By macleans.ca - Friday, February 12, 2010 - 0 Comments
It takes a village to raise an idiot
Jacques Rogge and the rest of the executive board of the International Olympic Committee have relented and will allow the Australian International Olympic Committee to fly its iconic “boxing kangaroo” flag from a balcony of the Vancouver Olympic Village. The flag was ordered removed because the IOC bans unauthorized commercial symbols, and the cartoon ’roo is trademarked, albeit only to the Australian Olympic Committee. The dispute ﬁred up Aussies everywhere. Deputy PM Julia Gillard called it a “scandal.” Vancouver radio phone-in callers raged at the IOC’s bully tactics. IOC spokesman Mark Adams called the issue “a storm in a teacup.” Meantime, athletes are streaming to the Oz sector of the village for a photo with the giant ’roo.
He did it for the kids
It was death in the afternoon for any bull that Jairo Miguel Sànchez Alonso faced Saturday at an arena in southwest Spain. The 16-year-old killed six bulls without mussing his sparkly white suit of lights. He returned to Spain after several years apprenticing in Mexico, where there is no minimum age for fighters. He almost died there in 2007 when a bull gored him. Alonso holds no grudges. “I feel quite bad when the bull has been good and you see the expression on his face, the innocence,” he says. “He has given you his bravery.” The event, while bloody, had a softer side. It was a fundraiser for children with autism.
Bad times for burkas
French Prime Minister François Fillon announced this week he’ll deny citizenship to a Moroccan national who forces his French-born wife to wear a burka. “If this man does not want to change his attitude, he has no place in our country,” he said. Meantime, President Nicolas Sarkozy’s call for a law banning full burkas is gaining steam. He has declared the full veil and body covering “not welcome” in France, and inconsistent with the country’s values. It’s certainly not welcome in Paris post offices. Two burka-clad robbers walked into a post office in the Paris suburb of Athis Mons, an area with a large immigrant Muslim population. They pulled out handguns and stole the equivalent of $6,000.
Blades of glory
Germany’s Katarina Witt and Canada’s Elizabeth Manley met on the ice in Vancouver Sunday, 22 years after the Teutonic bombshell and Canada’s sweetheart squared off in Calgary during the 1988 Olympics. Witt won gold but Manley, under enormous home-country pressure, pulled off the skate of her life to finish second. Both women are doing television colour commentary in Vancouver, but they took a turn on the Robson Square ice rink with young members of the Coquitlam Skating Club. “We’re not here for a rematch,” joked Manley, 44. “Not at our age, I’m 20—plus tax.” Replied a razor-sharp Witt: “Oh, my God! How much are taxes here?”
Tea time in Tennessee
Cranky country singer and musical comedian Ray Stevens’s flagging career was ready for a death panel. Then the 71-year-old singer of such novelty hits as Ahab the A-rab and Gitarzan wrote We the People, a lighthearted attack on President Barack Obama’s health care initiative. The video, which shows Stevens strumming a bathroom plunger and singing, “You vote Obamacare, we’re gonna vote you outta there,” is a YouTube hit and an unofficial anthem of the ultra-conservative Tea Party movement. Stevens sang at the group’s convention in Nashville on the weekend, where Sarah Palin raised eyebrows with her $100,000 fee for giving the keynote speech. “That’s a lot of damned tea,” grumbled one delegate.
Do as I say, not as I…ahh-choo!
As deputy health minister for the Czech Republic, Michael Vit has the job of deciding whether to impose mandatory swine flu vaccinations on “all people indispensable for the functioning of the country.” The day after receiving the assignment, Vit came down with H1N1 himself. “I have muscle problems, a headache, simply all symptoms of the flu,” he said. The deputy health minister admitted he had yet to receive the vaccination. “As you see, I’m a living example.”
‘Funeral’ for friends, and strangers
Canadian orchestral rockers Arcade Fire made it to the Super Bowl last weekend, when the group’s stirring anthem Wake Up, from their hit CD Funeral, was used in a series of NFL promo ads. While the group is protective of licensing its music, they had their reasons in this case. They turned over the fat licensing fee to Partners in Health, an agency with deep roots in Haiti. Band member Régine Chassagne’s family came from the island. She expressed her grief in an article in Britain’s Guardian newspaper: “I am mourning people I know. People I don’t know. People who are still trapped under rubble and won’t be rescued in time.”
Broom versus stick
Icy, obsessed with winning and not above the occasional cheap shot. Yes, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and hockey are a match made in heaven. Hockey is “deeply reflective of the character of the nation,” he explained in a pre-Olympic interview with Sports Illustrated. Harper, who has studied the origins of the sport, said it contributes to “a uniquely Canadian sense of belonging in a community across the country.” Opposition Leader Michael Ignatieff waxes poetic about a different sport: curling. Naturally, he identifies with the skip. “It’s the leadership and the precision, and the quiet,” he told the Globe and Mail. Apparently he’s not the sort of skip who shouts unseemly commands like, “Hurry, hurry hard.”
Very, very teed off
A Kelowna, B.C., entrepreneur is cashing in on Tiger Woods’s extramarital mayhem. Mike Caldwell has produced the Mistress Collection, a boxed set of 12 golf balls, each bearing a portrait of one of Woods’s mistresses. “He likes to play a round with them…and now you can, too!” notes his website, tailofthetiger.com. Caldwell says he sold 1,500 sets at US$54.90 in the first six days. Less than impressed is Joslyn James, an adult film star and alleged Woods mistress. She called a news conference to denounce the balls as hurtful and in bad taste. “It bothered me to think that someone would be standing with a dangerous club in their hands hitting a ball with my photo on it,” she said. She then showed her sensitive side by releasing 100 tawdry text messages she said she received from Woods.
You don’t want a visit by Oscar
Oscar the cat has a near infallible ability to detect which of the patients in the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, R.I., is next to die, says Dr. David Dosa, a geriatrician. When Oscar curls up with a patient, staff know to phone the next of kin. “It’s like he’s on a vigil,” says Dosa. Such insight would come as no surprise to cat owners, who are themselves terribly smart. Certainly smarter than dog owners, according to a study by Dr. Jane Murray at the University of Bristol. Winston Churchill was a cat lover. Paris Hilton loves dogs. Want more proof? Cat owners (if anyone really owns a cat) are 1.36 times more likely than dog owners to hold a university degree. They’re also 100 per cent less likely to have to follow behind their pet and scoop droppings off the sidewalk.
Gay but not cheerful
The headline in the Seattle Weekly says it all: “Gay, mentally challenged biracial male cheerleader claims discrimination.” All that high school student Benjamin Grundy wants is to shake his pom-poms like the girls on the squad at Garfield-Palouse High School in tiny Palouse, Wash. Instead, the cheer coach suggested he’d make a great mascot. He was eventually given a cheerleader’s top but denied the rest of the uniform, pom-poms, and the right to join the dance routine. “I was reduced to standing there and moving my arms,” he says. The school board denies discrimination, but Benjamin’s mother, Suzanne Grundy, is pressing the case with the ACLU and her congressman. “The combination of a biracial, mentally challenged gay male may be too much for them,” she told the local TV station.
L’état c’est moi
Quebec’s Lieutenant-Governor Pierre Duchesne has revived a tradition that ended 44 years ago—awarding medals, in gold, silver and bronze, and bearing his coat of arms, to those making contributions to their communities. The practice of awarding such medals ended in 1966 after Quebec nationalists condemned the symbolic tie with the monarchy. Duchesne has no such qualms: he also invoked royal privilege to avoid testifying before a national assembly committee on how he spends some $1 million annually in taxpayer money. His refusal to testify was condemned by all sides of the legislature.
Disharmony in the house of Wang
It was Hong Kong feng shui master Tony Chan’s skills in arranging buildings to create a positive life force that drew Chan to the eccentric, pigtailed property magnate Nina Wang. He began a 15-year affair with Wang, 23 years his senior. Now, he’s accused of arranging her $4-billion fortune in a manner auspicious to himself. When she died at 69 in 2007, he claimed to be her sole heir. Her family contested the will, and he’s charged with forgery.
She also has a Ph.D. in thankless tasks
Leila Ghannam, a former Palestinian intelligence officer, is the first woman governor of Ramallah, the unofficial capital of the West Bank. Her challenge is to quash a resurgence by hard-liners in Hamas. “My intelligence experience, like my degree in psychology, helps me carry out my job,” she says.
By Chris Sorensen - Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 1:00 PM - 9 Comments
As the cost of corn syrup rises, sugar is coming back
Canadians following the NFL playoffs may have noticed that Pepsi is bombarding American television viewers with ads for Pepsi Throwback. In addition to coming in a can adorned with the company’s old logo, replaced two years ago, the other main selling point is that the “refreshingly retro” version is sweetened with good ol’ fashioned sugar. Which has caused some to wonder what, exactly, they had been drinking in the first place?
The answer, for those who don’t read food labels closely, is high-fructose corn syrup. It’s been the beverage industry’s sweetener of choice for decades—largely because it has historically been much cheaper than sugar. But sugar is once again back in vogue. In addition to the retro version of its namesake product, Pepsi is also offering a Mountain Dew Throwback until Feb. 22 (although not in Canada). Meanwhile, there are also sugar versions of Dr. Pepper on the market, while Gatorade and Snapple have said they plan to offer similar sugar-sweetened versions of their drinks. For its part, Pepsi says it’s reintroducing baby boomers to a taste from their childhood, noting that many customers say they prefer the “all natural” flavour of sugar-sweetened beverages.
But observers say the industry is testing the market amid mounting concerns about high-fructose corn syrup’s role in contributing to America’s obesity epidemic (although there’s not much evidence that sugar is any healthier) and the rising cost of corn-based products as more U.S. crops are diverted to production of ethanol-based fuels. The president of the U.S. Sugar Association, Andy Briscoe, said Pepsi’s move gives “shoppers another opportunity to choose natural sweeteners instead of manufactured ones” after the industry “rapidly introduced” high-fructose corn syrup to the North American market in the 1970s and 1980s. With only about five per cent of the U.S. beverage market at present, American sugar producers are keeping their fingers crossed that sugary Pepsi, as well as other soda brands, will be the choice of a new generation.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, February 1, 2010 at 1:01 PM - 6 Comments
The Grammys are to pop music what the Super Bowl is to sports
It is perhaps possible to take the Grammy Awards seriously. But only if you stop worrying about them.
Consider, for a moment, the National Football League.
The NFL is presently the premier professional sports league in North America: a multi-billion-dollar cultural institution that can claim, in the Super Bowl, the biggest single sporting event on the planet. Its athletes are among the world’s most exceptional and most beloved. But success in the NFL is not the ultimate standard of sporting achievement. The NFL does not define the concept of sport. In fact, no league, tournament or event—not even the Olympics—does. And it is generally understood that it is impossible to compare athletes of different leagues and disciplines—any discussion of “the world’s greatest athlete” generally defined by he or she who dominates their particular competition most spectacularly. (Tiger Woods, for instance, wasn’t ever as fast or as strong as any number of Olympians, football players or basketball players. But he was, by virtue of his unique excellence in golf, in the conversation as the best athlete in the world.)
By John Intini - Monday, September 21, 2009 at 10:40 AM - 1 Comment
It’s no fluke that gridiron greats perform like pros on ‘Dancing with the Stars’
Toronto Argonaut slotback Andre Durie spiced up his off-season workout routine this year. Instead of hitting the weights on Thursdays, the five-foot-nine-inch 192-lb. athlete took salsa lessons at Toronto’s Spanish Centre. “It’s a lot of hip work, a lot of foot work, and it helps with coordination,” says Durie, who was also looking to get a bit of his “rhythm” back after being sidelined by a serious knee injury. Turns out, the dance lessons connected more to his day job than expected. For one thing, Durie found that the signals sent between him and his dance partner—there are certain cues to let her know which way he was going to spin her, for instance—were much like those shared between a couple of receivers working together on a passing route. Durie also credits his gridiron training for making it easier to pick up some of the quicker, complicated footwork in the studio. “We’re always doing different drills with our feet [at football practice],” says Durie, 28. “So it’s almost second nature.”
Maybe that’s why no other sport has been as well represented on Dancing with the Stars as football. Over the years, the show has featured a basketball player, a handful of Olympians, and a couple of boxers, but when season nine debuts on ABC and CTV on Sept. 21, former Dallas Cowboy Michael Irvin will be the sixth pro football player to trade his cleats for a pair of dancing shoes. But the hall-of-fame receiver better have his game face on if he hopes to leave a bigger mark than the gridiron greats who have preceded him. Running back Emmitt Smith, Irvin’s former teammate and Durie’s boyhood hero, was the big winner of season three. And San Francisco 49ers receiver Jerry Rice (season two) and Miami Dolphins linebacker Jason Taylor (season six) waltzed and cha-chaed their way to second-place finishes. So did Warren Sapp, a 300-lb. all-pro lineman, who earned the respect of the judges (one said the long-time Tampa Bay Buccaneer moved like a “Lamborghini taking on the freeway”) and the voting audience by exhibiting the grace of a man literally half his size. Continue…
By Scott Feschuk - Friday, September 18, 2009 at 7:32 AM - 5 Comments
Scott Feschuk vs. Scott Reid
Scott Feschuk: Last week 7-9
Scott Reid: Last week 9-7
Not a stellar opening week for either of us, but it’s early in the season. The men haven’t even been separated from the boys yet. Which, if you think about it, means the men are still playing with the boys – which seems unfair, and a little too much like weekends at Neverland. (Too soon?)
Tampa Bay (plus 4.5) at Buffalo
Feschuk: I was reading the other day that several NFL players – and this is for real – have agreed to donate their brains to help study the effect of head trauma on NFL players. I guess no one told Leodis McKelvin he’s supposed to wait until he’s dead to do it. McKelvin’s boneheaded Monday night fumble, when my Bills were so close to upsetting the Pats, was an absolute heartbreaker. Wide right, the Music City Miracle, watching Drew Bledsoe try to “run” – being a Buffalo fan is soooo tough. I’m thinking of taking up a less painful hobby, like genital piercing or voting NDP. By the way, you may have heard that McKelvin’s lawn was vandalized the day after the game, and I just want to go on record as saying I got all this sod and muck in my boot treads from gardening. Yeah, gardening. That’s it. (You’re part McKelvin on your mother’s side, right? Need a dented mailbox with the family name?) Pick: Buffalo.
Reid: The horror of McKelvin’s decision to run the ball out of the end zone was matched only by the class of Terrell Owens in slagging his teammate after the game. As if the dude had no other way of learning that he had screwed up. Of course, Owens didn’t stop there. For good measure he threw in some choice criticisms of QB Trent Edwards. This after Owens notched two catches and – wait for it – one drop! Yes. That’s right. TO was dropping balls again – as though he’s Leodis’ spiritual father. TO – you’ll have led this team into civil war by week 6. Fans of Buffalo (who tend to be erratic and defiantly unmedicated) believe last week’s game was evidence the team is underrated. I prefer to believe it’s evidence they’re still outstanding at finding ways to crush their fans’ spirits. Lucky for them, they’re facing Byron Sandwich and the sad remnants of a once-great defence. Pick: Buffalo
New England (minus 4) at New York Jets
Reid: Tom Brady did some amazing things Monday night. He threw more than 50 passes. He led his team to a rousing fourth-quarter comeback. And he made Suzy Kolber run like her paycheque depended upon it. (Which, it sorta does). Rookie Mark Sanchez marshaled his team to an opening day victory and suddenly, he’s as popular as William Shatner at an all-girls retirement home. It all amounts to one whoppingly generous line for this game. Sure, New England’s defence looked as old as Rex Ryan looks custard-filled. But that’s no reason to narrow things down this low. Take New England and gorge on the spread. Pick: New England.
Feschuk: It’s been quite a week: We had a “smize” duel on America’s Next Top Model – what? you don’t know what a “smize” is? it’s when you “smile with your eyes,” like models do in magazines and Rex Ryan does when he smells bacon – and now we get Brady v. Sanchez in the greatest sexy-hot-quarterback showdown since Terry Bradshaw glimpsed himself in the mirror and thought he was his own evil twin. Belichick is a genius and all that, but his defence has more soft spots than Vince Wilfork’s torso. Pick: Jets.
New Orleans (plus 1) at Philadelphia
Feschuk: The Eagles looked great last week crushing the Panthers – so on one hand you’ve got to factor in their talent level and sense of determination, but on the other you’ve got to factor in Donovan McNabb’s cracked rib and the fact that Andy Reid is still winded from last Sunday’s victory jog to the locker room. That said, people may be over-reacting to Drew Brees’ six TDs last week – remember, they were against the Lions, so when we convert them to “real” stats it’s less like “throwing six touchdowns” and more like “successfully hitting the urinal.” Pick: Philly.
Reid: Wrong you are, rumpled one. New Orleans has all the tools. They may not look quite so good up against top-notch clubs but with all that talent, they deserve the benefit of the doubt. Until they lose, I’m riding these guys all the way to the dance. And they’re going up against Kevin ‘corn on the’ Kolb. He’s got more pressure on him than anyone in the NFL this week. With Garcia’s signing and the third QB slot written in ink for Vick, Corn On is playing for his job. If he falters, Garcia takes his spot on the depth chart and he’s on a bus outta town. The heat will get to him and he’ll make mistakes. Pick: New Orleans.
Houston (plus 6.5) at Tennessee
Reid: Man, a few nervous Nancys in Vegas or what? A week ago, Houston was set to take the league by storm. One loss later and they’re picking up points the way Jeff Fisher picks up hair dye (Cheval Noir #7 if I know my moustache rinses). This is what sucks about betting early in the season. Who knows if Tennessee is good because they stayed step for step with Pittsburgh? Maybe it means Pittsburgh and its complete lack of a running game simply isn’t as good as we thought. Or maybe it means their moon was in retrograde. Who the hell knows? But I wouldn’t pass up a line like this so early in the season. Pick: Houston.
Feschuk: You’re onto something here. My favourite part of early-season NFL is the predictable overreaction of analysts and experts – Drew Brees is going to get 1,000 TD passes! The Panthers are going to go 0-16! Tony Romo is competent! A week ago, the Texans were being called things like “Super Bowl contender.” Now they’re being called things like “the Houston Texans.” Even though I have to admit that the Titans’ D and Fisher’s moustache both look to be in mid-season form, I’m taking Houston to cover. Pick: Houston.
Cleveland (plus 3) at Denver
Feschuk: For reasons I don’t fully understand myself, I was watching the end of last week’s Broncos-Bengals game when Brandon Stokley snagged that tipped pass and ran it in for the win. And you really had to be watching it live to appreciate not only the improbability of the play – apparently, God decided to stop tormenting Kate Gosselin long enough to make it happen – but also the epic nature of the play-by-play call by Gus Johnson, who is to verbal restraint what Amy Winehouse is to all other forms of restraint. When Stokley grabbed the ball, Gus screamed, “Oh God!” – which doesn’t look all that impressive when typed, except he screamed it as though he’d pulled back the bed covers to discover a horse’s head or, worse still, a Spears. OH GOD!! I quite literally thought that I could see Gus Johnson’s larynx shooting out of the press box and slowly drifting down to the field. It was awesome. Anyhoo, I’m not going to bet against any team to whom the man upstairs felt He owed a solid. Pick: Denver.
Reid: Lost in the sheer spectacle of Stokley’s play and Johnson’s call was Josh Daniels on the sideline who fell to his knees, burned some St. John’s Wort and mumbled his gratitude in Latin to the dark powers for answering his spell. Daniels needed this win the way Cher needs the life essence of 20-year-old men. A loss would have led to such ugliness. But let’s face it. Not much went right for Denver until the final play of the game. Good for them that they’re back home this week and facing a team that, to put it technically, blows. Everyone wants the Browns to be better. The NFL is more fun when the Browns are good. But they’re not good. And this week that will be on display. Way to go Josh. And don’t forget to stay inside the salt circle or the demons you summon could turn on you. Pick: Denver.
St. Louis (plus 9.5) at Washington
Reid: Jason Campbell didn’t exactly answer his critics last week. Or his fans. Or Heath Shuler who called to say, “Are you me?” St. Louis went up against a much better team than Washington last week. But even still, the Rams’ offensive and defensive lines look softer than my waistline (I wanted to say ‘your waistline’ but ever since you went on that ridiculous weight loss/fitness/self-improvement schtick I have only myself left to call fat. Sigh, times change). Pick: Washington.
Feschuk: Full disclosure: I don’t care about this game and have no insight to share. Meanwhile, have you heard that John Madden has been named a special advisor to the NFL commissioner with a mandate to advise on potential changes to the game? I mention this so you’re not surprised when the Super Bowl comes and the winning coach gets doused with gravy. Pick: St. Louis.
Cincinnati (plus 9) at Green Bay
Feschuk: After losing to the Broncos, a team only slightly less dysfunctional than the Lohans and Canada’s democracy, the Bengals head to Lambeau – and don’t you get the feeling that right now even Marv Lewis is wondering what it would take for him to get fired? Does he have to order his team captain to go out for the coin toss and call, “Purple?” If we were to scour the land in a quest to find someone, anyone, less good at what he does than Marv Lewis, I think we’d pretty quickly have to narrow the search to Cuba Gooding Jr.’s house. Pick: Green Bay.
Reid: I have a theory that Marv Lewis hasn’t been fired because he’s not real. He’s the Paul McCartney of NFL football. The real Marv Lewis, the one who insisted on rock-hard defensive discipline, mental toughness and maximum effort while coaching in Baltimore was sadly killed driving near St. Albert’s Hall. He blew his mind out in a car. He didn’t notice that the lights had changed. Since that day, the Bengals have had an imposter pretend to be Marv Lewis. Luckily, this imposter looks in every way like the genuine article. Unluckily, he never really learned all the confusing rules of football. Obviously, his tenure as a coach has been terrible. But what is the team owner to do? If he fires faux-Lewis, then the disgruntled doppelganger will reveal the whole scheme. But if he keeps him around, the team will continue to be a straight man for Ochocinco’s Sonny Bono style of humour. Frankly, I sympathize with the Bengals. They’re in a real bind. Pick: Green Bay.
Arizona (plus 3) at Jacksonville
Reid: Against San Francisco, Kurt Warner looked old, gray and scared. Sort of like Madonna every time a woman under 30 walks by. Jacksonville, rumoured to be ‘good,’ didn’t exactly trip the light fantastic in Week One either. I was having a hard time deciding where to place my bet until Anquan Boldin came out this week and said his team sucks. Who am I to argue? Dude is onto something. Pick: Jacksonville.
Feschuk: He didn’t say they suck – he was just irked about the sloppiness, the penalties and the way old man Warner kept taking his teeth out in the huddle. Classic bounce-back game. (Yes, I just used wagering terminology. Accept it.) Pick: Arizona.
Carolina (plus 6.5) at Atlanta
Feschuk: I want to officially apologize to the Carolina Panthers for picking them to go to the Super Bowl. It’s like the Sports Illustrated jinx, but you don’t get injured – you get awful. The Panthers had a chance to make a statement last week against Eagles. Unfortunately, the statement they made was, “Here, would you like this ball?” That said, talk about another Vegas overreaction – Carolina lost to a very good team in Week One; Atlanta beat Miami. Let’s try to keep things in perspective here people. Pick: Carolina.
Reid: You’re a reverse rabbit’s foot if ever one existed. You even had me fooled. I took them last week largely on the strength of your recommendation. But I should have learned my lesson about listening to you after taking your advice to meet with that nice Mr. Madoff about investment opportunities. And yet, here I am again agreeing with you. This line is erratic. It’s nuts to pass up this many points. Pick: Atlanta
Seattle (plus 1.5) at San Francisco
Reid: I love Mike Singletary. I love his energy. His attitude. His kisses on that hyper-ticklish hollow on the back of my neck. I love him. Love him. Love him. Love him. If I was a man, I’d want to be just like him. But Lord, I hate this line. It’s so out of whack. It should be taking eight points from Seattle. THEN, I’d bet my Niners. But a pick ‘em? Come on!! That’s not fair. But I love Mike Singletary. And if I bet on Seattle it will be a betrayal of him and all that he’s got going so far. I can’t do it. I have to rise above reason and choose Love. Pick: SF.
Feschuk: I’d sit back and bask in the glow of your tender affection for Mike Singletary, but I can’t help but feel for Adrian Zmed. You said all those same things about him, and now he’s working the Princess Cruise Lines alone, standing by the railing in the moonlight, staring at the Alaskan coastline and dreaming of what could have been. Yours is a fickle man-love. Pick: Seattle.
Oakland (plus 3.5) at K.C.
Feschuk: After watching the Raiders play on Monday night, I foresee Oakland being game enough to keep this one close and maybe even knock off the Chiefs. Then again, I also foresee an inexplicably bikinied Olivia Wilde getting a flat tire in front of my house, and that never seems to happen. I’m starting to run out of glass shards. (FYI, it would look something like the photo illustration below, but it would be at night and I’d be there casting a reassuring gaze while subtly ripping the phone cord out of the wall.) Pick: Oakland.
Reid: Another AFC West classic. I’d really like to watch this. I would. Honest. But I’ve got a bunch of Mantracker’s taped and if I don’t get to them, I’ll just fall behind on season’s major story arc. Pick: Oakland
Baltimore (plus 3) at San Diego
Reid: Here’s the unpleasant truth: LT is so over that he might as well just take his place in the washed up Hall of Fame and start dating Heather Locklear. I watched with awe this week as people absorbed Monday night’s Raiders-Chargers duel and concluded the Raiders were better than expected. Huh? More like the Chargers remain bizarre underperformers. Sloppy play. Untough. And LT looked like he belonged in a flag football league. Now he’s injured (or wearing a boot, at least). Buddy even fumbled, and he’s not supposed to ever do that. It’s sad. He was great. But so was the first season of Heroes. That’s all behind us now. Pick: Baltimore.
Feschuk: San Diego was the trendy AFC Super Bowl pick for many pundits this pre-season. Call me old-fashioned but I have a hard time banking on a team whose coach, no matter the game situation, always sports a facial expression that seems to ask, “Wait, did I leave my car lights on?” Pick: Baltimore.
Minnesota (minus 10) at Detroit
Feschuk: I know Minnesota’s air game didn’t look so great last week, but you have to remember it’s a process of transition: when it seemed as though the quarterback would be Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels, they didn’t even have a forward pass in their playbook. (By the way, I ordered the sage rosenfels last night at Olive Garden – delicious.) More important, did you see the beard on Brad Childress? Trimmed to a George Michaelesque precision! They decide these games based on facial grooming, right? Pick: Minnesota.
Reid: Detroit looks to keep this one close as I look through Kate Beckinsale’s window imagining that if she spots me, our eyes will lock, she’ll smile seductively and motion for me to enter for a night of crazed I-know-he’s-a-stalker-but-I-couldn’t-resist-him-anyway sex. Adrian Peterson would gain a hundred yards in this game if showed up wearing a fat suit. This will be fun to watch – just to see the colours the Lions’ players make when they get hit and burst open. Pick: Minnesota
Pittsburgh (minus 3) at Chicago
Feschuk: In what coach Lovie Smith describes as the best way to maximize his club’s chances of victory, Chicago will start Jay Cutler again at quarterback this week. In what Steelers coach Mike Tomlin described as the best way to maximize his club’s chances of victory, Pittsburgh will play the Chicago Bears this week. Pick: Pittsburgh.
Reid: I don’t like Chicago but Pittsburgh failed to impress me with its lack of a running game last week. And the loss of Polamalu cuts deep. So I’m taking the Bears. Just cause. (Being whimsically unpredictable is part of what makes me attractive. My extra long eyelashes are the other part). Pick: Chicago.
New York Giants (plus 3) at Dallas, Sunday night
Reid: I know that everyone will be jazzed to see the fancy new home of “America’s Team”. As we bear witness to the prime-time unveiling of the new Cowboys Stadium, Jerry Jones will take centre stage. And, just to make him feel accepted, every fifth fan at the game will remove their face, cut it in half and then stretch what’s left back over their skull. It should be a night to remember. Truth is, these two division rivals are pretty evenly matched as far as we know so far. But it’s like I always say: when in doubt, piss on Dallas. Pick: Giants.
Feschuk: I’m not saying the Cowboys are putting too much stock in having beaten Tampa Bay, but a cocky Wade Phillips came out and announced that from now on his players will be taking things 1.5 games at a time. Come on, Cowboys: Tampa’s defence consists of Ronde Barber and 10 Jack Lambert Fatheads. Let’s see Romo drop back and throw when there’s something coming at him other than nothing. Pick: Giants.
Indianapolis (minus 3) at Miami, Monday night
Reid: North America should send Jon Gruden flowers. Comparing him to Tony Kornheiser is like comparing Scarlett Johansson to Susan Boyle. Monday nights are fun to watch again, thank God. Gruden is witty, animated and smart. He’s the natural successor to Madden. Too bad that he’ll be hired back onto the field next year. So let’s at least enjoy him while we can. As for the game, Indy may not be what they used to be but Miami never was what they used to be. Last year’s whole season was like a sleight of hand brought to you by the good people in the league office. They gave the 2008 Dolphins a schedule so easy that we should officially refer to last year as “two thousand and Lohan”. Expect Indy’s offense to get started early and often. This will be a blowout. Pick: Indianapolis.
Feschuk: Prediction: Colts win big. Another prediction: It’s going to be splittsville for Jessica Alba and Cash Warren. Or it will be once my Charles Atlas starter kit arrives in four to six weeks. Pick: Indianapolis.
By Colin Campbell - Thursday, July 23, 2009 at 1:00 PM - 3 Comments
Quarterback Warren Moon on Michael Vick, racism, and why he wouldn’t trade his five Grey Cups for one Super Bowl win
Warren Moon quarterbacked the Edmonton Eskimos to five straight Grey Cups before going on to a 17-year career in the National Football League, retiring in 2001 at the age of 44. He is the only black quarterback in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He recently published a book, Never Give Up On Your Dream.
Q: You’ve said that playing in the CFL was one of your greatest career moves, but it must have been tough showing up in 1978 after winning the Rose Bowl with the University of Washington but getting no interest from any NFL team.
A: It definitely wasn’t a goal of mine to have a great college career and then go to the CFL to play. My dream had always been to play in the National Football League. But I also looked at the CFL as a great opportunity for me to keep playing football and to develop my game. I never thought I would have as much success as early as I did in the CFL and I never thought I’d enjoy it as much as I did.
Q: A lot of people in your situation would have been bitter about being ignored by the NFL.
A: I was disappointed, but so much disappointment had happened to me even before I got to that point, like the fact that I had to go to junior college to prove that I could play quarterback before I could go to a major college. Even in high school, my sophomore coach wouldn’t let me play because he didn’t think I could play quarterback. I understood rejection early and as I got older I just accepted it a little more and said, this is the way it’s going to be. Continue…
By selley - Thursday, June 19, 2008 at 1:51 PM - 0 Comments
Must-reads: Colby Cosh on the NFL invasion; John Ivison on immigration reform.
Welcome to …
Welcome to silly season
Has Parliament lost its mind? Or just the people running it?
Between Vic Toews’ “politically charged” and “personally insulting” remarks about Louise Arbour and Stéphane Dion’s “rush to Conservative rescue” with his ill-timed carbon tax plan, the Toronto Star‘s James Travers believes Ottawa’s “mental machinery” has “slip[ped] out of gear.” The Commons committee that is Canadian politics is a few members short of quorum, one might say. And while Dion’s woes have been well-documented, Travers is particularly struck by Toews’ illustration of “this government’s view of Canada’s place in the world”—we’re “back on the world stage,” they constantly assure us, and yet they have no interest in a seat on the UN Security Council, they backed “the Bush administration candidate” for head of the International Organization for Migration over the Canadian candidate (Sergio Marchi, that filthy Liberal), and they dismiss anyone who doesn’t share their unequivocal support for Israel as a “disgrace.”
The Vancouver Sun‘s Barbara Yaffe agrees the Tories desperately need to “get their mojo back,” but she argues that none of these scandals, affairs, peccadilloes and contretemps would be so serious if the government hadn’t managed to “run out of governing projects” at precisely the time “Canada is experiencing serious economic challenges.” If no new “governing projects” are forthcoming, however, she suggests adding some “neglected players” to the Cabinet lineup—Diane Ablonczy, perhaps, or James Moore—to soften the focus on Harper’s disastrous “deny everything and evade the media” tactics.