Friday, June 12, 2009

Operation Go Home graduation and...a plea for funds!

To all Ottawa business owners - there is an opportunity for a free breakfast! Operation Go Home is hosting their annual Breakfast On The Rideau at the Courtyard restaurant 7:30 next Thursday. Dave Smith is involved, serving up a terrific breakfast, and there will be guest speakers and a few of the success stories to come out of Operation Go Home in recent years. I'll be there too - not that my presence sweetens the breakfast any - doing the show live from the Courtyard. We have had some success this year convincing potential donors to attend the event, but less than in previous years. Which means we're taking late registrations, and you can do so through me at

The event will be two things - first, a fundraiser. And second, a big media event where the new direction of Operation Go Home will be unveiled. I believe that's all I can say about that for now. The funds raised will go toward programs like the Achievement Centre, which provides the homeless kids of Ottawa a place to take courses, learn skills, and in many cases graduate. I just attended, yesterday, a graduation ceremony at St. Brigid's church downtown, beside OGH. About ten kids were there, receiving diplomas and certificates for the completion of courses and some for graduating high school. School officials from Lester B. Pearson and elsewhere were in attendance, creating a celebratory atmosphere.

And it really is a celebration - first of all, these kids don't get a prom when they graduate from high school. They just get the satisfaction of having done so, and a leg up in life. But for someone in these circumstances - no family support, no money whatsoever, sometimes abject poverty and sometimes substance abuse problems - to actually graduate high school is no small feat. It really is a bigger deal than it was for, say, me to graduate high school. All I had to do was show up in order to graduate. These kids have to fight just to show up at all. But with the help of the dedicated volunteers, and teachers, and tutors who work in the Operation Go Home classroom, many youth are able to succeed in this daunting task. And it's through donations from the community that such things are able to be done. So come on out for a free breakfast next Thursday! You know, if you're one of those corporate types.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Alice Cooper tribute show tonight at Lone Star

Tonight, at the Lone Star near the St. Laurent shopping centre, Gamut is putting on an Alice Cooper tribute show with special guests Cl!ck and The Perrier & Birtch Jam. They sent me a big poster and a bunch of information on the show, but I can't attend because of a prior Operation Go Home commitment. So I thought at the very least I would give their show a plug - 8:00 tonight, Lone Star 1211 Lemieux Street, $12 cover charge at the door. They also sent me four tickets, which I will be unable to use, so I will leave them at the reception desk today. First person to ask for them gets them. To see more about Gamut and their show, click here. I am told, in the note that accompanied the tickets and poster, that they do the full theatrical Alice Cooper show. Should be fun!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Today's Breaking Rock News

Breaking Rock News, or at least the website that allows me to post stories on Breaking Rock News, is not working this morning. So I will post the stories here, for reference sake. Here goes:

It turns out Brett Michaels was, indeed, hurt fairly badly by the descending set piece at the Tony awards on Sunday night. While the show's PR reps suggested that he had nothing more than a minor scrape following the accident, Michaels' reps now say that he suffered a broken nose and three stitches to his lip. Michaels has now lashed out through a representative, criticizing the Tonys and host Neil Patrick Harris, who they say acted inappropriately following the incident. Harris joked about doing shots with Michaels backstage during the telecast. Their statement reads in part, “Sunday morning at rehearsals, Bret was never informed that the descending set piece existed let alone would be moving into position as he was exiting the stage. I feel had this incident happened to Liza Minnelli, Dolly Parton or Elton John the Tonys would have at least issued a letter of concern. It is unfortunate that the show’s host made light of the situation without having any knowledge of the severity of Bret’s injuries. Comments that Mr. Harris was doing shots backstage with Mr. Michaels and that Bret was completely fine were untrue considering Bret never saw Mr. Harris prior to, during or after the Tonys but in fact was being attended to by medical personnel backstage.” Shortly after making the statement, Michaels had his "rock star" card revoked. Although it has been a suspended license since 1988.

Singer-songwriter Kenny Rankin, who played guitar on the 1965 Bob Dylan classic Bringing It All Back Home, has passed away from complications related to lung cancer. Rankin was a favourite of Johnny Carson, appearing on The Tonight Show more than 20 times. Carson wrote the liner notes for Rankin's album Mind Dusters. Rankin's solo career peaked in the mid-70s with the album The Kenny Rankin Album which was recorded with a 60-piece orchestra. Paul McCartney so liked his version of the Beatles' "Blackbird" that he asked Rankin to play his version at the ceremony where John Lennon and McCartney were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Rankin died June 7th at the age of 69.

The cast of Cherry Bomb has been filled out. Breaking Rock News previously reported that Twilight's Kristen Stewart had been cast as Joan Jett in the Runaways biopic, and War Of The Worlds' Dakota Fanning has been cast as 16-year-old singer Cherie Currie. Now the final piece is in place, as the part of Lita Ford will be played by Alessandra Torresani, and Stella Maeve (who appeared in a few Gossip Girl episodes) will play drummer Sandy West. Torresani is a 22 year old actress who has appeared mainly on television since the age of ten. The filming of the movie will begin next week, and it will be in theatres in 2010.

It worked! Anvil: The Story of Anvil has landed the Canadian band some work. The documentary, which hit theatres recently, depicts the band as a sort of real-life Spinal Tap, refusing to give up on the dream of rock and roll stardom. And now - it has all paid off. Anvil has been invited to open two shows, July 28th at Gillette Stadium in Boston and July 31st at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, for AC/DC. The dream lives on!

ZZ Top had the crowd rocking as they taped an episode of VH1 Storytellers on March 31st. It was a celebration of the band's 40th anniversary - ZZ Top hold the record for longest enduring line-up of all original members of any rock band. The episode they filmed is coming to the air soon, on June 27th, on VH1.

Spinal Tap are coming to late night TV. The "band" has been confirmed for the Conan O'Brien show for June 15th. They will be performing on the show, but there are not yet any further details about their appearance.

It was feared, going into the elections for the European Parliament, that incredibly low voter turnout would open the door for some bizarre parties and crazy fringe groups to get elected to a seat or two. Well, it has happened - following the European Union elections on Sunday, the Pirate Party now has a seat. The Pirates managed to get 7.1% of the Swedish vote, good enough for one of Sweden's 18 seats on the 785-seat European parliament. Why is this story in Breaking Rock News, you ask? Well, partly because it's awesome fun not to be reported everywhere. But also because the sole platform of Sweden's "Pirate Party" is the plan to abolish copyright laws in order to protect internet piracy for music and movies. So, internet piracy could be totally legal in Europe in the next few years. You know, if the Pirate delegate can convince 392 other elected officials.

A few years ago, seeing a jewel-encrusted Mr. Potato Head being sold for an exorbitant price, comedian Lewis Black was heard to remark "that's it! They have officially run out of things to jewel-encrust!" Breaking Rock News wonders what Mr. Black's take would be on this. Mr. Potato Head, always looking for a new promotional opportunity to remain relevant in today's video-game culture, has partnered with KISS. Yes, there will now be a series of KISS Mr. Potato Head dolls. They will have interchangeable parts, and all four members will be represented. You know, the Demon and the Spaceman and the Catman and the Starchild. We would like to say that KISS has officially run out of things upon which they can put their faces, but we know full well that this will never be the case.

Chickenfoot is not Van Halen. We all knew that, even though half of the supergroup is Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony, formerly of Van Halen. When asked if the addition of Joe Satriani and Chad Allen helped avoid comparisons to his former band Anthony said "I really do. It wasn't like we reacted to what anyone else was saying or doing, it's just a group of gifted musicians getting together and doing what they love to do. It just so happens that those jam sessions lead us to some creative common ground. We're extremely proud of what we've done in our pasts musically but for the initial stages of the tour we are consciously staying away from doing any Van Halen, Chili Peppers or anything from Satch's amazing solo catalog. This project is all about a new band presenting new songs; what makes it even more exciting is the prospect of playing them live for the fans. On this little Club Circuit tour, we've been tearing through the entire album along with the bonus track "Bitten by the Wolf". For the encore we've been kicking around a couple of oldies that we thought people might like to hear, "Highway Star" by Deep Purple and "Bad Motor Scooter". While the latter is a tune Sammy wrote with Montrose it's the perfect song for him to strap on the guitar and slug it out a little with Satch on stage, it's been an absolute riot."

If only...

So, the former owner of TRM Technologies pleads guilty to charges of bid-rigging, along with several other people, in a scheme to rig the bidding process for ten government contracts worth $67 million. He pleads guilty, and is ordered to pay a fine of...$25,000. Seriously. 25 grand? Isn't that a drop in the bucket, especially after he got, I don't know, a large portion of the $67 million? I swear, if the only punishment for assault was a six dollar fine, I would be punching way more people.

Dany Heatley wants a trade.

So...let 'im go.

I just bought $5,000 worth of meat.

My girlfriend somehow got in touch with these people who deliver meat to your house. They sent a representative to my house on Monday for a meeting, which was kind of like one of those Tupperware-type deals that I understand strange people do. Only this one was cool, because it was about meat. All the meat these guys provide is from local farmers (within a 100 km radius of Ottawa) which is important to me - good for the environment, good for the local economy. The meat is all grain-fed and corn-fed. Well, that's not true. The cows and pigs are grain-fed and corn-fed. The meat comes from them. Which is important too - no hormones or chemicals and other bad stuff. Which is good for the ol' health. And of course I am now a health nut. The meat is flash-frozen, which is best for retaining flavour, and that's good for the ol' tastebuds.

They're bringing me a freezer too, which is terrific. I don't have the cubic foot capacity in my little fridge-freezer to accomodate that much meat. And soon, I will have enough beef and chicken and pork and...other stuff I can't last a year. I can't remember because I got a little excited and ordered some strange and exotic things. Ox, and the like. What's great too is that the stuff I keep around for days when I'm too lazy or busy to cook anything elaborate (which happens about once a week), I get that too - Kraft dinner, cereal, pasta, sauce, salsa, condiments, and pretty much anything that could concievably last a year. Which means that as soon as my order arrives, I will be shopping only for milk, cheese, bread and fresh vegetables. And I'm paying far less per week than I do right now.

This is the greatest idea ever. Support local farmers, help the environment, get better tasting meat, save money, boost the local economy and have food at your fingertips year round. The only problem I can see is that I ordered several different types of steak, and a lot of it. And there is a (very) good chance that I will eat steak. Every day. Until it is gone. Which, considering I will have that much steak around, could last more than a week. I could be out of food and 400 pounds by the time September comes. Not only that, but if I'm having a party or something I can order a ton more meat for that particular event, cheaper and better than stuff in the grocery stores. Which again seems dangerous to me. I've eaten all my steak, I'll just order more! I remember one summer (1998, I believe), when I was making more money than I had ever seen in my life, I went out for steak with my co-workers every single night. I put on 40 pounds that summer alone. This summer, I will be careful. Probably.

These guys are, at the moment, too small to advertise I think. It appears to be a thing that becomes known entirely by word-of-mouth. So if anyone is ineterested in getting a year's worth of meat, send me an email and I'll put you in touch - - I can't yet vouch for the taste, because my food hasn't yet arrived, but I can vouch for a good presentation.

Thank you, Marc-Andre Fleury.

There are two days in the sporting calendar that are terribly bittersweet for me. The Super Bowl and the Stanley Cup Finals (for some reason I capitalized both those things) both represent the culmination of their respective seasons, and therefore they are the moments for which I have been watching hockey and football all year. But they also mean no more hockey and no more football, hence the bittersweet nature of the two events. In fact, what with the NBA Finals (also, for some reason, capitalized) coinciding with the Stanley Cup Finals that means that coming up is the longest stretch of nothing interesting in sports until the CFL season begins. Not that I don't like baseball, but I can't get into a regular season game in June when there are 110 games left to go in the season. I'll watch the Red Sox and Yankees. Because I'm a Boston fan and they are the top two teams and there's a rivalry and...well, whatever. (By the way, nice job last night Sox. Take that, pinstripes.)

But baseball is not like football, where I will watch Cleveland play Oakland if that's what's on. Or hockey, where I will watch Tampa Bay play the Kings. But I'm not watching the Washington Nationals play Kansas City on a Tuesday afternoon. I'm just not. (Unless Zack Greinke is pitching. That guy is good.) On the plus side, as soon as the NBA finals are over, I will be far more productive until opening day of the CFL season. (July 1st, for those who care.) At any rate, I just wanted to write a post here thanking Marc-Andre Fleury for that incredible performance in last night's game that allowed me to spend one more night watching hockey this season. Game Seven? Friday night? When I can stay up and actually watch, should there be (cross my fingers) an overtime? It gets no better than that. Go Penguins!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

New Cynical Cinema today

Gran Torino - Clint Eastwood at his badass old-man best.
Nightwatching - Martin Freeman plays Rembrandt. Carnage, chaos and a funny movie ensue.
Sunny And The Elephant - A Thai-French movie about elephants. And a kid.
Fatal Attraction (Blu-Ray) - Glenn Close gets all scary. Rabbits run and hide.
The Cleaner Season One - Benjamin Bratt stars in one of the worst shows on TV.
Perry Mason Season Four Volume One - Still cool, still unnecessarily split into volumes.
Indecent Proposal (Blu-Ray) - This movie always sucked. Still does.
Blue Gold - World Water Wars in documentary form. Eye opening.
Killer at Large - Documentary about how being fat is killing us all.
Addicted To Plastic - Documentary about how plastic is killing us all.
The Bodyguard 2 - Sequel to The Bodyguard One! Tony Jaa returns, briefly.
The Bodyguard - Tony Jaa makes a cameo. That's the best reason to watch.
Nothing But the Truth - Kate Beckinsale goes to jail. Really good movie.