Vancouver Riot Act

Posted in Sports with tags , , , , , , , on June 16, 2011 by Jordan

Last night the Vancouver Canucks proved unsuccessful in claiming their first Stanley Cup Championship in their history. However, the city of Vancouver did prove successful in overtaking Montreal as Canada’s most irrational, moronic and childish city.

Almost as soon as the final horn sounded and the Boston Bruins claimed their first Stanley Cup in 39 years, violent and destructive riots broke out in concentrated pockets of Vancouver’s downtown core. Thousands of disappointed and irate Vancouverites (many of whom dawned Canucks jerseys) overturned and set cars ablaze, looted stores, and antagonized hundreds of police officers relentlessly. These events were basically a carbon copy of what happened in 1994 when the Canucks lost game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals to the New York Rangers. That said, the rekindled events of 1994 by the media in the days leading up to last nights game basically set the stage for a Vancouver riot wether the Canucks won or lost game seven.

After sifting through articles, forums and videos that documented the riot and reactions to last night’s events, the overwhelming consensus is that the riots were an embarrassment, a black mark on the city and an inaccurate representation of the city and its people. Many have deflected the blame of the riots to non-Canucks fans and have suggested a handful of anarchists congregated with Canucks supports with the intention of inflicting chaos on the city. To this, I call bullshit! I have seen more than enough video from last night of young men and women wearing Canucks jerseys who are jumping on cars, breaking windows, antagonizing police and looting stores. For people to claim that last night’s destruction was caused by a few “radical visitors” is completely asinine. Any one of the thousands of bystanders in downtown Vancouver holds a significant amount of responsibility for last nights events… almost as much as those who actively participated in the violence and destruction. Rioters gain strength and courage with numbers and to them it doesn’t matter if those numbers are active or not, just that they are present. Under normal circumstances, a small group of men would never have the audacity or courage to throw objects at a group of police officers in riot gear. Given the right number of supporters, the strength and courage of an emotional mob grow to that of the Lion Man at the end of The Wizard of Oz. In my opinion, this is exactly what happened last night… strength by numbers.

It is said that Gretzky, Yzerman, and Crosby all had to learn how to lose before they could know how to win in the NHL. In the last 17 years, Canucks fans have had two opportunities to show their character in defeat and in both cases they acted like a child who was denied a chocolate bar at a grocery store checkout. Last night Canucks fans and the city of Vancouver showed they are not ready for nor deserving of an NHL championship. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before another Canadian city shows the world the warts of their underbelly; but until then, Vancouver holds the unfortunate claim as Canada’s most embarrassing city.

Are the Vancouver Canucks now Canada’s Team?

Posted in Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2011 by Jordan

It’s been 18 years since a Canadian NHL team won the Stanley Cup and I would be willing to wait another 18 if it meant the Vancouver Canucks didn’t win it this year.  Since the Montreal Canadiens won the Cup in 1993, four Canadian teams have made it to the finals and come up short which includes the Canucks in 1994.  On all four occasions, I rallied behind these Canadian teams that were full of character and heart vying to bring the Cup back to Canada.  In the past, the last Canadian team standing in the playoffs has assumed the temporary title of “Canada’s Team” but this years addition of the Canucks is making it difficult for me to adopt them as “My Team”.

The Canucks are an unbelievably skilled and fast team who collectively make a nightly appearance on the highlight reel.  For the most part they do play hard but the element of this years Canucks that makes me unable to jump on their playoff bandwagon is that they react soft.  The character that this team establishes through their physical and aggressive play is nullified every time Ryan Kesler or Alex Burrows dives or flops on the ice after they’ve been touched in a post whistle scrum like they just had their balls ripped off.

As for the rest of the team, there isn’t one player on the Canucks entire roster that seems charismatic or interesting enough to want to sit down and have a beer with. The Canucks are the epitome of Team Nerd.  They are captained by an uninteresting Tony the Tiger look a like and backstopped by what appears to be a bottle of Crisco with a mask on. I’m not sure either the Boston Bruins or Tampa Bay Lightning will be much of a match for the Canucks in the final but I’m ready to put my support behind either one if it means the Canucks don’t win the Cup this year.

Hello my name is…

Posted in History, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2011 by Jordan

When my older sister Jessica was born, my parents appropriately gave her the middle name Marie, which was the same middle name given to my grandmother.  Years later, it was discover that my sisters middle name was inappropriately given because my grandmother realized (after looking at her birth certificate more closely) that her middle name was actually Mary and not Marie. As a result, my sister Jessica Marie is aptly named after no one in particular.

In 1497, the Italian explorer Giovanni Caboto, who was sponsored by England, discovered parts of North America that had not been visited by Europeans since the Norse Vikings in the eleventh century. Although the actual landing sight of Caboto’s voyage is not 100% agreed upon by historians it is certain that he did land somewhere in the Canadian Maritimes.  Caboto’s financial connection to England saw his name anglicized to John Cabot and thus identified in Canadian history books as such.

The National Congress of Italian-Canadians has recently established momentum in their quest to have Cape Breton’s Cabot Trail renamed the Caboto Trail.  This movement seeks to have the anglicized name of the Cabot Trail renamed to reflect the Italian spelling of Cabot’s last name.  Naturally, the addition of an “o” to the end of Cabot has left many Maritimers up in arms and livid over the proposed name change. The arguments against the name change are valid; after all, Cabot is a simple name, a traditional name, and an English name. However, it is contextually and historically inaccurate.

When you think about it, calling the trail “Cabot” after Giovanni Caboto is the equivalent of calling Montreal’s airport the Peter Elliot Trudeau International Airport because the english pronunciation of Pierre is preferred.  Or, like CBC calling David Suzuki’s show The Nature of Things with David Smith because they felt entitled to give Suzuki an english last name because they pay the bills for his show. It’s ridiculous to think that either of these scenarios would be accepted by the public today, so why is it that this same public is so resistant to changing the name of a highway from Cabot to Caboto even though it is both logical and accurate?

It’s high time peoples’ names are represented accurately and accordingly.  When a baby is born, the only thing they own is their name; consequently, that name should be cherished and respected. There is nothing quite as aggravating as being called by the wrong name or having your named mispronounced. Giovanni Caboto probably moved with excitement in his grave for the first time in 512 years at the mere prospect of English Canadians giving his name the respect it deserves. Consequently, I look forward to driving all 289 km of the Caboto Trail this summer and telling my sister Jessica Mary all about it.

Freddie Wants You!

Posted in People with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2011 by Jordan

Born in a dank alley on the wrong side of the tracks, Freddie’s life has been an uphill battle since day one.  He spent the first three months of his life in a shelter with a bunch of no good ruffians where he was exposed to an underground world that most of us couldn’t begin to fathom.

When The Whole Ball of Wax first met Freddie at the shelter in 2010, he weighed under a pound, he had a six inch suture on the underside of his belly, and had just been exposed to a deadly disease that threatened his life.  However, Freddie was created with a fighting spirit and a “blue collar” personality that allowed him to persevere and overcome the limiting odds placed on him at birth.

Now a year old, Freddie is in the midst of his next life challenge. He is in the running to be voted the best cat with thumbs in the entire universe!  Along with all the other challenges Freddie was dealt at birth, he was also born a polydactyl which provided him with an additional two thumbs on both of his front paws.  Consequently, he looks like he is constantly wearing oven mitts.

With only one week left in the voting, Freddie is in the fight of his life.  He currently sits in 5th place and just 2 percentage points out of 1st.  With time fading, every vote counts!

This is a challenge to all readers of The Whole Ball of Wax to get on their computers, phones, and ipods to vote for Freddie as many times as possible.  Tell a friend and tell them to tell two more.  Send an email or a text to friends and family near and far and educate them on the greatness of Freddie and his extra thumbs.  Tell them of his struggles and his perseverance and help make Freddie a true rags to riches story.

Freddie needs you and he WANTS YOUR VOTE!

Cast your vote here: http://www.mirror.co.uk/cats-with-thumbs/vote/

UBC LipDub… Not How I Remember UBC!

Posted in Education with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2011 by Jordan

A couple of days ago I received an email with a link attached to it with a caption reading, “Not quite how you remembered it, eh?”  Intrigued by the caption, I clicked the link and watched the corresponding video which was a video created to help University of British Columbia (UBC) students feel a stronger connection to their largely commuter based school.  As a graduate of UBC, I must say I thought the video was pretty well done; however, what I saw in this video is in no way shape or form a reflexion of what I experienced at UBC while obtaining either or my degrees.

It’s very possible that the culture of the Point Grey campus has changed since I graduate in 2009 (I hardly doubt it but I am willing to concede that it is possible). I have a lot of memories of my time at UBC but none of them include anything portrayed in this video.

It’s not raining once in this video, which is about as likely at UBC as Kirstie Alley not weighing over 250 lbs.  Furthermore, the people in the video are completely out off character and misrepresented.  There aren’t more than seven white people that actually attend UBC so I’m not sure where all the white people in the video came from, Asian people don’t stand in libraries, they sleep on their calculus textbooks, and the engineers wouldn’t be caught dead near an Arts building due to various pretensions.  To top it all off, students at UBC don’t make eye contact with each other.  They burry their heads, walk into each other, and continue on with their days without saying a word to one other.  I also didn’t see one frat guy aggressively soliciting a student to join their frat, which is odd because I think frats are obsessed with doing that.

Despite all these oversights, the two most obvious aspects missing from this video are that there isn’t one heroin addict mumbling to themselves on the bus and there isn’t one homeless person armpit deep in a garbage can looking for discarded treasures.  How these two aspects were overlooked when making this video about UBC are beyond me.  Interacting with drug addicts and homelessness on a daily basis is an entrenched aspect of life as a UBC student.  I think it would have been pretty cool to see a disheveled mess mumbling to themselves during the scene on the bus or to see a homeless guy with his entire torso in the garbage can outside the Aquatic Center.

Alas, you can’t always get what you want and I’m sure it is very difficult to get drug addicts and homeless people to cooperate with an artistic vision.

The Royal Buck and Doe

Posted in People with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2011 by Jordan

With warmer temperatures in the air, buds on the trees and snow all but gone from the forecast; all signs are indicating that the start of Buck and Doe season is upon us.  After several disappointing campaigns, this season is poised to be one of the most promising seasons in more than half a century. Buck and Doe coordinators have exhausted all marketing strategies and have learned from NASCAR schedulers who place their biggest race of the year at the start of every season.  Consequently, this year’s Buck and Doe season will kick the year off right with The Royal Buck and Doe on April 2, 2011.

Set to wed at the end of April, Prince William and Kate Middleton’s will hold their Buck and Doe this weekend at the Royal Ag Hall. The Royal Jester Wicky will be in attendance and spinning tracks for the Royal Affair while demanding that, “Every guy grab a girl and get out on the dance floor huah huah huah!”  It is also expected that Wicky will increase the Royal Volume to 11 as the night progresses causing the Royal Conversations to adjust to a Royal Yell.

Rumor has it, the Royal Party Shop has already processed an order for two Royal Helium Balloons that will be placed on the Royal Belt Loops of the Royal Couple.  This will allow all in attendance to clearly identify the Royal Couple from across the Royal Room should they care to seek them out for a Royal Handshake or Royal Hug.  Sources also indicate that a Royal Shopper was spotted buying several loaves of Royal Wonder Bread, several dozen Royal Eggs, and 5 jars of Royal Miracle Whip.  With this type of purchase, one can only anticipate that the Royal Wedding Party has settled on Royal Egg Salad Sandwiches as the Royal Midnight Snack.

It is expected that there will be a Royal Tuppence Toss for a Royal Box of Royal Melba Toast and a silent Royal Auction with Royal Prizes that include an empty Royal Cooler and homemade Royal Garden Art.

The Royal Bar will be fully stocked with four types of Royal Beer including; Royal Bud Light, Royal Coors Light, Royal Blue Light and Royal Crystal. For the harder Royal, there will be a Royal Hard Bar complete with Royal Potters Vodka, Royal Black Velvet Whisky, and Royal Bacardi White Rum.

Royal Festivities will conclude around 1:00 AM with the majority of the Royal Crowd expected to take the party to the Royal Anchor while the Royal Couple sticks around to help stack the Royal Chairs and dry mop the Royal Floors.

All in all, it should be a Royal Good Time!

A Band of Brothers Like No Other

Posted in People with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2011 by Jordan

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother…

Henry V – Act 4, Scene 3

These words from King Henry to his men before heading into battle in Shakespeare’s Henry V epitomize the bond that few occupations posses.  Firefighters are among these few.

Today, my home town of Listowel laid two of its finest firefighters to rest after they gave the town their lives while responding to a massive downtown fire on March 17, 2011. The joint funerals of Ken Rae and Ray Walter at Listowel Memorial Arena not only celebrated the lives of these two remarkable men but accentuated the unique brotherhood that all firefighters share.  Thousands of fireman from across the continent congregated in the tiny community to pay their respects to their fallen comrades. They created a sea of black that snaked for several kilometers down Main Street as they filed behind the hearses destined for the arena.

As I watched the funeral procession and service online today, I was overwhelmed with feelings of both sadness and pride. The feelings of sadness are obvious but the pride that filled my chest as I watched thousands of men and women in black uniforms flank the streets of Listowel was incredible.  I was proud because nameless firefighters reached out to a shaken community in a time of need. I was proud because I knew this overwhelming support helped the people of Listowel stand on their feet during a time when many wanted to lie down. I was proud to see the international firefighting community stand together and pay their respects to their fallen brothers.  And finally, I was proud to know that their are literally thousands of men and women that are willing to put it all on the line to protect their communities the same way Ken and Ray did should the fateful call arise.

The risks firefighters face on a daily basis are often mitigated and overlooked by their remarkable skills; however, the events in Listowel on March 17, 2011 are a humbling reminded of these risks.  Firefighters stand together, succeed together and grieve together.  They truly are a remarkable band of brothers.

%d bloggers like this: