Monthly Archives: January 2010

The Bleu Blance Rouge, and why we’ll have to get used to being just alright

Life isn’t always so easy as a Montreal Canadiens fan. The Habs do well for a couple weeks and look like they’re going to win Lord Stanley’s cup, then they tamper off and look like they’d be better suited for the youth league in Cote-St-Luc. It’s hard knowing that the overwhelming majority of Canadiens fans were extremely young or not even born when the Habs hoisted the cup in ‘93, nevermind talking about the win in ‘86 and the ‘89 cup finals.

The core group of Habs fans see the Detroit Red Wings as a dynasty and have never experienced the true glory of uncontested Montreal Canadiens dominance. This group includes me. I was six years old when the Habs won in 1993 and have seen mediocre playoff success in my life as a Canadiens fan. Fortunately, over the years, I’ve been treated to some amazing hockey – finishing first in the Eastern Conference, the come back of the century against the New York Rangers and beating up on the Bruins a few times in the playoffs, but that’s about it.

It seems as though the Canadiens have been in a rebuilding process for my entire lifetime and the major issueis that the team isn’t rebuilding properly. Why? Because Candiens fans are impatient. I know every hockey fan who lives in the greater Montreal area is a general manager and could do a better job than Bob Gainey, but I guess that everyone is entitled to their opinion. The fact is that a rebeuilding process cannot be successful in Montreal, because Habs fans can’t stand losing. We lose a game (okay a big game standing-wise) to the Panthers, after decisively beating the Rangers and the Devils over the weekend, and people go crazy. Some post-game callers on CJAD and The Team 990 said that the players shouldn’t get paid for playing so lousy, it’s shameful and one caller went as far as saying that he’ll never watch a Canadiens game again…. he’s no longer a fan.

Let’s all relax. A wise man once said something about crawling before you could walk and the Habs are trying to run without ever having learned how to crawl in this rebuilding process. We’ve been hovering around 8th spor in the East for a handful of years, missing the playoffs a few times and finishing first in the conference once. A true rebuild has to start from the ground up. The Habs have been in a renovation process for years, fixing pieces here and there, kind of like a middle-aged man getting a makeover. Ultimately we’re looking for a rebirth, and that won’t happen with being a bottom feeder in the NHL standings for at least a season. The issue is that the fans can’t handle it. If we cry to help when we’re in 8th, imagine what would happen if we were in 15th.

The Penguins didn’t magically stumble upon Malkin and Crosby and Fleury as top picks… they fell to the bottom of the standings, had shameful records for a handful of years and were basically going through a bankruptcy process before they becoming the powerhouse that they are today. Granted, it was lucky that their top picks for a few years are now internation superstars, but that’s just luck of the draw.

Until Habs fans muster up the ability to live with a few really shitty seasons, we’ll remain a middle to the pack team, while teams like Carolina and Tampa Bay win Stanley Cups.

AJ Jacobs: living life by the book

This is a piece that I wrote, which was originally published in The Concordian (October 28th 2008). I wrote the piece after a conversation with one of my favorite writers, Esquire’s editor at large, Mr. AJ Jacobs. Hope you enjoy.

AJ Jacobs: living life by the book

It’s hard to believe that a print journalist, who’s known for being socially awkward and who admits to being completely committed to the obsessive compulsive disorder from which he suffers, can be so outgoing in so many different social contexts.

By day A.J. Jacobs is the editor-at-large for a little known magazine called Esquire. Outside the walls of this publication, he is an experimental journalist who completely immerses himself in his work and writes while completing personal experiments.

“I see myself as a human guinea pig,” he said about his favorite type of work. “I love a good life experiment.”

Although he interviews big celebrities by the likes of George Clooney and Rosario Dawson, ultimately Jacobs enjoys his experimental journalism the most.

“My favorite articles to write are the ones about personal quests,” he said.

Jacobs explained how the books he writes sometimes coincide with his job at Esquire, “I wrote [a piece] called ‘My Outsourced Life,’ about how I hired a team of people in Bangalore, India to live my life for me: answer my phone, return my e-mail, argue with my wife for me, etc.”

Photo by: Michael Cogliantry

Photo by: Michael Cogliantry

The interesting thing about Jacobs’ experiments is they breathe new life into the pieces he writes. His article titled “I Think You’re Fat” explored his month-long experimentation with a concept called Radical Honesty. He actually lived it and wrote about it with the feel of a miniature memoir. He told the truth to everyone, all the time. He also said whatever was on his mind, which wasn’t always flattering to the people around him. It’s definitely not an easy thing to do for someone who is often described “socially awkward.”

His books demand a tremendous amount of time and dedication. The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World, followed Jacobs through an entire year, as he read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica from cover to cover, or as he refers to it, “a-ak to zywiec.” The book is a hilarious and tremendously informative memoir that covers everything from obscure definitions and personal encounters to Jacobs’ dissatisfaction with MENSA’s lax acceptance requirements.

When I spoke to A.J. earlier in the year, he was fresh off the release of his new book The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to follow the Bible as Literally as Possible. For the first nine months of his experiment he followed the Jewish traditional Old Testament and concluded by venturing into the New Testament for the final three months. As a clean-shaven professional who considers himself “Jewish in the same way that the Olive Garden is Italian – not very,” he had quite a year in store for him.

“Esquire is not the most biblical of magazines,” said Jacobs, explaining how his biblical year interfered with his day job. “They assigned me an interview with a beautiful actress, Rosario Dawson. I could barely look at her without being tempted.”

As his beard grew longer and people began to look at him awkwardly on the streets of New York City, the rules of both the Old and New Testaments became a kind of second nature for A.J., although there were certain laws that remain impossible to complete in the modern age. He did, however manage to stone an adulterer, even if it involved permission from an older man, tiny pebbles and terrible regret in the moments following the stoning.

“The Bible also says you can’t touch women during certain times of the month,” mentioned Jacobs about rules that seem impossible to follow. “Even more, you can’t sit on a seat where a woman during her time of month has sat. My wife thought that was offensive and sat on every seat in the apartment, so I had to stand a lot of the year.”

His year of living by the literal word of the Bible inspired him in many ways. “I became much more grateful,” said Jacobs. “I try to focus on the hundred things that go right every day, as opposed to focusing on the three or four that go wrong.”

It also gave him the religious education he never had while growing up. “It did make me more interested in the good parts of religion – as well as more aware of the dangerous parts,” he said. “At the end of the year, my wife and I did decided to send our son to Hebrew school.”

Picture by: Michael Cogliantry

It isn’t easy to constantly tell every little aspect of the truth nor is it a simple task to read the entire Britannica. Though his dedication isn’t always obvious to first-time readers, it’s this dedication that makes his writing absolutely fascinating.

In a way, his devotion to experimental journalism can be measured by the length of his beard at the end of his biblical voyage.

Jacobs recalls cutting his hair and shaving his face the day it was over.

“It was kind of bittersweet,” said Jacobs about cleaning up. “The beard was wildly uncomfortable, but I had also become quite attached to it. It was like a family pet.”

At the moment, besides compiling his new book called Life is an Experiment (consisting of previously published works in the realm of experimental journalism), Jacobs is sticking to his regular stuff at Esquire. He wants to stay away from the experiments for just a little while, because The Year of Living Biblically was a little difficult on his family.

“My wife says I owe her after all I put her through. So she says I have to do the year of giving her foot massages.”

Polish movie posters. Why was I never told?

So I little while ago, the unbelievable world of Polish movie posters was brought to my attention. It really is unreal. Basically it’s different Polish artists with their own versions and interpretations of movie posters. They cover films from the world over and they really are fabulous pieces of art. Here’s a sample of a couple of my favorites, there are countless posters that I actually love, but here are a few:

*All these photos are taken from http://www.polishposter.com – explore the site yourself and order copies, as most of the posters are limited editions.

Artist/designer: Andrzej Krajewski

Artist/designer: Leszek Zebrowski

Artist/designer: Leszek Zebrowski

Artist/designer: Jakub Erol

Artist/designer: Leszek Zebrowski

Artist/designer: Leszek Zebrowski

Only the first… of many

This isn’t a cry for attention. Nor is this a sign that Jarred Coxford is waving the white flag and giving into the technological age in which he was born. Nor will Coxford continue writing in the third person (after this first post – it’s not really my thing, but I’m kind of digging it). Frankly, Coxford is a bit off when it comes to computers, which is why it took so long for a fourth year journalism student to start a blog. It also took quite a while to get into the blogging world for Jarred Coxford because he figured that everyone had a blog and that he didn’t necessarily have to stream any more nonsensical garbage into the world.

Okay, I can’t talk like that anymore. Listen, this first post isn’t aimed at introducing myself or this new beautiful blog, but I will throw it down quickly. Basically, this blog is not going to be a daily journal of thoughts nor is it really aimed at giving my semi-professional journalistic spin on enormous news events that you can find enough information on by watching CNN – but incase you don’t watch CNN, here’s a quick rundown:

1. the shot apparently came from the Texas School Book Depository

2. the Challenger didn’t explode, it’s rapidly disintegrated

3. the glove didn’t fit

4. Tiger Woods… joined the PGA tour in 1996

On this blog I’ll sporadically post previously published pieces that I’ve written over the past few years. I’ll make some commentaries on news events, if I feel strongly about them (and if they aren’t destroyed in the popular media), and I’ll bring new things to light that have been brought to my attention. I’ll also share what music I’m listening to, books I’m reading, films I’m seeing and shirts I’m wearing. So take a peak if you’d like, look around, make yourselves comfortable, and please feel free to wander in and out as frequently as you’d like. I was going to conclude with an article that I wrote about a year ago, but I’ll save that for next time. I think that’s enough for now.