Tag: Calgary Flames

Day 995: Little Rivalry On The Prairie

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Newcomers to the city of Edmonton inevitably have questions regarding our perpetual rivals to the south, or what has come to be known as the Battle of Alberta. They don’t ask me – I purposely sport a fanny-pack and 20 pounds of camera gear when I wander about the city so that tourists don’t talk to me – but they’ll ask somebody. The answer they’ll probably get is “hockey”, which is blatantly misleading and 100% wrong.

Edmonton and Calgary have held a semi-snarly relationship for much longer than the history of professional hockey in either city. Far from a rivalry of mere convenience (we are the only two major cities in the province), the Battle of Alberta extends to fundamental belief systems, to political preferential treatment, to bigotry, inclusion, and of course… money.

Which is truly the greater city? As a lifelong resident of Edmonton, my honest answer is that I don’t care. Both cities are gorgeous: they have the Stampede, we have the continent’s most impressive Fringe Theatre Festival. They have proximity to the magnificent mountains, we have an exquisite river valley. They are the economic home-base of the province, we have a gigantic mall.

But enough of the niceness. Let’s see how this got ugly.

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The Battle of Alberta extends for centuries before there was even an Alberta over which to battle. The Blackfoot Confederacy was the political union among the Blackfoot tribes who moseyed about southern Alberta and Montana, killing buffalo and living a northern version of the indigenous lifestyle of the American Indian. Up in the boreal forest that covered the northern half of the as-yet-undesignated province, the Cree and their allies (known as the Iron Confederacy, making the history of this region sound like a bad-ass Native version of Game of Thrones) lived a subarctic lifestyle, which involved trapping and fur-trading. Read more…

Day 123: The Super Bowl Shuffle – When Football Goes Musical

In that dark cosmic closet that holds all the universe’s most famously bad ideas, there is a tiny spot on a high shelf for the 45RPM record known as the Super Bowl Shuffle. If you’re already craving a taste, here’s a link for your pleasure.

If you watched that entire video, I’m sorry. If you only watched the first 30 seconds or so, then you pretty much saw the entire thing. The melody doesn’t change, there’s no bridge, just a couple of saxophone solos mimed by running back Calvin Thomas. Also, they rhyme ‘trouble’ with ‘shuffle’ six times.

A little background. The 1985 Chicago Bears are considered by many to be one of the greatest football teams in the history of the game. Their defense was unfathomably mighty, and they had (among others) Walter Payton on offense, a man who remains one of the most beloved figures of the sport today – one of the most treasured awards handed out at the end of every season bears his name, for the player who best serves humanity through charity and general awesomeness.

So why a horrible rap song? Isn’t it enough to win fifteen out of sixteen games?

And more importantly... why the jazz hands?

This was the brainchild of advertising executive Richard E. Meyer. Meyer was a huge Bears fan, and in 1985 he leapt suddenly to the world of music, starting up a label then writing, producing and ‘choreographing’ (if you can call it that) this song and video.

On the surface, the song is embarrassing. Embarrassing to the point of inspiring douche-chills. But there’s more to be said than just some lazy rhymes and dreadful rapping. Walter Payton’s verse hints that the Bears were doing this to “feed the needy”, and it’s true: the song raised over $300,000 for the Chicago Community Trust. The record was actually a hit – it reached #41 on the Billboard charts. The track also gained enough notoriety to garner a Grammy nomination.

That’s right, this song was up for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group, along with Run DMC, Sade, and Ashford & Simpson. I’m sure Prince’s “Kiss” won by the narrowest of margins. Read more…