Small World, Frozen Friends and International Incidents

Justin January 16, 2012 0

We’ve had a banner week at SCP in terms of reader feedback.

I’d like to start by congratulating Pat Gordon, who won the autographed Aaron Rodgers mini-helmet on Saturday, by answering King Ing’s trivia question, “Where did Justin go to college?”

The answer, which Pat Gordon got very quickly, is, of course, Boston University. What I find most amazing is that, as far as I can tell, Pat Gordon is not a person I know personally. He learned about me from reading the site. That means a lot. So, thanks Pat. And, once again, congrats. I’m sure that helmet will look great on your desk while you’re watching the Giants and 49ers play for the NFC title next week.

Hey! Here’s a joke I just made up:

-Why are they called the Packers?

-Because they’re spending this week packing up their lockers and going home for the winter.


Now back to our previously scheduled musings

Last week,  I referenced SCP reader Beltway Buddy’s Jet fandom and noted that I believed he became a Jets fan because his uncle once gave him a pen with the team logo. I meant it as a cute story.  He clearly took it a different way, judging by this comment.

I’m a Jets fan because my family had tickets on the 50, 10 rows from the field on the shady side of the old meadowlands. Eat a dick. I hope T.K. reads your article, realizes you keep your back window open and comes in during the night and rapes you, forcefully. And repeatedly.

First of all, Beltway Buddy, as always, I’d like to thank for reading. And on a more personal note, I’d like to thank you for a lifetime of loyal friendship and mutual respect.


The TK to whom my lifelong friend, who I have known since I was 2 and whose wedding I performed, is referring to in the previous comment is a gentleman I wrote about earlier in last week’s post. He lived in my apartment before I did, so I’ve been getting his mail for about five years. While most of it has been benign catalogs and the like, he’s recently been getting more serious fare.

Well, not long after the post appeared on SCP, i got an email from another long time friend and loyal reader named Tom. The subject line said “Small World Alert.”  He pieced together some of the context clues about TK and, even though I had altered the name slightly, he realized he knows the guy. Not only does he know him, he actually lived with the guy’s brother in college for two years.


Which brings us back to Beltway Buddy. Now that TK has been identified, it becomes more likely that he can find me and then,  in the words of BB, “realizes you keep your back window open and comes in during the night and rapes you, forcefully. And repeatedly.”

I hope that doesn’t happen. But, if it does, Beltway Buddy, THAT’S ON YOU!

Finally today, we announce a slight format change. In speaking with some readers, I’ve found that a lot of people don’t bother clicking through to the second half of these SI reviews. They don’t read the magazine, so they don’t think a review of it will do them much good. I understand that. But at the same time, I save a lot of my best stuff for after the jump. Just because I’m talking about a magazine, it doesn’t mean I’m any less socially awkward or conversationally appropriate. But, I think I’ve come up with a solution. Starting this week, every review will feature a tease to convince you its worth reading on. Like this:


 Sports Illustrated, January 16,2012

Courtney  Upshaw, College Football, Alabama Crimson Tide


Listen. Sports Illustrated didn’t come until Friday last week, because the BCS game was Monday night. But, by Friday I was already leaving for adventure in a foreign land. I got home today and tried to read the whole magazine, but, come on, that’s not realistic. Plus, the first article is incredibly long and is about a game that, from all accounts, sounds boring as shit. LSU’s offense only crossed into Alabama territory a couple of times in the entire game. That sounds dreadful. Defense may win championships, but it isn’t fun to watch. Then comes a bunch of articles previewing NFL playoff games that had already happened by the time I picked up the magazine. (Nice predictions Peter King. THE GIANTS WON, JERK! (also, the 49ers won.)) Finally, an article about Indiana basketball that I couldn’t get into and a long article about Michael Jordan’s basketball coach from high school, (I was out of touch all weekend, but I feel like I read somewhere that he got arrested this week. Is that because of the article? I don’t know. I guess I’ll go back and read it. )  When you add it all up, this is a relatively unappealing issue, especially when compared to stories from my vacation. Let’s talk about that instead.


As I stated earlier, I went on an exciting adventure in a foreign land. I went to exotic CANADA!  They have different money and instead of purchasing mass produced average quality suits at Men’s Wearhouse, they purchase mass produced average quality suits at a place called Moore’s.

-I went to Montreal with SCP readers Bshrek and Craig. The centerpiece of our trip was Sunday night’s Canadiens-Rangers game at the Bell Centre.

-When we got to Montreal Saturday afternoon, it was -5 degrees. It only got colder. At one point Saturday night, it was -20. In fact, the mercury didn’t rise above zero until sometime this morning, just in time for us to leave. We knew this going in. On Friday, in the moments before we left, Bshrek and I actually discussed whether or not we could die from being outside too long in -20. The only reason we knew it was safe was because we remembered Tom Coughlin on the sidelines of the Giants-Packers NFC championship game in 2007.

But, it turns out, -20 isn’t that bad. Actually, let me restate that. -20 is fucking terrible. But, it’s not really much worse than -5, or +5 or +20 for that matter. Cold is cold. It sucks no matter what. Still, we bundled up, went outside and walked bravely through downtown Montreal with nothing but heavy sweaters, winter coats, hats, scarves, gloves and fleece face masks to protect us. ARE WE NOT MEN?

-Here’s the thing no one tells you about nice hotels. They are shit.  We stayed at the Omni Mont-Royal. It is a 4 star hotel. And it is, in fact, a pretty nice place.   The staff was pleasant and seemed to be doing their jobs well. But, all was not perfect. We got one room for the three of us. When we checked in, we asked the clerk at the front desk if we could have a cot in the room. He said no, because the room wasn’t big enough to fit a cot with the two beds in there already. That’s fine. We’re grown men. We have been friends for a long time. If two of us have to share a bed, we can do so. Especially if those beds are so big that two of them fill an entire hotel room. But, Au Contraire (FRENCH!) Our room was quite large. There would have been plenty of room for a cot. You know what was not quite large? The two double beds that were in there. BShrek and I shared a very small bed for two nights. Neither of us slept well because we were trying not to hog the middle of the bed while also trying to stay perched on the edge of our respective sides, trying not to fall off the bed in the middle of the night.

What was the actual reason for hotel management to refuse our request for a cot? My guess is that they figure any guest who’s willing to pay for a room at a 4 star hotel would also be willing to pay for a second room at a 4 star hotel. They figured, if we couldn’t get a third bed in the room, we would simply pony up for some extra accommodations.

And they charge for in room WiFi. Why is WiFi free at the Red Roof Inn but costs money at a far more expensive hotel?

-Attending a Canadiens game in Montreal is a pretty special event. They sing “Oh, Canada” in both English and French. The crowd chants “Go, Habs, Go” throughout the game. Everyone is keyed into the game. They serve Poutine at the concession stands (but I did not have any.)  The best part, though, is before the game. Hours before the game. Connected to the Bell Centre is Le Cage Aux Sports which is french for.. I don’t know, probably the cage of sports. It’s a really nice, high end sports bar and, after a certain time on game days, only ticket holders are allowed in. We showed up at noon for a 7pm faceoff. That means we got to sit in a comfortable booth and eat and drink all day while watching both NFL playoff games. And when it was time for the game to start, we didn’t even have to go outside. They just pull back a wall behind the bar and the exit turns into a gate from through which you enter the arena. And, in between periods, you can stop back and get a drink. That means we saw almost all of the Giant game without missing any of the hockey game. Pretty amazing.

-The NFL is a pretty big deal in Canada. It led the nightly sports news. That was even the case of the French language network, RDN. The game broadcast is just a simulcast of the US broadcasts, but RDN has its own pre and post game show with it’s own analysts. Where do you find a french speaking football analyst?  Is it just a French Canadian sports writer? Is it a former CFL player? Is it an old NFL guy who speaks French? I don’t know that answer. I was watching, but he was speaking French, so I don’t know what he was saying.

-Speaking of which, french doesn’t sound real. When I hear two people speaking to each other in Spanish, I have no idea what they’re saying, but at least I can tell they’re communicating. French conversations just sound like two people making noises at each other.

-During our trip. Bshrek joined twitter. Follow him @bsherak.






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