Archive for May, 2011
Tuesday, May 24th, 2011
Boxing is over. I decided this on the weekend as Bernard Hopkins became the oldest champion in boxing history with his light-heavyweight victory over Jean Pascal in Montreal. 46 years old, and he’s the champion. Any sport where a 46-year-old can be the best in the world is no longer a “sport”. There are now six “sports” I can think of where a 46-year-old can be the “best”. Curling. Golf. Archery. Chess. Croquet. And now boxing. It isn’t the fault of Hopkins who, much as I dislike him, is still a good fighter in great shape with solid skills. It’s that there are no more decent boxers in the world. There’s Manny Pacquiao and a million jars of mayonnaise. It’s over, boxing.
I LOVED the Red Sox-Cubs series over the weekend. Well, except for the results of the games, which didn’t favour my BoSox. But what other sport can see two teams play each other for the first time since 1918, and they play in…the same stadium in which they met 93 years ago? No arena in the world has the history of Fenway Park, and no sport has the incredible history of baseball. That being said, the “throwback” uniforms really showed that in some ways, baseball has improved a LOT over the years. I could barely tell who was who. The team in the potato sacks beat the team in the cut-up bedsheets, I think.
It’s too bad Canadians are paying little or no attention to baseball these days. Toronto isn’t going to win anything this year, or any year, but they have the best hitter in the bigs and the best reason to watch game in game out – Jose Bautista is a monster. 19 homers already? In the low-production post-steroid era? Ridiculous.
What’s Tim Thomas thinking, guaranteeing the Bruins win in the series? That’s just asking for trouble. If I’m a defenseman, I’m not even trying any more. We’ll just go ahead and win this one – the goalie’s got it. I’ll just skate around a little to make it look good.
Why is it even news when someone else gets drawn out to tell the world he saw Lance Armstrong using steroids? Is there a single person left in the universe who believes Armstrong, the greatest performer in the dirtiest sport in the world, was clean? And if you give him the “benefit of the doubt”, and say “innocent until proven guilty”, and all that crap, aren’t you just being soft-headed and a little hypocritical? Would you extend the same suspension of disbelief to Barry Bonds? Michael Vick? Mike Tyson? Or are you willing to ignore the mountain of evidence because Armstrong is such a good guy and has a great story? Snap out of it people – the entire myth of Armstrong, the great story, and his feel-good impact on the world is all based on a lie. All of it. Bite me Lance Armstrong.
There is, however, some good news in sports. And that is, the Badminton World Federation is mandating skirts for female badminton players. This might well have the effect of boosting ratings for televised badminton to maybe half the take of beach volleyball, after that federation mandated two-piece bathing suits.
Thursday, May 12th, 2011
The big Alice Cooper show is coming up on Monday. Maybe you couldn’t get tickets. Maybe you DO have tickets, but would like to whet your Alice Cooper appetite ahead of time. Either way, a good reason to check out mALICE & MONSTERS, Ottawa’s own Alice Cooper tribute show, at the new Brass Monkey this Friday, May 13th.
From all accounts, mALICE & MONSTERS is a terrific show and the Brass Monkey is a great new place to see one. I haven’t yet had a chance to check out the bar – 250 Greenbank Road in Nepean – but I hear great things about this place that used to be the Broken Cue. Still has a ton of pool tables, but more space for live music and great acts. Like this one! And what could be better than seeing an Alice Cooper show on Friday the 13th?
Wednesday, May 11th, 2011
That is…unless you have Don Cherry’s Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em 41: Lacrosse Edition kicking around your house. Ten seconds left in Gonzaga-Good Council game for the championship of the WCAC. Whatever that is. Who cares? This is amazing!
Monday, May 9th, 2011
Sir Lattimore Brown was, in many ways, a real-life Forrest Gump. The soul singer always seemed to be right there when history was made – unfortunately, he always seemed to be on the wrong end of that history. A brief synopsis of the unluckiest life in music history (you’ve got a long way to go yet, Bret Michaels):
At the age of 12, LV Brown fled his home in Mississippi, tired of the beatings he received at the hands of his aunt. By 15, he was married. At the age of 17, he wound up in the military, where he had to invent a full name - choosing Lattimore Vernon Brown. He fought in Korea and was posted to Vietnam, just before the Vietnam war officially started. When his tour was done, he returned home to find his wife pregnant with another man’s child.
Brown took off again, this time to Memphis where he joined a traveling minstrel show. By the early sixties, he had moved on to Dallas, where he and his partner set up a night club called The Atmosphere Lounge. His business partner was Jack Ruby. After Ruby shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald on national TV, the club thing wasn’t going to work out and Brown moved on again. He added “Sir” to his name, and wound up in Nashville.
He signed a deal with Otis Redding’s touring agency in 1966. Then Redding died in a plane crash a few months later. Brown’s “Otis Is Gone”, a tribute to Redding, was his most successful single (listen to it above – actually, listen to it while reading this post!) In the early 70s, Brown moved to Knoxville and remarried, setting up another club with his new wife. Then she died after botched heart surgery months later. He went to Little Rock, where he married once more. This wife died of lung cancer.
Brown returned to the touring life, traveling throughout the South. But when a new, up-and-coming pianist named Benny Latimore shortened his name to simply “Latimore”, there was a lot of confusion between the two. When fans mistakenly showed up at Sir Lattimore Brown’s gigs, thinking they were getting “Latimore”, there were riots. The mafia owned the clubs Brown was playing, and they were losing money. They were angry enough about it to put a contract on his life. Once more, he got out of there.
Trying to keep a low profile, he didn’t get a chance to come forward to collect royalties on a compilation of his work released in 1977, This Is Lattimore’s World. He opened a club in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1980. One of the bands that played in that bar was Roger Clinton’s band, featuring his brother Bill on the sax. But business declined, and eventually Brown moved on to Biloxi.
His Biloxi home was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, and he was hospitalized. While he recovered, his wife died of a heart attack. Brown didn’t find out about her death for five months. He had to move into a trailer home where he was robbed, stabbed and left for dead by thieves who took his Veterans’ Association benefit. He managed to recover, against all odds, and moved on once more, this time to Florida. He had found a house in Pensacola, and was out walking March 25th when he was hit by a car and died. Sir Lattimore Brown was 79 years old.
Thursday, May 5th, 2011
Every year, the Great Canadian Theatre Company (herein referred to as GCTC) puts on a “lawyer play”. This is an event where Ottawa lawyers flex their acting chops and put on a play for a local charity. This year’s stage production is Arthur Miller’s classic The Crucible, and runs from May 11th – May 14th, raising money for Operation Come Home. The May 11th show is a “Preview Night”, and tickets are $35 each. May 12th, 13th, and 14th are “gala nights”, tickets are $100 each (and youn get a $50 tax receipt), and they come with wine and a catered reception.
This event has raised more than $800,000 for local charities over the years, and I’m thrilled to announce that Operation Come Home will be this year’s recipient, thanks I’m sure to David Scott, big-time local lawyer, OCH board member, and this year – thespian! Other Ottawa legal professionals involved this year include Stephen Acker, Justice Robert Beaudoin, Tara Berish, Dan Caron, Mitchell Charness, Carol Cochrane, Siobahn Doody, Leanne Fioravanti, Ella Forbes-Chilibeck, Julia Kennedy, Stephanie Lewis, Ted Mann, Justice Colin McKinnon, Natasha Morley, Sig Pantazis, Janice Payne, Rakhi Ruparelia, John Nelligan, Regional Senior Judge Charles Hackland, and Jeremy Waiser.
Daniel Hohnstein plays John Proctor, a practical farmer whose sexual indiscretion sparked a young woman’s quest for revenge that spiralled out of control into a merciless witch hunt. Peter Doody plays Deputy Government Danforth, a renowned yet ruthless Boston judge in charge of spearheading the witch hunt and presiding over the trials. Steve Kennedy plays Reverend John Hale, a specialist in the dark arts who is brought in to seek out the Devil and his accomplices in the town of Salem.
Thursday, May 5th, 2011
With the advent of the Sun TV network, the Ottawa Sun newspaper seems to have taken a REALLY hard turn to the right. Which is fine, but it seems to be taking away the best thing about the Sun – those silly headlines that used to make me laugh! Oh, I still laugh when the front page says Michael Ignatieff is “channeling Chairman Mao”, or some other statement of that ilk. Cause that IS funny. But it’s not funny like the Sun used to be.
They used to try SO HARD to fit in a pun! It was Puntastic! They would Puntificate! The Sun was the Punultimate! Take yesterday’s front page, which said “Mayor Up For A Fight”, in a story about how Jim Watson wouldn’t be against bringing UFC to Scotiabank Place. And above it, “Bon Jovi Cranks Up Sex Appeal”. What’s going on? A year ago, those headlines would have been hilarious. They would have said something like “Mayor Submits to UFC’s Hold On Fans”, or something equally cumbersome and silly.
And the Bon Jovi? The OLD Sun would have definitely put a Bon Jovi song title in there somehow, no matter how awkward it was. “Bon Jovi Fans Lovin’ On His Hair”…or “Bon Jovi Lays His Bands on Scotiabank”…or “Bon Jovi Gives Fan Love a Good Name”…or “Bon Jovi Fans Have A Nice Day”…or something equally painful. Not any more. I’m worried that they got rid of the cheesy-pun headline writer in order to get one who can somehow invent a connection between “Iggy” and “Chairman Mao”. It’s still funny…but it isn’t the same!
Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011
I know, some people had better things to do…so here is the Royal Wedding, in all its splendour, condensed to 88 seconds. 88 fantastic seconds.