By James Pavel

I’m awfully fragile right now;  But I will do my best to transcribe what happened. 

Remember that actor I used to rave about? the ‘king of the world’ guy? – he just tossed me to the side like a Blackberry Curve this week and I am still trying to recover emotionally. 

He showed up in my home province unannounced, in one of his gas-inhaling private jets and immediately began stomping his muddy boots all over the place, screaming about how the Alberta oil and gas industry needs to come to a screeching halt. 

This is the actor that convinced a generation of boys and girls to visit Thailand and find themselves while simultaneously converting it into a western-fornicating, utopia. He’s Jay Gatsby. He’s the Aviator. He’s the coolest, model-plowing, wolf-howling, motherfucker on the planet. And yet, that doesn’t seem to matter right now. 

With him visiting, I was thinking it was going to be a weekend of scanning the voluptuous Rocky Mountains, a picnic at one of Banff’s glorious national parks and maybe even floating down the city of Calgary’s Elbow River – boy, was I off the mark.

 He completely sideswiped me. He continued banging on about the way me and my friends make a living around here. He said we should be ashamed of ourselves for the way we are irresponsibly purging from the Earth and destroying nature. 

You see Leo didn’t come to see me or any of his other adoring fans. He came to scrutinize the oil and gas sector and marvel at how supposedly awful we have treated the land we live on. 

As he roared at me that our relationship would never be the same, I sobbed like a child burying his first pet gerbil. I asked “But Leo, why didn’t you unleash this speech in Nigeria or Saudi Arabia?” 

Surely, they are are both oil-producing nations that rely heavily on the consumption of oil for profit too. 

Oh wait I remembered, he probably didn’t go there because those countries would never allow him film a millisecond of footage of their oil industry. You see, it’s way easier to come to Canada, a free country, and go on uneducated tirades about one of the world’s most vital industries without the fear of being imprisoned or worse. Must just be a coincidence.

Also kind of crazy, that James Cameron and Neil Young both gave the same guilt-riddled speech over the past few years and yet none of them, Wolf of Wall Street included, have actually provided any viable alternatives or solutions. 

I told Leo through my blubbering that it was strange that he chose Alberta to sever our bro-mance, considering that this province has the most stringent standards for oil and gas in the world and that we are regularly looking for methods to ensure even tidier and more environmentally-friendly tactics. 

Never mind that, he balked. “But, but Leo,” I managed to utter. 

“Remember during the World Cup of Soccer in Brazil when you arrived on one of the world’s most luxurious yachts and partied with some of the most beautiful creatures ever conceived? Well, that actually wouldn’t have been possible with turbines or windmill energy. That yacht actually ran off of this ‘dirty oil’ you are currently dismissing.”

He shot me an incredulous look, as if I was a character swinging an axe at him from The Gangs of New York film. I began to think that Leo was being duped into thinking he was playing a heroic character in a fantasy movie where oil isn’t necessary and the world can just get by on unicorn kisses and leprechaun dust. 

He abruptly brushed my comments off like a half-assed script emailed to him by Michael Bay. 

I decided I wasn’t going to let Leo get the last word. 

“You know Leo,” I practically screamed, “we are aware that oil and gas is not the ideal method of producing energy. But it remains the most effective, the most desirable and far and away the most successful way of running a vehicle or producing some of the world’s most important products.” 

We can’t wait for a cleaner source of energy to arrive either. But until that miracle resource arrives, we are going to work like hell to make this oil and gas as beneficial to as many nations as possible. We don’t like oil spills either, because just like you, we love the outdoors too. Hiking, biking, running – there’s more to us than just hockey and snow-mobiles. 

Listen Hollywood, we are all ears. But the whole wind turbines, nuclear energy movement? It’s proven to be a major bust. So if you are going to criticize, you better begin to bring some exceptional ideas to the Canadian table. 

I hope this is just a tiff between us Leo, I really do. But until then, maybe you are right. Maybe a break-up is the best thing for both of us. 



By James Pavel

  • Why not just wait until December before unveiling such a (potentially) influential list? You know, when half the decade is actually over?
  • If this list is to be received as scripture, then Kanye West is the greatest and most celebrated rapper in hip-hop history.
  • Pitchfork is remarkable at ignoring albums that are actually culturally relevant. Sure, Deerhunter’s Halcyon is a decent release, but at what point was it ever more recognizable and relatable than Arcade Fire’s Reflektor album? Arcade Fire is the only band in the world where it isn’t insane to mark them as modern-day legends and yet their most recent work is slotted in the 88th position on this list, as if they are some brigade of high-school drop outs still perfecting their instruments.
  • They can argue this point, but Pitchfork is a pseudo-underground site for hipsters and closet hipsters. How can they possibly not crown “The Suburbs” as the greatest album since 2010? It’s the first time in eons where the coolest album of the year was actually recognized as the album of the year at the Grammys. The Grammys remains the highest honour, and it’s a shame Pitchfork can’t at least allow this victory to take significance in the realm of consideration.
  • Number five is a brave and just placement of Beach House’s Teenage Dream. This might be the strongest female vocalist-driven album of the past ten years, never mind since 2010.
  • Pitchfork constantly over-compensate for their strange obsession with terrible new-wave screamo by awkwardly and confusingly awarding hip-hop with the highest accolades (#1 and #2 albums of the decade..thus far
  • Love the inclusion of Vampire Weekend’s Contra


By James Pavel

1. Thou shall not screenshot a woman’s breasts if thy is lucky enough to receive such a snap. 

2. Thou shall not send snaps of thy penis. It is, and never will be, camera friendly. 

3. Thou shall not send snaps that read “I’m bored.” Being bored is for boring people. Do not attempt to  lasso me into your dungeon of tumbleweeds. 

4. Thou shall not send concert snaps because they sound like muffled wild animals screaming into the recipient’s ear and not whatever song you should be enjoying rather than snapping away with God-awful results. Just enjoy the show – I can YouTube it later. 

5. If thou sends snaps of kitchen appliances or other mundane items, thou will surrender Snapchat privileges for officially being too lame for the application.

6. Thou shall consider acting, improvising, and delivering maximum effort for supreme Snapchat enjoyment for recipient. It’s 10 seconds. Make it count. 

7. Thou shall snap homeless people, dogs, and tropical beaches at every opportunity. 

8. Thou shall not send snaps to boss because thy employer does not need to see thou taking hooter shooters off of a Mexican stripper named Loco Maria at 2 a.m. on a Tuesday.

9. Unless thy is Wolfgang Puck, thou shall not snap food pictures no more than once a month. Nobody cares about your overcooked steak and slop of stale corn and mold-ridden broccoli accompanying it.

10. Thou shall not snap selfies more than one in every ten snaps. Thy Lord created Instagram for this self-serving purpose. 


By James Pavel

5. Billy Big Rigs vs. Bombay Bicycles 

In Edmonton, you drive a jacked–up, steel-balls, diesel-running, music-screaming, mother-truckin’, Billy big-rig. F 150s, Chevy Silverados, and GMC Sierras are the howling beasts of the north that remind everyone they’re in Oil Country.

In Calgary, the summer streets resemble the Tour de France. Everyone and their black squirrel cycle to work. They’ve even created bike lanes on main arteries to the city to accommodate this mass locomotive. In Edmonton, unless you’re parading down the River Valley, bikes are for the hardcore.

4. Calgarians have more material, Edmontonians have the best joke

Calgarians could perform a half-hour set of jokes strictly ridiculing the City of Edmonton. They are painfully relentless. I’ve heard “What is the best thing about Edmonton?” (Calgary Trail), no exaggeration, 3 million times.

But when the prairie snow settles, Edmontontians trump the southern cowboys every time. What’s the difference between the Calgary Flames and a bra? Thought so.

3. ‘Mony, Mony’

In Calgary bars, during every slight pause of Billy Idol’s “Mony, Mony” Southern Albertans roar “Get drunk, motherf*cker get drunk,” like a wild pack of booze-riddled banshees.  It’s obnoxious, rude and completely insane, which makes it rip-roaring fun every single weekend in Cow-Town.

Based on zero research, I have come to determine that this trend stems from waiting in line at the Calgary Stampede. How to freshen up an 80s’ classic for the entire lineup to enjoy? Why, drop a couple F-bombs of course.

2. ‘What’s Your Number?’

If you ask someone for their number in the northern chapter, they dial in the digits and press save. Done. You may or may not here from this individual ever again. In Calgary, after pressing save, the individual will call you so you now have his or her phone number on your missed call display. It’s the single, grandest example of shameless, buck-passing you will ever encounter. The ball is no longer strictly in the number-taker’s court. The ball has been placed directly in the centre, and it becomes a riveting, armpit-sweat inducing, blinking contest as to who will text who first.

1.Oiler Pride

“Let’s go Oilers” is the Edmonton National anthem. You could be dropping your child off at summer swimming camp on a Tuesday afternoon and suddenly, but not surprisingly, a “Let’s Go Oilers” chant erupts like a raging volcano. It’s a battle cry. It’s the common tongue. It’s also an urge that does not exist in Calgary. Outside of the Saddledome, I have never, ever heard a “Let’s go Flames” uproar. Calgary loves hockey, this I know. But when the Flames lose, the city still sleeps. When Oilers lose a bout, Edmontonians scream at miserable sports radio hosts about who to trade, who to fire and who to crucify at Rexall Place the next morning.

Edmontonians would actually hesitate if asked to sacrifice their first-born in order for the Oil to capture another cup. They would eventually surrender the child, and out would come a jubilant “Let’s Go Oilers,” chant heard from St. Albert to Nisku.


By James Pavel

Tired of telling yourself that you’re done getting smashed on the weekend only to find yourself screaming for your best friend to hold your hair while you vomit out enough shooters to fill a bath tub?

I have an evolutionary secret that will alter your bottle-swigging days forever. Turn 27. That’s right. Age is definitely more than just a number.

I’m here to help. Screaming at cab drivers, hitting on people that look like they escaped the Calgary Zoo and being hauled out the pub before the clock strikes midnight, I’ve been there. And then I’ve been there again and spent the night in a jail cell.

But then a miraculous event transpired. On the third of December I celebrated my birthday. But not just any birthday. It wasn’t my golden b-day, nor was it my sweet sixteen. It was my 27th birthday. Often associated with the deaths of rock stars and less often with your older brother’s quarter-life crisis, there I was, reveling in the wonder of becoming not older, but perhaps, better.

And then it hit me. I attempted to wake up for my first day as a 27-year-old. But I couldn’t. I realized my head was rattling like a family of rattlesnakes trapped inside a shoe box. I reached for my glass of water and threw it down my parched throat that was as dry as a Nevada summer. My entire body felt like road construction was being conducted on it, with twin jackhammers delivering pulsating blows to my temples.

I was clearly and desperately hungover.

But pre-birthday, I could shake it off. A quick jog to sweat out the vodka, a cold Gatorade to hammer down the hatch, and I was on the freeway to normalcy.

But not on this day. Nor any day after. At 27, you no longer wish to drink. You just can’t. So you quit. You’re done. The hangovers aren’t just brutal. They’re from the seven hells of Jupiter, a land that takes privilege in squeezing your moral compass until it shatters to smithereens. A place that makes you so crippled by fatigue, you contemplate calling in sick for a month.

A day-long nap/movie marathon can’t shake these thunderous, hung-to-the-moon hangovers.

If this secret threatens your present fun then please, relish your three-hour headache. You know, that hangover you get when you’re 22-years-old.

The one where you pop an Advil, lay down for a half hour and could write a book of poetry and raise a foreign orphan.

Because hungover at age 27, you desire a wheelchair, enough Tylenol to comatose Snoop Dogg, and a nap the length normally reserved for newborn children.

Or don’t. Embrace this new age of pain and reality. Put the bottle down. It’s finally time. You’ve found your excuse that your body and mind can’t ignore. All those activities that you put off in favour of club-hopping and pub-crawling are now deliciously desirable ideas.

So go rock-climbing. Stop pretending you go to yoga and actually start regularly attending. There is no book or medicine to quit drinking. Only an age demographic.

Relish in the magical age that will help you to quit drinking alcohol forever.

great apes picture


By James Pavel

The fundamental difference between the apes and the humans in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is that the apes are determined to create a just and formidable society, while the humans are predominantly concerned with regaining access to their greatest obsession – technology.

Never before did I believe that I would feel so ashamed to be on the opposing side, (team Human,) yet there I was praying that Caesar, the ape leader, would banish us from existence.

While a killer virus has wiped away the majority of the human population and the apes have flourished over the past ten winters, a group of men, women and children have remained immune to the virus and have set up camp in the heart of San Francisco. The apes settle for peace, but of course the humans seek a method of damaging this brittle communion by pleading for access to the water reservoir, which just happens to be in ape territory.

Now why must the humans have access to the reservoir? Even after a decade of just living to survive, humans are hell bent on re-constructing the damn, thereby stimulating electricity and thus resurrecting their precious technological gadgets.

It’s as though the unit of human survivors don’t actually believe they have been living, but rather have been waiting for the chance to once again have access to dozens of tools and appliances that ostensibly, make life complete.

It’s as though our tools have evolved so dramatically and dynamically, that the concept of fostering a life without our technologies would be too severe of a shock to the stimuli.

The survivors are so focused on the reservoir as their means to re-claiming their past lives that they are willing to go to war with the apes if they are not granted access. It’s a blinding addiction and one that has such a strangle-hold on their desires that they are literally willing to die for it.

Although it has been ten winters since the dramatic shift in Earth’s hierarchy took place, the humans have progressed very little in the decade of salvation.

It’s possible that present-day civilization would have a harder time recovering from a global crisis because we exist in such a wealth of riches. Someone recovering from the Great Potato Famine or the Black Plague would no doubt be devastated by the loss of life, but their possessions would not have been depleted in such vast numbers as someone from the modern day. To lose not only our loved ones, but our hot showers, iPods and NFL Sundays may leave us in a state of infinite disarray.

Kerri Russell’s character, Ellie, loses a daughter throughout the original ordeal and although it is an understandably sensitive subject, she appears to have come to terms with the death. Yet, she is still possessed to help with the water reservoir functionality, to the point where she volunteers for a trip to Ape Village, where death is only but a few slivers from certainty. So despite the dangers that she is well aware of, the opportunity to flick a switch or plug something in and gain results is a salivating opportunity for her.

In a sense, her love of technology has come to trump even her affinity for her own human flesh.

Dreyfus, Gary Oldman’s character, is a pillar of calamity and a symbol of hope yet is finally rattled out of his stoic state when the electricity is revived and his iPad glows to life. Yes, it is the pictures of what we presume are his two boys that ultimately bring him to sobs, but it is also the knowledge that his iPad has been revived that is just as exhilarating as the contents of this modern device.

The apes recognize that there exists victory in surviving another day. Humans seem to take the breaths of life for granted, even in a state of total destruction, because they have drank from the rivers of gigabytes and memory cards for such an inordinate period of time that it has altered what we deem essential to a satisfactory existence.


By James Pavel

5. 2001

Snoop Dogg, a rapper that has managed the impossible, yet enviable task to somehow appear forever fly, despite being over the age of 40, will go down as maybe the most iconic rapper of all time. Whether it is Snoop Doggy Dogg, The Doggfather, or Snoop Lion, his persona has risen above the importance of any of his music with the exception of his first two albums. His marijuana endorsing lyrics and blunt-blazing escapades rivals the importance of Bob Marley in terms of getting high, and his ability to strike audiences as an authentic gangster has only been matched by Tupac Shakur, and briefly, 50 cent.

Personality conquests aside, as a rapper, the majority of his releases over the past two decades have failed to keep his game as pristine as the way he sounds on the fresh as laundry, ‘2001.’ The beat is following Snoop’s lead, hop-scotching to keep up with the Doggfather’s slick word-play, causing a head-bobbin’ reaction more natural than twisting a Philly blunt.

4. B*tch Please

The peak of misogynist hip-hop  is debatable, but regardless of the era, this song remains the Mike Tyson of the ‘g’s up, hoes down’ mentality. Political correctness and sexism aside, no rap joint lends more swagger to a  man desperate for some pizazz upon entry to the dance floor. Xzibit is in peak form, sounding as if he would rather steal your ride than just pimp it, and Nate Dogg’s final warning near the end is classic Dogg Pound representin’.

3. It Ain’t no Fun (If the Homies can’t Have None)

Its the 90’s West-Coast all-star team singing about group sex with the jubilance of children singing about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. The Dogg Pound, along with Snoop’s homie Warren G are one, big, stoned out of their respective trees, happy family and seem in their element when passing around an anonymous groupie/stripper for the whole gang to enjoy. Although everyone has a marvelously perverted verse to add, Snoop’s the lieutenant general when it comes to obscene lyricism.

2. Who am I (What’s My Name?)

Nobody enjoys spelling their name more than Calvin Broadus – it’s outlandish that he wasn’t awarded a guest segment on Sesame Street to encourage children to pronounce their personal syllables with such pride and rigor. Not only has he rapped S-N-double O-P, D-O double G out in every album he’s released, here he devotes a full track to the entirety of his first and last name that the world has come to associate with the 6’4 Long Beach, California resident. Out of all the sing-a-long spelling bees that Snoop has conceived, ‘What’s my Name?’ is the crown jewel. Although he has evolved as a character, his rapping themes have remained remarkably stagnant. Whether he is paired with Katy Perry or Dr. Dre, the subject matter rarely varies. Yet, one when considers other 90s rap titans, perhaps his refusal to evolve into a more reflective version of his former self is a defense mechanism to maintain his indisputable survival as a relevant artist.

 1. Gin & Juice

Despite all the fuss made about the discographies of Eminem and Jay-Z, neither has a song that sets joints on fire or cracks the tops of Colt 45’s faster than this ode to Bombay and OJ. The Snoop Dogg experience can be reached in its entirety through his debut album, “Doggystyle,” when one considers that it features ‘Murder was the Case,’ ‘Ain’t no fun,’ ‘Lodi Dodi,’ and of course, ‘Gin and Juice.’ Snoop now exists as a caricature of Snoop Doggy Dogg. The present Snoopafella is a pop-star diva, a man who shows up four hours late to interviews and will collaborate with anyone willing to dump a quick million into his OG retirement fund. The original Dogg-Father was a thug-life menace, a rapper who feuded with Eazy-E, traded bars with Tupac, and boldly recorded an entire song about murdering the police force.

‘Gin and Juice’ is the defining backyard boogie that horrifies parents with real-life tales of what actually happens when Mom and Dad leave their teenager home alone so they can visit Aunty Betty for the weekend.  Pockets full of rubbers, enough booze to send a choir of students to the emergency room , and enough green in the air to decorate  a St. Patrick’s Day parade and it all started with a lil endo and a few sips of gin and juice.


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