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May 31, 2011

The saga of the tidal dishwasher is over and it only cost me $100.

The repair guy showed up yesterday and in short, there was gunk in the two places where the thing is supposed to drain from, plus the overflow thingy was plugged.

Neither of which apparently were problems I created.

To which some might say: Un huh.

It was just a stunning coincidence that the thing malfunctioned immediately after I “cleaned” it.

Yeah. Let’s go with that.

- - -

The doohickey I have running in the background on this site allows me to look at an array of visitor metrics: how many readers, how many return viewers vs. first-time visitors, length of stay, where your ISP is, what kind of computer or smart phone you use, what operating system, etc.

Some of the data is more interesting than others.

For example, the program tells me the word strings that people plug into search engines that lead them to visit here.

“Oakville hockey blog” would appear to be the string favoured by people who don’t know how to bookmark a page.

Ditto for teamoakville, “Gerry’s blog” and “incredible insights from roguishly handsome scribes”.

Then there are sports-themed searches: Halton rugby finals, Oakville summer shinny, Oakville hockey teams, Oakville no-hitting in house league hockey, how to get a rep sponsor in Oakville, how to buy a GTHL franchise, permission to skate forms junior B Welland. You get the idea.

And then there are the really entertaining ones.

“Disney ugly sisters” is a recent one – due to my post earlier this month on the royal wedding and photoshop.

“King’s Arms + Blonde girl + Oakville”? Hmmm.

Here’s two that came in one after another yesterday – “wealthy men in Oakville” and “unhappy men Oakville”. Whoever is searching, my advice is to keep looking, on both counts. I can’t help you.

Here’s a good one: “Oakville – West Vancouver average income rivalry.”

Yes, I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve hung out at the King’s Arms (with a blonde) with local lawyers and investment bankers making random harassing phone calls to West Van, mocking their paltry T4 slips.

And what about “Megan Fox parking” ? Where does one sign up for that assignment? Apparently, is a world leader in the Megan Fox knowledge base.

A new feature added to the data is it shows where Google ranks this site in all these searches.

So, for a simple search for “Oakville hockey blog”, Google says I’m the #1 result, an honour akin to being the tallest dandelion or the latest antibiotic-resistant bacteria. I was #2 for simply “Oakville blog” behind a robot page.

On the King’s-Arms-and-blonde query, I came in third. Again, hmmm.

More appropriately I came in #27 in the search engine result for “wealthy men in Oakville,” (more accurately, that result should be #270,000)  but #2 for unhappy men (behind a free online dating service.)

I found some of this mildly amusing and thought some of you might too.

Suffice to say if you are looking for love, love and/or money, a blonde at a pub, Megan Fox, or chronically grumpy people, perhaps you should look elsewhere. Nothing to see here.

Except maybe for that last one.

Now get off my lawn.

- - -

Speaking of my lawn, our driveway was indeed paved on Friday. And we were told not to use it for three or four days, which was no great penalty I guess.

The new driveway is now open for viewing if you are in the area, but we ask that you limit yourselves to three photos per visit.


- - -

Stanley Cup finals: I would like to see Boston win. I’m not sure why. Perhaps because I don’t want to see people in Vancouver running happily through the streets, completely oblivious to the condition of their T4 slips relative to leafy Toronto suburbs. Apparently there’s a rivalry.

But I fully expect that Vancouver will win – because I think they are a better team, that plays in a tougher conference against generally better competition than Boston sees regularly in the East.

With the heat index today topping 40 degrees I have to confess that I’m not very excited about the finals either way.


May 30, 2011

I'm actually writing this -- or some of this on Sunday afternoon on the back patio. So, take the date with a grain of salt.

- - -

Between us, I think Laura and I made 353 trips to Glen Abbey Rec Centre yesterday. Both boys reffed four games, not necessarily consecutively.

Laura got her hair and nails done. Pad got a haircut. Chris and I went to Blockbuster to check out the going-out-of-business sale (we didn't buy anything) and Saturday night night everyone sort of vegged out. Pad had company in, but other than that we were lumps.

The big one was supposed to have his first game of the summer hockey season Sunday night but his Achilles seized up late in game four of his officiating duties and we don't mess around with those types of injuries. I don't think it's anything major and hopefully some rest and physio will put things right.

 - - -

We watched a movie from The Movie Network's free on-demand lineup Saturday -- The Messenger, starring Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster and a strong supporting appearance by Steve Buscemi. Filed under "I Need to Get Out More" I didn't realize it had been nominated for two Academy Awards.

The gist of the story is an Iraqi war hero, upon returning to the US is assigned to notification duty for his final three months of service. That means he goes to the houses of soldiers killed to break the news to family.

Why on Earth we would pick such a film for entertainment is beyond me (I picked it) but, it was very, very good. Powerful, raw, all those things and more.

I wouldn't recommend it if you're in the mood for light stuff and laughter. But, I would recommend it.

- - -

The Stanley Cup finals start Wednesday. For those keeping score at home I was a dismal 50 per cent on the third round, having picked San Jose to beat Vancouver and Boston to top Tampa.

For the finals, I won't be wearing any national colours -- Canada's influence on the Bruin roster is just as significant as it is on Vancouver's.

But, since I wasn't sure so I looked.

And using the team rosters listed at, the Bruins carry 17 Canadians, and um, so to the Canucks.

So, Canada wins either way.

I will offer a series prediction later in the week, but one weird trend is worth noting.

Before Vancouver in 2010, Canada has twice hosted the Olympic Games.

In both cases, the NHL team from the host city won the Stanley Cup in the spring following the Olympic year -- Montreal winning it in 1977 after the 1976 Summer Games, and Calgary winning it in 1989 after the 1988 Winter Games.

I find that a very odd coincidence, made even stranger by the fact that Vancouver has already managed to reach the finals.

You can read more here.

- - -

A weekend highlight: I was sitting in the stands at Glen Abbey with Chris on Saturday. He had an hour off between reffing four games and I bought us subs and went over to spend the hour with him.

We're watching the game and listening to the lunatic parents behaving as if Olympic hockey gold was on the line and if their kid's team didn't win then all the boys on the losing team would be imprisoned for 30 years. (Yes, it is becoming that bad.)

Anyway, we were just munching and chatting when I heard a voice.

"Coach Gerry!! Coach Gerry!!"

I looked around and then I saw Charlie, one of the big guns from the tyke Blackhawks, red faced and sweaty after his lacrosse game, waving at me like he was guiding in planes at Pearson and smiling ear to ear.

I was nice that Charlie was glad to see me, and the feeling was mutual. Chris said, "Is that one of the guys from your team?"

I just smiled. "It sure is."

Have I mentioned there's nothing quite like tyke hockey?


May 27, 2011

OK. So apparently it is my fault.

My bride reports that the dishwasher leaked again yesterday, so I’ll step up and take full responsibility.

My fault. Shoot the messenger. Mea culpa.

Appliance repair guy is booked.


If any of the readers out there are in a position to offer a great deal on a new dishwasher – I’m listening!

- - -

Speaking of my fault: a correction. In my last blog update I made a comment about the Vancouver Canucks being the first NHL team to play in the Stanley Cup finals in my children's life times.

Well, I'm an idiot.

The Canucks lost in the finals in seven games in 1994, the spring after Pad was born.

In 2004, Calgary lost to Tampa in seven games.

In 2006, Edmonton lost to Carolina in seven games.

And in 2007, Ottawa lost in five games to Anaheim.

So, other than those four occasions, I was otherwise correct.

But, the larger issue is that no team from Canada has actually won the Cup since the spring of 1993, a few months before Pad was both. I was actually painting his nursery in Edmonton listening to the game on a small TV that night.

- - -

My neighbours will be pleased to know that our driveway is being paved today. For most of the last month it has been a wasteland of crushed stone. After the old asphalt was ripped out the pavers put down a new base of crushed stone and compacted it, and then left it for us to drive on for a month to compact it further.

At the time I thought this was stupid – I just wanted the thing paved.

And guess what? Over the last four weeks the crushed-stone based has probably settled by about two inches.

Huh. Maybe they know what they’re doing.

Do you think they repair dishwashers?

- - -

Blockbuster Video is going through death throes and as part of a restructuring to try and save the company it is closing more than 100 stores in Canada.

Including the one in the Monastery Plaza around the corner from our house.

I feel for the people losing their jobs in all of this. Sadly, unless the chain finds a new retail model to rally the brand, the future will be challenging.

The demise of the home-video rental market is a stunning and clear example of disruptive technology changing the marketplace.

VHS and Beta changed the way consumers enjoyed leisure time and video stores flourished. There were three on every street in the 1980s it seemed. VHS became DVD which became Blu-ray, further refining the way entertainment was consumed.

And now broadband Internet, cable and satellite TV and products like video on demand, Hulu and Netflix are killing off an entire retail sector.

It is a tough corner to turn when the market changes faster than businesses can react. But it can be done. HMV is an example of a company that is trying hard to change its face from a CD and DVD retailer to something much broader. It’s a race against time and markets. Read more here.

Change is the only contant.

- - -

Pad got his G2 drivers license yesterday, which is a landmark moment in any kid’s life.

I never doubted for a moment that he would pass the test.

He is by nature a person who takes care in the things he does. He quickly became comfortable behind the wheel with his mom or me riding shotgun.

And he was well schooled in the technical and safety aspects of driving by Tim and the gang at Drivewise in Oakville. If you are looking for a driving school, Tim and Drivewise get our five-star recommendation.

This now means that any hours I spend at rinks watching his practices (I’ll still be omnipresent at the games) will be strictly self-inflicted wounds.

I’ll simply lie awake and stare at the ceiling until he and the car are safely home.

- - -

Chris and the rest of the Abbey Park High School Grade 9 rugby team are in the Halton championship tournament today. I wish I could be there but I have high hopes that the boys will bring home a medal of some colour.

At the start of the season a few weeks ago, Chris – who tends to be candid and blunt in his assessment of things – described the team as “epically bad.”

Since then they have won six and tied one and finished the short season tied for top spot (with OT, who else?)

Go Eagles!

- - -

Perhaps it was because of the wet (the wet outside, not the wet inside attributable to the near-tidal performance of the dishwasher) but for some reason we seem to have had a minor run of ants in the last couple of weeks.

At the peak, I probably saw five or six inside the house in one day.

I went to Canadian Tire, bought some toxic stuff to spray around the foundation and windows outside, and the problem seems to have gone away.

But now we have moths.

Moths? WTF is up with that? Moths are not part of the ant life cycle, are they?

Have the ants turned into moths, perhaps reacting chemically to the dishwasher soap cascading around our home?

I dunno.

Word of advice: don’t fall asleep with your mouth open in my house. Bad idea.

- - -

I see it’s raining again so it must be Friday with the weekend at hand.

For a short week, this one seemed interminably long. We’re glad to have it behind us.

Not sure what is on besides the routine this weekend, but I have a feeling I’ll be doing less driving than usual and someone else will be driving more.

“Pad, go to the store. Pad, drive your brother to the rink. Pad, get groceries. Pad, go to the Beer Store.” Well, you get the idea.

Drive carefully wherever the roads take you this weekend.

Hug the kids.


May 25, 2011

I thought maybe the Rapture was going to stand up as a good excuse to lay off blogging for a while, but that didn't really pan out. Either that, or the Creator looked down, decided no one here is worth saving and turned his attention back to getting a Canadian team in the NHL finals for the first time in my children's lifetimes.

Personally, I like how the HR pros at handled the possible end of the world: with a memo to staff on how to conduct themselves after it was over:


- - -

OK. Aside from waiting for the world to end we had a decently quiet weekend.

We went to a garden centre and bought this year's crop of flowering plants destined to soon die a slow death due to owner negligence. We even planted them, too. And by "we" I mean "Laura."

I was moderately helpful, leaning on shovels and rakes, making sure there was beer chilling in the fridge, and offering advice as I deemed appropriate, which was pretty much constantly.

Sunday was wetter but also quiet and I don't think we did anything of real consequence.

And Monday I took the dishwasher apart, pretending that I knew what the hell I was doing until the moment came to put it back together.

When we bought our house in the last century the dishwasher died within 48 hours. So, the current dishwasher is now considered old (for a dishwasher, or even a budgie. For children and sea turtles, it would be considered young. But having a sea turtle do the dishes wasn't a good idea and . . . .never mind.)

The point is, that because it is old, like me there are things it doesn't do so well anymore. Like, for example, clean dishes. So every now and then I have to take apart the inside of the thing and clean out gunk.

When it comes to appliance repair, there are three major steps.

Step 1. Dismantling. I'm pretty much considered a Ninja warrior on Step 1. I can really take stuff apart.

Step 2: Cleaning/repairing. I can call my wife over and have her clean the gunky parts once I've completed Step 1, so all things considered, I'm pretty good at Step 2. Except for repairing. I don't think I've ever actually "repaired" an appliance, if you're the type to get all technical and equate "repair" with "fix."

And then there's Step 3 -- put the thing back together.

Let me say at this point then when it comes to swearing, I learned at the feet of my dad, a Zen Master in turning the air blue. And my dad's great talent is that he doesn't go for what I'll call gutter talk. His specialty is variations on taking the name of an array of religious figures and combining them in incredible word strings, often using colours -- like blue-- and verbs -- like flying -- to spice things up. I swear that when he was finishing the rec room in our basement, Olympic judges would stand outside and score his expletives.

It's a gift, I pale in comparison. But it gives me a reason to get out of bed each day. Aim for the stars and you can have the moon.

So, let's just say putting the dishwasher back together was a challenge. But when someone else put the final touch on -- sliding the lower dish tray to its rightful place, my work was done.

I announced I was taking Pad out for a drive (he does his G2 later this week) and then taking him to the gym, and then I would be home to be showered with affection and honour. I suggested that the dishwasher should be run through one complete cycle to make sure all was well, and then I left.

We weren't actually off the street when my generally unflappable bride called, fully flapped.

Channelling my dad, she told me colourfully that water was gushing everywhere from the dishwasher.

Interesting, I thought. I wonder how that might have happened? Do you want me to come home?


Minutes later I'm back in the kitchen with wet feet, wondering how it could all go so wrong.

Well, let's cut to the chase.

I removed the lower tray, set the dishwasher on drain, and it worked marvellously. So I stood there watching it, and people for miles around saw the light bulb come on over my head.

Someone (not your loyal scribe) had put the dish tray in the wrong way and the door didn't close properly.

So in summary: it wasn't my fault. I called CITY-TV and the Oakville Beaver to pitch the "it-wasn't-my-fault" angle, but it was a holiday and they weren't interested in top local news.

But the dishwasher has resumed working just fine, thanks.

There was no permanent damage to the kitchen floor (or basement ceiling.)

And everyone agreed that while it wasn't my fault, actually pointing fingers and assessing blame after the fact could serve no useful purpose. And because it was a holiday Monday and I still had much in my day to look forward to, I agreed.

We had a very pleasant dinner with frosty and/or fermented beverages and the dishes were sparkling clean the next morning.

- - -

This week (yesterday, actually) marks the 25th anniversary of the day I met my wife.

Yes, she's that old.

I often wonder if a person could look into an iPad app and see their future at such a fateful moment -- three or four major moves, literally years spent freezing in rinks, or drowning or baking on a field sideline, or a flooded kitchen on a holiday Monday -- would that person run in the other direction?

Life can't be anticipated.

But our's has been remarkably blessed. Great kids, supportive families, wonderful friends, terrific life experiences, good health and much more.

We are lucky that we can stand in the kitchen on any given night and take counsel from the other person on some aspect of journalism or news coverage or writing or managing our businesses. I am lucky to be married to someone who insisted that on Monday we go to the driving range together and then breakfast sans enfants. We got home just before noon and the boys were still asleep.

The 25th wedding anniversary is still a ways off. It took some time before her relentless and occasionally shameless pursuit of me finally resulted in wedlock.

But the clock really started running in May 1986 and within two weeks she was my date as I emceed a friend's wedding in Halifax that is still being litigated in courts in three provinces. Two pairs of panty hose, a dead dog, three shocked roommates, four cigars lit with road construction flares and an all-night lobster party that the movie The Hangover is loosely based upon. It was quite a day. No wonder that marriage never lasted.

So far, our's is still going.

It's been quite a quarter century.


May 20, 2011

Apparently, according to an American Christian broadcaster, tomorrow is Judgment Day.

The gist of what happens, as I understand it, is the good true believers are called to their great reward.

The evil doers go in the other direction, condemned to eternity to listen to Stephane Dion talk about carbon taxes and watch video of Stockwell Day on a jet ski.

Those in the middle stay here on Earth.

So, since I suspect I will still be here on Saturday, I’m looking forward to the first long weekend of the summer. And since presumably there will be fewer people around, the driving will be easier and the lineups at the grocery and beer store will be smaller.

It’s win-win.

You can read more about the Rapture here.

Are you ready?

-  - -

Yes, yes.

I will feel quite the fool if mid-day tomorrow my wife and kids disappear to Heaven and I’m left behind to blog about precious little until the world ends in the fall, totally screwing up the start of hockey season and the World Series.

But on the off chance this is all a load of bunk, here’s my plan for tomorrow:

Rummage through the closets for two or three old outfits.

Deposit them on a downtown Oakville sidewalk, and then start screaming “It’s begun! It’s begun! They’re calling us to our reward!!” (See, you don’t get to take your clothes to Heaven, apparently, so, you might want to lay off the carbs tonight and do a couple of sets of situps.)

Then I watch panic ensue.

- - -

Sure sign of the End of Days:

The NHL is returning to Winnipeg.

Seriously? Winnipeg?


I know you have questions. We thought of that.

Read more here.

- - -

A woman at work asked me about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s little family crisis. The gist of her question was that the housekeeper with whom he engaged in at least one game of hide the barbell isn’t wealthy or particularly attractive, so, um, what gives? Why would a rich, powerful, successful, happily married man do that to a loving wife and mother?


I’m not well schooled on matters of the heart and/or nether regions, but I do have some operational theories, and I shared them.

Vis-à-vis men, I said, there are two unshakeable axioms.

The first is that all men are pigs. (Sorry guys.)

From the Pope to Tiger Woods and all stops in between, we carry the gene for potential bad behaviour. Now, most men – the vast majority – do a very decent job of suppressing the pig gene but . . . it’s there. And the Terminator appears to be one of the guys who has a problem with his.

And the 2nd rule follows 100 per cent from the first.

And that is, if the Pig Gene kicks in, then a new woman (of any shape, size, colour, marital status, etc) is going to be better than the one at home. Every time.

Why? Because she’s new.

There’s actually case law in this area.

Hugh Grant was married to Elizabeth Hurley, considered then (if not now) one of the world’s great beauties. But that didn’t stop Hugh from doing something really stupid with a woman who takes money for exploiting the Pig Gene. And she was no Liz Hurley.

Exhibit 2 is Tiger Woods, who was married to Elin Nordegren, a Swedish blonde beauty and mother of his children. You don’t need me to finish the rest. Suffice to say Tiger’s pig gene is dominant. And now Elin’s bank account is more dominant than her patience.

The former California governor is now a third prominent example of A-List case law in this area.

Anyway, that’s my theory.

My co-worker agreed with my analysis, then called her husband and verbally abused him for sins he has never committed, and likely never would.


- - -

I’d tell you to have a great weekend, but since you have less than 24 hours left, I will just remind you to only buy a six-pack of beer and not bother with a Lotto 649 ticket, because the world will end before the draw Saturday night.

In the meantime try to enjoy the next few hours.

My suggestion is that you spend it with family and loved ones. But, it’s your call.

Hug the kids.


May 19, 2011

Regulars here know that I grew up in a rural corner of Nova Scotia north of Halifax. It’s not so rural anymore, and I guess they call that progress.

Windsor Junction was, and pretty much still is, a small place where even on exciting days nothing much happens. My parents have lived there a very, very long time. So long that when they arrived the road wasn’t paved and the sound of a car coming was occasion to move to the front yard to see who was lost.

In the 1970s when I was a kid a paddling club opened in neighbouring Waverley and for a lot of my friends it became their summer pastime. In a very short period of time – and not without considerable work – the small canoe club exploded into a national powerhouse, boasting athletes who made the 1976 Olympic team and younger ones who represented Nova Scotia at the Canada Games.

I vividly remember the weekend that the club won its first overall national championship. It was a bit stunning then, and still is now, actually, to think that with all the great paddling clubs in Canada (like Burloak in Oakville, to name one) that this small group from a very tiny corner of Nova Scotia could be Canadian champions.

I remember the local volunteer fire department was enlisted to ferry the champions on a tour of what is locally called The Loop – around the lakes from Waverley, to Fall River, to Windsor Junction, and back to Waverley.

And people came out of their houses and stood at the ends of their driveways or on the front steps and waved towels and clapped and saluted the kids on those trucks as they went by with the lights flashing and sirens wailing.

The thing was, every single person along The Loop personally knew some of those kids. They coached them in hockey or softball, or they went to school together, or they used to babysit for us, or whatever. The connection was direct and the pride was genuine.

Yes, this is another long set up.

No, it’s not going to end with a picture of Jennifer Aniston (sadly.)

The Owen Sound Attack won the OHL major junior championship on the weekend, beating the Mississauga St Michael’s Majors in OT in game seven. Both teams are in the Memorial Cup tournament that starts today, because the Majors are hosts.

But both teams wanted to win the OHL crown, and for Owen Sound, where the local Tim Horton’s changes the colour of the icing on glazed donuts to the team’s red colours on game days, it was a really big deal.

More than 3,500 fans from Owen Sound drove to the Hershey Centre for the game Sunday, turning the event into a de facto home game for their team in the 5,000-seat arena.

Interestingly, their own home rink only seats 3,000. Go figure.

As the Attack drove home on their bus from the game, they rolled up Highway 10 through little communities like Dundalk, Markdale and Chatsworth. Places where even on exciting days, nothing much happens.

And apparently the boys on the bus couldn’t believe their eyes.

The closer they got to Owen Sound, more and more residents were standing along the road, waving and clapping as the bus rolled toward home.

By the time they got to the street leading to their home rink, more than 2,000 people were in the street and another 3,000 were inside waiting for the party to start. Owen Sound only has 22,000 people, so that’s an amazing turnout on two hours notice.

The Majors were the class of the OHL all year and odds-on favourites to win the league crown. But like most junior hockey teams in Toronto – or, all junior teams in Toronto – they really never caught on with the community.

That’s a shame, because they have some future NHLers in the lineup.

Anyway, there’s always something special about a small community and sports. And whether it’s a canoe club or the OHL champs it’s nice when that community shows both its appreciation and, really, its ownership of the kids.

Read more on the Owen Sound experience here.

- - -

If you’re planning to attend any of the Memorial Cup games in the days ahead, see your banker first.

Single-game tickets range from $72 to $130. You can drive an hour in winter to Buffalo and see actual NHL players for far less than that. (I omitted the Leafs for obvious reasons, like “actual NHL players” and the availability of tickets for less than $150 a seat.)

The Memorial Cup is junior hockey. The pricing is dumb.

I’ll watch on TV.

Read more here.

- - -

The Halton high school senior boys rugby final was played yesterday and guess who won?

Oakville-Trafalgar beat Abbey Park 19-5 to win its 199th title in the last 200 years. Or something like that.

OT takes its rugby very seriously and they are deserving champs. There’s a team photo below, with lots of hockey players I am lucky to know.

And the shot of the captains holding the trophy aloft includes our friend Mike, who gave up hockey to excel at rugby and is now one of the best in his age group in Ontario.

Watching kids succeed never gets old.




May 17, 2011

Given the enduring and despicable weather trapped over eastern Canada, I’m not sure when I get up to shave in the morning whether it’s stubble or moss I’m scraping off my face.

A prolonged wet spell is nothing like the events in southern Manitoba and Slave Lake, AB, this week, so I am loath to go on about our own minor discomfort over a stationary low-pressure system.

But seriously. Enough, OK.

We have a couple fruit trees in our backyard and the rain has successfully ruined the cherry blossoms for yet another year.

The magnolia that Laura and my mother planted at the front of the house in 2002 as a small shrub is now over 10 feet high and in full bloom, but its bloom is also suffering because of the rain.

And the normally sunny dispositions of most of the people in metro Toronto appear to be similarly swamped by the weather.

Current forecasts see it staying this way until at least Saturday.

If you’re like me, you don’t trust a forecast that extends beyond the length of your arm sticking out a window.

- - -

The MOHA annual meeting is coming up in a couple of weeks. If you have a kid in MOHA, you should go. Especially since I have a kid in MOHA and I’m not planning to be there.

In fairness, I’ve been to more of these than I’ve missed over the years. But today I have no great passion for the association’s governance – which is no reflection on anything except my own schedule and priorities.

My arc of participation in MOHA is in all likelihood on the downside sliding toward the door, with one son out of Oakville minor hockey altogether now for two years and another entering minor midget this coming season.

I have managed to stay involved with Timbits and Tykes (and maybe Novice next year with the same cohort) as a non-parent coach and a little with bantam and Chris’s teams, and that has kept me happily below the radar on any percolating issues.

I still think there are issues to discuss at MOHA.

What is happening with enrolment? Is the size of the association having any effect on the participant experience? (At house league, probably not. At rep, if significant numbers of players are still leaving for the GTHL for AA and AAA, then maybe? But the number of OMHA crowns this spring would suggest the rep system is fine, too.)

What is the association’s plan for its million-dollar cash account? (The position that it is intended as a cushion for enrolment rates if municipal ice subsidies disappear is laughable, because it would be gone in a snap and then the same problem would exist for the next season. Plus, a not-for-profit carrying a surplus that, in percentage terms equals a significant chunk of its operating revenues puts it at risk of losing not-for-profit status in a CCRA audit. Like the kids say, it’s complicated.)

I see lots of signs of positive changes – and having a lot more ice in town since Sixteen Mile Sports Complex opened is a big part of that success.

The association did a good job marking its 50th anniversary this past season, a milestone with celebrating.

And I know personally of kids who I think are getting the sort of opportunities they should be getting to move up the rep ladder. Rep generally is less of the caste system than it was even a few short years ago. Kids with merit move up, kids with potential but underdeveloped skills are groomed and brought along. There seems to be less of the hyper-territorial parent rep coach protecting roster spots for friends of friends of friends. There are exceptions to every rule, and maybe I hear less about them now, but without a kid in the system my opinion -- looking in from the outside and based entirely on anecdotal evidence -- is that it’s better now than it used to be.

Generally, I’ve grown weary of being the cranky guy who asks the same questions. Someone else can do that now.

Make no mistake -- MOHA has been good to, and good for, my kids. And me, too.

Chris loves hockey like few other things. He may be a minor midget house leaguer, but when it’s his day to play he can’t wait to get to the rink.

MOHA’s decision a few years ago to introduce AE rep teams gave Pad a chance to wear a Ranger jersey. It’s fair to say he never looked back and his hockey journey continues to accelerate. But I know that first AE opportunity was the critical first step. I’m glad for that. (And aside here: don’t ever turn your nose up at AE. Tiny acorns, mighty oaks, etc etc.)

I intend to vote in the MOHA election, and I congratulate every person who has put their name forward to work in the interests of the association and the kids. It’s a great thing that you volunteer. Thanks.

But I doubt I’ll be there on June 2. I will make an effort to get out to an advance poll and vote and I encourage all association members to do that, too.

The association still belongs to the membership. Vote!

- - -

Musical interlude:

When Radiohead released its new CD recently, they also decided to accompany it with a promotional single-edition newspaper.

In the UK, the Guardian newspaper decided that if it was OK for Radiohead to publish a newspaper, then it was OK for the Guardian to do a cover version of a Radiohead song.

So they rummaged the newspaper to find bodies with some passable musical talent, shoved them into one of the newspaper’s video production suites and had them perform the Radiohead classic, Creep.

Now, a couple of observations.

If you’ve ever met the editor of a British newspaper, or even just an editor who is British, then you know they are rarely shy and retiring. So, it should not surprise you that the keyboard player in the Guardian version is the editor in chief.

Second, the Guardian, perhaps forced to make lemonade from lemons, used both a trombone and a banjo in the intro to Creep, something that never occurred to Radiohead. Hmm. Interesting.

Third. You can read the Guardian’s explanation of the venture here.

You can read a review of the performance, written by Colin Greenwood of Radiohead, here.

And you can listen to the editors’ effort – they call themselves Radio Eds, here in an audio slideshow.

I told Chris I would post this so he could see I wasn’t kidding.






May 16, 2011

OK. So I was a grim 50 per cent on the NHL conference semi finals predictions, blowing Vancouver's win over Nashville (totally Carrie Underwood's fault) and Washington losing to Tampa (too many Russians in the US capital, same problem Kennedy had.)

Even though both conference finals have started I am going ahead with my predictions, because the teams I'm picking to win both lost the series opener.

I like San Jose over Vancouver, simply because I like train wrecks.

I like Boston over Tampa because of goaltending.

Your mileage may vary. Measure twice, cut once. Closer cover before striking.

- - -

I'm not the handiest guy in a kitchen but thus far in life, no one has starved or been poisoned on my watch and I always do the dishes.

I can cook nearly anything fairly decently over an open flame. That's a guy thing.

I make a really good Caesar salad dressing totally from scratch.

My bachelor trifecta of hamburger goulash, baked chicken and potatoes, and sausage and tortellini has served me well over the years, although probably not my arteries.

And more recently, I've added Cajun blackened salmon, and yes, eggs Benedict with home-made Hollandaise sauce.

That last one is a favourite dish of my favourite girl and she gets served this decadent breakfast on Mother's Day and her birthday. She says that's as often as she can afford to eat it, because it's too rich.

Last weekend was Mother's Day and she didn't get her eggs Benny because I was at a hockey tournament with Pad, but I promised to make her next Sunday a memorable one.

And as promised I was over the stove at 11a working on brunch for us, assured that Pad and Chris were easily two hours from rising.

Of course no sooner than had I added the second quarter cup of butter to the Hollandaise sauce, both boys were towering over me asking when breakfast would be ready.

Neither of them had ever eaten eggs Benny before and I promised them a more traditional meal of pancakes once I had fed their mom.

Then I reconsidered and offered them the heart-attack-on-a-plate and both wanted to try it.

Everyone got a heaping serving of probably the best eggs Benedict I ever made, and probably the best eggs Benny served anywhere in Oakville in 2011. Everyone, that is, but me.

I ran out of sauce and . . . it was OK. I was glad the boys liked it, I was especially glad Laura liked it.

And I was content to have the two remaining English muffins, toasted with some jam.

Except, there was no jam.

So, I had plain English muffins and a cold DP but my wife gave me a hug and the boys both said "thanks, that was good." I did the dishes.

Some days you realize not every cool thing you do with you family has to happen in a rink. It's rare, but it happens.

Sunday was a day like that, and the rain didn't bother me a bit.


May 13, 2011

Friday the 13th. Conduct yourselves accordingly.

- - -

I’m going to get to see Chris and the Abbey Park HS Grade 9 squad play today. The bad news is they’re playing OT, so they expect to get chewed up pretty good.

I’m just looking forward to seeing the game under hopefully sunny skies.

- - -

Older son has been busy the last two evenings reffing rep lacrosse: a pair of intermediate games and one younger age group.

Pad is not overly enthused with officiating his own peer group – lots of guys in Intermediate lacrosse used to be his teammates -- and I understand that, but the good news is the money is better than lower age groups.

The bad news is you have to work for it. More scrums after whistles, more chippy play, more fights, more stupidity in many instances. Wednesday night’s game was a gong show. Last night’s was closer to normal – whatever normal is.

I hung out at Glen Abbey for parts of each night and it was great to reconnect with parents of kids I just don’t see much anymore. A couple of years ago we all had kids on the same teams, and now as the kids get older and peel off to chase their own interests, we see each other less and less.

As I have noted here many times over years, I had some great times through lacrosse and made some great friends.

Why don't they call?

- - -

There's is a picture making the rounds on the Internet -- especially Facebook -- that purports to show some uncanny resemblances among folks at the recent Royal Wedding and the classic Disney movie, Cinderella.

To wit:


Now, you're thinking: WOW!!! Look at that!! So cool!!

Well, yes. It is. And it would be even cooler if it was true.

Here's what the real Cinderella and Prince Charming looked like (with the Ugly Step Sisters too -- aka princesses Beatrice and Eugenie!)


So, other than Wills being blond/balding and Prince Charming having thick black hair, and other than Kate being brunette and Cinderella a blonde, and other than Will's tunic being red and Prince Charming's cream, and other than the ugly step sisters' dresses being pink/rose and cream/pale blue not blue and pink, well, this is a dead ringer.

I mean, it's stunning.

Lesson: If you read it on Facebook, there's a pretty good chance it's bullshit. That's today's lesson.

Tomorrow: Roswell, New Mexico and Area 51.

Have a great weekend. Drive safely. Hug the kids!


May 11, 2011

Three years ago as a Grade 9 student at Abbey Park High School, Patrick took part in something called “Flight Over Halton” – where three students at a time get in a small plane and fly over our region. The stunts are included at no extracharge.

At the time, we expressed some reservations about the whole thing, but we did as much due diligence as we could and everything seemed on the up and up (no pun intended.)

Pad loved it. We decided that Chris would never be allowed to do it.

Fast forward and now Chris is in Grade 9 and it was his class’s turn to take flight.

We signed the forms, wrote the cheque, shook our heads.

And then, this story.

Happily, no one was injured in the emergency landing. And the young pilot appears to have brilliantly managed the emotions of the students. He didn’t tell them they were landing in a field. He simply told them they were going in for a low pass over some trees. I’m sure everyone is interested in the circumstances that resulted in the plane’s fuel tank being empty.

So, you can guess what happened next.

The Flight Over Halton is a dead field trip. No doubt the board was waiting for any reason to get out from under this lawsuit waiting to happen, and they killed all future outings.

Including the one planned for Chris and his class.

Chris is bearing up OK. I don’t think he embraced this flight of fancy with the same joie de vie that his brother did, and that’s OK.

But, what could the school do for these disappointed kids in lieu of the flight?

What field trip might approach replicating the excitement and wonder seeing Halton from 3,000 feet up? What to do??

Put on your seat belts, people.

Strap on your crash helmets.

Sign the liability waivers and check the insurance.

Make peace with your Creator.

Dust off the protective gloves and steel-toed boots.

Tell mom not to wait up.

Because they’re going to the happiest, happenin’ spot this side of Tijuana.

The Royal Botanical Gardens. In Hamilton.

I’m sure it’s a lovely spot, crackling with excitement and daring-doo that can’t be replicated in a small airplane cartwheeling over Oakville.

Chris was actually pretty funny about it, speculating on what mischief a wheelbarrow full of mulch might provide, or the excitement that would follow if some of that mulch actually spilled.

We’re kind of happy he’ll have both feet on the ground.

Most days the QEW presents enough adventure without actually having to fly over it.

- - -

Because I’m lazy and because some of it is funny, I’m reposting my blog from April 17, 2008, in which I tell the story of Pad’s Flight Over Halton. The last night was kind of prophetic.


April 17, 2008

As part of his high school geography program, Pad yesterday took part in something called, "Flight Over Halton."

When initially briefed on this optional academic activity, my reaction was: "Hmmmm."

The idea being that, for a fee ($45 I think) students climb in a small plane in groups of three and are flown over Halton, ostensibly to, I'm sure, examine the unique geographical features of our corner of southern Ontario in a safe, positive learning environment, 3,000 feet in the air.

So, first we checked it out to make sure the service was provided by a reputable service and not Cousin Eddie's RV Sales and Aerial Tours. All good.

Then we asked him if he wanted to do it. He did (but he did repeatedly volunteer that if we weren't comfortable with him doing it, it would be OK if he didn't go. Being a believer in the rule that you have to let the dogs run sometimes, I had no big objection.)

So he went.

I picked him up at 7:15p at Kinoak last night on my way home from work -- he had his first practice with his novice house league lacrosse team he coaches.

He wasn't in the car 10 seconds: "Dad, the flight over Halton was sooooo cool. We pulled zero-Gs twice!!"

Really!! Cool!! Zero Gs!! There's something you don't usually see in the Ministry of Education Grade 9 core curriculum.

Yes, there's an educational experience for you -- appreciating the grandeur of the Niagara Escarpment while freefalling in a four-seater airplane to achieve weightlessness.

I really went to high school in the wrong decade, no doubt about it.

"My necklace was floating in front of my face and a pen was floating right in front of us!!"

Um, cool.

And the geography? "I got a great picture of our house!"

I see.

And how did the pilot achieve the whole zero-gravity thing?

"Oh, he stalled the engine or something and the plane just sort of . . . ."



And how was that?

"Really loud. Everyone was screaming. It was so cool."


"Hard to say, dad. It got really quiet for a second, but once everyone started screaming it was just hard to hear. It might have been running. I just couldn't hear it."

Did you get sick?

"Na, but we weren't allowed to eat before the flight. But I didn't feel great afterward for a while."

And thus ended the debriefing on Flight Over Halton.

Standing in the kitchen last night with Laura I said I learned two important things.

One, that only Grade 9 students do this, so Pad is done.

And Two, this is another thing we can cross off the list of things Chris can ever do.

- - -

How about those Red Wings? Not bad for old guys.


May 10, 2011

Since the May 2 federal election, some readers have asked why I haven’t commented on the vote. The pithy reason is that I’m not nearly so clever that I can stand and comment on the sage wisdom of the Canadian electorate. There’s almost no truth to a rumour that I was in south-central Asia on a secret mission with the Navy Seals.

Plus, guys like me keep our political opinions (mostly) to ourselves to protect the integrity of what we do for a living. This ain’t Sun TV or the Toronto Star. I don’t need to endorse anyone, and no one would want me to anyway.

But I think that a few things are sort of obvious.

The Conservatives did a good job with their messaging – specifically on two fronts. First, their ads before the campaign that attacked the Liberal leader made an impression on people, for better or worse. And the Liberals kinda let those spots define their boss.

Second, during the campaign, the prime minister stayed relentlessly on his message, talking about basic things like the economy and jobs. He didn’t follow the rabbit tracks into the underbrush on parliamentary votes on contempt and things no one understands. He talked about jobs. And people worry about their jobs, so I’m guessing people took comfort in that message about economic stewardship and stability.

How to explain the NDP surge? Well, in Quebec it sure looks like a vote for “none of the above.” Those who would tell you that the demise of the BQ means the end of the sovereignist movement in Quebec are overlooking the small matter that as soon as there’s an election called in that province, the Parti Quebecois are looking very much like they will win.

But Mr Layton clearly connected with people in ways that Mr Ignatieff did not and, well, this was the result.

Majority Tory government.

The first federal election I was involved with was in 1979, back when Joe Clark only had two chins. This last election may have been the oddest I ever saw.

What will the next few years look like?

Well, I think the Harper Government will move more aggressively than they might have otherwise to tackle the deficit. A growing economy will spin off extra tax revenue to help, but there will be program cuts too, so expect a demonstration in a public square near you. I don’t expect radical right-wing agendas to emerge. I think the prime minister has a long view and wants more than one majority.

The Liberals have work to do. Some say a merger with the NDP to unite the left side of the spectrum is inevitable, but I’m not sure. The Libs are in third place so it’s not like they can dictate terms of a merger and many in their ranks aren’t interested in one. Plus, the Libs have MPs in nine out of 10 provinces, so there’s a base to rebuild from and many Canadians have Liberal political biases (as well hidden as they are at the moment). The challenge will be twofold – find a leader who is smart and charismatic and willing to do the truly heavy, ugly work of spending eight to 10 years rebuilding the party from the grassroots up. Whoever gets the job is going to be spending a lot of time speaking to small groups in church hall basements. Funding will be a major concern. Second, they have to find someone who is undaunted by what the Conservative machine did to Dion and Ignatieff. What right-thinking person would expose themselves and their family to that meat grinder? Finding such a leader will be a daunting task.

The NDP? Well, I wish I were a young reporter back on Parliament Hill again. The NDP Quebec caucus is going to be endlessly entertaining to watch and the party has its work cut out trying to keep them all out of trouble. It’s off to an interesting start. Many of them will do far better than expected, but you will hear more about the others. Plus, being the official opposition to a majority government is to be without influence over the agenda on the Hill. In a minority government situation, the opposition has influence. In a majority? Not so much.

Anyway, this is democracy and this is Canada.

There are good men and women on every side of the political spectrum and the country and its democracy is stronger than all of them. If they screw it up, there will be another election down the road and the voters will put things right.

They always do.

If I was really, really clever and witty and insightful, I would have written something that was, well, clever and witty and insightful. But I’m rarely any of those things.

So if you want clever, insightful election wit from someone who always gets it right, you should click here.

- - -

The Canucks ruined Carrie Underwood’s day. Er, night.

I heard she cried and her mascara ran and everything, but then Mike Fisher reminded her that they are young, beautiful millionaires and he has the five months off. And then they laughed their asses off.

Anyway, the Canucks won, raising the prospect of a western conference final with San Jose which would mean we all have to stay up really, really late.

- - -

Tonight will mark the third consecutive night that we are all at home at the same time.

The streak ends with a thud tomorrow.


May 9, 2011

I’m reaching the point where I think I need to take Fridays off so that I can keep up with my kids and then take Mondays off to recover from that effort.

Don’t get me wrong – I love all the things they do. But man. I’m just old.

As previously reported, Pad and almost 600 other junior A, B, and C hockey players, plus those aspiring to be junior hockey player, competed in the College Cup prospect tournament on the weekend.

It was more fun than I thought it would be, and his team did better than I expected. Granted I had low expectations given that the players on the team didn’t meet one another until Thursday night.

But his squad went 3-1-0 in the preliminary round, which was good enough for 7th place out of 35 teams and a spot Sunday in the round of 16 single-knockout draw.

While the rest of you were sleeping in or treating mom nice, we went back to the rink. They won their first Sunday game 2-1 in overtime, then lost the second game – a quarter final – 1-0 in a shootout.

Frankly, I was kind of glad it was over for us by noon.

Six games in three days is a lot of hockey and the way my kid plays the game, he was moving slowly with aches and bruises as it was.

Plus it was Mothers Day. Plus we were up late and up early all weekend.

But it was worth the time and effort, for sure. We met a ton of people, saw dozens that we know from various hockey experiences over the years, and had some laughs.

Interesting stories for another day perhaps.

Mothers Day for Laura wasn’t exactly what we had planned, but we’ll make it up to her soon. We did manage to have a silly presentation of presents late in the afternoon, but . . . we can do better.

Part of being a mom is knowing that the kids come first I guess, even on Mothers Day if there's hockey involved.

- - -

Meanwhile, Chris and his Grade 9 Abbey Park rugby squad played Friday and won back-to-back games for the first time this season.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that it rained on both games, but real men don’t worry about such things while they are in the process of getting covered in mud and impressing the girls.

Spring rugby has been a bigger hit at home than I would have thought.

Good on Chris and pals.

- - -

If Vancouver loses tonight, the city may well slide into the Strait of Georgia, unable to bear the weight of another looming Game 7. If Nashville wins, then we get to look at Carrie Underwood being all blonde and perky and pretended she knows that pucks aren’t just really thick coasters for her drink.

I’m all for angst in Vancouver and more gratuitous images of Carrie Underwood, who is way better looking than Bob McKenzie.

So, Nashville will win.

You won’t hear Pierre Maguire give you than type of searing insight into hockey.

- - -

BTW on the playoffs:

In the first round, six of the eight series went six or seven games.

In round two, two of the four series were sweeps and San Jose probably should have swept the Wings.

What’s up with that?

- - -

Patrick will be taking his G-2 drivers’ exam shortly.

This is just a public service announcement so you can take all necessary precautions.

Actually, he’s a very good driver. He’s safer, more defensive and more attentive than others far older than him.

Like me, for example.

- - -


May 6, 2011

Interesting news landed in my inbox from a devoted local hockey coach yesterday that bodychecking in house league was finished in Ontario.

And so it is -- click here for more details.

I know of a number of minor hockey coaches who will applaud this move and frankly, I do too. The evidence is such that for me personally, it's not worth the risk to have house leaguers exposed to body checking. And yes, it does sound hypocritical to say it's OK to expose rep players to that risk. More on that in a second.

The prohibition also applies to select level hockey, but not rep.

To be clear, the ban won't mean an end to contact.

Players will still be physical in corners and in taking defensive positions in front of the net, etc.

But it will mean big open-ice hits, hits into the boards, and that sort of thing will be gone.

You can read what the OHF had to say about it here. I can't find a bulletin yet giving guidance to officials on this matter, but I'm sure it will come soon.

Having been through rep hockey with a kid from AE through AAA, I can fairly say that it is an entirely different beast than house league. I think it will be a long time, if ever, before body checking is removed from rep.

Kids in rep, if they or their parents don't want to accept the risks, can still play house league hockey.

But most kids in rep are there to chase a dream. At AA and AAA, those kids want to be there and they accept the risk.

Bodychecking has always been a pretty fundamental part of the game of hockey -- and for those who compete at the highest levels of the sport, within their age groups, or in junior and college and beyond, it's simply part of the DNA of our game.

But things evolve for a reason, and protecting kids is a really good reason. We didn't always have cages on helmets. Some blog readers may have played minor hockey when helmets were virtually not existent.

And things like that changed to protect the kids. As it should be. If you have ever seen a kid with a concussion, even a mild one, you will know that you would start cutting off your fingers if that would make it go away. You only get one brain, and hockey is just a game. A great game, but just a game.

I'll leave the final word on this one today to the OHF, from its statement:


At the end of the day hockey is a sport intended to give health benefits and life lessons to participants, and the OHF wants to highlight these core attributes of the game. With this new rule change, more players and parents will feel safer in these leagues and bring the focus back to the basics of the 'good old hockey game'.

- - -

As noted yesterday, it's Mother's Day weekend.

I have lots of moms in my life. My mother has always been, and continues to be, wildly supportive of my siblings and me and our spouses and children. She's a rock and we love her.

Ditto for my mother in law who has always made me feel like part of the family, which is a good thing because after nearly a quarter century and two grandchildren, I am!

Both my mom and mother in law have seen more doctors than they care to think about in the past couple of years, but they're both doing great now. Tough broads, those two.

Laura is an amazing mother to Pad and Chris and some days I don't know how she gets it all done. Wife. Friend. Jazzercize fanatic. Cheerleader-in-chief. Counsellor. Hockey mom. Magazine editor. Law columnist. Short-order cook. Pastry chef. Gourmet. Dish washer. Maid. Gardener. Fashionista. Avid reader. Theatre enthusiastic. Concert goer. Wine connoisseur. Value shopper. Tutor. Social convenor. Innovator. Blog critic.

I recently finished reading No Country For Old Men. There's a scene in the book where the old sheriff is regarding his wife from a distance and remarks to a friend that she was his whole life. He says, words to the effect of, if you take her away, you wouldn't need a paper bag to hold what's left of me.

I think more than a few of us know what he meant.

I hope the sun shines and the eggs benny that I'll make from scratch on Sunday is good enough for a great mom.

Safe travels to everyone this weekend.

Hug the kids.

Hug the mother of your kids.

Hug your mom.


May 5, 2011

Life is funny.

I know that many people who read this blog do so simply because they relate to the stuff that happens to us. Nothing here is remarkable, but there’s comfort in knowing you’re not alone.

So, when I tell you after four consecutive years of winning Greenbriar Drive’s awards for the house most desperately in need of a new driveway, we pulled the trigger and we’re getting a new driveway, you can share my pain.

Because almost simultaneously to that, the wind storm late last week blew down and destroyed a significant portion of fence in our backyard.

The financial impact of an unplanned capital expenditure on top of a planned one is one issue. (Negotiations begin tonight with Pad to limit him to just six meals a day for two weeks. The savings will cover the fence repairs and finance Canada’s mission in Afghanistan through its conclusion.)

But more annoyingly, spending money on driveways and fences is . . . a pain in the ass.

Three inches of new asphalt won’t add a nickel in value to the house because it’s a driveway. Houses are supposed to have a driveway. Like furnaces and roofs.

And, sadly, fences.

So, our modest homestead is a hard-hat zone for a while, sorta-kinda.

When I was a boy, we didn’t have a paved driveway. Or NDP in Quebec! And the Leafs? They played playoff games sometimes! Why, when I was a boy . . .

Wait! Hey you kids! Get off my lawn . . . .

- - -

I wouldn’t have bet on the Washington Capitals losing in four straight games. In fact, I think there’s considerable evidence to suggest I strongly felt otherwise.

I actually thought the Caps would be the finalist from the East but right now, I think that looks like Boston, who lead Philly 3-0.

Then again, we all know what Boston did the last time they led the Flyers in a series 3-0 . . .

You remember.

- - -

Because some of the best weather of the spring is erupting all about us, I am taking Friday off and will spend considerable parts of the next two days standing in a rink.

The good news is that when Pad is on the ice, he’s not eating so I think we actually save money.

He knows I’m kidding.

Prospect weekend should be fun. It has little to do with winning and losing and lots to do with being seen. With 35 teams in the event, there are a lot of kids looking to be seen.

Chris has a rugby game sometime Friday – we don’t know yet because I think the powers that be are looking for a field that’s not under three inches of water.

I really want to go see him play – he loves it.

Sometimes, when growing up in the shadow of an older brother and uber jock, the best thing to do is to follow your own path, and rise up.

Chris is #4 in this photo. And yes, he caught it.


- - -

Sometime on the weekend, maybe Saturday night, Laura and I will sit down to our first meal together in almost two weeks.

My work, her work, hockey, rugby, travel . . . it has conspired to make the stereo quiet, the kitchen dark, and things generally less convivial than is our practice. I expect one of us will fall asleep before the meat is off the BBQ.

Speaking of which:

Sunday is Mother’s Day.

Don’t forget.

And don’t forget that just because your wife isn’t your mother doesn’t mean you’re not responsible for making her feel happy/special/appreciated. As opposed to unhappy/neglected/unappreciated.

Look at it this way.

If, on Sunday the mother of your children looks like maybe she is unhappy/neglected/unappreciated, do you really want to launch a “you’re-not-my-mother” defence?

If you do, two points:

1. Call me first. I want to come over and video record what happens next. The blog readership will enjoy it and the police will want evidence.

2. You will be wishing President Obama sent a helicopter full of Navy SEALs to your house to negotiate your surrender.

And you know when I say negotiate, I mean “negotiate.”

It won’t end well.

If you’re completely clueless go to Dorval Crossing, invest 20 minutes in a Teamoakville special: a $25 gift certificate from Chapters and you can get a card there too for $3. Then walk over the LCBO and get a bottle of Stump Jump Grenache wine (Australian, it’s all the rage right now) for about $14.

So you’re free and clear for less than $50 and you'll get to watch golf all afternoon and she will think you’re thoughtful. You might consider ordering in Pad Thai for dinner.

Just hope she doesn’t read the blog.


May 4, 2011

Long time, no see.

It’s been a bit busy in the news racket lately on several fronts, and that combined with some hectic conditions at home have pushed this piece of Internet real estate to the bottom of the list of priorities.

But, I’m back albeit briefly.

- - -

Anyone who know me even a little bit knows that for better or worse, Diet Pepsi is my drink of choice morning, noon or night.

One player I coached gave me a Pepsi hockey jersey as a Christmas present one year. I only rarely, and usually under protest, go on to a bench for a game without a bottle of DP nearby.

So with that in mind I was somewhat startled last week when watching the final Montreal-Boston game when what to our wondering eyes should appear but the image below, captured on TV during the third period.

It was just Pad and me watching, but I told him that this was the moment I started hoping Montreal would win.

I would have been better off to hope for a DP as the Bruins prevailed and Chara left the building with a Coke and smile.


- - -

My trip to Vancouver was uneventful, which is a good way for air travel to be. The plane was jammed in both directions which is usually a pretty good sign that the economy is getting back on its feet.

Because the meetings I attended were at a conference centre adjacent to a casino near the airport, I stayed at the Airport Fairmount.

Nice hotel with a view of the tarmac and the mountains beyond.

It was the first time I ever stayed in a hotel that had a telescope in the room, and while I didn’t spend hours scanning the mountain terrain it was still a nice diversion at the end of day.

My only complaint about the hotel is that it had no vending machines or ice machines on the guest floors – another first in my experience.

So if you wanted a soft drink and/or ice, you could call room service or open the mini bar.

I’m not sure which would be more expensive but I decided to do without rather than pop $6 for a soft drink (or whatever it was.)

The good news, however, was that the dining room carried both Coke and Pepsi.

I can tell by the way your eyes are glazing over that you’re fascinated.

Trust me – it’s a big deal to me!

- - -

We have actual competitive hockey in the household again this weekend, with the spring ritual of junior rookie camp safely behind us.

Pad was invited to play in a college prospect tournament this weekend – sort of a meat market for US and Canadian universities to look over dozens and dozens of potential recruits.

I don’t think we know any of the guys on the team (they meet and practice for the first time on Thursday night before playing on Friday afternoon) but most of the other teams will be in the same predicament. We’ll go and hope for a good time.

This tournament is a tune up for a larger event in July in Boston that includes a mini-training camp on Cape Cod before the tournament, plus campus tours of Boston College, Boston University, Harvard and Northeastern University.

- - -

Speaking of the big guy, he graduates from Abbey Park High School in June so the rituals of matriculation are being played out in our house and many others across the land.

Tux fittings, prom negotiations (with his parents), grad fees, finalizing plans for the next school year (don’t get me started on that) and more.

One of the thing the students are doing to raise money to underwrite the costs of the prom is a game called "Assassin."

Charming, I know.

For $5, each senior gets a water pistol and the name of a participating student to "hit." You can't do it on school property, or at the student's place of work, if they have a part time job.

Pad was really looking forward to the game.

Yesterday, he went for lunch with a friend to a Timmy's. As soon as they were off school property, she smiled, pulled out the gun, and it was over. He was soaked and he was eliminated.

He doesn't want to talk about it.


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