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Sunday, February 28, 2010

The golden moment 

It will be the question that defines a generation:
where were you when Crosby scored?


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Saturday, February 27, 2010

And the medal in pearl clutching goes to... 

What is with American reporters? Ever since the "wardrobe malfunction" they act like a bunch of blue-nosed church ladies, while the rest of the world just laughs at them.
First they flip out about the "scandal" of Scotty Lago and his medals party:
...photos surfaced in the media that showed the 22-year-old athlete hanging his bronze medal over his groin area . . .
Another photo reportedly shows a woman kissing the medal on a public street.
On a public street!!! OMG ! Here's what all the fuss was about:

Oh, the horror! How dare a 22-year-old athlete get it on with a girl!
The US media had spoken, so of course this medal-winning athlete had to creep home in disgrace.
But then the US reporters seemed to think that everybody else should be just as scandalized as they were by athlete behaviour.
They couldn't stop talking about Jon Montgomery carrying a mug of beer around Whistler

He even drank from it, on camera!
And then the IOC was supposedly scandalized by the Canadian women drinking beer and smoking cigars after their gold medal win:

But they weren't, actually. The only people screaming OMG! was the American media. As for the rest of us, Christie Blatchford said it best:
Nothing celebrates that spirit better, or more spits in the face of Big Brother, than a cigar enjoyed on the ice.

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Great line of the day 

From John Cole summarizes recent American republicanism:
an accumulation and defense of wealth dishonorably gained and then wasted.
I hope that will never describe Canadian conservatism.

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Four-medal Friday 

Two golds and bronze in short track, and silver in curling.
Plus the hockey team pulled together and pulled it off!
And you know, I had been wondering about whether the Canadian men were going to survive in short track, where the dominant skaters seem to have to be just a little bit dirty to win, enough to win without getting caught. It seemed like our Canadians were just too nice.
But the relay team played it very smart -- they secretly devised a new strategy yesterday, which they called Operation Cobra, to change their skating pattern at the end of the race:
Teammate Guillaume Bastille said the hand movement the team made, holding their right hands in the shape of a snake, was a signal that their plan, called Operation Cobra, worked.
Charles Hamelin said the team’s strategy gave them confidence going into the relay. “Our strategy was called ‘Operation Cobra’ which was where François-Louis (Tremblay) had one minute and ten seconds rest before he did the last two laps,” said Hamelin after the race. “And the last two laps were very good.”
They didn't lose as much time in handovers either, as the other teams were bound to do -- plus f**king with their minds, in a nice way.
And it worked -- they won!


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Friday, February 26, 2010

2.2 seconds, 2 rocks 

It all comes down to a few seconds, a few inches.
A story in this morning's Star Phoenix, which I cannot find on line, put Canada's "losses" in this Olympics into perspective -- we would have had five more medals in five different events if we had an extra 2.2 seconds, total, to add into the Canadian scores.
And in curling, it all came down to just two rocks. Ours at the 10th end didn't quite make it, and theirs in the 11th end did.
So it goes.
And like Hayley says, get real.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Olympic commercials 

At his Fourth-Place Medal blog, Yahoo Sports blogger Trey Kerby says this is quite possibly the best Olympic commercial ever

Well, I don't know about that, but I do know that there is something great about this year's crop of Olympic commercials -- I've seen each of them a hundred times and I am not sick of them -- in fact, some of them I actually enjoy -- BC Tourism's "You gotta be here", and Coke's hockey crazy, and Air Canada and RBC's little man, and even Walmart's hockey mom and that hockey dad with a twist, where the kid is teaching Dad to skate.
Don't miss Maclean's "Morgan Freeman vs Donald Sutherland " mashup.
The only Olympics ads that are really starting to annoy me are Chevy's talking cars, mainly because what they're talking about is really BORING! But then again, what did I expect from a talking car anyway?

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday 

Canada owns women's bobsleigh podium
Canada takes silver in women's 3,000m relay
Canada thumps Russia to advance to semifinals
Hughes skates to bronze in 5,000m


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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Three Second Sport 

One of the commentators in the freestyle aerials tonight described this as a "three-second sport" and I thought it was a particularly memorable term for an extremely difficult sport.
Congrats to Canada's aerialists who qualified tonight for three of the twelve spots in the finals.
And just to prove to Canadian fans that any country's athletes can choke, blow it, screw up, fail to execute, or whatever you want to call it, tonight the top freestyle aerialist in the world, Belarus's Anton Kushnir, tilted during his second jump and then blew the landing. So he finished 15th.

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Wow 

Gold for Virtue and Moir

And I liked their costumes and music too -- no chiffon fluttering and strings flapping around, no weird colours or distracting bangles, no jarring musical transitions or audience clapping along.
Just skating, perfect skating.

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BFF doesn't mean what it used to 


Just six months ago, the Conservatives were BFF with Canada's military, patting themselves on the back for buying the military a batch of combat vehicles.
Then two days after the Haiti earthquake, we found out they had quietly cancelled the purchases.
So today the Conservatives are BFF with Canada's athletes -- patting themselves on the back for how proud they are of the Canadian athletes who are competing with the world's best.
Athletes, don't quit your day jobs...

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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hockey 

Damn!
Did we think it would be easy?

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Misbehavin' women 



Over at Kos, blogger Angry Mouse has a brilliant post that absolutely demolishes every single argument the IOC has thrown up to bar women from ski jumping.
One fact that I hadn't realized was that ski jumpers who are smaller and lighter will jump farther -- so this means women ski jumpers may well beat the men if they are ever allowed to compete. Now, far be it from me to entertain a conspiracy theory, but could this explain why the IOC has been so stubborn on this issue?
Dick Pound's remarks were particularly offensive:
So will the IOC approve women's ski jump for 2014? "We'll have to wait and see," IOC member Dick Pound said in an interview for an MSNBC.com documentary on women's ski jumping, Frozen Out of the Olympics. "If in the meantime you're making all kinds of allegations about the IOC and how it's discriminating on the basis of gender," he warned, "the IOC may say, 'Oh yeah, I remember them. They're the ones that embarrassed us and caused us a lot of trouble of trouble in Vancouver, maybe they should wait another four years or eight years.'"
Nice little event you've got here, girls. Be a shame if we delay approving it until all of you rabblerousers are too old to compete ...

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Party on Robson 



What a great shot on this morning's Globe and Mail webpage showing Robson Street Granville Street in downtown Vancouver.
Juggler David Aiken - a.k.a. The Checkerboard Guy - performs two shows a day. Mr. Aiken said the atmosphere at Vancouver's Olympic epicentre is electric. A veteran street performer, he said it's a joy to watch people from different nations converge in one spot and enjoy one another.
"There's a palpable feeling of patriotism, but not in a bad way," the spectacled performer said after a lunch-hour show. "People from Canada and Germany and Denmark are coming together and wishing the best for everyone."
We always liked "Robsonstrasse" -- we like to stay at the Blue Horizon when we can. Next to Davie, it's one of Vancouver's most liveable streets.
UPDATE: Correction made -- Vancouverites identify the photo as Granville Street. But we still like Robson, too!

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pie fight and bad faith 

It's hard to have a civilized discussion when someone has just thrown a pie in your face.
The Olympics protestors are finding this out.
The Tyee seems to be just about the only press outlet reporting on the Olympic protest movement. The latest is that they tried to have a meeting on Wednesday to discuss next steps, when someone threw a pie in the face of BC Civil Liberties Union executive director David Elby.
I would imagine it highjacked the debate.
Elby, you see, had spoken out against Saturday's violence and this offended other protestors' sense of decorum and proper behaviour:
it violated an agreement -- tacit or not -- that no group should publicly criticize the actions of others.
Gee, isn't this exactly the kind of corporate orthodoxy and groupthink that the anti-Games protestors had found so objectionable about the Games themselves?
Oh, I know, when it comes to politics, any expectations of consistency are bound to be disappointed. But it seems that protest organizers are also frustrated by the difficulties of solidarity:
The divisions and anger created by Saturday's riotous protest threaten to destroy a social movement years in the making, [Chris Shaw] fears, and those types of marks don't come out easily in the wash. . . .
Many observers agree the past few years have seen a remarkable trend. A diverse collection of civil society actors, critical native voices and more-militant activists have united against the Games. In a city known for fractious politics, this was quite a feat, Shaw said.
But as the events of Wednesday evening showed, those alliances might be more fragile than they appeared. "I saw fractures starting to form again," Shaw said. "My hope was that we'd built a nascent civil/social justice movement that would last beyond the Games... Otherwise we're back to fighting our own lonely little battles."
This quote inadvertantly points out, I think, one of the basic problems in the anti-Olympic protest -- was it ever actually about the Olympics?
They convinced a lot of good people that the Games themselves were awful -- that it was impossible to negotiate any positive changes with the Games, they were too expensive, too elitist, too corporate, too objectionable.
But did the anti-Olympics protest leadership ever attempt to work in good faith with VANOC to improve the Games, to make them more socially and economically responsive?
Or was it bad faith from the beginning? Where they actually trying to hi-jack the international visibility of the Games to develop a political or ideological agenda?
If so, this was not only wrong, but doomed not to succeed -- however laudable these long-term social justice goals are, such bad faith would result in a gaping hole at the core of the anti-Games protest, a hollowness which was bound to be exposed.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Today 


Saw Jon Montgomery win gold in skelton -- he didn't let the pressure get to him, and THAT is the gold medal achievement.
And sorry, Russia, but there is no way that Plushenko deserved the men's figure skating gold over Lysacek for landing a quad jump. One comment summed up the differences:
Evan had better spins, faster and more complicated, with more difficult positions. Evan had superior footwork sequences, massively superior transitions and skating difficulty between the jumps and a better choreographed program, while Plushenko stood still and gyrated his hips as if he was Katarina Witt. Evan had BETTER jumps! Aside from the shaky quad combo that Plushenko landed, he was out of position in the air and barely landed several of his jumps. Every single one of Evan's was perfectly clean, including his two triple axels. And Plushenko thinks he should have won because of one jump?

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My fault, again 

As a baby boomer, I have always been to blame for society's problems.
It was my fault that the United States lost in Vietnam -- all those protests, you know. And it was my fault that disco was invented in the 70s. And when Canadian interest rates reached 20 percent in the 80s, that was my fault too because I was trying to buy a house. And then the tech bubble in the 90s was my fault, because I was all gaga over new technology.
And it was my fault that the Iraq War started -- not enough protests, you know.
So now here's another thing that's my fault -- Canada's grim financial future.
Sorry.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

More, more, give us more! 



Here it is, day seven and the complaining starts about whether Canada is going to win enough medals.
Yes, our terrific athletes will win lots of medals.
No, as a country we aren't going to beat the Americans or the Germans and maybe not even the Russians or Norwegians either. Finishing fourth would be an excellent finish for Canada and third would be tremendous.
The New York Times has a very interesting graphic about Winter Games Medals which shows how much the US has been improving over the last several Olympics -- not surprising, considering their population, their competitiveness, new sports like snowboard and halfpipe, and the quality of their coaching and athletic facilities. The next country which is going to come to the forefront in medals is China.
And I wouldn't be surprised to see India really start competing in the Olympics someday too.

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Olympics grit 

In the New York Times Olympics Pictures of the Day, here is this great shot of Jeff Pain during men's skeleton training.



Here's the women's curling team as they defeated Japan -- coming back from a 0-3 deficit.


The inspiring story of today's Olympics was this one:
Slovenia's Petra Majdic said Wednesday's bronze in the women's sprint classic was like an Olympic 'gold with little diamonds' after she suffered a bruising tumble into a rocky stream just before the start.
The 30-year-old fell three metres down a bank and onto rocks after slipping in the warm-up, but still managed to battle through four rounds to finish third behind Norways's Marit Bjoergen and Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland.
"It was Slovenia's first medal, which is why I think I fought so hard," she said.

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Don't hold your breath 

Stockwell Day is saying that the government is going to make sacrifices.
Well, unless Day is proposing that politicians cut their own salaries, the people who are actually going to "sacrifice" are us -- and the poor civil servants who work for us.
"Sacrifice" is political code for "screwed".

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Best in show 

Scottish Terrier Sadie wins the Westminster Best in Show


Now everybody say, Awhhhhhh!

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A gold, and an existential gold 


Two winning stories in snowboard cross today.
Canadian Maelle Ricker won the snowboard cross gold medal. The backstory is that at the Torino Olympics four years ago, Maelle had also made it to the snowboard cross final, but then she wiped out part way down the hill and wasn't even able to finish.
So this was her comeback year, and she succeeded wonderfully.
But her backstory pales compared to the Epic Fail experience of another snowboarder, American Lindsey Jacobellis. Four years ago, Lindsey was leading by a substantial margin in the snowboard cross final, and she got so excited that she hotdogged the last jump.
And she fell. By the time she got herself back on the course and crossed the finish line, she had dropped to second place, getting silver instead of gold.
So this was to be her comeback year too.
Instead, this year it was her turn to be wiped out part way down the course. This happened in the semi-final, so she didn't even get into the final at all.
But here's what happened next.
Lindsey was in the consolation final, the race nobody televises because the only credit the winner gets is to be listed in fifth place in the record books. And once again, she comes into the final jump, with first place wrapped up.
Now, you would think that this time she would play it safe, she would think twice before risking another stunt.
But once again, in the last jump, she hotdogged it.

And this time, she didn't fall. She aced it.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Being nice to Canadians 

ESPN's Rick Reilly has some advice for Americans in Vancouver for the games:
Pretend that you have to plug in your engine block at night to keep it from freezing, too. Makes them feel better.
Go to Tim's (short for "Tim Hortons") and have a double-double (two creams, two sugars) and some Timbits (donut holes) and stand around and talk about curling. This will be a welcome topic. The Canadians are still great at curling.
When referring to Elvis, be sure its Stojko not Presley. If you're talking about acting, don't forget the god of all Canadian thespians -- Lorne Greene from "Bonanza." If your birthday is Aug. 9, always look at the ground, shake your head and add, "The day Wayne was traded."

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gold medal, thanks be to god 



Congrats to Alexandre Bilodeau winning the gold in the men's freestyle moguls.
So we can finally move on from that dreary storyline about how Canada hadn't won a gold medal at an Olympics on Canada.
We can get back to the stories complaining about the opening ceremonies. And the venues.
And cue the medal count competition stories . . .
UPDATE: I'm sure Scott is cheering too

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Pride 



The Tyee alerts us that there are two Pride Houses at the Olympics, one in Whistler and one in Vancouver -- where Steven Colbert will be broadcasting from, apparently. Here's the website

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Great line of the day 

The Rev Paperboy says this is burning stupid:
. . . here's a newsflash for "Blayze" the masked protestor who speaks to the press at the end of the video here: "The next level" of a peaceful protest is not smashing windows and trying to provoke the cops and it isn't "the perogative" of the some self-important douchebag in a black hoodie and bandana to make the sensible people who are trying to make a point in a civilized way look bad just because he thinks he's a revolutionary who is going to bring racist exploitive capitalism to knees by throwing newspaper boxes through shopfronts. Dude, your friends are not activists, they are assholes.
Emphasis mine.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

First medal, thanks be to god 

Great, Jenn Heil won a well-deserved Silver in freestyle skiing and a wonderful performance it was.
I'm happy for her, and also for us, because now we won't have to brace ourselves for a dreary round of media stories that Canada hasn't won a medal yet quel horreur!
One of the things I love about the Olympics is the chance to see sports that we usually never see, like freestyle skiing -- and when Canadians do so well it is a bonus. These judged sports can be problematic, but at least there is a time element for this one to help keep things in line. And American Hannah Kearney's Gold was well deserved -- she was fearless and expert and lucky, the three essential elements to win in sports.
And, surprisingly enough, the short track relay was NOT invented by the same men who designed 43-man squamish, it just looks that way.

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With a little help from their friends 

Scott posts about the latest Environics Poll which shows the Liberals leading, and then notices something odd in his comments:
If you’re a government/Conservative supporter, I have no issue with you disputing the poll results. I do have an issue though – as should all Canadians – when the IP addresses I can trace show that you’re posting anonymous comments on my site from Government of Canada servers.
Of course, to these guys, by definition, a loyal civil servant IS a Conservative supporter.
And maybe Harper's song choice wasn't coincidental.

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Insite insight 

Even the Saskatoon Star Phoenix, which basically never met a federal Conservative it didn't like, thinks the continuing federal attack on Insite is wrong.

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Let the Games begin 

Wasn't it neat to see so many happy, cheering people greeting Wayne Gretzky and running pellmell after his truck as he carried the torch through downtown Vancouver, even though the rain was pouring?
And an estimated 150,000 people were lining the Vancouver streets today for the end of the torch run.

Here are some opening ceremony photos.





I was glad these athletes did not leave the Games.


Protesters were there too -- police said 1,500 protesters, Ubyssey said 5,000.


Was there actually an attempt to provoke a riot? Vancouver police seemed to think so:
Protesters intent on provoking police moved to the front of the line and began throwing traffic barricades around. Their tactics then escalated as they sprayed vinegar in officers' eyes, threw sticks, and spit on members.
And earlier on Friday, protestors at the torch relay struck a blow for anti-capitalism and anti-colonialism by preventing some Canadian veterans from welcoming the torch into Victory Square. As one commenter said:
I believe in the right to protest but when I watched the protesters block the Olympic torch from being brought to the cenotaph in Vancouver today where the Veterans were waiting I was really disappointed. These veterans asked what they could do for their country and their moment was taken away by a group of people who are asking what their country can do for them.
Stay classy, folks.

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Dumb and dumber 

And this is a nation which thinks of itself as the world's only superpower?
McLeroy moved that Margaret Sanger, the birth-control pioneer, be included because she “and her followers promoted eugenics,” that language be inserted about Ronald Reagan’s “leadership in restoring national confidence” following Jimmy Carter’s presidency and that students be instructed to “describe the causes and key organizations and individuals of the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s, including Phyllis Schlafly, the Contract With America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority and the National Rifle Association.” The injection of partisan politics into education went so far that at one point another Republican board member burst out in seemingly embarrassed exasperation, “Guys, you’re rewriting history now!” Nevertheless, most of McLeroy’s proposed amendments passed by a show of hands.
Finally, the board considered an amendment to require students to evaluate the contributions of significant Americans. The names proposed included Thurgood Marshall, Billy Graham, Newt Gingrich, William F. Buckley Jr., Hillary Rodham Clinton and Edward Kennedy. All passed muster except Kennedy, who was voted down.
I'm surprised they didn't boot Hillary as well.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Great line of the day 

Pogge has a deep thought:
Maybe the real reason Stephen Harper prorogued parliament was so the opposition parties wouldn't be able to make fun of the government during Question Period when Canada wins the award for the ugliest pavilion at the Olympics

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New York 

So my sister has been planning for the last year to get to New York for the Westminster Dog Show -- some travel for the sightseeing or the restaurants, she travels for the dog shows, she's been to Crufts in England, to California a couple of times, she almost got to New Orleans until Katrina happened two weeks before the dog conference was scheduled.
Anyway, of course she was worried the last few days about the snowstorm and flights being canceled and all that.
Well, she left this morning -- and got right through. Just 15 minutes late landing in Toronto, just half an hour late leaving for New York -- Air Canada flies 11 times daily to New York, and eight of their flights were canceled today, but hers was one of the other three -- she said they had a rough landing at LaGuardia, but now everything just fine and no bedbugs in her hotel either.
She's on a roll!

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Monday, February 08, 2010

Great line of the day 

The Rev Paperboy writes about the recent travesty where a New York school principal actually called the police about a 12-year-old girl who scribbled on her school desk and the police actually arrested her.
This kid is probably lucky they didn't taser her when she started crying . . . . Way to put the "Pal" in "Principal" Ms. Grant! What do you do if the kids chew gum in class, waterboard them?
Emphasis mine.

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Gone 

I just couldn't stand it anymore.
You know what I'm talking about -- those awful, borderline offensive ads that are on website after website.
Those teeth chomping into a sugar cube. And more teeth glowing green.
That fat woman in a bikini, lying across the middle of every page.
And the before-and-after photos of some man's hairless torso.
So I finally installed an adblocker.
And it works -- they're gone! Beautiful. Of course, now Kos is trying to guilt me into subscribing.
But that's a small price to pay.
It occurs to me that the dominance of personal hygiene and dieting ads isn't going to prove to be a particularly attractive or substantial economic model for the internet, is it?
When you buy a magazine like Macleans or Chatelaine or Time or Rolling Stone, the ads are national brands with some substance to them -- cars or fashion, appliances or insurance.
When the only companies which advertise on websites are touting whiter teeth and thinner bodies, its like they think the only people reading the blogs really are pajama-wearing slobs with Cheeto breath.

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Saturday, February 06, 2010

Olympics almost here 


The Olympic Village at dusk

Just five more days until the 2010 Olympics begin. I have set up some sports sites on the blogroll to keep up with the events. And there will be a Saskatchewan Pavilion near BC Place, too.
From Vancouver's CityCaucus, I found this great rap:


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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Great line of the day 

Mr. Sinister summarizes the Stephen Harper panic:
Realizing that prorogation was the worst political mistake since Pierre Trudeau handed John Turner a list of his friends to find jobs for, the PMO is starting to throw furniture out the windows, in a vain attempt to get the Langevin Block to levitate. You can almost hear them screaming "Hey Canadians, you don't like prorogation? What if we never take a break again? Would you like us better? Huh? Huh?" And still, the long, sad, decline in their fortunes continues.
Emphasis mine.

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The day the music died 


February 3 was the day the music died.
I miss the songs Buddy Holly would have written had he lived.
And John Lennon.
And Jim Croce.

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Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Great news for bloggers 

Jim Pankiw wants to make a comeback:
“I’m Back!” the 43-year-old announced in a news release distributed to media outlets Wednesday . . .
“After a brief (but very direct and explicit) statement, Dr. Pankiw will answer any questions provided that they are not of a personal or disingenuous nature,” the release states
And Saskatoon bloggers cheered -- its always more fun when Jim Pankiw is willing to be kicked around again, not to mention being an inexhaustible source of bloggage.
Like this one, from the same news story:
..."He said to me once, he goes, ‘Austin . . . sometimes reporters report the news in a different way because they’re always looking for a great headline.’ I mean, who isn’t, right? He said, ‘Here’s an example. . . . Let’s say that I went and rescued my dog and he was drowning or something. It wouldn’t be, Jim Pankiw Saves His Dog, it would be, Jim Pankiw’s Dog Can’t Swim.’ "
Oh, no, no, the great headline would be, "This dog don't hunt" -- a phrase which The Urban Dictionary defines as "An obviously faulty endeavor; ... predictive of failure."
Sorta writes itself, doesn't it?

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Silly season 

Why does anyone care about where Danny Williams has his heart surgery or what Rahm Emanuel says or how miserable the Edwards' marriage was or what Obama said about gambling in Vegas or finding out John Baird is gay?
I think we must all have a touch of cabin fever.

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Worst airport in the world 

From The Onion


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