Monday, February 27, 2006

Clara and the Newfs



Tip of the hat to Clara Hughes - probably our greatest Olympian (five medals in two different sports - come on - that's sick!) and Brad Gushue and the boys for a terrific win on Friday.

Now what?





Last night my wife and I looked at each other after the Closing ceremonies were over - now what do we do?

And where's the baby?

After two weeks of slackjawed flagwaving TV watching the brain is not where it needs to be.

Lowlights - The men's hockey team, obviously. At least they were classy in defeat and didn't trash the Olympic village.

Highlights - Too many to mention. Jenn Heil, Cindy Klassen, Duff Gibson, Pierre Leuders, the list goes on and on but probably number one and one A were the Newfs winning the curling and Clara Hughes winning the 5000 on Saturday!

Friday, February 24, 2006

The fever winds down





Still curling today, some speed skating tomorrow and the hockey semis and final (cheering for the plucky Finns but thinking Russia-Czech, anybody but the Swedes and their arsehole coach) but as the Games wind down, pics of Cindy Mennonite, Kristina Groves and the crazy short tracker relay team.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Crawford Who?



Got into work yesterday. Brought up the Globe and Mail website - "Crawford wins gold - Scott finishes fourth"

I assumed that Crawford was Canadian if it was the headline but wouldn't know her if I came home and she was in my basement drinking my beer.

Good for her though. Saw her interviewed - she's a character, a hoser through and through.

So It Goes

Thoughts on team Canada's loss:

They tried hard. They cared.

There were two issues that I see.

First. They took things a little lightly. Subconsciously. Player after player (and Gretzky and Hitchcock) all said that players from other countries were different players at this tournament then what they saw in the NHL. Obviously they did not want to make this mistake but I think many of these guys looked at their own roster and looked at some of the stiffs who just go through the motions in the NHL (hello Victor Kozlov) and figured - we can't lose. Throw in the fact that we dominated the World Cup and once we got going, Salt Lake City, and that edge was just not there. At Salt Lake we had lost two straight best on bests, albeit to hot goalies, so that sense of urgency was there. Here it was not.

Secondly, they just did not play as a team. People say they were slow, undisciplined, out of sync. They looked slow but they are not slow players. My beer league team is the same. When we are in sync, which is most of this season, we look fast. We get the breaks. We work together. The puck moves quickly. Offence is generated and the defence is based on guys getting back quickly, supporting each other. When we are out of sync we get individual play, guys are not supporting each other, we look for the home run pass, we cannot score. Same team. Different results. I don't think adding different players would have made a difference. Doan, Smyth, Draper, the guys who everybody questioned, were our most effective players. It was the guys who were supposed to score - Nash, Thornton, LeCavalier, Iginla, Gagne, the list goes on and on - who were not.

It was a great collection of players but a lousy team. Its too bad but so it goes. Better luck next time.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

It Never gets Old





Sweet.

Would have been nice to have played the Americans but I think this team was the class of the field by far this time around.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Not bad



Three medals this Games. Four in her career so far.

That's alright.

The size of him




Pierre Leuders is a big man.

He looks like Kramer's buddy Mickey beside Lascelles Brown.

I take it back

A while back I insulted Ben - he's had a skunk issue and apparently was struggling to figure it out.

This morning I let him out - he walked to the end of the deck and stopped. Two yards over from ours was one of the little buggers.

Ben turned around and walked right back to the door.

Good boy!

Remain Calm, All is Well

Remember Animal House? Kevin Bacon? Wish I could find a pic of that?

At a kids' birthday party yesterday with the game on in the background. Kept telling everyone it doesn't mean anything yet.

But they better figure something out by Wednesday or it will be a short trip to Italy for these guys.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Canadians, Rulers of the Undead


As the Globe and Mail said "Canadians Rule the Skeleton World". And Zombies too!

Duff Gibson is old! Oh wait, he is one year older then me.

Ahh shit!

Well at least we rule Hades!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Medals, we've got Medals!





A great couple of days

6 medals in the last day and a half, not too shabby. As always, there are the unexpected like Boucher and Buttle (although Buttle was considered a contender before his first skate) but it seems like most of our projected medallists are coming through after the usual slow start. The long track pursuit teams, Hollingsworth-Richards, Maltais; they had all had good seasons and had won some victories. All came through under the big time pressure of the Olympics.

And an interesting note. Quite often columnists talk about how other nations, particularly Americans, come through in the Games whereas we do not. The thing is that there is far less pressure on the American athletes then on ours. Talking to customers of ours in the US - the Olympics are getting no play, very little in the newspapers and the only coverage is NBC's mess. Apparently their disgraceful coverage over the years is coming home to roost as they are killing the golden goose. Believe me when I lived in the States I hated NBC - no live coverage ever, taped events presented as live, everything canned, only certain events and no countries except the US featured. Anyhow, compare their coverage to here - front page of every paper, wall to wall on the CBC.

We take it fairly seriously I think.

The Olympic fever.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Sweet Success



For Beckie Scott and Sara Renner - congratulations. As Terry Jones put it (to paraphrase) after their struggles on Sunday, its amazing that not medalling in cross country skiing would be considered a great disappointment in Canada - remember the days when we finished in the 40s and 50s at these events. Scott and Renner have been the ones who have put us on the map, as it were, so their success today is well deserved.

Monday, February 13, 2006

And again Hooray



It always interests me to see the sportswriters (have you seen some of these guys) who have the bag to criticize athletes who fail to meet their expectations at the Olympics.

Cindy Klassen did not win the gold but skated a terrifc race - she left it all out there and third best in the world is not too shabby.

And Beckie Scott may not have medalled but she also left it all out on the course - she got out raced and there is no shame in that. Was she disappointed? Sure, she was. But the way the media pile on is a pretty sad comment on their sorry asses.

Cindy, Beckie and all our Olympians from Sunday - congrats on a good day - we're behind you.

Some of us, anyway.

Hooray for Our Side



Congratulations Jenn Heil - awesome performance under pressure on Saturday!

Much Ado

And so it turns out that Wayne Gretzky actually is guilty of nothing more then not knowing about Rick Tocchet's little enterprise. Funny that the day after he claimed that he knew nothing about the betting ring there was a sudden leak of a wiretap conversation of him talking to Tocchet about the situation. What is interesting is that this was presented as something recorded a few months ago - making him out to be a liar.

Now it has come to light that it was recorded after he found out, like the rest of us, what was happening - on last Monday.

So it appears that he was telling the truth.

I wonder how many media members will write retractions of what they said last week. My guess is ... none.

For a great take on this check out Lyle Richardson's take in his soapbox at www.spectorshockey.net

Could not have said it any better myself.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Weekend

Out of here. Plans for the weekend - playing some hockey, watching some Olympics, take my daughter skating, maybe hit McCarthys or the Dora for a pint or two.

Sounds good to me.

This just in

Apparently my dog was so upset by my last post that he burned down Rick Tocchet's house in protest.

Light a match

Don't know if its GI thing, aging or what but the dog smells like my room at my parents place in 1989 after a night of drinking pints of Superior Lager at the Steelworkers' Hall.

He has been banished to the basement as both the floor he is on as well as the next adjacent smells like dog ass.

Freedom of Speech

Every day I see or hear things that I find offensive. On TV, on the Internet, on the subway, on T shirts. My response? I'll send an email or turn the channel or walk away or , sometimes though rarely, make a comment myself.

The loony left, the rabid right, CNN "News", George W., the Liberal Party of Canada, Britney Spears, Fox News, the teenager who lives down the street. As I get older and crankier the list of people who drive me around the bend grows and grows.

But its part and parcel of the world we live in and while I can see why some Muslims may be offended by the cartoons published in Denmark its called freedom of speech. Write a letter. Boycott Danish products, whatever they may be. Or French wine or PEI potatoes or whatever products come from places where the cartoons were published. When the Philadelphia Flyers are on Hockey Night in Canada write CBC in protest because the Philadelphia Inquirer published them too.

As a Catholic, though lapsed, I have seen far more offensive images of Jesus published or created by so called artists. Piss me off? Sure. Despite my ambivalence when it comes to Christianity, sometimes it does. And I can see why Christians would be mighty peeved when some "artist" has a show based on pictures of Mary smeared with shit. Or of Jesus cavorting on South Park.

But you don't see buildings getting burned down or people getting their throats slit over that now, do you? And whether it offends me or not its part of living in a free society.

Extremists use anything to whip up hatred - and its for their own ends. To say that a cartoon blasphemes your religion, a religion of peace, and then to protest this drawing by burning buildings and threatening others is a disgrace.

The Boy


Here he is.

Need I say more?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I Be Supervising

Yep, my boss called me today and told me that we had a new project that would be done by someone else under my supervision.
"I want to work my way up to Middle Management"
My supervision. Which means they do the work and I take the credit.
Right?
I have arrived.

Black Dog Hates Skunks


And for good reason. I thought that when Handsome Ben was sprayed by a skunk in the summer of 2002 that he would learn from his mistake. Turns out that apparently it made him really mad.

Wandering around the house at 4 in the morning 5 days after the birth of our daughter one year later I figured I may as well let the big fellow out for a pee. He came charging back in (and right upstairs to check on the baby - just in case it was one of those Winged Kazakh Skunks) and I was on my way to Dominion to buy some tomato juice.

Give it to him for timing because his next encounter was a week after the birth of our son last October - this time I actually witnessed the attack. Ben knew what he was doing and he had the little guy in his mouth. And dropped him pretty quick. This was four months and four baths ago and when he gets a little damp you can still catch a whiff.

Ass.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Leafs' definition of "success"

Spin spin spin. Larry Tanenbaum spoke at the beginning of this season about how the Leafs are the most successful franchise in the NHL, the flagship as it were of NHL teams.

Let's review, shall we - since the Leafs last won the Cup (1967) - the following teams have hoisted Lord Stanley's Mug - Montreal, Boston, Detroit, two teams from New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Dallas, Edmonton, Calgary, New Jersey, Colorado and Tampa. And since the Leafs last played in the final - 1967 - St. Louis, Chicago, LA, Buffalo, Vancouver, Washington, Carolina, Anaheim and Florida have made it that far.

So, Larry, how do you define success?

More to come on this.

Olympic Fever - Catch It!

Two kids now - yep - hard to believe - and the boy is pretty well sleeping through the night - not even four months old.

Pretty damn good.

But February more then any other month is the month of shit - I mean really. What good is it? One crappy hallmark holiday and freezing your ass off in the dark. No worse month. I mean November is lousy but you have Christmas coming with the eating and the drinking. Something to really look forward to. With February you can say that spring is coming but we've had some pretty sad months of March in our day.

Thank God for the Olympics. Two weeks of flag waving fun on the CBC. Because no matter what anyone says on those sappy NBC profiles in their little tape delayed universe its all about sticking it to the other guy. I want to see that Canadian flag raised time and time again and if Captain Mullet, Ryan Smyth, happens to carve up some poor Swede or Italian on his way to the Gold then God Bless 'em.

And thank God when its over it will be March.

I Do It By The Self!


And awayyyyy we go!

Stay tuned for musings on nearing 40, life with a wife, two kids (how did that happen!?) and Satan's Foreign Minister (our dog), the exciting times we live in, pubs I've known and loved, Guinness and the Edmonton Oilers, among other things.

Not necessarily in that order.

This may take a while for me to figure out but - as my two year old says - this is her mantra - "I do it by the self!"

Her, I trust to do it by the self.

As for me, well, good luck with that.