Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chris Christie: When Republicans Do Their Jobs Instead Of Merely Obstructing The System

This was Day 3 of the fallout from Hurricane Sandy, in what, for the Mitt Romney camp, has now become Hurricane Chris Christie. Indeed, Romney's opponent for the Republican nomination has been praising President Barack Obama for three days straight in regards to his help in providing relief for New Jersey, where Christie serves as governor.

Quotes such as these abound:
It's really important to have the President of the United States here.

In the meantime, Romney has to live up to his past statements about wanting to dismantle FEMA (the federal relief-effort program) and replacing it with State-run programs instead or, as he would prefer, the private sector (i.e. companies such as Halliburton), who would no doubt overcharge and leave many poor people hanging.

The problem with that line of thinking is trusting the ''humanity'' of corporations to do good, when all they are mandated to care about is their bottom line; an additional one would be to take the risk that not all states view prevention funds as an investment rather than an expenditure, and would likely kick it to the curb; or one state would provide better relief than its neighbour and compensation problems would inevitably occur for folks living at one state's border, particularly if they work in the other one.

Another question I asked myself was: now that Christie, a huge Obama critic and obstructor, has seen what The President can do when you work with him rather than against - he is, after all, the President who has tried the hardest to negotiate with his adversaries in a half century - will it incite other Republican superstars to tone down their rhetoric or - gasp! - start working for the American people?

Time will tell, but I'm liking this development.

Monday, October 29, 2012


It starts with wisdom about relationships and ends in bittersweetness, as most things do.

My friend Yan's at it again, writing a heartfelt open letter to the void that is human existence. You can't ever go back, get back what you had, because the only constant is change, and you can't unsee what you've seen, unhear what you've heard, unsay what was said, unscrew who was fucked.

There is only, always, moving on. From things, but also from nothings.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Video Of The Week: KMFDM

KMFDM started out in Germany, in 1984, mostly as a performance arts project because the term ''industrial music'' didn't exist yet; as a matter of fact, to this day, they still consider their sound as "The Ultra-Heavy Beat".

Extensive touring, meeting other bands and a bunch of label executives eventually led them to settle in Chicago with other like-minded musicians  such as Ministry, Pig, Front 242, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult and Revolting Cocks. Musicians from all of these bands would often collaborate amongst themselves, much to the dismay of their respective labels, who had to legally authorize such ''transfers'' and ''guest appearances''...

I, for one, was introduced to the band via the TV show Beavis & Butt-head in the summer of 1994, which I mostly spent in Florida (we didn't get MTV in Montréal at the time), via this video, from the Angst album, A Drug Against War. I was immediately blown away by the animation, 60s-comics, art deco, japanimation all rolled into one, with guns and scantily-clad women.

I was also surprised that nthe band would reference their name constantly, even more so than rappers, throughout the song. When I came back to Montréal, I made it my mission to own all their CDs - full-lengths and singles. Eventually, when I landed my dream job at the used record-andbook shop L'Échange, I managed to complete the collection, learning these were staples of the band - all of their releases featured the same artwork as that video, and all of the songs named them constantly. Over time it became a bit of a drag - and deterrent - but in this song, I still feel like it works.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Zombie Shoes

Many of us know girls with an insatiable appetite for shoes.

With shoes like these, some guys will also be into it. I guess. Probably.

I know I couldn't wear those at my weight range, I'd probably chip every tooth on there...

I do like that some of those are gold teeth, though. Sign of the times...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Video Of The Week: Living Colour

New York funk/jazz/metal outfit Living Colour were a big part of my youth, right up there with Guns N' Roses; records like Vivid (1988), Time's Up (1990) and Stain remain part of my playlist to this day, albeit no longer in full.

But it's not one of their originals I want to focus on today; instead, it's a cover of Cream's Sunshine Of Your Love, from the True Lies soundtrack, one of the best guitar riffs ever written, played by one of the greatest guitarists ever (Eric Clapton), from what I believe is the very first ''perfect'' rock record, Disraeli Gears (1967).

Ironically, it was written after Clapton and co-writer Jack Bruce (also Cream's bassist and lead singer) saw a Jimi Hendrix concert, and it quickly became a live staple of Hendrix' set, as he was a huge Cream fan himself.

And so it is covered here, by guys who belong in the same category of virtuosos, going full circle if it hadn't already.

Ann Coulter: Foot In Mouth Disease, Part 98

I don't know if Ann Coulter says stupid things just to get the Left riled up and the Right to defend her (and move them even more to the right...), but in a year, she can easily say 300 noteworthy idiocies - and get paid to tell them, be it on Fox News or in conferences.

Thi time, she took to Twitter to spew easy hatred on homosexuals in ''reaction'' to last week's ''Coming Out Day''...

Could she be any more of a cliché? Or a dick?

Plus, you know how often hard-line Conservatives usually end up getting caught as the one thing they were trying hardest to eradicate...?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Binders Full Of Women

I'm sure Ann Romney must facepalm herself at least ten times a day, unless she's just enraged at how dumb her husband is.

At least his recent quip about ''binders full of women'' has created so much rage that many websites came a-birthing, including this photoblog.

Here's a hit (hopefully you get the Big Lebowski reference):

At least he sounds like the real Mitt Romney again... speaking of which...

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sick Toys

Freakland is selling Cannibal Holocaust figurines!

There are only 4 left, at 50 euros apiece (very steep in my opinion).

But we are talking about a movie so shocking that even today, it is mostly just available in edited (censored) versions...

Holy Discontent, Batman!

40+ years in, and it still hasn't kicked in...

The ad features Batman (not Adam West), Robin (Burt Ward), and Batgirl (Yvonne Craig).

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Video Of The (Past) Week: Pearl Jam

Off their eponymous (a.k.a. ''Avocado'') record comes this very good rock song called Life Wasted, by Pearl Jam, directed by Fernando Apodaca, based on facial casts which ended up being part of the album's artwork. The riff is loosely reminiscent of The Ramones' Rockaway Beach, which is fitting considering its lyrics came about to singer Eddie Vedder while driving home from (his friend) Johnny Ramone's funeral.

The video was actually released with a license to be shared, copied, and distributed, the first time a major-label-distributed song (although owned independently by the band's Monkeywrench Records).

Friday, October 12, 2012

Biden His Time

Here's how Joe Biden reacted to Paul Ryan's lies, half-truths, and nonsense...

As for the debate itself, the guy (Biden) may be a serial gaffer, but he has a way of being able to express his convictions and explain them plainly that is, mostly, impressive. Sure, the media love a politician who talks so much he'll massacre the language and invent unclear metaphors (à la George W. Bush and Jean Chrétien), but the ideas behind the sentences still make sense most of the time.

I can see Democrats wishing there were two more VP debates rather than Obama-Romney duels...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Don't Do Drugs (Athletes Edition)

I've been sitting on this ''news story'' for two weeks or so and am unsure where I stand on it...

Former Los Angeles Dodgers closer Éric Gagné released a tell-all book where he admits (for the second time) using HGH (Human-Growth Hormones) during the last few (injury-prone) years of his career, claims 80% of his Dodgers teammates also did, and says he used the drugs to come back from injuries faster, hinting that he was clean when he saved 84 straight games  over the course of two seasons, one of which he won a Cy Young award as best pitcher for.

It looks an awful lot like ''I wasn't the most guilty'' and smells a bit like ''I may be hiding some other shit so I don't get sued for money I've spent a long time ago''. And it leaves a taste of ''I have a legacy to protect'', too.

The guy who was nicknamed ''Game Over'' says:
It was sufficient to ruin my health, tarnish my reputation and throw a shadow over the extraordinary performances of my career
No shit, Sherlock.

But the effects of HGH (and steroids, which I suspected him of taking in the first place when he  would tear muscle after muscle, year after year) were already well-known at the time, so it was a conscious decision of ''high reward in the present, high risk for my health soon enough, and permanent damage later''. The guy's just about my age, from Montréal like myself. He's lived through the Ben Johnson Olympic doping scandal of 1988, he knew many variations of them were illegal - but they were permitted in baseball; he also knew they weren't in many other sports, including hockey, which he is a fan of.

So I don't really care that he chose to put those poisons in his body. I drink alcohol, aspartame-infused diet drinks, sugar-filled energy drinks, eat microwaved processed foods, etc. Those are choices, to a certain extent, of poisons to consume.

I just don't like the bullshit, and despise the justifications. Just like cycling, where the main excuse for decades was ''if my competitors are juicing, I'd be doing myself a disservice to not do so too'', becoming part of the problem, instead of deciding to live comfortably and finishing in respectable positions and doing so ''au naturel'' and setting the example for doing things correctly.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Many people have declared Mitt Romney the clear winner of Wednesday's debate, and many progressives were disappointed at Barack Obama for not having attacked Romney on any topic - be it the ''47%'' debacle, his constant flip-flopping and outright lies, the rampant mischievousness of the Republican camp in general, health care, the economy and economics and general, as well as numbers in general. The New Yorker even released its next cover, referring back to the Republican Convention and Clint Eastwood's speech:

My take is simple: there was a reason why the Obama camp repeated all week that Romney was such a ''master debater'', and it is because they let him win. Obama had no reason whatsoever to answer to everything Romney put forth, and not just because more than half of it was lies.

Obama's lead was more than 5 points, and in some polls, close to the 10-point mark, at 55% versus 45%. A difference of merely 5 more - half the undecided voters left - would make it a 20-point margin (+5 on one side and -5 on the other makes a 10-point difference, simple math).

At 20 points, the risk for Obama's supporters to want to stay home thinking ''he's got this'' and of Romney's supporters going all-out to ''make every vote count'', resulting in an improbable Democrat defeat was too great, and with the PBS crowd (where this debate took place) already being set on voting for the Democrats and, thus, not likely to switch either way with the result, Obama just read his notes, said what he had to say as he would in any press conference, and didn't bother with Romney at all. Had he been a batter in a baseball game, he would have walked three times, not even swinging at strikes, giving him an impressive 1.000 on-base percentage, but a boring 0-for-0 at bat, and a .000 batting average.

When the debates turn to CNN and Fox News, you'll see him as he usually is: strong, decisive, adept, alert, funny, and perhaps even sarcastic.

Proof of that exists not just in every speech Obama's ever given and every debate he's ever participated in, but also in an address he gave yesterday in Denver, the same city that hosted the debate:

Let him be. He knows what he's doing. We are, after all, talking about the best American orator not named Bill Clinton or Samuel L. Jackson.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Video Of The Week: Jack White

In honor of this week's superb performance by Jack White, I've decided to feature his solo album in this segment again, this time in a video directed by AG Rojas.

For the longest time, music videos didn't have to make sense. The directors had no clue what they were filming and it was mostly an editing job that put the whole thing together and viewers would frame up a story in their minds. Until, say, the mid nineties, where everybody wanted to make the next November Rain (and most failed).

This video falls into that category.

At times like a modern version of the 1995 film Kids, it follows dangerous actions undertaken by kids and teens as they break shit in abandoned buildings, tie people up, light cars on fire, fight, and sure, even dance.

It's not the best song of the record by any stretch of the imagination, but it sums it up pretty well.

Jack White @ L'Olympia, October 2, 2012

Yes, in Montréal, a $59 ticket actually costs $79.

It was my fourth time seeing a Jack White project live, after the White Stripes, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, and like every other time, I came out fully satisfied.

The energetic frontman once again proved to be a generous performer, but also a tremendous band leader. It's one thing to be in synch with one drummer, a co-songwriter, or to be the guy holding the beat down, but it's a whole other to lead a full band into a setlist-free 90-minute show, and dictating when the violin, organ or banjo solo will occur, and for how long.

As expected, his greatest rapport came with drummer Daru Jones, who added fluidity to Meg White's parts on the many White Stripes songs performed that night, even White's biggest hit, Seven Nation Army.

White travels with two bands this time around, deciding on the morning of which one (or at times both) will accompany him onstage, and The Buzzards (Los Buzzardos), the all-male counterparts to the all-female The Peacocks, were the chosen ones on this night; they are, at heart, a soul/r'n'b band, with a definite rock edge. If there was a band you could see baking Al Green for a Queens Of The  Stone Age crowd, it'd be them.

Throughout the evening, White ended up playing 8 White Stripes numbers, 2 Raconteurs songs, I Cut Like A Buffalo from The Dead Weather, 3 covers (Hank Williams' You Know That I Know, Robert Johnson' Stop Breaking Down, and a bit of Dick Dale's Nitro) and 6 songs off his recent solo outing, for a total of 19 discernible tracks of aural pleasure.

Oddly, he seemed less inclined to go on never-ending solos, perhaps because he didn't want to outshine his band, but after seeing him with his previous acts, always taking center stage, I kind of expected him to continue in that vein with his name being alone on the marquee. Whether he was just not in the mood for showboating or is just more humble with his top-notch backing band, or perhaps because he was using a Fender telecaster guitar rather than his usually strident low-budget Italian six-strings, he concentrated on performing it raw, which was just fine with the typical Montréal crowd - loud, happy, into it. It even led to a few impromptu sing-alongs, which White seemed to enjoy.

The sound was both pretty good (you could decipher every instrument in the band) and average (some of the vocals were hard to hear if you didn't know the songs well, as was pointed out in a few reviews I read), but it's a damn rock show, not an album, so I was more than ok with it.

It was loud, but you could taste the blues, you could hear the country, you could touch the folk and you could definitely see the rock.

And I thought I saw Brendan Benson as the go-to backing vocalist, guitarist, tambourine man and small string instrument player:

If it is him, I'm a tad disappointed that they didn't play Steady As She Goes, but if your lone gripe is about the one song in a 200-plus catalog that wasn't there, you're kind of missing the point.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Free (Quality) Music By The Guest Bedroom

Actually, it's pay-what-you-can, and I'm sure they'd appreciate a couple of bucks their way, but in essence, you can download The Guest Bedroom's brand-new EP, Hunter, for free if you'd like.

I've already listened to it twice today, and if I don't go back to bed because of this ridiculous tooth ache, I'll listen to it some more. It's fun, clear, exquisite, smart and - dare I say - a bit poppy, in the British sense of well-constructed, listenable music - not boy-band material.

Monday, October 1, 2012

When Nature Calls

I'm either getting old, or dying. Or on my way to senility. It doesn't make sense for me to be in such awe of what I witnessed this weekend when I never was before.

Trees always turn red or yellow come autumn; mountains always rise majestically above highways, into the clouds; rivers and lakes always reflect their surroundings and calm me.

For some reason, however, for 4 and a half hours each way, the endless nature between Montréal and Chicoutimi this weekend didn't seem that long this time. And the fact that at the end of the road was my cousin celebrating her birthday in a bowling center and that I'd only play a short set after her main (hired) entertainer didn't phase me either.

Kill me or medicate me - I may be falling off the deep end.

Oh, and I saw a moose and a bear (not together) while driving next to the forest. My first ''big animal'' sightings on the side of the road.