Monday, July 27, 2009

Gerry Dee and Sir Charles

This is hands down one of the funniest interviews I've ever seen. Is there anybody better than Chuck? Nobody riffs like the Round Mound of Rebound... That strip joint comment was pure genius.

As for Gerry Dee, I've had the pleasure of catching his act in person and he is top notch.

Bonus Coverage:

Gerry Dee challenging Jason Kapono to a 3-point competition, Grade 8 style:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Challenger for "Headline of the Year"

Man Catches Fire After Being Tasered

SYDNEY (July 21) -- A man whose relatives say had been sniffing gasoline burst into flames after a police officer Tasered him as he ran at officials carrying a container of fuel, police said Tuesday...

Western Australia police said they were responding to a complaint at a house when Mitchell ran outside carrying a cigarette lighter and a large plastic bottle containing what they believe was fuel. When he refused to stop running toward them, one officer Tasered him, police said in a statement.

The man was immediately engulfed in flames. The officer threw him to the ground and smothered the blaze with his hands, the statement said. Mitchell was charged with assault to prevent arrest and possession of a sniffing substance.

An 18-year-old woman threw rocks at the officer as he tried to help...

Let's get one thing straight: there's nothing funny about spontaneous combustion, especially when you're huffing gasoline. Talk about a buzz-kill.

But is there something funny about an 18-year old girl throwing rocks at officers trying to help out a recently tasered gas-huffer who is currently engulfed in flames?

Yes. Yes there is.

Two Mexican Midget Wrestlers Killed by Fake Prostitutes? The gauntlet has been thrown down.

(And any excuse to show the "Don't Tase Me, Bro!" video is blog-worthy by my scorecard):

Monday, July 20, 2009

Parking Tickets in Toronto

So here's the thing. I have received 3 parking tickets in the past 3 weeks. That's close to $100 that I won't be spending on buckets of Amsterdam Blonde at The Cadillac Lounge. And I can deal with that. In most instances, it was my own stupidity that resulted in my ticket. I wasn't even bitter the time I popped into Chippy's for takeout with my dad and came back to my car 3 minutes later only to find that unmistakable yellow slip in my windshield... I was so shocked that the parking ticket dude was able to write up a ticket that fast that I could do nothing but tip my cap. I felt like Ron Burgundy after Baxter ate a whole wheel of cheese and pooped in the refrigerator: I wasn't even mad... Just amazed.

In any event, I have a great idea that I think the City of Toronto should give some strong consideration.

Living in the digital age that we currently inhabit, as you well know, almost everything is done online. And paying for your parking infractions through the City of Toronto's website is no different. But here's the thing: they charge you a $1.50 convenience fee to pay your ticket online.

So let me get this straight: in a City that professes itself to be one of the leaders in sustainable development (passing a watered down green roof by-law), and in a city that rightfully tries to discourage you from driving into the City's downtown core by bombarding you with an endless array of parking tickets, they are actually penalizing you for paying your tickets from the comforts of your own home (where, presumably, you will not be clogging the city streets with you carbon emitting vehicle).

A $1.50 convenience charge... It's as if they think the internet is this brand new invention that they should charge a fee for because they invented it or something...

So here's my suggestion: I would happily pay the $1.50 convenience charge if there was a section that gave you 140 characters worth of twitter-like comment space. Not only would this be endlessly entertaining for the people from the City who would get the opportunity to sift through these comments (wouldn't a collection of these comments be the best website since, but it would be highly cathartic for those frustrated transgressors, who would probably be able to resist beating the tar out of the parking enforcer if they knew they'd be able to express their displeasure online.

So, until the City of Toronto adopts this idea for their online payment option, here is what I would have written for my last 3 tickets:


2. I thought you assholes were on strike...

3. Alright... I cry Uncle...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Deer Tick at the Horseshoe Tavern - 07.17.09

Frankly, I've never seen anything quite like it.

Two years ago, I wrote a piece about the all-time top-5 shows I'd ever attended. Now granted, I have been to a tonne of ridiculously good shows in the past 2 years, so that list probably requires some updating. But last night's performance by John McCauley and company is definitely in the conversation. It was just that good.

(Disclaimer: I attended this show alone. I'm trying to decide whether this means that a) I am the world's biggest loser; b) my friends have gotten incredibly lame as they approach/crest their 30s; or c) I was so stoked about catching Deer Tick's set that I was willing to go it alone. The safe bet is that it was probably a combination of the 3).

In any event, in my failed attempts to recruit a fellow concert goer, I billed Deer Tick (check their MySpace page) as the best thing to come out of Providence since The Rhode Island Slut; their live performance went a long way in solidifying that reputation.

I had met my buddy Dunner and some friends at The Underground Garage for a few pre-show beverages before heading over to the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern to catch the last few tunes by Dawes. They played a solid couple of tracks, with the exclamation point being their closing number with McCauley and a bottle of Jack Daniels on stage which they proceeded to swig from before passing around to various members of the audience, Swine Flu epidemic notwithstanding. Yep, it was going to be that kind of a night. And it was certainly that kind of a crowd.

I've seen countless shows at the world famous 'Shoe, but in all honesty, I haven't seen a crowd that raucous in a long, long time. Over-serving was the order of the day, and without exaggeration, I literally saw some dude pass out in the middle of the melee during one of the tunes. It was absolutely ridiculous. The dancing, the singing, the beer spraying... It was an off-the-charts party atmosphere, and Deer Tick absolutely upped the ante with their performance.

They opened with Easy, which is easily one of my favourite tunes off the new record (Born On Flag Day), and they absolutely crushed it. Their sound is this rollicking, boisterous, rootsy-blues-alt-country mix (think a raucous, booze-filled cocktail of Steve Earle, John Prine, Dylan and The Band 18-months after going electric, and just a dash of late 70's Springsteen and Thin Lizzie for good measure), and for a band that had been partying relentlessly all night, they were tighter than I would have ever imagined. Just a breathtaking display of musicianship.

Houston, TX was another favourite of mine, as was a surprising uptempo and rocking version of Baltimore Blues No. 1. These Old Shoes was phenomenal, as was Ashamed, which resulted in one of the great sing alongs that I have ever been a part of (the lyric "murdered my throat screamin' bloody all night" having never been more appropriate, with McCauley's voice having been annihilated by the night's work). They threw in an admirable cover of Tom Petty's Breakdown just for good measure.

But the highlight for me came at about 2:15am. Most of the shows I've attended at the 'Shoe tend to wrap up at the exact stroke of 2:00am, but the band was still rocking away, with no end in sight. This was probably in part due to the energy of the crowd, and in part due to the band's working class desire to play until the lights come on. Somebody side-stage informed the band that they had one song left, and that would be it... Which prompted McCauley to announce:

"Apparently, this is our last song... But don't worry... We'll make it epic..."

Quite possibly the understatement of the year. They kicked into a thrashing multi-song medley that finished with a mosh-inducing version of Labamba, which concluded only when McCauley, lead guitarist Andrew Tobiassen, and the lead singer from Dawes leaped from the stage and crowd-surfed to the back of the dancefloor... I was soaked in beer and sweat, and it was absolutely glorious.

The bar couldn't turn on the house lights fast enough, but that didn't stop the crowd from relentlessly chanting for an encore, which McCauley eventually provided by sitting down at the keyboard and coaxing his bandmates into one more thrashing blues tune to the rapture of the entire congregation.

Needless to say, it was one of the finest performances this critic has ever seen.



Baltimore Blues No. 1

Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Diversion

A little something to get you through to the weekend. As always, here is some of the best stuff I've come across over the course of the past few weeks:

Priced To Sell
By Malcolm Gladwell

A relevant take on the market-driven price of information and ideas in the digital age. Stewart Brand once declared: "Information wants to be free". And as a site that provides little more than information...ummm... I'm going to have to agree.

The Glorious Third
By Hendrik Hertzberg

A look into the reasons behind Sarah Pallin's resignation. Hint: there's a good chance the reason's involve $$$... And I absolutely love the candour in the answer given by Levi Johnston, the 19-year old father of Pallin's grandchild:

“Levi,” a reporter put in, “say Sarah Palin ran for President in 2012. Would you vote for her?”

Johnston sighed. “No,” he said. “I think she’s a great lady and all, but after seeing what she did now—you know, this leaving Alaska—I would have to say no. I mean, obviously if she’s stressed out as governor, I mean, moving up to the Vice-President or President is huge. I just don’t think, anymore, that she’s cut out for the job.”

Let's Celebrate the "Summer of Mailbag"
By Bill Simmons

I won't lie to you: ever since The Sports Guy began twittering, his columns have been less-than-impressive. Fortunately for mankind, he has made a triumphant return with his most recent mailbag. Here are some of my favourite Q&As:

Q: Let's imagine for a second that you go to hell and are going to be forced to watch every game a sports team ever played and will play for the rest of eternity. Except, your memory will be wiped so you don't know the results (to maximize the agony) and you will become a die-hard fan of that team with no memory of other fan association (to ensure you don't get free Red Sox tickets forever). Which team in each of the four major sports will Satan be bestowing on you?-- Marty, Flint, Mich.

SG: Cubs, Bills, Clippers, Maple Leafs. I didn't have to think for even six seconds about it. In fact, I think this is part of hell -- you have to adopt these four teams and watch their games as you listen to a looped recording of Bill Russell's laugh mixed in with Yoko Ono music and no-longer-timely sideline reports from Tony Siragusa. Welcome to hell.

(As both a Leafs and a Bills fan, I agree wholeheartedly... But I'm sure there will be a breakthrough in my counseling sessions any day now, so I'm not overly worried.)

Q: How suffocating was Kobe's wife during L.A.'s locker room celebration? Didn't you half-expect to see her with champagne goggles on? There's a certain distance wives need to provide when a man wins a championship, no?-- Bill Ryan, Cherry Hill, N.J.

SG: Look, that's one of many reasons the NBA title celebration is the single worst in sports. We don't want to watch "The Family Man" with Nic Cage. We want to see guys letting loose! Here's how I would fix it:

1. We need a better trophy -- the Larry O'Brien trophy is just as clunky and ineffective as O'Brien was as commissioner. Maybe that's why they named it after him. It's horrendous. It looks like they cryogenically froze Verne Troyer and covered him in gold. What's wrong with just ripping off the Stanley Cup, only making the bottom a half-basketball? Lord Stanley's Cup is genius. You can kiss it, you can drink from it, you can hoist it over your head … there's just no downside. If you're telling me that it fits in better with hockey because NHL players drink beer and NBA players smoke pot, then fine, let's make a Stanley Cup that looks like a bong. We can call it the Stanley Bong. But let's do something...

Q: I still can't get over the fact that Sidney Crosby has been living with Mario Lemieux since he was first drafted. Can you imagine any other sport in which the No. 1 pick would go and live with his team's owner?-- Darren Low, Toronto

SG: Couldn't agree more, and I have been thinking about it ever since it was mentioned during the finals and I said, "Wait a second, he's STILL living there?" I always thought hockey differentiated itself from other sports with the Canadian connection, playoff beards, fighting, the Cup, coming back into a game 10 minutes after taking 50 stitches in the face from a slapshot and everything else of that ilk. But you're right -- Crosby/Lemieux should be the first thing mentioned in any "Why are hockey players different than all other types of athletes?" conversation. If Matthew Stafford moved in with the Detroit Lions' owner, we'd think it was the weirdest thing that ever happened and make him a running joke every time he threw an interception: Look out, Matthew, you're gonna get grounded! Uh-oh, they're gonna take cable out of your room! That kind of stuff.

In hockey? You could tell me any story about an NHL player, and I'd believe it. You could tell me Crosby and Geno Malkin share a condo, a bedroom and a bunk bed … I'd believe it. You could tell me the Maple Leafs soak their hands in deer urine before games because it makes their knuckles stronger … I'd believe it. You could tell me Chris Chelios is still playing at age 46 … I'd believe it. (What? He is?) You could tell me all NHL teams travel by bus and not plane … I'd believe it. Hockey players are a different breed. That's why we love them.

You know how I started the Tyson Zone for athletes who pass the point of craziness and eventually you'll believe any story about them? I'd argue that there's also an NHL Zone -- you could pick any NHL-related story, real or made up, and tell another sports fan that story, and they'd have no choice but to believe it. Why? Because of moments like, "Yeah, the captain of the Stanley Cup champs still lives at his owner's house even though he's 21."

Nike Confiscates Vides of Lebron Getting Dunked On
By The Canadian Press

The reason none of my dunks have appeared on YouTube.

Thanks to Ronnie for the link

The Story of Prisoner F95488
By Sam Alipour

A sad story illustrating how the American justice system can fail, shronicling the story of USCB soocer star Eric Frimpong

Thanks to DVZ for the link.

Two Mexican Midget Wrestlers Killed by Fake Prostitutes
By The Associated Press

Fairly self-explanatory. The runaway favourite for "Headline of the Year".

Thanks to Llibs for the story.

The Podcast of the Week comes courtesy of Bill Simmons, as he talks with Chris Connelly about celebrity deaths, the fact that we are quickly approaching the end of the decade (huh?), and the discrepancy in the quality of movies from the 90s to the 00s.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Down The Shore Everything's Alright...




To me, nothing says "Summer" quite like a day at the beach. And having spent a considerable amount of time down the Jersey Shore, there are few places for me that evoke what it means to feel young, alive, wild and free.

And don't get me wrong: I love the state of New Jersey. Bruce Springsteen; Asbury Park; Frank Sinatra; Long Beach Island; Puddy... What's not to like?

But with that being said...really... Nothing could have ever prepared me for these clips. I think the kid at the end of the "Guido Beach" segment put it best when he said: "That's liquid GOLD!"

From Ms. "It's Different" and the shirtless pubescent-'stache-dude's "serious relationship", clear through to Jen from "Jew-ville" who loves the shore for its juice-heads, these clips just don't quit.

I'm telling you, this entire collection of clips is like a video documentation of my last trip to the Jersey Shore with my buddies Dunner and Ronnie... Except, you know... if it were the exact opposite.

(By the way, if you had to guess what year that first clip is from, what would you say? 1982? 1972?... The fact that the footage is from 1992 makes me want to challenge that crazy payphone girl to a fight)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Livin' Large

If you like great writing, basketball, and cringe-worthy tales of Freshman awkwardness, check out the Livin' Large segment on Basketbawful. It is the story of Matt McHale's foray into the world of sharing a dormroom with a college basketball player... And it is absolutely brilliant:

Livin' Large: Part 1

Part 2 (Phenomenal)

And for the entire Livin' Large archives (through Part 9 and counting), click HERE

Here's a sample from Part 1:

When we got to the room, it was unlocked, which I found strange. (Upon check in, I was informed that Safety Rule #1 was "Always lock your door, even when you're in the room.") I walked in and immediately turned to my mom, told her to wait, and closed the door. I wasn't prepared for what I was seeing, so I was pretty sure she wasn't ready for it either.

There was a man laying in one of the two beds. Actually, he was more man-monster than man. He was a giant. And, within the confines of this tiny little room, he seemed beyond enormous. The best way to put it is he was Shaq-size: 7'1", almost 300 pounds. I think sometimes, as an NBA fan, it becomes all too easy to take for granted the sheer bulk of a muscled seven-footer...but not when they're right in front of you, and certainly not when you're trapped in a room the size of a large closet with them. To make matters even stranger, he had a shaved head (something that I had never seen in my hometown) and he was wearing nothing but a pair of bikini-brief underwear.

Thanks to Sneeze for the link.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Coolest. Man. Alive.


Does any other person alive have the testicular fortitude to wear a SOX jacket (to say nothing of the blue jeans and Seinfeldesque sneakers) while throwing out the first pitch at the all-star game in St. Louis? Let alone The President? Just a phenomenal show of gumption.

I'd be willing to give 2-to-1 odds that if you were to go into that bag and find his wallet, it would be the one that says BAD MOTHER FUCKER.

(Well, right up to the point where he actually threw that nancy pitch... After which it undoubtedly would have said TRULY OUTRAGEOUS)

Monday, July 13, 2009

Doc Halladay to Start the Mid-Summer Classic

ST. LOUIS -- Tim Lincecum and Roy Halladay were selected Monday as the starting pitchers for the All-Star Game.

Last year's NL Cy Young Award winner, Lincecum is 10-2 with a 2.33 ERA for the San Francisco Giants. He will get the ball Tuesday night at Busch Stadium, NL manager Charlie Manuel announced.

Lincecum made the All-Star team for last season's game at Yankee Stadium but was unable to pitch because he was ill.

American League manager Joe Maddon and the National League's Charlie Manuel announced their lineups for Tuesday night's All-Star Game in St Louis:

"This is a great accomplishment for me," Lincecum said, his long, shaggy hair protruding from under a black knit cap. "I think tomorrow the big thing is going to be just getting to the field. And after that, just getting on the field."

Halladay, 10-3 with a 2.85 ERA for the Toronto Blue Jays, was chosen by AL manager Joe Maddon.

At long last, the finest pitcher in the American League (most wins in baseball since 2002, while playing for a team with a winning percentage of .499 over the course of those 7 1/2 seasons) is getting his due. Not only is Doc Halladay the greatest pitcher to ever don the poweder blues, he is also one of the classiest men in the biggs.

Congratulations to the Doc. It really couldn't happen to a better guy.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Dornochapalooza 2009

Dornochapalooza 2009 went down this past weekend in the wilds of West Grey Bruce County, and for the first time in the long and prolific history of the event, we were able to avoid a torrential downpour. In fact, the weather was picture perfect all weekend long. Here are some of the images and accompanying text from those 24-hours of unrivalled debauchery:

The Wikipedia entry for Dornoch, Ontario is as follows:

The Village of Dornoch is located less than 11 kilometers north of the Town of Durham on Highway 6 in Grey County, Ontario, Canada.

Dornoch is situated 11 kilometers south of Williamsford and 33 kilometers south of Owen Sound.

The village is primarily a small farming community on the outskirts of Durham, but does have a
convenience store that is known for its photography and ice cream, a community hall that is used for small events as well as the recently rebuilt Dawg House Inn.

Yep... I think that pretty well covers it.

Bubbles was a great help in getting the place ready Saturday morning.

The Hesters totally represented in Dornochapalooza this year. A job well done.

If a new mother is whispering about her baby to your girlfriend, is this a good thing?... Atta boy Ronnie!!!

Yes. That is a Coronoa bottle. And yes, they get an early start at Dornochapalooza.

The only way to prepare for an intense game of CITY vs. Burbs... By slamming back Diet Buds.

There was simply no answer for Sully on this afternoon. Not even Gord Crowther (grey moustache) could shut him down.

Was there ever any doubt that The Bomber was draining the wining bucket in this tilt?

THAT, ladies, is the epitome of athleticism. What a bunch of ballers...

(Final Score: Blake-Ronnie-Sully-Bomber 22 - 20 Rosco-Ghosher-Gordo-Sean)

These ladies couldn't get enough of our athletic prowess. And really, who could blame them?

And while some people were resting up for the night ahead...

The rest of us were clearly acting our age... if this was 1998.

Not only did he dominate on the hard-court, Sully also made short work of the funnel. Some guys are just blessed with more talent than they know what to do with.

Tent City: Sunset.

The fire would have been nowhere were it not for Uncle Petey dominating the stoking duties. The thing about being an adult (and an officer of the law, no less) is that you can throw as much wood on the fire as you like, and my dad won't even bother to call you a dickhead (as would be the case if it were one of his children)

The Triumphant return of Uncle Johnny and Porno Paul.

Line of the evening, courtesy of my Uncle Ken:

Ken (upon meeting my friend Randi for the first time): "Who are YOU?... You are NICE!!!"

The advantages of buying a child-sized tent for $11.99: compact, light-weight.

The disadvantages of buying a child-sized tent for $11.99: Uncle Johnny might take it upon himself to move it; along with it's entire contents; to a more appropriate location.

The White Wife Beater: official uniform of Dornochapalooza 2009.

It is impossible to take a photo of Rosco without later learning of a covert flashing of the bird. I've known the man for more than a decade, have seen him develop his technique over the years, and can legitimately say that he's truly coming into his prime with that gesture. Catching a photo with Rosco at this juncture of his career is like watching the E Street Band in the summer of '78.

Mothers and Daughters. Best Friends. This is a beautiful thing.

Is burning the family Christmas tree considered dysfunctional family fun?

The Bomber and Blundell were officially awarded the Masterton Trophy for showing up despite the fact that The Bomber needed to be at work at 6 o'clock Sunday morning... Holy F#CK!!!

Lisa McCallum's fireside set of Girls Will be Girls / Chip on Her Shoulder / Better brought the house down. There's a good chance that people may one day telling their children about seeing her in such an intimate setting.

It wouldn't be Dornochapalooza without the Edelmans...

...Or Rolf...

...Or Smokey sitting inside someone's car.

Ladies love Dornoch...

...And straight Gangster Rap...

...And John Ghosh.

Things generally begin to spiral out of control round about the time that the Beirut tournament gets underway. This was the first official "Argi Memorial Beirut Tournament".

Team Ramrod were the Vegas favourites going in...

But they were unequivocally dominated in the first round by this magnificent duo...

...Who were eventually dismissed by the Rosco-Ronnie combo. There was simply no answer for the Hebrew Heaver... Clutch doesn't even begin to describe his performance.

(backing away slowly...)

Nothing says "campfire hoedown" like a little Dr. Dre...

...Or a belated homage to Pride Week.

The loving couple... Hey, you guys should TOTALLY get married at Dornochapalooza 2010!!!

Thanks to everyone who attended this year. It was an absolute blast. A special thanks to those who provided the photos: Randi, TVB, Susan, and Marcella. And of course, all of the accolades in the world to my parents. I have no idea how they pull it off every year, but needless to say, none of this could happen without them.

Looking forward to seeing you all next year at Dornochapalooza 2010.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Martin Streek

EYE WEEKLY has learned tonight that former 102.1 The Edge on-air personality Martin Streek has committed suicide.

Streek had been one of the local modern-rock station's most recognizable voices for two decades, hosting the popular Thursday 30 countdown as well as live-to-air weekend broadcasts from the Phoenix Concert Theatre and Velvet Underground. However, in the wake of recent station restructuring, Streek and fellow Edge veteran Barry Taylor were shown the door this past May. Late Monday evening — following a reportedly grave Facebook status update — I was informed by a former Edge colleague that Streek had taken his own life...

Read more HERE

For anyone who grew up listening to new music in Toronto, this is a sad day indeed. Martin Streek was a staple on the Toronto air-waves for as long as I can remember, and his voice and vivacity on a Thursday night; the sounds of which will be indellibly linked to the kind of youthful energy and excitement one invariably feels with the oncoming weekend; will be sorely missed.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday Diversion

A little light (and I mean... REALLY light) reading and listening to help you through this Friday afternoon as you steele your liver for the 4th of July/Dornochapalooza 2009 combo. As always, this is some of the best stuff I've come across over the past week, with a huge assist to the Dotcomrades.

Gazprom seals $2.5bn Nigerian Deal
BBC News

Quite possibly the worst naming-oversight in the history of the modern business world.

Thanks to Llibs for the link.

In Case of Emergency...
Dave's Place

Every Canadian baseball fan needs to get their hands on one of these.

Thanks to Flats for the tip.

Really Fantasy Baseball
By Flip Flop Fly Ball

Who wins in a one-game playoff between the Wu-Tang Clan and The E Street Band? This might be the single greatest achievement in mindless creativity I've ever had the privelege of coming across.

Thanks again to Flats

The BS Report - Part 1 Part 2
By Bill Simmons

A two-part conversation with Chuck Klosterman, touching on every subject ranging from Michael Jackson and pop culture to Twitter and the art of writing. I fantastic way to kill an hour and a half.

Michael Jackson
By Kelefa Sanneh

A brief tribute to the King of Pop which illustrates the scope of his influence, and how, for one night at least, everyone was listening to the same songs again.

In keeping with the run on MJ, the YouTube Clip of the Week is a fantastic acoustic version of Billie Jean, as sung by Chris Cornell.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day

It is no secret that I have posted this video before. And the fact is: I'll probably post it about a hundred more times before it's all said and done, for the simple reason that; with the exception of the version I used to see as a kid at 6 in the morning (the one where the high jumper makes his jump and the little kid kisses his baby brother, as seen below); this is probably the best version of our anthem that has ever been recorded. I literally get goosebumps every time I watch it.

And we all appreciate things in different ways, and we all hold different things close to our hearts for different reasons... But let me just give you a little example of why this country is such a wonderful place to live.

This past weekend was the culmination of Pride Week in Toronto. Let the record show that I am not a homosexual. But I really couldn't be more proud of the fact that this great city and this great country can annually play host to one of the world's largest celebrations of the LGBT community.

So I left one of the world's great cities and got in my car, listening to CBC radio (publicly funded), which was playing an endless array of fantastic Canadian musical talent. I stopped at a Tim Horton's to grab a coffee, and when I had finished, I put my paper cup in a recycling bin (you have no idea how big a deal this is until you've travelled to South America). I eventually made my way to Pinery Provincial Park and found myself in one of North America's last remaining Oak Savanna Woodlands... And I was less than 3 hours from Pride Weekend! (So yes, you can mark our Provincial Park System as yet another reason to love this country). As is the fact that we would be spending most of the next day sitting on a beach at the edge of one of Canada's Great Lakes; a water system that accounts for roughly 18% of the world's fresh surface water.

That night, we sat around a campfire, drank Steam Whistle (arguably one of the best beers in the world), and freely expressed our moral, political, and religious points of view without ever once considering that there might be any kind of reprecussions for doing so (with the exception of being told to keep the noise level down, particularly where belching is concerned). I even made a call from my cell phone to a certain South American country while sitting around the campfire!

The next day, we met some of our fellow campers. They were literally from every conceivable place on earth. We had some neighbours of East Indian descent. There were neighbours who were originally from Asia. We had Eastern Europeans and Western Europeans. People from Africa. People from Latin America... And yet here we all were: Canadians.

And proud of it.

The truth is, this was just like any other weekend in this great country of ours. But it isn't until you take a step back and actually consciously consider the things that we so often take for granted, that you begin to realize just how wonderful a place this is, and the limitless opportunity it affords us as citizens.

And when you actually take the time to stop and think about the things that make up your life in this beautiful country, you may very well come to realize what I have known for quite some time:

Canada really is the greatest country you could ever hope to live in.

Happy Canada Day...

(Fast-forward to 1:02 mark)