Wednesday, April 9, 2008

We'll never quit! Come home with a split!

So the calls came in yesterday, some having already given up the ghost on the Senators' season. Others showing that balls-to-the-wall delusion of optimism that apparently characterizes real fans. Doc and Woody decided today to appease at least some of those people. Hey - with the parity in the league right now, who knows what could happen in the playoffs? (12 points - just 12 - separated 1st place from 9th in the Eastern Conference this year.) So they got me a heinous cheerleader outfit, and sent me out onto the cold, cold street to drum up some support in the most delusional (and creepy) manner possible. Here is a photo of that delusional and creepy manner:

"Talking against the Sens is treason!
Playoffs are a whole new season!
Don't use logic, don't use reason!
Playoffs are a whole new season!"

"Sis boom beam!
We're the greatest team!
We're going all the way!
Up, down, up!
We'll win the Stanley Cup!"

"This is my upskirt shot"

I received many kind comments, several offensive ones, several honks and one proposition from a gentleman who either knew, or didn't know, what it was I was doing. I'd like to think he knew, and it was a joke...otherwise I imagine he could do better. I kept myself warm laughing at the people in cars who passed by. Those who were listening waved and honked, those who were not stared in slack-jawed disbelief and horror. Small children pressed their terror-stricken faces to the windows of their school buses as they passed by, certain to take their tales of lunatics and pompoms to school, where the kid in the seat next to them would serve as their confirmation that this event actually occured when their classmates disbelieved their tall tale. Video coming soon, I'm sure, to the Doc and Woody Fun Page.

Go Sens Go! Because you never know!

There is a difference between being a fan of a team and being deluded. There are many fans in Ottawa (they call us every year) who suggest that to be a true fan, you have to support your team, win or lose. What, exactly, does that mean? If they win their playoff series, we cheer for them and have a parade? And if they lose, we go to Wade Redden's house and hold him while he cries? How, exactly, does one continue to "support" a team when they lose? They've lost. They're gone. There are no more games to watch, no parades to attend, no rallys in which one could participate. So...we say "we'll get 'em next year", and move on? Many of these people believe that anything short of rabid, deluded fanaticism is not true fandom. That the proper way to be an Ottawa Senators fan is to assert, vehemently, at every turn, that this team will win every single game 8-0 on their way to a Stanley Cup finals sweep of the San Jose Sharks or whatever poor sucker comes out of the West and has to face our powerhouse team.

By this logic, acknowledgement of the fact that since Game 20, Ottawa has been the worst team in hockey, is not good support. It is counter-productive. If the team hears us say this, they will curl up into a ball and quit. The only way to make sure they play as hard as they can is to constantly tell them they are the greatest team in the history of professional sports, and they can do no wrong. And if, by some CRAZY fluke they are knocked out by the Penguins in the first round, then we will continue to testify in the streets, claiming that...what? They must have been robbed, because no team ever has been as good as Ottawa? And we see to it that the Senators are presented with their awards, because it's Everybody Gets A Trophy Day in hockeyville? Come on. True fans understand their team. They know the players, they know the history, they get the ins and outs of a season and they are critical. The Toronto Maple Leafs have been terrible, for a long time, because their fans are NOT critical. They are rabid blue-and-white blinder-wearers, who will sell out the ACC every game, win or lose. They don't demand success. Therefore, there is no incentive for Maple Leaf brass to deliver success. The best they can hope for is to squeak into the playoffs and get the revenue from that first round series.

For us, it has been different. For years now, Ottawa has been a powerhouse team with disappointing playoff runs. (Until last year, of course.) And yet, when all of a sudden we are no longer that powerhouse, depsite the fact that the players are exactly the same, it might be time to question the direction of the team. Any team that starts out the regular season at a record pace, winning more games to begin than any other team in history, and has to get help from Florida on the last day of the season to squeak into the playoffs backwards, is not doing well. There are major questions with this team, not the least of which is goaltending. Now, Martin Gerber has never before been given a chance to be a playoff goalie. He was relegated to backup status with the Hurricanes when Cam Ward took them to the Cup. Again last year, as Ray Emery took us to the final. So maybe he has something in him that people just haven't seen yet, and maybe he can raise his game in a huge way.

But he still needs people to play defence in front of him. And Redden, Meszaros, and Volchenkov have had pretty lousy years, by their standards. He still needs the offence to put the puck in the net. And without Alfredsson on the first line or Fisher on the second, that could be a seriously tough prospect. Two of our four best players are out, and Chris Kelly is no slouch either. So...where does the optimism come from? How can anyone seriously look at this series and say they think the Senators will win? Crosby, Malkin, Hossa, Staal against Spezza and Heatley. That's what it comes down to, and that does not look good for us. Of course we are going to cheer for Ottawa. I will be there for every game, in front of the TV because I can't afford playoff tickets, pulling for the Senators and cheering when they score. And I will hope against hope that they win this series, and every other series as well. It COULD happen. And the Green Party COULD win the next election. I will be pulling for that to happen as well. But if it doesn' won't exactly come as a shock to me - and it shouldn't for anyone else, either.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

New area for movie reviews.

Due to popular demand...or, rather, unpopular demand, I have endeavoured to create separate sites for my movie reviews and my other, more nonsensical bloggings. Slowly but surely, I have been completely sucked in by the internet ned culture, and I am now doing things I once scoffed at. Like linking things to other things and embedding things in stuff. I'm not even sure what most of it means. Anyway, if you look to the right ----------------> you will see a small link that says "Cynical Cinema". This is a whole new webpage, which for some reason looks sleeker and sexier than this one here. On that page I will be posting movie reviews, new release information, and whatever interviews I might do with directors and actors and such. haters...Doc, I'm looking at you will no longer have to wade through PAGES and PAGES of tedious, mind-numbing, horrible boring movie reviews! And for those of you who want to stay informed and take my advice about what movies to rent, click on the link to your right. This week - There Will Be Blood! It's amazing. But I'll let you read all about it, over there --------------->

Monday, April 7, 2008

A couple more.

Some, I believe, are better than others. I think we hit the terrible music jackpot, however, with The Ballad Of Professor Doctor Octogenarian, the product of this week's vacation time dumbfest. So, suppose we were superheroes...we found a CD that had been dropped off at MC Aggravate's work, Eric's Academy of Music in Orleans, and we thought it was awful. So we had to sample this woman, whose name escapes me. And we had to make sure that the song we created on top of her classic "super guy" was worse than the original song itself. Mission accomplished. This one is safe for work. Also for kids...perhaps our only one safe for kids.

This is Gonna Be Painful, on the other hand, is not safe for kids, and depending on where you work, I might suggest not cranking this too loudly. Frankly, I wouldn't suggest doing that anyway, people will question, in a big way, your judgement and taste. The other Eric (MC Aggravate), is friends with Greg Campbell who, along with Tom Green, comprised the Canadian Juno-winning rap duo Organized Rhyme, a group that spawned the classic line "I lay more chicks than Mother Goose". This is our attempt to start a rappers' feud with a rap duo that no longer exists. And there is some mild swearing. So turn it down.

O-Face! The greatest, worst group in history.

OK. I think I now have this figured out. I have no idea how to get O-Face songs onto the actual blog post, but I have somehow, through a few hours of computerings, been able to get them onto the right hand side of the page, here ---------> Try not to accidentally click on an ad that I did not approve. NFL football in Toronto my ass! Well...I'll probably go...if the Packers come...anyway. There are now three O-Face songs to the right, including the one that apparently was played by Robin over the week we were off. Imagine my surprise when a nice young man approached me at Mac's on Saturday night and asked if there was anywhere he could purchase an O-Face CD. Of course, he was just being nice, as these songs are horrible, but I was still warm and fuzzy inside. Now, although I have been able to put them up on the blog, I could not hear them from work. Therefore, I do not recall whether there is inappropriate language in these or not. Be warned. But here is the story:

Check it at Home: I believe this was the song Robin was playing in the mornings last week. And the one we played a piece of this morning. A rebellious cry against the overly technical world in which we find ourselves trapped today. Blackberries, Interac, digital readouts, MySpace and of course, idiot bloggers. On vocals, we find a verse by MC Aggravate, followed by a verse by Snoop Dodgy Dodge (our buddy Jasen Colsen, who drives a Dodge), and then one by MC Cougar Hunter. The soaring vocals in the chorus are also provided by Snoop Dodgy Dodge, and the female interjections by my girlfriend, DJ Snowball.

Celebrity Idolatry: A song created in again, less than an hour, because any more than an hour is too long to work on a song. Beer and whiskey, combined with the untimely sighting of Paris Hilton on the television, contributed to the venomous tone of this work, a work which is a solo venture of MCs Aggravate and Cougar Hunter.

Back Up: An experiment, mostly a Snoop Dodgy Dodge solo piece, this is a step into the world of R&B, an attempt to prove that anyone in the world can create, sing, write and produce a song of this calibre in less than forty minutes. I believe MC Aggravate produced this gem, with Dodgy Dodge on vocals, in about thirty-four minutes, start to finish. Take that, R. Kelly and Ginuwine!

I must say, for the record here, after the scathing things that were said about O-Face this morning by both Doc AND Woody, that it is easy (as those two demonstrated) to miss the point of O-Face. That it is quite possible to underestimate the quality of the recordings, the lyrics, and the delivery of these oh-so-suburban songs. However, O-Face is a war against music in general, as conducted by MC Aggravate and MC Cougar Hunter, with occasional collaborators Snoop Dodgy Dodge and DJ Snowball and DJ Elvis. Our position is that if a song is not good already, then it is not worth more than an hour, total, in the studio. And since we are setting out to be terrible, then we strictly enforce this time limit upon ourselves. We find the worst songs ever to sample, (more on that later - when I figure out how to put more songs up) we find the simplest beats on the simple-beat-machine-program that MC Aggravate has on his studio computer at Eric's Music Academy in Orleans, and within twenty-five minutes we have a backing track. We then write the songs, no time for editing the lyrics, and lay down the vocals within the next twenty-five minutes. And then it's ont final production, where levels are brought up and down to meet our exacting standards. This can take no longer than the final ten minutes with which we have to work.

The point therefore being that aggressive mediocrity is in itself a style, and horrible music is to be enjoyed for just that - it's awfulness. Two of my all-time favourite albums, to this day, are the Macho Man Randy Savage's rap album, "Be A Man", and Steven Seagal's blues album "Mojo Priest". Making music this bad is an art form unto itself, and what makes Macho Man and Seagal so far removed from the rest of the world is the fact that they are unaware of how terrible they really are. Which is AWESOME. Like Poison. Unfortunately, this presents a stumbling block for O-Face, because we ARE aware of how terrible we are. In that context, the only way not to be self-conscious about our awfulness is to do everything way faster than we should and print the final copy long before it's really ready to be printed.

So enjoy! Make sure to listen with a keen sense of irony, and maybe check the songs at home before you play them at work, since I have no recollection of how much swearing went into any of them. Possibly none, possibly tons. There may be no song ever recorded with more swearing than the O-Face song Larry Gowan, which I have decided not to include here. What with the totally not-safe-for-work lyrics and all. Stay tuned, more O-Face to come! Even worse stuff, too!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Kids movies appear to be mostly awful. At least there are books.

Every now and then I notice a bunch of my books missing. When this happens, I am certain that they are in the kids' rooms, and I am also certain that I will not get them back without hunting them down. The kids are less than tidy, and seem incapable of putting things away where they go. But I am not terribly concerned about it when it's my books. But it always amazes me when I see what they choose and read. Our 13-year-old just finished And Then There Were None, then quizzed ME on it. Having not read that one in about fifteen years, I lost the challenge. Now he's on to Sherlock Holmes and some Robertson Davies. And last night our eight-year-old came to ask us what the moral of "The Star Child" was. In his hand he's got this book of Oscar Wilde's short stories! I read it myself to see if there was anything for kids in it - I mean, it's Oscar Wilde - Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde - I figured it might be too brutal, or maybe over his head. But Oscar Wilde, believe it or not, wrote many short stories that are great for kids! Now he's finished with that book, so he grabbed a couple more off the shelf. Up next, To Kill A Mockingbird. Taste for the classics, this kid. The complete collection of Oscar Wilde's short stories is (mostly) great for kids, and is available at Chapters and Indigo and all those book stores that are the same thing, for like $2.99.