World Cup: Group D Breakdown

There’s a big hubbub about Bud going on in (Welcome back) Qatar, so for Group D, let’s talk about booze, baby!

Before we get into the Group D teams, let’s discuss the booze situation.

Marie Antoinette famously said “Let them eat cake,” but Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani of Qatar has no intention of reciprocating with “Let them sip suds.” No beer sales will be allowed inside the soccer stadiums, and beer tents previously set up outside of them have already been moved to out-of-the-way locations. The Sheikh has 3 wives, 13 children, billions of dollars, and 0% ABV.

The 2019 Doha “dry run” of suds

 At a World Cup warmup event in 2019, Qatari Party People (QPP) set up a facility 45 minutes outside of Doha where fans could drink their faces off before being ferried by buses to the stadium. 

…reminds me of a bus trip through the Dominican jungle

Many years ago, on a trip to the Dominican Republic, we were escorted from the airport to the resort in the middle of the night. It was pitch black and through the jungle. A bunch of drunks at the back of the bus had a guitar.

None of them were sober enough to play it, so they regaled us all with “Who let the dogs out”.  At one point, they pulled the bus over. An official said, “Sir, this bus isn’t moving again until you put your pants back on.”

“Sir, this bus isn’t moving again until you put your pants back on.”

– somewhere IN THE DOMINICAN JUNGLE

Everyone on the bus was Canadian, aside from the officials. Let me tell you, Americans do NOT have a monopoly on being “Ugly Americans.”

Qatari Party People seem to be inviting similar events with their “satellite of Buds” nonsense1. Rookies!

Budweiser must be feeling hungover

All of this has Budweiser, the King of Beers, feeling flat. Budweiser pours $75 million into FIFA into every World Cup, a significant part of their advertising budget of $327 million annually. Budweiser spends a lot on Super Bowl advertising. They have been a proud sponsor of the event since it began in 1967 and hurled up $52 million to have their name attached to the 2021 Super Bowl.

I’m no advertising guru, but I suspect that Budweiser is NOT spending that money to sway public opinion on climate change.

Let’s talk about booze, baby

France, Australia, Denmark, and Tunisia make up Group D. The first three will be familiar to people in the Western World. Here’s where Tunisia is located:

Geographically speaking, Tunisia is sandwiched between Libya and Algeria. It is about 200 miles across the Mediterranean from Sicily, which is interesting. I recall reading a book about the history of Libya. One of the key takeaways was that Italy used to refer to Libya as the “4th Italian coast”. When I think of Libya I think of crazy people like Muammar Gaddafi and Hilary Clinton. I’m North American, I can’t help it.

“I feel sorry for people that don’t drink, because when they wake up in the morning, that is the best they are going to feel all day”

-The Chairman of the board

On to the good stuff, you’ve earned it

France is the #2 producer of wine in terms of volume at 37.6 million hectoliters. Surprisingly, Australia is the #5 producer of wine at 14.2 million hectoliters.

In terms of consumption, France drops a spot to #3 at 45 liters of wine per person annually, while Australia holds their own at 30 liters per person. That’s a lot of drunken roos!

Their national drinks of Group D countries are as follows:

France: Pastis an anise-flavoured spirit (40-45% ABV)

Australia: Lemon, lime, and bitters, according to the internet. Gotta be fake news.

Denmark: Akvavit a distilled spirit similar to schnapps. “the dominant flavour must
(according to the European Union) come from a distillate of caraway and/or dill seed.” 40% ABV

Tunisia: Boukha, a fig liquor, also known as “water of life”. Apparently it has complex raisin and spice flavours, and is sometimes used as a salad dressing. BOOZE FOOD!

(The only thing I recall making with booze as an ingredient is French onion soup. The ingredients I used were dark beer, onions, and cheese, so most of the main food groups are covered. Now that winter is upon us and The Boys of Summer have flown home to the Dominican Republic or wherever, maybe I will cook down a batch.)

Prediction: I’ll have a boukah followed up with an akvavit chaser!

1 You might know the Lou Reed song Satellite of Love. Here’s Eurythmics covering it in full 80s splendour.

World Cup: Group C Breakdown

As I continue to break down the Groups for the crime against humanity that is FIFA World Cup 2022™, I become more and more sickened. This isn’t a showcase for how great we are as human beings and inspiration to do better, it’s a distraction from just how terrible we are. In this post, I shall briefly touch on the Human Rights records of Group C countries. 

Maybe I’m just bitter because as I type there are a few centimetres of snow on the ground. It feels more like January than November here, but it also reminds me that the Canadian team used the frigid Canadian weather as one of the tools they used to qualify. It could also be the 4th Covid jab I got this afternoon speaking, who knows.

Anyway, looking at Group C in terms of Human Rights is no task for the faint of heart. The four countries in Group C include:

  • Argentina
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Mexico
  • Poland

Argentina Gauchos are apparently the Argentine equivalent of hockey players or the RCMP in Canada. In my mind, Gauchos are kind of a mash-up of Dale Evans and Roy Rogers, John Wayne, and mariachi bands. 

 For me, Gaucho reminds me of GMC Gaucho vans that were all over the place when I was a kid. In addition to seating for 5 and room for two dirt bikes or snowmobiles, they had a 125-inch wheelbase, and you could get a 400 CID V8 engine if you really wanted to do it up right. And who didn’t in those days?

The word Gaucho also makes me think of Groucho Marx, which is NEVER a bad thing. Also, “gaucho pants” were a fashion trend in those days. 

That’s how superficial we are in North America. And we’re proud of that, baby. But let’s take a little dive into the Human Rights, or lack thereof, of the 4 countries that make up Group C.


Argentina 

 The good:

  • In 2010, Argentina became the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage
  • In December 2020, Argentina’s Congress passed a landmark bill to legalize abortion up to the 14th week of pregnancy

The bad:

  • Almost half of the 11,290 detainees in federal prisons have not been convicted of a crime
  • The AMIA bombing continues to be a fiasco. The bombing occurred in 1994, targeting a Jewish Community Centre. 85 people died, and 300 were injured. Argentine prosecutors claim that it was carried out by Iranians. Investigation prosecutors have been murdered under suspicious circumstances. 

Saudi Arabia is pretty much regarded as a hellish, inhuman place that spreads evil. What is probably less known is that Canada props up “The Kingdom”. 

 Consider this: the Justin Trudeau government approved a $15-billion contract to supply light-armoured vehicles equipped with machine guns or anti-tank cannons to Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, “Canada in 2021 exported more than $1.7-billion in arms to Saudi Arabia – an increase from $1.3-billion in 2020.” Thanks, Justin. 

Check out the Macleans article “The Trudeau government is losing its human rights battle with the Saudis” for more in-depth insight into just how phoney Canada is. 

 There’s no point in discussing Mexico and Poland at this point. If you have done the right thing and stopped reading, good on ya. If you haven’t, you might need professional help.


 Prediction: A Gaucho van full of tamales and mole poblano will roll right on down the FIFA World Cup 2022™ highway!

World Cup: Group B Breakdown

Group B is definitely the pop culture Group, and it is also very circular and interrelated.

England has a new King. The United States gave the world The King of Rock ’n’ Roll. Wales gave the world Tom Jones, and Tom Jones single-handedly motivated Elvis to mount the greatest rock and roll comeback of all time.

Iran gave us The Iron Sheik, and The Iron Sheik gave the dictionary the word jabroni, along with a little help from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.


UNITED STATES One of the things my dad taught me when I was a little jabroni is to always root for the underdog. Always. And where else is the US an underdog, other than on the soccer field?1 That being said, they’ll probably get Tom Brady involved somehow. Maybe the GOAT can teach the American side how to deflate soccer balls or throw those substitution indicators on the ground like spoiled brats.

GDP: 23 trillion USD (2021)*


ENGLAND won the whole shebang in 1966. Even the Toronto Maple Leafs hoisted a championship trophy more recently, albeit just barely. Aside from music, how relevant is England to anybody anywhere these days, including England? And how long has it been since we’ve heard a good song from across the pond? It definitely feels like Elvis has left the UK.

There’s a revitalization going on in Detroit right now that is nothing short of a miracle. If you want an idea of how dreadful my image of England is these days, imagine Detroit pre-miracle as an island, without soul, without Motown, and without cars.

I think England going 0-3 (“three and out” in American terms) would be a wonderful wakeup call for my M8s across the pond.

GDP: 3.2 trillion USD (2021) (UK, and stagnant for about 15 years)


IRAN was scheduled to play Canada in a warmup for World Cup 2022™ this summer in Vancouver,but it was cancelled, in no small part due to words from Canadian PM Justin Trudeau.Trudeau called it “a bad idea”.

Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri poses with “Classy” Freddie Blassie

The whole point of events like the World Cup is to bring us together and promote healing. And with Canada ranked #41 and Iran ranked #20, it would have been a good learning experience for the Cannucks. On the other hand, if there is one person who knows a bad idea when he sees it, it is Justin Trudeau.

Anything that can upset PM Selfie is quite fine by me, and there used to be a place down the road from me that sold Persian rugs. Iran has my full support.

Pictured (L-R): Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, Private school teacher Justin Trudeau.

GDP: 231.55 billion USD (2020)


WALES I got nothing. Is Greenpeace still trying to save ‘em? They’re apparently ranked the 19th-best team in the world, and the US is 15th.  

In NCAAF terms, they’re Kansas State and Washington, or maybe even Notre Dame.

On the flipside, the excellent article LONG READ: From a Welsh Economy to an Economy for Wales: Thinking about an independent Wales makes an excellent case for Wales buggering off from England, so the Welsh haven’t flatlined yet.

GDP: in 2019, the per capita GDP for all of Wales was 92% of the EU average, lagging behind the UK at 115%2 .


PREDICTIONS:

1) England has a new Prime Minister for every game.

2) The Iron Sheik, now an American citizen, finally has a nervous breakdown trying to decide if Iran or USA is #1.



1Often referred to as a “football pitch”, jabroni.

* All GDP information from https://www.worldbank.org/en/home except where indicated.

2https://www.iwa.wales/agenda/2021/10/long-read-from-a-welsh-economy-to-an-economy-for-wales-thinking-about-an-independent-wales/?lang=cy

World Cup: Group A Breakdown

Once again the World Cup is upon us, and once again the indispensable Dick Valentine is offering his invaluable insights into The Beautiful Game.

In his first QATARI NIGHTSSSSSS!!!!TM post, he breaks down Group A. After about 600 words, he predicts Nederland and Senegal to advance.

Here is my rebuttal:

It is an absolute crime against humanity that The World Cup is being played in (Welcome Back,) QATAR, so let me break down the crime advisories of each country in “Group EH”.

NEDERLAND: Fake cops prowl the streets and ask foreigners for their papers. The CDN govt advises telling these people to fuck off.1


(Welcome Back,) QATAR: What hasn’t been said already about Qatar? I’ll just repeat something from a government of Canada website:

“Foreign women have been detained and accused of extramarital sex after reporting sexual assault.”2

ECUADOR: Groups of street children distract foreigners by selling candy while members of their squad pick your pockets.3

This shows the entrepreneurial spirit and a lust for life. If i am an American scout looking to recommend people to recruit as potential citizens, this gets my attention.

It should come as no surprise then that Uncle Sam offered a hand to the Ecuadorian people when they were hit particularly hard by COVID, donating millions of doses of vaccines and hundreds of life-saving ventilators4.

SENEGAL: The classic “thieves on motorcycles” routine runs rampant here. i never got into the whole Bond thing, and there is a decent chance of being the victim of a home invasion if you live there to boot.

PREDICTION: Fake Cops and Kids Selling Candy advance.


1 https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/netherlands

2 https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/qatar

3 https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/ecuador

4 https://www.state.gov/u-s-relations-with-ecuador/

5 https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/senegal

*Featured image from https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2017/03/qayarrah-isis-iraq-football-oil-displaced.html

A Painting by Asa Letourneau

Recently I was approached by acclaimed Australian artist Asa Letourneau. He asked me to share my thoughts on the painting above. I’m always anxious to open my mind and let the words flow, so naturally, I obliged.

I think it could be an anti-science statement, and I applaud that. Being anti-science is a bold move, and art ought to be bold.

Some may think The Twilight Zone or even those Twister movies, but that is far too simple an interpretation.

I see a bull in the middle of a vortex. It is being pulled into what could be a black hole, except in the case the massive anti-matter, super-gravity body is yellow and red. An anti-noir hole, perhaps.

Where are the black scientists?

The use of white space can be seen as a middle finger salute to science. Either that or a way of saying science is far too white. The original Nutty Professor, Carl Sagan, Bill Nye, Einstein, Dr. Strangelove, Stephen Hawking, Dr. Frank N. Furter… …all of ’em white men, with their whiteness serving as the frame and context for how they see the world, and for which they create science.

Now, if you are thinking “Enough of this Whitey on the Moon, stuff!”, check out this historic clip of Venus Flytrap teaching a young brother about the inner workings of atoms.

Also, it certainly needs to be noted that the Mythbusters were 20% female and 20% people of colour, and they did that way before “equality and inclusion” were an unwritten rule.

Is it really an anti-science painting?

But let’s return to my assertion that this could be seen as an anti-science painting. You have a bull in the middle of a “black hole”. I suspect a great artist such as Asa Letourneau is making the bold statement that “black holes are bullshit”.

It is a bold statement, and it is harsh. It is also done with subtlety, and that is the intriguing part. Instead of being crude and putting a #2 emoji inside the black hole, the artist here went with the source of that merde, the bull itself.

olé!

Street Art on Queen Street

I bookended the long weekend of August 2022 with visits to Toronto’s Queen Street. On Friday night I hung out on the east side, and on holiday Monday I was on the Queen West. Queen Street runs all the way across Toronto, from “Roncy” in the west to Victoria Park over in Scarborough.

Queen Street is around 14km / 9 miles long and encompasses countless neighbourhoods and demographics. It is divided in the middle, more or less, by (Neil) Yonge Street. Yonge St. is a bit like Woodward Avenue in Detroit, or Broadway in New York City.

By sheer coincidence I was at or around 500 Queen Street both east and west, a distance of 3.5 km / 2.2 miles. So this post is just a very small piece of the yummy pizza that is Queen Street.

Queen Street in Toronto

Friday night arrives without a suitcase

I made plans with an old friend I don’t see nearly often enough to check out a suspenseful and thrilling new band called Dean and the Koontz on Friday night. However, due to “supply chain issues” the performance was cancelled. My feelings on the no-go for Dean et al incorporated elements of horror, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and satire.

As fine Canadians we simply partook of a few beverages on the patio at a fine establishment called Dominion Pub and Kitchen. It is a fine establishment, be sure to pay it a visit if you are in that magical hood. Here’s how it looked to my eyes, or at least to my phone’s eye on that evening.

Queen Street East, Toronto

These pics are taken around Queen and Sumach, Toronto’s Corktown. It seems to have withstood the onslaught of the condo pandemic, for now, so check it out while you can. Here’s The Magic Building:

And just up the street there is this. Apparently a particularly disgruntled Toronto Maple Leafs fan went out of their way to let Leafs Nation know just how disgruntled they are.

Meanwhile, back under Yonge Street

I saw this wonderful bit of vandalism on the subway platform while waiting for my train. The kids are still alright!

A vast improvement, no?

Monday, Monday (bah-da bah-da-da-da)

I HATE holiday Mondays, I mean, REALLY hate them. I’d rather work on a Monday than have it off, that is how much I hate holiday Mondays. But I’ve had more than my fill of being cooped up, so I decided to ‘xplore s’more.

Graffiti Alley was calling my name, and the weather was dee-lovely ~ 27.3C / 81F, and not too humid. I decided to go west to check out some street art:

Oh wait, that is The Peterboro in Detroit, a bit too far west for this post!
Once upon a time “Queen Street West” was exceptionally cool

Graffiti Alley is just south of Queen Street, and once upon a time “Queen Street West” was exceptionally cool. A bit like Greenwich Village, I suppose. Nowadays it ain’t, but there are still very good reasons for visiting. Graffiti Alley is one, of course, but even before venturing down the unlikely tourist attraction, there is great stuff to check out.

Please allow me to serve these appetizers to ease your grey matter into a full visual assault:

Does it get cooler than this?

These two were taken just north of Queen Street, both kinda helping to make up the perimeter of a parking lot.

NO DUMPING, and if you listen to Max Webster, “No cigarettes, no matches”

So about this Alley you speak of…

A condo being cool?

A nearly completed condo bordering the alley has been pre-emptive and had their service entrance painted so that it is consistent with the hood. This gives a decent idea of how immersive Graffiti Alley an be.

Couple of clowns.

Black and white

Hey, you forgot something!

Hopefully they reschedule that Dean and the Koontz show

I’ll be there like words on a page! In the meantime, here’s what the sky looks like when you are waiting for a northbound streetcar at Spadina and Queen. Notice the corporate pollution and government sanctioned art that is actually quite cool.

Until next time, Happy Gawking.

Major League Barkley (MLB)

The Toronto Blue Jays are so bad right now that it is safe to say that they probably caused a nationwide internet outage on Friday July 8, 2022. I live in Toronto, so I follow Toronto sports teams. I have no choice.

I do not suffer Stockholm Syndrome, so I find the current Jays’ dismay to be quite entertaining.

Let me explain:

The company that owns them owns the media, Canada’s equivalent of the FCC, and just about every national politician of import. As a Canadian, giving money to that massively powerful company is on par with breathing. So long as I am alive, I will be doing it. And being alive is a relative term these days.

Charlie Watts was unavailable so we got…

And as far as the Toronto Blue Jays themselves, I think they have lost 22 of their last 20 games played. That’s not a typo: this over-hyped team has found a way to lose more games than they play. There’s a plaque ready to be hung in Cooperstown.

“I don’t want to work, I just want to bang on the drum all day!”

On the day of this writing, the Jays fired their manager, Charlie Montoyo. Montoyo seems like a great guy, and allegedly had bongo drums in his office. That’s pretty cool, but I’m not so sure that being a percussionist for The Rolling Stones was ever a transferrable skill for managing a “professional” sports team.

Exhume Billy Martin?

Chatting with my amigo in the aftermath, I said that the immensely talented players who make up the Blue Jays need a harsh hand, a drill instructor of sorts. My kneejerk reaction was to exhume Billy Martin, but I’m not sure that that technology exists yet, no matter the miracles that ABBA is working over in Europe.

Billy and Mr. October.

Charles Barkley should be the next skip of the Jays!

I have no idea if Montoyo was ever called Chuck, but thinking of his replacement, and thinking of Billy, my analytics kicked in and I had the idea that Sir Charles himself, Charles Barkley should be the next skip of the Jays.

John Lennon reminded us all to imagine, so just imagine Coach Barkley:

  • Imagine 50 thousand people all losing their mind by Chuck simply walking out of the dugout
  • Imagine Barkley arguing a call with the home plate ump
  • Imagine the post-game press conferences
  • Imagine the fun

If you are lacking for imagination (the internet age seems to have that effect on people), let me rough sketch a picture:

Prior to a game, Barkley “gets into it” with a mascot. Words, and perhaps more, are exchanged, and Sir Charles must find a new kingdom to rule over for the next 9 innings.

Birds gonna be birds.

The post-game press conference:

Canadian media flunkie: “Charles, a video has emerged on twitter that seems to clarify what you said to the mascot. Do you recall saying:

“Hey, get off my baselines. Did I say you could be on my baselines? Who you think you are being on my field?”

Sir Charles: “I dunno, the bird was disrespecting me. There’s no place in the game for things like that. I worked too hard to get here to let something like that happen.”

Bring it on, Toronto. Major League Barkley!

Anyone else would be turrible.

Painting with John: Preparation

In a normal year, baseball players would be reporting to spring training right about now. It’s a magical time of year, and I’ve always dreamed about heading down to Lakeland, Florida to see Detroit Tigers legends such as Mort Crim, Bill Bonds, and “the MFIC1 up close and in-person. Just typing these words has the beautiful voice of Ernie Harwell floating around in my mind.

This year’s spring training probably won’t happen. World Wars and Covid didn’t cause the cancelation of an MLB baseball season, but it’s relatively common for labor strife to do so.

Spring Training with John

However, Painting with John Season 2 WILL premier on February 18, so I will turn my attention there.

Many Canadians are likely reading this while doing their stretching, limbering up before heading out to shovel another two or three feet of snow from their driveway. It’s quite similar to the annual workouts that baseball players engage in. The difference is that Spring Training is about 6 weeks, and a Canadian winter is about 6 months.

Spring training for Painting with John is not mandatory, but it is a good idea. Season 1 episodes were only around 20 minutes long, but they are rich and dense viewing. One episode equates to enough thought-provoking material for 3 or 4 university-level lectures.

To get into shape for Season 2 of Painting with John, I have decided to rewatch all of Season 1 again.

Below are my thoughts on Season 1 Episode 1.

In episode one of season one of Painting with John, there’s an image of a sunset. John Lurie asks us to write a poem about it as if we are all Leonard Cohen. Earlier in the episode, Lurie was brave enough to say that “Bob Ross was wrong. Not everyone can paint.” But here he is thinking we are all wordsmiths.

Well, Mr. Lounge Lizard. I’m gonna prove to you and everyone reading this that I am no poet:

There’s a bomb in the sky, the beach has sand
Sunsets are a brand, the laughter is canned
My writing is dung, just like the words sung by Neil young
Go ahead and set you stupid sun, I’m gonna have some fun
Tiananmen Square is where the Red army marches
Sunsets use the same colors as the Golden Arches

my terrible sunset poem

I suppose we’ve all been brainwashed into believing sunsets are beautiful. In other words, Sunsets© have created a strong brand. But they’re not beautiful. Sunsets are the end. The end of the day. We should not get all lovey-dovey when we see them. We should vote against them or vote thumbs down or something.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan (the good one)

Hunter S. Thompson vs. The Moon

One of Ralph Steadman’s paintings of Hunter S. Thompson

I recall reading Hunter Thompson describing being wiped out, outdoors with a sword, swinging a katana at the moon. The big glowing rock in the sky had seriously wounded Dr. Gonzo, and it would have to pay. The lone swordfighter, terrestrially bound, fighting a heavenly body.

“You son of a bitch! How dare you come out here and mock me, all of us, every goddamn night!”

Something Hunter S. Thompson might have written

The sun mocks us on an even grander scale than the moon. It knows we are nothing without it. The great explosion in the sky, the great big bomb in the sky is holding four aces, and has a couple more up it’s sleeve. Every night is more or less a nuclear winter. We ought to hate sunsets.

Each one is a recreation of the Doors song The End, only on a galactic level. But branding made us believe that sunsets are beautiful, even romantic.


The Olympics Don’t Impress Detroit Much

After the episode of Painting with John finished, I scanned through the channels. The snowboarders were on again, getting Big Air at The Olympics. Nuclear cooling towers were prominent in the background. Where there’s smoke there is fire, and where there are cooling towers there is a nuclear explosion, a little sun.

The entire spectacle looked like a version of Detroit at its nadir, only for spoiled rich white kids instead of Black people with soul. Years ago, Dick Valentine sang matter-of-factly “they can’t kill Detroit”. The Big Dick was right, and he was right to sing it matter-of-factly, too.

The whole thing made me envision Hunter in the great outdoors doing battle with an Olympic flag. Instead of a Samurai sword, he had a set of Ginsu Steak Knives he bought from an infomercial, along with Voice of Chunk.

Dope, Greed, and Corruption or Faster, Higher, Stronger?

Instead of the pernicious moon, the Olympic flag rages in the sky. It’s rings signify Dope, Greed, and Corruption instead of Faster, Higher, Stronger. Hunter is our man taking on the hypocrisy, all alone, but representing the 99%.

That’s enough training for one evening. I’ll probably head to bed and fall asleep watching Repo Man, a movie about the bomb, a sunset, The End. Or is it…

Tomorrow’s Training:

Tomorrow’s training shall include reading On Photography by Susan Sontag, with special emphasis placed on the chapter The Image-World.


1 “Years later, in 1973, Detroit would elect its first African-American mayor, Coleman Young, who ran a campaign on social justice and black power. He famously kept a placard on his desk that read “M.F.I.C.” — short for “Motherfucker in charge.” He even once greeted reporters from Hawaii by saying, “Aloha, motherfuckers!” Young went on to serve five terms.” https://www.metrotimes.com/detroit/detroit-and-the-word-motherfucker-a-brief-history/Content?oid=19249813

*Featured image is Stanza looking at a picture of himself painted by Mark Seabrook. Bottom image is a drawing by David Byrne.

11 Freedom Convoy Stories You May Have Missed

Before we get started please allow me to give thanks to David Letterman and The Onion for inspiration. Also, it might be a good idea to listen to Gridlock by Electric Six while catching up on “the news”. Stay Safe.

11 Michigan Governor Offers Free Red Wings Tickets to Any Truckers Who Leave the Protest Peacefully

“Somebody’s got to be the adult in the room.”

Governor Whitmer explained: “If there’s one thing Canadians can’t resist, it’s hockey. It’s their catnip. They’re building a bridge linking Ontario and Michigan and naming it after a hockey player. Heck, the Leafs are even in town on the 26th.”

10 Dave Grohl Offers to Drive Trucks During Protests

“When I found out that the amount of goods crossing the border daily here was the same as my net worth, I HAD to do something,” says the omnipresent drummer, famous for being in corporate rock outfits such as Nirvana and Foo Fighters.

“I’m always ready to pick up a shift when someone calls in sick,” said the drummer. “Kurt would have been here too”.

A Blu-ray, vinyl, expanded box set, action figure, and more collectibles are in the works.
It remains unclear as to whether Dave Grohl or Justin Trudeau has nicer hair.

9 US Congress Applauds Truckers

“They’re still moving trucks across the Ambassador Bridge at warp speed, compared how much we get done,” said Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell. “And let me be perfectly clear, I have nicer hair than Justin Trudeau.”

“I’m twice the Prime Minister’s age and still have better hair.”

8 Netflix Plans “B. J. And the Bear” Reboot, Auditions Chimpanzees

Insiders say Justin Trudeau is the frontrunner to assume the lead role of B.J., made famous by TV heartthrob Greg Evigan (seen above with beloved “Bear”.)

“It will be good to get behind the wheel of a Kenworth and show Trump how it is done.” said the Prime Minister. It remains unclear as to whether the actor or the actor has nicer hair.

7 Bills Coach Admires Truckers’ Ability to “Stop Forward Progress”

Buffalo Bills' Coach Sean McDermott
“Josh Allen definitely has better hair than Justin Trudeau.” – Sean McDermott

“We couldn’t shut down the Chiefs for 12 seconds. These guys have shut down the border for days” said Bills Coach Sean McDermott.

The Coach went on to say “I haven’t seen this sort of domination since Pittsburgh’s Steel Curtain days.”

6 Bigfoot Sightings Now More Common than Trudeau Sightings

Ape-like creature or Prime Minister?

It remains unclear as to whether Sasquatch or Canada’s Prime Minister has nicer hair.

5 Biden Tells Canada to “Knock it off with the Malarkey”

“Here’s 20 bucks to go away, Canada.”

4 Trucker Earns Bachelor of Science Degree During Border Blockade

Refusing to sit idly by while trucks around him idle, a trucker has completed his BSc while simultaneously participating in the Freedom Convoy.

The multitasker explained: “I just want something to fall back on in case shutting down the economy so we can get back to work doesn’t pan out.”

“It’s like having a spare tire, eh? You hope you never need it, but you are glad you have it when you do. Besides, I don’t have the right hair or last name to be Prime Minister.”

3 Bell Stands by Let’s Talk Initiative Despite PM’s Refusal to Do the Same

“Let’s talk business and food.” – Neil Hamburger

2 Trudeau Set to Unveil New Convoy Tax, Citing Science Table

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau once again championed the legislation, known formerly as Bill 401. “Science has shown us that the only way to end these disruptions is by putting a price on protests.”

1 World Has Second Thoughts about “Needing More Canada”

RE: Writer Perry King sees Toronto through community sports

The following is a kneejerk response to an article I recently read. The article’s purpose was to promote a book written by a local author, which is great. It also triggered me in a good way, which is also great. I’ve checked the ebook out of Toronto Public Library and maybe I will post again after I finish reading it.

It sounds like the book looks at where public money goes in terms of funding infrastructure for sports, and that old white money gets funding, while others do not. Hockey arenas get built, but basketball courts and cricket pitches get neglected.

From what I gather, the focus of the book is that sports can build communities, improve economic opportunities, and basically be a force for good. It’s like funding the arts: it is a good investment.

Anyway, thanks certainly go out to Perry King for writing the book in the first place. It’s called Rebound, and is available from Coach House Books.

Here’s my pre-read rant/response to the article.

Stop gun violence? Maybe “bribe” hoods by saying “turn in 50 handguns, and we’ll build a new basketball court”.

The Pan Am Games cost Ontario $2.5 Billion1. I am sure they were “sold” to the public with false claims of building the infrastructure discussed in the article (and housing!), but what they amounted to was a very expensive traffic jam.

The infrastructure highlight from that amounts to a hiking trail that was a pet project of Kathleen Wynne. Miss Wynne earmarked $2.5 million for the Pan Am/Parapan Am Trails.

How many basketball courts could have been built with $2.5 Billion, or even $2.5 million for that matter?

And if we’re going to be discussing billions of dollars, Toronto, and building communities, surely Rogers must be brought into the discussion.

Rogers is based in Toronto, and generally reports profits of about $1 Billion/quarter.2 So they’ve got some serious stakes in the game.

Rogers infamously paid $5.232 billion for the rights to point cameras at millionaires sitting on a bench and spitting on ice. Surely a Toronto-based company with that sort of spare change can, and should, “give back to the community by giving back to the community”.3

And let’s not forget that Rogers bought what was formerly known as SkyDome for less than nickels on the dollar. Literally. The dome was financed mostly through public money and cost around $570 million to build, but Rogers picked it up for about $25 million.

In effect, Rogers was given over half a Billion dollars in corporate welfare when they “purchased” SkyDome. How many basketball courts could that kind of money build?

For perspective, Rogers also owns the Blue Jays, and currently pays their center fielder $29 million/year or so.4 I suspect you could cover the outfield of Rogers Centre with $29 million worth of basketballs quite easily.

And just imagine what $29 million could do for an “at-risk neighbourhood”, especially when you consider that the federal government thinks investing $1 million will revitalize Little Jamaica!5

Also consider that the current mayor of Toronto has a very long and cozy relationship with Rogers. As a matter of fact, Toronto’s mayor is currently still on the Rogers’ payroll and apparently takes home a cool $100K/year while sitting as mayor. That’s in addition to the nearly $200K/year or so in public money that he receives as mayor.6

Toronto’s current mayor was infamously accused of taking a day off of his duties as mayor to referee a very public family dispute within the Rogers family.7 Something tells me that “building basketball courts” rarely appears on his “to-do list”.

This is the sort of think I expect to read about in Rebound. Let me dive in and get back to you…

(Author photo by Jalani Morgan)


1 https://nationalpost.com/news/politics/audit-reveals-pan-am-games-were-342m-over-budget-but-ontario-still-paid-5m-in-performance-bonuses

2 https://investors.rogers.com/financials/financial-reports/

3 this is a Jello Biafra quote. i thought it was from his spoken word piece entitled Rob Now, Pay Later but i was wrong. Regardless, the words for Rob Now, Pay Later are worth repeating here:
“Some day even the experts will figure out that crime is not caused by rap music, or even my music!, but by a power structure of self-absorbed property owners so brain dead and stupid they won’t even see that if you’re too damn greedy to pay taxes for schools and services, they’re not going to be any good anymore! And that uneducated time bombs are a very poor investment as a future work force. And if you go on teaching people that life is cheap, and leave them to rot in ghettos and jails, they may one day feel justified in coming back to rob and kill you. Duh!

4 https://www.spotrac.com/mlb/toronto-blue-jays/payroll/

5 https://dailyhive.com/toronto/toronto-neighbourhood-revitalization-little-jamaica-eglinton

6 https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/furey-tory-made-almost-700k-from-rogers-while-mayor-talk-about-an-optics-problem

7 https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/martha-rogers-calls-out-john-tory-over-claim-rogers-dispute-only-occupies-spare-time-1.5641226