Saturday, August 30, 2008

Doggy Bag

How did they do it? How did the Chinese muster the strength and fortitude to win all those gold medals? Doping? Maybe. Nutrition? Probably. In fact you may be interested to know there's a particular restaurant in Beijing for anyone feeling fatigued or lacking strength. It's called Strong in the Pan and it specializes in one "thang". Wang. Dong. Johnson. That's right. Animal Penis.

Listen to Anthony Germain's report for the March 24th airing of Dispatches as he does his best to keep it together under difficult circumstances (circumcisions?):
Click to Play the podcast.

The Chinese are well known to eat anything with wings but airplanes, and anything with legs but tables, yet this seems a bit far fetched. Perhaps as Schott's Miscellany notes, the Chinese think of animals very differently than we do in the West. Maybe this excerpt will shed some light;

"[it is said] that Dr Franz Kuhn discovered 'a certain Chinese encyclopaedia' entitled Celestial Empire of Benevolent Knowledge, which stated that all animals can be classified thus:

[a] belonging to the Emperor
[b] embalmed
[c] tame
[d] sucking pigs
[e] sirens
[f] fabulous
[g] dogs
[h] included in the present classification
[i] that shake like a fool
[j] innumerable
[k] drawn with a very fine camel-hair brush
[l] etcetera
[m] having just broken the water pitcher
[n] that, if seen from a distance, look like flies"

Or maybe it doesn't shed any light at all. Couldn't they just eat the heart of their victim? Is nothing sacred? It just seems like the last indignity you can do to a creature... serve up its dick in a broth?

Note: this is humanity reaching its very end.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

High Park Pool (in November without water)

Tonight I decided to try something different and go for a swim at the outdoor pool in High Park. It was brisk to say the least. I think I'd actually forgotten what it's like to swim outside. Swimming at sunset is really pretty amazing. The sky was a deep azure with only a few clouds. To the East the trees were illuminated by the setting sun, while the ball fields in the West grew darker. I can't say it was a great workout but it was a nice way to end the day.


Saturday, August 16, 2008


Finally, Canada has a suite of medals. We just watched Ryan Cochrane win the bronze in the 1500m swim. 1500 metres? That's like 50 laps of the pool I swim in. These guys swam that in 14 minutes. I've never actually swam that far, usually giving up after 40 laps.

...and finally, we had a real summer Saturday. I rode down to Harbourfront today, and it was alive with performers, crowds and vendors selling roasted corn. It's been the wettest summer on record and a few weekends can only be described as moist. This week was an oddly tropical mix of sun and torrential rate which climaxed on Friday with a monsoon-like downpour. Where was I during this storm? Oh, I was riding my bike. In a ride that usually takes 15 minutes, I was trapped for almost 30 minutes. At times it let up enough to ride and just get wet, while at others, it was just too dangerous to continue. At one point I stood under a tree and just laughed. The rainfall was a roar. I tried wiping water from my glasses but with what? A wet shirt tail? Water was gushing through my helmet and into my eyes. When I finally made it home I was soaked, of course. It was as though I had jumped in the pool with my clothes on. I walked directly to the washing machine, took everything off and threw them for a spin cycle. Naked, I walked upstairs and toweled dry.

Within minutes of getting dressed, the rain subsided, inky clouds floated away and sun sparkled from every surface. Getting wet wasn't so bad. It turns out Mom was right. I'm not made of sugar.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Bugs 'n' Stuff

Sometimes it's surprising just how quiet our backyard can be and how loud that quietness can be. I just stepped outside and I was struck by the sound of the crickets chirping and cicadas buzzing. Beneath the insect flitter was the flutter of bamboo leaves and the breeze through the grasses. Even after walking back inside I could still hear the hum and shuffle of the sounds outside. It was a shame to close the door but the bugs have been real bad this year.

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Chinese Fire Drill?

After being rightfully dumbstruck watching the fireworks of the opening ceremonies in Beijing, I now find myself equally dumbstruck to find out, what I saw on television was computer generated. Both Sky News and the London Telegraph reported that despite the fact that the actual fireworks display did occur as "seen", the broadcast images were created as computer effects due to difficulty in filming such an event. I've seen enough photos taken from different locations to probably indicate what the real display looked like but it's still a little hard to swallow that an internationally broadcast live event could be manipulated to such an extent. It's also a little disappointing that the Chinese broadcaster would deem such deception as acceptable.

Look at that. The sun is coming out... I can hardly believe my eyes.

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Saturday, August 09, 2008

Not a bad day for Canadians on the road in Beijing. Michael Barry had a top ten finish in the Olympic road race thanks to a great team effort but notably another cervélo bike made the podium just as they did in the Tour de France. Cheers to cervélo, a Canadian company that have proven if you make a top quality product you can compete internationally. Cheers too, to the Swiss rider who without any team support, rode alone to take the bronze

I told myself I wouldn't get sucked into the Olympics this time around, but I still found myself getting caught up in the events. And when I rode my old school Bianchi six-speed with friction shifters to the pool I felt a little like Simon Whitfield. Okay okay, it's a ten minute ride and I only swam for 30 minutes but even a journey of a thousand miles begins with single step.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I Got a "Can-more" Attitude

Sometimes less is more, but other times more is just more, as in Canmore. The town is more than just scenic beauty, it's beautiful scenic views too! Oh, and it's sushi places, trails and hikes, deers snacking on bushes outside of movie theatres, air so clear you CAN'T taste it, cool nights, sunny days, micro-breweries and construction, construction, construction. Here's a short slide show on my visit.


Sunday, August 03, 2008

Shirt Not Required

"Bon F***king Soir, Montreal, nous sommes The Stooges", and with that, 61-year old Iggy Pop kicked a hole through the Montreal dusk.

We've just come back from the Osheaga Music Festival and seeing Iggy Pop and the Stooges do their thing (re: create mayhem) was a highlight. We weren't really that interested in the headliner, The Killers, especially after the likes of Iggy, Cat Power, Metric, Plants and Animals, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Booka Shade and Sebastien Grainger. It's been awhile since we've been to such a thing but it was worth the crowds, the muck and urinating into a weirdly public urinal to hear and witness great music. Sometimes it's worth overcoming your worst fears to experience something special. At least this time it was.

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My Winterpeg

We've been enjoying a short trip to Montreal this weekend and while we were in town we took in a showing of Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg. It was an oddly endearing and endearingly odd film. It was also refreshing to see such a unique (and Canadian) film and voice on a big screen rather than having to seek it out on video.

Tomorrow, we'll join a few thousand "youth" in the rain at Montreal's Osheaga Music Festival (God help us).

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