Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I, almost, feel sorry for them

The Vancouver Canucks that is.

I say almost because the truth is I loathe the Canucks, I never liked them but after John McCaw swooped down and fleeced local boy Artie Griffiths and the team became a group of carpet baggers I lost any affection at all. The sale to the son of a slum lord, local though he is, did nothing to bring me back and the Canucks fans are the icing on the cake.

I can't imagine having the sense of entitlement Canucks fans have when your team has been in the league for 40 years and never won anything, but that's not really the issue.For me tonight my empathy is with the players and coaches .

These are guys who for whatever reason now find themselves in a "must win" situation about three weeks earlier than might have been expected, and should they lose they will be forever tarnished. Yes, the team won the regular season crown, the President's Trophy, but ask the average man on the street who won the President's Trophy last year and I bet less than a third will know. Team success in the NHL is measured by one thing alone, winning the Stanley Cup, apologists will drone on about Conference finals and consecutive playoff appearances and blah, blah, blah but it's all a sham.

Win the Cup or you have failed as a team, a year's efforts are wiped away and you have to rev up the engine again in October to try again.

The Canucks have had a marvelous season but lose tonight and they are forever footnotes. There is always the possibility that the team will rise to the task tonight and this first round struggle will be what galvanizes them on their run to a Championship .

Don't worry though, if they do lose it will be someone else's fault.

Monday, April 04, 2011

MouseVille Chronicles, a South African Classic on sale and my new Hero

So we're back from "not so sunny" Southern California after a spring break vacation, wife, daughter, daughter's BFF and myself. All in all it was a great trip, weather notwithstanding, Disneyland, San Diego Zoo, Santa Monica beach and pier all included plus an unscheduled stop in East LA just for excitement .

Among the high points were seeing a two and a half day old giraffe at the Zoo, bonding with Otis the Hippo, BFFs' maniacal laughter when frightened by rides,takeout from the legendary SoCal institution In'n Out Burger (double/double animal style), daughter getting one on one time with Pluto and getting my picture taken with Sully. The girls are the perfect age to enjoy the Mouseville experience, old enough to be comfortable with doing "little kid" things but not so old as to be jaded.

The low points were rare but breakfast at Denny's and the fact that it took us longer to get from LAX to our hotel than it did to fly from Seattle to LAX are certainly under consideration. This was our second trip to Disney with daughter and I doubt it will be our last.

On the wine end the economic slowdown in California is certainly a boon to the consumer, supermarkets routinely have solid everyday drinking wines on for $5-$7 a bottle and a dozen Sierra Nevada Pale Ale could be had for $11.99 .

Back here in the land of monopoly there is a nice deal on at the BCLDB this month with venerable South African claret KWV Roodeberg, CSPC#7817 on sale for $11.99 a bottle. Roodeberg was, for many years, the flagship red wine of the Paarl empire and it is still a great example of South African red wine, a warm climate red made with Cabernet and Pinotage that has lots of berry and spice in the nose, a touch of mineral and chocolate in the mouth and is damn good value at $11.99, even at $13.99 its' regular price.

As for my new hero, in a recent new York Times article Chicago's uber chef Charlie Trotter make this observation:

“You know the old adage that the customer’s always right?” he said. “Well, I kind of think that the opposite is true. The customer is rarely right. And that is why you must seize the control of the circumstance and dominate every last detail: to guarantee that they’re going to have a far better time than they ever would have had if they tried to control it themselves.”

Words to live by mes amis, words to live by.