Hall of Fame, Hockey, Sports

The Hockey Hall of Fame Bias towards “Last time we won the cup was…”

The more I went through previous Hockey Hall of Fame admissions for a previous blog entry, the more I became aware of a pattern: the sheer number of inductees who played for a franchise’s last cup winner. Memory is an extraordinarily powerful force and it seems like the memory of a franchise’s “last great team” …

1974, 1997, Music

Percussion Music: Works by Varese, Colgrass, Saperstein, Cowell, Wuorinen (1974, 1997, Nonesuch) by the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble

This is a fine selection of modern “art music” attempts to break out of western traditions by making percussive music. Not really knowing a ton about any of the composers, save Varese, that’s tough for me to say, but it seems a fair sample.

Music

The album isn’t dead…and if it is, that’s not a good thing

I reject the claim that the album is dead since I own hundreds and I know many who also own hundreds. Moreover, I live near multiple stores that sell albums. I bought one for my brother the other day. I intend to go by some this week for myself, as well. But if it is …

2012, Movies

The Hunger Games (2012, Gary Ross)

So first, my general impressions: the film is pretty well-made, if a little long for its subject matter. I didn’t detect any glaring problems with the editing, direction, etc. The problem is, of course, the source material. As one would expect from a novel aimed at teens or tweens, there’s not much here for adults: …

1998, Music

Women in Jazz (1998, Retro Music) by Various Artists

The cheapie box set is an interesting phenomenon: Gather some recordings from major artists where the copyright has lapsed (or never existed), Put the recordings in any arbitrary order you choose, Use more discs than are necessary to convince the buyer they are getting a great bargain, Give it a catchy title.

2011, 2012, Economics, Politics, Society

The Conservative Majority: One Year Later (2011-12)

CBC had a very helpful little piece about what the Conservatives have and haven’t done in their first year. Here are my thoughts: What they have done so far:

2009, Movies

Capitalism: A Love Story (2009, Michael Moore)

Full disclosure: I don’t like Michael Moore. I agree with him on many, many things, but I absolutely can’t stand the way he manipulates his audience. I am a political philosophy major and so a lack of clarity of concepts makes me insane. So…

1987, Movies

Wings of Desire (1987, Wim Wenders)

I think that Wenders is perhaps the poor man’s Fassbinder. He clearly has many similar abilities: this film has some absolutely spectacular (and ballsy) shots in it, and has a pretty great sound design, both things Fassbinder was also extremely adept at. But where Fassbinder grabbed you with his very human dramas – despite his …

2004, Music

Contraband by Velvet Revolver (2004 RCA)

I remember the instant hipster derision when this came out. Specifically, I remember watching the lead single’s video, and a friend of mine – a hipster if memory serves – was nearly apoplectic when Slash stepped forward to play the solo. Apparently such a longstanding expression of “rock” authenticity was just totally uncool, at least at that …

1997, Music

Transmission by the Tea Party (1997 EMI)

It’s easy to rip on bands who rip off others. But when they rip off stuff you like, it’s significantly harder. I guess this sort of explains how the blogosphere etc can over-hype revivalist bands all the time when it might make no sense to the rest of us. If you like a genre enough, …

2002, Music

Steal this Album! by System of a Down (2002, American)

The internet is a funny thing. You’d think that people want to hear the music their favourite bands want to release, as opposed to things their favourite bands haven’t finished. But alas, that’s not how most people think. Most people just want, want, want.

1999, Music

Greatest Hits by Sublime (MCA 1999)

It’s impossible to judge a band by a compilation, especially something like a clearly arbitrary “greatest hits” comp, but even worse when the arbitrary comp is this short (it is unbelievably short). That being said, I will do it anyway.

1986, Music

The Queen is Dead (1986, Rough Trade) by the Smiths

I usually don’t have trouble liking rock I’m “supposed” to like. (I.e. the generally accepted rock canon.) I can’t say the same about pop I’m supposed to “like”. (Frankly, I just prefer inventiveness, grit, rhythm and other such things to melody, aesthetic angles to precision arrangements, appropriate to clean production and mixing, etc.) I usually …

1987, Movies

Wings of Desire by Wim Wenders (1987)

I think that Wenders is perhaps the poor man’s Fassbinder. He clearly has many similar abilities: this film has some absolutely spectacular (and ballsy) shots in it, and has a pretty great sound design, both things Fassbinder was also extremely adept at. But where Fassbinder grabbed you with his very human dramas – despite his …

2000, 2012, Music

L’amour de loin by the Canadian Opera Company

I’m pretty sure I forgot to tell you that we went to a performance of Tosca a few weeks ago. For me it was a real experience to see a Puccini, even one I didn’t know. I know reviewers felt like the leads were a little wooden but having only seen a couple operas in …

Movies, Personal

Crazy Italians: On the Cultural Disconnect Between Myself and Italian Cinema

Nearly a decade ago, when I was living in Australia, I went for a couple of organized tours of parts of the country I had never been too.  One such tour occurred in the southwestern corner of Western Australia, an area that is one of the most beautiful I have ever been to in my …

2012, Playoffs, Sports

The NBA still needs to adopt the CFL crossover rule in order to be fair

A quarter of the way through the season, it is already apparent, as it seems to be every season, that some decent western conference teams will be left out of the playoffs for yet another year.  Here are the standings of the top 20 teams by winning percentage:

Movies, Personal

Cineplex doesn’t want me seeing movies, that’s for sure

So yesterday the GF and I went to our first movie in a theatre since TIFF, and our first non-festival movie (together anyway) since last spring or thereabouts. We went to see Shame, a film we were both interested in seeing.