Friday, September 28, 2007

A liitle whine and then some cheese

I have two head/facial issues this morning which are distracting me to no end. Firstly, I bit the inside of my mouth yesterday resulting in a tremendous amount of pain. I now have one of those dry skin, cold sore, feels-like-someone-rubbed-sandpaper on my gums things. The worst part is that I can't go more than 5 seconds without having my tongue rub up against it thus reminding me how annoying it is. Secondly, I have a zit just below my lower lip. It's really quite noticeable. How am I supposed to have people take me seriously at work when all they can see is a whitehead? I spend most of my working hours trying to convince people that I'm older than I really am (I'm Wilfred Brimley's stand-in for those diabetes testing commercials). I might as well go get a pair of braces and a Hello Kitty knapsack. By the way, is there anything more ridiculous than an adult with braces? These new invisi-braces are not invisi at all. I'd like to see someone go full bore and get the headgear as well. No point trying to hide it so go ahead and have some fun with it! You could even pimp them with some sweet bling. Presumably the words "pimp" and "bling" are no longer relevant. You'll have to excuse me as I have foregone my subscription to VIBE in favor of Today's Parent.
An artist's rendition of Melissa Etheridge addressing her orthodontic shortcomings

That's enough about me and the inner workings of my face. The weekend is upon us and I couldn't be happier. Sunday is the 3rd annual YACA Cup Golf tournament. The YACA tournament is a Ryder Cup style match between Australians living in and around Toronto and various locals representing Canada. I will be representing Canada and hope to do her proud. Hmmm, that didn't sound quite as patriotic as I would have liked...

Let me just say a quick something about Australians. In short, the world needs more of them (in the context of this piece I am considering Mel Gibson a naturalized US citizen). What event doesn't go better with the addition of an Aussie or two? The answer, none. The chief organizer of this event is a good friend of mine who came to Canada approximately 8 years ago. He has since gone on to embrace this city and country with a passion that those from Toronto would find impossible to match. His compatriots bring a similar level of excitement whenever they're around. There is some talk that "my mate" may pack up his wife and head home some time soon. That would be a huge loss for all of us. I just wanted to put that out there. In the immortal words of Milhouse: "This guyyy, this guuyyy's the greatest!".

None of this means that we will not make every effort to annihilate you Aussies on the golf course while making as many tired Crocodile Dundee jokes as possible. Game on, jerks!

Have a good weekend.

Note: Please don't read into the fact that most of my recent posts have included a certain level of sappiness as a sign that I'm dying of anything.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Running Group worth joining

The other day I went for a run at the local park. Wow, that sounds like a sentence that would be repeated aloud by an English as a second language class. I need to start adding a few more syllables. Anyways, where were we? Ah yes, my all too infrequent jogging. Usually the track is essentially empty save a handful of women approaching middle-age with their "coach" who appears to be getting paid to tell people to run in circles. Basically, he's a dogwalker who doesn't have to pick up crap. On this day there was a significantly larger crowd. I wasn't really paying attention as I had my iPod on. Amongst the crowd I saw the usual serious runner types with their utility belts filled with secret potions and ultra-light weight, more-expensive-than-cashmere running shirts, but I also noticed a group of people who really stuck out. The reason they stuck out was that they were actually enjoying themselves! There was a group of special needs runners having the grandest time running a series of races being organized by a couple of coaches that were actually doing something.

I, like my compatriot yuppies, was going about my usual miserable task of trudging around the track for the sheer sake of "exercise". The other guys were sprinting around laughing while their friends and coaches cheered them on. It was like a Garth Brooks video without the awful music. These guys have it figured out. They're not peaking down when they run by someone to see if they have nicer shoes or checking their lap time. The rest of us, with our running groups and pedometers, could learn a thing or two about enjoying life from the other guys who were on the track that day.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Korean knock-off that saved the season

Monday morning represented rock bottom for this Bills fan. I awoke with a miserable head cold probably brought about by exposure to terrible football. On Sunday afternoon I forced myself to sit through another devastating loss by the Bills in New England. While this year they got absolutely annihilated (as opposed to the last two games in Foxboro in which they found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory) the pain was worsened by the broken forearm of middle linebacker Paul Posluszny and the leg injury to quarterback JP Losman. Two of the three reasons to watch the team are now gone (Poz for the season, JP for 2-3 weeks). Not only that but I had to listen for three hours while the CBS crew fawned over Tom Brady as he "picked apart" the Bills defense. Of course they were without six starters and at one point had their third-string safety playing corner. The fair-play Patriots seized on this opportunity to run up the score because "that's what Champions do"! Thankfully Bill Belichick wasn't around during WWII or Germany would still be a pile of rubble. The Bills dropping like flies and the Patriots being fellated for three hours on TV. Forget Job, that wimp has nothing on me!

Then came a knock on the door...

I carried little Charlie downstairs to find the mailman at the door with a package for me. I opened it to find the Marshawn Lynch jersey I had won on eBay and to my utter surprise, it was perfect. No crooked numbers, no Korean lettering on the back, no obvious flaws. Could this be a sign? Can I take this delivery from above (it was airmailed) as an indication that my suffering is now about to end? Will Marshawn Lynch (the only good thing about this team right now) lead this team back to respectability and perhaps one of the most unlikely playoff runs in recent history? Well here are two people who are at least hoping that's the case:

One of these people is delusional, the other just pooped their diaper

I felt even worse yesterday after falsely believing I was getting over my cold. As such, I've watched a fair bit of TV the last couple of days. Yesterday I listened to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tell me to embrace God, even listing a number of alternatives. What an accomodating guy! I`m going to tell him to embrace fantasy sports and will even pass along a list of sleeper picks for this coming hockey season (two words: Ilya Bryzgalov). Is it just me or is this guy one of the least imposing "dictators" in history? Where's the military garb or robes? Even his beard lacks the fear factor of the Ayatollah's, or Saddam's moustache for that matter. Physically, his stature is more Moby than Idi Amin. The wardrobe, which ranges between smart- and business-casual, says software executive more than it does religious fanatic. Again, maybe its just me. Like everyone I find his claim that there are no gays in Iran amusing, though that would explain why ratings for Will & Grace on Iranian State television were only so-so. I wonder how they ever stage a musical or who hosts Iranian Idol? He has to be making this up. After all, isn't Idaho the only place without gay people?

It`s not raining men, Hallelujah!

The other person that has dominated the airwaves the last few days is Jenny McCarthy. Now please don't take this as in any way a diminution of how tragic an affliction autism is, but is there something a bit discomforting about this story? For those of you who haven't heard the story I'll boil it down for you. Jenny McCarthy claims that she has cured her son's autism with a gluten-free diet. One of two things has happened here. One, Jenny McCarthy's son was never really autistic (which I doubt) or two, the medical community has been asleep at the wheel. When the greatest advances in treating a medical condition are being made by a former playmate and star of Baseketball we need to ask some questions about the research community. Is this the datapoint that finally convinces the medical establishment that it is a little too focused on making sure every old dude on the globe is sporting wood while ignoring more serious medical issues? Hey Pfizer, why don't you take just half your Viagra ad budget and buy some Bunsen burners! You've got some real work to do.

As a parent of a young child, McCarthy`s story is frightening. That`s probably why I feel the need to belittle it. It`s admittedly a childish tendency on my part which I won`t deny. My mother and sister worked very closely with a friend`s autistic daughter so through them I have some appreciation for how challenging it would be to raise a child with that affliction. Regardless of the circumstances let`s hope McCarthy`s son`s condition continues to improve. Sorry for the Baseketball rip, Jenny.

Friday, September 21, 2007

You don't talk good!

Well today marks the first day that I've come into work with spit-up on my clothes. I just noticed it as a sat down. It's a very suspicious looking stain on my right pant leg. No wonder that girl on the subway looked at me funny. I just thought she was in love with me. I can't really blame Charlie for spitting up on me this morning. We tried changing up her routine a bit last night. Amending a baby's schedule is a bit like taking a crap in the dark. You won't really know if it was successful until the next morning. She slept well so I'm going to deem the operation a success even with my dubiously stained pants.

I apologize for taking the last couple days off as things have been a bit busy around the office. I import rare and vintage soft drinks. Thank you falling greenback! Not only has the dollar kept me on my toes but I'm also in litigation with the estate of Luciano Pavarotti. I am the original king of Hi-C and will fight to keep that title.

Long live the King of Hi-C!

Also, there hasn't been much to write about. Sen. Larry's story now seems to be bogged down in legal wrangling which doesn't make for great commentary. All I've heard that's new is that he interviewed at Club Monaco on Bloor and wants to make sure he gets that job before resigning. After all, he'll need some money to go clubbing and he thinks that the employee discount is "totally fabulous".

Last night I was having dinner with some of my more influential readers. As you can imagine, the conversation turned to the WWNW. I can't remember if it was Prince Harry, Enya or Cowboy Bob Orton but someone mentioned how often I critiqued people's use, or rather misuse, of language. I had never really thought about it but I guess they're right. The things people say do often bother me, not what they say but how they say it. It got me to thinking, what could I do to help? Perhaps a list of banned phrases is a good place to start. The following words of phrases, if uttered, will result in huge fines and perhaps torture. Here goes:

Adult Beverage: This one really annoys me. Can't you just see "the party guy" at the end of a conference at the Milwaukee Radisson saying "it's time for an adult beverage!". I guarantee his "beverage" is a Coors Light and by the end of the night he will have attempted to cheat on his wife or at least suggested the group head to the nearest rippers. He's also the guy who still adds -inator to the end of people's names. Big-time douche, stupid phrase.

____ is the new ____: Here's a phrase that has far outlived it's usefulness. I'm not sure that there are any words you could put in there that wouldn't be overshadowed by the tiredness of the phrase itself. "_____ is this season's little black dress" still has plenty of legs despite reaching it's apex a few years back with Marty's "The feeding tube is this season's little black dress". Classic.

Irregardless: I'm shocked how often this word is used even by those who don't immediately appear to be mouthbreathers. The proper word is disirregardless. Learn the language, you buffoons!

Blog: This is a "column". Blog is the sound you make after mixing vodka, milk and pickles. Column also indicates I may be getting paid.

Going Forward: I'll mention this phrase in particular but consider it a condemnation of all nonsensical executive blather. These meaningless sayings (net-net, on the come, etc.) are no longer just confined to the realm of quarterly conference calls or annual meetings. You now hear them amongst the general population. Going forward, people who speak like this will be given Chilean neckties, net-net.

"What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas": Let's ignore the fact that this tagline clearly is meant to condone adultery and various other debaucherous pursuits. What really bugs me about this saying is that Las Vegas cannot be mentioned without some jerk saying "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas".

Regular person: "I was in Vega..."

Big-time tool: "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas"

RP: " for a funeral"

BTT: "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas"

Most likely the person rattling over this tired phrase has never been to Vegas or if they have they spent 20 minutes playing quarter slots before heading back to their room to catch "Two and a Half Men". Adding to it's annoyance factor is the fact that it has now been adopted by pretty much every destination. I'm waiting to see a t-shirt with "What happens in Vatican City, stays in Vatican City". It's the new Hard Rock Cafe.

Small World: I have mentioned this before but I simply can't ignore it in the context of today's piece. If you were in a small Armenian village and had mentioned a certain classmate from elementary school only to run into them later that day with no previous knowledge that they were anywhere near Armenia you would be more than justified in using the term "small world". Of course, if you're Armenian don't even think about it. This phrase has been so bastardized to the point of losing all relevance. Here's a dramatization:

Average Torontonian: "You know who I ran into today? My wife! Right there in my bedroom. She was literally sleeping right beside me"

Stupid Idiot: "Huh, what a small world"

The only acceptable use of the term outside of Armenia

Well that's it for today. I've just had a shipment of 1978 Hires come in so it's back to work. Let me know if there is anything you'd like to add to my list. Together, we can make a difference.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Here we go again...

For every season there is a chronically disappointing team for me to follow. With the turning of the leaves comes the Toronto Maple Leafs. You'll see that my passion for the Leafs won't come through quite as strong as that for the Bills. This is likely due to my complete distaste for much of what comes with the Leafs - I love the team but I hate the organization. My issues with Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment have been mentioned previously, however, my problems with the Leafs go far beyond the ownership. Much of what I love about the Bills is the experience of being at the games in person. With the Leafs it's the exact opposite. The gameday experience has the authenticity of a film festival party and the excitement of C-PAC. I guess this is what happens when you turn hockey into a status symbol. Exit real fans, enter the broker crowd. Out with the jerseys and in with the embroidered, designer blazers and giant sunglasses. If I wanted to hang out with this crew I'd go to Bymark...then I'd kill myself. Not only are they aesthetically inappropriate but, more importantly, they are also bad fans. Perhaps it's the sense of entitlement that most of these fans carry with them that explains their disproportionately negative responses to the team. Indifferent applause for a goal, virulent booing for an ill-advised pass. Is this some sort of misguided attempt at tough love? Even Richard Williams has some praise for Venus or Serena when they do something well. This is the antithesis of what a sporting event should be. There is no excitement, no "letting loose". In short, the crowd at the Air Canada Centre may be the worst sports crowd in North America not affiliated with Los Angeles. The fans outside the ACC don't escape my wrath either. The random decisions as to who the scapegoat is every year are beyond comprehension. Nik Antropov is the current Leaf most despised by the "first time caller, long time listener" set. It makes sense as he was arguably their most consistent forward for much of last year and is still a young player with a reasonable salary (Take note: I'm agreeing with the Toronto Star here). Perhaps "Antropov" is the Kazakh word for "Larry Murphy". My advice to Nik, change your name to Nick Anderson. Something tells me Bill from Whitby and Joe from Brampton will suddenly embrace you.

All this being said, I am a dyed-in-the-wool Leafs fan. Mark Bell could rear-end me twice and I'd ask him to autograph my neck brace. The fact that I put up with a consistently mediocre team on the ice and a "fan" base that legitimately explains why the rest of the country hates us is a testament to the unconditional nature of my support. So, here we go again. $135 for the new jersey? I'll take two! I'm Tina, they're Ike. Let the disappointment reign. Go Leafs Go!

Monday, September 17, 2007

10 weeks of Fatherhood

The sub-title of this column could be Lessons for Tom Brady, but I've tired of the Patriots and their various misdeeds. Also, I would like to keep this open-ended rather than just focus on helping deadbeat parents. Yesterday marked the 10 week anniversary of little Charlie's birth. It's been a wonderful ride. Her Mom's tireless efforts have undoubtedly made it easier for me as I'm clearly the freeloader on this team. I am the Jonas Hoglund to her Mats Sundin. I'm not sure what the kid is in that metaphor. Lonny Bohonos? Steve Stavro? The puck? I'll have to put some thought into this.

For those of you soon to enter parenthood (or for anyone who may have a date with Travis Henry soon) here are some things I've picked up during fatherhood's first five fortnights (I'm playing an alliteration drinking game with my work colleagues):
  1. Don't refer to breast-feeding as "getting to second base". Though funny, it really pisses off Moms. Don't piss off Moms.

  2. Have your children in the spring or early summer. I was born in December, in Montreal. How my parents didn't go completely insane with cabin fever I'll never know.

  3. Invite people over. If they show up empty-handed send them home. Visitors and well wishers, if you drop in to see a new baby, bring food or cleaning supplies. Those gifts are much more useful than anything cute and/or cuddly. Also, learn how to politely tell people it's time to leave or don't...

  4. Get some rest. I cannot stress this enough. We've been lucky as she's taken to sleeping reasonably well. Even with a cooperative child you're unlikely to get many blocks of more than four or five hours of uninterrupted sleep. That makes it difficult to completely re-charge. It's especially tough for Mom as she wakes up out of habit (or boobs full of milk).

  5. Throw your Bedazzler out. It can only lead to trouble.
  6. Children are dazzling enough as is, trust me.

  7. Get your drink on. Hangovers are exacerbated by children, particularly by changing diapers. Before the kid arrives tie a few on. Moms, you should have thought of this a year ago. Once the kid arrives buy better booze as you'll drink less. As such, you might as well enjoy it.

  8. If you're looking at investing money in one item make it the stroller. Clothes, cribs and toys can be bought on the cheap. A good stroller will make getting around so much easier, particularly if you live in an urban area.

  9. Do some deep knee bends. You will be doing a lot of rocking up and down so make sure the equipment is in working order. This is another reason why old people shouldn't have children.

  10. Dance like no one's watching. WTF, who's typing this? Who gave middle-aged women access to my blog? People are watching, so stop dancing. You look like a jackass!

  11. You now have a built-in excuse to get out of pretty much anything. Take advantage of it. there's no reason for feeling guilty about embellishing your baby's fussing in order to get out of a work dinner or a family event. You've poured all of your energy into raising this child. You deserve at least some payback...apart, from all the love and joy etc.

  12. Don't set ambitious goals for yourself. This is probably good advice for everyone. There is no way to prepare completely for the hand you're going to be dealt. Just try and do your best rather than striving to meet some unattainable targets.

  13. Remember, there are some pretty stupid people who've raised some pretty normal, healthy children. A large portion of the world's population are idiots as evidenced by the popularity of James Blunt and Ultimate Fighting, yet mathematically there is a very good chance that most children will be raised without significant issues. Hell, Blanket Jackson will probably end up being a Senator or brain surgeon. As long as you lay off the street drugs and make sure the kid is being fed regularly they'll probably turn out alright.

If Courtney Cox can do it, so can you

Not to sound like a total douche but being Dad really is the best thing I've ever done (and I've been to Euro-Disney!). That did sound douche-y but who cares. If you're still procrastinating, don't. Get out there and knock someone up!

The Juice is back

Time to dust off those old "Free OJ" t-shirts. The Juice has once again been framed by the forces of evil, this time for armed robbery. Allegedly, OJ and his golf buddies decided to take the law into their own hands and repatriate some memorabilia that OJ felt was still his. It's nice to see that even at the age of 60 OJ still has the leadership qualities that he possessed as a member of the Bills. Taking a group of your golfing buddies and turning them into a team of armed bandits is no small feat, allegedly.

You know what this all means, another 15 minutes of fame for the personalities from the first trial! Marcia Clark just got another nose, Fred Goldman had his moustache re-handled and Christopher Darden is getting his head buffed as we speak. Kato Kaelin got a call from his agent for the first time in years. Grab your crap and get to your local TV studio because the Juice is back!

I wonder if the cast of characters from the Anna-Nicole Smith trainwreck will feel threatened by the OJ crew. I can only imagine Howard K. Stern bumping into Denise Brown-Simpson on his way out of Larry King's studio. That would be awkward.

Howard: "Denise, what are you doing here?"
Denise BS: "I'm just going over some questions for the prime-time special I'm doing tomorrow".
Howard: "Primetime?, Larry told me he kept primetime open for ex-Presidents or Elizabeth Smart".
Denise BS: "What can I say? By the way, I missed you at Dannielynn's birthday party."
Howard: "You got invited? I thought it was just immediate family."

Finding out you're yesterday's news must be tough to deal will. Sorry, Howard K. At least you've still got your...oh, you really don't have much do you. That sucks.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Fashion Week at WWNW

How could Tim Blanks and Jeanne Beker miss this? The Leafs unveiled their new uniforms on Wednesday to much fanfare, and by fanfare I mean complete disinterest. That disinterest was justified when the Leafs unveiled their old practice jerseys as the latest incarnation of their storied sweater. The only difference is that they've shrunk them and lengthened the back out a little bit. Rumor has it that the jerseys were square in the back but have already been stretched out by the continued efforts of Richard Peddie to drag the team down. Either that or by Damien Cox riding their coattails. Mr. Cox, your "everything the Leafs do is wrong" columns write themselves now don't they, you lazy bugger. I'd like to see them win the cup solely to see how you would somehow turn that into a negative. Perhaps you'd complain about the length of the parade or the excessive contact during the celebration.

Tucker, Kaberle and a member of the Jr. Leafs Nation show off their new PJs before bedtime.

The bean counters who run MLSE have developed a complex matrix to determine how to absolutely maximize the profit margins on these jerseys. That explains the sparse look of the new product. WWNW had someone on the inside during the design process. Here's some of the more damning excerpts:

Low-wage outsourced designer #1: "The silver trim really punctuates the crest but it will add seventy eight cents to each jersey."

Larry Tannenbaum: "78 cents? Forget it. Look at how good I look without any silver trim."

LWOD #2: "We have the crests that we tore off of last year's inventory. We could just sew those on the shoulders."

Teacher's CEO Jim Leech: "No let's keep those. We can stick them on the load of recycled diapers I picked up at the dump. I'm sure those suckers er, our loyal fans will pay $19.99 a piece for those".

Richard Peddie: "Hey guys, forget about all this hockey nonsense. Let's go mockneck shopping!"

End of scene...

As my grandfather always said, never trust guys who wear mocknecks.

By the way is there anything more awkward than watching professional athletes model jerseys? Darcy Tucker looked like he was going to throw a punch at someone, even more than he usually does. Kaberle is awkward at the best of times. I thought he may pass out from having to suck his gut in for that long. Somehow the designers of these things have found a way to make players look small and fat. That's probably why they all got fired by Addition-Elle in the first place. If they don't look good on a piece of man-meat like Kaberle how bad are they going to look on the average fan? Perhaps the replica versions will be a bit more forgiving. You couldn't help but feel bad for the guys who were asked to model the new Marlies jerseys. Talk about an obvious sign you have no hope of making the big club.

I had mentioned a few weeks back that I ordered a Posluszny jersey on eBay. Unfortunately the seller informed me that he no longer had the size in stock. I decided to put off the decision until after the first game. In scanning the crowd it quickly became evident that the Posluszny #51 jersey has become this season's "little black dress" amongst the fashionistas of Western New York. As such I've decided to go in a different direction. Marshawn Lynch's impressive debut along with the video clip of him driving the golf cart on the field in college convinced me to go in the direction of #23. In a perfect world I'd be able to find a #71 Jason Peters authentic road jersey at a reasonable piece. Perhaps if you readers were more interested in my banner ads I could shell out the $300 for one. Thanks for nothing.

I didn't mean that. You complete me.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Finally, some respect for placekickers

Kudos to Disney for making a movie that has a placekicker as the star. For too long quarterbacks (and maybe the odd running back) have been given the star treatment by Hollywood. This has done nothing but further perpetuate the stereotype that placekickers and punters are football's second-class citizens. Thankfully by casting Duane "The Rock" Johnson as the placekicker and leader of his team in the upcoming "The Game Plan" they are striking a chord for low single digit wearers everywhere.

What, The Rock is the quarterback? Well why would Disney make him wear #1? They can't be that stupid, can they? I thought Iger was supposed to make sure Disney didn't make these sorts of mistakes anymore (the historical inaccuracies in the Mighty Ducks are too numerous to mention). Here's what an average NFL player wearing #1 should look like.

Meek, weird helmet, tiny shoulder pads. You can see the awkwardness of having to shower with his teammates in his eyes. Disney, to quote one of Bill Murray's ginger twin sons in Rushmore, "get your head out of your ass!"

Seriously though, these sort of little things bug me. I have enough trouble watching sports movies with fictional teams (The Natural and Bang the Drum Slowly being the two notable exceptions) nonetheless having to see players misnumbered by position. Luckily, Charlie isn't old enough to want me to take her to this movie as I wouldn't be able to control myself at the theatre. "Why is the kicker taking a snap?". "Are they kicking on first down?". "Why's that kicker kissing an attractive woman?". It would be insufferable for all the other movie-goers.

Please Disney, if you start launching sequels of this thing give The Rock #12. If not, it's highly unlikely I'll be buying #3 or #4 once Charlotte's ready to watch these things. I figure it will be firmly in "straight to DVD" territory by then.

Shofar, so good

While I am not always a big proponent of organized religion (see my recent piece "Don't Ramadan our throats: A Critique of Government Funding for Religious Schools"), I am a huge fan of Rosh Hashanah. My office is basically empty save me and the IT guys so I could be making sweet, sweet love to the dog for the next two days if I wasn't so diligent. The relative quiet around the office has given me a chance to mentally and spiritually prepare myself for our last softball game of the year. Tonight we play in the championship game (and by championship I mean the consolation game to see who finishes 5th in our 10 team league). Right now I'm doing visualization exercises. I'm imagining rounding third and heading for home as the third base coach hands me a can of 50. It's a great image. Hopefully we win. To celebrate the game and Rosh Hashanah I have called the pub and had some nachos pre-ordered with apples and honey. They won't taste nearly as good if we lose.

You've never heard Stairway until you've heard it played on the shofar

It appears that Irish film star, Colin Farrell has gotten into the spirit of the high holidays a bit early this Tishrei. For those of you who haven't availed yourself of the Toronto Sun's new home delivery service you may have missed this morning's cover story. Who would have thought a story that began with Colin Farrell asking someone to come into his limo would have such a happy ending...actually, check that. That's exactly what I assume would happen in such a story. Anyways, Farrell invited local homeless man Stress into his limo and took him down to a local outfitters for a shopping spree. Farrell then handed him a wad of cash and, according to the Star, pre-paid for a year of his rent. The entire bill was estimated at ten grand. Colin Farrell, I may not like most of your movies but kudos for being a good guy. Shana Tova Umetukah to you, Mr. Farrell. I'm sure the big guy will look the other way next time you hook up with a teenager.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Something to cheer about and something to cheer against

The Kevin Everett story took a markedly positive turn yesterday when it was announced he has made voluntary movements with his arms and legs. While there is still much uncertainty as to his prognosis there appears to be a good chance that he will walk again. Much of the credit goes to the medical and training staff on hand who's quick actions not only contributed to his possible recovery but very well may have saved his life. The doctors who have been treating and monitoring him both from Buffalo and the "Miami Project" should also be lauded for their efforts. Dr. Cappuccino is both a great name and a great surgeon.

Here's a picture of Kevin bulldozing his way through one of Michael Vick's ex-teammates, who appears to have borrowed a pair of my Mother's gardening gloves. You'll need more than that to stop this guy, you jerk! Anyways, this may not turn out to be the tragic story that it so recently appeared to be. That being said, Everett still has significant challenges ahead of him which I'm sure the team and the community will support him in overcoming. I'm looking forward to the day when Kevin walks onto the field at the Ralph, perhaps with his doctors. Let's hope that's not too far in the future. There's no way they lose that game.

The cheers to Everett and his doctors contrast to a hearty round of jeers for the New England Patriots and, in particular, their head coach Bill Belichick. HC Bill's repeated acts of classlessness are finally sufficient that even the Patriot panderers that are the national sports media can't ignore them. From the tawdriness of his personal life to his complete disregard for his player's well-being Bill Belichick has become a caricature of the evil football coach (think Jon Voight in Varsity Blues). Now that he has been caught cheating on the field, the NFL (and their PR partners at ESPN, CBS, USA Today, SI etc.) can no longer keep up the charade that he is some sort of quiet genius. Belichick is a man of few words and fewer morals. If Sheriff Goodell's job is to protect the sanctity of the game he should come down as hard on Belichick and the Patriots as he does on the players who commit off the field violations. It's time Goodell played the role of Quarterback Dawson to Belichick's Coach Kilmer and gave him a firm:

"I don't want your life".

Actually, JVB may have said "laff" as his Texas accent was pretty awful. Either way, you get my drift. The NFL would be a much better place with the return of Kevin Everett and the departure of Bill Belichick. Winning at all cost is not something the league should be promoting, just ask Ted Johnson.


A casual reader of WWNW may be under the impression that the author is in some way anti-American. If so you're way off the mark. In fact, I have a particular fondness for Americans and many things about that fine country. While the terms "Americans" is a bit of a catch-all given the vast differences between people in say Maine (where I spent many summer vacations) or Biloxi, Mississippi (where we celebrated the stag party for Marty over at What Would Mike Reno Do?) there are some commonalities that I find particularly appealing. Don't get me wrong, I'm a proud Canadian but there are certain things that we could learn from our neighbors to the south, and I'm not referring to "how to build larger theme restaurants".

Through my work (I'm a mystery shopper for Claire's) and my time visiting my parents who have lived in New Jersey and now reside in Jacksonville, Florida I get to spend a lot of time in the States. From these experiences I have compiled an incomplete list of what's great about America. Think of it as a modern version of Tocqueville's seminal work Democracy in America with a little more focus on the beer and professional sports. Here goes, in no particular order:

  1. Americans are friendlier than Canadians. This is probably going to have people north of the border up in arms but it's true. In terms of outward friendliness Americans do a better job than we do. Again I'm speaking in generalities here but you're more liking to have someone come up to you and start a conversation with you in the lower 48 (I've never been to Alaska and was too young when I went to Hawaii) than in Canada. That doesn't mean they're going to like you when they get to know you but they'll at least make an effort at the beginning.

  2. Nobody "circles the wagons" like Americans do. When Americans decide to get behind something there's no half-assing about it. Whether it be decorating the neighborhood for Halloween, supporting the local high school football team or making some nobody into a national celebrity Americans go from zero to fandemonium faster than any other nationality. Now perhaps they don't always channel this energy in the right direction but you have to admire their passion. Our reserved nature often gets in the way of us going "all out". Imagine if Hockey Day in Canada was celebrated by Americans. It would make Thanksgiving day football look like a Division III field hockey tournament rather than the CBC-created non event it is here.

  3. Americans make very good micro-brewed beer. The swill that the masses drink is terrible but I would take quality product like Sierra Nevada, Fat Tire or Goose Island over the Canadian equivalent. That's really going to piss off the overly-defensive amongst us, but it's the truth so deal with it.

  4. The American service industry makes ours look terrible. Actually, correct that, our service industry makes itself look terrible The two countries' industries don't even belong in the same sentence. Here's a reenactment of an average experience with a US restaurant/hotel/golf course: "Sir, we've unfortunately had a problem and you're table/room/tee time isn't fully ready. Why don't you go to the bar and enjoy a drink or two on us and we'll take another 10% off your bill. We're very sorry for your inconvenience. If you'd like to go elsewhere, we'll drive you there". Problems happen, you've dealt with it appropriately, I'm still a happy customer. In fact, I'm happier than I would have been if everything had gone smoothly. Now, here's the Canadian equivalent. "It looks like there's a problem with your reservation. You must have changed it or never made it in the first place. There's nothing I feel like doing about it so you're f-ed. Get out." Admittedly I'm paraphrasing here but these are actual experiences I've dealt with. I was once pulled over for speeding in Mayport, Florida then given directions to a great seafood restaurants and a recommendation as to what I should order by the cop.

So there you go, America. To celebrate I baked you a cake.

These colours don't run...well the strawberries did a little bit.

As you can tell, I believe in America. I've been there, it exists. I suppose by the same token I also believe in the Dominican Republic and Epcot Center, but that's beside the point. If I criticize something about your country in the future it's coming from a friend...a friend who needs your television studios to employ his countrymen and your malls to buy his discount items from.

All together now: U-S-A! U-S-A!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

WWNW at 30: Tonight we're gonna party like it's late July 2007

It feels like just yesterday we began this adventure. I can't believe this marks my 30th column. Think back, if you will, to when this all got started. Some of you probably aren't old enough to remember those days when we would gather around the radio to listen to the news, perhaps while dancing the Charleston. While tonight is the gala celebration I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you, the reader, for sticking with me throughout the ups and downs. Without you I would just be a crazy person talking to himself. If you were better looking I would have invited each and every one of you to the party.

The highlights from our first 30 columns are too numerous to mention. Where do I even start? How could we forget the time we staged the rally to make sure that Donna graduated even though she got drunk at the dance or the day we all pitched in to make the homecoming float only to have it ruined by Emily Valentine. We overcame her stalking and murderous rage with nothing more than teamwork and caring. That's something we should all be proud of. Then there were those days when we just went to the amusement park because the writers weren't prepared for the show to actually get picked up for a full season. Either that or they were just really hungover.

Anyways, as you can see by the photo the party is already in full swing. I should get going as Sen. Larry and Tedy Bruschi just arrived and I have to make sure they don't end up sitting at the same table, know. I'll be back tomorrow as we start the next leg of our journey together. Until then, stay classy World.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Who's crying now?

So begins my series of columns with Journey songs for titles...

In what was one of the more unwatchable football games in recent memory, the Bills lost yesterday by a single point on a last second field goal. As you can imagine, I am downtrodden. Luckily I have a beautiful baby girl with an ability to console her sucky father so the pain is somewhat mitigated. I even managed a handful of smiles post-game, not immediately post-game but a couple hours later. You can add "crushing defeats of your favorite teams will be slightly less painful" to the list of things that are better when you have a kid.

Things look very grim in Orchard Park. An already suspect defense lost three starters and back-up tight end Kevin Everettt was felled by a gruesome looking "cervical spine injury". All four injuries will see the players miss significant time. The severity of Everett's injury goes far beyond the scope of this stupid column so let's just leave it at, good luck Kevin. We're pulling for you.

Little Charlie (I've now fully retired the name BA, realizing it was a dumb joke in the first place which I've made even worse by beating it further to death) seemed to enjoy the game. She was unfazed by the hootin' and hollerin' after Roscoe Parrish's punt return TD. Luckily her Mom had taken her upstairs to eat for the end of the game so she wasn't around for the cavalcade of F-bombs and flying Bills merchandise. That may have been a bit scarring.

Being a fan of this team is a test of biblical proportions. It bears comparison to the story of Job in the Old Testament who was asked to endure immeasurable suffering without any apparent rhyme or reason. Terrence McGee drops a game-clinching interception. That's akin to the destruction of your crops. Drew Bledsoe can't beat the second team Steelers in a game that means nothing to Pittsburgh. There's your dreadful boils. The suffering is all you have and the reward is the ability to say "I stuck with these guys despite the bloody misery they brought me". This is unlike Job who eventually was rewarded for his suffering. If I recall correctly he received a couple unicorns and a spaceship. I personally feel there's value in the suffering itself, hence the reason I believe I'm doing the right thing by raising Charlie as a Bills fan. Using the same logic, I just bought the first two seasons of "According to Jim" on DVD.

You call that suffering?

Here's a letter I just received:


First time writer, long time reader. Your biblical interpretation blows (sic). Why don't you stick with football, Sen. Larry and the wonderful daughter I may or may not have blessed you with.

Don't stop Believin'

Guy Upstairs

I'm not sure who this Guy fella is. He must be French-Canadian. Regardless, he's probably right. As Bills fans all we can do is look forward to next week in this unending gauntlet of pain. The next two games are in Pittsburgh and New England. Spectacular!

Friday, September 7, 2007

You're the Whitney to my Bobby...

Only two days until the Bills season starts. My advent calendar is almost empty. I opened today's door to find a can of Genesee Light. It's on ice until I get home from work. The beginning of football season also marks the beginning of my hiatus from being a perfect husband. With 16 of 17 Sundays being spent on the not-so-jolly jumper of emotion that is being a Bills fan I occasionally neglect some of my basic spousal duties. This year, the stakes are even higher (for me, not the Bills) as I have assumed the dual roles of husband and father. As such, I should make an effort to operate as a normal human being even when, Lord help us, the Bills lose. No more swearing, sulking or crying. Actually let's just start out with less swearing, sulking and crying. The kid's only 8 weeks old so a couple F-bombs aren't going to bother her. That being said, she already knows the first third of the periodic table so perhaps I should be more careful what I say and do in her presence.

Being BA's Mom is no walk in the park so the least I can do is make an effort to not be a baby myself on Sundays. Despite that acknowledgement, I would like to apologize in advance for what will inevitably be a few lapses into the emotional paralysis of Bills fandom that will occasionally render me useless as either a husband or father. I will do my best to limit these occurrences. Luckily BA has a Mom that will sacrifice more than Dad will to make sure she has everything she needs. Thanks, from both of us.

Kenny checks his shirt pocket to see if that's where he left his dignity

You'll also notice that the sight got a bit of a facelift. To celebrate the change I've included the following picture of Kenny Rogers. I would have thought Kenny would be the type of guy to age a little more gracefully. Instead he grows a goatee, starts wearing blazers with designer jeans and gets his face mangled. Willie Nelson is turning in his grave. What, he's not dead? You mean a living person can look like that? Dear God...

Have a good weekend (unless you're the Denver Broncos, in which case I hope your Saturday is alright but your Sunday stinks)!

Don't let the son of Idaho go down on you...

I came up with that headline but don't really have the story to go with it. Instead, let me just use this as an opportunity to say goodbye to Sen. Larry Craig (cue Elton John/George Michael duet). His on-again, off-again resignation appears to be back on again, though he is standing by his steadfast denial that he is not gay. This is despite the evidence against him and the fact that he pled guilty to lewd behaviour. The sting that netted Craig actually nabbed 41 men in total including, ironically, a Land's End sales rep (see my August 28th column). That's a lot of lewdness. I also uncovered another piece of damning evidence that has somehow alluded authorities and the media. Check out Sen. Larry's license plate:

That pokes a couple of holes in his claim that he was unaware of any "signals" he may have given.

(Note: if you see that image circulating around the internet, let me know. I made it)

It's been amazing to watch Sen. Larry's colleagues turn on him. I know this isn't a particularly original thought but I am shocked at how quickly his party has tried to distance themselves from him. Isn't this the party that accepted David Duke the former KKK Grandmaster, not to mention their current roster of bribe takers and madame frequenters? Go ahead and sell your constituents out to make some money from an oil company but stay out of the men's room! No wonder 41 dudes in Minnesota had to resort to sneaking into stall 2 for some man love. When the party that controls your country ranks your sexual preference below racism, infidelity and theft in terms of what's deemed acceptable what other choice would you have? Come to Canada. We're cool with it...minus the cheap jokes on some jackass' blog (that'd be me).

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Kids these days...

A Halifax high school just announced that they are ending their short-lived hoodie ban. It's tough to screw up the same decision twice but the principal of the school seems to have managed to do just that. Firstly you attempt to address some sort of teenage behavioural issues with a knee-jerk reaction that has nothing to do with the problem itself. Banning hoodies to prevent kids from doing bad things is akin to outlawing large glasses and creepy moustaches as a way to combat child predators. The Principal then follows the ill-advised ban by caving immediately. A couple of twerpy kids whine with such brilliant refrains as "everybody was just totally against it" and you give up. You made the stupid rule so you should stick to it. Instead, you reward grammatically-challenged snivelling by giving in to the kids.

If it was up to me I would ban kids from having many, many things. In fact, so many things would be banned under my rules that it would be just easier to list what wasn't banned. My disdain for much of what kids do, say and wear has been exacerbated since my daughter was born. Perhaps I was just oblivious to the state of today's youth before I had added one to their ranks. Have you ever overheard a conversation amongst young girls recently? It's appalling. Imagine a group of parrots without the ability to listen, if those parrots had been taught to use the word "ommagod" and very little else. It's enough to make you want to impale yourself on your diaper genie. For the love of Jesus P, I don't know what I'll do if BA starts talking like this. Is it wrong to find your own daughter irritating because I don't know how I couldn't? How do you respond if your kid starts a sentence with "Ommagod", throws in a couple "likes" and ends it with a "totally"? I'd probably just break down in tears. And what the Hell is this High School Musical? You know what I think about things that make you "dance in the aisles". This is what kids can't get enough of today. I'll take a kid in a hoodie listening to Marilyn Manson any day as opposed to the over-bangled, squealing Paris Jr. blaring the High School Musical soundtrack. Hopefully by being vigilant early I can somehow raise this kid properly.

This Sunday afternoon should go a long way to getting her started on the right track. The 2007-2008 Buffalo Bills season begins with a 1:00 PM kick-off against the Denver Broncos. She will be at Daddy's side in her Sunday best (Jr. Jills dress and pink Bills bib). Hopefully I'll have a picture on Monday assuming they win. On the off chance they don't, I probably won't post anything as it's hard to type while lying in the fetal position in a dark room.

I know the Bills are a popular punching bag for many (mostly terrible people like predators and racists). For those of you who are somewhat reasonable people but still choose to dislike the Bills I offer this excerpt from a recent article on Sports Illustrated's website in regards to Bills Quarterback JP Losman and the Buffalo Lives event he organized that brought out 1,100 volunteers to clean up downtown (sent to me by the good people at Look at me I figured out how to put a link in my column). At a time when all we hear about is Rodney Harrison's drug use, Randy Moss running over traffic cops and Tom Brady's disdain for fidelity it's nice to know that not all professional football players are bad people.

"I volunteered for the 'Buffalo Lives' event downtown and it was a cool thing. There were a lot of people and we cleaned up a lot of trash and pulled a lot of weeds all around the town. Some of the famous people I noticed who showed their support were Brian Moorman, Peerless Price, Coy Wire, Josh Stamer, Trent Edwards, Alex Van Pelt and family, and assistant coach Eric Studesville. They actually got down and dirty with us.

J.P. was real nice to all the volunteers and took time after the event to meet and greet the huge crowd that developed around him. He's matured so much in his four years here. Here's the best thing though, and being a proud Buffalonian and bleeding heart like myself, it really makes me root for J.P. even more.

The cleaning and work for the volunteers finished around noon and then everyone got pizza and listened to music until about 1 p.m., when it ended and people went about their day. Anyway, we rolled out of there around 3:45 p.m. and start walking back to city hall, where the car was parked. As we are walking by I notice that there is someone landscaping in this section of land/garden; it was J.P. He was still there after all the volunteers had left, after all the media outlets were gone, after all the sponsors had packed up and headed home, just doing hard work on his own with nobody around. It actually made me feel guilty for booking it earlier.

I just found that really cool, our multi-millionaire California-native QB out doing gardening/landscaping labor for the city so that it can look good. Big ups to No. 7.''

Big ups, indeed. If you're not a fan now, check your pulse.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Fox in the Greenhouse: My Week as a Vegetarian

A few weeks back my wife made me a challenge that she probably assumed I would simply laugh off. After a particularly Herculean carnivorous display which saw nothing more than a ravaged bone left from what once was a massive porterhouse steak she bet me that I couldn't go more than a few meals without meat. Historically she would be right in making that statement as I tend to have some sort of meat with most every meal and usually it's a fairly sizeable chunk. I am a proud carnivore with a taste for most every edible animal, however, not being one to back down from a challenge I said, "why the hell not?". It's the perfect time of year as so many vegetable crops are hitting their peak season. Besides, I have a 10k run coming up in a few weeks so I figured I could use this experiment to springboard myself back into game shape. That was on a Saturday. The week sans meat began the following day. The following is a running chronicle I kept during my sojourn into herbivorism.

Last night's feast would have given me the fuel to hibernate well through the morning if little BA had cooperated. Instead I had to get up when she did and spent most of the day tending to her. This afternoon she seemed to be looking at me strangely as if to say "who are you and what have you done with my Dad?". I seriously doubt a breakfast of granola and yogurt followed by a sandwich with tomatoes and sprouts for lunch would somehow change my appearance, would it? Also, she keeps motioning towards my chest as if she expects to find food there. She knows that Daddy's not the one with the milk, at least she did yesterday.

I didn't sleep very well last night but I doubt my vegetarian meals had anything to do with that. I'm not counting calories, protein or any other measure of my intake but I presume I'm getting more than enough to sustain myself. I missed my stop on the subway but I'll chalk that one up to just being tired. I'm snacking a bit more than usual having gone through most of a container of honey roasted peanuts today. Bad idea. I've never been so unpleasantly full in my life.

I'm getting a bit bored with my meal options particularly at lunch. Veggie wraps as a category are universally over-priced and unfulfilling. The falafel is a solid vegetarian option but unfortunately not widely available. There has to be a segment of the herbivore community that wants to avoid meat but also wants a filling, interesting meal. I find the majority of what is being offered almost condescending in its lack of quality. Oh, you must not care what something tastes like so here's some iceberg lettuce and unripe tomatoes in a cardboard tortilla wrap. Perhaps in my role as a temporary vegetarian I'm the only one to notice how weak the offering is. I would guess that vegetarians have either never known what food is supposed to taste like or have given up caring long ago.

The day went by as any other until the end of the day. I arrived home only to realize that my wife and daughter have been replaced by impostors. I must admit they're very good. I can't let them know I'm on to them though. Not yet...

So far everything seems pretty normal. I went to the gym today and felt reasonably energetic. I was decently productive at work, even showing up about 45 minutes earlier than usual. I did, however, french kiss a man in the elevator. That's not something I'd usually do. It's probably a good thing I only have three more days of this.

It was a bit awkward seeing the guy from yesterday in the elevator this morning. Even more so when I bit him. I think I need to up my calorie intake. I ate an entire can of chick peas this afternoon. Next time I'm going to open the can first. I've been battling ever worsening headaches as I may have been concussed by any one of the numerous falls I've had today. My sense of balance is severely distorted. I was of little help to my softball team tonight. My efforts to disprove the theory "vegetarians shouldn't play team sports other than ultimate frisbee which isn't even a real sport in the first place" were in vain.

My eyes have taken on the sunken appearance of a corpse. At least that is what my wife tells me as I have lost my eyesight. Sleep is a distant memory which is actually a relief as my night terrors have become unbearable. I would have probably pissed the bed if I wasn't completely dehydrated from malnourishment. I shake uncontrollably and am incoherent. This is actually being dictated through an interpreter as I'm speaking in tongues. I am forlorn but I will not let the challenge go unmet.

My eyesight has returned and is actually better than it was before my bout with temporary blindness. My ability to hear has also surpassed previous levels probably owing to the long, pointy ears I have grown. They're a bit of a bitch as my iPod headphones won't stay in. The guy from the elevator looked terrified when he saw me today. I guess the sight of my protruding buck teeth has put the fear of god in him. To be fair, I wouldn't want to bitten by those things either. I have taken to the yard for nourishment while burrowing a comfortable home for myself deep in the ground. This is my life now.

It's now Sunday morning and after a hungry man's breakfast of bacon, sausage, eggs and baked beans I am whole again. In retrospect, the week wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I think I've dropped a couple pounds and despite the temporary blindness, inappropriate elevator behaviour, disorientation and feral episode I appear no worse for the wear. That being said, a hearty tap of the foot to you, herbivores, as this is not something I could do for much longer without something really bad happening. Your dedication is commendable. Happy grazing my furry little friends!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Happy Family Day, now go get Dad a beer

The promise of another statutory that the greatest ploy for votes ever? Why hasn't this been promised before? It's so simple, yet so brilliant. Dalton McGuinty has promised that he will add Family Day as a holiday in February. Of course you'll have to vote for him but that's not such a big sacrifice. There's a decent chance I was going to vote for him anyways. Though a Sens fan he seems like a relatively earnest, hard-working guy. Sure he broke a couple of promises but nothing too serious. He didn't kill anyone and as far as I've heard when he taps his foot it's not meant to signal anything.

John Tory the Tory used to work for Rogers which makes me a bit nervous but that's nothing two new vacation days couldn't get me to overlook. Despite the tone of this column I am not a lazy guy I simply don't have a significant preference which one of these two guys win. As such the extra day off is enough to sway my decision. The NDP would need to offer me a helluva lot to get me to vote for them, perhaps Friday afternoons off all summer and three or four flex days which I could use at my leisure. I guess the time off wouldn't really matter as their handling of the economy would probably put many of us out of work altogether.

My one complaint is the name. Family Day sounds a bit too covertly evangelical for my liking, much like one of those free after school pick-up basketball leagues where the "coach" rounds everyone up at halftime to discuss Jesus. "Family" seems to have been adopted by the JC freaks as one of their code words. What about the people without families or those in non-traditional families? Imagine how miserable Family Day would be for orphans? What about gay orphans? They would be just devastated. Lil' Orphan Lance has been dealt a tough enough hand without his government rubbing his nose in it. What if you just hate your family? Isn't this just a reminder of the shitty stock you come from.

What will be the Family Day traditions? Will there be gifts? Will there be costumes? Perhaps we'll all dress up as members of our family. That would be kinda weird. "Look at me, I'm uncle Gene. I'm a mouth breather who drinks too much and stares inappropriately. I'm cousin Craig. I only give one word answers and give the distinct immpression I'd rather be somewhere else". I doubt this is what Dalton had in mind.

Perhaps Tory John Tory can one-up Dalton with a more entertaining holiday like "Office Pool Day" or "Sleep off your Hangover Day". Hell, I'd be happy with US Thanksgiving North. You've got one month to think of something TJT so you better get cracking. If not, Dalton gets my vote.

An unfunny lament on the state of baseball in Canada

On the one year anniversary of the tragic passing of Australia's favourite son, Steve Irwin, today is clearly not the day for humour. This is particularly true in light of another, less-publicized death. While not as heroic an ending as being stung by a stingray, nature's most ruthless killer, the death of the Ottawa Lynx is equally jarring. This weekend saw the the baseball team play their last home game of the season. The Lynx, the AAA affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, were the last Triple A baseball team left in the country having outlived the Vancouver Canadians, Calgary Cannons and Edmonton Trappers. As someone who grew up following minor league baseball this is truly a sad day for our country. What does it say about us as a nation that we can no longer support professional baseball outside of the Jays (who would be on shaky ground if it weren't for the twenty or so combined home dates against the Yankees and Red Sox every year)? The Lynx join the aforementioned Triple A teams and the Montreal Expos, as well as low-minors teams like the Hamilton Cardinals and London Tigers, on an exodus south. We are now left with only one affiliated minor league baseball team, the re-formed Vancouver Canadians of the Northwest League (which I ashamedly didn't know about) as well as a handful of independent teams like the Quebec Capitales.

The first sporting events I ever attended in person were Canadians games at old Nat Bailey Stadium. I remember clearly the great minor league star/major league flameout Joey Meyer winning a playoff game with a walk-off homerun back in 1985. I used to listen to games on a small radio which I took to bed with me. In retrospect the image of a boy listening to a ballgame in bed seems like a relic of a bygone era and, sadly, I guess it is. These are very fond memories which BA and her generation will not get to experience. They'll probably be watching mixed martial arts on portable holograms after a long day of jet-packing and hovercrafting. Beyond my own personal history, Canadian minor league baseball has played a significant role in the lore of the sport as a whole. Jackie Robinson made his debut as a member of the Dodgers organization in Montreal before being called up to Brooklyn while Babe Ruth hit his first professional homerun in Toronto.

I guess this is all part of my broader disappointment with the apparent decline of baseball in the hearts of minds of Canada's youth. I grew up enamored with the sport and still am to this day. Unfortunately the strategy and numerology of baseball, not to mention its relatively relaxed pace, is the antithesis of what seems to appeal to the masses these days. I seriously worry about what will become of a generation that spurned more traditional team sports while gawking at idiotic exhibitions such as UFC like hillbillies at an air show.