Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Essentials from March 21-27, 2005

A light week of Podunkian essentials, many days of rest few of the best!

21-Mar-05 No posts took a break
22-Mar-05 No posts took a break
23-Mar-05 It's not like she wants the job
23-Mar-05 Problems for the Pontiff
23-Mar-05 Worries about the Wolf
23-Mar-05 The wind shifts in favour of Paul
23-Mar-05 The worst of the worst
24-Mar-05 No posts took a break
25-Mar-06 No posts took a break
26-Mar-05 No posts took a break
27-Mar-05 What's bad for GM is Bad for America
27-Mar-05 Something in the air tonight
27-Mar-05 Scuffle over Schiavo
27-Mar-05 File Swappers, the times they are a changing
27-Mar-05 Formalizing the Pitt Split

Saturday, March 26, 2005

It's a T4U for the Easter Bunny!

Apparently our rush to eliminate all perceived offensive traits of our society goes on at a rapid clip. It seems the Easter Bunny has been asked to turn in his ears and slink off to his warren, never to darken an Easter Egg hunt again.

Standy by for the politically correct coloured egg display hunt is just around the corner, children soon to nibble on the non descript chocolate rabbit forms never to be named Easter. No more hippity hoppy, hippity hoppy down the bunny trail.

Sometimes you get the feeling we're in just too big a hurry to homogenize our society, when you cashier the Easter bunny perhaps it's time to step back and think about how politically correct we really need to be!

Then again perhaps asking the bunny to lay low is the kindest thing we could do, it seems some just don't enjoy the Wascally Wabbit Wanderings.

At the risk of offending those that take offence easily I'll tentatively wish one and all a Happy Easter, may the Bunny make one last run before he's turned into someone's stew!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Sometimes tradition is just fine

The word from Boston today is quite welcome, bucking the trend of late in professional sports the Boston Red Sox will apparently not leave the hallowed grounds of Fenway Park. And that is a very good thing, having been to Fenway myself its truly one of the great sports gathering places on the continent. Every baseball fan should find a way to make the pilgrimage to Yawkey Way once and if the story in today's Boston Globe is true, we'll have many more years ahead to travel to baseball's version of Mecca.

It's expected that later today the Red Sox management will announce that they will not be looking to demolish one of the most fabled sports venues in contemporary history, instead they will continue to call Fenway Park home for the foreseeable future.

Fenway Park with its Green Monster is the thing of legend and it seems only fitting that it will live on for a new group of fans to enjoy. In an era where many of our arenas and stadiums have given way to the modern and many say sterile forms of concrete, Fenway will at least be a place where the fan can claim to have won a battle.

But while the Red Sox have shown an uncommon sense of history, they of course are not about to be foolish economically, part of the quid pro quo for keeping Fenway alive will be rejuvenating the area that surrounds it. The Sox will ask the city to fund a couple of new parking garages, some sidewalks and a new subway station. But they won't ask for public monies for increased seating in the park itself.

But Bostonians will probably gladly offer up their dollars to the Sox, even if the Red Sox are probably the most profitable Baseball team outside of the Empire of George in New York. With a World Series under their belts and the smiting of the mighty Yankees both in one year all the Sox need do is ask and the Red Sox Nation will come, cheque books in hand.

Taking their marbles to another game

The fallout from the Conservative convention this weekend past is starting to finally be known. It seems that while Peter McKay might have been madder than a wet cat on Thursday, by Sunday it was the young uns that were stamping their feet and taking flight.

Stories out of Montreal have it that with the Conservative Party choosing not to set up a youth wing, a number of the younger delegates are planning on defecting to the Liberals, a party which they believe will allow them to voice their views in a party more welcoming than that of Steve and Pete.

The nasty little split actually went for the most part unreported during the high drama of the Peter McKay declaration of a possible end to all things Conservative, but could have more long reaching repurcussions. Perhaps aware of past political purges hatched from the youth wing, the Conservatives have apparently decided not to give the youth portion of the party any extra attention than the regular run of the mill Conservative supporter.

This has apparently been treated as a slap in the face with the kindertives, who feel they are the future and should be heard.

My favourite quote of the whole mess comes courtesy of young David Burrie, who at 22 feels that he has been dis-respected as a member of the Progressive Conservatives for five years and declares "I once was dedicated to the Conservatives - not any more".

I"m not sure that spending five whole years counts as dedication, especially at an age when most people change their minds about everything from music to poltiics on a daily if not hourly basis. But I'm sure he'll enjoy life over on the other team, after all there's never been any backroom deals, sneaky machinations or unexpected changes over in the Liberal party, now has there?

Saturday, March 19, 2005

The mysterious strategy of Carole James

The BC electorate will travel to the ballot boxes in May, ready to take pencil to paper and place an X in the space beside the candidate that best suits their mood.

With BC now using a fixed election date system, the May 17th election could hardly be considered a surprise or snap call, yet for all intents and purposes the NDP which with three members of the legislature (one retiring heading off to a socialist sunset) is the opposition, seem to be acting as though it's all a surprise.

Carole James, The leader of the party who has held the job for a year now, but only now will contest a seat, has been rather secretive about what an NDP government might offer the people. Her much used refrain has been "wait for our platform", a slogan that has been used over and over again in the last three months.

Asked if she would re-open schools that were closed we're told to "wait for the platform", reverse the controversial social services cuts of the past "wait for the platform", pick an issue and she won't express an opinion. Instead she holds the cards close to the vest, the NDP protecting their chips as a priceless commodity to be used only when the time is right.

It's a situation that has not escaped the media, which in BC is like a red flag to a bull. For a sample of the talk show take on the NDP non-campaign, check out CKNW and the Bill Good show for Friday, March 18, the 10-11 AM hour featured a panel discussion with Vaughn Palmer and Keith Baldry, who both pointed out some problems with the NDP strategy so far.

Now while it may be wise to keep their agenda wrapped up with that shiny bow, the NDP runs the risk of revealing a platform that for all intents and purposes have no relevance to the current situation.

The Liberals have been busy distributing the gains of their parsimonious ways of the last four years. Schools suddenly have more money for upgrading, contracts with support workers get settled with little to no strike action. Past social engineering experiments get tweaked a bit to give them a more humane face. Grand dreams are announced and positive developments in the "regions" (remember when it was the heartland? don't hear that so much anymore) are trumpeted on a daily basis. Praise is heaped upon the government from afar and star candidates arrive on the scene for the Liberals to take away the sting of the many cabinet members that have chosen to move on to private life.

The NDP have even found themselves losing out on the gender issue, at the moment the Liberals seem to be attracting far more enticing female candidates to the campaign than the NDP, a situation that may finally resolve the gender gap problem the Liberals suffered. While they aren't overwhelming favourites with females by a long shot, the have closed the gap between themselves and the NDP to just 7 per cent, quite a change from a few short years ago.

The NDP campaign has been almost a whisper campaign, their candidates get nominated in the local ridings make a bit of a splash for a few days and then return to the hard slogging of trying to get elected. With no intense media coverage of the leader who seems to be almost a shadow figure at times, whatever message the NDP might wish to be getting across is going for naught.

Time and time again we are told that once the campaign is officially under way we will hear more from the NDP and its recalcitrant leader, one wonders just how far along the way to May 17th we will have to wait.

The Liberals most likely will form another government, the NDP seems to be rather disorganized and unable to capitalize on past mistakes and perceptions of the competition. While most of the province recovers nicely from the tough times, there are still pockets of BC where times are not very good, where jobs are not plentiful and where the Liberal largesse does not shine. There is room for a larger NDP presence in the Legislature but the people of BC need to know just what it is the party is all about now, is it the same party of the Glen Clark era or have they moved on from those days?

There is a place in BC for an alternative view of life as opposed to the Liberal agenda and if crafted properly, it may even attract some voters to the ballot box. But only if they actually know what that alternative might be.

The first significant poll of the campaign came out on Thursday, in it the Liberals under Campbell received the support of 46% of the sample, while the NDP garnered 39% under James. That same poll holds one bit of good news for James, while only 42% which feel Gordon Campbell is a good leader for the Liberals, 50% percent of those that replied said she is doing a good job as leader of the NDP.

Makes you wonder what her number might be if we ever actually get to learn something about her.

Condi chats cows, but not with us!

Finally! The US government wants to clear up a long standing problem over the issue of cattle. Great you might say, about time that this long standing problem got sorted out, let those cows roll.

But while the wheels of progress may be slowly getting greased, its not going to bring one Canadian trade negotiator to a table, nor will it help one Canadian farmer sell his cows today.

Condolezza Rice is making a stop in Japan, where one of her main issues of the day is re-opening the Japanese market to American beef. Proclaiming "that the time has come to solve this problem" Rice is hoping to recapture what was once a lucrative marked for American beef.

Perhaps a solution to the Japan/US cattle problems will aid in the current problems of Canadian cattle crossing the border, but it may take a bit of time before those benefits should begin to show.

Though should the Japanese finally accept American beef as worthy then surely the Americans themselves could no longer hold up the Canadian cows which would be considered quite safe using current inspection parameters. As a matter of fact we could use the words of US lawmakers for our own advantage, some US legislators are calling for Economic sanctions against the Japanese if they don't open their borders, now there's an idea that could possibly be of some use by our government.

It all might be something worth talking over with Dr. Rice, should she ever manage to wander Northwards from Washington. Prior to her around the world jaunt Rice had cancelled a planned trip to Ottawa, a cancellation that many tied in with Canada's rejection of the BMD program. That trip has apparently been re-scheduled for later in the Spring, now that she's apparently fond of Cows we can expect a full and comprehensive hearing of our situation.

After all if the safety of the cattle chain is to be based on "good science", surely our system in place now and constantly being monitored will constitute the requirements of good science!

More importantly for Canadian cattle farmers the Secretary of State's work in Japan may spur on the American congressional and judicial forces to open the border to Canadian beef. After all its rather hard to ask for an open market in one place, when your presently shutting down one in another!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

A day for the Irish and even those that aren't

The 17th of March is always a rather happy affair. Strangers take to wearing the greenest of green outfits, talking with horrid Irish accents and inexplicably insisting on putting green dye into a perfectly good beer. The day has come a long way from it's humble beginnings honouring an apostle for Ireland.

It's a day when everyone wants to be Irish, and here it has arrived once again.

And while it's a great day for parties and has apparently turned into a bit of a cash cow for the service industry it also is kind of a neat example of how people can for one day seemingly get along.

You can hear Irish music in all its forms from the traditional tones of The Chieftains, to the melodic stylings of Van Morrison. The edgy Pogues traded licks with supergroup U2, who have probably propelled Ireland to the worlds stage all by themselves. All linked by blood to a small little island in the North Atlantic, that has had more than its fair share of influence on the new world.

Pick up a book at the library there's been an entire industry built on Irish literature or history. Head for Amazon and do a search for Irish History and you'll be searching for books right up until next years celebration. And of course the Irish are famous for the turn of a phrase, amaze your friends with your own little cache or Irish sayings by doing your homework here.

Recently the blogsphere has brought the land of Patrick to our computers check out a few of these blogs ( Slugger O'Toole, United Irelander , It comes in Pints , 1169 and Counting , Irish Tribesman, Balrog) and then go further and check out their recommended links it opens up a fascinating and wide cross section of life in Ireland today.

If you're Irish enjoy the Day, the Irish love a good party especially when they're hosting one. If you're not Irish, throw on something green and join on in. All are welcome (especially if you're doing the buying).

But rather than that stereotypical jug of green beer maybe go the distance, ask for a glass of the dark stuff. It's not St. Patrick's day until you've downed a Guiness, dark, stout and foamy!!

May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head be always strong.
And may you be in heaven
half an hour before the devil knows you're dead

To all of ye near and far, A Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Monday, March 14, 2005

How Come?

Perhaps one of our more refined and educated bloggers can answer me this.

How come the Blogger program doesn't accept Blogging, blog or blogger as a word when you run a spell check on your work? It would seem to me that blog and blogging would have been included in the data base, but hey I type in blog, blogger or blogging and I get offered a number of options including one of a flogging.

Which on some days is akin to how I feel about my blogging endeavors but I digress.

Anyways, someone with an answer please share with the group.

Blogging a force for career development?

While I try to get my brain in gear and my sense of words back I'll steal from others.

Found an interesting link from Eamon Fitzgerald's Rainy Day blog, which provides a different take on blogging, courtesy of Tim Bray who spends some time with Sun Microsystems software group.

Mr. Bray proclaims his ten reasons why Blogging is good for one's career.

So far it's not doing much for my employment status, but then I'm in a rather unusual spot so it's not fair to blame blogging for a lack of paycheque.

At any rate, for those in a more suitable locale it may be worth a study.

Discuss among yourselves...

A dry spell

Oh woe is me, yet another creative dry spell has descended upon my keyboard.
Try as I might, nothing of value nor interest seems to want to channel from my brain to my fingers. Draft after Draft has been rendered to the dumpster as I try to re-energize my blogging commitment.

On the bright side I'm getting caught up on my reading, worked through two books in five days and have moved on to a third.

I shall return when I can find something with some possibility to put out into the world wide blogosphere.

A week of Essentials

Seven more days have come and gone, time to review our Essential items.

8-Mar-05 Promise made, Promise Delivered, right Bono?
8-Mar-05 I come here not to praise Dan Rather, but to bury him!
8-Mar-05 Bono for the Bank
8-Mar-05 China pulls out a big stick
8-Mar-05 Martha's back on the chain gang
9-Mar-05 Short fuses at lengthy hearing
9-Mar-05 CSI Cairo
9-Mar-05 Damage Control IRA style
9-Mar-05 Petulance has its rewards
9-Mar-05 Drop the cookies sister, you're busted!
10-Mar-05 Farewell to the fallen!
10-Mar-05 Bush brings a big stick to the UN
10-Mar-05 Is your blog at risk?
10-Mar-05 Put another nickel in the juke box baby!
10-Mar-05 Put down the doughnuts and pick up a book!
11-Mar-05 A Nation says farewell
11-Mar-05 From Near and far they marched as one
11-Mar-05 Be glad it was just a typo!
11-Mar-05 Jetsgo a go go
11-Mar-05 Dress up day at the Jackson trial
12-Mar-05 Lose a lot, fly not!
12-Mar-05 The PM sends his regrets but no plane
12-Mar-05 Prison pays off for Martha
12-Mar-05 A blue streak for Sir Bob
12-Mar-05 The gag tellers gag is lifted
13-Mar-05 No posts took a break
14-Mar-05 No posts took a break

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

New skates and shoes for Sidney!

Hockey? Who needs it? Sidney Crosby need not even don a pair of skates next year, so flush is he in cash after Tuesday. The Junior phenom became an instant "A" list athlete on Tuesday as he and his agent sat down with Rebok and signed on the dotted line. Rebok get out your cheque book!

Sid can hang with the likes of Peyton Manning , Lucy Liu and Allen Iverson in the sports world, if he's feeling a little hip hoppish, well he can join the posses of 50 cent or Jaz-Z, cause Sid is now the latest million dollar man.

Actually make that five million, Crosby reportedly will be paid five million dollars to act as a spokesperson for the sporting goods and sportswear manufacturer. Exclusively decked out in Rebok finery, Sidney will have the bling bling to go with his ca ching ca ching. Rebok has taken over the CCM and Jofa line of hockey equipment and are launching an aggressive marketing campaign to get the brand out into the public eye, hence the introduction of the next big thing Tuesday.

Rebok beat out the likes of Bauer, Nike and Mission in the battle to dress up young Sidney. The only non Rebok item that Sidney won't use will be the new line of hockey sticks that Rebok has launched, Sidney is tied to a deal with Sherbrooke for the next two years, though the only action his sticks may see next year are road hockey games back in Halifax.

And while Cyndi Lauper once sang Money changes everything, Sidney begs to differ. Crosby says he'll be the same guy he always has been no matter what happens. One thing is certain, the next one will never have to worry about a change of clothes.

The above item first appeared in my HockeyNation blog, for more items about hockey check it out.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


The first of four RCMP funerals was held Tuesday , in what will no doubt be a very emotional and trying week for members of the National Police Force and for many Canadians across the nation.

Constable Peter Schiemann was laid to rest at a service at a Lutheran church in Stony Plain, Alberta. The first of the four slain Mounties to be mourned by family, friends and fellow citizens near and far. His body brought out of the little church past an honour guard of red serge and taken through the streets of Stony Plain to his final resting place.

With a national service for Constables Johnston, Gordon and Myrol planned for Thursday in Edmonton and private services set for Friday and Saturday the shock of the horrible nature of these four deaths will soon give way to many questions, none of which are easily answered.

Many are asking whether the four were provided with the proper intelligence on the situation, the proper armament and enough back up to take on someone, who was not only quite troubled but obviously very dangerous. I'm not an expert in matters of policing, so I'll leave the Monday morning quarterbacking aspect of what went wrong, to those that may have more to bring to the discussion than I. Hopefully, a full and complete investigation of all aspects of this tragedy will provide reassurance to those that protect our safety day in and day out, without complaint nor fear for their own safety.

Instead today, we will ask questions of the two branches of the legal system most able to effect change, but seemingly dis-interested in doing so. When will the Judicial branch and the legislative branch begin to take their responsibilities to heart and provide Canadians with a semblance of Justice and safety.

James Roszko, the man who slaughtered those four Mounties on that farm had been no stranger to the police and no stranger to the Judicial system over the years. How someone so obviously incapable of rehabilitation could be allowed to continue on in society to apparently instill fear to his neighbours defies reason. Time and time again he had appeared in front of the judiciary only to be released or handed a sentence that soon had him back out on the streets to continue to terrorize his small community. If ever someone needed to be incarcerated in ever lengthy sentences it might be this particular person, eventually even the Justice system must realize that the good of the whole must be set ahead of the individual.

The politicians have been quick to offer up increased maximum sentences for violent offenders and those that repeat their mistakes, a generous admission that things have been lax but wholly useless considering past history. For the most part our Judiciary are not using the maximum sentences available to them at the moment. It's wonderful theatre to suggest a fourteen year sentence for a certain crime, but if the current penalty of say seven years isn't being pronounced on guilty parties what's the use of the grand announcements. It's mere wall papering, covering up a nasty blight with some shiny new paper which will soon fade.

The Judicial branch has been quick to say they only address the law as it is provided by the politicians, the politicians express concern over the lax standards and penalties set forth by the Judiciary. Somebody talk to somebody and get on the same page, what we have now is near farce. Standards should be set and penalties should reflect those standards, if the judiciary refuse to follow those guidelines then get out the rolodex and appoint a new judge that might be inclined to listen.

Crimes of violence and those crimes with weaponry should be non negotiable minimum sentences with no wriggle room, no good behavior, no loose windows of opportunity. 25 years will be 25 years, not ten or less.

Repeat offenders obviously show no contrition for their crimes, and should have their penalties increased with each successive offence. It only seem sensible that the rule of law should be steeped in the rule of common sense.

I'm not particularly a Right Wing, hang em high kind of person. But the lack of accountability in our society needs to be addressed and addressed promptly. A complete investigation into such things as the gun registry (is it really of any use?), soft sentencing (how many folks factor in a little jail time as just the price of doing business) and early release provisions (murderers, rapists, pedophiles and such really should not be allowed out until a full sentence has been served and only with strict, strict conditions) might be a sensible place to start.

Whether its accountability from a criminal for his misdeeds, accountability from a Judge for his deliberations or accountability from a politician for his legislation, the time has come to step up and explain what we are doing.

It's far too late for the four fallen Mounties we mourn this week, but surely we can ask tough questions of those that put them into harms way. This is a country that has been built on a strong belief in what is right and what is wrong, a country that respects the law as the last line of defense in a civil society.

It's time for those that draft those laws and those that sit in judgment to respect the desires of a vast majority of Canadians. We don't ask for much, just protection from crime, safety for our families and friends and answers to our questions. In short a little accountability please!

The plot thickens!

Secret meetings, clandestine phone calls, creative diversions for the media, everything but a contract killing, ah the things of a Ludlum thriller. But wait, no it's the latest creation from those masters of mayhem, Bob and Gary.

The latest from the NHL front has our favourite union leader and the overseer of everything hockey arranging a secret meeting for later this week. Montreal owner George Gillett going so far as to suggest that things may finally be moving in the right direction.

No meddling media need follow, this time they plan on keeping everything on the QT, no strategic leaks of positions this time. They'll just get together and try to hash things out, hopefully before the entry draft date rolls around.

And while the principles give us the indication that progress may soon be made, other quarters start to suggest a completely different outcome is a possibility.

Hockey Rumours has a story that those Boston money guys Bain and Game Plan are still trying to float their "buy it all plan". The latest is that they are approaching the richer of the NHL franchises to help them buy the league, eliminate those worry wart (and under financed) owners and get on with the game. There may be a bit of reality to this rumour, at the recent owners get together Toronto Maple Leaf management were shouted down and left shaken after they suggested that they could live with a higher salary cap to get the game back on the ice.

Perhaps this latest meeting of the NHLPA and the NHL is a bid by the current owners to circumvent the Bain and Game Plan people before they can create some allies. Or possibly it is to set the stage for a declaration of impasse in the US courts and thus an opportunity to launch with replacement players next September.

Regardless, it should be interesting to see how things play out over the next few months. The owners may not be as united as they think, 30 is a large number to keep on the same song sheet especially when an outsider comes along to warble a few love songs of their own.

The Above post first appeared in my HockeyNation blog, for more items about hockey check it out.

Monday, March 07, 2005

We come not to praise Dan Rather, but to bury him!

Poor Dan, as he follows that final sunset from his perch at CBS News the final days aren't filled with stories of journalistic excellence, great moments of history or end of an era like tributes.

Rather, for Rather it's more of a here's your hat sorry you can't stay so long Dan! The network anchor who seems to be the poster boy for controversy will be going out on his sword, with more than one blade protruding from a back as he fades to Black from Black Rock.

The latest to give a less than rousing farewell to Rather is none other than the Godfather of CBS News Walter Cronkite, who managed to commemorate and eviscerate Rather's career in one blast. Cronkite took time to suggest that it was about time that Rather abandoned his chair and that Bob Schieffer is a long delayed suitable replacement for the post that Walter held for so many years.

And while Dan wonders just what he has to do to gain a little respect, he can take a bit of consolation from a review from the Washington Post and with an article in Slate . The Slate article is particularly informative, explaining that the decline of CBS News and the network news itself had more than one father and that Rather should not be made to shoulder the blame for a change in the media seas. The report paints a rather dis-interested management team that cut resources, letting a much respected new organization drift into near irrelevance, a blasphemy for the network that once brought us Murrow and Cronkite.

And while he probably will print out those articles and keep them close to his retirement wishes book, no doubt he might feel a little short changed by his masters and compatriots in the CBS family. While he's stumbled in the last few years, he's still the guy that was there when President Kennedy was shot, was roughed up by Mayor Daley's thugs in Chicago as a near civil war was waged on the Windy city streets, he stood up to a guy named Nixon and snuck into Afghanistan back when the language of the day was Russian.

For his many faults (and lets face it at times watching a Rather newscast is like waiting for a car wreck) he still in his day was a pretty darn good journalist. Long before he was urging America to have "courage" and was trying to sink a president with less than reliable research Rather had a love for a good story.

Perhaps Cronkite was right, Rather held on too long! And like many who do the same, the glow of ones achievements is dulled by the length of time you spend going through the motions. Timing is everything, Rather unfortunately bows out stage left with questions to answer for about shoddy fact checking and questionable reporting.

It doesn't detract from a pretty remarkable career but it certainly doesn't send him out on a high note.

Everyone and his dog seems to want to pile onto to the good riddance Rather file, for some reason even Donald Trump was asked for his opinion on the CBS newsman and had less than flattering words for him. When we start taking the utterings of a person such as Trump seriously, then perhaps it's time to reassess our disdain for Dan. Cause if Trump don't like him, can he be all that bad?

Wednesday night is his last night to tell America the story of their day, you can't help but hope he knocks one final ball out of the park before he heads for the showers.

A week of Essentials March 1-7, 2005

Another week of essentials tracked and listed for your convenience.

1-Mar-05 Osama contracts out
1-Mar-05 A lot of fertilizer went into this flower
1-Mar-05 His apples were no lemons
1-Mar-05 Everyone is a critic
1-Mar-05 This candidate is high on the Liberals
2-Mar-05 One ringy dingy, two ringy dingies!
2-Mar-05 He don't remember, He don't recall, he has no memory of anything at all!'
2-Mar-05 I'd like to thank the taxpayers for making all my dreams come true
2-Mar-05 The not so next best thing to being there
2-Mar-05 Dressing for success?
3-Mar-04 Hudson Bay Blankets for everyone
3-Mar-04 The American's really don't want much to do with us
3-Mar-04 Stay out while the cows stay home
3-Mar-04 Gates controls from cradle to grave
3-Mar-04 What's said in Vegas doesn't really stay in Vegas
4-Mar-05 Darkest Day for the Red Serge
4-Mar-05 Free at last, Free at last, Martha Stewart is free at last
4-Mar-05 Iggy with a wake up call
4-Mar-05 McHockey! Make it Gary Bettman for Crew Chief.
4-Mar-05 Gagging the Gag writer
5-Mar-05 A ditherer no more
5-Mar-05 Foot in the mouth Frankie?
5-Mar-05 He ain't ever satisfied
5-Mar-05 A few Irish eyes won't be smiling
5-Mar-05 The Martha diet, six months to a thinner you
6-Mar-05 No posts, took a break
7-Mar-05 No posts, took a break

Saturday, March 05, 2005


There isn't really much I can think of to describe the shock of the last 24 hours and the horrible developments in North West Alberta. The proper words to help me fully comprehend this tragedy escape me. Four brave members of the RCMP will soon be laid to rest, after making the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of you and me. And I just don't think it's a very fair world today.

This senseless murder of four young police officers, should give us all cause for thought on what is important to our nation as a whole. For they go to work each day to enforce our rules, even when we aren't sure exactly what rules we want them to enforce.

On a Thursday afternoon, four members didn't go home from work. Four families are grieving, friends and co workers remain in shock and a community will forever be a shattered place. As a nation we will now have to question just what has become of us.

I notice the politicians and the judiciary were quick to make comments for the morning news shows today, perhaps they could take a back seat for the next little while. Empty promises to increase sentences, while not enforcing the current limits seem a little self serving at a time like this. Dumping responsibility on one or the other branch of our law making machinery can wait for another day. Let the nation take time to absorb the trauma of such a heinous day.

There are many questions to be asked about the events of March 3rd, but they can be answered in due time. For the moment we take time to honour the memory of those whose lives were cut far too short.

May their families find comfort in the thoughts and prayers of their fellow citizens, may their coworkers go forward to their duty knowing they have the full backing of a grateful nation. It's the least we can offer for the sacrifice of four brave souls.

Learn more about them here and say a prayer for them and for those that now must carry on from here without them.

Friday, March 04, 2005

McHockey a possibility?

All for one and one for all? Every spoke in the wheel the same size! A cookie cutter league made up of branch units from coast to coast. If the money boys from Boston had their way, the NHL of today would give way to something resembling McHockey, where every team is run the same, with a blue print from head office.

The word that came out today had it that Gary Bettman and the owners met with a group from Boston that were prepared to put 3.5 billion American dollars on the table and take the problem of running NHL hockey away from the current crop of league governors. Bain Capital Partners and Game plan LLC are of the opinion that there may be quite a few current NHL owners looking to divest themselves of the money pit of professional hockey. And this apparently is no wing nut group out to make a name for itself. Bain is the co-owner of the Boston Celtics of the NBA and Game Plan was involved in the deal that kept the Ottawa Senators away from deaths doorstep last year.

They have done some homework on the situation and feel that a collectively run group out of a head office run as branches would be of financial benefit to the NHL, providing it with a franchise like program where each team would be provided with a branch manager to follow the goals of the collective. Kind of like central planning one assumes and a far cry from the current situation which can resemble a wild west poker game when the big money teams get to clashing with their scrambling to survive fellow owners.

The one part of their argument that seems to be interesting is the idea that under the new owner each team would begin to work for the benefit of the whole. We'll wait to see Glen Sather offer up some assistance to Mike Milbury, now that would certainly be a momentous achievement by anyone's measure.

However, already some of the high rollers are dismissing the idea of this politburo of puck, the Leafs, Bruins and Rangers have already said interesting idea but we'll take a pass, which should put the kiss of death on the plan when the big money markets refuse to buy in.

Even more disturbing for NHL owners though is the money on the table, while 3.5 Billion may seem like a pretty steep number for a business currently out of business, it wasn't that long ago that the league value was estimated to be 4.9 Billion dollars. Obviously the market for NHL franchises is starting to tumble, should it go into free fall the current owners may rue the day they let the vulture guys get away.

So while the idea of the league turning into a Nortel or Enron may be remote, the chance of it turning into the service sector of pro sports is probably unlikely as well. But excuse us for a bit as we fantasize about Gary Bettman once the czar of hockey reduced to the crew chief on the late shift at McHockey's. Tis enough to make you want to have your order supersized...

The above posting first appeared in my HockeyNation blog, for more items about hockey check it out!