Thursday, February 28, 2013

Model Citizen

As an ''old'' guy in my early 30s, I remember the days before the internet, where it was virtually impossible for a guy in Winter Wonderland to come into contact with California a top model who will fact-check his blog post herself.

This is exactly what happened to me when Kirsty Lingman (also known as Kirsty Lingman Santos) did so on my Collectibles blog.

There is no time like the present.

Smells Like Spring In Montréal

Students are back protesting against a tuition hike the current provincial government was elected to not let happen, and cops are back at charging them with useless, mindless violence.

The Montréal Canadiens are back at the top of the NHL standings...

I guess things are back to normal.

Monday, February 25, 2013


My friend Theo likes to cook, drink, and dress fabulously, but his favourite activity is - without a shadow of a doubt - talking about cooking, drinking and what he's wearing.

Lucky for us, he recently discovered the joys of blogging and can do so online, for all to read.

Best of all, most of the stuff he makes is pretty simple, including his Bloody Caesar, detailed here.

Test two of those recipes, and call me in the morning don't call me!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Bring The Noise

Anthrax told us about a year ago that they were working on recording some cover songs for their next release...

Well, the time is nearly upon us, and you can have a first taste at their reworking of the classic AC/DC song T.N.T. here. Yes, that's two AC/DC references in the same month.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Men’s Room Etiquette

If you’re taking a shit in a public restroom and someone walks in to pee at the urinals, wait until they leave to exit your stall. We don’t want to have to see the face of the guy forcing us to hold our breath while vomit enters our mouth.

That is all, carry on.

Video Of The Week: Alabama Shakes

So many choices this week (Nick Cave, Mindy McCready), but the one act that I just had to feature was Alabama Shakes. Up until a week ago, I had no idea they even existed, but thanks to lead singer-guitarist Brittany Howard and bassist Zac Cockrell playing in the Levon Helm tribute (singing ''The Weight'') at the Grammys two Sundays ago - Howard out-piped Mavis Staples, a very rare feat indeed - they are now a household name.

And this past Saturday, they rocked the hell out of Saturday Night Live performing two songs, including this one, which is a simple, repetitive groove, simple lyrics, but a gut-wrenching performance to bring it all home.

Monday, February 18, 2013

R.I.P. Mindy McCready

She was a tortured soul who felt alone, needed to feel loved and accepted, and never quite got past the brink of happiness. As a teen - some reports (quoting him) say she was 15, others (quoting her) say 16 - she met baseball steroid über-user and star pitcher Roger Clemens and they promptly started a long-term relationship that was ''sexual in its nature''; as a young adult, she entered the country music business on the strength of karaoke tapes she brought to Nashville labels (and was signed by BNA Records); apart from Clemens, she dated pop culture side-dishes Dean Cain and Drake Berehowski; her substance-abuse problems became so rampant that she spent a season on Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew.

That was the public life of Mindy McCready.

In the end, she shot herself on the same porch, in the same exact manner as her boyfriend (and father of her second child) David Wilson, who had done it a month prior. It was at least her fifth suicide attempt.

Most of the conversation regarding her death should center around her talent, then substance abuse and mental health - and hopefully it will.

But we should also reserve a spot to talk about Reality TV, and more specifically Dr. Drew's exploitation show. She is the fifth ''cast member'' of the hack Dr. Drew Pinski - the third from Season 3 alone - to die in the last two years. While some of those were deemed ''accidental'', all of them involved drugs and alcohol directly: Rodney King drowned but was found to have alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and PCP in his blood, and Grease actor Jeff Conway may have died from pneumonia, but the autopsy showed his life-long addiction to painkillers was the cause of it. Alice In Chains bassist Mike Starr and Real World participant Joey Kovar both died of overdoses, Starr on cocaine and heroin, Kovar on heroin and other opiates.

Some cynics claim it'd be a scandal if no one from a series about addiction had died, and Pinski agrees with them, from a CNN interview last night:
One of my hopes was, in bringing ‘Celebrity Rehab’ out, was to teach people how dangerous addiction was. If I was doing a show on cancer, there would not be much surprise when my cancer patient died. In fact, we’d celebrate a few years of good quality life. People don’t understand that addiction has virtually the same prognosis. If you have other mental health issues on top of that, it’s so much worse. This was not an addiction death, interestingly. This was related to - had her boyfriend not died, I don’t think there’s any way we’d be in this position right now.
Really? He drops the fucking towel this easily? ''Meh, I gave it a half-assed shot, spewed out a few clichés here and there, made her (and others) look like a complete ass, and I did all that while also seeing my regular, non-celeb patients on the side, raking money in from all sides while forging myself a reputation as the go-to guy. Come see me, you have a 1-in-3 chance of dying.''

Jack Kevorkian went to jail for helping people who wanted to die get there. This hack's job is to try to save the fuckers and he fails consistently - how is that not also murder?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Come Out And Play

Two North American soccer players have come out of the closet in recent years, only to stop playing: the Montréal Impact's David Tiesto, and now 25-year old Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew, Leeds United). That's right - he's retiring. From sports. At 25.

Why coward out and wait until your career's over, though? Especially athletes - they spend most of their lives being watched by crowds anyway, they should know how to handle pressure, know they have a shot at being role models. The more of them wait until it's over - and some even ending it prematurely - the more the message to people stepping into their footsteps is ''hide who you are 'cause it won't be accepted'', which in this day and age, is pretty dumb weak.

Some black soccer players still get taunted - some even get bananas thrown at them! - in Europe, and this type of situation just makes it seem like some ''irregular'' white guys are trying to make believe they'd get it as bad in this ''macho'' sports where players fake near-death injuries all the time - what's so macho about that?

Man up and be yourself, whether you prefer men or not, and don't waste your talent in its prime. As individuals, we all have something that's going to piss off others. Some are gay, others are black; some are flashy like P.K. Subban, others are opinionated and refuse to meet the President like Tim Thomas; some like rock, others like rap; some go to jail like Michael Vick, others become lawyers like Stu Grimson. Some even kill their fucking wives.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Video Of The Week: Images In Vogue

Canadian New Wave? Yep, Images In Vogue have that niche market covered.

Equal parts Corey Hart, The Cure, Depeche Mode and Culture Club, but as jocks wearing glasses and leather jackets. Among their band members, though, lie dormant cEvin Key (founder of Skinny Puppy) and Don Gordon (founder of Numb, who has since quit the music industry and moved to Vietnam), proving that going cheese-pop once doesn't mean you'll stick with it forever. Those two do not play on this recording however - they'd both left two years prior to the release of this 1985 track, for cause of ''too poppy''.

Goalies Are Weird

I was about to write a post saying how I kind of disagreed with this The Gazette article in which Montréal Canadiens goaltending coach Pierre Groulx ''admits'' that ''goalies are weird'', when I came across this video of disgrunteled Austin Krause scoring in his own net then leaving the ice flipping the bird, costing his team the victory, in a Minensota high school game:

The reason? He was angry at his lack of playing time. Needless to say, it went from slim to none, after that prank. Goalies are weird. Fine.

I Choo-Choo-Choose You

The vehicle through which such sentences as ''My cat's breath smells like cat food'' and ''Me fail English? That's un-possible!'' was also the recipient of this Valentine's Day card in The Simpsons:

Ralph Wiggum, international symbol of today's VD.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

God Said No

By now you've heard of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation...

Apparently, God disagreed with the decision:

The picture was taken by the ANSA press agency.

Against The Institution Until The Need For Said Institution

Conservatives in general have a nasty habit of being against ''big government'', subsidies, taxes/services... until the need to use them, themselves, arises. We witnessed that in the wake of Hurricane Sandy when a few of the Republicans who denied expediting relief aid to New York and New Jersey victims were the same who'd received it in the past for other natural disasters.

This time, irony caught up with famed Libertarian and former Republican candidate Ron Paul, who had said this about the United Nations in 2003:
The UN increasingly wants to influence our domestic environmental, trade, labor, tax, and gun laws. Its global planners fully intend to expand the UN into a true world government, complete with taxes, courts, and a standing army. This is not an alarmist statement; these facts are readily promoted on the UN’s own website. UN planners do not care about national sovereignty; in fact they are actively hostile to it.

Yet, Paul registered a grievance this week to the UN's World Intellectual Property Organization to obtain the rights to to websites created by fans, and The owners of the domain names - obviously fans of free enterprise - are willing to sell him the rights, but he wants them for free.

I guess he wants to use their ''courts'' to win an exemption from his ''domestic trade laws'', under which both sites' names were rightfully purchased, and fails to acknowledge the ''labor'' the webmasters have put in it - obvious thousands of hours of it, filling the website with content and managing a 150,000-strong mailing list...

And that's the main problem with these failed politics of the Right, in general: by lacking the foresight to legislate/prevent/save, they're always caught back-tracking when Life hands them a curve ball.

This is a relatively cute, unimportant subject for which the loser will just be left empty-handed, but when it's applied to big stuff, like health, hard individual economics (bankruptcies), the quality of food and water, crumbling infrastructures - stuff that can be of ''life and death'' importance at the end of the day, then their politics become dangerous.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mississippi Community Supported Records

Indie music labels can be a bitch to follow: not only are they irregular with the timing of their releases - completely understandable considering their rosters and he way creating music works, i.e. when inspiration comes for writing, and the funding to record for release - and the usually limited number of pressings each release gets.

Mississippi Community Supported Records (or Mississippi CSR for short) are trying to get around that problem by offering a membership program of sorts:

The purpose of the CSR is to give people who don't live in Portland, or do not live at their local record store, a chance to get the more limited Mississippi/Change releases. The CSR also gives you an opportunity to support our label in its mission to keep prices low, to make important cultural information available to those who care, and to support artists and their ancestors who have all too often been screwed by the mainstream record industry. We consider the CSR a partnership between ourselves and our customers. We will do everything in our power to honor the trust members put in us. We plan on showing appreciation to members by randomly including special free records and other shwag in packages, on occasion.

Here's how it works: You send us any amount of money, between $68 & $300 (sorry not paypal – you actually mail us a check or cash). In exchange, we will send every Mississippi/Change Record that comes out until that amount of money is tapped out. An average Mississippi/Change title will set you back between $10 and $12.

Monday, February 11, 2013

AC/DC All Day

I don't think I'd ever listened to AC/DC this loud for this long; I'm Thunderstruck!

When I was younger, aged 12, when The Razors Edge came out - I'd already known AC/DC through borrowing the Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap cassette at the library - and I jumped on the tape the day it was released, a week or so after my birthday in 1990. I wore it out by listening to it too much, so in 1991, I purchased it on CD. It became part of a rotation of albums I'd put on when I went to bed - with Metallica's Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers' Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Pearl Jam's Ten, Guns N' Roses' Use Your Illusion two discs, and Lou Reed's Transformer.

My parents weren't all that into ''the rock'', and so the volume wouldn't even be at 1, but the songs would repeat all night long, so I was rocked to sleep regularly.

Today's soundtrack:
Mistress For Christmas
Big Balls
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
Got You By The Balls
For Those About To Rock (We Salute You!)
Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution
You Shook Me (All Night Long)
Sink The Pink
Playing With Girls
Are You Steady

She's Got Balls
Bad Boy Boogie
Whole Lotta Rosie

Hard As A Rock
Songs about sex and rock (and balls!), riffs galore, and primal rock energy. Repeat. Repeat again. Rock on, rock out.

The day was looking bleak, everything was going wrong - now it's all been righted! Thanks, boys!

The thing about AC/DC is whether they're singing about testicles, women or the state of our economic system (or even Hell), they always do it balls-out hard, full throttle, and with a contagious smile that can't help but suck you in.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Death Of A Legend

Schwartz's is an internationally known deli based in Montréal, so good and so fucking awesome that in the near-century it's been operating, countless profiteers tried to convince the owners to franchise the brand. Madonna and a slew of other celebs have their products delivered to them.

The secret to their success is their unique 10-day curing, and their mix of (now-cliché) ''Montréal-style'' spices, all within an area that gives it its flavour for having been in use for over 80 years. Its founder was named Ruben Schwartz, and is the one after whom the sandwiches are named.

It was purchased by a consortium of businesspeople in 2012, including the owner of Bâton Rouge chains, and former owners of the Nickels chains Céline Dion and René Angélil; (Nickels was sold to Bâton Rouge in 1997).

When the sale took place, I had one major fear: that they would force Schwartz's to supply Nickels (who also serve smoked meat reubens), a rather large chain, and that by doing so, they would over-use their smokers and cure the meats for less time, giving it less flavour, and eventually kill off the one restaurant that was king to enable the larger chain to thrive by selling better-than-what-they-serve/sub-par products.

I was wrong.

The result is much worse:

Fuck the 10-day curing period, here is microwavable smoked meat that you can find in every supermarket chain in the country.

The times, they are a-changing.

Halle Berry Breast Stunt

I'm curious to see what will become of Movie 43, which seems like a bunch of awkward and funny skits jammed together in one funny, 80-minute block of something that could have been made for TV but will instead cost $15 to see in a crowded environment.

Related to that, I'd be curious to see Halle Berry dip her breasts in guacamole - you know, for the art of it.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Video Of The Week: Dead Messenger

 I've said it many times before, and I'll say it until it isn't true anymore: Dead Messenger are the best live band in Montréal, and it sounds like they've been able to harness and process the energy they display on stage into the studio this time around on their second album, Recharger, which will be released on February 19th (two weeks from tomorrow) at L'Escogriffe (Facebook event page here, I suggest you show up).

Not that the first record sounded bad in any way - produced by the legendary Jonathan Cummings and fiddled about by Jace Lasek, it was pleasing to the ears, an aural journey in power pop bliss; it just focused on the sound in my opinion, and not the intangibles that turn all Dead Messenger shows into sweaty dance parties, which kind of resemble the video for this song, Toothcomb - except a tad more crowded.

It's been a time of hardships for the Messengers, what with their hideout/work room The Pound (home of a few UnPop and Sébastian Hell shows over the years) closing down, guitarist/vocalist Ted Yates falling ill for the better part of 2011-2012, talk of disbanding... but they're back with a vengeance, and we're all better for it.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Video Of The (Past) Week: The Mahones With Dahmnait Doyle

The Mahones are a Canadian Irish punk band that is in Montréal so much - they even record here, and their shows always feature a special guest, it was the Dropkick Murphys' Scuffy Wallace the last time - that I tend to forget they're originally from Kingston, Ontario, with band leader Finny McConnell being originally from Ireland.

Their music is inspired by The Clash and The Pogues first and foremost, a mix of the original punk ethos and traditional Irish songs; most of their songs are about Ireland, missing it or living in it - and/or drinking. But mostly, as I would say if I were their biographer, ''about love''. Fade to black, cue music.

I chose this video in particular because it features Dahmnait Doyle, one of my favourite guilty pleasures. From Labrador City of all places, she rose to prominence in the mid-1990s. I'm not ashamed to say I first purchased her album and EP because of her looks, as I was soon smitten by her talent as well. If Samantha Fox was my 1980s crush, Dahmnait Doyle was my 1990s one. With Demi Moore somewhere in between.

But I digress. This is a love song, pure and simple. It's not hidden between layers of rock and booze, it just is what it is, and the video references Federico Fellini's classic, .

Friday, February 1, 2013

Hardcore Dancing In Iraq

I'm not sure what I find most disturbing in this video...

Whether it's the oversized Liberty flag, that he calls that ''dancing'', or the hip-hop like moves to hardcore punk, this is one minute that felt strange from start to finish.