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Monthly Archives: September 2008

I am peeved. The Rider message boards have gone completely nuts. So I wrote the following ‘rant’ on one of them:

That’s it. I’ve had it. Now it’s time for me to rant.

I am extremely disappointed at some of the comments being made on this board in the wake of yesterday’s loss. Unfortunately, though, I’m not surprised. I was certain the ‘armchair GMs/coaches/QBs’ would come out in in droves, and they have.

What is most frustrating to me is the amount of attacking that has gone on over the past 24 hours. The same fans who lavished praise and wanted to make ET and Kent Austin co-Premiers in November are now trying to run them out of town. And you know what they say: the most popular person in Saskatchewan is the Riders’ 2nd string QB.

As fans we need to remember that we never know the WHOLE story. We are not in the locker room, we are not in the planning sessions, we are not in the therapist’s office or at the doctor’s appointments. We can comment and second-guess all we want, but we don’t have all of the information at our disposal – nor should we.

Let’s have a little faith!! I think some see last year’s championship and this season’s 6-0 opening run as too-good-to-be-true. They fear that the last three games are no more than the return of the old Riders, the Riders that didn’t know how to win. I know we only have three championships in 90-some years, but it’s time to let go of that ‘loser’ attitude and just call this season’s lows what the are: bad luck.

What we forget is the fact that all of these injuries wear on a team, not just physically, but mentally. Look at Gene Makowsky. He has played guard, tackle and now center (and he did a great job yesterday!) this year. Three different positions, three different roles, three different philosophies. Can you imagine going to your job and being placed in a different position every week while the same is happening to all those around you? Don’t you think your work performance would suffer? Would you use it as an excuse? I would, and I think we’d all be lying if we say we wouldn’t.

This team gives all of itself every week; we can’t question that. The guys fly around at practice, they hold extra film sessions, they put forth a solid effort every week. And what do we do? We hide behind our computers and complain and whine, believing we could do it better.

Really?? Is that what ‘Rider Pride’ is all about??

If it is, I want no part in it.

I would like to personally thank Eric, his staff and his players for turning this franchise in a positive direction. It has been refreshing to see the organization commit itself to winning, and it has never been better to be a Rider fan.

Finally, I think we all need to step away from our keyboards and take a collective breath. All of us want on here want to see the Riders win, but our behaviour on this board is bordering on the absurd. We are all frustrated but we need to give this team our full support. It more than deserves it after the 8-5 record it has earned.

I refuse to attack this team. There is more effort and more accountability put forth by this team every week than in the past decade. I am tired of the constant sniping and knee-jerk reactions. That is not true fan behaviour.

Besides – it’s just a football game.

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It was a tough choice tonight. Watch the Bombers and Eskimos or watch the Presidential debate. Hmmm. Tough call.

I chose the Presidential debate – although I really don’t know if that’s the better choice.

Here we go!

7:03 pm – Obama talking about the economy: “This is a defining moment of American history.” Blah blah blah. Where have I heard that before? Come on, Barack! Give us something of SUBSTANCE. Quit talking in circles and GET TO THE DAMN POINT!

7:06 – Got to give a point to McCain for bringing up the importance of bipartisanship. And for referring to Ted Kennedy as the ‘Lion of the Senate.’

7:09 – The ‘audience reaction’ graphic at the bottom of CNN’s screen is USELESS. The Globe and Mail blogger calls it John McCain’s heart monitor. Hee!

7:10 – McCain is using his military history, referring to Eisenhower. First one to say ‘As President of the United States, I will…’ Point to him.

7:12 – Heh heh. Jim Lehrer (the moderator) says to Obama, “Say it to him (McCain)! Talk to each other!” I agree. This is a DEBATE, boys. Jim Lehrer’s one vote isn’t going to win the election. It isn’t about him.

7:14 – Why would you schedule a presidential debate on a FRIDAY night? Most people are out and about. Except me.

7:15 – Oooooooo! The gloves are off! McCain throws the first smackdown to Obama about his earmarks.

7:17 – Okay, Barack. REFUTE McCain’s suggestion that you are a ‘pork-barreller.’ Quit throwing statistics around.

7:18 – Second smackdown. ‘Maybe $932 million isn’t a lot of money to Senator Obama.’ Ouch. Then he says, “I was named the Sheriff in the Senate. I didn’t win Miss Congeniality.” Kind of funny. Definitely connecting with the common folk.

7:20 – Uh, do you really want to compare business taxes between the United States and Ireland? Not a good comparison, McCain.

7:21 – John McCain’s a lefty. And not in the political sense.

7:23 – This is really boring so far. Geez. First flip to the Eskimos/Bombers game. Damn. Halftime. So, Randorf and Co. and their silliness or the debate? Another tough decision. Both have an air of the ridiculousness about them. Wow. Bombers got two TDs and lead 15-8. Sure would like to see the Bombers pull this one out.

7:29 – Ha! McCain makes another funny (gosh, you’d swear I was a Republican the way this is sounding)! “Senator Obama has the most liberal voting record in the entire Senate. It’s tough to reach across the aisle when you’re that far left.” Even Obama laughed at that one – though I doubt it’s because he think McCain is funny.

7:30 – THANK GOD. Jim Lehrer finally tells both of these guys to quit talking in circles and GIVE US SOME DAMN SUBSTANCE! What are you going to do about the economy?? Thanks for pointing out what DOESN’T work, but I think we all know what doesn’t work. Tell us what WILL work.

7:32 – Spending freezes are McCain’s solution. Only things to not freeze: veteran affairs and defence spending. Me no like.

7:33 – And the first mention of ‘terrorist, terrorism, etc.’ goes to: John McCain.

7:34 – Jim’s trying every which way to get these guys to answer the damn question. I haven’t heard so much spin since the Republicans tried to frame Sarah Palin as a feminist. That wasn’t that long ago. *Sigh*

7:37 – Heh heh! TSN gives Jock Climie a birthday cake for his 40th birthday and says birthday wishes come from across the CFL – except Saskatchewan. Damn right!

7:38 – FINALLY Barack gives McCain a little slap on the wrist. But he sure isn’t very good at it. That was one hell of a horrible 40 minutes talking about economics. Neither of these guys is an economist, and it shows. Neither appears very worried about the US financial crisis. Nice to see.

7:39 – Now it’s to Iraq. I expect McCain to do well here. He’s got the experience and lingo.

7:40 – Second channel flip. Beginning of the 2nd half. It’s 14-9 for the Bombers. Not sure where I got the 15-8 figure…

7:42 – I sure would like to hear a little passion from these two. This conversation is too passive, like two guys having a fireside chat. The US is in BIG trouble, and these two are content to just stand here and split hairs.

7:46 – I want Obama to lean on his podium, look at McCain and say, “John, look me in the eye!” McCain refuses to acknowledge Obama. It’s weird.

7:48 – Obama seems to be finally hitting his stride after a nervous opening. He needs to land some blows, though.

7:51 – I’m confused. In the same sentence Obama says there are no more troops to send to Iraq, but he’ll send two or three more brigades. Huh?

7:52 – *Sigh* I sure wish Hillary Clinton was here…

7:53 – Obama says ‘Taliban’ and ‘Pakistan’ weirdly.

7:54 – Interesting point. McCain points out that Obama doesn’t support the surge in Iraq, but wants to employ that same strategy in Afghanistan.

7:56 – Obama needs to quit agreeing with McCain. Elections aren’t bipartisan, buddy.

7:59 – McCain subtly plays the experience card. He needs to do more of it, but not so subtly. Just say it – ‘I can handle being President. Senator Obama cannot.’

8:00 – Now we’re comparing bracelets-from-the-mothers-of-dead-soldiers-from-the-Iraq-War stories. Oh. My. Word. This thing needs to get back on track.

8:01 – Just checked the Bombers score. What?!?! ARMSTEAD returns a punt for a TD?? 21-9 Winnipeg.

8:01 – Go, Barack, go! Go for the KO blow! Nope. He didn’t do it.

8:02 – “Senator Obama doesn’t seem to understand there’s a connection between the two,’ talking about Iraq and Afghanistan. I agree. Pull out of Iraq and Iraq falls. Put those troops in Afghanistan and you have the opposite of what you have now. Sorry, folks, but the US needs to be in Iraq for the long haul. You have to clean up the mess you started.

8:06 – Obama says the war in Iraq has created the problem with Iran. ‘Tis true. I really wish they would quit talking about who started the war. The war is there. Deal with it. Fighting about who voted for it isn’t relevant now. Fix it.

8:09 – McCain brings up Kissinger, trying to tie himself to his coattails. Not a bad move.

8:10 – I like Obama’s tone on the ‘talking to Iran’ question. He needs to keep this up, BUT LAND SOME BLOWS!

8:12 -Heh heh heh heh heh. McCain says, “I’m not going to set the White House visitor list before I’m elected. I don’t even have a presidential seal.” That’s pretty funny, actually. Barack’s stage set from his Democratic Convention continues to gives the Republicans lots of one-liners. Why isn’t Barack doing the same? Hmmm. I don’t like Obama saying the Bush administration agrees with his idea of talking without preconditions. Aren’t you trying to tie McCain to Bush?

8:14 – McCain ties himself to Nixon’s idea of ‘trust and verify.’ Good move to tie yourself to a president who had to resign.

8:15 – Heh heh. McCain says, “Let me get this straight. So Ahmadinejhad says, “We’re going to blow Israel off the map and we simply say, ‘No you’re not.'” McCain is bringing out the jokes tonight. And it got an audience reaction, too.

8:17 – Channel flip. I was pretty pissed this week when TSN kept calling Winnipeg ‘resurgent.’ If memory serves correctly, they’re still 4-8. Resurgent to me implies you hit .500. 21-16 for Winnipeg. Need the Bombers to pull this one out for us.

8:18 – FINALLY! Only 78 minutes into the debate, and McCain finally calls Obama on his lack of experience. These guys are a little slow on the draw tonight.

8:20 – Point to McCain for saying the name of Georgia’s president almost like a native Georgian. But the point is lost because he couldn’t get his tongue around Iranian president Ahmadinejhad’s name.

8:21 – McCain has an impressive handle on the Russia-Georgia situation and Eastern European politics. Point.

8:22 – Barack, QUIT SAYING YOU AGREE WITH MCCAIN!!

8:26 – Did Jim Lehrer REALLY just ask these guys what the chances are for another attack of 9/11 proportions on US soil?? OMFG. What the hell kind of question is that? I guess it’s a lead into a discussion of US security, but geez, what a downer.

8:28 – I’m flipping because that question was so dumb. 22-16 Bombers.

8:29 – The US is spending ‘a couple hundred million’ on nuclear non-proliferation’ according to Barack. Could have fooled me.

8:30 – Obama credits McCain for his stance against torture. No sh*t.

8:30 – McCain invokes a third president – Ronald Reagan.

8:34 – Solid closing statement by Obama. Too bad he saved it for the end of the debate.

8:34 – McCain strongly goes after Obama saying he doesn’t have the experience.

8:36 – McCain brings out his military service for a good closing statement.

VERDICT: McCain wins because he landed a few blows and more than survived. Obama didn’t take advantage of the opportunities McCain gave him to land knockout blows. A lot of people believed McCain would get killed tonight. Because he didn’t and exceeded expectations, he wins.

McCain also ‘looked’ presidential tonight. Obama didn’t. This has got to be one of the weirdest presidential campaigns in history, because Obama is letting McCain hang around – and we all know that if you let your opponent hang around too long, he may just come back and beat you.

So. There are two schools of thought following Saturday’s 28-23 loss to those cowardly Lions.

If you know me at all, you’ll know I really, really don’t like the Lions. I’d forgotten how much I really, really don’t like them until Saturday night, as it was the first meeting between my beloved Riders and those Lions. BTW, why the name ‘Lions’? Canada doesn’t have any lions – except those in zoos. Smoking too much you-know-what on the coast there…

But I digress. The first school of thought following the loss is what I will call the ‘Chicken Little’ group (credit for this name goes to the knowledgeable-yet-entertaining posters on RiderFans.com). This group believes the Riders are done. The loss in BC is the beginning of a long, slow death, an implosion that will leave the Riders in the basement of the Western Division, fighting for a playoff spot by playing for a crossover berth. These pessimists think Michael Bishop should be pulled in favour of Darian Durant. Now. Also, Makowsky, January and the offensive line need to be benched. And cut Scott Schultz and the ENTIRE defensive line. Well hell, let’s just scrap the whole damn team and forfeit the season!

The second group is the more realistic ‘regroup’ group. This is the group I fall into. This group believes the Riders simply didn’t play well enough to win on Saturday. But, the sky isn’t falling. No. It was a bad game (albeit a bad game the Riders could have won if it weren’t for that pesky pass interference call in the 1st half. I’ll save you a couple of paragraphs and leave it at that. Besides, penalties shouldn’t be used as excuses). The lines were porous, clearly outworked, outmanned and overwhelmed by the Lions front lines. Michael Bishop made poor decisions. Poor playcalling by the coaches didn’t help; the schemes were both inefficient and ineptly implemented. The receivers didn’t come back to the ball and try and help their quarterback enough. Special teams poorly blocked and poorly tackled. Defensive backs got beat on big plays. In other words, it was a TEAM loss as the TEAM looked poor in all three phases of the game at one time or another. And you know what? It’s gonna happen. ALL good teams have bad games. Even the New England Patriots. You just have to hope your team doesn’t ‘go bad’ on the most important night of the season.

And, believe it or not, there were bright spots. As evidence, I present to you my three stars of the game.

Offensive Stars: WES CATES – #20, RUNNING BACK and WESTON DRESSLER – #7, RECEIVER
I swear my heart stopped last week when Cates got his bell rung by a certain Bomber linebacker with the last name Logan. He went down like a ton of bricks, and I was sure we wouldn’t be seeing him play again for a couple of weeks. But, he got up, shook off the cobwebs and came back to play. This week he put up 122 yards and crossed the 1000 yard rushing mark, the first running back to do so this season. Congrats, Wes!

And then there’s #7, whose performance is causing a battle. I sure do love my Andy Fantuz, but #7 is making a good push for my heart. He racked up 112 yards in the air on Saturday night. He’s quickly becoming a deep threat and a leader on the Rider offence. And, he’s making a good case for Rookie of the Year honours.

Defensive Star: MAURICE LLOYD – #47, LINEBACKER
I really could have given this award to any of the linebackers. They might be the best linebacking core in the league, which is funny considering how much change occurred at that position in the offseason. It’s also funny because Rider fans are notorious for being overly-concerned with the person who plays middle linebacker. I picked Mo Lloyd because of his sack on Buck Pierce in the 4th quarter. This guy knows how to play when the pressure’s on. I love watching him fly around the field on every single play. He never, ever looks like he’s tired. Amazing stuff.

Special Teams Star: LUCA CONGI – #10, PLACE KICKER
Did the special teams ever suck on Saturday. The only bright spot? Luca was 3/3 on his field goals. He only missed three field goals alllllllllll year. That’s pretty ridiculous. Ridiculously good.

First, from the file of “Eeeeeeeeeewwwwwwww…”

Now, if you aren’t vomiting and yelling, “Noooooooooooooooo!!” after having that lovely image in your mind, you’ll LOVE what’s up next. I just don’t think Stephen Harper understands the other connotations of the word ‘fruit.’ Especially since he chose to add the words ‘sweet and colourful.’

‘Sweet and colourful’ Harper says he’d be ‘a fruit’

Brief moment of levity pierces heated campaign

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 9, 2008 | 12:08 PM ET

Stephen Harper had a chance during a campaign stop at a Winnipeg produce terminal on Tuesday to show his seedier side when the Conservative leader was asked what vegetable he would be.

‘I have never been asked that question before, and I have a feeling I can’t win by answering it.’ —Stephen Harper

A local television reporter asked Harper the inevitable question as the prime minister was standing in front of a collection of produce at a truck depot where he was making his fuel tax announcement.

It provided a brief period of levity for reporters covering the campaign of Harper, who is known in Ottawa for drawing laughs with his impression of Liberal finance critic John McCallum.

In a rarely seen moment, Harper was temporarily at a loss for words.

“I have never been asked that question before, and I have a feeling I can’t win by answering it,” he said.

Harper turned to ponder his options amid the backdrop of produce stacked behind him, scanning the boxes of cucumbers, carrots and tomatoes, then opted to amend the scope of the question with his reply.

“I would choose, if I had to, instead to be a fruit,” Harper said with a cheeky smile, drawing laughter from the audience. “Just what I am — sweet and colourful.”

Harper’s communications staff later noted they’d failed to brief him on the vegetable question ahead of time, but enjoyed his answer nonetheless, the CBC’s Paul Hunter reported from the event.

With files from Paul Hunter



All together now. “Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwww…”

Dear Glen Suitor,

How are you tonight? I heard it’s cold in Calgary. But you’re never cold when you’re in Calgary, are you? You and I both know what I’m talking about, Glen, don’t we?

I’m watching the Stamps/Alouettes game on TSN on this lovely fall Saskatchewan evening. You are commentating. Well, I wouldn’t exactly call it commentating. It’s more like – swooning. But we’ll get to that in a bit. I have some tips for you.

Now, I know that you used to be a Roughrider back in the 1980s and early 1990s. I know you were the guy who was the holder for the famous Ridgeway kick that won the Riders the 1989 Grey Cup. And I’m grateful. Somebody needed to hold the ball for Robokicker. You took a big risk on that play, Glen. You could have been the most hated man in Saskatchewan history had you messed up that hold, but you didn’t. You got the ball down, the laces up, and the rest is history.

I feel that because of your heroics in the final seconds of that 1989 Grey Cup that I owe you something (BTW, I’m curious. Just what DID you do for the other 59 minutes and 57 seconds of that game?). Today, Glen, I am going to help you. I know you’ve been afraid of admitting your problem. But the first step is admitting you HAVE a problem, and we both you know you have a problem, don’t you Glen? So let’s write it out. Let me tell the world what ails you and how I am going to help you come out of the dark.

I am going to help you get over your man-love for Henry Burris, stop swooning and get back to commentating.

I know what you’re thinking, Glen. You think that my offer of help is worth far more than your contribution to the the 1989 Grey Cup-winning Riders. And you’re right. But we’ll call it even if you promise to fully implement the advice I am giving you. If not, you owe me your broadcasting spot beside Chris Cuthbert. Please sign the waiver form attached to indicate your consent to our agreement. All of the spots where you sign are marked with neon Post-It arrows. I know your eyesight isn’t all that great these days. I thought the neon Post-It arrows would help.

So let’s begin.

Glen, I’ve diagnosed your problem. You are addicted to and obsessed with Henry Burris. The technical term for this is burrisitis (it’s Latin, in case you’re wondering). It’s a rare social disorder, only found in Southern Alberta around the Calgary area. I’m very surprised it’s afflicted you since you live in Vancouver, but since your case is rather severe, we’ll worry about prevention later. Right now we need to get your burrisitis under control. It’s going to take a lot of work.

Burrisitis develops slowly. You watch one game and think, “I can handle this.” Most people can (it’s only those with lower IQs that cannot). But then you watch another game. And that’s when it starts. You see Henry Burris play well, and you believe he is a decent QB. When he strings a few good games together, you become more enamoured with him (recent research points to his smile as the possible addictive ingredient which causes the disorder to develop). Before you know it, you’ve created your own Henry Burris shrine, complete with autographed pictures, jerseys, other memorabilia and copies of all his games. You’ve compiled greatest moments lists, you stay up all night watching his games, you e-mail him your analysis which he uses rather than studying his own film. Glen, he uses you. And like all unequal relationships, you get nothing, don’t you? He hasn’t won a playoff game. He can’t win a championship. But you make excuses for him year after year.

Glen, you don’t deserve this. He’s abusing your trust and friendship, if we can even call it that. It’s a textbook case of burrisitis. He comes into your life promising you Grey Cup rings, Warren Moon-like passing numbers and what do you get in return? Empty promises. Early playoff exits. At what cost? Glen, don’t be like the Calgary Stampeders. I have tried on more than one occasion to try to cure them of their burrisitis. They have now lost over a million dollars in three years. They have nothing to show for it, and neither do you. You are lucky; you haven’t lost any money at this point. But you will if you continue your dangerous path.

Now, breaking this addiction won’t be easy. It’s like every other addiction: some days you’ll want to go back. You’ll miss hearing his voice on the phone while you dissect film together. You’ll miss the free autographed pictures, the inside jokes, the e-mails. I know you’ll miss getting his favourite Starbucks drink and hand-delivering it to him when you’re in town. And the foot massages. But we won’t talk about those; the memories are painful, I know.

So how do we get rid of your addiction? First, throw away anything in your house that is related to Henry Burris. Better yet, put it all in a pile in your backyard and burn it. Have a bonfire. Spend some time with your family. They will also benefit from your burrisitis healing. You’ll actually spend time with them. Did you know your son has moved out of the house and is majoring in communications in college? He’s also engaged and having a baby. See? There are already some positives coming out of your admittance of your problem!

Next, change your home phone number, cell phone number, pager number, and all of your e-mail addresses. Remove yourself from the henryburris.com mailing list. And shut down ilovehenryburris.com. Besides, you said you’d only update it again when Henry won a Grey Cup. You were sure that’d happen three years ago. It’s 2008 now, Glen.

Then, you must move. Henry must not know where you live. Sell your car, as he knows your license plate and car make. He will try and find you. He doesn’t have any true friends of his own, and he will apologize for not winning you the Grey Cup and getting you that ring. He will track you down. You know it. He has before.

Once that is done, you’ll have to make changes in your commentating. This will be the most difficult part, but, lucky for you, I have some suggestions to help. Remember that this is not an exhaustive list.

  • Instead of saying, “Henry Burris is in the zone,” say, “My 90 year old grandmother could have made that throw – and she’s blind!”
  • When Burris completes a pass, mention the following: “Henry Burris would be nothing if he wasn’t surrounded by great receivers. Imagine if he was the Riders’ QB! All rookie receivers! Henry would sink faster than the Titanic in those conditions.”
  • After a TD throw, say, “Henry Burris’ TD to interception ratio is abysmal.”
  • After an interception, say, “That’s the REAL Henry Burris!”
  • When Henry Burris gets tackled, yell, “Sit yo’ ass down, boi!!”
  • After a complete pass, say, “He’s just lucky. Definitely not talented.” Or, “He finally remembered to throw it to his own team.” Or, “There’s a real shortage of talented QBs in the league. That’s the only reason Henry Burris has a job.”
  • Next time Burris complains to the referees, say, “Oh quit your freaking whining, crybaby.” Then tell them about the night Henry cried himself to sleep in your arms and then left in the morning before you woke up. Remember how much that hurt, Glen? He didn’t even say goodbye. OR thank you.
  • When he goes down hurt, say, “I hope it’s his knee. I hope his ACL AND MCL are torn.”
  • Or make up your own sayings! Trust me, it’s not hard.

Glen, you HAVE to make this change. You have no choice. You only have two options left. You can either: 1) face your addiction, or 2) move to a deserted island with Henry Burris and marry him. But he will leave you and desert you for some other commentator. It’s happened before.

You are the laughingstock of the entire CFL, Glen. Your reputation has hit rock bottom. You have no choice but to follow my advice. If you do not, you will lose your job. There are rumblings that Chris Cuthbert is urging TSN to put Jock Climie in your spot. He’s smarter than you. He could do it. You need to cure your burrisitis before they fire you and replace you. The fans also want you gone. You make them stupider. You’ve already lost your family, Glen. Isn’t that enough??

I urge you to carefully consider my prescription. It is the only thing that will save you from D-List sports celebrity-dom. You’ll never get a job in Canada again. And you don’t want to be hosting some cooking show on the Life network for extra income, do you? Oops. Sorry. I got you and Matt Dunigan mixed up. BTW, I have worked with Matt and his burrisitis is almost cured. It relapses from time to time, but you should talk to him. He can give you points about living with burrisitis and daily maintenance to keep relapses from occurring. And he can tell you about how Henry loved him and left him.

Glen, do the right thing for yourself, your family, the game you love, the CFL, TSN and all those who watch you. End your burrisitis.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nicole Hamm
Center for Burrisitis Research

P.S. WHAT THE HELL IS A CONTESTED CATCH?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

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