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Monthly Archives: April 2008

Ooooh. Them’s fightin’ words!

I’m a little miffed at a certain sports columnist this morning. Marty York, whose yammerings I merely put up with, had the following to say this morning about the woeful state of Canadian professional sports teams:

The good news, perhaps, is that the CFL season starts relatively soon. Granted, this league is laden with flaws and shortcomings. For instance, it still has no drug policy and simultaneously has become a haven for renowned drug-users, such as the Toronto Argonauts’ newest receiver, David Boston. The league’s general talent is so-so. Ditto for its officiating. And it has a salary-management system in which cheaters are fined for exceeding the cap but still are allowed to win championships, as the Saskatchewan Roughriders were last year.

Now I agree with York’s assessment that the league is flawed; no arguement there. But so is the NHL. Even with their best referees and an almost foolproof video replay system, they still managed to miss Patrick Marleau’s 2nd goal versus the Stars last night. Nothing is perfect.

As for the league’s lack of a drug policy – I concur completely. The league needs a drug policy. Period. If it wants to become a preeminent league, it needs certain standards. But what’s holding up a drug policy are certain CFL governors – not the league.

Personally, I think the CFL has some great talent. And the parity across the league right now is one of the best things the league has going for it. And there are always going to be perennial losers in any league (see: St. Louis Blues, Columbus Blue Jackets, Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee Brewers).

But what REALLY pisses me off is the last sentence of York’s report: “And it has a salary-management system in which cheaters are fined for exceeding the cap but still are allowed to win championships, as the Saskatchewan Roughriders were last year.”

You can probably imagine how I reacted: my eyes got real big, I let out a sigh and thought of a million things to say in response, including some not-very-nice words.

So let’s look at the facts. The Roughriders were approximately $75,000 over the salary cap last season. They were originally only $55,000 over, but lost an arbitration case last week that added another $20,000.

Now, prior to last season, the Riders were approximately $1 million over the salary cap of $4.1 million. Tillman released many veterans and popular players in order for the Riders to come in under the new salary cap. And he was. Until the Riders were plagued with injuries. In fact, the Riders had more man games lost to injuries than any other team in the league, almost by half. THAT’S where the extra money went to – NOT to a marquee player. The Riders didn’t BUY their Grey Cup. Far from it.

But I do wonder how some other teams (BC, Calgary) managed to make it under the salary cap. BC employed three top QBs, three top receivers, a top defensive line and still managed to make it under the salary cap. Calgary has Burris, Copeland, Reynolds – a lot of big names. If they honestly did, congrats to them, but I suspect that teams are finding ways around the salary cap.

Regardless, insinuating the Riders ‘bought’ the Grey Cup is ludicrous. The Yankees buy championships. The Leafs and Rangers tried to before the salary cap era in the NHL. When you’re outspending other teams by TENS OF MILLIONS, then you’re buying championships. But when you overspend by only $75,000 when you’ve led the league in man games lost due to injury and win the Grey Cup, you haven’t bought a championship; you’ve done a damn fine job of finding second-string talent that can step up, as well as a good job of controlling your finances when they’re no longer in your control.

Marty York, SIT DOWN!

So I woke up this morning, sat down with my apple juice and toast and turned on the TV. And what did I see? Possibly the weirdest thing ever: Newt Gingrich sitting at the table, a floral coffeecup in front of him, gossiping and chatting with the ladies of ‘The View.’ Completely surreal. The other weird thing? He was stumping for Hillary Clinton! I changed the channel and visibly shivered.
But I was comforted and felt the world shift back to its regular axis when I saw him on ‘The Daily Show’ tonight with Jon Stewart. Whew! Things felt better and more normal. They had a good discussion about the Rev. Wright controversy. He pushed John McCain. He actually had a few good one-liners.
But two other comments made the show. The first was Supreme Court Justice Scalia denying that torture was a form of punishment. Yeah right. The second? Stewart had a segment on abstinence-only education in the US and how it really does nothing; comprehensive sex education would be much better, since the kids would be informed about having safe sex, rather than just being told not to have it. But that’s a subject for another day. Anyway, Stewart said this is the way abstinence-only education talks to teens: “Boys have a God-stick and girls have a shame cave.” Now I LMAO for several minutes following that one. Actually, it’s not funny because it’s rife with gender biases, but its context, phrasing and word choice are what made it possibly the funniest thing I’ve heard from Stewart in months.

And what’s going on in the political sphere this side of the border?

Well, Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe said possibly the most true/funniest statement/best smackdown that’s come out of the House of Commons in months (possibly years or decades, but who cares, right?). Yeesh – apparently surrealism travels fast…

Anyway, the PM was crying and moaning, like usual, that the entire world is against him. Especially Elections Canada. At least right now. Tomorrow the media might be on the top of Steve’s ‘hit list,’ but right now it’s definitely Elections Canada. Aaron Wherry of Maclean’s, who covers the House of Commons everyday in his appropriately-titled blog, ‘The Commons,’ summed it up like this:

Ah yes. The great conspiracy. Essentially, if you are not with this government, you are aligned against it. Oliver Stone is less paranoid than this bunch. Enemies lurk everywhere, though strangely most have consolidated in the public service… Still, the twisted fantasies of these self-styled martyrs are at least preferable to—or at least more entertaining than—the twisted logic they otherwise rely on… Circular logic at its most nauseating. This government has used confusion and misdirection quite effectively in the past—their predilection for obfuscation outlasting even the most noble of critics—and they may yet succeed here too. At least so long as you consider public apathy akin to success.

Oh those Conservatives. They think the world is against them. And I have personal proof of this. I encountered one around this time last year. I asked this certain MP what it was like being on the Government side of the House as oppossed to being on the Opposition side. He didn’t answer my question. He just went on and on and on about how the media and everyone else doesn’t want them to succeed.

Two things are keeping the Conservatives in government right now: the fact that the public could care less about politics and the inability of the Liberals to capitalize on Conservative missteps. It’s unfortunate, really. Chretien or Trudeau would have had Harper on his knees begging for mercy by now.
But back to Gilles Duceppe (when does anyone say THAT?). After Steve finished his crying and whining, Duceppe yelled, “Au royaume de l’hypocrisie, le premier ministre est le roi.” In the kingdom of hypocrisy, the Prime Minister is king. And then he asked Steve if he was going to sue him.
Hee! SIT DOWN Steven Harper!!

I am in LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE!!

Pictured above are Natalie Dessay and Juan Diego Florez who are, in my humble opinion, opera’s best on-stage coupling at the moment. There are some singers that just have such chemistry when they share the stage, not unlike certain film stars. Dessay and Florez are absolute dynamite together.

Yesterday Melanie and I ventured out to the Galaxy to see the Met’s broadcast of ‘La Fille du Regiment,’ an opera that I knew very little about. The only thing I knew about it was it featured the ridiculously difficult ‘Ah mes amis!’ tenor aria with the 9 high Cs; and I only knew about that because I read up on the opera and YouTube-d a couple of performances. And know I’m obsessed with it. Absolutely, completely and utterly obsessed.

I have never heard such vocal prowess – ever. Dessay’s coloratura was spot on, her pianissimos stunning. Her comic timing was astounding; I haven’t seen such a great comic opera singer, well, ever! She took the role on with such exuberance and energy; it was an absolute joy to watch. You knew that she loved every moment on stage and was fully committed. How refreshing.

Florez was Dessay’s complete opposite, which made for a wonderful balance between the two leads. He spun beautiful, long legato lines, his high notes blossomed and his affectation in his ‘love arias’ would make even the most callous woman melt in his presence. Goodness knows I fell head-over-heels in love with Mr. Florez. If that screen and 3000 miles wouldn’t have been separating me from him, I would have run on stage and yelled, “Pick me! Pick me!”

It’s so lovely to go and be entertained for 3 hours with mesmerizing performances that will stay in your memory long after you’ve left the theater. My heart was moved today. The music, the passion, the love story – it moved me the way only opera can.

The title has nothing to do with this post. I just like the title; it’s memorable. Just like Sarah Harmer, who wrote it.

But I’ve been singing other songs today. Songs like, “Joy to the World” and “Deck the Halls.” The reason?

I’M DOOOOOOOONE!!!!

I have finished yet another degree. Degree #2. Well, if you count the Royal Conservatory and the Academy in Vancouver, that’s #4. Yikes. Eek. Whoa.

And what has it given me? A job at Walmart! Ha ha!!

So how did I celebrate? I bought a massive new TV. And I finally watched ‘Juno.’ I also actually read a book I like and had a nap.

I feel like I have a life again…

Who the hell would have thought JEREMY ROENICK would have been the hero for the San Jose Sharks?!?! Not me. I forgot Roenick even PLAYED for the Sharks, let alone thought he’d contribute something of substance. Too bad for the Flames that Roenick somehow regained his form from five years ago. And I’ll bet he doesn’t score 4 points the rest of the playoffs…

By the way, ALL of my playoff predictions were correct. I got a lot of the game numbers wrong, but I picked all the right teams. I’m still mulling over my 2nd round predictions. I have until 5 PM tomorrow to get them figured out.

I’m really surprised that Brian Burke is sticking with the Ducks. I was convinced he’d be the next Leafs’ GM. I really would have thought he’d want the job. But I have a feeling this year’s first-round exit by the Ducks changed his mind. A lot of people believe that the Ducks’ win last year was not a product of his work, but that of his predecessor. I’m sure Burke wants to win another one with Anaheim, cementing his reputation as a top NHL GM. That being said, he’s one of only a few people I’ll consider capable of running the Leafs. And I don’t mean capable in the hockey sense. Capable in terms of telling the MLSE brass where to go and how to get there. There are few people who would be able to do the job without letting Peddie, Tannebaum and Co. getting the way. So who’ll the guy be now that Burke has pulled himself out of the running? The Hurricane’s Jim Rutherford. Ron Francis will be the next Hurricanes GM. I watch faaaaaaaaaar too much TSN and HNIC these days…

Yet I’m sad that there’s no hockey tonight…

From the ‘WTF?!?!’ file: The Argos extended the contract of QB Kerry Joseph through the ’09 season. And yet they say that Joseph will compete for the starting QB job with Michael Bishop. WTF?!?! You trade for a $375,000 QB, and you’re not even sure you’re going to start him!?!? And rememeber – the Argos extended Bishop’s contract, too, this off-season. This means that a good $500,000 of their $4.2 million salary cap will be spent on TWO PLAYERS. That’s a hell of a lot. And what will happen if Joseph ends up riding the bench? Won’t he wish he’d stayed in Saskatchewan for what he was making last season. The other problem? The Argos will never be able to trade Bishop or Joseph; no one will be willing to pick up their contracts. Except maybe the Ottawa what’s-their-names. Or the Ti-Cats if Casey Printers doesn’t work out. Just wait. The Riders will trade to get Joseph BACK. Wouldn’t that be something?

And FYI: the new Ottawa team WON’T be named the Rough Riders. That was the Riders’ condition for awarding Ottawa a conditional CFL franchise. Aren’t we easy to please?
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I AM SOOOO CLOSE!! Only 18 hours until I’m FREEEEEEE!! As of Thursday, I will be finished my Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Political Studies. I am soooooo looking forward to four months of freedom! After 20 straight months of university (was a RIDICULOUS amount of time when I think about it…), I will finally have a prolonged break! Of course I have to work, but not having to go to school will make it feel as if I have more time than I know what to do with! I guarantee I’ll be bored for the first week or so, but then I’ll be happier than a Rider fan on Labour Day!

Speaking of finishing my 2nd degree, I received a note from the U of S about Convocation at the end of May. Yeah, I’m not going. Been there, done that. U of R Convocation was exciting because I was with all of my friends. But this time I was of a ‘get in, get out as fast as you can’ mindset. The purpose was to get my degree and move on, not recreate my Regina experience.

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And what’s the first things I’m going to do once I’m finished tomorrow? I’m buying a new flat-screen TV. As much as I love my little 12″, it’s time to upgrade. And then I can watch all of the movies I’ve bought but haven’t had time to view! And that includes the 2nd season of ‘Friday Night Lights’!!

I also bought an iPod. Well, actually, it’s more than an iPod. It’s an 8GB iTouch. Crazy, huh? But it is the sweetest piece of technology I own. The sound is so clear. Maybe that’s because I’m used to listening to music on my computer or decade-old CD player. I was listening to music last night and found myself entranced by the bass lines of some songs. I’d never really heard the bass of the songs before; it adds so much depth! The only problem? I couldn’t figure out how to power it off, so I left it on overnight until I figured it out (accidentally…) this afternoon. And now it’s almost dead…

But I can surf the Internet from my iTouch, watch videos (and the picture quality rivals that of a high-end plasma TV), upload videos – you name it, it does it. And as the technology evolves, I’m sure more and more applications will be available.

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One of the only problems with having time this summer will be the fact that I’ll become addicted to soap operas again. It’s already happening. Stupid ‘Bold and the Beautiful.’

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The title of today’s post comes from Renee Fleming’s (my favouritest soprano) CD, ‘Haunted Heart.’ Interestingly, the CD isn’t an opera CD; it’s a mix of art songs and standards. And it’s STUNNING. I cannot tell you enough how amazing this CD is. Fleming rich throaty tone suits the material perfectly, as she sings sometimes 2 octaves below where she normally does. The best song? Her rendition of Joni Mitchell’s ‘River.’ Possibly the best cover. Ever. It makes Sarah McLachlan’s release of the same song last year look juvenile. That’s how good this is. I bought the CD skeptically, but she uses her ability to spin a phrase and colour to create an acoustic feast (how the hell did I come up with that??). And the accompaniment of piano and jazz guitar are ‘pitch perfect.’ Never too overpowering, but powerful enough when the music calls for it.

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Well, I’d better get studying. Just think: my last night of studying for FOUR MONTHS!! Woo hoo!! There will DEFINITELY be some celebrating this weekend!!

HA! I have been procrastinating ALL evening. To my credit, though, I did read (or maybe it was skim…) an article. And I opened up my books. Approximately 60 hours until I am FREE for the summer! I CANNOT WAIT!! The first order of business will be watching the piles of movies I haven’t yet seen, that sit unwrapped. It’s so sad.

This afternoon, though, I began creating a list of all the things I want to do this summer. This is what I have so far…

  • Go to Waskesiu
  • Visit Batoche – I haven’t been there in years!
  • See Wanuskewin – Weirdly enough, I haven’t.
  • SEE AS MANY RIDER GAMES AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE
  • See something at ‘Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan’
  • Eat at The Berry Barn
  • Have a campfire – somewhere!
  • Read, read, read, and read some more!
  • SEE AS MANY RIDER GAMES AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE

Like I said – it’s a work in progress…

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I’m listening to ‘Flight of the Conchords’ as I write this. I’m laughing out loud as some of their crazy lyrics! If you haven’t seen them, you have to YouTube them. In fact, let me help you out!

This is my favourite ‘Flight of the Conchords’ song. What impresses me most, though, is their musicianship. It’s remarkable and only strengthens their seamless blend of comedy and music.

YouTube is so great. I found a short ‘behind the scenes’ look at the making of Kathleen Edwards’ latest album. Have I mentioned that I love her??

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WHEN WILL IT BE FOOTBALL SEASON?? Training camp open June 1st and I am counting down the days! I’ve been YouTubing (it’s a verb now!) highlights of last year’s games, and the CFL makes it easy by having created its own channel and putting together its own highlight packages of every game. My favourite? Definitely the August 18th game/deluge/monsoon/freak thunderstorm. And yes, I’m STILL angry I didn’t see the end of that game…

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I figured the Canadiens would put away the Bruins tonight. I’m now 6/6 on my first round playoff predictions. For once.

But what I can’t figure out is why the hell Canadiens fans have to RIOT after a FIRST ROUND win! After the game, two police cruisers were lit on fire, and there were numerous altercations between fans and officers in riot gear. WTF?!?! Fans should be HAPPY. This isn’t like the time ‘Rocket’ Richard got kicked out of the playoffs; now THAT was a reason to riot. I can understand that. But rioting after a first round playoff win that you should have been able to accomplish three games ago? I think not…

Despite the Flames’ play last night, I don’t think they’ll be able to go into San Jose and steal the series from the Sharks. Sorry, Travis…

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I know I haven’t had much to say in terms of the political sphere lately, but honestly, my brain doesn’t have the energy or capacity to write something coherent and argumentative right now. All I will say is this: it’s amazing how incapable the Liberals are of being an effective opposition. They have more ammunition than they could ever hope for to shoot at the Conservatives, and yet all they can fire are blanks. And I guess I have another thing to say (imagine that?): the words ‘Conservatives’ and ‘ethical’ can never be in the same sentence again without serious sarcasm being employed.

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Tomorrow FNL Season Two comes out on DVD!!

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Hmmm. It’s definitely almost midnight and I definitely haven’t eaten anything since noon. How does that happen??

I’m sitting here, yawning and yawing and yawning, yet I refuse to go to bed. I keep telling myself, “I need to study!!” However, I haven’t accomplished anything that can seriously be called ‘studying’ in the past two hours. My own logic, or rather lack thereof, confuses even me.

So, what to do??

Well, let’s see how I’m doing in my playoff predictions…

First, I’m going to change my Stanley Cup winner pick. And I’m go to go back to my original hunch: Dallas. San Jose was a secondary hunch. Seriously. And it’s my blog. I can change my prediction if I feel like it.

Well, I got Pittsburgh right, but they finished off the Senators in 4 games, not 5. And I got Colorado right on the nose: 6 games. I picked the Rangers to win, but was off by 2 games. I’m having doubts about Montreal now, though I think home ice advantage will help them win Game 7. I wouldn’t be surprised if Calgary won tomorrow night, but unless the Pope blesses them while he’s in North America, I don’t think they’ll beat the Sharks.

How else can I waste a few minutes??

Here’s a site you should check out: Dear Prudence. A hilarious advice column. It’s not ‘Prudence’s’ advice that’s hilarious; it’s the ridiculous queries of those who write in that provides the entertainment. There are more serious letters from time to time, and ‘Prudence’ deals with them in a conscientious, polite and careful manner. But my favourites are those ‘Are they SERIOUSLY asking this?’ questions. Great mindless reading. And it’s also good for the ego.

Hmmm. My Christmas tree sure seems to be leaning a lot more than normal…

I had to laugh at the story of the Boston Red Sox fan/construction worker who buried a Red Sox jersey in the concrete of the new Yankee stadium in New York. And the Yankees went so far as to dig through a couple feet of concrete to retrieve the jersey! Well, it was definitely good publicity and a good way to help fans move their allegiance from the old stadium to the new one.

The ‘celebrity’ NHL.com bloggers suck. If you’re going to blog during the NHL playoffs, you have to blog after every game your team plays, otherwise you lose your relevance as a playoff blogger. Duh. BUT, at least we’ve been spared Lauren Conrad’s drivelings about the Ducks. Eek.

Oh. Here’s one more random thought. What do the movies ‘Elizabeth: The Golden Age,’ ‘Atonement,’ ‘Juno,’ ‘There Will Be Blood,’ ‘Away From Her’ and ‘Michael Clayton’ have in common? They’re all movies that I own BUT HAVE YET TO WATCH!! How sad is that? I’ve had some of them for months and STILL haven’t had time to watch them! Well, I DID start watching ‘Michael Clayton,’ but my friends wouldn’t SHUT UP, so 20 minutes in I was so lost that I stopped it. Geez…

So sleepy. I think it’s time for a little Leontyne Price and a listen to ‘Nocturne’ before bed…

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