Saturday, 1 June 2013

Life-Saving Student Angers Administration

Now I've heard it all...

This article just filtered through to me which is surprising as it was published back in May. The Globe and Mail reported about a student who was reprimanded for, get this, intervening when a bully pulled a knife on another student. That's right folks, this boy was chastised by school officials because he stood up to a bully, an action that may very well have saved another student's life.

Here's the altercation in a nutshell:

  • Bullies beggin harassing a student across the classroom from Briar.
  • One bully gets the victim in a headlock, a "flick" is heard and another student verbally indicates the presence of a knife.
  • Briar gets up from his seat, crosses the classroom and pushes the blade-brandishing bully off of, and away from the intended victim.
At what point in that series of events did Briar earn himself anything less than a commendation? The principal had him brought down to her office where Briar's mother was called and told that the school does not "condone heroics". In case you missed it, Briar very likely SAVED A LIFE through his intervention. Do you know how fast someone can be mortally wounded with a knife? I'm not talking by some professional, special-operations soldier no, I'm talking about some punk kid with a pocket knife... Faster than you can even process it having happened.

There was an incident a number of years ago where a student from a neighbouring school to mine was killed by some coward with a knife in a fistfight. A crowd formed around the two quarrelling students, the punches started landing and then one of them pulled out a knife. Reports said that someone tried to give the other student a skateboard to defend himself but before anyone could step in the boy had already been fatally stabbed.

A former friend of mine was rather close to the victim and so I accompanied him to the funeral. Between multiple viewing rooms for the service and the grounds outside it seemed that the entire student body had shown up to pay their respects. We lost a sixteen year old boy that day because no one stepped in to break up the fight... How many more children will it take before the administrators realize that their approach is doing far more harm than good.

My Bullying Background:

I had to deal with my fair share of shit and abuse from my classmates over the years. As you can probably tell from my attitude, I wasn't the easiest kid to get along with and so I made for a great target. I had students try to steal things from me, push me around and eventually earned a few death threats in high school but after I got out of elementary school I only got into one fight.

I'd been harassed for about four months by the same kid every single day. Didn't matter if it was in the hallways, in the geography class we shared or even in other classes where his friends would start in on me, I never went a full day without some sort of insult or threat from him or his 'associates'. Finally, after he shouldered me in the hallway and knocked my pizza out of my hands, I snapped. I picked up the pizza, lobbed it down the hallway and hit him across the back of the head with it (why not right? Wasn't like I was about to eat floor pizza) and everything went rapidly downhill from there. I spent the next week and a half getting shoved around in the hallways and threatened by both him and his friends who told me "so-and-so's gonna kick your ass after school today". At a certain point you get really sick of having to worry about your walk home, trust me, so I decided to confront him about it. Talking hadn't worked since I'd asked many times before the pizza incident for him to leave me alone. The administration hadn't done anything as the teachers I'd complained to sent me to guidance which saw no change in the issue, so I went out to the bus stop on my way home, made it very clear that I was looking to 'drop the gloves' with him and get it all over with. Sure enough, 15 minutes later he finally decided to show up... Right before one of his friends shoved me from behind and he sucker punched me in the face. From there the whole thing went into a grapple, I sent a few shots into his kidneys and he tried to throw me to the ground before a teacher broke it up. I received a suspension as I'd instigated a fight, as did he but only for being involved in a fight and nothing was done about the months of "bullying".

Some of you won't see my actions as being justified and that's fine but to me? I did what I had to do. I wasn't going to keep shuffling up my route home, walking a kilometre out of my way just to avoid a fight so I decided where and when I'd face my tormentor. If that's wrong, I've got no problems being the bad guy but I'd like to say this. No one should EVER be ridiculed for standing up to a bully, EVER. As Briar's mother said in the article, without heroes we'd have no police officers, no firemen, no emergency services what-so-ever and definitely no military servicemen or women. 

If you'd like to let the school know about your views on the incident and their 'no heroes' policy, you can send them a quick email at or even better yet you can email the school board's chief superintendent and REALLY rattle the cages by sending your thoughts to I did, and this is what I sent to the Superintendent:

"Madam Superintendent,

I am writing this email to make my opinions known to you as per the 'no heroes' policy enforced in your schools. Having just read an article regarding an incident this past month at Sit John A MacDonald school where a bully pulled a knife on his victim. It is this type of "no tolerance" idiocy that will see a generation of wimps, cowards and 'innocent bystanders' raised by schools more concerned with covering their asses than with providing valuable life lessons to their students.

A boy at a neighbouring school to mine was KILLED when another student pulled a knife on him and no one intervened. Despite knowing that this sort of outcome was VERY possible during the altercation at Sir John A, the principal said that the fact that the victim's throat could have been slit in the time it would've taken for the young good Samaritan to notify a teacher was "besides the point".

How can you stand by when policies like this exist in your schools? How can you knowingly allow children to be taught that it's better NOT to stop bullying, better NOT to save lives and to simply keep their heads down and let the worst happen around them? I hope that this has brought a very serious problem to light for you and the entire Calgary Board of Education and that you'll be taking immediate actions to begin instilling proper values in the students whose minds you shape each passing year.

Just remember, these are the students who'll grow up to be the bystander that might have to make the choice between walking by or stepping in and helping if you or your family are being mugged, or in a car crash, or any number of other dangerous situations. Instead of chastising heroism, I think it's about time someone encouraged it don't you?

"Some work of noble note may yet be done"

Joshua J. Taylor - Concerned Canadian"

Yup, that was my letter word-for-word  and I encourage you to write you own. You don't need to write a novel, but you should definitely consider sending SOMETHING and if not to the Calgary superintendent (though her school most-obviously need a revamp in policy) perhaps to YOUR school board asking if they support this type of ridiculous bureaucratic bullshit.

That's all for tonight everyone, hope you enjoyed the read and I hope even moreso that you're inspired to demand change.

Enjoy your swim!

Joshua J. Taylor

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Boston Bombings - Best Guesses

Get Ready to Hate Me:

Yup, I'm about to tell you something that you're not going to want to hear. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, nor am I some whackjob coming in from WAY out in left field on this, I'm just a guy who understands how things usually function and who's noticed the patterns of human behaviour.

Befuddling Blasts:

Some of you might understand this, but a lot of you have probably put a lot of effort into NOT thinking about the subject matter but I assure you, with a little bit of research, that all of the pieces fall into place.

I've seen a pattern in terrorist activities, as have major federal agencies and that is their almost textbook execution. It would seem that there is some sort of script, or terrorist handbook out there for creating the most damage and destruction possible with the resources at hand. This is how it typically works.

Phase One:

This is usually some graphic, atrocious display of aggression causing severe injuries and occasionally death. The point of this phase isn't to kill, it's meant to maim, injure and in doing do, draw first-responders to the scene. 

The example I've chosen is the attack on a housing community and a softball game pictured in the movie The Kingdom. The people at the softball game flee from the shooting, a man dressed in a security officer's uniform calls for them to follow him and when they do, he pulls out a live grenade and detonates it.

The result of these attacks again, are not nearly as devastating as the second phase strikes but they create panic and bring all sorts of people to the initial scene. These first responders become the secondary targets of phase two.

Phase Two:

Right here is the piece of the terrorist puzzle that you REALLY need to be worried about. This isn't about distraction, it's not about  any ulterior motives, it's about total and complete devastation. This applies to both physical and emotional destruction as the people targeted in these situations are those who've come to help, and it's more likely to be widely observed and televised because of the attention drawn by the previous attack(s).

This phase normally takes place a considerable time after the initial incident, allowing for first responders to congregate on-scene but not leaving enough time for explosive ordinance teams to detect any secondary explosives (if that's the method being used for the Phase Two attack). Keeping with the references to The Kingdom, the secondary phase could be something like a larger explosive charge brought to the scene by a vehicle that would not appear as out of place. In The Kingdom it was an ambulance and that theme continued with an ambulance being used in the Criminal Minds episode based in New York as well.

This should start making sense to everyone reading this. You cause trouble, people come to check it out. News crews, paramedics, fire and police responders, construction engineers if necessary... All of these people create a massive influx of targets and if you asked homeland security, they'd tell you the same.


I want to say it plain and clear before I go any further. I am not some psychopath determined to destroy the world. This information is not something I've gathered together in order to CAUSE destruction, but instead to explain it and root out the issues and maybe understand how to be better prepared in the case of a catastrophic incident.

My previous blog was put on a police watch list as I'd made a large number of insulting and very critical remarks about my old high-school's administration so I know that there's a chance it could happen again. This is my little disclaimer to let any such police force, law enforcement agency or government agency know that I'm not a hostile person, just a guy trying to make sense of a mostly senseless world.

Square Peg in a Round Hole:

So maybe you're starting to see where I'm going with all of this as far as the Boston bombings are concerned. If you can't see it yet, don't worry. I'm about to explain it all very clearly and hopefully in a way that will make even the most die-hard believer in the popular press' stories question what they've heard.

The blasts at the finish line of the Boston marathon occurred within seconds of one-another, in a crowded area and only managed to kill 3, and maim just shy of 200 individuals. You might think I'm being cold by saying "only managed to kill 3" but considering more civilians than that are killed each day by US military operations, I'm not going to get too teary-eyed.

Anyway, the bombs go off in rapid succession, and compared to the damage that COULD have been caused, they were extremely ineffective. If they had half a mind to do some REAL destruction, the whole thing would've been staged much differently which could've and likely would've caused MUCH more damage and isn't that the goal of ANY terrorist? Cause as much harm and create as much chaos as possible? Yup, it sure is.

Psychological Profile:

I'd like to point out a second aspect of the whole mess that doesn't fit the mould of your typical terrorist-type... The younger brother's psychological and social profiles.

This boy, only nineteen years old, had just received a $2500.00 scholarship to pursue a career in medicine, he was fairly welcomed by his highschool class which is about all that any student can ask for, and his life aspirations were to have an enjoyable career and make money. Someone in his position simply doesn't establish an 'endgame' and decide to bomb a major event. 

No, a kid like that thanks his lucky stars that his education was going to be $2,500.00 cheaper and starts planning their entire life. Maybe the brother fit the profile of a hostile psychopath somewhat, being a loner and expressing some serious anti-American sentiments on their web profiles etc, but I have a lot of anti-American policy feelings and a very select group of friends... I'M not an extremist so what's the difference?

Well they're originally from the area around Chechnya which is just to the north of Georgia... If anything they should have anti-Russian sentiments in abundance but I suppose that slipped most peoples' minds as well right? Of course it did. Regardless, since they're not American-born they must be terrorists right? Anyone from outside the country could be one of these evil extremists who're jealous of American freedom and prosperity right? Suuuuuuure, let the media blame the immigrants and foreigners. That's worked well before (It really has folks. Just look up the issues surrounding the start of the Spanish-American war).

Seriously folks, I hope you're seeing how little sense any of this makes. I know we live in a screwed-up world where everything seems so out of control and senseless but there are some human truths that just can't be avoided. In this day and age, unless you're already rich, you don't walk away from $2,500.00... Even if you ARE rich you sure as hell aren't going to sneeze at such a scholarship so why would this young man do such a thing?

The Clean-Up:

So, the bombing doesn't fit any sort of 'terrorist logic', and at least one of the apparent perpetrators doesn't come close to fitting the profile of the type of person who commits these acts. By all accounts the younger brother was a smart kid, and I mentioned the $2,500.00 scholarship... Don't you think that someone going to school for medicine would know how to cause the most damage to the human body? If you've got the know-how to make a pressure cooker into a shrapnel bomb, you could sure as hell figure out how to make the most of it.

I'd like to say I'm sorry for not believing the popular news, but I'm not. Would it save me some hassle? Sure, but then I'd be just another sheep and that's not cool to me. 

Oh well, until next time folks... Enjoy your swim!

Joshua J. Taylor

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Student Savings - Car Cash Conundrums Pt. 2

Routine Maintenance:

As with all good proposals, mine's run into some roadblocks but it's nothing that can't be worked around. One of the most important traits to a successful individual is perseverance in the face of adversity and I intend to show just that with this addition to the "Car Cash Conundrum" article.

I feel as though my initial article was well-written (of course I'm biased but you CAN disagree if you'd like) but I still faced some challenges when I actually brought my proposal to my mother. This started me thinking that if I was getting challenged on my proposal, it's likely that anyone else who tries to implement my system would get some push-back from their prospective partners as well. As such I've written this article to address the main concerns that I've had raised by both family and friends.

Dream Car Doubts:

The first obstacle that I encountered when I pitched this concept was my mother worrying over money, as everyone does in life. She argued that she wasn't going to have the amount of disposable income available after retirement that she has now, and that she couldn't afford to be purchasing a car now that she wasn't going to keep.

Cars mean money...
It's fairly likely that this is the leading argument that you'll run into as most people worry that after retiring, their financial situation will be in a never-ending state of serious jeopardy. The argument is rather simply beaten though if you take THIS approach:
  1. Remind your prospective 'business partner' that to purchase a NEW car, they'd likely require a lease to pay it off.
  2. Figure out the vehicle that they're in the market for, determine the lowest possible price for that make and model, and factor in their current vehicle's trade-in value* along with the down payment that they'd be making on a new car. It will help to link your proposal to this argument if you use the down payment you'd require from them to purchase a suitable used vehicle.
    * has a trade-in value tool. They're a reputable group so I'd recommend working your research through them as much as possible when it comes to vehicles.
  3. With as much relevant lease rate data on their preferred car gathered as you can find, work out the amount of money they could SAVE by totalling up the monthly lease payments by the number of months, and restructure your proposal to fit their available lease period.
  4. Factor in the amount of money you'll be paying them over time for the used car that you're proposing and you can tell them what their NEW down payment on their dream car would be after completing YOUR proposed payment plan.
Almost every parent understands the fact that a larger down payment means less money spent on financing a purchase. In my case, I was looking at comparing my proposal to financing a 2013 Cadillac CTS. Factoring in our vehicle's trade-in value along with my requested down payment on a used vehicle the lease payments would have been $311 over 36 months. This equates to $11196.00 spent financing the NEW vehicle where it COULD be added together over the same time period to become a $23000.00+ down payment towards a new vehicle. Compared to putting only about half of that down on a purchase? Yeah, you can bet that there's a huge difference and anyone looking at buying a new car will see it.


This might be your worst enemy through all of this. Money can be summed up and put into cold hard facts, but how someone reads or interprets your words. If they're not taken the right way it is very likely that your words might lead someone into getting their back against the wall or completely discounting your proposal simply because of an instance of inaccurate wording.

A little misinterpretation anyone?
My recommendation here is for you to write out your proposal, have it proofread by someone who has a business-oriented career or background, even someone taking business or law in school as they may have a better grasp on the issues and they have a better chance of getting you to a point where your proposal is beyond misinterpretation. 

Just work by the mantra that "anything than CAN be misunderstood WILL be misunderstood". Go with this in mind and you should fly pretty true.

Criss-Crossed Car Concepts:

I didn't run into this myself, but I thought that some of you, in an overzealous state, might overshoot your mark. 

What I mean here is if you KNOW your 'target' is looking for a 4-door family car, don't try to bargain them into getting a convertible or a sports coupe. Make sure you stay inside the type of vehicle that will fit THEIR needs, as they're going to have a larger list of 'must haves' and you simply need four wheels and a motor. I'm not saying you need to give up, roll over and play dead, but you DO need to be more mindful of your target's needs than your own. This is a time for patience folks, your time will come and with a lifetime of savings you might just get your hands on YOUR dream car but now is not the time.

These have been just a couple of pitfalls you might encounter. If you can think of any more challenges, please feel free to post in the comments section and I'll do whatever I can to help you work around them.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Student Savings - Car Cash Conundrums

Start Your Engines:

Hey there fellow starving students! Have I got a post for you or what!

No seriously, that wasn't a question and this post is entirely about a situation that most of us will face at some point in our young lives... Buying our first car.

BMW M3 CSL... I can only dream...
Buying your first car can be an experience that brings up a number of emotions... Pride and shame are usually the first two that come into our heads. We're typically either ecstatic and disproportionately proud of our new vehicle (like the people who flip out over a rust-eaten, beat-up and SUPER high mileage jalopy) or somewhat ashamed (those of us driving our mom's old minivan because it seemed like great graduation gift at the time). Then there are the group of young drivers who venture to a used car lot intent on picking out a 'winner', finding a great deal only to realize that their dream car was nothing more than a cash cow in disguise... Andrew, I'm talking to you on that one bud ;)

Seriously though, the biggest issue is usually financing your wheels and that's understandable considering the price of gas, insurance, and the few pennies we manage to scrounge from out part-time, foot-in-the-door-level jobs after tuition takes its bite out of our savings. To this end I've come up with a suggestion that you can take to your parents in a time where everyone has changing needs, and one solution might just fit all of them adequately enough to get you behind the wheel, and give your family a new sense of pride in their fiscally responsible and reasonable youngster.

Weighing The Wallets and Wants:

As you're coming into your own as a young adult, your parents will likely be transitioning into a new lifestyle as well. With you looking to get out on your own, they'll be looking at a greater level of disposable income, odds are that they're looking into retirement, and as such their transportation needs will be changing as well.

Using my household as an example we've had a minivan since moving into this house almost a decade ago. This has always come off as odd to me seeing as I have had a sports practice in about the same amount of time, and I've not been to soccer practice since I was around 7 years old... Seriously, why my mother's got a 'soccer mom' vehicle at this point is beyond me but onto the real substance here. My mum wants to get herself behind the wheel of a Cadillac, but it's a big jump to go over the the luxury sedan side after driving a minivan for so long, not to mention a pretty hefty financial burden.

As for my needs? Well it's about high time that I started driving SOMETHING. I was never given the opportunity to practice with the Grey Goose (my affectionate nickname for the minivan) and my life never really saw me needing a vehicle as my school, work, and friends were all local to me and well within walking or biking distance. Now I see my life changing, longer commutes to see friends, family and a larger world of opportunity beyond my effective walking or biking range. This means, like many other people my age, that I'm in need of a motorized method of transportation. With that said, I don't have a lot of money to sink into that need, so my options remain limited.

This is where the needs of myself and my mother collide, and where you can likely find the common ground between you and YOUR household's needs as well. This works best if you're not in need of a vehicle on a daily basis, and especially well if you're just working on getting your full G License. My recommendation to you? Propose a "Scheduled Transfer of Ownership" to your parents and see what their feelings are on the matter. 

Scheduled Ownership Transfer:

Essentially you're looking at a 'rent to own' arrangement. You and your parents/guardian make an initial investment into a vehicle that adequately meets the needs of all the parties involved. In my case it's rather simple however you might need to do some bargaining as per your household's specific demands. After the initial investment (purchase) is made, under the agreement you, as the young driver of the house, would begin making scheduled payments over an established period of time until you take ownership of the vehicle.

My suggestion in arranging the payment plan is this... Your payments should include the cost incurred by your parents involved with insuring the vehicle so that you can drive it, as well as a percentage of the car's projected value at the point where you would be taking full ownership of it. This system works much better when dealing with buying a used, earlier model vehicle as the initial cost and insurance payments will be lower. Here's my situation...

My mother's target vehicle: Cadillac Sedan, New.
My proposed vehicle: Earlier-Model BMW 3-Series Sedan, Used.
Proposed Vehicle Cost: ~$5,400-$10,000 CDN.
Payment Term: 3-4 Years.

So, I've matched the needs of the parties involved, picked an older model car, a 4-door sedan as well (trust me, a young driver in a sports coupe? Insurance companies see nothing but dollar signs when you apply). the payment term reflects an average college or university education timeline and the cost (look it up people, you really can get BMWs in this price bracket) is very reasonable. Now comes the tricky part... Calculating the depreciation in value and establishing what value of use the other parties in the agreement will take from the vehicle.

For my example, here's a little spreadsheet I drew up for the calculations:

Simple enough.
I used a website to determine the projected decrease in my car model's value, applied that to any investment into a used vehicle and since the 'off the showroom floor' factor can be ignored when buying a used vehicle (the amount that a new vehicle depreciates simply by you taking it off the car lot), the calculation becomes a piece of cake. You need to use the formula for "exponential decay" to determine the value but honestly, with the online tools available to you, that's easy enough to do.

So, recapping everything:

Proposed Vehicle: BMW 3-Series, 320i 4-Door Sedan, Used.
Avg. Cost: $7,600.00CDN
Depreciated Value After:
-3 Years: $4595.37 CDN
-4 Years: $3824.84 CDN

Now, here's the more complicated part... Establishing what you're going to pay over time until the car is transferred over to you. I would argue that you could only owe, at most, the percentage of the final value, that your parents put into the initial investment minus an amount from them having benefited from the vehicle's use. As an example, if your parents were to pay for 75% of the car initially, then you would owe them 75% of the car's final value. Now there will be a lot of squabble about this, there always seems to be when I post my opinion but that's what I'm going with.

To sum things up, using my example of the BMW 3-Series 320i 4-Door Sedan purchased for $7,600.00 and a payment term of 4 years where the initial investment was split 60:40 between your parents/guardians and you respectively:

Initial Investments:
-You: $3040.00
-Parents/Guardians: $4560.00
Car's value after 4 years: $3824.84
Amount to be paid over payment term: ~$2294.90
Monthly Payments: $47.81 + Insurance Share

Driving Into the Sunset:

So, with the numbers broken down, there's really not that much to it. Everything in this system boils down to the five lines of data seen above. Just establish every value you can before making your proposal and you'll have given yourself the best chance of success.

Readers, from what I can gather, the majority of today's parents just want to see their children taking on more responsibility and proving that they can handle it. If you go to them whining "mommy, daddy I want a car!" odds are, unless you're some over-entitled brat, that you'll be getting nothing and you DEFINITELY won't earn any respect. However, go to them with a fully planned financial proposition and not only will you improve your chances of success, but at the very LEAST they ought to respect your level-headed approach.

That's really all I have to say about the issue... I hope that this solves some problems and puts you behind the wheel of a half-decent ride sometime soon!

Enjoy your swim!

Joshua J. Taylor

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Pokemon - A Post-War Prophecy?

I Wanna Be...

The very best, like no one ever was. Explaining them is my real test, to blog this is my cause. Okay, enough of that and onto the actual meat of this article.

I had an argument with a friend today over the theoretical origins of Pokemon... Yeah, you heard me, Pokemon. Why did this argument take place? Waaaaaay too much free time on our hands but I think I managed to nail it down and I've brought my theory to the blog for all of you to pick at.

War! HUH!

What is it good for? Creating a fantastical world where kids get to own, raise and fight with superpowered animals for money while travelling around the world by my reasoning. How did I come to this conclusion you ask? Let me lay it out for you.

Check the list
  1. You have no father, and your best friend/rival is an orphan.
  2. Children are on a journey around the world.
  3. You are accepted as the man in the house and you're allowed to make your own life decisions from a very young age.
  4. Most of the people you meet are either children or gym leaders (most of whom are women, young people or seedy characters).
  5. The men you meet are either very old, have military-linked jobs or are involved with organized crime.
  6. There are hospitals and basic markets everywhere but no entertainment centres or services.
  7. "Hey, kid! What do you think you're doing here? You won't live long in combat! That's for sure! I tell you kid, electric pokemon saved me during the war!" - Lietuenant Surge aka "The Lightning American"
So think about this folks, what else could cause these conditions? Lt. Surge being nicknamed "The Lightning American" points to the existence of the Americas, which makes Lt. Surge inhabiting Kanto (the name of an actual region in Japan) a likely instance of immigration.


Before I start this, I need to make one point clear. In the Pokemon universe, pokemon coexisted with animals as we recognize them, meaning not EVERY organism in the Pokemon universe has always been a human or pokemon. My evidence? The Weepingbell Pokemon Card, an official, Pokemon-licensed piece of merchandise featuring Weepinbell and a small blueish-green bird not identified as ANY pokemon ever shown.

See the bird?
That's not a pidgey, spearow or any other pokemon released so what else could it possibly be? This leads me to my next point... Pokemon are simply organisms that evolved rapidly from organisms currently known to man.

Pikachu is known as the "electric mouse pokemon", and with names like Pidgey (Pidgeon) and Spearow (Sparrow) not to mention Squirtle being a hybrid Squirrel-Turtle (note the fluffy squirrel tail) it makes a pretty clear case that these names were given to new species that were so closely related to their evolutionary ancestors. These evolutions still require an explanation though, as such changes in animals even that we've seen don't just happen overnight. To explain that I go back to the war.

In a world with such advanced technology as Pokeballs and a computerized pokemon storage system it is hard to believe that nuclear power would be unavailable. In staying with my theory that Pokemon makes the most sense as an evolution of our current world state, nuclear power would have been available, especially during a war where America is involved. Since radioactivity HAS been proven to cause cell mutation albeit rarely positive mutation, the case could be made to this explanation of why the Pokemon experience is what it is:

The Wrap-Up:

Pokemon takes place in Japan following a devastating world war culminating in nuclear conflict. Japan, as an island nation very difficult to attack and isolate (experienced by the United States during WW2's island-hopping campaign), managed to remain geographically untouched in the war but suffered from the loss of the majority of their prime-aged male population due to the conflict. 

Your father and your friend/rival's father were killed in the war, leaving you the man of your household and your rival in the care of his grandfather. You and your generation are the first generation of people living in an era of piece in a post-war environment that sees the expansion of organized crime, a complete lack of an entertainment industry (would have been necessary to finance a total war),  and a burgeoning expansion of construction projects (Veridian and the grounds to its east).

Of course this is all just the ramblings of a very bored mind. I don't believe that pokemon exist, existed, or will exist. I'm just taking a pass at an analysis of a world provided to me by Game Freak Inc. and Nintendo. What do YOU think reader?

Enjoy your swim, and catch'em all!

Joshua J. Taylor

Monday, 18 February 2013

Game Changers - Fearsome Fighters

Drop The Gloves:

This is a question that will be asked all year, and likely for years to come... Can a fight change the course of a game? Can winning or losing one good dust-up change the momentum of a game enough to win or lose it? I submit for your consideration, my take on the issue from last night's Toronto game against the Florida Panthers.

A Slow Start:

This game didn't precisely explode out of the starting gate. It was back and forth for a little but eventually Florida took over, leading 12-6 in shots on goal and definitely outskating the Leafs. Toronto's game suffered like this until Phil Kessel scored at 17:04 of the first period but what's more important is what happened less than three minutes before. That would be this:

Definitely a decisive bout.

After this point, the Toronto game really picked up. We saw bigger hits, better passing, and more determination in the offensive zone to maintain puck control and put pressure on the Florida defence. This increased effort eventually led to Kessel's marker late in the first.

Throwing in the Towel:

Many people are trying to have fighting taken out of the game which I think is simply ridiculous and I believe it's a bad idea for a few reasons.

My primary focus here is on the psychology of the game. If you put 12 men on an ice rink... Tell them that millions of dollars depend on their scoring against the other team, and allow for a decent level of physical contact as 'part of the game' but take away the fighting you have tantamount to a pipe bomb. fights allow for the release of tension and the last major steps to eliminate fighting only brought in more frequent use of dirty hits, headshots and clipping. We began seeing players targeted very specifically and no one to back them up. Players would go after another team's star forwards, their playmakers and even their goaltenders as Toronto fans know extremely well. This trend is going to keep getting worse so long as fighting is pushed from the ice to the history books.

Second, and almost as importantly, I DO believe that a good scrap can change the pace of a game. It's not necessarily so simple as if you beat a player his team will fall apart, however YOUR team can be inspired by your actions especially if they've been sluggish. Watching your teammate take matters into his own hands can spur a player, lacking in energy to step their game up.

The Unchanging:

There is however, one force that will most likely persist in their fight against fighting in the sport... But don't worry folks, odds are that this won't be going away anytime soon...

Proper signage IS key.
Because who doesn't love seeing him get his ass kicked? Precisely. Take that as one extra bonus when it comes to leaving fighting in the game, someone gets to lay his ass out cold every now and then when he shoots his mouth of... That, or we get to watch him dive like an Olympic 10m competitor.

Enjoy your swim folks, and as always, feel free to weigh-in.

Joshua J. Taylor

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Leafs Line - Montreal Massacre

The Puck Drop:

There's not much else to say really, one team showed up big and the other seemed to have gotten stuck in traffic on their way to the ice because from the scoreboard situation, this was a complete blowout.

The Scoreboard:

So the scoring runs down like this... Toronto scored, then they scored again... and again... then they put another one between the pipes... and another... and finally one more for good measure. In the meantime Reimer had to field 37 shots fired on him and fights broke out left-right-and-centre as the game just fell apart for Montreal.

Toronto Goals:

  • L. Komarov from N. Kulemin.
  • T. Bozak from JVR and J. Liles
  • JVR from P. Kessel
  • PPG - P. Kessel from D. Phaneuf and C. Franson
  • K. Holzer from C. Orr and J. McClement (Yeah, the big boys put some points on the board along with their PIMs)
  • PPG - D. Phaneuf from P. Kessel
Kessel got on the board with three points, Reemer (that's James Van, not a 'Reimer' typo) came up big tonight and I must give a little congratulations to Dion Phaneuf who actually managed to hit the net as opposed to the boards behind it and his own team mates. 

Although it was a high-scoring game for Toronto, the penalty minutes became just as big a story if not something to overshadow the beating that Montreal took in goals.

The Sin Bin:

To put this in perspective early folks, a total of 116 penalty minutes were handed out over the duration of the game and 94 of them came in the 3rd period... Yeah it got a little hairy on the ice as things drew to a close.

Honestly, every time I see a game that's so one-sided, where one team is taking such a ridiculous beating, I'm usually watching someone pound on the Leafs so this was a nice change. But in those cases, tempers almost always flare and the fists start flying and this Toronto-Montreal grudge match was no different. The only change from the Leafs last year compared to their performance in such a physical style of game THIS year is, well... Almost everything. Montreal tried to beat them with skaters and that didn't work. When that failed they tried to rough up Toronto but realized far too late that the likes of Jay McClement, Mark Fraser, Colton Orr, and Frazer McLaren amongst others were waiting to greet them and Montreal simply didn't have enough bodies to put on the ice in order to wear down Toronto's heavy-handed capabilities which is something that they've been seeking for YEARS. Well, it would appear that the Leafs have found a perfectly functional balance between speed, 'magic mittens' and spunk. It came out in a big way against Montreal and for the first time in a long time Toronto has been able to say "WE are the Toronto Maple Leafs. Don't mess with us!"

I suppose it would be unfair of me to tell you about the mayhem without at least featuring the best fight of the night... Well, here's MY pick though you likely have your own. Seeing Colton Orr one-punch Rene Bourque? Yeah that made my night I must say. It's not that I have anything against Bourque, OR that that I think it was a real fight (as there would've needed to be two sides to the altercation) but I just love seeing Colton Orr back in the lineup and moreover that he's been laying people out fearlessly. So, here it is... Orr one-punches Rene Bourque with a bonus bout between Frazer McLaren and Josh Gorges.

Don't blink or you'll miss it

Honestly, the scariest part of this video is the sick, sadistic laughing smile that McLaren has painted on his face for the entire fight... Sort of reminds me of Matthew Barnabe's mug when he got into a scrap with anyone. Seriously, check out Barnabe, then look and McLaren and tell me you don't see the similarity.

Exhibit A:

Check 30s into it... THAT smile lol

In any case, the point just needs to be understood that McLaren looked like he was having the time of his life, and it scared me a little to see a man taking such enjoyment out of pummelling poor Josh Gorges.

The Return of Optimus Reim:

Not since his electric start with the Leafs have I seen James Reimer look so comfortable between the iron.  Reimer was on his game tonight and little did I know when I jokingly said "OH! Reimer made a save on the first shot! It's gonna be a good game!" how right I was soon to be.

As I stated before he saved 37 shots, 8 of them on power plays, and he seemed unflinching when the bodies started flying around him... Not Ron Hextall level unflinching but good enough for my tastes. Reimer seemed to stand a foot taller than his 6'2'' frame as he faced down Brian Gionta and the Montreal Canadiens who only last year left him with his concussion that has since hounded his time with the Leafs. If he was nervous about staring down the elbows of Gionta he sure didn't show it, nor did his team mates give him any reason to fret as they did quite the job keeping Montreal's bodies away from their goaltender. It was refreshing to see Toronto finally stepping up and protecting good ol' 'Optimus Reim'.

Way to go Jimmy!

The Final Buzzer:

With all the misconducts, minutes, goals and goaltending out of the way, the game went into the books as yet ANOTHER Toronto road win, earning them the nickname "The Road Warriors" to a few with only Chicago boasting a better away-game standing. Toronto has now  (soundly) beaten the Montreal Canadiens twice this year and here's hoping that's not the last Montreal Massacre we see this year.

Actually, the next time they're scripted to meet is on my birthday. Anyone wanna get me tickets? Just kidding.

Enjoy your swim!

Joshua J. Taylor

Friday, 1 February 2013

Leafs Line - The Frat-Factor

A Look Back:

While writing for my original Fishbowl I put my opinion out there (as I always do) about a young Leaf forward that I had a great deal of faith in. Went on to detail his relative success in the minors, his pre-Leafs-affiliation performance, and the impact he'd had in the few games Burke had him playing with the big boys. "That kid's going to be someone big on the Toronto offence" I'd say to anyone who'd listen... "That kid's going to do great things". It would seem that he's on the right track.

Before the Buds:

Raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Matt Frattin has had a bit of a rocky history before getting into the big leagues. Admitting to excess partying nearly being his downfall while at the University of North Dakota, being charged with a DUI, and losing his athletic scholarship all nearly ended his career in sports before it had even started but he was later cleared of all charges and made it back to join his North Dakota team mates.

Frattin has a history of being a very influential force in the sport, leading the NCAA Mens Division I in goals scored (2010-11) and he scored more goals in his senior season than in his first three years put together. He managed to pot a pair of game-winners in the WCHA playoffs and was awarded the WCHA Player of the Year honours.

This photo actually comes from a great article I found wherein Frattin is being interviewed about his success back in his North Dakota days. They cover his attitude looking ahead, his roles in major wins, him "leading the nation" in scoring and most amusingly about him pranking his coach... Randy Carlyle watch your back, this kid's got a mischievous streak in him although that may help to add levity should the team start trending downhill again this year. You can read the entire thing here if you'd like.

Some of the Numbers:

Here's a little chart from the Maple Leafs' official roster page for Frattin. You'll notice that he's developing a habit while in the NHL of scoring game-winners (must be a habit from his university days) and as it stands he's holding six points over his last four games played in two of which (the last two Toronto games in a row) he's put in the winner.

2010-2011MAPLE LEAFS1000-1000050.0
2010-2011UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA-WCHA44362460421036
2011-2012MAPLE LEAFS568715-425002928.7
2011-2012TORONTO MARLIES-AHL2314418-2203036820.6
2012-2013MAPLE LEAFS442622002757.1
NHL TOTALS6112921-32700410411.5

Game-Winning Goals:

Now don't start believing the nega-hype from Buffalo netminder Ryan Miller, who'd have you be of the mind that he 'gave' Frattin the winning point by being in the wrong place, wrong time, and not covering the angles. Frattin shelfed the puck over Miller's right shoulder to put them over Buffalo and Miller was about as flush to the post as he could've been. With only two seconds left on the clock and in overtime it takes a certain something to muster up the confidence and composure to slide one past a netminder like Miller.

January 29th, 2013: TOR @ BUF - 4-3 Toronto in Overtime

"What a goal" is right!

I'd like to take just a quick second to point out that Frattin's 'first' NHL goal came in a shootout and so, didn't actually count as a goal scored on his numbers sheet. My ex and I had an "awwwe, Frattin" moment when we watched him nail the shootout as we both knew he'd be getting a lot of grief from the rest of the players about the technicality of it all.

January 31st, 2013: WSH @ TOR - 3-2 Toronto in Regulation Time

Unfortunately the goal hasn't made it onto Youtube yet (in a format I'm willing to post on here) but I do have the link to the Maple Leafs' official website which hosts an HD quality video of the play. You can watch the video here and I recommend that you do because it comes off of a beautifully salvaged play and a set of wonderful moves by the other youngster in Nazem Kadri. This pairing seems to be working much to the Leafs' advantage and I have no qualms in saying that they're going to be a line to watch for the rest of the season.

Going Forward:

The only thing that Frattin needs to be careful of right now is that he doesn't develop the same problems Kadri ran into when he first made waves in the NHL. Burke sent him (Kadri) back down to the Marlies for good reason as Kadri had -and still has to a lesser extent- a problem with his attitude, viewing himself as God's gift to hockey as it would seem. Sometimes a player just isn't ready for success and accolades and they get caught up in their own hype (see: Downfall of Alex Ovechkin for reference). However, if Frattin can keep this from going to his head and stay focused on the games ahead, we should see a highly productive career from him.