Thursday, July 12, 2007

Catherine Zeta Jones might be an absolute tool.

I would like to state, for the record, that about nine years ago I invented the ultimate pick-up line. In fact, it worked so well that I now hear people use it in bars around Ottawa. I would not use it any more, simply because too many people are trying it out, and it's guaranteed NOT to work if a girl has heard it at a previous social event. Here's how it works: You find a girl who is wearing something unusual, but girly. Like a skanky top, or a hippie hat, or a crazy pair of high heels. Almost every girl, in every bar, is wearing something that stands out. You walk by, and (delivery is key here) in an offhanded but fun way, say "I have the same pants!" and keep moving. This indicates to the girl that you are not really there to get IN those pants, but rather there to have a good time. And if she hangs out with you, she might have a good time as well. Also, the ball is now in her court to approach you. And perhaps she wants to do just that. After all, you're having a very good time, and she would like to have a very good time as well.

This works for a few reasons. First of all, it isn't cheesy. It's actually ridiculous. Of course I don't own a pair of neon green stilletto high-heels. Well, until I worked at CHEZ I didn't own a pair of neon green stilletto high heels. So it's not off-putting by virtue of it's creepiness. Like one of those "is your father a thief" lines that seem to work in movies. Secondly, it doesn't require you to stick around for the response. That means that no matter what that response is, you don't have to be there to deal with it. If her response is "weird. Well, never mind" then, no harm done. If her response is "that is pretty funny. this guy interests me", then she will come to YOU. Ideal. And thirdly, it allows for a follow-up conversation starter. Example: The girl comes over to you a little later and says "you're the guy with the same pants as me." And you say "yeah, I almost wore them tonight. Wouldn't that have been embarrassing." Or maybe "I should give you mine. They obviously look better on you." Again, delivery is key here.

This is something that applies only to us overweight and generally unsightly guys. You see, if you are muscular and attractive, then you don't really need anything else. All you need to know is how NOT to be a tool. (My buddy Dylan - very attractive. Girls would flock to him. But he was incapable of NOT being a tool, and he would usually leave disappointed.) You see, the reason Tom Cruise doing that incredibly painful singing-to-Kelly-McGillis thing worked in Top Gun was because he is Tom Cruise. He could have just walked up to her and said "Hi. I'm Tom Cruise. Can I park my pigskin bus in your tunatown?" And it would have worked just as well. Same goes for Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind. That pick up line would never work on anyone. Ever. Unless you look like Russell Crowe.

At least, this is what I thought until I read a story this morning about Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Michael Douglas, I suppose, is very very rich and he is famous and a well-respected actor. But Tom Cruise or Russell Crowe or Brad Pitt he is not. Yet, apparently the line he used to pick up Zeta-Jones was "I want to father your children". THIS was his pick up line. This is as cheesy, if not even cheesier, than the "you've been running through my mind all day", or "let's get you out of those wet clothes" lines he may have delivered in a movie or two. Which means Catherine Zeta Jones fell for this lamest of all lines. Which means Catherine Zeta Jones, hot though she may be, Oscar-winning actress though she may undeservedly be, is an absolute idiot. She is dumber than a box of triscuits, and deserves flabby, wrinkly old Michael Douglas. Or maybe she's just a money-grubber. Or a giant fan of Romancing The Stone.

Who cares, really? Catherine Zeta Jones was incredibly hot when she burst onto the scene in that Antonio Banderas Zorro movie, but I have grown tired of her. no longer is she a valid reason to watch a movie. And - next time you hear someone say "I have the same shirt", just know I invented that. It was ALL ME!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

More blogs about movies and lists.

The laudable organization that is the American Film Institute comes out with a list every year. Every year, I am interested to see what the list is going to be. The first year, they listed the greatest 100 movies of the 20th century. Then it was 100 action movies, romance movies, actors and actresses, songs, heroes and villains...all kinds of stuff. Every year the lists are meant to spark controversy and dsicussion about American movies. I rarely find too much fault in the lists - like, yeah, I think Close Encounters of the Third Kind is over-rated, and yeah, I think Cool Hand Luke ought to be in the top 100 movies of all time, but these are minor quibbles. What I take issue with are the lists themselves. If you're going to pick the 25 greatest actors and the 25 greatest actresses, choose from all of them, not just those whose careers started before 1950. So now, in the tenth year of these fairly meaningless lists, there are a few things I could have thought of doing. Maybe the 100 best directors - Hitchcock through Mel Brooks or something. Or maybe the 50 best actors and actresses whose careers started AFTER 1950. That way DeNiro, Nicholson, Meryl Streep, Al Pacino and Dustin Hoffman could be included.

But no. They have decided to revise their original "100 best American movies" list for a new generation. You would think that they put enough effort into choosing the original 100 movies that the list would stay pretty much the same. But no, apparently they really half-assed the first list, and the new one is very different. Citizen Kane retains top spot, but the Godfather is now deemed to be better than Casablanca. Fine. It's pretty arbitrary and very apples-and-oranges anyway, this list business. How does one decide between a gangster movie and a romantic comedy, a western and a period piece? I would suggest it is a fairly impossible task. There are some adjustments with which I wholeheartedly agree. Ragin Bull has moved up from #24 to #4. Absolutely. Vertigo has gone from #61 to #9. Also terrific.

But I guess they decided they needed to insert a few new films as well. Lord of the Rings, of course, must now make an appearance on the list. Same with Saving Private Ryan, the Sixth Sense and Toy Story. All new films that have been made SINCE the last list. So fine. But here's my problem. How much credibility does this list have, really? Buster Keaton's classic The General was omitted the first time around. A shame. But ten years ago it wasn't in the top 100, now it's #18? It was made in the 30s, I think it's had enough time to attain relevance, and that extra ten years made little difference. Cabaret, Titanic, The Shawshank Redemption, Sophie's Choice and ten others have been added. Ten others that were around at the time of the first list. Why wouldn't they just call these the fifteen honourable mentions the first time around or something, and that's it? And this year do 100 westerns, or 100 gangster movies, or SOMETHING new?

I know, this really isn't something to worry about or even write about. Who really cares, right? But I remember when that first list came out a decade ago, people actually paid attention. People who liked movies but never cared to really seek out the great ones were going by the list. They were starting at Citizen Kane and moving down to Yankee Doodle Dandy or whatever was #100. They were watching stuff that they NEVER would have watched otherwise, and many of the classics were reborn. Most people had seen Casablanca and The Godfather, but how many had seen Duck Soup or All About Eve? Many less, I would wager. But now there is nothing to recommend the new list, because there is nothing that gives it credibility any longer. C'mon AFI, do directors next year. I promise I will watch your engaging TV special once again.


When I was in college, there was a rabid feminist in my class. We got along fairly well for a long time, more so than she did with any of the other men in the class. This ended when it was oral presentation day in class. You see, she was doing her oral presentation on violence against women, a laudable cause and one that certainly requires more attention. However, she also brought along reading material for the class, and passed it out. It was about a hundred pages of violence-against-women statistics. The front page was a list of things that are ACTUALLY considered spousal abuse, even if you THINK they're just funny. Things like...kicking your wife out of a moving car? That's abusive. Torturing family pets in order to make her cry? Abusive. It turns out, in something that was a shock to no one, it is not just the closed fist punch that constitutes abuse. The open-handed slap or the bludgeoning of one's spouse with a brick is ALSO abusive. I'm seriously not making this up. This was the paper.

So I began to laugh. The idea that men need to sometimes be told what constitutes abuse is probably fairly accurate. I think some men may be misguided and do not realize how terrible the emotional or psychological abuse they put upon their spouses actually is. But does anyone, ever, really need to be told that smashing someone with a brick is abusive? Did someone somewhere think "well, I've done nothing wrong - I didn't use my knuckles or anything!" So I laughed. Because I was the only one in the class with the paper at that time, I looked like quite a jerk. The teacher, a rabid feminist herself, was less than pleased. I might go so far as to say she was furious. Once I showed her the sheet and explained why I could no longer control myself, she became even more enraged. Neither she nor my feminist classmate ever spoke to me again.

Well, today I saw the same thing in the Sun. Trust the Sun to sensationalize an incredibly stupid story...again. This time, they published a list of things that will get you arrested in the airport vs. things that will just get you a stiff warning. We all know you shouldn't say "bomb" or "gun" in the airport. But this list was GREAT! For example - "I don't have a bomb" - warning. "I do have a bomb" - arrest. "Hi, Jack" - warning. "I will take this airplane down in the name of Allah by using this blowtorch, I will do it over the Atlantic, and I will murder everyone on board" - arrest. "My gun misfired while hunting this weekend" - warning. "I am a terrorist bent on killing, using a gun, this gun, and I will be sitting in seat 24A until shortly after takeoff, at which point I will pull out this gun, murder everyone in my way, force my way into the cockpit, and murder the pilot, then I will take control of the airplane and crash it into Honest Stanley's Used Furniture Emporium in Kamloops" - arrest. Thank you Ottawa Sun. Once again you have shed some light onto a subject about which I had many questions. Well. Asked and answered!

Lucky people are idiots.

One of our co-workers, Amanda, was the MC at a wedding over the weekend. This is what happens when you work in radio - you end up being the person who talks at all social functions that involve your friends. I happen to like doing this, but I know it's a bit of a burden for some of the other guys. Amanda was telling me that this was one of those 7-7-7 weddings. I had heard about this, but I didn't believe it was really happening. I guess the idea was that July 7th, 2007, was the only day in our lifetimes that would have 7-7-7 as it's abbreviation. Seven is considered lucky. By the same people who walk around black cats and don't clean their underwear during winning streaks. So...dozens, hundreds, thousands of people around the world made SURE that July 7th was their wedding day. Because it is lucky.

What kind of person needs to feel "lucky" on their wedding day? Half the people who get married don't even GET lucky on their wedding nights. But what does a marriage need luck for anyway? I have never understood that stupid borrowed blue new stuff either. The superstition of not seeing the bride before the wedding. All this crap. What difference does it make? Are you more likely to get divorced if you slip up with one of these dangerous pratfalls? This marriage will NEVER work out! The bride didn't have something BLUE with her! I give it six strikes me that divorce doesn't come down to luck, nor does a successful marriage. So it must be something else. Traditions like this perhaps ensure financial success? Olympic athlete children? The death of a mother-in-law or two? Who knows. I feel that zero is a very lucky number - remember Les Browne? 00? He once won me twenty bucks with an interception. So I will get married on 0-0-0000-0-0. That should do.

George Clinton still knows how to tear the roof off

Bluesfest last night was a far more pleasant experience than the night of Bob Dylan. Perhaps fewer people know who George Clinton is, but the crowd had to be a third of the size. Which meant that it was very easy to get close enough to both see AND hear at the same time! The band on the main stage first was called MOe, and although I had heard OF them, I had never heard them play. What a terrific band! Very Grateful Dead in that they are a quality jam band, and very Frank-Zappa sounding funk grooves. The type of band that may be best appreciated live, because there's no guarantee that a sound like that can carry over onto CD. I ran into Trevor Finlay, who is playing Bluesfest tomorrow night and Saturday. (Tomorrow is a must-see - if you're there for Steve Miller, show up at 6:00 for Guitar Explosion - it's Trevor, Paul Deslauriers and another guy from Montreal who once opened for the Stones - it'll be fantastic) Then Randy Newman played...I was really pulling for him to play "left foot right foot" from Family Guy...but Trevor pointed out to me that he would likely have to pay royalties to Seth MacFarlane were he to do so - after all, he didn't write the song himself.

Randy Newman is funny. Terrific songwriter, I'm not so sure about his stage presence. He tried to get the crowd involved at one point, but rather that the "When I say Jump, you say How High" sort of simple instructions one normally hears from a band or a singer, his instructions required a substantial music background, it seemed. OK, I want you to scream "he's dead". But be careful, because this song is written in 7/8 time, and I need you all to come in on the downbeat. Also, it is in E flat minor, which is a sad key, so I need to feel that sadness coming from you...what? Probably nine people in the audience knew what the hell he was talking about. "This song is going to go at an andante pace, so it should be easier for you to keep up...but the tone is maestoso, so sound majestic..." So no one sang along. Frankly, they couldn't if they wanted to. But entertaining nonetheless.

Then George Clinton. Actually, no. It was his P-Funk All-stars first. And what a band! Just phenomenal. There was a guy in a diaper who looked to be fronting the band, but at the same time, it was virtually impossible to distinguish which of the bizarrely-dressed individuals was leading. Is it the diaper man? The 1970s pimp? The guy with dreadlocks and a deep voice? Frankly, I don't think anyone was leading that group. They were just one big collective of awesome. Bluesfest has this new feature which is absolutely obnoxious, and that is that now people have the ability to send text messages to the big screen beside the stage. At fifty cents each, there were probably six people in the crowd who dropped 100 bucks on text messages at George Clinton alone. And what stupid messages! "I like funk..." is it really worth 50 cents to you to have that appear on a screen somewhere? And then you text seventy-two variations on the same theme up there, which is now costing you 36 bucks, yet you still have not said anything. I don't get it. LOL.

The one thing I gleaned from the text message scroll was that most of the people in the crowd had no real knowledge of the George Clinton Parliament-Funkadelic empire. For the first 40 minutes of the show, they were convinced the guy in the diaper was Clinton. Of course, he wasn't, but when Clinton himself hit the stage 40 minutes into the show, he was greeted with a fairly embarrassing smattering of applause. Maybe eleven people knew that it was actually him this time. But it should have been thunderous applause, because the entrance was incredible. Very low-key, he walks in off the side of the stage with a microphone, bright pink hair and a boxer's robe, as the band kicks into the groove from Frank Zappa's I Am The Slime...then as Clinton hits center stage they kick into Give Up The Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker), and the crowd goes...placid. Well, not everyone can be a giant Clinton fan, but anyone who was standing within range of him last night had to get up and move. They may not know his music well, they may not own Chocolate City or The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein, but they know great tunes when they here them. And George Clinton knows how to deliver 'em. Next to the Allman Brothers a few years ago, this was the best Bluesfest show I've seen. George Clinton tore the roof off that mothersucker. And I freed my mind. My ass followed.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

More blogs about golf and beer.

You know when you go to a strip club, and the strippers come off like really aggressive and attractive salespeople? They seem to be reading from some diabolical script that has a way of refuting your assertions that no, you do not really need a lap dance? Or when you go to eat at Hooters, and every waitress with a stripper name has the same salesmanship? Saleswomanship? Salesskankship? I dunno. So you're just trying to enjoy your terrible-tasting wings, and your waitress, whether it's Vanilla or Diamond or Tastycakes, has the exact same method of flipping her hair just so, brushing your arm while she takes your order, laying a friendly hand on your shoulder as you drink your beer, making subtle sexual innuendos in order to "liven things up" at your staid and boring table?

I have a lot of friends who enjoy these little personal "touches" at these establishments, but I must say I am not too fond of them. I always feel like I am being sold something by some kind of sleazy commission-bound sales rep. If these girls worked at Future Shop, they would make their sales by showing lots of cleavage and bending WAYYY over to pick up the computer parts you wanted. They might sell a fair amount, but not to women. Well, every waitress needs to do this to some exten, I suppose. But I'd like to think I can distinguish between genuine friendliness and affability and the use of sexuality to endear onesself to the customer. I used to eat at Liam Maguires, breakfast just about every morning, and the breakfast waitress, Angel, (actual real name - even though it was a Hooters before, she had not worked there) was the best. While she was actually quite attractive, she would not use that to get good tips - she just really took her job seriously, and worked hard, and was genuinely friendly. Unless you were a complete jerk. She actually DISliked having guys grab her ass! I have no idea where she is now. Or if that restaurant is even open any more.

At Stonebridge yesterday, I ran into a few of these girls. I guess because it is a Broadway tournament, the girls working the holes have come from Broadways around the city. So they are waitresses, and they are hot, and they are often quite obnoxious. To the point where even Kalum and Woody and Andrew were commenting on it as well. Kalum is one of our sales guys, and I always assumed he fit the sales-guy mold. Like, the "I'll have meetings at the strip club every chance I get" and, "check out the rack on that waitress" and "she'll like me if I grab her ass". But I was surprised when he agreed with me that the hot-girl, hair-flip, hard-sell, bend-over-for-golf-balls approach was irritating. I mean, this is the guy who got us the Carleton University cheerleaders for our Doc and Woody golf tournament!

The worst girl on the course, however, was one of the cart girls. Both were spectacular looking, but one was so annoying as to be rendered homely by virtue of personality. One of those overly cheerful, "I'm-happy-about-everything" girls, who may well be genuinely friendly, or addicted to ecstasy, or mentally imbalanced. But she comes off as extremely phony when she thanks us profusely for giving her our empties to put in her cart. When she doesn't stop talking in that ridiculous chipper manner, you know, the one that could get someone killed first thing in the morning? That one. When her parting words come straight out of a Faith Hill tony Robbins song - "keep focused, you'll get there guys! The goal is in sight, keep at it and have a terrific day!" What? We're golfing. Not applying for a job. Hot cart girls are great. It is a wonderful idea. But just show up, be friendly, offer beer and take off. That's it. And come back often so I have enough beer.

P.S. Thanks Kurt! You ARE the man!

My staggering ineptitude.

I was golfing again yesterday. This time at Stonebridge, a golf course to which I had never been. It was the Broadway Bar and Grill tournament, with proceeds going to CHEO. I like Broadway, and I like CHEO, and I like golf. Splendid all around. I was so ecxited, in fact, that I showed up a good half an hour early At Cedar Hill. All the emails said Stonebridge. All the memos I had received pertaining to this tournament said Stonebridge. Yet, early in the morning, I asked Doc how to get to Cedarview. And he told me. Then I printed off a map from mapquest, to Cedarview, just so I would be sure. And I left in plenty of time, because I wanted to make sure I was there for the 1:00 tee-off and I had time to get ready. And I was. Had the tee-off actually been at Cedarview, I would have had oodles of time to spare. Well, not quite. I had been saying "Cedarview". There is no "Cedarview" at all in Ottawa, there is a Cedar Hill. Which is on Cedarview drive. Which is where I went. Either way, it is not Stonebridge. At all.

But it IS close. I called Woody, asking for directions, and it seemed close enough. I could make it there in 12 minutes, I said, and hung up. I did what Woody said. I took Hunt Club to Greenbank, and then Greenbank to Jockvale. Only, I never found Jockvale. I got to Greenbank and Strandherd, and I had still not seen Jockvale. I was perplexed. Greenbank clearly ends at Strandherd, so there was nothing for me to do but turn around and try again. Woody must have meant turn NORTH on Greenbank. These weather types never know their up from their down, you see. I drove down Greenbank once more, in the opposite direction. When I reached Brittania, I could go no further. And yet, I had still not seen Jockvale. It was now 1:15, and I realized that maybe, just maybe, there is a good reason for owning a cell phone. (Not a good ENOUGH reason, mind you, but a reason nonetheless.) Figuring Woody and Andrew and Kalum (the rest of my foursome) had already teed off and left, I also figured Woody would no longer be answering his cell phone. So I started up Greenbank once again.

This time I found Jockvale. It turns out Greenbank does NOT end at Strandherd. In fact, for all I know, Greenbank may well continue all the way to Georgia. That's just where I always stop, because that's the plaze where my girlfriend is a hair dresser. And that's where I drink at the Broadway until she is done work and she can drive me home. It's a good system we have. So Jockvale, it turns out, is eleven feet past the place where I turned around the first time. It is now 1:40, and I am way late as I pull into Stonebridge. The marshalls rush me out onto the course, at which point I am only three holes behind. My team is already 3-under-par after 3 holes! I have come at the right time. We finished the day...three under par. I may well have been something of a curse.

And I should never have worried about Woody not picking up his cell phone on the golf course. He not only had his cell phone on one hip, but he had his blackberry on the OTHER hip, (for balance I suppose), and he would talk on his cell phone or send emails on his blackberry periodically throughout the round. Ending each one with LOL, no doubt. I pointed out that the blackberry actually makes phone calls too, and that the extra cell phone was superfluous at best, and ridiculous at worst, but Woody had some long-winded explanation that I'm sure made sense. I tuned out halfway through. I hate to think what would have happened to his game had he been unbalanced by the misplacement of either the cell phone or the blackberry. But say what I will about Woody, he came prepared. When he lost his golf glove, he had three replacements to choose from right away.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Weather WarninG!

I saw a great news report yesterday. Apparently there were tornados heading into Ontario, and people were told to be on the lookout. If you lived in Kitchener or the surrounding areas, you were to take cover in your basement, or at least find the lowest point in your house. Ride out the storm, see, and stay away from the windows, it was going to be dangerous. There were a littany of reasons for the danger - flying debris...other types of fyling debris...and then a third kind of flying debris. This one could break the glass in your windows, that glass could end up inside YOU, and you might die. Stands to reason.

The second part of this news report was all about how you TOO could be on television! All you have to do is take pictures of the storm! (From the bowels of your basement, no doubt.) Just snap away, send them to Global News, Toronto, attention: Darwin Awards Division. Your pictures could end up on the TV, and you could set your VCR so that you could tape it...sidebar, does anyone even own a VCR any more? And then you could transfer that VCR tape to DVD, and keep it for years to c ome, so that someday your grandkids could see it. They would need proof, of course. Just telling your grandkids that Grandpa took a photo of a storm and that photo was on THE TV doesn't fly. They would just think it's one of Grandpa's tall tales, like the time he met Wilt Chamberlain at a gay bar or the time he fought a Yeti in a Jean Coutu parking lot. But no! You will have the photographic evidence to present, and the grandkids will know you're not some kind of faker. Bonus points: If you can get a picture of your grandkids actually being swept up BY the tornado, we'll come to your house and interview you! Then you could tape that in case you ever get more grandkids...