Friday, November 30, 2007

My Favourite Word

Only Bobby Knight could make an etymology lesson this much fun. I'm telling you: if every high school English teacher employed this approach, we'd have a far more articulate society.

Kids, feel free to use this line of reason the next time you slip up at home. I'm sure your mothers will be happy to hear how much thought you've put into it.

Giving The Business

We're having some serious YouTube issues over here at, so don't be surprised if you log on in an hour or so and find 15 of the same YouTube clips posted on this site. In the meantime, we'll do it the old fashioned way.

CLICK HERE to see Ron Cherry making the call of the year in the Maryland-NC State game from this past weekend.

You have to love the fact that Ron is paying homage to the legendary Ben Dreith. Cleary, this Cherry guy knows his in-game-official's history.

CLICK HERE to witness the original: the greatest call in NFL history, taken from a Bills-Jets game back in 1986.

UPDATE: At approximately 7:45 tonight, all of those YouTube clips showed up. Believe me, it wasn't pretty. Granted, the "Giving him the business" line gets funnier every time, I don't think you necessarily need to see it in 15 separate posts.

Thanks to Llibs for the heads up.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Midweek Diversion

Just a little something to get you through the rest of the week. The essential reading I've stumbled across recently:

Unconventional Crude: Canada's synthetic-fuels boom
By Elizabeth Kolbert

This is a fascinating piece taken from the November 12th issue of the New Yorker. It chronicles the past, present, and future of the tar sands in northern Alberta. It will probably blow your mind to learn that they estimate there to be somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1.7 trillion barrels of synthetic crude mixed in to the 57,000 square miles of tar sands... staggering figures, all of them, and they certainly bode well for the future of the Canadian economy (Canada has become the America's #1 source of imported oil, supplying the U.S. with more crude than all of the nations of the Persian Gulf combined; apparently we're producing more than 1 million barrels a day, and that output will only grow over time).

What doesn't bode well for Canada, nor for the rest of the world for that matter, is the effect that this oil's extraction will have on the Canadian Boreal forest and its inhabitants in particular, and the state of the global climate as a whole.

In his novel Love, ect, Julian Barnes describes The Law of Unintended Effects as those things that we never consider but that happen nonetheless in the wake of our actions... This piece by Elizabeth Kolbert is pretty well a real-life case study, on the most macro of levels, on the law of unintended effects. Aside from the obvious consequences of annihilating the pristine northern landscape, what was most fascinating (read: terrifying) for me was the study which explains how much energy is involved in the production of tar-sands oil. As Kolbert explains: "In the case of tar-sands oil, total greenhouse-gas emissions per barrel - which is to say, the carbon dioxide produced in creating the oil and then burning it - are between fifteen and forty per cent higher than those from conventional oil." Essentially, for every three barrels of oil extracted from northern Alberta, one has, in effect, been consumed. Furthermore, it is estimated that by 2012, tar-sands operations will consume two billion cubic feet of natural gas per day; enough to heat all of the homes in Canada.

Remember that Al Gore movie with all of those catastrophic scenarios that were destined to come to pass if we didn't change our ways? Those climate models were based on the assumtion of our using conventional oil, not this high-energy-emissions-simply-from-the-oil's-production form of crude. So maybe we will be able to circumnavigate the financial implications of peak oil, but will it really matter if the greenhouse emissions increase ten-fold as a result? There won't even be an inhabitable planet on which to enjoy the benefits of this financial windfall.

Unintended effects, to be sure.

The Extortionist
By Ben McGrath

Also taken from the New Yorker (Oct. 29th), this is a somewhat disheartening look into the world of baseball super-agent Scott Boras. Needless to say, this guy is the antithesis of Jerry MaGuire. And it's almost sad in a way because this article was written before A-Rod defected from his camp, and reading it today, knowing that he's missing his biggest asset, it's almost like seing a bully outside of the schoolyard setting, sitting alone on his dysfunctional family's government housing unit's broken down front porch. I mean, you get the feeling that Scott Boras doesn't really have a lot of friends, and to see A-Rod turn his back on him like this... es tu, A-Rod? Nothing $15 million a year in comission won't cure, but still...

If nothing else, Scott Boras cares about his clients. And yeah, maybe he's bitter because he never made it as a ballplayer, and maybe he has almost single-handedly made it impossible for me to afford even a 10-game flex pack of Jays tickets for this upcoming season, but the guy has worked his ass off to get where he is... and I have respect for anyone who studies neuropharmacology while riding the busses in the minors, particularly if they're somewhat embarrassed by their appetite for higher learning and as a result feel the need to cover their text book with a copy of Swank Magazine.

At the very least, Scott Boras has made the game of baseball bigger. Maybe not better, but certainly bigger. Essential reading for anyone even remotely interested in the economics of sports.

The Kick Is Up and It's ... A Career Killer
By Michael Lewis

For my money, there is no better scribe waxing poetic on the topic of sports than Michael Lewis. Liar's Poker wasn't about sports, but it might as well have been (just read the opening chapter). Moneyball is probably the defining book on sabermetrics and the economics of baseball in the early part of the 21st century (which, for the record, I don't buy into - how else do you explain the dismal track record of G.M. and perpetual-excuse-maker J.P. Riccardi?).

But perhaps Lewis's best sports writing appears in his columns which periodically pop up in the New York Times Magazine. I remember my Unkle Mike once handed me a copy of this article entitled "Coach Fitz's Management Theory"... In fact, now that I think of it, that article is so good that it will be included below.

Lewis's latest effort is all about the life of an NFL kicker. It makes for fantastic reading, and is essentially an informed and intellectual take on Adam Sandler's "The Lonesome Kicker". Feel free to skip over the Scott Norwood references if the memory is too painful.

Coach Fitz's Management Theory
By Michael Lewis

I just went back and re-read this article, and my eyes are sweating. Probably the best account I've ever read about a coach having a positive impact on the lives of his players. The Bad-News-Bears-like anecdote about making the players slide headfirst onto the pavement after putting in a lackluster effort is not to be missed. If you're only going to read one piece from this group, I'd suggest this one.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Taboo II

By no means is this a forum for promoting classic porn movies, but in this case, I had to make an exception.

Taboo II is hands down the greatest classic porn flick of all-time. When we were in our formative years (and by formative I mean ages 13-16... ahh who am I kidding: ages 13-present day) and my parents were away for any length of time greater than 10 minutes, we used to steal my dad's old Beta tape from out of the back of the mystery cupboard, make sure all of the doors were locked so they couldn't unexpectedly arrive home without ample warning (the click of the door and subsequent fumbling for keys would give us time to turn off the VCR and make it seem like we were only ever watching "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air"), and then pop in Taboo II for an hour and a half of laughs.

Not only did Taboo II have a hysterical plot-line (incestuous dysfunctional family where brother has hot girlfriend but sleeps with sister and mother on the side, prompting sister to eventually sleep with dad), a cameo by the Hedgehog himself, and a script of dialogue that is nothing if not the industry's magnum opus (some of the greatest one-liners of all time, including:"You really ARE my big brother!", a line so often quoted by my friends and I that it eventually became our pseudo-title for the movie: Big Brother); as if those qualities weren't enough, apparently Taboo II also had the world's greatest soundtrack as well.

I'll be totally honest: I'd never really paid attention to the score in this masterpiece, but if Adam Carolla says that sonically, it's a delight, that's all I need. I'm sold.

This is an unbelievable audio clip taken from The Adam Carolla Show. And all this time, I considered my friends and I to be some kind of band of deranged perverts because everything we ever learned about sex as adolescents came from Revenge of the Nerds and Taboo II... And to finally find out that we weren't alone... I feel like an orphan finally tracking down my paternal family.

I'm not sure what's more difficult to believe: that someone else could have had their adolescent years defined by this movie, or that Taboo II was made in 1982. This was shocking for me to learn. Carolla touches on the fact that he was watching this movie in 1984, thinking that it was vintage, made sometime in the mid-70's, and I'm totally on board with him. When we were watching this in the early '90's, I could have sworn this movie was twenty years old. I hadn't realized that the pre-shave era extended all the way into the '80's.

Another classic tidbit: The fact that Taboo III was titled "The Final Chapter", and then they went on to make 19 subsequent chapters. Gotta love the porn industry.

I still can't believe Carolla was singing along to that porn-song that sounded like the end of the chorus in Lesley Gore's It's My Party ("You would cry too if it happened tooooo yoooouuu") ...I'm still laughing.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Tanzanian Knee Surgery

DAR ES SALAAM (AFP) - A man with a brain tumour who instead received knee surgery as part of a medical mixup in Tanzania has died, the country's health minister said Friday.

Emmanuel Mgaya, who underwent knee instead of brain surgery November 8 at the country's main Muhimbili hospital, died Thursday -- two days after undergoing the proper surgery for a second time, Health Minister David Mwakyusa said.

Mwakyusa said the condition of knee patient Emmanuel Didas, operated for a non-existent brain tumour, was also critical.

The minister said Didas will be sent to India for further treatment.

"He is still in a bad condition and doctors have recommended that he should be flown abroad for specialised treatment," he added.

Mgaya was operated on locally in an attempt to save his life after his condition deteriorated further and he developed convulsions, the minister said.

"It is very unfortunate and the government is very sorry," he added.

The bungle, caused by confusion over the patients' same first name, sparked condemnation across the impoverished East African nation, known for its poor healthcare infrastructure.
The two surgeons responsible have been suspended while other staff involved have been ordered to provide written explanations for the incident.

There are only about 100 professional surgeons for a population of at least 36 million, according to the Tanzanian Surgical Association.

The fact that they operated on the brain tumour guy's knee is almost excusable. I mean, Occipital Lobe and Medial Collateral Ligament are essentially tomato-tomahto. And when you're dealing with people who have the same first name, really, how can one be expected to decipher?... But can you imagine being the guy who twisted his knee playing pick-up, falling asleep on the operating table with visions of rehabbing your way back to starting midfielder on the Tanzanian Under-20 Team, only to wake up with half of your brain scraped away?

My only question concerns the guy who was inadvertently given brain surgery: when the Health Minister recommended that he be flown elsewhere for specialised treatment, did he mean for the guy's unnecessarily shredded lid, or did he mean for his yet-to-be-performed knee surgery? Because if I was the guy with the bum knee, I'd definitely want that taken care of while out of the country.

I can't wait for the day I need to have my tonsils removed and end up waking up with a scar on my lower abdomen from an ill-advised Caesarian Section.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving (U.S. Version)

Reason #863 I love working from home (you know, aside from not having to commute through the driving snow with an inch of ice on the road; having a working day shower-optional policy; being able to have Sirius Disorder blasting from DJ Eric Foreman's sound sytem; and not having to wake up at six o'clock in the morning... ever):

Being able to sit on my couch in my underwear while watching the annual American Thanksgiving Day games on TV (and by watch on TV I mean: having the games playing in the background as I work tirelessly away... just for the record). I don't think I could ever go back to working in an office.

You'll have to excuse me as I need to go baste my Turducken. Lord love John Madden.

To see a disconcerting re-cut of the greatest Thanksgiving movie of all-time, Click HERE

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mike Tyson

I have been debating for literally months as to whether or not to post this compilation of Mike Tyson sound bites. I wanted to post them because they are unquestionably some of the funniest moments to ever take place in the history of mankind. I mean, the "Praise be to Allah!" rant is the sports soliloquy equivalent of discovering plutonium by accident, and the "I'll f#ck you 'til you love me, FAGGOT" followed immediately thereafter by the "Knock drugs out of your life by just saying NO" commercial is a piece of editorial genius... And when you get right down to it, nobody drops the word "fornicate" into a conversation with nearly the same style or eloquence as Iron Mike... But every time I watch this montage (and make no mistake, I have viewed this clip on multiple occasions), I can't help but to feel sorry for the man. I honestly can't think of a more tragic figure our generation has seen.

The guy had it all: the youngest man to ever win the World Heavyweight Title, more money than you'd think it ever possible to spend, Robin Givens on his arm, and a video game in his image that helped to shape my childhood more than I'd probably like to admit. And to look at him now... it's one of the saddest falls from grace I can ever imagine.

And yes, the man is almost assuredly a monster. He's a convicted rapist, and he has a tattoo on his face that makes the dolphin-swimming-through-the-unintelligible-Chinese-symbol on the small of my back seem like a good idea. But just like most other monsters, I can't help but to feel that he's more a reflection of society and the people he had surrounding him than anything else (think: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; the creation rebelling against its creator).

I've heard him refered to as one of the greatest boxing minds the world has ever known. When Cus D'Amato was training him, the boxing legend was filling Mike's head with a history of the sport that is essentially unparalleled, and you can even depict some of it in his infamous "I want your heart, I wanna eat your children" rant when he references Sonny Liston and Jack Dempsey. But Tyson surrounded himself with bad people. He was just a kid, and he didn't know any better. He had people use him. He had people lie to him. He had people steal from him. And he had all of those people turn their backs on him when he probably needed them the most. I'm not making excuses for the guy, I'm just saying...

But in light of all of those things, this is still pound-for-pound one of the all-time greatest Youtube clips, and I can't ever manage to get past the part where he says: "I wish one of you guys had children so I could kick them in the fuckin' head or stomp on their testicles" without spitting my drink all over my computer screen.

Click HERE to see Tyson biting Evander Holyfield's ear off

And click HERE to see something even more improbable: Little Mac knocking out Iron Mike in Mike Tyson's Punch-Out.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The 168-hour Day (or, my buddy Phatty's Wedding in Cuba)

I won't lie to you. I'm still hungover. I've been home for more than 75 hours and I can't even fathom consuming an adult beverage at this point. It was that kind of a week.

You'll have to forgive me if some of the details are fuzzy, or if the sequence of events doesn't follow the appropriate linear time compendium, or if the anecdotes fail to make any logical sense whatsoever. But the fact is, I was monumentally inebriated for the vast majority of my time spent on that quaint little communist island. Another disclaimer is that the photos should really be better, but when you mix 24-hour complimentary bar service with close proximity to water, I didn't exactly feel at ease with my camera by my side. It might have been a different story if I'd have had a fanny pack or something, but that's simply not how I roll.

(Also, my girlfriend took the liberty of erasing some of the shots she was less-than-satisfied-with, with neither my knowledge nor my consent... And there may or may not have been multiple snaps of male genetalia that needed to be discarded before arriving at the airport, quickly putting an end to the once promising "Guess Those Nuts!" segment on If you need more candid shots, I'm sure they can be found on facebook. But again, that's not how I roll. My apologies.

The trip began with my alarm going off at 3 o'clock in the morning on Friday after a satisfying 45-minutes of slumber. D-Hibb and V picked up myself and Sandra with Ronnie already in tow, and we hammered back a couple of Red Bulls sans Vodka on the way to the airport. I wanted to kill myself as soon as we got there, but polishing off a Starbucks coffee seemed to help matters. We boarded the world's most uncomfortable airplane which instantly left me longing for the comforts of Peruvian bus travel, and just when I thought that things couldn't get any worse, some kid puked on me. Yeah, that's right. I guess she was making a B-line for the bathroom but decided that my hair would suit her just as well. I tried convincing myself that it was good luck, the same way people try to convince you that a bird crapping on you is a good thing (complete bullshit - what could be more unlucky than having a bird shit on you?), but I wasn't buying it. Luckily, I was going on 45 minutes sleep, so I shut'er down in the aisle seat almost immediately after takeoff, only to be awoken every 10 minutes by having my leg repeatedly rammed by the oblivious flight attendant's beverage cart, all of this whilst breathing in the spring-fresh aroma of bile in my lettuce. Good times.

We arrived in the blistering heat of the Cuban morning sometime after 10, and life was good for everyone but Tony the Wedding Photographer, who I'm pretty sure had to undergo a full cavity search when the Cuban officials caught a glimpse of his camera equipment. And then there was Wayne, the only true brother in the crew, who was questioned incessantly because... well, because he's black. For some reason I thought that racism didn't span all the way to Communist regimes (the whole business of a classless, stateless social organization and all...), but I guess bigotry knows no policital bounds.

In any event, we eventually made it to the resort and immediately began systematcially dismembering the bar. I mean, it was pretty impressive. Combine the fact that most people were going on less than four hours sleep, and it was a disaster waiting to happen. The swim-up bar didn't stand a chance, and by 3:30 in the afternoon we were tossing the pigskin around the joint (Leeroy took one clean off the lid while ordering a Mojito - one of the funniest things I've ever seen) much to the disgust of every civilized person sitting poolside, offending every walk of life with our incessant drunken belligerence, nearly coming to fisticuffs with a number of speedo-clad Europeans, and then watching in abject horror as the groom-to-be stood above the swim-up bar, unleashed his soon-to-be-wed man-meat, and inconceivably pissed into the pool... It was the gongshow to end all afternoon gongshows, and I found myself wondering whether or not a group of 46 had ever been kicked out of an all-inclusive Cuban resort less than six hours after arrival... But Phatty soon put my mind at ease by rationalizing: "We're 1/3 of the people here. We have every right to have a good time."

What can I say? We roll thick.

By 6:30 that night, there were only four soldiers left standing, and as myself, Ronnie, D-Hibb, and Rich sat around the poolside bar single-handedly murdering a bottle of Vodka sans mix, chaser, or glasses for that matter (the bottle was The Bomber's prize for winning the "Mr. Macho Man Competition" a few hours earlier - as if there were ever any doubt), we found ourselves wondering just how the fuck we were supposed to last until 7:30, at which time the dinner buffet allegedly opened. I went back to the room to wake Sandra from her siesta, and we somehow made it down to the buffet where, according to outsiders reports, our behaviour was nothing short of "mortifying" (Sandra's words). I can't say I remember all that much except for Ronnie bellowing his own name like some kind of an amplified tourettes patient and the fact that Mabes astonishingly showed up for dinner so she could bring her dead-to-the-world husband back a few slices of bread; but what I do know is that every single one of the White Oaks graduating class of 1997 was sound asleep by 9pm on our first night in Cuba. Way to represent.

The next day, and all of the ensuing days for that matter, went a little something like this (when you don't leave the resort for 7 days and there are massive quantities of alcohol involved, the daytime hours tend to take on a "melting-into-one" type of feeling):

- Wake up in time for breakfast... Well, this is a lie. Sometimes I made it in time for breakfast. The other times I slept until noon, rationalizing that my fair Irish skin couldn't handle an entire days-worth of rays. But on the first morning, I definitely made it down in time for breakfast.

- Eat an omlette and drink some orange juice. On the mornings they had hashbrowns, scarf as many back as humanly possible.

- Grab a cappucino and sit by the pool. And then go to the beach. And then maybe wander back to the pool for awhile. Drink numerous Pina Coladas con Havana Club negro. Try not to get busted looking at topless sunbathers. Eat a sandwich of dubious origins. Switch from pina coladas to cervezas (The Cristal was fantastic. The Bucanero wasn't half-bad... What the hell am I talking about? I would have been knocking back Milwaukee's Bests if they'd handed them to me at that point). Participate in the volleyball game in the pool. Make an inappropriate remark about men wearing banana hammocks. Head back to the room for a siesta as the sun sets.

And this was pretty well the way each day went. We played the WOSS version of the alumni football game on the beach one day, where the D-Hibb to yours truly combo made the Brady-Moss tandem seem more like Vick-PETA... To use the term-du-jour: we simply imposed our will upon the opposition. It was nothing short of sheer dominance.

On another afternoon, we wandered down the beach to this fantastic little hut that served fresh grilled lobster tail as a self-taught local musician played guitar for us... It was quite delightful. But other than that, it was essentially the same thing everyday. Cayo Guillermo is located in the middle of nowhere, and while I usually like to head into some kind of a town in a futile attempt to soak in some of the local culture, we were literally stuck at the resort for the entire week... not that that's necessarily anything to complain about, but still: I wish there was more I could tell you about Cuba, other than the fact that Cubans have a difficult time acquiring Rawlings baseball mitts (one of the guys there said that he'd trade us anything for our gloves: Rum, Cigars, Women... you name it, and it's yours. So just as a sidenote: if you're heading to Cuba, bring some spare ball gloves. It will probably be worth your while). So needless to say, I will be heading to Havana for a four-day jaunt in the not-too-distant future, because what I did see of the Cuban culture (mainly, the music) was enough to whet my sociological whistle... And the cigars aren't too shabby either.

And then there were the Cuban nights. Like I said, we didn't get to see too much of the first night, but we more than made up for it in the ensuing evening hours. We spent most of our second night at the resort's disco where Phatty took over on the turntables with his impeccable taste in house and jungle... if you're into that. Apparently one of the Frenchmen in attendance was into that, because at one point he grabbed Phatty by the arm and forcefully took him outside. Naturally, we all assumed that the groom-to-be had gotten a little carried away with his camera and had taken an ill-advised snap of this dude's lady friend, so a large contingent of us followed the two of them outside, bracing ourselves for some kind of an international incident that would surely land us in Guantanamo Bay or some other such accomodations for an extended stay (I was doing crowd control inside... if by crowd control you mean ordering another cerveza and watching from the safety of the bar). In any event, what this French dude said to Phatty, believe it or not, was that he simply LOVED Phatty's taste in music, and that he was begging him to impart exactly where he had procured such astonishing beats. This was about the last thing I would have ever expected to come from that exchange. Too funny.
There may or may not have been some photos taken with various people in uncompromising positions (most notably, there may be a shot circulating somewhere with the groom-to-be burying his face in a mouthful of my billowing chest hair/dead squirrel, but you didn't hear it from me). I have no idea how this night ended. It may have been the Maggie May night, or it may not have been.

In case it wasn't, the following night ended in the most ridiculous fashion possible. The last three awake were D-Hibb, Phatty's Aunt Maggie (a saint of a woman from jolly old England), and myself. After countless beverages at the 24-hour lobby bar, D-Hibb and I ended up escorting the lovely Aunt Maggie back to her room. It turns out we'd all had more than a few too many, and it took us a good half-hour to get Maggie May back to her dwelling; partly because we were having a difficult time standing up, but mostly because Maggie took us to the wrong building not once, but twice... I'm not talking about walking down the hallway and putting her key in the wrong door; I'm talking about taking us up three flights of stairs before realizing we were in the wrong structure. Absolutely classic. Along the way, she extinguished her cigarette and D-Hibb and I made damn sure it was exterminated, spitting on it, pissing on it, and eventually leaving it for dead in somewhere in the Cuban night... At the time, it was the funniest thing since we moved Skeeter's parents' entire living room furniture set outside so we could watch TV under the stars back in the 12th grade, but today? Not quite so funny. The night concluded with D-Hibb and I stopping into the lobby bar for one last belt (a shot of 7-year old dark rum for me, and a quadruple Bailey's con hielo for D-Hibb), where we were sent on our way with just about the most racially offensive words these ears have ever absorbed. Obviously I can't repeat it verbatim, but let's just say that it had something to do with the bartender insinuating that I was going back to my room where I would be repeatedly sodomized by my boyfriend who just happened to be a (insert-every-unrepeatable-racial-slur-you've-ever-encountered here). We were unmitigatedly stunned. And believe me, to offend the likes of D-Hibb and me, you really have to go above and beyond. Again, naively, I just never expected it in a socialist state.

On one of the other nights, some English dude challenged D-Hibb to what essentially amounted to a Vodka drinking contest (they somehow came to the conclusion that they were both of Polish descent), and the two of them hammered back at least 8 triple shots of straight Vodka from wine-glass-looking goblets. I have no idea how D-Hibb was standing by the end of the night, but he managed to outlast both myself, and the guy who had challenged him (Ronnie ended up helping to drag the lifeless carcass of the guy back to his room, and in the midst of it, this dude apparently experienced a... how shall we say... loose bowel accident? I guess Ronnie was in the middle of leaning in close to help pick this guy up, and he could only describe the sound as that which comes from stepping into the wet mud on the outskirts of a swamp... Ugghh... In any event, Ronnie pretty much caught a mouthful of the fetid stench and puked instantaneously. Thank the baby Jesus I had already turned it in for the night). Also, as a side note, the loser of the Vodka drinking contest was supposed to fly to Havana the following morning, but needless to say, he didn't make his flight. In fact, it turned out he needed to seek medical attention, prompting D-Hibb to coin the phrase: "If you're gonna drink with D-Hibb, you can expect to go to the medic". Happy to see we're maturing gracefully as we round out our 20's.

Wednesday afternoon marked the wedding of Phatty and Liz; the future Mr. and Mrs. Withall. The ceremony was originally slated to take place on the pier which extended half a mile out into the ocean, but apparently there was some big tropical storm that rolled through a few weeks prior, rendering the pier pretty well unusable. No worries. The ceremony ended up being held in one of the gazebos on the lush, natural grounds of that beautiful tropical resort; hey, a couple could do worse. They had a pretty killer Cuban jazz outfit pumping out the tunes before and after, and the ceremony was short and sweet, just the way it should be. Liz looked absolutely stunning, and Phatty was looking totally money in his Miami Vice-worthy white linens.

The one thing I was worried about throughout the wedding was the fact that the ceremony was conducted in the Cuban fashion and under all of the Cuban laws, and all of the vows stressed how marriage involved sharing everything equally just like they did here in Cuba... which got me to thinking... wait a minute? Does that mean marriage in general and this wedding in particular is just another means of enrolling yourself to the communist state? Is marriang anti-American? Would George W. be invading their hotel room on the honeymoon in order to liberate them? And will Phatty and Liz be banished from the U.S. because they were married under Cuban law?... Just a few of the thoughts that were running through my head as Sandra cried over the beauty of the ceremony and the romantic nature of love in general.

The speeches at the reception were top-notch, highlighted by Skeeter almost having his eyes become sweaty in the middle of his address, and Phatty's 13-year old niece talking about how much she looked up to her Uncle Phil. It was really quite touching. We ended up smoking some fat Cohibas after dinner and then heading out to the disco, but not before I ended up having to take Sandra up to the room to put her to bed. She wasn't too keen on the idea, and despite the fact that she really couldn't stand up, she was determined to make it down to the reception. The next thing I knew, she was passed out in the hallway in nothing but a bedsheet. I have no idea how this happened, but it was just that kind of night.

When I eventually made it back down to the party, bedlam had pretty well ensued. I wouldn't have remembered anything had it not been for the fact that I actually had my camera with me. Apparently Sweet Nate caught the garter, and as is the custom, he wore it on his head like a hat for the rest of the night. There was also some killer dancing going on, as well as a guest appearance by none other than the Toronto Raptor's own Andrea Bargnani. There were also multiple shots of tequila, instigated by Phatty's uncle Stew. Again, I'm not really certain how this night ended, but I do recall having some serious heart-to-heart conversations with two of Phatty's other uncles (Steve and Mike, if I recall correctly). They were great lads, and they may have even invited me over to England so they could take me for a tour of Stonehenge and to sit in a few wee pubs. Unfortunately for them, I just may take them up on it.

Some of the other highlights from the week included: smoking Cohibas (the $18 Esplendido I smoked on the last night pretty well killed me. Is it possible to O.D. on cigars?); watching The Bomber fall in love with one of the dancers from the nightly show; listening to the Cuban music (despite the fact that we only got a tiny sampling, it has a certain vibe that you can't help but groove to - again, can't wait to hit up Havana for a true representation of this country's culture); the pina coladas con Havana Club negro at the swim-up bar. Really, what more could you want in a vacation?

Lowlight? Some low-life pervert parading around outside our room in nothing but a leopard-print G-string. Honestly. Who wears that?

All in all, it was a fantatastic week. I would be remiss if I didn't thank the ladies, or as I like to call them: The White-Oaks-in-laws. You are all a bunch of sweethearts for putting up with us while we relived our glory years with countless highly-entertaining-yet-somehow-still-pertinently-relevent high school glory stories. And thanks of course to Phatty and Liz for allowing us the opportunity to share in your wedding day. It's a week that neither I nor my liver will ever forget.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

High School Reunion

In honour of this week's "unofficial" White Oaks Secondary School 10-year reunion going on in Cuba (my buddy Phatty is getting hitched under the watchful eye of a Communist regime {can you feel the romance?}, and a dozen or so of the former high school legends will be making the trip south to sit in on the nuptials - most of us are bringing our better halves, and needless to say, with the rum going down faster than a Hastings Street hooker and the glory stories being tossed around like a pair of Freshman co-eds with self esteem issues, we're putting the over/under for guys coming home single at 2.5 - so far the smart money is moving towards the "over"), I decided to delve into my OAC yearbook to see exactly what was going down a decade ago.

(Note: still no word on whether or not WOSS's fourth most famous alumnus, the above pictured Mike Vanderjagt, will be in attendance. Vanderjagt of course fits into the list of most famous WOSS alumni behind: Ante "Tony" Josip Mandarich (taken 2nd overall in the '89 NFL Draft, one pick ahead of Barry Sanders... yeah, that Barry Sanders), Chris Hadfield (first Canadian to walk in space), Hamish Guthrie (not an actual WOSS grad), and just slightly ahead of Super Dave the Custodian (not certain whether or not he graduated at all). To call that list a murderer's row would be an understatement of the highest order.)

As for the OAC yearbook, just let me begin by saying that there is absolutely nothing more mortifying than going back and reading what you wrote in the comments section next to your graduating picture. I think Thomas Pynchon put it best when he said: "You may already know what a blow to the ego it can be to have to read over anything you wrote 20 years ago, even cancelled checks." Well, let me tell you that 10 years ain't much better.

For Exhibit A, you need look no further than what I wrote for my "Last Words". This was what I was leaving my entire high school graduating class with, presumably so they could remember me for all of eternity. And what I wrote was:

"You take care of yourself, I'll take care of the rest."

... I mean, what the fuck is that even supposed to mean, anyway? I sat here and read it thirty-six times and I still have no idea. But I guess when you think about it, you really can't imagine there ever existing a more pompous, self-important, vainglorious human being than a 19-year old on the verge of graduating high school (as if that were some sort of a staggering achievement or something). I mean, really: who the fuck did I think I was?

In any event, I was able to come across some pretty entertaining quips in this section, most of which came from the people who will be sipping Mojitos with me on the beach in less than 15 hours. So here are the awards I'm handing out from the high school yearbook quotes of White Oaks Secondary School's graduating class of 1997:

Best "Ambition" (tie)

- Steve Charbonneau: "To own a strip bar"
- Sweet Nate: "Get Paid"

Best "Pet Peeve"

Sweet Nate: "Bad Squiqs"

(a reference to the fuzzy buzzies: channels 43-47 on the local cable network that supplied free squiggly porn in the days before we knew that the internet could be used for good. Sometimes you could make out a boob here and some girating there, which was all good. Other times you'd be tugging to a fine piece of ace only to learn that it belonged to a dude; hence, the "bad squigs")

Most Ironic "Pet Peeve"

Phatty: "Darts" (the groom-to-be is currently employed as a representative for Rothmans Benson and Hedges)

Best "Greatest Influence"

D-Hibb: "My Hammer"

Indecipherable whether they're the weakest or most profound "Last Words" (aside from mine, whose inanity have been well documented)

Skeeter: "To forget is to move on"

Best "Last Words"

Pardy: "Drink more, you'll like me!!!"

As I alluded to before, my graduating quotes were about as lame as they get, so I'm giving myself a mulligan. Here's what I would have written, knowing what I know now, 10 years down the road (is that a mixed up Seger/Springsteen quote, or just subliminal foreshadowing?)

Nickname: I never had one and I wish I'd never tried to give myself one in my high school yearbook. I was an idiot 10 years ago, and some might argue that I remain one to this day. Sometimes it's difficult to disagree with the majority.

Favourite Saying: "If you're gonna be a man in the nighttime, you gotta be a man in the morning" (heard that one on the radio at 6 o'clock on Saturday morning, driving to hockey. Needless to say, it resonated at the time)

Ambition: "(insert friend's name)'s mom." Either that, or "Mediocre Web-based Smut-Peddler"

Coolest Memory: The truth was, I hated high school at the time. It was pure hell, and I think it remains that way for most kids today. But if I had to put one down at the time, I would have said "Hibbard naked on the picnic table at 7pm in the pouring rain at Elora Gorge". To this day, that still seems pretty cool. Of course, today, we just refer to that entire state of mind as: "Remember that time in HIGH SCHOOL..." (one of our girlfriend's just broke up with us as I typed that)

Pet Peeve: At the time I wrote "Good people doing bad things". And as self-righteous and indulgent as it was, that's still a pet peeve of mine. I have no time for people who make excuses for their behaviour and refuse to take responsibility. Don't be such a fuck-up. So I'm sticking with that one.

Known For: 10 years ago, I wrote that I was known for "Friday nights". And at the time I was. I was the go-to guy if you wanted to know what was going down. If it was a party you were looking for, there was a party I could get you. Today? My Friday nights mostly consist of sitting in front of the computer and turning in stone-sober before midnight. Not sure I want to be known for that anymore. I guess today I'd put: "Making that old guy drink beer out of my jock at Clarkson in Club '99 back in the spring of 2002". As you can see, I've done a lot of growing in the interim years.

Philosophy: No self-respecting guy would ever have a philosophy on life, let alone write it down in their yearbook.

Probable Destination: 10 years ago, I wrote that my probable destination was: "Hungover". I still think that single word is the highlight of my creative high school career. Sheer brilliance.

Last Words: This is the toughest section. What do you want people to remember you by? I have narrowed it down to a first runner-up and the quote, if given another chance, I'd leave my fellow WOSS Wildcats to remember me by.

First Runner-up:

"My style is impetuous. My defense is impregnable, and I'm just ferocious. I want your heart. I want to eat his children. Praise be to Allah!!!"
- Mike Tyson

Last Words:

"Walk tall... or baby don't walk at all."
- Bruce Springsteen

The blog will probably be offline for the next week because I'm told that Cuba doesn't exactly have a great deal of readily available internet access, but I'll see what I can do.

In the meantime, feel free to amuse yourself with the pop-culture peddling of my good friends at

Sunday, November 4, 2007

My Baseball Card Collection

This one really defies explanation.

I know that all 6,400 cards could be purchased for two easy payments of $99.98, but really, after Don West lays his fat ass on top of your prospective collection and begins to do the front crawl, I think it's safe to say that your investment is depreciating with every stroke.

The best part is that he knows full well that he's utterly napalming the financial value of the entire collection, because he says: "I mean literally, I don't wanna lay on 'em here because I don't wanna bend anything..."

...And then before you can say "Folks, you're not gonna go wrong on this...", he's swan-diving into all 3,200 to emphasize exactly how many mint condition Michael Jordon College Rookies there are in the pile...

"'85 Tops!!!"

"OOOOH, another Mark McGuire!!!"

Saturday, November 3, 2007


I won't lie to you. I'm not as young as I used to be. In fact, two weeks ago I helped a good buddy of mine celebrate his 30th birthday (and by help, of course, I mean it was my responsibility to bring the beer bong and to make him believe that he was actually celebrating his 20th birthday). He was the first really close friend of mine to hit the big 3-0, which in the grand scheme of things means that I can't be all that far behind in terms of crossing that psychological threshold that supposedly propells us into middle-age... If you'll bear with me here, I need to go stick my head in the oven for awhile.

In any event, what this reluctant journey into true adulthood means is that I'm no longer privy to the kind of slang that may or may not have at one time or another made me feel a part of the day's youth. That adolescent vernacular used to define who I was in a lot of ways, and as the pages of the calendar continue to turn (with an increasingly alarming rapidity, I might add), I find myself further and further removed from the avant garde parlance of the present day.

There was a time when I used to be entrenched in the colloquial, helping to define and redifine the local dialect and jive. Today? Most people I know are talking about mortgage rates and wedding dates, and rather than being on the cusp of an etymological movement I feel as though I'm on the cusp of slipping a disc.

But fortunately, through the magic of the www, there are a number of avenues to plug the devoted wordsmith back into that previously dissipating world of the vernacular. And for my money, there is no better source on this earth than

Not only is this, hands down, one of the most entertaining sites in which to lose your curiously knowledge-thirsty self, but it can also be of the utmost value to your aging, increasingly-declining-into-a-state-of-social-lameness self.

For example, I have a good buddy who happens to be a highschool English teacher. And there was a time, not all that long ago, when he was one of the most cleverly quick-witted, undercover insult slingers on the planet. Of course, he was talking in an innovative and precocious adolescent dialect that would have been impossible for his superiors to discern, let alone reprimand him for; which is precisely why he could get away with announcing the occasional "rusty trombone" in music class, or asking a seemingly irrelevant and perplexing question about Abe Lincoln during a history presentation.

But today, the shoe is seemingly on the other foot. Because just as this friend of mine was once wise to the ways of the evolving street jargon of his day, he too is now surely befuddled by the verbal idiosyncracies of his fledgling students. But fear not, Richie. The next time one of your shit-disturbing peons who failed once again to read the third act of Henry IV, Part I snickeringly asks you how that chilli dog you had for lunch was, you'll be able to verbally pimp-hand his ass to the point that he cries like the whiny bitch he invariably is.

Some of my favourite definitions are for words we use in everday life. For example:

Life: A sexually-transmitted, terminal disease.

Some of the definitions are clever and poignant:

Slut: A woman with the morals of a man.

While others are simply clever:

Whore: A woman that sleeps with everyone but YOU!!!!!

There are words for things we could never think of names for:

Tramp Stamp: A tattoo above a woman's ass crack.

Words for which we never knew the true meaning:

Tosser: Literally, one who masturbates. Common usage typically refers to anyone of whom you have a low opinion.

And words for things we never thought we'd be:

Dotcomrade: An Internet acquaintance; someone you chat with but have never actually met.

There are words for things we never thought we'd see:

Hallowthanksmas: The period of time starting in late October and ending on New Year's Eve, so named for the commercial tendency to put up Christmas displays before Halloween. See also Christmahanukwanzakah

And words for things we didn't know could be:

Obeausity: The Theory that it would be easier to change our definition of beauty than to loose weight.

There are words for bad decisions:

Tatoo: A permanent reminder of a temporary feeling.
(The only thing better than this definition might be one of the accompanying photos)

And there are words for very bad decisions:

George Bush: (see photo)

There are words for things we invented:

Rock Show T-Shirt Rule: The rule which governs when it is acceptable to wear the T-shirt of the band up on stage. The rule is as follows:

You are NOT permitted to wear a T-shirt of the band performing on stage unless:

a) The T-shirt was purchased at a show which took place more than 20 years earlierand/or

b) The venue at which the T-shirt's show took place is no longer in existence (ex: Exhibition Stadium, The Boston Garden)and/or

c) You are at least 50 years of age and simply don't know any better

And words for things we'd like to invent:

DJ Eric Foreman: Legendary Toronto DJ who spins killer vinyl classics of the Rock and Motor City Soul variety into the wee hours of the debauchery-filled morning, often culminating in embarassingly inebriated sing-alongs and complaints from the neighbours.

But most of all, there are just words. A seemingly endless array of beautiful, educational, and entertaining words. Even if some (most) are vulgar, we are better educated, increasingly perceptive, additionally empathetic, and more articulate people for knowing them.

So educate yourself. It's easy, it's fun, and it's free. But please keep in mind that if you're looking for "official" definitions, you might be better off consulting with As an example of the highbrow/lowbrow dichotomy, you need look no further than each website's Word of the Day (of which I subscribe to both - it really is all about balance). I suggest comparing Oct. 29th for starters: vs.

Enjoy the etymology.