Saturday, May 28, 2011

More '90s music.

I was in my music-nook recently, and happened to think about recently-elected NDP MP Andrew Cash. Turns out that I had a song of his from the early '90s on a compliation tape. (Remember tapes?)

(Alright, it was a tape I made from my buddy's CD; his older brother got it in his UWO frosh kit, and I have to say, it really is a stupendous collection of early-'90s alt-rock. Urge Overkill? The Posies? Early Sloan? Yes, yes, yes!)

Anyway, I came across a song I hadn't heard in more than a decade: "Could've Been Love" by a band called Ceremony. I didn't know anything about them at all, so I looked up the video on YouTube, and sure enough it was there.


The lead singer of that band is none other than Chastity Bono, who now calls himself Chaz and is fairly well along in his transition from female to male. However, that doesn't matter: what matters is that this song just really... I dunno, man, it's a darn-near-perfect pop-rock song. I've always been a fan of layering acoustic rhythm and electric lead guitar — having an electric rhythm guitar doesn't differentiate it much from the lead, in terms of tone, and then everything becomes a muddled-up mess.

That was the only single from the only album by Ceremony. As for the Andrew Cash song, it was called "A Lot Of Talk," was very good, and is unfortunately un-YouTubeable. Ah well.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

God did it, of course.

No, I'm not talking about the probably-averted Rapture — although apparently we're not entirely out of the woods yet. See you in October, Jesus!

I was watching the National tonight, and the second-biggest story (right after "Here's how hard Vancouver partied last night because the Canucks got into the Stanley Cup final") was about the big storms which have hit the American southeast. Indeed, the states of Missouri and Kansas and environs have been whalloped by these things, but a clip I saw pissed me off.

The clip showed a family that had all piled into a closet in their home to keep as safe from the tornado as possible. The mom described the situation, and the little girl chipped in, "We made it. God saved us."

Cue the anger.

Listen, if you know me — and chances are, if you're reading this, either (a.) you do, or (b.) I've paid you to read this, so it could go either way, really — you know my stance: hardcore agnostic. Don't know if there "is," don't know if there "isn't," and don't think anyone can know. But hey, the kid's about 8, whatever, I'll cut her some slack.

However... when you think about it, that statement makes no sense at all. Think about all the other good, decent, religious people that God killed, injured or made homeless — and God decided to save you? No disrespect intended, but... why you? Are you any more or less special of God's creations as anyone else?

And did God make all those other people die? Did He wreck their houses, their possessions, their lives? Did God kill those people with those twisters he sent? If the answer to all these questions is yes, then God is a giant dick.

And wait a second... if God "saved" you, then why did He go to all the trouble of making something so horrendous, only to save you from it? To prove His love for you? Jeepers H. Crackers, why would a God do that?!

"It's all a part of God's plan," is what someone says when they don't know why the fuck something random happened. Alice gets hit by a streetcar? God's plan. Bob falls down a mine shaft? God's plan. Stu gets nut cancer? You guessed it, God's plan.

I forget who said this — possibly Mark Twain, he said a lot of great stuff — that they didn't "believe in a trickster God." I think this holds a lot of water: why would an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-seeing entitiy pull suck a dick-move? Killing and all this stuff. It's crazy!

So the kid starts blabbing about God. Kid gets the idea from the parents. Parents brainwash the kid into GodGodGod. Cycle continues, until someone's bold enough to run off and join the circus.

Bah. Shoot me.

Good night.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

More '90s videos.

In the winter of '97, I was living in Deep River. (Well, to be accurate, I was at RR#1 Deep River, about a half-hour walk east of town.) It was a simpler time: I was a lowly co-op student working at AECL, plodding away on make-work projects for my Argentinian-Canadian boss who was infatuated with Diego Maradona. This comet was also crazy-bright in the sky. Good times.

I lived in the basement of a house on a country road. It must've been really, really illegal: the bedroom had exactly zero windows. (It was handy if I wanted to sleep until noon on a Saturday, though, as it could be exceptionally dark.) The pressure in the shower was nonexistent; it was like standing naked in a fog with a light breeze. One of my housemates was this Chinese guy who (a.) we barely ever saw, (b.) spoke little English, and (c.) cooked the most fucking disgusting-smelling food I've ever had the misfortune to smell.

My other two housemates were cousins, one originally from London and the other from Windsor. The Londoner was a soldier stationed at nearby CFB Petawawa, in his late 20s, had done a couple of tours in Kosovo, and gave me a ride home on Easter weekend which scared the bejeezus out of me. The Windsorite was in his mid 20s and worked at AECL as a full-time employee; driving skills unknown, but a fun fact is that he went to high school with the guys who would later form the Tea Party (the band, not the redneck political movement).

And the three of us loved, LOVED this video.


I think you can see why.
____________________________
UPDATE: Apparently the Tea Party is back together! Maybe the other two guys in the band decided that putting up with Jeff Martin's narcissism was worth it, to get a steady paycheque.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Teenagers Say the Darndest Things, Episode 4.

I figured I'd better start numbering these. Why? BECAUSE I CAN FUCKING COUNT.

These are, again, second-hand but with a reliable source.

* * * * *

teacher is doing her thing, teaching a class
a kid from her previous class bursts in the door, shouting

Kid: "Miss, did I leave my gun in here?"

Teacher, calmly: "No, you didn't leave your gun in here."

K: "Did I say 'gun'? I meant 'cell phone'."

* * * * *

topic of conversation in the classroom:
continents moving tectonically, as related to climate change


K, sincerely: "So, Miss... are they doing any serious investigation as to whether Santa Claus exists?"

class laughs

K, again sincerely: "It's possible, you know."

N.B. this was the same girl that wanted to name her future daughter "Clitoria".

* * * * *

topic of conversation in the classroom:
some global cycles can take 100,000 years to complete


K: "So, a hundred thousand years ago... did Jesus even exist then?"

* * * * *

Concert Review:
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
Sound Academy, last night


Fucking awesome.

* * * * *

Apparently I have about a dozen "followers" on this blog. I have no idea who all-but-one is (hi, Lang! Remember when we barely knew each other but shared a hotel room in Montreal?), and I have a feeling most of them are just fake accounts for spam, but hey, I've been wrong before. WHO ARE YOU? AND WHO IS YOUR DADDY? AND WHAT DOES HE DO? Speak up!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Good tune.

Eels has always been a pretty strange outfit: they had a huge hit in 1996 — I suppose that largely paid the bills — and have been quietly putting out albums every few years since, despite the frontman and brains of the project, E, encountering a lot of personal tragedy (e.g. deaths of family members).

At any rate, the hit from '96 was Novocaine For The Soul, which got quite a bit of airplay on radio when it came out. It looks like they/he have a lot more success in places like the UK and Belgium than on this side of the pond. I hadn't thought about that song for a while, but it, and its accompanying video, are both extremely solid.

Thus, without further ado, is the aforementioned song. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Erection recap.

Short answer: Canada, you fucking suck. I thought we were cool, brah.

Longer answer:

The following things happened.

1. The Liberals forgot to show up

This goes farther than "Mike Ignatieff is a lousy leader," unfortunately. This was a full-on, full-team failure: no coherent, nationwide punchy message; old-guarders like Volpe not being able to distinguish themselves anymore; lustres off high-profile incumbents like Dryden and Garneau wore off.

2. The NDP split the centre-left vote

Nobody wanted to admit it today, but this totally happened, and I have the half-assed graphs to prove it.


This is what happened in a lot of ridings, especially in Ontario, last time around: Libs won a lot of narrow victories (e.g. quite a few in the 905), often over Conservatives, with an NDP a distant third.


Possibly because of the reasons outlined in (1) above, some Libs on the Right of the party flipped blue, whereas considerably more on the Left flipped orange; I must admit I was thinking of joining the latter, as I usually paint myself as "my heart is orange but my head is red."

In the case of Don Valley West, where I live, it was much more a case of the Lib, Rob "The Rev" Oliphant, holding his ground and the Con, John "The Car Salesman" Carmichael picking up votes. Czech this shizz out:
        Erection    Lib Votes    Con Votes
2008 22,212 19,441
2011 22,353 22,992
Oliphant held on to his constituents, pretty much exactly. Carmichael, on the other hand, picked up over 3000 votes... but from where? In this riding, it'd be easy enough to say, "Well, all the rich folk, they told their butlers, Jeeves, instead of throwing another wad of Bordens on the fire, chauffeur me to the voting station, I want to mark an X for the Conservative fellow" — but there's more. Much more. And it's compelling.

DVW is a bizarre place: it has the highest average income of any riding in Canada, but it also has a shit-ton of new (presumably not so well off) immigrants in Thorncliffe Park, and a lot of them are from places like Pakistan and India.

DISCLAIMER: I fucking love Muslims. I teach a hell of a lot of them, and they're a stand-up bunch. I'm fortunate to count some amongst my close friends.

However... the conservative ones (i.e., religious, not politically) can get pretty touchy about the Queers, and Oliphant is gay (and married). A website aimed at the GTA Muslim community, themuslim.ca, all-but-trumpeted this fact in an op-ed piece in mid-April. As a result, FATMA (the Flemingdon and Thorncliffe Park Muslim Association) endorsed Carmichael because of his "family values" — never actually coming out and saying "we can't support the gay dude," but c'mon now, I'm not stupid.

This was all much easier to do after the mayoral election last fall, when conservative religious folks of many different stripes — including a crapload from immigrant-heavy places like Rexdale and Scarborough — were vigorously pushed away from George Smitherman (another gay dude) and towards Rob Ford (who is pretty anti-gay, to say the least). All Carmichael had to do was to bring this up to the major religious group in DVW, who'd always voted Liberal because of the legacy of the Trudeau era and its opening of the immigration doors decades, and the riding was his for the taking.

(I'm curious to know how many of those votes Carmichael picked up were from recent-citizenship Muslims, and/or active members of FATMA.)

3. Canadians just don't fucking care about crazy shit Harper pulled

Helena Guergis in Simcoe-Grey got booted out of the Conservative Caucus last year because of reasons Harper wouldn't acknowledge. Well, a few weeks ago, Guergis finally got her Access To Information information, and whadda ya know, it was full of lurid stories about doing coke off strippers' tits with her husband, former Con MP Rahim Jaffer. Mind you, none of it was actually proven — the P.I. who did the snooping said he had no actual, y'know, "evidence" of it — but my sources tell me Harper had it in for Guergis for years, and used this to boot her out.

Bev Oda in Durham slipped the word "not" into a policy document which stripped a prominent foreign aid organization, KAIROS, of tens of thousands of dollars. First she said she didn't know who added the word, then after a year of lying she came out and said, well, gosh, I guess it was me that told staff at CIDA to hand-write that little 3-letter word in there. The result: a historic Contempt of Parliament charge, which led to this whole election after a confidence vote.

And then there's all the stuff Steve himself has pulled off: muzzling the Cabinet, forcing all communications through the PMO, the infamous 5-Question Limit, ending of the media scrums in the lobby of the Parliament Buildings, silencing scientists that don't toe the party line, and the list goes on. As I said to my friends on Facebook the weekend before the election, if you vote Conservative, you are saying all of this is okay. Well, I guess Canadians don't mind getting dryly fucked up the democratic ass. I know I prefer lube.

(Actually, I sorta prefer, y'know, not getting fucked up the ass.)

* * * * *

I never thought I'd say this, but I think I'm going to stop following Canadian politics for a while. It's just too insane. I'm going to turn back to following American politics for a break.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Well, that's that.

Bin Laden's gone.

To anyone who wants to trumpet George W. Bush and give him the credit for all this — e.g. a now-former-Facebook-friend of mine, but whatever, good riddance, she was a Republican religious nut anyway — I will offer this quote from Bush 43 from March 13, 2002, about Osama bin Laden:

"I don’t know where he is. I have no idea and I really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority."

This was about, oh, seven months after 9/11, and six months after the initial invasion of Afghanistan.

Thank you, Dubya, for being a moron.

And thank you, American idiots, for voting for this douche. (Twice.)