Monday, June 18, 2018

Hot! Live! Music!

tUnE-yArDs, "Water Fountain"
My enjoyment of this song and this performance is only slightly tempered by my annoyance at having to type out the silly stylized name.

U2, "Moment Of Surrender"
I'll be the first to admit that No Line On The Horizon isn't one of U2's best albums, but that record has seven minutes of pure joy in Moment Of Surrender.  I almost wrote "seven minutes of heaven," but that would've been kind of weird.

Postmodern Jukebox, "Don't Stop Me Now" (Queen cover)
I'm not saying I wasn't impressed by the trailer, but Melinda Doolittle seems like a much better Freddie Mercury than Mr. Robot.

R.E.M. "Let Me In"
This one is courtesy of the "R U Talkin' R.E.M. Re: Me?" podcast, which was formerly known as "U Talkin' U2 To Me."  As you might expect, this pod focuses on the R.E.M. discography rather than U2's albums, but it's still Scott Aukerman and Adam Scott talking nonsense for about 75% of the show.  Maybe a bit less than 75%, actually, since it seems like Adam Scott is a bigger R.E.M. fan and actually has more to say, though it's maybe balanced out by Aukerman knowing very little about the band's post-80's work.  Still, if you like R.E.M. and have patience for lots of non-band-related goofing around, it's worth the listen.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

World Cup Predictions

They started the World Cup before I could make my picks?! Poor form, FIFA!

GROUP A (predicted order of finish): Uruguay, Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia
GROUP B: Spain, Morocco, Portugal, Iran
GROUP C: France, Peru, Denmark, Australia
GROUP D: Argentina, Croatia, Nigeria, Iceland
GROUP E: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Costa Rica
GROUP F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea
GROUP G: Belgium, England, Tunisia, Panama
GROUP H: Colombia, Poland, Japan, Senegal

This sets up a bracket of....

Uruguay vs. Morocco
France vs. Croatia
Brazil vs. Mexico
Belgium vs. Poland
Spain vs. Russia
Argentina vs. Peru
Germany vs. Serbia
Colombia vs. England

...and from that, I'll predict Brazil over Germany in the final.  Revenge for the infamous 7-1 drubbing at the last World Cup!  Fun fact: during that game, I was at the dentist getting a cavity filled, so they had me all novocaine'd up.  When I left the appointment, they had the game on the TV in the reception area, and upon seeing the 4-0 scoreline at the time, I honestly thought I was still loopy from the medication.  As a bonus pick, I'll go with France over Argentina in the third place, as Messi's LeBron-esque attempt at being a one-man team again is not quite enough.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Canada's In The World Cup?!

I'll hold off my official World Cup predictions for a day to look ahead to the 2026 World Cup, in a nod to this morning's breaking news that the joint bid of Canada/Mexico/United States has been awarded the tournament.  Now, Canada and Mexico will only be hosting 10 games each while the U.S.A. hosts 60, so this is about as much of a joint bid as Destiny's Child was a joint effort between three pop stars of equal stature, but still, yay Canada!

This means that, for all intents and purposes, Canada's hilariously inept men's national team has finally made it back into a World Cup.  Technically, FIFA has yet to officially decide whether or not all three host countries will get automatic bids, but the odds are pretty good.  After all, the tournament is expanding to 48 teams in 2026, so they'll have plenty of extra space for more North American teams to qualify.  Heck, with a 48-team field, maybe Canada would've qualified anyway! on...

It's certainly a major landmark for Canadian soccer, Canadian sport, and really the nation as a whole.  It should be noted that the proposed number of games and venues for our country has yet to be finalized, with no guarantees that the announced cities of Vancouver, Edmonton, and Toronto will end up with games. 

In the midst of this uncertainty, I propose that my hometown of London, Ontario step into the driver's seat.  We have several soccer fields in town, some of which I myself played on as a child!  Oh, how I hated it!  The matches were less competitive games for me than they were a necessary evil to obtain orange slices.  My parents still to this day talk about how they've never seen me more miserable than when my eight-year-old was half-heartedly running up and down the pitch in the midst of a massive downpour.  I guess they bring it up since moments of pure misery were pretty rare in my childhood, and thus this one really stood really, strong parenting on their part!

London not only has soccer facilities, but MULTI-FIELD facilities.  That's right, sports complexes with three, four, maybe five or six fields able for use at any given time.  In the name of efficiency, we could play four games at once and roll through the entire group stage in maybe a week.

I can't speak for every set of fields, but the one near my parents' house (the actual site of my Roy Batty-esque "tears in rain" game) serves particularly tasty french fries in the snack booth.  Just saying.  If the French national team has a game scheduled in London and tries the fries, they'll definitely back me up on this.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Lime Rick

(No, this isn't a Ricky & Morty post.  I've actually never seen the show, and now I feel it's been too many seasons for me to catch up.  One can't wait forever in the era of Peak TV)

While out tonight, I found myself sitting behind a couple who were amusing each other with intentionally-cheesy poems.  They may have been drunk, in this reporter's opinion, but whatever.  They began with several variations on "roses are red, violets are blue..." before they moved onto lime-ricks.

You may wonder why I included the dash.  It's because that's how they were pronouncing the word: as if it was a lime-flavoured person named Rick rather than "limmer-ick."  I suppose it's possible this could have been some type of inside joke between them, especially since this is a couple that clearly enjoys reciting drunken poetry to each other, though it seemed pretty genuine.

It's a popular train of thought that one should never make fun of someone mispronouncing a word because a mispronunciation means they learned the word via reading, and reading should always be encouraging.  Ninety-nine times out of 100, I thoroughly agree with that sentiment….except for people who pronounce it as "lime-rick."  Then they’re just dumb-dumbs.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Sting & Shaggy

This is not a drill --- Sting and Shaggy have teamed up to collaborate on a new album.

To be clear, this is indeed Shaggy of "It Wasn't Me" fame, and Gordon "Sting" Sumner from The Police.  It's not, like, Shaggy from Scooby Doo and Sting from pro wrestling teaming up to solve crimes and/or beat up the bad guys.  (Frankly, I think Sting would handle the heavy lifting on both the investigative and muscle sides of that team.)  This is indeed two musicians of seemingly disparate backgrounds joining forces to whip up a record that we can all enjoy.

And frankly, why not?  What's stopping them?  Sting's had some interest in reggae even dating back to his Police days, so if anything, he's probably overdue to make an album with an actual reggae artist.  And Shaggy can't very well be a reggae fusion artist if he isn't fusing reggae with something else.

I'm not going to buy this album but what the heck, tip of the hat to the two of them for making it.  This seems to be the general consensus about this whole project, as exemplified by this review from NME's Jordan Bassett.  He only gives it two stars, yet he can't bring himself to fully pan it.

"There’s something weirdly enjoyable about this cheery abomination of an album. The camaraderie is palpable. These are staggeringly, beautifully unselfconscious men, insulated by success, and they have honestly no idea how ludicrous they look and sound....Their hearts are in the right place, even if their better judgment was sunning itself somewhere in Kingston."

If Shaggy and Sting make another record, they absolutely have to title it "Cheery Abomination."  Anyway, here's the first single, judge for yourself!

Friday, June 01, 2018

The Hiatus

After years of sticking to a 10 posts-per-month schedule, I decided to take May entirely off.  Now, I guess you could say my streak still lives since I'm technically still averaging ten posts per month when I actually post, but this is splitting hairs to a comical extent, even for a bald guy.

Why the break?  Basically, just a combination of a busy workload, some life stuff getting in the way, and maybe even **quiet voice** just a bit of boredom about blogging?  In theory, this month away will recharge my batteries, and I indeed do feel a bit more pep in my step as I write these words.  Even though I'm sitting down and live an overtly sedentary lifestyle, I'd definitely have a jaunty stride if I ever stopped being lazy.

Stay tuned for most posts as we roar into June.  Same blog time, same blog channel!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Parker & Parker

I have no intention of watching the new Lost In Space series, since nothing about the rebooted premise interests me.  I would have supreme interest, however, in a show where two of the Lost In Space stars (Molly Parker and Parker Posey) drive around in a van and solve crimes.

Why AREN'T there more "drive around in a van and solve crimes" shows, by the way?  The premise has been a running gag for years.  It's true that there are literally dozens of procedural crime dramas that have cases-of-the-week and they simply don't feature the protagonists actually using a van as their base of operations, but even still, why not go (or drive) the extra mile?  The NCIS team often uses a van for transport purposes, presumably.  Why not a plot twist where Mark Harmon and company go rogue and decide to become their own version of the A-Team and/or the Scooby Gang?  Why Hollywood hasn't offered me millions of dollars to write these shows, I'll never know.

The boldest premise for my Molly Parker/Parker Posey program would be to have them playing fictionalized versions of themselves, somehow drafted into becoming roving detectives despite their active acting careers.  It's really a perfect combination, with Molly being the most straight-laced of the duo and Posey being roughly 30% crazy in every role she's ever played.  Why not play both personas up to the hilt in a fictionalized, crime-busting setting?  Or, to go in the totally opposite direction, they just play fictional characters...that are more or less these same personas.  Ok, so not TOTALLY opposite.  They could even play sisters.  Pop quiz: which of Molly Parker and Parker Posey is oldest?  I thought about this for five minutes before looking it up.

The title possibilities are endless.  Parker & Parker, Parker/Parker, Molly Posey, Parker Squared, etc.  You probably can't call it just "Parker" without getting a call from the estate of Donald Westlake, but just the singular name obscures the unique nature of the show.  It's TWO actresses sharing a SAME NAME but one is a GIVEN NAME and the other is a SURNAME.  This is so high-concept it hurts.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Follow That Beastie

Some days you just want to watch a video of a Beastie Boys classic set to scenes from "Follow That Bird." one of those days.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Other People's Writing

* Shea Serraro of The Ringer provides a ranking of the 32 greatest Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez moments in honour of The Sandlot's 25th anniversary.  If you're ever having a discussion with friends about the greatest fictional athletes, Benny The Jet is a very solid first-round pick.

* I'm embarrassed to mention that I watched Jersey Shore for its first four seasons, but honestly, I swear, the first season was genuinely entertaining.  (I should've quit while I was ahead.)  Vulture's Molly Fitzpatrick captures the madness in an oral history of the show, and really, come on, I dare anyone to read this and not laugh at some of the pure absurdity.  From the first few paragraphs about the casting process alone, we learn that Snooki's application was smudged with bronzer, Pauly D's casting was clinched because he owned a tanning booth in his own house, and The Situation's first move upon arriving for interviews with producers was to whip off his shirt.

* Wrestlemania month brought forth quite a bit of good wrestling-related writing, including this profile of The Undertaker by The Ringer's Thomas Golianopoulos.  For a related and really weird viewing experience, I suggest checking out YouTube for footage of "Mean Mark" in his early WCW days, when he's managed by (of all people) Paul Heyman himself in his old "Paul E. Dangerously" persona.  I should note that last year, I wrote a post about Undertaker's seeming retirement, though it appears as though he'll still periodically pop up for matches now and then, albeit shorter matches as a nod to his new hip and his fiftysomething age.  Given his gimmick, perhaps it isn't surprising that Undertaker wouldn't ever officially bury his career.

* And finally, there's the highlight of this OPW, a profile of Cody Rhodes by The Ringer's Mike Piellucci that looks at Rhodes' determination to prove his potential while working on the independent wrestling circuit and outside of WWE's sphere.  Now, wrestling for NJPW (the world's second-biggest wrestling company) may be cheating a bit in terms of the "independent" idea, not to mention joining an already-established and red-hot faction in the Bullet Club.  Even still, it's a great piece about Cody, his career, his life, and his at-times-problematic amount of extra pressure on him as Dusty Rhodes' son.  It's an interesting contrast with the Undertaker profile, in fact, as an example of how major success in pro wrestling is always just one gimmick or storyline away.  Mark Calaway got an amazing character in 1990 and absolutely made the most of it all the way to WWE immortality, while Rhodes never got a full crack in the main event, perhaps to WWE's detriment.  Who knows how many huge stars fans have missed out on because of bad timing, bad luck, or Vince McMahon's whims?

Friday, April 20, 2018

Strawman Argument

More and more restaurants are now serving drinks without straws. I realize and appreciate the environmental benefits of this decision....but yeah, I'd much rather have a straw than drink directly from a glass that countless people have used in the past.

Should I start bringing my own straws to restaurants, or would that be too much of a finicky, Niles Crane-ish move? Apparently there are such things as portable, reusable glass or metal straws that people can carry around for just such an occasion. But then I'd have to take the onus on myself to properly wash and maintain said straw, not to mention withstand the public barbs that would be leveled my way literally every time I used it in public. The person or people I'd be eating with would respond with (at best) an eyeroll, and at worst, open mockery.

I fully admit that this is a silly concern of mine. Last night I was at a straw-less pub and, when I asked for a straw, the server simply brought me one. Also, it occurs to me that drinking from a heavily-used glass is no different than eating with heavily-used cutlery, though I'm not about to start bringing plastic knives and forks to restaurants. 

So, this whole post was pretty pointless. Content!