Canadian Football League Championship (Grey Cup) – Update


The Grey Cup
The Grey Cup

 

It is over.  The BC Lions have won the 99th Grey Cup in Vancouver.  I would term the game as being the second most boring Grey Cup in recent memory, topped only by the 2007 tilt between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Saskatchewan Roughriders.  I originally said it was the worst, but my friend Robin reminded of the 2007 clunker.  How can a 34-23 game be boring you ask?  Simple, both teams were just not that good.  From aging receivers to no talent receivers to young quarterbacks to banged up quarterbacks.  There was no running game for either team and frankly, both defences are highly rated only because the offences in the CFL this year were brutal.  Yes, it was a down year, a transition year maybe, for the CFL.  Several past superstars appear to have lost a few steps this year and may not be back in 2012.  Maybe next year will see some new superstars emerge.

The only question left about the Grey Cup in the sports riot capital of North America, Vancouver was, would there be a riot.  Thankfully there was none this year, although there was a mini riot at an alumni dinner.  Check out this video, then I’ll give you some background.  The stars of the video are 73 years old.

 

 

The occasion was a celebration of the 1963 Grey Cup in which both of these men played, obviously on opposite teams.  The gentleman with the cane is Angelo (King Kong) Mosca, a feared defensive lineman for the Hamilton Tiger Cats in 1963, and later a major wrestling talent after football.  The gentleman on the left is Joe Kapp.  Joe was, prior to his career with the Minnesota Vikings, the starting qb for the BC Lions.  During the 1963 Grey Cup, Angelo Mosca laid a questionable hit on the Lions star running back, Willie Fleming, knocking him out of the game.  The Ti-Cats went on to win 21 – 10.  Obviously the grudge is still alive.  By the way, there were riots in Vancouver after the 1963 game and after the 1966 game as well, both played in Vancouver.

Canadian Football League Championship (Grey Cup)


Winnipeg Blue Bombers logo
Go Bombers Go

 

Today is Canada’s biggest one day sporting event, the Grey Cup.  This trophy is emblematic of winning Canada’s football championship.  Canada plays American football, with a twist.  There are 3 downs, not four.  There are 12 players on the field for each side instead of 11.  The field is 110 yards, with a 25 yard end zone.  The field is also wider and motion is allowed by receivers and running backs prior to the snap.  These changes from the American game create a pass oriented, wide open, high scoring variety to the game.  It caters to mobile quarterbacks and smaller, quicker players.

This years championship game will be held in Vancouver, BC and features the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the BC  Lions.  The Lions play in Vancouver.  On paper and by a lot of pundits, BC is the favourite to win.  Myself, I am not so sure.  BC can and has been played to a standstill this year by teams with a good running game and a stout defence.  Winnipeg has both.  The other reason I am not so sure is that I am originally a Winnipegger and also, do not care much for the Lions.. To me the only question in the game is whether or not there are riots after the game, win or lose.

For my American friends, tear yourself away from the NFL for a bit today and watch this game.  It starts at 6:30 Eastern time and can be viewed in the USA on the NFL Network.

Remembering Coco Robicheaux


The famous Rue Bourbon, or Bourbon Street, is ...
Bourbon Street

New Orleans is poorer in its music scene this week.  Coco Robicheaux, (real name Curtis Arceneaux) mainstay of the local music scene passed away at the age of 64.  He apparently suffered a heart attack at one of his favourite spots, The Apple Barrel on Frenchman Street in the quarter.  He played there on a regular basis.  A self taught blues guitar player, Coco began his career on Bourbon Street at the age of 17.  As the story goes, he found his first guitar in pieces on the street.  He repaired it and began learning to play.  It worked well, as he became a top tier player in New Orleans.  In his career, he recorded 6 albums and appeared on several TV shows and movies.  He recently appeared as himself on an April 2010 episode of “Treme“.   Speaking of “Treme”, this is a must watch show, seen on HBO and HBO Canada.  Attached track is a song called “Cottonmouth” and features Coco on guitar and Hubie Vigreux on percussion.   It was recorded live at a blues bar in Hawaii.

Coco Robicheaux – Cottonmouth

My Philosophy Of Music


Frank Sinatra at Girl's Town Ball in Florida, ...
Frank Sinatrra

 

For those of you that follow my ramblings, you may have noticed that I post a lot of entries about music.  You may find it odd that a travel blog does this on such a regular basis.  The truth is, I find it hard to accumulate my thoughts and generate regular travel posts and I choose to fill these creative lapses with other people’s creativity.

I have had a life long obsession with music and have become slightly philosophical about it.  For example, the following videos.  What do they have in common.  Figure that out, and I believe you will understand my tastes in music.

 

Lady Antebellum – “Need You Now”

 

 

Clue 1 – I normally cannot even listen to country music, however, I do make the odd exception, and this is one of them.

 

John Mayer Trio – “Vultures”

 

 

Clue 2 – Supposed pop artists have other sides.

 

Hudson Ford – Crying Blues

 

 

Clue 3 – Just because you never heard of it, doesn’t mean the music is uninteresting or bad.

 

And finally

 

Frank Sinatra – Fly Me To The Moon

 

 

Now it is time to connect the dots.  Lady Antebellum, John Mayer Trio, Hudson-Ford and Frank Sinatra.  I do not like country, but I really like Lady Antebellum’s song, John Mayer, notorious pop artist, Hudson-Ford, obscure 70’s group, and Frank Sinatra, classic crooner, as far from rock as one can get these days.  The common thread is simply that each and every one of these is GOOD. Good is, well, good.   Nothing, even genre, can transcend great songs.  All of these are, in my mind, well written and well performed.  Great players make great music.  Even if you don’t like the type of music, certain songs can pull you in, solely by just how well done they are.  I have learned over the years not to dismiss or be prejudicial towards any form of music and to listen closely for what may be, or not be, something that could be the next big tune on my iPod.   I would hate to miss that song.

New Canadian Music Releases – November 22, 2011


I have nothing.  Other than a raft of Christmas albums, which I refuse to review, there were no releases of Canadian albums at all in the past week.  In the place of new music, I bring some people I have been listening to lately.

 

First is Edmonton singer/guitarist/songwriter Michael Rault.  His album  Ma-Me-O has been receiving extensive play on my iPod of late.  I have attached a live video of him and his band playing “I Want To Love You ” at The Artery in Edmonton.  Kind of an early Beatles/rockabilly sound.  Very good when he cuts loose, which is in the second video titled “Don’t Need No Help Gettin Down”.  Enjoy

 

I Want To Love You

I Don’t Need No Help Gettin Down

 

Another artist I am enjoying right now is Matthew Barber.  He hails from Port Credit, Ontario, and is becoming a very popular singer/songwriter in the Amos Lee style of folk and indie.  I am beginning to really like him.  The attached song “Keep It Alive”  has been growing one me in recent weeks.  Matthew plays a live version of the song, recorded at CBC 3 studios.

 

Keep It Alive

 

 

Here’s hoping we have some new stuff to share next week.

 

Remembering Laura Kennedy (Bush Tetras)


I read that Laura Kennedy , bass player for post punk band the Bush Tetras had passed away from complications from Hepatitis.  The group was popular in the NYC scene of the 80’s, and she was a founding member of the band.  I remembered one song in particular that I always kind of liked.  It is titled “Too Many Creeps” and contained some very good bass lines by Laura.  The song had a very funky feel to it.  The band never achieved much mainstream attention, but has a big cult following.  There have been a couple of reincarnations of the group and the current lineup is touring at this time.  Laura Kennedy could definitely play.

An Evening With C. C. Benison


An old friend of mine dropped in to Calgary to do a book signing.  Yes, the only person I know who has entry in Wikipedia was in Calgary promoting his new book.  C. C. Benison is the nom-de-plume for Doug Whiteway, author and former Canada Post Part Time Letter Sorter.  We worked together at Canada Post in Winnipeg in the 70’s putting letter sized letters (remember them) into slots, occasionally the right ones, so the Queen’s mail would arrive at it’s correct destination, eventually.  At least when we weren’t on strike.  Doug has come a long way from these humble beginnings and I am very happy for him as he gets to do what he loves, and is good at.  Also it was great to see him after 30 odd years or so.

By the way, if I have slighted any of my friends reading this by not acknowledging their wikiness, I apologize and you must correct me so that I can make amends.

The book that he was in town for is part of a new series of mystery novels, set in England and is based on the 12 days of Christmas.  The first is titled, appropriately, Twelve Drummers Drumming.  I am now the proud owner of a signed copy and I am enjoying the read.  If you are looking for a Christmas gift, it is available at Amazon and at bookstores throughout Canada and the USA.  I apologize for the shameless plug, but, hey, what are friends for.

Three Nights (and Days) in Montreal – The First Night


We had enjoyed our two nights in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, but were now ready to hit the big city.  Montreal is a cosmopolitan city, with great restaurants, plenty of history and something for every taste.  After a 2 hour drive we arrived at our hotel, The Opus.  Situated at the corner of St Catherine and Sherbrooke, it is perfectly placed to access Vieux Montreal (old Montreal) and the downtown core.

The Rooms at the Opus

We also had a fairly interesting view.  Canadians will know this theatre as it is the site of a TV show on CBC as well as the centre of operations for the yearly Montreal Just For Laughs Festival.

Just For Laughs Theatre

As usual, we spent the first afternoon on an orienteering tour to first, find sustenance and beer, and second, to figure out where we were in relativity to where we wanted to be.  My phone said straight up St Catherines and we would find Vieux Montreal, so off we went.  The phone is seldom wrong, and after  30 minute walk, we were in the middle of Old Montreal, enjoying a beer and some appetizers with a great view of the St Lawrence River.  A great way to spend the day, or an hour or so.  The beer was satisfying,  St Ambrose,  a local beer by Brasserie McAuslan.

St Ambrose Beer

Our thirst taken care of, we started to wander the area.  We located a nice spot for lunch called Galiano’s.  The people watching was spectacular and the food was good.  We had good reason to celebrate as it was Jetsmas Eve.  What the heck is that you ask.  Anyone from Winnipeg would, or should,  pick up on this.  It was the night before the first NHL game in 15 years for the long missed, and beloved Winnipeg Jets.

Old Montreal From Galianos

We now had our bearings, and again, very similar to any older city, it was very easy to get around and not get lost doing it.  We checked out some shops and headed back towards the hotel.  The area has several highlights.  Jacques Cartier Square is a central gathering spot, ringed by restaurants with the central square filled with tourist shops.  Lots going on, with buskers everywhere.  Kind of touristy, but expected in areas like this.  One has to move away from the square to really experience the area.  Very crowded with lots of puzzled looking people milling about.

Back at the hotel, we booked a reservation for 9:00 at a supper club on site called KoKo Restaurant and Bar.  A supper club is new to us.  The idea is supper, shocking, followed by a turn into a night club at 11:00.  They remove most of the tables and electronica abounds.  Very cool.  We had an excellent supper, matched perfectly with an excellent wine and some perfect after dinner aperitif.

The Supper

The meal was excellent, the pasta perfectly done, the shrimp and scallops exactly as they should be done.  Very enjoyable.

The Wine

A poor shot.  The wine is now a regular at our home.  A nice Australian by Pfeiffer, this being the Merlot.  We have noticed in Quebec that old world wines dominate on most wine lists, so it was refreshing to find an Aussie here.   Overall, the dining experience was superb and highly recommended by us.  The night club experience was wild.  We people watched for a couple of hours, enjoyed a few Frangelico aperitif.  Very loud, and very crowded.  We decided to depart around 1 AM and leave the serious partying for the younger set.  Little did we know that we will be experiencing the night until 4 AM when the music finally shuts down.  We overlooked the outside deck of the club and, boy, was it loud.

We had a great day and evening and went to sleep knowing the next 2 days will be superb, on the food and drink front for sure.

Trombone Shorty – Wow


Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews with ...
Trombone Shorty

 

Trombone Shorty (Troy Andrews) is the best thing to come out of New Orleans in a while.  I just purchased his latest album on iTunes and have been completely blown away.  This post is completely educational of course.  I have to assume most of the world has not heard of him, or heard him for that matter.  This has to change.  In the music world, he is already well respected.  The new album, “For True” features such talents as Jeff Beck, Lenny Kravitz (Shorty was in his horn section at one time) and Kid Rock.  The style is a fusing of New Orleans jazz and funk and is excellent.  I have included 2 videos, the first is recorded live at the New Orleans Jazz Festival and showcases him with Jeff Beck.  Love to have been there for this, and the second is “Do To Me” off the album.

 

New Orleans Jazz Festival

 

 

Do To Me

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