I can't let it go

A few weeks ago I came to the realization that I couldn’t bear not returning to the Rockies next year. We have some unfinished business to attend to.

Weather and injuries kept us from hiking to Lake MacArthur last year, and I’d also like to do the Opabin Plateau since we’re going back to Lake O’Hara. There’s another spot near Field I’d like to see, and I’d never turn down a chance to stay at Cathedral Mountain Lodge or eat at Truffle Pigs. We really want to drive back up the Icefields Parkway and visit Jasper again, and have always regretted not hiking Wilcox Pass. We even regretted not getting to stop at Crazyweed on our last trip through Canmore. We even plan to tack a day on each end of the trip in Calgary and Edmonton so we can visit friends there…that part usually gets skipped in favour of mountains.

It’s not that there aren’t other places we’d like to see. There’re plenty. But I feel like we left a lot on the ground in the Rockies, and Lake MacArthur is becoming my white whale. I want to go back now, as a matter of fact, but I’ll just have to wait until next year. Then I can rest easy.

Misery loves company

There’s been a lot of talk lately about Toronto getting a second NHL team. Many have weighed in, both pro and con. Sure, the market could support it, but it sounds more like the kind of fantastic speculation that Toronto fans and sports writers engage in when the Leafs aren’t worth watching. So, daily.

I, for one, support it based on curiosity alone. It might help to solve the mystery, or at least dispel some myths, about the Leafs fanatical fan base. Lots of sports analysts have asked whether Toronto fans love the Leafs or love hockey. I say it’s neither. First, Torontonians seem to hate the Leafs as much as love them. Second, I don’t think a strong case could be made for them simply loving hockey, or they’d have stopped watching during the Ballard years when the product on the ice barely resembled the sport. No, I’d suggest that Torontonians are infatuated with the Leafs, but infatuations are fleeting. If a second team appeared with a legitimate shot at the Stanley Cup, how many Leafs fans would jump ship? I suspect more than in other hockey-crazy markets who’ve enjoyed success in recent decades like Detroit or even Montreal, even though Leafs fans typically refer to themselves as “better” fans than any others.

Anyway, I think Gary Bettman would rather give Bob Goodenow a hot oil massage than allow another Toronto team, and Hamilton might well lose their collective shit and blow up the Kings Highway if their city is passed over for expansion in favour of Leafs II, so I guess my social experiment will have to wait.

"You Are In Control — "FULL AUTO ROCK & ROLL"

According to this AP story, a young boy accidentally killed himself yesterday at a gun show in Massachusetts yesterday.

With an instructor watching, an 8-year-old boy at a gun fair aimed an Uzi at a pumpkin and pulled the trigger as his dad reached for a camera.

It was his first time shooting a fully automatic machine gun, and the recoil of the weapon was too much for him. He lost control and fatally shot himself in the head.

So I have a couple of questions:

  1. What kind of father takes his 8-year-old son to a gun show?
  2. Retard father aside, what idiot hands a loaded Uzi to an 8-year-old?
  3. Why do gun shows even exist?

I feel bad for any father who sees his son die like that, and I know this sounds harsh, but deep down he must know that it’s his fault.

Honestly, I don't know who's more pissed

Nellie because they’re remaking Footloose with Zak Efron in the lead, or me because Zeppelin may tour sans Robert Plant.

Actually, I do know who’s more pissed: Nellie, because she knows her nightmare scenario is more likely. I know that Zep fans would never stand for a tour without Robert Plant, whereas the average movie studio head would have no trouble breaking the heart of an entire generation of girls and gay men if it meant stealing a single box office weekend.

British + economist + financial crisis = funny! No, really!

This post in the Economist’s blog today made me smile. For the record, I rarely smile at The Economist, especially of late, but today the sarcasm would be dripping if it weren’t so devastatingly dry.

The latter, notably, published a book in 2004 called Bullish On Bush: How George Bush’s Ownership Society Will Make America Stronger. As best I can tell, it was not written as parody.

Zing! Then later:

I have to tip my hat to Mr Laffer. I’m not sure I could author something this wonderfully, artistically wrong, were I to labour at the effort for months. Bravo.

No, no. Bravo to you, sir.

"This is Ground Zero. This is my site."

We watched I Am Legend (imdb | rotten tomatoes) yesterday. It was a little better than I was expecting. [WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD]

New York looked great: the overgrowth, the isolation, the decay…it all looked amazing. The animation, though, especially on the infected…ugh. Bad. Like, took-you-out-of-the-moment bad. So that was unfortunate.

Oh, and any movie that puts an adorable animal in jeopardy for long periods of time will make me extremely tense, and if/when that animal eventually dies, I will get sad and pouty and kind of want the main character to die, just to make it fair. So bravo, writers…you’ve kicked off a depression among my wife and I not seen since we watched Sharkwater two weeks ago.

Your honor, I'd like to refer to the case of Leah Remeni vs. Kevin James

I like Life. Not just the state of being, mind you; the NBC show too. If you haven’t watched the first season, you should. Charlie Crews (played by the remarkable Damien Lewis) is one of the more interesting characters on TV. The second season has been okay too, but as with all shows based on the concept of a single season, it’s lost some steam. Still, I’ll keep watching on the strength of Lewis, the writing and Crews’ partner Dani Reese, played by my girlfriend du jour Sarah Shahi.

It’s Shahi that’s prompted me to write this actually. For those of you who actually watch the show but aren’t caught up, or plan to watch it some day, stop reading now: there be spoilers here. The rest of you, who saw the most recent episode, can join me in saying, “Dear NBC: what the hell ass balls would prompt a character played by Sarah Shahi, surely one of the most stunning women on the planet, to be attracted to — let alone kiss — a character played by Donal Logue, a nice guy and fine actor to be certain, but whose attractiveness maxes out around “shlubby” and who is regrettably done up here as a smarmy greaseball?” Please refer to the equation below for more detail:

Now, I know this isn’t NBC’s fault. This, and the dozens of situations like this we see on TV every day, is the chauvinistic byproduct of a male-dominated writers guild, but surely NBC has someone on staff who could call foul on the play when the imbalance is this silly. The lunacy used to be contained to sitcoms. Alas, the sickness has spread.

Right in our own backyard

For over a year we’ve lived around the corner from a restaurant called Mercatto (literally: it’s 200m away, on Toronto Street) but haven’t tried it. Last night, after leaving an overstuffed beerbistro where the wait was 45 minutes, we decided to try Mercatto instead. It’s actually a pretty decent little spot: nice, not flashy, friendly servers and very good food.

I had a grilled gamberi (shrimp) appetizer with chickpeas, lemon and some kind of fiery demon excrement called peperoncino. It wasn’t that hot, except that I wasn’t expecting it, and just shoveled the appetizer in my mouth, not knowing some or all of it had been soaked in this hell-broth, and so my mouth caught fire. Nellie had the calamari: very tasty, equally spicy. Then the mains arrived: Nellie’s was a spaghetti semplici with mushrooms thrown in; mine was an orecchiette pugliesi with rapini & olive oil, but no sausage, alas. The pasta seemed homemade and more doughy than I’m used to, but still very tasty. For dessert we split a pumpkin creme brulee…very tasty, if a little runnier than normal creme brulee. All this was, of course, accompanied by several glasses of wine. Nellie showed her usual flair for inadvertently picking the most expensive by-the-glass wine on the list, something called a Super Tuscan. At least we didn’t order by the bottle…there’s a $500 bottle of Amarone on there.

Pretty good spot, all in all. Nice to know it’s there.

Hey dean, do me a favour and pick up those jocks, will ya?

I have no problem with athlete salaries. I know people complain about someone getting paid a magillion dollars to slap a puck or throw a ball, but it’s simple: thousands and thousands of people will pay good money to watch that player perform, or wear their jersey, or buy their sneakers, or whatever. Owners of sports franchises can do math, and will pay players an amount they think they can recoup in these ways. Sure, some teams will pay extravagant and undeserved amounts for players out of desperation (cough Jeff Finger cough), but for the most part sports franchises pay players enough to help them accomplish their goal: to entertain and turn a profit.

Universities, though, are not sports franchises. They’re supposed to be institutions of higher learning, and therefore this bothers me:

[Via Greg Mankiw]