Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Return of the Jets and the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals: Vancouver Canucks vs. Boston Bruins.

Logo of the Winnipeg Jets version 1.0.

First, congrats to the Peg!

Welcome back to the NHL!

(To readers not familiar with the situation, Winnipeg lost their NHL franchise, the Jets, fifteen years ago. Just yesterday, it was announced that the Atlanta Thrashers will be relocated to Winnipeg starting next season.)

Thought it was going to be a semi-warm day on the Canadian Tundra before the second coming of the Jets.

It's a good young team, with the likes of Evander Kane, that Winnipeg adopts.

Good on ya, Winnipeg!!!

Second, finally let's get on with the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.

NHL obviously knows nothing about buzzkill.

Good grief, the permafrost is melting in the Great White North this time of year.

Drop the puck already.

Getting tired of all the hype.

You'd think the big hype machine was TSN but it was the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation spewing relentless Canuck propaganda all week long...ugh.

Vancouver Canucks vs. Boston Bruins...
The Boston Bruins did not show me anything in their previous series against Tampa that could upset the Canucks' apple cart.

If they have any chance at an upset:

  1. Tim Thomas, the Boston goalie, despite an outstanding game 6 vs Tampa, will have to be more consistent.
  2. They have to improve their puck movement. Limit the giveaways.
  3. Start scoring with their pathetic power play.
  4. Continue their excellent forechecking game. This is the only area of that holds water against the Canucks (with exception of maybe goaltending).
My advice to the Canucks: don't choke.

Canucks will be too much, too soon for the Bruins.

I'll predict the Bruins will meet their maker for the fourth straight time in these playoffs (shows you how much I know about ice hockey).

Canucks in 6.

Now back to regular programming...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Whale Shark Haiku - Atlanta Aquarium

My bro was in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Just happened he was at the Aquarium and snapped this pic of Rhincodon typus for BTOG. Thanks goig!

Whale Shark Haiku

Gentle giant shark
Much too large for a fish bowl
Run Whale Shark run

Whale Shark Fun Facts

It is a shark, but is not a whale.

Largest shark/fish in the world.

Largest confirmed whale shark is 12.65 m or 41.5 feet.

Heaviest confirmed whale shark ever: 36 tonnes or 79,000 lbs.

Out in the wild they live approximately 70 years.

The are filter feeders, preying on mostly plankton.

Their mouths are up to 6 feet in width.

The Taiwanese call them the tofu sharks because of the taste and texture of their meat.

In the open ocean, whale sharks are clocked at an average 5 km/h swimming speed.

Whale sharks give birth to live offspring (ovoviviparous).

There are about 16 whale sharks held captive in aquariums around the world.

Their numbers are decreasing and are classified as a vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Source: Wikipedia

My friend Aubrey has just completed is fantastic, yet epic, trans-African journey. He had the mind blowing experience of snorkeling with whale sharks off the coast of Mozambique.

Check out his blog and his search for the vaunted whale shark.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

2011 Stanley Cup Playoff Third Round Prognostications...

Nothing like watching a hockey game and being body-checked by an arctic zephyr rolling off the Canadian Tundra at the same time.

I have a problem.

I was talking to my sister the other night. She noted that it was an off night for the NHL on TV and inquired what was I going to do in its absence...

I panicked a bit until I realized that the NBA Playoffs were being televised on another channel.

Oh, how convenient I thought!

I am addicted to televised sports.

I was at the local library a couple of nights ago. It's connected to the YMCA. As I walked by a gymnasium, I couldn't help but notice a large group of people playing floor hockey. Oh, that brought back great memories of playing back in my University days. That was a long time ago...

How do I join these people, I thought?!

Perhaps my long dormant love of participatory sports received the necessary jab to awaken it...

Perhaps I can rid myself of watching TV sports?!

Let's get on with the predictions...

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Boston Bruins...
It seems every year in the playoffs there seems to be a team of destiny, a team that can do no wrong, a team with a certain je ne sais quoi.

Undoubtedly, that team this year is the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Powered by a resurgent Vincent Lecavalier, an eternally young goalie in Dwayne Roloson, and a 4th line that never seems to quit, the Bolts have exceeded my expectations by getting to this point of the playoffs (by defeating their most recent opponents, the vaunted yet hapless Caps of Washington).

Suffice to say, I didn't catch much of the Boston/Philadelphia series. I think I was busy watching the winter-killed grass turn green in the front yard...

Seriously, if their number one centre Patrice Brisboise does not return from a concussion injury incurred in their last series, their prospects for playoff advancement is not good.

So, my prediction comes down to choosing between the team with the overwhelming intangibles vs. a team with overwhelming talent.

I'm going to ride this Tampa Bay tsunami until it meets an immovable object.

It's over for Hockey Night in Canada's home team...

I'll predict Tampa Bay in seven.

Vancouver Canucks vs. San Jose Sharks...
Before I go on, I just want to say playoff hockey is hell after your team is eliminated.

Forget about Roberto Luongo, the Sedin twins or even Chris Higgins, the Vancouver Canucks are in fact Ryan Kessler.

The guy has been a monster in these playoffs.

The San Jose Sharks have no answer.

They are toast.

My prediction: Canucks in six.

I'm going outside to enjoy the hot sun before the inevitable arctic zephyr snatches it away.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

2011 Stanley Cup Playoff Second Round Prognostications...

Couldn't find a hockey pic but I've got this swell pic of some home grown spuds from last summer...

Reader warning
: Every year I indulge in NHL (National Hockey League) playoff prognostications. Suffice to say, ice hockey is not the most popular sport on the planet but in Canada it's the only game in town (CFL football follows closely). So, please bear with me while I stick out my neck out on these important predictions.

Ok, the second round of the NHL playoffs (the eight of fate teams remaining) just started minutes ago. It's the Vancouver Canucks vs. the Nashville Predators. As anticipated it's a snoozer of a game.

This will be a closer series than most people think.

Nashville plays a pretty boring game. They have superstar Shea Weber on defence and a world class goalie in Pekke Rinne. The rest of the team is pretty generic. Despite this they buy into a complete total team concept. They beat a pretty hot team, Anaheim Ducks, in the last round. So, I anticipate they'll be pretty tough this round.

As for Vancouver, the Sedin twins better pick up their play or they're toast. All-universe goalie, Roberto Luongo was just adequate against the Chicago Blackhawks. He best leave his imitation of a fish-out-of-water at home. Otherwise, they should have enough horses to outlast the Predators.

My prediction, Canucks in 6.

San Jose Sharks vs. Detroit Red Wings.
I really liked how the Wings played the last round against the Phoenix Coyote. They dominated the Coyotes in all aspects of the game. Their skill level was just incredible.

The Sharks were also impressive in beating the Kings of L.A. Their strength seems to playing deep and along the boards in the offensive zone. They're pretty deep in scoring talent with the likes of Dany Heatly, Logan Couture, to name a couple. The only weakness I see in San Jose is their goaltending. Niemi has looked awful at times.

This series is difficult to predict. If the Sharks play well, the Wings will have their hands full. If Wings winger Zetterberg comes back from injury, I'd lean towards the Wings taking the series.

For the record, Wings in 7.

Philadelphia Flyers vs. the big bad Boston Bruins.
I cannot express the hatred I have for both these teams. But these prognostications are not about me. Just my impeccable hockey knowledge.

Having said that, who really cares? I just hope they beat the crap outta one another. That alone makes this series worth watching.

The Flyers played a miserable last 2 or so months of the regular season but against the Sabers of Buffalo in the first round, I thought they fought back valiantly from a 3-2 deficit. Having said that, I don't think they were firing on all cylinders still. In the end, they had to drag out a less than optimal Chris Pronger to save a miserable power play. Then there was the annual dog and pony show at the goalie position for the Flyers. Perhaps they'll get a proper goalie one day.

I have nothing to say about the Bruins after they beat my beloved Habs.

Ok, I'll say this. Goalie Tim Thomas can be beat. All Universe defenceman Zdeno Chara looked like a pylon against the speedy Canadiens forwards. The Bruins first line of Lucic, Krejci, and Horton was pathetic (except on two overtime goals).

This series is difficult to predict.

I'll go with my gut on this one. Flyers in 7.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Washington Capitals.
Another close series.

I haven't seen either team play much this season except in the first round.

Both are high scoring teams. With the presence of Ovechin, I'll give the edge to the Caps in offense.

I really don't buy the fact that the Caps have become an immoveable dominant defensive force. I'll give the edge to the Bolts in defence.

If Dwayne Roloson, Bolts' goaltender, stands on his head, I'd give the Bolts the edge. But Caps goalie, Michal Neuvirth is just consistently good. That's enough for the Caps to win.

I'll give the series edge to the Caps. Washington D.C. in 7.

I'll also predict the odds of an upset in this series. The Bolts will have 75 percent chance of defeating the Caps.

That's it for now.

I've got to catch a Royal Wedding at midnight.

So, it's nap time for me.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Slow Train Coming And The Art of Perpetual Travel: Part One.

These are my friends, Sally and Richard.

They are indeed gods of travel.

They've found in the world of traveling what amounts to the Holy Grail, the El Dorado, a state of Nirvana...

They are perpetual travelers.

We first met in the Dahab Hostel (that name keeps popping up) in Cairo back in the day. My first impression was that these folks really had it together. They were really serious travelers who were curious, engaging, adventurous, and knew how to chillax.

Anyway, I hung out with them in Cairo and then eventually bumped into them again out in the real Dahab.

We had long nightly discussions about the dream of perpetual travel.

Sally and Richard had a plan.

They went home to Australia after Egypt and sold all of their worldly possessions and hit the road, forever.

For the past couple of years they've traveled India. Now they're touring SE Asia ever so slowly.

Sal and Richard sitting on the porch of their Malaysian love shack.

Sal posing with "Rubber Man" and condom decorated Xmas Tree in Bangkok, Thailand...

I worship them and their lifestyle.

I'm not worthy...

They're keeping a brilliant blog, Slow Train Coming. Check it out.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Biking It Down The Pan American...

(L. to R.) Bob, Jason on Montreal in the Baha Peninsula. (photo courtesy of Jason)

This is my good friend, Jason.

I first met him in Cairo at the venerable Dahab Hostel on Talaat Harb (a stone's throw from Midan Tahrir). I'd been hanging there for a least a couple of weeks beforehand, chillaxing from a long haul overland journey from South Africa. The Dahab was just what the doctor ordered: a large population of cats and motley crew of international wasters/guests in search of adventure.

Jason and I teamed up and headed out west to the Oasis of Siwa, an improbable, tiny patch of palm trees clinging for dear life in the Great Sahara Desert.

While in Siwa, we spent days under a baking desert sun, throwing back gallons of ice cold, sickly sweet cane juice, climbing the ruins of Shali, swimming in pools of cool spring water, and endless bike rides through forests of date palms.

(L. to R.) Jason, Tomo, Robbie... cycling amongst the salt marshes of Siwa.

Little did I know back then that Jason was really serious about his biking.

Currently, he's biking down Central America on his bike Montreal, volunteering, couchsurfing, and hangin' out along the way.

Check out his blog, Biking It.

You won't be disappointed.

He'll have you coming back for more.

His prose is insightful, yet hilarious. I liken him to a modern day, Seinfeldian Renaissance Man on two wheels.

Very refreshing read...

While you're there buy him a taco.

Or check out the coffee table book he's published about his adventures so far, Me, Montreal & Bob.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hot New Africa 2011 Calendars On Sale Now!!

Hey everyone,

If you haven't gotten your freebie 2011 calendar from your corner gas station yet or just need some Christmas stocking stuffers, please buy my new hot-off-the-presses Africa 2011 Calendar! A new year means 12 more of my favourite mindblowing African portraits gracing your wall at home or at the office!

If you missed out on my Africa 2010 calendar, fear not, for I have converted it into a 2011 calendar. Check it out here.

As always, the proceeds will go towards the beer... uh... internet access fund for the upcoming BTOG expedition!!

I thank you again, the loyal readers of BTOG, for your great taste in Calendar art and relentless support of BTOG expeditions!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Autumn On The Canadian Tundra 2010, Part 5 - A Haiku.

A Haiku.

Slender tall grass, drenched in tepid sunlight, sway in cold autumn wind.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Autumn On The Canadian Tundra 2010, Part 4.

More Aspens in Fish Creek Park.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Autumn On The Canadian Tundra 2010, Part 3. - Bonus Movie Review: Sicko

The Aspen Poplar (Populus tremuloides) in Fish Creek Park in late October...

Movie Review: Sicko.

I've had Sicko recorded on the PVR since January of this year and finally watched it yesterday.

In Sicko, documentary filmmaker Michael Moore (Fahrenheit 9/11, Bowling for Columbine) looks at the state of health care in the USA.

Moore makes a convincing, driving case for reform of the US health care system by highlighting a plethora of individuals who have been denied health care because of cost of insurance or by unscrupulous HMO's/insurance companies (and their political lackeys) looking out for their bottom lines.

I thought Sicko, like Moore's other works, was pretty entertaining.

In order to entertain, he occasionally goes overboard in pressing his case.

For example, as part of his argument for socialized medicine in America, he does a comparative study of social medicine in countries like Great Britain, France and Canada (ugh). He questions "naive" consumers of medical care in each of countries on how they pay for services rendered by their respective health systems. Each patient answers, "it's free". I cringed each time I heard the word "free". Well, I want to warn my American friends that it isn't free. Nothin's free. We pay for it through taxes. Lots of taxes.

I could launch into an exhaustive lecture regarding the merits/demerits of socialized medicine (a system I hold dear to my Canadian heart) but that would be beyond the scope of this post.

I definitely recommend that you watch Sicko though (whether you like or dislike Michael Moore).

It might make you think.