Saturday, October 3, 2009

Michael Moore's new movie is his best ever.

It's sad, it's melancholy and depressing, and it's a must-watch. Check out my Cynical Cinema review of Michael Moore's new movie here.

This is the best nature video of all time.

It's not just the parrot having sex with the camera guy's head. It's British actor Stephen Fry, who is a terrific actor, staying entirely composed during the whole thing, and doing the subtly hilarious running commentary. "You are being shagged by a rare parrot."

Best. Video. Ever. My dog has never humped my leg with this level of viciousness.

Friday, October 2, 2009

New Springsteen song

Bruce Springsteen opened his five-night stand at Giants Stadium in New Jersey with a brand new song called "Wrecking Ball". Check it out:

Giants Stadium will be torn down in a few months following the NFL season. Here is the full version of the song, with worse camera work:

Love the Springsteen.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Quick! What's the most irritating thing about this story?

The answer will be posted tomorrow...if I remember.

"The holidays will come a bit earlier for Citibank users enrolled in the company’s reward program: they’ll get a first crack at downloading Bob Dylan’s Christmas in the Heart a week before it hits stores, Reuters reports. Proceeds will still be donated to charity."

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

NFL picks week 4

14-game weeks start. Week three was a wash for me. Did well against the spread, did terrible in straight-up picking. I have fallen from second in the office pool to sixth. So, once again, don't follow my advice.

Detroit at Chicago (10.5): Chicago seems to be OK without Brian Urlacher in there on defense. I'm actually surprised, I thought they would fall off considerably without him. And don't read too much into the Lions win last week. The Redskins are genuinely awful, and deserved to lose that game. Chicago, on the other hand, is a very good team and Jay Cutler has found something of a rhythm. He'll work it out here against what remains a very weak team. Bears, 23-10. Verdict (Chicago 48-24): And work it out he did. Chicago IS a very good team - a lot better than people seem to be thinking. They have a good chance to win this division. The Lions are better than they were last year - they kept this game really close until the second half. But they will not win this division.

Cincinatti (5.5) at Cleveland: Who would have thought the Bengals would be 2-1 right now? Two wins over quality teams, and one last-gasp fluke loss to another surprising squad in Denver. Now, the Bengals face their worst opponent of the season. The Browns look downright horrible. And while I won't call a blowout in a divisional matchup, because who knows what could happen, I just don't think Cleveland can compete with a team that's even halfway competent. Cincinatti has proved that they are. Halfway competent. Bengals, 26-20. Verdict (Bengals, 23-20): Well, almost. I would never have thought the Browns would force overtime, much less take it down to the final buzzer IN OT. If only the Bengals had scored a TD instead of a field goal, I would have been exactly right...Bengals are 3-1, but still not a top-notch team. They are, however, halfway competent. Which is a big improvement over last season.

Oakland at Houston (9): The Raiders are getting worse and worse, every single week. They looked simply dreadful last week in getting pounded by a squad that really isn't that much better than they are. And Houston always rebounds well after a loss. Especially a lousy loss to a lousy team. Texans, 27-13. Verdict (Texans, 29-6): The Raiders could well be the worst team in football, still getting worse every week. Isn't it about time to think about ending the JaMarcus Russell experiment? I just don't see him becoming a star the Raiders?

Seattle at Indianapolis (no line): Seattle looked OK, at many moments, against the Bears. But the Colts are better than the Bears, and Freeney is playing out of his mind. Peyton Manning should decimate this secondary, and the Colts have a pretty good running game right now. Colts, 27-20. Verdict (Colts, 34-17): Peyton Manning DID decimate this secondary. And the running game looks good. And the Colts look good. Manning has thrown for more than 300 yards against every team so far this season.

Tennessee (3) at Jacksonville: A no-win team is favoured on the road against a team coming off a big victory? Well, it's still early in the season...Tennessee seems to have had trouble recovering from that big OT loss to the Steelers in game one. And they ran into a couple of surprisingly good teams so far this season. They will not underestimate the Jaguars. And they will not go to 0-4. Titans, 18-14. Verdict (Jaguars, 37-17): I think the Titans might be a bad team. Against Jacksonville, they looked like a very bad team. I certainly don't think the Jaguars are this good. But there are some serious problems in Tennessee. They can't really miss their defensive co-ordinator this much, can they?

New York Giants (9) at Kansas City: I'm not sure any spread is big enough for this game. Last week, the Giants turned in the most dominating performance of the season as they shut out the anemic Bucs. And KC isn't much better. Too bad I already took the Giants in my suicide pool last week. Giants, 28-7. Verdict (Giants 27-16): KC IS better than Tampa, but not by much. That Giants defense is unreal, and I am frankly surprised that Kansas City was able to move the ball at all in that second half.

Baltimore at New England (2): This is the game to watch this week. Baltimore looks like they may be the best team in football, while New England is in need of another victory to prove they belong in the top rung of teams in the AFC, let alone all of football. I think Baltimore has made a persuasive case for being the best of the best, and they will look at this one as their statement game early in the season. It will be tight at Foxboro, but the Ravens will prevail. Ravens, 23-21. Verdict (Patriots, 27-21): I hate to put a whole game on the shoulders of one guy...but until Clayton dropped that fourth-down pass, I was absolutely convinced that the Ravens were about to move down the field to score the winning TD. The Pats defense looks better than it did earlier in the year, but not close to the dominant D that won all those Super Bowls. And Flacco proved to me that he can do it against good teams.

Tampa Bay at Washington (7): This is the game not to watch. The Redskins have had a really easy schedule to start the season, and have still lost two of three. Their only win was a two-point squeaker against a dreadful opponent. But Tampa may be the worst team they've faced yet. It all comes down to who wants redemption from last week's embarassment most. I am guessing (and it's just a guess) that it's Washington. Redskins, 10-7. Verdict (Redskins, 16-13): Well, pretty much bang on. Tampa is likely the worst team in football. (Maybe the Rams). And the Skins are the most underachieving team in football. Yes, they are 2-2. But they beat the Rams and the Bucs by a combined 5 points for those two victories. It's downhill from here.

Buffalo (2.5) at Miami: The Bills have won once this season. The Dolphins have yet to win. Both teams are struggling, and struggling mightily. While the Bills defense looks OK, their offense is awful and Terrell Owens is ready to blow. When he gets ready to blow, he doesn't respond with productive games. And while Miami can't figure out for the life of them how to get the ball into the end zone, they will get close enough to win this one at home. Dolphins, 20-17. Verdict (Dolphins, 38-10): Owens was more productive than I thought he would be. But not productive enough. And who would have thought the Fish could put up 38, still running that wildcat, without Pennington? Henne barely had to show up, as Miami ran for 250 yards. When you have a QB making his first NFL start, ever, how do you NOT stack up to stop the run? Well, maybe you're the Buffalo Bills.

New York Jets at New Orleans (6.5): Which is the safest bet? The crazy offense or the surprising defense? In this case, I'd say they're about even. The difference here is AFC and NFC. And I still believe a top-tier surprise team in the NFC is better than a top-tier surprise team in the AFC. Saints, 33-23. Verdict (Saints, 24-10): Well, just as I suspected, that mean, tough Saints defense would ground the high-flying Jets offense...or not. Although I am not surprised by the final score, I would say this is the most surprising game of the week. Drew Brees couldn't get much going, the Jets did a terrific job against the powerful offense...and the Saints defense just kept scoring and turning the ball over. If they can keep that up the rest of the season, I would not be surprised to see them in the Super Bowl.

Dallas at Denver (no line): I am still not sold, at all, on either of these teams. But then, I thought Denver would go 2-14. And I thought Dallas would go about 8-8. I still think Dallas will go about 8-8. But I now think Denver will go 3-13. Cowboys, 24-20. Verdict (Broncos, 17-10): I am still NO believer in either one of these teams. Denver is the worst 4-0 team in years. If such a thing can even exist. But the Cowboys have no guts and no fight. I am predicting, right now, that in five weeks the Broncos will be 4-4. But I wouldn't be surprised to see Dallas finish at 7-9.

St. Louis at San Francisco (10): One of the week's biggest spreads. And again, I am loathe to predict a blowout in a divisional game. But the Niners have a lot of pride this season, and they have to be stinging after that Vikings loss. Look for them to take it out on the hapless Rams. Niners, 30-13. Verdict (Niners, 35-0): It appears as though the Niners took out their frustration on the hapless Rams. What a beatdown! And it looked so sloppy, close and awful for so long! Only the Rams can give up touchdowns in this manner while not scoring any points at all. I hate taking divisional games in my eliminator pool, but I felt this one was a pretty safe bet.

San Diego at Pittsburgh (6.5): Until the Steelers get over the loss of Polamalu on defense and find their running game again, I can't justify a spread of 6.5. I think they will be fine at home, and I think they still have just enough to take this one, but it will be a very slim margin if they do. Steelers, 21-20. Verdict (Steelers, 38-28): I wonder if the Chargers remember the game starts at the beginning of the first quarter and not midway through the third? I thought this would be a tough, gritty game where Pittsburgh had to grind out a win in the closing moments. Instead, the Chargers barely showed up. Don't read too much into that Pittsburgh running game. It isn't back yet. That was just bad defense by San Diego.

Green Bay at Minnesota (3.5): OK, this is the game to watch this weekend. On Monday night, Brett Favre gets the game he's been waiting for. And so do the Packers. First place in the division up for grabs, all kinds of drama, and so forth. I am betting that Favre isn't nearly as much of a factor as we all hope he will be, but that Adrian Peterson runs wild and Aaron Rodgers keeps it very very close. It could go either way, but it's in Minnesota and I'll take the Vikings. By 2. Vikings, 27-25. Verdict (Vikings 30-23): It looked like a blowout for a while, but the Packers and Aaron Rodgers have guts. If only they had an offensive line. They will have to face Jared Allen again, and they'd better figure out how to slow him down.

So far this week, I am 11-3 straight up, 8-6 against the spread. Leaving me at 44-18 straight up, and 37-25 ATS so far this season.

Not qualified for Breaking Rock News...but qualified to be news

For geeks like me, this is big news. And I thought I should put it somewhere. But I can't put it on Breaking Rock News, because it is not classic rock in the CHEZ vein. Besides, I am continually under assault for Breaking Rock News, where people say "how come you post Motley Crue news? We barely even play them!" And such and such. But anyway, this is pretty darn cool for Madchester Brit-pop fans. All nine of us. From the BBC:

Former Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown is planning to write and record an album with The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, the singer has revealed. The Mancunian rock legends are hoping to form a supergroup to write the soundtrack for a friend's TV dramas. "The idea is that Johnny writes the music and I write the words and the melodies," Brown told BBC News. Brown also wants to bring in former Stone Roses bandmate Mani or Happy Mondays bassist Paul Ryder, he said.

Many of you may not know what the hell I'm talking about. For those who don't, go listen to the Stone Roses. Or Ian Brown solo. Or the Happy Mondays. Or the Smiths. Preferably, all of the above.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Computer problems

My computer at home is down. I turn it on, and it loads up like normal, then it shuts itself off and turns itself on again. I had to unplug it. So there won't be many blog postings for a while, and there will be no Cynical Cinema for a while because that website is screwy. The Breaking Rock News website is finally working for me again though. Huzzah! In the meantime, if I owe you an email or something, it might take a lot longer than usual to send it off. Sorry.

Monday, September 28, 2009

We may be understaffed a little?

Saw this story in the Metro today. Ottawa's Police Tactical Unit wants an armoured car. One of those high-powered, totally bulletproof, armed-to-the-teeth vehicles you see in movies. I assume. It costs $341,000, which I guess has some people questioning the request. Not me though. I am all about us getting that car, if only because that giant police robot from Robocop has yet to be actually invented. Frankly, I would like for us to have one of those, if the option were presented. Or, we could have a Robocop. That would be cool too.

No, what caught my eye in the story was this phrase: "According to the report, of 27 Canadian police services of similar size or larger than Ottawa's, nine have armoured vehicles and four have access to one if required." And I thought - wait. There are twenty-seven other police services of "similar size or larger" than ours? There aren't 27 other cities of similar size or larger in the country. Even stretching the definition of "similar size" to include cities with a population within 500,000 of Ottawa's, there are only nine others. The nine, I assume, with armoured vehicles.

So if we were to take the 27 most populous cities in Canada (well, 28, because there are 27 others) then we would be talking about cities like Brantford and Moncton, with populations of about 128,000 - about 16% of the population of Ottawa proper. So - they have police forces of a similar size to that of Ottawa? Is crime really so bad in Moncton that they need six times as many cops per capita? Or are we just terribly understaffed on the Ottawa police force? Or, is this just a silly statistic that means nothing, and I'm reading way too much into it?

Today's Breaking Rock News

The Breaking Rock News website does work. I have seen it work. But I can't make it work. I have been exchanging emails with the guys who know how it works for a week now. Every email exchange brings me closer to making it work. But I have yet to reach the point where it does work. For me. So until then, as I have been doing for a full week now, I will bring you today's Breaking Rock News on my blog. Because these stories just need to be told, in one forum or another.

AC/DC have been forced to postpone six shows because of an illness to lead singer Brian Johnson. The band's gigs in Phoenix, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Des Moines, Louisville and Milwaukee have been shelved until a later date. Johnson is recovering from a medical procedure, and his doctor has advised him to rest. The Black Ice tour resumes October 16th in Washington. Rumours are that he had throat surgery. But this seems like a pretty quick recovery time if that is the case. My guess is that he responded to one of those email spams.

Guns N Roses have been announced in Korea. The show was reported on a Korean website, It appears the show is for December 13th in Seoul, and tickets will be going on sale October 6th. This is the fourth show to be announced in Southeast Asia for Guns N Roses, who have already been announced for two shows in Japan and one in Taiwan. All of these shows have been announced by third party websites, and there has been no word at all from Axl Rose, Guns N Roses themselves, or their management about a possible Southeast Asian tour. I think that Axl feels as though promoting himself would make him a whore. And also, if he never lets anyone know about any of the shows he plays, he will make no money and be able to quietly stop making music. And finally live that dream of his where he buys a ranch and farms goats.

Paul McCartney was a successful writer from an early age. A discovery in a Liverpool library indicates that McCartney won a prize at the age of 10 for an essay he wrote about the Queen, on the occasion of her coronation. The essay, written in a "tidy, curling script" was discovered by Kevin Roach, who said it is "advanced — you would say it was written by someone who was older than 10 years old, more like 14 or 15." The essay was later put to music on the Abbey Road album and called "Her Majesty". Probably.

From "Journey's Live In Manila two-DVD set will be released October 2, 2009. Filmed with RED technology, which utilizes special 4K high-definition cameras with a resolution exceeding 35mm film that gives the footage an extra dynamic quality, the DVD captures Journey's historic concert in Manila, Philippines. Performing more than two hours' worth of classic favorites, as well as new hits from the band's latest album, Revelation, Live In Manila documents the triumphant homecoming of the band's singer Arnel Pineda. On March 14, 2009, Journey returned to Pineda's homeland and introduced him as their new lead singer to a crowd of nearly 30,000. Group members Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain, Ross Valory, and Deen Castronovo swelled with pride as they witnessed the Filipino people embrace Arnel and the music of Journey. By the time of the Manila concert, more than 800,000 copies of Revelation—the band's first album with Arnel—had been sold, and was supported with sold-out shows all over the world.

Also from Since the Danish metal quartet's formation in October, 2001, Volbeat has steadily risen to become one of the major attractions in the European scene. The band has released three albums and a live DVD overseas. This fall, North Americans will finally have access to the complete catalog, with all three studio albums available (the DVD is planned for a later date).
Volbeat's current title Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood (2009) is showing an increased presence, with exponential sales and airplay increases in markets across the continent. On October 27, Volbeat will see The Strength / The Sound / The Songs (2005) join the previously issued Rock The Rebel / Metal The Devil (2007) at retail stores across the U.S. and Canada.
The band will return to North America this fall as support for Metallica and Lamb of God in arenas across Canada and the U.S. Singer Michael Poulsen shared, "We are so thankful for this great chance and are looking forward to sharing the stage with one of our biggest inspirations. It's such an honor, and it's also a great honor to play for the Metallica fans who are very dedicated. It will be a challenge, but we will do our best to give the Metallica fans a little piece of what we are about and what we do. We wanna thank the gentlemen in Metallica for giving Volbeat this chance. Thank You!" Hopefully we will be able to play a headliner show or two while we're in the US. We can't wait to see you all!"