Psssst!! Wanna buy a stick?

Okay, Barilkosphere, here’s your chance to pick up a piece of Leafs memorabilia.

My wife and I are running a charity auction tonight.  One of the items that’s up for grabs is an autographed hockey stick that  Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment was kind enough to donate.  It’s autographed by the 2008-2009 Toronto Maple Leafs;  you know, the pre-truculent ones.

Now I know that there will be some among you who say, “Meh.  No Nasty Nazem, no Komikazi, no Happy Trails.  I am excited about this year’s team.  Last year is so – well, last year.”   But there’s a lot of this year on the stick too;  Luke Schenn, Mickey Grabs, Nick Hagman and Nikolai Kulemin, for example, were all Leafs last year.  And if I could identify all the signatures on it, I would be able to assure you that they’re all there (just kidding – most of them added their numbers beneath their signature).

There are also some elements of history and soon-to-be-history.  For example the stick is signed by Nik Antropov and Anton Stralman.  Since both of those players were traded by the Leafs, the successful bidder is virtually guaranteed* to own a stick signed by sure fire future Hall of Famers and future winners of multiple Norris, Hart and Art Ross trophies.

The stick comes with a certificate of authenticity.  I picked it up myself from MLSE;  it’s the real deal.

The auction is taking place between 5:30 and about 8:00 tomorrow night.  If you’re interested in submitting a bid on the stick, I can do it for you – we can communicate by Twitter (my handle is warwalker) or email (junior [at]  on my iPhone.   I’ll cough up the dough for the charity, you can PayPal me the amount of the bid if you win, and I’ll even pay to ship it to your home, apartment, dorm room, cardboard box or park bench. Which is a joke, of course, but it’s a nice way to segue to…

…the charity.  It’s called “Miles for Smiles“.  We’re raising money for homeless and street-involved youth here in the City of Hamilton.  All the money we raise tomorrow is going to the Good Shepherd Centres and is specifically ear-marked for two facilities they run for these kids, Notre Dame House and Brennan House.  They’re places that these kids can go when they have nowhere else to stay;  they offer social support services and try to hook the kids up with counselling and educational services to help the kids try to address whatever problems may be causing their homelessness.   This year, our honorary chairperson is a young lady who once found herself having to make use of these services, but who has made a success of her life – she’s off the street and attending a post-secondary institution, and she wants to become a social worker to help the clientele of these facilities.  So it’s a good cause.  If you’d like to help out, I’d appreciate it.


*If you listen to the mittenstringers, anyway.  What I’m saying is that the guarantee is entirely fictional.


I know I promised to try and post some odds and sods that didn’t make it in to my Maple Leafs Annual article.  I haven’t had a chance just yet to go digging through the digital archives, because I’ve been working almost literally all weekend (aside from a spin on the lawn tractor and a brief visit with my family) on this charity event that’s coming up in two weeks.   Spouse and I have helped with the organization of this event every year for many years now, but this year’s  a little different:  for one reason or another, we’re down several members of the organizing committee, so much of the work has fallen directly on our (Spouse’s) shoulders.

We’ve also been crazy busy at work, and it’s been very difficult to manage to find the necessary time to put together an event like this during working hours, and to remain focussed on the necessary details.  For example, I did some work a few weeks ago to get some media exposure for us, and managed to get a live radio interview with our Honourary Chair (a young woman who at one time made use of the very services we’re fundraising for) on a local station.  It took a bazillion phone calls and emails to get it all set up and to arrange for another committee member (someone who knows the necessary details) to participate in the interview too.  The last thing I had to do on Friday was confirm all these details for all the participants – and I came damn close to completely forgetting to do that.  I was so busy with other stuff in my real job that it very nearly entirely slipped my mind.  That would have been bad.

Anyway, cross your fingers and hold your breath.  Here’s hoping we can pull this together and raise some money for the kids.

I’m donating a signed copy of the Maple Leafs Annual to the charity auction, in case anybody is interested.  I’m going to sign it with my hockey player autograph (#17 inscribed beneath my name).


It’s been a busy few days;  Spouse and I are readying the Nation for the First Annual Founder’s Day Celebration and National Holiday, including Festivals of  Sport and Competition and particularly the Juniorvanian Open Championship of Par 3 Golf, which takes place this weekend.  We are expecting the whole family to gather to partake in fun and games.   We are also both busy at work, and – to boot – we’ve been busting our butts trying to get this charity event that we’re involved in all set to go.  Time is running short, our silent auction night is September 18th.  I’ve been busy coding a website/blog for the event, and Spouse has been burning up the phones trying to gather auction items and other donations for the charity.

We were actually on the way to one donor’s business premises this evening, to pick up a generous gift for the charity, when the subject of what was planned or wanted for dinner came up – hurriedly, and in between our discussion of all of these other matters.   I asked if Spouse had anything in particular in mind to eat, and she said, “No, maybe we can just pick something up that’s on the road.”

I looked at her and assured her that I was not interested in dining on roadkill raccoon this evening;  I would much prefer Italian.

Let the Pimping Begin.

A while back, you may remember that I posted about a project that peach was putting you're not the only one covertogether. It’s a book called “You’re Not the Only One“, and it was put together for a UK – based charity called War Child (though there is also a Canadian arm of the organization). War Child is a charity that works with children affected by war in Afghanistan, Iraq, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. War Child works with former child soldiers, children in prison and children living and working on the streets, giving them support, protection and opportunities. The book – proceeds of which are being donated to the charity – contains content written entirely by bloggers. It’s being published through, an internet publishing house that does not require payment of any upfront fees (and, incidentally, is one of the enterprises of a certain Bob Young, owner of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, a CFL football team (arguably) about whose exploits you may have occasionally read about here, here and here. See how the Universe is circular, or possibly just slightly warped?).

Today, I learned that my submission has been chosen for inclusion in the book!

First, a bit of business: I promised, when I submitted my piece that I would purchase the book (done: two hard copies ordered, one already downloaded), link to peach’s post about the book (done: back eyes up four words, please) and pimp the book herein upon publication. Consider it pimped; I have written to peach and hope to shortly get from her some code to put up on the site that makes ordering it easier than going wide on Andy Wozniewski; until then, you may order the book by clicking on this link and following the instructions that the nice people at lulu have written out for you on their website. Oh, and far be it from me to lay a guilt trip on members of my family to buy the book – just because it’s for such a good cause, and it represents the first demonstrable (albeit limited) proof of literacy within our tribe, I would never….ever….play the guilt trip card and suggest that if they really loved me, they’d buy a copy. That would be wrong.

Now, I recognize that my published legacy to date is not an oeuvre whose heft quite approaches the breadth of the collected works of Tolstoy, but it seems to me that – as a published author now – I’ll be needing to make some changes in my life:

  • First, I think I have to start smoking a pipe; otherwise, the dust jacket photos are going to look silly. As I have indicated before, I have successfully overcome a tobacco addiction, so in my case it will have to be a bubble pipe. Nevertheless.
  • Also, I suspect I shall have to wear slippers more frequently, as it is a little-known fact that it is impossible to make droll observations while wearing a full-fledged shoe, and I shall need to be making quite a few more droll observations from here on in.
  • I shall also have to use the word “shall” quite a bit more often.
  • It is possible that I need to move to Connecticut, immediately.

In the midst of all this happy news, one little thought is troubling me rather considerably at the moment: what if I am asked, as all wildly successful authors are, to give a public reading of my work? Although my delicious witticisms have been charmingly blessed (through talent, dedication and arduous labour, you understand) with a marvellous economy of prose indicative, I am sure, of natural genius, the net result is that – at 78 words in total – the necessarily abbreviated nature of any such reading may present as somewhat of a disappointment to my adoring public, being so slavishly devoted to the virtues of quality and substantially less acquainted with the merits of pith. For the moment, I have resolved as follows: should I be asked to give such a reading, I shall* stand before the hushed assembled crowd for a moment in silence, letting them take in the image of the author before them: clad in black turtleneck (suggestive of a seriousness of aspect), cargo pants (indicative of a pressing need to carry writing utensils, notepads and other secret writerly paraphernalia in close personal possession, lest inspiration strike unannounced) and fuzzy slippers (as discussed, enhancing the wryness of my clever take on modern life), I shall absently and distractedly raise bubble pipe to my grim countenance. I shall then loudly and abruptly recite only that portion of my composition consisting of vowels, resulting in a long, continuous guttural exclamation that will sound something like, “iaiiiooeoueioieaeiaeaioueaeioeooaaeaiaiaiaaa…”. I shall then do a terse – but meaningful – interpretive dance, and take my seat to the thunderous applause of the crowd. If anyone has the temerity to ask, I shall indicate that my reading is a piece of performance art that is a commentary – and a rather obvious one at that (suggesting, insidiously, that the questioner really ought to have been able to pick up on this for him or herself) – on man’s inhumanity toward man.

If you can conceive of a superior strategy, I would be grateful if you would email me at once with the details.


* see?