Tuesday, February 27, 2007

NHL Trade Deadline Breakdown

If my memory of last year is correct, than whilst last season featured many more trades, they were generally less high profile. Apart from the Canucks. Smolinski is a solid 2 way player, but not much more. Sopel is a reliable d-man, but again, nothing flashy. Same goes for Weinrich and Carney last year. It is a shame that Noronen, didn't stick around. I know we all like (?) Sabourin, but he's not in the same league as Noronen, who I think was once a starter with the sabres.

Other opinions:

It seems like the earlier you trade, the more you give up. Both the Trashers and Preds gave up huge amounts for their respective vets, whilst the Sharks got off relatively light in their aquisition of Guerin. The Sens practically stole Saprykin, a high draft pick, from Phoenix. The one trade that really annoys me is Zubrus going to the Sabres. Whilst this obviously means that the Caps couldn't resign him, he is a player who would have been great with the Nucks. If the Sabres got him basically for Novotny ( there was also an exchange of picks) then the canucks could have swung the Caps with Cooke. But still, this is the rental season, not when like when things are more long-term in the post (or pre?) season.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Where the Truth Lies

Africa. The lost continent. You've heard all the cliches, but only one word describes the mess. Anarchy. Perhaps a portion of the blame lies with US President, George W. Bush. If bodies were not being blown this way and that in Baghdad and Basra, then perhaps the Western world would not be able to turn a blind eye to the deep-rooted problems of Africa. Virtually every nation in the continent has experienced some sort of rebel violence in the past century. From the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to the Janjaweed in Sudan down to the APLA in South Africa, there has been premeditated bloodshed in most, if not all African states. And yet this is largely ignored, a sub-plot in the fight against AIDS, the battle against poverty and the struggle against starvation. Yet this, the violence, is our fault. As Leonardo DiCaprio's character, Danny Archer, said in the movie, Blood Diamond, whenever a valuable commodity is unearthed, people die. From rubber in the early 20th Century to gold in the later part of that century to diamonds more recently, foreign corporate investment has spelt trouble for a troubled region. When people are fighting for their lives, they do extreme things. Whole countries, such as Rhodesia, were established for foreign money-hunters to make a quick buck. So perhaps this is a plus for Western overseas responsibilty, with the Kimberley Process beginning to pay back some of the grief foreign investors have caused the continent. Whilst this is a good first step for Western world, it is only that, it is only one step. Something needs to be done to sort out the Middle Eastern mess, something constructive, not the army going in guns blazing. The truth? Africa's problems are more complicated than anyone would like. As soon as one dies down. Serious threats are coming at the continent in many forms, and there is little Africans can do about it. Physical help for the African continent must continue.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

A Decade of Discovery

For a decade, the Stena Discovery regularly ferried across the murky depths of the North Sea, between Holland and the UK. It was, at first, a sleek, shiny machine. Even after the paint gre tired, it still had a dominating physicall nature. So much so that its approach had to be altered after its huge bow wave caused a number of small boats to become swamped or capsize. The difference between this and your average ferry is similar to te difference between a jetski and a canoe. Huge. It had 100,000 horsepower and could do 50 mph. It was the fastest ferry in the world. Much akin to the retirement of the Concorde four years ago, it feels like a step backward has been taken in the development of maritime technology. I remember leaning over the quayside railing at the Hook of Holland and then, majestically, the Discovery would emerge over the horizon, imposing as ever as it headed straight towards you. There was always an upbeat feeling on board, but that may have been due to the slightly tipsy nature of the chip-wielding, card-dealing passengers. Never did it seem more graceful than when it slowed down near the coast, gliding past the huge container ships at either Felixstowe or Rotterdam. Gazing down at the jet turbines, you really gained a sense of the Discovery's power. Unfortunately, this power came at a cost. For every unit of horsepower, almost 2 litres of fuel were used a day. This ship alone could suck oil fields dry. Stena Line officially cited decreased demand and running costs as the reason for the retirement of the Discovery, but really it would have been immoral to continue running the ship. In its place, Stena is extending its two superferries, the Hollandica and the Britannica, to almost 250m. If they can't have the fastest ferry in the world, Stena will have the two largest ferries in the world. Unfortunately, one of the sailings will be undertaken by the trucker ferry, the Trader until the extensions have been completed in May. Its hard to see many travellers elect to take the 7hr Stena crossing when, for similar prices, they can hop across to the mainland courtesy of the many low-cost airlines. Still, it was fun while it lasted.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Uh Oh!!! - The Airport

Many people thing of the airport as that nuisance that marrs both beginning and end of your holiday. It need not be. You need to approach the airport with the right mentality, the right outlook. But most importantly, the right equipment. Something to keep you occupied, be it money, be it a book. As long as you have something to keep you occupied, you'll make it through those tedious hours in the departures lounge. If all else fails, refer to my personal favourite method - try and figure out who people are, where they're going and were they're from. That's it, airport anthropology.
You'd be amazed to see how many different races and destinations you can see in 3 hours. For example, last December I saw as amazing variety of people, from an Albertan heading home to Calgary to a businessman flying over to Shanghai for a meeting. The same occured on our way back from Cairo to London, dozens of Americans transiting back to the US via Heathrow. There was a backpacking couple, a family of 5, the whole lot. Another of my favourite departures lounge is to take pictures - some stunning materialized thanks to sticking a lens out the window of the departures lounge in the morning.
All you really have to do is keep a positive outlook, and think about the time ahead of you, rather than that behind you. I guess you can apply that to your whole life.

Friday, February 2, 2007

I smell...a rat

Well not quite, but someting thereabouts...

As the American political scene gets going in preparation for the Presidential elections in just under two years time, I take a moment and wonder; why is it that Hillary Clinton still holds that name. She stuck by her husband after he was ripped limb from limb by the media after his affair with White House intern, Monica Lewinsaky. Was it to hold the family together or for something more sinister, say...PERSONAL GAIN???!!!

Prior to marrying Bill, she was just another Yale law student. Whilst she may well have gone on to be a hotshot lawyer, there is little evidence to suggest that she would be the political force she is now. Would she have become Senator of New York without the connections that come with being First Lady? New York is a very influential state, and it takes a bona fide political powerhouse to rule over such a state. I wonder.

Hillary Clinton is one of the three main candidates, in my view, for the presidency. Among the three of them(Barack Obama and Condoleeza Rice, whom I included as the most likely Republican nominee, not because I like her, being the other two), there are several traits never before seen in a President: Hillary Clinton is a woman, Obama is African-American, and Condoleeza Rice is a combination of the two. So whatever happens, at least American politics are evolving. One question lingers, would Bill Clinton be described as the First Man, or the First Gentleman?

Whatever the circumstances, Hillary has had her chance to shine, her chance to wow the crowds as First Lady. Whilst she was a good First Lady, she probably wishes she had occupied more time in the limelight, but time is through. She should gracefully step aside and let someone...fresh have a shot at it, someone say...Barack Obama. The US has suffered enough at the hands of Bush & Co., and it wouldn't do any good to have another stale President on account of their family. America is in need of a breath of fresh air.