Sunday, December 31, 2006

UFC 66: Liddell Wins, Griffin Loses

The night started off well...

At first, all of my choices were winning.

Michael Bisping beat Eric Schafer - This was a first round TKO. I was a little worried about Bisping because he seemed overly excited to be back in the UFC octagon, but he settled down and proved why he ought to be one of the best in the division sooner rather than later.

Andrei Arlovski beat Marcio Cruz - This featured a rather comical ending which highlighted why John McCarthy should referee every fight ('cause the other refs stink). After cautioning Arlovski for a kick to the head of a downed fighter and urging both fighters back to their feet, referee Herb Dean let Cruz talk him out of it. Cruz begged off, claiming he preferred staying on the ground. Dean seemed confused but then called for the fight to resume, at which time Arlovski promptly delivered a brutal punch to the jaw which essentially ended the fight.

Jason MacDonald beat Chris Leben - The Canadian proved his last victory wasn't a fluke by taking out the rather whiny Leben with a sick guillotine choke. This guy looks good, though he has a tendency to drop his head - not a good idea when you're main advantage is your height. He's definitely on the rise in the UFC.

And in the main event, Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell TKO'd Tito Ortiz in the third round. I was actually pretty surprised the fight wasn't stopped in the first when Liddell dropped Ortiz and pounded him until the bell. Although Ortiz claimed after the fight that he brought his A-game, I didn't see it. It looked as though he was taken off his game in the first round and was tentative thereafter. Chuck looked pretty solid despite a slip that led to Ortiz's only momentum swing. Somebody has yet to take this guy down with any consistency. He clearly has the most feared hands in the UFC.

But my night was ruined by the penultimate fight: Forrest Griffin vs. Keith Jardine. Both of these guys were likeable characters from the reality series, but I was against this fight from the get go (see the comments). This was a no-win situation for Griffin. On paper, these guys weren't in the same class. Griffin was in the title hunt while Jardine was still getting his feet wet and coming off a loss to Stephan Bonnar - a fighter Griffin had beaten twice. Griffin had nothing to gain from this fight and everything to lose. Anything can happen in the UFC and tonight it did - Griffin lost. He seemed to be doing well in the first round despite a takedown. He seemed to be cool, calm and collected while Jardine was getting gassed. But when Jardine caught Griffin with a right uppercut and left cross, fans witnessed Griffin getting rocked for the first time in his UFC career. A few punches later, it was over, mere seconds from the end of the first round.

Griffin was visibly distraught and understandably disappointed. I didn't quite catch his brief comments after the fight, but he admitted to being "knocked the f**k out" before quickly leaving the ring. This was very uncharacteristic of Griffin and may affect his previously immense popularity (I'm still not sure how I feel about it). Instead of being on the verge of a title shot, he's now at least a year and a couple of solid fights away from being back in the hunt.

Like I said, he had nothing to gain and everything to lose - and tonight he lost everything. It's hard to say what will be more devastating: losing the fight or losing his composure afterwards.

Ruined my night.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Boxing Week Bust

So I popped out to some stores to see what was going on with the sales.

Am I the only one who was disappointed? I mean, usually there's some pretty good stuff out there for cheap, but this year? Not so much.

I picked up Friday Night Lights at Future Shop for $4.99. That was pretty sweet since I haven't seen it and I've heard great things. I passed on Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Really don't need to see it again.

HMV usually has a ton of stuff on sale at the end of the year, but, again, I was disappointed. It was all either crap or stuff I'd seen or "full screen" versions of flicks I would have bought. Why do they even bother making full screen version? Who wants 2/3 of a movie?

Unfortunately, I don't have a good excuse to buy some serious electronics - which seems to be the big draw on Boxing Week. I gotta get myself a permanent place. Then I'm gonna go nuts.

But watch out for those "factory refurbished" items, folks!

Why doesn't it just say "previously messed up" or "once broken" or how about "recently returned"?

Next year...

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas with Caleb


Ain't he cute?

I'm talking about my nephew, of course.

...But, come to think of it, I'm pretty cute, too, don't ya think?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Vancouver Vacation

I'm taking a bit of a break from the blogosphere these days; I'm a little busy visiting with my new nephew.

He's adorable by the way, and pictures will follow. I'm a regular Japanese tourist around him!

But, man, I swear the little guy's a sleeping, crying, feeding, pooping machine.

So for the next little while you won't be hearing me complain about the Leafs who have an only passable goaltender in Andrew Raycroft (while J.S. Aubin sits on the bench) and a weak defence corps made worse with the off-season addition of Hal Gill, nor about George W. Bush's plan to increase the size of the army in Iraq (while those who are there on outrageously extended tours are literally dying to get home).

Nope, this week I'm taking it easy.

Oops! I hear Caleb crying. Gotta go hold him for a bit.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Wikipedia - So Great Yet So Flawed

I was having a little debate with a friend of mine over the whole Cindy Klassen winning the Lou Marsh Trophy, when I happened upon Wikipedia during a Google search for some NBA info.

I was stunned to come across this:

"The National Basketball Association originated in 1946 with 11 teams, and through a sequence of team expansions, reductions, and relocations currently consists of 30 teams, 29 of which are based in the United States and 1 in Canada. The Boston Celtics are the most successful franchise with 16 NBA Finals wins. The next most successful franchise is the Los Angeles Lakers, who hold 14 championships. Following the Lakers are the Chicago Bulls with 6 championships, all of them won over an 8-year span during the 1990s. The Toronto Raptors, who won their first championship in 2006, are the defending champions.

The current league organization divides the teams into two conferences. Each conference has three divisions, and each division has five teams. The current divisional alignment was introduced in the 2004-05 season."

Ok, who caught that? Everyone, I hope. If you didn't, read it again.

If you still don't get it, well, you clearly don't know anything about the NBA or the Raptors, so you probably won't care.

See, Wikipedia is created and moderated by its users. That's gosh gee-willickers swell, except when the information is completely and utterly wrong.

If the info about the NBA is wrong, imagine what other "little" mistakes can be found in this great resource. (Are you reading this Cory?)

Now keep in mind that there are one or two gullible folks out there who believe what they read on the Net...

See, back in "my day" (many moons ago) you were not allowed to use the internet as a resource for essays. Now it's typically the only cited resource. What changed? The internet is just as unreliable, if not more so with greater user interface. Wikipedia is proof of that.


Am I right or just old?

Old. Got it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Sassafraz Burns!

Seems a fire ripped through famous Yorkville eatery Sassafraz today.

The place is synonymous with the Toronto International Film Festival (arguably the most important film fest in the world). Stars are often seen hanging out inside or on the patio during the September fest.

It remains to be seen if the place will be able to recover for next year.

What we do know is that 29 fire trucks carrying 135 firefighters descended on the scene to fight the blaze.


Holy crap! Is that right? 29 trucks?!

Good luck getting 29 trucks to show up when your kitchen burns.

F***ing stars...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Cindy Klassen Wins Lou Marsh Award

I'm not quite sure how I feel about this...

Every year, it seems, there's a big debate over the Lou Marsh Award, earmarked for Canada's athlete of the year.

The voters have had a tendency in the past of giving the award to amateur or lesser-known athletes instead of the big guns from professional sports. Not since 1993 has it been given to a hockey player in this puck-crazy country (though Gretzky won it four times over his career). Two years ago, it was given to an Olympic kayaker. I bet 99% of Canadians have no idea who that might be. Hell, I bet 98% of Canadians didn't even know kayaking was an Olympic sport.

This year, the voting was expected to be pretty tight. Klassen was sure to be on the ballot with her 5 medals from Turin (one gold), an amazing achievement.

Steve Nash, the relatively diminutive white-bread basketballer from BC won his second consecutive NBA MVP. Wow. For him to win it once is unbelievable - for him to win it in back-to-back seasons? Fuggetaboutit.

Then there's Justin Morneau, baseball's American League MVP from the Minnesota Twins. A Canadian winning MVP? Wow. Unheard of, with the exception of Larry Walker in the National League (and no, he didn't win the Lou Marsh Award that year, either). Morneau had to beat out favourites like Derek Jeter and "Big Papi" David Ortiz for the honour.

So who should win the Lou Marsh? I mean, Klassen was certainly deserving, but let's face it, women's speed skating is "big" in Germany, the Netherlands...Italy (?)...Germany....uh....

Baseball is huge in the US, Japan, Korea, Cuba, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Canada etc etc. But it's dwarfed by the popularity of basketball worldwide (I imagine, though the stats on the popularity of sports are endlessly debated).

So if Steve Nash is the MVP of the dominant league of one of the world's most popular sports, shouldn't he win the Lou Marsh award, even if it is his second time? Ok, ok, so maybe we want to spread the love. Fine. Pansies.

So what about Morneau? The guy has reached the pinnacle of his profession. It's not like he's likely to put up a better season next year to make him "more deserving". Does a baseball MVP always get trumped by a star Olympian from a half-assed sport? (sorry, it really is - you skate in a circle for a specified distance - wicked athletes but not exactly top notch in terms of competition. I bet most male speed skaters are hockey drop-outs.) Is it best to be a big fish in a small pond than a big fish in a big pond?

If you're a Lou Marsh voter, apparently so.

Congrats to Cindy.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I'm Afraid of My Toilet Bowl

Let me explain.

The powers-that-be have decided to replace the toilets in my building. I guess this'll justify them jacking up my rent down the road, but that's beside the point.

These new toilets are...futuristic. They are supposed to be more efficient, I guess. They have a plastic container system within the tank, so I assume it uses less water.


The first time I used this new and improved product, I just about crapped myself - twice.

The thing flushes with the force of a jet engine. I shit you not. And even if I were, this thing would suck it down like a Japanese hot dog eater.

I have nicknamed my toilet The Black Hole.

Think I'm exaggerating? Come on over and see for yourself.

...if you DARE!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

New Favourite Commerical: UFC & VGA

What is it with me and commericals these days? And why are all the best ones on Spike? This one stars Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White sitting on a couch, playing a Mortal Kombat-style video game versus Video Game Awards host Samuel L. Jackson:

Dana: Take that, motherf**ker.

Jackson: You say the word so lame.

Dana: There's nothing wrong with the way I say "motherf**ker".

Jackson: You say it second best.

Dana: You're gonna be second best on December 13th. I got the toughest, baddest fighters in the world ready to roll that night.

Jackson: We got all that and...lasers! (his video game player pulls out a lightsaber)

Dana: (stunned, turns to Jackson) ...You got lasers?

Jackson: YEAH, YOU'RE MOTHERF**KING RIGHT!! (turns to Dana) That's how you say the word "motherf**ker".

Christmas Shopping

So how many people are like me? (Don't bother answering that - no one's like me!)

What I mean is, how many people, like me, go shopping for others and end up buying things for themsleves? This is especially weird considering I can never buy anything when I am shopping for myself...

So I've been Christmas shopping the past couple of days. My Visa bill is gonna hurt.

I'm going to Vancouver, and I realized I only have a small suitcase. See, over the past few years, I've been getting away with borrowing suitcases for my rare travels. But I figure that now that I'm on my own, I should probably be a big boy and get my own.

Me: One gift, Others: No gifts.

A couple of years ago I lost a bunch of coats in a move gone awry. I finally got around to replacing one of the nice winter coats. Hey, it's cold out!

Me: Two gifts, Others: No gifts.

Argh! I can't afford this Christmas shopping! Darn consumer holidays!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Stephane Dion - Liberal Leader

I wasn't sure how I felt about this, but after some consideration, I gotta tell ya, I think the Liberals made a mistake.

The "anyone-but-Ignatieff" campaign got out of hand, I think, and Dion was the beneficiary. Ignatieff had a pretty solid base of suporters, so he wasn't going to get bumped off the ballot until very late. That left the others to fight for who would face him in the final ballot. When Gerrard Kennedy went to Dion, he sealed Bob Rae's fate. Kennedy had a very strong support base, and some 90% of them followed him to Dion. That put Dion over the top and allowed him to force Rae off the ballot. Once that happened, it was only a matter of whether he would beat out Ignatieff on the final ballot. Even then, the final vote was roughly 45% vs 55% - not exactly convincing.

I think Dion owes Kennedy a huge thank you.

But, truth be told, I'm not sure the system worked for the Liberals. When candidates are forced off the ballot, we get to find out who people's second choice is. Problem is, Ignatieff was never forced off, so who knows who Liberals would have chosen had he not been involved?

Let me demonstrate. See, until the last ballot, the votes were always split between several candidates. This doesn't allow you to see who the overall best choice is. Now, if it were more like Heisman Trophy voting (where you vote for your first, second and third choices, each getting points), you might have seen a different outcome.

Put it this way: who would Liberals have chosen head-to-head? Obviously, head-to-head, they would have chosen Dion over Ignatieff. But what if you put Dion head-to-head against Rae? Or Kennedy? We'll never know because while those candidates were on the ballot, a great deal of Liberal delegates were still supporting Ignatieff. We never did get to find out who Ignatieff's supporters' second choice was.

Clear as mud?

But it isn't just the voting system that I think will hurt the Liberals. I hadn't heard Dion talk before Saturday. Although I had heard his name, he wasn't exactly getting a ton of press. This is not a good sign. He wasn't on people's lips. When I did hear the guy talk, I was blown away. How could this guy possibly be a threat? His English is atrocious.

Later in the evening, Jean Chretien addressed the convention. I had been wondering why it was that I objected to Dion's crappy English when Chretien's was similarly impaired (and yet I kinda liked him). Here's the thing: Chretien has personality, and in the immortal words of Samuel Jackson in Pulp Fiction, "personality goes a long way." Chretien is passionate, straightforward, and bold. Dion is none of these things.

Now add the fact that he is unpopular amongst average Quebecers. Now add the fact that the mere fact he is a Quebecer will kill him in the west. So, if this francophone is going to have trouble not only in the west, but in Quebec as well, what the f**k was the point in choosing him?

Did I mention that, of the main candiates, Dion is the only one who can be linked to the sponsorship scandal days? So much for turning the page.

Dion may yet win. But right now, I'd be voting for the Liberals in order to get Harper out, not because Dion is inspiring.

...and if I hear the word "underestimate" one more time...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

It's officially the countdown to Christmas: I put up my Christmas tree today.

Different people have different criteria to determine when they put up their tree. One of my friends has a family tradition of putting up their tree on Grey Cup Sunday (November 19, this year). Another refuses to put hers up until after her birthday (December 8th).

Is there a common rule of thumb for a tree trimming date? I don't think I've heard of one...

I don't think I'm excessively early, though; hell, some folks have had their Christmas lights up since the day after Hallowe'en!

Now to do that whole "shopping" thing...ugh.

Bah humbug.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

This Week Flu By

Managed to catch the flu this week. It's my own damned fault for not getting my flu shot sooner and making out with an Eskimo hooker.

I'm kidding, mom. She wasn't an Eskimo.

Anyhow, not the best way to spend a week. It wasn't paralyzing, but I wasn't in the best of moods and had to miss my weekly male-bonding session at the Pour House. Now I have a lingering cough.



So listen to your uncle Philip, kids: get a flu shot. And stay away from hookers.