Friday, September 28, 2007


Well, it's about 10 o'clock on Friday night, and the new Springsteen LP is on its third spin around DJ Eric Foreman's turntable. And yes, staying true to vinyl has its benefits. The Boss released a limited number of LPs a week ahead of the CD (I'd like to think it's his way of paying tribute to all of us guys keeping it real on the turntables, but I have a sneaking suspicion the gesture was partly due to the fact that he wanted to make the album Grammy-eligible {cut off date for 2007 Grammy Award consideration? Sept. 30th}), which meant that I was trucking my city lovin' self down to the HMV superstore at Yonge and Dundas this afternoon (dodging the crazy guy scaring the shit out of everyone by screaming how we were all destined to writhe for eternity in hellfire en route) to pick up a copy for myself and my old man.

It was actually pretty funny because the guy working the "rock & pop" section at HMV didn't have any idea that the vinyl was released a week ahead, and when I explained why when I came up to pay, he sheepishly asked me, "dude, are there any more copies left?". When I told him there were, he practically jumped over the counter to grab one for himself. I'm still not certain whether this inside knowledge makes hip or pathetic. I'm hoping for the former.

In any event, we were given a sneak preview of the album last night when my buddy Browner brought his iPpod and the downloaded album in its entirety (the man has connections) to our dodgeball game. But let's be honest: it's difficult to appreciate a piece of musical genius when you're having 4 speedskin specials drilled at your face from a variety of angles. But listening to the new album on the Technics while sitting alone in your living room with the lights turned low and an ice cold Tankhouse Ale in hand? Now that's a whole different story.

First impressions? I've had Radio Nowhere (should have been the album's title) stuck in my head since 8:30 this morning when I watched Bruce and the boys belt it out at Rockefeller Plaza (I had three successive wake-up calls within the span of five minutes: my sister, then my dad, then my mom. It's good to know they care), so that one is an obvious rocker with some staying power. You'll Be Comin' Down had me involuntarily tapping my feet (always a good thing), and I'm a sucker for the title of Girls In Their Summer Clothes because it alludes to a comment Bruce made back in 1988 at a show in Stockholm. I remember listening to that concert because it was being broadcast live on Q107, and my family was headed to Grand Bend for a week of camping at Pinery Provincial Park. Anyway, we commandeered my Uncle's massive 80's boom box (a ghetto blaster in every sense of the word - by the way, is that considered a racist term yet?) so we could tape the entire show as we drove. It's pretty funny because on the tape, you can hear the clarity fading in and out and then one of us frantically searching for a better frequency. (By the way dad, if you've been looking for that casette all these years, rest assured, it's in good hands). In any event, at one point early in the show, Bruce looks out into the crowd (teeming with Swedish blondes, to be sure) and says something about how great it was to be in Stockholm in the summer, "with all the girls in their summer clothes...". We were sitting in traffic on Highway 81 at the time, and it was about 90 degrees, and we had the windows all rolled down because we never had air conditioning... I remember that being one of the quintessential moments of my youth for some reaon... What summer was supposed to be...

But I digress. Badly.

Long Walk Home is fantastic. I love the theme, and I love the Freehold references. You can't go back home again, and when you try, it's just never the same. Great stuff.

But the undisputed gem of the album is the last song, which is untitled. Apparently people are referring to it as Terry's Song, but I think I prefer the title: They Broke The Mold. Bruce wrote it for his longtime friend Terry Magovern, who passed away on July 30th. It is an absolutely beautiful piece, slow with piano, acoustic guitar and harmonica, and the lyrics are touchingly simple. I had goosebumps the first time I heard it, and on this third run through, it is only getting better.

If you own the wheels of steel, or even if you only possess an old Sears console wooden cabinet turntable with built-in eight-track, grab yourself a vinyl copy of this album this weekend. If you merely rock the new-fashioned technology, make sure you pick up the disc Tuesday. It will be well worth your while.


In case you were at work this morning and missed The Today Show performance, click on the following links:

Radio Nowhere


The Women-folk love-on Matt Lauer

The Promised Land (the man at the 4:05 mark tells you all you'll ever need to know about what it means to be a Springsteen fan)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Speedskin Specials

Just when you thought it was impossible to become any less of a man (I am, of course, referring to the fact that I participated in a "co-ed, non-competitive, soft ball league this summer), I found myself in a highschool gymnasium this evening participating in an intense, highly competitive game of co-ed Dodgeball. Yeah, that's right. And I was just about the worst player on my team, getting dinged by members of both sexes at just about every opportunity... But I did hit a girl in the head with the ball to win a game at one point. It's what Patches O'Houlihan would have wanted.

Mind you, my hitting this frail debutante in the grill wasn't quite as bad as this kid got it. I literally spit my drink out when I saw the slow motion replay for the first time.

You'll be hearing more from the Speedskin Specials as the season gets into full swing. And for the record, the name "Speedskin Specials" was chosen ahead of "The Amish Rake-Fighters" and "I Can't Believe I Paid Money To Play Dodgeball". Though maybe not as catchy as the latter, it does have a certain ring to it.

Unexpected highlight of the night? Walking through the gym hallway and seeing the photos of the various "Athletes of the Year" from the '80's. One of the dudes was a dead ringer for A.C. Slater. I will be bringing my camera next week to capture this image. It is an indisputable 10 out of 10.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ruminations on The Boss

In his Preface to Lyrical Ballads, William Wordsworth defines poetry as: "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings", taking its origin from "emotion recollected in tranquillity". Despite the fact that he wrote those words more than 200 years ago, you'd be hard pressed to find a better means of describing the body of work comprising the past 35 years of Bruce Springsteen's life.

In anticipation of the October 2nd release of "Magic" (a terrible album title, for the record. How do you go from "The Wild, The Innocent, and The E Street Shuffle" and "The Ghost of Tom Joad" to "Magic"? It sounds more like the title of a new age Paul McCartney album being released exclusively through Starbucks than anything else), the ensuing tour, and perhaps most importantly; the re-establishment of E Street Radio on Sirius 10 (6 months of non-stop, commercial free, rare, live, and studio Springsteen cuts); I've decided to include some thoughtful contemplation on one of the greatest song writers of the past half-century.

These are quotes from a variety of musicians, big and small and everywhere in between, who have been inspired/moved/impressed/touched/delighted/affected/reassured/exhilarated/enlivened/and exalted by the words and music of Bruce Springsteen.
Most of these words are taken from the liner notes to two beautiful Springsteen tribute albums: One Step Up/Two Steps Back: The Songs of Bruce Springsteen and Light of Day: A Tribute to Bruce Springsteen. If you get the chance to pick these up, they come highly recommended.

Impossible as it may seem, there are actually certain versions of certain songs on these discs that are better than Springsteen's originals (...cowering from the impending lightning bolt...). A few that come to mind are Dion's version of "Book of Dreams", Mark Wright's "Two Hearts", The Smithereens' "Downbound Train" (and that's saying something), John Wesley Harding's "Jackson Cage" (and that's really saying something), and both Patty Griffin's and Elliot Murphy's versions of "Stolen Car". There are also a tonne of songs that put wild spins on old classics, and still others that make you listen to the words as if for the first time (Rosie Flores' version of "Lucky Town"...who knew?)... Check it out if you can.
In any event, the words of these people carry far more weight than mine ever could, and they say them with so much more eloquence that I'll simply leave it up to them. Plagiarism in its purest form.

"Springsteen makes me keep my faith in America"

- Billy Bragg

"I have always loved the depth of Bruce's writing. He has a special ability few writers have. He's a 'Great Writer' - having the ability to chronicle our life and times, in an incredibly clear and accessible way - I call him the Carl Sandburg of our generation... each song an entire novel."

- Richie Havens

"I sit here on the 31st anniversary of the marriage of my parents, listening to The Rising and hearing chatter in the main room of the house from some party guests. I am alone in what some would call a 'parlor' as there is a pool table and dark wood walls near me. Ten years ago while living in Syracuse, NY, an elder advised, via telephone, that I smoke a marijuana cigarette, put on The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle, specifically a song called 'New York City Serenade', and lie on the floor in the dark while listening to it. That is the day I became a Bruce fan. Not from growing up in Montville, NJ, but from living in upstate NY, a student, with what I like to think of as a good heart. Anyway... there's a line in that song about walking tall... 'Walk tall, or baby don't walk at all.' That line inspires me. That line is the reason I recorded this song."

- Pete Yorn

"The spirit survives and endures in spite of all that levels us in this life. Bruce in a strange way has always touched on that in his best work."

- Tom Cochrane

"I recorded this song because it spoke to me. I had gone through a period when just as I felt I had nothing left to lose, I'd lose a little more. Life can sneak up on you, show just how fragile a scene, any scene is. The treatment for this song as it exists on Darkness On The Edge Of Town always confounded me. Until last summer, I never listened past the howls at the beginning. Besides, in my mind, nothing could live up to the song 'The River'. Last summer I grew up. I mean I really grew up. I was confronted by real trouble and challenge. Pride and dignity were on the block. Financial stability was in total disarray. I was a romantic being gutted by the simple daunting size of my dreams. It was almost physical. 'Something In The Night' swore me to secrecy. Comforted me. Inspired me.

Springsteen seems to have always understood that your dreams are only what you make them. The world is full of the disenchanted, the disengaged, the punch-drunk, and that quiet desperation that can come with adulthood. To embrace or settle for any of that would be defeat.
But at the end of the day, I only wanted to sing 'so I take her to the floor, for a moment when the world seems right'. At the time, a moment like that would've done a world of good. In fact, it did."

- Matthew Ryan

"I always liked 'I'm On Fire' because of the solitary, intimate, hymn-like quality it had. It was like listening to someone's heartbeat in the dark of night. I also did it because I happened to be on fire at the time."

- Willie Nile

"It was half my lifetime ago that I first saw Bruce Springsteen perform. At the end of the concert I can remember standing at the back of the stadium looking at the empty stage trying to imagine what it must have felt like. I performed 'Two Hearts' at my first gig 18 months later in Brighton, England, and I've been singing it ever since. I feel as I've grown the song's grown with me; it was able to sum up all my hopes and aspirations whilst at the same time acknowledging the doubt and uncertainty we all seem to carry with us. This song feels like and old friend; and at 30 years old I still feel like that guy in verse three."

-Mark Wright

"Back in the day when we were just out of college and enjoying all the city's charms with gusto, my cousin 'The Mister' (the origin of this appendage is the topic of another story entirely) had a weekend job driving a delivery truck for a lumber yard on Staten Island (the borough of New York where he grew up and which the MTA only serves from Manhattan by ferry) to supplement his 9 to 5 grind in the city. The boss that gave him the job - none other than his own brother. Some Fridays myself and my brother would meet him after work and we'd avail ourselves of all the city's charms with gusto and The Mister would opt to crash out in our flat on Avenue A, rather than go back to his own flat in Brooklyn. This was supposedly to save the time of coming back to Manhattan to catch the ferry, but after nights on which we had employed perhaps a bit too much gusto, you could often see The Mister dashing off to catch the ferry at just about the time he was supposed to be arriving at the lumber yard on Staten Island.

Of course, all those missed deliveries were not good for business and after awhile The Mister had to be let go, even if the boss letting him go was his own brother. When asked about it, my cousin; The Mister's former boss; would say only 'he was talkin' union'. Once The Mister had his weekends free we could partake in all the city's charms with even more gusto. But every so often we'd be out somewhere havin' a beer or chatting up some pretty girls and Springsteen's 'Downbound Train' would come on the jukebox and my cousin would stop for a moment and say: "listen - 'I was somethin' mister in this world. I got laid off at the lumber yard...'" Then add, sometimes a bit whistfully, "That's my song." Don't it feel like you're a rider on a downbound train

- Kirk Kelly

"It's like he's saying, 'The drama has ended and I don't know what to do.' The guy's not staring at the abyss. He's in the abyss."

- Patty Griffin, on "Stolen Car"

"I chose 'Lucky Town' cause upon my first hearing it a while ago it felt like I could have spoken these same words. Springsteen's melody grabbed me too. At that time I really missed living in Austin, felt like I left my soul there. Now LA is calling me back, it was my lucky town. Living in Nashville is sweet although I haven't been too lucky here but that may change the way luck often does, but if you see me heading West you'll know why."

- Rosie Flores

"I first heard this long version of 'Stolen Car' on a bootleg of Bruce outtakes called (I think) 'Son You May Kiss The Bride', and the song just haunted me for some time after so I started fooling around with it during soundchecks in Europe, which is where I live and mostly perform these days. So often, I'd be out there on the road alone covering the distance between shows in sleepy trains or speeding rental cars and like most songwriters passing those lost hours in my own private world, not really depressed but just, you know, sort of existing until the next show and trying not to worry too much about that other world I had left at home in Paris, the world of my wife and son, anxious that it would all be there when I returned. And 'Stolen Car' so perfectly reflected all of that and (as great songs do) it often helped to release me from the bonds of my own emotional prison. So pretty soon it became as cherished a member of my repetoire as any of my own songs.

You see, Bruce and I were born nearly equidistant from New York - him in New Jersey and me out on Long Island - and at one point we seemed to have shared a similar alienation from the suburban landscape we should have by all rights felt so at home in. Maybe Bruce conquered his demons by embracing them in his songs, but my own tendency was to keep moving, running as far away as I could until finally I reached that no man's land where I find myself today, that of an expatriate, in a place I can finally call home. Many times when I sing that line about '...driving a stolen car on a pitch black night... telling myself everything's gonna be alright' it has nearly brought the tears to my eyes - but not tears of sadness, just those of a soulmate's identification with a beautiful, undeniable truth: that life is for all of us at some time just like a ride in a stolen car, same thrills, same fear, same loneliness. It is a testament to Bruce's genius that he is able to carry home such profound truths in such everyday images as these. And for that I will always be grateful to him

- Elliott Murphy

"I think 'Thunder Road' is one of the best songs ever written. It transforms disappointment into eternal hope."

- Dan Bern

"Is there a more personally triumphant song in the Boss' canon than this one? ('Boss' canon...I like that). 'Born to Run' is a song that contains all of the elements of great drama (conflict, escape, redemption, danger and the promise of an electrifyingly intoxicating carnal release). It also has one hell of a melody line that makes it great to sing at top volume while careening recklessly down some dark Louisiana highway at 2am after a full moon heartbreak, as well as a rhythmic propulsion that's either made for dancing, exploding, or jumping from the highest cliff just to see if you can fly... or all of the above!

The music of Bruce Springsteen has made my life infinitely better. His songs made me want to live... with a vengeance. Say what you want about these statements, but I know them to be true for me and several of my dearest friends. Not a bad way to affect people with your gift, is it Bruce? I hope not.


For everything.

More than we can ever say

- Cowboy Mouth

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Gurf Morlix at The Dakota Tavern

If you were to listen to Gurf Morlix's Blanket just once (a song inspired by the death of Warren Zevon and the dignified way in which he left this world), my bet is that it would be impossible for you not to fall in love with it. It's one of those songs that gets you in that unknowable place that you can't even name, and if it ever leaves you at all, it leaves you feeling drained and overcome. It really is that good.

(The only online version I could find was a two-minute snippet. Click HERE and go to the 4th song, entitled "Blanket")

So that's what I was going on on Tuesday night when I walked in to The Dakota Tavern: this one amazing song, and the feeling that we might be in for something special. I couldn't have been more clairvoyant if I tried.

Gurf has worked with the likes of Lucinda Williams and Patty Griffin, two of the all-time alt-country darlings, and he's been affectionately described as a "Hillbilly Warren Zevon", those two facts making my attendance a virtual no-brainer. And there are few better places to see folk-inspired music than The Dakota Tavern... and it's a three minute walk from my house. A perfect storm of musical bliss.

We arrived about 5 minutes into the first set, and one of the first songs he played was Blanket, which on its own merit was worth the price of admission. I didn't think it would be possible to top the album version (with Patty Griffin singing background vocals), but this came damn close. He followed it up with Food, Water, Shelter & Love, a beautiful song inspired by the Spike Lee documentary "When The Levees Broke", and a tune that has been deservedly receiving considerable airplay as of late on the greatest invention since penicillin, Sirius Disorder 70.

Gurf's voice is raw, ragged, and gritty, and his songs are stripped down to the core of what matters... poetic in that Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, bare-bones-stuff-of-life tradition. Every word caries significance, and none is ever wasted. Up on stage, the man shows traces of Steve Earle and John Prine, and he was working his boot on the board to the beat like a young Tom Connors. The title track from his latest album, Diamonds to Dust, was unbelievable done acoustically; again, stripped down to its bare minimum it carries more weight than you can imagine:

Birth to boneyard, boom to bust
Everything falls apart like it must
Stone to sand, iron to rust
Daylight to darkness
Diamonds to dust

That is beautiful stuff right there. He did a commendable cover of Dylan's With God on Our Side; a song, as Gurf aptly points out, that is every bit as relevant today as it was when it was written 40 years ago... and maybe even more so. I never quite listened to that song the same way as I did when Gurf sung it up on stage at The Dakota, and for my money, anyone who can take a Dylan song and make you listen to it for the first time all over again... That's something special.

The indisputable highlight of the show for me was a song called Cold, Cold World. It was written by Blaze Foley, a notorious and legendary Austin songwriter, and an old friend of Gurf's. Morlix explained his history with Blaze (including a tragically comical account of how a drunken Blaze inadvertently taped over the one and only existing copy of a session the two of them had recorded that was supposed to one day become their album) and how Blaze was murdered in 1989, to almost no one's surprise. Gurf then broke into this song that Blaze had written, and it absolutely broke my heart. It was slow and beautiful and poetic, and by the time it was over I had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat the size of a softball. It was one of the great live performances I've ever had the privilege of being a part of.

Apparently the track can be found on the 2006 album entitled Cold Cold World, which you can rest assured I will be adding to my collection shortly.

It was one of those magical nights that you never could have anticipated, nor could you ever forget. I had to go up and shake the man's hand after he finished his last set, gushing on about how he absolutely blew me away. I have no idea when he plans on visiting our fair city again, but needless to say that when he does, I'll be there front and centre. Do yourself a favour and try to do the same.

To check out Gurf Morlix's Myspace page, click here.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Unnecessary Censorship

While we're riding the Jimmy Kimmel laugh train, here is the best of his best bit. This is One Year of Unnecessary Censorship.

The Ken Jennings piece is priceless.

O.J.'s Biggest Fan

Not sure if you caught this clip on Jimmy Kimmel Live, but it is absolutely priceless.

I'm trying to decide whether the best part of Jake Byrd (Kimmel's Sidekick in the OJ/07 Tee) is the fact that he's wearing a hat that says "I (heart) Famous People", or that he describes the actions of the other lawyer's as "Not Cool".

This guy's smile is one of the greatest things I've ever seen, and I mean that in the most vigorously heterosexual way possible. I couldn't stop laughing while watching this guy yuck it up.

If for some reason I ever need to hold a press conference, I'm hiring this guy to have my back. In fact, I'd gladly take him as my best man at my wedding.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Poor Man's Larry David

Click HERE to watch this clip

If ever there was ever a character who resonated with me, it is Larry David. As sad as that may seem, there are a disproportionately abundant number of times that I'll be watching Curb Your Enthusiasm and find myself thinking, "You know what? I'm with Larry on this one... I can definitely see how that could happen to a guy."

Is it wrong to empathize with LD? I really don't think so. Because you would be astounded by the number of occurences in my life that could pass for episodes in CYE. Take last Friday night for instance.

After a night out on the town, my girlfriend and I got back to my place sometime after 2. Looking for something to watch (the Jays had been obliterated by the O's, and I couldn't stomach any more highlights), I stumbled across Showcase's Friday Night "Television Without Borders" lineup... Have you seen this thing? Aphrodisia, Porno Valley, Debbie Does Dallas...Again... What the...?!?!

When I was a kid and we got home late and wanted something juicy to watch on TV (this is pre-internet in the McCallum household, I'll have you know), we'd tune into the squigglies on channel 44 and try to make out a breast here or a thrusting motion there, all the while keeping the sound low enough so our parents wouldn't catch on to our little ploy with the fuzzy-buzzies.

But today? Honestly, as if it isn't enough that kids have access to every conceivable class of porn at the touch of a world-wide-web's button, they actually get to come home from a night of drinking in the park and are able to tune in to the likes of PT teaching his young recruits how to properly fake an orgasm?!?! It's unheard of. People are always talking about how hard it must be to be a kid in today's world, but I think I'd trade places with them in a heartbeat.

In any event, Sandra had seen just about enough of Debbie Does Dallas...Again, and decided to turn in for the night. I was obviously glued to the tube, and told her that I'd be up just as soon as PT narrowed his list of "new Debbie" candidates down to 4. Bring on the impending Larry David momment.

So I'm sitting there on the couch, every ounce of my attention focused on the emmy-worthy drama unfolding before my very eyes, and as is often the case when I'm sitting on the couch, I found myself with an itch... you know, down there. This is pretty much the most commonplace occurence for any guy, getting a set of itchy nuts while sitting down for awhile, so I don't even give it a conscious thought because... well, because I'm sitting on my own damn couch and it's 3 o'clock in the morning. So anyway, I stick my hand down my pants to give the boys a good ol' scratch (is there anything better?), and just as I'm doing so, Sandra comes down the stairs and takes in the scene of me sitting there on the couch with my hand down my pants, an undeniable oscillating motion coming from the depths of my denim cloaked crotch (I WAS SCRATCHING!!!), while 3 naked girls are having a simultaneous orgasm on the TV in front of me.

Needless to say, she was less than impressed.

I honestly felt like Kevin Spacey's character in American Beauty when the kid leans over to roll the joint and Spacey leans back in contented satisfaction, and all the while the kid's dad is standing there thinking he's witnessing his son doing his best George Michael impression.

A huge misunderstanding. Really. So Larry, I feel your pain.

And so for those of you out there who have found yourselves in similarly uncompromising positions, or situations in which you're surrounded by overly sensitive people who take the harmless things you say to heart; or if you ever just find yourself unable to let something go, here are a couple of my favourite Larry-isms to let you know that you're not alone.

The C-word

Vanilla Bullshit (Starbucks)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Coolest Street in the World this week

I should preface this entry by pointing out that I spent most of last night drinking Molson Stock Ale at the Bovine Sex Club, so you can take the following opinions with as many grains of salt as you wish.

The stretch of Ossington Avenue between Dundas and Queen is the new coolest street in Toronto, which by extension makes it the coolest street the world. I have been mulling this statement over for the past six months or so, but after spending yesterday, last night, and then again this morning walking up and down that same stretch of beat up old garages and graffiti glazed storefronts intermingling with classy exposed-brick-and-beam bistro-like bars and funky art galleries, I can safely say that this is my new favourite part of the city.

It starts at the corner of Dundas and Ossington with the Dakota Tavern, a basement bourbon celler-esque honky-tonk saloon with serious hoe down potential (probably the best place to see Toronto's up and coming alt-country acts, including Luke Doucette and the "Steers and Queers" variety show), and works its way down to Sweaty Betty's, the ultra-hip Ossington hot spot that has been known to host A and D-level celebrities alike at the foot of Queen. The places in between run the gamut of everything you might and might not expect from a city street in its apogee of gentrification (it has been said that if you stand out there at just the right time, you can actually hear the area clicking over).

The other public houses that I may or may not have frequented include the exellently intimate Communist's Daughter (a converted Lunch Counter with the "Nazare Snack Bar" sign out front and the only indication of its Marxist parentage being a small chalkboard in the window) which is actually on Dundas but for all intents and purposes resides on the Ossington strip; The Crooked Star with its Tuesday night "bring your own vinyl" tradition (DJ Eric Foreman has yet to make his triumphant debut there, but it's really only a matter of time); the highly underrated Baby Dolls (for those lonely, lonely nights); the trifecta of nearly indistinguishable Korean karaoke places (Lang Van II, Lang Thang, and Vong Nguyet); and the recently opened Reposado, which has 25 different types of tequila, and had a 3-piece Jazz outfit playing Friday night. I'm telling you, I've been to entire cities without that kind of variety.

Throw in the vintage stores (Badlands, Vintage 1, I Miss You), the record store (Babel Books and Music), the killer restaurants (Foxley, Le Bar a Soup {with soup-nazi-quality fare}, Get Real Cafe {best vegetarian breakfast in Toronto}, I Deal Coffee), the beat up old garages, and the art galleries; one of which is currently displaying "The Abandoned Barbie Project" (a slew of naked Barbie dolls in the window); and you quite literally have the most eclectic half-mile in Toronto.

The only thing is, it won't be that way for long. Because that gritty, Bohemian vibe doesn't last long around here. Sometimes it feels like the Alphabet City of the early '90's, or the Parkdale of five years ago; and then the next week you would swear you were standing in the lobby of the Drake Hotel. So get there while you can. Because like I said: you can almost hear it gentrifying.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Squandered Opportunity

Perhaps the only thing worse than a squandered opportunity is a squandered comedic opportunity.

It sounds like a badly butchered Oscar Wilde quote, I know, but it doesn't change the truth behind it. Enter exhibit A:

I have a co-worker who just recently left the company in order to go into business on his own. Now, I won't go into the details, but all you need to know is that this cat's last name is "Dandele" (Pronounced: "Dan-Delay").

This man, going into business for himself for the first time, made the unconscionable decision of naming his new company "Dantech" when he so obviously should have gone with "Dandele Industries".

To me, this is an unforgivable sin against high comedy. I would have given him my business based solely on his company's name had he gone with "Dandele Industries"

And yes, this was little more than an excuse to relevantly post the "Vandelay Industries" clip.

Hard Luck Doc

I know that only about 3 people out there actually care about this sort of thing, but look at the line on the Doc's last 5 starts:

9/10 - 8.2 IP, 3 ER, No Decision

9/4 - 8.0 IP, 5 ER, L

8/29 - 9.0 IP, 4 ER, No Decision

8/24 - 8.0 IP, 3 ER, L

8 / 19 - 9.0 IP, 2 ER, No Decision

For those of you keeping score at home, that is 4 complete games, and one game going 8 2/3s, and what does the man have to show for it? Two losses. Two f#cking losses!

The only word I can find for that type of payoff is eviscerating. Not since Dave Steib gave up no-hitters with two outs and two strikes in the ninth IN BACK TO BACK GAMES!!! have I ever felt worse for a pitcher.

And then I learned about Andy Hawkins:

"On July 1, 1990, Hawkins pitched a no-hitter for the Yankees against the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park but lost the game. Hawkins dominated the White Sox into the eighth inning, where he retired the first two batters. After that, Sammy Sosa reached on a throwing error by Yankees third baseman Mike Blowers. Hawkins then walked the next two batters. That brought up Robin Ventura, who lofted a fly ball to left field. The blustery winds buffeted the ball, and rookie Jim Leyritz, normally a third baseman, booted it, allowing all three baserunners to score. The next batter, Ivan Calderón, hit a fly ball to right field, which was lost in the sun and dropped by Jesse Barfield. The final count for the inning: four runs, no hits, three errors. The Yankees, who had not scored all game, were unable to score in the 9th inning, giving Hawkins the loss."

In his very next start, Hawkins tossed eleven shutout innings and lost again. He finished the season 5-12.

So I guess things could always be worse. Like, he could have to have an emergency appendectomy or something...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Coupla' Fuckin Pilsener's eh?

Yep, it's 3:30 in the morning and I am in the home of Terry and the Daeaner... I'm not sure if more comment is required, except for the fact that there is currently an exhibtion at the local art gallery (in the same building as my hotel) dedicated to all thingw "Willianm Shatner"... yep, apprently there's a William Shatner art movement currently going on in Alberta... how could you not love the place?

"Just Give'er"... and the shot of the Deaner in his tighty-whitees... and then when Teryy gets the Deaner the hooker... Priceless.

I promise I'll have original content when I get back to the city...

By the way, I could not be any drunker as I am posting this.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Flight of the Conchords - Business Time

Caught this track on Sirius Disorder yesterday afternoon. Absolutely classic.

Flight of the Conchords are formerly New Zealand's fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo... Lofty shoes to fill, I know, but I think they manage to get it done on this number.

You know when I'm down to just my socks it's time for business... that's why they're called 'business socks'.

"Two minutes in heaven are better than one minute in heaven." Is it too late to have that tattooed across my midriff?