Wednesday, November 26, 2008

One Of Those Days

I took a 4-day weekend, so technically, today, Wednesday, should be my Monday. And it feels like a Monday, in a sense, because it feels like utter shit. Let alone that I've slept but 4 hours so far since last Friday, that I worked for 3 of my 4 days off...

But everything's going wrong. My computer is so slow, it feels like I'm typing on a fucking retard. I have to wait for it to catch up with me, and rebooting didn't change a thing. I feel like I'm Usain Bolt waiting for the runner-up to finish the raceso we can hop on the podium, and it's taking hours.

But I'm so fucking dazed myself that when everyone else is speaking to me, it feels like Alvin and the rest of the Chipmunks are playing on fast forward when I would rather h a v e t h e m t a k e t h e i r t i m e...

It's like that Radiohead video, ''Street Spirit (Fade Out)'', I guess, with all the varying speeds.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mitch Hedberg - Do You Believe in Gosh

A friend of mine brought me this today. Mitch Hedberg - if you've never heard his comedy before, do yourself a favour and buy his three records, and watch videos of him on YouTube. He was so fucking funny. It's a shame he couldn't live without drugs; cocaine and heroin are what eventually took him away.

At first (10 years ago, maybe?) I was thrown off by his speech pattern, it was like a Southern accent mixed with an ''I'm reading out loud but never learned to read as a child'' factor, kinda like Bernie Mac, but actually funny. But the minute I got used to it, he was just that much funnier.

Fuck, you've got me: I'll listen to every Hedberg album today!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Chinese Democracy

Seriously, I saw Guns N' Roses live in '06, and they really are the best GN'R cover band in the world.

It's too bad they suck at writing their own songs and ran out of covers before they could release something as terrible as their version of Sympathy For The Devil again (or as decent as Spaghetti Incident again).

Chinese Democracy has to be the muddiest-sounding, most poorly written, anticipated rock record ever. 3 okay riffs on one record, one barely listenable song that is almost a 'cut/paste/recut/turn the pieces around' rendition of Estranged, but shorter and more like a cheap knock off.

And considering some of Buckethead's parts still made the record, it's also got to be the most disappointing release by a bunch of (mostly) very talented rockers ever (also Brain Mantia, Robin Fincke, Tommy Stinson).

I guess that's what $15M buys you: talent to play on your record, but not an ability to work well together - or songwriting talent.

Or maybe we're all wrong, and 50 years from now we'll realize how much Axl was ahead of his time and will be considered the Mozart of rock, you know, like supposedly the history books will be kind to W. Bush as the conservative Americans say.

There will always be those who dismiss them as another Bon Jovi-type hair metal band. But their sound was pretty far from that of Poison, Ratt, Mötley Crüe and the like... they had a rawness and a 'realer' rock sound that was closer to a mix of Zeppelin and Dead Boys, rather than a castrated and emasculated Aerosmith/Van Halen like the other bands that I would qualify as 'cock rock'.

Those who don't see the difference will say they didn't have any memorable songs apart from the hits, but it all depends what you want to listen to. As far as straightforward rock goes, Rocket Queen, My Michelle, Mr Brownstone, 14 Years and a few more are just as good as any Nirvana or Pixies or Stones song.

Also, I doubt anyone living outside the U.S. would really be that excited about that record, since only Americans are allowed their free Dr Pepper when the record gets released. But it's here, it's hyped, it cost a fortune - curiosity can bring a listen and that listen brings the inevitable conclusion that it wasn't worth the wait, for whoever actually was waiting.
It's been 14 years of silence
It's been 14 years of pain
It's been 14 years that have gone forever and I'll never have again
Who knew Izzy was such a visionary?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bernie Ecclestone And The Selling Of Dreams

Bernie Ecclestone's verdit is final: there will be no Montréal Grand Prix in 2009, maybe ever. The City didn't feel it was worth losing millions upon millions for a worldwide visibility that merely lasts one weekend. Sure, the Formula 1 race brought more money to the City in a single weekend than any other, even events that last weeks or months cannot compare. But when the asking price is more than the financial benefits, the deficit doesn't make sense.

Montréal isn't the first city to say no to Bernie; Buenos Aires did it before, Indianapolis, Lisboa, Imola, Magny-Cours... Bernie has decided that the traditional Western markets, even if they sell more tickets, will keep watching the races on TV even if they take place in Singapore, Shanghai or Istanbul, who are willing to shell out more money for half-empty races.

But I'm just not sure it's so wise to not have a single race in either Americas...

Anyhow, Bernie had been trying to get Montréal off of its schedule for a decade now. We gave and gave until, for the last three years, we have lost $10M every year. With a worldwide economy on the decline, Montréal decided to play it safe and not keep losing cash. Bernie is trying to suck up all the capital he can before everyone else on the planet goes bankrupt, especially the car companies that make up his product.

By wiping the humanity and common sense from his being, Ecclestone has become the ultimate Business Man of our era, not the richest in the world, but among that elite group and the only one without any competitors to speak of; he will also be the last one standing in his area of expertise, which should be a sign for Mercedes, BMW, Ferrari and the others to never trust him for extended periods of time. As soon as he stops making them money, they should leave his ass behind before he starts eating into their deficits, because that's the type of man he is - a Business Man, for the end of the '90s, the beginning of the New Millenium.

He isn't made for the Conscious People that are on the rise right now, but he doesn't care: the minute he stops making money, he'll just take off with the billions he already has in store and make a comfortable living for himself, by himself. He has nothing riding in anything, no manufacturing plant to take care of, very few employees (everything is subcontracted), he can stop at any given time, which isn't true for anyone dealing around him and making him money.

He is selling other people's services, and the buyers are getting fewer, but as long as there are 15 of them remaining, he will keep raking the money in.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

I saw this movie recently, and I'm glad to say it lived up to the hype. I was hoping it would be better than Knocked Up, as good as The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and dreaming it could come close to Old School. Well, as Meat Loaf put it, ''Two out Of Three Ain't Bad''.

What's nice is that the one-liners were almost all chuckle-inducing or better. What was surprising was that the scene-stealing moments were all done by supporting cast members, with Mila Kunis and Russell Brand doing most of them.

Da'Vone MacDonald as the bartender had a few too. And with Kristen Bell basically parodying herself (and doing an okay job at it), it's a wonder why Jason Segel was so good at self-effacing when he could have had a few moments himself.

A good way to spend a couple of hours, especially the unrated version. 7.5/10

Monday, November 10, 2008

What This Picture Looks Like To Me

Mr Cowboy, meet Mr Classy.
One of them looks Presidential.
Guess Who's Coming To Fix My Fuck-Ups?

Bush: You know, Mr. Bama, or can I call you B.O.B., or Barack O, or just O? Hey, what does that 'O' in your middle name stand for, anyway? I thought your middle name was Hussein, or did my team just make that up?

Obama: Actually, Sir, my last name is ''Obama'', it's just one word.

Bush: Huh... Really? Go figure. Hey, are you going to mind that most of this room is all white, or will you have it redecorated? 'Cause my wife tells me it needs to stay Presidential, whatever that means.

Obama: Sir, really, I haven't thought of how the room should look, more about how to use what it represents to get my point accross when I'm sitting in it.

Bush: You'll see, it's an easy job. Heck, I did it for 8 years and barely remember the names of 5, maybe 6 people I've met from other countries. Did you know that most of our imports come from other countries? Those guys kept reminding me, some of them are pretty good negotiators...

Obama: Yes, sir, I've met a few of them on my recent tour of Europe.

Bush: Europers, those are crazy fuckers. You never know who's in charge, they change Presidents every year and add new states to its members all the time; it can get pretty confusing.

Obama: Uh, yes. I'll take note of that.

Bush: Heh heh. Hey, this is where Bill did the thing with the cigar. And here's where we hide them, just in case you wanna, you know?

Obama: Uh, no, thank you.

Bush: And over there's the only spot in the room that's shielded from cameras, it's where I go to pretend I'm reading the newspaper.

Obama: Thanks, I'll keep that in mind. Hey, do you mind if I try the chair out for a second?

Bush: Boy, you best not start being too presumptuous now... You're lucky I stole elections myself, or I'd have you locked up for messing up the promise I made John McCain when I kicked his ass in 2000.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Grey's Anatomy Fired Actress After Lesbian Scene

Although many sources, including Huffington Post, cite Grey's Anatomy executive producer Shonda Rhimes as saying this decision has nothing to do with actress Brooke Smith's recently-aired lesbian love-making episode.

Uh huh.

The fact that ABC executives were afraid of losing Christian viewers and/or valuable advertizers had nothing to do with the firing, which was told to the actress at the very last minute - when she got her next script. And the fact that it looks abrupt and forced in the script and is left rather unexplained is likely a coincidence too.

So let me get this straight: you do your job and go ahead with what's in the script, you lose your job. You refuse to go through with it (which never came to Smith's mind, mind you, consumate professional that she is), you're a sexist - and fired too.

''Damned if you don't, damned if you do'', said philosopher Bart Simpson in the song ''Deep Deep Trouble'' in the early '90s.

I guess so.

Nice to see networks still don't have the stomach to defend their employees and the purity of the art they're trying to maintain in a landscape dominated by reality shows. The bigger the corporation that's your boss, the less they've got your back. Good to know.

At least viewers got to see some girl-on-girl action, and film producers and directors saw someone willing to go where the script will take her, for future reference.

Alexander Semin Has Balls

It's a little old in terms of news but the Washington Capitals' Alexander Semin has called out the NHL's superstar and #1 attraction, Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby, as not being as talented as the hype surrounding him would suggest.

In a article, indeed, the NHL's leading scorer (that would be Semin, by the way) goes as far as saying sophomore Patrick Kane of the Chicago Black Hawks has better moves and an overall better game.

While I haven't seen Kane play enough to either agree or diagree with that last statement, I do agree that Corsby has been overhyped and is nowhere near the best player in the league as of yet. Tampa Bay Lightning forward Vincent Lecavalier, Detroit Red Wings defender Nicklas Lidstrom and Calgary Flames power forward Jarome Iginla, among others, would be way ahead.

He's not even the best in his age range (the Caps' Alexander Ovechkin and Calgary Flames defenseman Dion Phaneuf would be ahead of him in that last category, in my book).

But he is still young and could develop into a real force if he bulks up and stops whining. And is likely in the top 30 forwards in the game as it is, which is still ahead of most others.

It's a debate that will only be settled when all players have retired and comparisons can be made. In the meantime, though, Alexander Semin's first real interaction with the North American media has been one in which he's shown tremendous character. After all, you don't get recognition by beating puppies (unless you're Michael Vick), but by going for one of the top dogs.

Another Sign The End Times Are Upon Us

Oh Fuck.

It started with a stupid comment from Martin Brodeur, lone star player of the New Jersey Devils, and - for an unknown reason - all goalies' representative to the league when it's time to change something in a sport that in itself is the fastest and requires the most endurance on the face of the earth - and doesn't really require much change.

A year or two ago, he suggested owners should think about using goaltenders' jerseys to sell advertizing space to increase revenue, citing soccer (European and South American 'football') as an example of jerseys being used for ads.

But the idiots who bought the Tampa Bay Lightning (who apparently have 15 pretty good fowards - all on a scoring drought - no worthy goalie and barely one proven defenseman) have taken it a little further this year - by forcing their goalies to paint their masks to advertise a movie they've produced... Saw V.

It's funny that the only form of self-expression allowed in the NHL regarding uniforms is if a player wants to tuck in half his jersey; goalies have it a bit better, as they're allowed to have their masks painted to reflect their personality, usually still meshing with the team's colours. Here's where the funny kicks in: if anyone in the league gets a feeling that it's unethical to use that right to self-expression as an advertiizng tool, the league will turn to its 'changes commitee' and Martin Brodeur, of all people, to see if it's right or wrong. Oh boy.

Mike Smith's mask, at the top, doesn't even fit with his team's colours. How far are we from having Budweiser buy the Toronto Maple Leafs, whose nickname is actually the Buds, just for the advertizing space?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Birth Of Hope

It's a wonder why I'm not already in bed.

Tomorrow should be a new day, full of hope. Maybe even a New World.

It's hard to imagine drastic changes in the Machine that makes the world turn, it is has more cogs and screws than you can throw a plumber at, be it Joe or any other. But there was one thing people needed more than change anyway, to keep this machine turning.


Hope that everything's possible. That the strongest political machine can be defeated. That it isn't wrong to help others in need. That, albeit with a lot of effort, Right will triumph over Wrong in the end. That we will live to see another day. That reason can exist, coexist with and overcome unthought aggression and brash stupidity. That things can be better, and are going to.

Hope. Hope in the exact Machine we might have needed to stop believing in so we could be free. The Machine that crashed the markets so the already-rich could buy once-and-future cash cows at the lowest possible prices; the Machine that sent people to the poor house and seized their homes while people running for office can't even count the amount of property they own; the Machine that even French President Sarkozy said needed a complete overhaul.

Hope. The Rebirth Of Capitalism, Federalism, the American Dream (and the American Imperialism), hot dogs, baseball, 24-hour news networks with barely 5 hours of news on them; sounds a lot like the Clinton years, and we know what happened as soon as someone else took over.

And guess what? It's still a whole lot better than the alternative of more wars, more debt, less government intervention in the wrong (right?) places, more tax breaks for the rich, and possible setbacks in the areas of women's rights and civil liberties.

And here I hope: that Barack Obama really becomes what he says he will. He won't part the waters, won't even get nearly half the things done that need to be done; the Machine he's given us Hope in won't let him, it has mechanisms to keep him from changing too much of it, but here's Hoping the Machine doesn't rein him in and break him like it did John McCain in the past year.