An Introduction to Canada Episode 2: The Rest of the Provinces!

Welcome to part 2 of my ongoing series, my introduction of Canada to those who may not know that much about the country and Canadians in general. If you’re wondering where the Arctic Territories and the Maritime Provinces are at, head on over here.

Saskatchewan

Motto: Multis e Gentibus Vires (Latin) Strength from many peoples (English)

Capital: Regina

Largest City and Metro: Saskatoon

Joined Confederation: 1905 (Split from Northwest Territories)

Official Language: English

Premier: Brad Wall (Saskatchewan Party)

Population: 1,033,381

Comparable to: North Dakota, but prettier.

Claim to Fame: That one time Tom Hanks came to watch the Grey Cup.

Tom Hanks poses for a photo at the 101st Grey Cup game held at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Sask. on Sunday Nov. 24, 2013.

Fun Facts:

  • Canada’s farm-iest province.
  • If you’re ever in Saskatchewan, and you want to win over the locals (Say, I dunno, you’re being forced into a shotgun wedding by a crazed gopher-herding family) just wear green and white, or some variation of this logo. Just trust me on this.

Also, wearing watermelons on your head is perfectly acceptable here. Just in case in case you’re into that stuff.

Manitoba

Map showing the location of Manitoba, in the centre of Southern Canada

Motto: Gloriosus et- O irrumabo! Culicibus! (Latin) Glorious and- Oh, fuck! Mosquitoes! (English)

Capital, largest city and largest metro: Winnipeg

Joined Confederation: 1870

Official language: English, but French is all but official too.

Premier: Greg Selinger (New Democratic Party)

Population: 1, 208, 268

Comparable to: Minnesota, but covered in mosquitoes.

Claim to Fame: Along with Saskatchewan, Northern Ontario, and Western Ontario, one of the “flyover provinces”.

Fun Facts:

  • Churchill, a town in the Northern part of the province, bordering Hudson’s Bay, is a small, mostly Aboriginal, town, where the tourism industry is thriving thanks to the fact that polar bears venture near (And sometimes into) the town in the months of October and November.
  • More mosquitoes per square kilometer than most tropical countries.

Actual size.

Alberta

Motto: Fortis et liber (Latin) Strong and Free (English)

Capital: Edmonton (My hometown!)

Largest City and Metro: Calgary

Joined Confederation: 1901

Official language: English

Premier: Alison Redford (Progressive Conservative Party)

Population: 3, 645, 257

Comparable to: Montana (Climate) , Texas (Damn near apocalyptic environmental policies, right-leaning governments, and an unfortunate preference for country music).

Claim to fame: Nickleback. We are so, so fucking sorry.

Fun Facts:

  • The second-most entitled, and most spoiled province in the country. Yep, we’re those guys.
  • Fort McMurray, in the North of the province, is the heart of one of the country’s main hubs of oil production, the notorious Athabasca Tar Sands. No joke here, I just hope it burns to the ground.
  • Just a heads up: Any city or town in Western Canada that has a name that begins with “Fort” is bound to be a piece of crap.

British Columbia

Motto: Splendor sine occasu (Latin) Splendour without diminishment (English

Capital: Victoria

Largest city: Vancouver

Largest metro: Metro Vancouver

Joined Confederation: 1871

Official language: English

Premier: Christy Clark (Liberal Party)

Population: 4, 400, 057

Comparable to: Washington (Canada’s main source of pot. Similar climate in the south. Also, hipsters) Oregon (Similar politics. And climate. Also, hipsters) California (Many TV shows and movies are filmed there. Also,  similar politics. And hipsters.)

Claim to fame: Pamela Anderson.

‘Nuff said.

Fun Facts:

  • The most beautiful province in the country. Bar none.
  • BC was the home of the internment camps where the Canadian government imprisoned innocent Japanese-Canadians during World War II. Yeah, we used to be REALLY racist.
  • Also, while we’re on the topic of racism, the Canadian Pacific Railway, which runs from Vancouver to various parts of Canada and the Northern States, we made the not morally terrible at all decision to use Chinese migrant workers (Or “coolies”, as they were lovingly referred to) as slave labour, paying them pennies in return for building the damn railroad and handling insanely dangerous explosives. In return, the Chinese took over the city of Richmond.
  • The southwest corner of the province is more or less the only part of the country that isn’t blanketed by snow eight months out of the year.

Quebec

Motto: Je me souviens (French) I remember (English)

Capital: Quebec City

Largest city and largest metro: Montreal

Joined Confederation: 1867

Official Language: French

Premier: Pauline Marois (Parti Quebecois)

Population: 7, 903, 001

Comparable to: Louisiana’s french population (Minus the friendly Cajuns) and Texas’s occasional separation jags (Except more realistic and more reasonable).

Claim to Fame: Celine Dion. Again, we are so, so sorry.

“And my heeeeeeaaaaaaarrttt will go oooooooooooooooooon……….”

Fun Facts:

  • While most of the southern part of the province is of stereotypical French-Canadian stock, the northern is composed mostly by Cree and Inuit people.
  • In 1963, a far-left, separatist paramilitary group called the Quebec Liberation Front launched a series of propaganda and terrorism which targeted English (Or “Anglo-Saxon Imperialist”) institutions in the province. They were responsible for the deaths of at least five people in between 1963 and 1970, when they were involved in the October Crisis, during which they kidnapped the British trade commissioner to Canada, James Cross, as well as Quebec vice-premier Pierre Laporte. While Cross was released and the FLQ fled to Cuba like a bunch of little bitches, Laporte was found in the trunk of an FLQ members’ car, strangled by his own rosary beads. The world is a dark and horrible place, kids!

Oh, look! Puppies!

  • The birthplace of poutine. See? Maybe life ain’t so bad.

Ontario

Motto: Ut incepit Fidelis Sic Permanet (Latin)

Capital, largest city and largest metro: Toronto (Ontario is also home to Canada’s federal capital, Ottawa)

Joined Confederation: 1867

Official Language: English (de facto)

Premier: Kathleen Wynne (Liberal Party)

Population: 12, 851, 821

Comparable to: New York State

Claim to fame: Rob Ford, motherfucker!

Fun Facts:

  • The most populous province, accounting for forty percent of Canada’s population.
  • Home of some of the most mediocre sports franchises in North America.

And that’s not even mentioning the Ottawa sports teams.

That’s it for today, but I plan on doing more episodes of my Intro to Canada some time in the near future. In the meantime, I’ll see you all sometime after my exams are over. Or when I finish binge-watching Orange is the New Black when I should be studying. Either or.

Since my last post…

  • The Philippines continue to deal with the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan, which has affected 11 million people.
  • The situation in Syria is still a total clusterfuck, with the Iranian Embassy in Lebanon being bombed by the fundamentalist Abdullah Azzam Shaheed Brigade. The good news, however, is that the UN is moving forward with the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons, meaning that both Bashar al-Assad and the Free Syrian Army can both haphazardly murder civilians without resorting to chemical weapons. Let freedom ring!
  • The Saskatchewan Roughriders defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 45-23 to win the 101st Grey Cup. Fuck you, this is news in Canada.
  • A supermarket in Riga, Latvia collapsed, killing six and injuring 35.
  • Everybody’s spying on everybody, with the NSA just generally being total assholes and spying on anybody with a pulse, and Australia and Canada spying on two known rogue nations, Indonesia and Brazil.

Although the pervert in me realizes the logic of setting up surveillance cameras in Brazil.

  • The 50th anniversary of JFK’s murder came and went.
  • Angola may or may not have illegalized the Islamic religion. Considering that Angola is not currently a smoking crater in the ground, I’m moderately sure the latter is the truth.
  • Protests in the Ukraine rage on against the suspension of the European Union Association Agreement, and the rampant unemployment and corruption characteristic of post-Soviet republics. The Ukrainian police and government, being corrupt and trigger-happy, injure 165-244 Ukrainians.
  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire becomes the biggest North American November film release, grossing $161 million in the U.S. and Canada over its first weekend. The movie’s amazing. Go see it.
  • Ian Watkins, the frontman of Welsh rock band LostProphets, pleads guilty at Cardiff Crown Court  to attempted rape and sexual assault of a child under 13, but not guilty to rape. This was accepted by the prosecution. He further pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual assault involving children and six involving taking, making or possessing indecent images of children and one of possessing an extreme pornographic image involving a sex act on an animal. Watkins’ victims included a baby. The world is a dark, unfeeling, evil place, kids!
  • The Canadian  Prime Minister’s Office is all but proven guilty of bribing senators. What is this, Ukraine or something?
  • The Fast and the Furious actor Paul Walker is killed in a car crash. Pointing out the irony of the previous statement, while humorous, does not make you any less of an asshole.
  • The Thai Prime Minister is forced into hiding by anti-government protests.
  • Gay marriage is outlawed in Croatia, with 65 per cent voting for illegalizing it. 65 per cent of Croatians suck.
  • Holy crap, a nuclear deal between Iran and everybody else was signed! (Nobody tell them about Argo)
  • Xavier Bettel becomes the first openly gay prime minister of Luxembourg.
  • Unidentified militants murder 52 people in Sana’a, Yemen.
  • Oh. Right. Lest we forget, Canada’s biggest city has a morbidly obese alcoholic crackhead for a mayor.

My Triumphant Return/Tomorrow’s Douchebag of the Day!!!

I spent the last few days writing intros for my first article back from the beautiful city of Toronto, but I’m no good at that, so I will instead copy the exact words of a great American philosopher:

“Guess who’s back (Back, back) back again (-Gain, gain) Shady’s Kenny’s back (Back, back)  Tell a friend (Friend, friend).” 

Suck on that, Plato.

“Say what, bitch?”

Anyways, I had a great time in Toronto, I’ll have to tell you all about it someday, but today, I have a new Douchebag of the Day to skewer tomorrow, when I get past jet lag.

I considered doing the Egyptian government for their massacre of civilians, but that would just open up a whole shitload of political jargon from me that nobody wants to read. I would also bring up that dumbass Russian athlete that voiced her support for Russia’s retarded anti-gay laws, but a) I can’t remember her name and b) That happened yesterday anyways.

Thankfully, a piece of information from the wide, largely unimportant, world of sports landed neatly in my lap. So tomorrow’s douchebag of the day is:

BUD SELIG

Stay tuned everybody!

Toronto! (Plus: How to recognize a Canadian!)

On the eight, I will be flying out to Toronto for a week in order to, among other things, visit family, see the zoo and watch the Jays. I will try to update my blog while on vacation, but I think it unlikely that I will be able to. If my blog goes un-updated for more than a week though, it means that I have either been murdered for drug money by Toronto’s crackhead mayor, or have watched Josh Johnson pitch and suffered a coronary as a result.

Fret not faithful viewers! Before I venture off into a pleasant getaway/impending doom, I will leave you with a healthy tip on how to recognize a Canadian!

How an American/Brit will pronounce “Toronto”:

To-Ron-to

How an American/Brit trying to sound Canadian will pronounce “Toronto”:

To-Ronno

How a Canadian will pronounce “Toronto”

To-Ronno

“Aha” You may think to yourself, “Those last two sound exactly the same! You’re a fraud, random blogger I found on the internet while searching for pictures of Emma Watson in revealing clothing!”

Well, if you weren’t thinking about it before…

But you see, there is a difference. When a non-Canadian says “Toronto”, nothing happens afterwords.

When a Canadian says it, however, “O Canada” starts blaring triumphantly in the background as water turn into maple syrup while Mounties arrive to serve ice-cold Molson’s as ice-skating beavers play an impromptu hockey game.

“O Canada! (Fuck Yeah!)”

See ya next week (At the latest)!

The Story So Far- The 2013 Toronto Blue Jays

 

The 2013 Major League Baseball season has so far been pretty damn good. There have been pleasant surprises, such as Chris Davis of the Orioles and Matt Harvey of the Mets, as well as a good amount of more of the same. (Check out who`s leading the AL East right now. Makes you weep, huh?)

Seen Here: A powerful snapshot of the power of optimism.

However, for some fans, 2013 has been a lost season that has not really been worth following. The Astros suck of course, but in addition to them, the Brewers are in dead last in their division as of this writing, while the ever hapless Cubbies are just a few games ahead of them. The mighty Southern California teams (The Angels and Dodgers. No, not the Padres.) have both looked completely lost throughout the first two months. (Although they are slowly but surely clawing their ways back.) As for the Miami Marlins, it`s so hard to believe that they won a World Series ten years ago, before Jeffrey Loria ushered in the revolutionary new “50 years of darkness” rebuilding technique.

” We finished in last place, figure it out.”

That`s true Jeffrey, but you know who else finished in last place? Every team ever. Including the goddamn Yankees.

The year: 1966. It was a better time.

However, I don`t really have any right to criticize the awfulness of the above-mentioned teams. Why, you ask? Well, myself being Canadian and a baseball fan, I chose many years ago to follow Canada`s team..a team that thus far has been one of the biggest busts in MLB history.

These guys, of course.

On an unrelated note, does anyone know a good Jays blog?

Yes, I am very sad to admit that I have had the misfortune to be a Toronto Blue Jays fan during the 2013 season. From November to April, I had my hopes at a realistically low level, rapidly elevate, elevate just a little bit more, and come to a fever pitch, nearly giving myself and all Canadian baseball fans heart attacks from the anticipation. As soon as April 1st rolled around though, these hopes plummeted like Manny Ramirez`s career, and are currently at a level of meagerness usually reserved for junkies and elementary school teachers.

So how did we get here exactly? How did the Bluebirds go from being Canada`s golden boys to being a laughingstock of epic proportions?

It`s not like Canada has produced any other laughingstocks…

Well, I`ll get to that, but first of all, here`s a timeline of the Jays from November til now.

  • October 21, 2012: The Jays let John Farrell go to the Red Sox in return for Mike Aviles. Indifferent shrugs abound.
  • November 8, 2012: Maicer Izturis is signed to a three year contract.
  • On the same day, the Jays acquired pothead and part-time relief pitcher Jeremy Jeffress from the KC Royals. Afterwords, they trade away Aviles and catcher Yan Gomes to the Cleveland Racist Logos in return for Esmil Rogers, one of the few survivors of the massive Coors Field Pitching Massacres.

Every night, Esmil is haunted by the knowledge that while he got out of Denver, Christian Friedrich, Alex White, and Carlos Torres would never see the light of another day…

  •   On November 14, 2012, the Blue Jays shock the baseball world by staging a daring daylight robbery of the Miami Marlins. The team infiltrated Marlins Park and made away with Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Emilio Bonifacio, and John Buck, for some reason. However, the daring attack came at a cost… Pitchers Henderson Alvarez, Justin Nicolino, and Anthony Desclafani as well as position players Adeiny Hechavarria, Jake Marisnick, and Jeff Mathis were captured and imprisoned in the abyss known as the Miami Marlins organisation.

They let the Marlins have Yunel Escobar though, because fuck him.

  • November 16, 2012: The Jays sign Melky Cabrera to a two year, 16 million dollar contract. Jays fans respond by whistling, pretending not to notice.
  • November 20, 2012: John Gibbons is awoken from his four year slumber when Alex Anthopoulos offers him the position of manager. He only accepts when he sees that Ted Lilly is with the Dodgers, and that Frank Thomas and Shea Hillenbrand are out of baseball.
  • December 17, 2012: The Blue Jays, in a trade that didn`t seem self-destructive at the time, trade top prospects Travis D`Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard as well as John Buck to the Mets in exchange for folk hero/knuckle-baller/Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey  and catcher Josh Thole. Some people questioned whether or no the dome in Toronto may have a negative effect on R.A`s knuckle-ball. We called these people pompous shitheads.
  • March 14, 2013: Mariners burnout/official Japanese person Munenori Kawasaki is invited to Spring Training.
  • The Blue Jays send the following players to the excellent 2013 World Baseball Classic: Jose Reyes, Edwin Encarnacion, Moises Sierra (All playing for the champions, Dominican Republic)  Brett Lawrie, Adam Loewen (Both for Canada) R.A. Dickey, and J.P. Arencibia. (Poor, poor Team USA) J.P. cannot Handle R.A`s knuckle-ball throughout the tournament. This was apparently not seen as a sign of concern.
  • April 2, 2013: The Jays lose to the Indians 4-1 on Opening Day. Lesson learned: Don`t let J.P. Arencibia catch a knuckle-ball.
  • April 3, 2013: The first Jays home run is hit by Maicer Izturis. Jays fans scratch their head in puzzlement. Later,Jose Bautista hits a home run to negate this. The Jays still lose.
  • April 12, 2013: A poor start is made worse when Jose Reyes is injured, which sucks, considering he was the only Jay doing anything well at the time.
  • April 13, 2013: Time stops and the world watches in equal parts amusement and confusion as Munenori Kawasaki makes his Blue Jays debut.
  • April 16, 2013: Brett Lawrie makes his season debut.
  • May 7, 2013: The baseball world looks on in horror as J.A. Happ is struck in the head by a liner. While not a Brandon McCarthy situation, he is still placed on the 60-Day DL.
  • May 9, 2013: Said baseball world watches in even more sickening horror as Ricky Romero takes the mound.
  • May 22, 2013: Jose Bautista goes 4-for-4 with two home runs and a walk-off single against the Orioles.
  • May 25, 2013: Lawrie flips his batting gloves at umpires, gets ejected.
  • May 26, 2013: Lawrie yells at Adam Lind for not scoring on a not very deep pop fly to Nick Markakis. Jays fans begin to suspect that Brett is a little bit of a douche.

This guy? Naaaah.

  • Same Day: Munenori Kawasaki hits a walk-off base hit against the Orioles and reassures the world that he is, in fact, Japanese.

  • May 29, 2013: Brett Lawrie is injured sliding into second base.
  • June 1, 2013: After a 17th inning loss to the Padres, I write this article and contemplate suicide the whole time.

Despite most of what I said, it hasn’t been all bad for the Blue Jays.  Believe it or not, some things have gone right for the BJ`s. For instance:

  1. No matter how bad Munenori Kawasaki sucks at hitting, he will always be my hero.
  2. Despite his struggles, doesn`t R.A. Dickey seem like a terrific dude?
  3. Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion are both hitting like tanks.
  4. Casey Janssen is lights-out as the closer
  5. Our minor league system, though depleted, is not that bad.
  6. Our bullpen is pretty good. Aaron Loup, Esmil Rogers, Steve Delabar, Brett Cecil and Juan Perez have all impressed me to varying degrees.
  7. Adam Lind is back!
  8. Melky Cabrera actually hasn`t been that bad. Not particularly good, either, but not AWFUL.
  9. Chad Jenkins!…
  10. Alex Anthopoulos has shown the ability to pull off some pretty good deals.

On the other hand:

  1. It`s a well known fact that high expectations + failure= fan depression. Fan depression= alcohol consumption. Alcohol consumption + Canadians = unruly, retarded fans. 
  2. While R.A. Dickey may be a terrific dude, a 5.18 ERA isn`t exactly what we expected.
  3. While Joey Bats and Eddy E crush home runs, so do Colby Rasmus and J.P. Arencibia….about once every five strikeouts.
  4. While we used to have Aaron Sanchez, Justin Nicolino, and Noah Syndergaard in our minor league system, we now have just Sanchez, and not much to show for the departures of Nicolino and Syndergaard.
  5. Chad Jenkins!…Just got demoted to AAA in favour of Ramon Ortiz! This is why we can’t have nice things!
  6. The good deals don`t mean shit if the players don`t deliver.
  7. AA also seems to have the tendency to panic and jump the gun on bringing people up. How else do you explain poor Sean Nolin?
  8. Can  someone please get Mr. Sergio Santos a new elbow? This one keeps shorting out on him.

While all the above reasons are enough to guarantee a losing record, the Blue Jays biggest problem is the complete and utter lack of starting pitching. The following is a list of starting pitchers the Jays have used, from most to least innings pitched.

  1. R.A. Dickey has under performed since the WBC,  going 4-8, with a 5.18 ERA in 14 games started for the Jays and Team USA. His knuckle-ball is non-existent at home, and he has been battling neck and back problems.
  2. Mark Buehrle has crashed hard at age 34, with a 5.51 ERA in 67 Innings pitched. He only allowed three runs in his last thirteen innings though, so this might be a turning point. Then again, I’ve said that many times before.
  3. Brandon Morrow is injured, once again. Just a few hours ago, he was placed on the D.L, but it`s not like he was wowing anybody with a 5.63 ERA. His strikeout rate is way down too (9.4 K/9 Career, 7.0 K/9 in 2013.)
  4. J.A. Happ actually had the best start of any Jays pitcher, with a comparatively low ERA of 4.91, before he got hit in the head with a line drive . He is currently on the 60-day Disabled List.
  5. Esmil Rogers is doing okay as a relief pitcher, and went three scoreless innings in a spot start (His first since 2011).
  6. Ramon Ortiz made two appearances as a long reliever before surprising everyone with two starts in which he had a     1.50 ERA in 13 innings. He then came crashing back down to earth, contracting a 5.01 ERA and being demoted, though he has been called back up at the expense of Chad Jenkins.
  7. Josh Johnson has been plagued by injuries and poor performances, with a 6.86 ERA in 19.2 innings and a lengthy stint on the D.L. that just ended.
  8. Chad Jenkins has been a really pleasant surprise, eh? with a 3.60 ERA in 15 innings, I think it`s safe to say that we may finally have a good, consistent in out rota- ah, shit, he was demoted to make room for Ortiz.
  9. Poor, poor Ricky Romero. Formerly a top prospect and subsequently an All-Star, Ricky`s struggles with everything about pitching have gotten him demoted to Class A Dunedin, promoted to the bigs after only one start, and subsequently demoted to AAA Buffalo after posting a 12.46 ERA in 4.1 innings. Things aren`t looking likely to get any better either, with a 9.45 ERA with the Bisons.
  10. Yes, Aaron Laffey had a spot start with us, allowing 2 runs in 2.2 innings. He was promptly released.
  11. How about poor Sean Nolin?  called up from AA New Hampshire WAY to early, he was massacred in his debut, allowing six earned runs in only 1.1 innings.

So, this brings us to the big question: With all these injuries and bad performances, is there any chance that the Jays make the playoffs? Well, let me think. Assuming that Jose Reyes comes back healthy, Joey Bats, Adam Lind and Eddy E keep raking, J.P. and Colby Rasmus cut down on strikeouts, Brett Lawrie comes back healthy and wises up, Dickey, Johnson, Buehrle and Morrow remain healthy and perform better, and Casey Janssen keeps doing what he does so well, then yes, but I think that`s a very long shot. It can be done, but I`m not counting on it.

So, panic time now, right? Time to renounce the Jays for the bums they are and become a Tigers fan?   No. Absolutely not. Yes, there is no light at the end of the tunnel this year, but as the cliche goes, there`s always next year. AA will learn from  his mistakes, we will likely still have Reyes, Bautista, Encarnacion and Janssen next year, and Aaron Sanchez is getting closer and closer to the bigs with every start. So peace be with you, long suffering Jays fans. We’ve endured terrible years before, we can (hopefully) do it again. Then, in three years or so, when we’ve won the World Series for the third time, we can chalk up 2013 as a learning experience.

So be patient. Remember that it`s always darkest before the dawn. If these are the Jays’ darkest hours, then prosperity must be coming soon.

Until then, please enjoy Munenori Kawasaki and pray we give him another contract.