Sunday, December 31, 2006

UFC 66: Liddell Wins, Griffin Loses

The night started off well...

At first, all of my choices were winning.

Michael Bisping beat Eric Schafer - This was a first round TKO. I was a little worried about Bisping because he seemed overly excited to be back in the UFC octagon, but he settled down and proved why he ought to be one of the best in the division sooner rather than later.

Andrei Arlovski beat Marcio Cruz - This featured a rather comical ending which highlighted why John McCarthy should referee every fight ('cause the other refs stink). After cautioning Arlovski for a kick to the head of a downed fighter and urging both fighters back to their feet, referee Herb Dean let Cruz talk him out of it. Cruz begged off, claiming he preferred staying on the ground. Dean seemed confused but then called for the fight to resume, at which time Arlovski promptly delivered a brutal punch to the jaw which essentially ended the fight.

Jason MacDonald beat Chris Leben - The Canadian proved his last victory wasn't a fluke by taking out the rather whiny Leben with a sick guillotine choke. This guy looks good, though he has a tendency to drop his head - not a good idea when you're main advantage is your height. He's definitely on the rise in the UFC.

And in the main event, Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell TKO'd Tito Ortiz in the third round. I was actually pretty surprised the fight wasn't stopped in the first when Liddell dropped Ortiz and pounded him until the bell. Although Ortiz claimed after the fight that he brought his A-game, I didn't see it. It looked as though he was taken off his game in the first round and was tentative thereafter. Chuck looked pretty solid despite a slip that led to Ortiz's only momentum swing. Somebody has yet to take this guy down with any consistency. He clearly has the most feared hands in the UFC.

But my night was ruined by the penultimate fight: Forrest Griffin vs. Keith Jardine. Both of these guys were likeable characters from the reality series, but I was against this fight from the get go (see the comments). This was a no-win situation for Griffin. On paper, these guys weren't in the same class. Griffin was in the title hunt while Jardine was still getting his feet wet and coming off a loss to Stephan Bonnar - a fighter Griffin had beaten twice. Griffin had nothing to gain from this fight and everything to lose. Anything can happen in the UFC and tonight it did - Griffin lost. He seemed to be doing well in the first round despite a takedown. He seemed to be cool, calm and collected while Jardine was getting gassed. But when Jardine caught Griffin with a right uppercut and left cross, fans witnessed Griffin getting rocked for the first time in his UFC career. A few punches later, it was over, mere seconds from the end of the first round.

Griffin was visibly distraught and understandably disappointed. I didn't quite catch his brief comments after the fight, but he admitted to being "knocked the f**k out" before quickly leaving the ring. This was very uncharacteristic of Griffin and may affect his previously immense popularity (I'm still not sure how I feel about it). Instead of being on the verge of a title shot, he's now at least a year and a couple of solid fights away from being back in the hunt.

Like I said, he had nothing to gain and everything to lose - and tonight he lost everything. It's hard to say what will be more devastating: losing the fight or losing his composure afterwards.

Ruined my night.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Boxing Week Bust

So I popped out to some stores to see what was going on with the sales.

Am I the only one who was disappointed? I mean, usually there's some pretty good stuff out there for cheap, but this year? Not so much.

I picked up Friday Night Lights at Future Shop for $4.99. That was pretty sweet since I haven't seen it and I've heard great things. I passed on Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Really don't need to see it again.

HMV usually has a ton of stuff on sale at the end of the year, but, again, I was disappointed. It was all either crap or stuff I'd seen or "full screen" versions of flicks I would have bought. Why do they even bother making full screen version? Who wants 2/3 of a movie?

Unfortunately, I don't have a good excuse to buy some serious electronics - which seems to be the big draw on Boxing Week. I gotta get myself a permanent place. Then I'm gonna go nuts.

But watch out for those "factory refurbished" items, folks!

Why doesn't it just say "previously messed up" or "once broken" or how about "recently returned"?

Next year...

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas with Caleb


Ain't he cute?

I'm talking about my nephew, of course.

...But, come to think of it, I'm pretty cute, too, don't ya think?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Vancouver Vacation

I'm taking a bit of a break from the blogosphere these days; I'm a little busy visiting with my new nephew.

He's adorable by the way, and pictures will follow. I'm a regular Japanese tourist around him!

But, man, I swear the little guy's a sleeping, crying, feeding, pooping machine.

So for the next little while you won't be hearing me complain about the Leafs who have an only passable goaltender in Andrew Raycroft (while J.S. Aubin sits on the bench) and a weak defence corps made worse with the off-season addition of Hal Gill, nor about George W. Bush's plan to increase the size of the army in Iraq (while those who are there on outrageously extended tours are literally dying to get home).

Nope, this week I'm taking it easy.

Oops! I hear Caleb crying. Gotta go hold him for a bit.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Wikipedia - So Great Yet So Flawed

I was having a little debate with a friend of mine over the whole Cindy Klassen winning the Lou Marsh Trophy, when I happened upon Wikipedia during a Google search for some NBA info.

I was stunned to come across this:

"The National Basketball Association originated in 1946 with 11 teams, and through a sequence of team expansions, reductions, and relocations currently consists of 30 teams, 29 of which are based in the United States and 1 in Canada. The Boston Celtics are the most successful franchise with 16 NBA Finals wins. The next most successful franchise is the Los Angeles Lakers, who hold 14 championships. Following the Lakers are the Chicago Bulls with 6 championships, all of them won over an 8-year span during the 1990s. The Toronto Raptors, who won their first championship in 2006, are the defending champions.

The current league organization divides the teams into two conferences. Each conference has three divisions, and each division has five teams. The current divisional alignment was introduced in the 2004-05 season."

Ok, who caught that? Everyone, I hope. If you didn't, read it again.

If you still don't get it, well, you clearly don't know anything about the NBA or the Raptors, so you probably won't care.

See, Wikipedia is created and moderated by its users. That's gosh gee-willickers swell, except when the information is completely and utterly wrong.

If the info about the NBA is wrong, imagine what other "little" mistakes can be found in this great resource. (Are you reading this Cory?)

Now keep in mind that there are one or two gullible folks out there who believe what they read on the Net...

See, back in "my day" (many moons ago) you were not allowed to use the internet as a resource for essays. Now it's typically the only cited resource. What changed? The internet is just as unreliable, if not more so with greater user interface. Wikipedia is proof of that.


Am I right or just old?

Old. Got it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Sassafraz Burns!

Seems a fire ripped through famous Yorkville eatery Sassafraz today.

The place is synonymous with the Toronto International Film Festival (arguably the most important film fest in the world). Stars are often seen hanging out inside or on the patio during the September fest.

It remains to be seen if the place will be able to recover for next year.

What we do know is that 29 fire trucks carrying 135 firefighters descended on the scene to fight the blaze.


Holy crap! Is that right? 29 trucks?!

Good luck getting 29 trucks to show up when your kitchen burns.

F***ing stars...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Cindy Klassen Wins Lou Marsh Award

I'm not quite sure how I feel about this...

Every year, it seems, there's a big debate over the Lou Marsh Award, earmarked for Canada's athlete of the year.

The voters have had a tendency in the past of giving the award to amateur or lesser-known athletes instead of the big guns from professional sports. Not since 1993 has it been given to a hockey player in this puck-crazy country (though Gretzky won it four times over his career). Two years ago, it was given to an Olympic kayaker. I bet 99% of Canadians have no idea who that might be. Hell, I bet 98% of Canadians didn't even know kayaking was an Olympic sport.

This year, the voting was expected to be pretty tight. Klassen was sure to be on the ballot with her 5 medals from Turin (one gold), an amazing achievement.

Steve Nash, the relatively diminutive white-bread basketballer from BC won his second consecutive NBA MVP. Wow. For him to win it once is unbelievable - for him to win it in back-to-back seasons? Fuggetaboutit.

Then there's Justin Morneau, baseball's American League MVP from the Minnesota Twins. A Canadian winning MVP? Wow. Unheard of, with the exception of Larry Walker in the National League (and no, he didn't win the Lou Marsh Award that year, either). Morneau had to beat out favourites like Derek Jeter and "Big Papi" David Ortiz for the honour.

So who should win the Lou Marsh? I mean, Klassen was certainly deserving, but let's face it, women's speed skating is "big" in Germany, the Netherlands...Italy (?)...Germany....uh....

Baseball is huge in the US, Japan, Korea, Cuba, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Canada etc etc. But it's dwarfed by the popularity of basketball worldwide (I imagine, though the stats on the popularity of sports are endlessly debated).

So if Steve Nash is the MVP of the dominant league of one of the world's most popular sports, shouldn't he win the Lou Marsh award, even if it is his second time? Ok, ok, so maybe we want to spread the love. Fine. Pansies.

So what about Morneau? The guy has reached the pinnacle of his profession. It's not like he's likely to put up a better season next year to make him "more deserving". Does a baseball MVP always get trumped by a star Olympian from a half-assed sport? (sorry, it really is - you skate in a circle for a specified distance - wicked athletes but not exactly top notch in terms of competition. I bet most male speed skaters are hockey drop-outs.) Is it best to be a big fish in a small pond than a big fish in a big pond?

If you're a Lou Marsh voter, apparently so.

Congrats to Cindy.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I'm Afraid of My Toilet Bowl

Let me explain.

The powers-that-be have decided to replace the toilets in my building. I guess this'll justify them jacking up my rent down the road, but that's beside the point.

These new toilets are...futuristic. They are supposed to be more efficient, I guess. They have a plastic container system within the tank, so I assume it uses less water.


The first time I used this new and improved product, I just about crapped myself - twice.

The thing flushes with the force of a jet engine. I shit you not. And even if I were, this thing would suck it down like a Japanese hot dog eater.

I have nicknamed my toilet The Black Hole.

Think I'm exaggerating? Come on over and see for yourself.

...if you DARE!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

New Favourite Commerical: UFC & VGA

What is it with me and commericals these days? And why are all the best ones on Spike? This one stars Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White sitting on a couch, playing a Mortal Kombat-style video game versus Video Game Awards host Samuel L. Jackson:

Dana: Take that, motherf**ker.

Jackson: You say the word so lame.

Dana: There's nothing wrong with the way I say "motherf**ker".

Jackson: You say it second best.

Dana: You're gonna be second best on December 13th. I got the toughest, baddest fighters in the world ready to roll that night.

Jackson: We got all that and...lasers! (his video game player pulls out a lightsaber)

Dana: (stunned, turns to Jackson) ...You got lasers?

Jackson: YEAH, YOU'RE MOTHERF**KING RIGHT!! (turns to Dana) That's how you say the word "motherf**ker".

Christmas Shopping

So how many people are like me? (Don't bother answering that - no one's like me!)

What I mean is, how many people, like me, go shopping for others and end up buying things for themsleves? This is especially weird considering I can never buy anything when I am shopping for myself...

So I've been Christmas shopping the past couple of days. My Visa bill is gonna hurt.

I'm going to Vancouver, and I realized I only have a small suitcase. See, over the past few years, I've been getting away with borrowing suitcases for my rare travels. But I figure that now that I'm on my own, I should probably be a big boy and get my own.

Me: One gift, Others: No gifts.

A couple of years ago I lost a bunch of coats in a move gone awry. I finally got around to replacing one of the nice winter coats. Hey, it's cold out!

Me: Two gifts, Others: No gifts.

Argh! I can't afford this Christmas shopping! Darn consumer holidays!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Stephane Dion - Liberal Leader

I wasn't sure how I felt about this, but after some consideration, I gotta tell ya, I think the Liberals made a mistake.

The "anyone-but-Ignatieff" campaign got out of hand, I think, and Dion was the beneficiary. Ignatieff had a pretty solid base of suporters, so he wasn't going to get bumped off the ballot until very late. That left the others to fight for who would face him in the final ballot. When Gerrard Kennedy went to Dion, he sealed Bob Rae's fate. Kennedy had a very strong support base, and some 90% of them followed him to Dion. That put Dion over the top and allowed him to force Rae off the ballot. Once that happened, it was only a matter of whether he would beat out Ignatieff on the final ballot. Even then, the final vote was roughly 45% vs 55% - not exactly convincing.

I think Dion owes Kennedy a huge thank you.

But, truth be told, I'm not sure the system worked for the Liberals. When candidates are forced off the ballot, we get to find out who people's second choice is. Problem is, Ignatieff was never forced off, so who knows who Liberals would have chosen had he not been involved?

Let me demonstrate. See, until the last ballot, the votes were always split between several candidates. This doesn't allow you to see who the overall best choice is. Now, if it were more like Heisman Trophy voting (where you vote for your first, second and third choices, each getting points), you might have seen a different outcome.

Put it this way: who would Liberals have chosen head-to-head? Obviously, head-to-head, they would have chosen Dion over Ignatieff. But what if you put Dion head-to-head against Rae? Or Kennedy? We'll never know because while those candidates were on the ballot, a great deal of Liberal delegates were still supporting Ignatieff. We never did get to find out who Ignatieff's supporters' second choice was.

Clear as mud?

But it isn't just the voting system that I think will hurt the Liberals. I hadn't heard Dion talk before Saturday. Although I had heard his name, he wasn't exactly getting a ton of press. This is not a good sign. He wasn't on people's lips. When I did hear the guy talk, I was blown away. How could this guy possibly be a threat? His English is atrocious.

Later in the evening, Jean Chretien addressed the convention. I had been wondering why it was that I objected to Dion's crappy English when Chretien's was similarly impaired (and yet I kinda liked him). Here's the thing: Chretien has personality, and in the immortal words of Samuel Jackson in Pulp Fiction, "personality goes a long way." Chretien is passionate, straightforward, and bold. Dion is none of these things.

Now add the fact that he is unpopular amongst average Quebecers. Now add the fact that the mere fact he is a Quebecer will kill him in the west. So, if this francophone is going to have trouble not only in the west, but in Quebec as well, what the f**k was the point in choosing him?

Did I mention that, of the main candiates, Dion is the only one who can be linked to the sponsorship scandal days? So much for turning the page.

Dion may yet win. But right now, I'd be voting for the Liberals in order to get Harper out, not because Dion is inspiring.

...and if I hear the word "underestimate" one more time...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

It's officially the countdown to Christmas: I put up my Christmas tree today.

Different people have different criteria to determine when they put up their tree. One of my friends has a family tradition of putting up their tree on Grey Cup Sunday (November 19, this year). Another refuses to put hers up until after her birthday (December 8th).

Is there a common rule of thumb for a tree trimming date? I don't think I've heard of one...

I don't think I'm excessively early, though; hell, some folks have had their Christmas lights up since the day after Hallowe'en!

Now to do that whole "shopping" thing...ugh.

Bah humbug.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

This Week Flu By

Managed to catch the flu this week. It's my own damned fault for not getting my flu shot sooner and making out with an Eskimo hooker.

I'm kidding, mom. She wasn't an Eskimo.

Anyhow, not the best way to spend a week. It wasn't paralyzing, but I wasn't in the best of moods and had to miss my weekly male-bonding session at the Pour House. Now I have a lingering cough.



So listen to your uncle Philip, kids: get a flu shot. And stay away from hookers.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Movie Review: The Fountain (no spoilers)

I didn't know quite what to expect from this flick. I had heard very mixed reviews (it was sitting near 50% on rottentomatoes) about this movie that was supposed to be the kind of thing you watch when you're high.

It's definitely trippy. I'll give you that.

But I liked it. And no, mom, I wasn't high.

I'll confess, I've always been a Hugh Jackman fan ever since he brought a surprisingly convincing Wolverine to life in X-Men. But in his subsequent flicks he tended to be a little too emotional. I blame it on his musical theatre background.

But in this flick he hit the right notes (as did his splendid co-star, Rachel Weisz, who can also sometimes be too much). This is a very emotional story, no doubt, but Jackman still reined in his perfomance so that it wasn't over the top. And this could not have been an easy movie to act in. Like I said, it's hippie trippy and features some very...unusual ideas.

I'm sure lots of critics will hate the movie for being too confusing (especially if you don't know anything about the tales of the Fountain of Youth), but if you can keep up with the themes and stories, I find it hard to believe you wouldn't appreciate the unique nature of this film. And how often do you get to say, "I saw an original movie today"?

Thumbs up.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Love Actually & other Christmas movies

A friend of mine pointed out that the tone of some of my recent posts was...angry. So, in an effort to prove to her that I am not a raging psycho, I offer to my readers a more "upbeat" item.

And what could be more upbeat than Christmas? (mall shopping aside)

Tonight, the CBC is offering up a charming Christmas feature: Love Actually. And even though it airs at 8pm in Toronto, thanks to my time shifting digital box (a misnomer if I ever heard one - call it multiregional access), I get to see it an hour earlier. Although it's a bit of a newcomer on the holiday flick scene, it is worthy of being right up there with some of the classics like my all-time fav It's A Wonderful Life.

And judging by the reactions of friends when the movie is brought up, I'm not the only one who feels this way, for once.

It's hard to put your finger on what it is about Love Actually that makes it so watchable. I can only imagine it's 'cause it's incredibly positive. You know, kinda like Forrest Gump, only, you know...better. And it also features some of the better modern Christmas tunes like Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You" and George Michaels' "Last Christmas"

But the thing that always gets me about Love Actually is the fact that they imply the character of Natalie is overweight. Are ya sh**ting me?! I gotta tell ya, Martine McCutcheon is, how do the British say it? Smashing. She even overshadows Keira Knightley, who's no slouch herself - though a bit too thin. If McCutcheon is undesirably overweight, no wonder women have body imagine issues.

It's just not right. It makes me so MAD. I mean, who the hell do these moviemakers think they are?! Telling us what's sexy and what's not? YOU"re gonna tell ME what's attractive? HUH!? WHERE DO YOU GET OFF YOU...YOU..

Oh...crap. I am a raging psycho.

Tee-hee. Oops!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Harper: Tough on Crime, Soft on Guns

So PM Harper was in Toronto yesterday, standing next to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Toronto Mayor David Miller to announce tougher gun crime rules - namely the use of reverse onus for determining bail for gun-related charges.


But hidden just beneath the surface of this announcement was the division between these leaders when it came to the real issue - gun control.

It was quite clear that while the leaders agreed that tougher rules were needed for gun crime offences, they could not agree on a handgun ban. Guess who didn't want to ban handguns?

Yup: Mr. Redneck.

I don't get it. What possible use could someone have for a handgun other than to threaten someone with it? And don't even start with home protection. Let's just say for a minute that someone does invade your house - are you really going to use it? Is it worth the risk if the intruder is simply a burglar? And even if the intruder was a threat, would you even have time to get to your gun before the intruder got to you? Would you have time to load it or would you pre-load your gun? Do you really think it's a good idea to have a loaded gun in your house? Not so much.

Oh, right: guns don't kill people - people kill people. Guns just make it a whole lot easier.

When's the last time you heard about someone accidentally bludgeoning someone to death? When's the last time you heard about someone acidentally getting shot?

And did you hear this one? Seems some 92-year old lady was shot dead by police. Tragic. Seems the police were executing a warrant at her house regarding drug activity. The police claim they knocked and announced themselves. Obviously feeling threatened, the elderly lady fired a gun at the officers, striking each of them. The officers understandably returned fire, killing the woman. The lady's niece claims it was a case of mistaken identity. The officers say there was no mistake when it came to the address (so perhaps someone was dealing drugs out of the house?).

Reverend Makel Hutchins, a "civil rights leader" said: "Of the police brutality cases we've had, this is the most egregious because of the woman's age."

I'm not even going to touch the ridiculousness of claiming that officers returning fire are engaging in "brutality", or that age should have anything to do with how officers deal with being fired upon.

No, what strikes me is that this Associated Press story doesn't even blink at the idea that a 92-year old lady had a handgun! What the f**k?! 92?! I don't think 92-year olds should be driving let alone carry live ammunition.

Never mind that the incident took place in Atlanta, Georgia. This is indicative of the absolute insanity that can result from the proliferation of firearms.

When I'm Prime Minister, you can bet your ass that one of the first things I'm gonna do is ban private ownership of handguns and automatic weapons. You think it's a right to collect weapons? Kiss my ass. You want to hunt? Fine. Keep a rifle with a trigger lock on it. You can take the lock off when you get to the hunting ground. Anyone who is caught with an unsecured rifle or any other gun gets 20 years. Period. Use it in the commission of a crime? Life.

And that's in addition to the reverse onus for bail conditions.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Harper: Quebecois a "Nation"

This is so dumb.

This is politics at its worst and highlights the ignorance that permeates news writing these days.

But, of course, I'm somewhat interested to know what "the people" think and to find out whether or not they can see through this charade.

It's all semantics, people.

Let me see if I got this straight: just when the Liberals were starting to attack one another on the question of Quebec's role and identity in Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper does Michael Ignatieff a huge favour (Why? Could it be because he actually wants the foot-in-mouth neophyte to win?) by pronoucing that "Quebecers form a nation within a unified Canada" (or words like those - I heard them in French and English).

Now, are you paying attention? Did you catch that huge loophole?

'Cause I'm not sure half the press stories I've read/seen did.

Quebecers form a nation...not Quebec. BIG difference.

Harper's wording makes it so that Quebecers form a "nation" within Canada much like Amerindians (a word I much prefer over the innacurate "native" - a subject for another day) do, or much like how we refer to Toronto Maple Leafs fans as "Leaf Nation". That is to say, a group or people identified by a common trait.

This is a FAR cry from recognizing the province of Quebec as a nation in Canada (which would bring about all sorts of issues reagrding powers and sovereignty). But, again, I'm not sure everyone in this debate realizes that.

See, there's no constitutional argument here. Harper gets to cozy up to those in Quebec who might lean towards the Bloc (thereby securing a few more seats,perhaps?) all the while talking out of the other side of his mouth to the Rest of Canada (ROC) and making it seem rather innocent. Which, of course, it is. Whether the language is adopted in the House or not, it has no teeth. The province of Quebec is unaffected.

For those of you who might be freaking out over this hornet's nest being stirred up again: relax. This. Means. Nothing.

Harper is paying lip service to separatists who only read the headlines.

But let's get back to me.

See, I have a personal beef with this language. Specifically, I'd like to know what we're trying to say, exactly. I mean, what is it about this group of people that makes them a "nation"? Surely Harper is not merely talking about those who live within the boundaries of the province of Quebec - that makes no sense. How does being an anglophone renting an apartment in Westmount while working at the local IBM office make one worthy of being recognized as a member of a recognizable "nation"? There must be more to it. Being subjected to French signage doesn't cut it.

No, surely Harper is talking about a culture here. This people must be identified somehow by what they bring to the fabric of Canada. Is it that they are decendants of the first French colonists of Lower Canada who fought to maintain their cultural identity in the face of eventual British rule? The reason Canada was eventually declared a bilingual country?

If we are talking about such culturally-defined people, then why the f**k is Harper using the term "Quebecer"?

THIS is my problem.

Just whose ass is Harper trying to kiss? 'Cause by the definition above, I belong to this "nation" though I have never lived in Quebec, just like thousands upon thousands of other ROC "Quebecers".

So, Mr. Harper, just who the f**k belongs to this special "Quebecer" nation of yours: my aunt, who grew up in northern Quebec but now lives as a retired French school teacher in Burlington Ontario, or an immigrant from (insert whatever country here) who only speaks English and (insert whatever language here), who can't tell the difference between "poutine" and "putain" but happens to live 30 minutes east of Cornwall?

Until our delightful PM defines "Quebecer", it's hard to imagine they form any kind of "nation".

Mr. Harper may be getting kudos from the ignorant, but those of us with half a brain who are able to see this for what it is (regardless of what side of the sovereignty debate we're on) are clearly not impressed.

The news media, however, don't seem to get it.

Tell me, oh readers of mine, that you understand the difference...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Movie roundup: Bond, Queen, Aviator, Prestige, Break-Up

*mild spoiler warning*

I caught the latest instalment of the Bond franchise yesterday (love the poster by the way). It had been getting a crazy high rating on rottentomatoes, so I was a little worried my expectations would be too high and the flick would be a disappointment.

It wasn't.

It was really entertaining, though I'm still trying to decide what I think of this new direction for the series. If I had a word of warning for people planning to see it, it'd be this: don't expect a Bond movie.

This movie was not end-to-end action, it didn't have the typical Bond cheese and Daniel Craig definitely attempts to actually act in this flick. This is a rookie Bond, making rookie mistakes and learning the tricks of his new trade.

Craig, however, gives Bond a quality he was lacking in the other incarnations, save perhaps Connery: he's a thug. With Craig, you actually believe his punches would hurt. The action sequences (though they may seem few) are great (except, unfortunately, the last one - but I'll avoid spoiling the rather odd final 20 minutes).

He doesn't need the designer watch that emits an EM pulse that can avert a nuclear threat; he's a bad mother f***er who likes to fight. Bring it on.

Goldeneye was on the boob tube when I got home and as I watched the first few minutes I was reminded of just how much of a departure Casino Royale is from its predecessors. This Bond is much more, dare I say, realistic than its gadget-wielding, one-liner-laden breatheren. I never want to see that stupid invisible car again.

But, in the end, is it...Bond? James Bond?


The Queen: a fine flick and it certainly has its charms, but more of a movie-of-the-week, I must say, without any grandeur or effects or subject matter that would make it required viewing at $10+ on the big screen. Wait for it to be aired on tv. It'll be worth it then.

The Aviator: I own this one, having bought it last Christmas during one of HMVs annual blow-outs (what will I pick up this year?). Figured it was about time I got to it, and seeing as I have a little more free time these days... Anyhow, this one is entertaining as well, so long as you find the characters appealing. I'm not a big Leo fan, and here it's more of the same emoting on his part. Been there, done that, won't buy the t-shirt. But the story of Howard Hughes was compelling enough for me. Thumbs up.

The Prestige: Good flick, thumbs up, but I gotta say I saw the ending coming about halfway through. The problem with movies that involve deceit and double-crosses, etc, is that you start to anticipate them. You look for the angles. Unfortunately, that means the surprise is lost and hence, the effect. But this movie is definitely different enough that it's worth a viewing.

The Break-Up: I ordered this via my new digital box, since I had an afternoon to kill and was curious to see how this system worked. It was ok. I enjoyed it, but it definitely could have had a few more laughs. I don't know if this movie was trying to be a little more mature, a little smarter, a little more like the relationship movies of the 70s, but it didn't quite get there for me. I appreciated the ending etc, but that doesn't cut it. In the end, it just wasn't enough of anything for me to rave about.

Does this mean Rogers' plan has worked and I'll be on the hook for bigger cable bills in the future? We'll see.

Georges St. Pierre: UFC Champ

Some folks may read this and have no idea what I'm talking about, but the Canadian flag is flying a little higher this morning.

At about 12:35am, Montrealer Georges "Rush" St. Pierre was being fitted with the belt that had belonged to UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Hughes.

Of all the UFC champs, Hughes was considered the most formidable, the best (he was also considered by many to be an asshole jock, which his ignorant comments about Canadian war involvement seem to prove). What makes St. Pierre's victory so impressive is not merely that it came against a man considered pound-for-pound the best fighter in the UFC, but the manner in which St. Pierre won.

He didn't beat Hughes. He absolutely destroyed Hughes.

Hughes was never in this fight. From the opening moments, St. Pierre asserted himself, taking the centre of the octagon and delivering punishing kicks to Hughes' legs.

Hughes complained of a couple of low blows, but unless his testicles hang somewhere around his knees, the second "offense" was clearly clean. It would seem unlike Hughes to complain without cause, but his protestations rang hollow.

After being saved by the bell at the end of the first round, Hughes' demise came early in the second. He leaned forward to deliver a punch, unaware his face would soon be introduced to St. Pierre's shin, courtesy of yet another punishing kick. Hughes was rocked and hit the canvas. St. Pierre pounced on the fallen champ and delivered shot after shot to Hughes' face until the referee was forced to stop the fight.

The crowd in the bar went apeshit.

New UFC Welterweight Champion of the World: Georges St. Pierre.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Frank Thomas a Blue Jay

Uh boy...

I'm scratching my head over this one.

Why was "The Big Hurt" a priority? The Jays have been on the verge of contending for the last couple of years, but their holes were obvious: middle relief pitching, a shortstop who can hit, and maybe some starting help (though, if healthy, the Jays are pretty good in this area).

So, I'm tempted to add this signing to the list of strange signings by GM J.P. Ricciardi. Don't get me wrong, I think Ricciardi's been doing a good job of getting the Jays off the scrap heap of recent years, but he seems to be incapable of getting the Jays that last mile.

My favourite example? Bengie Molina. What was up with that? The Jays had a veteran leader with an underused dependable bat in Greg Zaun, but just when it appeared Zaun had clearly earned the starting catcher's spot, the Jays go out and sign free agent Molina for way more money ($5M vs $1M). Why? They then had two catchers, so of course the higher paid one got more playing time, deserved or no (they ended up with very similar stats). Now both have signed for free agency and both want starting jobs. That was $5M very poorly spent; Zaun was a bargain.

So now 48 year old Thomas gets $9M. The same Thomas who was essentially dumped by the Chicago White Sox a couple of years back. The same Thomas who was named "Comeback Player of the Year" last year and made Oakland so happy (no wonder: he was earning next to nothing).

So now Thomas is getting big bucks again. It remains to be seen if, at 38, he's a big bucks player. Either way, odds are his signing means he'll be playing with small bucks teammates.

That's what I call a "Big Hurt".

Thursday, November 16, 2006

CFL: Selling its soul...and the Grey Cup?

There's a rumour going around that the CFL is considering selling the naming rights to the Grey Cup.

That's right: not a stadium, not a game, but the actual trophy itself.

Someone, somewhere thinks this is a good idea.

Add this to the many reasons I dislike the CFL, which previously included:

1. Game days - I never know when the Argos are playing next. If I did, I might be motivated to tune in more often. Why the CFL doesn't play all of its games on the same day like the NFL (mostly) and NCAA is beyond me. It would increase rivalries in the standings throughout the season and help to give the CFL some kind of identity. How about fridays? That work for you guys?

2. Three downs - Let's see: I get two tries at ten yards and then I have to punt. Joy. Can I please watch some more punting? I love punting. So exciting. Best part of the game. More punting!!! (and considering how obsessed the Argos were at running on first down, I got my wish plenty this season)

3. Skill level - Say what you want CFL-fans-who-don't-have-a-hockey-team, the skill level in the CFL ain't what it is in the NFL. That much is obvious. So you'll have to forgive me if I don't pledge my allegiance to an inferior product. I want my NFL team, and I want it yesterday.

4. NFL hinderance - The NFL clearly does not want to kill the CFL since they provide a nice little farm system (which otherwise would only exist in the form of the Arena League and World that still around?). The NFL has made it pretty clear over the years that it will not expand to Toronto while the CFL is still on life support. So let's pull the %&@#ing plug already. With Godfrey et al kicking around, now's the time the strike: buy a team and bring 'em north. Buffalo won't like it, but I have no doubt Toronto could support an NFL team (heck, there are only 8 or so home dates). I don't even think the Argos would have to change their name nor jerseys!

But back to the issue-du-jour. It's bad enough that SkyDome has been renamed the Rogers Centre and that stadiums around the globe are being renamed seemingly at random, but to change the name of the top prize? Why? To make a few bucks? So, what, we get the Fido Cup for ten years, then the Telus Cup for the next ten, and so on and so on? STFU. What does that say about the history of your league? Can you imagine looking back at the stats in 50 years to see who won the league chamionship, only to read the confusing list of names associated with that championship?

History means something, folks.

Would you rename Maple Leaf Gardens the Loblaws Maple Leaf Gardens? (oh...wait...bad example...) You know what I mean.

Have some pride in your product, you morons.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Rogers Digital Cable Offer

You know those deals that sound too good to be true? I hate those.

I went through an insane sales pitch experience recently with a travel company (The Travel Store) - more on that at another time (I'm still waiting to see how ridiculous it gets).

Yesterday, however, I got a call from Rogers that had me scratching my head. They were offering me a digital box at no charge for one year (anyone else get this call?). My bill wouldn't change, and if I chose to keep the box after the one year, I would simply pay the regular $6.96/month price.

Hmmm...what's the catch? None, according to them.

So I went by the local Rogers store, picked up my box and set it up upon returning home.

Voila: digital cable.

The immediate benefit is that I can now receive a couple of channels that came in fuzzy before (NBC and CKVR, for some reason) and the handy-dandy remote allows me to control my tv, vcr, dvd player AND stereo (I need to run the tv sound through it - long story). The universal remote I was using before didn't quite cover all of these bases adeqately.

On top of the million channels I now get (and will never use) I can also access Rogers on Demand and pay-per-view options (though, for $40 versus $10, I think I'd rather see UFC ppvs in a pub)

The bitch is that there's a lag between channels when flipping. And anyone who knows me knows I'm an unrepentant channel flipper. This will take some getting used to.

So I guess Rogers is hoping I'll get hooked on the "superior picture quality" or maybe order tons and tons of movies. Otherwise, this seems like an expensive promotion for them.

But in case they think I'll simply forget to cancel at the end of the year term and shell out for the extra $6.95 per month: I canceled my additional Bell features this morning.

An elephant and a thrifty bastard never forget.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Long Live the King!

So apparently there's some new study out that claims it has discovered certain "predictors" that can tell if a man will lead a long life.

"Nine factors were good predictors of which middle-aged men would live healthily into their 80s and beyond, concluded a 40-year study of nearly 6,000 Japanese-American men living in Hawaii."

(Asian men living in paradise? Don't they ALL live beyond 80?)

1. Not being/becoming overweight: No worries there. I have a crazy metabolism.

2. Having low blood pressure: According to that Shoppers Drug Mart doohickey, I'm soaring in this category.

3. Low blood sugar levels: I wouldn't really know, but since I tend to avoid sweets in general, I'm gonna assume I'm doing alright here.

4. Low levels of bad cholesterol: Hm...don't know about this one. This may be my first real blip. I like fries.

5. Not drinking alcohol excessively: Define "excessively". I'm Irish.

6. Not smoking: Have only smoked for stage, so I'm ok. This is also my number one turn-off in women, so seond-hand smoke isn't too much of a concern either.

7. Having a strong grip: Can't say I'm known for my strong grip, but I plan to work out. How's that?

8. Achieving a high level of education: Well, I did go to university twice, so that can't hurt.

9. Being married: Hmmm...Kinda out of my control for the most part, I figure. I'll do what I can, though.

So by my calculations, I've got to be at least 6/9. If I manage to get some girl drunk enough, I may even be 7/9 some day.

If I hit the gym and stop eating fries, hell, I'm gonna live forever!

Just gotta stay away from those falling pianos...

Late Bloomer

It's 1:30am and, once again, I'm still up.

I've been having a heck of a time getting to bed at a reasonable hour. Since I've been off work, I've been going to bed between about 2 and 4 am every night. I get up between 10am and noon.

This is not good.

Clearly, I am not a morning person. I knew that. I've always known that. Part of the reason acting suited me, I guess.

Working in an office? Not so much.

Still, I've got to get a handle on this. By the time I get up, half the day has gone and, before I know it, it's time to go out with friends or watch my favourite show and *boom* everyone else goes to bed. Day's over.

But I'm still up.

If I don't figure out a way to change my sleep cycle I'm gonna end up in Malaysian chat rooms.

Don't. Wanna. Go. There.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Remembrance Day

Today is Remembrance Day, of course.

I was thinking about it, and it struck me how sad this occasion makes me. Not because of thoughts of those who died in the Great War, or WWII or Korea, etc, (that's a given) but because of how that is juxtaposed by the same sacrifice made by soldiers today - without the same noble cause.

War has changed a great deal (not that I'm an expert) over the decades. As I watch some of the great stories being told this week on the History Channel, I am reminded that war, back in the day, was much more savage - face to face, hand to hand at times, and fought in the trenches. This is contrasted greatly by the eye-in-the-sky, surgical missile strikes and stealth bombing raids in Iraq and elsewhere. It used to be that if you fought for what you believed in, it meant getting your hands dirty and bayonetting a man while looking him in the eye - while facing equal odds that you would suffer the same fate.

That was war. And war was hell.

Today, superpowers squash "insurgents" like bugs and the only way for them to fight back is to strap explosives to their chests. Today, armies don't face each other in equal numbers in farmers' fields because no equality exists (note that not marching to slaughter makes you a "terrorist" or "insurgent", though - ain't labels a bitch?). Today, people like George Bush (take your pick) lead the world into "wars" where a button is pushed and dozens of the "enemy" die at a time - soldiers, civilians, whatever. (I wonder: what was the civilian casualty rate during the American Civil War? What is it in Iraq?) And instead of praying that the casualties on "our" side are fewer than those suffered on "their" side, we get news reports on individual soldier deaths. That is to say, when one Allied/American/Coalition soldier dies, it's newsworthy. What does that say about our expectations of war? What does it say when the "general public" is up in arms that the casualty rate has reached double digits and demands that our soldiers return home?

What does it say when the Prime Minister tries to ban coverage of a single soldier's body being returned home for fear it will weaken our resolve?

I've said it before and I will say it forever: if you are not willing to suffer at least as many casualties as the other side in order to win a war, that war is not worth fighting in the first place. It doesn't mean enough to you.

Today, war has become too easy. It's convenient. It's "in the bag". Got a problem with Iraq or Libya? No problem: just bomb'em.

Got a problem with North Korea or Russia? No prob--

...Oh, wait.

But how do you say that to the soldier who is sent overseas? How do you say that to the soldier who is risking their life in Iraq? How do you tell them you don't support what they're doing? (Because, believe it or not Mr. Redneck Warmonger, you CAN support your troops WITHOUT supporting the cause they were sent to fight by the Administration-du-jour)

So, on this Remembrance Day, I remember the wars that were and pity the soldier who makes the greatest sacrifice at the whim of George W. Bush.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Uncle Philip to Baby Caleb Sullivan Flaherty

My sister Christine who lives in Vancouver had her baby overnight. Little Caleb (yeah, right: 7 lbs 12 oz.) was born around 4:30 ET - which is about the time I woke up needing a drink (I don't normally need one).

I bet my sister could have used a drink right about then, too!

Caleb makes my mom a grandmother for the first time.

Awwww.... "Grandmaman Sullivan"

I'll be seeing Caleb for the first time around Christmas.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some shopping to do!

Dessie Curley: [at a pub, after Sharon's delivery] 7 pounds 12 ounces.
Loner: Is that a baby, or a turkey?
Dessie Curley: A baby!
Loner: That's a good-sized baby.
Dessie Curley: Right.
Loner: Small turkey, though.
- Colm Meaney and Birdy Sweeney discuss babies and turkeys in "The Snapper"

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Don't Anger the Dirt Gods

I love this ad...

I think it only airs on Spike and/or during sports events, so many of you may be missing out. And you are missing out. Apparently video game ads are the bomb.

Dirt God: Gary, what are you doing?
Gary: I'm shining up my ATV.

Dirt God: ...Why?!
Gary: Because it's dirty?

Dirt God: From now on your name will be "Sally"! (gives him a pink dress and a pink ATV)
Dude passing by on ATV: Hi Sally

Sally/Gary: ...Hi...

US Elections: Rumsfeld gone


For the first time in a long time, the American electorate came to their senses and returned some power to the Democrats - or, rather, removed some power from the Republicans.

Right now I'm listening to George Bush eat crow at a press conference. This is by far the longest time I have spent in one sitting listening to this moron speak. I guess it's the subject matter.

He's actually talking about the war in Iraq in negative terms.

He's tripping over his words, he's backpedalling, he's contradicting himself - he's being George. Priceless.

He's called the election "a thumpin'."

He painted himself into a corner and actually said that Democrats want to defend the country just as much as Republicans, and will do it just as well - remember THAT quote! (as I write, a reporter just called him on it and he dodged the question; but in true George fashion used a double negative such that he implied Democrats want America to be attacked! Oy vay...)

But the big news is that Donald Rumsfeld has resigned.


The story, of course, is that Bush and Rumsfeld agreed that a "change in perspective" was necessary. So is it just coincidence that the resignation comes after this election "thumpin''?! If a "change in perspective" was necessary, it should have been necessary regardless of the election results!

The fact is that it would have been impossible for Rumsfeld to work with the Democratic House (Senate is still undecided) based on his behaviour in the past. He was the hawk of all hawks, he was the warmonger of warmongers, the stubborn s.o.b. who is directly responsible for the many needless deaths of American soldiers overseas. History will judge him. Goodness knows no justice system ever will.

The world is a brighter place this morning. That's all that matters, I guess.

Monday, November 06, 2006

My Halloween Costume

I'm posting because I have no way of sending this to Diane, who requested to see it.

The rest of you: close your eyes.

Here you go, Diane: Corporal Punishment.

...It would take too long to explain.

Yes, my name tag says "Punishment" and I am wearing corporal's flashes on my sleeves.

Hope you like.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Saddam Hussein : So Damn Insane

This really is nuts, ain't it?

I mean, how did a guy who runs (ran) a little country half way around the world loom so large in North American politics and news?


Anyways, I find it mildly interesting that the US would be so happy with this "trial" (quotes included since the outcome of a trial is supposed to be somewhat in doubt, normally).

See, as far as I can tell, no one has accused Hussein of actually pulling any triggers, of actually killing anyone. But then again, I don't know the details of this trial (does anyone?).

My point is this: having a leader hanged because he ordered the death of civilians is an interesting precedent. I mean, it ain't like civilians haven't died due to the orders of Mr. Bush et al. Have they?

Argue all you want that it isn't on the scale of "crimes against humanity", but surely there are degrees of guilt in the "let's make leaders accountable" judicial system, no?

How about...I don't know...manslaughter. Is that ok? Surely the boys of Law & Order could make those charges stick. 'Cause we're accountable here in the West, right? I mean, we hold our leaders to account, yes? We judge them as we would hope other leaders would be judged, right? What's good for the goose and all that?

Heck, even Michael Ignatieff, a political neophyte, was able to deduce that Bush had authorized a modern-day war crime (oops - don't use that term in the West. We save that one for Nazis and Iraqi leaders and some Eastern European folk).

I'm not saying Hussein is innocent - like I said, I don't know the facts - but I do know that leaders are normally hanged thanks to a mob, not a court. If we're claiming this trial was on the up-and-up and that leaders should be accountable in this fashion, let's take a real long look at the thickness of the glass walls before we start chucking stones.

Know what I mean, GB?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Gears of War

I was sitting at my computer when a cool commercial came on. I'd seen it before and loved it, so thought I'd spread the word.

There's a commercial for the new Xbox game Gears of War. It goes something like this:

A (computer) soldier runs through dark streets, jumping into buildings through the windows, loaded for bear. He dives to the ground. He opens his eyes to see a beautiful array of lights. It seems peaceful. Until the lights are revealed to be the luminescent eyes of a gigantic spider-like monster. The soldier stands and opens fire, making a stand against all odds.

Gary Jules' version of "Mad World" (Donnie Darko) plays throughout...


All around me are familiar faces,
Worn out places,
Worn out faces,
Bright and early for the daily races,
Going nowhere,
Going nowhere,
Their tears are filling up their glasses,
No expression,
No expression,
Hide my head I wanna drown my sorrow,
No tomorrow,
No tomorrow.

Mad world,
Mad world.

Lost characters


This week, a certain character left Lost.

I was really disappointed to see them go. I really liked that character. They were different. They were...I don't tune with the island in a way Locke seems to be (in part, at least). They were spiritual and violent, pensive and vicious.

It's a shame, I think. And I can't help but figure it again had to do with things outside the show. You won't convince me that the writers created this character only to have them written off this way. I'm convinced now, more than ever, that this show is being bullshitted as it goes along (all apologies to Denis, who believes this is what makes television great - yes, it makes it fluid, but how is a fan supposed to feel to know, to KNOW that there is no plan?).

Lost character indeed.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Update on Moi

The posts have dwindled, but that doesn't mean I'm too damn busy - it means I'm not all that motivated. Which is a good thing. It means I'm not bored and trapped in front of a computer. Now when I log on it's for a good reason.

Like porn.

...Email! I mean Email!!

I haven't been surfing as much as I used to. I haven't been to Boingboing. Same with Dead Things On Sticks. Dan doesn't post, so nothing lost there.

I'm not gonna take a ton of time to write out long diatribes on what's irking me. At this point, it'd have to be something pretty freaking bad. So, just some quick hits:

- Studio 60 rocks. Great writing. This is not a comedy show, folks, it's a show about comedy. Not nearly as confusing as it sounds.

- I still haven't been back to McDonald's. Two months plus and counting.

- Had a hard time finding a Hallowe'en costume idea this year. Settled on something. Not sure how good it is. You can decide. Anybody who wants a pic, though, is gonna have to post a friggin' comment to show their love.

- The Leafs still can't score on shootouts. Don't they practice these things? Last year showed how valuable these lost points are.

- Battlestar Galactica took another big turn this week. Wonder if this show can keep my interest? It's still unlike anything else out there.

Anything else worth writing about? Didn't think so. Back to my porn.

...Email! I mean Email!!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Maclean's: The Internet Sucks

I'm tired as hell and don't have the energy to get into this right now, but wanted to pass along my recommendation that folks read this week's Maclean's mag. There's a bang-on article inside that gives one man's opinion on what's wrong with the Internet.

It was a great read.

There's irony of course in the fact that I am passing this along via my blog, but those of you who take the time to read the article (which I can't find online, go figure) will get it.

I found myself smiling as I read it. It was

Maybe I'll get into my experience with the Internet some other time when my eyelids are cooperating. Basically, however, it boils down to these points:

- The Internet was born from an idealistic notion. If only the world worked that way.
- The Internet is, for the most part, uncontrolled - which is both it's greatest promise and greatest fault.
- The Internet is not bringing us closer together - it is driving us apart. Politically, socially, economically.
- The greater the technology, the greater the benefit to those who would take advantage of others.
- Porn will always - ALWAYS - rule the 'Net.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bush lays claim to SPACE!


The Toronto Star has an article lifted from the Washington Post that states that the US Government has "quietly signed a new National Space Policy that asserts his country's right to deny access to space to anyone "hostile to U.S. interests."


Honestly: who does this guy think he is? Could international politics get any more screwed up?

Ladies and gentlemen, it's official: the Western World has become the global bad guy. I think I just might move to China. Suddenly it seems pretty liberal.

When some folks claimed the new language could be seen as a prelude to the weaponization of space a Bush administration official "strongly disagreed with that characterization, saying the policy encourages international diplomacy and co-operation." long as you co-operate with the U.S. on their terms.

"National Security Council spokesman Frederick Jones said in written comments that an update was needed to "reflect the fact that space has become an even more important component of U.S. economic, national and homeland security."

Ah, "homeland security", that old gem.

"Although it had abstained in the past when proposals to ban space weapons came up in the United Nations, last October the United States voted for the first time against a call for negotiations — the only "no" against 160 "yes" votes."

How can anyone in their right mind (Max, I'm looking in your direction...oh wait, you're not in your right mind) support this administration? This is without a doubt the most shameful period in U.S. history since the Civil War.


Garth Turner Booted

Time's up.

Garth Turner, the Conservative MP from Halton (north of Toronto) got the boot from caucus.

It was bound to happen. No one this honest, this transparent can survive in party politics.

I encourage everyone to stay on top of this story and judge for themselves if Mr. Turner is a breath of fresh air or a moron who got what he deserved.

Either way, I wish there were more of him.

You can catch his blog here.

I have said here many times, and consistently since I was elected this last time, that I work for the voters - the people, the taxpayers. After that I heed my party and the political establishment. All are important, of course, but the people come first.
- Garth Turner

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What a Jackass

So I got around to seeing Jackass Number Two the other day.


...but so gross.

...but sooo funny.

This was one of those flicks that makes me fear for my life. That is to say, I'm laughing so hard for so long that I think I'm gonna have a heart attack. This one was way sicker than the first and didn't have as many lulls in the action. Sick funny bit after sick funny bit.

Go see it. And bring a barf bag.

Not for the faint of heart.

If your asshole can't see the camera, the camera can't see your asshole.
- Johnny Knoxville in Jackass Number Two

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Thanksgiving Weekend

So maybe you've noticed that I haven't posted in a while. At least I hope some people have...

I started this blog as a means of killing time while bored at work. Now that I'm done with that contract, well, I don't have the spare time trapped in front of a computer that I did.

So I'm just chillaxing at home, catching up on some stuff, taking my time looking for a new gig. This mellow attitude isn't very conducive to ranting and raving.

What we have here is a bit of a hiatus. We'll see how it goes.

In the meantime:

- George Bush's approval rating hit a new low of 33%. Honestly, I can't believe it was ever that high.

- Michael Ignatieff is leading in the Liberal leadership race, though pundits claim he'll be overtaken in the next ballot. I'm not quite sure who I'm cheering for here. Ignatieff seems a little too new to the political scene, but his neophyte status is somewhat appealing when Bob Rae is the opposition. In this case, It's hard to believe that the devil you know is better than the devil you don't.

- The Departed is getting crazy good reviews. I'm shocked. I thought this movie was going to be cheesy obvious crap. Guess not. Gotta see it now... Still have to see Jackass Number Two...too. Don't knock it until you've seen the first one.

- The Leafs have started their season. Jury's still out.
- Caught part of the William Shatner Roast on The Comedy Network yesterday. Holy crap was it crass. Hearing George Takei talking about taking it in the jaw was surreal.
Alright, time to do more chillaxing.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Securing Luggage: Fly With Guns

A few years ago a friend and I flew to Milwaukee via Chicago. When we got to our destination, my friend noticed his suitcase lock had been cut off. There was a brief note inside about it having been cut so that his bag could be inspected.

I found this strange because we watched the bag go through the screener - why not ask us to open it then? My lock wasn't cut...

Then I found it outrageous: once the lock had been cut off, what was stopping anyone (see corrupt baggage handling mofos) from stealing his valuables? Nothing. That's why passengers put locks on their luggage. Once the bag had cleared the screening machine, why would anyone have any cause to cut the lock?

Oh, right: 'cause they want to steal your stuff.


So it was with more than a little satisfaction and interest that I read this Boing Boing post. Seems some guy figured out how to ensure your things don't get stolen out of your suitcase: pack a gun. Because of the security measures taken once you declare your firearm (see: starter's pistol), there's no way your stuff will get lost/stolen.

That's it. I'm buying a gun at lunch.

Friday, September 22, 2006

CTV airs wrong Grey's Anatomy episode

I'm surprised Denis McGrath hasn't blogged about this yet, being a Grey's Anatomy fan, so I guess I'll have to.

It's good to know I'm not crazy after all.

Following up on the Global Rock Star: Supernova snafu a couple of weeks ago, I found it interesting that CTV made a similar mistake with regards to a high-profile show.

I happened to tune in to the season premiere of Grey's airing at 8pm on CTV (it airs at 9pm on ABC). I noticed that I seemed to be a bit out of the loop. Some of the things being discussed seemed unfamiliar to me, as if I had missed something. But the episode was great. I noticed they weren't dwelling on the events of the season finale, but rather were hitting the ground running with the way the characters were moving on.

But then the ABC version came on at 9pm.


I realized right quick that the reason the season premiere seemed so interesting, and why the characters were "moving on" was because this was, in fact, the second episode of the new season. CTV played the wrong episode. Unlike Global, however, CTV didn't catch on. The whole episode aired.

And now they're taking the same shit-kicking from fans that Global did for Supernova. Considering this foul-up, their claim that they are "fans" themselves rings terribly hollow. They're also clearly blaming ABC. Wonder what ABC would say...

I gotta say: I liked the second episode as a season premiere better than the actual season premiere. That episode sucked big monkey balls - because they DID dwell on the events of the finale.

Maybe there's a lesson for screen writers here...

DRM Article: Why Do We Steal?

A friend of mine sent me a link to an article. I'm not going to tell you who that friend is, 'cause, well, other friends might give him flak for giving me ammunition.

See, I hate DRM (Digital Rights Managment). I think it sucks. I also think we deserve this kind of b.s. in our lives to remind us of how trust and honesty have gone out the window. Businesses have started looking at their customers as threats instead of patrons. Theft'll do that to you.

I don't know who Stephen Speicher is (and I'll admit to not trying to find out) but wow, is he ever asking for it. He's posted an article on the internet that touches on the subject of piracy and why some people think it's ok. That's like a Republican Congressmen criticizing Bush.

See, some people (Cory Doctorow...I'm looking in your direction...) think consumers are "entitled" to media, whether it be music or video; that somehow anything created artistically belongs to the people, not the artists and not the company that paid the artist for the right to own and distribute that given work.

This is a subject I haven't talked about for a while, because, quite frankly, it's tiresome and there's no convincing practioners that what they're doing is harmful and against long-standing business practices.

I know, I know, Cory: "come up with a new business model, then!" You first, pal. Until then, don't buy an iPod and let them know what you think.

So, I encourage any readers of this blog (there must be one or two of you, according to Clustrmaps) to have a gander at the article. Where do you stand on the moral fibre scale?

"Law-abiding, moral people do things with entertainment content that they wouldn't dream of doing with physical goods. Can you imagine walking into a restaurant which you knew to be overpriced, eating, and then leaving without paying just because the you felt the place was a rip-off and not worth the prices they charged? Worse yet, can you imagine doing it the next day also? Of course not!"
-Stephen Speicher

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Olbermann and Me

Thought this was interesting.

Denis McGrath had a post about Frank Rich's new book, which prompted me to try to find the Keith Olbermann commentary in question (I couldn't get sound off Denis' post).

I came across this one. At about the 5:30 mark he uses a quote from the Declaration of Independence which I had also used in relation to the current Administration.

Check it out.

By the way, you know that whole "independence" thing? Don't look now, but a whole bunch of that could have been called "terrorism", too - just ask the British. Ain't perspective a bitch?

Frank Miller's "300"

Holy shit, Batman! How had I not heard about this before now?

Was checking out rottentomatoes today (as I often do near the end of the week to see how the new releases are faring) and noticed a link for a trailer for 300 a new action flick based on a graphic novel by Frank Miller.


As one guy put it: it looks like Sin City meets Gladiator -- only cooler.

Check this out!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Brad Pitt to lead Mission: Impossible 4?

No way...

There's a story on that claims the Daily Mail has a story on this.

Pitt would be offered the lead for *gulp* $39.5 Million.

...Ok, so maybe that makes it slightly believable.

But how is this a good career move for Pitt? It's a tired franchise and Pitt has claimed he wants to make more "mature" flicks.

I think Mr. and Mrs. Smith showed Pitt could be a kick-ass action star, but why not use a new brand? I mean, it's not like the Mission Impossible name will draw more movie-goers than Pitt's would. So why throw a potential anchor around the project's neck?

The story goes that Pitt wouldn't play Ethan Hunt, but a new character. Hunt would "retire" to be with his wife. But the flick would still have the MIF world attached to it. Again: why?

You might as well do Mr. & Mrs. & baby Smith.

... don't think...


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Rose & Crown

My Toronto "haunt" has to be the Rose & Crown just north of Yonge & Eglinton.

I've been going there for about 7 years. The kitchen is pretty good (it used to be outstanding), the service is alright (it used to be terrific) and the atmosphere is decent (...unchanged).

I love the pad thai there. Authentic or not, it tastes great. Thursday nights: $6.99. Sweet.

A friend pointed out to me that when he checked out the website, he noticed they have a couple of webcams. There's one at the bar (where I never hang out) and one near the "rear", where I can sometimes be found having sunday brunch or thursday pad thai.

Check it out sometime, and I'll try to remember to wave.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip

I think I'm in love.

...and that means trouble.

Big Brother and Rock Star are finally over and I was thinking I might get away from my tv a little more.

Not so much.

I taped Studio 60 last night and got around to watching it today. It's freakin' great. But what do you expect from Aaron Sorkin, the mind behind the best show of the past 10 years: The West Wing?

Truth be told, however, this show is a lot more like Sports Night, the terrific but horribly scheduled precursor to The West Wing; it's a show about a show and the characters who put it together.

I wasn't surprised that I loved the West Wing alumni: Bradley Whitford and Timothy Busfield, with more undoubtedly to follow. I've always been a Busfield fan, and Whitford's Josh was probably my favourite character on The West Wing.

I was surprised I liked Matthew Perry as much as I did. He was the wild card in this for me. I loved him in the early years of Friends, but by the end he was just a drag. If the first episode is any indication, he's gonna be just my cup of tea in Studio 60.

Now for all you women out there: what did you think of the women characters? Is it true that there are no good roles for women anymore? I mean, the best characters in Studio 60 were Felicity Huffman (one-time appearance) and the P.A. girl. I didn't care much for Amanda Peet (Jordan McDeere) - she was a wash at best. But Sarah Paulson (Harriet Hayes) - wtf? You know, for this kind of role you can have a funny person with attitude, but a character with attitude who isn't funny? No thanks. Booooring.

The "show's" cast is the key here. If they're gonna have any believability, the cast has to be good, smart, funny. I mean, Saturday Night Live (the blatantly obvious inspiration) may not be as "cutting edge" as it was, but this is the same show that produced Will Farrell, Mike Myers and Tina Fey. They're still funny, interesting people. They're comedians. We'll see...

So, it seems the tv gods are conspiring against me. I'm gonna be hooked on another show. Add it to the list.

Crap. I just saw a commercial for a new Dana Delaney show with Timothy Hutton co-starring (Kidnapped). I think I'll be able to avoid getting hooked, but geez, Dana Delaney? I'd watch her with the volume off anytime...

And then there's James Woods in Shark. Love that guy. With Jeri Ryan as a co-star. ...Yeah, that wasn't enough for me, either.

Oh crap: and now Not Another Teen Movie is on.

Damn you, tv gods.

Danny Tripp: I have no reason to trust you and every reason not to.
Jordan McDeere: Why?
Danny Tripp: You work in television.
- Bradley Whitford and Amanda Peet in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Reality show wrap-up: Big Brother & Rock Star Supernova

Ok, so to follow up on my previous posts: (for those who care)

Mike Boogie won Big Brother All-Stars while hometown boy Lukas Rossi took home the Supernova gig.

First off, I'm glad Boogie won. He deserved it way more than Erika. It's been my experience however that the deserving person rarely wins these competitions. Survivor almost always rewards the wrong person. Tina over Colby? What the heck are these people smoking on these islands? They always take it personally and rarely reward the best player.

I'm glad that almost everyone involved was in agreement that Will and Janelle were the two best players and that Chill Town ran the show. I love those boys. I want the t-shirt.

Lukas Rossi as lead singer for I dunno....

To be honest I think they made a mistake. I was kinda pulling for the hometown boy, but I gotta say I think Toby would have been the best choice. The chicks dig him, he can write, he's got presence, and his voice is strong. Lukas has showmanship, but I think his "moves" would wear on me real quick. Jason Newsted better whip that boy's voice into shape or no one will ever understand that kid.

I also love how they didn't explain to Dilana why they didn't choose her - especially after heaping so much praise on her. The answer to me seems fairly clear - Gilby didn't think she could contribute anything to the band other than her voice, and I truly believe the band didn't want a female lead singer. They kept her around because she was awesome and she was good for the show. (I actually think they would have kept Storm around longer than, say, Magni, but unfortunately for her she was up against Dilana and Lukas on her elimination night)

And shame on Global Television for not pulling a mea culpa and admitting that they messed up the finale broadcast. In case you missed it, Global played the wrong episode at 8pm - for a good twenty minutes! That's some kind of quality control they got there. When they finally played the right feed, Magni had already been eliminated. They replayed the entire correct episode at 10pm - when the results were already known. D'oh!

**update: apparently, it came from the source, says Global...but considering the snafu only lasted a few minutes on American channels... (check out the mock Global explanation - nsfw)

...and that's all I gots to say about that. No more "reality tv" talk. I'm done. I don't watch Survivor, I catch only glimpses of The Amazing Race and I won't watch any of the Idol shows.

Now, it's House, Prison Break and...oh yeah...oops...Ultimate Fighter. Ok, one more reality show.

"This is truly an all-stars season, because I'm astonished by your game play here. Now a lot of you have come up to me and said 'Will, you don't really seem like you're into it, you don't really seem like you want to play.' And you said 'Why?' I said to myself, I don't know, I don't know why, I can't understand it. So I had a heart-to-heart with myself, and I said 'Will, what is the reason? Why are you having such a hard time playing?' And this is the truth. Season two, the season that I won, there was a lot of people that I hated. And it was easy for me to motivate and find individuals that I disliked, and it gave me power. It gave me a reason to want to play, it gave me a reason to want to fight, and it gave me a reason to want to remove people from the game. Then I thought, so why haven't I had that motivation? And I thought it was because I really like everyone here. But then I realized it was the opposite of that. I can't find an individual to hate, because I hate you all! There's no one I hate more than anyone else.

This is what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna ask to be removed from the game by you all. Now, if you refuse to kick me out, I will be throwing every competition, I will throw every HoH, I will throw every POV, and I will throw every food competition. George is on slop, and I will do the best I can to ensure that we are all on slop, unless you get together, have a big group meeting and vote me out.

So George, please don't use the power of veto on me. I want this nomination to stay in place. I encourage you to use it yourself. You know why? (Clapping, pointing at George.) This man is a bad-ass! He went up against the five wickedest, freakiest Big Brother players, and he whooped their ass! Don't use it.

Vote me out."

- Will the Puppetmaster gives the speech of the year (and stays) on Big Brother All-Stars