Archive for March, 2011

Making Education More Expensive

March 30th, 2011

Michael Ignatieff said it, Justin Trudeau sent an email approving of it, Bryan May, my Liberal Party candidate, tweeted it:

If you get the grades, you get to go.

"One! One-Thousand Dollars a year"

The Canadian Learning Passport is the Liberals policy announcement of the day: $4,000 tax free over four years to every high school student who pursues post secondary education, $6,000 for low income earners. That’s $1B a year in students pockets to spend on tuition.

Of course, it’s only $1,000 net if tuition fees don’t increase. Education being a provincial responsibility, the federal government have no say whatsoever on tuition fees. They can throw money at schools, students and books, but they cannot control the cost side of the structure. No problem, I hear you Liberalizing, we’ll work with the provinces.

Yea, well, about that. Here’s the problem. Premier Dad, Dalton McGuinty, has 68% of his budget goes to health and education spending. Of a $113B budget, $77.4B disappears in those two line items. Next up is debt financing (interest on the debt) at $10.3B. There’s no money in the kitty.

Now your Dalton and the Feds just came up with $200M to throw into one of your big 2, your education system. Do you let the kids keep it? Or do you pull $200M from the budgets of the post secondary institutions and let them make it up in tuition?

That’s the problem The Canadian Learning Passport policy has. It will ultimately be, have to be, an indirect transfer payment to the provinces. Once it rolls out, tuition fees will likely go up across the country. It won’t be the students who benefit, or their parents, it will be the schools and the provincial treasuries.

The real problem with education is supply and demand – especially in university. Too many students are going, many who really don’t belong – creating huge demand for the few spaces. That drives the price of those spaces up.

At the other end, of course, too many kids are running around with degrees, to the point where car factories hire university graduates to work on the lines – and those graduates are glad to get those jobs. And it’s not that tuition is so expensive, it’s that jobs coming out of college don’t pay enough to pay off that debt in a reasonable time. Dentists leave school with $100,000 debt, but it is not a crippling debt due to their earnings when they get out. Social work majors may leave school with $25,000 debt, and wonder how they’ll ever pay it off.

Too many students means too expensive going in, not enough payback coming out. And giving kids $1,000 to go is going to push more kids in, raising the cost, lowering the reward.

Good governance is not just throwing money at people and problems, assuming those issues away. Good governance is understanding the direct and indirect impacts your policy will have. The Canadian Learning Passport is the former, with no consideration given to the root of the problem or the result of the spending.

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Ignatieff Serves Somebody

March 29th, 2011
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Michael Ignatieff “channels Bob Dylan,” according to the Globe and Mail’s Jane Taber. He has used it in his speeches, and sent it in an email to supporters:

It’s like Bob Dylan sang: “You’ve gotta serve somebody.” Let’s show Stephen Harper what that means

Bob Dylan’s Serve Somebody, from 1979’s Slow Train Coming is a great song. It won Dylan a Grammy and brought him back onto the charts after years of being off them. But what does it mean?

You’re gonna have to serve somebody.
You’re gonna have to serve somebody.
It may be the devil or it may be the Lord,
but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

You Got to Serve Somebody is not a song about public service, not a song about Maritime daycare for single moms who want to be heavy equipment operators. It is a song about service to God. Michael Ignatieff would be just as well to quote Onward Christian Soldiers. And of course, if Stephen Harper sat at the piano and started singing it, Jane Taber would know that.

The fall of 1978 was a low point for Bob Dylan. His career was sliding: record sales were down and reviews for both his records and his live performances were terrible. Even the Village Voice, which is a sort of home town paper to Dylan, had a recent edition which printed four negative reviews.

The current tour was also taking a physical toll. Dylan played a gig in Montreal in October with a temperature of 105. On November 17th, Dylan was playing in San Diego. He still did not feel well, and it showed:

Towards the end of the show someone out in the crowd… knew I wasn’t feeling well. I think they could see that. And they threw a silver cross on the stage.

Dylan, uncharacteristically, picked up the cross off the stage and put it in his pocket. Travelling to Tucson, Dylan was feeling worse. Nothing he tried was working, and he felt he needed something different.

I looked in my pocket, and there was this cross…

…and he had a vision of Jesus, and became that scariest of modern day creatures, a born again Christian.

Michael Ignatieff is being a clever, average hippy quoting Bob Dylan. He could have quoted Einstein (The high destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule); or Tolstoy (The sole meaning of life is to serve humanity); or John Adams (If we do not lay out ourselves in the service of mankind whom should we serve). He chose Dylan for a reason, to appeal to the baby-boomers. Let Stephen Harper sing the Beatles, he’ll out groovy him and quote Bob Dylan like a second rate literature professor.

Unfortunately for Ignatieff, unlike Tolstoy or Einstein, he doesn’t understand the context of the Dylan lyric. Being a square, not an average, groovy kind of guy, Ignatieff didn’t really now what he was saying.

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The Freedom of Music: The Seger Files

March 27th, 2011
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One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush – Spirit of Radio.

Take a picture of this: It’s 1988, three years after Like a Rock. Bob Seger is top of the world. Besides his hit album and highly successful tour, he has had #1 hits from a couple of movies, Understanding from Teachers and Shakedown from Beverly Hills Cop. Seger had almost finished recording his follow up album to Like a Rock, called Downtown Train. The album was built around the Tom Waits hit of the same name, the song being the focal point of the album.sidebar-4

Seger was in London talking to an old friend, Rod Stewart. He told him about the new album, including the use of the Tom Waits song. Stewart was, apparently, impressed. Within a few weeks Seger had heard Stewart’s version of Downtown Trainon the radio. Stewart had scooped Seger and Seger went back to the drawing board. Angered, Seger said he didn’t know when Downtown Train would see the light of day, but it wouldn’t be soon.

It wasn’t.

Fast forward to 1991. Nirvana owned the airwaves and classic rock was dead. Seger’s momentum was gone, and he was, as the punks said ten years earlier, a dinosaur rocker. Into that environment, he released The Fire Inside, a weak album but not a terrible one. Despite a reasonably big hit with The Real Love it’s sales were not very good. Seger’s recording career never recovered.

Seger went into semi-retirement, sticking his head above the parapet in 1995 and 2006 with a new album and tour. Other than that, and a couple of greatest hits collections, nothing. He settled down with family, raising his two kids and developing a telescope hobby.

And what happened to Downtown Train? As Rod Stewart went from ripping off Bob Seger’s better ideas to ripping off Frank Sinatra’s, Seger’s Downtown Train sat in the vault, forgotten and unheard.

A couple of weeks ago amid news of a tour and a new album in process, Seger released Downtown Train to radio stations and streamed the song on his website. It’s a good version of the song, and may have well been the hit he was hoping for back in 1988. But more like 1991 than 1988, Seger seems to have misread the musical landscape.

While streaming the song in his website is the right thing, not releasing it as a single to iTunes and other downloading services is the wrong one. Seger seems intent on an album to go with the tour. That is old thinking.

In the modern landscape an album is just a collection of songs waiting to be downloaded from the one of a million free sites. Who pays $10 for an album anymore? Better to release singles. One this month, one next, another in three. If you want new material to tour on, just release the best three to five songs you got. At $1.29 a song you have a much better chance of people buying them, and you got new material to play and sell, onstage. Albums are passé, it’s just nobody in the music industry has realized it yet. Instead of following a dead trend, instead of re-living 1991, Bob Seger could have led on this one.

Too bad. More Bob Seger songs over time, less Bob Seger in semi-retirement would be a good thing.

Rockin' and Rollin' and Never Forgettin', The Freedom of Music , ,

Saturday Fluffernutter: The Lindsay Formerly Known as Lohan Edition

March 26th, 2011
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All the fluffy news about those nutty celebrities

fluffincolorWhile Charlie Sheen managed the almost impossible, getting himself fired from three and a half men, CBS has done the unimaginable: made itself look dumber and having less self control than Charlie Sheen.6a00e54f0014bd883400e54f8da74b8834-800wi

After a few incidents of wife beating, a scared-hooker-in-the-closet-cocaine-binge, yet another briefcase full of blow and hooker scandal and a judge ordering his children removed from his care, Sheen finally went too far: he insulted his bosses, resulting in his firing from his hit TV show. Since then the Wild Thing has gone somewhat off the deep end with online YouTube rants, bizarre interviews and an upcoming speaking tour where he’ll say God only knows what.

The easy thing for CBS to do is stick to it’s guns, and don’t let him back on his show unless he gets himself straightened out.

So why is CBS now saying they want him back? And will they pay him the $1M more an episode that Sheen has said will be his price to come back? Probably, because stupid things are what enablers do, and CBS has become just that in this sad saga.

fluffincolorSarah Palin strikes again: Wyclef Jean shot while campaigning in Haiti.

In yet another example of an out of control tea party, singer/guitarist Wyclef Jean was shot while campaigning for Haitian Presidential candidate Michel Martelly. Rapper Busta Rhymes was in the car with Jean when shots were fired at it, grazing the Wyclefian hand.

While no evidence actually exists that the shooting had anything to do with the American Tea Party movement, we all know the Tea Party is not a fan of rap music or men named Jean.

Da proof, after all, is in in da proof.

fluffincolorLindsay Lohan has decided her problems stem from that age old issue of… her name. What La Lohan needs, says La Lohan to self, is a change of moniker. So, officially, her new name will be…


No Lohan, just Lindsay.

Yea, that’ll fool the bailiff.

fluffincolorSpeaking of Lindsay, she has opted for trial by jury in her case of the pilfered choker. There was rumour she was resigned to the idea of some jail time and was going to accept a plea bargain, but has decided not to accept a plea, and will be judged by a jury of her peers.

A jury of her peers? Who would be on that? Paris Hilton? Britney Spears? The ghost of Dana Plato?

It should be noted that Lindsay has maintained her innocence from the get go, and this case has the stink of mis-understanding gone too far.

fluffincolorPinetop Perkins (1913-2011)

When you think of the blues masters, you think of young black men of the dust bowl era, moving up and down the Mississippi watershed, playing juke joints and parties for food and whiskey, mostly whiskey. Robert Johnson, dead of poisoning by a jealous boyfriend at 27; Lead Belly, pardoned of murder after singing a song requesting a pardon during Governor Pat Morris Neff‘s visit to Sugar Land Prison; Muddy Waters, who lived long enough to demand his due from the little white boys who would later take up his music and call it their own.

This week, we lost one of those original bluesmen. Pinetop Perkins was originally a guitar player, but changed to piano, becoming the premier boogie woogie piano player.

He played on Sonny Boy Williams King Biscuit Time Radio show. Played with Earl Hooker, recorded with Sam Phillips at Sun studios and replaced Otis Span in the Muddy Waters Band in 1969. My favourite Pinetop Perkins story relates to an arm injury that forced him to stop playing guitar: according to Wikipedia, in true Fluffernutter fashion, he “injured the tendons in his left arm in a fight with a chorus girl.” The life of a bluesman is fraught with peril.

In 2004, the car he was driving was totalled in a crash with a train. The then 91-year old Perkins was uninjured.

Pinetop Perkins played right to the end, playing his local a couple of times a week, and having gigs booked well into this year (Zep Fest 2011 was one event he was booked into). He was the oldest person to win a Grammy, earning the 2010 Best Traditional Blues Album in February, age 97. He was of the last two surviving bluesmen known to have been friends with Robert Johnson.

He died this week in Austin Texas, a life well lived.

RIP Pinetop Perkins

fluffincolorElizabeth Taylor (1932-2011)

Elizabeth Taylor had classic beauty and violet eyes that stole the hearts of millions. She starred in Lassie movies as a child (with co-star Roddy McDowell), National Velvet at age 12, Cleopatra in 1960 – the largest, most lavish movie made at the time. Some have said in the last week she was the last of the movie stars – and certainly was among the biggest stars of the golden age of film.

Even after she was no longer starring in the big movies of the day, she was still a star, gracing the tabloids ‘til the end, and raising money and awareness for AIDS in the latter years of her life. She was larger than life.

Her health, however, was not always good and she suffered a number of problems through the years. This week she died after spending the last month in hospital with symptoms related to congestive heart failure, age 79. She was surrounded by her four children when she passed.

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Go Count Go!

March 26th, 2011
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The scene unfolds easily in front of you. The Government has fallen, a minority Parliament ends in a vote of non-confidence. The governing party is reeling from scandal, yet the polls say the election will end much as it began, with the current Prime Minister returning to Ottawa with a minority mandate. Radio shows ask the question: why would the opposition force an election they can’t win? Why waste this money on a vote that will end in the same Parliament as it began?

The leader of the opposition was on the defensive. Canadians don’t want this election, don’t need this election. His patriotism had already been called into question and he was gaffe prone. On day one of the campaign he makes, the media assert, another gaffe. Without prompting, without a clue, he says there will be a free vote on gay marriage in the house under his government.

Why, why would Stephen Harper give such a gift to Paul Martin? Why would he make it about his scary agenda instead of Paul Martin’s corrupt, bag of money under the table, Liberals?

In reality, what that statement did was take the question of gay rights out of the debate. It took from the Liberals the, “those scary Conservatives and their hidden agenda want to take away your human rights,” attack. It saw what was coming, and neutered it. It was a well thought out strategy, and served warning that the Conservatives were ready and serious about the 2005/06 campaign.

They ran a brilliant campaign focusing on five core policies and announcing one new policy initiative every day. They were lean, they were direct, and they spoke to voters with simple policies that resonated. And when the going got tough, when the very nasty Liberals personally attacked, they ignored it and stayed on message. It worked, and the Conservatives won.

Now the roles are reversed, the Conservatives have the dirt of governance on their hands, the attack ads, the scandals involving accounting tricks with their own money. Things are so bad in Ottawa, even Jack Layton is indignant. Yet the polls say the Conservatives will be back, probably with a minority. Why would the opposition risk so much?

Like Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff is going to answer to charges he has a scary hidden agenda. In Harper’s case it was a social conservative agenda. In Ignatieff’s, it is the question of forming a coalition that includes the Bloc. It is there, it will be in the ads, and Ignatieff had better answer the question directly and honestly right off the bat.

Day 1:

  • blue serge suit dry cleaned – check
  • non-confidence voted – check
  • have answer to sticky question ready…

There is a blue door, there is a red door. We’re gonna elect a Liberal Government.

Here’s a hint Mr. Ignatieff. The answer to every single question you ever get asked in politics is not a quote from Go Dog Go!

Day 2:

Someone please, get on the phone and explain to the Count that it is a yes or no question: If the Conservatives get a plurality, but not a majority, will you enter into a coalition with the NDP and Bloc? Yes/No.

And here’s a tip, the right answer is no. The worst answer is, “The light is green now, Go Dogs Go!”

Coalition of the Treasonous, Pompous Igghead, The Count , , ,

Cool For Cats Friday: The No More Mr. Nice Guy Election

March 25th, 2011

Will they, or won’t they? It’s the question on the lips of political junkies and shut-ins from sea to sea to sea. Will the opposition vote non-confidence in the Harper Government, or will the electorate have to wait until 2012 to punish Stephen Harper by eviscerating Michael Ignatieff?

Either way, Harper should bring a band on the campaign trail, and sing a few numbers. Here’s a couple of suggestions. First, one to show he’s serious about winning.

Then to show he has a sense of humour:

I think full make-up and snake around his neck would also be a nice touch. I’ll tell you one thing, he’d lock up my vote.

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The Freedom of Music: Bon Jovi Speaks

March 20th, 2011
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One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush – Spirit of Radio.

Dee Snider, the make-up clad, iron haired singer of Twisted Sister, once remarked during an interview that yes, a lot of his music was downloaded free and illegally off the internet but, ‘twenty years ago I wasn’t making two-and-a-half million dollars a year on ring-tones.’ It was the first, and only time, I heard a classic artist take a good with the bad approach to the internet and music.sidebar-6

iTunes currently shows 80 results when you search ring-tones for Bon Jovi. Pity Jon Bon Jovi never got the ‘take the good with the bad’ memo. During an interview with the UK’s Sunday Times Magazine this week, Bon Jovi rather pessimistically suggested, “Steve Jobs is personally responsible for killing the music business.”

Oh, I know: context man, provide context. Here’s the whole of the quote:

Kids today have missed the whole experience of putting the headphones on, turning it up to 10, holding the jacket, closing their eyes and getting lost in an album, and the beauty of taking your allowance money and making a decision based on the jacket, not knowing what the album sounded like and looking at a couple of still pictures and imagining it… God it was a magical time.

I hate to sound like an old man now, but I am, and you mark my words, in a generation from now, people are going to say: ‘What happened?’ … Steve Jobs is personally responsible for killing the music business.

In 1986, I was teaching guitar to kids in their homes. Driving from lesson to lesson, I had installed a tape deck in my Chevette, and Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet got a lot of listening time. I bought the itty bitty cassette tape not for the cover, which was puny and unreadable, but for the songs I knew: You Give Love a Bad Name; Livin’ On a Prayer; Wanted, Dead or Alive. At a guess, Bon Jovi got very rich selling cassettes and CDs of this album, considerably less so LP’s, with their magical covers.

When his next album, New Jersey, came out two years later I bought it on LP unheard. Not because the cover was so cool, by then covers where boringly being made for CD size readability, which meant they looked more like a corporate logo than art. No, I bought it because Slippery When Wet was so good. And when I got it home I put my headphones on, turned it up to 10, held the jacket, closed my eyes and got lost in an album.

Then I found myself again. After about three songs it was clear, whatever this was, it was no Slippery When Wet. And those three songs were the hits. Imagine how many songs I would have lasted if I had dropped the needle on Wild is the Wind.

It’s easy to be wistful for the days when Led Zeppelin IV was followed by Houses of the Holy, followed by Physical Graffiti. Or Styx’s Equinox was followed by The Grand Illusion. If you liked the first, you would like the second, yet the second wasn’t just a rehash of the same songs with new words. Those where, as old goats like Bon Jovi like to say, the days my friend.

Of course Jon Bon Jovi didn’t base his buying decisions on last album, he bought based on whether the cover was cool. Buying Born to Run because of that great shot of Bruce and Clarence on the front would have led you to one of the all time great albums (which led to Darkness on the Edge of Town, and The River). The cool spaceship guitar which donned the first Boston album led to 40 minutes of great and original music inside. You could, in fact, rely on the idea that a cool cover meant the band put effort into the album. It wasn’t a perfect way to buy an album, but it was probably reliable about 50% of the time. Try that today and see how many really bad albums you have to wade through to get a gem.

Nobody was ‘holding the jacket, closing there eyes, getting lost in the music by the end of the 1980’s because the hard plastic cases of CDs and cassettes were not conductive to cuddling up to. Bon Jovi, however, never once complained about the romance being taken out of the thing. He made his millions selling CDs and cassettes of formulaic, derivative music to kids who still thought of music as important, and hadn’t caught on that the people making the music thought of it as a commodity.

Apple, and by extension Steve Jobs, didn’t invent the MP3 player, they just designed one that customers preferred. They didn’t invent the MP3, or downloading music, they found a viable way to commodify downloading MP3’s, putting money back in the pocket of the artists. If Bon Jovi isn’t doing as well selling MP3s as he did CDs and cassettes, maybe it’s because in that time his band went from one of the better, but still one of, the hair metal bands that all sounded much the same to a Kid Rock imitator with a sensible hair cut.

Runaway was a crappy song long before people started paying $1.29 for a 30 second ring-tone. That’s what killed music.

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Saturday Fluffernutter: The Warlock and Mary Todd Lincoln Edition

March 19th, 2011
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All the fluffy news about those nutty celebrities

fluffincolorReports out of Hollywood is that Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor will not, repeat not, be scoring or starring in the new Abraham Lincoln vampire movie. fluffposter01sample

Wait… uhmm… wait. What?

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter?

It appears although Reznor was linked to the project, he never committed and was confused by reports he had.

He’s confused? Now who’ll play Mary Todd Lincoln?

fluffincolorDavid Arquette has been a pretty big tool since his split with Courtney Cox earlier last year. He’s too immature, she said at the time.

Now she’s telling Harper’s Bizarre she’d rather make it work with Arquette:

If (the marriage) doesn’t work out, I will have huge waves of pain… I don’t know what the future holds and I… still have strong feelings for him.

She also said she was not dating, and not looking to dating, saying, “I don’t even know how that would happen or how you meet people… I’m not great at small talk.”

I’ll make this easy, Courtney: email, we’ll skip the small talk.

fluffincolorVince Neil may soon get added to the “Fluffernutter regular,” list, after having another bad week.

In the past month, Neil has been given a fifteen day jail sentence for DUI; released after 10 but ordered to do house arrest for the remainder. House arrest done, ready to make amends and get on with life &tc., his girlfriend up and leaves.

TV reporter Alicia Jacobs, Neil’s girlfriend for seven months, has decided, “due to decisions Vince continues to make,” that she’s not going to go away mad, she‘s just going away.

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Cool for Cats Friday: The Day After St. Paddy’s Edition

March 18th, 2011
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I have been tripping over Guinness cans all morning and someone emptied my bottle of Jameson’s Special Reserve – I swear it wasn’t me, I was into the Bushmills. My head hurts like a head should hurt after St Patrick’s Day. So today, we celebrate the Irish.

Scott Gorham, ironically, is the only non-Irish member of Thin Lizzy, and the only one born on St. Patrick’s Day. So happy belated 60th birthday Scott Gorham. What you might of been doing at my house last night I nether know nor remember, but if it twas you drank my Jameson’s, we’ll drop the matter.

One of my favourite movie quotes, that I never tire of, from the independent Irish movie, Once:

Glen Hansard: I was wondering if you’d like to make a recording with me.

Band, sitting under Phil Lynott statue: You play Tin Lizzy den?

Hansard: No, my own stuff.

Band: We only play Tin Lizzy.

Here’s a video of “Tin Lizzy,” playing the Irish standard, Whiskey in the Jar.

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Poor Mis-Understood Justin Trudeau.

March 17th, 2011
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If you grew up in a household where a picture of your “special friend,” Fidel Castro, hung on the wall, then you’d have problems with distinctions like “barbaric cultural practices” such as honour killings and female genital mutilation.trudeau-and-castro

Hey, if your going to start defining good and bad cultural practices, next thing you know jailing journalists and torturing dissidents will be frowned upon, and then what kind of country will you have?

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Happy 70th Birthday

March 17th, 2011
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Bruce Springsteen tells the story from the stage. After a gig, a young Bruce and sidekick Steve Van Zandt are walking the Asbury Park beach late one summer night. clemons1Walking towards them is a huge guy, dark, frightening looking guy. There’s nobody else on the beach, and as tension mounts they realize, he’s carrying a…a…a… saxophone!

Thus goes the story of how Bruce met the guy who would be his on stage foil for the next forty years (and counting).

A former football player, Clarence Clemons said in his autobiography, Big Man, that he had stuck with Springsteen all these years because he loves his music. It’s not hard to argue a large reason that music is so lovable is the linebacker with the saxophone.

Happy 70th Birthday Clarence Clemons, for being the Big Man, and for that solo in Jungleland. Never has a saxophone felt so at home in rock and roll.

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Saturday Fluffernutter: The Your Laser-Pawed, Tiger-Blood, Warlock Ass is Fired Edition

March 12th, 2011
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All the fluffy news about those nutty celebrities

fluffincolor Hey, you’re Charlie Sheen. Your executive producer is done with you, your ex-wives are none too pleased, child protection authorities have removed your children and there are people writing op-eds saying things along the lines of websites like this one ought to not be making fun of you, because it’s clear you have a mental illness. fluff_2_2008
But everybody can’t hate you, right? There must be someone in your corner who doesn’t think you need psychiatric help, yes?


It seems Sheen’s quote last week that he was a “Vatican assassin warlock,” has angered… warlocks. The covenous male witches are angered that he portrayed them in a negative light, or some such true bit of silliness.

Twenty years ago this would have been real news, but is anybody surprised that people are this thin skinned and openly ridiculous anymore? What’s really surprising is that The Pope’s office hasn’t confirmed that Sheen has never worked for the Vatican, as either an assassin or a warlock.

fluffincolor The taxman took down Al Capone, now he’s after the Godfather, Al Pacino.

Tax officials have filed a lien against Pacino for $188,000. Pacino’s people don’t dispute the amount, and say it has to do with the stars former financial advisor Kenneth Starr, who recently admitted to embezzling $30 million from clients.

Pacino, it seems, is going to the bank on this one, not to share a cell with Wesley Snipes.

fluffincolor The inevitable finally happened on Monday night and Charlie Sheen was fired from his long running sitbore, Two and a Half Men.

In an 11-page letter sent to Sheen’s lawyers, Warner Brothers outlined the reasons for the firing. Among the reasons cited is a favourite here at Fluffernutter World Headquarters, “moral turpitude.”

As the tattoo says, “winner.”

fluffincolor Celebrity Tweet: @joanrivers: Charlie Sheen’s brain cells are just like the cast of Celebrity Apprentice. As of today, there are only 15 left.

fluffincolor Lindsay Lohan fights back.

After a surveillance video of Lohan taking a necklace, which resulted in theft charges against Lohan, hit the internet, Lohan hit back against Kamofie & Company.

K&C sold the video to Associated Press for a reported $40,000, after being overwhelmed with requests to see it, thus making it “beyond our control,” to do anything but sell it. Or something.

Lohan, who faces a felony grand theft charge that could see her sent to prison, has sued, claiming K&C had no right to sell her image.

The truth is Lohan is hard to believe sometimes, but a company that sells surveillance footage and then claims doing so was “beyond their control,” are dubious complainants.

fluffincolor Oh, here’s a beauty: Britney Spears – yes that Britney Spears, the skanky, trashy one – believes she is the reincarnation of Audrey Hepburn. As in the classy, graceful, epitome of distinguished lady, most beautiful woman of the 20th century, Audrey Hepburn.

Besides the ego such a statement takes, the complete ignorance in what reincarnation is, is astounding. Britney, you see, was 11 when Audrey Hepburn died. Somewhere the sixteen year old who is the reincarnated Audrey Hepburn is spitting mad, right about now.

fluffincolor Mel Gibson is having a good week. First, he struck a plea deal that avoids a trial and possible jail time in his domestic violence charges. Then, Charlie Sheen has a public breakdown, and nobody even notices Gibson had a court date coming up.

Gibson has pled guilty to simple battery charges, avoiding the corporal injury on a spouse charge he was originally up on. The plea will see Gibson undergo counselling and not receive jail time for his misdemeanour domestic violence.

The charge relates to a fight he had with his ex-girlfirend, Oksana Grigorieva, in January 2010. The two have been engaged in a bitter split and custody battle over their baby daughter, Lucia.

fluffincolor Lady Gaga Goes Gogo: She may be that kind of girl, but she’s not that kind of girl. Lady Gaga is upset that a company in Britain selling breast milk ice cream calls itself Baby Gaga Ice Cream.

Apparently she thinks it’s offensive to have her name associated with minors, or something. She has threatened to sue the company, who make the ice cream of breast milk, vanilla beans and lemon zest.

Somewhere, I smell a PR disaster for gogoGaga, who was criticized in the last week for appearing on stage scantily dressed with a 10 year old, and wearing a dress made of meat: but don’t dare invoke my name when selling breast mile ice cream! Sigh.

I am so tired of these pop tartlets who make a career out of offending the populous, and then are so easily offended. Get a sense of humour, a real one where you can laugh at yourself as well as others, or get off the stage.

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The Freedom of Music: Alice’s Nightmare

March 6th, 2011
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One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush – Spirit of Radio.

Welcome to my Nightmare was Alice Cooper’s best, and most successful album. Leaving his original band amid ego-fighting, he hooked up with producer Bob Ezrin, and wrote Nightmare. They hired top notch musicians, and recorded Cooper’s masterpiece of rock theatre.sidebar-3

He followed it up with a massive tour that re-enacted the album on stage, adding in some old Cooper gems like Billion Dollar Babies, Hello Hooray and Schools Out. The show featured a big bed in the middle of the stage, around which Cooper danced with a rag doll in Cold Ethel, with cane carrying skeletons in top hat to Some Folks and put the theatre in “masterpiece of rock theatre.”

Once the tour was done, Cooper released a film of the show, and all us 14 year olds who didn’t get to the tour dutifully took ourselves off to the local cinema, where for four weeks we could spend a Saturday afternoon experiencing the tour on a twenty foot screen and “super-dolby all about the place loud,” sound system.

There was a time in the mid 70’s when these concert movies were moderately popular, and the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Band and the Faces released them. Once the theatrical release was over, however, there wasn’t much place to show the movie, and they went away. Then the 80’s came around, and TV execs figured music could sell on their medium. These old concert movies got picked up and carried a stable of them that they showed weekly, cycling through a bunch of movies such that, locally, CITY TV showed Welcome to my Nightmare two or three times a year. After going from theatre, to a regular TV rotation, Welcome to my Nightmare disappeared.

In a musical environment in which every tour ends up on DVD, every artists has too many concert videos and every old video is available and easily accessible, Alice Cooper’s Welcome to my Nightmare has been noticeably absent form my local HMV video section. Oh it’s been released, last time almost ten years ago. Never mind that in the last ten years The Beatles on Ed Sullivan and The Complete Beatles Ed Sullivan Shows has been released. Never mind every concert ever recorded to any form of video has found it’s way to the home DVD market, even ten years ago when it was out, I never saw Welcome to my Nightmare on the DVD store shelves.

Once all these concert movies, and more, made it to video, then DVD and Blue Ray, it got buried. And it and world where there half a dozen new concert movies every week, that’s passing strange. Perhaps the new Welcome to my Nightmare tour will be released on DVD.

Sorry, that’s the new Welcome 2 my Nightmare tour, as in Welcome to my Nightmare, the sequel. Alice got together with Bob Ezrin and decided to do Welcome to my Nightmare 2. They have recorded and the record is apparently in the can. A fall release is being discussed, and a large Welcome 2 my Nightmare tour is planned. The tour promises to once again be theatrical, hopefully pulling the giant spider and dancing skeletons out of Alice’s closet.

And when the tour is wrapped and put back away, it’s not hard to imagine a DVD release. Maybe then the Welcome to my Nightmare movie will get some of the respect it deserves.

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Saturday Fluffernutter: The Kate Winslet Makes it Look So F&%$in’ Easy Edition

March 5th, 2011
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All the fluffy news about those nutty celebrities

fluffincolor The Kings Speech was the big Oscar winner with Best Movie, Best Actor (Colin Firth), Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.

Highlights of the telecast include the lovely Melissa Leo, who won best supporting actress for The Fighter, saying on national, prime time television:

When I watched Kate two years ago it looked so fuckin’ easy.

pinkfluff The other highlight was jerk off Christian Bale seeming to forget his wife’s name during the thank you’s.

Lowlight was Gweneth Paltrow singing.

fluffincolor The anti-Oscar’s, also known as The Razzies, went off as usual Saturday night in Los Angeles. The Razzies “celebrate” all that is bad in movies, giving awards to the worst movies and performances of the year.

Worst movie of the year went to The Last Airbender, a movie I hadn’t even heard of, but got a $320million box office received a 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Worst Actor was Ashton Kutcher for his role in Killers, and worst actress went to the girls in Sex in the City 2.

Unlike last year when Sandra Bullock attended the Razzies and showed real grace and class by accepting her worst actress award, none of the winners appeared this year.

fluffincolor The week that was: Chuck Sheen

Monday: Sheen fired his long-time publicist, Stan Rosenfeld hours after Rosenfeld quit. Sheen has been going off the publicity reservation a fair bit the past few weeks, and his publicist Rosenfeld seems to have had enough. In an interview, Sheen said Rosenfeld had erred in October when defending Sheen’s action:

I respect Stan, he was doing the best he could at the moment. Had I conformed with him, I probably would have come up with something better

Because his improvisations the last week have turned out so well, presumably.

Sheen later said of Rosenfeld: “He’s not allowed to quit, so you’re fired.”

Tuesday: After a series of bizarre interviews, Sheen joins Twitter, listing as his occupation, unemployed winner. By nights end he had over 400,000 followers, and I‘d make a joke about them being all twits, if only I wasn‘t one of them.

His interviews, meanwhile, continue to be some of the most colourful ever:

It (the AA principles) was written for normal people, people that aren’t special. People that don’t have tiger blood, you know, Adonis DNA…
I’m tired of pretending like I’m not a bitching, a total freaking rock star from Mars… You can’t process me with a normal brain…
They picked a fight with a warlock.

He also demanded a raise to return to his hit – ahem – “sitcom“ Two and a Half Men: “I’ll even do season 10, but… it’s 3 mil an episode (he was making $2 million an episode).

The day goes so bad for Sheen, that one media outlet dubbed it, “Charlie Sheen’s Scorched Earth Tour,” and former Two and a Half Men producer Chuck Lorre called it a “…Sprint from from Grace.”

Wednesday: Late Tuesday night a judge removed custody of his kids from Sheen. His ex-wife, Brooke Mueller, complained Sheen threatened her. Not, however, an I’ll kill you, you f%$#in’ bi%$&, kind of threat, but the kind of threat a guy with “fire breathing fists” would level:

I will cut your head off, put it in a box and send it to your mom.

He later tweeted: @Charlie sheen “My sons are fine… My path is clear… Defeat is not an option!”

Is it just me, or should the briefcase full of blow, the bevy of hookers, the outrageous statements in the media and the absolute appearance that Sheen may be having a very public breakdown of some kind not seem reason enough to remove the kids from the home. It takes a direct threat of the jihaddi kind to make a judge step up and protect those kids?

Friday: Sheen set a record with 1M twitter followers in 24 hours. It is now expected Sheen can make $1M on a yearly basis selling ads on his twitter feed. Because what Charlie Sheen needs is greater access to easy money.

Wonder how many twitter followers stop following Sheen once he’s running twitterads? One, I know of for sure.

fluffincolor Christina Aquilera was passenger in a car Tuesday when it got pulled over. She was, according to police, “not capable of taking care of herself. She was incapacitated… She was just intoxicated.”

A few hours in the holding cell to sleep it off, and Christina was on her way without charge.

Not so lucky was her boyfriend, Matthew Rutler, who was driving the car. He was arrested for suspicion of drunken driving.

fluffincolor After a big day being feted by Prince Charles, Catherine Zeta-Jones CBE was punched by a photographer in London. Returning from Buckingham Palace last week, Jones and husband, Michael Douglas, exited their car and entered their hotel in a flurry of photographers.

“How dare you punch me,” Jones suddenly yelled. “I want a police officer right now. He punched me. The guy coming in here, he punched me.”

Douglas, who is recovering from throat cancer treatments, turned to accost the photog.

Good on Douglas, who looks weakened but well these days, for standing up for his wife.

fluffincolorLast week I reported a story in which some in the music industry were criticizing artists who played well paying, private parties for the Gaddafi’s in Libya.

This week, Nelly Furtatdo has announced she will repay what she was given to perform for the murderous dictator. Problem is, Ms. Furtado, payment is only part of the problem. Mu’amar Gaddafi was a murderous thug long before anyone thought of tweeting about it. You had to know, and that says far more about you than paying back the money after the fact does.

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Perhaps if the Debt was at 420 Million…

March 4th, 2011

Who knew when I put the CTF debt clock in my sidebar, and offered the code to put one on your website, that I was opening a big ole’ can of worms.

The National Debt Clock (Picture courtesy CTF)

The National Debt Clock (Picture courtesy CTF)

But it surely can’t be coincidence that the very day I requested the debt clock visit Hespeler, that it gets banned from Parliament Hill:

You can smoke pot in Parliament Hill while the RCMP watches, you can bring on a crane to hold up a giant TV for your rally but don’t you dare try to bring a small trailer showing the massive government debt on the Hill.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation, a spending watchdog group that has taken on governments of all stripes over wasteful spending, have been told they can’t bring their debt clock to the Hill.

“You can smoke joints, carry a coffin, wave your flags, but we can’t bring a horse trailer with a debt clock on the Hill,” said CTF federal director Kevin Gaudet…

Sorry Kevin, I didn’t mean to cause so much trouble.
Meanwhile, here’s the code to put on your sidebar:

<iframe src=”” alt=”” width=”210? frameborder=”0? height=”135? scrolling=”no”></iframe>

The current Canadian debt is:

watergate - shawanigate - profligate