Friday, December 5, 2008

Musical news of the world. Breaking!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now what?

I really don't understand the thinking behind proroguing the government here. Other than the fact that it's Stephen Harper hanging on by his fingernails, desperately clinging to power for at least one more month. But there is no parliament now for that month. And a half. There is no government. There is nothing happening for Canada at all. And for what? So we can come back on January 26th and go through the same thing again? Everyone seems to be saying that Harper is going to draft a new budget that will be acceptable to all parties, and that will somehow fix everything. Like, if the Conservatives have the time, they can just craft a co-operative budget accaptable to everyone. Like they should have done the first time, what with having a minority government.

So, suppose they do. And they come up with a budget that gives the NDP and the Liberals and the Bloc everything they want, as a way of hanging on to power in desperation. What has that really done? It certainly hasn't solved the problem which caused all of this - Harper's unwillingness to work with other parties in a cooperative way. When the Conservatives took out the contentious clauses (public financing, etc.) in their previous plan, that wasn't co-operation. That was having no choice, because there was a gun to their head. And this will be the same thing. They can come up with a worthwhile, fair, universally accepted budget...with a gun to their heads. Last year, Harper tried, again and again, to push the Liberals on every issue, more out of mean-spiritedness than because he wanted to help Canada. He just wanted to make them blink, and wanted them to be the cause of the election.

But through all that, the Liberals sissied out at every turn, because they couldn't afford an election (obviously - look at their campaign). So now, they come up with a different plan. In the past, Harper was governing as though he had a majority, because he knew the Liberals would, under no circumstance, call an election. So now, he has a stronger minority, and he goes off on this crazy, over-the-top partisan crap. Imagine that man with an actual majority? Lord help this country. Forget the economic crisis - I'm too busy passing laws that say the Liberals have to wear dunce caps in the house of commons, and that every Conservative MP is allowed to give any NDP MP a swirly once a week. Scary thought.

So on January 26th, when parliament returns after their "cooling off" period, what changes? Maybe there's a new budget on the table, but so what? Dion, Layton and Duceppe aren't going to be affected by a "cooling off" period, because they went into this with calm, methodical clarity. This was not an angry knee-jerk reaction. It was a carefully planned attempt to save this country from an ill-equipped leader. And it will not go away simply because parliament does. When the session resumes in late January, Barack Obama will have just been sworn in as President of the United States. And the world will be watching as he takes the White House with his "team of rivals", a group that by it's very nature requires co-operation and conflicting opinions. And Stephen Harper, in comparison, will look to us Canadians like the worst leader in the world. (He is not the worst leader in the world, to be fair - just in Canada.)

And we'll be in the same position we are now. This coalition has to stick around, even if it doesn't bring down the government right away, simply because it is the only thing keeping Harper from running off on his mean-spirited neo-con agenda. And I don't think Canadians want a leader who can't be a good one without a gun to his head.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Breaking rock news! Fleetwood Mac edition!

Fleetwood Mac is coming to Ottawa! And I'm a little excited. I like the Mac, and it should be a monster show. The only problem I have with it is that it's going to be a "Greatest Hits" tour, which means I won't hear any of the deep album cuts I could hope for. But all the same, Fleetwood Mac hasn't toured at all in five years, and I don't ever remember hearing about them coming to Ottawa before. March 24th is the date, and the details about tickets and pre-sales and so forth will be coming up at CHEZ soon.

Dr. Pepper has responded to Axl Rose and his lawyers and their lawsuit. They have changed a few things - extended the deadline so everyone who wants one can still get their free Dr. Pepper - setting up a toll-free hotline, fixed up their website. They say that it was Axl and his people who approached them before their big Chinese Democracy promotion and giveaway, and that they are disappointed that GNR is suing them, and so forth. The key here is that although Rose and the lawyers have "demanded an apology", their press release clearly, in no way, was an apology. So basically, it says "screw you, Axl Rose". The funniest line in the press release - "we’re happy we were able to satisfy the thirst of so many Dr Pepper fans". Dr. Pepper has fans? Who, really, is a fan of a soft drink?

U2 have premiered a video, a cover of "I Believe In Father Christmas", to launch their new (RED)WIRE internet download site, which helps support the fight against HIV and malaria in Africa. Which is a great cause, and it's a great site, but...a Christmas song? Really?

The Grammy nominees have been announced, with their unnaturally awkward category names - Best Pop/Rock Performance By A Duo or Group With Vocals And Instruments, and such like. If anynoe cared abuot the Grammys any more, they could tune in to see Robert Plant go up agains Lil' Wayne and Ne-Yo, or Springsteen take on Death Cab For Cutie. But they won't because thankfully no one cares about the Grammys any longer.

KISS is working on a new album. It wil be out in summer of 2009, and will be supported by a mini-tour. Because a new KISS album warrants a mini-tour. Then, that mini-tour will be followed by a mega-tour, which Gene Simmons says will likely last "a year and a half". That mega-tour is to support the new line of KISS bath soaps, out in September.

Sean Avery.

OK. Sean Avery does deserve to be suspended by the NHL. In point of fact, he would have been suspended by the Dallas Stars one way or another, and the NHL merely beat him to the punch. Speaking of beating to the punch, I wish someone would beat Sean Avery with punches. For those of you who are unaware of the current controversy, here is a clip of the statements that got him suspended:

Of course, we hockey fans already know that Avery is a jackass. There is nothing terribly new about this. However, it is the method in which this was done that is the problem. It's one thing to say this stuff to another player on the ice. You want to get under his skin, you want to throw him off his game, fine. But saying it in the media is different. And calling the media over to you, so you can say this garbage on purpose to create a sound bite, is disgusting. Yes, he deserves to be suspended. And he is likely done with the Dallas Stars. And I really don't see any other team in the NHL picking him up, as he is loathed in his own dressing room everywhere he goes, and loathed by every other player in the league. What team would welcome this douche with open arms? I'm hoping none.

But it took an American newscaster, Keith Olberman, to raise a conspiracy theory that I like. On Olberman's MSNBC Countdown program last night, Avery made his nightly list of Worst Persons In The World. (Avery, sadly, was not The Worst - Sean Hannity had done some Sean Hannity stuff, and would not be denied the top spot.) But Olberman spoke of a rumour that seems as though it has some merit. Dion Phaneuf, you see, is dating Avery's ex, the ridiculously hot Elisha Cuthbert. And Dion Phanuef, you see, is an actual tough guy, and not a mouthy weasel pretend-tough guy.

So the conspiracy theory goes like this - Phaneuf was going to kick the crap out of Avery on the ice anyway, and so Avery made these comments on purpose. He was trying to get suspended for the Calgary game, so he wouldn't have to face Phaneuf on the ice. I hope this really was the case. And, at the same time, I now regret that the suspension couldn't have waited at least one more day. Because I would have liked to have seen Avery beaten with punches.

I support this.

These are some interesting times, aren't they? This debacle on Parliament Hill has captured my attention thoroughly, and I've spent the last few days reading everything I can find on the subject. Randall has done two one-minute Moores on the subject in the past three days, and it's not over yet, not by a long shot. And I agree with Randall's idea yesterday. The only way to resolve this situation quickly, fairly, and acceptably is for Stephen Harper to step down. Now. The Conservative government as a whole is not poisonous. There are many capable MPs under their umbrella on the Hill. But under Harper and his inner circle, there is poison running downhill, and it affects the entire party. With Harper in charge, there is no chance that Parliament will ever work. In the middle of an economic crisis, he was more concerned with hurting the other parties than he was with helping Canada. Of this there can be no doubt.

The few things I hear from both sides seem to be tempests in teapots in many ways. The Coalition government, which is set up and ready to go, is trying to focus on the economy. Which is the important thing, sure. And the Conservatives have done nothing in terms of what economists say is needed. But the real reason this Coalition has been formed is that Harper was playing petty partisan politics. With unions and with public funding and so forth. Although the economic situation is the basis of all this bad blood, it is the partisan bullying and the pursuit of power that has been placed above the interests of Canada that has provoked this reaction.

It has become clear that Harper and his inner circle are more interested in maintaining power as long as possible than they are in actually...doing stuff. It's like trying to win a Stanley Cup without strengthening your own team through training and working out, but rather through slashing and injuring the other teams. It's dirty, it won't stop now, and that's the real issue. The man can't be trusted to do the right thing for Canada. That's the reason this is happening, so say that. Stop complaining about the not-good-enough stimulus plan, because that is pretty secondary in the end.

As for the Conservatives, they are trying to scare people over the involvement of the Bloc Quebecois in this Coalition. There will be a separatist party! On Parliament Hill! And they will have veto power! They want to destroy Canada! OK...what? There is already a separatist party on the Hill. It is already the Bloc Quebecois. The same Bloc that Stephen Harper himself approached with the idea of forming a similar coalition when the Liberals had a minority. The Bloc already has veto power - over whether or not to bring down your government. What is going to change when they become a part of the coalition, exactly? Gilles Duceppe, the Canada-hating evil mastermind, in a position to...poison the Conservative Kool-Aid?

What, exactly, can he do to "bring down Canada"? To "weaken the government"? And is any of this what he really wants? Of course it isn't. He wants what's best for Quebec. That's it. And a strong Canadian economy is the best chance for a strong Quebec economy. It is in his best interests, and those of his party, that Canada's government is running smoothly. If only Harper realized the same thing himself. And just because his party wants to separate Canada from Quebec doesn't mean he hates Canada. Get off this stupid smokescreen and get back to the real problems.

And the other stuff is idiotic too. This is not a "power grab" by Stephane Dion. I really don't believe that he is doing this to be Prime-Minister-For-A-Day. Maybe it is for Jack Layton. And Gilles Duceppe, I believe, has no illusions about ever becoming Prime Minister, or wielding his influence to push his own agenda. In this case, his agenda is the same as that of most Canadians. A stronger economy. That's it. And Canadians did not "overwhelmingly reject" Stephane Dion as Prime Minister any more than they "overwhelmingly supported" Stephen Harper as Prime Minister. The fact is, more people voted for MPs in this coalition government than they did for Conservative MPs. So why wouldn't the majority of Canadians be in favour of this coalition? I would imagine that any poll would suggest that Canada, by at least a small margin, would be in favour of not having Harper as Prime Minister.

And lastly - the idea that this plan is somehow un-democratic. It is perfectly legal, and perfectly reasonable. In fact, it is likely more legal and more honest and above-board than the last election - remember how Stephen Harper did an end-run around his own policies, and those of the Canadian system, in order to call an election when his party was strongest? Wasn't that a little more subversive than this out-in-the-open coalition idea?

So it's now Harper and his inner circle that are the problem, far moreso than the Conservative Party. Harper has brought this entirely on himself by governing as though he had a majority and being purposefully and antagonistically uncooperative with the other parties in the House of Commons. It is that lack of cooperation that is now putting his government in jeopardy, and the alternative proposed is a coalition government that, by it's very nature, would have to place cooperation above all else. And on what level is that a bad idea? Should Harper step down, I would be in full support of the dissolution of this coalition. But he has to do that now. And he won't. He has made it very clear that power is the only thing he cares about, which is why we're in this mess to begin with. Ergo, we are left with the lesser of two evils, and in this case that is Dion-Layton-Duceppe and their co-op. So, let's do it.

And the solution to all this for Harper - the only solution? To prorogue the government, which means to shut it down. In the middle of this economic crisis that has already seen incredible inaction. And then what - will he be able to convince everyone else, by the time the House reconvenes, that he has put aside his petty, partisan, mean-spirited agenda and that he's finally willing to work for the best interests of Canada? Or will it be the same old, same old, where the only option for other parties in order to save themselves and do what's right for Canada is to...form a coalition government? Well done Harper. Step down and go be a pro rogue somewhere else. Because otherwise, I don't see a way out of this.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Neil Young! (And Wilco)

I missed Everest. They were the band that opened for Neil Young last night at Scotiabank Place. It was too bad, but I got there late and at least made it to my seat before Wilco took the stage. I have liked Wilco for a long time, but I have never seen them live, and wow! What a show they put on in the second slot! Wailing guitar duels, quiet songs followed by hard-rocking songs followed by bonkers quiet-and-hard-rocking songs. Not only did they keep the Neil Young crowd involved throughout their whole show, they kept us on our toes as well. I was hoping to hear "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart", but no complaints really.

I was amazed at how many people weren't aware of Wilco. When I went outside between their set and Neil's, I talked to quite a few people who thought that Wilco was a great young band who had a real chance of making it! I told them that Wilco had kinda been around for a long time. Like, 15 years. They've made it, but in that indie, cult-favourite way that doesn't get much mainstream recognition. For those of you who enjoyed Wilco last night at the show, check out I Am Trying To Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco, one of history's all-time great music movies. It was filmed during the creation of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, which is Wilco's best album.

Then Neil hit the stage. And what a show! I expected him to talk a little bit about the American automobile industry, about the recent presidential election, about the war in Iraq, you know - about something. But instead he launched right into the tunes. One after another after another. Hits mixed with recent stuff mixed with obscure stuff and then more hits. His isn't one of the shows I attend hoping to hear a certain song. Even with Springsteen, I'm sort of hoping to hear "The River". Even with the Stones, I'm holding out some hope to hear "Ruby Tuesday". With Neil, I'm just eagerly anticipating what he's going to play next. I really don't care what song it is.

He blasted through "Love And Only Love", "Hey Hey My My", "Powderfinger", "Cinnamon Girl", "Cortez the Killer", and tons of other stuff before settling down and playing some amazing acoustic tunes, including one of my favourites, "Needle And the Damage Done", one of the highlights of the show. Then he introduced the band, and of course the biggest cheer was for his wife of many years, Peggy. After a few quiet numbers, he blasted back into full rock mode, cranking up the volume on "Heart of Gold" and "Old Man". The energy this man has at age 63 is incredible. The musicians he has with him are incredible. And the energy he brought to Scotiabank Place was fantastic. The crowd was into every song, even the ones they didn't know, and the arena was rocking the whole time.

I'm still buzzing this morning. If this review of the show seemed incoherent at times, my apologies. It is because I was pretty much unable to sleep when the show was finished, and I am running on fumes and Red Bull this morning. Neil Young is amazing!

NFL picks week 14.

Stupid football. I am now 115-77-1 straight-up, and 113-80 against the spread. Last week, I was 11-5 straight up, and 10-6 ATS. If it weren't for the Broncos, I would be 192-0-1 straight up, and 193-0 against the spread. Alright, I'm making that up. I mean the Broncos and the Chargers. I HATE the Broncos this year! More than I do most years! Anyway, here are my picks for the upcoming week, which might be terrible. Or good.

Chargers - Raiders: OK, the Chargers suck this year. They are now done, in terms of making the playoffs, and they are playing out the string. But even a very half-assed effort from the Chargers is enough to beat Oakland, who are coming off an embarassing loss to the Chiefs. At home on Thursday in San Diego, the Chargers should win and cover the 10 points.

Chargers, 34-7. What a dominant effort. If the Chargers had played this way all year, they would be...5-8. Like they are. After all, this was the Raiders and you can't read anything into that at all. But I am calling for San Diego to win in the final week of the season against Denver. And the Raiders should probably not win again. This year, anyway. Off to a good start this week! So far so good!

Arizona - St. Louis: The Cardinals have lost two in a row, but the Rams have lost six. And Arizona should win the division this week with a victory over the hapless team from St. Louis, who have yet to win a game in their own division this year. However, 13 1/2 points is too much here, for a divisional game against a Rams team that runs hot and cold. Cards to win, Rams to cover.

Arizona, 34-10. Well, the Rams ran cold this week. Real cold. And the Cards managed to cover a monster spread. With the win, the Cardinals clich their division title, not so much because they are that good, but because they are in a division where the second best team is the Niners. The weakest division in football is the AFC West, but this one's pretty darn close.

Baltimore - Washington: This one is off the board right now, so I don't really know who is favoured, but I would assume it will be Baltimore. The Skins are a very good team, but going into Baltimore to play a Ravens team that is hitting on all cylinders right now is a tall task. And Washington has struggled a little of late. Take the Ravens to win, and cover whatever the spread may be.

Baltimore, 24-10. So, Baltimore won, and covered whatever spread there may have been. The Skins are sinking pretty fast, now in last place in their tough division. And although I'm still not totally sold on the Ravens, I think they are close to the elite teams, the Titans and the Giants and the Steelers and the Colts. But until they beat one of those teams, I won't be convinced. Tough finishing stretch of the season for the Ravens - they have Pittsburgh this coming weekend, and Dallas the week after that.

Buffalo - Miami: This is not really a home game for the Bills, what with the game being played in Toronto at the Rogers Centre. No one in Toronto has any specific allegiance to the Bills, and I would suspect that the game will be attended by an equal number of fans from each side. Who knows how the players will react to playing home games in a different city, but I don't think it matters. The Dolphins, quite simply, are a better team, and the Bills are tanking fast. Look for that to continue, as the Fish win here. The Bills are favoured by one point.

Miami, 16-3. The Dolphins are just a better team than the Bills. That's it. Since that incredible start, Buffalo has won one of their past eight. And that one was against Kansas City. The Bills could well lose each game between now and season's end. And Miami could - just possibly - make the playoffs! This has to be the most amazing turnaround of a football team I have ever seen in just one year.

Chicago - Jacksonville: The Bears are the better team this year. The Jaguars have been incredibly disappointing, but they are still capable of pulling out a huge game and beating a team like the Bears, even in Chicago. Bears are favoured by 6 1/2, and I think they will win, but I think the Jaguars have a shot, and they will cover.

Bears, 23-10. Well, the Jags didn't cover. They are just not going to ever live up to any pre-season expectations, and even if they do, they can't possibly go anywhere. The Bears are still in the hunt for a playoff spot, and they have a pretty good shot.

Denver - Kansas City: The Broncos make me furious. Every time they should get blown up (last week against the Jets, anyone) they win. Every time they should beat a team, they get blown up. (Oakland?) So this is Kansas City. Who are terrible. And Denver should destroy them. By this logic, I will take the Chiefs not only to cover the 9-point spread, but to win the game outright. I have not once been right about a Broncos game this year. This is the week!

Denver, 24-17. And I am still not right. Why? Because the Broncos hate me. They were down 17-7 in the third quarter. But they won, not because they should have, but because they want to make sure I am never right about them all year long. Whatever I pick next week, make sure to bet against that outcome. At least the Chiefs covered the spread. And if the Broncos totally tank, and the Chargers win out, the Broncos could miss the playoffs! I'm crossing my fingers...

Green Bay - Houston: The Packers are sub-.500. They are two games back of first in their division. And they have a tough hill to climb. But they DO finish the season in Lambeau against the Lions. And they DO have the Texans this week, which should help. Green Bay has beaten the teams they should beat whenever they have had a shot at it. They will win this game, covering the 6-point spread.

Texans, 24-21. And...the season ends with a whimper. This team makes no sense to me. Playing the Texans in exactly the same kind of back-and-forth, close contest they had with the Panthers last week? Letting them pass for 400 yards against the Pack's "good" pass defense? Forcing four, five turnovers, scoring 21 points off turnovers, and still losing the game? It's over. No playoffs for Green Bay. And I am sad.

Indianapolis - Cincinnatti: The Colts are looking pretty good, but not yet great. They have not, really, dominated a single team this year. And they have not covered the spread too often. The Bengals are terrible, and Indy will win this game, but the 13 1/2 spread is way too much. Bengals to cover.

Colts, 35-3. Now the Colts look great. Everyone on that team is stepping up at the right time to make a big contribution, and they are blowing out the teams that deserve to be blown out. The Bengals were one of those teams. And that spread was not too much, in fact it was not nearly enough.

Minnesota - Detroit: The Vikings could easily fall into a trap here - divisional game, in Detroit, and you have to think the Lions are going to win at least one this year. I think the Vikings should win this one, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Lions took it. Detroit played their best game of the year in Minnesota. There is no line now, and you have to take Minnesota to win - but Detroit to cover whatever the spread may end up being.

Minnesota, 20-16. I must confess - after the heart of the Vikings defensive line was suspended for this game, I called all my pool administrators and changed my pick to the Lions. And I fully stand by that pick. When I found out, moments before the game, that they had been reinstated, I didn't have time to change back. So I lost all of these points. But the Lions had to cover whatever that spread ended up being, at the very least.

New England - Seattle: The Patriots are beating the teams they should beat. Seattle is a team they should beat. Look for New England to make things interesting in their division by winning, covering the 5-point spread.

New England, 24-21. Think the Patriots are breathing a sigh of relief? The Seahawks played an awfully tough game against New England here, and Seattle was leading just about wire-to-wire. Things ARE interesting in the division now - three teams tied at 8-5.

New Orleans - Atlanta: The Saints are at home, and favoured by 3. New Orleans has been fantastic at home this year, but are still mired at 6-6, and have no playoff shot. The Falcons have a real shot, and need this win more. I will take the Falcons to win in the upset.

New Orleans, 29-25. The Saints offense was firing on all cylinders, their defense was missing on all cylinders. Thankfully for New Orleans, they were the last to score in this game, which went back and forth like crazy. The Falcons are still a better team than the Saints. Just not in New Orleans.

New York Jets - San Francisco: I am going to consider the Broncos game a blip. Because it's the Broncos, kings of the blip this year. And the Jets will want to re-establish their dominance against a weak rival. Yes, it's a cross country, west-coast game. But the Jets won't care, and they will cover the 4 point spread. Easily.

Niners, 24-14. Ummm...what? OK, the Broncos wasn't a blip. The Jets really, truly, aren't that good. They are not much better than the Patriots, and they might not even be as good as the Dolphins. Losing a big game, I can understand. Losing two straight after knocking off the Titans? One of them to the Niners? Look out, New York.

New York Giants - Philadelphia: The Eagles might be on track after that big win last week. They also have a few extra days to prepare for this one, and they always play the Giants very very tough. I think they will actually win this game, and shock New York. Giants are favoured by 7.

Eagles, 20-14. The Eagles are looking very, very good. Not only did they beat the Giants, they did so convincingly. For 3.9 quarters, they held the Giants scoreless, with the only TD coming off a blocked field goal. McNabb has that offense going, and has Michael Westbrook broken out? If so, look out Dallas.

Pittsburgh - Dallas: The Steelers are playing amazing football right now. So are the Cowboys, who have looked very good the last couple of weeks. But Dallas is notorious for fading down the stretch in December, and this Steelers team is too much for the Cowboys right now. Pittsburgh to beat the Cowboys, covering the 3-point spread.

Steelers, 20-13. What a game! Pittsburgh looked weaker on defense than they have all year, giving up more total yards and more rushing yards than they have yet this season. But it was their offense that bailed them out at the very end, scoring 10 points in the last seven minutes, and then the defense did what they were supposed to do, putting the cap on the whole thing with that TD interception return. I'm loving Troy Polamalu.

Tennessee - Cleveland: Poor Browns. Not only do they have to deal with the best team in the AFC, they also have to do so without their two top QBs, Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn. The Browns have no shot here, whatsoever. Titans to win, covering the 13 1/2. And then some.

Titans, 28-9. Titans covered, and then some. Really, this game was no test for the best team in the AFC, what with the third-string QB in for the Browns. The real test for this team will come in the final two weeks, when they host Pittsburgh and Indianapolis.

Carolina - Tampa Bay: These are the two top teams in the NFC outside the Giants. If it's in Tampa, the Bucs win. But it's in Carolina, and the Panthers will take it. The Panthers will run their record to 7-0 at home, and cover the 3-point spread that is up right now. This will, I think, be the best Monday night game of the year.

Panthers, 38-23. The Panthers are very, very good. And this wasn't the best Monday night game of the year, because the Panthers are absolutely dominant at home. And it looks pretty solid that they will be getting a home game in the playoffs this year, after earning that first-round bye. I don't see Tampa Bay coming back and overtaking them for the division, and who else is going to step in and take away that bye? Right. No one. Panthers are the second best team in the NFC.

127-81-1 straight up, 122-87 ATS.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I'd sure like to be a fly on the wall of Stephen Harper's office this morning. the case may be...a bug in the wall.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Local band LAJ has released their debut EP, under their own label - as so many indie rockers do. It's a solid EP, with no discernible name. I've searched your whole website guys - what's the EP called? My old friend Sean is in the band, and he just sent me an email telling me that the band have decided to donate a portion of their CD sales between now and Christmas to the Doc and Woody Fund for CHEO. The EP (whatever it's called) is being sold, for that short time, on their website for $4.99. These guys have a good website - one of the few band websites I have seen where you hear all the songs as soon as you get there. LAJ's website is here:

For this and other events helping to raise money for our Doc and Woody Fund, check out the Fund Page here:

One more wrestling note.

In one of the undercard matches on Friday night, one of the wrestlers got caught with a good shot, right in the nose. When he came backstage, his face was totally bloodied, and he looked like he had, well, been in a real fight. Tough guy though, went to the bathroom, checked himself out, and contemplated twisting his own nose back into place. Sunny, who has been around wrestling rings for some fifteen or twenty years, had a helpful suggestion for him - this is what all the wrestlers do. She got a tampon from her bag, cut it up, and put half in each nostril. Which certainly seemed to do the trick. Then, about ten minutes later, as this guy is leaning up against the wall, trying not to bleed, I saw another guy go up to him, whispering excitedly - "dude! DUDE! You've got Sunny's tampon in your nose! DUDE! I am so jealous."

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wrestling...again. This time with the big guys.

So McCully wanted me to be in his corner when he wrestled Brutus "the Barber" Beefcake on Friday night. And I agreed, because I always like to participate in something that has the potential to be bonkers. I've done this wrestling gig before, anyway. I fought "the Wild Ace" in a sumo match during a Provincial Championship Wrestling show a year ago. At the same place, so I figured I'm an old hand at this. Piece of cake. Besides, I won't have to wrestle - McCully IS a wrestler, and he'll be doing all that stuff. I just have to walk around and screw stuff up. From what I understand. I got to the Jim Durrell Centre at about 6:30, prepared for the 8:00 start time. Of course, wrestling shows never begin on time. There are delays.

The big delay, this time, were the feature attractions. Brutus the Barber, and former WWF Diva Sunny, pictured here on the Doc and Woody Fun Page:

You see, before the events, they will go into the audience area and sign pictures and sell merchandise. I don't know how much any of it costs, but they seemed to think they had done well, just about everyone in the crowd bought something. You see, much as a stripper makes more money from the back-room action than she does from the club itself, so too do the traveling wrestlers make more money from the front-room action. So next time you're at a wrestling show, tip generously!

So Brutus and Sunny were out there signing and selling stuff, and that was our holdup. The show couldn't begin until they were out of there, and we waited. When they came backstage, things got underway with the first inter-species match I think I have ever seen at a wrestling show, as a man wrestled a panda. Well, a man in a panda suit. One of the weirdest panda suits I have ever seen. From the waist up, it was like a shirt in panda colours, with a panda head and mask. But from the waist down, it was massive. Like a panda suit for a 500-pound man. Biggest ass I have ever seen on an animal costume. It was the J-Lo panda.

Then the machinations began. Josianne Pussycat was there, but the girl she was supposed to fight was not going to show up. So she was in limbo - should she manage me and McCully, or should she do something else? She wanted to fight, but there were no girls there for a match, and Sunny doesn't fight. So a compromise was reached, where a skinny, little guy was found. They gave him a wig and a mexican wrestling mask, and a bikini top and booty shorts. And he was sent out there to be a "girl" for Josianne to fight. Which I think, judging by the reaction, got a big rise out of the crowd. Or maybe that was just a reaction to Josianne, who was wearing less than most peelers usually do. Here is a picture of Josianne.

Then there were some tag-team matches featuring twins (male twins), and a MMA demonstration between a couple of guys from Team Bushido MMA Fitness Centre. McCully, backstage, kept trying to get the Barber's attention so they could go over what they were going to do in their match. Between sips of beer, Brutus told him they'd just be doing a wrestling match. Stop talking, he basically said. Just get out there and follow my lead. So that's where we were at. No shame with these wrestlers either. I turned around a little too quickly at one point, and caught an eyeful of a totally naked professional wrestler. Brutus balls. I moved on quickly. Sunny talked to us a lot more though - she was pretty cool about the whole thing, having been bumped around herself. The guy she was supposed to manage had car trouble and couldn't make it, so she was jammed into our match at the end. She isn't exactly the Sunny of 15 years ago, but she is still darn attractive, and of course got the biggest cheer at our match.

A couple of minutes before our fight began, Brutus seemed to be in more of a talkative mood, and chilled with us a little bit before we went on. McCully inquired about perhaps getting me involved in the match somehow - doing a thing where I screw up my own guy, or something. He mentioned that I had never been a part of the wrestling scene before, and I didn't really know what I was doing. Brutus lost it a little. "There is no way I'm letting that guy touch me" he bellowed, indicating me with his thumb as I stood in silence, afraid to speak. "I have too much riding on this for some rookie to break my neck with some stupid stunt!" I was a little flattered that he thought I would have the capacity to break his neck, stupid stunt or otherwise. That man is huge, and in amazing shape.

After a while, he recanted a little, and made some suggestions as to how I could get involved. Like, if he was in the ropes I could choke him a little. I made it quite clear that I was more than content to stand around and not actively participate, since McCully was right. I had no idea what I was doing. That became abundantly clear to me when I got out to the ring, and the match was going on. But the match was not between McCully and Brutus Beefcake. McCully was a no-show that night. No, instead, it was Vinnie Glyde himself, coming out of retirement for a surprise appearance and a final hurrah. If you haven't seen the masterful works of Vinnie Glyde, here are the videos one more time:

Full regalia, (except for his boots, which apparently got stolen somewhere in Alberta), with the robe and sequins and glitter and the dance moves. Fantastic stuff! I mean, I'm supposed to be his corner guy, his manager, but how do I keep a straight face while he's doing the jump-splits in a sequined robe? That is too funny. I had a hard time keeping a straight face during the entire match, but I had an even harder time doing the right things at the right time. At one point, Vinnie was in some kind of hold, and he and the Barber were looking at me. I'm at the side of the ring, and Vinnie's yelling "Eric, help me!" And I was whispering back "I don't know how! What do I do!" Eventually Brutus caught my eye a little and indicated to me that I was supposed to distract the ref. (As the bad guys, one of us distracts the ref, while the other does something devious to Brutus the Barber Beefcake.) So I did. And Vinnie did something. And the match went on, but I think they abandoned any idea of having me participate in any way.

So I just followed Sunny's lead, as she slammed her hands on the mat and yelled stuff and showed off her cleavage. So I slammed my hands on the mat and yelled stuff and showed off my cleavage. It worked OK. But Vinnie Glyde lost. He lost bad. He didn't even do anything cool. Except lose. And I was disappointed. So Sunny brought me into the ring and I joined her and the Barber in cutting some of his hair off. I'll have to ask Vinnie for a picture today, just to see how he managed to fix his hair.

Something I don't understand.

I was on my way home from an event at Calabogie Peaks yesterday. Driving on the 17, before it becomes the 417. And I saw one of those signs that told me how much the fines were should I speed in my car. Now, I have never really read one of those before, although I have seen them. You see, never having driven over the speed limit in my entire life, those signs have never been any of my concern. But I paid attention this time, for some reason. The speed limit on the highway was 100 km/h. This is what the sign said:

Speeding Fines:
110 km/h - $95.00
120 km/h - $220.00
130 km/h - $295.00

I was about ten clicks away when I finally thought about that again. Is there anyone else out there who finds something odd about this? If it will cost me 95 bucks just for being ten clicks over the speed limit, how could it possibly cost me 125 bucks more to be ten clicks over that? And then 75 bucks more for the next ten clicks? It would make sense to me if the fine for 130 was, say, $345. Or even $375. Or if the amounts went 95, 190, 285. But why is that second ten clicks so much more expensive than any other increment? It seems like some totally random numbers.

Oh well. Since I never speed, this will never affect me anyway.