Wednesday

Last Comic Standing

King of the roasts and recent judge on Last Comic Standing, Greg Giraldo died earlier today following what is being described as an accidental overdose. Giraldo was a regular at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal and made a name for himself as one of top roasters on Comedy Central.

Is it too soon? Shortly after the announcement, fellow roaster Gilbert Gottfried released this tweet on his own Twitter feed "If Greg Giraldo is cremated, will that be the "Greg Giraldo Roast"?"

Saturday

How Do You Fix A Broken Pizza?

How Do You Fix A Broken Pizza? With tomato paste. Ba-dum-bum.
I am in search of a good pizza delivery. Because, really? Domino's? You suck. What the hell are you putting on your pizza? Is that cheese sauce? What the...? How the ...? It's absolutely vile.

In my old neighbourhood I had a few choices and one great pizza place. Anyone in Montreal, in and around the vicinity of where St.Laurent meets the Met, order from Pizza Roma. It's awesome. It's not a franchise. It's a good old fashioned pizza parlour.

After one year in my new place I am still searching. I've tried five restos so far and the results were disappointing. It only took two attempts before I found a good Chinese restaurant. One attempt, and I found my permanent Indian food supplier. Hamburgers? Well, I am five minutes from Harvey's, Burger King, McDonald's and Wendy's. I'm about fifteen minutes from the closest Dic Ann's.

The old neighbourhood was Little Italy. The new neighbourhood, towards the west side of the city is a little more, um, gentrified. More franchise oriented. But I have not given up. Nor will I. I have a couple more options before I even have to consider opening the phone book. I am willing to work at it. Every week if I have to. I am willing to deal with a few more stomach aches. I am willing to eat pizza week after week until I find that great pizza pie.

Pan Pizza
Delivery or Delicio?

Pizza the Hut
Pepperoni and green peppers  
Mushrooms olive, chives,  
Pepperoni and green peppers,  
Mushrooms olive, chives. 
-System of a Down 'Pizza Pie'

Friday

Word Experiment

Try this. Type a word. Any word really. It doesn't matter. Need help? Okay, type D-O-G. Now, delete the word. Press the back space button or however else you wish to delete it.

Where did the word go? Do not tell me it just disappeared. It had to go somewhere. Between you and I, there must be a repository somewhere on the internet for deleted words. The web is made up of terabytes and exabytes of data. I believe half of which is made up of deleted words.

Wednesday

Plant Turns a Page

The George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight premiere aired on Monday on the CBC with former Led Zeppelin (and Honeydrippers) lead singer Robert Plant. The show used to be called The Hour, but was reworked for the new season. I can understand the name change, Stroumboulopoulos may be a mouthful to say, but "Strombo" has built a big following, on TV and radio. Aside from Plant, the show had an interview with Canadian opposition leader Michael Ignatieff who stuck with the usual spin. The Liberal Party of Canada is in trouble with Ignatieff at the helm.

The Robert Plant interview was the highlight of the show. Plant spoke about his latest album "Band of Joy", named after his pre Zep group and of course, Led Zeppelin. The band announced their break up in 1980 shortly after drummer Jon Bonham's death. Plant was thirty-two years old at the time. The surviving band members, Jimmy Page, Plant and John Paul Jones decided the band could not go on without Bonham. Imagine stopping your career at the age of 32 years and starting over. I am not questioning the reasons for stopping. I was trying to imagine what I would have done if at the age of 32 I had decided to start a new career.
And then I realized, I did.

It was actually as a thirty-something that I decided to move on from the world of radio broadcasting and move into the world of the 9 to 5 job.
What a way to make a living.
  • No more 3 AM wake up calls.
  • No more eight cups of coffee a day.
  • No more going for a beer at 11AM. Or 8AM.

Working 9 to 5, is the world of responsibility. And it isn't 9 to 5. What a load of horse shit. Stupid song. I work 8AM to 6:00PM. In my radio days 30 hours was considered full time. I love the job I do today. I do miss the shorter schedule.


But back to George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight. I cannot understand why the CBC cut the show from one hour to 30 minutes this season. It's a terrific interview show and one of the freshest programs on TV. In August, the network announced the changes to the show, now in it's seventh season, and indicated the revamped shortened format was due to the  "changing tastes in late-night television". Sure. You can watch repeat episode on the CBC site. Or check out the YouTube channel.


Tuesday

NFL 2010 Preview

You may have read ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Pro Football Weekly, TSN and every other network's preview of the NFL season. But you didn't read The Onion 2010 NFL Team by Team Guide. My team, the Cowboys are 0-2. The Onion is bang on


The Onion's NFL Team-By-Team Guide is here.

Saturday

Music for Your Saturday Night - Four Chords

Maybe you have already seen this. Maybe not. Watch. It's self-explanatory. Music for Your Saturday Night - Four Chords.

Thursday

When All You Need Is a Punchline

Laugh
I got together with some friends the other day over coffee. My friend Peter told his son a joke. The joke was not funny. The punchline was. "They taste better when you get the poo out first."
It is one of those kickers that sticks in the mind. It got me thinking about other great punchlines.

A classic punchline is funny by itself, reminds you of a great joke, or is a classic for pure staying power. I wrote down the few that I could think of and listed them for you, all in alphabetical order. I know I am missing a lot. Help me out.

  • Because they taste funny
  • Chunks is my dog.
  • Do you have anything to stop this coffin?
  • He was looking for Pooh.
  • I don't even know her.
  • I was talking to the duck.
  • I'll have the soup.
  • No soap, radio.
  • No, I said grab the buoys.
  • No, I said she was fucking Goofy.
  • No, I told her she had acute angina
  • Orange you glad I didn't say banana?
  • That's not my finger.
  • That's what she said.
  • Then the doctor says, "OK, now it's my turn to cough!
  • To get to the other side.
  • We're the Aristocrats!
  • Wood eye!
  • You're Thor? My ath ith killing me.

Monday

Cat Fight

While lounging around my apartment the other day I witnessed one of the more bizarre events of recent days.
It was a nice day and the windows were wide open. I am high up and far enough from the street so the traffic doesn't disturb me. I hear the occasional truck or city bus, and of course every couple weeks an ambulance visits the building. No. It is not a dangerous neighbourhood and the building is quite safe. It's just that there are a few of elderly people in my building. The average age of the residents is about 30 more than my own.

There are no loud parties, nobody blasts their stereo late at night. Sometimes, during the day, if you walk through the hallways you might here Oprah or the Price is Right blasting from the residents' TV sets. It's a quiet place, no noise and no fights. Well, not usually any fights.

As I was sitting reading my book, I overheard raised voices coming from the parking lot down below. I ignored it a first, thinking it sounded like a daughter and mother arguing. The voices continued and the volume increased so I went out onto my balcony to take a look.
To my surprise two grey haired women in their late 60s, possibly early 70s were arguing and not quite wrestling, but each was trying to get into the back-seat of a parked car.

Things quieted down and did not seem that interesting so I went back in to my book.

A few minutes later, more yelling and sounds of "What gives you the right" and "Don't touch my stuff." over and over. I went to the balcony again just in time to see one of the ladies throwing clothes, books and CDs out the car door, while the other was trying to pick them up.

Almost simultaneously, just as I was considering calling security to inform them of a scrap brewing, one of the two combatants grabbed the other, they tussled, and one took a tumble and rolled over backwards. For an older woman, she was rather spry, as she leaped up quickly, and seemed ready to pounce. Just then though, the security guard made his appearance and calmed things down.

The first thought come to mind was Seinfeld's not quite facetious explanation to Elaine of why men like cat fights. As funny as his explanation is, and likely true, I like to think that Elaine's reaction is the reaction shared by all women worldwide.

This of course was not what I was thinking about at the time. As I mentioned, I considered notifying security. But after, and with time to ponder, images of Joan Collins and Linda Evans came to mind. Not to mention the infamous Wild Things film.
What's my point you ask? I have none. A bizarre incident and a reason to post a couple Seinfeld clips.
video

video

Sunday

Where Everyone Knows Your Name

When any of my friends ever said, let’s meet for coffee, nobody ever had to ask where. There has only been one place to go. Cafe Olimpico. For the last fifteen years or so, we’ve been going to the same coffee shop. This was the place to meet friends, read the paper, and hang out.

Over the years and depending on my schedule, I would go daily, weekly or monthly. Every time I went, I would see a familiar face or a friend.

The baristas know me. They know how I take my coffee.

At a certain point, I was going so often, I would not wait in line. I would not even order. I would walk in say hello and go sit down. Within a few minutes I would hear, ‘Shawn, your coffee is ready.’

If anyone ever did ask where we should go for coffee, it was met with chuckles, because there was only one place to go.

That is until this last weekend.
video
Please Excuse Jennifer Aniston's Overacting.

Slowly, one by one, my friends and extended friends are moving away from the old neighbourhood. They are spreading out in different directions on and off the island.

Last weekend, rather than just showing up at the coffee shop to meet a few of my closest friends, we had to make plans. A few text messages and a phone call or two were exchanged.

‘Coffee Saturday?’
‘OK. 9:30? Where?’
‘9:30. Premiere Moisson?’
‘OK.’

With all the Starbucks, Tim Horton’s and Second Cups in this city, and the rare cup of instant coffee, I am not a coffee snob. But I do know how I like my coffee. You can become adjusted to different surroundings, but you also have to adjust to a different taste of coffee. How do you tell the barista how to make your café latte when all they do is press a button?

It goes beyond a comfortable chair and a good cafe latte. We keep hearing talk of social networks, what about social capital? How much is it worth? I started thinking about this as more than changing coffee shops. It's an upheaval to a new neighbourhood, new surrounding, restaurants, new neighbours and potentially new friends.

I will save the sociological theories and analysis for another time. I realized the best way to discover the new neighbourhood was to walk around the area. Next I tried a search on Google maps.You may be surprised what you can find on Google.
If you have never tried it before, punch in your Postal or Zip code into Google Maps. Click on Search Nearby, and type in your desired search item, be it coffee shop or grocery store.

While I have discovered new restaurants and shops, I haven't found the new hangout yet. I do not know if I ever will. Not everything can be replaced. I will keep looking for that new home away from home.

Wednesday

5771

5771 already? Where do the years go? I could swear we were just talking about the brand new decade in 5760. Time flies.
I mean, was it really in 5759 that Seinfeld was taken off the air? It doesn't feel like twelve years ago.

Could it be in 5762 that Barry Bonds hit 73 homeruns? 

Kurt Cobain tragically left us sixteen years ago in 5755. No. Really?

Twenty-seven years ago, in 5744, that MASH ended its run on prime time TV?

These were the top ten singles from 5761.


1
Breathe
Faith Hill
2
Smooth
Santana featuring Rob Thomas
3
Maria Maria
Santana featuring The Product G&B
4
I Wanna Know
Joe
5
Everything You Want
Vertical Horizon
6
Say My Name
Destiny's Child
7
I Knew I Loved You
Savage Garden (tie)
8
Amazed
Lonestar
9
Bent
Matchbox Twenty
10
He Wasn't Man Enough
Toni Braxton

Happy New Year.




Tuesday

Please Do Not Adjust Your Sets

A change is coming to this blog. Nothing drastic. With the ever increasing number of hits I thought it time to register my domain name. It was a simple process and the site stubbornfool.blogspot.com will now be known as www.stubbornfool.com.
The transition should be seamless for you the reader, you will be redirected to the new site. I may have to update a widget or two, I've already noticed a couple errors. Updates are going on over the next day or so. You will be automatically transferred over to the new site once the transfer is complete.
You are welcome to update your links to www.stubbornfool.com.

Interesting enough, I was able to register the domain name through blogger. Blogger allows me to keep the same template. I should have more flexibility with the layout. stubbornfool.blogspot.com will remain but will automatically forward you to www.stubbornfool.com.
Stubborn Fool

Sunday

The End is Near

The other day I caught a rather ominous looking television commercial. A distinguished politician type actor is sitting behind his desk, addressing the public. He tells his viewing audience that the end is near.

In it's thirty second run there is no indication who is paying for this advertisement. With a fade to black and in big yellow letter, it claims "The End Is Near".
I couldn't find the English version online, so here is an artist's rendition of what it would like in English.
My first thought is that the province of Quebec's separatist opposition party was rolling out their ads for an early political campaign.
I did a quick bit of research. My first rationalization was not correct. It is the local cable company that is getting ready for war. The end of the world as you know it. Videotron is launching their very own 3G network. Until now, Videotron was content to piggyback off one of the established cellular providers. After all,  every communication company tries to include as many options to offer their customers their bundles. Offer lower prices, and entice customers to get all their services from one provider.

I paid a visit to their site and was shocked to see the following.

All services are suspended? No further explanation? What would you do if your telephone provider told you I am sorry but  your service has been suspended for the next few days, weeks, or months? No more cell phone.

Offhand, I do not know anyone who uses their wireless services. But I would guess that Videotron has made a lot of people angry. Just like any other mega corporation the attitude of, lose a couple clients, gain a couple clients, holds fast.
No big deal. Videotron will, in theory, be able to offer better service on their own cellular network. In the mean time Videotron wireless subscribers? Screw you.

**Update
My original post was published on September 5th. Today, the 9th, Videotron officially launched their wireless network. Coverage exists in the Montreal - Quebec City corridor with plans to extend to the Eastern Townships next month. Videotron is not offering iPhone support as their bandwidth cannot support it. Blackberry is available. 

Furniture on the Mend and other Broken Things

If you consider that my attention span for anything other than work or TV is quite limited, you would be impressed with how much I accomplished this morning.

I moved into my condo just over a year ago. I finally finished unpacking in June.
For the first time ever I hired someone to do the painting for me. I wanted the job done right and I did not have the time to spare. Also, I did not have many favours left to call upon.

Moving forward to today, as a home-owner, aside from the usual upkeep, there are many things that I would like to change and improve upon. Where to start?

I made a list.

Holy crap! It's a long list.

I started off today trying to find a hardware store in my neighbourhood. That was a challenge in itself. The three that I knew of, all closed in the last few years. Okay, I located a paint store.

Next, I went out to the store and replaced all the painting supplies that I gave away before I moved. I did not think I would need a roller and pan, TSP or drop cloth so soon.

And on down the list I went. Well, I bought groceries. And that's about as far down the list I went. But upon my return I spent 90 minutes scraping the concrete surrounding wall of my balcony. And then cleaned up afterwards. It's always a bigger job than I anticipate. The painting will fall to another day.
No, I'm not procrastinating. I have to write my something for blog. That was also on the list.

Some of the other items on my list:
-Construct a bar. It's a project I started but I need to find specific parts to complete. I am building a bar in a closet. To save the time of measuring and cutting, I took an old bookcase frame and bolted it to the interior wall. I need to reinforce the shelving, add a mirror, a door and a curtain. And buy some alcohol.

-Purchasing and installing light fixtures. It gets dark here. At night. I am not replacing the lighting I have but adding where there is none. I'll try not to cause any explosions this time. I want to string lights so I will likely call an electrician. I am not ready to run wires through my ceiling by myself.

-Reupholster and refinish two of my chairs. I know how to do it. In theory. Again, I will just hire someone. If I attack this task I will likely underestimate the time it will take to complete. And the wood on the chairs has a lacquer finish to it. I am accident prone and will likely burn wholes in everything in my attempt to remove the old finish.

-Replace my computer desk. My office / computer desk was purchased at the same time as my Apple II+. Yes, that long ago.

-Purchase and hang art work. I was offered an old Tintin print. It would match the colours in my place. But, I said no. Perhaps I will regret this decision once the Spielberg directed film hits the big screen in December 2011. My walls are bare and I need to add something to liven up the place. I also need some suggestions. That's the problem with not having a woman in my life. No decorating advice.
Yeah, that's the problem of not having a girlfriend. I miss the art conversations. I miss getting arted.

I have three weeks of vacation left this year. I think the only travelling that I will do is to the hardware store.

Thursday

A Penny For your Thoughts, and for Gasoline

I hate beggars. Don't get me wrong. I hate the fact people have to beg. I hate that begging is the only way for some people to survive. I help when I can. Sometimes I am not in the mood.

Coming home from work every night I tend to avoid the highways. I take a major east-west running artery that cuts along the south end of the Island of Montreal. It runs four lanes in either direction with a speed limit of 70 kilometres per hour.
To the south-east are all the refineries. Further west you will see the Montreal port. Not the Old Port but the industrial section of the docks.
The roadway continues on westward, cutting into downtown Montreal, bisecting it from Old Montreal. This border, leading into the downtown quarter is marked by the hulking Jacques Cartier Bridge. Under the shadow of the bridge, on Ile Sainte-Helene, the La Ronde Ferris Wheel is visible.

As this is a large boulevard, a number of streets intersect along it length. The larger of these intersections are controlled by traffic lights, each light about a half a kilometre apart.

Every day last summer as I drove home from work, I would see the same hipster-doofus dancing on the street corner with his guitar. Everyday I had to watch this mohawked jackass shake his ass in some idiotic version of a rockabilly Elvis move.


Every week during the summer more and more of his faux-punk friends gathered at this one particular intersection begging for cash.

I hate the people who dance in the middle of the street for sympathy change.

With the volume of cars driving up and down the strip, the road has become a hotspot for beggars over the last year. Up and down the row, at almost every light there are homeless, semi-homeless and unemployed asking for money.

I hate the 20-something year olds who do this for a career.

I hate the dishonest beggars who come up with lame stories.

“My truck is over there and I have no gas money.”
What about a cell phone? None? We still have payphones in the city. You must have at least 50 cents to call someone?! Hmm? No. Okay, here is fifty cents, now get off the street and stop lying. And by the way idiot, if you are going to try to pull that same, ‘my truck broke down and I need gas money’, don’t try to pull it off at the same place three times in two weeks.

Serious. He tried it at the exact same corner.

And buddy, by the way, if you do change your story, and insist on begging at the same corner three weeks in a row, don’t change ‘my truck broke down and I need gas money’ to ‘my truck broke down and I need to get it out of the garage’.