THE NUTSHELL: Food Fighting, Rickrolling And Doppleganging

A weekly feature, with a collection of random thoughts on random things.


Saw a billboard, the other day, advertising cottage cheese. The slogan: “Anything Goes.” Well, that’s certainly a bold statement. There’s a picture of a burger, slathered with cottage cheese. I can’t help but think Nordica cottage cheese’s new-found cockiness might run them afoul of Miracle Whip’s “we rough up burgers” and “we will not tone it down” mentality.

Condiment warfare: Are these guys "Cheesies" or "Whippies?"

Could this lead to a street fight, a la West Side Story? Should we fear a coming crossfire of cottage cheese and mayonaise-like substance on our streets anytime soon? Will rival factions turn our city into a giant food fight? Will our streets run white with the ooze of alternative burger toppings? Or worse? Is it possible that Nordica cottage cheese and Miracle Whip will fall in love with each other’s outlaw style and go on a Bonnie and Clyde crime spree? Is Nordica Woody Harrelson to Miracle Whip’s Juliette Lewis? Are they “Natural Born Fillers?” Don’t say you haven’t been warned. Start crafting your buzzwords for the looming crisis. Burg-ocalypse. Burger-geddon.

So, Jeopardy Host Alex Trebek foiled a burglary, did he? A woman snuck into his hotel room and tried to make off with cash and a few other items. Trebek awoke, and gave chase, but not before ensuring his, uh, microphone was not swinging in the breeze. “I realized immediately someone had been in the room. I put on my underwear and ran down the hall to see if I could find her.” Correct. Alex Trebek sleeps in the nude. Wonder if his wife makes it a true daily double. I also wonder if  Trebek interrupted when police starting reading the suspect her rights and asked “What is Miranda?”


The U.S. debt ceiling crisis may have some people nervous, others, poised. Apparently, 33 Mexican soldiers being carried in 4 Humvees were spotted on the American side of the border, in Texas. Might I suggest waiting for the U.S. to default before invading, guys?

Nycole Turmel? Or "Peter Pan"?

The White House has been accused of “Rickrolling” a concerned citizen. When a Twitterer messaged them to say the deficit ceiling news had become boring, the White House tweeted back:  “Fiscal policy is important, but can be dry sometimes. Here’s something more fun:” That link led the Twitterer to THIS. Unleashing that on an unsuspecting victim with a link is called “Rickrolling.” Have fun. Better than planking.

Toronto Councillor Doug Ford claimed he wouldn’t know Margaret Atwood if she walked by him on the street. That led Newstalk 1010 Host Jim Richards to invite listeners come up with titles likely to be found in a Doug Ford book club. Great premise, but, I take it more literally. If Doug had a book club, I do believe it would be a club with just one book. Of the comic variety. Or, an actual club that he’d use to beat up on books.

London Mayor Boris Johnson. it?

Sure, it may just be me. But, does anyone else think the NDP’s Interim Leader, Nycole Turmel, is a doppelgänger for Sandy Duncan? I think she’ll do a fine job, but, know who’d be a really great interim NDP Leader? Bob Rae. What’s he doing these days? While on the subject of look-a-likes, the “1 year to  the London Olympics” celebration seemed to be hosted by Gary Busey. What were Londoners thinking when they voted Mr. Joshua in as mayor?



Generally speaking, I abhor excessive and silly celebrations after goals or touchdowns. Because a goal or touchdown is a fairly usual thing in any game. Over-the-top celebrations of such events feel goofy. Imagine if we all went around doing that. Score a good parking space, right in front of the mall, get out and do a choreographed dance number. Barbecue a perfect steak, pull out a sharpie and sign a guest’s forehead. However, having said that, click here, for an exception, in my mind. An Icelandic soccer team with some creativity. The guy playing the flopping fish is particularly good.

The St John’s AHL team has a name. Former Newfoundland And Labrador Premier (and Club President) Danny Williams made the announcement, today. They’ll be called the St. John’s Ice Caps. I’m sure Tim Hortons is pleased.

Found out this week that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s salary is $7.5 million. Actually, that only makes him slightly overpaid. After all, he played the same number of NHL games as Wade Redden last season.


A company selling reproductions of Kate Middleton’s ring says each comes with a certificate of authenticity. They’re knock-offs. Shouldn’t that be a certificate of “not-thenticity”?

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7 Cool Ways The Commish Could Present The Cup

We get the same thing every year. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman walks out amidst a chorus of mostly boos, grabs the mic like he’s a principal about to admonish an unruly assembly crowd, and quickly and without much pomp or circumstance, hands over The Cup. Then gets the hell out.

We need something new. Fresh. Exciting. We need the attention-grabbing daring of Lady Gaga. The head turning style of Michael Buble. The “what the hell?” quality of a Kardashian YouTube video.

Here are a few suggestions. 7 cool ways the Commissioner could present the Stanley Cup:

“And now..ow…ow…ow…I’d like to sing…ing…ing…Kei$ha’s Tick Tock…ock…ock.”

1.  Lights dim. The strains of “Phantom Of The Opera” blare. A single spotlight hits an upper corner of the arena. Out of a massive cloud of dry ice, there, in a cape and a half Gerry Cheevers mask, The Commish emerges. With a bellowing, evil laugh (the kind usually reserved for a thwarting of Jim Balsillie), he tucks the Cup under an arm, grabs a rope with the other, and swoops down to centre ice.

2.  The players gather at the Zamboni entrance, lined up on either side of it. They drop their sticks, take off their gloves and start clapping in time with the music. That music? “Footloose,” by Kenny Loggins. Out comes Mr. Bettman, in acid washed jeans, white shirt and skinny tie, perfectly mimicking Kevin Bacon’s incredible mid-eighties dance moves. All the way to centre ice. Not necessary, but pretty great, would be to get John Lithgow to stand at the end of the line in minister’s garb, arms folded, shaking his head in disgust.

3.  Bettman doesn’t present the Cup at all. Instead, Charlie Sheen, drives a Zamboni out, complete with gaggle of his “goddesses” as passengers. After a short, meandering tour of the ice, the Zamboni slams into the boards, knocking everyone off. They scramble to their feet, and start to stagger toward centre ice, sliding the cup along the ice. Sheen throws up in the Cup, points to the victorious captain and says “winning.”

4.  In a nod to the top-of-mind status of Anthony Weiner, the Commish strides to centre wearing flip-flops and a towel. The Cup is there waiting for him. He smiles, devilishly, then sticks it between his legs, takes a picture  with his iPhone and immediately posts the shot to Twitter. Then announces: “We have a wiener!” Congratulations Vancouver/Boston!”

5.  Dressed like Moses, the Commish slowly, stoically, makes his way toward the players gathered at centre ice. He’s carrying two stone tablets. As the camera zooms in, we see that the tablets have the NHL’s constantly changing headshot rules carved into them. He puts them down, picks up a composite hockey stick from the pile nearby. He waves it slowly, and the players part, the Stanley Cup appearing in the middle of them. Of course, the stick breaks as he does this.

6.   Royal Wedding theme. The Cup, in a bridal veil and mini-dress with a long train. The Commish in a Prince William uniform knock-off. Or the other way around, if you prefer. A carriage ride to centre ice. Carrie Underwood as Pippa, following dutifully behind the Cup, carrying the tail end of it’s train. Prince Harry, played by…well..who else but Sean Avery? Peter Mansbridge narrates.

7.  Salute to Seal Team 6. The Commish, in full commando gear, is juggled and nose-bounced by a line of 6 actual seals towards a mini compound-like structure at centre ice. Gary kicks in the door, the walls fall down and we see an Osama look-a-like sitting on the floor with the Stanley Cup in his grasp. The Commissioner fires a few paintball rounds into him and secures the Cup, as well as “Osama’s” DVD collection. He announces that the discs are “NHL 2010-2011 highlight DVD’s, now available at!”

Honourable mentions as themes: Jersey Shore. Bettman in drag as Snooki, guzzling a margarita from the Cup. Star Wars. Take the base off the Cup, and the Commissioner can wear it, like he’s R2-D2. And “Enchantment Under The Sea.” Of course.

[box border=”full”]To see Gary Bettman’s Winnipeg quotes translated, click here.[/box]

THE NUTSHELL: Changebook, Shaq And “Pull My Finger…With Your Teeth”

A weekly feature, with a collection of random thoughts on random things.


  • A new parliamentary session began this week. I envision the unbridled joy of all the rookie MPs, as they run across the lawn, toward the Centre Block entrance, much the same way those little kids ran gaily through the meadow at the start of Little House (of Commons) on the Prairie. Now, which of these youngin’s is the Melissa Gilbert of the group and will grow up to become a powerful political force? By the way, if you haven’t had a gander at the Top-secret Rookie MP Handbook, click here to see it.
  • Straight away, the House was vibrating with the excitement of the election of a new Speaker. Okay, “vibrating” is a bit of a stretch, unless you count the members’ blackberries constantly going off with messages from their spouses saying “when are you coming home? How long does this have to take!?” SIX ballots were needed to make this decision. At any rate, congratulations, Andrew Scheer. Enjoy that big, comfy seat. You’re 32 years old, so, bring some new ideas to the job. I suggest a super-soaker, to be used at any time, on any member who’s out of order. Or, even just droning on and on about some kind of procedural drudgery. Fill that super-soaker with coyote urine, for real disciplinary weight.
The Provincial Tories Changebook logo. Will Jesse Eisenberg star in a movie about Mark Zuckerberg suing them to recoup the money he lost to the Winklevoss twins?
  • The provincial Tories unleashed – er, unveiled, their election platform last weekend, in a little publication called “Changebook.” Really? “Changebook?” I hear if you sign up, instead of a “poke” button, there’s a “Vote” button. If Tim Hudak really believes he can, as Premier, cut taxes by $3.5 billion AND replace the $16 billion deficit with a $1 billion surplus by 2018, then he’s Mark Suckerberg. Still, it’ll be some exciting if they’re able to change their relationship status from “opposition” to “government” on October 6th. If they win a minority, they’ll have to settle for “it’s complicated.”
  • Well, we’re into it. A postal strike. So, is anyone able to read this blog, or is it stuck in a mailroom somewhere at the sorting station? I’m not really sure how computer technology works. I remember when a postal strike could stop the nation and lead to great, great consternation among the masses. Now, the only “great great” anything affected by a strike are the grandparents who still use the mail regularly. By the way, if you read the line “stop the nation and lead to great, great consternation among the masses” aloud to one of them, they’ll likely reply: “What? Oh, yes, yes. Great, great constipation if you eat too much molasses.”


Me, in high school. Yes, I knew Ally Sheedy.
  • Had CBC News on in the background the other day, when the anchor threw to a commercial with this teaser: “If you’re sitting at your keyboard, contemplating a hack attack on the Pentagon’s computer systems, you’d better think again.” I immediately stopped attempting to hack the Pentagon’s computer systems. And all I wanted to do was play a quick round of “Global Thermonuclear War.” Either the CBC has a pretty high opinion of its viewers, or pretty low. Not sure which.


  • Conrad Black’s appeal was denied by the U.S. Supreme Court. I agree with the decision, as I’ve never seen the appeal.
William Shatner boldly wears what no man has, at least boldly, worn before.
  • William Shatner received an honourary degree from McGill University. Travesty. Everyone knows that , if anybody deserves and honourary doctorate, it’s Bones, not Kirk. As a young man, Shatner attended McGill, earning a commerce degree. I hear that was a bit of a surprise, since he wasn’t much on attending classes, as indicated in the nickname his chums gave him: “T.J. Hooky.”
  • Black Eyed Peas’ singer Fergie received a perfume award this week. The “Fifi” was given to her for her fragrance “Outspoken.” It got the Fifi for “New Celebrity Fragrance Of The Year.” The Fifi for new non-celebrity fragrance went to someone you’ve never heard of and don’t want to smell like anyway.


  • So, some guy in Los Angeles decided catching a ball was a little more important than protecting his kid. Have a look. Drops the kid as the ball approaches. Yes, the guy’s a dork for doing this. Everybody knows that if you’re holding your toddler at a game and a baseball comes rocketing toward you, you then use the child as a human shield. Kid either mans up and catches the thing, or gets plunked, and, that’s a life lesson.
  • Shaquille O’Neal announced his retirement, this week, on Twitter. Or is that Kwitter?
  • O’Neal’s basketball career, as great as it was, just got in the way of acting projects. Curious to see how good he is, now that he can concentrate solely on his true craft. Can’t wait. Just so you know, if there was such a thing as a sarcasm key on a computer keyboard, I’d have been pressing it that whole time.
Vancouver Canucks’ forward Alex Burrows: A simple misunderstanding?
  • The NHL decided NOT to discipline Canucks’ forward Alex Burrows for allegedly biting Patrice Bergeron’s finger during some pushing and shoving after a whistle. Guess they bought his argument that he was only trying to “smell the glove.” Actually, the league decided there wasn’t enough evidence to proceed against Burrows. Right. He didn’t bite Bergeron’s finger. This was just another one of those annoying pro hockey after-the-whistle scrums where the players gather around in close quarters and suck, erotically, on each others fingers. Just part of the NHL’s attempt to be more sexy, is all.

Final Thought

If I’m driving along and I see Bono on the side of the road hitchhiking, do I stop and pick him up? Yes. Because then Bono would owe me a favour. And I’m pretty sure he can get tickets to George Stoumboulopoulos Tonight, right?


[box border=”full”]To read a previous THE NUTSHELL, click here.[/box]

NHL Discipline: Time For Big Changes

Players Association Must Take More Responsibility

The NHL has a chance to do things a little differently, now. If they so choose.

With the announcement that chief disciplinarian Colin Campbell is stepping down from that portion of his duties (he’ll apparently stay on with the league as Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations), the league can choose this decision as a catalyst towards something completely different, when it comes to player suspensions and fines.

I’ll suggest something radical: Get out of the suspension and fine business almost entirely.

Colin Campbell is stepping back from a thankless job.

It’s not that I advocate a frontier mentality in the NHL. Far from it. It’s just that I believe the most effective way for players to police themselves and dole out appropriate punishment is to have their own association do it for them. It seems to me that, over the years, the NHLPA has exerted an enormous amount of time, energy, and other resources, to protect the rights of players being penalized by the league’s head office. That’s laudable, but flawed.

The players’ association should be in the business of protecting ALL players. Not just from the big bad wolves on the Board of Governors, but also from themselves. In every disciplinary scenario that’s played out over the life of the NHLPA, the union has represented the offender to the hilt, with little or no consideration given to the injured player who suffered the brunt of the action that landed the offending player on the carpet in the first place. Arguments have been made with the goal of ensuring the offender misses as little action as possible, loses as little money as possible. That would constantly leave the injured player with not much of a voice at all, as league officials acted in the best interests of the game only. The GAME only.

Imagine a hockey world where supplemental discipline was triggered by league officials but then handed over to the Players’ Association to mete out punishment. This would still give the league a voice when it comes to incidents it deemed harmful to the game. They deserve some, after all. But the NHL, throughout its history, has shown very little stomach for a fight with the NHLPA, when it comes to increasing the length of suspensions, and the value of fines. That’s at least partly because of the NHLPA’s antagonistic stance against all things management – related.

So. We take the final decisions on suspensions and fines out of the league’s hands, and hand it to the Players’ Association. The Association is forced (or would be, in an amended players constitution) to consider the (about to be) suspended player’s rights as well as the rights of the victimized player. That player would have a voice in the proceedings as well. If you think about it, that’s not so radical in the real world, just the NHL’s. In most unions, if you have a serious problem in the workplace with a fellow employee, you can file a grievance and have that grievance heard by the union. And the other employee, equally, would have a chance to defend that grievance.

That kind of equal representation is conspicuously absent, in the National Hockey League. Oh, the NHLPA will pay lip service to the needs of a player sitting at home in a darkened room, trying to remember what day it is. They’ll tsk tsk about the situation and publicly decry the action that put that player in a concussed state, but they won’t actually do anything about it. No, they’ll save their sweat and muscle for the suits in New York who have the temerity to suggest a two game suspension. Give the victimized player a real voice in the proceedings, with real representation exerting real pressure, and I think you have a real chance at stiffer suspensions. That’s because the NHLPA would have to do everything in its power to ensure all players involved would be treated accordingly.

This can’t happen unilaterally, I know. For now, things will continue they way they have, just with a new NHL judge (Brendan Shanahan) wielding the gavel. But, it’s the perfect time to start the dialogue that can lead to improvement of the quality of pro hockey justice, when the next collective bargaining agreement is ratified.

Click to see: [box border=”full”]Gary Bettman’s Winnipeg Remarks Translated[/box]

Gary Bettman’s Winnipeg Quotes Translated

Not that I’d ever accuse the Commissioner of the National Hockey League of doublespeak. However, I do believe his keynote address at the media conference announcing the NHL’s return to Winnipeg may have been filled with statements that could use some clarification. What follows, are his direct quotes, followed by my interpretations:

“It is clear that times have changed for Winnipeg as an NHL market and this is a wonderful time to add a club to Canada.” – If the Thrashers deal didn’t get done, there are four or five others we could have dropped in here.

“The NHL has a different economic system that allows the so-called ‘smaller markets’ to compete.” – Due to the free fall of the American dollar because of the incredible mismanagement of the U.S. banking system, we no longer refer to the Canadian dollar as a “Mexican subway token.”

Gary Bettman: “Umm, global warming has made Winnipeg just like Vancouver, right?”

“The NHL is coming off another season of record revenues in both Canada and the United States, and our prospects remain extraordinarily bright.” –  With the Canadian dollar flying high, we could move a team to Moose Jaw and make money, if we needed to.

“This venue, the MTS Centre, will be a fine, fine home for an NHL club.” – Did you know there’s a Boston Pizza right in the place?! There’s a Boston Pizza right in the place!!

“And there is the strength of the prospective ownership group.” – I’m hoping to convince David Thomson to buy a few more franchises. Like an art collection.

“…to be candid, this isn’t going to work very well unless this building is sold out every night.” – I know this because I have extensive experience with empty seats. We once…umm..twice..had teams in Atlanta.

“As we have said repeatedly, we don’t like to move franchises. ” – At least, not out of Phoenix.

“As we have said repeatedly, we don’t like to move franchises.” – I don’t own retirement property in Atlanta.

“As we have said repeatedly, we don’t like to move franchises.” – Not my fault. Sometimes franchises let themselves go, stop going to the gym, stop dressing nice for me after a I get home from a hard day of commissioning. Tough love. You’ll thank me later.

“The fans in both cities have been through a lot in the past several weeks and hopefully everyone is now in a position to move forward.” – This doesn’t have to be all weird, right? Let’s be friends, Atlanta.

“We get to be back in a place we wish we hadn’t left in 1996.” – Ya gotta believe me, baby, I’m not the same man! Sure, I left you when you were down on your luck and broke. And, sure, I took the car and all your cd’s…but…but…baby…I’ll never do it again! I’ve chaaaaanged! Come on, now, sugar…I brought you a present….

 [box border=”full”]To read MR. BETTMAN, TEAR DOWN THIS LINE, click here. [/box]

THE NUTSHELL: Gaga, Arnold, Bettman and the Gremlin.

A weekly feature, with a collection of random thoughts on random things. This is the first edition.


Lady Gaga: If she’s so powerful, how come not everyone goes to work in a giant egg?
  • Lady Gaga (I prefer to pronounce it with the emphasis on the last syllable, by the way. Try it, it’s fun!) has just been named, by Forbes Magazine, the world’s most powerful celebrity, bumping Oprah Winfrey to number two. If that gets you a little down. Ms. Winfrey, just do what I do and try to buy your way out of that depression. For me, it might mean new shoes, or tickets to a game. With your spending power, it might mean, oh, I don’t know, a state, say. “Oprahoma” has a nice ring to it.
  • Someone needed to tell Arnold Schwarzenegger that non-natives can’t be President of the United States. Then he wouldn’t have tried so hard to be like Thomas Jefferson.
  • Downside: An 89 year old pastor in the U.S. predicts the end of the world this weekend. Upside: The “Glee” 3D movie will never see the light of day.



  • The NHL was given the League OF The Year Award, Wednesday, by Sports Business Journal. Nice get. I can see how they’d beat the NFL, NBA, CFL and MLB. But beating The Justice League of America, well, that’s very impressive. Commissioner Gordon? He couldn’t carry Gary Bettman’s codpiece.
  • The State of Ohio has passed legislation making it a-okay to carry concealed weapons in places such as bars and open-air sports stadiums. David Letterman used to make a joke about “Hard Liquor and Handgun Night” at Yankees’ games. Nice to know that some of those level-headed, mask-wearing drunks in the Dog Pound at Browns’ games might now be packing.
    “Why can’t I get Ben Eager’s deal?”
  • That now-infamous moment in Game Two of the Canucks – Sharks series where a young woman flashed ’em at the penalty box? Wasn’t she showing she was, in fact, more eager, than Ben? And about as smart?
  • My Argos season tickets arrived today. If you’re a season ticket holder of any team, in any league, you know the unbridled joy and pure, pure giddiness this inspires. Honestly. What is it about the arrival of my season tickets that makes me feel like I’m 10 years old, it’s Christmas, and I just this moment opened a package with my brand new “Super-Slider Sno-Skates” in it?
  • Those Honda Civic ads I see over and over and over AND OVER on Hockey Night In Canada make me pine for the days when I saw those “Roll Up The Rim” ads over and over and over AND OVER again, during The Brier. Not sure who I’m supposed to be most like. The zombie? The masked avenger? (The Avenger, now there was a good car) The troll putting on make-up? The cartoon samurai girl come to life? The trans-gendered lumberjack? Well, at least the accompanying tune is cool. But I need some sort of gimmick before I get a Civic.



  • Here’s a little nugget from Jane Taber’s Ottawa Notebook in the Globe and Mail, re: Stephen Harper’s ridiculous Senate appointments: “One of Mr. Harper’s MPs suggested that the Prime Minister is no longer trying to kill the Liberal Party but has instead decided to become the Liberal Party.” Ouch. Wonder who that was. Doubt it was Peter Kent, who doubled back on criticism of The Party during the campaign after waking, one morning, with a horse’s head in his bed. Well, whoever you are, GREAT line. The hell of it is, you’ll never get credit for it, if you know what’s good for you.
    Stornoway: Check for bed bugs. And any ex-Liberal MPs who may be squatting.
  • Michael Ignatieff has moved out of Stornoway. Now, I’m not saying Jack Layton and Olivia Chow face a huge mess when they first open the front door. But I do know that if the place is in half as bad a shape as the Liberal Party he left behind, Iggy ain’t getting his security deposit back.
  • Donald Trump has decided NOT to run for President. Too bad. Pretty sure he would have tried to take a chunk out of the national debt by building a lavish casino in the West Wing. Then, inviting Chinese President Ma Ying-jeour to the place and comp’ing him the Lincoln Bedroom, all the while ensuring he takes a bath at the tables.


They’ve brought back the Volkswagen Beetle. They’ve brought back the Mini-Cooper. Now, dammit, it’s time. bring back the AMC Gremlin. Stylish, affordable and way cool. Tell me it isn’t prettier than the Nissan Cube.