Friday, November 21, 2008

Breaking Rock News today.

Only one story of note:

When John McCain used Jackson Browne's song "Running On Empty" in a campaign ad without the singer's permission, Browne sued. Now that the election is over, McCain has fired back at Browne with two 20-page motions. In the first motion, McCain seeks to have the charges dismissed, citing "fair use" of a song with "an acknowledged cliche" for a title. The lawyers say that rather than damaging the "commercial potential" of the song, the campaign ad likely increased it's popularity. In the second motion, McCain is seeking monetary compensation, claiming that Browne attempted to "chill" McCain's free speech. He is looking for legal fees and similar costs.

This may seem like a pretty innocuous story, and a pointless one now that the American election is long over. However, it's a bit of a bigger deal than that. The results of this case could determine how songs are used in future political campaigns. Heart forced Sarah Palin to stop using the song "Barracuda" in her campaign this year, but if McCain wins this legal battle, she could be freed up to use that song should she run in 2012, as everyone anticipates she will. (Her high school basketball nickname was Sarah Barracuda, since she was vicious. Which, I guess, is the persona she wants to put out there.)

Oh, and also, the new Bruce Springsteen song will debut on CHEZ at 10:00 this morning. That's kind of a big deal too. It's a great tune.

Further to the discussion of the last few days...

We've been talking about the music in movies a little over the past few days - Katrina and the Waves' Walking On Sunshine being the #1 song in movies, and how Vietnam-era movies have some of the best tunes in the world - For What It's Worth and the like. I have compiled a personal-favourites list on the Cynical Cinema page, and I welcome any input anyone might have as to the best movie music scenes of all time. See the Cynical Cinema post here:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Neil Young's plan to save the auto industry, eliminate dependance on foreign oil, and begin to curb global warming.

Find a new ownership group. The culture must change. It is time to turn the page. In the high technology sector there are several candidates for ownership of a major car and truck manufacturer. We need forward looking people who are not restricted by the existing culture in Detroit. We need visionary people now with business sense to create automobiles that do not contribute to global warming.It is time to change and our problems can facilitate our solutions. We can no longer afford to continue down Detroit's old road. The people have spoken. They do not want gas guzzlers (although they still like big cars and trucks). It is possible to build large long-range vehicles that are very efficient. People will buy those vehicles because they represent real change and a solution that we can live with.
The government must take advantage of the powerful position that exists today. The Big 3 are looking for a bailout. They should only get it if they agree to stop building autos that contribute to global warming now. The stress on the auto manufacturers today is gigantic. In order to keep people working in their jobs and keep factories open, this plan is suggested:The big three must reduce models to basics. a truck, an SUV, a large family sedan, an economy sedan, and a sports car. Use existing tooling.Keep building these models to keep the workforce employed but build them without engines and transmissions. These new vehicles, called Transition Rollers, are ready for a re-power. No new tooling is required at this stage. The adapters are part of the kits described next.At the same time as the new Transition Rollers are being built, keeping the work force working, utilize existing technology now, create re-power kits to retrofit the Transition Rollers to SCEVs (self charging electric vehicles) for long range capability up to and over 100mpg. If you don't think this technology is realistic or available, check out the Progressive Insurance Automotive X prize. Alternatively, check out or other examples.A bailed out Auto manufacturer must open or re-purpose one or more factories and dedicate them to do the re-power/retrofit assembly. These factories would focus on re-powering the Transition Rollers into SCEVs but could also retrofit and re-power many existing vehicles to SCEVs. These existing vehicles are currently sitting unsold at dealerships across America.
Auto manufacturers taking advantage of a government bailout must only sell clean and green vehicles that do not contribute to global warming. No more internal combustion engines that run exclusively on fossil fuels can be sold period.No Big Three excuses like "new tooling takes time". New tooling is not a requirement for SCEV transition rollers.Build only new vehicles that attain the goal of reversing global warming and enhancing National Security.Government legislation going with the bailout should include tax breaks for purchasers of these cars with the new green SCEV technology. The legislation accompanying the bailout of major auto manufacturers must include directives to build only vehicles that attain the goal of reversing global warming while enhancing National security, and provide the financial assistance to make manufacturing these cars affordable in the short term while the industry re-stabilizes.Eventually the SCEV technology could be built into every new car and truck as it is being assembled and the stop gap plan described above would have completed its job of keeping America building and working through this turbulent time. Detroit has had a long time to adapt to the new world and now the failure of Detroit's actions is costing us all. We pay the bailout. Let's make a good deal for the future of America and the Planet. Companies like UQM (Colorado) and others build great electric motors right here in the USA. Use these domestic electric motors. Put these people to work now. This plan reverses the flow from negative to positive because people need and will buy clean and green cars to be part of World Change. Unique wheel covers will identify these cars on the road so that others can see the great example a new car owner is making. People want America to win!This plan addresses the issue of Global warming from our automobiles while enhancing our National Security and keeping Detroit working.
Neil Young, activist (Bridge School, Farm Aid) rock legend, has assembled a team that is in the process of transforming his gargantuan 1959 Lincoln Continental from a gas guzzler into a showcase for green technology and sustainability. The car will be entered into the Automotive X Prize that offers a $10 million prize to develop a vehicle that can get 100 miles per gallon or better. The almost 50 year old Lincoln, one of the biggest, heaviest production cars of all time, has been re-named "Linc Volt" and is the subject of a feature documentary called "Repowering The American Dream" that is now in production under the aegis of Young's Shakey Pictures.
Here is a link to last month's New York Times story on the Linc Volt.

Breaking Rock News today

You can listen to the new Guns N Roses album, Chinese Democracy, live at MySpace from now until Sunday when it gets released. Here is the link:

Or, you can wait until Satuday, and listen to the album, one track at a time, as we give away that album on CHEZ. Either way, you will be able to hear how much it is not Appetite For Destruction.

Motorhead (I still can't figure out how to do an umlaut) has a track called "Dog-Face Boy" that will appear in the upcoming Disney movie Bolt. Which looks hilarious because of the hamster in the ball thing they've got going on. Motorhead for kids. That, actually, sounds like a pretty good idea.

A nightclub called Barney's Beanery in L.A. is going to unveil a commemorative plaque on what would have been Jim Morrison's 65th birthday. Two members of the Doors - Manzarek and Krieger - will be there signing their latest release, Live At Matrix. The plaque will commemorate the exact spot where Morrison once whipped it out and urinated on that particular bar, one time in the '60s. Does anyone suspect that had Morrison (implausibly) survived his years of excess, that at this point he would be regarded as a total joke, the Biggest Loser In The World? Toward the end of his life, he had pretty much given up entirely on making music and was far more focused on making an ass of himself wherever he went. Now, I love Jim Morrison and his music as much as anyone, but if I'm the owner of Barney's Beanery, and Morrison had come in once a month for the last forty years, and urinated on my bar and puked on my customers each time, I don't think I'd be erecting a plaque. I'd be taking out a restraining order.

Sammy Hagar has continued to slam the rest of his Van Halen band mates, saying they are completely unstable, in a mental health sense, and that is part of the reason they kicked Michael Anthony out of the band. While I would agree with Sammy that Van Halen is indeed unstable, mentally, I think that Anthony's departure was likely caused more because of egomaniacal behaviour not associated with the specific mental problems. Or maybe that's semantics.

There is a deluxe edition of Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland coming out December 9th, which will feature the CD copy of the album and also a DVD called At Last...The Beginning: The Making of Electric Ladyland. This is my favourite Hendrix album, and the DVD is actually an extended version of the "making of" series Classic Albums. I have the Classic Albums Electric Ladyland DVD already, and for those of you who are interested in Hendrix and his recording process, it's fascinating. One of the best in the Classic Albums series. This is one of those thrown-together-for-money sets that will actually be worth buying.

Paul McCartney would love to record music with Bob Dylan. To which the world says "no s***". Who doesn't want to record with Bob Dylan? I'm not even a musician and I want to record an album with Bob Dylan. I was cut from my high school basketball team midway through the first practice. And I still want to play one-on-one with Michael Jordan. I never finished my physics-mathematics degree at the University of Ottawa, and yet I would love to discuss the implications of the event horizon with Stephen Hawking. Frankly, Dylan has managed to remain relevant throughout his career, which is really saying something. Especially when you look at Paul McCartney, who is still good, but who has come completely musically irrelevant. Here is a link that illustrates just how irrelevant McCartney has become:

Rod Stewart has confirmed that there will be a Faces reunion next year. Now this, is exciting. the chances of the Faces coming to Ottawa are slim, I would imagine, but far greater than they would have been say, six years ago. There was no way you could have got me out to Scotiabank Place to see the Rod Stewart show, but with the Faces? In a heartbeat. You have to remember, at one point, Rod Stewart was not a crooning douche. He was actually very, very cool, in some very very cool bands.

Aerosmith will play the American Music Awards on Sunday on ABC. Set your PVR for this ground-breaking event, because...ah, nobody cares, do they?

Neil Young is amazing. He has come up with a point-by-point plan to save the American automobile industry, curb global warming, eliminate dependance on foreign oil, and create jobs. In Breaking Rock News, I posted a link to his open letter on the Huffington Post, but I will just paste it into a post here on my blog, because I think this is awesome. How many political activist musicians take the time and make the effort to do this much research and know this much about a subject? Way to go Neil.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ben McCully's wrestling videos

OK, I have written a few blog postings between the time I put up McCully's videos and now. And since I know people are coming here to watch those, and I know that many don't know to scroll down, I will make it easy. Here is the link to Ben's wrestling videos - ladies and gentlemen, I give you Vinnie Glyde!

Can anyone explain this to me?

I'm trying to understand the economy. I really am. But I'm fairly lost and I don't know where to begin. I keep hearing how Canada, in comparison to the U.S., will be OK because we have more regulation. Really, what this means is that it is unlikely that the same crazy mortgage crisis won't take place here. But it has already taken place there, and aren't they going to bring us down with them?

Here's something else I don't get. The value of a dollar in a particular country is tied to the state of that country's economy, right? I know, simplistic, but that's how it works, I believe, for the most part. A year ago, the Canadian dollar was "at par", because our economy was doing pretty darn good, right? And "at par" meant equal to the American dollar. Because the American dollar is the standard by which the currency of the world is measured. Now, if the American economy collapses, as it is currently doing, should their dollar not lose some value? And because it is the measuring stick for the world, we would not see their dollar value plummet so much as we would see the value of the other currency in the world shoot up, in relation to that benchmark. Right? So if our dollar is still worth only 80 cents U.S., then doesn't that mean that our economy is slowing down at the same rate theirs is?

Like I said, there is a lot I don't understand about the economy, and I'm sure someone can give me a satisfactory explanation for this. Consider this blog posting my appeal for that explanation. Can anyone really convince me that Canada will not be affected on the same level as the States?

More Breaking Rock News

Ronnie Wood's wife is apparently "happy" now that the whole running-off-with-a-nineteen-year-old-cocktail-waitress saga is behind her, and she is happier without the old man in her life. She says all that stuff people say after painful breakups...I'm happier being single, blah blah blah. Nowhere does she mention the 80-million dollar divorce settlement as contributing to her happiness. But likely it helps.

A new Guns N Roses track from Chinese Democracy, "Better", was released earlier this week. Almost no one noticed. The album comes out on Sunday, and I am betting, even with the massive 24-hours-of-Guns N Roses day we're doing here on CHEZ on Saturday, where we give away one copy of the album every hour, that it will not do the kinds of sales they are expecting.

Rolling Stone magazine is all about the lists. And so am I - they create some good debate. Now they are talking the 100 greatest singers of all time. Here are the top 10:

1. Aretha Franklin
2. Ray Charles
3. Elvis Presley
4. Sam Cooke
5. John Lennon
6. Marvin Gaye
7. Bob Dylan
8. Otis Redding
9. Stevie Wonder
10. James Brown

No complaints here with the top ten, and it was nice to see Neil Young get some love at #37. Reggae, however, was under-represented. Only Bob Marley and Toots Hibbert (nice surprise) made the list, while Jimmy Cliff and Bunny Wailer were left off. Oh well. The full list is here:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

NFL predictions Week 12

OK. I am now at 94 wins straight up, and 94 wins against the spread. (With the Phily-Cincy tie last week, I have one more loss against the spread than I do straight up. But one more tie in the straight-up column.) This past weekend, I managed to pick up 13 straight-up wins and only two losses. Not that I think it is now time to start taking my advice. So don't take my advice until I'm back in the game and stringing some good weeks together.

Pittsburgh-Cincinnatti: It is about time that the Bengals win one more. And the Steelers looked awfully rough in that squeaked-out 11-10 win over the Chargers, who are not the team they once were. Pittsburgh stacks up huge against the run, but if the Bengals want to win they will be passing anyway. The line is 10 1/2, which is way too much for a division game, even with the disparity between these two teams. Bengals to cover, Steelers to win.

Pittsburgh, 27-10 - Well, 10 1/2 was not too much here. Although the Bengals looked good early, with Chad Johnson suspended by the team for the game, there was really no chance for them, passing or otherwise. The Steelers still didn't look as good as they ought to look, but they are still winning games, and this one was fairly convincing. Pittsburgh is one of the best teams in the AFC, and they will remain there as long as they can keep beating the teams they should be beating. Cincinnatti is one of those teams.

Atlanta - Carolina: The Falcons had no business losing to the Broncos, who give every team they play an opportunity to win the game. But the Panthers looked to have a bit of a tough time with the Lions. It is a divisional game, and anything can happen, but Carolina needs to load up on some wins now before their schedule gets really tough. The Falcons are 4-1 at home, and Carolina is 2-2 on the road, but the Panthers know they need this game. So they will win it. And cover the spread, which is one point in favour of Atlanta.

Falcons, 45-28. Was this the game that indicated the Panthers are actually struggling? That perhaps they are losing a lot of steam as the season goes on? I think it might just be. And it just puts an exclamation mark on the last statement I made here. The Falcons had NO BUSINESS losing to the Broncos. I think Carolina will get back on track, but there isn't a lot of time to do so before the playoffs start.

Baltimore - Philadelphia: The Eagles are disappointing, and I am tempted to jump off their bandwagon finally, at this late stage in the season. That tie this past weekend was incredibly disappointing. Baltimore is very, very tough at home, and the Eagles are average at best on the road. Ravens to win, covering the 1 1/2.

Ravens, 36-7. Well, that's it. I am jumping off the Eagles bandwagon. I still think they are a better team, talent-wise, than the Skins or maybe even the Giants. But head-wise, they are lousy. And I hate to dump on the coach, but yanking Donovan McNabb in the first half of a game that was still very close? Throwing in the towel on the season, are we?

Cleveland - Houston: The Browns are flying high after their big Monday night win, and Houston is reeling after three straight losses. Cleveland is terrible at home, but Houston is even worse on the road. I think the Browns have found a modicum of quality, and they will take this one. There is no line right now.

Texans, 16-6. Well, I'm wrong again. I think the Browns might just lose every home game from here on out. What are they doing in Cleveland? Not that anyone cares...about either of these teams.

Dallas - San Francisco: It looks like the Cowboys might be, to some degree, back on track with Tony Romo. But Romo can't cure everything that is wrong with this team, and he is still playing with that broken finger. The spread is 11 points, way too much against a suddenly (maybe) decent Niners team. San Fran to cover the spread, Cowboys to win.

Cowboys, 35-22. OK, the Cowboys ARE back on track. At least, until Pacman Jones comes off his suspension in a couple of weeks. But it's nice to get your quarterback into the lineup and work out the kinks against a team like the Niners. Who were basically a practice squad for Dallas in this game. So much so that they didn't even cover that huge spread.

Denver - Oakland: The Broncos seem to be able to keep winning, despite playing some questionable football. The Raiders have been playing tougher and tougher week in and week out, and I think they will cover the 9 1/2 spread. But the Raiders are still not a team that knows how to win, and the Broncos seem to be able to win despite themselves. So Denver to win, Oakland to cover.

Raiders, 31-10. OK. Let me state this for the record here. This was not a terrible Raiders team fluking out a massive win over the Broncos. This was just Denver being Denver. Every game they play, against any team, they give them ten opportunities to steal the game. Take three of those opportunities, and you can do what Oakland did here. The Broncos had no business losing to the Raiders. But then, they had no business beating the Falcons either.

Jacksonville - Minnesota: The Jaguars are a big disappointment, and the Vikings I think are a pleasant surprise. However, Minnesota is a different team on the road. The Jaguars should win this one handily. Jacksonville to win, and cover the 2 1/2.

Minnesota, 30-12. There was one way the Jaguars could give this one up. Turn over the ball, again and again, giving up touchdowns. In the first quarter. This one was over by the 15 minute mark.

Kansas City - Buffalo: Two teams which all of a sudden look really, really bad. The Chiefs have lost six in a row, the Bills have lost four in a row. The game is in KC, which would lead me to take the Chiefs against the spread. But there is no spread right now. So I will take the Bills.

Bills, 54-31. Wouldn't it be nice if this game was indicative that the Bills are back on track? That they are once again playing at the level they were at early in the year? It would certainly make that division more interesting...see Miami-New England...then again, it's the Chiefs. And I don't think you can read too much into that.

Miami - New England: The Dolphins are actually favoured here. I think the Jets are coming on very, very strong, and New England ran into a team on fire last week. The Dolphins are not on fire, despite four straight wins. They are just much, much better than last year. And I think the Patriots, more than anything, want revenge after that drubbing they took at the hands of the Fish earlier this year, the one that started their slide into the middle of the pack. Patriots to win in the upset, and of course cover the spread by extension.

Patriots, 48-28. Well, they did win, and they did cover the spread. But this isn't in any way an upset. This is just things returning, somewhat, to normal in the AFC. Both teams are quite good, neither one is great. No one in this division is great. Unless that other team did something big....

New York Giants - Arizona: The Giants are favoured by three, but does anyone really think that is enough? Kurt Warner may be having his best season since the Rams days, but he won't complete a lot of passes from his back. Arizona is good, but they're not there yet. Cardinals lose their first home game of the season, Giants cover the three.

Giants, 37-29. There was no doubt. The Cardinals really are good, and they played better on offense in this game than I expected they would. But they can't yet run with the Giants.

Indianapolis - San Diego: I'm going to go out on a limb and say the Colts are back. Winners of three straight, they go into San Diego, where the Chargers are NOT back. The San Diego Chargers of last year would have beaten the Steelers of this year. And the Colts of this year will beat the Chargers of this year. San Diego is favoured by three, Colts in the upset.

Colts, 23-20. Okay. The Colts ARE back. The Chargers have come to life though. And they really looked sharp at many occasions last night. It wasn't enough though. You had to know Peyton Manning would drive his team down the field for the win. And when are the odds-makers going to stop favouring San Diego? This team is NOT the 2007 Chargers.

Tampa Bay - Detroit: The Buccaneers need to rack up the wins on the weak competition this year, and they will continue to do so against the terrible Lions this week. The Lions, of course, are dreadful. Tampa Bay to cover the 8-point spread.

Bucanneers, 38-20. Yep. Never pick against Tampa Bay against teams they should beat. Because they always beat 'em.

Chicago - St. Louis: The Rams got absolutely hammered by an inferior Niners team this week. Look for it to happen again, at home, against the Bears. The Bears offense is far from impressive, but their defense and special teams are vastly superior to those of the Rams. There is no line on this game right now, but the Bears should cover whatever spread there may be. Chicago gets off the 2-game losing streak.

Bears, 27-3. What happened, earlier this year, when the Rams scored those two massive upsets? Realize that it is these very Rams who handed the Giants their only loss so far. And look at them now. They are possibly the worst team in the league again. The Lions could beat them.

New York Jets - Tennessee: All of a sudden, this is the biggest test of the Titans season. The Jets are on fire, riding four straight wins, and Favre has that team believing they can beat anyone. And honestly, were this game in New York, I would take the Jets. But it is in Tennessee, and I will take the Titans. But I am still taking New York to cover the 6-point spread, which is too much. Don't be surprised if this is the Titans' first loss of the season.

Jets, 34-13. Are you kidding me? OK, I AM surprised. I am very surprised. I was thinking, maybe a last-minute Brett Favre drive where a last-second field goal gave the Jets a 18-16 victory. Or something like that. I was not picturing such a convincing, powerful win over the previously unbeaten Titans. The offense is on fire, the defense looks amazing. Are the Jets, all of a sudden, the best team in the AFC? I am going to say they are. J-E-T-S!

Washington - Seattle: The Redskins are coming off a disheartening loss to the Cowboys. Thank God they can relax with a game in Seattle. The Seahawks have lost three in a row, and they have won only two games all year. This will not be #3. Skins to win, and cover the 3 1/2, Clinton Portis or no Clinton Portis.

Redskins, 20-17. What I meant was...if Clinton Portis plays, they won't cover the spread...whatever. The Seahawks aren't going to win any games like this, and Washington is reeling a little right now, which kept this game closer than it ought to have been.

New Orleans - Green Bay: A huge test for the Packers, who suddenly find themselves in first place in the North. The Saints have been very good at home, but they are pretty much out of the playoff picture. Despite an identical 5-5 record, Green Bay has a real shot at the playoffs because they are not in the same division as Carolina, Tampa, and Atlanta. The Packers will come into New Orleans and upset a team in turmoil.

Saints, 51-29. Well, I was pretty wrong about that one. Whoo! An absolute hammering by the Saints here. Most amazing to me - I know the New Orleans passing attack is great, but it looked flawless here against what was supposed to be one of the better passing defenses in the league. And a week after taking a share of the lead in the NFC North, the Packers give it up, as the Vikings and Bears both win. The road to the division title just got a lot harder. Saints still won't make the playoffs.

I am now 104-72-1 straight up, and 103-74 ATS.

BRN rundown

Paul McCartney is looking into releasing a previously-unheard Beatles song. Carnival Of Light is 14 minutes long, an experimental track featuring people yelling words like "Barcelona!" over guitar feedback and church organs. Perhaps McCartney wants to prove that the Beatles invented techno music, or that they were avant-garde before avant-garde was in vogue. Or maybe he wants to prove that even the Beatles were able, on occasion, to bore the hell out of people.

Sammy Hagar has confirmed a long-standing rumour, that he will not fly with Eddie Van Halen. After a fight began on an airplane, Eddie tried to smash a window out with his hands. Then he tried to use a bottle. At which point Alex Van Halen finally stepped in and took the bottle away. This is a perfect example of Eddie's misdirected drunken anger. He was mad at Sammy, not at the window! And, just in time, after no one had died, Alex prevents Eddie from taking a third crack at the window, this time presumably with a sledge hammer. What a perfect snap shot of the Van Halen band's mercurial career arc.

Eddie Money is going on some show called Don't Forget The Lyrics with his daughter, Jesse. Yep. Set your PVR for December 19th, remaining Eddie Money fans! Both of you.

Bruce Springsteen has a new album coming out January 27th. Working On A Dream is produced by the same guy who did Magic, which was a great album. I'm looking forward to this one. Although it looks like he's going to be doing a cover of "Tomorrow Never Knows". I'm not so much looking forward to that.

The guitarist for Guns N Roses (some guy) and the drummer (some other guy) have been removed from the "band members" section on the GNR MySpace page. Since all good Breaking Rock News Journalists go to MySpace for all of our rock star news, rampant speculation has begun about in-fighting within the band. It is entirely possible that these two guys were not willing to wait eighteen more years to release their follow-up album.

Bon Jovi has announced that they will be releasing a Greatest Hits (another Greatest Hits) album in the fall. Of 2009. Perhaps they think fans will be able to hold their collective breaths that long. After all, if no one passed out waiting for Chinese Democracy...

John Paul Jones will be playing a Christmas charity show with Warren Haynes of the Allman Brothers Band. And...yeah.

He's got a ticket to Glyde...

OK, what's cheesier - the title of this post, or these awesome wrestling videos starring our own Ben McCully? I'll let you be the judge:

Wrestling under the pornoesque pseudonym Vinnie Glyde, our own McCully was once the terror of the Pro Wrestling United league. Check out the gold lame suits. (That's lame, as in the style of "lame", with the "accent aigue" that I can't figure out, not "lame" as in "lame".) It appears as though he may well have been a villain in this wrestling league, since you can hear people yelling at him. You suck, Vinnie Glyde! And so forth.

Well, as Doc always says, if you can't make it in pro wrestling, you become a DJ. And if you can't make it as a DJ, you become a cruise ship magician. Or something. It appears as though McCully can do both though, as he is currently in a war of words on the air with Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake, and it appears that he'll be wrestling him in a few weeks. Stay tuned!


I went to the Rideau Centre last night for the North American premiere of The Devil's Curse, a movie with an Ottawa connection that comes out on DVD today. For the review, click here:

I had never been to a movie at the Rideau Centre before, and I had never had to park there before. It's one of those irritating parking systems where you bring your ticket with you, and then you come back, pay that ticket at some machine, and then get a new ticket that will let you leave, all automated-like. Which means that you have to find a bank machine because you have no cash and no credit card, and then you have to go BACK to the bank machine because the 20 bucks you took out is not being accepted by the parking ticket machine, and then you take out 100 bucks just to be on the safe side, because you don't want to have to walk back and go up that escalator and wander around to find that bank machine again, but then the first 20 you took out suddenly works, and you have to hit your bank on the way home so you can put that 100 bucks back into it so you can pay your cable bill. Or something.

But it was all worthwhile. Because when I left the parking ticket machine, I am pretty certain that it called me "dude". Now, it was late at night, almost 10:00, and I was awfully sleepy because I get up at 2. So I could have been imagining things in some way. But I am almost 100 % positive that the machine, upon printing my ticket, said "thanks, dude". I almost paid for another ticket, just to find out for sure. But then I wouldn't have been able to cover my cable bill. So I just went home, dude.

Monday, November 17, 2008

If you're looking for something to do tonight...

Tonight, I'll be attending a screening of the North American premiere of a fim called The Devil's Curse, a horror movie that was filmed in Britain with the involvement of Ottawa producer Mike Dobbin. Before the movie, they will be screening the short film the Funeral...Again, Matt West's award-winning Ottawa short film starring Ottawa actors, including some fat guy from CHEZ 106. There are a ton of extra tickets floating around, and I'll be handing those out to whomever comes by before the movie begins. It is at a downtown theatre location, and for tickets contact either me, through email, at, or the producer, Mike Dobbin, at, and you will be put on the guest list.

NASCAR. A sponsored assault on my senses.

At the beginning of yesterday's NASCAR race, the final one of the season, a spokesperson from the Ford Motor Company grabbed a microphone and said something to this effect: "on behalf of the Ford Motor Company, gentlemen, start your engines". Which seemed odd to me. Isn't that kind of like getting Canadian Tire to sponsor the ceremonial faceoff in hockey? Or getting Honest Jim from Honest Jim's Truck-And-Tow to sing Take Me Out To the Ballgame during the seventh-inning stretch at Fenway? Or flipping a token from the Seattle Super Sensory Video Arcade to determine who receives the ball at a Seahawks game? There was just something about it that bothered me on a visceral level. Then I looked around me.

I was at a party at Pierre and Francine's house for the final NASCAR event of the year. As complete and total NASCAR fanatics, they had friends in from all over the city. And the country. And from other countries as well. There were a few American race fanatics who made the journey up to Ottawa, people who had met these people at NASCAR events around the States. It was truly amazing. But most amazing of all were the sponsors. I have a Dewalt hat that I wear from time to time. I got it at a booth at Toolfest when I was doing a tool demonstration there a few years ago. No one, ever, has approached me while I was wearing that hat and asked if I worked for Dewalt. No one has ever asked me if I was into carpentry or if I preferred Dewalt tools to other tools. But dozens of people have approached me in my Dewalt hat and asked me if I was a Matt Kensith fan. For a long time, I said "what?" and didn't understand. And then they would start talking about fuel intakes and carburetors and horsepower, and I would glaze over and tune out and eventually slip into a crowd when their backs were turned.

Apparently, Matt Kensith is sponsored by Dewalt. And in the world of NASCAR, sponsorship is everything. I know this because Dewalt Man was at this party. Head-to-toe, hat-to-boots Dewalt sponsorship. This is how he let people know for whom he was rooting. I'm sure Dewalt Man has a real name. And a job and a life and a family and so forth. I may even have learned his name. But it was easy to forget when all you can remember is Dewalt Man. I had a long conversation with Jack Daniels Man. A very friendly guy, he does self-defense courses and goes to NASCAR races and once did the Richard Petty Experience thing where you sit in a car as it goes 145 km/h. Or maybe mph. It happens in America, after all. I heard his name, but promptly forgot it, because he was clearly Jack Daniels man. Now, I like Jack Daniels. (More than I like Dewalt - I don't build stuff, but I do drink stuff), so I decided I would cheer for the same driver as Jack Daniels Man. He told me the driver's name. Then I forgot that too, and tried to look on the TV for the Jack Daniels Car, which I assume was being driven by American Jack Daniels Man.

I also had a terrific time talking to #24, who had socks to match her shirt which matched her car parked outside. She was cheering for #24, which amazingly wasn't a sponsor. It was a car number. Like Brett Favre is #4. I could understand that. But I forget who's #24. The last time I went, I spent a good deal of time talking to a wonderful lady named Home Depot Woman. Not only did she cheer for Home Depot Race Car Driver, but she actually worked at Home Depot herself. It was a few years ago, so I don't remember which came first. I think there's a good chance she doesn't either. Chicken and the egg, and that sort of thing. She was coming later, but I had to go.

I still don't get NASCAR. I still don't know the name of any drivers, except Matt Kensith, who is Dewalt Man, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. who have ESPN DVDs that I reviewed for Cynical Cinema, and Jimmie Johnson who apparently won his third straight Doritos Oreo Wal-Mart Pepsi Haliburton Cup yesterday, which is something only he and a guy I have never heard of before have done. And a bunch of cars went really fast, and a bunch of people in Francine and Pierre's basement cheered. I really don't get this sport, but I sure love the people who watch it.