Friday, February 26, 2010

Pitching is Easier than Shoveling

McDonald’s theme song "Bada ba ba ba im lovin it" is on Facebook

Really! I’m not kidding.

I wonder who else is on Facebook? Subway’s jingle “Five, five dollar, five dollar footlong” could be there. Or maybe Meow Mix’s “Meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow, meow” song is on Facebook. Perhaps “The grizzly bears from the Charmin commercials with toilet paper pieces stuck to their bums” are on Facebook.

People often ask me, “Do you make a lot of money writing for Snow Shoveling In Canada?” Oddly enough, — considering what a bright beacon of information, critical thinking, and current events this site is — I am not paid for my efforts here.

It seems, however, that I’ve missed my calling. If I really wanted to make some easy money, then I would have become an ad man — yes, you heard me right, an ad man.

Look at the commercials on television. It must be easy to sell ads to these corporate executives. They’ll buy anything!

Imagine going to a meeting with the board of directors of some large food manufacturer, and pitching your idea of a big animated four-fingered hand. “This” you say, “is what you need to sell your hamburger enhancement product.”

With bold confidence, you show them an image of this brilliant character; seemingly born of enormous creative capacity and years of mental toil.

“His palm, you’ll notice, contains his face. His thumb is his right hand,” you announce with pride.
“What are the other three fingers?” they ask.
“His hair, of course.”
“What about legs? He has no legs.”
“Oh, he can move about pretty well. He can even drive a car, albeit badly.”
“Great! We’ll buy it,” they exclaim.

Or, you could have made this pitch to the folks at Geico Insurance:
"Ladies and gentleman, may I present the Geico Gecko."
“Our company name is Geico, not Gecko.”
“Yes, but it sounds like Gecko."
“Great! We’ll buy it.”
Good thing the company name wasn’t Cackroach. That would have been a tougher sell.

On the McDonald’s Canada web site, someone has posted this comment: “Why I Love McDonald's: Best jingle in history – Ba-Da-Ba-Ba-Ba.”

Yes, it certainly is ingenious. The composer of this jingle must be a richly talented musician indeed. It's also quite evident that his skill as a lyricist rivals W. S. Gilbert. But I like to imagine that I’d had the chance to pitch my ad and accompanying jingle just after this clever fellow.

“What do you have for us?” they would have asked.
“How’s this? Bada-Ba-Ba-Bee-Ba I’m sure lovin’ it.”
“Incredible! I never thought anyone would top that last guy. You’re hired.”

As simple as that.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bells on Bobsleighs Ring

I think tobogganing as a competitive sport would be great. Wouldn’t it be fun to see a team of 5 or 6 guys careering down a mountainside on a suped-up Olympic-caliber toboggan?

I was watching some more Winter Olympics yesterday, and they were talking about some fellow who is the director or something of the International Bobsleigh and Tobogganing Federation. Well, I’ve never seen tobogganing in the Olympics, nor have I seen it as a sport in any World Cup events.

So I thought that our crack team of investigators at Snow Shoveling in Canada had better check this out.

First, we googled “bobsleigh and tobogganing”. First hit was However, the website description is FIBT the international home of Bobsleigh and Skeleton sports. No mention of tobogganing.

Further investigation on their site revealed this corporate information: "The Fédération Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing (FIBT) is the religiously and politically neutral international non-governmental organisation administering the sports of Bobsleigh [including Bob-on-the-Road] and Skeleton." Skeleton, not tobogganing. Shouldn't they be the FIBS?

But, wait a minute. BOB-ON-THE-ROAD??? What the heck is that? More investigation required I’m afraid.

Googling “bob-on-the-road” revealed a book titled Goodnight Jim Bob: On the Road with "Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine". That doesn’t sound like what we’re looking for. Another result was lyrics for Dylan, Bob - On the Road Again. Another strike.

So we searched “bob-on-the-road” together with “bobsleigh” and found a blurb on a site that says in part “…the international practice of “bob on the road” is authorized, to encourage countries which do not possess bob tracks.”

Ah, there it is. So the countries that do not have bobsled tracks just take their 2 and 4 man sleds to the streets! Further investigation of this would perhaps reveal what kind of street racing you might see in Iceland. I don’t know what the winter driving conditions are like in other countries, but I sure wouldn’t want to commute to work on anything resembling a bobsled track (unless I did so on a sled).

Now you may have noticed that I’ve used two different words here: bobsleigh and bobsled. Personally, I like the latter. Bobsledding is the sport. Bobsleigh sounds more like something used in a fun, leisurely activity. Listen to a number of Christmas songs and they all say sleigh instead of sled. Sled wouldn’t work. Lyrics would have to change.

…they know that Santa is well-fed. He’s loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sled…” That’s no good.

Dashing through the snow, in a one-horse open sled, o’er the fields we go, laughing ‘til we’re dead”. Neither sled nor dead should be used in a Christmas song. Incidentally, this song also contains the lyrics "Bells on bobsleighs ring...".

Besides, don’t you think bobsled somehow sounds faster than bobsleigh?

2010 Medal update!!!!

U.S. - 28
Canada - 15

Many indignant Canucks will say to this “Oh, yeah! Well you Americans have ten times the population we do.”

More investigation is required by the SSIC team to see how countries with populations 10 times smaller than Canada are doing at these games.

Moldova, Liberia, Panama, Lithuania, Uruguay, Mauritania, and the Republic of Congo all have zero medals. A goose egg! Someone might argue that many of these aren’t cold weather places and so one shouldn’t be surprised. But what about Lapland, Antarctica, Baffin Island, Siberia, and even the once mighty U.S.S.R.? You don’t see any of them listed in the medal standings.

So there!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hotter Than LaFlamme Olympique

I’ve got Olympic Fever! I can’t turn the TV off. I’m going to watch some more Winter Olympic coverage on CTV with hosts Lisa LaFlamme and James Duthie.

Here are some events to watch on today’s Olympic schedule (times are Yukon Gold Standard, but this is B.C. It happens when it happens. Relax, Dude!):

10:00 - Snowboarding – Men’s Hashpipe
11:20 - Nordic Combined - Individual NH/10 km CC - 10 km (cancelled due to no-one really knowing what it is)
12:30 - Cross Country Skiing – Ladies' 50K Sprint Quarterfinals
13:00 - Curling - Men's Round Robin Session 7 Subsection 4
13:20 - Alpine Skiing – Ladies’ Uphill
14:38 - Monathlon – Ladies’ Unifinal
15:30 - Alpine Skiing – Men’s Super Duper Colossal G
16:15 - Long Track Ice Dancing – Compulsories
17:00 - Bobsed – 12-man Finals
17:30 - Short Track Figure Skating – Pairs' 500 m Heats
19:30 - Freestyle Skiing – Men’s Flying Leap Semifinals
21:00 - Ice Punching – Canada vs U.S.A.
22:30 - Snowball Fight – Croatia vs Japan
24:00 - Party ‘til Dawn

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

SSIC's Answer Man

Here is an actual question from

Q. Are there any words starting with p that deal with the revolutionary war?

The editors here at Snow Shoveling in Canada have done a little research and can provide this answer:

A. Oddly enough, there has never been a single word starting with p that has been used in any description, account, story (fact or fiction), or historical document that has dealt with the American Revolutionary War. The olitical differences between the revolutionaries (George Washington, Aul Revere and other atriots among that group) and the arliament of Great Britain (including its Rime Minister) brought about this colossal conflict. From Massachusetts to New York to Hiladelphia and everywhere between, you will find nothing starting with a p.

I know it’s hard to believe. I thought everybody knew that there were no p words dealing with the Revolutionary War. But there you have it.

Here are some more interesting questions that require some expert answering expertise:

Q. How do you spell rinocerus rhinoseros rhinosoros rihnocerous oh, the hell with it.

A. I believe the word you’re looking for is rhinosaurus; a great lizard of the sebaceous period. This fearsome giant is the ancestor to our modern day horned hippoplatypus.

Q. Is Mike Tyson a hero?

In a 1997 boxing match, Mike Tyson bit off part of Evander Holyfield's ear and spat it out onto the canvas. In 2010, Evander Holyfield, during an argument with his wife, said she needed to 'start putting God first'. The argument had something to do with payments made (or not made) to their church. The former heavyweight champion reacted by hitting his wife in the face. Had these two events happened in reverse chronological order, then Mr. Tyson might very well be considered a hero.

Q. Who stole the kishka?

A. Since a Wikipedia article describes kishka in part as “a blood sausage made with pig's blood and buckwheat or barley, with pig's intestines used as a casing…” then I have no idea who in their right mind would think this an item worth pilfering. I suggest you consult your local constabulary. They may want to check some emergency rooms for any recent admits with gastrointestinal distress.

Monday, February 22, 2010

At Sixes and Sevens Over Fourths and Fifths

It was my brother’s birthday this past weekend, so I called him to wish him Happy Birthday. I called early in the day and figured I’d be the first in the family to wish him well on his day.

I asked him if I was the first to call. He told me, “Your fourth.”
“Fourth!” I said, “I feel like a Canadian Olympian.”

Canada's Olympic slogan should be changed from Do you believe? to Can you believe? — because, I can’t. Canada’s bad luck is incredible. It seems as if someone has put a curse on the Canadian Olympic effort.

Canada apparently has had four 4th and four 5th place finishes. No other competing country at these games has come so close so many times. But let’s put this into perspective. Allow me to analyze.

If Canada’s fourths and fifths were firsts and seconds, and firsts and seconds were still firsts and seconds, then Canada would still only be second and the U.S. first, even assuming the fourths and fifths for the U.S. were not counted as firsts and seconds but remained as fourths and fifths. Thirds in all cases are still thirds.

I’m glad I could clear that up.

But fear not, you Canadian Olympian boosters. Ice dancers Scott Tissue and Vera Mouchoir were running a nose behind first place after the compulsory dance. That’s nothing to sneeze at. They plan not to blow it, and to wipe up the ice with the competition as these two ply their craft in the original dance.

They plan to do the Flamenco for their original dance! Hopefully, they will only have some Flamenco-like elements in this routine and they will avoid performing à la José Greco. I’ve already documented the disastrous consequences that can happen from doing that.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Half-Mast on the Halfpipe

What a laugh! 

I was watching the men’s snowboard halfpipe competition yesterday. A lot of these guys were wearing what appeared to be jeans; and in the “gangsta” style, with the crotch of their pants down to the knees.

So here is this snowboarder, going up for a dazzling aerial stunt, and he’s mooning the camera with his underwear-clad butt (thank God for underwear). This guy's pants were at half-mast while he’s performing on the halfpipe. I have no idea how he kept them from falling down to his ankles. How did he compete dressed this way??

I suppose he wanted to look “cool”. Well, his derrière must have been cool enough, what with only a thin layer of cotton between it and the winter breeze.

I’ve always been bothered by this form of dress. I once saw a young man running for a bus while wearing jeans at mid-butt level. He had to hold onto them while trying to catch his ride. Needless to say, he didn’t make it.

Why wear your pants like this? It is so impractical and it looks so goofy! (although Goofy had enough sense to pull his pants up). And yet, young men have been wearing them this way for several years now. I keep waiting and hoping for the style to change lest I find that I can’t purchase any pants for myself that do anything to keep my rear end warm in the winter.

Here’s a suggestion. If it’s fashionable to wear your pants as if you haven’t pulled them all the way up, then how about wearing your sweater as if you haven’t pulled it all the way down?

Kind of like this:

Now that’s cool!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

We're Better Than Liechtenstein!

The Winter Olympics are coming soon to a television near you.

Canada is expected to earn 20 to 30 medals. Some of the small Euro-nations represented here may only garner 2 or 3. Let's hear it, "We're better than Liechtenstein!"

Here are a few little-known facts about some of the sports in these winter games:


It's interesting to note that this means of traveling at breakneck speeds on a course of ice and snow did not originate as a sport at all. It was a mode of transportation for Swiss men to commute from their homes in the Matterhorn down to their workplaces in the villages below. The early 2, 3 and 4 man bobsleds were just a way to "sledpool", so people could save money on transportation expenses. How these men got back home at the end of the day is anyone’s guess.

Speed Skating

Due to events in 1527, near the Dutch town of Slipsen Falls in the northwest Netherlands, a Christiaan Utrecht is given credit for being the world’s first speed skater. While on a leisurely solo skate on the frozen Zuiderzee, Christiaan successfully skated for his life when the dike holding back the North Sea broke. Accounts from bystanders on shore suggest that Mr. Utrecht’s speed exceeded 80 kilometers per hour that day.

Snowboarding: Halfpipe

This isn’t really a sport. It’s just some skateboard kids having fun in the snow. It is fun to watch, though.

Figure Skating: Ice Dance

Introduced as a medal sport in the 1976 Olympics, the Ice Dancing event consists of three competitions: compulsory dance, original dance, and free dance. The fact that Ice Dancing became a medal sport is surprising considering its shaky start as a demonstration event at the 1972 Sapporo games. The compulsory competition that year contained the ill-advised flamenco dance. The resultant chipped and chopped ice surface required several Zamboni teams to work overnight in order to complete repairs.


Now this is a sport where Canada really shines. The great thing about curling is that you do not have to be an athlete to compete. Think of it as a glorified game of shuffleboard on ice (my little old grandma used to play a mean game of shuffleboard). Supposedly the teams alternate possession of a hammer, though I’ve never witnessed any tools used — other than brooms — in the matches I’ve seen. The strategy, apparently, is to throw up a few guards during the first nine ends of the game, and then try to smash hell out the opponent's rocks in the last end.

Ice Hockey

This is one of Canada’s two national sports (Lacrosse, with its similarly brutal style of whack and hack play, is the other). Not surprisingly, Canada does very well in this Olympic event. In 1998, players from the NHL were finally allowed to play in the games. Since then, there has been speculation about making Ice Punching an official Olympic sport. With the presence of NHLers, Canada would be virtually guaranteed a top podium finish.