Did you know that the French Revolutionary calendar actually had the New Year starting in autumn? I’m not completely sold on the whole Reign of Terror bitbut singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ in September might not have been such a bad idea, especially considering the way St. John’s springs alive when the dog days of summer come to an end. I say ‘dog days’ because while the rest of you were probably out having Super Fun Summer Adventures I was paying attention to the news. So without further ado, here’s what you missed if you were actually out enjoying the sun or something.
The 2012 Summer Olympics in London was apparently a big deal. The world’s top athletes got to hang out (and hook up) together for two weeks this summer in the Olympic Village as they vied against one another to bring pride back to their home countries in the form of Magic Sports Amulets. And everyone’s favourite performers were there! Michael Phelps proved you can take bong rips and still win more Olympic medals than anyone else in the history of humanity, Usain Bolt showed off some very cool runnings (sorry), and it turns out that the world’s best trampolinist is a Chinese dude named Dong Dong (or Dong2).
Meanwhile, Canada’s most impressive showing during this Olympics—other than having our female athletes far outshine the men—was easily in the ‘provoke an international incident with Norway over soccer refereeing’ event. Unfortunately there is no medal for this, but Team Canada brought us back another prize beyond price: the sweet, sweet catharsis of getting to scream at the television.
Speaking of screaming at things, I will be soon if I ever hear the words “Muskrat Falls” again. The “debate” about this hydro-electric megaproject could never really be described as ‘enlightened’, but things started getting extra wild and wooly back in July when local oligarch Danny Williams and his Labrador mining firm SLAPPed beloved local blogger Brad Cabana (and VOCM BackTalk fan-favourite environmentalist Bruno Marcocchio) with a defamation lawsuit. Never one to take this sort of thing sitting down, Cabana, who is representing himself in court, filed his own defamation suit against Williams, meaning that the next few months of this spectacle should provide enough material to get us a legal comedy spinoff out of Republic of Doyle.
A few weeks later, five political and legal veterans—including former senior Peckford aide Cabot Martin, Liberal leadership contender Bern Coffey, and labour firebrand Richard Cashin—joined forces to form 2041 Energy Incorporated, an anti-Muskrat Falls lobbying group. Unfortunately for the rest of us, the provincial government’s response to this was not to actually dispute any of their claims but instead to let bumbling backbenchers Paul Lane and Steve Kent flood the media with puerile sniggering about how their critics are not ‘real’ lawyers or that Cabot Martin is trying to sabotage the megaproject in order to rig the price of natural gas or something. It’s regrettable that the level of discourse surrounding this multi-billion dollar development project has degenerated into something you’d hear hissed between children in the back row of a seventh-grade sexual health class and I don’t know about the rest of you, but I Kent take much more of this.
As far as nonsense goes, there was no shortage of it this August in Ottawa. Turns out that the Bank of Canada’s original design for the new plastic $100 bill actually featured an Asian-looking woman on the back before it was pulled because focus groups expressed alarm at the idea that our currency might get a little ‘too ethnic.’ Participants repeatedly emphasized that putting an Asian on the bill wouldn’t be representative of Canada (with one Fredericton participant calling the image “ugly”), and the Bank of Canada was quick to re-draw the bill with a less threatening, ‘neutral’ (read: white) person in its place. I think this is a great step forward because if there’s one thing this country needs in order to better reflect our diverse, multicultural society, it’s making sure we only put white, ‘normal’ people on our money. The only Canadian news more offensive than this racist debacle is word that Chad Kroeger is getting married to Avril Lavigne.Woe, Canada.
So! You’re now up to speed enough to know that staying up to speed might not be the best thing for your mental health. It’s not all totally dour though—NASA put a new rover on Mars and they opened a Smoke’s Poutinerie down on Water Street. And yes, being able to get a curry chicken poutine while stumbling home from George Street at 3 AM is just as significant as furthering humanity’s baby steps into the Final Frontier. If you think otherwise, you’re the real space cadet.