Menzoid Essay: Grey Cup, Kilometres to go

This Sunday, Canadians are supposed to get together, huddle in front of a TV, and watch our home grown version of Super Bowl Lite, a.k.a., the Grey Cup.

Alas, The Menzoid will not be among them.

In fact, The Menzoid is actually calling for a boycott of the CFL Championship Game and, for that matter, the CFL in general.

This has this anything to do with The Menzoid’s desire for an NFL team relocating to Toronto. Besides, The Menzoid knows the Buffalo Bills will soon be playing all of their games out of SkyDome, as the Toronto Rogers.

No. The issue is simply this: the CFL is an illegal sports league.

Oh, it’s true. It’s true.

Need proof?

Riddle me this: why is that we must report temperature in Celsius; sell bananas by the kilo; measure speed and distance by the kilometre; and purchase petro by the litre?

And yet, when it comes to the CFL, the field isn’t marked out in Systeme Internationale-approved metres. Nope, even in 2012, the CFL clings to defunct old Imperial yards. And without repercussions to boot!

It’s a heinous double-standard.

After all, if this radio station reverted back to reporting temperatures in Fahrenheit or if your friendly neighbourhood Imperial Oil station sold gas imperially by the gallon, there’d be hell to pay thanks to the measurement mandarins in Ottawa.

So how is it that millionaire sports team owners and their rich pro athletes don’t have to play by the same set of rules as everyone else when it comes to metrification?

This has bothered The Menzoid for a long time. When he first contacted the CFL, a spokesman said sticking with yards all came down to “tradition” and the fact that all the league’s records over the decades have always been measured in yards and inches, not metres and centimetres.

What’s more, the CFL spokesman said if the league was ever forced to go metric, they would simply mark off the field in 110 increments measuring exactly 91.44 centimetres (in other words, 36 inches.) And each 91.44-centometre increment would officially be known as something called a “yard.”

Who knew the “C” in CFL stood for “Cheeky-monkey”?

In fact, if anything, the CFL has a perfectly legit reason to go metric. After all, a CFL field between the end zones is 110 yards. Think about that – 110. What a stupid number. Well, by happy coincidence, 100 metres fits almost perfectly into a 110-yard footprint. And 100 is such a nice round number.

But nooo – the CFL gets to flaunt metrification, long after it became law .

This isn’t right. After all, the Canadian populace – that is to say, those who aren’t professional football players — has suffered enough. Used to be that if someone got 28 miles to the gallon, that was a pretty fuel-efficient vehicle. But in the Bizarro metric world, we must contend with litres-per-100 kilometres. Really, does anyone say their car consumes 8.9 litres per 100 kilometres? (There was a solution to this, by the way: we could’ve measured fuel consumption by adopting the far more understandable system of kilometres-per-litre. But that was too logical for Ottawa’s measurement czars.)

And let’s be honest: does anyone measure their tire pressure in kilopascals as opposed to pounds per square inch? Didn’t think so.

Oh, and not to be rude, but what was the sense of going metric in the first place given that our largest trading partner, the United States, is still rooted in Imperial?

Indeed, The Menzoid remembers back in 1975, when metric madness first began, how he had to sit through government propaganda films as a Grade 7 student. He remembers the Q&A about the trading partner thingy, and it was answered thusly: Metrification in the United States is “just around the corner” according to the Metric Canada commissioner.

Wow… 37 years later, that’s some corner!

The point is, either we have one measurement standard for everyone or we have complete freedom of choice. The fact remains, the CFL enjoys privileged status in this land for no good reason. Put another way: if you operate a grocery store and sell fruit exclusively by the pound, expect to be fined or even shut down.

But if you run a professional football league in this land, you can measure the progress of the game in yards and inches with no repercussions whatsoever. In fact, your lawlessness will be celebrated because it supposedly contributes to a century-old sporting tradition and the great Canadian mosaic.

Bottom line, come Sunday afternoon, The Menzoid’s TV set will be a CFL-free zone. And it will remain CFL-free until measurement liberty finally returns to our grand Dominion.

Won’t you please join The Menzoid in this endeavour?

You’re welcome.

Menzoid Essay: Canadian Black Friday?

Holy misappropriation! What’s the deal with all those Black Friday deals – Canadian Black Friday deals, that is.

Perhaps generations of Canadian shoppers have grown up with envy in their eyes regarding those stupendous bar-goons that materialize south of the border the day after American Thanksgiving. Maybe Canadians – like so many spoiled children – have determined that they don’t have enough playthings in their toy boxes and are thus demanding the stuff our Yankee Doodle Dandy cousins have.

Or is Black Friday Canuck-Style simply a result of opportunistic marketers exploiting something on this side of the border that makes absolutely no sense in a Canadian context?

After all, last time The Menzoid checked, our Thanksgiving took place on the second Monday in October, not the third Thursday in November.

Most reasonable persons would conclude that independent sovereign nations celebrate different holidays and traditions. Thus, while Americans prefer ketchup on their “freedom” fries, we prefer salt and vinegar or gravy.

But suddenly there’s a feeling of what’s theirs should be ours. In recent weeks, The Menzoid had seen and heard an avalanche of advertisements from Canadian car dealerships, big box stores, and just about every other shop in-between promoting “Black Friday.”

Here’s why Canadian Black Friday just doesn’t work in these parts:


Admittedly, while Canadian Black Friday is in its infancy, it’s nevertheless such a diluted event. Unlike Yankee retailers that open at the crack of midnight, The Menzoid didn’t come across any Canadian stores opening their doors at the witching hour. After all, Black Friday is marketed as an extra-special event, not something conducted during normal business hours. So if we’re going to steal something, with apologies to General Petreaus, let’s go “all-in”, shall we?


It says here that a Black Friday sale isn’t a true Black Friday sale unless there’s a wee bit of, well, mayhem, thrown in for good measure.

For instance, it’s a time-honoured tradition that the poor soul who has to open the big glass doors at Target or K-Mart is going to have to make like one of those dudes taking part in the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spani lest he/she be trampled by a heaving horde of bargain hunters, who, like so many starving swine, make a beeline to the feeding troughs – in this case, the Home Electronics Department. Margo might get crushed by the cargo, you say? Hey, Black Friday shoppers could care less – especially when there’s a 42-inch plasma TV to be had for $89 on a first-come/first-serve basis. But there’s really nothing for thrill-seekers at a sedate and orderly Canadian Black Friday Sale.

Indeed, consider what happened awhile back in Los Angeles when one bargain-hunting gal took Extreme Competitive Shopping to a whole new level when she actually zapped her fellow Wal-Mart shoppers with pepper spray at a Black Friday Event.

Say what you will about all those poor shoppers on their hands and knees gagging and vomiting, but The Menzoid only wishes he was at that L.A. Wal-Mart … not to score 80% off on a duvet, mind you, but rather, just to have a ringside seat to witness firsthand a new benchmark in the devolution of homo sapiens.


There’s a fundamental reason why Black Friday mayhem is actually required as a post-Thanksgiving Day tonic: it is a much-needed physical release. After all, in the hours before Black Friday, Americans are stuffing their guts with turkey and taters and yams and cranberry sauce as they listen to old Uncle Ed, his mouth full of pumpkin pie, saying, “Now let me tell you something about…” and then Ed goes on to give forceful opinions on politics or religion and “those people” that are either ludicrous, racist or factually-challenged. And if you dare correct Uncle Ed –assuming you can get a word in edgewise – he gets personal and nasty and starts questioning your sexual orientation. Before long, everyone at the table is shouting, Auntie Em is weeping, and one of the plump quiet girl with the freckles is screaming, “I knew you always hated me, mommy!”

The point is, after being cooped up with relatives that you really can’t stand to be around for 10 minutes, you really need some form of physical release. The humanitarian organization that is the National Football League understands this – that’s why they televise THREE – count ‘em THREE – games back-to-back-to-back on Thanksgiving Day.

But the mayhem on the gridiron doesn’t always suffice. So come midnight, with all that pent-up rage simmering away like the remnants of the gravy someone forgot to take off the burner six hours ago, you just want to go to the local mall on the premise that you want to score a Christmastime bargain when what you REALLLY want to do is kick arse.

So, now you know the true meaning of American Thanksgiving and why Black Friday is so very necessary and why this holiday simply won’t translate north of the border.

So please, let’s put Canadian Black Friday out of its misery and act like pigs when we’re supposed to. Namely, Boxing Day.

You’re welcome.