Wail mail (cont.)
OK, I know I haven't awarded anyone Emailer of the Week yet. Jerry Zezima of Long Island bemoans the loss of sleeves. Guys cut them off, trim them; they create vest, or shieldlike appurtenances out of their jerseys, exposing "hairy armpits," the ends of shoulder pads, and God knows what else. Jerry, the armpits have done it for you. Emailer of the Week, tra la la.
Players always want to remove equipment to lighten themselves. I always thought it looked silly on the college level when they cut off the bottoms of their jerseys, exposing muscular bellies (seems that the fat guys never did it). I mean what if a guy got hit right in the bare belly, whoof! I'm kind of, well, a half-assed traditionalist, as you are, and the Roman gladiator look doesn't seem exactly right to me, either. But I can tell you from experience that in hot weather, heavy sleeves are no one's friend. You sweat and they get heavy and it's no fun hauling those things around.
Jerry is not a fanatic. He suggests a compromise -- jersey sleeves that reach the middle of the upper arm, thus keeping those hairy armpits where they belong, in the, uh, pits.
Big Nate from Chandler, Ariz., asks me (and thank you) about the old vacation. "You always share at least a part of it with us," he says, adding the usual, where'd you go, books you read, top-rated restaurant, best wineries you visited, prisons you avoided, and so forth.
Anacortes and Orcas Island in northern Washington this time, thence to Vancouver Island, BC, spending time in the lively pioneer towns of Tofino, Ucluelet, Cowichan Bay, Shawnigan Lake, Sooke, Sooke Harbor and Victoria. The meal I'll remember when I've forgotten all the others is the Bengal Buffet at the Empress Hotel in Victoria. For fine dining, we gave very high grades to Shelter in Tofino (their signature drink, the Bellini, is modeled after that of the originator, Harry's Bar in Venice, but believe me, this one blows Harry's away), also Pescatores in Victoria (best raw oyster selection ever).
Wineries are still finding their way in this part of the world, but the best selection we had was at Venturi-Schulze in Cobble Hill, north of Victoria. The signature wine is called Brandenburg No. 3, a dark, Madeira-like blend of late harvest Germanic grapes, a dessert wine, with hints of dates and coconut. The name comes from a revelation the co-owner-winemaker, Giordano Venturi, had when he was a boy and heard, for the first time, the great Third Brandenburg concerto by old Johann Sebastian and fainted dead away, being revived only by liberal applications of ancient Apostelwein.
Oh yes, to see for yourself what we saw on this trip, kindly repair to the Redhead's blog.
This was a trip for reading -- a great, hidden masterpiece about World War I, The Middle Parts of Fortune by Frederic Manning; the new Tobias Wolff short story collection, Our Story Begins; Donna Leon's latest Commissario Brunetti murder mystery in the alleyways of Venezia; a brief stab at Linda's Cougar Annie's Garden, all about an old settler of the western islands of BC (which lasted until the Redhead snatched it back); and of course, there had to be some football books.
I wanted to see what the fuss was about, concerning Mark Bowden's The Best Game Ever, Colts-Giants '58. What I found was some real good stuff about Raymond Berry that I never knew, plus 32 factual errors. Yeah, the book was interesting from a historical point of view, but I would have preferred more careful research.
So on that bitter note I leave you, to get ready for my next wailbag column and my next round of accusers.