Friday, March 22, 2019

This And That

--Welcome to Friday and the usual thoughts running through my muddled mind.  As always, they come in no particular order.

--If whoever gave Justin Dunk the information about the player ratio in the CFL possibly changing in an effort to try and divide the union as CBA talks continue than mission accomplished.  Since that news came out, there have been a thousand different takes on it.   A lot of them are solid arguments on both sides. 

There are plenty of quality Canadians who have shown they can play the game whether it be on this side of the border or in the NFL.  There needs to be a spot for these Canadians to play.  It is as simple as that.   You can argue all you want on a variety of other things and at the end of the day, you will be right in some areas and wrong in the other.  There is a lot of gray area. 

The thing that gets me is the outrage of the fans.  Hardcore CFL fan or not, the bottom line is 90 percent of you don't care where a player is from, you just care about how good he is and whether or not he can help your team win.   The proof in that is the fact many of you thumb your nose at University and Junior Football.   You show that by not attending games whether it be in Regina, Calgary, Edmonton or Winnipeg.   I have said time and time again that Canada West Football produces players that you have no idea about until they are drafted.   When that narrative begins to change, then the fans discord on the ratio will matter, but right now it doesn't.

I don't think the ratio should change.  I think it could go up a couple because there are a lot of players who either don't get the chance they deserve with their current team or they simply don't get a chance period.   If the idea is to reduce Canadians to add Mexicans, Germans, Italians etc. etc than that is wrong as well.

If the league and the PA are serious on this topic, they are walking a very slippery slope and one that could have drastic repercussions at the grassroots level.

--I have to admit I was surprised to see Dakoda Shepley sign on with the Riders when he did.  I thought he would take another shot at finding NFL employment.  Shepley is a beast.  He was a force at UBC ( again many would know that if they watched the T-Birds play when he was there) .  He makes what is a solid Rider o-line even better.   Add with him Labatte, Bladek, Blake and Clark and the Canadian depth the green-and-white have in that area may be the league's best.

--The first CFL mock draft I have seen is out.  Mock drafts are what they are and we all know you can't put a lot of stock into them, but the one on has the Riders taking DL Robbie Smith from Laurier.   Is DL an area of need for the green-and-white when it comes to Canadian talent.   You can never go wrong with an o-lineman and as always there are a lot out there, but I would like to see the team maybe upgrade its Canadian talent at RB. There are a couple of good Canadian RB's out there in Maleek Irons and Brady Oliviera, but I don't know if you take either at 6.   Its always at this time of year when I am fascinated by what goes through organization's minds and the mock draft after mock draft after mock draft that they engage themselves in.   I would love to be able to sit in a war room one night and watch things go down.

--A video of Johnny Manziel has surfaced in which he talks about the CFL.  Some believe Manziel is cutting down the league in his interview with reporters in Memphis.  I think he is being kind.  He talks about the 12th man and how uncomfortable he was up here,

--Mike Trout is making $430 million to play baseball.  I'll just leave this here.

--Opening day is now less than a week away.  Who's taking next Thursday off?

--We now have ticket prices for the Heritage Classic.  Thoughts?

--Its time to get real in the WHL as the playoffs begin tonight..  The Moose Jaw-Saskatoon series should be fascinating.  On one side of the blueline is a Moose Jaw team that has not had a lot of playoff success with some very good teams---teams better than this one against a Blades squad that is stacked and has not been to the playoffs for a while,   I could give you a lot of reasons as to why Saskatoon wins and a lot of reasons as to why Moose Jaw does.  This should be a great matchup.  Its a coin toss to me, but I will take Saskatoon just for the fact I think they have the better goalie in Nolan Maier.  Wouldn't it be great if we didn't have to go to WHL Live to watch some playoff games around here.   The fact the WHL doesn't have a TV deal outside of the one Access has with the Pats is just wrong.  It hurts the overall product.

--The Tampa Bay Lightning have already clinched first place in the NHL overall standings.  They are the team many figure will win the Stanley Cup and for good reason.  With the season they are having, do they deserve to be called one of the best of all-time.  You have to win 16 games in the playoffs to ensure that, but is this Tampa team as good as those Islander and Oiler teams of the 80's the Wings of the 90\s and the Habs of the 70's?

I don't think there is any doubt Nikita Kucherov is the league's MVP,  but would you give Andrei Vasilevskiy the Vezina?  Would you give Jon Cooper the Coach of the Year Trophy. I wouldn't be.  You can't ignore what the Lightning have done this season, but are they the best team we have seen in the last few years?  I guess that debate will start if they win the Cup.

--Jaskirat Sidhu gets sentenced in Melfort today for what happened April 6, 2018.  I truly don't know what type of sentence he will get, but whatever it is, will it be enough?  I'd like to say he will get at least 5 years.

--Motley Crue has done a remix of Madonna's "Like A Virgin".  Why?  I repeat why?  WHYYYYY??!!

--That's all I got.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Many Warriors Up For WHL League Awards

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MJ Warriors defenceman Josh Brook 

The Western Hockey League have announced the Eastern and Western Conference individual award winners for the 2018-19 WHL season.
WHL Conference Awards are voted upon by all WHL General Managers and Head Coaches.
All individual WHL Conference Award winners will be eligible for the overall WHL Awards at the 2019 WHL Awards luncheon in Red Deer, Alta., on Wednesday, May 1, 2019.
2018-19 WHL Conference Award Winners
WHL Player of the Year (Four Broncos Memorial Trophy)
Eastern Conference Player of the Year – Trey Fix-Wolansky (Edmonton, Alta.) – Edmonton Oil Kings
Western Conference Player of the Year – Joachim Blichfeld (Frederikshavn, Denmark) – Portland Winterhawks
WHL Top Goaltender (Del Wilson Memorial Trophy)
Eastern Conference Top Goaltender – Ian Scott (Calgary Alta.) – Prince Albert Raiders
Western Conference Top Goaltender – Dustin Wolf (Tustin, Calif.) – Everett Silvertips
WHL Top Defenceman (Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy)
Eastern Conference Top Defenceman – Josh Brook (Roblin, Man.) – Moose Jaw Warriors
Western Conference Top Defenceman – Ty Smith (Lloydminster, Alta.) – Spokane Chiefs
WHL Rookie of the Year (Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy)
Eastern Conference Rookie of the Year – Brayden Tracey (Calgary, Alta.) – Moose Jaw Warriors
Western Conference Rookie of the Year – Lassi Thomson (Tempere, Finland) – Kelowna Rockets
WHL Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year (Brad Hornung Trophy)
Eastern Conference Most Sportsmanlike Player – Justin Almeida (Kitimat, B.C.) – Moose Jaw Warriors
Western Conference Most Sportsmanlike Player – Cody Glass (Winnipeg, Man.) – Portland Winterhawks
WHL Executive of the Year (Lloyd Saunders Memorial Trophy)
Eastern Conference Executive of the Year – Curtis Hunt – Prince Albert Raiders
Western Conference Executive of the Year – Garry Davidson – Everett Silvertips
WHL Coach of the Year (Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy)
Eastern Conference Coach of the Year – Marc Habscheid – Prince Albert Raiders
Western Conference Coach of the Year – Michael Dyck – Vancouver Giants
The following individual and team awards were won during the 2018-19 WHL Regular Season:
WHL Regular Season Champions (Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy)
Prince Albert Raiders: 68 GP – 54 W – 10 L – 2 OTL – 2 SOL – 112 PTS
WHL Top Scorer (Bob Clarke Trophy)
Joachim Blichfeld (Frederikshavn, Denmark) – Portland Winterhawks
68 GP – 53 G – 61 A – 114 PTS – +16 – 70 PIM
WHL Top Plus-Minus
Brayden Pachal (Estevan, Sask.) – Prince Albert Raiders
66 GP – 15 G – 36 A – 51 PTS – +76 – 113 PIM
WHL Conference Awards for WHL Scholastic Player of the Year, WHL Humanitarian of the Year and the WHL Business Award will be announced at a later date.


 The Western Hockey League have announced  the Eastern and Western Conference All-Star teams for the 2018-19 WHL season.
WHL Conference All-Stars are voted upon by WHL General Managers.
WHL Eastern Conference All-Star Teams

Goaltender – Ian Scott (Calgary, Alta.) – Prince Albert Raiders
Defenceman – Josh Brook (Roblin, Man.) – Moose Jaw Warriors
Defenceman – Dawson Davidson (Moosomin, Sask.) – Saskatoon Blades
Forward – Trey Fix-Wolansky (Edmonton, Alta.) – Edmonton Oil Kings
Forward – Tristin Langan (Swan River, Man. – Moose Jaw Warriors
Forward – Brett Leason (Calgary, Alta.) – Prince Albert Raiders

Goaltender – Mads Sogaard (Aalborg, Denmark) – Medicine Hat Tigers
Defenceman – Jett Woo (Winnipeg, Man.) – Moose Jaw Warriors
Defenceman – Brayden Pachal (Estevan, Sask.) – Prince Albert Raiders
Forward – Brandon Hagel (Morinville, Alta.) – Red Deer Rebels
Forward – Stelio Mattheos (Winnipeg, Man.) – Brandon Wheat Kings
Forward – Mark Kastelic (Phoenix, Ariz.) – Calgary Hitmen

WHL Western Conference All-Star Teams
Goaltender – Dustin Wolf (Tustin, Calif.) – Everett Silvertips
Defenceman – Ty Smith (Lloydminster, Alta..) – Spokane Chiefs
Defenceman – Bowen Byram (Cranbrook, B.C.) – Vancouver Giants
Forward – Joachim Blichfeld (Frederikshavn, Denmark) – Portland Winterhawks
Forward – Cody Glass (Winnipeg, Man.) – Portland Winterhawks
Forward – Connor Dewar (The Pas, Man.) – Everett Silvertips

Goaltender – Beck Warm (Whistler, B.C.) – Tri-City Americans
Defenceman – Lassi Thomson (Tampere, Finland) – Kelowna Rockets
Defenceman – Scott Walford (Coquitlam, B.C.) – Victoria Royals
Forward – Parker AuCoin (St. Albert, Alta.) – Tri-City Americans
Forward – Matthew Wedman (Edmonton, Alta.) – Seattle Thunderbirds
Forward – Riley Woods (Regina, Sask.) – Spokane Chiefs

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

2019 WHL Bantam Draft Goes Wednesday

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The WHL Bantam Draft lottery will be held Wednesday, March 20 at 11 a.m. MT at the WHL Office in Calgary to determine the order of the first six selections in the first round of the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft.
The WHL Bantam Draft Lottery will involve the six non-playoff teams (Swift Current, Winnipeg, Regina, Prince George, Kamloops or Kelowna, and Brandon) from the 2018-19 WHL Regular Season. A team may only move up a maximum of two positions in the WHL Bantam Draft.
The WHL Bantam Draft lottery will use a total of 21 balls, the allotment of which is as follows:
Swift Current*Six balls(Pick previously traded to Prince George)
WinnipegFive balls
Regina**Four balls(Pick previously traded to Saskatoon)
Prince GeorgeThree balls
TBD (Kamloops or Kelowna)Two balls
BrandonOne ball

The allocation of odds for the lottery draw of the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft Lottery is as follows:
WHL Bantam Draft Lottery Odds (Fewest Points to Most)
Swift Current*28.6%
Prince George14.3%
TBD (Kamloops or Kelowna)9.5%
*Pick previously traded to Prince George
**Pick previously traded to Saskatoon
The lottery position still to be determined will be clarified with the outcome of the 2019 WHL Tiebreaker Game, scheduled for tonight – Tuesday, March 19 (7 p.m. PT) – between the Kelowna Rockets and Kamloops Blazers. The winner of the 2019 WHL Tiebreaker Game will advance to face the Victoria Royals in the first round of the 2019 WHL Playoffs. The team that does not advance to the 2019 WHL Playoffs will receive two balls in the WHL Bantam Draft lottery.
The WHL Bantam Draft lottery will be streamed live on, Facebook and YouTube Live commencing at 11 a.m. MT.
The 2019 WHL Bantam Draft will be held in Red Deer, Alta., on Thursday, May 2, 2019.
The order of the second round and all other rounds of the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft will be determined by the inverse order of final 2018-19 WHL Regular Season standings.
Players eligible for the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft will be 2004-born players who reside in Alberta, B.C., Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Shepley Signs With Riders

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The Saskatchewan Roughriders have signed national offensive lineman Dakoda Shepley to a two-year contract, plus an option year in 2021.           

 Shepley (6’4 – 310) was selected by the Roughriders in the first round (5th overall) of the 2018 CFL Draft.

After four seasons at the University of British Columbia, the 24-year-old Shepley signed with the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent in April, 2018. Shepley attended training camp with Jets, playing three preseason games.

 Shepley, a native of Windsor, Ontario, played 32 career collegiate games with the Thunderbirds where he was named a 2017 Canada West All-Star and was part of the team that won the 2015 Vanier Cup.

(Saskatchewan Roughriders)

Monday, March 18, 2019

NHL Three Stars Of Week

Stars of the Week, Greiss, Perlini, McDavid

New York Islanders goaltender Thomas Greiss, Chicago Blackhawks left wing Brendan Perlini and Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending March 17.


Greiss topped the NHL with 116 saves (on 121 SA), compiling a 3-1-0 record, 1.25 goals-against average, .959 save percentage and one shutout to lift the Islanders (42-23-7, 91 points) back into first place in the Metropolitan Division. Greiss stopped all 31 shots he faced to earn his 13th career shutout in a 2-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets March 11. He then made 33 saves in a 2-1 victory against the Montreal Canadiens March 14, followed by 20 stops in a 2-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings March 16. Greiss closed the week with 32 saves in a 3-2 overtime triumph against the Minnesota Wild March 17. The 33-year-old Fussen, Germany, native owns a 22-12-2 record through 40 total appearances this season, ranking among the top five goaltenders in goals-against average (4th; 2.21), save percentage (4th; .928) and shutouts (t-5th; 5).


Perlini shared the League lead with five goals (5-2—7 in 3 GP) to help the Blackhawks (32-30-9, 73 points) extend their overall winning streak to five games and move within five points of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Perlini registered his first career hat trick, doing so against his former team, in a 7-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes March 11. He posted his second straight three-point performance with 1-2—3 in a 5-4 triumph over the Toronto Maple Leafs March 13. Perlini then added one goal in a 2-0 win against the Montreal Canadiens March 16. The 22-year-old Guildford, England, native has collected 13-7—20 in 58 total contests this season, including 11-3—14 in 36 outings since being acquired by Chicago Nov. 25.


McDavid led the NHL with 3-6—9 in four games to power the Oilers (32-33-7, 71 points) to a pair of wins. He notched 1-1—2 in a 3-2 overtime victory against the New York Rangers March 11, followed by two assists in a 6-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils March 13 to reach the 100-point milestone for the third straight season. McDavid then tallied 2-1—3, highlighted by his seventh career overtime goal, in a 3-2 triumph against the Arizona Coyotes March 16. He picked up two more helpers in a 6-3 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights March 17, stretching his multi-point streak to eight contests (3-15—18). The 22-year-old Richmond Hill, Ont., native and winner of the past two Art Ross Trophies ranks second in the League with 69 assists and 105 points through 68 total games this season (36-69—105).

Friday, March 15, 2019

Tickets to the 2019 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic Go on Sale on Thursday, April 25

REGINA, Saskatchewan (March 15, 2019) – Representatives from the National Hockey League, Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, National Hockey League Players’ Association, Tim Hortons, Province of Saskatchewan, City of Regina and Mosaic Stadium gathered today at Mosaic Stadium to detail plans for the 2019 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic™. In January, the NHL announced that the 2019 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic™ will feature the Jets and Flames at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Sask., on Oct. 26, 2019. The event will be televised live on Sportsnet and TVA Sports.

Tickets to the 2019 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic™ go on sale April 25, 2019 at 10 a.m. CST via Ticketmaster, the official ticketing partner of the NHL®, on and, as well as on the Ticketmaster app. In addition, information on a priority ticket pre-sale beginning in early April for Winnipeg Jets season-seat holders, Calgary Flames season-ticket holders and Evraz Place Backstage Club Members will be sent to those groups in the coming days. This opportunity is for a limited number of tickets to the 2019 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic™ and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, while supplies last.

 The Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic™ returns to the NHL regular-season schedule after games in 2016 in Winnipeg, 2014 in Vancouver, 2011 in Calgary and 2003 in Edmonton. The game will be the second regular-season outdoor contest for both the Flames and Jets. The Flames defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-0 in the 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic™ in front of 41,022 fans at McMahon Stadium in Calgary. The Jets fell to the Edmonton Oilers in the 2016 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic™ by a score of 3-0 in front of 33,240 fans at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg. This year’s matchup will mark the fifth Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic™, a game with roots dating back to Nov. 22, 2003, when the Edmonton Oilers hosted the Montreal Canadiens in what would be the first of 27 NHL regular-season outdoor games. The Oct. 26 Jet-Flames matchup will be the 28th such game, and to date, the League’s 27 regular-season outdoor games have drawn total attendance of 1,459,359 – an average of 54,050 per game.

 Regina’s Mosaic Stadium at Evraz Place opened in 2017 and is home to the Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Roughriders. Mosaic Stadium is the newest outdoor stadium in Canada and was recently awarded the 108th Grey Cup, which will cap off the Roughriders 110th-anniversary season in 2020. Evraz Place is the center of sport, business and entertainment for the Regina community. In addition to the Roughriders, the 100-acre property is home to Regina Pats, Regina Soccer Association, many minor and recreational sports, and numerous concerts, trade shows and conventions.

Tim Hortons is an iconic Canadian brand with a storied hockey history.  As a proud partner of the NHL and title sponsor of the NHL Heritage Classic since 2010, Tim Hortons supports hockey at every level in Canada from Timbits to junior hockey, and the NHL’s seven Canadian member clubs. Tim Hortons is proud to share their love of the game with the province of Saskatchewan and the rest of Canada on Oct. 26 in Regina at the 2019 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic.

 The 2019 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic™ will showcase a number of the top players in the NHL. The Jets are led by 2019 NHL All-Stars Mark Scheifele and captain Blake Wheeler, as well as, Patrik Laine, Dustin Byfuglien and goaltender Connor Hellebuyck. The Flames counter with 2019 NHL All-Star Johnny Gaudreau, as well as, Sean Monahan, Elias Lindholm and captain Mark Giordano. Winnipeg currently sits atop the Central Division with 86 points and Calgary’s 93 points place them a point back of San Jose for the lead in the Pacific Division. The Jets and Flames franchises have faced off 30 times during the regular season, with Calgary holding a 10-point advantage over Winnipeg (CGY: 17-11-2–36; WPG/ATL: 12-16-2–26). The Clubs have met twice this season with Calgary winning both, 6-3 and 4-1 respectively. They meet again tomorrow night in Winnipeg for the third and final time this season.

 Two Flames players remain from the team that faced off against the Canadiens at McMahon Stadium in 2011: Giordano and forward Mikael Backlund. The Jets have 13 players on their current roster who took part in the 2016 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic™.

(NHL Media)

This And That

--Welcome to Friday  and the usual thoughts running through my muddled mind. As always, they are in no particular order.

--Wait a minute!  Have the Cleveland Browns truly turned into a relevant football franchise?  Can they actually be put in the Super Bowl conversation?  The trade for Odell Beckham Junior by the Browns has tongues wagging with some suggesting they are right up there with Kansas City when it comes to the most potent offence in the game.  That might be a stretch.

It is nice to see Beckham come to the Browns though as it will give Chris Jones someone to work with in the secondary. (Oh wait!).    In all seriousness, the grouping of Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, OBJ, Jarvis Landry and emerging tight end David Njoku will make the Browns a team one must contend with.  Are they a playoff team?  They might be, but they are nowhere close to being an AFC powerhouse.  Just cool the jets on that one!

--The CFL and the CFLPA say they plan on holding meetings across the country as they try to hammer out a new contract.  Why?  Sit your tails down in Toronto or wherever and get this done.  Now isn't the time for a PR move!  I don't care if you are meeting in Victoria, Saskatoon, Toronto or Halifax.  Just get it done!

--Where would you put the green and white in a CFL power ranking right now?  Want mine?

  1. Calgary
  2. BC
  3. Hamilton
  4. Winnipeg
  5. Saskatchewan
  6. Edmonton
  7. Ottawa
  8. Toronto
  9. Montreal

--CFL fans are talking about the fact Mike Reilly got $700,000 a season saying is a quarterback really worth that much. Let's fast forward to the NFL where Nick Foles just got 22 million a season to play in Jacksonville.  Why is it all players want to do their thing in the NFL.  Oh right!

--Being at the Brandt Centre Wednesday night for the Pats and Broncos just reminded me of how cyclical junior hockey can be.  Last year, these two teams were getting ready for the playoffs and a much-anticipated first round matchup that Swift Current won in 7.  Those teams had players like Tyler Steenburgen, Stuart Skinner, Sam Steel and Josh Mahura had on them.  It was hockey at its best and we enjoyed it.  Fast forward to a year later and the big names are gone and the win-loss record isn't great.  Neither team would sacrifice what they did to get to the point they did last year.  They knew what the future held and that the job to get back to the level they were at last year was back at square one.   Those critical of both teams for what they have done this year simply don't know the game.  Those who do know it know both teams will be competing for a playoff spot again soon.

--We will find out ticket prices for the NHL's Heritage Classic later today.  I am told the ticket prices will be comparable for that of an NHL game.  The attitude about prices for events in this city has to change.  If you think tickets are going to be cheap, think again.  Check the prices of your favourite NHL team for tickets.  You will find they aren't cheap.  Start getting your empty bottles and cans to SARCAN now.  This is going to be a great weekend in Regina with what I am guessing will be a celebration of the game at Evraz Place.  Its also an event that won't return anytime soon.

Tim Reid and his gang at Evraz Place continue to make that complex one of the best in Canada. You just don't do that by letting everything fall in your lap.  What that area has done for this city is immense and it's not going to stop anytime soon.   There are still some obstacles that EP have to work through like getting people in and out in an efficient time, but while it isn't perfect, it is better than what we have experienced in the past.   If there is a better sports/entertainment/convention complex in this country than what is there, I need to see it.

--Are we in for a battle in the curling world when it comes to pay equity?   Some on the women's side are a little chapped that the Scotties winner doesn't even make half of what the Brier winner made.  Curling Canada is trying to shift some of the blame on their corporate sponsors.  You can't do that.  However, Kruger Paper (Scotties) who have been a tremendous partner with Curling Canada in their sponsorship of the Canadian women's curling championship can't sit there and say they do other things.  More $$$ is needed.

--I bet a lot of women's curling rinks in the province heard Michelle Englot was coming back and teaming up with Sara England. For those that don't know, Sara is the daughter of the late Sandra Schmirler.  Sara was going to make some noise when she entered the women's ring and she certainly has found the right person to mentor her and her young team as they hit another level.  In talking with Michelle this week, she sounds very excited to get back out there after taking last year off.  I didn't ask her how much Fireball will be involved this year.  I can do that when the rocks start getting thrown next year.

--We are now in a world where people are throwing sliced cheese on the faces of pets, children and others.  What has happened to us?  What I say?

--Enjoy the weekend! I'm on a few days vacay after today so if you don't see a Monday column that's why.