Hooray for the girls

The Old Ruminator should know better by now. Women are equal to men…just different. So I am offering an unequivocal apology for suggesting that women’s hockey is not quite up to the male variety. Not because I’m necessarily wrong…but because it is wrong to suggest such so. Only a few hours after I lamented the absence of body checking in the female game, I happened to be watching our heroic women’s team playing the Finn’s. Some poor Finn player had passed the puck and a Canadian completely crushed her. It was a check that the Old Ruminator would never have survived. No penalty was called! I put an exclamation point there, because it would appear that body contact…very serious body contact of the team sports variety…(or Lord. the double entendre is killing me) is clearly NOT absent from the womens’ game. Meanwhile, a Ms. McIvor from Vancouver, hauled in a gold medal today in the women’s ski-cross race…not a sport for the faint of heart. Canadian women, once again, are carrying national pride on their backs. The men, meanwhile, apparently blinded to practically all winter sports except hockey and hiding beer in snow banks must beat the Russians in a quarter final hockey contest tomorrow to be able to show their faces in public.

Olympic tim-bits – The Chinese women’s curling team lives eight months of the year near Leduc, Alberta, in the heart of Canadian curling country and they have a Canadian coach.

Looks like the leading Japanese women’s skating champion has North American coaches.

Owning the Goat’s Horns

Well. I squirmed in my commuter car four years ago when the wizards behind Canada’s Olympic sport efforts announced Canada intended to “Own the Podium” in these Olympics. I had trouble understanding what that meant at the time. Then, it struck me. They are actually saying, they are going to be at the podium receiving medals so often that they practically own the podium?
I thought it was loud-mouthed, presumptuous and in very poor taste at the time. Very un-Canadian. I mean, who wants a loud-mouthed braggard as a team-mate. “The humble shall be exalted” says the bible and I suspect we are getting just deserts now.  I DO NOT blame our athletes for this. This is some crazy creation of the tagalongs who make it their living to live off the efforts of our athletes.
The Americans, God bless them (for they seem to avidly cheer on the Canadians) are cleaning up on the medals. The Americans really do have a competitive spirit deep in their hearts and don’t seem to be stressed at all by the “occasion”. In fact, the Olympics seems to always bring out their best performances. When the going gets tough the tough get going. I am really bugged by the fact the Americans seem to be right there whenever we win a medal and we are no where in sight most of the times they win a medal. 
Of course, I have every expectation that we will crush the Americans in hockey…one of the few really manly sports around. (Excuse me girls, but women’s hockey looks like a bunch of kids playing). I know…I know…their hearts are in it…they are working soo hard, etc. but I’m an old guy who loves the game and the women are playing different game (e.g. no checking allowed) I’m sorry, but that makes it an entirely different sport…kind of like basketball on ice. You have no idea what effect body checking has on the overall ability of a human to perform at top capacity until you’ve played the game with body checking.  I mean, for my American friends out there who have never skated…it’s like flag football..verses regular, full-contact football.  See what I mean?

How many sports really do require strength, endurance, stamina, courage, and sheer mental toughness forged on the field of physical battle? I give those downhillers and lugers credit..but they really are competing against the mountain….a different kind of phychology. The Old Ruminator, has actually taken part and competed in many of these sports, so this is not all hot air.
I want to say however, that Canada seems to “Own the Coach’s lounge” I was watching the Norwegians compete against the Canadian curlers and they called on their Canadian coach for advice. Same for the Swiss Hockey team…a coach from Manitoba…same with figure skaters from Japan and Korea and of course Canada invented short track speed skating and they are coaching the world…especially the Koreans… to success in that sport.
I can’t fault all these Canadians making a career in other countries…but don’t you wish they would just stay home and help our kids?

Olympics-So far so Good…But

The opening ceremonies were marvelous. And I’ve got to say the aboriginal component was splendid…if not the best part of all. The native peoples danced their hearts out. The only semi-religious reference I saw, was in the rather disheartening tribute to the very significant celtic influence on our nation’s culture. There actually was a symbolic celtic cross in one portion of the ceremony…although I’m certain it would have been expunged if the producers had any clue of the symbolism behind many popular celtic symbols of the day.

The Old Ruminator and Mrs Ruminator accompanied two other baby boomer couples on a tour of Vancouver on the first day of the Olympics. We met former PM Jean Chretien in the lobby of the new Fairmont hotel on our way to the Olympic flame. There was no way I was going to have my picture taken with that clown, but a couple of our Liberal friends….both born in the nether regions of the world…posed for a wonderful photo with the old Liberal hack.
It was then onto the flame, which to our horror was hidden from the public by a giant chain link fence adorned in sporty Olympic motifs. Thousands of people were being turned away without an opportunity to go anywhere near the flame, which is situated on a well-known little waterfront park which fronts the Vancouver harbour. We were told it was because of “security”. Earlier that morning, vandals and hooligans posing as demonstrators smashed the wonderful display windows of the Hudson Bay store about six blocks away. What a God-awful shame!. That we have become captive to hooliganism in a democratic society. I suspect if the flame were in China, it would not be behind chain link fences because there would be no fear that a bunch of fools would try to destroy it in any way.
I fully expect the courts will slap the wrists of the hooligans who smashed the Hudson Bay store windows thereby placing one more brick into the wall of our gradual decline.
But, our overall day in Vancouver was beyond belief. Truly, it is the most clean, beautiful, modern city on earth. Oh sure, it has problems…but nothing compared to the majesty of its unbelievable geography. The whole city is alive with excitement and joy and beauty. You can stroll for days on the kilometers of seawall walkway  that now completely surround the entire city.

Lets keep religion out of the Olympics

It’s heartening to hear that Canada’s native people will play a lead role in the Vancouver Olympics. I’m looking forward to the opening ceremonies, but am concerned that some fool may have authorized the unpardonable. I’m talking about the propensity of our society to frown on any religious symbolism in any of our public ceremonies except for those primitive, and primal beliefs of some of Canada’s aboriginal peoples. I don’t want to see any kind of sweet grass smoking ceremonies or references to the “Great Whale God”. No thanks…not in a ceremony paid for with my tax dollars.
But I honestly hope I am proven wrong and that the opening ceremonies truly celebrate the wonderful contributions of our native people to the Canadian mosaic without reference to primitive religious nonsense.

Prorogue Fatigue

While Liberal and NDP hacks choke on their cornflakes over the PM’s announcement that Parliament will sit over the March break, I suspect the majority of Canadians are having a good chuckle.
The PM’s style, while painted as harsh and calculating by his opponents, is seen as almost whimsical and amusing by the Old Ruminator. Harper essentially gives what he gets. Andrew Coyne hit the nail on the head in this week’s CBC National Panel discussion when he essentially said that the PM was simply reacting to the Liberal NDP feigned outrage that Parliament should be “working”. Well, now they can “work” right through spring break.
Coyne’s fellow panel member, Allen Greg, once again, repeated the completely erroneous bromide that Canadians are outraged by the prorogation. As one of Canada’s leading pollsters, Greg knows fully well that his assertion is mischievous at best and calculated fabrication at worst. CBC’s own poll showed fully 33% of Canadians weren’t even aware of prorogation. Of the remainder, 57% were against it. Any fool can do that math. 57% of 66% means that a minority of Canadians oppose prorogation. A considerable majority either support it or couldn’t care less.
On prorogation: If Harper had not used this very valuable manouvre last year, we would have seen a coalition of power hungry opportunists (Dion and Jack) and seperatists (Bloc) running our nation. Calls by the Opposition to deny the Prime Minister such power, are obvious self-serving and would open the door to such a disgusting scenario. Of course we know such a suggestion is political posturing..being constitutionally invalid.
Finally, I’m a fan of CBC’s “At Issue” panelist Chantal Hebert. Who could not like a person who obviously has so little vanity. Chantal must drive TV make-up staff crazy, because she obviously refuses to even consider such a thing. But, it might be helpful if a camera operator at least tamped down her hair on occasion.
Camera people do, from time to time, such things. I remember once when a cameraman saw a stray hair sticking straight up on Peter Mansbridge’s head. It was catching the studio lights like a bolt of lightning and it refused to be tamed. The cameraman approached Peter…told him to be still…reached up and plucked the hair from a very shocked Peters’ head. This would not, normally, have created such a fuss, but Peter, in those days was losing his hair…a process he was determined to cover with liberal quantities of dark make-up. Good old Peter, always an agreeable fellow, was flustered, but he fought to maintain his composure, knowing in his heart he’d never see that hair return.