Crystallization of Culture?





Weekend Comedy

5 events to be featured on “Jessmo’s Reality Show” if garnered a contract by FOX to capture the reality that was my life this past weekend:

1. Curled against a 83-year old women on her birthday.

2. Curled whilst negoitating my way around two frozen, dead pigs positioned behind the hack on Sheet 4 at the Claresholm Curling Rink who were later roasted on a spit.

 3. Attemped to convince my mother not to purchase a mulberry coloured Pet Stroller to showcase her new Pomeranian’s at dog shows this summer.  Mission an abyssmal failure.

4. Watched my Dad belly dance ontop of a pool table to win a BBQ.  Fucking hilarious!

5. Assured my grandmother that my 87-year old grandfather is not in the hospital with an unidentified source of bleeding because he ate something “sharp.”

My favourite things..


A depiction of my favourite things:

My dog.  Frankie.

Pink cadillacs.  (I found this dog toy at a pet store recently.  The toy is probably more mine than it is Frankie’s.  She is completed disinterested by it.  In fact, I had to force it upon her to take this picture.)

My curling gear.

My couch. (Where I spend an inordinate amount of time reading for my upcoming candidacy exam, or watching TV in a desperate attempt to avoid reading).

My blankie.

Guns and Cancer?


A fellow blogger has a WTF category on his blog.  A recent encounter suggests I should follow suit.  As I walked through the Students Union Building today with a friend to purchase our afternoon coffee pick-me up on route I noticed a display for the Canadian Cancer Society.  The table was marked with the characteristic logo of the yellow daffodil, but the attire of the two young undergraduate students manning the display beckoned my attention.  It is not Halloween, so it was surprising to see these two students outfitted in Top Gun attire.  They were clad in military inspired white uniforms and flashy 80’s sunglasses adorned their faces.  I struggled to make the conceptual linkage between cancer and the movie Top Gun and when no connection came to mind, I did what sociologists do best and posed a question to the young man standing behind the table.  Our conversational exchange was comical to say the least and went something like this in competition with 80’s music blasting from a ghetto-blaster nearby: 

Jessmo: “Excuse me, may I ask what the connection is between cancer and Top Gun?”  (I gotta learn not to be so polite in times like these) 

Maverick responds by gesturing to his uniform and says, “Top Gun,” then points to his arm and says, “Top Guns” and before he can continue my friend interrupts. 

(This is when I notice pamphlets about breast cancer and the need for daily self-examination randomly and messily displayed on the table) 

Kikmo: “You mean there is a thing called bicep cancer?” 

Maverick ignores the interruption and in attempt to get to the point makes a declarative gesture to his chest as if to cup breasts, “And TOP GUNS.” 

Jessmo and Kikmo unite in laughter. (I no longer try to be polite) 

Jessmo: “And the connection between guns and cancer is?”  Maverick: “Isn’t ‘guns’ a vernacular term for you know, breasts?” 

Jessmo: “Did the Canadian Cancer Society approve this campaign?” 

Maverick: “It was our idea, but they gave us the OK.”  Jessmo: “Oh.” 

Maverick: “Would you like to hear some music from the Top Gun Soundtrack?”

(Uhm, I think NOT!)

Gushue: A Winner?



My interest in age studies and curling has sent me into a tailspin this evening.  The Tim Horton’s Brier took place this afternoon.  Brad Gushue, representing Newfoundland and Labrador and the current Olympic Gold Medalist, age 26, was pitted against Glenn Howard, age 44, and his team from Ontario.  Glenn Howard lost the Brier final last year to Jean-Michel Menard from Quebec.  Brad Gushue won his gold medal with Russ Howard (incidentally Glenn Howard’s brother) at the helm.  Gushue threw fourth stones and Howard called the game. 

To win the right to represent Canada at the Olympic Games, your team must win a Brier like competition in which the top teams in Canada (determined by Brier wins and total funds won on the cash spiel circuit) play against one another.  Unlike the Brier, composed of teams representing their province to become a Canadian champion, the Olympic curling trials are not constrained by this residency requirement.  Hence, Gushue – who won the right to compete in the Olympic Trials due to curling accomplishments in the field years prior – asked Russ Howard (who did not qualify to compete in the Trials) to join his team.  Accordingly, Gushue shuffled the positions of his team to make room for Howard.  Gushue’s lead became their fifth player, Howard threw second stones but called the game, and Gushue continued to throw fourth stones.

Controversy erupted when Gushue won the Olympic Curling Trials.  Was Gushue worthy to represent Canada at the Olympic Games in Torino?  Did his team win the Trials because Howard had joined the team?  Although Gushue has been deemed a skillful shot thrower, his youth and inexperience is considered a draw back.  He makes “bad calls” as a skip the critics say.  In a curling game, you often have to pit “risk” (how many points am I going to give up this end if I don’t make my shot) versus “reward” (how important is it at this point in the game to score multiple points).  Inexperience – the critics comment – leads skips, like Gushue, to choose risk over reward more often than is necessary.  But with Howard at the helm, this problem was considered rectified by the critics.  And sure enough, Gushue and Howard brought home the Gold Medal from Torino.

When Gushue won the right to represent Newfoundland at the Brier this year, of course, controversy returned.  Gushue was again calling the game, and moreover, he added a new (young) player to his team because Howard was no longer with them.  Howard, instead, was competing in his home province of New Brunswick, and incidentally lost.  Critics and curling fans watched with baited breath.  The pressure was on.  Gushue had to prove he earned the Gold.  Gushue started shaky; he lost 3 games early on in round robin play but then his team came back to win their next 5 games to earn a spot in the playoffs.  As they say, the game was on.  In the playoffs, Team Ontario played Team Newfoundland; Gushue won 7-6.  As a result, Ontario had to play Manitoba, and conquer Veteran skip, Jeff Stoughton (who interestingly lost to Gushue in the 2006 Olympic Trials final). 

Howard scoffed off criticism about Gushue during an interview with CBC during the Ontario-Manitoba semi-final game – and ironically, minutes later, Stoughton lost control of the game coming up short after deciding to pit “risk” versus “reward.”  With Howard’s victory, Gushue and Howard were set up for their third match of the week.  I watched Gushe and his teammates today and along with my curling colleagues cheered for Gushue.  For the first half of the game, Gushue had control.  After the fifth end break the tides turned.  Gushue’s second flashed a take-out – and then almost in an effort to prove the critics wrong (or right) – Gushue called a gutsy shot – and missed.  Howard was up 3 points after the 8th end.  A game that was within reach for both teams, in a matter of seconds, was out of reach for Newfoundland.  Sigh!  Critics united in victory across the country. 

Unlike other sports it has become vary apparent to me that “youth” is not valued in curling.  The curling circuit involves a gentleman’s club –and only after being on the circuit for years – and having experienced the ups and downs of wins and losses are you granted entry.  Age politics are rampant.  What the critics fail to notice for example is that Stoughton, a Veteran skip, lost the semi-final the day before for similar reasons.  He pitted “risk” versus “reward” and came up short but this blip in his repertoire is downplayed.  Moreover, Gushue is not the only “risk” playing team.  Martin and his team from Alberta are also “known” for taking risks and often end up on the wrong side of the inch.  But when risk taking fails up short for a young team lapse in strategy is hailed. 

When the Brier tankard was presented to Team Ontario today, Gushue wore the voices of his critics on his face.  And not surprisingly, Glenn Howard was asked to comment on Gushue and his team during the reward ceremony.  The camera zoomed in and focused on Gushue.  Howard said his team needed to be “patient” in order to win this game against the high caliber play of Gushue and his teammates.  Howard praised their “youth” and called them an “unbelievable team” when asked whether or not Gushue had accomplished his aforementioned goal of winning respect this week.  Notably, the question was phrased as a declarative statement, “he’s won it” – yet if he has really won it, why the need for all the questions?  And if Gushue had won today, would he really have “won” in the sense of earning the respect he so clearly deserves?  I expect the grief he feels tonight has nothing to do with failing to bring the tankard to Newfoundland.  Instead, he will need to repair the gash inscribed in his pride.  If this is the “experience” his critics say he lacks, he has at least “won” something today with this loss.

Me in a nutshell


In grade school my brother offered his friend something to drink after class.  The singular option in our family household “Caffeine free, sugar free” Diet Coke.  My brother’s friend was like, “What’s the point?”  We collectively giggled.  I love this memory.

Curling Loss

Let’s have a moment of silence please.  Manitoba eliminated Team Alberta (aka skip Kevin Martin) from the Tim Horton’s Brier this afternoon.  Sigh.