Tuesday, May 29, 2007

i don't want to be THAT guy

I don't want to be that guy. The BBQ guy. The guy who doesn't let you touch HIS bbq. The guy who obsesses over sauces and rubs. The guy who has a recipie for everything grilled. The guy who wears a BBQ apron and a utility belt filled with salt, pepper, a flipper, skewers and tongs. I can't be that guy. That guy needs a life. However, I am becoming that guy and I am not happy about it. Though, if you ever see me with that utility belt, shoot me.

I am not sure what guy I want to be. It seems, unbeknownst to me that I have become THAT guy who obsesses over golf. On Mondays at work, all of us golfers get together and talk about where we played over the weekend. (I played 4 Seasons in north Pickering, 14 of 18 holes involve water-I don't want to talk about).

But getting back to BBQ, I spent Sunday dealing with how to grill a salmon. Here is what I did. For 20 minutes, I marinated the salmon in half the juice of a lemon, half the juice of an orange and salt and pepper. I then created a rub with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of red chili pepper flakes, 1 diced clove of garlic and the zest from half an orange. After the marinating is done, I put the rub on, wrapped it in tin foil and put it on the grill. You'd think it would have been too spicey but all the citrus juices prevented it from being overpowering. I highly recommend it. But still, I am not THAT guy.

Top 5 Food Network shows
1. A Cook's Tour
2. Good Eats
3. Licence to Grill
4. The Thirsty Traveller
5. Iron Chef America

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

More of Moore

The trailer for the new Michael Moore documentary Sicko is now available on line. The film, set to be released at the end of June, is in the words of Moore, "Sicko is a comedy about 45 million people with no health care in the richest country on Earth."

From the trailer, you can see that Moore is at his muckracking/populist best. Scenes include him on a boat outside of the Guantanamo Bay detainment camp with a number of rescue workers from the 9/11 tragedy who are unable to afford medical treatment while the terrorists who are inprisoned there are able to get it free.

The film also includes Moore's trips to Canada, France and the UK to find out why those countries health systems are so much better than the one in the United States.

The trailer also makes effective use of the Rolling Stones' song Street Fighting Man. A song Rod Stewart also did a great version of on his debut album An Old Raincoat Will Never Let You Down.

Top 5 Rod Stewart albums
1. Every Picture Tells A Story
2. Gasoline Alley
3. An Old Raincoat Will Never Let You Down
4. A Nod Is As Good As A Wink...To A Blind Horse (with the Faces)
5. Ooh La La (with the Faces)

It is an interesting time for Michael Moore because a lot of the right wing media has spent the last number of years trashing him as a quack who releases slanted documentaries with a left wing agenda. Much effort was done to discredit his earlier docs Bowling For Columbine and Farenheit 9/11. Though I thought some of the 9/11 was a bit too slanted and did not have the brilliant impact of Columbine, Moore is still the most important documentary filmmaker of our generation. And so what if his films have a slant, that's why people make documentaries. To tell a story the way THEY see it. And those two films are the highest grossing documentaries in the history of film. So someone is watching them.

Moore's latest controversy, according to wikipedia, relates to some of the filming he did for Sicko. The Office of Foreign Assets Control informed Moore that he was the subject of a civil investigation stemming from the filmmaker's March trip to Cuba. In the letter to Moore, a Treasury official noted that the department had no record of Moore obtaining a license that authorized him to "engage in travel-related transactions involving Cuba," alleging that Moore violated the United States embargo against Cuba.

A master copy of the film is being held outside the U.S. in case American authorities attempt to seize the film as part of the criminal investigation against Moore that arose from taking American 9/11 rescue workers to Cuba for medical treatment.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The final time I mention Studio 60

Many months ago, when Studio 60 was struggling in the ratings and I was talking about the show on a weekly basis, people were telling me to stuff it. So I agreed to only talk about the show one more time...so here it is.

It's over. Officially. However, NBC is letting the remaining 6 episodes make it to air. It will take over the ER timeslot at 10 pm on Thursday nights starting May 24.

Over the weekend, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette had a nice article about the set being torn down along with comments from some of the members of the cast and crew about what went wrong with this criticly praised/audience ignored show.

If you want even more feedback from the series creator Aaron Sorkin about what went wrong, check out this article from the San Francisco Chronicle in February.

So I hope all you fans of crap TV are happy. A well written, albeit flawed show is off the air. More room for reality shows, crappy sitcoms with fat husbands with hot wives and every kind of CSI/Law & Order show that can possibly be produced. Enjoy.

Top 5 Renee Zellwegger films (she did the film Down With Love with studio 60 castmate Sarah Paulsen)
1. Jerry Maguire
2. Bridget Jones's Diary
3. Cinderella Man
4. Chicago
5. Nurse Betty


Wednesday, May 16, 2007


There should be a rule in the entertainment business. No movie or TV show can be all that bad as long as Bruce Campbell is in it.

If you are not big into b-movies, you may not know who Campbell is. He is best known as the lead from the Evil Dead movies as well he has had great cameos in all three Spider-Man films.

He also wrote a very funny and self depricating autobiography about breaking into the B-film industry called Leading With My Chin: Confessions Of A B Movie Actor which I highly recommend. A second book entitled Make Love! The Bruce Campbell Way is as yet unread by me but I will pick it up this weekend.

Top 5 Movies/TV shows with Bruce Campbell
1. Spider-Man 2
2. Evil Dead II
3. Bubba Ho-Tep
4. The Majestic
5. The Adventures Of Brisco County Jr.

The reason I bring up Campbell today is that he has a new series of ads with Old Spice. Here is my favourite.


And here is another one that almost borders on bizarre with its level of cheesiness.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Don't call this a comeback...

So Rolling Stone magazine has listed the top 10 Comeback albums ever. The final list was decided on both by their readers and editorial staff. It's a fair list with inclusions such as Elvis Presley's From Elvis In Memphis and George Harrison's Cloud Nine but to include a horrible album like Meat Loaf's Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell and Green Day's American Idiot (hardly a comeback album since they had only been away three years) makes the list a little silly.

I present the following, the top 5 comeback albums in rock history

1. Robbie Robertson

Guitarist and main songwriter of The Band. Their last studio recording was 1977's Islands. Robertson became involved in film and producing. It wasn't until 1987's self titled album that he actually sang and recorded a real album. It was a brilliant haunting masterpiece that is one of the best and since overlooked albums of the 80s.

2. Aerosmith Permanent Vacation

This is also on the Rolling Stones list and it is an obvious inclusion. A relatively successful band in the 70s with hits such as Walk This Way and Sweet Emotion. Lead guitarist Joe Perry left the band in 1979. Brad Whitford then left the band two years later. Both joined back in 1984 and the original members recorded 1985's Done With Mirrors which was barely a blip on the music scene. Then came 1987's Permanent Vacation which started their revival and they were even bigger than they were in the 70s.

3. John Fogerty Centrefield

Like Robertson, once his band CCR broke up, Fogerty did very little in the music industry. Part of it had to do with legal issues regarding publishing rights. That all changed in 1985 with the release of Fogerty's Centerfield which yielded the hits Rock n' Roll Girls, The Old Man Down The Road and the title track.

4. Tina Turner Private Dancer

Also on Rolling Stone's list. After the break up of her marriage to Ike Turner (immortalized in the film What's Love Got To Do With It), Turner had released four menial albums in the 70s that did not have the chart success of her work with Ike. Five years after 1979's Love Explosion, she released Private Dancer which ended up having four hit singles and started her on a remarkable 10 year run on both the rock and R&B charts.

5. Heart

Success in the 70s did not translate to any hit singles in the 80s for this power pop Seattle band. 1982's Private Audition and 1983's Passionworks failed to reach any of the success of their earlier work. They switched record companies and released a self titled album in 1985 that went 5 times platinum, featured 5 hit singles and was their only #1 album of their career.

Did I miss any? Neil Diamond's 12 Songs, Bowie's Lets Dance, Public Enemy's He's Got Game?

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

American justice?

I know I am going to get trashed for this but there is something I am not able to bend my mind around. OJ Simpson is free but Paris Hilton is going to jail for 45 days.

Look, I admit to having a soft spot for her. I don't know why. Yes she is only famous for being famous. Yes she probably released that sex tape with her and Rick Solaman. Yes she can't sing and can't act. Yes she has one look and other than that she isn't that good looking. Blah, blah, blah. She is simply taking advantage of celebrity driven society we live in. You don't like it. Stop watching Entertainment Tonight.

If you don't know what I am talking about, Hilton has been sentanced to 45 days in jail for violating the terms of her probation by driving with a suspended licence. Apparently, she was confused as she thought she could drive to work, but nothing else.

The fireworks began right after the sentance was handed down as Hilton's mother Kathy Hilton yelled out to the prosecutors, "You're pathetic". And then sarcastically added, "can I have your autograph?".

Hilton then fired her long time publicist (a man who should win awards for being able to keep Hilton in the limelight for so long) Elliot Mintz. He has since been rehired. Her legal team have appealed the 45 day sentance. And here's the best part, Hilton has asked California governer Arnold Schwarzenegger for a pardon for her sentance.

Top 5 Worst Schwarzenegger films
1. Hercules In New York
2. Junior
3. Jingle All The Way
4. Raw Deal
5. Batman & Robin

So, to review, Paris Hilton going to jail for driving with a suspended licence. OJ Simpson, convicted in a civil court of the wrongful deaths of his ex-wife and her friend, out free.

And speaking of Simpson, he was in the news recently as well. He was in Louisville for the Kentucky Derby this past weekend. With a group of 12 at an upscale steakhouse, the owner asked Simpson to leave his restaurant because "he is sickened by the attention Simpson still attracts.

Stop me if you've heard this before but Simpson's attorney says the incident was about race and intended to go after the restaurant for refusing to serve his client. I want to say something funny here but no words are coming to me. God bless America.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

V stands for a very good sci-fi list

Entertainment Weekly has produced a list of the Top 25 Sci Fi Movies/TV shows of the last 25 years. The list isn't completely obvious as you would expect. Most of the usual candidates are there but there are many surprises as well.

Films like Galaxy Quest can be found along side TV series such as Battlestar Galactica. I won't ruin the surprise but #1 is rather shocking.

The biggest surprise falls right in the #25 slot, the 1983 TV mini-series V. If you are too young to remember, it was about these friendly human looking aliens who came to earth for some chemicals and water for their dying planet. In exchange, they are willing to share some of their technology with the people of earth.

However, an intrepid cameraman (played by Marc Singer) hops aboard one of the alien ships and sees the aliens for what they really are. A bunch of rodent eating, mask wearing lizards bent on the destruction of our planet. The scene with head baddie Diana (played by Jane Badler) eating a giant guinea pig whole took on new meaning when I watched the series again back in the 90s. But that's another story altogether.

V was originally a two part mini-series. A three part follow up mini-series called V: The Final Battle came in 1984. An actual television series followed in 1984-1985. However, lack of budget sank the series rather quickly. In the years following, many rumours have indicated news of a further series for V but nothing concrete is in the offing.

The biggest star to come out of the V series was Robert Englund. Out of respect to him...

Top 5 Nightmare On Elm Street Films
1. A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
2. A Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master
3. A Nightmare On Elm Street
4. A Nightmare On Elm Street 5: The Dream Child
5. Freddy vs. Jason

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Back from the Dead

One of my favourite little known shows of the last 10 years was the 2003-2004 Showtime series Dead Like Me. It starred Mandy Patinkin and Ellen Muth. The series was about this group of dead people who were grim reapers. They had nothing to do with actually killing people. Circumstances killed people, they were simply there to remove their souls and help them get to "the other side".

The group, led by Patinkin, met each morning at Der Waffle Haus. They are each assigned a person that they have to "reap" that day. The show isn't meant to be all that metaphysical, it's more about real people assigned these horrific tasks and how they get by each day. They were all real people who died. They have taken on new appearances as a reaper and can't be recognized as the people they once were.

Top 5 Mandy Patinkin Roles (for Emo)
1. Inigo Montoya (The Princess Bride)
2. Rube Sofer (Dead Like Me)
3. Det. Samuel "George" Francisco (Alien Nation)
4. Jason Gideon (Criminal Minds)
5. Dr. Murray Kaplan (The Doctor)

Anyway, the only reason I bring up this show is the news that the show will be brought back as a made-for-DVD movie in the coming months. That's the good news. The bad news is that Patinkin may be too busy with his current show Criminal Minds to be involved in the production. The other bad news is that the director will be Stephen Herek. Who you say? Well, his best movies were Mr. Holland's Opus and Rock Star (both fairly flawed films) but his resume also includes crap like The Mighty Ducks, Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter Is Dead and Holy Man.