Wednesday, March 31, 2004


So, we welcome back 24 (after 5 weeks of 2-hour American Idol eps). My TV-viewing life returns to normal.

Of course, the show returns with a bang, ratcheting up the tension with the virus officially spreading out into the hotel, the President telling a LIE (Sherry still has him wrapped around her finger), and a rather unpleasant fate for Michael Amador. With Amador's departure, Andrea Thompson's WHO doctor returned after about 10 episodes, explaining her absence as simply no longer being essential to the plot until now. Gotta feel for Tony, though, as he is now on the other side of the worry equation vis-a-vis his wife. I'd have to say that last night's episode was the fastest of the season, as it felt like I'd only been watching for 10 minutes and the show was over. Glad it's back.

BTW, I happened to catch the end of American Idol last night. My goodness, there's some weak talent this year. My wife and I really got hooked last year and were rooting for Clay all the way. We actually blocked out Tuesdays at 8 to watch, which we never do. This year, I saw maybe one or two performers that could hang with Clay and Ruben, but it would be a stretch. Too bad. Hope they do better as the series rolls along.

Baseball season is underway and the abuse has begun. Being a Yankee fan, I walk around my Toronto offices with a big bullseye taped to my chest from April to October. If the Yanks lose, I get abused that they shouldn't lose with all the money they've spent. If they win, I get abused that OF COURSE they should win. After all, look at the money they've spent.

See a pattern?

Anyways, here's my bold predictions for the coming season:

- The Red Sox will win the AL East. The Yankees and Red Sox offenses are a wash and the Sox have a better rotation. Don't worry, the Yanks will easily grab the wild card. Both teams will win 100+ games this year.
- The Blue Jays will break 90 wins and not make the playoffs (see the earlier prediction).
- The Twins will hold off the Royals and Indians to win the AL Central. Next year, though, Cleveland in a walk.
- The A's will win the West as the Angels roster breaks down due to injuries and Kelvim Escobar struggles. Mark Mulder, if he stays healthy, wins the Cy Young this year. If not, Curt Schilling.
- Sox smoke the Twins in the first round. Oakland FINALLY avenges three years of post-season failure and knocks out the Yankees.
- Sox go seven to run out the A's. Curt Schilling outduels Mulder in the 7th game.

National League
- Philadelphia waltzes to victory in the NL East, as the pitching-depleted(!) Braves and the offensively-challenged Marlins (who miss I-Rod and Derrek Lee) fade in the second half.
- Chicago and Houston go to the wire in the Central, with the Cubs winning the division on the final weekend. Fear not, Astros fans, they get the wild card.
- Due to a lack of competition, San Francisco wins the West. Los Angeles implodes, resulting in a huge flurry of trade deadline deals and Arizona will ship out Randy Johnson at the deadline for a package of prospects. San Diego, however, announces their ascendancy with a spectacular August-September run that sees them just miss. Next year will be their turn.
- Houston abuses Philly in the opening round. Chicago does the same to San Fran.
- Bartman is barred from Wrigley for the NLCS and Chicago gets it right this time, as Mark Prior and Kerry Wood win twice each to lead the Cubs to the World Series.

So, one year late, baseball nirvana is reached as the Sox and Cubs battle it out for the series. I think I'll go Cubs, just because I have to make a prediction, but if I'm right to this point, I no longer care who wins, because this is the absolutely best possible scenario.

Not that it matters, because all the goodwill earned by this will get flushed when the strike starts in November. Oh, well.

That's it. I'm out.

Monday, March 29, 2004


The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want
He makes me lie down in green pastures
He leads me beside quiet waters
He restores my soul

He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I will fear no evil for You are with me
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever
(Psalm 23)

Rest in peace, Cecilia Zhang. When we meet in Heaven, I will tell you how you made me love my son even more.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004


I have to relate this. As many of you know, I work for RBC Financial Group (aka Royal Bank) and a few years ago they sold off their Merchant Processing business. This area, which is my working area, was merged with Bank of Montreal's (BMO's) Merchant business to form Moneris Solutions. Now I work for Moneris and get paid by RBC, which is all good and irrelevant to my story.


Over a year ago, Moneris started looking at ways to improve their overall backoffice function, which is the function I work with. So for the last two days and the next 8, I am going to all-day meetings with Moneris and one of the finalist vendors, who have a software package to do the things we cannot do today (15-year old technology. You know how it is.)

Why am I telling you this?

I have NEVER been so tired at night. Sitting in these meetings listening to others, trying not to be the one to pass out as well as absorb as much as possible so as not to look like an idiot asking a question that was answered two days ago during a mental vacation. I know my wife (the psychiatric nurse) works MUCH harder than I do, I'm shocked that, after the first two days, I am as exhausted as she is. Wild, no?

If you haven't done so yet, go visit Austin ( and read his take on recent events in Israel. I can add nothing more other than my prayers for that strife-torn part of the world.


Saturday, March 20, 2004


Interesting experience yesterday, as I ran into one of my old public-school/high-school friends on the way to work yesterday. Had a good time catching up and we realized that this year is the 20th anniversary of our Grade 12 graduation. Boy, does that make you feel old.

I think I need to arrange a reunion so I can share my age lament with others in the same boat.

BTW, thanks Jason for the Zone Labs link.

More later. I had something else to rant about, but I've completely forgotten what it was.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004


So, I'm sitting here in my snow globe with a lot of stuff running through my head, like.....

Will somebody out there please help me get rid of these irritating Messenger Service pop-ups I keep getting? I'm running Ad-Aware at least once a day and updating it regularly, but there's about 7 or 8 pop-ups that keep coming up regardless of Ad-Aware having just scrubbed all the data miners from my system.

Why is it that year-in and year-out the Leafs make what look to be great trades at the dealine only to start losing? They gagged against Pittsburgh, needed a miraculous comeback to beat Buffalo and then lost to Boston last night. Now it's Philly, Colorado and T-Bay the next three games. Good thing Ottawa sucks right now, otherwise 4th place in the East would only be a distant dream.

Today's the big day for members of the Christian Rotisserie Baseball League. The CRBL is a fantasy baseball league I've been running for nearly 10 years. A number of Philpott folks are in it, as well as my brother Mike from Saskatchewan and my brother-in-law, Duane. In past years, we've used a straight draft system, but this year we're going to an auction for the first time, which has my good friend Peter Boughan somewhat apoplectic. Today, the big Fantasy Preview issue of Sports Weekly comes out, which will be the primary research guide for the guys. The draft is next Friday night at Scott Radley's, which I'm quite sure Monica is excited about (HA!)

The Passion of the Christ is #1 for the third straight week. There's a very cool site I visit (, which documents day-by-day box office performance and, after yesterday, Passion's total gross is $267,681,000 after 20 days in release (average >$13 million per day). That's a LOT of witness opportunities. However, I hope Mel can relax his love of graphic violence enough to do the necessary sequel, The Resurrection of the Christ. Now I haven't seen the movie, so I don't know how much the film deals with the Resurrection but, really, that's the part that matters. If Christ doesn't rise from the grave on Easter Sunday, death is not defeated and we have no message. I appreciate how much Christ suffered for my sins and how He gave His life for me (and if you want to make that really impacting on a personal level, read John 3:16 out loud and substitute your name for the phase "the world"), but I believe that the RESURRECTION is what really matters as Christ defeats the grave and Satan. That is where hope lies for me. Anyone who has seen the film, send me a note and tell me how much of the resurrection is presented. I'm curious to know. BTW, if you're going to write back and give me a hard time for not seeing the film, it's not as important to me to see it. I KNOW full well what Christ experienced and if you REALLY want to get a feel for it without being numbed by the visual violence, read "6 Hours One Friday" by Max Lucado. That'll really drive it home for you.

OK, that's it for now. Time to shovel.

Thursday, March 11, 2004


We're on the bonus plan today:

News Item: NHL Shows 'em

As I and many others have asked, Colin Campbell announced this morning that Todd Bertuzzi will be suspended for the balance of the regular season, ALL of the playoffs and he will need to meet with President Gary Bettman before he can be cleared to play next season. As well, the Canucks were fined $250,000. This was EXACTLY the right decision. Kudos to Colin Campbell and Gary Bettman for making the right choice in a difficult situation, as this decision might cost the Canucks a shot at the Cup this year.

News item: Bombs in Spain

Austin has posted a link to this on his site. Apparently a terrorist group known as ETA has set off a series of bombs targeting Madrid's commuter train system, killing over 100 citizens and wounding 1400 more. John Kerry, are you prepared to play on this playground? You will need to get your hands dirty, and your recent record seems to indicate that you won't. Guaranteed GW will be all set to go in and get this lot with whatever is at his disposal and I say go get 'em.

One of the great traits humankind has is a strong elasticity when it comes to recovering from hard shocks. Today, we act like 9/11 is a long-distant memory. It's very difficult to keep a society on a war footing for a long time. Unfortunately, the war on terror continues to rage, as evidenced by the events of today. GW has called it already, that he is a "war-time" President and, regardless of your opinions on his decision to enter Iraq (which I now oppose, knowing what I know), we are at war with those who would prefer to see us live our lives in fear of the next terrorist act. This is the new model of war, not a battle between nation-states standing up to face each other, but against small, well-funded and well-organized cells that hit hard and fast and then disappear, knocking us out of our safety zones. This is something GW understands and, Mr. Kerry, I hope you understand it too.

In happier news, my friends at report that a number of popular 1980's TV shows will begin appearing on DVD shortly. Fans of Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley, Mork & Mindy and the Dukes of Hazzard will be able to buy season 1 of their favorite shows before the end of 2004. Nanu-nanu!!!!!!!!!!!!


Sorry about there not being a post yesterday. Life intervenes.

News Item: Maple Leafs acquire Ron Francis at the deadline.

I have to admit that this acquisition really got me excited. I've always liked Ron Francis as a player and I think he'll have a great impact on the Leafs locker room. However, he is 41 years old!! Another player the Leafs signed, defenceman Calle Johansssen, is 37. They had no choice but to recall Matt Stajan and Clarke Wilm from St. John's. It was the only way to get the team's average age under 40 again. Still, I like the moves the Leafs made leading up to the deadline as they shored up their two main weaknesses: defence and 3rd/4th line productivity.

News Item: Sheila Copps officially goes insane

So now she's charging the government with fraud. I don't believe in karma, per se, but here's a case where karma has come back on her. Y'know, if the shoe were on the other foot and Valeri lost the nomination, Sheila would be denying every underhanded trick. And I bet she would have played a few of them, too. I wonder, though, what she hopes to gain by dragging this thing on. I can't help but think that she's just making the Liberals look bad for actually keeping her around all these years. Not only that, but even if she's proven right,(which I doubt) and she's given back the seat, WHO IS GOING TO VOTE FOR HER? Might be the first time in recorded history Hamilton East doesn't vote Liberal.

Go away, Sheila. You bother us.

News item: Todd Bertuzzi apologizes

Well, I think it's safe to say that this topic occupied more of my time at work yesterday than, you know, WORK. Let's see, man chases down another man, grabs him from behind, punches him in the head (knocking him silly) and then climbs onto his back as he falls (unprotected) to the ground. Hmmmm, I believe lawa enforcement experts call this ASSAULT WITH INTENT!

Oh, wait, it happened during a pro hockey game. Sorry, all is forgiven.

So, Todd boy gets a teary press conference yesterday to say how sorry he is . Okay, let's spend some time working on this one (source:

"Steve, I just want to apologize for what happened out there," said Bertuzzi, 29, wiping his eyes with a napkin. "I had no intention of hurting you.

Oh, really? Let's think about this. Skate up behind a guy, grab his jersey, sucker-punch him and add your weight to him as he falls to the ice. Oh, and he was unconscious, so he couldn't break his fall. Yep, that sure sounds to me like he had no intention of hurting him.

"To the fans of hockey and the fans of Vancouver, for the kids that watch this game, I'm truly sorry," he said. "I don't play the game that way.

"I'm not a mean-spirited person. I'm sorry for what happened."

May I take a moment to remind the jury that Bertuzzi came off the bench to join a fight a few years ago, earning himself an automatic 10-game suspension. He also is among the Canucks' team leaders in penalty minutes every year. I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader to make their own decisions on this .

Now, in all fairness, Bertuzzi's not the first guy to pull a bonehead stunt like this. But, let's be real here, folks. If I tried this, I'd be IN JAIL. That is where Bertuzzi should be going. I would like to see him suspended until next fall, keeping him out of the playoffs and the World Cup, but it won't happen. The Canucks will appeal immediately if Bertuzzi is suspended for longer than the first round of the playoffs.

I'm less concerned about the World Cup, because I think Gretzky will make the right call and pass on Bertuzzi. Here's what I think should happen:

If Vancouver, who got all up-in-arms a few years ago when Marty McSorley tried to behead their own Donald Brashear, are really serious about cracking down on violence, they should have a press conference announcing that they are RELEASING Bertuzzi. Of course, this will never happen.

Vancouver police should charge Bertuzzi and then he should receive a suspended sentence. This will give him a criminal record, which will, if I remember my law correctly, prevent him from crossing the border. What team would pay $8 million a year for a player who couldn't play half their games? This too, will likely never happen, since Vancouver PD will likely not lay charges against a player integral to the city's Stanley Cup chances.

So, it's up to the NHL. Bettman and Campbell: do the right thing. Suspend him until the start of next season, PLEASE! Send the message that this is unacceptable by issuing a loooooonnnnnnng suspension.

Whew! Long rant. Later!

Monday, March 08, 2004


I really want to find a way to create a distinctive voice and, given the collection of great blogs I've been introduced to, it's going to be hard to find something distinctive. Fear not, loyal readers, I have an idea.

For the 6 of you that actually read this site, you also read Austin's blog (which wins best research), Jason's blog (best variety of comments) and, if you're not reading Amy's blog (flat-out funny), why not? Since I don't want to play in these sandboxes (not enough time or attention span to match Austin's thoughtful, well-researched prose, not enough depth of spirit to match Jason and can't bring the funny like Amy), we're going to try our hand at a few different goodies. Any comments are welcome and encouraged.

News Item: Martha's guilty, guilty, guilty
Oh my goodness, people will have fun with this. Guilty on all counts. One juror, interviewed after the trial, said that Martha has made a career out of micro-managing everything and he just could not accept her "fogginess" around the circumstances of her ImClone sale. Maybe she should have let Kenneth Lay serve as her stockbroker. He hasn't recalled a thing for years :-)

News Item: Shareholders fail to endorse Michael Eisner as CEO of Disney
At the annual meeting last week in Philadelphia, shareholders returned a strong vote of non-confidence, voting only 43% in favour of returning Eisner to Disney's board of directors. Many large shareholders are also demanding he step down as CEO sooner rather than later. Well, he burned just about every bridge he had, has a franchise (Winnie the Pooh) tied up in a multi-billion dollar lawsuit, and couldn't bring Pixar to heel. The first quarter of the year was a winner, but analysts say it's not sustainable. The guy cannot win. Personally, I think the whole thing is a back-channel coup d'etat led by Jeffrey Katzenberg. Maybe if Eisner appeared at the annual meeting in a Mickey Mouse outfit, everyone would have forgiven him.

News Item: Sheila Copps cries foul
Sheila is to politics as Martha is to stock trading. She has ridden other's coattails for decades (first daddy Vic's, then John Munro's, then Chretien's) and she's finally being exposed as a fraud. There was no way she would go quietly into the sunset along with Chretien. Kudos to Paul Martin for revealing the empress has no clothes (THERE'S and image I don't need). To Tony Valeri, I offer one piece of advice: Stay above the fray.

In other news, Return of the King streets on DVD May 25th (yay!). The best movie of the year will have it's initial two disc release in May and the monster release (the last 4-disc book-set of the trilogy) will apparently happen in the September - November timeframe. I tend to think that it will come out later, rather than sooner, since September 21 is blocked out for Star Wars and Aladdin is streeting in October. Check out if keeping up on the latest in movies coming to DVD and/or the latest in DVD audio is your cup of espresso.

Tomorrow, running commentary on activity at the NHL trade deadline!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


So, I'm finally starting to play around. I think Trackback is working and so is commenting (Thank you HALOSCAN). I intend to create a comprehensive links list at the right and I'm still fiddling with the e-mail link at the bottom of the post. I've also decided to start posting more reviews of what I'm watching. I will probably start with my most recent viewing, CSI Season One. Readers will need to forgive stylistic fumblings as I find my voice. I promise it will be worth the wait.


OK, so it's been a while since I last posted. But I have GOT to get that Rosie post off the top of my page. That's what happens when you rant off the top of your head. I've got a miniseries on churches that I have started writing, but I'm going to keep it in Word until it's written, edited and prayed over, because it might upset a few apple carts. If God wants it out there for public consumption, He'll let me know.

So I'm down in the basement last night, cleaning it for the millionth time since we got married and I have a new appreciation for my wife's shopping gifts. See, we have a corner of our crawl space I call the "grocery store". There is always TONS of food. If some disaster happened tomorrow and we couldn't leave the house for six months, we're good. Here's an example. I found out last night, while organizing, that we have 18 (EIGHTEEN) cartons of apple juice.


I went upstairs and promptly announced in my breadwinner voice that we have 18 cartons of apple juice downstairs and wanted to know why. My wife, who is wiser than me in just about every aspect of human existence, informed me that she saved $1 per carton when it was on sale by picking up a bunch. Besides which, it takes FOREVER to go bad and is about the only non-soda beverage Aidan will drink. So, that means extra cash in my pocket to feed my coffee jones.

This, among many other reasons, is why I love my wife.