31 December 2007

Brattleboro v. George Walker Bush

Check out this article. Yes, Vermont is the only state not visited by our not so esteemed President in his almost 7 years in office. Now, there may be good reason for that.

30 December 2007

Congratulations 2007 Undefeated New England Patriots

*photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images*

We interrupt your regularly scheduled year-end countdown to bring you these words.

Congratulations on an undefeated season to the 2007 New England Patriots. The celebrations were subdued however as in two weeks they will resume their quest for the Vince Lombardi Trophy, but the undefeated season almost wasn't.

The Giants were on their game, at least for the first half, and the Pats really got lucky a number of times and almost threw it away on a ridiculous penalty. In the first quarter on the Pats' second drive, on a 3rd down and 14 play, the Giants get called for soft penalty, giving the Pats 5 yards and a fresh set of downs, allowing the Pats to score 6 plays later.

During the touchdown celebration as pictured above, a zebra was almost struck during the play, warranting him to throw a flag for excessive celebration, constituting as unsportsmanlike conduct. That brought the Patriots' kickoff back 15 yards, allowing speedy kickoff returner Hixon to return the kickoff for a touchdown. Had the Pats kept those 15 yards, they might have had a chance against Hixon, who didn't make a return for less than 11 yards all night except for the one touchback.

New York led most of the game, but began to lose their focus and sharpness in the second half, whilst the Patriots seemingly found theirs. Patriots go on to score 22 unanswered points, and that pretty much was the end of that. Giants brought it back within 3, but the ensuing onside kick failed for the Giants, with about a minute to spare for a timeout and a couple QB kneels.

Now if I may shift to the other football, that's soccer to us Americans, hooray for Dimitar Berbatov for scoring 4 goals, a hat trick and then some in a massive goal-scoring fest in Tottenham's 6-4 win over Reading yesterday. Also, cheers to West Ham United for toppling Manchester United yesterday 2-1, no easy feat. Too bad for Everton, just getting manhandled by Adebayor's Arsenal yesterday 4-1.

As Casey Kasem would say, now on with the countdown.

28 December 2007

Top 10 Songs and/or Albums of 2007

10. Feist: "1 2 3 4" - Fantastic breakout for the Canadian anti-folkie and former Broken Social Scene member. Questionable move to allow Apple iPod to use her song and video for their commercial (Selling out? But it's Apple, they're the anti-man.), but a beautiful cheery simple little tune that I don't mind getting stuck in my head. Her follow-up "My Moon My Man" also is quality.

9. Neko Case: Fox Confessor Brings the Flood - Although this came out last year, this has been a big year for Americana and her appearance at Austin City Limits really pushed her to the forefront of the genre. Still working with The New Pornographers, Neko's star shines bright into 2008.

8. Adele: "Hometown Glory" - Londoner Adele garnered loads of radio play based on her mySpace offering in 2007. Brilliant singer with soul, expect lots to come from Adele.

7. Band of Horses: Cease to Begin - This was a great find with regular rotation on BBC 6 Music and Sirius 26 Left of Center. Hints of Americana in this Indie band. Wonderful stuff.

6. The Arcade Fire: Neon Bible - A wonderfully diverse and big sound from this Canadian "gang". I was fortunate enough to catch the PBS Austin City Limits and see the intensity and change of instrumentation (hurdy gurdy to accordion to percussion) on this accomplished group. A huge year for these fine young men and women from Montréal, we haven't seen the last of them, no matter how big they get.

5. Bloc Party: "The Prayer", "Flux" - Fine dance-oriented rhythms from Bloc Party. I once posted that the Red Sox should play "The Prayer" in the locker room pre-game on Surviving Grady, someone must have been reading because after I did, they went on a fantastic winning streak. Guaranteed to hype you up.

4. Sigur Ros: "Hiljomalind" - More gloriousness from what you would expect from Sigur Ros. This single was released this fall prior to an acoustic tour, which made a stop in Camden, London for the BBC Electric Proms. Chills. Every time I listen to Sigur Ros.

3. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss: Raising Sand - Ok, I know what I said about Led Zeppelin a few weeks ago, but this combination is absolutely brilliant. A different twist on Americana - a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll. I don't think I'll grow tired of this album any time soon.

2. Editors: An End Has a Start - Sophomore effort from Birmingham's Editors doesn't disappoint. Having heard this album first before their debut The Back Room, I can see the forward progression in their musicianship, and I have made them my new favorite band.

So why haven't I made Editors my #1? Because:

1. British Sea Power: "Waving Flags" - From the upcoming 2008 album, this anthemic single reminiscent of Embrace has really summed up the year for me. Such a euphoric feeling comes from this track and I can't hardly wait at all for the full length album. British Sea Power really rivals Editors for being my favorite new band, but I simply must wait for the new album to be able to make that distinction.

Next time: Movies of 2007!

26 December 2007

5 Worst Songs of 2007

5. Fergie: "Glamorous" - Fergie teaches us how spell again and "if you don't have no money take your broke ass home" (broke broke in the censored version - Huh? WTF?). Nod to the casting of Freddy Rodriguez of Six Feet Under.

4. Soulja Boy: "Crank That" - I've only heard this once or twice and I can't make it all the way though it, it's sooooo bad. Apparently its got an accompanying dance that Ellen DeGeneres has got a hold of on her show, which is surprising that it's making its way into middle age moms' ears, given that it's so unlistenable.

3. Avril LaVigne: "(Hey Hey You You I Wanna Be Your) Girlfriend" - Now try to get this earworm out of your head. Just try.

2. Rhianna: "Umbrella" - 'Nuf Ced.

1. Sean Kingston: "Beautiful Girls" - This song was inescapable this summer. It had not only one but two censored versions here in America: one with the word "suicidal" muted and one replacing "suicidal" with "in denial", which is even worse. To think that this country is so politically correct that uptight parents are so up in arms about the word "suicidal" in the chorus, they actually think that kids hearing the word might get them to go on and do the deed. Not suprisingly, these censored versions more often than not appeared on Rupert Murdoch's conservative ClearChannel station evil empire.

Happy Boxing Day! Feel free to list any honorable mentions in the comments - any songs you'd like to rid your memory of for this year?

20 December 2007

Yule Love It

Merry Christmas everyone!

Coming next week: best and worst of 2007 as we wrap up the year.

18 December 2007

No Place Like Home

We made it home safely. The timing of it all was great - we travelled the three hours down between the storms and back again on Monday after the second storm. Some thoughts on this weekend:

1. It's amazing how one can get used to a screaming baby in the car for 45 minutes straight.

2. Those push-snowblowers are harder to operate than they look.

3. When loading the car, walk carefully down the steps when they're icy (my hand and back are still thanking me for that one).

4. When people offer you food just after saying you need to exercise more, politely decline. This is a test.

5. Passive-aggressive people are less so when they're hosting holiday parties at their homes.

6. I almost got my face chewed off by the chupacabra pup. Errr, I mean licked off. Quite the nicest pup I've had the pleasure of keeping warm with. (It was wicked cold, he gives off beaucoup heat.)

14 December 2007

13 December 2007

Ring a Ding Ding!

No Teeth and Tongues

This is something I've noticed with old people who have no teeth from an early age. They are constantly sticking their tongues out and contorting their face like a pile of retards. Why is this? Just because they can? Is there some freakish satisfaction out of this? Are they trying to be like the 'cool geezers'?

12 December 2007

A Lot

One of my co-workers yesterday was telling me how all her life she was taught that a lot was one word when said in reference to a number or an amount of something. A lot, when referring to a property lot, was two separate words, she said. Her teachers taught her this. If you disagreed with the teacher, she said it was wrong without even so much as a lookup in the dictionary. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

When she was trying to explain this to me, she had a hard time believing me that a lot was two words in every case. Yes, I looked it up on Dictionary.com and I was right - ALOT is an acronym for something, there is no word in the English language as alot.

Now I can understand, undoing 30+ years of incorrect grammatical teaching is very difficult. And what of this teacher, teaching for years hordes of school children the wrong thing? It isn't even accepted as an Americanism. Pet Peeve #85 - A lot is two words, not one, in any context.


11 December 2007

Ice Ice Baby

photo by: AP photo/ news.yahoo.com

10 December 2007

The Only Non-Led Zeppelin Fan

Tonight, as heavily promoted, will be the Led Zeppelin reunion concert at the O2 Arena in London. To be quite honest, I really couldn't give two farts about this. Now, I know this might sound like musical heresy, but to me, they are just all right. I know, they have influenced countless musicians, blah blah blah, and if you tune right now to any classic rock station, there's at least a 50% chance they are playing Led Zep right now.

Don't get me wrong, I don't hate them, that's too strong. I'm just terribly indifferent to the Led Zep movement - maybe it was just before my time, maybe it was because they straight-up ripped off songs of other artists without due credit. And just the thought of a Led Zep renaissance makes me cringe: 24 hours of "A Whole Lotta Love" really doesn't excite me, as if they aren't overplayed already.

08 December 2007

The Tudors: Season One Review

I've just finished watching the first season of The Tudors last night, and, whoa.

When I first heard that CBC was going to show this this fall, I was so there, for many reasons of course. Being an history buff and an anglophile of course this would be of interest to me, but more importantly I wanted to see how Thomas Cromwell was portrayed.

I had to remember going into this that it is historical fiction - following real events and figures in history, but fiction had to fill in the gaps. Beginning in the earlier part of King Henry VIII's reign (ten years in I'm told), we meet Henry and his court, a cast of characters: Cardinal Wolsey, Duke of Norfolk, Sir Thomas More, etc. There is much bodice ripping, scheming, and secondary plot lines of episodic nature. I never remembered reading of a widespread plague - played out as the "sweating sickness" - during Henry VIII's reign, only that of the 1349 and 1666 plagues, but who's not to say there could have been a minor epidemic during that time. I suspect much of this is imagined for us.

For the first couple of episodes I was thrilled to see a minor credit to actor Steven Waddington (of The Last of the Mohicans fame) as the Duke of Buckingham. It's an inside name game with that one so I wouldn't expect anyone outside of my family to understand. But he was plotted against, sent to the Tower, and executed, so sadly that story line didn't last more than a few episodes.

Henry meets Mary, then Anne Boleyn (setting up the eventual adverts for The Other Boleyn Sister, the film based upon the book, coming to theatres near you in February! Yes, I'm such a sucker for films like these), falls in love, and the search for divorce from Catherine of Aragon and the fall of Wolsey begins.

Thomas doesn't appear until the third to last episode, when he hands Anne a Protestant book, which would have been heretical in those papal times. After that, he is seen initially as an errand boy, but then more and more with Henry, who takes a liking to him as a way to clear his conscience for the divorce. In the last episode, Henry exclaims "I have high hopes for Cromwell," while a couple onlookers (I'm not sure of the minor character names) say "Cromwell is cunning."

The season ends with Wolsey taking his life during a musical montage juxtaposed with a courtier play depicting Wolsey going to hell after leading a greedy and self-serving lifestyle, not to mention Thomas More saying he will be harsher on heretics and burning them after a conversation with Cromwell said in confidence, which he does burn an unnamed heretic shortly thereafter. With Wolsey dead, Henry and Anne make off for the forest for a tryst. Frustratingly, Anne throws Henry off of her mid-coitus, presumably because she doesn't want to be pregnant if they get married and have a bastard child. Daddy Boleyn's words ring: Keep Henry's interest longer.

Initially, Thomas More is likeable, fresh off his Utopia publishing, but as time goes on, his idealism for saving papacy in England grows dangerous. Conversely, Wolsey is seen as shamelessly scheming, then turns to pity as he loses favor, banished, and arrested for treason. Henry seems like a pawn, anyone close to him can influence him any way the wind blows, which is somewhat saddening, but His Majesty has the power to do what he likes, again, seemingly under the guise of his court's patrons.

A second season is coming (I can't wait... SQUEEEEE!! - I just might order Showtime so I can see it in HD and sooner than when CBC can bring it, commercial free) and it seems as though the soft cliffhanger will deliver: More reformation, more scheming, more plot twists, more bodice ripping, more history. And certainly more Thomas Cromwell, as history tells us.

4.5 out of 5 stars, a must see. Full episodes are still available on demand at CBC.ca/Tudors. Picture care of tv.yahoo.com/tudors.

07 December 2007

Guilty Pleasure: Kid Nation

One of our favorite new shows this year is Kid Nation (photo care of CBS.com). Generally they let 40 kids run amok in a "deserted" New Mexico town with "no adult supervision". (Read as: CBS production oversee the quality of life in this recreated theme park of a ghost town.) The TV presenter (a younger non-abrasive version of Survivor's Jeff Probst) wrangles the herd together twice an episode for a reward challenge and tribunal (hmm... how original), then sends the kids back to their bunks, sometimes in the middle of the day. Yeah, that would go over real well in my house, work them all up then send them to bed - sheah!

Anywho, this week's golden star went to Alex, as pictured above. He's a surprisingly savvy 10 year old of mixed race descent (Asian and Caucasian) who sports Transition lenses. Anything else I'm missing?


I mean, how does this kid keep from tripping over it?

It's like a piece of Dentyne Ice (Chiclets for you old schoolers) hanging from his upper gum.

If he fell, would his pearly white break his fall?

If he started gnawing on his $20,000 gold star, would it sharpen?

Would poachers kill him for ivory scrimshaws?

Can a whole black market industry be created for children's teeth?

These are the sort of things I think of whilst watching Kid Nation. Now back to your regularly scheduled Chupacabra talk.

P.S. Who would win in a fight: Bear Grylls or a Chupacabra? My money's on Bear.

06 December 2007

Guest Blogger: Bigfoot!

Hello all, some of you have probably heard of me. I also go by the name Sasquatch, and I'm often confused for a Wookkee, who is actually a distant cousin. I was wildly popular in the 1970s and 80s, and there have been several films done on me, most notably Harry and the Hendersons featuring that bastard of a minister from Footloose.

Anyway, I digress. I'm deeply troubled by all this attention given lately to this so-called Chupacabra. I don't know what all the fuss is about. I could totally take him in a cage match to the death, if he exists, that is. Have you seen any home movie footage? I didn't think so. Goats aren't even all that tasty, to be quite honest.

That is why I propose next week should be Bigfoot week. My career has suffered lately, partly due to my other cousin's Caveman show getting the ax, but overall because of a decline in interest. Let's get this Bigfoot wagon back on the road. Not that I need your sympathy, but I have 11 baby sasquatch mouths to feed at home. Hugs and kisses!

P.S. Please email me at bigfoot@mythologicalcreaturesyouhaveenjoyed.com

05 December 2007

Chupacabra Sighting!

I believe my brother-in-law is harboring a chupacabra pup in his home. Can't you see the goat blood dripping from its snout, the killer instinct in the eyes?

04 December 2007

Born under a bad sign / Chupacabra Week

Another heartbreaking loss to my Spurs on Sunday. Up 2-1 at home, Robbo gives up the equalizer, Keane is red-carded after a legal looking slide tackle (yellow card at worst, it was nothing flagrant), then the nail in the coffin in the closing minutes, 2-3 Birmingham City. It's absolutely maddening that last year's quality club have sunk so low with wins only against rubbish clubs Wigan and Derby County. Now with their best scorer on the bench after the red card appeal was rejected, things are still looking grim. Yes, I'm a masochist if you must ask.

Now I'm no comedy writer. I barely have a sense of humor according to my wife. But I will still attempt to write something about Chupacabras, being that this is Chupacabra week, so I offer the following:

Top Ten Chupacabra Books: (Little known fact: Chupacabras are quite keen on the literary world!)

10. Green Eggs and Goats

9. To Kill a Chupacabra

8. Chupacabras and Peace

7. Pride and Chupacabras

6. Chupacabras for Dummies

5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Chupacabras

4. The da Vinci Code

3. How to Win Friends and Influence Goats

2. Jonathan Livingston Chupacabra

1. Goat Soup for the Chupacabra's Soul

p.s. Reward offered for Chupacabra attack on this referee in the Yahoo.co.uk photo above!

01 December 2007

Little Miss Sunshine

If this doesn't put a smile on your face, I don't know what will. I apologize for the mess but when you have a toddler, your home is in a constant state of disarray. We were watching The Winter Guest while i filmed this so there's a spot in it where one of the boys shouts "Wanker!" I don't remember what exactly made her giggle so much, but here's the wee one with the ginger hair. She might not be chatting it up with the Queen, but it doesn't take much to get her going.

Oh, and we put up our tree today. Real tree of course, cut down by yours truly. I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay.

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