Some photos of the 2016 Ford Women’s World Curling Championships in Swift Current. This was shot with a Canon Powershot G5 that I reviewed for the weekend.
At Notre Dame, it’s exceptionally important to be considered different. Maybe nowhere else in the country is appearance so vital to the identity of a place: It fancies itself the high-minded sanctuary where athletic and academic excellence can coexist without the need to compromise on either. Feel free to debate how plausible that is. At Notre Dame, it must seem to be possible or else what’s the point. South Bend is no battleground for perception versus reality. Perception, it can easily be argued, is all there is.
So here is why Brian Kelly is in deep, deep trouble as the school’s current football coach: He is losing the perception crusade worse than he ever has, if he hasn’t completely lost it already. The football team is finishing the 14th losing season in 128 years of playing the sport, a year that began with multiple player arrests and ends with the NCAA ordering Notre Dame to vacate victories from 2012 and 2013 after an inquiry into academic fraud. The defeats would be problematic but not necessarily mortal sins, not in the context of Kelly’s tenure as a whole. A belly flop off the moral high ground, however, is intolerable at Notre Dame. And not even Kelly’s fiercest allies can protect him for long if very influential trustees and benefactors feel the fabric of their beloved institution is coming unwound.
It doesn’t even matter whether that’s true or whether Kelly, the seventh-year coach, bears responsibility for any of it. As soon as people of influence feel things are too significantly un-Notre Dame, those to blame are all but finished.
We say “all but,” because there’s nothing a 10-win season can’t cure. In this way Notre Dame has never been much different from anyone else. So far, Kelly has survived the death of videographer Declan Sullivan, who should never have been sent atop a scissor lift that collapsed due to high winds in October 2010. (I was in South Bend that day as the Notre Dame beat writer for the Chicago Tribune. The wind was anything but typical.) Kelly has survived the 2010 suicide of Lizzy Seeberg, a student at neighboring St. Mary’s College, which followed a much-criticized investigation into an alleged sexual assault of Seeberg by then-Notre Dame player Prince Shembo. (Notre Dame’s handling of the case ultimately prompted an investigation by the civil rights office of the Department of Education.) Kelly has even survived his own sideline tantrums, which drew the ire of Notre Dame fans who expect a certain level of comportment from their coach. (Though, honestly, where else does that happen?) Kelly has come through because there have been enough insular excuses and enough academic success paired with enough victories—a 55-23 record before the face plant of 2016—to help Kelly clear controversies large and small.
For those of you holding a Grey Cup (or a Western or Eastern Division playoff game), check out Wendy’s collection of recipes for watching the big game. There will definitely be something that is appropriate for the big game festivities this year, no matter who is playing.
You can find out more about Cottage Skateboards here.
It’s Wendy. I’m back to do my annual Christmas Gift Guide for the men in your life, whether that be your husband/boyfriend/father or even some grown children.
Keeping Track of Time
Let’s start with watches. Nothing quite turns a boy into a man like a good watch. Here are some great ideas any guys, whether that are always connected or love to get away from it all.
It does almost everything an Apple Watch does at a fraction of the cost. It also works with Apple iOS and Android devices.
- Notiﬁcations at a glance: calendar events, text and emails, incoming calls, and more.
- Includes Pebble Health, a built-in activity and sleep tracker with daily reports and weekly insights.
- Built-in microphone for voice notes and quick replies (sending voice replies works with AT&T iPhone accounts and most Android apps including SMS, Hangouts, Gmail, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp and hundreds more. iOS voice features for other carriers will be available in a future software update)
- 9.5mm thin chassis with curved, ergonomic profile.
- Marine Grade Stainless Steel bezel with PVD coating, matte and polished finishes.
- Tough, 2.5D glass display
- Tactile buttons for easy, eyes-free control.
- Magnetic charging with cable that works in any USB port.
- Vibrating motor for discreet alerts and alarms (wake yourself, not your loved ones).
- Includes 22mm Silicone Strap and USB Charging Cable.
- Battery life up to 7 days
- Water resistant to 30 meters
- Always on, color e-paper display with LED backlight
Another popular option is the Fitbit Blaze Smartwatch.
Luxury and quality don’t always have to cost a fortune. The Invicta Pro Diver men’s dive watch features a 43mm wide and 12mm thick solid stainless steel case with a unidirectional rotating blue accented silver tone bezel and textured screw down crown. Invicta is powered by Japanese TMI PC32A quartz movement. This stylish watch also features a sharp looking blue dial with white accents silver tone luminous hands and dot hour markers along with the date display function, scratch resistant flame fusion crystal and water resistant to 200 meters. The Invicta Pro-Diver watch comes in an original Invicta gift box and is backed by a 5 years limited warranty.
I bought one for Jordon for his 40th Birthday and it’s looks amazing and draws all sorts of attention whenever he goes out with it.
Discover the sleek, streamlined design of the Timex Men’s Atlantis 100 Watch. Features include a 100-hour chronograph with lap or split in large digits, an easy-to-use 100-hour countdown timer, a 99-lap counter, a daily alarm, day and month calendar, and a two time zone setting ideal for traveling. Thanks to the Indiglo night-light system, the digital face is easy to read, even in low-light situations. A strong black resin case and stationary black resin bezel hold a durable acrylic window to protect the dial, while a black resin strap with a buckle clasp make this watch ideal for exercising. This versatile timepiece uses precise quartz movement and is water-resistant up to 165 feet (50 meters).
Both Jordon and Mark have (different versions of this) watch and it is their everyday watch which is great for work, looks good if they are going out and tough enough when they are hiking the trail or we are camping.
For even less money, check out the attractive, tough and affordable Casio Illuminator watch.
Jordon has the 2016-2017 version and loves it. What makes this dayplanner better than all of the other ones out there, it has your weekly calendar on one side of the page with a full page of notes on the other side. It is a good enough planner to make Jordon give up Google Calendar and go back to pen and paper.
A great daytimer is nothing without a great pen. This pen is nice and durable enough that he will always want it with him but affordable enough that he won’t be afraid to leave home with it.
From there, let’s look at some personal gifts like an amazing shaving kit or as the British call them, a dopp kit. You can spend a lot of money on a dopp kit of use an old pencil case. Personally I find the Kenneth Cole Reaction Shaving Kit to be the perfect balance between the two and you get a bag he will use for the rest of his life while being a good value.
Don’t just get him a Dopp Kitt, inside it place some essential shaving products that he will love. The market leader is the Gillette Fusion Proglide Power Razor With Flexball Handle Technology. It’s a razor any man would love and if he doesn’t have one, it’s a great upgrade.
Jordon has preferred the Schick Hydro 5 Power since it came out. The blades are quite a bit less expensive then Gillette’s yet they last a long time and the shave is a great.
If you are looking to save some money up front and down the road, I recommend the Magnum M5 razor. We got one for Mark and he loves it. 5 blades, good shave and a package of blades lasts a long time.
Kingsley Shave Soap Bowl with Lid Dark Wood: This will last for decades and he’ll think of you every time he uses it.
Henry Cavendish Himalaya Shaving Soap with Shea Butter & Coconut Oil: He may not admit how good this feels on his skin but he will appreciate it.
Escali 100% Pure Badger Shaving Brush: The bristles on this brush are made from genuine pure badger hair, for a soft and luxurious feeling every time he shaves.
Victorinox Swiss Army Classic Eau de Toilette Spray: For when he goes out and wants to smell nice but still let the world know he is still tough enough to conquer it.
Jordon switched to one of these a few years ago and we later gave one to Mark for his birthday. It easily holds a bank card, a couple of credit cards, drivers license, health card, and a few others without causing your pain if you sit on it or irritate you if it is in your front pocket.
A great looking and affordable high quality leather briefcase. He will take it with him everywhere.
Out for an Adventure
Jordon’s grandfather had a wooden pocket knife that he carried with him every day for his entire life. This is the knife that your guy will carry will carry in his pocket each and every day of his life.
Not only that but if the fate of the world does happen to depend on him, he will be prepared with the same knife that MacGuyver had with him. If you are looking for a classic red Swiss Army Knife, check out this version.
Jordon and Mark aren’t big fans of Bear Grylls (they one time watched him bite the head off a large frog for no real reason) but they love this knife. It is small enough to carry in a pocket or toss in a bag that is ready and packed for adventure. Jordon’s knife has been used to make kindling for a fire, cutting some branches to cook with and is what he grabbed when we a wolf came into our campsite. He also uses it for work and carries it pretty much everywhere. If the guy you are shopping for takes pride in being self-reliant and the one that fix any problem, he needs a good knife. It’s one of those gifts that not only will he appreciate but when he bails everyone out because he has it, you will too.
Jordon has a Primus Classic Stove and Mark has a MSR Pocket Rocket stove but they fuel canisters. This does not. It burns twigs which are always around if you are camping and boils water in under 10 minutes.. It is a Gear of the Year winner from Backpacker Magazine and is ideal if the guy you are shopping for loves the outdoors.
Jordon gave me a pair of these for Mother’s Day and a pair for Mark for his birthday. Jordon keeps a small pair of binoculars in this bag all of the time for when we are hiking and they are great for watching Mark’s football games at SMF Field. The 10 times magnification is great for almost everything and they are good for almost any kind of daylight viewing.
Chilling out at Home
We live in a small house in Saskatoon. We don’t have the room for a vast sound system or home theatre system. So if we are entertaining at home, we want a great room filling audio system in a small package and good headphones when we want to escape into our work or a great playlist.
Let’s start with some headphones.
Bose Sound True around-ear headphones II were engineered with advanced Bose technologies. They feature exclusive TriPort technology so your music sounds deep, clear and full of life. The headphones feature a softly padded headband that distributes weight evenly across your head, and memory foam creates a gentle cushion around your ears. So they stay light and comfortable whether or not you are working in a co-working space or just relaxing to a long playlist at home.
If the cost of the Bose headphones are too much, check out a long lasting resident of these gift guides, the Sennheiser HD 202 II Headphones are a great value.
The HD 202 MK II closed, dynamic hi-fi stereo headphones are the ideal partner for DJs and powerful modern music, providing great insulation against ambient noise and a vivid, crisp bass response. The rugged lightweight headphones have a secure fit and can be used for both mobile sources and home (mini) hi-fi systems. When out and about, a convenient cord take-up lets you adjust the headphone cable to the required length.
For when we want some room filling sound, we use our Bluetooth speakers. It is discrete enough to never be noticed but has enough oomph to fill the room.
This is the sound system you have been looking for. For almost all of us, the first time we ever heard one of these, we went, “Oh, that is what the big deal is about.” The latest Bose Wave System IV works with your home Wi-Fi network and Bluetooth devices so you can play almost anything you can imagine. Use it to stream millions of songs from music services like Spotify and Pandora, thousands of Internet radio stations and your stored music library. There’s also a CD player and AM/FM radio tuner. So you can hear whatever you want with room-filling sound-all from an easy-to-use system that now comes in a new design.
It is the kind of gift that not only will he love but so will the entire household.
You really want an Amazon Echo
I don’t know how to best describe Amazon Echo other than comparing it to either the computer on Star Trek or Jarvis from Ironman. It is like Siri for your home.
It started out as a music player but it keeps getting smarter and smarter. Check this page out for what it can do now (and it keeps getting smarter in the future). Of course if you aren’t looking to play music, check out the Amazon Echo Dot. At $50 you can have them all over your house. If two of them hear you, the closest one answers. It connects with everything to your phone to your furnace. Again with it being cloud based, the upgrades happen online so you aren’t a slave to adding new hardware all of the time.
Anyone who owns a smartphone or tablet would probably enjoy owning a portable Bluetooth speaker. The best deliver sound quality that’s good enough for casual music listening, podcasts, and Internet radio. Portable Bluetooth speakers have a rechargeable battery that lets you easily take them all around the house or to the park or the beach. We’ve found they make hotel rooms feel more like home and long business trips much more bearable.
Here is what The Wirecutter has to say about the UE Roll 2
The original UE Roll was our unanimous pick for best portable speaker when we tested 30 new models last year, and we feel just as strongly about its replacement, the UE Roll 2. Like the original, the UE Roll 2 sounds full, with smooth reproduction of everything from bass notes to cymbals, and it plays loud enough to fill a hotel room or a beach blanket with sound. It’s so watertight it will survive being dunked one meter underwater for 30 minutes. Seven months of worldwide traveling with the original Roll have only confirmed our love of this design. The only real downside is that it lacks a speakerphone function.
For those who want even better sound quality and louder volume and don’t need their portable Bluetooth speaker to be super-portable, the Bose SoundLink Mini II is worth the cost (roughly twice the price of the Roll 2). It’s shocking to hear how much better the SoundLink Mini II sounds than most of its competitors, with clearer voices and a fuller sound closer to what you’d expect to hear from a decent small stereo system. It also plays loud enough to drown out a small dinner party. At 1½ pounds the SoundLink Mini II is perfect for lugging along on family vacations or from room to room in the house but probably heavier than backpackers and business travelers will want to carry.
These are always dirt cheap and available everywhere so it’s easy to dismiss them as not that good but The Wirecutter’s blind hearing test of in ear headphones consistently rates these near the top of their rankings despite their low price. So if you are on a budget but are looking for a great gift for a traveler, hiker, or someone who is always on the move, you can do a lot worse than a pair of these headphones.
A 6-inch, 20-watt downward-firing powered subwoofer. Eight 1-inch full-range transducers. Plug-and-play compatibility with virtually any multimedia device. And stunning industrial design that perfectly matches the clarity of the sound. The Harman Kardon SoundSticks III desktop sound system brings a new level of excitement to music, games and movies with a minimum of wiring and looks spectacular doing it.
Something to Watch
Looking for an affordable tablet? The Acer Iconia One 7” Tablet is the one you are looking for.
Jordon got one of these when he bought a Kindle a few years back. They protect the tablet well and people smile whenever he pulls a tablet out of one.
If you want to go higher end, check out the Apple iPad Mini 4.
Capture the Action
Why does he wants a drone? Why do you want a drone? Check out this video of a New Zealand family vacation which I love.
How much fun would one of these be to document a family vacation or a long weekend away. Our household is a big fan of Casey Neistat and his use of drones do such a great job of capturing his adventures and they are so easy to use.
One of the best drones one the market as well as more affordable than other options on the market. Since it folds up, it is small enough to fit in a shoulder bag and carry with you always. A 27 minute battery life gives you the time to capture all of the footage you want.
The Yuneec Breeze is another affordable drone that is designed for social media. If the DJI Mavic is there to capture cities and adventures, the Yuneec Breeze exists to capture you. It’s even easier to fly, works well inside and out, and has a 4k video camera to capture everything.
It doesn’t have the performance that the DJI Mavic does but it costs about half as much.
Around the House
So if you are convinced the world will end in 2017 or 2018, you probably already have this. For the rest of us, this seed vault offers a wide variety of seeds to take you guys garden to the next level.
These 20 fruits and vegetables provide an excellent source of nutrients you need for a well-balanced diet. Each seed variety is individually sealed to remove air and moisture and will store for five years and even longer at temperatures below 75 F.
What’s Inside the Survival Seed Vault:
- Blue Lake Bush Beans <150 seeds
- California Wonder Bell Pepper < 70 seeds
- Market more Cucumber < 150 seeds
- Scarlet Nantes Carrot < 800 seeds
- Parris Island Cos Romaine Lettuce < 900 seeds
- Golden Acre Cabbage < 530 seeds
- Detroit Dark Red Beet < 260 seeds
- Lincoln Sweet Pea < 100 seeds
- Stowell’s Evergreen Sweet Corn < 260 seeds
- Beefsteak Tomato < 180 seeds
- Champion Radish < 320 seeds
- Green Sprouting Broccoli < 500 seeds
- Waltham Butternut Winter Squash < 100 seeds
- Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach < 260 seeds
- Yellow Sweet Spanish Onion < 145 seeds
- Black Turtle Bean < 70 seeds
- Hales Best Cantaloupe < 70 seeds
- Snowball Cauliflower < 285 seeds
- Black Beauty Zucchini < 50 seeds
- Crimson Sweet Watermelon < 60 seeds
If you guy likes to cook, raise his game with one of these fun cookbooks this Christmas. I picked a barbecue/entertaining focus because not only will this encourage him to help out around the house but he’ll have some friends over to eat all of the food he has proudly made. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
You might us well upgrade his cooking utensil game while you are it.
A great all-round knife that at a great price. The Fibrox Pro 8″ Chef’s Knife is optimally weighted with high-quality, lightweight European steel that reduces hand and wrist fatigue, making it feel less like a knife and more like an extension of the hand. Perfectly suited for dicing onions, mincing shallots, chopping herbs, crushing garlic, slicing meats of all varieties, and shredding cabbage, its versatility will quickly make it his go-to knife.
- Grill set includes chef’s spatula, grill tongs, silicone basting brush, 4 pairs of corn holders, cleaning brush, and extra brush head
- Also includes aluminum storage case–perfect for the on-the-go griller
- Durable stainless-steel tool construction
- Elongated handles; convenient handle rings for hanging
- Spatula has built-in bottle opener
Time to Play
All work and no play makes for a dull guy. How about spicing up their games room with a dartboard, darts, and oak cabinet.
I don’t blog much about work but I thought you would like this.
My boss is a genuine long term New England Patriots fan. His wife is a Pittsburgh Steelers fan who hates the Patriots. I think that is awesome. They are genuine fans. I don’t know how their marriage survived some of those playoff games.
So being a Broncos fan, you know how classy and graceful I would have been when the Broncos beat the Tom Brady led Patriots twice and won the Super Bowl. Well I may have posted a photo of Tom Brady sitting on the turf near tears on the bulletin board. Just like that one to the left. See I can’t even help myself now. It wasn’t always classy. As a true fan, he accepted the mockery that his team was beaten by a team with a noodle armed QB.
Then this came out. The Broncos have the worst QB situation in the NFL.
That Sanchez may actually lose a training camp battle to Trevor Siemian tells you everything you need to know about his ability. The Broncos will not ask much from whomever they elect to start come Week 1: Just don’t turn the ball over too much and complete some simple play-action passes. But even that may be too much for Sanchez, who, even at an advanced age, is just a mess in the pocket, melting down at the first sign of pressure. And, unlike his predecessor Peyton Manning, Sanchez offers very little in the way of pre-snap adjustments.
When Denver signed him, friends phoned up and were like, “How are you and Mark handling this?” It was like this was sports news that was sooooo bad, it actually provoked some people I know to think, “I should phone up Jordon to see how he is handling this.”
Then you read the rest of the reviews and it’s like Mark Sanchez stole the writers girlfriend while at USC, they are all pretty fair. Sanchez is just that bad.
Guess who is number 1? Yeah, some dude from New England.
I read this and thought, “It’s going to be a long season at work.” Note that I said it wasn’t going to be a long day or week but a long NFL season at work.
I was left with a ethical work related dilemma. Do I show Glen this or just pretend it didn’t happen ignore the reality that Mark Sanchez is the Broncos QB. Maybe he wouldn’t realize how bad Mark Sanchez was. Yeah right. That whole AFC East thing.
When I showed the article to Mark, who is also a Broncos fan, he goes, “Bad couple of months at work ahead.”
So I emailed my boss with the subject like, “I’ll just get this out there” and sent him the link. He didn’t even read the entire list. Seeing the Broncos at the bottom of the QB pile was enough joy for him. If I was him, I would have just read it slowly and savored the list of horrible QBs that were listed as better than Mark Sanchez.
As Mark and I talked, we realized that there is only one way to get through this. That is go online and purchase this life sized replica of the Vince Lombardi Trophy and carry it around work wherever I go. If I am writing, I have it beside me. If I am in a meeting, it’s there with me as well. I even take it to the washroom or for lunch. Then whenever I am mocked for whatever Sanchez has buttfumbled this week, I say, “I’m sorry, I am just admiring my teams Super Bowl 50 trophy” and move on to the next topic.
Wendy wasn’t enthused at me spending almost $600 on this so it looks like a long season of mocking is ahead. Mark Sanchez, it literally can’t get any worse.
Update: Here is some feedback from friends.
- Dominant defenses generally slip the next season. There is little chance that Mark Sanchez could become Trent Dilfer. Partly because no one thinks that Sanchez is even as good as Trent Dilfer.
- There is some hope that Paxton Lynch could become a great QB but this year? It’s unlikely that he becomes the next Ben Roeslisberger and ride a dominant defense and running game to a 15-1 record. Also, that ended with a loss to the Tom Brady lead Patriots.
- My favorite comment was “even if you do buy the trophy, Sanchez would just fumble it”.
- Some Detroit Lions fans out there have told me that if they could win the Super Bowl, they would take Mark Sanchez and all of the mocking from Patriots fans in the world. So context is everything.
- I actually hoped the Broncos were able to draft Sanchez out of USC back in the Josh McDaniels era. Instead they drafted Tim Tebow. At least Sanchez is still back in the league. Well maybe that isn’t a good thing.
Now I will honor the Rules for being a Sports Fan. If there is anything left sacred in the world of sports, it is these rules. The main one is that I can’t complain for five years since the Broncos won a championship. So no Mark Sanchez complaining from me. None at all.
As a Canadian, I don’t have any experience with Verizon but they have done a decent job in stabilizing Aol and hopefully the same thing will be done with Yahoo! Maybe they can figure out what to do with their content properties like Yahoo! Sports.
I don’t understand Yahoo! Sports. They have an amazing roster of writers like Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Adrian Wojnarowski as well as some of the best bloggers in the business. I love their writing and coverage. It rivals the best in the business but for whatever reason, Yahoo! hides in the middle of all of this other crap that bring in from content farms or even the Yahoo! Contributor Network (where anyone could write garbage and it would appear on the site). That was the problem with the site, there was all of this garbage and you actually had to work to find the good stuff.
When the site was excellent, it was their contributors providing opinion, bloggers covering news, and the AP and wire services doing game summaries. You could go and easily find the teams you wanted to read about and the writers you wanted to follow. It was a combination that made them one of the best sites on the web. Now go look at it. All of it is sponsored or third party content disguised as click bait.
Hopefully Verizon will stop this and even it takes a short term loss, figure out how to make some of their signature sites great again. Some of the properties have gone from the best of the web to the worst. If Yahoo! ever becomes anything ever again, great and easy to find content will be a big part of it.
It looks like Muhammad Ali had it all under control. Great photo op though.
Some tourists gathered along a winding path here on a Thursday in early May, watching the waves from the Atlantic, hoping for a big one. The surf was so high that red flags were planted on the beach below, so even the cariocas – the locals – stayed on the sand. It was only a couple of weeks ago that one of the waves leapt up to a newly built portion of this path, and crumpled it like a wet cracker. At least two people died; their bodies were fished out of the surf by helicopters and laid onto the beach below.
The tourists hung out near a food cart with a bright umbrella, and the owner stepped outside and got a visitor’s attention. He gestured with his hand in an up-and-over motion. It was clear what he meant: every now and then a wave crashed over the ledge, and where the tourists were standing wasn’t quite safe. He returned to work; the tourists stayed where they were. The waves kept coming, higher and higher.
Brazil is a precarious place these days.
“Things are getting uglier here every day,” Brazilian soccer star Rivaldo wrote on his Instagram account Sunday. “I advise everyone with plans to visit Brazil for the Olympics in Rio – to stay home. You’ll be putting your life at risk here. … Only God can change the situation in our Brazil.”
The situation in Brazil right now looks like this: The economy is crashing and no one knows quite what to do about it. The Zika virus has caused paralysis and harrowing birth defects. The Olympics are less than three months away and that will bring security concerns. It will also bring some embarrassment, as the local Guanabara Bay is filthy and rancid. The beach surrounding it has no people, but rather empty cans and vials and diapers. It was supposed to be cleaned; it might never be cleaned.
Perhaps most troubling of all: an impeachment process in the midst of a corruption crisis leaves Brazil’s political future completely uncertain. Plan A has failed and there is no Plan B. When the Olympic flame arrived here on May 3, it was met by dueling protests – one side against a “coup” and another in favor of impeachment. A schoolteacher who watched the torch relay voiced a common wish: new elections. But who is worthy to win? No one has inspired any trust. The most popular politician is someone nicknamed “Tiririca.” He’s a professional clown. His campaign slogan was, “It can’t get any worse.”
So yeah… that “best games ever” seems out of reach.
It’s time to accept a certain reality: Jackson just isn’t cut out for this gig. The world has gotten bigger, and the talent pool has grown with it. An NBA executive must be a tireless workaholic, not an ex-coach who acts like his 11 championship rings make scouring the globe for talent beneath him. Jackson nailed Kristaps Porzingis, a transformative 7-foot-3 big man who will revolutionize the center position. Yet the frontrunner for the Knicks’ coaching job (incumbent Kurt Rambis) has suggested Porzingis play some small forward while staying loyal to a system (the triangle) that doesn’t seem to suit the young star.
The Knicks don’t have a pick next month, which is all the more reason for Jackson to put in the extra work. No asset is more attainable than a second-round pick, particularly from the handful of teams (Boston, New Orleans, Denver) with a few of them. Finding NBA talent there is difficult, but every year yields a Norman Powell, a Jordan Clarkson, an Allen Crabbe, and it’s often the most relentless executives who grab them.
Now is the time for Jackson to marshal his resources, not cruise through the Plains States on an ill-timed break. There’s video to be dissected, college coaches to be called, international scouts with information to be bled dry. Free agency – Jackson’s rebuilding method of choice – has changed, evolved. The magnetic pull to big markets has weakened, replaced by a marketplace of players fueled by a desire to win. New York, with its instability, its annual failures, just isn’t where the elite talent is looking to play.
I agree with Mannix, I have never liked the hiring of Jackson for this very reason. Jackson may be a great communicator and teacher but that doesn’t always make you a great talent evaluator or manager. Then there is his insistence to run the Triangle offense with a team that is not well suited to run it.
As I wrote about on Thursday, Ford Canada sent Wendy, Oliver, Mark, and myself to the 2016 Ford World Women’s Curling Championship in Swift Current, Saskatchewan on Friday and Saturday. Not only that but they gave us a 2016 Ford Explorer for the weekend to get us there and back.
I was given the vehicle on Thursday which gave me a day to get used to it. The Explorer is what you would expect from a luxury SUV. Lot of room, heated seats, air conditioned seats, heated steering wheel. Six cup holders up front. Heated seats in the second row. It also has different traction controls which on Thursday, it looked like I would need as we drove to Rosetown and then down south on Highway 4.
On Friday afternoon as we got ready to leave for Swift Current, I was loading the SUV with our bags and I noticed it had a third row of seats. Immediately Oliver volunteered to sit back there and chill out with his Nintendo 3DS. I picked up Wendy from work and we headed south with Mark in the middle row.
While three rows is more than we need, having it is amazing when travelling with a family. Both boys just did their own thing and didn’t say a word to each other. Not only that but because they weren’t on each other’s nerves for the ride down, they seemed almost thrilled to hang out again in the hotel and dinner. Not only did it make for a nicer drive, it made for a better drive.
The ride was the one thing I was curious about. Last week at this time, summer was here. Then winter came back and the weather was cool and snowy all week. I was wondering how the Ford Explorer would handle the roads between here and Swift Current. For those of you who don’t know, the Ford SUVs are incredible in slippery conditions. They drop down, add extra stability, and more or less own winter. Luckily the weather improved and it was a snow and ice free drive from Saskatoon to Swift Current and back. Not being able to test the all weather capability of the Ford Explorer was okay with me but it is nice to know about when you need it.
Wendy was incredibly sick on Friday and slept for most of the way. While the highways isn’t the best, the ride was quiet enough and smooth enough that she slept from outside of Saskatoon to almost Swift Current. She woke up in time for me to discover the seat massager which helped her with a really sore back. Combine that with heated seats, it made a big difference in her weekend. Wendy made a good point in writing about the weekend, the heated seats feel amazing if you are under the weather.
Of course the best part of the drive was that we listened to ESPN Radio. On ESPN, they aired constant commercials for Zyppah which is an anti snoring device. So Wendy is sleeping and snoring up a storm and every time the commercial comes on, we all crack up. Well except for Wendy, who was snoring.
When we got down to Swift Current, we check into the Motel 6 suite that Ford booked for us. It is a great hotel and was fine for the family. We got unpacked and went for a drive around Swift Current while we decided on dinner. Everyone we talked to suggested Wong’s Kitchen which is where we ended up. After ordering an order for 4, we all laughed when it came out. It was the biggest portions that I have ever seen in my life. It could have fed 10. After barely making a dent into pile of food, we called it a night and went back to the hotel.
If I have one complaint about the hotel it is that the chain doesn’t have a feedback form online so I can leave comments about how great of stay it was. Yes some idiots stumbled into the hotel early in the morning and woke everyone up but that isn’t the hotel’s fault. Being a concrete building, I only heard it on my floor and no clomping around above me. The room was clean, the service was good, and the free coffee was appreciated.
The next morning was early. All of us wanted to get up and explore a bit of Swift Current and get a good meal before heading to the Credit Union iPlex for the start of the curling. We got up, went to Humpty’s, stopped by Cypress Motors Ltd. and picked up our tickets and then checked out downtown Swift Current.
The architecture of First United Church
Then it was off to the Credit Union iPlex to get our seats before the Opening Ceremonies began.
I learned something very important yesterday. It doesn’t matter how loud you are or how many speakers your public address system has, it means nothing when 13 bag pipers walk into your hockey arena. The M.C. wasn’t quite done yet when the Pipes and drums from Saskatoon Legion #63 decided to make an entrance. No matter what needed to be said, the room belonged to these pipers.
There is nothing quite like 13 bag pipers going all out to start an event off right.
Before you ask where the photos are of Team Canada, the additional lighting that was installed to illuminate the ice worked great but Team Canada was marched in right in front of us, outside the additional lights. To make a long story short, my photos of them sucked.
So the after the pipers, piped, the drummers drummed and the speakers spoke, we had two hours to kill. I have written about how bad the food was at SaskTel Centre is before. Then I go to Swift Current where the food is absolutely amazing. There were so many choices that it was kind of overwhelming. Not only were there choices beyond burgers and nachos, there were good and exciting choices. So instead of leaving the arena, we ate there and were thrilled with our choice.
There was a souvenir area that I went in with Wendy. I wanted to give her a curling rock themed toque but she said absolutely not. Instead I got her a t-shirt, a coffee cup, and a pair of curling rock shaped earrings. Oliver wanted a Canadian flag to wave so I got him that and a pin. Everyone was full and happy when they sat down for the start of the first draw.
For you curling fans out there, Canada fell into a deep hole, climbed out of it, gained the lead, lost the lead, and then won in overtime. It was a little tense for those of us who were right there. We were all happy and relieved when Team Canada pulled out the win against a great team from Denmark.
So this is the Russian skip. She never said a single word the entire game. She was playing (and destroying) the Italian team whose skip talked the entire game. One sheet over was the Japanese team who screamed, pleaded, and begged the rock to do what she wanted it to (it worked as her team won) but the Russian skip was quiet all game. Never yelled the Russian equivalent of hurry or hard once. Of course from where I was watching, the Italian team was out classed so maybe she was quiet because she didn’t need to say anything.
After leaving the Credit Union iPlex, we fueled up and started the drive home. It’s a great driving SUV. I am still really partial to the Ford Escape, if I was looking for something larger, the Ford Explorer is a great option. It made a long drive seem effortless. If you are looking for a larger SUV that seats seven, this is what you are looking for. I drove over 600 kilometers in it and didn’t have a complaint. Even more importantly, no one else in the family did either.
Last night w got home in decent time and called it a night. While the Motel 6 in Swift Current was great, there is nothing quite like sleeping in your own bed, even if that means you have to fight a dog for space and covers.
Wendy writes about her weekend with the Ford Explorer and the 2016 World Women’s Championships here.