Friday, October 31, 2008

Teletubbies. Seriously? Teletubbies.

For some bizarre reason I was dressed as a Teletubby this morning. Or is that Teletubbie? I'm not sure. I did some very brief research for the role, and I learned that Teletubbies are creatures that came from outer space with televisions in their bellies to convince children to watch more TV. That's about all I know. I wanted to be the purple one, Tinky Winky (take that, Dobson). But apparently that one is still the most popular (thank you, Dobson) and so it was sold out. So I had to be the yellow one, La La. I don't know why Doc decided to get me a Teletubby outfit. Or why he bizarrely equated the Teletubbies with the Lone Ranger throughout most of the week. There is a good chance that this is the early onset of some kind of dementia. At any rate, I was dressed as the yellow Teletubby. And then kids threw eggs at me. Here is a link.

http://blog.rogersbroadcasting.com/docandwoody/

You will note that every time we do one of these things, at least one kid gets the meanness of spirit and whips say, eggs, as hard as he can at me. You will also note that this event took place before it was light out, and we had to get cars to circle around and shine their headlights at us, in a bizarre and creepy re-creation of some of the late-night hockey games of my Canadian childhood.

Speaking of creepy, I decided to wear the costume for the rest of the day as well. I ran home quickly and threw it in the laundry, and hung it up to dry. By the time Hallowe'en came around, at about 6:30. I wore the suit all night, getting some freaked-out looks from little kids and some laughs from the adults. I took our boys out trick-or-treating, and they had creepy demon costumes. So did their two buddies, who came out with us. And yet, in a group with four demons and death-eaters and so forth, I stood out quite clearly as the creepy one. More people were frightened by me than by the kids. However, I did discover that a Teletubby costume gets a lot of attention from 13-year-old girls. Which was great, since we now know what costume to get our 13-year-old next year so he can pick up. My mom always said, you catch more girls with a Teletubby than with the Cryptkeeper.

Ghostbusters!

I couldn't believe it. I had a giant box full of DVDs, and I was handing them out to the first 50 people who came to the Operation Go Home Ghostbusters event last night. And I was letting people pick and choose their own movies as they went through the box. I had a ton of films from Paramount, Peace Arch, First Run, and Alliance that I had requested because they were my favourite DVD releases of the year. And then I had about six really crappy TV series to make sure I made it to 50. An elderly lady came to look through my box, and she warned me ahead of time that I was dealing with someone who really, really knew her movies. Then she asked me what No Country For Old Men was about. She wasn't familiar with Sunset Boulevard or Sabrina or Roman Holiday. In her defense, she was very, very familiar with Ghostbusters. And, I'm sure, Star Wars and Back To The Future.

Here's the part I couldn't believe. A young girl, probably about 16 years old, gravitated instantly to the box set of Season One of A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila. She went on and on and gushed about the show, and how totallyawesome Tila Tequila really was, while I looked at her in dumbfounded amazement. And then, she threw the Tila Tequila DVD back in the box. She had spotted something EVEN MORE totallyawesome. The three-disc box set of El Cid, the 1961 epic film starring Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren. And believe me when I say I'm not making this up - she says "oh, I love Anthony Mann!" and chooses El Cid over A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila. This little exchange made my whole day. And, in some way, ruined my whole life.

In the end, I would guess that we got a little more than a hundred people to come see Ghostbusters at the Bytowne last night, which should be a nice boost for Operation Go Home. The DVDs went over well - the few people who didn't know it was going on were rather flabbergasted - "are you serious? I can just take one? Free?" And then they picked up No Country For Old Men or In Bruges and went home happy. Toward the end, people picked up Caroline in the City. And went home less happy. I think that good money was raised last night, and I will hopefully have a total by Monday.

How do they get spaghetti into a balloon, anyway?

Yesterday, I attended a couple of charity events. The first one was at a company called Innovapost. I asked several people at the building what, exactly, it was that they did. I managed to glean enough information from seven or eight of them to learn that they did something involving Canada Post. And computers. Or something. The word "support" came up a lot, but it wasn't linked to the words "ladies undergarments". I became confused, and I stopped asking. The basic reason I was there was to insult everyone. I was playing a part of sorts, that of the British guy from that American karaoke show, the one who hates everyone and everything.

So I started out by suggesting that the fact that they had raised more than a million dollars for the United Way over the past five years must be more indicative of the fact that they are paying their employees way too much. I further suggested that the United Way was a pretty boring choice as far as charities go - every corporate gig I go to involves the United Way. That organization is genius - they have positioned themselves as the cop-out charity of choice. When you want to do corporate functions that build team morale and raise money, and you need to find a charity to which you give the money, it's always the United Way. Because they take that money and throw it to the charities they think are most in need, that are under their umbrella. So you don't need to actually think to support that organization, you just throw all your money in a hat and send it in. Imagine a company that eschewed the UW for a few years and decided to donate to Operation Go Home. Or Children At Risk. Or Woody's Spirit of Christmas. Those charitable organizations would be set, financially, for the next ten years! So...that was basically my opening speech. You guys suck.

Then I got to fight with those American Gladiators giant padded Q-Tip things. My first opponent was Dave Templin, who works at Innovapost and who played "Charlie" in a short film I did. In that movie, I played "Ed", Charlie's best friend, and I killed him several times. I wanted to give Dave the opportunity to exact some revenge. Then it was over to a Rock Band video game competition, where I was to be a "judge", although I wasn't actually judging anything, I was merely tearing down the participants when they were finished. Sometimes it's tough to think of mean things to say! I have a whole new respect for that British American Idol Guy. OK, scratch that. That simply isn't true. People from offices will put a lot of effort into things like this - especially if the prize is a gift certificate from Philthy McNastys. They came dressed up in full rock-star attire and wailed away on the toy instruments. Despite my scathing critiques, they were all in fact fairly entertaining.

Then, of course, I had been a jerk to everyone all day, so they stuck me under a pop-the-water-balloon-on-my-head device. Which I figured would be fine - after all, even though it was minus-five outside, a little water never hurt anyone. And there certainly was water in most of the balloons. In others, there was water and oatmeal. And in still others, there was water, oatmeal and spaghetti. How, exactly, does one get spaghetti into a water balloon? Anyway, there was spaghetti in my ears, in my shirt, somehow in my pants. Everywhere. I gave a quick, shirtless, freezing cold few words to wrap-up, then threw a garbage bag down on the passenger seat of Adam's car, and he drove me home where I hopped in the shower. And shed spaghetti into my drain for several minutes. Once I was spaghetti and oatmeal free, I put on new clothes and went to my second event.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Some football picks. Because...I don't know why I still do this.

I am not giving up. I am not quitting my pools halfway through. Last year, I led most of them pretty much wire-to-wire, going mostly on gut instinct. This year, I am hoping to rise from second-last to first by using gut instinct. So far, my record is 64-52 straight up, and 69-47 against the spread. And every week, I slip further and further from the top of the standings, as everyone else in these pools just keeps on taking the favourites. I guess the theory there is that if there is a major upset, at least everyone loses. Well, here goes for one more week of sucking.

Arizona - St. Louis: I'm taking the Rams to win outright, because I need to make up ground in my pool. The Cardinals have looked good this year, they have played well for the most part, but they seem to play better against really good opponents and worse against really bad ones. And this is a game where St. Louis can prove they are not as bad as people think. It seems like they have come back down to earth, but they are all pulling in the right direction still, and I think they will upset the Cardinals. Cards are currently favoured by 3.

Arizona, 34-13. Well, colour me dead wrong. The Rams are still a dangerous team, but they're a dangerous bad team. And the Cardinals under Kurt Warner all of a sudden look like a force. They will win their division this year, and might even make noise beyond that. Most surprising to me was that the Cards put up this kind of defensive effort. Kudos Arizona, you have screwed me in my pool.

Atlanta - Oakland: The Falcons are favoured by 3, but they will win by more than that. Sure, the game's in Oakland, but Atlanta is the much stronger team. And they will be playing with an eye on the fact that if they win the easy games, they will make the playoffs. And they will win this one.

Atlanta, 24-0. I should have said, the spread should be eight times bigger than it is. The Falcons are not this good. But the Raiders are this bad. And although Oakland looked for a while as though they were playing tough, and might just turn a corner, it looks like they may well have thrown in the towel for the rest of the year. I would maybe suggest betting against them from here on out.

Buffalo - New York Jets: The Jets have won a few games of late, games that perhaps by all rights they shouldn't have won. They have played sloppy, and been tested by some very poor teams. The Bills are too good, and playing at home they shouldn't have much trouble here. Only a massive game from Favre could swing this the other way. Don't rule it out, but don't bet on it. Bills by more than the 5 point spread.

New York Jets, 26-17. Well, a big game from Favre, or a huge game from the Jets defense. Or an egg laid by the Bills. Either way, this game proves at least one thing - the Bills were over-rated early on, and the Jets were under-rated. I still think it's a long shot for the Jets to make the playoffs, but then I would have guessed that there was no way they'd have a winning record at this stage of the season either. After a great start, the Bills have lost their last two games and 3 of their last five. Bills lose. Bills don't cover the spread. Bills aren't that good.

Chicago - Detroit: In Chicago, take the Bears. In Detroit, take the Bears. In either city, take the Lions to cover the points. Chicago is favoured by 13.5, in a division game. It's too much. The Lions have been playing teams tough lately, and although they are not good enough to win this game (barring a really strange turn of events here and there), they are certainly good enough to cover the spread in a division contest.

Chicago, 27-23. The Lions not only covered the spread, they looked good doing it. There was a chance for them late in the game here, but of course they are the Lions and it was not to be. Only in a division game does Detroit have a chance to keep it closer than a touchdown. Bears are still not as good as their 5-3 record, and the Packers are in fact the best team in that division, but things will even themselves out by the end of the year. And the Lions will obviously still be in last.

Cleveland - Baltimore: Cleveland, plus the points. They are favoured by one, I guess the idea here is that most people think the Ravens are a slightly better team but Cleveland is at home. I think the Browns are actually a much better team than Baltimore, and are beginning to show it. If they keep up their good run right now, they could well make the playoffs despite their 0-3 start.

Baltimore, 37-27. Cleveland looked like they had this one in the bag. And then...what? They let their guard down and got smoked? Baltimore is supposed to have this amazing defense, and the Browns are moving the ball against it. Baltimore has a weak offense, controlled by a rookie QB. And yet...the Ravens come back and win this thing. Cleveland may well be at a point where they haven't learned to close out games. Or win them. But I still think they are better than Baltimore.

Denver - Miami: I'm taking the Dolphins in the upset. The Fish started the season really badly, and the Broncos started really well. Since then, Miami has tried all kinds of trickery and seems to be winning with smoke and mirrors. However, the Broncos, in the past few games, have really looked as though their start was smoke and mirrors. Denver, in fact, sucks. And Miami will surprise them. Broncos are now favoured by 3.

Miami, 26-17. The Dolphins certainly proved that Denver does, in fact, suck. The Broncos have now lost four of their past six, and although the Fish couldn't do anything but kick field goals through most of the game, there was nothing the Broncos could do about it. With the exception of one kickoff return and one three-play lightning drive, even the vaunted Denver offense was useless. Even Jay Cutler was useless. Big props to the Dolphins defense.

Indianapolis - New England: Last year, this was the biggest matchup of the season. This year, it's kind of a non-event. However, the winner of this game could still make a big push for the playoffs. The Patriots are still looking at a possible first-round bye, and they seem to be winning despite themselves. The Colts are losing despite themselves, and they are looking at the wild card at best. New England in the upset, the Colts are bizarrely favoured by 5.5 here.

Indianapolis, 18-15. Well, at least the Patriots covered the spread. The bizarrely large spread. But the Colts looked pretty darn good here. Now New England is tied for first in their division with the Bills, who lost yesterday, and the Jets, who won. And the Colts are 4-4 and have a good chance at that wild card.

Jacksonville - Cincinnatti: The Jaguars, on their best days, are still one of the best teams in football. On their worst days, they can lose to a team as bad as the Bengals. I find it hard to believe they would here, but I do think Cincinnatti has a very good chance to make a game of it. Jaguars to win, Bengals to cover the 7.5 spread.

Cincinnatti, 21-19. And the Bengals...make a game of it! More than that, they actually win that game! Now comes the streak where they finish the season 8-8...seriously though, the Bengals will win two more games this year. I mean it. And the Jaguars could still find themselves and catch fire and make the playoffs. More likely however, they will continue to fumble around, look confused, and lose to teams they should destroy.

Minnesota - Houston: The Texans are playing really, really well of late. Three wins in a row is nothing to discount. But all three of those wins have come at home, and the Texans are still 0-3 on the road this year. The Vikings haven't looked great this year, but they have played well at home. Take Minnesota to win, Houston to cover the 4.5.

Minnesota, 28-21. The Texans did not cover the 4.5. They looked decent, but this was just one of those games where home field and travel time really made a difference. Were this game in Houston, I have no douby the Texans would have prevailed. The Vikings are just not as good as their record right now. And their record is 4-4. Really. They aren't that good.

New York Giants - Dallas: The Giants are just too good for the banged-up, messed-up Cowboys. Dallas is, depsite their just-barely win last week, a pretty bad football team right now. They were supposed to be the NFC Super Bowl favourites this year. The Giants will put that to rest with a convincing destruction of Dallas. They will win, and cover the 9 points.

Giants, 35-21. They won, and covered the 9 points, and convincingly destroyed Dallas. Brad Johnson got yanked, but it wasn't really his fault. His team is sagging around him, and the Giants aren't going to give any quarter in a divisional game. Especially against a team who were supposed to be the best in the NFC. No respect for the Super Bowl champs. None now for the Cowboys, who with the Eagles victory over Seattle are now last in their division at 5-3. That could be a losing record by the end of this washout season.

Philadelphia - Seattle: The Seahawks looked really good last week against the Niners, but then the Niners also looked really, really terrible. That Hawks offense will be absolutely swamped by the Philly defense, there will be turnovers, and Seattle will fall to 2-6. Eagles to win, Eagles to cover the 6.5.

Philadelphia, 26-7. The Eagles will make the playoffs this year. Partly because Dallas is terrible right now, and partly because they are just that good. It looked for a while like Philly couldn't close this one out, but then their defense looked amazing. With the exception of that one play for the TD, the defense did indeed swamp the Seattle offense, which is lousy. Even without sacks until the 4th quarter, the Eagles proved a point here. They won, they covered the spread.

Tampa Bay - Kansas City: The Buccaneers had trouble with a pretty poor Dallas team last week, and they won't let it happen again. Tampa really is a good team this season, and the Chiefs are really terrible. KC looked good against a really sloppy Jets team last week. Tampa may be a lot of things, but sloppy isn't one of them. However, Tampa has been poor on the road this year, and KC has played much better at home - Bucs to win, Chiefs to cover the 8 points.

Tampa Bay, 30-27 (OT). Is Tampa maybe...not that good? They spot the Chiefs a 21 point lead. The Chiefs. 21 points. And then, of course, because it's the Chiefs, they let Tampa come back and take them to OT and win it. However, against any other team in the NFL, except maybe the Lions, the Bucs would have been totally hammered in this game. Maybe it's just that home-road thing. Or maybe the Chiefs are that good...no, the Bucs were lucky to get this win after laying that egg. Bucs win, Chiefs cover spread.

Tennessee - Green Bay: The Titans look amazing. They have a great running game, and a great defense. But at some point in the season, just having an adequate quarterback is not good enough. Every now and then, you have to ask your QB to win a game for you, and I think Kerry Collins is just not that guy. But I do think this is that game. Packers are coming off a bye, they are rested and more healthy than they have been since Week One, and they will make Collins beat them. Collins will not be up to it. Pack in an upset.

Tennessee, 19-16. Well, at least the Packers covered the spread. And after Bironas missed that field goal at the end of regulation, I thought the Packers had this one. Frankly, in the third and fourth quarters, Green Bay looked like the better team. After that bye week, they are healthier again, and they will be a real force in the next couple of weeks. And the Titans are, indeed, for real. They will be 11-0 before they are even tested a little again.

Washington - Pittsburgh: Amazingly, the Redskins are favoured at home against the Steelers. Pittsburgh is obviously a better team, but it seems people are paying attention to the fact that they have not won a single game against their NFC East opponents this year. I'm paying attention to that as well. It's MNF, and anything can happen, but I think this trend will continue. I'm taking Washington by three. But I wouldn't be surprised if it was Pittsburgh by twenty.

Pittsburgh, 23-6. And it was, indeed, the Steelers by almost 20. I shouldn't have taken Washington by three. Or at all. Frankly, I ended up cheering for the Steelers, because of some lingering superstition I have where the final Redskins home game predicts the outcome of the election - if they win, the incumbent party wins. And if they lose, so too does the incumbent party. And more than winning my pool, I cheer for a loss by the incumbent Republicans in the States. Seriously though, why did Jason Campbell throw the ball on 4th and goal from the one-inch line?

I am now 71-59 straight up, and 78-52 ATS.

Wild Goose Chase. Because the title just writes itself!

And I feel lame for using something so obvious...but then, I don't feel nearly as lame as those government officials who have apparently spent two days looking for Lefty the goose. This is a goose who hangs out in the Amberwood Pond. He is called Lefty because he is a follower of the teachings of Marx and Lenin. And also because he is missing his right wing. Or is that her right wing? I can't tell. Although I did see him or her, I just couldn't get close enough to flip him or her over. And even if I could have done so, I wouldn't have known what to look for. But the point is, that within twenty minutes of showing up at this pond, I found the goose. Lefty has become something of a cause celebre in Stittsville, and this "issue" has made it all the way to the top of government! And they sent their top people to find it and bring it to the wildlife sanctuary! And they took two days, couldn't find it, and went home. It turns out that they didn't have my secret weapon - ten-year-old Sarah, who comes to the pond every single day before school to feed bread crumbs to the ducks and the geese who inhabit that pond. And she sees Lefty every single day. Like I did, today, when he or she came by to eat a bread crumb or two. It took me twenty minutes. Anyone think that maybe, just maybe, no one actually showed up to look in the last couple of days? After all, the goose wasn't going anywhere.

Very exciting stuff.

What is it with car chases? I remember, many many years ago, listening to an Expos game on the radio in my basement while I was working out. All of a sudden, the game was gone. And there was a car chase! On the radio! I was really sour. I mean, my Expos game was being pre-empted to follow some white Bronco on a slow-speed chase down a highway? Come on, media! When I discovered that O.J. Simpson was in that white Bronco, I...still didn't care. At all. Listening to a description of a slow-speed car chase is incredibly boring. And to this day, I still don't know who won that baseball game.

Perhaps the only thing more boring than a low-speed, celebrity-driven car chase, is a high speed car chase that involves no celebrity at all. Also, it is likely the least newsworthy item in the world. After all - how is it going to end? If you're watching it from a helicopter, here's how it will end - the guy will either be caught, or he will die. He will not escape. So why, when I was in the middle of Barack Obama's live speech on Tuesday, did MSNBC cut away from that actual news story to...a high-speed chase involving a mini-van? Further to that, why did I see that very same car chase when I switched channels? I understand FOX News flipping away from an Obama speech - they can tell us why he's a terrorist when it's done, whether we've seen that speech or not. But the other stations? What's happening here?

I watched for about three minutes, assuming that this was a momentary "Breaking News" item that would quickly go away. But it didn't. Clearly, they were going to watch this chase until it was over. And although perhaps it was newsworthy, in that there was a chance that it was the first high-speed minivan chase in history. I still switched it off, cursed O.J., and tried to find an Expos game on TV. Oh right. The world sucks.

BRN - today's quick hits.

Bryan Adams is going after several of his own fan sites. Apparently, these sites are using the Canadian "rocker"'s picture and name without his permission. Even more astounding, there are still Bryan Adams fan sites. You would think that this man would be happy that people still know who he is. If I'm Bryan Adams, I would be sending these sites all kinds of stuff, making them happy to be associated with me. I find it hard to believe that these people are such hardcore fans that even being sued by their idol won't dampen their enthusiasm. I find it easier to believe that the fame of Bryan Adams hangs by the most tenuous of threads at the best of times. Then he releases a statement through something called Web Sheriff, that says if these fan sites "want to be part of the family then they need to play ball”. Is Bryan Adams running a mafia-style organization designed to alienate the nine fans he still has left? See ya later, Bryan.

AC/DC breaks more records as Black Ice tops the charts. It is the first time the band has hit #1 since 1981, when they released For Those About To Rock (We Salute You). They sold 784,000 copies in the U.S. in their first week, making this album the fastest selling AC/DC record of all time. And assuming that people also picked up ketchup, pampers and kitchen faucets at the same time, this must have been a giant week for Wal-Mart. This means one of three things. Either this is one of the greatest AC/DC albums ever made (unlikley), or it is the most brilliant marketing ever done by the Australian band (possible), or it has been long enough since they were last relevant that kids today are just now discovering how awesome AC/DC is (probable). Best news of the day - they outsold the High School Musical III soundtrack by well over a two-to-one margin. (Some rapper named T.I., some country singer named Kenny Chesney, and Metallica made up the rest of the top five.) Oh - one more possibility. It could be that no one else, anywhere, is making good music. At all. (Definitely.)

The Beatles might be coming to Rock Band! MTV is ready to make an announcement this morning concerning an "unprecedented global music project" with Apple, the company that holds all of the Beatles licensing rights. Some quality detective work went into the Rock Band speculation: MTV is now reality TV. They show Paris Hilton's My New BFF, which last night had the girls aspiring to be Paris' friend playing "seven minutes in heaven" with a creepy gross "rapper" named Dirt Nasty. They show A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila, and the spin-offs of A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila. Ergo, MTV no longer has any connection to the world of music whatsoever. The only connection with music, in any way, is that they produce the video game Rock Band. It follows, therefore, that one of two things will happen. Either Paul McCartney will be a contestant on the new British version of Paris Hilton's My New BFF, (and yes, this show does exist - how, you say, can Paris Hilton do TWO seasons of the show, when BFF means Best Friend Forever, and no one can have TWO "best friends", by definition? And even if the winner of the first season became her BFF, then "forever" goes out the door when the very next season sees her doing the same thing? I say - don't ask. It's MTV.) OR, the Beatles will get their own edition of the Rock Band video game. I sure hope it's the latter.

I once met Alice Cooper, and asked him to autograph my vinyl copy of Welcome To My Nightmare. It was one of two times in my life I have asked anyone for their autograph, and I must admit that it made me feel a little like a loser. Because I have never really understood the autograph thing a whole lot. The way I saw it at the time though, and the way I still see it, it was a nice personal touch, a reminder of the time I saw Alice Cooper and got a chance to meet him, and I now wouldn't part with it for the world. Well. I wouldn't part with it for...eighty dollars. Really. But it helped me understand, to a degree, the people who collect memorabilia and autographs and pictures and such like. What I still don't understand are the people who, this week, will pay $200,000 for the organ John Lennon played on the Ed Sullivan show. Or the guy who's going to shell out $70,000 for a bass guitar Kurt Cobain used to record some demos once. Unless you have a museum, like Paul Allen's in Seattle or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, how can you justify spending that much? You aren't going to meet John Lennon. You aren't going to meet Kurt Cobain. Same goes for Sid Vicious and Jimi Hendrix, who also have stuff up at this Christies auction. So then what - they serve as a memento and reminder of the time you bid a certain amount online? This is odd to me.

And more auctions - this time, a short film strip of the Beatles performing live in Kansas, at Municipal Stadium, in 1964. This will go up for auction, no one seems to know where or from what source, on November 4th. All of which is well and good, but here's the thing - with the Beatles, you want to hear their music, and this film strip is silent. But...in colour!

Here's one I actually understand - collecting albums on vinyl. This is why I am pleased that Metallica has decided to release their entire back catalogue on vinyl, beginning with ...And Justice For All on December 1st. I am not going to be one of those hippie music purists who suggests that all music sounds better on vinyl. Frankly, in most cases I would disagree. Most music made before 1980, and recorded a certain way, sounds better on vinyl. Like The Court of the Crimson King, for example. But I would be surprised if Master of Puppets or Kill 'Em All are any better in terms of sound coming out of a record instead of a CD. The real reason I love the vinyl for stuff like this is that I just love the big cardboard case. It feels more like an item I'm glad to have around, more special I guess, when the cover art is that big, and you have to go out of your way to play it. A record isn't going to be something that you take out of the case and leave in a pile in the back seat of your car and discover three years later when you finally do that cleanup. Having the record means that to listen to that album you have to go out of your way to do so. And for Metallica, that seems worthwhile.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Today's Breaking Rock News rundown.

So, amid rumours that the remaining three members of Led Zeppelin (and I am including Jason Bonham as an official member of Zeppelin) are searching for a new lead singer, comes this staggering story: They are trying out Steven Tyler, frontman of Aerosmith. Tyler has apparently been attending secret rehearsals with the trio. In the meantime, his own band mates, in Aerosmith, are waiting for him to recover from a foot injury so they can put together their own album. Apparently, he would be more interested in fronting Zeppelin for a tour. Which is fine, but does anyone remember a few years ago when Tyler was asked to rank the importance of Aerosmith in the history of rock music? And he said - "well, we're behind the Rolling Stones, but way ahead of Led Zeppelin." Perhaps he has, in the intervening years, come to realize that compared to Zeppelin, Aerosmith can cram it with walnuts.

Ronnie Wood's daughter is pregnant. Now, this would not normally be news. Except that she didn't tell dad, becuase they are somewhat estranged right now, what with Wood having run out on his wife of 23 years to hang out with his teenage girlfriend. Who is, of course, several years younger than his daughter. And, in point of fact, will be much closer in age to the newborn grand-daughter than she is to Wood. In other Stones news, Bill Wyman's wife is now well into her forties...

Rocky Dickerson (a perfect name for a hair-metal keyboard player if I ever heard one) is forging ahead with his campaign to get Led Zeppelin a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, despite the fact that Jimmy Page thinks the idea is stupid and lame and sad. And Jimmy Page is right. It is stupid and lame and sad. Not as stupid or lame or sad, mind you, as bastardizing one of your classic songs with P. Diddy for the worst Godzilla movie of all time, but pretty lame nonetheless. Although I would say this for Mr. Dickerson - the idea of having a star is not lame, but the idea of wanting one is. So...everybody wins?

Bon Jovi is being sued for 400 billion dollars. That is not a typo. 400 billion dollars. Bart Steele, a Boston musician who wrote a song for the Red Sox, claims that the pretty-boy "rocker" ripped him off. And he wants compensation. Four hundred, billion dollars in compansation. He says he is a Bon Jovi fan, and posts this comment on his blog: “I never accused Bon Jovi of stealing lyrics or anything. I’ve been a fan for a long time which is also why this whole situation stinks. I only wanted fair credit and compensation for my work. Unfortunately, I’ve spent my past year learning the in’s and out’s of copyright laws…and they are very VAGUE!!!” Vague enough, I guess, that someone somewhere thinks they can get 400 BILLION dollars out of the band. Frankly, I hope this guy wins. It would serve Jon Bon Jovi right for his own litigious idiocy. Remember when he sued the makers of the "Mijovi" drink, because their name was too similar to his? Yeah. Screw Bon Jovi.

A fire in a warehouse owned by a company called Iron Mountain has claimed some valuable memorabilia belonging to the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Elton John, the Sex Pistols, and Duran Duran. OK, the "valuable" memorabilia belonged to the Stones, Bowie, Elton John and the Sex Pistols. The fire apparently claimed about $1.5 million dollars worth of rock n roll memorabilia. Iron Mountain is a company that exists to protect valuable items, and it is expected that they will be sued. Most likely, they will be sued for several trillion dollars.

AC/DC's album Black Ice has hit #1 in 29 different countries. They have sold well over a million copies worldwide in the past week, including an estimated 800,000 in the States. Argentina is to blame for preventing the album from hitting #1 in 30 countries - it was #2 in that country. I don't hold out much hope, however, for Black Ice continuing to sell at this pace - AC/DC has sold 5 million copies of CDs from their back catalogue this year as well, and that means that 5 million more people basically already have Black Ice.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Breaking rock news: The rundown.

So, AC/DC is selling well in Australia. No surprise there, they ought to. Australians remain staunchly patriotic in supporting their homegrown heroes. Which is terrific. With just over a week in stores, Black Ice has sold 84,000 copies. In fact, this album has already become the biggest selling album of the year in Australia, in just a week. The sales in one city last week eclipsed the second place album in the entire country, the Kings of Leon. All fo this is great for AC/DC, Australia and classic rock. But really, isn't it more indicative of a dearth of good music being released, rather than the massive drawing power of AC/DC? Sure, we could expect that they would sell huge numbers, and be first overall, but in a week? More troubling for me though is a new interview with Brian Johnson in Classic Rock magazine, where he suggests that people who want to hear new music, and music that sounds different than other music, are poser jerks. He calls it "musak". So...to Brian Johnson, everything that doesn't sound exactly like everything that has come before is musak? I guess that leaves us with two options...AC/DC and Nickelback.

Led Zeppelin are fueling more tour rumours, as John Paul Jones talks about poking around in the studio with Jimmy Page and Jason Bonham, and trying out (albeit in a half-assed fashion) some new lead singers. They want to tour, at least the three of them do, and they hope Robert Plant will join up with them "in a couple of years". Again, this is all well and good, but do I really want to see two of the four original members playing with a singer they found on youtube? I will say no, I don't. I have always given Led Zeppelin enormous credit for quitting completely when John Bonham died. They said they were no longer Led Zeppelin, and they were going to stop. And they did. Coming back with some random collection of musicians and a new singer is definitely not Led Zeppelin. Call yourself something else, and I'll go see the show, because it's still Jimmy Page. But don't bill it as Zep, please.

There is a new KISS book coming out. It is actually a new edition of an older book called Kiss & Related Recordings Focus: Music! The Songs, The Demos, The Lyrics, And Stories! which might be the most awkward book title in history, made all the more awkward by the preponderance of exclamation! marks. It is now available, edited and changed, under the less-cumbersome title Rock And Roll All Nite: The Music of KISS. Author Julian Gill might be the world's biggest KISS fan (and he would have to be, to write these books), but it sure took him a while to subscribe fully to the Gene Simmons less-is-more philosophy of marketing. Or is that the Gene Simmons more-is-more philosophy? Either way, I can't wait for yet another piece of marketing paraphenalia to hit store shelves about KISS. Is there a more-hyped, less-deserving band in the world? Are the Jonas Brothers a band?

How strange.

For the first time ever, a World Series game is postponed by rain. I learned my lesson with the long, long delay to start Game Four, the game that ended at about 2 in the morning. I just can't stay up that late. I have learned to tape the games on my PVR and watch them in the morning. It's the only way for me to get sleep and stay sane. Because of the way my PVR is set up to record shows - only two at a time - I managed to record only the end of the game. (Until 10:00, I was recording Rachel Maddow and Sean Hannity's hilariously fawning interview with that oh-so-astute political analyst and harbinger of doom, Elizabeth Hasselbeck.) And now, I flip on the game and start fast forwarding. And there's no game. What's happening?

Well, it was rained out. For the first time in World Series history, a game has been postponed because of rain. What does this mean now? When does the game get finished? How do we learn when the game is to be finished? Is the rest of the schedule of the World Series thrown out of whack? And more importantly - this game was called in the sixth inning. Which means the game would have been official had it been officially called and one team was winning. So...had the Rays not managed to get that extra run to tie things at 2-2, would they have lost the final Series game by default, due to a rainout? I can only assume that Bud Selig would not have allowed that to happen. Then again, there was that All-Star game tie...

But here's the real difference this rainout makes. Cole Hamels, the Phillies most dangerous pitcher in the postseason, was still on the mound. Does he now go back to the game on one day's rest, to resume pitching in the sixth? Or do the Phillies bring in a reliever to throw, or do they use another starting pitcher to attempt to get through the game? Frankly, I think Philadelphia needs to win this game, and they know it. If they were to lose, they go back to Tampa for the final two games, and there is actually a chance they could let this series get away. I would guess that they throw in their Game Six starter to attempt to shut the Rays down and finish this thing. If Tampa wins Game Five, I predict they will win the World Series. And this rain delay could be a big reason.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A great evening.

I went to the Rideau Carleton Raceway for a charity event last night - it was a fundraiser for a local motorcycle rider who lost his leg in an accident. He of course hasn't been able to work since then, and with a baby on the way, his friends decided to throw him a big fundraiser. And big it certainly was. The Rideau Carleton people gave them the downstairs hall for free - they made their money off beer and food sales. Local band Quicksand, a group with an outstanding guitar player, played some classic rock tunes. And the biker community turned out in full force. To see the kind of community spirit exemplified by these people is truly amazing. Everyone there was there for the young man who lost his leg, and they were certainly pulling together for the greater good and a common cause. There were raffles, draws, 50/50, and T-shirts being sold. I don't have a total number of money raised, but when I do I will post that here. I am betting it was close to $10,000. Oh, I have the numbers coming in now - it was more than six grand. Fantastic!

In the basement of the Raceway, there was still a boxing ring set up from an amateur tournament that took place there recently. The Rideau Carleton people came up with the suggestion of using that ring for a sumo tournament. (Not like the Friday morning sumo we did in Rockland - the kind with those giant inflatable suits.) So all evening, people were climbing into these massive costumes, and of course I participated in that small bit of lunacy. I got into the ring with Scott, a man about half my size, but with twice my fury. The Rideau Carleton folks had gone above and beyond, sending one of their people to find a bell to ring between rounds, and sending one of their girls home to get her ring-card-girl costume. So Scott and I battled hard to the bell in three rounds, bouncing off the ropes, off each other, while we were pretty well unable to see and couldn't hear a thing. Eventually, I lost the match when I was unable to grab the ring ropes as I was pinned down.

Then we got out of the suits, and I had to feel bad for the young girl who hopped into my suit after me. I think I may have left two or three litres of sweat inside. Those things are tight, and hot, and heavy. I had planned to do a few more bouts, but I was plumb wore out. So I left defeated, but having had a great time.