Friday, December 12, 2008

Popping popcorn with a cell phone!

Here is an amazing video!

Breaking Rock News - it's true!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the exciting news - it's true!

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

So THAT's why I've been sleepy.

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

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Salvation Army

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

613-241-1573 extension 254

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

Breaking Rock News Again

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

Spinning my tires.

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

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

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Week 15 NFL picks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

And...the wrestling video.

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

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

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

As seen on TV!

No longer will I pay attention to this.

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

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

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

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