Bullet Points For The Day After The Game

One last look at Coco before the drive home

A huge thank you to Chris whose extra tickets gave me and the lad an unforgettable evening. And it was not just having the tickets. It was not that the tickets were in the sixth row. It was not Tina. It was not that the Sox hammered the Jays 8-0. It is not even that knuckleballer Wakefield was entirely in the zone. It was because after (I think) the sixth when Wakefield pitched to Wells who flied out to Coco for the third out who then ran in and, after getting to first base from center field…looked up …and I stood up in my white Sox jersey and black cap…and I shout “COCO!!!”…and he looked at me…and I looked at him…and he threw me the ball. I just about peed with joy.


In other news, it is Friday and there shall be bullets and they shall be good:

-> Well, suffice it to say, the Jays suck. I had a sense of it even in February but their play last night was pathetic. Halladay got an error in the first trying to pick off Yuke at second and putting it in to the outfield instead. Glaus got an error losing the ball in the lights at third which was nothing compared to in the first, bases loaded with two out, he daydreams and drifts off base only to be picked off by catcher Doug Mirabelli to Yuke who didn’t even have to beat him back to first – he tagged him feet away. Soon thereafter, the Jays went to sleep. Losing their alleged closer until August 2008 doesn’t help. They are now fighting for fourth in the AL East until 2009.

-> Apparently there is a world outside of baseball. And it has silly people in it.

The man arrested for allegedly leaking the Conservative government’s environmental plan was a temporary employee, a self-described anarchist and drummer in a punk band that sings an angry screed against the Prime Minister and the “rise of the right.”

Releasing pending legislation or regulations is not whistle blowing – the law will soon be public anyway and in draft and…stuff. Way to go bad band drummer.

-> If China is mad at us, we must be doing something right.

-> The PEI election is tepidying up. Apparently the 4% of the population made up of former Lieutenant Governors are getting all snippy with each other. Earth to person who said “it’s not the ethical thing to do” – no one cares, get a life, stop pretending that winning the prize in the Cracker Jacks makes you something. In more sensible news from the hustings, some-time comment makers around here, Cyn, is running for a seat.

-> Some people have useless dreams:

A British climber is in the closing stages of an attempt to set a world record for the highest mobile call. Rod Baber is making final preparations to scale Mount Everest and make the call from its north ridge.

I think I am going to swim to the bottom of the ocean and open a pack of 1983 O-Pee-Chee hockey cards. Not ’84…’83.

Just a reminder that in four weeks there is a Gen X 40 authorized event – the Watertown Wizards home opener. Friday June 8, 2007. I am told by one of the owners that they may play the Canadian anthem for us. Last year is was four bucks for adults, one for kids.

It Is Right And Proper To Dislike FIFA

I am greatly saddened by the whole soccer head scarf debate surrounding one girl who wants to play. Playing is good and as we learn over and over FIFA is bad. It is not a difficult or even controversial statement. It is simply so. Feel good about thinking FIFA bad. Does anyone shed a tear for the Olympic Committee or any other private unelected mens’ clubs that organize sport to rake in personal privilege and benefit? It is only right and good to lump FIFA in and, frankly, place them up at the top of the lump.

Let us review some facts. Here is the essential part of the rule…sorry the law of football that is engaged in this case:

A player must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or another player (including any kind of jewellery).

All items of jewellery are potentially dangerous. The term dangerous can sometimes be ambiguous and controversial, therefore in order to be uniform and consistent any kind of jewellery has to be forbidden.

Players are not allowed to use tape to cover jewellery. Taping jewellery is not adequate protection.

Rings, earrings, leather or rubber bands are not necessary to play and the only thing they can bring about is injury.

You might be confused. You might be asking yourself what a rule about jewellery has to do with a head scarf. You would be right except this is the core prohibition in the rule being cited by FIFA:

Soccer’s legislators have ruled that no player can wear a head scarf on the field. The International Football Association Board was asked at its annual meeting Saturday to adjudicate on a decision to ban an 11-year-old Muslim girl from playing in a tournament near Montreal last weekend because she was wearing a head scarf. “If you play football there’s a set of laws and rules, and law four outlines the basic equipment,” said Brian Barwick, chief executive of the English Football Association, which is one of the IFAB members. “It’s absolutely right to be sensitive to people’s thoughts and philosophies, but equally there has to be a set of laws that are adhered to, and we favour law four being adhered to.” Law four lists the items a player is entitled to wear and head scarves are not mentioned.

That last sentence added by The Globe and Mail is not entirely true as Law Four goes on to state:

Modern protective equipment such as headgear, facemasks, knee and arm protectors made of soft, lightweight, padded material are not considered to be dangerous and are therefore permitted.

A headscarf is light, soft and in this instance one understands is protective of modesty according to the standards of the player. As her leggings are. By any reasonable understanding they are allowed. By any reasonable standard they are an entire non-issue.

But remember who you are dealing with. FIFA considers soccer players – you know…the people who play the game – as something between figures on paper and Subbueto players. Uniformity in uniform is about central control. This child might have been Amish or had a skin disease requiring covering. It just so happens that this one child is honouring her Islamic faith. It could as easily be any other thing. For FIFA that is not really important as she is fundamentally not acting FIFA-n. She is displaying unFIFA-like personal characteristic. That is anti-FIFA and that cannot be tolerated.

Why is this? First, FIFA wants to dominate world sport. To do this, there must be one game defined by one set of laws imposed by one bureaucracy. This means the other games to be driven out – it must be so if FIFA is to achieve the power and benefit that uniformity brings. We do not need to get to the level of cheese rolling or other local games or group play-like traditions. We just have to keep in mind there are many football games that sprung from the mid-19th century. When more organized games were formed between, say, 1850 and 1920, the lack of communication and the greater interest in the local meant no one worried that Gaelic football was different from Canadian rugger or from what has become Aussie rules. But FIFA now cares and cares very deeply as one of the forms of sub-global football, NFL style, has the notion of also being a global game. That must be stopped just as all other deviation must be stopped.

This is not about that keen young lady or her particular faith. It is about the primacy of the primates of FIFA. Hmmm…the phrase “the anti-Christs of play” just popped into my head for some reason. It is enough to say for now that FIFA is anti-play and therefore anti-KSPC. For that reason we shall be kicking a ball about this summer around here without any sidelines to which someone can tell me or mine to go sit. I expect it to be fun.

Kingston Society For Playing Catch Update

The KSPC met yesterday but I was not able to attend. The big news is that we are now including membership from outside the workplace but that is because someone got a new job.

So far proposed activities of the club have been more refined to include most any game you play without the need to actually maintain score or that only a ninny would think score actually bears any relationship to one’s virility. I say proposed in that we have been on what can be called “winter schedule” which basically includes the drinking of ale and the talking of things.

But it is the time of melting and we have to come to some principled plans about what to do. We certainly have catching to do but we have other things, too. We have any number of the pub games like the branches of the skittles family. Croquet is also there and was solidified with the acquisition of a very sharp set this week by a member of the KSPC who turned seven. It was acquired from this vendor of fabulous things, The Croquet Shop. There is also now talk of 500 Up, its relative Ball and Trap and even bum ball. The kicking of the ball in a group is also to be added to the schedule. The Kingston brew pub has a wellie toss on the 24th of March which may open up the summer gaming season for the KSPC.

I am not sure that this could all end up in a Vintage Base Ball group but one never knows – and getting a game of Annapolis Valley Stick Ball together would be great. And a hat. That would be great, too.

You are reminded that the KSPC is a non-transferable, non-digital organization. You must play with others where you are. If required make your own SPC locally and announce it.

The Rules For 500 Up

I know I am not supposed to post twice on a Friday but I have just had two shocks. I met someone my age who had no idea what 500 Up was and, when I described the game, reported not having ever played anything like it. That was shock one.

I though 500 Up was a great universal. I thought it was primordial. Now I Google “500 Up” and only my post pops up as referencing the game. This is really weird. It is like I mentioned bread – or at least popsicles – and realizing the people I was talking to had never heard of them.

Sloan has a song called “500 Up” off of their first record. Here are the lyrics. Disturbingly, the game is only there as a passing reference, an analogy mixed with another image – a reference only one in the know would know:

Sliding downwards
You’re the batter
That’s what they say
500 up
On the ladder

Do you know the rules to 500 Up? Why is this not on the internet somewhere? That is shock number two. Now I have to know. Are there different points to catching the ball in the air and fewer points for getting it on a bounce? How many points? Did you decide how many before each time you played? I haven’t played it for 21 years. I haven’t played Kingston Nova Scotia stickball for 35. That was a hell of a game.

PGP 1.0: The Pub Games Project

northants_skittlesWhat – another theme? As if having contests and starting to think about beer and music is not enough, I have been obsessing a bit (inspired no doubt by Stonch) about old games a bit lately at my other blog, the general purpose Gen X at 40, the web site that spawned this here place.

Plenty of old games relate to pubs – both inside games like darts and lawn games like bowls. But beyond that, they tie beer to gathering and do so in an utterly unproductive but pleasing way. I am a bit fan of unproductive skills and have started a gathering of local beer fans under the name of the Kingston Society for Playing Catch with the aim of exploring all aspects of idleness at a very slow pace over the remaining decades of my life. I think I am going to suggest that pub games need to be added to the mandate of the KSPC.

What do I mean by pub games? There are the obvious ones. My life has always included doinggames as much or more than board or card games. I grew up in a Minister’s house where darts was played after supper – leaving one manse front door in a very bad state as I recall. And, along with good helpings of shuffleboard, undergrad early ’80s two-player table top video games morphed into law school snooker as staples during my free time in the vicinity of a beer or two. But before or as these popular games developed in the Victorian era (or were created in the early digital one) there were other more localized games skill being played by a few dedicated fans like bar billiards, ball and trap, the incredibly fun looking London skittles or the smaller scale variation known as hood skittles or Northamptonshire skittles shown being played above. Plenty of different games and their rules are to be found at the excellent Masters Traditional Games. More rules and history can be found through the pub games page at wikiality as well as the Online Guide to Traditional Games.

Realizing that these are mainly English games, I hope to explore a bit about the other games played by folk having a beer in other nations through this series. If you know of any you love please join in.

Village Games

I was sent off on a YouTube adventure by a kind reader of note who last evening sent me emails with videos of cheese rolling attached like this one and all these.

That got me thinking that maybe there were videos of the ancient pre-football village games that happen at holidays. And there were. Like Royal Shrovetide Football you can watch here. Kind of weirdly but appropriately put to music. I think this is that game explained on wikipedia. Here is another – this from Orkney. Again set to music. Here is a web page on that game. Nothing on Winchester College Football on YouTube yet.

As we start moving from the recreational and civic holidays of the warm half of the year to the traditional holidays of the darker half, I am reminded that village and community are interesting things which are not like suburbs, workplaces or shopping malls or even families. The internet will only create real community when this sort of game starts up, including people you do not necessarily like doing things together you do not necessarily understand because you must. Maybe it has and maybe it hasn’t. Maybe that is what the Kingston Society for Playing Catch is to be. I will only know if anyone gets the hat and even then likely not.

Is This The Hat For The KSPC?

Now that the “Kingston Society for Playing Catch” (KSPC) has been founded and the flood of offers for branches world-wide have begun to pour in, the important question of the cap is rearing its head. There must be a cap. I don’t know if this is it. Kingston’s traditional sporting colours are black and yellow. A black hat with a simple “K” in yellow might be just the thing. Each branch would have the one-letter logo in local colours.

But that one letter would have to be in common font to go with the “KSPC” on the back to maintain the global identity. I lost sleep over the weekend on the question of font. The right font is a massive decision with brainiacs a plenty out there who know what needs to be known. If it could be a Pabst Oldstyle “K” that might be the best. Yes, I like Pabst and not just because of PBR or, rather, the PBRs.

Friday Cogitiferiffic Chatarama

Who the hell ever thought I would make it to August 25th 2006? Aside from the whole thing in Mexico in ’66 (thank you Pepe), I got through the nuclear war along with all of you, got through my teens without being eaten by a backroad ditch along with pals, got though a holiday in Paris as Syria was blowing bits of it up in ’86 and survived the Kings Cross Fire in ’87. Things got a little dull after that and law school and stuff but then there was the 5.4 earthquake in ’97 and that weird day in PEI around Jan. ’03 when I decided to head out of work early and got caught in a blizzard that was so thick I could only make out where the road was by checking out the tops of telephone polls. Whew. What a roller coaster. But here we are. August 25, 2006. Woot. I’m taking half a day to celebrate.

– Final lunchtime update before hitting the road update: I just created the “Kingston Society for Playing Catch” after looking at the picture of David Sommerstein of NCPR at this page. Expect splintering schismists branching out into “Adult Novice 500 Up” but that is their business and may also morph into a heritage group playing trapball and the other early games. The “Kingston Society for Playing Catch” is hereby soliciting membership as well as designs for the hat which must feature a “K” on the front. Submissions and proposals to be posted here.

– Update for the road update: As I did so triumphantly for “flogging”, I just now coined “clogging” for filling up the comments section of a blog with technically incapable comments or, I suppose, just going on and on…like this.

– It is a sad, sad day when the yapping of bloggers is not what shapes the news but is the news. Bo-ring. Everyone lay on the floor, wiggle around now and scream as one – “STOP PRETENDING BLOGS ARE NEWS!!!” I heard you . Thanks.

– There are men of destiny and then there are others who are not:

The owner of a restaurant named after Adolf Hitler said yesterday he will change its name because it angered so many people.

– I am watching the post- or to some mid- conflict reaction in Israel. Remember this post from last month. The concern appears to be mainly the lack of ability to impose immediate overwhelming force as opposed to ultimate peace – which is fine but the taxi driver may not have had that breath of relief. It is such a foreign existence it is hard to even imagine it.

One clawed back. Five and a half to go.

Gary’s Blogger blog has taken off nicely. Interesting post on pottery restoration services. Now there is a situation that requires a van with a big engine and the right to break the speed limit – Vrrrooommmmm. I say it gets designated the all important and still available purple flashing light.

– Have you noticed that certain cheater-ramas have entirly poached the Friday bullet idea? I knew I should have copyrighted this fantastic idea when I had the chance. Imagine the dollar bills flowing over my upstretched face and arms. Imagine.

Isn’t that enough? Off to see the newest member of the clan who is supposed to enter this world around noon and then off to grannie-in-law’s to talk sports of the 1920s to today. When is someone going to try that music format of “the music of the 20th century” anyway? Al Jolson then Ramones then “The Biggest Aspidistra In The World” then ringing my bell.

Andy Blair and Relatives

Leaf in LiverpoolYou may have noticed I am not camping in New York or attending Bread Day at the state fair. Colds have struck. So I am rummaging.

The gent to the left is Andy Blair who in June ’29 was enjoying his first summer as a NHL player after finishing his rookie year with the Leafs. My grannie-in-law, then Evelyn Whillans, his 1st cousin, took the photo as a 13 year old spending some of her teen years in Liverpool. I wonder what the building behind him is. Later Blair would provide the Whillans Saturday night tickets including the opening of Maple Leaf Gardens as well as the longest NHL game in history. Her father, a minister, kept getting up to go saying that it was crazy, that he had a sermon to give in a few hours, only to sit back down at the roar for another close play.

Another five cousins, all Drydens of some relation, made the NHL including Murray Murdoch (Rangers left wing: ’26-’37, then coach at Yale for about 30 years) who I spoke with on the phone about a year before he passed away as the then oldest NHL alumnist, a very sharp mind in its late 90’s. Murdoch grew up in Winnipeg and said he was the best player in the City until Blair, two years younger, showed up during the depression. Both played for the University of Manitoba in the early 20’s.

Four years to Mr. Hitler's gamesGrannie-in-law also relates being at the front of Maple Leafs Gardens with another cousin, Syl Apps (the kinda gawky 17 year old in the white pants to your right, my left) and Blair the day Apps signed for the Leafs. Blair, an All-Star for the Leafs in ’34, was telling him to sign anywhere but Toronto as they treated players badly. Apps started his Leafs rookie year in 1936 after representing Canada at the Berlin Olympics. Blair was traded for cash to the Blackhawks on 7 May 1936. I wonder if the windows were open a few floors up.

In the 1936-’37 season, three cousins played on three teams: Leafs, Hawks and Rangers (two All-Stars, three Cup winners, one Calder and Bing and another the first Lester Patrick winner). In the early 70’s three (two being brothers) played again for three teams – the Sabres, Habs and Penguins: Dryden, Dryden, Apps (all All-Stars but not in together in one year…and one also earned some hardware).