Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Video Of The Week: Meredith Brooks

She's a bitch, she's a lover, she's a wife, she's a mother... she also has fantasies about having a pretty-boy actor come fuck her in her hotel room.

That's Meredith Brooks, who had a huge hit in 1997 with the song 'Bitch', two years after Alanis Morissette made ''going down on you in a theater'' a female empowerment issue and three years after Hole femmed-up grunge, and just before the Spice Girls ''invented Girl Power''. So young ladies found strength in accepting their shallower side, for lack of a better description, in the latter half of the 90s. And most of the girls my age fell victim to this.

In any event, again, I'm not really a fan, but I fell into this video for the song 'What Would Happen' in my weekly visit to the blog It's My Turn/Kat Gets Her Man, in which an American touring musician chick displays a guy-like obsession for a lost love that she has waited years for - through long-distances, marriage, and other obstacles Life has put in their way. She's nicknamed her man 'Skippy', and that guy should know she's a definite keeper - I know I would, chances are he does too.

And she's a smart one, too - you can tell she knows that perhaps it could go to shit, perhaps they'll have evolved differently through time, but she doesn't care, she's waited for her chance and she wants to take it and see where it leads, and hopefully it'll all work out for the best for all parties involved.

In the meantime, she has a job to do, with co-workers who aren't always easy on her; she isn't always a happy camper, but she fights through it with the means she sees and the friends she makes. She goes on dates, gets sad and drunk, and has developed a taste for spankings.

So, yeah, in a recent post, when shit was hitting the fan but getting better, she had this video embedded, and since it gives me an opportunity to talk about her blog, I've decided to borrow it as my Video Of The Week; in the meantime, she's written a sad post with no happy ending, sadly. Here's hoping she gets to feel better soon.

 Hopefully this song helps.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Absinthe: Nectar Of The Gods: Yahweh, Or No Way?

So on Friday, I was playing the Velvet Underground tribute show, Waiting For The Man, with new and old musician friends - and we had a blast. Most of the people there seemed to have a lot of fun as well, except maybe for the Alternate Lady Of The House, who doesn't like that style of music.

More importantly, though, was the fact that it was played at L'Absynthe, the bar named after the infamous drink 'absinthe', banned - under false pretense - in many countries between 1912 and 1915, usually because it cut into wine sales, and the wine distributors invented bullshit stories about absinthe giving epilepsy and tuberculosis when, in fact, it was used as a cure for malaria for a while by French soldiers in the 1840s, who brought their taste for it back home and inspired its popularity. The closest it got to the symptoms of epilepsy is that it has thujone in it from the wormwood, which can give spasms and lead to seizures in too high a quantity, but usually absinthe bottles contained far less of it than was first thought - although some modern brands have a relatively high 100mg of it.

In any event, it's legal nowadays, but barely imported and extremely expensive (think $12 for a small glass of a cheap brand) - and we couldn't pass up the opportunity to try it in the place that is named after it...

It tastes like black licorice, from the anise in it. That means it tastes kind of like Jägermeister, and pretty much like Ricard Pastis, both of which can be had at a third of the price, if you like that sort of thing. If you're ambivalent, it's too expensive for what it is. And if you hate it, you've just been punked out of enough money for 3 beers.

For my money, if you want to get fancy with a hint of anise, go the the Golden Elf - also  known as Liquid Cocaine, Nazi Zombie, Sledgehammer, Gestapo, Iron Curtain, TG Black & Gold, or, simply, Jägerschläger - half Jägermeister, half Goldschläger. That's heavenly.

Absinthe? Not quite. Come to think of it, not at all.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Quakers And Shakers

Did you feel the earthquake too?

5.5 on the Richter scale, not huge or anything, but enough to scare the shit out of my cats. It lasted 10 to 30 seconds, walls and ground were shaking, and it was felt as far West as Hamilton, as far East as Newfoundland, pretty far North, and all the way down to Pennsylvania.

Who said these never happen in Canada, huh?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Goodbye, Jaro, Thanks For The Memories

Well, they've gone and done it. The Montréal Canadiens have traded Jaroslav Halak to the St. Louis Blues, for prospects Lars Eller and Ian Schultz. Eller played all of seven games in the NHL last year, Schultz played the whole season in junior with the WHL's Calgary Hitmen even though he's 20 years old, so scoring and skating may not be his strongest suits.

Let's not forget that, in addition to this season's long playoff run, Halak has been responsible for taking the team to the playoffs (and, in one instance, one point from) in 3 of the past 4 seasons.

He has been an example to follow both on and off the ice, never publicly complaining despite never getting the respect he deserved (the Rodney Dangerfield of goaltending, as it were), always working like a rabid horse in practice, taking hits for the team. He was aware of the team's history (he had Patrick Roy lifting the Cup painted on his first mask, for God's sake!) and even played his junior hockey in the province of Québec (well, Lewiston, Maine - but you don't choose which team drafts your rights!).

He was the underdog we all love(d), and made it to the top. He single-handedly defeated the Russian team at the Olympics, a defeat that hurt the best team in the tournament so much that they never recovered and were eliminated by Canada just a few days later. When the Habs were eliminated in this year's playoffs, he was so far ahead of everyone else to contend for the Conn Smythe trophy that speculation for the winner once the Hawks won Game 6 even included the Flyers' third-line center Claude Giroux as a candidate.

This stings more than a little. Of course, it's not as frustrating for a fan as the Roy trade to Colorado, nor the Guy Carbonneau trade, but it's probably the most painful one of the past decade.

In tribute, I offer these two links from my Collectibles blog, one from September 2009 featuring an AHL card of Halak's, and one from last March, featuring two cards and a postcard.

It's funny, 'cause I was under the impression that teams wanted to keep quiet, hard-working guys in their mid-20s who get the job done and love your team and town, like Halak, Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Markov and Mathieu Darche. Now one's gone, one's set to test free agency in two weeks, one is rumoured to be trade bait, and the last guy probably won't get re-signed and will go to Tampa instead, to play for his friend and new head coach Guy Boucher.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Video Of The Week: Lil' Wayne Feat. Nicki Minaj

For the second week in a row, the Video Of The Week is dedicated to something I'm not particularly fond of, myself... Lil' Wayne, and his over-the-top use of Auto-tune, the pitch-correcting software that makes everyone sound like a computer virus and is ruining popular music pretty much single-handedly.

I've been hoping for the Death Of Auto-tune (thanks, Jay-Z, for joining in the battle!) for about 8 years now, but instead its use is becoming more and more rampant; however, more than ever, it seems like the last throes in a war, the final insurgency, where the enemy are giving it all they've got because they know if they don't win this round, it's over anyway.

Anyhow, Lil' Wayne is definitely abusing the fucking thing. And the video is also cheap as fuck - it looks like the ''special effects'' coordinator (i.e. the guy who took the green from around where Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj are and made it into a boxing ring in an arena) was a 5-year old computer illiterate from the 1950s who had a budget of $5.25 and spent it on a burger and fries instead of electronics.

Hopefully, this spells the end of Auto-tune. But I doubt it, if only because I'm sure Britney Spears still has 2 or 3 comebacks left in her...

If you have trouble seeing it, the full YouTube page is here. Oh, and the song is called ''Knockout'', hence the boxing theme; if he writes a song called ''My Parents Were In A Rocky Relationship'' later in his life, maybe he can use out-takes from this for the video and save time, cash and effort.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

BP: The Coffee Spill

Sometimes, you just have to laugh at situations. Like the BP oil spill that the American Right are trying to pin on Barack Obama, as if he had control over international waters, companies from overseas, or anything like that. Or as if the Federal government had better resources than the companies who had years of experience drilling in the middle of the fucking ocean when three quarters of the American taxpayers' money goes to the military, not scientific research.

And no one wants to admit it, but the only way Obama could interfere with BP's ''business-as-usual'' approach is by meddling with the very fabric of American society - capitalism. And he sure as fuck can't when half his country still thinks he's a Muslim Socialist, not quite understanding the implications of either word, I'm afraid.

So we're left with ''the market self-regulating itself'', and that means BP will do whatever the fuck they want, will end up firing their CEO in a very public manner and public trust in the company will grow back to the same levels as before, but nothing in their practices will change, and there will always be a risk that a fucking bolt will kill off 50 species of animals and whole regions' economies.

In any event, we have to find a way to plow through this shit, some way or another. Here's one.


Kobe Bryant's Snot-Gate

Apparently, Kobe Bryant doesn't like ESPN's Ric Bucher, not enough to not put snot in his hair, in any case.

And that's the reason why sports bars are at full capacity these days? WTF?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Loaded: A Tribute To The Velvet Underground

Unlike the Seattle band of the same name fronted by former GUNS N' ROSES bassist Duff McKagan, Montréal's LOADED is a limited-edition-in-its-life-expectancy band created for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity not to be missed: a show called "Waiting For The Man- A Tribute To THE VELVET UNDERGROUND", to coincide with LOU REED's presence at the Jazz Festival.

Some of the City's most storied musicians will partake in this spectacle of delights, which will involve simultaneous video projection work by Zuzu Knew, who will also be playing viola in the band. Drummer extraordinaire Jackie Gallant (LaLaLa Human Steps, Lesbians On Ecstasy, American Devices, Rhythm Method) will beat the skins; Dave Lines (A Devil's Din) will shine on keys, John Stuart/Triangles Falling (the Mile-End Mission Tribute Benefit series, Papercrows, FingerDog) will man the bass with a style unequaled; genius and virtuoso Jordi Rosen (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Rufus Wainwright) will work the accordion who will be begging for more; Ingrid Wissink (Gigi French) will expertly take the lead with her violin; and Richard Rigby (Lake Of Stew) will manhandle the mandolin with man-love and affection, while Allan Lento (Chinese Backwards, skllffkk, Alien Lentil) and Will Austin (Normal Humans, There Is Still Time... Brother, skllffkk) will complement and compliment one another on their respective guitars bringing a unity of sound probably superior even to the Velvet's own early-90s reunion shows.

Joining them on vocals will be Patrick Hutchinson (Swift Years, Bare Bones) and myself, Sébastian Hell (the UnPop Montréal annual festival series, Unknown People, The Inferno Racket, Lame De Fer), the City's lone constant Lou Reed rip-off-er - as well as Lines, Lento, Austin, and Rosen each taking turns behind the microphone to help bring these tunes to life.

With such a display of talent, I'm sure you'd expect the show to be a costly affair at Place-Des-Arts, and while we will be playing like as if it were, it will instead take place at St-Denis street's beautifully intimate venue L'ABSYNTHE (1738 St-Denis), near the corner of Ontario street, close to Berri metro. Five bucks gets you in, drugs not included.

It's on June 25th, which isn't a Holiday, but we'll make it so just for you. Be there or beware.

(Gallant, Knew, Stuart, Lines, Lento, Austin, Rosen, Rigby, Hutchinson, Wissin & Hell)
"Waiting For The Man- A Tribute To THE VELVET UNDERGROUND"
Friday, June 25th, 2010
@ L'Absynthe
1738 St-Denis

Video Of The Week: Ceephax Acid Crew

Because some times you just have to admit that you know nothing about the youths of today, don' t understand the way they dress, the music they listen to, but you can't help but blame them for the type of world we live in and the leaders we have to pretend to care about the rest of us.

I'm not sure if the kids today listen to this ironically or not, or what. But it is what it is, and while I have to rent venues in my home town to play music in and hope for the best, guys like these get invited here, play for guaranteed money and get free room, board and meals.

Whatever, man. It's Ceephax Acid Crew, led by, obviously, Ceephax, whose real name is Andy Jenkinson, according to his Myspace page. The song is called Sidney's Sizzler, and the full YouTube clip, should it be cut on my page because of formatting issues, can be found here.

Enjoy. If you can.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Thursdays At The Mad Hatman's

It'd always be an unusual night when we'd go drink at the Mad Hatman's; strange characters were drawn to whatever crowd I'd be with, and we were all the better for it.

This time around, Mexicalex wanted to get his drinking on in ways he hadn't in a long time. His original plan was to bar-hop from downtown to my place, drink a beer in every bar on the way. I talked him out of it, even if it took all night, but it wasn't easy, and no bar was co-operating.

First we tried to hit the sports bar - The Sports Stallion - with $17 for 4-liter pitchers, but it was full. Maximum capacity reached, for reason of basketball game. Who the fuck watches the NBA playoffs in Montréal???

Upon refusing us entry, the door guy directed us across the street, to the Cock'N'Balls, saying ''it's the same concept, same owners, just less crowded''.

Yeah, I'd just spent an hour explaining to Mexicalex why the place now sucked: the previous owners had been kicked out of there by their shady landlords but hadn't copyrighted their name, and when over a year had passed that no tenant wanted to pay the extremely high rent, the landlord just re-opened the bar under new management, taking it upon himself to register the name and steal the business. And now I'd learned they also owned the sports bar with decent, affordable beer, and I was going to have to boycott that place too.

Push came to shove and stumbling became walking, and our feet led us to the Mad Hatman's, where we'd spent many a fantastic night in previous incarnations of the place, be it the one five steps down from its current location, or the one on Newhouse street. Even before that, it had been on McPeel street, but those are memories I'd rather forget. In any event, Mexicalex hadn't seen the new location, and I'd only been there thrice myself, so it seemed logical to delve into a pair of seats and experience ourselves a new past. It made sense at the time.

The first table we hit was leaking. Well, technically, it was being leaked on, from the ceiling. Or, rather, probably, from the men's room on the other side of the ceiling. So we moved two tables away.

We had a good time, as I usually do when drinking and talking with friends. Some serious subject matter, some abject, some humourous... always spontaneous. It was a great time. Then we were interrupted by an Oversized Child who seemed to want to pretend she didn't speak French, although it was clear she was fluent in it. What was also clear was that she wanted to get into Mexicalex's pants, although to his defense, as soon as he realized it, he made tremendous efforts in trying to convince her that he already had someone worthwhile in his life and didn't want to jeopardize it by engaging in anything more than discussion, which only led to more serious discussion about dark topics like The State Of the World.

Oversized Child (picture a baby, now make it 5-feet tall) had a friend, blonde, with intellectual/sexy secretary glasses who came to refill her glass at some point. Oversized Child told her: ''Kittie, come sit with us'', and Kittie glanced at the three of us and opted not to, but I said ''she'll be back, she'll sit right in that chair''. An hour later, she did. Lucky for me, Kittie was less gloomy and saw more humour in the world than her counterpart, so we soon got into our own conversation about British politics, dead baby jokes, and her boobs - she started it. All in all, for each of our interests, it was a good night. It would have been if it had ended right there.

Unfortunately, that isn't really the case. First off, Kittie told me to meet her back at the Mad Hatman's the next night, between 8 and 9. Then Mexicalex got hungry, and we went to Harvey's, the terrible hamburger place. I had the vomit burger and he had the vomit chicken burger; what fucking crap, and a terrible way to lose ten bucks. I should have eaten my money instead. Also, I went back the next night, got there at 9:15, neither of them in sight, had a pitcher of Rickard's White and a tasty burger-and-fries drenched in Louisiana hot sauce, then left as they still hadn't entered the premises. I'd been stood up.

I went home and went to bed. Unlike the eve of, this was a day to forget.

Goodbye, Ken Griffey Jr.

I've pretty much abandoned baseball since the 1990s - some time between the strike of 1994 and the departure of Pedro Martinez and Vladimir Guerrero from our beloved Montréal Expos. In the 80s and 90s, two players had the genes to one day challenge to be the best of all time: Barry Bonds (son of Bobby Bonds) and Ken Griffey Jr. I mean, it's pretty good genes to be Moises Alou, son of regular player Felipe Alou, but to be the son of an All Star is a step up from even that.

Some time in the late 1990s, though, Bonds' stats skyrocketed - as his body mass was strangely increasing in size. His head more than doubled as he broke the single-season home run record. Griffey, on the other hand, had his body and body of work stay consistent throughout his career, and no one even alleged he had juiced up.

He retired last week sitting fifth of all time for career home runs and is tied for most consecutive games with a home run. All of this while being a steady presence defensively and in the locker room, unlike the other guy.

The prince ended up surpassing the hype and making a name for himself, and his career is ending, retiring himself from the game, unlike Bonds, who is still officially a free agent, just hasn't had any offer for the past 3 years.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hell's A Film Critic, Too

You asked for it, you've got it.

My own Film Critic's blog.

I was going to just do it here, but this blog is becoming clogged enough with different subjects as is, and the 'labels' link is quickly becoming longer than an encyclopedia.

So I created an off-shoot, a spin-off of sorts.

I hope I get to see you there!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Tortoise And The Sandal

Once upon a time, there was a silly rabbit - a magician of sorts - whose tricks weren't always for kids. He had cards up his sleeve, doves in his hats, and won every race he took part in. Kind of like Usain Bolt.

One day came a turtle whose grandfather had been famous - he had been immortalized on a Magic: The Gathering card. The tortoise challenged the rabbit to a fight, but the hare instead redirected the challenge into a race. Recollecting an old tale (a story by Aesop and a poem from Jean De La Fontaine, because adapted screenplays weren't invented in 1994), the turtle accepted, knowing the primary thing to do in a race is not to be quick but to pace yourself to be able to finish.

Unfortunately, the rabbit was a cheating jerk-off, and being far ahead by the second block, he put an obstacle in the turtle's way: an unbelievably attractive Croc sandal that the turtle just had to make love to, and the rabbit won the race.

Here's a short clip of the interruption:

The agreed-upon bet was for a million dollars. The turtle had a hard time explaining to his wife why they had to sell the house, the car, and take the kids out of private school, but she found out soon enough, when she opened an envelope that came in the mail labeled to the 'Lady Of The House'.

They are scheduled to appear on Divorce Court later this month. Don't miss it!