Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Today's BRN. New Years Eve Edition.

“When I was 10, I fell in love with the Who. I saw Tommy and was deeply moved. I wasn’t deaf, dumb or blind, but I wanted to be felt, seen, heard and healed. Seriously, I’m not going for laughs here … When I first heard them in 1979, it hit me like a torpedo in my third eye. It was a collection of ass-kicking songs the likes of which we will never see again. And it’s about time they get some sweet-ass recognish.” Best intro ever? That was Jack Black kicking off the Kennedy Center tribute to The Who on TV last night (the show was taped months ago). I wonder how Morgan Freeman's tribute was introduced?

Larry Mullen Jr. (U2's drummer) says this in an interview with Q magazine: he believes Tony Blair "should be tried as a war criminal". He then went on to say "and then I see Bono and him as pals, and I'm going 'I don't like that.'" And this made the news. I got this story from about four or five reputable news sources. I'm sure that they have talked about this themselves, and that they already know how each of them feels about the situation. Far be it from me to decide what makes the news and what doesn't (which is why I posted it on BRN - I will let people decide for themselves if they care or not...I assume they won't). But if I were to say here, on my blog, that whenever I hear Woody say something nice about John Baird, that I disagree, I don't think that would make news. I am pretty sure I already know he likes John Baird and that he knows I find the man objectionable. No need for anyone else to care either way, I imagine.

The concert industry appears to be one of the few businesses going strong in the world today. They posted a 13 percent increase in profits last year, setting a record with $4 billion dollars at the box office - ticket sales went up six percent, and box office revenue went up 18 percent. Which means, more than anything else, that ticket prices went up disproportionately. I wonder how long that trend will be able to continue?

And finally, in the blame-everyone-except-me trend that has been set by the management of Guns N Roses, Lars Ulrich, of Metallica, was blamed in an online forum for the delay of the video for G 'N R's debut Chinese Democracy single, "Better". Ulrich apparently appears in many of the backstage clips, as well as some of the onstage ones, during the video, and he needs to sign a release form in order to allow the video to be released. Or so said Fernando Lebeis, the son of Axl Rose's personal assistant in a post on an online forum. But then, of course, amid the furor this all caused, the post was removed, and the band released a statement saying “Lars isn’t holding anything up with our video. Our message board comments were meant casually, in fun and amongst friends. Unfortunately, someone with Blabbermouth may have taken things a bit out of context and made them into a bit more than they are in reality. Our apologies to anyone who may have been confused. We hope to have our video out shortly. Thank you.” Nice of them to say "thank you", eh?

What this means is one of two things. Either this guy was just "joking around" online, (and we all know it's tough to convey good-natured humour on message boards) and there really is no hold-up at all (except Axl wants to take the next nine years to get the video just right). Or, he was right, and just went off the reservation a little bit, talking out of turn, and the Big Corporate Machine that is Guns N Roses management stepped in to shut everything down immediately. I'm sure this guy is getting a dressing-down from the CEO of Axl Rose Entertainment as we speak. Or, he has been taken out to the desert, never to be heard from again. Oh - there's a third possibility. Perhaps this isn't actually a story at all, and nothing accurate went into the reporting of it, and nothing substantial will come of it. That too is possible.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Gran Torino. Go see it.

I no longer put movie reviews up on my blog, because there is now a place for them on the Cynical Cinema webpage. I have diversified! But this is one I felt needed a posting everywhere I could find a place to post about it. Clint Eastwood's latest, Gran Torino, is one of the finest movies of his career, and one of the best of the year. Up there with The Dark Knight and In Bruges and a few others. Go see this movie. The full review is here:

http://blog.rogersradiointernet.com/cynicalcinema/2008/12/30/gran-torino-review-in-theatres-now-go-910/

Breaking Rock News today.

No one notices when an accountant dies. Which is why the death of John Byrne, at the age of 61, of liver and kidney failure, went unreported since December 15th. Only now did people realize that he was in fact the John Byrne who was the lead singer and song writer for the Count Five, one of the first psychedelic and garage-rock bands of the 1960s. When he heard the Yardbirds' "I'm A Man", Byrne thought he could do something like that, and penned the all-time psychedelic classic "Psychotic Reaction". The band dissolved in 1969 so the individual members could pursue their college degrees, and Byrne went on to become an accountant. He died on the 15th in San Jose.

The Black Crowes can't seem to stop working. They are constantly releasing albums and CDs and best-ofs and compilations and live stuff, even when some of it sucks. Which is good, because some of it doesn't suck. Hopefully this next CD will be one of the ones that doesn't suck. The band will be at Levon Helm's barn-recording-studio in Woodstock in February and March for four live shows, and they will be culling material from all four shows to put out on a CD. Then they will begin work on their next album, which will be out six weeks later, and the follow-up to that one will be out two weeks after that.

And...buried deep, deep in an interview on telegraph.com... some important news, maybe, for Guns N Roses fans? Current guitarist Richard Fortus says that a tour will start in March to support Chinese Democracy, and will likely last two years! I say "current" guitarist, because by the time the tour begins, who knows where Axl Rose's proclivities will have led? And I use question marks when I say important news? Maybe? For the same reason.

Monday, December 29, 2008

And one more...

John Lennon has agreed to be in a laptop commercial! Well, not exactly. It's a charitable public service announcement. And he hasn't exactly "agreed". A campaign launched Thursday encourages Americans to support a campaign to deliver solar-powered laptops to the poor children of the world. The ad says: "Imagine every child no matter where in the world they were could access a universe of knowledge. They would have a chance to learn, to dream, to achieve anything they want. I tried to do it through my music, but now you can do it in a very different way. You can give a child a laptop and more than imagine, you can change the world." If they were going to put words in Lennon's mouth, I would hope they would be more creative than using the word "imagine" like that. But then, I am no ad exec.

BRN. Monday.

It's cool when a lesser-known musician is honoured upon his death, and such was the case today with Delaney Bramlett, best known for his years with Delaney & Bonnie, an under-rated two-named duo that was unfairly relegated to the bin of history with Captain & Tenille and Hall & Oates. He is more recognized now as the guy who taught George Harrison the beauty of gospel music (and the slide guitar), leading to one of the great songs ever written, "My Sweet Lord". Bramlett also collaborated often with Eric Clapton (who was a session player with Delaney & Bonnie quite often), producing Clapton's first album. He was 69 years old.

A smashed-up Fender guitar once owned (and smashed) by Kurt Cobain has sold at auction for $100,000. Which is the second-highest Cobain guitar price. Another one sold two years ago for $131,000, but that one you could still play. There is a long story to accompany this guitar, a story involving another musician named Sluggo and the Experience Music Project in Seattle. But I won't bore you with it.

For people looking to see some cool rock & roll this New Years Eve, Elton John will be on NBC - with Carson Daly! at 10:00, performing "Don't Let Your Son Go Down On Me". Then, at 11:00, Lynyrd Skynyrd will be playing the FOX new years special. Take a shot for every mullet you spot in the audience.

And the best story of the day - remember last week, when the Scottish parliament tabled a motion called "AC/DC we salute you", where they decided to officially honour AC/DC, since most of the members of the band were born in Scotland? And no one knew exactly what they were going to do to honour them? Open every session of parliament by playing "Big Balls"? Anyway, that's all done, so the Scottish folk will do what they're going to do, and the rest of us will forget all about it. All of us, that is, except for Dave Evans, who appears to have taken exception at the Scots trying to claim AC/DC for themselves. Evans, the original lead singer of the band (yes, there was one before Bon Scott), has started campaigning to have Sydney, Australia declared the "official birthplace" of AC/DC. He wants them to put plaques up in a bunch of AC/DC landmark places - like the place Bon Scott once punched that guy, or the place where Angus Young was inspired to find a schoolboy outfit...I certainly hope this all leads to some kind of Scotland - vs. - Australia international incident.

Go Canada! Rah rah meh!

I remember a story a little while ago, about the new Monopoly board. The World Edition was to include a number of cities from around the world, cities that could be voted upon by people the world over. I guess there was a major movement to elect certain Canadian cities to the board. I paid little attention, because I didn't care whether Toronto was on the Monopoly board or not. I figured there were better ways to be patriotic. But the kids got this World Monopoly game for Christmas, and I remembered the story once more.

On the new World Monopoly board, there are three Chinese cities. Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing. (There is also a Tapiei.) All the other countries are represented with but one city, including the United States, who get New York and nothing else. But then, there's Canada. We have three cities on this Monopoly board. Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. Not only that, but Montreal is apparently the #1 city in the world, filling the spot on the board ordinarily occupied by Boardwalk! And I thought...what? This is the problem, I realized, with allowing people to vote for things. Because much as I love Canada, we are not as internationally important as China. And we certainly don't have three more internationally important cities than the Americans. Had I thought of it at the time, I would have attempted to organize a massive voting campaign to get Kamloops, Red Deer, Timmins, Brockville and Moosonee included on this board.

That being said, the game is pretty cool. No more of that stupid paper Monopoly money that gets lost in all the couch cushions and re-discovered dozens of years later when the fridge finally gets replaced. It's all electronic now. Same goes for the new game of Life, which the kids received as well. That bothers me though - Life now operates not with cash, but with credit cards. You accumulate debt immediately, and pay interest during the entire game. What are we teaching our kids? That being in debt is just a regular part of everyone's life? Garbage. I will be trying to play the game without ever using a credit card, the way I do in real life. And I will lose in two turns, I imagine.

Anyway, back to Monopoly. Congratulations, rah-rah Canadians who voted for this business. Instead of a Monopoly board that is truly representative of the world's great cities, we now have a board that is representative of the ability of Canadians to pull together to achieve something nonsensical. We're on the board! Well done, patriots!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And a bonkers last minute gift idea...

A co-worker sent me this link. I thought it was a joke, and spent some time searching the website for the punchline. But it's real. And, in every way, that made it much funnier for me. the 2009 Sarah Palin wall calendar:

http://www.atlasbooks.com/marktplc/02503.htm

I want this. I would order one myself, but I don't think my girlfriend would let me put it up in the house. Although she too has a keenly developed sense of irony, I don't think that could overcome her bitter loathing of this woman.

You knew it would happen.

We all knew this game was going to hit the internet, and fast, after the Bush shoe-throwing incident. By the way - sales of that particular brand of shoe have shot through the roof in the past week. Which is also funny. But although we all knew this game would come, I had no idea it would be so difficult! I've been trying to beat it all morning, but it's tough.

http://www.adgame.de/bush-ego-shoeter/

BRN today

More Springsteen news...he says that he didn't think he was ready to record a new album when he started working on Working On A Dream. But then he was. Springsteen fans must be very interested in these goings-on.

Chris Squire says that the current lineup of Yes is "one of the best performing lineups in Yes' storied history." I am certain that a quote like that one does not make Jon Anderson want to kick him in the sack. After all, this lineup, featuring tribute-band singer Benoit David in place of the sick Anderson, is only "one of" the best touring lineups ever.

Joe Perry has posted his version of "Run Run Rudolph" on the Aerosmith fan site Aero Space One for a free download. Because a song that is a spin-off of another song that has to do with a Christmas character that exists only in song is terrific. And there are just not enough versions of "Run Run Rudolph" out there. Anyone need any more proof that Perry thinks he is Keith Richards? Or that Aerosmith believe they are the Rolling Stones, Jr.?

New interview at Cynical Cinema.

Yesterday, I interviewed D.W. Young, the director of a small yet terrific documentary called A Hole In A Fence. It came out on DVD earlier this month, and it is worth seeking out if you are a film fanatic, like me. It is a documentary that is, quite literally, about a hole in a fence. As I have said about many documentaries before, when they make it to DVD, there has to be a reason. When someone starts off with a project this modest, this small, something has to happen in order to make that project worth putting on DVD or bringing to a TV station. Sometimes, the documentary film makers capture an event that was unexpected, and manage to incorporate that into their film, making it compelling enough for people to care. Such was the case with The Heart Of The Game, a documentary about a girls' basketball team in Seattle that came out on DVD last year and is now making the rounds of the movie network here in Canada.

And at other times, the little, modest film can just be an amazing film. Well crafted, well shot, and just plain good enough to be seen by people outside the film maker's inner circle. And such is the case with A Hole In A Fence, which is some wonderful film making about...a hole in a fence. Click on this link for the review of the movie, where you can order it, and the interview with D.W. Young:

http://blog.rogersradiointernet.com/cynicalcinema?__utma=1.286334464.1230028909.1230113397.1230113595.4&__utmb=1&__utmc=1&__utmx=-&__utmz=1.1230028909.1.1.utmccn%3D(direct)%7Cutmcsr%3D(direct)%7Cutmcmd%3D(none)&__utmv=-&__utmk=129952141

Wow. That's a pretty awkward link, isn't it? Whatever. Just click it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Breaking Rock News today.

A recording of John Lennon, drunk, singing Lloyd Price's song "Just Because", has sold at auction over the weekend for $30,000. The big question is "why would the studio engineers continue recording something like this at the time (in 1973)"? But an even bigger question - is it possible that this drunken, silly recording would fetch more money than that new Beatles track McCartney is constantly trying to downplay?

Brian Johnson of AC/DC is writing a book. Every report of this news involves a McCartney-like disclaimer: "It won't be like Motley Crue's The Dirt". "It won't be that interesting". "Johnson says he never did drugs much, or drank much, and his book will be mostly about cars." So...it will be boring. On that same subject - anyone other than me ever make it through that Paul McCartney 1,500-page autobiography?

There will be no Zeppelin reunion, says Robert Plant. The fact that he is still being asked this question, and of course still denying it, must mean that it could happen!

There will be five different editions of the new U2 album, No Line On The Horizon, when it gets released in March of next year. Three of these editions will be massive versions, with books, magazines, and posters. Most exciting though is that all three massive editions will feature a film by Anton Corbijn, whose credentials are impeccable. Recently, he directed a magnificent movie called Control, about Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis. It was the best musical biopic of the decade. Here is a link to a review from a respected movie critic:

http://blog.rogersradiointernet.com/cynicalcinema/2008/06/16/control-out-tomorrow-best-musical-biopic-of-the-past-ten-years-take-that-walk-the-line-910/

Bruce Springsteen is following in the footsteps of AC/DC, and releasing an album exclusively through Wal-Mart. The album will be a Greatest Hits compilation from his work with the E-Street Band, basically a bargain-basement cheapie, that will seek to cash in on the spike in sales that will surely accompany his halftime performance at the Super Bowl. Springsteen should have thought of that himself! Trust Wal-Mart to think of the cash-in opportunity instead. Springsteen's new album comes out two weeks later, on the 27th. Bad planning, Boss!

And in a story that didn't make BRN, but I thought was worthwhile, Melissa Etheridge has posted on her blog - kind words about Rick Warren! The pastor who is going to be speaking at Barack Obama's inauguration, which has caused so much controversy. This is the guy who famously banned homosexuals from his church unless they were "repentant". The guy who was the driving force behind the passing of the dreadful Proposition 8 against gay marriage on California ballots during the election. A guy who has come to symbolize the intolerance that afflicts gay people in the United States. Writes Etheridge: “He explained in very thoughtful words that as a Christian he believed in equal rights for everyone. He believed every loving relationship should have equal protection. He struggled with proposition 8 because he didn't want to see marriage redefined as anything other than between a man and a woman.” The lesbian icon went on to say, “maybe in our anger, as we consider marches and boycotts, perhaps we can consider stretching out our hands. Maybe instead of marching on his church, we can show up en mass and volunteer for one of the many organizations affiliated with his church that work for HIV/AIDS causes all around the world.” Colour me incredibly surprised!

The passing of an icon...sort of.

When I was a kid, I was into statistics. And, by extension, I was into baseball in a big way. I would go to the library, and over and over I would check out this massive tome about baseball, featuring the complete career records of every player ever to have played the game. I would pore over the stats, and to this day I remember almost all of it. We all know Babe Ruth once hit 60 homers in a season, (well...lots of us do) but how many people know that his career high in RBI was 171? Or that his best single-season batting average was .393? Yes...I was a nerd.

But in poring over the history of baseball, I became a scholar in the lore of the sport as well. I would look up Eddie Gaedel's career stats - 1 game, 1 at-bat, 1 base on balls. Pulled for pinch-runner. Jersey number - 1/8. I marveled at the feats of Joe DiMaggio, Carl Hubbell and Johnny Vandermeer, and I knew the famous moments inside and out. I knew Willie Mays and Vic Wertz. I knew all about Ralph Branca and Bobby Thompson. I marveled over the fact that Bill Buckner was more famous for his moment than was Mookie Wilson. And I read with great interest the story of Grover Cleveland Alexander coming into a ball game in relief, totally hung over, and very nearly giving it up with a towering shot that just went foul, before buckling down and winning the game.

And, through this fascination with baseball lore, I learned about LSD. I knew about LSD before any other kid in my class - the rest of them learned about it when they got into music, and started listening to the Beatles, and thought the whole Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds thing was cool. But I knew about it when I was eight, because of Dock Ellis. Ellis, a pitcher with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the late 60s and early 70s, threw a no-hitter, in 1970, while out of his mind on acid. He told the story only after he retired, and cleaned up his life and kicked drugs altogether, but it became another of those legendary baseball moments that, at one time, made the sport larger than life.

Also larger than life was Ellis' legendary mean-spiritedness. He once threw at the first five batters in a game against the Cincinnati Reds, hitting three of them before being yanked from the game. He had intended to hit every single batter in the Reds' lineup, but his manager pulled him from the game, because...well, they were going to lose. His line for the game - 0 innings, 3 hit batters, 4 walks, 1 run, 1 earned run, 0 K. His reasoning? The Reds had been talking trash. In spring training. He also, legendarily, beaned Reggie Jackson, in retaliation for a monster home run he hit off Ellis. Jackson had hit this massive home run off Ellis five years earlier. And get this - it was in the All-Star game!

Last year, Ellis told Sports Illustrated that when he played baseball, he was a "damn fool". This is certainly true. He was indeed a damn fool. But he left the sport with some of it's most legendary bad behaviour stories, and he will be missed. Ellis died on Friday at the age of 63, due to a liver ailment.

The War on Christmas gift guide.

This was forwarded to me after a long conversation about just how funny Bill O'Reilly's War On Christmas business really is. You see...there are these people, let's call them "secular progressives"...who hate Christmas and all people who celebrate Christmas...and they are co-ordinating a mean-spirited attack on Christmas by forcing people to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas", when everyone knows that any American celbrating at this time of the year is without a doubt a Christian...or something. He's been attacking, in a truly bizarre and frothing-at-the mouth sort of way, a governor who allowed an atheist sign to be put up next to a Christian one...anyway. It's been making me laugh a lot. Making me laugh even more? This website:

http://wonkette.com/404820/wonkettes-2008-war-on-xmas-gift-guide

Be sure to play the youtube video embedded in the middle of the page, from the video game ZooRace. I can't believe this game actually exists, but...who knows...totally bonkers. And totally hilarious.

Monday, December 22, 2008

NFL picks week last.

The best game of the year always occurs in Week 17. This year, that game will be Denver-San Diego. I have been hoping against hope that the Broncos will get their comeuppance this season, and that they will be exposed for the frauds they are. And here it comes. They couldn't win any games that they ought, by all rights, to have won. And yet there they were, in first place in their division. Well, no more. The Chargers have sucked their way to the middle all season, and they will defeat the Broncos this week to suck their way into the playoffs at 8-8.

Also sucking their way into the playoffs will be the Cardinals, who have nothing to play for now for the fifth week in a row. And they will lose. And fall to 8-8. And make the playoffs because their division is abysmal. Week 17 is also the week that involves the worst game of the year, between teams that no longer care. That game, this week, involves Cincinnati and Kansas City. But frankly, I think that will be a more exciting game than Arizona-Seattle, which could well be a total snoozefest. Without getting into the permutations and combinations of what needs to happen for teams to get a playoff spot, here are my final, terrible, predictions for the year. I went 8-8 straight up, and 8-8 against the spread last week. Which sucked. I am now 147-93-1 straight-up, and 137-102-2 against the spread this year.

Arizona - Seattle: Arizona has totally packed it in for the regular season. They locked up their division win, thanks to the Niners, Seahawks and Rams, all of whom suck, and then coasted. They have won one of their past five. They looked absolutely dreadful last week against the Patriots. And the Seahawks are playing for pride, with their big win last week against the Jets to show for it. Seattle will take this game in an upset (Zona is favoured by 5), and end the season with a respectable 3-game winning streak. And Arizona will get killed by whatever team they host in the wild-card round.

Cardinals, 34-21. I didn't watch this game. Mostly because I did not care at all. Looks as though the Cardinals did not want to back into the playoffs, after all, and were looking to finish with an actual winning record. They covered, and I was wrong. They won, and I was wrong. But I will not be wrong next week, when they get hammered into the ground in the first wild card game.

Atlanta - St. Louis: This is NOT a nothing game. The Falcons are in the playoffs thanks to their big wins the past two weeks, and that is amazing, coming off their horrible season last year. I suppose there is still something for them in this one - if Carolina loses and they win, Atlanta will win their division. And get the first-round bye. And homefield up until the point where they face the Giants. That's big, St. Louis is small, Falcons will cover the 15 point spread and then some. And then they will rest and check the scoreboard. The Panthers are in much tougher against the Saints.

Atlanta, 31-27. Well, they sure didn't cover the 15 points. But a win is a win, and the Falcons will be a wild card team. Too bad, with the great season they've had, that they don't get a home playoff game. But look for them to destroy the Cardinals in the first round.

Baltimore - Jacksonville: Baltimore is favoured by 13 points in what will be a big game for the Ravens. They need to win to make the playoffs, and they will. By 13 or more - look for them to cover this spread. They win and they're in, because they hold the tiebreaker over the Patriots. Good thing, they have had a terrific season.

Ravens, 27-7. The Ravens covered the spread. And they won the game. And they are in the playoffs, knocking out - believe it or not - the Patriots, who are out of the playoffs a year after finishing the regular season 16-0. Monster game for the Ravens, they played like they wanted it and they will be a serious force in the playoffs.

Cincinnati - Kansas City: The worst matchup of the week might turn out to be the best actual football game. Kansas City showed no signs of going gentle into that good night this past week, and they will play tough at home. The Bengals want to close out their season with a promising three-game win streak. Cincinnati is a better team. They will win this one and cover the three point spread.

Bengals, 16-6. Bengals won, Bengals covered, Bengals look pretty decent heading into 2009. A modest three-game winning streak to finish a season can make a poor team look forward to next year. The Chiefs will continue to be dreadful. Unless there's some of that Dolphins-Falcons magic left over for the upcoming season.

Green Bay - Detroit: I hate to pick the Lions to go 0-16. I really believed, a few games ago, that they would not. But after they laid that huge egg against the Saints last week, I have given up hope for this team. History will be made in Green Bay, and you know the Packers don't want to be the one team that gets surprised by the Lions during their last game in an already-very-disappointing season. Remember that QB they used to have? Packers to win, covering whatever spread there may be, whenever one comes up.

Packers, 31-21. As a Packers fan, I am glad they made history the right way here. It would have been decidedly embarassing to lose to the Lions and give them their only victory of the season, in the last game. Lions set a new record for futility, going 0-16, but I still think they are better than the Chiefs. They were game in this one, tying the score in the third quarter and fighting to the end.

Houston - Chicago: The Bears still have a lot to play for, but they will be in tough against a Houston team that is good at home and wants to finish at 8-8 after being stunned by the Raiders last week. There is no line on this game at this time, for some reason. But I will take Chicago to squeak by here by less than three. And still not make the playoffs.

Texans, 31-24. Houston finishes at 8-8, meaning they have not lost a step since last year. And next year, they have a real chance to be real good. The Bears looked pretty bad, with their season on the line. It turned out to be a moot game anyway, but I would have hoped the Bears would have put in a better effort. At least Houston covered the spread.

Minnesota - New York Giants: The Bears have got to be praying that the Giants take this one a little bit seriously. That they put in their starters for the first half, and that they run up the score enough that the Vikings can't come back...but it isn't likely going to happen. The only hope for the Bears is that the Giants will try to win the Super Bowl this year the way they did last year - scrapping in every last game into and through the playoffs. I don't think it will happen. Minnesota will take this one. There is no line right now.

Vikings, 20-19. Squeaker! Last second field goals! 50 yards! As it turned out, the Vikings did not HAVE to win this one, as Chicago was losing to Houston. But they needed it for their confidence, and they win the NFC south with a barely eked out victory over second-string Giants players. Look for Minnesota to get spanked by the Eagles in the first round.

New England - Buffalo: The Patriots still have everything to play for. The Bills have nothing to play for. Read nothing into their win over the Broncos this week. The Broncos are terrible. The Patriots will absolutely steamroll this team in Buffalo. Point spread 6 1/2? May as well be 20.

Patriots, 13-0. And...it doesn't matter, because New England, amazingly, is out of the playoffs! Who would have believed it? Especially with an 11-5 record. Bet they wish they were in the Broncos division now, eh? Pretty cool game though, with the crazy wind and the field goals that were blown wide from 24 yards out. Bills were tougher than I expected, but the Patriots needed the game and we all knew they'd get it. And cover the spread.

New Orleans - Carolina: The Panthers still need a win to lock up the first round bye for sure. And they will get that win over the Saints, who have been playing very well of late. Or, is that "playing very well, too late"? The Saints have lost only once at home so far this year, but this will be the second one. And there is no way Drew Brees will break Marino's record, as a sidebar - he would have to throw for 400 yards. Against the Panthers defense? Not a chance. Panthers are favoured by three, they will cover.

Panthers, 33-31. Well, they did not cover the spread. Close, but...it still took a last-second field goal to win this one, but Carolina ought to feel pretty good about that first-round bye and the prospect of facing a weaker team. They need to fear the Eagles right now. And that's about it. Oh, and amazingly - Drew Brees came very, very close to setting the single season passing yards mark, falling 16 yards short. Still the second player ever to throw for more than 5,000 yards in a season. Which would be nicer if it hadn't happened for an 8-8 team! You think the Saints will be shopping for some defense in the off season?

New York Jets - Miami: The Jets are still technically alive in the playoff hunt, but they won't make it. In fact, they won't even win this game, against the determined Dolphins, winners of eight of their last nine. Miami has the playoffs in their sights after a jaw-dropping Chad Pennington-led turnaround this year, and they're not going to let it go. Dolphins to win in the "upset" (Jets are favoured by 2 1/2).

Dolphins, 24-17. Well, I would never have guessed that Brett Favre would throw so many picks, but then I shouldn't be suprised I suppose. Is this the greatest turnaround in NFL history? I would say so. Last year, there was a lot of talk about the Fish going 0-16, and they almost did. This year, they won their division, and they are going to the playoffs! Hats off to Miami and the wildcat offense! So long, faded and fading Jets!

Philadelphia - Dallas: The Cowboys returned to December form in their loss to the Ravens. (Cowboys December form: Terrible.) Philadelphia laid an absolute egg in their loss to the Skins. That one took me totally by surprise. So I am up in the air about this game. So are the bettors, it appears, as the Eagles are favoured by just one point. I will take them to cover that spread, since I think the Cowboys are done. Either way, it'll be a great game. I think. And neither team will make the playoffs, because Tampa Bay is playing an awful team in Oakland.

Eagles, 44-6. Well, I'm mostly right. The Eagles did win, and win big, and cover the spread and everything. In point of fact, they covered the spread 38 times over. But this game was more about the Cowboys being absolutely dreadful than anything else. Just the same, I think the Eagles are now the most dangerous sleeper team in the playoffs, the way the Giants were last year.

Pittsburgh - Cleveland: What a mismatch. The chances of the Browns even caring about being a spoiler are slim. They are hurt, they are beaten, they are done. The Steelers are going to finish with a first-round bye when all is said and done. And this game is said and done before it begins. The Steelers are favoured by 10 1/2, which is too much considering they are going to be sitting starters pretty fast in this game. Browns cover, Steelers win.

Steelers, 31-0. They ought to have sat their starters even faster, eh? Their marquee QB goes down in the second quarter, carted off on a stretcher, and oops - what about those playoff games now? Looks like he'll be OK, but what a scare! The Browns had just given up anyway, and the second-string Steelers are still too powerful for Cleveland, who just don't care. So I was wrong about the spread, but the victory (if you can call it that in such a meaningless game) remained.

San Francisco - Washington: Another useless matchup. The Skins showed some life against the Eagles this week, but for all intents and purposes their season is done. The Niners have won three of five, and played pretty well for the past few weeks. The Niners are favoured at home, but I think Washington wants this game more. I'm taking the Skins to upset, covering the three-point Niners spread.

Niners, 27-24. Nope. Spread was dead-on, and the Skins did NOT want this more. The Skins are sad-sack at the moment, and had better snap out of it next year. Speaking of next year, it's looking brighter and brighter for the Niners as they continue to beat pretty good teams.

Tampa Bay - Oakland: The Raiders have been, in the past few weeks, a very up-and-down team. Especially this past weekend, when they stunned the Texans. (And me, by the way.) Now, we wonder which Raiders team will show up against Tampa Bay. I am guessing it will be the terrible one. Besides, Tampa still has an outside shot at the playoffs. Probably. Ah, who knows any more? Tampa is favoured by 13. That is too much. Bucs to win, Raiders to cover.

Raiders, 31-24. No, it was the good Raiders team. And it was the terrible Tampa team that has shown up oh so often these past few weeks. The Raiders certainly covered, and Tampa certainly did not win this one. The Bucs might want, despite a winning season, to consider blowing this thing up and starting over.

Tennessee - Indianapolis: The Titans are favoured by 3 right now. Why, is beyond me. First of all, the game is in Indy, who have won eight straight and look like they might actually, once again, be the best team in the AFC. Secondly, the Titans have wrapped up...everything. They have a first-round bye. They have home field advantage throughout the playoffs. They have football's best record. Not only that, they are banged up, and can't afford any more injuries, so you would imagine they will rest almost all of their starters for almost the entire game. Meanwhile, the Colts may well want to rest a few people themselves, but not enough to lose the game. Colts cover, winning in the "upset".

Colts, 23-0. Indianapolis was never going to lose this game. Manning was out, and rested, but the rest of the team was on fire. Because of what Manning has done in the last nine games, all wins, of the season. That man deserves the MVP award, and I really hope he gets it. The Colts are the most dangerous team playing in the wild card round next weekend, without a doubt. And they could well be the best team in the AFC, overall.

San Diego - Denver: And the schedule makers do us all a huge favour! The showcase game, the best game of the week, is the Sunday night national game! The Broncos finally get exposed for the terrible team they truly are, and the Chargers manage to sneak into the playoffs thanks to a terrible division and their ability to remain mediocre just long enough. Both these teams are terribly disappointing, but this game is the one to watch. Winner take all - the playoffs start early in the AFC West! The Chargers are favoured by an unbelievable 8 1/2 points here. That is too much. But San Diego will win, while the Broncos will cover.

Chargers, 52-21. Yes!

Well, that does it for the season. I finished 159-97-1 straight up, 148-106-3 against the spread. I am sour my Packers didn't make the playoffs, and fell off so drastically from last year. I am also sour (a little) that Brett Favre didn't quite manage to lead the Jets into the playoffs as well. But that one is OK, because the Dophins DID make it, and I just love that story. Same goes for the Falcons - what a couple of turnarounds! I am thrilled that the Cowboys are out and the Eagles are in - I hate the Cowboys, and I like what the Eagles are doing this year. Same goes for the Broncos. I hate the Broncos this year, and they did NOT deserve to make the playoffs. Then again, neither did the Chargers. But I'll take them over Denver any day. And on one more positive note, I am very pleased that the Patriots are out. I would have been so sick of the announcers and their "you never know with this team..." Bring on the playoffs!

Breaking Rock News today.

Some exciting stuff today...not really.

Paul McCartney warns fans not to expect "another Strawberry Fields" when he releases the never-before-heard Beatles track "Carnival of Light" soon. He says, it's not for everyone, and many or most people will not like it. Even George Harrison hated it, making sure it was kept off an earlier Beatles anthology. So why release it? Because people will buy anything "Beatles", including the Fab Four Farting Into A Paper Bag. And judging by the faint praise surrounding this track, that might well be exactly what we are going to get.

Steven Adler, former drummer for Guns N Roses, is back in rehab. He told the judge he was going to be appearing on Celebrity Rehab With D.r Douche, but the judge felt that reality-shows notwithstanding, Adler needed to be forcibly thrust into rehab. He was going along so well until he heard Chinese Democracy, and then that Dr. Pepper "fiasco" drove him to drink again...

Speaking of Axl Rose, Adler's "people" said that his dream is to get clean, sober up, and reunite with the old band for a monster tour. And Axl Rose's "people" (most of whom are apparently lawyers) said that Axl will never, ever, under any circumstances, work with any former members of Guns N Roses. Ever. Never. Which is a bit of a problem - in the 15 years it took to make that stupid album, he worked, from what I understand, with every single person in the entire music industry, including Fred Durst and most of Britney Spears' backup dancers. So...doesn't that make every person in the music industry a "former member of Guns N Roses"? And therefore, hasn't Axl ruled out ever working in music again? Perhaps that's for the best...

Youtube is yanking off a bunch of musicians. Well, you know what I mean. Actually, it's Warner who is yanking them off youtube. Apparently there is a dispute over the royalties and the payments and the so on and so forth. So no more Zeppelin videos, Clapton videos, Grateful Dead videos. Or Madonna videos, if you're into that.

Robert Plant is planning another album with Alison Krauss. Raising Sand was great, and I'm actually vrey excited about this prospect. Of course, every announcement Plant ever makes has to come in conjunction with another denial about the reunion of that other band he was once in...I have an idea. Why doesn't someone suggest to him that he re-unite the New Yardbirds?

April Wine is being awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award and being inducted into the Canadian Music Industry Hall Of Fame in March at some fancy hotel in Toronto. Each member of the veteran band will be given a Canadian Music Week keychain, and a gift certificate for free fajitas at the Lone Star. I have a friend who doesn't work in the music business, he works in the movie business. So before he went to last year's Canadian Music Week events, he called me and asked about some Canadian acts he should know. Name some bands, he said, and I'll look them up so I know what I'm talking about. So I told him about Arcade Fire, and Feist, and a bunch of more obscure bands as well. When he returned, he told me that my advice was totally irrelevant. No one brought up any actual musical acts at any of the events he attended. But there was a performance by someone. I can't remember if it was April Wine or Trooper or Loverboy or Honeymoon Suite. But it sure wasn't Arcade Fire.

And the big news - headbanging can kill you! Australian researchers did an extensive study of the lasting effects of headbanging, and discovered that banging one's head to the latest heavy metal songs can cause brain damage, up to and including strokes. Especially to those songs whose beats per minute reached numbers close to 180, like Motley Crue's "Kickstart My Heart". I have always wondered what kind of people liked Motley Crue, and what inspired the fanatical following that band enjoys. It turns out that it is a self-perpetuating type of fanaticism - you listen to a Crue song, you bang your head, you suffer brain damage, you like other Motley Crue songs. Makes sense now.

The researchers went on to cast doubt upon their findings by referring to Beavis and Butthead. They discovered that Beavis, when listening to the Ramones "I Wanna Be Sedated" banged his head within the acceptable parameters, and was unlikely to suffer serious and lasting damage. However, Butthead banged his head far too vigorously, and was in danger of suffering from anything from a headache to a stroke. Then, they added some humour: "It is well understood, however, that cartoon characters are able to tolerate greater than normal impacts without injury." That's actually pretty funny.

Friday, December 19, 2008

And, my letter.

Again, the format isn't coming through well on my blog here. My initial letter was far more entertaining and caustic, but upon reading it, several people around the station felt that should I send it in, I would end up under surveillance of some kind. Or possibly imprisoned. Apparently, they think we live in Russia. But I certainly don't think of Stephen Harper's government that way. At all. Because I want to be in the senate. Here's my new, toned-down, revised cover letter:

To whom it may concern,

This is a letter to express my intention to apply for one of the eighteen available senate seats. As a local radio personality for the past five years in the centre of our federal government, Ottawa, I feel that I am one of the eighteen most qualified people for a senate seat, for a few reasons.
First of all, as an Ottawa resident, I would be within easy traveling distance of the Senate at all times, and as such I would be one of the Senators with the best attendance record. I hereby pledge that, should I be named to the Senate, I will have an attendance record of better than sixty percent for at least the first ten years of my tenure.

Now, of course, I realize that the idea behind appointing these Senators now is to even things out and create more of a balance by filling the Red House with people who espouse Conservative ideals, and I would like to point out that I am a man with strong moral convictions, and I will fight to the best of my ability in favour of whatever moral stand the Conservative government wants me to take.

I can be pro-war, pro-corporation, anti-union, anti-abortion, anti-gay and anti-environment should that be the desire of the current government. I have attached a resume which indicates my fondness for conservative ideals, and especially the policies of Stephen Harper and George Bush. My loving impersonation of Mr. Harper during the election points to the fact that I agreed with the Conservative party’s entire election platform, that Stephane Dion is a dweeb. And the pro-Bush rally I held outside a local adult establishment is a good example of my views on foreign policy.

I understand the need for swift action in order to stack the Senate and crush the opposition left-wing parties before Barack Obama’s inauguration, and therefore I realize that these appointments will be done with great expedience. I am hoping that I am getting my application in before the deadline, and I am respectfully suggesting that the first step toward crushing that opposition would be appointing me to an influential Senate post.

And finally, I’d like to say that just like the Conservative party, I am totally against the Senate, that totally useless branch of Canadian government, and I too believe it should be abolished. So should that be your decision at a later time, I will immediately step down for a generous severance package.

Thank you for your attention in this matter.

Yours Truly,




Eric The Intern

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My resume. Senate seat, here I come!

OK, I can't quite paste my resume, as I wrote it, into this blog area here. For some reason it keeps screwing with the fonts, and moving things right and left. But here is, basically, (in a more uglied-up form) the resume I sent in on Tuesday in my attempt to suck up to the Conservatives and get myself a Senate seat. I will put my cover letter up later, once I am sure they have received it. I don't want to let the cat out of the bag too early...anyway, here is my resume, doctored to appeal to the Conservative party (but still entirely truthful).


Eric The Intern
2001 Thurston Drive
Ottawa, ON, K1G 6C9
(613) 750-1061

Education
Glebe Collegiate Institute (1991-1996): Graduated Summa Cum Laude with a 96.9 OAC average.
University of Ottawa (1996-1998): Three years of double major in Physics-Mathematics program.
Algonquin College (1999-2001): Received diploma in Radio Broadcasting program.


Work Experience
Bluenose II Preservation Trust (June - September, 1997): In the summer of 1997, I traveled across Canada with the Bluenose II, promoting national unity and raising awareness of a Canadian icon. I learned how to spend government money, including per-diems, over the course of a program that became embroiled, in a big way, in the Liberal sponsorship scandal. Since then, I have hated Liberals.
CHEZ 106 Doc & Woody Show (current employment): With the Doc and Woody Show at the classic rock radio station, CHEZ 106, I have long been a voice for Conservative ideals in the city that is heart of our country’s government, Ottawa. Some examples:
Pro-Bush Rally. At a local adult establishment, I attempted to balance the playing field against the voices of the left-wingers who were holding anti-Bush rallies when the President of the United States was in town. I recruited like-minded models who were also in favour of Bush, and I remain a fan of Bush to this day.
Butt Painting, Creamed Corn Leaping, Diaper Dancing, Stephen Harper Impersonation. Among other things, with the Doc and Woody show, I have been something of a performance artist. I have been, and remain to this day, the world’s foremost butt-painter, with a gallery showing here in Ottawa at the Parkdale Art Gallery. In my time as a performance artist, I have never been able to obtain a government grant. And yet, I have been able to perform my art nonetheless. Therefore I agree with the Conservative idea of never, ever funding the arts. And in my impersonation of Stephen Harper, available for viewing on youtube, I indicated my support for his election platform by calling Stephane Dion names.


References:
Available upon request.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

NFL week 16.

A bonkers, up-and-down year is almost over. And the ups are now down and the downs are now up and what is up with the Giants? And the Titans? There may well be a changing of the guard this week at the top of both conferences, what with two of the biggest games of the year happening on Sunday. And I think that both Tennessee and New York will lose. But then again, I have always cautioned people against using my picks, especially this year. Last week I went 12-4 straight up, and 7-7-2 against the spread, bringing this season's record to 139-85-1 straight up, and 129-94-2 against the spread. So...don't take my advice. I'm doing this for me, not you. (This way I have a timestamp on my blog entry, you see, and I can point to this for the people in my various pools if I forget to send in picks. Or something like that.) So, without further ado...

Indianapolis - Jacksonville: Opened at 6 1/2, is now down to 6 points. Either way, I think the Colts ought to cover. They are playing as well as anyone right now, and got that scare from the Lions last week. That should keep them on their toes, and they should beat a shoddy Jacksonville team that seems intent on beating themselves. Colts to win their 8th straight, covering the 6 points.

Colts, 31-24. Looked scary for a while, the Jaguars made a real game of it. Until the end, when they once again became intent upon beating themselves. Up 17-7 at halftime, Jacksonville looked pretty good. Especially when Peyton Manning was 13-13 in the first half, for 200 yards, and the Colts had one TD to show for it. At the very end of the half, the Colts looked ready to put one in the end zone, then missed a field goal, then let Jacksonville drive down the field for a 3-pointer of their own. But then, it's the Jaguars, and they just couldn't build on it. Colts win, Colts cover.

Dallas - Baltimore: The Cowboys all of a sudden look really, really good. The line is 4 points for Dallas, but I think that is too much here. Because the Ravens are also really, really good. And I think their defense can shut down Tony Romo. Also, I think the last game against the Giants was more a testament to the Giants fading than to the Cowboys having a resurgence. Dallas had a heck of a bad time with Pittsburgh's defense a week ago, and I will take Baltimore to win in the upset.

Ravens, 33-24. Well, the Ravens made Dallas look downright ordinary, and put a real wrench in their playoff hopes. They're still alive, and got lucky with the Eagles and Bucaneers defeat, but they have a difficult road ahead thanks to this loss. The Ravens look fantastic.

Cleveland - Cincinnati: The Browns are tanking, having lost four in a row, and they are playing on a pretty short week, having come off yet another inexplicable Monday night game. The Bengals are not a good team, but right now I think they are better than the Browns. Cleveland is favoured by three at home, but I think the Bengals will win in the upset.

Bengals, 14-0. The Bengals are better than the Browns, and when they win on the last week of the season (and they will), their record will be identical to that of Cleveland. The Browns will have to wait until next year, and if they get healthy, they could be good. But never bet on the Browns to be good.

Denver - Buffalo: No way 7 points is justified. Sure, Denver is much better at home, and they ought to be better than the Bills at this point, but this team is capable of laying some colossal eggs. I still hate Denver, and I will be cheering against them, but I don't think Buffalo is any good either. Broncos to win, but Buffalo to cover and make it really close. Don't be surprised if the Bills win by 30.

Bills, 30-23. Fantastic! I am totally thrilled. I hate those Broncos, and really hoped they would not be making the playoffs. Now, in point of fact, the Chargers shouldn't be making the playoffs this year either. But they deserve it more than the Broncos, who shouldn't win any games, ever. Week 17 will be awesome. Go Chargers!

Houston - Oakland: The Texans all of a sudden look like a playoff team! Of course they are not, but they look like it. They have a chance at a winning season, but that means they need to win this game. And the Raiders continue to be terrible, so it should be fairly easy. Houston to go into Oakland and cover the 7-point spread.

Raiders, 27-16. What? OK, this is one of those games I would have bet really good money on. If I bet money. What kind of team beats the Titans and then loses to the Raiders? Oh yeah...the two teams that have beaten the Titans this year. Stupid Jets. Raiders are like the ultimate spoiler this season.

Miami - Kansas City: The Dolphins are in control of their own destiny. Win out, and they are in the playoffs. The Chiefs have to be reeling after that collapse against San Diego, and I would be surprised if they put in a solid effort, let alone a winning one. KC is at home, which is totally meaningless for them, what with being 1-6 at home and 1-6 on the road. Dolphins to cover the 4 points in their win.

Dolphins, 38-31. Dolphins won, Dolphins covered, but KC did put in a great effort. Even leading for most of the game. The Chiefs are not a good team, and I think they will lose their season finale, but the Dophins have been winning tight ones all season long. They're going to make the playoffs, but they have had trouble putting away the bad teams convincingly.

Minnesota - Atlanta: The Falcons are the better team. The Vikings are a better home team, however, than Atlanta is a road team. Vikings lock up their division, and a playoff spot, with a win. Falcons need to win and get some help to get the wild card. I think the Vikings will win this one in a squeaker, but the 3 1/2 is too much. Falcons to cover.

Falcons, 24-17. Well, the Falcons proved that they are the better team. Atlanta looks great for that wild card now, and the Vikings could well lose their playoff spot to the Bears, depending on the Monday night result. Vikings lost, Falcons covered.

New England - Arizona: The Patriots are favoured by 7 1/2 right now. Against a team that has already made the playoffs. And that actually makes sense. Arizona no longer has anything to play for. They can't get a bye, they can't get home field, they can't do anything except sit and wait for the playoffs to begin. If Kurt Warner gets hit a few times, look for them to take him out. And look for New England to cover the 7 1/2.

Patriots, 47-7. Did Arizona even show up for this one? They sat and waited for the playoffs to begin. Throughout this game. I thought they would bench Warner earlier, but who knows? Maybe they want him to beat Marino's passing record. I think he'd have to throw for 400+ in the final game to do it now.

New Orleans - Detroit: The Saints are favoured by 6 1/2, but that is too much. New Orleans is terrible on the road. Of course, Detroit is terrible everywhere, but they play tough, game in and game out. Despite always coming out on the losing end. Look for the Lions to set a record here by going 0-15, but look for the Saints to have a tough time closing it out. Lions cover.

Saints, 42-7. New Orleans did not have a tough time closing this one out. They had a tough time not running up the score even more. The Lions are dreadful, but this appeared to be one of the only games this season where they didn't put in a game effort. In this one, it's like they didn't show up at all.

New York Giants - Carolina: The Giants are shaken after losing last week to the Cowboys. They are missing big parts of their offense, not the least of which is the shot-himself Plaxico Burress. And they are getting Carolina at the exact wrong time. The Panthers, I believe, are now the best team in the NFC. And they will have a clear path to the #1 seed if they defeat the Giants. Which I think they will. The Giants are favoured by three, but they will lose this game.

Giants, 34-28. I am truly surprised at this result, but in overtime, just about anything can happen. Had the Panthers connected with no time left in the fourth, of course this would be a different result. I still think Carolina is the best team in the NFC, but there is an awful lot of fight left in these Giants. (If only they had kicked a field goal in OT instead of going for it on the goal line! They would have been right on the spread!)

New York Jets - Seattle: The Jets ought to be thanking their lucky stars that just when it appears they are falling off the top of the heap in the AFC, and out of playoff contention, they get to play teams like the Bills last week and the Seahawks this week. The Jets need to win to keep their hope alive, and to go to 10-5 with the rest of the AFC East. And they will, and they will cover the 4 1/2 spread.

Seahawks, 13-3. Again, consider me totally surprised. The Jets are simply not a good team right now. Not only that, but this was a totally lousy game. Mike Holmgren may have won his final home game, but the game really sucked. So, too, do the Jets. Apparently.

Philadelphia - Washington: The Eagles are on fire, and they always play really well in December. They need to win out and get some help in order to make the playoffs, but it is certainly possible. Washington, on the other hand, is in a downward spiral from which it appears there may be no escape. Eagles to win by more than the five points they are being given.

Redskins, 10-3. What a finish to an otherwise lousy game! The Eagles lost the challenge on the one-inch line, the same way the Steelers won theirs against the Ravens last week. This really is a game of inches. This is one of the games I would have bet lots of money on as well. Thank goodness I didn't. Bet money.

Pittsburgh - Tennessee: The Steelers all of a sudden look like the best team in football, when last week that was the Titans. Monster game, huge matchup, and a statement game for Pittsburgh. With a win, they will take the drivers seat in the quest for the #1 seed going into the playoffs. And they will win. And they will cover the 1 1/2 point spread.

Titans, 31-14. The Steelers all of a sudden look as though they are not the best team in the AFC. The Titans looked dominant in this game. Even while they were missing some pieces. The Titans now look to have reclaimed their place as the AFC's top dog.

San Francisco - St. Louis: The Rams are, right now, the worst team in football. Yes, even worse than the Lions. St. Louis will not win again this year, and the Niners are looking pretty darn good for a pretty darn bad team. Niners to run it up in this one, covering the five points with ease.

Niners, 17-16. There was more fight in the Rams than I thought! Then again, there was more fight in the Niners than I thought as well, as they made a pretty tough comeback in the fourth quarter here. Rams covered, but Niners won. Not that it really matters for either team.

Tampa Bay - San Diego: The Buccaneers are clearly the better team in this matchup. The Chargers have fallen so far this season that Ladanian Tomlinson didn't even make the Pro Bowl. Amazingly, however, it could come down to one blown call by Ed Hochuli early in the season keeping the Chargers out of the playoffs. That's how terrible the Broncos have been. Anyway, Tampa is 6-0 at home and should crush San Diego by way more than the three point spread.

Chargers, 41-24. Wait, I meant...the Chargers will crush...never mind. The Bucs all of a sudden look like maybe they don't deserve a playoff spot at all. And maybe they won't get one. And all of a sudden, the Chargers, who have been weak-to-average all year long, could actually make it in! All they have to do is beat the Broncos next week. I was cheering for them in this game, because I hate the Broncos so very much.

Chicago - Green Bay: The Packers have fallen off a cliff here, and the Bears need a win to stay alive in the playoff hunt. But Green Bay has played their divisional rivals very tough this year, and this game should be no exception. Bears to win, but Packers to cover the four point spread. This one will be very very close.

Bears, 20-17. And it was, indeed, very very close. The Packers had their chance, but a blocked field goal changed the entire game and allowed the Bears to win in OT. Which means the Bears did win, and the Packers did cover the spread. Much like the Panthers - Giants game, this one could very easily have gone the other way. But it didn't, and the Bears are still alive in the playoff hunt.

This week I was a dismal 8-8 straight up, and a dismal 8-8 against the spread. I am now 147-93-1 straight up, and 137-102-2 ATS, overall.

Monday, December 15, 2008

One more thing.

Perhaps it's time we stop bitching about Paul McCartney having to give up 50 million dollars in a divorce settlement to Heather Mills, or Ron Wood paying his ex 70 million bucks or whatever their deals were. Madonna just arrived at a divorce settlement with Guy Ritchie worth...75 million dollars! Guy Ritchie gets $75 million from Madonna, and he's not Heather Mills or Ron Wood's wife. He is a celebrity himself, and rich in his own right. Amazing!

And...the robot!

This morning, we talked to Le Trung, a young man from Brampton who invested $25,000 in order to make as realistic a woman as possible. Aiko is the name of the robot, which may or may not be his girlfriend. Frankly, judging by this video, Aiko may be more tough-to-get than a real woman. So I suspect that he did not build her to be his girlfriend. Besides, 25 grand buys a lot of hookers. On the other hand, conversation might be better with Aiko. Check out the video - this must be seen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78krbfy9hh0

Amazing stuff. And I now believe this man is not a pervert. Because what kind of pervert would program his robotic girlfriend to say things like "you're hurting me", or "stop touching my breast"?

Another George Bush video. This one does not involve shoes. And it isn't funny.

No, this video is scary. Here's a lame-duck president who has just ducked a couple of lame shoes. After dodging the flying shoes, he made some jokes about "who cares if someone threw a shoe at me?" and about "ducking reporters questions". And so forth. Then he sits down for an interview with ABC's Martha Raddatz and delivers another "who cares". This one is much scarier, and much less funny. Check this one out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCW-Su2NG2w

"Lame Duck" may not be a fair description of this phase of President Bush's career. How about "lame ostrich". Do ostriches bury their heads only in the sand, or is it sometimes up their own asses?

Too funny.

The secret service doesn't respond as fast as they do in the movies...or maybe they were just hoping that the guy would get Bush with the second shoe. On Jerry Springer, the second show always finds its mark!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPptqc-OStg

A little more than a month to go. I bet in that month, this man will have more hilarity in store for us!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Popping popcorn with a cell phone!

Here is an amazing video!

http://www.dailymotion.com/relevance/search/portable/video/x5odhh_pop-corn-telephone-portable-microon_news

Breaking Rock News - it's true!

Some exciting stuff in BRN today. First the boring stuff.

The Doobie Brothers are playing the Orange Bowl halftime show. This will be televised on FOX, and will feature two good college football teams - the University of Cincinnati and Virginia Tech. I'll be tuning in, but likely only for half time, to see the Doobies play. They are currently in the middle of a big tour - Super Bowl gets Springsteen, Orange Bowl gets Doobies. Fitting.

Speaking of Springsteen, he had the second-biggest tour of the year after Bon Jovi. Good year for Jersey...the Police were in at #4, and Madonna and Celine Dion rounded out the top five. Celine Dion, by the way, made the most money for a single show - 33 million dollars for her show in Montreal. that's Celine Dion. Thirty-three million dollars. One show. More than the entire Bonnaroo festival, which was in second place at about half that total.

Speaking of Springsteen, again, he is up for a Critic's Choice award for Movie Song of the Year, for his title track from The Wrestler. He's up against Peter Gabriel's "Down To Earth" from WALL-E. I haven't seen The Wrestler, but I have heard the song - check it out here: http://lifeasanintern.blogspot.com/2008/11/wrestler-and-springsteen.html
I love the Peter Gabriel song too - WALL-E is unbelievable. They are both up against Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, and amazingly, Clint Eastwood for the Golden Globe award.

Alan White, the drummer for Yes, says that the guy they got to replace Jon Anderson is going over really well with their fans. so, he hasn't been booed off the stage, and they cheer when he gets there? They did pay $200 for their tickets, I don't imagine they would do so if they were upset about the replacement. Talk to the Yes fans who didn't buy tickets to get a good gauge on how they feel.

Don Henley wants to thin out the world's population. Of course, he's right. There are far too many people in the world, and we (the world) can't possibly sustain more explosive population growth. First place to start? Perhaps we ought to get rid of a few ex-members of the Eagles. There are so many of them...

Rapper will.i.am might be working with U2 on their upcoming album. Or he might not. I might not care either way.

Kansas is playing with an orchestra to record a show for a DVD. In Kansas. Get it? Styx did this once...the orchestra was better than the Styx.

Some musical featuring the music of Journey and Styx and REO Speedwagon and Bon Jovie is going to be made into a movie. Sounds dreadful.

And the exciting news - it's true!

Long believed to be just an urban legend, Van Halen's tour rider from 1983 has been unearthed by The Smoking Gun. Check it out here: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2008/1211081vanhalen1.html
And yes! The "no brown M&Ms clause is real. They really did have this on their rider. Also, a herring in sour cream. Bizarre. It's a lot to go through - 53 pages! But worth it.

So THAT's why I've been sleepy.

I've had a cold for about a week, feeling lousy and all that. My girlfriend kindly picked me up some Advil, Cold And Flu Edition, or whatever it's called. It comes with two types of pills. The nighttime kind, which make you sleepy and allow you to go to bed, and the daytime kind, which are non-drowsy and I guess give you a little boost. But I just discovered that for the past four days, I've been taking the wrong ones - the daytime ones are a drab, dark colour while the nighttime ones are a bright orange colour. And I just assumed, when looking at them through the haze of my sickness, that the bright ones were to keep you awake and the drab ones are to help you sleep. I haven't slept right all week, and I've been a space cadet when awake. What silly packaging.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is having a rough time with their "kettle campaign" right now, especially with the bus strike which has prevented a large number of volunteers from getting to their 45 locations around Ottawa. If you have time on your hands, and transportation, or maybe live near one of those locations and you would like to volunteer to help out, you can call this phone number:

613-241-1573 extension 254

Or, if you'd just like to make a donation, you can do so online at:

www.salvationarmy.ca/ottawakettles

Breaking Rock News Again

John Fogerty understands, better than say Guns N Roses, the value of waiting a long time to release an album. This coming year he's releasing The Return Of The Blue Ridge Rangers, a "sequel" of sorts to a 1973 album he did called, appropriately, Blue Ridge Rangers. While this album was apparently 36 years in the making, he did the smart thing - in between, he released several albums of other stuff. Clever guy. This will be, like the first one, a collection of roots and country covers, produced by uber-producer T-Bone Burnett, and I think it'll be pretty darn good. Fogerry's on fire. No track listing has been made avaialble, but there will be a Merle Haggard cover. That's all we know right now.


Rolling Stone has come out with their annual lists - best albums of 2008, and best singles. As usual, I don't know most of the top albums, because they are done by bands that irritate me. Like My Morning Jacket. (Although TV On The Radio, the #1 album, is really really good.) But the best surprise on the list was Bob Dylan, coming in at #2 with the latest installment in his brilliant Bootleg Series, Tell Tale Signs - The Bootleg Series Vol. 8. This series is absolutely amazing, all eight volumes of it, and should be on everyone's top ten list every year. Surprisingly, Chinese Democracy made it in at #12, even though it sucks. Well, that's just one man's opinion. But since that one man is the Emperor of Breaking Rock News, then that is the opinion of ALL of Breaking Rock News. Which, I know, counts for just about nothing.


In their other list, the "singles of the year", predictably no classic rock artists cracked the top ten. Or fifteen. Dylan was on here again, with "Someday Baby" at #37. Breaking Rock News (me) is of the opinion that this is one of his weaker songs. But it is still better than "Better", the Chinese Democracy song that made it in at #19. In a list with 100 songs, how did Springsteen not make it with some of the coolest tunes of the year? Maybe the list was compiled too early to get his latest stuff.


Pearl Jam might have the largest volume of unnecessary recorded music of any artist. Remember a few years ago, when they released "bootleg" CDs from every single show they did all year? So the rabid Pearl Jam fanatics had an extra 197 CDs to buy, at $23.95 apiece? OK, I'm exaggerating. But only a little! Now they are going to be re-issuing their classic album, Ten. Which was indeed a truly great album from 1992. However, they are releasing four different versions, including a 2-CD, 4-LP set that comes with a cassette tape. Imagine all the different music playing devices one would need to take full advantage of such a set! How many people still have a cassette deck? Let alone a turntable and a CD player as well? Couldn't they have gone all-out and included a DVD, a laser disc, an 8-track, a reel-to-reel and a Beta tape? Oh...they did include a DVD as well. And I will probably buy this, because I'm a nerd with a tape deck and a turntable.


Paul Stanley wants to record a new KISS album, as long as he has "complete creative control". Beucase...he wants to make sure it's...good? Music? Or maybe he wants to keep Gene Simmons out of the way, knowing full well that Simmons won't care at all if it's good or not. Knowing full well that money, in Simmons' world, trumps music by a 4,000-1 margin. Simmons, after all, doesn't really want to release or record another album, because he thinks there will be little money in it. He would rather release a new line of KISS bathroom tiles. There is more money there. He now cries himself to sleep, nightmares of Radiohead swiming through his head. Damn Thom Yorke! He thinks. He ruined it for everybody! What amazes me is that Paul Stanley is still deluded enough to think that KISS makes music.

Irritating.

In my role as Editor-In-Chief of Breaking Rock News, (yes, I did give myself that title. But only because Breaking Rock News does not seem like the kind of area that would need a President. Or an Emperor.) I have created several Google Alerts. This is a neat thing where you go to Google, and you sign up for these alerts, which get delivered straight into your email every time that subject is mentioned in a news story. So I get alerts for, say, U2 whenever Bono is doing something interesting. And more often, when he is doing nothing interesting. But I have created a Google Alert for every band, group, or solo act that we play on CHEZ, so I am as up-to-date as possible. And very often, that means sifting through 300 emails in a morning to separate the junk from the good stuff.

For example - there is a baseball team somewhere in the states called the "Scorpions". And there is a story posted about them every single day, for some reason. Whether they have a game or not. And so I get that alert. Every time someone is working out "the kinks" in something, I get an email. Every time some politician discusses "the who"'s who of something or other, I get an email. There is a Keith Richards who serves as a city councillor somewhere in England, and he must be the Maria McRae of that particular city, because there is a story about him just about every single day.

But lately, I have been sifting through more email than usual. And I couldn't understand this until today, when I really paid close attention. The main reason - the auto bailouts in the states, and the financial meltdown. There are now fifty stories every single day featuring the words "Bad Company". It's a tough job, being Editor-In-Chief of something. I wish I was Emperor.

Revelation.

Normally, I put my deoderant on without looking. This morning, though, I put it on with the light on in the bathroom, and I saw myself in the mirror. Have you ever noticed that you put your deoderant on in the hollow of your armpit, but that your armpit hair isn't in the same place? So you're not putting the deoderant where the hair is, but rather beside it? Or maybe I just have unnatural body hair patterns.

Spinning my tires.

I just got a new car, and of course it comes with the dealer tires on it. Which are not exactly terrific. When I picked up the car on Tuesday, the dealership suggested I get snow tires as soon as possible. Or, at the very least, some good all-seasons. I have experienced the difference with snow tires, especially last winter, and I figured that snow tires were essential. So I phoned a few tire places, only to be told that the snow tires that go on this particular model of car are not available. Of course, I would pick up this car on the worst driving day so far this year, which was followed by a day that was possibly even worse.

As it turns out, I am going to have to put on a set of tires that are the wrong size for the car, they're like, half an inch narrower. Or something. I went to the tire shop that sold me my winter tires last year, and they said that these tires would work out fine. Plus, they are considerably cheaper than the ones the car would ordinarily require. So everyone wins. Even I win, although I have no idea how any of this works.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Week 15 NFL picks

Three games left, and it's all over. Looks like Carolina will fight it out with the Giants for supremacy in the NFC, while the AFC has already pretty much gone to the Titans. The Steelers, the Ravens, and the Colts are the three next-best teams there. The Colts can't get the #2 seed, because they are in the same division as Tennessee, so Pittsburgh and Baltimore will fight for the #2 slot. It's there that things are interesting. The Ravens, if they beat Pittsburgh this week, have a real shot at the AFC #2 seed. The Colts ought to win out, with three fairly easy games on tap. All three teams should be in the playoffs - the real battle is in the AFC East, where the Patriots, Jets and Dolphins are all 8-5, and likely only the division winner will make it in. The Jets are still in control there, with the tiebreakers going their way, but with two weak efforts in a row, this could get very very interesting over the next three weeks.

Chicago - New Orleans: Great Thursday game! Based on the way the Saints have played the last couple of weeks, and the way their offense is clicking, they should have a real shot here. They are a better team than the Bears, and New Orleans really seems to think they have a shot at the playoffs. They would have to win their final three to get there, and get some help, but it's possible. The big problem here though is that the Bears are very good at home, and New Orleans has been absolutely lousy on the road all year long. Bears to win, Saints to cover the 3 point spread. This will be very very close.

Bears, 27-24. What a game! And it was, indeed, very very close. Although at first, it looked as though it might be a blowout, with the Bears defense playing very, very well. And the opening kickoff return for a TD is always the coolest way to start a game. But the Saints offense can't be held down for an entire game, and they caught fire in the second half, at least enough to tie the game at 24 and force overtime. Bears do win, but what with the OT, Saints couldn't exactly cover the 3 points. Instead they were right on the three points. Push!

Arizona - Minnesota: Arizona is excellent at home. They won big last week. And they are one of the few teams already in the playoffs. That is dangerous. For the Cardinals. Because there is very little left for them to play for. Minnesota, on the other hand, is in a really tight race for their division title with the Bears, and they need all the wins they can get. But I just don't see them getting over their road woes against a good team like Arizona. I'm taking the Cardinals in this one, but there's no line on the game right now.

Vikings, 35-14. Well, I was wrong. The Vikings just plain wanted it more. And their offense took off early on. Who would have thought a QB would throw for four TDs in this game, and it wouldn't be Kurt Warner? Well, not me, obviously.

Atlanta - Tampa Bay: Tampa looks really, really good...except for this past week when the Panthers ran over them for a big win. You never know with a divisional game like this one, but in this particular division, there are only two home losses this year, and I look for that trend to continue as the Falcons edge out the Bucs at home. Falcons are favoured by three, it'll likely be even closer than that.

Falcons, 13-10. Well, it went to OT. Which is as close as it gets. Falcons do indeed edge out the Bucs at home, but it was "home" that was the key word, as it has been in this division all year. Tampa Bay remains a better team.

Baltimore - Pittsburgh: Matchup of the week. Both teams are excellent, both have incredible, stifling defenses. Ravens are favoured by 1 1/2 at home, thanks to a great home record. But I think it will come down to the offenses, and who can weather the storm best. And I am betting on Ben Roethlisberger to be able to get a little bit out of the Ravens defense where Joe Flacco, the rookie, can get totally overwhelmed by the Steelers defense. Pittsburgh to win.

Steelers, 13-9. Well, this was an amazing game. Now, I wouldn't give Ben Roethlisberger much credit for "weathering the storm" for the bulk of the day. But at the end of the game, with the crazy Baltimore pressure still right in his face, he was able to drive the length of the field and throw the only TD of the game. (Full disclosure - I too believe that was not in fact a touchdown.) But had the Steelers been forced to settle for a field goal there, they would still have won in overtime. Flacco just can't play great ball against a defense like Pittsburgh. Look for the Steelers to run the rest of the table, including Tennessee next week.

Carolina - Denver: I am really hoping the Broncos end up 8-8. And get blown out in the first wild card game. I hate the Broncos so much. And so far this year, I don't think I have picked a single one of their games accurately. I am hoping for a Panthers blowout here. In fact, I am expecting one. And I am picking the Panthers to cover the 7 1/2 spread and then some. Because Denver has no defense, and Carolina is very very good. But then, I've been wrong every other time.

Panthers, 30-10. Finally! I got a stupid Denver game right! The Panthers won big, and they should have. They ran all over that Broncos defense. They threw all over the Broncos defense. And they disrupted the offense just enough, as they should have done. I really hope the Broncos lose the rest of their games, and get hammered in the wild card round. They deserve it.

Dallas - New York Giants: Dallas is favoured by three at home, even after blowing that late lead in losing to the Steelers. The Giants also suffered a big loss last week, one that I would say was far more convincing that the Cowboys' loss. But here's the thing - does anyone, really, see the Giants losing two in a row? Especially in their own division? New York can't afford to coast to the finish at this point, and they will bounce back with a big game against Dallas. Giants to win.

Cowboys, 20-8. Maybe the Giants miss Plaxico Burress more than they let on. I suspect, however, it's Brandon Jacobs they miss most of all. On the plus side for Dallas, they are now in a playoff position, and they appear to have discovered how to win in December. It will be difficult next week, as they host Baltimore, but it's even tougher for the Giants, as they have to play the Panthers, who now look like they might be the best team in the NFC.

Green Bay - Jacksonville: I guess the oddsmakers are still showing Green Bay some love, despite their home loss to the Texans this weekend. Packers are favoured by 2 1/2, IN Jacksonville. The theory there I guess being that the Jaguars have been truly lousy at home this season. Both teams have been huge disappointments, but I think the Packers are falling faster at the moment. Take Jacksonville.

Jaguars, 20-16. The Pack is indeed falling fast. Once again, they were unable to take full advantage of mistakes. The Jaguars are not a good team this year, and they weren't in this game either, but the Packers are a worse team right now.

Indianapolis - Detroit: Wow. A 17-point spread. That is pretty darn big, especially since the Lions have actually been quite competitive over the past few weeks. Well, competitive is a relative term when you're staring at 0-16. And the Lions will go 0-16. The Colts have blown out their last few weak opponents, don't look for them to stop now. Indianapolis isn't going to let up until they get knocked out of the playoffs, and they are on fire. Colts to cover the 17 points.

Colts, 31-21. The Colts did NOT cover the 17. In fact, I was ignoring this game for much of the first half, because I figured it was a foregone conclusion. Then I flipped over, and it's tied at 21. The Lions are playing real tough, but it looks like the only chance they will have for an actual victory this year will come against the fading Packers in Week 17.

Miami - San Francisco: An interesting matchup. The Niners have all of a sudden looked like a good team these past couple of weeks. and the Dolphins keep piling up the improbable wins. Both are looking good but not great, and this will be a tight one. Tighter than the 6 1/2 spread that is the line right now. But the Fish will still take it.

Dolphins, 14-9. God, I am so amazingly right. Fish did take it. It WAS closer than the 6 1/2. The Niners are coming on, but we all need to realize that the Dolphins this year are a very good team. Tied for the division lead after week 15. Who would have thought a year ago? Amazing coaching job this year.

New England - Oakland: The Patriots are fighting for their playoff lives, tied at the top of their division with the Dolphins and Jets, both of whom should win this week. So should New England, with the weak Raiders as a easy game that won't be overlooked. Patriots to win by more than the 7 points they're getting now.

Patriots, 49-26. New England covered this spread, I would say. They are still not a top-tier team, but they are miles ahead of the Raiders, who just plain stink. Patriots are tied for top spot in the division now, and one of those three teams (the Jets, the Pats and the Fish) will be sorely disappointed when this season ends. I think that team will be New England. In fact, chances are there will be two sorely disappointed teams, and I think they will be New England and the Jets.

New York Jets - Buffalo: The Jets are favoured by 7, and they should cover that pretty easily against a Bills team that can do nothing right of late. Buffalo has looked simply terrible over the last few weeks, and they're just getting worse. In a divisional game, anything can happen, but I wouldn't count on it. Jets to win big and get off their slide.

Jets, 31-27. Well, that's not exactly what I call winning "big". That's what I call "barely winning". Especially since it took that bizarre fumble recovery for a TD to make it happen. The Jets are still tied for first in the division, they still have their own destiny in their own hands, and the Bills are officially out. But they certainly don't look like the team that took out the Titans a couple of weeks ago. Speaking of the Titans...

San Diego - Kansas City: A blowout. Only because the Chiefs have given up, and not because the Chargers are all of a sudden good again. The Chargers will not make the playoffs, they are done, but the Chiefs are done even worse. San Diego to cover the 5 points with ease.

Chargers, 22-21. Well, "with ease" is a relative term. How about...the Chargers will win after leaving themselves a maximum amount of difficulty? How much tougher could the Chargers have made it for themselves? If they were playing anyone other than Kansas City (or maybe the Lions) they would have been totally cooked. Lucky.

St. Louis - Seattle: Seahawks are the better team. With the exception of an exceptional two-game spurt in the middle of the season, the Rams have been just awful. And although this is a divisional game, and played in St. Louis, and the teams have identical records, I have to go with the Seahawks thanks to their improbably tough performance against the Patriots this week. No line at the moment.

Seahawks, 23-20. Yeah, it was close. And yes, the Rams looked good for a moment. But the Hawks are simply, (if such a thing can be said about a team with three wins at this point in the season) a better team. Seattle still has the talent to run with any team in the NFL. They've just forgotten how to do it.

Tennessee - Houston: Sure, the Texans just knocked off the Packers. But this is the last, real, meaningful game for the Titans this year. Win it and they have a first-round bye, and it's clear sailing to the playoffs. And so they will win it. In Houston. By a heck of a lot more than the three points they're getting right now. Three points? Against the Texans? Seriously? I know they've won three straight, but...come on.

Texans, 13-12. OK, I was wrong. Three points made great sense. And OK. I'm not an NFL coach, and I hate to second-guess a real one. But seriously? Going for it on fourth-and-three, with a long pass play down the left side, when you could have attempted a game-winning 49-yard field goal? You have a kicker who has kicked a sixty yard field goal before. He is more than capable of winning it from 49. Seriously. What are you thinking?

Washington - Cincinnatti: The Redskins season is done. They will not make the playoffs. They are the fourth-best team in their very good division, and they are faltering. But not enough to lose to the Bengals, who gave up completely weeks ago. Right after their tie with the Skins' divisional buddies the Eagles. Bengals will get hammered in this game too - by way more than the 6 1/2 point spread.

Bengals, 20-13. OK, this was the battle of the teams-that-have-thrown-in-the-towel. And truly, I would not have guessed that the Redskins have thrown it in even harder than the Bengals. My goodness! The Skins are now a terrible team. Really, really terrible.

Philadelphia - Cleveland: The Eagles are locked in. I think they will win all three games they have left, and convincinly. But they still may not make the playoffs. This is one they need, and the Browns are in disarray. Eagles to win by way more than the fourteen point spread they have now.

Eagles, 30-10. The Eagles look very, very good again. If they win their final two games, I think they will be in the playoffs, because the Falcons and Buccaneers will lose at least one, and that tie makes them a little better off than teams that don't have a tie. Had they won that stupid game against the Bengals, they would be in the drivers seat. Philly is scary right now.

I am now 139-85-1 straight up, 129-94-2 ATS.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

And...the wrestling video.

Here is me, stuggling my way through a wrestling match where I had no earthly idea what was going on. Starring in this match (along with, of course, yours truly) are the lovely Sunny, the gigantic Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake, and the main attraction, the man with the star power, our very own Vinnie Glyde. Much thanks to Andrew for the filming and Esther for the transfer from camera-to-youtube!

http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=xyyEh2LXDMI

Bonkers. O.J. Simpson website. And video. Bonkers.

I don't know what else I can say about this...bonkers.

http://www.getjuiced.com/

As seen on TV!

No longer will I pay attention to this.

I have come to the conclusion that certain things are better ignored. You see a quote from the guy from Maxim on the cover of a DVD - ignore it. (After all, they fired their last guy for creating quotes specifically in order to get on DVD cases. Who wrote a good review of Norbit? The Maxim guy.) And now something else. What, exactly, does it take to get the words "New York Times Bestseller" on the cover of your book? I've tried to look this up and there is conflicting information - either the books on the list get there based on wholesale numbers, or they get there based on the actual number of books purchased. I can't tell which it really is. If it's the wholesale numbers, then and book with a successful marketing campaign that convinces Chapters to purchase a million copies in the expectation that it will sell will make the list. And because it is on the list, it will therefore sell. Makes sense, right?

I just read a book called The Color Of Death, which was just dreadful. It was purchased for me on the basis of the "New York Times Bestseller" caption on the cover. And the person who bought me the book thought - hey, this book must be good, because it was a New York Times bestseller. And Eric likes good books. All the pieces fit. And that made perfect sense. Because all the pieces DID fit. Except that the book really sucked, which caused me to look into this more. Now, there are quotes on the back from the Boston Globe and the Chicago Tribune praising this novel, which are probably a better benchmark. The fact that they are wrong is simply a matter of opinion.

The Color Of Death is 425 pages long, but it could have been trimmed to 250 if the author, Elizabeth Lowell, had cut back on the will-they-or-won't-they sexual tension between the two protagonists. Filling chapter after chapter with things like "he could smell her hair as she passed in front of him, and he wanted her sooooooooo much, and it was all he could do to keep from grabbing her and throwing her down on the floor and giving her the ol' one-two-three"...OK, I'm paraphrasing here. But we get several chapters with nothing but this. Even after the two of them finally DO have sex, we still get several more chapters of this. If it wasn't for this stuff, the book would be neat - it's all about the precious gem trade, and makes me even less likely to eveer buy jewelery, and there is an interesting mystery and some killings and some brutal violence. And a little sexual tension would go a long way. A LOT of sexual tension brings this book to a grinding halt. Over and over and over.

I'm still not sure about the New York Times list. I still don't really know what qualifies a book. And in this day and age, with fewer and fewer people reading books, you don't have to be Harry Potter to make the list. Maybe now any book that sells 50,000 copies can make the list. After all, with slipping album sales worldwide, that's all it takes to make the Billboard charts.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Musical news of the world. Breaking!

Slash, Melissa Etheridge, and many other stars are coming out in protest of Prop 8 in California. That's the ballot measure that banned gay marriage in that state. Now, it's nice that they are fighting this, and I'm glad they are because no reasonable person could possibly be against gay marriage, but isn't it a little late? The measure has already passed. It seems that the people who were against the proposition to begin with relied on the idea that likely, most of the people who voted in California were reasonable people. And they assumed the measure would be defeated, because it is stupid. They did not count on the massive amount of money thrown into pro-Prop-8 propaganda by right-wing religious zealot groups, which was just enough to get it passed. It may be too little too late, but I like the sentiment. Their videos are funny. Check them out here:


http://www.rollingstone.com/rockdaily/index.php/2008/12/04/slash-melissa-etheridge-jack-black-protest-californias-prop-8/

Movie rumours and facts: There is apparently a Bon Scott biopic in the works, although little information is available. Some guy named Tom Budge is supposed to play Angus Young, and that's all we know. Oh, and it will likely be all about booze.


More solid movie rumour: The surviving members of Thin Lizzy have put the brakes on a biopic of their late lead singer, Phil Lynott. Apparently, they felt that the movie focused on the drugs too much, and not enough on the music. Which is just what movies do, isn't it? How often has there been a biopic of a musician not focused on substance abuse? Imagine thatBon Scott movie focused just on the music...would anyone watch?

Most solid movie rumour of all: Kristen Stewart, the smoking hot young actress currently starring in the tween-girl vampire movie Twilight, will be playing the smoking hot Joan Jett in a movie about Jett's 1970s all-girl band the Runaways. Which is terrific, because I would love to see Kristen Stewart in a movie I would actually watch. The movie is going to be executive-produced by Jett herself, and will shoot around Stewart's schedule. (Next year, she is contracted to shoot a couple of Twilight sequels. Because a reasonably successful movie must beget several more reasonably successful movies, or it is not a success.)


Neil Young has delayed his upcoming album with Crazy Horse, Toast. It was supposed to come out January 27th, and will now likely be out in "March or April...probably. Maybe." I guess the old man is too busy rocking out like a 20-year-old at places like Scotiabank. Rock on, Neil!


And Guns N Roses Chinese Democracy debuted at #3 on the Billboard charts, coming in behind Kanye West and Taylor Swift. Kanye West I get. But Taylor Swift jumped from #4 last week, when there was no GNR album, to #2 this week, when there was. Which means that even in her fourth week of sales, she was still more popular than Chinese Democracy. The album narrowly beat out Beyonce and Ludacris, both of whom have been up there for a while. Britney Spears, whose "comeback" album debuted this week, sold more copies on it's first day than GNR did in their first week on the charts with their "comeback" album. AC/DC hit #1 right away. Metallica hit #1 right away. I thought this was the "most anticipated record release of all time", or at least that's what my Best Buy promo flyer said. What happened? It appears that there is no one left to blame. Except Dr. Pepper. This is all Dr. Pepper's fault.