Friday, August 28, 2009

I don't get it.

I don't get golf and tennis. How come they are the only two sports with "majors"? Every other sport has a championship of some kind. Whether it be a Super Bowl or a Stanley Cup or a Larry O'Brien trophy or what have you. Even NASCAR, if you want to call that a "sport", has points and standings and crowns a champion. (Although, I suppose that technically that sport has "majors" as well, like the Daytona 500 and such.) I was thinking about this when going down the prize list for the World of Sports. Which is a pretty cool prize list.

But then I thought really, what makes the US Open more prestigious than any other golf tournament? Or the Masters or the British or whatever. You don't win more money for that tournament. There are other, richer tournaments on the tour, and usually the top golfers in the world are measured by money won. There is this FedEx cup thing going on now which should be a bigger, more prestigious event than any major, shouldn't it? There is more money involved...there is actually a playoff of overall champion is crowned. Then again, the rules of this FedEx thing are so strange and they change so often that I imagine it's tough for the whole thing to cut through and gain purchase with fans.

I tried to research the four majors in golf and in tennis, because I wanted to find out when, and why, people decided that they were more important than the other tournaments. I couldn't find an answer. It seems as though it's just always been that way. Something about Arnold Palmer declaring it so in the 60s or something too. I don't know. Even if these are the longest-running tournaments in golf, that still doesn't explain it. Is it really prestige alone? In that case golf is even more snooty than I thought. And I already thought it was plenty snooty.

I would like to see this ethos played out over other sports. Like, in hockey. From now on, if you beat one of the original six teams (Chicago, Boston, Detroit, New York, Montreal, Toronto), you get double the points for the win. Each of those Original Six teams will start the season with eleven points of their own, to make up for the fact that they can't play themselves during the season, and schedules will be balanced to make sure every other team plays an equal number of games against those six. Or in the NFL, we will arbitrarily designate four franchises...say, Green Bay, Dallas, Chicago and Pittsburgh to be the "elite" teams with the deepest history, and the same will go for them. Maybe this way, the Leafs can win a Stanley Cup. And the Cowboys can go back to a Super Bowl. But I'll still root against both.

The sad fact is, that even if Tiger Woods wins the FedEx thing, however one goes about "winning" it, whatever it is, and he gets the $10 million, and he is far and away the top money-earner and top tournament-winner on the tour this year, his season will still be looked at as an abject failure. He didn't win a major! Not ONE! And he needs those to catch Nicklaus or he will forever be the second-best golfer ever! Roger Federer is the greatest tennis player of all time because he won so many majors. Is the tennis really better in those tournaments? Are they really tougher to win? Does the Tennis Federation bring in lookalike cyborgs for first round matchups to make things more difficult? Or are they just regular, everyday tournaments whose highlights end up more often on Sportscentre?

With my new scoring system, I have to say that last year's Pittsburgh Penguins had an abject failure of a season. Sure, they may have had a 5-4 record agains the Red Wings, including their two regular season games, but against the Leafs they were 1-3, the Rangers 3-3, the Bruins 1-2, the Habs 2-2, and the Blackhawks 1-0. So they lost two, won two and tied two of the series they played against the Original Six. Hardly a banner year, they barely broke even in the majors.

Muffin survives the death panel

My little dog, Muffin, has no health insurance. There is no universal coverage for dogs, so when her teeth began to fail her, there was a decision that had to be made. Do we spend an exorbitant amount of money to have those teeth pulled, or do we spend considerably less money to put her down? She is old - in dog years, I think she's about 112 or something. So we convened a death panel to determine whether she was still a useful member of canine society, and whether she was worth saving.

The panel was convened on our couch, and Muffin was invited to plead her own case. The debate began with an assessment of her finances. After some quick bookkeeping, we discovered that Muffin actually has no finances of her own, and by extent no means of paying for her own medical treatment. Upon further investigation, we found that since she is very old, and the maxim about teaching old dogs new tricks holds true in her case, she has very little earning potential. Were she to live for even two more years, she would have no means of making enough money to pay for her treatment. She seemed to understand that she was not pulling her weight in our society by making money, and she hung her head in shame. Then she licked herself.

I tried to explain to her that she had outlived her usefulness, and that as an elderly dog she was to be culled from the ranks of canines, a means of thinning the herd. She cocked her head at me, as though to say "isn't that what Hitler did?" I was surprised that she knew the works of Hitler, but then I realized that at the age of 112, she was likely far more familiar with the horrors of Nazism than was I. I did, however, explain that Hitler was a vegetarian and a great animal lover, and that although he would most certainly put her to death were she an old woman, she would have been just fine as an old dog in front of a Hitler death panel. It took me a while, but I convinced her that I was not Hitler. And therefore she was still in danger. She rubbed her face against the couch cushion.

I explained that it was not Hitler, but Sarah Palin who had given me the idea to convene this thumbs-up or thumbs-down death panel. Remembering the name of the woman who was responsible for the shooting of several of her canine cousins from a helicopter, Muffin hid her head under a pillow.

I explained to Muffin that in order to provide her with the necessary medical treatment, I would have to dip into my own savings, since she had no savings of her own. Basically, she has been unproductive her whole life, living off the teat of others, sucking the system dry like a dirty welfare recipient. She looked at me with a very glazed, confused and slightly frightened expression. That could be because she is old, and has cataracts. Or, she could have been wondering why I was clutching a barrel of home-made napalm and a copy of the anarchist's cookbook. And Glenn Beck's book. Just in case that was her concern, I explained that inside my own home, I was allowed to have whatever weapons I pleased and I could immerse whatever pets I choose in whatever substance I choose. As I understand the law of Canada. I was also naked. Not really for any reason except that in my own home, I am allowed to be naked. So why not? She seemed to think it was inappropriate attire for the chairman of her Death Panel, but I didn't care because it was legal. She barked.

In the end, we the Death Panel decided, by a four-to-one vote, that Muffin was, indeed, worth saving. Reason prevailed, and heartstrings were tugged, and appeals to emotion did not fall on deaf ears. Surprisingly, the one "nay" vote came from an unexpected source. As we compiled our entire savings into one giant lump sum, and delivered it to the Animal Hospital in seven unmarked duffel bags, Muffin was going under the gas. Just before passing out, she whined at us, a whine which I understood. I also understood the accusatory glare she shot in my direction. "I can't believe you paid for this", she was saying. "I would never have paid for this! You're a rotten socialist!"

Muffin is now fully recovered. She has fewer teeth, which means that her tongue now sticks out of her mouth funny and she looks like she's sneering almost all the time. I know that, in a small way, that sneer is reserved just for me and my Godless Socialist Ideals. My dog now hates me, not because she is missing teeth and has a shaved leg and has to take painkillers and antibiotics every day, but because I am a pinko commie. Had it been up to her, she would have done the right thing and lived up to her ideals. She would much rather be a dead capitalist than a toothless Communist. I am now ashamed when I look at her, knowing that her moral stance is much stronger and more glorious and laudable than my own. But at least I have my dog back.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Something cool.

It isn't (well, not exactly) classic rock news, but for fans of the Stone Roses (and I'm a big one) here is some exciting news: On September 8th, Silvertone/Legacy will be re-issuing the classic album The Stone Roses in four different formats. The full content of each of the releases is impossible to re-type, so here's a link to everything you need to know.

Them Crooked Vultures doing more stuff

I'm getting a little sick of posting these. Here's another one!

And there you have it. More Them Crooked Vultures video. Oh - one more.

OK. And there you have it. At least I like the tunes more than I do that new Skynyrd.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Inglourious Basterds. You must see it.

Inglourious Basterds is in theatres now. I wrote a review on Cynical Cinema, but I realized that, as Doc says, I can't really divulge everything that happens in the movie for fear of ruining it. So instead, in my review, I have included a few tidbits of historic movie information that might, just a little bit, help you enjoy the movie more when you go. And you'd better go.

New Skynyrd video

"Still Unbroken"

New Lynyrd Skynyrd video

The first single off September 29th's Gods And Guns is "Still Unbroken". Check out the video:

OK Skynyrd. This is what it would look like if a tribute band wrote their own Skynyrd song. Oh wait...

Monday, August 24, 2009

New Cynical Cinema reviews, movies out Tuesday

Polytechnique: A tragic, heartfelt movie about the 1989 Montreal massacre. Hard to watch though.

The 5 Deadly Venoms: One of the greatest classic kung-fu movies ever, on DVD for the first time.

Steppin: This one is awfully close to being, in my opinion, the least-watchable movie of all time.

The Best of the Crow Stairway to Heaven: One of the least-watchable TV shows of all time.

X-Men Origins - Wolverine: Pretty sad follow-up to a pretty decent series of films.

Tsotsi: One of the best foreign films of the past five years, an Oscar winner.

American Madness: A good, but forgotten, movie made by Frank Capra in 1932.

Crooklyn: A solid Spike Lee effort.

Life, Season One: One of my friends at work made me watch this. I liked it OK.

Slash joins ZZ Top on stage

I've been sick all weekend and in bed. Nothing to say. So I'll just post this video I found of Slash joining ZZ Top on stage at the House of Blues.

Okay. That's it.