Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bob Dylan and James Brown had a baby...

This is magical.

The only thing better than Jon Stewart is the man himself. There's no doubt that he belongs right there: next to Barack and the First Lady.

Thanks to Deeve for the hookup.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Eve Diversion

For those of you stuck in the office on this Christmas Eve, here are some things to help get you through to that first sip of rum and egg nog. As always, here is some of the best stuff I've come across over the past few weeks.

Simmons-Klosterman Podcast - Part 1 Part 2

Bill Simmons and Chuck Klosterman weigh in on all things pop culture, including Tiger Woods (I absolutely love Klosterman's idea for how E.T. can reinvent himself), Bruce Springsteen, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Albums of the decade, and NFL teams going undefeated.

This American Life - #1 Party School

Another pod cast. The Chicago Public Radio staff pay a visit to State College, PA, in order to shed some light on what goes into making a particular institute of higher learning the #1 party school in the U.S.A.

Doc's Classy Farewell

I haven't had a chance to comment on the Doc Halladay trade to this point, and there really isn't much I can add that most people don't already know. Roy Halladay was the best pitcher to ever don a Jays cap, and for my money, I can't ever remember a classier, more likable athlete in the City of Toronto. For too many years, the best pitcher in baseball toiled away on a less-than-mediocre team, watching brilliant pitching performances be squandered by inept offences and questionable managerial decisions; if he was pitching for a contender, he'd no doubt have another 2 Cy Young awards to his credit. The fact that he placed that add in the Toronto Sun this week should come as no surprise to anyone who had the honour of watching this man pitch for this team for the past 8 years.

For so many years, the Doc deserved better than the Jays were able to give him. Here's hoping that he finally receives the type of team he deserves, and I look forward to cheering him on to the NL Cy Young and a World Series trophy in the coming years.

As for the Jays, Alex Anthopolous deserves a great deal of credit for bringing in some serious prospects. I'm looking forward to this team rebuilding with a GM who appears to have some semblance of an idea of what he's doing. The following two pieces illustrate nicely exactly what the Jays are getting in return for Leroy:

So It's Done - Mike Wilner (Thanks to Flats for the link)

Of Unselfish Decisions and Restocked Systems - Joe Sheehan (Thanks to Llibs for the link)

Women worse at parking than men, study shows - Matthew Moore

Really, this one comes as no surprise.

Thanks to Rosco for the link.

And finally, it wouldn't be the holidays without Clark Griswold blowing a gasket. Merry F'n Christmas from everyone here at

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday Diversion

What the hell?... I thought we'd retired this gimmick? I guess if I'm going to start blogging again, I might as well bring back this forum's most popular segment. By the way, what does it say about your skills as a writer when people start randomly emailing you and saying, "Dude, I know you're busy, but I need that weekly slop load of links to things you didn't write." Yep, the price of fame... As always, here is some of the best stuff I've come across over the course of the past... well, the past little while.

The 20 Best Live Acts of The Decade (2000-2009)
By Paste Magazine

Paste Magazine compiles it's list of the 20 best live acts of the past 10 years, complete with stellar video footage (the Badlands clip from Pinkpop is off the charts). More than a few dotcomrade favourites are included, although I have to say, #2 is a bit of a head-scratcher for me. Am I just too uncool to get The Flaming Lips?

Thanks to Browner for the hook-up.

Scenes From a Book Tour
By Bill Simmons

I found this piece to be incredibly entertaining... Maybe because I'm totally jealous, but still.

One other Simmons note. This particular piece of pop culture genius from an otherwise ordinary mailbag needs to be reprinted here:

Q: What do you think would be the most awkward but (somewhat) realistic casting for a romantic comedy? I'm going with Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal.-- Matan B., Riverside
SG: After consulting with the Mailbag Committee, my rankings look like this:

7. Mike Tyson and Robin Givens.

6. Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston; Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez (tie).

5. Jack Nicholson and Megan Fox.

4. Chris Brown and Rihanna. Sorry. But it would be remarkably awkward.

3. The Gyllenhaals. I like this idea because, once and for all, it would take the whole "Look, I am an actor and even though I am passionately making out with my same-sex co-star right now, it's only because I am playing a role and not feeling any actual passion" concept to another level. Let's say you wrote an amazing script called "Adopted By Love," in which two people were engaged but didn't realize that the girlfriend was given up for adoption as a baby by the parents of the boyfriend. And let's say you offered the Gyllenhaals $60 million combined to play the lead roles and even make out a few times. If actors are always "acting" -- like Jake did with Heath Ledger in "Brokeback Mountain" -- how is this different? You're an actor! Would I want to see this? Of course not. I'd throw up. But still, it's acting!

2. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.

1. A romantic comedy in which John Stamos falls in love with two twins at the same time and neither of the twins knows the other likes Stamos ... and the twins are played by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Name me anyone who has ever seen "Full House" who wouldn't be cringing. I can't handle it. Let's just move on; my skin is crawling. You know this would be traumatic since I'd rather see the Gyllenhaals make out.

We love you, this won't change a thing
By John Buccigross

The heartwarming story of Brendan Burke telling his dad that he is gay.

Thanks to Flats for the piece.

Letterman writer, Hold Steady singer in a dream/weird/promising collaboration
By Steven Zeitchik

Tom Ruprecht and Craig Finn writing the screenplay to Chuck Klostermann's Fargo Rock City? Sign me up.

Thanks to Browner for the link.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Kobe Special

Urban Dictionary's word of the day for December 2, 2009:

December 2: Kobe Special

A large gift a man gives to his wife to appease her after he's had an affair. After sleeping with another women, Kobe Bryant bought his wife a ring that cost as much as a large house.

Tiger: "I have to run to Zales to get a Kobe Special."
Friend: "What's that?"
Tiger: "A house on a finger."

I have refrained from commenting on the Tiger Woods "story" because quite simply, it isn't even worth talking about. Some athletes cheat on their wives. It's unfortunate. It's immoral. It's wrong. But what it isn't, is newsworthy.

But if E.T. (Eldrick Tont) goes out and buys his wife a Kobe Special, is that blog worthy? You bet your ass it is. Stay tuned.

K'naan's "Wavin' Flag" named Official World Cup 2010 Theme Song

From CBC:

A remixed version of Wavin' Flag, a song by Somalia-born Canadian hip hop artist K'Naan, is the official song of a World Cup trophy tour currently traversing through Africa.

Wavin' Flag: The Celebration Mix is a remix of the original track off K'Naan's third album, Troubadour, released earlier this year.

K'Naan, currently on tour in Africa with the World Cup trophy, was born Keinan Abdi Warsame in Somalia in 1978 before moving to the U.S. and relocating to Toronto. His name, K'naan, means "traveller" in the Somali language...

It is no secret that I don't particularly enjoy the game of soccer. It's horrendous to watch for long stretches, the diving makes me sick to my stomach, and as my buddy Rosco put it: "How can anyone watch something where the most exciting play is a guy missing the net?" Furthermore, Chuck Klosterman, in his brilliant George Will vs. Nick Hornby, makes the most compelling argument for why soccer sucks.

But with that being said, I'm a sucker for events in which the best in the world are competing, particularly when I'm mercifully subjected to that particular competition only once every four years. Case in point: Olympic Boblsedding.

But next year's World Cup might be a different story. Because having local phenom K'naan prominently involved will certainly help to keep me tuned in.

To say that this is a career-altering break is an epic understatement. The kid has come a long way since playing in the basement of The Drake Hotel during NxNE 2005 (one of the all-time tour-de-force acoustic hip hop performances, for the record).

The Opposite of "Pocket Presence"

I won't lie to you: that first clip is one of the greatest things I've ever seen. I mean, is there any doubt that that confounded looking kid standing there holding the ball was born to play quarterback? The kid is like a 6 year old Peyton Manning, feeling the pressure of the pocket collapsing around him and instinctively moving out of harm's way without even having to think about it... only the exact opposite. He literally has no idea what's coming.

The fact that he immediately starts bawling sends this clip into the stratosphere.

As for the Offensive Line on that play: that's the worst blown assignment I've seen since Billy Bob got his cat scanned.

Speaking of Billy Bob... What the fuck?!?!

Thanks to Mike D for the clip.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The SantaLand Diaries

It is December 1st, which means that the Leafs are firmly entrenched in last place, the Bills are beginning to play well just as they've been all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, and it gets dark outside at 4:30 pm. Yes, it certainly is the most wonderful time of year.

And with that frame of mind, David Sedaris brings you "The SantaLand Diaries". First aired in 1992 for NPR, this is the story of a 33-year old man accepting a job as an Elf in Macy's SantaLand. The fact that that particular Elf would go on to be one of America's greatest writers only adds to the utter despondency and pessimistic brilliance of the piece. Ebenezer Scrooge himself couldn't have painted a more depressing picture.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Public Service Announcement - How To Get Married in Peru

Editor's Note: This blog has sucked for the past 2 months. It's indefinsible, I know. I'm hoping that the next two entries will go a long way in explaining why. By no means will this excuse the recent lacklustre performance by the staff here, but please: have mercy on us. Guyland has been on death row.

Of all of the legal and logistical hoops one has to jump through in order to get married in Peru, in a million years, I never would have thought that finding the right girl would be the easy part.

And believe me, meeting the right girl isn't easy. Particularly when you consider the fact that you could travel anywhere in the world at any given time of the year, and that you could stay in about 1,000 different hostels in Lima but somehow managed to stumble into that particular hostel on the one day that happened to be her first day on the job, multiplied by the continental/cultural/and language differences, and you begin to understand what a tightrope act of fate you're dealing with here.

And yet still, in looking back at everything involved in marrying a Peruana in Peru? This was the easy part.

Step 2 - Propose

But try to be a man about it. Yeah that's right. Real Humphrey Bogart type stuff... Wait, how do I even know about this clip?

Step 3 - Choose a Location

I know, that seems pretty obvious. But if you're getting married in Lima, you should know that the city has 43 different Districtos, and each Municipalidad has it's own set of rules, regulations, and obligatory bureaucratic procedures that must be strictly adhered to. This is where the nightmare begins.

We chose to get married at Costa Verde in Barranco. Here is the official list of requirements for a Civil Service in the Municipalidad de Barranco. It seems straightforward enough. It is infinitely more complicated.

Step 4 - Obtain Documents from Ontario Government

Bahahahaha... As every Canadian citizen knows, dealing with any level of Government is a nightmare. This proved to be no exception.

To try to circumvent the impending disaster, I went directly to the Peruvian Consulate in Toronto and asked what they felt would be the most efficient way to obtain the necessary documents (in this case, what I needed as a foreigner was: an original copy of my birth certificate; a certificate of bachelorhood; a valid passport). I already had the valid passport, so this figured to be a piece of cake.

As you might guess, it was the exact opposite. I ordered the birth certificate online. It cost $35.00 and arrived by mail within 15 business days. All things considered, this was a success. I even had this shiny new birth certificate with me when I went into the Peruvian Consulate so they could legalize it. The dude working there said I didn't need to do that. This was getting easier by the day.

The only thing left to do was to obtain a certificate of bachelorhood. Seeing as there is no such thing as a certificate of bachelorhood in the Province of Ontario, this would prove to be a little more challenging.

The man at the Peruvian Consulate gave me the number of someone at Service Ontario, and assured me that I would be properly sorted out.

Sure enough, when I called Service Ontario and explained my story (I needed to have all of my documents legalized and in-hand within 3 weeks, as that was when I was heading back down to Lima for my nuptials), the gentleman informed me that this would be no problem. He said that I just needed to obtain a "Search Marriage" document, and that this would serve as the "Certificate of Bachelorhood". He told me that the fastest way to receive this particular document was to fax in my application.

This seemed strange to me because I was pretty sure that fax machines became obsolete at approximately the same time as Marky Mark's hip hop career, but still: if this reputable government official was telling me that a fax was the way to go, then who was I to argue?

Of course, this reputable government official couldn't have been more wrong. When I phoned Service Ontario to follow up on the status of my inquiry, the person on the other end of the line literally laughed aloud when I told her that I had faxed my application. Apparently, a faxed application takes 8-12 weeks. I was leaving in 12 days.

She advised me to go to the Service Ontario outlet on Bay Street and to bring all of my proof of urgency documents (plane ticket, receipt from the wedding venue etc.). I did so, and the guy said that he'd do his best to have it back to me in 10 business days. When I explained that I didn't have 10 business days, he advised me to speak to my local MPP.

Cue Tony Ruprecht's office. I was on the phone with them every day for a week and a half, trying everything I could to expedite this document. 2 days before I was scheduled to fly to Lima, they phoned to advise me that the document was complete. Perfect. I told the secretary: "Have them fedex it to me overnight. I don't care what it costs."

You will find this unbelievable, but the Ontario Government refuses to send documents via any means other than Canada Post. There was a long silence on my end of the line.

I asked where the office was located, and could I pick up the document in person. "Thunder Bay".

Fuck me.

The document arrived at my house 2 days after I'd left. My brother is a saint and took it to the Peruvian Consulate for me, waited around for 3 hours, had it legalized, and then Fedexed it to me in Lima. To get this single piece of paper to me wound up costing over $200.

But this was only the beginning.

(By the way, obtaining this same document in Peru involves standing in a line for approximately 10 minutes and receiving the document on site. The entire procedure costs approximately 5 dollars)

Step 5 - Have Birth Certificate Legalized by Municipality in Lima

When I tried to do this, they told me that my birth certificate needed to be stamped by the Peruvian Consulate in Toronto. I told them that the consulate in Toronto said they didn't need to do that. It didn't matter.

As a result, I had to spend a morning at the Canadian Embassy, getting my birth certificate stamped there. When I returned to the Municipality in Barranco, they stamped the birth certificate, but charged me an extra fee because my certificate was stamped at the Embassy instead of the Consulate in Toronto. Whatever.

Moral of the story? Have everything stamped by the Peruvian Consulate in Toronto. Don't take NO for an answer.

Step 6 - Take an STD Test

Ummm... Yeah. We both got tested for syphilis. You can't get married in Barranco without taking this test. The test and the ensuing red tape in receiving the results and the certificate took 3 days.

Let's just say that we were both pretty happy with the results. Let's move on.

Step 7 - Have Certificate of Bachelorhood Legalized by Municipality in Lima

This was the gong show to end all gong shows. After waiting for this document to arrive from Canada (after having already gone through the bureaucratic equivalent of the five stages of hell), we had to take it to the Ministerio in Central Lima to have it approved. This process takes 24 hours. So we returned the next day, only to learn that this particular document; despite the fact that it had already been stamped by the consulate in Toronto as an "official" certificate of bachelorhood; needed to be translated into Spanish by an official translator. We did this, and then returned it to the Ministerio. Then both documents needed another stamp. This would take yet another 24 hours, and of course, each one of these steps and stamps costs money.

Only after this document had had more government hands on it than Ashley Dupre were we finally able to take it back to the Municipalidad in Barranco.

Step 8 - Prove You Live in the Municipality You're Getting Married In

In a laundry list of absurdities, this was by far the most ridiculous. Apparently, if you want to be married in a civil service in Barranco, you have to prove that you live in that municipality. So even though I was having all of my Canadian documents stamped 37 different times by everyone in the Peruvian Government and it was the most obvious thing in the world that I didn't live in Peru (let alone Barranco), we still had to give a sworn affidavit; complete with index-fingerprint, Iraqi-voting style; that we lived at the address we claimed (we used the address of the hostel we met at and provided a water bill for approximately 20 times what any normal water bill would be).

I won't even go into the detail of what we had to go through to eventually get this passed. All I will say is that it took 3 days and multiple visits to the Notary Republic, and for much of the time it appeared as though we would not be allowed to be married. I'm still not even sure how it was resolved, but apparently it was.

Step 9 - Announce in Local Paper Your Intentions to Marry at least 10 Days Before Your Wedding

And this is the kicker. Because all of this riduculous red tape needs to be fought through and every menial task needs to be completed at least 10 days before your wedding date so that the appropriate add can be taken out in the paper.

The idea behind this public announcement is that it will allow enough time for those with objections to state those objections prior to the event. The irony behind this is that the announcement is placed in this paper that approximately 17 people read, and the chances of anyone you know ever coming across it are almost nil.

My favourite part of the entire newspaper add ordeal is that after everything we went through to get official documents in hand, fedexed, stamped, translated, re-stamped, and then stamped again; after all of this, the municipality somehow managed to get the announcement wrong... Really? How is that even possible?

Step 10 - Book the Date with the Municipality

Not until all of your paperwork is submitted (we were able to submit the announcement to the newspaper at 4:30 pm on the last possible day) and you bring in a copy of the newspaper the next morning, can you finally request and presumably reserve the civil servant to conduct the service at your wedding.

So what I'm saying is that I had 20 friends and family members with plane tickets from Canada already booked and paid for, and we weren't able to actually lock down a date with the person who was marrying us until 9 days before our wedding... But no pressure. Really.

We spent 8 full days running around Lima trying to get all of this paperwork done, so keep this in mind if you're a foreigner planning on marrying a Peruana. It was one of the most stressful episodes I've ever had to endure, and I wouldn't wish it upon any couple already dealing with the stress of trying to plan a wedding and while simultaneously trying to get things in line for the impending invasion of family and friends...

There's an obvious joke in here about how this nightmare scenario is a metaphor for married life, but I won't go there just yet. You can expect some of those jokes in tomorrow's entry.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lucky Touch

How is it possible that this rendition of "Better Days" hasn't surfaced until just now? This is an absolutely killer version of this great track, recorded in Stockholm, Sweden in May of 1993. This is an underrated tune from an underrated album... Which reminds me...

The Human Touch/Lucky Town, non-E Street era in Springsteenology tends to take a lot of flack. And I get it: this isn't the E Street Band. It's just not the same.

But that's not to say that there isn't some great stuff from those two albums (of course, that isn't to say that there is some downright terrible stuff on those albums as well {cowering from impending lightning bolt}... Because let's be honest: Pony Boy? Really? Not The Boss's finest moment).

But not surprisingly, like all great works, the Human Touch/Lucky Town albums have aged beautifully. In fact, you could argue that they sound better today than ever before. My only wish was that Bruce hadn't watered some of those great tracks down by combining them with obviously inferior efforts. In fact, had he put his mind to it, he could have released one absolutely killer record.

And not that I would ever second guess The Boss, but I've taken the liberty of recreating that album for you here. It is titled (obviously) Lucky Touch.


1 - Better Days
2 - Lucky Town
3 - Man's Job
4 - Leap of Faith
5 - Roll of The Dice
6 - The Big Muddy
7 - Living Proof
8 - Human Touch
9 - Book of Dreams
10 - Red Headed Woman (didn't actually appear on either album but clearly should have)
11 - My Beautiful Reward
12 - I Wish I Were Blind
13 - With Every Wish
14 - If I Should Fall Behind

Editor's Note:

This scenario only works on the provision that all omitted songs are released as a 5th disc on the Tracks release in 1998. Obviously, I'm not lobbying for less Springsteen music... Just better decisions where forcing material into the marketplace is concerned (see: 2/3rds of Working On A Dream)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Will Hoge

John Landau once famously wrote: "I have seen Rock and Roll's future... And it's name is Bruce Springsteen" (you can read part of that review HERE)

And of course, to paraphrase that brilliant Landau quote would be to drastically overstate it; and by no means would I ever go so far as to declare Will Hoge the next Bruce Springsteen... but you can't help but see glimpses of an early, inspired Springsteen in this guy. Just fantastic stuff.

Check you his MySpace page HERE.

Thanks to Lisa McCallum for the tip.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Gobble! Gobble!

(Yes, I know this blog has sucked for the past few months... Excuses and explanations to follow)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

World's Best Kisser

Bubbles the dog.

How drunk do you have to be to let this happen? I mean, I've made a few regrettable, drunken decisions in my day (shuddering as I experience 'Nam-like flashbacks to the 12th grade...), but everybody knows if you're gonna hook up with someone that your friends might not approve of, you have to at least take it to a dark and borrowed bedroom, don't you? It's hooking up 101 as far as I'm concerned...

Thanks to Q-ball for the link.

Bruce Springsteen is 60...

So you're scared and you're thinkin' that maybe we ain't that young anymore...

What can you say about The Boss that hasn't already been written in this forum? He is quite simply the greatest there ever was, and the greatest there ever will be.

Happy 60th to Bruce Frederick Springsteen...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fred Cusick and Bobby Orr

What would you give to be able to watch Bobby Orr play in his prime? I know a lot of the dotcomrades out there are old enough to have witnessed the greatest Blueliner to ever lace'em up; but I have to say, there isn't a YouTube montage of Bobby Orr that I come across that doesn't leave me shaking my head in complete and utter disbelief.

How was it ever possible for a Defenceman to play hockey the way he did? Simply breathtaking.

It should be noted that I came across this clip courtesy of The Sports Guy, who had a beautiful obituary for the late, great Fred Cusick at the end of his most recent column, the contents of which can be read below:

From the time I was little through my mid-20s, Fred Cusick announced Bruins games and began to feel like a member of my family after a while. One of my first TV memories was Bobby Orr going coast-to-coast as Cusick narrated the play, getting more and more excited and finally finishing with a "Scooooooooooooooooore! Bobby Orr!!!" Every kid in Massachusetts played street hockey and screamed that out after every goal. Fred and Bobby were like peanut butter and jelly. Someone even made a YouTube montage about them called "SCORE! BOBBY ORR!"

Fred's style was part Vin Scully and part Gus Johnson: perfect pipes and the ability to rise to the occasion for big moments. He had different levels of excitement, with my favorite being the "Yes, one of our guys is beating the hell out of one of their guys!" level. Fred loved the fights. He couldn't hide it. He turned every donnybrook into an HBO boxing event. He stopped announcing as many games when he hit his mid-70s, finally retiring altogether in 1997, to the chagrin of everyone. Bruins games never felt the same. Johnny Most may have been the most famous Boston announcer ever, but Fred Cusick was the best.

One thing I don't understand about the current sports generation: Local announcers don't seem to matter as much. Maybe the best ones go national, or maybe so many games are televised it's impossible for anyone to stand out. Fred Cusick stood out. Sadly, he passed away this week at the age of 90. Like every other Boston fan, I heard the news and felt like someone punched me in the stomach. Other than Marv Albert, he's my favorite announcer ever. RIP.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The NFL Returns to a TV Near You

Gus Johnson officially welcomed back the NFL this afternoon with this pretty standard call on a rather ho-hum play in the Broncos-Bengals game.

One of my favourite parts of the NFL season; aside from watching 12 hours of football every Sunday while sitting on my couch hungover and in nothing but my underwear; is the trash talking text messages that invariably wind up going back and forth betwixt my various die-hard friends. My favourite today came from my buddy Browner (a Colts fan... and you think you know a guy...), who at 12:22 sent me the following text:

Enjoy the last 42 minuts that the Bills are in a playoff spot.

Ouch. That one stung a little.

Thanks to Flats for the link.

Bonus Coverage:

A particularly classy Bills fan gives you his pick for the Monday Nighter...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Public Service Announcement - How To Shotgun a Beer

I had a drunken phone call from my buddy Dunner on Friday night. There was a heated debate raging between him and an associate regarding the proper way to pull the occupying troops out of Iraq... But once they had settled that particular quandary, they moved on to a philosophical dispute that is as old as time itself: What is the proper way to shotgun a beer?

For the good of mankind, I have decided to post the following educational video, in the hopes that we, as a society, can once and for all put our differences aside and begin ridding the world of hunger and disease:

"Gandhi...... Crocodile-Done-Dee..."

By the way... I'm 31.

Fun and Excitement in Winnipeg


Cornerback Adam Jones, released by the Dallas Cowboys in February, has agreed to a one-year deal with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL...

The Cowboys acquired Jones from the Tennessee Titans during the draft in April 2008, after he was suspended by the league for the entire 2007 season following multiple off-field incidents while with the Titans.

But during the 2008 season, Jones was suspended for six games by the NFL after getting into an alcohol-related scuffle in October with a team-provided bodyguard at a Dallas hotel. He spent part of that suspension in an alcohol rehabilitation program.

Before going to Dallas, Jones was arrested six times and involved in 12 instances requiring police intervention after Tennessee drafted him in the first round in 2005...

But John Murphy, Winnipeg's director of player personnel, called the acquisition of Jones a "win-win" situation on and off the field, according to

"... There isn't a better football player who's not in the NFL, at 25 years old, who's ready to play football, is going to play with a chip on his shoulder, and is going to bring some fun and excitement to our team, our locker room, our city, and our league."

Apparently the good people of Winnipeg have a different idea of what constitutes "fun and excitement".

In a related story, the Philadelphia Human Society is calling this "the perfect gift for the pooch that has it all":

Friday, August 28, 2009

Ways To Make It Rain (in Peru)

As some of the dotcomrades have learned by now, I've spent a little bit of time recently in Lima, Peru. And by a little bit of time, of course, I mean more time than you coulp probably ever imagine. So needless to say, I... ummm... have some pretty interesting stories.

But those particular stories are not the reason for this particular post. The idea behind this entry is to reach out to all of those venture capitalists who are looking for can't-miss investment opportunities in developing Latin-American countries, in the hopes that the strategic influx of capital might enhance my personal ejoyment during future stays in that great country.

So without further ado, here are the Top-3 Investment Opportunities currently available in Lima, Peru.

1 - An All-Sports Television Station showing sports that are NOT Soccer.

There are 4 all-sports television stations available for viewing in Lima: 3 of those stations show soccer 24-hours a day; the fourth shows soccer 22-hours a day.

I really wish I was kidding.

I can't tell you how many times I've been laying in bed, looking for some kind of relief from Los Simpson en espanol, hoping to catch five minutes of ANY baseball, basketball, or football game, and come across nothing but an endless barrage of futbol highlights... on EVERY station. It's almost enough to make you long for the sweet sounds of the Swirsk.

Needless to say, with nothing but soccer flooding the airwaves, there is plenty of room to bring in a station that focuses on other means of athletic competition.

Exhibit A is the fact that the last time I was in Peru, there was some kind of a women's volleyball tournament going on. The fact that this event could be found on television at all was surprising to me, but to actually supplant soccer as the most rivetting sports related plot-line for a period of two weeks was beyond anything I could have ever fathomed. Honestly, if you'd given me a thousand opportunities to guess which sport would surpass soccer in popularity (even if only for a matter of days), I would have never guessed women's volleyball... And I mean, literally: I would have never guessed women's volleyball. I'm telling you, it seemed as though every single person in Lima was tuned in to these matches. You'd walk past a store selling illegally bootlegged DVDs at 9:30 at night, and the entire storefront would be crammed with middle-aged men cheering wildly for every spike and set. It was one of the strangest things I'd ever witnessed, because, again: we're talking about women's volleyball.

So basically what I'm saying is that if a country can get behind a women's volleyball tournament with the kind of passion and fervour customarily reserved for political revolutions and The Wolrd Cup, isn't it a pretty safe bet that they'd be able to get behind other sports? You know, like sports that are actually interesting to watch? Baseball, basketball, American football, and hockey... I'm looking at you.

And to take this idea a step further, if struggling leagues are looking for somewhere to expand, how about looking south of the equator? I'm telling you, put a couple of NHL franchises (or, judging by the success of women's volleyball: WNBA franchises!) in Lima (a city with a population of more than 8 million), and I can pretty well guarantee a sellout for every home date.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more I realize that the problem with Gary Betman's expansion strategy was not that he went too far south; it's that he didn't go far enough. I'm telling you, the Miraflores Moose and the El Centro Incas would be model franchises in the NHL if given the chance. The NHL won't let Jim Balsillie go to Hamilton? Let's see them try to keep him out of Lima.

2 - A World Class Amusement Park

So, it was a Sunday night in Lima, and we were looking for something to do. Someone mentioned that Lima's version of the CNE might be a good place to check out (the park is only open for a month or so per year). Despite my skepticism regarding the safety regulations on Limean carnival rides, I decided that it would be interesting to check it out.

So, we piled into a cab and took the 15 minute ride to the park. From outside the gates, the park looked decemt enough. No real roller coasters, but an assortment of Zipper-like rides, a variety of spinning rides that would probably make you puke, bumper cars, merry-go-rounds, cotton candy, games of skill and chance, big-ass prizes... It was essentially your everyday, small-town carnival fare.

But when we enterred the park, I realized all at once that this wasn't just your everyday, small-town carnival; at least not to the people of Peru.

Without exaggeration, the lines for these rides ranged anywhere from 2.5 hours long to the type of wait that would invariably cause me to commit a random and senseless capital offense. I'd never seen anything like it.

Two thoughts immediately enterred my mind. The first was that I needed to get the hell out of there before being talked into waiting in one of those obscene lines. And the second was that, if I ever had money to invest, a world class Amusement Park in the heart of Lima would undoubtedly be the way to go. Because if Limeans were willing to wait in those kinds of lines for those kinds of rides, how ridiculously popular would a theme park be that offered something like this:

Lima clearly needs it's own version of Canada's Wonderland. Call it Peruvian Wonderland, or The Incan Adventure, but just open it soon, and be prepared to start counting your Soles.

3 - A Radio Station that plays Quality Rock and Roll Music

This one might just be the kiss of death, which probably makes it my most likely foray into the world of dubious South American investment opportunities.

Here's the thing: the things I enjoy the most in this world invariably seem to go out of business, get taken over by multi-national corporations, or just plain fall off the face of the earth. Whether it be great Italian hole-in-the-wall restaurants, back alley BYOB jazz clubs, ultra-hip-fair-trade-shade-grown cafes, or yes, fantastically ecclectic independent radio stations; all of the things which I hold in the highest regard tend to disappear. I chalk it up in part to the fact that most of what makes those particular things great is that nobody else seems to know about them (great for the coolness effect; not so much for the bottom line), and in part due to the truth found in the lines of The Band's Ophelia, which rhetorically asks: "Why do the best things always disappear?"
But it cannot be denied that the radio stations in Peru that advertise tu musica en ingles! are nothing if not Gawd-awful. They basically have a 10-song rotation that includes The Ting Tings That's Not My Name, Lady GaGa's Poker Face, Green Day's Know Your Enemy (remember when Green Day used to be a good rock band? That seems like another lifetime ago), Rihana's Don't Stop The Music, anything released by the Killers in the past 3 years (how is it possible for a band to suck this much?), The All American Rejects Gives You Hell, Akon's Right Now, and Colbie Caillat's Realize...

As you might well imagine, this selection on a constant repeat is enough to drive an indie rock lover with multiple man-crushes on the great songwriters of our age absolutely batty.

So this is what I propose: take your money, do whatever it takes to land yourself a radio station in Lima with a decent enough bandwidth, and... are you ready for the million dollar idea? Play decent music. Honestly, it doesn't even have to be good music or hip music or cutting edge or avant garde or anything. It just needs to be decent. (By the way, this idea would also work in the Toronto market, if anyone is interested)

There are enough people in Lima with sufficiently decent taste that they would be able to appreciate things beyond the scope of the absurdly awful, industry fed Top-40. I'm telling you, take this playlist; mix it with this playlist; and add in a little bit of this playlist... Put it on the air in Lima, and at the very least, you will have the kind of radio station that people won't contemplate killing themselves for having listened to it for more than an hour.

There has to be some kind of value in that, doesn't there?


Despite the fact that some of the Limean entertainment could use some upgrading, there are a few key areas where they absolutely dominate North American society; areas in which any investor would have to be a fool to try to compete.

So again, as a public service announcement to the good venture capitalist dotcomrades out there, here are the Top-3 Worst Investment Opportunities currently available in Lima, Peru.

1 - Video Rental Establishment

I hate Blockbuster Video. There's a long-standing feud between that particular conglomerate and myself, going back to a misguided time in my life where I once rented Moulin Rouge and allowed my dad watch it after I went back to University at the end of the weekend. He mistakenly returned it to the other Blockbuster Video in my hometown, and it wasn't until 17 days later that either one of the establishments thought to inform us about this understandable error. They boldly proclaimed that I owed them $97.75 ($5.75 x 17) for that particular rental, stating in no uncertain terms that they would be unwilling to budge on this figure. This of course led to a rather heated discussion between me and the manager that eventually resulted in my cutting up my membership card at the counter and throwing the shards of plastic in his face, vowing to never step foot in one of those un-Godly establishments ever again.

So it is with great pleasure that I walk the streets of Lima and am able to purchase; not rent; every conceivable movie that any cinephile could ever dream of, for approximately $1.00.

I'm telling you, every single storefront seems to have a wall of titles listing every movie currently screening in theatres. And I'm not talking about the kind of Chinatown bootlegging quality DVDs you customarily get here where you're watching the movie someone else has filmed from inside the theatre, and kids are throwing shit at the screen; I'm talking about the same DVD you would buy at Future Shop, complete with all of the language and subtitle options, outtakes, and deleted scenes... For $1.00! (3 Soles is basically $1 USD.)

They even have a gigantic marketplace where you can buy knockoff...everything... in which there is an entire floor dedicated to bootleg movies. I spent an entire afternoon there loading up on titles for my parents: Que Paso Ayer (The Hangover); Te Amo, Brother (I Love You, Man); Marley y Yo (Marley and Me); the entire Back To the Future trilogy... It was one of the proudest days of my life.

So word to the wise: stay away from the movie renting business in Lima. You don't stand a chance.

2 - Drive a Taxi

In Toronto, when you jump into a cab, they start the meter at $4.00. They then clock you in at $1.60 per km. This fee can add up in a hurry, as evidenced by my taxi ride from one wedding to another three weeks ago (the trip from Oakville to Toronto cost me $87.00). Unless you land a cabbie who is thoroughly unsatisfied with his employer and you can convince him to turn off the meter and pay him the way Randy Moss pays the NFL, these rates are non-negotiable. And they are incredibly steep.

Things are a little different in Lima. You basically flag down a cab at any given time of the day (every second car in Lima is a Taxi, official or otherwise), and negotiate a rate. With Gringos like me, the cabbies usually have a field day. They will probably charge you triple what they might charge a local, but it still costs far less than what you might expect to pay at home for the same ride. But if you're lucky enough to have a beautiful Limean girl to show you the ropes, the amount it can cost to take a taxi anywhere in Lima is almost laughable.

For example, last month I took a taxi to the airport. It was a 45 minute ride, and basically took me halfway across one of the most sprawling cities in the world. The ride cost me 25 Soles... Which is less than $9.00.


3 - Open a Beer Store

I remember I once had a buddy from New Jersey up for a night. He was playing a gig in town and needed somewhere to crash. Before the show, we decided to grab some liquid provisions, so I suggested we take a walk over to The Beer Store. "Good call", he said. When we arrived at the establishment, his reaction was basically: "Holy Shit... This is actually called The Beer Store! I thought that was just what you called the place where you buy your beer!"

Alas, if you grew up in the Province of Ontario, for the duration of your alcohol drinking life (in all likelihood, since the age of 14), you have been subjected to the confounding reality that all alcohol must be purchased at a Government-run establishment. Of course, The Beer Store does have some advantages. There are literally hundreds of different beers available, and the sauce is always ice cold. But these glorious establishments are few and far between, and the product is almost always offensively overpriced.

The way it works in Peru (and in most of the rest of the world, for that matter) is that every single little tienda and bodega sells beer and hard liquor, and they sell it dirt cheap.

Where I stay in Lima, there are literally 5 places within a 45 second walk, where you can buy 4 650ml bottles of Brahma for 12 Soles. When you convert the size of the beers and do the exchange on the dollar, that works out to approximately $0.50 per beer... For Brahma! That's basically 1/4 the price of what it costs to buy lo mismo cantidad de cerveza here in Ontario.

As is the case with most things Peruvian, the beer is best enjoyed exactly the way it is now.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Friday Diversion

Well, the summer in Toronto lasted approximately 2 weeks. Here's a little something to keep you from smashing your face against your desk at work all day long. As always, this is some of the best stuff I've come across over the past few weeks.

Laugh, Kookaburra
By David Sedaris

David Sedaris looks back at his visit to the Australian bush.

Weinsteins Struggle to Regain Their Touch
By David Segal

With the highly anticipated release of Inglorious Bastards, Segal takes look back at the history of Bob and Harvey Weinstein (the list of movies they have produced is ridiculous), how they have fallen on "relatively" hard times, and why the future of the Weinstein Company is potentially precarious.

Thanks to Browner for the link.

Sporting Emotions at the Highest Pitch
By Bill Simmons

The sports guy checks out the USA-Mexico World Cup qualifier at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. This is the finest piece Simmons has written in quite some time (the correlation to the recent lacklustre columns and his decision to join Twitter cannot be overstated). It is the best thing I have read about Futbol since Chuck Klosterman famously said that to love soccer is to give up hope for the capacity of the human spirit.

I tend to side more with Klosterman, but that doesn't mean that I'd turn down the chance to catch a game at the Azteca.

The BS Report with Steve Nash

A fantastic interview with the greatest athlete not-named-"Wayne" that Canada has ever produced.

The YouTube Clips of the week could not be on more opposite ends of the spectrum. One comes courtesy of Ronnie and could not possibly be more NSFW. The other comes courtesy of Dinner, and will probably give you goosebumps.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Larry Williams: The Dickeman

If these aren't the best directions ever given, then I clearly have no idea what I'm talking about.

Call me old fashioned, but I'll take Larry over a dashboard GPS any day of the week and twice on Sundays. I mean, sure, your GPS can tell you where the nearest Starbucks is located, but can it track down pussy and weed and deliver it to your room at the Motel 6? I think not.

"I got a good dick. I got a dick made of gold. I got a good dick. I got a lovely dick. I got a beautiful dick. I got a lovely dick... 'Cause I am the God damn Dick Man: D.I.C.K.E.M.A.N."

Thanks to Browner for the clip.

Monday, August 17, 2009

You may take this with however many grains of salt as you wish...

The Woodstock Music & Art Fair took place 40 years ago today (and yesterday and tomorrow). And to celebrate, as is the custom, my dad called me up and warned me to stay away from the brown acid.


Contrary to popular belief, I actually was NOT conceived at Woodstock, but my dad does own a pair of pink corduroy bell-bottoms, and there is a striking resemblance in the air-guitaring styles of myself and Joe Cocker, so it's easy to see how the story regarding the true nature of my origins could have taken on a life of it's own over the years.

Bonus material: The Who finishing their 4 am set as the sun rises in the background...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Marijuana Makes You Smarter

My buddy Gizzie has the perfect storm of debauchery brewing this weekend: His bachelor party is the night of his 30th birthday, both of which will be taking place in Niagara Falls, ON.

It would not be unreasonable to expect scenes similar to these:

In any event, with such a deparvity-filled 24-hours looming, I thought I'd put the minds of the participants at ease with the following passage from Chuck Klosterman's Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs:

Last year I had to go to one of those "adult" parties. I think you know the kind of party I mean: People brought their screaming children and someone inexplicably served fresh cornbread, and half the house stood around and watched the local news affiliate when it came on at 11:00 pm. I spent the whole evening in the kitchen with the two guys I came with; we tried to have an exclusionary conversation despite the fact that we consciously drove to this party in order to be social. Most of the guests began to exit at around midnight, which is the same time some odd fellow I'd never seen before suddenly appeared next to the refrigerator and pulled out a Zippo lighter and a little wooden box.

The gathering took a decidedly different turn.

Ten minutes later, I found it necessary to mention that Journey was rock's version of the TV show Dynasty. This promted a spirited debate we dubbed "Monkees = Monkees." The goal is to figure out which television show is the closest philosophical analogy to a specific rock 'n' roll band, and the criteria is mind-blowingly complex: It's a combination of longevity, era, critical acclaim, commercial success, and - most important -the aesthetic soul of each artistic entity. For example, the Rolling Stones are Gunsmoke. The Strokes are Kiefer Sutherland's 24. Jimi Hendrix was The Twilight Zone. Devo was Fernwood 2-Night. Lynyrd Skynyrd was The Beverly Hillbillies, which makes Molly Hatchet Petticoat Junction. The Black Crowes are That '70s Show. Hall & Oates were Bosom Buddies. U2 is M*A*S*H* (both got preachy at the end). Dokken was Jason Bateman's short-lived sitcom It's Your Move. Eurythmics were Mork & Mindy. We even deduced comparisons for solo projects, which can only be made to series that were spawned as spin-offs. The four Beatles are as follows: John = Maude, Paul = Frasier, George = The Jeffersons, and Ringo = Flo. David Lee Roth's solo period was Knots Landing.

So there's your proof: Marijuana makes you smarter.

Friday Diversion

If you're stuck inside on the first summer-like Friday of the summer, here's a little something in lieu of a patio and a bucket of ice cold beer. As always, this is some of the best stuff I've come across over the course of the past little while.

The Courthouse Ring
By Malcolm Gladwell

As we approach the 50th anniversary of the publication of To Kill A Mockingbird, Gladwell gives us an updated look into the realities of southern liberalism.

I have to say, having learned a few things about life and literature in the 15 years since I last read TKM (in the 10th grade), I'd say that I'm about due for another crack at Harper Lee's masterpiece.

A Guide to Summer Sun Protection
By Zev Borow

For all of the fair-skinned descendents of the Irish out there, this one's for you.

SPF 175—Ever wanted to have unprotected sex with a prostitute in Haiti? Don’t answer. Doesn’t matter. The point is with SPF 175 that’s now an option.

Bitter Brew
By Michael Idov

A hilarious piece about the apparently ubiquitous dream of opening one's own cozy little cafe. I have to say, I have, upon occassion, harboured the same little fantasy of hanging out in my own little coffee shop all day long, spinning great tunes, and generally soaking in the kind of bohemian slacker vibe that my establishment would undoubtedly emit.

Thankfully, this little essay has come along and put an end to that ridiculous notion. I think the subtitle summarizes it best:

I opened a charming neighborhood coffee shop. Then it destroyed my life.

At The National Sports Collectors Convention - Photo Gallery
By Bill Simmons

This photo essay is a must for any sports fan, pop culture fan, or for anyone who has spent any time at any kind of a collector's convention... I'm looking at YOU, dad.

When It Comes to Bad Contracts, Jays Ricciardi is Hard to Beat
By Joe Posnanski

I have been of the opinion that J.P. Ricciardi is one of the worst GMs in baseball for approximately 5 years. He is deserving of a spot amongst the truly great "Bad GMs in Toronto Sports History", joining his contemporaries (Rob Babcock and John Ferguson Jr.), as well as some legends (Gord Stellick and basically anyone associated with the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 80s).

And it gives me great pleasure to announce that I'm no longer alone in this sentiment. As Posnanski points out (referring to Vernon Wells' contract):

This deal, to be honest, is not the sort of thing that leads to a general manager getting fired. It's the sort of thing that leads to entire villages getting pillaged. And that's what I mean about Ricciardi. I mean, this contract alone should be enough to put him in the Bad Contract Hall of Fame. But when you look over the whole body of work ... he IS the Bad Contract Hall of Fame.

In fact, really, we should just start referring to bad baseball contracts as "Ricciardis."

Thanks to Flats for the link.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Possible Reasons Why 102.1 The Edge Currently Sucks...

There was a time when 102.1 The Edge was the greatest radio station in... well, this city at least. Because there was a time when, if you wanted to hear new music in Toronto, 102.1 was the only place you had your dial tuned (in fact, there was a time where the station was actually called "The Spirit of Radio"!). CFNY had such a loyal following that when we were growing up, my buddy DVZ used to claim that listening to 102.1 alone could cure cancer.

The same can no longer be said today.

For awhile there, I thought it was simply because of my advancing age, the result of which meant that I was no longer in tune with what the kids were listening to these days. I felt like I was going through some kind of a mid-life crisis whereby I was being forced to question my current musical tastes. But as it turns out, maybe it wasn't me who was going through the crisis.

There was a time when Barry Taylor was the most entertaining DJ on Toronto's airwaves (exhibit A - This November 2008 piece). The Barry Funny Joke was an endless source of entertainment. The Barry Interesting Survey was a basehead's delight. And Megaphone man was the kind of gig that only The Edge could get away with airing. Everything he did was unconventional, which was why he was so wildly popular.

But a few months ago, BT was unceremoniously dismissed from 102.1. At first, I chalked it up to the fact that his bosses simply got sick of his endless soliloquies and one-sided discussions regarding all things Zeitgeist that invariably ruined my weekly Wednesday night drive to hockey (if you haven't seen it yet, you can catch it here: Zeitgeist, The Movie, and Zeitgeist: Addendum).

But as it turns out, there was more to it than simply the fact that BT: The Conspiracy Theorist just wasn't cutting it. And it's too bad, because even a decidedly un-funny Barry Taylor was infinitely better than anything else on the air (with the exception of the always affable Dave Bookman, of course).

And sure, this is probably a pretty one-sided take on how it all went down, but Barry Taylor's version of the events which led to his eventual dismissal go a long way in explaining why 102.1 The Edge currently sucks...

Taken from his MySpace Blog, here is BT's:

Saturday, August 8, 2009

My Adolescent Love Life (summarized in 5 seconds)

Yep. That slow-motion instant replay is probably the perfect metaphor for my high school dating career.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Willy DeVille: 1953-2009

AFP - PARIS — US singer songwriter Willy DeVille, who headed the 1970s New York punk group Mink DeVille before going solo and taking new directions, has died at the age of 55, his French tour organiser said Friday.

"Willy DeVille this night joined Edith Piaf, Jack Nitzsche and Johnny Thunders", said Caramba Spectacles, referring respectively to the French star who inspired him, to his producer, and to a fellow-70s punk guitarist.

His wife had announced in June that DeVille had pancreatic cancer.

DeVille in the late 70s played in New York's mythical CBGB club alongside the likes of Blondie or the Ramones with his first album Cabretta produced by Nitzsche, former arranger for Phil Spector...

On more than a few occassions, I have had people ask me who I believe to be the most underrated band of all-time. Without hesitation, I always tell them: Mink DeVille.

Maybe it's because my dad used to bring a lunch box full of cassette tapes camping with us every summer, and we'd usually wind up listening to this fantastic live show they recorded at the El Mocambo while sitting around the campgfire deep into the night. Maybe it was the songs about life in New York's lower east side that drew me in, or the way Willy could sprinkle his arrangements with a kind of Spanish-strolling American soulful bluesiness that I hadn't heard before or since. Whatever the reason, there was always something about that Loisaida sound of Willy Deville's voice that made me feel like Mink DeVille should have been the biggest band in the world.

To say that they fell short of the acclain they deserved is a ridiculous understatement.

Cabretta is easily one of my top-20 all-time favourite albums. Venus of Avenue D is the best song ever written about latin love in Alphabet City, and Can't Do Without It might be the most truthful song ever written about love, period.

And it's love that gets you so excited
And it's love that brings you home at night
And it's love... You can't do without it
It's love... love, what makes you treat me so bad?

1978's Return To Magenta is one of the 9 albums I have framed and hanging on the wall in my living room. And Miracle, DeVille's first solo effort, is one of those timeless records that I could literally listen to any day of the week (Could You Would You? and Heart and Soul will break your heart if you've never heard them before).

And there were few people who could cover a song and make it their own the way Willy DeVille could. The aforementioned Could You Would You is a thing of beauty (trumping Van Morrison?). His mariachi inspired version of Hey Joe is surreal (click HERE for fantastic video). And the version of Stand By Me from Montreux is sublime.

The life of Willy DeVille is one of countless sad-luck tales about an artist who never received the type of recognition that they rightfully deserved in their lifetime. Here's hoping he receives some of that long-overdue appreciation in his passing.

His is a voice that will be sorely missed.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Gerry Dee and Sir Charles

This is hands down one of the funniest interviews I've ever seen. Is there anybody better than Chuck? Nobody riffs like the Round Mound of Rebound... That strip joint comment was pure genius.

As for Gerry Dee, I've had the pleasure of catching his act in person and he is top notch.

Bonus Coverage:

Gerry Dee challenging Jason Kapono to a 3-point competition, Grade 8 style:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Challenger for "Headline of the Year"

Man Catches Fire After Being Tasered

SYDNEY (July 21) -- A man whose relatives say had been sniffing gasoline burst into flames after a police officer Tasered him as he ran at officials carrying a container of fuel, police said Tuesday...

Western Australia police said they were responding to a complaint at a house when Mitchell ran outside carrying a cigarette lighter and a large plastic bottle containing what they believe was fuel. When he refused to stop running toward them, one officer Tasered him, police said in a statement.

The man was immediately engulfed in flames. The officer threw him to the ground and smothered the blaze with his hands, the statement said. Mitchell was charged with assault to prevent arrest and possession of a sniffing substance.

An 18-year-old woman threw rocks at the officer as he tried to help...

Let's get one thing straight: there's nothing funny about spontaneous combustion, especially when you're huffing gasoline. Talk about a buzz-kill.

But is there something funny about an 18-year old girl throwing rocks at officers trying to help out a recently tasered gas-huffer who is currently engulfed in flames?

Yes. Yes there is.

Two Mexican Midget Wrestlers Killed by Fake Prostitutes? The gauntlet has been thrown down.

(And any excuse to show the "Don't Tase Me, Bro!" video is blog-worthy by my scorecard):

Monday, July 20, 2009

Parking Tickets in Toronto

So here's the thing. I have received 3 parking tickets in the past 3 weeks. That's close to $100 that I won't be spending on buckets of Amsterdam Blonde at The Cadillac Lounge. And I can deal with that. In most instances, it was my own stupidity that resulted in my ticket. I wasn't even bitter the time I popped into Chippy's for takeout with my dad and came back to my car 3 minutes later only to find that unmistakable yellow slip in my windshield... I was so shocked that the parking ticket dude was able to write up a ticket that fast that I could do nothing but tip my cap. I felt like Ron Burgundy after Baxter ate a whole wheel of cheese and pooped in the refrigerator: I wasn't even mad... Just amazed.

In any event, I have a great idea that I think the City of Toronto should give some strong consideration.

Living in the digital age that we currently inhabit, as you well know, almost everything is done online. And paying for your parking infractions through the City of Toronto's website is no different. But here's the thing: they charge you a $1.50 convenience fee to pay your ticket online.

So let me get this straight: in a City that professes itself to be one of the leaders in sustainable development (passing a watered down green roof by-law), and in a city that rightfully tries to discourage you from driving into the City's downtown core by bombarding you with an endless array of parking tickets, they are actually penalizing you for paying your tickets from the comforts of your own home (where, presumably, you will not be clogging the city streets with you carbon emitting vehicle).

A $1.50 convenience charge... It's as if they think the internet is this brand new invention that they should charge a fee for because they invented it or something...

So here's my suggestion: I would happily pay the $1.50 convenience charge if there was a section that gave you 140 characters worth of twitter-like comment space. Not only would this be endlessly entertaining for the people from the City who would get the opportunity to sift through these comments (wouldn't a collection of these comments be the best website since, but it would be highly cathartic for those frustrated transgressors, who would probably be able to resist beating the tar out of the parking enforcer if they knew they'd be able to express their displeasure online.

So, until the City of Toronto adopts this idea for their online payment option, here is what I would have written for my last 3 tickets:


2. I thought you assholes were on strike...

3. Alright... I cry Uncle...