The Shotgun Blog
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Another Fall Spent Bird Hunting In Alberta
Finally, I taste of summer has hit Alberta. Just in time for winter. However, the timing of this Indian Summer has been just the thing for outdoor enthusiasts and bird hunters like me in particular. With the weather in check, Knox headed East a couple of weeks, back to the Alberta-Saskatchewan border, in search of sharp-tailed grouse and Hungarian partridge.
Our first morning out was promising. We ran into a covey of partridge right away, followed by a fairly large gang of sharp-tails just down the road. Birds were acquired and smiles were abundant. Thereafter, the birds were a little more spotty, but we still managed to find our share. Great luck considering that landowners we came across told us that the hatch was affected by a cold, wet June, so they hadn't seen many birds around. While it was far from a banner year in terms of bird numbers, we ran into enough to fill our days and our bags and to give us sufficient reason to drink good wine at sunset, while cleaning our birds.
In addition to the amazing cover, there was water in every slough and pot-hole we came across. Grass was green and tall as I said before, which should make for a barnburner bird year next year if we have a mild winter.
Anyway, get out in the sticks and chase some birds this year. Your efforts will be rewarded. Make sure to bring a sufficient supply of bird-cleaning wine, a bunch of Skoal bandits (I prefer Mint) and a few ice cold Miller Genuine Drafts so that you can use one to wash down your lunch hour sausage and pepper sandwich (one of Knox's old pals roasts his own peppers and they are first rate).
Oh, the wine - 2005 Cabernet Franc from Wing Canyon in Napa Valley and 2003 Jaffurs Syrah. Both were dynamite and were suitable rewards for some hard-walking across the bald prairie.
Thursday, June 04, 2009
Olympic athletes too stupid to buy their own condoms?
One would assume that athletes who qualify to participate in the Winter Olympics in Vancouver next year are likely to be very organized and of at least average intelligence too. But the IOC apparently thinks that the men and women who will be competing at Whistler and Vancouver in 2010 are so stupid that they don't know about sexually transmitted diseases and, even if they do, they don't know how to go about purchasing condoms. One is forced to this conclusion on evidence of the news that, as part of a "play safe" program, the IOC will be providing the athletes with 50,000 free condoms in February. Give me a break.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Canadian Georges "Rush" St-Pierre defeats B.J. Penn to retain UFC welterweight title
2008 Canadian athlete of the year, and one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, Montreal native Georges St-Pierre defeated B.J. Penn by technical knock out in the fourth round.
St-Pierre dominated the second, third and fourth round, before Penn's corner indicated that Penn would not continue on to the fifth and final round.
You can read the details on the Sports Illustrated blog here.
USA Today reports on the fight:
BJ Penn's two-belt dream disappeared beneath four rounds of non-stop pressure from welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.
St-Pierre, of Montreal, thoroughly dominated Penn with a grinding, unrelenting ground-and-pound barrage over the last three rounds of their fight on Saturday at UFC 94, in Las Vegas. Although scheduled for five rounds, the fight was stopped after the fourth round on the advice of the ringside doctor. [...]
The matchup was billed as a bout between two of the world's most skilled fighters, with St-Pierre and Penn rated among the top four in several pound-for-pound ranking lists, including those of Sports Illustrated and Yahoo Sports. Online oddsmakers listed St-Pierre as a slight favorite.
St-Pierre (18-2) has won both of his fights against Penn (13-5-1), whom he beat via split decision in March 2006.
Saturday's bout was only for the belt of the welterweight division (170 pounds). St-Pierre said he now views rising star Thiago Alves as the top contender for the welterweight championship.
Matthew Johnston, publisher of the Western Standard, is a mixed martial arts fan, sponsoring fighters like Misty Sutherland. Read Johnston's take on Republican presidential candidate John McCain's anti-MMA comments here.
While a Canadian continues to dominate the sport, receives athlete of the year honours, and can fight in his home province of Quebec, the sport is still illegal in Ontario. The culprit is section 83.1 of the criminal code which prohibits "prizefighting" (fighting for money) unless the contestants wear gloves that are a minimum of "140 grams each in mass."
UFC has expressed a desire to host an Ontario event (most probably at the Rogers Centre) in late 2009. Of course, it would have to be legal first.
Ontario: legalize it.
You can vote in our online poll here:
(Link here, if the poll doesn't show up for you)
UPDATE (Feb. 1): You may be able to watch videos of yesterday's fights here.
After the fight, GSP spoke with ESPN commentators about his fight:
Saturday, January 10, 2009
These NHL records won't fall
Earlier this week, I watched on TV as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Edmonton Oilers 4-2. Steve Bernier, in the second period, scored two goals in 12 seconds.
Amazingly, despite the Vancouver Canuck's anemic record over the years, that is not the team record. The fastest two goals by one Canuck record was set by Gerry O'Flaherty with two in nine seconds in 1974.
That got me thinking. Due to the nature of how hockey is played these days, Steve Bernier would probably not usually be allowed to try for the fastest three goals through having three consecutive shifts, with player shifts as a rule being much quicker than in previous decades. Bill Mosienko's record of the fastest ever hat trick--21 seconds--may be safe forever, due to how the game is now played.
I would say that Gretzky's career scoring records may never be broken. Perhaps his single season scoring records too.
Are there any NHL records that you think will never be shattered?
Sunday, January 04, 2009
Every now and then there is justice and people are punished for being willfully stupid. An example today in the Vancouver Sun:
Three skiers and a snowboarder were rescued this afternoon after ducking under a boundary rope at Grouse Mountain. "Grouse Mountain Safety Patrol made voice contact with the individuals, and despite instructions to return to the controlled recreation area, the four males ignored instructions and proceeded into an extremely hazardous and avalanche prone area," said a press release issued by the mountain... "The group face lifetime revocation of privileges at Grouse Mountain, and will be billed the full expense of the search and recovery effort," the release said. Grouse Mountain donates all costs collected from people who have been rescued back to the North Shore search team, which is staffed by volunteers. The names of the four will also be circulated to all ski resorts in B.C.
With a modest annual search and rescue budget of about $5,000, Sheriff Eikens is tiring of rescuing people who do not take necessary precautions. Last year, he oversaw the recovery of a snowboarder whose camera-equipped helmet allowed him to film his own death. States that track such data, including Colorado and Oregon, say hikers are actually more likely to need rescue help than climbers. Mountaineers say many in the public do not appreciate such statistics and continue to see climbers as reckless daredevils. Search and rescue expert Daryl Miller, district ranger at Denali National Park, said attaching a price tag to rescues would send the wrong message. At the same time, Denali rangers emphasize that the safety of the park's rescue teams comes first, so they may skip an especially treacherous effort. "Rescue here is not guaranteed," said Miller. "Our motto has been: your emergency may not be our emergency."
It's not uncontroversial. There are two common criticisms of the idiot-pay system, one aesthetic and one reasonable. The aesthetic objection is to the image of the hero demanding payment after rescuing the fair damsel. The hero is supposed to be selfless and to mosey off into the sunset afterward, not sic a collection agency on you. Keep in mind, that idealized hero is a lone volunteer, not a unionized public sector employee with state-funded helicopters, workers compensation benefits and a pension plan. Who is the real victim in these cases anyways? The spoiled brat who skis off the trail in spite of warnings? Or the unionized helicopter pilot who's required to fly in a blizzard? Next is the reasonable objection:
"We believe most rescue activity is a public safety function," said Lloyd Athearn, deputy director of the American Alpine Club. "If I get into a car wreck and the police come to the wreck, I don't get a bill from the police officer for his time. So why should I get a bill from a county sheriff if I need a rescue?"
It's a fair question, though if you flip it around, it brings us to my point. If someone who skis off the trail gets billed for their rescue, why does someone who crashes their car get rescued for free? This man is objecting because it seems that by being billed for their rescues, skiers, climbers and hikers are being singled out. And he has a point. Not that skiers et al shouldn't be billed, but that drivers should be billed -- and not just them.
This could be employed with other so-called victims. Swimmers who go out too far, boaters who don't bring enough gas or who have engine trouble, even people who burn down their house at Christmas because they left their cheap tree lights on too long.
If getting "extreme" on the ski-hill cost me $2,500 I'd think twice -- as I suspect those 4 skiers are belatedly doing today.
Friday, January 02, 2009
Right player, wrong honour
Perhaps I do not understand how the Order of Canada is supposed to work.
I was under the impression that the Order was designed to recognize a lifetime's worth of acheivement. But, when I heard on Tuesday that Willie O'Ree, the first black player to play in the NHL, had been named to the Order of Canada, I was puzzled.You see, Mr. O'Ree played most of his hockey in the days of the old six team NHL, and wound up playing only 45 games in two stints in the bigs.
It's great that he made it to the NHL, but he wasn't that successful there. While I would certainly agree that he should be in the Hockey Hall of Fame, appointing him to the Order of Canada leaves the impression that it is his skin colour that matters more to those making the appointment rather than what he was able to achieve in the NHL. "Breaking the colour barrier" for an American team--the Boston Bruins--seems to be of less significance for a rare honour intended for Canadians of all walks of life.
A much better way to recognize that Candians know that people of all races can do well in the NHL if given a fair opportunity, which is what I think that the Order of Canada organizers were trying to recognize by appointing Mr. O'Ree, would be to appoint someone like a Grant Fuhr to the Order. We don't need tokenism, rather we could merely acknowledge the records of success (by anyone's standards) that are already there to be recognized.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Should This Man Be Allowed To Ride Horses...
A man is facing impaired driving charges after a two-car collision claimed
the life of a school teacher on Tuesday evening.
David Clark, 52, is facing
five charges, including impaired operation of a motor vehicle causing death. He
was scheduled to appear in a Newmarket courtroom on Wednesday.
This is, apparently, the jockey David Clark -- the accident took place just over a year ago. He and Jiggs Coz are odds-on favourites to win the Queen's Plate, a week Sunday, after a victory in the Plate Trial Stakes.
From the Daily Racing Form, shortly after the accident:
Woodbine-based jockey David Clark is facing five charges, including impaired
operation of a motor vehicle causing death, after being involved in a fatal
collision Tuesday evening in the city of Vaughan,Ontario...
Clark, 52, won a Sovereign Award as Canada's outstanding jockey in 1988.
Through last Sunday, Clark had ridden 2,558 winners of more than$63 million. He
is currently sixth in the Woodbine standings.
It's very sad, of course, for the woman who died, and for Clark, who, at the very least, made a tragic error in judgment. But I find it odd that a) he is still riding and b) I haven't seen any mention of this in the media, given that the Queen's Plate is ten days away.
Truth be told, I do not know if a trial took place, or if he pled out, or what ultimately happened in terms of justice. Or if it has even been dealt with in court, yet. I did a basic search on his name and the victim's name, and the only stories that came up were the CTV story above.
I get that people are "innocent until proven guilty." But shouldn't there at least have been a suspension, given the gravity of the charges? And seriously, if he has some kind of alcohol problem (and that is an "if," as this may simply have been a one-time occurrence), should he be allowed to continue as a jockey? What about the safety of the horses? And the other jockeys? And would this/should this influence handicapping in any way?
The strangest thing of all, of course, is the silence in the media on this story. I'm not suggesting we should go all tabloid on this guy. But if a pro-hockey player killed someone in DUI accident, would there be silence? Would he still be on the ice? If I worked at Woodbine Entertainment, I would probably be hoping and praying for no notice of this until the offseason. Maybe there is some agreement with sports writers to leave it be (potential loss of ad revenues, et cetera)?
Do any of you have ideas about this? And does anyone know if Clark has had his day in court?
Cross-posted at Wonkitties.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Bitching 'bout boxing
The TV hosts and reporters display the requisite fretting, gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands, but -- really -- this "helmet boxing" stuff looks like a pretty safe way for teenaged boys to blow off a little steam. In fact, put 'em on skates, and you'll see virtually the same thing hundreds of times every weekend in Canada.
Anyway, it's certainly better than knife fights among 13- and 14-year-olds.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Peak to Peak
OK, so this isn't about politics or some burning social issue. But it is about something that for me (a skiier and long-time fan of the Whistler-Blackcomb area of B.C.) and probably hundreds of thousands of others is pretty darned exciting: the announcement today of the planned construction of a new gondola that will stretch from the peak of Whistler to the peak of Blackcomb. The developers say the gondola will set world records for both length and height -- quite the technological achievement -- and will be open well before the 2010 Olympics. See all the details here.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Support for an Olympic boycott grows
Scroll down to the Enlightened Comment of the Day to see the latest endorsement from a columnist at the New York Post (which is without a doubt the best newspaper in America, period).
Friday, February 16, 2007
What's in a name?
Like many Canadian sports fans, I've been silently grousing of late over the CFL's run-it-up-the-flagpole-and-see-who-salutes idea to sell the naming rights to the Grey Cup. But, in thinking about this issue, I figured it wouldn't be the end of the world because, after all, the championship series between the top professional baseball teams in North America, aka the World Series, has done pretty well for itself, despite being named for the old New York World newspaper.
Turns out, though, that the linkage to the newspaper is an urban myth. Bottom line, then: I'm back to my original reaction--I don't like the idea.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Note to Leaf fans
Monday, July 10, 2006
At Least No Jews Have Been Blamed...Yet
Since the famous head-butt yesterday, I've been thinking that certain elements in the Muslim Arab world would find a way to turn it into a case of, "the rest of the world picking on us." Indeed -- within a couple of hours, accusations were flying. What took them so long?
Now, to be clear, Zizou has said nothing along these lines, as far as I know. And of course, he is French, born and bred. But by way of his origins, some parties will turn him into a symbol of the big, bad, everyone else being mean to Muslims. (Interesting, because, as I recall, Zizou was thrown out of a match a couple of years ago for stamping on a Saudi player. So much for Pan-Arabism.)
While I am happy to report that -- so far -- no Jews have been blamed for the red card, one wonders: How long till the rumours that Marco Materazzi is Jewish begin a' whirlin'?
Cross-posted at Wonkitties.
Monday, July 03, 2006
Thoughts on our Distributed England
Some reflections and punditry on the England Team post-World Cup are posted over at Maple Lions.
Oh well, only six weeks until the new Premier League season kicks off!
Friday, June 30, 2006
This is Francesco Totti, one of Team Italia's World Cup stars.
People: He's one of the ugly ones. This is why we must hope and pray Italy will kick the Ukraine's backside today, and then whoever they meet after that...until they make it to the final. Looking at Totti is one of those rare moments when I think there might be a God. What is truly tragic, though, is that apparently the Italian team, um, abstain from certain activities during training and competition. That is just wrong.
Cross-posted at Wonkitties.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
Walking home from yoga last night (see below), I noticed the telltale Toronto sign the World Cup is on: Groups of men spilling out onto sidewalks outside sports bars, all craning their necks to see the TV screen inside. I think it's great! I actually enjoy World Cup...as sports go. I more or less understand soccer/football, and I like seeing the guys in their little shorts and knee socks -- particularly the very attractive Italian team.
However, there are things about FIFA that are not good. From this article:
Though Israelis are as fanatically interested in the outcome of this tournament as any other non-American population, the federation that governs the cup is as anti-Zionist as the United Nations.The composition of the 32-team tournament varies every four years based on a competition in which national teams contend against others in their region for the precious cup berths.But Israel never gets in because it is not allowed to compete against other teams in the Middle East. Arab nations won't play them.
But rather than disqualify the Arab teams via forfeit, the lords of soccer force the Israelis to compete in the European section of the draw where they are invariably outgunned by the great soccer powers of France, Italy, Spain and Germany.Thus, the talented Israelis will be home watching the games on TV this month while their counterparts from Saudi Arabia and Iran will be in Germany.
It should also be noted in passing that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will be in Nuremberg, of all places, to root on his team. Any analogies between the free publicity given this Jew-hating Holocaust denier and Hitler's poses in Berlin will be right on target.
It remains to be seen if Ahmadinejad will show up. I hope to goodness he doesn't. And if he does, I hope the crowd reacts appropriately. Personally, I would have liked to have seen Iran's team barred from the games, not just their president. At least EU lawmakers have attempted to keep the latter out.
As for the actual competition, since Canada and Norway aren't playing, I haven't really any favourites. Well, I have some sentimental attachment to the French team, because of the nearly five years I lived in France. (I remember in 1998 when France won the whole shabang, this city went wild. Who knew there were so many French people here?) I wouldn't mind seeing Japan do well -- again, because of the time I lived there. England winning would make me happy (heck, that would make a LOT of folks happy). Four years ago, one of my former students, from when I lived in Istanbul, was on the Turkish national team! Man, I felt old. This year, the Turks didn't make it. Too bad.
What it comes down to is...anybody but Iran, okay? Enjoy the tournament.
Cross-posted at Wonkitties.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
colby cosh serves up Marchant tartare
I hope you saw it; I’ll never forget Ilya Bryzgalov’s sheepish, nervous grin as he listened to the battle hymn, nor how his team fought and nearly triumphed despite being outnumbered by hundreds to one. It’s notable that the wild violence of the first period, in which the Ducks tried futilely to fight back against the voices with their fists, was obviously stage-managed by Todd Marchant. It didn’t work, but what else did they have left? Marchant is a former Oiler; though on the opposite side, he was only doing what he had done for us, against similar odds, a hundred times before. He’s as tough and salty as a slab of horsemeat jerked under a Mongol saddle. I still miss the guy. He’ll die with his boots on. On Thursday.
You’ll want to read the whole thing – the first paragraph is something to behold. Somebody get him the front page of the Edmonton Journal or Ed Sun — at least while the Oilers live.
And somebody, please, for the love of all that is good — give Vancouver another playoff run. It’s a fine feeling — when a city is pumped up, ain’t it?
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
I am Woman, Hear Me Do a Mindless Sports Fan Chant
Women in Iran will be barred from attending soccer games, in the month leading up to their team's participation in the World Cup, to be held in Germany, in June. The decision is a reversal of a previous one:
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had ruled in April that he would allow women to go to soccer games and sit in a separate section of the stands. He wanted to "improve soccer-watching manners and promote a healthy atmosphere."
But Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — who under the Islamic Republic's constitution has the final say — opposed the move.
Wow. If you're anything like me, your first thought when you read this was, "There are women on this planet who want to watch sports?"
Read the story.
Cross-posted at Wonkitties.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
But There are Surgeons in Riyadh Who Dress Like This!
No, this isn't Smurfistan's Olympic swimming champion. This is an unidentified Muslim girl about to dive. I don't know whether this girl is in Saudi Arabia or Canada or parts in between. The picture accompanied this story about Muslim girls playing sports while maintaining "modesty." (H/T, the Manolo.) The article features an interview with Tayyibah Taylor, editor-in-chief of Azizah Magazine, a publication geared toward Muslim-American women.
"The idea is that your modesty in dress and behavior is a passport to public space," Taylor said. "It makes the statement that a Muslim woman's body is not a part of the public conversation."
Right. Because if a girl wears a swimsuit like the one above, it won't become part of the conversation. Not to mention that people's bodies are always part of the public conversation: Fat, thin, male, female, covered, uncovered, it matters not. As for the "passport to public space," hmm...I like to think my passport to public space is that I am a human being who makes up part of the public.
I believe that in our (Western, more or less secular) society, a woman should be free to dress however she pleases. Veil? Burqa? Knock yourselves out. The problem, of course, is exactly how much choice is involved when women dress this way. And the, "it's not about oppressing women, it's about modesty," argument has always irked me. Clearly, it's about oppressing women. Saying that women should cover everything but their hands, feet and face is about anything other than that, is like saying that going on a diet is not about losing weight. One can be "modest" without being covered up. There is a happy medium between chadors and thongs.
Regular readers of this blog, and of my articles, know that I used to live in Turkey. At the time (mid-90s), my students were disturbed at the rise in fundamentalism in their quite secular country. Women that they mischievously referred to as "grim reapers" (full-on black burqas) were evident, numbers growing. My female students, in particular, were concerned. And trust me, they weren't concerned because they were afraid they would be forced into "modesty." They were concerned for their personal freedom. (I have stayed in touch with some of them, most of whom have left Turkey to study in the U.K., France and the U.S.)
On a related note, take a look at this posting from the Spirit of Man. Now, I'm glad to see those Iranian girls playing soccer. As well, it is a positive thing that the girl pictured above is competing in sports. But seeing the German team all covered up makes me wonder how long it will be until female sports teams in Western nations will be asked to wear headscarves and long pants so as not to "offend" the visiting team. Or how long it will be until we allow Muslim girls on a Western team to not wear the accepted uniform, because they want to be "modest." In the past few months we have shown (think cartoons) a hasty willingness to surrender our civilization to thugs and theocrats. I'm not confident it isn't going to get worse before it gets better (and it has to get better).
Cross-posted at Wonkitties.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
What if the shoe was on the other foot?
The Associated Press reports:
"FIFA will pay to repair a soccer field in the Palestinian-run Gaza Strip that was damaged during a bombing this month.
Soccer's governing body said Tuesday it will confer with Palestinian soccer officials in next few days on the extent of the damage to the stadium and stands ...
No casualties were reported in the April 1 airstrike, which reportedly left a large crater in the field. The Israeli military said the airstrike was part of an effort to deter possible attacks after an increase in rocket launches from Gaza ...
FIFA stressed it equally supported Palestinian and Israeli soccer. "
I have no problem with FIFA repairing the soccer field; after all, the Palestinians didn't do the damage themselves and it is disupted whether the field was used for airstrikes against Israel. But I'm wondering whether FIFA would help rebuild an Israeli soccer field if Palestinians damaged a pitch in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv or Haifa?
Friday, March 10, 2006
Why I love the PGA
Selected results of Sports Illustrated's annual poll of Professional Golfing Association Tour players, as published in the March 13 issue (based on a survey of 70 golfers):
Did the U.S. make a mistake by invading Iraq? Yes, 12%; No, 88%.
Do you have a tattoo? Yes, 5%; No, 95%.
Do you know any pro golfers who have used steroids? Yes, 1%; No, 99%.
Have you seen Brokeback Mountain? Yes, 0%; No, 100%.
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Score one (if not a hole in one) for Toronto golf club maker Element 21 Golf Co., one of whose clubs will be used by an orbiting Russian cosmonaut this summer to hit golf ball around the world. Here's the story, and here's the company's web site.
Congrats from south of the 49th
Well, you folks can stop mourning the performance of your Olympic hockey team.
World Baseball Classic: Canada 8, United States 6.
I warmly congratualte the Great White North for pasting us (Canada once led 8-0) and then hanging on to win (especially center fielder Adam Stern, who probably saved the game and certainly erased a game-tying double by Chad Utley).
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Four of the many questions that are sure to be asked in the wake of Sports Illustrated's blockbuster March 13 cover story, based on an upcoming book, Game of Shadows, about Barry Bonds' rampant use of illegal steriods:
1. How much longer will Bonds be allowed to play in the Majors?
2. Indeed, will he be banned from baseball?
3. Will his homerun records be erased, as Ben Johnson's sprint records were?
4. Now do you believe Juiced author Jose Canseco?
Thursday, March 02, 2006
Say No to the Communist Olympics
Now that the Winter Olympics of Turin (or Torino) have ended, the eyes of Olympic watchers are turning to the next Olympic host city, which for now is still Beijing, the capital of Communist China. Not content with the Hitler Olympics of 1936 and the Brezhnev Games of 1980, the International Olympic Committee chose to fete a dangerous, anti-freedom, and murderous dictatorship yet again. However, we can still show our determination not to let freedom be slighted by either the IOC or the Chinese Communist Party. The democratic world can demand that the 2008 Games be moved, and that if they are not moved we (the U.S., Canada, and the rest of the democratic world) should not let our athletes step foot in Communist China for the Games, but instead will conduct an alternate sporting event on our own.
Why am I raising the issue now? For starters, it would take time to move the Olympics, or to establish the alternate event. An alternate city must be chosen and made ready in either scenario. Additionally, the Communists will soon begin a two-year propaganda warm-up for the Beijing Olympiad, so it would be best to make the case against it sooner rather than later.
The reasons for moving or boycotting the Games are clear. No regime has more blood on its hand than the Chinese Communist Party. It has murdered over 60 million people in just over a half-century. Moreover, its murderous ways (contrary to popular belief) have not let up one iota, as shown in the persecution of Falun Gong and the Hanyuan County massacre.
Additionally, Communist China is a menace to the democratic world. The regime is the largest benefactor of terrorism on earth. To this day, it has propped up the Stalinist regime of Kim Jong-il, who has himself starved millions to death in northern Korea. Just recently, the regime granted itself permission to conquer the island democracy of Taiwan, and recent reports reveal that the Communists will do just that by 2012 at the latest. The fact that the upcoming Olympics are a critical part of the pre-war propaganda campaign should be reason enough to move the Games .
Of course, not everyone is looking to move or boycott the games. In part, this is due to historical amnesia on the Berlin Games of 1936. While in America that Olympiad is best known for Jesse Owens four gold medals, in Europe it was seen as a Nazi organizational triumph and geopolitical bonanza. Moscow was headed for the same glory with the 1980 Olympics until President Carter pulled the U.S. out of those Games (easily one of the most admirable acts of his entire political career).
Another fallacy used to defend the Communist Olympiad is the theory that the 1988 Olympic games somehow pushed South Korea toward democracy. Nothing could be further from the truth. The protests against the South Korean regime took place in 1987, not 1988. The pressure to democratize came not from the prospect of the 1988 Games, but from the Reagan Administration and the South Korean regime’s hand-picked choice for President, who adopted the democratic reforms of the opposition as his own platform and threatened to refuse the Presidency if said reforms weren't enacted. The grateful people of South Korea elected him President, democratically, six months before the Olympics even began.
No such circumstances exist in Communist China. The Communists do not rely on the U.S. for its protection (as South Korea did), but in fact see America as an enemy. The cadres are focused exclusively on justifying their regime’s survival to an increasingly restive people. The proper historical model is not Seoul, but the aforementioned Moscow or Berlin.
There is still time for the democratic world to take a stand for freedom. Both of Beijing's major competitors for the 2008 Games (Toronto and Paris) missed out on 2012. Either could serve as an alternate site; while Canada may be skittish about this, given the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, France might be willing to step forward once Jacques Chirac’s successor is elected next year.
Yours truly has been pushing for a Beijing boycott from the moment the Communist capital was awarded the Games in 2001. At this point, with so many athletes' plans already in full swing, an alternate event is the only fair outcome should the IOC not be convinced to move the Olympics. Still, a "Democracy Games," as it were, would be an excellent alternative to the Beijing Olympiad.
Whatever option is taken - boycott, relocation, or an alternative event - the athletes of the democratic world should not be turned in tools for Communist propaganda. If the IOC members will not stand for freedom, the U.S., Canada, and its fellow democracies must do it for them.
Cross-posted to the China e-Lobby
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Curling on the Radio?:
BC & Team Canada, Thursday morning
There is no live mainstream media coverage of the morning draws from The Scott Tournament of Hearts,. However, Thursday morning, at 6:30am (MST), the match between Team Canada (from Manitoba), skipped by Jennifer Jones ,and British Columbia, skipped by Kelly Scott, will be broadcast via streaming audio over the internet by CHRWRadio. The announcers will be Doc Palmer and Alan Adamson, who are blogging continuously from The Scott with commentary and photos: see here.
And for audio clips of interviews with some of the curlers, see here.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
An Awesome Battle of all the Countries
Hmm. I was planning to make my blog an Olympics-Free-Zone, since I'm a girly girl and all, and I hate sports. I thought it could be a special place of respite for women everywhere. But then I watched an interview with U.S. gold medal winning snowboarder Hannah Teter, who referred to the Olympics as the following: "An awesome battle of all the countries."
Heck. When you put it like that, I can't really be cynical about it, can I?
What would we do without snowboarders? Quick, someone give Teter a broadcasting job.
Cross-posted at Wonkitties.
Saturday, February 04, 2006
Las Vegas, Atlantic City....Windsor?!?
What does it say about Windsor, Ontario, when the Washington Post reports that NFL officials have advised Super Bowl players to stay out of the city?
"...In a security briefing Monday, NFL representatives advised players for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks to stay out of Windsor, a warning that may have served to pique their curiosity.
"They said it's a lot more liberal over there with the laws and everything, and we should stay away," Steelers defensive tackle Chris Hoke said..."
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Shotgun readers may be pleased to know that the loudest boos that I heard at the Grey Cup game today occured when Paul Martin came out to perform the ceremonial coin toss at the start of the game. The jeers and boos at his expense were really loud and quite noticeable inside B.C. Place Stadium, and that may not have come across on television.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Saturday morning sillinessHas anyone noticed that the average weight, in pounds, of an NFL offensive lineman correlates closely to the average length, in yards, that a PGA pro can hit a driver? And that both have climbed to their present figure, about 300, by about the same amount, 40, over the past few decades?
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Hockey's (Purportedly) Hard Salary Cap
Tonight, as I was driving home, I was listening to Sportsnet's discussion of the "hard" salary cap. The participants all agreed that the contract has a definite, solid, hard cap. Their reason is that every transaction must be approved by the NHL league office, and the office will not approve any transaction that puts the team over the cap, no matter what!
What if everyone believes the league office really, really, truly will monitor every single contract and not allow teams to exceed the $39m salary cap. How else might teams spend more without exceeding the cap?
This question is no different from any other price-ceiling situation that we talk about in economics all the time: impose a price ceiling on a product, and people who really want to buy that product start figuring out how to get it. E.g., for gasoline price ceilings we have, in the past, seen long lineups, favouritism, hiring drivers to wait in line, and egregious tie-in sales (get an oil change and we'll move you to the head of the line).
How might a team exceed such a hard salary cap? Here is just one possibility that I thought of during the drive:
I might be able to sign the player to several contracts if I have some ancillary operations or arrangements.
- I could pay him a lot to model for the cover of the programmes.
- I could give him a huge endorsement contract for some firm (that I own) that may or may not advertise in the arena.
- I could induce advertisers to offer him large endorsement contracts and in return offer them lower advertising/sponsorship rates for the team's games.
I am sure there are many many other evasions that more creative minds than mine will discover.
No, the cap is NOT hard. People respond to incentives.
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Squirt Motorcycle Racing
Now, this is starting them young....
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
"Never, Never Mess With Our Friend, Mark Steyn"
"Sportswriters are clearly entitled to their opinions. Like the Dixie Chicks. And Sean Penn."Hugh Hewitt throws fastballs at a little leaguer.
Thursday, June 02, 2005
The Last Zamboni
To all of you lonely, forgotten hockey fans, peering out your little windows into the dark foggy night of uncertainty that has become the NHL....
Monday, April 25, 2005
Onward Christian Athletes
VancouverWinter Olympics chooses Christian symbol for logo.
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Nancy, Sue and Chris
Anyone know what's happening on the Chris Cuthbert story? If you recall, he was fired from the CBC by the hopeless Nancy Lee, citing cutbacks due to the NHL fiasco even though Cuthbert was scheduled to cover figure skating and is/was "the voice" of the CFL. Last I can find is this, from March 4: Cuthbert, TSN an ideal match?
There would be some irony involved if Cuthbert did move to TSN of course. If you recall the Globe and Mail story about his firing by ideologue Lee--who believes; "In Canada, the media, all the media, should reflect the population, in terms of gender and visible minorities" and talent and audience be damned--it was noted that Lee had made up a new position (manager of program acquisitions) at CBC in order to give her friend Sue Prestedge a job. The stories didn't explain who this Prestedge was. Well, she was a Senior Vice President at WTSN before CTV shut it down on Sept. 30, 2003, due "to lower-than-expected growth and limited access to advertising revenue" (sounds like management problems to me).
So CBC gets an executive failure from WTSN, and TSN would get a successful announcer from CBC. Your tax dollars at work.
Sunday, February 20, 2005
Bettman must go
The last minute involvement of Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux highlighted a glaring problem the NHL has had since Gary Bettman became its commissioner in 1993. Bettman is an administrator and not a very effective one. What the commissioner should be, though, is an ambassador for the game, which Bettman is not. Gretzky and Lemieux are. Unfortunately for hockey fans, of which I long ago ceased considering myself, their efforts came too late. There is much blame to go around: the owners desire a salary cap because they lack the discipline to stop spending their own money; the NHL Players Association thinks that they should c0-control the sport; Bettman and NHLPA head honcho Bob Goodenow dislike each other so much it is unlikely that they can negotiate in good faith with one another. But the NHL's problem is that its commissioner doesn't think about what fans want -- whether it is a lockout or the quality of play on the ice. Any deal that does not include Bettman's removal will not solve the sport's long-term problems and to that end there is this website: removebettman.com.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
While Canada continues down the failed path of gun control, absurd, pointless registries and generally trying to socially ostracize firearm owners, Switzerland is taking a far more enlightened approach:
The greatest shooting festival in the world for youngsters takes place every year in Zurich, Switzerland. Imagine thousands of boys and girls shooting military service rifle over three days amid an enormous fair with ferris wheels and wild rides of all kinds. You’re at the Knabenschiessen (boys’ shooting contest).
Held since the year 1657, the competition traditionally has been both a sport and a way of encouraging marksmanship in a country where every male serves in the militia army. Today, girls compete along side the boys. In fact, girls are now winning the competition. [...]
It was a real family affair. Besides watching their older siblings, children aged 8 to 15 competed in air pistol and air rifle events. In air pistol, the guns are supported by vertical braces. Youngsters are coached by more knowledgeable youngsters.
Teaching responsible handling of firearms at a young age sounds like a far better idea than building idiotic registries.
Friday, January 07, 2005
Concern for the environment, Hollywood style
We've all been lectured by those Hollywood leftists about the need for us little people to cut down on energy use, support Kyoto and the rest. But then given their hobbies it doesn't appear we should stop developing the tar sands just yet.
Here's an article about Jay Leno racing his 8900 pound 1792 cubic inch V12 Tankrod against an M1A1 tank.
Eventually, the M1 and the Tankrod line up, the tank on dirt, the car on a quarter-mile stretch of ragged pavement. We figured a 17-second head start for the M1A1 would create a photo finish based on some preliminary runs with the Tankrod. They showed Leno's rod hitting 60 mph in 6.2 seconds and the quarter-mile trap in 14.7 seconds at 93 mph. [...]
Later, Leno replaced the overwhelmed bus transmission with a six-speed Allison automatic. Instead of 2 or 3 mpg, the Tankrod's mileage rocketed to about 5. "You know," says Leno, "it's Southern California. You want to do what you can for the environment and everything . . ."—he spots a gas station—"Hey, let's throw in a quick hundred." [...]
Back in Barstow, the Army invites the whole group to shoot off a few rounds. The 120mm computer-controlled cannon can track targets while the tank is in motion and calculates trajectories based on every conceivable variable: wind velocity, barometric pressure, the current state lotto jackpot. Simply aim the red crosshairs in the gunner's digital video sight between your enemy's toes and FOOOM! the armor-piercing sabot—a 10-pound finned rod of ultra-hard depleted uranium that moves at 5480 feet per second—won't scrape the fungus.
Sounds like way more fun than the One Tonne Challenge. (Via Tim Blair. )
Current bid: $1100
Proceeds to Kidsport and Canadian Red Cross tsunami relief.
Thursday, December 16, 2004
The Unknown Ideal
I am tired of hearing the sports media talk about the "free market" as it relates to the hockey labour dispute.
So I have written a really really really long post about it over at The Meatriarchy.
Here is a small sample:
All other unions negotiate the salary of their members at one collective bargaining agreement. The salaries (hourly rates) are fixed for the term of the contract. This gives labour the money they want and management “cost certainty".
However in professional sports if you try this it is called a “salary cap” and is for some reason the devils handiwork. If you are an owner advocating such a cap you are to be scorned by the tweed jacket and bearded set that write for the sports sections of various papers because you are somehow a free market hypocrite.
The real hypocrites are the players in this case. If you want a free market for your services then you shouldn’t be in a union. Sorry a union by it’s very nature is anti-free market
If this hasn't bored you to death you can read the rest here.
Monday, November 08, 2004
Canadian top rookie in America's game
Pittsburg Pirates outfielder Jason Bay became the first Pirate player and first Canadian-born Major Leaguer to win the Rookie of the Year honours when he garnered 25 of 32 first-place votes for the National League Rookie of the Year award today. Bay, who was playing for his fourth organization in four years, hit 282, 26 HRs and had 82 RBIs. Trail, B.C. should be proud.
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Let the NHL die
As a lifelong Habs-hater, I never thought I'd be writing this. But I'm with Guy Lafleur on this one:
Hockey legend Guy Lafleur believes the National Hockey League should declare bankruptcy and start over again.
The former Montreal Canadiens great says it doesn't look to him like either the players or the owners are trying to settle the NHL lockout.
"Hockey's sick and they have to solve the problem. They have to go back to basics," Lafleur said Wednesday during a promotional stop in Nova Scotia for a non-profit cellphone recycling company.
"I feel very sorry for the fans that there's no hockey today and that both sides are not talking to each other."
One of the problems, said Lafleur, is that there are too many teams in the league and that's complicating matters.
"I really believe they should cut back to 24 to make hockey better," he said of the current 30-team league structure.
Lafleur said consideration has to be given to the fate of teams in the smaller Canadian markets, noting that Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Ottawa and even Montreal are all struggling in his mind.
The fundamental problem with the NHL is that the players are making NFL salaries while its U.S. popularity is closer to Arena Football. Outside of the Original Six cities and a few others where the NHL caught on, hockey is a cult sport in America. Of course, the league survived for decades with only a cult following, but for the last fifteen years or so, things have been spiralling out of control. (The turning point, I think, was when the league expanded to San Jose.)
Perhaps it would be best if the whole thing just collapsed, and hockey started all over again with a few clubs - no more than 20 - in cities with particularly loyal fan bases. And as long as I'm dreaming, I'd love to see teams relegated and promoted between major and minor leagues, like in European soccer. Wouldn't you love to see the AHL teams in Hamilton and Winnipeg play their way into the NHL?
Monday, October 18, 2004
Who broke the daisy chain?
Story in today's National Post: Teachers relearning how to play hopscotch: Old-fashioned games intended to combat obesity among kids
The latest effort in the campaign to combat obesity among schoolchildren revolves around instructing teachers across Canada about how to play hopscotch, four square, skipping and other traditional playground games.
The launch of the nationwide program aimed at getting children moving...
What's going on here? Teachers never taught these games before. Kids passed them on, grade to grade, like they did schoolyard nursery rhymes quite independent of adult influence. Who broke the chain? Mircosoft? McDonald's? The kids themselves? Teachers and administrators? Child safety advocates?
Note the list in that quoted paragraph and the last phrase "other traditional games." Will boys be allowed to play Cops and Robbers? Cowboys and Indians? King of the Hill? Snowball fights? How about the unnamed war game I was involved in during my first year at school? (Actually very serious stuff for a kid in grade one. We had our own Troy-like battle that seemed to be going on forever involving kids all the way up to grade three, including a Helen-type creature named Vicky who--so it was explained to me by my older brother in grade three--was the cause of it all. The "war" only ended when the grade fours attacked everybody. I can still remember turning in the heat of the battle--my struggle was with some grade two monster--to see the charge of the REALLY BIG KIDS coming down the hill to get us, gallumping through the early spring slush one gray afternoon recess, and the instant and total sense of unity among the previous warring factions as a larger threat loomed. Cue Ride of the Valkyries.)
Yes, you can blame the X-box, TV, junk food, and any other number of other inanimate objects, or evil corporate executives for making these things--lead us not into temptation--for childhood obesity, but I think teachers, administrators, parents and even some sports coaches share some of the blame, stressing safety, cooperation over competition, gender-neutralizing everything, stifling the life out of kids--boys and girls--with their "everybody has to touch the ball before you can score" rules and regulations.
I actually saw that "everybody has to touch the ball" rule being applied in a game of soccer during a gym class some years back when I was doing a school story for the now-defunct Alberta Report. All the kids looked utterly bored. I was bored. The only person who seemed to be getting any exercise was the teacher who was yelling her lungs out, stressing cooperation like a 1970's era Sesame Street Muppet on Benzedrine. Full disclosure: that teacher was overweight.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Toronto Star's race obssession
Liberal political considerations taint even the sports page of the the Toronto Star as sports reporter Geoff Baker comments on Boston Red Sox outfielder Johnny Damon's assertion that the BoSox is "America's Team": "For the record, that would be the same Red Sox franchise that, as the last major-league club to accept integration, prevented black players from joining its ranks until 1959." Baker did not again allude to race; in other words, it was a completely gratuitous racial reference.
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
What's wrong with hockey and how to fix it
I have co-written a column with Michael Taube that appeared in today's Vancouver Sun on the hockey lock-out, what's wrong with hockey (it's not its finances but the product on the ice) and how to fix (contraction). A couple of snippets:
"In the 1990s, NHL owners greedily sought new owners willing to pay exorbitant expansion fees, utterly blind to the long-term effects it had on the game. A half-dozen new teams required about 120 NHL-calibre players, players that unfortunately don't exist.
Stuck with an economic mess and inferior hockey, the NHL stubbornly refuses to downsize.
... The NHL is not a marketable sports league any longer. There are too many teams paying ridiculously high salaries for a talent pool of middle-of-the-road players.
And even though the vast majority of well-paid players lack enough talent and the ability to sustain long-term careers, their artificial market value has skyrocketed. The problem is not the superstar getting $10 million a year, but the third-string winger or fifth defenceman getting $2.5 million. But in an oversized league, a legitimate third liner becomes a recent expansion team's starter who can command big bucks."
When I was young, I loved watching hockey and I devoured the recaps of the games in the next morning's papers. I collected hockey cards and hockey stickers, I could name the third-line players and backup goalie for every team and I played Strat O Matic hockey. But by the early 1990s, when I reached my 20s, the game became insufferably boring. Unless your team is a winner, there is little reason to watch the NHL. It seems millions of other (former) fans came to the same conclusion. In the winter, I can go weeks without looking at the standings and it has been at least six years since I paid for hockey tickets. And none of this can be explained by the fact that I (allegedly) grew up -- I love baseball, as I joke, a little less than God and a little more than I love my wife and children. The NHL needs to admit that it grew their league too quickly, filled their teams with mediocre players which forced coaches to adopt the defensive and dull New Jersey Devils style of hockey, and fans decided that they'd rather do else than drop $150 at the arena in Nashville, Calgary or Phoenix. Owners' eyes lit up at $75 million expansion fees without any consideration as to the long-term health of their league. The moral of the story: something about the love of money being the root of evil.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Athens is the new Montreal
Greece is going to paying for the 2004 Olympics for a long time. This should serve as a warning to New York and London.
Canada 3, Finland 2. Congratulations, guys.
Saturday, August 21, 2004
I've Never Cheered For a Soccer Team In My Life
Emad Mohammed's 12-yard bicycle kick in the 64th minute gave Iraq a 1-0 victory over Australia in the quarterfinals Saturday, putting the invaded, war-torn country in position to compete for only its second Olympic medal in the nation's history.