I’m Taking The BC Lions And The Eleven Points

Of late, Canada has had an increased presence in my life.

(not that there’s anything wrong with that)

There’s long been music from north of the border in my world and some fantastic stuff at that.

And, a month or so ago, I happened across a groovy website for the brilliant Canadian sketch comedy troupe The Kids In The Hall.

(I keep the page open at work and – to balance out the moments when I want to set fires – I often will read a transcript of a sketch or two)

As much as I dug Second City Television, I thought that The Kids In The Hall was the better of the two groups. In fact, I’m willing to state that The Kids In The Hall was as good if not better than the more heralded Monty Python.

(of course, Monty Python did provide the demented template for acts like The Kids In The Hall)

I digress.

There’s been more than music and merriment that has made me wonder if I’m turning Canadian.

I’ve been watching broadcasts of the Canadian Football League on Friday nights.

It happened unexpectedly one evening when I dialed up the NFL Network and found a pre-game show for that night’s CFL game – Calgary and Saskatchewan. It was no-frills, football not antics.

I dug it.

The games I’ve watched have been entertaining and the style – due to differences from the American version – is wide-open. The quarterbacks seem to take more shots deep than their brethren here in the US.

It is strange to hear the announcers note the difficulties for teams that find themselves in a lot of “second and long” situations. For thirty plus years, that scenario has merely meant your team needed some yardage to avoid having to convert on third and long.

(that missing down really makes the brain a bit dizzy)

And I find myself mentally chastising quarterbacks for throwing passes that I expect to sail out of the endzone only to remember that there’s twice the amount of real estate in the Canadian version.

Oh, I’m not ready to abandon the NFL. Not yet.

But it is a pleasant throwback to watch a game and not have the screen plastered with so much information and a neverending crawl that makes focusing on the actual game a potentially seizure-inducing effort.

It is a delight to not have to sit through the “entertainment” added to attract viewers that would otherwise have little interest in tuning into a game.

(seriously, does the NFL feel that the health of the league can only be ensured by having that fleshy-headed icon of mediocrity known as Daughtry perform at each game?)

No, I’m not Canadian, but I realize that I might be edging toward the morning when I spit out my coffee, demand a cup of brew from Tim Hortons, and start planning Thanksgiving break around the Grey Cup.

Anyone know a Canadian bookie?

While I sort out how to develop a problem gambling on Canadian football, here’s some songs by the first four Canadian acts that scrolled up on shuffle…

Daniel Lanois – The Maker
from Acadie

The ridiculously talented Daniel Lanois helped U2 achieve greatness and helped Bob Dylan reclaim relevence, and those are just two of the highpoints of a career that has seen him produce and work with a staggering area of music legends.

He’s a talented musician in his own right, though, and Aaron Neville makes an appearance on the moody, world-weary modern spiritual The Maker from his solo debut.

Blue Rodeo – 5 Days In July
from Five Days In July

It makes me happy to read Blue Rodeo described as “a veritable institution in their home country” on All-Music Guide’s site. The alternative roots rock band should have had a larger audience in the States.

Paloma and I saw the band live in the mid-’90s. I believe it was some show we’d gotten into as guests of the label and had no expectations or much knowledge of Blue Rodeo. It was a small club – maybe two hundred people – and I left believing I the band was one of the best live acts I’d ever seen.

Bryan Adams – Diana

Diana hit radio during the summer of ’85 when Bryan Adams’ career had taken the jump to megastar with the release of Reckless the autumn before.

The song wasn’t on the album – I think it was on a twelve-inch single with one of the hits – but the stations in our area played the hell out of the catchy rock song in which Adams pined for the Princess Of Wales.

At the time, my buddy Beej had a girlfriend who was obsessed with Diana. She actually resembled her and cut her hair to mirror the princess.

(it was a bit trippy)

The Odds – Wendy Under The Stars
from Neopolitan

The Odds were a wonderfully quirky band who released their debut, Neopolitan, in 1991. I saw the band sometime that autumn as the opening act for Warren Zevon.

(great show except for the loon who squawked for Mohammed’s Radio through the entire two hours)

The band might slow things down a bit on Wendy Under The Stars but the engaging song is still power pop with a bit of jangle as the protagonist recounts his memories of the night Elvis died.

(the song captured the attention of a crowd that had been – up to that point – indifferent as soon as the band got to the chorus)

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5 Responses to I’m Taking The BC Lions And The Eleven Points

  1. Nice post. I’ve long wanted to see a CFL game in person and visit the CFL Hall of Fame (I believe it’s in Hamilton, Ontario.)
    I’ve even seen CFL fantasy leagues online … I’ve thought it would be funny to join, though the humour would wear off after about five weeks.

    • Thanks. I’m still trying to get my head around some of the rules and their effect on strategy. I would not turn down the chance to see a game in person, though.

      Oddly, one of the first things I thought of as I was watching was the fantasy league situation.

  2. Perplexio says:

    Growing up as close as I did to Canada, I did gain some familiarity with CFL football… But growing up not even NFL football held my interest so CFL wasn’t about to do so either. In more recent years I have watched a few CFL games that have been broadcast locally. I believe I saw the Grey Cup game in 2004 or 2005… All I remember now is that the Montreal Alouettes won. But even in Canada CFL Football is to Canadians what NHL Hockey is to Americans. It has a small but fervently loyal following that is eclipsed by the popularity of a certain other sport… Hockey.

    Oh and in high school I DID watch a lot of Kids In the Hall. In college I even picked up Bruce McCulloch’s Shame Based Man comedy album and the Kids In the Hall movie, Brain Candy on VHS. The troupe has distanced themselves from the movie almost to the point of complete disavowal of its existence… And on the whole I can see why– it was mediocre at best but it still certainly had plenty of laugh out loud moments:

    Mom: Hey kids, where’s your Dad?
    Son (watching TV, answers nonchalantly without even looking away from the TV): Upstairs masturbating to gay porn.
    Mom: Again?!

    • barelyawakeinfrogpajamas says:

      I got a copy of that Bruce McCulloch album, but it became flotsam and jetsam somewhere along the trip.

      Never got around to checking out Brain Candy.

      • Perplexio says:

        If you’re a Kids In the Hall fan, Brain Candy is worthy of at least a single viewing. Scott Thompson’s scenes are the best in the film but David Foley has some good scenes too. Some of the humor falls flat… but the stuff that hits the mark hits it dead on.

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