Monday, April 30, 2007

I have had it with these motherfucking movies on this motherfucking TV!

I will first start off this blog entry with an apology. Not for not posting in a while, I was in Chicago last week and didn't have time. No this apology is for having written a blog entries about the film Snakes On A Plane on August 23rd, August 14th and August 10th.
I watched Snakes On A Plane last week and look, it's a bad movie. I don't mean it so bad it's good or a movie that you can revel in its badness like a warm blanket. I mean, it's bad. It's awful. It's painful. It doesn't make sense. The special effects are ridiculous. It's predictable. The characters are badly written. The tacked on sex and gore was pathetic. How they found someone to land the plane is completely unbelievable. The "shocker" near the end of the film hinted at something that could have been a good twist but instead just led to a predictable ending.

I know what you are thinking, yes, it was supposed to be a B-movie so what should I expect. However, take a movie like 1990's Tremors with Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward. A b-movie plot with an A list actor. It's funny, it's simple and it is an enjoyable watch. It won't change your life but at least it will keep you entertained for two hours.
And my Samuel L. Jackson pain did not simply end with Snakes On A Plane. In our hotel room, getting ready to meet some friends for dinner, J-Mac and I watched The Man with Jackson and Eugene Levy. Yes, you knew it was going to be bad. But it's level of bad-ness is actually shocking. It's not funny. Plain and simple. Clearly Samuel L. Jackson needs someone to read scripts for him. His onscreen personality is just not enough to make a film good.
Top 5 Eugene Levy films
1. Best In Show
2. American Pie
3. Splash
4. Waiting For Guffman
5. Bringing Down The House (bad movie but Levy was funny in it)
Ironically, I decided to watch Snakes On A Plane, 24 hours prior to being on a plane myself. I did end up having my own little airport drama. I arrived two hours prior to my flight to Chicago only to find my flight had been cancelled. Instead of flying out at noon, I was scheduled to fly out at 4 pm. So, what does one do at an airport for 6 hours? I could have left but there is nothing to do around the airport. Plus, I could not check in my baggage unless I actually checked in myself so I would have to carry my luggage around with me. I decided to check in and enjoy all the immenities that were there.
Let me tell you, the ammenities at Pearson Airport suck! With the exception of Cleveland, Toronto has the worst airport in North America. Okay, I've never been to the airport in Cleveland, that was an obscure reference from Beverly Hills Cop. Anyway, the food is awful there. The beer choices are all Molson products and way overpriced.
The highlight was watching all of the Toronto Raptors come through to fly off to New Jersey. I was sitting on a bench in a rather quiet area of the airport when they started filing through one by one. Sam Mitchell was first and I yelled out to him, "hey coach, good luck in Jersey." I didn't say anything to the players but I watched Joey Graham have a funny encounter. These airport workers ran up to him and asked, "are you Chris Bosh?" He nicely replied no and explained that Chris was a couple minutes behind him. Rest assured they look nothing alike. Anyway, the would be autograph seekers looked disappointed and did not even ask poor Joey for his autograph.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

He's still hot...and he's still dead

I don't know how Jim Morrison continues to be able to do this from the grave, but the Doors' famed lead singer is back in the news.
In March 1969, he was arrested in Miami, Florida during a concert for using profanity, exposing himself on stage and simulating a sex act. He was acquitted on some of the charges but still found guilty of indecent exposure and profanity. The verdict was appealed and he was out on bail. He then moved to Paris, France to avoid all of that and eventually died there. Many believe that this arrest sent the Doors and Morrison down a spiral that they were never able to recover from.
Fast forward to 2007, cable TV producer Dave Diamond has written a letter to Florida governer Charlie Crist asking for Morrison to be pardoned. According to Diamond, the goal is to remember Morrison as "an artist, not a rock 'n roll bad boy with a rap sheet."
Governer Crist has said "...I am certainly willing to review it". However, Crist, however, cannot pardon someone by himself. He needs two of the three other members of the Florida Cabinet, which acts as the state clemency board. In addition, there are no procedures for posthumous pardons.
In other Doors' news, they have yet another greatest hits release. What are the odds? With 34 tracks, all of the obvious hits are there along with lesser known stuff that have been sprinkled throughout the numerous greatest hits packages release by the Doors since the early 70s. There is also a DVD with some concert footage. That last part certainly isn't enough to sell me on buying it. I am not that much of a fan and live, to me their sound always suffered. They did not tour with a bass player so all the bass notes you hear in concert are being played by keyboardist Ray Manzarek using foot pedals.
Top 5 Doors songs
1. Roadhouse Blues
2. L.A. Woman
3. Back Door Man
4. Touch Me
5. Love Her Madly
The Doors are still struggling to be a live draw even without Jim Morrison. In 2002 Manzarek and guitar player Robbie Krieger reunited and created a new version of The Doors, called "The Doors of the 21st Century."
This new version of the Doors had the ex lead singer of the 80s band The Cult Ian Astbury handling the vocals. It was originally reported that original Doors drummer John Densmore would not perform as was suffering from tinnitus. He was initially replaced by Stewart Copeland of The Police, but after Copeland broke his arm falling off a bicycle, the arrangement ended in mutual lawsuits, and he was replaced by Ty Dennis, drummer with Krieger's band.

Densmore subsequently claimed that he had in fact not been invited to take part in the reunion. In February 2003 he filed an injunction against his former bandmates hoping to prevent them from using the name "The Doors of the 21st Century." His motion was denied in court in May that year, although Manzarek publicly stated that the invitation for Densmore to return to the group still stood.
It was also reported that both Morrison's family and that of Morrison's long time girlfriend Pamela Courson had joined Densmore in seeking to prevent Manzarek and Krieger from using The Doors' name.
In July 2005, Densmore and the Morrison estate won a permanent injunction, causing the new band to switch to the name "D21C." It now plays under the name Riders on the Storm. They are also allowed to play under names such as "former Doors" and "members of The Doors."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Don Imus = old news

I guess if there is one person "happy" about the recent shooting massacre at Virginia Tech has to be Don Imus. This absolutely horrible tragedy has taken Imus off the front pages and talk radio.

I am not here to minimalize that tragedy but I always find it funny when there is a big story getting wall to wall coverage that all of the sudden becomes ignored when an even bigger story occurs.

The biggest example of this that I can remember occured around the time of 9/11. Do you remember what the big story in the weeks leading up to that event? The disappearance of Chandra Levy and the investigation that seemed to point to congressman Gary Condit having something to do with it. Interviewed by the police on two seperate occasions, the 53 year old Condit denied having an affair with the 23 year old Levy but he finally admitted to it after Levy's aunt went public with the details.

Condit was never officially charged with her disappearance. In May of the next year, Levy's remains were found but the case remains unsolved. Condit lost his next election and has faded from public view. But once the tragedy of 9/11 took hold in the media, Levy's story became secondary.

The same thing is currently occuring with Imus. CNN is wall to wall about Virginia Tech. Victim's names are being released, details on the shooter and the fall out for all US college campuses are being discussed.

But lets not forget about Imus. If you haven't actually seen the footage and only know about the "nappy headed hos" comment. Take a look. Is he trying to be funny?

As stated in this blog last week. I don't know where I am on this issue. Obviously those comments are horrible. But what do I care about some 70 year old white guy says on a radio show I don't listen to and a tv show I don't watch.

What about Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson weighing in on the issue. Aren't their bigger issues for us in the black community to worry about? What about these athletes talking about how Imus' comments ruined their season and playing the victim in this? Why are they putting so much weight to what this old codger has to say?

And what about journalist Jason Whitlock who is being interviewed by everyone on this topic. He has a lot of powerful things to say about the issue, the black community and how the hip-hop community is to blame for this.

According to Whitlock about the firing of Imus, "they are sentancing the jaywalker to the death penalty while the real killers are walking free, cashing cheques and writing rap songs." But who is Whitlock? He is a staunch conservative with his own agenda. How can he really be speaking for all African Americans? Before last week, I'd never heard of Jason Whitlock. The irony is that Whitlock is using this event as much to further his career, his agenda just as much as Sharpton and Jackson.

See I write that and I am not sure how strongly I believe it. I heard numerous interviews with Whitlock and I believed a lot of what he said. A lot of what he said really resonated with me. I just think we need to look at all sides. A slo-pitch teammate of mine forwarded Whitlock's now famous article on this topic earlier this week. On first glance, it is a powerful opinion piece. The first paragraph is "Thank you Don Imus. You've given us (black people) an excuse to avoid our real problems". Fascinating stuff. But read the whole piece a second time with a critical eye, keeping his politics in mind, and then how does it read? Are rap moguls like Russell Simmons really to blame? Or is it society in general?

Since we are talking about basketball, the top 5 basketball movies.
1. Hoop Dreams
2. Hoosiers
3. He Got Game
4. Blue Chips
5. Celtic Pride

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

You can't beat the meat

So I took Friday off to be home for our annual meat delivery. You see, a couple of years ago, J-Mac found this farm in Chatham Ontario that sells meat from their cows direct to the consumer.

Once a year, we split half a cow with a mutual friend just before BBQ season. We run through the steaks, ribs and rouladin within 6 months and then end up being stuck with roasts, stewing beef and endless amounts of soup bones for another year.

Right now, the freezer part of our fridge is completely filled with those aforementioned soup bones and our cube freezer is literally filled to the very top with every kind of beef imaginable.

The great thing about this meat is that it already comes individually wrapped in butcher's paper. They steaks are seperated into packs of 1, the ground beef is enough for 2 people and the roasts could easily serve 4 or more. The beef is amazing quality and all of the cow's are grass fed. Check out their website for more information.

As you can imagine, showing parts of a quarter of a cow into a freezer does take some time. During that time I actually listened to J-Mac's greatest hits CD of The Mamas & The Papas. That band, one of the few american bands to have success during the Beatles' /British Invasion era, doesn't get the respect they deserve. Everyone remembers Monday, Monday and California Dreamin' and the fact that band member Mama Cass may or may not have choked on a sandwich which ended up leading to her demise.

Top 5 The Mamas & The Papas songs.
1. Twelve Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming To The Canyon)
2. I Saw Her Again
3. Words Of Love
4. Monday, Monday
5. Got A Feelin'

I probably should be writing about the whole Don Imus affair. But between, the irrelevance of Imus himself, the non stop appearances of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton on CNN, the black community overreacting, the backlash towards the hip-hop community and journalist Jason Whitlock...I can't get a handle on where I am on this issue.

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Peas on Earth

I think we all can agree that The Black Eyed Peas sold their soul to the devil a number of years ago. They were originally a decent underground hip-hop group with the 1998 album Behind The Front and the 2000 follow up release Bridging The Gap.

They then hired virtual unknown singer Stacy Ferguson and the band exploded with a pretty terrific song called Where Is The Love. They were then every where...videos all over the place, award show appearances, they even performed at a Grey Cup half time show.

Meanwhile their music became poppier and poppier. With Ferguson's recent success with her debut album The Dutchess and the irritating hit songs London Bridge and Glamourous, I am guessing her days with the Peas are numbered.

However, thanks to youtube, one of the Peas more irritating songs My Humps has been covered by Canadian Alanis Morrissette. With almost no promotion, this video is all over the place and borders on brilliant. Take a look

Top 5 Alanis songs
1. Head Over Feet
2. You Learn
3. Hands Clean
4. My Humps
5. You Oughta Now


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

...and they're always glad you came

The website TV Squad has listed the top 18 places to drink on TV. The number one place is obvious with Cheers at the top. Other great choices include the Bada-Bing from The Sopranos and Moe's Tavern from The Simpsons.

Personally, I think they should have listed MacLaren's Bar from How I Met Your Mother much higher but what do I know. The funny thing about drinking on TV is that you don't see it very much. Like you watch Everybody Loves Raymond, Ray comes home from working as a newspaper columnist to a house with three young kids. You'd think he'd walk in and grab a beer out of the fridge but he gets a ginger ale. I don't believe that for a second.

I think this is why I like shows like How I Met Your Mother. There is a lot of drinking and that seems more like real life. Well, my life anyway. Can't think straight today. Too hung over.
My personal top 5 favourite fancy drinks

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Spoiler alert of season 6 of 24

Seriously, I am talking about, well complaining about the current season of 24. If you are not caught up or plan on waiting to rent the DVD...don't read after this first paragraph. However, feel free to enjoy this picture of 24's own Chloe O'Brian (played by Mary Lynn Rajskub). She is on the cover of Geek Monthly and there is a small interview with her that is mostly about computer stuff so it is more greek than it is geek to me.

Top 5 things wrong with Season 6 of 24 (so far)
1. Everything appears to be so arbitrary in order to lengthen the season's fairly weak plot. One week, a character appears to be bad. The next week he is good but pretended to be bad due to certain circumstances. (ie Jack's brother Graem, Jack's Dad Philip, Abu Fayed, Hamri Al-Assad and Nadia Yassir). And I wrote this prior to this week's turn around of President Wayne Palmer!!!!

2. No matter what happens, remember what Jack is going through is occuring right after being flown from China to the US in a cargo plane! I flew from London to Toronto a couple of months ago and I was messed up for two days. This guy's trip was twice as long and not even close to being as comfortable! And yet he is still kicking ass and taking names.

3. The storylines within CTU this season feel contrived. Chloe apparently choosing her grumpy bald sarcastic ex husband Morris over rather virile young Milo Pressman. And speaking of Chloe, she was in the early episodes of this season too much. Just spouting off Chloe-like lines but really being of no value. Now she has only one line per week and it is usually something about whether Morris is still fit to do his work or not. Other than that she sits around looking like Chloe and doing little of anything else of substance.

4. The addition of Palmer's sister Sandra. This is a limited actress essentially playing the same smart, sassy black woman that actress Regina King has been playing since she was in Jerry Maguire. Her storyline with her boyfriend/client Walid Al-Rezani at the beginning of the season was the weakest in the history of the series. They gladly ended that rather quickly and it looked like Palmer was going to be written out as well. But then they tacked on this storyline about her brother's attempted assasination so she's back and just making the season endlessly tedious.

5. With the addition of Peter MacNicol as special advisor to the President Tom Lennox and Powers Boothe as Vice President Noah Daniels, the show has been filled with more quality character actors than ever before. However, the scripts and the overall tone of this season is wasting this quality unlike ever before. Considering how good season 5 was, season 7 better be spectacular enough to make us forget this current rather unremarkable year.