Friday, January 30, 2009

More Hockey Stuff...

Behold, ice hockey played on a crisp, clear, winter day, outdoors on a frozen country lake! What could be more, um... Kazakhstanian...?

Update: The village pictured actually seems to be in Kyrgyzstan, which may be even odder.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

This Probably Doesn't Happen In The Premiership

Ok, so my main question here is: who actually brings a parrot to a soccer game, anyway?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

In Which Chunklets Wanders Into The Scene Of A Murder

It is occasionally my habit, on the way to school, to bypass the bus-stop nearest home and wander across the local Quik-E-Mart. The bus stops there also, and it allows me to acquire coffee and exchange the time of day with the pleasant family that runs the joint.

However, I was foiled in that this morning. As I approached the little strip mall where the Quik-E-Mart resides, I noticed that the road was closed off by a proliferation of yellow tape with black writing on it. There was also a plenitude of law-and-order types around, all of them carrying large cameras and/or grim expressions. All evidence that Something Bad had occurred.

Fortunately, nothing had happened either to the elementary school two blocks away, nor to the aforementioned pleasant family at the little store. Unfortunately, there had indeed been an exchange of gunfire late last night, resulting in a death.

Now, I am not the sort of person who gets too worked up about the crime rate around here; in general, I think the city is still a fairly safe place. However, I also think that there has been an up-tick recently in the number of people wandering around packing heat and occasionally deploying said heat against their fellow citizens.

Seriously, folks, cut it out. Everywhere.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sticking With Hockey For A Moment

There was much coverage here of the Winter Classic game between Detroit and Chicago at Wrigley Field a couple of weeks ago. However, I feel moved to point out that there was in fact another match played outdoors recently; the newly-created Continental Hockey League (KHL) played its inaugural All-Star game outside as well - in Red Square.

Here is a very nifty-looking picture from the event:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

For Your Viewing Pleasure...

...we have a nice 10-minute package of highlights from the epic game between the Edmonton Oilers and the Philadelphia Flyers played on December 30th, 1981. Some observations:

  • Yes, that is in fact Don Cherry doing the colour commentary. I'm not sure who the play-by-play guy is.
  • Long pants on hockey players was not a good look.
  • In a minor piece of irony, the Flyers' netminder in this game, Pete Peeters, is now the Oilers' goaltending coach.
  • That Gretzky kid could play a little bit.

Roll clip!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Ignis! Ignis!

So I snuck into a classroom this morning and taught Latin to the bemused students within! An incident of "guerilla Latin-teaching"? Not really. More a case of "filling in for a friend who's out of town" Latin-teaching. And the students were only slightly bemused. However, in the course of our discussions this morning, we wandered onto the topic of this man:

That man is Marcus Licinius Crassus, member of the First Triumvirate and putter-down of Spartacus' revolt. He was also spectacularly wealthy, at least partially because of the fact that he owned and operated one of Rome's first fire departments. And how did that work? Well, to explain the matter, here is The Official De Koboldorum Rebus Guide to Having Your Building Catch Fire in Rome in the 60s B.C.:

  • Step One: Your building catches fire.

  • Step Two: A number of shady-looking individuals show up with buckets. They belong body-and-soul to M. Licinius Crassus. If this were an episode of C.S.I., the phrase "tested positive for accelerants" might well come into play.

  • Step Three: With your building merrily burning down in the background, the men with buckets make you an offer for the property. Of course, this offer is well below market value, on account of the building being on fire.

  • Step Four: Step Four depends on whether you have the accepted the offer in Step Three. If you have, the men put the fire out. Of course, your building now belongs to M. Licinius Crassus. Perhaps he will sell it back to you, for full market value of course since it's not on fire any more. If you did not accept the offer, then the men go away, leaving you to deal with your rapidly devaluing property on your own.

As I mentioned, Crassus got very very rich off of schemes like the one above. His wealth, however, did not save him from a rather gruesome end, at least according to legend. In 53 B.C., at Carrhae in what is now Turkey, Crassus led an army into one of Rome's all-time great military disasters, against the Parthians. He was subsequently captured. According to some sources, the Parthians, who knew of Crassus' great wealth and had a bit of a sense of humour, "quenched Crassus' thirst for riches" by forcing him to drink molten gold.