Football and Other Profanity

I'm watching the home town Montreal Alouettes squad take on Toronto Argonauts in CFL action on TSN. On a second down drive, Montreal running back Avon Colbourne takes a hand off from quarterback Anthony Calvillo and breaks through the Argos defence. Did I hear correctly? Did the colour commentator comment colourfully? He said "Holy shit".

But that's not all. As they tend to do in all sporting events, TSN showed a replay not a few seconds later. With audio.
"Holy shit."

Thirty seconds later, as they tend to do in sports programming, a replay of the last scoring drive was shown.
"Holy shit."

I don't usually post on the fly but I thought this was worth mentioning. I wish I had a PVR. I probably got the plays wrong. But it doesn't matter. Ha ha. Montreal is winning 41-10.
Anthony Calvillo


First Earth's Children Novel in 9 Years!

Every few months for the last five years I would search the internet trying find a bit of news on the author Jean Auel. I first heard of her novel Clan of the Cave Bear when the film of the same name was released in 1986. It starred Darryl Hannah at the peak of her career. From this film a whole series of movies based on the incredible novels were going to launch.
The movie tanked, it played to terrible reviews and a poor box office.

While I heard of the novels I did not read them until about six years ago. A good friend of mine recommended them and lent me her copies.

I was absolutely spellbound by Auel’s storytelling and description. She brought a world to life, more than almost any author I have ever read.
Now, the novels are a little wordy at times. And the same microscopically detailed scenes can be overly descriptive but this would be the novels' only rare flaw. She captures the emotions of each her characters and draws you into each moment of her tale.

The good news is finally here. Well, the news was announced in May but I just found out. The final novel in the Earth’s Children series will ultimately be released worldwide in March 2011.
There has not been a novel that I have anticipated more than this. I have read every Raymond E. Feist novel ever published and the year or two between his releases has occasionally been painful.

Auel's first three books, starting with The Clan of the Cave Bear in 1980, were released over a five year period.
Her next three novels, ending with next year’s The Land of Painted Caves will have taken 21 years to be published. Auel is not what anyone would call a prolific writer. It will be nine years since her last publication. If you have read any of her work you would know the research that is required to write one of her novels.

The Clan of the Cave BearThe Valley of HorsesThe Mammoth Hunters
Bantam plans on releasing ebook version of the Earth’s Children series.

From Amazon “Continuing the story of Ayla and Jondalar, Auel combines her brilliant narrative skills and appealing characters with a remarkable re-creation of the way life was lived more than 25,000 years ago.”

The books are adventure novels focusing on the period of coexistence between Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals. In the first novel, the main character, a young female Cro-Magnon is adopted into a family of Neanderthals. The story continues as Ayla and her mate Jondalar travel from present day Ukraine to what is now France.

Aside from the fantasy adventure, the novels focus on the romance between the two main characters through their travels and a detailed spotlight on herbal medicine, archaeology and anthropology.

The Plains of PassageThe Shelters of Stone (Earth's Children)The Land of Painted Caves: A Novel


Game of the Week PAC-XON !

Take two classic games. Mix them together and what do you get? You get Pac-Xon.

Pac-Xon is a clever mash up of Pac Man and Xonix (or Qix). Consider this a less repetitive version of Pac Man with a few more bells and whistles.

The idea of this game, and the original Qix, is to claim sections of the board until you have possession of 80%. You do this by building boxes, all the while avoiding the evil ghosts.

The game starts off easy enough but at each level more and more ghosts are thrown at you. Don’t forget to grab the fruit and power ups for some surprises.

This is a throw back game so don’t look for state-of-the-art graphics. It is basic and based on these two archetypal 80s games.The game board is controlled by your arrow keys.


The Expendables - HOLY CRAP!

I've been waiting for this movie for a while. I already want to see Expendables II. A team of mercenaries head to South America on a mission to overthrow a dictator. But wait, there is more. The movie stars Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, Terry Crews, Mickey Rourke, Charisma Carpenter, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Bruce Willis.
The Expendables
The Expendables will go into wide release in the U.S. August 10th and in Canada on the 13th.
It is the first Sylvestor Stallone directed film since 1983's Staying Alive (bahaha) that didn't involve Rambo or Rocky.

My reactions when I saw the roster of names? "HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Rumour has it both Steven Segal and Jean-Claude Van Damme were offered roles in the film but they turned it down. How stupid is that?

I also noticed that Chuck Norris wasn't in the film. I wondered about that too. He will probably make an appearance in the second one is my guess. (Thankfully Jeff Speakman isn't in it.) Charisma Carpenter is beautiful and earned her action stripes on Angel. What about the other female action stars are missing?

While not always the case, the men tend to be action stars first and later expand their acting skills. The women that I could think of, tend to be established actors before moving into the action film, Angelina Jolie, Milla Jovovich for example. They, as far as I know, are not in this film. Who else is missing?


The Open Road with John Hiatt

Over the last couple weeks I wanted to post a video from John Hiatt's latest release Open Road. The more I looked the more videos of his I watched. Hiatt is one of the greatest lyricists alive. He has been covered by tons of artists from Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, BB King, Jeff Healy, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and on it goes. He has been nomiated for eleven Grammies.
Hiatt plays a southern rock influenced by folk, country and the Blues.
Here he is performing Open Road on the Late Show with David Letterman.

During my drive back and forth to work last week I ended up listening to his 2003 release Beneath this Gruff Exterior. One song in particular stood out , Almost Fed Up with the Blues. Alas, while there is concert footage of Hiatt performing the song, I could not find a video for it.
I have most of his CDs, so, I went through his catalogue and remembered the first song of his that I ever did hear. The song that launched my interest in his music.  Hiatt has a gift for the turn of phrase. For example, "I always thought my house was haunted cuz nobody said boo to me." Watch here the title track from his 1988 release Slow Turning.

John Hiatt


I Glued My Fingers and Other Stupid Things

It's a long weekend for me and that usually means catching up on chores and errands and fixing things that broke in the previous couple of months. Yesterday I used the third item in the holy trinity of home repair, Crazy Glue. The others of course being duct tape and the telephone to call a real repair man.
I was really careful while using the super glue. I was so focused on not sticking my fingers together that I did not realize that my fingers were actually bonding to the tube.

What to do? No panic. That just isn't in me.

I know there is a risk of causing serious damage by attempting to peel the skin apart form the glue. But, well, I'm a male. And even if I have experienced it before, I learned from the last time I tried it and will just be more careful this time. Well, at least I did not cause any damage. The label came off the container and I didn't lose any skin. But the label was now stuck to my fingers.
Just a tip, acetone is the one weakness for super glue. If you have paint thinner, lighter fluid or nail polish remover you should be okay should an accident occur.

The Sunday edition of the Montreal Gazette will be disappearing in early August. It is no longer cost effective to produce a hard copy edition and the Sunday paper will only be available online. Most of the columns will be moved to other days of the week but so far there has been no mention of the Sunday comics.

Cul de Sac runs in the Sunday paper and is often brilliant. In today's I saw a little bit of myself and a little bit of my Dad. There is a Cliff Claven in all of us. The unwanted advice, the unwanted opinion or the random obscure trivia seems to creep out of nowhere.

What do you do if you unpack your groceries and realize that the cashier didn't pack all the items you purchased? Is $6.99 plus tax worth the drive across town to the grocery store?

I heard Def Leppard's Rock of Ages recently and decided to look up "gunter glieben glauchen globen". It doesn't mean anything. I was debating whether or not I should post the video. It is absolute 80s cheese. While the song is still listen-able the video bothers me. What the hell. Here it is.

And now we have all learned a lesson today. Def Leppard's music doesn't necessary stand up to the test of time, and you now know how to remove crazy glue from your skin.

Game of the Week - Chroma Wars !!

A "sequel" to Fantasy Kommander, Chroma Wars is a turn base strategy game where your goal is to defeat the hordes of enemies and capture their headquarters, meanwhile defending your own. There are in-game instructions to help you start off.

Place your soldiers on the chess-like grid, and attack your enemy using magic and technology.

As you beat each level, purchase more powerful soldiers and upgrade your army.

Command, upgrade and expand your army of infantry men, tanks and mechs to win every battle!


Radiohead's Philip Selway - From Drums to Vox

Philip Selway is best known as the drummer for Radiohead. While Radiohead is working on their next album in L.A. Selway is set to release his own CD in August. This first song By Some Miracle offers subtle singing from the guy who usually pounds away on the Radiohead drum kit. You can listen here and download a free mp3 directly from his website.

By Some Miracle by Philip Selway
Familial Philip Selway


World Cup Aftermath - The Letdown of Terrible Sports Programming

Talk about a letdown after the World Cup... I was eating my lunch in the kitchen at work yesterday watching Television. (I brought a tuna sandwich in case you were wondering. Tuna with onion, mustard, mayo, and lettuce in a pita). I forgot my newspaper at home so I was stuck in front of the tube. One of the national sports networks (RDS) was trying to fill their empty programming schedule with a show that consisted of killing things with guns. They took a commercial break and then came back with ten more minutes of birds falling from the sky.
Granted, it was a hunting show but oddly enough, there was very little commentary, only animals dying. It reminded me of America's Funniest Home Videos, without the bad jokes.

Amazingly enough I sat there and watched.

I work in a office of about 100 people and there were about twenty others in the kitchen at the time. None of the other office drones changed the channel. I suppose I was too spellbound, or in too much shock to get up and change the channel.

I cannot say that today's show was much better. The featured programming was Table Tennis. Fancy name Table Tennis. Ping Pong for the uncouth.
It's a sports channel. I should call and tell them that anything played on a table is not a sport. Poker, Chess, Billiards - not sports. Games, all of them. I love shooting pool and I enjoy the occasional game of poker. I know pool is often referred to as a table sport. Doesn't matter. 
Pool = Game. 
Ping Pong= Game.
Ping Pong or Table Tennis?

I'm still stuck on the table thing though. If you call table tennis a sport, than synchronized swimming would be considered a sport (OK that's a bit of a leap).
How can something be called a sport just because two people are doing it at the same time? Reminds me of simultaneous orgasms. Which of course are more challenging and harder to complete. Now that is a sport. And, funny enough, you can do it on a table.
I can do that


The Military, Hospitals, and Potential Parking Mayhem

I have to hope that this was intentional over at Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital. But the parking woes may continue if this isn’t resolved soon. Correct me as needed, but a hydro pole should not be in the entrance to a parking lot.

I imagine there are plans to reconfigure the sidewalk and move the electric pole but in the meantime, it makes for great comedy.

I want to mention that the Jewish General Hospital - a teaching hospital associated with McGill University - has done some great work in and around the city and community. Their July 11th, 2010 Ride to Conquer Cancer raised 5.7 million dollars for cancer research.

As a kid I wondered why the hospital was named after a Jewish general. And if it was named after a general why didn’t they just use his name? For example, it could have been the General Jerry Seinfeld Hospital instead of the Jewish General Hospital.

From this I determined that hospitals were run by the military. Not only were hospitals named after Generals, but they were also named Privates and Majors. More then once I heard an older relative say 'so and so was staying at the Private Hospital'. But the clincher was when I kept hearing news reports referring to Montreal’s Major Hospitals. I wondered why did they skip all those other ranks. You think that’s silly? They do have Veteran’s Hospitals, don’t they?


Road Rage Follow Up

According to a report at the The Montreal Gazette site, three men, were involved in a road rage incident outside the Jewish General hospital today. I wonder if it had anything to do with parking.

Search for road rage

AC/DC - It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)

From AC DC's December 1975 release, TNT features Bon Scott on vocals and bagpipes. Probably one of their best videos for the sheer energy and fun. TNT was their second album and was released five years before Scott's untimely death. This same album features a cover of Chuck Berry's School Days. Everybody knows Back in Black. Everybody should know It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll).




Sunday Game of the Week - Soccer Balls

Just in time for the World Cup Finals. The goal of of the game Soccer Balls is to get a red card. 

Did your team lose? Was your country unfairly eliminated? Should the World Cup have instant replay? Do you want to take it out on the referees?
Make the referee angry by hitting him in the head with a soccer ball. Choose your team jersey, be it the Dutch or Spain, England, USA or Germany, etc. (hmm. why isn't there a Canadian jersey?)


Get Your Motor Running - Road Rage

Get Your Motor Running. Head out on the highway. Anyone that knows me will tell you I am pretty easy going. I admit to a temper and I do get angry. But I don’t lose my temper. Well, rarely. My point is that I fit within those parameters to be considered just a normal guy. I am usually reserved, occasionally emotional. No extreme behaviours.

What I want to know is what turns us into complete asses when we get behind the wheel of a car?
I am not necessarily talking of extreme road rage where someone gets out the car and attacks other people or throws things. I am speaking of that point before it escalates. What makes us so irate? How do otherwise calm and normal people suddenly become angry?

What specifically sets us off?

Last week my elderly neighbour and I pulled out of the garage seconds apart from each other. He was ahead of me by a couple car lengths.
He turned right. I turned right.
He turned left. I turned left.
He took the merge onto the highway, I followed right after.
He swerved over three lanes to the left. I slowed down.
He swerved over three lanes to the right. I assumed he dropped his 8-Track tape so I slowed down to keep some safe distance.
A warning tap on the horn seemed to wake him up and he found his bearing and drove off – in a straight line.

I kept my cool. This time.

I heard one radio psychologist offer an explanation. She indicated that emotional immaturity would be the most likely cause of road rage. The individual is not capable of considering the other person’s perspective or emotions.

This week I was driving on a busy part of the highway. For the Montreal readers – the raised Met, just east of St. Laurent.
One of those box trucks – probably a 24-footer - cut me off.
I had to hit the breaks, there was absolutely no where for me to go, or swerve. Out of necessity I honked my horn to warn him off.
Despite this, the driver continued forward and sent some hand gestures my way. He stopped his sign language when he seemed to notice the police car to my left. Now, I do not know if either the police officer or truck driver saw me give the finger. But I reacted. I am a much calmer driver than I used to be. This was the first time in years I gave someone the finger while driving. 

I did get out of my car a couple years back after a cab driver cut me off three times. The first time was by accident. He did not like the fact that I honked the horn, so he swerved to block me and attempted to drive me off the road. That one ended peacefully after a brief verbal exchange. I remained calm, but common sense says that I should not have stepped out of the car.

From everything I have read, road rage can include aggressive speeding, cutting people off, weaving in and out of traffic, flashing your lights, rude gestures, yelling abuse, honking the horn, and of course hitting someone or throwing objects.

Rather then lump all driving behaviours together, I would prefer to separate the behaviours into three categories. Road Rage, Aggressive Behaviour and Aggressive Driving
Although, there is some overlap, at the extreme end, Road Rage would include physical violence, threats, attempts to injure. 
Aggressive behaviour could also cover abusive language, honking the horn, intentionally cutting people off, rude gestures.
Aggressive Driving would probably cover, peeling tires, excessive speeding and cutting people off but not with the intent of injury towards another person. This category could be interchangeable with unsafe or reckless driving.

What makes us do these things?

Even calm and otherwise well behaved people fall into this trap. We can control ourselves in the supermarket and at work. What happens in the car?

I indicated earlier that I am a calmer driver than I was years ago. The first event that gave me perspective was a 36 hour road trip with friends some years ago. You spend 36 hours in a car with three other smelly loud immature obnoxious 20-something year olds and tell me it doesn’t change you. 
After that, sitting in traffic for 45 minutes does not seem nearly as bad.

The other thing that altered my perspective was the realization that I have unintentionally cut people off. Why should I get angry at someone who cut in front of me in error? I wave an apology and I immediately see the changed look on the other persons face. Anger turns to forgiveness with that typical wave and nod of the head.
I did not intend for this to be a lesson. I suppose I am still looking for answers. But if you do not mind the suggestion, be a courteous driver, always signal, do not tailgate, don’t cut through parking lots at odd angles, and do not flash your high beams. And when you wave, wave with all five fingers.


The Presidents of the United States of America - Rot in the Sun

PUSA, Presidents of the USA
The Presidents rock. You can call them Presidents of the United States of America, Presidents of the USA, or PUSA. Whatever you call them, the Presidents rock. The Presidents haven't had much airplay in recent times. They first made it big with their 1995 releases Peaches and Lump. But PUSA are still performing and releasing great music. There is no better theme than singing about rotting in the sun for this summer's anthem? The video is wacky and fun. Listen or watch Rot in the Sun.


Wired on Coffee

Ever have too much coffee to enjoy your coffee? My big plan was to drive out to the old neighbourhood, meet up with friends, have a café latte and spend the morning reading the papers. An hour and a half and two café lattes later I was too wired from the coffee to sit and read the paper. When my friends left I had to get going.

It's an eventful day in Montreal. Being Independence Day for our American neighbours there are several 4th of July festivities going on. In the old neighbourhood it's also San Marziale day. Every year, usually in August, a street party and parade are held in the Mile End. The late owner of the coffee shop, set up the festival to honour the patron saint of his home town parish in Italy. the marching band was out in full force. I skipped the street vendors and concerts. The signs indicating that the streets would be closed had "Sam Marziele" written on them. Everybody here speaks two or more languages. Nobody speaks any of them correctly.

I also got to see an evacuation at HEC, a Montreal university specializing in business programs. It seems a suspicious package was found on the campus and a couple hundred people had to be evacuated. There were about ten police cars and plenty of officers. Being a Sunday in July there were not a lot of people on campus today, but there are exams taking place.

Which reminds me, there was a terrorist attack in Trois Rivieres on July 2nd. Trois Rivieres - or Three Rivers - is 140 kms north-east of Montreal. A Canadian Forces Recruitment centre was bombed earlier this week. There were no injuries and so far no arrests. A Quebec based group - I won't mention their name - claimed responsibility. They have an anti-military stance and have criticized Canada's involvement in Afghanistan and the police activity at the G20 summit in Toronto.

Three games left to decide who wins the World Cup? Or as some have suggested it's already been decided with the elimination of the favourites. I'm looking forward to the Cup wrapping up so I can focus my attention on some good old Canadian Football.

Sunday Game Of The Week - Sonny

Sonny is my pick for game of the week. This could very well be the game of the decade. Sonny is an interactive epic RPG. Hosted at Armor Games, the cool graphics and great characters helped make Sonny one of the classics. It is also one of the most popular web games in recent years. In Sonny, you get thrown into the battle immediately as a reanimated corpse, gaining allies, weapons and strength and move through this linear story line, all the while guided by some basic scripted dialogue.

The author, Jakrin Juanbanich, better known as Krin, has put out several other terrific games but Sonny is my favourite. The game takes you through turned based battles against humans and humanoids of ever increasing power. Sonny is popular, already over 7 million gameplays on Armor Games, so popular it garnered a sequel. Sonny II has had 14 million hits. I consider the original far superior to the sequel. It's not new, but if you haven't discovered it yet, it's time to play Sonny.


Some Lies About Canada. Happy Canada Day!

I have not been able to verify the following information. But I wrote it so it must be true. Some Lies About Canada. Happy Canada Day. 
Majestic Canadian Flag
  • Canadians do not use pain killers.
  • Canada has nine months of winter and three months of road repair.
  • The Inuit of Northern Canada have 17 different words for "fart".
  • English speaking male Canadians of Eastern European descent living on the Island of Montreal have larger feet than other Canadians.
  • When you flush a toilet in Canada the water simultaneously flows clockwise and counter clockwise.
  • In Canada, static electricity is a trade-able commodity.
  • Canada Day was created on July 1st simply to steal the thunder from the American Independence Day.
  • In Canada we do not have revolving doors. We have rotating doors.
  • French graffiti in the province of Quebec must be twice the size of English graffiti.
  • Home computers in Canada have been recently upgraded from VIC-20s to Commodore 64s.
  • Most people believe the beaver to be the national animal of Canada. But if you look closely, just behind the beaver, there is a ferocious two headed griffin.
    The Beaver


    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I

    With an expected North American release date of November 2010 can the next to last Harry Potter movie live up to the hype and momentum of the previous six films? The 3-D release may help. Here comes Harry Potter 7, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I.

    Part 1 begins as Harry, Ron and Hermione set out on their perilous mission to track down and destroy the secret to Voldemort's immortality and destruction—the Horcruxes.

    Meanwhile, the wizarding world has become a dangerous place for all enemies of the Dark Lord. The long-feared war has begun and Voldemort's Death Eaters seize control of the Ministry of Magic and even Hogwarts, terrorizing and arresting anyone who might oppose them. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II is scheduled for a summer 2011 release.
    Harry Potter

    Happy 143rd Birthday Canada!! Some Truths About Canada

    Happy Canada Day. You don't look a day over 140. In honour of Canada’s birthday I compiled a list of Canadiana, facts that you may, or may not know.

    -Kanata is the St. Lawrence-Iroquoian word for village.

    -According to StatsCan, Canada’s estimated population as of April 2010 was: 34,018,957.

    -In 2008, 519,722 arrivals immigrated to Canada. 

    -We are bigger than a breadbox, covering 9,984,670 sq. km, (3,855,103 sq. mi.) making us the second largest country just behind Russia.

    -Our first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald was born in Glasgow Scotland.
    Prime Minister Stephen Harper was born in Toronto.

    -Canadians consume more macaroni and cheese then any other country in the world

    -The province of Alberta has been completely free of rats since 1905.

    -The red flag with a white square and a red maple leaf was adopted on February 15, 1965

    -Before 1965 we flew a British maritime flag.

    The Coat of Arms was proclaimed by King George V on November 21, 1921 it has four quarters that represent the founding peoples of Canada: England, France, Ireland and Scotland.

    -The border between Canada and the United States is officially known as the International Boundary. At 8408 kms (5,525 miles), including 2475 kms (1,538 miles) between Canada and Alaska, it is the world's longest border between two nations.
    According to 2010 Estimates the breakdown of the population by age is 
    0-14 years: 15.9% (male 2,7 million / female 2.6 million)
    15-64 years: 68.6% (male 11,7 million / female 11,4 million)
    65 years and over: 15.5% (male 2,2 million / female 2,9 million)

    This means there are more males in my age group then females. That must be why I am still single!

    Ethnic groups:
    British Isles origin 28%
    French origin 23%
    Other European 15%
    Amerindian 2%
    Other, mostly Asian, African, Arab 6%, 
    Mixed background 26%.

    Despite my name, I fall under the “other European” category.

        Religions                     %
    Roman Catholic
    Christian Orthodox
    Christian (Other)
    No Religion

    One of the biggest differences between Canada and the United States is the use of the English language. Americans do not use it properly. (I believe I have just alienated half of my readers). Here below are some differences between Canadian and American Spelling. For a more extensive list of spelling comparisons please go here.

    canceled, cancelled

    Happy Canada Day! Enjoy. Celebrate. Don't drink and drive.