Friday, December 29, 2006

...and We're Back

NASSAU, BAHAMAS - Hundreds were tragically blinded when the author of this blog went swimming in the Atlantic last week. Removing a t-shirt, he revealed a bleached skin that reflected the sun's light with the intensity of a supernova. Later, dressed like a 65 year-old retiree, he was seen waddling around the island gorging on conch fritters and self-serve draft Coors, demolishing three books, and avoiding interaction with tourists from Ohio.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Buffalo 21, Miami 0

The Buffalo Bills and I have long had an angst-filled relationship, as much for the opportunity cost of watching their games as for any style of play. I became a Bills fan in 1988 when, late on a Sunday afternoon while I should have been writing an essay, I watched rabid Bills fans tear down the goal posts with their bare hands after the Bills clinched their division by beating the Jets 9-6 in overtime.

For the next decade I followed the Bills every Sunday, usually when I should have been writing some paper. I suffered through four Superbowl losses, when I had math homework to do, and I cursed an exam for which I missed the comeback win against the Oilers in 1993. I found respite from this habitual procrastination when, during the Wade Phillips coaching era, I ditched football for NASCAR. In the last few years, however, I have returned to the fold just in in time for the Bills to sabotage my MBA. And so it was this past Sunday, when I should have been completing a school project, that I headed down the QEW to the City of Eternal Flame for my first live Bills game.

For someone whose perspective is rooted in 26,000-spectator Ottawa Rough Rider games, spending three hours with 70,000 wild-eyed Bills fans was overwhelming. The tailgating, which spanned mile upon mile of parking lot, is everything you've heard it is and Bills fans take every opportunity to supplement the experience with fire, seemingly unconcerned by flames licking the fuel tanks of their cars. With the Dolphins in town, fans didn't settle for incinerating stuffed dolphins, but were laying dead fish on the parking lot and driving over them to literally "squish the fish". You can imagine the salty epithets that were directed our way as we walked to and from the stadium with my mother-in-law who proudly wore her Dan Marino jersey and dolphin tattoos.

I'm now off to Nassau in the Bahamas for a week. If the business center attendant can tear herself away from the phone, I'll try to post. If I'm too busy eating conch fritters and reading Pegasus Descending, be sure to take in a claymation Christmas special or go see Rocky Balboa.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Memorable Christmas Gifts

We all have Christmas gifts we recall with great fondness, particularly from childhood. Here are a few of my own:

  • The Epson computer on which my brother and I spent hours playing Winter Games, Olympic Decathalon, Earl Weaver Baseball, and typing "a:\"
  • The AM/FM, dual cassette stereo from my parents
  • The G.I. Joe Combat Jet Skystriker left by Santa Claus behind the couch at 642

Saturday, December 16, 2006

An Iraq Solution: Roger Ramjet

As President Bush recalibrates his Iraq strategy, he should consider asking Roger Ramjet to do to the insurgents what he did to Noodles Romanoff and Red Dog the Pirate. Who doubts that Ramjet and his American Eagles could pop a couple of Proton Energy Pills and restore order? Witness how he handled the Enchilada brothers and Tequila Mockingbird in the San Domino Revolution.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The "Everything I Love" Christmas Wish List

The Parking Lot's Christmas list:

  • An extra large box of Wes' Chips
  • Caesars in the Adirondack chairs at Lou's Bar & Grill in Kits
  • A come-from-behind win by Damon Allen and the 1991 Ottawa Rough Riders at Lansdowne during Super Ex
  • An afternoon with Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcell on Bayou Teche, fishing for bass and drinking Dr. Pepper
  • An afternoon nap

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Update: London Blizzard of '06

I've returned to London for my rescheduled exam. The last few days of above-zero temperatures have taken their toll on the Great London Blizzard of '06. I'm glad I don't have a basement.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Christmas Day 2004: Daytona

I should be working on a school project right now, but the overcast day reminds me somehow of Christmas Day 2004 when the CFO and my brother indulged me with a trip to Daytona Beach. Santa was good to me that year, highlighted by the largemouth bass I hooked on my first cast into a puddle near our Orlando rental. Later, with the outlet malls closed, we battled Interstate traffic and a driving rain to visit Daytona International Speedway. Daytona is open 364 days of the year and, of course, we arrived on he 365th. Nevertheless, several cars were parked and while motorsports enthusiasts stumbled around, dazed by the colossus, their wives impatiently rolled their eyes at one another. I was able to snap some pictures with Dale and we drove on the beach before the rain sent us off in search of a Denny's.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Medical Arts Building: End of an Institution

The Medical Arts Building, on the northwest corner of St. George and Bloor streets, has been a community health care institution for almost 80 years. The University of Toronto, which owns the building, has evicted its doctors and dentists to make room for the English Department. I have been visiting my dentist there for twenty-five years and I'm left with fond memories, as much for the mornings off from school and the McDonald's breakfasts as for fluoride treatments and flossing instruction.

Friday, December 08, 2006

London Blizzard of '06

London has been buried by three feet of snow, closing school and cancelling my exam. There are some exams where you pray for this kind of reprieve. This is not one of them. With the trains still reportedly running, there's hope that I can escape, but getting to the station will be an adventure.

Update (9:00 a.m.): Taxis aren't taking calls and the lazy, unionized bus drivers haven't shown up for work, so I'm going to walk to the train station to escape this devastation.

Update (10:12 a.m.): I made it to the train station after catching a taxi half way. This snow storm really hasn't lived up to the hysterics of the A-Channel morning show hosts. They were reporting that offices have been closed and pleading that no one risk their lives by stepping outside. Later, they couldn't figure out why everyone was calling in to ask whether the malls were open.

Update (1:15 p.m.): This storm appears to have cut across southwestern Ontario like a knife. Ten minutes outside London, there is little more than a dusting.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Forget French Citizenship

Somebody just told me that Stephane Dion carries a change purse.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Earnings Per Share

When calculating fully diluted earnings per share, don't forget the effect of the tax rate on the income per incremental share attributed to debentures.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Logs Floating On Water

"Toronto" is an aboriginal word, but few agree on its specific meaning. According to The Terrific Toronto Trivia Book, likely published in an Annex basement in 1979, the five most accepted translations are:

  • Timber in the water
  • Logs floating on the water
  • A place of plenty
  • Place where trees stand in the water
  • Gateway from Lake Ontario to the country of the Hurons

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Stephane Dion Elected Liberal Leader

The Parking Lot's Liberal Insider, the Rubber Duck, kept us on top of things all day with his frequent dispatches from the floor of the Liberal leadership convention in Montreal. The following is a summary of how the day unfolded according to the Duck:

9:57 a.m. - BIG MO FOR RAE & DION

"Big Mo for Dion and Rae. The Iggy people are stunned. They will have to do something they never expected, make a choice."
"I've been working the Iggy delegates hard and they are still true believers. Too close to call."

Reporters keep asking Dion supporters whether it's a mistake to select another leader from Quebec. I wish one of them would respond, "No more than selecting one from Boston."

"Mood is somber among Rae people, but I think they're breaking 60-40 for Dion."
"Dion in a big way. I could never ever vote for Iggy. Ever."
"Iggy is satanic. That last line in his speech was like Darth Vader. 'I will bring you victory!!!!'"
"I am really looking forward to seeing the Iggy supporters lose. Especially those that joined right out of the box. On what basis? Nothing but manipulative opportunism. Ruby Dhalla, Brendan McGuinty, Cauchon, Smith, and, of course, Alf Apps."

Scott Brison steals the mantel of Biggest Loser in Canadian Politics from Stephen LeDrew by backing the wrong horse for the second time in one day. The Duck comments:
"He should be so characterized. An enduring image for me will be the sight of Iggy and Brison riding the escalator up to the Iggy suites. Brison was holding up Iggy's hand and shouting 'Okay!!! Come on!!!' as only Brison could yell it. The floor below was filled with Iggy supporters but they were damn near silent at the spectacle of offensively senseless opportunism."
"Just saw Marlene Catterall stumble by with a cup of Tim Hortons and an Iggy scarf."
"Je pense que Stephen Harper is a very happy man tonight."
Absolument, et moi aussi.