The Family (Or most of them)

The Family (Or most of them)
The Family

March 31, 2007

The View from Mars

I know I come and go
But I want you all to know
How cherished is our meeting
How I'd hug you in our greeting
I value your ideas
And your jokes and meat-filled pitas
How you stimulate my thinking
And my feelings and my winking
You're from all over the planet
Can't get better than that, can it?
From Australia to New Zealand
Belgium,'s a whirlwind
You hail from Britain to Biloxi
From Montreal to Mississippi
Montana's mountains to Pikipsee
Manitoba west to B.C.
You're all worth more than treasure
Knowing you has been a pleasure
Your lives have touched my own
It's just a gift I've been bestown

March 28, 2007

Sports and Life

For those of you who sometimes read this blog, you'll know I'm a sportswriter and have recently spent several days with the Canadian women's hockey team in Dauphin, Manitoba.

I have joked about the 5-foot-2, 890-pound coach and the svelte, strong, female athletes who could eat me alive and bench-press me 100 times if they wanted to. I've made light about it all.

And I've had fun doing that. (besides that, it's probably true)

I've now returned from that training camp, and have a day or two off before the World Women's Hockey Championship begins in Winnipeg April 3, which I'll be covering til April 10.

And I had a lot of time to meet these women, some of whom I knew before and had interviewed.
And I marvel at who and what they are. And because of that, I still marvel at the beauty of sports -- REAL SPORTS.

As far as I'm concerned, after doing this for roughly 27 years, amateur athletes are the only athletes who are like you and me.
They're at the top of their sport, but they DON'T GET PAID FOR IT.

I don't care about Barry Bonds, I don't care about Peyton Manning (although he was super funny on SNL recently), I don't care about any of the 7-foot NBA stars like Shaquille Oneal.
I don't even care about the National Hockey League's Sidney Crosby.

Or this guy, whoever he is...

I DO care about Hayley Wickenheiser (below), Jennifer Botterill, Angela Ruggerio (of the U.S.) and many other elite athletes who compete in their sports just because they love competing in their sports...

...Without the million-dollar contracts they might earn if they and so many others were competing in sports that are all about TV and deemed professional and made into commercial entities rather than sport.

Sport, at its grassroots, is a beautiful thing. Some of my best memories are of playing hockey, football, baseball, basketball, at the local arenas or fields or courts or diamonds, with friends.

I wish it's the only sports we had. The people are real, like you and me, and don't just spit out stupid cliches for seven-second TV sound bytes. They care. And for the past week, I've loved writing their stories.

For them, it's not about earning money or huge sponsorship deals, necessarily, but about representing their countries. And doing the best they can and being the best they can be.

If only sport could really be about sport, with nothing but sport and winning and losing a part of it. Amateur athletes are beautiful people.

The Olympics is still one of the few events that hasn't sold itself out to a title sponsor. I hope it stays that way.

When the Visa 100-metre sprint or the BankAmerica Olympic Gold Medal Game become the norm, I'm tuning out. Sport is one of the things we still can truly call our own, if we want to.
And nowadays, I think, that's what we need.

March 23, 2007



I have been ordered to return to Earth to re-assume my human identity as a sports reporter, in order to fulfil my duties to cover the World Women's Hockey Championship April 3-10.

(Photo illustration: Homely Escapeons)

I must be honest and say I'm not particularly comfortable in my Earth disguise, but it's a hazard of life as a Martian on this planet.

I've asked for a new identity/appearance, but it hasn't received budget approval.

In the meantime, I am carrying out my assigned task, heading to Dauphin, Manitoba, on Saturday where the Canadian team at the World Championship begins a week-long training camp.

I'll spend the next several days with elite female athletes -- almost all of them 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds and able to crush me like a fly with one fell swoop -- hoping to write about them without being consumed whole.

And the woman I most fear is pictured below.

I dare not mention her name in case she happens to Google herself and, thus, find this report and summarily execute me by biting my head off in front of the whole Team Canada squad.

She's about 5-foot-2 and 890 pounds, roughly the size of a Winnipeg Blue Bomber defensive tackle.

And she can be a lot more ornery to journalists like me, pictured below in Finland in 1991 covering the World Men's Hockey Championship.

If I asked her who will be on Canada's top line, she could growl out three names and then have me tied to the goalposts during practice and have her players take slapshots at my more sensitive parts.

That could hurt. And I have to conserve my strength, seeing as I will be covering the team right through until they (almost certainly) win the gold medal over the U.S. on April 10.

But assuming I can avoid the wrath of MD, as I'll call the Canadian coach, I should be OK.

The players seem to be able to tolerate me, kind of like we tolerate mosquitoes, gnats and other things in the summer.

One of the projects we've carried out here in advance of the world championship is to write up little "hockey cards" on each player that we now are running every day on a color page in our sports section.

I've adapted them slightly and invite fellow bloggers to write their own, for publication and for posterity. Fill out what you want...or don't want.

Name: xxxxxx xxxxxxx

Position: xxxxxxx

Height: xxx. Weight: xxx

Shoots: xxxx.

Hometown: xxxxxxx

Date of birth: xxxxx

Biggest Influence: xxxxxxxx

Favourite memory: xxxxxx

When I finish my playing career, I would like to: xxxxxxxx

If Hollywood wanted to make a movie about me, who would I like to portray me, and why: xxxxxxxxxxx

March 19, 2007

Unavoidably Detained


I'm posting to say that I realize I haven't been blogging much or getting around as often as I have been doing to others' blogs, and I apologize for that.

But I was required on the home planet for a performance appraisal, and I decided to get Spaceship Orion into the shop.

It turns out it requires a maintenance overhaul. How unfortunate.

So for the moment, and while I tend to other business and take some time away from Earth to get acquainted with people I am becoming quite fascinated with, here's some postcards from home...

That's me, above, the little speck at the left edge of the grin on my planet's so-called Happy Face. The shot below is taken from a farther distance, when I zoomed in from Earth.

Until I return to conquer again, be well. I expect to have the newest version of the B5322 Monochromatic Destabilizer Initializer, a weapon the likes of which Earth has never seen.



March 16, 2007

Newts, Selective Truth, Lies and Sex


But I know doublespeak and B.S. when I see it and hear it.

I know about appearing before a sympathetic group to confess your past sins, knowing you won't be held to the kinds of objective standards you never used to o begin with.



One is a gentle, amphibious creature that spends the first part of its life in the water breathing through gills.

It then morphs into a land animal with lungs, eating insects and hiding under leaves and things to conceal itself from predators, but as an amphibian, it still must stay moist.

The newt below is Newt Gingrich.

He also spent part of his life submerged, but in the depths of right-wing religious rhetoric and judgment about others, including U.S. President Bill Clinton.

When Wild Bill got involved with Monica Lewinsky, Ne'er-Do-Wrong Newt, as the biggest Republican Right-wing Rat in Washington, raked him over the coals and exposed him for his sexual escapades.

It was all about politics and religion, of course, because people like Newt feel a need to link the two...How Clinton was a moral menace to the God-loving American republic.

And all that crap.

Well now fast-forward to 2007.

Newt, who had more or less disappeared from the U.S. national political scene and apparently returned to the water, resurfaces as a potential Republican presidential candidate.

An agenda, ya think? Oh, no. Of course not.

But Lordy, what does Newt do? He goes on a nationally syndicated radio show, the ultra-right wing Focus on the Family, and admits that he also had extra-marital affairs. GASP!

Not only that, but he was having an extra-marital affair and deceiving his second the same time as he was calling Clinton out and trying to run him out of office. DOUBLE GASP!!

I know I'm not supposed to get up in arms about this. After all, I'm just a hick from Canada. I say "Eh."

Still, Newt's New Makeover was in the news for a couple of days this past week.

But I haven't heard another thing since, so Newt has apparently achieved his objective of breathing both water and air at the same time and living to tell about it, because righteous people like him do.

All I can do is declare Newt the winner of my initial instalment of the Newt Awards, presented to the biggest arse who manages to speak out of both sides of his mouth at the same time.

I figure the least I can do is name the awards after the human being who more resembles a real newt than any other I have ever seen, a slimy creature that goes from one existence to another.

The only difference is once real newts make the transition, they stick with it and don't try to pretend to be what they're not...or what they used to be.

Clearly, Newt doesn't get that.

And if he gets the Republican nomination, I pledge I will return to the water and live happily ever after under a lily pad, waiting for a dragonfly or fish to swallow me whole.

March 14, 2007

A meeting of Northern Minds

I've posted many pictures of two men purporting to be WW and HE, two gallant Canadian heroes from Winterpeg who take it upon themselves to solve all the world's problems.
It's time now for the truth to be told. This, really, is who we are.

As we meet again Wednesday night, we will discuss many modern-day dilemmas and issues.

I have placed on our agenda the one below and hope to have an enlightening discussion.

March 12, 2007



I have somewhat oily skin and, apparently, inadequate face-cleaning habits. I get whiteheads. I don't want whiteheads. A former girlfriend said I just needed all the right tools.

To take care of the job myself.



March 10, 2007



Report card. Not good. And a secretive element involved, deciding not to tell Dad until the very last moment before teacher/parent/student interviews.

This despite assurances, when he was with me (mom and dad are split) that all was well, he was making school first priority, girlfriend, singing in band and other things second.

Anger. Frustration. Reaming out. Disappointment. Mucho sadness. His pledge to do better beyond words, but to be shown in actions and results. And, finally, acceptance.

And, the day after, acceptance by me...that I was a teenaged doofus too. And that I have to now make sure he knows...

--that I skipped class in kindergarten to go tree-climbing.

--that I was the class clown in Grade 7, suspended for pulling teacher's dress down

--that I failed Grade 10 French and had to go to summer school

--that I almost failed typing because I didn't do one assignment until the last week of the school year, when my mom forced me to do it

--that I was a 50s and 60s (marks) kinda guy until Grade 11

And he needs to know that, given my own experience as a professional world-class teenaged doofus, things can be turned around if there's the intention and try to do that.

And that in the end, A's or F's won't change the beautiful person he is.

March 8, 2007


I've wiped out and almost gotten myself killed racing a pallet truck around in an ice cream plant I used to work in.
I've cut my hands many times cutting the fins off of northern pike, pickerel and other fish at a packing plant I worked at in northern Manitoba.

I've been hit from behind when I was a truck-driver and stepped on rusty nails while hauling stuff around. I just about puked cleaning up the washrooms when I worked as a janitor.

And I almost blew myself up filling up machines with gas at an equipment rental place where I had a job.

Now, as a journalist, the biggest workplace dangers are breaking a nail on my keyboard, losing my vision staring at a computer screen or developing sciatica due to poor sitting posture.

But I've noticed in the last couple of months that I'm terror-ridden in the office by something that almost certainly could never hurt me, really, because I've never touched it in the 10 years I've been there.

It's this. It's a paper-cutter. The old kind. Guillotine style.
Chop Chop.

The thing is old. It's green. And it's been sitting on the printer station table where we all print up copies of stuff we need for as long as I can remember.

Never bothered me before. Just another object.

Now, I can't get it out of my mind. It's not that I have dreams about it...I have waking images, when I'm in the office, of my fingers getting cut off by it.

It's gross. I can't explain it. It's almost a phobia.

What phobias do you have with whatever objects you work with?

What unrealistic fears do you have about the pencil sharpener, water cooler, dying plant in the corner or what have you?

Or how dangerous is your job, anyway? As dangerous as mine?

March 6, 2007


First, if only as a token gesture, the type is in pink, showing my feminine side.
Second, I am wearing high heels and dark red lipstick as I write it, which I normally wear only for Homo Escapeons.
This post is a sequel to the one before it and both, including comments, should be read to understand the need for the sequel.
The original talked about how I was thinking, and as such focused on my male brain.
But some females -- regular visitors, but also new ones -- wondered about shoes, knitting yarn and other feminine things they could not find on my male brain diagram.
Some wondered what THEIR brains might look like, similarly dissected and analysed.
Others made huge leaps and assumptions, some even referring to how they regularly accomplish world domination of males by strategically using parts of their female brains.
All, in my view, seemed to feel excluded from the process as I simply scratched my head and thought, only with my male brain, which some would say has its limitations.
Today, I have commissioned the brain surgeons who operate my blog to design an illustration of the human female brain that could be compared on an equal basis with the male brain.
Without further comment, snickers, laughter, sneering, sexual arousal or any other show of emotion or opinion, I now reveal, in the interests of equality for both genders, the male AND female brains.

At the moment, we see no need for a prequel, but we reserve that right in the future.