Thursday, January 31, 2008

Dishonour Roll: Lil' Stomper

I know he's just a kid; that's why I'm going to make this quick. That and I'm exhausted because the stomping began at 7 AM and I didn't get much sleep.

It's as if the kid wears concrete shoes, which he can't possibly, because he's three and all, but seriously, it's that damn loud. From the minute he gets up (somewhere between 7 & 8 AM each and every day) until the time he goes to bed, which for some reason isn't until like 12:30 some nights, it's non-stop stomping.

There is a thundering herd of elephants living above me and it's driving me insane. I actually want to go upstairs one of these days and see if I can just sit in their living room and watch the kid play. Why? Because from where I sit on a daily basis, it's as if this kid does nothing but runs from one side of the room to the other and back all day long. Doesn't he have a Nintendo or something to play with? If not, can I buy him one?

What makes it all even better is that I'm almost positive that the household upstairs isn't a "No Shoes In The House" house, which means simple walking sounds like a sonic boom in our apartment. It's like we live underneath a group of Reverse Ninjas. This kid is the sworn enemy of Ryu Hayabusa.

Anyway, it's quiet now and I have to work tonight, so it's time to get some sleep. Stupid Lil' Stomper...

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Rundown: Parents Just Don't Understand

I know this is going to sound really, really pompous of me - what, with me not being a parent at all - but there are just some things that parents need to realize are the most embarrassing, humiliating or absolute worst thing you can do to you children.

I have no idea what makes me think I'm qualified for this, but whatever... it's my blog!

Top Five Parental Insights from A Non-Parent

5. Names, Part I
You can't just name your child anything. That's not how it works. Okay, that is how it works, but it shouldn't be. It's not like Big Daddy where Sandler lets the kid pick his own name and he runs with Frankenstein. Porsche is a car, not your daughter. Beautiful is how something or someone looks, not a first name. And you can't randomly drop parts of your child's name to create the name they're going to go by... I'm looking at you Topher Grace (his full name is Christopher)... Oh, and just because Tom & Katie named their little Scientology experiment Suri, doesn't mean it's acceptable either.

4. They're Your Kid, Not Free Range Chickens
Letting them run wild is fun, for about ten seconds or until they smash into something and start wailing like a banshee. You wouldn't go hauling ass threw every store you walked into thinking that the destruction and devastation left in your wake wouldn't cost you a thing, so why would it be any different when your kid trashes a store? Because they're a kid and don't know any better? Yeah, but you do and you should know to keep you kid within reach so they don't cost you extra for the fifteen Kinder Eggs they crushed in their hands.

3. What's With The Lying?
I get it when it comes to things like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and that stuff, but other than that, why not just be straight with the kid? What good comes from filling their little heads with lies only to have to correct all that nonsense later? Maybe this is one of those ones I just don't get yet because I'm not a parent...

2. Names, Part II
This is an important task, so it gets a second cautionary mention. Be dutiful in selecting a name people. Think long and hard about it. Beulah isn't a good look for anyone. Other than Mama Bear back in Midland, Wanda isn't appealing either. And no boy wants to be Gene, Maurice or
Herbert. Consider your last name too, as Mavis Davis (a la Marcy Darcy) would have a long life of torment ahead of her. Nickname possibilities need to be considered too or else you end up like the kid I went to Elementary School with named Richard Hares... wait for it... wait for it... BINGO! Dick Hares...

1. Leashes? Are You Kidding Me?
I appreciate the attempt at keeping your kids from being free range chickens, but a leash? That has to be (a) the most humiliating things imaginable for the child and (b) the laziest possible option for the parent. You don't want your kid running away from you? Teach them not to run away from you! Leashes are for pets, not children. Is your child a ferret? No, then get them off that stupid leash!

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Pajamas: Not An Outdoor Outfit

Guess what? You can't wear pajamas in public. It's as simple as that.

No, it doesn't matter where you're going. Unless you're going to bed, you have on the wrong attire.

Britney Spears does it all the time? Is that the argument you're going to use? Seriously? Britney's about three months away from a full out mental breakdown where she ends up sitting in a chair staring out the window all day and people say things like "It's such a shame what happened to that Spears girl. I knew she was really in trouble when she started wearing her pajamas everywhere."

Comfort? You want to give me comfort as justification? D'you know what's comfortable? Being bare-ass naked, that's comfortable, but you don't see me pushing a grocery cart in my birthday suit on a weekly basis do you? People say Crocs are comfortable too but I wouldn't be caught dead in those either.

Stacey and Clinton need to do an expose about this on a future episode of What Not To Wear. I mean, it comes up in nearly every single episode because all the fashion mongoloids out there think it's acceptable and see nothing wrong with strolling around the video store in their best Hello Kitty PJ's.

The simple fact of the matter is that there is absolutely nothing okay with wearing your pajamas out in public. No exceptions. Not even little kids, because that is just the parent being mean to their child and setting them up for years of horrible fashion choices down the road. Besides, it's not like they're a complicated piece of clothing to get in and out of. We're not talking about a corset here folks. They're pajamas!

I would say it takes no more than 30 seconds to slip out of the PJ's and into a different pair of pants. I'd even extend that to a minute, just to be nice. So how is it, even in the hustle and bustle world we live in now, that a growing number of people don't have one minute to spare to change out of the pants they crawl into bed in when they're heading out the door?

Public pajama-wearing scares the hell out of me for a number of reasons and not just because I'm a metrosexual prick who thinks he knows a thing or two about fashion. No No - it extends beyond that.

If pajamas become acceptable, what's next? It can't be long until we see some dude walk into the corner store in his housecoat...

If you don't have the time to put on a respectable pair of pants, what else have you neglected to do? Did you skip the shower for the last couple days too because the water makes you feel all icky?

I never thought I would say this, but dammit, I would rather see everyone busting out the sweatpants 24-7 than walking around in pajamas. That may not seem like much of a concession to some of you, but believe me, before this pajama epidemic, wearing sweatpants anywhere outside of the gym, laying around the house or a quick trip to the corner store was #1 on my Fashion Faux Pas list.

We've fallen into this funk of everything having to be about dressed down, comfortable and casual. Workplaces are now business casual four days a week and jeans on Fridays. The guy who shows up in the suit and tie is the odd duck and that is a crying shame.

Even Jay Z has encouraged the masses to drop the jerseys and constant casual attire and "throw on a suit and get it tapered up" in the track "Change Clothes." D'you think Hova would be caught dead in public in his pajamas? Not a chance, even though he's probably got some real slick boudoir attire.

It's not hard folks. I beg you, when you get to the front door, pause and look down at your lower half. If you see hearts, Winnie the Pooh, the name of your university or something you've seen first thing in the morning, go change.

Pants aren't that hard. You can do it. I know you can.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

This Is The Last Time I'll Mention The Facebook Fan Club

You have my word.

I have to stop. It's too damn depressing.

I'm no Mathlete, but even I know that 10 fans out of 458 "friends" isn't a very good batting average.

Thanks to the ten of you who have signed up. Even though you don't ever post anything on the page, it means a lot to me to know that you took the 1.3 seconds it takes to click Become a Fan.

D'you know what really sucks about it? Some of the people who aren't on board as of yet. You know, like my mother. Or my brother. Or any member of my family for that matter. Not even one member of my extended family has joined.

My old university roommate Amy, she's a fan of Kevin Smith, but not me.

My mate Tony from work - Danny Williams supporter. Spencer Kyte supporter, not so much. Though his wife is...


Yes. I really am this much of an insecure little girl.

Even though I know over 1000 people have stopped by this blog in a little over three months, I still have this weird need to know that people actually like what I do.

Intrinsic satisfaction be damned... I want my Sally Field moment where I can shout "You like me! You really like me!" and know that more than ten people are saying yes.


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Sunday, January 27, 2008

10 Things I Learned This Week

Those of you who have been paying attention or making regular Sunday visits will notice a slight change in the title this week and each week moving forward. Tossing the 10 up there just feels right. Besides, now you know how many points of nonsense you have to scroll through before reaching the end.

1. Heath Ledger (1979 - 2008)
Easily the most shocking thing I learned this week was that one of my favourite actors and one of the best of our time died. It was weird, coming home and being sitting here typing as Sarah questioned me, "Heath Ledger is dead?" stemming from the MSN name of one of her classmates. I couldn't Google his name fast enough, before finding out he had in fact been found dead earlier in the day. Say what you will about Brokeback Mountain, but just know that the performance Ledger gives in that film is one of the best ever. RIP Heath...

2. I'm All For Criticism
But please, if you're going to knock something I write, I ask two things of you: (1) at least be correct in your criticisms and (2) at least be original enough to give yourself a name. Like Captain Nemo a couple posts back. One, he pointed out my error in using the word "illicit" when I obviously meant "elicit" and two, he has a name. I have no idea who he is, but from here on out, Captain Nemo is our Grammar Police. I would much rather have Captain Nemo, Grammar Police telling me I'm a horrible speller and need to consult a dictionary than some Anonymous stranger incorrectly calling my latest Rundown a rip-off of the Stop Loss IMDB page.

3. Days Like Today Are The Best Days
Basically, I have written two articles, now three counting this one, had a killer breakfast, watched three movies (Murderball, Lost Boys of Sudan and the end of Superbad) and some Season Four of Friends, read a little and lounged around on the couch with the missus. What more could a guy ask for? The plan for tonight? A little more of all of the above... VERY NICE!

4. 27 Dresses: Cute Movie, Great Soundtrack
Listen, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out exactly what is going to happen in 27 Dresses, but even though you know where it'll end up, the journey is still fairly fun. Katherine Heigl has just suddenly become the new Romantic Comedy chick and that's a good thing because really, no one needs any more Mandy Moore or Sarah Jessica Parker, though a little more Rachel McAdams would be nice. Anyhow, best part of the movie, aside from me laughing to myself that at any moment James Marsden's eyes were going to go red and he was going to blast everyone - I mean, he is Cyclops after all - was the soundtrack. Nicely done people. A little Mark Ronson / Amy Winehouse "Valerie," a little Natasha Bedingfield "Who Knows" and a little Ray LaMontange "Be Here Now," which elicited an immediate "great song" call. Overall, it's a 7... nothing great, far from horrible.

5. Add Indy to My List of Must-See Movies
We've got the latest issue of Vanity Fair in the Reading Room and one of the feature articles is an interview with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas about the next Indiana Jones film and how it's taken years to get it done. Regardless of the schmaltz of the last Indy film and the fact that people are already grumbling about the inclusion of Shia LeBeouf, reportedly as Indy's son, I'm going to see this movie. It seems like I add another movie to my "Must See" List every day...

6. Too Much Super Bowl News
D'you know what really sucks about there being a full week between the participants for the big dance being determined and the big dance actually taking place? Not today when there is no football to watch, but the two weeks of stupidity in the media about every little thing that happens. Seriously, the Tom Brady walking cast things shouldn't be an issue to anyone. It's not as if there is even a 1% chance that he doesn't take every single snap in Arizona next Sunday.

7. Before May, There Might Be A Murder Upstairs
Honestly, if the 24-7 stomping and banging on the floor doesn't stop some time soon, in the words of Russell Peters' father, "Somebody gonna get a hurt real bad." I understand the 3-year-old likes to run around, but a 3-year-old doesn't sound like a herd of thunderous elephants. At least twice a day the lights in the living room do the "someone upstairs just got bodyslammed to the floor" flicker.

8. Making My Brother Laugh is Still One of My Biggest Goals in Life
Earlier this week, he posted some Billy Joel lyrics on his girlfriend Brookie's Facebook page. Since they are both friends of mine - though part of the 448 so-called "friends" who aren't fans yet - I got the update in my little Stalker feed. Normally, I let those things slide, as 95% of the info is like tits on a bull to me, but this was an opportunity. Dropped a little comment on the wall about Pete's message making me throw up in my mouth a little bit and waited... Two days later, mission accomplished. Pete sent me a "that threw up in my mouth a little made me piss myself laughing." Typical younger brother, always trying to impress his big brother.

9. The Whole City Shutting Down Means One Thing
No, not stay the fuck home and get drunk by the fire. Rather, LET'S ALL GO TO BLOCKBUSTER! Thursday, we got smashed with a snowstorm that literally shut down all of St. Johns, except for the taxi cabs and the movie stores. Gotta love the bastards who can't drive to work because it's too dangerous out but are able to come in and rent copy after copy of Good Luck Chuck. I stood behind my cash register for five solid hours sans break that day, putting on a brave face while countless people told me how much it sucks that we had to stay open. D'you know what retards? It's your goddamn fault. If you freaks would just stay the fuck home and get drunk by the fire, maybe I could do the same and not have to search the Drop Box for a copy of Saw 4 for you...

10. Off The Wagon
Bought a pack of darts this week. Thursday, on the way to work actually. Was one of those weeks. I know - excuses, excuses, blah blah blah. Piss off. I wanted a smoke. The way I look at it, I went a month without after having smoked for the last 13 years. Cut me some slack. I'll shut it down again once the pack is gone and get back to the Tattoo Plan. But as for now, it's time for a smoke...

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This Coming Valentine's Day, I'm Going To Be Awful Busy

Went to the movies last night with Sarah - a review of 27 Dresses will come later today in 10 Things - and sitting through the previews - which you have to be there for no matter what - it turns out that my calender is going to be pretty full on February 14, 2008.

Three movies that I want to see all open on that very day. Since I do the schedule at work now, guess who isn't working Valentine's Day and probably not the day after either?

The movies all come with varying degrees of anticipation, so we'll go from the bottom to the top.

Step Up 2 The Streets I'll go and see for two reasons: (1) Sarah and I's first date was to Step Up, so there is the nostalgia factor and being that it's V-Day, that makes it extra sweet / vomit-inducing depending on who you are and (2) I'm admittedly a sucker for dance films, especially hip hop dance films.

I own You Got Served which is quite possibly the worst movie ever made, except for the fact that the dance scenes are insane. Dave Scott choreographed the hell outta that movie. And no, I didn't have to look it up to see who choreographed the film. These are the stupid things I know. I know choreographers... can't do basic math without a calculator, but I know choreographers.

With that in mind, do I even need to state that I'm looking forward to seeing How She Move when it comes out? Canadian Hip Hop Dance Film... I'm in!

Silver Medal standing on the Valentine's Day movie podium goes to the Ryan Reynolds / Abigail Breslin father/daughter heart-warmer from the guys who did Notting Hill and Love, Actually called Definitely, Maybe.

First off, I loved both Notting Hill and Love, Actually so that makes this almost a no-brainer.

Second, bonus points for the movie sharing a name with an outstanding Oasis album. Say what you will about The Gallaghers, but know that I will fight you about the awesomeness that is (was?) Oasis.

Third, I'm a Ryan Reynolds guy. Van Wilder? Just Friends? Foolproof? Even the little stuff he does (The Nines anyone?) is pretty damn good. Plus, yes, fine, I'll admit it... bit of a man crush. There I said it.

Taking home the Gold Medal for the two-day V-Day movie bonanza that will be is Jumper. Before anyone starts grunting and groaning about my dying to see a movie starring Hayden "Manakin Skywalker" Christiansen, please note that it also stars Samuel L., Diane Lane (HUGE CRUSH!) and Rachel Bilson and is about guys who can teleport. How cool would that be?

Hopefully, Sarah will want to come to these with me. Otherwise, it's going to be a pretty shitty Valentine's Day for her...

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Soundtrack of My Life

Song: Poison
Artists: Bell Biv DeVoe (BBD)
Album: Poison

Rob Gordon, the lead character in the outstanding Nick Hornby book High Fidelity and John Cusack movie of same name taught me that the secret to making a good mix tape is all in the layout. After smoothing it out, as we did last week with the mellowed out Jeff Buckley track Hallelujah, you need to turn it up a notch and crank the energy back up to eleven. Enter Bell Biv DeVoe.

I first dug these cats when they were 60% of New Edition - along with Ralph Tresvant and Bobby Brown, before he split and was replaced with Johnny Gill - and they delivered cheesy, teenage R&B love songs like "Candy Girl" and "If It Isn't Love," to which I think I still know the dance.

Anyhow, late in the '80's after Bobby left and blew up, everyone else got the same idea. Ralph T went solo and dropped "Stone Cold Gentleman," Johnny Gill delivered his album that featured "Rub You The Right Way" and "My My My," but the best of all was Bell Biv DeVoe.

Ricky Bell, Michael Bivens and Ronnie DeVoe brought an R&B album for the masses to groove to, pairing slick production with suggestive but not too racy lyrics. And when you're talking BBD, you're talking Poison.

The lyrics of this song are stupid and I don't mean stupid in that way that stupid means good, I mean they are actually stupid.

Poison deadly moving it slow
Looking for a mellow fellow like DeVoe
Getting paid laid so better lay low
Schemin' on hots my end the pro show
The low pro hot should be cut like an afro
See what you're sayin' huh
She's weighin' but I know she's a loser
How do you know me and the crew used to do her

What??? I have no idea what the hell Ronnie DeVoe is actually trying to convey here, but I know I sure did love to dance my ass of to it as a sixth grader and I still do to this very day!

BBD was like a gateway drug for me. They introduced me to what would become my music of choice - hip hop and R&B. Bell Biv DeVoe was like marijuana for me and when this album dropped, I smoked every day.

There are a couple other things that make this song an obvious choice for this feature, you know, besides how kick-ass this track is.

One is that BBD also helped usher (YEAH!) in fashion trends that, yes, I admit it, I rocked. On the inside of the cassette were a couple different shots of the lads decked out in various get-ups. I was partial to the one purple Chuck, one green Chuck with a pair of jeans and a purple and green rugby jersey that Ricky rocked in one of the poses. I don't care how stupid (or gay) you think that sounds... I was dope running around the playground at John Uyen in Chatham rocking my BBD-inspired gear.

The second is BBD's Pop Culture impact over the years. They were on Fresh Prince back in the day. You know, long before Will Smith became Will Smith. But the biggest one for me was "Poison" showing up in an episode of Scrubs.

See, I love Scrubs. Always have, always will. JD is cool an all, in that geeky sort of way, but Turk is my boy. So to flip on Scrubs one night and see Turk rock an airband routine to "Poison" just solidifies for me that this is one bad ass song.

Go grab this song. And remember, as Ricky Bell told you all those years ago:

Never trust a big butt and a smile. That girl is Poison.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Dishonour Roll: Those Who Frequent The Block

Please Note: The views expressed in this diatribe do not reflect those of Blockbuster Canada Ltd. or it's subsidiaries. They are solely the views of the author and maybe one or two other people who have held a similar job.

This does not apply to every customer.

There are some who are great, some who are okay and some who know exactly what they want, don't say anything to you and leave the store quickly. We love them.

As for the rest of the lot... pffffft!

We have to say something to you when you come through the door or else we get in shit. You saying "Hi" and thinking it's the funniest, most original thing ever is a bad way to start.

It's not a fast food joint. You don't come up to the counter, tell us what movies you want and then stand there expecting us to get them for you. Do you go to the grocery store and hand some clerk your list while they run the aisles for you? Go look for your own shitty movies douchebag!

And another thing - the movies are in alphabetical order (roughly) so it's not rocket science... all you need to do is take 4 seconds to look. Recite the alphabet to yourself if it helps.

It's a real easy system. There is the coverbox with all the pretty pictures and words then stacks of the movie for you to rent. Which one do you think you bring to the counter?

Don't come in and ask me to recommend a movie when you've already watched 95% of the movies we're schilling. You saying, "Seen that" over and over drives me bonkers and not just because it's grammatically incorrect either.

I personally do not own Blockbuster Video, nor am I the person who called your house or sent you the Collections Letter. Just remember that next time you want to go on an obscenities-laced yelling spree 'kay?

While we're on the subject - if you don't want us calling you and you don't want to get sent to collections... BRING THE GODDAMN MOVIES BACK! Who the fuck needs a movie for more than 7 days anyways?

You can't get a refund just because a movie sucked. There are two reasons for this: (1) We'd go out of business real quick because 50% of the movies at Blockbuster lick balls and (2) You picked the fucking thing... it's not my fault you're a moron!

Is it so hard to produce a membership card or some form of ID? It's not like we're asking for a urine sample or anything... so why the hell do you gotta get so goddamn pissy when I ask to see your ID? You drove here, shouldn't you have your license on you?

Shockingly, I'm not kidding when I tell you that you can't rent anything until the $196.48 balance on your account for seven overdue movies and three games is paid. If you didn't have to pay it, why would I mention it in the first place?

We don't have a Prison Section. Stop asking. It goes Family, TV, Foreign, Drama, Action and Comedy. Did you hear Prison anywhere in there?

Newsflash: We don't have a porn section either. Don't come to us for your pornographic needs. Get it the same place everyone else does... The Internet.

Just because I work at Blockbuster it doesn't mean that I know the name of that movie with that guy who was in that thing with that girl...

Seeing a movie advertised on TV usually means it is just hitting the theatres, unless the commercial ends with "Own it Today on DVD!" So please, do us all a favour and stop asking if we have the new Rambo, I Am Legend or anything else still raking it in at the box office. And don't argue with me when I tell you it's still in theatres...

If you know your movie is 4000 days late, why must you throw it in the drop box before you come try to rent something? You know I'm just going to have to go fish it out to clear your gigantic balance so you can rent more crap you're going to keep forever, so just bring them to the counter with you and save us both the headache.

I didn't give you the wrong movie as you were walking out. I gave you the movie you brought up to me at the counter, only you didn't pay attention when I read out the title to you because you were too busy yammering away on your cell phone/to one of your buddies/to your significant other. Coming in and blaming me for your attention deficit disorder isn't a good way to get me to help you out either.

D'you know what does work? Manners. Please, thank you, pardon, excuse me; those work. Everything else is just you starting down the path to me picking out a shitty movie for you.

No, that new Direct to DVD Wesley Snipes/Dolph Lundgran/Steven Seagall/Jean Claude Van Damme movie isn't any good. If it was, they would have released it to theatres. Please don't try to convince me otherwise. I already know better.

And finally...

Yes, you have to pay for the entire amount of your purchase, even if it means breaking a $20 bill. I'm not joking. This actually happens. Regularly, actually. You don't get to go to a restaurant for dinner and tell the waiter you're not paying the change because you'd have to break a $20 do you? Cheap bastards... cough up the dough! And no, you can't just leave it there until next time either.

So those are due back to us on Saturday. Have yourself a Lackluster Evening!

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Rundown: Coming Attractions

Yesterday, I called Heath Ledger one of the greatest actors of his generation and I stand by that comment. Since we have tragically lost him and his incredible talents, I thought we would use today's Rundown to look at some who might fill his shoes...

Top Five Actors You Need To Watch

5. Joseph Gordon Levitt
The smart-ass kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun has transformed into an outstanding actor over the last number of years. After sharing the screen with Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You, Levitt found critical acclaim in smaller independent films, including 2001's Manic ( I own it, it's awesome...) and 2004's Mysterious Skin. Then came Brick, a film that out of nowhere ended up on a number of "Best of..." lists. Let me start a trend here by saying you'll see him next in the highly anticipated Kimberly Pierce (Boys Don't Cry) film Stop Loss in March.

4. Abbie Cornish
Okay, so the ties to Heath Ledger continue and that is a little weird, but there is no denying the talent Abbie Cornish possesses. She won critical acclaim in the Australian Indie film Somersault (Blockbuster has it... you should rent it) before wowing audiences alongside Ledger in Candy, were she starred as the titular character. She too can be seen in Pierce's Stop Loss in March, but gets an added "Know Her Now Before Everyone Else Catches On" points for being pegged as a Bond Girl in the 22nd Installment of the 007 series.

3. Emile Hirsch
You probably know him from The Girl Next Door or maybe his role as Johnny Truelove in Alpha Dog. Movie geeks like me remember him from a great performance along side Kieran Culkin in The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (Go Rent It!) and he's getting rave reviews, though no Oscar Nom, for his portrayal of Chris McCandless in Sean Penn's Into The Wild. Where will you see him next? Only in The Wachowski Brothers' (Hello... The Matrix!)big screen adaptation of Speed Racer! Yes. I know. I'm a geek. God I'm lucky to have Sarah!

2. Ellen Page
Write this name down. Remember it. Start talking to people about her. Not just because I said so, but so that when she wins the Oscar this year for her portrayal of title character Juno in Jason Reitman's movie that I have been dying to see, you'll look like the super-cool, finger-on-the-pulse member of your group. You want to be that person. Okay, maybe you don't want to be, but I do. Trust me, she is the next big thing in terms of actresses. She has been since Hard Candy and Mouth to Mouth, just no one else picked up on it until she kicked the hell outta Juno. Plus she's Canadian... what's not to love?

1. Channing Tatum
Say what you want. Make fun of the fact that I'm repping the Step Up guy as THE Next Big Thing, but do yourself a favour and pay attention. Yes, he's the Step Up guy. So what? You don't get to say anything until you've gone and watched A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, a little movie starring some big-time actors and Tatum kills'em all as Antonio. And yes, he too is in the up coming Stop Loss, which, in case you haven't been paying attention, I'm dying to see and think will be one of the best films of the year.

Pictured: The Stop Loss Men - Ryan Phillippe, Victor Rasuk, Joseph Gordon Levitt & Channing Tatum

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I gotta say, I'm pretty sickened by the coverage of Heath Ledger's death. I know everyone wants to be first on the scene with all the breaking news and whatnot, but seriously. No one knows the true circumstances of the situation, yet everyone is quick to toss out words like overdose and suicide, say that it was MK Olsen's apartment (which it is now being reported it wasn't) and opining about the state of mind Ledger must have been in.

Here's an idea - wait ten minutes, get the story and let his family and friends get a chance to catch their breath about the situation before jamming a microphone or tape recorder in their face. Be responsible with your reporting. Is it that hard?

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heath Andrew Legder (April 4, 1979 - January 21, 2008)

To me, Heath Ledger was one of the greatest actors of his generation, a man willing to eschew the pretty boy opportunities to take on the more demanding, more difficult, less glamourous roles.

For every Knight's Tale there is a Candy.
For 10 Things I Hate About You there is Brokeback Mountain.

And this summer, there will be The Joker in The Dark Knight.

Sadly, we will never know the true measure of his brilliance.

R.I.P. Heath...

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Why Are You Crying?

Over the weekend while riding the couch in between shifts at The Block and movies with Sarah, I managed to squeeze in some quality time with the highlight pack on The Score. As we were sitting eating breakfast yesterday morning - homemade Egg McMuffins - they ran the highlights (lowlights... boo-urns!) from the Maryland -UNC basketball game, complete with the shots of the crowd, painted in Carolina blue, crying.

"I don't understand that. Why the hell are they crying?" Sarah asked.

The answer?

It beats the hell outta me!

What is that? Who does that? Somebody explain this to me.

I went to many a UWaterloo basketball and football games and never once was a tear shed following a defeat. In fact, I don't think I have ever cried about losing in a sporting event ever, even when I was a little tyke playing Tee Ball or Rec League basketball. It's a friggin' game for chrissakes... deal with it.

And for the record, the only thing worse than fans crying after the game, is players. Like when Adam Morrison broke down on the court during the NCAA Tournament a couple years ago. If ever there was a surefire "Don't Draft This Guy" sign, that was it for me. Crybaby...

This phenomenon doesn't just apply to sporting events either though. You see it at concerts. Watch the footage from a concert - any concert - and you always see those morons in the front row getting crushed against the steel barriers bawling their eyes out. Now, if they're crying because they're being mashed into an immovable steel barrier by thousands of other douchebags eager to get a little bit closer to the artist on stage, that makes sense. But that isn't ever the case.

These are the same chuckleheads that are crying their eyes out standing in front of the hotel the object of their obsession might be staying at. They're the ones who fall to the ground like they've been shot when said stalker-iffic musician tosses an obligatory wave from a window far away from the weeping masses below.

Honestly, what gives? Am I missing something? Is there something wrong with me?

I get it with movies. I can't get through The Notebook without shedding a tear. I actually challenge anyone to and if you can, you have no soul.

P.S. I Love You reduced the woman sitting behind us in the theatre to a big ball of tears almost instantaneously. Beaches used to kick the shit outta Faye (My Mom) and her BFF Ena (My Other Mom), or maybe that had something to do with the copious amounts of Brandy Slush they would gulp back watching The Divine Ms. M do her thing...

The same goes for TV and books, more or less. Stirring emotional images or words or crafted images in your head from the words can illicit strong reactions. I get that. But losing a basketball game? C'mon... Seeing your favourite band live? Gimme a break...

Here is the challenge: Someone really needs to explain this to me. If you're a crier, I need to hear from you. Explain yourself. Help me see where the tears come from. Like I said, movies get a pass. Everything else is fair game. Enlighten me.

Continue reading ...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Things I Learned This Week

1. Apparently It Can't Just Be a Discussion
See that's all I was hoping for with the first post of this week - Untitled - about the Kelly Tilghman comments and the reactions. I wanted to talk about the reaction, educate myself and maybe others to where the reactions come from and open a discourse on an important topic. Sadly, that didn't happen, because, well, I don't really know why. In part, it's because of the atrocities committed by racist men in previous generations. It is an immediate barrier to communication, one that I can't get through because of the whiteness of my skin. But I think the other part is that it is easier to angrily discuss the past and the mistakes of others than to examine the future and what needs to be done to make the world a better place.

2. An Interesting Question
One thing that came out of the early week posts was an assertion that an entire race - us light-skinned folks - should be ashamed of the actions of white folks in the past. My question then is this: Should then not everyone living in North America feel ashamed for the treatment of the Native Peoples throughout history? I mean, we flat out took their land and gave them nothing...

Just saying, there are all kinds of sides to this coin.

3. We Focus On The Wrong Things
As there is most weeks, this is more of a "Thing I Continued to Learn" than anything else and I am very much a part of it. I devoted three posts this week to the word lynch - a word with venomous history for some - but a word nonetheless, when there are far more important things going on in the world. And I don't mean the ridiculousness that is Britney Spears, though that seems to get even more coverage than anything else. We all need that diversion from time to time - be it reality TV, gossip mags, sports, whatever - but we could also make a helluva lot of difference if we all wanted to.

4. An Example of The Above
There is this dude I used to work with named Sab. He's a good dude, good intentioned, nice enough, mildly annoying. You know, that guy. Anyway, I get somewhere in the neighbourhood of 50 emails a week from Sab, none of which have any intellectual content whatsoever. Some are YouTube clips of goals or fights I've seen on The Score all morning, some are jokes that aren't overly funny, but for the most part, it's porn. Topless chicks on a beach, the latest silicone queen from the cover of a magazine, you name it. If Sab spent even 10% of the time he spends trolling for and forwarding on porn on anything of remote importance, he might have figured out where bin Laden is hiding already. I'm not saying steer clear of the porn entirely... just maybe ease up a little.

5. I Still Love This Picture, Years After First Seeing It
Some things are always funny. This is one of them.

6. My Mom is a 16 Year Old Girl
Figuratively, of course. See, I got a call from her this week that amounted to the kind of phone calls you had when you were sixteen, wondering if that boy or girl you liked liked you or liked you liked you. Faye's in the same boat.

7. I Really Have Grown Up
My buddy Deuce had a party Friday night at his place. Typical deal - people, drinks, music, etc. - at least, that's what I would imagine happened. We made an appearance at 8:00 and were home on the couch by 10:15 watching What Not To Wear. Now, in my defense, I had to work Saturday morning, but still. Two years ago, this wouldn't have meant squat to me. I rocked a massive hangover on the casino floor more time than I can remember after a night out with Bucky and the Boys. Maybe I really am becoming a Sally...

8. Some People Actually Have No Idea How A Movie Store Works
You'll hear all my gripes about the fine folks who frequent The Block a little later in the week (maybe Thursday, who knows?) but I just gotta get this one out there right now:

It's not like a fast food joint where you go up to the counter, place your order and the people behind the counter go and get it for you!

The only exceptions are if you're (a) a cute, older person (b) disabled in any way or (c) a cute, older person who is disabled in any way.

Notice that being a lazy skeet didn't make the list...

9. No, It Don't Come In English
Me: Thank you for calling Blockbuster where you can Trade & Save
Him: Yeah, uh, we bought dat Pan's Labyrinth movie en it's all in Spanish. Do it come in English?
Me (choking back laughter): No sir, it's a Spanish film.
Him: So I can't turn off the Spanish er nothin?
Me: No sir, unfortunately not.
Him: So it's like that Iwo Jima? I didn't know that wasn't English either. I got that one here too.
Me: I see...
Him: You ain't got an English version of that do yee?

At this point, I usually make the finger guns and pretend to shoot myself with both finger guns under the chin...

10. 1 Month, 1 Cigarette
Yesterday marked one month of "quitting smoking" and in that time, I have had exactly one cigarette. I also had one shitty Pom Pom cigar a couple weekends ago, but that doesn't really count because, well, it just doesn't. ONE CIGARETTE... IN A MONTH! Yes, I want a pat on the back.

Continue reading ...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Joys & Pains of Being a Writer

This writing thing isn't as easy as it looks.

I know what you're thinking - if a half-wit like me can make a go of it, a set of trained chimps hammering on a bunch of typewriters should be able to churn out something mildly entertaining in no time. Sadly, no one has gotten that to work for them as of yet, so I still come off looking somewhat talented.


Yesterday was one of those good day / bad day dichotomies that occasionally pop up in my writing life where a whole truckload of things go really well, but one thing goes piss-poor and spoils it all. Ironically, it's that the one thing didn't go at all that put a damper on an otherwise outstanding afternoon.

First of all, a day without Blockbuster is automatically great. Nothing personal to those of you from The Block who happened to work yesterday, but I love my time away from there more than almost everything in life. I'm sure you all understand.

Second, I smashed out two posts yesterday - the soundtrack piece below and a little fun piece about an idiot on the San Diego Chargers who should have kept his mouth shut over at Epic Carnival. Any time I can manage to actually put together two well received pieces in one day is pretty sweet.

Adding to the sweetness, I did an interview with a guy I went you university with who is trying to change the world one t-shirt at a time.

His name is Jeff Woodrow and he runs his own t-shirt company. I'm not going to go into great detail - (1) so you'll buy the issue of Passion a couple months from now that features the interview and (2) because I want you all to go to his site and find out about it for yourself. As with most things here, you'll thank me for doing so...

Long story short, I hadn't talked to Woody in a long time and it was wicked to reconnect and talk to someone of like mind who has given up everything to chase his dreams and try to make a difference.

But of course, since everything was going so wonderfully smooth and I was in such a great mood, something had to come up and ruin it. As I said before, it's actually that it didn't come up that made me mad.

Yesterday marked a full month since I hurriedly put the finishing touches on my next article for Passion, a feature (2000 words!) on Celebrity Comebacks for the January/February edition. This is the piece that I had to put together and submit while we were home on vacation, you know, when I was supposed to be relaxing and enjoying my time off.

So, d'you know how many emails and pieces of correspondence I have gotten since being told I needed to have the piece in pre-Christmas as the next issue was going to be put together before New Years? I'm pretty sure you can make a good guess...


As my man Smitty said to me back last month when I bitched to him about the suddenly sprung deadline, it is quite amazing how someone or a collection of someones needs a month or more to layout my words. I know it is a much harder task than I actually think it is, but here's the rub:

I haven't even got back a "Article looks great, here are the corrections / edits we need you to make" email as of yet. Either I wrote a perfect article (Not effing Likely) or we're still not at the editing stage which makes me wonder why the hell I needed to get that piece in so goddamn early in the first place?! I could have spent another week easy doing more in-depth research than I did and would have had an even better article. I mean, don't get me wrong, it's great and you're going to love it, but I know it could have been even better.


The one silver lining to all this is that the one email I have gotten from Passion Magazine in the last month was a request for a photo and professional bio for the next issue's Contributors section.

That's right - a picture of me and my mohawk all up in the next issue - plus a shout out to B&C and a mention of a little blog project too...

I'm done whining... thanks for listening.

Continue reading ...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Soundtrack of My Life

Song: Hallelujah
Artist: Jeff Buckley
Album: Grace

D'you know how some songs just give you shivers up your spine? This one does it for me.

I never was a Jeff Buckley fan. Admittedly, I knew very little of him before hearing this song and flipping through the Internet to find out a little more about it's singer.

That is the beauty of music to me though; you don't have to have any kind of connection or even knowledge of the singer to have a connection with the song.

Hallelujah isn't Buckley's song; it's Canadian Leonard Cohen's, but Buckley's version is the one that everyone knows and is heralded as one of the Top 500 Songs of All-Time by Rolling Stone magazine. I can't say I disagree.

The song is haunting to me. In part Buckley's death - he drowned in 1997 - has something to do with it, but it's more just the simplicity of the track, with nothing more than Buckley's voice and the guitar.

Every so often there just aren't words to describe why I have a connection to something. This is one of those times. This is one of those songs. I can't put it in words. All I can do is sit back and listen to this song, over and over again.

You should do the same.

Continue reading ...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Dishonour Roll: Golfweek Magazine

I had another group lined up for this week's Dishonour Roll, but I've had to put them on the shelf for now. I got home and heard about and saw the image to the left and had to change course.

If you've been here at all this week, you know we've been discussing race a great deal and the words of Kelly Tilghman, pictured right, an anchor on The Golf Channel. Golfweek Magazine has stoked the fire even more with this horrific choice of covers.

Someone at Golfweek Magazine should get fired over this. There is no question that the motive here was to sell magazines based of the controversy and that end result was put ahead of everything else. How someone - anyone - involved in green-lighting this cover didn't wonder aloud whether they were doing something horribly offensive is beyond me.

While you may say that sounds hypocritical coming from the guy who said he didn't understand the grave uproar over the Kelly Tilghman comments, I counter with this:

I give Tilghman the benefit of the doubt that she made a grievous mistake on live television and meant no harm with her comments. Some times, decent people make horrible mistakes and I think that is what happened in her case. She apologized immediately, was punished and we move on. Doesn't mean what she said was okay...

This is a whole different situation though, as this isn't off the cuff and unrehearsed on live TV. Someone started thinking about this the minute the comment became news and ran with it. This is an image that summons the fiercest anger in almost an entire community and there is no way that it should be allowed to sit on shelves around the world.

As a journalist, I am all for freedom of speech, but there are limits. To me, this image and this cover cross that line.

Continue reading ...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Rundown: Listen Up Hollywood!

To say this week has been a bit tense here would be like saying the Patriots are decent...

With that in mind, it's time to lighten things up a helluva lot with a Rundown inspired by Slapshot 2, American Pie Presents: (Insert College-ish Name Here) and anything that begins with National Lampoon's Presents, except for Van Wilder.

Top Five Worst Film Ideas

5. Sequels to Mediocre Movies, Starring a Totally Different Cast
The Prince & Me was cute. Save the Last Dance was predictable, but sweet. Julia Stiles was in both. The Prince & Me 2 was crap, as was Save the Last Dance 2. Julia Stiles was in neither. Moral of the story? When you're doing a sequel to a marginally good movie and the stars don't want to reprise their lead roles, reconsider, unless you're big on Direct to DVD. Did you even know they made a Butterfly Effect 2? I'm already a little sick to my stomach that there is a Step Up 2 coming. Why Hollywood, why? Leave well enough alone, I beg you...

4. Compilation Parodies
Scary Movie was funny. Scary Movie 2 through 47 sucked balls, as did Epic Movie, Date Movie and I'm damn sure that the soon to be released to The Comebacks is going to suck balls too. The reason? A movie that is 97 minutes of making fun of stereotypical elements of other movies isn't funny to begin with and it's really not funny when some jackass industry executive lets these same band of idiots - the non-Wayans Brothers unfunny guys who wrote Scary Movie - do it over and over and over again. If you want to see it done well, go get Hot Shots. Now that was funny.

3. Actiony Horror Flicks Starring That Guy From Starship Troopers and Giant Insects
Actually, any movie involving Patrick Muldoon is a bad idea. The guy is pure poison. Pairing that guy with genetically enhanced killer spiders - I'm not making this shit up - that attack a ski team training for the Olympics at Forbidden Mountain -seriously, this is the plot - is called Ice Spiders and you can get your copy tonight at Blockbuster Video! While there, also grab Kaw, featuring deadly crows and Sean Patrick Flannery or Black Sheep with the ravenous herds of killer sheep. Seriously, who the fuck sits at home and thinks this is a good idea for a movie? Better yet, who agrees with that douchebag and gives him the money to make it?

2. "Grappling Gang"*
Guy #1: It's a group of guys who get together and wrestle in rundown warehouse to take out their frustrations with everyday life.
Guy #2: Sounds a lot like Fight Club.
Guy #1: Whoa, whoa, whoa. This is way different. For one, it's about grappling, not fighting. Second, no one you've ever heard of is going to be in it. Third, it doesn't have any of the social commentary or outstanding dark humour of Fight Club.
Guy #2: So it's basically sweaty, shirtless guys "grappling"? No real story or plot or point?
Guy #1: You got it!
Guy #2: Sounds a lot like gay porn... Not that there's anything wrong with that per se...

* This one applies across all genres too. Imitation may be the finest form of flattery, but it sucks ass on celluloid...Please stop it immediately!

1. We Haven't Done a (Insert Title Character Here) Flick in a While
There is a reason for that - No one wants to see them anymore. We thought you knew that.

If we wanted to see another Die Hard, we would have been all over you for one after With a Vengeance. We weren't though, were we? It's because no one believes 55 year old John McLain is still able to kick that much ass.

Who gave the go ahead on Mr. Bean's Holiday? There wasn't ever anything funny about a mute who makes stupid faces for 90 minutes in the first place, so why would that be any different now?

Thanks for fucking up Superman too, because we really needed to bring back the Man of Steel so you could have The Crippled Guy from Usual Suspects play Lex Luther and some new talentless pretty boy pour himself into a unitard. Weren't you paying attention when Smallville went off the air? The general public is done with all things Superman.

And while I'm at it - Rambo? Are you fucking kidding me? He's 97! Rocky Balboa wasn't enough for you? You know Sly is just going to be like, "Eh, uh, I should redo all my movies. Somebody uh call Wesley Snipes and Sandy Bullock and see if dey wanna do Demolition Man again." Sad thing is, somebody in Hollywood would make that movie.

Since we're riffing on movies...

Bonus Additional Bad Idea!

Comic Book / Video Game Movies by Non-Comic Book / Video Game People
Listen, if the guy writing or directing the piece doesn't have a huge hard-on for the comic/game they are adapting, stop. You're just going to fuck it up and piss off a whole lot of people. Plus, someone who does get a massive stiffy for this shit would probably do a really good job. Sadly, this isn't always 100% accurate, as the same guy - Mark Steven Johnson, a big time comic book geek - fucked up great titles like Daredevil and Ghost Rider.

D'you know why I love movies so much though? Because even with naming all this garbage, there are still thousands - literally thousands - of movies that are outstanding that you can watch. That's awesome...

Continue reading ...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

An Open Letter to Anyone Who Wants to Listen

Yesterday, I sought out clarity and understanding of an issue.

Today, I want to pass along what my venture has taught me and what I pledge to do from this day forward as a result.

In hoping to have a discussion, I was sent a link to Google images of horrible atrocities.

In sending a private email asking for insight and opinions, I was told that is what us white folks always want to do.

In asking to help educate and open minds, I was told that educating and opening minds wasn't part of the deal.

Racism and bigotry are issues that have always struck a chord with me. That's what happens when you're the white kid who grew up loving hip hop, hung out in a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities and was nicknamed "United Nations" by his old man for being so accepting of everyone, no matter the skin tone.

I do not tolerate either and do not understand those who do. We no longer live in a time where "that's the way they were raised" can be used as an excuse, not that it should have been in the first place.

I also do not understand being bound to the past beyond the point of moving forward. The sins of the father do not always fall to the son and the ills of the father work the same way. At some point, history and the past must simply be that; remember it, swear to never repeat it and work towards the future. The future is what we can control and change and influence. That should be our focus.

Yesterday, part of one of the comments nearly brought me to tears:

If you've had thousands of your people killed and burned while White offspring laugh and smile at the feet of their murderous fathers, then you would totally understand. Slave ships traveled to and fro for 200 years. Two thirds of Africans died on each trip. Do the math.These are the images burned in our memories from birth and where the majority of our distrust for Whites is grounded.

That shit is sick! It's fucking disgusting and an entire race should be ashamed that their grandfathers, brothers, uncles, neighbors, priests and presidents basically authenticated DEATH with no action!

I am not ashamed of who I am, nor do I feel I should be. Slavery and the atrocities committed during those times were not committed by each and every white person. I am as sickened by the pictures linked to me in the comment as anyone with any moral fiber should be, but I am not responsible for those sins. Please don't judge me as such. Doing so is as mistake and a missed opportunity.

I saw yesterday as an opportunity, to open a line of discussion on a topic that is of the utmost importance in our world. Instead of discussing the random, unimportant topics that are usually featured here, I wanted to do something I think is important - educate.

It's not my job or any other Black person to educate Whites on what is right and wrong to say.

Get a fucking book and educate yourselves instead of focusing on yourselves and yourselves only.

No one else in this country does this. We know more about Whites than they know about themselves because we are forced to know.

My question is this: Why not you? Or me? Or anyone?

There isn't any rule that says you can't help someone grow and become a better person. This isn't about black or white, it is about educating, understanding, learning, growing and becoming a better world.

For me, the future is what is most important. It is the world in which my children will live and grown and learn. I cannot change the things that have happened before my time, but I can educate myself, my children and anyone else who wants to listen to where we have been, where we are and where we can go.

Education and communication are the answer.

I refuse to stand in the past and not be a part of building a better future, for everyone.

My world is colour blind.

I only hope that yours is too.

Continue reading ...

Monday, January 14, 2008


Warning: There is going to be some language in here that you might not like. I don't like it, but it's here to help discuss an issue.

I'm getting older and I was hoping that by the time I reached this age, some things would have changed in the world and we would have sorted a few things out by now. But we haven't and I don't think we ever will. That makes me sad.

Kelly Tilghman, an on-air analyst for The Golf Channel, used the word "lynch" in reference to how the rest of the PGA should try to defeat the dominance that is Tiger Woods.

Ms. Tilghman couldn't have picked a worse word. She made an apology, was suspended for two weeks and the person whom the comment was directed towards, Tiger Woods, has said it's a non-issue. This, to me, means we're done here. Of course, we're not and here is where I will get my self into trouble.

We're not done because some people don't want to see beyond it. Some people refuse to let a horribly inappropriate word uttered on live television not just be a horrible inappropriate word uttered on live television. It's gotta be more than that.

I love Scoop Jackson. He's one of the people who inspired me over the years to make a move into this writing thing. Loved him at SLAM, still love him over at ESPN. Except this morning. This morning I'm annoyed with Scoop Jackson.

You see, Scoop's piece is all about Kelly Tilghman, Tiger Woods and us as a society understanding that thoughtless statements that are racially insensitive do not have a place in the world today. He calls for Tiger Woods to be the person that shows us all this. He also likens Ms. Tilghman to Howard Cosell, Marge Schott, John Rocker and Don Imus.

This isn't Imus calling the Rutgers University Women's Basketball Team a bunch of "nappy headed hos." This isn't Howard Cosell's infamous "Look at that little monkey go" or Marge Schott calling Eric Davis and Dave Parker her "Million-Dollar Niggers." This is nowhere near John Rocker territory either. This is an on-air personality making a horrible choice of words.

Unfortunately, because of the word Ms. Tilghman used, this has become a bigger issue. Sadly, had she said the rest of the players on the PGA Tour need to take him into a back alley somewhere and beat the fuck outta him, not a lot would have been made of the story I don't think. In essence, that is exactly what needs to happen if anyone else wants to win something of significance on the PGA Tour in the next twenty years. Not because Tiger Woods is black, but because he is that damn good.

Of course, this is about more than just Tiger Woods, Kelly Tilghman and the word lynch. This is about racism, perceived or real, intended or unintentional.

I don't think I will ever see a time where racism isn't a part of society. I don't like that I feel this way, but it is how I feel. Sadly, one of the reasons I think this way is situations such as this one.

To me - and I understand that I come from a much different place than those who take great offense to Ms. Tilghman's choice of words - the fact that this became as much of a story as it did is a sad declaration of the world we live in. Not that Ms. Tilghman should have gone unpunished or there should be no barometer of what you can and can't say, but aren't there much more important issues in the world than one woman not being smart enough to think before she spoke?

Kelly Tilghman used the word lynch on The Golf Channel. How many rappers use the N word throughout their rhymes, reaching a much larger audience than The Golf Channel could ever hope to reach? And don't feed me this, "It's okay because they're black and it's nigg-a, not nigg-er," bullshit either. If lynch is a word that strikes a chord, how the fuck is the N word acceptable? How come Rev. Al Sharpton isn't calling for a stop to the recording of hip hop tracks using that word? Or what if a black commentator said it or something of similar nature in reference to a white athlete? Then what?

I guess, my basic question is this: why is one thing seen as horribly wrong and the other is acceptable?

Black comedians get on stage and do "The White Guy Voice" without anyone batting an eye. Russell Peters' entire routine is predicated on racial stereotypes, but because he's a minority himself it's okay? Or are both of these acceptable because they are done in good spirits and jokingly?

I dunno.

What I do know is that I will continue to live my life the way I always have, seeing people not colour and with my fingers crossed that maybe my children will be able to live a world that truly embraces that belief.

Continue reading ...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Things I Learned This Week

1. Losing Your Luggage Isn't All Bad
My man Deuce, the one with the fire-filled comment directed at John Q. Anonymous a couple pieces back, had his luggage "misplaced" flying home from Vancouver over the New Year. As it turns out, because he used his credit card to book the flight, said credit card company gives him a $100/day clothing allowance for his troubles to a maximum of five days. Needless to say, Deuce is going shopping in the very near future to replace his lost wardrobe. You should maybe go on Tuesday Deuce. I'm off. I could go with you. I'm good at shopping.

2. Get Everything Done Before You Open the First Beer
Because if you don't, you'll finish the first beer and open the second and then next thing you know, you've drank the entire 8-pack of Guinness that was supposed to last you the night, you didn't end up writing that blog post you were planning (Sorry Everyone!) and you're half in the bag by the time you're ready to start making dinner. The moral of the story? I got drunk last night...

3. I Am, In Fact, A Sally
Tapped out somewhere around 12:30 last night. Yep, 12:30. That's it. Deuce was still chugging along and Sarah was well into Drunk Sarah mode where she could drink lighter fluid and not feel a thing. As for me, I had puked a little and was ready to pack it in before the clock hit 1 AM. What the hell has happened to me? I blame working nine days in a row at Blockbuster and being woken up at 9 AM by the rampaging toddler upstairs, but really, that's just the kind of thing a Sally who tapped out before 1 AM would be expected to say. I'll try to do better next time.

4. Canadian Sports Media Sucks
D'you know what's awesome? When the two best teams in all of hockey face off against one another, one of them being from the Nation's Capital, the other being my Red Wings, and every sports outlet in this country leads with the litany of problems plaguing the Toronto Maple Leafs. Are you shitting me? I don't care that you're the biggest city in the country and have the most loyal fans in the world. The Leafs are shit and everyone, especially Leafs fans, need to start realizing this.

5. You Like Me! You Really Like Me!
This ode to Sally Field brought to you by the nine - count'em 9! - Fans of E. Spencer Kyte on Facebook. Much thanks to Sarah Cole, AJ Godson, Lance Doucette, Erin Dillon, Ashley Clements, David Chalk, Mark Townsend and Bryan Buchanan for signing up. A bigger shout out goes to Chalk's friend Galina who is the only person not connected to me in some way, shape or form who has joined. You guys and gals rock! To the rest of you, what the fuck is the matter with you? Join already bitches... especially you Smitty!

6. Sarah's Scrabble Supremacy is Failing
I've got two wins in a row and counting. She'll tell you I have one win in a row and we quit the game before that, but the truth is she lost interest and started chatting on MSN for the simple reason that she was getting her ass handed to her and is so competitive that she would rather quit than actually admit defeat.

7. I Hate The Simpson Sisters
Ashley is engaged to Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy, whose heartbroken tales of suburban emo misery I greatly enjoy. How can one write about being miserable and having a shitty life if you in fact aren't miserable and don't have a shitty life? Fall Out Boy will never be the same. Big sister Jessica could be the blame for an even bigger screw up if things don't go well for the Dallas Cowboys this afternoon. Should her current boyfriend Tony Romo and his teammates shit the bed against the New York Football Giants, it won't be the Giants who get credit for playing well, it'll be Yoko Simpson taking the blame for dragging Tony off to Cancun this week when he should have been focusing on football. Us media types are retarded... Jessica also makes me puke a little in my mouth for introducing the world at large to Nick Lachey, which in turn made his stupid little brother Drew a C-List Celebrity.

8. Kevin Smith Doesn't Reply to MySpace Messages
So there is a push to get the man who is responsible for Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy et al out to Memorial University for a Q&A a la his An Evening With series. Proving that Facebook is taking over the world, there is a group for it. Yes, I'm a member of said group. I am also a former MySpace user and have Kevin Smith on my friend list, so I thought I would send him a message to see if I could drum up some information on how one would go about sorting something like this out. That was ten days ago and I've got nothing. I'm sure there is a logical explanation - namely that he is a busy man who gets thousands of messages a day polluting his Inbox - but still. I'll keep you posted on the status... ten days and counting.

9. Apparently, Writing A Funny Movie that Lasts Longer Than 96 Minutes is Hard Work
Brought home three new comedy releases this weekend - Mr. Woodcock, Good Luck Chuck and The Ten. None of them are more than 96 minutes long and none of them are all that funny. Woodcock was decent enough. Billy Bob plays a bastard pretty well and Amy Poehler needs to get even more work as she is one of the funniest women around. You all know how I feel about Dane Cook, so that doesn't need to be rehashed and The Ten was just plain shitty. I suppose I should be thankful that none of them cost me more than an hour and a half of my life, but I mean, is it really that hard to come up with a new, funny idea and make it work for, heaven forbid, 120 minutes?

10. The People of New Hampshire Are Racist
While it's probably not very truthful, I need some kind of explanation of why Hilary Clinton won the NH Primary and not The Next President of the United States Barack Obama. Playing the race card seems like the most ridiculous notion, so I'll go with that. On a sad note, it's hilarious to me that I care a lot more about US Politics than I do Canadian Politics. Maybe it's because of the sorry state of Canadian Politics. I mean, who doesn't love powerless Minority Governments?!

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Soundtrack of My Life

Song: Diamonds from Sierra Leone
Kanye West
Album: Late Registration

I lasted until #7 but I just couldn't keep Kanye away. Really, how could you expect me to? The dude is dynamic and this is my favourite joint of all.

Sampling the hell out of the Shirley Bassey song "Diamonds Are Forever" from the Bond film of same name, this version is all about Kanye and The Roc-A-Fella fam, as shown by the chorus urging listeners to throw a diamond in the sky, the hand symbol of the Roc.

Besides having a ridiculously infectious beat, the rhymes Kanye spits over said beat displays some of his best bravado to date.

After debris settles and the dust get swept off
Big K pick up where young Hov left off
Right when magazines wrote Kanye West off
I dropped my new shit sound like the best of
A&R's lookin' like "pssh we messed up"
Grammy night, damn right, we got dressed up
Bottle after bottle till we got messed up

The truth is, Kanye isn't just bragging. He really is picking up where Jay Z left off and scores of music industry execs who said he was a great producer and only a great producer definitely did mess up.

Crazy thing about Kanye though, and this song is one of the ones that really exemplifies it to me and makes me mad at people that don't appreciate his genius - and he is a genius people - is that beyond all the bragging and crazy shit Kanye has been known to do, layered in there into overlooked songs like this, are smart, brilliant lyrics that any emcee would be proud to call their own:

Take your diamonds and throw 'em up like you bulimic
Yea the beat cold but the flow is anemic

What more can you ask for?
The international assholes nah
Who complains about what he is owed?
And throw a tantrum like he is 3 years old
You gotta love it though somebody still speaks from his soul
And wouldn't change by the change, or the game, or the fame,
When he came, in the game, he made his own lane
Now all I need is y'all to pronounce my name
Its Kanye - But some of my plastic - they still say Kane
Next to the verse he drops on the Ne-Yo remix of Ghostface Killer's "Back Like That" that features a Ron Burgundy reference and the gem "she ordered the Kobe beef like Shaquille O'Neal," this track is easily my favourite Kanye lyrics of all time.

What makes this song even more important to me is that it educated Kanye. Sure, the diamond is the symbol of Roc-A-Fella, but after he recorded the song and heard the Lupe Fiasco* track "Conflict Diamonds," Kanye sought knowledge and educated himself to the plight of children who work in the diamond minds and used the video for this song as a message and recorded a remix of the track where he questions Jacob the Jeweler about the status of his diamonds.

Winner of the 2006 Grammy for Best Rap Song, Diamonds from Sierra Leone is a definite addition to the soundtrack of any Kanye West fans life.

* If you don't know about Lupe Fiasco, go get yourself some and tell me he isn't bananas... and definitely get the CRS joint "US Placers." It's Kanye, Lupe and Pharrell, but I'll tell you more about it at a later date...

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Dishonour Roll: Steve Downie & Bobby Clarke

These two really do deserve each other.

One is a jackass forward for the Philadelphia Flyers, the other is a former jackass forward for the Philadelphia Flyers who has been involved with running the team pretty much since he hung up his skates. Neither has any business around the NHL.

Let's start with Steve Downie.

He was a pest and a shit disturber in junior, getting shipped out of Windsor because one of his rookie teammates wanted to beat the living daylights out of him over a hazing incident. Fine, he was a kid. Kids do some stupid things.

During the pre-season this year, he laid out Ottawa Senator forward Dean McAmmond with one of the worst hits I've seen in all my years of watching hockey. He took a big, premeditated run at a guy who didn't have the puck and was coming around the back of the net. Plus he left his feet, which is an absolute no-no. McAmmond didn't stand a chance and was carted off the ice on a stretcher. Somehow, not a single Senator managed to get a shot in on Downie. The league suspended him 20 games, a penalty that some saw as too harsh, others saw as too lenient and I thought was just about right.

So what does he do when he finally finishes serving his suspension and gets into an actual NHL game? He gets in a little skirmish with Toronto Maple Leafs forward Jason Blake and when the linesmen have grabbed a hold of both guys to break up the wrasslin, Downie pops Blake in the face one more time for old time sake.

Then we have Flyers Senior VP Bobby Clarke. This guy is a first class jackass; always has been, always will be. He must have pictures of Flyers owner Ed Snider, a donkey and a can of Cool Whip or something because Clarke never accomplished much as a General Manager over the years and somehow still gets to collect a pay cheque from the Flyers.

Anyhow, Clarke's slash to the ankle of Valeri Kharlamov in the '72 Summit Series and his asshole treatment of Eric Lindros at the tail end of his Philly tenure aside, Clarke gets this honour for his bullshit comments on TSN's Off The Record earlier this week.

For those of you outside of Canada, TSN is our version of ESPN, except the hosts are annoying for totally different reasons.

Back to Bobby... when asked about the Downie sucker punch, Clarke said that he loved it and that Blake should have expected retribution for opening his mouth about Downie's hit on Dean McAmmond. He also said that he thought Downie's initial suspension was unfair and likened his hit to those doled out by bonecrushing New Jersey Devils Captain Scott Stevens over the years.

I didn't watch the whole Q&A because I was already yelling at the TV too much and needed to make dinner, but I'm guessing that Clarke also saw no fault with Jesse Boulerice's crosscheck to the face of Ryan Kessler, Randy Jones' hit from behind that left Boston's Patrice Bergeron out cold and still on the shelf or Riley Cote's hit on Dallas defensemen Matt Niskanen either. Yes, all these guys are Flyers and all of this has happened this year...

The bottom line for both of these jaggovs to use a favourite of my one Philly friend Meech is that no one - and I mean NO ONE - in the NHL with an ounce of respect for their colleagues sucker punches a guy like Downie did the other night. Fighting is a part of the game and that is why you'll see guys give each other a pat on the head after a good tilt - they know they were both doing their job. Downie suckering Blake is akin to Albert Haynesworth stepping on Andre Gurode's head last year or Andrew Golota repeatedly smashing Riddick Bowe in the nuts for fight fans. It was just plain dirty.

These two douchebags deserve each other... and they deserve their place on the Dishonour Roll.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Rundown: Don't Be A Douchebag!

Since busting out The Rundown back near the start of things, I have had a lot of fun coming up with it each and every week, as for the most part it has either been funny, self-deprecating or self-indulgent. Any way it comes out, it has been good times.

Today we're gonna shift gears a little and drop something helpful. Kind of like when I gave the seven of you suggestions on how to appear cooler via The Hip List not that long ago. This one is male specific though, since I'm tired of seeing large quantities of my gender behaving like giant douchebags. If one guy has a better night because of this, I have done my job.

And so, today's Rundown:

Top Five Ways To Avoid Being A Douchebag

5. Put Away The D-Bag Uniform
This one is just plain easy and I know it to be a truism because, well, I used to sport the D-bag uniform from time to time and had exactly no success whatsoever wherever and whenever I wore it. Be it at work, at play or anywhere in between, the D-bag Uniform is an absolute non-starter. So, if when you're getting ready to dress yourself you decide that the untucked button-down shirt with jeans and a sports jacket/blazer/linen jacket from H&M is your outfit of choice, climb back into bed because it's going to be a bad day. Any day sporting the D-bag Uniform is a bad day. Simply tucking in the shirt makes this wholly acceptable too, so long as you have a belt on. I can't stress this enough - YOU MUST WEAR A BELT AT ALL TIMES, EVEN IF IT'S JUST FOR SHOW!

4. Manscape
You know how we all think we look awesome with our rugged, Grizzly Adams beards? We don't. For the most part, we look like lazy bastards who should have shaved months ago. And we look anywhere from three to ten years older than we actually are. While that works okay for a babyface like me who is pushing 30 and looks 14, on the whole, looking five years older than you are is not recommended. This doesn't apply to facial hair only. The Amazon belongs in South America...

3. The Guy With The Better Story
Let someone else be that guy. No one likes that guy. That guy is a douchebag. When he leaves to go to the bathroom or mercifully has somewhere else he has to be rambling on about how he shot one stroke better than you on the golf course or killed a bear with his bare hands, everyone makes fun of him. Verbal pissing contests are a close second to actual pissing contests on the scale of "Oh Sweet Jesus Get Me Away From These Idiots!"

2. There is More to Life Than Beer... and Rye
This is maybe the hardest one on this list, as I know a lot of us - myself included - are big time devotees to one or both, but sometimes, a man needs to order something other than Bud Light or a Rye & Coke. The tricky thing with this is what to order, as some beers are actually fair game here like Guinness or Kilkenny or Hoegarden because (a) they aren't served in a bottle and (b) you don't just pound them back one after another after another. Plus, you can't be the guy walking around with a Screwdriver, because while you may avoid being a douchebag, you're dangerously close to being a total Sally who becomes the new focus of ridicule, trumping even the hated douchebag. Even my man Bucky, a life-long Rye & Coke / Bud Light guzzler has switched it up. You should too... My suggestions? Martinis work as long as they don't involve too much fruit, swirly straws or sticking your pinky out when you drink it and sipping away at a glass of Tullamore Dew on ice is a great choice too. I've rocked the Vodka Water for the last year or so and have to say I'm a huge fan. Thanks to Vanessa Monteith for the introduction.

1. Broaden Your Horizons
You can't just talk about sports. Recounting drunken escapades doesn't always work either, since you're always running the risk of becoming the guy with the better story or making yourself look like a total piss tank. Conversely, boring someone to death with ramblings about the Canadian Government's Military Spending Habits or the intricacies of molecular biology aren't good looks either. It's like when everyone would fall asleep on Friends as soon as Ross started talking dinosaurs... Movies, music and pop culture in general are always good starting points, just make sure you know what the hell you're talking about, because nothing is more douchebaggy than being the guy who says, "I love Amanda Bynes. She was terrific in Mean Girls."

Author's Note: I know what you're thinking and the answer is Yes, I am essentially the anti-douchebag. You may think that me saying that makes me a douchebag, but you're wrong. Just thought I would clear that up.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Working Interferes With Working

The title might sound like the most ridiculous thing anyone can say, but in my life, it is 100% accurate because my life pretty much revolves around work in some way, shape or form.

For those not 100% up to speed:

I work 30-40 hours a week as a Shift Leader at Blockbuster Video. As I've said before, it's not glamorous, but I love the people I work with and the free movies are a good perk, plus the freakshow customers make for interesting blog material on a slow news day. This is the work that is deemed interference.

The work that is interfered with is, of course, my writing. At present count, there are three jobs (Bugs & Cranks, Epic Carnival and Passion Magazine), two side projects (This Blog and Nudigs, the real estate site I occasionally contribute to) and three aspirations that aren't getting the time they deserve (my book, my screenplay and a book a friend would like me to help him write).

Now I know what you're thinking: How much time can it possibly take to sit down and churn out the drivel that I throw up on this site on a daily basis? The answer, in all honesty, is not that long, at least not here. But the B&C and Epic work takes a little more time, Passion is somewhat labor intensive, although only in bi-monthly intervals and there is the simple fact that the rest of life needs to take place as well. You know, little things like eating, sleeping, spending time with Sarah that isn't her sitting on the couch looking at my back as I sit here typing feverishly.

Basically, I'm just whining. Life dictates that I need to earn money to pay the bills et al and since writing doesn't provide financial security as of yet, those 35-40 hours rockin' the Block are very much required, no matter how much I want to try to justify staying home to work on my craft.

What does all of this mean to you? Nothing probably, unless you or someone you know owns or operates a publishing company, magazine, newspaper or website that wants to pay me the equivalent of my Blockbuster earnings so that I can sit at home in my housecoat all day telling everyone I'm a writer.

Oh - you could also help boost the profile by buying up copies of Passion, checking out all my stuff on all my sites and becoming a fan on Facebook, but that's just me shamelessly self-promoting...

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