Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Benjy won't like it; he hates everything

Way back in high school a friend and I, likely skipping class, made the trek from the hinterlands of suburbia into the record shopping mecca and wonderland of skankiness that was then Yonge St. between Bloor and College. Working only part-time for wages that were criminal money was a significant issue at the time so when my friend pulled out an LP with a $17.99 price tag that was named after a soccer star I thought he’d gone off his nut. Thus began my introduction to The Wedding Present and their fantabulous, incredilicous album “George Best”.

Over the years I’ve added just about every release that they’ve put out and last Tuesday, partly in preparation for last night’s T.O. gig, I picked up their most recent album, Take Fountain. Over the first dozen or so listens I must say that I was disappointed. It’s not that the music isn’t up to standards it’s just that the lyrics, and their recurrent romance-gone-awry theme, seem merely plaintive and somewhat over-the-top compared to previous material which featured numerous deft turns of the phrase that somehow elevated the subject matter.

On my way to the show last night I worried that my expectations for their performance may also be too high. The last time I saw The Wedding Present play they put on a magical show, so good in fact that a musician friend of mine who came with me was instantly converted into a die-hard fan even though he came to the show unfamiliar with 95% of their catalogue. Ah, but the rub is that show they were touring with another great act that joined them on stage for most of the set (including portions w/ two drummers). Understandably, I was concerned that last night’s show may not live up to the standard set by it’s predecessor.

Ah, sometimes it’s so good to be wrong. My worries were entirely unfounded and the show was fan-freakin-tastic. The tunes they played from the new album just sounded HUGE. H-U-G-E. Seriously, I can’t name a better live act. If you get a chance catch this band.

/gush

If only the friend who introduced me to the band back in the day could’ve made it, he bailed due to an ailing little one.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2005

My Favourite Track

Tonight I'm off to see the Wedding Present, one of my favourite bands. Perhaps a review tomorrow. If his lyrics are an example the songwriter has led the most frustrated romantic life ever. Or perhaps, he just keeps pining for the one that got away. One of my fave tracks:

My Favourite Dress
Sometimes these words just don't have to be said
I know how you both feel, the heart can rule the head
Jealousy is an essential part of love
The hurting here below and the emptiness above

There's always something left behind.
Never mind

The tender caresses that bring out the man
I can't still be drunk at five
Oh, I guess I surely can
Slowly your beauty is eaten away
By the scent of someone else in the blanket where we lay

There's always something left behind
Maybe next time

Uneaten meals
A lonely star
A welcome ride in a neighbor's car
A long walk home
The pouring rain
I fell asleep when you never came
Some rare delight in Manchester town
It took six hours before you let me down
To see it all in a drunken kiss
A stranger's hand on my favourite dress

That was my favourite dress, you know
That was my favourite dress

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Thursday, April 21, 2005

No mutton, thanks

From today's Globe and Mail

Here's how Canada's consumer price index has evolved over the past 92 years.

1910s

First index compiling prices paid by "workingmen in cities" appears in 1913. It features fuel, lighting and rent, as well as 29 food items such as mutton, lard, vinegar spirits and just two kinds of fruits.

1940s

Statisticians delete women's woollen hosiery, woollen panties and a shave in a barber shop from the list. They add margarine, chocolate bars, women's girdles, ice and household help.

1950s

Bologna is removed from the index. So are laundry bar soap, men's overalls and radio licences. The index now includes doughnuts, instant coffee, electric sewing machines and plane fares.

1960s

Lard, coal and men's hats dropped from CPI. Doctors' fees are removed with the start of medicare. More frozen foods are added, along with stereo combinations, parking costs and boats.

2002

Internet service providers and bank service fees are added. DVD rentals replace VHS rentals. Prices in Iqaluit are tracked. This month, MP3 portable players, recordable DVDs appear for the first time.

The complete article can be found here

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Monday, April 18, 2005

Meme-o-rama

via Ice Queen

Q: You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?
(What does this mean? I'll take it to be "what book do you think should be burned?"
No Logo by Niomi Klein - Hypocritical rubbish. While bitching out various corporations for misleading and coercing consumers while mistreating their workforces and the evironment she misleads and coerces her readers into dangerously oversimplified and counterproductive viewpoints. Specious pap.

Q: Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

Duh. Who hasn't?

Q: The last book you bought is:
The Sparrow - Mary Doria Russell. I'd already read it but I had to have a copy

Q: The last book you read:
Edenborn - Nick Sagan. It was OK. Disappointing though; it's prequel was much better.

Q: What are you currently reading?

I, Shithead (a life in punk) - Joey Keithley. Autobiography of D.O.A.'s frontman


Q: Five books you would take to a desert island.

I'm taking this to mean 5 books you'd want to have while excluding all others. My glib take:
The Feynman Letcures on Physics vol. 3 (quantum mechanics)- I know you won't believe this but it's funny as well as informative and thought provoking. Really. Don't belive me check out Surely you're joking....
The Oxford English Dictionary - Whatever the biggest version that's allowable. I'd love to have the 20 vol. OED now, much less on a desert island. Though I'd likely get even less done...
The Bible, annotated if possible. Never read it. On a desert island maybe I'd have a chance to figure out what all the fuss is about.
The Mote In God's Eye - Niven and Pournelle. Space opera extrodinaire.
Fight Club - Pahalniuk. 'nuff said.


Q: Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?
Ed - We talk mostly about girls, work and baseball. It'd be good to hear what he reads too.
Jeannette - In lieu of getting her to comment here I'll try and get her to participate.
Mikevil - He's part of the reason why I read the Sagan stuff. Damn those sidebar book thingys.

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Thursday, April 14, 2005

A Tale of Two Papers

I subscribe to the Globe and Mail and for some unknown reason the Toronto Star has mysteriously been showing up for the past week.

As an experiment, I compared the papers today.

G&M front page:

Leaders' tone gets ugly fast
Harper lobs 'national joke' insult at PM;
Martin targets Tories' 'hidden agenda'
An election possible? Yes this is news. IMO both the headlines and the accompanying article were pretty balanced. Both leaders were portrayed as politicians (the scheming, muckraking sort that we know and detest so well)

Martin set to play unity card

Catholics fight for heart of Africa
(picture of PJP's tomb)
Upheaval in the Catholic church - Catholicism being the worlds largest religon, I deem this newsworthy too

Hollinger evicting Black from tony Toronto office
Like I care. This is Schadenfreude pure and simple. Pandering to the petty business reader. Ack.

White supremacist Droege shot to death in Toronto
One less bigot, good; but is this news? I don't think so. But it's on the front of the Star as well, guess I'm in the minority.

Star Front Page

Very prominent pic of pregnant Britn.ey Spe.ars
Caption: Junk food yummy for mummy-to-be Brit.ney,
but pop princess needs to rein in the fries
Not only is this not news but the paper offers a judgement too! The accompanying article on pg. 3 is a full page disparaging the couple's habits. Ack this is tabloid crap.


Kyoto plan will survive election
Conservatives say they'll stand by greenhouse goals
Whaa! Has the Star started supporting the Tories when I wasn't looking? In comparison the G&M's article (on pg. 6) is "Opposition tears into Liberal's Kyoto plan - Anti-global warming program could die with June election, Industry Minister says" I don't get it the Star used to be such a Liberal rag. The article glosses over things - if the "Toriess win a spring election, his party is commited to keeping the plan [Kyoto] though perhaps with a different timeline." As reported in the G&M this 'new timeline' would "push back the date for Canadian compliance with the internatioal agreement by a further three to eight years." Unreal the difference between the papers.

'The dark side consumed him'
Notorious white supremacist killed
Shot dead at his Scarborough home
Gotta love that headline - soo much trasier than the G&M. And the article is trashy too; In the second paragraph the report cites "sources" who "said he drifted heavily inot drug and cigarette smuggling over the past decade, although he was sitll considered a force in racist white politics." Yep, that's the Star - get in the trash right up front and continue tossing it for as long as you can.

Deal suspends teacher job action
Finally, a reason to read this rag. But I don't have kids, am not a teacher and hence could care less. I guess it's not a reason.

Women conspicuously absent from scandal
'We do politics differently,' MP says
More women, less corruption: Study
Egad, yet another specious study presented by our city's most prominent rag. Argh, I don't even know where to start with this inane, misleading blather.


This is why I read the Globe.

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Monday, April 11, 2005

Hurts So Good

I've cuts on my right hand as well as my right knee.

Some sunburn too.

I'm so sore that I can barely move.

Yesterday was the first day of baseball.

Glorious.

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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Pack Them Yourself?

Oh no! We'll all need passports to travel to the US by 2008. The sky is falling!

Sure symbolically, needing a passport just isn't as warm and fuzzy as showing less secure documents but really, are you surprised that this is happening. My only shock is that it has taken this long.

I just have to shake my head at the response though.

Particularily that of the media and our Deputy PM, Anne McLellan:

"We will review our requirements for American citizens, and we're going to do that in collaboration with the United States," Ms. McLellan said outside the Commons.


A vague threat perhaps? The local TV news portrayed ths as potential "retaliation".

Ms. McLennan continued, "There's no point in either of us going off in a direction without working together to determine how best we can facilitate the flow — a free flow — and movement of low-risk individuals."

Ah yes, typical, follow up the vague threat with a concilitory statement. Not that anyone other than the Canadian media are listening. Not that it matters. Apparently Ms. McLennan either didn't understand the implication or was just grabbing the spotlight (or more likely both). As the G&M put it:

It remained unclear what point Ms. McLellan might be making by threatening to require U.S. citizens to carry documents to enter Canada that their own government will require them to carry to re-enter the United States.

The local TV media also played the fear-mongering card "longer line-ups at the border" and showed shots of heavily congested customs stops. This is likely false as "traffic at often-choked land crossings could actually be speeded up by the change to machine-readable, reliable documents meeting common standards."

The stuff is italics is from the much clearer, straight-forward, non-fearmongering article in today's Globe and Mail.

Maybe we should require passport inspections for Ms. McLennan and the media before they go to air. Have you had your facts checked ma'am? Did you pack them yourself? When was the last time you were pandered to the lowest common denominator? Any lies that you are planning to leave in our fair media?

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