Obamamania: A Sweet ‘Psycho-Emo’ Hangover

iphone_records_capitol1The historic inauguration of the 44th President of the United States had to be one of the most scrutinized and unifying events on the planet since American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the moon in 1969.

I actually have an Obamania hangover without so much as touching a drop of alcohol. Honest! It’s more of a self-induced ‘psycho-emo’ hangover’.

I think it all started with the ‘We are One’ pre-inauguration concert at the Lincoln Memorial. This was ear and eye candy for the taking. After learning that Canadians could only view the live concert featuring the likes of U2, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Beyonce, Sheryl Crow etc. on HBO Canada, well – of course I had no choice but to subscribe.

And when U2’s Bono got all political by telling the hundreds of thousands in attendance that Martin Luther King’s dream was “not just an American dream but also an Irish dream, a European dream, an African dream, an Israeli dream and also a Palestinian dream” – well, I nearly melted and knew I was hooked.

What really grabbed me by the throat during the past couple of days were the myriad of ways one could tap into the Inauguration Day’s events: of course the big US TV networks were all over it, I watched and listened to Obama’s speech live on the CNN web site feed, I sampled delectable portions of Amy Bowllan’s first-hand video blog-post account Inauguration Part II,  I greedily drank in tweets from the Obamainaugural Twitter feed and posted some of my own tweets in reaction to the blanket Obamamania coverage on my Twitter account.

Though, ironically, it was a relatively ‘low-tech’ rendering of Inauguration Day from my American cousin Suz Redfearn that won the day. Suz dished up a post-inaugural pièce de résistance that had me lol 🙂 and 😦 at the same time. Here is a tiny slice-of-life exerpt from Suz’ oh-so-close encounter at the Obama Inaugural epicenter:

We could see where Obama would soon be taking the oath of office. We stood and took it all in and I had waves of bliss then. Because WOW. Here I was. For the moment. I made it. Obama made it! And it was all about to happen… Just then, Mac’s daughter said she had just seen Bruce Springsteen walk by. A few minutes later, I saw Al Franken. Someone else saw Spike Lee. It was celebrity central. Sort of. We lingered there for about 20 minutes, knowing that soon we’d have to move. This was the sitting part of the orange section and we’d be shooed away pretty soon. But we stood there as long as possible, drinking it all in.

Undoubtedly, the pre and post Washington Mall satelitte photos obtained by CNN and splashy Jumbotron images  of spectator and celebrity alike have a certain ‘sexy-geeky’ appeal to them, as do the live internet, Twitter and FB feeds.

But in the end – it was written word, inspired by the passion of the human heart, craftiness of the human mind and depth of the human soul that soared on Inauguration Day.

Photo Credit: Suz Redfearn

Photo Caption: One of Suz’ Inauguration friends, Danielle, uses an iPhone to record the historic address in front of the Capitol building.

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For the Sake of the Game

hockeyNote to all the Canadian Major Junior Hockey Associations, NHL Board of Governors and Player’s Association – please do not allow Don Sanderson’s death to be in vain.

Yes, the incident at the end of the hockey fight on December 12th that ended in Sanderson’s head striking the ice and putting him in a coma was an accident. It was the result of two consenting players engaging in a hockey tradition that was formally introduced as rule 56 in 1922. The rule permitted the assessment of a five-minute penalty for fisticuffs instead of automatic expulsion from the game.

Of course no one intended for this tragic event to happen, just as no one intended that Steve Moore’s neck would snap after the ‘code’ of retribution had been enforced by the Vancouver Canucks and Todd Bertuzzi on March 8, 2004, as it has by countless hockey teams in answer to past transgressions.

To those hockey fight ‘purists’ who think that stick infractions and ‘head-shots’ will only increase if fighting is banned from the sport – think again.

If hockey fighting is banned outright in the NHL and other North American hockey leagues, yes illegal stick use and head-shots may likely increase for a time, but if the NHL and major junior leagues crack down on them as consistently and effectively as they have with holding and hooking during the past couple of years – they too will go the way of the tube skate..

Fighting is not tolerated in any other professional team sport in the world and players who choose to fight are ejected.

People are more than willing to pay good money to see fight-free hockey that still includes superior skating and puck handling skills as well as hard, legal body-checking. The recent attendance record set at the World Junior Hockey Tournament in Ottawa attests to this fact.

For the sake of all North American hockey players and their families and before someone else dies tragically as the result of a primitive, outdated rule, someone with courage and authority please stand up and lead the charge to ban this antiquated, unnecessary and bloody ritual.

Photo Credit: Northern Lights Photography