Handling the Heat (or lack thereof)
January 26, 2004
Life is full of decisions. We strive to use our best judgment and often do, but sometimes our senses leave us and the opposite of good judgment takes over: stupidity.
One such occurrence came upon me this past weekend. Dreadfully in need of some food and laundry supplies, I stared out the window of my apartment here in Montréal. Staring right back at me were temperatures in the -20 to -25 degree Fahrenheit range and, more importantly, wind chills closer to -40. All the voices in my head suggested I stay in, while my stomach and growing pile of laundry dared me to brave the elements (although some factions of my stomach hinted at pizza delivery). So I put on my coat, then my other coat, scarf and hat then headed downstairs.
Plan A was to awake "Bessie" my '95 Ford Explorer who, like me, is from the south therefore not accustomed to such temperatures. With a resounding 'click' she voiced her opinion..."Hey, if you wanna be an idiot, knock yourself out. I'll have no part in it." Yet another point of decision. I could have turned back. The enveloping warmth of the lobby of my building was just steps away.
I instead turned the corner onto the main sidewalk. The convenient store (known as a 'dépanneur' here in Québec) next door would not do, no detergent. So I set my sights toward the Uniprix pharmacy a little under a half a mile away. Lunacy. I arrived there some ten minutes later, somewhat resembling an oversized, novelty popsicle. I burst through the doors into the warm oven that is the Uniprix. I stopped short of asking if they had rooms available for the night.
So I made my purchases and began psyching myself up for the walk home. Could it be any worse than the walk here? Of course it can. The addition of a grocery bag to each hand and the fact that I was now walking into the wind made me wonder if I would ever make it back. I could see the headline now: Man found frozen to death clutching box of Tide, pack of Starburst.
I struggled home, passing Bessie as I made my way to the door. She just laughed. Decisions, Decisions...
There's a New Sheriff in Town
January 22, 2004
For around a year now, my home/office has hovered in a state of PC/Mac equilibrium, with my Mac G4 tower in the office, and my Dell laptop floating about. Well, the eternal struggle (ok maybe not eternal) took an unexpected turn when I came upon a brand spankin' new 15" Macintosh Powerbook. In one word, beautiful (see pic ->).
So now my poor Dell cowers in the corner, afraid of the two chrome bullies now ruling the roost. After some gentle coaxing, the trio are now talking and playing nicely together, and I must say productivity is up, as is solid sack time (aka sleep). To learn more about the best computers on the planet, visit Apple's website.
The Best...and Worst
January 16, 2004
Even while in Calgary (or any part of Canada for that matter) I get plundered with news coverage from my homeland, feeding my insatiable hunger for news, news, news. In the midst of it all I couldn't help but notice a startling contrast between two major stories of the week.
Ironically enough, the epicenter of both stories was found in California. In Pasadena, a group of people who probably didn't attend their prom (and if they did, it was stag, baby) drove an oversized remote control car off of a small platform, covering a distance of about two and a half feet. What's the big deal you say? Well, this "rover" was on another planet some 300 Million miles away. Not to mention navigating the spacecraft for months and nailing the landing within 250 meters of their intended target. Think about that the next time you can't find your way out of the mall parking lot...
On the other hand, some of the saddest people in the land gathered in Santa Maria to show their undying support for the "king" of pop. They waved signs, cried, screamed and showed how blinding the light of fame can really be. Mr. Jackson himself added to the spectacle, leaving his court appearance (during which he excused himself to use the restroom without the judge's permission) and doing a little ditty for the crowd. And just to top it off, a private party at Neverland which doubles as an alleged crime scene.
So it came as no surprise that the media coverage was 100:1 in favor of the Jackson story. We love the freaks, the crime, the show. Meanwhile people who dream unbelievable dreams, and do truly out of this world things carry on with little fanfare. So you landed on Mars, did ya? But have you heard Billie Jean?! That's genious!
News from the front...
January 13, 2004
Well, not a whole lot of news from up north. I am in Calgary, Alberta for a week. I travel here once a month to visit the home office of the CCSB so that they can get a good look at me. More accurately, it means that a week each month I have to get up early, shave, drink coffee, eat breakfast, and generally act like a grown-up. But hey, its only a week...
It is a nice departure this month as the weather here is decidedly warmer than it is in Montreal. The cold snap that has hit the Northeast has extended to Montreal in the worst way, and last week we dealt with high temperatures at around -10� F. Now, that may seem like just a number. You may say, "Well, when it gets a certain temperature it doesn't matter". Wrong. I tend to use the bradleyboy scale of cold. It measures the misery of conditions by how fast the inner workings of your nose freeze up. And, in 10 below weather, it takes about 2.74 seconds for every drop of snot to solidify. As of this writing it has apparently warmed up to 10� above, but the weather outlook is not so good. Here in Calgary, they are experiencing what is known as a Chinook, where warm winds come off the mountain and the temps rise ( a balmy 40� F today).
For those of you interested, we are in the process of wedding plans. One thing I hope to do in the next week or so is get a wedding page up with info about travel, hotels, registry and the like. Check back soon...
Pete, Tell us something we don't know...
January 6, 2004
"The banishment for life of Pete Rose from baseball is the sad end of a sorry episode. One of the game's greatest players has engaged in a variety of acts which have stained the game, and he must now live with the consequences of those acts. It will come as no surprise that like any institution composed of human beings, this institution will not always fulfill its highest aspirations. I know of no earthly institution that does. But this one, because it is so much a part of our history as a people and because it has such a purchase on our national soul, has an obligation to the people for whom it is played-- to its fans and well-wishers -- to strive for excellence in all things and to promote the highest ideals." - A. Bart Giamatti, August 1989
Pete Rose surprised no one Monday, in finally admitting that he had bet on baseball. We knew. We have known for almost fourteen years now. So finally the question moves from, "What did Pete Rose do?" to "What do we do with Pete Rose?"
First of all, the idea that Mr. Rose suddenly had an epiphany and realized, "Oh yea, now I remember, I did happen to bet on some baseball games after all," seems a little far-fetched. As does the thought that his conscious finally caught up with him. More likely, the need to sell a new book in order to feed a gambling habit that continues fits the bill (according to Rose, he has reformed and now only bets legally, and visits to the racetrack have become less frequent). Why not make the admission 14 months ago after your initial meeting with Bud Selig?
But it now begs the question. Is Pete telling us everything? After he has vehemently denied any accusations for the past 14 years, we are now asked to believe him when he says he bet on baseball, but not the Reds. I propose this: Here you have a man that is obviously addicted to gambling, and is accruing massive debt in the process. And give any gambler the chance to improve his odds, he will take it in a minute. So, by betting on his own team, Rose would have the opportunity to have some control over the outcome of his bets. Could he have passed that up? Some would say that his love for the game would have prevented it. I say his love for the game was obviously no match for his obsessive habit.
So the spotlight shifts back to Selig. What will he do? He is now surrounded on every side by prominent persons of differing opinions. Also at stake is his already troubled legacy as commissioner of baseball (e.g. ending the All-Star game in tie). Will he challenge a ruling made by one of the most popular and well respected commissioners of the 20th century, Bart Giamatti? Rose seems most interested in returning to management of a major league team, probably the Reds who are about the only, if not the only, team who would consider him. How this could ever be an option for baseball is beyond me. As Giamatti said in his statement on Rose, "Let it also be clear that no individual is superior to the game". In an era in which baseball has led the way in the ethics of its players over the NFL and NBA, allowing Rose to return to manage, with no clear indication of reform or remorse, would be one step forward, five steps back. And as for the Hall, let him in for all I care...put a big statue out front if you please. But if you do, get ready to review the ghosts of baseball's past, particularly "Shoeless" Joe Jackson.
In the end, I am ultimately reminded of the conclusion of Giamatti's speech: "The matter of Mr. Rose is now closed. It will be debated and discussed. Let no one think that it did not hurt baseball. That hurt will pass, however, as the great glory of the game asserts itself and a resilient institution goes forward."
After all is said and done, does anyone really care anymore? Giamatti was right, we have moved on and baseball has seen great moments since '89. The game will survive with or without Rose around. The generation which spent its childhood idolizing him has grown up to forget his greatness on the field, and become weary of his ineptitude off of it. Even his new book title My Prison Without Bars tries to paint him as the ultimate victim of unfair circumstances. How about turning back in the sports pages and reading about Phillies great Tug McGraw, who died of cancer at the age of 59 Monday. Then lets talk about unfair circumstances.
So go away Pete, we have no need of thee. Live out the rest of your life and be happy, just stop bothering us and the game of baseball.
Read Giamatti's entire statement.