A MOST LAMENTABLE END

Greetings,

Two stories of note today, both of which strike me as signs that any justice that once existed (if it ever did, of course) in North American professional sports and entertainment is officially gone.

THE MONTREAL EXPOS: A formal news conference is scheduled today to announce the departure of the Montreal Expos to Washington, D.C. This has been in the cards for some time, especially since Jeffery Loria – the former owner of the Expos, who in the words of a close friend put the final nails in the Expos’ coffin when he sold the franchise rights to Major League Baseball in exchange for a takeover of the Florida Marlins – sealed the deal back in 2002.

The Expos have averaged less than 10,000 fans a game this season. They’ve spent the past two seasons playing a series of “home games” in San Juan. Ever since the Expos’ dream season of 1994 – a team that should have won the World Series but was denied due to the near-megalomania of players and owners in the worst professional sports strike in North American history – it’s been all downhill since then. Declining attendence, a weak Canadian dollar, unfair revenue sharing policies that still reward big-market teams in spite of a “luxury tax” that is only postponing the inevitable salary cap have all contributed to the fate of the Expos.

33 years of baseball is officially down the drain. R.I.P., Montreal Expos.

FILE-SHARING A POTENTIALLY CRIMINAL ACT: You want to know how insane the U.S. government has officially become? Instead of dealing with things like Osama Bin Laden, a federal deficit that’s completely out of control and an insecure homeland, what’s the U.S. House of Representatives doing? Drafting and passing bills that makes file-sharing a criminal act.

I don’t know what makes this more infuriating – the fact that the House is making P2P sharing a criminal offense or that the House is wasting time on bills that have little to do with the welfare of the country. My U.S. friends who share music can now rest assured that their government is watching them and you’ll spend time behind bars for trading that bootleg copy of Britney Spears’ concert, along side murderers and con artists. Aren’t you all lucky to living in a country with such a great sense of the rule of law?

SHAKESPEARE IS SEXY

Greetings,

Funny little posting here today: here’s an article on Shakespeare and his life experiences, which are always fascinating. As a man, he was definitely a vice-ridden fellow.

I’m hopefully going to be in a Shakespeare play in the winter called Measure For Measure – it’s a black comedy that features a wide array of naughty social situations.

Bigger post to come…

PAUL MARTIN AT THE U.N.

Greetings,

I’m aware that postings to this blog are becoming fewer and far between, but rest assured the posts keep coming. Incidently, in case you haven’t heard, my newest CBC piece is up. Go check it out if you dare.

The Prime Minister made a speech yesterday to the United Nations General Assembly. He talked about addressing, in particular, the issue of genocide in Darfur near the Sudan, as well as dealing with some of the problems that have plagued the U.N. Security Council.

I’m still a big believer in reforming the U.N. and making it more reflective of the world’s geopolitical make-up in 2004 (as opposed to 1954). It’s nice to see Canada backing up its words about reform and making the U.N. more accountable by the PM making statements about the world’s collective inaction about Sudan, forgiving the debt of another three African countries and now rightly giving the U.N. a scolding for not dealing with the humanitarian crisis in Darfur (does anyone remember the NATO-Serbian War of 1999 which happened in the name of humanitarian rights? It seems a long time ago now).

In any case, the PM’s showing some real policy muscle the last few weeks. His new health care deal, the U.N. actions, getting on with reforming the military – maybe this minority government will work out. We’ll see.

QUEEN’S BLOGS AND FUTURE PLANS

Greetings,

Normally, when one enrolls in graduate school, you spend obscene amounts of time working on assignments. I’m not doing that, as you can tell. So indulge me, please.

Just did some surfin’ and found some fellow Queen’s-folk blogs (thanks to The McNair for that).

Andrew Cowan’s always-amusing blog – good for what ails you (and he’s arguably the best bluegrass singer the AMS ever had)and the guy’s got an insane knowledge of music. Plus, he could always be counted on for a laugh.

Michael A. McNair’s blog – How do I describe this man? Mike’s a LIBERAL. He’s so liberal it’s borderline scary (I’m politically very similar to Mike, although I still think he’s got way too much faith in the market, but whatever) but more to the point, he’s a great conversationalist and he’s definitely earned his degree in Ladies Man Studies (no doubt I’ll get an MSN message saying “Ladies Man Studies Greg Hughes?” in a few days after this posting – just kidding around there McNair) In all seriousness, now that’s he armed with a Queen’s B.A. and an LSE M.Sc, swinging his way through London and rockin’ the mic as a rich, wealthy investment banker, just remember this: “greghughes.com/conradblackofqueens/dot-com..”

Justin Lee’s blog – Justin’s a nice guy and he’s got some mucho artistic talent. Wish I had known him better (we competed for the same managerial job at the AMS) but what I did know he was a really good guy.

Erik Sherkin’s not-very-recently-updated blog – Erik was a powerhouse at CFRC where we both did spoken word shows. He changed his sports talk show title a bazillion times, but whatever: he still could be counted on to say really intelligent things about just about anything to do with politics and sports. But what’s up with Sherkdawg?

Neate Sager’s Sports Blog – Neate’s a man of all things written. He’s got a scary statistical mind, knows everything about Richler down to his favourite cigars, thinks Hunter S. Thompson is a brilliant writer (I agree) and he loves, for some crazy reason, the Minnesota Vikings. I hate them, the NFL’s lame compared to the glorious game known as the CFL. But, like most things in Canada, it’s a secret only we know of…

FUTURE PLANS: Here I am, out on the east coast, learning about some tricks of the trade known as jour-nal-ism. Funny thing is that Halifax is a pretty cool city and I like it. It’s like Kingston, only bigger and with more fish. These Maritime folks are so much more laid back and easy-going, I love it! After two years working in Toronto, having a pace that’s not “today or no way” is a welcome change.

So what happens in May? Well, not sure yet. There are a million options in front of me right now. I’m not even sure where this program is taking me yet. We’re more than half-way done Boot Camp (for those who don’t know, this is not a joke, they actually call it that) and our work shops start after Thanksgiving. This student life thing is kind of strange, I admit. It’s been since 2002 that I was in school so it’s not entirely unfamiliar but it is in certain ways.

In any case, once my plans get figured out, you’ll know. Hey, the 1-year anniversary of this blog’s debut comes soon. Wicked, yo.

TECHNO-EMOTIONALISM

Greetings,

With this blog’s readership slowly declining due to less-than-regular postings, I’m back in this whole bloggy-stylin’ thang now. The digital world awaits with breathless anticipation, no doubt. Sarcasm, thy name is Greg’s Blog.

Here’s a fascinating piece from the BBC about techno-emotionalism and how the use of digital technology is changing how we relate to each other. It’s interesting because it explores how human emotions are going to actually *increase* in power once technology becomes more and more pervasive throughout our lives. It’s very McLuhan-esque to state that – technology creates a hot, visceral response as opposed to the sometimes-cold rationalism of, say, newspapers – and powerfully relevant to today’s world.

If you watch Minority Report any time soon, the inferences Steven Spielberg – the 21st century version of John Ford – makes about technology, spirituality and metaphysics are profound enough to give this article a lot of merit. Think about it: technology, an extension of the human body, really is about forming “connections” through digital or non-digital means. I know, this all sounds like pedantic nonsense, but watch films like Minority Report, Blade Runner and A.I: artificial Intelligence and you’ll get a real sense of how technology is forming a corresponding response – hyper-emotionalism.

QUIET TIME IN BLOGLAND

Greetings,

I know it’s becoming a quickly apparently phenomenon: my readership is declining because I’m not posting enough. Granted. I agree, just not feeling particularly talkative as of late.

I promise once this week is over, I’ll get on it. I’m slowly becoming a machine at writing, given my degree program and my numerous other commitments, so even blog postings can become filler.

Anyway, stay tuned… rippin’ around the world bloggy-style soon.