Sunday, March 29, 2009
Great track... Fantastic video... Oh yeah, and this song just happens to have been written by one of the most talented up-and-coming songwriters on the Nashville scene: Lisa McCallum.
If you're hitting up Tin Pan South this week (and really, who isn't?), be sure to check out her set on Saturday night with Michelle Wright, Michael Logen, and Lauren Lucas at The Listening Room.
By the way, feel free to check out Katie Armiger while you're at it, and to vote for her song on the Great American Country countdown.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
By Atul Gawande
Is solitary confinement a form of torture? Sounds a lot like it to me.
Tails of Manhattan
By Woody Allen
A great little short story by New York City's favourite son. Two former investors are reincarnated as lobsters. They wind up sharing a tank in an upscale, Upper East Side seafood restaurant. In walks Bernie Madoff. Comedy ensues.
Dear A.I.G., I Quit!
By Jake DeSantis
The other side of the coin. This is a letter from one of the much maligned A.I.G. employs who was scheduled to receive one of the bailout bonuses, eloquently explaining his side of the story, showing exactly how Edward Liddy hung his guys out to dry, and offering what he proposes to do with his share of the money. It really is a heartfelt treatise, and well worth the read, if for no other reason to bear witness to some of the ways in which politicians have been spinning this story.
Thanks to Rosco for the piece.
Winnie Cooper Gets Married: A Generation of Kevin Arnolds Weep
I won't lie to you. I may have shed a tear upon hearing this news. The dream is officially dead.
Let this be your warning: you will spend an inordinate amount of time on this website. The Chive bills itself as the world's largest photoblog, and there is some classic material to be found. Particularly the "Best Photobombers Ever" chapters.
Sporno: 20 Pictures in Which Sport and Porn Collide
This one pretty well speaks for itself.
The Meat Bracket
By Paul Lukas
I found this to be strangely entertaining and informative. Paul Lukas takes us on a vegetarian's nightmare: an NCAA-style single elimination bracket.... of MEAT!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
But at long last, those days are behind us. For I have discovered a way in which we all can enjoy the fruits of the labours of those who have struggled and toiled mightily, without having to worry about the absurd notion of compensating them for their efforts. Ahhhh... The democratizing effects of the world wide web.
And sure, you might argue that what I'm doing here is bordering on copyright infringement... and by "bordering on" I very much mean "blatant"... But I guess the legal team here at seanmccallum.com will cross that particular bridge should we ever happen to come to it.
In the meantime, do you yourselves a favour and read this piece, if for no other reason than because it was good enough to force me into making it available by all means necessary, moral and legal uncertainties be damned.
It chronicles the events of David Sedaris' recent book tour, and it is absolutely brilliant. I was literally laughing aloud when I came across the scene where Sedaris is perusing the Costco aisles with his brother-in-law, pushing an oversized shopping cart containing nothing but a gigantic box of condoms. It reminded me of that old story about the candy salesman and the Trojan rep...
So enjoy this before I'm slapped with a cease and desist order:
By David Sedaris
If anything should be bracketed by matching bookends, I suppose it's an author tour. The ones I'd undertaken in the past began in one independent or chain store, and ended, a month or so later, in another. The landscape, though, has changed since then, and it's telling that on this latest tour I started and finished at a Costco...
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
In terms of the game's hallowed numbers, it doesn't quite resonate like, let's say, 50.4 -- Wilt Chamberlain's historic scoring average in 1961-62 -- or Oscar Robertson's 30-12-11 triple-double that same season.
But it's a big one at Hollinger HQ, anyway. That 31.89 mark is Michael Jordan's PER (player efficiency rating) from the 1987-88 season, the top mark for any season since the league started tracking individual turnovers in 1973-74. (We don't have enough information for seasons prior to that, unfortunately, so we can't properly evaluate Wilt or the Big O.)
And it's an important figure at the moment because it's under assault this season from LeBron James...
John Hollinger goes on to explain why Lebron James is having one of the most significant seasons in NBA history by referencing threads of numerical data that would get any statistical analyst worth their salt aroused in a borderline-sexual kind of way. Hollinger also goes on to say that LBJ's season hasn't been receiving nearly enough attention.
Well Johnny, consider this little entry the official tipping point for Lebron. Because as we all know, once a story appears on the seanmccallum.com blog, there's really no going back. Be prepared for an avalanche of LBJ stories in the coming weeks. You can thank me later.
(By the way, was this a loosely-veiled excuse to post the clip of LBJ going off for 16 points in two minutes last month? Possibly. I just can't get enough of the Bradley Center crowd going nuts for a visiting player, or the sight of the Cavs bench quite literally not being able to believe what they're seeing. In fact, it was somewhat reminiscent of this performance. And these ones.)
Thursday, March 19, 2009
By Roger Angell
A great review and recap of the book chronicalling Joe Torre's years in New York, looking back at what made the '96-00 Yankees teams so great, and conversely, what they've been lacking in the interim. There are some fascinating little anecdotes in here, including the story about Torre putting in a congratulatory call to Terry Francona and Tim Wakefield just minutes after losing Game 7 to the Sox in 2004 (Wakefield gave up the season ending HR to Aaron Boone the year before). A class act all around, this piece makes the case for Torre's induction into the grown-up's H.O.F.
By Paul Goldberger
A look at NYC's two newest stadiums. A nice history of baseball stadia, highlighting the pros and cons of both the new Yankee Stadium and Citi Field.
You Think Your Job Sucks? Try Working for Lenny Dykstra
By Kevin Coughlin
An unbelievable glimpse into what it might be like to work for Lenny Dykstra. Now this is the Lenny I always thought I knew. There is some seriously choice stuff in here, as recounted by the one-time photo editor of The Player's Club. The racial slurs are only slightly more shocking than the fact that Dykstra once asked to borrow his photo editor's credit card in order to pay for a private jet. Nails Never Fails? Well... Maybe just this once...
Thanks to Browner for the piece.
World Class Solar Tariffs on the Way for Ontario
By Paul Gipe
Good news on the renewable energy front... If that's your thing.
Daring To Dream
By Pat Forde
A look at a real-life "Hoosiers" team from Eastern Kentucky. It's a Cinderella story reminiscent of the glorious run that the White Oaks Wildcats took us all on during the OFSAA Tournament back in 1995.
Thanks to D-Hibb (#50 PF) for the link.
March Madness is Here: Top-10 Gus Johnson Freakouts
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Do yourself a favour and get on the Gus-bus.
It's Chipper Jones VS. The City of Toronto. Let's Watch The Fun
By Rich Chandler
Is it possible to criticize anything while going 0-for-10 when you're supposed to be representing your country?
I think it's safe to say that the opinion of anyone who prefers Atlanta's nightlife to Toronto's is less than irrelevent, but still... The good people at Deadspin do well to point out what the rest of us have known for years: Chipper Jones is a douchebag.
The YouTube clip of the week highlights one of the great Grammy performances of all-time. I remember seeing this back in 2003 and thinking it was completely bad-ass. My opinion hasn't changed in the intervening years.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
If there were ever any doubt regarding the competency of President Barack Obama, it was dispelled entirely with the filling out of his NCAA bracket. The dude knows his hoops. I love the fact that he can actually back up his picks with knowledge of the teams involved (unlike yours truly), and that he'll be taking time out of his working day to sneak a few peeks at the action.
Unfortunately for President Obama, however, he will not be winning his office pool this year.
Because as has been mentioned in this forum previously, there are 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 ways to fill out your NCAA Men's basketball bracket, but only one way to fill it out correctly. And I'd like to go on record as saying that my bracket has been filled out just so.
(By the way, I love the fact that I look at my bracket here on Wednesday night and am able to talk myself into both Cleveland State and North Dakota State for the Sweet-16 because I happened to have attended a huge Cleveland State upset last year, and because Chuck Klosterman is from North Dakota and Gus Johnson will be calling the Minneapolis games... I'm guessing that by about 6pm on Thursday, I'll be lighting my bracket on fire and wondering just what the fuck I could have possibly been thinking.)
So fill in your brackets. Call in sick to work. Settle in for 12 hours on the couch. And enjoy the finest four days of sports the calendar year has to offer.
And if my history of sports prognosticating is any kind of an indicator, do everything in your power to avoid taking a Final Four consisting of Louisville, Memphis, Pitt, and Oklahoma, with Pitt beating Louisville in the National Championship.
PS - For those looking for some last minute inspiration in filling out their bracket, check out the Sports Guy's podcast, where Simmons and Joe House go over every game in the tourney. This is surprisingly entertaining, particularly when they contemplate the possibility that this player is Lloyd Christmas' illegitmate son.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Aye, it's St. Patrick's Day.
And if it's true what they say about everybody being Irish on St. Patrick's Day, than do as any good Irishman would and join the rest of us in disregarding any semblance of responsibility by getting completely and utterly pissed while you're supposed to be working. It's exactly what Saint Patrick had in mind when he banished snakes from the Emerald Isle some 1600 years ago.
So throw on the most hideously mismatching green ensemble you can find. Fill your pockets with as much cash as you can reasonably get your hands on. Read the following treatise by The Supa Pilot. Tell your boss you're going for lunch. Leave the car parked exactly where it is. Watch the following two videos:
...And then meet us at The Pour House.
Monday, March 16, 2009
If you're a fan of beer and music in Toronto then there are two weeks on your calendar that are consistently more debaucherous than the rest: Canadian Music Week and North by Northeast.
From there I made a quick run up to Supermarket to indulge my curiousity about a singer-songwriter from BC named Dan Mangan. He did not disappoint and I will bestow upon him the award for Best New Discovery of CMW 2009. Next I headed back down to Queen Street to catch Inward Eye at the Rivoli. It was here that I made a critical switch from beer to white lightning. This is a tricky maneouver and should not be attempted by amateurs, but when done properly it can lead to a cleaner, less bloated hangover- important on a weekday. The boys in Inward Eye were signed to Sony BMG as teenagers a few years ago (when it was still Sony BMG) and they've been waiting patiently for the label to put out their record. They are amazing performers with some great tunes, but it seemed to me that the waiting game had (unsurprisingly) not helped their creative process. Here's hoping the wheels grind back into motion and the band gets a chance to properly mine their talents soon.
Man: That means it closes in 4 minutes. There aren't any good after hours clubs?
Me: Hmm... Since the Matador closed I really don't know of any. Sorry.
Man: Do you know if there are any bisexual clubs?
Me: There probably are, but I don't know where. Sorry. Good luck.
Man: OK, thanks anyway.
Me: I'm not. Sorry. Good luck man.
Man: Damn, tough to get a blowjob in this town.
Friday was an exercise in perseverance. The Friday of CMW is always the most trying night. The people with a normal day job and a rational mind stay home on Thursday and many of the out-of-towners and networking industry weasels are gone by Saturday. But Friday it's all hands on deck. If you want to see well known bands you're well-advised to pick a venue, get there early, and stay put. Even though I knew this to be the best strategy I didn't get to the Horseshoe early enough and there was a long line by the time I arrived. Sometimes if you know the right people, have the right business cards, and/or are able to lie through your teeth you can still weasel your way in. But in the early part of Friday night my game was a lot like a guy who shows up 30 pounds overweight for spring training.
Friday, March 13, 2009
By Elizabeth Bromstein
A Coles Notes look at Ayahuasca from last week´s NOW Magazine.
By David Foster Wallace
Big run on David Foster Wallace here. This is an excerpt from the novel that Wallace was never able to finish. Brilliant stuff. Not for those who are big fans of the ¨paragraph¨.
Terrell Owens on Buffalo: ¨Ummmmmmm¨
By Will Brinson
Apparently the guys at NFL FanHouse have the same read on this thing as I do. But hey, anything is better than 7-9 right?... RIGHT???
Now go check out some music in the city this weekend. You´ll need THIS to know what´s going down and where. SeanMcCallum.com highly recommends Blacky Jackett Jr. at the Tattoo Rock Parlour tonight at 8:30. Solid old school Alt-Country vibe, if that´s your thing.
Saturday, March 7, 2009
It didn't take long for T.O. to find a new home.
Terrell Owens has agreed to a one-year, $6.5 million deal with the Buffalo Bills, according to sources.
The Bills called a 6:15 p.m. news conference Saturday to announce the signing. According to a source, the entire contract is guaranteed.
Owens visited the Bills on Saturday. He was released by the Dallas Cowboys late Wednesday.
Owens' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said in a text message Friday that his client wouldn't be out of work for too long. Negotiations had begun with several teams, Rosenhaus said.
"There are several teams that are interested in signing Terrell," Rosenhaus said. "I have been in negotiations with these teams. I will not identify the teams at this time. Terrell and I expect to have a deal in place by the end of next week if not sooner."
The Cowboys paid Owens a $12 million signing bonus last year, which was included as part of a new four-year, $34 million deal. Dallas took a roughly $9 million salary-cap when it released of Owens.
There has been talk since the end of the Cowboys' 9-7 season, in which they missed the playoffs, that they would consider cutting Owens to improve locker-room morale.
Owens finished with more catches (69), receiving yards (1,052) and touchdowns (10) last season than any player on the Bills' roster.
The Bills were in need of a receiver to take the pressure from Lee Evans. They got one of the biggest names out there.
The question now is how T.O. will deal with Trent Edwards, who is only entering his second full year as starter. Owens has made life difficult for quarterbacks in the past and joins an offense that struggled mightily last year.
The Bills were 25th in the NFL in yards gained and failed to have a 300-yard passer.
Kill me now. Seriously.
Best case scenario? T.O. breaks a short dump off, takes it to the house, steals a set of pom-poms from one of the cheerleaders, crowd-surfs his way up into Ralph Wilson's private box and give the Bills' 90-year old owner a lap dance, and then in the post-game presser tells reporters that he just wanted to make it rain, penalty flag style.
Worst case scenario? See: T.O.'s entire career up to this point.
Friday, March 6, 2009
A little something to help pass the time as you wait on the San Jose Sharks to come in at 3-1. As always, this is some of the best reading I've come across over the course of the past week, with a tip of the cap the the Dotcomrades.
By D. T. Max
Chances are that if you're reading this blog, you will enjoy immensely the writing of David Foster Wallace. I received an email from a loyal dotcomrade about a month ago which stated: "I'm halfway through "a supposedly fun thing i'll never do again". I'm not sure who's imitating who, but the similarities are uncanny."
Seeing as I'd never read Wallace to that point and he's been dead for 6 months, we'll have to chalk it up to coincidence. But needless to say, I'm a fan of his work. I especially love his conception of what writing should be: "Fiction's about what it is to be a fucking human being." And: "Good writing should help readers to become less alone inside."
This is an in-depth look into the life and work of the great David Foster Wallace.
Thanks to MC of the Callaghan Auto Parts Empire for turning me on to Wallace in the first place.
Welcome To The No Benjamins Association
By Bill Simmons
One of the finest pieces that the Sports Guy has ever penned, this is an in-depth look at the current and future financial state of the NBA. To say that things look bleak for the professional sports landscape in the coming years would be like saying that Lebron James has a knack for making things happen on the court.
The Starter Jacket Trend
By Patrick Ronan
A look back to the early 1990's when we all rocked the Starter jacket. All of my friends had them. The Raiders. The Dolphins. The Bills... I'm proud to say that the only Starter I ever donned was that of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and I still get a little teary-eyed when I see a borderline-homeless walking the streets of Toronto rocking that fabled black-and-blue pullover. And yes, that Starter "S" zipper needs to make a comeback in a serious way. And I'm anxiously awaiting the follow up piece on Zubaz...
This American Life: Plan B
Click HERE for a complete synopsis
A reader emailed me the link to this most excellent podcast saying that the first act ("Cuevo Man") reminded her of me.... We'll go ahead and call it the back-handed compliment of the week.
There are four separate acts of entertainment in this fantastic podcast, each touching on the subject of what becomes of our lives when our Plan "A" doesn't quite work out. The first act involves a man who is paid to be a professional partier (Cuervo Man!). Act III invovles a plan to kidnap Frank Sinatra Jr. in order to raise capital (how had I never heard this story before?), and Act IV will bring you into the fascinating world of telemarketing, courtesy of Wire Tap's own Jonathan Goldstein.
The Adam Carolla Podcast (with Bill Simmons)
If Chicago Public Radio's "This American Life" is considered high-brow podcasting, Adam Carolla's foray into the medium is the exact opposite. The Sports Guy stops in to discuss all of the pressing issues of the day, including tipping the bathroom guy at the strip club, politically incorrect movie pitches ("Just One of the Gays"), Carolla's "spunk-shui", and an unbelievable story involving Norm McDonald and his best friend's lawnmower.
The YouTube clip of the Week comes courtesy of my buddy Flats, who alerted me to the ongoing prank war over at College Humour. Believe me when I say that the Yankee Stadium Proposal Prank is phenomenal:
But I have to give the nod to Streeter for pulling off the Half-Court Hoax at the Terps game (video evidence can be seen HERE). That was sheer genius.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
From The Mercury News
The Sharks geared up for the playoffs today by acquiring left wing Travis Moen and defenseman Kent Huskins from the division-rival Anaheim Ducks for two prospects and a conditional draft pick at the NHL trade deadline.
The acquisitions follow the same pattern that General Manager Doug Wilson established last summer of bringing in players and coaches who have won the Stanley Cup with other organizations.
Moen, who has four goals and seven assists in 63 games with the Ducks this season, is a scrappy forward who played a major role on the Ducks' checking line during their 2007 Stanley Cup title run. He is expected to bolster the Sharks' third line, which has been hit by injuries all season.
Huskins has been sidelined by foot surgery, but Wilson said he is expected to be cleared to play for this weekend's games. He becomes one of eight Sharks' defensemen with significant NHL experience, and Coach Todd McLellan said he will use the next 20 games to see where he best fits in.
Anaheim receives forward Nick Bonino, the captain of the Boston University team ranked No. 1 in the NCAA, and Timo Pielmeier, a goalie for St. John's in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Remember in the early 1990's when it was cool to wear the black and teal San Jose Sharks Starter jacket to your local Junior High? Well, it's time to dust off all of those Pat Falloon rookie cards, because for the first time in the history of the franchise, the San Jose Sharks are legit contenders for Lord Stanley's Mug. Happy days are here at last.
In a stunning transaction, the Anaheim Ducks have opted to dismantle much of their 2007 Stanley Cup Championship team, sending standout defenceman Kent "The Commish" Huskins to the best team in hockey. To say that there are a lot of broken hearts in Orange County today would be a monumental understatement.
It's a move that essentially raises the white flag on the Ducks season, but clearly bolsters the Sharks blueline, making the No-Cal Fish the runaway favourites to come out of the Western Conference this spring (current Vegas odds have them at 3-1 to go home with the Prom Queen).
You might as well go ahead and book your room at the Quality Inn right now.
In case you missed it the first time, when The Commish finds himself on the blueline of the best team in hockey, it usually winds up looking a little something like THIS.
Monday, March 2, 2009
I have no idea who Louis C.K. is, but I like his style.
But seriously, when I was at Starbucks this morning and I ordered an extra-hot, no-foam, no-fat, Venti-soy-latte with a double shot of espresso, the barista had the audacity to leave the foam in my drink... Luckily for everyone involved, I threw the extra-hot concoction back in her face and then smashed one of those aluminum half-and-half cannisters through the glass pastry case at the front counter, ensuring that this indefensible transgression never occurs again.
Thanks to Johnny D at The View From Here for passing this along.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
So, I was at my buddy D-Hibb's wedding last night, and it was an absolutely glorious affair. It was the first Italian wedding I'd ever had the pleasure of attending, and I have to say, I loved everything about it: the quick ceremony, the shots of Amaretto in the receiving line, the multi-course meal that lasted for 3 hours, the ice sculpture, the midnight dessert buffet... The fact that the tables surrounding me could have doubled as my high school reunion didn't hurt, nor did the fact that I wound up drinking enough Gin and Tonics to kill a small Bolivian Guerrilla platoon, but regardless, the night was one of the most enjoyable I can remember having in quite some time.
But if the evening fell short in any way (through no fault whatsoever of the bride and groom, it should be noted), it was in the DJ booth. There just wasn't the kind of rockin' good time flow that you'd like to see at a wedding reception. In fact, the only string of success I can remember was the trifecta of Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" (always a highlight when the oldsters imitate this dance), followed immediately thereafter by Bob Seeger's "Old Time Rock and Roll" (I'm pretty sure there's a law similar to primae noctis which states that no marriage is legally valid unless this song is played at the reception), the set wrapping up with Kenny Loggins' "Footloose", providing my buddy Davie Walsh the requisite stage for his Kevin-Bacon-Knee-Slide, unquestionably one of the highlights of the night. But aside from that little flourish, it just seemed like the DJ never found his groove. He didn't even have Guns 'N' Roses' "Patience", which is only one of the all-time great love ballads... Simply inexcusable.
In any event, these indiscretions got me to thinking: Is there such thing as a good wedding DJ? Because believe me, I've been to my fair share of nuptials, and I can't ever remember stumbling out of the reception at the end of the night, thinking to myself: "You know what? That DJ knocked it out of the park tonight!" It just seems like at every wedding, I find myself looking at the tumbleweeds blowing across the dancefloor at various points in the evening and wondering whether or not I might be able to do a better job.
Because maybe I'm missing something, but how hard can it be to play what the people want to hear?
I'm telling you, give me my techniques, my laptop, and an internet connection, and I can guarantee that I'd have the dancefloor jammed all night long. I mean, if you just stand up there and take requests all night, isn't it a lock that the people will wind up dancing to the songs they want to dance to? What better way to feel out your audience than to let them tell you what they want to hear. And in this day and age, shouldn't any competent wedding DJ have access to every song on the face of the earth? Because at the off chance that someone requested something that wasn't already on your hard drive or in your vinyl collection, wouldn't it be easy enough to download it and play it right there on the spot?... Hell, if I were at the helm, I'd even have a projector in place to show the YouTube clips of the songs I was playing, like some kind of Much Music video dance party, circa 1993.
So consider DJ Eric Foreman officially in play for your next wedding. I have no idea what a regular, run-of-the-mill wedding DJ charges, but you can go ahead and pay me in Gin and Tonics.
See you on the dancefloor.