Wednesday, October 31, 2007

All the Kreskin You Can Handle

WFMU's Beware of the Blog is pretty rad, and today (or TOMORROW as the case may be, time zones equalling TIME TRAVEL in this imperfect universe) is no exception. I love the paranormal, even though I don't believe in it--which is possibly what allows me to love it. I do believe in TIME TRAVEL, however, which is why it confounds and disappoints me like an unambitious son. So if you're on the West Coast, and you read this in the next hour TIME TRAVEL with me to WFMU and dig some vintage Kreskin.

Amen

On a cold October night, this warms my heart. Louis Theroux's documentary The Most Hated Family in America is highly recommended, as is pretty much anything Theroux's done.

Here's a preview:

HEY CLOWNS


Why so serious? (at press time, only Albuquerque remains up for grabs)

Happy Halloween, here's a quintet (and maybe a hidden bonus track, since the J-man's scavenger hunt has been scooped up by bigger dorks than you or I) of seasonal traxx to darken yr doorway.

MP3: "Death of a Clown" by the Kinks
Mp3: "Reflections of the Marionette" by Two Gallants
Mp3: "Cat Claw" by the Kills
Mp3: "Changing" by Witch
Mp3: "The Change" by Tony Joe White

tough shammes, my sweetness

Just finished Michael Chabon's new novel, The Yiddish Policemen's Union. It may be the best book I read all summer. That is to say, I can pretty much count summer out at this point, October 31, now that I've read such a fine and satisfying book. It concerns a hard-boiled homicide cop in the Sitka District, a Jewish settlement in Alaska, named Meyer Landsman. On the eve of Sitka's repatriation to the USA (not the literal eve, mind you, more like 2 months off), bringing with it the threat of grand displacement, a man is murdered in the same SRO hotel that Landsman lives in.
A breakneck, Chabon-sized adventure follows in a noirish style full of visceral prose and unfulfilled dreams. It's not quite as grand as The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, but in some ways, it's more fun. While there are a few scenes of heartbreak and loss, it's nowhere near as devastating as the end of the second act of Kav & Clay.
I thought maybe I was reaching when I immediately drew a connection between Detective Meyer Landsman of TYDU and Detective Jay Landsman of Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon (who, it should be noted, mutated into John Munch on Homicide: Life on the Street) (sadly, Wikipedia says that Munch has now appeared in more episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit than H: LOTS). But I've just now learned that Chabon spent much of his youth in a suburb of Baltimore, that city of my dreams. So maybe there is a connection there, and according to THE INTERNET, I'm the only one who realizes it (aside from CHABON, of course).
Next up is Knots and Crosses, Ian Rankin's first Rebus book.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I'm not a man, or machine, I'm just something inbetween: TEN GREAT CANADIAN ALBUMS

Proven by science*: Loverboy > Slayer + Coldplay.

About a week ago, I bemoaned the lack of Loverboy on the so-called Top 100 Canadian Albums of All Time. I promised to report back with what my top ten would have been had I not been too lazy to compile and submit one last fall for the book.

In the order that I think of them:

Get Lucky - Loverboy
Ode to Joy - Deadly Snakes
Casa - Roger Dean Young & the Tin Cup
Truthfully Truthfully - Joel Plaskett Emergency
How'd We Ever Get This Way? - Andy Kim
Blow the House Down - Great Uncles of the Revolution
Inhabitants - Inhabitants
Les Sables Magiques - Tricky Woo
Blue - Joni Mitchell
ah, what the hell, Sunday Anthems - the Neins Circa

So, like, that's ten Cdn albums I love a lot. What say you, fussy britches?

MP3: "The King of America" by Great Uncles of the Revolution


*when science = Mike Reno

why do we act surprised?

This just in: Shitty, low-paying jobs hard to keep filled.
In other news concerning free-market zealots who can't figure out their own system, our federal minister of finance got jacked by Harry Potter.

So wrong...and yet, so right

This bit from my ex-co-wo-rk-er Ron Petrie's Stubbleblogger is too good/bad to pass up. Bonus points for reminding me of an excellent collection of short stories by Ryan Boudinot.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I Know I Didn't Care When I Was In That Coma Last Year, But It's Sure Nice To Have Friends

I've actually got a recording of what it sounds like outside my window, but when I had to retool my computer, I lost the software I needed to y'know, upload my recordings. I wasted a whole afternoon looking for it, but with no luck. I'll find a way though. I always do.
All the same, you can probably get an idea of what it sounds like outside my window.
As you can see, it's not raining today. That makes it a good day.
If you know my sister, call her and wish her a happy birthday!

I don't usually blog about US politics (and I tried not to blog about Canadian politics, but sometimes you just gotta say something), but this is interesting from a comedy/media POV. Wade over at Signal Response keeps up on US politics a little more, and he keeps up on cool design shit even more than that.

An album you should own is XI by the Howling Hex. I've been living with it for about a month now. As you know, I've devoted most of my musical attention to Roger Dean Young & the Tin Cup's new alb, Threshold (which continues to fascinate and enthrall me), so it's only been in the last week or so that I've really started to listen to XI with any sort of intensity. At first I was put off by the fact that Neil Michael Hagerty backs off quite a bit on this record. I don't know who any of the other players are, but there are at least two other featured vocalists (and presumably songwriters) here. So I kinda brought a bit of baggage to XI and I had to sort of look at it sideways before I could really get into it.
Now that I am into it, I'm really into it. Despite the variety of voices, it actually most reminds me of the Neil Michael Hagerty & the Howling Hex album (the one with all the triangles). It's a bit of a singer-songwriter (see: "Martyr Lectures Comedian") album with a lot of syncopation and country-rock boogie overtones (see: "Fifth Dimensional Johnny B. Goode").
It's kinda weird, sitting here reflecting, to note the differing routes Hagerty and former bandmate Jennifer Herrema have taken since the split (has been seven years already?)(it has!) of Royal Trux. RTX (Herrema's project) is making the kind of records I think a lot of people wanted Hagerty to make: noisy, macho crotch-rock swaggering. Hagerty, meanwhile, has consistently defied (maybe on purpose?) expectations. Just when you think you've figured out what he's doing, he does something else. And then he does something like Bill Callahan's recent Woke on a Whaleheart, which is a staggering work of production and arrangement.

MP3: "Ambulance Across the Street" by the Howling Hex (Drag City)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Not quite the action on homelessness I was hoping for this week

Fifty more people facing homelessness tonight.

100 Canadian Albums

There's a book, there's a list. I was asked to submit a list, but it was while I was moving from Regina to Vancouver, and not really dealing with emails. I kinda regret not submitting, even though I have no idea what my Top 10 Canadian albums of all time would be. I'm sure my contribution wouldn't have made a huge impact on the resulting list, included below, but it woulda been cool to be a part of the project.

1. Harvest, Neil Young (1972)
2. Blue, Joni Mitchell (1970)
3. After the Gold Rush, Neil Young (1970)
4. Music From Big Pink, The Band (1968)
5. Fully Completely, The Tragically Hip (1992 )
6. Jagged Little Pill, Alanis Morissette (1995)
7. The Band, The Band (1969)
8. Funeral, Arcade Fire (2004)
9. Moving Pictures, Rush (1981)
10. American Woman, The Guess Who (1970)
11. Songs of Leonard Cohen, Leonard Cohen (1967)
12. Reckless, Bryan Adams (1984)
13. Five Days in July, Blue Rodeo (1993)
14. Twice Removed, Sloan (1994)
15. Up to Here, The Tragically Hip (1989)
16. Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, Neil Young with Crazy Horse (1969)
17. 2112, Rush (1976)
18. Court and Spark, Joni Mitchell (1974)
19. Whale Music, Rheostatics (1992)
20. Acadie, Daniel Lanois (1989)
21. Day for Night, The Tragically Hip (1994)
22. Rust Never Sleeps, Neil Young & Crazy Horse (1979)
23. Gord's Gold, Gordon Lightfoot (1975)
24. You Were Here, Sarah Harmer (2000)
25. Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, Sarah McLachlan (1993)
26. Road Apples, The Tragically Hip (1991)
27. Gordon, Barenaked Ladies (1992)
28. You Forgot it in People, Broken Social Scene (2002)
29. I'm Your Man, Leonard Cohen (1988)
30. Tonight's the Night, Neil Young (1975)
31. Decade, Neil Young (1977)
32. Miss America, Mary Margaret O'Hara (1988)
33. Surfacing, Sarah McLachlan (1997)
34. One Chord to Another, Sloan (1996)
35. Songs of Love and Hate, Leonard Cohen (1971)
36. Cyborgs Revisted, Simply Saucer (1989)
37. Ingenue, k.d. lang (1992)
38. Melville, Rheostatics (1991)
39. Love Tara, Eric's Trip (1993)
40. On the Beach, Neil Young (1974)
41. Not Fragile, Bachman-Turner Overdrive (1974)
42. The Best of the Guess Who, The Guess Who (1971)
43. Let it Die, Feist (2004)
44. The Last Waltz, The Band (1978)
45. Night Train, The Oscar Petersen Trio (1963)
46. Down at the Khyber, The Joel Plaskett Emergency (2001)
47. Harvest Moon, Neil Young (1992)
48. Cuts Like a Knife, Bryan Adams (1983)
49. L'heptade, Harmonium (1976)
50. Teenage Head, Teenage Head (1979)
51. High Class in Borrowed Shoes, Max Webster (1977)
52. Hejira, Joni Mitchell (1976)
53. The Goldberg Variations, Glenn Gould (1955 and 1982)
54. Forgarty's Cove, Stan Rogers (1977)
55. Wheatfield Soul, The Guess Who (1968)
56. Si on avait besoin d'une cinquieme saison, Harmonium (1974)
57. Dancing in the Dragon's Jaw, Bruce Cockburn (1979)
58. Frantic City, Teenage Head (1980)
59. Hymns of the 49th Parallel, k.d. lang (2004)
60. Hot Shots, Trooper (1979)
61. Robbie Robertson, Robbie Robertson (1987)
62. The Trinity Session, Cowboy Junkies (1988)
63. Ron Sexsmith, Ron Sexsmith (1995)
64. Nothingface, Voivod (1989)
65. Come on Over, Shania Twain (1997)
66. Everything I Long For, Hayden (1995)
67. Outskirts, Blue Rodeo (1987)
68. Joyful Rebellion, k-os (2004)
69. Sit Down Young Stranger/If You Could Read My Mind, Gordon Lightfoot (1970)
70. Love Junk, The Pursuit of Happiness (1988)
71. Jaune, Jean-Pierre Ferland (1970)
72. Somewhere Outside, The Ugly Ducklings (1966)
73. Electric Jewels, April Wine (1973)
74. Sundown, Gordon Lightfoot (1973)
75. Left and Leaving, The Weakerthans (2000)
76. Clumsy, Our Lady Peace (1997)
77. Harmonium, Harmonium (1974)
78. Share the Land, the Guess Who (1970)
79. Greatest Hits!, Ian & Sylvia (1970)
80. Steppenwolf, Steppenwolf (1968)
81. Ladies of the Canyon, Joni Mitchell (1970)
82. Bud the Spud and Other Favourites, Stompin' Tom Connors (1969)
83. Shine a Light, Constantines (2003)
84. Shakespeare My Butt, The Lowest of the Low (1991)
85. Clayton Park, Thrush Hermit (1998)
86. Smeared, Sloan (1992)
87. Living Under June, Jann Arden (1994)
88. The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Joni Mitchell (1975)
89. Bad Manors, Crowbar (1971)
90. Official Music, King Biscuit Boy With Crowbar (1970)
91. Lightfoot!, Gordon Lightfoot (1966)
92. Mad Mad World, Tom Cochrane (1991)
93. Rufus Wainwright, Rufus Wainwright (1998)
94. Face to the Gale, Ron Hynes (1997)
96. Hobo's Taunt, Willie P. Bennett (1977)
97. Cowboyography, Ian Tyson (1986)
98. Favourite Colours, The Sadies (2004)
99. The Way I Feel, Gordon Lightfoot (1967)
100. A Farewell to Kings, Rush (1977)

Thoughts:
  • Holy crap! There's no 95!
  • Nice to see Simply Saucer place so high! Ditto for Voivod.
  • The massive occurance of repeated artists speaks more to the homogenity of Cdn music writers/music nerds than it does to Canada's musical output.
  • No Loverboy? Are you shitting me, Canada? (maybe it's #95)
  • One word: GET OVER THE 90s! Especially Lowest of the Low. Yes, they were a fine band, but COME ON. Just because you had a lot of fun at their shows doesn't make Shakespeare My Butt a GREAT album.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Regina to possibly lose landmark eyesore

The old Albert St. Superstore building has been sold. Of course, there's a bizarre non-competition type clause in the deal:

Francis Bast, the president of Dome Land Development Ltd., said one of the conditions of the sale -- required by Loblaw's -- prohibits the development of a grocery store or a pharmacy on the property. That means downtown Regina and the north-central area of the city will continue to be without a major food store, at least for the immediate future.


What's that all about?

And does Stephen Harper really think that acting like a total dick will help him win a majority?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

mayors who google themselves

As noted last week, someone googled "Pat Fiacco" and wound up here. Further investigation of the Google Tracking Unit reports reveals that a visit to this site came from WITHIN Regina City Hall. Which means that YOU have something in common with HIM.



In other, semi-related news, it's Homelessness Action Week. There are lots of things you can do to recognize Homelessness Action Week, but don't forget to let your elected representatives know that shelters don't equal housing.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Weather Suits My Clothes

It's been a pretty glorious fall day, the kind that makes you wish for a perpetual autumn. But the magical thing about this time of year is its fleetingness. It lasts a little longer out here on the West Coast, but fall on the Prairies is more like a rumour than a season.
Tony Joe White once equated the fall with change, and that seems to work for me. Just like last October, I'm changing addresses. I've got some great new clothes (from my Mtl trip), and I'm SO ready to get to work on a project I've been stewing on for a while. Plus, there might be something absolutely magical in the works.
But first, we've gotta get through this weekend. The big moving day is tomorrow, and I've got some heavy lifting (both literal and metaphoric) to do.
I'd really like to get done early so that I can get out to Rime to see Roger Dean Young & the Tin Cup publicly release their magnificent new album, Threshold. Elephant Island of Victoria is playing with them and they're pretty fine as well. Last time I saw both bands together, they collabed on an absolutely sublime cover of Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On". Wouldn't mind experiencing that again.
I've had a couple of weeks with Threshold now, and am just as in love with it as I am with RDY & the TC's previous alb, Casa. "Keremeos" is currently my favourite track, objectively, but ask me again in another week, and I'm sure I'll be fixated on another song.


MP3: "Everybody's Talkin'" by Bill Withers
MP3: "Keremeos" by Roger Dean Young & the Tin Cup

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thursday Night Status Report


We haven't examined the Google Analytics report for two weeks, so let's do that, shall we?
Most surprising location of a repeat visitor: St. Augustine, FL, about which all I know is that it's where Jack Kerouac died.
Most laughalicious place name where someone who reads me lives: Bohemia, NY
Most terrifying term by which someone found this blog: "Pat Fiacco"
Most bizarre search term which led someone to view multiple pages of this blog: "shoes for sale under $30"
Ratio of bemusement to amusement at the idea of the land development south of the Regina Airport being called "Harbour Landing": 83:1

Montreal Field Report #2: Psychedelic Cauliflower


The best thing I did in Montreal was eat. I ate a lot. I even ate something by accident that I would probably never willingly eat.
A few things I discovered about Montreal food:
-Vancouver does Indian and Sushi better and cheaper
-Montreal has some amazing vegetarian places, including Chu Chai, which bizarrely specializes in fake meat dishes (where flesh is replaced by soy and gluten proxies). We actually just ate normal, vegetable-based dishes, and they were pretty damn fine.
-Even though Le Commensal looks like an all-you-can-eat buffet, it's actually a pay-by-weight deal. So you have to try extra hard to curb your a-y-c-e pig-out instincts, lest you get SHOCKED by a $20 tab.
-"Scallopinni Cardinale" is VEAL.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Awesome video promo for my favourite comic of 2007 (so far)


If you haven't read Nick Bertozzi's awesome The Salon yet, you really should.

Un peu de Vancouver a Montreal

mont

just like home
Originally uploaded by emmetmatheson

If you don't look down, Rue St-Laurent looks a lot like Cambie these days. The Main is down to one lane of traffic, and sidewalks seem to haphazardly disintegrate every half block. There's a depressing amount of empty storefronts, and most depressingly, Warshaw's has become a Pharmaprix. I saw Bette Midler in Warshaw's once. I'll never see her in a Pharmaprix. To be more accurate, she'll never see me in one.

Other famous people I have randomly seen:

Tim Matheson (no relation) - maybe. In Yaletown.

Mark Addy - On Yonge St. in Toronto. I was walking down the street, and I saw a face I recognized, but couldn't place. My instinct was that he was someone from Regina, and it wasn't for another two days that I finally placed him as someone I don't actually know. Which made me feel bad about thinking he was a jerk for just walking by.

Chad Kroeger - In Regina, where, oddly enough, about a million dudes have the same hairstyle.

William Shatner - In Banff, where he had just beaten REAL SPACEMAN Buzz Aldrin in a celebrity ski race.

Peter Gzowski - I didn't actually see him, but in the summer of 2001, I answered the phone at work and immediately recognized the voice I heard my mother listening to nearly every morning when I was VERY young.

Eva Mendes - On Hastings, in Vancouver. Interesting fact I learned while spellchecking Mendes's name on IMDB: Underrated actor Nestor Carbonell has a role in the upcoming film The Dark Knight. Carbonell played the superhero Batmanuel in the short-lived live action sitcom The Tick. I can only feverishly hope that he'll once again don the glad rags of Batmanuel in the Bat-Flick next summer.

Free Market Adherents Feel the Sting of the Free Market

Poetic Justice?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Montreal Field Report #1: Zoobombcrazy

I was in Montreal last week. By mere coincidence, Pop Montreal was going on. I didn't go to very much of the happenings, because I wasn't there for that. I was there for the other kind of R & R. But when I found out the Zoobombs were playing Friday night--with the High Dials, no less!--I just couldn't stay away.

I'm in the middle of moving right now, but I wanted to take a moment to post some pictures I took of the band, and a couple of mp3's, cuz I know that's what you kids are into. The first song is the Zoobombs' signature track, "Mo' Funky", which they played as an encore at the Acadamy Club. The second is from Zoobombs frontman Don Matsuo's solo album, which looks like it came out last year. Most of the info in the CD packaging is in Japanese and thus completely unknown, but I've decided to call this song "Donuts & Coffee". I'll be back with more Mtl stuff (including some thoughts on the show itself) throughout the next week or so, but until then, enjoy the tunes.


MP3: "Mo' Funky" (live in Toronto, 2000) - Zoobombs
MP3: "Donuts & Coffee" - Don Matsuo

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Good News (in the very short term)

Federal Health Minister Tony Clement announces a six-month extension to Vancouver`s Supervised Injection Site`s exemption from the Controlled Substances Act.

Me, I`m still on vacation. But following Harper`s bullish attitude going into the upcoming Parliamentary session (he seems to be daring the Opposition to force an election), one can only assume his party is trying to keep harm reduction from becoming a campaign issue, and hoping that either A) they`ll get a majority and be able to do whatever the hell they want come June or B) it`ll be someone else`s problem and the Conservative Party can posture in indignant objection.