Methinks whatever time remained in the glorious honeymoon between fans of the Maple Leafs and coach Mike Babcock officially ended the moment he prematurely pulled goaltender Frederik Andersen for an extra attacker – before his team had actual puck possession – and watched as they officially lost game six in spectacular fashion. What was hailed as a supposed must-win affair and ballyhooed across media circles for revealing true character, grit, gumption, and spirit, instead told us what we already know; that this team is really, really, really good but astonishingly brittle; emotionally, physically, existentially. It seems to lack that profound desire to throw off the shackles of 52 years of championship futility whilst expunging the recent spate of heart-wrenching game seven gut-punch exits. And that’s a bloody shame, because the Boston Bruins have become a Moby Dick style foray led by the $6.2 million dollar Captain Babcock; a man so feared and renowned for his coaching prowess that he could somehow justify repeatedly using a penalty-killing squad of forwards who don’t actually kill penalties, hooks goaltenders excruciatingly early as if they are demented marionettes, and leans on the 40-year old intangible dressing room relic known as St. Patrick Marleau (may his quest for Lord Stanley’s chalice continue unabated, praise be) in the dying minutes of the third while brandishing a bench of dumbstruck all-star forwards. Toronto has outskated, outhustled, and generally outplayed Boston, earning their respect in the process. Now it’s time for the highest paid non-player in the hockey galaxy to find a way to truly earn ours.
It takes a special kind of cretin to cut funding to public libraries, and a very malodorous kind of government to slash their funding in half. That’s right, 50%. Slashing and hacking away at what the Ontario conservatives no doubt consider an anachronistic impediment to their modernized sensibilities about books and reading and places where humans meet to learn stuff and presumably evolve. How else would one even begin to explain how a traditionalist civic bastion like libraries would fall victim to the arbitrary nonchalance that is Doug Ford’s random, fly by the seat of your pants policy-making. Let’s review: he cut hospital beds, negated the basic income project and removed funding for homeless shelters promised by his predecessor, became an enemy of autism, and is surreptitiously ripping open the Greenbelt with shady backroom dealings masquerading as future investment opportunities – a place to grow indeed! One of Ford’s toadies on this front was quoted as saying: “We are keeping our promises to the people of Ontario and putting the province back on a path to balance so that we can protect what matters most to Ontarians.” And by balance he means cutting $1.5 million dollars of funding to help tackle an $11 billion dollar deficit. I’d do the math for you but chances are you’d never forgive me in the grand scheme of things.
I had cold night sweats mulling over the future of Sri Lanka in the wake of the bombings of churches and restaurants which led to so many dead and injured. This beautiful, soulful island-nation has struggled to embrace democracy for decades as it wrestles with its colonial past. The hatred, bigotry, and vicious propaganda emanating from that era of their history was beyond brutal, and so it was a bittersweet relief to learn that this latest wave of orchestrated terrorism had nothing remotely to do with the Tamil Tigers. But before I could celebrate one revelation to find some meaningful light at the end of an idealistic sectarian tunnel, I was instantly besieged by reports that alleged in-fighting between their President and Prime Minister may have led to one of the most colossal failures in basic intelligence communication…ever. In essence, five different international bodies tipped off the Sri Lankans with crucial details and warnings that were completely ignored. That’s essentially akin to your parents ignoring you during one of their fights as you’re screaming that the house is on fire. And in some ways, knowing that governments exist in this world who refuse to cooperate or even listen to one other during this era of madness might be more terrifying than the fallout itself.
During some brief down-time I decided to check out Monty Python’s The Meaning of Live documentary on Netflix and found myself instantly (and gloriously) transported into a captivated state fueled by my nostalgic love for this magical collection of exceptionally funny human beings. The comedic talents of John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, and Graham Chapman (rest in peace) have supplied three different generations with enough material to get them through the darkest of nights. And so it seemed only sensible for me to devote time to enjoy their exquisite ten-day 02 Arena run back in 2014, and to remind myself just how much these surviving originals have left a lingering influence with my humour, creativity, and lust for life. Nudge nudge, Argument Clinic, The Lumberjack Song, The Dead Parrot; it almost seems as if the one thing we should do with all these polarized controversies on university campuses is to have them teach Monty Python as part of their curriculum thus arming an entire future generation with a fighting chance to revel in the irony of wit, the bombastic nature of prurience, and in the absurd reality of how laughter can be a powerful tonic in the face of just about everything in life. If you look on the bright side, that is.