It’s official – the Toronto Maple Leafs now have three of the seven top-earning players in the NHL and Brayden Point just signed a bridge deal with Tampa Bay for three years at $6.75 million dollars. This is the bizarro universe that is modern day hockey economics, and boy wonder Kyle Dubas now finds himself with the most talented roster in ages that also happens to be saddled with the kind of budget management normally associated with toddlers and really intelligent winter bears. No Stanley Cup winner has ever brought home glory with this style of team, but then after 53 years of soulburning futility, you can’t blame a front office for trying something different. In the early 90’s Pat Burns knew he only had a small window and did his best with a veteran-laden team that was hungry (Gilmour, Andreychuk, Lefebvre, Clark), later in the decade Pat Quinn went out and assembled the grandest collection of superstars who were all simultaneously past their prime (Nolan, Mogilny, Leetch, Francis, Roberts, Nieuwendyk, Belfour), and then John Ferguson Jr. made us all hate local hockey until Brian Burke came along and made us all hate life. If Auston, John, Mitch, William, Morgan, Tyson and Frederik find a way to bring home glory after witnessing what the Raptors pulled off, finding ways to channel sustainable chemistry with a daily determination to win at all costs, perhaps only then will we consider adding a statue of Brendan Shanahan next to the imaginary one of Tony Fernandez that should be erected at Yonge & Dundas where it rightfully belongs.
Everything about The We Company started to smell very quickly after their projected $47 billion dollar IPO in January shrunk to below $10 last week and then predictably, all hell broke loose. First, we discovered that uber-mogul billionaire boy-man CEO Adam Neumann runs the company like a third world dictator who once had a number of failed businesses in Israel before discovering the power of brazenly lying to investors and studying the Kabbalah in pursuit of love, existential glory and parties straight out of David Lynch films. And then, the entire world became privy to what has now become a public exhibition of a good old-fashioned board of directors revolt threatening their entire monetization strategy and quest for ultimate greed. Why should you care? Because this is a shallow, ridiculous company that rents out workspace to clients for a short time while paying for the long-term lease themselves and then convincing the world that they are liberating the masses through an altruistic business philosophy which led to Neumann himself taking out $700 million dollars in stocks so he could wipe his ass with our naivete. In other words, they could disappear tomorrow and you’ll still be drinking the same mediocre Tim Hortons dark roast wondering what just happened. We’ve already witnessed the parasitical trials and tribulations associated with the dot-com busts of yesteryear; we don’t need another spectacularly gruesome reminder of what happens when overzealous investors get excited about shiny lumps of coal. And this my friends, is nothing more than a poseur’s pile of over-speculated, over-inflated, old-school bullshit.
Israel’s recent elections were enough to remind me that centrism isn’t officially dead, nor is it impossible to return to the prospect of sanity and compromise in a country that’s been sorely lacking it for some time. Bibi Netanyahu rolled the dice one too many times by siding himself with the ultra-orthodox and extreme fringe right while continuing his ingratiating courtship of Donald Trump in ways that made most free-thinking westerners nauseous. I mean, he literally pulled out all the political big guns and went in search of hardcore populist alliances including United Torah Judaism, Yamina and Shas – and yet former chief of staff Benny Gantz still found a way to match him every step of the political ladder, including securing the inexplicable support of the Israeli Arab Party. Yes, that’s right – the fate of the Jewish nation hung in the balance thanks to the involvement of a party comprised of non-Jews that rarely takes sides and felt compelled to put an end to an absolutely shambolic stretch of right-wing authoritarianism that saw the only beacon of freedom and liberty in the region become a garrison for burgeoning racism and hypocritical prejudice. Regardless of whether or not you believe in God, it’s definitely not a prerequisite for believing in his deliciously ironic sense of humour.
It began like so many other days where I eagerly embarked on my early morning bike ride through the lush forest trails and bountiful inner parks of my otherwise monochromatically suburban neighbourhood. The weather was ideal, and I felt rejuvenated after a glorious weekend of soulful reverie and blissful introspection. My playlist was announced and unfurled, at the ready with chock full of 70’s jazz fusion and 90’s grunge rock to turn even the most cynical post-modern music lover into a believer again. I rode out like a Valhallan soldier looking to claim a druidic prize to be found only in the depths of nature’s womb itself. It’s very likely at one point I was actually flying when the leaves and wind howled at my back as I accelerated across familiar denizens; a stoney bridge, a wildflower junction, a long and winding dirt path that miraculously made me forget my wretchedly urbanite existence for a brief and gratifying moment. And then sadly, it happened. Our hero had forgotten that golden rule, that cyclist’s mantra: don’t ride aggressively after it rains, dumkopf! In my overzealous ambition to defy the elements and channel my inner teenager, my intrepid bike had hit a foreboding wet patch and promptly disappeared beneath me as I turned off a small bridge that easily could have been named “Ankle’s Farewell”. Most of me flew off in one direction, some of me stayed behind – specifically my left foot, which was contorted and skewed in the kind of direction normally reserved for acrobats and yoga masters. Knee scraped and pride hurt, I somehow dusted myself off and used the copious amounts of adrenalin granted by my middle-aged body to find my way back home with equal parts excruciating pain and wounded pride. It was only the next day that I realized my plight was real and that a lengthy convalescence awaited me on the horizon thanks to my newly fractured foot. The moral of the story, you may ask? Take your moments of inspiration slowly, savour them gradually like the culinary morsels they are, and never (ever) ride anything when it’s wet outside.