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July 27th , 2015

Je voudrais Montreal

Part One: America, meh

Sean Hannity's profession is to scare old people with his verbal diarrhea about liberals. That's a given. I've always cringed every time I heard him mutter "America is the single greatest nation that God ever gave man on this earth." Blech. Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel and I'm guessing Sean has never traveled farther than two blocks from his Manhattan apartment. He sure as shit hasn't been to Montreal, because otherwise even his smarmy lying ass would have a hard time uttering that completely already bullshit phrase.

Canada is clean and polite and crime free. It's like Canadians are all Disneyland employees being monitored at all times. They also have universal health care, so get in line 'Murica. We ain't such hot shit. Celebrities are constantly getting in 'trouble' for saying that if so and so gets elected, they're leaving the country. Well I'll tell you right this second, if Donald Trump or Ted Cruz or literally any of the other half wits that the GOP is trotting out to be our next President somehow gets elected, I will make every effort to emigrate to Montreal. For reals.

Part two: bon jour!

Everything in Quebec is in French. Exclusively. The rest of Cananada goes through great pains to print things in English AND French, but not Quebec. It's French or nothing. Most restaurants will have an English menu and everyone knows at least enough English to get by, but make no mistake that you're going to need at least a little French to get on in Quebecois.

I speak zero French, but a week in Montreal was a crash course that I had a great time with. I still can't speak a lick outside of please, thank you, hello and goodbye, but I can breeze through a credit card reader to pay for a meal without an interpreter. And of course I assumed that even though everyone is still Canadian, the Frenchiness of it all would make everyone at least a little dickish, but they are right: love wins. Or politeness does anyway, because as stated above, everyone in Canada is a big ol' sweetheart.

Part three: Know your Canadians!

One day during our trip we decided to ask people to name famous Canadians. There are many. Michael J. Fox. Alex Trebeck. Wayne Gretzky. Mike Meyers. We were very unscientific and inconsistent in both how we asked this question and how we tallied results, but I'm pretty sure the most named Canadian was Celine Dion, followed by Justin Bieber. So not that great, eh? Maybe they can get Rush to revoke their citizenship with the power of rock.

Celine Dion aside, I can't wait to go back to Montreal. And 100% would consider moving there. Go ahead America, call my bluff.

Posted 4:37pm
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July 14th , 2015

Civil discourse and disobedience

I've written my share of strongly worded letters. I've probably written your share too, as I don't think enough people write strongly worded letters and I have a penchant for it. I'm not always great at keeping a civil tongue (especially when I was younger) but in the old days (before rampant anonymous internet message boards) you'd call someone on their shit, and a lot of times, they'd get back to you. So I may have used my fair share of colorful dialogue, but at least there was a back and forth and a respect and understanding. At least more than you'll find on facebook.

But there's little point in writing about how the internet poisons our collective conversation. It of course emboldens it as much as it degrades it. Truthfully, the above words are just half-hearted filler to justify showing you what Tom Petty and Eugene Mirman did recently. Please use these examples of civil discourse and disobedience to guide you in fighting the good fight and becoming a more aware human being and member of the collective. It's really all there is.

Posted 2:29pm
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July 9th , 2015

Happy Birthday Moesy-Woesy

My dad would have been 77 today. I've been thinking about my old man a lot lately - all of the things he had to do and the tiny amount of resources with which he had to do them. It's reassuring because he made it work so I should be able to as well.

It also makes me sad because I wish he wouldn't have had to work so hard. It makes me feel guilty for the bitching and moaning that I do (even though my propensity to be gruff and silent and mutter to myself is something else I learned from him). Then it makes me cry because my dad believed in me.

He would never use those words. But he said he didn't have to worry about me, which is akin to the same thing for someone who grew up in the 50s. With all apologies to everyone in my life whose opinions I cherish, his was the one that mattered most.

So when I'm pissed off or depressed and I don't know what to do, I think about my dad and what he would have done. And then I remember that he would have thought that I could handle things, so I must be able to. Thanks for that MoeMan. And Happy Birthday.

Posted 4:15pm
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July 8th , 2015

Music Word Ladder

The other night the BDGF and I played a game where one person picked a song from my vast iTunes library and then the other person had to pick the next song in the queue based on the previous song. The idea was to get inspired by the lyrics or melody or guitar line or what have you of what was playing and then see where that takes us. We called in Music Word Ladder, probably because we were tipsy and concentrating on what to play next rather than coming up with a clever name for the game. Anyway, for the curious and posterity, here's our trip down the rabbit hole*:

T Koop Waltz for Koop
BDGF Ben Folds Kalamazoo
T King Tuff Black Moon Spell
BDGF Metric Black Sheep
T Digable Planets Rebirth of Slick
BDGF Flight of the Conchords The Rhymenocerous
T Ben Folds Bitches Ain't Shit
BDGF The Hold Steady Stevie Nix
T The Who The Seeker
BDGF Led Zeppelin Gallows Pole
T The Jayhawks Ten Little Kids
BDGF Jack White Just One Drink
T Stevie Ray Vaughn Pride and Joy
BDGF Tom Petty The Waiting
T Elvis Costello Veronica
BDGF The Beatles We Can Work it Out
T Ted Leo Tell Balgeary Balgury is Dead

I especially liked going from "Stevie Nix" to "The Seeker". I tried to make a spotify playlist to make this easier to listen to in order, but I only got to song #4 before spotify let me down. Music streaming is nice for you kids and all, but it never fails to meet my expectations.

*Did you know that Lewis Carrol invented Word Ladders? That's TWO Lewis Carrol references in ONE paragraph!

Posted 10:46am
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July 1st , 2015

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment

- Everything is totally gay now and it is awesome! That's not innocuous but the fact that I had no ignorant hate speech come through on any of my social media outlets (outside of people posting it to mock it) kind of is. Seriously though, just thinking about it still makes me giddy. Turns out Churchill was right: "You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else."

- This Week in Indie Rock: Stream the new record from Cloud Nothings/Wavves, Belle and Sebastian on Seth Meyers, and more from Courtney Barnett.

- At the movies: James Bond drinks!: The Infographic, Great movie posters. We've also reached the halfway point in our 365 movies in 365 days experiment, and we are still ahead of schedule. Movie #192 was Peter Jackson's Meet the Feebles. It's hard to believe that I hadn't seen a movie about puppets so vulgar that they make the ones from Avenue Q look like teetotalers, and even harder to believe I hated it. I suppose if you are going to watch 365 movies you've never seen before, they can't all be winners.

- Thrillist's quest to turn everything into a list ranks every state in America. You'd think I wrote it based solely on the placement of Michigan and Ohio.

- Finally, you know how the moment you pay off your car someone inevitably rear ends you, or you run over a pot hole and need a new axle? I was two paychecks from being out of debt for the first time in my life, and then my son smashed out the rear window of the van. Then it rained so hard that we had to have a plumber come snake our drain. The real kicker though was that we have to replace our roof. Getting almost out of debt only to have the door slammed in your face is neither innocuous nor happy, but being able to stick your foot in before it closes and knowing that it's no big deal and everything is going to be just fine is. Still though...


Posted 4:27pm
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