Archive for July, 2010
Friday, July 30th, 2010
There are some movies being released in theatres today. I suspect they will all be awful. The big one will likely be the kids’ movie Cats vs. Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. It will probably suck. I say that because the first Cats And Dogs sucked. Except for this one, glorious moment which is still one of my favourite movie lines ever.
Friday, July 30th, 2010
I heard today that Lindsay Lohan has apparently come to grips with the fact that she will be having an “extended stay” in prison. Whew, good news. I was so worried about her. But then I heard that she will use her time in solitude to write more songs. I thought – that’s cool. I expect they will be harsh, harrowing tales inspired by her time behind bars. Just as Dostoevsky channeled his rage and despair into classic novels like Crime and Punishment, thanks to his imprisonment in Russia so many years ago…
Then I had a second thought. Wait – songs? Hang on a second. Lindsay Lohan was an “actress”, wasn’t she? What’s this about songs? I get all these bubblehead Paparazzi people confused. Paris Hilton has an album, Britney Spears has a movie, Sarah Palin has a TV show, Amy Fisher has a porn contract. Confusing, eh? Anyway, I looked it up. Apparently Lindsay Lohan has made songs before. Or at least one song. And a video to go with it. And it’s freakin’ hot. So here it is. Okay, the song’s not so hot. So watch it on mute, maybe.
Thursday, July 29th, 2010
Ottawa has made an art out of picking one hometown hockey player to hate, every year, since the first time the Senators made the playoffs. Now, I thought we were ludicrous. But we’re not Cleveland. I was in Cleveland last year for a Packers-Browns game. I wore my Packers jersey and Packers hat and I sat right behind the Dawg Pound. Nothing happened to me. No one yelled at me or harassed me or the guys I was with (some with Packers jerseys as well). They talked to us and offered us beer and food when they found out how far we’d come for the game. They were pleased.
I had always heard it was treacherous to go to a Cleveland sporting event in the opposing team’s shirt. But that proved to be a lot of hot air when the Browns were lousy and no one cared. Then this story today…a guy showed up at a Cleveland Indians game wearing…gasp…a LeBron James Miami Heat jersey. And the fans were, indeed, upset. And had him removed from the game by the police! Yes, they are cracking down on LeBron-love, like the jilted lovers they are. Seriously. The police.
Just how hated is LeBron James – and by extension his new team the Miami Heat? Sports Illustrated had to come up with a list of the top 25 most-hated teams in sports history, just so they could then include this year’s Heat on that list. The Heat are #25. Bizarrely, the 2001-02 Toronto Maple Leafs (of Darcy Tucker, Tie Domi, Pat Burns et al) came in at #22. The top 10:
- 1986 University of Miami football team
- 1988-89 Detroit Pistons
- 1992 Dallas Cowboys
- 1974-75 Philadelphia Flyers (Broad Street Bullies)
- 1978 New York Yankees
- 2007 New England Patriots
- 1993-94 New York Knicks
- 1976 Oakland Raiders
- 1989-90 UNLV basketball team
- 1998-99 Manchester United soccer club
For the full list, click here.
Wednesday, July 28th, 2010
I have always been a huge fan of Maury Chaykin, the portly Canadian actor who sadly passed away yesterday. He had been battling a number of health issues, including cancer, in the past few years. It was his 61st birthday. A look back at some of his most memorable movie moments, and some interesting interviews:
Dances With Wolves
On Q TV interview
City TV interview
A crazy BMW commercial
Sadly, that’s all I could get from youtube. And I can only put videos on this blog that first appeared on youtube. I was hoping to get clips from the best Maury Chaykin movie of all, Whale Music. One of the few movies in which he’s the actual star, playing a crazy loner, former writer and singer of a Beach Boys-type band. So, in many ways, he’s playing a Brian Wilson type. Also stars Paul Gross, Jennifer Dale and Cyndy Preston, and a fantastic soundtrack by the Rheostatics. If you haven’t seen it, find it.
Wednesday, July 28th, 2010
Are we really changing the laws regarding drinks and driving in Ontario? Are we really playing into that obnoxious political game where the Ontario government has to look tough on crime? Yeah, we totally hate crime too. We hate it so much! And we’re totally tough on it too! We’ve even gone so far as to create a new law that will make no difference at all, just so we can say we did that because we totally hate crime too!
What I’m talking about is of course this new law that forces drivers 21 and under to have zero blood alcohol at all times when driving. A law that I think is entirely missing the point. Yes – an inordinate number of drunk driving fatalities occur below the age of 21. And that really is a serious problem that needs to be dealt with. But here’s the thing – those are drunk driving crashes. They aren’t crashes caused by a 21 year old who has had one beer before driving home. They are caused by a kid who has seven beers, and doesn’t care.
So here’s how it works now – at 16, you are responsible enough to drive. For the next three years, your blood alcohol must, obviously, be at .00 because you are not responsible enough to drink until you are 19. So this law therefore applies only to those aged 19,20 or 21. And at age 21, only then are you responsible enough to do both. OK, fine. But consider this – at 18, only then are you responsible enough to vote. And yet, you are never, in your life, allowed to vote and drink at the same time. So you’re never responsible enough to do those two things at once. Although you can, of course, drive to the voting booth.
So what i’m saying is that although this age-of-21 restriction is based on all those crashes, it’s still an arbitrary age cap. The drunk driving crashes are, by definition, not caused by people with a blood alcohol level of .02. So what makes us think that this will prevent the kids who already don’t care from driving drunk? What difference could this possibly make? Or are we just doing it for appearance sake?
I would have fewer problems with the law if they decided that everyone had to have a .00 blood alcohol level. I would think it was overreaching, but it would at least be consistent. The people who didn’t care still wouldn’t care, and they would be the ones getting nabbed and they would continue doing damage and destroying lives. And the rest of us would have three cokes instead of two beers before driving home. Fine. It would be excessive but it would make sense. After all, if I can’t be trusted to drink and vote, how can I be trusted to drink and drive? That’s why there’s Responsible Choice…
Yes folks, this whole post was an excuse to plug Responsible Choice, a great company who will come drive you and your car home when you’ve had too much. 248-0444.
Wednesday, July 28th, 2010
I think this census debate is a much bigger deal than it is being made out to be. Oh, I get the apathy among most people. Like, what difference does it make to me? I either fill out the long-form census or I don’t. Meh. Okay, that’s fine. But that was the attitude before the changes were made as well. Did anyone, anywhere, think the long-form census was an invasion of their privacy? How dare the government ask me how many toilets I have? That’s none of their business! Funny, I never heard that complaint in my life…
So now Harper and his like-minded cronies decide that the mandatory long-form census is an invasion of the privacy of regular Canadians. So they will put a stop to that right now, responding to the non-existent demands of the non-outraged populace. So this was a complaint that never existed, why bother? Why fix what ain’t broke? Well, it is because Statistics Canada, and our world-renowned census, combine to create data. That data is interpreted by world-class statisticians and math folk and becomes a series of facts.
And that, apparently, is what is scary for Harper and the conservatives. Facts, you see, (to borrow from The Simpsons) can be used to prove anything that’s even remotely true! And sometimes, that truth conflicts with what Stephen Harper would like to believe the truth really is. So rather than change his ideas and policies to fit the facts, he has decided to change the facts to fit his idealogy. Hence the purge of all those scary global warming alarmists in another department, earlier in this government’s reign…
Now, it may be difficult to change the facts that come from the census if the current, impartial, science-and-math experts remain in charge at StatsCan. After all, they will come up with a reasoned, researched and impeccable set of facts based on their carefully collected data. So one good way to prevent this process from taking place is to screw with the way that data is collected, ensuring that no useful facts can be derived from it.
Oh, but they’re not eliminating the long-form census. No! They are merely making it optional, rather than mandatory. After all, those who didn’t fill it out when it was sent to them in the past were hit with jail time. Much of the overcrowding of our Canadian prisons, it seems, and much of the burden on our penal system comes from the many hundreds of thousands of rural Canadians who refused to fill out the long-form census in the past and were rounded up. It has nothing to do with marijuana laws or anything like that.
Sidebar – data, and facts, and math and science, all say that strict marijuana laws are counter-productive and make the problem worse. Science and math and data and facts says that many, many ”tough-on-crime” measures are counter-productive. They say similar things about the shutting down of safe injection sites and needle-exchange programs. But then, facts can be used to prove anything that’s even remotely true, and are therefore better off ignored when they conflict with ideology. Okay. Back to my point.
So, to keep these many hundreds of thousands of Canadians out of prison, and protect their privacy, they will now be given the option of filling out the long-form census. Now, I’m not a statistician. The last class I took in statistics was in second year university, many years ago. But I’m a bit of a math guy, and I do have a basic understanding of how stats work. And even I know that if 10 percent of people fill out a mandatory survey, that’s statistically relevant. But if 90 percent of people fill out a voluntary survey, it is not.
And here is the biggest problem in the whole deal. The Conservative party elite who keep repeating this talking point that more people will be filling out the long-form census, which will give us even better data to work with. That is simply not true. Does this really mean that Tony Clement, the Industry Minister in charge of this department, doesn’t understand at all what it is his own department does? Does it mean that Jim Flaherty, the Finance minister, doesn’t understand math? Is that not a little scary?
The only other possibility here is that they do understand that they are undermining the relevance of their own data-gathering measures. And that they continue to repeat this talking point, knowing it’s false, because they think enough people will believe them that it will become a political win? In that case, it means that they are out-and-out lying. One way or another, that’s pretty frightening.
This would be like having a military general who has never served in the military. We don’t do that. Or an RCMP boss who has never been a cop, or an Environment minister who doesn’t believe that climate change is man-made. Oh…wait. We’ve done that. But it’s all part of the same scary whole – the smackdown of science in the service of ideology. The promotion of the idea that research and data are the province of elitist eggheads only, and those people are out of touch douchebags and the rest of us should look down on the smart folk. And most of all, it’s a product of Stephen Harper and his government’s war on facts. A war that his crew is increasingly winning.
Hey, let’s make that a bonus code. “facts” will get you some points, CHEZ nation folk. You can use those points to get Rush DVDs, or even something I actually like. And that’s a fact.
Wednesday, July 28th, 2010
I played a little Ultimate frisbee in high school. Mostly at lunchtime, where a few of the football guys turned it into full-contact frisbee. Which was great. But I never fully understood the rules. I even called an ultimate frisbee game that was broadcast on Rogers TV here in Ottawa. Which was fun, but difficult. All I had to go on were the two team colours. So I was saying things like “black team tries to advance the frisbee…intercepted by red team. Red team passes to other red team member…” I’m sure it was just awful to listen to.
Anyway, my own personal experiences with Ultimate Frisbee and the nerdy culture that goes along with it aside, here is one of the coolest sports plays I have seen in a long time:
Tuesday, July 27th, 2010
Ronnie James Dio’s Heaven & Hell bandmates Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice performed with Jorne Lande (Masterplan) and Glenn Hughes (former Black Sabbath and Deep Purple singer) at the High Voltage Festival in London. All proceeds from the show went to the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund. Three great videos:
Monday, July 26th, 2010
In the draw section of the CHEZ nation this week – 10 pairs of tickets to see Eliades Ochoa of the Buena Vista Social Club at Barrymore’s, Saturday August 21st. An amazing way to spend a Saturday night! For those of you unfamiliar with Eliades Ochoa, here are some videos, showcasing his awesomeness…
Thursday, July 22nd, 2010
As soon as the BP oil spill happened, I thought of this exact scene in On Deadly Ground. Yes, it’s powerfully cheesy, but pretty much spot on in sentiment. I finally found it on youtube, which means I can finally put it up on my blog:
On Deadly Ground might be the worst (and therefore most fantastic) movie Steven Seagal ever made. This speech came right after the scene where, in order to stop the oil rig from polluting the waters and killing the land, he…blew it up. By the way – find a copy of On Deadly Ground, and watch it, and compare it to Avatar. Same movie. Worse acting. Worse effects. Far more gloriously inept!