Monday, May 31, 2004


Been a while

Some odds and ends...........

The home PC has finally irritated me to the point where it was sent in for maintenance this weekend. It's a bit frustrating being forced back to a 56K dialup connection, so I only was on this weekend for odds and ends. Thus, no posting.

Played my first baseball games of the season on Friday and then did housekeeping Saturday and gardening Sunday. Two more ball games tonight and two more Wednesday. I see traction in my future.

I'm skipping the economy argument in my G.W. Bush diatribe, so the next one will be the faith-based leadership argument and a summary which I have already previewed for Austin.

I finally got through watching season 1 of The West Wing on DVD. I hope to do a small review later this week or early next. Suffice to say I now remember why I once thought this to be one of the greatest dramas ever on TV and why I don't feel as driven to watch it now. I borrowed Season 2 and am plowing through it now.

I REALLY liked the ending of 24 this year. It was great to see everything closed off, including Saunders being put down by Gael's wife. The whole bit with Chase, Jack and a fire axe was rather intense and different and I really think they plan to send Tony off into the sunset, which is a bit too bad, but I'll heal. The best part, though, was the final few minutes, as Jack went to his truck and broke into TEARS!!! Then they called to let him know he was needed for an interrogation and the mask went back on. Great finish. Can't wait until the show returns in January 2005.

Looking more and more like a Liberal minority June 28. Looks like we're going back to the polls in 2006 after the first budget gets struck down after a no-confidence vote. On the plus side, we should get some GREAT palace intrigue leading up to then as Martin tries to buddy up to Jack Layton.

I think Calgary has things well under control and the NHL season should end on Friday. Calgary will win tonight, T-Bay will win Wednesday and Calgary will wrap up the Cup (at home) on Friday.

I guess that's it until later.

Oh, did I mention Christine and I are having a baby?

Tuesday, May 25, 2004


Got a few minutes......

Computer's back up and working again. Guess I'll have to follow Jason's advice and take apart the box and check the connections.

I appreciate the feedback I've received on my George Bush post and, while I don't plan to respond to it yet, I will. I just planned to save the issues of faith-based leadership for last.

I want to spend a few minutes talking about Iraq.

It's interesting the things you learn in school. According to a fellow I met in my macroeconomics class, Desert Storm began a few months before the invasion. Apparently, the Kuwaitis had dug trenches and pipeline,with America's blessing, that diverted oil from fields that were Iraqi-owned, to Kuwait, whose leadership disputed Iraq's ownership of those fields. When Iraq complained to the U.N., they were essentially told to deal with it as they saw fit.

So, they invaded Kuwait.

I don't know how much truth there is to this story, but the fact is that the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait led to Desert Storm. Using the Powell doctrine, which dictated enormous troop presence in-theater, the coalition forces won the desert war handily, but opted not to venture into the house-to-house fighting they would likely face should they enter Baghdad.

Fast forward a decade (or so).

Following the success of the Afghanistan incursion using the Rumsfeld doctrine of fast, co-ordinated assaults emphasizing air superiority vs. ground presence, Bush decided, at the behest of some of the hawks on his team, to promote the invasion of Iraq. This time, however, he wanted to remove Hussein from power. La Resistance to Bush's grand plan immediately arose, as th public face of the argument was that Hussein a) financially supported Bin Laden and Al Qaeda (which has been proven) and b) had weapons of mass destruction at his disposal (a big difference from having the capability to produce WMD, at least in my eyes). End result, he must go as he is an enemy to all free people (excuse the heavy rhetoric).

I said to a co-worker shortly before the invasion began that the only way this turns out good is if one of two things happen:

1. They capture Hussein and have him admit guilt on all counts to a worldwide audience (halfway there on this one).
2. Have embedded press folks get shots of coalition troops standing in front of large caches of weaponized biologicals, plutonium, anything (no soup here).

Today, U.S. opinion polls say Bush is doing a poor job of handling Iraq and I agree. Despite his comments last night (and there's a LOT of focus on the destruction of Abu Ghraib versus the structure of the government July 1), Bush and his team have horribly bungled Hussein's capture as well as the post-invasion management of the country. Unfortunately, while Rummy's doctrine works on some levels (Shock and Awe was a powerful statement, as was the rapid movement of troops and supply lines with minimal casualties), it doesn't work once the opponent is backed into a corner. Bush needed to commit double the number of gorund troops in order to protect workers, deal with the small uprisings (that have now grown much larger) and give the people of Iraq a sense that they were on the way back from the very dark place they had learned to live in.

I liken it to someone who comes from an abused home. The cycle of abuse is all they know and it requires a tangible, concerted effort to deal with changing the abused person's mindset. Otherwise, they can be quite content to return to the place they came from (the devil you know vs. the one you don't). When coalition troops entered Baghdad, there were celebrations everywhere as people thought they were going to be freed from the tyranny of Hussein and the brutality of dictatorship. Instead, they have been treated to more of the same as the various Muslim factions demand supremacy at the table, terror attacks and suicide bombers remain prevalent and the lead story continues to be death and destruction nightly.

I keep thinking of Vietnam here and how Johnson and Nixon tried nation-building there, only to see it blow up in their faces.

I don't see a clean handover June 30, but they'd better make it happen. If they go past, I think Bush will see his chances for re-election dwindle down to nothing.

Next time, we go the economy.




I defer to the Technology experts in the audience:

I have had a problem with my PC that used to happen once in a while and is now getting progressively worse. During bootup, the PC hangs during its drive tests. It then states that there is no Primary master disk (my hard drive) and no primary slave (the CD burner). It still locates the Secondary master (my DVD drive). It naturally reports a DISK BOOT FAILURE and when I attempt to use the Windows XP disc to restore things, it tells me that Windows cannot locate my hard drive.

Any assistance, direction would be greatly appreciated. I don;t want to send in my PC for maintenance, since I have a sneaking suspicion I'll be told to spend a lot of money replacing hardware that is not XP-compatible (Original OS was Windows 2000).

Sunday, May 23, 2004


Shall We Have a Go?

A few days ago, I suggested that I might spend some time in BlogWorld making my case for why I don't believe Goerge W. Bush deserves a second term in office. On a quiet, rainy Sunday, I think I shall start down this path. I will be writing this up in multiple posts over the next few days and, as I venture further into my argument, I expect to spend some time rebutting arguments from others.

Let's start with 9/11, shall we?

On the heels of one of, if not the, most tragic day in modern North American history, I felt that G.W. did an outstanding job of leadership. G.W., along with Rudy Giuliani, did a marvelous job of leading a saddened, grieving, angry country through a very painful period. The effective timing of the transition from grief to action was well-handled and Bush, despite his previously unilateral stance when it came to global relations, did a yeoman's job of marshaling the world's forces to unite in the assault on Afghanistan, resulting in the rapid removal of the Taliban from power and the reduction of Bin Laden's power base.

Had the election happened in 2002, Bush would have been returned to power with quite possibly one of the largest mandates in recent memory. But something happened on the way to the ball.

Bush, in my opinion, misused his clout.

In jamming through Congress an enormous tax-relief package that did too much up high and not enough down lower in the economic food chain, Bush flushed any chance of realistically affording the new Homeland Security initiative down the toilet. As a result, future generations will be paying for this and other initiatives laid on during the last four years. Bush, like Mike Harris here in Ontario, showed the traditional short-sightedness of politicians who ride tax givebacks into office. The simple fact of the matter is this: The general public always adjusts to their taxation levels. The vast majority accept the necessity of funding the government through taxation. However, there really is no greater lure than the promise of what looks like free money. However, the backlash always comes when someone else has to ask for it back. The recent Liberal budget is an excellent example.

Bush reasoned that the tax rebate and rate reductions were necessary to recharge the economy. However, the impending recession was BUSINESS-driven, not consumer-driven, which one would assume since Bush's tax plan put money back into individual pockets, rather than corporate ones. With obscenely low interest rates, individuals were sucked into refinancing their mortgages and drawing equity out of their investments. They also continued to buy homes and cars, thanks in large part to 0% financing. They were also still spending on medium- to big-ticket items. The tax givebacks weren't driving an economic recovery, just piling on debt.

Now, he has a problem. There is a massive federal debt that wasn't there when his watch began, and it is growing. He has a huge Medicare problem that will require a mountain of money to fix (an amount that could have been handled by rescinding the tax rollback), Homeland Security is not fully functioning yet, there are new inflationary pressures (been to a gas pump lately?) and, despite some of the numbers, no REAL jump in hiring, as companies continue to gain through productivity and offshoring.

That last point is key.

You see, eventually, the powers will need to tax again. Bush is saying he wants the sunset provision removed on his stimulus package and he knows why. People will absolutely riot (not literally) when asked to go back to their old taxation levels, especially those who lost higher-paying jobs during the recession and have been unable to find equivalent opportunities since. Living on a budget is hard. When you are given back 2-3% of your income in tax savings and, a couple of yearss later, hit with a 4-5% increase in taxes because the government was short-sighted, it doesn't exactly sit well, you know?

If Bush can obscure this issue during the next 6 months and get another 4-year mandate, he can restore taxation levels (and maybe even increase them) with no worry about losing his position. The next guy that runs will get crushed, but that's not Bush's concern. To (approximately) quote James Carville: "It's the tax, stupid". If John Kerry simply starts to posit that SOMEBODY, whether a new Bush administration or a Kerry administration, will need to tax the masses to reduce the deficit, he can punch some serious holes in the Bush platform.

That's opinion one. I fully expect rebuttals, but that's the fun of this stuff. I welcome comments and thoughtful discussion.

Friday, May 21, 2004


Philly's tough

I expected to be making a bold playoff prediction today about who was going to win the Cup final between Calgary and Tampa Bay.

The Philly had to go and mess up my plans.

Y'know, before the playoffs, I really had dismissed Keith Primeau as a guy who was a veteran leader with a decent skill set. I never considered him to be the type of player who can impact a playoff series by himself. Perhaps it's because his gifts have always been obscured by other issues in Philly (Lindros and the atrocious goaltending, for example). Then I heard a commentary prior to the Toronto series that the series would be decided by the play of Primeau.


This is why I'm not paid to be a hockey analyst. Primeau was the catalyst behind the 7-2 game 5 win and focusing on him led indirectly to Roenick's game-winner in Game 6. Last night, Primeau put the Flyers on his shoulders and refused to let them lose, tying the game with a minute and change to go and then assisting on Simon Gagne's game winner. I am so impressed with Primeau's big-game skills, I'm leaning toward thinking of him in the same way I did Messier when the Rangers won it all a few years ago.

Looking at the two benches after Primeau tied the game, you could tell that Tampa wasn't coming back. They looked tired and whipped, while Philly was energized. I think that, if Philly scores first tomorrow night, it's all over.

But it should be a great game.


Thursday, May 20, 2004



They should have called this season "Loose Ends".

First, Jack avenges his wife's death by killing Nina part way through the season and then, last night, SHERRY meets her end at the hands of Milliken's wife. That puts a rather tidy bow on the whole reason for the Milliken-Palmer storyline. I was glad to see the Sherry character get bounced from the series, as the character had outlived its usefulness and needed to be done away with.

The first 10 minutes set a new gold standard for intensity, as Jack threatened to put Saunders' daughter into the hotel where the virus had been loosed. I really believed Jack would go through with it and, worse, so would Saunders, sacrificing his daughter for the sake of his "cause". Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed. INTENSE, though.

I liked the ending and we are now headed for the big finale, which will be Jack and Chase pursuing the last vial of virus through Los Angeles. I have a sneaking suspicion that the virus is at CTU in Adam's hands, as they were still waiting for the face to be revealed. Of course, it could be anybody who has the last vial, but I think it's somebody we know as there has got to be one last twist.

Final episode of CSI tonight. I missed the CSI NY debut, but will try to catch it in reruns this summer.

On a final note, I see that Paramount is really moving up the timetable in getting TV series out on DVD. According to TV Shows on DVD, CSI Season 4 and CSI:Miami Season 2 (the seasons currently wrapping up on CBS), will be out in August and September of this year, before the new seasons start. I have a sneaking suspicion this will become the rule rather than the exception as the TV business model changes. The old model looked something like this:

* Run the season on its home network
* Repeat it during the summer (usually out of sequence)
* Run as filler during off weeks the following season
* Release it for syndication starting in year 3 and continue until nobody wants it anymore.

The plan still works for sitcoms (Raymond, Frasier, Friends, for example), but is not near as successful for dramas and action shows, which lose a significant number of viewers after the first run. I suspect this is due to the fact that, like re-reading a mystery novel, it's just not as compelling to many the scond time around. I think dramas will follow this model:

* Run the season on its home network
* Release it in the summer on DVD, if it is successful
* If it's moderately successful, skip the DVD releases until after the show ends

Being an owner of 24, the West Wing and CSI on DVD, I much prefer watching the show in the original sequence, commercial free. I find that the continuing storylines and character development flow much better. Dramas, as a rule, require a serious weekly commitment not needed by sitcoms, since things happen to characters over the course of the season that, while not major plot points, are important in an episode-to-episode way that can be a bit jarring to the casual viewer.

Well, that's enough of that. Back tomorrow with hockey.



So they're the Fiberals now.

I read the Toronto Star's coverage of the first Ontario Liberal budget with great interest, since I pretty much knew they couldn't keep two key election promises, which were mutually exclusive:

1. Not raise taxes
2. Improve health care and education

Thinking that they would raise enough money through "streamlining" government (read: selling off assets) was pure fantasy. I went into this budget expecting promise one to get broken, and I was not disappointed.

So why are so many others?

When will everyone figure it out.....50% of politicians are born liars and the other 50% are convicted ones. Maybe I'm just overly cynical, but I have yet to meet an honest politician. When we are in an election cycle, each party posits a platform 180 degrees away from their opponent. Conservatives say they will have to raise taxes and slash spending, Liberals will say they'll hold on taxes and raise spending (which defies basic economics, but that's one for later). The NDP winds up somewhere in the vicinity of a mash of those two promises. Canadian political parties (and, to a degree, the American ones as well) have drifted so far from their "traditional" platforms, they have reached the point where they will say whatever they have to in order to get elected and then hold on for dear life as they move in a completely opposite direction from their platform once they arrive.

There was absolutely NO WAY that McGuinty could make his platform work, especially once the debt levels were finally presented. If he was a man of integrity, he would have come out then and said that he was sorry, but the government was going to have to raise funds to manage the deficit, since the health care and education systems' needs far outweighed keeping taxes down. If he had done that, Finance Minister Sorbara could have delivered his "bad news" budget and gotten a much better spin on it, since he could point to the fact that he did not have to resort to an across-the-board income tax hike. I am also annoyed by the fact that the Liberals are rewriting their own legislation to avoid the required referendum to raise taxes and they are only taking a $9,000/year pay cut for breaking their word, as shown in the excerpt below:

Cabinet members will each take a $9,000 pay cut this year as a penalty for breaking the Balanced Budget Act that the Liberals voted for while in opposition.

The government says it will then repeal the act and replace it with a bill that subjects the province's books to an independent audit six months before the next election.

The combined pay cut of about $200,000 will be applied to the deficit for this year, Sorbara said, adding that the Liberals will not submit the planned health tax hike to a referendum as dictated by the Taxpayer Protection Act.

Sorbara said the Liberals will instead amend the balanced budget act with an eye to replacing it entirely.

Read the whole article here.

Now, I am a bedrock conservative, but I applaud the Liberals for what they did with this budget. Personally, I have no problem paying for eye tests and throwing more money into supporting the health care system. I also support rebuilding the education system, particularly our public schools, which are rapidly becoming frightening places. Harris' approach (slashing spending and taxes) works to a degree, but if it ever gets even slightly mismanaged, you end up in a hole like Ontario is now (long waiting lists for critical care, shoddy schools with oversized classes, huge deficits, etc.). I just wish they had been more upfront about it and sent McGuinty out to do damage control beforehand.

I have a sneaking suspicion that this will not be easy for the Liberals to live down and Sorbara has said as much. That would be a shame for a government that has inherited such a mess and is just doing their best to clean it up.

As for Ernie Eves, whose only comment was "Zap, you're taxed" should keep your mouth shut, since you're the one who got us into this mess.

More later, as I will do a 24 post and maybe even start down the road of why I think George W. Bush should not receive a second term in the White House and how he can change my mind, which should make for interesting conversation with Austin


Saturday, May 15, 2004


.....and now, a post

Allow me to start by telling you all that Christine has gone away shopping for the weekend to Frankenmuth, Michigan. I miss her.

Almost a week later, here's the answers to the last list of movie trivia:

Kathy Bates, Mary Louise Parker, Mary Stuart Masterson, Jessica Tandy - Fried Green Tomatoes
Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda, Katharine Hepburn, Doug McClure - On Golden Pond
Michael Keaton, Nicole Kidman, Bradley Whitford, Queen Latifah - My Life (SOB!!!!!!!!!)
Angela Bassett, Whitney Houston, Lela Rochon, Gregory Hines - Waiting To Exhale
Demi Moore, Rosie O'Donnell, Christina Ricci, Thora Birch - Now and Then
Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane (EASY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) - Titanic
Johnny Depp, Moarlon Brando, Faye Dunaway, Rachel Ticotin - Don Juan DiMarco
Richard Gere, Winona Ryder, Anthony LaPaglia, Sherry Stringfield - Autumn in New York
Albert Brooks, Debbie Reynolds, Rob Morrow, Lisa Kudrow - Mother
Diane Keaton, Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, Maggie Smith - First Wives' Club

9 for Amy. Tanya came through with My Life to make it 10. By the way, Tanya, Queen Latifah plays Michael Keaton's live-in nurse, I believe. Also, I can say with complete honesty that My Life makes me cry like no other movie. Now, at the risk of my masculinity, other films that turn on the faucets:

The Abyss (Mary Mastrantonio's return to life after drowning, the whole sequence with Ed Harris at the bottom of the ocean)
A League of Their Own (pretty much the last 45 minutes)
Each of the first three Rocky films
Field of Dreams (the ending when Costner plays catch with his Dad)

I think that's enough. Anyone else out there willing to admit they've been brought to tears by a movie and why?

I watched 24 this week and was riveted for the full hour. I was surprised that they captured Saunders so quickly. I'm very curious now to see what will drive the final two hours. I suspect it will be Jack running all over L.A. looking for the virus. I was glad to see Michelle survive, but Tony really wussed out. Jack did EXACTLY what he was supposed to do, stopping Michelle's escape so that Saunders would be drawn out. See, this is where Tony's forgetting something......Michelle is not only his wife, she's a CTU agent who may have to go into the field. Once there, she is at risk. When Kim was sent in to be a stand-in for Saunders' daughter, Jack was upset at first, but eventually accepted the fact that his daughter was going out into danger and made sure that he did a good job of protecting her. Jack's the MAN, Tony wishes he could be. Stay in the shop, Tony, you're more effective there.

Another classy performance by Chloe, too, as she tries to bust up Kim and Chase's relationship. I have a distinct feeling that the baby that showed up about 10 hours ago is really hers and Chase's and we'll see that come to light in the final two episodes. Hopefully, someone will make my season and put duct tape over Chloe's mouth for a few minutes in the final two episodes.

Sadly, my shows are wrapping up now. Two more weeks of 24, one more of CSI and I'm going to check CSI:Miami in a couple of weeks. Their finale will introduce the CSI:New York cast, which I am particularly stoked about, since Gary Sinise will be the lead. Watched the final ep of Frasier, which was the second best series finale ever (behind M*A*S*H, whose finale had me weeping for the last 40 minutes). Frasier's finale was exactly like the best episodes of the show - laugh-out-loud funny at times, quietly touching at others, and hardly ever overbearing. The clip show, however, had a brilliant sequence from an ep I've never seen. Apparently, Frasier and Niles owned a restaurant in one episode. There is some brilliantly funny stuff involving Frasier, Niles, Daphne and an eel that is capped with a huge cloud of smoke coming through the kitchen doors from the restaurant.

Frasier (in his deepest voice): "What was that?"
Enter Roz, hair all over the place, covered in cherries and sauce, holding a match:
"Cherries everywhere".

It was the funniest bit and Christine and I were killing ourselves howling. Farewell, Cranes, you will be missed.

OK, that's enough. I'm on course for three days starting Monday, have a job interview tucked in there somewhere, and probably won't be back until Thursday. To tide you over, here's another cast list:

Harrison Ford, Sela Ward, Jeroen Krabbe, Joe Pantoliano
John Ritter, Christopher Reeve, Carol Burnett, Michael Caine
Bruce Willis, Sarah-Jessica Parker, Dennis Farina, Tom Sizemore
John Travolta, Danny DeVito, Rene Russo, Gene Hackman
Pierce Brosnan, Rene Russo, Denis Leary
Robert DeNiro, Sean Bean, Jean Reno, Natasha McElhone
Denis Leary, Kevin Spacey, Judy Davis
Harrison Ford, Bonnie Bedelia, Greta Scacchi, Raul Julia
Robert DeNiro, Val Kilmer, Tom Sizemore, Diane Venora
Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner, Cindy Morgan

Pretty easy list. See you tomorrow, if you're at Philpott.


OK, now a profile.

Should be a link to a profile on the left. The pic, by the way, if of CSI's William Petersen, who plays the smartest man on television, Gil Grissom.


OK, we're getting there

I'm fooling around with Photo Bucket, which is a free service for storing photos online. First time I tried to upload, it screwed up my sidebar, pushing it down to the bottom, which was REALLY annoying. So, let's try again, shall we?

This is my 3-year old son, Aidan.

Friday, May 14, 2004


Under Reconstruction

I'm going to spend the weekend playing with Blogger's new features. First, a new template. You like?

Saturday, May 08, 2004


Happy Mother's Day!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gotta do it now, because I'm taking tomorrow off from being on the computer as a gift to Christine.

In honor of Mom's Day, today's list is all casts from chick flicks:

Kathy Bates, Mary Louise Parker, Mary Stuart Masterson, Jessica Tandy
Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda, Katharine Hepburn, Doug McClure
Michael Keaton, Nicole Kidman, Bradley Whitford, Queen Latifah
Angela Bassett, Whitney Houston, Lela Rochon, Gregory Hines
Demi Moore, Rosie O'Donnell, Christina Ricci, Thora Birch
Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane (EASY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Johnny Depp, Moarlon Brando, Faye Dunaway, Rachel Ticotin
Richard Gere, Winona Ryder, Anthony LaPaglia, Sherry Stringfield
Albert Brooks, Debbie Reynolds, Rob Morrow, Lisa Kudrow
Diane Keaton, Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, Maggie Smith

Have fun!

Christine had a Tupperware party last night that was a big success. These things are actually pretty cool. They played games, made some pretty decent food (a couple of cakes, chip dip, etc.) and, of course, spenta lot of money. Anybody out there who's married who DOESN'T have a full cupboard of Tupperware, stand up and be counted. You are a truly rare breed.

Anyways, not much else to say that can't be written in a short sentence, so I'll go now. Before I do, though, here's Thursday's answers:

Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt, Ian Holm - Alien
Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Amy Madigan - Field of Dreams
Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jude Law, Xander Berkeley - Gattaca
Robin Williams, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Daniel London, Monica Potter - Patch Adams
Raul Julia, Anjelica Huston, Christopher Lloyd, Dan Hedaya - The Addams Family
Christopher Walken, Natalie Wood, Louise Fletcher, Cliff Robertson - Brainstorm
Jane Fonda, Kris Kristofferson, Hume Cronyn, Josef Sommer - Rollover
Matthew Broderick, Ally Sheedy, Dabney Coleman, John Wood - WarGames
Billy Crystal, Gregory Hines, Jimmy Smits, Joe Pantoliano - Running Scared
William Petersen, John Pankow, Darlanne Fluegel, Willem Dafoe - To Live and Die in L.A.

As I said, first 5 easy. Last 5, not so. Amy got 7, so good for her.


Thursday, May 06, 2004


Yesterday's Answers

Only 8 for Austin. Amy figured out the other two:

Richard Dreyfuss, Melinda Dillon, Teri Garr, Francois Truffaut - Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Mickey Rourke, Don Johnson, Daniel Baldwin, Chelsea Field - Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man
Jean Claude Van Damme, Bruce McGill, Ron Silver, Mia Sara - Time Cop
Jeff Bridges, Beau Bridges, Michelle Pfeiffer - Fabulous Baker Boys
Kathleen Turner, Dennis Quaid, Stanley Tucci, Larry Miller - Undercover Blues (a guilty pleasure of mine)
Stanley Tucci, Tony Shalhoub, Minnie Driver, Liev Schreiber - Big Night
Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Babe Ruth, Teresa Wright - Pride of the Yankees
Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes, Andre Braugher - Glory
Sam J. Jones, Max Von Sydow, Timothy Dalton, Topol - Flash Gordon
Mike Myers, John Lithgow, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy - Shrek

Before I dredge up 10 more, I have to make my weekly comment on 24. I recall saying to Austin earlier this year that I considered the Tony Almeida character to be the moral centre of the show. Little did I know he'd be the biggest jellyfish, as he's on the verge of removing any chance of CTU catching up to Saunders. Almeida, in all fairness, is doing what probably any of us would do if a spouse or child was in mortal danger. Namely, doing whatever he's asked to do in order to protect them.

Too bad his job says he can't act that way.

When the bad guys kidnapped Jack's wife and daughter in season 1, he did everything he could to foil the bad guys while keeping his family alive. However, I had no doubt that Jack would do whatever was necessary for his family. Tony is doing NOTHING to foil the bad guys and I don't get why he just didn't tell Jack what had happened. Nonetheless, everyone figured it out at the end and we should get one humdinger of an episode next week as Jack gives chase to track down Tony and Saunders' daughter. Some other loose ends are closing, too, as Sherry's treachery reaches new lows.

Man, do I dislike Chloe, though. Last week, she found out that Adam's sister had been infected with the virus. So this week, she needs to talk Adam, who is on the phone with her sister. After hovering over him for a minute, she barges in as follows:

Chloe: "Adam, I really need to talk to you"
Adam: "Give me a minute"
Chloe: "No, I need to talk to you now"
Adam: "I'm on the phone with my sister"

Wait for it.............

Chloe: "The one who's gonna die?"

If I'm Adam, I bust her in the mouth right there.

Anyways, good ep all around.

Here's today's movie list. Happy thinking:

Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt, Ian Holm
Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Amy Madigan
Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jude Law, Xander Berkeley
Robin Williams, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Daniel London, Monica Potter
Raul Julia, Anjelica Huston, Christopher Lloyd, Dan Hedaya
Christopher Walken, Natalie Wood, Louise Fletcher, Cliff Robertson
Jane Fonda, Kris Kristofferson, Hume Cronyn, Josef Sommer
Matthew Broderick, Ally Sheedy, Dabney Coleman, John Wood
Billy Crystal, Gregory Hines, Jimmy Smits, Joe Pantoliano
William Petersen, John Pankow, Darlanne Fluegel, Willem Dafoe

The last 5 should be a little challenging. The first 5, not so much.


Wednesday, May 05, 2004


Today's Movie List

Real quick, here's today's list:

Richard Dreyfuss, Melinda Dillon, Teri Garr, Francois Truffaut
Mickey Rourke, Don Johnson, Daniel Baldwin, Chelsea Field
Jean Claude Van Damme, Bruce McGill, Ron Silver, Mia Sara
Jeff Bridges, Beau Bridges, Michelle Pfeiffer
Kathleen Turner, Dennis Quaid, Stanley Tucci, Larry Miller
Stanley Tucci, Tony Shalhoub, Minnie Driver, Liev Schreiber
Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Babe Ruth, Teresa Wright
Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes, Andre Braugher
Sam J. Jones, Max Von Sydow, Timothy Dalton, Topol
Mike Myers, John Lithgow, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy


Oh, well....................

Looks like I better get out to the road side so I can jump on the Calgary bandwagon when it rolls by.

After these playoffs, I think it's time for the Leafs to make some changes. It's obvious after the last few years that this particular group of players is good enough to make the playoffs, but is missing a few elements to be able to challenge for the Cup. Hopefully John Ferguson will see this and go about making the changes necessary to rebuild this team into a serious Cup contender. Here's hoping we'll be ready to rumble within 3 years.

Onto better stuff......

I just finished reading "Glorious Appearing", the final book in the Left Behind series. Now, the Left Behind series, which is a fictionalized interpretation of the Book of Revelations (as well as a great deal of Old Testament prophesy), will have different impacts on different people. Some will see it just as fiction and all the Scriptural references (particularly in Glorious Appearing, which is about 50% Scripture) will sail right on past them. Others, like myself, will be enormously impacted by the spiritual aspect of the series (personal conversions, wrath of God, judgments and the power of what God can do in the lives of those who let Him lead the way). Others will just have huge issues with the pre-millennialism, the focus on Christianity being "the" religion or the simple fact that the standard worldview is, according to the authors' interpretations, just plain wrong.

Having said all that, I list this series of books among the things that have had the greatest impact on me spiritually. Each book has usually found its way to my hands at a time where my walk with God was either struggling or (as in the case of GA), in the stages of renewal. Reading Glorious Appearing and Purpose-Driven Life concurrently has renewed my desire to seek a closer relationship with God and serve Him more effectively. As frequent visitors are aware, this renewal has been going on almost continuously since Good Friday and I am excited to see where God is leading me.

If you have not yet read any of the Left Behind series, I urge you to give it a try. I found the books to be very fast reads and will make you laugh, cry and, at times, leave you breathless. I believe all of the books (except GA), can be borrowed at the Philpott Library. They are also available through the Hamilton Public Library.

Gotta boogie. Duty calls.



Hello, Class of 1984 and 1985

Those of you looking for the link to the map for the 20th Anniversary Delta mini-reunion can look under "secular web links" on the right, or click here:

Dimaggio's Restaurant

See you on September 25th!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 04, 2004


Today's post is brought to you by the letter C and the number 12

First, the last movie list:

Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Jackie Chan, Roger Moore - Cannonball Run
Richard Dreyfuss, Olympia Dukakis, William H. Macy, Glenne Headley, Jay Thomas - Mr. Holland's Opus
Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Jane Alexander, Justin Henry - Kramer vs. Kramer
Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote - E.T.
Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Gary Busey - Lethal Weapon 1
Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson - Die Hard (NOT Die Hard 3, which does not feature either Bedelia or VelJohnson, I believe).
Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, Tom Skerritt, Michael Ironside, Kelly McGillis - Top Gun
Elijah Wood, Morgan Freeman, Tea Leoni - Deep Impact
Nicolas Cage, Danny Aiello, Cher, Olympia Dukakis - Moonstruck
Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Bill Paxton, Kathleen Quinlan - Apollo 13

Austin gets 9.5, and will get a full 10 if he supports his comment that the Die Hard cast listed is in both Die Hard 1 and 3. Amy claimed she could get 7, but I'll leave it to her to prove herself on this list:

Meryl Streep, Joseph Mazzarino, David Straithairn, Kevin Bacon
Henry Fonda, Martin Balsam, E.G. Wallace, Jack Warden
Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, Robert Duvall, Alice Ghostley (IMDb helped here)
Roger Moore, Richard Kiel, Lois Chiles, Michael Lonsdale (IMDb again)
John Cleese, Kevin Kline, Michael Palin, Jamie Lee Curtis (today's gimme)
Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, Martin Sheen, Michael J. Fox (gimme #2)
John Cusack, Annette Bening, Anjelica Huston
Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna, Garry Marshall
Dustin Hoffman, Bill Murray, Geena Davis, Dabney Coleman
Robin Williams, Glenn Close, John Lithgow, Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy

And off you go.

BIG ups to Calgary and their stunning upset of Detroit. They are playing so well and I've got Kiprusoff in one of my pools, so I'm looking slightly geniusy. I wish the Leafs played with half the heart the Flames do. They are missing 5 regulars and continue to play well as a team, with everybody knowing their roles and sticking to them. The rest will help too, since I expect Colorado-San Jose to go the full 7.

Good luck tonight, boys in blue. A win tonight goes a long way to restoring my faith in you.

Well, I think that's it for now. Have y'self a good one.

Monday, May 03, 2004


Well, THAT was ugly............

7-2 Philly? In game 5 of a playoff series? Oh, my.

There's not much more I can say about this one. I'll be watching tomorrow night, but I fear that my hockey-watching for this year may be about to come to an end. Even if they win (a dubious possibility) tomorrow night, what are the odds they put it together and win Game 7 in Philly Thursday? Remember last year? I do.

Now, I actually have something important to write about today, so I'll save the movie list for later. Suffice to say, Austin got 'em all and has laud down the gauntlet for me to come up with some REALLY challenging cast lists, which I'm confident I can do. I will state, however, that some movies will require me going to IMDb or Amazon to get supporting cast members.

Al Baker has written a powerful post regarding his family that you should go read. While my circumstances growing up were very different, I will say that death in the family can be a transforming experience, especially if another person doesn't get to say what needs to be said beforehand.

Case in point:

My mother died in 1979, when I was 12, leaving my dad with four kids (I was the oldest and my youngest brother, Mike, was 2). None of us really had a chance to say goodbye to Mom, who had been sick for a few months and, to this day, I still miss her. My dad made a very difficult decision not to have us kids attend the funeral, which I had a really hard time with and, while I won't go into the specifics, I carried a lot of bitterness for a lot of years.

Fast forward 7 years.

In 1986, I had dropped out of University and made the decision to go to work full-time, landing a data-entry job at Dofasco. Shortly after starting, Dad announced that it was time I moved out. My relationship with Dad and my stepmother (Patti) had become very strained by that point and I was ready to leave. I found an apartment downtown, moved most of my stuff by bus and cab and actually started staying in the apartment the day I got the keys (a few days before I was supposed to officially move). Dad loaded up a few of the big things in his car on moving day and helped me move those things. After he left that day, I barely spoke to my parents for close to three months. I found out later that my Dad was so excited about me stepping out on my own, that it crushed him that I didn't wait for the actual day I was supposed to move because he was looking forward to sharing that day with me.


Now, in the intervening years, I moved once a year, and I don't think my Dad saw any of my apartments. I made occasional visits to the old homestead, but really wasn't too close. Now, in 1991, I saw the writing on the wall at Dofasco and was headed toward layoffs in the next few years. I began to give some serious thought to returning to school, but couldn't afford to stay out on my own without a full-time job. After a few days of serious thinking, I called my Dad and explained what I wanted to do and asked if he would take me back into the house. No discussion, he just said yes. Dad renovated the basement, creating an apartment for me and giving me my own separate entrance. I stayed until I started working co-op terms and, by then, we had had about enough of one another again. By this time, my parents had accepted Christ as their Saviour. I had not, which made things a bit difficult, as they were having a hard time with my hard-charging, party-all-the-time lifestyle.

January 1995. The first Sunday in January, I make my first voluntary visit to Philpott to attend a Sunday service. In February, I pray the sinner's prayer for the first time and follow it with a tearful phone call to my parents, telling them what I did and apologizing for everything. In July I accepted Christ as my Saviour and then made a public statement of faith during a David Meece concert October 3 (my second date with Christine). I was baptized in February 1996. My Dad and I had begun to really repair our relationship, and then......


October, 1996. Men's Retreat at the Guelph Bible Conference Centre. Dad and I shared a room for the weekend and he told me the reason for all his hospital visits over the past few months: bladder cancer. The prognosis was not good, but he was preparing for a tough fight and trusted that God had a plan and he was prepared for whatever that plan would be.


May, 1997. Promise Keepers Conference in Buffalo. Dad and I went together. He was really sick by this point, but wouldn't skip. Among the speakers, Gary Rosberg had a particularly huge impact on us. After Rosberg's message, Dad and I hugged and told each other how sorry we were. This led to a huge conversation on the trip home where we both laid bare our feelings on a lot of things. Later that year, we had another big fight over something I cannot remember and, the following Sunday, Triumphant Sound sang "Lift Up The Cross" for the first time. Dad sat in the front row listening and, after the service, I went to him and the two of us sat together in the front row, crying uncontrollably (at least I was, Dad would shed tears, but always remained in control).

That was the last Sunday he was in Church.

Dad passed away on January 1, 1998. Looking back, I wouldn't trade my experiences with Dad in the last few years of his life for anything. I do wish he had been here for my wedding, my graduation for my MBA and, above all, the birth of Aidan. I know he was experiencing those events, through God's grace, but I missed him (and my Mom) dearly at all of those events.

The point is this. We only have one Mom and one Dad (and one family). We shouldn't wait until the end to try to make contact. Al, I hope your Mom makes contact with her sister and restores the relationship there. Lane talks a lot about keeping short accounts and, goodness knows, forgiveness can be a difficult thing. Dad forgave me and I him and I'm thankful to God that He placed that forgiving spirit in our hearts.

Al, I will be praying for you. Anytime you want to talk, you know where I am.


Saturday, May 01, 2004


Lots on my mind

Let me start by suggesting you pay a visit to Amy's blog and read her most recent post. She hits it right on the head (no pun intended) when it comes to being a parent. I have yet to experience a real traumatic moment since Aidan came home from the hospital (perhaps that counts as enough trauma until his 12th birthday), but Christine has had a few with him. As painful and difficult as those moments can be, I would gladly experience them again and again if it means I get to watch my son grow up. The idea of going back to being childless is occasionally novel (i.e. when I'm into the 7th consecutive hour of Treehouse TV), but I assure you that the novelty lasts seconds, until he looks at me and gives me one of his smiles.

Next, good on the Leafs, winning 3-1 yesterday to even the series. Best-of-3 now and I like our chances. Looking forward to tomorrow's game, although I'll probably miss the first period. We need some family time and are going out after Church tomorrow for the afternoon.

Tough loss for the Wings today (sorry, Mike). Scary moment for Stevie Y, too (one of the few Wings I actually like). A puck (or anything else) in the eye is a scary thing and seeing Yzerman go down like that kinda reminded me of the Berard incident a few years ago when Hossa clipped him. Hope he'll be OK.

BIG to-do here in Hamilton around one of the Bulldog players getting a little stupid with his stick. In their playoff game last night, this guy (Alexander Perezhogin) got tangled up with an opposing player, Garrett Stafford, and the two wound up in a pile on the ice in front of the Cleveland Barons' goal. Stafford swung his stick at Perezhogin and grazed his back and helmet. Perezhogin then swung his stick and knocked Stafford square in the face, busting him open, giving him a concussion and sending him into convulsions. Perezhogin's suspended indefinitely (good), Hamilton cops are investigating (better) and Stafford's going to recover (best).

Here's where it gets REALLY stupid.

The Barons' coach is interviewed after the game and the sound bite they get from this guy is that Perezhogin (considered the 2nd best prospect in the AHL) should be banned from playing IN NORTH AMERICA. He, of course, conveniently forgets that his own guy swung first. Had Stafford landed his shot, we'd be looking at this from a totally different perspective today. I personally think both of them should be suspended for the balance of the playoffs and, since Perezhogin's shot was the more damaging of the two, suspend him for the first 5 games of next season, regardless of the level he's at (AHL or NHL). We'll see what happens. More as it unfolds. Here's a link to the full story.

Good news in the family yesterday. From The Spec:

MATSELL (nee Benallick) - Lynne, Pete and big brother Thomas are excited to announce the arrival of Dawson Peter, 8 lbs., on April 20, 2004. A sixth grandchild for Marg and Duff Benallick and fourth grandchild for Brian Matsell. A new cousin for Lauren, David, Mackenzie, Emily, Cassie and Spencer. Thank you to Drs. Pyper and Loopstra, Nurse Laurie, MUMC L&D and especially Daddy.

Those not in the know, Lynne's my cousin.

Finally, a new game today. I'll provide the cast, you tell me the movie.

Example: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing
Answer: Star Wars Episode 4 (A New Hope) - Cushing, who played Grand Moff Tarkin, is the tip.

Ready? Here goes:

Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Jackie Chan, Roger Moore
Richard Dreyfuss, Olympia Dukakis, William H. Macy, Glenne Headley, Jay Thomas
Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Jane Alexander, Justin Henry
Henry Thomas, Drew Barrymore, Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote
Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Gary Busey
Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson
Tom Cruise, Val Kilmer, Tom Skerritt, Michael Ironside, Kelly McGillis
Elijah Wood, Morgan Freeman, Tea Leoni
Nicolas Cage, Danny Aiello, Cher, Olympia Dukakis
Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise, Bill Paxton, Kathleen Quinlan

Good luck. Answers on Monday.

GO LEAFS GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Delta Secondary School Reunion

Thanks for coming to visit, former Delta-ites. Your link to a map to Dimaggio's and the address of the restaurant is right here:

Dimaggio's Restaurant.

See you September 25