Monday, February 25, 2008

Hot Curlers!

I grew up in the warm and rainy part of British Columbia. If you didn't mind the occasionally soggy conditions, you could pretty much play golf year round. My grandfather enjoyed golf well into his seventies and I have very fond memories of playing with him. My grandfather was also into curling but, for whatever reason, we never played together. A casual fan of the game, I always considered it a pastime for "old guys," something best left for my retirement years.

Well, imagine my surprise when I saw the following photo of Jennifer Jones celebrating her victory at the 2008 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, the Canadian women's curling championships:

Whoa-ho-ho, just a second here! Is she smokin' or what? Curious, I checked out Jennifer's biography on Wikipedia at There are some additional photos of Jennifer and her teammates at their team website

I see a real opportunity here for curling to inject a little "sex and sizzle" into its game. If the LPGA can portray Paula Creamer and Natalie Gulbis as major cuddle kittens and auto racing can play up Danica Patrick's absolutely ridiculous sex appeal, why shouldn't curling take advantage of Jennifer Jones' extreme hotness? I say do it and do it fast before she melts all the ice!

Just a thought from the Star-Spangled Canuck....

Friday, February 22, 2008

Labatt's Fading? Sacre-Blue!

Did you catch that article in the on-line version of the Globe & Mail about how Labatt's Blue is the number FOUR beer in the country after Budweiser, Coors Light and Molson Canadian? If you missed it, you can catch it here:

What the heck are you Canadians thinking? We can quibble over the Blue vs. Canadian issue, but there's just no way that Budweiser or Coors Light taste better than Blue. I mean, come on! When I first moved to New York, I was overjoyed to discover that I could actually buy Labatt's Blue at the grocery store. And buy it I did! In fact, I continue to buy it. The little mini-fridge in my garage is stocked with Labatt's Blue for me and Michelob Ultra for my wife.

The G&M article implies that crappy marketing is responsible for Blue's demise. Well, helpful guy that I am, I have a suggestion for Labatt's Brazilian owners--we need a new Labatt's Blue girl!

Back in the day, I seem to remember Pamela Anderson as the Labatt's Blue girl. In fact, Pamela was "discovered" at a B.C. Lions game sporting a Labatt's t-shirt (in case your memory needs a little refreshing, you can find a brief history of Pamela Anderson and her relationship with Labatt's Blue here:

Well, Pam is too old and too skeezy for the job now (talk about a thoroughbred that was "ridden hard and put away wet"--yikes!!!!!). Not to worry, though. I have the perfect replacement candidate--Avril Lavigne! If you haven't seen her new video, check it out at: I can absolutely, 100% guarantee you that Avril's new, edgier personae would appeal to the young, male, beer-drinking demographic that the brewers all covet.

Did I mention that the title of Avril's new video is "Hot?" Having watched it a couple of times (just to make sure that the hyperlink works, of course), I have to say that it's getting a little warm in here. You'll have to excuse me, I'm going to go pull a nice, cool Labatt's Blue out of my mini-fridge....

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

"Kraft Dinner"--A Tasty Test Alternative

Over the weekend, one of my buddies from law school reminded me that the "Touque Test" isn't the only way to experience a fun cultural distinction between Canadians and Americans. He was quick to point out that you can do the same thing with "Kraft Dinner"--Americans will stare at you with a puzzled look if you say it. If you're lucky, you'll get a polite, "Do you mean Kraft Macaroni & Cheese?" If you're not quite so fortunate, you'll be met with, "What the hell are you talking about? Is that some sort of stupid Canadian term for Kraft Macaroni & Cheese?"

The folks at Wikipedia have a fairly interesting history of my favorite orange-tinged pasta dish that you can check out at It turns out that the original name was "Kraft Dinner." How about that!

Here's a photo of the American version of the product, straight from my pantry:

You'll have to excuse that "Whole Grain" nonsense. That's my wife's doing. My son and I eat Kraft Dinner/Macaroni & Cheese by the pallet and she thinks this stuff is "healthier" for us. Whatever. Just bring it on--and lots of it!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, February 15, 2008

The "Touque Test"

OK Canadians, brace yourselves for this. Ninety-nine percent of Americans have absolutely no idea what a "touque" is. I kid you not. I really wasn't aware of this until living in the US for nine years. My son was born in December 2006. As we bundled him up to take him home from the hospital, my wife and I had the following conversation:

Me: I think that Notre Dame touque you've got him wearing is too big. Maybe he should wear the one the hospital gave him....

Wife: Huh?

Me: His touque. It's too big.

Wife: His what?

Me (slightly agitated): His TOUQUE. The thing on his head.

Wife: Oh, you mean his knit cap.

Me: No, his TOUQUE. "Knit cap," what the h*ll are you talking about?

At that point, my wife explained that she'd never heard the term "touque" before. I was astounded. My wife grew up in rural Minnesota, four hours from Minneapolis/St. Paul and four hours from Winnipeg. If any American was going to know what a "touque" was, it would have been her.

Since then, I've tried the "Touque Test" on all of my American friends and none of them, not a single one, has ever heard the term before. It's the craziest thing.

There's hope that this may change, though. Earlier this year, I watched with interest as the Buffalo Sabres and the Pittsburgh Penguins played the "Winter Classic" outdoors in Buffalo. Here's a picture of Buffalo's goalie, Ryan Miller:

To my utter amazement, Darren Pang, one of the commentators referred to the thing on the top of Ryan Miller's head as a "touque!" Now if only more Americans had actually been watching the damn game....

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I had a few minutes to kill on Sunday afternoon, flicked on the TV and started channel surfing. I happened upon the start of NBC's national coverage of the game betwee the Detroit Red Wings and Anahiem Ducks. I was surprised that the commentators were showing clips of, and talking about, all the fighting going on in the NHL. "It's not the 'No Hit League' any more," one of them effused with great jocularity.

So, is this the new way to try to attract US television viewers to the NHL--by portraying it as a goon-fest, smack-down orgy of violence? Have we decided to come full circle after that idiotic glowing puck and the "free flowing European style of play" initiatives failed to give the NHL more viewers than, say, bass fishing? I know that the NHL is courting US audiences with the hope of securing a lucrative national TV contract. Guess what NHL, it's never going to happen. The US is just not that into you.

The NHL should focus on the limted number of US markets that truly have embraced hockey and Canada, the country that loves the game above all else. I checked this year's NHL attendance records as compiled by ESPN at In terms of home game attendance, five of the six Canadian teams (Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver) are in the top eight (Edmonton is seventeenth). These five teams all have 100.0% or more attendance at their home games meaning it's "standing room only" each night, every night.

This, of course, is in contradistinction to teams like Florida, Columbus, Washington, Nashville and Phoenix which all draw in the mid-14,000s for each home game and the New York Islanders who are averaging a paltry 13,288 fans per game.

What's the point of all this? Well, I think it's high time that the NHL thought about relocating some of its franchises. And I'm not talking about moving teams to Seattle, Portland or Kansas City either. The NHL needs more teams in Canada! Moving the Phoenix Coyotes back to Winnipeg is a no-brainer. Putting a team back in Quebec City also seems to make sense. I also think that each of Toronto and Montreal could very easily support an additional franchise each. If the metro New York area can support three teams, Toronto and Montreal could easily support two each.

How about it Canadians? It's time for you to rise up and bring some NHL teams home!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Flag Controversy Revisted

I've been a U.S. citizen for two weeks now. I applied for a U.S. passport thirteen days ago and, in a truly remarkable (nigh unbelievable) display of bureaucratic speed, my passport arrived today!

Earlier this week, I was chatting with a buddy who grew up in Canada and became a naturalized U.S. citizen nineteen years ago. I don't remember how exactly, but we got onto the topic of flags. My friend gushed how much he loved the Stars and Stripes, not just because of everything for which it stands but as an aesthetically pleasing exercise in design. I enthusiastically agreed. The American flag truly kicks a**! Here it is in all its glory:

Of course, the topic then changed to the Canadian flag. We both had to give it an "F." Just look at the thing:

BOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRR-iiiinnnggggg. My friend mentioned that he thought that the Liberals had modeled the flag in their own party colors and rammed it through Parliament. We went off on an anti-Liberal, hate-filled rant before recalling that the flag that Canada had before was much cooler. Shortly thereafter, the conversation went off in a different direction.

Out of curiosity, I decided to see if I could find the old Canadian flag that was replaced by the hideous monstrosity above. Here it is:

Now THAT'S a flag worth saluting! Very interesting to the eye, pays homage to Canada's former British heritage and even includes a little fleur-de-lys action for our French Canadian friends.

I did a little further digging and discovered that the whole flag thing created a HUGE controversy back in 1965. The CBC has a story on it that you can check out here:

According to the guy who designed it, the "single maple leaf" flag was based on the flag of the Royal Military College in Kingston. I'm sure that the fact that it was in the colors of the Liberal Party certainly helped move it along. It turns out that the Pearson government had to use "closure" to shut down debate and jam it through Parliament. Liberal skullduggery if you ask me.

I know that I don't really have a "dog in the fight" any more, but I think Canadians should start a movement to BRING BACK THE OLD FLAG!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


I'm still reveling in the fact that THE GIANTS WON THE SUPER BOWL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As Eli Manning took a knee and the last second ticked off the clock, I jubilantly yelled: "This is one of the greatest days of my life!" My wife shushed me with an indginant, "The baby is sleeping and don't tell me that this compares with our wedding day or his birth." Now what the hell kind of moment-killing BS was that? I think my wife is just bitter becase her beloved Minnesota Vikings have never won a Super Bowl. Ever. And how many have the Giants won? THREE, BABY!

The Super Bowl telecast and the fact that THE GIANTS WON (yeeeee-AHHHH, BABY!!!!) compel me to update two prior posts. In my last post, I made a big deal out of the whole misuse of the term "World Champion." Well, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman never uttered the term. It was first used by Roger Goodell, the Commissioner of the NFL, as he presented the Lombardi Trophy. If you missed it, you can catch the trophy presentation at .

The fact that THE GIANTS WON THE SUPER BOWL also has implications for the financial market jitters that I spoke about in my January 22 post. There's a theory that when an "original" NFL team wins the Super Bowl, the stock markets will finish the year higher (you can read about this theory at As an "original" NFL team, the fact that THE GIANTS WON THE SUPER BOWL means that the markets should end the year higher. Given the absolute drubbing that my portfolio has been taking lately, let's hope the theory holds true!

Friday, February 1, 2008

"NFL Champions," Yes! "World Champions," No.

Here I go again, one last time before the Super Bowl, posting in Giants blue. LET'S GO GIANTS!!!!!!!!!

I've been reading with interest how gambling types can make all sorts of "prop bets" on the most arcane aspects of the Super Bowl. Apparently, there are betting lines on which team will win the coin toss, the color of the Gatorade that the players from the winning team will use to douse their coach and who the MVP will credit first for his team's victory--his teammates, the coaching staff or God.

I think there should be a betting line on how many times the commentators refer to the winning team as the "World Champions." This drives me absolutely bat sh*t crazy! The winner of the Super Bowl will be the champion of the NFL, nothing more. Teams from around the globe aren't allowed to compete so there's no "World" aspect to any of this.

This is a particularly good example of how, every so often, Americans get caught up in their own hyperbole. I learned the hard way that it's usually best to just play along with this American cultural trait. More on this in a later post after the Super Bowl.

Anyway, getting back to the Super Bowl, I recently learned that Lawrence Tynes, the placekicker for the Giants (seen here kicking the winning field goal against Green Bay),

played briefly for the Ottawa Renegades of the CFL. I hope that all fans of the CFL will adopt the Giants as their team on Sunday!