Thursday, July 31, 2008

Blackhawks: Bowman final piece?

UPDATE: the story about dumb truckers who cause bad accidents I wrote a few days ago had an element that I couldn't find a link to. It was about another dumb trucker that spilled pigs all over the 401 when I was trying to drive around. More details on that incident can be found here. Thanks to Shelley for finding it and directing me towards it.

The interesting things for today: The Chicago Blackhawks
The Blackhawks are prepared to announce the signing of the winningest coach in NHL history as their new senior hockey advisor, Scotty Bowman, according to Sportsnet.

It's more like: after you beat 'em, join 'em.
Bowman has been working with the Red Wings for a long, long while - sharing in their success since the mid-90s, but is ready to move on, I guess. This will be the second time that the Red Wings have won the Stanley Cup and then lost Bowman in an official capacity - the first time he retired as head coach, and this time he's quit being their consultant. It kind of puts a twist on the old adage, 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.'

OR, perhaps it's more like, if you can't beat 'em (Chicago has been a bottom dweller ever since Detroit decided to become a perennial President's Trophy candidate), then scoop up the one guy who knows the organization inside and out, and then use him to strategize how to beat them. Perhaps that's more along the lines of how to challenge for the division title?

For Chicago, this is a very interesting development, as they continue to bring in exciting new names and faces to the organization. As referenced earlier, the Blackhawks have decided to make a bunch of big new changes, and it will definitely translate into a different looking, and different feeling, team.

This means they're intending on playing in Wrigley Field! Pretty neat.

Now Bowman joins the team. What instigated this push for a bonafide resurrection? Simple, their crap owner Bill Wirtz died.

With the passing of longtime owner Bill Wirtz, there is a change afoot in Chicago, one that will have these young and exciting Blackhawks on local television and the organization has, through years of struggling, built up the kind of talent base that should make the Blackhawks an annual playoff team. The youth movement in Chicago begins with Rookie of the Year candidates Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.

There are plenty more fresh faces growing alongside them. Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien, Dave Bolland, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Cam Barker and James Wisniewski are all under 25 and set to play significant roles as the Blackhawks aim for a better tomorrow.

So you take all of that action, and put it with Patrick Kane's 21 goals, Patrick Sharpe's 36, Robert Lang's 21, Jonathan Toeves 24, and the 19 that their rookie defenseman Dustin Byfuglien scored (in only 67 games), you've got a pile of talented youngsters that are already demonstrating intense scoring ability.

With Huet stopping the puck and the defense of Brent Seabrook (+13), Duncan Keith (+30!) and Brent Sopel (+9) being gilded by Brian Campbell (+8 and 62 points!) these guys look like they will score more and crack down on defense more - that sort of thing translates into winning a lot of games.

Especially with the vision and development of Scotty Bowman influencing the future of the franchise - the future is near for the Blackhawks, one that they've been looking forward to for a long, long time.

AND they can still make a major move to get even better. With Nikolai Khabibulin (a 50+ game starter with a Stanley Cup ring), they can bait their line to bring in another talented player. There are teams out there that aren't confident with their goaltending, and Khabibulin could be tempting, no doubt.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Dinosaur Corral

Here are some neat dinosaur stories from the past week:

1: Discover (magazine? website? I'm not sure what to call it ...) has responded to a claim that someone had actually found soft tissue inside of a tyrannosaurus bone. It was exciting because there were thoughts that you could come up with all sorts of new information about t-rexes with that information - imagine, they'd just have to send it down to the CSI lab and learn absolutely everything there was to know about them. 

A new study may burst the bubble of dinosaur buffs by contradicting an exciting announcement of three years ago: what was earlier identified as soft tissue preserved in the thigh bone of a Tyrannosaurus fossil is actually just modern-day bacteria, says paleontologist Thomas Kaye.

The new study challenges the work done by paleontologist Mary Schweitzer, who garnered headlines in 2005 for reporting in the journal Science [that her team] had found the remains of blood vessels inside the fossils unearthed in the Hell Creek Formation in Montana. Finding tissue preserved at least 65 million years shocked paleontologists who believed any such traces were lost forever [USA Today].

For the new study, published in the journal PLoS ONE, Kaye went to the same formation as Schweitzer’s sample, dug up a 65-million-year-old dinosaur bone, cracked it open, and looked at it [Reuters]. He saw the same branching structures that Schweitzer identified as the remnants of blood vessels and cells, but identified them as a bacterial biofilm that grew inside the channels formed by blood vessels. Carbon-dating analyses of some samples indicate that the material is very recent, forming after 1950, Kaye says [Science News].
Schweitzer disagreed, saying her team considered that the material was bacterial biofilm, and rejected the possibility. She says there’s no reported evidence that biofilms can produce branching, hollow tubes like those noted in her study [Science News]. Kaye says that he never intended to play the role of spoilsport. “Nobody was more disappointed than me,” said Kaye. “We went into this trying to be the second group to find tissues” [Wired News]. 
2: Jurassic Fight Club
Unfortunately, I was busy losing a hockey game instead of watching the premiere of Jurassic Fight Club! Nobody has posted any material from the show up online just yet, but there are a few behind the scenes videos, which show that this show is awesome! It's about dinosaurs simply kicking ass for the entire episode. There are scientific arguments for each competitor, and then they kill each other. Awesome.

It's a bit more advanced than this:

3: ROM gets a big 'bird'
The Royal Ontario Museum should have their awesome quetzocoatlus installed by now. This, I read, was intended to hang over the entrance to the new Space Crystal, or whatever it's called, that they took so many damned years to get installed. It's kind of cool now, but it was really neat back when they had mounted skeletons backed against reconstructed environments and murals. We went pretty early after the official opening, so perhaps it wasn't fully finished, yet.

Apparently Japan found an incredibly well preserved Tarbosaurus in Mongolia. 

There was something neat out there about a Mastodon, too, but I can't seem to figure out what that was. 

In any event, this is what is new with dinosaurs this week. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tribute to Windsor's West End

Dear Windsor's West End,

I know I'd been talking about leaving you for a long time now, but ... now that I've gone and left, well - I miss you. We'd been together for so very long. No doubt, almost everything I know about Windsor is because of you.

The beginning
I've lived in the West End since September 2000, first in Macdonald Hall (2nd floor) at the University of Windsor. I had to move out of there by late April, and was relocated across the street to Rosedale where I spent two conflicted years. 

Man, no air conditioning, no privacy, we didn't even have a front door for about three weeks if you believe it. The silhouette of the Ambassador Bridge covered over our house like the sound of airbreaking from the trucks. A very good friend of mine lived on Indian, and no doubt, I spent many a summer night playing fussball out on their porch. You haven't lived in the West End if you haven't lived on Indian, I'll say that much. 

While living on Rosedale and working in Sandwich Towne I ran into my first opossum and was propositioned by my first male-prostitute by the Detroit River. The opossum was huge and the prostitute was probably just ducking out of the house, escaping his wife and kids to pursue his hidden homosexual endeavours. 

But tensions with roommates put a strain on friendships, and we all separated. I moved to the other side of campus, to the corner of Fanchette and California. The house was in much better repair and we had a great time. Living with a front porch is the way to go - those things are fantastic. We were nice and close to a barber, small restaurants that were open 24-hours a day, Chinese Food on the speed-dial, and of course were as close to campus as you could imagine. 

I remember walking home from a bar one night after that big power outage in 2003. I remember sitting below the Ambassador Bridge in the black quiet while watching the Detroit River flowing by and I was absolutely awestruck with the peace of the evening and the magnificence of the bridge. I've never looked at that thing the same way since. 

After two years at California and Fanchette, I packed up again and moved over to Dot Ave., right adjacent to the Pedestrian Overpass by the Windsor-Essex District Catholic School Board. I finally had a driveway all to myself, and my car, which had been backed into twice and totally destroyed once by absent-minded drivers (the worst of which you can see here), didn't have to remain parked in the street. 

Well, that was short-lived as my roommate's girlfriend, after being at our house perpetually because we had air-conditioning, made it official and just moved in anyhow. She and my roommate drove everywhere, wouldn't walk two steps outside if they didn't have to. Meaning, my car, which I liked to put in dry-dock most of the time, had to stay on the street. 

While living there, we were nice and close to three major plazas that included a Shopper's Drugmart (with post office), an A&P, a Canadian Tire, a Bulk Barn, LCBO, Wendy's, CIBC, Blockbuster, Zellers, Tim Horton's, you name it! We had it all, and it was all two blocks away. Good stuff. We were also strikingly close to a great school, Marlborough, that had a giant double-baseball diamond/soccer field that was available to practice baseball in any time you wanted. We made good use of that for two summers. 

And all that while, we were still nice and close the University of Windsor, able to walk to-and-froe without worrying about parking, commuting, or any of that nonsense. It was great.

Well, our landlord sold that place, and I had to find somewhere new to live. 

Last year
So I packed up everything again and slid into another good buddy of mine's place on Partington. This was also nice and close to the U, and my bicycle gave me a quick and easy ride to work in the basement of the CAW. I was able to stop at the fraternity house on the way home and catch up with anyone who was around, too. We were about three blocks from Big Dick's, where we went more nights than not, and it was pretty good. 

But I'll tell you this, I've never seen wildlife like I did when I was at Partington. There were the usual song birds and squirrels frequently the yard and the garbage bags, but man ... there was a whole family of raccoons (I saw the mom and four pups all at once, one time). There were a half dozen skunks that came out at all hours of the night. There were stray cats that ranged from absolutely adorable kittens to the most bastardy looking things you'd ever seen. There was a god-damned groundhog one morning. I was sitting on the porch and the thing walked right up to me. 

Of course, there was the real highlight, though. I got to see a hawk swoop down onto the garage and kill a sparrow twice! That was really cool. I think my roommates didn't believe me when I told them I saw a hawk kill something in the back yard one day (during the winter). But the second time he came down (and you can't miss it, it's a big flash of feathers and then it'll just stand there on the ground, on top of what it killed, clawing at it, waiting for it to die), he sat around in the backyard tearing the little bird up.

Two of my roommates saw it that time, and they were as pumped about it as me. A bonafide hawk killing stuff in my backyard! That was really cool. 

And now I live a few blocks from the downtown core, almost on the eastern side of things, although I wouldn't consider it the east end. We can see the river, hear the boats honking, and can see Ceasar's Windsor without much difficulty. In fact, I think we can hear the concerts they play each night - not clearly, but if you listen, you can deduce which song is being played. 

I'll tell you one thing I'm not going to miss about that end of the city - not having the street plowed. Man, it could snow and for four days nobody would come plow our streets. And don't think I didn't write a letter to the editor at the Windsor Star, and don't think that I didn't call our City Councillor to do something about it. Alas, snow and ice were expected to be on the streets and they were never plowed. Not a single time all winter, and that was bullshit. 

Now we live on a bus route, suckas! They'll plow that every day! Even in the summer - and I'm looking forward to it. 

But there are some things that will take some getting used to, like not walking by rancid dumpsters every day. That'll take some getting used to - but I can learn to live with that, I guess. Biking places takes a bit longer, especially considering I still work in the west end. The commute's very nice though - and the riverside bikeride is gorgeous in the mornings. 

I don't know where the nearest banks are anymore, though. And when you do find them, they certainly aren't in a plaza with all those amenities that I was so happy to be near before. We had to drive back to the west end last night to find a mere Canadian Tire 'cause we don't know where everything is yet.

And I don't see transport trucks hauling their nine axles of freight up and down my streets anymore. It's like I'm not even in Windsor at all. I can't see the bridge!  I can't feel the rumble of the trucks driving by. 

And when the hell is garbage day now? I just don't know. When should I take out the recycling? My world is falling apart without you, west end! But I know this is the best for both of us. Perhaps we'll run into each other again, some day. I hope it won't be too awkward. 

Thanks for all the good times, but ... it has to be this way. 


Monday, July 28, 2008

Lost Comic Con video discussion.

First off, a clean edition of the Lost video featuring Pierre Chang indicating that his work is using a panopticon to peer 30 years into the future.

He's given up pretending to be Marvin Candle or Edgar Hallowax or Mark Wickmund - no more secret testing or anything. He's coming clean - and calling for help. First revelation, his true name is Pierre Chang, and this introduction is interrupted by a crying baby. 

He's not wearing his lab suit, either. Rather, a tunic-like dark chemise. He's also no longer in a laboratory, but rather in a residential unit, perhaps? On a couch, not behind a counter with scale replicas of items to help elucidate his instructions. 

He says he's into astrophysics and that he's from Anne Arbour Michigan. Then there's garbled commentary on when he was brought to the island and that he was working on the metric conversions of Einstein isotopes. 

He then adds that it is absolutely imperative that the Dharma Initiative be reinstituted. 

He calls the video that he's making a 'pinhole,' which he's hoping to keep open. Perhaps this is where the interference is coming from, the pinhole. It is linked to 30 years in the future.  He then tries to prove that he's speaking with the future by naming the President of the United States, the Internet, and admits that he and his fellow scientists are all dead.

The 'pinhole' is linked to the name Jeremy Bentham, which Locke, we now know, will use as his nom de plume

They will die from a violent purge that they are powerless to escape. We can deduce that 'The Incident' and 'The Purge' are not the same instance in Lost Mythology, now. Perhaps we could have deduced that much earlier, but I think this makes it clear - as he makes mention of an 'Incident' back in the Swan Orientation video in Season 2. 

Then he looks down at his left hand, which is theorized to be wooden in earlier videos. In fact, I think it's the Swan video that his arm appears to be wooden in. (I'll have to go back and look into all of this some day soon). 

The 'camera' operator doesn't think that the 'pinhole' is working, and thinks 'they' are never going to see this. Then he tries to turn it off. Pierre doesn't want it turned off, yet. Then the field is closed and the video is over. 

Some people are arguing that the 'camera man' sounds a lot like Daniel Farrady, which would indicate that he was on the island at the same time as Pierre Chang. Or it indicates that Pierre Chang is on the island at the same time as Daniel Farrady. Either way, that would lead to a series of new ideas for people to mull over. I'll try my hand at some theories in the near future, I guess.

You can see for yourself, right here:

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Dinosaurs and Lost - no hockey today.

I know what I'm looking forward to taping on Tuesday, now.

That's right, it's Jurassic Fight Club from the history channel. This seems to be about actual scenes that were uncovered in fossil beds, or on some fossils demonstrating severe damage indicating  major battles between animals.

So these are reenactments (or interpretations) of what paleontologists believe these fossil beds indicate - and it should be sweet. So that's this Tuesday at 9 p.m. Now it just depends when we've got hockey.

As for the San Diego Comic Con 2008, and the Lost panel that I'd been waiting for all this past week, well there are videos of it up already, which is great. I imagine that there will be a broad library of everything that went on, soon enough. You have to wait for everyone who's at Comic Con to come home, unpack, fiddle with their cameras and video production software, and upload their images. By the end of this week, I'll bet that there will be pretty much a video record of everything that happened, and we can finally start putting all the pieces together.

Sources for video highlights of everything can be found at
And most particularly at these links: OGR and Live Lost. It is also reported that Lost will begin filming on August 18, meaning that spies that lurk around waiting to snap pictures of the set and the actors, will begin popping up by the third week of August. Until then, there probably won't be too much to worry about.

Highlights that pique the interest for the show is that they 1) claim that they'll have a whole new brand of storytelling, 2) they won't be using flashbacks, per se. 3) They'll have a fresh impression of how time travel works on the show. 4) We will get to see Danielle Rousseau's episode, but it was made clear that 'flashback' would be a 'disingenuous' term to use.

I'm sure more will pop up shortly.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

When you know you got out just in time

We left Tobermory the other day. We had to leave very early so that my fiance could attend one of her cousin's wedding showers, and even though we budgeted plenty of time, there was a complication on the 401, and we were severely delayed.

As discussed before, a truck hauling loads of hot asphalt was crashed into by another trucker hauling wooden pallets, and the two collided to create a fire that required four county's worth of fire fighters and over seven hours to clean up. (I calculate 7 hours because it supposedly happened at 9 a.m., and we were definitely stuck there until 3 p.m. - I gave 'em an extra hour just for good measure.)

On a related note, at least the truckers were unharmed. Here's a situation where an asphalt accident didn't work out so well. A 15-year-old kid got buried and burned to death. Man ...
And as for the complications that befell us while we traveled through the North-Western region of Southern Ontario, things could have been much worse. For exmaple, the nuclear power plant up there could have been missing a radioactive part - oh wait, ... it was. I think this plant is out near Goderich/Kincardine - but that doesn't mean a whole lot when there's a radioactive meltdown, does it?

I don't think the concern is as big as the article's title might suggest. But missing parts in nuclear power plants doesn't sound good - and it probably isn't good.

Boston update:

For the guy who keeps coming to read my blog from Boston, this is for you. Also, the Red Sox lost last night, but the big story is that Manny Ramirez is a big baby, and is abandoning the team with a mild injury by refusing to play.

Ramírez, of course, was nowhere to be seen. He'd been sent to Massachusetts General Hospital during the game to have an MRI of both knees, the Sox evidently taking no chances that their slugger might have gotten confused about which one hurt. The tests, according to manager Terry Francona, came back clean.
- - Gordon Edes

That's awesome! I can't resist to also say that Joba Chamberlain, who whooped the Sox yesterday, is rumoured to be dating my cousin. She also reportedly fell down a stair case, and then met Snoop Dog.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Bitching about traffic

Driving back from the cottage is usually a long ordeal, and we make a point to avoid Toront when driving around, but the last two times my fiance and I have returned to Windsor, traffic has been absolutely stupid.

Today, we made it to Guelph from the Bruce Penninsula, and then expected to slip down the 401 to Windsor and be home real quick. NOT THE CASE. Here's what happened! Some dumb trucker hauling wood pallets rear-ended a dump truck hauling asphalt. They caught on fire, and required FOUR different fire departments to assist in cleaning up.


Damnit! Not cool.

Last time we were coming through we were log jammed much further east right in Mississauga. What freak accident was causing trouble that time? I can't find a link to the story - if there ever was one reported, but I kid you not, a transport truck full of pigs tipped over and caught on fire. I'm not kidding; the truck was incinerated and the goddamned pigs were running all over the 401! There had to have been 30 of them big hunks of bacon.

After a week of relaxing, I can't imagine a worse way to reintegrate yourself into the working environment by stressing out with traffic jams due to freak accidents by some dumb trucker*.

That's all I can handle for now. TOMORROW: Lost has its panel presentation at Comic Con 2008 in San Diego, I will be looking forward to reporting what transpires.

*I'm kidding. It would actually be worse if there were two dumb truckers.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Vacation's almost over

Well, the vacation is almost over, and it'll be time to head back to Windsor. We didn't have a stove or hot water this week, but we hardly even noticed. The weather has been awesome, the lake has been warm and the barbeque has provided all the cooking we needed.

I'll be back in Windsor by tomorrow, which will bring with it a series of interesting new things to work on. Most specifically I'm looking forward to getting back on board with the Windsor Spitfires to pump out a few articles for their yearbooks, of course get back to work at The Lance, and hopefully get another assignment from In Business. Here's a link to the last article I wrote for them.

One of the big accomplishments from this week has been the chance to reconnect with the novel I started last November (and subsequently won an award from Nanowrimo for - meaning, I wrote 50,000 words in under a month) and plot out the final few chapters and have almost written an entire new chapter.

It also gave me a chance to run a complete edit on the first 109 pages of the book and reread the first three chapters (or 25 pages) that I'd written for the second part. Once the last few chapters are finished, I cna finally worry about the layout, the printing and any binding that it may require.

Then I can focus more fully on the Choose Your Own Adventure series, and contemplate a sequel to the last book. I need a title for it, too. Any thoughts on that one?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Choose your own adventure - excerpt 3

Because the last post failed, and I feel bad for not puttin up something of more value than what I did, I now provide the third installment of the Choose Your Own Adventure book. If you'd like to make a choice in which installment you'd like to see next, leave a comment, else I'll just keep following the A storyline.

A3: Walk along to the gas station

The overcast sky provided some shelter from the summer sun today, but the threat of rain weakened the feeling of relief that the cooler temperature was providing. As they walked along the gravel shoulder to the road, Andrea and Orrin were relatively silent. While Orrin had been snippy and short-tempered with Andrea earlier, he sensed that she might be feeling some shame for being so careless, and didn’t want to be too hard on her.

Looking at her, he noticed that she was walking with her eyes on the ground, and appeared to be sulking to herself. He reached over and took her hand. She seemed to like that. They walked a few more yards in silence, making use of the time they had before them to enjoy their company rather than to skulk over their current situation.

It was odd that they hadn’t seen any vehicles all this time they’d been walking. Andrea was the first to break the silence.

“It sure is a quiet afternoon, isn’t it.”

“Yeah,” answered Orrin. “I guess nobody was planning on reviewing the bridge plans at the open house this afternoon,” he laughed. “I knew nobody would show up to that thing. What a waste of time.”

“Yeah, you’re right,” Andrea replied. After a brief moment, she turned to face him and said, “You were right, Orrin. I shouldn’t have kept going. I should have listened to you. I messed up and now we’re stuck out here and I mess everything up and ..”

“Hey, hey, hey,” Orrin interrupted, trying to soothe her. “It was just a mistake. These things happen to a lot of people. Don’t beat yourself up about it. And … to be honest, I was too hard on you. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have reacted like that.” In an effort to lighten the mood, he joked, “I’ll bet it never happens again, though,

“No, you’re right. I’ll be ready next time,” she giggled.

“That’s what mistakes are all about,” he said cheerfully.

They both smiled at one another. This wasn’t turning out to be so bad after all. Perhaps they hadn’t found an adventure this afternoon, but at least they managed to get some quality time in together. Orrin stopped walking and pulled Andrea in close
to him, and he hugged her long and hard. She hugged him back, and when they finally parted, it was only enough so that they could share a moment, and then a

As their lips met, a small sprinkle of rain landed across their shoulders, and dampened their foreheads. It didn’t distract them, until a few moments later, when the drizzle began dumping water and hail down on them.

Amid cusses, Orrin scanned the surrounding area for some shelter from the torrents of rain that were crashing down on them. The sound of the rain slapping against the asphalt beneath their feet was almost deafening. Grabbing Andrea’s hand, he pulled her towards a small farmhouse about 200 metres in. There was a long gravel driveway and a small gate, but they managed to cover the distance in under a minute. They were laughing a little, and their shirts were soaked, clinging to their skin.

They reached the small farmhouse and got in underneath the balcony, which provided shelter from the hail but not from the rain, which was splashing back up at them from the ground. The icy pellets were collecting all over the farmer’s green lawn.

“Jesus! Where did this come from,” panted Orrin.

The rain was so loud that Andrea could barely hear him. She responded by saying something, but Orrin couldn’t understand her for the sound of the rain. When he went to ask her to repeat herself, he was drowned out by the loudest bang of
thunder he’d ever heard.

The crash of the thunder shook their bodies, and it rolled like a mountainous entity across the fields and into the distance.

“Holy shit!” laughed Andrea. “That must have been close! I’ve never heard the thunder so loud in my life. It was, like, scary.”

Orrin put his soaking arms around her shoulders and pulled her tight. The breeze was cold and biting, but she was warm and soft, and so he cuddled for a moment longer.

“We’ll have to wait for this storm to pass,” he said. “This is way too much for us to walk through. Man, I didn’t think this was going to happen.”

"Ooohhhh,” whined Andrea. “I just thought of something. I don’t think I rolled the windows all the way up on the car.” She pouted a little longer, but wasn’t too distraught about it. No doubt, her interior would be drenched if the windows were indeed down.

“We’ll have to see if any of the hail collected on the floor of the car when we get back, eh?” teased Orrin. “Don’t worry, everything will be fine. This is just a little setback. We’ll be okay.”

He turned around and knocked on the door of the farmhouse. Perhaps someone was home and they could get some shelter, or perhaps even some gas while they were here. There was no answer at the door, so Orrin knocked again. When no one came to the door once more, he shrugged and put his arm back around Andrea.

“I guess we’re stuck out here till the storm passes.” Just as he finished his sentence the rain began to thin, and the clouds dispersed somewhat shining some light down on them. While there wasn’t any rainbow yet, they didn’t have to hide around the farmhouse anymore. “Well how do you like that?” Orrin said with satisfaction.

As the clouds cleared a beam of light illuminated a small congested area by the silos, and right in the centre of them was a large gas tank. “Would you look at that?” smiled Orrin.

“What is it?” asked Andrea.

“It’s just a gas tank. Farmers have them on their properties to gas up their tractors. I think it’s because the tractors would run out of gas if they had to drive back from the station. Or something like that. Anyhow, there should be enough in there to spare for us. We’d just have to get a small canister and pump it out.”

The two of them strolled over to the pumps and found a rusty old can laying nearby. Still dripping with water and kicking hail pellets around with their feet, Orrin gave it a shake to see what was in it. The can was empty, but he could just fill it up and there wouldn’t be any problems at all. They weren’t even all that far from their car. Then it was a simple jaunt back over to the gas station, and their adventure would be done.

“Are you just going to take their gas?” asked Andrea in a scolding manner.

“It’s not like that. We need this. We can come back and repay them later, once we’re okay. I promise, we won’t just steal it. This farmer is doing us a big favour.”

As Orrin pumped some gas into the can, he scanned around, making sure that there wasn’t a dog hunting them down. Oddly enough, the farm was quite quiet now. With the storm gone, all that could be heard were the energetic and busy noises of birds swooping down and around the puddles and mud looking for a bath and something to eat.

A faint noise sounding like a girl’s voice could be heard briefly. It startled Andrea who immediately clung to Orrin’s arm and she asked if he’d heard the call. Orrin hadn’t. He heard nothing other than the charming birds. But he perked his ears and concentrated on the ambient noises around him. He was concentrating so much that he didn’t realize that the canister was full, and began to overflow. The gasoline spilled into a puddle and a rainbow-like stain swirled through the puddle as the gas splashed down into it.

Orrin jumped a little, trying not to get the gasoline on himself, although his leg
became freshly damp with the warm spilt gas. The noise rang out again, and this time it caught his attention.

“Yeah, I heard it that time,” he told Andrea. The two of them stood silently, straining to hear the noise again. What could it be? It sounded like a girl, but any other details were hard to discriminate. He strained, listening carefully, squinting and gleaning towards the barn. “We should just get out of here, Andrea,” said Orrin. “We don’t need some lunatic farmer storming after us with a shotgun!” He picked up the gas can and looked Andrea matter-of-factly. “Come on!”


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

MLSE Press Release

(for the record, I broke the 200 visits-mark sometime last night)

If you were wondering how much TSN and Sportsnet "borrowed" from the press release for their stories, you can simply look here. What's interesting that's in this release and not in either of the earlier posted articles is that there are plans for two more commemorative banners planned for next year, too. Their names haven't been released - who do you think they'll be?

In other Leafs news, you might be wondering what players are left on the team to be excited about: well look no further. How are their prospects doing? You can find out here (as long as you're interested in how they were doing as of Dec. 2007).

Purple Hayes Zone
And here's a small report on Jimmy "Purple" Hayes. Here they do more than just mention that he knows Keitch Tkachuk and Tom Fitzgerald, which is refreshing. Although, they do make mention that he knows them both. He says that Tkachuk is like a role model for him, and that he scores goals in similar ways.

Here's where Purple and Boston come together, I guess. I've been receiving hits to my blog from Massachusetts, and I didn't know why - now, from this article here, we discover that Hayes grew up in a Boston suburb, and has actually never been on a farm before. So what is the first farm that he winds up on? Why, one in King City, home of my secondary education, my friends. That's why the Leafs are cool. They were doing some team building at the Beretta Organic Farms in King City.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Uninspired reporting - Tribute to Clark

The " staff" and "" have some 'splaining to do.

(Skip right to the Wendel Clark Tribute - I know you can't wait).

Headline (TSN)=LEAFS TO HONOUR CLARK AND GILMOUR'S NUMBERS (posted 4:29:21 today)
Headline (Sportsnet)=Leafs to raise Clark, Gilmour banners (no time code).

Here's the problem - I'll post this one paragraph at a time. TSN will be in red and Sportsnet will be in blue.

Here goes:

The Toronto Maple Leafs will honour former captains Wendel Clark and Doug Gilmour by raising their numbers to the rafters of the Air Canada Centre this season.

The Toronto Maple Leafs will honour two of their most beloved players over the last 25 years, raising banners for Wendel Clark and Doug Gilmour during the 2008-09 season.

Clark will be saluted in pregame ceremonies prior to the Maple Leafs' Nov. 22 game against the Chicago Blackhawks, while Gilmour will be recognized on Jan. 31 prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Clark's No. 17 will be saluted in a pre-game ceremony prior to Toronto's November 22 game against the Chicago Blackhawks while Gilmour will have his No. 93 honoured January 31 when the Pittsburgh Penguins visit the Air Canada Centre.

Clark's trademark No. 17 and Gilmour's No. 93 will join those of Syl Apps, Ted Kennedy, Walter 'Turk' Broda, Johnny Bower, Tim Horton, George Armstrong, Charlie Conacher, Frank Mahovlich, Darryl Sittler, Clarence 'Hap' Day, Leonard 'Red' Kelly and Borje Salming.

The Maple Leafs historically only retire numbers of distinguished players that have died or had their career shortened due to tragic or catastrophic circumstances while being a member of the team. Irvine (Ace) Bailey (No. 6) and Bill Barilko (No. 5) are the two represented in this category.

The two banners will join an impressive list of Leafs greats already in the rafters: Syl Apps, Ted Kennedy, Walter ‘Turk’ Broda, Johnny Bower, Tim Horton, George Armstrong, Charlie Conacher, Frank Mahovlich, Darryl Sittler, Clarence ‘Hap’ Day, Leonard ‘Red’ Kelly and Borje Salming have all been honoured by the Original Six franchise. Irvine (Ace) Bailey (#6) and Bill Barilko (# 5) are the only two players with their numbers retired, as the Leafs reserve that honour for distinguished players who have died or had their career shortened due to tragic or catastrophic circumstances while being a member of the team.

Selected first overall by Toronto in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft, Clark recorded 260 goals, 181 assists, 441 points, and 1,535 penalty minutes during three stints and 608 games in a Leafs uniform.

Selected first overall by Toronto in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft, Clark is the club’s all-time leader in playoff goals with 34. The former left-winger recorded 260 goals, 181 assists, 441 points, and 1,535 penalty minutes during three stints and 608 games in a Leafs uniform.

The 14th captain in franchise history (1991-1994) announced his retirement as a player June 29, 2000.

Gilmour joined the team from the Calgary Flames as the central figure in the largest swap of players in the history of the league in 1992. He was a Hart Trophy (most valuable player) candidate while capturing the Selke Trophy for the Maple Leafs in 1992-93.

Gilmour joined the Blue and White from the Calgary Flames as the central figure in the largest trade in NHL history on January 2, 1992. He became a two-way force and a Hart Trophy (most valuable player) candidate while capturing the Frank J. Selke Trophy (top defensive forward) for the resurgent Maple Leafs in 1992-93.

He also established the team's career playoff points (77) and assists (60) records in just 52 games, and set the team's single season records for points (127) and assists (95) in 1992-93 and collecting a club record six assists in one regular season game. He succeeded Clark as team captain for three years starting in 1994 and he played in 392 games for Toronto and earned 452 points (131 goals and 321 assists) from 1992 to 1997.

He set the team’s single-season record for points (127) and assists (95) in 1992-93 and collected a club-record six assists in one regular season game. He announced his retirement September 8, 2003, six months after rejoining the Leafs at the NHL trade deadline.

Beginning in the 1993-94 season, the Leafs began to honour former greats with a special banner, portraying the player’s image and sweater number. This way, the former player’s number stays in circulation.

So who gets the decision for the better article? MLSE, of course. Seriously, they basically reworded some bullshit from a press release and published it as a new article for their website. I know that headlining the Leafs will get you a bunch of hits on your sports site, but you've got an entire staff of reporters and personalities - as well as staff writers, I'm sure - who can come up with something for you to put here.

If I had to choose, I give the decision to Sportsnet. I'll tell you why, Sportsnet infused a series of statistics and historical relevance to these players. I'm surprised that TSN didn't use as many stats, mostly because they're heavily affiliated with ESPN, and whenever an American broadcast of a sporting event comes up, they have more stats crammed on the screen than the TSX.

Along the lines of honouring Wendel Clark, I offer this: the definitive tribute to Wendel Clark. Watching this video brings a goddamned tear to my eye. Without a doubt, I absolutely regret not being more of a Leafs fan back in 1985 - 1994 (or between when I was 4 - 13). Watching that video demonstrates everything that there was to be proud of for Clark.

ASIDE: My fav. part is when Slava Kozlov (while on Florida) decided he wanted to fight Clark, and Clark sits him down in one swing. This video captures that moment perfectly. It's beautiful. Notable mentions: shooting Cujo's mask off, embarrassing McSorely for checking Gilmour, checking a guy through the glass, creaming a guy behind the boards, and the four-consecutive high-light reel fights against Probert (at the end).

I'm going to watch this three more times right now.

I have yet to find a suitasble tribute to Gilmour to post, yet. If you can find a good one, let me know and I'll link it.

8 New Wonders of the World

And a part of Canada is one of them, and, believe it or not, it's out in Joggins Fossil Cliffs in Nova Scotia (I think). Although this won't have much to do with dinosaurs, because it's 300 million years old (and dinosaurs just don't go back that far). It is reknowned as a great place for plants and early reptiles (and turtles and crocodiles, too).

Also neat that's of new mention, feathered bloodhounds. The article isn't as intriguing as the title suggests - rather scientists have been genetically observing the quantity of scent-related genes in birds. Dogs have lots, birds have many, and people have few. They believe that a bird's sense of smell will be remarkable - but, I'm sure that's specific to only a few species, and not the entire phylogeny at a time.

And one poster would agree:

Having grown up in the country, I declare my extreme skepticism on practical
grounds. In contrast to deer hunting: when duck, dove, quail, or turkey hunting
one needs worry not a whit about which way the air is moving, whether one should
smoke, or what detergent one's clothes were washed in.

If the birds whose behavior I am familiar with are obtaining olfactory information, they are not using that information to avoid predation.Nor have I observed birds engaged in any scent-driven behaviors; sniffing each other, altering their route to
investigate/avoid a source of odor, or just 'testing the air'.

Such behaviors can be observed on a daily basis w/ many mammals, even humans...If birds have good sniffers, they don't seem to be getting much bang for their buck. Maybe a re-examination of underlying assumptions is in order, because this one doesn't pass the smell test.

To leave you with something of a bit more entertainment value - I suggest Ancient crashed UFO claimed to be from dinosaur age, 150 million years ago which is an exciting article suggesting that UFOs and aliens crashed here 150 million years ago, and have been uncovered by archaelogists, AND that they have the bodies of two small dinosaurs onboard their ship. All of it has been recovered, analyzed and then 'covered-up.' I wish I could write reports for the World Weekly News. Maybe I'll start some day soon.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Turtles aren't reptiles anymore

And neither are crocodiles?

So, imagine you had a turtle and a crocodile, and you were to suggest that they were reptiles ... well, you'd have been right for a couple hundred years, until very recently, like July 17, when crocodiles and turtles were no longer considered reptiles according to the The Center for North American Herpetology.

ASIDE: if your birthday falls on July 17, now you can remember it by this significant event! (Rob, Dante, Ryan) /ASIDE

Yeah, I know, it's like when they said Pluto wasn't a planet two summers ago. Basically, they reconsidered Pluto as just a big piece of space-shit. Now they've renamed space-shit like Pluto plutoids, to appease the furious fourth-graders to were in denial. And of course, now there's about three of them floating around that weren't discovered before. Nonesense, really.

But why are turtles and crocodiles, the most ancient reptiles known to man, suddenly not reptiles?

Over the past two decades, evidence has accumulated that recognition of the Class Reptilia is not consistent with evolutionary history. However, due to historical inertia, the herpetological community has been reluctant to incorporate nomenclatural changes consistent with contemporary phylogenetic discoveries. In order to clarify this situation, CNAH has adopted the following classification based on the phylogenetic hypothesis presented below.

Class Reptilia has been traditionally composed of Order Chelonia (the turtles), Order Crocodylia (the crocodilians), Order Squamata (the lizards, snakes, and amphisbaenids), and Order Rhynchocephalia (the Tuataras). The discovery that birds (Class Aves) are the closest modern relative to the crocodilians, or the sister clade to crocodilians and turtles, renders the Class Reptilia as an unnatural grouping.

In order to reconcile the taxonomy with evolutionary history, the following classification is adopted by The Center for North American Herpetology until further data suggest otherwise. Due to the arbitrary nature in which higher taxa may be delineated, CNAH has tried to reach a classification in which the maximum explanatory power is retained.

Basically, what they're saying is, it's not perfect, but it's good enough for now (and good enough for you). Going to have to rewrite all those textbooks all over again, which should make Penguin Books Ltd happy.

Fiance is concerned, this now means that they'll have to take the turtles out of the Reptile House at the Detroit Zoo. And she's right.

On the message boards the conversation over reclassifying things has turned ugly, as some posters are trying to make light of the situation, which is drawing critics who consider those a bit tacken-aback as unsophisticated, stubborn and childish for resisting theories which contradict the norm.
If you're old enough to have nephews, you should have shed your naive, hapless arrogance long ago... sometimes, you see, if something is counterintuitive to you, that just means you have a bit more to learn.

- David Marjanovic

Leave it to scientists to break out the noose because someone disagrees with their hard work. In this case, it was someone else's hard work, but Marjanovic isn't going to have any of it. The poor Dora Smith was joking around when she remarked lightly:

I understand why that not even frogs are amphibians - even if my nephews are
haplessly trying to raise a bunch of tadpoles in a fish bowl. Well, now, we know they aren't amphibians, because if they were actually on their way to evolving into reptiles, they'd be smart enough to jump out of the bowl and demand a water change.

Seriously, who came up with this stuff - a parrot? LOLOLOLOL! Well, I needed a good laugh.

Not if Marjanovic has anything to say about it. What a d-bag.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Take me up on it

So here's the deal - nobody writes any comments after any of the blog posts, and you'd think someone would just be an idiot and write 'hi,' or something. But no, nothing.

BUT that doesn't mean I can't ask nicely for someone to respond with whatever words they choose. You could make up a new word, like ";js;oijfw" and put that in the comments section. Or you could write something about me, or my blog, or yourself in the comments section.

Of my American readership (which is low, 16 hits over the last two months) a new majority leader now exists. While Texas was winning with 3 hits for the last little while (I think those hits corresponded with interest in Brendan Morrison) the new leader is Boston, MA. For some reason 5 readers have appeared from the New England area.

Hello to Boston. I used your airport twice last summer, once to show up, rent a car and then drive out to New Hampshire, and then the other time to sit around waiting for a flight to take me to Detroit (and then home to the nearby Canadian town of Windsor).

So, Boston, here's what's interesting in your area. I heard all about the streaker that The Revolution managed to pin down and take out of commission. That was cool. Although the article doesn't even mention anything about a plane for the first four paragraphs, and you don't actually understand the urgency of the situation for quite a while. They could use some better writers than ... well, no kidding, that jumbled mess of a storyline actually required TWO writers to get inked; Frank Dell'Apa and Jeannie M. Nuss should be unemployed, if you ask me. A cool story like this, and not a lick of sense between sentences. Just unacceptable. Chicago is smiling at you Boston, smiling at your writers with a sense of superiority. You shouldn't put up with that.

And actually, the Globe's front page story about a bargain at the market is pretty weak, too. Overwhelmingly unacceptable journalism. Granted, I headlined my newspaper with a story about fornicating in movie theatres last week, so perhaps I'm not the burning bush you should be listening to.

Anyhow, thanks for stopping by, Boston. I hope you're having a great day.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Cottage bound

Heading to the cottage today, out in Tobermory. I've posted some pictures of past adventures out in the Bruce before, and you can see them at this link. Of course this was before Facebook, so you had to write html to get pictures up in those days. (When I was younger, you had to write html both ways through 10 inches of snow, and we liked it that way)

The plan while we're there: To reread my novel, make some edits, take notes, and get the second half of it up and running. The first half of the novel was a big success for me, but for some reason I've lost my momentum and haven't been able to get back into the characters - and I think it's because I'm not certain how I want it to end.

Perhaps I'm trying to avoid getting to the ending so I don't have to make a choice - that could also be why I'm interested in writing a 'Choose your own adventure' transcript, as well. (Shelley says that the main character is me, and then railed me for being like that character. Then she hoped that I didn't think her driving was that bad. True testimony.

Also, we're going to take Lost Season 2 with us, and Shelley can get up to speed on what all happens there. It seems ridiculous, but you can actually watch an entire season of Lost without having watched all the rest of it - you just wouldn't know the backstory. Each season has its own story and once that season is over, the story seems to end with it. I hope they don't spend all season next year getting back to the island - because we know they're going back to the island, all of them - so don't draw the damend thing out for 10 episodes.

Writers: But Ryan, the island is hard to find. And some of the characters don't want to go back. Aren't you intersted in how they'll be influenced to do so?

Ryan: No. Giving away what happens in the future absolutely murders the curiosity and changes the pace of everything. I wonder less about how everyone's going to get into the right places to ensure that the future happens, because we all KNOW that the future will happen, so there's really no other excuse to draw out getting to the happenings other than to piss me off.

Seriously, if the writers take 10 episodes to get the characters back to the island, you're going to be hearing about it from me. (A not impressed me.)

I'm too tired to be going on a rant right now, but ... there it is. Hopefully I can keep posting while I'm out at the cottage, but I can't be certain.

Until next time, thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Naked Breakfast - movimiento terminado

The move is a success and I am now living much closer to the Windsor core than the West End which is great. After living like a troll, under the Ambassador Bridge, for three years, I ventured about a 1/2 block from the University, and then over to Dot Ave., just behind the LeBel Building for two years, and then migrated a few blocks east from there, onto Partington.

I think I might transcribe a retrospective tribute to the West End in a little bit, so ... if that's anything of interest to you, you can look forward to that.

For the mean time, I've got a 25-minute bike ride (timed it this morning) to work. Along those lines, I also now need a change of clothes at the office (which I had the forethought to bring with me today). I'm using a cork-board as a clothesline right now, which might be a little sketchy. In fact, a bit more than just a little sketchy. I hadn't changed pants at the office before, and I should probably keep that sort of thing on the down low - just between you and me, alright?

Let's just say, when I came into the office this morning, I had a 'breakfast' that William S. Burroughs might write about, just for a few moments - until I cooled off a bit. ;) David Cronenberg might be interested in the movie rights. Enough naked innuendo - I've got work to do.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

True blog post - I am tired.

Well, it's reached that point. I'm blogging about what my feelings are.

I AM TIRED. We've been moving for like three days straight, and I don't know why it's taking so long. Usually this type of thing is just an in-and-out deal, people do it over the course of a day! But not me - although, technically I'm all done my moving.

Everything is out of my old place and is laying in boxes or all over the floor in my new place. My fiance, on the other hand, is a bit behind - so now that I've got all my stuff over there, I am free to help her move all of her things, too.

Basically, too tired to do anything, but have to get this stuff done so that it doesn't interfere with everything else that's supposed to be going down between now and Friday morning.

NOTES: rumoured deal between LA Kings, Ottawa Senators and Chicago Blackhawks sounds pretty awesome. Chicago could be an exciting team to watch real soon. All this after their owner passes away a few months ago. He is considered "the worst-ever owner of the Chicago Blackhawk."

Tomorrow's going to be a busy one, but hopefully my bed will be set up, the alarm clock will work, and the shower will be cold enough to last me through the bike ride to work.

ALSO, the Leafs appear to have opened another pre-season game that they will give the tickets away for, for free. You'll likely have to win them, and I think that it's geared towards children. This sounds like the first time the Leafs have done something promotionally to get new bodies into the rink in all the time I've ever even known about the franchise. Honestly.

Sounds like MLSE might fear they'll have to find new bodies to fill the seats in the near future - which we should all be scared of. Could the team be so bad that it'll quit selling out? Is that possible?

Until tomorrow, thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Oh Leafers

Well, sticking to the plan, the Leafers have gone and made another pickup for the next season. Their next, hopeless, sad season. It's not going to have any flashy players, it's not going to have any big scorers, it's not going to have any bonafide fighters, it'll be short on any fan-favourites, and it's going to be like trying to drill your eyes out with a Black & Decker, but the battery's dead, so you're just spinning the damned drill like a steering wheel, desperately trying to put yourself out of your misery.

Or something like that.

As long as we all know that this is the beginning of something new. I'm not sure how long rebuilding takes, but expansion teams wind up with a better shot at winning games - like, this Leafs team will be as bad as Nashville was when they first came out in 1998. So I'm going to call it right now - Leafs record next season will be 28-47-7. Second last in their conference, perhaps second last overall in the league.

I almost wouldn't be upset if they hadn't made their most recent move. Ryan Hollweg, who I'm not going to argue is terrible, because he's likely very good at what he does do (which is ... stir the pot, I suppose the expression is). But this certainly won't make the Leafs any better than they were before. Is this acquisition going to help their prospects grow? Is he going to turn into a fan favourite for punishing the opposition with big checks and awesome fights? He's sure not going to score goals of any importance.

If he's coming in to be the enforcer, he's got some big shoes to fill. Wade Belak was the most camera friendly member of the organization last year, always had a smile, always gave the media the time of day, and played his role well. Recall when he scored a goal last season, and he received the largest standing ovation I've seen in recent years. The clip hardly does any justice to what impact he had on that game. I doubt they even won, but the announcers talked about it the entire night, because the players on the bench were enthused by it. I mean, if you look at the comedy of errors that lead to the goal, you know right away that it was very special.

Anyhow, Ryan Hollweg, it'll be interesting to see what you bring to the team, because if you want to win over Leafs fans, you're going to have to be good at something. Else you'll just be booed off the ice like everyone else.

On a related tangent, Michael Landsberg sat down with Ray Emery to talk about his exit from Ottawa and his new contract with Russia next season. While the video may not be up on the TSN site for long, a record of what transpired will stick around for a bit. I have to commend Landsberg on asking some tough questions point blank, especially when it came to the rumours of drug problems. I'm not expert in sociology or psychology or any of that stuff, but the question sure caught Emery off guard, and it would take a better man than I to fully evaluate his response. He said he had no drug problem, but his body language certainly shifted from its comfort zone as soon as the words came out of Lansberg's mouth.

Landsberg was good about it, didn't pull the punch, but wasn't attacking in any way. He was sticking with the interview, the subject, his questions, and he's been doing a good job with his 1-on-1 interviews. Definitely doing some good work, he is.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Canada figures into mass extinction

People have always joked that Canada is harmless, and that we have barely got an army and that we're not mean enough to cause any trouble. Or we're not strong enough to cause any trouble.

Well, I've found evidence that events that have occurred over Canadian soil has in fact led to one of the greatest extinctions of life known to the planet Earth!

Geological evidence found in Ohio and Indiana in recent weeks is strengthening the case to attribute what happened 12,900 years ago in North America -- when the end of the last Ice Age unexpectedly turned into a phase of extinction for animals and humans to a cataclysmic comet or asteroid explosion over top of Canada.

A comet/asteroid theory advanced by Arizona-based geophysicist Allen West in the past two years says that an object from space exploded just above the earths surface at that time over modern-day Canada, sparking a massive shock wave and heat-generating event that set large parts of the northern hemisphere ablaze, setting the stage for the extinctions.

Now University of Cincinnati Assistant Professor of Anthropology Ken Tankersley, working in conjunction with Allen West and Indiana Geological Society Research Scientist Nelson R. Schaffer, has verified evidence from sites in Ohio and Indiana including, locally, Hamilton and Clermont counties in Ohio and Brown County in Indiana that offers the strongest support yet for the exploding comet/asteroid theory.

Samples of diamonds, gold and silver that have been found in the region have been conclusively sourced through X-ray diffractometry in the lab of UC Professor of Geology Warren Huff back to the diamond fields region of Canada.

The one scientist, Takersley, the article goes on to explain, initially began researching the topic to disprove West's findings. Now he's part of the team advocating for this suggestion. That's how you know you're on to something big!

But not everyone at the Dinosaur Mailing List Database (DMLB) think that all this evidence is conclusive that Canada will destroy your ass.

So what? Ever heard of glacial drift? Samples of rocks found in Germany and Poland have been conclusively sourced back to central Sweden and Finland but nobody has ever suggested that this proves that Scandinavia was recently hit by an exploding comet.

Tommy Tyrberg

Another poster didn't quite think that scientists discovering sediments from Canada in Ohio was particularly convincing either:

Hi All

Best to remain a bit sceptical of this one until we have some more data. All the current evidence has other sources than a single object's fragmentation. A lot of small stuff rains out of the sky from interplanetary dust almost continually. Something a bit more definitive is needed to say this really was a major "impact" - it could well have been a diffuse mass of small Tunguska-scale air-bursts over a large region, so it might well be very difficult to differentiate such a scenario from the steady fall of nano-diamonds, small meteorites and so forth. Need some lake bed cores with very fine-scale temporal resolution.


Perhaps, to you, this is all boring or uninteresting - Canada being the site of the cause for the extinction of all mammoths is a BIG deal! - so I've included something that you might find more interesting.

Jurassic Fight Club

Man, I wish I had cable, cause I'd be ordering up the History Channel like it was a right bower.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Golf, moving, then Russia vs. NHL

Well, good news from the Deer Run Golf Club, where yours truly shot for par on one hole, and even birdied another. We won't mention the other seven that weren't really of any notability, but I'm proud of that birdie. A good approach and a good put - nothing especially fancy. I had better shots on the hole I made for par, to be honest.

I'll be moving a lot more of my stuff today, hoping that I'll be able to get everything done for Wednesday(which shouldn't be a problem) where I'll get my hands on a truck and be able to move the remainder of my big stuff (like a desk, bed, dressers, chairs) that don't fit in my car.

In the world of the NHL - the Russians at the Continental League are still pestering with signing unrestricted (and sometimes restricted) NHL players. While Fedorov decided to stay in the NHL with Washington, it appears that Nashville's young hopful Igor Radulov would like to get lost and join the Russians. Martin Straka, from the Czech Republic, also decided he would go the way of Jagr and join the new league.

The two leagues had to sit down and agree to honor contracts between players and their respective teams, so that sniping Russians like Malkin isn't acceptable.

It's surprising that the NHL has gone this long (like, almost 20 years) without any real competition. Leagues like the NBA, MLB and NFL are very old, very solid financial institutions that clearly draw the highest dollar for the very best players, bar none. So why is the NHL struggling on the open market against Russia? First off, it would appear that hockey is significant enough in Russia to be able to put some serious teams together and market them. A lot of money is being offered around.

Second, there's no salary cap (yet, I guess). Technically, you could load a team up all day long - and so the more one team spends on acquiring the best talent, the more the competition will spend to match that talent. All in all, the leauge could seriously become an option for any player willing to go to Russia to play. Does it sound outlandish that players might do that?

Absolutely not. First off, international tournaments take players from all over the world and pit them against one another regularly. And we're talking kids that are merely 17 at the time. They're thrilled to do it (although I understand that Spitfires like Ryan Ellis, Taylor Hall and Greg Nemisz weren't too thrilled with the food they had to eat while they were competing in the under 16 and 17 tourneys last year).

Second, I'm not sure what percentage of the NHL is North American, and which percentage is 'foreign talent,' but I would imagine that it is close to 50-50 these days. Or at least approaching that - whereas it used to be overwhelmingly Canadian for many, many years, and then overwhelmingly North American with the inclusion of American-born players. These days, however, Europeans have been competing for positions at an equal rate to anybody. The point being made is, our perspective as Canadians suggests that we're not used to jumping into entirely foreign environments, countries and nations to simply play pro hockey - but that's exactly what these European players have been doing for decades now.

It would be a very different world where Canadians opted to go and play in Russia for more money and to compete against better players because that's what they want to do. Along those lines, all those worthy European and Russian players are going to be heavily enticed to stay at home, just like Canadians would be if there were a major pro league in Russia that was equivalent to the NHL, rather than uprooting their entire life to play in the NHL.

I recall just before the lockout season Bobby Hull was talking about starting up a league that would compete direclty with the NHL in North America. It was supposed to be up and running the year before the lockout, because everyone who knew anything about hockey, was fully aware that the lockout was going to happen, and it was going to last a long, long time. This new league was supposed to be a way to take advantage of that.

Upon further investigation, the story goes like this. Bobby hated the Chicago Blackhawks and so when the World Hockey Association offered him a giant contract to play on their new WHA team, he said, See y'a later. They even named the team after him - thus Bobby the Jet became a member of the Winnipeg Jets. It's better than the other team name they were hoping for, Winnipeg Pooh Bears.

Years later, Bobby remembered how rich he got after that and thought, what the hell, let's give this another try. According to this article, he was going to bring back the Quebec Nordiques. Man, he had everything he needed to get it off the ground - desperate hockey markets, unemployed players, fans who were fed up with the NHL - and yet nothing came of it.

Perhaps more interesting than just hopping leagues and such, Bobby, who was an outstanding goal scorer, had 610 goals in the NHL and another 303 in the WHA, suggesting that he had 913 career goals in professional leagues. That's a f-ing lot! Those figures are good enough to challenge Gordie Howe's 975 (801 NHL and 174 WHA) goals and even Gretzky's 940 goals (901 in the NHL and 46 in the WHA).

The difference between Howe, Hull and Gretzky is that Howe and Hull were fed up with the NHL and played for a competitor - and were paid to be the stars of the league after they'd established themselves as marquee players. Gretzky, on the other hand, played about 80 games at the very beginning of his career (as, like, a 15 year old or something). This argues that older, established, marquee players (read: best players in the league) have historically been lured away by emerging leagues. There should be no surprise that Russia is doing this now, and this time, it could work.

I guess what I'm saying is, don't be surprised if the big European stars decide they want to play in front of their families and friends instead of the internationally well-regarded US of A.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Come out swinging

Going golfing for the first time this season out at Deer Run in Blenheim. My fiance and I are checking out their facilities for our wedding next fall. I haven't heard that having the reception out there is necessarily a good thing, BUT their facilities appear okay.

We'll be sure to find out. I'll report more about how outstanding my golf swing, my driving, my putting and gloating victory is, when I return.

In the mean time, you can watch this video:

Lance out Loud

I tried to embed it so that you could watch it here, but the HTML isn't doing its job right now. Perhaps I can brush up on that in a little while - I thought you could just plug the embedding code that was on the YouTube site right into the blog here, but ... I guess not.

Back in a bit.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Choose your own adventure - excerpt 2

When in doubt and I can't come up with something to blog about, here's the next best thing. Feel free to comment.

"Look, you're almost out of gas. There's a station a little ways up around the corner. You should just fill up before we get to much farther."


A2: Keep on driving

“Nah, who cares? I’ll just fill up on our way back. We’ve got enough to get there and back,” shrugged Andrea.

“Are you sure about that? Because I’d hate to be stuck out and ..”

“It’s fine! Don’t worry your little head about it, okay Orrin?” Andrea scoffed at the idea of running out gas. “I know my own car. This isn’t going to be a problem. Plus, the needle can go way past the E. One time, we were in my dad’s truck, and he let it go past the E and we were fine.”

“I don’t think the needle is, like, a recommended time to fill up. E means empty. You should really just turn back and put some gas in. We’re still a few kilometres from the weigh station. Wouldn’t you feel a whole lot better about it?”

“It’s no big deal, honey. Just sit still and think about all the frustration you’ll be able to get out once we get to the open house? You’ll be able to rant and rave and beat your chest. You’re going to look handsome, you know.” Orrin crossed his arms and released a big, throaty sigh of disgruntlement.

Andrea was playing the radio, which was set on a Top 40 station, and Orrin grew even more cantankerous. His huffing and sighing didn’t matter to Andrea, she knew he was just being a bitch about the whole thing, plus she thought it was funny.

Orrin eyed a traffic sign, indicating that the limit was 80 km/h. Frustrated, he bothered to glance over at the speedometer just to prove to himself that Andrea was driving like an old lady. Sure enough, she was doing just a little over 70. Not good enough.

“You can safely drive about ten to fifteen over the limit. Cops won’t care. Even if they pull you over you won’t lose any demerit points,” said Orrin.

“Yeah, but I’m just conserving gas – this way we won’t run out. You know, just in case.”

“Do you know what else might help you not run out?” Orrin barked at her. Then he calmed a little and huffed under his breath, “Filling the fucking tank up when you pass a god-damned gas station.”

No sooner had he said it when the dashboard lights flickered briefly, then dimmed. Then the radio went silent and the engine shut off. While it wasn’t visibly noticeable, the power steering on the Sunfire cut out as well, and Andrea began to panic.

“The steering’s gone! I can’t steer!” panicked Andrea.

“You’re just going straight, you don’t need to steer. Just apply the breaks and you’ll be fine. Good, now put the car in neutral and ease it over to the side of the road. Good job. You’re doing fine. There you go.”

After coaching Andrea to a stop, she had settled herself down a little bit. She took the keys out of the ignition, and then put them back in to start the car up again. The ignition wouldn’t turn over. Andrea was in disbelief.

“What happened?” she asked rhetorically.

Orrin rolled his eyes as if to say ‘I told you so.’ Then when Andrea didn’t notice that he’d rolled his eyes, he hastily took off his seatbelt and said pointedly, “I told you so,” just to make sure that she knew he was right.

Orrin got out of the car and asked Andrea to pop the trunk. She did, and asked what he was looking for. He didn’t say anything. And, he didn’t find anything in the trunk either.

“Why don’t you have a gas can back here?”

“What do you mean?”

“What do you think I mean when I ask about having a gas can? Seriously, you don’t have a back up? I mean this is exactly why you should have one in your trunk.” Orrin slammed the trunk closed and strode off down the street to calm himself down. Yelling and slamming things wasn’t going to get anymore gas in the tank, and he knew it. After taking a few deep breaths he came back to the car, where Andrea remained in the driver’s seat, unmoved. She hadn’t even taken off her seatbelt.

Orrin placed his hands on the window ledge and tried to be polite and soothing – while any preparations could have been made to resolve this set back, what was done was done, and they were both going to have to resolve the problem together.

“Okay sweetie. We’re out of gas. There’s no point in us arguing about that anymore, but we should come to a consensus on what you want to do next,” he began. “Basically, you could wait here while I go get some gas, you could come with me to the station, or we could both just wait here for someone else to drive by and help us out, hopefully. What would you like to do?”

Andrea was the one to sigh now, knowing that this was her fault. “Well, how far would we, like, have to walk to get gas?”

“Well, we’ve got to be about 25 clicks away from the gas station back up the road. It’d be about an hour there and back if we were to walk it. We’d have to carry back enough to get the car up and going, too. That might be a bit heavy, but whatever. We’d just have to do it, and then forget about it, right? Plus, ha, you’d have a spare to fill up next time we’re at the station, right?”

“We’d have to walk two hours?”

“Well, or … we could wait here. I mean, it might be a while, but I’d imagine that someone would drive by in the next two hours, right? Perhaps they’d be good enough to drive us back to the station, pick up some gas, and drive us back. They might even have a back-up of their own, and they could just sell us the fuel.”

“How quick do you think someone might do that?”

Orrin was getting frustrated with her questions again. These were things that she could as easily reason for herself without asking him. What was he, the traffic fortune-teller? “Look,” he said hastily, “I don’t know when someone is going to come. And I certainly don’t know, even if someone were to come, if they’d even bother to stop and help us out. Who knows what kind of creep might roll up. I mean, there’s nothing out here but a truck stop.”

“But besides all of that,” continued Orrin, “what do you want to do? We’re either walking or waiting. What’s it going to be Andrea?”


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Leafs making headlines every day?

One thing that either SportsNet or TSN manage to do every day is find something to put in the headlines regarding the Maple Leafs, which is hilarious. Today, SportsNet managed to put a picture up of Doug Gilmour and challenged that he might be leaving town.

Basically, Gilmour wants to coach, which sounds awesome. If he managed to inspire a whole team to play like he did, you'd have an awesome team. Then again, Gretzky's been coaching for a few years, and let's just say that there aren't any Gretzky's on the team. Olli Jokinen might make things interesting and finally give Shane Doan a push - they'll compete for numbers, and hopefully generate offense. But I digress.

The article leads the reader to believe that the Leafs won't give Gilmour a shot at coaching, and he'll have to leave town to pursue his ambitions - well, not a big surprise, really. Normally you've got to have ... like, experience doing something before you get a big professional contract. Unless you're Brett Hull, and then you're just given the GM position. Shit, even Yzerman isn't really doing anything, he's just getting experience so he can do things later.

So since we haven't heard a single thing about Gilmour in almost six years, what the hell has he been doing? Reportedly, a 'player development adviser.' Sounds tough. But to suggest that he'll have to coach somewhere in the minors or something shouldn't be that shocking. The article does make it sound as though the Leafs are running him out of town, though, which is absolutely not the case.

On a side-note, the story indicates that Tim Hunter will be coming in to help Head Coach Ron Wilson. You know what's REALLY cool about that? Tim Hunter's nose. Check this thing out!

That nose has character - like, Patrick Swazye or something. The nose does dirty dancing, and we're going to look at it all the time when he's doing interviews and stuff in Toronto for the next three seasons (or whatever).

But, besides all of that, Gilmour looking to coach somewhere is fine, there's no need to be upset about him leaving to pursue his dream. The Leafs don't need him bumbling around. If he were truly interested in coaching, he'd be buying up a minor league team, a la Bob Boughner and Warren Rychel, or Patrick Roy, etc., and just doing it.

Gilmour must be pissed that idiots like Kirk Muller are coaching, though, 'cause Muller can't even read as indicated from his award presentation at the NHL Awards Banquet. ( I couldn't find a clip to link, evidencing my claims, but believe me, I wouldn't say it if I didn't believe it - seriously, he just stumbled through a few lines, giggled like an 8-year-old, and ... man, I don't even know if the award wound up being presented). Didn't have him come back to present anything, did they? Jesus, Muller was a cool player, a captain and a champion, but man, what a dummy.

Muller coaching is like Forest Whitaker acting - if he can do it, there's hope for everyone. Man, Whitaker can't even act like both his eyes are open at the same time. Terrible.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Am I making an impact?

Unlikely - but I can figure out where in the world people are discovering my blog from.

Here is a brief report on what you probably don't know about. The blog SpringChickens is hosted by Google, and even when I type direct quotes from my blog and search for it, no results seem to develop from the search engine. I initially believe that this meant that my blog wasn't generating search results, but that's not quite true. 

Here's a report of what people are searching for when they come to my site, and where some of them have come from. You might be as surprised as I am with some of the results.

As of this date, July 8, there have been a reported 100 visits to this blog. Congratulations, you've not won anything. I think I was the 100th person to look at it, so I win the prize. Super, eh? Besides that, and my revelations about Giambi's outstanding physical prowess, and my blogging on the most significant and popular NHL team in the league, I'm not generating too much interest or traffic out there, but that's probably for the best.

Perhaps I can post a controversial music video or something someday. Sorry, this link isn't supposed to work. Perhaps I'll reactivate it sometime.

So far I've got 93 hits from Canada, 6 from the United States and 1 from New Zealand, which is pretty interesting. Of all the hits in Canada, 89 of them are in Windsor (most of that is likely me posting and reviewing), but I've also got hits from Ottawa, North York, Toronto and Oakville.

In the States, where I'd not imagine the searches would result would come up like they have, but I've had 2 hits from Texas, 1 from Idaho, 1 from Iowa, 1 from Massachusetts, and 1 from New Hampshire (West Leb - for Shelley), so imagine that.

What are people searching that's resulting in my site turning up are: "Brad Winchester, Brendan Morrison, Ryan the Terrible, Curtis Joseph, Blogspot, Choose your own adventure page excerpt, Luke Schenn, and Point Pelee (which isn't a keyword, oddly). Each of those searches have only resulted in one hit each, so that's not really generating a lot of traffic. 

So click on your favourites and keep checking back to see what I'm writing about. My 3.2 averages hits per day is nice, but I'm sure it's just me checking from home, then checking when I get to work, and then when I make a post (that's about three hits).

Monday, July 7, 2008

What was I thinking?

You know what? I was totally stumped for things to write about today - when I knocked myself in the head and realized what the single most important thing I've noticed this past weekend was:

That's absolutely right - Jason Giambi's awesome moustache. Apparently this has been going on for a long while, but I didn't notice until Saturday evening. We were watching some baseball, and I paused, completely awestruck. It was the greatest moustache I'd ever seen. I didn't even recognize that it was Giambi (whom I generally dislike). I think I still dislike Giambi, but he's got that excellent moustache hanging around with him all the time.


Giambi has been a target for baseball haters, Yankee haters, Yankee fans and everyone who believes that there was a 'steroids era' in baseball. Basically, Giambi was the biggest goat the MLB had seen since Pete Rose. NOW I have to think that at least Giambi's moustache should have its own hallway in the Hall of Fame.

It could be beside John Kruck's left testicle. Seriously, look at this:

Some fool photoshopped some weak shades on him to make 'im look like a State Trooper, but that doesn't mean the moustache isn't outstanding.

This is like Magnum PI - Tom Selleck was the last guy to rock the 'stache this well.
This is how long it's been since someone wore a moustache this well. Seriously, that moustache has already won two Golden Globes and a 'Best Supporting Actor' for Giambi as Jonathan Quayle Higgins III .
What's next for Giambi's 'stache? I'm not sure, but looking at it is like achieving oneness before the Dalia Lama does (and you had $20 bucks riding on it so you'd be even more excited about it). Imagine that - racing the Dalai Lama at an all-stakes sprint to oneness, and winning! That's what looking at Giambi's moustache is like.
Amazing. Just amazing.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Time for dinosaurs to get back on the screen

It's been a long while since we've had dinosaurs in a movie in the theatres ... probably since King Kong. And while we got a wicked taste of some dinosaurs, it's disappointing that the triceratops never seems to make an appearance. People have their mandatory tyarnnosaurs, sauropods and (since 1993) Velociraptors. But where the hell are the ass-kicking ceratopsians? It's unacceptable that they aren't around more, causing trouble, because you know that they would cause trouble.

With "Journey to the Centre of the Earth - 3D" we get some new dinosaurs, which is cool, except it's the same old story. A tyrannosaurus chases people around. What made Jurassic Park great was that it brought an entirely new species of dinosaur into the limelight with great success. Nobody had ever heard of a velociraptor before that movie came out, and now it's as common as 'brontosaurus' - hell, Toronto even named their NBA franchise after them two years later.

That was cool - Kong managed to create some new dinosaurs which was good. Regardless of what they called them in the movie, the people at Weta in New Zealand considered how dinosaurs might have continued to evolve up till 1930-something. So that's why those dinosaurs weren't technically recreations of existing species, but rather new possible evolutionary paths that old species may have taken.

I still wish a sweet Triceratops sequence could be made - the fight to the death between a tyrannosaurus and a triceratops hasn't even been attempted for over 50 years on the big screen. It's time. Jurassic Park II: The Lost World brought us an exciting Stegosaurus sequence, and even JP3 installed the Spinosaurus into common vernacular, but still no triceratops.

Perhaps some day we'll see something special like that. Perhaps in the Jurassic Park IV movie that we've been promised for all these years. It's coming, just you wait and see. And frankly, I don't know what's taking so long to get the movie out - if Spielberg is waiting for a script - well, that's just ridiculous. He hadn't bothered to wait for a good script for the last three Jurassic Parks, why start now? People just want to see the dinosaurs in action, causing trouble, and kicking ass. They don't want to see them running around San Fransisco, being shot at by people, losing battles to people, being put in cages - just kicking ass.

Make it good and make it soon.