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Mark and Steve talk about Mark’s recent experience in a commercial, Steve’s hockey team and the Somali pirates.
Mark: Hello, everyone, welcome back to EnglishLingQ.
Mark here with Steve.
Steve: Hello there.
Mark: We’re back for another installment, of course.
For the last few days there’s been a bit of a novelty around here, what with my commercial being on TV.
Steve: Oh, Mark is a movie star. Mark is a movie star.
Some, whatever, how many weeks ago, you were asked to come down…well, tell the story.
Mark: I was at home cleaning up on a Saturday morning and I got a phone call from a friend who has a friend who is a casting agent, I think they’re called.
This casting agent is someone who looks for actors, I guess.
In her case for commercials, but I guess maybe she would also do it for TV programs, movies or what have you.
At any rate, they were looking for a hockey player for a commercial and the description kind of suited me to a T. She knew me and said, “I think I know a guy” and so, to make a long story short, I ended up filming this Gillette hockey commercial.
Steve: Gillette being a manufacturer of shaving supplies, razors and whatever for me.
Mark: Exactly. So it’s the Gillette Fusion Razor and it just started playing the day before yesterday.
Steve: Well, the thing is we didn’t know whether they were…I mean the chances are they were going to reject it once they saw it; once they saw you they wouldn’t use it.
Mark: Well that was hardly likely.
Steve: That was a strong possibility and so…but the point is we didn’t know when they were going to use it.
Steve: But then a friend of ours up in northern Alberta phoned the office and said he saw you and so I guess you saw it yourself.
Mark: Well, yeah.
A friend of mine here saw it yesterday morning and so told me and told me that it was on this show on this channel, the Breakfast Television Show on Global.
I turned that on this morning and, sure enough, within 10 minutes I saw the commercial, yeah.
Steve: That’s good.
Well, I’m looking forward to seeing it.
You know hockey is such a big deal here.
We’re approaching the Stanley Cup Playoffs; Vancouver is in the playoffs.
Mark: Well that’s why I think the timing of the commercial is, obviously, set to coincide with the start of the NHL Playoffs, which is a huge TV event here in Canada.
It’s interesting, you know I’m just going to digress a little bit; although, everyone should be looking for that commercial if they’re watching television.
It may not be limited to Canada, it might be also aired in Russia or wherever they play hockey, Sweden, I don’t know.
Mark: Well, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be limited to hockey markets.
When they filmed it they said that it would be shown in Canada, pockets of the U.S.
and maybe in Russia, so that was what I was told anyway.
Anyway, that’s exciting, it’s fun.
Mark: Yeah, fun for the kids.
Steve: Yeah. Have the kids seen it?
Mark: Yeah. We recorded it this morning, so we all watched it.
Steve: Wow. Have you got a copy for mom and me?
Mark: Well, it’s on our PVR machine, so I don’t know how you…
Mark: I don’t think you can extract it.
Steve: Okay, well, we’ll see it when we’re over there.
Steve: No, I was going to say with regard to hockey, you know, it reminds me of a discussion I had earlier today.
The Canadian Minister of Immigration, Jason Kenney, has come out and said a number of things about immigration.
Number one, he isn’t reducing the number of immigrants, even though the economy is down and the crisis and stuff like that.
And, of course, he does that for political reasons because all these different ethnic groups their main thing is to keep people from “The Mother Country”, you know, all their relatives coming here.
But he’s saying we must increase the integration of these people and that there’s been this tremendous emphasis on multiculturalism, almost encouraging people to maintain their original culture and he’s saying the different ethnic groups can do that on their own.
They’re strong enough to do that on their own, we should be concerned about integrating them and he has said, previously, we should have higher standards of English and French, the official languages.
Today he said people should study more about Canadian history and Canadian values and be more aware of what the country is before they get citizenship and, of course, the ethnic press just criticizes him for doing this.
I was talking to a person whom I know who works for the government who’s actually of Chinese origin and he said that one of the political leaders here, Ujjal Dosanjh who’s of Indian origin, has gone around to all the Chinese press and he’s saying the government shouldn’t be doing this and it’s unfair and stuff.
I think of hockey and I think of players in hockey.
I mean we’ve got Lawango who is our superstar goaltender, obviously of Italian origin, we’ve got this guy Setoguchi who plays for San Jose, obviously, and I think he’ll be on Team Canada in the not too distant future.
We have Paul Kariya and Jarome Iginla whose father is Nigerian.
I mean all kinds of people who are very much into Canadian culture and they’re not just from British, English or French background, they’re of all backgrounds.
Steve: That’s the only way you’re going to build up a country is if you get people to buy in.
But, no, I just thought of the hockey because a lot of the hockey heroes today are people of all kinds of different backgrounds.
Steve: But, anyway…
Mark: Speaking of hockey heroes, I guess you wanted to expand a little on your playoff efforts for your own, the North Shore Old Goats.
Steve: Well, I play for a team called the Old Goats.
We don’t get the same kind of coverage in the press that some other teams do, it’s quite unfair, but we’re in the finals.
Mark: Oh, you are?
Steve: We’re in the finals. We played on Tuesday and we had a very good strategy, very good strategy, only one (??? 6:43 floor) checker.
That’s a very important strategy.
No, because you can’t afford to get caught up.
Steve: With that the other team had no one to pass to and so we got up two goals to nothing and we just shut them down, so now we’re in the finals.
Mark: So you’ve got your defensive strategy.
Steve: Well that’s right, it’s the trap.
Mark: The trap strategy; I’m not so sure I approve of that.
Steve: It’s the only way.
Mark: That takes the fun out of the game.
Steve: It’s the only way.
It’s the only way, so, yeah, no.
The other very important strategic thing in old-timers’ hockey…
Steve: …is to have a better goaltender than the other team.
Mark: That’s probably a pretty good strategy.
Steve: Very important, yes, and we had that.
But, yeah, what were some of the things we were going to talk about?
Mark: Well one of the things was that Obama is visiting in Latin America.
Steve: Well there’s some conference in Trinidad and Tobago.
Mark: Conference of the America’s or something.
Steve: Conference of the America’s.
I heard that, by the way, in Portuguese because I was listening to the BBC Brazil service in Portuguese and they were talking about the Conference of the America’s and this is Obama’s first opportunity to be on the sort of Latin American stage.
You know, I mean Latin America is huge; it’s a rapidly growing population.
It has one of the four BRIC countries, Brazil, of course the others being Russian, India and China; sort of looked upon as the next super powers.
Steve: Mexico is actually in North America, geographically, but it’s part of Latin America, culturally.
Steve: It’s a huge country.
It’s 140 million people with serious problems insofar as kidnappings and crime, but with resources and an interesting culture that goes back to well before the Spanish, you know?
Steve: Yeah, it’s a fascinating continent.
Mark: I mean I guess different countries seem to be making more progress than others, but then things can change quickly.
It always seems a little more, I guess, unstable in a lot of those places.
Steve: Well it certainly has that reputation.
Steve: It certainly has a history.
I mean Brazil, though, seems remarkably stable and it’s the biggest country in terms of size, in terms of population.
But if you look at Venezuela they’ve got tremendous oil resources and, yet, they’ve got a government…one has the impression the country is totally polarized between the sort of radical group that support Hugo Chavez who sort of like fancies himself as some kind of a world maverick and then you have the other people who are distressed at how he’s destroying their country.
Mark: And hoping that he’ll leave before things get damaged beyond repair.
Steve: And then I see where Barack Obama is also going to ease the restrictions that apply to Americans traveling to and dealing with Cuba.
Mark: Yeah, that’s an interesting one.
I mean it does seem a little bit harsh to have this embargo that they’ve had for so long, but I guess they have their own political interests they have to worry about.
Is it that, presumably, the Cuban émigré community wouldn’t be happy if the embargo was lifted?
Steve: I think the Cuban émigré is a major influence and I think just the fact that Castro expropriated the assets of American companies.
But, I am sure that if they relax the travel and trade restrictions with Cuba the net affect will be to weaken Fidel Castro.
Mark: That’s what I would think.
I mean I would think the fastest way for Cuba to modernize, to sort of throw off the yoke of communism, would be to open things up and expose people to the outside world.
I mean there are probably many of them aware of the outside world and there are perhaps aspects of their society which appeal to some members of the society, but I think most people would probably like to have a change.
But, you know, I was thinking about Cuba because I was reading or listening to something about the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 when the Russians sent nuclear missiles disguised as, I don’t know, humanitarian aid or something…
Steve: …and set them up in Cuba.
Steve: I mean I don’t really know what the goal of the Russians was.
I mean we mustn’t forget that it was Stalin’s avowed goal to have a third world war and to achieve the final victory of international communism, so there’s no question where Stalin was headed.
Steve: But Khrushchev, of course, he had this anti-Stalinist thing, so I don’t know quite what his goal was.
But from the point of view of the Cubans, if you are a Cuban, you know, this is your little island country, why would you possibly accept nuclear weapons on your little island country?
Because if there were any kind of a conflict your island country is zapped.
Mark: Yeah, I know.
Steve: I mean can you imagine a more irresponsible thing to do?
To bring that kind of a problem to…
Mark: That is amazing. I mean I guess Fidel was pretty caught up in…
Steve: The world revolution.
Mark: …the ideology.
Plus, I guess, obviously, the Russians gave a lot of money and support to the Cubans.
Steve: Maybe it was a condition.
Steve: But I am sure the Russians were very happy to have a neighbor of the United States that was friendly to them.
Mark: For sure.
Steve: I doubt if that was necessary.
Mark: Yeah, who knows.
Steve: It’s amazing.
Mark: It is amazing.
Steve: But, you know, I am always very suspicious of ideologues of any stripe…
Steve: …of any stripe.
You know people always sort of try to criticize the merchant, the commercial, I say good for the commercial, the merchant, he’s a good guy.
Wherever the merchants have been in power it has led to more art, more freedom, more development, more technology.
You know I’m reading the history of Venice right now.
That was a commercial enterprise, basically.
Steve: If they had been, you know, ideological Jihads of whatever stripe, fascist, Nazi, you know, communist, religious, all those people, I have nothing but suspicion and scorn.
Mark: Yeah, absolutely.
Steve: And, certainly, they should never have the upper hand.
Steve: Money, I understand money; ideology, dying for ideology, no.
Mark: Well it just makes people not very predictable, not very rational.
Mark: Yeah, no, it’s much easier to understand basic motivations of people.
Steve: And it’s more worthwhile.
It leads to more worthwhile because the average person who’s involved in a commercial or industrial enterprise is actually quite motivated to do a good job at what he’s doing.
Steve: Whether he’s a shoemaker or whether they’re coming up with a new design of laptop computer or the new car or new foods or new whatever, there is an altruistic element.
There’s also a money-grubbing element, but there’s…creating something for someone else.
Steve: So I have no problem with that.
What else did we have on the news?
We were looking at some…because we always come back to some the same themes.
We’ve got to be careful; otherwise, people…
Mark: The other thing we were talking about was the pirates in Somalia…
Steve: Oh, the pirates in Somalia.
Mark: …which has been quite a news story, of course, lately, with the two rescues, really.
The French rescue of the sailboat…by the way, what are you thinking about sailing your sailboat with your kids — kid or kids, I don’t know how many – in the most infamous pirates’ nest in the world?
What possible motivation?
Steve: And I think he said something, we were not going to allow them to spoil our dream or something.
Mark: Well, they did.
Steve: Well, that’s right.
But, you know, this image of these undernourished pirates in rowboats, you know, chewing on qua-qua leaves or whatever it is and yet, basically, all the world shipping goes through the Suez Canal.
Steve: I mean all the world, but a tremendous amount of shipping goes through the Suez Canal and comes out into their little net there and there they are.
It looks like a small body of water on the map, but when you’re there it’s a vast expansive water and so hard to police, so what do you do?
Mark: I don’t know what you do.
Obviously, it comes back to the conditions that exist in Somalia, which I guess is essentially lawless and poverty-stricken.
Yeah, what are those people supposed to do?
You can’t…I mean, presumably, if they try to set up a legitimate business they’re probably squashed by the authorities or whatever conditions exist there.
So I guess the real long-term solution is to somehow help the Somalis or prod the Somalis to improve their situation there.
I don’t know how realistic that is.
Steve: Yeah, but not every…I don’t think that poverty is ever a justification for kidnapping, which is what they’re doing.
Steve: And it’s not the only place where there is piracy.
I think between Indonesia and Malaysia, which is another busy, busy, shipping channel, there’s lots of piracy.
I mean some of the great heroes of British history were pirates, Sir Francis Drake and others who were quite happy to capture Spanish galleons laden with gold and silver.
Mark: Yes, but I don’t know if you’d quite qualify them as pirates.
Steve: Oh, they were pirates.
Mark: I mean they didn’t attack British ships.
Steve: No, no, no, they attacked ships and stole what was on them, no difference.
Mark: Okay. No, there is a difference, there is a difference.
Steve: They didn’t ransom, they just took it.
Mark: I understand that.
Mark: I understand that, but they were taking ships from enemies of their state, more or less.
They had a commission from their monarch to undertake that piracy.
Steve: And, by the same token, the Spanish would have been very much…
Mark: And it went both ways.
Steve: Well, the Spanish were very much within their rights to capture those pirates and hang them from the nearest tree.
Mark: Right, which I’m sure they did, too.
Steve: Which they did, yeah.
Mark: So that’s a little bit different than hijacking whatever ship happens to come by and taking what’s on it or ransoming it or whatever the case may be.
Steve: But, I must say, my view is that either you believe in the importance of world trade and the right of ships to travel the seas without being kidnapped or you don’t. I do.
In which case, I think they should use whatever force is necessary, whether these are poor people or not poor people.
If they have identified this port, which is their lair, the pirates’ lair, they should go in there in a massive operation and arrest all those people.
Mark: Yeah, I agree. I mean I’m not, by any means, defending them.
Mark: My only thought is you can go in and flatten that port or whatever, but chances are that a whole new crop will emerge of new pirates.
So it may not be the solution, but it’s probably a good place to start.
Mark: Because, presumably, there’s some knowledge required.
I mean how do you stop a ship?
Those ships are huge.
I guess they’re not out there in a rowboat, they must have a…
Steve: No. Well somebody was saying they kind of trade up.
Like they begin with a rowboat and they steal a slightly larger boat.
Mark: Oh, I see.
Steve: That enables them to take a larger boat and eventually they get larger boats.
Steve: Although, it still seems amazing to me, I mean I can’t imagine.
I read they can’t arm the tankers because they don’t want, you know, shooting starting to happen around their tankers or they’d be some pretty nasty explosions.
Mark: Yeah. But it obviously seems to be getting worse and worse.
Steve: I know.
Mark: I mean what are you going to have to do, start escorting all your ships through that region?
I mean that’s…
Steve: Well, apparently they have sort of a narrow channel which is patrolled and they want the ships to stay within that.
And this last ship was not within that because it was going to Kenya or Mombasa or somewhere.
Mark: Oh, right.
Steve: So the ships that are on that normal route, that are not going to East Africa, are protected, I think.
Mark: Oh, I see.
Steve: But any that wander away from that, then, are vulnerable.
Mark: Well that sure would be a little bit of an unnerving experience to be on a ship in those waters, but they did manage to rescue the American captain.
Steve: That was extraordinary, yeah.
Did you hear that at one point he actually jumped off and started thrashing away, but they weren’t able to rescue him and the pirates captured him again and threw him back into their boat?
But that was amazing.
Mark: I didn’t get the full details of the French rescue, but I guess…
Steve: It was similar.
Unfortunately, one of the French sailors was hit with a bullet and died.
Steve: So that’s not so good.
Mark: Yeah. Anyway, we should probably wrap it up at this point.
Mark: We’ll continue again next time.
Steve: Okay, bye for now.