Hi hi,

Okay, I’m listening to A-HA from 1987 on The Living Daylights soundtrack (for those of you who have no idea why I’m listening to this music, it’s from a James Bond movie, so at least I’ve got good taste… maybe).

We saw Love Actually yesterday. Okay, I was initially really against seeing this movie (just because when you’ve seen one cavity-inducing, sugary-sweet romantic comedy before, you’ve seen them all), but it was really charming. Okay, okay, it helped that Martine McCutcheon, a.k.a that Girl From EastEnders, a popular British soap opera, was in it for me. And Keira Knightly. Okay, fine, it helped that everyone was hot in that movie. And yes, Mr. Darcy, er, Colin Firth, was surprisingly light in his performance – considering that he always plays emotionally distant characters, which explains why women love him so much, that emotionally almost attainable guy – and had it bad for this Portugese woman. And Alan Rickman was his usually brilliant self. So all in all, it was worth it. BUT…

It doesn’t change the fact that Lord of the Rings comes out in sixteen days. Finally! The trilogy to end all trilogies is coming to a close. Hopefully it will deliver.

Alright, that’s all for today.

P.S. Martine McCutcheon is hot.

Greg

Hey-hey,

Did a major clean-out of my room yesterday – I can finally find things again!

GRAD SCHOOL: I’m about to send off my g-school applications next week. Just waiting on a few letters until then. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

WORK: Ever had a glorious writing assignment that is long *and* pays well? Well, I got one! Laptop here I come. I’m going to need it for September. I’ve come up with the list of stuff I need in September… new phone (my old one is now in the hazardous waste dump in Unionville), possibly taking my dresser, stereo, laptop, a few amenities, dishes, utensils, et al. I’m travelling light because it’s only a one-year program.

U.S. Thanksgiving: Yesterday was America’s Thanksgiving holiday. Unlike Canadians, the U.S. version of Thanksgiving is a much bigger deal than it is here. The traditional football games involving Detroit and Dallas, the Macy’s Parade in New York City, all the specials on network TV -as you can tell, it’s not like our holiday at all. Mind you, the proverbial icing on the cake happened yesterday with President George W. Bush paying a “surprise” visit to U.S. troops in Iraq.

On that very same topic, go to Salon for an article on General Tommy Franks – the four-star general who coordinated the invasion of Iraq – and his views on what could happen to America if another terrorist attack hit a major urban centre. And we’re not talking airplanes crashing into office towers this time – we’re talking the detonation of a biological, chemical or even nuclear weapon. If that happened, millions would die. And that would bring on talk of suspending (or even eliminating) the U.S. Constitution and imposing Martial Law, which would end democracy in America. Really scary stuff.

On a happier note, choir is tonight. Busy next couple of days. See ya later.

Greg

*groans*

It’s 10:44 p.m. and I’m absolutely beat. I know, I’m a wimp, but you try going for five hours of sleep and having started your day at 6:30 and only finishing about a couple of hours ago. Damn. Okay, stop whining.

Was going to see Love Actually tonight (mmmmm… Keira Knightley…) due to a certain someone’s love, nay obsession, with all things British. Need it be said? I can think of Liam Neeson, Laura Linney and a few other NON-BRITS in this movie. I think the urban London lifestyle is what this said person (who shall remain anonymous – they know what I’m talkin’ about) *really* likes. Aside from curry. And Robbie Williams. And Britney Spears. Meh.

Okay, I’m really over tired now, as you can probably tell, so night all.

Greeting from internetland,

My major project, The Think Centre, is moving along quite nicely. It’s a new group devoted to promoting idea-driven change in governments, businesses and the like, and I’m really excited about it. I’m about to start my literary journal on-line as well – let you know when it is coming.

If you’re ever in the mood for fascinating college radio (I’m a radio geek – I love it), I would strongly recommend my alma mater, CFRC, as a stereophonic oasis in a sea of Clear Channels and House of Blues. It’s completely worth your while.

Okay, brief entry tonight. Gotta get organized for tomorrow.

Nite,

G.

Hello hello,

My good friend need not worry – things are fine. No worries.

I had the great honour of attending the Women’s Blues Revue on The Danforth on Saturday. It was fabulous to say the very least. There’s nothing like having great food (Greek food on the Danforth is about as close to heaven in the culinary arts as it gets in Toronto) and great music and great company, and the WBR had it in spades. Avril Benoit, host of CBC Radio’s Here and Now (a CBC Toronto radio show, if you’re in out-of-towner reading this) was the emcee now that Shelagh Rogers, a fellow Queen’s alum, is out in Vancouver hosting Sounds Like Canada. Check out CBC’s Saturday Night Blues in a few weeks and you’ll get to hear the concert – it was truly great. It’s been a terrific year for the Blues!

AWARD: A Queen’s professor, Prof. Arthur McDonald, will be awarded the 2003 Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering tomorrow. This is a big deal, primarily because Dr. McDonald was extensively involved in the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, which searches for subatomic particles to determine the “weight” of the universe. It’s an award worth $1 million in research grant money. Not too bad, eh?

MAPLE LEAFS IN TROUBLE: Okay, I’m a very patient fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs. I, like millions more, have lived through the Ballard Era, the Cliff Fletcher Era, The Mike Murphy Era and now the MLSE-Pat Quinn Era. But this is getting ridiculous.

I’m fed up with the Leafs, not so much because the team is bad (which it isn’t) but because there is so much talent available and so little passion. I don’t blame Pat Quinn outright for the team’s lousy fortunes (it’s far too easy to blame a coach when the players have seemingly given up). I also don’t attribute the team’s problems to an old squad, although the Leafs are getting really, really old (I’ve resented signing guys like Joe Nieuwendyk for no purpose other than being a proven Stanley Cup winner but that means nothing on a team with Owen Nolan, Alex Mogilny, et al). I just feel like the passion is absent from the Leafs, as they are bereft of any ambition or desire to win the Cup once, just once, for their fans.

All this points to a general malaise in Toronto sports. I live in a city with an awful sports culture. But it’s not ownership or players that are the biggest problems with Toronto sports. It’s the fans. We blindly support the Leafs without question and reward the team’s successes and failures equally. Nine times out of ten, if a team can earn the most profit with the least amount of investment and the revenue keeps rolling in, why bother putting a winning product on the ice? And the Toronto Raptors? Arragh! Even with the most popular player in the NBA can’t keep this team from being a wash-out.

The Blue Jays? They are the prototypical example of how Toronto fans think. We’ll support a sports team, for sure, if they are doing the following:

A) They’re fresh, new and “hip”

B) They reflect well on Toronto’s status in the world

C) They’re winning

D) They make money

If any of the four are missing, minus the inpenetrable Maple Leafs, the fans will gradually stay away. Since the Jays won two World Series championships a decade ago, the team is only *now* starting to grasp the new economic realities of the game and develop a winning squad with high-strung youngsters and a few core veterans, a la the Oakland Athletics. But I’ll bet the fans won’t return to the 48,000+ attendence of yore ever again, much less hit 35,000 by 2005 when Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi says they will be contenders for the AL East division title.

Toronto is still very much a town of the all mighty dollar – we like money, we like business and we’re almost completely impervious to unabashed joy in our sports milieu. It’s troubling and hopefully once the city has matured to the point where we’re not always caring what the bosses in New York City think, we can take pride in our teams without resorting to fairweather tactics.

Okay, I’m done the rant.

Talk later,

G.

Greetings,

A good friend of mine – a veritable sports encyclopedia – is arguing in his blog that my comments regarding the awarding of the American League’s MVP to A-Rod is reactionary and wrongheaded.

For one, I never said A-Rod isn’t an excellent player. He is one of the greatest shortstops in major league baseball’s long and storied history, lead the league in runs scored this year and bringing up the $252 million contract he signed in the winter of 2000-2001 was petty, I admit it.

Still, MVP awards are more than just statistics: it’s a question of “most valuable player to his team” and that means a whole lot more than just whether A-Rod would have saved the Rangers from the fate bestowed on the Tigers (one of the worst seasons in modern baseball history). What I mean by that is the Rangers were truly awful this year and having A-Rod around may or may not have made only a slight difference in the outcome of the season. They still stink with or without A-Rod. He may have great numbers but it doesn’t change the fact the final season’s result had little to do with him (if you think the Jays’ pitching is bad – try being a Rangers’ starter on a hot July night and you’ve got nothing to complain about). But I digress, these are moot points.

So here lies the question of character: should a player that requests a trade during the middle of a season deserve the “most valuable player to his team” label? In my opinion, no. That shows a lack of leadership qualities and a commitment to his team, and that’s why I believe Delgado should be annoyed. Delgado has stuck with the Jays since he began his career, good times and bad, and while nobody ever said an MVP candidate should be locked into one team forever to prove their worth (Barry Bonds, anyone?), it does say a lot about where they fit into the team dynamic. Most Effective Player or Most Valuable Player? But, it is a done deal, the Rangers will still be in last place next year, A-Rod will still complain, and Delgado will be powering the Jays to a wild card berth next year. That MVP award is cold comfort when you’re stuck in the division basement, eh A-Rod? Mind you, I guess when you’re in it only for the $252 million, it doesn’t matter too much. Zing!

More CONRAD BLACK: Okay, I may not agree with Mr. Black’s political views, but this is getting out of control. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is talking about a major investigation into Hollinger Inc.’s accounting practices in lieu of yesterday’s controversy surrounding Mr. Black’s $32.2 million payout to him and two associates. Indeed, I think the one thing Mr. Black should have realized (if indeed it wasn’t an accounting error in Chicago due to junior executives at Hollinger not approving a transfer of funds from CanWest Global) is that in the post-Enron, WorldCom era, you have to be hyper-diligent on your finances and have everything on the table for the shareholders. Shareholders are becoming more militant nowadays (and rightly so) and this means while they likely have no problem with multi-million dollar payments to the Board of Directors and Management, it has to be out on the table. I have no doubt Mr. Black will be back in the publishing business (he’s too smart and too capable not to be).

On a side note, I’m excited about reading his 1,000+ magnum opus of a book on Franklin D. Roosevelt. It will take me a month to read it, but it will be worth it.

Okay, see ya.

G.

INJUSTICE: Carlos Delgado, first baseman for the Toronto Blue Jays, was denied the American League’s Most Valuable Player award yesterday to Alex Rodriguez of the last-place Texas Rangers. Let’s see: Delgado had better numbers, was a team leader, helped the Jays win more than five games more than they should have. A-Rod? He requested a trade from the Rangers mid-way through the season, earns a salary that is more than three times the payroll of the entire Montreal Expos, and had great numbers, yes, but he’s not exactly a team leader. This feels like a real snub. While it’s the old conventional wisdom that non-playoff teams rarely have both the Cy Young and MVP, why A-Rod? And they say baseball’s problems are merely fiscal.

INJUSTICE #2: Hayley Wickenheiser, formerly of the Finnish Men’s Professional Hockey league and of Canada’s gold medal winning women’s hockey team in Salt Lake City, quit her men’s team. After hearing her being interviewed on CBC Radio, she’s obviously somewhat bitter at the whole experience. She’s a role model for young people and the fact she managed to accomplish what she did is amazing. Still, it’s understandable why she would be angry – apparently she wasn’t taken especially seriously by the coaching staff in Finland.

Conrad Black quit his newspaper empire, Hollinger Inc., yesterday after reports of him and his business partner, David Adler, allegedly received unauthorized $32.2 million payments. It’s unfortunate Mr. Black had to quit this way, given that he is one of Canada’s (if not the world) most strident supporters of newspapers. You may have disagreed with his views, but you had to respect him for his intellectualism and sense of political and business timing.

CANADA READS: The now-yearly venture into the literary world vis-a-vis CBC Radio is starting shortly. This year, the books and panelists are as follows:

The Love of a Good Woman by Alice Munro – Measha Brueggergosman

The Last Crossing by Guy Vanderhaeghe – Jim Cuddy

Barney’s Version by Mordecai Richler – Zsuzsi Gartner

Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King – Glen Murray

The Heart is an Involuntary Muscle by Monique Proulx – Francine Pelletier

It’s amazing how people tend to select books that reflect their own personal experiences, as well as their own literary styles. For me, I’m going for The Last Crossing. If you haven’t read this book, go get it now. Vanderhaeghe is an amazing writer, as I enjoy those “neo-pastoral” tales he writes. A close second is, of course, Barney’s Version, written by the late (and always brilliant) Mordecai Richler.

Okay, see ya later.

G.