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Archive for January, 2010

Bye-Bye Byng, Dallas Deterioration, Jersey Originality FAIL, and the PIM Ploy.

January 31, 2010 9 comments

Is it just me, or did the Pittsburgh Penguins, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators, and Colorado Avalanche all get lazy when it came to 3rd jersey design time?  Maybe they just had nothing at the deadline, and blindly approved blue uniforms; when blue isn’t even one of their official team colors?  Did the Predators just rip off a Maple Leafs symbol and stitch on that stupid prehistoric cat with the major incisor issue? Did Florida not notice that Chicago, Minnesota, St Louis, and Pittsburgh all already did the emblem with the symbol in the middle and team name circled around it, and that the Blues and Pens already did it with the same colors?  How many people in the NHL were asleep at the wheel here?   

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If I were the type of person who was looking for players to make my team better, why in the world would I want to be on the lookout for a player with a lot of PIM’s?  Isn’t getting penalties, sitting in the box for varying periods of time, and making your team play with a man down because of your error, and increasing the likelihood of being scored on, a bad thing?  It boggles my mind that players will get chosen over others based on this stat, because the player with high PIM’s is supposed to make the team “tougher”.  There are lots of players who play a physical style that can make a team tougher and don’t have to sit in the penalty box to show it.   I just saw a sidebar on TV that said Keith Tkachuk moved into the top 5 all-time PIM leaders with just shy of 2200.  Errm… congrats, Keith, you sat in the penalty box for 36 games worth of time.  Thanks for helping out…

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Now that Wayne Gretzky and Joe Sakic have both retired, and Pavel Datsyuk has won the trophy three years in a row, is it time to do away with the Lady Byng Award for the NHL’s most gentlemanly player?  Does anyone in the league care, or aspire to win it anymore (did they ever?)?  Like WWE did with the European and Light Heavyweight championship belts; maybe the NHL should slowly stop talking about it, never show it on camera, and very sneakily just phase it out.  In the era of the Sean Avery’s, Steve Downie’s, and Dan Carcillo’s, maybe the NHL should in contrast introduce the Johnny Knoxville Award for biggest jackass of the year; as hockey tips slightly closer to “entertainment” for the sake of selling the game in an American market, and is certainly not dissuading the behaviour.    

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Marty Turco is the most over-rated goalie in the NHL.  For a guy considered for Team Canada a few times, he really doesn’t ever get it done, does he? 

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Speaking of Dallas Stars, Mike Modano seems to be just hanging on to that spot of his (and a few other classics in the league, I might add) in Dallas, doesn’t he?  He’s earning his keep, but as that era of players seems to be drawing to a close, it’s enough to wonder how much longer he can keep from going the way of the dinosaur.  He’s always been a really good player; recently I heard him described as “the best skater I ever saw” by a former NHL’er.  For some reason, he could never keep that Captain’s “C” on his jersey.  I always secretly liked him as a player (it helped that he wears my number); but as an American, my Canadian pride refused to allow it.   

Serenity Now Mailbag: Should We Help Home or Haiti?

January 24, 2010 8 comments

From time to time, I get people who write me ideas to blog about, so I’ve decided to start a “mailbag” section.  Our first one deals with the emergency and relief in Haiti, after the recent earthquake.

Dear Dave,

 We all send money in an instant when a disaster strikes somewhere. Well what about our own people?  They live on hard cold concrete yearly and they all have mental problems and need something more than what our government is doing.  Our government sends millions of dollars over there [to Haiti], and ships other supplies, and we hear about it on the news.  It breaks my heart to hear [that the earthquake happened], and it sucks, but it is a natural disaster, and we should be looking at why we didn’t help them [with other situations] before this happened and you started hearing all kinds of cool things that are going on there now.
Great, but what did these people do before the disaster who are giving [their] money and time?  Did they wake up and have a brain fart and go, “I’m [just] going to send money.” ? That’s great, but do they help our Canadians who are in need?  I don’t mean the food banks that are helping single parents on income assistance and such; [but] here in Canada people charge money to their cell phones [to donate to Haiti relief], but why don’t they do the same for the people who are in dire need here at home?  Same with the government, who do nothing for them.
Lots of celebrities like to make a big deal about how much they are donating, but I say the people that count are the people that do it and say nothing at all.

-Adrian

An interesting point of few, that reminds me of a similar story in recent media.  On January 14, controversial Florida-based radio DJ, “Bubba The Love Sponge” (whose show is broadcast on Howard Stern’s Sirius/XM Satellite Radio channel), made the following comment via his Twitter account:

I say fuck Haiti. Why do we have to take care of everybody [else], our country is in shambles.”

He then clarified his controversial statement in a series of “tweets” three days later: 

When we don’t have kids that are on the streets here in America, and we have a surplus of money, and we have paid China the 60 or so trillion we owe them, and we are no longer losing American troops’ lives over a religious war that has been going on longer than we have been a country, and we have most of our own working again (unemployement is over 10% now btw), then we can start worrying about other countries and natural acts beyond our control. Where were all these people we are helping when we had the Midwest floods, or the 5 Hurricanes in ‘05 that hit Florida, or Huricane Andrew or Katrina? Take the money you want to send to Haiti and go to a Big Brothers or Big Sisters and mentor a child that doesn’t have a dad or mom; and give that little boy or girl a chance and a hope of being something great that would benefit our country more than Haiti relief. Bubba.”

Unfortunately for Bubba, it was too little, too late; as he got a face full of fists from Awesome Kong shortly after (a legit fight).

Surprisingly, I’ve heard other opposition to Haiti relief as well, and people are entitled to their opinion on the matter.  A lot of people have concerns about if the money actually makes it to Haiti (or any country that is in need of relief), or whether their money is making someone on the other end richer than before, and not at all helping the people it was intended for.  If that is something stopping you from sending money, the Government of Canada has provided a searchable database of registered charities that are sending money and supplies to Haiti that you can lookup any charity that you are questioning legitimacy.  Sure, there are scammers out there; but there are people and organizations genuinely trying to help as well, and they shouldn’t be overlooked.

Our Government has also announced it will match all donations made by Canadians to the effort.  AND you may not know that they also forgave Haiti’s entire monetary debt to us last July.  Check out that little tidbit here.  Let’s just hope that other countries are that generous to us if we find ourselves in a similar situation in the future.

I think both Adrian and Bubba raise an interesting point though; which is that there are plenty of people at home that are in desperate need of assistance as well for altogether different reasons.  I just can’t say that giving money to help Haiti is a bad idea; but maybe if you are still considering making a donation, or can still afford to give more, why not match or give a little to a local homeless shelter, or food bank, or something in your own city?  Not everyone can afford to give money, and that’s fine.  Lots of people think of creative ways to raise money, and there’s always different ways besides giving money to get involved in this charity and others.  If you are able to, you should get involved.  

            “Give to the poor.”

                        -Jesus: Matthew 19:21; Mark 10:21; Luke 12:33

What about you?

Also, on behalf of Christians everywhere, I’d like to apologize for tele-evangelist, Pat Robertson’s comments on January 13 that insinuated that the earthquake was a result of Haiti being under a curse from making a pact with The Devil to oust the French from their country in the 1700′s.  Even if there was someway to actually prove that, the comment was untimely and out of line at best.  He should’ve kept his mouth shut; making that comment served no positve or reasonable purpose imaginable.  Sorry.

Elevator Rage Elevation, Ironic Trust, Chubby Chicken, and The Worst-Kept-Secret Service.

January 17, 2010 4 comments

 

Do we still have to call them the “Secret Service” if everyone knows about them and can easily identify them?  Considering they let random, un-invited people into Presidential functions, are they even performing

Don't even worry about fitness, they accept old fat guys too. They absorb bullets easier.

the “Service” portion of their title anymore?  Hilariously, you can even go to www.secretservice.gov and click “Who We Are” under the “About” tab, and presumably learn … who … they … are?  Isn’t that a secret too?  Also, don’t worry about being approached by a man in a trenchcoat in a dark alley one night who recruits you and makes yo give up your identity to join the service… all you have to do is click under the “Employment” tab.  Methinks this program is in need of a revamp…

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In a health-conscious age, What in the world was A&W thinking, calling some of their poultry items “Chubby Chicken”?  That’s right up there with calling your joint “Fatburger”, which I just learned, is partially owned by Queen Latifah.  Follow up with your own joke, if you can connect the dots.  There’s a couple of talent agents out there that need to be punched in the face for giving their clients the ol’ “No press is bad press” routine.

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Is it interesting to anyone else that after years of TV, radio and newspaper reporters hunting down stories, embellishing reports, and generally burying people to get their piece in print or on the evening news; that these very same news outlets are going under with the rest of the economy, and are looking for their federal governments to bail them out with the tax money they collect from the very same people that they slander (To be fair, of course their are many outlets that report correct, informative and unbiased material)  The very politicians they’re requesting funds from probably take some of the worst of it all.  Should we let them just fade away?  Probably not; but that’s not to say it wouldn’t be justified in some cases.

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Does it infuriate anyone else when they go into an elevator, select their desired floor, press the “door close” button ( –> <–), and the door DOESN’T CLOSE?!?!?  What in the world is the function of this button if it doesn’t perform the only logical duty its pictorial reference indicates?  Why install a button to tease people?  Is there a guy hiding in the rafters keeling over laughing every time someone presses the button and gets mildly annoyed while they have to wait for the elevator door to close on its own?

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For a culture that has been fuelled on paranoia of criminal activity for so long, there are at least 2 situations that seem to be impenetrable by fear of bad things happening.

First, the airport.  No, we’re still afraid of terrorists hijacking planes, BUT we sure don’t seem too worried about our luggage, do we?  We haphazardly bring it up to the agent, weigh it, tag it, drop it off like a first-grader at school, and send it on its way through that little door out to the back; and then trust that no one in a group of hundreds will steal our bags when we get to our destination and they come falling down the chute and onto a rotating conveyor belt that anyone can easily snag without question from an authority.  Usually, you get your bags; but we absolutely throw a tantrum when we don’t.  I do think the system moves luggage from a to b faster than a formal bag identification system would; but it’s at least interesting that we’ve allowed airlines to handle our possessions in this way for so long and never made much of a scene about it, isn’t it?

Second, the ski-resort outdoor ski/snowboard rack.  You’re up on a very public hill with hundreds of other people, you stop for lunch or some other reason, and prop your plenty expensive skis or board up against the rack; unlocked, without a care in the world.  You come back and hope that no one’s rode off with your $800 board and $500 bindings, or similarly priced ski stuff.  Seems to work though, I’ve still got all my stuff.

 

Stuff That Sucks 3: Smoking on Airplanes for Dummies, and Front-Desk Bell Ringer Roulette.

January 11, 2010 2 comments

Amongst my recent travels, I found a few more pictures that have to be seen to be believed.

First, upon entry into the airplane’s secret mini-world known as its bathroom, I noticed some signage that seemed fairly contradictory and absurd. Now, In case you haven’t been on a plane since 1965, you should be made aware that you’re no longer allowed to smoke cigarettes on them. Apparently, I’ve heard, there was a time where this was commonplace; but this is afterall, 2010, and sorry smokers, but, it’s over. In fact, it’s been over for a long time.

If you have taken a plane anytime over the last 40 years, you may have seen the illuminated cigarette crossed out with a large red “X” that never becomes un-illuminated above your head, beside the “fasten seatbelt” sign that does frequently change illumination (so you can be assured there isn’t an electrical issue with either sign).

You may also have picked up on the flight attendants mentioning that you’re not allowed to smoke, in case you’re… blind. If you are blind, there’s even Braille for you (but then again, if you’re blind, you’re not even reading this are you, unless there’s an insurance agency that you’ve been scamming for quite sometime. Not sure why I’m writing a sidebar for blind-folks; seems like a waste of time… I digress).

Between any of these informative outlets, surely you picked up on the notification of the large fine that accompanies smoking on the plane, or tampering with the smoke detectors. So just so we’re all clear, smoking is frowned upon in planes. Everyone on the same page?

So as I was saying, I went to use the airplane washroom, and on the inside of the door, the following is posted: One last reminder that smoking is not allowed, and then, right below it, AN ASHTRAY. Not a garbage can, wastebasket, or any non-cigarette affiliated disposal unit; a little pull-out box made specifically for cigarettes to be snuffed out in. There’s even a nice little picture that shows you what to do, in case ashtrays were a little too advanced for your mental comprehension.

Why do we continue to enable the stupidity that we fight so hard against by instilling laws, fines, and warnings for breaking the rules that we set?

Also, while you’re on the can having a smoke, you can ring the bell and have the flight attendant bring you a drink, or perhaps a light.

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Everyone who works for a place that has a bell at its front desk hates that bell. The look you get from the staff that comes to help you after you ring their bell should be proof enough of this point. They would much rather shine that bell up real nice, turn it sideways, and show you a new place to put it that isn’t on their desk, and will be much more uncomfortable for you.

In turn, as a customer of a place with a bell, don’t we just love to ring the bell? Most people will give a moderate one ring strike, knowing full well of the rage the sound is tempting. Others will play a modified drum solo on them, and roll the dice on their lifespan with every tone.

So don’t mind me while I doubt the inviting sincerity of the sign that says “Please Ring Bell for Service”, and the fake-happy “How may I help you?” that accompanies it. Let’s just all be honest with each other; most people don’t like the bell, and the ones that do shouldn’t be allowed to play with them in the first place. Can we think of a better system?

Math For Millions, Monopoly, Kelowna Cul-dEASE-Sac’s, Jay-Walkers, and Jail.

January 5, 2010 4 comments

I’m sorry I’ve been neglecting you for so long.  My excuse is that it’s been Christmas holidays, and now my wife and I are on vacation in Phoenix, Arizona visiting Justin Bourne (writer for the USA Today, Hockey News, and his own blog www.jtbourne.com), and his awesome fiance Brianna; where we have been stealing citrus tree fruit in large amounts(freshly stolen picked organic oranges, grapefruits, and lemons are incredible),  avoiding responsibility, and generally enjoying not being cold. 

 I also played the first game of Monopoly I’ve ever completed, and won (if you follow me on Twitter, my collected bounty was the right to abuse Bourne’s Re-tweets).  I then subsequently completed my second game the next night.  And lost.  Monopoly’s insane.  I bet you’ve walked away from more games than you’ve finished too.

Anyways, Happy New Year! Lets get on with the non-sense already… 

Is it really fair to require lottery winners to answer a skill testing question correctly in order to claim their winnings? Sure, anyone with a high-school math education SHOULD be able to answer them, but don’t you feel bad for the guy that matches all the numbers for a few million dollars, pencils in his answer, and then has his prize rejected because he got the question wrong? Or the lady who has been poor her whole life, scraped together her nickels and dimes to purchase a ticket, wins the big one, could set her and her whole family free of debt, and muffs the math question because she failed to recollect BEDMAS (Brackets, E… uh, oh) from her secondary school education 50 years ago? Are we really only allowing (moderately) intelligent people to win money? Smells like a discrimination lawsuit to me. 

Yeah, you did win, but as a result of this test, we don’t believe you are mentally capable of possessing this amount of money…” 

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Traffic circles have irked me for a long time. I hate them. They have no place in our cities. Sure they increase traffic flow, cause less accidents (except when they’re built too narrow, and a semi-truck approaches the first corner), and generally have nice potted flowers in the middle. But they just look so stupid. Who are we kidding; they’re Cul-de-Sac’s with multiple entry and exit points. Everyone knows Cul-de-Sac’s have one-and-the-same entry and exit, and only go at the end of small residential streets. Somehow, they are continuing to multiply in our cities. At last count, Kelowna was housing around 5 that I’ve seen. Something needs to be done, and quick.  Stop being so Euro, us! 

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Speaking of traffic violations, Jay-walkers. Hey guys, look, I’m one of you. I get crazy too some days, feel like breaking the law, and cross the street at un-marked areas frequently. I did it about 6 times this afternoon. But can I get a little hustle out of the rest of you? Even just swooshing your arms at an elevated speed to create the illusion that you’re running? You’re not on the white-dashed lines, we’ve established that, so you’re technically fair game out there. The audacity of the strolling jay-walker; casually, nonchalant, actually staring down a driver who has selflessly slowed down for this borderline community service candidate is absolutely mesmerizing. Don’t be a halfway jay-walker either. You’re either in or you’re out. You have no business floating on the yellow line waiting for the other side to grant you an opening. You gotta find a full street-width opening, and get ‘er goin. You simply cannot expect anyone to stop for you; treat it like it’s life and death (would you give me serious injury?). The only exception to this is the bumper to bumper traffic jam, in which the road has become similar to a parking lot. Frogger methodology may be invoked at the Jay-walker’s discretion in this scenario. 

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I don’t believe I could get drugs if I tried. I’d be terrified to even attempt it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not requesting them here; I’m just stating my inability to acquire them. People are doing them, all over the place. Smuggling, trafficking, drugs are certainly present pretty much everywhere. My home province is well known for them. Rappers rhyme about them, and I know people who have done them. But I’m now so far removed from those people, and utterly frightened to run into an undercover cop, be mauled by a drug sniffing dog, be caught on camera, and every other thing that would lead to a criminal record, jail time, and/or having my freedom to travel internationally revoked; that I shudder at the sheer schematics of me even endeavouring in obtaining them. That plus, I don’t need or want them for any reason. Please don’t offer me drugs.

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