Now THAT’S a Minibus

Spouse and I went for some lunch to a little burger and sub shop in St. George yesterday.    I took a picture of the sign out front (depicted in the photograph below):


I’m not sure what utility there is in a mass transit vehicle that is twelve inches in length;  but you really can’t beat the price.

The work continues here in Juniorvania;  we have completed our work on the eastern front, and have begun focussing our efforts to the north (the front of the house).  My entire body aches, and as soon as I am done at the keyboard, I am going to go put a bottle of Motrin in a bowl, pour some milk over the pile of tablets, and eat them like Rice Krispies.  I spent the better part of today’s work session cutting out the numerous stumps from various trees and shrubs in the eastern portion of the front garden (most, if not all, of which were cut down long before we got here).  As a result of these labours, I am now prepared to swear an affidavit to the effect that the reciprocating saw is, without a shadow of a doubt, the greatest of man’s inventions.  The wheel, though sporty and sure to attract a lot of buzz, runs a distant second to the blessed miracle of the reciprocating saw.

On an unrelated note, I must again marvel at Mike‘s diligence and industry:  though he is on vacation and travelling afield, he has nonetheless managed to continue to post daily.  I think I will excuse myself now and go make myself a dunce cap and sit in the corner for a while;  he makes me look very, very bad by comparison.

Tomorrow night, we are off to see the Ticats/Stampeders game at Ivor Wynne.  It’s the Cats’ last home game of another lost season.  I am getting used to a lot of losing – Spouse and I (courtesy of Joe) were down to the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Tuesday night to see the Leafs defeated (in a shootout) by the Anaheim (don’t call us Mighty) Ducks.  It was an interesting enough game;  the Leafs were awful in the first period, so awful that we witnessed one of hockey’s greatest rarities:  George Parros scored on a breakaway.  No, that’s not a typo.  The notably mustachioed habitual pugilist was the benefactor of a communication breakdown between Leaf defencemen Tomas Kaberle and (rookie) Luke Schenn.  Still, getting the breakaway is one thing, but actually putting the biscuit in the bucket is quite another.  I don’t think George’s mom has ever seen him score on a breakaway, even in road hockey.  Anyway, I suspect some choice profanities were uttered by Ron Wilson in the Maple Leaf locker room during the first intermission, as the team was wholly different in the second and third stanzas.  Antropov tucked a rebound home in the second to draw the Leafs to within one, and they pressed throughout the third for the tying marker, failing to click on a 38-second 5-on-3 advantage.  When the Ducks iced the puck with about a minute to go, though, I turned to Spouse and said I felt the Leafs were going to tie the game.  Not fifteen seconds later, they did.   Overtime solved nothing, so the game went to a shootout, unfortunately for the Leafs (they’ve been terrible at this aspect of the new NHL since its inception).  Curiously, Wilson chose to pull Toskala (who’s 0-2 in shootouts already this year) and insert Curtis Joseph.  Tough assignment for Cujo;  he had to have had more than a little trouble getting ready to face the first shooter, having sat on the bench and opened the door for his mates for the previous two and a half hours.  The first Anaheim shooter?  Teemu Selanne (gulp).  CuJo whiffed on Teemu’s quick wrist shot and got beaten by a Corey Perry deke, while both Leaf shooters missed the net;  game over.

On the Ticat front, as mentioned above, it’s been another lost season.  The Ticats were only recently officially eliminated from the (highly egalitarian and scrupulously inclusive) CFL playoffs, but in reality it’s  been a foregone conclusion since around the August long weekend.  Cat fans are focussing on the new QB in town, Quinton Porter.  He’s shown some poise and a great arm while standing in for an injured Casey Printers.   Porter seems to have developed some chemistry with his wideouts, something Printers has seemed unable to do.  Suddenly, Prechae Rodriguez seems all-World at times and Scott Mitchell has also managed to make some great catches with Porter on the field.  The young QB has played well enough to set up a bona fide QB controversy brewing by the time training camp starts next summer.   I am hoping to take my camera, and my 800 mm lens to the game tomorrow night.  I’d like to try to get some good close-up shots of the players, and try my hand at sports action photography.   As for the outcome of the game, I anticipate watching a lot of Stampeder touchdowns tomorrow – as well as Porter has gotten the offence going at times, the Cat defence, especially the secondary, seems prone to coughing up huge passing plays.  I am sure that Calgary QB Henry Burris is grinning like a Cheshire cat in anticipation this evening, and has found that he just can’t stop rubbing his hands together.

So Much for That, eh Damien?

I posted the other day about Damien Cox’s ridiculous “story” that the Leafs’ efforts to woo Brian Burke were going to shift into high gear with Anaheim’s elimination from playoff contention.

That was Monday. Apparently, the “inside sources” relied upon to give that story credibility were sorely, profoundly and rapidly mistaken; according to David Shoalts’ story in the Globe and Mail this morning, not only has Burke confirmed that he will be remaining with Anaheim pursuant to the terms of his existing contract,

Sources on both sides of the matter say no contact was ever made between the Leafs and Burke or the Leafs and [Ducks owner Henry] Samueli.

In other words, the lightning quick action that was characterized as imminent by Mr. Cox in his column evidently did not include so much as even a telephone call to seek permission to talk to Burke.

Wow, what a whirlwind!

This means Damien needs to change course with his columns, of course. No problem, when in doubt, Cox can simply go back to bashing Maple Leaf management with poorly-thought out complaints (which, I would point out, needlessly distracts everyone from the many legitmate complaints to be made) . This from the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” file:

All along, however, Burke knew there was a real chance that the Ducks’ hardnosed president, Michael Schulman, would not give the Leafs the chance to talk to him.

And he was proven correct, or at least Schulman made it clear no such permission would be forthcoming if such a request was received (emphasis added).

So the Ducks made it clear that they wouldn’t give the Leafs permission to talk to Burke if they asked for it, right? I guess that would explain why the Leafs couldn’t secure the Messiah’s services, right? Wrong, oh ye of short sight and no column space! Behold the wisdom of Cox:

What’s truly incredible is the MLSE board of directors doesn’t seem to have any sense of urgency here, or a particular game plan in place.

They’re just sort of meandering along, swimming in 23 per cent profits and imagining how nice it would be to have a front man who would attract all the attention and stop people from calling them unflattering names.

They would have loved for Burke to be that person.

But his current employer quite smartly decided he was too good to lose.

In other words, MLSE’s braintrust was:

  • rightly interested in Burke’s services – he is after all, the personification of all that is godly in the hockey world;
  • required to wait until the end of the Ducks’ season before even seeking permission to talk to Burke;
  • made aware, almost immediately thereafter, that permission to speak to Burke would not be granted if sought;
  • guilty of “meandering” and not having a plan because they did not then immediately get on the blower and – uh, do something, I guess – ask for permission to speak to Burke anyway.

Far be it from me to defend the likes of the MLSE board but come on, Damien, think it through: you’ve just assured us that they did have a plan, and that it was the right plan to have (how could it not be, involving a fellow who can walk on water and all?). When the plan falls through because of forces beyond MLSE’s control (i.e. the actions of Samueli and the Ducks), is it really fair to carp on about inaction?

For the record, I do agree with his point that Justin Pogge ought to be playing in the Marlies’ AHL series. How ’bout tracking down the justification for that rather than wasting my time with abject bullshittery.

What’s the over/under on how long it takes Cox to turn this little episode into the Leafs’ “failure to secure the services of Brian Burke”, another exhibit to be endlessly paraded in front of the readers as some kind of shorthand confirmation that there’s nought but clowns in the boardroom who, if they were only capable of reading the local newspaper, would be much better prepared to secure an immediate championship for the Leafs?