Starting Lineups

Like many Canadians, I probably won’t recognize the non-NHL players listed on our Olympics-bound Men’s National Hockey team. The NHL simply won’t let their players play for their countries. How sad.

Anyways, if I were the Commissioner of the NHL, using the customary powers of a sports commissioner, this would be my starting line up for Canada’s 2018 men’s national hockey team:

  • Centre – 1985 Wayne Gretzky
  • Left Wing – 1988 Mario Lemieux
  • Right Wing – 1977 Guy Lafleur
  • Defenceman 1 – 1970 Bobby Orr
  • Defenceman 2 – 1977 Larry Robinson
  • Goalie – 1986 Patrick Roy

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Snubbing

Yes, Radiohead should’ve been inducted into the RRHOF this year, even if they didn’t care, if all things were equal, square and fair. However, the RRHOF isn’t fair, it isn’t even comprehensible given its inclusion of non-rock/non-singing acts. In fact, many music listeners don’t care about the RRHOF unless they’re music artists or acts in the seniority or the twilight of their years.

There’s a consistent trend with the RRHOF rejecting somewhat unusual yet popular and innovative acts despite some decades of eligibility. Worthy and/or historically significant acts like KISS, The Moody Blues, The Cars, The Guess Who, and Heart took decades to make it into RRHOF, while lesser, Styx-level acts, like Chicago and Rush are in the Hall with them. I will not even bring up the snubbing of The Smashing Pumpkins, of which I could write essays about.

However, there’s the case of Green Day.


a Canadian city getting Amazon’s HQ2?

I would like it if Amazon choose a Canadian city for their second North American headquarters, and I actually wouldn’t mind if a city other than Toronto gets it. For instance, my most recent trip to Montreal showed me that that city is in dire need of an economic booster shot. Meanwhile, Toronto and the GTA seems bursting at the seams and our infrastructure doesn’t seem like it handle +50,000 more people. However, Quebec has just passed their Bill 62, another unpleasant and divisive law that undoubtedly will drive more people away from la belle province… probably the same people Amazon would want to recruit.

The House of the Sleeping Beauties

I finished reading Yasunari Kawabata’s The House of the Sleeping Beauties on the subway to work this morning and, having read many novels and short stories by Kawabata and Yukio Mishima, I’m fairly certain now that Mishima did write it or at least most of it. Naoki Inose wrote as much in his biography of Mishima, Persona, where he stated that Kawabata was noted to employ ghostwriters, was briefly hospitalized during the serialization of the novella, and later reflected in an interview that he didn’t like the novella and didn’t understand it (Inose, 399–400).

Then again, did Mishima have the time to write and edit this novella from 1960 to 1961? From 1960 to 1961, Mishima was already busy serializing After the Banquet, Mademoiselle, and Beastly Entanglements. And at the same time, he wrote and produced “Tenth-Day Chrysanthemums,” “The Black Lizard,” and a Japanese translation of Oscar Wilde’s Salome. Arguably, not much.

Much has been written about the debt that Mishima felt he owed to Kawabata for starting his career, though he admitted that he wasn’t a fan of the senior writer’s work. When the politics of the Swedish Academy awarded Kawabata, not Mishima, with the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968, Mishima was among the very first people to congratulate Kawabata and to wax poetically on the qualities of Kawabata’s work. That Mishima ghostwrote The House of the Sleeping Beauties, that won the Mainichi Publishing Culture Award, though his post 1960-work languished, would be consistent with Mishima’s anachronistic sense of obligation.

Time to invade the Home Counties

Louise Eccles and Laura Chesters, “Home counties ‘have as much oil as North Sea’: Area may boast 100 billion barrels… but experts say that’s optimistic” (The Daily Mail)

Analysis suggests there is up to 100 billion barrels of the fossil fuel under the Home Counties.

This could reduce reliance on oil from the Middle East and Russia and could be a major boost for British industry at a time when the North Sea supply is dwindling.

But industry experts remained sceptical of the claims, with one describing them as ‘overly optimistic’.

Projections Awry

Today’s F-35 Lightning II/Joint Strike Fighter program costs nearly forty-times what 1960s TV screenwriters had imagined would cost to send a family of six, a robot, and a saboteur to Alpha Centauri in (fictional) 1997. The F-35 fighter jets, that will finally enter service next year with the US Air Force, will sadly have not have the same range as the Jupiter 2.

re: Can you afford to be a writer?

Can you afford to be a writer?” by Deborah Dundas (Toronto Star)

IMHO, even if the book market in Canada wasn’t as small as it was, the average writer in Canada would still be paid less than the minimal wage because even in Britain and the US the average writer is also paid beneath the minimum (see: Alison Flood’s “Authors’ incomes collapse to ‘abject’ levels“).

Then again, it could be argued that the average English language writer simply doesn’t write enough.

My two favourite living Canadian writers are Barbara Gowdy and Miriam Toews. Both are popular award-winning novelists. However neither publishes that much.

Toews, a hilarious and insightful writer, has only published a full-length novel on average of every 2–3 years. Gowdy, meanwhile, hasn’t published a novel since 2007. And before The English Patient was published, Michael Ondaatje, then an established poet and two-time novelist, spent nearly twenty years teaching English at York University. Of those decades, 16 of those years separate Ondaatje’s  first book and his third, the one that made him internationally famous.

On the other hand, many top tier writers wrote constantly during their career. Mordecai Richler wrote constantly: novels, short stories, essays, book reviews, he even had columns in both The Gazette and The National Post. And Richler did this though his novels and children’s stories were annual bestsellers and were adapted to film. Meanwhile Yukio Mishima, the most successful Japanese writer of his time and a man of Balzacian energy, published two full-length novels, 4–12 short stories, a full-length play, several one act plays, essays, newspaper articles, and gave lectures from his twenties to his forties, every year.

NaNoWriMo Word Count Issues

Like several thousand NaNoWriMo participants already know, the online system is under a heavy strain the likes of which I haven’t seen in four years. Thousands of participants have become frustrated with the simple act of submitting a string of four digits that constitute the number of words that they’d written that day only to led to browser that stutters to load anything then to the terminal finality of a 404 error page. This was so bad, I simply gave up by midnight and went to sleep.

It is good that so many people around the world are taking to the Web to indulge in acts of creativity. After all, the “Hipster” or “Millennial” decade has not furnished the world with a single worthy text. However, I wished that the organizers informed me of this ongoing issue via email because I could’ve either written yesterday’s chapter earlier in the day during off-peak hours and with an extra 300 words to boot.

P.S. I hope to hit the 10,000 word mark sometime today.

re: “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman”

As an experiment to explore the degrees of patriarchy and sexism in North American society, “10 Hours of Walking in NYC as a Woman” was an interesting effort. Ten hours were spent recording Manhattan, New York, and its people in situ as a young woman walked its streets behind a camera. However, the video uploaded to YouTube and that has gone viral, gave only 2 minutes out of 600 minutes that were claimed to be recorded, and quite frankly opens itself to a critique of selective bias.