Hey, how's it going? Hot enough for ya? It's not the heat it's the humidity. Sure thing.
What did I do on my vacation? Don't get me started. The CBC – with the help of Hope Solo – ruined it.
There I was, sitting around writing some stuff that is none of your business, for now, when I was alerted by my good friend Dave Bidini that CBC had compiled a list of the best books ever written about sports. I paid no attention.
Then, days later, I did. This was in July. The CBC books department list, "Summer Sports Showdown," was asserted as "the best sports-related reads of all time," and the public was invited to vote. A handful of books related to a bunch of sports was posted online, and proved interesting reading. The sort of thing that people might argue about. I was especially interested in the soccer category. I am a stakeholder in that area, being one of the few Canadians who has written a book on the subject and, if you'll indulge me, seen the book published in many other countries.
The soccer book list included a book by the aforementioned Bidini, Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby, Brilliant Orange by David Winner and Solo: A Memoir of Hope by Hope Solo, the goalkeeper for the U.S. women's soccer team. After recovering from CBC's naked disregard for my work, I managed to be intrigued by the inclusion of Hope Solo's book, a work unknown to me. Jiminy, I said to myself, or words to that effect, this memoir by Hope Solo must be some kind of masterpiece of insight and thrilling narrative. So I looked it up. First thing I noted was the publication date: August 14, 2012.
As you will agree, it is the very definition of peculiar to assert that an unpublished book belongs in the category, "the best sports-related reads of all time," and invite voting on its merits.
So I took to Twitter, as one does these days. To the CBC books people I argued: "Your Soccer list includes the ghostwritten book by U.S. keeper Hope Solo that hasn't even been published yet – Aug. 14 pub date in U.S." In a swift reply, CBC declared: "We didn't consider pub date when making the list, only recommendations. Hope Solo has a lot of fans out there…"
This was almost as comical as the stuff you see on the Sun News Network. Following up, CBC went for polite: "We appreciate your note and will establish firmer rules on pub dates if we do this again in the future." At this point I was flattered to think they might actually be dimly aware of their foolishness. Mind you, this isn't a CBC trait.
On and on it went for a day or two. Me: "C'mon, how can you ask people to vote 'favourite' for a book that isn't even published before the closing date of your contest?" Me: "You should remove Hope Solo book from list 'the best sports-related reads of all time' as it isn't even published yet & admit error." Then, at last, from CBC: "We discussed it & agree."
Victory! So if you're wondering what I did on my vacation, a portion was spent taking the CBC to task for being mildly idiotic. In other words, no vacation. It's what I do when I'm not on vacation. There is no respite. Don't get me started.
Of course, while the CBC was jonesing for the American soccer player Solo, the Canadian women's soccer team was storming through the Olympics, gripping the country with fevered admiration. Oh my, the Olympics. The best Olympic moment, by far, was Diana Matheson's smile after she scored THAT goal, in the Bronze medal game. In general, though, the Olympic experience was maddening – figuring out what event was on what channel, over and over. Don't get me started. Oh sure, it was cute that one incessant commercial revived a masterpiece by The Troggs, the song With a Girl Like You. But even that got old.
Since I felt I was still working, more or less, I surfed around TV just to keep an eye on things. Last week I was deeply dismayed to find that on Sun News Network, Ezra Levant is still jawing on about a cabal of lefty journalists, communists, Cuba and the threat posed to our way of life by commie-loving media types. Seriously, he's still at it.
Look, when tragedy strikes, our innate sense of kindness must surface. Levant has tragically buckled under the weight of obsession. If you know Ezra, please advise him to take up knitting. It is a well-known fact that dyspeptic, choleric men who succumb to fixations can benefit enormously from grasping knitting needles and methodically constructing baby socks, doilies or potholders. A knitting circle where gloomy, fixated men knit and swap tales of their hangups, is a temple of therapy. Besides, if Levant joined a knitting circle, the audience for his idée fixe would certainly increase.
I'm back. Though it feels like I haven't been away at all. Vacation? I am a paragon of dedication. Don't get me started.
PS: Get up early Thursday or set the PVR for Canada against Norway in the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup of Soccer (CBC, 6 a.m.). The Canadian women thrashed Argentina 6-0 in its opening game earlier this week. These are the stars of the future, with the next Women's World Cup happening here in Canada in 2015.
PPS: Memo to CBC – Hope Solo doesn't play for Canada.