Cookie Takes The Cake (and the icing)

Well after going 3-0 in day one, and 2-1 in day two, my daughter Cookie and the Ottawa Fusion 14U girls team went into the elimination round with some pretty high expectations on Sunday.  The first match had them dumping the Tornadoes in straight sets 25-14 and 25-16.  A good start to the day.

Their second match was against the South County Bandits from Essex and the roll continued with a 25-14 and 25-15 straight set victory.

This set up a repeat showdown against the Leaside Lightning.  The team that had given the Fusion their only loss of the tourney a day earlier.  Leaside is coached by Canadian Olympian and bronze medalist John Child.  Leaside is one tough team.  The Lightning were flawless in a first set trouncing of the Fusion 25-9.  The Fusion were demoralized.  The smiles were gone.  The heads were hanging.  They were in a very dark place.

The second set started out with more of the same and the Leaside Lightning took a commanding 19-7 lead.  When up to serve stepped the youngest Fusion player.  Barely 13 years old and with nerves of steel, Bekah went on an 11 serve streak to bring the game back to 19-18.  Halfway through the streak you could see the spirit returning to the Fusion as if it was being sapped directly from the Lightning.  The teams traded a few points but the comeback was well on it’s way and the second set was taken by the Fusion 25-22 in an amazing show of spirit, resilience and determination.

The trend didn’t change much in the third set as the Fusion were rolling at this point.  When all was said and done, the tiebreaker went to the Fusion 15-6.  In what might be called the comeback of the tournament the Fusion went from being outscored 44-16 to outscoring the Lightning 33-9.  The comeback was complete and the Fusion were off to the Gold Medal match against the number 1 seed in Divison 2, the North Bay Blizzard.

Both games in the final were great displays of skill, power and poise, but in the end Cookie and the Fusion won 25-20 and 25-18 to take the Division 2 Gold Medal!!

While waiting for the medal ceremony, the team was chasing down the Ottawa 14U Fusion boys to see how they had done in their bronze medal match (which they won) and we were asked if we wanted another shot with the PM.  Clearly the girls gleefully accepted.

The award ceremony had all the parents gleaming but there was one more award to be presented.  Each team awards one player with the Award of Excellence which was voted on by the players and coaches.  It goes to the player who best displays a combination of traits including spirit, leadership, poise, skill, perserverence, etc.  I had a tear in my eye when the coach called Cookie up to receive the award.

There wasn’t a prouder father.

The icing on the cake.

Fusion with the PM

Lighting The Fuse in KW

As pointed out by Jo at Blue Like You, our PM showed up in KW yesterday to watch young Mr. Harper play volleyball with his 14U boys team at the provincials taking place at RIM park. Coincidentally, my daughter Cookie plays for the 14U girls team from the same club. After going 3-0, the girls raced over to watch the boys play and between matches we were all lucky enough to get a team photo with the PM and I managed to sneak another photo with my son.

This being my third or fourth time meeting the Rt. Honourable Stephen Harper, it was actually more fun to watch his son and the other Ottawa boys kick some butt on the court. They have some really talented players who can leap like no tomorrow.

I think what was even more fun was listening to all the 14U girls from teams all over the province whispering “that’s him!” and “wow, I can’t believe he’s here”. Of course they were ALL talking about Ben and not the PM.

Go figure.

Good luck to both OFVC teams. The elimination rounds start tomorrow.
OFVC Girls and the PM at Provincials in KW

Forty Six Years Ago, It Happened.

Just For Kicks I heard them say
Left for Heaven Only yesterday
From near three caves below six floors
Someone got scared. They closed the doors
For 75 years under lock in key
Maybe one day, we’ll get to see.”

It was 1995. I was wrapping up my Bachelor of Science with a 4 month stint in Dallas, Texas. But the workload that semester was light. Sightseeing time was easy to find with 12 hours of class a week.

Mitch, my roomie was a history buff and insisted we go. So we went. It was then that I stood on most historic grassy knoll in history. We snapped some photos. I still recall that I was wearing a tye-dye T-Shirt with an ice cream cone melted “Steal Your Face”. It was one of my all time favourites. Come on. You know you have had a few favourite T-shirts too. But I digress.

Dealey Plaza at Elm and S. Houston. We went up to the 6th Floor museum (of the seven storey building). It was an eye-opener for me. I still recall the plexiglass blocking me from the very window where he allegedly took the fatal shots.

I think it was that day that my interest in politics actually started.

Thanks Mitch.

Unions Strike…Again

Timing is everything. And Ottawa’s museum workers have voted in a landslide to strike with a likely start date to be in mid September just in time for the new school year.

As they have been working without a contract since April 1st, the timing of this strike could not be more opportune for the union. In typical fashion, they will aim to disrupt our lives as much as possible because they know what we all know. The primary visitors to museums are school children on school trips and a strike in April and through the summer will not garner any attention or cause any disruption. But there is an added reason they waited from April to September. And it all has to do with who takes the children to these museums?

Unionized teachers of course.

Mark my words. This means that we can count on teachers complaining about how important school trips to the two museums are and that it is important for the government to settle with the strikers so classes can go on field trips. All in a show of union solidarity.

If parents don’t stand firm and make it clear to teachers that they do not feel that field trips to these museums are necessary, you can rest assured that tax payers will, once again, get OfficiallyScrewed.

Tesla Comes To Canada

March 3rd, 2009 is a very special day to me as it was this day that Tesla Motors announced their plans to enter Canada.

As many of you who read my blog know…

a) In December 2006, I asked Santa for a Tesla Roadster. You can read about it by clicking Here.

b) In January 2007, I commented about a letter I wrote the Prime Minister and (then) Minister of Industry Maxime Bernier, about providing some funding to open a Tesla Auto Plant in Canada. I still wonder if the money earmarked for the “greening” of the auto industry were a response to the letter I wrote. You can read a bit about my letter by clicking here.

c) In February 2007, I offered my own version of the carbon offset program by allowing people to donate to my “Get Mulder A Tesla” fund. i.e. you can offset your carbon credits by donating to a program that would get me out of my big Honda pickup truck and into an “all electric” Tesla Roadster. You can still do this or read the story by clicking here.

Needless to say, I LOVE this car so when I received the email below, I immediately went and asked my wife for permission to drop $60,000 US on the downpayment. And now I am writing this blog post from a hotel after she booted me out of the house. Well okay, that last part isn’t true, but I have a feeling I won’t be getting my Tesla anytime soon. I guess I’ll just have to dream and drool over the photos on their website at

Letter from Tesla Motors.

I’m excited to announce that Tesla Motors will begin taking orders today from customers in Canada, and we’ll begin delivering Canadian cars later this year. This is great news for Canada’s many car enthusiasts, including scores of Tesla fans who have written passionate e-mails over the years about why Tesla should go north. We listened to you – and we look forward to delivering your cars starting in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Canada is uniquely positioned to become a premier showcase for Tesla, still the only production automaker selling highway-capable electric vehicles in North America. Canada is one of two countries in the world (the other is Norway) where the majority of electricity comes from renewable resources, including run-of-river small hydro, wind, biomass, ocean, geothermal and solar energy.

An EV recharged from the current Canadian grid, on average, would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 85 percent compared to an equivalent gasoline-powered vehicle. In hydro-dominant British Columbia, Quebec and Manitoba, the reduction would be an impressive 98 percent.

We are already busy considering retail opportunities in this vast country. In the short term, we are confident that we can serve a large percentage of our customers through retail stores in Seattle and New York, which we plan to open in the first half of this year. Eventually, we envision Tesla-owned retail and service centers in Ontario, British Columbia and possibly Quebec.

The base price for Roadsters in Canada will be set closer to the start of deliveries in the fourth quarter, and pricing will reflect exchange rates at that time. The CA$60,000 reservation fee is refundable, and the remainder of the balance is due upon the start of production, a few months prior to delivery. In the United States, the base price is $109,000.

These Roadsters will comply with all Canadian safety regulations for mass-produced, highway-capable vehicles. As they have for Americans and Europeans, we’re certain Roadsters will quickly become the automobile of choice for Canadians who refuse to compromise between performance and efficiency. You can order your Roadster today online, or call us directly at +1-650-413-6300. We look forward to hearing from you!

Doreen Allen
Director of Sales Operations

Turning 40 Has It's Lessons

This last week of 2008 is the week I turned 40 years old. The big four oh. Middle aged. For those of you who have met me, I know I know, I don’t look a day over 50 and you thought I was well over 40. That’s what cheap drugs, boozing and carousing and going to dozens of Grateful Dead shows in your youth will get you!!

I wanted to post today about “What I learned in my first forty years” but it is simply impossible to write down that much useless trivia, so I am going to try to stick to the useful points.

From birth to age 10 I learned that I should laugh.
Laugh like you never laughed before. Laugh at jokes, laugh at TV shows, laugh at silly things, laugh at not so silly things. laugh off mistakes (but fix them), laugh with friends…heck laugh AT friends if it’s not in bad taste. Laughing makes you feel good, and seeing someone laugh makes others feel good. And we all need more of that in life.

From age 10 to age 20 I learned that I should live for the now.
I read a story once and can’t remember who wrote it but I will paraphrase. When I was a kid, I thought to myself that life will begin when I can drive. Then I got my driver’s license and thought that life would begin once I got out of high school. Then I graduated and thought that life will begin once I graduate from university and get a job that pays. Then I graduated and got a job that pays and thought life would really begin when I got married and moved out of my parents home. Then I got married and moved out of my parents home and thought life will really begin when I have bought my first home.. etc etc. So life for the now. Life will not start when you get to a certain place in your life. Life is NOW so live it NOW.

From age 20 to age 30 I learned that I should stay organized.
No one is perfect at keeping track of dates, but the best way you can do this is to get a PDA that synchs with your PC and enter every birthday, anniversary, child’s school recitals, plays, sporting events, etc. and use the repeating function where necessary. The tool is there so use it. When I first plugged in my anniversary to remind me 7 days before to buy my wife a gift it asked me for how many years should I repeat this reminder. I put in 100, because whoa is me the 21st year should I put in 20. Birthdays are important not only for family and close friends but for distant friends, customers, co-workers, etc. It only takes a moment to drop someone a note to say Happy Birthday. It will help ways too many to count but I will list a couple. a) you have a built in reason to stay in touch, b) you may just need that friend or their advice one day and depending on their profession, that may really be valuable, c) successs is measured by how many friends you have made, not how many dollars you have made.

From age 30 to age 40 I learned that I should pay attention.
It was in these years that I got married and discovered immediately that things that were not important to me were important to my wife. It was also in these years that I discovered that things that were not important to others (mostly politicians and corporations) were very important to me. If you don’t pay attention they raise your taxes on you. If you don’t pay attention you miss what your spouse is saying. If you don’t pay attention, you lose out on that funny comment your child might say that put’s a smile on your face. And finally, as per the slogan “You either pay attention or pay through the nose…I would rather pay attention.”

I’m sure I have learned many other things and I will think of them the second I submit this, but they will just have to wait.

May you all have a safe and prosperous 2009.

Where Has Mulder Gone?

Or better yet, where is he going!!!

Many of you know I am very involved with my local riding association and the election had me lost in a sea of politics at night while taking care of my day job by day.

In light of this, I plan to be back a bit more than usual and will do all I can to keep posting videos once the new session of parliament starts up in a couple of weeks.

For those of you who will be at the Conservative Party Policy Convention as a delegate this coming week so email me and perhaps we can grab a beer. I land Wednesday night and fly back to Ottawa Sunday morning.

T-Bone and Cash Money Take The Gold

This morning our family woke up and got ready for our annual tradition of going and spending the day at my son’s year end soccer tournament. This year we were quietly optimistic as they had a 2-8-3 record this year.

However, after three hard fought mini games they found themselves in fourth place and heading to the semi finals to play the top ranked team that had just beaten them 3 to 0 in the last game of the preliminaries. Not having an official team name all season they all got together for a cheer and adopted “Cash Money” as their team cheer and team name. Something in this cheer must have inspired them because they quickly took a 3 to 1 lead in the first half. In the second half a very suspicious handball call against them brought their opponents a goal closer and eventually, the number ranked team tied it up. After holding them off in the extra period, the game went to a shootout and Cash Money was flawless in their shots and two great saves by their goalkeeper had them going to the finals.

The finals were against the Redshirts, a team that Cash Money had not beaten all year and the team that had the best record after the regular season. The Redshirts were stacked with a full 10 substitutes and swapped in the whole team, which after 4 hardfought games was a huge advantage on this hot Sunday. Cash Money’s top goal scorer was suffering from muscle cramps and they were down to 3 substitutes in this final but somehow they managed to make it to the end of regulation and the extra period tied 0-0 and it was off to penalty kicks…again.

As a father of a player in the gold medal game that is in penalty kicks, I can tell you that it was as stressful as watching your favourite hockey team in a sudden death playoff game. But this team seemed to be made for penalty kicks. A small group of sharp shooters could only be equalled by the other teams, but Cash Money had a lanky cat between the pipes and after saving the first shot by the Redshirts, we knew that what was thought to be impossible was about to happen. The shooters were unstoppable and as the Redshirts took their 4th shot they were in a position where a miss would cost them the gold. Their player lined up … shot … and bounced it off the left goal post and out.

Cash Money had taken the gold. After a sub par season, and a mediochre qualification, T-Bone and his teammates turned on the jets when it counted and are now the proud owners of a Gold Medal. I want to give special kudos to their goalkeeper for an outstanding job in the penalty shots and to T-Bone who pulled a hamstring muscle 3 days before the tournament and played a great set of games in constant pain. I know he will be sore as can be tomorrow, but he has a gold medal to help with the healing.

Congratulations U19 Men’s Champions, Cash Money.

Shortshaking – Don't Be Man'hand'led

Between my non political day job in technical sales and my political volunteering, I shake A LOT of hands. And I mean A LOT. And in shaking so many hands, I have come to the conclusion that there is one specific type of handshake that I really dislike.

And that is the “shortshake”.

For those who do not know what I mean, a “shortshaker” is the type of person who has a good firm grip, but tends to start the grip “short” or early. This results in the shortshaker gripping the fingers of the “shortshakee” which makes it impossible for the shortshakee to return the grip as their fingers are immobilized by the shortshake.

What I would call a good handshake is when the webbing between the thumb and index finger of both people is close enough so that when both shakers grip their fingertips can curl around the other person’s hand so that both can get a good grip in.

I dislike the shortshake so much that I have started saying things like “let’s do that shake again and let me get a grip this time.” or if it’s someone I am close with I might even say “hey, don’t short shake me…you make me feel like a wimp. Give me a chance to shake your hand properly.” and I will then reshake. My wife thinks this is probably offending the person, and she may very well be right but I have stopped caring.

In actuality, I think the response is either appreciative or earning me a bit of respect. The appreciation comes from those who just have never thought about it and perhaps feel that I have helped them realize what a good handshake is. The respect is a different story. I feel that many shortshakers do it as a sign of power as it leaves the shortshakee in an awkward position. By standing up for a good shake, I am showing those types that I am willing to stand up for myself and that I cannot get walked on.

So stand up to the shortshake with me.

Cure For The Hiccups

This morning I woke up with a nasty case of the hiccups. In taking care of my problem with my usual cure, it dawned on me to share this with everyone on the web via my blog.

I learned this cure from my sister and have been eternally grateful ever since, for this cure works, bar none, EVERY time I have the hiccups.

Not only is it readily available EVERYWHERE in Canada, it tastes good too.

The answer is a Sour Cream Glazed Donut from Tim Hortons.

Stop laughing. It probably doesn’t have to be this particular type of donut, but simply some form of a cake donut.

I have had the hiccups numerous times with friends in the car and, no word of a lie, one single bite and swallow and I could toss out the rest of the donut because my hiccups are always gone. My friends and co-workers are all astounded and I am hoping some of you out there give this a try and let me know how it works for you.