Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Another Night At McCarthy's

My father in law was never a big drinker even before he was felled by a massive heart attack (and by the way he is doing just excellent now, thank you very much). When he came to visit he would take on a project of some sort and usually he would have a couple of beer while he did his work or maybe in the evening he'd have a whiskey. Since the heart attack he sticks to red wine for the most part, a glass or two a day, and the odd beer.

Now I think like any guy (or most guys I should say) he likes his drink but my mother in law and her family are pretty staid when it comes to alcohol. A drink or two will do them for the most part. So I think that over the years he's been pretty smart about making sure that he toes the line, at least on the outside. Its like my Mom's aunt and uncle. They live in Timmins and just down the street my Dad's brother happened to live with his family. My great uncle (follow along now) was a teetotaller, or so my great aunt said, but my uncle, a drinker himself, would snicker and snort, as he recalled that every day for as long as they lived in that house, he looked out the window to see my great uncle stroll by, out for his daily walk, which just happened to pass by the local Legion. He'd nip in for his pint or two and then walk back home. Every day. ;)

So with my father in law I don't think he's a big drinker but I also think he's a bigger drinker than anyone thinks, if you know what I mean. A couple of nights before our wedding on PEI we had our rehearsal dinner, so we had my folks and Jenn's folks and a half dozen buddies and their wives and girlfriends plus all of the bridal party and then afterwards we hit the town. My father in law came along and we ended up at the Old Dublin which is a pretty good place for a pint. We walked in and they had the aye-diddle-aye going on and right in front of the dance floor there was a big long table and it had been commandeered by my family, a whole bunch of bald men with hairy backs and their women, and so I brought Brian over and introduced him and the last I saw of him he was getting his glass refilled for the fifth or sixth time, happier than a pig in shit.

Speaking of shit he got in some that night, Jenn told me the next day that her Mom said she had never seen him drunk in all of their years together.

I just raised an eyebrow at that.

It was a few years later and they were up for a visit and I asked Brian if he wanted to come for a stroll to McCarthy's, a little Irish pub about fifteen minutes from our place. I've written about McCarthy's before, its just a tiny little hole in the wall, a terrific place. Probably my favourite pub in Toronto, which is saying a lot, the reason being most of all is that you can go in there and not know a soul and by the time you've left you'll have had a half dozen conversations on a good night. Part of it is that its so damn tiny and part of it is the folks there are mostly Irish expats or Irish passing through and that's the way they are and part of it is that's just the way it is there. They'll leave you alone if you want to be left alone but if you're open to talk then you can find someone to talk to anytime.

Its run by twin sisters, they're a couple of characters, the one has been less involved the last few years but on Saturday nights you'll generally find them both in there, tying one on.

So on this day we arrived about midafternoon. The place was pretty quiet and we were able to get seats on one end of the small gentle curve of a bar. Brian sat at the end, then myself, then one of the sisters, then a couple of lads, then the second sister. Behind the bar there was a young fellow whose accent betrayed him to be one of those youngsters just travelling through, picking up a few extra dollars.

So I order a couple of pints and beside me sister S is already doing pretty well, despite the early hour. She finishes up her cider and then orders herself a shot of Jager.

Before I go any further did I mention that the father in law is pretty heavily involved in the church back in PEI?

So she 'trows' back her shot and she sings it praises:

Oh that's the good stuff right there, that is, that's the truly good stuff.

Meanwhile your man takes a step over and now he's at our end of the bar and I look down and I'm about half done and because I am the type who likes to take charge of a situation I order myself another pint. Brian protests that its his round and I tell him that he can get the next one as I will be done both the one I am working on as well as this new one before he is done his first, thinking almost immediately afterwards that perhaps I should keep my mouth shut because letting your father in law know that the one thing you're pretty damn good at is drinking Guinness to beat the band might not be all that smart. But then again I've never claimed to be either smart or to have any foresight so what can you do?

Its the truth though so when he orders the next round I hand in two glasses to his one.

Meanwhile S calls over to the young fellow to give her some more of that Jager and he does.

Oh yes, that's the stuff. Its better than milk out of your mother's tittie it is. Oh my.

Now this makes my head snap to a little and I look over and sister number two, M, is working on the crossword and she has just her first glass in front of her and she raises an eyebrow.

Give me another says S and the young bartender tells her that that's the last and holds out the empty bottle as proof.

Oh now that's a turrible turrible ting now. Oh now that's a sad sad ting. But my my look at that big long bottle, the size of it, that reminds me of someting now, oh does it ever, that long tick bottle, now that would be a wonderful ting in itself!

And she chuckles but at this point M interjects, seeing my father in law and guessing correctly that he is a newcomer to their establishment.

Now now there's no call for that sort of language now, is there. Lets mind our manners please.

And this is where it starts because there is no love between the two sisters, indeed one patron once told me of a time that they actually brawled in the bar, the two of them, bare knuckled. The staff and customers cleared a ring and found the facsimile of a bell to bring some semblance of order or they would have killed each other he said and destroyed the bar as well.

And so S retorts:

Well now, mind my manners would I? Well, I would suggest you mind your own fucking manners over there. And your fucking business too.

M: Mind my fucking business then, well it is my fucking business, you stupid cunt, and when I tell you to mind your fucking manners and watch your fucking language then you had better fucking well do it! So mind your fucking language you fucking twat!

S: Cunt am I? A cunt? Well you dirty little fucking slut, there's a the fucking pot for you. You dirty filthy cunt you had better watch who you call cunt.

M: Whoremaster, cunt, fuck, shit, fuckshit, shitfuck cunty cunt.

S: Cunty cunting cunt cunter.

M: Fucking cunt cunter fuck.

You get the picture.

Finally they dragged one outside for a smoke and the other downstairs to cool off and all the time I just stared straight ahead, thinking that of all of the days I brought my wife's father out, it had to be this one and this was the end of it for sure and probably I should order another few rounds with the hopes that he might forget this or at the very least, I might.

And then I sneak a peek and he's grinning from ear to ear and then he bursts out laughing and the next day we're hanging about and he looks over and says 'Hey bye, when are we going for a little walk by that little pub? I'm getting a little thirsty!'


Looking back at the past while it seems that I've had little to say and even less to say about the Oilers. They've started to lose pretty regularly again lately and if Whitney is out for any length of time then it would seem that a top three pick is surely in the bag. You'd think they could do 'better' in that regard but both the Devils and the Islanders are somehow worse, quite a bit worse actually, and in the case of the Devils its really hard to believe. Everyone keeps figuring they'll start going again and maybe Wild On Jack Lemaire will do the trick but my God they are awful and I can't even think of the last time a team that good went south that badly so quickly. And they have to worry about Parise's contract coming due with the mess that they are in cap-wise.

It looks like the Oilers are going to get another bluechip prospect and based on their drafting over the past few years and how so many of their prospects are trending its a pretty fair expectation to think that they may end up with a few more good kids in the cupboard after June.

The Oilers are a hard organization to like in many respects. The way they have gone about the whole arena situation has been understandable (they want the best deal possible, I respect that) but it has given off a bad odour, which is expected whenever Pat LaForge is involved with anything. Buddy walks in the room and the walls begin to bleed slime. They have lived off of the glory years for a long time and the fact that Kevin Lowe and Steve Tambellini remain involved after putting the club into the ditch is about as odd and disgusting as the Wall Street types who got their bonuses after shredding the American economy.

With all of that said however its impossible to ignore that the organization is on the right track, at least temporarily. We might quibble with Tom Renney but he seems to have been a pretty good choice to coach these kids. The minor league affiliate is doing well and the players called up from there have looked equal to the task for the most part (frighteningly enough in a few cases they are better than their counterparts at the big league level). The prospects cupboard overfloweth. And with the big club for the first time in years one can go down the list and put a checkmark beside a lot of names who are meeting or surpassing expectations and that is something that we have not been able to say for a long long time.

Hall, Eberle, Paajarvi, Horcoff, Penner, Hemsky, Gagner, Jones, Whitney, Gilbert, Peckham, Dubnyk.

I would argue that all have done their jobs. There have been a few bumps for these men, yes, but there are a dozen names who have been pretty good for this club.

And that bodes well for the future.

And this is what this year is all about after all. We knew it was going to be an awful mess and we know that the future is uncertain but really we figured that it was going to be a total disaster (at least I did) and the fact that we can look at a lot of positives means that it may be salvageable after all.

Hard to believe.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Welcome, Christmas, Bring Your Cheer

When you're a kid Christmas is the end all and be all. When you become an adult and leave home then its a time to return home to get together with your family and your friends. When you have kids of your own then the magic ramps up again, along with the little ones as they get hopped up on sugar and anticipation.

Ours are seven and five and two and a half now. Its a great combination of ages. The youngest is a chatterbox now (even though quite often she sounds quite a bit like Perini Scleroso) and she has a pretty good idea of what is going on. We live in a relatively small house and so the tree dominates the main floor and a couple of times she has walked over in total awe, picked up a present and brought it over, sat down and prepared to unwrap it. The boy (Captain Serious) has been reading now for about six months and has a curiousity about everything in the world which is impossible to sate. And our eldest has a passion and enthusiasm for life that is unmatched. She also has a capacity for mischief, as does the boy, usually at her urging.

She also is beginning to have her doubts about Santa, planted in her head by one of her schoolmates. a surly little spoiled brat with a big mouth and a small mind, a horrible thing to say about someone so young, I know, but true all the same.

And not much in the spirit of Christmas to say such a thing, I guess (!).

Our daughter asked my wife about it and Jenn told her that she believes in Santa, which she does, its the magic and the wonder and the imagination of the whole thing, really, that sets Christmas apart. We were both brought up in households where the Christmas spirit was alive and well and so it has carried on the same in our home now and so even we adults come down on Christmas morning with that sense of wonder and joy. My folks are pushing eighty and they still celebrate Christmas with great relish, all the while remembering those Christmas Days when we were young.

We will have our Christmas Day and then in the days following we have many get togethers planned with friends where we will eat and drink and there will be plenty of laughter.

From our family, I wish all of you a wonderful Christmas. I hope that however you celebrate that day, that it brings you joy. And that if you have little ones then you really enjoy their smiles and laughter.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Putin's Lament

Komrade Horcov!

I am hoping that this letter is finding you well although of course I am knowing that this is not the case. Speaking of case I had sent you for a Christmas present one case of most excellent Russian vodka from my own personal cellar. When I say I had sent I should make it clear that I mean that I had thought of this and of course as they say that is what counts. I was going to send and then I was realized that sending such an expensive gift was only feeding Western capitalist commercial machine that blockhead Charlie Brown said was ruining Christmas. Little guy with blanket and speech impediment had true meaning of Christmas as he said in monologue. That was good documentary, yes? I especially enjoyed the dancing of the children and have instructed cabinet to reenact once an hour for my enjoyment. Although I have found no dog that can play guitar or read newspaper. I think perhaps that was some sort of trickery of camera, which is no less than I expect from Westerners.

Also you are richer than Tsar and can buy your own vodka I think. As a matter of fact I am wondering where is my Christmas present? You are selfish Komrade! West has made you fat and soft like grizzly bear Penner, eating cheeseburgers as he lazily carries team on his back. Where is my vodka! WHERE! WHERE!

I am sorry Komrade. I am emotional wreck, like child who has had toy soldier taken away, or in my case actual soldiers and power second only to American president, Queen of England, the masons and Colonel Sanders. The news of your injury hit me like glasnost, crushing my hopes and dreams. To be truth, I was going to send you delicious vodka as present but I have been drinking it, bottle by bottle. In my stupor I stagger around Kremlin like gigantic Nick Nolte at film festival, incoherent and rambling. Perhaps more like Gary Oldman, who is 'cool' and also 'badass' as the American teenagers like to say. That is the image I like to project. It is very good for meeting the ladies! Unfortunately right now I have no such interest. I am bereft and am yearning for old days when I could send tanks somewhere for amusement or have cabinet minister tortured and shot to relieve stress. It is not easy being leader, as you well know.

It is very sad Komrade, this injury to your knee. Your play was exemplary and was going to bring great glory to Soviet sporting machine. Playing with youngsters and leading the way for them. They will be great players this Eberle and Hall. I am certain that their grandparents must have come from Caucasus certainly, no Canadian could be so good without some trace of Slavic blood. Some day they will bring glory to Edmonton but for now they follow your lead, like young lions following gigantic leader of pride. You are like Lion King, with gigantic lion cock and lion balls, impregnating all of the lionesses with your powerful semen and everyone can do nothing but watch and wonder at the, er, immense presence among them.

It is good though to see you back in good graces of fans. Why the fans do not like good veteran players is beyond me. By the way did you see old friend Fernando last night? Winning goal, first PK unit and on the ice in last minute to win game. He is not done yet but Tambellini did not want him, instead keeping Jacques. Bah! Anyways it is nice to see fans cheer good old number ten although personally I prefer to be feared than loved.

I am sure though that this is just a momentary setback Komrade. As you may have guessed by my references to Gary Oldman and Nick Nolte I have been boning (heh) up on Americans and their dissolute ways in best possible way, by watching their cinema. And it is always happy ending, much like Stalingrad, unless you were German. So I am sure that things will be A-OK and hunky dory.

Speaking of these movies I must ask if you have seen Anatomy of Sasha Grey. My God that is some crazy shit. I like my porno but so much of it is like Penthouse letters. A girl is sitting at desk and then pizza guy with enormous member walks in and the strange music starts and next thing you know it is blowjob time. This is not real life. This does not happen. It would be like getting handjob on Greyhound bus. It is impossible. Only bloggers stoned on cheezie dust and cream soda would believe such fantasies.

But this Sasha Grey, my God I am without speech. Unbelievable.

Speaking of Penthouse though I always thought that was bullshit until one day I was in my office. It was Tuesday which I remember because Tuesdays are 'Fantasy Tuesdays' here at Kremlin. I lock myself in office and plan return to glory of motherland with detailed invasion plots. I see myself on white stallion leading tanks into some small European backwater, it is very invigorating.

So on this day we were invading Bulgaria. It was very exciting Komrade! Needless to say I had quite a large boner thinking of burning Sofia into ashes when I hear knock on the door. Who is it but new member (heh) of presidential guard. She is enormous like linebacker, from fine peasant stock from Crimea, where my dacha is as you know. I have weakness for Crimean peasants. She has enormous jugs like enormous pillows full of jello and her ass is like back end of Sikorosky traktor. When I saw the look in her eye I knew it would be my lucky day not once but twice! I would conquer the Bulgars and this enormous mountain!

I am sorry Komrade, I am always easily distracted by the talk of jet fighters and big boobs. I guess I am just a boy underneath bad ass leather clad facade. Which is good to be boy because Khristmas is for the children after all.

I am hoping that you drink much vodka over the holidays and that the knee injury does not prevent you from enjoying vigourous sex. Now excuse me I must retire to my office. I am planning invasion of Anaheim. We will cut off cheapshot artist Corey Perry's head and mount it at entrance to visitor's dressing room at ancient collapsing arena that you call home. And we will leave his body to the rats that must certainly infest that facility. Oh and thank Komrade Katz for nice cheque and tell him what I just said. It will please him so.

Your pal, Vlad!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hamilton and Roy Make The Cut

The loss of Horcoff and Hemsky looks like its going to be enough to get the Oilers into that coveted lottery position. Another month or so of these results should be just enough to get them into a top three spot so they can land a centre or Larsson.

And who knew losing Vandermeer would also help the cause? Well, considering that it means Strudwick draws back in, it looks like his loss (who knew) is going to have a major impact as well.

Patience, my friends, patience. We have seen the last four years wasted as management tried to do it, well, the way the Leafs are trying to do it. Spending big money while also breaking in kids is not a great way to go about rebuilding a franchise. We have suffered through it. You cannot have it both ways.

Of course stockpiling high picks is no guarantee for success either. One only need to look at Gilbert Brule to see how a high pick can end up in the ditch.

Or look at the Islanders.

Having said all of that I prefer that the Oilers have decided to go all in with the kids. I mean, I would prefer if they had maybe augmented them with some penalty killers and guys who can play some defence.

But the news that Curtis Hamilton and Olivier Roy have made the WJC club (not that this is any guarantee in itself but still, positive arrows) is another positive when it comes to the kids this organization is stockpiling. If you have been over at Lowetide's (and I know you have) then you know that he is doing his biannual prospect list and that its a wonderful thing to see. The Oilers have five kids from that list on the roster right now who look to have NHL careers (in a few cases, very good careers) and a bunch of guys in the minors, Europe and junior who look to be players.

You can have your douchebag captain Dion Phaneuf (has there ever been a guy more overrated?) and your best prospect who has not even scored an NHL goal yet, all the while meandering towards a second straight year in the lottery without the pick that comes with such failure. And yes I know this whole Oilers' rebuild may not end up alright. Any thinking fan can see that. But any thinking fan (of which the Leafs have just as many as any other club) can also see that again something is terribly fucking wrong down at the ACC. And in no way is the future bright. Again.

Its a shame. I have quite a few friends who are Leaf fans. Its an awful disgrace what has gone on with that franchise and while the trolls might crow about a 4-1 win, even they must see its an awful mess. A few months ago I posted a picture of my son, just nine months old, and noted that the picture was taken when the Oilers were last in the playoffs, their run to the Finals in 2006.

I am 43 next week and a picture of my Mom just pregnant would be the equivalent for the last time Toronto was even in the Finals.

That is a sad sad thing. They deserve better.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

More Happy Thoughts

Was supposed to post a little more this week as Jenn was supposed to work the past two nights but she's come down with laryngitis and the end result was two nights off for her and an unexpected Capsule game for me last night. A little bonus as I am missing next week's game and then Christmas is here and so it was looking like no hockey for a month for me.

Instead I got to play last night and it turned out to be the best game I have had in a while. I've had a pretty good year but we've had a real struggle the last month or so, just falling short in game after game. We lost two guys from our blue last year who were quite a bit of chaos as they were converted forwards but what they gave up they more than made up for with their offence. Their replacements are true defencemen and as a result we're pretty damn stingy but we've never been that high scoring a club anyways and we have had a hell of a time putting the puck in the net. Add to their loss the fact that one of our two best forwards has basically been a noshow (he scored a hattrick in one of the two games he has played) and its been a lot of 2-1 and 3-2 losses. A blown coverage here or there has been costing us. The disappointing thing is the league is wide open and we could very well take it all but its hard to say yet if we're just struggling or if we're just not that good.

The good thing is the last couple of games we have deserved better and that's a good sign and so last night we tried to break out of our slump and ended up doing so. I got to play centre for the first time in a while and despite it being on an Olympic size rink I was able to hang in there and as the game wore on I got stronger and in the space of two shifts ended up helping to tip the game in our favour with just under ten minutes left. We were up one to nothing and the game was still in the balance and one of the dmen on their team, well he's noticeably weak and so I just started going at him. Three times in a row I beat him and got in alone and while their goalie beat me the first two times, the third time I picked up my own rebound and snuck it in and that was it for them. We added another and that was it. End of the slump. A great way to end this calendar year and as I joked with the guys after one of these days I'm going to score, pick up the puck and go right to the dressing room and hang them up. I've had a nice go of it the last two years though so that day may still be a long time away.


Just to continue on the theme from earlier this past week, a further look at what has gone well for our Oilers. The loss of Hemsky and Horcoff will probably guarantee a lottery spot for the Oilers. They were lucky to get the win against Tampa and its to be expected when two thirds of your third line is basically two thirds of your top line in the AHL. The bottom six is a mess and you cannot play two lines all game and if you look at the scoring chances counted from Friday night you can see that things may get a bit ugly.

Never mind though because there is a lot to like here. For the first time in a few years there are plenty of players who are either exceeding expectations or, at the least, meeting them. And its been a long time since we can say that. So here are five more things I like.

1. Dubnyk. The big kid had a nice stretch to finish off last season and this year so far he has continued to impress. Still a long way to go and he may never be more thna a capable backup but I think at the least he will be that. He's got good technique and a nice calm about him and there is a lot to like there.

2. Magnus Paajarvi. I figured the young Swede to be the best of the rookies but Hall has blown him away and Eberle has shown better as well. Lately though the kid has gotten going. Some of that is getting a chance to play with some real linemates and from there I think it was a case of his confidence coming around and now it looks more and more that he too is going to be as advertised. A lucky get for the Oilers by the looks of it, he has certainly looked better than, say, Kadri, who was picked before him.

3. Sam Gagner. Gagner, I think it is safe to say, has turned the corner. He's not big and he never will be and he's quick rather than fast but he's contributing offensively despite bouncing around the lineup and the most impressive thing about his game is that he's winning puck battles and moving the puck the right way. He's coming into his own and its had to believe that he's just twenty one. He's been around forever.

4. Ryan Jones. Ryan Who? Guy looks like he forgot to take his skate guards off for all of the times he falls down but he sure has a nose for the net. An odd guy and not sure where he fits on this club. My guess is longterm he will be part of a fourth line in the Glencross/Brodziak/Stortini tradition, a line that can murder the other club's dregs, hang in there against tougher opposition when needed and provide guys who can step into the top nine now and then when needed. A nice surprise.

5. Omark. Sure its just one game but Linus' debut symbolizes a lot about what there is to like about this club. There is some swagger back in Edmonton and some excitement and while they're not close to being a winning club yet its nice to see something after a few years of drab losing hockey. Omark may or may not be an NHL player (although I suggest that if he were LW with Gagner and Hemsky that he would be just fine) but the way he drove the net on the PP shows that he is, unlike Robert Nilsson, a guy who is going to force the issue. As for the shootout goal, well the silliest thing I heard were the complaints about his showing a lack of respect with his spin move in that longstanding tradition of the shootout. While guys like Avery and Cooke run rampant with their cheapshots and guys drop the gloves whenever there is a clean hit of all things, I think that a lot of the critics are out to lunch. And Omark's answer to the critics, that he basically doesn't care what they say, was a terrific thing to hear. Hockey is a wonderful game and while I would never want to see the chest thumping and mememeism of, say, the NBA, in hockey, the fact is that the NHL tends to grind the personality out of its players. Good on Omark for having personality and bringing it to the Oilers.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Interweb Says Irish Brothers Get The Call

Was getting the gears last night (just slightly mind you) about my age. I can remember when a bag of chips and a can of Pepsi cost fifty cents, all in. LT remembers when it was thirty five cents.

I am sure that Mr. McCurdy can beat that. Five bees for a quarter we used to say! ;)

I'm old but not too old to get on this Interweb bandwagon. I love the Internet. I have booked vacations on it, flights, lodging, vehicles, tickets, planned an entire two week trip, found pubs I want to visit. Are there any travel agents left anymore? If so, er, why?

There is the email and Skype and Youtube, all favourites of mine. I also have one of these new cellular phones that allows me to get my email, surf the web and tweet. Considering that I never even had a phone before its pretty wild and crazy shit let me tell you.

Its really unbelievable shit. When I was growing up we had two channels. And I'm not that old. And now the world is at your fingertips.

And the porn! My God.


And so of course that is how I found out this afternoon that Linus (rhymes with Penis apparently) Omark and Ryan O'Marra are getting the call with both Hemsky and Horcoff now out for a while.

For Omark its his chance. Now we will see if he is Rob Schremp, Rob Nilsson or Rob, well, some guy named Rob who is really good. Robert Hull? ;) I saw Omark and I saw him good about a month ago. He can skate and he has great hands and he can win puck battles despite his size. The question is whether he will give back more than he creates. If not I then I think he's a player. He'll slot in the top nine and it looks like Ryan Jones has proven that he will hold down a role there as well despite the fact that he apparently leaves his skate guards on when he leaves the dressing room.

The problem for the Oilers is they are now down two of their tough minute guys and Penner or Brule will now move to centre which means that 13 and/or 67 will have to play without the big guy and we all know how that has worked out. Anyhow here's a guess:

Hall/Penner/Eberle - Penner being the one guy left who can help the kids out in Horcoff's place

Jones/Gagner/Paajarvi - Jones is producing and Paajarvi has found his game, why break up a good thing

Omark/Cogliano/Brule - I think this one gets ugly but who knows.

As for O'Marra, well he is the second piece of the Smyth trade to get his shot and while ideally we'd see Jacques eat it, my God he is terrible, and Reddox come up and have O'Marra play between Liam and Stortini, I guess we'll see what Renney gets out of this bunch. O'Marra may play the wing I guess? Not sure. He'll get a shot anyhow and he had better make his mark as Vande Velde and Kytnar and Lander are all coming on in his rearview mirror. And Colin Fraser? It wasn't a bad move moving a sixth round pick for you but my God you haven't done a damn thing. Last chance pal.

The pictures haven't a thing to do with anything except I found them on, you guessed it, the Internet!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Early Returns? Well Pretty Good, Thank You

I don't watch too much TV. I'm a bit of a TV snob (well I'm a bit of a snob plain and simple) but of course its pretty hard for me to crack on shows like Two and A Half Men, According To Jim or King of Queens (total number of episodes watched ever - zero for all three) when I revel in The Biggest Loser and Wipeout. Why you wouldn't love Wipeout is beyond me though. People getting the shit kicked out of them with a liberal amount of groin shots cannot be beat in my opinion.

We watch a handful of shows and one I watch is Cougartown which I think is quirky and funny. It has Christa Miller who is a redhead (!) and very funny (she was on The Drew Carey show) and Courtney Cox and a bunch of people I have never heard of. There was an episode recently where Christa Miller's husband, a short little bald guy called Andy, I think, gets flak because of his attitude. He is an incurable optimist who believes that everything will always work out for the best. Always.

I can identify with Andy. I come by it naturally. My parents are the same way. My Mom has had a tough go of it this year, she has been in the hospital for months now. I'll probably write a post on it shortly. Essentially what has happened is that she started having back pain and then, in the space of a few months, deteriorated to the point that she has ended up in a wheelchair. Pretty scary stuff. Hasn't beaten her down though. Courage. Heart of a lion, my Mom.

We were up to visit a few times and on one of these visits we were in the hospital room when an OT was meeting with Mom and going over various options that she had. My wife is a nurse, as mentioned before, and so she is, well, a nurse. She is detail oriented and realistic and she knows what questions to ask. So she is entirely unlike us.

So this woman is talking and I'm nodding and my old man is nodding and Mom is nodding and we are all smiling and I look at Jenn and I can tell that her head is about to pop off and it doesn't get any better when the OT wraps up and my Dad smiles and says 'Well, we'll just have to see what happens, it will work out' and my Mom echoes his sentiments and I look at the OT and say that, well, thank you for the information and that's great and yes we are pretty sure that everything is going to work out.

Afterwards my wife said that if she ever got sick that her friend, also a nurse, would be responsible for her care.


What was funny was late this summer when some dude came by here and complained that I was a terrible pessimist and waah waahh wahh, honestly I didn't read much more than that because it was awfully funny.

What was funny is that anybody who has been here for a while knows that I am a blue sky optimist. So you know that for me to be a cynic when it comes to the Oilers and their 'management' means that they have worked awfully hard to bring me to such a dark place.

The clumsy know nothing do nothing sneaky smarmy motherfuckers.

And so this year I figured lottery for sure. If, if, everything went right then I figured they would be out of the lottery.

Tall order I figured.

We've had a nice stretch of ugliness already and while we are riding high right now all we need to think back to last year's five game winning streak that turned into twenty losses in twenty one games.


But really there are more than a few nice things going on with this club and while it doesn't make up for four plus years of garbage management it should be noted that there are some positive arrows.

1/ Taylor Hall. I was a Seguin guy although I was fine with the pick they made. A long long way to go but I love the kid and am glad they took him. Never mind the fact that he, 10 and 14 are in the black by any metric and they are not being sheltered (au contraire they have faced the toughs at times and still come out on top). Never mind that he can score goals. What I love about the kid is his personality. A word I like to use to describe Oiler clubs of the past is elan. The dynasty clubs had it, the little clubs that could had it. Taylor Hall has it. He is enthusiastic and intense and he plays with such flair. Wonderful to see. And watching 'Awkward Hours' (hattip to spOILer) on Saturday night I was pleasantly surprised to see that Hall is a thoughtful and candid young man. Easy to cheer for.

2/ Shawn Horcoff. Always been a Horcoff fan but last year was a tough one. He was hurt and he was dragging around a guy whose career is almost done and a second guy who is earning the description of being the worst Oiler ever. And he was pretty terrible himself. And so this year has been redemption for the dirty Red. He has been an excellent captain and he has acted as shepherd for the prize rookies and he has scored a little. Its wonderful to see a guy who should be beloved by fans for his rise from obscurity to fame and fortune through dogged determination and who instead is resented and hated by a large number of 'fans'. You might not like the contract but there is a lot to like about the player and the man.

3/ Jordan Eberle. Eberle was the one of the three kids who was to be questioned - was he big enough? Fast enough? And yet from the first game when he undressed primo douchebag Ian White to stick a knife in the Falmes, Eberle has been the most consistent of the kids. He wins puck battles and is smart as a whip and has a good sense of what to do in his own zone and the end result is a kid who, like Hall, doesn't look like a kid a lot of the time.

4/ Ted Peckman. The big surprise. A brawling bullying ball of enthusiasm. He has played better defence than anyone thought he could while adding some more of that elan to a club that has lacked personality for far too long. What will his ceiling be? Only time will tell but he has made watching this club a lot of fun. My favourite Oiler after Horcoff and Hemsky, with a bullet.

5/ Ales Hemsky. Lets forget, for a moment anyhow, that Hemsky is hurt again and that when talk of extending him is to come that that may play a pretty big part in it. Instead I want to focus on the season that he has had. There has been talk of Hemsky signing a reasonable extension next summer and I think that based on the past few years some of us might find that surprising. I, for one, figured he had had enough. Hemsky is, for now anyway, probably the best Oiler still. He can play the toughs and come out on top and he is the nuclear weapon on the roster, the guy who can make something out of nothing at any time. This season he has played with enthusiasm and purpose and he has thrown himself into the fray repeatedly. I'm really hoping that this is the last in a run of rotten luck for Hemsky and that he comes back soon and begins a long run of good health in Oiler colours.

That's what I hope.

Wife is out and about every night this week so more to come.

Monday, December 06, 2010


We do photobooks for the grandparents every year and as Jenn put together this year's beauty I told her that we should have a couple of pages dedicated to Ben.

I miss my friend. We have a cat now.

A cat.

There are no cats in this video. Dogs are to cats as pie is to cake.

There is no comparison.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Dance Like You've Never Danced Before!

If I could only ask for one thing, it would be to live in a world where folks break out in spontaneous dance like they do at times in the movies. That would be fun.

Well really it would be down the list I guess. Bring back the big fella. A night with Anne Hathaway. Go back in time to June 19, 2006 and have the game go to OT and have good old 94 finish off the Canes.

But its up there.

Anyhow its the weekend. The Oilers just swept through Eastern Canada. They have three lines clicking. Sort of. Hall and Eberle are flying and Paajarvi has woken up and Sam Gagner is shoving it up the backsides of his critics and Dubnyk and Teddy Peckman have had another fine week. A fun week to be an Oilers' fan and if we're talking handjobs well both the Montreal and Toronto games qualified.

Mighty fine shit.