On NPR this morning, commentator Frank Deford laments that the entertainment industry is giving us only "sex, Justin Bieber and boxing" while ignoring an important part of our sports culture: hockey.
Deford laments: "But most important, right now, I wish the entertainment moguls would do a play or a film for the poor hockey fans who don't have an NHL season because the owners have locked out the players...I feel very sorry for ice hockey fans..."
Here's your story, Frank: Skater in a Strange Land. It's about ice hockey, talking bears, steampunk, romance. And there is a bit of fighting in it. Because that's part of hockey. But there isn't any boxing.
A perceived spike in short-term phase shifts on the Continent is not due to climate change, scientists at the Borschland Institute for Continental Ontotropology (Onderzujksinstituut fvoor Faaseverschijving, or OfF) reported yesterday.
Klejmejns van ter Brejgcht, lead scientist for the Project on Climate Change and Continental Phase Shifts (Project over klimaatverandering n faaseverschijvingen), Tujrspaark, Borschland, released a finding from the OfF that found no scientific relationship between the warming of the globe and the uncanny "phase shift" phenomenon known only to the island continent in the South Indian Ocean where Borschland is located.
"We're leaning towards the idea that this is a coincidence," said Dr. van ter Brejgcht, who spoke for 22 other co-authors of the paper. "We haven't ruled out a relationship, but research to this point indicates no positive influence."
The "phase shift" is a little-understood phenomenon whereby the entire Continent "phases" in and out of earth's universe. During effective phase shift periods, the Continent is "not there" and cannot be located by satellites nor reached physically by ship or plane nor by telecommunications networks.
For those caught in the phase shift, life continues on as normal, except that they are in a kind of alternate earth with a different history. Since phase shifts can last from several hours to several years, it has been impossible for all but the most intrepid explorers to reliably travel out from the Continent during phase shifts to discover the particulars of this other universe.
Similarly, the people of the Continent tend to stay on the ground, because being caught in a phase shift while in the air often means being "left behind" in our universe while the Continent shifts.
Every time there is a phase shift, the underground telegraph line that links the Continent with Perth, Australia, must be reconnected.
"It's annoying," said Captain T.K. Kroonerskaap, who skippers the Borschland Navy steam needleship Te Staff ter Limpael and whose main mission is to reconnect the telegraph line after a phase shift. "But it keeps me in a job."
Kroonerskaap said that he did not believe climate change was a factor in recent more frequent phase shifts on the Continent. "It's a short-term thing," he said. "We'll have several shifts in one year, and then none for three years running."
Climate change is a live issue in Borschland. It is the southernmost nation in the world and its people are avid hockey fans. Government statistics have indicated a rise in the cost of hockey rink refrigeration in the past five seasons.