Monday, June 30, 2008


Beyond a doubt, we live in the best country in the world!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Life in perspective and what I learned today

Today, after attending my niece Caitlin's high school graduation (see post below), I went out for lunch with a young friend of mine, who is Cait's age and graduated from high school yesterday. The one big difference is that he took his final year of high school at CHEO -- the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario.
Misha was a goalie on the first hockey team I worked with as trainer after I moved to Ottawa. His dad, Angelo, was one of the coaches.
Mish had to take Grade 12 at CHEO, because just over a year ago, he was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumour. I actually hadn't seen him since the end-of-year hockey party two years ago, but recently re-established communication via Facebook, after hearing third-hand of his illness, and that he was dying.
I actually picked him up at CHEO today, where he had been for blood tests. Right off the bat, I attacked the situation head on and asked him what is up. He told me without hestitation about his diagnosis, and doctors telling him that surgery was risky and could cause all kinds of complications, but without it, he wouldn't live to see two more Christmases. He said that made his decision simple.
So they removed the tumour and started him on chemo and radiation. He said physiotherapists told him he would never regain use of his left arm and leg (the arm is now in a sling, the leg has a brace on it), and that he would never walk again. He refused to accept that, and told them that he would be up walking within a week and a half -- and was!
Mish kept repeating to me how he's too stubborn to give up, and that what his medical team sees as hurdles and handicaps, he sees as challenges. He also told me that he intends to play hockey again, admitting that he'll never play at a high level, but he will play.
I asked him what his longterm outlook is. He says his doctors have quit telling him such things, because he doesn't accept them anyway. He does know that he won't live as long as he would have, had he not had cancer, but he's going to make the most of it.
Misha now volunteers three days a week at CHEO, working with other kids. He says he doesn't understand how people his own age who he has seen receive similar diagnoses to his, can just go into their rooms, turn off the lights, and give up. Things like that frustrate him more than his own condition and his continuing chemo, which initially saw him so nauseated, he dropped from 150 lbs. to 118. He's now back up to 135.
He's registered to attend Carleton University in the fall, to study psychology. He says he's very interested in how people tick, and how they react to various things, based partly on his own experience of the past year or so. He also told me about a couple of very interesting projects he already did for his Grade 12 classes, including going to a Senators game dressed as a clown, to study people's reactions.
I have to say, I was a bit apprehensive about seeing Misha today, but that quickly dissipated. I am very impressed and proud of him. When I dropped him off at home, we promised each other we'd get together again, and that he'll call me any time he feels like it.
Do I pity Misha? Not in the least. Do I buy into his upbeat, positive attitude? You bet. Cancer or not, no one ever knows what might come, so whatever does, just face it head on, and do your damnedest to beat it, not allowing it to beat you without a damned good fight.
Thanks, Mish. You might be less than 40% as old as I am, but you taught me several new lessons today, and reinforced a lot of beliefs that I already had, but might have let go dormant. I admire, honour and respect you.

If I could save time in a bottle...

It's another one of those landmark days for my family. The baby of the McIntyre family, daughter/granddaughter/niece Caitlin graduated from high school this morning. She's an Ontario Scholar (80%+ in at least six Grade 11 and 12 credits, as I understand it) and headed to Laurentian University in Sudbury in the fall, to become an elementary teacher.
Her dad (Bro-in-Law Den) and I were talking on the way into the school this morning, about how time flies. I think it was 1996 that we brought his (and Sister Dale's) two girls, their niece and Little Bro Dan to Canada's Wonderland. Now, one of them is a paramedic in the third year of his career and a homeowner engaged to be married in ten months; two of the girls have a year of university left, and Cait is off to university.
Cait, you're all grown up now, but you'll always be the baby of the family. Oh, and your Uncle Bob will always love you.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Doc, I need help -- fast!"

"Vaht iz ze problem Rrrrrobert?"
"Well, Doc, for the last several months, camouflage print has been trying to make its way into my life and my wardrobe. It's relentless."
"Yez, continue."
"Well, before I went to Dubai last November, camouflage kept beckoning me, but I resisted. Since then, it has been getting stronger."
"And then before going to Mexico in March, the urge to buy camouflage clothing was taunting me worse than ever. I even gave in a teensy bit, buying a backpack in Mexico that just has a bit of camo trim on it. But it wasn't enough. It's still constantly beckoning."
"Today, I was out shopping for summer clothes, and everywhere I turned, there it was, almost calling out loud 'Buy me, Bob'."
"Weeerrrrryyyy inderezding."
"It was difficult, Doc, but I resisted again. What should I do?"
"I zay you should give in to your urge and ze beckoning. Go camo!"
"No! For goodness sake, Doc, I'm a 50-year-old white guy!"
"You azked for help, zat iz my advize."
"No! I want a second opinion!"
"Okay: you are veird, cuckoo in ze coconut, az well."

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A word of warning

I feel like I'm writing one of those annoying emails that makes its way around the cyberworld an infinite number of times, but I'm not -- I'm just posting on my blog.

Yesterday, a co-worker was out in a company vehicle, and stopped to gas it up. She put the company credit card on the counter just while she signed the credit card slip. In that short time, someone stole the card.

With the price of gas as high as it is, it stands to wonder that such incidents are going to happen almost as much as gas-and-dash. So beware.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Good grief. What's next?

So now plastic shower curtains are toxic. WalMart must be watching linen shower curtains flying out the door. Sheesh.
This week's other hazardous substance is the lowly tomato. So a few people in the Excited States of America get sick -- from tomatoes, although the FDA still isn't sure how they became infected -- and the whole world panics. One-hundred-and-sixty-seven cases in a population of 300-million: I would say the odds of NOT getting sick are pretty good.
As a working member of the media, I share the blame for the panic these apparent news stories cause. We ramp 'em up and the viewer/reader/listener panics. Mission accomplished.
The fast-food industry goes tomato-free, and American tomato farmers scream at the FDA to clear their tomatoes, so they don't go broke.
I just had a tomato-free chicken breast Subway sub for lunch. The sandwich artist (artist? For slapping meat and veggies between a couple slices of bread?) told me that they'll have tomatoes back tomorrow.
Corporate types have been covering their collective fat ass by pulling tomatoes from their stores, afraid of someone beating the 167 in 300-million odds, contracting salmonella (I went to high school with an Italian goombah named Sal Monella), and suing them -- the litiginous that has crept across the border into Canada, much like the fearmongering Republicans claim the 9/11 terrorists crossed in the other direction.
Good grief. What next?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Stompin' Tom's Hockey Song -- not gonna happen

There are several reasons that I don't see "Hello out there, we're on the air... etc." as the new Hockey Night In Canada theme:
-Stompin' Tom had a feud with the Corpse over the use of his theme for Marketplace ("Yes we are the people, runnin' in the race, buyin' up them bargains in the old Marketplace..."), and ended up pulling it. And as I understand through various sources, Tom carries a grudge.
-CBC has already announced a contest for a new theme.
-Do you really think the artsy-fartsy, granola-crunching, Birkenstock-wearing powers-that-be who have been totally screwing up the Corpse for the past several years would really adopt such a bourgeois song as The Hockey Song for the theme?
-You can argue that as simplistic as the song might be, it's true grassroots Canadian folklore, and I would agree. But again, the artsy-fartsies running the Corpse are totally out of touch with the grassroots, and would very quickly turn up their noses at the very notion of being so undignified as to actually return to their true mandate as the national public broadcaster.

Okay, I'm becoming fahrklempt. You have your topic, discuss amongst yourselves.

Monday, June 09, 2008

The latest on the HNIC theme: CTV shoots and scores!

CTV buys rights to former `Hockey Night in Canada' theme song
TORONTO - CTV has acquired the rights to the song that's been CBC's `Hockey Night in Canada' theme for the past 40 years.
CTV and Copyright Music and Visuals, the company that controls use of the classic song composed by Dolores Claman, announced Monday afternoon that CTV acquired all rights to the song in perpetuity.
The network says it will use the song on NHL broadcasts on TSN, RDS and during the broadcaster's coverage of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
CTV says it made an agreement in principle Friday with Copyright Music and Visuals after CBC announced a contest to find a new theme song.
The contest announcement followed months of negotiations that failed to result in a new licensing agreement between CBC and the agent.
CBC's licence to use the song expired at the end of the Stanley Cup final last week.
(The Canadian Press)
15:54ET 09-06-08

I am particularly proud at this moment to be an employee of CTVglobemedia. Which network REALLY reflects Canada to Canadians now?

A hopeful sign

This just in, off the newswire:

CBC Hockey Song, (ENT-CBC-Hockey-Song)
TORONTO - CBC appears to be making a last-ditch effort to rescue
the popular Hockey Night in Canada theme song.

The public broadcaster has asked Toronto sports lawyer Gord Kirke to mediate negotiations between CBC and Copyright Music and Visuals, the company that controls the song.

CBC Sports executive director Scott Moore says CBC feels it's worth one last effort to save a theme song that evokes such passion among Canadians.

CBC's licence for the song, written by composer Delores Claman and a staple of Hockey Night in Canada since 1968, expired last week following the Stanley Cup finals.

The parties were in negotiations late last week before CBC announced Friday it would begin the search for a new theme song.

The broadcaster has asked Canadian musicians to vie for a $100,000 prize by submitting their own original compositions to replace the theme.

I gotta tell you, though, that my spidey sense is tingling. The newsguy in me isn't ready to conclude anything, but suspects that this is just all a publicity gimmick, just like the protracted, eleventh-hour contract negotiations with Ron MacLean and Don Cherry a couple of years ago. Or, maybe CBC management has enough brain cells to realize that the stupid move to kill the theme really did raise the hackles of hundreds of thousands -- if not millions -- of Canadians.

One co-worker commented last week that the $500 the CBC pays every time the song is aired is "our money". To which I replied that it isn't, because Hockey Night In Canada is a cash cow for the Corp (or as Frank Magazine calls it, The Corpse).

Friday, June 06, 2008


The CBC might be getting rid of our unofficial second national anthem. They're still in talks with the composer to renew her contract, but it's not going well.
What a no-brainer! Give the lady what she wants.

I have joined a facebook group aimed at saving the iconic piece of Canadian sports and broadcasting history. I hope you will, too. Here's the link:

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Okay, I call "Uncle!"

Damn you, Kitty and N@.

Here's my response to being tagged. I open the nearest book to page 123, find the fifth sentence, and transcribe the next three sentences. And then I tag Milky, XUP, Maria, Mark (I know you're lurking) and JB.

Here goes. It's from Mark Abley's "The Prodigal Tongue", and I make no apology for being a word nerd. It's just what I do, okay?

Douglas emerged blinking into the spring sun. The traffic along Pico Boulevard was steady but not alarming. Even so, he shook his head: "In the next decade, they're predicting another five million people here..."

Monday, June 02, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jay Bee...

Happy Birthday, Jay Bee
Happy Birthday, dear Jaaaayyyy Beeeeee
Happy Birthday to yooooooooouuuu.

Many more, JB. Keep rockin' and noodlin'.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Those rabbits I see...

What colour are they? Holy crap, they're WHITE! In fact, they're as WHITE as the snow that's still on the ground in South Porcupine! WHITE, I tells ya.

Yeah, yeah, Ma, I know: "Bobbycakes, you're an ass!"