Friday, July 27, 2012

Dear Tim Thomas (Part 2)

I really wish I could rewind the clock. Let's say we go back to when you pushed the Conn Smythe aside so you could instead hoist Lord Stanley's cup. In other words, to when you weren't being so damn annoying.

Because I'll be honest: since winning the Cup, you haven't really been that impressive.

It would be one thing if you had beaten Washington in the first round (I'm not saying it was your fault; we needed "brick wall" and you brought "pretty good"). And I don't mind you taking the year off (even though you are technically under contract). But instead of quietly skipping the hockey season (by the way, at 38 years old, should we just be calling it retiring?) you're using the time off to support the Chick-Fil-A guy's anti-gay crusade?

(In a sing-songy voice:) Annoyyyyinnnnggggg....

Here's what I know about Chick-Fil-A: One,the CEO/owner says that his god is sending the United States to the "H-place" because we are redefining the biblical family (one can also assume he doesn't believe in the separation of church and state). And two, he (the CEO/owner) is suing the "Eat More Kale" guy, because he believes "Eat More Kale" rips off Chick-Fil-A's "Eat-Mor-Chikin" slogan.

You may wonder what kale has to do with chicken -- or "chikin." I'm pretty sure nothing. (I have, however, gathered that the Eat-Mor-Chikin thing is a sort of "Save the Cows" campaign -- the logic being that you can save cows by killing more chickens.) I'm not a kale-eater, but I do love that the "Eat More Kale" guy has gotten more media attention than he ever dreamed because of the Chick-Fil-A lawsuit. I may just order one of his T-shirts to stick it to Chick-Fil-A. And if Mr. Kale does lose the suit, I strongly advise him to go immediately into the "Eat Kale" shirt business; I have a sense that there's potential for him to do just fine there too.

Timmy, you've been distracting me from the game ever since winning the Cup. Don't think I don't appreciate your good efforts up till then -- seriously, thanks! And have a good year off. But moving forward, I'm pretty much all set.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Dream Team

We all got a great laugh last week when Kobe Bryant was asked how this year's 2012 USA Olympic basketball team would fare against 1992's Dream Team -- you know, the team with Bird, Magic, and Jordan. Kobe responded that 2012 would kill 1992.

Obviously a delusional comment. On the other hand, what's he going to do, say his team would lose? The fact is, 2012's team wouldn't even beat 1992's bench players (one must wonder how it's possible that the second team in '92 consisted of Hall of Famers Stockton, Malone, Robinson, Drexler, and Mullin?).

While it's a fun discussion, whatever happened to amateurs playing in the Olympics? And I wonder if Kobe will be staying in the Olympic Village? Either way, we're all looking forward to the 2012 Games!

Friday, July 13, 2012

What's SUP?

Stand-up paddleboarding -- the summertime sport that has been sweeping the globe -- has found its way to the Aiken camp in North Hero, Vermont. I've been out twice and didn't even fall the second time after four tumbles the first time out. (In my defense, there was like a 30 mph wind blowing straight out of the West that first time. Took 20 minutes to paddle out; 30 seconds to come back in.).

The popularity of the new sport comes as no surprise, really. Look at the mystery boarder in the photo. Complete serenity; the boarder is at ease in the water environment. Not a tense bone, muscle, or cell in his body; he's like a Buddhist monk at peace with the natural world.

It's a new chapter in camp history that will go down in the annals as the "SUP era."

Monday, July 2, 2012

Gotta Love a Good Hoe

It all started last week when Lucie Laporte Keene surveyed the gardens on the Aiken homestead. She took one look at my vegetable garden and came out with two observations:

1) "Dude," she said. "Your plants are getting suffocated by these weeds."

Followed by 2) "Dude! You need to get in there with a hoe!"

And that, as it turns out, was the problem: I've been weeding this thing by hand! Give me a hoe... a-ha! Now we have a level playing field! "Die!" I found myself muttering as I chopped and hacked at the green invaders with my new favorite garden tool. Seriously, I reminded myself of Bill Murray's groundskeeper character in Caddyshack. Except that at least his adversary had a brain, eyes, and ears. Mine were plants.

Anyway, after hacking a circle around every plant in the garden (along with removing every unwanted plant from a row of carrots and our raised beds), I really went after it -- with my weed wacker. Yes, I weed-wacked my vegetable garden. Which is to say, I cut the walking rows between beds down so we could at least get around. And then, with Ali's help, I did some fine tuning -- we were really able to get around the tomatoes, strawberries and squash plants.

When I first looked at the garden Saturday, I thought it was a lost cause. But I declared war in there this weekend, and it paid off. Yes, there were some casualties (there are in every war): I mistakenly pulled my last surviving pea plant and a strawberry, and I stepped on a squash plant. But in 48 hours our garden went from "lost" to "not bad" -- and that's a turn-around I can live with.

Update (July 8, 2012): Last weekend's efforts have made all the difference; the tomatoes, squashes, peppers, and carrots are so much more relaxed and happy. And the strawberries, which were slouchy and depressed, are standing tall, just drinking in sunlight. Great garden developments!