Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Class Identity And Your Entertainment Dollar

Cost of one Toronto Maple Leafs regular season ticket at the ACC: red section 122, rear (corner, not a great vantage point) = $150.70 + service charges.

Cost of one Toronto Raptors ticket, same location = $107.10 + service charges.

Cost of one ticket to a COC performance at the Four Seasons Centre: Ring 3, rear (perfectly fine) = $90 + service charges.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

As Opposed To Foster's And Castlemaine XXXX

Aussies to drink dreck.

N.B. Using Xs in a row is a sure way to set off Blogger's spamblog alarm.

Faust: About

Took in the final dress rehearsal of Faust at the COC last night. A very good production and run-through, even for someone like me who doesn't live for Gounod. An effective balance between carefully choreographed and visually rich mass scenes and claustrophobic (psychological) interiors (see the pix on the COC page). One local gent looked very fetching both in fancy dress and as a wounded soldier.

It's the first time I've heard the opera in its totality. In this iteration of the Faust story, the good Doctor really just wants to be young and swingin' again. Inner character stuff is heavily skewed toward the three principals (F., Mephisto and Marguerite) in the libretto; the other characters are there more for purposes of counterpoint (particularly Siebel, the love-lorn villager). I still don't understand why hard-luck Marguerite was imprisoned in a room with a functioning gibbet, or why she was still enamoured of Faust even after he morphed into Rob Zombie, but hey, that's hoppera.

This was my first time up in the nosebleed deck (second row, Ring 5) at the Four Seasons Centre, and both the sightlines and sound were fabbo (not great for those of us lacking a head for heights though--the ring-side mezzanines on the upper two levels scare the bejeezus out of me just looking at 'em). In general I like the hall. It does all of the important things exceedingly well. But, unlike Mr. Packwood in his post today, I do have a few beefs with it. First of all, an opera house with no escalators might look cool, but given that around 70% of the opera and ballet crowd are 60+ I don't know how practical it is. There's also a paucity of drinking fountains and there's no benches in the basement, which is where the coat-check is, so anyone wanting to put on their galoshes post-show'd better learn how to hop. Bathrooms are also a let down quality-wise given the look of the rest of the building; both the Hummingbird's and Roy T's are probably nicer. On the plus side, the seats are probably the comfiest I've ever planted my skinny little ass in (bit short on leg-room) and the building looks way cool at night as you approach eastbound along Queen St.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Manipulation


I'm so ronery...

I want number two. The wife less keen--disruption to an already disorganized life, etc.
Clock ticking.
Your thoughts please.

Friday, January 26, 2007

That Hampa'd Betta Be Wicka, Mutha!

Christ (pun intended), another one!

Satan's Choice unfortunately ceased trading a few years ago. Sold a slightly different kind of hamper.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

T Is For Twat

Further to this, that:

  • fart/bodily function jokes--tick!
  • fat comic alien more suited to The Hitchhiker's Guide than Doctor Who--tick!
  • endless annoying pop-cultural references--double-tick!
  • throwaway, paper-thin plot--tick!
  • unsavoury seckshewal innuendo--tick!

Not enough Billie either.

Update: good news.

Vegetarian Beef About Fish

I know, I know, labels are meaningless. We're all different, don't try to pigeonhole us. But labels are handy sometimes, when used correctly. So here goes:

Vegetarians do not eat the flesh of any animal, be it mammal, bird, or fish. They may or may not, depending on personal preference, eat dairy and/or eggs. Vegans are strict vegetarians, rejecting all animal products, including honey, leather, etc. (And I respect them enormously for their self-discipline.)

A fish is an animal. Remember Grade 8 biology? The plant kingdom and the animal kingdom? Well, fish are firmly planted (so to speak) in the ANIMAL kingdom. Therefore, vegetarians don't eat fish!

So don't call yourself a vegetarian if you eat fish!! They're animals too! Just because they're not MAMMALS or BIRDS doesn't mean they're plant life. And if someone advised that he/she is vegetarian, DON'T ask them, "But you eat fish, right?"

And calling yourself "pesco-tarian" is just silly. Bloody labels.

God Exists By Two Falls To A Submission

Durham Regional Council has voted, as expected, to maintain the practice of reciting the Lord's Prayer at the start of Council meetings.

Not that it will necessarily do them any good in the long run.

The CityOnLine phone-in show had a discussion of the issue today with Mark Robinson of the Humanist Association of Canada and Bruce Smith (no, not that one, but an ex-footballer too) of the King-Bay Chaplaincy. Not a red-letter day for enlightened debate. Robinson was there more to flog his organization, reiterate that god doesn't exist and that religion is in general backward than to get into any of the legal/Charter issues arising from the case, and Smith...well, at one point he said more-or-less outright that anyone who didn't accept Canada and the U.S. as historically Xian countries was welcome to bugger off. He also made a couple of comments that indicated a dismissive attitude toward other world religions. A few of the callers were very defensive and had mistakenly gotten the notion that this issue was being pressed by Little Brown People (tm) who wanted to force their ways upon "us." One even said--I paraphrase obviously--that it was incumbent upon every newcomer to Canada to find god through JC.

Deep breaths, everyone. I'm sure that a few months ago, most people in Ontario, believers, not or on the fence, wouldn't have even had a clue that the LP was being used in local Council meetings.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Plagiarism, Flattery, etc.

Since someone from Bosnia found this benighted little blog using the search terms "Bloc Party Chameleons," and since my ability to concentrate on anything longer than two paragraphs has deserted me this week, I'll go back to an old hobbyhorse.

I've often banged on about how certain practitioners of the new-wave revivalist thingy have borrowed from Manchester '80s and '00s band The Chameleons. A brief musical demonstration:

mp3: Bloc Party--"Helicopter" (from Silent Alarm)
mp3: The Chameleons--"In Shreds" (from What Does Anything Mean? Basically)

The metrical guitar lines and general energy level. For the BP track, stir in an extra dollop of Public Image Limited.

mp3: Editors--"Fingers In The Factories" (from The Back Room)
mp3: The Chameleons--"Seriocity" (from Strange Times)

The harmonic landscape and vocal cadences, not to mention the vocal timbres when Mr. Editors guy's in the upper range in the chorus.

mp3: The Killers--"Mr. Brightside" (from Hot Fuss)
mp3: The Chameleons--"One Flesh" (from What Does Anything Mean? Basically)

The royalty check is in the post.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Just World

Colts 38, Pats 34.

This just about says it all.

The evil has been vanquished. Let the scouring of The Shire begin apace.

Big-Game Hunting

Patriots and Colts in a few hours.

Very good and great teams who've disappointed more often than not come the big ones.

Good and flash-in-the-pan teams who've won championships.

Teams who finally got the monkey off their backs.

No point--sorry if you were expecting one.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

I Don't Heart The Beaches Doggie Set

Another Saturday walk along the boardwalk with the daughter, another morning of dodging canines of various shapes and sizes.

Beaches res H. Mallick thinks the area isn't kid friendly, but she's off the mark. It's probably one of the most family-oriented in the city. Unfortunately, for an annoying minority, family means avec doggies. I can't count the number of times I've seen by the water or even in the playgrounds people with strollers/tots and dogs off-leash (shouldn't be in the playground on-leash as far as I'm concerned--not sure about the by-laws). And in general, dog owners treat the entire area south of Queen Street between Coxwell and Victoria Park as their personal dog park.

I like dogs. I don't want my daughter to be unnecessarily frightened of them. But imagine how a two-year-old must feel watching friggin' huskies, mastiffs and really big things running toward her at speed.

You may know your dog is safe with kids, or at least with your kids, but I don't, arsehole, and I'm not taking the risk, nor do I see why I should.

If I was the sort of person who was given to threats, I might inform said free-range doggie dickheads that next Saturday morning, I'll be down at the lakefront with my daughter, a latte and a baseball bat. And the latter won't be for using on Rex or Spot.

If I was that sort of person.

Little dogs are alright though.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Even Deader In Don Mills

I've just noticed these guys, so I've put them on the sidebar. Disgraceful what Cadillac Fairview are planning to do with the old Don Mills Centre. Hopefully it's not too late to effect some change.

The Claus That Refreshes

Three-and-a-half weeks late.

Kurt 'n' Goldie were unavailable for comment.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Supreme Being Full Stop

On the heels of this, Durham Regional Council manages the issue with tact and dignity:

Durham's finance and administration committee will recommend to the regional council that meeting procedures be "tweaked" so the Lord's Prayer can be said before the meeting is called to order. Anyone who feels uncomfortable "doesn't have to stay in the room," said region Chair Roger Anderson, who drafted the recommendation.

The decision was hailed by 50 spectators – including one who brought her Bible – as one after another praised the Lord and the power of prayer.

Retired Courtice doctor John Wilson told the committee the 2,000-year-old prayer, "given to us by Jesus Christ," is needed now more than ever as the world sinks into secular confusion, disharmony and immorality.

"The family that prays together, stays together," he added.

But not to worry, anti-theists:

Themes of tolerance, respect and inclusion laced the speeches made to committee.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I Don't Wanna Work

I just want to hang with the tot all day.

This is not necessarily a knock against my job, but I know a hell of a lot of people, far and away the majority (from anecdotal evidence) in my general economic stratum who would rather be home with their pre-school kids than doin' time at the office 5 days/week.

If they could afford it.

Now, everyone bitches about money it's true, but for people in the middle-income brackets it really is a hell of a stretch to go it on one salary, given the cost of housing in the major metropolitan areas and the amount of help coming from the feds, i.e., none. $100 a month (pre-tax) from Mr. Harper? Do me a favour.

But of course this isn't news to anyone, because after all we're in the midst of a child care crisis in this country. "Child Care" is one of those issues, like "Homelessness," that's really an amalgam of a whole bunch of other sub-issues, and the needs and wants of every parent/family are different. Take a look at this article in yesterday's Star:

When Toronto physician Heather MacNeill was pregnant with her first child, she dutifully put her name on the waiting list for a toddler space at Withrow Childcare Centre.

Almost four years later, her daughter Leia, now 3 1/2, is still waiting for a spot in the popular Riverdale-area daycare.

"We did our research and my husband and I really wanted our child to be in a good daycare in our neighbourhood," said MacNeill, who gave birth to the couple's second child in September and is making do with a nanny when she works.

A Riverdale doctor who, it would seem, only applied to one daycare centre is a pretty bizarre example to use for sure, but I'm assuming the point here is to highlight the lack of decent spaces and length of waiting lists in some Toronto neighbourhoods rather than the financial situation of one particular family. But this is kind of the problem in a nutshell: the people who really need (however you define that term) the spaces are either those who can readily afford it or those in a desperate financial bind, i.e., those who have to work because it's the only way they'll ever dig themselves out of their current situation.

Just to be clear: I'm not one of these conservative cranks [scroll down to comments] who thinks that the evil Liberal elite in this country wants to wrench all of our kids away from us and airdrop them into soulless kiddie penitentiaries. But I do think that certain interests have been pushing institutionalized care (like junior kindergarten before it) as the ideal. We're lucky. My daughter's in a great, great daycare, run by a non-profit family services group, and she's thriving. I'm not. Every day your kid does something new or develops some new verbal or physical skill, and we're only there to see it when we're half-awake and rushed in the mornings or tired and rushed at the end of the working day. And I do think it's bizarre that any society would consider laying out a huge whack o' cash to fund an army of professionals to take care of kids when most of us'd rather do it ourselves.

I guess the point to all of this is that I, and a lot of people in my boat, don't really care about an increase in overall daycare spaces or even about the possibility of a partially-subsidized system. What I want is some help--income supplements, major tax credits, income splitting for tax purposes, how about it?--that would at least give me the option of doing what I want.

She agrees with my every word.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Just Macaws

Out in floppy cover in a couple of weeks.

You now have even less excuse. Tightwad.

Noisy Tennant

Watched the second part of Doctor Who Meets Beelzebub last night. It was all right I guess, if a little draggy in places. The story was partly ripped off from this one (which itself was a less spooky-ass version of this).

I seem to be in the minority, but I've been nonplussed by the series remount on the whole. A part of it's an inability to "go home again" to be sure, but that doesn't minimize the show's weaknesses, to wit:
  • creator Russell T. Davies, who's never met a fart joke he didn't like or a sci-fi/adventure convention that he didn't want to piss all over. His episodes have generally been plotless shit.
  • the unseemly unconsummated lurve affair 'twixt Rose T and The Doc, which dramatically speaking, has outstayed its welcome big time.
  • some of the crappiest and least subtle incidental music I've ever heard.
  • a chronic inability to establish proper episode pacing: moments of busy-action hyperactivity (today's audiences demand faster movement, doncha know...) sandwiched between drawn-out character-development scenes.

And then there's The Doc. I marginally prefer David Tennant, although I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that I've never seen him before and he's still a novelty. When Chris Ecclescakes was announced as the lead, my first thought was "great choice." I've always liked that particular combination of menace and deer-caught-in-the-headlights nerviness that he brings to the table. But once I'd mulled it over, I realized: I know exactly what we're gonna get from him. And get it we did. The actors who've been most successful in the part have been those (Tom Baker, Jon Pertwee and Patrick Troughton) who either played against type or who had absolutely no idea what they were going to do with it. It's that kind of role. The charismatic Tennant has potential but he's hampered by the series writers' penchant for having him deliver OTT grandstanding speeches about how he's gonna whip the bad guy's ass...instead of just getting on with inventively whipping the bad guy's ass.

I like the show's energy--it's got enough visual and verbal interest to keep you watching for sure--and there's been the odd episode that I thought was outstanding. Billie Piper's been very good to boot, and some of the character-driven stories revolving around her have been well done. It's just that there's so much inconsistency even within individual episodes and so much of it hasn't been able to rise above the level of moderately intelligent eye-candy. Shame.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Records In Review: David Kilgour--Frozen Orange

Reviewing two-year-old albums by David Kilgour: well, let no one say I'm not hep to what the kids are into. Anyway, he's got a greatest somethings record coming out next week, so we'll call it topical shall we.

Frozen Orange is a tasty dessert treat and solo record number six for the former and possibly still Clean singer/guitarist. I had very nice things to say about the previous one. This one's halfway-decent. On its day.

I often describe DK/The Clean's music, from whatever period, as excellent mind-clearing stuff: vignette-type songs, very underwritten, no distractions. A slice from the middle is pretty much like a slice from the beginning or the end. Kilgour's strength isn't his songwriting; it's his ear for arrangement and sonic contrast (and his very nice voice). This was particularly apparent on the mostly one-man-in-a-mid-priced-studio affair A Feather In The Engine, which mixed a few particularly nice pop tunes with a good variety of atmospherics. FO certainly has its moments in terms of sonic interest, but the material's definitely second-tier.

The album boasts full-band arrangements--the chamber aesthetic is still prevalent, though--and a beefier sound than its predecessor. I'm not sure this helps much: the more traditional arrangements show up the obviousness of some of the songwriting. Speaking of which, nothing on FO's going to come as a massive shock to anyone familiar with DK's ouevre. There is more of a lean toward mellow hippy-dippiness in both the music and the, as usual, minimal lyrics, but there's still the spaced-out jangle-pop influence and a lot of three-chorders. Again speaking of which, "Living In Space" sounds pretty much like "Do Your Thing" from The Clean's Modern Rock album (bizarrely, they're both on the new compilation) with a proper ending. Nicely put together, but same old, same old.

"Rocket" (the most obvious bright 'n' shiny pop tune here), "The Waltz" and "A Head Full Of Rolling Stones" are probably the best three songs. The rest ranges from fine to iffy. "Gold In Sound" has all of the attractive DK production characteristics, with little sound impressions bubbling to the surface without disrupting the flow, but the instrumental melody sounds so much like The Archies' "Sugar, Sugar" that it's unintentionally funny. "Frozen Orange" is pretty as an aside. If, after a couple of passes, you can remember one of "Dogs Barking," "Blue Sky" and "Everybody's On A Ride," then well done.

You try to take music like Kilgour's in the spirit with which it presents itself (and I do very much like the fellah), but Frozen Orange, at thirty-five minutes, feels about as substantial as a 20-minute ep. Very soothing music for those long, nighttime highway drives though. Recommendation: middling chill-out music.


mp3: David Kilgour--"Rocket" (from Frozen Orange)
mp3: David Kilgour--"Frozen Orange" (from Frozen Orange)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Tagging Stinks Reprise

Handiwork of the Beaches' disempowered voiceless youth:







The Tea Lady

Marisha, good friend of SitKoB and proprietor of House Of Tea (get your website fancied up kid!), was featured on ceeb radio's Metro Morning the other week. Even though we've moved it's still our one and only. She provides tea for Pusateri's and a couple of restaurants I believe.

Tea is back in again, doncha know. Grrrrrr...

Friday, January 12, 2007

It Wasn't Me

In case you were worried.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Fish Wrappings

The Toronto Sun breaks the big story!

Er...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Yaaaawn...I Mean, Congratulations!

In a vote as shocking as that which elected Paul Martin to the federal Liberal leadership, Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken, Jr. stroll into the Baseball Hall Of Fame.

No arguments.

Mark McGwire was actively punished and is clearly a no-hoper. Goose Gossage and Jim Rice (never the media's favourite) remain bubblemen. The rest--Andre Dawson, Bert Blyleven, Lee Smith, Jack Morris--are pretty much toast, I think, unless there's a particularly thin year coming up. Tommy John, again scoring only in the 20%-range, has only a couple of shots left.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Tagging Stinks

The Globe and Mail ran this piece today about grafitti's cost to businesses across Canada. In Calgary alone, it costs business $10M a year. But the graffiti-removal business is booming. I'm not so concerned about the business cost, just the aesthetic cost to our neighbourhoods.

Just to be clear: I'm not talking about murals; they're fine. It's those cryptic little squiggles that adorn every square inch of blank wall, every stop sign, every Canada Post pickup box, every Hydro panel, etc., etc. This is not art. This is mindless, obnoxious idiocy.

In Toronto, the city fines businesses if they do not remove graffiti from their property. This is unreasonable because 1) it doesn't work; and 2) the City's own property (park benches, park signs, stop signs, etc.) is covered in tags, and Toronto hasn't done much to keep on top of this. Clean up your own tags first, then bust the businesss owners!

The theory is, if you remove it right away, the little shits will be discouraged and won't do it again. Alas, this is not so. The elementary school in our neighbourhood is bombarded with tags all the time. The janitor vigilantly removes every tag within a day of its appearance, but the tags are newly applied the next night. So keeping the walls clean doesn't work.

The National Post did this multimedia piece before Christmas (scroll down to "Let Us Spray" and click on link). The video tries to be an "edgy", closeup look at at a "graffiti artist" as he "works". The interviewee claims that he grew up poor so he had no voice, but graffiti let him find his voice. Most of the taggers in our neighbourhood are from comfortable homes, so they can't use that excuse. I just hope the little snots grow out of the urge to tag, and soon.

Sid And Nutsy

Was amused the other day to see Sid Ryan's recent defense of his union's Israel divestment/boycott resolution reprinted (with the necessary permissions, I'm sure) in the most recent edition of Toronto Street News, where it rubs elbows with pieces by David Icke, the Save The Males guy and assorted conspirazoids.

There's another particularly good article taken from Cloak And Dagger pithily entitled "Toronto Police False Flag Operation Blaming Teenage Terrorists; Distorted By Mass Media." Quote:

British/Canadian Secret Services give explosives to mind control patsies then arrest these same patsies and claim they are terrorists. Prime Minister Harper knows this and is hiding it from Canadians because he takes his orders from Bush and Rice. All the so-called Toronto Teenage Terrorists received their firepower and explosives from the Canadian/British Intelligence & Police Forces.

It is the Canadian Public who are fooled by the Mass Media because there are no genuine foreign terrorists but merely Bush-Clinton Crime Family mercenaries & mind control MK Ultra stooges out to plug holes in the dykes of their Empire that is super-leaking.

My wife bought the paper for karma.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Meet The New Link, Same As The Old Link

I should have mentioned last week that my buddy Emerson (the musical encyclopaedia) has started up an mp3 thingy at his old Old Punks site: Two Songs Considered.

Make sure you deluge him with emails telling him to post more often.

For That Special Someone

Just a reminder that it's never too early to sign up for those xmas 2007 hampers.

Imagine the looks on their little faces as they open up that box on xmas morn...

Friday, January 5, 2007

Old-School Feminist Rant

Cover story for Macleans' most recent issue (print mag only): Why do we dress our daughters like skanks? Cover photo: 10-year old girl wearing fishnets, denim mini, and pink tank top emblazoned with: Made You Look.

We get the point.

The article suggests that parents weary of the endless battles with their kids, who just want to fit in, blah blah, the usual story. Also points the finger at consumer goods manufacturers for targeting a younger market. There are some interesting points made here, but basically, there is NO justification for buying your daughter slutty clothes.

The Macleans piece references some Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirt (targeted at older girls obviously) with the provocative slogan: "Who needs brains when you have these?" I am entirely humourless on these kinds of things, so I don't care if it's meant tongue in cheek.


So here's why you DO need your brains, you silly little "empowered" girls:

  • Boobs don't last forever! One day, your pretty little face and body will be OLD (and by today's youth-oriented standards, that means 30). Then you won't be able to trade on your looks, so you'd better have built up a big RRSP or start using your brains.
  • Looking for a good job out of university? Guess what: you can't put "nice tits" on your resume as an attribute (unless you're applying to Hooters, in which case I wash my hands of you). Employers still look for legitimate credentials and experience.

One final point: why do you want to dress like a whore anyway? Think of the REAL sex workers out there; how will their clients be able to distinguish between them and the faux ho's?

Here Come The Warm Jets

10 degrees C.

At 8:30am.

The freaky weather's obviously down to these three factors, to varying degrees of course.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Stevie Y

Give it up for one of the greatest combinations of skill and guts ever to lace up skates, Mr. Steve Yzerman:

  • 3 Stanley Cups as captain, including '01-'02, when he played the entire postseason as a Long John Silver impersonator
  • 155 points in '88-'89
  • came back, in his late 30s no less, from this horrific injury

Props.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Mo Beta Blues

A word of warning to anyone who hasn't switched over to the new and improved Blogger: it's not yet able to accept Youtube postings.

For those who care about such things.

Shades of '94

Underachieving in team sports is clearly bad for your health.