The LA Kings have won their season opener in London, England, against defending Stanley Cup champions the Anaheim Ducks. Is this Los Angeles' year of destiny? I am on record as having said LA will never ever ever win the Stanley Cup. But that was in the 1980s when they were, seriously, the only southern US team. Now there are, what, eight? And four of them have won the Cup. So why not LA? They have been not winning the cup for just as long as St Louis and Toronto -- forty years. One of those expansion teams has to break through eventually. LA could be the one. Oops, I just called the Leafs an expansion team. Sorry!
Clearly the secret to the Kings' London success was their involvement days before in the Red Bulls Salute in Salzburg, Austria. They beat host Salzburg 7 to 6 in the semi and Swedish Färjestad 4 to 3 in the final. Davos came fourth.
Ed Belfour is playing goal for Leksand in the Swedish Allsvenskan. Leksand are one of those teams that bounces in and out of the Elitserien. Right now they're out and hoping that a Leafs castoff who occasionally goes mental and offers the arresting officers billion-kronor bribes is the key to a return. We'll keep an eagle eye on that!
Alexei Yashin is playing for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. You'd better enable your browser for Cyrillic.
Ontario is getting ready to vote on whether to trade in its traditional First Past the Post electoral system for a Mixed Member Proportional scheme drawn up by an assembly of citizens this past year. Read their report here. While you're at it go see the MMP article in Wikipedia too, because there's a fair amount of jargon to be learned if you're going to discuss this stuff, plus some examples of how other countries have used and abused their proportional representation systems. (Italy scores high on the abuse side.)
If MMP passes, each constituency will elect a member as before, but now there will be a second ballot calling on the voter to designate a favourite party. Each party will get x number of extra seats depending on the results of this second ballot, which they will fill from a list of candidates submitted before the vote, to add to the number they have elected the old way until the party's total number of seats is in line with its popular vote. Sometimes a party will have maxed out its number of seats with constituency members, and sometimes a party will have only list members.
The upshot should be fewer majority governments, and more Greens.
And I'll probably vote for it. I'm trying not to be one of those people who's against everything. I voted for Meech.
I can think of a couple of problems. One is that under this plan the legislature would increase by 22 seats, reversing the Harris government's reduction, that one downsizing everyone could agree on. So, 22 new salaries, offices and pensions.
Candidates would be allowed to stand both in local elections and on the party list. Which means there will be cases of persons ascending to the legislature fresh from defeat in local elections. Imagine working to unseat an unpopular incumbent, and succeeding, only to have the guy enter the legislature through the back door of the party list. People will view it as a failure of democracy. Elections in Canada are as much about firing as hiring.
Suppose the unpopular incumbent comes in third behind the winner and an independent candidate who came second. The party list is by nature closed to independents, so that free-thinking individual would be SOL. We need more independents in the legislature, not fewer, but MMP puts an exclusive premium on party membership.
What if a person high up on a party's list gets into a fight with his party executive during the election? (For the sake of argument we'll call him Buzz.) Suppose they try to knock him off or down the list, and he takes them to court? Will a judge have the final say on the order of the party list, and consequently on who sits in the legislature? The voters themselves have no say on that. The party list is closed, not open, meaning the voters can't choose the order of the names.
Each party will be left to decide how to draw up its own list. So I'd expect to see everything from lottery winners to retired senators. Hm, that could be interesting.
Okay. I can't even fool myself this week. I've come out even in the CD department (a Serena Ryder swapped for a Wilco) but I'm backsliding in the book department. In the over-ambitious, what was I thinking department I've borrowed a 500 page + biography of Lenin even though I still haven't finished the Canadian CP history. Then I added in Denise Mina's latest Paddy Meehan mystery, The Last Breath and Paul Auster's latest and blessedly short novella, Travels in the Scriptorum. I rounded this all out by borrowing the 100 Mile Diet which has to be returned in seven, no make that six, days.
I'm giving myself false comfort by silently pointing out that I have actually finished Spook Country, never mind that I've been so distracted that I probably can't give a credible account of its plot or merits.
I think I was actually fairly restrained. I dropped off 4 and picked up 3. No that's not right--there was a CD too.
I've already finished the one the with most pressing promise--No More Kidney Stones-- and, as you might expect, it tells me to
Drink a lot more fluids
Cut back on tomatoes, rhubarb, chocolate, sweet potatoes, nuts, citrus rind, and a lot of other things including salty treats and beer.
And if I eat any of the semi-forbidden household staples, to drink two 12 oz glasses of water right away. Now I can do math -- that's really 3 glasses of water. I am going to to wearing a nice little path to the bathroom and you'll recognize me from the sloshing sound.
The CD was Serena Ryder's If Your Memory Serves You Well which is covers 1970s pieces. It had Douglas singing along, and for some undisclosed reason, he knows all the words to "Good Morning Starshine". I suppose it's a good thing that there are stlll surprises after 25 years. All the same, I am not prepared for an onslaught of 60s and 70s musicals which all this singing along portends. In the novel department, I picked up Gibson's Spook Country which has been prolifically reviewed. I'm 30 pages in and so far I'm enjoying it. If it goes the way of LeCarre novels by 100 pages in I'm going to be struggling to remember all the characters and subplots.
The other novel is a mystery by Christopher Brookmyre--One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night. I'd never encountered Brookmyre before but I'd read the opening lines of his most recent novel at Book World and was intrigued. If the idea of a wee Elastoplast as a cure all hadn't hooked me, the titles of his books would have: All Fun and Games Till Somebody Loses an Eye, A Big Boy Did it and Ran Away, and Boiling a Frog are all oddly familiar turns of phrases.
Next week's library run goal: return more than I take out.