Thoughts on culture, education, and having been a Canadian in the US
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Posts from — May 2006

Edmonton: City of Champions

I always used to cringe when I saw or heard Edmonton calling itself “City of Champions.” These days, though, it feels like that title is deserved. Not only for the Oilers, but for the fans who’ve been, I think, a fairly integral part of the Oilers’ success through the playoffs so far.

Eric Duhatschek’s column from yesterday’s Globe and Mail captures this so well:

I only caught the last 7 minutes of Tuesday’s game, and an incredible third period it was, but since then I’ve hear as much about the fans singing O Canada as I have about the game:

EDMONTON — A day after the fact, Rexall Place was still abuzz over the stirring rendition of the Canadian national anthem, sung by Paul Lorieau, with help from the 16,000-plus in attendance for Tuesday night’s third game of the Western Conference final.

Midway through his performance, Lorieau held up his microphone to the crowd, which was singing the anthem, mostly in unison. The effect was inspiring, according to all the principals quizzed about it Wednesday.

Oilers’ general manager Kevin Lowe called it, “an extremely special moment. It gave all of us Canadians a great sense of pride. I’m sure even the Canadian players on the Ducks and management who were Canadian felt a sense of nationality there. It’s very similar to, in 2002 at the Olympics in Salt Lake, when we could hear the fans in the last minute singing O Canada. It was one of those great moments in sport, from my personal experience.”

Oilers’ defenceman Steve Staois added: “This is the best building, the best city to play in. Our fans have always been there for us and they deserve all the excitement that’s coming with this playoff run that we’re on. I’ve never seen anything quite like that last night with the anthem. That was pretty amazing. It’s something you’ll never forget.”

With five Stanley Cups and having had many of the greatest players ever to play the game on the team (at the same time, no less), it would be tempted to think of Edmonton as having been spoiled. Maybe we were a bit at the time. And maybe, in the years after Gretzky, Messier, and Coffey all left, we all felt like our team was a dim reflection of the Oilers of the past. Yet, the Oilers have always had sell-out crowds. Many of us have always followed the team. And we know today how special this team is. The fact that we’ve made it this far after so many years of either barely making it into the playoffs and losing in the first or second round, makes this playoff run all the sweeter. These guys have given EVERYTHING they’ve got and have outworked, outclassed, and amazingly outscored Detroit, San Jose, and Anaheim. They deserve to go all the way.

For the Canuck in the US, even in hockey-loving Vermont, there’s NO local coverage of worth, but fortunately there’s the internet. The coverage at the Globe has been great of late, and I’m also really enjoying Globe writer James Mirtle’s blog.

May 25, 2006   No Comments

Radio 3 on iTunes radio

May 24, 2006   No Comments

The Oilers prevail! It’s starting to feel like old times…

I’ve been following the Oilers faithfully for years, even if I haven’t always had much time to watch hockey on TV. Since moving to the US, though, I’ve been watching as much as I can, especially when the Oilers make it on Hockey Night in Canada. (I don’t know what I’d do without CBC here in Vermont)

Anyhow, after watching so many heartbreaking seasons as the Oilers either barely miss the playoffs or get booted in the first round, it’s all the sweeter that they’re now heading into the third round after two phenomenal series. The Oilers have outworked both Detroit and San Jose and, collectively and individually, have brought their game to a new level — or at least to a level we’ve not seen in a long time. It’s been amazing to see Smyth and Horcoff play the way we Oilers fans have known they can play for a long time. For the rest of the country, though, this is a surprise to say the least. And what about Roloson?! Unbelievable. He’s made all the difference.

Bring on the Ducks!

Speaking of the Ducks, I think you need to listen to this to put it all into perspective…

May 18, 2006   No Comments

More on e-books…

Today’s Telegraph has one of the better articles of late on the imminent arrival of the iRex iLiad and the Sony Reader. The only question I have is who do I need to convince here to let me order one for, um, testing purposes. Seriously, though, find me a scholar who wouldn’t see any appeal in having a portable library of hundreds of books?

For the next generation, a library will mean a virtual library, and paper books will seem as quaint as the Ten Commandments chiselled out of stone tablets. The digital seems as sure to eclipse pulped wood and ink as the codex replaced the scroll. The advent of e-ink means the book industry is about to encounter its greatest tempest since Gutenberg, as one technology, viewed suspiciously at first, gives way in a torrent to another. So, which would you choose if you were forced into desert island exile beyond the reach of Amazon or Waterstone’s – a ship full of salt-stained, hide-bound tomes, or the exceptionally portable e-Reader? More important, which will eventually enjoy supremacy? If you are reading this online you will have answered that question already.

May 9, 2006   Comments Off on More on e-books…

The absurdity of it all….

There are moments from time to time when I take guilty pleasure in NOT being an American. Here’s one of them:

BERLIN (Reuters) – U.S. President George W. Bush told a German newspaper his best moment in more than five years in office was catching a big perch in his own lake.”You know, I’ve experienced many great moments and it’s hard to name the best,” Bush told weekly Bild am Sonntag when asked about his high point since becoming president in January 2001.”I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound (3.402 kilos) perch in my lake,” he told the newspaper in an interview published on Sunday

(Source: Bush’s best moment in office? Reeling in big perch | Top News |

You can’t do anything but cringe when you read this. You have to hope that somehow he was misquoted, or that he didn’t understand the question. Even then, the fact that this springs to his mind as a great event in his recent life says a great deal. It has to be hard to be an American and to read this, especially if you care what the rest of the world thinks about your country. There’s such a gap between Americans, who can be some of the best people you’ll ever meet, and this administration which is so disconnected from the real world.

May 8, 2006   No Comments

New podcasts from Spotted Cow Press

Spotted Cow Press

I’ve been working tonight getting the feed up and running for our new Spotted Cow Press podcasts. You’ll soon be able to find them on the iTunes music store, but for now you can head directly to the Spotted Cow Podcasts blog.

May 2, 2006   No Comments