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November, 2012

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Only 3 Weeks Left to Live and Still No Hockey!

What would you do if you knew you only had three weeks to live?

Toronto, ON I don’t know how many times in the past several weeks I’ve seen my old Spanish abuela waddle home from the grocery store with canned goods. [Side: Oh, I probably should mention that since returning from Japan I have essentially been homeless (or is it homeful??) and literally floating (read: free loading) between my mother’s, aunt’s, and grandmother’s houses]. Now, my YaYa “never cooks with salt,” so buying excessive amounts of processed foods is odd for her, and she always makes sure to let me know the reason why she has brought such toxins into the house.

You see, my YaYa’s friend of a friend claims to have live conversations with God, and several weeks ago God warned her of a Moses-like plague headed straight for us this December. Naturally, this friend of a friend has taken great pains to warn a few of the people closest to her – she didn’t want to tell a lot of people as not to sound crazy – and so, my grandmother was fortunate enough to hear the warning through the grapevine.

So, I know you’re probably thinking this is just another Mayan calendar prediction, which states that the world is going to end on December 21st of this year, but it’s not. This one has an interesting twist! According to “God,” there will be three days of darkness in December. In those three days, if you leave your house, “you will never come back.” There will be something in the darkness that kills anyone who enters it, hence the reason my YaYa has been stocking the pantry.

Now, my YaYa, who is either turning 79 or 81 this February (a mistake made by the Canadian government when she immigrated to Canada, has made this biographical fact an unsolved family mystery), isn’t crazy. She’s still a regular historical and political pit bull, and will talk your ear off if you make the mistake of entering the TV room while she’s watching the news. However, she is starting to become forgetful with the mundane – like the fact she has told me this “darkness” story about ten times now, and every time for the first time! Although, my grandmother laughs when she tells this story, almost like she doesn’t believe it, she still makes a point to buy a few cans of food every time she goes shopping because, “Even if nothing happens, we will eat it anyway.”

She is also quick to get into an argument with me about how these the-end-is-nigh types are usually full of shit. “YaYa, everybody thinks the end of the world is going to happen because the Mayan calendar ends, or because Nostradamus predicted this or that, but these people were just people, and even if they had special abilities, it is physically impossible to predict all the events 4.5 billion years into the future. These people all had to die at some point.” Of course, once I say this my abuela stops laughing and points her bony Spanish finger at me, “You know something? Two years ago, two women came to my door, and told me that the world was going to end in two years.” She is, of course, referring to the Jehovah’s Witnesses that continue to come to her house despite the fact that she is an unconvertible Catholic, so much so that her childhood dream was to be a nun!

My grandmother doesn’t seem to be the only one taking half-serious precautions for the end of the world. My mother has been “joking” for months that she is going to eat and do whatever she wants until December 22nd. “If the world doesn’t end on December 21st, then I’ll go on a diet!” Not sure who in their right mind would start a diet three days before Christmas, but I think you get the idea.

Since, according to many, we are now facing our last three weeks on Earth, it is fun to think of the things we would like to do, if we truly knew that our time was running out. For most of you true hockey addicts reading this site, you would probably max out your credit cards going to as many games as possible. I know I would be making sure that I finally checked those last 4 unvisited NHL rinks off my list! Unfortunately, the NHL and NHLPA have taken that option off the table. So, not only have we been hockey-less for 11 weeks, but we may also die hockey-less, too! Thanks, Don! Thanks, Gary!

Of course, I don’t actually believe the world is going to end on the 21st, but in the spirit of it all, I urge all of you to do one thing in the next three weeks with an authentic it’s now-or-never mentality. Jump out of an airplane! Send that love letter! Eat those carbs! And for the love of all things holy, if you have been one of those responsible types that got your university degree and haven’t stopped climbing the corporate ladder since, then get on that Last Night on Earth sex already, and find out what those of us, who have been wandering the globe, already know. Oh, Korea, sometimes I miss you!

P.S. If for some reason we DO have a blackout in December, then remember, you heard it here first! Oh, and you might want to stay inside LOL!

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Monday, November 26th, 2012

A brief note on why the cancellation of the Winter Classic is a good thing for Toronto…

I’m a little late to talk about this, but luckily this is a blog and not an actual news publication, so I’ll do whatever the @#$% I want with it! Got it?

Toronto, ON I’m definitely no stranger to having strong and unpopular opinions, but I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was absolutely dreading this year’s Winter Classic after it was announced which teams would be participating. Since HBO’s 24/7 confirmed their intentions to get involved once again this season with their Road to the Winter Classic special, I worried about the effects those big time cameramen were going to have on the Toronto Maple Leafs organization. I hate to say it, but I’m sure part of me has been praying for something to come and intervene with the 2013 Winter Classic since last season, and luckily my prayers were answered by an unsavoury and unnecessary Lockout.

It is hard for those of you in non-Toronto markets to understand the damage that the media has had on this hockey club, but trendsetting HBO was about to open the Maple Leafs up to a whole new world of media attention, and the very thought of it had me plotting to become a full time Sabres fan. You see, one of the reasons Toronto continues to struggle in the standings is because many hockey players don’t want to deal with the pressure from fans and media that is part of the packaged deal when signing with the Leafs. So, they decide to sign in cities where they can be a little more anonymous instead. Maybe some of you feel like this is an out-dated notion, but I don’t. Along with HBO’s swanky coverage of the Leafs and their gratuitous F-bombs, would come a new wave of jock sniffers, star fuckers, and casual fans to add to the already immense pressure that our players are trying to cope with. I don’t know about you, but I foresaw disaster. Keep the cameras out of our locker room, please!

There are many teams in this League where hockey players aren’t household names. Places where NHL players can walk down the street without getting noticed, let alone asked to sign autographs. I remember last season when I was in New York, and several of the Rangers passed by me near Madison Square Garden, yet I was the only one on the street who seemed to even notice them. How is it that NHL players aren’t even recognized in front of their home arena of all places?!?! I wonder how often that privacy is awarded to the Leafs (and visiting players for that matter) in Toronto? Hmm… Probably never.

I don’t know… Maybe I’m crazy, or maybe I’m just selfish, but I think Toronto will be better off in the long run for having not participated in the 2013 Winter Classic, and hopefully the NHL doesn’t just let Toronto/Detroit have a do over next season to make up for the loss of this one… Unless, of course, HBO has officially lost interest in the whole thing. Sadly, the State of Michigan would have prospered economically from hosting the Winter Classic festivities that weekend, so that is definitely a major downside to the loss of this game.

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