Dec 06, '13 : This is a book

This past fall, I helped Bernd Bruckler write a memoir of his time in the KHL. This is Russia: Life in the KHL - Doctors, bazas and millions of air miles finally appeared on Amazon today, so it's been a good day. Here's that link.

Wanna read a small sample of the book's "Money makes the world go 'round" chapter? Maybe? Here it is.

Oh, here's ThisIsRussiaTheBook.com.

And here's the cover:

This is Russia: Life in the KHL - Doctors, bazas and millions of air miles<br />

Apr 10, '13 : Ten points to Hufflepuff

Tonight, I went to the gym wearing my brand new Paris Saint-Germain football team’s hat. Well, its not technically just mine, but Daughter’s and mine. We bought that one, and a Gryffindor hat from the Warner Brothers studios’ Harry Potter Tour in London last week, and the deal is that we’re co-owners of those hats. We both can wear those hats.

As I walked up the stairs to the gym, I saw a dude say something to me. I didn't hear him, because I was listening to a hockey podcast, but when I saw that he said something to me again, I took the earphones out of my ears and said - as politely as I could - “What?"

Gryffindor

» Continued

Aug 07, '12 : Boys to men

“Easy, easy there. Easy now, boy.” That’s what my grandfather apparently told the helicopter pilot that was showing him the sights during an agricultural fair decades ago. Maybe it wasn’t a helicopter, maybe it just a small plane, and the pilot was just trying to show Grampa his own house, but either way, the turn was a little too abrupt for Grampa’s taste so he let the pilot know that he did not approve.

As soon as he got his feet back on the ground, the story about Grampa calling the pilot a boy started to make rounds in the family. It wasn’t just that he had called him a boy, it was also the way he always used to say it, with a drawl that made his dialect so distinct.

Statler and Waldorf

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Feb 06, '12 : Do talk to strangers

Exactly four meters below me, there are two piles of LPs, sitting on a shelf in our basement. If the floor of my office suddenly opened up, so that I’d fall straight down, and then through our hallway floor as well, I’d land on a photo of three dogs in the backseat of a limousine.

Those two piles of vinyl were a big part of t my teen years, which were my most active music listening years, and what seem to have defined my musical taste for the rest of my life. Every once in a while, when I go downstairs to look for something, I stop to look at my old records, and my old turntable sitting next to them in a plastic bag. Every time, I realize that I have most of those LPs also in other formats: First CDs, and then those imported onto my laptop as mp3s, and now somewhere in a Spotify cloud, as “The Only Playlist You’ll Ever Need”.

(That, in a word, is pathetic).

Sir?

» Continued

Jan 01, '12 : Rita Hayworth

While I was never one of those guys who could visualize their dream car, their dream house, or their dream woman, I always knew that Rita Hayworth was the perfect woman. You may not agree with me, but in that case I will have to respectfully let you know that you’re wrong. And I will tell you why. Rita Hayworth was the perfect woman because he was the star of my Dad’s favorite movie – which I assume was his favorite because she was the star of it.

The movie is Gilda, a 1946 film about an Argentine illegal casino, its owner, his right-hand man, and Gilda, the perfect woman, and the owner’s new bride who appears to share a past with the right-hand man.

Could she have been?

» Continued

Nov 15, '11 : Noteworthy

I like notes. Since there were no cell phones when I was a kid, Mom and Dad always wanted me to call them at work when I got home from school to let them know that I was fine. After that, I was on my own until they came home. In case I was out skating a little longer, or if I had gone to the store, I was always expected to leave a note for them.

“Mom. Went to store. R”

I’d leave that note on the doormat in the hall of our apartment, so that it’d be the first thing Mom saw when she got home.

We all did that. If my parents weren’t at home when I got in, before I could finish my “I’m hoooo-ooome” call, I’d see the note. If it was stuck to the hall mirror, I knew it was from Mom. Dad left his notes on the table under the mirror, or on the kitchen table.

An authentic Finnish note. Ink on paper. 1980.

» Continued

Oct 07, '11 : Doodling

How hungry am I? Well, I just had a cup of coffee, and then I ate the styrofoam cup. That didn’t help.

I’ve only had breakfast today. It was a good, big Scandinavian hotel breakfast, sure, with scrambled eggs, German wurst, two sandwiches, a croissant, and a cappuccino, but it was eight hours ago.

The reason why I haven’t eaten anything all day is that I’ve been working as a reporter, covering a visiting NHL team in Helsinki: watching their practices, and waiting for the players to come out of their dressing room to face people like me. And right now, I've been standing in the corridor outside their room for 50 minutes.

And I'm spent.

» Continued

May 04, '11 : A mole in Slovakia

A few years ago, Son and I were standing in line to the Ferris wheel inside the Times Square Toys R Us, and just as we walked up to the gate, it was closed for the ride, so we had to stand there, and wait, and engage in some serious smalltalk with the ticket person.

“Hey, guys, where are you from?” asked the young lady.

Hei, Hilda!

» Continued

Apr 23, '11 : Mission: Impossible

Our house has three floors, with the kitchen and the living room in the middle, all the bed rooms - and my little office - upstairs, and a playroom, and an entrance to the backyard in the basement. Each staircase has 15 steps, so it’s a 30-step run from the basement to my office, when, for example, the phone rings.

Pa-pa-pa.

» Continued

Dec 24, '10 : Merry and happy

Merry holiday (of your choice) and a happy new year (of your choice)!

We, you, a merry Xmas
And a happy new year
Wish!

A happy you
A merry Xmas
New wish year
And we

Wish a merry year
And a new Xmas
You, we: happy

A Xmas:
You and we
A happy wish:
New, merry year

Happy you
Merry we
A new year
And a Xmas wish

You wish a happy new year
And we a merry Xmas

We wish you a merry Xmas
And a happy new year

Magic.

Dec 15, '10 : Rationally weird

There's a pile of newspapers on the table here in the coffee shop. I'm looking at them because this happens to be my table. It's a pretty big table, seating six, except that my suitcase takes up one seat, and the piles of newspapers two.

Which one would you take?

» Continued

Nov 26, '10 : There's "tea" in "team"

There are few things that make me as happy as seeing Son and Daughter take care of each other. Being an only child, I’ve never had that connection with anybody. On the other hand, having always been just me is the only way I know, so I’ve never really missed it, either.

(Although, Mom likes to tell the story about me hugging our dog, and whispering into his ear my joy about getting a new pair of skates for Xmas.)

"We've been here a long time now ... you think the truck will ever come?"

» Continued

Sep 21, '10 : Blowing off steam

I saw something strange at the gym the other day, and I guess I could try to use it as a metaphor for something bigger in life, or spin a tale about things that people do.

And if I tried to reach to the inner corridors of my memory, I might be able to come up with another incident like the one I saw the other day - whoops, there it was - but since it’s not something I’d like to spend a lot of time or brain capacity on, and let’s face it, both are a limited commodity - I’m not going to do that.

Blue as my eyes

» Continued