Stuff Still Happens, week 32: The value of a Penny has soared

What’s a penny worth? In this country, nothing, because we don’t make pennies any more. But as of this week, a Canadian Penny is priceless.

At age sixteen — sixteen! — Canada’s swimming sensation with the made-for-headlines name has won more medals than any other Canadian swimmer. Heck, she’s won more medals in one Olympics than any other Canadian ever. In any Olympics. If it were not for that insufferable Michael Phelps, she’s be the star of the entire first week of the Olympics.

Did I mention she’s 16? Which means, if she keeps swimming, she could be in the 2020, 2024, 2028 and maybe the 2032 Olympics.

There is usually some way to find a downside to this kind of story, but right now the Penny Oleksiak story is pure feel goodery. I can’t think of a Canadian athlete with a greater story, and more potential, than this kid. This Penny is a gold mine waiting to be exploited. Will it be McDonalds, or Tim Hortons? Maybe a bank? Oh, I know… Canadian Tire!

Elsewhere, while it may be bad form to gloat (I’m OK with gloating, by the way), the American women’s soccer team being eliminated by Sweden is one of the happy news stories of the games. I vividly remember the way Canada was cheated out of the chance to play for gold in the London Olympics, and seeing the USA and their heavily hyped media darlings eliminated is some consolation. (My blog on the game is by far the most widely read blog I’ve ever written, with more than 10,000 hits from all over the world.) Adding to their humiliation was the universal condemnation of comments by Hope Solo, the villainous American goaltender. Solo said the Swedes played like “cowards” by not playing the American style of game. Hey, Solo. That’s what soccer teams do when faced with a superior opponent. Another good thing to come out of the American defeat is that this should be the last time we hear from Hope Solo. So long, Solo.

Sexism running rampant!

With Canadian women the stars of the show, you’d think today’s young super-feminists would be throwing out their chests (sorry, is that sexist?) with pride. But no. The Globe and Mail’s resident whining feminist, somebody named Denise Balkissoon, wrote an entire column about media sexism. Among the egregious sexism she wrote about was media commentators actually daring to mention that some of the women were married to famous people (a trapshooter was mentioned as being the “wife of a Bears lineman”), and that the Toronto Sun dared to use the painfully obvious headline ‘Pretty Penny’ in reference to our swimming superstar. My guess is Penny herself would not be offended, but when your job is to be professionally offended, you really have to work at it.

We should be thankful our terrorists are stupid

Authorities foiled a terrorist attack in Canada this week, which originated in the Islamic militant hotbed of Strathroy, Ont. A pathetic loser named Aaron Driver, who was under a clearly toothless ‘peace bond’ for this terrorist tendencies, was intercepted by authorities as he was leaving his house, packing a couple of bombs. One bomb blew up in the cab he was getting into (it didn’t do that much damage to the cab, which tells you something about his bomb-making abilities), and Driver himself was dispatched by the cops before he could detonate this second bomb. How was he found out? Well, Driver made a video threatening Canada, which was seen by the FBI, who then notified the RCMP. Why the Mounties didn’t see the video first has not been explained.

This week’s stupid NDP idea is …

In provincial politics, an NDP-dominated committee unexpectedly proposed giving a rebate to political candidates who get at least 10 per cent of the vote. After the NDP made a number of progressive changes to the electoral system to take big money out of politics, including a cap on how much a candidate can spend, the Dippers took a giant step backwards with this ham-fisted proposal. Once the public wakens from its summer slumber, this proposal could raise hell with the electorate. Seeing the way this spend-happy government operates, you can expect the government to launch a multi-million dollar ad campaign extolling the virtues of the rebate plan.


Neill Armstrong, 90, Edmonton Eskimo head coach from 1964-69. Nice Neil was saddled with some pretty lousy Eskimo teams …  Lovell Coleman, 78, Calgary Stampeders runningback great from the 1960s; he was the CFL’s most outstanding player of 1964 … Kenny Baker, 81, the man inside R2D2 from Star Wars … Glen Yarbrough, 86, American folksinger who had a hit with Baby, The Rain Must Fall in 1965.





By Maurice Tougas

Maurice Tougas is a lifelong Albertan, award-winning writer and reporter, and a former MLA for Edmonton-Meadowlark.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: