Sunday, August 31, 2008

run for the hills...

Don't step on the momeraths....

I've been hearing September is prime berry pickin' time here in Iqaluit, since I stepped off the jet. And after watching the hills slowly explode with colours over the past couple weeks, we went for a little hike and yep, there were berries of all kinds: cranberries, blackberries, big ass blueberries... mmmm... and people everywhere, with gigantic sacks, smiling and picking away.

I ate and ate.

Someone told me -- Kent, I think -- that nothing growing on Nunavut ground can harm you... I believe him (still, I wasn't going to start slamming back mushrooms) and did my best Homer Simpson at the buffet table on the tundra... But I started wondering if, maybe the minute before I'd arrived at the particular bush I was picking my little fruit juice bulbs from, a dog had urinated all over them, and there was me, just shooting them back, grinning obliviously. Is that weird?

Anyhow, yeah, the landscape is quite something to behold. The amount of colour that just kind of showed up, when the tundra was really a dead grass looking green/yellow/brown colour all summer. Now, from afar, it looks as if the hills have rusted over, with the amount of just-darker-than-crimson blackberry bushes creeping out over the moss-covered rock. And when you get up close, hiking around, the tundra is a colourful quilt of reds and oranges and fluorescent greens even... It's bizarre. And so soft too.

And I got the most literal example of scorched Earth I've ever witnessed:

Friction burn

Someone -- or something -- (but most likely, someone) lit a little swath of tundra on fire, and it's just black as coal. Cool contrast to the vibrant colours around it. And it smelled like singed brush.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

flying lotus

Gotta love when a good song just up and lifts you out of a fog...

Had a major headache all day, acid belly too, from not even that many drinks last night, and rolled into work. They're doing survey work or something next door and drilling and my head was pounding harder. So I laid on the floor for a second and put on this song and now my headache is history.

Don't know much about this Flying Lotus character, but this thing is going to loop endlessly on the podski for the next week or so, I can guarantee that. Sounds like he's taken the torch from Dilla (or at least some style)...

Here's another one, if you liked what you heard:

Flying Lotus - 1983

Friday, August 29, 2008

Oil Can's All-Stars: #2

With no one from any government agency feeling any kind of responsibility to return my calls, I will turn my attention away from those douchers, to something far, far more important.

After hitting the Can up on his pager (yes, he still rocks the SkyTel pager), he tells me it's cool to release the second name on his illustrious, grotesquely grandiose scroll of famed-named all-stars...

...and so with no further ado....


Cool Papa Bell is so fast he can turn off the light and be in bed before the room gets dark!

Cool Papa Bell was a Negro League centrefielder from 1922 - 1946. Cool Papa is widely considered one of the greatest and FASTEST players to never put on a Major League Baseball uniform (he was literally a cool papa at 43, when Jackie Robinson broke the colour barrier and played his first game with the Dodgers in 1947).
Honsetly, eh? Like how brutal were people 70 years ago?
Pitching great (and master quotesmith) Satchel Paige described Bell's speed:
"If Cool Papa had known about colleges or if colleges had known about Cool Papa, Jesse Owens would have looked like he was walking."
- or -
"He's so fast he can turn off the light and be in bed before the room gets dark."
For stats nerds, like me, it's hard to judge Bell's career against others, since statistics from the leauges were sparsely kept and much of Negro Leauge history was preserved through stories and anecdotes. Either way, Cool Papa Bell was named the 66th greatest player in baseball history by the Sporting News, one of five Negro League players on the list of 100.
If he's the 66th greatest ballplayer of all-time, he's got the #1 nickname of all time. How cool is 'Cool Papa?' I dare you to give me a better one... Dare you... Impossible... I hope, when I'm a crumpled old geezer, with puffs of grey hair whisping around my ears, my grandkids will call me Cool Papa. I think that would be the greatest compliment I could ever be paid. A tear would run down mine eye, and over my massive, rosacea-ravaged, bulbous nose.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

tv's boring. turn on the radio

Outside of baseball and a few shows right now (the Office, Mad Men, Daily Show, Colbert) I'm not finding anything entertaining on the tube these days...

I spent a month without TV (and actually wasn't missing it, to tell you the truth) earlier this month and I started listening to radio again, specifically podcasts. One I'm really into is the Sports Guy, Bill Simmons', B.S. Report.

It's funnier than pretty much anything on TV right now. You can listen to it while you cook (in my case, make sandwiches). The sports fans reading this will be into it (even though there is nary a mention of hockey). And he always tips off good shows, youtube clips and things of that nature. (ie. Mad Men, and The Two Coreys -- which might be the peak of unintentional comedy.)

If you want a sampling, I'd suggest the 7/22 episode with comedian Adam Carolla, where the ins and outs of the Karate Kid, the Rocky 'septilogy', horrible movie cliche scenes and Chris Rock's celebrity baseball debacle are discussed at length.

"One's going north and south, the other's to and fro..."

I feel like I could listen to a conversation about movies like this for an hour every day... That's just me...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

sphincter tent

I waited for quite a while to see if anyone would crawl out of the tent's ass...

This tent, sitting beside the Sylvia Grinnell River in Iqaluit all summer, has a butthole.

The makers must have had some pretty good senses of humour. They could have made the opening any colour. They chose red.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

red bull and jelly belly

Can a man survive on nothing but Red Bull and Jelly Belly?

Fort Herbus' Desk. This one's for you, Alix.

I feel like juice was a gateway drug to Pepsi. Pepsi led me to coffee and now I'm onto that hard stuff... Red Bull.

What's the next logical step?

unbelievably overused

We've got bans on the use of DDT and child labour and lawn darts, so can we please extend this to the use of the word 'unbelievable'? In the last week, I've heard people throw around the word 'unbelievable' like they were lawn darts in the early-nineties.

It's overused. It's lazy. It's misused.

"Wow, what an unbelievable day."
Really, you couldn't conceivably believe that it could be sunny outside?

"Wing Wang's performance on the pommelhorse was unbelievable."
So a routine without mistakes cannot be imagined, and therefore, when it happens, it cannot be believed. Expectations must be pretty low.

Today, nothing is unbelievable. A kid just got decapitated on a bus ride through the Prairies. We've got an atom crusher being built in between Switzerland and France that some scientists are saying could create a black hole on Earth. Nicholas Cage is still being hired to star in movies.

hmmm... uh.. yess.. mmm.. I'm... um... Superman, yes... mmm.

We have reached the point where nothing is really unbelievable anymore. So, please, please, please, can we stop using the word 'unbelievable'. (I will eat a pie of crow if someone finds me using 'unbelievable' in my past posts -- which is not, in fact, unbelievable, because I am unbelievably lazy. Beleed dat!) I am close to getting a petition on the go and sending it to the UN.

Other alternative words: amazing. ridiculous, unique, daffy, gew-gaw.
I have started using 'unreal'... If something strikes me as being beyond belief, then it is just not happening. Hence, unreal.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Oil Can's All-Stars: #1

The first installment of Oil Can's All-Stars, dedicated to athletes with ridiculous names.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, with no further delay, the inaugural Oil Can All-Star...
(drumroll, while beautiful woman in tight, crimson red dress breaks seal of golden envelope, pulls out black card, while the packed crowd of MGM Grand gasps in anticipation. One really old chick in a white dress faints and her glass shatters on the floor, while a nervous young man barfs and then bolts, buckling under the pressure... World B. Free is already practicing his acceptance speech.
Bob Costas grabs the card and walks to the podium, clears his throat and says...)


(The crowd goes apeshit. The passed out woman is revived and upon hearing that Tree Rollins is the recipient, she passes out again in euphoric frenzy.)

Tree Rollins played 18 seasons in the NBA. The 7'2 centre is 7th all-time in blocks, leading the league in the statistical category in the 1982-83 season. His nickname was "the Intimidator". He also allegedly bit Danny Ainge's finger, requiring him to get a tetanus shot. After the incident, he is credited with the quote: "What's in my mouth is mine."
Really, you can't make this stuff up.

Tree is also was guilty of causing me, at a very young age, to roll around on the floor, in tears laughing, when I opened up a pack of basketball cards and saw a player with the name Tree. It was so random and so goofy and such a fittingly perfect name for a severely tall individual (like an NBA centre). I would have loved to have been there when that one guy called him Tree for the first time. 

Anyways, Tree Rollins has always stayed with me.

Godspeed, Mr. Tree.

Friday, August 22, 2008

i have so much to write about that i don't know how to do it

The HMCS Shawinigan officer in the background looks pretty impressed, eh?

So I'm back from the first leg of my Operation Nanook experience.

I originally wrote this Friday night/Saturday morning (before departing for Kimmirut -- which was probably the coolest experience I've had in quite a while -- more to come) but, Iqaluit internet connection being what it is, I couldn't upload any pictures, so I didn't post this until now (Sunday night), even though I could only upload one picture. I will put more up when this internet starts behaving.

(Also, just as a side-note, I've found it's so much easier to write when life
is very boring. The more that happens, the more I'm compelled to write, and the longer it takes to get everything that's cool in somehow. But this recounting of long days means this is probably a lot more personal, and journal-like, and less interesting for someone else to read, as opposed to the bored brain meanderings that usually fill this page up.)

Anyways, to move this thing along, loyal reader,
I had beers at the Legion tonight, in a room half-lit and I was leaning all night, falling off my seat almost, trying to get back onto solid ground.
That sounds pathetic, I'm sure, but I spent 52 consecutive hours on the ocean (minus a brief, 5-minute embarkment on a random Baffin Island Island) and I was honestly -- honestly -- trying to get my legs back.
I can't put most of my good pictures on here -- only the ones I took on my crap Panasonic -- because I was on assignment (pompous way of saying I was working). So the pictures I took on the other camera belong to THE MAN.
So what a bizarre, sporadic, and temporary odyssey into a life I could never imagine.
The discipline. The adventure. The boredom. The routine. The unpredictable.
I spent the last three days and two nights on a Coast Guard Icebreaker, and two navy warships -- HMCS Toronto and HMCS Shawinigan.

Talk about discipline... gives a new meaning to the saying "pearly whites." I reluctantly erased many Picasso's over the three days I was on Coast Guard and Navy ships.

I told many a navy and coast guard personnel how much I envied/admired/could not comprehend/could never do what they did. A good portion of the crew on the HMCS Toronto had been aboard for over 6 months. They'd been through a tour around the entire coast of Africa and seen (and saved three people in a boat from) a volcano eruption off the coast of Yemen, and had recently returned from an exercise in Ireland. The Coast Guard folk, a little more laid back, had been on shift for three weeks and had another three to go.

The experience was something new -- given this really unique access from a group of organizations that want good publicity. And being paraded around to things you're not quite sure if you're interested in writing about, and being supervised at all times and handled with gloves.

The kid got his first helicopter ride -- which landed on the Coast Guard ship and then a Navy warship. We circled a giant iceberg and the two boats, which steamed along alone in the Arctic bay. It was a site.

Went on tundra patrols in a rubber boat in the absolutely pristine and untouched bay, staring off for miles and miles, with so much visibility that the horizon loses colour. We had to climb up and down the 15-foot side of the warship on a dangling rope ladder to get into the raft. I was a little shaky the first time, but kind of got the hang of it by the end. That was so cool.

I'm getting paid to climb down a warship on a rope ladder into a rubber raft to rip around vastly untouched Frobisher Bay? Thumbs up, indeed. It would be two thumbs, but I was probably pinching myself (PG-version of jackin' it) with the other hand.

Saw a seal and a 30-foot high iceberg break in half and walked around an island that looked like a temple, it was so weathered from ice and wind and water. I honestly wondered how many people had ever set their eyes on some of the things we saw.

Arrr... she melted fores I could get 'er on de scale, matey. (Or were pirates saying Metis?)

I got a glimpse into Navy and Coast Guard life. The coast guard had about 40 people on board -- all French (spoken language, labels, everything). For comparison's sake, the Navy ship had around 200, and they were the same size. The Coast Guard felt like a cruise after being aboard HMCS Toronto for 24 hours.

Poster aboard HMCS Shawinigan:
"I'm sorry, Mr. Selleck. This is the Navy, not Hawaii in the early, mid-eighties. We have rules."

Gotta give it to the Navy and Coast Guard though. The beers were much cheaper than in town. The Coast Guard had wines, scotch, and all sorts of beers for $1.75 a piece. I thought that was grand (considering it is a pretty $7 for a Canadian in Iqaluit), but then was blown out of the water when Navy beers were $0.75. Yesh, you heard me right. Apparently, it's duty-free.

I have no focus here. I think I'll just post some pictures -- whenever the internet allows.

Operation Nanook is one of three sovereignty exercises that the Canadian Forces undertakes each year, to work on different scenarios and assert a presence in the North. It seems to me a pretty symbolic exercise, seeing as the North is so inconceivably large and the patrols, etc., are really very limited.
I was with two documentary film crews as part of my embark media opportunity.
I was honestly tired and worn down by the ceaseless shooting of the crews (one, which was German. Yeah.) who were running the crews ragged with simulations of emergency exercises and stuff. It will definitely make me watch those things with more attention to detail.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

arrr mateys (in a phlegmy voice)!

The last 24 were nuts, but now, I sit at home, excited about the next 48. 

A perk of the job, I must say, is being able to accompany Canadian Forces on a Canadian Arctic Sovereignty exercise on the Arctic Ocean.

(clearing throat)
Ta de 'igh seas, I go. Ta roam de icy waters, laughin' along Baffin Isle, searchin' fer booty, leavin' all them scurvy land lovers, and the like, aaerrrrr....

This will be my home from tomorrow morning until Thursday: the Coast Guard's Pierre Radisson Icebreaker.

Things will definitely be cool on the ship. No need to worry about 'breaking the ice'. Oh yeah!

And this will be my home from Thursday to Friday: the Canadian Forces' HMCS Toronto.

Kind of looks like that boat from Under Siege (or was it Under Siege II?)

I know, I know. I'm there to work. (and eat... I heard Coast Guard food is delectable... seared elk with asparagus?)
Yes, I'll be working. Chasing down officers (I was going to say seamen, but that just doesn't sound right), and interviewing military personnel.
But you know, I'm thinking sometime Thursday, when there's nothing going on, I'll sneak out onto the bow, and when no one is looking, climb up on the rail, and take a nice look around and yell...

..."who's that weird looking Italian dude beside me?!?!?!?!?"

I shall post a purty picture or two upon my return.

Ahoy, hoy!


Monday, August 18, 2008

'a grown man can separate lust from love' (edited August 23?)

I know I pimped Wale's 'Mixtape About Nothing' a couple weeks ago, but I've been wearing it out on my iPod the last week or so and want to pass on these wise words to all you non-hip-hop heads out there, who may not listen to the lyrics. 

Cool definition of what love is.

From The Grown Up:
Girl listen/tryin to position/myself as a prominent figure/fatherlike, I know what's right for ya/sisterlike, I know what to buy for ya/brotherlike, at times I might fight with ya/but motherlike, never can deny my lovin'

I can't find a link to the track, but here is where to get the entire album.

Maybe I'm listening to my tunes too loudly, because the love language might be seeping through the apartment. Either my neighbours are doing some late night home reno hammering, or practicing their speed-metal bass drum, or they are makin' loorve...

I hope I don't run into them in the hall tomorrow and they're in their eighties. 

You must be at least this old for a mustache ride

That would be love... and disturbing... and -- I'm not going to lie -- impressive, considering the speed with which the pounding was taking place.

EDIT (AUGUST 23@!#$^#*$&^#*$(*#$&):
"Hey! It's the best kept secret!"

As if someone out there in that cosmos had heard (in html) my rants about not being able to find the track, it was posted the next day... Weird! (I've always known that these little co-inky-dinks are proof there is meaning in life.)

Here it is, folks. In all it's glory, what I have been ribbed about:

I hope you all enjoy. If you do, let me know.

And there you have it/you can have it if you wanna have it/I wanna make havin' it a habit

thumpin new

I realize the pace of posting and the pace of life are inversely proportionate: I've actually been busy with things to do the last little bit and hence, no reporting of the menial and trivial. And I've been recovering from the massive Oil Can beatdown last Wednesday. We haven't been getting along very well. I've seen less and less of him -- except yesterday, when we spent the whole day watching those mindless Olympics. And apparently Saturday night, but I can't remember any of that very well.

So I guess a recap. The office is now full with humanity. I've had to trim my Unibomber beard and stop showing up to work with a bottle of cheap bourbon and wearing my housecoat and slippers. Also, I can't fart loudly anymore -- well, I should rephrase that -- I shouldn't fart loudly anymore.

Terry and Carolyn are very cool cats, though, and make the days sunnier and more productive. And that makes me Happy.

We got a little tipsy Saturday, singing some karaoke at the pub with Terry's squeeze Krista. It was hilarity. Some dude bought me a Kokanee for singing (read: forgetting the words and, thus, butchering) 'When the Levee Breaks' by the Zep. Chris sang some Billy Joel and 'Working for the Weekend' - you know, the song from the Farley and Swayzee SNL sketch,

It was laughs, but, call it the full moon, or the large gang of inebriated folk, for some demented reason, I felt this was the night I would choose to venture as far as I could into the dark side. So when we stormed the Legion across the street, it truly was take no prisoners time. We danced (I think?), we left (I'm pretty sure), we returned (so I was told). I remember spurts.
The Can took over Saturday, lemme tell ya.

Sunday is not worth speaking about.

Today and tomorrow though, are nose to the grindstone days, man. Believe it or not, the Canadian Forces and Coast Guard invited yours truly, along with a gaggle of other media from the North (and some nice folks from France, Japan and Switzerland) aboard two of their ships for 48 hours.

I'm more than excited... Ever since I landed, I've wanted to venture out of the bay and catch a little Arctic Ocean air. We get to change ships after day one, in zodiacs. I have no idea why, but it just sounds cool.

So I'll have some neato pictures in a couple days, I hope. Plus I'm trying to get cleared to fly out to Kimmirut on the weekend to shadow the Canadian Rangers on an Arctic Sovereignty exercise on the land. There have been multiple polar bear reports in the area the last couple weeks. That would be so cool to see one, but at the same time, if we did, odds are it would get shot up. So maybe I don't want to see one.

Quick story... (this is getting long and not very interesting at all).

In the last month and a half, we've built a pretty solid crew of ultimate frisbee players and over the last two weeks, a bunch of local kids (ages 10-14 probably) have started showing up to play. Now some of them dog it big time on 'd', but they're great kids, and it's neat to watch them learn the game, and where and how and when to move.

I stubbornly left $20 in my jacket and when the game was over... gone! poof! I'm not choked about the cash, but I'll miss the cool Nunavut flag money clip I pilfered from the Ledge that will no longer be clipping my meagre stack of fives to each other anymore.
Anyways, I gave one of the kids a ride home.
"You got any rap? Yeah, yeah!"
Funny kid.
Anyways, I couldn't help but be suspicious about my missing loot, but I sort of didn't think it was him. There were people coming and going all night and he'd been playing the entire time.
"Where do you live?"
"Let's just drive around."
I had to get some work done before home time. "Sorry, bud."
"Okay, umm... take a left. No, right."
He did that for a bit, and I caught on.
"Well, I have to get to work, so I can drop you off there."
"Oh, you work there?" pointing to News/North, downtown.
"Well, I'll get out there. I'm going to the gas bar." (down the street)
"I'll drop you off. The gas bar? Why you going there?"
"I'm rich!"
Oh shit! My ears perk up. "Rich, eh?"
"Yeah, I got $40!"
"Oh yeah?" I continue, very subtly I assure you, "Where'd you get all that money from?"
"My mom gave it to me..."
I was on the fence, as to whether I believed him or not.
Until he said this, without a hint of frustration or self-consciousness, as I dropped him off at Baffin Gas Bar: "...because she's going out drinking tonight."

It's a Monday night.

Damn. What do you do?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The real story

With Herbiberous, sitting this one out,

I feel like I gotta get on here and say my little piece about what the real story here is about the Olympics.

Herbiberous has been whiffin' on his Olympic coverage, man. He's been out of the strike zone. He's missing the whole shit.

The Can, though, I ain't messin' around. I'm gonna either be leaving Canada all together or stocking up on ammo, because two weeks from now, when them Olympic athletes is coming back to Canada all empty-handed and shit, we're all gonna be in some kind of trouble, man.
I mean, think about this right here. These athletes, they're crazy. They've been practicing and living right and not going out and not having fun and they've been devoted to their sports like it's some kind of religion. And they gearin' up for this Olympics. Every damn early morning run, and raw-egg-blender-shake, and gahdamn early night sleep -- where they was dreaming of the piece of ass they could be hittin at the club instead of chasing this dream --went into this Olympics training.

Now what? It's been five days, and Canada's got no medals? Like zero?

No dreams gettin' fulfilled over there, no sir.

So shit, August 25, when these muthafuckas get back here, we gonna have some angry, crazy folks running around. And these athletes, they're some focused people, man.

Now their spirits are broken. We gonna have like hundreds of these super-athletic, jacked up Ray Finkles running around, all crazy, with nothing left to live for, throwin' javelins at mothafuckas in the airport and puttin' traffic cops in full-Nelsons and shit. We gonna have syncronized divers jumpin' from buildings together.

Shit is real.

Me... I'm getting the fuck outta here. Gonna go live in Baltimore. Be a pitching coach -- maybe with the 'Birds. They lousy. They need help. Get me a condo next to Michael Phelps. I hate the muthafucka too, but he won't be trying to jack nobody.
Maybe I'll see what's good with that pole-vaulter chick. I ain't saying my pole is ten feet long, but, you know, it won't be too much of a letdown.

But hey, when shit goes down, don't say I didn't try to warn y'all.

-Oil Can

The Great Babooshka

I feel asleep frickin' early last night. Passed right out around 7 and woke up like a bewildered animal in my clothes in bed near midnight. Stumbled into the living room, not knowing if it was morning or if I'd only been asleep for a half hour. Probably couldn't have told you my name, I was so out of it.

So I sat around for a couple hours with a bowl of Cheerios, got a call from K-Jenks and laughed my face off, watched Canada get shit pummeled some more at the Olympics, then around 2am, figured it was time for sleep.

So I'm in bed and rolling around, and this low rumble is keeping me awake. I live a hop, skip and a leap from the airport, so I thought maybe a jet was gearing up (charters leave at all hours in the North, for camps or mines or because they're 8 hours late). But it kept happening, every half hour or so.

It kept me up, just thinking what it could be...

Then it dawned on me.

Iqaluit is situated in the perfect spot for transcontinental jets to pass over from Europe to North America, or vice-versa. They fly over in case of emergencies, because the runway here is like 15 miles long (I think I heard the Space Shuttle at some point). It must have been the ceaseless international red-eye flights crusing overhead.

It gave me comfort to realize what was going on, but still, the noise was pissing me off. Kind of sounded like low-key belly rumblings.
At that point, I wish I could have metamorphisized into a 45-year old, overweight, varicose-vein wrought, hair-in-tight-grey-bun sporting, dirty apron and flower dress wearing, Eastern European immigrant living in an apartment in New York City in the 1970s, Babooshka.

It would have been great. I would have run out in the parking lot, yelling and cursing superstitious swear words and shaking my rolling pin at those dang metal noisemakers 6-miles above me. I would have made a spectacular scene. Lights in the three apartment complexes surrounding the parking lot would have gone on and people could have sat out on their decks with their children eating popcorn, watching the spectacle with delight. It would have been absolutely pointless and did nothing to quell the rumble of the jets, but in all my maniacal rantings and ravings, I probably would have tuckered myself right out and been able to hit the hay without issue.

This is my weapon of choice

I think I would make a great Babooshka, what with all the surliness and irrational hatred.

...there's someone at the door... there's someone at the door....

Mens' Olympic Basketball update:

USA 97 - Angola 76

Ooooh... What's up, Can? Looks like your boys got the beat down. Maybe they should spend some more mon.. hey....eosilskf932*(#@&.. ow... shit..#*$&(*#$&KJLSk;lka;lkfdso ... af.. let go of that.....0(#$*)#@$& fm=a


... you're gonna break it....

093lkja...feh... uhhhg...





This post is done.

Let's just say, Herbiberous is in no shape to be writing right now.

Peace be with you,

-Oil Can

Monday, August 11, 2008

For the gentlemen... insert pole-vault joke here

I stumbled upon this while engaged in serious research for the previous post. This is Allison Stokke, a pole-vaulter. If water polo is my new favourite sport, then Allison Stokke is my new favourite athlete.

Please feel free to drop your best (most immature) pole-vaulting, 10-foot pole, pole handling comment in the space provided below.


What's with the goofy events?

I apologize in advance for the long-winded Olympic rant to follow. It might be overkill after the 13,578,943-word basketball handicapping column, however I feel the time will never again be appropriate to to speak on the following:

What's the deal with the events they pick for inclusion in the Olympics?

The topic came up Saturday at the pub, with the ubiquitous games on TVs in every corner of the establishment. 
And tonight, I felt validated, just having seen a report about how many empty seats there were at the Beijing games for various events. Well, no shit. 
Take a look at some of the ridiculous 'sports' they have in there...

Synchronized swimming. 
I can only imagine that it's the slow kids who played by themselves at recess that get together to form synchronized swim teams.

The Steeplechase.

At one point, runners jump over a hurdle into a big puddle of water... I can only postulate that there is some sort of historical significance of this race? Like the retreat of King Charles I in 1642, fleeing to safety in Essex over hurdles and through ponds? There's gotta be some back story...

Table tennis. (Why not foosball? Or Pac-Man? Or quarters?)

Billy Mitchell: Olympic Gold-Medalist and world record holder in Pac-Man. Legally changed his initials from BM to USA

I know this is getting into winter, but bobsleigh. 
One percent of one percent of one percent of the world's population has probably only ever set their eyes on a bobsleigh course. What is the rationale behind having such a sparsely played sport in the Olympics?

And perhaps most glaring, the Hammer Toss.

Hammer tossing hasn't been relevant since the Hammer Bros. rocked the shit at the Seoul Olympics in '88 (pictured above)

My buddy Chris spoke with great disdain about the event and can't understand why there are four throwing events in the games (javelin, discuss, shot put and the hammer toss).
I couldn't agree more and after a lengthy discussion, we eventually decided that there should be but one event: the rock toss. We came to this conclusion because everyone in the world throws rocks -- including those who live in glass houses (even though they shouldn't).
Competitors would even be allowed to bring their own rock from home for the event.

"Team Palestine comes into this Olympics as the heavy favourites in the rock throw, Bob."
"You got it, Dick. They just start training at such a young age over there."

As we were talking about all this Saturday, magically Canada's water polo match popped up onto the screen. 

Now talk about a goofy sport (and watching it with the sound off makes it that much goofier, because I have no idea what penalties consist of or how the game is supposed to be played). It looked kind of like lacrosse, with 6 or so on each team. Everyone is constantly treading water, passing the ball around like handball. There is a little penalty area that perps have to swim and tread water inside.  Players finally try to whip the ball past the dope who plays goal. The goalie flails his arms and closes his eyes as the ball comes at him and sometimes gets hit in the face  to stop the ball.

The slo-mo has the greatest facial expressions of any sport I've ever seen. The players wear these bathing caps that look like baby bonnets. The whole game just appears to be one big exercise in awkwardness. The unintentional comedy is through the roof.
Yet, it's brutally rough, it's high-scoring and actually kind of entertaining. The face-off is like dodgeball where both teams swim like hell to get the ball floating at the centre of the pool. To tell you the truth, I have no idea why more people don't play this. It looks like it would be one of those games that would turn unhealthily competitive in two minutes if you and 7 or 8 of your buddies started playing it. Someone would be bleeding from their nose after two possessions.

Not a bad idea. He takes up a lot of room and naturally floats.

I'm gonna go on record as saying that water polo is my new favorite Olympic sport.

Then there is the equestrian, and Canada's Ian Miller competing at the age of 98. 
I'm sorry. I'm all about the elderly making contributions to society, but any 'sport' where a competitor over the age of 60 can win a gold medal, needs to be immediately removed.

We brainstormed some ideas to vamp up a couple of these events and make them a bit more watchable. Say you could implement cool requirements of athletes from these 'sports' to make them more entertaining.

Like how about a D-Cup minimum on female pole-vaulters?

Ashlee Simpson is knocking that bar down every time...

Or a 600-pound minimum for riders in the equestrian? 
If they International Olympic Committee is going to pander to the elderly (Ian Miller), why not the morbidly obese? Plus, we'd get to watch all those PETA morons embarrass themselves protesting the games.

Or have the tossers launch hammers at the steeplechasers?

Or have skeet shooting come out of the bedroom and replace the boring, archaic gun version?

Just some thoughts...

Oh, one more thing... The first installment of Herbiberous' irrational hatred, where I take someone (or thing) that I irrationally hate and try to explain it unsuccessfully.

Irrational hatred #1: Michael Phelps.

No one should ever get that excited. He made Kevin Garnett look like a furbie.

Okay, buddy. You're a great swimmer. You've done a heck of a job marketing yourself. But 8 gold medals? Congratulations, you gigantic doucher, you're the epitome of the hypocrisy of the Olympic games. There is something pathologically selfish and egoist about announcing before hand that you want 8 gold medals, without a hint of humility. It seems like such a perversion of the Olympic spirit. And the media is just eating it up.

I'm sick of watching you hold your heart during the national anthem for the second, third time. You don't even look like you're enjoying it. You're not supposed to get used to that feeling. It's ho-hum to you.

Maybe I'm just bitter because he'll end up with more golds than our entire country will medals.

Mens basketball update:
August 10, 2008
Germany 95 - Angola 66
USA 101 - China 70

We moved apartments last week. Oil Can just threw a hammer at me.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Proof that man is an adaptable creature

To rebut all those creationist crazies running around out there, I have two pieces of evidence proving that man is an extremely adaptable creature and, therefore, a product of evolution:

1) since moving back to Yellowknife - and the long, frigid winters - after school, my chest hair situation went from non-existant (except the lone, long stragglers around my nipples) to sporadic tufting, in under a year; and

2) after less than a month in Iqaluit, I find myself waking to a sunny, +6 morning in early August and walking to work, thinking "what a beautiful summer's day." A month ago, if I'd believed I could ever be capable of feeling that way, I would have put a cigarette out on my nards and ate a handful of toenails (I have no idea why... Just seems like a sadistic punishment for masochistic thoughts.)

So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Two personal anecdotes that show how much of a creation creationism is.

PS. I might be going a little bonkers, but a lot of girls have been walking around town in gumboots the last couple of weeks... and looking pretty damn sexy. Yes, ladies, you're downright foxy in kneehigh rubbers. Keep it up.

Just had to wade in on that one...


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Anything redeeming about the Olympics?

The Olympics begin tomorrow morning. As a kid, I was all over the Games and could sit there and watch the steeplechase or shotput completely contented, so long as a Canadian was competing. 
I don't get excited over them so much anymore. They're unfair (I mean, rich nations will always kick the shit out of poorer ones), they've really gotten too big (cities are spending billions to put them on and hundreds of millions just to bid for the chance to hold them), and too scandalous (don't believe for a second that some athletes aren't cheating using designer steroids). Because of this, the games have almost become THE excessive commercialization of sport, which is the total opposite of what it promotes itself as.

STILL, once they begin, I'm sure I'll tune in. And specifically, I'll be glued to all USA Men's Basketball "Redeeem Team" (named thusly because, despite being home to the greatest players in the world, they have gone years without a gold in international competition) games, to see if they can take the gold.

You want to know how likable Chris Paul is? His teeth gleam in pictures.

I'm torn over whether to cheer for them. There are some likeable characters on the team (Chris Bosh, Chris Paul) and, maybe because of the pleasant MJ, Barkley '92 nostalgia, I'll be pulling for them. 

Either way, it's definitely going to be interesting to watch. It will be intriguing to see how this team full of mega-stars like Kobe, LJ23 and D-Wade co-exist under the glare of international competition, with millions and tens of millions in tow with their sponsors. I mean, how does a guy like LeBron (even if he legitimately wants to make a sacrifice to win) try to play second fiddle to someone like Kobe. Nike has invested bazillions into this guy and they must be in his ear, telling him to run this thing. You think they want to see LeBron pass up a big shot to D-Wade in front of a worldwide audience. They've gotta want him to be the man and there has to be pressure there.

LeBron's sneakers: "Pssst.... Bronnie? Fuck Kobe. He's a punk. You the man!"

And then there's D-Wade, who's been quiet (hurt) since the Heat won it all in '06. He's going to want to make some noise. 

These are things the old Dream Teams didn't have to worry about: the money...

I almost think you have to get rid of those big three, and then run with guys like Paul and Bosh and Carmelo. I don't know how this is going to play out.

So me and Oil Can will be making sure we tune into this...

Oh, wait... Oil Can wants to say his piece...

Fuck all them pros! No way I'm standing behind that Redeem Team bullshit. Bunch of spoiled muthafuckas...

(Oil Can is a little bitter about those mutli-million dollar contracts pro athletes have been signing these days.)

I heard that.

(Whoops...) Who you gonna cheer for then, Can?

hmmm.... shit. That's a good question. Who's all competing?
(Reads list)
I don't know... hmmm... you know what? I'm gonna cheer for the brokest team over there...

The brokest?

Yeah, the poorest, peanut-butter sandwich eating muthafuckas they let in there.

And so it was, that the Can and I sat down and figured out who, in fact, was the brokest motherfuckin' basketball team in this year's Olympics.

We went by GDP per capita... (according to Wikipedia -- love that shit, baby!)

                           GDP                        Population        Per Capita    Rank
Angola               $43.362 billion          15,941,000       $2,813          (12)
Argentina           $523.7 billion            40,677,348         $13,307           (9)
Australia            $718.4 billion             21,730,000       $34,359           (2)
China                $10.21 TRILLION        a shitload         $7,800         (11)
Croatia             $74.419 billion           4,453,400        $16,758        (7)
Germany            $2.81 TRILLION        82,217,800      $34,181          (3)
Greece             $342,886 billion        11,216,708         $30,745        (5)
Iran                $753 billion (damn!)   70,472,846        $10,624          (10)
Lithuania           $66 billion                3,369,600         $19,730          (6)
Russia             $2.088 TRILLION      142,008,838       $14,692           (8)
Spain              $1.310 TRILLION        45,200,737      $33,700         (4)
United States     $13.543 TRILLION!!    304,798,00      $45,594            (!)

A couple things before we continue:
1) What the fuck is the US worried about? Recession, please? (Unless someone is fudging numbers.) I mean, goddamn! There must be a lot of rich motherfuckers hanging around all those poor folks down there. (Oil Can wants me to remind you that there are 12 of them playing on the Redeem Team.)
2) I love how Argentina, Iran, Russia and Spain have their populations measured down TO THE PERSON! Maybe if you didn't spend so much time trying to figure out your numbers, you could step your GDP game up, Argentina.
3) I'm not going to lie, Spain. I'm impressed. Respect.
4) China's numbers do not include Hong Kong or Taiwan or Macau or Monster Island.
5) What the hell accounts for Lithuania's GDP? Lithium?
6) You want to know where Canada ranks, right?
                       GDP                             Population           Per Capita      Rank
Canada            $1.274 TRILLION        33,339,000        $38,200        (2)

So with that out of the way, we've got Oil Can's 2008 Olympic Basketball Team...

"Mother Africa, baby! We got this..."

Team Angola roster:
Carlos Almeida
Felizardo Silvestre Bumba Ambrosio
Milton Barros
Domingos Emanuel Da Silva Bonifacio
Olimpio Cipriano
Luis Costa
Vladimir Ricardiho Geronimo
Joaquim Gomes
Fransisco Domingos Gomes Horacio
Idelfonso Carlos Antonio Kiteculo
Eduardo Mingas
Carlos Morais
Abdel Aziz Moussa
Victor Muzadi
Leonel Ditutala Paulo

Sounds like the god damn Portugese Soccer Team! - as Oil Can takes a large chug of beer.

Team USA roster:
LeBron James
Kobe Bryant
Christ Paul (the 't' was a typo, but I'm gonna leave it. I think it's apt)
Chris Bosh
Carmelo Anthony
Dwyane Wade
Jason Kidd
Michael Redd
Carlos Boozer
Dwight Howard
Deron Williams
Tayshaun Prince

I like my chances. Sorry, Can.

So it's settled, then...

Oh, wait there's one thing we can both agree on. And something we will both be cheering - together - during the Olympics.

On three. Alright, Can?





Ya whiny bitch!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Priorities: a discussion between a young and an old man

As a man gets older, his priorities change.

I took a cab out to the end of Federal Road to pick up a friend's car today. I hailed it outside the post office, about a half hour's walk from the destination. I could have walked it. It probably would have been nice and relaxing on this sunny day. But I had no energy.

A nice old French man, who must have celebrated his 60th birthday years ago, picked me up. I always just end up yapping away when I get a nice cabbie.

"I think I would have liked to walk this... but I don't know, man. I'm so dead. The last two weeks, I've been so tired," I said.
"You need a vacation from your vacation, eh?" he joked.
"No, no. Just a vacation."
"Not even a vacation. Just a week , man. A week with a girl, a hammock, a beer, and a beach. Shit, I don't even need a beach. Just a girl and a hammock. And a beer."
The old man chuckled.
"At my age, the order changes completely."
"Yeah," he said. "I need the ocean, first. I need to have the ocean. Then the hammock would be nice. Then beer. And then a girl."
"You've had enough girls, eh?"
"Well, when you're 60, a girl is not much use to you."

Well played, good sir.

60-year old man's idea of a hot, steamy, one-night stand?

And yes, I do need a week. But I'd settle for a weekend, at this point. Even a 60-year old man's idea of a one-night stand, actually.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

...and people say it's stealing

Anyone kicking around Slader's for any amount of time during the epic wedding last summer in Edmonton might remember the Dilla videos bumping on his laptop, in the brief moments of semi-sobriety, between waking up and getting out of the apartment.

Some kind soul had posted, on youtube, all the original songs Dilla sampled on Donuts, and in the second half of the video, you could here how he chopped it.

Inexplicably, they all vanished a month or two later (including Dilla's sampling of Motherlode's "When I Die" for "Intro" on Donuts, which was ridiculous).

Well kiddies, some selfless humanitarians have posted new songs from some J Dilla classics and some of my favourites...

and just because of the hidden message on the last song on his last album before his death, knowing he wasn't going to be around much longer, I'll post these... he was a genius.

Man, it's so cool hearing where these beats came from and figuring how the hell he found the sample and made it work in the song.
And it's even cooler when you hear something on the radio that has been sampled in track you were just listening to.
A bunch of us took a road trip through Cali to Coachella last April, and I remember hearing little things Dilla sampled in like four or five songs on the radio one day. I got all excited, ripped out the podski and tossed on the parts to show everyone... they humoured me by pretending to be interested.
Shit, I hope whoever reads this is interested... whoops... maybe should have taken a hint.

And man, I get a kick out of how some can call sampling stealing.
Nope, morons.

Brutal. Someone is making cinnamon buns next door... I don't need that.
At least I have Donuts.

Monday, August 4, 2008


Whatta ya want, box?