Wednesday, December 31, 2008

NHL Winter Classic

I never played hockey, I can't stand up on ice skates. I do enjoy the game though. Now that the Bruins are playing so well, I've even started watching them again. (The last few years were just too frustrating).

At first I thought the annual NHL Winter Classic outdoor was dumb and gimmicky but I have grown fond of the idea. I am really looking forward to tomorrow's game at Wrigley.
http://www.nhl.com/ice/eventhome.htm?location=/winterclassic/2009

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sloth, gluttony and drunkenness

That about sums it up. Since getting an infection this summer I have been virtually completely inactive. I was well on my way to sloth before I got sick but since then I have been inert.

Nega-Coach has coaxed me into doing a very hilly, tough ride in August. He’s even outlined a basic plan for getting ready. I am, for the first time, intimidated by my bike. I have never approached cycling with any sort of plan or goal. I would ride when I wanted to and if I felt good I’d ride a bit more or harder. The problem lately though is I never feel like riding.

I have gotten so heavy that I just feel awful on a bike.

I ordered a new frame Friday and will be selling my Pista and probably my Surly frameset to make room and defray cost. While the bike is not solely for the August endeavour it has been spec’ed with the ride in mind. I hope the outlay of cash as well as having the goal out in the open will prod me into action. I am really afraid of failure.

Wish me luck and go for a ride with me.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Stay (I Missed You)


Evidently Armstrong has knocked up Lisa Loeb.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sazerac

Really nice whiskey.

http://www.sazerac.com/aWhiskey.aspx

Monday, December 15, 2008

Over thinking the shoe throwing

So a crazy reporter with a weak sense for self-preservation threw his shoes at President Bush. Funny Youtube video, many of us who are none to fond or our POTUS are having a good laugh.

A lot of people only see the humour of an absurd occurrence. I think it is horrifying that the guy could get the second shoe Prezward before the Secret Service muckled him.

What if the hurler had decided to use a pistol or IED rather than a shoe to make his point? Do you think Obama would be able to pull out of Iraq if the sitting POTUS was assassinated there?

The first ever il Bruce race report!

photo pinched from Solobreak

I did not race, nor shall I ever race again, at the Ice Weasel Cometh race Saturday. I was in attendance to support the Nega-Coach MSPCA initiative. It turns out that as Pucci says, bike racers are cheap pricks. There were few takers for the bargain Nega-Coaching offer. Their loss.

I had a great time at the race. There were fewer entitled racer types than I have seen lately. Maybe it was the end of season party nature of the race that kept the mood so enjoyable. It was a party with a bike race rather than a bike race with a party. Make sense?


It turns out that the course was at Doc Raymond’s house. I did not know the good doctor but he tended to my mother in law’s medical care for many years as well as that of my wife. Mom in law, who as you may know, is a cyclist and cyclocross fan, was tickled pink to have a race in her neighborhood. She and number two Dad enjoyed themselves as well.


The course made imaginative use of the limited area. Quite impressive. It took me a few laps of watching before I got a grasp of what was going on. Course designers have a gift I don’t have to see possibilities in terrain. I read a bit of criticism of courses but never any from people who have had to figure out where to put the tape.

I turned out to be a cold but gorgeous winter afternoon. It was warm enough to have a few beers without getting chilled. (A tot or two of Wild Turkey helped).


I have no idea what transpired on the course. I yelled at the few people I knew racing, primarily Solobreak and the wonderful Giulia. The rest of the time was spent visiting with old friends and making a couple new friends. No better way to spend a Saturday afternoon.


The apr├Ęs cross was fun too. Liz met us over at her parent’s house for dinner and tales from our celebrity guest. It was easily one of the most enjoyable afternoons of the season. Thanks to IBC, the Raymond family, SB and all the bike geeks for a good time.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dougie Says:

Not all Ice Weasels are weasels.


One of the last cyclocross races of the season, The Ice Weasel Cometh, is this Saturday, December 13th in Wrentham. The race is just past the Wrentham outlets heading toward Wrentham Center right on Rt 1A.
www.bikereg.com/events/register.asp?eventid=7360

I looks like there will be a pretty good turnout despite many New England riders heading to Kansas City for the National Championships. The highlight of the day is sure to be the NegaCoach fundraiser for the MSPCA Angell animal hospital. Read about it here:
http://solobreak.blogspot.com/

For a $40.00 donation to you get 40 days of tough love (without the love) coaching and assorted goodies from NegaCoach Dave

http://davefoley.com/bikeracing/negacoach/index.html

Friday, December 05, 2008

BBC

So how about it?

Solo wants me to be the Phantom Gourmet of gin mills...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Oh Jeeze. If this is a prank or plant...

teh mutha shoudl hang.

November 4

E. Providence poll closed after powder found
12:56 PM Tue, Nov 04, 2008
EAST PROVIDENCE -- A polling place in East Providence has been closed after a suspicious white powder was found.

Maryann Callahan, canvassing authority administrator, said the Grove Avenue Elementary School was closed after a poll worker found a white powder on the floor, touched it and developed a rash around 11:30 a.m.

The worker was taken to a hospital.

Nine poll workers have quarantined.

Some 307 people had voted before the substance was discovered.
Callahan says they hope to reopen the voting site. Hazardous materials teams and decontamination teams are now on the scene.
-- With reports from projo.com staff writers Kate Bramson and Maria

Monday, October 20, 2008

London Shame


Today is the first day back at Deathnic Inc after a week off.

We spent most of last week in NY. We went to Niagara Falls and hung out at a great bar in T-burg. Visited with family. Very nice.

We came home Thursday to find the builders still effing about with our deck and porch. It’s taken them 2 full days to install a sliding door and it’s still not framed up.

We escaped the mess Sunday and went to the Canton Cup cyclocross race. Kinda disappointing. There were no spectators to speak of and the elite fields were very small. The highlight of the day was hanging with NegaCoach after the race. We had a nice dinner and a few beers.

I think I had 5 pints of Fuller’s London Pride and I as am hung over as I’ve been in a long time. No headache but still groggy and blah, I’m glad I had a designated driver. We had a nice time. Nega is fun guy to bench race and share some social lubricant with.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

It's Time to...


I don’t mind change in most cases. Time marches on. What does bother me is manufactured image change. “New Look Packaging!” touted along with “Same Quality Product”.

New England grocery store chain Stop and Shop has ditched its iconic traffic light logo for a stylized fruit bowl. I guess sister company Giant has also adopted the logo.

I’m sure it will save on advertising and store brand labeling costs but Stop & Shop like Dunkin Donuts is a New England original and its iconography is a big part of local culture.

On the Cape and need chips? The stores are ubiquitous in New England most bigger towns will have an S&S. Market saturation is pretty good. There are the same old players, Shaw’s/Star Market and the emerging Hannaford’s and Big Y. I just don’t see the reasoning behind such a drastic change to a local icon.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tip of the Iceberg?




So it seems that the Chinese Olympic team is messing with the ages of their female gymnasts. A reverse Danny Almonte situation.

Bring the cynic I am, I was expecting a raft of sketchy behaviour from the host nation. Their win at all costs coming out party just seemed to offer so much temptation to cheat. I was pleasantly surprised that there have been no signs of doped Chinese swimmers, cyclists, or anybody else. I thought hoped that they were just taking advantage of enthusiasm and superb athletes. Nothing fishy like the mountain bikers who still wear underpants under their skin suits.

Then along comes He Kexin who may be as much as three years too young to compete. A Chinese government website noted last year that she was 13. The site has been removed. Now her official birth date is January 1, 1992. Olympic rules state that a female gymnast must be 16 during the Olympic year. Not too fishy.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Mask

So, let’s get this straight, the USOC gives athletes masks to protect against the poor air quality in Beijing then is embarrassed when they wear them?

The athletes apologized on their own without coercion (sure they did) for any embarrassment caused to the host nation.

Embarrassment? Just wait until the security forces start cracking skulls.

See below:

Cyclists apologize over mask row
By Agence France Presse
Posted Aug. 6, 2008

Four American cyclists who wore filter masks because of pollution concerns when arriving in Beijing apologized Wednesday to Olympic organizers, U.S. Olympic Committee chief executive Jim Scherr said.

Mike Friedman, Bobby Lea, Sarah Hammer and Jennie Reed were among about 200 athletes from an American delegation of 596 who were issued masks by their national governing bodies to combat pollution in Beijing.

"They've now seen how their actions have been perceived," Scherr said. "They were very eager to take the right action, which was to apologize to their hosts."
U.S. Olympic officials released the statement from the foursome, who said the masks were not intended as anything but a precautionary measure.

"We offer our sincere apologies to BOCOG, the city of Beijing, and the people of China if our actions were in any way offensive. That was not our intent," the message read. "The wearing of protective masks upon our arrival into Beijing was strictly a precautionary measure we as athletes chose to take, and was in no way meant to serve as an environmental or political statement.

"We deeply regret the nature of our choices. Our decision was not intended to insult BOCOG or countless others who have put forth a tremendous amount of effort to improve the air quality in Beijing. We look forward to putting this incident behind us while we prepare for our competition next week."

U.S. officials said they would not prevent athletes from using masks to combat pollution, whether in sports events or not, if they felt it was needed because of air quality conditions.
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"They have the right to wear masks if they feel it's in their best interest to do so," Scherr said. "Hopefully they won't have to use them and the air quality will be good."

The perception that Beijing's pollution, which prompted a shutdown of factories and reduction in auto travel during the Olympics, was so harmful that Olympians needed masks on arrival was seen as a slap in the face to organizers.

"You never want to go to somebody else's place and cause any embarrassment and in this case some of them did," said USOC chairman Peter Ueberroth, who said the cyclists apologized without prompting from U.S. Olympic officials.

"We're not chastising anybody. They came forward of their own volition."
U.S. cyclists wore the masks in the airport before even being exposed to the Beijing air over concerns that extra exposure to pollution might affect their breathing and therefore diminish their results in Olympic cycling events.

"It probably wasn't the most opportune time for these athletes to wear these masks," Scherr said. "They were overly cautious. Those athletes have written an apology to BOCOG."
Scherr noted that fractions of seconds can decide the fate of the competitors involved and that each was simply looking for every possible edge by wearing the masks as a precaution.

"It wasn't in the best judgment at the time," he said. "We believe, hopefully, this will be the last incident of this kind."
Steve Roush, the U.S. Olympic chief of sport performance, met with the cyclists regarding their using the respiratory masks, which have an air filter within them. Any U.S. governing body seeking masks were provided with them.

"It's not a very fancy device," Ueberroth said.
Roush also said air quality has improved every day in Beijing so far.

"The trend is the direction we wanted to see it go," he said. "Clearly it's a direction BOCOG and the IOC wanted to see."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Done

Done.

I’m done. I have lost all interest in riding my bike. I have only been managing 3 rides a week, all short, all slow. I have not felt good on the bike all year.

I look at the bike with dread and guilt.

Teddy Toe Clips, a long time mentor and role model has even suggested that I forget about it for a while. No sense in pushing the issue. Wait it out until the itch returns.

I’m not sure it will. I find myself getting more and more aggravated with traffic, crappy roads, idiot driver and mostly my inability to feel right on the bike.

I have been leaving a bike in the dining room so it will be easy to get out the door but is had been sitting there for over a week unridden. I put in the basement last night so I wouldn’t have to look at it.

It’s like a friend passing away and not caring.

This is as bad as I’ve felt in years.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The other end




Like SB I get a little annoyed about amateur athletes bitching about hardship. Especially those who are Masters or lifetime sub elite athletes. It’s a hobby guys. If it’s too dear quit or cut some corners on equipment. Take the money saved and put it in your kid’s college fund.

There has been little hullabaloo in Rhody about our newest Olympian. Elizabeth Beisel from North Kingstown has made the Olympic swimming team at 15 years old. That’s right, she is 37% as old as Dara Torres.

The local news is full of the 14-year-old LaSalle girl golfer Juliet Vongphoumy who won the boy’s championship (from the ladies’ tees) this year. As of yesterday she was tied for 91st 14 stokes off the pace after the first round of the RI Amateur. She is playing from the men’s tees this tournament.

Both girls are superb at their sport. But which is a bigger achievement. Making an Olympic team or being 9 over par on a local RI course? I wonder which young woman will have greater long term success in sport and in life?

Swimming will have to give way at some point to age and lack of high quality of competition. A young golfer, if good enough, can continue as a pro for ages or be fried by 20 like Michelle Wei or Ty Tryon.

Where is Conrad LeBas? What happened to John DiPippo? Why do so many fantastic junior cyclists disappear once they hit seniors? Is it better to be a Type A , driven, middle-aged weekend warrior or a washed up junior phenom? What are we trying to get out of sport? Who is driving the junior and what is haunting the Master?

Enjoy it. It you are not going to make a living out of it remember where you stand and what you hope to get out of sport.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Great Belgian Lager

I can hear the rednecks howl.



"InBev steps up its courting of Budweiser maker
David Gow in Brussels
guardian.co.uk,
Thursday June 12 2008
Article history

Budweiser bottle
Inbev, the Belgian brewer, today saw its shares leap more than 4% after last night tabling an unsolicited $46.3bn (£23.76bn) bid for US rival Anheuser-Busch. If successful, the bid move would create the world's biggest beer-maker, with brands ranging from Stella Artois and Becks to Budweiser.



The Belgian group, which is offering $65 a share, is under pressure to sweeten its all-cash proposal closer to $70 but stepped up its courting of the maker of Budweiser by stressing its admiration for the Anheuser board and offering to take a "number of directors" on to the board of the new group. Anheuser shares rose 7% late on Wednesday.
Carlos Britos, Inbev chief executive, said in a video statement that there was a "strong business rationale" behind the offer and is due to step up his wooing in a conference call with investors later today.



Inbev, whose stable of brands includes Stella Artois, Becks and Bass, claims its offer represents a 35% premium on Anheuser's average share price before speculation of its approach surfaced. It says it is seeking a "friendly combination".
Britos has requested a meeting with his opposite number at Anheuser, August Busch, but has so far received no response. The US group did not reject the offer out of hand but said it would study it carefully. Inbev executives discussed its potential offer with Busch in Tampa on June 2 but made no formal proposal.



Britos has promised to make St Louis, Missouri - Anheuser's home town - the headquarters of the new group's North American operations and the global home of Budweiser. InBev says the new group would have combined sales of $36.4bn and pre-tax earnings of $10.7bn.
The bid is now the focus of warring websites, with InBev creating a new site http://www.globalbeerleader.com/ and opponents of the offer creating a rival site http://www.savebudweiser.com/ which has already received almost 32,000 of signatures from those determined that an American icon such as Budweiser should not fall into foreign hands. The site highlights the US company's charitable donations, its environmental awareness and says it is a "huge supporter of our military and their families both here and abroad".



"Let's band together as one voice and try to save more than just our beer," it says. "We don't want another American icon turned over to a foreign company; we want the motto to remain ... The Great American Lager."
About this articleClose



This article was first published on guardian.co.uk on Thursday June 12 2008. It was last updated at 12:20 on June 12 2008."

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Irena Sendler

We are losing heros in a hurry.

Lifted from "The Telegraph"

Social worker who saved 2,500 Jewish children in Warsaw and was tortured by the Gestapo.
Irena Sendler: We are not heroes. I continue to have qualms of conscience that I did so little
Irena Sendler, who died yesterday aged 98, is credited with having saved the lives of some 2,500 Jewish children in the Warsaw ghetto during the Second World War.
By 1942 the Germans had herded some 500,000 Polish Jews into the ghetto – an area of about one square kilometre – to await transportation to the extermination camps. Starvation and disease, especially typhoid, were endemic.

Irena Sendler was a Polish Roman Catholic social worker in the city who already had links with Zegota, the code name for the Council for Aid to Jews, and in December 1942 Zegota put her in charge of its children's department.

Wearing nurses' uniforms, she and a colleague, Irena Schultz, were sent into the ghetto with food, clothes and medicine, including a vaccine against typhoid. It soon became clear, however, that the ultimate destination of many of the Jews was to be the Treblinka death camp, and Zegota decided to try to save as many children as possible.

Using the codename "Jolanta", and wearing a Star of David armband to identify herself with the Jewish population, Irena Sendler became part of this escape network. One baby was spirited away in a mechanic's toolbox.

Some children were transported in coffins, suitcases and sacks; others escaped through the sewer system beneath the city. An ambulance driver who smuggled infants beneath the stretchers in the back of his van kept his dog beside him in the front seat, having trained the animal to bark to mask any cries from his hidden passengers.

In later life Irena Sendler recalled the heartbreak of Jewish mothers having to part from their children: "We witnessed terrible scenes. Father agreed, but mother didn't. We sometimes had to leave those unfortunate families without taking their children from them. I'd go back there the next day and often found that everyone had been taken to the Umschlagsplatz railway siding for transport to the death camps."

The children who were taken by Irena Sendler were given new identities and placed with convents, sympathetic families, orphanages and hospitals. Those who were old enough to talk were taught Christian prayers and how to make the sign of the Cross, so that their Jewish heritage would not be suspected.

Like the more celebrated Oskar Schindler, Irena Sendler kept a list of the names of all the children she saved, in the hope that she could one day reunite them with their families.
On the night of October 20 1943 Irena Sendler's house was raided by the Gestapo, and her immediate thought was to get rid of the list: "I wanted to throw it out of the window but couldn't, the whole house was surrounded by Germans. So I threw it to my colleague and went to open the door.

"There were 11 soldiers. In two hours they almost tore the whole house apart. The roll of names was saved due to the great courage and intelligence of my colleague, who hid it in her underwear."

The Nazis took Irena Sendler to the Pawiak prison, where she was tortured; although her legs and feet were broken, and her body left permanently scarred, she refused to betray her network of helpers or the children whom she had saved. Finally, she was sentenced to death.
She escaped thanks to Zegota, one of whose members bribed a guard to set her free. She immediately returned to her work using a new identity. Having retrieved her list of names, she buried it in a jar beneath an apple tree in a friend's garden.
In the end it provided a record of some 2,500 names, and after the war she attempted to keep her promise to reunite the children with their families. Most of the parents, however, had been gassed at Treblinka.

Irena Sendler was born Irena Krzyzanowska in Warsaw on February 15 1910 into a Polish Roman Catholic family. Her father was a physician who ran a hospital at the suburb of Otwock, and a number of his patients were impoverished Jews.
Although he died of typhus in 1917, his example was of profound importance to Irena, who later said: "I was taught that if you see a person drowning, you must jump into the water to save them, whether you can swim or not."

After the war Irena Sendler continued in her profession as a social worker and also became a director of vocational schools. In 1965 she became one of the first Righteous Gentiles to be honoured by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem. At that time Poland's Communist leaders would not allow her to travel to Israel, and she was unable to collect the award until 1983.

In 2003 she was awarded Poland's highest honour, the Order of the White Eagle; and last year she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, eventually won by Al Gore.
A play about her wartime experiences, called Life in a Jar, was written in 2000 by a group of American schoolgirls. It was performed on more than 200 occasions in the United States, Poland and Canada.

She was also the subject of a biography by Anna Mieszkowska, Mother of the Children of the Holocaust: The Story of Irena Sendler. Last year it was reported that Irena Sendler's exploits in Warsaw were to be the subject of a film, with Angelina Jolie in the starring role.
In her latter years Irena Sendler was cared for in a Warsaw nursing home by Elzbieta Ficowska, who – in July 1942, at six months old – had been smuggled out of the ghetto by Irena in a carpenter's workbox.

In 2005 Irena Sendler reflected: "We who were rescuing children are not some kind of heroes. That term irritates me greatly. The opposite is true – I continue to have qualms of conscience that I did so little. I could have done more. This regret will follow me to my death."
Irena Sendler's first husband was Mieczyslaw Sendler. The marriage was dissolved, and she later married Stefan Zgrzembski, with whom she had two sons and a daughter. One of the boys died in infancy, and her second son in 1999. Her daughter survives her.
Story from Telegraph News:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1950450/Irena-Sendler.html

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

J.D. Drew is a.....

a.) pussy
b.) big pussy
c.) fucking pussy

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

So long, Tina

So, I saw over at Sports by Brooks that Tina Cervasio "left" NESN after her contract expired (wasn't renewed?). I hadn't noticed she was gone.

Honestly, she annoyed the feck out of me.

The new head is some Kathryn Tappen clone named Heidi Watney.
http://blog.masslive.com/redsoxmonster/2008/04/will_this_woman_take_red_sox_n.html

Baseball doesn't need sideline reporters, it doesn't need in game interviews with annoyed managers. Just show us the game. Let Remy and Orsillo do their jods without jammering sports bims.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

It's a Girl!


If your kid does sports it’s never too early to talk to them about the danger of drugs and “supplements”.

Tammy Thomas was an Olympic cyclist who was banned for life for steroid use. Then she got caught in the same Balco deal that is looming over Barry Bonds. Thomas is the first one of the Balco athletes to go to trial. (Started yesterday).

See story here:
http://www.insidebayarea.com/oaklandtribune/ci_8689541

A photo of Thomas while she was competing:
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/125/322518981_04c0c0494e.jpg

A photo taken last week at pre-trial hearings:
http://whatithink.bostonbiker.org/files/2008/03/tammy-thomas-2007.jpg

Yes, it really is the same woman. It remains to be seen what long term effects the drugs will have on her. Another cyclist busted for steroid use (long before anybody ever heard of EPO) Cindy Olavarri has had long term joint issues and a permanent voice change.

Unintentional cheating is also in the news. Hammer Nutrition (Available at Whole Foods!) is being sued by a number of elite athletes that were contracted to use their products. It seems that some products were contaminated with a banned anabolic steroid.

Read story here:
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news.php?id=features/2008/neben_court_case08

Keep an eye on what your kids are doing as well as what you put in your own body to get you through a tough club ride.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

RIP Sheldon

Long time subscribers to the NBW list know that I periodically misuse it to muse on the passing of cultural icons. Fred Rogers, Syd Barrett and Johnny Cash come to mind. These essays are usually tinged with the regret of not having met great people or not letting them know in some way that they have contributed in someway to the quality of my life.

When I read of the passing of some of the people I looked up to, and as I get further into middle age the list grows quickly, I often feel an odd loss. It is a selfish feeling. A feeling that I will never get the chance to ask them a question to share a minute or two of time and space. It may be an odd feeling but how great would it have been to ask Jim Henson which was his favorite Muppet? I feel genuine loss when the world loses a person I admire and realize that their contributions to our lives are over.

I do not wish to rub shoulders with celebrities or particularly care who the new “It Girl” is but I would have loved to thank Mr. Rogers for his part in making my dark childhood a bit brighter. Does that explain it?

I wrote this for the NBW list:

As I noted yesterday Sheldon Brown has died. I won’t get into detail as to who Sheldon is and what he did. If you are not familiar with him visit http://www.sheldonbrown.com/ and have a browse. I feel a big loss at losing Sheldon. He was a larger than life icon among bike mechanics and bike geeks. While not a media phenomenon Sheldon was world-renowned. He is spoken of with reference by bike geeks near and far. He had a well-considered opinion on all things cycling. We was a singer, dancer, photographer, teacher and student of many subjects. Unlike the other icons I’ve mentioned I have had the pleasure of meeting Sheldon. I’m sure I made no real impression on him but he was neat to be around.

I first met him when he interviewed me for a job at Harris six or so years ago. He was much more cordial than I had been told to expect. Maybe my resume did enough to assure him that I was a bike guy not just a guy looking for a job. I was not offered the job. The Harris family and Sheldon were concerned that I lived too far from the shop. Or so they said. It was a polite let down.

I next met Sheldon at the Larz Anderson Bike Show. Before the show like-minded retro grouches rode our bikes into Boston for coffee and then did some urban off roading back to the park for the antique bike show. Sheldon was surprisingly strong on the bike.

The last time I saw Sheldon was at a retro-grouch ride I hosted a few years ago. Sheldon and about a dozen other steel frame and wool jersey fans collected in Bristol for a modified NBW Barrington Ride. The as yet undiagnosed MS that would effect the last years of his life slowed Sheldon down that day and he couldn’t keep up. Ted Shwartz offered to stay with him and shepherd him back to the start. After the ride we all had lunch at Aidan’s. Sheldon tucked into his steak and beer with gusto all the while entertaining questions from his enthralled (star struck maybe) dining companions.

Reading some of the eulogies rolling in for Sheldon, many by people who never had the pleasure of interacting with him, made realize that I had my chance with Sheldon. I could have thanked him for all his help. I didn’t, I blew it. I figured there is always time. It’s not like he’s all that famous. He’s accessible, not like a real famous person I’ll never get the chance to meet. Now he’s dead. His children have lost their father and Harriett has lost her soul mate and bike nerds are left to read his wisdom on glowing screens.

Special people surround us all. They don’t need to be entertainment, or internet celebrities to be stars. Enjoy their company. Don’t be shy. Thank them for making your life better, more fun, or interesting.

Go with G*d Sheldon.

Il Bruce

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Raoul Wallenberg

From the Montreal Gazette Online 1/17/2008

Remembering Raoul Wallenberg
Irwin Cotler, Montreal Gazette

Today, Raoul Wallenberg Commemorative Day, is an important moment of remembrance and reminder. It marks the 63rd anniversary of the Jan. 17, 1945 disappearance of Raoul Wallenberg, the lost hero of humanity, whom the United Nations characterized as "the greatest humanitarian of the 20th century."

Wallenberg, a Swedish non-Jew who saved thousands of Jews in the Holocaust, is the embodiment of the Talmudic and Quranic idiom that whoever saves a single life, it is as if they have saved an entire universe.
The lost hero of the Holocaust confronted the Nazi killing machine and showed not only that one person can make a difference, but that one person can resist, that one person can confront, that one person can indeed prevail over radical evil.



Raoul Wallenberg's incredible heroism included the granting of the Shutzpasses - the diplomatic passes which provided protective immunity to their recipients and, in fact, influenced other governments - the Swiss, the Portuguese, the Spanish, and the Vatican legations - to follow his example. As a result of this singular provision of diplomatic immunity, thousands were saved by this route alone.

Wallenberg led the establishment of protective havens - the international ghetto as it came to be called - 32 safe houses protected by neutral legations.
Once again, he inspired other legations to follow his example, and with this initiative alone saved some 32,000 people.

Wallenberg's organization of hospitals, soup kitchens, child-care centres - the staples of international humanitarian assistance - provided women, children, the sick, the elderly - the most vulnerable of victims - with a semblance of human dignity in the face of the worst of all horrors and evil.

He rescued thousands from deportation and death in October 1944 alone when the Arrow Cross - the Nazi puppet government in Hungary - unleashed a wave of murderous deportations and atrocities. At the railway stations, Wallenberg provided, once again, the protective Shutzpasses to remove Jews about to be deported to a certain death.

In November 1944, as thousands of Jews, mainly women and children, were sent on a 200-kilometre death march, Raoul Wallenberg followed, distributing food, medical supplies and improvised certificates. To the Jews, Wallenberg was the guardian angel. For Adolph Eichmann, the bureaucratic desk murderer responsible for the Final Solution of Hungarian Jewry, Wallenberg was the Judenhund Wallenberg: Wallenberg the Jewish dog.

Wallenberg's last rescue was perhaps the most memorable. As the Nazis were advancing on Budapest, threatening to blow up the Budapest ghetto and liquidate the remnants of Hungarian Jews - some 70,000 in the Budapest ghetto alone - Wallenberg put the Nazi generals on notice, including Nazi General Schmidhuber - that they would be brought to justice, if not executed, for their war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The result was that the Nazi generals desisted from their assault, and 70,000 more Jews were saved, rescued by the incredible courage of one person who was prepared to confront evil and resist.

Canada established Raoul Wallenberg Commemorative Day for Canadians to learn about, reflect upon, and be inspired by the incredible heroism this great humanitarian who, in his singular protection of civilians in armed conflict, signified the best of international humanitarian law; who, in his singular organization of humanitarian relief, exemplified the best of humanitarian intervention; who, in his warning to Nazi generals that they would be held accountable for their crimes, foreshadowed the Nuremberg principles; who, in saving 100,000 Jews, personified the Talmudic idiom that if a person saves a single life it is as if he or she has saved an entire universe; and who, in having the courage to care and the commitment to act, showed that one person can confront radical evil, prevail, and transform history.

Today, Raoul Wallenberg deserves to be remembered not only for his heroism, but as a reminder and inspiration for action - that each one of us has an indispensable role to play in the struggle for betterment of the human condition; human rights begins with each of us - in our homes, in our schools, in our workplace, in our human relations, in our daily capacity for acts of care and compassion on behalf of some victim of discrimination or disadvantage somewhere.

The great medieval sage, the Rambam teaches us that the world can be seen as balanced between half-good and half-evil. Therefore, one good deed by any one of us can tilt the balance in favour of the good, having a transformative impact on the universe as a whole - that would be living the Raoul Wallenberg legacy.

Irwin Cotler is the member of Parliament for Mount Royal and official opposition critic for Human Rights. He helped established Canada's Raoul Wallenberg Commemorative Day.