30 April 2007
It's easy for Canada to look really environmentally savvy. Canada's got the wild icy north, arboreal and evergreen forests, desert, prairies, lakes, bays, rivers, Pacific and Atlantic coasts and a conspicuously green image. That's Canada's 'thing': Italy has pizza, America has war-mongering, and Canada has chirping mother birds protecting their eggs whilst a single shaft of late spring sunlight wends its way through the bright green leaves into her nest.
Or something like that.
And of course, Canada, as an 'eco-nation' is at the forefront of battling the newest and gravest environmental danger of global warming.
The federal government last week released a plan calling for "Canadian reductions of current greenhouse gas emissions by 150 million tonnes by 2020. Most industries will have to reduce greenhouse gases by 18 per cent by 2010." according to the CBC.
Well that's good news. If Canada is to reach the ambitious targets set out in the Kyoto protocol it's going to have to get busy. There may be plenty of mountaineers struggling to reach the pristine peak of Mount Robson and view the vast Canadian green greatness through steamy breaths, but Canada is still an industrialized nation with plenty of heavy industry. But thanks to the governments plan everything is going to be a-ok: the beaver has slapped his tail rippling the clear waters of the pool, alerting all to the imminent danger...and the government has responded.
Unfortunately the plan sucks. Canadian enviro icon David Suzuki has called the plan 'disappointing,' Al Gore, the loudest and most well-known canary in the coalmine went a step further saying "In my opinion, it is a complete and total fraud. It is designed to mislead the Canadian people."
Even worse than Mr Inconvenient Truths' harsh condemnation of the plan is the governments response. Environmental Minister John Baird could only muster a "we did more than you" retort. This conveniently ignores the fact that the multiple-award-winning 'An Inconvenient Truth' has grossed over $46 million worldwide and has done more than any other effort, singular or combined, to bring the threat of climate change into the public arena. Its science has never been disputed by anyone who understands science and/or knows how to read a thermometer.
The Canadian plan focuses on 'intensity reduction' of greenhouse gas emissions. "A reduction in intensity means that big industrial emitters of greenhouse gases will have to reduce emissions for each unit of output, but total output could increase." So says the CBC.
Mr Gore knows what he's talking about-the plan looks like a fraud.
Mr Laird is a jackass.
And aren't Americans fat enough already? Sheesh.
29 April 2007
27 April 2007
Do not ignore what you heard...if it was about climate change accelerating, and there being a clear and present danger of irrevocable catastrophic weather irregularities in continued heavy CO2 emissions, and so forth.
You may also spend time debating whether your super-awesome top-floor apartment in Brussels with all the Velux windows will be uncomfortably hot in the summer. Because it sure is uncomfortably hot now.
26 April 2007
25 April 2007
24 April 2007
The big thing when entering into the realm of a new sport is which team to cheer for. It's a crucial 'decision' (if it can be called a decision) because it will determine the amount of frustration or joy you will get out of your hobby in the seasons to come. To that end I present food for thought as you decide which bandwagon to jump on...
Your nationalistic instincts tell you to throw your lot behind a team from your country of America. But No! Do not listen!! This first point is crucial, for from it springs all other paths. There is only one 'true path': go Canadian. This will earn you huge respect from any hockey fan worth his or her pucks. Supporting an American team (that isn't Detroit or Chicago) will earn you only shame. Supporting Detroit will heap hatred upon your shame, and supporting Chicago will earn you heaps of disappointment. Canada invented and cherishes the game, and for you to maximize your time investment it's best to get on a welcoming bandwagon full of rabid fans which is why we should just agree that a Canadian team is where you want to stuff your boosterism.
2 Teams, 1 Choice
Instead, go with a team that has an illustrious NHL history stretching back to 1970. Go with a team that has tasted more than their fair share of play-off disappointment in the past, and are now on the brink of something great. Go with the Vancouver Canucks.
23 April 2007
Another is the view from the top. The church is The Collegiate Church of Notre Dame.
It's a Fact: In 1466 Philip the Good (ha!) punished a Dinant uprising in 1466 by throwing 800 copper-beaters into the river, tied two-by-two.
Dinants citadel was built in the 11th century to monitor traffic over the River Meuse. Dinant has been pillaged and sacked numerous times since then, which makes the Citadels presence seem, if not ironic, then pointless.
However, it was a nice place for a picnic and a tour.
Dinant is rightly proud of their most famous son Adolphe Sax. Adolphe invented the Saxophone.
Hence the almost ubiquitouos saxophone paraphenalia.
It's a Fact: Dinant is hugely popular with Belgian touring motorcyclists. And bikers in general. This I can tell you from firsthand experience.
Just up the river from Dinant is Yvoir, a town notable for the grassy island in the middle of the river that has a bbq, friterie, and pub. We took a 20 second ferry boat ride over to snack on frites in the afternoon sun.
21 April 2007
Luongo is awesome! A miracle worker, even. However the one thing he can't do is score goals. I'm talking to you EVERY SINGLE OTHER PLAYER ON THE CANUCKS. During this playoff series I've made 2 specific 4 hour roundtrip trips to Mechelen and watched two complete games and cheered exactly ZERO goals.
Tonight things need to get better, not just because I deserve to party for a goal, but because Luongo deserves the cup. Pull your bootstraps up, roll up your sleeves, and put pucks in the net boys. Because Turco sucks, and we gotta chance to win this. So do it.
20 April 2007
How bad does Turco suck?
Who got the better deal in the 1987 Entry Draft? Canucks with Trevor Linden (who scored the winner in Game 4)? Or the Stars with Mike Modano (who didn't register a shot)?
It will also be a New Father party. So let's hope for a good result for the youngest Canuck fan, Oisin Cornish. Who's miracle of birth coincided with Willie Mitchels miracle of goaltending just two nights ago.
19 April 2007
It's too early to say Roma has recovered from their spectacular fall from the dizzying heights of Champions League Quarterfinals, but they've strung together two successive convincing victories. The first a 4-0 victory last Sunday, and most recently a powerful 3-1 against the runaway Serie A leaders Inter.
It was a beautiful game. Rome struck first in the end of the first half thanks to a beautiful finish from Perrotta. But Inter equalized on a spot kick in the second half. Why did they get a spot kick you ask? Well apparently a gust of wind created by Doni grabbing the ball in his penalty area bowled over Ibrahimovic, so Doni got a yellow card and Inter got a spot kick.
But rather than letting this egregious piece of bullshit refereeing get them down Roma struck for two goals in the last 5 minutes to hand Inter their first defeat of the season. Roma will still finish second, and it really only delays Inters scudetto party, but it was a beautful thing to see. And we Roma fans partied, oh how we partied.
18 April 2007
17 April 2007
The only difference is that Luongo is still around and saving everything he touches. And not just performing net-miracles, he's performing fan-miracles, and has taken a perenially underachieving hockey squad and made them contenders. For that let us give thanks.
16 April 2007
You have? Well then Twitter is for you. The latest webfad example of a technology platform developed in anticipation of a way to make money off it is here for your free exploitation. Twitter members send short messages via phone, instant message, or the web the answer to the question 'what are you doing RIGHT NOW?'
And the rest of us can read about it. I for one, have no idea what to make of it, but it seems to be getting some press, as people see it as a bellweather of the next internet trend or at least another step down the blogging road. A group blog for non-blogggers.
I haven't joined. I like the blog, but I don't know quite how much I want to 'twitter.'
13 April 2007
augmented by Ohlund Swede Power.
The best part was Henrik Sedin after the game saying “I felt better the longer the game went. I got my legs going in the fifth and sixth periods.” Are you serious? The other Sedin and Jeff Cowan also were said to have stepped up their game the longer it went. If you don't know hockey the first game was the equivalent of more than 2 games back-to-back
Bad news for Canucks fans though is we lost three forwards in the first playoff game. To go all the way to taking home Lord Stanley's Mug, we're going to have to slow that rate down alot. Nobody has won the Cup with a bench full of call-ups before.
I recommend a strategy of scoring 5 or 6 back-breaking goals in the first period and then retreating into a casual, yet focused defensive shell for the rest of the game. Try it.
12 April 2007
His effect on me is also well-known, by everyone I lent my brothers copy of 'Cat's Cradle' to in high school. There were many of them, and I devoured his novels and ideas, his rejection of corporatization and mundanaity, his cynicism, tempered by a fervent belief in the potential goodness of humankind. His effect on me was well noted also by my high school English teacher who marked my zealous Grade 10 book report on 'Player Piano'.
I thank him for the many happy afternoons and evening reading his books and inspiring strange conversations. I'll also thank him for his irreverence and flippancy, as well as his ability to chain smoke like a maniac and publish silly drawings and comics in his brilliant books and basically rock it as a hard-core iconoclast until the very end.
I for one, though I'm sure I'm not the only one, will be sure to have another couple reads of his books in the next little while, because they warrant revisiting.
Sportingo doesn't have an NHL section. But it's playoff time, the Canucks look set to go deep, and Sportingo could earn themselves a whole swack of free NHL coverage. Not that anyone in Europe, other than me and Corey Cornish, really care.
11 April 2007
Every single one of Manchesters 7, yes 7 goals, was a beautiful completion of strong attacking movement. Manchester played from the first minute like a team in charge of their destiny. They were unstoppable. Having said that, Roma, in theory could have stopped them, and their collapse last night will inspire much introspection and evaluation. For Roma to go from the peak of beating one of Europes Premier teams 2-1 to the depths of a 7-1 thrashing by that same team less than a week later writes one of their greatest victories, and their worst defeat, almost simultaneously into their club history.
It was a night of coulda, shoulda, woulda: Roma coulda come back even from the 3-0 hole they put themselves into early. Michael Carrick scored in the 11th minute with a perfectly placed chip over Doni, who made no move to stop it. 6 minutes later suprise starter Alan Smith struck, and before Roma had caught their breath from going down two goals in the first twenty minutes they had gone down three goals in the first twenty minutes thanks to a cool finish by Rooney. Even that, backbreaking though it was, didn't need to spell Roma's end. They were down only 4-2 on aggregate and could've pulled themselves back into the match, but nobodies deluding themselves, that would be asking alot: Manchester was threatening to run away with the game (if they hadn't already.) However after some back and forth play Roma shoulda scored before the half at least, to stem the tide and turn the momentum, bringing themselves some hope for the second half. And they woulda, they had some chances but lacked finish. All Manchester did was complete offensive actions with pretty goals; C. Ronaldo scored a goal in the 44th minute to make it 4-o going into the half. The game was well over.
10 April 2007
I have now graduated to a position of weekend warrior, although there's a skate spot very close to my work so I may supplement my weekend warrioring with some lunchtime marauding.
Here's my prediction for tonights Champions League battle: Rome wins again. 2-1. I know an away goal is a difficult feat, hence their importance. But I got a good feeling about tonight. How good is the feeling? Fuck it, I'm calling for 2 Roma goals.
Luciano Spalletti, who is a football genius, rested 5 of his starting side from club action this week, so they could be well-rested for tonights match. And if there's anything worse than facing a healthy, ready, hungry, AS Roma squad, it'll be facing that same side with Totti, Mancini, De Rossi, Chivu, Panucci all well rested.
Now my prediction is of course based on my huge desire to see Roma win, but also this squad is capable of great things, and this is a huge game. For both sides yes, but bigger for Rome.
Manchester would certainly love to net a treble, but the side is not as dominating as it could be, after a suprise defeat to Portsmouth on the weekend their lead in the Premiership has shrunk to 3 points. Their home needs to be kept in order and that split focus is distracting. Rome is a comfortable second in their domestic league, but that won't change, so they're poring everything they've got into the Champs League campaign, hence resting half their side.
A couple of other factors:
Scholes: While Paul Scholes was a menace in Rome, deservedly sent off in the 34th minute, there's no denying he's a leader, with tonnes of experience and certainly a comforting thought for his back line which is fielding a couple unprovens.
Perrotta: Rome will be without Simone Perrotta. And that sucks. But back in the game will be David Pizarro, who didn't play in Rome due to suspension. That's an even up trade for Roma as far as I'm concerned.
When Rooney scored in Rome it was the first time that Roma's back line had been breached in almost 3 hours of Champs League football.Mexes and Chivu are one of the best central defending pairs in European club football. Manchester can score, and they did, but it won't be easy.
Manchesters back line is comprised of really tall, really over-rated Rio Ferdinand, who is more likely to turn a game with a big blunder than a big tackle. The pair of O'Shea, and Brown are second choices who don't really strike fear into the oppositions attack. Coupled with Argentine national Gabriel Heinze they are strong and capable, but collectively they will be nervous.
Rooney and Cronaldo vs. Totti and Mancini
One of these guys has a large amount of posters in a large amount of teenage girls bedrooms and often cries like a teenage girl when things don't go his way, another had an ocean of speculative ink spilled on newsprint prior to the World Cup. Another has 14 screws in his ankle and won the World Cup, the last is my favorite player on the Roma side, which was reinforced when his stepover samba made a Lyon defender pee his pants.
So there it is, Roma should win and advance, but dammit, they also should have done better in Rome to slam the door on Manchester, the fact that they didn't means it'll be an exciting game tonight...I'm already really excited. And I'm not the only one whose heart is already racing. Certainly the AS Roma fans who are on their way to Manchester, the ones who aren't begging for trouble anyway, but the regular diehard fans, they have to be hoping they won't get beat down by either the police or the opposition fans in some sort of perverse retribution for the debacle in Rome last week. Also keenly praying and strategizing will be the UEFA powers-that-be, hoping that they can stem the tide of violence that seems ready to surge back into European sport headlines and dominate the 'Beautiful Game' once again.
I only care about that a little bit. I certainly hope everything goes orderly in the stands of Old Trafford tonight, but where I want some real old-fashioned amok-running is on the pitch. In my fantasy scenario Roma play much as they did in Rome, and Manchester continue to play on their heels as they did in the first leg. And of course, Roma advances. It can happen, and it should.
08 April 2007
06 April 2007
But what about all the rest of them hits?
I've enabled comments on here, without having to sign in, feel free to comment on this or any other posts. When I say 'feel free' I mean 'keenly encouraged.'
They've all been very exciting. And diverse. But rather than feeling disappointed at the mundanity of my new job, or becoming depressed because it's sunny outside and I work in an office, instead of outdoors or at an aquarium, I find the experience rejuvenating. Though I expect the drudgery of office life to eventually exact an excruciating toll, right now every day seems like an adventure. As an actor I relish my role of 'office worker'. And enjoy the sense of 'discovery' that coems with eveyr new day. There's office politics to engage with, and an interest in relevant subject matter to be mustered, as well as breaks to take, and print outs to be collected!
To me it's like travelling in a foreign country, something else I love to do. There are exotic sounds and smells, languages I don't understand being spoken, and a culture I try respectfully to engage with, a little bit at a time. It keeps me slightly nervous, lest I relax my guard and reveal something of myself that doesn't fit well with the locals way of thinking and being.
This exoticism keeps me eager to come to work. Though it's only the third week, if I can continue to find interesting aspects of the way of life here, I could even find myself enjoying the culture and customs so much that I take up residence in this strange and beautiful land.
05 April 2007
For those of you in Rome, peace activist group US Citizens for Peace & Justice (despite the name you don't need to be a US citizen. I'm not) are doing their bit for the 'Impeach Bush' movement. April 28th is Impeach Bush Day and there will be actions all around the US. Rome is getting involved, and so should you.
Last nights game showed my faith in AS Roma was well placed. It also announced Romas presence as a real-deal European footballing power, capable of competing with the best. If Romas inspired 2-0 away victory in Lyon flew under the radars of most Anglophone football enthusiasts, last nights impressive display certainly did not.
From the opening kick off Rome showed that they came to play, earning a corner in the first minute that was nearly converted when it ended up on the foot of Christian Panucci, who I'm sure replayed the sequence over and over in his mind on the way to bed last night. It was mere minutes later when Romanian defender Christian Chivu, sporting a phantom of the Opera mask nearly curled in a free kick conceded outside Manchesters 18 yard box.
And the first half went on like that with Roma taking it to the Premiership leaders. I remember thinking 'they've really gotta score this first half, because Manchester's gonna hit the dressing room and get organized for the second.'
And despite losing midfielder Paul Scholes to a second yellow card in the 34th minute, and conceding a late goal to Rome off some more downfield pressure, courtesy of Mancini and Totti and finished by Taddei, despite all that, Manchester came out strong in the second half. Rome still surged forward led by the ispirational Totti, but they couldn't convert. Manchester pulled level on the hour when the Pretty Portuguese earned himself some space up front and put a pass through to the best name in football, Ole Gunnar Solksjaer who gave a neat cross to Rooney, who deftly handled the ball and hammered it home.
That was not the result of mistakes, but it was the result of a defense playing less than perfect, and when you're facing off against Cronaldo and Rooninho they will make you pay, whether they're down a man or not.
However, as predicted in this blog yesterday AS Roma, and in particular Lucky Luciano Spalletti, was equal to the challenge. Realizing that he had to earn a victory he pulled off lanky Swede Christian Wilhelmsson to put on lanky Montenegrin Vucinic. Waitaminute?! What? Wilhelmsson was a dangerous looking force all night, and Vucinic is kinda clumsy, and still a long way from proving himself, as far as I'm concerned.
But I trusted Lucky Luciano and he trusted Vucinic. Vucinic responded by miraculously and brilliantly hammering home a Mancini rebound 4 minutes after the substitution. Shit! That kind of quick return on his investment makes Spalletti seem eerily prophetic.
The rest of the game trailed off; though Totti had a couple nice chances and Roma looked like they wanted another goal , they didn't get it. Final score Roma 2 Manchester 1.
That's not a bad result for either side. Manchester will count themselves lucky to have not had a worse outcome and I hope will make Paul Scholes sit by himself on the way home. Sir Alex will certainly pore over the game tapes and re organize his team before Tuesday. Roma will be happy to chalk up a win against Mighty Manchester, but they'll be disappointed to have not capitalized on the numbers advantage, and doubly disappointed by the fact they conceded an all-important away goal. Roma's concession of the away goal certainly narrows their margin of error, and takes some of the lustre of the victory. Rome basically needs a goal at Old Trafford to win.
I think they can do it.
Stand outs on the night:
Mancini. I think he lost the stepover battle to FancyPants Prettyboy Crybaby, but he was instrumental in both Roma goals.
Wilhelmsson. I haven't had a chance to see much of him, as he arrived in Rome as I left. But I like what I see.
Chivu. Welcome back.
Doni. Did well to challenge Cronaldo for a couple of balls that could've easily spelled 'undoing.' And kept his home in neat order all night.
04 April 2007
Elections, like MySpace, are just variations on the theme of 'popularity contest.' Barack Obama is winning the MySpace Popularity Contest so far. And when MySpace has its' own Presidential Primary next year expect him to come out on top. The 'social networking site' as a stump stop will certainly be getting alot more attention. I wonder if Karl Rove has a MySpace page?
Yup. But it's more than a little suspect. I really don't think Al Gore is considered a top 8 friend by MC Rove
Tonights the night of the Champions League Quarterfinal between AS Roma and Man U.
This is Roma's first trip to the Champions league quarterfinals and my first as well. Tonight we will be at an Irish Bar with a bunch of Man U fans. Man U fans, I might add, who will be supremely confident in their chances of success. Man U is first in the Premiership and won the FA Cup; they will be keen to continue their winning ways.
Roma though, is a much better story.
The team costs a sliver of what Man U does, they can only afford a player of Totti's calibre because Totti will play nowhere else. They runneth over with under-rated talent and have speed in spades. Guys like de Rossi, Mancini, Perrotta and Taddei can turn a game with precision balls, quick bursts, and in the case of the two Brazilians (Mancini and Taddei), wicked dribbles. One angle on the game tonight will be 'the battle of the stepover kings': Cristian Ronaldo vs. Amantino Mancini. Let's hope the flashy Brazilian turns it on tonight to compete with the Pretty Portuguese.
Roma's coach, the always interesting to look at Luciano Spalletti is a sharp contrast to Manu U's Sir Alex Ferguson. In contrast to the many titles Sir Alex has earned (including knighthood), Luciano Spalletti can count only coaching his way up through the ranks of Italian lower tier football. "Coaching Empoli FC in a promotion play-off was important but somehow I think playing United in a packed Stadio Olimpico beats that," Spalletti said with a smile. His gift for understatement is matched by his gift for strategy.
He will go up against Sir Alex carefully. And by carefully I mean promoting attacking football. He wants to win. And his team wins when they play beautiful flowing football. Do the math. Roma will try and capitalize on Manchester's injury depleted back-end, and they will also rely on their hunger. "Sir Alex is a wonderful coach but there's a difference between him and me: he's won 29 trophies, I've won one Serie C title," Spalletti pointed out.
I will be there offering my support. I think the story of Roma in the Champions League has an ending not yet written. I sure hope not.
03 April 2007
Last Friday a sports-related tragedy occured in Greece. A brawl resulted in multiple stabbings and a death. As a result the Greek government has suspended all sports matches in that country for two weeks. And it conducted raids on supporters homes and clubs. Sports violence is on the rise, which is sad.
Saddest of all...the violence occured before a WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL MATCH!
I don't want to trivialize the issue at all, but I do want to make the point that women's volleyball, while kind of hot, is not a sport with a long tradition of fan violence. Or to my knowledge, the fervent dedication (i.e. the fanatacism that spawned the word 'fan') that often begets violence. This is not to say traditions, or the fervent passion of say, football hooligans, excuse their behaviour. But it at least makes it understandable.
But what the Hell is going on in Greece? I have trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that rival Panthainakos Athens and Olympiacos Piraeus fans met with the express purpose of beating the crap out of, and stabbing each other. Only to then go watch a bunch of tall girls in tight shorts particpate in a non-contact sport whose most violent attribute is the word 'spike', which actually describes a pretty non-violent action.
*You've hopefully noticed the (poorly) photoshopped picture. I've assigned myself the task of learning how to work with Photoshop as part of my Communications work. Watch for slowly improving quality of the photoshopping of the images.
02 April 2007
Not even once.
I shower and shave, and splash on pleasant scents.
Picking up the International Herald Tribune off the steps I slip out the door,
I am a working man.
My dress pants are too short exposing my dress socks,
highlighting the fact I'm wearing sneakers.
The pedal fell off my bicycle. I take too many breaks.
The transition to office-working businessman is bumpy.
But paved with good intentions.