Wednesday, October 31, 2007

C'est L'Halloween!

To celebrate this godless holiday I've dressed up as a dipshit yuppie. It's a bit less adventurous than last year when I dressed up as Bennett, the bad guy from Commando (played by the second most famous Vernon Wells). In retrospect, that wasn't the greatest choice. The chainmail sleeveless shirt and the creepy moustache made for alot of unwelcome advances on the subway. Once I got to the office people just thought I was dressed as Freddy Mercury. Now, as we look back some 20 years later, why did we find that guy (Bennett, not Mercury) so menacing? He would look more at home shooting a super-soaker into a crowd of parade watchers than leading a band of murderous mercenaries. Even the name of the movie has taken on a more salacious meaning. I may need an actual costume for after work. Unfortunately my Marshawn grill and dreads kit hasn't arrived in time so I'll be forced to improvise. In a pinch I could just dress up in head-to-toe black and go as Bill Belichick's soul. My other option is to put on a wig and talk in a really deep voice. I doubt there will be many other people dressed as Jennifer Hedger this year.

It appears as though I'll be getting my wish and Jesus P will be back behind center on Sunday. In true Halloween spirit he should be able to carve up the Bengals secondary. Hell, they've even got orange uniforms. There couldn't be a more timely opponent. Of course the porosity of the aforementioned defense will give JP's detractors an easy out. Sure he threw for 350 yards and four touchdowns but it was against the Bengals. Edwards was on his way to a sub-200 yard game against the woeful Jets but that's blindly ignore that for now. Don't let the facts cloud your decision-making.

Have a safe and enjoyable Halloween.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Jonathan Powers, hand over your crown!

As the good book says there is no greater sin than allowing your guests to leave hungry...or sober. I think its safe to say that Charlie, Mrs. Holt and I were successful in avoiding that offense in hosting a very successful Iron Chef contest this past Saturday. The two teams brought the art of cookery and creativity to unprecedented levels. With nothing but our wits and guile six people transformed the simple squash, our theme ingredient, into a collection of mouthwateringly beautiful dishes. In true Iron Chef style I would have been honoured to have fallen to Marty and his team had the judges deemed them more worthy. In the end we won but the decision could have just as easily gone the other way. Here is a photo of the elated champions:

Oops, that's the other squash contest we won (that's me on the left). What a wonderful day that was.

On Sunday we embark on our annual pilgrimage to the Ralph to watch our beloved Bills. This marks the 8th year we've made the trip. The rejuvenated Bills have ridden a two-game winning streak towards respectability and a 3-4 record. If NFL contests were only 59 minutes long the Bills would be 5-2 and sitting in the driver's seat for a playoff berth but you know what they say, if my aunt had balls she'd be Erin Davis. As with most every year we watch a Bills team with uncertainty at the quarterback position. I didn't think I had the energy to wade into this debate before listening to the post-game show on WGR 550. The ridiculousness of their analysis, however, has served to wake me up. The hosts (prominent members of the "Edwards propaganda crew") continued the beatification of Trent Edwards despite another mediocre performance, which included another ill-advised throw that led to an interception. This is quickly becoming Edwards' signature move, much like Ted DiBiase's "Million Dollar Dream". If you had only listened to these two while not actually watching the game you could have come away with the impression that until being felled by a wrist injury, Edwards had looked like Joe Montana with an even more Patton-like command over his team. They even went so far as to claim that Edwards left the game with the lead showing the same regard for the truth that they do for objectivity. Edwards then gave way to the "reckless gunslinger" JP Losman who's 19 yard completion (that led to the go ahead field goal) was critiqued with an amount of venom usually only reserved for poorly-chosen Oscar dresses. Meanwhile, nothing was mentioned about Edwards momentously bad interception. He gets a pass on a play that could have cost us the game while JP gets raked over the coals for successfully gunning a 19 yard pass? Now that is some impressively delusional partisanship. I think we've found the next two candidates to be Dubya's press secretary. The 85 yard touchdown pass that JP threw to Evans that officially clinched the victory was similarly ripped apart with the hosts even suggesting that JP (and perhaps Evans) went against the coaches to call that play. Usurpers! How dare they! I also heard the two of them tried to buy yellowcake from Niger. Of course, JP didn't hit Evans in stride but he put the ball in a spot where the team's best weapon could make a play, something Edwards does not yet seem capable of. Nothing was said of Edwards lame duck "bomb" to a wide open Evans in the Ravens game that caused him to cut his route short thus turning what should have been an easy touchdown into a long completion. His other attempt to hit Evans deep in that game was short and over his wrong shoulder. Again, nothing was mentioned. Edwards is the champion of the Buffalo sports media and the Bills brass. No evidence to the contrary will cause them to second-guess their premature anointment. Of course they brought up the intellectually lazy argument that the team has a better record with Edwards than with JP this season. They also have a better record with Di Giorgio at middle linebacker than Pozluszny. Let's just cut Poz now to save our self the trouble of doing it in the offseason. They're winning games in spite of Edwards, not because of him.

As I've said before (perhaps not in this forum), Edwards is probably the starter next year but Losman is the better quarterback right now. In today's NFL there's no reason to play for next year if you have any hope of making the playoffs, particularly if it's been so long so you've been there. Look around the NFL. There are very few decent quarterbacks. Just look at the putrid list of has-beens, never-weres and has-weres that took snaps this past Sunday. The downside risk of giving up on a potentially solid QB far outweighs the loss of some extra snaps to prepare Edwards for next year. Who can say with absolute confidence that JP has been given a chance to completely disprove that he is a quality NFL quarterback? Let's have a thorough evaluation of what we have before we move on to the next guy, who has done even less to prove he's an NFL-calibre pivot.

The sad thing about this is that like most sports debates the sensationalist media forces the fans to take one side or the other. Trent Edwards seems like a great guy and may turn out to be a very good quarterback. Unfortunately the vitriolic discourse around who should play quarterback makes me feel that I need to despise him because I want JP to start. Can't we just look at this rationally without having to turn this into a civil war? We're all pulling for the same team here.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


The Csonka comment was one thing (in fact I took that as a compliment) but the Rachael Ray comment crossed the line. What began as a friendly contest has now crossed over to bloodfeud status. This is the literary equivalent of me ripping the microphone away from Mean Gene. In the immortal words of Mike Tyson "I'm going to rip out your heart, all praise be to Allah!". Notice I didn't include his "I want to eat your children" comment as I prefer to avoid eating anything you've made.

Saturday evening will see as one-sided a victory as the world has ever witnessed. It will make the Falkland Islands war look like a triple-overtime playoff game in comparison. This will be about as close as a game of Trivial Pursuit between Stephen Hawking and Miss Teen South Carolina. You will emerge from this as ravaged as Tom Sizemore's liver. If I were you I would be praying that you win the coin toss and go first as the judges will likely swear off food having already found heaven in our creations. Why go on when you have already tasted perfection? Particularly when the next offering is a selection of uninspired gruel that would make Bobby Flay look creative. If they're sadists they may try a bite or two but even those who enjoy discomfort have some standards. While the taste should be offensive the aesthetics will be even less appetizing. I expect something that is to food what the 1980s Vancouver Canucks were to haberdashery.

Imagine this, served to you on a plate...

For those of you who will not be attending don't feel left out. Pair a six pack of Steelback with a three-week old ham followed by brushing your tongue with a toilet brush if you would like to recreate the experience of "enjoying" their meal. Bon Apetit!

Steve Holt throws microphone to the ground, makes slashing motion across throat and nods head intensely while staring into camera.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The next great rivalry

The world needs a new rivalry. The Tupac-Biggie thing is now more than a decade past its most heated battles. Today we have half-ass feuds such as the Kanye-50 Cent album sales thing. An album sales contest!?! What is this, a high school fundraiser? If you tied would you settle it with a dance off? That's nothing more than a competition between opposing lemonade stands compared to the murderous threats and gun battles of Hip Hop's salad days (Ed: likely the first time the phrase "Hip Hop's salad days" has ever been used in the history of the English language). C'mon guys, at least throw a punch! You're making Shannon Doherty look like Suge Knight here. Kobe v. Shaq never escalated to actual violence despite how much joy the image of Shaq pounding on Kobe would have brought to the entire world. Shiites and Sunnis would have high-fived one another at the sight of the Big Aristotle landing a haymaker flush on the Black Mambo's kisser. The calming of tensions likely resulted from the fact that Shaq is just too nice of a guy and the NBA schedules their meetings on Christmas Day. Even a complete ass like Kobe Bryant isn't going to start something on Jesus' birthday. The New England Patriots seem to be waging war against common decency but you can't really call that a rivalry as the Pats are thoroughly trouncing their unprepared opponent. Hopefully decency and all that is good in the world will eventually fight back by asking a defensive tackle to roll over the back of Tom Brady's leg (ala Vince Wilfork on JP Losman in week 3) as he attempts to put the Pats up by 30 with a minute left in a meaningless game. Karma's a bitch, Belichick.

If you're looking for a truly smoldering rivalry look no further than right here. I am starting a fight with fellow columnist Marty at What Would Mike Reno Do. This war will not be waged over perceived slights, copied lyrics or broken hearts. No, this is a legitimate beef with much more at stake...or rather at steak. We will battle IRON CHEF STYLE!!!!!

This Saturday, I and my fellow chefs will do battle with Marty, his wife and my brother-in-law. Bloodlines will be crossed, friends will become combatants, fingers will get nicked. I couldn't be more excited. Both teams will be informed of the theme ingredient at 8:00 AM Monday at which point the contest will begin. One of us will survive to tell a tale of victory, the other.....will probably just pretend it never happened. By the look of things from their team picture below, Marty and his group appear ready to go, though they'll need more than fancy chef hats and matching pants to beat us.Marty and team, you're done! As my accounting teacher used to say, "when you mess with the bull, you get the horns". He had a little hand gesture that went with that. You'll just have to imagine how menacing that looks.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A new name and a new destiny!

I spent some time earlier today desperately searching for a saviour. No, I'm not looking for spiritual salvation rather I am terribly in need of someone to help with my abysmal fantasy football team. A raft of injuries and poor bye week planning have turned my once promising season into an awful 2-5 start. The last couple weeks have been particularly ugly as I've been effectively done before the early games are even finished. The team I fielded two weeks ago couldn't have won a fistfight in Korean parliament nonetheless a football game. In order for me to salvage some hope I need someone to emerge from amongst the injured, jailed and/or suspended masses.

My quest turned up one name, Madison Hedgecock. Now, this practice squad call-up fullback isn't going to win me any points in fantasy football but what a fantastic name! Ignore the fact that his first name is the same as 23% of all girls born in North Toronto so far this year. Imagine he just shortened it to "Mad". There is absolutely nothing that couldn't be accomplished with Mad Hedgecock around. While adding him to my actual roster is not going to happen (he's a 266 pound white running back) I have renamed my team "Mad Hedgecock" in his honour. This name change will be to my fantasy season what the arrival of my Marshawn Lynch jersey was to the real NFL season (the Bills are playing almost .700 ball since it showed up on my doorstep). Mad Hedgecock is going to mess you up!

Maybe a name change is what Ol' Britney needs to turn around her equivalent of a 2-5 start to the 21 century. Perhaps something more scholarly like Cynthia Willingham or a more worldly name like Claudette von Schruben. Claudette could save on monograms by just getting a job at the local pharmacy. Man, that's an absolutely idiotic joke. Where am I even going with this? Let's move on, quickly.

Halloween is fast approaching and we haven't yet decided upon a costume for young Charlie. As I finished burping her the other night the burp cloth fell over her head. If it wasn't for the fact that she started crying she would have been the spitting image of Blanket Jackson. Putting a cloth on a baby's head is probably the worst idea for a Halloween costume so we'll definitely need to think of something else. Plus who would want to cover up that little face? Well I guess I will when she turns 12 and gets his first burqa, but for now she should really be sharing her cuteness with everyone. Please let me know if you have any other costume suggestions.

I'm sure dressing her up will finally give me reason to enjoy Halloween after 30 years of indifference. Even as a kid I was never really into trick or treating. I'm sure my lack of a sweet tooth contributed to this, as did a lack of appreciation for firecrackers and petty vandalism as I got older. Now all I associate with the holiday is the grabby neighborhood kids, many of which are well past the age of legitimate trick or treating. Those little buggers ran through our entire supply by 7:30 last year. Perhaps I can put it into their heads that they're stealing candy from a baby though that may not do anything to curb their greed. Charlie will have to work on her sad face. The other option is to have a bag of real candy for those legitimately trick or treating and a bag of crap (sunflower seeds, candy corn and raisins) for when the teenagers approach. At least that should dissuade repeat customers.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

We don't know the first thing about circling the wagons!

Yesterday the Bills announced that they are looking to play a regular season game in Toronto next season. This is quite possibly the first step in a permanent move by the franchise. I am of two minds about this. While it will be much more convenient to have the team I support in the same country I live in, the Toronto Bills may not be the same team as the one I currently support. Much of my connection to this team comes from it's Buffalo-ness - the crappy old stadium, the tailgate parties and the passion of the Western New York fans. Watching the Bills in Toronto would be like seeing your favorite band, but instead of a small club their playing at some kid's 16th birthday at the Carlu. Sure its the same set but the environment and the crowd changes the dynamic altogether. Let me illustrate with a real life example. Last year Marty and I went down to the Bills game in early December against the Chargers. We started our day by walking into the gas station, bought a six pack of Blue and then proceeded to drink it on the bench in front of said gas station. We then bought a pair of scalped tickets around the 50 yard line for $50 each. We had a great time at the game and even made friends with many of the people in our section. Here's what the Toronto equivalent will look like. Marty will be replaced by some douche wearing a blazer with some embroidery on it. Let's call him Chazz. We will spend our pre-game in the SKYY Vodka hospitality tent drinking $16 crantinis. Our tickets will be procured by Chazz's investment banker buddy which means we won't have to pay the $275 face but we will have to sit with him as he spends the game throwing out suggestions as to where we should go post-game (except for the first half of each quarter where I will be the only person actually in my seat in our entire section as the rest of the "fans" mingle in the heated concourse). The only contact with the other patrons will be when I'm told to sit down during a touchdown celebration.

Football will be transformed from a passion to a status symbol. The fan base that lives and dies with this team will be gradually replaced by a group that lives and dies with the quality of their blackberry reception. The Bills will go from the emotional center of a community to just another entertainment option. Once the novelty wears off in a couple years the team could be nothing more than an afterthought where a bit of a breeze could convince the fans to stay at home.

In the end though, this may be the best option. Unless some mystery local billionaire emerges it appears as though the Bills will be sold to the highest bidder, regardless of their intentions, upon the death of their octogenarian owner, Ralph Wilson. If Toronto would wreck the character of the Bills, Los Angeles would pull a complete Phil Spector on it. At least it's cold in Toronto and, initially, you would have some of the existing fan base coming to games (before they're priced out by MLSE/Rogers - who, by the way, are planning on calling the team the Inflated Cable Bills). A Bills game in Los Angeles would be an entirely different species altogether. You wouldn't even recognize it as the same sport. Quite clearly, Toronto will be the lesser of two evils.

The new owners may start with a split schedule between Toronto and Buffalo but they'll eventually will have to move all their games to Toronto given the superior economics. I'll be there with my over-priced tickets, though a large piece of me will be yearning for a less comfortable seat and the smell of bus fumes mixed with burning charcoal. Here is an artist's rendition of Charlie and I at the 2010 opener.

Dear God, the next three years are going to be terrible to me. What could have happened that possibly made me think a goatee would look good? There is no one in the history of civilization who has ever looked better with a goatee than without (with the possible exception of chinless guys like Paul Giamatti). It does nothing to hide the 45 pounds I've put on. I can only imagine what little hair lies beneath that cap. The future is a scary, scary place.

All I can ask is that the Toronto owners make some attempt to keep the spirit of the team alive. Keep the team name, maybe even give it a regional name like the Great Lake Bills. That name admittedly sucks but there are no wrong answer in brainstorming so leave me alone. Please throw us old fans a bone before you completely sell out the franchise to the bandwagon jumpers.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean, calm bl...ahhhh for Chrissakes!!!!!!

After watching the Leafs blow two goal leads in successive games with her Dad I'll be shocked if Charlie's first word isn't "@#$%!*&". Perhaps I shoudn't be subjecting her to this. I'm worried that exposure to the Leafs may even be stunting her growth. Her growth trajectory has slowed markedly since the hockey season began. She is now back to the 50th percentile in height after having rocketed to the 75th at her last doctor's appointment. If this keeps up the poor thing is on her way to becoming a foul-mouthed dwarf. Essentially continued poor defensive zone coverage is turning my infant daughter into one of Howard Stern's co-hosts. Thank you Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment.

Mom is clearly a better influence on Charlie than I am. Today she's taking her to baby yoga. Daddy introduces her to chronic disappointment and cussing while Mom shows her calm blue oceans and improved flexibility. Psychologists would call that a "balanced upbringing"....well, maybe unlicensed psychologists. Perhaps I should try yoga. Apparently it helps with golf and I could certainly use the calming. That being said, I'm not thrilled with the concept of being in a room where no one is wearing shoes or socks, particularly given the "earthiness" of your average yoga-ist (yoga-er?). Come to think of it, I'm out on the chanting and incense as well. The faintest whiff of incense immediately sends me into a furious rage. I imagine "rage" is not one of the more welcome emotions down at the neighbourhhod yoga studio. I don't think I could don the uniform either. Last Christmas my lovely wife bought me a pair of Lululemon "men's" pants. She might as well have given me a gift certificate for a butterfly tattoo on my panty line. Needless to say they were returned. What if I just do some deep knee bends and jumping jacks while listening to someone playing the sitar, minus someone playing the sitar? That should be good enough. Hey Sting, you can kiss my inner peace!

I can already do most of this move, at least the upper body part

I wonder how my new found enlightenment will change my life. Presumably my subway rides will pass with fewer visualizations of tossing fellow commuters through windows. That should give me more time to think of productive things like new Senator Larry jokes or interesting dishes with yellow beets, in the process benefiting everyone. The enhanced flexibility will help in getting Charlie's carseat in and out of the back of her Mom's Jetta. The ability to levitate will also be pretty cool. Of course it will all be undone by a quarter of Bills football but it should be fun while it lasts.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The next Britney

Don't worry, this column will not add to the already tiresome commentary as to how much of a trainwreck Britney Spears' life has become. There is absolutely nothing I could possibly say that hasn't already been said two thousand times already. Libraries could be filled with the cumulative writings in regards to her poor parenting, substance-induced antics and rapidly deteriorating appearance. Luckily thanks to Globalization this has become an international story marking the simultaneous lows of both Western and Eastern cultures. Well done, world!

Instead of harping on her collapse lets try thinking out of the box a bit here. In retrospect her sad state of affairs doesn't seem that surprising. The combined fuel of a sheltered baptist upbringing, an "out for herself" mother, a popular culture bent on tearing down that which they build up and sub-moronic intelligence leads us inevitably to where we are now. Ten years ago, however, this would have been simply unbelievable. Britney Spears going commando? No, that must have been someone else. A decade ago we would have been shocked if Britney was caught drinking a Mike's Hard Lemonade. Now there is literally nothing that could surprise us save her writing an op-ed piece in The New Yorker on border security or election reform. With that in mind, who do we think could be the next Britney? Who is the next to go from Hollywood darling to robbing video stores? That raises an interesting question: who will whacked out child stars hold up when Video on Demand and NetFlix make video stores obsolete? If this had happened twenty years ago would Dana Plato still be with us?

I'm going out on a limb here but my money is on Michelle Wie. Mommy/Daddy issues? Check. Too much, too soon? Check. Sheltered upbringing? Done and done. The key difference, so far, seems to be that Wie is reasonably intelligent but that may only serve to make her more dangerous. She's already gone through two agents in the past year which indicates she (and her parents) don't take advice from outsiders. That's another red flag. It's remarkable how quickly she has been transformed from fresh-faced protege to pariah on the golf scene. Even the usually reserved Annika Sorenstam is taking potshots at her. She's about as popular as uncomfortable shoes on the LPGA tour. On top of all this she is absolutely awful at her chosen vocation. She went an entire season without breaking 70, and she's playing from the women's tees! Nike must be digging through their endorsement contract with her looking for an out. My bet is that they're trying to tie her to a certain dogfighting ring run by a certain other Nike spokesperson.

By no means am I hoping that Michelle Wie's life turns into shambles. I'm just saying that, if pressed, I would pick Michelle Wie from the current crop of sub-20s celebrities to take the most substantial nosedive. It's not the safe pick (Billy Ray Cyrus' daughter might as well just propose to Aaron Carter now and get it over with), but the good ones usually aren't. Let me know if you have any better bets.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thoughts on aging

I feel as though I've hit a really ugly age. I no longer have the fresh-faced youthfulness of my early 20s and I've yet to acquired the distinguished look of someone more accomplished. You can see it in photos. Here's me from a couple years ago....

And here I am now...

Clearly, my man-prettiness has deteriorated. Maybe if I shave my head again I can recreate some of the magic of the "old me". I doubt it. I guess I'll just have to wait and hope that I age well. Even if I don't aesthetically improve hopefully I can get myself physically back into shape. I'm appalled by the fact that I'll likely be withdrawing from this weekend's 10k at the Toronto Zoo. Two years ago I ran the race with only above 12 hours notice. Essentially I ran it out of spite after finding out a couple of friends had already signed up. I made it through in a respectable time will little to no training. The past two years don't appear to have been kind to me as even with a couple of weeks of warming up I don't think I'm going to make it.

Aches and pains, terrible hangovers and the odd grey hair are all signs of aging that haven't particularly bugged me. Not being able to exercise without training or stretching, however, really bothers me. What will happen if I need to suddenly sprint away from an axe-wielding maniac or chase after someone who steals my blackberry? Surely there won't be an opportunity for me to stretch out my hamstrings or eat a power bar beforehand. I'll completely embarrass myself the next time I'm walking by some kids playing hoops and they ask me to join them (the next time would be the first time, but it could happen). This stinks. I feel like I'm 18 months away from limited aqua-aerobics as my only form of activity. Anyone know of a good canasta group looking for a new member?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

My endorsement

I had said last week that I will be endorsing one of JP Losman or Trent Edwards for Bills Quarterback after the Monday Night Game. I have decided to put that decision off until tomorrow. At that point I will have had time to more objectively evaluate both candidates. Right now I am just far too fragile and emotional. At that point I will also have chosen a candidate for comptroller.

Thank you for your patience.

What did I ever do to deserve this?

Monday, October 8th. 11:57 PM EST: Unidentified man officially dies inside

So the Bills lose a game they were winning by eight points with 20 seconds left on the same day that the Leafs big off-season acquisition is diagnosed with cancer. Of course. I really should have seen this coming. I feel as though someone has forced me to swallow a jar of hot wax and it's just sitting in my gut smoldering. I don't see this feeling going away.

Luckily the news on Blake sounds encouraging. Despite the horrific sounding name, chronic myelogenous leukemia, appears to be a treatable cancer which won't immediately require radiation or chemotherapy. The fact that he will play through the disease is a testament to the wonders of modern science. If anything his fight against the disease could provide a rallying cry for the team. Regardless, we here at WWNW wish him a full and speedy recovery.

The Bills situation, conversely, is completely devoid of silver linings. I thought that writing about this may be therapeutic but its just the opposite. Every recollection is simply more salt in the wound. I feel like I'm stuck in the Everybody Hurts video. There are at least 11 things that could have happened in the last half of the fourth quarter which would have sealed up the game. Unfortunately none of them did and we're staring at 1-4.

I need to get to a happy place, like this guy.

I imagine he's busting into Anyway you want it by Journey right there. "Ooh, All night, All night". Either that or he was just kicked in the small of the back. This guy is two Michelob Ultras and a stirring rendition of Mustang Sally away from wrapping that tie around his head. At that point it will officially be on. Imagining this makes me mildly happier. At least I can crawl out from under my desk now.

I also have the burgeoning scandal at Oral Roberts University (Alma Mater of Rev. Ted Haggard and Cathie Lee Gifford) to look forward to. School President Richard Roberts, who you may recognize if you've ever flipped by the JC channel late at night, has allegedly been using school funds as his own personal piggy bank. There's also a tawdry text message angle to this story involving his wife and underage males. We're probably only a few days away from primped up evangelists bawling on television as they confess their sins. Then there will be all the absurd excuses and conspiracy theories. What will they blame this time? Painkiller addictions? The falling US Dollar? The View? Terry Schiavo? Emo? Subprime mortgages? All that we can be certain of is that when the veneer starts to come off these hypocrites things can only go in one direction, shithouse crazy! This is gonna be ssssweeeeet!

Friday, October 5, 2007

My semi-annual guilt trip

I just got back from the dentist. I recently switched dental offices as my dentist moved his practice into the city. The hygienists at the old office were extremely irritating. The annoyance of their cheeriness was only surpassed by the inanity of their conversation choices. Every visit seemed more torturous than the last. The gum-digging seemed to intensify while the Maroon 5 being played on the easy listening station became increasingly ear-splitting. All this while being subjected to an unending stream of the most uninteresting thoughts and observances ever imagined, with but few pauses where I was expected to agree or disagree. Of course my mouth would still be full of instruments so I couldn't manage anything more than "yah" or "nyah". 45 minutes felt like three weeks. This would all be capped off by the inevitable guilt trip about my insufficient flossing or brushing technique. Quite clearly this was some sign of moral failing or self-loathing given the disapproving reaction I receive. I must be a terrible person and unfit father. Maybe custody of little Charlie should be given to K-Fed just to be safe.

While today was still a reasonably miserable experience, it was a virtual Caribana compared to visits to the old place (I haven't been to Caribana since I was a kid but I presume it's a lot of fun). The hygienist still expressed concern with my lack of flossing but did so in a way that didn't make me feel like a scolded child. Best of all, I got to use my "I told you I was a hemophiliac, right?" joke at the end of the appointment. Unfortunately it only works once, but boy does it work well!

Our soaring economy has resulted in the unemployment rate hitting a 33 year low. I even noticed help wanted ads on the outside of the Domino's pizza box the other day. The timing couldn't be better as Charlie just got a SIN number this morning. Her resumes are being sent out as we speak. Presumably some honest work at a young age will help in my efforts to prevent her from turning into another gum-chomping, designer bag-toting, windshield-size sunglass wearing adolescent. I figure a tannery or anywhere that some sort of smelting is being done would be a good option. What she lacks in experience she should make up for with hard work. She can't talk so you won't have to worry about insubordination, potential employers. Just keep her away from running water as it tends to put her to sleep.

I was having a conversation with a Jewish guy I work with and he informed me his family doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving as it's a Christian holiday. Is it really? If so, why do Canada and the US celebrate on different days. What is the biblical event or figure being celebrated? Is there something referencing pumpkin pie in Deuteronomy? Was Noah a glazed ham? Perhaps there are Christian origins but hasn't it essentially become more of a secular holiday. I've never heard of people going to Thanksgiving service or schools outlawing Thanksgiving greetings. US Thanksgiving seems to be about the Pilgrims, the Indians, Plymouth Rock and all that. Not even that is mentioned around the table north of the border. It's pretty much all about getting together with the family and gorging yourself. Sure you usually give thanks, but you can give thanks to whomever you want. Last year I thanked my exterminator and the inventors of the Canadarm. If your family hasn't celebrated Thanksgiving because you have traditionally felt excluded please come on by our place. We'll save a drumstick for you.

The turkey loves all people, except vegans.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone (and I mean everyone...except Isiah Thomas)!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

DSW, I tap my foot to thee...

I've launched many trumped up lawsuits before but have yet to be successful. Me v. Will & Grace re: patent infringement on the joke: "let's go get a little Chinese...and then we'll get dinner" never actually made it to court. My more recent suit against Roots Canada for putting a sticker over the original price (implying it was on sale) on some baby clothes when the original price was actually lower hasn't gotten off the ground either. The latter has transitioned to boycott phase, even though I never went there in the first place. I guess by that logic, I'm also boycotting Cotton Ginny and those places by the airport that sell 3-for-1 suits. This time I may actually have something. DSW, the discount shoe company and an otherwise fine retailer, has started rolling out ESPN Zones within their shoe stores. This is something I have been calling for for years. Look back at this piece I wrote in August of 2002:

After yet another hour of my life wasted in a shoe store waiting for my girlfriend (Ed: now wife) I continue to wonder why retailers don't cater to the significant others of their target shoppers. What I wouldn't give for a comfortable chair and a TV with the game on. I also firmly believe that the coming war in Iraq is unwinnable and will lead the Bush administration to ruin despite their current popularity. Furthermore I predict this Atkin's craze will die off and that Britney Spears will turn into a cracked-out mess who may be homeless by 2008. Oh, and Jamie Foxx will win an Oscar for Booty Call 2.

Ok, I was a bit off with the last one but you have to admit the others were good, Nostradamus good. This move by DSW makes so much business sense. Numerous times my incessant whining has caused my wife to leave a store early limiting the amount of money she spends at that store. Now I will be more than happy to sit back and watch the game and she will no longer have to listen to "Are you done yet? Are you done yet?". If there is actually a mini-sports bar where I can sit and have a beer while watching sports than they may as well just hand the 2007 Nobel Prize to the fine folks at DSW. You know what, forget the lawsuit! Let DSW have my idea. I'll forgo my personal gain for the common good. You're welcome, world.

Choose from over 30,000 pairs of shoes to throw at the TV

The ACC crowd, particularly those in the platinum and gold sections, lived up to their reputation as a bunch of spoiled brats with a seriously misguided sense of entitlement last night. As a good friend of mine, who's a Sens fan, that was at last night's opener asked "who boos their starting goalie in the opener?". Idiots, that's who. We know Raycroft is a bit iffy so why make it worse? As I've said before the booing would be understandable if it was balanced by an equally rabid reaction when good things occurred on the ice but, as we've seen, it isn't. It's a disproportionate response by the worst crowd in hockey. Next game why don't you douchebags just stay in the concourse for the whole game, not just the first half of each period. My predictions back in 2002 weren't the only ones that seem to be coming true. Who was the best Leafs player last night? Nik Antropov, that's who.

While we're on the topic of me being right, I'm happy to see that now two of my most hated people in sports are finally getting their comeuppance. Bill Belichick was the first, now Isiah Thomas is the second. Isiah has screwed up absolutely everything he has touched since retiring as a player yet somehow still found a way to convince people that he should be paid ridiculous sums of money despite a track record where the only consistent theme was abject failure. Now he has been found guilty of sexual harassment (technically he wasn't charged as it was a civil case but he is responsible for his employer having to spend $11.8 million to clean up his mess). So far, he still has a job as (lucky for him) his boss is one of the few people around who may be worse at his job than Isiah is at his. Hopefully something happens so that Isiah can finally be removed from the public spotlight and sent packing once and for all. Being a terrible commissioner, executive, GM, coach, announcer and author is one thing (it's actually six things) but making life miserable for a working Mom is taking your game to a whole new level. As much as I hate the Knicks, even they don't deserve you. Given that everything seems to happen in threes, I fully expect that within the next few weeks Alex Rodriguez will be named an enemy combatant or Daniel Alfredsson will be caught stealing babies in Malawi. At that point, you'll all get a firm "I told you so".

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A sport-less evening

Millions of people across North America turned on their computers this morning only to realize there was absolutely no reason to check their fantasy sports teams. For the first time in recent memory there were no professional football, baseball, hockey or basketball games played in North America last night. There wasn't even an exhibition game as hockey had wrapped up its schedule while the NBA pre-season has yet to begin. We were in a sports vacuum last night. Thankfully, it appears that most of us survived. It's probably a good thing that the media didn't make a big deal about this ahead of time or it may have caused mass panic. Better to let it go by unnoticed.

Luckily, the sport-less abyss ends tonight so throw away those books and knitting needles. Tonight brings the start of the NHL season (I will ignore the two games played in London as they didn't involve any team I cared about). You could feel the anticipation on the subway this morning. I noticed a new Canadian doing a word search. She had just circled Bower and was looking for Hextall and Dryden. I'm not kidding. I couldn't be more thrilled that this has become part of the ESL curriculum. Welcome to Canada, "Moog" is pronounced "Moag". This needs to be integrated into a Tim Horton's commercial along with a bit where Sudbury Saturday Night is played over a montage of citizenship ceremony footage. Is it weird that I get a bit teary-eyed every time I see a new Canadian wearing Leafs merchandise? These people are embracing our team because they choose to, not just because they happened to be born here. I saw a young middle eastern girl with a Leafs backpack the other day and wanted to give her a big hug. That probably wouldn't have been a good idea.

Taken right before the girls went out to bingo and the boys got stinko

I'm disappointed that John Tory completely shat the bed with his campaign leading to what is increasingly looking like a no-doubter of an election. The result is not necessarily what bothers me rather the fact that it won't be close. At the onset of the campaign it appeared as though we could have a very close race on our hands. A few slip-ups from Dalton and some good fortune for Tory could have even seen the Tories pull into the lead. Unfortunately Tory's misguided religious school crusade and subsequent reversal (which the Globe's Adam Radwanski - a former Bills trip participant - correctly critiqued as neither a principled stand or a brilliant strategic move) derailed all that. Now it looks like another boring election night is in store for next Wednesday with very little suspense or intrigue. Might as well start making your Family Day plans now.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Monday night at our place

Our daughter is expanding faster than Quizno's was a couple years ago. Unlike Quizno's, however, you won't get sick of this kid after a couple of weeks. She has now rocketed to the 75th percentile of height having been below average as recently as two weeks ago. Some rudimentary math indicates that she will be in the 90th percentile by next Saturday and by mid-November should be the tallest child her age in the western world. Apparently there's some superkid in North Korea that's being manufactured from the DNA of Michelle Wie and Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair. We should surpass her by early 2009 at the current trajectory, around the same time Charlie reaches her mother's height. She's really quite something.

With Mom enjoying a much deserved night at book club (girls gone wild!) the incredibly expanding Charlie and I were able to hang out and watch the Rockies vs. Padres play-in game, Heroes and Monday Night Football. It was a sneaky good night of television. None of the teams I support were playing and there wasn't an episode of 24 or 30 Rock on so my expectations were pretty low. I had prepared myself to be disappointed by season two of Heroes after getting hooked early on season one. Interestingly, when you aren't very good at typing "Heroes" will occasionally come out as "Herpes". Now that would have been disappointing! So far, at least, I've been happy with Heroes (though the Hiro in 1600's Japan story only got interesting at the very end). That being said, I missed the premiere but I enjoyed the synopsis that my wife gave me. Last night, of course, will pale in comparison with this coming monday night as Monday Night Football returns to Buffalo for the first time in 13 years. To think I was only 17 the last time Orchard Park hosted a primetime football game (let's ignore Sunday nights for now). As you can see by the photo of "Mandy" from yesterday's post some things in Buffalo haven't changed a bit since then. Zubaz has closed down all of their operations, except for their western New York sales office which is still doing brisk business. We'll talk more about this as the day draws nearer.

So basically I've written about how my kid has grown and what I watched on TV last night. I can't believe you guys read this crap.

Monday, October 1, 2007

A Trent to watch this Fall

Note: this column is entirely about Bills football. I'll be back later this week with something on the baby, grammar and/or George Michael. You may want to check out the photo at least. It will make you smile.

My column from last Wednesday appears to have been prophetic as the Bills picked up their first win of the season. Curses to those that questioned the magic of the Korean knock-off! A strong showing by the patchwork defense along with a steady performance by quarterback Trent Edwards was enough to beat the lowly Jets 17-14. It looked a little scary at the end but this time (as opposed to week 1) Terrence McGee made the game-clinching interception to seal the deal. Edwards, filling in for the injured JP Losman, did enough to win the game with only one obvious mistake. A crappy opponent helped, but let's ignore that for now and just bask in the unfamiliar glow of victory. There's only one way to celebrate such a triumph, Air Guitar!

Surprisingly not from the 1980's archives. "Mandy" is rockin' out less than 24 hours ago.

Wow, I'm not sure I have ever seen someone takin' care of business and workin' overtime quite so well. Notice the pure, unbridled joy in her face. She also appears to be striking a chord with her left hand. I'm pretty sure it's the "F-ing A!" chord. I can't get enough of that picture.

As a Bills fan I would beg Jets management to please stick with Chadwith Pennington III as your quarterback for as long as possible. I relish the chance to play twice a year against a team led by someone who's arm strength compares poorly with that of a young girl that doesn't exercise and isn't particularly coordinated...or properly nourished...and has only one arm...and it's not her natural throwing arm.

If history has taught us anything it is safe to say that the airwaves in Western New York will now be monopolized by talk of a "quarterback controversy". As with the Flutie-Johnson mess of days gone by this will likely divide the locker room and end poorly. Luckily with Losman-Edwards you have two guys who are both young and seem like genuinely good guys. This, along with the presence of Marv at least opens the door for a reasonably peaceful resolution to this battle. By most accounts the chief drivers of the Flutie-Johnson controversy were the quarterbacks them self, particularly Flutie who was apparently not quite the "lovable" character he played on cereal boxes and TV commercials. This may all be moot if Edwards comes out and lays an egg next Monday night against the Cowboys. If he plays well expect full-flung chaos as Losman v. Edwards becomes the defining issue of the 2007 Bills season.

It's tough to pick a winner in this race. Losman is still young, has the physical tools and, perhaps most uniquely, has embraced the city of Buffalo. He is hard not to root for. For a decent chunk of last season he looked like a guy who could evolve into a consistent NFL starting quarterback. This season, he was awful before he got hurt with the possible caveat of overly conservative play calling as an excuse. Meanwhile, Edwards was personally recommended to Marv Levy by the late Bill Walsh plus he went to Stanford so he must be kinda smart. Only smart people make good NFL quarterbacks as evidenced by the scholarly trio of Terry Bradshaw, Brett Favre and Vince Young.

I like both guys. Before the season started I was firmly in JP's camp (as the Edwards camp had not yet formed). After JP's dismal start I could be persuaded to switch my allegiances for the good of the franchise, particularly over the long-term. JP is a stand-up guy but if Trent Edwards gives us a better chance to not only get to the play-offs, but actually win games, then let the Edwards Era begin! We'll watch closely to see how Edwards looks on Monday and whether or not his teamates respond well to him. At that point WWNW will officially endorse one of the two candidates. Keep on eye on the Bills Store and eBay. Once the Edwards jerseys appear it will mark the official beginning of the end for JP's time in Buffalo.