Friday, December 21, 2007

Holiday Leave

I'm heading to my dad's today to begin the Christmas celebrations (mental note: must finish my shopping...), so I will probably not be posting again until I'm down in the Caribbean in a week or so...yeah it's a tough life.

Whatever you're celebrating this time of the year, I hope that it's a great one! This certainly has been an interesting year for me, and I'm glad that I have this blog to look back on as a sort of a public and nerdy diary. Hopefully, you've all enjoyed following me along this past year and a bit.

To tide you over in your constant search for Glenergy, here is a video of one of the funniest things that I've seen in a very long time.



Brilliant, eh?

Until next time,

G

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Candidacy Chaos

We reflect more on the year that was by looking at the story of a comedian, a fundamentalist, a self-proclaimed martyr, a retired soldier, grassroots campaigns, and some audacious hope.



This year holds some very exciting promise. After putting up with a scary, war-mongering, constitution-defying, oil-greedy establishment south of the border, there is finally a chance for it to change.

While the election is still a solid 11 months away, there has been no shortage of drama already in this very wide-open race. At the start of the year, it seemed destined to be a Hilary Clinton against either John McCain or Rudy Guiliani, now a short while later and that remains in question.

On the Democratic side of things, we have seen the rapid rise of Barack Obama and a fairly strong surge by John Edwards. At the end of the day though, I think that Obama really is going to be the one to pull ahead. The man is just too good of a speaker, and is putting forward too strong of a message to be ignored. There is a certain appeal in an Obama-Edwards ticket, if for nothing else than potential sitcom moments that a black guy and southerner tandem possess. Saturday Night Live would have a field day with those two running together.

Of course, joining the Democratic candidates was comedian Stephen Colbert, whose satirical campaign came very close to reality. He planned on running in his home state of South Carolina, and garnered incredible support, including the fastest growing Facebook group in history. However, the South Carolina Democratic executive council voted against his nomination. It's too bad, because him running could have made things very, very interesting.

On the Republican end there seems to be a far more open field. There is once again the man that was blatantly robbed in 2000, John McCain, who is joined by former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani, and a cast of relative new comers to the world's eye. With the "Back to Basics" message coming from Senator Ron Paul that seems to be gathering a very large grassroots movement, and the "Trust in God" message coming from Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, being the two most interesting.

Huckabee seems to be gathering all sorts of momentum, especially among the evangelical-right that helped put Bush into power. I would not at all be surprised to see a Huckabee-Obama showdown, in a truly monumental and epic presidential race. We would see the first African-American candidate, promising change, go up against a Southern Minister who has associated homosexuality with necrophilia at one point. Make no mistake about it, this is a very important year for the course of the United States, and therefore the world. We should have a lot more to reflect on in one year's time.

Until next time,

G

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Benoit Diaries

Today I look back at one of the most surreal and revolting moments of 2007, and how it brought a very powerful man into a position of having to cope with it all.


On June 25 of this past year the unthinkable happened. Chris Benoit, respected wrestler, along with his wife and seven year old son, were found dead in their Atlanta home. What was concluded was even more shocking, the deaths were a murder-suicide committed by Chris Benoit.

The WWE was faced with an immediate problem when they discovered about the deaths. First off, they had an episode of RAW that night, and apparently did not know all of the facts at the time. So, sticking with the precedent that was set with the early deaths of Owen Hart and Eddie Guerrero, they decided to turn the episode into a special "tribute" show, featuring past matches of Benoit's, and comments by current members of the roster. The next night when their episode of ECW was airing, the show opened with Vince McMahon saying that the WWE did not have all of their facts straight, and that they would never mention his name again on their shows.

I think that there are a few oddities in this story that stem from comments made by William Regal and Edge. Regal, one of the wrestlers who knew Benoit the best, only focused on Benoit's in-ring talents and made no mention to him as a person, quite an odd thing for one of his long time friends. Edge's comments, while heartfelt, raised a bit of suspicion when he said "...I don't understand things like this, and I never will" are very ominous considering the circumstance. It makes me think that he knew exactly what had happened at the time of his statement.

All sorts of speculation as to the causes of this sudden, and drastic action have taken place. Many people in the media immediately assumed that it was "Roid Rage" caused by a life of taking steroids, however, the toxicology reports disproved this theory. However, after his death his brain was examined, and it was found that the amount of damage done to his brain as a result of concussions had left his brain in a similar condition to an "85-year-old Alzheimer's patient", which could full well have led to a severe case of dementia and depression on Benoit's part.

No matter why the tragedies occurred, the WWE has been left in a very tough position. They have recalled Chris Benoit's DVD, and have slowly removed any references to him from their website and other public materials. This has also lead to the WWE delaying the release of some other DVDs, for example, they were going to release a Summerslam anthology box set, with every Summerslam on DVD for the first time ever. However, they were uncertain with what to do with Benoit's matches, especially his main event title defense against Randy Orton in 2004. Also, they were originally going to release a Steve Austin retrospective DVD in November, but it was set to feature one of Austin's excellent matches with Benoit from the spring of 2001. The WWE decided that it would not erase any of his matches on these box sets, but would not feature them on any other wrestlers DVDs.

I am not certain how I feel about the WWE attempting to re-write its own history like this. On one hand, Benoit did some terrible, inexcusable actions, but on the other hand, he has a certain place in the companies history and his actions in the past should not be ignored for his future sins. It would be akin to Germany re-writing their political history and omitting the years 1939-1945, sure it is six years that they would rather forget, but they still happened. I do commend the company for including the matches from Summerslam, as it would have been very awkward to get around some of them.

A few days after the event, I took a break from my summer sabbatical to write my thoughts on what was occurring. In preparing to write this post, I re-read it, and to be honest, I don't think that I have answered my questions on this event in the past six months. I still struggle with my memories of Benoit as a performer (which are good) with my thoughts of him as a person now (which are, obviously, not so good). I still don't know the right answer.

I still haven't watched my Chris Benoit DVD, but I feel that I will again someday, I'm not sure when, and I'm not sure how I'll feel when I watch it. But I know that I need to watch it, for closure if nothing else.

Until next time,

G

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Attack of the Green Menace

I continue to look back at all that was in 2007 by examining a former vice-president, a catchy pop song and impending doom.



Sure, An Inconvenient Truth came out in 2006, but its message lingered well into 2007. We are in a lot of trouble unless we do something soon. While Gore's message was hardly a new one, scientists have been talking about it for years, something about hearing it from Al Gore seemed to make it click. I'm not sure if it was the fact that Gore's connections with Clinton, his opposition to Bush, or what it could have been, but to many people he was somehow trustworthy.

As a result of this message, the environment has been greatly at the heart of the public conscious this past year. This has led to a change in both political and commercial rhetoric. As many politicians who once considered Global Warming to be a hippie scare tactic have began talking about environmental issues, and many companies are beginning to advertise their products as being environmentally friendly.

Hell, the fear of global warming even showed up in one of the greatest and most ubiquitous songs of the year. If Al Gore didn't get people listening, then Rhianna sure did.

There are of course a variety of questions surrounding this newfound environmental concern. Many environmentalists are concerned about the validity of this concern, as they raise issues of a "green washing" that is currently occurring by many politicians and corporations, as they exaggerate or falsify the environmental benefit of their policies or products. And of course, many other environmentalists see this public debate as being too little, and too late. In their eyes, the type of action required at this point is far too drastic than we are ready, willing or able to do.

But the newly invigorated environmental movement is not all doom and gloom. With the increase in awareness, comes and increase in funding for research into slowing, and potentially reversing the causes of our short-sited, excessive behaviour. People all over the world are looking into some amazing ideas like carbon sequestering, bio-fuels, renewable energy, electric cars, plastic from orange peels, and some other very exciting technologies. People seem to be finally taking this concern seriously as our generation seems to have found its calling. Our grandparents knew that they had a war to fight, our parents knew that they had a war to stop, and here we ("we" being the ones who don't remember the Vietnam war, but remember the first Iraq War) are with our mission, our goal, we have to save humanity from itself. It's going to be a tough one, but I think that we can find a way to do it. In the future when we look back and find our Pearl Harbour, or Walter Cronkite on the evening news, we will look back at An Inconvenient Truth as the moment that we realized that we couldn't ignore this problem anymore, as the moment that we realized that we needed to do something to make this world a better place.

Until next time,

G

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Mr. Jobs and the Death of the Video Star

I continue my reflections on 2007 today with a look back at technology, counting, and a damn good song.


In 1979, The Buggles prophetically declared that "Video Killed the Radio Star". Twenty-eight years later, it seems that the commercial has in fact killed the video star.

If you were anywhere near a television this fall, chances are you saw this commercial, in which the lovely, and talented, Ms. Leslie Feist, taught the world how to count and Steve Jobs introduced the world to a truly great Canadian songstresses.





This commercial caused a huge explosion in album sales and digital downloads for Feist. After the commercial, "1234" skyrocketed to #8 on the Billboard Hot 100, #3 on the Canadian Singles Chart, and #2 on the U.S. Hot Digital Download list. By comparison, the first (and in my humble opinion, better) single "My Moon, My Man" peaked at 67 on the Canadian singles chart, and failed to even register on the ever important U.S. lists.

While Moby, Rufus Wainwright, Jose Gonzalez, and many others have very clearly demonstrated the effect commercials can have on an artists popularity, Feist seems to be the one that has exploded the most out of all of this, and it is interesting to consider just why.

Perhaps the best comparison is with Jose Gonzalez, both are excellent artists, in similar genres, with previous success in a sort of niche market, both sold their songs to very large electronic companies (Feist to Apple, Gonzalez to Sony). For the sake of comparison, here is the Sony Bravia commercial which used Jose Gonzalez's version of "Heartbeats", originally by The Knife.




Now this commercial did help Gonzalez achieve a great deal of personal fame, but it really has not been at the same level as Feist's explosion has been. So what was the difference?

While you can point out all sorts of grave differences between the songs and the artists, I think that the main difference is in the commercial itself, and where the viewers attention goes. In the Sony ad, the attention is on the thousands of bouncing balls, with the music being a melodic accompaniment to the chaos. Where as in the Apple ad, the attention is firmly on Feist. For every second that commercial is playing, you can see the artist and hear her song. The fact that it's a commercial for an iPod really is secondary. Sure the iPods get picked up, or moved around, but the viewer still remains (rightly) transfixed on the artist until the split second shot at the end when it reminds you to buy a Nano.

This ad presents a marketable shift in the use of music in advertising, it places the artist at the forefront, above the product. The one tag line that the ad shows is "A little video for everyone", reminding the consumer that you can watch this video whenever you want, if only you own an iPod. While of course, this is an advertisement for an iPod, it really comes across as an advertisement for Feist, implying that being able to watch this video at any time is well worth the price of an iPod.

The other main difference is that the Apple commercial features the actual video for this song, which had came out months prior to the release of this commercial. So why was the ad so much more effective than the original release of the video?

I think that the main reason is pure and simple laziness. Watching a video takes a certain effort, either by switching to MTV/MuchMusic (during the 20 minutes of hte day when they actually play videos..) or following a link to the YouTube video. Commercials on the other hand take a certain effort to avoid watching. You need to find the remote and another channel where you know something else is on, and really it's just easier to passively lay there and be bombarded with your consumerist message.

The explosion of this song really is textbook 2007. It demonstrates the power of the media, the power of the brand, the direct relationship between artist and fan, and more importantly, the power of a damn good song.




Until next time,

G

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Hit and the Astericks

I looked at the calendar and I realized that there are only 16 days left until 2007 is gone forever. To celebrate the greatness that this year has been, I have decided that I am going to dedicate several posts to some of the memories of this year. The first installment looks at drugs, punctuation, and the pursuit of a legacy.




On August 7 Barry Bonds was up to bat in a game against the Washington Nationals. Facing a full count, the San Fransisco crowd began chanting his name. A crack of the bat and 435 feet later, history was made. Barry Bonds hit his 756th career homerun, passing Hank Aaron for the all-time lead.

Just in case you missed it that night, or on the countless replays later. Here it is...




While the crowd in San Fransisco was elated that Bonds hit this homerun, the majority of people were not. While few would argue Bonds remarkable abilities, he has not been a man without controversy.

In 2001, Bonds hit 73 homeruns, breaking Mark McGuire's single season record to the shock of many. Given the mans age and his previous high of 49 homeruns, people assumed foul play. Greg Anderson, Bonds person trainer during this time, was later indicted for supplying anabolic steroids to professional athletes. In a 2006 book entitled Game of Shadows, the authors made several allegations against Barry Bonds concerning steroid use. The authors stated that during the 2001 season, Barry Bonds was a veritable chemical cocktail, stating that he was on at least 6 different types of performance enhancing drugs.

During Anderson's investigation, Bonds vehemently denied using steroids, or that Anderson had given him any. However, in 2006, federal investigators began looking into the fact that Bonds may have committed perjury, and in fact had received steroids from Anderson.

The ball used to hit this historic homerun was put up for auction in September, and was bought by fashion designer, Marc Ecko for $752,467. Ecko set up a website to allow the people do democratically determine the fate of the ball. There were three choices, to donate it to the Hall of Fame, to brand it with an asterisk (implying that the achievement was tainted), or to send it off into space.

After millions of votes, 47% of people decided that ball should be marked with an asterisk, before being sent to Cooperstown. Showing that many people feel that Bonds' achievements were tainted.

To me, this really is our generations Watergate. Before any of you get ready to post some angry comments, insulting my intelligence, hear me out.

Before Nixon's imfamous scandal, politics was considered to be a very pure, and noble thing, the altruistic act of devoting your life to public service. However, the findings that the President himself was at the centre of political wrong-doings, opened the world's eyes to the corrupt underbelly of politics. This has ushered in a wave of cynicism towards the democratic process, whose effects can still be felt.

This asterisk really is the sporting-equivalent. Sports have a certain mythos for being a pure test of athletic excellence, and baseball has long propagated this perception with its reliance on a host of heroes from Ruth to Mantle to McGuire.

Now we find out that one of the greatest players of this generation, allegedly owes a great deal of his success not to abilities and determination, but to needless and oils. While Bonds is, of course, innocent until proven guilty, the majority of people have already thrown him to the snake pit, accusing him of being a blatant cheater. Gone appear to be the days when our sporting great would be held in the highest regard, instead they appear to be the victims of constant scrutiny as modern cynicism engulfs them as well.

I feel really bad for the next great athlete to come along and shatter this (or any other) record. People will not be revering their accomplishment, but instead they will be met with constant accusations that they were on some sort of performance enhancing drugs, similar to the CeNNa-gate story that I touched on a while ago.

As a foot not to this story, the allegations against Bonds, were the catalyst for a full scale investigation into steroid use in baseball. The findings of this investigation, the Mitchell Report, were just released earlier this week with staggering results (Click here to read the entire thing, or here to just read an article about it).

The report gives many, many, examples of players using various performance enhancing drugs over the past several years and lists several players, including Roger Clemens, as culprits.
The report even states that it would be impossible to find every player who has used performance enhancers, implying that there are a very large amount of them.

If steroids, and other drugs, are as rampant as Mitchell states, I really need to wonder why it took so long for it to be so well known. If so many players are using drugs, then surely the managers and/or owner of the teams must have known somehow, someway. While the players themselves are responsible for their own actions, there must have been a large amount of people who encouraged them, either directly, or by turning a blind eye to the process. Everyone in baseball, really is to blame for the current state of the game (including former Texas Rangers owner, George W. Bush, yes that George W. Bush). And really, if baseball is so drug-ridden, who is to say that any other sports aren't the same?

The date of Bonds' trial, and the presentation of the asterisk ball to the Hall of Fame, should be some of the more interesting moments of 2008. However, when we look back at the homerun, the asterisk, and the investigation, we will remember 2007 as a very important year in sporting history. It is the year that teamwork, dedication, and integrity all went out the window in favour of the pursuit of excellence, winning, and money at all costs.

In other words, sports has lost something that it may never be able to get back, it has lost its innocence.

Until next time,

G

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Musical Goodness

Tomorrow evening I will, once more, take advantage of the fact that I live in and around Toronto, by partaking in a fantastic concert.  Tomorrow evening, one of the coolest and most unique indie sounds this country has to offer, Apostle of Hustle, is going to grace the stage at Lee's Palace.  Now I don't have nearly as much of a crush on this band as I do on Stars, so I am not devoting a week to them.  Sorry to disappoint any Hustle fans out there.

But I just wanted to include a few videos here.  Sorry I may be light on the content, but I'll make up for it by being high on the awesome...

Here is "National Anthem of Nowhere"

Embedded Video

...and "Cheap Like Sebastien"




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...and now we have the amazing video for "Kings and Queens"

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Lastly, we have a live version of him playing "Folkloric Feel"...it may be long, but it is well worth it!!!

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If you like any or all of those songs then come by Lee's Palace in Toronto tomorrow at 8:30, my tickets were only $15, so come on and check it out!!!

Also, on a slightly tangential note, if you like  good musics, be sure to check out McNutt's countdown of the best singles of the year (with best albums coming next week...), it really is one of my favourite features on one of my favourite blog.  For the record, I'm picking "Stronger" for best single and Neon Bible for best album.  If he says otherwise, he is just trying to make me look stupid...

Until next time,

G

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Open Letter to the Minister of the Environment

Dear Mr. Baird,

I am writing as one of many Canadians concerned about the state of our planet. Like many others, my eyes have been firmly set on Indonesia as I eagerly await some good news out of the Bali Conference on Climate Change. Like many others, I have been sorely disappointed.

I remember a time in the not-to-distant past that Canada was very well respected on the international stage, fighting so valiantly in the second World War, to establishing the Peacekeepers, to abstaining from the war in Iraq, I have always been proud of my countries actions on the world stage. However, I worry that our days of being internationally respected are nearing an end.

I was deeply saddened, but not the slightest bit surprised, when I read that Canada was listed 53rd out of 56 industrialized countries on a recent ranking. The real shocker of the list, was that we were ranked second to last in terms of government policies. One of the countries, which we were ranked higher than, Australia, recently had a change in government with new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, winning on a green platform. This means that next year, we will fall even further in the rankings, unless you take quick action.

Canada has an opportunity to be a real world leader on the issue, but yet we find ourselves severely lagging. According to 2004 data, Canadians contribute over 20 metric tons of CO2 per capita, making us the 11th worst polluters on the earth.

This is simply unacceptable.

We are a nation with immeasurable natural resources, a true land of plenty. I find it completely unreal to think that somewhere between the huge tides in the Bay of Fundy, the Chinooks of the Rockies, and the arable land of the prairies, that we find ourselves so heavily dependent on fossil fuels. We are in clear possession of the means, and our country is full of the will, we are just lacking one central component, the leadership.

This is where you have failed us, Mr. Baird. You on your fellow Conservatives, have routinely tried to undermine the environmental will of the people, going so far as to call the Kyoto Protocol, a "socialist scheme". This is something that I clearly do not understand. We have very clearly passed the point of denial on this increasingly important issue, and yet here we sit at a crucial juncture in the history of our species, and you seem so very determined to circumvent the process of saving our planet.

While I understand the frustration that comes with the three biggest contributors by volume, the United States, China, and India, not accepting any binding targets, I find it very petty and un-Canadian to only follow rules which other countries agree to follow. Had we taken this stance, our country would not be the great nation that it is today. We stood up to the Nazis three years before the Americans did, and we refused to enter a pointless and unjust war in both Vietnam and now Iraq, despite the actions taken by our neighbours to the south. We do not need to wait for our ubiquitous "Big Brother" to make a step on the path to justice before we do. We are our own nation, full of concerned and caring individuals, who are looking to you, Mr. Baird, to take the first step.

All over the world, there are a variety of very unfortunate individuals who are suffering from the effects our societies affluence. The sea levels are rising, the deserts are expanding, and the world we know is changing very rapidly. Many, many people are in serious jeopardy as a result of this looming catastrophe. As someone standing in the way of positive and meaningful change you must shoulder part of the blame for what is occurring as a result of your inaction.

For every hurricane that batters the Caribbean, you are to blame.
For every flood that strikes the shores of Bangladesh and India, you are to blame.
For every inch of expanding desert, you are to blame.
For every species that is disappears from this planet forever, as a result of a warmer world, you are to blame.
For every polar bear that comes into contact with humans because their habitat is shrinking, you are to blame.
For every child who suffers an asthma attack on a smog day, you are to blame.
For every tropical disease that spreads into temperate regions, you are to blame.
For every single individual who dies as a result of the consequences of global warming, you are to blame.

Mr. Baird, you and many others have the opportunity to make some profound change. I want my children, and grand children to look back the actions of this generation with the same pride and reverence that I am able to look back at the generation of my grand-parents. Right now, though, your actions are making me feel something that I have never felt in all of my life. You are making me feel ashamed to be a Canadian.

Sincerely,

Glen R.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Puck Stop - Episode 3

Welcome back, once more to the insighteningly insightful insights on the world of professional hockey, brought to you by your puck-pariahs, Glen and Troy...enjoy!!!!




Topic #1: The Anaheim Ducks recently announced that former Captain Scott Niedermayer is in fact rejoining his team. This marks yet another retirement to go unfulfilled. Where do you think that Niedermayer's return will rank with any other big comebacks?

Troy says: Niedermayer's return is an interesting one. Look no further than motivation. What motivation does he have for coming back? This is a player who has won every single hockey championship that any Canadian player can win. Memorial Cup, World Juniors, World Championships, Olympics, and 3 Stanley Cups. He has nothing left to prove yet he still wants to play. The only reason I can see is that he still feels the passion. This can be scary. When someone plays for no other reason than passion and love of the game nothing can stop him. I think Niedermayer will be a huge help for his team and once he dusts off the rust of not playing for a while he will be his old amazingly gifted self again.

But the best hockey-related un-retirement easily goes to Mario Lemieux. He had a point within the first minute of his first game back. He continued to play at nearly a goal-a-game pace.

Glen says: As much as I hate to admit it, I find myself agreeing with my Caribbean friend here. I think that Scott is going to pick up right where he left off, and that is as a dominant player. I think that the Ducks are immediately a better team the second that he steps into that dressing room, let alone on the ice. While the Champs struggled a bit out of the gate, I think that they are instantly the team to beat out West.

Also, on the hockey front, I am totally in love with all things Mario; the man kicks all kinds of ass. Seeing him return in 2000 was a thing of beauty. He was simply dominant on the ice, and made all of his teammate’s better players. If he had not been there, I doubt that we would have been able to taste Olympic Gold in 2002.

On a slightly more scripted, but still real level, there is also Shawn Michaels, a pro-wrestler who retired in 1998 with severe back problems. He returned in 2002 and had the best match of that year against long-time friend Triple H. Shawn eased his way back into a full-time schedule and has been arguably the best wrestler in the past 4 years. He even wrestled in the Main Event of Wrestlemania this past year, a full 9 years after he was supposedly done wrestling forever. It really has been an amazing ride for that man.

Troy says: Wrestling sucks.

Glen says: You suck.

Troy says: Lets take a look at the other side of the coin and talk about probably the worst unretirement of all. Michael Jordan. Don't get me wrong, he is the best basketball player off all time and his first unretirement was actually good, but the second one was a disaster. Before he came back a second time the last scene of MJ in an NBA game was when he hit that late game jumper just before winning the title. How awesome would it be to be remembered by something like that? But instead he decided to come back again as a Wizard. Too bad. Would have been a nice memory.

Glen says: I totally agree, Jordan's second comeback sucked. I think that the key reason why it was so lame was not only because of his level of play, but because of the sweater that he wore. Lemieux struggled a bit after a few seasons back, but all was forgiven because he was still a Penguin. Jordan, on the other hand, was not a Chicago Bull anymore, he was playing as a Washington Wizard, and the magic nostalgia factor just wasn't there for him like it was for Lemieux. I really hope that people block those Wizard days from their memory, and just remember that last shot against the Jazz in 1998...man that was awesome...

But I think that the best comeback ever belongs to the king of the low-fat grills, Mr. George Foreman. The man retired in 1977, a few years after his famous loss to Muhammad Ali in Zaire. However, he would return 10 years later, at the age of 38 (making him a veritable relic in the world of boxing). After a few years as, essentially a sideshow, he was given a title shot. While he lost his first few chances, he was given one final shot in November of 1994, at the age of 45, he somehow, someway defeated champion Michael Moorer and won the title. You couldn't write it any better than that...

Troy says: I must admit I am not the biggest fan of boxing. With people like Mike Tyson and Don King this sport has sadly lost of lot of credibility. Foreman however is a great exception. Not only is he a great ambassabor for the sport of boxing but this is a man who has constantly reinvented himself. After miraculously regaining the title in 1994 he began a second career as an entrepeneur (ever heard of the Foreman Grill?) and he also became a successful and respected boxing commentator for HBO. He is now an ordained minister and has his own church. Whether you like boxing or not you gotta respect a man like George Foreman.

Topic #2: Reports suggest that former Vancouver head coach (and current Los Angeles head coach) Marc Crawford instructed Todd Bertuzzi to make Steve Moore must "pay the price" leading to the imfaous attack in 2004. What are your thoughts on this finding?

Troy says: To be honest I find the whole Bertuzzi/Moorre to be very overexposed (especially initially) and annoying and I just want it to go away but this adds a very interesting spin on things. If it is true that Crawford did this, and it probably is, then it begs the question "is retribution right or should it be handled by the league?". It's a tough call but I personally like the idea of retribution because it forces player to be responsible for their actions immediately. If a player knows he will be punished immediately perhaps it can deter him from taking a cheap shop. I am not however condoning what Bertuzzi did to Moore. It was wrong. We all know that. I would not be surprised if coaches order these types of things a lot more than we think. Hockey is much more of a "self-disciplined league" than most. I like the idea of it staying that way.

Glen says: Man, oh man, can an issue not die? First off, I'm not even the slightest bit shocked that this report comes out. As much flack as Bertuzzi (and now Crawford) are getting over this issue, there really is one man that nobody has even bothered to hold accountable, Colin Campbell.

In the game before this incident, Moore made a blatant dirty shot on Vancouver Captain, Markus Naslund, giving him a concussion and he got no suspension for it. So the next game there was an aura of pure hatred and next thing we know, one of the most passionate men in the sport damn near kills a guy, colour me shocked. Bertuzzi's death punch occured in the second game of a home-and-home, the league KNEW this and didn't suspend Moore for even one game, to prevent an incident like this from happening. Its completely and totally inexcusable of the NHL to mess up like this and not own up in any way, shape or form. If they weren't going to suspend anyone they should have sent some senior official into the Canucks locker room and say "I know you're pissed, but don't do anything stupid" what a world of difference that would have made!!!

But as for the issue itself here, Bertuzzi has no right to place the blame on Crawford, or any other member of the Canucks organization. He is his own man, who makes his own decision. The "I was following orders" defense didn't work for the Nazi's and it shouldn't work for athletes.

Topic #3: The NHL has recently announced its vote leaders for the All-Star team. Based on performance, who would be on your All-Star Team?

Troy says: Here is my Eastern Conference All Star Team starting with Defence, Chara, Redden, Timonen, Campbell, Gonchar and Kaberle. For the forwards I went with Kovalchuk, Bring'Amour (I know Glen hates him for some unknown reason, but the guy is like 70 gajillion years old and he's still bringin it), Jokinen, Koivu, Sundin, Satan, Jagr, Lecavalier, Ovechkin, Crosby, Heatley and Alfredsson. For the goalies I went with Broduer (duh), Lundqvist, and Cam Ward. My starting lineup would be Crosby, Heatley and Afredsson upfront with Kaberle and Gonchar on the blueline with Broduer between the pipes.

Glen says: Not a bad lot I dare say...but I've got to wonder how you missed Markov, St. Louis, Stillman, and Williams...I guess they just goes to show how tough it is, especially when you need every team to have one player represented!!!

Troy says: I didn't miss them, I simply couldn't find spots for them. But dems da breaks I guess.

Glen says: As for the Western Conference, I went with a Defense Corps of Pronger, Zubov, Lidstrom, Phaneuf, Jovanaski, and Rafalski. The forwrds were a tough group, but I chose Thornton, Zetterberg, Iginla, Nash, Getzlaf, Stastny, Kane, Kopitar, Horcoff, Gaborik and Kariya. The Goalie platoon consisted of Luongo, LeClaire and Nabokov.

Based on this year only, I think that Pronger, Lidstrom, Thornton, Iginla, Zetterberg, and LeClaire deserve the starts. I struggled wit hthe starting goalies, since Luongo is clearly the better player, but LeClaire somehow has 6 shutouts so far this season, and that just can't be ignored.

Any glaring ommisions my friend?

Troy says: Datsyuk

Glen says: I know!!!! I already took three Red Wings and needed a Wild, Predator and Blue...

Troy says: I know I know I had the same problem. It’s not as easy as you'd think

Topic #4: After a close battle, Glen seems to have broken ahead as he currently sits a staggering 12 points ahead of Troy in their hockey pool. Your thoughts on this one?

Troy says: It's odd. Each time I think my team has had a great night, Glen's team just blows me out of the water. As much as I hate to do it, sometimes you've just gotta tip your hat to the better man. Things are going to get very interesting however once Scott Neidermayer is playing again. Better buckle up Glen, tis gonna get tight.

Glen says: Wow, I wasn't expecting that...at all...I have to say, my team has done quite well of late, and I'm really happy with the results so far. I do have some tough decisions to make in the coming weeks as Dan Boyle and Sheldon Souray, and Alexander Frolov all look to return to action. I'm really torn on if I should but them, or another player! I have a lot of guys who I know will explode the second that I cut them, so things could be really interesting in a few weeks. And with the season barely a quarter of the way done, a lot can still change


Any closing thoughts my friend?

Troy says: Looking forward to the next installment of "The Puck Stop" live from Sunset Beach Bar in Sunny St. Maarten!!!

Glen says: Now there is something that we can both agree on...

Until next time,

G

Appendix 1: Roster Changes to Hockey Pools

Glen

Activate D - Schneider from IR, drop LW - Semin
Place D - Boyle on IR, add D - Jones
Trade LW Kovalchuk and G Legace for G Brodeur
Add C -S. Koivu
Drop LW/RW - Michalek, add LW - Wolski
Drop D -Aucoin, add LW - Morrow
Drop C - S. Koivu, add D - Corvo
Place LW - Frolov on IR, add C - Arnott
Drop D - Boucher, add D - Hainsey
Drop LW - Wolski, add C - Horcoff


Troy

Drop D - Whitney, add D - Kaberle
Drop D - Pitkanen, add D - Phillips
Drop G - Fleury, add G - Huet
Place LW - Gange on IR, add RW - Cheechoo
Drop G - Huet, add G - Kiprusoff

Appendix 2: Current Rosters

Glen

C - Crosby, E. Staal, Jokinen, Horcoff, Roy, Arnott, Kopitar, Savard
LW - Ovechkin, Parise, Morrow, Vanek, Tanguay
RW - Iginla, St. Louis, Rolston, Pominville
D - Liles, Schneider, Timonen, Corvo, Jones, Gonchar, Hainsey
G - Lundqvist, Brodeur, Nabokov
IR - Souray, Boyle, Frolov

Troy

C - Briere, Marleau, H. Sedin, Stastny, Sakic, Richards
LW - Malkin, Heatley, Zetterberg, Brunette, Demitra, D. Sedin, Huselius
RW - Naslund, Satan, Cheechoo, Perry,
D - Phillips, Lidstrom, Zubov, Kaberle, Campbell, Ohlund, Phaneuff
G - Luongo, Kiprusof, Backstrom
IR - Gagne

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

One Present Delivered

Just yesterday, I started making my Christmas shopping list, and it turns out that Christmas is coming early for Mark Zuckerberg and co. This morning, the founder of everyone's favourite social network, posted on the Facebook blog, that the controversial application, Beacon is no longer being forced upon everyone!

For those of you unfamiliar with Beacon, it was a new application recently launched by Facebook. Where third party web-sites that sign up (and presumably give Facebook exorbitant amounts of money) and any actions taken by Facebook users at these sites was posted to their profile. Facebook's business site, mentions "...purchasing a product, signing up for a service, adding an item to a wish list, and more...". So, for anyone wanting to go and do some on-line shopping, it would then get posted to their feed and all of their friends would know.

While this is clearly a fantastic advertising tool, it, of course, raises a ton of privacy issues. In the most assinine of levels, if I decide that I want to add a Nintendo Wii to an on-line wish list (which gets posted through my feed), and then I notice that my mother buys a Nintendo Wii (posted through her feed) then guess what? CHRISTMAS IS OFFICIALLY RUINED!!!!

Of course, there are much deeper privacy issues at stake here, especially with the McCarthy-era-xenophobia that seems to be going on south of the border. If Facebook (or anyone else) finds that I have just bought a few books on horticulture, and then looked at some pictures of Amsterdam, all of a sudden I am clearly housing a grow-op according to the good people of the internet. It really just gives an opportunity for those in power (i.e. governments and corporations) to keep better tabs on people not in power (i.e. me), and I'll be damned if I want that to happen! The UK's Information Commisioner was quoted as saying that we are "sleep-walking into a surveillance society", and this is a great example of our collective narcolepsy on the issue of our own privacy.

When I first joined Facebook (apparnetly a year ago tomorrow judging by that link...) I was worried that it would be too "Big Brother" but was convinced that it wasn't by people who actually used it. It seems that maybe I was right all along after all...

In a less apocalyptic vein, I think that Beacon, and things like, are a great example of the radical paradigm shift that has been taking place on-line recently. The initial appeal of the internet in it's early days (i.e. 1996) was the complete and utter anonymity. If you wanted to tell someone that you were a 23 year old blonde with a smoking body, there was no problem. People loved that about the internet, a chance to leave the crappy real world behind and make your own. However, this seems to be a thing of the past.

While you can still post a model's profile picture, or be that Night Elf Mohawk, you still give out your birthday, your address, your credit card, and so many more personal facts about yourself, that your on-line self is getting closer and closer to your real self. When you add in the fact that sites are tracking down your shopping habits for their own "word of mouth" style advertising, it becomes harder and harder to do what the internet was meant to do, escape.

For example, a solid 10 months ago, I removed all references of my last name here at this blog. I just wanted it to be a little separate from my real life, yet if you do a Google search for my full name, this site is 2nd on the list. I legitimately have no idea as to just how Google tracks down words on this site that are no longer there, unless it links it to my e-mail, which includes my last name, or my personal information, I don't understand how I can still be found so easily. Kind of scares me...

The truly scary, and sad part of all of this, is that we have no way of going back to the Golden Age of Anonymity where we really could be a super stud or half-elf paladin, instead here we are very clearly being ourselves once more. I guess we can all mark down November 6, 2007 (the date of the official launch of Beacon) as "The Day the Internet Died".

Ah well, it had a good run...

Until next time,

G

P.S. For all Facebook users, be sure to go to your "Privacy" tab in the top left of your pane and then to the link marked "External Websites" and tick off the box that says "Don't allow any websites to send stories to my profile", trust me, it'll be worth it someday...

P.P.S. It turns out the Sens won tonight as well...that's TWO presents delivered, now I just need to start working on that anti-zombie-spray...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Christmas Shopping List

Well now that December and the snow are upon us, even the most grinchy of us (i.e. me) can not deny that the Christmas season is upon us. I suppose that means that I need to start my shopping....uggh...I have came up with the following list for a few people, hopefully you can help me add a few more. So, I would like to give...

...a clue and a conscience...to all of the world leaders descending in Bali this week. They are going to be meeting with scientists and activists to discuss the key issue of our time, Global Warming. Their plan is to draft a follow up to the Kyoto Protocol, which is set to expire in a few years. Hopefully they can learn from the mistakes of Kyoto, and maybe, just maybe there will be some buy in from the important players who skipped out on the previous rulings (i.e. Canada and the United States).

...a few more wins...to my Ottawa Senators. They have been slumping a lot lately, yet still have the best record in the Eastern Conference. Kind of bitter sweet to be honest. I'm sure it's just a little slump, they just need to make sure that they don't loose four games in a playoff series.

...a rattle-free saber..for Bush, Cheney, and co. Given the recent intelligence report that Iran STOPPED their nuclear weapons program over four years ago. Maybe, we can stop talking about bombing them to prevent World War III.

...the ruins of the Statue of Liberty...to future generations. This is because the apes are clearly taking over. A recent study in Japan showed that a group of chimpanzees outperformed University Students on memory tests. I just hope that they remember that the doll talks...damn dirty apes.

...this song...to everyone who hasn't heard it. It's just awesome and full of great advice, easily one of the best of 2007... It's called "Thou Shalt Always Kill" by Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip, by the way.

Embedded Video

...cruel, delicious irony...for the Conservative Party of Canada. Having won an election in 2006 with a platform of accountability, they now find themselves dealing with their own mess, as Parliament begins to investigate the relationship between Schreiber and Mulroney from over a decade ago. Pardon me while I laugh about this one.

...763 career homeruns... for anyone not named Barry Bonds. Let's get that cheating ass out of the record books.

...an understanding of limonene...to the entire planet. Limonene is an oil found in orange peels, that can be mixed with regular old carbon dioxide (yes THAT carbon dioxide) to make a renewable, biodegradable, plastic. How cool is that?

...some alternative source of revenue...for the good people at Facebook. While they have made my life easier in all sorts of ways (i.e. helped me stay in touch with people by making virtually no effort), I hate how many ads are creeping into my Facebooking. So what if my status is listed as single, it doesn't mean that I am going to go to an on-line dating site!!!!

...anti-Zombie spray...for everyone. Because we all know that Zombies will try to take over the world someday. However, there is no telling if this will come before or after the apes get us...better be ready for either eventuality.

...a happy holiday...for everyone reading this blog! Thanks a ton for wasting some of your free time on this site. I hope that this holiday season is a good one for all of you!!!

Until next time,

G

Monday, December 03, 2007

Disapointment

Yesterday was a wonderful, joyous day, as we got our first REAL snowfall of the season here in the GTA. Now, while I may despise the cold (and Christmas) I am a huge sucker for the snow. I simply LOVE to play in it, one of the reasons that I enjoyed living in North Bay so much last year.

Anyway, last night the snow turned to rain as the temperature hovered somewhere between 1 and 3 degrees. Many of the boys in my residence were asking me if it was going to be a snow day. I told them that I would get right on calling my good friend Mother Nature, but all of them needed to be fully prepared for Mondays classes if we were to have any hope. Clearly, it is meteorological science that the chance of snow coming is inversely proportional to the amount of students who are counting on a snow day.

Our school has a policy, that any cancellations will be announced at 6am for that day, so I woke up a few times during the night excited at the possibility of there being a snow day. At about 6:30, I woke up to the sound of the snow plows clearing off the path just outside my bedroom. My heart raced a bit at the thought of having a three day weekend.

I then heard my cell phone beep. My sleep deprived brain began to race. Who would call this early? Is everything ok with my parents? Could one of my teacher friends have texted me to celebrate the snow day? What else could it be?

I knew that I needed to find that phone, so I crawled myself out of bed and looked for the usual spots that I leave my cell phone. The shelves at the head of my bed? Nope. The beep continued. My night table? Not there. Yet another beep. My kitchen counter? No sign of it. BEEP. I turned the lights on and my apartment upside down looking for this phone. Finally, I clued in. It was in the pocket of the sweater that I was wearing before bed, and therefore in my laundry bin.

Excitingly, I root through my dirty socks and underwear to finally retrieve my precious piece of technology. I fumble trying to open it, just like I was unwrapping a present under my tree. Could it be my first snow day of the year?

Finally I flip open the phone, excited to see that a message. Instead, I get two infuriating words come across the screen..."Low Battery".

I crawl back into bed, and get a few more precious minutes of anger filled sleep, as visions of toboggans and snow angels dance through my head.

Until next time,

G

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Some More Random Videos to Share

Greetings and salutations, friends, it is now time for one of the many (ir)regular features here at Getting Glenergized.  I've scoured the beauty that is YouTube and found some of the best things that I can find, hope you enjoy...

First we have a great interview from about a month ago with Russian Chess-Champion-Turned-Political-Activist, Garry Kasparov with Bill Maher.  Kasparov's passion and eloquence is truly inspirational, I wish that we had politicians like that...

Embedded Video



On the other hand, we have idiots like this in North America, as we have a "scientist" try and talk about how Global Warming is not happening...I swear, someday people will look at idiots like this the same way we look at Holocaust Deniers.  Stupid Fox News for giving this assclown a soapbox...


Embedded Video



As for people who actually care about the environment, there is this really cool story about a guy who made his own island with a bunch of plastic bottles...too cool for words!!!

Embedded Video



And now with something even more serious...a Lego Verison of the Trailer for 300

Embedded Video




Now I've talked about my hetero-sexual man crush on Chris Jericho before...but here is how awesome his return was, as the code was finally revealved...

Embedded Video



Speaking of Jericho, there is this clip from Slamboree 1998, when he introduced every wrestler in a battle royal, it's definetly what made me a fan of his. Even if you don't like wrestling, you'll probably find this one funny...

Embedded Video



And lastly, are you addicted to the song from the newest iPod commercial? I know I am, here is the whole song, "Music is My Hot, Hot Sex" by CSS...

Embedded Video



Man that song is catchy...

Alrightie, I need to go and watch it again, and again, and again...

Until next time,

G

Friday, November 30, 2007

This Month in Fantasy Sports - November

As we may recall, the past two months, I have done a spotlight on one of my Fantasy Hockey Teams.  As you may not recall, I made a few changes last month, and at the end of it all my roster was as follows:

C - LeCavalier, Jokinen, Staal, Prospal,
RW - Jagr, Guerin, Radulov, Knuble, Goddard
LW - Holmstrom, Brown, Brashear, Clowe
D - Rafalski,  Campbell, Redden, O'Brean, Aucoin
G - Nabokov, Budaj, Price

IR - Schneider

Further reminder that every day you can dress 3 each of C, RW, LW, G, plus 4 D, and 2 other Forwards.  Also, that skaters get points as follows:  1 G, 1 A, 0.75 +/-, .5 PPG, .5 PPP, .5, SHG, .5 GWG. .5 PIM, and that goalies get 2 points for a win and 3 for a shutout.

Over the course of the past month I made the following changes:

Drop - Add

LW  Clowe - C Gratton
Activate D Schneider - LW Brashear
D O'Brien - RW Clarkson
RW Clarkson - LW Chimera
RW Guerin - RW Lupul
C Gratton - C Carter

So once again, a fair amount of moves, however this time it seemed to centre around a handful of players.  After Clowe went down with an injury, Chris Gratton was added, and he gave some dividends, racking up a bunch of penalty minutes, with the odd goal here or there, however the temptation for Jeff Carter was too much to handle.  Carter has played well at both ends of the ice, and his name keeps floating in trade rumours, so I expect him to explode if he moves teams.   After I raved about Shane O'Brien last time, I realized that I had one to many D-Men after  Schneider came back so I let him go for another goon upfront.  However, after a few days I noticed that I had cut two left wingers, and even with Prospal being awarded dual position eligibility, I was short on my west side.  So I went back to a solid two way player that I had originally drafted (and subsequently cut) in Jason Chimera.  He has been doing really well at both ends of the ice playing for one of the league's most surprising teams so far.  Lastly, Bill Guerin was slumping of late and really starting to add up on the minus side of things, so I went with the rising Joffrey Lupul.

I was offered a trade for Carey Price, but I plan on sticking to this guy for a little bit longer.  Well for now at least, I'm sure I could have him lured away for the right amount of help up front, but I have a soft spot for Price, and my arm may take some twisting to want to give him up.

The biggest boost to my team came from Yahoo themselves, when they changed the positional eligibility of the players.  They recently updated it so that many forwards can be used to play at multiple positions.  This has helped me immensely as both Brown and Holmstrom are able to play Left or Right Wing, while Prospal is able to play Centre or Left Winger.  This gives me something that I never had before, options.  It is incredibly helpful as it lets you get more of your forwards playing on any given night, and since forwards are the ones who score most of the goals, it is immeasurably helpful.  So my advice to you this month, is pay attention to positional eligibility!!!!  A centre/left winger is far more valuable than just a straight centre, since they can increase your chances of getting more players (and therefore more points) on any given night.

Just so you know, I am currently 80 points ahead of 2nd place in the league, I topped out at 90 a week ago.  My Christmas wish is to be 100 points ahead of 2nd place...But who know, maybe I'm dreaming, but sometimes miracles do happen.  Take care and happy pooling!!!

Until next time,

G

Stars Week Concluded


All good things must come to an end. After reflecting on some pretty awesome songs for the past six days, I now have no more reason to continue to talk about one of my absolute favourite bands on this planet. The other night I had the distinct pleasure of going to see Stars, and boy oh boy was it a show!

I'm not going to bore you by describing every little detail, or give you a set-list (mostly because I can't remember it or find it anywhere on-line), but suffice to say that it was a great time. They mostly played songs from In Our Bedroom After the War, which is not at all surprising. The highlight of those songs was when they were playing "The Ghost of Genova Heights", Torq came out with a suit covered in lights, playing the part of the ghost. Also, the title track "In Our Bedroom After the War" came across with a special kind of passion live.

They also included all of the favourites from Set Yourself on Fire, including "Ageless Beauty" and "What I'm Trying to Say", but there were two songs from that album that were especially amazing. When they played "On More Night" I was amazed at how loud the crowd was signing along. Torq also dedicated that song to his old gym teacher saying that it was about people "having sex with him until he dies", to a rousing (albeit morbid) ovation. However the highlight came when they played "Your Ex-Lover is Dead". The crowd erupted with noise when they began playing that one and everyone in the building belted the song out until the band turned their microphones to the crowd for the "Live through this, and you won't look back" section. It was simply amazing.

My own personal highlight came during the bands encore presentation. As I mentioned in my last entry, my favourite song of theirs is "On Peak Hill", however I was convinced that they wouldn't play this song from their first album. However, that didn't stop my from hoping that every time they said "This song is called..." that they would finish that sentence with "...On Peak Hill". After playing a few songs for the encore they asked if they could play one more song, and to my surprise and amazement they played "On Peak Hill". It totally made my night complete as I was smiling from then on.

After the concert was over, I realized something. I spent the entire night with a big smile on my face, singing and feeling gooey on the inside. I think that this can only mean one thing, that I have a crush on this band...I'm not if it's healthy, but I'll be damned if it isn't fun.





My two tickets to paradise



Awesome rock-out

Tell me she isn't amazing??



My Angel of Rock


And here are a few more videos that I've found on this wonderful thing called the Internet...

Reunion






Elevator Love Letter



One More Night



Bonus of Amy Milan covering "I Will Follow You Into the Dark"




Until next time,

G

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Stars Week Prolonged -- On Peak Hill


Well Stars Week continues a little bit longer here, with a favourite song of mine. I have spent the past five days talking about ex-lovers, apologies, on-line dating, child rearing, and those three special words, but all I've wanted to talk about is a magical place called Peak Hill. To help with our enjoyment of this truly enchanting song, is this great fan-made video...




The rain fell hard on the roofs that day
You telephone from far away
I see the ocean from my room
All I could say was "are you coming home soon?"
The static whisper in my ear
But in a moment your voice was clear
"I need some time," you said to me
That's when I knew you were gonna make me lonely

You're gonna make me wish for the time right before I was born
When every living breath was another new dawn
Like the time I was 5 at the top of Peak Hill
And the wind almost took me away

You're gonna make me wish for the time right before I was born
When every living breath was another new dawn
Like the time I was 5 at the top of Peak Hill
And the wind almost took me away

I walk awhile before I sleep, count the secrets that I keep
I hope for more, I know for sure I fall apart before I weep
I disconnect the telephone, cause I can choose to be alone
I'll get more done, I'll have some fun, pretend you're not the only one

And I'm never gonna wish for the time right before I was born
When every living breath was another new dawn
Like the time I was 5 at the top of Peak Hill
And the wind almost took me away

You're gonna make me wish for the time right before I was born
When every living breath was another new dawn
Like the time I was 5 at the top of Peak Hill
And the wind almost took me away

-- Lyrics courtesy of Lyricsmania.com

Having your heart broken is a horrible, horrible experience. It leaves you weak, bitter and alone. Many, many songs have been written on the subject, but few capture it so well with such a light rhythm and innocent lyrics as this one.

With the light synth notes and the powerful, yet simple line of "you were gonna make me lonely" this song just feels childish. The harmonizing that Amy and Torq perform during this chorus makes the song sound like it belongs in a fairy tale.

The words they use in this song are so simple and to the point, "you're going to make me wish for the time right before I was born", is almost infantile in its approach to heartbreak. It is so natural to wish that a relationship never happened. However, these feelings tend to be cast aside as immature. This song does something that few others dare to do, it dares to be immature.

Near the end of the song, there is a hint of overcoming the adversity when they say "I'll get more done, I'll have some fun, pretend you're not the only one" and then they change the chorus up by saying "And I'm never gonna wish for the time right before I was born". However, a stanza later they go right back to the depressing chorus, showing us that maybe they weren't empowered after all. This is an admission of failure in the healing process, and certainly not the actions of a mature, healthy individual.

While this is far from the first song written about break-ups, and probably far from the best. However, it certainly ranks among the most daring, as it is able to make the victim appear as a smaller person, which is certainly a rarity.

Whenever I get around to making a second round of Music to Wallow to, I know that I will include this song, which I am ashamed to say I had not heard when I made the first list. While this, and any songs of its kind, are meant to be downers, they are an important part of any healing process. It is important to be honest with yourself and your emotions, and few songs are as honest as this one.

Until next time,

G

Monday, November 26, 2007

Stars Week, Once More -- What I'm Trying to Say


Now that all four albums have been represented here during Stars Week, it's time to give Set Yourself on Fire a second dose. After looking at sad songs for the first four days I'll take a break and look at a great synth-filed, up-beat poppy song, enjoy "What I'm Trying to Say".




You look so good in the clothes of a poser
And when you smiled all the kids fell apart here
I know a place where it's warm and it's dry, dear
Let me take you there

North of the river all the streets are the same
We can pretend that they don't know our name
And the heat is turned all the way to full
So don't pretend that you don't feel the pull

I am trying to say
What I want to say
Without having to say
"I love you"

You look so good in the shoes of an outcast
I kissed your throat every time they said it wouldn't last
But then I knew you, I knew you, I knew you
I really knew you

We fell apart in the parties of the empty heart
We danced the junkies in the shadows of bad modern art
We clicked our heels and we wished we were home
One more tab and your silk hits the chrome

I am trying to say
What I want to say
Without having to say
"I love you"

I am trying to say
What I want to say
Without having to say
"I love you"

Springs comes in when I'm rolling up another one
I draw the curtains in the glare of the same old sun
We are collapsed in the act of just being here
Three blues, two greens and a beer...
We are collapsed in the act of just being here
Three blues, two greens and a beer...

I am trying to say
What I want to say
Without having to say
"I love you"

I am trying to say
What I want to say
Without having to say
"I love you"

-- Lyrics courtesy of AZLyrics.com

Three words can say so much, yet so little at once. They can move mountains, or make the world stand still. They can fly so effortlessly from your lips, or awkwardly fumble out of your mouth. They are the hardest words to instigate but the easiest to retaliate. They are the words that we never tell to everyone we need to. They are "I love you".

The man in this song is clearly in love, as he struggles with his ability to express himself. While he does not want to say the dreaded three words, he is able to get this across with such words as "So don't pretend that you don't feel the pull" and "We are collapsed in the act of just being here", which so vividly expresses the emotions that he is trying to convey.

The first three days of Stars Week were about ambiguity and double meaning, and yesterday was about disappointment, this one is about another common theme in Stars songs, growing up. I don't have earth shattering memories of the first time that I ever told a girl that I loved them, but that's because when you are young, it's too easy. Every time you say it to someone new, you get a better understanding of just what it means, and therefore it gets harder and harder each time.

After you have been hurt once before it is so much harder to open up your heart, and tell someone how you really feel. Due to the increased difficulty, there is a desire to find alternate methods of expression and a need to skirt around the issue. However, it is once you have been hurt before that you need to let someone else in even more. While it is harder, it is even more important to find the words and say just what you are trying to say.

Until next time,

G

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Stars Week, Yet Again -- The Very Thing


In the first three installments of Stars Week I have examined a song off of a different album each time. The trend continues today, as I take a look at a song off of their debut album Nightsongs entitled "The Very Thing". While there was no official video for this song, there is this excellent fan made video featuring clips from Kramer vs. Kramer.




The bar closes early on the Sabbath day
So me and my kid, we hit the park to play
Then it starts to rain, so we walk home again
He asks why he was born, I don't know what to say
I don't feel guilty and I don't feel sad
This motherfucking life is the best he's had
I said "I've been there, sonny, and it ain't that bad
I took my hits from the shits back when I was a lad"

So long ago, and even though I tried
I couldn't make him see
The light that he had cast in front of me
And even though I cried, I couldn't make him be
The very thing I needed

His mother would make a scene when I come home late
She looks like she's dying and she's twenty-eight
I never loved that whore, I never will no more
Except for a month back in '84
The jammin' was playing and my heart stood still
Gazing at her shadow on the windowsill

So long ago, and even though I tried
I couldn't make her see
I wasn't quite the man she thought I'd be

And even though I cried, I couldn't make her be
The very thing I needed

And even though I tried
I couldn't make her see
I wasn't quite the man she thought I'd be
And even though I cried, I couldn't make her be
The very thing I needed

Could she be the very thing I needed?
Could she be the very thing?

Push yourself away from your one best friend
Who's gonna love you when you reach the end?
Who will?
Who will?
Who will?

--
Lyrics courtesy of Lyricsmania.com

There is one reaction that everyone fears getting from someone. It is not anger, not hatred, not even sadness. Oh no, it is far worse that that. It is disappointment.

Unlike the first few songs I have examined, this one has a relatively simple, yet powerful message, disappointments suck.

While, thankfully, I have never had to deal with being a negligent father, I can relate to the disappointment that echoes throughout this song. The main character (sang by Torq) identifies with a heavy heart not only the disappointment that he casts onto others ("Even though I tried/I couldn't make her see/I wasn't quite the man she thought I'd be"), but also the disappointment that others give him ("And even though I cried, I couldn't make her be/The very thing I needed").

Perhaps the saddest part of the song though is the line "Could she be the very thing I needed?", which is said after repeating many times that she couldn't be the very thing that he needed and that he "Never loved that whore". This is exceptionally sad, because after giving and receiving so much disappointment, he begins to both accept and expect it.

As sad as heartbreak is, I think that someone staying in a relationship where they aren't happy is far worse. To be with someone who you don't love for want of a better alternative goes beyond tragedy. It is just plain disappointing.

Until next time,

G