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Avia S-199 in Israeli Air Force Service

Archive for July 2007

Ill-served

My sister-in-law and her friend are in town, staying in a hotel downtown, and we made plans to brunch together on Stanley (that’s a street, not a person).

Elvi asked me to recommend a route and I suggested the Ville Marie expressway, since there’d be no traffic Saturday at 11:00 a.m. There wasn’t, but Rene Levesque (again, the street, not the man) was blocked off entirely. Police and metal gates blocked all traffic heading north, effectively isolating one half of downtown from the other.

Traffic was a mess. All the traffic that the eight-lane Rene Levesque would normally handle was diverted north and south – and in downtown Montreal, that means a heck of a lot of traffic on the other four east-west arteries.

Worst of all, there were no detour signs anywhere. Any driver who wanted to know how to try to get north had to stop and ask one of the cops – which backed up traffic even more, since the only place to stop is in the middle of the road.

We drove up University where a cop diverted us left on de la Gauchetiere and south back on Peel. Not knowing where to go, we headed west. Elvi got back on the highway, drove about 3/4 of the way home to the next exit, and we came back downtown from NDG on Ste. Catherine (not the actual saint).

A ten-minute drive took nearly an hour. The streets were blocked for the Carifiesta parade route, but there were no signs to that effect. The Gazette had a tiny article on the parade on page A7, but it didn’t mention that downtown would be so cleaved.

It’s embarrassing. I estimate that 10-20% of the cars stuck in the traffic were from out of province. This is how we promote tourism? No signs, not even advertising?

After our brunch, we walked down to watch the parade. I wondered if the wind would catch one of the giant winged costumes and whip it and the person inside it down the street. A minute later, we drove over to the jazz festival, which in mid-afternoon has children’s activities and not a whole lot more.

Bonus fantasy baseball trade:

In the biggest trade I’ve made in years, I sent of Andruw Jones (and Anthony Reyes) for Matt Cain and Austin Kearns. I’m in fifth now, surging in home runs and RBIs, and I needed pitching. Kearns isn’t chopped liver, either.

Headline of the month

I spent some of today’s class discussing headlines. By happy coincidence, I found a superb example in yesterday’s Daily Record.

It’s not often that you get to use such a colourful quote to headline a story.

Bonus fantasy baseball update:

In the last 14 days, I have:

.273 batting average
27 HR
103 RBI
7 SB
4.03 ERA
1.21 WHIP
9 wins
0 saves

I’m solidly in sixth, with good prospects to gain points.

The long march

Mike Hargrove is lucky. If he loses his passion for coaching, no end of candidates would line up to replace him. If I quit, all I do is leave kids and parents in the lurch.

It’s not my team of six to eight-year-old T-ballers that I mind. They are clearly the least talented team in the league, and the least attentive. Mostly, I mind the other coaches who stress winning way too much. My goal is to teach these kids to play baseball.

I only have one kid who can catch a ball, so I stick him at first nearly all the time. Other teams complained. We’ve tried three other first basemen; all three have gotten hit by the ball or run over by baserunners. What am I supposed to do? I have a team of Lupuses – but that’s fine. It’s the adults that drive me crazy. Today I discovered that other teams were submitting false scores to the league so that our record looks worse than it is. What’s the point?

Anyway…

We had a game today and got a half-inning before thunder and lightning ended the contest. I put all the catching gear, bats, tee, etc. into my big bag of stuff and by the time I looked up, everyone else had gone.

I had this 50-pound duffle bag, but no vehicle. Elvi had taken the van to a soccer game and was to pick me up after 8:00 pm. I could wait in the rain or I could walk, either to her park or home. I waited 20 minutes in light rain, then decided to walk home. I wasn’t sure which park soccer game was in, and I thought Elvi might miss me if I walked that way.

I walked about four kilometers. The rainstorm stopped about halfway. I only had to stop for shelter twice. The weight wasn’t bad, but the bag was unwieldy and would bang into my calves unless I held it high on my shoulders.

(By the way, that photo is borrowed from DramamineBoy, who offers hilarious tales of his own baseball exploits.)

Bonus admission:

I finally submitted and got myself a Facebook account. I’d noticed a number of blog visitors coming from Facebook, and the only way to see the link was to sign up. My post on Thunderdome nostalgia had been posted to the Thunderdome Montreal 1989 group.

The nice thing about Facebook is that I get to keep in touch with all the studious former journalism students. And some of them are quite studious.

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