Thursday, June 26, 2008

Summer Sabbatical

Well it's that time of year again, where I say goodbye for a little while. I head back up to Kodiak for a 6th summer tomorrow (I know, I know, I said that I wouldn't, but here we are...), where I will stay for all of July. After that, my August is mostly going to be devoted to my family and packing up to move to China. So I doubt that I will be posting for a while.

I may make a post or two in August, but don't hold out too much for it, just keep me on your RSS feed and something will pop back up when I arrive on the far side of the world. Until then, be sure to enjoy your summer, if you feel like dropping me a line I can be reached at this e-mail address for all of July.

Enjoy your summer!!!!

Maybe with some Ella Fitzgerald....

...or Sublime...

...or Brian Adams...

...or Modest Mouse (sorry this video is weird but it's an awesome song)...

...or John Travolta and Olviia Newton-John portrayed by Lego characters....

...or Everclear...

...or Bananarama...

...or, well you get the idea....enjoy your summer no matter what!!!

Until next time,


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

NHL Draft Winner and Losers

A little under a week ago, the annual entry draft was held in Ottawa, and what a wild one it was! To the surprise of nobody, Steven Stamkos was drafted first overall followed by a large number of defensemen. Many people were expecting there to be a glut of trades, and they sure were right. Like most sport times, there are winners and losers, however there were surprisingly there were very few losers this time.

Alex Tanguay: This is a huge benefit! He really wasn't fitting in in Mike Keenan's Calgary Flames. He should be able to use his explosive speed well in Montreal, as he will probably see some playing time with Alex Kovalev, who should make for a dynamic duo. I could see him pushing 90 points this year. Also, he will be treated as a god as a big name French Canadian in Montreal. I am fairly certain that he can handle the pressure, as he always has been a pressure-performer.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Sure it was ballsy of them to get R.J. Umberger, but I think that they overpaid for him. Umberger had a great playoffs and really was a spare part in Philly, especially after Carter resigned. However, he is not what Columbus needs at all. He is the kind of player that a contender needs to get over the top, he is not a typical first line centre. I just don't see him and Nash lighting the league up next year. Now, if they get another first line centre, then it will be a different story. I still think that they overpaid for him though, especially given Philadelphia's excellent recent history at the draft.

Calgary Flames: I know I mentioned Tanguay earlier, but Calgary is probably the bigger winner here. They got a great front liner in Michael Cammilleri, got rid of a disgruntled forward, freed up almost $2 million in cap space, made Husselius expendable, and still got a first round draft pick out of it all. Big thumbs up for Sutter's wheeling and dealing. The money that they saved can be used to resign Langkow, and maybe even going after some other roll players to help them out. I think that the Flames just got a lot scarier in the West, and I do believe that's saying something.

San Jose Sharks: Reports heading into the draft said that they were looking really hard to get a pick in the first round (theirs was traded to Buffalo) while unloading either Marleau or Michalek, but alas they couldn't get either of them done. It makes me wonder what kind of value either of those underachieving, and overpaid forwards will have for the Sharks.

Ottawa Senators: They made a fair amount of noise at this years draft, trading up to 15th to take Erik Karlsson, who according to Pierre McGuire on, he is the "Swedish Brian Rafalski" and has been the fastest rising player in the draft. This should be a huge boost for a team that historically drafts very well.

Granted, they couldn't trade Ray Emery, but that's hardly Murray's fault...

New York Islanders: They traded down their pick to the Leafs to allow them to draft Luke Schenn, and then traded down to allow the Predators to draft Wilson. Combine the fact that they passed on Nikita Filatov and Mikkel Boedcker.

I'm sure that Josh Bradley will make a fine NHLer, but I doubt that he will have the same level of talent as the four guys that they passed on. Sure they ended up with a few extra second and third round picks, but I don't think that will help them much long term.

Florida Panthers: Just like Calgary, they got rid of a disgruntled player, and got some good returns. Boynton and Ballard are both solid stay at home, bone crushing defensemen. When you look at the Panthers D, considering that they already have Bouwmeester, Allen, Skarstins, Murphy, and Welch, they may have one of the best Top 6 of any team in the league next year. Combine that with Vokoun, and they may have a dang good team for a change.

Also getting rid of Jokinen, opens up a lot of room for guys like Matthias, Horton, and Weiss. Good things are ahead for this team that hasn't had them in a while!

Obviously there were a few other winners like Toronto, Los Angeles, Oli Jokinen, and Detroit (who ALWAYS wins at Draft time) but I am kind of running out of losers. All in all, solid draft weekend for most players and teams. We haven't seen one of those for a while now.

The next stop is July 1st and Free Agency, should be interesting!

Until next time,


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

WWE Draft Review

Another year, another draft has come and gone, and boy was this one full of surprises!! As usual, the picks loaded things in favour of RAW, but Smackdown did gain a few pretty interesting picks along the way.

The picks break down was as follows....

Joining Raw are:

Rey Mysterio: Man, I should have seen this coming!!! I was quite close to making that prediction, but I thought that he had a sure-fire return match feud with Edge that they just couldn't pass on. Either way, this opens up a lot of fresh matches that we haven't seen, I for one am excited to see his inevitable show-downs with Cena, Jericho, and Michaels now (the Michaels one I predicted would happen at last year's Wrestlemania at one point...who knows, maybe it'll happen at Wrestlemania 25 now).

I think that this really is a great move in a lot of ways, as it took someone who has been on Smackdown since he debuted, and brought him over to really freshen things up. Also, it separates him from Chavo and Vickie, two people who he will always be stuck with in storyline purposes. This lets him branch out and develop some meaningful feuds with other wrestlers instead.

CM Punk: CALLED IT!!!!! While I did see this moving, I have mixed emotions of it. The RAW side is pretty loaded with top-level faces, and I am not certain if Punk will be able to make much upward movement especially with Mysterio joining as well. That being said, I think that there is a lot of potential for CM Punk to be a major heel on this show. I really do think that this is the natural fit for him, as his straight edge style blends well to being a bad guy. If you don't believe me, then you probably haven't seen his ROH work.

Michael Cole: Now this is a risky decision, as JR really is the voice of RAW, and has been for a long time. They have tried repeatedly to replace him, but yet they always end up back to where they started. Cole and Lawler did have a certain chemistry at the beginning of Smackdown, so perhaps it will go well.

Batista: CALLED THIS ONE TOO!!!....last year....I was on the fence about calling this one as well, but I thought that they would keep Batista on Smackdown due to his draw among Latinos. However, it really does make a lot sense, considering just how many matches with Edge and The Undertaker he has had in the past year and a half, surely he needs somebody else to face.

By the way, I'm calling it now. Wrestlemania 25 will be main evented by Cena vs. Batista.

Kane: Now this was probably the second biggest surprise of the night for me. They announced earlier that the titles would go with the wrestlers (the opposite of what happened last year with Bobby Lashley), so we now have a RAW wreslter holding the ECW Title. Interestingly, he is scheduled to face The Big Show, a Smackdown wrestler for that title this Sunday.

This seems like it will be a positive move for RAW, but a negative move for Kane. They were in need a of a new monster to serve as a solid obstacle, and Kane is one of the best around. However, Kane seemed like he was just fitting into his niche as ECW Champion. He will surely drop that title to The Big Show on Sunday, and go back to floundering on RAW.

ECW only made one pick in the draft and it was a pretty big one...

Matt Hardy: This is a really big pick for ECW. First off, he is the US Champion, so that counts a great deal. But Hardy has potential to give a lot of help to young guys like Elijah Burke and Kofi Kingston, which was the plan for Chris Benoit when he moved over last year. Plus, since ECW and Smackdown have a talent exchange, he can move back to Smackdown all he wants. Not a bad move, especially considering the first pick Smackdown received...

Jeff Hardy: Once more, called it!!! This move really just seems logical. For starters, Hardy was getting lost in the shuffle on RAW, and it gives the option of a Hardy Boyz reunion, without forcing it. See if they were officially on the same brand, they would almost have to team up again, and really they are both ready for singles runs. This gives them an option to team up for a match or two, and then forces them to go their own way, it's all too perfect. Also, this gives a great chance for us to have a Hardy vs. Hardy match at Wrestlemania. Gee, where did we see that one before?

Jim Ross: I'm really not sure about this, like I said already, Ross is the voice of RAW, and it just seems weird to have him on Smackdown. Apparently, Ross wasn't told about this in advance, and even considered quitting. I just don't know how Ross and Foley are going to work together, but I guess it added to the whole "anything can happen" aspect of the draft.

Umaga: Great move for everyone, it was absolutely needed. I hope that they let him run roughshod over the roster for a while before switching on to the bigger names. There's not much more for me to say here that I didn't say yesterday.

Mr. Kennedy:...KENNEDY!!!! This is a great pick for Smackdown, and is probably the one that benefits the most amount of people. When Kennedy came out and pointed at Edge, I was reminded that Edge first moved to Smackdown after winning the briefcase from Kennedy (...Kennedy!!!) and cashing it in on the Undertaker. Then before Kennedy could get his revenge on Edge he was drafted away. As such, these two do have a history that can and hopefully will get played off. I would love to see a feud between the two, as it would be great on the microphone if nothing else.

Triple H: Now here is a total shock!!! He was always drafted a few years ago to Smackdown, but was then traded back to RAW for Booker T and the Dudleyz and well, none of them are still around to get traded back for. This does add some intrigue as it gives Smackdown a huge name, to hopefully keep their ratings up when they find a new home in the fall. I do worry a great deal about Edge, who has done a tremendous job of carrying the Blue Brand on his back for over a year now. Triple H rarely sits on the sidelines and a showdown between the two is pretty much inevitable. Hopefully they are able to keep them apart until Wrestlemania, but I somehow doubt that.

It does raise some interesting questions for this Sunday's Night of Champions Pay-Per-View. When Batista was drafted to RAW it seemed like it was a given that Edge would retain, however, now that Triple H, and the WWE Championship, are on Smackdown, one has to wonder how they plan on balancing them out. If they want to keep thigns as they are, they will have Edge retain and Cena win (thus bringing the WWE Championship back to RAW with him). However, if they really want to pull a swerve, they could have Triple H retain and have Batista win, thus returning the titles to how they were pre-2005 Draft.

In total then, there were 11 moves, and for most of hte night it appeared that RAW was the big winner, however, the move of Triple H really does change things up, and it could end up being pretty even between the two, for a change.

Apparently, there is talk of doing another Supplemental Draft focusing on the lower card talents, like last year. If that does happen I could see Deuce, Trevor Murdoch, Santino Marella, and Elijah Burke all moving around. I just hope that them moving around doesn't make anything blow up....

Until next time,


Monday, June 23, 2008

WWE Draft Preview

It's that time of a year again...draft season. Last Friday we had a wild NHL Draft (my thoughts on that coming sometime this week, I hope) and tonight we have another sure to be wild draft, this time in the WWE. Now the Draft is one of my favourite days on the WWE Calender, as it really does help kick off the summer season with a lot of intrigue.

Each draft has been very different than any others, however, I think that we might end up sticking to last year's format, where we saw a night of inter-promotional matches where the brand who won the match received the third pick. This gave a reason to have matches in there, and also allowed them to have the majority of changes take place between the much larger Smackdown and Raw rosters. So I think for the first time ever, we will end up with the same format from year to year.

Last year we saw ten wrestlers move on draft night, with a special "Supplemental Draft" taking place on which saw another thirteen picks, featuring fifteen wrestlers (London and Kendrick, and The Majors Brothers moved with one pick for each team). However, in October it was announced that Smackdown and ECW would feature a "Talent Exchange" where wrestlers from the two brands would be able to compete on either show. I am going to assume that the two brands are going to be treated separately, even though they very well could be featured as one.

With all of that long preamble out of the way, here are my thoughts for people who will get drafted tonight....

People Who Should be Leaving RAW...


When I did a similar post last year, Umaga was the first man I predicted to be drafted, saying "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.".

To me those words are even truer now than they were last year. Umaga is a damn good big man, and he has had far too many loses to Cena, Triple H, or Jeff Hardy in the past 8 or so months. A switch to Smackdown, or ECW just makes sense, as he can resume his feud with Batista and move on to face the Undertaker (upon his return), Kane or the Big Show, in big man matches. Also, he would make a great hurdle for someone like CM Punk or Matt Hardy to climb, much like he has been for Jeff Hardy.

Also, in a recent conference call, Linda McMahon did state that Umaga would be moving brands sometime after Wrestlemania, and well now seems like a good time to do it...

Jeff Hardy

Yes, another one that I am re-predicting from last year. This one just makes too much sense for it not to happen. Back before Wrestlemania, Hardy was on the cusp of being a super star before his drug related suspension, and after he has returned, he has taken a spot as number 4 face on Raw. Since it is not very likely that he will be passing Cena, Triple H, or Shawn Michaels any time soon, he may as well move over to Smackdown, where their crop of top level faces is pretty thin at the moment.

Also, I find it very convenient that Matt Hardy has just started a feud with La Famillia. It seems like a perfect set up to allow Jeff to move to Smackdown and help out his brother take out Chavo and Edge. Ta da! Insta-summer feud!

Mr. Kennedy


What a rough year it has been for this guy! First he gets poised for a World Title run as the Money in the Bank holder, then he gets injured, looses the case and watches Edge cash the title in. Then he returns and is set to be involved as an associate in the Death of Mr. McMahon angle, only to have that dropped as a result of Chris Benoit's actual death. Then, he is set to be the illegitimate son of Vince McMahon, only to get suspended for drug use a few weeks before the big reveal. Then, after stumbling around for a while, finally catches on as an anti-authority face, only to have Commissioner Regal get suspended. He has had four failed push attempts, and really only one of them (his suspension) was his fault.

He really has lost a lot of momentum, and appears to be lost in the shuffle on RAW. A switch back to Smackdown would be great. He could return to his heelish ways, and feud with Batista and Rey, or he could continue along his edgy anti-authority ways and be a great foil for La Familia. Out of all of the moves I am suggesting, this is the one I think to be most necessary.

Trevor Murdoch

He and Cade split with little fan-fare, only to have a short (and bad) match on RAW. Instead of a prolonged feud, Cade shocks everyone and joins Chris Jericho to take out Triple H and Cena on the last RAW. It appears that the WWE has big plans for Cade, thus leaving Murdoch on the outside.

If they really want to vault Cade up, they need to get rid of someone who would bring him down by association, which really is Murdoch. He would be an interesting lower-card heel on Smackdown, or a mid-card act on ECW. I don't think that he has a ton of potential as a singles guy, but he could always team up with someone else who is currently floundering (my suggestion is farther below) to help keep the tag division going.

People Who Should be Leaving ECW...

Big Daddy V

One of the few success of last years draft is this guy. He went from being a mid-card comedy act to a legitimate monster with a simple change of scenery and new name. Big Daddy V was reportedly sent home on Wrestlemania weekend to loose some weight. This would be a great chance to bring him back without really having to explain "Ohh he's back now" and give him some momentum upon his return, similar to what they did with Mr. Kennedy (Kennedy!) and King Booker last year.

Also, since I predicted Umaga will be leaving RAW, there will be a bit of a "Monster Gap" as they will be short one other big guy to serve as a frightening stumbling block for mid-car faces.

Elijah Burke

Burke is in dire need of some reinventing. A year ago he seemed destined to be a superstar, but now he rarely makes television. He has started referring to himself as "The Black Pope", which is something that I think has a lot of potential. However, in order to really let it take off, a simple switch of brands could make it happen. It did work after all for both John Morrison and Big Daddy V. I would love to see him move to Smackdown and make some waves in the US Title Scene.

Also, there was talk of moving him to RAW in exchange for Shelton Benjamin back in the fall, however, they just moved Shelton and left Burke on ECW. Perhaps they are ready to make that change now.

CM Punk

Here we are the third one that I am re-predicting to move. I just don't see what else Punk can do on ECW. He has feuded with (and beaten) pretty much every name on that roster. Not only that, but there is very little opportunity for upward mobility since Kane and the Big Show seem to be slotted in above him at the moment.

There have also been many rumours lately of CM Punk getting a big push in the future due to his appeal to children. I think that he may end up moving to RAW to get more exposure. Of course, he could add instant credibility to the Intercontinental Title, and there is always the threat of him cashing in his Money in the Bank shot at any moment.

People Who Should Leave Smackdown!...


This is hardly a mega-stop-the-presses type draft pick, but it is one that I feel is totally necessary. Deuce and Domino have recently split up, and I don't think that anyone really wants to see those two have a match, so it would just be easier to separate them both.

More important to this move, is a strongly rumoured plan to develop this summer. There has been a lot of talk of running a 2nd Generation stable, featuring Ted Dibiase Jr., Cody Rhodes, and DH Smith. While it hasn't really been mentioned on TV, Deuce is actually the son of the legendary Superfly Snuka, so he would fit in to that stable very naturally. This obviously leaves Domino out in the cold on the blue brand, but he could easily find a new partner and continue to wrestle in the tag division, I think that having Trevor Murdoch team up with Domino would have potential for hilariousness.

Kenny Dykstra

Remember when this guy was positioned as a "Can't Miss Main Eventer"? Yeah I barely do to...but the point is that it's true! He was considered a future star, and given every chance to shine as a member of the Spirit Squad. Then it seemed like he had some potential when he tried to join Rated RKO, and helped them beat up Ric Flair, but then something happened....he started to loose, and nobody cared. He fell down the card so fast, and then was shipped off to Smackdown in last year's draft.

I held out hope that Dykstra would be given a fresh start and an opportunity to climb another ladder, but alas that didn't happen. Here we are one year later and he has accomplished next to nothing on Smackdown! A move to ECW to freshen up his character would be extremely beneficial. If it works for The Miz, surely it could work for someone with more talent!

Montel Vontavious Porter

Since he dropped the US Title to Matt Hardy back in May, MVP hasn't really been doing too much of anything. Normally, I would consider this a sign the management does not have any plans for someone, but MVP is simply too good for that. He has all of the tools necessary to be a Main Event Superstar. However, with the heel side being firmly held by La Familia, there is very little opportunity for him to make the next step on Smackdown. But on the RAW side, he has a tremendous opportunity to climb the ladder in short order, especially with Orton's current injury.

I seriously think that an MVP-Cena feud has an insane amount of potential and could Main Event a Pay-per-view.

Well there are 10 people in total who should get a change of address. Other candidates could include Finlay, Natalya, Batista, Matt Striker, Carlito, Santino Marella, Chris Jericho, or Shawn Michaels (if they want to pull a shocker).

Tune in to RAW tonight to find out, I'll post my thoughts on the draft (and the NHL one) later on this week.

Until next time,


Thursday, June 19, 2008

A North American's Guide to the Rest of the Euro Championships

I'm not sure if any of you in North America have noticed or not, but there is a sport that is NOT basketball, hockey, baseball or football, and it is being played right now. I know, this may be shocking and all, but the European Football (and by that I mean soccer) championships are going on right now, and I'll be damned if they haven't been awesome so far.

These championships have had some of the more entertaining matches in recent memory, that are sure to make a soccer fan out of any North American! Now that the fat has been trimmed (i.e. the host nations, Greece, and somehow France), it is time for the real intriguing games, as the round of 8 is set to begin this afternoon.

So if you are some clueless North American and are stuck watching these games, follow this simply game by game breakdown, with helpful buzzwords, to fit in with any European pub crowd.

June 19th

Portugal vs. Germany

What you Need to Know: These two teams were the pre-tournament favourites, so it is a bit of a shock to see them play in the first stage of the knock-out round. Portugal won its first two games against Turkey and the Czech Republic, so they phoned it in against the Swiss and lost a meaningless game. The Germans on the other hand, looked dominant against Poland in the first game, before suffering a shocking loss to Croatia in their second game. They then won a surprisingly difficult game against Austria. So momentum seems to be on the side of the Portuguese. However, in the last high-profile meeting between these two teams, Germany pulled out a victory and secured third place in the 2006 World Cup, so maybe they have Portugal's number.

Helpful Phrases to Sound Knowledgeable: "Damn Ronaldo! Take another dive why don't you???", "Germany is in trouble having to play without their coach", or "Fucking Germans! Half their team should be playing for Poland anyway, this shouldn't be allowed"

What do I Think is Going to Happen: If Germany had have kept playing like they did against Poland, then I would be convinced that the Father Land would be taking this one. However, after stumbling against Croatia and looking very beatable against Austria, I think that the Germans may be caving to the pressure. Also, they have to play one of the best teams in the world without their coach (who is suspended for this game), so it doesn't bode well for them. That being said, I just don't buy all of the hype surrounding the Portuguese. This tournament has been theirs to lose from the get go, and I think that they will lose it. However, that day won't be today.

Prediction of Final Score: Portugal: 2 Germany: 1

June 20th

Croatia vs. Turkey

What you Need to Know: By all accounts, neither of these teams should be in this situation. The Croatians defeated the Austrians, stunned the Germans, and blanked the Poles to finish perfect in the standings, a situation that everyone expected the Germans to be in. The Turks on the other hand pulled off a miracle in their final game, as they scored 3 goals in 15 minutes on arguably the best goalkeeper in the world to defeat the Czech Republic 3-2 and advance to the knockout round. Both of these teams have a Cinderella aspect to their tournament and carry a lot of momentum heading into this game.

Helpful Phrases to Sound Knowledgeable: "Don't count the Turks out yet, remember what they did last game?", "Either of these teams could be this years Greece"

What do I Think is Going to Happen: The clock has to strike midnight and one of these teams is going to turn into a pumpkin. As exciting as the Turks have been, I just don't think that they can pull this one off. The Croatians really have everything going for them right now and should win this one. I expect it to come down to the wire though.

Prediction of Final Score: Croatia: 1 Turkey: 0

June 21st

The N
etherlands vs. Russia

What you Need to Know:
The Netherlands have been shockingly good this tournament, and I mean shockingly, shockingly good. Their group was easily the most difficult one, as it featured the two previous World Cup Finalists, France and Italy, and the up-start Romanian squad. Pretty much everyone expected the Dutch to be left out at this point, but they shocked everyone with a 3-0 win over Italy, followed by a 4-1 thrashing of France, and then finally a 2-0 defeat of Romania. They have scored a total of 9 goals from 7 different players, and I know that doesn't seem like a lot after watching the NBA Finals, but trust me, it's a lot, and is very impressive. The Russians on the other hand, survived what was arguably the weakest group in the tournament. They started out getting embarrassed by Spain, but rebounded with a victory over defending Champion Greece, and a surprise yesterday over Sweden.

Helpful Phrases to Sound Knowledgeable: "The Dutch defeated Romania with their second string, the Russians don't stand a chance".

What do I Think is Going to Happen: This game should not be close, I expect it to be nothing but a bloody, brutal, Slavic mess. The Russians should be proud of getting this far, as nobody expected them to make it out of the Group stage, and they should be proud of that. However, they really are going to be outmatched here by a far superior team.

Prediction of Final Score: Netherlands: 3 Russia: 1

June 22nd

Spain vs. Italy

What you Need to Know: The Italians are lucky, really, really lucky. After being utterly dismantled by the Dutch in the first game, the defending World Champions narrowly escaped wit ha draw against the Romanians, after they missed a penalty kick late in the game. Then, in their final game against France, a win did not even guarantee them advancing, as the Dutch could have thrown the game to Romania, which would have had the Dutch still finish first and the Romanians finish second. However, to the luck of the Italians, the Dutch were good sports about it and secured victory, even though they rested their stars. The Spanish on the other hand, had should have had a relaxing way to get here, as they opened the tournament up with a 4-1 victory over Russia, which included a David Villa hat trick. However, in their next two games they narrowly escaped with victories over Sweden and Greece respectively. The Spanish have a long history of underachieving, despite all of their talent.

Helpful Phrases to Sound Knowledgeable: "Typical Spanish, choking again", "I don't know why the Dutch didn't just through their last game", "Damn...Villa is great again"

What do I Think is Going to Happen: I am going to simply look to history here, the Spanish have a tendency to choke, and the Italians have a tendency to peak late in big tournaments. The Italians have much more recent experience in high pressure games, so I think that they edge is for the Azzuri.

Prediction of Final Score: Spain: 1 Italy: 2

Well that concludes the first round, my quick predictions for the rest of the tournament are as follows: Croatia stuns Portugal and The Netherlands defeat Italy again, however in the finals Croatia's clock ticks out as the Netherlands take home the championship.

Will I be right? Check back to find out! The first games starts in a little over 2 hours....enjoy!!!

Until next time,


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Musical Thumbs Up and Down

Welcome one and all, to what I hope to be a regular(ish) feature here. As you've probably noticed, I'm a huge fan of music, and I always love an opportunity to talk/rant about it. Anyway, here I'm going to find some songs (not necessarily current) to give a thumbs up to, and some to give a thumbs down to. Simple enough, right?

Thumbs Up to The National - "Fake Empire". I think that this may just be the best song made of 2007. From the slow intro to the amazing jam at the end, this song just brings it. While I absolutely love the trumpet and trombone duet at the end, the highlight for me definitely Berninger's vocal work. He just sounds so very raw and emotional throughout the song.

This song is such a great description of the hollowness of modern life, living without direction. If you haven't heard this song (and album) than you are really doing yourself a great disservice.

Thumbs Down to Katy Perry - "Ur So Gay". Man, I loathe this song! First off, I hate that the word gay is used as an insult. I know that the song is intending to say that the guy acts gay despite his heterosexuality, however, with the climate of the word being used as synonymous with stupid, it really just further enforces that use of the word. So MASSIVE thumbs down for that.

On a more personal note, I hate this song because, well, it more or less describes me to perfection. Seriously. Readers of this blog will know that I am a vegan, I care about the environment, and I am an Indie Music Geek. Just like the guy in the song. Also, lord knows I have had many people assume that I was gay (probably for those above reasons) despite my heterosexuality.

I can just picture any of my ex-girlfriends blasting this song as they angrily think about me, and I HATE that!!!!

The third reason that I can't stand this song, is because it's so damned catchy! Despite my disagreement with some of the lyrical choices, there are some really clever lines in this song, and the beat just makes me want to sing along...thus making it even harder for me to truly hate! You win this round Perry....

Thumbs Up for Estelle featuring Kanye West -"American Boy". Once more Kanye strikes gold! This song is such a great summer sing-a-long track. It's so hard not to get caught up with it's optimistic beats, Kanye's well placed rhymes, and Estelle's angelic voice. Really there is nothing not to love about this song, it's a great club track, a great road trip song, and really just a great song all around.

I haven't had the chance to check out much more of Estelle's stuff, but I hope that it's all just as awesome!

Thumbs Down for G-Unit - "I Like the Way She Do It". Shouldn't he have retired by now? That is what he said he would do if Kanye out sold him back in September, and well, Kanye won that round, but yet here we are with another Fity song.

While the beat is great to bump and grind to, the lyrics are exceptionally unimaginative. I don't know if anyone has told any member of the G-Unit this yet, but it's not 2001, and he's not fresh anymore. Perhaps something new is in order.

Thumbs Up to Final Fantasy - "Peach, Plum, Pear". I legitimately think that this is one of the greatest covers of all time, and considering my love of Johnny Cash, and Cake, that is a huge compliment.

Owen Pallett totally takes this great song by Joanna Newsom and makes it his own. Listen to the way he sings "The gathering floosies, are born to be choosy", it sounds almost like he wrote it himself. Before I saw Final Fantasy, I never thought that I could see someone play the violin angrily, but once more I was proven wrong. In watching the video, I hope you notice just how masterfully Wilson loops his songs back, and plays with himself. Sure he does it in all of his songs, but it just came together even more so in this one.

Thumbs Down for Katy Perry - "I Kissed a Girl". Strike two for Ms. Perry here! I personally can't stand this song at all. While it is catchy, and will no doubt be the breakout hit of the summer, it is just plain wrong. She is trying to go for an edgy sexually-liberated vibe here, but I think that it totally fails.

First off, this is not a song about sexual-liberation at all. This is a song done by and for "Look-At-Me-Lesbians". Gals who are sexually liberated not for their own sake, but for the sake of men. It's simply disgusting and totally take the women's lib movement back decades by subverting it. GAH!!!!!!

Secondly, by latching on to the popularized subversion of a subversion, it's not edgy at all! You want an edgy gal singer, go for Lily Allen instead....

That being said, like her other entry's damn catchy, and hard not to sing a long to.

And that should about do it for this first entry. I'll put more out later that won't just feature Katy Perry...I swear :)

Until next time,


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Reflections of a First Year Teacher

Well here it is, at a close yet again. Just yesterday, I taught my last class of the year, and today my Grade 8 class wrote their final exam, with my Grade 11s left to write on Friday. After that, I have some minuscule responsibilities around the house (and oh you know, report cards) and then I'm done my first year as an adult. Since I think that a lot of you out there reading this blog are teachers, I thought that a reflection (Gah! There is that word again!) may be in order.

I don't have these in any particular order, just some thoughts and observations:

- As much as everyone talks about keeping a "professional distance", I think that students appreciate someone who is genuine. They get a lot of teacher's who they know are not being themselves around them, so if you act like yourself they will appreciate it.

- Always hold yourself to higher moral standards than you would hold them.

- It's ok to get mad sometimes, but it's wrong to stay mad.

- Sometimes the extra mile is not enough, but that doesn't mean you should try it again next time.

- The best advice for professional development I ever got was to write a list of everything that you are good at, and look at it whenever you feel down. Then make a list of three (and only three) things that you are bad at, and never look at it again.

- I think that I am personally good at: Getting my students involved, making myself available for them, explaining things to them in a way they can understand, being funny, creatively thinking of different ways to explain things, and probably a lot more.

- Man that felt good to write down, try it...seriously...

- Marking sucks, but it is never worth stressing out over, it'll get done.

- Be sure to tell students that they have made a difference to you. It will totally make their day.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: The next two were added June 17th, 2008]

It's ok to get mad at a student, but it's wrong to STAY mad at one

- I think that it's natural to have favourites, but it's wrong to play favourites.

Anyway, that's about all that I can think of right now, I'm sure that I'll add more as I think about it.

Until next time,


Wednesday, June 04, 2008


After months of debates, mud flinging, cries of elitism, disenfranchisement in Florida and Michigan, a Wrightmare, eerie assassination talk, re-enfranchisement in Florida and Michigan, and a host of other twists and turns, I can finally say something that I have wanted to for so very long.

Obama wins.

That's right, after having an insurmountable lead since February, the numbers have finally caught up to reality, as Barack Obama has passed the magic numbers of 2,024 and 2,118 delegates after South Dakota and Montana held the last primaries of the season.

In case you missed it last night, here is his amazing speech...

As anyone who follows this blog will know, I love Barrack Obama, so needless to say I am completely overjoyed at this moment. I think, hope and pray, that the United States may just be heading in the right direction. While I live North of the Border, I still could not be any happier, as Canadian Politics has always experienced an "echo" effect to American ones (They vote in Kennedy in 1960, we go for Trudeau in 1969, they get Regan in 1980, we go for Mulroney in 1984, Bush down there in 2000, Harper up here in 2006, to name a few). Meaning, that in some way, shape or form, Change is coming to Canada and I, for one couldn't be happier.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me focus on the near future instead, and where exactly the three major Presidential Candidates will be going from here.

John McCain -- Having clinched the nomination way back in February, McCain has been pretty quiet. After all, he didn't really need to go on the offensive against Obama, since Clinton had been doing a lot of that. He has been able to bide his time, and let those two go after one another.

McCain needs to figure out a game plan from here. What will his issues be? Will he keep trying to distance himself from Bush, or try and cozy up to him? Will he go on the offensive and start attack Obama, in typical Republican fashion? Judging by his poorly timed, and even more poorly executed speech last night, the answers will be: Iraq, distance, and yes.

Don't believe me? Well here is the speech I am referencing, I loved the part where it gets cut away to declare Obama the nominee...

When contrasting it to Obama's speech (shown earlier), it really makes McCain look second rate. Like it or not, speaking and looks matter in an election, and McCain looses out on both of those big time compared to Obama. McCain needs to really step up his speaking abilities in the next few months, or he will be severely outclassed by Obama in the fall debates.

In retrospect, McCain probably should have waited from giving a speech on that night, and given it tonight, or in a few days. He needs to try and downplay the negatives of his campaign, and having people get to watch his speech first, followed by Clinton's, followed by Obama's, really made Barrack seem like the Main Event of the evening, which only hurt McCain.

McCain will need to spend the next few months trying to figure out a running mate, with Tim Pawlenty being the apparent front-runner. However, if McCain wants to downplay the historical aspect of Obama running as an African-American, he should consider Condoleezza Rice, to appeal to both the woman and black vote.


Sorry, I had to get the fanboyness out of my system.

After last night, Obama is sitting in a great position. All three made a speech, and his was clearly the best. Instead of focusing on himself (like Hillary did), or on his opponent (as McCain did) he focused on America. This combined with his amazing line directed at McCain saying "I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine" really makes him seem like the bigger person, and not giving into "Politics as usual" like the others appeared to have.

Combine this with the fact that the GOP's image seems to be fading fast, and things look great for Barrack. However, he does have some interesting choices as to who to pick as his running mate. Sure everyone is talking about Hillary but that can't happen (for reasons I will get to in a moment) with names like Bill Richardson, Michael Bloomberg, Chris Dodd, Kahtleen Sebelius, and Evan Bayh, bound to receive a lot of talk in the coming months.

In the interest of prognosticating, I am going to go with Richardson here, he would really bring in Latino voters, and could bring New Mexico and maybe even Texas onto the Blue sides of things in November, and that sure would change things.

Between now and November, I expect Obama to concentrate a great deal on his grassroots fund raising, which has been spectacular thus far, and to continue his "Nice Guy" image, against the sure fire attacks bound to be coming from the Republican side of things.

Hillary Clinton -- Now here is the real wild card of this whole thing.

While she was mathematically eliminating last night, she still refused to quit. While I do have some respect for her tenacity, I really am sick of her now. While I have been very critical of her a few times before on this very blog, so it may be a bit of a challenge for me to examine this objectively.

Last night should have been about Obama and she tried to make it about her. Don't believe me? Well her is her speech last night...

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Now, I forget which one, but one of the CNN talking heads referred to Clinton's speech as showing "Deranged Narcissism", and I don't know if there is a more apt term than that. She (falsely) claimed that she won the popular vote, which only happens when you don't take into account any of the caucus states and/or the "Uncommitted" votes in Michigan, which is odd since Hillary repeatedly preached that she wanted "Every vote to count".

With her talking about how many votes she got, she really sounds like she is trying to bully Obama into naming her as his running mate. My lord can this ever not happen.

Obama needs to set himself up as a Change Candidate, and someone who has already lived in the White House for 8 years does not represent change at all. Plus, if she can't let Obama have his night when he mathematically wins, can she really let him have four years to Be the Man? Somehow I doubt it...also, there is that little shadow called Bill who would be standing behind the two of them. A good VP needs to be sure to give the limelight to the person at the top of the ticket, and that really is Obama.

I think that the best option for Clinton, would be for her to support Obama, campaign for him, and get a high profile spot in his cabinet. Either way, I really hope that she heeds my advice from my last post on her..."SHUT UP"

One way or another, I am glad that this is finally over, and more importantly, the good guy won. It should be a very interesting five months for the US, and for all of us watching.

Before I send off let me make yet another prediction. In November it will be Obama winning, with the popular vote going 56-44.

Until next time,


Until next time,