Monday, October 27, 2008
"Friday, October 27, 2006...a day which will live in infamy. I have officially joined the blogosphere. I don't so much have a concept, theme, or general idea as to what to have here but rest assured it should be filled with awesomeness."
That's right today is my anniversary of beginning to blog!!! Just as I did one year ago, I will once more go through my myriad of categories that I blog about (or blogegories as I like to call them), where I'll highlight one or two of my personal favourite posts on the matter.
The objective of this is to:
a) Get people new to this blog get an idea of what they are in for with my highly distractable nature and desire to write about just about anything.
b) Introduce a bit more of myself to people who I have recently met in this crazy place called the "Real World".
c) Help long time followers get refreshed on any of my older posts.
d) Give me a post to make without having to generate any original concepts.
e) Give my blog a new outfit for its birthday, hope you like it!!!
So whichever reason you are reading this...enjoy!!!
About G: This topic was reserved for stuff that is about me as a person, including my "Glen Facts" and "Insights into my Twisted Mind" which have been mostly discontinued. My favourite post in this category remains "My 2006 (12/19/06)", which chronicled a roller-coaster of a year for me. Since then, my self-centered posts have diminished, possibly because I think that this one would be hard to top.
Cruising on the Information Superhighway: This is a category reserved for information about the information superhighway, also known as the "Internet" to some. Since this has not been a huge focus of mine, this is a relatively small category. The last post that I have made on this topic was back in January, and is perhaps the best of the bunch, "The First 20th Century War (01/26/08)" where I look at the war declared by most of the internet on the Church of Scientology that was taking place at the start of this year. While not much has come of it in recent months, I do genuinely believe that there will be some interesting long-term consequences of this "war".
Glen News: Yet another Glen-centered category, which does not get posted too often anymore. While this seemed to dominate my early posting habits, that really has diminished of late. Probably the most relevant is "News on the Glen Front (02/12/08)" where I explain exactly how I came to be living in China in the first place.
Happy [Insert Holiday Here]: I hate to cop out here, but I think that I have two favourite posts in this category, and well, it's my blog, so you're going to damn well like my choices!!! The first one to share is my "Christmas Shopping List (12/04/07)", where I outline my plans for the gifts I plan to give different individuals, a few of which actually happened! The other, is a much older post where I look back at the progress that still needs to be made in honour of Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in "What Would He Say Now? (1/15/07)".
Hockey and Other Sports: My most plentiful category on this blog!!! This is one that tends to get posted in furies, especially during playoff, or trade deadline time. As the title suggests, most of my posts have been about hockey, but there remains the occasional post about other sports...but again, mostly hockey. I think that my favourite hockey posts where the two part posts "Eastern Conference No-Star Team (01/13/08)" and "Western Conference No-Star Team (01/14/08)", as due to a well placed link they are among my most viewed posts here. Hoorah.
Muzzak: Another tag that seems to come in spurts, is music. While I Have had lots of fun writing my two "Thumbs Up and Down" posts so far, and my "Empowering Break-up" playlist remains my most viewed post, I am going to have to give my favourite one of these to "Lovers Music (02/14/08)", must be the romantic in me.
Random Tales: Like "About G" and "Glen News" these posts have fallen behind after a rapid beginning. Partly because I have been able to fit any stories into different categories, and partly because I have other things to talk about I suppose. If I had to choose two favourites it would be a pair of posts from my first time in China, where I get myself into two very different situations "The Universality of Kindness (4/15/07)" and "Fall Behind, Left Behind (04/23/08)".
Rants: Last year, this was my biggest category, but now it's far lower on the rank. I suppose that is very telling. In retrospection, I think that my favourite post on this was one that I made just before my Anniversary post last year, so it missed the cut due to its recent nature, "The Outing of Albus (10/24/08)", where I look at Rowling's revelation that Dumbeldore is gay, and how offensive that is, but not necessarily for the same reason that you would think.
Rasslin’: My guiltiest of guilty pleasures, the world of professional wrestling. Posting in this topic usually gets pretty intense around Wrestlemania time, but shows up at other random times. While I have a great deal of fun preparing to write any of my Wrestlemania predictions, or hype posts, the ones that took the most out of me where the pair of posts I made about Chris Benoit. "Shock and Horror (06/27/08)" immedietly after the horryifing incident and "The Benoit Diaries (12/18/2007)" almost six months later. Since writing that last post I have watched a Chris Benoit match, and it made me feel quite uncomfortable. Being a fan of someone who is a known murder is a tough thing to have to deal with, and I don't know if I ever will be able to.
Real Politiking: Now here is one that has been getting a lot of posting recently, with two North American elections taking place. While I received some great comments for my "Outsider's Perspective" back in September in the build up to the Canadian election, I think that I got the most enjoyment writing "Finally (06/04/08)" and could celebrate Barrack Obama being declared the Democratic Nominee for President. In a year's time I know that I am going to celebrate my post celebrating his presidency...
Remixes and Collaborations: The posts where I get a little help from my friends (shades of John Lennon). There have been several other contributors to this blog, but I think that I have to give the nod to "Finals Prediction (05/26/08)", since yes, Jeff went 14-1 in the playoffs last year with many bonus points for correct series length, blah, blah blah.
Teachin and Learnin': Posts about my job tend to come few and far between, but when they come they are usually posts that I put a lot of thought into. Few had more thought last year than "Reflecting on my Vocation (01/20/08)", which was a speech that I made to my school last year and referenced Napolean Dynamite and talked about the Ninja Turtles. You know that makes you want to click on that link...
Travelling Tales: This is one category which I expect to see lots of new posts coming in the new year, given that I live far, far away from home. One to get you set up for the posts to come would be "Logging My Journey (08/24/08)", where I love blog my very long flight across the Pacific Ocean to get to China.
Tree Hugging Hippie Crap: One of the smallest, but most important categories here on this blog. I feel that every post that I make in this category is somehow important. While it was ignored, I had a good time writing (and get a chuckle everytiem I re-read) my "Open Letter to the Minister of the Environment (12/09/07)". Needless to say Mr. Baird has yet to reply.
Vegan Talk: Like the above category, it is small but well intentioned. If anyone really wants to get why I am a vegan, I would suggest that they give "It Ain't Easy Being Green - Take 1 - Pacifism (9/17/07)", a gander and perhaps any of the others that peak your interest.
Videos: Just a label for any posts that contain videos, with this one being my favourite, and the best of the bunch...
As if anything could be better than that....
Why I Love…: A recurring theme that gets its own label. This has a wide range from an album, to a politician, to an author, to a movie franchise, but "Why I Love Bloggin’ (4/16/07)", holds a special insight into why I keep doing this.
291 posts and counting....
Here's to one more year!!!
Until next time,
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Thumbs Up to "Lonelily" by Damien Rice!! Fans of Mr. Rice will know that this song has been out for several years now, but I have recently rediscovered it, and completely fallen for it this time. I absolutely love the story about not wanting to be alone that you'd sacrifice anything, even your integrity. That kind of loneliness is something that is so incredibly easy to identify with, making this song just perfect for dealing with those kinds of feelings.
Favourite Lyric: "In a way, I've lost all I've believed in, and I never found myself so alone. And let me down"
(Not an official video)
Thumbs Down to "Gotta Be Somebody" by Nickleback!!! If you are a fan of Canada's most boring musical export, then I advise you to scroll down, because this will not be kind.
Still here? Good, that means that you have some sense. This song completely blows!!!! These guys are the absolute pure epitome of sell-outs. Their first album had some decent songs and a bit of a rock edge, but since then it's been bad, really bad. "Just like a paperback novel" ranks among the most one dimensional and forced rock similes, which is a shame given the potential they showed with such songs as "Leader of Men". But I guess record sales are all that matter, and Kruger and co. will still be able to sleep at night on their piles of money, even if nobody remembers their work for producing anything of substance a few years from now.
With this song, Nickleback have neared, or perhaps eclipsed a new low for generic boring lyrics with some passable at best music thrown in there.
Least Favourite Lyric: "Someone to love with my life in their hands. There has gotta be somebody for me Ohhhhhh."
(Not an official video)
Thumbs Up for "Family Tree" by TV on the Radio!!!!! Another amazing song from a simply amazing band. Their new album Dear Science has got to be considered one of the best of 2008. In the spirit of "Ambulance" (which I have mentioned two different times on this very blog), they produce another amazingly romantic song. As they describe the often-described-indescribables of love in new and exciting ways, this time talking about getting together underneath a family tree. I mean coudl you have any more powerful of an image?
Favourite Lyric: "It’s echoing moonlight on to the blue nightmare of your heart. In cosy red rainbow, it’s shaking off halos,
and the memory of our sacred so and so’s"
(Not an official video)
(For the record I wanted to find "DLZ" off of this album, but had no luck. Should you have the chance to hear that song, be prepared to be amazed)
Thumbs Down for "Hot n' Cold" by Katy Perry!!!! Uggh....I hate this woman, she tries to be subversive and edgy, but is really just as prepackaged as the Jonas Brothers. She seems like she's writing the rest of the song around such cutting edge lyrics as "PMS" and "bipolar", which completely makes them lose their power and seem insignificant.
On top of that, the cheesy 90s pop beats are not-yet-nostalgic, so they just seem bad. Do yourself a favour and skip this one, although I doubt you will be able to...
Least Favourite Lyric: "You change your mind, like a girl changes clothes"
(The official music video!!! For "Hot" by Avril Lavigne....with this song dubbed over)
Thumbs Up for "Disturbia" by Rihanna!!! Man this girl is talented!!! When she first debuted, she seemed like she may be another flash in the pan songstress, but she has proven any of her detractors wrong by producing some legitimatly fantastic work. After suffering through all that is Brittney, Christina et al., it was easy to discount the genre of girl pop, however Rihanna proves time and time again that there can be substance to go along with the style.
I simply love this song, not only for it's solid beats, but for the incredible story that Rihanna is able to tell. She sings a song about losing her mind, but as her paceing gets more erratic as the song progresses you get the legitimate feeling listening to it (not to mention watching the video) that she may actually be doing losing it.
Favourite Lyric: "It's a thief in the night to come and grab you, it can creep up inside you"
(Actually an official video)
Thumbs Down for "Paper Planes (Remix)" by Lil' Wayne!!! This really just doesn't do it for me. Partially because of my ambivalence for ego-rap, but mostly because I adore the original version of this song and this one just doesn't feel right. It includes the incredibly unique chorus, but all of Lil' Wayne's lyrical masturbation just takes away from any of M.I.A.'s original, and poignant lyrics. While I am not against remixes as a rule, I feel that they need to add something to the original, this one clearly robs the original of its intelligent.
Least Favourite Lyric: "Banana in ya ass, its what you hear right behind ya"
(Yet again, not the official video)
Thumbs Up for "Paper Planes" by M.I.A.!!!! After raving about it in the last song, it only seems natural that I talk about this one. The major difference here, is that this song is never really about the artist, it's about her actions. It's about her living a life of crime. Plus this song is just so original and poignant, something that the remix, by its very definition, lacks.
Favourite Lyric: "We pack and deliver like UPS trucks, already going to hell, just pumping that gas."
(Sorry, yet another unofficial video...and the audio kind of sucks too)
Hope you enjoyed that as much as I did...
Until next time,
Saturday, October 18, 2008
After the abortion that was the 2006 Olympics, I think that Hockey Canada has learned a few things. As heartless as it sounds, they need to ignore past loyalties to the program, instead focusing on the present and the future. This is what worked in 2002, and again in 2004 for the World Cup. They focused on the best players available, and paid no mind of the players who have been loyal to Hockey Canada. With only a finite roster size, they can not afford to make any loyalty driven picks such as Kris Draper was in 2006, or a gamble like Todd Bertuzzi was at the same year. Having those players on the ice while Jason Spezza and Eric Staal watched from the press box, and a rookie Sidney Crosby watched from North America, is an absolute crime to hockey.
One of the strengths of the 2002 team was that it was able to combine a group of proven winners such as Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman, and Joe Sakic, with some hungry young players like Simon Gange and Jarome Iginla, and some hungry veterans who had never quite reached the mountain top including Eric Lindros and Owen Nolan. Also, with the only exception of Mike Peca, they did not take a single defensive forward, instead forcing usual offensive threats Theo Fleury and Joe Niewendyk into those roles. This also enable those checking forwards to break out and create a scoring chance in the wide open Olympic game. With current crop of exciting and dynamic young players, this should be able to be done with little problems.
2006 Roster: Martin Brodeur, Roberto Luongo, Marty Turco
Martin Brodeur has essentially secured himself a place between the pipes on Team Canada whenever he wants it. He truly cemented himself as a legendary performer in 2002, and could easily ride on those coat tails for the rest of his career. That being said, he is still one of the elite goaltenders in the NHL, and is on pace to shatter all goaltending records, probably by the end of this season. He has to be considered a lock for this position, and a favourite for the starting position.
His biggest competition for the starting spot comes from fellow 2006 alumni, Roberto Luongo. Luongo has been dazzling for his entire NHL career, even when the teams in front of him have struggled. He has defied tradition and been named the Captain of his team, so he definitely brings a great deal of character to the locker room. At the end of the day, it will all come down to whoever is playing better at the time between he and Broduer. I'll give it to Martin, but only barely.
Turco has to be considered in the running for the ellusive third spot on this roster, but he faces some stiff comeptition from the likes of Cam Ward, and J-S Gigure, who have the edge over Turco in terms of a winning pedigree. However, I think that the third spot will go to the future of Canadian Goaltending, Carey Price. Yes, he's young, yes he sturggled in the playoffs last season, but he is going to be the answer. Brodeur and Luongo will not be around forever, and they will need someone to carry the torch for them and Price is the best answer. Even if he does not see any action in the tournament (like Ed Belfour in 2002), the experience he will gain will prove invaluable for future teams.
Glen's Picks for 2010:
Reserve: Carey Price
2006 Roster: Rob Blake, Jay Bouwmeester, Adam Foote, Bryan McCabe, Chris Pronger, Wade Redden, Robyn Regehr Reserves: Dan Boyle, Injured: Scott Niedermayer, Ed Jovanovski
As much blame for the Torino failures that gets places on the forwards, it is hard not to look at this squad and wonder if it really is the best players we had available. Granted injuries to Niedermayer and Jovanovski hurt, but this defense really lacked the same star power that the 2002 team had.
So what needs fixing? For starters, both Rob Blake and Adam Foote are in the twilight of their careers, so are easy to be cut. While I do feel that Boyle, McCabe and Redden will have good years this season, I don't see them in the same company as the elite defensemen that are emerging in the new NHL, so get rid of them too. As much as I like both Jovanovski and Regehr, I don't see either of them having the speed required to perform on an international ice surface, and both of them narrowly missing out on the cut to younger, more skilled defensemen.
This leaves only Neidermayer (my pick for Captain of the team), Pronger, and Bouwmeester returning. Leaving four spots on the main roster, and one on the reserves for a host of fantastic players.
Allow me to start with the obvious choice, Dion Phaneuf. He is easily in the top five defensemen in the league, and should be considered a lock to be on the top pairing, shadowing the likes of Henrik Zetterberg and Alexander Ovechkin.
Speaking of Ovechkin, the next most obvious candidate is a teammate of his, Mike Green. Green exploded last season, emerging very quickly as one of the leagues pre-eminant offensive blueliners. He figures to play a prominant role on the power-play, plus he practices regularly against the Russian Superstar, and may be able to exploit a weakness of his, if there is one.
Another player who rapidly emerged last season, is Minnesota Wild Defenseman, Brent Burns. Despite palying on one of the most defensively minded teams in the NHL, he was still able to rack up a respectable amount of power play points, while being a physical threat. He also performed well above expectations in the World Championships, which has to make him a favourite to play on this team.
For the last roster, and one reserve spot, I expect them to be split between youth and experience. For experience, the best of the players who were not part of the 2006 team have to be Chris Phillips, Dan Boyle, and Brian Campbell. While the Sens fan in me would love to see Phillips put on the red sweater, I think that the choice has to be Campbell, who should figure prominently in the Blackhawks renassaince over the next few seasons. As for youth, the decision is much tougher, as Braydon Cobourn, Shea Weber, Dan Hamhuis, Marc Staal, and Duncan Keith should make serious cases to be drafted, saying nothing for rookie sensation (and former World Junior Captain) Karl Alzner. Choosing from that list of elite palyers is tough no doubt, however, I think that at the end of the day, someone is going to remember Shea Weber (along with Dion Phaneuf) absolutely embarassing both Ovechkin and Malkin in the 2005 World Junior Championships, and decide that pair just needs to be reunited. This would actually push Campbell to the reserve, which given the glut of offensive talent on the blue-line, is not as big of a loss as to be expected.
Glen's Pick for 2010:
Phaneuf - Weber
Pronger - Burns
Niedermayer - Bouwmeester
2006 Roster: Todd Bertuzzi, Shane Doan, Kris Draper, Simon Gagne, Dany Heatley, Jarome Iginla, Vincent Lecavalier, Rick Nash, Brad Richards, Joe Sakic, Ryan Smyth, Martin St. Louis, Joe Thornton Reserves: Jason Spezza, Eric Staal
Now here is where things get really interesting. As mentioned earlier, Todd Bertuzzi and Kris Draper are out. As great of a two-way players as Brad Richards and Ryan Smyth are, neither of them have the real raw talent anymore that some of our other options do, so count them out. Martin St. Louis is a great play-maker, but he is getting older, and could easily be replaced by a number of younger players. If Gagne is able to fully recover from his concussion and score 40 goals this season, then he would be a lock for this team, unfortunetly I just do not see that happening, leaving him out of the running. Shane Doan should be in contention for the roster, however I see him being a last minute bump. Lastly, there is Joe Sakic, a true legend, and one of the all time greats. He decided at the last minute to return for this season, and could potentially return next year, but he will be 40 at the start of the Olympics, so I expect him to sit this one out.
This leaves only Heatley, Iginla, Lecavalier, Nash, and Thornton from the main roster, with Spezza and Staal being obvious call ups from the reserves, freeing up six spots on the main roster, and two spots for reserves.
The most obvious addition, is the most obvious ommission from the 2006 squad, Sidney Crosby. In 2005-06, he was on his way to a 102 season, and was the obvious future of Canadian hockey, yet was somehow left off of the team. This will be his team to lead, and he is a given for the teams first line centre.
With Nash and Heatley already on this team, you need to look no further than the third member of their dominant line at the 2008 World Hockey Championships, Anaheim Ducks centre, Ryan Getzlaf. He is a rapidly emerging two-way forward, who already has a Stanley Cup ring. Plus, the unreal chemistry exhibited with Nash and Heatley make him a no brainer.
Getzlaf's teammate in Anaheim, Correy Perry, is growing into an elite power forward. He can hit, score, and shut down. I see him taking Doan's spot on the checking line, and filling in a similar role to Theoren Fleury in 2002, only with less backage.
Joining Perry as a two-way shut down player, is one of the most improved players over the past 12 months, Flyers centre Mike Richards. He really has the talent to do it all, and he saw a great deal of time in the playoffs against both Ovechkin and Malkin.
The third member of the International Grind Line should be Dallas Captain, Brenden Morrow. He proved throughout the playoffs that he is a leader who can step it up in big time situations. He has the physical presence to work players down, and the offensive upside to capitalize on their mistakes.
This leaves only one spot on the main roster, and two reserve spots open for a whole host of talented, young players. I think that Hockey Canada should have learned from their mistakes in not taking Crosby last time, by giving a roster spot to one of the next young phenoms. I would give it to Steven Stamkos over Jonathan Tavares, just because Stamkos is a year older, and has more experienece at the World Junior level.
The final two spots are going to be difficult to fill. However, I think that the spot on the main roster has to go to one of the most dynamic players in the new NHL, who has proven his talent at the International Level, even playing in the World Championships before the NHL, Jonathan Toews. I could see his speed meshing well with the likes of Jason Spezza for some reason.
The last spot, on the reserve, has a great deal of potential, with the likes of Jordan Staal, Derek Roy, Brad Boyes, and Jeff Carter all having tremendous upsides. However, I think that the real star on the rise, who can paly both ends is Florida Panthers centre/winger, Nathan Horton. He is going to be a superstar in the NHL, and deserves a spot on this team. Also, as a bonus, he could easily step in to any spot on the roster should any of the players get injured.
Glen's Pick for 2010:
Lecavalier - Crosby - Iginla
Nash - Getzlaf - Healtey
Towes - Thornto - Spezza
Morrow - M. Richards - Perry
Reserves: Stamkos, Horton
Lastly, there is still the tough decision for who to sit behind the bench. Possible contenders include Wayne Gretzky, Ken Hitchcock, Alain Vigneault, and Andy Murray. However, the favourite has to be Detroit Red Wings coach, Mike Babcock. With his winning record, there is little to fault him, however, I think that Guy Carbonneau is the best choice. He does a great job of coordinating a balanced attack for a young offensive team, which is precissely the squad that Canada should field. I would put both Hitchcock and Sutter as the assistant coaches, to be able to coordinate the defense.
Tune back into this blog in the coming months as I expect this to be a regular feature, should I decide to add or subtract some players from this list.
Until next time,
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Blog Action Day 08 Post - Distribution of Resources and Your Diet (It Ain't Easy Being Green - Take 4)
That's right, looking at that banner you will notice that today is indeed Blog Action Day, with the theme being poverty. Bloggers all over the world have been encouraged to make a post today with the eradication of poverty. Since I sort of lack a central theme to this blog I had all sorts of options, ranging from my trip to Laos last year, a political rant, or research into the work done by some of my favourite athletes or politicians. However, at the end of the day, I decided that the best one for me would be to revisit a feature that I have not examined in a very long time here, "It Ain't Easy Being Green", the Kermit the Frog inspired posts as to why I am a vegan. And today, I will look at just how far veganism goes to lessening poverty around the world.
Before I go into this, I would like to establish that this case is based on a simple (but logical) assumption: One of the major root causes of poverty is an inequity of resources. To simplify, the poorest people in the world are the ones who have the least. If the world's ample resources where more evenly distributed, then less people would be living in poverty.
Here lies the connection that exists between veganism and reducing poverty. The livestock industry is a clear example of the unequitable distribution of resources taking place in our world, furthering the gap between rich and poor.
Before I get too into this, let me state three simple facts:
1. Animals (especially cows) eat a lot. There are several facts out there as to just how much, but the fact remains that animals need to eat food. There are reports as high as 20 lbs of grain needed to produce 1 point of beef, and as low as 2 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of beef. With pigs being lower, and chickens lower still. In reality, it is probably on the lower side (since cows are not fed grains from birth). No matter how you calculate it, it is a cold hard fact that you need to put more food into an animal than you can get out of it.
2. Animals (again especially cows) need to drink a lot of water. Not only do they need to drink the water, but the crops harvested for them (see above) need to have water to grow. Several studies have been done on this, and the average findings show that it takes approximetly 16,726 litres to produce one pound of beef and 5,469 for pork or 3,609 for poultry. Compare this with 2,552 for rice and 2,517 for soybeans.
3. There are a finite amount of resources on this earth. Simple right? There are only 148,940,000 km² of land for all 6.5 billion people on earth to share with one another. That is only 0.023km² each, and that's not a heck of a lot. Of course, in reality it is far less than that, since much of that land is inhospitable, and a large amount needs to be left for plants and other animals.
So how do these three simple facts connect veganism with the eradication of poverty?
The answer is really quite logical. See, since there is only so much space on the earth we need to be using it as efficently as possible for everyone right? Now while this sounds all well and good in theory, the reality is that we really, really, are not doing this. The fact is that we are using some of the most arable land in the world, and planting food to feed our food, as opposed to using this land to feed our people.
(Tangent: The land use for any Organic/Free Range/Grain Fed meat product would be far more, since the animals are not as tightly packed-in together (in theory). Thus negating one of the main counter-points to the animal rights arguments for veganism)
Also, we are using far too much water to produce meat. According to the above statistics, we could produce five times the amount of soybeans as beef with the same amount of water. The inneficency is truly terrifying.
To further emphasise the point, world food prices have been rising drastically in recent years, further compounding the problems that the poorest people in the world are facing. While much of the blame has been palced on ethanol, that is oversimplifying a complex problem. Since 1980, China's average meat consumption has increased 30kg/person/year since 1980, and when you consider that there are 1.3 billion people in that country, that is a lot of people.
This obviously means less grain to feed people, and less land for crops to plant for human consumption. Coupled this with an increase in human population, and anyone with even a basic knowledge of economics can see that when you increase demand and lower supply the prices are going to go way up. While this means that Westerners have to tighten up their belts a bit, it means the difference between life and death to the worlds poorest people.
An estimated 800 million people are chronically hungry in our world. And the glutinous Western World is using the land and resources to fatten up animals for its own taste buds while so many people are dying. If we were able to even reduce the amount of meat that we eat, then we would be able to give (or sell) far more food to the truly needy in the world.
Even a reduction of meat consumption could make a huge difference for the people who need it the most. Please think about that the next time you sit down for dinner.
Until next time,
Take 1 - Pacifism
Take 2 - The Environment
Take 3 - Pesticides, and Poo, and Pus, Oh My!
Take 4 - Distribution of Resources
Monday, October 13, 2008
Hi, how are you? Things are going great for me out here. Work is great, making lots of friends, and the weather is nice. I know that it’s been a while, and we haven’t talk much, what with me moving to China and all, but I was hoping that I could ask you a favour, since we go back twenty-five years and all. Could you please, please, do me a solid and vote against the Conservative Party of Canada? I know that the alternatives look bleak. The Liberals are disorganized, the Bloc is not a viable option, the NDPs are risky, and the Greens do not have enough national experience, but they are all better than the Conservatives right now.
I know that things haven’t been that bad in the past two years of a Harper government, but if they get voted in, especially with a majority, things will change. Think about all of the ways that we define our country, bilingual, peaceful, tolerant, and a world leader. Now, think about all of the ways that Harper and his cronies have opposed these.
Do you remember where the Conservative Party comes from? Why Preston Manning and his Reform gurus. A big part of their platform, and the platform of the Canadian Alliance that bridge the gap, was to oppose bilingualism and multiculturalism. Granted, when Harper merged the parties he removed that from the platform, but remember, the roots of Reform are still there.
Also, does anyone else remember the build up to the current Iraq war? While much of America was very gung-ho to support a war that has since turned unpopular, most Canadians opposed it from the beginning and were very thankful when the Liberal s refused to join Bush’s Crusade. Note that I said most, as Stephen Harper and current Cabinet Minister, Stockwell Day, co-wrote an article to the Wall Street Journal condemning the Canadian government for not joining the US in their cause. And then spoke to American TV saying that the majority of Canadians supported the war. Do you really want to have someone in power that will join a war based on lies for political purposes? Don't we admonish the Americans for the same thing?
Canada is one of five countries in the world to currently have full legalized gay marriages. Do you remember who opposed this? And do you remember who wanted to reopen the debate after it had already been passed in Parliament? I’ll give you a hint, it was one of the party leaders and it was not Dion, Layton, Duceppe, or May. Any guesses?
If that doesn’t give it away, it was the same leader who accused his rival of “Being in league with the Taliban” for opposing the Afghan mission. Kind of sounds like he was accusing him of “Pallin’ around with terrorists”, does it not?
Lastly, the Conservative government has arguably the worst environmental record of any developed nation. This was especially clear at the Bali Conference last year as Jim Baird was routinely named the “Fossil of the Day” for his opposition to international consensus on a very serious problem. Remember, we are the country that pioneered International Peace Keeping, set up the first MASH Unit, were a founding member of NATO and the G7, and gave far more help to the Space Race than we will ever get credit for. Do we really want a government in charge who will not take the lead on the most important challenge that our generation will face?
So please Canadians, I am begging you to vote for someone other than the Conservatives. I don’t care if it’s the Liberals, NDP, Bloc, Greens, Natural Law, anything to get rid of Harper as Prime Minister has to be considered a success. Please Canada, do me a solid and lets vote this guy out before it's too late, because if he gets a majority, it really will be too late.
Standing on Guard for Thee,
Saturday, October 11, 2008
It made me realize that there are all sorts of things to be thankful for, and thus this blog was born.
(Note: These are put in the order that my scatterbrained mind decided to put them in)
Impromptu Dinners: I mean, seriously, that is great to have a dinner for me since I was feeling homesick. Best part, it was all vegan...
Canadian Banks: Canadian banks aren't collapsing or needing to be bailed out...just yet...
John McCain Seeing the Light: Check out this video clip of a McCain rally held the other day....
Did you notice McCain's reactions? Those weren't fake. He knows full well that he has helped create such a culture of fear surrounding Obama and his "otherness", and you can almost see the guilt build into him. Now if only Palin can have a similar epiphany.
October Sports: This is pretty much the best time to be a North-American sports fan. The NHL Season is kicking off, the NFL Season is starting to get interesting, MLB Playoffs are raging, and the NBA is just around the corner. Seriously, how great is that?
Palin Busted: In another great victory for the Obama camp, it was revealed the other day that Sarah Palin unlawfully abused her power in dismissing her former brother-in-law as a State Trooper in Alaska. While she claims that it was a "partisan witchhunt" the committee was bipartisan, with 10 Republican members, compared to its 4 Demoncratic members. Doesn't sound to partisan to me.
The Arcade Fire: Sure they've been quiet of late, but they just make my soul happy, especially this one:
Centennial Season: It's the Montreal Canadiens 100th Season, and I'll be damned if they don't have a good chance to bring the Cup back home. Even if they don't do it, there is still optimism in the air for a Canadian NHL team once more.
Dark Knight Sequel: Damn right, there are a ton of rumours that we will get a third installment in the awesome new Batman series. There are also a ton of stories that it could feature Johnny Depp as The Ridler, Philip Seymor Hoffman as the Penguin, or Angelina Jolie as Catwoman. Now those are mostly all BS I'm sure, but one fact remains: whenever it comes out, it will be awesome.
No Majority: That's right, just as I predicted a zillion times already here, we are going to end up with another Conservative Minority in Canada. The more things change...
Facebook is Working: Navigating the Information Superhighway in this country can be quite the challenge somedays, given the Great Firewall of China. However, I am really thankful that Facebook is working just fine, even though it had a bit of a rough go when I first got here.
Adventures Ahead: I'm living on the other side of the planet and have some pretty big plans ahead of me, good stuff all around.
Until next time,
Friday, October 10, 2008
In the Eastern Conference, I see things more or less playing out like they did last year. Montreal takes the Northeast, Pittsburgh continues to score, Philadelphia gets better, Martin Brodeur defies all logic, and Ovechkin dazzles.
If Boston and Carolina are able to stay healthy this season, then they both have potential to move up the standings, however I don't think that there is enough room in the playoffs for both of them, and I've got to go with a team that has won the Cup in recent years. Whie Ottawa's goaltending and defense are questionable at best, they have too much talent up front not to make the playoffs for the 12th straight year. The Rangers have turned the page on the Jagr era, and while Markus Naslund is a step down, Jagr was so bad last year, Naslund should be able to score the 60-70 points that Jagr got last year. Plus, Gomez and Drury should be gel a bit more this year, making up for any loses they may have had.
When it is all said and done, the Canadiens should remain the best team in the Conference, with the Flyers, Penguins, and Capitals not too far behind. I think that the Flyers are a deeper team that the Penguins are so they should get the edge over their cross-state rivals and take the division in a battle that will probably be decided in the final few days of the season.
While everyone is thinking that Tampa should make the playoffs due to their plethora of changes, I just don't see it happening this year. Stamkos will be great, but he will not have a Crosby/Ovechkin/Malkin rookie year, not in Tampa. If any team from the sunshine state has a chance to move up in the standings and defy expectations, it is the Florida Panthers. Don't laugh, seriously. This team has a vastly underrated defense corps with Bouwmester and Ballard leading the way, and McCabe should boucne back now that he's out of the spot light. Add in the fact that they have one of the best goalies in the league, and Nathan Horton is on the cusp of superstardom, with Stephen Weiss not that far behind, and you have a potential dark horse. Lastly, their new coach, Peter DeBoer, vastly exceeded any expecatations for hte Kitchener Rangers in the OHL last year, and could very well get the most out of these guys. Granted, I don't think that they will be in the playoffs, but they should be a team to watch.
The Leafs will be in a dog fight until the end....to finish last overall. But in the East they will have some competition from the Islanders and Thrashers. The Leafs can't even loose right, I'll give that nod to the Island.
I think that when it's all said and done, the East should look something like this:
1. Montreal Canadiens
2. Washington Capitals
3. Philadelphia Flyers
4. Pittsburgh Penguins
5. New York Rangers
6. New Jersey Devils
7. Carolina Hurricanes
8. Ottawa Senators
9. Boston Bruins
10. Florida Panthers
11. Buffalo Sabres
12. Tampa Bay Lightning
13. Atlanta Thrashers
14. Toronto Maple Leafs
15. New York Islanders
As for the West, let's see that's a tough call for the best team...COLUMBUS BABY!!!!! Or maybe one of their division rivals.
Obviously the class of the Conference, League, and hockey universe are the Detroit Red Wings. They kept all of their parts from last season, and added Marian Hossa. Sure there is the "old" argument, but the core of their team is still young enough to have another dominant season in front of them.
While the Wings are clearly the top of the pile, the Pacific Division has the three teams that have the best shot at knocking them off, as the Stars, Ducks, and Sharks all call that division home. I think that these three teams really need to make the NHL consider following the NBAs lead and having the division leaders guarenteed a Top 4 seed instead of Top 3 seed. Because only one of these three can win the division, leaving the other two to be seeded 4-5, and therefore one of them has to get eliminated in the first round. That really is a crime against hockey.
As for the second toughest division in hockey, the Northwest, I see it once again, coming down to a dog fight between Calgary and Minnesota. On paper, Calgary had more gains in the off-season than Minny, so this seems easy. However, don't forget that Gaborik is playing for a contract, so he may find a way to be healthy this season, and Brent Burns should continue making strides to be one of the elite defensemen, so it may be a closer battle than people are expecting. I'll still give the nod to the Flames though.
Those are six teams that are a virtual lock to make the playoffs, but after that things get interesting. There are only two spots left, which were occupied by Colorado and Nashville last year. Nashville is a prime candidate for team to take the biggest drop off, so we can count them out right away. Meanwhile, their division rival, the Blackhawks, are poised to have the biggest leap forward, making them damn near a lock as a playoff team. Leaving one spot left, with the Avalanche, Blue Jackets, Coyotes, and Oilers being the most likely candidates.
While the Avalanche seemed to have taken a downgrade going from Theodore to Raycroft, I think that the former Leafs goalie will have a bounce back season now that he's out of Toronto (as is the norm for a lot of players), and last year the Avs made the playoffs despite losing a ton of man games to their four S's up front (Sakic, Smyth, Svatos and Stastny), so do not write them off just yet.
The Blue Jackets would easily be a playoff team in the East, but I just don't see them getting over that exceptionally tough hump to climb out West. They have the defense, great goaltending, but they just do not have a solid playmaker for Rick Nash. R.J. Umberger is a good centre, but he is not at the level to feed Nash as much as he needs. Sorry Jackets fans, there is always next year.
The Coyotes are one of the best young teams in the league, and the addition of Olli Jokinen was a great trade for them. Also, they will benefit from a full season with Illya Bryzgalov between the pipes. He is the kind of goaltender who could easily steal four games in a year to make up the 8 points that they missed out on the playoffs last year.
That just leaves the Oilers and their revolving door team. This team is SO different than the team that made it to the finals in 2006, it blows me away. If Eric Cole can stay healthy he will be a big addition to the team, and a top line of Cole-Horcoff-Hemsky could be one of the best line combinations in the Conference. Visnovsky is an interesting addition to the team, but he and Souray make a puzzling defense pairing. They are both power-play specialists, but defensive liabilities. I think that they added Visnovsky more as insurance in case Souray missed a large amount of the season again. I'm not sold on the Garon-Roloson goalie platoon, but that's more just on my gut and less on actual results.
I think that I'm going to go with the Oilers returning to the big dance this year, but to be honest, I'm not 100% sure that is a logical choice, as Colorado is a much safer bet.
As for the rest of the teams, I think that the LA Kings are a few years away from being really good, and they should make some progress as their young talent has an opportunity to get a bit more seasoned. The Canucks are on a huge downturn, as they may be able to count on Luongo to be the Captain, but they can't count on him to score goals. While I raved about the Blues going into last year, they had a simply disasterous season, and should have another just like it, especially with Erik Johnson on the IR.
When the dust settles, I think that the west will look something like this:
1. Detroit Red Wings
2. Anaheim Ducks
3. Calgary Flames
4. Dallas Stars
5. San Jose Sharks
6. Chicago Blackhawks
7. Minnesota Wild
8. Edmonton Oilers
9. Colorado Avalanche
10. Phoenix Coyotes
11. Columbus Blue Jackets
12. Los Angeles Kings
13. Vancouver Canucks
14. Nashville Predators
15. St. Louis Blues
So I think that gives the Islanders and Blues the best chance of getting Tavares, hopefulyl St. Louis, because the Islanders have shown that they can mess up anyone.
As for the playoffs, I think that the Wings will run out of gas after two years of deep playoff runs, just like Anaheim did last year. Thus leaving the West open, probably for the Ducks to take it. As for the East, I am going to go with the best story and have the Habs make their way out of the Conference in their 100th season, en route to a magical Stanley Cup victory. Yeah, I went there.
As for other predictions, I think that the individual awards will have some interesting competion.
Everyone expects the Art Ross Trophy to come down to Crosby, Ovechkin, and Malkin, and well I think that they are two-thirds correct. Crosby should reassend to the top of the pile and end up topping 120 points for the second time in his career, wich Ovechkin finishing second. I think that Malkin will have a bit of a drop off. His huge numbers last year were mainly because of how well he played in Crosby's absense, but Sid should be healthy all year. I think that Jarome Iginla will continue to carry his team and finish third in point totals.
As for the Rocket Richard Trophy, that is easily going to go to Ovechkin, as he should top 60 goals once more. Kovalchuck should be a distant second once more, as he gets more than 50 goals, despite having no support at all this year. I think that Kovalchuk's former linemate, Heatley, will end up topping 50 for the third time in four seasons, giving him the bronze in that trophy.
In between the pipes, this will once more be Brodeur's year. He'll get some competition from Nabokov, Luongo, Vokoun, and Lundqvist, but there is going to be no stopping Martin. This year he will no doubt pass two of Patrick Roy's records for most wins and most games played (in that order too, making it more impressive) and has an outside shot of passing Terry Sawchuk's record of most career shut-outs. Even if he doesn't end up having the best season, he should still end up with the Vezina as a legacy award for the amazing season he's going to have. We may just be watching the greatest goalie to ever put on skates. I think that Nabokov and Luongo will finish second and third on the ballot this year.
On defense, we may just see a changing of hte guard, as Niklas Lidstrom has won the Norris Trophy six of the last seven seasons. I think that he may just get knocked off of his perch in favour of Dion Phaneuf, as the youngsters time is finnaly now. As for the third, I will go with a surpise in Mike Green, who should lead all Defensemen in points this season.
As for coaches, I think that Guy Carbonneau will end up with the award that he was so close to getting last year, however he should get some competition from John Stevens in Philadelphia and Dennis Savard in Chicago.
The most important award, the Hart Trophy for league MVP is a bit of a toss-up. Granted, I feel that Crosby will win the scoring title and Ovechkin will get the Rocket Trophy, but I think that the player who contributes the most to his team will be Jarome Iginla. It is criminal that one of the best players in the league has never won that trophy. The man has all of the talent in the world and deserves to be recognized. That team would be absolutely nothing without him, and he brings so much to the table, he deserves the MVP in my books.
Again, a host of predictions that may be bold,daring or stupid. We will have to wait a few months to find out.
Until next time,
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Now getting to this jungle paradise is quite the process as it first takes a three hour bus ride from KL to get to the tiny town of Jerentut. This is followed by a twenty minute bus ride to a dock, and then (the coolest part) a three hour boat ride up river on something that is little more than a canoe with a motor on the back of it.
The boat was really crowded, but still comfortable. There wasn't much to do other than make a few friends, lay back, and enjoy the view as the jungle got thicker and thicker. Needless to say, I felt like I was in Apocalypse Now, all I was missing was someone yelling "Charlie don't surf!" sadly that never happened. The closest thing that I got to that was having the water splash up and damage the book I was reading.
After reaching my destination, I didn't exactly find Colonel Kurtz, but rather a small, charming little town called Kuala Tahan (why nobody ever referred to it as KT is beyond me). This town was literally across the river from the park, and had clearly developed as a place for tourists to stay while exploring the park. Despite the obvious recent development, KT (as I shall be calling it, hear by establishing the trend) maintained a great small, woodsy charm. The town had a wide range of accommodation going from some very minimalistic hostels to some very grand resorts. One of the coolest things though was that the actual town lacked any restaurants, instead they were floating on the river.
After surveying the town, finding a place to stay, and learning the hard way why they call it a "Rain Forest" (I'll give you a hint: it involves a lot of water falling from the sky), I settled down for the night since I had some big plans for the next day.
After I woke up the real adventure began. See myself and a few other travelers ended up hiring a guide to take us on a short (two day, one night) trek into the jungle, miles and miles away from the civilization of floating restaurants. Coolest part? That one night was to be spent sleeping in a cave.
Feel free to re-read that to absorb that awesomeness.
But before I could get to my cave filled slumber, I had to get there. En route, we stopped at the pre-eminent tourist stop in Taman Negara, the Canopy Walk. Now, there is not much to describe this place, other than it is a plank suspended a good 50 meters (that's 167 feet for those of you stuck in the Imperial system) above the jungle floor, and it's very shaky while you walk on it.
Needless to say the views were stunning. Also needless to say, it was simply terrifying for those of us who are afraid of heights, or more aptly, afraid of falling from high places. After taking many pictures, and gasps for breath, we made on our way farther up the river to start hiking.
Now I consider myself to be reasonably in shape, and more than capable of handling the 8.5km hike that was put in front of me. How wrong I was. The reason I had these pre-conceived notions is because my long hikes have predominantly been in Canada, with Canadian weather. Here I was in Malaysia, with equatorial weather and humidity. After an hour of walking over tangled brush, I had to start rationing my water for fear of running out.
Our guide was truly great at his job. He would stop and tell us all about different trees, animals, or tracks we saw. He was so patient in dealing with us Westerners who had never experienced anything like this before. We would have been in a huge amount of trouble if not for him that's for sure.
I put in a picture of a giant ant that he caught, because I couldn't really think of a better place to put it in the context of this post, and it is pretty awesome.
Apparently they bite, but E, super guide, wasn't scared.
I would be remiss to not mention the leeches. If the only leeches you have seen are in the swamp or Stand By Me, you have no idea how vicious those blood suckers can be. See in the jungle, they walked around on the ground, crawling like an inch worm, and would stand up vertically, dangling around trying to latch a hold of something warm to suck on. Scariest part? They can crawl through your socks and latch on, enjoying dinner on you. You have to physically pull them off, in a slightly painful, but extremely horrifying and bloody experience. If you don't want nightmares from this, scroll past the picture posted below, which is one after it fed.
Don't say that I didn't warn you.
Apparently all of the leeches slowed us down, because we ended up well behind schedule. As a result of this, we got another reminder as to why it is called a "Rain Forest" (hint: It's not because of the snow). Hurrying to fight the elements, we ended up watching the sun disappear, and darkness surround us.
At this point it is worth noting, that I have a very active imagination, and being in a group of six in the middle of the jungle at night, with a bunch of very strange noises, is quality material for a monster movie. If you can imagine how scared I was becoming, then you are not even half-way to imagining the pure horrors going on in my mind at this point.
After trekking for what seemed like an eternity, we ended up at our home, sweet cave for the night. It was a miraculous place, made out of lime stones and had all sorts of melted "sheets", that I couldn't quite capture on film, given the strange lighting. I slept soundly that night, without even thinking about the things that go bump in the night.
Waking up I got one of the greatest views I have ever arisen to:
Sadly, this was one of the final pictures that I was able to take before my camera went haywire saying that it had "Camera Error #E21", so no more picture for the rest of this trip, but don't worry, it's fine now. Not that it really matters for the purposes of this blog post.
After waking up and having a hearty breakfast we set on our way, having another 8.5km to stroll through before reaching the boat again. Again, let me restate: 8.5km through the jungle is a far greater challenge than 8.5km damn near anywhere else on the planet, since the first day's hike took us a solid 7 hours (including stops) to make.
Thankfully, the second day was much easier, and less eventful. We made a stop at another cave, but this one was full of the most terrifying animal on earth, bats. That's right, those winged-mammalian pets of Satan where everywhere, flying all around me and smelling, like well, bat shit. After we looked around, we saw a snake perched on a ledge inside the cave. Our ever intrepid guide, E, decided that he needed to touch this snake (saying it was a hobby of his), so after chasing it around, and assuring us that it was not poisonous, he got it. I went to go and touch the snake, and E decided to rest it on my shoulder, at which point it wrapped around my neck. Yes another chance for me to be terrified.
After unraveling the reptile from my larynx, we moved on and continued our long march. Over the course of the several kilometers we had to walk, we had to cross many streams and creeks, building small little bridges out of rocks or logs. At some point on this day, we came to a steep creek, which had the usual rock/log bridge, but it also had a much cooler way to cross the river, a vine.
As previously mentioned, my camera did not work at this point, but here is the closest visual representation I can find to my crossing of this creek.
Yeah, I Tarzaned it. Can't say that I've ever done that before.
The rest of my hike back was pretty uneventful, but then again, what can top being strangled by a snake and swinging on a vine?
Anyway, after reaching the boat, it was night time. All I could do was stare up as the stars slowly appeared in an unfamiliar pattern.
I realized, it was the first time that I got to see the Southern Cross, further knocking one more thing of my life's "To-Do List".
I'll wrap this one up with some random jungle shots that didn't really fit anywhere else, followed be a few songs to soundtrack that journey...
Guns n' Roses -- "Welcome to the Jungle"
The Fugees -- "Rumble in the Jungle"
Kool & The Gang -- "Jungle Boogie"
The (mother f'n) Time -- "Jungle Love"
The Tokens -- "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"
Lion King Theme -- "Circle of Life"
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young -- "Southern Cross"
Until next time,
Monday, October 06, 2008
So now, to try and compensate for that, let's look ahead to my thoughts on the upcoming mega-card. I put eleven matches on the show, which may be a lot, but the WWE has done a great job of elevating many of its younger stars in the past year, so there are more wrestlers who deserve a place on the card.
I also put the matches in order that I think that they should happen, not necessarily in the order of "biggest" matches.
Intercontinental Title Match: Santino Marella (c) vs. Evan Bourne
Before I get going here, I need to say that the Honk-a-meter is the greatest thing that wrestling has seen in a long, long time, and it needs to continue for several more months.
Bourne has been showing up a great deal on RAW lately and has been getting some pretty large pops, so he would be an ideal choice to be a mid-card face challenging for a mid-card title (which hasn't been defended at Wrestlemania in 7 years, how crazy is that?). Either Santino would cheat to win once more, or they could have Honky Tonk Man show up, blast Marella with a guitar, costing him the title, which would be the greatest thing since the Honk-a-meter.
Money in the Bank Match: MVP vs. John Morrison vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. The Miz vs. THE Brian Kendrick vs. Kane vs. R-Truth vs. JBL
The annual tradition of super-fun but spotty match to get more people on the card. This match is a little Face heavy, but I assume that MVP will be a full-fledged face pretty soon. Speaking of Mr. Porter, I listed the participants in the order that I think that they should win and I think that he would be a perfect winner for this match.
Grudge Match: CM Punk vs. Kofi Kingston
Yes, I know that these two seem destined to go after the tag titles together in the very near future, but I think that the real money is in the two of them fighting one another. It would be perfect to have one of them (hopefully Punk) turn on the other after they fail in their title shot. This would be a great, fast-paced match between two of the E's rising stars. It doesn't really matter who wins, because it would be such a fun match.
Who is Mr. Wrestlemania?: The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels
Some of the biggest highlights of the last two Royal Rumbles have been the interaction between these two men. After being sneaky to eliminate Taker last year, only to be eliminated himself by Mr. Kennedy, HBK looked up in terror at the Dead Man. Luckily for Michaels he was able to escape and run away. The two have had no interaction since then. Another Rumble run-in would be a great way to set up a match to determine just who is the best Wrestlemania performer ever, and what better place to do it than the home state of both of these men?
World Tag Team Title Match: Simply Priceless (c) vs. Finlay and Hornswoggle
Simply Priceless need to have an extended run with the tag titles, no questions asked. I can't think of too many people on RAW that they should feud with, so I'll go with the logical choice of ECW's top tag-team. Ohh and seeing Rhodes or Dibiase beat up a midget on such a grand stage would help get them to be mega-heels in no time.
ECW Title Match: Matt Hardy (c) vs. Chris Jericho
Sadly, I don't see Jericho's World Title reign lasting until Wrestlemania. I wouldn't be too surprised if he ends up dropping it at or around Survivor Series/Armaggedon to someone to be named later on in the post. Hardy's reign on the other hand, should last a while. He has plenty of matches left with The Miz, John Morrison, and hell, even Jack Swagger or Mike Knox if need be. This feud can be set up pretty easily, since Jericho can decide to pursue the ECW title (with the talent exchange agreement and all) in order to cement his claim as the greatest of all time. Plus, this match would be simply amazing if given enough time. Hardy would need to retain though, to set up a huge moment later on in the evening.
(P.S. Check back to last year's prediction, and note who I had as the ECW Champion then....)
Mega Tag-Team Showdown: Rey Mysterio & Mr. Kennedy vs. Big Show & Floyd "Money" Mayweather
I bet you forgot about Mayweather didn't you? Well after Wrestlemania XXIV, there was a lot of talk about him coming back again later for a one time deal, and this seems like the perfect chance! The original plan for him last year was a match involving Mysterio, but Rey's injury prevented that one. I think that it would be great for him to be invited as a "Special Guest" of Rey's only to end up turning on him and joining Vickie and the Big Show (since the man just plays such a natural heel), and Show can say that he is proud to team up with "the one man to have kept me down" or something of that sort. I added Kennedy to the mix since I needed someone in there, and his anti-authority nature, and solid mic skills make him a natural addition to this match. He could easily be substituted for MVP or R-truth if need be.
One Last Match: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Triple H
I think that Austin's return to competition for Wrestlemania is in the cards, as rumours have been circulating that there are plans to give him a Ric Flair style retirment this year. Triple H would be a pretty logical opponent as they do have a long history together, it would be a good match, and H would be able to work safe with Austin (like he did with Michaels in 2002). I think that the dynamics would work best with Triple H as a heel, as opposed to a face-face match that Flair-Michaels ended up being. It would be extra great if Austin ends up (inadvertently) costing Triple H his title around the Rumble to set up this match.
Divas Tag Team: Beth Phoenix & Natalya vs. Kelly Kelly & Gail Kim
Yup, it's that time for some throw away divas match, and this was the best option I could come up with. Kelly Kelly is rumoured to be the next one to pose for Playboy, so she logically needs to be involved (see Maria, Ashley, and Christi for proof of that one), and Gail Kim is supposed to be signing with the WWE soon, and I think that she would be needed on the Smackdown side of things. I think that Natalya will be the Divas Champion by Wrestlemania, so it seems logical to have the two heel champions team up. This could even be made into a "Winner Take All" style match where both titles are on the line.
World Title Match: Batista (c) vs. Randy Orton vs. John Cena
I know, I feel dirty having one of the Main Events be a Triple Threat for the second year in a row, but this is too huge of an opportunity to miss out on. Batista seems likely to win the title from Jericho soon enough, and he already has built in history with both Orton and Cena (who are both currently injured) and the two of them have a long history with one another. They could easily paly this match up as a "Who Will Carry the WWE for the Next Generation?" since they all have huge claims to be the best. You know, Orton won the title first, Cena held the title the longest, and Batista has the most reigns (counting the one that I am giving him here).
What could possibly top that? Easy....
WWE Title Match: Edge (c) vs. Jeff Hardy
I almost had the WWE Title Match as a Triple Threat involving Triple H, and had Orton as an opponent for Austin, but in the end I like the dynamic of this one much better.
And yes, I know these two have had several matches over their careers, but never a big one-on-one in a major setting. They have been playing up how close Hardy has been for months now, and it seems like it is building for him to take the title at Wrestlemania. Add to the fact that it's against a LONG time rival, and you've got a ready made story. Of course, the show should end with Jeff winning the title, only to celebrate with Matt at the end of the show as streamers fall down and both men hug with their titles. Yes, I know that it's been done before, but that was a moment that the WWE should want us all to forget, given the participants.
So that's how I see this years big show taking place, my apologies to Hurrican Helms, Umaga, Mark Henry, Vladmir Kozlov, Cryme Tyme and the Colons who all probably deserve a spot on the card. Not sure if I'm reaching too far on some of these, but I guess we shall have to wait and see.
Until next time,