From the monthly archives:

November 2008

Bruins vs. Islanders vs. Puppies

by Dave on November 28, 2008

in Animalistic,Sporty

Hello, kids. The Puppy birthday party went off without a hitch, as did the human party last night at Matt’s in Concord. More people showed up than we ever could have predicted, and it`s a true testament to the influence of the internet. And by internet, I of course mean Facebook. More information to follow when I’m not living life like Roger Miller’s favorite train-frequenting protagonist.


Maya, Griffin and Bella get the pit going at the Puppy Party.

Friday morning an intimidating number of us will be meeting at 9am within the Grand Canal to imbibe in preparation of the hockey game at noon. Our seats are formidable and I can’t wait. If Greg, The Hammer, Pete, Johnny Mac, Detroit Velvet Smooth, Alize, John David, Amy and I make it past Garden security after 3 hours of A.M. revelry on Causeway Street – even better. Anyone who is also attending this particular sporting event please feel free to join us at the GC pre-game.

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Monday’s Quotelet: Horatio-Libs

by Dave on November 25, 2008

in Monday's Quotelet

Made it to Boston in 7.5 hours on Sunday afternoon – a new record for me. My secret? Keep yourself dehydrated so you need less wee breaks, use cruise control as it dramatically decreases the amount og gas the car will use and go 10 miles above the limit for which you’ll rarely be pulled over.

Tonight is the kid-friendly puppy birthday party at Janet’s in Charlestown and Wednesday night is the big bender in Concord with the high school friends – in many ways my favorite night of the year. My point is, blogging might be light this week but I had to take time out and put this up. I think we can have a lot of fun with it.

horatio-caine

Care to take your own stab at a Horatio-Lib? 1a (the setup) 1b (Horatio #1) 2 (Horatio #2) 3 (Horatio #3) 4 (YEEAAAAAHH!). Make sense? Here’s my first stab at this wonderful new productivity-sucker:

1a: Sir, all the fingers on his right hand were removed. We located them in his… rectum.
1b: Well, you know what Confuscious said…
2: He who go to bed with itchy bum…
3: Wake up with smelly finger.
4: YEEAAAAAHH!

Not my best work. I’ll try again later. I’ll turn the best submissions into graphics and maybe create an ongoing Horatio Libs gallery. Thanks to Gary for sending this my way, and to those of you I will see in the Boston area this week – looking forward to it. Happy holidays!

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When I last wrote a Quizzlet 2 weeks ago, I mentioned that the site, www.FridaysFeast.com, from which I used to mine the questions, hadn’t been updated in 4 months. I emailed the woman who owns the site and offered to take it over myself. I received no reply, and when I checked a few minutes ago found that it’s been taken down completely.

I sorta feel like the ‘movie bad guy’ whose object of affection jumps off a cliff rather than become his girlfriend. I can’t think of any specific cinematic examples, but I know they exist. A little help, people? Regardless, looks like I’ll have to write them again myself this week. As always, please feel free to contribute your own answers in the comments!

Appetizer: What is your favorite John Belushi SNL skit?
I know a lot about the history of SNL, and I enjoy talking about it so perhaps I’ll make this a regular Quizzlet question. I knew the answer to this before I wrote the question so I was relieved to actually find this clip online – although I’m not able to embed it. Click the image to watch it.

belushi-donuts
“Little Chocolate Donuts have been on my training table since I was a kid.”

My favorite element is definitely the lit cigarette. And the facial expressions are unmistakably Belushi. All told, fitness was a very different pursuit in the late 1970s. My friend Doug Triconi first turned me on to this skit by talking about and reinacting it a million times before I ever actually managed to catch it on a re-run. I was happy to discover recently that it’s featured on the SNL Best of John BelushiDVD.

Soup: What does Thanksgiving mean to you?
Obviously it’s a time to reflect on your life and appreciate the people in it. I like to also physically enact this by getting myself to Concord, Massachusetts and hanging out with all my old high school friends once a year. I skipped it in ’07 and really, really missed being there – So much that I wrote about it and created a Ghosts of Thanksgivings Past photo gallery to share with everyone I wouldn’t be seeing. So, fully repentant, on Sunday I’m throwing wee Shep in the Charger and heading on down to MA for a week. Mon/Tues/Wed I’ll be in the office. Tuesday night Janet is hosting a birthday party for our dogs (also siblings) Rhubarb and Shepherd. It’s a family-friendly party that will allow me to spend some time with all my little North End buddies like Griffin, Maya, Bella and Lorenzo – and they’ll finally get to meet the pups they have heard so much about and been giving me drawings of for the past year. I have a bunch of them on the bulletin board over my desk right now.

Wednesday night Matt is having a bash at his house (which also happens to be right beside the high school) that we’ve used Facebook to invite 3 grades of early 90s CCHS students to. It’s going to be awesome. Thursday morning we’ll drive to Bedford for the big football game, our hands wrapped tightly around Dunkin’ Donuts cups spiked with Kahlua. Then I’ll eat with Jim and his family and likely end up back at Matt’s for more silliness in the evening. Maybe Papa Razzi on route 2. Maybe the Makaha – the suspense is killing me. Friday I have tickets to the noon Bruins game and will be hitting the Garden with Detroit Velvet Smooth, The Hammer, John David, J-Mac, Greg and a host of other old pals. Friday night DVS and his lovely (and likely hesitant) wife are hosting a gathering at their pad in West Acton. Saturday is earmarked for movies, New London Style grinders and recovery. Sunday I’ll be returning home after a week of professional productivity and sentimental sousey socializing. Jealous much? My liver isn’t.

Salad: Who is your favorite band of the moment?
We all have our all-time favorite bands well established, but my favorite group of the moment is definitely De La Soul. My previously-declared love for Q-Tip’s The Renaissance has encouraged me to have one of my own in regards to hip-hop. The two albums I’ve been spinning all week are De La Soul is Dead and Buhloone Mind State, the latter is gravely underappreciated and thoroughly excellent. Here is my favorite track off the 1994 album, Breakadawn.


“Yo, I don’t know who’s been on this mic but this thing smell awful here.” – ‘Stone Age’ from Buhloone Mind State

Main Course: Feel any better about Obama?
Not really. As I have stuck my neck out and said (it’s not a popular opinion within my social sphere) I am worried about national defense under Barry’s administration – but I plan to give him an ample chance to prove himself before I start whinging about it like every other unqualified hack in the blogosphere did about Bush for nearly a decade. I am showing remarked restraint thus far.

Dessert: What is your favorite vintage arcade game and why?
The first game I really obsessed about and would beg my father to drive me into Ottawa every weekend to play was the incredibly difficult (even today) Spy Hunter. Maybe it was my love of all things Bond in 1984 that caused me to dig it so much, but I did. In spite of the fact that once you switched into the high gear setting, your car flew up the road so quickly that – at 10 years of age – you had a better chance of remembering PI to the 300th decimal point.

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Door Poultry Just Doing Their Jobs

by Dave on November 19, 2008

in Animalistic

If you’ve ever worked as a bouncer you know that about 90% of all trouble starts in one of two places: the dance floor or the pool table. Gary sent me this video a few minutes ago and I had to share. It reminds me of any given Thursday night at the Bullring circa 1997 – right down to the little patio that resembles said dance floor. All that’s missing are a couple more rabbits dancing on a pair of speakers.


“You can hop out of here like a gentleman or be thrown out like a bum and barred. It’s entirely up to you, Peter.”

On a related note, the Bullring’s Guelph Homecoming 2009 revival is still underway, and the masterminds had a conference call on the matter only this morning. We’ve thought up 3 potential revenue streams for the one-night-only event, and I can truly say (and I’ve always wanted to) that we’re gonna make them an offer they can’t refuse. Stay tuned!

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Waste more time in… less time. The “New Facebook” features an application bar on the lower left of each screen where you’re able to place shortcut icons to any applications you like. I imagine many people probably haven’t added it to their navigation habits yet, but it’s very useful and I use it constantly. And by “useful” I mean “not at all realistically productive” because it’s Facebook.

As I am limited to only 5 shortcuts it took me a few weeks to settle in on an inventory, and the resulting selections are probably unique to most individuals. Here’s what I have in mine, left to right.

Events
Remember Evite? Neither does anyone else. As everyone you’ve ever known in your entire life continues to join Facebook, it’s rarely necessary to go outside the network for anything – and the definitely decent Events feature is what first brought me to that staggering realization. Still waiting on the “Food and Water” application.

Photos
We’re all familiar with this one. FB spent a lot of time early on (Jurassic 2006) devising a killer photo sharing system and it’s become a real thorn in the sides of Snapfish/OPhoto/Flickr. Easy java-based uploads, quick file size conversions and the ability to tag and sort are all reasons it’s become my base camp for all things ‘online photo’.

Crusades
The best FB “game” I have played as of yet. A medieval roleplayer, you join a tribe – Christian, Pagan, etc. – and then work your way up through the ranks buying land, buildings, magical gems to protect you in battle, weapons etc. Experience points are earned by fighting other players or performing special quests. I used to play Knighthood incessantly but find Crusades far more “sticky”, fun, visually pleasing and satisfying on a daily basis. Seriously, give it a try, peasant.

Scramble
This app for word game fans presents you with a grid of seemingly random letters and a time limit with which to form as many connecting words as possible. The boards are always different and unlike a crossword you can go up, down or diagonal all in the same word. It was a little imposing at first but I quickly became an addict.

Wordscraper
If you’re unfamiliar, Wordscraper is post-lawsuit Scrabulous. It’s made by the same developers who created the hugely popular original and they’ve changed it just enough that they can no longer be sued by those owning the rights to Scrabble. I tried getting into the official Scrabble FB application, but it was made entirely in Flash as opposed to Ajax, took too long to load and very few of my former Scrabulous friends and opponents ever bothered to adopt it. You can also customize the bonus tile spacing and point value making for some extremely high scoring and strategic games.

What’s in your wallet? Are you using the Facebook application bar? Regardless, what are your top 5 favorite FB applications?

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Monday’s Quotelet: Whimper-Fi

by Dave on November 17, 2008

in Monday's Quotelet

puppy-iraq
40 Miles northeast of Kabul, Lil’ Patches caught a well-deserved nap and dreamt of his Platoon’s next encounter with Al-Kitty.

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Quantum of Compromise

by Dave on November 16, 2008

in Movies

Regardless of how many adult die hard James Bond fans there are in existence – and there are many – we don’t go to the movies as much as our younger pop culture consumers. Everyone’s favorite British Secret agent was getting a little long in the tooth and falling further and further off the radar of today’s popcorn munching demographic. I thought Brosnan did an excellent job as James Bond, but when he told the Broccoli’s he wasn’t coming back for another round after Die Another Day – I expect Barb saw the handwriting on the wall and knew that more drastic measures were called for if the franchise were to continue into a fifth decade.

QOS
Silhouette of Violent Impending Death

Enter Mr. Daniel Craig. Initially, although I’ve been a fan since I first noticed him in Road to Perdition, I didn’t like him for the next James Bond. This was only because one of my personal favorites, Eric Bana, was also being considered for the role. To say that things have worked out for the best would be a severe understatement. Admittedly my judgment was clouded on the matter and they could not have selected a better man for the re-imagining and reboot of one of the most successful, prolific and sacred movie franchises in human history.

My point and do I have one? After first seeing the 22nd Bond film, Quantum of Solace almost a week ago, I have read a slew of State-side reviews and they all not-so-cleverly compare the flick to a modern action franchise that has become the standard by which all others are measured – and rightfully so. “The name is Bourne. Jason Bourne.” I can accept this to a point, but many people that find the pint-sized Matt Damon completely believable as the rouge agent are absorbing this comparison hook, line and sinker.

daniel-craigIt’s important to remember a few things before daring to mouth the word “ripoff“. The Bond films are a business, and no matter how strong their history or fan base – if they cease to make money they will cease to be made. That would be a far bigger tragedy than having to tweak the formula to attract the modern-day wallets. It is possible to please both sides of the theater aisle, and this weekend’s 70 million dollar U.S. opening is a testament to that fact. It can be done, and it has been done. Well… done.

The other talking point reviewers are parroting this weekend, however, is that the new movie is a step back for the new Bond. Again, I have to bring you folks back down to reality (my reality, anyway). Royale was a very tough act to follow but Solace was also required to be a very different movie. It’s the first Bond film to ever continue the plot of the previous one, and that plot is easily summed up in one word: revenge. The Bond we already understand to be the most ruthless, thuggish and brutal since Connery rocked the tux wants the asses of those responsible for the death of Vesper.

The very first scene of the movie is a heart-stopping, hairpin car chase through the mountains of Italy, during which many of Quantum’s (S.P.E.C.T.R.E. for the new millennium,) goons are dispatched into the next life – and the action rarely slows down for the duration. The subtle set up, character development and tie-ins to Fleming’s world were already established in Casino Royale, creating the bridge from Brosnan to Craig – and now it’s clobberin’ time.

Although I definitely bemoan the absence of John Cleese’s Q, Judi Dench and Jeffery Wright are on hand and effective as M and Felix. There is one other “character” from the Bonds of yester-year that is noticeably absent. The uber-villain. I don’t need to see white cats, boomerang hats and stainless steel dentistry in every film, but we’ve got to do a bit better with the main nemesis’ in these otherwise wonderful reboots. So far we’ve had a twitchy Frenchman with a penchant for knots and a slightly grumpy, bug-eyed environmentalist, also French. I’d like the first scene of the next script to read something like this:

max-zorin-bond-villain

INT. ORBITING SPACE STATION – TIME OF DAY IRREVLEVANT BECAUSE IT’S FRIGGING SPACE

Cigarette smoke and Russian dialect fills the control room. From the vantage point of a CAGED PRISONER, we see TWISTED FUCK BENT ON WORLD DOMINATION enter through an automatic door with a visible limp, metallic hand and boa constrictor around his neck.

I don’t need cufflink darts, tuxedos or Lotus Esprits. I do need a British protagonist who is also a semi-sadistic womanizing thug and a villain with some sort of mental illness and the potential to give young children nightmares. I hope we can compromise on those points, Barbara Broccoli – but otherwise, fantastic job thus far. I am drinking a second huge martini of relief.

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When men hit their mid-50s they usually buy a convertible sports car. When men hit their mid-30s (and are secretly huge movie nerds) they usually combine and display action figures on shelves. And then die alone for all of their troubles. I’ll be turning the big 3-5 this Pearl Harbor Day (that’s December 7th and yes I do have an Amazon Wish List, thank you for asking) so when I began getting urges to do the latter I simply accepted it. I went with it. It’s who I am. Dave Pye – the font of useless pop culture knowledge who will watch the same movie over and over until his eyes bleed – and it’s usually Blade Runner.

virgin

Shall I pull my pants down and show you the jewels… of my personal collection? Super then. Top shelf Indy, bottom shelf Star Wars. Let’s start with the Indiana Jones conglomerate, left to right. First we have a genuine leather satchel, designed to look like the one Indy wears, with the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull logo burned into the lower right corner. Spielberg had them made by the Canadian company Roots (more details) as gifts for all of the cast and crew. I found it on eBay last month when I was looking for additions to my Halloween costume and couldn’t help myself. In the background we have an electronic whip, a Spalko action figure and three lego sets – all from the newest movie. Next we have four prop replicas – a Sankara Stone from Temple of Doom, the Hovitos Fertility Idol and Staff of Ra Headpiece from Raiders of the Lost ark and a bullwhip.

IMG 0003
Ladies, all of this could be yours. Form a line to the left.

The Star Wars shelf contains a couple of items that are actually worth quite a bit of money on the open dork market. On the far left we have a modern little Chewbacca beanie baby. Behind that is a stuffed R2D2 doll with a little red button that squeaks that I got for Christmas in 1977. In front of that is a remote control R2, the controller long since lost, which I believe I got in 1981 when Empire Strikes Back came out. Next up is an original Han Solo Blaster, with no chips, the sticker intact and it still works.

Beside the blaster is a Canadian-version, bi-lingual copy Han Solo figure. The packaging is in pristine condition and I found the little guy whilst cleaning out one of my grandmother’s closets last summer. She must have bought it for me for Christmas in ’77 and hidden it from my 4-year-old self in said closet – where it became lost for three decades. As I was cleaning out her home due to the fact that she is now in a long term care facility out of her mind and near death, the discovery choked me up. It was like a last gift from her to my inner-child. Nerd or not – you have to admit that’s pretty gosh darn cool. Thanks for everything, Claire. You did an excellent job with Janet and I.

IMG 0006
“Pardon-et-moi? C’est la Guerre des E’toiles, cocksackeer!”

Next up is a rubber Yoda puppet in decent condition, still with all of his white yarny hair, which was given to me in 1981 and then finally bookended with another modern beanie baby version of the same little green Jedi master. All told and in retrospect a decent little collection of movie paraphernalia. Which begs the question – guys and gals: what are your most treasured trinkets from childhood? More Star Wars stuff? A little G.I. Joe or Rainbow Bright, perhaps? Maybe it’s just me, but I sincerely doubt it. Don’t leave me hanging here, folks.

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Q-Tip's - The RenaissanceQ-Tip has one of the most undeniably distinctive voices in hip hop. That’s been mighty helpful recently because I was sure he’d been abducted by aliens shortly after the release of the wholly under appreciated “Amplified” and its killer single, “Vivrant Thing“, back in 1999. The first time I listened to his brand new album “The Renaissance”, and first release in 8 years, my response was a resounding “meh”. During a long drive yesterday I listened to the record twice more and am now subsequently hooked. I rarely end up liking albums that really impress me the first time I listen to them. And let me tell you, kids – I’m already across the street and down the road from ‘impressed’. This record isn’t a Renaissance for rap – it may end up being its savior. Sufficiently over dramatic enough for you? I’ll explain.

A Tribe Called Quest was a group of monumental importance to music in general (I am deadly serious) and probably my very favorite crew from what many now refer to as the Golden Age of rap. This era isn’t to be confused with “Old School” which predates it by a good 3-5 years. No, the Golden Age is generally considered to be from 1990-95 and includes such acts as De La Soul, Biggie, Gang Starr, Leaders of the New School, Craig Mack, Black Moon and other personal favorites of mine. I’m glad timing was on my side and that I was the age I was in the midst of it all. Fore t’was a special time in the history of hip hop music – before bitches and bling completely took over the ‘subject matter’. Before previously lost, rich and creative samples found by people like Pete Rock and Diamond D during hours spent digging through ancient record crates were replaced by modern rap production that sounds like a challenged 4-year-old banging away on a rundown Yamaha Port-a-Sound.

Q-Tip “Gettin’ Up”

“Gettin’ Up” takes an old early 1970s Black Ivory single, makes it gleam with modern sheen and lets Tip loose on the kind of love jones you’d expect from a man with 15 years’ worth of relationship experience and maturation since “Electric Relaxation”.Pitchfork

I could feature the whole of The Renaissance on Wadio today – it’s comprehensively the best rap long play to rear its head in a very, very long time. I’m always asking myself: does rap suck now or am I just old? I’ll never know the real answer (Yes I will. I’m 35 as opposed to 19), but am still so delighted it has come down the pike when it did. I’d given up on the musical genre I once loved.

The name (The Renaissance for anyone not paying attention) is perfectly appropriate as upon listening one almost feels as though they’re looking back through a musical time warp, complete with quick glimpses of Arsenio and the Philly Blunt logo. Harkening back to an age where, you know, rap wasn’t… embarrassingly awful. Yet all the while Q-Tip stays relevant talking about Blackberrys, web pages and email – via the sort of smooth verbal gymnastics only he can effectively vocalize. I’m not sure what that means, exactly, but you’ll see what I’m getting at the first time you hear “Dance on Glass”. More on that in a second.

My favorite song is the awesome “Won’t Trade which you can click to download or listen to below. It features amazing delivery, sharp lyrics and a beat which samples real drums (gasp!) while lifting a catchy snippet from “You Made A Believer Out Of Me” by Ruby Andrews.

Q-Tip’s “Won’t Trade”. Welcome back sir!

Tip’s beyond-welcome return to form doesn’t end there. “Dance On Glass” sees him rapping acapella for a full minute before a snare drum finally busts in and reminds you that you were listening to… acapella. That’s the power of the man’s voice and delivery which is as strong on The Renaissance as it ever was rapping alongside Phife Dawg – who recently had a kidney transplant and whom I wish all the luck in the world. “Move” features two completely different sounding halves which are both amazing nods back in the direction of the golden age, even borrowing Black Sheep’s “here we come yo, here we come” chant from 1991’s The Choice is Yours. Come to think of it, I haven’t once skipped over any of the record’s 12 tracks. It’s a solid piece of work to put it mildly.

Little Malik Taylor and Jonathan Davis have brought me a lot of joy over the years and I am thrilled that Q-Tip has pulled off such a stunning comeback LP. Do yourself a favor and I really mean that. If you’ve ever misplaced your wallet in El Segundo, gotten lost during an award tour or simply walked down Linden Boulevard – Buy “The Renaissance” on CD or download the MP3 version – right frigging immediately now.

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obama-dog
After being selected as the new First Dog, “Baby” immediately set about bringing change to several shrubs on the front lawn.

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One of the reasons everybody’s favorite Quizzlet has died off these last couple months is that the wonderful site, Friday’s Feast, I used to get the questions from seems to have died off as well. A year or two ago, when I was writing once or twice a day and my readership was strong I could have asked y’all to provide me with 5 questions. But until I get my groove back, somewhat like Stella, I shall have to pen my own – I have done it before, and Freud would love this. Please feel free to answer any of these questions yourselves in the comments.

Appetizer: Popular opinion states that Saturday Night Live isn’t funny. Your thoughts?
Thanks, Quizzlet. This has been on my mind a lot lately. If by “popular opinion” you mean people that haven’t watched the show since 1998 – or never really did – then yes, you’d be led to believe not only is the show bad it should have been cancelled when Will Ferrell left. Where do I begin? The current cast has certain members that are so strong they have already started appearing in movies. A lot of movies. Usually this doesn’t happen until after they have left the show. Like them or not, Fey (practically a cast member again this year due to the Palin impressions) and Poheler (leaving after this season) have both made the rounds and even collaborated on Baby Mama. Andy Samberg had his own vehicle, Hot Rod, last summer. Bill Hader has been popping up in big movies everywhere since his first season (Tropic Thunder, SuperBad) and I’m surprised that the singularly brilliant Kristen Wiig even has time to do the show (Knocked Up, Semi-Pro, Ghost Town). I should probably make this a separate post I have so much to say, but I’ll leave you with this. Their ratings this season, in no small part to the election, were the highest since the Farley-Sandler-Hartman era and the show has a lot of life left in it yet.

“Sorry… I took a Chinese vitamin this morning.”

Soup: What do you think about the recent clues that suggest Ford, Lucas and Spielberg are currently gearing up for Indy 5?
Internationally, it was the top grossing film of 2008. And that’s with a lot of bad reviews and negative press behind it. They’d be stupid, or overly respectful of the franchise which we already know they are not, not to. If they produce a good script in the next couple of years I think Indy 5 can certainly pulled off. Just please no CGI monkeys this time. The gophers can stay, and so can Shia since we all know the series will probably be handed off to him in some fashion. That may actually be the entire purpose of #5. And let’s bring back those damn Nazis. There could be a whole city of them hoarding relics while hiding out in South America somewhere. A network of caves underneath a German restaurant in Rio, perhaps. Indiana Jones and the City of Thongs, anyone?

Salad: How’s the whole “living in the woods” thing working out for you?
Simply put – I love it up here. Fresh air, silence, a dog, a boat, deers in my yard… it’s a trip. After Janet moved up in May we started actually leaving the house and hitting the local bars on Thursday nights. I met a lot of people very quickly and things changed for the better. I have no idea why I waited almost a year to start socializing, but that’s neither here nor there. Now that Janet has returned to Boston I have a nice group of friends, can hit the local bar and know I’ll see people I know and I even get invited to parties. I like to tell myself it’s not just because I’m frequently asked to do a Beantown accent and recite scenes from “The Departed”. And I’ll continue to tell myself that.

Main Course: Will you ever return to Boston full time?
Things are getting crazy at work and the company is being valued highly by investors that have sniffed around. I have been asked recently by colleagues if I would move back. If it becomes apparent that I will miss out on a potential life-changing payday if I do not, and I negotiate a way with my family to keep from having to sell the house up here as a result, then I will think about it. With my father now in a home up here, however, any move back would be temporary.

Dessert: How do you feel about Daniel Craig as 007?
Growing up my favorite Bond was Roger Moore. And although I still like him in the role today, that was because I was a little kid (who probably shouldn’t have even been taken to see For Your Eyes Only, View to a Kill, etc.) and Moore was the current article. As I got older, my #1 slot eventually went to Connery with Moore as #2. Do I like Craig? On the strength of Casino Royale alone, my top 3 now goes: Connery, Craig, Moore. So yes – I likes him. He’s a sadistic, sexist thug – just like Connery played it – and although the reinvention contains elements I don’t like the elimination of the PC Brosnan-era Bond is a wonderful thing. I will be in line to see Quantum of Solace next Friday night (or maybe even afternoon) when it opens in Ottawa.

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I’m knocking the dust off a bunch of old home movies and first up is the 1997 family trip to Capetown. On the way there Janet and I had an 8 hour stopover in London. Lucky for us our good friend Katie was living there. Unlucky for us she was stuck in class most of the day…

This clip never gets off the Haunted Isle, but subsequent videos in the series will see us exploring Capetown, participating in drunken singalongs, visiting a crayfish factory, winery tours and much, much more. Stay tuned, you lucky people.

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Barack Obama: My Reservations Explained

by Dave on November 4, 2008

in Politics

Here’s something you never thought you’d read here: Senator Barack Obama seems like a very “good” man to me and I wish him the best of luck. His intent is solid, most of his propositions reasonable, he’s a charismatic speaker and his meteoric rise to popularity (and in my opinion the new President-Elect by this time tomorrow) has been nothing short of remarkable. I was asked recently when interviewed for a radio show here in Canada, “Don’t you think the individual with the most public support should be President?” I thought about it and reluctantly answered, “No.”

Should Fall Out Boy unsurp The Pixies as my favorite rock group because they’ve sold four times as many records in a quarter of the time? Had I been present at Jonestown, should I have chugged the poisonous Kool-Aid like everyone else did? Again, “No.” I have a brain in my head, my own set of values, what I like to consider a formidable amount of common sense and I won’t be spoon-fed. Ever. Regardless of how I may admire some some aspects of the man and his mission, there is no doubt in my mind that his Presidency in 2009 is a bad idea. 8 more years from now, bring him on. At the present time he’s a boy band with the support of millions of rubes who frankly shouldn’t be voting due to their completely uninformed reasons for doing so. Obama isn’t a messiah, he’s an inexplicable fad with a slick marketing department that figured out how to reach and inspire people that usually have their thumbs so far up their ass on election day that it’s tough to work the XBox controller.

I hate to simply run down a list of facts that you’ve read/heard in several hundred places before. It’s likely the last warm day of the fall, however, and I’m going to be spending most of it outside working on things that absolutely have to get done before the first freeze – and must get cracking. These are ‘facts’ by the way. Indisputable and in no way spin or a stretch. I know his record well and have been watching him for 4 years now. These are the specific reasons that I, a self-respecting, somewhat intelligent and very recent American citizen (one full year as of this Saturday) who pays a lot of attention to politics on a daily basis, 365 days a year, whether there is an election imminent or not – will not be voting for “The One”. They have nothing to do with the color of his skin, his middle name or even (believe it or not but I only consider myself a Conservative on international matters) his chosen party.

  • When a Senator is called to vote on any piece of legislature, she or he have 3 options: “Aye”, “Nay” or “Present”. When one votes the latter, they are effectively side-stepping the issue – in Obama’s case undoubtedly to avoid hurting his future chances at the White House. Sometimes Senators vote this way upon instructions from higher-ups in their party. Rarely. “Present” is an option Obama invoked nearly 130 times as a state senator. Way to lead the charge, Barack. Being the leader of a country – yes, even the most powerful one in the world – requires one trait above all others. The ability to make decisions.
  • The blatant way in which the majority of the media absolutely fawned over the man is not my opinion, it’s a fact – the percentage of Time magazine covers given to Obama vs. McCain (12 to 5) in the past year just the tip of the iceberg which sticks in my craw. Undeniable, embarrassing and offensive to anyone’s intelligence.
  • Barack Obama has never been the Governor of a state, or the Mayor of a city. Or the Mayor of a town. Was his election to the Senate based on another form of experience equal to or surpassing the aforementioned “classics”? Not even close. He was an Illinois State Senator for 8 years and a U.S. Senator for a little over 1 year before he began to focus his attention on running for President practically full time. As if this whole shit show wasn’t weird enough, his opponent for U.S. Senator from Illinois in 2005 was rocked by a sex scandal during the race allowing Obama to waltz in virtually unopposed.
  • In his younger years, and likely still to this day behind closed doors, Obama was a very religious man. It’s well documented, even on his own website. You wouldn’t have known it during the last 12 months, and that sort of strategic hypocrisy surrounding something which is obviously so important to him leaves a very bad taste in my yapper. I am not an overly religious person, but I was raised Catholic and respect other people’s religious beliefs in a way that they will never be required to respect mine. Don’t get me started on that particular double-standard. This is about Barack. He has disowned, a relative term, his faith to improve his chances for President. Faith is a “big one” to be casting aside. What other paradigm shifts in his value system is he going to be able to justify?
  • Finally, the way in which the Democratic Party – which is supposed to stand for all of the forward-thinking, progressiveness and equality that the evil empire of the Republicans does not – has cannibalized itself leaves me absolutely revolted. Barack supporters and party leaders who weighed the likelihood of the two potential Democratic candidates alike, treated Hillary Clinton the same way they now treat the reviled Sarah Palin, specifically – as if she weren’t a woman. Obama is a Black man, but he is still a man. There are many, including myself, who feel that a woman winning the Presidency or Vice-Presidency is a far more historic event. Politics is never pretty, but the way in which Clinton’s own party – which she has served for almost a decade now – left her holding the cigar in favor of Obama speaks volumes to me. The way in which Obama supporters, especially female Obama supporters, have relegated both her and Palin to less-than-scum status confuses just slightly more than it frightens me.

If you’d like to refute or rebuke anything I’ve stated here you’re more than welcome. I’d appreciate it, however, if you actually try to prove me wrong on any of these points rather than mention that McCain is old or Palin is stupid. Tell me something I haven’t heard. Prove me wrong. I’m not going to spend the next 4 years – let’s be honest… unless New York City becomes a smoking crater prior to 2012, 8 years – sniping at Barack. I wish him well and I hope he is indeed capable of the sort of change he has inspired over half the nation simply pontificating about. It’s all just words, however, and unless Obama and Biden keep a close eye on our borders, our conspiring international foes and especially approach the future of Iraq in a far more realistic fashion than the majority of their party-mates, I absolutely shudder to think what we have to look forward to. Smoking craters.

Good luck to you, sir and I wish you the best. The economy and each and every domestic issue aside for a moment – you are inheriting the helm of a country which faces innumerable outside threats both diplomatically and off the established grid. I hope that you are able to exhibit measured wisdom well beyond your experience and 47 years. More than anything else, I hope that you never discount or underestimate the reality of tangible danger to American citizens (at home and abroad) the way in which so many of your party members have – effectively driving me across the aisle 8 years ago in spite of my domestic liberal leanings. I really mean that.

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The International Green Conspiracy

by Dave on November 3, 2008

in Politics

Don’t get me wrong – I mean the notion of “going green” and saving the planet is an admirable one. In certain circumstances, maybe even most circumstances, companies and businesses that do so are actually taking tangible steps to reduce their strain on the environment. A business, however, is just that. They are here to make money above all else. A business that doesn’t exist to put smiles on the faces of their sharehoders is called a ‘charity’… and never the tween shall meet.

So when an entity claims they are about to “go green” they shouldn’t just be added to a list of eco-friendly companies or to your family’s favorite places to shop. They should explain in excrutiating detail exactly what they are doing, adding, removing or changing to warrant the classification. This is a new phenomenon. Definitions and standards are vague at best. And here’s the other important thing…

“Going Green” is the single biggest marketing ploy in the history of advertising. Ploy might not be the best word. Upheavel, gimmick, scheme and several other words come to mind. Picture a boardroom full of any company’s executive management. “Alright fellows…” the hypothetical CEO in question begins, “how do we go green?”. Start there, and realize that same conversation is taking place at every company under the sun that isn’t already making hemp ice cream. They don’t care how they reach the new holy grail of advertising lingo, even if it’s a square peg in a round hole. Just as long as they do.

I am so sick and tired of hearing about companies “going green” that I felt compelled to point the potential deceptions out to anyone who hadn’t already figured it out for themselves. Again, the notion is a wonderful, admirable thing. But take these claims with a grain of salt. Otherwise you and several thousand other lemmings will end up patronizing green whaling vessel repairmen and environmentally-friendly strip mining operations. Remember, the color green is also frequently associated with naivety – and you may well end up being the silly goose that “goes” there.

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