No Such Nonsense

A little of this, that and... what was I talking about again? It's TV, sports, pop culture and politics - all the stuff that really matters in life.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

At this rate, Brett Favre will retire in 2028.

All that talk last season about Brett Favre being past his prime, too slow, too grey, ready for retirement? Well, don't get the retirement party balloons out any time soon. Because this season has been Favre's best since before There's Something About Mary.

The Pack are 6-1. They've beaten some mediocre teams (New York Giants, I'm looking at you), some who should be better than they are (that'd be San Diego) plus a few that can surprise you any given Sunday (Philly, Minnesota). Their one loss came against a desperate Chicago team. And last night, after a typically low-scoring Monday night affair was tied up in the dying minutes, Favre stepped in with a pass for the first play of OT. Which went over 80-yards for the TD. Which he heaved one heck of a long way. Which means the Pack won yet another one - this time over Denver. Only this time the Pack actually had someone rush over 100 yards. The Pack with a running game? Maybe they can keep this up!

But when will we know for sure if this young Packer team is for real? Not for a few weeks - Kansas City, Minnesota and Carolina are next on the sched and it'll be hard to tell much from those games. Detroit is after that and that one's hard to figure too - it depends which Lions team shows up: the one that lost 56-21 to Philly or the one that beat Tampa Bay and embarrassed Chicago. Nope, circle November 29 on your calendar. That's Green Bay at Dallas. Let's see how they stack up against Romo and co.

But even if the season goes downhill from here, it's been a lot of fun watching a 38-year old future hall of famer playing with the joy and energy of a 22-year-old rookie. And hell, if Vinny Testaverde can still play at the age of 57, shouldn't Brett be good for a few more snaps?

Monday, October 29, 2007

So Unsexy

Maxim Magazine - usually obsessed with who is sexy (Jessica Biel, apparently) - has taken a short diversion to declare once and for all who is not sexy. Their answer: Sarah Jessica Parker.

I love SJP. But I can't say I'm surprised. Lots of women and gay men love SJP. Because she dresses for and courts the approval of women and gay men. Straight men, well, they tend not to get it. Typically, if they watched Sex and the City, it was for the sex, not the fashion. And for them, SJP just isn't hot in a nubile Scarlett Johansson kind of way. Or, as the weary hubby would say when asked about SJP's elusive appeal: "Nah - way too pointy."

But is SJP really less sexy than, oh say, Teri Hatcher?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Best Canuck Albums

According to a survey of some 600 musicians, DJs, critics and music-sellers, these are the top 20 Canadian Albums of all time:

1. "Harvest," Neil Young (Reprise, 1972)
2. "Blue," Joni Mitchell (Reprise, 1970)
3. "After the Gold Rush," Neil Young (Reprise, 1970)
4. "Music From Big Pink," The Band (Capitol, 1968)
5. "Fully Completely," The Tragically Hip (MCA, 1992)
6. "Jagged Little Pill," Alanis Morisette (Maverick, 1995)
7. "The Band," The Band (Capitol, 1969)
8. "Funeral," Arcade Fire (Merge, 2004)
9. "Moving Pictures," Rush (Anthem, 1981)
10. "American Woman," The Guess Who (RCA, 1970)
11. "Songs of Leonard Cohen," Leonard Cohen (Columbia, 1967)
12. "Reckless," Bryan Adams (A&M, 1984)
13. "Five Days in July," Blue Rodeo (Warner, 1993)
14. "Twice Removed," Sloan (Geffen, 1994)
15. "Up To Here," The Tragically Hip (MCA, 1989)
16. "Everybody Knows This is Nowhere," Neil Young with Crazy Horse (Reprise, 1969)
17. "2112," Rush (Mercury 1976)
18. "Court and Spark," Joni Mitchell (Asylum, 1974)
19. "Whale Music," Rheostatics (Sire, 1992)
20. "Acadie," Daniel Lanois (Opal, 1989)

With the exception of Arcade Fire, things don't look so good for music made in the past decade or so.

And, hey, where's Platinum Blonde? And no Honeymoon Suite?

Seriously, though, Gordon Lightfoot doesn't crack our top 20? Given the 1970s-heavy group, that's a bit of shocker.

Unanswerable Question of the Week

How, how, how is Josh Hartnett able to score such major babes?

This week, he was spotting making out with Rihanna. In the past, he's been linked with Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz and Sienna Miller.

Which is pretty impressive for a guy whose most notable starring role came in the craptacular celibacy comedy 40 days and 40 nights - that is, if you don't count being out acted by Ben Affleck in Pearl Harbour (that's right, Ben Affleck).

So how does he score these women? Who does he think he is? Justin Timberlake?

Just asking.

Quote of the Week

Jimmy Kimmel on Monday Night Football, when asked what he thinks of Tom Brady:

"What I'm impressed most with is he's able to impregnate two supermodels at once. That's better than any Super Bowls."

Not quite factual, but pretty funny nonetheless.

My Facebook

Over the summer, a good friend suggested I try out Facebook (c'mon, everyone's doing it! It'll be fun! What's the harm?)

Oh, it's fun all right - but even more so, it is endlessly disturbingly addictive. I've spend hours playing Scrabulous, answering trivia questions, filling in ridiculous surveys and quizzes. I even adopted a little virtual pet (he's a penguin) and make catbook pages for my kitties (hey, don't judge me! Stop that. Stop with the judging!) Because millions of other people have done pretty much the same thing. The Toronto network alone has more than 900,000 members. That's a lot of inappropriate computer use at work, I'm thinking.

So what's the appeal?

I've been delighted to find a few old friends I thought were lost forever. A few folks found me that, to be honest, I hadn't really minded losing (I can't bring myself to say no to a friend request - it seems so Mean Girls). So, there are even one or two people on my friends list who I don't remember at all. All in all, reconnecting with lost friends - that's a big plus. Getting a quick update on friends' lives - that's another. The status updates alone provides a quick and dirty insight into what is up with your network.

An article in the Star today gives a whole other Facebook pastime: looking up old boyfriends. While this strikes me as a sort of bizarre form of self-flagellation and a nerdier version of that Bill Murray movie where he visits all his old girlfriends, I have to admit the ex-boyfriend factor is one I didn't anticipate when I signed on. It's an emotional landmine. The high school sweetheart of whom I have only happy memories - we're online friends, but in name only. His choice, not mine. The university boyfriend I shamefully treated worse than anyone ever in my life, well, he found me and has been gracious, funny and sweet about the whole thing. Which makes me feel a little bit worse but mostly a whole lot better.

I can't say I'm planning on looking up the rest of the old crushes and flings - self-flagellation has its limits.

Friday, October 12, 2007

War and Peace

It's almost too stark a contrast.

Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of the day that the US Senate authorised George Bush's war in Iraq. Today, Al Gore was named the winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

It is almost exactly 7 years since George Bush won the Presidency of the United States, defeating Al Gore in the electoral college, despite the fact that half-a-million more Americans actually voted for Gore.

At the time, I wondered at the reasoning of middle America. Presented with a choice between two men - one of whom was clearly more charismatic and one of whom was clearly smarter - Americans went with the dumber but charming one. Now, I'm not one of those people who thinks Bush is an idiot. Idiots don't get elected President, no matter who their daddy is. Don't kid yourself: he's both clever and crafty. But book smart? Not so much. And, clearly, not as smart or thoughtful as Gore.

So, given the events of the past 5 years - thrown into stark contrast with today's Nobel announcement - one is almost forced to ask how different things might have been had Gore managed to win Florida and those last key electoral votes. Would a smarter, more cautious, President have changed America and the world?

It seems likely that 9-11 would still have taken place - Bin Ladin and his followers were mobilizing long before the election took place. But then what? An attack on Afghanistan? Probably - something had to be done about those training camps. A war in Iraq? Almost certainly not, given the utter lack of evidence to support it. And would a focus on one front have meant a different outcome in the morass that has become the war on terror? No one can really say for sure. Hell, perhaps we'd be even worse off. Perhaps the environment would still be a back-burner issue if Gore hadn't been free to create his Inconvenient Truth tipping point.

But a president who cares about the world, one capable of winning a Peace Prize, surely that would have offered more promise than one who reacted to terror with terror.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Getcha Hype Ready

Instead of taking questions about this Sunday's titanic game between Dallas and New England, Terrell Owens simply posted the following note to his locker:

“Dear Reporters,
Due to the magnitude of this week’s game and high volume of questions for the Original 81 about the other 81. I will be taking all questions immediately following Sunday’s game.
Sincerely, Terrell Owens

p.s. Getcha Popcorn Ready.”

Don't you love it? He really is the master of the pre-game hype. Not that this game needed much to get folks to tune in. It's two undefeated teams in a likely play-off preview.

And as a refresher, just who's 'the other 81'? Well, that'd be Randy Moss, already discussed at some length in an earlier post. He's pretty good. And Dallas? Well, they almost lost to Buffalo on Monday. Buffalo. That's right, I said Buffalo. So, I reckon unless Tony Romo gets his shit back together in less than seven days, the New England defense will be salivating. Oh, and that other 81 is gonna have a pretty good day on Sunday.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Rock the Vote

It's election day here in Ontario.

Seems to me the result was a bygone conclusion after John Tory not only stepped in it over funding for religious schools but then steadfastly refused to wipe off his shoes and move on. When people are joking that the Taliban would support your education platform, things aren't going well. So the Tories (Torys?) did what all good conservatives do - they turned to explaining all the reasons that we shouldn't vote for the Liberals.

Don't get me wrong, there are lots of reasons to not vote for Dalton McGuinty - but I do wonder if anyone has ever really won a campaign based on arguing that the other guy is worse rather than on giving the folks something to vote for. Well, maybe Stephen Harper. Maybe. But then John Tory is no Stephen Harper.

The big news this year is that we have two ballots to tick. The first, as usual, will elect our local MPP. The second will decide whether we will institute sweeping electoral reform.

You'd think it'd be bigger news. But ask a few folks on the sidewalk about the referendum and I'm guessing the response would be something like "Of course I want Ontario to stay a part of Canada." I jest. Ontarians would totally vote to separate. What I seriously doubt they would vote for, even if they knew what it was, is MMP.

MMP, for those of you still desperately trying to figure it out, is Mixed-Member Proportional representation. What it means is that every election year, you would vote twice. Once for a person in your riding - the Liberal, Conservative, NDP, Green or whatever candidate. Instead of electing 107 of these MPPs, we'd be redistributed to elect just 90. Then we get to the second vote. After you have voted for a candidate, you'd vote for a party. Some 39 legislature seats would be assigned on the basis of this second vote. Any party that got at least 3% of the vote would be assigned a percentage of the 39 seats based on the percentage of the population that voted for them. Clear enough?

Basically, each party would run a candidate in each riding, just like before except there are fewer ridings (so each community actually has less of voice). Each party would also compile a list of members who would be assigned one of the 39 'at large' seats for that party. These members would have no riding - just a party affiliation. Kind of like senators - and we all know how wonderfully democratic the senate selection process is.

Theoretically, smaller parties like the Greens would benefit, because they currently garner a percentage of votes too small to actually elect a member to the legislature. The argument that the best way to address this would be for parties to run electable candidates and present platforms that resonate with a majority of citizens is apparently outmoded. Instead of a democratic election, we'd be adopting a governmental version of everyone-gets-a-prize day. Those 39 at large members would be like the kids who got 'participant' ribbons back in elementary school.

Maybe it's cruel, but I say if you can't do the chins ups, you don't get a ribbon. If you can't actually get people to vote for you, maybe government isn't the place for you.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Monday Morning Moment

The single best highlight of Sunday's games:

San Diego's fans chanting "Marty, Marty" in the dying minutes of a 30-16 loss to Kansas City.

You remember Marty, don't you? That'd be Marty Schottenheimer - the guy who led the Chargers to a 14-2 regular season record last season, before getting fired for his alleged inability to win the big game. You see, the Chargers went out to the Patriots in their first play-off game last year. This year, under 'new' coach Norv Turner, San Diego has lost 3 of 4.

It's as if GM A.J. Smith forgot that to win in the playoffs you have to, you know, make the playoffs. Like he didn't look around the league and see that coaches like Andy Reid and Tony Dungy have taken a few years to translate regular season success to a Superbowl. Like he let his own ego drive his decisions.

Turns out, Norv Turner is no Marty Schottenheimer.