Saturday, May 30, 2015

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

You would think this was a parody of SuperPAC ads by former writers of The Simpsons, but alas, no, we've reached the point where reality has surpassed satire:

It's awesome if you have enough intelligence to laugh at it, but it's a clear sign of the impending apocalypse that some people will adhere to it because it's exactly what they wanted to hear and how they feel.

Nice touch on Photoshopping Rand Paul's head onto a bodybuilder's body, though, it just drives the point in deeper in the ''Republican saviour'' angle.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Video Of The Week: Rick Astley

Let's be honest here: I could have just Rickrolled the lot of you, and I didn't.

So, be thankful. And be happy to watch Never Gonna Give You Up for the thousandth time:

Now with over 122,000,000 views, so you're not the only idiot who pressed play knowingly, let alone those of us who have been getting caught once in a while since 2007.

You know what, though? I'm happy Rick Astley's getting paid to be the butt of a joke. You could argue who's the real victim here between those forcibly listening to the 1987 ''classic'' and he who performed the kitchiest earworm we still remember, but his getting paid royalties from his own YouTube/Vevo account probably mends the embarassment a bit. And I'm happy it happened to a person who seems nice, not an asswipe like Vanilla Ice.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Video Of The Week: Snoop Dogg (Featuring Stevie Wonder & Pharrell Williams)

How do you waste the talents of music legend Stevie Wonder, wonderful actress Nia Long, and filmmaker Warren Fu (who has made videos for The Strokes, Daft Punk featuring Julian Casablancas, and The Killers) in under six minutes?

Like this:

It's like everything Pharrell Williams touches turns to shit, like a reverse Midas. And yet, I know I'd better get used to it, because every girl I'll want to have conversations with will LOVE the fucking thing.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Video Of The Week: Nine Inch Nails

As a tribute to Trent Reznor's 50th birthday tomorrow, I decided to feature Nine Inch Nails this week, and to do so with a straightforward video showing nothing but the live band (circa 2005) performing in a practice facility, filmed by Reznor and Rob Sheridan using old VHS cameras and a rundown of the pan-and-scan technique that created pixelization and distortion when rendered to digital.

In this form, NIN consisted of Reznor on vocals (and keyboards and guitar as well, depending on the song), Aaron North on lead/feedback guitars, Jeordie White (a.k.a. Twiggy Ramirez from Marilyn Manson, who has also played with Melissa Auf Der Maur, A Perfect Circle, and members of QOTSA in the Desert Sessions), Jerome Dillon on drums, and Alessandro Cortini (of SONOIO and blinfoldfreak fame) on keyboards and sound effects.

This song, The Hand That Feeds, is a staple of their live shows and a fan favourite, and while it's a decent guitar riff and has all the electronics you'd expect from a NIN track, it isn't as groundbreaking as a lot of their other songs, in my opinion. I'll listen to it when they play it at a show, but I won't be as thrilled as if they'd played The Perfect Drug or Dead Souls (a Joy Division cover).

NHL Playoff Predictions: Round 3

It didn't go all that bad for me in the second round, but this one will hurt a bit, if only because two of my three favourite goalies will likely bite the dust and see their playoff run stop in the Conference Finals. Not that there's any shame in losing at this point, because all four teams that are left are very strong contenders.

I don't usually pick teams who ruled the regular season to go far in the playoffs, but this time, it's hard to bet against the two teams with the most effective weapons.

Eastern Conference Finals:

New York Rangers versus Tampa Bay Lightning:

This is where my third-fave goalie (Ben Bishop) almost plays equal to the best in the world (Henrik Lundqvist), but falls just short; it's also where the Triplets line of Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov gets shut down by the deepest blue line in the league, with Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, Dan Boyle, Keith Yandle and Kevin Klein.And the Rangers have a more balanced offense, if only because a few of their top guns (Rick Nash, Martin Saint-Louis) are under-achieving. Derick Brassard is up to par, though.

Rangers in 6.

Western Conference Finals:

Anaheim Ducks versus Chicago Blackhawks:

I know, I know: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Corey Crawford. All multiple-time winners, super-clutch performers, among the best in the world at what they do. Joel Quenneville as the coach who gives them an added edge, the third winningest of all time, with the winningest (Scotty Bowman) serving as an adviser.

But on the otehr hand, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry seem like an unstoppable bruising-and-scoring machine.

My initial thought was that the Hawks would win this with their depth (Patrick Sharp, Brad Richards) or even annoyance (Dan Carcillo), but I really feel like coach Bruce Boudreau will play his Twins for 40 minutes per game if he needs to, and if anything, that will bring us to a Game 7, where anything can happen.

Ducks in 7.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Jon Stewart Vs Judith Miller

On the political spectrum, the safe bet is that I rank somewhere left of center. Even then, the demolition job Jon Stewart did when he handed Judith Miller her carcass at the end of a 20-minute interview two weeks ago made me a little uneasy.

Don't get me wrong - he was 100% right, he attacked with facts on things she wrote about and said, but being it's one of the two political issues he's most passionate about (with Veterans Affairs being a close second), he was versed in the subject matter as if he'd written it itself, and she never had a chance. She walked into a trap, except she was expecting a trap door and instead found a lion's den where the animals had been starved for a week.

Plus, with him having set his departure date to August 6th, he's leaving with a bang (interspersed with marshmallow-y small talks with long-time celebrity friends a couple of times a week; the he has circles to fill, and he looks like he won't leave any stone unturned.

If there was any time in History that Dick Cheney could be charged with war crimes, it seems like Stewart would want it to be now, and himself to be the perpetrator, like Hunter S. Thompson going after Richard Nixon.

It's beautiful and righteous, but it's also brutal and violent, calculated and without mercy. Good, because his opponents never pulled any punches themselves.

Canadian viewers can watch it here, American viewers can Google ''The Daily Show''.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Reason To Finally Like Miley Cyrus?

A head above anything else in 2014, Against Me!'s Transgernder Dysphoria Blues was an impactful and goddamn amazing record (that could have used a bit more distortion on the guitars, so it wasn't perfect). By far the best record from last year, and I'll fight Kanye West to prove it if I have to.

Miley Cyrus, well, enough about her already. Except she did perform on this, and at the same backyard-party/fundraiser event, performed Androgynous with Laura Jane Grace and Joan Jett, so there's a double-dose of street cred right there, gathering funds for kids ''facing homeless youth, LGBT youth, and other vulnerable populations''.

Decent stuff.

So is this:

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Video Of The Week: The White Stripes

Eight years in, perhaps it's time to feature one of my favourite bands of all time for the first time, no? The White Stripes were a Detroit-based two-piece consisting of former spouses Jack White (guitar, vocals, keyboards) and Meg White (drums) who restricted themselves to playing 4/4 blues-rock (and dress in red, white and/or black), and yet with every passing album found ways to expand the sound while staying true to its roots, improving the lyrics and delivery each time.

Many times, their videos were directed by master director and borderline-illusionist Michel Gondry, a drummer himself who really understood and had a great gut feeling about how to transpose the beatiness the White Stripes had behind them to video.

One perfect example is this great video for an equally great song (one of two WS numbers I cover live at times myself), Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground (from their 2001 masterpiece White Blood Cells), with projections of good times over post-breakup scenes:

15 Years For Public Sex?

So a Florida couple (of course) couldn't control their urges and had a 25-minute sex session on the beach, mid-afternoon, in plain view of onlookers who didn't do anything to stop them.

A grandmother was appalled because her grandkids started asking her questions, and instead of answering their questions and teaching the brats about Life and shit - or just taking them somewhere else and/or telling them to look away - got on her phone and filmed the thing.

Now, the two amateur porn stars face 15 years in jail.

So let me get this straight: killing an unarmed Black man doesn't even warrant a charge pressed against you.

Filming someone else having sex isn't a breach of privacy? And sharing the tape with the cops and the internet isn't spreading illegal material?

Meanwhile, in California, a pastor will get no more than 4 months for molesting a 9-year-old girl... multiple times.

Let that sink in.

Murder? Fine.

Rape and abuse of power? Fine.

Doing what God intended us to do so we survive as a species? A quarter of your life in jail.

For ''lewd and lascivious exhibition'', in a state where there might be more strippers than Nevada.

It's a wonder you've lasted this long, Mur'ca.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Video Of The Week: Queens Of The Stone Age

It's funny, I had a pretty great week, full of sunshine, promise, good times, outings with friends... and yet the only video I thought to feature was an apocalyptic heavy rock animated video by Queens Of The Stone Age.

This time, the hard rocking unit led by former Kyuss frontman Josh Homme (with Dave Grohl on drums, Josh Van Leeuwen on guitar, synths, percussion and backing vocals, Michael Shuman on bass, percussion and backing vocals and Dean Ferttita on guitar) enlisted animator Liam Brazier to use characters created by Boneface (who designed the ... Like Clockwork album art) to create this angry, Todd MacFarlane-like world for the video for My God is The Sun:

Friday, May 1, 2015

NHL Playoff Predictions: Round 2

Self-edited, originally from Sports Illustrated

Round 1 is finished, and most of my predictions were spot-on - including the number of games!

I can't promise the same for the second round, especially in the East, where any team could eliminate any opponent, but I'll get my feet wet anyway.

Anaheim Ducks versus Calgary Flames:

This will likely be the only series with one team clearly dominating, and though my heart is with the Calgary Flames, with their superb kids showing the way (notably Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau), the absence of would-have-been Norris winner Mark Giordano will prove to leave too big a hole against the scoring ability of superstars Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. The series will be decided by its goaltending, where the Ducks have two young - and therefore ''unproven'', though every player starts out that way - goalies in Frederik Andersen and John Gibson, and the Flames counter with Swiss Olympian Jonas Hiller, capable of shutting out superstars and letting in 6 goals the next game, and dependable backup Karri Ramo.

Ducks in 5 6.

Chicago Blackhawks versus Minnesota Wild:

The Wild advanced past the Blues because they were the better team at every position, which will not be the case here. The Hawks have two superstar offensive Olympians in Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane that are heads and shoulders above Zack Parise and Jason Pomminville, but hockey being a team sport, that may not matter in the end, as both teams are even when it comes to depth on their scoring and checking lines up front. When it comes to defense, again, the Hawks have the Wild beat with Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook being superior to Ryan Suter, but the Wild are much better with the rest of their crew, their 3-7 spots all better than the Hawks' 4-7 players. It will likely come down to - surprise! - goaltending. Don't get me wrong, Corey Crawford is an elite goalie, top-10 most of the time, top-5 a lot of the time, a Stanley Cup winner (and almost MVP), and he is a much better and reliable goalie in terms of career path than Devan Dubnyk, but ''Duuubs'' has probably been the best goalie (certainly the most impactful) in the world this season, whereas Crawford has even had to watch backup Scott Darling start playoff games in the first round. I bet against the Hawks in Round 1, going against my heart in trying to predict an upset, and it cost me a perfect record. I'm torn in this one, as I am for the next two series.

Hawks in 7.

Washington Capitals versus New York Rangers:

Are there two players who get more flak than Alex Ovechkin and Henrik Lundqvist for not having won a Stanley Cup yet being elite players/best of the world at their position? At least Lundqvist can polish his Olympic gold medal when he goes to bed at night, but the ultimate team prize still eludes each of them, and both deserve to shut their critics up with a Cup win. But who eliminates who? The Caps are playing their best team game since the late 1990s under head coach Barry Trotz, but is that enough to get past one of the best-balanced teams in the league, and Presidents' Trophy winners to boot? The Caps have the best shot in the world (Ovie), and an elite, probably top-5 center and setup man in Nicklas Backstrom. Braden Holtby has now entered the conversation as one of the best Canadian goalies currently playing (along with Carey Price, Crawford, and Roberto Luongo), and the team's defense is potable, in the upper tier of the Eastern Conference. That's a combination that could certainly challenge for the Cup. But the Rangers have a deeper attack, one where Derick Brassard can pass to Rick Nash in a deadly set-up/shoot-or-deke combo, with former Cup and Art Ross winner Martin St-Louis likely manning the other wing while Mats Zuccharello deals with what seems like a concussion. And with all due respect to Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen who are the drop-off after John Carlson and Karl Alzner, they just cannot compare to the likes of Ryan McDonagh, Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, Dan Boyle, Keith Yandle and Kevin Klein. And should the Caps' offense get past those defenders, they still have to beat King Henrik - I mean, ''best in the world'' beats ''third-best Canadian'' pretty much any day of the week, no matter how you slice and dice it. Sorry, Ovie, perhaps next year.

Rangers in 7.

Tampa Bay Lightning versus Montréal Canadiens:

The series of the sweeps! These two teams met in last year's first round, with the Habs sweeping the Bolts in 4 games, mostly because then-Vezina nominee Ben Bishop was out with an injury. Well, he's here now, and coming off a shutout win to close out the 7-game series against the Detroit Red Wings after a game in which he was so-so. Oh, and he got an assist on the winning goal, cementing his place as the best puck-moving goalie in the NHL, just in case Montréal goalie Carey Price wanted to have a battle at playing the puck rather than stopping it. And during this regular season, Tampa won all 5 games (4 in regulation, one in extra time) between the two teams, including two games in which they ran up the score against Price, 7-1 in the first game, 5-3 in the last regular-season meeting between the teams, and a couple of 4-2 showings in the middle. There's also the fact that after least year's sweep, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman noticed his defense was a tad too slow against Montréal's forwards, so he went and remodeled it, adding Anton Stralman and Jason Garrison over the summer and Braydon Coburn at the trade deadline to complement superstar Victor Hedman. But with all due respect to Hedman and the rest of the Tampa D, a defense anchored by Andrei Markov and P.K. Subban is one that can shut down any Triplets Line and any Steven Stamkos, and that may be what they end up doing. They have 7 chances at doing it 4 times, and that's something they can very well end up doing, regardless of Max Pacioretty not scoring, as long as he keeps setting up Tomas Plekanec for shorthanded goals.

Lightning Habs Bolts Canadiens Tampa Montréal in 7.