Thursday, March 29, 2007
If separatists in Quebec attempted a question like this, most rationale thinkers would scream. If this question showed up on an exam, there would mild confusion, since you may want to answer more than one.
The Conservatives should ask the question straight up. The inclusion of a third option is brilliant if you want to split the vote, but does nothing to improve legitimacy.
Taste of Saskatchewan
Hoping the guests will want to check this out next weekend.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
One More Reason...
... to loathe the Leafs.
Friday, March 23, 2007
A New Twist on the Baby Bonus
All you have to do is carry the fetus to term and sell it to the state.
There will be some unintended consequences if the bill passes. There are about 77,000 abortions in Texas every year, and at $500 a pop, they'll run the taxpayers $40 million dollars to buy off. (A small price to pay, when you're doing the lord's work.)
Also, passing the law will require vacating another Texas law, the one about not buying and selling people. And, I guess, the emancipation proclamation.
Dan Patrick (nee Dannie S. Goeb) is the author of S.B. 1567, a bill that was referred to the Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday. It calls for the health department to "develop a program to encourage pregnant women to place their children for adoption rather than have an abortion... The program must include a $500 payment to each woman who is a resident of this state and a citizen of the United States who places a child for adoption rather than have an abortion."
Sec. 50.002. APPLICATION FORM.
The only people who can get the money to have a baby are those who've proven -- by going to an abortion clinic -- that they don't want a baby. If you don't want to have a baby, you can get $500 to have a baby, but only if you don't want it. That's some catch, that Catch 22.
This begs the bigger question, what is the going rate for those in their terrible twos? How about those pesky teenagers?
Hey Big Spender
Former National Citizens Coalition President Stephen Harper would be disgusted with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Where are you Preston Manning, your country needs you.
Don't blame me I didn't vote for them.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Power of Balance
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Cut it Out Quebec
Monday, March 12, 2007
Can I see some ID?
B.C. Solicitor-General John Les says bouncers, bodyguards and other security industry workers will soon need licences in British Columbia to work in bars or offer protection services.
Take me down to the Paradise City
Sunday, March 11, 2007
What, no pass to Tim Kerr?
Gladstone Hotel Ballroom, 1214 Queen St W, Toronto
Wed, March 14, 7:30-10pm (doors 7pm), free
It is in the neighbourhood so one may sneak it and check out the hedgehog.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
A Tad Rich
Reports of extramarital affairs have dogged him for years as a result of two messy divorces, but he has refused to discuss them publicly. Gingrich, who frequently campaigned on family values issues, divorced his second wife, Marianne, in 2000 after his attorneys acknowledged Gingrich's relationship with his current wife, Callista Bisek, a former congressional aide more than 20 years younger than he is.
His first marriage, to his former high school geometry teacher, Jackie Battley, ended in divorce in 1981. Although Gingrich has said he doesn't remember it, Battley has said Gingrich discussed divorce terms with her while she was recuperating in the hospital from cancer surgery.
May the last remaining moral purist on the right not the door hit them on the way out.
Monday, March 05, 2007
Now that is Pop Culture
$15 before 11pm / $20 after Doors 10pm
You must be 19+, live in your parents basement and have an active myspace account using the handle - 2 Live Crew - to attend.
Sunday, March 04, 2007
Top 10 Discs of 2006
Shaky finally threw the hammer down and gave us his Best of 2006 list. I've had this stored for some time now, so I won't delay and get right to it. Apologies to those who don't like long posts.
1. Jenny Lewis & the Watson Twins – Rabbit Fur Coat
Some might point out that this came out in 2005, and it did, but my copy clearly states a 2006 release date. So there.
Regardless of what year this was released, this is a fantastic album that I could listen to for years without getting bored. My limited critical vocabulary doesn’t permit me to fully capture why this disc is so good, but I will try.
Rabbit Fur Coat is a country/folk mélange that is incredibly well crafted and beautifully written. It is also quite quirky and, as far as my limited musical knowledge goes, unique. Although the critical acclaim has been, in my view, lacking, I would not hesitate to put in the same category as Lucinda Williams’ Car Wheels on a Gravel Road and Loretta Lynn’s Van Lear Rose.
2. Damien Rice – 9
Rice’s second album didn’t have the same critical success as his first (which was also outstanding), but I like this one better. The very melancholy O was a great debut album, but it was, let’s say, a little sombre.
This time, the sombreness is still present, but it doesn’t dominate the album. There are a few (relatively) upbeat tracks and some that might even get your feet tapping a little. Cocunut Skins is one track in which the beat is up and you really notice that Rice is an Irishman.
My favourite track, which is quickly becoming my fetish track for the year, is Rootless Tree. It is, along with the Indigo Girls version of Romeo & Juliet, one of the most intense songs I have heard. The fact that the chorus begins with a series of f-bombs is only part of the reason I like this song so much.
3. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Stadium Arcadium
When one of my friends opined that the Chili Peppers were probably one of the most underrated bands of the 20th century, I had a hard time refuting his argument. They have had a series of good to great albums of the span of two decades, yet nobody would mention them in the same breath as U2.
Although I’ve always liked them, I only have one of their albums and I can’t say that I was ever a huge fan. I am now.
Stadium Arcadium is an album for the ages and might get the Chili Peppers out of the “underrated” category. Given the fact that this is a double album (28 tracks), the quality of the tracks is even more impressive. It’s not easy to have that many high quality songs on one album (think Ryan Adams). Somehow, they pulled it off.
The songs are, to a certain point, eclectic, but not to the point where the album is not cohesive. I think this is what impresses me the most. I also have a fetish track on this album: Hump de Bump. If you don’t feel like dancing when this song is on, then you may be even whiter than I am.
4. The Raconteurs – Broken Boy Soldiers
As those who know me and my musical tastes will attest to, I am fairly predictable. In almost every one of the lists that I’ve made, Jack White has been featured. Here he is again as the leader of a new group.
I’m not sure why I like what he does so much (from his work with Meg, to Loretta Lynn, to his soundtrack to some movie with Tom Cruise’s second ex-wife), but I think it’s because it’s quite simple and straightforward. For example, when I read that he and Meg were the only two performers on the Stripes’ albums, I figured they did a lot of over-dubbing. I then saw them in concert and Jack plays like three instruments at a time.
With the Raconteurs, things feel a bit more “produced”, as it is a quartet, but not much. It’s still pretty straightforward rock, à la Kings of Leon.
5. The Tragically Hip – World Container
Much like most people my age, I went through university on a steady diet of Gord Downie. In the past few years, however, I had strayed from that path. With the release of this album, I am right back where I should be, smack dab in the middle of Bobcaygeon and the Paris of the Prairies.
The new disc is somewhat a return to the classic, straight-shooting, no-frills rock that we are used to, but it also has some more eclectic stuff. The last track, Yer Not the Ocean, has a tinge of a, dare I say it, Santana sound to it…but better.
On a side not, I like the little pun they used for the 7th track: Luv (sic). For someone who’s considered the king of the bad, Dad, jokes, this is tailor made for me.
6. Beck – The Information
After being dumped and getting in touch with his depressive side on Sea Change, Beck returned to form with Guero. On this album, he makes it clear that he is still on top of his game.
I don’t know if there is a description for the type of music Beck produces, but in my limited experience, he clearly has a style of his own. Granted, it is a melting pot of a number of musical influences, but it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where he is coming from. I guess this it what makes me like his stuff so much.
The Information is very much in the genre of Odelay and Guero and not so much like his earlier work. Although I usually like “folksier” music, I really prefer Beck when he lets it all hang out and pushes the envelope.
7. Belle & Sebastian – The Life Pursuit
Thanks to Shaky and our mutual friend David, I got hooked on Belle & Sebastian after listening to their 1996 disc, If You’re Feeling Sinister. It took a while, but I now have most of their work and it’s always in frequent rotation.
The Life Pursuit is just the latest in a long line of great discs that is, once again filled with great songs. For fans, it still has the great writing that is a staple with B&S, as well as the great musicianship. Even if I’m quite familiar with them, I’m always amazed by how tight they are as a group.
People rave, and rightfully so, about how Arcade Fire is so great live and how a large group of musicians can be so tight. I would put B&S in the same category. I saw them live a few years back and they were like 12 people on stage. It was fantastic. Great energy.
If there is a difference in this latest project, it has to be the fact that it’s a little more upbeat and a little funkier. I wouldn’t say that it’s a “departure”, but it has a slightly different feel to it.
Check it out.
8. John Mayer – Continuum
Yes, that’s right. You read that properly. John Mayer. Shut up Beeg!
I used to listen to John Mayer strictly when my better half would insist upon it. I didn’t really mind it, but I didn’t necessarily look forward to it. Seeing him live and how great of a guitarist he is, however, made me a convert.
Now, this disc is not anything like his live performance, but there is a little more focus on the guitar, which is a good sign. He other positive aspect is the writing. He can be quite the clever writer at times, which is another aspect I appreciate.
Although I often feel that the whole John Mayer experience is a little to sleek or to “packaged”, I like the final product. He is definitely a perfectionist, but his passion still comes through in the music.
For me, the highlight of the disc is the remake of Jimi’s Bold as Love. When I saw it on the track list, I thought it was a little brash to attempt a song from the best guitarist in the world, but Mayer pulls it off quite nicely. He’s got some serious chops.
9. Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris – All the Roadrunning
In my music collection, I have but one Dire Straits album and none of Emmylou Harris’ great work. Nevertheless, I have an immense respect for both of them and I really like everything I’ve heard from both. I just need to work on my collection.
With the two of them getting together, I couldn’t pass up the chance to get to know them better.
This disc came highly recommended, but it took me a few spins to really get into it. I did, however, really get into it. As one would expect, it has a great country sound to it and it’s very well crafted. The songs are quite polished, but come off as if they were recorded on the first take. It feels like one of those albums that was recorded in a barn that was converted into a recording studio. Maybe it was. Either way, that’s the image I have when I listen to it and that adds to the calming effect the songs have on me. It’s a great disc to play when you want to relax and work off those rough edges from a long day.
10. Indigo Girls – Despite our Differences
Without hesitation, I will buy every new Indigo Girls album without hearing a single note or without reading a single review. For me, they are just one of those bands.
Many critics and fans have indicated that this disc is return to the “Closer to Fine” glory days. That is not necessarily false, but it makes it seem as if their previous discs were sub par, which they weren’t.
If anything, this disc has a slightly faster tempo than the previous two IG projects, which is, in a way, a return to their more “intense” early years. There were a few albums that had a more “sensitive” or melancholy sound to them, notably Swamp Ophelia, Rights of Passage and Become You.
Another aspect of this disc that makes it a little more like the earlier work is that the Girls seem to have rediscovered their acoustic guitars, which they had slightly strayed from on their last few discs.
All in all, for those who appreciate good harmonies and great acoustic riffs, pick up this disc.
Oh yeah, for fans of Pink, she makes an appearance on the track “Rock & Roll Heaven’s Gate”. It’s not as bad as it sounds.
11. Ani DiFranco – Reprieve
12. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Show Your Bones
13. The Flaming Lips – At War With The Mystics
14. Dixie Chicks – Taking The Long Way
J.J. Cale & Eric Clapton – Road to Escondito
Saturday, March 03, 2007
Still Hating Gays
People pay her. Really. For what.