Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Extremely tired today, and for a good reason.

Our big unfriendly cat, Lanny, had a run-in with a neighbor cat last night and got the worst of it. He has a huge abcess on the right side of his face to go with several other injuries. I spent last night at the emergency vet, holding him while he received a couple of shots of antibiotics and cortizone.

Lanny handled the shots pretty well, although getting the thermometer shoved in his rear riled him a bit. He hissed and clawed some, and I wondered if I'll react to my first colonoscopy in the same fashion.

Anyway, our big orange marauder is home recuperating. Hopefully the swelling will go down and surgery won't be necessary, but we won't know for sure until tomorrow.

Cross your fingers for the big guy.

Update: My wife says the abcess has gone down significantly and Lanny's crazy to go back outside, perhaps to get even with his tormentor. I think I failed to mention that earlier -- Lanny got it handed to him by another cat named LoveBug.

You'll never live it down, hairball.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The family headed down to the Rogers Centre on Monday to take in the Jays-A's game, and three really nifty things happened:

1) We saw Dave Chappelle sitting outside a hotel having a smoke. My wife saw him first and we both marvelled at how much this fellow looked like Chapelle ... and then he put his cigarette to his lips and I knew it was him.

Chapelle has that peculiar way of holding his smoke between second and third finger and putting his palm almost against his face. When he did that, I knew it was him.

My wife told the guy in the convertible next to us to look back and he'd see Chapelle. I thought this was funny because the guy was black and I half-expected him to say, "What, you think all black people look like Dave Chapelle?" but he saw him also and almost bashed into the car in front of him.

Later, I was kicking myself for not yelling, "I'm rich, biatch!" out the window.

2) Ted Lilly acted like a little punk. After being spotted an 8-0 lead in the third inning, he proceeded to come out and give up five runs before recording an out. Two batters (who both reached base) later, manager John Gibbons came out to get him and Lilly refused to give him the ball, jawing at his skipper and finally stomping off the field to a big chorus of boos.

I'm not here to defend Gibbons. I think he'll be fired at the end of the season. But Lilly should have been released that night. I suppose you could handle it when David Wells flipped out on Cito Gaston 15 years ago and threw a ball over the outfield wall in anger -- see, Wells didn't suck. Lilly's a wanker with a very limited upside.

Ditch him.

3) Mackenzie got on the Jumbotron -- twice!

We were fortunate enough to get a set of VIP tickets from a customer of mine (thanks, Stu!) and the roving cameraman for the closed-circuit TV in the stadium put Mac up briefly on the system around the second inning. The Jays in-house guy then did a short "interview" with Mackenzie, asking her which Jay she thought she looked most like.

I think all of this attention was predicated on two things -- Mackenzie is really cute, and we had purchased hats for both her and Cabot before the game. It was nice marketing for the Jays store, and she even smiled a little more than she did here:

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By the way, the revamped VIP Club 200 level is amazing. Food is delivered to your seat, the view is terrific and the staff is wonderful. Shawna was our hostess for the night and she could not have been nicer or more helpful. In fact, we got help from several folks at the stadium getting the baby stroller in. Thanks to all of them!

I can't wait to go back and attack the buffet.

Monday, August 21, 2006

My wife and I went to one of our favorite new restaurants Saturday night -- Jerusalem Buffet on Leslie. As you can tell from the linked review, I was extremely impressed with the place, and hadn't been disappointed the last couple of times either.

Saturday night, however, was a different story. My wife and I took Mackenzie with us in her stroller as usual. The restaurant was busy, and so we waited for a minute or two until the hostess took us to a table. Unfortunately, it was a two-seat in the main aisle, with nowhere to put the stroller. We pointed this out and said we would wait until a more suitable table came available.

This seemed to fluster the hostess, who seated a few other parties before waving us around the same corner and pointing to a nearly identical table. When I told her we would have the same problems, she told us to put the baby behind us in an empty space! She also suggested that we take the baby seat out of the stroller and put Mackenzie on the floor in the aisle.

I'm not sure where the hell she thought she got off telling us what we should do with our child, let alone to put a baby on the floor in the main traffic pattern of a busy buffet. I spoke with someone I assume was the manager or owner and told him we had been to his plce three times with no issues and was told, "But you see how busy we are!"

Yes, I did see how busy you were -- that's why I said we'd be happy to wait. I assume that was an issue because the restaurant was only interested in putting us in a two-top. I also suspect that because we were seated in the past by the waiter (Magdi was one, and a great guy), it wasn't a problem.

I have been recommending Jerusalem to just about everyone I know, and I still can't tell you not to go based on the food -- it's excellent. Just be sure not bring a child, or if you do, make sure he or she has a helmet and some shoulder pads.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

I had to add this photo also, and a little more information about my daughter Mackenzie, who is now five months old.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Mackenzie is doing an little things that just totally flip me out, I suppose because she's my first child. They won't mean much to most people, but it's like someone walking on water to me.

She's now:

* eating baby food and cereal and enjoying it immensely. I can't imagine how she can be my daughter and enjoy peas as much as she does, though.
* sitting up on her own and only falling over occasionally. She also does these pilates-type moves where she holds her head and feet up at the same time. It's like she's doing crunches -- soon she'll be "Baby Six Pack" or something.
* laughing hysterically. My wife tickles her and she just goes nuts, a steady roll of guffaws and chortles that gets me going also.
* playing with my Stitch rocket car. She sits on the floor or in my lap and rolls it around. I also fly it in circles around her head, which is just mean because eventually she topples over trying to follow it. Still funny, though.

One other thing, a question for the new fathers: when you hear a baby cry, say in a store or the mall ... does it upset you? I think there's something so universal about the sounds a baby makes when he/she is upset that it makes me tear up almost every time.

Or maybe I'm just a big wuss.

Using Your Head

I don't find soccer to be much fun to watch, but I'd tune in more often if something like this happened on a regular basis.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

More thoughts later, but I just had to post this story about a weird creature found dead in Maine.

Look at that picture. Creepy, huh? I wish the photo was larger, but it's so rodent in appearance, but was 40-50 pounds at best guess.

This reminds me of a story I worked briefly in southern Indiana before I moved to Canada. A horse was attacked and brought down by something, and although the state's wildlife people said the gouges in the horse's rump had been made by a nearby fence, blood trailed from the middle of the pasture to near the barn.

Residents reported a large, panther-like creature, black and fast as hell. I wish I'd been able to do more on that.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I've been having some real difficulty resolving an issue that surfaced last month.

You can read the story here, but it boils down to this -- a coach in a Little League championship game walked the opposing team's best hitter to get to a 10-year-old cancer survivor. The boy, Romney Oaks, struck out to leave the tying run.

Everyone is pointing the finger at Yankees coach Bob Farley, who ordered the walk. They're saying it was cruel to pick on Oaks. You know what I think?

Welcome to life.

Let me ask you something -- if Romney wasn't a cancer survivor, would there be any debate about this at all? It would just be a case of a coach making the right baseball move. This was a championship game, and as the coach you have an obligation to do the best thing for the kids on your team.

And when kids sign up to play baseball, yes, it's about fun and enjoying yourself. But there's also an inherent goal -- winning the game. And part of the learning process that takes place involves understanding the strategy and the art of baseball.

What really angers me is some of the crap I've read from Romney's parents and sports ethicists. Here's the first quote, from Romney's mom:

"Little League is the place they're supposed to learn how to hold the bat, how to throw and catch, how to field," said Elaine Oaks, Romney's mother. "It's not a place where you teach them to pick on the weaker kids."

If you really think walking the clean-up hitter to pitch to your son was "picking" on him, you need to remove your son from sports right now. Because the issue here isn't mean coaches -- it's your complete inability to understand that there's more to the game than just your son.

Walking a player to get to a lesser kid isn't "picking" on anyone. It's the way the game is played. Is it picking on Romney to put him in the outfield, most likely because he's not good enough to play shortstop? I mean, gosh, every kid should get to play shortstop!

And how horrible is it that this kid's own mother is saying her son deserves special treatment on the diamond? Wouldn't it be worse to have the pitcher just groove BP to the kid so he can weakly ground out to second if he's lucky?

Was there some kind of guarantee Romney wasn't going to get a hit? He had only a pair through 12 games that season, but he had succeeded in the past. Wouldn't it really be "picking" on the kid to treat him differently than everyone else? "Oh, you can't walk that guy. The kid batting behind him has cancer, and you know he'll fail."

Here's another quote from Jeanie Delay, who formerly lectured at the University of Michigan on sports ethics:

"What moral signal is given to the best hitters, as well as the Romneys, in the Mustang League? The fact is, the players on both sides will never know who 'won.' One of the problems with youth coaches is their failure to take their role as teachers of fairness seriously. If coaches taught fairness, that would be coaching's greatest ethical service."

Delay apparently isn't aware there was a final score. The Yankees, the team that walked the kid who had already pounded out a home run and a triple, won. I'm pretty sure if you asked all the kids who played that day, they could tell you that. They aren't stupid.

I get Delay's point -- that it was more important to teach the players about fairness than winning the game. Okay, so at what point do we stop playing nice and starting teaching the game itself? High school? College? Never?

Strategy dictates a walk in that situation, whether the next hitter is only slightly less gifted or terrible. Is it fair to warp the entire game for 24 players to protect one from getting his feelings hurt? Is that the right thing to do?

I feel sorry for Romney, but not because he struck out in a tough spot. I feel sorry for him because everyone -- his parents, his coaches, the media -- is treating him like a fragile little doll instead of what he really is.

Romney's a baseball player, and from what I've read about him, I'm also betting this kid won't quit. He'll grab his bat and go out to the backyard and have his dad throw him a few extra pitches, until he feels like next time he's going to get the hit to tie up the game.

At least I hope he gets the chance. That might heal both scars -- one from striking out, and the other from having everyone else in the world assume he couldn't succeed.