Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Indecent Quotes of the Week, Patty Griffin, and Higher Education

It's not often you come across three quotes of such astounding ribaldry within the span of a couple of days, but alas, here are three fantastic quips that your life will be incomplete without having digested:

"We are not talking about no collegiate basketball girls. We're talking about ho's that's in the hood that ain't doing shit, that's trying to get a nigga for his money. These are two separate things."

- The inimitable Snoop Dogg, clarifying once and for all the difference between the "ho's" he so jovially reveres in his love ballads, and the "ho's" that Don Imus so indefensibly slandered. (For the record, I love Snoop and think the world would be a better place with more of him. Did you catch this appearance with the intermission guys during the Ducks-Wild series? Ten out of ten.The only thing that could have topped it would be if he would have concluded the segment by screaming: "LONG BEACH IN THA MUTHAF*CKIN' HOUSE!!!)

"Well, son, you won't make much money, but you'll get more pussy than Frank Sinatra."

- Ronnie "The Hawk" Hawkins, as recounted by Robbie Robertson in The Last Waltz, when the Hawk was recruiting Robbie and his mates to join The Band.

"You can write it down just like that: 'David Ortiz says Manny is a crazy motherfucker'. That guy, he's in his own world, on his own planet."

- Big Papi on Manny being Manny, taken from an article that is absolutely essential reading for any poser Red Sox fans out there (of which there are far too many in Toronto - you know, the people who went out and bought overpriced 'B' hats after the Sox broke the curse and/or they had the misfortune of renting that inexcusable-bastardization-of-the-fantastic-Nick-Hornby-novel-reincarnated-as-an-abominable-chick-flick; and who claim to be Red Sox fans but would wholeheartedly cheer for the Jays in an improbable ALCS showdown; and they know it; were it to ever come to fruition), found in this week's New Yorker.


Last night, I had the pleasure of seeing Patty Griffin at Trinity St. Paul's Church in Toronto. This was a show that came highly recommended from my sister, an accomplished song writer in her own right, who guaranteed that I would love the show. And really, she wasn't far off.

The venue was pretty well perfect. We showed up just before seven, where my parents and my sister and her boyfriend, Blake, were waiting in line. It was general admission seating, and we managed to score a seat in the front row of the balcony, literally on top of the stage. Like, if I'd fallen over the railing, I would have landed on top of the piano. Sandra said that our seats reminded her of that Seinfeld episode where Jerry and Kramer go to watch the operation and Kramer ends up dropping a junior mint into the patient. I really didn't think the analogy applied until the girl playing the upright bass sat down to play the piano for a couple of songs. As my dad put it: "there was at least six inches of visible ass cleavage". It was pretty unbelievable. I had a pack of tic tacs in my pocket, and it took every ounce of my being to resist dropping one home. But I digress.

The opening act was a couple of guys who called themselves Terramoto, and despite the fact that it was just the one guy on the drums and another on the upright bass (with the occasional help of computer reproduced keyboards), they managed to fill that church with some serious latin-infused beats. Cuban and Peruvian influences, they did one song dedicated to los cucinares - the cooks - and managed to bring the place down. Smokin hot stuff. They would be the perfect duo to see in a tiny little club with a funkly little dance floor (read: The Orbit Room), where the mix of alcohol and intimacy would have people groovin like amateur Shakiras until the break of dawn. Good stuff for an opener, and as Blake put it: "totally city".

Patty came out sometime after nine to a massive ovation from the predominantly Lebanese-Thesbian crowd. She opened with a solo song in French on the piano, and then brought out the band to do what I considered to be the highlight of the show: a ridiculously brilliant cover of Sam Cooke's Get Yourself Another Fool. It was so awe inspiring and so unlike the Sam Cooke version that I didn't even realize it was the same song. I managed to find a commendable version of the same song on YouTube, taken from the Aladdin Theatre in Portland, OR in March. This is the way country is supposed to be done, all slowed down with the brushes on the drums and a sublime, textbook twang of electric guitar to call and respond with her voice... worth the price of admission alone.

She followed it up with the only song of hers that I knew (thanks to the wonders of satellite radio's Left of Centre {channel 26} and Disorder {channel 32}, an upbeat bluesy Cheryl Crow-esque track called Stay on The Ride (taken from Reg's Coffee House). Other highlights included a totally raucous version of No Bad News (this version, less raucous than last night's, is taken from a gig at The Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, MA in January), and a touching rendition of a song inspired by Dr. King's speech he gave the night before he was murdered in Memphis. The track is called Up To The Mountain, and it was almost enough to bring tears to your eyes.
By the way, apparently it is pretty easy to bootleg a Patty Griffin show, judging by the content available on YouTube. Can't imagine there was a lot of illegal activity going on during last night's show considering it was in a church and all, but maybe the good people of Toronto will surprise me with some video contraband.

All in all, it was a fantastic night. Even managed to drag my parents and Lisa and Blake out for a few pitchers at The Tap afterwards which, although one of my favourite places to chill and swill while watching the people cruising Bloor Street, was admittedly probably not the best choice for a quiet, apres-show beverage. But good times were had by all. Especially when we got back to my place for a wee shot of the MaCallan 17 year old Fine Oak and a viewing of The Last Waltz from which one of the above quotes was taken.


And finally, two questions immediately come to mind while perusing this article. The first and most obvious is: is this really a bad thing? Stronger, better pot for everyone? And really, 33.12% THC in the stuff confiscated in Oregon: the term BC Thunder immediately comes to mind.

And the second question is: how the hell do you sign up for the University of Mississippi's Marijuana Potency Project. I remember signing up for a Psychology experiment in University (we had to complete 10 of them, and this bad boy counted as 2) where I had to sit in a room and fill a half-litre glass vial with saliva. I was completely hung over from a night at The Brass that ended about three hours earlier, and because I was so dehydrated it took me about an hour-and-a-half to fill the jar. As I was finishing up, still drunk, I managed to knock my glass vial off the desk, and it shattered all over the floor. Let me tell you, picking up shards of glass in a pool of your alcohol-reeking saliva is just about the worst thing you can do for a hangover. The fact that I had to sit there and muster another 500ml of spit afterwards pretty well made it the worst morning of my life. But a marijuana potency project? That I could do. I always thought that Oxford, MS would be a great place to do some post-grad work.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Coach of the Year

Has there ever been a man as thrilled as coach Mitchell to be named coach of the year? This clip of Sam on the Landry and Stellick(tricity) show from last week is just about the most painful thing in the world to listen to. Not exactly a morning person.
The only thing better is when they get him on a West coast trip, and he has to be awake at 5:05am Pacific to talk remedial hoops with the guy who traded Russ Courtnall for John Kordic. The phrase, "Come on, Guys..." has never sounded better. He ends this interview by saying: "I don't like you guys... you haven't figured that out yet?"
Atta boy, Sammy.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Bring on the Bitch

The Top 5 Reasons to Loathe V.C.

5. Vince Carter is a Liar

What the hell was with that "I don't want to dunk anymore"? There is significant evidence which suggests that he has since gone back on his word. I'm pretty sure dunk #9 on that list took place after the above statement was made. I mean, if you're gonna be a little bitch, at least have the courage of your convictions about it. Watching Vince dunk after vowing that he'd never do so again, I felt the way Lloyd Christmas must have felt after learning that Mary Swanson was married all along ("Husband? Wait a minute... What was all that 'one in a million' talk?")

4. Vince Carter Graduated

O.K., I can't really fault him for that one. In fact, I actually applaud the man for finishing his degree, despite the fact that he has been financially set for life since he was 22. But was it really necessary to attend your commencement ceremony the morning before the biggest game in your franchise's history? You can't help but wonder whether, with fresher legs, Vincent Lamar might have drained that series-winning jumper.

3. The Slap

This was a complete disgrace. And I know that Steve Javie was as much to blame as V.C., but the fact that Vince was actually laughing about it afterwards was enough to turn your stomach. A completely cowardly act. A real man would have admitted his wrongdoing afterwards rather than having the audacity to call Morris Peterson a friend...

2. Vince Carter is a Saboteur

The John Thompson interview was just about the last straw. To come out and say that you didn't give it 100% while playing in Toronto, presumably to expedite your exit from the city and the franchise that gave you everything, was about the most inexcusable thing any athlete has ever done in the history of this city. It made Dave Winfield's murdering of the seagul seem like a day at the petting zoo.

1. The Buzzer Beater

The fact that this happened in the same game as The Slap is enough to guarantee that V.C.'s reception tomorrow afternoon will be one of unparalleled abhorrence. I actually vomitted while downloading this clip.

Honourable Mention:

- The way he writhes around on the floor so often that his teammates don't even care anymore.

- The fact that he's afraid to drive the lane and settles for lady-like outside jumpers.

- V.C.'s mom.

- The fact that I can no longer feel proud about having witnessed this.

The following was taken from Bill Simmons online chat this afternoon:

Kmart, California: Raptors-Nets: Do you think any other arena is going to get as loud and angry as the Air Canada Centre, when Prince Carter steps on the floor? The city (Toronto) is in a frenzy.

Bill Simmons: Never. In NBA history, it will have only been topped once: Game 6 of the '86 Finals, the game after Sampson attacked Jerry Sichting and the Garden crowd unleashed about as much hatred as 15,000 fans could unleash in the following game (by the way, he had deer in the headlights and finished something like 2 for 15). People of Toronto, I urge you -- don't let up. The guy screwed you over. Don't let him beat you in the playoffs. You can singlehandedly affect the outcome of this series -- you can break him, he's not a tough player. You are doing this for every fanbase who ever got screwed over by a star athlete who went somewhere else and decided to start giving a crap again. That's your mission, now come through for us.

Should be one for the ages. See you at the ACC.

Virginia Tech

There really isn't much you can say about the tragedy at Virginia Tech, other than it should have never happened. But in light of the sensationalist reaction from every relevent news and media outlet in the wake of this calamity, it should hardly come as a surprise that this type of misery has become almost routine. We've come to expect it. It's no longer a question of if?, but rather when? it will happen again. And it should have never become this way. But the path which brought us here can be fairly easily illuminated.

Because you can chalk it up to a lack of gun control (part of the reason), the culture of fear inherent in the U.S. (some of the reason), violence on TV and in the movies (negligible); but after observing this latest tragedy from a distance (I haven't been glued to the T.V. in numbed disbelief like I was during the Columbine masacre), I can honestly say that it is the media's reaction to this latest incident, just like their reactions to the incidents leading up to this past week's, that needs to be held accountable. Maybe there really is something to this kid's claim. Because maybe there really is blood on their hands.

Which is precisely the problem. Because we never should have known what this highly disturbed kid's issues were. It should have never occurred to him to mail in video recordings and his manifesto to NBC, and NBC most certainly should have never revealed his ramblings to the public. This should have never been news in the past, and it should not have been news this week. Because in my mind, playing his video recordings and showing his picture and reading his manifesto and printing his name is tantamount to giving in to a hostage taker's demands. And from every big-time Hollywood feature I've ever seen, I've been under the impression that the U.S. has a policy to outright refuse all terrorist demands, no matter what the reprecussions, for fear of encouraging future hostage situations. Which makes perfect sense. Because if you give a terrorist what he asks for, all potential terrorists will take it as an invitation to take like-minded action.

But this is apparently what we're prepared to do in this case. Because all this psychotic kid wanted was attention, and the attention he is currently recieving would have probably exceeded his wildest dreams. And we should be ashamed of ourselves for granting it.

Because think about it. If you're a borderline nut job, and you're life isn't worth living anymore, won't the fame this kid is receiving maybe get you to thinking, "hey, my life sucks and I'm gonna kill myself anyway, I might as well bring down 32 innocent people with me and make a name for myself"? Maybe not. But maybe. And then maybe next time it won't be 32 innocent people, because 32 won't be enough. Maybe next time it'll be 37, or 42, or 200. Something to really give people a reason to remember him by. A reason to print his name and show his picture and listen to his bitching about how unfair life is... The way this story has been handled has been nothing short of sickening.

I have no idea about who the murdered were. I don't know a single name. I don't know where any of them were born, or what they majored in, or whether or not they were quiet or if they read their twisted short stories in a deep and deranged voice. I don't know whether or not they'd had a rough childhood because they're english wasn't very good, and I don't know if they used to sign their names with a question mark or any other punctuation symbol. I don't know any of those details about the murdered. But I know all of these trivial details about the murderer. And this fact is an inexcusable disgrace.

Because it is the innocent who are the truly martyred, though you would never guess it by their representation in the media. They have been martyred for the sins of the sensationalist media representation that not only opens the door for, but actually encourages greater future tragedies. And they have been martyred for our sins, as we are the ones who crave this type of coverage. We are the ones who put up with it. We are the ones who endorse it.

I just pray that the deaths of the 32 innocent victims are not in vain. I pray that the next time something like this happens, we find the strength to do the right thing, by refusing the temptation to gawk. By refusing to grant the murderer his wishes. And in so doing, preventing this type of tragedy from ever happening again.

Some Random Thoughts, Viewing, and Reading for a Friday Morning

The Phone Relationship:

Is there anything more disconcerting than meeting someone for the first time, and in the process shifting the phone-based relationship into an association that is based in actual reality? By some strange coincidence, this happened to me three times over the course of the past week. I don't know what it is, but you always have this image in your mind of what the person is supposed to look like (what that image is based on, I have no idea), and then when you finally meet the person, they invariably look nothing like the way you thought they would. And it's not even like it's a disappointment when you finally meet the person, it's just that they're... not what you expected. And what's more, that image you previously had of that person is so completely obliterated the second you meet them in the flesh that it becomes impossible to even recall what you originally thought they were going to look like. Reality has a way of doing that, I guess.

In all three cases of eradication by the forces of tangibility this week, the phone relationships I'd been previously engaged in were with dudes. It should be noted that it would be categorically impossible for girls to live up to the expectations that guys will invariably have for them within the bounds of the phone relationship. These are the things we do. We talk to a girl on the phone. She is polite to us because she doesn't know us and because this is the way humans generally interact on the telephone with people they've never previously met. And simply because this particular girl is nice to us on the phone (ie, she hasn't slapped us or thrown a beer in our face), we, as guys, automatically fashion this girl in our minds to be the hottest female entity on the face of the planet. And we probably begin trying to pick her out in crowds of people when we're bored. And of course, because this girl hasn't overtly shot us down based on the conversations we've had in the phone relatioship, this ultra-hot girl obviously wants to sleep with us. Always.

I can't speak for how disappointed girls invariably are when they finally meet me face to face, but I'm guessing it's somewhere in the neighbourhood of: extremely.

The Mars Bar

I was taking the subway home from the Jays game last night - no, not the game where Daisuke Matsuzaka, the human strikeout machine, was pitching; but the game in which Tomo Ohka, the human one-time-Bart-Simpson-punchline was on the hill - and couldn't help but notice the girl sitting across from me unwrapping a Mars Bar and chowing down. Which got me to wondering. When the hell was the last time anyone bought a chocolate bar and ate it? I can't even recall how long its been. Years? I think I had a Snickers bar last March in Ecuador, but other than that, I'm stumped. I think this is a sure sign that I'm getting waaaay too old for my liking. There was a time when, if I was making as much money as I'm making now (which isn't, for the record, a substantial amount - it's just that it's substantially more than the $0.35 per paper I was getting to deliver the Toronto Sun at six o'clock every Sunday morning as a pre-pubescent reading the funnies, eating Shreddies, and waiting for my other ball to drop {wasn't actually afflicted with retractile testicle, for the record - just thought it was a good line}), it wouldn't be inconceivable for me to buy 3-5 Wunderbars every day, and maybe a can of Jolt and some of those green, $0.15 Gore bars we used to get at the River Oaks Convenience. But now? Can't even fathom it. Apparently I'd rather have a salad and an extra hot, no foam, soy milk latte that costs more than a Bud Light at the gentlemen's club. Kill me now.

By the way, in mentioning the Toronto Blue Jays: did you know that Doc Halladay's real name is Harry? I had no idea. Harry Halladay. And his middle name is Leroy. If you had to list one thousand people whose real name wasn't Leroy, I'd have to put the Doc somewhere near the top of that list. Who knew? Harry Leroy Halladay.

Kent Huskins

Who knew that our boy would make a name for himself in the 2007 playoffs by being on the receiving end of a vicious knee by the 6'7 Boogie Man, Derek Boogaard. We were at Revival on Friday night and recieved a text message from Sully, asking whether or not we'd seen the knee Husker took, and implying that there would be some form of ensuing Donnybrook... which there was. Good to see the lads in Anaheim sticking up for the pride of Almonte, Ontario.

And then Tuesday night, Husky decided to take matters into his own hands. Atta boy, Commish. You've come a long way since we brought you out as a ringer and managed to eek out a tie against that girls' team two years ago.

The Mercury Mistress

This might be the funniest SNL fake commercial of all time. I blatantly stole this clip from the Simmons blog, but it was simply too good to pass up. I give you: The Mercury Mistress.

Putting Imus to Bed

Thank God CBS decided to fire Don Imus late last week in the wake of his attempt-at-humour gone horribly wrong. And I'm thankful not because firing Don Imus was the right thing to do - because it was decidedly not the right thing to do. But I am thankful for his firing because it at long last made that ridiculous story; which was never anything more than an excuse for special interest groups to grandstand and get on TV and take advantage of a media so desperate for a sexy celebrity story that they'll literally broadcast anything (see the media scrum for the results of a Paternity test for a slutty mother's child listed below as exhibit A); but the firing of Don Imus, at long last, made his story go away. And for that, I am must truly grateful. I haven't heard anything about Imus or Rutgers women's basketball or nappy-headed hoes for almost a week.

Jason Whitlock used to write for, but he had some kind of a falling out with the network at some point last year, and now writes exclusively for The Kansas City Star. He's a great columnist, and often offers a point of view that you probably otherwise would have never considered. He was on The Fan590 with the Bobcat last week, and made a great point regarding the entire Imus debacle, and one that really puts the entire controversy, if you can even call it that, to bed. What he basically said was: "I call myself Jason. Therefore, it should come as no surprise when other people call me by that name."

It should also be noted that Jason Whitlock is black. His entire column can be found below.

Imus isn’t the real bad guy

Instead of wasting time on irrelevant shock jock, black leaders need to be fighting a growing gangster culture.

Thank you, Don Imus. You’ve given us (black people) an excuse to avoid our real problem.
You’ve given Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson another opportunity to pretend that the old fight, which is now the safe and lucrative fight, is still the most important fight in our push for true economic and social equality.

You’ve given Vivian Stringer and Rutgers the chance to hold a nationally televised recruiting celebration expertly disguised as a news conference to respond to your poor attempt at humor.
Thank you, Don Imus. You extended Black History Month to April, and we can once again wallow in victimhood, protest like it’s 1965 and delude ourselves into believing that fixing your hatred is more necessary than eradicating our self-hatred.

The bigots win again.

While we’re fixated on a bad joke cracked by an irrelevant, bad shock jock, I’m sure at least one of the marvelous young women on the Rutgers basketball team is somewhere snapping her fingers to the beat of 50 Cent’s or Snoop Dogg’s or Young Jeezy’s latest ode glorifying nappy-headed pimps and hos.

I ain’t saying Jesse, Al and Vivian are gold-diggas, but they don’t have the heart to mount a legitimate campaign against the real black-folk killas.

It is us. At this time, we are our own worst enemies. We have allowed our youths to buy into a culture (hip hop) that has been perverted, corrupted and overtaken by prison culture. The music, attitude and behavior expressed in this culture is anti-black, anti-education, demeaning, self-destructive, pro-drug dealing and violent.

Rather than confront this heinous enemy from within, we sit back and wait for someone like Imus to have a slip of the tongue and make the mistake of repeating the things we say about ourselves.

It’s embarrassing. Dave Chappelle was offered $50 million to make racially insensitive jokes about black and white people on TV. He was hailed as a genius. Black comedians routinely crack jokes about white and black people, and we all laugh out loud.

I’m no Don Imus apologist. He and his tiny companion Mike Lupica blasted me after I fell out with ESPN. Imus is a hack.

But, in my view, he didn’t do anything outside the norm for shock jocks and comedians. He also offered an apology. That should’ve been the end of this whole affair. Instead, it’s only the beginning. It’s an opportunity for Stringer, Jackson and Sharpton to step on victim platforms and elevate themselves and their agenda$.

I watched the Rutgers news conference and was ashamed.

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke for eight minutes in 1963 at the March on Washington. At the time, black people could be lynched and denied fundamental rights with little thought. With the comments of a talk-show host most of her players had never heard of before last week serving as her excuse, Vivian Stringer rambled on for 30 minutes about the amazing season her team had.

Somehow, we’re supposed to believe that the comments of a man with virtually no connection to the sports world ruined Rutgers’ wonderful season. Had a broadcaster with credibility and a platform in the sports world uttered the words Imus did, I could understand a level of outrage.
But an hourlong press conference over a man who has already apologized, already been suspended and is already insignificant is just plain intellectually dishonest. This is opportunism. This is a distraction.

In the grand scheme, Don Imus is no threat to us in general and no threat to black women in particular. If his words are so powerful and so destructive and must be rebuked so forcefully, then what should we do about the idiot rappers on BET, MTV and every black-owned radio station in the country who use words much more powerful and much more destructive?
I don’t listen or watch Imus’ show regularly. Has he at any point glorified selling crack cocaine to black women? Has he celebrated black men shooting each other randomly? Has he suggested in any way that it’s cool to be a baby-daddy rather than a husband and a parent? Does he tell his listeners that they’re suckers for pursuing education and that they’re selling out their race if they do?

When Imus does any of that, call me and I’ll get upset. Until then, he is what he is — a washed-up shock jock who is very easy to ignore when you’re not looking to be made a victim.
No. We all know where the real battleground is. We know that the gangsta rappers and their followers in the athletic world have far bigger platforms to negatively define us than some old white man with a bad radio show. There’s no money and lots of danger in that battle, so Jesse and Al are going to sit it out.

To reach Jason Whitlock, call (816) 234-4869 or send e-mail to For previous columns, go to

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Defining Insignificance

Just when you thought it wasn't possible to care any less about a story; I am, of course, making reference to the Imus/Rutgers Women's Basketball story (and I use the term story extremely liberally), which was the runaway favourite for the most-irrelevant-item-to-make-the-news-in-2007; this happened:

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

... At Which Point I Induced Vomiting Retroactively

Before I begin, just let me say one thing: save your work. Always. You have no idea how painful this is, facing the prospect of having to recreate this entry a second time, to say nothing of the three-and-a-half hours that were effectively obliterated when my laptop decided to pack it in. And one more thing: if you ever have one of those premonitory moments where you feel like you should be doing something and then, for no discernable reason, you decide not to do that thing because doing so would involve too much effort (ie, grabbing your keys off the counter at the odd chance that case your automatically locking door closes behind you while the stove is on; stopping for gas even though there might be a station a mile or two up the road where the gas is half a cent cheaper; saving your work before downloading scanned pictures onto your laptop...); my advice would be to act upon that initial gut feeling. For the love of God.

So there I was last Thursday night, minding my own business at two o'clock in the morning, waiting for my girlfriend to get home from work. Jimmy Kimmel had already come and gone, and there wasn't any TLN softcore with which to divert from my consciousness the fact that I was sitting at home alone, sober no less, on the first night of the long weekend. Aimlessly channel surfing, I eventually stumbled upon a little program on the Outdoor Life Network called Don't Forget Your Passport. I'd never seen the show before, but this particular episode was about a good Canadian lad traipsing down the Amazon river, and seeing as I'd been on a similar jaunt almost a year ago to the very day, I figured that this show was just as good an opiate as any.

It didn't take long for the host to win me over. Like I said, he was a likeable lad; a simple country boy, some might even say a cockeyed optimist (a latter day Billy Mumphrey); who was pretty well willing to try anything once. But he endeared himself to me for life on one of the boat rides along the Amazon when he candidly confided in the viewer while staring off into the jungle on his way down river: "This is a dream come true for me... Ever since I was a little kid, going through my parents' National Geographic magazines looking for topless native women, I've always wanted to come to the Amazon..." He then turned to the camera with a sly, giddy smile, and added: "Let's hope we see some." How could you not be hooked?

Anyway, after spending a night with a Shaman and knocking back some pseudo-toxic and 100% vomit-inducing, halucinogenic Ayahuasca (we have a bottle of that stuff stashed away somewhere - couldn't be more illegal) in a traditional Ayahuasca ceremony, our lovable host ventured off to a small remote village, not unlike one of the small, remote villages that Sandra and I had ventured to in our travels. He was immediately greeted by one of the village women, and when she offered him a drink of their traditional beverage, Chicha, my first reaction was: "Holy Shit! That's the same thing we drank!" When he went on to describe the taste as sour, and a little bit milky, I knew that we were on the same wavelength.
When Sandra and I had enterred this village last year, we were given a giant bowl (probably about 2 litres worth) of this chicha drink, and told that it was the natives' traditional drink and that it was custom for visitors to drink it along with the villagers. I, not unlike our innocent TV host, thought nothing of it, and began slurping away. It wasn't the worst thing in the world, and I was all for trying new things and upholding ancient customs. It wasn't until Sandra pointed out, after her miniscule sip, that the drink was in all likelihood made with river water, that I decided to hold back on the imbibing. I had consumed about a third of the bowl by that point.

Which brings us to this past Thursday, on Don't Forget Your Passport. Our lovable host, slurping away at his bowl with tears in his eyes, described how the beverage was made: "The local women chew the manioc root for awhile and then spit it into a metal bucket, where the regurgitated root, with the help of the women's saliva, is allowed to ferment for a number of days..." (Please see title of blog)

I thought that maybe he was just fucking with me, so I did a little web-based research, and sure enough:

"In the Amazon tribes of Ecuador and Peru, the natives prepare a local manioc based drink that is fermented with saliva. This is as thick as soup, but is more of a froth. Whenever visiting a local village it is quite probable you will be offered some to taste. Remember it is an insult to reject it."

By the way, this dude is quite possibly the bravest man I've ever seen.

I guess I can always tell myself that I was just doing everything in my power to avoid insulting the locals, but needless to say, round about two-thirty this past Friday morning, a bowl full of Amazonian river water was sounding pretty damn refreshing.


Hey, if you had a nifty little blog that nobody read, would you post the fact that you spent the better part of this past Good Friday alphabetizing your record collection and then watching Mr. Holland's Opus on the W Network while drinking a double bourbon in an attempt to keep your eyes from sweating? Me neiter.


So anyway, Ronnie, Flats, and I headed over to Flats' buddy Murph's place this past Friday night for a couple of pre-game beverages before heading out to The Drake. Joey Rigo (The Portugese Bomber) was putting out a feeler on Sunday night's Velvet Underground interest, and after Murph introduced Ronnie and I as "The Boondock Saints" to all of his lady friends, he proceeded to line up a round of shots for us so that we could all pour one out in memory of BJ (Ronnie's pet turtle who recently found his way to that great big pond in the sky). I think we did a round of some kind of Scotch, followed shortly thereafter by a round of Canadian Club (did not go down well), the two of which were intermittently washed down with a number of Frankie D specials (went down even worse). Combined with the bourbon I'd earlier slugged back while watching the Opus, I was feeling pretty gingerly by the time Murph's roomie, Zvon, busted out his bottle of Absinthe.

Now, I'd never sampled Vinnie Van Gogh's choice spirit before, and to be honest, it wasn't my intent to do so on the fateful night either. All I wanted was to get a good whiff of the stuff, merely to get an idea of what it smells like. Like I'd done a thousand times before, I casually walked over to the bar and twisted the cap... It was one of those needle-getting-ripped-off-the-record moments, as the entire party turned to look at me, having just twisted off the cap of the never-before-been-opened bottle of Absinthe. I felt like a real dick, I really did, but Zvon came running over right away, laughing his bag off, saying: "Hey man, you opened it. You have to drink it." Fair is fair, right? I thought nothing of it, and knocked a big ol' shot back. The rest of the night, as you might well imagine, is pretty much a blur.

At some point, realizing that I was essentially incapable of taking care of myself, Zvon took Flats aside and asked him to look out for me for the rest of the night. Apparently Flats did just that, because before I knew what was happenning, I was back at my place, listening to the La Bamba Soundtrack (freshly alphabetized), and waiting for a cheese pizza to arrive. Sandra said it was hands down the drunkest she'd ever seen me, which is truly saying something. I vaguely remember passing out on the couch, and when I woke up in the same place at noon the next day, I simply assumed that I'd been unconscious and unmoving the entire time. But Sandra said I made my way up to the bed at some point, only to wake up in the middle of the night to head back to the comforts of the lonely couch. I have absolutely no recollection of any of this, but my phone and my wallet were scattered across the floor in the bedroom, so I must have ventured up there at some point.

At Sandra's bar the next day, she took an informal poll and learned that not a single person had known anyone to drink absinthe and not be the drunkest they'd ever seen them. And after last Friday night, I'd have to agree. Because I really didn't drink that much (Frankie D draughts and multiple shots for reptiles aside), yet I managed to tip the cabbie $5 on a $5 cab ride (something I never do), and I tipped the pizza guy $5 after they already charged me $4 for delivery (something I would never, ever do). So there must be something to that Absinthe stuff. Someone once told me that drinking Absinthe was like snorting cocaine; and like Rick James said...


I must say that the Leaf/Habs game this past Saturday night was one for the ages. It was about as exciting a hockey game you could ever hope to have, and the closest thing the Leafs will experience to a Stanley Cup for quite some time. An epic battle all around. If there were only one hockey game I was going to watch this year (there were two), that would be the one.

But to tell you the truth, after the boys in blue got pasted on the Island last Thursday night, you knew that there was no way in hell the Leafs were making the playoffs. And to be honest, with everything they had riding on Thursday night's game, to come out playing like that? They probably didn't deserve to be in there anyway. But regardless. The Buds needed the Devils, on the brawny shoulders of Scott Clemmensen, to somehow pull out a win against the Isles on the last day of the season. Everyone knew it wasn't going to happen, but it was worth checking in on during commercial breaks of the Vegas and Malaysian Grand Prix's respectively (there was a great deal of auto racing viewership going on in Dornoch this weekend - Dornoch, by the way, is the unofficial home of the 2007 Canadian Beirut Championship. More on that later). When it was 1-0 Islanders after two, we pretty much figured it was over and began the longish drive back to Toronto. When we got the update informing us that it was 2-0 NYI with six minutes to go, we decided we'd made the right decision by getting a head start on the drive, and immidiately began delving into the Leafs myriad problems as if we were Norm Rumack and Billy Waters sharing a bar stool at happy hour, wholeheartedly agreeing that they needed to "blow the whole thing up."

Ten minutes later, I got a call from a frantic Mike Foley, screaming: "TELL ME YOU'RE WATCHING THIS!!!" I told him that we were in my car, halfway through a sixty-minute-super-set of Barrie's best classic rock, so, no, we were decidedly not watching this. When a code-blue suited Foely explained what had gone down, Ronnie and I immediately pulled into the next town, sprained our ankles leaping right back on the bandwagon, and went searching for an establishment in which to watch the overtime.

Now, you may know the quiet little village of Flesherton, Ontario as "the gateway to the Beaver Valley", and that Flesherton is home to the annual Split Rail Festival every September. But what you probably don't know, is that there isn't a single friggin' place to watch the most important non-Leaf hockey game of the year. Honest to God. Ronnie and I pulled into town, parked the car, and then ran up and down the main street, poking our heads into every conceivable place - restaurants, cafes, video/convenience stores - at the odd chance that they might have a TV going. All to no avail. I mean, forget the fact that they didn't have the game on. I can live with that. The town is kind of in a remote area, and not everybody gets TSN, and blah, blah, blah... But how is it possible that on the main street of town there isn't a single bar? I mean, I'm all for good clean country living, but how the hell could you live in a town that didn't have a bar? Isn't that worse than a town with no cheer?

In any event, we missed the entire overtime and shootout, which was probably for the best. I have always hated the shootout, and am still confused as to where that extra point magically appears from (3 points for a win in regulation, 2 and 1 if it goes beyond sixty minutes. You can't have it any other way. The absurd manner in which it is presently set up goes against the general theory of relativity and just about every other model we currently have for the universe - matter (ie, points) can't simply appear from nowhere. Energy can be neither created nor destroyed. Any of this ringing a bell? E = mc fucking squared? Could somebody please fax Gary Bettman a copy of the document explaining the laws of conservation of mass and energy? Thank you.)

Anyway, it was pretty funny how much of a heathen I felt like running through the main street of a picturesque town at 6pm on Easter Sunday, cursing the place for not having a bar for us to go in and drink in. Happy Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Day.


By they way, just in case you were wondering, this is what a winning NCAA bracket looks like:


And finally, here is a fantastic little piece chronicling the Girls of Beverly Hills, 90210. Flats recently turned me on to this website, and despite the fact that I can physically feel the brain cells marching single file out my ear every time I check in, I just can't seem to help myself. Enjoy.


Just so you know, the post I wrote last night was infinitely better than the one you just read. But aren't they always. I apologize.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Kill Me Now

I just spent the last 3 hours writing a blog entry on my laptop, and as I was downloading a picture from my scanner, my entire computer froze. I have not saved anything. If I lose this entry, I may withdraw from computers completely. It is almost funny that I considered saving my post 1 minute before my computer froze, but decided that that would be a waste of time, considering I'd never had a problem with that laptop before. Almost funny.