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January 2010 Archives

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Not Enough

January 31, 2010 @ 12:26

The Toronto Maple Leafs traded a shit load of players today, and if you care about the Leafs I'm sure you know who they are.

But to my mind, Brian Burke missed the boat by not making the most obvious move. He didn't fire coach Ron Wilson.

It doesn't matter who the Leafs bring to town because it's obvious they won't be coached to the level they need to be.

What ails the Maple Leafs had little to do with Matt Stajan or Ian White, but it had everything to do with a lousy system and bad habits that a coach is responsible for.

Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with the trades because at this point, it can't hurt, but icing on the cake would have been the announcement that Wilson is gone as well.

It's a frustrating situation for Leaf fans, and Burke would never admit it, but Wilson remains with the Leafs exclusively because of his ties to Team USA. It would look bad for Burke, who hired Wilson for both the Leafs and the American National team, to fire the guy just days before the Olympics start.

How weird is that, the Toronto Maple Leafs suffer because of Team USA.

It's beyond stupid. Wilson should be outa here.

Category: Sports

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Catchin' Up

January 31, 2010 @ 12:25

I had promised to update this blog during my trip to Florida last week, but the hotel in Key West wouldn't allow me to upload anything. Internet access was free, but I couldn't send anything from my laptop to my web platform.
Why, I don't know but Mike Boon told me it's possible for the hotel to block something or other for security reasons.
Maybe they don't want people to make sex videos in their rooms and then send them into cyberspace. Somebody might recognize the wallpaper or something and correlate the hotel with the sex trade. Wow, how's that for a leap.

On the subject of hotel rooms, before I left I mentioned that I was chasing my tail trying to find something before I left. I was using Tripadvisor and it was crazy. Reviews of the same hotel went from spectacular to miserable. I got the feeling that a lot of it was bullshit, but still I didn't know whether to believe the good ones or the bad ones.
Eventually I went outside Tripadvisor and just googled "great hotels in the Miami area" and I came up with this. It's called "The Blue" and it's located in Doral, right beside the famous golf course, about 20 minutes from the beach.
This place was perfect for my wife and I. We're not real beach people any more; we're more interested in quality accommodations and a reasonable price and if that means a few miles off the beach, so be it.
"The Blue" was outstanding. Give it a click and see for yourself. A boutique style resort with spacious rooms, top notch d├ęcor including 46 inch flat screen TV's and as I mentioned earlier strategically located to just about everything in the Miami area.
The room equipped with a great kitchen with a full sized fridge, dishwasher, microwave oven that was also convectional, dishes and cutlery, very handy for a fella who tires quickly of restaurant food.
The room also featured one of those "rain showers." Lord liftin' Jesus talk about ecstasy.
I had two showers at day whether I needed the second one or not. The feeling of that heavy water pounding down upon my bloated body put me in a special place. But that's all the detail I will provide.
Hey, if you're ever in South Florida, and you're looking for a place to stay, close to South Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Sunrise where the Panters play, check out "The Blue."
Excellent for 149 bucks a night.

We left Miami last Monday and made our way down to Key West without having hotel reservations, but again, we really lucked out.
While driving into Key West we saw one of those "Information Centers" so I stopped in to get a little advice. Within moments they hooked me up with a great hotel right in the heart of "Old Town." Actually it was break and breakfast style hotel called "Ambrosia."
I had seen it on line but the nightly request was $269.00 dollars and that was more than I wanted to spend. But once I got to this info centre, they recommended the place and the nightly hit was $159.00. We took and we're glad we did.
It was over the top clean and conveniently located with a great hot breakfast as part of the deal. It was literally a thirty second walk to Duval St.

I won't go on and on about Key West, other than to say this. If you've never been, you should go there at least once. It's a fabulous place with a great vibe and superb restaurants, although I'm a little reluctant to pluralize restaurant because we were there four nights and ate at the same place three times.
It's called "Blue Heaven" and it features Caribbean cuisine in an inviting down to earth atmosphere. Most of the tables are outside with a sand and straw floor. While you eat, roosters and cats walk around freely. It may sound gross, but it's actually pretty cool and the food is fabulous, especially the pork tenderloin.

How about some other stuff? I'll move on from the trip, but first I have to mention this.

When we were at the Leaf game in Sunrise, a group of kids in their late teens or early 20's refused to stand for the Canadian anthem. One of them, while sitting, went out of his way to mock the anthem and then mumbled a few things which included Canada and the word stupid.
Needless to say, I wanted to lean forward and slap the dumb ass across the side of the head, or at the very least give him a piece of my mind, but I was traveling with my sweet darlin' and confrontation bothers her. I thought.
Afterwards she told me she wouldn't have minded if I'd said something. Like: "Hey goofball, do you not realize that Canada is your countries most faithful ally? Do you not realize that in most of your countries confrontations over the years, Canada has been at your side? Do you not realize that most of the players on your team, the Florida Panthers, are Canadian, so actually you're insulting them?
But I didn't. I simply wrote him off as another dumb American who doesn't know much about the world around him because in his mind, he doesn't have to.

And I have to mention this. Pearson Airport.

What a joke. When Delyse and I left on Friday the 22nd, we got to the airport two hours and 15 minutes before the flight, but didn't have enough time to pop into Starbuck's before boarding the plane.
Not only was the line at U.S. customs slow, but the security system was worse. I realize it's a new frontier with airport security and there is no room for risk or chance, but at the same time I've gotta believe it could be more efficient. Several things happened that left me shaking my head, and it had nothing to do with the inexplicable high pitched tone that was swirled through the terminal, literally driving most of us nuts.
Interesting, that on flying back, Miami International was much more efficient and speedy.

Category: Stuff

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More Stuff

January 31, 2010 @ 12:24

I predicted before I left that there would be predictable response from the union regarding the sleeping TTC ticket taker. Don't you love it, the union boss actually blamed riders from not making sure the ticket taker was OK.
How insulting. I'm sure if there was indication the guy was doing anything but catching a few winks, they would have responded appropriately.

The threatened strike by teachers at Ontario's 24 community colleges once again raises the point of essential services. To me, teachers are near the top of the list, especially University and College teachers, because of the impact they have on so many lives.
If the college teachers walk out in mid-February, the lives of thousands of kids will be thrown into chaos. So many of them depend on summer jobs to make money to pay tuition and student loans, and if there school year is interrupted it could actually mean the end of school. Summer jobs could be lost if the school year in pushed back and if its lost, it could mean other expenses that a lot of kids can't absorb.
Teachers should not be allowed to strike by law; however short of that, you'd like to think they'd have enough class to consider students before their own exorbitant demands.

Category: Stuff

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Today With Craig And Matt

January 27, 2010 @ 12:41

Hotels and Hockey.













Category: Radio

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Today With Jeff McArthur

January 25, 2010 @ 09:50

Americans won't stand for Canadian athem and other Florida stuff.







Category: Radio

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Twenty Bucks Wasted

January 24, 2010 @ 10:30

Sunrise, FLA - What can I say; last night was probably the lowest point ever for me as a Leaf fan.

I paid twenty bucks for two tickets for the Leaf game in Florida last night, and it was twenty bucks too much.

Like hundreds of other loser Leaf fans I sort of planned my vacation around a Leaf road game and was somewhat looking forward to it.

We drove up to Sunrise in the afternoon, I endured a couple of hours at the Sawgrass Mall, we had a great dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and then we headed across the parking lot to the BankAmerica Center to look for tickets.

I got two twenty dollar seats for ten bucks each, and then we went back to the car and did what you're apparently supposed to do when following your team on the road.

We put on Leaf jerseys.

What a miserable game. The Leafs sucked the big one and sitting there, it made me contemplate that this may be the worst Leaf team I've ever experienced

I know, I know. I lived through the 70's and 80's when the Leafs were horrendous, and it's been pretty slim since they last made a run in 2002, but this current team is sickening and most of the blame has to rest on the shoulders of the coach.

And that's the crazy thing; I still believe this team could be a lot better than it is. They've showed signs of promise a few times during the season, but it seems their coach, a guy whose way too cocky and condescending for someone who has no results to point to, doesn't know what he's doing.

It's fine to watch games on television but sometimes you actually have to be there to appreciate some things and that's what happened to me last night.

Isn't it the coach's job to tell his players to shoot more on the power-play? Isn't the coach's job to do something about the worst penalty kill in the league? Isn't it the coach's job to tell his players to finish their checks? Isn't it the coach's job to instill team discipline that prevents defensive break downs that minor atoms shouldn't make?

Let's go back to the game against Tampa Bay on Thursday night. Shouldn't the coach shoulder some of the blame for the ridiculous melt-down that Alexie Ponikarovsky had?

Where's the team discipline?

Shouldn't the coach be held responsible for a "too many men on the ice" penalty during overtime?

No discipline.

Isolated, these things happen. But with the Leafs they happen way too often and meanwhile the team is showing absolutely no progress. If anything, they're going in the other direction, and to my mind, a lot of it has to do with coaching.

And while we're at it, what about the General Manager? It might be OK if he quietly went about his business, but he too is awfully cocky for a guy who was going to bring chance to the organization and then turned around and traded away two first round draft choices for an average player.

He's got no right to act like he does, like he's smarter than everyone else. Shit, me and six of my best friends would have known not to trade first round draft choices.

Brian Burke has no been reduced to a nervous wreck whose terrifed that Boston may end up with the first pick over-all.

Same with the coach, he talks a big game before and afterwards, but during the game his team looks like a freakin' mess, a disorganized, undisciplined collection of under-achievers.

Again, I realize this team is far from good, but they should be doing better than they are.

The only saving grace in all of this is that Ron Wilson will coach Team USA at the Olympics. We can only hope he maintains the same standard.

It's fascinating. I looked around the arena last night and it was heavily dotted with Leaf jerseys. People like me who worked a game into their vacation. Dedicated Leaf fans who stick with their team through thick and thin, but what do they get in return?

Nothing.

And I know what's happening right now. There are Hab fans reading this and laughing at my prediction that the Leafs would finish ahead Montreal this year. Go ahead and laugh, you deserve it.

But don't get too ahead of yourself. That team of yours ain't so hot either, and there's a collapse coming just like last year.

As for your joy in the mess that is the Toronto Maple Leafs, thank Ron Wilson.

Category: Sports

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My Latin Lovely

January 24, 2010 @ 10:29

Miami, FLA - On a lighter note, everybody in the Miami area thinks by wife is either a Cuban or a Mexican.

Everywhere we go, people look at her a quickly begin speaking Spanish. They assume because of her sharper feaures and darker complexion that she's like them, part of the huge Latin American population in South Florida.

She's not; she was born in South Africa.

A few times yesterday we were walking around, only to have someone start talking to her in Spanish assuming she could retort.

Of course she couldn't, so I had to step in and translate. I got tired of saying it.

She a no speak a the espanyole!

I'm worldly.

Category: Family

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Humble Birthday

January 24, 2010 @ 08:32

Wow. Where does the time go?

Today my friend and former radio partner Humble Howard turns 50 and it is milestones like this that make your head spin. How could Howie be 50 already?

I first met Humble Howard in July of 1989, he was 29 and I had just turned 33.

Danny Kingsbury was Program Director of CFNY at the time and it was he who thought we'd work well together. So one day Danny and I flew to Montreal and I met Howard and it marked the beginning of a 16 year association that ended professionally in 2005.

Thanks Gary??

But this post isn't so much about Humble and Fred as it is about time.

When you're 29 and 33, turning 50 seems like an eternity away, but its amazing how quickly it catches up to you. The years clip by and then one day you wake up and you're 50. And the scary thing is, 40 to 50 goes a lot faster than 30 to 40, so I imagine it will be far too soon before I'm writing about turning 60.

I think of all the things that Howard and I went through in radio and it leaves my head spinning, him getting married, both of us buying new homes, watching our kids grow up and amazing highs and lows that very few will ever experience.

If I'm left with anything, it's that we all tend to take so much for granted and its not until it's gone that you realize how much you had. It always makes me think one of the many profound lines that John Lennon wrote.

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans"

But there's an encouraging aspect to this. The older you get, the more you tend to focus on what really matters and that's good. The older you get the more you realize you're not invincible and your stay on this planet isn't indefinite.

It's great for perspective and it's a point that Humble makes in a little piece he wrote about turning 50.

Let's be doing it.

"I have been thinking a lot about age lately, mainly because it's not everyday you turn half a century old and it seems like a big deal, at least to other people. For me it's just a number. When I hit 30 or 40 those numbers didn't vex me and I'm not too freaked out by this milestone... it beats the alternative of "not turning 50!"
I will say that 50 seems a lot younger than it used to. My Dad's 50 was way older than mine. I was 12 when he was this age and I thought he was super old. I don't think it's the same for my kids, I'm far too active and immature and I'm guessing they think of my 50 as younger than my father's.
We all think that as we age the age we used to think was ancient gets older and older. 60 year olds are old but I guarantee you that when I'm 59 I'll think 60 is the new 45.
Getting older is just a way of marking time and time marching on is what is scary to all of us. I'm not going to lie. I've been keeping track of celebrity deaths that are close to my age and going, "He was only 59? That's only 9 years older than me!" That's' the really scary part of getting older-getting older is when people die. Yes they do. And that's the real reason we all want to stall the number of candles on the cake. Fun huh?
So I'm viewing this as an opportunity for adventure and to find new forms of life on the other side of my half-century. And I'll look at it this way- tomorrow I won't be a year older, I'll just be one day older than 49."

Humble.

Happy Birthday Howard. See you in a couple of weeks for Humble and Fred's Olympic Podcast of Bronze.

Category: Friends | Radio

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The Ant And The Grasshopper

January 22, 2010 @ 11:59

OLD VERSION

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away..

Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed.

The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

Moral of the story:

Be responsible for yourself!


MODERN VERSION

The ant works hard in the withering heat and the rain all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while he is cold and starving.

CBC shows up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.

Canadians are stunned by the sharp contrast.

How can this be, that in a socialist country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper be allowed to suffer so?

Kermit the frog & the grasshopper appear on "Any one of a number of CBC Shows" and everybody cries when they sing, 'It's Not Easy Being Green...'

OCAP stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house where a crew of eleven from CBC News films the group singing, "We shall overcome."

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff condemns the ant and blames Prime Minister Harper for the grasshopper's plight.

Jack Layton & Buzz Hargrove exclaim in an interview with "any one of a number of CBC hosts" that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and both call for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share.

Finally, the BLOC, NDP & Liberals draft the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper bill retroactive to the beginning of the summer.

The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the Human Rights Commission and given to the grasshopper.

The story ends as we see the grasshopper and his free-loading friends finishing up the last bits of the ant's food while the government house he is in, which, as you recall is the ant's old house, crumbles around them because the grasshopper doesn't maintain it.

The ant has disappeared in the snow, never to be seen again.

The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident, and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the ramshackle and once prosperous and peaceful, neighborhood.

The entire nation collapses bringing the rest of the free world with it.

Moral of the story:

Be careful how you vote.

Category: Stuff

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Today With Craig And Matt

January 20, 2010 @ 08:38

Tripadvisor, Haiti and Matt's surgery.













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