Friday, January 30, 2009

Lingerie bowl 2009

Well, I couldn't figure out how to make the video go straight up. My girlfriend and her traumatized 14-year-old shot the video on it's side, and frakly, it probably looks less offensive that way. If there is to be no lingerie bowl (thanks to a bizarre protest involving a nudist colony) this year, I figured I could do one myself. Here is Lingerie Bowl 2009!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Stories that didn't make BRN today...

Because I couldn't inflict these on people who are interested in even the most banal classic-rock-related celebrity news...

Charlotte Church is in labour. And she is, therefore, going to have a baby. And she was adamant that while giving birth, she wanted to listen to Phil Collins, and was equally adamant that there be no Bryan Adams music playing. I received this "news" story about nine times this morning. I get it though. You don't want to bring a baby into the world to the tune of "Cuts Like a Knife". But Phil Collins? I would want a baby to hear something cool, first thing out of the ol' womb. Like...not Bryan Adams, or Phil Collins, or Charlotte Church.

This story appeared twice: Lithuania donated a Frank Zappa bronze statue to the city of Baltimore. It's a bronze bust of Zappa's head, and was created in Lithuania in 1995. They decided to donate it, for reasons unknown, to Zappa's home town. All of which is well and good - but this happened in May of last year.

Trailer Park Boys...live?

I really had no idea what to expect when I went to the Centrepointe Theatre to see the Trailer Park Boys' live show last night. What are they going to do? Bubbles will sing "Liquor And Whores", I'm sure, but after that what is there? My mom's boyfriend Larry was excited about the show though, and so I fed off his enthusiasm some and accompanied him to what turned out to be a very entertaining performance. The guys are doing community service, you see, and they are forced to travel around Canada teaching people about the evils and the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. At least, that's the premise. The show starts with a puppet show after-school special about drugs and alcohol, which was easily the funniest thing of the whole night.

Then Bubbles does a song about shopping carts, we get to see a very funny slide show about Ricky's day up until that point, and the three guys stand on stage cursing up a storm, and behaving exactly the way they do in the series. Which is hilarious, and it's also exactly what we want to see. Ricky is angry and violent, Bubbles gets frustrated and nervous, and Julian has little to do except trying to calm the other two down. In fact, Julian is almost irrelevant to the stage show, which is too bad. He just wears his black shirt, walks around with his rum and coke, and delivers very few lines. Ricky is good, doing his angry let's-get-drunk-and-high thing, but really this is the Bubbles show.

After the intermission, the second half was much weaker than the first. At this point, the guys are just bringing people on stage. Some to play "Corey and Trevor", others to compete in contests. Three hot girls were selected to roll joints and bob for "turds in cat litter". Three guys were chosen to compete in an electric guitar shredding competition. Basically, it was like one of those nights at the bar where they have an emcee who gets people to participate in bar games, and the success of the event depends entirely on the willingness of the participants and the skills of that emcee. I have done a few of these myself, and some have gone over great while others have fallen flat. In this case, it could have been an incredibly boring hour if it weren't for Bubbles, who managed to zing out several terrific lines (none of which I can really repeat) off the cuff, and he alone kept the second half moving. Very funny, very sharp, that Bubbles.

The best laughs I had, however, came courtesy of Larry. Larry is just about the nicest, sweetest, most soft-spoken guy I have ever met. He says things like "golly" and "gee" and "oh, heavens" a lot. And after the first, incredibly blue, sailors-with-tourettes curse-laden set, I turned to talk to him. And the contrast between what was going on up on the stage and Larry's quiet gollys and gees and so forth was absolutely hilarious to me. It reminded me a lot of that Simpsons episode where Flanders goes to a Chris Rock show thinking he's some kind of preacher. The fact that Larry finds the Trailer Park Boys as funny as I do still shocks me a little bit.

A great show though, and totally sold out. Larry and I couldn't even find tickets together, I had to sit in front of him, jammed against the wall like sardines. Thankfully, we were surrounded by some very nice people who didn't complain that I took up the better part of two seats. I would just like to say to the gorgeous woman who was seated to my right, if she reads this - I was not trying to be fresh by gently rubbing elbows and knees with you. I was just too fat for my seat and had nowhere else to go.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I hate the all-star game.

I avoided the NHL All-Star game once again this year, because I am decidedly sick of it. I don't watch the Pro Bowl, and I don't watch the NBA all-stars, and I don't care at all about any of them. The only thing worthwhile in the NHL all-star game is the big saves that come as a result of the goalie being the only one playing defense. And I can get those on youtube or the highlight reel on Sportscentre. The only all-star game worth anything is the baseball one, because it's still hitters and pitchers facing off as best they can. You won't see anyone brushed back, but occasionally you'll see Pete Rose smoke a catcher. The home runs are real. The strikeouts are real. The outfield plays are real. Goals in the NHL all-star game are not real. They are fake.

And I've been reading a lot about the stars who chose to skip this year's game - Sidney Crosby and Niklas Lidstrom. And I say - who cares? Do I really want to see Sidney Crosby in an all-star contest? How different is he going to look from Kovalev or Iginla? They all skate around, untouched, and fire the puck at the net and put it in. There are no special skills on display that Crosby might have that any other player doesn't. Same goes for Lidstrom - for God's sake, Brad Marsh once scored a goal in the all-star game. Does it mean anything when Lidstrom gets one? Are we any more excited? Not me.

Pilates camp?

I saw a flyer today. It's for a series of March-Break camps for kids run by the Catholic School board. Most of the camps are standard - soccer and tennis and sports and games and pizza day. But then there's a camp just for girls - which features manicures, pedicures, Pilates and yoga. And pizza day. Seriously? Nine-year-old girls are into Pilates? And yoga? They don't play soccer? I get it. Pilates is for girls. OK, I'm lying. I don't get it.

There's also a "Survivor" camp. Which, amazingly, has nothing to with survival skills or wilderness training or anything like that. I went to one of those camps once and learned which tree bark was edible and all kinds of cool stuff. This one, however, is actually a camp based on the TV show Survivor. Immunity challenges and so forth. Which is fine, I guess, if a little cheesy. But what happens when you sign your kid up for two hundred bucks and he's home on Tuesday because he lost the immunity challenge and got voted out of camp? He will miss the pizza on Friday...

100-0? Who cares...more on this tempest in a teapot, with Jesus-y goodness!

Some high school girls' basketball team got blown out, 100-0 somewhere in the states. Who cares, you say? I agree. Who cares. But somehow this has become a very big story the world over. To the point where there are "what would Jesus do" articles all over the internet and in the papers. Some guy from the school is quoted, suggesting that Jesus was all about being the best you could be at all times. Jesus, it turns out, was an early Anthony Robbins. And the assumption, therefore, is that Jesus would have run up the score as well. If Jesus were coaching, it would have been 200-0. Or something. I certainly don't claim to be an authority on What Jesus Would Do. (These are two hardcore Christian schools.)

I am, however, something of an authority on lopsided victories. And defeats. In high school, I played on some great rugby and football teams, but we never blew anyone out like this. In waterpolo, however, we did. One year, we had this one guy who was an out-of-this-world player. Actually, he was just an out-of-this-country player. He had transferred to our school from Croatia, and he was far and away the best player in the league. The rest of us could just float and watch, if we wanted, and we would win the games. And there were some teams we just hammered. When that happened, our coach, Mr. McKercher, would pull Alex out of the game and rotate lines. Everyone on the team got equal playing time (except for him - he didn't exactly need the practice), and everyone would play as hard as they could. Sometimes that meant that against the weaker teams, the score was run up anyway. But so be it.

Then, in my third year of university waterpolo, we lost the best player in the league. And it turned out, much to our surprise, that the rest of us were not very good. In fact, we stank. We were absolutely terrible. In one particular tournament, I remember scores of 22-1, 21-0, and 36-0. And I'm sure the other games were just as bad. The second-worst team in our division, Queens, beat us 18-7. Of all the games I played, however, the 36-0 pasting at the hands of the University of Toronto left me with the best feeling. Yes, their third-string players were still better than our first-stringers, but I was happy because they never let up.

I was the goalie. Letting in 36 goals in a waterpolo game is like giving up 20 runs as a pitcher in a baseball game. I would say it is...rare. But that was the most satisfying game of the year, for me. I may have let in 36 goals, but I also stopped 36 shots. They never stopped coming, wave after wave, breakaway after breakaway. And why not? They could do it, so why stop? The game that drove me absolutely crazy was the one we played a few hours later, against McMaster. They ran the score up to about 20-1, and then stopped. There was still a quarter and a half to play. They could have won 40-1, had they wanted. But instead, they would come down on a breakaway, and stop. And wait for the rest of the team to catch up. And then, when they did, and our team had caught up also, they would pass the ball around like it was some kind of power-play drill in a scrimmage. And then, instead of shooting, they would dump the ball into the corner when the shot clock expired, and swim back up the pool to do it all over again.

I kind of went a little nuts. There is nothing dishonourable about losing 36-0. Or 100-0, if it's a basketball game. (Frankly, 36-0 in waterpolo is more akin to 200-0 in basketball.) But when a team stops playing, and treats you like you're their boxing sparring partner, or a bunch of fifth-graders who just showed up for a friendly scrimmage, that is insulting. That shows a lack of respect for the losing team. And it hurts way more, and that's when I got into fights. People seem to think that this team, who was up 59-0 at halftime, should have...what? Moved out of the way so the other girls could score? Put the ball in their own basket? No one seems to realize that it is not the final score that matters. You can lose 100-0, or you can lose 20-10, and either way, you know full well that you have been dominated. Letting the other team score a few easy points does nothing for their confidence or their self-esteem. You're not my dad. You aren't there to make me feel good about myself. I have to do that myself. And if I can't, because you're that much better, so be it.

That being said, after this remarkably long-winded post (I meant to write two paragraphs, I swear), there are a few rules to blowouts. You never stop playing hard, sure. But if you're winning a football game by fifty, you don't look to lay out a receiver coming over the middle, or to take out the quarterback. If you're ahead by fifteen in a baseball game, you don't brush batters back and you don't steal bases and you don't put on the hit-and-run. You don't paste someone on an icing in hockey, and you don't commit a hard foul in basketball. But when the shot clock expires, whether you're at the 3-point line or not, you take the shot. To not do so would be the most insulting thing of all.

Steve Adler. Wow.

A pretty sad video of Steven Adler, former drummer for Guns N Roses, from the VH1 show Celebrity Rehab. Makes David Hasselhoff's cheeseburger video look clean and sober. I suppose, though, if you are going to go on a show called Celebrity Rehab, you are all about having these videos go around the ol' internets. From rollingstone.com:

http://www.rollingstone.com/rockdaily/index.php/2009/01/26/ex-guns-n-roses-drummer-steven-adler-is-scaring-the-crap-out-of-us/

Monday, January 26, 2009

Zappa opens a can of verbal whup-ass!

I found this on rollingstone.com today. This might be the best twenty minutes you spend today. It was the best twenty minutes of mine. Frank Zappa smacks three old dudes over music censorship on Crossfire in 1986. Magnificent!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ISil7IHzxc

Also fantastic: Zappa on Crossfire the next year:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDDIiIOFE_Q (Part 1)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H28SNdvBstA (Part 2)

Are there any lyrics from the past couple of years that you wouldn't want your kids to listen to? "We Are The World". Priceless.