Monday, December 7, 2015

Things that make me go hmm

I'm more skating-focused than sham-focused at the moment, after not being either-focused for some time, but, this post is a throwback to the days of sham analysis/explication. After more than a year of the same blog cover image, I've finally started pulling together some ideas about a new blog cover. In that pursuit, I went through some old social media stomping grounds to search out new images of the old sham cast of characters.

I will never, ever, understand the skaters who went through Skate Canada in the mid-00s.

Here's what I mean. One sham alumni is Cynthia Phaneuf. Cynthia, to me, appears to be a straightforward case of that was then, this is now:
Up top is when she was hot and heavy with with the ubiquitous
Jay Chappelle. At bottom she's with her baby daddy,
and now-husband, Max Talbot.

Cynthia's sort of how we'd expect it to play. "Okay, I'm retired, can't be bothered with any more bullshit. Here's my real boyfriend. And my real facial expressions when I'm actually interested in the guy."

Then we have Bryce Davison:

and his lovely fiancee, on Bryce's facebook, an instant after getting engaged. I'm not saying they're not in love and engaged. Who'd fake an engagement? I'm fully expecting Ashley Schmidt (nee Davison) to bridesmaid it up the aisle (or grass, or sand) at her brother's nuptials. I'm just saying maybe, like so many other Skate Canada alumni, they're SO in love they don't need to put on a show. Look at the hands there.

Maybe Bryce was warped from the years of pretending Jessica was closer to Scott than to him, and hasn't yet learned it's okay to actually touch his future wife in front of the camera. Nothing major Bryce. Just uncurl your fingers. It's okay to touch the middle of her back through her bra, golf shirt, and warm-up jacket. You just got engaged for God's sake.

Here he is on fiancee' Michelle's facebook doing the actual proposing (photo apparently by Dylan Moscovitch):

Proposal. Only one point of contact.
High level of difficulty.
I don't know where I'm going with this. Just saying these are the only public photos on either of their facebooks, and who doesn't propose to his beloved twenty-five feet from a golf course parking lot, in front of his best guy friend who takes the picture for posterity? People propose via jumbotron in front of thousands of strangers all the time. He's got the ring in his right hand, but his left hand isn't doing anything. What's he supposed to do, touch her? It's the proposal, not the wedding night!


A basic image from her starlet days with Scott.

Crazy for him. Can't miss it.

Now, below, here's the guy she's currently with, per her instagram and facebook. She's part of yet another couple so hot, so perfect, none of their friends need to be in relationships of their own.

Then there's the time in the way back that she briefly put up a profile shot of herself with what appeared to the public to be a random (to us) dude, whom she hashtagged as #justlikefamily:

Going by her eyes and her smile, guess which is the platonic dude? You'd be wrong, according to CH.

I'm not being coy. Bryce's deal looks weird. Posing at an empty table in an empty restaurant weird, including the meh body language. I have no idea whom he might be with instead, if anyone, but if you're gonna put your engagement picture on social media why not do it up right like Charlie and Tanith did when they were "papped" getting engaged totally without their knowledge at some resort, in the company of the entire cast of Dancing with the Stars. They kissed and everything.

They actually are together, but actually full of shit
at the same time. This is for the "paps". (If they're
invited, aren't they not "paps", but venue photographers?
Particularly if money changed hands.)
Bryce and Michelle seem underwhelmed. Yet one comment adjacent to the photo of the ring is "You look so happy!!!!!" I've never seen Michelle before, but what is she usually, a chronic case of bitchy resting face? That's "SO" happy? Maybe Bryce likes them morose.

Cassandra's apparent boyfriend is a hockey player, so, I'm assuming super famous in his own world, and of course, since Cassandra's time with Scott and Tessa, her own star has - coincidentally, no doubt - ascended. (Cassandra's restaurant photo with her current SO also features unfilled glasses and empty plates.)

The sham has always ended up quid pro quo. Jessica and her family got travel perks, Jessica and her partners got assignment perks, Jessica got other perks, such as being one of Hello Canada's most beautiful. Cassandra was with an amateur modeling agency, not getting anywhere despite her family's money, and once she's discharged her sham obligations with Scott, she's in a totally different category - Miss Universe Canada London (there's a Miss Universe pageant every year - only post-Scott did she get in the loop), and she's a local luminary, the face of London Operation Smile.

Cynthia's how you'd think it would go. Okay, back to real life. A GREAT real life it looks like, but her facial expressions look real to me.

The other two are a little weird. In the celebrity world, there's sometimes the case of the has been who shows up with an entourage, acting paranoid about fans and security, going all cloak and dagger, when the reality is nobody cares - the fuss is all ego, vanity and front.

If there's post-sham new sham going on anywhere, my guess is that accounts for it.


  1. It's not posted publicly on his own page, but there is at least a kiss photo from Bryce's proposal on Dylan's fan-friendly Facebook.

  2. As with Scott, it's more the energy (or lack of energy) behind a photo. Same as Cassandra with that blonde guy.

    Bryce has been retired since 2011. Cassandra's fame is as local as it gets. What's the deal?

    1. I think you need more than body language in a few pictures to say it's fake. Cassandra definitely shows all the signs of a sham relationship but I'm not so sure about this one.

    2. 4:05
      Cassandra looks much more relaxed in the photos with the real (most recent) BF. She and Scott never did sell it.

      I think friends and family have piled on not only because now it's real but also as a way to show they're happy for her in a real relationship and not the sham. Maybe it's just me, I'm not getting any of that crazy, mocking vibe from the family&friend crew this time.

      Like many fans, I think it looks like KL is history and I'm expecting Scott will be getting a new sham GF. There's no shortage of girls willing and anxious to cash in on an association with him. He's married and has children? Eh.

      Which, BTW, if KL thought it would do her special PR favors to be Scott Moir's GF, I don't think that panned out for her.

    3. I don't know about the #justlikefamily" guy, but he's different than the blonde guy in the backwards baseball cap, and I don't see that Cassandra's smile reaches her eyes (it barely reaches her mouth) anymore with the hockey guy than it did with Scott. Cassandra has a real smile with the #justlikefamily guy, and what's more, every line on her face - her smile, her eyes - matches his.

      I'm not saying it's fake with the baseball cap guy. But it LOOKS fake. And why the promotion?

    4. We don't know why KL shammed with Scott (and may still be shamming with him - both Jessica and Cassandra experienced lulls and this may be a lull).

      The @jonescurl team obviously did a concerted pr push after Sochi, including the usual articles about OMG, how disconcerting it is to be so famous (that's called astroturfing - a perversion of "grass roots". Talk about something happening in the hopes that it will generate the real thing.).

      Everybody on the team seemed paired up, but so did Kaitlyn (with DJ Digby).

      She didn't get perks, per se -she was as successful in her sport as Scott and Tessa were in theirs, but there WAS synergy. Golfing events. Charity events. The circuit they were on was in sync. The Scott angle gave Kaitlyn (and @jonescurl) more opportunity to engage social media. We probably have no idea how quickly people run out of content. Kaitlyn had her chocolate milk deal, her personal appearances, her curling events, and Scott - because Scott had a shit-ton of his (and Tessa's) own.

      I have learned, truly, that people who use social media don't know what the fuck they're doing. Even big companies don't know what they're doing. There's a lot of untested assumptions. It appears to me that Scott and Tessa found Kaitlyn convenient, because it gave them an excuse to continue to 2018 (while they themselves appeared to weigh 2018). Associating with Scott and Tessa was a good cross-promotional for @jonescurl. Maybe not in terms of the public, per se, but simply pumping out the content in connection with Scott and Tessa does keep the team (and Kaitlyn) in the minds of marketing people who are looking for faces to populate, front, participate in, etc. events.

    5. Another answer that has been floated is that because women in curling are definitely objectified, if she had broken up with Digby, it would be easier to have a high-profile boyfriend then be the only single gal on the team.

    6. Wasn't Digby at some summer concert that Kaitlyn attended, that Scott also attended? Summer before last.

      As far as objectification, how much of a real world, daily life issue is that? Kaitlyn has male fans who continue to express their admiration even though she's in a "high profile" relationship. If objectification is inside the sporting world, that's for the sporting world to address.

  3. This post made me laugh so much - these people are so strange! BTW, Bryce has his left hand curled round Michelle's right knee so maybe there's hope for them yet. In other news, KL is giving Hillberg and Berk a shout out on Twitter - Canada really is a small country, eh? You can't get freebies from a jewellery company without your sham boyfriend's wife being in the mix...

    1. Yes, I saw that (belatedly) about the knee, but then it's the same curl configuration that's preventing him from really touching her back with the same hand in the first picture.

      I like looking at control images - how does a person customarily carry themselves, what's their usual demeanor? A number of posts back, I had images of 1930s H'wood stars William Powell and Jean Harlow. There's two (no more than two) shots of Powell arriving at Harlow's funeral looking, it appears, devastated. Bent forward at the waist, fingers curled, mouth in what appears to be in a grimace. But if you control-picture things, it can be seen that walking pitched forward is his usual walk. It was even parodied in a cartoon. His hands normally curl. If you take those two things out of the equation (the posture and the curled hands), the impact of the funeral photos lessens.

      Kaitlyn is hilarious at this point. It began as Kaitlyn/Scott. A pattern. She simply abruptly began appearing in images that he was in, where she hadn't been before. If she were a skater, the images would be nothing. The entire message was "she was never in the vicinity of him before, and now she's there a lot." that's it. It was implication. Then came gf mentions, and what appeared to be social outings instead of personal appearances. That was the next step. Then some super awkward attempts at shamming. The amusing part was after that, Tessa came in strong, and at this point, the romance is far more Tessa/Kaitlyn than Kaitlyn/Scott. It's moved past Sister Wives to Wild Side (a movie starring Anne Heche and Joan Chen).

  4. I don't know for how much longer KLawes will continue the sham but it looks like they're already setting Scott up with a new girl for the future.
    Her name is Melissa, she's a beach volleyballer ( on the same team that played when Scott and Tessa visited the Pan Am games ) and she's also the cousin of one of Scott's in laws ( keeping it in the family this time, eh ? ).
    Said cousin posted a picture of Scott and Melissa on Twitter from her wedding. Oddly enough the bride had been inactive on Twitter since July and didn't feel like posting anything about her own wedding day, the only thing that made her return to Twitter after 5 months was that she wanted the world to know about was how much she loves Scott and Melissa. How nice of her !
    I think once KLawes fizzles out this Melissa girl is the next in line.

    1. I saw that, although I didn't think along those lines. The ages of Scott's gf's are gonna start creeping downward. This one is younger than Tessa.

    2. It follows the same pattern : a family member pops out of nowhere just to tell the world how amazing Scott and random female are. And that's all they have to say. One would think the bride would be happy about her wedding but nope, the highlight of her wedding were Scott and Melissa posing for a picture.
      Scott's family never posts pictures of him and other women if it's not sham related. Even Scott can't be bothered to promote his own professional events but they always keep us updated when Scott gets laid.
      We've seen it with Jessica and Cassandra so why should it be any different now ?

    3. Listen, I won't argue. The only thing that's a ? is the bride referred to Milissa and Scott as her cousin and her cousin-in-law, which would seem to suggest Scott and Melissa are related.

      I love how Kaitlyn/Scott unsubtly morphed to a Kaitlyn/Tessa bff-ship this fall. On Jessica Dube's instagram some months back, she reports lunching with Sheri and Leanne Moir. All of this, including Tessa's cultivating Kaitlyn, makes me think of keeping people on the reservation. Give them attention. Let them know they're loved. Make sure they're not going rogue.

  5. I wonder if Tessa's agent tweeted that reference to Scott to make it seem like Tessa would never have listened to a "redneck" song otherwise? Gotta keep up that princess image! Good thing any this ugly can just be dumped onto Scott.

    1. "Anything" not "any this"

    2. At this point you have to think that Marnie McBean and her pull within the Canadian Olympic Team is Tessa's agent. Its a bit ironic to think the Canadian Olympic Team's current poster athlete is the one who over the years did not wear Skate Canada jackets at press conferences. It appears that the Canadian Olympic Team is as cliquish as FIFA and the ISU. Tessa is in the "in" crowd. Not that she doesn't deserve recognition - but I think its quite apparent that she has been given plenty of exposure. There are other female athletes like Cindy Klassen and Christine Nesbitt - both retired speed skaters with accomplished careers who I can imagine would be great speakers. How about paraolympians? If anything - if you want to show diversity and acceptance - why aren't they as high profile or even offered to be part of the auction trips for Gold Medal Plates? Oh right - they are not part of the old boys club. What's a Scott Moir? What's an Alexandre Bilodeau? You also have to wonder if other Canadian Olympians are seeing this favourtism that Tessa is getting and thinking hmmm. Is Joannie Rochette chopped liver? Personally, I would love to see Marnie McBean's rowing partner Kathleen Heddle give a talk. According to old interviews, Kathleen Heddle was actually the stronger of the two rowers and did not want public attention. Wouldn't it be refreshing to hear a former athlete just talk about the sport and not their "personality". At the end of this rant, I guess all I want to say to the Canadian Olympic Committee is that you have a variety of athletes that are great ambassadors - use them.

  6. So senior pairs - just happened and Duhamel/Radford are 3rd. And believe it or not - of all people Phil Hersh basically tweeted that they were overscored. He actually answered back to John Coughlin indicated that there set-up into their jumps was like a mile long, lol..finally perhaps folks are actually going to look at skating skills and mark them to the lower technical skater.

    1. Their set up to their jumps and throws have always been a mile long. Sure, take the entire ice to set up a quad while Megan is basically stiff as a statue being carried across the ice (her blade is on the ice, but it's a flat) by Eric, then throw her straight up (not really across) and have her stick the landing and immediately pivot. Awesome. No wonder their pcs exploded.

      I don't know what's going on this season, or, more correctly, the back half of this season, but it is meaningless unless 2014 is addressed. You can't just x out the greatest ice dance team of all time, who were indubitably skating as the greatest ice dance team of all time, on another plane, so you can put a completely manufactured, unskating construct on the top of the podium, and then sort of pretend that never happened and go back to skating. You can't. As a fan of some of those who are doing better, and as a a strong NON-fan of some of those who suddenly aren't getting automatic score boosts, I can enjoy it on a very primitive fan level, but that's where it ends.

      Tomorrow I'm going to put "Good Kisser" on a new post. It's a show skate. I'm pretty sure what Scott and Tessa do in this exhibition can be done by other skaters, but the point of posting it is the skating skills and the GOE. Their absolute mastery of their bodies, their blades (mastery of their bodies - which includes a) freedom of movement b) precision (i.e., isolation); c) absolute unison; and d) skating incredibly close together with quickness and speed.

    2. Duhamel Radford ended up with silver.

  7. I wouldn't put too much stock in "people getting the scores they deserve for what they did on the ice" since D/R are 3rd. Take a look at Ice Dance and tell me that they have that event correctly scored. How about the difference in scores amongst the men? The order is likely correct but the cushion given to the leader is far too much.
    As much as we wish, judges are still doing their own thing, going the way as directed.

    1. Agreed.

      Here's how I look at it. After looking at two photos, especially a photo at a golf event, it's pretty obvious Tessa and Scott knocked out two kids in just about under two years. They WANT to come back. Looking at how they're skating, even in shows, and, more importantly looking at how the rest of the ice dance world is skating - a gold in 2018 should be a walkover.Unless they hear through ye old grapvine that they better not. And the reason they'd hear that is nobody wants the Davis White gold to be practically an official "Well, we all know what happened there, let's put an asterisk right now" situation. Which would be pretty much what figure skating would be admitting if VM came back and were allowed to win. They won't come back, obviously, unless they were allowed. That's what they meant by "we'd only come back to be champions."

    2. "They won't come back, obviously, unless they were allowed."

      Watching the GPF in Barcelona. Chock/Bates are in 2nd after the SD. Crappy skating, a la Davis/White. This is a sure sign the ISU's mafia culture still reigns supreme. I doubt V/M would be allowed to win.

    3. Yeah, now that the GPF is over and the Shibs were absolutely gutted, and C/L ridiculously held up, the mob still runs the place. They don't want VM to come back. It was apparent that C/L are very much slower, and do little more than skate holding hands at arms' length, and there are a lot of repetitive time-kill stand-still b.s. movements, and yet.

  8. P.S. About Duhamel Radford - I have nothing against them. I appreciate how hard Megan works, her diet, her regimen. I appreciate that Eric Radford was the definition of a mid-level journeyman until he and Duhamel became the odd couple. I appreciate that they have to hack some elements due to the size difference. Not because of the aesthetics of the size difference, but the technical challenges of the size difference. They've made the most of themselves.

    OTOH, so what. I feel about that the way I do about Davis White. Meryl Davis may have damaged her health in pursuit of a gold medal. The woman lacks a lot of strength we can find even in novice. That was highlighted on Dancing with the Stars. I don't think she has an illness or a condition. I think it's down to the extreme artificiality of her current body type (imposed on her natural body type) that has robbed her of strength, and all that's artificial in her style of movement and skating. She can't be a top level skater, but she can be a top level Rube Goldberg-type construct made of artifice.

    Somewhere along the way the USFSA and their families thought this extraordinary Frankenstein's monster experiment merited a gold medal. It didn't. Virtue and Moir worked their asses off as well, equally if not more so, but even if they didn't, even if they lay in bed eating chocolate and drinking beer for breakfast, showed up at the rink at 2pm and did a couple of run throughs for forty-five minutes and done, and they still skated as they did at the GPF and the Olympics, they're the gold medalists. Olympic gold is not a try hard award. It's not "fair" or shouldn't be fair towards any values other than those exhibited on the field of play. The fact is, some people are more talented than others. Some people can work their asses off and only get to mediocre, others can coast into the top level.

    So, Duhamel Radford's work didn't stop Megan from holding herself stiff as a board, barely breathing, the definition of stalking, through most of her program, stiff-hipped, stiff kneed. That's not high-pcs technique, but she got high pcs. Their bastardized throw technique should certainly never get high GOE.

    I know what they're doing, packing their programs to max points. They should never get points, though, that they haven't skated, and it shouldn't take stumbles and errors to deny them.