Off Topic

Stocking Stuffer

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Off Topic | 7 Comments
In "A Great Game" you'll learn how hockey prospered, despite Wilfrid Laurier's stifling taxes.

In “A Great Game” you’ll learn how hockey prospered, despite Wilfrid Laurier’s stifling taxes.

For those taking bets on whether we’d see Harper’s long talked about hockey book before or after his 2011 election promises see the light of day, wonder no more. Harper’s hockey book, titled “A Great Game: The Forgotten Leafs & The Rise of Professional Hockey” goes on sale November 5th.

Expect the attack ads against “Hockey: A People’s History” to start any day now…

Calgary Under Water

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Off Topic | 4 Comments

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My thoughts are with Calgary today in what is, by far, the worst flood to strike the City I can ever remember. Anyone in town should avoid the downtown and other affected areas. Information on evacuation zones and road closures can be found here.

STORM DAMAGE 20110805

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Spring Cleaning

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A few random off-topic links I’ve meaning to post for a while, but didn’t get around to until now…the perfect way to end an Easter weekend since, quite frankly, who wants to talk politics?

1. This walk score site is pretty neat – just type in an address and it tells you how walking-friendly the place is (based on proximity to stores, restaurants, etc).

It turns out 24 Sussex isn’t the best place to live if you don’t have a chauffeur…it scores a lowly 29 out of 100. However, before the Harpers consider a move, the alternative isn’t any better.

2. The off-kilter F-U Penguin blog is quite a riot. “A blog where I tell cute animals what’s what” (hat tip – CW)

3. Via the Onion, Obama Depressed, Distant Since ‘Battlestar Galactica‘ Series Finale. As for my thoughts, the finale was beautifully executed and provided closure – an “A” episode right up to the discovery of old earth. However, I had a major problem with the take-home message which was, in effect, that it was better to wipe the slate clean and to commit civilizational suicide. To me, that said they could not learn from what they’d been through and added an element of pointlessness to the entire struggle – as a society, they just gave up…at a time when giving up was irrational.

4. James Bow has a lengthy treatise on partisanship up on his blog that’s well worth a read. I know it’s a bit cliche to bemoan partisanship in the political system, but maybe we would be better off if we all toned down a bit.

Being blindly partisan is fun when it comes to something like cheering for a hockey team because the whole concept is illogical and trivial in the first place, so why not go all in (yes, the referee is always biased against the team I’m cheering for)? But government and governance matter. So while there’s clearly a place for partisanship in our system (it gets people to run, vote, and pay attention), I think we’d be better off if the partisanship we saw wasn’t quite so dogmatic. Parties are institutions and politicians are people – institutions and people have flaws. Maybe, just maybe, one party isn’t always right and the other one isn’t always wrong.

5. Speaking of which – hockey predictions! Yes, yes, I know this isn’t off-topic since the politicians will certainly find a way to climb over the boards, but regardless, here goes: Boston, Washington, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Anaheim, Detroit, Vancouver, and Chicago all advance. Canucks over Devils in the final.

Fun Fridays

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As a new end of the week feature on this blog, I present the first edition of “fun Fridays”. A pot pourri of off-topic odds and ends.

1. Signs the human race is too stupid to live, courtesy of James Bow.

2. I’ve really been digging the freakonomics blog of late. Some interesting posts include a study on a placebo price effect and an interesting spin on helping people quit smoking.

3. The final season of BSG starts April 4th.

4. Must be spring – the Leafs are out.

Bag ‘O Links

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-Lots of Afghanistan news. The Liberal motion to set February 2009 as the withdrawal date will be voted down tonight thanks to the NDP even though 2/3 of Canadians agree with it. Gordon O’Connor, meanwhile, is in trouble for the treatment of prisoners, and Dion has some egg on his face for an odd proposal.

-After going 7 for 8 in first round predictions, I’ll go with the Ducks, Sharks, Sabers and…I dunno…let’s say Sens.

-Looks like the Clean Air Act is dead, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of the opposition parties bring the amended version back on an opposition day.

-The sexy centrists are no more…it’ll be Royal versus Sarkozy in the French election run-off.

Random News Clips

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1) Harper has finally delivered on the disappearing fifth priority, a wait times guarantee. Huzzah! Well, that is, he’s made sure provinces will guarantee one procedure. Yes, O-N-E. I’m not a doctor but I figure there can’t be more than, what, 3 or 4 known medical procedures out there so this is clearly a monumental step forward.

2) The Macleans 50 have waded into the never ending PR debate. I say this only because I know poli-sci geek types enjoy debating this sort of thing and I suspect that that demographic makes up a large percentage of my readership.

3) Bharat Agnihotri was tossed from the Alberta legislature yesterday.


4) Lucienne Robillard, one of the most low key Cabmins over the past decade, has announced her retirement. This certainly is shaping up to be a “changing of the guard” election for the Liberal caucus, win or lose.

5) My Edmonton residency may limit the Calgary content of this blog so to try and fix this imbalance, I present the national anthems from last night’s Flames game. This is in the same league as Roseanne Barr. Oh, and while we’re talking about music videos on YouTube, this is the greatest remix parody ever.

6) Since today seems a little news-lite, I’ll simply add, on a completely off topic note, that Arrested Development rocked, and that anyone who enjoys quality television should pick up the DVDs. Oh, and while I’m off topic, let me say that I loathe people who take the elevator down one floor when there are stairs right next to it. Just thought I’d mention that.

I do have more hair…

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Humour, Off Topic | Leave a comment

Jason Bo Green has a funny round-up of “who’s who’s” in the blogosphere.

Most disturbing visual image? Garth Turner as catwoman.

Night at the Oscars

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Humour, Off Topic | Leave a comment

While politics are always in play at the Academy Awards, it seems political movies are usually confined to the documentary category. So I thought I’d take a moment to honour some of the best political movies from the past year.

Conspiracy Theory: Do the Liberals disapprove of anti-terror legislation because of a fear civil liberties will be trampled upon? Not according to the maverick protagonist of this suspense thriller who believes Liberals oppose the renewal because the father in law of one of their MPs has been called as a witness to the Air India investigation. What information does this witness have that the Liberals so desperately want to keep hidden? Does he know of a massive government fluoridation scheme which has been used to control the minds of Canadians during the “dark decade”? Is Herb Grey really an alien? Stephen Harper is determined to find out.

Sleepless in Budapest: A dashing candidate lives through many sleepless nights during his Hungarian vacation, leading to an on-again/off-again love affair with the Canadian media. You’ll laugh along during this film which begins as adventure, turns into comedy, and ends in tragedy.

Failure to Launch: The story of Jim Dinning’s leadership bid.

The Comedian: Several politicians try their hand at stand-up comedy, to varying degrees of success. Chuckle as Peter McKay and Ralph Klein toss out their best Belinda Stronach jokes. Cringe as John Kerry accidentally implies soldiers are stupid and Stephane Dion calls Stephen Harper fat. You may not find all these jokes funny but we all know Colin Mayes will.

Four Endorsements and a Funeral: A young and charismatic MP arrives in Ottawa and vows to make an impact. Over the course of four years, he endorses Jim Prentice, the CPC merger, Bob Rae, and Michael Ignatieff. As for the funeral? His political career.

The DaVinci Code: Lester B. Pearson’s Nobel prize is missing. Can the code be cracked to find it? Does the Liberal mole know the secret?

Stranger than Fiction: 18 individuals in the Stephen Harper Cabinet find out that they are not really living their own lives; everything they say or do is being narrated to them by Stephen Harper.

The Grudge 2: Separatists and westerners revisit their hatred of the Trudeau name when Justin announces his candidacy.

Thank You for Smoking: This critically acclaimed movie takes a behind the scenes look at Barack Obama’s Presidential bid.

Mission Impossible III: Stephen Harper replaces Paul Martin in the lead role as the Prime Minister searching for an elusive majority government. Floor crossers, flip-flops, Quebec as a nation – nothing is over the line as Harper tries to get to the magical 155 seat total.

The Devil Wears Prada: This film marks the debut of young director Peter MacKay, in a screenplay he wrote about his ex-girlfriend.

Snake on a Plane: In this action adventure, Ralph Klein jets around the province of Alberta on the taxpayer’s dime.

An Inconvenient Truth: This glorified Stephen Harper power point presentation demonstrates how there is no way Canada can possibly meet its Kyoto targets.

V for Volpe: Last summer’s blockbuster hit was described by the Frog Lady as follows:

Mocked by the media…
Reviled by his party…
Abandoned by his campaign manager…

The only verdict is vengeance. Vengeance against the vomitorium of the vapidly virtuous. Vengeance against the vandals who vex the vacillations of a vagarious and vacant veteran.

The time has come for a vicious vendetta against the vox populi and the vociferating vilifiers of vice.

The time has come for V for Volpe!

Face Off

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One of the good things about blogs, is that you don’t always have to be serious and can descend into what I like to call “Jane Taber journalism” every now and then when the mood strikes. Today is one of those days.

I’m sure a lot of you are already aware of the growing popularity of everyone’s favourite stalking aid, facebook. A growing trend seems to be for politicians (or, more appropriately, 16 year old interns pretending to be their bosses) creating profiles on facebook. Because of this, people can become “friends” with the politicians, send them notes, etc.

So, purely because I’m bored, I was curious to see which politicians have the most friends. Given that Stephen Harper and Stephane Dion both strike me as the anti-social type, it must be a surprise to both of them to see just how popular they really are:

Stephen Harper: 511 friends
Stephane Dion: 1086 friends

So, while he may not be polling as well, when it comes to virtual friends who have never met him, Stephane is way more popular than Steve. Ohh…and least surprising of all:

Jack Layton: 8 friends

Geez Jack – I know getting results for people takes a lot of time, but save a bit for your friends too.

Other notables:

Kevin Taft: 170 friends
Ed Stelmach: No profiles, but 29 people in the “Ed Stelmach fan club”
Michael Ignatieff: 1583 friends (obviously not enough of them were delegates)
Peter MacKay: No profile, but 7 members in the Peter MacKay fan club.
Dalton McGuinty: 17 members in the “Dalton McGuinty is handsome” club.
Hillary Clinton: No profile but over 500 groups devoted to her, including “Don’t let a woman become President…especially Hillary Clinton” and “Don’t support Hillary Clinton, support Chris Dodd“.

Other fun groups:

“The Paul Wells Appreciation Society” [39 members]
“The Andrew Coyne Fan Club” [119 members]
“I miss making fun of Jean Chretien” [78 members]
Two groups called “Stephen Harper eats babies”
“Stephen Harper needs a stylist” [26 members]
“Stephen Harper is a cylon” [23 members]
“Jack Layton lives on my street” [1 member]

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