Fusspot rants, embarrassing photos of yourself and general correspondence go here: universalnicks@gmail.com

· Break out the lighters, because it's time for a power ballad. And I don't really give a damn if you think I'm jinxing the Red Wings -- it was about time I broke this out. Best moments: The shot of Kolzig (just brutal) and Scotty Bowman in his red blazer. Dude looks like he works for an airline in that thing.


· I was watching National Geographic yesterday and caught a show called The Real Football Factories International -- have you seen this? It's freaking nuts. It investigates and follows the hardcore groups of fans (known as "firms") who follow soccer teams worldwide. These guys will organize their fights in advance with rival fans (usually armed with rocks and wood), and won't hesitate to carry guns (with the camera onboard as one group left a game, their bus was shot at several times). Many in yesterday's ep (which concentrated on Brazil) readily admitted that they would kill and were willing to die for their respective team. It was totally psychotic, yet completely fascinating. Here's a clip:


I had no idea this had happened until I checked out his website, but Russ Rankin (formally of Good Riddance and current lead singer of Only Crime) is working as a scout for the Kootenay Ice of the WHL. Something tells me the guy on the other side of the Cup in that photo may have a little to do with it (the Niedermayer brothers own a portion of the club).

Finally, I want to thank all of you for your response to the last post (SLC's commentary over at Five For Smiting was particularly appreciated). I promise to get to your e-mails ASAP. Thanks again.