Saturday, December 27, 2008

Nobody reads blogs during the holidays.

You're all too busy eating, or driving, or shopping, or maybe all of the aforementioned, to park your ass in front of a computer and read some moron's incessant ramblings.

...then again, you're reading this now, aren't you? Shouldn't you be out somewhere being merry?

At any rate, it's been a solid Christmas season. White Cowbell Oklahoma got it off to a porny-good start on the day of Snowmageddon, as I mentioned already. I spent a day at the ROM with a friend and saw some bitchin'-huge dinosaur skeletons and neat-o artifacts from around the world; I'd never been there before, so I'll have to check that off my list of Toronto touristy things to do. Next up: the Hockey Hall of Fame (which us teachers can get into for free, by the way).

A snowy drive to my parents' place wasn't terribly fun the next day, but on Christmas Eve we got the whole clan together, which is always fun. We continued a bit of a family tradition and got the entire meal catered — dad and I made a quick run up to Sarnia to pick up the food, we brought it back, busted open the styrofoam cooler, and dug in. Add in the paper plates and you've got yourself one easy-ass Christmas dinner — hell, we even had enough leftovers to feed a family of six the next day, with food still left over.

On Boxing Day, I hit the highway to visit ECB and to partake in a bit of the shopping madness, in which I scored a 32" LCD TV for $479, which ain't bad at all. Rogers wants extra money for an HD cable box, of course — but I'll show ol' Uncle Ted's ghost that I don't need one, by using a cheapie antenna to pull in a few local stations that already broadcast in HD (e.g. CBC, City-TV, Global, CFMT). Take that, cable hegemony!

All of this is the "calm before the storm," though — the one and only (thank goodness) Matt and I are headed up to Ottawa tomorrow to partake in the World Junior tournament. We're seeing four games in person, and plan on taking in a couple more at assorted Ottawa watering-holes, so it should be a great time.

See you in the new year, jerks!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's done.

That long-ass stretch between Labour Day and Christmas, when we get one day off? Done like dinnah, and not a moment too soon.

Yesterday's blizzard meant my brother, who was coming into town for White Cowbell Oklahoma's annual Christmas debaucheryfest at Lee's Palace, had to make the trip a day early — so we watched Caddyshack and he later ate all my leftovers. (The guy weighs 130 pounds soaking wet, but he'll eat anyone under the table.) Cowbell didn't disappoint, even though they were two bandmates short of a full complement due to the inclement weather; their burlesque dancers were a little more outrageous this year (and one kept falling out of her boustier).

The main plot of this year's Cowbell Christmas was that, due to the tough financial times, Santa had to sell the rights to Christmas to, you guessed it, the Devil. The Dark Lord, naturally, has different ideas about what the holiday is about; Santa said it was about "family and sharing," but Satan viewed it as being all about "marketing and selling shit," and later opined that Christmas was "all about fucking." True to form, Santa whipped out his giant prosthetic phallus and began spraying the crowd; one of the burlesque dancers attempted to give him a handjob, but the beast was just too big. Good clean fun, really.

Mind you, it would have been more fun if I hadn't been hacking up a lung, which I've been doing since about Wednesday and continue to do until this very *cough! gasp! wheeze!* second. I don't get colds too often, but when they hit me, they hit me like a freight train. I aim to be better by the time the immortal Matt and I head up to Ottawa to take in some World Juniors hockey action, because if Matt's going to dress up as Borat for those Kazakhstan games, I want to be in top form (but not as Azamat Bagatov, and no, I won't be chasing him naked through an insurance brokers' convention).

Monday, December 15, 2008

A sudden realization.

It occurred to me, not long after (fairly quietly) singing the portion of the Righteous Brothers' "Unchained Melody" which contains the song's highest note while putting a couple of chicken breasts in the oven to bake, and discovering that those top notes are just a tad out of my vocal range, and that it probably would be better, should I ever be called upon to sing this song, to drop down an octave in order to be able to clear the aforementioned top notes, that it's not surprising, and also very likely a good thing, that I live alone.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Chances are if you appreciate this, you have a penis.

And if you don't, I want to make you my bride.*

Here is a version of Rush's "In The Mood", live from 1976. The original was on their debut album, featuring the late John Rutsey on drums (and the original "hey baby"-filled lyrics were written by Geddy Lee, as opposed to most of the band's later lyrics which were written by the always-kooky Neil Peart).

On this version, Peart goes absolutely ballistic on drums. He absolutely did not want any part of Rutsey's simple four-on-the-floor pounding — he's Neil Peart, after all — so he went to the other extreme on this. In a serious way.

I dig it.
* post-op trannies excepted

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Staring down the barrel of the Christmas season.

I'm fairly politically-correct and consider myself sensitive to the diverse cultures we find in this motley city of ours... and yet, I can't stoop to saying "happy holidays" to someone. We all know why there's a gargantuan consumerist orgy going on all month, and it ain't because of the Feast of Saint Lucy of Syracuse, that's for sure.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I listened to this week's CBC Radio 3 R3-30 podcast and heard host Craig Norris ask Vancouver punk legend Joey Keithly (of D.O.A.) the question I sent in! I'll leave it to you to listen to the question on the podcast (#119, the "Survival Guide to the Holiday Season," if you're scoring at home) but, needless to say, it was hilarious. I hope they'll send me some sweet CBC swag. I doubt they will.

At any rate, the one-and-only Matt is back on Canadian soil, which means there has already been an evening of wings, beer and trivia. The week between Chrismas and New Year's will largely be spent in Ottawa, watching some World Juniors action (thanks to the second-hand tickets which will soon be acquired from a guy on my baseball team this past summer), getting shitcanned on cheap beer, and hopefully watching Canada kick the crap out of the US in a random bar on a big screen on New Year's Eve. It's gonna be an adventure, as times with Matt always are.

If you happen to be in the GTA on the night of Friday, December 19, the legendary White Cowbell Oklahoma will be playing their legendary Christmas show at the somewhat-legendary Lee's Palace. Tickets are $15 (plus all the Ticketbastard charges), which is a bargain for all the debauchery and crassness you're guaranteed to get at a Cowbell show. Stop by if you're in the neighbourhood.

And if you happen to be reading this really soon after I write this, I'll be guest-DJing a standard 20-minute set tonight at Disgraceland (Bloor just west of Ossington). I plan on putting Steely Dan in the same set as King Khan and the Shrines. You have been warned.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

An intimate portrait of Steve.

I remember hearing somewhere that, back in the '90s, when Preston Manning was running the Reform Party (and Steve Harper was just a lowly MP and economic critic), Steve took a nice long time to craft some sort of economic policy document for the party, off by himself somewhere. He presented it to Preston, and when the Leader of the Opposition suggested he make a few changes to the document, Steve shot back like a petulant 3-year-old, "No! This is it! It's done! You can't change ANYTHING!!!" (Or something to that effect.)

I hadn't thought about that anecdote much lately until I read this article today in the Star. Turns out Steve is much more of a loner crybaby than even I dreamt possible.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Good ol' Zell.

The Senate runoff race in Georgia is already decided, and Saxby Chambliss beat out Jim Martin... but I just can't get this damn SNL clip out of my head.

Since it's either this or mark Science quizzes, I tried to transcribe and compile all the names that "Zell Miller" came up with. I imagine the spellings aren't quite right, but they're fun nonetheless.
  • Saxby Chambliss
  • Zachamore Hooberry
  • Ghoulsby Scroggins
  • Mortimer Fapp
  • Derbil Mackinaw
  • Ebenezer Yackbaine
  • Jasper Quazelpoot
  • Peabody Tiddlecutt
  • Bernhardt Barnthistle
  • Templeton Thappletrapp
  • Fitzner Bloundt
  • Beezleton Kernwinkle
  • Tepp Joggletogg
  • Clementine Dimplethippy
  • Foster Macadoodle Doodydoo
Thanks to Eve for the heads-up.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Weird times in parliamentary democracy.

I'm sitting in my living room, not quite believing what I'm seeing: St├ęphane Dion, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe are sitting beside each other, talking about how they're all going to play nice, get along, and form a coalition government, which is nearly unprecedented in Canadian history.

The details:
  • the Liberals and NDP have agreed to form a coalition until June 30, 2011
  • the Cabinet will be reduced to 24 members: 18 Liberals, 6 NDPers
  • the Bloc Qu├ębecois will support this coalition until June 30, 2010, at which point they can re-up their support if they like
  • even though (Liberals + NDP) < (Conservatives), the BQ's promise to not vote against the coalition on Motions of Confidence puts them over the top
Since I'm something of a Parliament-wonk — I was recently somewhat obsessed with the King-Byng Affair (which is a lot less dirty than it sounds) — I dig this kind of thing, from a purely theoretical point of view. I mean, sure, the markets hate instability in government... but you have to admit, this is kinda cool.

* * * * *

First question from a reporter: "You know, Stephen Harper pointed out that 70% of Canadian voters didn't vote for you, Mr. Dion, for Prime Minister. What do you say to that?"

Dion: "Well, 64% of Canadians didn't vote for Mr. Harper."

* * * * *

A thought struck me just now, while watching Jack Layton talk... right now, at this point in history, since the NDP are going to receive six federal Cabinet positions, this is the high-point of power for the NDP, ever, in their entire history. (I'd say this is more important than the 40-some seats Ed Broadbent brought them in the late '80s under Brian Mulroney.) Layton knows it, too; he's trying to look as stoic as possible. (Well, as stoic as one can look with a moustache.)

* * * * *

Oooooooh, a reporter asked about appointing Elizabeth May to the Senate. Dion answers diplomatically, but side-steps the question. An extremely interesting idea, though.

* * * * *

A CanWest reporter, fixated on the idea that people hated the notion of a carbon tax during the election, asks a dick-ish question. Dion: "Ah, thank you for reminding me of that." Laughter from the entire press corps.

* * * * *

This turned into a bit of a live-blog during the press conference, but I don't care. If you didn't like today's installment of the Spillings, please keep your receipt and ask for a refund.