Four Anglos

(This post may not make much sense to readers unfamiliar with the culture and politics of Montreal, but it’s not worth the effort to summarize them. Trust me.)

Last night, the wife and I caught the final show of “Four Anglos of the Apocalypse” at the Centaur. The show is less a play than a revue of political commentary. It stars the musical duo Bowser and Blue, editorial cartoonist Terry Mosher (Aislin), and writer Josh Freed.

(Josh is my cousin, and there’s a cute family story about how he used to nap in mother’s drawer. Well, it’s cute the first time you hear it.)

My mother was in town last week. She saw the show and loved it. She practically begged us to go see it, but I was leery. Bowser and Blue write and sing songs about Canada ad oppressed anglophones (that means English mother-tonguers in Quebec). Josh has some brilliant moments – above all, as co-writer of “The Anglo Guide to Survival in Quebec“, published in 1983.

I wasn’t keen on going. I could write pages on this, but my short explanation is that there’s nothing new to say about Anglophone life in Montreal. We’re here, we’re discriminated against, and we live with it. The only people who keep laughing at this stuff are the older generations. Us young folk are either so integrated or so disgusted that we don’t laugh at it anymore. Not much has changed in the last 30 years.

And, as I explained to my mom, you see one Bowser and Blue gig, you’ve seen them all – and I’ve seen one. You read “The Anglo Guide to Survival in Quebec” and you know what Josh is going to say. Terry Mosher is genius, but what can a cartoonist do on stage?

Nevertheless, my mother bought us tickets. So we went.

We sat in the very last row of seats. As I’d expected, a sea of gray and bald filled the room ahead of us. I doubt there were more than two dozen people younger than us in the audience, and my best friend just turned 40.

The show slightly exceeded my expectations. Bowser and Blue were Bowser and Blue, with some good impersonations of Jacques Parizeau and Lucien Bouchard. Josh was Josh, mostly. He managed to crack me up with the suggestion that there ought to be a road sign that warns drivers to get out a French dictionary because an incomprehensible sign awaits up ahead.

I appreciated Terry Mosher most. He touched on some of the behind-the-scenes communications between him and some politicians, which was new.

Other than that, it was whining, an explanation of how the whining came to be, and an ending of rapprochement, survival, and jubilation. Pretty much what I expected. All the old people loved it.

Gambling

My inaugural appearance at the Alex Epstein poker game led to a profit of about $12 after a $7 table buy-in. Screw this freelancing stuff, I’m going pro!

My gambling luck – ahem, skill is proving fruitful in the Irrational League as well. Thanks to two weeks with 1.10 WHIP, 2.78 ERA, and 13 wins, I find myself tied in first place with Frank after last night. That trade for Bronson Arroyo (0.64 WHIP, 0.72 ERA, 3 wins) is finally paying off. The third place team is a half-point back of us.

A number of categories can still swing the final standings. I’m six HRs and 0.03 WHIP back of Frank. (Officially, I’m ahead of Frank in WHIP and in sole position of the lead, but SportsLine continues to refuse to adjust Greg Maddux’s stats to the official MLB stats.)

.286 batting average (1st)
256 HR (2nd)
979 RBI (1st)
106 SB (8th)
4.31 ERA (4th)
1.31 WHIP (4th)
87 wins (1st)
30 saves (6th)

Guests have just arrived. The launch of my career as a theatre critic will have to wait until later today.

A House, a gun, and a joke

My scheduled interviewees are not home, so I’ve got some time. Might as well throw it at the blog.

Consensus seemed to prefer the this week’s second episode of “House” to the previous season premiere, but I have to go against the grain.

The first episode showed House running, pain-free, and – gosh-darn it – nicer. Yes, his mobility was generous for a guy who’s missing a chunk of leg muscle, but I could let that slide. To me, the episode wasn’t about the leg or manifestations of House’s personality, but about the personality itself. The episode looked at self-awareness. House had for so long adopted the role of bitter, limping genius. He lost the limp, and had to test himself to learn how he could redefine himself.

Was he healthy, caring genius? Was he healthy, caring, mundane guy? He didn’t know until he tried things out. Which definition would fit? Could he do that?

By the end of Episode One, we see that it doesn’t much matter what he tries out. The limp and pain seem fated to return. The patients of the week can break free of their prisons – wheelchair guy is reborn without pain and all yoga girl needs to get moving is a glass of orange juice. Not House, though. He grasped emotional and physical mobility for a summer, and now as one slips away so does the other.

This week’s second episode was sensationalist, and served only to show off the budget. I could be jaded. As I just commented on Diane’s blog, I figured out the medical problem long before anyone on the show did. And you know what they say about audiences who are smarter than the characters – we get bored. What bothered me more than that, however, was the loose end of the metal pin. One throw-away line explains how the pin could enter a vein and wind up in the neck, but another doctor (was it Forman?) says that it;s practically impossible. House says it’s the best explanation, and the matter is left there. Now, I know my anatomy, and there is precious little chance that a large object will work its way so close to the surface through the venous system. I’m still waiting for a better reason.

Nor did we learn why the foreign cells in the retina and knee hindered eyesight and motion. Chimeras usually function normally.

I was spot on in my preliminary analysis of the weapon use by the Dawson gunman, now revealed to be Kimveer Gill. His primary gun was a Beretta Cx4 Storm. It’s a semi-automatic, which means it loads bullets automatically from a clip. It fires single shots only of 9-mm Beretta pistol ammunition. Pistol ammo is fatter and heavier than rifle ammo, and is slower and less lethal in general. Remember, energy is proportional to mass and the square of velocity, so velocity is the more important factor. If he’d had a true semi-automatic rifle, he’d have done more damage.

Speaking of Gill, most news outlets say he had a blog at VampireFreaks.com, but that it’s no longer available. Yet they print Gill’s photos and quote his messages. Either the journalists are playing censor or they’re incompetent, but you can still see Gill’s pages. I’m a believer in the open approach, so I’m going to tell you how to see them, and you can decide to go there or not. It’s simple. Go to the Wikipedia page on Kimveer Gill, and go to the links on the bottom. You’ll find links to his picture page and a link to the Google cache of his profile page (you might also find that at the Internet Archive).

Lastly, I should fill you in on the results of the Bram birthday prank. I spoke to Bram, and the only thing he mentioned is that he was surprised that my brother sent him birthday wishes. I know that dozens of you sent him e-mail, but he said nothing. He may be trolling for hints or waiting for a confession from perpetrator. The game of wits goes on….