the coral which can be very fragile.

   The shopping can be some of the most fun you have on the island, with shops selling wares not typically available in the United States, but one must be cautious as to what they are buying.

   There are many “Cuban cigar” shops on the island, and even more jewelry stores, and either may have questionable merchandise. The Cuban cigars, besides being potentially fakes, are still not to be bought by Americans due to the trade embargo.

   Until this changes, buy at your own risk. The jewelry stores sell many pieces of silver jewelry, but the questionable merchandise is the black coral jewelry.

   Black coral isn’t technically illegal, but one can never be too sure of the harvesting methods with which they are made. It’s best to stay away from either of these if you are unsure.

   Finally regarding Cozumel is the food. Authentic Mexican is much different from the “Taco Hell” as Jose Carlos called it in America.

   Tortillas, beans, rice and chicken or another meat can be expected at a typical meal. The addition of salsa can add some spice to the dish, and authentic is usually very good. I, however, against the advice of the waiting staff, tried some green habanero sauce.

   “Oh you don’t want that, man, it’ll make you cry,” the local warned me. I tried it. He was right.

   As fun and exciting as Cozumel can be, you may find, as I did, that the cruise, itself is even better.

   In my 5 days aboard the “Grandeur of the Seas” I had more fun and met more cool people than I have in years. There is never a lack of things to do at sea, and you may find that there are not enough hours in the day to do everything you want to.

   Between the handfuls of bars, the casino, two restaurants, the rock wall, six hot tubs, two swimming pools, various clubs, arcade, gym, dance floor, library, card room, lounges and the theater there is never a dull moment.

   And even when there are worlds of things to do, you may find that the best and most memorable times are when you are doing nothing at all with some newfound friends.

   If you do what I did and spend most of your time lounging about in the hot tubs, you’re sure to meet some interesting people from all over the world.

   Donald Smith, 17, of Atlanta, Georgia; Candace and Caroline McCarthy, 16 and 14, sisters from New Jersey; John and Cody Consul, 20 and 17 of New York, all became part of my sort of misfit cruise family, along with Flor Zozaya, 15, and Macy Randrup, 14, of Argentina.

   We were all complete strangers at the start of the cruise, but quickly became the best of friends.

   Somewhere between the Quinceanera group from Argentina, Paul the belly flop contest gold medalist from Kitchener, Ontario, and the cruise staff from every island nation imaginable, I began to see the big picture and the world as a global community.

   When everyone is together trying to have a good time, you’d be surprised how much we have in common.

A couple pieces of advice for the cruise ship; bring clothes. This may seem rather obvious but there are times on the ship when to be dressed up is definitely a plus, and to have pants is a “requirement” to having dinner in the restaurants.

Multiple restaurants may end up having the same food, so if you don’t want to wait on being waited upon just head to the buffet. Sure it’s less “classy” but it will let you eat at your own schedule.

Use your towels in your bathroom, and then throw them on the floor when you are done, if you want housekeeping to keep you entertained every day. When housekeeping replaces your towels, many of them will leave them in the form of a different animal every day, always something to look forward to.

  There is a bottle opener affixed to the wall in the bathroom on some cruise lines. Look for it and you may be surprised.

   Be nice to your cruise attendants. You’ll likely have the same ones for the duration of the cruise and knowing them by name is a great way of showing them you appreciate what they do and they might let you get away with more.

   Courtesy is key on board. Asking politely for something may result in better results than anticipated. My group had a waiter who would bring us drinks in the hot tub so we didn’t have to move to get them.

Listen carefully and be aware of everything your ship has to offer. I was unaware until the end of the cruise that the indoor pool had a pizza snack bar in the back corner. Special events like dance classes, comedy shows, parties are happening all the time and will definitely make the trip worth the money.

   With careful planning, consideration and common sense, enjoy your spring break this year.

Where there’s smoke, there’s litter

Brian Johnston

Editor in Chief

   As an editor for the Gazette, I spend a lot of time on campus. On a given weekday, I probably spend more of my waking time here than at my actual residence.

   It can be said I consider SC4 my “home away from home.” As such, I have a lot of pride in this institution. There’s only one problem: the litter has to stop.

   On a given day, our parking lot is a menagerie of fast food wrappers, empty sports drink bottles, coffee cups and other detritus.

   And then there are the cigarette butts. They’ve swarmed onto our campus like carcinogenic locusts, laying claim to the asphalt. In some buildings, it seems to be a game to see how many discarded cigarettes people can fit between the bricks.

   In the course of polling students to seek out news leads, a majority mentioned the litter situation.  This was often followed by the vague assertion, “somebody should do something.”

   SC4’s administration is doing something. In a recent Board of Trustees meeting, the board voted to change the designated smoking areas on campus. From now on, smoking areas are at least 20 feet away from entrances and exits, in order to mitigate non-smokers having to walk through second-hand smoke.

   And here’s the part where smokers should take note: if students continue smoking wherever they please, and the cigarette butt issue continues, SC4 will “move toward being a smoke-free campus,” according to President Pollock.

   In simpler language, if you keep throwing your cigarettes all over the place, you won’t be able to smoke here at all.

   Most of the time, nobody seems to like it very much when a college administration sets up new rules. We complain, throw around words like “draconian,” and generally resist the change.

   I can’t do that in this case. The administration has my full support in this endeavor, and I’ll personally do whatever I can to help.

   Waste baskets and ash trays are neither rare nor difficult to use. As the Gazette’s photo editor Twana Pinskey put it, “your mother isn’t here to clean up after you.”

O. D.‘s Rant 57-10

Donald Lierman

Sports Editor

I nearly changed the name of the column to Rah Rah’s Rant. Because O.D. is excited.

Pending Wednesday’s outcome with Oakland Community College, the 11 nationally ranked SC4 men’s basketball team could be playing for a slice of the MCCAA Eastern Conference pie.

Saturday, February 20, the 5 ranked Mott Bears will come to town. The game will tip off at 3 p.m. following the Lady Skips at 1 p.m.

Last term, the volleyball team played for first, now the Skippers could be sending another banner to the rafters.

I told Mr. Vos after the volleyball victory that we should be aiming for three banners this year.  With the Lady Skips standing at only two losses that could very well happen. We may not be Big Ten but these student athletes put out just as much, if not more, effort.

Speaking of the Big Ten, rumors (OK maybe pipe dreams) abound that the University of Texas may join the Big Ten.

Imagine the Big Ten suddenly treated with respect again.

Imagine the rivalries…like waking up in bed with…

A Gary Bettman voodoo doll. Hey, the Saints fans were carting around Manning ones. Can someone get me the address of the manufacturer? I would tie it together with a Sid “the DUH” Crosby one and dunk it in Lake St. Clair. Hmmm, Satanic carp, anyone?

Speaking of the Super Bowl, the game was great, the commercial bashed men like a red-headed O.D. and I wished I was there for the party. Their voodoo must work when you see the replay of the Favre and Manning interceptions.

Hmmm, send those dolls by priority mail, will ya?

Yawn, the Olympics have begun. I lost all interest when the professional athletes began to compete in a corporate sponsored showcase. Profits not competition have become the point.

Already there has been a real tragedy. But this real tragedy will quickly be forgotten in the mudslide of sound bytes about whose daddy died yet the rich skater/skier/whatever overcame such overwhelming difficulties (like the million dollar sponsorship) to win a medal that will soon have corporate logos stamped on the back.

Not to mention that every fourth year the Olympics decimate the NHL schedule. Forget my beloved Red Wings, the NHHELL jams together the schedule to get 80 games into the same span of time. Can’t lose a dollar, eh? Just the quality.

Will curling be back? That is one sport I do enjoy. There aren’t too many corporate grants for Scottish shuffleboard on ice. Add a few brewskis and let’s just wait to drop the gloves… uh, I mean stones.

Just a reminder that O.D. has gone global. More rantings can be found on www.bareman25.blogspot.com.

Tats-Who?

Brian Johnston

Editor in Chief

   After taking on comic book giant Marvel twice, then going toe-to-toe with rival game publisher SNK three times, Capcom is now duking it out with Japanese animation studio Tatsunoko in “Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars.”

   “Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom,” like its predecessors, is an arcade-style fighter. Exclusive to the Wii, it allows players to select two characters, throwing them in a tag-team battle similar to “King of Fighters,” with polygonal characters similar to “Street Fighter IV.”

   Thirteen of the characters come from game juggernaut Capcom, featuring old favorites such as Ryu and Chun-Li from “Street Fighter,” and new surprises such as Frank West from “Dead Rising.”

   The Tatsunoko side of things contains characters most Western fans won’t be familiar with, from titles such as “Science Ninja Team Gashaman” and “Karas.”

   The end result is an incredibly fun but challenging game, which will appeal to old-school arcade fans and new gamers. It also seems geared to a more “hardcore” audience, something the Wii direly needs.

   Simplified from the “Street Fighter” experience, Capcom has gone with only four buttons: three attack strengths and one “partner” button.

   The “partner” button will allow your secondary character to assist or trade places with your primary character, as well as being functional in multi-hit combos.

   While the simpler control scheme might seem to imply a simpler game, it’s anything but. While not as technical as “BlazBlue” or “Guilty Gear,” “Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom” employs a series of combos, cancels, baroque combos, mega crashes and enough other elements to keep fighting game stalwarts on their toes.

   Another welcome addition is online play, a Wii feature often neglected by developers. Players can set up matches against friends or complete strangers.

   Regrettably, the online play is perhaps the weakest part of the game. The lag compensation doesn’t seem to be so hot, there’s no voice chat, and finding “friends” online involves swapping “friend codes.”

   Another nagging flaw is how offense-heavy the game feels at times. Defensive players beware: constant blocking is a road to ruin in this game.

   Flaws aside, “Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars” is a welcome addition to the Wii library, and certainly a refreshing change from endless mini-game collections.

   You might now know who Tatsunoko is, but that won’t make the gam