Sunday, December 03, 2006
Earlier, I mentioned the importance of MLAs getting their constituents out to vote for the candidate they're supporting. You Can't Teach That will now evaluate all MLAs who stood behind a candidate. I will do this by finding out how many votes they were able to get for their candidate in their own ridings and what percent of the vote they were able to get.
Ed Stelmach: 4156 votes (89.5%)
Ray Danyluk: 2496 votes (82.6%)
Pearl Calahasen: 891 votes (70.9%)
Lloyd Snelgrove: 1231 votes (66.4%)
Iris Evans: 1493 votes (64.4%)
Ivan Strang: 481 votes (63.4%)
Hector Goudreau: 581 votes (59.2%)
Luke Ouellette: 1385 votes (58.1%)
Fred Lindsay: 909 votes (56.7%)
Doug Horner: 1056 votes (55.3%)
LeRoy Johnson: 985 votes (50.6%)
Dave Hancock: 1909 votes (47.0%)
Lyle Oberg: 1012 votes (46.7%)
Mel Knight: 570 votes (43.8%)
Mark Norris: 919 votes (41.9%)*
Guy Boutilier: 306 votes (36.6%)
George Groeneveld: 901 votes (34.3%)
Carol Haley: 373 votes (18.4%)
*For the purposes of this comparison, the riding used for Mark Norris was Edmonton - McClung.
I'm not really worried about our two amigos from Edmonton because Hancock's auto dialer called me twice. I'm pretty sure he did all he could. Another thing is that they were working against Stephen Mandel's Dinning endorsement.
Shiraz Shariff: 1831 votes (86.8%)
Moe Amery: 1247 votes (77.2%)
Harvey Cenaiko: 953 votes (73.5%)
Yvonne Fritz: 840 votes (70.5%)
Len Webber: 897 votes (57.5%)
Wayne Cao: 374 votes (56.8%)
Ron Liepert: 1564 votes (56.7%)
Gary Mar: 696 votes (56.6%)
Ron Stevens: 981 votes (54.7%)
Dave Rodney: 993 votes (53.9%)
Heather Forsyth: 988 votes (53.6%)
Alana DeLong: 903 votes (52.5%)
Richard Magnus: 573 votes (50.3%)
Cindy Ady: 809 votes (50.0%)
Denis Herard: 631 votes (49.9%)
Thomas Lukaszuk: 901 votes (49.6%)
Neil Brown: 497 votes (48.5%)
Art Johnston: 673 votes (48.1%)
Greg Melchin: 950 votes (46.9%)
Janis Tarchuk: 653 votes (46.6%)
Gene Zwozdesky: 608 votes (44.5%)
George VanderBurg: 676 votes (41.5%)
Clint Dunford: 542 votes (39.5%)
Rob Renner: 486 votes (37.3%)
Gord Graydon: 505 votes (35.3%)
Frank Oberle: 336 votes (34.6%)
Mary Anne Jablonski: 392 votes (31.3%)
David Coutts: 643 votes (28.7%)
Richard Marz: 680 votes (26.8%)
Len Mitzel: 284 votes (26.8%)
George Rogers: 489 votes (23.9%)
Rob Lougheed: 536 votes (22.5%)
Ken Kowalski: 366 votes (21.2%)
Ty Lund: 239 votes (20.8%)
Ray Prins: 474 votes (19.9%)
Doug Griffiths: 229 votes (16.0%)
Barry McFarland: 382 votes (15.2%)
Mike Cardinal: 219 votes (13.5%)
Looks like Dinning's MLA endorsements couldn't get him past Morton in the rural constituencies.
Paul Hinman: 1302 votes (61.7%)
Ted Morton: 1367 (51.5%)
Hung Pham: 414 (40.6%)
It should be noted that Cardston - Taber - Warner was Morton's second biggest win...maybe MLA endorsements do matter.
Here are some more stats for you political junkies:
The Toast of Calgary: Jim Dinning won 19 Calgary constituencies and the advance poll by 50% or higher.
The Crust of Calgary: Ed Stelmach's best finish in Calgary was in Calgary - Varsity, with 21.2% of the vote.
The Most Improved Award: Stelmach went from 3.2% in Strathmore - Brooks to 47.6%.
The "We're All PC's Here" Award:
1. Fort Saskatchewan - Vegreville: 4642 ballots cast
2. Edmonton - Whitemud: 4058 ballots cast
3. Lac La Biche - St. Paul: 3022 ballots cast
Props to my home riding, St. Albert, which finished 10th.
The "Couldn't Possibly Care Less" Award:
1. Calgary - Fort - 659 ballots cast
2. West Yellowhead - 759 ballots cast
3. Fort McMurray - Wood Buffalo - 836 ballots cast
Note: Edmonton Advance Poll had a lower turnout than Fort Mac - Wood Buffalo. It could be because the first advance poll was such a mess that most people didn't try to go to this one.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Ed Stelmach: 51,764 (35.9%)
Jim Dinning: 51,282 (35.6%)
Ted Morton: 40,976 (28.5%)
Morton is eliminated, then:
Ed Stelmach: 77,577 (58.3%)
Jim Dinning: 55,509 (41.7%)
Wow, my prediction sure was wrong. I never would have thought Stelmach would be leading after the first count. I guess Morton really tapped out all his support in the first ballot. The attacks that Dinning levelled at Morton was a gamble that didn't pay off due to Stelmach's massive #2 turnout on Morton's ballots. Stelmach's MLAs really came through for him while Dinning's sat on their hands. Charisma be damned; I think that somebody so different from Ralph Klein in personality is just what this province needs right now.
Go Stelmach (Part 4) will have a more detailed break down of the results once they're available, but I'm sure Anonymotron's analysis will be way better than mine anyway.
Take that, Jim Dinning's raw ambition! EDDY! EDDY! EDDY!
The key to winning is going to be the MLA's supporting each candidate getting their people to the polls. And since Morton has the fewest MLAs on his team, he loses.
Stelmach is eliminated, then:
Monday, November 27, 2006
Playoffs!? Don't talk about playoffs! I just hope we can win a game, another game! Four game losing streak now! I can't take it anymore!! Jimmy, you are a worse coach than your father, and that is saying a hell of a lot. This is the man who builds up the hopes of Falcons fans worldwide only to fuck everything up in the last half of the season. Don't worry Jimmy, the Saskatchewan Roughriders are looking for a coach. But when you go, please take that retarded monkey skeleton of an offensive co-ordinator with you!
UPDATE: Sports writer par excellence Gregg Easterbrook had this to say:
"As the Falcons have dropped four straight, everyone's focusing on criticizing Michael Vick. What about all the odd coaching decisions made by Mora and his assistants? Vick wasn't the one who ordered himself to take seven-step drops on passes against New Orleans -- something he's never been good at, and which plays away from his strength, the sprint-out pass. (Sprint-outs keep Vick closer to the line and also simplify the field, requiring him to look at only half the coverage, not the entire coverage as in a deep dropback.) Trailing 14-3, Atlanta had third-and-goal on the Saints' 2, on a day the Falcons would rush for 281 yards and average 6.2 yards per rush. Just run the ball! It wasn't Vick who not only called a passing play but a seven-step drop play that required him to run backward to the New Orleans 10; sack, and Atlanta settles for a field goal. You're on the 2, why are you instructing your quarterback to run backward to the 10? Last season's incident in which Mora the Younger did not know that a tie would keep Atlanta alive for the playoffs, and was screaming into a cell phone on the sidelines as he sent in the wrong decisions knocking the Falcons out of the postseason, is hardly the only weird coaching by Mora. Plus, a good coach focuses the criticism on himself, away from his players, a la Bear Bryant. Time to look away from Vick and toward the Atlanta sideline.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
And then there were three:
Jim Dinning: 29,470 (30.17%)
Ted Morton: 25,614 (26.22%)
Ed Stelmach: 14,957 (15.31%)
Lyle Oberg: 11,638 (11.91%)
Dave Hancock: 7,595 (7.78%)
Mark Norris: 6,789 (6.95%)
Victor Doerksen: 873 (0.89%)
Gary McPherson: 744 (0.76%)
I expected Dinning and Norris' totals to be higher and Stelmach did better than I anticipated. This is a pleasant surprise since I've been a Stelmach supporter for the last couple of months.
Here's what I'm thinking:
-A northern alliance forms with Hancock, Norris and (for what it's worth) McPherson endorsing Stelmach. In fact, Hancock has already given Ed his blessing. I expect Doerksen will support Morton. Oberg could really go either way, but I suspect he'll go with Morton as well (he certainly wouldn't support Dinning...)
-The Dinning and Morton camps will fling crap at each other all week while Stelmach will mostly stay out of it and do the under the radar thing. This could give Ed a lot of second place votes.
-Morton's campaign has the momentum of a runaway freight train. Why is he so popular? Meanwhile, Dinning's continues to stall and continues to resemble Paul Martin's play it safe campaign. Stelmach picked up steam in the last couple of weeks, but I think he threw everything he had at making the second ballot. I'm not sure how much he has left. Dinning should still have plenty of funds.
Here's my early prediction for first place votes, which assumes the vote total from the first ballot remains the same:
Jim Dinning: 35.1%
Ted Morton: 33.6%
Ed Stelmach: 31.3%
Once the second place votes are counted:
Jim Dinning: 52.2%
Ted Morton: 47.8%
I will make a revised prediction late in the week that isn't based on so many assumptions. Let the games begin. Go Stelmach.
UPDATE: Fuck! Daveberta beat me to the Afghan Northern Alliance reference. I'll have to be clever some other time.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
The best road trips are the spontaneous ones.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
ON THE BIG SCREEN:
Trailer Park Boys: Trailer Park Boys plays like an overlong TV episode. The writers forgot that anything can happen in a TV-based movie, yet they didn't set one toe outside the boundaries of the TV series (except for the frontal nudity.) They also strayed from the "mockumentary" style that the show is filmed in, which made certain elements of the story feel far-fetched and ridiculous. Sometimes, the show is even funnier because the camera guy ducks when there are shots fired and sometimes, crew or equipment are visible (all done intentionally, of course.) Also, there are numerous places where the movie storyline is not synchronized with the TV storyline (i.e. Bubbles' original shed was destroyed by Ricky in a fire and it made no mention of Ricky and Lucy's first wedding) and I consider that a slap to the faces of the show's longtime fans.
The Departed: This is a great spy vs. spy movie where the suspense keeps building. You hardly even notice it's 2 hours and 45 minutes, unlike The Aviator which had some lulls. I was quite surprised to see Jack Nicholson cast instead of Bobby DeNiro, because Bobby would have fit the role quite well, and Jack at age 75 is new to the gangster genre. Nevertheless, he put on a pretty good performance, as did DiCaprio (but not as good as Gangs of NY, or Aviator.) I felt Damon's performance lagged behind the other leads, but that's to be expected. Now I have to go see the Hong Kong version.
Jackass Number Two: Not a movie. Again, more of an overlong TV episode. Of course, the movie has its advantages...the stunts are grosser and/or more expensive and elaborate, and they're allowed to say fuck without having to bleep it out. It also contains more Dave England than the first movie, which is a huge plus. If you were a fan of the first movie, I'd say this one is about on par. It's not much funnier, but it is grosser.
Little Miss Sunshine: I was quite reluctant to see a movie called Little Miss Sunshine, but it came very highly recommended to me from three people with very different tastes in movies. The story itself is not all that original...consider it "The Royal Tenenbaums meets I Heart Huckabees", but the writers still do a wonderful job of putting it all together, and the acting was superb. The way they tied the story in with Proust was just...wow. I think a lot of families can relate in some ways, and some claim to be even more dysfunctional. People who watch movies with me know that movies about midlife crisis get an automatic pass, but the situation with Dwayne really hit home for me. Probably the best movie I've seen all year.
Flyboys: The one major complaint I have about Flyboys is that I could have written it. The story was very weak...there were no surprises because anyone who wasn't born yesterday knew exactly how the next scene was going to go. Also, my hard and fast rule is that filmmakers should not use CGI where they can avoid it. Nearly all of the flying sequences were CGI (but quite well done.) The love story they threw in was very lame, and all the characters were too flat to be in a movie about war heroes.
Flags Of Our Fathers: I was surprised by this one. I hate Paul Haggis and Clint Eastwood (as a director) so much that I almost didn't go. I expected it to be about the Battle of Iwo Jima with some kind of controversial political agenda. I thought they'd ruin it by tying it to euthanasia, like they did with Million Dollar Baby. Thankfully, there was none of that. What you see is what you get. It was very true to the historical facts and even delivered a pretty good theme about war propaganda. Thumbs up all around, especially to Adam Beach who was spectacular as Drunken Ira Hayes. Give him Best Supporting Actor right now.
On Deck: Casino Royale, Bobby, Let's Go To Prison, 10 Items Or Less, The Good Shepherd, Borat
IN THE DVD PLAYER:
Akeelah And The Bee: Yikes. I can see why Oprah would like this movie. It is no different from the "underdog" stories that have been flooding Hollywood for years. Larry Fishburne almost single-handedly saves this movie, as he was quite good. But the tie at the end was just way too cheesy for my liking. I've seen the national spelling bee on ESPN and those kids are more competitive than any professional athlete I've ever seen and would never settle for that.
Cars: A lot of people pass on animated films because of their simplistic writing intended for younger and/or simpler audiences, but to do so is to miss out on some truly great works (Wallace and Grommit, Finding Nemo, South Park, etc.) This one depicts anthropomorphic cars and is very Doc Hollywood-esque. Pixar has given us some great films...having said that, if you take away A Bug's Life, this one is probably the worst. It contains all the cliche themes of a great children's film...the importance of friendship, good sportsmanship, and they throw in a love story for good measure. Still, it has its moments. Made me laugh to beat the band...parts, anyway...
Lucky Number Slevin: What a pleasant surprise this one was. It incorporated plenty of film noir elements and even made a direct reference to North by Northwest in the film. I had to watch the ending twice just so I could put all the pieces together. I also thought it was quite a coincidence that Ben Kingsley got snuffed the exact same way that he did in House of Sand and Fog. Another sad example of a great film that won't even get a sniff at the Oscars.
Poseidon: One of those "spectacle" movies with dazzling special effects and little else. And another example of a remake falling well short of the original. I think it just goes to show how water travel is so much more dangerous than air travel. Right? Right?
The Sentinel: I never sleep on airplanes. The first time I slept on an airplane was when I blew five bucks to watch this movie on Westjet. So that means there's something seriously wrong with it since it was supposed to be an action flick. The ending isn't all that surprising, and the film is entirely dependent on the ending grabbing the audience by the balls. Very disappointing.
24: Season Three: Last season, 24 focused on a nuclear weapon...in season three, a biological weapon. Now they just need a chemical weapon and they've nailed the big three (and are officially out of ideas as far as I'm concerned.) I think that Nina showing up to buy the virus was pretty convenient, and the whole "Jack Bauer in Mexico" thing was rather silly. I don't blame Palmer for being so pissed off at them for hatching that hair-brained scheme.
24: Season Four: Instead of following the format of the previous three seasons (two big storylines) this one had chunklets of about five or six storylines which made it seem too far-fetched to be a terrorist plot. They don't know that the more complicated the plan gets, the greater the chance of something getting fucked up. Marwan escaped so many times that it made CTU look like a dumb bunch of fucks. Overall, I'd say better than season three.
United 93: I hesitated to see this one because I had heard it was critical of the FAA. It's filmed in an unusual way...it reminded me of a reality show and the events took place in real time (Sept. 11 would have made for a good season of 24, yes?) It didn't give a thought to character development, which was a big plus, because it was totally irrelevant to the story (unlike World Trade Centre where the characters were relevant, but poorly developed all the same.)
V For Vendetta: I wish the Wachowskis would simply sell their ideas to the studios rather than trying to write them themselves. This had potential to be a really great movie. It was good...really good, but not great. It had good characters and an interesting setting, but it was a little light on the theme..."fascism bad." They could have done a lot more with this. And they've learned nothing from The Matrix...they attempted a romantic side story in this one too and fell flat on their faces again.
Friday, October 06, 2006
Monday, September 11, 2006
Saturday: University of Alberta Golden Bears defeat the University of Calgary Dinos 17-15
Sunday: Atlanta Falcons beat the Carolina Panthers 20-6.
Woo-hoo! The weekend could not have gone any better. I was especially pleased with the Falcons win because nobody thought they could do it...not even me. The next two games should prove if they are for real or not.
I was a quite pissed off that the Smos flushed a 16-0 lead over the Stamps but as the clock struck midnight eastern time, the Stamps' cinderella comeback came to an abrupt end as the Smos scored two touchdowns in the span of 6 seconds at the end of the game.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
New Orleans: The Saints are my dark horse pick this year. They have some serious talent on offence with Drew Brees (plus receivers who put up decent numbers with Aaron fucking Brooks) and Reggie Bush. Not too sure of their defence though. Clearly they’ve learned nothing from Atlanta’s mistake and stuck Bryan Scott at free safety. I think they’ll be an exciting team to watch as they’re going to win a lot of games shootout style. This is a pretty risky pick considering they have a rookie head coach, and that combined with a new QB could be dangerous, but a change may be just what the doctor ordered. I predict that all teams remain in contention to win the division by week 15, and the Saints will take it in week 17.
Atlanta: They’ve upgraded in every area of the game, got rid of the crap players, and even better, they sent their crap players to division rivals. Unfortunately, despite that their rivals have improved too. The receiving corps remains the weakest link but that’s to be expected for a team with the #1 rushing offence in the league. It’ll probably be #1 again this year, especially since TJ Duckett will stop getting carries. The defence worries the hell out of me. If the preseason is any indication, it could be the same old story as last year.
Wins: New Orleans, Arizona, NY Giants, Cincinnati, Detroit, Cleveland, Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Washington
Losses: Carolina, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Dallas, Philadelphia
Carolina: If Steve Smith goes down, the Panties are in huge trouble. Keyshawn is not talented enough to carry the team’s passing game. Stephen Davis is not a huge loss for them, but only if DeShaun Foster can keep having the flashes of brilliance he had last season.
Tampa Bay: I’m still trying to figure out why they won the division last season. I think it was because of Jon Gruden’s iron balls. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, putting the Sucs down here where they belong, but I don’t think Chris Simms can do it. However, they do still have rookie of the year Carnell Williams who will continue to do great things for them. The defence remains the same (terrifyingly good) but they are only getting older. Fast young teams will be able to exploit them.
Chicago: Molecular geneticist Rex Grossman returns as the starter. I think that time is running out for him and he knows it, so this season, we’ll see what he’s really made of. I think he’s made of china furniture so it’ll probably be the same old story in Chicago with the crappy backup QBs. If Grossman can find Muhsin Muhammed several times a game, they’ve got it made, since the running game with Thomas Jones and oft-injured Cedric Benson will sort itself out.
Minnesota: Evidently, the circus is still in the twin cities, with Koren Robinson’s recent drunk driving charge. They have the Eagles’ old offensive co-ordinator as head coach, so I’m very interested to see how that’s going to turn out. And yes, I still hate Brad Johnson.
Green Bay: Not quite the disaster that last season was. They look better defensively, especially in the secondary. Offence remains the same, but I do have to question Brett Favre’s ability. I honestly believed he wasn’t going to play the season. Hence, the Pack goes here.
Detroit: I wonder what it’s going to take to get the Lions out of this position. It seems like they’re perpetually stuck in the lower third of the league and can’t get out no matter how many top 10 receivers they draft. Apparently, Jon Kitna will be the starting QB. I’ve always thought of Kitna as a very capable BACKUP. Who knows…
Dallas: I don’t think the T.O. circus will be enough to hold them back. They finished 9-7 last season and would have won two extra games and sent another to overtime if they had a kicker who didn’t completely suck balls. They thought getting Mike Vanderjagt would fix that, yet they still have two kickers on their roster.
NY Giants: Once again, the Giants look terrifying on offence. Tiki finished second in rushing and young Eli will continue to improve (when he learns to stop throwing while falling backward.) Pass defence is a serious weakness for Jersey/A and every team in their division can effectively put the ball in the air. They also have a tough schedule early on so they might be playing catch-up all year.
Washington: Mark Brunell is too old balls to be the starting QB. They lost a few games last season because they tended to go blitz crazy in 3rd and long situations which translated to easy completions and 1st downs for the other team. Let’s see if they’ve learned anything from that. Losing Portis is bad for them because now they have TJ Duckett, who last season had 5+ carries in every game, yet had two games where he rushed for negative yards. I think that’s some kind of record.
Philadelphia: I’m not sure what to make of the Eagles…they’ve made the NFC Championship game without T.O. so who’s to say it won’t happen again. I guess it does look like their defence is falling apart, so I think that’s a good enough reason to put them in the basement. Stallworth was a good pickup, but the west coast offence will take him some time to get used to. Once he does, he’ll be very productive.
Seattle: Undisputed winners of the worst division in professional sports, hands down. They don’t have Steve Hutchinson, and I know that’s going to profoundly affect their running game. Let’s face facts: Alexander is next to nothing without that line. At least they still have Walter Jones. To make matters worse, Alexander’s on the cover of Madden ’07 and that carries a pretty strong curse with it (ask any Falcons fan.) It will be up to Hasselbeck to follow up his breakout season with another outstanding performance, and even without Jurevicius, they should have enough talent at receiver to do so.
Arizona: They added Edgerrin James and if Kurt Warner stays healthy, they should be able to keep the Seahawks playing their starters until about Week 15. On defence, they’re not quite where they should be. And they have to resist the temptation to start Leinart too early.
St. Louis: The Rams look a lot different from Mike Martz’s run and gun type offence. They play a lot more conservatively now. Marc Bulger’s a good quarterback and he still has Torry Holt, so that alone is enough to keep teams honest.
San Francisco: A few months ago I was challenged to name three players on the 49ers and I could only come up with two. That suggests that like Houston they are a bunch of no-names. They had the league’s worst offence and defence last season, so I have no reservations about putting them in the basement for this season.
Now for entertainment purposes, this is how the playoffs might end up:
(6) Atlanta vs. (3) Chicago: Bears
(5) NY Giants vs. (4) New Orleans: Giants
(3) Chicago vs. (2) Seattle: Bears
(5) NY Giants vs. (1) Dallas: Cowboys
(3) Chicago vs. (1) Dallas: Cowboys
Indianapolis: Nothing changes here. The Colts pull off some regular season dominance and then wheeze out in the playoffs. They have no running game to speak of anymore, which means they’re in big trouble against teams with good pass defence.
Jacksonville: Leftwich will need to prove that he should still be the starter over David Gerard. There’s a lot of talent on that team on both sides of the ball and they should have quite a strong finish, but not quite enough to return to the post-season.
Tennessee: Vastly improved now with Vince Young. The Titans are slowly getting themselves out of cap hell and getting rid of McNair was a good start. However, they’ll be playing Billy Volek for the time being which automatically puts them out of contention.
Houston: Oh lord…The Texans didn’t do anything to help their cause this offseason, except for Jeb Putzier (good pickup.) Poor David Carr can’t show the league what he can really do if he’s constantly getting cranked behind the worst O-line ever. And I think that Super Mario is a combine freak who won’t live up to his expectations. He’ll be a decent D-lineman, but unspectacular. And losing Dominick Davis leaves them with no running game whatsoever.
Pittsburgh: There’s controversy surrounding Bill Cowher and Roethlisberger can’t seem to stay healthy (like last season.) I think the accident has kind of fucked him up. The good news is that all their rivals are in a similar position. I guess we’ll see what Roethlisberger’s really made of since he’s lost another target. The good news is that Willie Parker is awesome, and forget about Jerome Bettis, I don’t think he was as important in the last season as some people made him out to be.
Cincinnati: A lot of questions going into this season, the main one being Carson Palmer’s health. I don’t think management is overly concerned though…they’ve brought in Anthony Wright and Doug Johnson (yes, the same Doug Johnson of the 5-13 Atlanta Falcons fame) so if Palmer goes down, watch out!! Also, Odell Thurman has received the Ricky Williams vacation (4 games, not a stint with the Argos…yet) and they’ve had 4 other players arrested on various charges this off-season. That’s enough of a distraction to lose them the division, but not a wildcard.
Cleveland: I believe in Charlie Frye. However, the Browns seemed to be cursed as they’ve run into quite a bit of bad luck this pre-season. The big one is losing LeCharles Bentley for the season…he was the missing piece of the puzzle. But I think that Frye will be able to find Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow enough times to win a couple more games this season.
Baltimore: They’ve landed a proven QB in McNair, but as with any other year, he won’t be able to stay healthy. If that was the case, Baltimore has enough talent on offence to win a fair number of games. It’s now or never for the Ravens who, after this season, will have some serious cap issues, so desperation may take over. It should be interesting.
Miami: What a cupcake schedule the Dolphins have. The Dolphins are poised to become a breakout team this season. They finished 9-7 last season despite and have now added Daunte Culpepper. I can’t believe they squandered the chance to add another locker room cancer by cutting little Vick.
New England: Eventually, people get tired of the success story and they want to see them lose. But I don’t know…the Patriots always do so well in the draft and they have one of the best coaches football has ever seen. Overall, I’m not impressed with this year’s Patriots team, but Tom Brady might be able to make his crap receivers look good.
NY Jets: Pennington is the undisputed starter. I think he can do good things for this team. His rating is in the low 90s but it will be the defence which holds them down in this tight division.
Buffalo: Oh hallelujah, the Bills’ problems are solved. Haven’t you heard? Peerless is back in town! And, uh…yeah…never mind! If reuniting him with Bledsoe in Dallas couldn’t work out his issues, then I think he’s been lost forever. And they’ve learned nothing since JP Losman is the starter again.
Denver: So Tatum Bell is the man…All Denver had to do was keep its team together as they had very little gaps to fill, but that was tricky given their cap situation. As a result, Mike Anderson is gone and that’ll hurt the league’s #2 rushing offence. Jake Plummer had quite a season in ’05, and I think he’ll be able to do more of the same,
Kansas City: Losing Willie Roaf is a huge blow, but Larry Johnson was able to work his magic without Roaf for some games last season. The Chiefs look very impressive on paper, and might just have enough to get back to the playoffs.
San Diego – The Philip Rivers show is not all that it is cracked up to be. That being said, I am still very, very hesitant to put a team with Antonio Gates and LaDanian Tomlinson behind the Chiefs. But I put them here because of their weak finish last season and with Brees gone, things can only get worse. Great run defence, but still pretty bad against the pass.
Oakland: The Raiders should be all set up at corner for the foreseeable future with Michael Huff and Fabian Washington. Aaron Brooks is the new guy in town and I can’t see him winning comeback player of the year. So the Raiders stay in the cellar for another season. Maybe they should begin the thawing of Rich Gannon…
(6) Kansas City vs. (3) Pittsburgh: Chiefs
(5) Cincinnati vs. (4) Denver: Broncos
(6) Kansas City vs. (1) Indianapolis: Colts
(5) Cincinnati vs. (2) Miami: Dolphins
(2) Miami vs. (1) Indianapolis: Dolphins
Miami vs. Dallas: Cowboys win.
And last but not least, Week 1 predictions. I didn't add my comments like I normally do because this damned post is long enough. If you want the comments, you have to subscribe to my weekly NFL e-mail.
New England (Lock)
Sunday, August 27, 2006
There's no regret
If I had to do the same again
I would, my friend, Fernando...
I guess I have to do the Stallions year end report in this post. I didn't think I would have to. The season's over now because we lost to the Calgary Gators 30-14 on Saturday. They were a totally different team than the one we played on July 8, and they just kind of got the better of us. We also had some bad luck on a few plays, but that always happens and it goes both ways so no need to think "what if." At the end of it all, it was a privilege to call myself a part of that team and to be on the same field as some of those guys. I just wish I could have made more of a contribution than I did. But my streak of never missing a regular season football practice is still intact and I felt that I improved a lot. I plan to keep working in the offseason, and I hope to join the team again next season if they will have me back. It will be very strange not having practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays and I know that I am going to miss it a lot in about a month or so just like I did with the Spartans.
My birthday was today and I watched Beerfest and went for dinner at Ric's Grill in St. Albert which is almost too classy for me. Excellent food and excellent wine, but I likely won't remember too much of it, since kids only remember bad birthdays.
Let's see what's been going on in movies and TV lately:
Batman Begins: It's not like the other Batman movies, except that it's dark and gothic like all the other ones. Christian Bale plays the lead surprisingly well, but maybe I'm biased by the lousy performances of George Clooney and Val Kilmer in the previous sequels. It's not really like other superhero movies because there isn't really a true supervillain in this one. The bad guys are closer to common criminals. Anyway, I could go either way on this one...nothing to write home about, but not bad either.
Beerfest: All the same producers, writers, and actors as Super Troopers, so if you liked that film, chances are you'll like this one too. Super Troopers was better though. Same style of humour, and it isn't too preachy about the negative effects of heavy drinking either. There's a disclaimer at the beginning and a little blurb in the middle about how Beerfest is ruining the characters' lives, but that's about it. There are some fall down funny parts and some gross out parts but overall, it's pretty funny. Reminded me a little bit of Lister.
Ladder 49: First of all, I knew Johnny Cash was going to get roasted after watching the first five minutes, and it's really sappy that way. It also seemed a little unrealistic to me...I don't think emergency services workers can be that dramatic otherwise the job would wear on them too much. Some of the paramedics I know have a really twisted sense of humour, but in their words it's kind of like "If you don't laugh, then you've got to cry." Rescue Me is more like that and it's sometimes billed as a dark comedy so as far as fire fighting shows go, I prefer Rescue Me.
Lost in Translation: This was my second attempt at this film. The first time I saw it, I was drunk or passed out (or both) and didn't follow it as closely as I should have. As I've said numerous times, I'm extremely biased toward midlife crisis films, so naturally, I liked this movie. The two main characters are named Bob and Charlotte. Bob is middle-aged and is always away from his family and can't communicate with his wife. Charlotte is almost in the same boat except that her husband is always away and she is much younger. They both have something to offer each other. Bob gives Charlotte the attention and humour she needs and Charlotte kind of helps reconnect Bob to his life. In contrast to Bob's wife, Charlotte communicates well with Bob and they can openly discuss things about the meaning of life, why we're here, where we're going, etc. The first time I saw it, I didn't like it because nothing really happens in the movie, but it's more about the characters than anything. If you don't like movies where two characters just talk, then you won't like it. I for one thought it was well done and very well written.
Rescue Me Season Three: Pretty much the only show I stay up to date with on a weekly basis. This is a great show because Denis Leary just plays an angry guy, which he does so well. As for season three, I thought there were a couple of episodes that just kind of lagged and didn't contribute anything to the big picture. I'll reserve judgement until I see the season finale on Wednesday though. All drama shows kill off characters periodically to keep the audience interested and to throw in twists, but in Rescue Me, most of the dead characters end up coming back as ghosts who can interact and communicate with Denis Leary only. Anyway, if you want to watch a show about firefighters with booze and drug problems, then this is the show for you. If you want to get into this show, just make sure you pay close attention to the character development because that's really important if you want to fully understand what's going on, especially in the newer episodes.
Snakes On A Plane: This is quite a masterpiece alright. I set the bar very low heading into this one obviously. I enjoyed how the movie poked fun at itself at times. For a movie that cheesy, you pretty much have to in order to keep the audience from constantly rolling their eyes, so kudos to the director. I think that films should avoid using CGI wherever it's possible, because it made the snakes look pretty fake. And I am going to pick apart the flying. No airline should ever use a 747 between Honolulu and Los Angeles because it makes little economic sense. The pilots were communicating with ATC remarkably well for having "Lost all avionics!" and why would a plane enroute IFR at 35,000 feet be talking to the tower at LAX? The airplane didn't overspeed as it fell from 35,000 feet. Its rapid descent continues to less than 200 feet and than miraculously recovers. In real life, a heavy aircraft like that one descending so rapidly would be fucked at about 5,000 feet if corrective action wasn't taken. If a 747 bounced like that on landing, a tire would probably have blown or the gear would have collapsed altogether. And he kept the plane tracking straight down the runway remarkably well down the runway considering the tailwind and was able to stop it in under 10,000 feet without the use of the thrust reverser and minimal brakes, which is pretty good considering the things approach at about 130-140 knots with full flaps. Ye Gods!
24 Season Two: Superior to season one. I can offer the same criticisms as season one though. I couldn't turn the show off as they were scrambling to find the bomb, but then after the bomb went off, I thought "How can they possibly fill 8 more hours??" It got a little dry and political from there and there was very little suspense. It picked up more toward the end, but it took Jack so long to get the evidence that the Cyprus recording was fake that it was almost a comedy of errors.
World Trade Center: This one was quite disappointing because my mom hyped it up way too much. It attempts to be a story of setting and a story of character and really fails at both. To be a story of setting, it would have to go into greater details of the actual World Trade Center disaster in kind of a minute by minute fashion, preferrably in real-time (kind of like United 93) but that would create too much of a spectacle out of the disaster. Even though this movie makes no attempt to glorify anything about September 11, 2001, some people still feel this movie was made too soon, so Oliver Stone was walking on eggshells right from the get-go. And to be a story of character, I think I would have to know a little bit more about the characters than just the banter between the two leads John and Will while they were pinned under the rubble. However, to accomplish this, they would have had to do some scenes taking place in the days before September 11, 2001 which would have made the movie about 4 hours long. The performance of Michael Pena was about the only saving grace in this film.
Also, this blog has been up for one year. Birthday wishes also to youcantteachthat.blogspot.com
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Also, the Falcons traded piece of garbage T.J. Duckett to Washington for receiver Ashley Lelie from Denver, who received a third round pick from Washington. In 2005, Ashley (which is a girl's name) started in 13 games for the Broncos and caught 42 passes for 770 yards and 1 TD. The low number of catches and the single TD is worrisome, but 30 of his catches were for first down, and Duckett was expendable anyhow since Warrick Dunn was going to be the #1 guy at RB anyway. They needed a receiver after losing The White Guy. The White Guy was the so-called "third down" receiver on the Falcons with 50 catches and 31 first downs so I think Lelie will step into this role quite nicely. I like this trade. Rich McKay is a genius and I think I have a man-crush on him.
I'll keep the terrible 80s videos coming, it's just that I have to write the posts in HTML so it takes forever to do each one.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
Well Danny Nocoachia, losing 4 of 5 in an 18 game season is completely unacceptable. Say what you will about the margin of losing and being a "young team." I'll see you in the unemployment line at Canada Place in September, bitch. At least we'll always have your gay little celebration on 2nd down in the Grey Cup to remember you by.
Friday, August 18, 2006
Quite a lot to pick apart with this one. There's a guy in a gold speedo playing the chimes at the beginning, Tracey stands over the ball return at the bowling alley as balls roll between her legs, there are cut scenes of home movies (presumably Tracey as a kid?) and there's this bizarre line dancing thing right in the middle. Then it cuts to Tracey looking like a knocked up alcoholic housewife shopping for groceries. They get a couple things right though...Tracey does the right thing by leaving the guy with the creeper 'stache and I get a kick out of the three-wheeled car. But yes, that is Paul McCartney at the end. Apparently, that's what she sees when she looks at the guy with the creeper 'stache. Or something. I have a hard time making sense of this one.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
This video is pretty much a literal translation of the lyrics, which I hate to begin with. The light show is just cheesy and the creepy expression on the faces of the robots will be in my nightmares for a long time, especially that one that's grinning. Shudder. At least the robots are doing "The Robot," one of the few redeeming features of this video that keeps it from ranking even lower. I hope the editor for this video never worked again because of the crappy transitions like the one shot that comes in from the corner and the other one that kind of flips into the middle. Totally unnecessary.
I think the song is awesome and Dennis DeYoung is the second greatest synthesizer player ever (Steve Winwood has the edge on him.)
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
10. Michael Jackson - Bad
The year was 1987. Talented or not, people were beginning to realize that Michael has issues. He gets his nose done again, and he suddenly has cheekbones. Is he wearing make-up in this video?? Hell, it's the 80's...it's allowed! But it's insulting to transvestite men everywhere that he keeps grabbing his crotch. Do a shooter everytime MJ grabs his crotch. Whoever isn't passed out at the end of 4 minutes and 18 seconds wins, I can promise you no less than 7 shots and there are almost certainly some grabs that I've missed or haven't counted. Anyway, just watch the dance routines. They're bad...really really bad. Such a tragedy that the man who brought us probably the greatest video ever made (Thriller) had to go and shit this one out. And that's not even the worst of it...Martin Scorsese directed it.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
Seeing as how last year's celebration was an unmitigated disaster (I helped my brother move that afternoon, then got an allergic reaction to something at Mongolie Grill, but kids don't remember bad birthdays, right?) I don't have high expectations this year. It happens to fall on a Sunday this year, and I also happen to have the following Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday off. It would normally become a 6 day bender I'm sure, but everyone else has, you know, work and responsibilities and shit and can't be that reckless. Most of my plans hinged on what the Stallions would be up to that weekend. It turns out we'll have a home game on the 26th at 5 PM. If we win that game (and we should) I'll probably go out boozing with the team that night. And Friday's out because I work until 11. That leaves Sunday for the official drinking party and nobody except for rubbie-dubs like me gets drunk on a Sunday.
Let's see...the Smos have a bye that week, so that's out. Derby Day is the 26th, but that conflicts with the Stallions. I'll probably even end up reffing football on the 27th. Maybe I'll just go see the movie that's sure to topple American Beauty right off the top of my all-time list. I'm talking, of course, about Snakes on a Plane.
Other than that, the job search is a little slower than I would like it to be. However, I have come up with a few opportunities that pay about $10 more per hour plus benefits for an easier job than the one I have now. I knew that I was getting fleeced as a summer contract worker, but I didn't know just how badly until now.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
So I'm working the tailgate security at tomorrow's Eskimo game which I know I'm going to regret because 1) I hate the goddamn Riders and their fans worse than anything, 2) I hate the Schmos almost as much right now because they're a bunch of pieces of crap and 3) the Falcons open their preseason tomorrow against the Patriots and it's on TV. I was quite looking forward to seeing DJ Shockley, Klaus Alinen, Cedric Bonner, Cole Magner, Jason Randall, and others who have no business whatsoever playing in the regular season. I'm serious too. When one of the star players goes down in a game and his replacement trots in, it's better to have studied up on him and know what's going to happen instead of sitting there saying "Who the fuck...?"
Monday, July 31, 2006
NFL season is just around the corner with the preseason starting August 12. The Falcons have already suffered a setback, losing clutch receiver Brian Finneran for probably the season during a non-contact practice last week. I keep telling myself that it could be worse; it could have been Dunn, or Abraham, or D'Lo, or Crump, or...You-know-who. It seems like every year a good Falcons player goes down before the season starts. 2003 was You-know-who, 2004 was D'Lo (although he did come back in November,) 2005 was Ed Hartwell, and now Finn in 2006. I don't know how this will affect my preseason prediction, but I'll have to wait and see how the preseason plays itself out and then I'll put up predictions for all teams.
Friday, July 28, 2006
Yep, that's me last weekend at Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered By Ford West Edmonton Mall Grand Prix Presented By The Brick. These two fine ladies were giving away free photos and looked really happy to be there, especially the broad on the left. It was hot that day, probably 32° or more. Look at me, I'm afraid to lay my sweaty hands on them (although my left hand does look like it wants a taste of the blonde broad's left boob.) Maybe it's because I know that so many other guys have already done that over the course of the day and I don't want to get AIDS.
Anyway, it was a good weekend, and it was hot out...so very hot. Champ Car is the greatest ever.
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Almost four years later, on May 10, 2006, I received a phone call telling me that I did not meet the requirements to graduate from university. After four years of torment and suffering to earn a piece of paper, I was crushed to find out that it wasn’t over.
Both of these were pretty borderline calls. What’s the difference between them? I chose to fight the university decision.
I chose to fight it. And I won.
I can hardly believe it. During the last month or so I had completely resigned myself to the fact that I would have to do one more semester. I had learned to suck it up. But I needed to know for sure from the university that they didn’t make the decision on my graduation status in error. After perusing the university calendar for a loophole, I found one that I might have been able to exploit. As I pointed out earlier, in the Immunology and Infection section of the calendar, it does not state that you need a 2.3 GPA in your final year. This was the basis for my graduation denial. But it does say you need a 2.3 GPA in your final year for other programs. I highlighted this fact in a written letter to the Chair of the department of biological sciences. I knew this was a long shot, so I did not get my hopes up. I guess they decided that they can’t go by rules that aren’t written in the calendar, so they ruled in my favour. Score one for justice! It’s good to know that some people in the ivory tower still have a mind for what is fair. A faculty of science advisor told me not to appeal. My program advisor told me not to bother appealing. The Ombudservice was of no use to me. But I did it anyway.
I’ve spent the last four years feeling incompetent, dumb, inferior, and mediocre. If my Grade 12 self saw what I have become, he would certainly wonder what the fuck happened. My Grade 12 self was a hell of a lot more confident, sometimes to the point where he could come off as smug, arrogant and self-centred. He had a lot of optimism and was excited about leaving high school and pursuing the successes and opportunities that the university experience bestows on everyone. I certainly see things a lot differently now. I used to think that anything was possible if you dedicated yourself and believed in it. I came here expecting to be on the brink of something extraordinary after university. I expected some kind of post-graduate degree to be in the works. These last 8 months, all I wanted to do was pass my classes, get the fuck out, and fly planes for a living. And that got me to thinking…if there’s one thing I learned during my four years here…it’s that I have no business in a career in immunology and infection or health science in general…well, I guess that alone was worth the price of admission. A lot of people go to university to find something they enjoy and constantly change their majors and are here forever. But I think finding out what you don’t enjoy can be just as valuable…sort of. Back in Grade 12, certain people had successfully convinced me when I wanted to pursue a career in aviation, that aviation wasn’t good enough, that a university degree would be necessary to get me toward a good job that I loved, and that being a “glorified bus driver” wasn’t the way to white collar high fucking society. But how can that be more important than being able to look forward to going to work in the morning? Would I be better off if I was an engineer who hated his job? All those people who show up to work because it’s a job and they can make a living from it are all suckers. I think Dane Bullerwell said it best: “Every day I spend doing something because I’m good at it or because it’s tolerable – and not because I really enjoy the work – a little part of me dies.”
I can’t help but feel that this place brought out the worst in me. Whenever someone accomplished something good, I couldn’t be happy for them, I would actually find myself giving them dirty looks. I think it’s because I don’t like being constantly ranked, graded, and evaluated, and that’s all I’ve had throughout my life. Here, it doesn’t matter if you know 90% of the course material inside and out. If everyone else in the class knows more than you, you can still end up with a shitty grade.
If I had it all to do over again, would I? There are definitely things that I would do differently, but I have met a lot of great friends here, and I had the opportunity to play hockey for the first time, it got me a job working in the breweries, and at least it got me the hell out of Strathmore.
And maybe, I worried about things too much. I was sick of always worrying about that next midterm, the due date of that assignment, how much money was in my bank account, etc. And the worst part is that I just let out all my neg-head downer shit on everyone else. I was pretty miserable to my friends, roommates, classmates, and family, especially in the last 8 months. This is just selfish and inexcusable. So I guess the truth is that I’m a bad person. But, that's going to change - I'm going to change. This is the last of that sort of thing. Now I'm cleaning up and I'm moving on, going straight and choosing life. I'm looking forward to it already. I'm going to be just like you. The job, the family, the fucking big television. The washing machine, the car, the compact disc and electric tin opener, good health, low cholesterol, dental insurance, mortgage, starter home, leisure wear, luggage, three piece suit, DIY, game shows, junk food, children, walks in the park, nine to five, good at golf, washing the car, choice of sweaters, family Christmas, indexed pension, tax exemption, clearing gutters, getting by, looking ahead, the day you die.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
-Still have to go back to university in the fall.
-I hung around with Andre and Wallace over the weekend and Mick and Lamar on Monday, so that was good. Dustin will be up this Friday or Saturday for his semi-annual liver damaging trip to Edmonton.
-Going flying next Monday. Still, I don't know when the next one after that will be as the financial picture is still not very clear.
-The Stallions experiment still resembles a sinking battleship. I think that we've hit the mid-season wall as a team though, so maybe it's not just me. The road trip to Calgary was a blast, other than the game ending at halftime because of lightning, the food at the bar after the game taking two and a half hours, and a couple of guys on the team coming to blows later on. I hate seeing that. I suppose when you mix booze and boiled up tension with your teammates, people will shoot their mouths off and you just have to try to ignore it, but it's still not a pretty sight. But yeah, other than that, a good time.
-I'm becoming more efficient at my job, which is why I can take the time to write this blog post. Still, the 4:30 AM wake-up every day still gets on my nerves. We've had 6 managers quit in the last 6 weeks which makes me wonder what's going on with the leadership, but that's fine, we can manage.
Oh yeah, my dad's unemployed now too, so I don't know what's going to happen. The folks may be moving again, who knows. That's just what I need, more uncertainty. The goddamn human comedy continues.
And why does it seem that the Eskimos only lose to crappy teams? They're underachievers one week and then world beaters the next. All my teams that I cheer for are schizophrenic like that (the Oilers lost three times to the worst team in hockey last season), but it does make things more interesting. If I knew exactly how each team was going to perform before the game even started, there would be no point watching it.
Monday, July 03, 2006
Match Point: Not your typical Woody Allen film. There is no neurotic nerd who gets into relationship problems of some kind, it's set in London instead of New York, and Allen does no acting at all. This one isn't particularly funny either. But Woody claims that this was his best work ever. I might be inclined to agree had it not been about 40 minutes too long. It still deserved to be nominated for the original screenplay Oscar, but it definitely did not deserve to win, like how Crash didn't deserve to win. Still, I liked the theme of the movie...it was kind of about how some people are lucky and some are unlucky, like a tennis ball striking the net can either go over it, in which case you win, or it can bounce back to your side and you lose.
American Splendor: I only picked this one up because of Paul Giamatti. I didn't really know much about it beforehand, except that this was supposedly Giamatti's strongest performance. After seeing it, I'm inclined to agree, although there were some striking similarities between Harvey in this movie and Miles in Sideways. Both are kind of hard luck characters who think that the world is screwing them over. The writing was spectacular. This one actually won a shitload of writing awards, but couldn't stop the Lord of the Rings sweep of 2004 to win the Oscar. Anybody who likes indie film is probably well-acquainted with this one already, but if not, it should definitely be high on your list.
The Squid and the Whale: Again, I didn't have too much prior knowledge of this one, only that it was nominated for writing at the last Oscars. When I think of movies about divorce, I automatically think Kramer vs. Kramer, but this was significantly different from it. After I got into it, I started noticing elements of The Royal Tenenbaums, and then in the closing credits, I found out it was produced by Wes Anderson, go figure. The writer (Noah Baumbach) also did The Life Aquatic, so there's that too. It does a really excellent job portraying how joint custody can screw up the kids. I don't have any firsthand experience with this but I did notice that at some of my brother's hockey games, separated parents with joint custody would usually sit at opposite ends of the arena. It would be hard to grow up normal in that kind of environment. Frigging brilliant, excellent movie.
A History of Violence: Yikes. I have no idea what to make of this one. I was kind of hoping it would keep me on the edge of my seat, but the best action occurs in the first 15 minutes. And in stark contrast to Match Point, this one is about 40 minutes too short. I thought they could have dug into the main character's past a lot more than they did because it left quite a bit unanswered. Or maybe I just wasn't paying attention. And they might have given William Hurt a bigger part. He did a 5 minute bit and then the movie was over. I can't believe this was written by the same guy who wrote Judge Dredd...my stars. Overall, I was pretty disappointed by this one. It just didn't live up to its hype.
24: Season One: I don't even watch TV anymore. I just rent the DVDs. You don't have to wait a week between episodes and there aren't any commercials. But you may have to wait all night outside the video store, like when my roommate Marc stayed up all night watching 24, talked of going to Movie Studio as soon as it opened so he could get the next episodes because he was so hooked on the show. Thankfully, that hasn't happened with me. I'm amazed at how the writers could keep this thing going for 24 episodes and in real time. It must have been hard to think up things for all the characters to be doing at any one time. I guess sometimes they gave the characters busy work...like the time Rick spent 40 minutes digging a grave, and the time Terri and Kim spent a whole hour debriefing with Nina. But for the most part, the show moves fairly quickly, and Tommy Douglas III gives a pretty strong performance. I'm sure that if I ever had a day like that at that pace, I'd be passed out before noon. I'm still 8 episodes away from finishing, so I might comment more later.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
1. Graduation application denied (that's the big one...)
2. I live in St. Albert. With my parents. That makes it very difficult to have people over and the St. Albert thing means it's difficult to hang out with friends. I see Mick about every 2 weeks, I haven't seen Blobra in 3 months, Andre is always around, but he's moving to Fort Mac this month, and Wallace works an afternoon shift with Thursdays and Sundays off so I'll be seeing even less of her. It also means I spend a lot of money on gas. I drive half an hour every morning to work and it's about as far to the Stallions practice field.
3. The football thing has become more challenging than I ever thought possible. I know I lack athletic talent at the best of times, but when I stand next to these guys I just look like a piece of shit. It's like the hockey thing...sometimes I feel like such a fraud out there.
4. I flew for 2.4 hours yesterday. That was the first time this summer I've been up flying. I think that I'll be going up maybe twice more over the next two months as I never seem to have any money and should think about saving some. See #1.
5. The end of the Oilers Stanley Cup run was extremely disappointing. It's good that I had NHL hockey well into June though. Sometimes I wish I wasn't such a fan because the stress levels in my life would plummet. Seriously. It's worth being hardcore when your team wins, but it's really hard when they lose.
6. Work sucks the life out of me. I'm up at 4:30 AM every day and don't go to bed until 11:30 or midnight. I just can't go to bed early. So I'm half-asleep and unmotivated at work nearly all the time. There are also disadvantages to working days since there are a lot more people around so you kind of need to look busy all the time.
7. I have let just about everyone down in one way or another. God, why is it that when I find a group of people that I like to hang out with I have to fuck it up by acting like myself? I guess not everyone's a cold-hearted cynic like me so maybe that has to change. That's going to be kind of hard though.
Other than that, things have been awesome! But damned if I don't have a lot of work to do to save this summer from completely tanking.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
I'm really glad the Angry Guy didn't show up last night. I think it's because I came to terms with this when I was driving around the city for an hour after game one of the series; Betsy and I were having our own little pity party. Does this mean all my neg-head downer shit can be good sometimes? I can understand how hard it must have been for people who, you know...still believe in things. I certainly didn't help matters much, with my "Game Over!" declaration and prediction of a 4-1 Carolina win after the first period, just to press the buttons of everyone I was watching the game with.
I can't wait for Saturday and the Stampeders/Eskimos at Commonwealth. I know the Stamps fans will be out in full force wonk-wonk-wonking about the Oilers, despite the fact that hockey and football are two different sports (no, really!) These are the fans who showed up to Stampeders games all 2004 season wearing their Flames jerseys, so Andre responded during the labour day rematch by wearing his Lightning jersey. So I hope to see a Hurricanes jersey this Saturday. If not, I will be very disappointed. And of course, if the Edmonton fans show up in their Oilers jerseys, they're going to get a faceful of knuckles. Except for that one guy in College Corner who has always worn his Oilers jersey...I guess it's bad form to beat up retards.
Saturday, June 17, 2006
I think this is a fantastic story. Few people remember, or even knew in the first place, how close Edmonton came to losing its NHL franchise. Here’s how it all happened:
Peter Pocklington was a pretty respected businessman in Edmonton during the 70’s and early to mid-80s. He brought jobs to the city through his thriving meat packing empire and brought an NHL franchise to the team. Through a shrewd business move, he managed to keep Gretzky from going to an expansion draft when the Oilers joined the NHL. And at great personal expense, he put together a winning roster and the team won its first Stanley Cup within five years of joining the league…something that’s almost unheard of for an expansion team. But the Gainers strike of 1986 was the beginning of the end for Pocklington. He was blasted for his use of replacement workers and his business never really recovered. Also, in ’88, many fans chose to blame Pocklington for the Gretzky trade, while Pocklington tried to shift the blame back on Gretzky and his new wife Janet. Few believed him, however, and all of a sudden, Pocklington became Edmonton’s very own Mr. Burns. The shenanigans would not stop there, however. Pocklington frequently got into spats with Northlands over his lease agreement there and threatened to move the team several times when negotiations didn’t go his way. The fans got fed up with this and the team saw dismal season ticket sales in the mid 1990s. Finally, in 1998, the Alberta Treasury Branch seized control of the team over Pocklington’s accumulated debts and put the team up for sale. And since no single local person offered up the money to buy the team, it appeared the Oilers’ days in Edmonton were numbered. It seemed they were doomed to suffer the same fate as the Quebec Nordiques in 1995, and the Winnipeg Jets in 1996.
However, a number of factors at least stalled the process for the time-being. The very same lease at Northlands that Pocklington tried to void prevented him from unilaterally moving the team or selling it to someone who intended to move the team. The lease also stipulated that an ownership group willing to keep the team in Edmonton had six weeks to purchase the team for $70 million USD if an outside buyer declared their intentions to buy the team.
Since no single buyer could be found, Cal Nichols, owner of Gasland Properties, was forced to come up with a more creative solution: securing smaller investments from a large number of buyers. Lenders were willing to finance 40% of the purchase price, meaning Nichols needed to scrape together $60 million. He had raised about $35 million when an offer came in from Les Alexander, owner of the NBA’s Houston Rockets, to purchase the team for $85 million USD. Alexander originally offered to keep the team in Edmonton, provided the lease at Northlands was terminated, attendance remained at acceptable levels, and a local ownership group was eventually found and he would be granted an expansion franchise in Houston. City council rejected these terms, believing the lease at Northlands was still their best chance to keep the Oilers in the city for the long term. Alexander then went to the ATB and gave them $5 million USD as a deposit and committed to buying the team for $85 million USD and moving it to Houston. Cal Nichols and his group now had 6 weeks to come up with the $70 million USD as stipulated by the lease agreement. As the deadline approached, the group committed to purchase by matching Alexander’s $5 million deposit and paid the ATB the remainder of the $70 million 40 days later.
The Edmonton Investor’s Group is the sole reason why there is still NHL hockey in Edmonton today and thus ranks as the most important moment in the team’s history. However, the group was quite wary of its bottom line and the team could not afford to bring in big talent. The team under the new ownership group struggled to make the playoffs every season and didn’t win a playoff round until 2006, when the new collective bargaining agreement made it possible for all teams to ice a competitive roster.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
2. 1990 Stanley Cup Win
So at the turn of the decade, the Oilers sat second in the Smythe Division, the Flames had won the Cup the previous season, Wayne Gretzky had departed to the LA Kings two seasons ago, the Oilers lost in the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 1981-82 the previous year, and Grant Fuhr had injured himself. It would seem that the Oilers were in their autumn years and had no chance in the 1990 playoffs.
However, from the very early going, the Oilers looked terrible. In the first round, the Winnipeg Jets held a 3-1 series lead over Edmonton and the Oilers' only win had come by way of overtime. In the next two, the Oilers earned a pair of 4-3 wins, and got a decisive 4-1 victory in Game 7 to advance to the Smythe Division final. Here, they faced the team that eliminated them from the playoffs the previous year. However, the Oilers were not at all intimidated, and led by Bill Ranford's heroics, they swept the Kings, outscoring them 24-10. In a hard fought Campbell Conference final, the Oilers beat the Blackhawks 4 games to 2 and went on to face a familiar foe from the 1988 series: the Boston Bruins. Game 1 still holds the record as the longest Stanley Cup Final game ever played. It ended when Petr Klima scored at 15:13 of the third overtime period giving the Oilers a 3-2 win. Ranford stood on his head all series as he never allowed more than 2 goals in any of the games. The Oilers would win the series 4 games to 1 and Ranford would win the Conn Smythe.
For some people, this one is the forgotten Stanley Cup. To me, it was the greatest one of the five the Oilers won during their dynasty. They proved that they could win it all without Gretzky. They would come close again, making the Conference finals in the two subsequent seasons, being upset by the Minnesota North Stars and then swept by the Blackhawks.
Alright, so now that the five cups are all out of the way, what could possibly be the greatest Oilers moment of all time? The answer's coming soon.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
3. 1984 Stanley Cup Win
The Oilers made it to their first Stanley Cup final the previous season, but were swept by the New York Islanders as they won their fourth Stanley Cup in as many years. They outscored the Oilers 17-6 despite all of the Oilers' goal-scoring records and boasted superstars such as Bryan Trottier, Mike Bossy, Denis Potvin and Billy Smith. So after a seven game series with the Flames, and a sweep of the Jets and Northstars, the Oilers found themselves in the finals again with the Islanders. It seemed history was doomed to repeat itself; the Islanders had home ice advantage and many hockey writers, even in Edmonton, confidently predicted that the Islanders would be successful in their "drive for five."
Game 1 was a battle of the goaltenders, with Grant Fuhr coming out on top in a 1-0 contest. Game 2 was more lopsided as the Islanders routed the Oilers 6-1. The series then headed up to Northlands, where the Oilers offence overpowered Billy Smith as they recorded back to back 7-2 wins. After two periods of Game 5, the Oilers found themselves up 4-0. But two quick goals by Pat LaFontaine put the outcome in doubt. The Oilers knew that if the series had to go back to Long Island, they would never have come back winners. However, despite this momentum shift, Andy Moog stood tall for the rest of the game, and an empty-netter by Dave Lumley made the final score 5-2.
The Oilers had just ended the greatest Stanley Cup dynasty in the post-expansion NHL. Celebrations erupted down Jasper Ave. and Mayor Laurence Decore declared that the win was "the greatest thing that's ever happened here."
Monday, June 05, 2006
And now they don't get to choose anymore. It's Bozo the Clown for the next three games. I say this because D-Wayne is gone for the series. I know some people are going to say "Christ, Adam, you need to hold onto some hope...some faith." And because of the shit blizzard that I'm trapped in, I'll say "Sorry, pal. Hope, faith...tank's empty on that count." This is not just me trying to pull a reverse jinx. These are my prognostication skills telling me that it will all be over by next Monday. Face it, we're back to square one: the goaltending circus that plagued the team for most of the season and managed to win 41 games by pure dumb luck.
I suppose it all depends on how the team responds, but they have relied very heavily on Roloson to get them this far. I should probably wait one more game, but I've been watching this Conklin/Markkanen/Morrison shit all season and I'm so goddamn sick of it. Don't accuse me of being off the bandwagon...if I'm wrong, I'll eat my crow with a smile on my face, but I would prefer to be prepared for what's ineviteably going to happen.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
(8) Edmonton vs. (2) Carolina
Two former WHA teams competing for the Stanley Cup…man, that warms the old heart. But who would have thought this at the beginning of the season? Carolina was the big surprise in the regular season, and the Oilers barely squeaked into the playoffs.
Anyway, I hope that the Oilers don’t change what they’re doing too much because from the limited time that I’ve watched Carolina play, it looks like they play very similarly to Anaheim. They look like a really fast team, but unlike Anaheim, they’ve got some more depth on offence and the scoring could really come from anywhere (Weight, Brind’Amour, Staal, Stillman, Recchi, etc.) This kind of sounds like another team the Oilers have played…San Jose Sharks anyone?? Their blue line doesn’t look all that bad either. Who would have thought that clown Mike Commodore would become such a star? Their power play for the playoffs has also been very successful…not unlike Detroit! So what we have here is a composite of all the teams the Oilers have played. We have the fierce power play of Detroit, the offensive prowess of San Jose, and the speed and hot goaltending of Anaheim all rolled into one. Although it will be interesting to see whether or not there is a full blown goaltending controversy…Peter Laviolette has not hesitated to rotate his goaltenders and it has worked for him. A goaltending change is more a mind game than anything. When a team starts its backup in a game, it signals to the other team’s forwards that they shouldn’t have to work too hard to win the game. Also, the team tends to rally around the new goalie, as seen in Game 4 of the Anaheim series. The Oilers, on the other hand, can choose between D-Wayne and Bozo the Clown on any given night. The mind game probably won’t work too well in their case.
As for the rest vs. rust debate, I tend to agree with the rust side more often. However, the move to Tarrytown was fucking brilliant. It gets the travel day out of the way and puts the team in the eastern time zone and has them working out on slushy ice.
So what’s the verdict? Well, the crystal ball is still all clouded up by homerism…or is that a cloud of smoke from a burning phone booth on Whyte Ave.? I can’t tell. Oh well, retards will be retards. Oilers in 6.
Good news is that the monkey (who is 9-5 in her postseason predictions) picked the Oilers. Unfortunately, McKenzie and McGuire (who are 7-7 and 6-8 respectively) also picked the Oilers. Also, Mayor Howie Mandel picked Oilers in 6 also, and he has called each Oilers series exactly right, including the number of games.
EDM 3.18 goals for per game vs. CAR 2.44 goals against per game
EDM 2.47 goals against per game vs. CAR 3.00 goals for per game
EDM 19.8% power play vs. CAR 83.7% penalty kill
EDM 88.6% penalty kill vs. CAR 25.9% power play
EDM 26.8 shots per game vs. CAR 26.3 shots allowed per game
EDM 35.1 shots allowed per game vs. CAR 30.9 shots per game
With a new CBA in place as a result of the 2005 NHL lockout, the Oilers all of a sudden found themselves on a level playing field with the rest of the league in terms of player salaries. GM Kevin Lowe made the most of the opportunity, obtaining Chris Pronger in exchange for Eric Brewer, Jeff Woywitka, and Doug Lynch. He then obtained Michael Peca by sending Mike York to the Islanders. However, these two did not prove to be all the missing pieces to the puzzle. Pronger struggled at first before finding his form in November and Peca was having such a bad season that late in the season, he openly questioned whether the Oilers were a good fit for him. That, and the Oilers had no number one goaltender, rotating between Ty Conklin, Jussi Markkanen and Mike Morrison, with none of them rising to the challenge. At the trade deadline, Kevin Lowe finally pulled the trigger, acquiring Minnesota’s backup goaltender Dwayne Roloson in exchange for a first round draft pick and conditional third round pick. This move was criticized by armchair GMs everywhere, especially when Roloson lost his first three starts as an Oiler. Sergei Samsonov was also acquired at the deadline in exchange for a second round pick. At the end of it all, the Oilers backed into the playoffs, relying on losses by the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings to get into the playoffs. As a result of their low seed, the Oilers faced the President’s Trophy winners, the Detroit Red Wings, in the first round. The Oilers dropped the first game and after four, the series was tied 2-2. The Oilers won the next two, with a miraculous comeback in the 3rd period of Game 6 with goals by Fernando Pisani and Ales Hemsky. With the game tied 3-3 with 1:05 remaining, Samsonov hit Hemsky with a picture perfect pass and he streaked in all alone and beat Manny Legace for his second of the game. The Oilers became the first 8th-seeded team to upset a #1 seed. In the second round, the Oilers found themselves down 2 games to none after back to back 2-1 losses at the hands of the San Jose Sharks. Game 3 went to triple overtime all because of Roloson’s heroics. The Oilers won the game 3-2 on a goal by Shawn Horcoff. This was the turning point of the series as the Oilers would win the next three games as well, becoming the first 8th seed to make the Conference finals. The momentum continued into the 3rd round despite being fatigued and ravaged by the flu, the Oilers took a 3-0 lead in the series and ended up winning in five games. They went on to face the Carolina Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup final.
And that’s as far as the story gets right now, so this could move up or down in the rankings. I wonder how it’s going to end? Can’t wait to find out…
Saturday, June 03, 2006
With the 1986 playoff disaster still fresh in their minds, the Oilers were looking for redemption. The Oilers didn’t encounter much resistance in getting to the finals; they went 12-2 as they disposed of the Kings, Jets, and Red Wings. For the Flyers, it wasn’t so easy. They needed seven games to win the division final and six games to win the conference. After four games in the finals, the Oilers led the series 3 games to 1. It appeared the Oilers would win their third cup in four years. Then Mike Keenan brought the Stanley Cup into his dressing room before Game 5 to motivate the troops. The trick worked: the Flyers won Game 5 4-3. Back in Philadelphia, they were able to ride their momentum and Ron Hextall’s fantastic goaltending to another win by a score of 3-2. The series headed back to Northlands with the Flyers holding all the momentum. But once again, the Oilers found a way, winning the game 3-1. Ron Hextall won the Conn Smythe, becoming only the fourth player from the losing team to do so.
But I think the neatest thing about this win is that after accepting the Cup, Gretzky didn’t even hoist it…he promptly handed it off to Steve Smith.
Friday, June 02, 2006
The 1991 Smythe Division semi-final round saw the defending champion 3rd place Edmonton Oilers taking on the 2nd place Calgary Flames. The Flames were heavy favourites going into the series as they finished 20 points ahead of the Oilers in the standings. After four games, the Oilers found themselves ahead in the series 3 games to 1, but there was no quit in the Flames. Anybody who remembers this series will no doubt first recall the image of future loser Theoren Fleury sliding around on the ice in Game 6 of the series after the Flames had just knotted the series up at 3 games a piece with a 2-1 overtime victory at Northlands. That sent Game 7 back to the Saddledome. The Flames enjoy showing the Fleury celebration on their jumbotron videos, but the organization tends to have a selective memory because of what happens next. After 60 minutes, the two teams found themselves knotted at 4 goals a piece. Just before the 7 minute mark of overtime, Esa Tikkanen blasted a shot that found its way past Mike Vernon to complete the upset of the Flames.
The Oilers would defeat the LA Kings in 6 games in the Smythe final before losing to the upstart Minnesota North Stars in 5 games in the Campbell Conference Finals.
After this series was over, a temporary ceasefire was called in the Battle of Alberta. In 1993, the Oilers failed to make the playoffs for the first time, and while the Flames continued to enjoy regular season success for the next few years, they didn’t win a playoff series from 1989 until 2004. The Oilers returned to the post-season in 1997, but this time the Flames were on the outside looking in.
Tikk would be traded to the New York Rangers in 1993 for Doug Weight.