This looks legit

I don't remember purchasing anything with "PayPl" but I have drank a lot of rum and eggnog lately...


Boxing Day 2017

As I write this I just got home from a family event in a medium sized Alberta city. Driving with other family members I figured it would be good to listen to some Christmas music, so I turned the radio to 92.5 Power Fresh 92, which has been incessantly playing Christmas music since December 1st.

So of course they don't play Christmas music anymore...as of today, they switched back to soft rock. This is patently ridiculous. I'm not the only person in my circle of friends who had family dinners today as well as yesterday, and whether background music or to put people in the mood on the drive over, terrestrial radio yet again fell flat. And for no perfectly good reason.

I can understand American radio stations doing this, of course.

"Are you working over Christmas?" I asked the waitress at my local diner in New Hampshire last Thursday – December 23rd.

Erica looked bewildered. "No," she said. "We're closed Christmas Day."

My mistake. I'd just been on the phone to an editor in London who'd wanted early copy for the late January issue because no-one was going to be in the office "over Christmas". I'd forgotten that, in New Hampshire, "over Christmas" means December 25th. In London and much of the rest of Europe, it's a term of art stretching as far into mid-January as you can get away with.
In Canada though, December 26th is a holiday and a well celebrated one. So it's really a shame that a radio station interested in playing Christmas music almost four weeks before Christmas can't play it the day after.

When people might still be in the spirit.


Grey Cup 2017

Live from the city of Ottawa Ontario (which lazy broadcasters refuse to ever say, going with the hackney and cliched and makes-you-hate-the-city-even-more term "nation's capital") tonight is the 105th Grey Cup, and the end of the Grey Cup's lengthy eastern road trip.

Next year the big game returns to Edmonton...it should have been our turn this year but the Canada150 celebrations mandated a game in Ottawa instead. Of course, the Esksimos should have playing in the game but you're already sick of Eskimos fans complaining about this. Instead we have the despicable Calgary Stampeders playing against the detestable Argonauts of Toronto the most evil city in the world that deserves to be destroyed by nuclear weapons. Oh yeah, and a squaw lady playing the halftime show.

I guess if I need to cheer on anybody in this game it needs to be Ricky Ray: it's rumoured the former Eskimo will retire after this season if he leads Toronto to a Grey Cup. And because the only thing worse than the Stampeders playing a Grey Cup game in Edmonton is having them do it as the reigning champions.

Prediction is Toronto 34, Stampeders 27.


Oilers pencilled in another playoff run for 2028

As I write this the Oilers are losing 7-2 to St. Louis. If this score holds it will be the second Blues win in a week against Edmonton, and the Oilers third consecutive loss. As a result, the Oilers will have 16 points in 21 games, and be on-pace for a 62 point season. Three times over this past decade the Oilers have finished with exactly 62 points (their lowest ever in a full season), so why not a fourth?

Don't forget too that the ArizonaPhoenix Coyotes beat Toronto last night and the NHL's worst team now sits with 13 points. The Vancouver Canucks (no, seriously!) are holding onto the last wildcard spot with 23 points, meaning the Oilers are twice as far away from a wildcard spot as they are from being the worst team in the league. Yes, last season and the playoff run were fun, but it looks like it will be a once-in-a-lifetime aberration.

So it's time now to do what Oilers fans traditionally do in mid-to-late November...start fantasizing about getting a #1 overall draft pick who will completely turn the team around. Also part of the tradition is coming up with a slogan to chant as the Oilers continue to fall to the bottom.

It's worth noting that the infamous Oilers H.O.P.E. line (Hall, Omark, Paajarvi, Eberle) has now officially and entirely been given/traded away

It was four years ago that I coined Stay Bad for Ekblad which didn't work. Fall for Hall did. Fail for Nail did. Lose All Honour for Connor did. So now it's time to try again. Here are the top prospects for 2018 according to Rogers Sportsnet:

  1. Rasmus Dahlin, D
  2. Andrei Svechnikov, RW
  3. Adam Boqvist, D
  4. Brady Tkachuk, C
  5. Quinn Hughes, D
  6. Filip Zadina, RW
  7. Jack McBain, C
  8. Joel Farabee, LW
  9. Rasmus Kupari, C
  10. Jared McIsaac, D

Svechnikov is an awfully long name to try and chant. "Be sov(ft) for Svechnikov?" Tonight I could accept "Lose to the Blues for Hughes" as a decent chant. "Disdain for McBain" seems to be stretching it. However you'll notice I deliberately skipped number one. Why? Simple: he's the best and most obvious choice.

So let's do it Oilers fans. Let's start practicing now, we'll have lots of chances to use it if the season continues like this:


Lest We Forget

To my mind Remembrance Day should be commemorated at 11:11 on the 11th day of the 11th month. But nobody seems to agree.


Six Myths About the Trump Election Win (that both the left and the right believe)

A year ago today, Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States of America. The left has been alternating between rioting, crying, and declaring war ever since. The right is alternating between celebrating and...declaring war.

So already there is some common ground between the two sides who usually disagree on everything. However, there is lots of common ground available, isn't there? There are lots of lessons we had learned on November 9th, and we all agree what they are. It's heartwarming, it's comforting, and it's inspirational.

Damn you undecided voters sidebar In the days immediately following the election tons of leftists were rather upset that undecided voters gave Trump the White House As per the discussion in the main text this isnt true But should we even be surprised there were so many voters who stayed home After all we were told over and over again that both the major party candidates were horribly unpopular
Unfortunately, it's all totally bogus. Here are six things that aren't true about last year's election that both the right and the left have fallen for.

#6 - Undecideds won Trump the election: This comes up in every election in every country, and it never holds any water. Please stop, take a deep breath. Cosmopolitan very very very thinly disguised their contempt for non-voters, essentially accusing them of putting Trump in the White House. It doesn't matter, frankly, what the percentage of eligible voters who didn't vote was: they didn't cast a vote, and you can't assume that if you strong-armed all of them into a polling booth that they would pull the level you wanted them to pull. Maybe every one of them would have chosen Hillary and put her in the White House. Or maybe every one of them would have picked The Donald and he would have swept the entire country. After all, Trump did well with undecided voters in the third debate, but poorly in the first debate. The ultimate answer is that you don't know how they would have voted. In fact, they may not know either. They don't count, they never count. Never count voters who didn't vote.

#5 - The results are a major cultural shift: Remember what I said above? Ignore it. Now we need to count the undecided voters who didn't vote. As a percentage of the general population, in 2016 the Republican candidate won 26.07% of the potential votes. In 2012 the Republican candidate won 27.83% of the popular vote, and in 2008 the Republican candidate won 26.58% of the popular vote. Conversely, the Democratic candidate in 2008 won 30.82% of the popular vote, in 2012 the Democratic candidate won 30.1% of the popular vote, and in 2016 won 26.36% of the popular vote. Now look at this on a graph:

If you're looking at this image on a small enough screen and/or squinting, you might not even realize that these bars aren't all the same size. The distribution of votes looks pretty much identical. Any real discrepancies are probably from the estimates of eligible voters anyways: all of these figures are from Wikipedia, however estimates vary widely. StatisticsBrain.com repored 231,556,622 eligible voters in 2016, Wikipedia claims 251,107,000. In 2012 the Bipartison Policy Center says there were 218,959,000 eligible voters while Wikipedia says 235,248,000. That's a 9% gap in both cases, meaning the margin of error for the size of the bars far exceeds the actual gap between the parties (though the number of votes, unlike the number of eligible voters, is a firm well-agreed number).

If anything, looking all the way back to 1992, it appears the Democrats have a pretty solid line of support (a slight blip in 2008) with Republicans getting their voters out with a much less consistent rate of production. But there's no real cultural shifts going on here: the tiniest change in the number of vote % can make a wild difference. Look at the Electoral College totals which I included for each party above the graph. The difference between the Democrats in 2004 and 2008 is striking: their seats in the Electoral College increased 45% (from 251 to 365)...by increasing their share of the national vote by 12% (and in real terms only by 3.3%). For those objecting to the Electoral College, that isn't uncommon. The Conservative Party of Canada won 99 seats with 32% of the ballots cast in 2015 while the Liberal Party won 184 seats with 39% of the popular vote...meaning each 1% of vote gained one party 4.71 seats versus 3.09 seats for another. That's just how it goes. -ed]

#4 - Whites voted for Trump: Whites tend to vote Republican. In 2012, 59% of white voters supported Romney. In 2008, 55% of white voters supported McCain. In 2004, 58% of white voters supported Bush. In 2000, 55% of white voters supported Bush. So how many white voters did Trump get? Drumroll please...




...hey, did you ever watch that "House of Cards" show? Doesn't it open up with that faggot Kevin Spacey choking a dog to death? Isn't he the hero of the show, and also a Democrat? Isn't that worse than 2/3rds of what Trump is alleged to have done and probably worse than anything he actually has done? I have no point here (there is a point to the actions of real-Spacey vs Trump), just an open question...


...are you ready?...


That's right. Donald Trump's share of the white vote is slightly less than Mitt Romney in 2012. Some of that is the Utah Mormons supporting Evan McMullin, and some will be going to Gary Johnson tripling his vote share from four years ago. Still, whites voted for the chap with (R) next to his name at a pretty consistent rate from election to election.

What about subdividing whites up? Here there are some notable discrepancies: Trump received the support of 67% of non-college educated whites, versus only 61% for Romney. It's balanced by Romney getting 56% of college educated whites while Trump only secured 49%. Trump also lost Romney's 30% share of (religious, not ethnic!) Jewish voters, going from 30% to 24%. But this is still better than both 2000 and 2008 and comparable to 2004.

#3 - Women voted for Hillary: Similar to the bit about whites, Hillary did well with women, garnishing 54% of the female vote. She certainly can lord that over her predecessor who won in 2012 with...55% of the female vote. Which itself was a dropoff from 2008, where he had support from 56% of women voters. You can't even attribute any of this to Jill Stein: like Gary Johnson, she tripled her share of the national vote from 2012...however the sheer numbers are too small to make a difference. She went from 0.36% to 0.98%.

#2 - Blacks and other minorities voted against Trump: I put all of these as separate issues just to pad the numbers, frankly. It's all the exact same phenomenon. "Hateful racist" Trump received 8% of the black vote. Loving and inclusive Mitt Romney received less of the black vote share than Trump did, getting only 6%. In 2008, McCain received only 4%. In other words, Trump received the highest proportion of black votes for a Republican Presidential nominee since 2004, and almost the same share as in 2000. Trump received 29% of the asian vote, lower than McCain received in 2008 but higher than Romney received in 2012. Trump received 37% of the "other" racial votes, Romney received 38% and McCain only received 31%.

Finally, we come to Hispanics. Trump was infamously going to collapse with Hispanic voters and that alone would cost him the election, pollsters assured us. His comments on Mexican rapists and an end to illegal immigration across the southern border poisoned any possible relationship with American's hispanic population and doomed his candidacy. Now first you have to remember that 2000 & 2004 were huge outliers for the Republicans. George W. Bush (pbuh) was legendary in his relationship with Hispanic voters. In 2004, 44% of them supported him for President and was a major factor in securing his dominant win over John Kerry. In 1996 Dole only received 21% of the Hispanic vote, and in 2008 John McCain received 31%. 2012 saw Mitt Romney's share fall to 27%, shedding three-quarters of the 2004 gains over 1996. Trump again saw an increase of Hispanic voters versus Romney. Not 'yuge' by any means, but 29% of Hispanics (including 33% of Latino men) put a vote down for the guy with (R) next to his name, even though with the exception of "really large wall" his immigration policies were basically identical to the guy who got 27%. In other words, Hispanics voted for Trump at about the same level as they have been since spillover from a President highly regarded by Hispanics.

#1 - Polls are important and the pollsters got it all wrong: Those lying biased pollsters have upset literally everybody. Before the election, Trump supporters took to the internet to claim that organizations running the polls and the media reporting the both are both so biased towards Hillary that you couldn't take any of their claims at face value. Trump, they said, was going to win, and win big, and if the pollsters didn't agree they were lying to you. After the election, it's the left irate at these pollsters. Hillary supporters were under the impression that she had a strong lead going into the polls, and therefore weren't as motivated to get out and vote, thinking their girl had it all sewn up. The Guardian reports that the Democrats didn't devote much money to Wisconsin and Michigan because polls told them their lead was secure. However, the polls said Hillary would win and instead Trump won. I mean, the numbers don't lie, do they? You promise X and when X doesn't happen, you were wrong. What could be more obvious than that?

I suppose the better question is why are you believing polls in the first place? The old adage that the only poll that matters is held on election day carries a lot of weight, frankly. Much like how we never cared about movie box office receipts back in the day, we never used to rely so heavily on polls before either. It's mostly a function of an endless media cycle and our willingness to boil anything complicated down to a simple "who's winning" question. Polls are almost like watching a game, and keeping your eye on the score. It's important, I suppose: at the end of the game, the score is the most important thing. As it goes on, the score can help you understand a lot of what's going on...the question of "why are they bunting" or "why are they playing a neutral zone trap" is often answered by looking at the score. Similarly, polls could have helped you understand why Clinton had been going on about Muslims for the last three days of the campaign (a new poll had showed Trump's support among Muslims was increasing).

But that's in a case where all you care about is whether your side is winning or losing. In sports, that's most of us. But what if you're a professional scout looking at a junior or minor league team? Should our team sign that hot young prospect? If you're an NBA scout who gets asked that question, and your answer is "his team won the game 102-98" you are probably going to be fired within twelve minutes. Who cares? Did this hot young prospect even play in the game? If he did, what was his PER? And how did he look? Did you see things in his game that made you confident when he went up to the next higher levels that he would succeed? Does he have the specific qualities that the team is looking for? Does his nature and personality mean he would be a good fit in your locker room? You can see how for a person wanting to evaluate two candidates these analogies are far more applicable than score-watching. I suppose you could say it's a factor in how polarized we've all become...but then remember that graph about how few voting age Americans actually move their vote from election to election. The undecideds tend to decide all of these races by relatively narrow margins, and therefore how the media covers a campaign and what information the electorate is exposed to are major factors into how that election plays. As a result, poll watching is completely useless to the small sliver of the voting-aged public who will ultimately need to decide what the candidates are all about and decide the actual election.

This is just an example.

Now understanding that the polls shouldn't be important, they were still wrong. Here's The Guardian again:
I spent almost two years working for Nate Silver’s website FiveThirtyEight, where I hoped to learn the secrets of political forecasting. I walked away totally disillusioned. It sometimes seemed as though their interpretation of the math wasn’t free from subjective bias. There was also a certain arrogance that comes from being part of an elite that “gets the numbers”, and an entrenched hierarchy meant that predictions weren’t properly scrutinised.

But analysts such as Silver, a man dubbed an oracle, a soothsayer and a savant have an interest in continuing to share these predictions. Where would the man’s career be if he simply replied “don’t know” when asked what Americans would do? It’s not just FiveThirtyEight. The New York Times also got it wrong, along with Reuters, NBC news and countless others. Just about everyone did – because they couldn’t resist the temptation to try to guess human behaviour.
There's a clue in there, for one. As Mona Chalabi writes, humans aren't subjected to Newtonian mechanics, so you can't always treat information gleaned from them reliably. But polls have been highly accurate before, haven't they? Nate Silver didn't come out of nowhere: FiveThirtyEight.com rose to prominence after correctly predicting all 50 states during the 2012 Presidential election. Yet the day before the election Nate Silver assured his liberal audience that Donald Trump was going to slink away on November 9th with his tail between his legs.
Our forecast has Clinton winning the national popular vote by 3.6 percentage points, which is similar to her lead in recent national polls. Her chances of winning the popular vote are 81 percent, according to our forecast.
A 3.6 lead in percentage points looks impressive...until you ask what the error is. 538.com admitted that Hillary's lead wasn't that much more than the margin of error.

Whenever somebody wants to show you an average, you really need to look at two pieces of information. The average itself, and the standard deviation. In a way, that's what the above analysis of white/female/minority voters was. Sure Trump only got 8% of the black vote, but when you consider his range was basically 4-11%, it puts the numbers into better perspective. If you really want to be a pro at this, when you receive an average ask what kind of average it is as well.

To be fair, the polls were consistently biased towards Clinton. It's not like any major polls were predicting a Trump win...but the "shy Tory" concept wasn't new for this election. Pollsters gave a cold hard reading of the results, such as they were. It was when spokesmen for polling firms and their media contacts started interpreting the results that things got hairy. Subconsciously or not, because none of them knew any "shy Tories" they clearly must not exist...and it didn't help that numerous polling firms self-selected their sample size to begin with. Silver himself has to note that statewide polling errors can easily compound for a particular candidate, and no poll can be accurate when the biased left-wing media essentially forces people to lie to pollsters.

People can change their mind, too. In June of 2015 Tom Mulcair was leading in the national polls...by October he the leader of the third place party and by April he was fired. Likewise, particularly in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, Trump scored big in people deciding in the last week of the campaign (similar to how Trudeau became Prime Minister), and in many of the swing states rigorous polls weren't even being conducted. Polls can be right or wrong, but what they should never be is stale.

Finally, swinging back to the Shy Tory question, perhaps if you know about the effect you might break with tradition and look at candidate internal polling. Trump's pollsters called Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, and Wisconsin in the days before the election.

So "the pollsters" didn't necessarily get it wrong. They didn't fail to predict that whites would "vote for Trump in droves" because they didn't, anymore than Hispanics rallied the vote to "stop Trump" anymore than you could have stopped Trump by forcing undecideds into a polling station. They're all myths about the 2016 Presidential Election.

Oh, and here's a bonus truth about the election both sides believe: one of the two candidates colluded with Russians to try and influence the election.


World Series 2017 Game 7 Liveblog: Houston Astros at Los Angeles Dodgers

6:27pm: I just got in from working late and already the Astros are winning 2-0 after a double, and error, and a grounder (with a stolen base in the middle). Houston has scored more this inning than they did all last night. Only one run is earned though. Darvish has been struggling, and it doesn't look to be letting up.

6:30pm: Yuli Gurriel is getting a ton of boos after the incident where he used a racial taunt against Darvish. Or was it the other way around? I forget. Neither of 'em are WASPs.

6:31pm: Also on TV right now is the Edmonton Oilers losing to playing against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a rematch of last week's game. May Connor McDavid get a little bit of Donald Trump's luck and skill...

6:33pm: Gurriel is getting a long at-bat here. 13 pitches later he flies out to right field. This half-inning was only about 10-12 minutes, but it sure felt a lot longer I'm sure to Dodgers fans. 2-0 Houston.

6:35pm: Boeing is really turning up the charm offensive against the Shiny Pony with this "Boeing cares about Canada" commercial aren't they?

6:37pm: The Shocktop is poured into a pint glass, the oven is on, it's pizza and beer and baseball night at Third Edge of the Sword World Headquarters in Sancti Spíritus, Cuba. And just on cue, a commercial for The Pint plays. Last year I watched Game 7 at MKT where it wasn't until the entire bar erupted in the 8th inning of that epic battle that management figured out we wanted to hear the game audio and not shitty Taylor Swift songs. There are definite advantages to watching these games at home.

6:38pm: That asshole Taylor (Chris, not Swift) blasts the Dodgers' first hit of the game and gets a leadoff double.

6:44pm: McCullers takes out the other asshole T (Turner) at the top of the Dodgers lineup. With a hit-batsman though...not a strikeout like I was hoping that sentence would mean.

6:50pm: Puig also gets hit, and now the bases are loaded.

6:52pm: That looked ugly for a second, but Pederson hit to SS and the inning is over.

6:59pm: Beautiful looking shot of the sky was just on. Having been to Dodger stadium I can say it's a decent enough ballpark that's more notable for its amazing parking than anything about the stadium. You can get a Dodger Dog there though. I can't get a Dodger Dog in Edmonton...which suddenly made me think of all those concession snacks you can pick up at Commonwealth Stadium during the Eskimos home game that is hopefully going to be decided on Saturday. (If it's decided on Friday, that's bad)

7:02pm: Darvish throws Gonzalez a slider that acts more like a changeup, and now it's runners on second and third with no outs. Darvish's night is almost over.

7:04pm: A sacrifice RBI by McCullers Jr. makes it a 3-0 game with 2 outs. LA is losing the narrative worse than Harvey Weinstein...

7:08pm: I was just mouthing "homerun" and Springer does it! Astros take a 5-0 lead and Darvish isn't going to last until the end of the second inning.

7:19pm: While I was wolfing down a Bacon Double Cheeseburger Delicio pizza, the Dodgers have come back. That's the big thing about LA I remember from the NLCS: you score on them and the next half-inning they come right back to score on you at least as much and quite often even more. You even saw it in the first inning, where LA loaded the bases (not entirely their doing, to be fair) and could have blown the game away the other way had Pederson hit out of the park.

7:22pm: McCullers gets out of a jam of his own creation again. This can't be sustainable, and A. J. Hinch agrees: just before the double play to end the inning he made the call to his bullpen. The starters aren't going to survive into the fourth inning.

7:27pm: Altuve flies out from a pitch from...CLAYTON MOTHERFUCKING KERSHAW! I would have thought Morrow would have stayed out for at least 2-3 outs. Kershaw can't go more than about 60 pitches tonight and the Dodgers might find themselves out of pitchers by the end of this game.

7:29pm: On the other hand, the Dodgers need 60 quality pitches right here and right now. Kershaw shuts the Astros out for the first inning of this game.

7:34pm: Seager gets a good hit that should be an easy double, but a slip and fall on the basepaths means he barely gets back to first. The Dodgers have been their own worst enemy for much of this game. And McCullers is his own team's worst enemy, hitting Turner again.

7:36pm: Bellanger is up and that's the only reason McCullers is still in this game. He swings wildly on the first pitch to justify Hinch's decision.

7:38pm: Bellanger strikes out again and that's McCullers Jr's night.

7:41pm: Penguins have taken a 1-0 lead in their game against the Oilers tonight. I'll be writing more about the Oilers in an upcoming blog post.

7:43pm: No team that plays this horrible rap/pop music during the World Series deserves to win. I'll be writing more about who deserves to win World Series matches in an upcoming blog post.

7:47pm: After three innings both starters are long-gone but the Astros still lead 5-0 and the Dodgers are leaving 2+ men on base every inning.

7:48pm: Nothing tonight can possibly make me happier than finding out these useless Toronto fans have to deal with a gametime other than 7:30pm ET, which apparently nobody in that evil city can possibly handle.

7:50pm: They just showed a shot of the 1960 World Series which ended with a home run hit past the fence...into the grassy area behind the fence. No seats behind the fences is the MLB version of the "no ads on the boards and no helmets" that you obsess over when watching old NHL footage.

7:53pm: Gonzalez takes second base on a wild pitch, after making it to first because the Dodgers didn't field his hit to third base properly. Houston is getting all the bounces, so let's not pretend this 5-0 score is just them doing amazing or Los Angeles falling apart.

7:59pm: Oilers take a 2-1 lead! Oh, and Kershaw is the third guy up to the plate but the Dodgers look likely to keep him in the game. Like I said, they need those 60 pitches.

8:02pm: 2 outs and nobody on, Kershaw comes out.

8:05pm: Kershaw's .184 batting average just dipped a bit. Inning over.

8:14pm: It's like this it's like that it's like this nigger...another scoreless half-inning in the book. The game is starting to move a litle faster now that Kershaw is controlling the Dodgers pitching and the Houston bats have cooled off a little. The game also feels more like an "anybody can win this" than it looked after the second.

8:20pm: Seager takes a walk after a long at-bat and now Turner is up with 1 out and a runner on first. The crowd is surprisingly involved in the game to this point. God I hope Turner breaks his leg and it gets infected and he never plays again.

8:26pm: A bounce finally goes LA's way: Turner is on-base after a ball dribbles into the left field, and in the fifth inning with a 5-0 score the 5th pitcher of the game is going to the showers.

8:30pm: The second chubbiest negro pitcher in the major leagues (Liriano, first place going to C.C. Sabathia) is on the mound now. He gets an out but Dodgers still have runners on the corners.

8:34pm: Now Chris Devinski is on the mound. Okay Hinch here's the deal: I can liveblog every pitching change you do in this game, but I also have a beer to drink and I have to manage the time a little bit here. Sorry buddy.

8:44pm: Every time Brian McCann is up to the plate I keep thinking about Brian McCabe, the Toronto Maple Leaf who liked to knock up chubby squaws.

8:48pm: Both managers are basically trying to outsmart each other. Hinch is replacing his defensive outfielders with pinch hitters and forcing Dave Roberts to micromanage his pitching plans to compensate. Kershaw has bases loaded with two outs.

8:49pm: Houston got played. 5-0 in the middle of the sixth, two and a half hours after this game started.

9:00pm: Edmonton and Pittsburgh are tied 2-2 halfway through the third period. Dodgers have two baserunners again, the question now will be whether or not they can capitalize on this situation. Barnes pops out for the first out.

9:01pm: Dodgers score a run. Ethier barrels one into the right field gap and Pederson crosses home plate.

9:04pm: Pittsburgh has taken a 3-2 lead with about 7 minutes left on the clock, and a now-thunderous LA crowd is quieted instantly as Chris Taylor swings and misses. 2 outs. 5-1.

9:05pm: Seager shatters his bat in a fashion that befits the phrase "shattered bat" and almost runs out the hit but not quite. LA is on the board but Houston still has the lead.

9:07pm: I think my Labbatt Blue has gone skunky. Being Labbatt Blue (or "Labatt's Blue" as my father would say) it's not easy to tell.

9:10pm: Beautiful sliding catch by Chris Taylor deprives Springer of another hit in the World Series.

9:14pm: I'm disseminating the accounts of this game and I don't have express written consent of the Office of the Commissioner of the Major Leagues of Baseball. Come get me, bro'.

9:17pm: Altuve gets a walk and the Oilers are 40 seconds away from losing yet another game.

9:18pm: Altuve steals second and the clock winds down in Edmonton.

9:25pm: Keuchel is warming up in the Astros bullpen and Turner breaks his bat on an easy popup to first.

9:26pm: It's worth noting that this game has now exceeded three hours.

9:28pm: Houston shuts the Dodgers out again and we move onto the final two innings. 90 minutes ago I bet somebody the game would be over by 9:50pm. Looks like I'm about to be humiliated.

9:32pm: A guy named Wood is pitching in the postseason for an NL team wearing white and blue. Not as fun as the last time that happened.

9:35pm: It's interesting as they go through crowd shots how few celebrities they can find at a Los Angeles Dodgers Game 7. Contrast that with the LA Lakers, or for that matter the Chicago Cubs last year. They can't all be in counseling after being ass-raped by Kevin Spacey, can they?

9:39pm: Joe Buck just mentioned that Dodger Stadium is the third oldest ballpark in the majors (after Fenway and Wrigley). I've been to all three, but I'm wondering who the fourth is. The answer? Angel Stadium in Anaheim (which I've also been too, which is really nice.

9:44pm: Forsythe pops out and now the Dodgers have 4 outs left to go. Can they finish this game is under 6 minutes?

9:45pm: Mavin may not be a defensive specialist but he can catch a ball, and we're into THE NINTH INNING OF GAME 7 OF THE WORLD SERIES. It doesn't get more exciting than this...except of course for when it does. Exciting hasn't described this game since Kershaw first handled the rosin bag.

9:49pm: Verlander is now pitching in the bullpen, just like Greg Zaun predicted. Here's time for your regular reminder that Greg Zaun took steroids. But Jamie Campbell can't say "Cleveland Indians". Man I wish TSN had the rights to more things.

9:51pm: Springer has been quiet in the back half of this game (everybody has, to be fair), but now he's at-bat and wildly swinging at everything.

9:54pm: The good Chase (Utley, not Hedley) is pinch hitting to start the 9th inning. Still 5-1 Houston.

9:55pm: Utley strikes out. Maybe should have gone with Hedley? And how many kids in America got named "Chase" in the past 20-30 years? Did they all become big league ballplayers?

9:58pm: Chris Taylor breaks his bat and is thrown out on his way to 1st base. Cory Seager might be the Dodgers last batter of the 2017 series.

9:59pm: They did it! Seager thrown out at first on an easy play and the Houston Astros have their first ever World Series trophy!

10:00pm: The crowd has been quiet for most of the night but they sound like zombies now...appropriate enough for the day after Halloween.

10:06pm: Some highlights from the box score... Springer hit .379 tonight and Gattis is the only other hitter in this game over .300. Each team used 5 pitchers on the night, and only Kershaw and Morton went longer than 2 1/3 innings. Morton is awarded the win and Darvish the loss, despite them pitching on opposite sides of the game.

10:09pm: Altuve is the worst interviewee. Well, one of the worst. The worst still has to be every negro on the Eskimos during our 2015 Grey Cup win. All Walker or Odel Willis could do is yell tribal woots, meanwhile Reilly and Justin Sorensen were giving thoughtful interviews.

10:13pm: Greg Zaun is a horrible guy and a horrible player on a horrible team. But he hates and doens't understand millennials, so God bless him.

10:15pm: "The Houston Astros are your World Series champions!" The least creative trophy name ("The Commissioner's Trophy") in sport is officially being given to Jim Crane...the owner? Really? You guys give the owner the trophy first? Worst trophy presentation overall, I suppose.

10:19pm: Anyways, the game is over. The Houston Astros are the World Series champs, my cable box just shut off after 3 hours of inactivity and I don't feel like turning it back on. This didn't hold a candle to last year's epic game, and to be fair even if you aren't a Cubs fan you can't say that Houston finally winning a World Series compares to the Cubs ending a drought so long that the previous Cubs WS win wasn't covered in HDTV, or colour TV, or TV, or even radio...it was in newspapers. So this was a decently long drought ended in fairly pedestrian fashion. Good on you, Houston. #HoustonStrong or whatever bullshit that's about. Goodnight.


Halloween double feature: The Babysitter and Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil

Hey remember McG? He directed both of the Charlie's Angels movies, the least-loved Terminator film, and then sort of fell off the directoral map. He's been doing smaller stuff lately, but his newest medium-sized thing was the direct-to-Netflix film The Babysitter. The film is a action-comedy with gore similar in spirit to Re-Animator (except no dead bodies) and while the poster is ripping off the Cary Elwes 90s movie The Crush I think is McG trying really really hard to rip off make something in the style and tone of Zombieland (except, again, no dead bodies).

Cole Johnson (Judah Lewis) is entering the rough and tumble teenaged world. He still hasn't started thinking sexually about his female best friend and bullies tease him because his "balls haven't dropped". He's a geeky guy not interested in sports and is scared and nervous about almost everything, from flu shots to heights. He can't understand his daredevil Mom (Leslie Bibb, just happy to be in something since The Zookeeper who gets surrounded by the world's largest spiders without flinching, and is too scared to even drive in an empty parking lot with his Dad. He's the classic introvert, uncomfortable with almost everyone except his best friend and his eponymous babysitter "Bee".

Bee is played by Hugh Weaving's niece Samara, who you may recall was involved in that thing last year where she was horrified to be mistaken to be a Trump supporter. Well it turns out "being mistaken for good when she's really evil" is a thing for her. When we first meet Bee she saves Cole from the aforementioned bullies (who taunt Cole with the same jokes Mike at RedLetterMedia used in the Alienator episode: "cole slaw", "cole lesonscopy") and then tries to help Cole be stronger and stand up to those who wish to do him harm. She's clearly been his babysitter for years, back when he was the age where he should have babysitters, and she and him have a special bond that is just starting to crack as he starts thinking about her breasts. When Cole's parents go away for a marriage-saving weekend at the Hyatt, Bee shows up to have dance parties and re-create scenes from Billy Jack, which is not the sort of movie you'd think a nerdy boy would take a shining to. After touching moments between the two of them where Bee again tries to build Cole up into a better man, Cole goes to bed for the night...but decides to stay up and see what Bee does when he's asleep.

What she ends up doing is having a ragtag group of friends over, including the nerdy Stuart who at first we are led to believe is dating Bee but quickly is revealed to be the new guy. He really comes across as a future Cole, drawing a spying Cole into thinking he and his gorgeous babysitter might one day be an item. She engages in a sexy spin the bottle game where she kisses all the boys (and girls), and an excited Cole thinks this is the greatest thing ever...until during a makeout session ends with Bee pulling two knives out of an outfit that couldn't possibly hold two knives and stabbing Stuart in the head. The friends pull up with cups and start harvesting his blood as Bee pulls out a satanic book and makes plans to harvest the innocent boy (who doesn't even know the difference between a prostitute and a Protestant) sleeping upstairs.

Cole tricks the gang into thinking he's still asleep (Bee tried to drug him earlier) as they harvest his blood for another part of the ceremony, but the shock of the needle (he couldn't handle one earlier) and the rush of trying to escape out his window causes him to pass out, and he finds himself tied up by the Satanic cult. They need his blood for a ceremony and Cole tries to use a pocket knife to cut the ropes (just like Drew Barrymore in the first Charlie's Angels film), but both plans are foiled by the cops. The cult manage to kill both cops but during the scuffle sexy cheerleader Allison (Bella Thorne)) gets shot and then the black guy (Andrew Bachelor) dies trying to get Cole from his room upstairs. Cole overcomes his fear of spiders to climb into the basement and outwit Sonya (Hana Mae Lee) with a model rocket in a scene partially ripped right from The Gate. He then gets caught by Max (Robbie Amell) who is interested in killing Cole (and cops, and everybody) but like Bee respects Cole enough to want him to grow as a young man, and tries to get Cole to stand up to the bullies who randomly decided to egg his house. After Cole's failure standing up to the bully he ironically/temporarily overcomes Max thanks to specific fight tricks taught to him by Bee earlier in the film. Ultimately the bully's eggs are what is Max's downfall, and soon it's just Cole vs. Bee (after a brief interlude with a not-dead Allison). Cole burns the satanic book, and while Bee is trying to put the fire out Cole steal's a car from his best friend Melanie's dad and drives it into the house (using the roof of his half-dismantled treehouse as a ramp...symbolism!) crushing Bee. The two of them have a final touching moment before Cole walks about to the admiration of the bullies and his growth into a young man who has overcome his fears.

There's a lot to like about this movie. Lewis is pretty good as a kid actor and while Emily Alyn Lind is way too hot for him as his next-door neighbour and future-girlfriend it's not that much worse than Toby Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. Samara Weaving does good as both good-and-evil Bee although too often they seem to be two different characters (more on that below). The cult members are all cardboard cutouts played by sub-par actors, but that's just par for the course for an action-comedy with heavy gore elements. The world is a bit of a cartoon universe with comically large spiders and bullets that don't act in any way related to Newton's Third Law of Motion. The real problem with the movie, bizarrely enough considering how important they are to this movie actually working, is the character of Cole and Bee's relationship to him.

Cole is a nervous nelly scared of everything, until you put a giant knife in his hand and ask him to jab it into a model racecar that would require small and precision instruments. He's too young and innocent as 12/13 year old to know what an orgy is despite looking it up on Google, but give him a couple hours with the "Mad Men" Wikipedia page and he's an expert in the themes behind the film. He can't handle scary movies (or "Mad Men") but has watched The Godfather Part II. Shit hits the fan and suddenly he has overcome almost all of his fears instantaneously. I understand they need to play up the "innocent" angle but I was hoping that would play into the film more: as Cole becomes more hardened he stops being the innocent boy with the magic blood Bee needs for her ceremony. Meanwhile he and Bee clearly have a major rapport built up over years. Despite the fact that they dance together, lay almost touching, and frolic in the pool while Bee wears a bikini he occasionally is now thinking about her sexually but that doesn't impact any of their other interactions, including when he taunts her about dicks and when she talks about how he's going to be a ladykiller as he stares at her longingly. Bee is also playing a very very long game where she's just getting close to him for the satanic ritual, right? So why did she spend years getting close to him for her plan to finally come to fruition? You might think she needed more people in the satanic cult but it's clear that they are just tagging along with her (and so we have cast members brutally killed on-screen), so she could have made this move anytime. She presumably has always had access to the book. Before the violent attack on Stuart entirely for the audience's benefit everything we see from Bee screams total sincerity. She could have still exercised her plan without building Cole up and making him cry with their tenderness together. So we're left to imply between those scenes and the touching moment between them at the end that Bee really does really like Cole and really did bond with him. But except for a 2-second glance after taking his blood she doesn't seem to have any of those feelings after we the audience discover she's evil. It almost seems as if kissing Allison turned the good Bee we'd seen into an Evil Bee until the evil was driven out (no pun intended!) after she's hit by the car. Weaving plays the character as two completely different people with basically no bleeding between them. It almost seems like the typical possession scenario: Evil Bee has learned all of the things about Cole she needs to implement her plot (his cop dreams, his lying tells), but because Good Bee didn't know about Evil Bee she was also giving Cole the tools he needed to eventually defeat Evil Bee and win the day. It could have worked had Bee just been a part of this cult being used by Max or Allison, and the killing of Stuart unleashed a demon that took over Bee. But instead Bee set it up the whole time: Cole wasn't the first time she did this either.

And that's the final part of the story that falls apart: does Satan's book work? Bee tells the others that once they perform the ritual they would get "everything they ever wanted". She tells Cole that she was once weak like him and wanted to be strong, and used the book on previous victim(s?) in order to gain the confidence we see from her throughout the film. But was it all in her head? What are the limits of the book's power? After Allison was shot Bee and the gang basically made it seem like she was a lost cause and wasn't going to be taken care of...Allison presumably wanted something related to her journalism out of the book, but couldn't she change that to be "I want the bullet removed from my boob"? We never see any power from the book, so it's never clear what the gang's plan actually is. If you want me to join your cult where I murder two people including a young boy and we do it in his suburban house then the book better have some supernatural powers to make the giant risk worth it. Since we never see any effects of the book, we're left unsure why these people are so gung-ho. We're also unsure why they can't kill Cole at the beginning but once he escapes they all want to murder him rather than retrieve him.

Sure this all takes place in a fantasy world where nobody notices a hot blonde dragging two cops into their cars with the sirens blaring, or where "10 and 2" graphics illuminate onto steering wheels (did I mention this was stylistically aping off Zombieland or Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World?), but we still need a bit of an understanding of how the world works. I assume the book does something supernatural, that's how Bee was able to escape the car in order to attack the cops in a mid-credit sequence that won't help her plan at all. McG brings a few of his typical visual styles into the film: he loves cars smashing into buildings and girls in jean shorts sitting on chairs. This all helps the film does maintain a bit of a sense of fun, and actually made me really think about the second film in the Halloween double feature.

Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil is like Deliverance only backwards. A group of "college kids" head out to the backwoods of the Virginian Appalachian Mountains where they have a bunch of scary encounters with a pair of hillbillies. Only it turns out the hillbillies are the heroes, at least by the end. Tucker (Alan Tudyk) has bought himself a "vacation home", a run-down cabin in the woods that was clearly the former home of a local serial killer. He brung his best friend Dale (Tyler Labine) out with him to help him fix the place up and make it a paradise. Along the way of course many nights of fishing and cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon would be enjoyed. They stop for supplies at the same store as the college kids, where Dale takes a shine to sexy blonde Allison (Katrina Bowden, much hotter and more girl-next-door than the Allison in The Babysitter) but his clumsy attempt to talk to her (carrying a scythe!) just creeps her out. She is rescued by Chad (Jesse Moss) and with Dale repelled the now creeped out college kids take off on their own wooded vacation. Tucker and Dale are in awe: though the cabin is really run down and needs a lot of work to even meet 1960 health and safety standards, for these rednecks it's a paradise. The college kids swap scary stories, and Chad tells the true story about the hillbilly serial killers who stayed in Tucker's cabin and how 20 years earlier they committed the "Memorial Day Massacre" against C&C Music Factory listening 90s college kids. The kids are so creeped out by the story they go skinny dipping for so long that it turns to night while Chad clumsily comes onto Allison.

Out at the lake Allison climbs onto a tall rock to join her "skinny dipping" (still wearing clothes) friends. She strips to her bra and panties but before she can strip down she catches Tucker and Dale leering at her in their fishing boat. She clumsily falls into the water and doesn't come back up, forcing Dale to dive in and rescue her. Unfortunately her friends misinterpret what it means when an unconscious Allison is slumped over Tucker's fishing boat and they run from the killer hillbillies, perplexing Tucker and Dale to no end. Chad gets an evil glean in his eye when told of the "capture", and the next morning Allison wakes up in bed with an earnest Dale trying to give her pancakes and misinterpreting her screams in fear as a dislike of pancakes. That alone almost made me shut off the movie. Who dislikes pancakes? But eventually Allison and Dale speak like normal people and even play board games while one of the college kids drives off to get the cops. Tucker doesn't get to play with the pretty college girl though, he has some wood to cut. Unfortunately his chainsaw cut into a wasp nest and Tucker is soon running through the woods waiving his chainsaw around trying to escape the bees. At the same time the college kids are approaching the cabin and they misinterpret (there's that word again!) Tucker's mad chainsaw run with an attack, and they flee. One of the college kids is too busy looking at Tucker to look where he's going, and he impales himself to death on a sharp stick of wood. This causes yet another hilarious misunderstanding as both groups think the death was deliberate but the other side was the culprit. Talking about his board game victory over Allison as if he physically assaulted her within earshot of the paranoid college kids wasn't Dale's best idea. Leaving creepy "we've got ur friend" messages in the woods wasn't his best idea either.

The gang decides to attack the cabin after seeing Allison help Dale built a hole for the outhouse (or Dale "making her dig her own grave" as the college kids misunderstand it), but their timing could have been better. One of them attacked Tucker while he was using his woodchipper and accidentally jumped into it while making the world's worst leap at the hillbilly. Another charges at Dale with a stick but trips and falls on it himself. Dale accidentally knocks Allison out with a shovel when turning to look at the yelling kid, and the college kids run away in fear. Tucker and Dale suspect the kids are part of a suicide pact, and fear that Allison got cold feet and they are trying to murder her to fulfill the pact. The college kids debate their limited options (no cellphone, no vehicle), and Chad is talking about their chance to truly live and fight the hillbillies to the death. It didn't take him long to go off the deep end, threatening to kill his fellow students if they get in his way. Meanwhile the cops (well, cop...singular) have arrived to confront Tucker and Dale while they are busy cleaning up the dead bodies of the college kids dying all around them. He doesn't follow police procedures very well even when he suspects they are guilty of involuntary manslaughter at the least, agreeing to come inside to check Allison to make sure she's okay. Unfortunately he leans on a weak spot in the house's superstructure and a board full of nails kills him. He stumbles back to the police car where one the college kids seize the cop's gun but manages to shoot himself instead. Chad finally arrives and starts using the gun with some skill, attacking Tucker and Dale and taking Dale's dog hostage. Tucker tries to save the dog but gets captured by the college kids who cut off his fingers as a message to Dale. Allison wakes up and doesn't believe Dale's story...until she sees the fingers and the note from her now-violent friends. Dale finally finds Tucker who was left as bait to lure Dale into a trap which only works if Dale approaches from one angle and stands in a specific spot...and instead he stood 4 inches away from it.

Meanwhile Chad comes to rescue Allison and starts throwing gasoline around the cabin. He again starts coming onto Allison, but Tucker and Dale return. Allison decides to use her psychology training and negotiate a settlement. Chad reveals that his mother was one of the victims of the Memorial Day Massacre and that his father was killed, explaining the source of his aggression and hatred towards the two hillbillies. Allison thinks she's making progress until two of the college kids burst in attacking everybody with a weed wacker (including the other college kids, by mistake). In the ensuring struggle Chad starts the gasoline on fire and it ends up killing two of the college kids. Tucker/Dale/Allison escape the cabin in the nick of time but one of the college girls grabs Chad and he's trapped in the burning cabin. He survives but horribly burned and now completely psychotic, attacking them all with an axe. Dale drives the trio away in Tucker's truck but doesn't keep his eye on the road and crashes into a tree (smashing the last thing Tucker had). Waking up from the wreckage Tucker tells Dale that Chad ran off with Allison, and after the two of them have a heart to heart where Tucker explains to Dale he's stronger than he thinks, Dale and his dog run off into the night to save Allison and stop Chad.

They track Chad to a nearby abandoned sawmill, and Dale breaks into the storage room to equip himself to be the kiler hillbilly that Chad is picturing: random pieces of iron as body armor, a chainsaw, and a welding helmet that looks cool and was clearly designed by somebody who had no idea how welding helmets work since Dale would be totally blind. He and Chad have an epic battle with sparks flying as Allison is slowly moving towards the sawblade like she's James Bond captured by Goldfinger. Dale manages to free Allison and the two of them escape to the upstairs office where they discover newpaper clippings revealing that Chad's father wasn't killed by the hillbillies...his father was the killer who raped Chad's mother and killed the other college kids. Between that realization and Dale's timely attack using Chamomile Tea, Chad stumbled out of a window and falls to his presumed death. Allison and Dale kiss and go on a date together while Tucker gets his fingers reattached (well, one was a college girl's fingers but close enough). The movie ends how it began, with an intrepid reporter investigating the sawmill only to be killed by Chad.

This movie was a lot of fun. As I said, it has a similar tone to The Babysitter but with more moments of comedy and less touching coming of age moments...though Dale's arc was more interesting and satisfying. This is probably because of the acting. Lewis and Weaving can't compare to the great performances by both Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine. Tucker and Dale are great characters who really come to life, and we enjoy watching their romp more because of it. Lighting wise this is the complete opposite of The Babysitter with a lot of dark lighting and constantly moving camerawork (which McG only used when Cole and Bee both nodded and the camera nodded along) that gives the movie a lot of its kinetic thrust. I'm not sure who would win in a sexy-off between Samara Weaving and Katrina Bowden, but I would totally watch that movie. Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil is the funner movie (and therefore the better one), and both have the same basic message: "don't be scared of the future, go out and seize what you want".

Both movies aren't horror movies per se. There are some horror shots popping up here and there but horror-comedy isn't really the style. Adventure-comedy with a few horror elements and a lot of gore (again, Zombieland), both are really good movies to have around when you want something Halloween-ish but you aren't interested in being scared out of your wits. You can be shocked and surprised, but most of the time during both films you'll be laughing and clapping along.


There's always next century

Well finally an ace comes through in the 2016 MLB postseason.

After last night's miracle win forced a Game 5 in the NLCS, the Chicago Cubs have been eliminated 11-1. Clayton Kershaw pitched a 1-run game over 6 innings and the Dodgers shutdown bullpen shut...the...Cubs...down...setting a new MLB record for postseason shutout innings by a bullpen.

I'm disappointed. I wrote last year how Chicago winning the World Series fundamentally changed the dynamic of cheering for this team and a not-entirely small part of me wanted to see the Game 7 collapse that almost happened. The Cubs were the lovable losers.

Now they come in as defending World Series Champions and while I sensed the whole time that the Cubs weren't the team of destiny they appeared to be last year, I was more hopeful of a win this year than last, bizarrely enough. After all, the Cubs followed up their 1907 World Series win with their 1908 World Series win...and then a century and change of heartache and disappointment. I was looking forward to a repeat of 1907/1908 frankly: two years in a row to make the fans think they have a dynasty, then the next few decades having those fans' children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren die having never watched a World Series win for their favourite team.

Now baseball is looking like it's going to get the New York-New YorkLos Angeles World Series, as the Yankees are flipping the script on the Astros.

But the Cubs aren't going to be in it. The Cubs aren't going down in history as the team that wins twice a row...every century or so. They remain a team in search of a new identity. I really think we had it.


Canada's Netflix™ Tax is 10%

Well that didn't take long.

It was only September 27th that Shiny Pony's evil government announced a special deal with Netflix to come up with crappy Canadian content. Why didn't they come up with special Canadian content before? Oh, right. Because nobody cared.

The Globe and Mail's extreme leftist reporter Daniel Leblanc actually put this line into the story.

The plan doesn't include new taxes on digital companies or Internet service providers, despite recurring calls in Canada's cultural industries for a "level-playing field" with foreign-based firms.
Oh, it goes on.
Instead, federal sources said the key element in the announcement will be the Netflix agreement that showcases Ottawa's ability to get foreign Internet companies to increase their investments in Canada. The deal is expected to facilitate the viewing of Canadian movies and TV series on the popular streaming service, but also include a production house in the country, the sources said.

In an interview, Ms. Joly declined to discuss any element of the deal before the official announcement. Still, she said her government is already reaping the benefits of holding direct negotiations with large Internet companies instead of imposing taxes or regulations on them.

"The reality is that the way to have the biggest impact, and the biggest impact for our cultural sector, is to have deals between the government and these companies. I'm convinced that this is the Canadian way," she said. "Because behind this deal-making approach, there is a vision to support our creative industries as a whole."

The reality, of course, is that Netflix Canada decided to spend $500 million that the market didn't support. Trudeau's evil government trumpeted this as their big achievement. [oh, they also spent another $25 million/year on the CanCon fund that makes art you don't care about... -ed]

So today Netflix informed its Canadian users that effective October 22 (possibly the date depends on the user's billing date) their monthly rate is going to $10.99/month.

Your monthly price is increasing to $10.99 on October 22. Our updated pricing is part of our commitment to improve Netflix, so you have even more of what you like to watch waiting for you. Thanks for being a loyal member.
That brings the cost up a full $1 from the previous $9.99, for a Netflix tax of 10%.

Hell, they have to pay for this unwanted content somehow. They're charging users more and that worthless asshole of a PM gets to pretend he didn't break yet another promise.


Edmonton Eskimos vs Winnipeg Bluebombers Liveblog

7:17pm: Live from a chilly fall evening in Edmonton Alberta, the 7-5 Edmonton Eskimos take on the team that gave them their first loss of the season, the 9-3 Winnipeg Blue Bombers. It's been a rough few weeks to be an Eskimos fan, after a couple months of it being very very very awesome. The Esks have added their second NFL reject in the month of September, with Aaron Grymes joining Derel Walker as the latest Yankee to try to help the team out. My pizza is on its way, I have a fresh stock of Hoegaarden available for the drinking, and with any luck you can join me as we watch the Eskimos return to their winning form from earlier in the season. Meanwhile K'mpec is at the game taking his fifth consecutive stab at watching the Eskimos win buy the winning 50/50 ticket. Depending on his cellphone service we may be able to check in on him during the action.

7:24pm: Who the hell is this team? Hamilton is presently leading toronto 35-27. Sure the Argos are charging up the field and the 3-minute warning just sounded, but it looks like the Tiger Cats are on a tear. Basically they and the Eskimos flipped positions from the first part of the season.

7:26pm: TSN is going to switch to the Esks game in four minutes, right?

7:28pm: I wonder if my friend in Hamilton is at the game. She would have just watched her team get a big interception to stall Ricky Ray's big drive.

7:38pm: Toronto ties up the game with seconds left, and we still haven't cut to the Eskimos game?

7:39pm: There we go. TSN-3 (which is the one I am tuned to!) is switching to Edmonton.

7:40pm: CF-18s flew overheard for Military Appreciation Night. Last year I watched that game on my back patio. Tonight I don't even have the windows open and probably won't hear them.

1st quarter, 14:55: Matt Nichols takes the field on his own 39 yard line to kick off the non-kickoff part of the game.

1st quarter, 14:40: Great defensive play by the Esks to cost them 4 early. I could get used to this.

1st quarter, 13:17: The Eskimos seriously have to stop running laterally on kick returns. I was watching this endlessly during the two Calgary games. It never works. Press forward and try (and likely fail) to significantly gain yards.

1st quarter, 12:18: The Eskimos with the game's first first-down. Now on our own 33-yard line.

1st quarter, 10:52: The Esks have been running running running. Looks like Winnipeg has figured out our gameplan.

1st quarter, 10:18: See? QB sack and we're 3rd and 13.

1st quarter, 9:48: Did the TSN crew just refer to "Brick Field"? It's Commonwealth, dudes. I don't care what it says on the ground.

1st quarter, 7:32: Nichols's short throw doesn't hit the first down, but the Esks defense is sure giving him a lot of clear routes. Is that the plan? Give them a short-yardage opening and then tackle the receiver before he can make a gain?

1st quarter, 6:48: Medlock's field goal went wide and the Esks made a decent yardage play on the return.

1st quarter, 5:31: Great kick by the Esks puts the Bombers offense in mid-field despite our starting at the goal line.

7:58pm: Aarony Grymes is talking about his return. I see that the Argos did finally come back and win their game, putting Hamilton where they belong -- the bottom of the league.

1st quarter, 5:15: Gryme's wife and kids are gorgeous.

1st quarter, 3:44: Chick blocks a pass and forces Medlock to try another field goal. I doubt he'll miss this one.

1st quarter, 3:18: He does! Still a scoreless game!

8:04pm: A guy in a Winnipeg jersey with "Sask Sucks" was shown in the crowd. Of course his number was thirteen.

1st quarter, 2:30: First penalty of the game? It's against the Bombers.

1st quarter, 1:01: Okay guys, give up the run for a bit. They seem to have adjusted to keep us from succeeding with it.

1st quarter, 0:23: Reilly is sacked, unfortunately the penalty flag is against us. The Esks O-line isn't what it was to start the season.

1st quarter, 0:00: Fog makes up way more yardage on their punt return than I want. Time for the second quarter. Unfortunately the Bombers start in mid-field. I always think it's a shame when we let the opposition have the ball at mid-field to end the 1st and 3rd quarters since on the edges they have to run across the field. Even though it's probably not true, I always imagine it tires them out a bit to have to run 80 yards during a commercial break.

2nd quarter, 14:08: The Bombers make a pass to get a first down only to lose the ball to Grymes. Esks gain possession on the 20 to avoid a red-zone situation.

2nd quarter, 11:57: Reilly tries a long bomb to Bowman who's out of position. For some reason those two don't have the chemistry they did just last season. I noticed that even during the win streak.

8:16pm: This Sobey's "immigrants are awesome" commercial is brutal. The people coming to Canada in 2017 are nothing like the entrepreneurs we had back in J. Sobey's time.

8:17pm: Trivago should be replacing their ads with a "hey Feynman and Coulter's Love Child we're sorry we were offline for almost an hour yesterday" apology ad.

2nd quarter, 10:23: Great sack! Euclid takes down his former QB right at midfield.

2nd quarter, 10:00: Winnipeg claims a roughing the passer on the penalty review. TSN says they have a valid complaint. I don't see it but probably 6,000 slo-mo reviews will prove me wrong.

2nd quarter, 10:00: What a change. 15-yard penalty, because Nichols literally moved his head to cause the ensuing penalty.

2nd quarter, 9:22: Andrew Harris is sacked with another 3rd down for Winnipeg. C'mon Medlock, screw up another easy field goal!

2nd quarter, 8:50: He does! Third consecutive miss! Winnipeg now has a 1-0 lead. It's a hockey game.

8:26pm: Special congrats to my Chicago Cubs by the way who won 9-0 today to get a 92-69 record with one game left to play. It's no 103-58 but we'll take it. Bring on the World Series.

2nd quarter, 8:20: I thought I wsaw a flag at the end of that last play but I guess not.

2nd quarter, 7:45: I love the plays that even fool the camera-man. Everybody and I mean everybody thought Van had the ball, but instead Zylstra gets a first down.

2nd quarter, 7:09: Okay now Van took the ball. Almost another first down.

2nd quarter, 6:36: Third and inches?

2nd quarter, 5:58: Third and one, but after the chains come out the Esks have a first down. Okay, I can get another beer and hopefully call about my pizza.

2nd quarter, 5:33: Duke Williams in deep field and under coverage almost but not quite catches the ball. Funny enough I'm only slightly looking at his arms, my eyes are instead trying to see if there's a flag on the play.

2nd quarter, 4:56: 3rd and 3, and the Esks are trying for a field goal.

2nd quarter, 4:34: Hits the goalpost! It looked so good at first, but no. Bombers still lead 1-0.

2nd quarter, 4:24: TSN just made my Jets-Oilers hockey joke.

2nd quarter, 2:12: Easy no-yardage call.

2nd quarter, 2:06: No no-yard? And the O-line screws up again as Reilly is quickly under pressure and throws a short throw far behind the line of scrimmage.

2nd quarter, 1:40: O-line lets Reilly come under pressure early again and again his throw doesn't go anywhere near a first down. That's too much time to let Winnipeg have the ball.

2nd quarter, 1:32: See Edmonton? Winnipeg shows you how it's done. The kick return is charged up the field at high speed. Sure we force them out of bounds early, but that was the worst-case scenario for the Bombers. Best case would have been a TD.

2nd quarter, 1:10: Winnipeg has to try on the 3rd and 1 here, on their own 49 with a minute left in the half.

2nd quarter, 0:58: Harris with a big first down after an Esks penalty. Now Winnipeg on the Edmonton 32.

2nd quarter, 0:32: Winnipeg makes the first down on 3rd and inches. Just outside the redzone.

2nd quarter, 0:17: Harris taken down and then the Bombers immediately fumble. Unfortunately they recover and Edmonton has too many men on the field. First down on the 5. Harris is injured though, so best case scenario for Winnipeg he's gone for three plays.

2nd quarter, 0:13: Denmark gets a touchdown. Winnipeg leads 7-0.

2nd quarter, 0:06: 8-0 Winnipeg and Edmonton on our own 36 yard line. I suppose we can try for a big play but I'm already assuming this will be the score a halftime.

2nd quarter, 0:00: Boos rain down from the Edmonton faithful as the Esks take a knee and try again for the second half.

8:54pm: The CFL panel is suddenly their usual annoying selves. Mute!

3rd quarter: 14:38: Eskimos luck out when Reilly is charged with an incomplete pass, which was almost a complete pass followed by a fumble.

3rd quarter: 14:08: Van works better as a receiver than a Running Back.

3rd quarter: 13:30: See?

3rd quarter: 13:00: Zylstra is hard to take down! Another Eskimos first down!

3rd quarter, 12:44: Zylstra again, just hitting the first down before going out of bounds.

3rd quarter, 12:22: Esks are in the redzone and Van

3rd quarter, 11:44: First and Goal for the Esks as Watson pushes an extra three yards where it counts.

3rd quarter, 11:38: Maurice Leggett is injured. The Bombers are taking Edmonton's early-season win-streak mojo so it's only fair they take the injury mojo along for the ride.

3rd quarter, 11:19: TOUCHDOWN ESKIMOS! MCCARTY RUNS IT INTO THE ENDZONE! I thought I saw a flag at the end there but apparently not. 8-6.

3rd quarter, 10:51: Esks go for 2 points against my screaming recommendations, and it costs them.

3rd quarter, 10:24: Sewell gets a barely-sack, and now it's 2nd and 11 for Winnipeg on their 34.

9:26pm: Kal-Tire has a contest where you can win a trip to the Grey Cup in Ottawa. That's in less than 2 months. A little late to win that sort of a trip isn't it?

9:27pm: Blair Smith is out for the Esks.

3rd quarter, 6:50: Great throw by Nichols and Winnipeg has a first down at the Edmonton 23.

3rd quarter, 6:25: Oh great. Winnipeg is in the redzone, 1st and goal at the 5 yard line.

3rd quarter, 5:46: Harris rolls into the endzone. Nice try.

3rd quarter, 5:29: Okay that's an actual touchdown. Crap.

9:32pm: Nicole Priest of Edmonton is a traitor. Winnipeg leads 15-6

3rd quarter, 5:09: Edmonton buried at their own 26. Not looking good.

9:34pm: Reilly talking about how adversity makes the Esks a better team. I haven't seen it.

3rd quarter, 3:31: Now it's Walker's turn to push an extra yard after the catch to secure a first down.

3rd quarter, 2:04: Walker with a "catch" that I'm pretty sure hit the dirt, but he gets a 19-yard gain on the play. I'll take it.

3rd quarter, 1:11: Reilly with a bad throw to Walker/Zylstra. He should have punched his own number.

3rd quarter, 0:51: 15-9 after the Esks finally get a field goal.

3rd quarter, 0:23: What would a disappointing Esks game be without stupid penalties?

4th quarter, 14:45: Yikes. The refs reverse their previous call and the Bombers now have another TD. Automatically reviewed.

4th quarter, 12:26: Zylstra with a great catch but unfortunately he's hammered from behind seconds later.

4th quarter, 11:12: Waters makes a field goal and brings the score to 21-12.

4th quarter, 10:48: King makes an amazing block to rob Nichols of a long bomb.

4th quarter, 10:28: Grymes does the exact same thing on another Nichols long bomb attempt.

4th quarter, 10:13: Travon Van has a bag of ice on his leg. Yet another Esks injury...and again, we aren't even on a win streak. The city is still in employment hell, can't Edmonton catch any breaks in 2017?

4th quarter, 9:50: Maas throws the Challenge Flag on yet another "meh" play. He claims defensive pass interference. I don't think it's going to stick. Maas is almost at Chris Jones-level incompetence in deciding how to throw these flags. Remember that insane temper tantrum after his questionable Challenge didn't go through against Calgary?

10:02pm: Predictably, the Esks lose the challenge.

4th quarter, 9:34: Zylstra with another big catch and a 32 yard play as he keeps running and forced the Winnipeg defenders to tag along as he runs to the Winnipeg 25 yard line.


4th quarter, 8:21: 21-19 after the kick. Edmonton is now only two points back for the first time since the first half.

10:09pm: Edmonton Journal reporting a corrupt Edmonton Police Services thug/officer was injured near the Stadium. Good. He deserved it.

4th quarter, 7:20: As always, the Esks are being sunk by dumb penalties. Boateng with an offside.

4th quarter, 6:47: Winnipeg finally gets a penalty. Well they've had 35 yards of penalties to Edmonton's fifty-seven.

4th quarter, 5:17: Horrible throw to Zylstra who still gets the extra couple yards and is close to a first down.

4th quarter, 4:45: Under pressure Reilly throws another lousy throw.

4th quarter, 4:23: Third bad throw in this series hits the dirt and therefore doesn't get intercepted.

4th quarter, 3:31: This time it's Nichol's turn to hit the dirt, though I thought Winnipeg was illegal procedure on that snap. Refs disagreed.

4th quarter, 3:03: Another 10-yard Edmonton penalty. It's okay guys, we didn't really want to win the game.

4th quarter, 2:34: Pick six by Winnipeg and the game is probably over. Esks are about to lose yet again. Walker is the intended target and instead of winning the Esks are losing. 28-19 Winnipeg.

4th quarter, 2:15: Lochard with an okay gain but he had the opportunity with an open field to make a better gain.

4th quarter, 2:07: Zylstra almost holds onto the ball at the 30 but can't make the catch. 2nd and 10.

4th quarter, 1:48: The Esks gamble on 3rd and 3 fails. Congratulations Winnipeg on not sucking like we do. 7-6 doesn't sound good at all. The crowd starts to leave apparently unaware that the cops have closed down the entire area of town because one of their evil officers got what was coming to him.

4th quarter, 1:20: Winnipeg gets another first down at the Edmonton 50. Who even cares any more?

4th quarter, 0:51: Even TSN, who constantly pushes the (admittedly true) "no lead is safe" meme is already posting standings showing Winnipeg won tonight and the Eskimos lost.

4th quarter, 0:22: The Eskimos have their (presumably final) possession. A TD would be nice just for the moral victory. We'll be lucky not to give Winnipeg another possession.

4th quarter, 0:13: With the Esks now falling to fourth in the west there's a strong possibility that they are the Eastern Crossover team...assuming we don't keep losing and fall below Saskatchewan and miss the playoffs entirely.

10:34pm: And that's the game. Final score 28-19 for Winnipeg. Sorry, I'll need a few minutes....


Best. YouTube. Comment. Ever.

From this extended edit of Danny Elfman's classic score.



There isn't a potfest movie. There isn't going to be a potfest movie. You've been watching this movie for the first time and telling me that Potfest is coming out soon for exactly eleven years now and I would like you to please stop. You're embarrassing yourself.

2017 Edmonton International Fringe Festival: A Midsummer Night's Fringe

(this post will be sticky until August 28. Scroll down for new content)

It's that time of year again.

The summer wind-down continues with the Edmonton Fringe Festival. This year to celebrate Canada 150 the fringe subtitle is "A Midsummer Night's Fringe" to honour Great Britain, the amazing nation that turned a useless land being poorly used by Red Indians into something impressive. It is doubly ironic considering that this Fringe is going to literally run until August 27th which is pretty much the end of summer, especially for schoolchildren.

Anyways this will be a quiet Fringe for yours truly since I did just wind down not one but two rather expensive Eastern vacations. Still there will be a bit of Fringe coverage, I'll try to go to the grounds a couple nights at least and see what human beauty can be on display.

And as always here at Third Edge of the Sword during the Fringe, there is a steadfast rule that can never be broken:

No fags.

For previous Fringe coverage please see last year (2016), 2015, the infamous 2014, and the similarly slow 2013.


2017 Edmonton Fringe Festival review: Szeretlek: A Hungarian Love Story

For all the knocks I have to give it from the get go, it's not all that bad.

It's certainly not all that great either, but when you consider it's the dreaded "my story"/"my family story" combined with physical theatre, Szeretlek: A Hungarian Love Story could have been a lot worse. And you get to learn a new dance, a new word, plus discover how to pronounce Budapesht correctly.

The premise is simple: the story about the young love between author/costar Zita Nyarady's grandmother Catalina and the man she would end up being with as long as they both shall lived. Because Catalina came of age in the shadow of the Second World War, and in a small Hungarian town, the setting becomes as important as the characters. Nyrady also brought her...husband Mike France ...along as her co-star. Together they play different characters as the story is expressed through dance and narration.
This is, for better or worse, nothing like the "Hungarian love story" that won at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year.

I think she said husband, but then again she didn't take his last name so it's possible that isn't even true. Of course, I'm not sure the "take your husbands name" rule is that valid when he spells it Myque Franze either.

If you're cringing at the thought of "interpretive dance" as I was when I was cajoled into attending (because of my recent long and frankly expensive as all get out vacation, I was intending to not see any plays this year), relax: there isn't really any interpretive dance. There actually isn't too much dance at all actually: there's an opening number with an umbrella and a pair of masks that are supposed to reflect Catalina and her eventual husband in old age, but end up looking vaguely like a Drazi and every cartoonist's stereotype of Hungarian features. Then there's a pivotal scene which takes place at an autumn dance involving a traditional Hungarian dance so easy they even convince the audience to do it. There's a weird dream sequence (the only interpretive number) where the actors practice the airplane ride from Grosse Pointe Blank, and that's about it for the dancing portions of the show.

The rest is just an autobiographical telling of Catalina's life. Nyrady is clearly proud of her family history, so much that perhaps she noticed there really isn't that much story there. The most compelling bit was when she was forced to choose between two men vying for her hand in marriage, the "soap opera" portion as Nyrady refers to it...but that part of the story is basically just dropped. "Oh and she chose the linguist" is the punchline and indeed the end of the story. (Relax: the identity of the successful suitor is given away in the first 5 minutes of the play)

That's really the frustrating part of the play: we're left out of all the good bits of drama. Part of that is understandable: this story was formed when Nyrady interviewed her grandmother and other family members about her life. I know full well that when you try to suss out details in this fashion, you're not going to get all of the juicy or dramatic bits. There's a extended riff on the hat Catalina bought with her first paycheque, hoping to find some sort of universal statement about the human condition or lost youth or something, when instead it's probably just that with your first paycheque you like to make a fun purchase. I can't remember what I bought with my first real paycheque but it was probably at least 5.5% alcohol (and possibly the reason I cannot remember). There are a couple decent scenes about Catalina the teacher trying to deal with children barely younger than her who were scared by WWII in such a way that no discipline could likely frighten.

As mentioned, WWII is a big part of the story even though none of the characters were old enough to have been directly involved in it (Catalina's first love is killed in the war, but whether he was old enough to serve or just a civilian casualty is never addressed). Nyrady observes that her grandmother doesn't like to talk about the war much at all, and a lot of those years are black holes in the story that simply will never be filled. This really brought to life the truism I was told once by a Canadian Forces member who had served in Bosnia in the late 90s, a time when most of the serious fighting was over and a stint in that country was just a pretty shitty paid European vacation. Having left Yugoslavia without any good war stories of his own, he recalls talking with WWII and Korean War veterans at the Legion and trying to find out from them what it was like to be in a real war, an existential battle against equally/superior equipped forces in a raging battle for the future of the globe. None of them would talk about it, even to other military veterans who had come under fire. It just wasn't something that was discussed. As he put it contrasting with some of his fellow Bosnian vets:

Men who have been in a real battle never want to talk about it. Men who haven't been in a real battle will never shut up about it.
Catalina lost her first love and her mother during that War. Remember that Hungary started as fighting for the Axis powers but was later seized by Germany after her second-rate army fell apart fighting the well-equipped Soviets in a winter campaign. Six months later the Soviets invaded and despite an official armistice the tattered remains of the Royal Hungarian Army continued to fight to keep the Russians at bay. Within months, Budapest was besieged and by the war's end Hungary was under Soviet control. At the time of this story, a Soviet puppet government was in place that lasted until the 80s.

For the most part the story itself isn't all that thrilling. Catalina buys a hat. She teaches unruly boys. She gets swindled by her future mother-in-law to pay extra for shaving soap (being told it's a miracle product). That same mother-in-law tells through (music-less!) song that she wanted her studious son to become a priest but instead he wanted to become a scholar and get married. He woos Catalina at the aforementioned autumn dance and this is where the two actors really do their best physical work at expressing something that is really hard to capture with words: the joys of young love. You remember those heady days: instead of a coffee date and then endless Netflix and Chill nights and/or Skype conversations, it's just you and this young girl you've met...the charming simplicity of it all. She likes you. You like her. You lose her for a couple hours at a bush party because she got drunk and decided to sleep it off under a van and when you found her the Red Indian guys who owned the van tried to beat you up because they're savages like that, and then you and her drive away (not in the van) and make out in a pickup along a lake somewhere just outside of Bonnyville. You know, beautiful and simple young love stories like that. The way they move and their expressions really sell that, and I appreciate it. It's the best part of the play.

After that unfortunately Catalina falls ill...literally. We're never told what the problem was and it's likely nobody ever knew. She collapsed suddenly which almost sounds like a diabetic attack, though a lifelong ailment like that would have been detected before she lived into the 21st century. The other of her suitors is a handsome doctor known to participate in weird experimental treatments: in a gory-for-kids scene he uses needles to remove blood from one area of her body and re-inject it into another. This process is technically autohemotherapy by the way, and it's a quack method. Don't try this at home with a syringe and a comatose grandmother, kids! But in the end, she wakes up, chooses her man, and...well, the abrupt ending of it sort of ruins the momentum they had been building up. This show is advertised as 60 minutes, it's only a shade over 45. I normally wouldn't ask physical theatre to run longer, and there are certainly parts earlier on that could have been trimmed, but it wouldn't be too bad to see anything of their life after he slips a ring on her finger.

As love stories go it's fairy-tale like but brutal, familiar but just a little on that border of strange and alien, not as well defined as you think it should be. In other words: it's quintessentially Hungarian.

For more 2017 Edmonton Fringe Festival content, see the portal page)