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It’s one of my FAVOURITE times of year, y’all – it’s CFL playoff time!

Let’s take a look at this week’s match-ups..

als v bc

Do I care a lot about this game?  Um, no.

Does anybody?

Anyway, I think Montreal wins this game by at least two TDs for the reasons set out below.

BC has confused me all year long.  While everyone knew the Lions would begin the season without starting QB Travis Lulaylemon (i.e. Travis Lulay), most thought Kevin Glenn would be a capable game manager who would simply step into the Lions’ system and hold down the fort, so to speak, until Lulaylemon returned.

Yeah, that didn’t happen.

Instead, BC struggled all year to find any sort of consistency, especially on offence.  Defensively, the Lions held their own; they’re in the top three in most defensive categories.  While defense wins championships, the Lions need to score early and often in order to disrupt Montreal’s home field advantage.

Montreal is an interesting case study.  The Als looked fugly earlier this season, and I enjoyed it immensely.  But somehow they managed to find a QB, Jonathan Crompton (whose flowing locks are no doubt the envy of many men – and women) and they started putting some wins together.  It seems the Als took a few lessons from the Lions, who notoriously started the 2011 season 1-6 but ended up winning 10 of their next 11 en route to winning the 2011 Grey Cup.  But the Alouettes are not nearly as good as the 2011 Lions, and really, Montreal played quite a few games against its weak Eastern Division siblings that likely helped pad their record.

So why do I think Montreal will win on Sunday?  Easy: history, time difference, BC’s poor showing against Calgary to end the season and Kevin Glenn’s ineptitude in big games.  History because Western teams historically struggle in crossover playoff games.  Time difference because the game starts at 1:00 pm in Montreal, which is 10 am Vancouver time.  BC laid a proverbial egg against Calgary in its final game of the season in a game that had huge playoff implications, which doesn’t give the Lions a lot of confidence heading into the playoffs.  And finally, Kevin Glenn does not have a good playoff reputation.  Add in the fact that Montreal is playing at home, and I think it adds up to a solid win for Montreal.

But enough about this game.  Let’s turn to the game that REALLY matters…

riders v esks

Dear CFL.ca: PLEASE quit overselling these playoff match-ups.  You should still be embarrassed by dubbing last year’s Grey Cup QB match-up as the best ever.

Anyway, it’s been awhile since the Riders had to go into the Evil Empire’s territory in the playoffs.  Again, I immensely enjoyed how much Edmonton sucked over the past couple of years.  Sadly that time has come to an end.

I must admit that this week my mind has floated back to the 1989 Western Final between the Riders and Eskimos when the heavily-favoured Esks were beaten by the Riders in an outcome that conjured up comparisons of David versus Goliath.  While this Eskimos team is solid, it’s not even close to being on par with the 1989 juggernaut.

The CFL rumor mill has been working overtime regarding Eskimos QB Mike Reilly (sadly I have no mocking nickname for him – yet). Rumor has it that he has a broken bone in his foot.  The Esks’ announced that Matt Nichols will be starting in Reilly’s place. The Eskimos’ nickname for Matt Nichols?  Matty Ice.  Really?  ROFL.

Some Riders’ fans are salivating at the prospect of Matty Ice (?!?!) starting on Sunday.  Sure he threw a few interceptions in a nothing game for the Esks last week.  But now is NOT the time to be underestimating the Eskimos – especially when the Eskimos’ defence was the league’s top defence and the Riders’ offence was MIA for most of the year.

This brings us to the Riders.  Yes, the Riders went on a seven game winning streak early in the season, but when I look back on the 2014 season, I mostly think about the Riders’ inability to score points against the freaking basement-dwelling REDBLACKS. My concerns are not alleviated by the fact that the Riders also have serious issues at QB.  I suspect that while Kerry Joseph will get the start, my future husband or husband in an alternate universe, Darian Durant, will be second on the depth chart.  Given Joseph’s struggles against the Esks’ defensive line last week, I hope and pray that Riders’ offensive co-ordinator George Cortez has been playing possum for the last couple of weeks and brings out the Riders’ actual playbook for the playoffs.

Defensively, the Riders HAVE to stop the run.  The cold weather, plus having a second-string QB starting will likely force Edmonton to run the ball more.  The Riders have to find a way to plug the middle and keep the Esks from picking up 5 or 6 yards on first down. The Riders also have to make sure Eskimos’ MOP Adarius Bowman doesn’t get behind coverage, and the same goes for Fred Stamps.

On special teams, the Riders need their cover teams to be solid.  Any special teams disasters by the Riders’ special teams will significantly affect Riders’ morale and momentum, not to mention my heart rate and sanity.

If Mike Reilly was starting, I’d say the Riders’ chances of winning this game were at about 10%.  Mike Reilly is to the Eskimos like Darian Durant is to the Riders: he’s their leader.  With Mike Reilly out, the Riders’ chances significantly improve.  While my head is telling me the Eskimos win in a close game, my heart says the Riders will somehow eke this one out.

63135_cartoon_main

A few days ago, I finished reading “Double Down: Game Change 2012,” the story of the 2012 US presidential election.  My timing couldn’t have been better.

There’s something about American politics that I find fascinating.  I think it’s mostly because of the infusion of politics and religion, but probably also because of the differences between red states and blue states.  Sure we have our more conservative and more liberal regions of Canada, but the differences aren’t quite as stark as they are in the US…in my opinion.

Anyway, for the last several weeks I’ve been faithfully watching Jon Stewart tear his hair at the state of the American union.  While I must confess that I find the antics of American politicians as rather amusing, they’re also so frustrating.

For instance, Democratic candidates have tried to distance themselves as much as possible from President Barack Obama, EVEN THOUGH HE’S THE PRESIDENT.

*Sigh*

Most predict that the Republicans will not only easily maintain control of Congress (gerrymandering is still alive and well, friends) but also gain control of the Senate.

What does this mean for the President?

More of the same, really.  He’ll probably use more of his executive authority to enact his agenda.  He doesn’t have much of a choice, really, because since 2009, Congress has thus far refused to do its job, which is to govern.  With the Senate under Republican control, the legislative branch will become even that much more intractable.

Given the paralysis at the federal level, much of the job of governing has moved to stateside.  John Oliver nails the analysis here (warning: language):

Good luck, America.  You need it.

Here’s more on the US midterms:

Nine races to watch in Tuesday’s US elections – Paul Koring

5 state ballot measures to watch

The US midterm elections will be a battle of billionaires – Luiza Ch. Savage

The other player, the US Supreme Court – Keith Boag

cupcakes
Yes, I actually made these.  Surprised?  Me, too.

Links

Faith, Spirituality & Life

What if your life is already your best thing? – Glennon Melton

Malala Yousafzai…and the need for religious reform – Ryan Bell

Culture & Society

Nothin’ wrong with a little baby-tossing – Emma Teitel

What I want you to know about how wonderful it is to have a child with Down Syndrome – Rage Against the Minivan

TV’s renaissance for strong women – Kevin O’Keefe

When office lotto pools go bad – Tasmin McMahon

Sarah Silverman v. the ‘vagina tax’

Can we talk?  Sports is still a man’s world – Emma Teitel

Politics, Economics & Law

Kim Campbell says we need gender parity in Parliament

A tough day at the Supreme Court for supporters of a ban on assisted suicide – Emmett MacFarlane

The resiliency of the Obama presidency – Andrew O’Sullivan

Elections Nova Scotia working on program to pre-register teens for elections

Canadian politicians and their look-alikes – Huffington Post

 

out of the dark

 

I admitted something this week: I’ve been stable for about two months.

Two months of relative calm and peace.

I think I’m coming out of the dark.

I don’t trust it all of the time, but it’s getting easier.

Now it’s time to start remodeling my life again.  I say remodeling because while each episode results in some sort of shift, I’m still me.  I don’t know what that shift is yet, but it’ll reveal itself in time.

The title of this post is a song by Audrey Assad, whose album “Heart” contains some of my favourite songs.  “Even the Winter” is more of a relationship song, but I think it also works as a song about hope – how:

Even the winter won’t last forever
We’ll see the morning, we’ll feel the sun
We’ll wake up in April, ready and able
Holding the seeds in the soil…

I’m grateful that I seem to be waking up again.

 

 

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