Friday, December 09, 2011

P is for...Paul

Chris Paul won't be a Laker. Maybe. But he might be.

So, the NBA is back.

Unless you've been living under a rock, or worse, living in Canada ("hockeyhockeyhockeyhockey"), you know that the 2011-2012 NBA season looked like it was going to be missed. At least that's what I thought.

But then it wasn't.

Remember when the NHL (hockey!hockey!hockey!hockey!) had their lockout? And remember when they came back with a new, revised version of their beautiful game? And remember how popular it got after they did that, even in the U.S.?

And then remember when the NFL had their lockout this summer? But nobody really worried because everybody sorta knew that the league was way too popular, and made way too much money for all those franchises to shut it down for a season?

Well, the NBA took neither of those routes. They freaked out and announced they'd be starting the 66-game season on Christmas day. Everyone, even the players, were sort of caught off guard. I think Kevin Love's tweet summed it up the best. 

And just last night, this happened.

Don't get me wrong; I'm a Celtics fan. This whole Chris Paul issue is in my best interest, and seeing the LA Lakers with egg on their face is so so so so so so so joyous for me. It brings me I-just-found 5-dollars-in-my-winter-coat happiness.

LA Lakers: So Pau. And Lamar. We just wanna say, we've always wanted to keep you guys in LA! Honest! It's just that...*cricket, cricket*...ok yeah, we were gonna dump you guys for Chris Paul.

Pau and Lamar: #%&* you.

LA Lakers: Ok, good talk! Now lets go win some rings!

But like anyone who follows the league, I'm a little tired of non-basketball NBA news. And I'm tired of the NBA looking like a bunch of chickens running around with their heads cut off.

As I followed the updates on the Paul trade last night, this is what I thought:

Welcome back, NBA.
Now get your shi*t together.


Friday, November 25, 2011

O is for...Ovi

Ohhh Ovi.

Look what you've done, Ovi.

You've gone and left your homework 'til the last minute, and now you're late. He's back already, and what have you done?

He gave you nearly a year.

"Here, take the league" he said. "Just TAKE IT!"

But what have you got to show for it? And who is to blame?

Is it how they talk about him? How good they say he is? I told you, don't listen to them! He grabbed a couple garbage goals in his first game back, big deal.

Maybe that's it. Maybe they just talk about him too much. It worries you, I can tell. I can see it on your little sasquatch face. Maybe we need some Ovi time.

Yeah, that's it. Let's have some Ovi time.

 Remember when he didn't win the Calder, but you did? Sure, he has a cup. But you won the Calder! Rookie of the Year! It took him a whole 'nother year to win any awards. And none of those were the CALDER!

OMG, and when you were scoring goals on your back?! That was sooo rad. You would jump into the boards after you scored, and smile that toothless grin. Sure, the Capitals sucked, but at least nothing was expected of you. Those times were sooo fun. Brutal jerseys though.

Okay, these times were really fun. Party time! He never gets caught doing this kinda stuff. This is pretty much when you started getting cool. You ain't cool if you don't party!  Shredded jeans + 30 year-old women + Andrei Markov = THE MAN.

I've gotta say though, some of these pictures are weird. And those shorts are pretty weird. How 'bout we say this: European speed on the ice? Absolutely. European hands with the puck? Definitely. European women? Sure, go nuts. European wardrobe? Maybe not in public.

Flattening Jagr in the Olympics was pretty cool. Who won that tourney again? Ah, who cares.

And your commercials. Ohhh man, your commercials. Maybe it's your teeth, maybe it's your broken English; either way, you are goddamn funny. And they can say all they want about him, but your commercials are ten times better than his.

So don't worry Ovi, we still like you. All I'm asking is that you pretend to give a damn, win something he hasn't, and go score some goddamn goals.


Monday, November 21, 2011

N is for...Nike

If you hate AIDS and dress like Satan, Nike has some great new stuff for you.

Because Nike cares so much about the well-being of people, they've just released a few (Red) products to help raise awareness and fight AIDS, or something.

Because nothing says "I care!" like red shoelaces.

I wasn't even aware that (Red), a campaign that helps companies sell product by glamorizing a worldwide epidemic, still existed. So glad it does though, because now I have a reason to buy a new backpack.

Speaking of epidemics, there's whispering going on about Nike swallowing up their identical competitor, Under Armour. The sooner I don't have to see Under Armour's god-awful logo on the hats and hoodies of armchair athletes, the better. Perhaps Nike could snap up TAPOUT gear while they're at it.

Ridding the world of douchey lifestyle brands? Now that's a cause I can support.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

M is for...Making it

I'm hoping the second season of HBO's How to Make It in America catches on bigger than the first did.

A show about the daily hustle in the working world, How to Make It follows a primarily young-and-hot crowd in New York who probably don't know a thing about hard work but Hey! they look really good. And the two main characters, Ben and Cam, are trying to start their own clothing line, so models and trendy clothing ensue.

For as long as I've watched it, I know far more people who aren't familiar with it than are. And I don't really know why. It's from the same creators of Entourage, a show that got more than it's fair share of publicity.

Unfortunately, How to Make It is now in its second season and I think it might've started to grow Entourage-like limbs. I won't completely hate on Entourage, but as a show that stayed afloat through numerous mildly awkward cameo appearances by young and cool celebrities, it had the tendency to get a little...douchey?

I'm worried that because Entourage finally wrapped up its last season, How to Make It in America has now been called up from the minors to play in the big leagues of swooping camera shots and slow-speaking athlete appearances. Its first season was raw, and I liked it that way.

Check out a trailer and see if you like it. Oh wait, there's a trailer right here!

Here are my 3 reasons to check it out.

#3 NYC
 Tons of sexy shots taken in the streets of the city. How to Make It is a glorified tourism video.

#2 The clothes
Because the show's based around creatives and designers, all the characters rock some pretty tight gear. I know, pretty lame reason to watch a show; but the style in the streetwear and nightlife draw a lot of attention to themselves.

#1 Luis Guzman
One of the best character actors around. In How to Make It he plays an ex-con loan shark who's constantly struggling to keep his hustle legal, and not get caught doing it.


Friday, November 04, 2011

K is for...Killa Kam

Somebody explain to me why Cam'ron was ever rapping about Winnipeg. Either way, this one is an oldie and a goodie.

Canary burgundy
I call it lemon red
Yellow diamonds in my ear
Call em lemonheads
Lemonhead end up dead
Ice like Winnipeg
Gemstones Flintstones
You could say I'm friends with Fred

Thursday, October 27, 2011

J is for...Journalism

The sun will probably be in your eyes when you wake up. Well, the new sun will be. They got rid of the original sun a few years ago and replaced it with a big Halogen one. This new one is a lot more efficient.

You will sit up in bed and stretch. After a long night in front of the computer, you will feel well rested. You will pick up your remote and type in the password. You will select ‘Morning Routine’.

Your apartment will come alive. The toilet seat opens. The blinds in your living room roll up. The shower will start warming up. All of the screens in your apartment will update and show you things that you usually like to see; shoe sales, funny videos of kids accidently hitting their dads in the nuts, hockey fights, Chris Farley clips, snowboard videos.

You will put on your housecoat and make breakfast. A coffee pill, two egg pills, three bacon pills and two toast pills will be enough. Yum.

After breakfast, you will grab another coffee pill and sit in your electric massage chair.

The city outside your window will be silent. You will hear a car horn here and there, but they will be really distant.

You will read the news on your device. You will see your story on the second page. You will read your story, even though you revised it several times before you submitted it last night. You will hate the .GIF they use for all your articles. It will be you at an outoor dinner party wearing a suit. It’s kind of stupid, but it was the only one you had of you wearing a suit. You will hardly ever wear suits, because you will hardly ever need to.
 You will like the headline they chose for this particular story. You will read the first few of your colleague’s articles, and then watch the rest of the important news on video. You will like to pretend that you prefer to read the news, but it will be so much faster to use the video option.

You will realize you’re late for work. You will make it to work on time by walking across your living room and picking up your tablet. Fewf, you made it.

You will check your work mail. You will have a big story today. Your lead will be about the death of journalism. You will think that’s easy.

You will start by brushing up on your history. You will research the 2085 London newspaper burnings. You will read up on the New York Times scandals of 2123. You will read all the lies in CHINA NEWS for the first time since it has been taken over. You will check Al Jazeera. You will read up on the Guerilla News Rebels.

You will realize it’s lunch time. You will log on and order Chow Mein. It will be a five minute wait.

You will spend your afternoon looking for quotes for your article. You will Facetime your mum. You will message your friend about playing basketball on Thursday. You will tweet a shout-out to your co-worker.  You will talk to your boss about your story, and he will ask you what your angle is.

You will say:
Death of journalism?
What death of journalism?
You will liken it to a cockroach in a nuclear zone.
You will both laugh about how many times the world has tried to pronounce journalism dead.
You will mention an article written way back in the 2000’s about the art of blogging, and how people once thought blogs could kill news.
You will both shake your heads and talk about how stupid people used to be.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I is for...iPhone

i never owned a cell phone in high school.
i was lame.
i read other people’s texts on other people’s phones.
i didn’t mind though.
i should have savored my life without a phone a little longer.
i never considered that I will always have a phone for the rest of my life now.
i caved eventually.
i had a bunch of crappy ones.
i bought my first one in Australia.
i think it was Nokia.
i liked how tiny it was.
i moved to Samsung.
i liked that it had a full keypad.
i tried Motorola.
i am indeed embarrassed to have owned a Razr, thank you for asking!
i did Nokia again.
i dropped it in a puddle.
i had a goddamn Blackberry.
i don’t want to talk about it.
i realized it was time.
i own a Macbook.
i have two ipods.
i had already drank the Apple Kool-Aid.
i was due.
i needed one.
i bought an iPhone.
i have never owned a more useful piece of technology.
i think Instagram is mostly for posers.
i love Angry Birds.
i love Angry Birds Rio.
i love Angry Birds Seasons.
i recommend an iPhone.
i don’t care how old you are.
i think you could and should try to figure it out.
i know, it’s hard.
i just worry that you are gonna fall behind the times.
i will have to teach you how to use one when I’m 35?
i don’t think so.
i think you should just keep up with the times.
i don’t wanna wait for you.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

G is for... Grapes

Hockey Night In Canada's executive producer, Trevor Pilling, wakes up to the sound of a crowing rooster.

Last night was a restless sleep. He knew what today was bringing, and he was dreading the thought of it.

'This is a good thing' he thinks to himself. 'You are doing the right thing'.

He jams his feet into his leather boots sitting beside his bed, despite the fact he isn't wearing socks. There is no time for socks. This chore needs to be done immediately.

He puts on his fleece-lined jacket at the front door, and picks up the shotgun that he had laid out the night before. Its cold steel stings his hands with realization.

'You're doing the right thing' he tells himself.

He can see his breath in the air as he makes his way across the farmyard. The animals inside the barn are starting to wake up and make noise.

When he cracks the old, wooden sliding door of the barn, the light hits the different on-air personalities.

Standing in the front stalls are Kelly Hrudey, Kevin Weekes and Jim Hughson. They are discussing whether or not Luongo has another run for the cup left in him after last season.

Scott Oake and Elliot Freedman are walking around the barn asking Crosby questions to the other animals. They must have gotten out last night. Gord Stellick is standing backwards staring at the wall. PJ Stock scurries above on the rafters above, looking for nuts and seeds.

The Hockey Night In Canada barn is awake. Except for the back corner. It is still quiet in the back corner.

Pilling drags his feet as he approaches the back of the barn, hoping the noise will wake up the remaining two horses.

Ron MacLean opens his eyes immediately: "Headshots!" he yells instinctively. "Let's discuss headshots!"

Pilling smiles. "Don't worry, Ron - go back to sleep. Get some rest. You had a long night."

Their discussion wakes up the remaining animal.

"It's not called dangling" blurts the last horse. "It's called stickhandling! When did we start calling it 'dangling?' And another thing...wait, where's Dougie? Who does Gilmore play for again? And another thing...wait which clip are we watching here? And another thing..."

Silently, Pilling ignores the nonsense, ties a rope around the old horse's bridle, and opens his gate.

"Where are we going? Who are you? And another thing, I remember when we use to ride the bus to games. The Forum was the greatest rink there ever was! When I used to fight I used to buy the guy a beer afterwards! You wanna fix the league? Get rid of the Russians! That'll fix things. Speaking of things, and another thing..."

The rest of the horses are silent as Pilling walks the old horse through the barn. They look away, or paw at the ground. They look nervous.

"No heart left in the game! Bunch of kids nowadays. Bunch of Euros! Defenceman can't even touch ya' anymore! Clutch and grab?! It's called hockey! And another thing about hockey, it's too fast now. Not enough hitting! Hey kids, there aren't enough goons anymore! But the league needs less goons! It needs more goons that aren't goons!"

"Alright, Don" says Pilling as they leave the barn; "that's quite enough".

"Where are we going?" says Don.

"We aren't going anywhere" replies Pilling. "You are going somewhere".

With his shotgun still draped over his shoulder, Pilling leads his eldest horse into the field.


Friday, October 14, 2011

F is for...Fred


There are only so many variations of teapot cozies, fig Newtons, suspenders-with-a-belt, cheating at card games and thick glasses you can think of, before it seems like everyone’s grandparents are all the same.  We all have them, and we all love them. Here’s a little something about one of mine.

When you went for lunch with my grandpa (huge fan of Tim Hortons), you had to be patient. Partially because was hard of hearing and sight, but more so because of his popularity.

One time an elderly lady approached us and said: “After all these years, I still recognize your voice”. She was referring to the CBC Radio programs “Morningside” and “Neighbourly News from the Prairies” that he used to speak on.  I can’t say for sure, but I’m assuming he proceeded to flirt with her and make her blush. Then when she left, he would turn to me with a smile and say “Just another one of my girlfriends”.

My grandpa was inducted into the Order of Manitoba in 2002, and then the Order of Canada in 2004. Plaques and medals he received from those, as well as other accomplishments, stayed hidden in his room. He was incredibly humble.

Of all the people, events and stories that my grandpa regaled me with over the years, I’m not sure if he spoke of anyone more highly than Tommy Douglas. Here’s a snippet from an article about the book Tommy's Team: The People Behind the Douglas Years:

Brandon's own Fred McGuinness also suffered from osteomyelitis -- an infection of the bones and joints -- after having been wounded in the war. 

"McGuinness, who had been hired by Douglas for a few years to run 50-year jubilee celebrations of Saskatchewan in 1955, passed some of the antibiotics to which he had access to Douglas to ease those flare-ups."

"He would phone McGuinness in the middle of the night and say: 'Fred, bring me over four of your aureomycin capsules.' The 'golden capsules' he would call them," said Houston, who quickly added that though it helped Douglas, both men knew that it was a rather unethical practice.”

Not everyone can say their grandpa shared his meds with the father of Medicare.

When my grandpa died last spring, I received a great deal of condolences from people because of his popularity. At first I felt guilty because I didn’t know everything there was to know about his professional career. But since then I've realized that doesn't matter, because I was lucky enough to know him as a grandson.

In this interview, my grandpa is quoted saying: "I think that the brightest thing that’s happened in Manitoba journalism in a number of years has been the two year course called “Creative Communication” at Red River Community College."

Ironically enough, I got my acceptance letter to the Creative Communications program the same day my grandpa died.

That would have made him laugh.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

E is for...Evolution

I recently saw the shot-over-the-shoulder documentary “Page One: Inside the New York Times”. Just as I had predicted, it was about the New York Times.

The movie itself is a mash of storylines over the span of 2010. It’s interesting to watch journalists – whose jobs are brutally deglamorized by stacks upon stacks of paper, sweaty brows and panicked hairstyles – scurry around speaking to each other in measured and concise language. But director Andrew Rossi scrambles the breaking of significant stories - like Wikileaks, and the collapse of Sam Zell and the Tribune Company - to the point of confusion. However, the underlying story remains the same throughout; everything is changing and the evolution of news is scary for the New York Times, but let them list the reasons of why you still need them.

In an age when newspapers are desperately trying to stay relevant/profitable/alive, the Times carries a reputation better suited for the onslaught of digital media than most other papers.

But does this mean they are home free? Do they avoid the demise that so many other newspapers have met because they are one of the biggest and best? Absolutely not.

The state of newspaper advertising alone looks about as promising as my golden retriever performing open-heart surgery on me, or to be fair, me performing open-heart surgery on my golden retriever. Either way, not good. People don’t read the paper to decide what kind of car/proctologist/hockey helmet/exterminator/loafers/5-iron/lawn mower they’re going to buy. Instead, they use a thing called a website. Goodnight, newspaper ads. May you and your BLOWOUT SALES rest in peace.

Yes, I think there will always be a place for news printed on paper. And by always, I am referring to my lifetime. If my children’s children don’t have something to line their budgie cages with, well then boo-hoo. They can buy the Budgie App for $2.99, or something.

But what I do think will survive is investigative journalism. Its largest threat is information reported by people like bloggers, vloggers, Twitter, and that guy that updates his Facebook statuses way too much. Yes, they have the potential to transmit information quickly, but proper and dependable news will always rely on trained, on-the-scene journalism. If I could only get my hands around the neck of a blogger…

It’s beginning to sound a little repetitive for my liking, but the fact remains that Twitter, or something like it, has the potential of being the main artery for news. That’s if it isn’t already.

Each day, business editors of newspapers are forced to print more and more obituaries for their own profession’s funeral, as their co-workers put their belongings in a cardboard box and take the elevator to the main floor. Interviewees in “Page 1” repeat - tirelessly - something to the tune of: “The New York Times going out of business just isn’t an option.”

But actually it is.

The New York Times is like Kobe Bryant: used to the feeling of being top dog, but in their old age have been forced to change. As Kobe’s gotten older, he’s improved his skills in the low-post because his first step and quickness on the perimeter won’t be around forever. Similarly, the Times is forced to diversify its platforms as people consume their news in new ways. They have hundreds of blogs. They have a daily news video report. But competing with the speed and freedom of the Internet is tough. Sure, the Times has a website. But they charge a small, more-than-fair amount of money for it, and thus people do not subscribe. If they don’t charge you for it, then they’re eating pizza pops in their parents’ basement.

I would suggest this movie to anybody that plans on being alive for the next twenty years, because that’s who it should be speaking to. But then again, I heard Lion King 3D is pretty good too.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

D is for...Dirty

There's a good chance you don't care about the sport of boxing.

But even if you aren't a fan, I encourage you to read this post. Not because I think my writing deserves your attention, but rather because I am a casual fan at most, and I think the drama surrounding Floyd Mayweather - boxing's loud-mouthed main attraction – extends beyond just boxing fans. Lots of people don't like boxing, but everybody likes a little drama. And right now, the story lines surrounding Mayweather are thick with it. In an effort to keep it short and sweet, I’ll keep it to 2 main points.

1. Why is a post about boxing filed under D for Dirty?

Because like him or not, that’s what Floyd Mayweather’s career has been; he’s a bad dude. Mayweather beat Victor Ortiz on Saturday night for the Welterweight belt, and his record now sits at 42 wins, 0 losses.  0 losses. 0 losses. 0 losses! Mayweather hasn't lost a fight in his entire career. That's dirty. Ortiz was just a guy who was lucky enough to share a ring with him for an evening. To put it into perspective, Mayweather earned a guaranteed $20 million for last night’s fight before he even stepped into the ring. Not a bad night at the office by any means, but his amount could double to $40 million depending on pay-per-view/television ratings! That's dirty. That’s how much better Floyd Mayweather is. People wanna watch him, but there isn’t anyone around that can really contend with him (well actually there is, but that will be point #2). Oh and what did Ortiz make? He earned $2.5 million. Period. Sorry pal, people didn’t order the pay-per-view to see you. But hey, here’s 1/16 of your opponent’s potential earnings for being a punching bag all night.
As you may know, or can see here, it was a pretty controversial finish:

I hope you watched it to the end so that you caught the argument between Mayweather and Larry Merchant! “I wish I was 50 years younger so I could kick your ass!” That was wild.

Ortiz definitely broke the rules with his best bighorn sheep impression, no doubt, but he lost his point and the fight went on. The problem was with the ref, who unclearly/doesn’t wave the boxers back in, at which point Mayweather just goes back into fight mode.  Had he stopped after he threw the left hook, at least the fight could have ended with a more legitimate finish. But Ortiz looks to the ref as if to say “he hit me!” and Floyd Money puts him in his jammies and sends him to bed. Dirty? Perhaps. That's what my comments section is for, I'd like to hear your opinion. Either way, bummer for Ortiz. He should be keeping his hands up, he knows that. But also, he shouldn’t expect some kind of shining sportsmanship from Floyd Mayweather, either. He is one loud, angry, defensive dude, who will protect his undefeated record at all costs. Speaking of his legacy that brings me to…

2. The Mayweather-Pacquiao thing
Mayweather fights less than once a year because he would rather rest on his laurels and preserve his undefeated record, along with the argument that he is the best boxer ever. Whatever, kinda lame, but that’s his call and there aren’t any good boxers in his weight class anyway. But Manny Pacqiao, the delightful little man that you may recognizefrom that HP commercial on TV, says he’ll do it. He’s way, way, way smaller than Mayweather, but he’s a pretty courageous little dude.

Mayweather? He says no dice. Why? Nobody is really sure.

Why is he scared of a little man from the Philippines who is 2 weight-classes smaller than him, and would be considered one of the biggest fights of the century? Why doesn’t Mayweather want to put on a fight that would be predicted to bring in 50 million dollars for each fighter?

Maybe because Pac-man is a beast, and Mayweather is legitimately scared of losing to him. Or maybe it's because you would have to be crazy not to like Manny Pacqiao, and the entire world would be in his corner. Or maybe because it has the potential to be the finest underdog story of all time. Or maybe it’s because he realizes how much he sacrifices if he were to lose the fight. I think it’s the latter, but I also think that it’s Mayweather’s prerogative.

So instead, both fighters will continue to fight heel after heel and dominate their weight class. In the meantime, cross your fingers for the Mayweather/Pacqiao fight. It would be something to remember, and I say that as someone who follows boxing about as much as you do.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

C is for...#CreComm

I'm 3 weeks in to the Creative Communications program at Red River College, and so far so great.
I don't wanna pump anyone's tires too much, but the professors (or are they teachers? Not enough beards or leather elbow patches for me to consider them profs), the courses, my classmates, and even the water fountains, are sweet. So sweet. Like, I-have-found-my-calling sweet.

For example, I am sitting in class right now crushing Twitter. Because I HAVE to.

As far as I'm concerned, Twitter and CreComm share a lot in common. They both have unlimited uses, and both will hopefully help my professional career one day. Oh, and both are good for some pretty funny fart jokes.

I used to think Twitter was lame, but I got over that. It's here to stay. Instant information from over 100 million people? Yes please. And for all those ludites that refuse to catch on to new technology, I think of a wise old quote from a good, drunk friend of mine.

"You're either in, or in the way"


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

B is for...Bales

I'm from Brandon, Manitoba. I'm not ashamed to say that.

Every year I move back to the big city of Winnipeg to go to school, and every year upon introduction at least one person says the same thing: "Ohhh, you're from BRANdon?!"

Country boy. Hick. Hillbilly. I've heard 'em all. This year somebody calls me 'Brandon boy' (You know who you are). Real original stuff. But to be honest, I can't remember the last time I was on a tractor. I don't know how a thresher works, and I've never even driven a combine. I don't have any horses, and I've only once stuck my hand up a cow's...nevermind.

I get it; Brandon isn't very big. And it's a farming town. It's more Aviators than Wayfarers. Bootcut, not skinny jeans. In Brandon, you're gonna hear more Bon Jovi than you are Florence and the Machine.

Regardless, I've grown up with much respect for the farmers. And after watching this video, I hope you can realize the bravery, hard work, and integrity that it takes to be part of the farming community.


Thursday, September 08, 2011

A is for...Alphabetical

So...I have a blog.
As a requirement for my new Creative Communications course at Red River College, I have been kicked, punched, harassed, beaten, full nelson-ed, wet willied and overall threatened into starting a new blog. Think of it like the "DIDI MAU!" Russian roulette scene from The Deer Hunter, but instead of an angry Vietnamese soldier handing me a gun it's a pretty cool professor asking me nicely to start writing about myself.
But I hate writing about myself, and I think you would too.
So instead, I'm going to write about other things; sports, music, comedy, television, Youtube, yadda yadda yadda. Each post will be in alphabetical order, thus why this week started with A for Alphabetical.
If you like my stuff, tell me. Leave comments. Gimme feedback.
If you don't like my stuff, well, you can get the hell off my front lawn.