The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

February 28, 2007



Probably not, actually.

It's a pic I posted back in January about the weather, just another Winterpegger's whine about the onset of snow and cold that would only get much worse in February.

And oh, how it got so much worse.

Windchill factors around -50C. Some of them were record-setting days for cold, as I recall. My bones, getting more brittle all the time, trembled in that weather's wake.

And I whined. And whined.

You Aussies were complaining about 38C-degree heat while we were shut indoors here; you Mississippians were talkin' tornadoes only a week or two ago.

You Euro-Peons were hit by snow, tsk-tsk, and some of you flew off to Greece or Morocco.

But here in the Great White North, where we know this sh** is going to happen, I whined and whined when it did.

What a bore that must have been.

So now, as February thankfully turns into March, I'm here to tell you that things have improved, drastically.

Not as illustrated in the pic directly below (I have to admit, it's not a current photo, dang, but I can dream of what once was when aviator glasses were all the rage)...




OK, so I know I won't be able to go bare-chested and jump in the lake for another several months, but I am starting to feel more like a human again instead of an icicle.

And while these today pix I took below show you that winter is FAR from over here -- yes, that's a neighbour's bike almost entirely covered by snow -- you'll also notice the pic with the guy walking around in a t-shirt.

While that's a bit extreme, it shows what Winterpeggers tend to do. With a break in the weather, we start thinking it's summer or at least spring right away.

Everyone sheds the 18 layers of clothing they've been wearing for the past month or two and they start preparing for the warmth they know will eventually get here...

Then, of course, once the hot weather does arrive in our climate of extremes and it gets up to 35C, we start whining about how it's too hot and the mosquitoes are brutal.

And we all go inside anyway...

To our air-conditioned apartments and houses, seeking shelter from the heat the same way we sought shelter from the cold. I wonder if we can ever be truly satisfied with what we have no control over...

But I guess that's just the way we are in a world of extremes.

February 26, 2007

Marvin experiments with his
Uranium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator

February 25, 2007

Issues of True Import


Web headline Friday:

"As Anna Nicole decomposes, James Brown looking good"

This, folks, was not on some joke website. It was the headline in a Houston Chronicle story they picked up from the world's largest news agency, The Associated Press.

And I hate to get all serious or anything.

But what it tells me is that we care more about two dead people and their respective states of bodily decay during ridiculous battles over the money they earned as so-called celebrities than we do about, well, anything.

Thousands dying in Darfur? A war that should never have been in Iraq? Yeah, they're there, not here...not in the civilized world, where we are. We have more important things to focus on.

So let's do that.

As Anna Nicole decomposes, James Brown looking good
Associated Press
COLUMBIA, S.C. — While a medical examiner in Florida says Anna Nicole Smith's body is decomposing so rapidly that a public viewing may not be possible, the funeral director handling the still-unburied corpse of James Brown says the soul singer is looking good.

"No problem," said Charles Reid, director of the C.A. Reid Funeral Home, which handled The Godfather of Soul's funeral service.

Reid said this week that he has checked Brown's body almost daily in the past two months during the legal fight over Brown's estate and where he should be buried.

The reason for the difference in their condition, experts said, is that Brown was embalmed within a few hours of his death, while Smith's body was refrigerated for more than a week before being embalmed.

Refrigeration creates moisture that contributes to decomposition.

Brown, who died of heart failure Dec. 25 at age 73, looks almost unchanged from his December funeral and could even be displayed for another public viewing, Reid said.

Earlier this week, Dr. Joshua Perper, medical examiner in Broward County, Fla., said that Smith's body was decomposing more rapidly than expected.

In an embalming, blood is removed and replaced with chemicals that mostly consist of formaldehyde and wood alcohol. The preservatives dramatically slow decomposition.

The body is bathed and covered with a disinfectant before being dressed and placed in a casket. The mouth and eyes are closed.

Experts say there is no set time for how long a corpse can remain unburied. Eventually, dehydration sets in and a body deteriorates from the outside in. But Reid said the skin can be revitalized by applying beeswax.

On Thursday, the court-appointed lawyer for Smith's baby daughter said the centerfold would be buried in the Bahamas next to her son, but he did not say when.

February 20, 2007



Get that report in on time. The guy in the next cubicle's a jerk and you're waging war with him for the same promotion. The woman down the hall does nothing but yap, yap, yap all day about her husband.

In this dog-eat-dog workday world, we need to lighten up. We need a chance to surface for air. We need, just a bit, to laugh.

There are many things people do to bring laughter into their workplaces, or at least some sort of diversion. They talk at the water cooler. They go to the bathroom as often as possible.

They line their office areas with things from home, or posters, pictures of their kids, their mates; they dress up from time to time for special occasions, they wear jeans on Fridays...

Seeing as I work in sports at my paper -- everyone else calls it the toy department -- what I've taken to doing lately, especially with it being -99 C outside, is truly bringing sports into the newsroom.
I have a little plush football sitting in one of my 300 freebie coffee cups on my desk, which all are filled with the 800 freebie pens and pencils I never use from the 3,000 news conferences I've attended this year.
People from the city news department, from the editing department, from the business department, from the entertainment/lifestyles department, pass by my department every day.
Of course, I always tease as many people as I can find who'll take it with a smile and tease me back. I admit that females, generally, are my favourite target...and usually are the best teaser-backers.
What I've taken to doing recently is picking up that plush football, standing up, calling out the passerby's name, pretending to take the snap from centre, fading back and saying, "(Name here), GO LONG!"
(Of course I do look around to make sure the publisher or editor-in-chief is not watching).
And the reactions from those writers/editors vary. Such as:
City Desk Editor Larry:
Larry: (Smiles beneath unkempt beard). "I'm too busy." But he puts his hands up anyway...and usually drops my pass. He's a huge Red Sox fan. I tell him we won't be putting any baseball stories in the paper because of that...
News Reporter Lindsey:
Lindsey: "What does that mean? OH!!!" She drops her water bottle in one hand and papers out of the other to try to catch my pass. She drops the ball. She tries to throw it back..."like a girl."
News Reporter Jen:
Me: "JEN, you're so hot!" No, not really...
Me: "JEN!!! GO LONG!!!"
Jen: "You're hot too!" No, not really...
Jen: Sneezes like a little mouse, turns around, opens arms...catches ball in unmentionable but beautiful area in workplace, turns red, shows some athletic ability in throwing ball back. Has boyfriend. Is 30 years younger. Sigh.
News assistant Diane:
Diane: "I'M GOING LONG!!!" Dares me to throw ball over two reporters conducting interviews on phone, across newsroom, without hitting ceiling. Risky. Gives me evil eye as I contemplate risk.
Me, Silently, so as not to disturb others: WIFFFFFFF! Football hits her right between eyes. She laughs in her Betty Rubble way. Other women in her section giggle. Book editor Morley harumphs.
Business Reporter Geoff:
Me: "GEOFF!!! GO LONG!!!"
Geoff: "Screw off!!!" Whips his own football back at me. Knocks boss's ceramic curling stone off ledge, almost breaking it.
News assistant Linda:
Linda: "NO!!!!" She raises hands. Mutters lame excuse that she's got some typing syndrome (which is true, but she's game, so what the heck, she's smiling). She drops ball. Comes up to me, whips it at me full-speed. Gets me.
What kinds of things do you or others do at YOUR workplace to bring levity to the workday?

February 15, 2007

Visions of Valentine's Day...The Sequel

The person who sent me this has either a rich sense of humour, a wacky, wicked wit or incredible insight into how I spent Valentine's Day...

February 13, 2007

As the World Turns



Strangely, or perhaps not, I know something about soap operas. Women in my life have, at times, been addicted to them. I don't know whether to feel embarrassed about that or not.

And seeing as, according to Homo Escapeons, this is a "women's issues blog," I felt it within my area of expertise and experience to laugh really hard and post on the topic.

I admit that I did, for a time, watch General Hospital.

My ex-wife watched it all the time. Taped it, even, so she could watch it when she got home. And so I found myself watching it too.

I was there when Luke and Laura broke up. And when both Luke and Laura found other lovers. And then Luke and Laura got back together again, about 29 times in each week.

And this went on for about 59 straight weeks.

I eventually figured out that for the last two minutes of every Friday show, the entire week's plot was boiled down and summarized. But my ex didn't care. She had to watch every minute.

And while I can't remember her name, I remember thinking this isn't so bad...there was a nurse on the show, redhead/brunette, who was super hot. So I'd just kinda watch her, innocently...

So what is it about soaps?

Aren't these basically about the worst actors on the planet?

Acting out the most devilish and non-functioning human beings ever in the most horribly written scripts ever known to personkind?

Aren't they kind of like those goofy romance novels, just put on TV? There are a bunch of middle-aged women in different coffee clutches at work that I see in the cafeteria.

Lately, I've been teasing them about soaps. It's quite the phenomenon. What's the attraction to them? I don't get it. But you, my dear fellow bloggers, are going to tell me.

I'm not discounting the possibility that the few men out here who actually read this blog watch soaps. I'm making no judgments whatsoever. But you females out there...

I guess I am assuming that soaps are mostly a female thing. So...

1. Do you watch soaps?
2. If so, which ones, and why?
3. If not, why not?
4. What are men missing out on?
5. What's the worst soap...and the best?

I can just hear that theme song from The Young and the Restless now...

February 12, 2007


We know they are. And this is hard for me to say, because that's how I make my living.
I delivered the newspaper I now work for as a kid; today, 35-40 or so years later, I work for that same newspaper as a sports editor/writer. So I've come full circle, in a way.
This newspaper was a staple in my household growing up and now, of course, it's a staple of what I do in a much different manner. Either way, this newspaper is part of my fabric.
But in its current form, this and other newspapers are getting old and decrepit in some ways. Not because they've outlived their usefulness, but because the Internet and TV are killing them.
In its current form, the standard newspaper daily is becoming a dinosaur. It isn't immediate, it can't compete with CNN or ESPN on fast news breaks, although I'd argue it's much more reliable and indepth.
But that's another post.
What I want to say here is that newspapers DO still matter. They bind together and are the voice of their local communities. Citizens care about what they read or don't read in their local newspaper every day.
Believe me, I hear about it daily in the form of complaints: how we didn't cover this, how we didn't mention little Johnny scoring four goals in a minor pee wee hockey game, how could we not be here or there...
People care. Right or wrong, there's a feeling that if you're in our paper, you've been properly honoured in our city of 750,000. If you're not, then you feel insulted or wonder why we weren't there.
If you're not asleep yet, read the story below. And understand why the title of this blog is that People Just Want To Be Heard.
We ran a feature a couple of weeks back on a local boxer/trainer who was built up by others in the boxing community as a role model for younger kids.
It was a nice feature story, a touchy-feely typical tale of a guy who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and who made it in a tough sport with a bad reputation and who has emerged as a hero.
Today, I got a call from a 29-year-old woman who claimed she was the mother of this guy's five-year-old son that he never comes to visit...and what about her story and her son's story?
She says he's making custody payments. They were never married. Apparently she was sleeping with two men, one right after the other as she transitioned out of one relationship and into the next.
And she got pregnant. She also has another son from another man she did not marry.
She said she had seen the story about this boxer guy and wanted us to write another story that took away some of this guy's sheen and spelled out what was really happening.
That he had abandoned his five-year-old son, who she says wakes up in the middle of the night wondering where this guy is and why he has no dad.
If you're me, this is the kind of call you don't want to get, but that you have to deal with, sensitively and properly. What would you have done? I've been through similar situations before.
I tried to be considerate to the woman, who was emotional and often on the verge of tears but also lucid and sensible and open to the truth. I talked to her for half an hour, at least.
This man, based on what she told me, had done nothing illegal. Unfortunately, this happens far too often.
She had gotten pregnant by him. S**t happens. He is paying financially to support the child, but that's all he wants to do. You can talk amongst yourselves about what's right and wrong here.
The fact is, she's left with a five-year-old son who has no father who's present. The father is paying child support. She's left -- and the child is left -- with what they're left with.
She doesn't like that we painted this guy as Mr. Squeaky Clean. But we didn't. We told the story of him and boxing. We didn't know about (I assume) and didn't report the story of him and this child.
I gave her the name of our social affairs columnist. I suggested she consider writing a letter to the editor to put her side of it on the record. But we could not write a story now saying what an asshole this guy was.
Not without delving a lot more into her own history and making the story balanced and fair. And I suggested while it was up to her, that could end up harming her more than helping her and her son.
In the end, after a lot of sobs and just spilling her guts about how she felt this was so unfair, she said she probably wouldn't take it any further. She understood. She would deal with it on her own, she said.
I said to her that was her decision that she had to make alone, not with my help. But I did suggest to her, off the record and not as part of my position at the paper, that maybe she needed to face the facts.
This guy doesn't want to be a part of her life or the five-year-old's. That's crushing and sad, but true, based on what she told me. It just about killed me saying that to her.
She agreed and thanked me and said she might call again.

February 10, 2007


I SO have to get a life, you say...
But what kind of curling have I been watching? It could be this kind...

But it's not.


It could be this kind...

Not that kind either, although I should probably be doing both those kinds of curls. My hair has been losing its curl with all this cold weather and my body tone has flown south for the winter.

No, it's the middle of winter, and up here in the Great White North, we play a game called curling. The Scots say they invented it but there's no doubt, it IS our game.

We call it the Roaring Game.

Yes, it is a lot like bowling on ice or shuffleboard or even darts, on ice. Essentially, I've been watching grown men throw 40-pound chunks of granites down thin sheets of ice all weekend.

The object is to get as many of those chunks of granites -- called rocks, or stones -- as close as you can to a concentric circle painted on either end of that sheet of ice.
Nobody's better at it on the planet than we are, although it's safe to say most people on the planet don't even know it exists, likely, or at the very least know little about it.

In fact, Canada's men's team won the gold medal at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy. That's them to the right. They're from Newfoundland.

America's Peter Fenson, from nearby Bemidji, Minn., won the bronze medal.

Nobody in Canada is better at curling than we in the province of Manitoba are. We can make this boast because no province has won more men's championships than we have in Canada.

And right now, this weekend, the provincial men's curling championship is being held in a place called Dauphin, about three hours from here.

The winner, to be decided Sunday, will play in the national championship in Alberta later this month.

The winner of that title will play in the world championship in April against Sweden, Norway, Scotland, the U.S., Japan, Russia and other countries that have taken up the game.

I curled as a teenager and we won the fourth tier of the provincial high school championships.

I covered curling when it was a demonstration sport at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. I've covered national and world curling championships, both men's and women's.

So I have an interest...and so does a whole country.

I wonder if the rest of the world thinks we've got rocks for brains...