30 April 2007

Canada's Environmental Hoax



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."

Wow.

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.

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Mockolate

The Chocolate Manufacturer's Association in America, an industry lobby group, tired of using cocoa in their chocolate is trying to get the FDA to redefine 'chocolate' so that chocolate or ('mockolate') can be made entirely from trans fats and artificial sweeteners instead. I don't mean to point in shock and horror, mouth agape, at America again, but isn't Nestle and Hershey et al. chocolate shitty enough already?

And aren't Americans fat enough already? Sheesh.

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Burned




Not terribly original to see Paris making a drunk naked ass of herself in public, but full points for exectution to artist Vinchen for the stealth intervention. Vinchen has a bunch of other nice art interventions a la Banksy, on his site.

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Oisin Pundit


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Oisin Speaks


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29 April 2007

The Flu

Let's hope nobody else on the Canucks get the flu.

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27 April 2007

Ignore what you heard

Ignore what you heard... if it was about Brussels being a dull cold grey and rainy city.

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.

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Do it for Oisin


How can you say no to this child?

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26 April 2007

Good Use for Crappy Fries

This youtube video is from Eclectic Asylum. Taking fresh MacDonalds fries, 10 packets of ketchup and 50 minutes, a hot art installation is created. The video is a highspeed 4 minutes set to music. Check it out.


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25 April 2007

Canucks on Bleacher Report

I recently published on this here blog some feverish Canucks boosterism. Now that we're hitting the second round we get a bigger bandwagon, and it needs to be filled. In service of recruiting hockey dilletantes that article got published in The Bleacher Report. An online sports journal written by sports fans. Check it out here. Bleacher Report has big NBA and NFL and baseball sections, but the hockey sections building too. Shouts out to Bill for putting me onto them. I like the Bleacher Report and the way they do business, so check it out, get back to me with comments, and look for more of my writing there, particularly as the Canucks march on in their quest to devour Lord Stanley's Mug.

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Stupid Snoop


I like Snoop. Well, I used to.

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McGovern Tells it Like it Is


George McGovern, Democratic Presidential candidate from 1972 basically rips up the current US Administration in this op-ed from the LA Times. Check for the part where he predicts impeachment proceedings. Here's hoping once again things can go right in the world.

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24 April 2007

How to Pick a Hockey Team

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This piece of shameless boosterism was written for the Bleacher Report.
____________________________________________

Chances are if you're reading this you're from south of the 49th parallel and looking to dabble in some NHL Playoff Hockey. This is because you're a sports fan and the sports buffet on your channel of choice includes hockey playoffs, and you've got time in the evenings and beer in the fridge, so hockey it shall be.

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...

Narrowing the Field


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

After Round 1 there are just two Canadian teams in the running, the Ottawa Senators and the Vancouver Canucks. Ottawa is a great team, and may progress in these playoffs, but they are a relatively recent addition to the National Hockey League, only entering the league in 1992. If you are not from Ottawa, or at the very least actually Canadian, you shouldn't get involved with a new team. It just isn't a good idea. By all means follow their progress, just don't go any further.

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.

Fine-Tuning

Now that you've chosen the Vancouver Canucks you need to develop an appreciation for and understanding of this team. And back up your choice. Don't worry, I can help.

Reasons to Support the Vancouver Canucks

You Never Know What to Expect- The Canucks were picked as a Stanley Cup contender in 2005-2006 season. Instead, they imploded spectacularly at the end of the season and failed to make it into the post-season. This season they were expected to miss the playoffs. The season started with the Canucks posting one of the worst records in the first half of the season, before posting an amazing record of 32 wins 8 losses and 6 overtime/shootout losses in the period from after-Christmas untilt eh end of season. Why the turnaround? Because they're plucky, that's why. IN fact, their pluckiness and can-do attitude won them the Northwest division title and they went on to take a 3-1 series lead against the Dallas Stars in the first round. They then failed to score in the next two games allowing Dallas to come back from the brink and take the series to a Game 7. The Canucks managed to win in Game 7 by a margin of 4-1, despite being badly outplayed in the first period. Sports excitement does not get more topsy-turvy than that. The winning goal in Game 7 was scored by the all-time most popular player Trevor Linden.

Mr Canuck- Trevor Linden wears the number 16 and at 37 years old is the oldest member of the team. By far. He was forced out of the Canucks team by the arrival of Mark Messier at the start of the 1997-98 season. This period is not talked about by Canuck fans. It's too painful. After years in the wilderness he returned and after posting mediocre numbers during the season, he elevated his play so much that he scored the series winner against Dallas. In fact he only scores mind-bendingly important goals; he is the all time leading goal-scorer and point-getter in game 7s among active players. If a goal is not important Trev may miss even a gift-wrapped opportunity, but he always delivers come crunch-time.

The Coach is a Call-up The coach of the Canucks is a first-year Vancouverite named Alain Vigneault. He coached the Montreal Canadiens a few years ago but most recently was coaching Vancouvers farm team The Manitoba Moose. In his virgin season in B.C., Vigneault posted a franchise record for wins—and is now set on taking his overachieving underdogs deep into the playoffs. Watch him get the job done

Swedish Twins The Canucks pulled a draft coup when they drafted twin superstars-in-waiting Daniel and Henrik Sedin 2nd and 3rd overall in 1999. These twins look the same, dress the same and play the same. They drive the same make of car, and wear the same equipment, their point totals and games played differ by no more than +/- 3 at any one time. Identical twins have eerie 'twin powers' so they can tell when their sibling is in danger or just gave birth, or in this case is standing in front of the net ready to receive a preternaturally perfect pass to score a game-winning goal. It's awesome to watch.

Superstition- The Canucks went to the Stanley Cup finals only twice. Once in 1982 (25 years ago) and once in 1994 (13 years ago*). That means they go to the Stanley Cup final once every 12 seasons. Back a winner. Or if not a winner, at least a team destined to take the Stanley Cup Final to game 7. And 'third times a charm,' right? This is our season guy.
*Due to the lockout in 2004-2005 there was no NHL season, that means even though it's 13 years since our last cup challenge, this season is number 12. Perfect huh?

Best Goalie in the World- The Canucks have Roberto Luongo in net. he is the best goalie in the universe, for spectacular goaltending watch Luongo (you can also call him Bobbie Lu, Louie, or MVP, as you wish) keep pucks out of the net. In his first season with the Canucks he broke the franchise record for wins in a season, including one win where he got hit in the throat by a puck in practice, spent the night in a Montreal hospital, only to check himself out the next day and go on to post a shutout that evening. In this, his first post-season (in the preceding 7 seasons he played for perennially shitty Florida Panthers) he has a record of 4-3 with a 1.47 goals against average. It's worth noting that in each and every one of those losses his team-mates failed to score even 1 goal, which makes it tough for the goalie to win. But don't despair, the Canucks do have goal-scoring prowess.

Goal Scoring Prowess- Besides the aforementioned Mr Canuck and the Swedish Twins the Canucks have a defenceman named Sami Salo whose slapshot is faster than you've ever driven. They also have the only Danish player to ever play in the playoffs, a sparkplug named Yannick Hansen, a 6'4 giant named Taylor Pyatt, a redheaded brawler known as Jeff "Cowan the Brabarian" who gets ladies bras thrown on the ice everytime he scores, and, a couple of other guys who can, and sometimes do, put the puck in the net.

Towel Power When you see playoff hockey you see stands full of frenzied fans whipping white towels around in a circle. Some might call it silly, others might call it the best sportsfan activity since the wave, but Vancouver fans know it's our tradition. It began in our first run to the cup a quarter century ago. Hockey Legend Roger Nielsen was coaching the Canucks and the officating stunk so bad that he put a white trainers towel on a stick and waved it from the bench, surrendering to the crappiness of the calls.
When the Canucks returned home for the next game, they were greeted with an arena full of fans waving towels. A tradition was born. This one is easy to participate in at home, towel in one hand beer in the other, and let the hockey continue. Welcome to the bandwagon.

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Twitter Tweet

I recently commented on internet phenomefad twitter.
There's plenty more where that came from, if not from me, then everybody else on the internet. There was an article in the Herald Tribune, and the hype just seems to keep getting bigger. The key of the phenomenon which I missed is that users subscribe to receive twitters from friends or people they want to 'follow.' In this sense it follows the same social networking model of myspace bulletins, and facebook 'status updates.'
However twitter is starting to make some sense to me in the respect, that users say it connects them to friends and family who also use the service. But I'm not sure how it improves upon the facebook model (which I discovered first) . Besides, 'twittering' sounds like a lame thing to do, unless you're a song-bird or an impossibly cute Japanese girl. But people dig it, and it connects us, and that's why God invented the internet.


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It Happened


What a relief. You can never count the Canucks out, nor can you ever count them in, but sometimes, when they surprise you, it's a good thing.


The Vancouver Canucks surrendered a 3-1 series lead by failing to score in either Game 5 or 6 (not to mention Game 2), allowing the Dallas Stars to force Game 7. The Canucks, save Roberto Luongo were called out by their coach for a lack of effort. Soft-spoken coach Vigneault said after the game “players – sometimes they’re like your kids, sometimes they need tough love. You need to tell them things that they don’t like to hear, but you have to say it anyway. Tough love is sometimes part of being a coach.” And they responded with a wicked Game 7. Finishing off the Stars 4-1.


It seems everything, or at least most things went right in this game, which I wish I had seen live (that lament will be repeated repeatedly throughout this playoff run).


But the most poetic thing of course is that the gamewinning goal came from none other than Mr Canuck himself Trevor Linden.


Trevor Linden now leads all active players with 12 game seven points and 6 game seven goals. I had predicted a Sami Salo powerplay slapper goal, but in retrospect, if the Canucks were going to haul themselves out of the hole their lacklustre play dug them, it would be Linden leading the charge.


Any doubts that the fans, and the Canucks themselves had, have now been erased. They've advanced to the second round, narrowly escaping a second straight collosal collapse in a first round playoff appearance. These Canucks are different than the 'old' Canucks. They're winners. They will be in a tough series against Anaheim, but the momentum, the belief, the desire and the goaltending are all here. Go for Round 2.


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23 April 2007

Please Canucks...

...do not flush a miraculous second half of the season down the toilet. Tonights the night. We need your A game.

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Dinant



Dinant is located 60km south from Brussels. It's worth visiting for a couple of reasons. One of them is the steps leading up to the Citadel. There are 408 steps built in the 15th century and still in use today. I like old steps, and these were no exception.



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.


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21 April 2007

Luongod

An Open Letter to the Vancouver Canucks,

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.


Sincerely,

Ryan

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20 April 2007

Still Life


Imagine if a bear could sing...
The photoshop work continues.

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Did the Canucks Win?

I still don't know. I'm in my own little internet lockdown, confined to areas of the web where sports news won't leak. But tonight i'll be watching, in taped delay (obviously) Vancouver attempt to definitively answer the following questions:

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.

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19 April 2007

Rome Sweet Rome

I had a Roma party yesterday. With Romans. Real Romans. In Brussels. Rome beat Inter Milan 3-1 yesterday in San Siro. There was partying, cheering, yelling and chanting. All in Italian. It was beautiful. Nobody mentioned Manchester.

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.

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18 April 2007

Internet Canucks Hockey Ninja


Thanks to Luca Brotzy I'm now aware that CBC Hockey Night in Canada is available on livestreaming online.

Problem is, I can't access it because I'm not in Canada. But I know I don't know very much about computers, but I do know that there are things (unknown to me), that others know how to do, that could provide me access to said livestreaming Canucks hockey. Any Internet Canucks Hockey Ninjas who can direct me to a method to elude the CBC's border patrol?



My other option is this hilarious liveblog. Which while well-written, is decidedly not even close to actually watching the game.

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17 April 2007

Who Hates the Swiss?

The Kids in the Hall hate the Swiss! With a shout out to Belgium. Word.


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Jesus Goalie

There's been alot of talk lately about Roberto Luongo as the saviour of the Vancouver Canucks. AKA Hockey Goalie Jesus. I gotta agree, and I want to get in and help publicize that belief system. Look at the picture of Luongo above and tell me the resemblance isn't uncanny. I thought not.

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.

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16 April 2007

Roma Bounce Back







What can I say? Roma really ate shit in the away leg of their Champions League tie with Manchester. A spectacularly humiliating defeat. But the good news is they bounced back doing some crushing of their own. A 4-0 victory over UC Sampdoria in Serie A action. Totti scored twice. Roma is looking well on their way to march back into Champions league next year. Helps soothe the bitter 7-1 defeat, but still...






Look, I'm trying to be positive about this. I think that's a credit to me.




P.S. A bomb threat was called into the Roma training facility by disgruntled fans. They also let loose some ducks and a package of carrots there. Italy still confuses me.

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Caesar's Ghosts


This is the logo for my Fantasy Hockey Team, we're known as Caesar's Ghosts, and the logo was done by Australian wondergenius The Shortcut Kid. He's moving to Europe in the spring and we're also teaming up on a couple of other projects, including some hot new hip hop, the release is tentatively titled 'Fell to Earth.' It'll be simultaneously rad and awesome. Word.


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Twitter

Have you ever wanted to receive text messages from total strangers, often in a language you can't understand, so you can know exactly what that stranger is doing?

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.'


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Playoff Fever


Skateboarded out to Mechelen on saturday for Canucks-Stars Game 2 (in taped delay.) It's vey hot in Belgium right now. Really hot. Though, as we all now, global warming is a hoax.


The Canucks were lacklustre until the end of the game. Why wait until the last 10 minutes to play with urgency, doesn't take a strategy genius to tell that's a losing plan. And we lost 2-0.


However, The first ever Dane to play in an NHL Playoff game (his first ever NHL game), that guy was a revelation.

Jannik Hansen came back for game 3, got an asist and 15 minutes of ice time. Canucks won game 3 in Dallas. Now we lead the series 2-1.




Also it sucks that I didn't get to watch that game, or the first one that we won. But we're hoping that nasn.com (the Canadian expat hockeyfans crack dealer) comes through with game 5 or 6 (at least!)


Go Canucks Go!

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13 April 2007

Canucks Game 1

All I want to say is the canucks played forever, but at the end, after almost 80 minutes of overtime

BAM!

Twin Power!!

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

Awesome.

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.

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12 April 2007

Space Fries


Alright Photoshop!!
Now we're getting somewhere...

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God Bless You, Mr. Vonnegut

Novelist and all around awesome inspirational figure Kurt Vonnegut passed away yesterday. Mourning begins, effective immediately. His impact on the literary world and American counter-culture, and contemporary culture, is well-known.

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.

Anyway Kurt, thanks for everything, good luck with whatever comes next. I promise to try and be nice and stay on the lookout for bullshit.


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Canucks


I just looked to check the score, and the game is still going. Ohmigod. Believe.



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Sportingo

A bowdlerized version of my blog posting Manchester Magic appears on the Sportingo website. Apparently Sportingo has been trawling the web looking for punters like myself who fancy themselves sports writers to be sports writers for them. And as a writer and blogger I have one thing I do very well so far: content provision.

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.

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11 April 2007

French Fries

I told you I was learning photoshop. I poached this image off the internet and made some of the stripes green. Clearly the progress is slow. But I'm on to some new shit. Watch for it tomorrow.

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Manchester Magic


Roma was out before they were even in. After all the speculation, hope, and anticipation, Roma's Champions League campaign ended last night with a disastrous thud. A spectacular and disastrous thud. Manchester on the other hand, looked like Roma was merely a stepping stone to semi-finals, finals, and even the cup. They looked truly in form, as a team that scores 7 goals on the Champions League's heretofore stingiest defence obviously is.

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.


After that stunning first half display I knew Roma's only hope was to score a couple quick ones during the break. That didn't happen. And the second half showed more of the same: decent play from Rome, but not nearly inspired or dangerous enough to truly threaten Van Der Sar's domain. And Manchester continued to look dangerous all night, they tallied 3 more goals in the second half. In the end Rome did get a precious away goal, but seeing how de Rossi's goal (nice though it was) only decreased Manchesters lead to 6 goals, it was a small small consolation.


In the end you've got to hand it to Manchester for the way they handed the game to Rome. As a Rome supporter I'm embarrassed and saddened. Embarassed for the drubbing handed out on footballs biggest club stage, and sad, for what Rome coulda, shoulda and woulda accomplished.

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10 April 2007

Long Weekend

This long weekend held special significance to me, now that I'm a working stiff. It was also significant because we had our first barbecue of the season, the richly marinated barbecued mushrooms were a hit, as always.The bbq followed by our first wicked late night dance party until all hours. It also involved some picnicking in the Bois de la Cambre and an afternoon of skateboarding. In the sun. The Belgian sun.

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.

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Fever Pitch


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:

Suspensions:

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.

EDGE: Rome

Defense

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.

EDGE: Rome


Offense

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.

Edge: Even

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.


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08 April 2007

Playoff Hockey

It's playoff hockey time. You should get your fantasy team registered for CBC's Playoff Pool. Pick your team and then do battle in my pool, called, unsurprisingly 'Roads to Rome.' It's a Public League, so search and you shall find.

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06 April 2007

Facebook

Like everyone else it seems, I recently got myself a facebook account. Rather than discuss it, or the social networking website phenomenon or what's better/different about it compared to MySpace, I'll just embed this video, so you can party.



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Hit Parade

If my newly installed hit counter is to be trusted I've had over 5,000 hits in the week since I installed it. Now I alone account for a good many of those, as I usually come to my blog a few times a day, just to see if I posted anything new.
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.'

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Office Work

I've started my very first office job. After having worked in my past as a media artist, aquarium educator, art gallery animateur, art gallery history rapper, camp counsellor, educational video host, actor, political candidate, tour guide, journalist, english teacher, art educator, improviser, and barista. Among others.

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.

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05 April 2007

Impeach




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.

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Roma Proves It



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.

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04 April 2007

MySpace President

Barack Obama: President of MySpace

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

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Captured!

I've discovered that the clock that I punch every morning when I arrive, and every time I take a lunch break, or come back from a lunch break, and when I go home, is made by a company called "Captor."

So much for subtlety.

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Champions



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.

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03 April 2007

Violence in Sport Gets Really Out of Hand



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.

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02 April 2007

Office

I wake up early and get up without pressing snooze.
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.

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