I will survive, even hockey

I survived 90 minutes of pickup hockey today, first time I’ve played goal in a year.

If the pavement is going to rise up and bash me on a bicycle, I might as well let people shoot a hard rubber disk at me and get told by a 15-year-old that my technique sucks (paraphrased).

It ain’t Guelph, I was the oldest on the ice, but it doesn’t suck to go to the arena in shorts year round, at noon.

Salmonella and hockey don’t mix: 250 sickened at Riga Cup in 2015

(Thanks to a Brisbane-based colleague and barfblog.com fan who passed this along.)

In April 2015, Finnish public health authorities alerted European Union member states of a possible multi-country Salmonella enteritidis outbreak linked to an international youth ice-hockey tournament in Latvia.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Finnish and Latvian authorities initiated an outbreak investigation to identify the source. The investigation included a description of the outbreak, retrospective cohort study, microbiological investigation and trace-back. We identified 154 suspected and 96 confirmed cases from seven countries.

Consuming Bolognese sauce and salad at a specific event arena significantly increased the risk of illness. Isolates from Finnish, Swedish and Norwegian cases had an identical multiple-locus variable-number of tandem repeats analysis-profile (3-10-6-4-1).

Breaches in hygiene and food storing practices in the specific arena’s kitchen allowing for cross-contamination were identified. Riga Cup participants were recommended to follow good hand hygiene and consume only freshly cooked foods.

This investigation demonstrated that the use of ECDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Information System for Food- and Waterborne Diseases and Zoonoses platform was essential to progress the investigation by facilitating information exchange between countries. Cross-border data sharing to perform whole genome sequencing gave relevant information regarding the source of the outbreak.

Multi-country outbreak of Salmonella enteritidis infection linked to the international ice hockey tournament

Epidemiology and Infection, pages 1-10, 14 Jun 2017, Pärn T, Dahl V, Lienemann T, Perevosčikovs J, DE Jong B

https://doi.org/10.1017/S0950268817001212

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28610640

The non-hockey fan’s guide to this year’s Stanley Cup Final

This is not the hockey I grew up watching, where players had a smoke and a beer between periods. This is fast, fun and furious.

And if Nashville can embrace hockey (the ice kind for my Aussie friends) so can anyone.

Pete Blackburn of Fox Sports writes:

So, what sport is this now?

Hockey.

Isn’t that the Canadian thing with the ice and skates that no one seems to care about?

Well, some of us care, and not just in Canada. But yes, it’s played on ice. 

But why should I care now? 

Because playoff hockey is amazing and one of the greatest viewing experiences in sports. At the end of the Stanley Cup Final all the players say the f-word on TV as they pass around giant trophy that everybody gets to kiss. It’s a lot of fun.

So, who is playing in this “Stanley Cup Final?”

The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators.

Wait, you mean to tell me Nashville, Tennessee has a hockey team?

Yep! They’re quite good and the city has grown to love them. It’s becoming a really fun hockey town and their crowds are wild and loud. They probably have one of the best playoff atmospheres in hockey. They’re really good at shouting mean things at opposing players in unison.

You also mean to tell me that there are “hockey towns” in the United States?

Yes, and this Final features two pretty good ones. In fact, a Canadian team hasn’t won the Stanley Cup since 1993. 

That must be embarrassing for them.

Yeah, let’s not get into that.

Well, which one of these teams is better?

Well, the Penguins are the defending champions and they have a very good team with a few of the best players in the world (Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin) so they’re slight favorites to win the Stanley Cup, even though they’re without their best defenseman (Kris Letang).

So I should root for them?  

Sure, if you want to. They’re great at scoring goals (fun!) and it would be the first time in nearly 20 years that a team has won the Cup in back-to-back years.

How many Cups have the Predators won?

Zero. This is the first time they’ve even made it to the Final. 

So they’re a bunch of losers?

No, that’s the Capitals. The Predators are just sort of new to the party. They’ve only been a team since 1997. The Penguins were founded 30 years before that. Nashville has a bright future.

Do the Predators actually have a chance? 

Some of their better offensive players got hurt earlier in the playoffs but they’ve still got talented scorers like Filip Forsberg, Viktor Arvidsson and James Neal. They definitely still have a chance, mainly because their defense is so good, and that tends to be a huge factor in the playoffs.

Defense is for nerds.

Somewhat agree, but the Predators defense is pretty good at scoring goals themselves. They’ve got a few impressive defensemen that are good at creating offense, including P.K. Subban.

P.K. what now? 

Pernell-Karl Subban. He’s on the Predators and is one of the best defensemen in the league. He scores a lot of goals and usually has awesome celebrations afterward. Plus, he’s funny and is really nice to sick kids. He once pledged to raise $10 million for a children’s hospital.

Oh, wow. Who wouldn’t love that guy?

Well…

What? 

Well, he was actually traded to Nashville last summer by Montreal in a really surprising deal. He kinda got unfairly blamed for some of their disappointing playoff finishes and a lot of people think the Canadiens didn’t like his “character issues.” 

What kind of character issues? Isn’t this the sport where the grown men are allowed to punch each other in the face?

Yeah, but some people apparently think that Subban is a clown for attracting attention to himself by having a lot of fun. The thought was that he “doesn’t hate to lose” enough. So they traded him for an older, more boring guy named Shea Weber.

How did that work out? 

Well, the Predators are playing for the Stanley Cup and Montreal lost in the first round.

Oh. Yikes.

Yeah.

Is there anyone like that on the Penguins?

Well, a guy named Phil Kessel won a Stanley Cup in his first season with the Penguins last year. He’s awesome and goofy and really good at scoring goals. Toronto basically ran him out of town, too.

Why did they do that?

The team stunk so some of the media unfairly pinned it on him and said he was lazy, didn’t care enough and ate too many hot dogs.

Wait, what?

Nevermind. Let’s just move on. 

So, yeah, you should definitely watch the Stanley Cup Final. You’ll either get to see a new-ish team with a wild fan base win their first-ever championship, or you’ll get to see some legends become the first repeat champions in almost two decades. Either way, it should be really fun and exciting, even if you’re not a big hockey fan.

But it sounds like both of these teams are enjoyable and likeable. Who do I choose?

Do you care about uniforms?

No, what kind of adult cares about sports uniforms? 

I do. A lot.

Nerd. Who has the better uniforms? 

Pittsburgh, by a mile. Their jerseys are some of the nicer ones in the league. The Predators dress like bottles of spicy mustard.

Go Predators.

Go Penguins.

Despite some first period jitters in game 1, I predict Predators in 7. And stay away from my bench (upper left, a look I perfected on graduate students who would submit writing but they hadn’t really tried; I’d get through one page and respond, try again).

barfblog.com: This note’s for you

I’m fortunate to have a partner for 11 years now who has repeatedly told me she loves me – just the way I am.

And she’s smart, and main breadwinner in our Brisbane household.

She also swears a lot more than she used too: blames it on being married to a Canadian hockey player, and taken up hockey herself.

Check your e-mail settings, I often go to your trash because I swears a lot.

Thirty years ago I had this feeling.

My hands felt just like two balloons.

By the summer of 1987, I was bored out of my mind studying Verticillium wilt in resistant and susceptible tomato lines – so much so that I would listen, not even watch, but listen, to Toronto Blue Jays games on the radio at night while I infected tomato plants in the lab and then extracted DNA.

It was a non-pharmaceutical sedative.

I decided to immerse myself in finding a bigger audience — newspapers, at the time.

When I was a gradual student back about 1986, I had started writing about science for the University of Guelph student newspaper.

Canadian daughter one was born and the next month I went to a scientific meeting to present some results about my Verticillium findings.

I spent most of my time in an outdoor patio at Carleton University, reading all I could about media and newspapers, and came up with a plan to start an alternative newspaper when I returned to Guelph.

Then I got hired as a section editor at the existing paper.

Then I became editor-in-chief.

And then I quit, and put my alternative paper plan into action.

Thirty years later, I’m going to revisit history and do sorta the same thing.

Not for ego, not for repetition, but for the same reason people wanted me to lead that other paper 30 years ago: a whole bunch of people asked me to do it.

For 25 years I have published barfblog.com and FSnet.

I openly shared this with everyone because that’s what I thought profs at public universities did.

But they had no trouble getting rid of full-professor me.

Lesson learned.

Amy and I had a visit a few months ago from a former student of mine from Ireland, who now lives in Sydney.

She told me later that I wasn’t in the right space to hear what she had to say those few months ago.

She was right.

But she recently told me, what you do is unique, people use your stuff all over the world, can you really just turn your back on all that?

Probably not.

People love food safety as long as it is free.

Universities have been good to me.

But what worked in the time of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle (the first empiricist) may not work today.

Just like we don’t want medical treatments from 2,000 years ago, providing information and the notion of the commons should also fit today.

If you see any adverts on barfblog.com, please let us know. We don’t accept advertising. We’re idealistic that way (until we go broke).

Someone will eventually pay, but until then, I’m happy to embrace the Grateful Dead model of entrepreneurship: Build it and they will come.

Oh, and I am fully aware of the hypocrisy of Neil Young singing this note’s for you, after making millions.

I try to be more grounded.

Food safety and hockey: Play by the rules or penalties will kill ya

A friend from Guelph sent me this pic the other day (that’s in Ontario, Canada) from 2005, the last year I played with the boys before moving to Kansas (where the closest ice was 2 hours away, so we got it pretty good here in Brisbane).

During the school break — about now for Canadians, so they can all go to Daytona and escape the snow — teams of faculty and staff from at least 6 universities, McGill, Lakehead, wherever — would gather for 3-4 days in Guelph and have a tournament.

We won in 2005, although I can still describe the gut-wrenching feeling as goalie when up by a goal and time ticking away, one of our defence decided to pinch, leading to a 2-on-0 (yeah, that was you, Naylor).

I made the save, we won the game.

Best to go out on top.

Unfortunately, the seniors team I coach in Brisbane had a 3-1 lead going into the third of the summer finals, penalties and mistakes lead to a regulation 3-3 tie, overtime yielded nothing, and we lost in a shootout.

This is what it looks like when doves cry.

But, great summer season, great group to hang out with as I stand with our captain and two team managers, looking old, not so wise.

Always more to learn.

 

Melt the Ice: Because it’s 32C and we’re playing hockey

School holidays, the equivalent of summer holidays for our friends in the Northern Hemisphere, end Monday and the kids go back to school.

bec-doug-mti-hockey-jan-17The four days before the end of summer holidays are devoted to the Melt-the-Ice tournament in neighbouring Boondall.

We were there for 6 a.m.today, and came home with a win and a loss. More games over the weekend.

This is assistant coach Bec and I going over strategies before the second game while the players waited to get on the ice. That’s Sorenne on the far right (Bec was showing me pictures of her newly almost completed deck; photo credit to assistant coach Zoe).

Go Stars.

 

Hockey and Justin Bieber

I get it, Justin.

fag-stratfordYou’re from Stratford, Ontario (that’s in Canada) and I’m from Brantford.

We used to drive for an hour and play the raggedy Stratford team, and about the only thing I can remember was there was a manufacturing facility called Fag Bearings (now it’s Fag Aerospace).

As12-year-olds in the 1970s, this was hilarious.

But not as hilarious as your attempt to fight in a pick-up hockey game (that’s ice hockey for the Aussies)

According to TMZ, the Biebs got in on a beer league pickup game at the Toyota Sports Center — where the L.A. Kings practice — and damn near came to blows after a dirty play.

Watch — as #23 (Biebs) comes in for a shot, a defender comes down hard with his own stick and snaps Justin’s in 2. Safe to say Justin didn’t take kindly to that.

 

Ducks best goalie down with diarrhea

The Calgary Flames beat the Anaheim Ducks 8-3 last night.

bernierAt some point, there would usually be a goalie change en route to 8 goals. Jonathon Bernier never left the net.

So, coach Randy Carlyle, why did you do this to poor Bernier?

“RC said Bernier had to go the distance as (regulas starter John) Gibson had stomach flu. Even invoked the lovely word diarrhea. Would have pulled JB after four.”