Sunday, February 28, 2010


Well, earlier this week I wrote this screed on how international hockey has the NHL all beat.

After that hockey game today all I have to say is: boy am I ever right. One of the all-time great games. I'm sorry, but there is nothing the NHL will be able to do to be able to top this.   

The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics are over and I missed it all! What the heck am I going to watch on TV now? (Oh, oh yeah -- the NHL.)

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Well, at least now everyone can leave Haiti and go report on the woes of another country hit by a big disaster. The updates from CNN. Also, there was a tsunami caused by this quake which fortunately hasn't done a lot of damage. What's with all these big earthquakes happening all of a sudden? If I were in an earthquake zone I'd be worried.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Well, with the Olympics in Vancouver not far from being over I have basically been tuning in to pretty much one sport, hockey. That's about it. Oh, and by the way Canada takes on the USA on Sunday in what is sure to be the most-watched hockey game in human history. Mark my words.

I have gathered my own thoughts about international hockey and how great it is here and the NHL's rationale, and a reasonable one at that, for possible non-participation in the next Olympics here.

Really, not only are international games more watched, but even the celebrations are bigger and more controversial. Heck, look at what happened with Canada's Olympic hockey team when they won the gold medal. I mean, really, this is too comical. So now you can't celebrate on the ice or smoke cigars after winning a big game?! No wonder I find the Olympics offputting -- the games just take themselves too seriously with all the silly rules people have to follow with respect to holding celebrations. Hey, these women worked hard to win a gold medal, and they deserve to blow off some steam. Give them a break.

On to other non-Olympic matters now.

Now on to the other fun news going on away from the medal count. Production on one of the very few shows on network TV that I happen to like, Two and a Half Men, has been halted because Charlie Sheen has gone into rehab. Now there are rumors he may be fired from his own show. You know, this is just terrible news for male TV viewers. First Conan O'Brien leaves his show, and now this.

If Sheen leaves his sitcom, they should just end it. Just cancel the entire freaking thing. I don't want this show to become like what happened to Spin City, where Michael J. Fox, who basically was the entire show, left -- but the series continued anyway. And guess who was brought in to replace Fox? Why, who else-- Charlie Sheen. And the show jumped right over the shark and off the cliff.

In USA politics, embattled New York governor David Paterson has bowed out of the gubernatorial race.

And that's all I feel like saying for now.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Well, things have turned around for Canada at the Olympics. Gold in ice dancing, gold in bobsleigh, a big win over the Russians last night in men's hockey, and tonight's gold medal in women's hockey. See, folks, things are just fine. It's all going to be all right.


And I hate to rag on NBC yet again, but they keep on making these idiot Olympic programming decisions with respect to all my favorite sports. After Sunday's debacle of relegating the USA-Canada men's game to cable, NBC shafted Team USA again by showing their game with the Swiss live to the East Coast but on a tape delay to the West Coast! And the women's game tonight wasn't shown on NBC at all! So this really is a debacle, this non-coverage by the Peacock Network.

I don't know what these folks at NBC are thinking. It's so obvious they'd get more people tuning in if hockey were on live on the main network, which only seems to show figure skating and skiing, and a lot of other sports I don't have much use for.

And as an aside -- letting Conan O'Brien go was a VERY big mistake. NBC will never hear the end of it for that move. I mean, man -- how does NBC, which does an outstanding job with business news at CNBC and has a well respected news division, manage to screw things up everywhere else at that network? It really boggles the mind.


Enough of the Olympic games. On to other competitions, now -- like poker, which I have been watching more and more of because the folks in the entertainment world won't provide me with any other decent entertainment.

I have been watching the North American Poker Tour event at the Venetian in Las Vegas live on the Internet, and they had the final table last night. So I was watching the Olympics and this poker webcast all at the same time. But to be honest with you I don't know who won, because I went to bed before the thing finished. In fact, I forget who the heck was at the final table because, frankly, it was a bunch of people I'd never heard of.

Here's the problem with competitive tournament poker. It seems like the big "names" of the poker world -- the Phil Iveys, the Daniel Negreanus, the Phil Hellmuths, the Doyle Brunsons -- rarely get to any of these final tables at these tournaments these days. Instead it's always these no-names that nobody has ever heard of. It's not like golf where you have these big tournaments where the same names compete over and over again. The only way you see the big names showing up consistently is during these TV shows like High Stakes Poker or Poker After Dark.

So it makes it kind of frustrating to watch a big-time poker tournament when all these big names bust out early and don't make the final table. What point is there is following these folks if they bust out early at a tournament? They do have a "bounty hunter" tournament going on down there right now as well, but most of the big names crashed out of that, too. It really is getting to be too much of a joke.

Anyway, I'm just ranting and raving. Like I say, I'd probably watch far less poker if there was any other entertainment to watch. In fact, remind me to do a big movie rant soon where I rant and rave about how Hollywood is tailoring all its efforts towards young people and showing CGI and special effects. I guess I'm wanting to see some more adult-oriented entertainment like spy movies, shoot-em-ups and the like.

More later.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Yikes. How bad a state of affairs is it in TV news?

Fresh off the heels of word of 90 job cuts at CBS News, and of course that bloodbath in Canada at Citytv, comes word of massive layoffs coming to ABC News. Not only are 300-400 workers about to be tossed into the street, but a lot of the people left there are going to be forced into the videojournalism line of work: writing, shooting and editing their own stories.

Which is probably fine if you work at a newspaper, but quite frankly it's a lot of work for a TV person to do, lugging these big cameras around and then being expected to write and edit.Anyway, the bottom line is ABC plans to fire a lot of people and do less with fewer resources.

Maybe this is one of the reasons why Barbara Walters recently announced she isn't going to do those Oscar celebrity specials after this year -- maybe the news division won't have the budget for her kind of shows for much longer.

Also, there's another thought that is running through my mind -- with this insane number of job cuts I wonder if this is going to mean cancellations of some shows produced by ABC News. 

In particular, I am wondering about This Week -- possibly because Big George Stephanopoulos stepped down after he got another gig co-hosting on Good Morning America, and This Week has no permanent replacement yet. I wonder if ABC is thinking about punting that entire show off the air and replacing it with infomercials.

You know, playing professional poker is beginning to look more and more like a safer bet for a career. Those guys may worry about going broke, but at least they don't worry about being fired. What can I say, man? Television. What a crummy business.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Uh, a lot of health news about politicians lately. First it was Bill Clinton with his most recent heart procedure to get the blood flowing again.

Now, former vice-president Dick Cheney is in hospital with chest pains.
Also former presidential candidate Bob Dole is in hospital.
Here in frozen Canada, Newfoundland premier Danny Williams has opened up about his heart surgery.

That's it for now. More news as it happens.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Well, the big controversial sporting news out of Ontario is that the Ultimate Fighting Championship has been rebuffed yet again. Premier Dalton McGuinty, obviously out of touch with the common man, says that sanctioning and legalizing UFC matches in Ontario is not a priority for his government.

And the loud noise you hear is a huge groan coming from disgusted fight fans in Ontario, who are just dying to see their beloved UFC come to Ontario and hold fights there.

The sport is already highly popular and sells tons of pay-per-view viewings on TV in the province already. The sport is already pretty much mainstream everywhere else. So why is it still being kept out of Ontario? Apparently because there is a Criminal Code provision forbidding prize-fighting that is causing the trouble. But the way around it is for provinces to sanction and license fights. That's why boxing is legal in Canada. That's why the UFC is legal in Quebec, because they passed legislation to allow it in! Vancouver is even allowing it in this year.

In fact, the UFC has become far more popular than boxing, so much so that if they hold UFC fights in a place like Toronto it would sell out, no problem! So why is McGuinty waffling over the UFC?! Don't they know that UFC fights could bring in a lot of money and tourism dollars, and that they could collect taxes and help pay down the debt?!

For the record, Conservative opposition leader Tim Hudak supports bringing in the UFC and supports getting on with sanctioning and regulating the fights. Good move.

Anyway, a petition drive is on to open up Ontario to the UFC. Not that McGuinty will read it, but at least they are trying to do something about it.

You know, I've been gone from Ontario now for a while now and it's occured to me that I really understand that place less and less. The place really does seem backward on some issues sometimes. I know the UFC isn't everyone's cup of tea and it can be pretty violent stuff, but if people don't like it they can stay away! Yet it seems to me like a bunch of people who don't like the sport want to dictate to people what they consider to be acceptable entertainment.

It's obvious the folks in charge in that province don't seem interested in catering to the fans. I get the impression Dalton McGuinty just doesn't care about sports or the fight fans, and neither does his government. They really do seem to be the No Fun Brigade.


Well, Canada lost, 5-3 to the Americans in Olympic men's ice hockey, which means that instead of getting a bye into the next round, Canada now has to play a game against Germany to reach the quarter-finals.

I was amused seeing the reaction of all these American TV commentators after the game, playing up the fact the fact that Canada is going to be in deep depression over this loss and how the headlines in the paper will be all about this game.

I get the impression the Americans are kind of chuckling at our rabid hockey fandom. When you think of it, though, you never get this kind of craziness from the American fans at the international level. Sure, occasionally there have been some tough losses in baseball, basketball, hockey or soccer that they sometimes get down about in these big events, but you never see the Americans go nuts over these international sporting events the way other countries do. At the world level they always seem to be on a more even keel. It's just a game, they figure. They love it when they win, but it's not the end of the world for them if they lose. Yet it's the be all and end all for Canada if we happen to lose.

Frankly, we can learn a lot from them. Hey, this was only the round-robin, people. A freaking tournament game with elimination NOT at stake. Step away from the ledge, folks.


And my non-reaction to yet another phony box office record is here.

All these great movies Martin Scorsese has done, and yet this is the one deemed worthy of being his best opening ever? I guess people must have been starved for entertainment.


Sorry for my absence around here -- I am trying my best to relax as much as possible and avoid giving myself carpal tunnel syndrome from all the writing I've done recently. Last weekend I was really exhausted and had to rest up, and that's continued over the past week.

Have been following these gaffe-filled Winter Olympics out of Vancouver and it's still pretty much a gong show, what with people crashing out of events (Lindsay Vonn), security issues with the Olympic Flame all cordoned off to the fans, and other nonsense.  
The main piece of nonsense coming out of these games has been the flop that has been the Own the Podium stance of the Canadian Olympic officials. That's that multi-million dollar initiative where Canada concentrated on a number of sports so they could dominate the Winter Olympics for the first time in history and top the leader board in medals.
Well, so far that initiative has been a flop. Canada has won eight medals, grand total, for fifth place overall. To add insult to injury, the United States is way ahead with 23. Yesterday, Canada failed to win a medal anywhere, even though they went into Saturday favored to take, well, something.
Actually, I'm sort of glad it isn't working out as planned. Frankly, the Olympics are supposed to be about friendly competition and bringing nations together -- not about winning. But this stance was all about winning and about finishing first. They went so far as to deny other countries fair access to the facilities to practise for the games. That isn't exactly playing fair as far as I'm concerned.
The main problem is that if you make some sort of statement declaring yourself to be the best, you gotta be able to back it up. Don't make such a declaration unless (a) you know for sure you are going to win or (b) you don't know for sure but you win anyway. It's like that Joe Namath guarantee of a Jets victory in the Super Bowl in '69 -- you've got to back it up.

Anyway, don't blame the athletes, they aren't the ones who declared they were going to Own the Podium. So far, it sure looks like the podium's up for sale, because Canada ain't dominating it one bit.

Oh, and Canada takes on the Americans in hockey tonight. If the Canadians lose, expect all kinds of consternation from people and calls for investigations.

Friday, February 19, 2010


After that big "I'm sorry" press conference today I actually believe Tiger Woods actually gets it now.

He can't win no matter what, though. There are still plenty of sports talk show hosts out there looking for something to criticize about what he said today, and who will try and say how insincere he is. I honestly am beginning to wonder who really feels more jilted: Tiger's wife Elin, or these radio talk show hosts.

I sure got a big sense of deja vu today. It reminded me too much about another big apology -- albeit one with a lot more crying:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Well, these gaffe-filled Winter Olympic Games are still on and everyone's disappointed.

People are whining and complaining about all aspects of the games, especially that super-fast luge track that the Georgian luger was killed on. You have rain washing out outdoor events, and a lack of good ice wrecking indoor events. You had the botched opening ceremonies with one of the pillars meant to hold up the cauldron malfunctioning. You have francophone Canadians complaining about the lack of French during the opening ceremonies -- and that was just the Canadians complaining. The rest of the world has joined in the whining. The arrogant British are being especially merciless in their criticism. The Americans are even angrier -- not so much at the Vancouver games but at NBC for their awful, tape-delayed coverage.

NBC just cannot win; first they get in trouble over Conan O'Brien, and now this. Even with the tape delay, they are not even showing good sports that real sports fans are interested in. Instead, it's skiing, figure skating and other crap. The folks at Deadspin are taking dead aim at NBC and lambasting the coverage they are serving up at every turn. I gotta say, people up here in frozen Canada can certainly voice criticism at some aspects of CTV's coverage, but you have to admit, it's way better than what the Americans are getting from NBC.

You have to feel sorry for these poor Americans stuck watching lousy Olympics coverage. They really are getting shafted. More, eventually.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Me, I'm just sitting here chilling -- and waiting for green-flag action to resume during yet another red-flag moment in this Daytona 500 race.

This stopping and starting really is driving me nuts today.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Well, the moment we have waited months for is finally upon us. The NASCAR season is on.
What, you expected me to say the Winter Olympics?! No, I am more into this auto racing business. Once they make auto racing an Olympic sport, maybe I'll tune in to that.
The Daytona 500 runs tomorrow, but the big story was Danica Patrick's much-hyped NASCAR debut in the Nationwide series race at Daytona earlier today.

Danica, who is used to driving the speedy Indycars (right), seemed to be getting used to driving her lunky NASCAR vehicle around the racetrack.That was until some idiot caused a 12-car incident on the track, and that was the end of Danica's day. Nice going, dude -- the moment you knocked Danica out of the race, a ton of TVs went "click!" and changed the channel!!

They say this is a learning experience for Danica. She's learning quickly that these good ol' boys drive like maniacs coming home from work on the freeway. Getting out of the way of these lunatics can be pretty hard. In fact, it's difficult enough even for the big boys in the sport to get their cars through races in one piece, especially at a place like Daytona where multiple-car incidents are too common.

Welcome to NASCAR, Danica! Get used to being in the garage a lot.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Here is a link to video coverage of the Olympic Torch Relay which, after crossing Canada, is now into Vancouver in time for the lighting of the Flame later tonight during the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics.

Reminds me of just a month ago when I was actually out covering the Olympic Torch relay in my community. This was the exact same kind of thing in my area -- people lining the streets while the caravan came through.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Personally, I thought this promo was classic.

And for more Super Bowl ads here's the link to CBS's ad compilation. Enjoy.

By the way, Leno's last Jay Leno Show is tonight, and had I not mentioned that just now, I would have forgotten for sure.

Monday, February 08, 2010


Seven weekends at the top are over for the all-time box office champion. Read it here.


So anyway, guess what the top story was on the NBC Nightly News.

That's right -- Brian Williams, who reported all over the city during Katrina, was talking about the New Orleans Saints winning the most-watched TV event, let alone Super Bowl, in history. Those folks placing the TV ads sure got the ultimate bang for their buck. And this one event sold the most newspapers in the history of the Times-Picayune.

I still can't believe this team won the Super Bowl after 43 years of being the worst franchise in NFL history. The team was so bad, their fans used to wear paper bags over their heads in shame. I guess they won't be needing them anymore.

All I have to say is, if the Saints can win it, there's hope yet for the Detroit Lions. Just you wait -- the day will come when we see the Lions parading around Motown with the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

For right now, though, I'm thinking maybe they ought to import some discarded paper bags from New Orleans for the Lions fans to wear over their heads.

Sunday, February 07, 2010


See all the coverage of the Saints' crazy fans on Bourbon Street here at

Friday, February 05, 2010


Well, I have had a busy but not too terribly crazy week covering the news. So, after a hard day of work covering the stories of the day, what do I do? Listen to music? Watch movies? Why, no. Instead, I'm back to watching the news.


Anyway, I'm following the big snowstorm in Washington DC on the local FOX station feed and on WUSA 9.

All I have to say is, man, Washington is in no shape to handle snow. Up here in frozen Canada we get this stuff all the time, but we can handle it because we have plenty of snowplows. Maybe they should do in Washington what they once did in Toronto after a snowstorm -- send in the army.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


Well, the big news is that Avatar and The Hurt Locker got 9 nominations including Best Picture, and Inglourious Basterds got 8. Also among the ten Best Picture nominees were both Up in the Air and Up, with the latter also up for Best Animated Feature. The full story is here.
Overall, I'm glad to see some populist movies (Avatar, Inglourious Basterds, Up, The Blind Side, District 9) get well-represented in the nominations. My big beef with the nominations last year was the fact that so many populist movies that were actually supported by popcorn-eating moviegoers got ignored and shafted (The Dark Knight in particular, but there were a few others).

Not that it should come down to a popularity contest, but it sure seemed the overwhelming majority of movies that got nominations last year were ones that excited Oscar voters but no one else. Anyway, it looks like there isn't such a disparity between the Oscar nominations and what the public wanted to see last year, and I'm glad to see that.

Then again, maybe this was simply a bad year for "Oscar-season"-type movies aimed at Oscar voters.

In other news, Sandra Bullock has been nominated for both Best Actress Oscar (The Blind Side and Worst Actress Razzie (All About Steve)

Monday, February 01, 2010


Welcome to my annual rundown of the Worst Shows on TV for 2010.

Well, I hope you folks have gotten through the past week without Conan O'Brien giving you any new episodes of TV to watch. It's going to be a long seven months.

It just makes no sense to me that Jay Leno (left) could put such a lame effort into his prime time show, have it flop bigtime, and then get rewarded for it by getting his old time slot back. Really, Conan got hosed.

Also getting hosed are late-night viewers of dreck such as Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Last Call with Carson Daly. Honestly, both those shows are terrible. Fallon's show is not funny and his monologue is the least memorable of all the ones on TV, and as for Daly -- why has he even got a show?! Does anyone bother to watch it? I don't get it.

Then there is the usual dreck on TLC and MTV -- especially MTV. They are already in my doghouse for The Hills, but their latest travesty Jersey Shore takes the cake (right). This show is not just train wreck television, it's insulting to Italian Americans.

In fact, this show is already my easy winner for the title "Worst Show on Television." These folks on this show are losers, in my opinion. In fact, the one time I watched this show, I was so bored by these fools that I shut it off. This is truly one of the worst shows in television history, and apparently it's been renewed for season two. And people wonder why viewers are tuning out? This is it.

Other worthy nominees for my list of worst shows includes the usual nominees:
The Jerry Springer Show -- you mean it's still on the air?!
The Bachelor -- this latest train wreck moment was when that contestant on the show was kicked out for supposedly cheating with the producer. At least, that's the story we are getting. You never know what to believe with this show.
The Deep End -- a new lawyer show on ABC, and everyone says it's terrible. Supposedly it is just like Grey's Anatomy, but with lawyers. Not an endorsement.
The New Girls Next Door -- first of all, the old Girls Next Door were a much groovier bunch. But these three are just meh -- so meh, in fact, that ol' Hef dumped the two twins and now is just dating Crystal. Yet they're going to continue the show, anyway!! They should have just quit when those cool babes Holly, Bridget and Kendra left.
Over on Headline News: Nancy Grace, and At Issue with Jane Velez-Mitchell. Both terrible disgraces to the good name of CNN. Sensational, sleazy topics.
Over on FOX News Channel: Glenn Beck. Not only is this guy just too nuts, but I think his show's boring.

In syndication: TMZ TV. Sleaziest show ever -- only thing that could go lower would be any show Perez Hilton might decide to do.
Another fine specimen of bad TV: those loud, obnoxious women on The View.
Just about every reality show on the air, esp. Celebrity Apprentice starring Donald Trump.
And finally, Maury. Yes, Maury Povich is still on the air.

I could probably go on, but I want to go to bed sometime tonight. It's unbelievable how much bad TV is out there, folks. And it seems like most of it is on during the daytime. It really is a sorry state of affairs, so much so that you're just tempted to invest in a radio or something like that.