By Scott Feschuk - Thursday, May 23, 2013 - 0 Comments
We’re big believers that your best columnists have to step it up for the playoffs. We just gotta hope Scott can get it going.
Q: Talk about the column so far.
A: Getting that first sentence was huge. I mean, obviously, it’s the playoffs, and the first sentence of the column really sets the tone. But there’s a lot of writing still to go, and I can’t let up. I need to take it one word at a time and build on what I’ve started. This thing’s not over by a long shot. (Wipes away sweat with a towel.)
Q: Talk about the intensity out there.
A: Well, obviously, like I said, it’s the playoffs, and everyone’s trying to raise their compete level. You see guys out there throwing around more adjectives than they would at any other time of year. It gets pretty literary. But for me, I just need to keep things simple and stick to what got me here. I mean, it’s all about the basics for me: I’ve just got to keep putting words on the screen and hopefully something will click. At the end of the day, it is what it are.
Q: Talk about the grammatical error in that last sentence.
A: Obviously, I’d like to have that one back. I mean, I really dropped the ball there, but, like I said, it’s the playoffs: Fingers move fast, and you’re going to make mistakes. At the end of the day, it’s about typing within myself and making the most of every vowel and consonant. I just really need to stick to my game plan and be confident that the rest of the words will come.
By Scott Feschuk - Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 5:00 AM - 0 Comments
Have you heard about Google Glass? ARE YOU EXCITED?? Soon we will have the ability to purchase this revolutionary product that will give us the same features we already have on our phones but without all the hassle of needing to glance slightly downward.
Glass has been described by some as a “hands-free, voice-activated, augmented-reality headset”—and by me as a “dork monocle.” What’s important is this: Google wants you to want one. The company has been hyping Glass for months. And it’s sold a limited number of prototypes to people it refers to as “Glass Explorers” because that doesn’t sound nerdy at all.
By Scott Feschuk - Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 8:00 PM - 0 Comments
Let’s stop worrying about the why, people. The cause of all ‘isms’ is the ‘ists’
“The root causes of terrorism is terrorists.”— Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre
Pierre Poilievre makes a good point: stopping terrorism is super easy. We don’t need to invest billions in intelligence and security. We don’t need to explore the societal and cultural influences that abet radicalization. We simply need to go to the hospital, hang around the maternity ward and wait to hear a doctor shout: “Congratulations—it’s a terrorist!” And that’s when we burst in and slap on the baby handcuffs. The world? SAFER.
There is such simplicity and clarity (but mostly simplicity) to this perspective. There is also terrible grammar but—as Poilievre would surely argue—the root causes of a poor education is educationists.
By Scott Feschuk - Friday, April 26, 2013 at 2:00 PM - 0 Comments
A Star Wars movie every year? Scott Feschuk imagines the synergies
Walt Disney Co., which paid $4 billion for George Lucas’s film company, has announced that, beginning in 2015, it will release a Star Wars movie every year—yes, every single year. Let’s look ahead:
2015: Although many are eagerly anticipating J.J. Abrams’ take on the series, some are apprehensive that he will introduce to the Star Wars universe the element of time travel—which would enable a middle-aged Luke Skywalker to encounter his younger self, his older self and, quite possibly, a very confused Spock. On the other hand, it could also bring together seven Yodas for the most backwards-talking, ass-kicking climax in film history. Let’s agree to let the time-travel thing slide so long as Abrams uses the device to have two incarnations of Jar Jar Binks beat each other to death.
2018: The franchise is entrusted to other directors, beginning with Michael Bay—who opens his film in flashback with a 14-minute shot of a young Princess Leia (Megan Fox), clad in cut-off jeans, leaning over a landspeeder to tinker with its engine. On the radio we hear the sounds of Alderaan’s best Aerosmith cover band. Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 4:40 PM - 0 Comments
Because the Conservatives are super-classy, they released a statement congratulating Justin Trudeau on winning the Liberal leadership. Here it is (for real) in its entirety:
“We congratulate Justin Trudeau on becoming Liberal leader.
“Stephen Harper has an Economic Action Plan that has created 900,000 new jobs since the recession, the best job creation record in the G7. He’s lowered taxes, such as the GST, and increased support for families with measures like the Universal Child Care Benefit.
“Justin Trudeau may have a famous last name, but in a time of global economic uncertainty, he doesn’t have the judgment or experience to be Prime Minister.”
By Scott Feschuk - Monday, April 15, 2013 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Scott Feschuk writes an open letter to his money
An open letter to my Money:
How are you? I miss you so much! You and I parted so abruptly during our recent jaunt to Las Vegas, I feel compelled to apologize for leaving you behind.
Before I get to that, a quick question: have you seen my self-respect? Or my self-control? Or those studded leather chaps I bought from Gucci while super-duper drunk on complimentary margaritas? I left Vegas without those, as well.
I’m still trying to piece together what went wrong, Money. Our trip began with such optimism. Remember how I withdrew you from the bank and counted you over and over? We shared an immediate connection. Together, we were as close as human and inanimate object could be, not including Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.
By Scott Feschuk - Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 3:10 PM - 0 Comments
“Our top story: we are awaiting the arrival of a couple first-class passengers!” the morning anchor on CBC News Network was saying. “We’ll take you to Pearson airport in Toronto when the pandas land!” In the meantime, please enjoy this bonanza of panda footage, edited for maximum adorability: Chewing! Frolicking! Sleepy-eyed falling over!
Upon sighting the FedEx plane carrying Er Shun and Da Mao—the two giant pandas we’re renting from China for the next 10 years—the anchor switched to her two-exclamation-mark voice: “We’ll be counting down to touchdown at Pearson, down to the minute!!”
On the screen, live from the airport: CBC’s on-location reporter. She was wearing panda puppets on her hands—just like they teach in journalism school. It’s a technique that dates back to Edward R. Murrow explaining developments in the Second World War using balloon animals.
By Scott Feschuk - Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 10:30 AM - 0 Comments
Because of all the complex terminology, reading about this week’s federal budget sure can be taxing. (Ladies and gentlemen: wordplay!) Lucky for you, I’ve spent the past several years compiling and refining a helpful guide that translates all that wonky budget lingo.
Austerity During tough economic times, the federal government reduces the amount it spends, except in areas that reflect vital public trusts like health care and snowmobiles.
Balance of Payments The formal term for rushing out to buy a new pair of shoes after discovering your husband dropped $700 on a flat-screen TV.
Benchmark Bond The little-known brother of the famous spy, he was killed in a tragic securitization mishap.
By Scott Feschuk - Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 6:00 AM - 0 Comments
Time for the Senate to fight back — Scott Feschuk has some ideas
The whole Mike Duffy thing has brought to light a shocking truth. People of Canada, there’s a second house of Parliament.
Apparently it’s called the Senate and all along it’s been right down the hall from the House of Commons. Mostly there are old people in there every afternoon—so naturally, many of us assumed it was a Swiss Chalet or possibly a matinee screening of that movie where Meryl Streep forces Tommy Lee Jones to go to sex counselling. But no: legislative body the whole time!
Having existed for more than a century, the Senate has produced a number of memorable achievements, such as having existed for more than a century. Also, there was one day that a plucky young upstart openly defied the two-nap minimum. He was subjected to a thorough harrumphing.
Being a senator sounds like a pretty sweet gig. You get an office, a staff and an annual salary of $132,000. You are also entitled to collect up to $22,000 a year in living expenses if a) your primary residence is more than 100 km from Parliament Hill, or b) you feel like it.
By Scott Feschuk - Saturday, March 9, 2013 at 6:00 AM - 0 Comments
Being locked in a space capsule for 501 days, says Scott Feschuk, can give you the ‘us time’ you’re craving
Looking for a fun getaway with the man or woman you love? Consider a trip to Mars! It’s a journey you’ll cherish until the day you die—which, for the record, will be when you both incinerate on re-entry.
But let’s not dwell on the many completely fatal potential downsides of this romantic jaunt. The privately funded Inspiration Mars Foundation is determined to send a married couple on a non-stop, “state-of-the-art” trip around the red planet for some reason. And why shouldn’t it be you?
Being shot toward a distant sphere would give you and your spouse the “us time” you’ve both been craving—the chance to leave behind the stresses of daily life and do something fun together, like stare for months into unending black, grow progressively more insane and sit helplessly as your bones and muscles deteriorate from the ravages of microgravity. Sounds better than Disney already, right?
By Scott Feschuk - Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 1:00 PM - 0 Comments
What we’ve learned from the senator from P.E.I.-ish
Politicians who land in hot water need help managing the crisis and protecting their reputations. Lucky for them, Sen. Mike Duffy has, over the past several weeks, offered a master class in how to get through the worst of it.
Here is Mike Duffy’s seven-step guide to handling a political crisis like a real pro.
1. Belittle. When reporters suggested Duffy was inappropriately pocketing up to $22,000 a year in living expenses (he claimed his primary residence is in P.E.I., even though he’s lived near Ottawa for decades), the senator’s response was to mock them. Do some “adult work,” he said. When that didn’t end the scrutiny, he told one journalist: “It’s none of your business.” This is a great way to win over taxpayers, who love it when a partisan crony—appointed by fiat to a cushy job with a great pension—explains that what he does with their money is none of their concern.
2. Blame. Dodging direct responsibility is essential, as Duffy showed when he emphasized the baffling nature of the Senate’s residency questionnaire. In his defence, the form is an impenetrable brainteaser. Try to stick with me as I walk you through it. The form asks each senator to check a box next to one of the following two statements:
- My primary residence is within 100 km from Parliament Hill.
- My primary residence is more than 100 km from Parliament Hill.
Surely this query would confound Stephen Hawking, Doogie Howser and Deep Blue combined! SO PERPLEXING.
3. Dodge. Asked whether he met the Senate’s residency requirement, Duffy replied: “I don’t want to get into all of that because that’s for accountants and heaven knows I’m not an accountant.” This was an excellent answer because everyone knows that only a highly trained accountant, equipped with a calculator and possibly a protractor, is capable of counting all the way to 183—the number of days needed to make a home one’s primary residence. You’re asking me to add? Whoa, let’s leave that to the bean counters! This tactic resonates with the average Joe because who among us hasn’t had difficulty answering trick questions like, “Where do you live?”
4. Deflect. For weeks, Duffy told reporters there’s no story here. He urged them to instead focus on “real issues” like energy development. This is a great gambit because reporters always do what they’re told by a politician who’s up to his neck in it. For instance, if you’re caught cheating on your spouse, just tell those nosy reporters to focus on what really matters: the fact that mangoes are delicious. Yes, when they find you naked in a motel, they’ll probably ask questions like, “What does this say about your personal integrity?” and “What’s with the clown mask?” But give them the skinny on mangoes and they’ll be rushing to the pay phones to yell: “STOP THE PRESSES—I’VE GOT BREAKING FRUIT NEWS!” Works every time.
5. Emote. If playing hardball doesn’t do the trick, be like Mike and try to draw on the sympathies of Canadians. As the scandal wore on, the senator invoked his honest nature and even referred to himself in the third person (“Canadians know Mike Duffy”). This was a brilliant move because when you’re seeking to emphasize your virtue and humility, it’s important to talk like Donald Trump.
6. Flee. Pressed by reporters at an event in Halifax, Duffy opted to improvise his exit—because what better way to say “I have nothing to hide” than by cutting through a hotel kitchen to slip out the back? As the movies have shown us, sneaking through the kitchen is the chosen route of only the most upstanding of citizens, including many of our finest mobsters and assassins.
7. “Admit.” Just as there’s the non-apology apology (“If I offended anyone, then . . . ”), there’s the non-admission admission. The senator played this one perfectly, saying he “may have been mistaken” and insisting that he’s paying back the money only because the issue has become a “distraction.” This is definitely the way to come clean if you want everyone to know you’ve learned absolutely nothing from the experience and you’re caving in only because you’ve run out of ways to cover your backside.
So it’s as easy at that. Next time you’re in deep, follow these simple steps and you too can be regarded with the exact same level of respect that Canadians now have for Mike Duffy, senator from Prince Edward Island(ish).
Follow Scott Feschuk on Twitter @scottfeschuk
By Scott Feschuk - Saturday, February 16, 2013 at 7:00 AM - 0 Comments
One—but only one—of these cruises was made up by Scott Feschuk
Looking for a fun getaway? Here are five theme cruises. Four of them you can book right now. The other? I made it up. Try to guess which one. (For the answer, scroll down past the end of the column.)
The Wizard Cruise. “Imagine!” the website says. “Imagine 600 Harry Potter fanatics, dressed in their finest wizard robes and brandishing magic wands, descending upon a modern luxury liner.” Do you have that image in your head? Now imagine all of the other passengers pointing and laughing. Imagine the three female “wizards” on board getting tired of hearing the same pickup line: “Wanna pet my hippogriff?” Imagine quidditch being a letdown because the snitch is a beach ball and a muggle keeps deflating your water wings.
By Scott Feschuk - Friday, February 8, 2013 at 7:00 AM - 0 Comments
Scott Feschuk: A penny saved is the worst thing ever
The penny is on its way out, and it’s about time because the penny is JUST AWFUL. Think of the Canadian coin family as the Kardashians. The one-cent piece is far and away the most annoying, pointless and utterly useless member of the family—which means the penny is all the Kardashians. That’s how awful it is.
Pennies are so awful they could support a list enumerating the ways in which they are awful:
1. Finding pennies in your pocket. Sometimes we think we possess actual money—but when we dig out the handful of coins weighing down our pants, we discover, like, 17 cents. Perfect. I think I’ll treat myself to a big nothing full of nothing! THANKS, PENNIES.
2. Getting stuck with pennies. When I was a kid, we used to carry around those UNICEF boxes on Halloween—and my neighbours pretty much took them as an invitation to empty their penny jars. After three houses, the box was approximately as heavy as the moon. Yet people were so pleased with themselves for making a “donation.” Africa thanks you, Mrs. Hart. WOULD YOU LIKE A TAX RECEIPT FOR THOSE 13 CENTS? Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Friday, February 1, 2013 at 3:25 PM - 0 Comments
What? No War of 1812 reference? Scott Feschuk on the new bill
Canada’s new $20 bill has been in the news for an alleged foliage error. But that’s not the only mistake or curiosity on our new currency. Let’s take a closer look.
1. This is the signature of Tiff Macklem, who purports to be deputy governor of the Bank of Canada—but whose name clearly indicates that he is, in fact, a baseball player from 1953. Oops.
2. Our new bank notes are made not from paper but from “a polymer material” that feels like plastic, which raises the important question: Now who’s living in the future, George Jetson? The polymer was chosen by the Bank of Canada to a) stymie counterfeiters and b) give Canadians something new to complain about. Mission accomplished on both fronts! The newspaper in Cobourg, Ont., recently ran a story in which local woman Vickie Skinner described the new bills as “absolutely terrible” and local woman Michelle Scott lamented: “Why don’t they just leave our money alone?” A third local woman said of the bills, presumably while narrowing her eyes: “They look like fake money to me.”
Turns out this is a common complaint. A lot of people seem to think the new bills feel “fake”—and to those people I say: YOU ARE 100 PER CENT CORRECT. All the 20s, 50s and 100s currently in your possession are, indeed, complete phonies. Here, let me personally remove them from your sight. (For the record, some Canadians also claim the new bank notes have melted when left next to a heater or when the rent is due and a new excuse is needed.)
3. Check out all this wasted space. Plenty of room to fit in an ad for Mountain Dew.
4. A critical gaffe in the design process resulted in this bill somehow being printed without a single depiction of, or reference to, the War of 1812. In future editions, the Queen will be rendered as having dysentery.
5. Some experts insist the maple leaf shown here is from a Norway maple, an invasive species in Canada—and not from the sugar maple we all know, love and ruthlessly exploit to market beer (Molson Canadian) and futility (Toronto Maple Leafs). For the record, the scientist who made the accusation was described in one news report as “a hawk-eyed Canadian botanist,” which pretty much makes him sound like a member of the Avengers.
Botanist: Fellow superheroes—I’ve cornered a villainous species of spruce that if left to roam free will crowd out all rival tree life in this forest at some point in the next 200 years!
Hulk: Hulk! SMASH! Eventually!
For its part, the Bank of Canada insists there’s been no mistake: the leaf in question has simply been “stylized” so as not to represent a specific type of maple. (It refers to the image as a “frosted maple leaf,” which is a coincidence because that’s my favourite cereal.) This whole “stylized” explanation totally makes sense because the wacky, fun-loving people at the Bank of Canada are renowned for being creative and “stylizing” things left and right. Wait until you see the new $5 bill, featuring Wilfrid Laurier in a backwards baseball cap.
6. Technically this is not an error—but man, the Queen is really rubbing our faces in it with all those pearls, isn’t she?
7. Unique feature: if you put your ear to the Peace Tower and listen very closely, you can hear John Baird yelling at you to clean your ear.
8. There is a major mistake in this “metallic portrait.” Take a close look: As you can clearly see, it is our reigning queen—Elizabeth II—whose spectre-like image is creepily featured within the bill’s holographic foil. But anyone with even a passing knowledge of the monarchy knows that Victoria, who died in 1901, is Canada’s official Ghost Queen. Get your facts straight, Bank of Canada! You don’t want to make the same kind of error when you get around to honouring Canada’s zombie prime ministers.
9. The Bank of Canada emphasizes that the new polymer bills “weigh less than paper notes”—because, yeah, that was a big complaint about paper money: SO, SO HEAVY. Dude, I’d love to chip in for dinner but I just threw out my back paying for some chinos.
10. Keen-eyed monarchists will have noticed that this is not the Queen’s actual hairdo. It was apparently “stylized” by the Bank of Canada to more closely resemble that of Princess Leia.
Follow Scott Feschuk on Twitter @scottfeschuk
By Scott Feschuk - Friday, February 1, 2013 at 4:54 AM - 0 Comments
Baltimore (plus 3.5) vs. San Francisco
Scott Feschuk: After all the hype, after all the insipid player interviews and celebrity-chef snack advice, after all the talk about Kate Upton’s Super Bowl commercial (spoiler alert: boobs) and the boyhood adventures of the Harbaugh brothers, after every washed-up former athlete got his 15 minutes on sports radio to shill some product or other (“Before we wrap things up, Donovan McNabb, tell us about what you’ve got going on with the good people at Slim Jim”), after every news agency that published this photograph…
… felt the need to point out to readers that Beyonce was dressed as a “sexy referee” (the “sexy” part was self-evident, dummies, just as it is every Sunday when Ed Hochuli suits up), after all my preparations for watching a game for which Phil Simms is providing the analysis (Mute button? Check!), after this Mardi Gras float that Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Thursday, January 24, 2013 at 1:20 PM - 0 Comments
Scott Feschuk lays his Jan. 1 pledges to rest
I am saddened to announce that my New Year’s resolutions, which imbued me with a sense of optimism and gave me hope that I could become a better human being, have died. They were less than a month old.
They passed away quietly after a brief struggle with reality.
There were five resolutions in all, each born of good intentions on Jan. 1, 2013. A sixth—Stopping Smoking—was declared DOA after my youngest son saw it on my list and noted, “Hey, you don’t smoke—that’s cheating.”
Each resolution came into this world with hope, promise and—thanks to a diverse array of unflattering habits forged over years of bad decisions and slack living—the odds stacked firmly against it.
Still, Getting Fit managed to flourish during all three trips to the treadmill and that one decision not to supersize my Quarter Pounder meal. Frankly, I’m still a little puzzled the lady at the drive-through didn’t seem more impressed by my restraint, especially after I mentioned it for a third time. Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Friday, January 18, 2013 at 3:00 PM - 0 Comments
The NHL commish is sorry, writes Scott Feschuk. So all is forgiven, right?
Gary Bettman says he’s “sorry.” Sorry for the lockout. Sorry for the whole “no hockey” thing. Sorry for Russell Crowe’s singing voice in Les Miz. Any more sorry and the NHL commissioner would be legally required to submit to a two-part interview with Oprah.
Jeremy Jacobs—the man who owns the Boston Bruins, serves as chairman of the NHL board of governors, and is so cheap he would fistfight a hobo over a nickel—would like it known that he, too, is sorry. In fact, he’s so sorry that he’s “truly sorry.” Jacobs went on: “Our only interest now is to focus on what this great game can provide to the best sports fans in the world. Now gimme that five cents, Boxcar McGee!”
Jacobs is not alone. Pretty much all NHL owners are saying they’re sorry for doing that thing they did for 113 consecutive days and planned to do for a year before that and will probably do again at the next possible opportunity. It’s not an emotion—it’s a marketing strategy. Real hockey fans know Gary Bettman hasn’t truly been sorry since Gap Kids stopped making his favourite blazer. (An aside: he’s been commissioner for 20 years, but when they show Bettman at a game, I always imagine him whispering to his guest, “What’s ‘icing’ mean?”) Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Friday, January 18, 2013 at 12:44 PM - 0 Comments
San Francisco (minus 4) at Atlanta, Sunday, 3 p.m. ET
Scott Reid: As Earthlings everywhere cheered the Niners’ triumph over Green Bay last week, the rise of K-fever reached near epidemic levels. Squillions hopped aboard the Kaepernick bandwagon (wave to me – I’m in the Montana jersey near the window). What a day! In addition to breaking the single-game record for rushing by a quarterback, outdueling Aaron “The Consensus Greatest QB In The Game” Rodgers and winning the Golden Globe in the category of Best Snapback Not Worn By L’il Wayne….
…Kaepernick managed to dazzle America with his mythmaking instincts. The SF QB took the unusual step of releasing a letter he had written to himself in Grade Four. In it, the pre-tatted Kaepernick…. mused that he would one day ‘…go to the pro’s and play on the Niners.’ And lo and behold… here he is. Journalists and fans alike heralded the precognitive prowess of Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Friday, January 11, 2013 at 11:52 AM - 0 Comments
Baltimore (plus 9.5) at Denver, Saturday, 4:30 p.m.
Scott Reid: Did you hear the big news? Ben Affleck was snubbed by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (also known as Club Weinstein) yet again. His true-to-life political thriller Argo was nominated for Best Picture, yet his skills as a director were abjectly ignored by Seth MacFarlane (who, I like to believe, is personally picking all the winners this year – go American Dad!). How this could have happened is currently being debated hotly by fans around the world who don’t still resent Affleck’s performance in Daredevil (a list that does not include yours truly – seriously, Maggie Smith would have made a more convincing Matt Murdock). My view is that it’s payback from Hollywood’s Canadian mafia. While a fun watch, Argo effectively reduces the heroic Canadian role played during the Iranian hostage crisis to an inglorious sideshow. Do you really think Canadian-born Academy heavyweights like Norman Jewison, David Foster and Tricia Helfer (hot Cylons can be very patriotic) would just let this slide?
Don’t be naïve, people. The maple leaf is an inviting example of vascular plant life but, when angered, it can be fierce and unforgiving. Too bad the same can’t be said for Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 12:50 PM - 0 Comments
Scott Feschuk on Chief Theresa Spence and living on fish broth
According to its founders, Idle No More “calls on all people to join in a revolution which honours and fulfills Indigenous sovereignty.” That doesn’t sound like a very fun revolution. The best revolutions are, like, “Hey, let’s kill the king!” or “Hang on, we preferred the original Coke!” Honouring and fulfilling stuff doesn’t usually cut it.
But the movement has taken off. We’re at the point now where it’s like Occupy, but with fewer hacky sacks and douchebags. And it’s splitting opinion pretty sharply. For many, your perspective on Idle No More may come down to how you feel about the hunger strike of Chief Theresa Spence. Many find inspiration in her commitment. Others feel Spence is cheating because she’s consuming tea, lemon water and fish broth. Fish broth is food! they say. Kind of but not really! comes the reply. Although, if we’re debating the calorie count of fish water, we have perhaps strayed some distance from the larger point.
There is one thing for certain: I would be the world’s worst hunger striker. I’d have the fish broth. I’d have the lemon water. I’d have the lemon and the lemon peel. I’d have the pizza—but just one or two slices because, you know, hunger strike. Worse still, if my hunger strike actually got me a meeting with the Prime Minister, as Spence’s did, I wouldn’t be able to say anything because for three hours my mouth would be full of muffin. Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Friday, January 4, 2013 at 9:57 AM - 0 Comments
Scott Feschuk salutes those whose failures made us feel better about ourselves
So the Mayans were wrong, the world didn’t end and I’ve lost my last, best excuse to put off cleaning the basement. Thanks for nothing, 2012.
On the other hand, the outgoing year did us one favour: it produced a bumper crop of high achievers who suffered very public failures. Let’s take a moment to salute those whose personal catastrophes made us feel by comparison much, much better about ourselves.
David Petraeus. In a country in which Democrats and Republicans can’t even agree on whether Clint Eastwood looked stupid talking to a chair, Petraeus was admired by partisans on both sides. In 2012, he once again brought together red state and blue state in a shared thought: shouldn’t the nation’s top spy know better than to use Gmail to make naughty talk with his mistress? He’s the head of the CIA—surely he has access to advanced cryptographic devices or a shoe phone. At minimum, Petraeus could have dispatched a shadowy figure to a darkened parking garage to pass along secret messages: “The Falcon thinks your thighs are shapely, Snowman.” Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Friday, January 4, 2013 at 6:56 AM - 0 Comments
Cincinnati (plus 4.5) at Houston, Saturday, 4:30 p.m.
Scott Reid: It’s fashionable these days to be a Texans skeptic. And, as Feschuk knows well, I’m nothing if not fashionable.
Sure, Houston has won 12 times but who have they really topped? Take away early-season victories against Denver and Baltimore and their record relies on beating up on the likes of Jacksonville (twice), Miami, the Jets, Angela Lansbury, the 1962 New York Mets and Willow Smith (although she took them to overtime). By contrast, their losses were all to playoff teams: Green Bay, New England, Minnesota and Indy. Making matters worse, Houston is skidding badly into the playoffs. Since getting squared by Ndamukong Suh on Thanksgiving Day, Schaub has thrown as many interceptions as touchdowns, led the team to three losses in five games and only pees while seated (fun fact: JJ Watt is also a squatter). Handicappers everywhere are consequently predicting a swift exit from the playoffs. But in my red-thonged opinion, the boys in Vegas are a week too early. Houston is no powerhouse but, at home, they’ll easily dispatch the Bengals. But in the next round? They’re going to get Willow’d. Pick: Houston.
Scott Feschuk: It’s true: everyone is picking a Bengals upset. It’s as though we’ve all forgotten that in the most pivotal of football moments, Cincinnati coach Marv Lewis is best known for staring ahead with an expression on his face that says, “Hmm, where did I leave my car keys? Also, what are car keys? And hey, who’s this voice in my head wondering about car keys?? OUT WITH YOU, SATAN! [Punches self in brain.]”
What I’m saying is that with Norv Turner and Andy Reid having been fired, Marv Lewis is the NFL’s longest-tenured and most-distinguished Terrible Coach in Crucial Games. And that’s good news for football fans. Every big drama needs some comedy relief – and Marv will be here on Saturday to burn three timeouts before the eight-minute mark of the first quarter, or let time expire in the first half while mulling over a field-goal attempt, or throw his red flag to challenge whether Joanie ever truly loved Chachi. Pick: Houston.
Minnesota (plus 8) at Green Bay, Saturday 8 p.m.
Reid: Looks like the Vikes’ huge win last week did little to sway the odds makers. If this line were any bigger, Adrian Peterson could run through it (see how much better the jokes are going to be in 2013). But it’s for a good reason: Green Bay will win this game just as surely as the next Nora Ephron picture will include a gay best friend and something soulful from Snow Patrol. (Note from Feschuk: Reid is either unaware that Ephron is dead or is convinced that this small hurdle will not diminish her output of cinematic treacle.) The real thing we’ve got to sort out is why Kathy Griffin thinks it makes sense or any kind of decency to go down on a gay dude with a national audience watching – including two of my sons who now think the funniest word in the English language is ‘pricknic’ (they’re probably right).
Pick: Green Bay.
Feschuk: According to league sources, Vikings QB Christian Ponder has been “very limited” in practice this week, and also in every game in his NFL career.
This guy gets the Trent Dilfer Memorial Award for Playoff Team That is Unaware It Even Has a Starting Quarterback. Can’t they just jerry-rig a pitching machine or a Lego robot to repeatedly hand the ball to Adrian Peterson? Or how about a series of stunt-casted guest stars to boost ratings?
Ponder: My elbow still hurts from when it hit a helmet last week, coach.
Coach: No problem, kid. We’re going to go with Tom Selleck, Florence Henderson and TV’s Radar O’Reilly.
The key to this game will be the Packers learning from last week and this time around stacking the box with 11 players and a hastily dug moat. Pick: Green Bay.
Indianapolis (plus 6) at Baltimore, Sunday, 1 p.m.
Feschuk: What a Sunday of football – unless you’re Joe Flacco. To put it in the parlance of Sesame Street: Joe Flacco is the one of these things that’s not like the other. All week long the hype has been about the three amazing rookie quarterbacks (Andrew Luck, RG III and Russell Wilson) who took their teams to unexpected heights during the 2012 season and will be taking the field on Wild Card Sunday. And then there’s Joe, who’s so average at his job that young, doe-eyed children come up to him and lament, “Say it ain’t so-so, Joe.” I’m not saying the guy doesn’t engender much confidence but right now John Harbaugh’s game plan calls for Ray Rice to carry the ball 3,400 times. The Ravens have a reputation for being defensively stout, but in fact their D ranks in the bottom half of the league this year. And the team lost four of its last five games. They’re ripe for the picking! To again put it in the parlance of Sesame Street, “Six! Six beautiful points against the spread! AH! AH! AH!” Or as Mr. Hooper used to say to Big Bird, “Get out of my store, you filthy animal.” That quote doesn’t have any practical application in terms of this game but it’s always worthwhile to remember that Mr. Hooper was a horrible, hate-filled man. Pick: Indianapolis.
Reid: There are two kinds of people on this Earth: Those who retire gracefully from life as a professional athlete. And those who decay into a spiral of despondency, drugs and murder. (The second kind are also known as Nickleback fans). To help Ray Lewis determine which of these two categories into which he might fall, we have prepared this helpful three question personality test.
1. Does watching Super Bowl XXIV make you want to:
a) Cheer for the Cinderella season-ending win by Kurt Warner and the Rams?
b) Cry for Dyson’s oh-so-close final-play stretch?
c) Stab two people?
2. When gazing at the following image, do you see a pretty bunch of flowers or somebody who had it coming?
Seattle (minus 2.5) at Washington, Sunday, 4:30 p.m.
Feschuk: Maybe I’ve been listening to too much sports radio but based on what I’ve heard this week it is my understanding that Robert Griffin III is an amazing quarterback, a peerless athlete, a terrific teammate, a great humanitarian, a super genius, a hilarious prankster, a compelling singer-songwriter, a founding member of the Dogme 95 film movement, a good source of 11 essential vitamins and nutrients and a Rockette. He makes the Most Interesting Man in the World look mildly intriguing at best. But let’s face it: it’s hard to predict what’s going to happen in this game. The Redskins came off of their bye week and won their last seven games in a row. Meanwhile, Seattle has won five straight and seven of eight. As an added bonus, Pete Carroll is planning to coach despite the fact it conflicts with his rehearsal schedule as a backup singer in the coming sensation, Manilow on Broadway!
But enough stalling – tough games like this are why you turn to our NFL Picks, right? You come here for the astute analysis of gridiron trends and also the gratuitous photographs of Mrs. Tannehill in limited amounts of clothing.
So here it is: I’m going with Seattle because based on extensive research, they are the only NFL franchise that tells its fans how they can “get the look” of the team’s cheerleaders.
You may not think this is an important strategic edge, but you’re not the one who has to pick up the phone on Sundays and hear Scott Reid lament, “Why won’t those cheerleaders share the secrets of their fitness and beauty regimens?” I think back on how many accidents with a curling iron and home waxing kit could have been avoided in the Reid household! But those thigh burns are in the past, buddy. Want hair like a Seahawks cheerleader? Just make an appointment at the Gene Juarez Advanced Training Salon. Want to look slightly too orange? Seattle Sun Tan. It’s all there at your disposal, Scott Reid. YOU SHALL BE RADIANT. Pick: Seattle.
Reid: Yes, body wax can be dangerous. Remember that day you did my back?
Because I am a Niners fan, I now fear the Seahawks the way dogs fear electric fences. For that reason alone, I must believe Washington will win at home against Seattle. But I’m also convinced that the Skins rushing game will wear down Pete Carroll’s defence – which doesn’t travel super well and is soft up-the-gut. Hands up if you also think that RGIII has had enough of this ‘Russell Wilson is the real rookie of the year’ talk. Wouldn’t it be awesome if, instead of a football game, Griffin and Wilson could just settle things with some kind of head-to-head competition of skill and strength.
By Scott Feschuk - Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 1:10 PM - 0 Comments
Philadelphia (plus 7) at New York Giants
Scott Reid: If the Giants skid their way out of the playoffs by losing this home game to the four-win Eagles, does that make Rex Ryan the king of New York? Those who know him best believe that coach Tom Coughlin will react to a loss in one of three possible ways (ranked in reverse order of likelihood):
3. He yells so loudly that his liver spots fall off.
2. He rallies his players for next year by singing a note-perfect rendition of Cop Rock’s “You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down.”
1. He changes his name to Tracey and lives the remainder of his life as the third-least peculiar Wachowski sibling.
Meanwhile, I don’t want to suggest that Andy Reid is already thinking about next season but he has spent the past four days in his office Googling the best San Diego hotspots for sweetbreads (Fodor’s Tip: The Smoking Goat won’t disappoint). Pick: New York.
Scott Feschuk: That’s all very interesting but I’ve got BREAKING NEWS. The other day I was listening to that Wayne Lapierre guy from the NRA blame shooting rampages on video games, inferior mental health services, social dysfunction, under-armed kindergarten teachers, changes in barometric pressure, bad vibes, the chorus of Call Me Maybe, the rise of boxer-briefs and the fluoride in our water supply – anyway, that’s when it occurred to me: Do you think it’s a coincidence that the National Rifle Association, a fraternity of men so insecure in their manhood that they Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Friday, December 21, 2012 at 5:49 AM - 0 Comments
San Diego (plus 1.5) at New York Jets
Scott Feschuk: Okay, sure, Rex Ryan probably did the right thing on Tuesday when he benched Mark Sanchez. And he certainly did the right thing on Wednesday when he petitioned the court for a restraining order that forces Tim Tebow to keep 50 yards away from oblong objects. Still, I can’t help but wonder: Sanchez had been getting worse every week, culminating with a performance on Monday Night Football that left people across North America thinking to themselves, “If this man gets the ball for just one more series, he’s going to find a way to swallow it.” How bad was Sanchez’s performance? Let’s use the power of comparison. Let’s say Sanchez was a Subway employee (I know it’s asking you to gaze at least seven months into the future, but stick with me): if he were a Subway employee, and he performed as poorly as he did on Monday night, the result would be a loaf of Italian herbs and cheese filled with sawdust, mucus and three slices of human sadness. Would you like that toasted, sir? Anyway, my point is this: aren’t you a little bit curious about what would have happened this week? How would Mark Sanchez have one-upped (or, rather, one-downed) his five-turnover performance against one of the league’s worst teams? Would he have thrown the ball underhanded? Would he have found a way to fumble into his own butt? Would he have finally managed to pass the football so poorly that gravity itself refused to have anything to do with it and the ball floated off into space? Now we’ll never know. Pick: San Diego.
Scott Reid: They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, a video is worth just two: “F**k” and “You.”
Pick: San Diego.
Washington (minus 4.5) at Philadelphia
Reid: Reports out of Philadelphia suggest that Eagles team owner Jeff Lurie has already decided to fire Andy Reid at season’s end. There are no reports yet that he plans to padlock the rest of the team in an old barn in much the same way Hershel locked away all those zombies in season two. But I’ve decided to seed the idea. And for the record, I sincerely think it will happen. All of this raises the question: What comes next for Andy Reid? Many NFL observers expect the veteran coach and Quarterback Whisperer to be picked up quickly – possibly by Dallas, San Diego or a lonely-for-love manatee.
But what if Andy feels he needs a bit of a break from coaching? Ever wonder what else might be out there for him? Well, worry not. The intrepid job-search staff here at Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 11:10 AM - 0 Comments
To aid in your enjoyment of the holidays, please consult this second volume of answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the songs of the season—all from someone who, until he was 17, thought Silent Night described Mary as a “round young virgin.”
Q: I need closure. Does that pushy fellow wind up scoring with the woman in Baby, It’s Cold Outside?
A: Ask anyone who’s listened closely to the lyrics of this song: nothing captures the spirit of the holiday season like a man pressuring a pretty lady to get drunk enough to make out with him. As any lawyer will tell you, it’s not sexual harassment if it rhymes. To get a sense of how the song’s conflict is resolved, one must refer to its long-lost concluding verses: