From the monthly archives:

October 2005

Monday’s Quotelet: If I’m Lion I’m Dyin’.

by Dave on October 31, 2005

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Simba’s winning entry in the third annual Taronga Zoo Pumpkin Carving Competition helped secure his species’ position as ‘King of the Jungle’ for another year.

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The woman who writes the quizzlet questions is on vacation, apparently. Which is fine – because I’d usually rather rub a salted piece of pork in my eye than answer some of the gems she comes up with. So what’s a guy to do? I’m brain-dead today after a rowdy Bruins game last night with the GoonSquad, so I’ll just rattle off a few fun facts regarding this weekend’s festivities.

If you’re coming to the Big Haunt 2, and I know a lot of you are, please carpool. For flip’s sake designate a driver. Concord is a haul, and the Po-Po will be out in full force. We’ll have plenty of food and non-alcoholic options on hand. And respect the neighbors. There aren’t many of them, but stay off their lawns and don’t scream your heads off coming or leaving. And certainly don’t drive your shitty SUV into their living rooms.

But to keep things Quizzletty, I will pose a question to all of you: What, in your fevered recollection, is the absolute worst Halloween costume you ever rocked?

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I’ll Get Married, Eh Joker? Obviously.

by Dave on October 26, 2005

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About 4 years ago, Jason did something that made Amy mad. Nothing major he assured me vaguely, but a gesture would definitely be called for and so he turned to his old pally Dave for a quick sentiment-turnaround. As we drove through Guelph, we passed by the restaurant where Jason and Amy had had their very first date. He got out of my car, grabbed a vine covered post in front of the establishment, looked longingly at the front door – and asked me to snap a photograph. It was funny and cheesy in a sincerely homoerotic sort of way, and I had a feeling it would get him out of whatever hole he’d dug for himself.

Now, I thought my involvement in the backpedaling would end there, but shortly after my return to Boston a few days later I got an email from him asking for the photo – with a few requested alterations. “Take any photo of Amy you have, and then have me like… thinking of her in a thought bubble in that picture you took in front of the restaurant.” My response was likely something along the lines of “Jesus, what the hell did you actually do, anyway?” Regardless, I got straight to work and came up with exactly what he’d described. I don’t have a copy of it anymore – I am hoping he does and will send it along.

The picture worked, obviously. They’ve been together a long time now and this morning I got the phone call that I’d long hoped would come – they’re tying the knot almost exactly a year from this very evening. So congratulations, you two. It’s going to go well, and I’m honestly very happy for you both. You can show me your undying appreciation for my lifesaving graphic talents by seating me, and not Mitch, next to the hottest single bridesmaid.

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“Sure, these songs might sound like a lot of shit you’ve heard before… but as you listen, Sloan’s affectations and flourishes materialize and you hear the band for what they really are– not a cloying, uninspired rip-off, but an intelligent band with a sense of humor and a great ear for pop hooks.”Pitchfork

Listening to Sloan‘s first album, Smeared, reminds me of peeling potatoes. When I first arrived at Guelph University in 1992, I got a job in the kitchen of the biggest on-campus pub. While I would eventually go on to run that joint and several others by the end of my 6 year professional scholastic stint – I spent a good 3 semesters covered in grease, throwing poutine across the slick counter to drunken frigtards. Or, my peers, if you want to split hairs.

There was a Crisco-encrusted boom box in the back with several gummy mixtapes that we used to listen to during those long nights in the galley as I grew to call it. One of which had Sloan’s remarkable first single, Underwhelmed as the first song on side 2. The mix belonged to a coworker who’d jammed it with all kinds of mediocre Canadian bands of the era – Watchmen, Tea Party, Grapes of Wrath, 54-40, Wide Mouth Mason – and the anticipation of the Sloan tune, which stood out from the rest of the flotsam like a ray of light, kept me going. But it was ultimately another song from their soon to be released second effort, recently voted the #1 Canadian album of all time, Twice Removed that would endure until today as my favorite by these special sons of Halifax.

“Sloan’s Twice Removed album was nearly rejected by its label and caused the band to lose their record deal. It also caused certain members of the band under serious duress and nearly broke them up. So how does that become the most beloved Canadian album of all time?”Chart Attack

I Can Feel It is jammed in at the very end of the record, and I admittedly overlooked it for a few years as a result. But it’s stood the test of time and I wanted to ‘big it up’ right here on Radio Pye. It starts with a cheery guitar riff that sways along so, so very catchily. The bass doesn’t conform to standards and plays its own little melody at points. The lyrics are simple, but I’ve surmised after many listens that the protagonist is a jilted lover who can take a little solace in the fact that “at least I’m still cool to one girl” – his little sister.

Whether the duet is supposed to be between him and the girl he “can feel” actually really digs him (but just doesn’t know it yet) – or his sister – remains a bit of a creepy mystery to me. Jennifer Pierce from Halifax band “Jade” sings along starting at the first chorus and then comes and goes intermittently for the rest of the tune. It’s an unusual structure for a song which also ends quite abruptly. But I will always love it and I hope y’all get a little something out of my own personal obsession.

And I was happy to see Sloan only recently played Peter Clark Hall at Guelph. Because I used to run that too.

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Things I Have To Stop Doing Immediately:

by Dave on October 25, 2005

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– Peeping Growing Up Gotti. I swear I only watch it for Luigi, and that I’m not gay.

– Not bringing my camera to comedy shows. Last week I met Chris Elliott, and Friday night I got to hang out with Colin Quinn. I just know that we’d have been all sorts of photogenic with eachother.

– Buying things. I got a small raise and I’ve been spending like I’m George freakin’ Hamilton for the past 2 months. Although the poster & ticket I had framed from this show look great over the fireplace. Which is great, because it’s definitely time to start using the fireplace.

– Not eating vegetables. We’re a captive audience here in the North End – unless it’s a Haymarket day – and I’ve been surviving on tots, Puttanesca and Regina‘s. If that sounds tasty, let me assure you – it is.

– Pretending my cat doesn’t produce more doodies than a rabbit… farm. I have this space age litter box you just roll over on its side, pull out a drawer and flush. I do it every couple of days, and it’s invariably like emptying out your barbeque at the end of August.

– Staying sequestered in the city every weekend. All my readers know about the hectic summer I had, but my refractory period should be well past over by now. Luckily, I’m off to Concord this weekend for The Big Haunt 2. I’m in charge of music, pumpkin carving and the delegation of not being sober. Which should be quite easy with four half barrels and a bowl of Jim’s special punch.

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Monday’s Quotelet: Ah Suki Suki Now.

by Dave on October 24, 2005

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Orchestrating the merger between Jenny Craig and Sumo Snacks, Inc. would prove more difficult than Suki had expected.

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Appetizer: Do you button shirts top-to-bottom or bottom-to-top?
Top to bottom. Doesn’t everybody? You know how women’s buttons are on the left, and men’s buttons are on the right? Maybe it’s the other way around. I’m a little confused because I wore my yellow kimono today. I’ll get back to you/beaten up on my walk home through Downtown Crossing.

Soup: What is your favorite sandwich?
Those deep-fried Monte Cristos you get at Bennigans. Take a grilled cheese sandwich, and use mayonnaise to grill it instead of butter. Then dip it in batter and deep fry it. Then remove your heart from your chest, roll it in rough sawdust and place it back into your cavity like some sort of indecisive Mola Ram.

Salad: What was a family project you helped work on as a child?
My father built a sweet treehouse for me when I was a yute, and I suppose I must have helped a little bit. He took two computer crates, back when computers were the size of refrigerators, and stacked them on top of each other next to a 15 foot dead tree. He cut a door in the front, and then a ladder went up through both crates – so it was like a two-story apartment. Then he covered the crates in split logs so it looked like a cabin. The ladder continued up through the top of the upper crate and onto a big rickety deck he built on top of the stump. It was amazing and I will see if I can find and scan an old photo (update: found and scanned). There has never been a better treehouse in which to play doctor. Thanks, Kathy, wherever you are. Although I remember killing a lot of frogs in there, too. Jesus, that’s hot.

A note on the photo – that’s my Grandmother, Claire, in the aviators holding the Yorkie (Buffy) and her friend Pat standing behind me – we’re a good 3 stories off the ground. Pat was a nice lady, but looked an awful lot like Roger Ebert. The photo was taken in Manotick, Ontario circa 1981. The beginning of my obsession with Raiders of the Lost Ark was only weeks away.

Main Course: When have you acted phony?
I was privvy to a nasty secret once, between a group of very close friends, that I pretended to be completely ignorant of for several days. I eventually, and for very good reason that I can’t go into, spilled the beans and subsequently created a string of incidents that got very ugly indeed. I’m sure you’ve all been there. And probably with the same horrible, cum-dumpster of a girl. How is she, by the way? What’s the matter? She can’t call nobody?

Dessert: Do you write letters or postcards? If so, to whom?
Your Mom. I send checks to people who send me bills. So there’s a bit of give and take there. It’s sorta like a relationship with a pen pal, you could say. A dirty penpal, who always wants something from you. I am in an unhealthy, abusive pen pal relationship with NStar.

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Halloween Costume Request.

by Dave on October 19, 2005

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This venue worked well earlier this month for my DVD related request – so I’m going to give it another shot. Simply put – does anyone have a Drew Bledsoe jersey? Patriots, Cowboys, Bills – no matter. Just needs to say Bledsoe on the back. It’s Halloween costume related, so you’ll get it back in a couple of weeks. I’ve got a funny idea, and I’d rather not order something online that may not get here in time when this city used to be flooded with Drew-related schwag and there may be some remnants under somebody’s bed. I quiver with antici……… pation.

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We all hated each other, I just started speaking to me brother again. But the rest of the Mondays, they’re just a joke. One of the guitarists is selling encyclopedias door-to-door and another one’s a cook. They’re a bunch of d*cks. I tried me hardest to tell them not to split the band. It was just b*llocks. The rest of them thought they were rock Gods. They just wanted money. They didn’t care about music.” – Shaun Ryder on why he formed Black Grape

I love the Happy Mondays, and I get a lot of subsequent grief from friends and family surrounding that fact. But I simply can’t apologize – Some people like marmite. Some people like anchovies. I love the Mondays and Shaun Ryder. There’s no accounting for taste, as they say. Class, charm and the ability to pick up audible sounds, maybe – but never taste.

After the band imploded in 1993, Ryder and Bez formed Black Grape and had three top ten hits off the first album, It’s Great When You’re Straight, Yeah! The best of which was Reverend Black Grape and you can listen to it now by clicking the Zap button on Radio Pye in the left hand column. Surprisingly to many who wrote Ryder off as a drug-addled maniac (if the shoe fits…), Grape took the charts by storm during 1995 and many reviewers actually preferred them to Ryder’s previous incarnation: “Heavily steeped in the funk, ex-Happy Mondays frontman Shaun Ryder comes off here like a Mancunian George Clinton as he babbles over top of a skilled, polyrhythmic unit that’s far tighter than the slapdash Mondays.” – Amazon

The hodgepodge tune includes a scitar, dancehall chirping courtesy of rapper Kermit, a rousing and uplifting chorus, old-school samples (listen carefully for the Hitler speech), bongos, some sort of snake-charmer flute thing and even a harmonica. The production values are riotus and there’s a damn good reason this record made multiple ‘album of the year’ lists in the UK. Above the din, Ryder’s trademark non-sensical lyrics still serve their purpose. It’s more style than substance – Shaun is truly hooked on his own phonics (no, that’s not a new type of meth-amphetamine), and it works:

“The title of the album partly expressed Ryder’s decision to turn away from hard drug abuse, and this was indeed a comparatively sober effort given the artist’s past reputation. However, his much-publicized “cut-up” lyrics were present, along with his trademark scat coupling of meaningless phrases…” – MusicStrands.com

Nope – Ryder, Bez and the rest of the two gangs aren’t for everybody. But as I saw for myself when I snuck into the Mondays show here in Boston in 1990 (I was 16 or 17 – in retrospect, maybe it was a wristbanded, all-ages event) it’s more about the party than getting the guitar tuned and hitting all the notes properly. Oh, and a fucking shitload of hard drugs, too.

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Defender Of The Crown.

by Dave on October 18, 2005

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Nearly 32 years have passed without my having endured any signifigant oral trauma. Unless of course you count that one time in University when I woke up after a tryst feeling like my ‘special purpose’ had been sharpened by a beaver and added to a dam. Otherwise – lovely girl.

I’m told that my good dental luck stems from the fact that there is so much flouride in the water in Canada. I registered at a new dentist Friday after many years of truancy, and I now have an inevitable laundry list of repairs that are going to have to be made. The hygenist that cleaned my teeth said she had no comments regarding my general care – she was impressed. But as she packed up and got ready for the doctor, she eluded to a few issues that went beyond simple maintenance. My luck had run out.

Genetic enamel deficiency is the long term problem. If you want to suck face after looking at that link, ladies – take a number. But mine isn’t too advanced and can be remedied with some artful bonding at the hands of my new yapper doctor, who seems like a great guy. I think I lucked out. But the immediate issue, which I was asked to rush back today to take care of, is my back right molar which has completely split vertically down the middle. I looked at it in the mirror and it was alarming – and a symptom of the overall enamel problem.

So I went in today for the first step in the crown procedure, which is to file down the tooth into a shadow of its formal self, and then take a mold for a porcelain replacement which will be constructed over the next couple of weeks. It did not go smoothly, and as I write I can feel the whackload of novocaine I was jagged with starting to wear off. I have a temporary cap over the little nub, but I predict problems before I get to wear the actual crown. Like King Richard.

The nerve that the doctor was trying to hit with the novocaine runs a different route in my face than is usual, apparently. The first shot gave me a little tingle, and the doctor started to file away. Whenever he’d hit the top of the tooth, where the crack is, this tremendous bolt of pain would rocket through my jaw. He gave me another and tried again. Same thing. Another. ZING. Another – the final count was 5 units. The amazed dental assistant showed me the empty glass vials incredulously while the doctor was seeing to someone else. She called me tough, and I replied “Lady, i don’t want to be tough today.” I began to pray feverishly for the drug tolerance of River Phoenix.

For the last shot, the doctor angled the needle away from where you’re normally supposed to strike, and went very, very deep. I felt the left half of my face shut down immediately, and he was able to finish the job at hand. He told me not to go back to work, as apparently he felt he’d used enough of the drug to drop Kong, and I took the T home. So my point is, nearly 32 years of having cooperative choppers has come to an end, and I’m now about to embark on all the cringe-worthy stuff most people have already experienced by my age. Maybe now I’ll be able to better appreciate Marathon Man.

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Monday’s Quotelet: The Rivers of Pork.

by Dave on October 17, 2005

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A tragedy to most, the Maiale family welcomed Katrina as an opportunity to narrowly escape from Emeril.

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Appetizer: Who is someone you would consider to be a calm person?
I have thought about this for a few minutes now, and no one is really coming to mind. How about a bomb squad technician? A skydiving instructor? A police officer? Anyone who risks their life daily for a paycheck. I only risk my sanity.

Soup: What was your last “gut feeling” about? Were you right?
There’s a really simple anser to this question, but there are elements of my personal life that I don’t like to talk about on the site. So I’ll avoid the best answer and reply as follows. There was never any question in my mind that Michael Stipe was as gay as an Easter parade.

Salad: List 3 words that you really don’t like how they sound.
I hate the word concatenate. It’s tough to say, and I have to say it frequently at work. I’ve also never been crazy about chaff. And there is a town next to Guelph, where I went to University, named Puslinch (pronnounced Pee-you-zlinch) that always made my skin crawl.

Main Course: What kind of shampoo and conditioner do you use?
Whatever’s around, really. I honestly don’t spend much money on ‘product’. I have also been known to wash my hair with whatever bar of soap I’m using. It’s my daily little prison fantasy ritual. Indulge me, and also please send 2 cartons of cigarettes.

Dessert: If you had a guardian angel, what would you name it?
Kevin Costner, of course. There’s never been a better Bodyguard.

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My Name Is Craig. Daniel Craig.

by Dave on October 14, 2005

in Movies

Way to busy to do a proper quizzlet today. Meetings, dentist, interns and the like. But as always I’ll get to it over the weekend. In the meantime, please discuss the hot topic of the day – and no, it has nothing to do with a bombing, Nicole Richie or a natural disaster. Although these are often synonymous. I’m here all week – try the martinis.

Since my #1 choice didn’t want the role, I am now quite happy with the selection of Daniel Craig as the next (“grittier and darker“) 007. If you’ve seen Layer Cake, you know this guy can pull of some serious action. His rugged fugliness is also a departure from the poofiness of Brosnan, Moore and Dalton – and a bit of a throwback to the tougher, more mean-spirited and thuggish Bond that Sean Connery brought to the screen.

This publicity photo, the first of Craig as Bond, really says it all. “The actor said he was not looking to redefine the role, but added: “It’s a question of taking it somewhere maybe where it’s never gone before.” Oh, James.

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These Pipes… Are CLEAN!

by Dave on October 13, 2005

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Some workmates and I went down to Brookline last night to Chris Elliott‘s book reading event at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. I have been a fan of Chris’ since I was a sprog and saw him do an interpretation of William Shatner’s interpretation of Rocket Man on David Letterman. Chris was hilarious, reading from his new book Shroud of the Thwacker for 15 minutes and then taking questions from the audience for another 45.

Upon listening to all the questions that were rapid-fired to him, I realized how many movies Chris has been in that I had completely forgotten about. He’s the cameraman in Groundhog Day, a deep sea miner in The Abyss, Oogie in There’s Something About Mary – and he even played a forensic psychologist in Michael Mann’s far superior Red Dragon precursor, Manhunter. He was asked about all of these, Letterman, obscure specials he’s done for pay TV and of course – Get A Life. “We had no idea there were so many people watching that show. And unfortunately, neither did Fox“.

After the Q&A, The Coolidge screened Cabin Boy – an equally reviled and unsung movie which Elliott hasn’t disowned, but admits he can’t watch because its box office failure was a huge blow and seriously derailed his career back in the early 90s. The packed house went absolutely nuts for it, and he was visibly moved. He signed copies of his book in the back as the audience laughed their heads off, and I felt very happy for him – as he obviously had no idea what his work has meant to so many people. It was quite a thing to be there and watch that kind of realization. This is the first book proper book he’s ever written, and he’d never done a flesh-pressing tour like this in his life.

I waited a long time to get up to talk to him, and I am kicking myself for forgetting my camera at home as he was graciously posing with anyone who wanted a snap. I bought a copy of his book, shook his hand and had a little chat. After he signed the book, I asked him “Are you sick of seeing these yet?” at which point I slyly slipped him the insert from my Cabin Boy DVD in the hopes he’d sign it. “Not at all!” he replied. “In fact, after tonight I am going to call Adam Resnick and see if he wants to do a re-release with a proper commentary and some special features.” He looked up after signing it and smiled. “You had no idea there was a market like this did you?” I asked – “I had no idea” he replied. He shook my hand again and I returned to my seat somewhere near the “Fishstick Kitty” scene.

Chris Elliott is a genius, and a genuinely friendly person to boot. I wish him the best and encourage all of you to seek out more of his amazing work.

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“Throwing together electro, 70’s cop show theme music, Bollywood soundtracks, cheerleading chants, old hip hop and noise guitar bands with a wide-eyed sense of possibility where everything crashes into everything else with a breathless, delighted, abandon. The Go! Team seem to be suffering from a collective brain-wrong that is gloriously, euphorically right.”Amazon.com

If you took the buzz and drone of early Sonic Youth, mixed it with the frantic drumming and splashy cymbals of the worst indie rock band you’d ever heard and then paid a group of double-dutching young girls 2 boxes of Mike and Ike‘s to sing backup vocals – You’d be closing in on the sound of England’s The Go! Team.

I’ve had this album for over a year now, and it’s finally been released in the USA. The reason it took so long is because of the mountain of samples they had to clear – I have noticed a few minor variations from the UK release but it still packs a wicked punch and is like nothing I’ve ever heard.

“Every tune surges, every chorus makes you feel like an Olympic contender. It’s been ten years since the excesses of Big Beat, but The Go! Team have harvested all of the fun elements of that culture (happy samples, clunky rhythms, hands perpetually in the air) and made it digestible again.”BBC Northern Ireland

The Go! crew is made up of an even split of men and women from a wide variety of nationalities, and the whole conglomerate is headed up by a teeny female MC named Ninja. They’re playing at the Paradise on November 1st, and I encourage you to check them out by hitting ZAP on Radio Pye in the left hand column. What a unique, wonderful, fun band these guys are.

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