Friday, April 29, 2016

The old ballgame at work

Hey Pops,

Well, I had the ballgame on the radio at work yesterday, for the first time in almost three years. I had been avoiding it since then, even though the Tigers play their share of afternoon games these days. It just didn't seem right. But today, well, it felt like the time.

Listening to Detroit beat Oakland sure brought back the memories. All the times that we would be in conversation only to stop talking when Ernie or Dan's voice would rise a decibel or gain excitement. We'd then forget what we were discussing to give quick cheers for the home run or great defensive play.

One of the runs we scored yesterday involved a runner on third who couldn't score because V-Mart's fly to left was too shallow. Yet Miggy was on first, and tagged to run to second. The cutoff man took the throw from left and threw to second without checking Martinez back to third. He streaked home to score on that toss to second, and Miggy ended up safe himself. You would have gotten a kick out of that unusual play.

A particular memory which came to mind was that game where Fister was pitching against the Royals and struck out nine in a row. I think even Phil got into it, though he's not the baseball fan we are. We laughed and cheered more impressively at each whiff, and were almost stonily silent between pitches, our anticipation growing, only to laugh harder when the announcer described Fister's confusion at the boos which greeted the tenth batter's ground out. He hadn't realized the record he'd just set.

Anyway, I think I'll have that old radio on again every time the Tigers have a weekday afternoon game. It's been silly that I've avoided listening for so long.

Until the next game, we'll see ya Pops.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Diversity isn't necessarily a strength

Many a car can be found adorned with bumper stickers which read 'celebrate diversity' or a like sentiment. April, it seems, has become Celebrate Diversity month (great: another holiday season Hallmark can co-opt). There's nothing wrong with diversity so far as it goes, perhaps. But I cannot help but wonder exactly how far it's supposed to go.

If what you mean by recognizing diversity is what I call small 'd' diversity, I have no argument. If there weren't different people with different interests and abilities then an awful lot of great and necessary things would not get done. We couldn't even play baseball if everyone were a catcher. But if you mean, as has been said in various quarters, that our diversity makes us strong, then I am not so sure I can agree with you. I'm not convinced that diversity is a valid basis for our thoughts and actions.

What makes us strong as a nation and as individuals is an underlying unity which we all accept as the rock upon which society is built. What we bring to the table, so to speak, should be small-d diversity, innovations will help strengthen and improve that unity. It is only when we concede that diversity is a tool of that unity that we might make persons and societies better.

So if what you mean by diversity are things contrary to that unity, ideals which will harm or destroy the body politic or personal responsibility, then it is not something we should want. If by diversity we mean to accept and appreciate cannibals and cannibalism, then we should not celebrate it. Aristotle did not appreciate the barbarian hoards who raided northern Greece, nor should that have been expected of him.

I fear that many of the folks who wish us to celebrate diversity wish us to do just that: accept diversity as a guiding light, as a principle in itself rather than as a subject of unity. It is a hedgerow behind which folks sneak beliefs into our system which will hurt or kill it in the long run. It allows free play for ideas which will lower the individual into a mere animal. We are better off celebrating a positive, rational unity. It allows us to see what unites rather than divides, because in union their is strength. In capital-D diversity, we are just so many grains of sand, drifting into this or that form as the winds decide.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Not cute, adorable creatures at all

Tonight, after work, I get to work some more. One of the problems with living in the city is the number of squirrels that need places to live. The large furry rats seem particularly adept at finding the worst possible place to homestead.

Such as the rafters in my house. This evening I will be repairing the fifth hole in my roof line where the obnoxious and definitely not cute little rodents have chewed their way into my humble abode. Obnoxious? That isn't even near to the best word to describe them. When you are woken up at four in the morning because of their skittering around in your walls and ceilings (I do so hope they're only skittering around) the thing you want most is a shotgun. Which is probably why it is good that I don't have one, or I would be repairing dozens of holes in my inside walls too.

They make my wonderful daughter say bad things: things that wonderful daughters definitely should never say except, one day, to husbands who deserve it. But as she has a loft type bed which puts her very close to the ceiling, I will cut her slack. The dancing of the rabid giant rats is closer to her than me in my more traditional bed, so I assume more startling and maddening. Still, I am mad enough all of five feet farther below them.

Some folks go on and on about animal rights. Animal rights? There is no animal with the right to wake my family in the wee hours of the morning. Well, maybe the dog, if she has to go out. But she's trained to do that and saves me a worse issue later, so she's being considerate. She has a reason.

I am told squirrel tastes like bacon. I like bacon. The little fuzzballs might be in worse trouble now.

Monday, April 25, 2016

The quiet voice may speak the loudest

Lately I have been fighting doubts about various things in my life. Nothing too terribly serious, really, but still, I have found myself worrying more than I should. This is natural enough I suppose as we get older and the monsters in the closet begin appearing again. Whatever the case may be, at times it has been difficult not to fret over the future.

Then I had something of an epiphany last Saturday in Church. I was informed, very calmly and certainly, that the worry was not necessary. Everything will be all right in its time.

It was little more than a quiet voice in my head. Yet I was immediately calmed, and I have found that facing this week has been much more relaxing than I had anticipated.

I do not know what triggered it. The priest, with all due respect, didn't seem to be saying anything particularly noteworthy. But I was sitting there in the pew and I was spoken to and I felt better, just that quickly.

I have always been fond of the verses in, I believe, Exodus (I apologize for not looking them up) where Moses finds God in the quiet whisper rather than the strong wind or powerful storm. I wonder if that's where God really is, talking to us so quietly that we can't always hear Him.

Or perhaps we are too loud to hear Him. Either way, I felt better. Things will be okay, that I know. Whenever worry becomes too close and threatens to smother us, it may just be the best thing to draw a breath, take a step back, and simply listen for that voice. I'm sure it speaks to us all.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

My Earth Day Birthday

Today is Earth Day, and perhaps not coincidentally my birthday. I point this out not in search of salutations, or condolences as the case may be, but as an example of the irony found everywhere in our wild little universe. I appreciate the humor of it; being not merely a conservative but the worst kind of conservative, a social conservative, I can still get the joke. Many people will delight in the opportunity to point this out to me nonetheless as they wish me Happy Earth, I mean Birthday, Marty. But the fact is that, though funny, the joke really has no basis in reality.

I don't understand why so many folks out there believe that conservatives have no respect for the planet or her environment. The very fact that we refer to Mother Earth in the feminine demonstrates the great respect we have for her.

We readily acknowledge that good stewardship is right and proper, not only as God has given us this gift of a place to live (and we should honor it on that point alone), but because our own interests command it. We cannot continue as a race without maintaining our world properly.

So plant a tree today if you so desire. Cultivate a field, or begin using cleaner burning fuels if that is your mission in life. I certainly won't stop you. So long as you don't make it into a cause which puts Earth ahead of people, those living, breathing people with eternal souls that matter much more than dirt and leaves, we can coexist happily.

In the meantime, I'll burn charcoal as I roast bratwurst and Italian sausage and hoist a brew or two in the back yard. Yessiree, I'll pollute the atmosphere with charcoal fumes as I prepare a birthday feast. Hey, I'm still a conservative. I have to do something that fits the stereotype. That's my part of the joke.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The new used car

Well, Pops, I did it. I bought the car which is going to replace that last car of yours. I should have replaced it six months, maybe a year ago, but I didn't, because it was the last car you bought. But I did run into the ground, as we Cosgriffs do. It will only get me scrap value. Hell, maybe not that much.

The new one is a 2000 Chevy Venture. By new, I mean two years younger than your Plymouth Voyager. And it also has 17,000 more miles than the vehicle it's replacing. So I'm replacing an old car with a vaguely newer one with significantly more miles. A newer car with more miles; I have to believe that you and Grandpa Joe are getting a kick out of that.

The Venture has heavy duty springs, what you used to call overloaders, if I remember rightly. That's part of what attracted me. With some of the loads we've had to carry I feel that's a real plus. It's a shorter van than your Voyager, but I figure I can pile more in it with those tougher springs. In fact, I think I could deliver some of those old Hobart welders we used to rent using this van. You guys like that, eh?

Her inaugural run will be Thursday, when I take a machine to Bad Axe up in the thumb. You remember Boom's Rental up there, right? We've dealt with them since the Seventies, as you know, and I'm sure you made that trip a few times dad. If that works well, and I believe it will, then next Tuesday I'll take it on about a 700 mile loop, from Detroit to the Electric Eel plant in Springfield, Ohio, to Indianapolis, then back to Eel for a load to bring back here to the D. In short, she's getting a baptism of fire.

You and Joe like that too I bet.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A most memorable day

On this day in 1775 the American Revolution began. The people of Lexington and Concord turned back the British, and harassed them all the way back to Charlestown. The Shot Heard Round the World had been fired. April 19, 1775 had secured its place in American and World history.

The significance of this cannot be underscored enough. To date, it is almost surely the only large scale revolution which has had any modicum of positive success. Most new nations sink into anarchy or more terrible tyranny when a known form of government falls. We need only look to the recent Arab Spring uprisings to see this is true.

To be sure, even our Revolution was subject to severe trials early on. It was no certainty that a civil government based on popular will would result from that war. Yet somehow it did; I believe that it was through Providence and American exceptionalism that our nation rose from the battle field as it did.

I do not mean this as an insult towards other people and nations who are now seeking similar freedom and respect. Perhaps over time Libya will stabilize, Isis fail in Iraq and Syria, and the Muslim Brotherhood moderate. But I cannot help feeling that their story will be many more years playing out than the American tale. The fact is that popular uprisings need more than simple change. They need enlightened leadership; they need more than mob or knee jerk mentality.

The colonists had that leadership. They overcame the occasional rabble to form a stable, reasonably free nation. And that's exactly what makes April 19, 1775 so memorable. Our revolution is truly unique in history. It began 241 years ago today.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Tax Day 2016: we should be upset

Today is Tax Day, April 18, 2016. Yet we haven't worked enough just yet to have actually paid our taxes. That day comes later this month. Or maybe in May. Whatever.

You want to make people into Republicans if not Libertarians? Or better, you want to make them conservatives? Make every dime of their taxes, and not their tax forms, due on April 15 (or 18, as is the case in 2016). Further, get rid of the withholding tax. Make people feel deeply exactly how much they pay when it must be paid in a lump sum rather than weekly. You want a second American Revolution? It would start the day after Tax day if we would play fair with workers. Probably sooner.

So many of us are so happy when we get a refund that we don't notice what we actually pay. We're stupidly happy when we get our own money back from an interest free loan given the American government. Anything wrong with this picture, Americans?

Sunday, April 17, 2016

I risk my life by working

As if it isn't bad enough that the Federal Government has its hands in too many pies, now we have situations where one the states has taken it upon itself to get involved in enlightening the citizenry through badgering people about what it thinks important. It should be no surprise that that State is California.

While installing an in line ground fault interrupter on a piece of machinery, I found this warning wrapped around the cord:

WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, and other reproductive harm. Wash hands after handling.

On what grounds do they force this warning? California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment guideline states thus: “A person exposed to the chemical at the ‘no significant risk level’ for 70 years would not have more than a ‘one in 100,000’ chance of developing cancer as a result of that exposure.” Anything over that, say one extra case per 100,000 people over 70 years, means the tag has to be applied to the whatever it is at hand.

Doesn't this strike anyone as overkill? How am I supposed to feel about getting a scare that I have increased my chance of contracting cancer simply by putting a power cord on a machine? How do the people using equipment day after day react to the news that they are in such a slightly more hazardous situation than they could possibly have imagined? By what right does California think it can violate someone's comfort zone by insisting on a tag where no significant increase of contracting cancer exists?

We could dismiss it as simply the big dog of the nation throwing its weight around. But it's more than that: it serves as a reminder that government, any government, when its gets big enough feels it has the right to throw its weight around. California is darn near a nation unto itself anyway, and seeing as its infrastructure needs are well below what its citizens demand, one would think it would be more concerned with shoring up its physical plant than in promoting scare stories.

But, after all, its still a big brother government. What's not to love?

Friday, April 15, 2016

A few ideas for April 15

Much gets said about what's wrong with our government, but little gets said about concrete ways to fix it. To be sure, everyone seems appropriately concerned with the acts and laws of government being constitutional. Yet rarely does anyone actually address the document itself. There are things within it which could be changed or altered to better direct the workings of Washington.

We could start by getting rid of the Fourteenth Amendment. Say what you will about how it has protected the rights of the citizenry, it has nonetheless been used to allow the Federal Government to dip too far into what originally had been considered the realm of the States, and the citizens as well. We forget that in 'championing' the citizens' rights we have seen great abuses of their rights as well. We might just be better off to leave basic human rights to the several states.

The Sixteenth Amendment ought to be trashed as well. In letting the feds dip directly into the pocketbooks of individuals we have expanded their power far beyond the intention of the framers. It must be remembered, as the great Chief Justice John Marshall said, "The power to tax implies the power to destroy." Let the feds get money from the states and from various fees for only their necessary functions.

Let's trash the Seventeenth Amendment while we're at it. If senators were elected by state legislatures as they once were, then they could get back to their true job: representing the states as states. We are a federal system after all: it isn't as though the state governments should have no direct say in federal antics.

This is only for a start, to perhaps begin discussion. Sure, nothing will come of it as the special interests hold too much sway and federal power has become too entrenched. But you got to have a dream: if you don't have a dream, how you gonna make your dreams come true?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Blue over threadlocker

Yesterday I needed a tube of threadlocker blue, a liquid which is used on small bolts to help 'lock' them in place as it dries. It's sort of a specialty glue really. I also needed a couple electrical switches. And as I was close to Big Box Mart in my travels, I stopped for them.

The switches were easy to find: right in the aisle with hundreds of electrical components, exactly as you'd expect. Finding what I needed there, I thought it made sense for the threadlocker to be in the aisle with nuts and bolts. So I go to the front of the building and study the signs at the ends of the aisles to find the one with nuts and bolts, found it, and marched down it.

No threadlocker. I combed the aisle for a few minutes, searching intently and not finding the stuff. I then violated the guy code, broke down, and asked an employee where threadlocker might be. He takes me straight to the place where it supposedly had been for years. But it wasn't there last night. The guy complains that Big Box Mart likes to change how its stores are arranged from time to time, often without letting everyone know the new stocking order, but gets out his walkie talkie and asks someone where the threadlocker was moved to. "Aisle Four, just about halfway up," I hear a voice say. So it's off to aisle four.

There was still no threadlocker to be found, not around the middle, either end, or parts in between. I finally gave up and went to the paint counter at the end of the aisle. The man there said to try the next aisle over, aisle three, about halfway down.

I looped around onto aisle three, and immediately saw it was the aisle with the electrical switches. And on the opposite side of the aisle, barely ten feet from where I had picked up the switches I wanted, was the threadlocker. I had wasted 20 minutes for an item virtually next to where I had started.

Sheesh. I simply don't understand that shelving scheme at all.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Taking a bottle to Canada

So, last night was the season ending banquet of the Windsor (Ontario) Granite League. As each club member was expected to bring a door prize worth approximately 20 bucks, I ran into the duty free store on the US side of the border on my way over, to purchase such an item.

Then I proceed to Canada. Now, other than that time I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, when for the first time I was stopped for inspection as I entered that great northern nation, I've had no trouble being allowed entrance to that country. Still, to forestall an issue, I determined to be faithfully honest to the Canadian officials as I crossed into their land.

"Anything coming into Canada which will stay in Canada?" the border guard asked as he took my identification.

"Well,' I answered honestly. 'I bought a bottle of whiskey at the duty free shop, to be given as a door prize."

"What size is it?" the guard queried.

"1.14 litres," I answered, being clear to use the Canadian inflection. But I thought, ah man, he's going to make me pay duty on it.

"What did you pay?" he asks. "Nineteen U.S.," I answer, thinking, you're kidding, you're going to make me pay duty on this?

Next he says, "What brand is it?"

I'm sure by now that he's going to make me pay the duty, and I'm thinking, Really? On a barely over a litre bottle? But I answer rightfully, "Forty Creek". It's a brand popular in Canada, which I knew, though I've yet to try it. But what can it matter? This guy's going to pull me over to pay the duty.

Instead, he begins to nod his head and then smile, as he hands me back my ID. "Good choice", he says. "Have a good time."

I hope whomever chose that bottle as his prize appreciates my anxiety.

An impressive pickup, but at what cost?

We all have our quirks, those habits, beliefs, and wants which kinda defy logic if you think about for a minute. A customer I was dealing with this morning drove up in a huge, double rear wheeled pickup this morning. The bed sat (I'm guessing but sure I'm close) 3 1/2 or 4 feet off the ground. It looked impressive, I admit, and he confided that it was exactly what he wanted in a work truck.

He had a large drain machine in the bed of it. When I say large, I mean in the 250 pound range. Which meant we both had a struggle unloading it. Even with two guys, setting 250 pounds on the ground from more than half our own heights (more than that, I assure you) was a challenge. A few minutes later as I did the quick repair, he told me he would be off for several months beginning next week as he was to have back surgery. "It's all from handling that big machine," he half whined.

I asked him whether part of the problem was having to lift the damn thing so high. Maybe he needs to get a smaller truck easier to load or an electric hoist of some type, I said. "Hoists are too expensive, and that's my baby. I can't get rid of her." So you'd rather settle for back surgery and months of recuperation?

The repair finished, I helped him get the unit back onto his pickup. I wished him well on his surgery. But I just can't grasp the mentality that you have to have everything you want exactly as you want it even when it defies common sense. Especially when it makes such a claim on your health, and by extension your livelihood.

Ah well. People is people.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Today's Gospel reading

Today's Gospel offers one of the most poignant events in Scripture. Jesus asks three times asks St. Peter, "Do you love me?" The greatest of the Apostles must reaffirm his love of Christ each time. The Gospel of John describes Peter as distressed at this; you will recall that earlier he had jumped into the seas from his fishing boat to greet the Lord happily.

I think perhaps we all appreciate such feelings. Sheer joy at recognizing a great friend, soon to be dashed, somewhat, by such pointed dialogue. Why might Christ do that?

Part of it, I suppose anyway, is that a certain balance needed to be restored. Peter had denied Jesus three times; he must then reaffirm Him that often as a sort of penance. It is after through humility that we grow.

And I believe that is the real message, for the rest of us even more than for Peter. Yes, it was also to set up Christ's prediction of St. Peter's martyrdom. But the immediate point was that we must in humility succumb to Christ. And He was using St. Peter to signal that that humility is required of us all.

Yet is also demonstrates that His glory is offered to us all. We simply need the right attitude.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Thursday night curling

I think the boys I played with earned this one. They played solid all season, we caught a few breaks, and we end up winning the 3-4 game to claim the (figurative) bronze medal.

Bronze is a nice medal to win. You finish first and everyone says, 'Gold Medal! Way to go!'

When you bronze they say, 'All right! You medaled!'

Yet when you win the silver it's like: what happened? What went wrong?

That's not to disparage this year's silver medalists. They're a great team. They win more often by far than they lose. Often significantly. They certainly deserved to finish ahead of us.

But that's how it goes. And it isn't fair. And we take what we get.

And they won silver. And they deserve better. My congrats are to you boys.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Three more and out the door

It's coming: the end of the 2015-2016 curling season. A game tonight, a game tomorrow, and a game Saturday. Three more and out the door.

The season wasn't the best. But it wasn't the worst either. We should have done better in the Monday night men's league, but so it goes. Tonight, we play for third place in the Thursday Competitive league. We finished fourth last year, so no matter what happens we won't end up worse. In the Friday mixed league we play for the second half title but we need help. We must win, and the current first place team lose. Either way, okay.

Then curling wraps up Saturday with a 'swing and sweep'. That's where you both curl and golf, the scores are somehow tabulated (not by me; math makes my head hurt) and a winner is declared. It doesn't look as though the weather will cooperate; it may end up too cold and wet to hit the links. Either way, golf or not, then the hard part of the year begins.

We have to wait until October to curl again.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

White lips

I love salt and vinegar potato chips. They make your lips pucker in such a delightful way, and are another reason I love Canada. I discovered them there. I also love sports. One day the twain did meet.

My oldest son was about two and a half years old, and I was trying to watch the Stanley Cup playoffs, and I did not want a distraction. So I sat in my recliner eating salt and vinegar potato chips as I was also supposed to be watching Charlie.

He played with his toys as I watched the TV. Regularly, he would toddle to my perch, and I would give him a couple chips or let him grab some from the bag I held on my lap to keep him at bay. It was a divine match. We both got what we wanted; he could play, and I could watch hockey. Cool beans.

After an hour or so of this, Charlie, again, lumbered to my recliner for more chips. And I gave him more. Only this time I turned to look at him. And his lips were white. White as sheets, white as ghosts. And it occurred to me that the vinegar was causing that.

So I let him have two more chips and I put the bag away, hoping his mother would not notice the change in his facial anatomy. But I think he likes, or did like, salt and vinegar chips himself. I wonder if he still might.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

No one craves protein

A friend of mine, he's a vegan. There's nothing wrong with that, of course. Vegans, vegetarians; I could care less what you eat, so long as you don't condemn what I eat.

Still, I must admit to curiosity about that culture. This lead me one day to ask my friend, 'Do you ever want to eat meat?'.

He said no, but added, "Well, I crave protein." And I said something like, ah. And I let it stand at that because I'm that type of guy. I try to be courteous towards all, especially when I'm the one whi intruded by broaching a subject.

But that is not what I thought. Might I share what I really thought?

It was something like, 'Shut. Up. No one craves protein. What the Hell does that even mean?'

People crave steaks and chops, chicken and fish, brats and Italian sausages. That's what they crave. How the Hell do you crave protein?

No one, and I mean no one, thinks, I'm going to the restaurant for a thick, juicy rare protein. No one asks for protein tartare. No one says I'm going to throw some protein on the grill, come on over. No one says that I'm going to stop by Mom's house and hope she makes her famous Southern Fried Protein. No. One. Does. This.

You have to do better than that to make me think I should change my eating habits. Far better indeed.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Mistaken identity

I certainly hope this post comes across as innocuous. That's my intention, just to write a fun post based on something that actually happened.

Last week I found myself needing a valve stem for an old sink. When I say old, I mean sixty to seventy years, if not more. Fortunately I knew where to go for the stem. There's a place called Tenny's Plumbing in Hazel Park, and they specialize in old, hard to get parts. They've helped me before, and I highly recommend them.

And they did have the part I needed. But before paying, I had to take a call, so I stepped back from the counter and dealt with it.

When I apologized and returned to the counter Mr. Tenny was there. He looked at me and asked, "You're Cosgriff, right? Bill Cosgriff?"

"No, he was my dad. He passed away a couple years ago," I answered.

He coughed and said, "Sorry to hear that. But Cosgriff was a black guy, wasn't he?"

"No," I replied.

"But he had two black guys working for him?" Mr. Tenny pressed.

"No. Just my brother and I."

He studied me more closely and ventured, "Your shop is across from Murray-Wright High School, on Rosa Parks. Just after a green house, back from the street."

"That's right," I said.

Tenny just kinda shook his head and said, "But Cosgriff was a black guy. He had black guys working for him."

"I'm afraid not," I responded. I even showed him my license, just so he'd know I was me. He then shrugged his shoulders, and I paid for the valve stem and left. It was all on good terms, and he just seemed to have a mental block about it.

And I think he still thinks we're black guys. Ah well. No harm no foul, right?

Friday, April 1, 2016

A great curling match

Well, it weren't the most satisfying curling match I ever played in. That distinction belongs to the game where me friend Ron threw a triple kill lose the shooter which won us a league title. But it was a grand match just the same.

We caught some breaks last night and found ourselves up by 4 after two ends. An 'end' in curling lingo is vaguely related to an inning in baseball. They aren't really the same, and all analogies ultimately fail. But this one almost fits.

Then our opponents, great fellas themselves, they begin to chip away at that margin. They score one in the third end, and we caught a huge break that they did not score more. But they continue the pressure, and steal a point in the fourth end. It's a 'steal' when you score at least one point without hammer, which is the last rock thrown in an end, just so's ya knows. We blank the fifth end (an end where there is no score, no rocks being left in the house, the scoring zone), which means we chose not to score in order to keep hammer, the last curling stone of the end, in our control.

Then the blokes go off and steal the sixth end. Bastards. But they played the end well and won it, hat's off to them. That's as it should be. You make the shot, you merit the accolades. But now were're only up one.

Then our vice, throwing skip rocks (the last two rocks of the end; I called the game but threw vice rocks) makes a great hit with peel weight (peel meaning a stone thrown rather fast attempting to get many rocks out of play) and we score in the 7th end to be up by two points. The game appears to be ours.

But despite some great shotmaking, we surrender two in the Eighth end. The score is tied. Now we gotta win the 9th, the Extra end.

There are not many extra ends at our level of play. As it were, four of five league games went the extra end last night. A true rarity. Yet for our game we had the advantage of shot stone, the last rock of the end in play.

I tried to call the line wrong. You see, last night we did something different. I called the game but threw third, the five and six stones. My good friend Mark threw skip rocks. And he hit just right with the last stone of the game, so that we score two and win.

It was a grand game. It's why I curl. Thanks, boys.