Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The things I do for the kids.

This afternoon I did a demo for one of my classes which involved heating up solid sulphur over a Bunsen burner until it started to burn in air, then immersed it into a pure oxygen environment to generate sulphur dioxide. Then, when you add a little water, the sulphur dioxide reacts with it to form sulphurous acid; if you add a little bromthymol blue it turns yellow, to show it is, in fact, an acid:

1. S(s) ----> S(L)

2. S(L) + O2 (g) ----> SO2 (g)

3. SO2 (g) + H2O(L) ----> H2SO3 (aq)

Have you ever smelled sulphur dioxide? ("Rotten egg" gas is hydrogen sulphide, H2S(g), which is close, but no cigar.) Sulphur dioxide stings and burns, and smells really quite awful. It gets in your nose and throat, and even if you use the fume hood (which I did) to take away as much of it as you can, it seems to linger for a while.

Long story short, it's after 10 p.m. and I can still smell/taste SO2.

I love/hate my job.

Monday, October 30, 2006

I friggin' love this country.

I caught a bit of The Hour tonight — George, will you be my friend? Please? We'll have tzatziki when we hang out, I promise — and there was a little clip from tomorrow night's Rick Mercer Report to act as a "teaser" to get you to "watch."

It seems as if Rick, no friend of Conservative governments here or abroad, spent a night at 24 Sussex Drive. (For those of you not familiar with the intricacies of Canadian politics, that's the Prime Minister's residence.) Now, Stephen Harper can't be much of a fan of Rick Mercer, to be sure... but ol' Steve agreed to be in the bit and ham it up for the cameras: among other things, the clip showed Rick with Steve's two school-age kids playing floor-hockey in the foyer of 24 Sussex, and Steve coming down the stairs shouting, "Hey, you kids, keep it down! I'm trying to work!"

This is great comedy, for sure, and I'll be watching (or taping, as I despise commercials). But, consider an analogue for this situation south of the border: "conservative head of government lets unabashedly liberal comedian into his home for a bit on a fake news show." It's not hard to envision how a conversation between Dubya's people and Jon Stewart would go...

* * * * * * *

Jon Stewart: "Hey, could we come in to the White House and goof around and tape stuff for our show?"

Dubya's Hired Goon: "Why do you love terrorism?"

JS: "Hey, c'mon, it's comedy. We're just messing around, having a laugh. Surely that can't be a terrorist threat!"

DHG: "So, you would rather have Saddam back in power, would you?"

JS: "Aw, screw it, we'll just have Fareed Zakaria on again, if it fits his schedule."

DHG: "We don't believe in making schedules or timetables. We will fight to win in Iraq!"

* * * * * * *

Yeah, I doubt that'd ever get off the drawing board. But, up here, that's just your average Tuesday-night political satire.

God damn I love Canada.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The aftermath.

The Saga of the Hallowe'en Outing is a long and stupid one, but it ultimately turned out alright. Click here to read all the gory details.

* * * * * * *

Chapter One: Richmond Street Raindrops

I'm a punctual guy, and can't stand it when other people are late. Thus, I was exceedingly irritated when the rest of the crew didn't show at the time my friend told me they'd be there, forcing me to stand in front of this stupid club with those stupid people for fifteen stupid minutes in the stupid rain and the stupid cold. Eventually I wandered down to the Paramount and called up my friend, and she said they were going to be about 15 minutes yet.

"This is going to be a stupid night," I ascertained.

* * * * * * *

Chapter Two: Indecision and Indolence

Eventually the gang showed up; I didn't even recognize my friend, as she was wearing facepaint and a purple wig. We started aimlessly wandering down Richmond; later I found out they were looking for the club outside which I had waited like a moron in the rain, but it was a long way down the street. So we stood there in the rain, six of us, like a bunch of costumed nincompoops, holding our dicks and trying to figure out where to go.

I hate it when people don't know what they're doing. "Oh, well, did you want to go there?" "I don't know, how about you?" "I'm not sure, what do you want to do?" "Do you want to go to that place?" JESUSAITCHCHRIST, make a decision!

Fortunately, my friend put her foot down and suggested this place on Queen near Dufferin. "The music is great there," she pleaded. One of the crew went back to the aforementioned club to meet up with her other friends, whilst in a pissy mood. "Good riddance," I mused.

* * * * * * *

Chapter Three: The Odyssey

Since it was a Saturday night and everyone was out, Queen Street was a goddamn traffic nightmare. We eventually hailed a cab, and that driver was something else... we actually drove two blocks down a back-alley to avoid the gridlock. On the way, one of the crew — a co-worker of my friend's — zonked right out, as she'd had quite a bit to drink already. When we eventually got to the bar, "Stones Place," I was in a foul, foul mood, and was none too enthused about having to pay a cover.

The music playing as we opened the door, however, indicated this was no normal bar.

* * * * * * *

Chapter Four: Adventures in Alcohol

It's not often that a bar filled with twentysomethings plays "What'd I Say" by Ray Charles, and then follows it up with "Whole Lotta Love" by Led Zeppelin, but that's exactly what came over the speakers as we entered, paid, and got settled-in. The dance floor was full, the people were singing along, and I bought a double-rye-and-coke-in-a-short-glass for seven dollars. (I figured with the late start I had to catch up quickly, and there's no better way to do that than with doubles of liquor.)

Unfortunately, the girl who'd already had too much booze was in the bathroom, with my friend helping her out. Long story short, she slept on a couch in the back of the bar for two hours... but the whole back of the bar is couches and comfy chairs and coffee tables, which totally rules. So, the rest of us sat around and drank some more, babysitting our fallen comrade but also having a good time. (She eventually did wake up and was feeling great, to our astonishment.)

* * * * * * *

Chapter Five: Confessions on a Dance Floor*

You'll kindly note that, in my previous writing installment, I said that I didn't dance. This is because music in clubs designed to make people dance sucks some pretty giant balls. However, if you play "I Can't Explain" by The Who and get a few drinks in me, I will obviously shimmy and shake like nobody's business. This was, however, the first time such a confluence of events has occurred in my life, so hey, fuckit, let's dance.

After a while we decided to high-tail it out of there... even after setting the clock back, it was still pretty late. My friend knew someone who lived in the area and was having a little get-together, so we hoofed it over in the cold drizzle and played some foosball and watched some South Park.

* * * * * * *

Chapter Six: The Odyssey, Part Two

We were all getting a little dozey, so a couple of us decided to take off. We then found out, first-hand, that there must be many more all-night Queen Street streetcars going out of downtown rather than back in, as three passed us going the other way as we stood in the shelter, shivering our costumed butts off and got repeatedly interrogated by the security guard from the building in front of which we were standing about if we'd seen who spray-painted some graffiti on some weird-looking round thing nearby. (We didn't.) So, one streetcar and one Yonge bus later, we all piled-out at Davisville and took cabs to get to where we were eventually going.

My cab smelled a little.

* * * * * * *

Wow, that was long and stupid, and I guess the moral of the story is that (a.) people suck, but (b.) I will be going to Stones Place again in the future.

* I did not know the title of this Madonna album; a certain ECB helped me out with it. (Thelena.)

Saturday, October 28, 2006


There are a lot of things I don't stand for in this world:
One thing you can definitely add to my list is flakiness. Allow me to explain.

It's currently about 9:20 in the evening on a Saturday. A friend of mine said a few days ago, "Hey, there's going to be a house party this Saturday night at a buddy's place, and there might be a keg; you should come out." There are two things that are music to my ears in this statement:

1. House Party
I generally dislike going out to non-pub-like bars and clubs. If I'm going to get blasted, give me a seat at a booth, three other pals, pitchers and pint-glasses. I hate bars and clubs that are dance-y, because (a.) I don't dance* and (b.) the music they play to get people to dance makes me want to not-so-surgically remove my eardrums. House parties are great, because the person in charge of the music doesn't have "get people on the dancefloor" foremost in their mind; maybe they just want to provide people with a nice background vibe to which to chill. Also, I tend to "work my magic"** much more successfully in a house-party setting, where my subtle wit and natural charm don't have to be screamed directly into the ear of the other participant in the conversation, as is the case in a loud-ass club:


You can see how my attempt at icebreaking humour might fall on (nearly) deaf ears.

2. Keg
This one explains itself.

I called up my friend today and asked what the deal was with the plans. Apparently "house party with a keg" turned into "we're meeting at a bar near Richmond and John," which is the CLUB DISTRICT, and I do NOT ENJOY GOING TO PLACES OF THIS NATURE. She said she'd call me back when plans firmed-up a little more about an hour later. (Weren't plans already firm, with the house and the keg?)

An hour and a half later, I called up my friend; someone else answered and said, "Oh, um, she's busy at the moment, I'll have her call you back." A good 40 minutes after that, I got a call back — this was getting close to 9:00 — "Yeah, I just got to my friend's place, we're going to eat dinner and get our costumes put together, so I'll call you back in an hour and a half."



I'm certainly not the type of person who wants to go to an empty bar at 8:00 and stand around forever, waiting for a crowd to show up. (Who is?) But Hallowe'en is always a busy-ass bar night, and showing up someplace at 11:30, do you think we'd actually be able to get in? Not without having to wait in a stupid lineup in the stupid rain, and I hate having to wait in a lineup to get in a bar where I pay them for booze. Shit, if they were handing out free booze, I could see why I'd want to stand in a line. But this club will probably have a hefty cover, and will probably have expensive-ass drinks and will probably provide shitty bar service, and will probably be playing music to which I probably don't want to listen.

Ergo, I'm seriously considering staying in tonight and not bothering. It's a pain in the ass to get to that part of downtown when you can't just drive-and-park, and I can't stand the types of people who normally go to that part of town (I walked through there a couple of months ago on a Friday night and, as I politely pushed through the throngs of to-the-nines-dressed clubgoers, thought to myself, "Goddamn, I hate these fucks").



The problem is, everybody else I know is probably already out at wherever it is they were going to go. Even if I wanted to hit a pub and have a few beers, well, everybody's already gone someplace, and while I detest cell phones they're occasionally handy when you want to get in contact with someone at a strange time, not everyone I know has one, and I don't have one, because when you make plans you fucking stick to them. I can't stand it when people are flaky and change their minds at the drop of a hat.

So, in conclusion, it will either be a late, soggy, cold-ass night in a part of town I hate, or a quiet night in while the rest of the city drinks and gropes with reckless abandon.

* This is not to say I can't dance. I just don't.
** I obviously do not have any "magic" or "skills" or "sex appeal."

Friday, October 27, 2006

My faith in humanity has been renewed.

Evolution vs. Intelligent Design.

(Why did I even bother to give the latter initial capital letters?)


If you're a professor and you want to really not be taken seriously by the academic community, you'll fight hard to have high schools in your jurisdiction include intelligent design in their science curriculum.

Like this person.

Who got her ass kicked.

Now all we have to do is to spread the gospel about how intelligent design is a piece of rubbish, isn't anything close to science, and has no place in schools unless you happen to have a course entitled "How To Do Shitty Science And Trick Idiots Into Believing It".

Next up: horoscopes. The Babylonians knew they were crap; you should too!

Parking ticket addendum.

I figured the best way to help me forget the agony of watching the Tigers throw Game 4 of the World Series earlier this evening would be for me to pay my latest parking ticket on the Internet.

You see, the City of Toronto has a newfangled type of parking ticket — the old ones were mostly illegible scribblings that would become largely unreadable if there was a hint of moisture in the air — and they have a nice little note on the back that says I can pay the thing at the City of Toronto website.

"Hooray," I thought. "Finally, Canada's largest and most important city can boast a system similar to that of a brackish, booze-filled burgh filled with ex-cons, loose, drunk university students and crazy-people."

And then, the fine print.

Please be advised an administrative fee of $1.50 will be applied for each infraction paid through the internet and will be added to the amount charged to your credit card.

. . .


This is progress?!?!??!?!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Wily bastards.

I've gotta hand it to Toronto Parking Enforcement, I really do.

I fully admit I didn't bother to put money in the pay-and-display machine — the only coins I had on me were a handful of pennies, and I didn't even think to use my debit or credit card in the fancy-ass solar-powered machine — but I couldnt' have been in that bakery for more than two minutes.

The guy must've been waiting in the bushes. On his bicycle.

When I came back, he had pedaled away about five metres from my car, and sure enough, underneath my wiper was lodged The HiFive's* first parking ticket. Thirty bones.

Two minutes, tops.

I should've shaken that guy's hand instead of bludgeoning him to death with my tire-iron in a fit of rage.

* I have now decided that my car's nickname will be The HiFive. This car's name must be spoken with a Borat-like accent which, upon a few seconds' relfection, is quite impossible to replicate in print. Wait a sec... "A-hei Feeiiivvvh!"? Does that look/mentally-sound right? Aw, c'mon, you know what I mean. And if you don't, watch this trailer.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing.

Once upon a time, in a previous life, I felt like I had things pretty-much put together: my professional life was really settling into a nice little groove, I had dreams of a return to academia in the hazy future, and my social life held great promise as I continued to familiarize myself with the Centre of the Universe.

Then, I went to Queen's for two years. Things were great, and I got to throw off the shackles of being a 9-to-5'er (or, really, an 8-to-5'er with homework) for a while. I met a lot of great people, I studied things which were interesting to me, and I began a thesis research project that, while nearly escorting me into clinical insanity at times, will be my most formidable academic accomplishment... someday.

I returned to Toronto in May, and things have been... well, motley. (But not "Mötley" like the "Crüe.") For May and early June I was busy doing family-related stuff in amongst the general re-settling-in; in late June I went away to Bonnaroo (which was great) and was doing some work-related stuff, both in preparation for the summer and for something else our school is cooking up. July absolutely suuuuuuuucked, as teaching summer school was a terrible way to earn enough money for rent. August was full of thesis-related bullshit all over the place; also, add to that the fact that I was getting jerked-around by whatever women who happen to briefly, briefly cross my path, and my lone male-gendered sounding-board for such matters happened to be in Central America for both July and August. September was crazy-busy, trying to get back into the routine of being a regular teacher again and dealing with a new course, and it seems like every other weekend since Labour Day I've been galavanting all over the province, doing this or that or the other, often relating to family stuff (again). October has been (and I imagine November will be) mired in meeting after meeting after meeting, robbing me of what little sanity I've managed to stick underneath my mattress (which isn't getting much use these days, and that's part of the problem, I suppose).

If you're keeping score at home, this is my sixth month in Toronto, and I still don't feel like I've planted my feet on the ground, haven't re-established myself, haven't been able to get my shit together the way I'd like it to be. If you know me, that is not how I live my life: my shit is toooGETHaaaah, and if it isn't, I am one unhappy camper.

Monday, October 23, 2006

A crusty old manager, indeed.

Tigers skipper Jim Leyland often gets portrayed as a chain-smoking, foul-mouthed, old-school manager. This would be quite an accurate picture of the man, actually... but he has another side which peeks through now and again. I'll let Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci explain:

That the Tigers were, in every sense, Leyland's team was never more obvious than on the eve of the ALCS. He closed the door to the visiting clubhouse of Oakland's McAfee Coliseum and gathered his team for a meeting. "I want to read you something," he began. Back in spring training, when nobody — not Leyland, not his coaches, not his players — considered the possibility of Detroit's playing in the World Series, Leyland showed his coaches an essay that his then 14-year-old son, Patrick, had written about what defines a winner. The proud father showed the essay (for which Patrick had earned an A-plus) to his staff, then put it away for the next six months.

On Oct. 9, fresh off three straight ALDS wins over the Yankees, Leyland broke out the essay and read it aloud to his team. By the end of it, Leyland's voice was cracking and his eyes were welling with tears. Five days later, on the morning of Game 4 against the A's, Leyland turned emotional again just thinking about it. "Not just because I'm a proud father, and I am," he said, "but because [Patrick] captured in his own words the kind of things we're trying to accomplish here. And what really got me was, after I was done reading it, a bunch of guys came up to me and said, "Skip, can you make a copy of that? I want a copy for myself."

Can you see the $200-million Yankees asking for a copy of their manager's son's junior-high essay?

I can't.

Go fuckin' get 'em, Tigers.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I'm mildly surprised that I'm still alive.

It's been a long time since I've woken up at a time past 2:30 in the afternoon, but today demanded such a slumber. You see, last night I got pretty damn messed-up — Jell-O shooters were involved — and the night could be aptly described as "sloppy."

The thing about get-togethers at my buddy Dave's place is that something is usually killed, barbecued and eaten. So, last night, waves of meat found their way onto the grill: first some giant racks of ribs (both pork and beef), then sausages, then burgers. At any rate, the booze was plentiful and flowing freely. Very freely.

It got so bad that, at one point in the evening, I was standing in the kitchen with my friend James, and we were chowing down on a bowl of black jellybeans. I hate black jellybeans; in fact, I said to James, while scarfing down handful after handful, "I hate black jellybeans." Needless to say, all that licorice-flavoured confectionery eventually wreaked havoc on my stomach a few hours later, along with the meat, and the booze... which made for an awful morning.

I decided it would be a good thing if I took a cab home, instead of trying to negotiate my way on the TTC's always-interesting all-night bus system, the "Blue Light" buses, a.k.a. the "Vomit Comet." Seeing as I nearly zonked-out on the way back, only to be brought back to life by a serious bout of The Spins, I'm glad I forked out the extra bucks (plus a very generous tip) to be brought right to my door.

...which brought me to 2:43 pm this afternoon. Feeling surprisingly fine, but weak as a kitten, I've gradually become more mobile as the day has worn on. If you've ever seen the Kids in the Hall skit about The Hangover (including the wildly-popular game of "Shouting Numbers"), that gives you some sort of an idea for what today's been like, although it hasn't taken me 14 days to get better, as Bruce McCulloch's character required.

Hell of a night, though.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Hello, World Series.

Tonight is Game 1 of the World Series, featuring my Detroit Tigers against the Cardinals of St. Louis.

Alas, I will not be watching much of the game, as I have a previous engagement, in honour of a friend's 30th birthday. But I'll try to catch as much as I can, of course.

Go Tigers.

My boys.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Classroom nuggets.

A few people have asked me about funny or ridiculous things that my students do. Well, since my kids are teenagers, and because teenagers are all clinically insane, they come up with some real zingers now and again. Especially my Grade 10s, because that's the year that kids come out of their shell but aren't smart enough to know what to do with all this newfound freedom.

the class is going along merrily, and I'm telling them about something related to ecology, probably...
Student in front row: "Sir, are you wearing contacts?"
Me, bewildered: "Um... no, why do you ask?"
Student: "Is that your real eye real colour?"
Me, more bewildered: "Uh... yeah, I think so."
Student: "Wow. They're really, really blue."
[That's what happens when you're the "poster-child for the Aryan race," a term that an even-paler friend of mine once coined.]

at the end of the class; they've been doing a lab most of the period...
Male student, to a couple of girls, quite loudly, while swivelling his hips: "Elvis, you know, he sang like this: Uh-huh-huh, oh yeah, hey baby!"
Me, across the room: "What are you doing?"
Male student: "I'm just doing my Elvis impression. Didn't he sing like this, sir? Uh-huh-huh, oh yeah, hey baby!"
Me: "Uh... sure, I guess so."
Male student: "Yeah, he sang like this! Uh-huh-huh, oh yeah, hey baby!"
[What makes this even funnier is that this kid is from the Caribbean, and would never, ever listen to anything Elvis ever did.]

after I rearranged the students so they'd talk less, I apparently put two kids, we'll call them A and B, beside each other...
A: "Sir, you really shouldn't put me beside B."
Me: "I'm sorry, this seating plan is not negotiable."
A: "But I've hated B ever since, like, Grade 4."
B: "It's true. We hate each other's guts. Always have."
Me: "Well, let's negotiate, then."
[See? I'm not such a bad guy after all.]

toward the end of a class, this kid's mouth hadn't closed for the entire period...
Me: "Has anyone ever told you that you talk a lot? Like, all the time?"
Kid: "Well, God gave me a mouth, so I'm gonna use it, you know?"
[I couldn't have predicted that response. Not in a million years. But hey, that's what makes this job interesting.]

parents' night is coming up...
Me, to the class: "Please, tell your parents, when they come to see me, unless you are needed to translate for them, do not come along with them!"
Kid in the front row: "But they always drag me along. They say they want me there."
Me: "Why? It's so much tougher to say awful things about you if you're in the room."
Kid: "Well, maybe I'll just stand outside in the hall."
[I actually like parents' night. When you see how screwed-up some parents are, you can see why their kids are a little off-kilter.]

during a lesson about something related to chemistry...
Odd child: "Sir, where do boogers come from?"
Me: . . .
Odd child, shrinking back a bit: "I mean... um... uh... yeah, where do they come from?"
Me: . . .
Class: (laughter)
Me: . . .
[I eventually told the kid that it was an interesting question, and that he should look it up for us. He never did.]

More to follow, I'm sure.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Meet your American League champions.

New York Yankees? Nope.

Boston Red Sox? Nope.

Minnesota Twins? Nope.

A team that, before this year, had endured twelve straight losing seasons, got spurned by Juan Gonzalez when they dangled a giant novelty cheque with some giant novelty numbers on it a few years ago, and last won a World Series during Ronald Reagan's campaign to get re-elected?

You bet.

This is awesome. I just can't use any other word to describe how it feels to have your team, who you've lived and died with — mostly died — for all these years, and... wow, now they have a shot at winning the whole goddamn thing.

So, if you want to get in touch with me, hang out for the evening, that sort of thing... between now and the end of October, you're going to have to consult with a baseball schedule to see if I'm available. If there's a game on, my ass will be firmly planted on my couch. (You're more than welcome to come over, though.)

Just awesome.

Monday, October 09, 2006

I'm just a terrorist, godless, left-wing traitor.

But Ann Coulter sure does have a giant Adam's apple.

Go ahead, look it up on Google Images.

It's the size of a baseball, I swear.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

A shameless cry for attention.

It warms my heart to see comments on this blog, it really does. I've always thought of this space as being a two-way street; I'll throw something out there for consideration, and see what you think of it.

Alas, my topics of choice lately — baseball, politics and my dismal failure of a love-life — haven't elicited a whole lot of responses, so maybe I'll shift gears a bit here this evening and give some attention to subjects about which I wouldn't normally write. So, here goes.

1. Puppies
They're so adorable! Except when they shit on the carpet. Then you just sorta wanna hit 'em with a brick.

2. Cordless Telephones
You'd have thought this piece of technology would've been ironed-out by now. But my parents recently bought one of those newfangled 2.4-GHz models, and the interference rendered the thing unusable. This is progress?!

3. Quarters
They're probably the handiest coin we have. They fit into everything, especially the coin-operated washing machine and dryer in the basement of my building. I hoard them these days.

4. Rubberneckers
If two cars are off on the shoulder of the highway, don't slow down to gawk at the scene: just KEEP MOVING, you jerks. I had enough of you on the road this afternoon... both to and from my destination.

5. Sand
I walked through a childrens' playground last night, and got sand in the treads of my sneakers. Now I have sand all over my house. That stuff really tracks everywhere! I hate sand.

Now, as my old baseball coach used to say, "Talk it up out there!"

Saturday, October 07, 2006

ALCS, here we come.

A few days ago, before the Tigers-Yankees series began, I read the Detroit News — as I do most mornings, thanks to the power of the Inter Nets — and their various columnists weighed in on how they thought the series would go. They gave a little one-paragraph blurb, and picked a winner and a number of games. I can't remember the blurbs (my memory is too awful for that sort of thing), but I do remember their picks for the series-winner.

"Yankees in four."

"Yankees in five."

"Yankees in three."

"Yankees in four."

...and so on.

Today in Detroit, Jeremy Bonderman, a fourth-year veteran at the ripe old age of 23, shut down what quite a few folks have called "the best lineup ever assembled in the history of baseball" for over eight innings. After the Yankees plated a couple of runs in the ninth, a ground ball to Placido "Polly" Polanco and a flip to Sean "The Mayor" Casey sealed the victory. The Tigers beat the Yankees 8-3 today, which means they won their American League Division Series, three games to one.

The Tigers made a class move after the win: they went in and sprayed some champagne on each other in the clubhouse, then grabbed a bunch of bottles and went back outside, whereupon they hosed down quite a few of their fans with The Bubbly. Quite a few players ran along the stands, high-fiving fans (Craig Monroe chucked Bonderman's cap into the crowd), Carlos Guillen sprayed champagne from the top of the dugout, and Kenny Rogers (who dominated the Yankees last night) poured half a bottle on a cop's hat before giving him a big bear-hug.

Manager Jim Leyland, while fielding postgame questions from Ken "TheYankees TheYankees TheYankees!" Rosenthal, got visibly choked up when he was explaning how the Tigers' turnaround was most important for the club's fans. Sure, he's a gruff old-timer who smokes more than the factories in Hamilton, but he's actually a really emotional guy who appreciates people and what they mean to the whole organization. I mean, hey, I never played an inning for them this year (although I probably could've cracked their rotation when they lost an AL-record 119 games in 2003), but the ticket I bought for the game I attended on August 16th helped the club pay for some of those players. Ergo, I helped.

(Besides, I'm trying to turn all my students into Tiger fans. Since many of them are new to the country and haven't formed baseball allegiances yet, I can get 'em before anyone else can. It's great to have a pulpit, with three sermons daily, from which to spread the Gospel of Saint Leyland.)

(The ironic thing about that last comment is that Jim Leyland's brother is a Catholic priest in a suburb of Toledo. Hallelujah, indeed.)

So, on to the ALCS, and a date with the Oakland A's. I don't know much about them, but if they swept a white-hot Twins team in their ALDS matchup, they've gotta be something special.

Go Tigers.

Here's rookie flamethrower Joel Zumaya, after he came back on the field to celebrate with the fans. Note the champagne in his right hand.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Shove it up your ass, Steinbrenner.

The New York Yankees: the mighty Dynasty of Dynasties, the Two Hundred Million Dollar Men. More World Series trophies than you could shake a pair of sticks at, the Mystique, the Crowd, the Stadium.

The Detroit Tigers: the unknowns, the inexperienced, the freshmen. Slid into the playoffs on a losing streak. Supposed to be swept in 3 games. No chance, especially not in New York, to win a single game.

So, what did my boys do today?

That's right, Tweedle-dicks... they won, 4-3.

Now they go back to Detroit, tied 1-1, to play the next two games.

Advantage: Freshmen.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Playoff baseball.

Bust out the red, white and blue bunting, because it's time for the playoffs.

Sure, nobody's giving my Tigers much of a shot; the most common phrase I've seen describing them is that they're "limping into the playoffs." And they're facing the Yankees, with Games 1 and 2 at Yankee Stadium, and their 9th-place hitter in pinstripes hit a cool .342 this year, and they have a current or former All-Star at every starting position, YADDA YADDA YADDA.

See, the thing about baseball is, upsets can happen at any time. Nobody gave the White Sox any chance last year, but they ended up kicking serious ass. The mighty 1954 Cleveland Indians, winners of a stupendous number of games in the regular season, got swept by the New York Giants in the World Series (and Willie Mays made a heck of a catch about a million miles out in centrefield). And need I remind you about the 1908 World Series between the Ty Cobb-led Tigers and the Cubs, who only won the NL pennant after that baserunning gaffe by Fred Merkle? I don't think I do.

In conclusion,


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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Oh yeah, another thing.

Before I forget... let me impart this little piece of wisdom to the 51-or-so percent of the population that happens to be female:

If you're really, really friendly towards a guy — especially if we find you attractive — and you never mention a boyfriend over an extended period of time, we're going to think you're showing interest in us. Please, in the future, if you've been dating a guy since May, could you at least drop us a hint in the first few minutes, just so we know where we stand? It seems like a small thing, and it is, but it could really turn out to be quite important down the line.

Thanks in advance,


Bob Woodward never ceases to amaze me.

He and Carl Bernstein broke open the Watergate scandal... and you'd think that a story that big (they don't get much bigger) would be some pretty hefty laurels upon which to rest.

I guess it's just too easy to do that when you have a moron of the calibre of Dubya with his finger on the button, though.

I'm kicking myself for missing his interview on 60 Minutes (the only news source on American television that I even come remotely close to trusting)... but I'm tickled pink that there are lots of juicy clips available here.

Watch. Be amazed at his ability to get Cheney and Rumsfeld to talk.

Then be concerned. Very concerned.

In other news, The Who were fantastic last night (the new, 6-song Wire & Glass "mini-opera" was vintage Pete), and my niece keeps babbling and singing and running all over the place.