Sunday, June 06, 2010

Podunkian Brunch, Sunday, June 6, 2010

Like many Podunkians one of the first things to be done on a Sunday morning is to check and see if your Saturday night lottery numbers came in. So share with us if you will, this cautionary tale for those that change their mind at their favourite lottery retailer and decline the ticket offered up by the machine. Last month someone in Goulds, Newfoundland turned back a ticket dispensed when it was incorrectly tabulated to cost about seventeen dollars more than the person wished to pay. Rather than take the ticket and hand over the extra cash, the customer declined the ticket, and the store voided the ticket as per lottery regulations. On draw day, the winning numbers for the May 21st Lotto Max Jackpot rolled in and were a perfect match for the ticket not accepted. No one has been identified as the coulda, woulda, shoulda lottery winner, and if they're lucky word will travel slow back to Newfoundland on their lost winfall.

For the first time in a while now, Saturday night wasn't Hockey Night in Canada as all was strangely quiet on the hockey front, the Stanley Cup playoffs were on a night off, giving us all time to review a most interesting appearance from Gary Bettman. Last week the Commissioner appeared between periods with Ron McLean, who when not donning his Superman cape and helping to rescue drowning men hosts a little interview program on the CBC. Earlier this week, before Ron answered the 911 call, the Commissioner answered questions from McLean on the state of the league, though judging by the answers, it would appear that the Commish would rather set the agenda than take his cues from the host.

Mr. Bettman's appearance did not go un-noticed as journalists and bloggers alike weighed in on the State of the League according to Gary. The Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail and the CBC all had reports and in some cases a little helpful advice while the Orland Kurtenblog portal tried to help divine some of the inside Hockey ramblings of the Commissioner.

Of course while Canadians like to think the world revolves around hockey, a little neighbourhood tournament set to start on Friday will actually command the bulk of the world's sporting attention for the next month. South Africa plays host to the World Cup starting at the end of the week, a one month festival of international soccer that will leave many corners of the globe transfixed to their television sets eager for the latest results. In Canada, all of the action is being broadcast and webcast by the CBC, with a rather extensive schedule of events and backgrounders planned for the length of the tournament.  For those that want their information instantaneously and delivered to their mobile devices, the Score has launched a comprehensive application for their coverage of the world's most anticipated tournament.

The World Cup of course will be one of those roller coaster experiences, fans living and dying with every shot or every goal.  Providing one of the most competitive environments in sport on display for the next month. You won't however, find quite the same intensity when it comes to youth soccer in Ottawa. A new rule for the Gloucester Dragons Recreational Soccer League has a provision that if your team wins a game by more than five points you will default the game. The rule was put in place by league organizers to try and reduce runaway scores and promote sportsmanship, some critics however suggest that the only thing the rule may end up doing is to turn soccer players into non achievers who may never feel that anything is possible despite the odds. The feedback for the new rule has been rather negative thus far, though organizers suggest that the vocal minority only accounts for about 1 Per cent of all parents. Still the idea of  the nanny state in soccer gave the National Post's Kelly McParland the opportunity to wonder aloud (and on your computer) what things might look like if the rule was expanded to other facets of our lives.

Speaking of non achievers, the votes are in and when it comes to the most popular television or movie character in the last twenty years, the winner is:

In the Entertainment Weekly poll, Springfield's favourite non achieving, Duff Swilling lout, Homer beat out such luminaries as Harry Potter, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Tony Soprano and The Joker, you can check out the full list here.

We can think of one fellow that may wish to keep his eye on the ball, for if he's not careful, we think there might be some competition in the non achievement category. When it comes to lists, President Obama is it seems falling off of a few these days. As the White House tries to find its balance on the BP oil spill disaster in the gulf, they are finding that more than a few of the more friendly of journalists and entertainers to their cause are taking their shots at the Presidency on this issue. Last week we mentioned long time Democratic handler James Carville's blistering review of the Obama team's work on the BP file.  This week it was the turn of the media to take some more of the bloom of that Presidential rose, among those that had previously been rather positive about the President but now are highlighting his troubles on the BP issue are Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, who offered up this line of reflection for the White House  "The oil won’t stop flowing, but the magic has". It was also  a week that saw Jon Stewart return to his Daily Show nightly pulpit and quickly find fault with the handling of the debacle and perhaps a wee lack of focus, providing the usual biting satire that has that ring of truth to it.

Of course the President has one ace up his sleeve when it comes to the potential fall out from the oil spill, as long as Tony Hayward is in charge of the oil company's operations there's at least one person that American's can focus their anger on. Hayward who seems a little tone deaf when it comes to handling public relations on disasters has had more than a few You Tube minutes of late, but perhaps the one that has folks in the Gulf States angry the most about is his clip discussing the impact the spill has had on his own life.
We imagine the people of Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and beyond probably have that same inclination, though for them the future isn't a particularly promising one. Then again perhaps neither is Tony's, if these headlines of recent days suggest: For BP, now come the lawyers, BP chief Tony Hayward sold shares weeks before oil spill, BP credit rating downgraded over oil disaster, Worsening Deepwater situation prompts speculation over BP's future, Billions more wiped from BP's value as shares plunge on oil spill failures, when a newspaper article refers to your company and the term "smell of death" in the same line, well it's probably not too much longer before you're cleaning out your corner office.

For our podcast selection of the week we return again to South Africa's World Cup hosting duties, set for opening day on Friday. The BBC offers up an interesting take on World Football and World Cup Daily,  the Globe and Mail has dispatched famed columnist Stephen Brunt to cover the event and ESPN brings the North American perspective to the events with their World Cup today podcast.

Our musical selection of the week features one of the grand dames of rock and roll (and a little disco, rap and new wave to boot), long before we were inundated with tales of Madonna, Lady Gaga and Christina Aguillera, another blonde bombshell from New York was taking the music world by storm with her fresh sound and timely arrival. Blondie, the queen of New Wave in the seventies and eighties ruled the dance clubs and topped the charts with such hits as Heart of Glass, Tide is High and Raptured to name a few. The bleached one turned sixty five recently and still it seems is rocking, recently she gave an interview to the Melbourne Herald Sun outlining the direction her music is heading today and the impact that it had in the past. Recapture one of those moments here.

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