- Giving it up for the Blue and White? Just give up. The big question nipping at the synapses of athletic gourmands is whether the Toronto Maple Leafs would turn around and surprise everyone with a resurrection of sorts.
As a terminal Torontonian (my creds: born at Mount Sinai; treated for many ailments at Sick Kids; knows that Yonge and Dundas is not as bad or evil as it used to be; misses the yeasty malt waft from the old Molson brewery on the Lakesore as it hit HMCS York), I suffer every single season. I remember the last Stanley Cup parade - I was all of 3 years old when pandemonium hit downtown and my parents took me to experience the thrill of seeing the sacred Cup in the hands of the Chosen and Deserving. To me, everyone was all of 3 years of age at that point.
But now, long after Harold Ballard had become nothing but dust, bone and shady memory, the Leafs have imploded. Not that they ever had any major success since 1967 - they've been frustrated bridesmaids many a time, but never holders of the battered Grail - but this year, the effects of that drought are starting to fray the nerves of even the newbiest of newbies. At last count, after getting pwned at home 8-0 Tuesday night by the Florida Panthers - based in a state where snow is what someone would rather snort than shovel - the once and future Kings of Carlton St. share the dank basement with the likes of Tampa, Chicago and LA. The former dynastic Islander powerhouse is now even a shadow of its former self, its fans no doubt intent on commiserating with their counterparts.
But this is not about how to improve the team. This is a eulogy, a requiem for a throwaway season. This may sound defeatist, but there is a fine line between optimism and full-blown delusion. Rather than hope for a miraculous turnaround, rather than goad an already battered team into further oblivion, we should just show our love for the Blue and White, win or lose, and give up on the rest of the season.
This isn't just for the good of the team. It's also for your own health. There's always next season. Consider this roster under construction and cut them enough slack to let them make mistakes from which they could learn. And come playoff time, learn to say this mantra with all your heart...
GO, SENS, GO!
- Juno Pretty in Pink? I'm probably going to piss off a lot of fanboiz and fangrrlz by saying that there isn't anything special about Ellen Page.
In a field over-saturated by wide-eyed ingenues and hyper-precocious twinks (hello, Hannah Montana?), Ellen may be seen as a hot, gawky woman with all the quirks associated with opinionated youth. Then again, having lived in the Halifax-Dartmouth area since 2002, there are many women like Ellen/Juno who posses these same qualities. Hell... one of my co-workers recently gave birth to a healthy baby boy, and she was just 17 when the bun was placed in her oven (big-up, congrats, mad-love and respect, Amanda). So, what's up about Juno and the hamburger phone, eh?
To be fair, I have yet to see this movie, but I remember a similar hype with another ingenue who broke out on the scene via teen flicks - Molly Ringwald.
Mmmmmm - how I loved her all-American gawkishness and her fiery red hair, and the way she scowled at Judd Nelson in "The Breakfast Club".
There could be so many similarities between Ellen and Molly - both of them started out on television (Ellen: "Pit Pony", "Re-Genesis", "Trailer Park Boys"; Molly: "The Facts of Life"). Both of them went to interesting schools (Ellen: Shambhala School; Molly: Lycée Française School in Los Angeles). And most interestingly, they both appeared in movies about teen pregnancy (Ellen: y'know; Molly: "For Keeps?").
Surprise, surprise. I think I've found a match. 20 years apart.
It would be very interesting if both these ladies get together for some lunch, maybe at the Wooden Monkey in downtown Halifax, where they serve this chocolate walnut tofu cheesecake to kill for - yummy, muthafuckah! - and maybe do a film together. Think of this as passing the torch from one gen to another.
For now, Ellen Page is a work in progress. While she does have some career mileage, she really has to do something that would make everyone shout "What the f---!" rather than say "What the f---", "Hard Candy" and "The Tracey Fragments" notwithstanding. The upcoming adaptation of "The Stone Angel" might just do the trick. In the meantime, for patriotic purposes, Ellen (along with Wintersleep, Classified, Buck 65 and John Dunsworth, among many in the Maritimes) has been declared Jacques Approved™!
Having said that, I still believe that she'll win the Oscar some other time.
- Quagmire is Peter Griffin's Neighbour! Stéphane Dion's heart may go on, but in the here-and-now, the Gritmeister is in a quandary.
His party, many moons ago, volunteered this country to go into Afghanistan to rebuild and keep the Taliban and al-Qaeda zealots at bay, if not six feet under. Current Prime Minister Stephen Harper ensured that the boys and girls - my brothers and sisters - take advantage of this mandate to ensure the freedom, dignity and respect for the many disparate tribes that make the Afghan nation.
As everyone should know by now, this had been easier said than done - every tribe has one form of beef or another, and most deaths amongst the local populace could be attributed to longstanding vendettas dating way before the Mullahs or Comrade Ivan ran things. All things considered, the Canucks have gone above and beyond the call of duty to keep the masses on their watch from killing each other.
The problem that Dion has right now is that he wanted to remove the troops or at least limit their commitment after Feb 2009. Harper wanted to maintain the status quo beyond that date, provided that NATO would do more to help out in the region around Kandahar.
Granted - Afghanistan is not Quebec, and multiculturalism there is more of the "You suck" - "You suck even more than your momma" variety. And in this region of the world, our concept of liberal democracy is as strange to them as female circumcision is to us. To those people who believe that we should stick to peacekeeping, think about this problem - remember Yugoslavia? Rwanda? If we have kept the peace there, why are there still more unmarked graves turning up? Peace, love and flowers, and a "Star Trek" solution are not the answers - in order to have peace, you have to create it, and as much as you hate the thought, a loaded weapon with the safety off does a better job than hugs and "Kumbaya". You have to make it to keep it, and our people over there are doing just that - policing the peace.
The real big issue is that in spite of all our best efforts, we're still not feeling the love from our NATO "partners". Ignoring the need for more resources in this volatile region will make more Canadians resent the commitment to carry out the task. And an emasculated central government doesn't help the cause any better. As much as Hamid Karzai can talk a great talk, he still has to learn the baby steps to walk the walk, one step at a time.
Whether Dion, Layton and that guy from the Bloc Québec-wha'? realise the big picture as much as Steve-O remains to be seen. I'm not holding my breath - neither should anyone who cares about the security of others as well as ourselves. And to be fair, if you need to commit, you need the love, and Steve-O should step up more often to ensure that our "partners" send more of it over. And soon. Or else.
And so... there you go.