Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Shock and Horror

Tuesday morning there I was, sitting at the Rec. Hall at Camp Kodiak, when my friend Jeff gets a text message. He checks it out, says "Holy shit" and reads it out to me.

I felt like I was going to throw up. This was the first time that I heard about the Chris Benoit story.

I thought about what to put here. Do I decry a man I once adored? Do I try and defend a brutal murderer? Do I reflect on my own personal Benoit memories? Do I say nothing, since this story has already gotten enough attention?

Still as I sit here and type, I don't know is going to come out.

When people ask me why I'm a wrestling fan, I usually tell them about March 2004, a large group of my friends and I gathered at Kory's brother's place to watch Wrestlemania XX. Triple H, the wrestler I hated the most at the time was stepping into the ring with his long-time rival, Shawn Michaels and our working class Canadian hero, Chris Benoit. I was convinced that Shawn Michaels had no right to be in the match and he was going to steal the win and the title from Benoit, something which the Canadian deserved. At the close of the match, Benoit had Triple H in his signature move, the Crippler Crossface. I stood up with some of my closest friends, and cheered. I yelled "Tap, you son of a bitch!", expressing the feelings of not only everyone in the room, but many at Madison Square Garden and around the world at that exact moment. Finally, after intense drama, it happened.

I remember watching Joe Carter hit "The Home Run". I remember watching Jarome Iginla add that assurance goal in the third period against the Americans. But this topped it. This was the one moment where I felt like a true fan. I had my shared expression, I had my triumph, I got to see the good guy win, and damnit, I couldn't have been happier.

After the match was over, Benoit's long-time friend Eddie Guerrero (who had successfully defended his Title earlier in the night) came down to the ring to give Chris a hug. The two embraced as streamers flew from the ceiling. As the broadcast went off the air, Benoit was joined in the ring by his wife and son.

After Eddie Guerrero tragically passed away from heart failure in 2005 that moment seemed surreal. Now it seems disturbing.

I am really torn about how I feel now when I think about that moment. We all have a tendency to revise our memory to fit with our current schema. Right now I am horrified by the actions of Chris Benoit, but a little over 48 hours ago, I considered him to be a hero of mine, someone I genuinely looked up to and respected.

We all have such a strange relationship with our media stars. We are usually able to forgive people if they are still able to entertain us. Don't believe me? Well how many football fans cheered for Ray Lewis after he was charged with murder? How many of you out there still dance to "Ignition" or "Billy Jean" after their respective artists sexual endeavors? Maybe why this is so incredibly hard. There is no way for Benoit to redeem himself now, he is gone forever. Or maybe it's just that murder is so incredibly reprehensible that it can't be redeemed. But shouldn't we say the same about pissing on an 11 year old?

I guess I have some deep thinking to do for the next little while. In the mean time though I will not throw away my Chris Benoit DVD, which I was so excited to receive as a gift one Christmas. But I'm not making any special plans to watch it.

Should any of you be interested in following this story, be sure to check out one of my most favourite sites on the internet, 411mania for all of the info, including this excellent retrospective on Chris Benoit's wrestling career.

Until next time,


Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Boys of Summer

Hey there, this is less of a post as it is a farwell. Tomorrow morning I'm heading off to my summer home, Camp Kodiak. I'll be gone until August 20th or so. Being in the deep woods of Northern Ontario (Note: Blogger is not equipped with Sarcastic Emoticon), I will be unable to post regularly, making any blog posts/facebook notes a bit more of a challenge. As such, I am going on a bit of a summer holiday, I will try and make some posts on my days off or any other time I can find, but I make no promises.

If any of you feel nice, I would love to have you drop me a line while I'm at Camp, if not you can be big fat jerk faces...

I'll leave you with the immortal words of Don Henley

Until next time,


The Death of a President

Last night, I sat down and finally watched The Death of a President. I had heard about this controversial film for months and was initially outraged at the thought of this film, but then gradually my disgust turned to curiosity, as it always does.

The trailer is intriguing, but does not give away a heck of a lot, but definitely peaked my interest. Take a look yourself...

After watching The Queen, I became a huge fan of the inter-mingling of drama with news archives to create a strong sense of realism. However, I was very curious as to how it would be done with a fictitious story as opposed to the retelling of true events, as was the case with The Queen. More than anything though, I was curious as to how the man would be portrayed. I am far from a Bush supporter in any way shape or form, but the last thing I would want to see would be for the man to get shot.

I don't want to give away the film (although one spoiler: Bush gets shot), but it is filmed as a documentary of October 19, 2007 (don't worry, you haven't taken a long nap...the day hasn't happened yet) and the assassination of President Bush in Chicago. It then deals with the aftermath of the investigation, including the introduction of "Patriot 3" and the search for the assassin.

I fully expected this movie to take a strong anti-Bush stance, but two of the main characters interviewed were the Head of the Secret Service and President Bush's speech writer. These two characters display a closeness and reverence for George W. Bush as both a man and a President. It is hard not to get caught up in their sadness, I found myself holding back a tear when Dick Cheney delivered a eulogy for George Bush.

Yeah you read that right, an uber-hippie liberal was sad at the though of one of the worst and most damaging Presidents ever getting removed from office early. Why you ask? Well the movie did a wonderful job at showing the repercussions of such an action. I realized that the Republican Government did an eerily wonderful job at removing civil liberties after 9/11 and spinning the national tragedy for it's own good.

I couldn't help but think just how far they would take the assassination of a President. I couldn't help but think just how terrible the world would be if George Bush were to be made into a martyr. It was Jim Morrison who first said that death was a great career move, and what better move for the uber-right than to have one of their own cast into the pantheon of assassinated Presidents? You ask almost anyone out there who they think that the best President of all time is and I guarantee you that most of them would say Lincoln and/or Kennedy. The thought of having Bush mentioned in those same ranks is enough to bring anyone to tears.

Until next time,


Friday, June 15, 2007

Revisiting the Crystal Ball

Way back in January I made some very bold predictions for 2007. Well here we are (approximately) half way through the year and I figure that this is no better time for me to look back and see if I have been right or not

1. A Liberal Minority - Well I'm far less confident of this one than I was back in January. I mean sure, I still love Stephane Dion (we're even friends on Facebook!!!), but I have a feeling that Harper has more evil attack ads up his sleeve, and unfortunately those things seem to work. It's a shame really. On the possibility happening chart I'll put this one at an even 5 out ot 10.

2. The Arcade Fire’s New Album Will Kick All Sorts of Ass – This was as easy as saying that the sun will rise or the sky will remain blue. Since I already wrote about how awesome this album is once before, I can rank this is a Perfect 12 out of 10 on the possibility chart.

3. Canada Will Win More Hockey Gold – I felt pretty brave calling our World Hockey Championship win, since we really haven't had the best overseas record in the past decade or so, but yeah I was right again. I'm so awesome. Another Perfect 12!!!!

4. I Will Go To At Least Three New Countries – Now this depends a lot on your definition of a country. I went to China and Vietnam, so there is two for sure, but I also went to Hong Kong and Macau, which are TECHNICALLY part of China, but have their own currency, customs, and visa regulations, so they are really more autonomous (and unique) than Scotland or Wales are, so I'm counting it. The Glen country count sits at 14 at the, I've got to travel some more.

5. “Here We Go Again” by OK Go Will Remain the Coolest Music Video I Have Ever Seen - Really, come on...

Although the use of moving walkways have snuck into other great videos, including this masterpiece by Leslie Feist...

Yeah I'm awesome, and so right again...

6. I Will Retire from Kodiak – I'm still convinced on this one, not sure how ready I am for it. But I still see it happening, I may come out of retirement in a few years, but this remains a must for now at least. I'll give it a 9 our of 10 on the possibility chart, just in case...

7. The US will not leave Iraq, but Canada will leave Afghanistan – Well they have set times lines into the future, so I think that I am going to strike myself out on the second part of this prediction. Rightly or wrongly, we're in Afghanistan for a while now...I'll give this one a 2 out of 10 chance of happening, just in case...

8. This Blog Will Hit 200 Posts – Yeah, I have posted a hell of a lot less since school ended, but this is post #120, don't' doubt that it will happen by December...It will have a 7 out of 10 chance of happening, I'm leaving a 30% chance that I could get hit by a bus, suffer from small pox, and/or choke on a carrot.

9. Some New Indie Band Will Blow My Mind – Well I'm going to count LCD Soundsystem in this category, because, well it's my blog damnit and I like to be right. Don't believe me that they are right? Well then watch this awesome video!!!

Score, and being right again!!!!

10. I Will Not Eat Meat – Still on the vegan side of things. I hate to say it, but I ate a few eggs while in China, it was damn near impossible to avoid with the linguistic and cultural barriers, but I avoided the flesh while in the Orient, which is a lot easier said than done!!! I'll give this one a 9.99999999999999999999999... out of 10 chance of happening, just in case some jerkish friend of mine shoves chicken down my throat in my sleep.

11. Samoa Joe Will Win the NWA World Title – My wrestling geekdom comes out again!! I will technically be wrong on this one since TNA changed their World title from NWA to TNA in name, but I still think that Joe will get the top prize soon enough. Possibly this Sunday, or if not then than in the fall. A solid 8.5 out of 10 chance of happening.

12. The Temperature Will Only Get Higher – Another easy right...don't agree with this one? Then open your f'n window!!!!

13. I Will Have a Great Year – Man, I made a lot of easy predictions!!! Thus far this year has been great for me for a ton of personal and professional reasons. Don't know why? Well click through the archive of the posts or just ask me and I'm sure I can tell you why...

Well there you have it, looks like I'm mostly right. I've been near perfect on my self-absorbed personal predictions, and done fairly well on the other ones I dare say. I'll check these again in December to see how right I ended up being.

Until next time,


Monday, June 11, 2007

Draft Day

As many of you know, I'm a huge wrestling nerd..errr, I mean fan (yeah that's less demeaning), and if you are one too you will know that today is a huge day for wrestling!!! That's right, tonight is the 5th WWE Draft!!!!

Now each of the other 4 WWE Drafts have been completely different than any of their predecessors, and this one should be know different. Apparently on the three hour edition of RAW there will be a series of inter-promotional matches and the brand who the winner represents will earn the right to make the next pick. Hell, the opening match is a huge one as RAW's WWE Champion, John Cena takes on Smackdown's World Heavyweight Champion, Edge.

I have to say, I like this stipulation, adding the third brand of ECW into the mix really makes it complicated, and the traditional "draw one ball" would get kind of convoluted, plus some brands need more than others at this point. I expect that we will probably see 7-10 matches tonight (including at least one degrading women's match involving Extreme Expose). I am interested in seeing which ECW Superstars (clearly seen as the lowest on the pecking order) are able to gain victories over RAW or Smackdown Superstars.

Since I seem to completely love making predictions, I am going to guess which wrestlers will (and which ones should) change brands. The possibilities really are endless, but I'll give it a go.


The Samoan Bulldozer's time on RAW, has to be coming to and end by now. He started the year with a surprisingly excellent series of matches against John Cena, but cam up short in his quest for the title each time. He then went on to serve as Vince McMahon's representative in the Battle of the Billionaire's at Wrestlemania, and since then has been relegated to the role of a McMahon lackey against Bobby Lashley. He is in a dire need of a credibility boost and a switch to Smackdown could give him a fresh series of opponents to dominate. A feud with Batista and eventually The Undertaker could be pretty fresh. While Umaga would be excellent in ECW, he has come up short many times against Bobby Lashley already.

Ric Flair

I gotta say, I have a pretty unhealthy love of the Nature Boy, so perhaps I'm not the most partial of observers here. The reason I think that Flair needs to leave is pretty simple, he still has one more run left in him. Yeah I went there. I don't care if he's 57 or not, but the man is a living legend and deserves one more run as World Champion, even if it's just for a night.

He has spent the last several years on RAW (in fact they first split when he was the "owner" of RAW way back in 2002) so it would be really fresh to have him switch brands. Plus he has spent a lot of time languishing in the mid-card on RAW, and so a switch could really help push him up the card. I would absolutely love to see him go over to Smackdown, and re-ignite his feud with Edge from last year before winning the World Title one more time. You know it would make for some great TV!!!

CM Punk

In the debut/only edition to date of Heel Heat, I sang this guys praises, and nothing has changed. CM Punk (along with Elijah Burke) have been the breakout success stories of the new ECW. Does anyone else remember back in November when he was standing in the ring with the Hardyz and DX and he got louder cheers than any of them? I'm sure the WWE's marketing directors sure remember that!!! I think that a move to Smackdown could do absolute wonders for the Straight Edge Superstar and for the blue brand. A feud between CM Punk and MVP could make both of these men into huge stars, plus future matches with Edge, The Undertaker or Rey Misterio would be exciting and fresh.

The only one who could be losing out on this would be Elijah Burke who would lose his current opponent. I think that I may have an answer to that one though...

Chris Benoit

Chris Benoit is the king of switching brands, having done it a record 4 times!!! So why not keep at it? And if he's going to move than why not go to ECW!!! With RVD's WWE run up in smoke (see what I did there?), ECW is in need of a top level talent with some extreme credentials, so why not Benoit? A feud with Elijah Burke could be spectacular and help Burke's development in much the same way that MVP has been helped by a feud wit the Crippler. Plus, an eventual heel turn and feud with Lashley could make for some really interesting television, something that ECW has been lacking since well...2001.

If there is any one move that I am begging for it's this one. Come on WWE make it happen!!!

King Booker

Sure he's injured, but he should be due back at any moment now, and this could be the perfect opportunity for our Royal Highness to make a triumphant return.

Booker would make a perfect fit right into the top of the RAW. If you haven't noticed by all of the Great Khali main events, the red squad is pretty thin in the top. Booker would be a perfect foil for Cena over the summer. After all, he is one of the few people to pin Cena in the last couple of years at the Champion of Champions match back in the fall.

Also Cena has been the champion for 8 months, which is an incredibly long time for a champion in this day and age, a short little 2 month or so break could do wonders, and who could do better than royalty?

The only thing that scares me is the inevitable feud with H after he returns...I have terrible memories of Wrestlemania 19 going through my head.

Jeff Hardy

I've gotta say, I've been pretty damned impressed with Jeff Hardy since he made his WWE return back in September. I really thought that he would flake out like he did in TNA so many times, but he seems to be doing really well. His feud with Johnny Nitro over the IC Title was great, and the reunion with Matt has been fantastic!!

I don't think it was a coincidence that the Hardys just dropped the titles last week on RAW. It really only makes sense if they plan on moving Jeff. And really that's not a bad idea at all. I say send him to ECW, someone needs to put the Extreme back in it all, and he would be a great choice.


Batista really has been on the decline since he returned from injury a year ago, and what better way to boost his ailing star power than have him go back to the "Flagship" program? They have been quick to point out that his match with Edge at Vengeance is going to be his last chance at the World Title and that it will take place regardless of whether or not either of them get drafted. Sounds to me like they have it well telegraphed.

Really it would be perfect, new, exciting and fresh to have The Animal return to RAW. He could have a great summer feud with Randy Orton before turning heel and reigniting his feud with Triple H before moving on to face Cena at Wrestlemania. Ta da, a year worth of story lines that is certainly better than having him beat up Mark Henry for a couple of months on Smackdown.

Plus, giving him some more matches with Triple H (or even Shawn Micheals) could only do great things to get Batista back to his form of 2 years ago when he really was the hottest thing going.

Well that concludes my picks for this year, I'm sure there will be a few other surprise picks to show us that nobody is safe. Perhaps one of the women from ECW or Smackdown will end up on RAW (look for Michelle McCool to be a likely candidate), or perhaps some manager or non-wrestler will get drafted similar to how Theodore Long was back in 2004, or we could see some tag team get split up and receive singles pushes as a result.

Either way, I hope that those wrestling fans out there enjoy tonight's show, it should be a good one!!!

Until next time,


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A Day To Remember

Sixty-three years ago today stands as one of the most important days in modern history. The liberation of Europe from the Nazis began. The end of one of the greatest evils that history has ever seen came to a beginning on this fateful day at five beaches in Northern France (for some pictures and thoughts on Juno beach check out my Rememberance Day blog).

It is quite unforunate that with each passing year the number of survivors of that fateful day lessens. As the heroic stories goes from word of mouth to annals of history, I can't help but feel so incredibly lucky. I have never fired a gun in my entire life, because I have never needed to. I have never been shot at, or really had much doubt that I would live to see tomorrow. I can't even imagine the courage that it would take to charge onto a beach as bullets rain down. So if anyone out there happens to know someone who does understand that, thank them for me. If they hadn't have gone though it, I know that I would have to at some point.

I don't have a ton to add, but I found this excellent video to share. It's the only one I found that recognized that America wasn't the only country who fought that day...

Until next time,


Friday, June 01, 2007

Why I Love China

One week ago I boarded my flight from Beijing to Vancouver. It seems so strange for me to say that I was on the Great Wall last Thursday and visiting the Terracotta Warriors shortly before that.

In a tribute to my time in China, I decided that I would put forward another "Why I Love..." dedicated to every one's favourite Communist/Capitalist/Modified Socialist country!!!

1. Cheap, Cheap, Cheap!!!! -- China is an incredibly cheap country, it absolutely blows the mind!!! Bus rides cost about $0.20, nights in a hostel cost $5, a bowl of rice costs $0.08, and best of all 600mL of beer costs about $0.80.

2. Glorious Past -- China is one of the oldest civilizations on the planet, and evidence of their glorious past are absolutely everywhere. I mean where else in the world could you possibly see this?

3. Promising Future -- After spending some time in China, my friend Jeremy said something incredibly true "Everything in China is either being built up or torn down". This is probably the best way to describe this country. The amount of construction taking place is simply amazing. I feel very lucky that I went to China at this particular point in its history. I know that in a few years it will be completely different, especially after the Olympic construction is completed.

4. The People -- A while back, I shared a story about the act of complete strangers genuinely touched me. And while that was the best example, there were many other cases where complete strangers went out of their way to try and help us out. I had people go out of their way to walk me to a bus stop, buy me drinks, offer me meals, or even just sit and talk to me on the train, really going above and beyond any expectations we North Americans would have for strangers.

5. Hilariously Translated English -- I know, I know, their English is much better than my Chinese, but how can you not laugh at this?

How can you not love a country full of such hilarity?

6. Spectacular Scenery -- I know that I touched on this once before, but this country is full of amazing scenery that will blow your mind!!!

There's plenty more where that came me...

7. The Feeling of Adventure -- There is something wonderful about being so far away from home that if you can't go any farther away until you start to come back. It's a great feeling of adventure, excitement and independence.

That about sums this one up, I could go on for days about what I love about China, but seven seemed like a good amount.

Until next time,