Friday, October 27, 2006

Literally Clueless

adj. - true to fact; not exaggerated; actual or factual.
- being actually such, without exaggeration or inaccuracy.

I'm a fan of words. From the early days of University Hill Elementary School, with the daily back-and-forth book for my mother to sign, I've enjoyed reading and writing. A current English prof of mine gave us a term project of a wordbook. We have a lot of readings to do and from these readings we are to choose seven words; they can either be unusual or common. For each word, we are to write about its sound, its meaning(s), its meaning(s) when looking at the text it is found in, its etymology, its synonyms. We are, according to the prof, to get to know the word, to caress the word... "to make love to the word". I have two words completed and so far I'm, ahem, loving it.

Because of my fondness for words and writing I get rather annoyed when I read, or hear people using, inappropriate words; and when I read typos by professional writers - say, journalists - or when on something that is for students - say, in a school, both elementary and secondary. I had to shake my head when writing the LPI (Language Proficiency Index) in grade twelve and, in the essay question, reading a grammatical error. Now Alanis, that is irony.

Which leads me to the meat of my post. For many years I've been the recipient of a generous Christmas gift: a Sports Illustrated subscription. I've created numerous collages from their superb photographs and saved numerous articles that I felt were worth saving. Most of these are the one-pagers by Rick Reilly and Steve Rushin. Doing the wordbook reminded me of one of the Steve Rushin articles, so I went looking for my SI binder. From the November 5, 2001 issue is the article titled "Literally Clueless"; subtitled "People in sports don't seem to know the meaning of literal from a hole in the ground". He then gives these humorous examples:
  • Coach Rey Reyes, on his volleyball player Angela Miller: "She has literally carried us on her back."
  • Coach David Lewis, on his football player Clement Marie after an open-field tackle: "He just literally lit the kid up."
  • Coach Dick Stockton, on tennis player K.J. Hippensteel: "Hippensteel was literally on fire."
  • Bergen County's The Record, on soccer player Matt Handy after a three goal performance: Handy "literally took the life out of the crusaders". (Rushin: Surely that calls for a red card.)
  • Pitcher Denny McLain, on throwing a baseball for the first time in years: "I literally died."
  • The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, on Arkansas State football players after a big win: "They were literally on cloud nine."
  • The Detroit News, on football player Greg Taplin after he fell for a fake by an opposing QB: Taplin "was literally screwed into the turf".
  • Football player Nick Greisen, on his first appearance for his university team: "My knees were literally chattering."
  • Coach Bob Bray, on his basketball team after a loss: "We didn't take care of the ball, and literally fell apart at the seams."
  • Basketball player Jerry Stackhouse, on his team, the Pistons: "We literally fell apart tonight."
  • The Associated Press, on a Mets-Pirates game: "Both pitchers literally fell apart in the seventh."
  • The Deseret News, on the Utah State volleyball team: "The Aggies literally fell apart in the third game."
  • Coach Hal Chiodo, on his football team: "We've got a ton of injuries. We're literally held together by tape."
  • The Journal Sentinel, on baseball player Paul O'Neill: "O'Neill is literally on his last legs." (Rushin: Then again... aren't we all?)
  • Coach Barbara Stevens, on her basketball team winning in an upset: "I just fell to the floor. I was literally beside myself."
  • A CNN host, on his guest's work: "You have literally scoured the Midwest." (Rushin: Alas, the guest was a newspaper columnist, not the world's hardest-working janitor.)
  • Marketer Jon Albert, on suggestions that he was trying to exploit the 9/11 tragedy: "I literally was shocked." (Rushin: I pictured angry Ford executives attaching electrodes to his genitals.)
  • The Riverside (Calif.) Press-Enterprise, on a struggling 42-year-old pro golfer: "Steve Haskins has literally seen it all."
  • An energy-efficiency expert on TV's Canada AM, on weather stripping: "It pays for itself, literally." (Rushin: My favorite use of literally... I happily imagined a tube of caulk hopping off the shelf in a hardware store and sauntering toward checkout, a credit card at the ready. For reasons I can't explain, the caulk was whistling.)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Spirit Bears in Vancouver

I've read and heard quite a bit about the Spirit Bears that were placed in various locales around Vancouver, most recently in this week's WestEnder, and the vast majority of what I've read and heard, including this week's WestEnder, has been of a negative towards the bears, with some also including the earlier Orcas in their negativity.
For me, the Bears have been a very positive addition to the cityscape. Some of the attack has been based on the fact that Spirit Bears are hardly something that Vancouver is known for. No, but Spirit Bears live in the rain forests of British Columbia, Canada. And Vancouver is a city in British Columbia, Canada, right?

And what exactly is it that Vancouver is known for that we can base public art on? A mountain on the corner of Granville and Georgia would look pretty silly. Hmmm, maybe twenty-foot replicas of glass buildings clustered along one stretch of the Stanley Park seawall would be lauded by Vancouverites.

The bears are gone, auctioned off for charity, and apparently there is already another theme chosen for the next invasion. After Orcas and Bears, any guesses what the next one will be? I'll start the guessing: Salmon.

Addendum: I bought the new Hip CD yesterday. Couldn't help it. I was in the neighborhood of a Best Buy and had a poker-won Best Buy giftcard weighing down my wallet. The $10 on the giftcard didn't cover much of the cost of any flatscreens for sale, but the Hip CD was pretty much paid for. Thanks Jeff! As Gord sings, "you kissed my fingers and made me love you", you know who I'm thinking of..

Sunday, October 22, 2006


"...Kurt Cobain, reincarnated, sighs and licks his face,
then they drift past strips of Serengeti..."

Click this link for a Serengeti webcam. At approx. 9:30pm Vancouver-time you can witness an exquisite sunrise. Tip: refresh the page every minute or two.

The quote is from a Tragically Hip song. I've been on a Hip kick lately, probably because they have a new CD out this week. At first, listening to the songs on their website, I wasn't blown away. I wasn't sure I'd buy it, which is weird as I own all of their CDs and both of Gord Downie's solo CDs, almost always buying them on release day. However, after listening to the songs over and over, having the words and images sink in, methinks I will in fact be buying it, or at least requesting it for Christmas.

If anyone feels like giving me a ticket or two to any one of the Hip's upcoming Commodore shows, I won't say no. And, I'll be your best friend. BFF.

What I am looking very forward to is the October 31st release of Pretty Little Head by Nellie McKay. It is long overdue.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Blog Show

This is the second part of a two-part series that began with Blog on Tape. Click pic to enlarge pic. This edition of the series has a perk for you: print the enlarged pic out and give it to me in person and you will receive an on-the-spot prize. As well, you will be entered into the grand prize draw. The grand prize draw will happen on May 5th 2007, giving you over six months from the date of this post to give me the ticket in person. One entry per person.
Good luck!

Added later that same day:

I've been asked - no I haven't - if readers can mail in their entries. Yes, but I am not putting my address on my blog, so you must either 1) already have my mailing address, or 2) already have my email address, so you can email me asking for my address and I can email you back with my address. Also, mailed in entries are not eligible for an on-the-spot prize, which may or may not be better/cooler/shinier/groovier than the grand prize.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Praise for The Lady with the Dog

From "From Anton Chekhov: The Lady with the Little Dog" by Vladimir Nabokov:

All the traditional rules of story telling have been broken in this wonderful short story of twenty pages or so. There is no problem, no regular climax, no point at the end. And it is one of the greatest stories ever written.

High praise, and it recalls the idea that "rules are made to be broken". Similarly, there is Dave Matthews and his beautiful song Dodo, in which he asks, "why would you play by the rules?" I suppose there are two types of people in life: rule-followers and rule-breakers. It seems to me that it's almost a necessity to be a rule-breaker in order to make a lasting, positive impression in art.

I find that I am usually a rule-follower, but there are times when I become a rule-breaker, such as when a rule is unjust or outdated or simply makes no sense. I think I need to be more of a rebel more of the time.

What about you? Are you a rule-follower? Rule-breaker?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

We Are The Next Us

I was surfing the net yesterday, stumbled across a website, and spent waaaaaay too much time browsing all of its content. Actually that's a misleading statement; I still have to browse the exhibit hall and some of the reference shop. The site is - A Museum After Dark: The Myth and Mystery of The Tragically Hip. It has oodles of information for almost every single Hip song, released and unreleased alike. I found a gem I had to share. It's called We Are The Next Us. According to the hipmuseum, Gord Downie read part of this poem during the band's April 3, 2005 induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Shortly afterwards, a full length version appeared on the band's website. The poem was set to the music of "Swamp Jam": an unreleased Day For Night number.

I suggest reading along as you listen to it, so right-click this link, choose Open in New Window, and keep reading for the lyrics...

We Are The Next Us
(The time occupied by the action is an afternoon and one night.)

I don’t know who comes up with this shit
but, I wish they’d stop saying;
‘it’s not the band I hate, it’s their fans’

You can’t hate “fans”.
You must narrow your hate
You can’t hate huge, hate sprawling, hate the wild,
unfocussed hate hates itself,
pick your victims. specialize
find the good n’ unaffiliated, the heir-not apparent, the everyday outcast,
the weirdo with the heart of gold, infiltrate the hoser elite.
Find the ribs-showingest rock n roll stray dog
That ever pushed melodious air
howling against vivisection in the uncompartmentalizeable
and, then hate

or go to a show - look down your row.
the lights are on - find people you know.
There’s AnthemSinger standing with his arm
around DarklyNurturedDream.
and Ol’Quintessential listening to HigherThanACBCGuest say;
“I haven’t read them, but I understand them.”
And there’s BrainOfAToaster (he knows when things are done)
next to that girl, CradlingHerKeyCard, whispering,
“this might be my last show, come.”
Check it out! There’s HoldStill and Gently - together again for the very first time.
and MyDoctrineHasFailedMeButMyMusicHasn’t
next to ColderValues, next to FeaturelessButFree.
Hey, even TheEmperorHasNoHook is here and IDon’tWannaTalkAboutItHowYouBrokeMyHeart, she’s here too.

Go to a show. Look down your row
While the lights are on
find people you know:
MindOfFame’s yelling
to GoesWithoutSaying and
OverTheRadar points out
WinWinWin to

Go to a show.
Music Lovers under a full moon in trust
It’s not the band you like it’s their sea of hate you don’t trust
you’re in the right place

Author a killing.
employ carelessness, greed
wait til the hate’s flowing
then hate like the wind
take hate’s hate and do it better
make hate retire - go soft
catch bats til you feel better
try and catch them aloft

don’t hate fans it makes ya sound like a fuckin fascist, or worse -undiscerning.
No one likes indiscriminate.
you won’t get laid with those politics

that said. Lets go backstage! See what’s hateable there.



The band is preparing - lost in thought,
relearning, “How To Get Lost” and
“Where To Appear, Where to Never Appear”
hoping to return to the birthplace of the word
where winning sentences hang from trees
where no one is too cool to move
or too slow to get out of their own way.

The crew is moving on water
Tributarily spring-run-off fed rapids they’re paddling
deliberately, quietly, fur-traders not missionaries
they run God’s Instrument through the Devil’s Amp for chrissakes
they bring the Peace If Peace
is any good at all
it’s because of them,
and if it isn’t, well, it was working before.

a shadowy figure stands alone with a notebook
writes then underlines;
‘Glowing Disses’
- I fucked Paul McCartney
- Put teen ennui back in ‘tsunami fatigue’
- Penned Relentlessly Apt…
- Forgot DarklyNurturedDream

deep in conversation,
It’s Picasso (Canadian) and Matisse (Canadian)
- ‘Giving is where the pleasure is in this business.’
- ‘That’s when can you see what this business can do’
- ‘When everyone in this business is together- whoa - I’d like to be you’
they organize relief in a heartbeat
they can stand in a canoe
lets move UN to the Halifax, let's move Superior to the moon.

Hey there’s Andrea, the dancer
and a poet named Ken.
Their nametags say, ‘Muse’
they are Somebody’s Someone Somewhere then
waving to the Canadian Arc
they’re gonna do something
together one day
A thing about a country that
found itself in its
art found its way

It’s getting time - it’s getting close (go to your seats)
a part in the night where’s the love of my life?
kiss me, ‘thank you for this’
kiss me ‘I won’t be myself without you’
kiss me, It’s time, to reach you the way you reach me
it’s time.

Out in the emptying lobby, a lonely Waterkeeper is late setting up his booth.
A kid, who is interested, says, ‘here, let me help you.’

Here’s an explosion
an explosion inside
the just before music sound (the sound of just before music)
kindnesses, sweetnesses shoot up
and shower back down
The listeners have spoken, and it’s,


We all have our moments
get the success we deserve
We must look at each other
(it’s failure that takes nerve)
make eye contact, shake hands
silently vow;
Like the greats before us
let us cry into the curtains
and then go on stage

The band’s plugging in (they intend to stay)
The singer strides to the microphone
Yells (rock voice) ‘Thank you!’ as if to say
‘For giving us our start!’
and ‘This one’s for Neil!’
and ‘Have a great Augusta, Craig!’
And then we start

It’s revealed

now you can hate

Saturday, October 14, 2006

$155,133 - Why?

Leading up to the Canucks' home-opener yesterday, there was talk about the 50/50 draw. Media were hyping the fact that because unclaimed prizes from last season would be added to the draw for this season's home opener, the jackpot would be around $100,000.

Now I am fairly familiar with the goings-on at the 50/50. For those that don't know, half the money raised selling tickets at each game goes to the person who bought the winning ticket. The other half goes to charity, namely Canuck Place Children's Hospice. It's not uncommon for prizes not to be claimed by the end of the game. Winners had a one-year time limit to claim their prizes. If unclaimed after a year, the money would go to Canuck Place.

So now, this extra money that was given away last night, boosting the draw to a huge $155,133 - why didn't it go to Canuck Place? Surely it would be far better, as used to be the case, for all the extra money to go to Canuck Place, a hospice for terminally ill children. I would think that the children and families associated with Canuck Place would benefit more than the people who can afford to go to the Canucks games.

Why the change, 50/50 brass?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Parked Car Crash

I've been meaning to do a cool interactive post, but recent events take precedence in the blogging realm.

They say that when you have a night of little sleep, or no sleep at all, that it's not the subsequent day that you feel it, it's the day after. For example, you didn't sleep much on Sunday night? Well, Monday you'll be alright, but Tuesday you'll feel as though someone has cleaned your clock. I can vouch for that several times since first hearing this rumor, and it's definitely the case for Biscotti and I today. After a very late Sunday night bedtime, we were high energy yesterday, even walking from one block west of Knight street to one block east of Dunbar street for Thanksgiving dinner at my parents' place. Today though, we've both been très sluggish.

Why the late bedtime on Sunday, you ask?

And the story begins...

Biscotti and I arrived home after Thanksgiving dinner at her parents' place, feeling tired as we watched Amazing Race on tape. After seeing Biscotti's team get eliminated - d'oh! - I went downstairs to feed my bad habit of yahoo hockey pooling, and some time passed. Twas now past midnight. From above me there arose such a clatter, I thought about seeing what was the matter. A second or two later and Biscotti was yelling for me. As I ascended the stairs I heard the door chime, telling me the front door was opening. I wondered, is someone trying to break in? I looked out the front window to see Biscotti, in pj's and socks, standing on the road behind a car that was bunny hopping away. I opened the door and Biscotti yelled a license plate number. Then she yelled it again. And again and again, until we found pen and paper to write it down on. As I got the phone and started dialling 911, Biscotti got me up to speed.

Biscotti had just turned off the TV and stood up when she heard the crash coming from outside. Looking outside immediately, she saw a car a few feet in front of our parked car, but perpendicular to it, and up on the sidewalk. Thinking they hit a neighbor's pillar, and worried someone was hurt, she had called for me and gone out to help. Before she could get there the car had reversed back onto the road and began driving away haphazardly. That was when Biscotti saw the damage to the back of our car and got the license number. I told the 911 operator all we knew, which is everything I have said to this point, plus our location and direction the car was heading as it left the scene. She asked for car color, but all we saw in the darkness was that it was a dark color. She asked how many people in the car, we didn't know. Visible front damage? Yes. Info has been sent to all police cars, they are now on it.

After hanging up, we went out to inspect our car. In addition to much damage on the back left (broken light, split tire, several scrapes), the front right had been slammed into the curb, causing the tire to buckle under itself. Inspecting the skid marks to where the other car had jumped the curb, we found a big piece of the offending car. Turns out the car was dark blue.

I was on the phone with ICBC twenty minutes later when the police knocked on our front door, telling us they got the car and driver. We have since learned that our neighbor was getting out of his car in the alley when he heard Biscotti yelling. Not knowing what had happened, but realizing it was big, he ran to the front, saw the car driving away, and gave chase, simultaneously calling 911. A block later the car lost a tire, and another block later the car gave out. At this point the police showed up. The driver got out, looking confused and very drunk. We were told that ours wasn't the first parked car they hit. There was at least one more before us on our block, and who knows how many before that.

The police towed our car that night so they could take pictures of it. It will then be towed to Buster's until it's time for it to be taken to ICBC in time for our appointment on Friday.

With statements and all, everything took a while to settle down, at which point we were now wide awake. The dogs were also awake, and excited from all the commotion. Knowing we coudn't sleep, we watched our wedding DVDs for the first time (very entertaining!), before heading to bed and dreamsville at a few minutes past 5am.

I could easily go to sleep right now, but I gotta watch
Rescue Me. Stay tuned for that cool interactive post.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

...But Someone's Got To Do It

Yesterday I picked up half a dozen piles of dog crap, cleaned up a couple of piles of cat puke, and changed one dirrrrty diaper. Twelve days of Christmas this ain't. Now if you'll excuse me, my nose and watering eyes tell me that the kitty litter is overdue for a changing. And then the dogs need feeding (ours plus a guest), followed by more crap duty. Later another dirrrrty diaper change.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


We have a video of Maui that we would like to send to America's Funniest Home Videos. After reading the Official Contest Rules, I am unsure how to submit it. Read the following, taken from the above link, and know that the clip is on one of our digital camera's memory sticks:


4. All home video formats are acceptable (VHS, 8MM, Hi-8, digital video). Home videos shot for commercial purposes are not eligible for any prizes. Home videos transferred to DVD or CD-ROM will be accepted provided they meet eligibility and broadcast requirement. 8MM film transferred to videotape is also accepted. Digital chips will not be accepted.

7. Videos must be exclusive to Cara Communications Corporation, d/b/a Vin Di Bona Productions and American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Now, how do we get our video to them? It sounds like we transfer the video from the memory stick to our computer, then burn it onto a DVD, then mail it in. Is that right? We'd really like to win the moola! I included rule 7 as well, to tell you that I have not put the video up on Google Video yet, as it seems that that would make it ineligible.

Andy Kaufman Mighty Mouse Theme