Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Wolf Blitzer puts his pants on and calls Donald Trump on his bullshit. Trump has trouble making sense of reality, since he can't get Blitzer fired from his own show.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Kinda Live Blogging The News

Things are surely happening in My City these days, what with daily (and nightly!) student protests, three full levels of corrupt government (municipal, provincial and federal), the Canadiens not making the playoffs and going through a major overhaul, the soccer team (Impact) selling out the Olympic Stadium (60,000 fans - twice!), the F1 Grand Prix, the festival season nearly upon us, and most infrastructures crumbling of getting destroyed...

And things are also chaotic in my life, as I left my former apartment (of 3+ years), a two-floor dwelling that was getting too expensive on my own after a collection of unreliable roommates, a bunch of people kicked out of my life (and a few who almost went that way as well), underpaid-and-underworked job, music contracts drying up, practically dry sex life, a pending bankruptcy...

Now, with the flash storms (and flash floods that come with them...) happened to hit my new place, that I moved into a month ago...

Here's a look from the window:

Here's a look at just how much water made it in each time a car passed on the street:

And how high the water level was compared to the door (at this point, the foyer and basement were already flooded, so it couldn't get worse):

How was your night?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

How To Kill The Soul Of A City

I totally forgot about the Funeral Procession in honour of what used to be La Main - Montréal's Red Light district, the heart and soul of North America for the first half of the 20th century, where Americans would stock up on alcohol during prohibition, where jazz greats (Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Muddy Watters, Charles Mingus and countless others) came to play and escape racism, where they made the best hot dogs (Montréal Pool Room, established in 1912), near the best smoked meat (Schwartz') in the world, and, of course, Café Cleopatra, one of the continent's first very openly drag-queen friendly venues (which also holds a regular female-dancer strip club on the first floor).

All housed in centuries-old buildings, set to be destroyed within the next few months after years of heritage groups, citizens, artists and tourism experts trying to get the madness stopped. And they still don't know what they'll erect in its place, all suitable tenants having elected to conduct their business elsewhere!

Luckily, photographer S. E. Amesse was there to take these pictures:

Costumes, a live orchestra - when artists grieve, they do it i style!

Look at how desolate the corner that made Montréal's reputation now looks:

Not only are our governments corrupt and crumbling, but our infrastructure, our buildings, nearly 400 years of history is going to the wayside for Disney-themed ''art'' neighbourhoods (Quartier Des Spectacles) and fucking condos. In the heart of fucking downtown. And our mayor is proud of himself.

It's as out of its place as pork sold in a mosque a fucking disgrace.

Are Zombies Here Yet?

The news gets weirder and weirder every day. A man in Florida was shot dead while eating another man's face...

Key quote:
Now it's one thing to eat another person, and it's quite another to eat another person and then continue eating after you've been shot. Witnesses claim the officer fired half a dozen shots before the attacker finally stopped.
The cops think the assailant might have been high on cocaine; I say crystal meth might be another thought to consider.
 Or, you know... ZOMBIES.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Daniel Weinstock's Open Letter (To English-Canadians)

I don't know this Daniel Weinstock character, but his Open Letter To English-Canadians on Facebook is pretty much right on the money, for the most part:
An open letter to my English-Canadian friends. Please circulate in your networks as you see fit.
You may have heard that there has been some turmoil in Quebec in recent weeks. There have been demonstrations in the streets of Montreal every night for almost a month now, and a massive demonstration will be happening tomorrow, which I will be attending, along with my wife, Elizabeth Elbourne, and my eldest daughter Emma.
Reading the Anglo-Canadian press, it strikes me that you have been getting a very fragmented and biased picture of what is going on. Given the gulf that has already emerged between Quebec and the rest of Canada in the wake of the 2011 election, it is important that the issues under discussion here at least be represented clearly. You may decide at the end of the day that we are crazy, but at least you should reach that decision on the basis of the facts, rather than of the distortions that have been served up by the G&M and other outlets.
First, the matter of the tuition hikes, which touched off this mess. The rest of the country seems to have reached the conclusion that the students are spoiled, selfish brats, who would still be paying the lowest tuition fees even if the whole of the proposed increase went through.
The first thing to say is that this is an odd conception of selfishness. Students have been sticking with the strikes even knowing that they may suffer deleterious consequences, both financial and academic. They have been marching every night despite the threat of beatings, tear-gas, rubber bullets, and arrests. It is, of course, easier for the right-wing media to dismiss them if they can be portrayed as selfish kids to whom no -one has ever said "no". But there is clearly an issue of principle here.
OK, then. But maybe the principle is the wrong one. Free tuition may just be a pie-in-the sky idea that mature people give up on when they put away childish things. And besides, why should other people pay for the students' "free" tuition? There is no such thing as "free" education. Someone, somewhere, has to pay. And the students, the criticism continues, are simply refusing to pay their "fair share".
Why is that criticism simplistic? Because the students' claim has never been that they should not pay for education. The question is whether they should do so up front, before they have income, or later, as taxpayers in a progressive taxation scheme. Another question has to do with the degree to which Universities should be funded by everyone, or primarily by those who attend them. So the issue of how to fund Universities justly is complicated. We have to figure out at what point in people's lives they should be paying for their education, and we also have to figure out how much of the bill should be footed by those who do not attend, but who benefit from a University-educated work force of doctors, lawyers, etc. The students' answer to this question may not be the best, but then it does not strike me that the government's is all that thought out either.
And at least the students have been trying to make ARGUMENTS and to engage the government and the rest of society in debate, whereas the government's attitude, other than to invoke the in-this-context-meaningless "everyone pays their faire share" argument like a mantra, has been to say "Shut up, and obey".
What strikes the balance in the students' favour in the Quebec context is that the ideal of no up-front financial hurdles to University access is enshrined in some of the most foundational documents of Quebec's Quiet Revolution, in particular the Parent Commission Report, which wrested control of schools from the Church and created the modern Quebec education system, a cornerstone of the kind of society that many Quebeckers see themselves as aspiring to. Now, it could be that that ideal is no longer viable, or that we may no longer want to subscribe to it. But moving away from it, as Charest's measures have done, at least requires a debate, analogous to the debate that would have to be had if the Feds proposed to scrap the Canada Health Act. It is clearly not just an administrative measure. It is political through and through. Indeed it strikes at fundamental questions about the kind of society we want to live in. If this isn't the sort of thing that requires democratic debate, I don't know what is.
The government has met the very reasonable request that this issue, and broader issues of University governance, be at least addressed in some suitably open and democratic manner with silence, then derision, then injunctions, and now, with the most odious "law" that I have seen voted by the Quebec National Assembly in my adult memory. It places the right of all Quebec citizens to assemble, but also to talk and discuss about these issues, under severe limitations. It includes that most odious of categories: crimes of omission, as in, you can get fined for omitting to attempt to prevent someone from taking part in an act judged illegal by the law. In principle, the simple wearing of the by-now iconic red square can be subject to a fine. The government has also made the student leaders absurdly and ruinously responsible for any action that is ostensibly carried out under the banners of their organizations. The students groups can be fined $125000 whenever someone claiming to be "part" of the movement throws a rock through a window. And so on. It is truly a thing to behold.
The government is clearly aware that this "law" would not withstand a millisecond of Charter scrutiny. It actually expires in July 2013, well before challenges could actually wind their way through the Courts. The intention is thus clearly just to bring down the hammer on this particular movement by using methods that the government knows to be contrary to basic liberal-democratic rule-of-law principles. The cynicism is jaw-dropping. It is beneath contempt for the government to play fast and loose with our civil rights and liberties in order to deal with the results of its own abject failure to govern.
So that is why tomorrow I will be taking a walk in downtown Montreal with (hopefully!) hundreds of thousands of my fellow citizens. Again, you are all free to disagree, but at least don't let it be because of the completely distorted picture of what is going on here that you have been getting from media outlets, including some from which we might have expected more.
It would be nice if he'd added the list of scandals Jean Charest and his Liberal Party has been associated with, but a good start deserves to be noticed.

Video Of The Week: Northen Lights

After Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas and USA For Africa's We Are The World, Canadian artists of the 1980s also needed t voice their own worries about the situation of starving children, and Bryan Adams and a few associates (Bob Rock, David Foster, Jim Vallance, his wife Rachel Paiement of CANO fame, and Paul Hyde) penned this cheesy track and had Bruce Allen convince a veritable ''who's who'' of Canadian singers from all across the spectrum take part - from respected, political singer-songwriters such as Neil YoungGordon Lightfoot and Bruce Cockburn, to the universally-acclaimed likes of Burton Cummings (The Guess Who), Geddy Lee (Rush), Anne Murray, and Joni Mitchell, pop artists like Corey Hart and Loverboy's Mike Reno, as well as the obligatory Québec French-language artists (Véronique Béliveau, Robert Charlebois and Claude Dubois).

All that talent, backed by Paul Shaffer, comedian John  Candy, Tom Cochran, Ronnie Hawkins, Kim Mitchell, Aldo Nova, actress Catherine O'Hara, Jane Siberry and countless others...

And yet...

This song came to mind as I witnessed the 27th, 28th and 29th straight late-night demonstrations (the last one which was violence-free) against the provincial government, where I heard my share of overhead helicopters on top of my house, police sirens, tear gas, concussion grenades, and saw an abundance of useless pepper-spraying and clubbing...

And the words came to me:

''If we could live together...''
''Don't you know that tears are not enough?''

Friday, May 18, 2012

John Tortorella Remixed

The only problem with this song is that it lasts a whole minute - twice as long as his press conferences!

I love this coach, wanted him to coach the Habs as soon as Guy Carbonneau was fired!

Video Of The Week: Bananarama

I had a whole different thing planned this week, but since my provincial government went anti-democratic, totalitarian and against our charter of rights last night, I went with Cruel Summer instead.

I know - you'd think I'd choose a more political act than Bananarama, but sometimes, extreme situations call for extreme measures... and these 3 girls just might be it.

To this day, they are still the most-charter all-female musical act (take that, Spice Girls!), but would you believe thy started out with a foot planted firmly in punk rock? Indeed, they started out doing backing vocals for acts such as Iggy Pop, The Jam, The Monochrome Set and The Nipple Erectors and, before their debut launched, were even approached by Sex Pistols impresario Malcolm McLaren, who wanted to be their manager! That's what I call street cred!

They still exist today, as a duo, and I might check it out soon enough.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


You know what offends me? People who get offended by measly, useless fucking little things, for one.
''Oh, they're calling this politician ugly, it's sexism because she's a woman''. Except the same is often said about male politicians, and everybody laughs. Why the double-standard?

And why are people getting offended about the little stuff but find it totally fucking normal when politicians steal tax money, banks bankrupt people on false pretenses or companies lay off workers even though they're raking in millions in profits?

I have understood the precariousness of the human race for a long time and am willing to accept we wipe ourselves from existence by being greedy, selfish creatures hell-bent on milking everything we can get our hands on - including people - for all their/they're worth. Really. So much so that at some point, I'll just stop complaining and enjoy the show, beer in one hand, pizza in the other, watching all you fuckers kill each other.

And when you come for me, I may put up a fight, or I might not. Depends what mood I'm in, if I want to take you with me. 'Cause if I do, I'll fight tooth and nails and you'd best have a vehicle to hide behind, 'cause I'll come out swinging. If not, you'll have a real nice morning.

In the meantime, though, I'm hopeful of humanity, because in a week or so, Greece, France and now Germany have voted against stupid austerity measures; North America will probably follow. Cuba holds it own, as does Bolivia and Venezuela. The Occupiers will take back the parks, the People will be heard.


Animal Photobombs

While this site claims to have the 35 best animal photobombs of all time - and some of them are, indeed, pretty fucking hilarious - this site prefers to concentrate on dogs.

Take your pick - or go to both!

Oh, Captain, My Captain!

“Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say.Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right.

This nation was founded on one principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences.
When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world -- "No, YOU move.”

Now, MY nation wasn't founded on that principle, at all, but my country/countries like(s) to borrow from the U.S.' worst traits and never the right ones, and we have a shot - just a tiny one - at taking some of the good, for once, and for that we must stand tall and not surrender.

The student strike against a tuition hike is now in its 13th week. The government have replaced their puppet Education Minister with another one who will not be going up for re-election, meaning they threw the old one under the bus to save their asses and hired a temp with nothing to lose to keep the Party's hardline against the future generations.

They need their regime of corruption to continue, as do their mob friends and their family members in the energy and mines industries, who they literally gave our resources to (see how Pétrolia found oil in Anticosti and now owns it); they need to look like they've won this, stood up to the greedy kids and ''kept society safe'', before they move on to another sphere of citizens and take their rights away. And steal their money - more than they already do.

Our education system, by the way, is self-sufficient and was set up to keep paying for itself forever, but as multiple governments took away from its profits/allocated taxes, bit by bit they replaced ''free'' with loans and, over time, by incorporating the private sector into it and cutting into services, made it a money-guzzling pit of corruption and greed - just like everything else they touch.

Just like in the United States (hello, Fox News), they have the loudest media on their side, of course, because huge corporations benefit from gifts while the public media get shat on their budgets cut for not following Party lines.

If we lose here, we will lose everywhere. If we win, we may motivate others to keep up the fight - I'm looking at you, Occupy.

My Mom Is The Best

I love my mom. We may not always see eye to eye, and that's one of the reasons why I couldn't live with her as long as my brother did, but in addition to always doing the best she could to raise us and give us everything we needed, she comes out with these simple, universal truths that she says in that smooth, soothing, calm Voice Of Reason that makes so much sense...

And last Sunday, while we went out for brunch for Mothers' Day with her boyfriend, my uncle, his wife, and my grandparents, the conversation slipped to current events - and the current student strike - for no more than ten seconds, as my aunt said ''I hope we kick Jean Charest to the curb in the next elections, with all the harm he's done in power''.

And my mom replied: ''Yes, and we need to thank the students for opening our eyes and acting on our behalves. They'll be the ones inheriting this polluted, crumbling, indebted world and will have to live with whatever we leave them, so they might as well shape it the way they want it''.

BOOM. End of conversation.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Video Of The Week: Me, Mom & Morgentaler

As curator and organizer of UnPop Montréal and a bit of a music history nerd, I'm often asked what I think are the best or most influential acts ever from Montréal, and before I try to name any from the top of my head, I like to remind my interlocutor that we're probably not going to be talking ''successful in terms of dollars earned or albums sold'', although there is still some kind of validity to that, but if it were the case, acts such as Men Without Hats, Céline Dion, Murray Head, Aldo Nova and Gino Vanelli might have to be part of the conversation, as would April Wine.

In terms of raw talent and social impact, the jazz musicians of yore like Oscar Peterson, Oliver Jones and Charles Biddle, and then Guy ''Buddy Poor'' Nadon and his generation, followed by Uzeb in the1980s; Voivod revolutionized metal.

In terms of influence over other acts, of making kids want to pick up an instrument, Asexuals and American Devices influenced the whole 1980s, but for kids my age and maybe even a bit younger, as we became teens in the 1990s, Me, Mom & Morgentaler was almost alone for a long time, maybe with Jean Leloup, who despite singing in French was in tune with the anglos.

Leloup and MMM sang in at least two languages - three almost full-time for MMM - and mixed ska, rock and rockabilly with a punk/DIY attitude that was made to transcend the ages, with Me Mom paving the way for ska-influenced millionaire acts like No Doubt and Sublime and a whole wave of Montréal ska bands in the mid-to-late 90s (such as The Kingpins, Planet Smashers and the like).

But by that time they'd disbanded, many of the band members having moved, either to the U.S. (Gus Van Go went to NYC to become a world-famous producer - The Stills, The Trews, Vulgaires Machins, Priestess - who said I should send him some demos 5 years ago... oups! - and also had a really good band called Smitty's; Noah Green formed 2 Skinnee J's in NYC as well), or elsewhere in Canada, while Kim Bingham moved to Vancouver to form Mudgirl and The Kim Band, before releasing French-language music for TV show Les Invincibles and playing in David Usher and Nelly Furtado's bands and collaborating with Bran Van 3000.

They had 3 releases but just one official studio album, 1993's Shiva Space Machine, which was re-released in ''special edition'' form in 2007 to go with the 1991 live EP Clown Heaven & Hell and the 1995 compilation We Are Revolting, which borrowed 3 songs from the Clown EP to go with other live and rare tracks.

They left us only with a couple of videos, but they were at their best live anyway, costumed freaks with surprising musical abilities, able to wake a party even in a funeral home. Here is one of the videos, Your Friend:

Sunday, May 6, 2012

New Rules For Unemployment Will Create Poverty

While the Globe And Mail isn't usually Canada's most left-leaning newspaper by any stretch of the imagination, even it couldn't close its eyes on the Conservative government's recent budget provision which would force a worker on unemployment (EI) to accept work even if it doesn't correspond to their specific skill-set, even if it pays less than they are accustomed to (or can afford) or involves “conditions less favourable than those (…) recognized by good employers”.

As Sid Ryan, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, said:
 I believe it’s more about a downward pressure on wages. This government is essentially saying unless Canadians lower their standard of living and lower their wage demands, we won’t be able to compete with China and places like that.
Nice. An official government policy that will turn into Law making Canadians even by going to the lowest common denominator. I have talked often about how Stephen Harper's cronies seemed to want Canadians to be slave workers to their rich friends' companies; now, they are instituting this as Law.

Imagine a CEO, paid a million bucks a year, big house, 5 cars - the whole deal. Loses his job, but it's only temporary, he's highly educated, highly regarded, has the right friends in right places, just needs a bit of time... being forced to accept a job as a clerk in a 7-11. Think that's a way to repay his mortgage? Of course not. He'll go from ''the 1%'' to ''the rest of us'' in no time.

Same goes for skilled workers, like plumbers, electricians, truckers... they risk losing their trades, licenses,  even their skill-set, and many professions risk if not elimination, at least a monopolization that would exclude many members in the short-to-middle run.

The Conservatives want power and money to remain in the hands of people they know, and no one else.

They even raised the age for receiving old age pensions from 65 to 67 (effective in 2023, after all their fucking friends will have received theirs...) and will diminish the amount provided, despite tons of research proving none of this needs to be done.

All of these measures, as well as re-opening the gay marriage and abortion debates, and the costly Queenification of the country is taking the country back 4, maybe 5 decades. And there's nothing anyone can do about it, because they have the majority at the House Of Commons.

We're talking about the same fuckers who cut $6.7B the National Film Board and $115M in the state-run CBC, but gave Quebecor Media $5.5B as a gift, presumably to keep spewing right-wing fake news on Sun News TV.

We're talking the Armed Forces Fan Club who managed to cut mental health resources for soldiers. I guess the message is ''if you don't die abroad, you're fucked''.

So the Feds want us dead or as slaves, and the provincials want us uneducated and poor. And yet, the Independence option remains below 40% in most polls, despite strong federalists Michael Ignatieff and Justin Trudeau being relatively open to it... hard to understand.

Need I remind these fuckers that in the Grande Scheme of things, mankind is but a blip on the map, a few thousand years in millions of years of evolution - and this particular generation, century even, is but a blip on mankind's time. We're pretty fucking meaningless, and yet there remains a bunch of assholes intent on fucking it all up for most folks instead of letting us enjoy the ride.

The current climate just cannot stand, and I wouldn't be surprised if stuff like the Victoriaville riot happened more often. Then again, wearing a mask - even a gas mask for protection from canisters and fumes - will soon mean 5 years in jail...

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Death Of A Democracy?

By now, chances are you've heard about last Summer/Fall's Occupy movement, and probably this Spring's two-month-strong student protests/strikes. If not, look it up, it's a fine read, students refusing a hike in education costs, defying (provincial) Prime Minister Jean Charest daily, kind of helping us forget how corrupt his government has been - but kind of not, at the same time.

Well, the Québec governing party, the Québec Liberal Party (which, technically, on a left-to-right, liberal-to-conservative scale ironically falls strongly on the Conservative side - picture Mitt Romney leading a Workers' Party) was holding its general council in Victoriaville, far from the rumbling streets of Montréal, comfortably, in the countryside, in a town usually so peaceful they don't even have a jail there...

Well, tons of anti-Charest protesters made the trip, including - but not limited to - busloads of students. Well, as may have been expected, shit did, indeed, hit the fan, and a riot ensued. My crystal ball is hazy from the all the smoke and pepper gas used in the picture gracing this post alone, but I can't wait to see how the media will spin this and how it'll affect public opinion. It can go either way: they may convince people that students are to blame for this and have to be forced back into class right away - or they could realize just how many folks are dissatisfied with this sham of a government.

The cops are close to being in over their heads, stopping and arresting at least 3 buses full of university students on their way back to Montréal - on the highway! - most of whom will likely be accused of ''participating in an illegal demonstration'', which they will eventually be found innocent of, but will spend the night in Victo and will have to go back to stand trial; minor yet irritating inconveniences, worse for foreign students and those depending on financial aid. But they will have to go back for sure, because a non-appearance in court is equivalent to pleading guilty in the eyes of the law.

Amnesty International has already condemned our police force of mishandling the situation - how worse will they look on the international scene? How will this affect tourism in our city this summer? Will we warn tourists to stay in their hotel rooms after 8PM?

One kid lost an eye early in the conflict from a noise grenade to the face, another one did so tonight from rubber bullets, another girl got shot in the face with rubber bullets and had her jaw broken and lost teeth, one kid is in the coma. Half a dozen cops and a dozen protesters are hospitalized, many more were injured but returned home or treated on-site (one paramedic says he treated at least 20 on-site).

This government has lost its legitimacy a long time ago, this is just added, useless bonuses. The student thing? Over a few million bucks, less than the Liberals have handed out to their mafia friends and fundraisers since the beginning of the year. How much more violence do we need before we kick those fuckers out of office? Do we need a cop or a kid to die? Chicago 68? Los Angeles 92?

History will not be kind to you, motherfucker, if you let this fester any longer.

Friday, May 4, 2012

R.I.P. Adam Yaunch (a.k.a. MCA) Of Beastie Boys

Shit, man. 47 years old. That's younger than both of my parents. Fucking cancer.

Not that I was a huge Beastie Boys fan - their records left me lukewarm (apart from Paul's Boutique, which I liked a lot, I'd usually just go for 3 to 5 songs per record), and their 1998 concert at the Molson Centre was disappointing to say the least. But still.. I thought Adam Yaunch was going to beat this thing, because he can't, he won't, he don't stop.

His band's videos will live on forever, as does his participation in the mid-to-late-90s Free Tibet movement.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cops In Flight, Don't Know Why

How stupid is this? An Alabama police department just found out they have two drones - man-less planes used both for surveillance and military missions - and don't know why. And have never used.

I've been interested in drones for years, and even more so when I found out the U.S. now use them along the Canadian border. And I thought it was the largest non-defended border in the world; I guess not.

And now there are over 1000 drone permits issued in Canada, mostly to police but also rescue and government departments - but no one knows for sure how many are actually patrolling over our heads, which is even more shocking than actually having them there. Which is still awe-inspiring, considering we're a country of barely 30 million people over the second largest piece of land on the planet, most of which are concentrated in 6 urban areas.

Big Brother is watching, for sure.

Mr. Cab Driver...

First a word of warning: these videos are shocking, violent, and true. It happened on the night of April 30th, 2012, in Montréal.

It's not enough that there's civil unrest because the governments want to fuck us over even more than they already were, but people have started losing respect for other peoples' property, and then each other.

These kids were dissatisfied with their cab ride, elected not to pay, both sides stayed on their positions, the kids attacked the driver, the driver ran over one of the kids.

But he REALLY ran over him. Not just a wheel. The length of the car.

And here's a view from street level, filmed by one of the kids' friends...

NHL Second Round Predictions

Flyers - Devils

This one, I'm fairly confident, will go the way I'm rooting for. The Philadelphia Flyers are just too strong offensively for the New Jersey Devils' Martin Brodeur to shut down. Their Gunning Frenchmen Daniel Brière, Claude Giroux, Maxime Talbot and Sean Couturier have proven (time and time again) to be beasts come playoff time, and with solid forwards like James Van Riemsdyk and Jaromir Jagr happy in secondary-scoring roles, nothing can stop them this year. Nothing except the Blues...

I'll give the Devils two tight, overtime wins against a shaky Ilya Bryzgalov, but unlike many observers this post-season, I do remember he posted a team-record shutout streak just a few weeks ago. When he gets in his zone, it's no-go for pucks in the net.

Flyers in 6

Rangers - Capitals

Two teams I like watching, two teams I respect, but also two teams I don't really give a rat's ass about. Sure, I'd love New York Rangers' head coach John Tortorella to coach my home team, but on the other hand, I really loved Dale Hunter growing up. And I still think the Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin can be an amazing, electrifying player, but he's not getting any ice time; and I think he's getting tired of the defense-first style of the NHL, quite frankly. Then again, Brad Richards is the prototype of the two-way, top-line center you need in this day and age to win a Stanley Cup - and he has a Conn Smythe trophy to show for it.

All in all, this will likely be decided by the goalies, and Henrik Lundqvist is the best in the world. But I wouldn't mind Ovie getting his name on the Cup. Although in the East, only the Rangers, because of their intense rivalry, can give the Flyers a scare...

Rangers in 7

Blues - Kings

The best defensive team (and goaltending duo) in the league versus the best goalie in the West...

Although the Los Angeles Kings' offense is probably the best of what's left in the West, probably second in the league only to the Flyers... When your third line consists of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter,who brought the Flyers to the Finals just two seasons ago, and Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown are tearing shit up everywhere, and Jonathan Quick stopping everything shot at him, the Kings may seem like they have no weaknesses.

But here's what's going to happen: the Kings will win the first two and give St. Louis Blues' (and former Flyers head coach Ken Hitchcock a headache and a scare, but Jaroslav Halak will return from injury in Game 3 and the tide will turn.

Blues in 6

Predators - Coyotes

Ok, I wrote this after Game 1, and I was shocked to see Nashville Predators' goalie Pekka Rinne give up 4 goals in a single game, and what I saw from him (shaky, uncomfortable, stressed out) made me revise my initial position, which had the Preds winning.

On the other hand, the miracle worker Sean Burke - the goaltending coach of the Phoenix Coyotes who made Bryzgalov a star a couple of years ago and is doing the same thing with Mike Smith right now - cannot be outdone, and the Coyotes have an additional source of motivation this Spring: remaining in the Arizona desert. And head coach Dave Tippett seems to have convinced them that it will be the case if they win, so these guys are playing for a Cause, for the chance of remaining in their homes, in the heat/heart of Glendale. And you never count guys on a mission out.

Coyotes in 6

Video Of The Week: Outernational

While the streets of Montréal are taken by storm daily and nightly by protesters, 6 months or so after the winter break of the Occupy movements worldwide, it's good to take a step back and realize there are still some forces of change happening elsewhere, and New York's Outernational are definitely one of them.

I picked this song because it was produced by Tom Morello, but also because it doesn't let its strong message get into the way of their groove, a mix of hard rock, funk, balladry and something resembling slow ska (à la GrimSkunk) that reminds me of the Red Hot Chili Peppers before they went soft and repetitive. It's therefore fitting Peppers' drummer Chad Smith makes an appearance on their record... All of this, by an absolutely indie band who are doing it by their own means.

And although they have very little in common, I still have to put them in the same category as Soul Coughing as bands I really enjoy listening to, whose sounds and words resonate with me, but don't listen to enough.