"Although golf was originally restricted to wealthy, overweight Protestants, today it's open to anybody who owns hideous clothing." - Dave Barry This quote resonated with me, particularly after a recent conversation with friends about the difficulty I had growing up finding clothes that fit me. I'm quite tall, and in my late teens, before I discovered mail order, my options often came down to which type of golf pants I could tolerate the most. I never had anything as awful as above, but I had to put up with a few pastel colours that made me gag.
My grandfather was a keen observer of the weather, and during my visits with him, Skipper (as we all called him) had a chestnut or two to share. As I recall, he was the first person to explain to me why a pretty red sunset was great news … especially for a trouting enthusiast like himself.
Sailor’s delight at night, sailor’s warning in the morning … those are the things we learn about red skies as kids. But there’s a lot more than that, you know.
A weather synopsis that’s worth saving is just the start of this week’s web tour. We’ll also keep you posted with a local eye on the World Cup, pour up some laughs from one of the best comedy troupes in the world, and dish some politics from the right side of the political pew.
How to forecast weather without gadgets I downloaded this oversize graphic after thoroughly enjoying the clever way it presented a trove of common-sense information about weather and how we can observe the world around us. Did you ever think it was folk wisdom, for instance, that you could smell a rainstorm in advance? Well, actually, you sort of can; plants release waste when a low-pressure system moves in, meaning that that earthy smell is a sign to take in the laundry.
Andrew Brown One of the young reporters working with me at the CBC newsroom these days is Andrew Brown (you may remember his dad, Jim Brown, from his years hosting the Morning Show). Andrew is also writing a blog on the World Cup for our sports colleagues. Andrew has been having, from the looks of it, quite the slice keeping track of each day’s action, as seen through the lens of St. John’s fans. The link above is for Andrew’s Twitter feed, which features blog links and more.
Vuvuzela app Speaking of soccer … No doubt the vuvuzela, the contentious instrument that makes a buzzing racket, will be a key memory (good or bad) from this World Cup. Why limit your exposure to just the games? This Dutch company has made a wildly popular – more than 1 million downloads, if you’re curious – app for the iPhone that lets you blare away, whenever you want. Surely this could bring a whole new element to staff meetings, no?
Gulf oil spill map I wanted to draw your attention to this interactive map prepared by the U.S. Environmental Response Management Association, which shows the area in the Gulf of Mexico involving the massive Deepwater Horizon spill. Using overlays of data, you can select from many facets, from the infrastructure of the oil industry to the flora and fauna of the area, to industries like the fishery. It’s a great way to get insight into one of the biggest, most complex stories of our time.
UCBcomedy.com UCB comes from Upright Citizens Brigade, a comedy troupe that launched Amy Poehler and other funny folks to stardom. The current batch are funny enough; I and many others (a couple of million, actually) have had a jolly good laugh at their take on the BP disaster, which depicted executives at a loss as to respond to a coffee spill. There’s more where that came from.
Ricochet For several years, I’ve enjoyed a short, bright podcast called Martini Shot, written and read by Rob Long, a writer who made his bones on the sitcom Cheers. It’s largely about the entertainment industry. While he writes it for the U.S. public radio station KCRW, don’t assume Long fits the Volvo-Democrat-organic stereotype; he’s also well-known for his conservative punditry. Ricochet is a project he’s backing, aimed at centre-right voters. (That is, voters who are way to the right of Barack Obama, but not at all comfortable with the Palin brigade.)
I'll be rooting for Spain in the World Cup final today. My mother-in-law is from Madrid, so I kind of married into the fan base, as it were. I've worn by Spanish national shirt a few times to the office since the World Cup started, including the day in June when my colleague Julien Lafille, wearing the new blue "away" jersey, and I posed for this pic. No matter the winner today, I've really enjoyed this series.
My wife noticed this on Sports Illustrated's Olympics site this morning: a chart showing that Canada has won both gold medals in ice hockey at Vancouver. Looking at the charts more closely, it seems SI has not called the men's competition in advance, but given two medals to each of medallists in women's hockey.
It's remarkable that a video feature on Canada that Tom Brokaw did for NBC's Olympics coverage has already been viewed more than 1 million times on YouTube. Then again, it's concise and packed with information and terrific shots (and yes, I was delighted to see aerials of Cape Spear and Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne National Park almost right off the top). There's plenty that could have been included, but for six minutes, it does a fine job.
My son was wanting to catch another look at this animation showcasing the mascots for the upcoming winter Olympics in Vancouver. He apparently has seen it several times, so I figured putting it here might make it easier!
There's no snow at all in our yard, nor all over St. John's, but that won't last. In fact, in December, we had enough snow to make a couple of decent toboggan runs down Pippy Park, and our and a neighbour's son had a blast making a slew of snowballs. Not sure how much of a snowball fight they had at the time, but as recently as today, Nick said he wanted to line up a kids-vs-adults match.
Also today, my school chum Doug started a Facebook group with a funny purpose: a lobby to make Snowball Fighting a sport in next month's winter Olympics in Vancouver. (The odds, Doug will admit, are slim.)
Love a good snowball fight? Pitch in. It is, after all, a whole lot more meaningful than some of the sports we'll be following next month.
A young fellow named Chris Wheeler has been travelling the country as the Oympic torch relay winds its way to Vancouver. You can follow the progress here, on the Travel With The Olympic Torch YouTube channel. Click below to see his video post of Friday's tour through St. John's.
We've all seen them: the parents who like to give their lungs a workout while their kids are playing sports, and could very well be giving their kids a complex. I love this Little League video, which turns the tables nicely.
Serena Williams is still making waves with Saturday's spectacular outburst at a U.S. Open semi-final, in which she unleashed a series of threats and expletives against the judge who called a foot fault. The video below includes an annotation of what witnesses heard; the audio recordings have not been good, but the reports have been consistent.
Immediately after the set, which Williams lost to unseeded player Kim Clijsters, who would go on to win the women's final, Williams was in character:
"An apology? For what? How many people yell at linespeople?"
As for the judge to whom Williams apparently said, "I'll kill you," Williams said, "I don't know why [the lineswoman] said she felt threatened. I've never been in a fight in my life." Williams also said she could not even remember what she had said.
The incident, of course, was more than a weekend sports story; videos of the tirade have blown over the web, prompting a viral phenomenon. In the world of tennis, where, you know, stars are not supposed to threaten to kill line judges, this is not good form.
So, Williams is out and about this week, to salvage her reputation - or, to use a marketing word, her brand. This part of a CNN interview amused me:
"It was a really tough point in the match and it was really close and
got a really tough call that wasn't the correct call, and, you know,
things got a little heated and I had a conversation with the line judge
that didn't go so well." [My emphasis]
I think all parties would agree it didn't so well, either.
While I know from first-hand experience that some people at the CBC can crack a naughty pun, that kind of stuff doesn't get on the airwaves too much. Certainly, anyway, you don't expect to see ribald boxers at the CBC Shop.
A colleague snapped these for me at the shop in the Broadcast Centre.
"He shoots, he scores!" Indeed. And how about this one, about "High sticking"?
Hmmm! As my colleague put it, "At least they didn't have a pair that said 'Pullin' the goalie!' "
Incidentally, neither of this items appears to be listed in the online catalogue for the CBC shop. (Maybe some people are aroused by Nature of Things Tees. Who knows.) If you're in Toronto, you can check out the store by the Front Street address.
I had read yesterday about how long-shot Mine That Bird won the Kentucky Derby, but I hadn't seen until just now by how much. (The "impossible result" comes from the gobsmacked commentary you'll hear.)
Dot Dot Dot is Morse code for the letter 'S,' the full message Guglielmo Marconi claimed to have received atop Signal Hill in St. John's in 1901. It ushered in the age of telecommunications. My maternal grandfather worked as a telegraph operator for Canadian Marconi on Signal Hill for many years.
As well, I have a habit of overusing the ellipsis when I write ... as frequent readers might notice.