Monday, February 01, 2010

Oh Dublin! The Onion Is A Poor Metaphor

Its not my metaphor, the idea of an onion as a way to describe discovery, although I have used it half heartedly before because of a lack of imagination. It always struck me as, well, dumb to talk about exploration of a city or of anything as the same as peeling back the layers of an onion.

When you peel back an onion's layer you get more onion. And then again. And again. Nothing more, nothing less. And while Hemingway's heroes have a thing for onion sandwiches, bread and onion now there is a taste sensation, and I certainly have nothing against the onion, hell I put it to good use all of the time, the idea that you are going to find something spectacular once you get to its core is not going to lead you to anything but disappointment.

Why the onion discussion?

Well for the third time I am returning to Dublin. It was in 2002 in the fall that my wife and I spent three days there while travelling through Ireland and Scotland. We stayed in a bungalow surrounded by farmland in Malahide, a northern suburb of the city, it was thirty minutes into the city centre by bus. We had a fine time. We wandered the streets south of the Liffey and saw all of the sights, the beautiful cathedrals (while Scottish churches were all dark and gloomy Christchurch and St. Patricks were bright and soaring), the castle, the GPO, the national museum and art gallery, the Book of Kells and the Trinity College Library, the Guinness storehouse. We ducked into some fine pubs and went out to Phoenix Park and overall it was a good time, a good beginning to my relationship with the city.

It was two years ago that I returned to Ireland, this time for a week. It was for business but I stayed over a weekend and I had my evenings free as well. I was even able to sneak out of work early a couple of afternoons. I stayed with a young fellow who had come over to Canada twice, once for training, a second time for a conference after which he had taken a couple of weeks and done some wandering. He's a terrific lad.

There was a night out with a bunch of the Irish at McDaids, a roaring old pub and an afternoon spent at a Trinity College hangout, watching the Six Nations match with the Scots that weekend. We went to dinner up in Howth and froze our asses off on the boardwalk. And the rest of the time I did what I do, I walked and walked, up streets built over ancient path ways, along the sluggish dirty old Liffey, down alleys and into hidden tiny squares and into St. Stephen's Green for quiet reflection and through the doors of pub after pub, Mulligan's and Neary's and Davy Byrnes and the Long Hall and the Old Stand and Dawson's Lounge surrounded by boozy kilted unwashed Scots and the Stag's Head and the Brazen Head and the Ha' Penny Inn and the aforementioned McDaid's. Pints and cigarettes and then into the bookstores and the writers' museum and going in circles, up, down and around until I knew the south side of the Liffey and O'Connell Street like my own neighbourhood.

And now my friend is getting married to his seniorita in Enfield, just west of fair Dublin, and I am making the trek again. Its a long way to go for a handful of days and I will have but a day or two in Dublin but its time to explore anew. Surely I will duck into one of my favourite haunts (and my favourite pub may be the Ha' Penny Inn, not as famous or as old as many of the ones I have been to but I've been there on both visits now, just stumbled on it really, after crossing the bridge also named Ha' Penny) or two but now its time to traipse about the northern part of the old river, to walk up to Glasnevin and see the cemetery, to go to Kavanaugh's for a pint, to see a side of Dublin that I have not seen, and then from there back to the Liffey and then west of the Brazen Head and past Guinness to see what there is to see there.

So peeling back another layer of Dublin I will be but its no damn onion.

Last night I helped to flood the neighbourhood rink as we tried to overcome this ridiculous 'winter' we have been having. It is surviving somehow. Afterwards I ducked into our local for a couple of pints with my buddy and then I walked home, fortified against the cold by the work of Arthur Guinness. As I walked I realized that its not the onion but the vagina which best describes a journey of discovery.

Think about it. I certainly did. Well, for a minute or so. The vagina (and I use this to describe all of the wonderful parts of a woman's anatomy, I fully realize that it is in reality just one part of the whole) has many nooks and crannies to explore, each offering up a new surprise, a different piece of the puzzle. The clitoris, not just a simple button under the hood, has eighteen different parts, for example.

Just don't ask me if this trip in March is going to be to the labia minora or labia majora because I really have no idea.


As for the Oilers' season, well, um, there is absolutely nothing pleasurable about it so you can throw out my wonderful little metaphor (by the way feel free to use that in any of your daily conversations when you are talking about learning new things about anything, seriously that's free of charge too). I do have one that we can probably apply to the last four years, in which management took a club which was a break or two away from winning the Stanley Cup and turned it into the absolute worst club in the league, the worst club in franchise history, a club that is starting to look like one of the all time worst clubs in league history.

Down to three quality defencemen, a handful of quality forwards (mind you this has been the case all season) and a couple of minor league goaltenders and with just under thirty games left this could end up being a club that wins less than twenty games. Seriously.

As an Oilers' fan its difficult, no, brutal to watch. And the club has major cap issues going forward.

They are a cap team folks. They spend almost as much as they possibly can and they are in last in the league.

There are myriad reasons why anyone who had a hand in this fiasco (Lowe, Tambellini, KP) should be fired but that is probably the one that is most striking. Despite spending to the maximum they can they have put a team together that has won sixteen of fifty three games, have not won at home in months, have not won at all in a month, have garnered a pair of points out of a possible, what, what is it now, forty two?

I can't even keep track.

The mantra of management for a while has been to put the players and coaches in a position to fail miserably and this is probably the most damning thing that you can say. Guys sitting in their pajamas in their parents' basements have been able to say year after year what is wrong with this club and management either does not recognize the problems or fails to fix them.

Instead they put kids with kids or kids with plugs and say 'sink or swim' as if that is any way to develop young talent.

Its an absolute fucking disgrace and there is no way that Tambellini or Lowe should be employed come June. Even more than the high pick this is what MUST result from this disaster. The Oilers must burn the whole rotten structure to the ground. Putting the fools who created the mess in charge of cleaning it up would be completely stupid and there would be no excuse for it.

You want a metaphor with an orifice for being an Oiler fan these days? Think about getting anally raped repeatedly in prison, by your fellow inmates and baton toting guards.

How's that for a pretty picture?


Coach pb9617 said...

Putting the fools who created the mess in charge of cleaning it up would be completely stupid and there would be no excuse for it.

I don't know how to say this better than you did. It's just hockey, so it's not as if it matters on the grand scale of things, but knowing that the two of those monkeys are going to be back in charge next year is horrifying.

Chappy said...

On a happier note, you're going to Dublin, and there's plenty of Guinness there.


hunter1909 said...


Funny but I've been saying the exact same stuff as you're just starting to off and on for the past ten years.

I really don't care if they ever even make the playoffs again. I don't care what they do. it's up to Katz.

The gorgeous thing about 30th is, where do Tambi Lowe and the other Kevin hide? Answer: Nowhere

macaotim said...

"You want a metaphor with an orifice for being an Oiler fan these days? Think about getting anally raped repeatedly in prison, by your fellow inmates and baton toting guards."

Man, you are in desperate need of a stiff drink. That's harsh.

Black Dog said...

Thanks Tim, don't mind if I do.

Yeah Derek, exactly. I mean how do they explain it? Katz is either patient or dumb and i don't think he's either.

Chappy - oh yeah, you bet. My last time there I had a million of them.

Weird thing about Irish pubs is that the beer selection is actually pretty poor. Its Guinness everywhere with the odd Murphys or Beamish stout.

After that its Caffreys, Harp and then Carlsberg, Stella and Bud. Not great.

I'm a Guinness fan so no complaints but the selection in English pubs is far superior, especially in York, in my limited experience.

Vic Ferrari said...

I always knew that you'd fall off of the optimism bandwagon eventually, Pat. I just didn't realize how big the wheels on that fucker were :D

Baroque said...

Well, despite the horrible hockey, have a wonderful and safe trip.

hunter1909 said...

Best pub in London well in Soho is the Toucan bar. You either want Guinness or else you don't. Hilarious watching tourists ask for whatever only to be greeted by the stone faced owner who tells them it's his way or the highway.

Halfwise said...

Going for the vagina metaphor is what sets your blog apart, Pat.

Two questions:
(1) If for some reason you had to apologize for it, would you be, er, "contrite"?

(2) And isn't it great to be of cervix to your vast readership?

There you have pretty much my entire stock of standard puns on that much-sought-after anatomical part.

As for the Oilers, we seem to get the same old onion, layer after layer, and we have had some tears. But now that the initial disappointment has become familiar, the mood is turning from shock/denial/anger to derision.

I wonder what it is like inside the rest of DK's organizations. When the CFO screws up a deal or the marketing guy misses some emerging trend, what does the big boss do? Because I am sure we are going to see that same outcome happen to the management of this hockey team. Is DK about Justice or Mercy for his failing managers?

Black Dog said...

Thanks Baroque.

Vic - aw I've been pretty clear headed about these guys for a while. I think I figured they might sneak in last season if everything had broken right but that's about the last time I felt these guys were going anywhere

Halfwise - groan ... I wonder about DK as well. I think such a colossal failue in his regular business would lead to a purge but he is not a hockey guy so he may defer to Lowe in all respects. Really you want an owner to not meddle ideally but in this case ...

Hey look at Milbury and DOug MacLean and Sather (and Isaiah Thomas in the NBA) and Waddell and Pulford.

Some of these guys survive for a long time. There has to be a reason.

Swabbubba said...

hey how many days to till training camp.That is always where the teams are all even and dreams and hopes of the fan for a better year.
This year I had low expectations as to win this team would have to work hard. They did for the 1st 15 then the spiral started. The thing that gets my goat is that we could not even beat the Flames once this year. I had to call my standing bet off because I wanted these asses to lose.
But the buyouts and shedding of Salary begin. Katz has to do it or he will lose the city. But the Flames are doing there best to get the room to be in Kovalchuk sweepstakes meanwhile Tambo is crawling around his office looking for donut crumbs

David S said...

"The mantra of management for a while has been to put the players and coaches in a position to fail miserably and this is probably the most damning thing that you can say."

Its my firm belief that some time this summer, when we failed yet again to get that magic bauble, a decision was made to acquire a superstar via the draft. I think its despicable to so obviously let down both your fans and your athletes (what sort of mental damage is this inflicting on guys like Gagner?), but the decision has been made and damn the short-term consequences.

Bloggers figure they canned the "DFF"moniker, but I bet Lowe and Tambellini are sitting back with the sick satisfaction that everything is going to plan.

Russ said...

David S., the only problem is, I am not sure there is a superstar in the draft.....anywhere....does this not have to be the worst year in like 10 years to have 1st pick? Only 2006 went by without a clear #1, but that had depth in retrospect...not very often that the first pick was not the best player at WJHC regardless of age.

Black Dog said...

Russ - I don't think its a bad draft, hard to say really but I would guess Hall, Seguin and Fowler may all be stars. Superstars? Maybe not but most drafts don't have a Crosby or Ovechkin. 2006 had Toews, Staal, Johnson, Kessel, Backstrom. Guys like Stamkos or Hedman.

I think these guys are impact players and that at least the top three in this draft project to be the same type of player. Not too bad at all.

Gord said...

I have ben researching & analyzing forwards in the upcoming draft like never before (lots of time since the Oilers games are nothing more than background noise)...

Barring a major injury, Kirill Kabanov is going to end up the 3rd highest point getter coming out of this years draft...

If Tambellini / Lowe get off their butts & make a deal to get an additional "low" 1st round pick, this lousy season will have been worth it...

Traktor said...

This team has been frugal when it comes to the standings but we do have a great number of valuable assets that can be liquidated for a competitive team whenever we decide to go that route.

The worry for me is we're going to bring in a new GM and he's going to spend all our assets like he was just diagnosed with cancer and only has 4 months to live. Lander for Stajen. Petry for Phillips. Nash for Reasoner.

We're going to build a team that gets knocked out in the first round and leave no inheritance for Bucky when he eventually takes over Lowe's gig.

Black Dog said...

Interesting Traktor, I'm more worried that that is what Tambellini is going to do, especially if he manages to clear cap space before the draft.

Suddenly its 'well last season was an anomoly, we're just a player or two away' and away he goes.

He's the guy I worry about. If this gets worse then it will be his first and last gig as GM

Baroque said...

My mom has a theory on businessmen making lousy sports managers. She figures that in business a lot of the decisions are actually made by the executive secretary who has been with the company for 35 years and knows exactly how it works, and when they get a sports team they go nuts because they can make their own choices for a change.

spOILer said...

Putting the fools who created the mess in charge of cleaning it up would be completely stupid and there would be no excuse for it.

Oh, just like the economy, you mean. Expect a repeat performance on both fronts.

I agree with David S, I suspect too that they decided to get their star through the draft.

But not only no Ovechkin or Crosby, there's no Tavares, Kane, Hedman, Malkin or Stamkos available. This is a piss poor draft compared to the last 5 or 6.

I would seriously be considering trading that 1st for Malkin. That's the fastest way to turn this around. My problem's are: he's already had his payday, & I'm not sure if he can put a team on his back and carry it.

Trade Malkin for top F (Horc), a D (Grebs), and the 1st (Hall). Pick up Madden/Maholtra. Trade Souray. Dump Staios and improve with cheap D (all of Schubert, Hnidy, Boynton could almost be had for the same price).

Maybe sign a big winger like Armstrong, or Ponikarovsky, or pry one out of the capstrung Hawks, to ride shotgun on young Samwise. Keep Pou at 4C and sign Comrie and Pisani for cheap and I think we've got the makings of a playoff team in just one year with cap space. (Would need a first pairing Dman, but with cap space, there's a few available).

And if we can unload Souray for a 20+ 1st prior to the draft, we still have a lottery ticket.

spOILer said...

Oh yeah, and the above is pointless without cheap quality goal-tending (on the off chance the hit squad fails to take out Khabib)...

MTL has to deal one of Price or Halak by this summer. Find out what it would take, don't matter which one.

If trading POS would help them out with missing Calamari and Kostitsyn... for pete's sakes, GIT'ER DONE! What else would they need? A back up, so JDD. Anything else? Pick your kicker.

There. We just freed up $2M in cap space and got a guy who can play in front of Khabib, if we can't get out of the cap hit.

spOILer said...

For some reason your vagina metaphor made me think both of Joffrey Lupul AND his new girlfriend. (NSFW, btw!!!)

Black Dog said...

lol Baroque, sounds like doctors and nurses

spOILer - oh I'd take Malkin although it would cost cheap talent, I don't think Pitts would take Horc or Grebs, they'd want kids, picks, prospects

So they'd need to dump a lot of salary somehow but they pretty well need to do that anyhow.

I can't see Pitts moving Malkin until their present way of doing things stops working. Two Cup finals and a Cup in two years is pretty damn good.

As for this draft I know time will tell but I would bet Hall and Seguin have Stamkos' upside, they are putting up good numbers afaic.

Anyhow what you are proposing is that management use their heads and be imaginative. I'mall for it although I don't know if this group has the sense or the stones myself