Archive for August, 2010

In Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario…

August 31st, 2010

Joe Warmington Gets it (emphasis mine):


Like a giant boa constrictor, they are slowly sucking the breath out of the lives of Ontarians and the lifestyles they’ve come to know

The public is too busy paying taxes to keep track of how this land is becoming is [sic] a giant tax, fee and regulation society that builds very little, except massive debt to pay for bureaucratic insanity.

It seems the whole game is more about saving their false economy…

They are rapidly eroding the life we understand and replacing it with a collection business, which seems to be the only industry thriving on Ontario.

Dalton, Premier Dad, writers ,

I served Jean Cretien, I knew Jean Cretien, Jean Cretien Was A Friend of Mine…

August 31st, 2010

Remember when Liberals bragged about “the toughest and most ruthless machine in Canadian politics,” not whined about it.the-count_bmp

Frankly, I’m still trying to get my head around Jean Cretien publicly using the words NDP and leadership together, thus giving them credibility they really don’t have.

The more I watch of The Count, the more I believe that, regardless of what this or that poll says, when an election is on and everything counts, Harper is going to wipe the floor with this guy.

Michael Ignatieff, Silly Liberals, The Count

The Freedom of Music: It Was Twenty Years Ago Last Friday…

August 29th, 2010


One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush – Spirit of Radio.

In the minutes following midnight of August 27, 1990 music fans were leaving the Alpine Valley Music Theatre near East Troy Wisconsin. Moments earlier they had seen guitarists Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray and Jimmy Vaughan join sidebar-6Vaughan’s brother Stevie onstage to play a 20 minute rendition of Sweet Home Chicago. A two hour drive from Chicago, the performers left the stage and headed for cars to take them to the Second City.

Backstage there were four helicopters. Stevie Ray Vaughan was due to drive to Chicago with his brother and sister-in-law. Instead, he opted, Ritchie Valens style, to take the last seat available on the helicopters. At 12:40, as the last of the fans straggled out of the concert site, the helicopter – piloted by Jeff Brown – who was probably unfamiliar with the tricky take-off procedure at the ski hill site – crashed into a man made ski hill. Stevie Ray Vaughan, age 35, was dead, along with Brown, Bobby Brooks (Clapton’s Hollywood agent), Colin Smythe (Clapton’s assistant tour manager), and Clapton’s bodyguard, Nigel Browne.

I saw Vaughan: it was not his finest moment. He was, frankly, pretty bad. However, it’s hard to blame him. He was opening up for Dire Straits on their Brothers in Arms tour. Dire Straits were at the peak of their fame, as big as they would ever be. Vaughan himself was a well known entity, two years since David Bowies Lets Dance put him on the map, he had two solo albums out, including possibly his best, 1984’s Couldn’t Stand the Weather.

For that, somehow, when the two came to Toronto in July 1985, they played Varsity Arena, a small, concrete building with a low corrugated tin roof. You can imagine the hell it played with the sound. Dire Straits, more laid back, and with more sound check time, managed the problem. Stevie Ray Vaughan, on the other hand was inaudible. His scuttle-buttin’ rhythm style with lead fills just blurred into one big mess. Damned if I know what he played that night other than noise. He may, in fact, have been brilliant, but unless somebody has a soundboard recording we’ll never know. Like I said, hard to blame him, but it wasn’t a good show.

But make no mistake, Vaughan was a phenomenal performer and most people who were fans of Vaughan’s usually came there via a live performance. He was an outstanding guitar player and a vastly underrated singer. For the former, people like to point to things like his version of Jimi Hendrix’s Vodoo Child (Slight Return). I prefer Tin Pan Alley, a slow minor blues that reminds a person of Jimmy Page at his absolute best, playing Since I’ve Been Loving You.

I spent a Friday night in the mid ‘80’s at a friends house, a seriously good guitar player who was a big SRV fan. We spent the night trying to learn the rhythm for Mary Had a Little Lamb, that off-beat shuffle that Vaughan loved so much. I don’t remember if we ever got it right, but I do recall we had a hell of a time trying to get it. It sounds simple enough, like the easy part of playing a Stevie Ray Vaughan song. Simple enough, that is, until you try it.

That he was a brilliant guitar player there can be no doubt. But as a singer, he was better than most guitarist/front men. My favourite SRV song is not one of most usual, it is the simple, elegant Life By The Drop. Vaughan was a heavy drinker and addict. His early performances he would have a bottle of whiskey on stage with him, and drink from it between songs. By 1986, he decided he had a problem. He sent himself to rehab, and came out clean and sober. Life By The Drop is a testament to his sobriety:

Hello there, my old friend,
not so long ago it was ’till the end
We played outside in the pouring rain,
on our way up the road we started over again

You’re livin’ a dream, woe you on top
My mind is achin’, Lord it won’t stop
That’s how it happens, livin’ life by the drop

Up and down that road in our worn out shoes,
talkin’ ’bout good things and singin’ the blues
You went your way, I stayed behind
We both knew it was just a matter of time

You’re livin’ a dream, woe you on top
My mind is achin’, Lord it won’t stop
That’s how it happens, livin’ life by the drop

No wasted time, we’re alive today
Churnin’ up the past, there’s no easier way
Time’s been between us, a means to an end
God it’s good to be here walkin’ together my friend

You’re livin’ a dream, woe you on top
My mind is achin’, Lord it won’t stop
That’s how it happens, livin’ life by the drop

No electric histrionics, it is accompanied by a lone 12 string acoustic guitar. Not to suggest it’s a simple piece to play, it’s not, but the effect is simple and elegant. A song in which the pain of the past, the dull ache of alcoholism flows through with poignancy. It’s in this song you realize what a strong, emotive voice he had, how good a blues singer SRV was.

Stevie Ray Vaughan was, after all, a bluesman first. In the flash and circumstance of the pop era, we sometimes forget that blues is, at it’s heart, a simple music. Vodoo Child (Slight Return) is a blues, however complex it’s guitar part. But Life By The Drop is the blues stripped back to it’s basic element. A single guitar, a single voice, expressing so much emotion, pain and joy at once. It’s what the blues is supposed to be, and in leaving it behind for his fans to find (it was released posthumously), Vaughan leaves no doubt about his status as a premier bluesman.

Twenty years ago this week music fans were stunned by the news that Stevie Ray Vaughan’s helicopter went down at the Alpine Music Theatre. Twenty years ago this week the world lost a unique voice. And twenty years ago this week that friend who I spent a night trying to get a handle on Mary Had a Little Lamb with crawled into bed for a week – because Stevie Ray Vaughan did what every good musician does  for somebody, he touched  him deeply.

Talkin’ ’bout good things and singin’ the blues indeed.

The Freedom of Music

Saturday Fluffernutter: The Stunted Growth Edition

August 28th, 2010

All the fluffy news about those nutty celebrities

fluffincolorBrad Pitt is a good leftie. He doesn’t believe in the death penalty for, say, someone who kidnaps a child and spends three days molesting them before killing them. Paul Bernardo, as an example, should be spared the death penalty.

But run a company that has an environmental accident?

I was never for the death penalty before, but I am willing to look at it again (for BP executives)

I love the headline in this weeks In Touch. Angelina Jolie, it claims, calls Brad stupid behind his back.

Talk about belabouring the obvious.

fluffincolorFree at last, free at last. Thank Justice Revel, Lindsay’s free at last.

Lindsay Lohan has been sprung after serving 13 days of a 90 day jail sentence and 22 days of a three month rehab program.

“She is healthy, clear-headed positive and looking forward,” her lawyer said.

Lohan will have to reside at home, submit to random drug and alcohol testing, take psychotherapy four days a week, behaviour therapy twice a week and attend a 12-step program for addicts. Should Lohan fail her drug and alcohol test, “She’ll go to jail for 30 days,” according to TMZ.

You know, the kid (and she is a kid) can act, unlike those other celebrity-celebrities she hangs around with. I hope she gets her act together, while at the same time wondering what I’ll write on Saturday’s if she does.

fluffincolorJimmy Fallon wants you to tweet him – if you are blonde, lean, long, female and between the ages of 21 and 35. The rest of us can send him a message on Twitter.

Fallon, who is hosting this Sundays Emmy’s, wants twits to send tweets on twitter to him commenting on the show. The shows writers will incorporate them into his material.

In other words, the only people who get paid any real money to write any more (i.e. TV writers), now want you to write the jokes. They get the credit – and the pay check.

You can tweet Fallon at @jimmyfallon

fluffincolorI am not a Martin Short fan. Nothing against the man – he seems nice enough – but his style of comedy is not my taste. That said, I wish him no ill will. Sadly, ill will seems to have found Martin Short anyway. His wife of 30 years, Nancy Dolman, died last weekend at their California home.

Cause of death is unknown, but there have been reports that she diagnosed with cancer three years ago. She was 58. Condolences to Martin Short and their three children.

Fluffernutter , , , , , , ,

Toronto the Not in a Death Spiral

August 27th, 2010

spiral torontoOne day, someone will write a book about Toronto’s demise and there will be a chapter entitled: August 26, 2010.

On one hand, this council often talks about finding new sources of revenue.

On the other hand:

“This is not an airy-fairy, done on the back of an envelope (plan),” she said. “There is a dearth of housing in this area for artists.

“To suggest that staff didn’t come back with a positive report is incorrect,” McConnell said.

Toronto: Not in a Death Spiral


August 27th, 2010

It was 20 years ago today…

Stephie Ray Vaughan (October 3, 1954 – August 27, 1990)

Friday, YouTube ,

The Pimply Minion Rebellion of 2010…

August 26th, 2010

Is now armed:

It has come to the attention of the National Firearms Association that the political police chief heads of law enforcement associations are planning a nation wide blitz against licensed firearm owners, as retribution for the political action of the Canadian firearms community…

Meanwhile in Toronto, there is open talk of not respecting the electorates wishes should Rob Ford be elected mayor.

First they come for your guns, then they come for your democracy, then they come for your freedom.

pimply minions of bureaucracy

Toronto the Not in a Death Spiral

August 26th, 2010

spiral toronto

Rob Ford has a ten point lead in the polls for Mayor of Toronto. His basic platform of reigning in spending is resonating with voters who appear fed up with the sanctimonious politicians that are ruining a very broken city.

How sanctimonious?

In my opinion, if Mayor Ford is elected, city council will have a caucus meeting and they will choose their own mayor and (Ford) will be the Mayor in name.

Of course, one of their issues is that old Mike Harris, “he’s divisive,” lie.

He won’t be able to pass gas without the permission of council,” Moscoe [Councillor Howard Moscoe AKA That Fat Pantload] said.

When asked if he thinks Ford will be able to work with council, he added: “Depends how often he wants to pass gas.”

Not unrelated:

The number one news story for Toronto – Canada’s largest city – was that a traffic officer illegally parked in a disabled parking bay…

Never mind “despite two shootings that took place in Toronto and the terror arrest in Ottawa,” what about Kyle Rae declaring council would choose not to respect the express wishes of the voters.

Toronto: Not in a Death Spiral , , ,

Blog Tax

August 25th, 2010

The Pimply Minion’s Rebellion of 2010 continues apace.

It really seems this summer that governments in North America have started a war on the citizenry.

And it’s not big government, Stephen Harper and Barak Obama coming down from on high. It’s not even Premier Dad, Premier Uncle Jean and Premier Auntie Eva: Political middle managers bullying the staff. No, this is the locals, the councils and the by-law officers declaring what you can and cannot do full stop.

Want a lemonade? it must have the pimply minion seal of approval; want to get together with 75 friends and associates to discuss freedom on private property? not without a permit; want to write a blog? not without a license:

…Marilyn Bess has operated MS Philly Organic, a small, low-traffic blog…

In May, the city sent Bess a letter demanding that she pay $300, the price of a business privilege license.

“… for the city to tell me to pony up $300 for a business privilege license, pay a wage tax, business privilege tax, net profits tax on a handful of money is outrageous,” Bess says.

Of course, now Bess gets to write everything off, her computer, the room in her house where she blogs from, her server space &tc.

Except, I agree with William L. Anderson at The Freeman:

…I suspect there’s a more important reason for this new government outrage: intimidation of anyone who would use a blog to criticize government officials.

In other words, it’s not about the money, it’s about the rebellion.

pimply minions of bureaucracy, Premier Dad , , , , , , , ,

Happy 80th Birthday…

August 25th, 2010

He was the first Bond, the guy who defined the role. Tackling Dr. No, bedding Ursula Andress. That itself is enough to warrant birthday wishes.imgsean-connery5

There’s his “Chicago Way” speech, in The Untouchables:

They pull a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That’s the Chicago way!

Birthday wishes all around for that one.

However, Sean Connery really gets 80th birthday wishes because if you have something to say that’s not really funny, but you want it to be funny, you can simply say in a Sean Connery accent. Now it’s funny!

So Happy 80th Birthday Sean Connery, because of all the laughs you got me, and all the entertainment you’ve given me.

Birthday Wishes, Bond James Bond , , , ,

Local Starbucks’ Sends Care Packages to Troops

August 24th, 2010

This from my local Starbucks at Franklin Blvd. and Elgin Rd in Cambridge.

Please Support Our Troops

Brian’s brother is currently serving in Afghanistan and we are sending VIA to him and his fellow troops.

We would love your help!

Buy a package of VIA and write a notice on it for them to read.

Brian is one of the store managers.

Good for the staff at the Franklin Rd. Starbucks. I made my donation. If you live in the area why not pop down and make sure the boys doing the heavy lifting have a coffee.

Afghanistan ,

Minions, Bully’s and By-Law Officers

August 24th, 2010

I like to use the phrase “the pimply minions of bureaucracy,” on this blog. It comes from a 1799 quote from an unknown naval officer, regarding the introduction of an income tax:

It is a vile, Jacobian, jumped up Jack-in-Office piece of impertinence – is a true Briton to have no privacy? Are the fruits of his labour and toil to be picked over, farthing by farthing, by the pimply minions of bureaucracy?”

It seems a Pimply Minion Rebellion is on.

From Ezra Levant:

First came the health department. They poked and prodded, and even took water samples. No one has ever got sick at a Jaworski barbecue — the opposite; everyone comes for the food — but the government ordered that no home cooking would be allowed. The Jaworskis complied with these costly and ridiculous demands, catering the whole weekend and serving only bottled water, at great cost. But bureaucrats travel in packs. A local bylaw enforcement officer waited until the barbecue itself, and marched right onto the property — no search warrant needed! — and started peppering the guests with questions. He wasn’t a health officer; he was a bylaw officer. Yet he demanded to know what the guests had for lunch. In the name of the law! Armed with this devastating information, the officer charged Peter’s parents with running an illegal “commercial conference centre,” which carries a fine of up to $50,000. The officer, a burly, tattooed, six-foot-something man, told Peter’s mom to “be very careful.” She burst into tears.

In using the pimply minions part of the quote, I sometimes forget the second, also wonderful, portion of it, and it fits here. This is a “vile, Jacobian, jumped up Jack-in-Office piece of impertinence,” if ever I have seen one.

Jacobian Piece of Impertinence, pimply minions of bureaucracy , , ,

Saturday Fluffernutter: Michael Douglas; Joaquin Phoenix; Stephen Tyler; Ben Shepherd; Jennifer Aniston

August 21st, 2010
Comments Off on Saturday Fluffernutter: Michael Douglas; Joaquin Phoenix; Stephen Tyler; Ben Shepherd; Jennifer Aniston

All the fluffy news about those nutty celebrities

fluffincolorMr. Zeta Jones, Actor Michael Douglas, announced this week he was diagnosed with throat cancer. Mr. Jones will undergo chemotherapy and is “very optimistic,” of a full recovery.

fluffernutterBack in June his son Cameron, from a previous marriage, was sentenced to five years in prison for dealing methamphetamine and possessing heroin. Which just goes to show, even Kirk Douglas’s son, who’s married to Catherine Zeta Jones can have a shitty go of things.

You can, in fact, have it all and legitimately wonder, “why me?”

Update: Later in the week reports indicate Michael Douglas could lose his voice during the treatment.


Remember Joaquin Phoenix and the beard? He quit acting to become a rapper, then grew a big hippy beard (because that’s what all the rappers are wearing this Woodstock).  Remember the David Letterman non-interview? Remember there was speculation that it was a fake, a sham? All part of a documentary he was making with Casey Affleck? That was denied. “Oh no, this is real,” he protested.
Yea, all fake. The Casey Afflek documentary on Phoenix’s year as a non-rapping rapper will be released in September.
What a wanker.
fluffincolorAerosmith front man Stepehen Tyler, back on stage after missing the past year when he broke his shoulder falling off a stage, fell off the stage in Toronto this week. Reports are that guitarist Joe Perry bumped Tyler while playing Love in an Elevator. Tyler returned to the stage and joked, “not this time.”
The story as I heard it was Tyler angrily told Perry, “not this time.” A bit of a battle between the Aerosmith frontmen ensued.
Don’t know which story is true, but I like mine better. And if you’re falling off the stage is becoming regular, are you , to borrow Ian Anderson’s phrase, too old to rock and roll?

Soungarden bassist Ben Shepherd is one happy bottom ender that Soundgarden is doing the always profitable reunion gig. Shepherd is “broke and technically homeless.” And these are the good times:

My whole life seemed over (in the late 1990’s). Soundgarden broke up; my other band, Hater, broke up; my fiancee broke up with me, and then I broke three ribs.

I got addicted to pain pills, drank a ton, and wound up OD’ing on morphine. I was laid out in my house for five days, and no one knew it. It was a f**king horrible time.

fluffincolorI saw the Jennifer Aniston ugly duckling photo shoot last week: the one where she makes herself up to look just like Barbara Streisand. A fine example of how to turn beauty butt ugly in one make-up session.

Want to know what my reaction was: “glad I never laminated that list.”

But this Thursday she was on Regis and Kelly, when she said about the photo shoot:

I play dress up. I do it for a living – like a retard.

Cue the professionally aggrieved, specifically Pete Burns, CEO of Arc:

I was extraordinarily offensive and inappropriate. Frankly, someone in her position ought to know better.

Someone in her position? What, an actress? A fairly average actress who if it wasn’t for the fact she has a very cute, girl next door thing going on you would never have heard of? She should know better than who? The President?

You know who should know better than to say really stupid, intellectually challenged, things: people with CEO on the business card.

Fluffernutter , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Happy 62nd Birthday…

August 20th, 2010

Bob Plant

I have alternatively praised and buried Robert Plant in this site. As the front man for Led Zeppelin, Plant headed the greatest rock band ever (don’t bother, no dissension from this view will be tolerated). As a solo artist, he has had a varied career. After his second solo album he changed gears dramatically, and disastrously. Many friends at the time told him, don’t change, you are almost there again.

But one thing Plant has never done is stand still. I disagree with many of his musical choices, dislike his choice not to tour with a reformed Led Zeppelin, and think his voice is almost certainly not what it once was (hence, his refusal to tour with Zeppelin). But he has always done what he wants, always made music with integrity, and for that alone he deserves praise.

But most of all, Robert Plant gets annual birthday wishes for Dec 10, 2007. The night. And as usual, for his birthday I wish him a wonderful year with much travelling and surrounded by old friends.

Birthday Wishes ,


August 20th, 2010

Cause Fridays should be fun…

The faces reunion, August 11 at the 02 arena. They’re in good form and Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall does a good Rod Stewart.

Sure hope that rumoured tour is true… this time.