Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Now That's Class!

Any guesses as to what these are? I'll give you a hint. We were visiting Brother G and his wife V last night, and they were telling us about their recent trip to South Carolina to visit TC's folks who rented a condo down there this winter. While there, the MIL & FIL insisted that they visit Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede.

At this point you're probably thinking "Oh, so these are the cheesy souvenirs from that visit." You're partly right.

Apparently, when you order wine with your dinner at the Dixie Stampede, it comes in these white, plastic cowboy boots. Which means that sometime during the design of this establishment, someone thought this would be a good idea. And enough of the people in charge agreed with them to make it happen.

The mind boggles.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Ole! Ole! Ole!

Growing up in the Maritimes - where no one really played soccer except that one kid who was kind of wierd anyway - I had never heard of the World Cup. It was swiftly made clear to me in the summer of 2006 that this put me in the minority on a global scale.

Here in Toronto, it is HUGE. There was no way I could have been prepared for the phenomenon that is TO during the World Cup.

Everyone had flags waving from their car windows, over balconies, in windows, on cubicle walls - basically anywhere they could think to put one. Little stores pop up on street corners selling merchandise. At work, every television (and many computer screens) was tuned in to every game, and there was always a crowd of people around each one.

By the quarter finals, it had become a massive, firm-wide event. The flags of the 8 remaining teams were hung at reception, and removed as each team was eliminated. Any games that took place during work hours were projected onto the big screens in the large boardrooms, where we had set up free wings and pizza, as well as fresh popcorn made in the carnival-grade popcorn machines the company rented for the duration (it was my job to make the popcorn - I smelled like butter for weeks!).

TC and I live near one of Toronto's Italian communities, and every time Italy won, we wouldn't be able to sleep at night because of the horns sounding in celebration from the myriad of cars driving up and down the street. And when they won the cup...whoo, boy! More than 20,000 people came to our area to party - and party they did!

This year is shaping up to be much the same, and I'm loving it! I was waiting for the streetcar after work today, and there was obviously some kind of delay as the line stretched all the way to the other side of the station. People were incredibly irritated, and fuses were short. When a TTC supervisor arrived on the scene, he was asked none too politely what the hold-up was. His response? "Mexico just won, and the street was blocked."

What followed is the reason I enjoy the World Cup. All of a sudden, no one was irritated anymore. It made perfect sense to everyone that the street had to be blocked in order to properly celebrate a victory. Complete strangers in line began discussing the merits of various teams, the results of the earlier game between Argentina and South Korea, the annoying-ness of the vuvuzela get the idea.

No other event that I know of brings people together like this - even the Olympics don't really come close. And it's fabulous to see :)