Kim Jorn: December 2008 Archives

Congrats! It's a MOY!

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Well, it is that time of year again when we bestow Cox Bloc's greatest dishonour upon one of the very deserving hacks that we have spent the past year mocking and maligning. Yes, it is time to choose the 2008 Mittenstringer of the Year. Because there are so many worthy candidates for this year's award, we have decided to open the voting to you the readers. Please vote, and if there are any Habs fans here, feel free to vote often.

This year's nominees, in no particular order, are:

  • Damien Cox: Cox already won this award back in January, but we stripped him of it later in the year when Working Class Howard made it clear that we were premature in believing that no one could top Cox's combination of contempt for Leafs fans and disregard for basic facts. Is Cox still the front-runner? I think it will be close.
  • Howard Berger: Than Fan 590's dedicated Leafs beat-reporter and Hockeybuzz rabble-rouser is a strong contender for this year's award. While at the start of the year it seemed impossible for Working Class Howard to top last year's performance (narrowly avoiding a libel lawsuit and making people feel sorry for Sean Avery), our mustachioed muckraker drilled to new depths in 2008 when he rallied the Barilkosphere together for a boycott of his work and became the target of a misguided attempt to get his ass canned. Howard still has a job, and frankly, blogs that are dedicated to making jokes about the Toronto sports media are lucky to have him around.
  • Richard Griffin: Griffin fell of our radar a bit in 2008, but he would still be a worthy winner of this year's award. Here's a fun fact: if you take away Griffin's ten worst columns from 2008, he is still a pretty bad baseball writer.
  • Rosie DiManno: When she wasn't writing wildly innacurate mash-notes to Mats Sundin, Rosie DiManno found the time to fly to China and insult a billion people. Definite darkhorse candidate.
  • Donald S. Cherry: We don't rip on Grapes nearly enough around here, but his name deserves to be on this list. I wouldn't be surprised if anyone who saw his post game tirade after the Leafs dismantled the Penguins on December 20th - in which he described the Leafs performance as disgusting because, among other things, Niklas Hagman didn't fight Sidney Crosby - ended up casting a deserving vote for Canada's most cherished bigot.
You may have noticed that last year's winner, Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, did not make the nomination list for this year. This is due partly to the breathtaking performance of his contemporaries, as well as the markedly improved quality of his work this year. Hopefully this year's winner will respond in a similar fashion. By my count, it would only take about 41 years of handing out this award until we have a sports media that we can be proud of.

However, if you hold a grudge against Simmons, or feel that another writer or broadcaster is more deserving of being the 2008 Mittenstringer of the Year, feel free to write-in the candidate of your choice. Please submit your vote and reasons why in the comments section below or email your vote to coxbloc@gmail.com.

We'll announce the winner early in the new year.

Happy War! X-Mas is Over!

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It is that time of year again, when the NHL trade freeze comes to an end and visions of Carter and a first for Kaberle begin dancing in our heads. Of course, like the petulant brat on Christmas morning who kicks and screams because he got the wrong Transformer or Pokemon or Atari game or whatever it is that kids are into these days, Leafs fans are setting themselves up for disappointment if they expect their under-performing trade-bait to land them anything as attractive as last year`s proposed package from Philly in their deadline day stocking.

Speaking of disappointment, the joy of watching the World Juniors this year has been tempered somewhat by the fact that John Tavares will inevitably be pulling the Fishsticks over his head on draft day. However, this disappointment has been tempered somewhat by the fact that unless the Isles give Tavares a 35 year $200 billion dollar contract, there always remains the possibility that they will trade Tavares to the Leafs for Jason Blake, Matt Stajan and a few pics from Jiri NSFW's personal stash. It may sound far-fetched, but that would be one of the Isles better trades in the last decade. 

Knowing that I wouldn't be getting Tavares as a late Christmas present didn't ruin my holiday season. I spent a good chunk of my holiday in the lovely Chemical Valley, seeing all the wonderful sites and smelling all the not-so-wonderful smells that Sarnia has to offer. Sarnia is a bit of an underrated hockey hotbed, the birthplace of Dino Ciccarelli, Dominic Moore and Boston Bruin`s great Kraig Nienhuis. My lady friend, Eve Styzerman, grew up in the house where Tony McKegney lived as a child, and that is where we spent our Christmas. Just inside the side door is a tiny bathroom with a low-set sink where Tony and his brothers would wash up after spending a long day on the backyard rink, and in the basement there is still a drawing of the Blackhawks logo on one of the walls by young Mr. McKegney. The place is like a museum.

I am happy to report that not all of the hockey exports from Sarnia were a total bust this year. After months of searching, I was finally able to locate the perfect Christmas gift for Godd Till at the local Value Village: a homemade iron-on Wendel Clark t-shirt. Here is Mr. Till modeling his favourite Christmas present ever:

Wendel Shirt.JPGNote: The fact that the shirt is as unironic as possible saves Till from looking like a total hipster zomboid with his tight white-tee and carefully placed Molson Stock Ale.

Not to be outdone, I also received a fantastic piece of fashionable Leafs attire from Eve Styzerman`s father:

Warriner Front.JPGRecognize that signature? Yes, that is a signed Todd Warriner Leafs jersey:

Warriner Back.JPGI would like to belatedly throw my hat in the ring for Down Goes Brown's most obscure Leafs jersey contest. Signed jerseys must be worth something extra, especially now that the autograph is from my favourite player acquired in the Wendel Clark to Quebec deal.

Mr. Styzerman found this shirt for me at the same Value Village where I tracked down Mr. Till's one-of-a-kind Christmas treat. Trust me, bypass the Leafs store and those overpriced shops on Yonge Street and head straight the Sarnia Value Village. You'll have to sort through dozens of ugly red shirts with white wings on the front before you find any treasures, but it will be well worth it.    
Godd Till and I have a general policy of not attacking the commenters who leave their little pearls of wisdom and ignorance below the stories that we take so much joy in tearing apart, or those who have their letters answered in the various lamebags that several reporters have resorted to filling their blogs with. As easy as it would be to shred some dude who thanks Damien Cox for "being the sole voice of reason", or begins a letter to Richard Griffin with "I love your mailbag and look forward to it every week", we made the decision early on that we would only target the "professionals" in this business, and not the idiots who choose to display their ignorance for free.

Well, today I'm making an exception as I would like to publicly state that Spencer from Toronto, who called in to yell at my old friend Harry Kopyto at around 9:20 on AM 640 this morning is a total fucking idiot. Seriously, Spencer from Toronto may be the stupidest sack of shit that I have ever heard on that station, and we're talking about a number on the dial that employs Craig Brommell.

You see, Spencer from Toronto, like many of AM 640's other loyal listeners, is outraged that the Thieves, Commies and Traitors are attempting to stage a coup and unseat the Conservatives. Fine. I'm not too impressed with the NDP right now myself. But what gets Spencer's underoos twisted up in a knot is that, by entering into a coalition with the Bloc Quebecois, Jack Layton is wholeheartedly endorsing and benefiting from the murder of Piere Laporte.

"Gee Jorn, you're right," you say. "That is ridiculous. That Spencer from Toronto who called into AM 640 this morning at about 9:20 am is a total fuckwit." Well, thanks, but you don't even know the half of it. Spencer piled-on to his gross ignorance of history and politics by claiming that the Bloc Quebecois grew out of the FLQ, and that the Liberals and NDP were now working with terrorists. For realz, this dude is not only as dumb as Sarah Palin, but he stole her talking points too.

Unsurprisingly the host of the program (Mike Stafford, subbing in for the Rush Limbaugh tribute act that usually props up the mic during the morning hours on AM640) did not once mention that Spencer from Toronto is a total fucking tool, or even bother to correct his outrageously stupid insinuations. Stafford, like other right wing media, is spending a lot time these days whipping his listeners into a frenzy over the "attempted coup" in Ottawa, without really mentioning any of the facts involved in the current situation.

I can understand why conservatives are upset by recent developments, and as I mentioned earlier, I myself am not too happy with the thought of the NDP (my default political party of choice) jumping into bed with the Liberals. However, I think I have a fairly firm grasp of the issues involved: namely, Stephen Harper's determination to put partisan politics ahead of governance and refusal to compromise in the manner required of a minority government, has opened the door for the professional opportunists in the Liberal party, propped up the spineless leadership of the NDP and supported by the Bloc, to take power. This exact same scenario nearly unfolded 4 years ago, but with the position of the Liberals and Conservatives flipped.

There is a lot of "blame" to throw around, but if you listen to AM 640 you would think that Harper is the victim in this mess while the opposition parties are subverting democracy and spitting in the faces of hard-working Canadians by telling them that the concerns of the Bloc are more important than their own. This is typical of AM 640, which prides itself on being the voice of the downtrodden white straight males, oppressed by liberalism and political correctness. Yes, the most powerful group of people in this country are pissed off because...well...I'm actually not sure why, but they are pissed off.

A favourite punching bag for the hosts and callers at AM 640 is the CBC. Liberal bias, yadda, yadda, yadda. Funny though...when I've watched the Corpse this week (I never miss the At Issue panel featuring the wonderful Chantal Hebert) I've noticed that all sides of this story have been consistently represented in both the reported pieces and discussion panels. When I listen to AM 640, all I hear is Conservative talking points at top volume. When the station does offer another side to this issue, the representative is always shouted down by the hosts and the callers.

I understand that talk radio serves a purpose, and that purpose is entertainment rather than objective discussion of important issues of the day. More often than not, these stations serve as nothing more than an outlet for straight white men like that tool Spencer from Toronto to rail against the "other" for their own failure to get a job, get a house, or get it up. However, I've noticed in the last few days that there has been a ugly spike in the tone and rhetoric coming over the airwaves. People are angry about what is going on in Ottawa, and stations like AM 640 are choosing to fan the flames of ignorance and hatred rather than delve into the issues in any sort of context. I noted earlier that that halfwit moron Spencer from Toronto was using a trick straight from the Sarah Palin playbook by invoking the specter of terrorism into the coup conversation, and I think that the hate and anger spewing over the airwaves right now is creating a atmosphere like the one we saw during the US presidential campaign when the divisive rhetoric of the McCain-Palin camp resulted in cries of "terrorist" and "kill him" when Barack Obama's name was mentioned during campaign rallies. 

If the same thing is happening here, we can thank commentators like Mike Stafford for twisting facts to make people more angry and turn up the flames in an already heated situation. Hopefully most listeners are smart enough to see through this shtick and are actually getting their news from other sources. However, it only takes one total fucking idiot like Spencer from Toronto to take things too far because he thinks our democracy is endangered by terrorists. And that is kind of scary.

What does this have to do with Cox Bloc and bad sports reporting? Well, it means that I won't be listening to AM 640 anymore, so our already scant coverage of Leafs Lunch and the Bill Watters Show will dry up completely. I'll miss Coast to Coast AM and Harry Kopyto's Thursday morning blast of Trotskyite righteousness, but I can't justify being part of the listener numbers that AM 640 uses to lure advertisers. I'm out. It is all Fan 590 for me, even though Mike Hogan spent the first ten minutes of his show yesterday morning complaining about the opposition accord with all of the objectivity and reason that you would normally find in those little quips that the Toronto Sun editors stick at the end of critical letters. I'm giving the Fan a pass on this one, not because I think it is appropriate for Hogan to prattle on about his ill-informed political views, but because I don't think it is the Fan 590's policy to promote hatred and division based on skewed facts and political ideology. No, that is AM 640's niche.