« August 2009 | Main | October 2009 »

September 2009 Archives

September 3, 2009

Alberta loves AC/DC. Possibly a bit too much.

Craigslist ad

"Honey, this is an amazing birthday present! How the heck did you find me such a good seat for the show?"

September 4, 2009

An afterthought to my Friday column

Dudley Do-RightWolverine has to be damn near the best-known fictional Canadian in any medium at this point, doesn't he? Surely he's, like, a length ahead of Bob & Doug McKenzie and pretty much abreast of Anne of Green Gables. Who else is in this race?

September 7, 2009

Hey, I hired a security guard to make sure I don't steal from you

Yes, I think it is safe to say that the New York Times' experiment with a "public editor" has officially failed. "OK, our top tech columnist has a glaring, obvious conflict of interest, and that conflict is now the only conceivable explanation for an otherwise patently insincere and misleading review, but we can't possibly correct the situation; doing so would 'deprive' the readers of his 'expertise'."

Excuse me, Clark Hoyt, but are you literally, physically dickless? If reporters don't need close scrutiny to ensure their personal interests don't influence their "expertise", then what the hell do we need a "public editor" for at all? The premise of your job is that conflicts of interests cause harm and ought to be avoided! Readers don't need a "public editor" to tell them they shouldn't question David Pogue's integrity because he's a nice, talented, funny guy! That's the side of the argument opposite the one you are supposed to be representing!

Once again, Cosh's Law of Newspaper Ombudsmen holds true: we are supposed to believe they exist to defend the interests of the reader against those of the newspaper, but their actual job is precisely the opposite.

September 10, 2009

For the record

It may be the hottest rumour on Internet sites, but forget about Mike Comrie and the Edmonton Oilers kissing and making up.
"It ain't happening ... he ain't coming here," said a well-informed source. "Mike doesn't fit any need that we have right now."
...[The Oilers] can't add a body unless they can move salary, but that didn't stop the Internet buzz around Comrie, who turns 29 on Sept. 11. He was supposed to be returning on a one-year, $1.3-million contract after an acrimonious parting in 2003.
-Jim Matheson, the Edmonton Journal's Hall of Fame hockey reporter, Aug. 29

Comrie is said to have signed a one-year contract with the Oilers today, but this information comes from the Internet, so, y'know, grain of salt and all that.

September 18, 2009

Footnotes to today's Gretzky/ESPN column

[Which you can read here.] One of the most penetrating remarks made by any of Peter Berg's interviewees—and I can't even tell who made it—was that absolutely nobody at the famous press conference wanted to be there. Watching the tape again really drives this home: the people at the head table are dazed and dyspeptic, pretty much like people who've just survived a bus accident where nobody has a scratch except for the one decapitated guy. Gretzky, as he made brutally apparent in his comments, hadn't yet fully digested the magnitude of what was happening. McNall was present strictly for the sake of form. Pocklington must have known there was no hope of making the fans understand—he was less than 24 hours away from giftwrapping an "I never liked the kid anyway" tirade and delivering it to Jim Matheson—and Glen Sather hated the whole idea of the trade (though, honestly, I suspect he's probably talking out his ass when he says he would have resigned if Gretzky had asked him to; no owner ever had a more loyal lieutenant than Slats). And even those among the reporters and photographers who felt no personal connection to Gretzky must have known they were losing a major meal ticket. Still a potently toxic diorama of misery, two decades later.

I didn't want to go into detailed technical criticisms of a VERY rough cut of the documentary, but the footage of Gretzky playing is somewhat disappointing. Which is fine; it's always a little disappointing. I feel like filmmakers should just let us follow him for a whole shift instead of depicting him scoring nifty goals. C'mon, like Gretzky scoring on a breakaway is an appropriate symbol of his gifts? Gretzky sucked on breakaways! That's right, I put it on the record! We all knew it! Attica! Attica!

I wasn't able to fit in any sort of remark about the present-day NHL's obsession with Jim Balsillie's "character", but it is certainly interesting to note that Bruce McNall eventually served time for fraud and Peter Pocklington is, at last report, on bail for fraud and confined to his home as a flight risk. The 1980s were a time when much of the National Hockey League's ownership consisted either of a) legacy families who had held onto franchises forever and b) vaguely dodgy nouveau riche wheeler-dealers. The NHL could only have dreamed of a time when a respectable magnate like Balsillie, with a fortune earned from publicly-held, SEC-scrutinized business interests, would be scrabbling at the door of their club like a freaked-out housecat. Now that time has come, and it turns out they're not all that interested.

September 22, 2009

Spot news from dry country

Burning trailer

We ran across this spectacle Monday night on our way to the Lloydminster bus station; it was close enough to home that my parents might easily have recognized the driver, but it wasn't anybody they knew. Doesn't look like much, but right now the lost bales are probably worth as much as the old trailer.

Burning trailer

September 25, 2009

Master builder or enemy of the people?

Do you suppose that Edmonton Mayor Steven Mandel has ever heard the name "Robert Moses"? By my count, and leaving aside the demolitions required by various LRT extensions, the mayor and his retinue now intend to dig up our downtown airport, blow up the world's 10th busiest multipurpose events venue, and knock down an astonishingly anachronistic International Style building, all within a fairly short timeframe. Even if you're in favor of all these projects individually, isn't there a case to be made that we are incinerating an awful lot of history all at once? We're basically allowing one municipal regime to do more to re-engineer the city than has been accomplished in, say, any 20-year period since the big war.

It might not bother me, except that I'm not a totally ahistorical idiot; so I am aware that most of the inconvenient arrangements and structures we now wish to eradicate were products of prior intersections of boosterism, prosperity, and journalistic frenzy. That is certainly the combination that gave us a downtown airport, just as it is now the combination that seeks its destruction. How can Mayor Mandel get away with implying that the Alberta Legislature Annex is too ugly and boring to live? Because when it was built, it represented the bleeding-edge architectural trend of its time—a trend embraced with wholly accurate foresight by a city eager for excitement and renown, which then proceeded to see the sun blotted out by several thousand of pretty much the same goddamn glass box. The Annex now looks like any old crate erected in the year 1966, and is of no interest whatsoever unless you happen to know it was put up in 1951.

The same fate awaits the Art Gallery of Alberta mere blocks away, but only if it is not regarded as a preposterous embarrassment almost immediately. That's the choice you face when you follow an architectural fad for the sake of doing so. When the Edmonton Journal's Elizabeth Withey told the AGA's architect "Obviously the new AGA will be a hot, sexy piece of architecture" in a recent interview, I spent about a day screaming "Obviously??? Obviously???" in no particular direction. (The interview is otherwise excellent and unflinching, but Jesus.) The real danger, however, isn't that the AGA won't be worth imitating; it's that it will be worth imitating, and the benefit to the city in the coin of prestige—exactly the same benefit we tried to extract from the previous, hypersupermodern Edmonton Art Gallery building!—will evaporate in about thirty seconds. When there are a thousand giant shredded beer cans atop buildings in 500 North American towns, who will remember or care that ours was the first?

September 28, 2009

Seriously, not one?

MC79hockey points out that J.F. Jacques, who is said to be pretty well guaranteed to make the Edmonton Oilers roster, has the worst offensive statistics of any young forward in the NHL since the 1920s. I.e., since before passing was legal in the offensive zone. JFJ has played sixty games in the league without recording an assist; I do not think Tom Barrasso, for one, ever accomplished this. I can't boast that I am always the last person to give up on a young player, but wouldn't it be fair to say that a forward who is not only bad offensively but historically bad should be extremely, extremely good defensively to be considered for an NHL lineup?

About September 2009

This page contains all entries posted to ColbyCosh.com in September 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

August 2009 is the previous archive.

October 2009 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.35