Monday, August 31, 2009
The boy turns four in six weeks, his older sister will be six in half that time.
She is starting grade one next week, he is starting school.
They're pretty excited, he more so.
I can't wait to turn four, he says.
Now my eldest is steadfast in her belief that the entire world revolves around her. Everything and I do mean everything relates to her upcoming birthday. Sunny outside? I hope its sunny on my birthday. Pork chops for supper? On my birthday I don't want pork chops. And so it goes.
The boy is taking the opposite tact, announcing yesterday that on his birthday he wants a Closed sign put up outside of our house and that he does not want a party. He does not want anyone coming by our place, no sir no how. He wants to spend his birthday hanging out with his parents, his siblings and his dog.
He marches to his own drummer that one. We're a little nervous about the whole school thing, to be honest. Our daughter is pretty wild but she also has a healthy respect for authority. Her teacher (and all adults who do not live in our house) always praised her for listening so well and never causing any trouble. When this happened we figured we were part of some gigantic prank show on TV or that somehow she has swapped places with another, more docile child, sort of like in those Freaky Friday type movies or Big. Or Jennifer Garner in that 13 30 movie.
Jennifer Garner. Mmmmm.
Her kid looks like a goblin, you know.
The boy is going to have the same teacher as his older sister did. We love this guy. He's strict but he's also totally creative. If I had had a teacher like him in kindergarten I'd probably have three Pullitzer Prizes by now or I'd be in the London Philharmonic or I'd be an astronaut or starring in pornos or something big, really big. Seriously. This guy is awesome.
He also does not put up with a single bit of shit and here's the thing. The boy is stubborn. He's a mule. He's pigheaded. Only 1% of the time is he like this. The rest of the time he's Joe Cool. But when he gets it in his head that he's going to shove it up your ass then the trouble starts.
Sit down and finish your supper or I'll be deleting a Mickey Mouse Club from the PVR, I say.
I don't care. Delete them all.
Get to sleep or I'll take your pirate hat away.
Here, take all of my pirate stuff
Stop hitting your sister or I'm going to take all of your cars into the back yard, douse them with gasoline and light them on fire.
Hold on while I get my matches for you.
I'm strict but fair as a father. I pick my battles and I let them be a little wild. They have to be kids. But I have a line and its pretty clear and when they cross it they get warned and then the hammer comes down. I used to get a little bananas but I've learned how to hold my temper much better. The key is to keep them off balance. One time my daughter was giving me grief and there was no getting through to her. She'd been to a birthday party the day before so I grabbed the balloon she had brought home and was dragging with her everywhere around the house. I got myself a pin and she was up the stairs getting ready for bed so fast you wouldn't believe it.
So the boy is stubborn and he's rough and tumble and that's just fine but sometimes I have to take the wind out of him a little. His sister was pissing him off a little yesterday and so he waded in there like Billy Conn, just whaling on her, mostly shots to the body and he wouldn't stop so I pulled him off of her and that was it, no trip to the park for him.
But I'm happy that he has a tougher side. My wife has told me about times last year when they were picking up my daughter and some kid was picking on him and how she handled it and in my head I'm thinking that if we really want this to stop the boy's got to lay this fucker out. That will stop it.
So I might be a problem.
Daddy, that kid pushed me.
Well son, I can't do a thing about it. But here's what you can do. Go over there. Kick him in the nuts as hard as you can. Or you can punch him in the face until he starts to cry. Either way he's not going to bother you again I can guarantee you that.
Now the boy is absolutely brilliant but the thing is he's three (almost four) and when they say that a three year old and a dog have about the same level of smarts, well let me tell you they're not too far off. Try and explain to the boy why throwing his sister down the stairs is not a good idea (dangerous, risk of injury etc etc) and he's going to reply with an explanation of how he's invisible becasue he's a spy and he's wearing his spy robe. Of course he's talking to his feet or the lamp at this point, hard to say.
Of course he can count to one hundred. The dog can't do that. But when I tell the dog to stop eating garbage he stops. Plus he's ingratiated himself with the baby so that she has taken it into her hands to make sure that he's well fed, every second thing on her tray gets tossed overboard while he lurks just outside of the room, ready to come in and clean up. Plus he can lick his balls. Well he could if he had any. So he's no dummy.
Of course he's not getting any smarter whereas the boy is going to have the world by the tail before too long.
The number of words written about Rob Schremp is almost completely inverse to the actual impact he has had on the Edmonton Oilers as a professional hockey player.
I wish Schremp were a superstar, I do, hell I wish Cameron Abney will be the second coming of Gordie Howe. As an Oilers' fan its in my best interest for every Oiler draft pick to end up in the Hall of Fame.
But it remains that he has had one good year out of three in the AHL, the AHL remember, and that he cannot skate very well and is completely useless without the puck, still. He does not hit or fight. He does not backcheck or forecheck. A number of people have noted that he does not compete hard enough.
There are still Schremp apologists out there who think that it is MacT's fault or the Oilers' fault that this guy is not centring Hemsky and Penner and of course my question in if this guy is that good then why has nobody traded for him? The Oilers don't realize it, sure, but where are the other twenty nine teams clamouring for his services?
So the latest article on Schremp came out and caused a bit of a firestorm. Now for me I don't mind the cursing and I don't mind the outspoken persona. Thing is if you're going to be a loudmouth and talk about 'Rob Schremp' hockey like its some sort of brand, you know, that we should be excited about, then you had better be able to bring it like Jeremy Roenick or Brett Hull. I mean I know a lot of guys who play Rob Schremp hockey in my beer league, those fat loudmouths who wave their stick in the air at the redline waiting for the breakaway pass. So its definitely a popular brand of hockey.
Because when you admit on the record that with a spot in the NHL on the line and a whole lot of guys between you and that spot that you failed to spend the summer doing everything preparing yourself for that challenge, that in fact you came into camp out of shape, well that's all kinds of stupid right there, there's no other word for it.
Now when you're young you're young. You don't get where you are in a straight line. I certainly didn't. If I knew then and all that shit. I wouldn't take a minute of it back either, growing up is part of growing up and it isn't easy for anyone involved. The boy is going to give me enough headaches in the years to come and I'm sure when he drops out of med school to play drums in a band or when I find him banging some little piece of tail in my bed or smoking my dope or drinking my wine I'm going to have to beat the shit out of him
But at least the boy is three. He's got a whole lot of growing up to do, years of it. Rob Schremp is twenty years older and he's trying to start a career, probably the only one he will ever have. What's his excuse again?
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Remember the Little Rascals? When we were kids (1970s you wiseacres) once we got cable in Sudbury we would get the old Our Gangs cartoons on Global. Some pretty funny shit that became even funnier as we got older and began to pick up on a lot of the other stuff going on, like Buckwheat constantly looking over at the director (or maybe his Momma?) to get his cue.
One of my buddies could quote the scene where bullies smushed tomatoes into Buckwheat and Porky's faces and Buckwheat (Mr. Wheat! Mr. Wheat!) told Spanky and the rest of the gang what happened.
Buckwheat - He took a tomato, see, and then he smushed it our faces, see, he smushed it all over, see, that's what he did. Ain't that right Porky?
Porky - Mmm, hmm.
As for me the one I remember best of all is the episode where a couple of crook midgets (sorry, little people, remember this was way before political correctness reared its sweet smiling face) dressed as babies in order to pull a job.
Rumour has it that Mike Comrie is coming back to join the circus which tells us that the little guy's career is hanging by a thread. Yes he scored thirty goals twice before but I think that that first one must be a mistake. After all he was playing for MacTavish who as we all know can't coach young creative players.
Wait a second!
Anyhow he's fallen on tough times but he's had some injury problems so this may be the reason. He played pretty well for the Senators in their Cup run despite having a shoulder injury and he actually took on some reasonable competition for Ottawa although his linemates were Fisher and Schaeffer. Still he was a viable NHL player even in 2007/08 when he scored twenty one goals.
Its a terrific contract and its the type of bet that the Oilers need to make more often. They're only a few years behind the curve on this one (although to be fair they did hand similar contracts out to Sykora and Tjarnqvist in 2006). Shortterm contracts are the way to go, if you can, and going after guys who have a lot of motivation to do well is a pretty smart thing to do as well. Guys like Comrie, Grier, Dominic Moore, Blair Betts and so on are on the road to Ansoncarterville, which is just a stop before Jefffriesentown. They're fighting for their careers at this point.
Of course the one problem with the whole Comrie deal is the fact that they already have four guys who are similar players - Gagner, Cogliano, Nilsson and O'Sullivan. Comrie is more established obviously and if he has a good year he will likely help the PP and do some damage against the soft opposition but he is not big, he doesn't PK, he doesn't win faceoffs.
So if this is true what does it mean? Well it means one or two of the aforementioned kids is on his way out of town most likely. Or it means that Tambellini is going with the hand that he was dealt, meaning a lineup like this:
Hell you might even see Potulny on that Comrie line and Pisani with Pouliot and Moreau. This club wouldn't have a fourth line in the traditional sense of the word. It would get pushed around and it would bleed goals against (only the Horcoff and Pouliot lines would be able to do anyhting against tough opposition and even that would be iffy) but maybe this is what we're looking at. Even without Comrie in the mix this club still has O'Sullivan or Nilsson or Cogliano not playing in the top six.
Khabibulin is going to need a groin transplant by Halloween.
Great contract. Wrong player. Unless Tambellini still has something up his sleeves.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Those men being CIO alumnus, cartoonist and noted sexual deviant Michael Winters and Oilogosphere kingpin, legal eagle and friend of Ron McLean, Tyler Dellow. For Mr. Winters, a man who likes his pints as much as I do, it was his first trip to this fine establishment.
One thing I enjoy about Toronto is that there are uncut gems everywhere. I have lived here for nearly twenty three years, on and off, and yet I am fully aware that there are neighbourhoods whose surfaces remain unscratched (untainted maybe a better word) by my presence. And so it is that my area of the city remains an unknown expanse to many, bordered by the Greektown to the immediate west, little India (butter fucking chicken man) to the southwest and the Beach to the southeast.
We three last got together late in the winter with the plan to meet again come playoff time. We all know how that worked out. So we had a few drinks and caught up and the amusing thing about our meeting is that while the Oilers are what brought us together originally, so to speak, when we made the first tentative connections outside of cyberspace (you're meeting some guy you only know from the Internet!?) this time conversation did not turn to them until a couple of hours into our meeting. We spoke briefly about the club then but quickly turned our attentions to topics far more engaging.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
This is my old man in a nutshell.