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Goofy NHL plans for 2016 World Cup

Let us visit the summer of 2017 in Newmarket, Ontario, home town of Connor McDavid, the NHL’s newest superstar. After a triumphant first two years in the NHL with Carolina, McDavid should be greeted as a hero by the hockey-worshipping locals. But as he walks down the familiar streets, McDavid senses a coolness as familiar faces are standoffish. How could this be? You see, McDavid scored the winning goal at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, defeating Team Canada in the final 3-2. The residents of Newmarket, along with the rest of Canada, can’t seem to lose the image of McDavid shaking hands with a vanquished Sidney Crosby, Canada’s captain for the event. Their anticipation at seeing Team Canada triumphant is ruined by McDavid’s brilliance for the 23-and-under NHL stars. Far fetched? Perhaps. But the NHL/ NHLPA’s loopy decision to field a team of North American players 23 and younger in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey has raised this very scenario. McDavid didn’t grow up in Newmarket dreaming of beating his national team in a tournament. He wanted to be like Crosby, netting a winner in the Olympics with the maple leaf on his chest. The same for Jack Eichel, McDavid’s equivalent in the United States. Taking on the stars and stripes is a nightmare, not a dream. The decision to force them… not ask or cajole or bribe them.. to play for a hybrid squad in a tournament for which they’d surely qualify to play on their national team would have seemed like a good idea if you didn’t think about it more than 20 seconds. “Hey, let’s make sure the young guys in our league who might not play on the national teams get a chance to be seen in this NHL spectacular.” Sure. But how will… Read More

Social Tedium – A Christmas Carol

[Sing to the air 'The Flowers That Bloom in the Spring', with apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan.]     From Apple new wonders still spring, tra-la, replacing last year's as old hat; We grapple again with their bling, tra-la, though feeling like brains in a vat; Yes, feeling like brains in a vat. Which leads us at times to gloomily wonder if what Jobs hath wrought was a terrible blunder.   Tra-la-la-la-la-la, Tra-la-la-la-la-la, Tra-la-la-la, Tra-la.   The friends found on Facebook we ring, tra-la, are not souls we really divine; But to them we're bound and we bring, tra-la, our i-phones along as we dine, Yes, our i-phones along as we dine. We're ready all times to answer their call, but unfriend some friends for no reason at all;   Tra-la-la-la-la-la, Tra--la-la-la-la-la, Tra-la-la-la, Tra-la.   We Twitter our Tweets without cease, tra-la, and so all our memories drown; And litter the streets with the grease, tra-la, of accidents caused by eyes down. Yes, of accidents caused by eyes down. A Tweet may look sweet, but the aftertaste's bitter; best lift up our eyes and miss the odd Twitter;   Tra-la-la-la-la-la, Tra--la-la-la-la-la, Tra-la-la-la, Tra-la.   Now Instagrams offer more news, tra-la, and viral new hashtags galore; Busy webcams take numerous views, tra-la, of cuddly cat gags by the score; Yes, of cuddly cat gags by the score. A banquet of sights in the palm of our hand, from models in tights to the latest boy band;   Tra-la-la-la-la-la, Tra--la-la-la-la-la, Tra-la-la-la, Tra-la.   The selfie's becoming a drug, tra-la, now rivalling pot and cocaine; Smug and snug as a bug in a rug, tra-la, we've found a new way to be vain. Yes, found a new way to be vain. We're still bound to guess that the rage for the selfie may… Read More

Jean Beliveau – A Legendary Career

The news that Montreal Canadiens great Jean Béliveau died on 03 December was poignant on a number of different counts. One that stands out is that he was one of the last prominent sports figures in history who was truly deserving of the description “gentleman.” (His contemporary Los Angeles Dodger Sandy Koufax also comes to mind in that regard) Today, when so many athletes, professional or amateur, cultivate the look of hoodlums, it is refreshing to view images of Beliveau as a player and in retirement. The fact that he had an open invitation to be Governor-General and join Canada’s Senate testifies to the deep respect in which he was held by virtually everyone whose life he touched. Although his personal statistics are impressive enough, Béliveau tended to be overshadowed by the stars he played with and against. During Béliveau’s early years as a player Maurice Richard enjoyed a special status among Montreal hockey fans until he retired in 1960. Gordie Howe’s goal totals were better than Béliveau’s, Bobby Hull, Bernie Geoffrion, and Frank Mahovlich were more flamboyant, and in the last years of his career stars such as Bobby Orr understandably got more headlines. Béliveau appeared content to be the consummate team player, someone who supplied leadership without stealing the limelight. Yet, at playoff time Béliveau was impossible to ignore. Having watched him over the years in person at the Montreal Forum and on television, I can tell you there was no better money player in the entire history of the NHL. The tributes have poured in and Béliveau’s many accomplishments on and off the ice are being duly noted. Allow me to mention what I believe to be his greatest distinction. He was Montreal Canadiens captain during what I like to call the “forgotten dynasty”. From 1964-65 to… Read More

Gay “deliverance” is mental torture

Before I begin, I’d like to state my credentials on this subject – I believe in the life and teachings of Jesus. In fact, I currently serve as the lead pastor of Resurrection Church in Toronto. As it so happens, I’m also openly queer. Due to these two facts about myself, I’ve come into contact with a range of views on homosexuality and queerness of all kinds. On one side of the spectrum, there are the affirmers – who do not believe homosexuality to be a sin or choice. On the other side of the spectrum are the deniers – who believe it is a sin and/or a choice. Recently among the deniers, a specific form of ugly queer-phobia has sprung up called gay “deliverance”. Before I explain, I should caution – if you’re sensitive to lunacy, this might be a good time to click away. Belonging in the same category as stoning people for adultery and witch burning, gay “deliverance” essentially attempts to peer pressure the homosexuality out of somebody. Basically, here’s how this works – step one, create a highly emotional environment through music, lights and dance. Step two, contort scripture to justify condemning whole groups of people in an attempt to feel closer to God. Step three, (this is the most important part), pray/prey on people – it’s very important to get lots of tough-looking men in suits to yell loudly at them – until any fragment of doubt or courage to voice a contrary opinion is stamped out. Isn’t religion awesome? This tactic has been used to target and abuse many marginalized groups throughout history – for example, addicts and alcoholics. Turns out the disease of addiction can’t be cured by yelling at the sufferer. Nowadays, “deliverance” is mostly used for “sexual sins”. One group that… Read More

Ghomeshi: Is this really just about consent?

The Jian Ghomeshi scandal, which broke this week first on Facebook and then in the Toronto Star, is still unfolding, and there’s much that would be premature to say. It would be a little over-credulous to take Ghomeshi at his word that the women quoted by the Star are simply lying, and just as rash to assume that the former CBC radio host committed rape in the absence of more concrete accusations. But leaving mostly to the side the weightier question of whose account is truer—Ghomeshi’s or his accusers’—there is still something important to be said about the affair, and about “rough sex” in general: there is more to sexual ethics than consent. In Ghomeshi’s account of his own actions, posted to Facebook on Sunday, he admits to engaging regularly in “forms of BDSM”. The acronym, which is less ugly than what it describes, covers a spectrum of lewd activities that is characterized, ultimately, by violence. Ghomeshi declines to go into further detail about his particular indulgences, but the account of the women who informed the Star is more explicit:   [They] allege that Ghomeshi physically attacked them on dates without consent. They allege he struck them with a closed fist or open hand; bit them; choked them until they almost passed out; covered their nose and mouth so that they had difficulty breathing; and that they were verbally abused during and after sex.   This is all awful to consider, but what’s striking about the two stories taken together is that the two could be entirely consistent in the absence of the phrase “without consent” in the Star account. Ghomeshi does not actually claim that he did not beat, choke, bite, smother or verbally abuse women. What he claims, six times, is that whatever happened, it was consensual. “[I]n… Read More

Homeopathy is not scientific

Can you overdose on homeopathy? International demonstrators over the years have shown that such an overdose looks highly unlikely. One might imagine that hundreds of people ingesting an absurd dose of sleeping pills would drop dead in the streets. So why the protest and why the lack of a lethal reaction? In the mid-2000s, semi-isolated acts of “suicide by homeopathy” were performed as demonstrations of the lack of efficacy of this antiquated belief system, culminating in the Liverpudlian 10:23 challenge which extended this act of rational defiance to 30 countries. If homeopathy consists of natural but potent alternative medical treatments, as many people believe, how can you not overdose on them? There is more than meets the eye with regards to homeopathy. The first claim of homeopathy is that “like cures like”. This is not unlike the folk saying that a hair of the dog that bit you is a valid cure for hangovers: homeopaths believe that to treat diarrhea, a small dose of a substance that causes diarrhea should be administered. This runs counter to common sense and is quite distinct from the principle of vaccination, in which an inactivated virus is used as prevention not treatment. What is the basis for “like cures like”? Not scientific evidence but rather a metaphysical belief. The second claim of homeopathy is its most absurd, that diluting something actually increases its potency. By that token, half of an aspirin is better than the whole pill, and a drop of alcohol in a vat of water creates a deadly drink. The dilutions performed by homeopaths are so incredible, there is often no molecule left of the initial ingredient. All you get is a bit of water encapsulated in a sugar pill. The lack of an active ingredient does not worry these pseudomedical salespeople,… Read More
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