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Friday, December 31, 2004

Frosty Returns
Snoop Dogg was just on Conan, charming the white folk. Right before Felicity. Palling around with the future king of Middle America. Giving props to his housekeeper. Discussing his profound influence on the English language. Making funny. And shit.

And yet, dude is such an asshole.

Yeah, yeah. Well-trampled terrain. But still. Snoop is on some whole other level of Beloved Asshole. He's way beyond on ODB's Lovable Outlaw. This is a whole other category. Because his madvillainy is like some family secret.

Comparisons escape.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Family Feud
Some new additions to the Blogroll to ring in the new year - future voters in the 2005 PopWherry Poll all of them: J.D. Considine, Buddhaful Creations, Basement Galaxy, Chris Iorfida, Greg Clow, Lovecstasycrime, Ghetto Postage and Autonomic for the People.
Rare Footage
The NYT's Kelefa Sanneh with kudos for the Stars' Set Yourself On Fire.

And Hayden talks to The Age about his second coming.
Beavis
Ben Rayner and Vit Wagner offer their respective year-enders. Ours appears in Thursday's National Post - the case for Let It Die as the greatest 2004 had to offer. Apologies ahead of time for our mistakenly attributing Inside Out to Abba. That gem, of course, is the work of the Bee Gees.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Day-To-Day
Spent the day and night in Auburn Hills, where everything sparkles, watching V.C. hurt himself (again).

While we took a few off hours to visit ye olde suburban megauberduperplex (what the kids call "the mall"), For the Records and Foxymoron were figuring out how you can help those affected by the recent rotation-disrupting earthquake.

Also: Were we the last to notice that J.D. Considine has a blog?

Monday, December 27, 2004

Weekend Reading
So full of turkey. So full of sloth. A little light reading before a nice long nap.

NYT Year in Review: U2's Old-Fashioned Idea, College Dropout Made Good, $50 Million for 50 Cent, iHot, Killing the Video Stars and the Deepest Jazz Grooves
The London Free Press' Forest City Top Ten
The Socialist!Jewish!Truce-Declaring! history of O Holy Night

(Rest assured we did not spend Christmas in anything resembling a Ramada Inn. Your notes of concern were appreciated though. As was this shout out, Mr. Berman. Stay classy y'all.)

Friday, December 24, 2004

Hold Steady
Leslie Feist and Buck 65 engaged?


(Merry Christmas Eve from the Ramada Inn of South London - where the PopWherry staff has been stranded for the past two days thanks to what the Detroit news is helpfully calling a "Winter Wallop.")

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Chaos Theory
Consider this, from Amanda Newman, in the "Are The Stars The Greatest Thing To Ever Happen To Recorded Sound Ever?" debate. How many other groups of travelling musicians can claim to have created real, or potential, love where previously there was none?

Yesterday while I was working at the store a woman came up to the counter with every single Stars CD.  She said she had seen them the night before at the MOD Club with a friend and that was her first time seeing them and fell in love with the band, she asked me which of their albums I would recomend, and I suggested their latest "Set Yourself On Fire"  She said thank you and walked away to think about it.  My next customer was a nice looking gentleman who also asked me about the band and I gave him a run down of the soft revolution, and he seemed pleased and told me he was going to buy it for the woman who had just been at the counter.  I then assumed it was his girlfriend and stopped all flirting immediately.  He purchased the CD walked up to her, introduced himself, said Merry Christmas, gave her the CD and left.  She got his name, but nothing else, he didn't even ask for her number.  The woman stated she was having a terrible day, and he totally made it better.
 
But the story doesn't stop there my friends, the man whose name happens to be Barry came in a couple of hours later to make a couple more purchases I asked him why he didn't ask for her number as there was obviously an attraction and said it would have been too contrived, and if it was meant to be, it was meant to be.  Apparently this man watches too many movies.  And that was it, everything else was left to fate.
 
And just when you thought it was over, today while shopping in the Annex I stopped into work and my co-worker said that the woman whose name is Marika stopped in and left a card for Barry and just as he held up the card, low and behold Barry arrives.  I handed him the card, called him a lucky bastard and suggested he pick up a copy of the record, and then left.  i'm seriously thinking about starting some sort of blog or newsletter about the romance of Barry and Marika and how if she had not fallen in love with Stars she may have never met Barry.  Oh how music can affect the heart so deeply and what a perfect record for such a perfect moment.  I hope everyone has a happy holiday and runs out and buys the record in search of serendipity.
 
Merry Holiday!
Amanda

Monday, December 20, 2004

Weekend Reading
Rather quiet. Except for Zoilus.

Carl Wilson on The Klosterman Syndrome (and Christmas Carols)
Ben Rayner on the proposed CanRock Hall of Fame
The Guardian's Best of 2004 and the Year in Music
The New York Times on box sets
Jin: Race and Rhymes
Kanye West: Beats from the heart
Franz Ferdinand: How to seduce America
Pupils recruited to sell boy bands
Campaign of deception used to push patriotic song
Bowling For Music
To be sure, this is not the least bit scientific. And off the top of our sleepy heads we can name you half a dozen records which escaped mention. But still.

Below you will find the result of the first ever PopWherry Canadian Music Bloggers Year End Poll Thingy. Various online journallers (though surely some great ones were left out) were asked to submit their top five Canadian records of the 2004 calendar year. Points were awarded on a 11-8-6-4-2 system. Results were tabulated by us and our high school mathematics. First place votes are in parentheses. Drop us an e-mail with reports of any Ukraine-like voting irregularities.

The top results probably won't astound. But people love lists. So here ya go. Voters and non-voters: Use the opportunity to debate, justify your selections, tell us more about some of the lesser knowns for which you voted (we, for one, want to hear more about City Field) or plug the hidden gems we forgot.

1. Arcade Fire - Funeral - 108pts (7)
2. Feist - Let It Die - 52pts (2)
3. Stars - Set Yourself On Fire - 39pts (1)
4. Junior Boys - Last Exit - 32pts
5. k-os - Joyful Rebellion - 30pts
6. Death From Above 1979 - You're A Woman... - 25pts (1)
7. AC Newman - Slow Wonder - 20pts
8. Hidden Cameras - Mississauga Goddam - 12pts
9. Detroyer - Your Blues - 11pts (1)
9. The Marble Index - The Marble Index - 11pts (1)
9. controller.controller - History EP - 11pts (1)
9. Mike Clark - Darker Machines - 11pts (1)
13. Wolf Parade - EP - 10pts
14. In-Flight Safety - Vacation Land - 8pts
14. The Sadies - Favourite Colours - 8pts
14. The Organ - Grab Your Gun - 8pts
14. Sarah Hamer - All Of Our Names - 8pts
14. Lorrie Matheson - A Dime At A Time - 8pts
19. Royal City - Little Heart's Ease - 6pts
19. Tegan & Sara - So Jealous - 6pts
19. Telepathic Butterflies - Songs From A Second Wave - 6pts
19. Les Mouches - You Mean More... - 6pts
19. Bedouin Soundclash - Sounding A Mosaic - 6pts
24. Leonard Cohen - Dear Heather - 4pts
24. Daydream Nation - Bella Vendetta - 4pts
26. Broken Social Scene - Beehives - 2pts
26. Frog Eyes - Ego Scriptor - 2pts
26. The Dears - Thank You Good Night - 2pts
26. Raising The Fawn - The North Sea - 2pts
26. City Field - City Authentic - 2pts
26. Sarah Slean - Day One - 2pts
26. Sixtoo - Chewing On Glass - 2pts
26. Julie Doiron - Goodnight Nobody - 2pts
26. Apostle of Hustle - Folkloric Feel - 2pts

Voters in no specific order: Foxymoron, Chromewaves, For The Records, Hero Hill, Music Emissions, Rock & Roll Report, Rock N Roll Nigga, The Tear That Hangs, Toronto 10:51am, Zoilus, Shot, Optimus Crime, Buddaful Creations, Basement Galaxy and us, of course.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Crotch
At some point in tonight's Stars show, Torq spoke lovingly of drunken 14 year olds - and so we came to conclude that the Stars make music for highly literate, but drunken, 14 year olds. It's a theory we're working on. (Scene I: Billy Talent Ben, Kevin Drew, Foxy, Shotty and Maggie.)

We're quite fond of all on stage. But we can't help thinking that they're still just a little more self-immolation away from a true knee-weakening masterwork. And that is, it should be noted, a reason for great hope - a glimmer of which seemed to show itself right there at the end. Maybe.

Afterwards, a little festivus courtesy of these kids. (Scene II*: Evan Cranley's Ageless Booty, k-os, Feist, Torq dressed to close some loans, Gentleman Reg with a balloon he recovered from near the bathroom, Brendan Canning and his beard, Stuart Berman staying classy, the girl from that commercial (again), Jason Collett, Andrew Whiteman, the Death from Above 1979 guy who's not dating Kelly Osbourne, and, later, Amy Milan struggling with an ATM.)

*with files from S. Liss.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Kicks Out In
This has been collecting computer-simulated dust in our inbox for a bit. And since we don't think we've yet noticed it anywhere else...

Here is Part IV of a rather massive V part series on "Bob Dylan's Unshakeable Monotheism" from Jewsweek. Apparently this (the series... well and Dylan's unshakeable monotheism) has been going on for some time. Parts I, II and III are here, here and here respectively - the first installment apparently seeing print in Oct. 2003.

Get reading. There'll be a quiz.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Soon enough
We didn't take much time to express our fondness for her in 2004, so one of our New Year's resolutions, if we bothered with such things, would be to more openly celebrate Emma Bunton (that's our link of the year, by the way). We're gonna go ahead and call it right now. Two-thousand and cinq will be the Year of The Artist Formely Known As Baby Spice. (Like the Year of the Rat, only naughtier.)

As a prelude to this... the wonderfully terrible video for the rather awful remix of Free Me can be found here.

See also: She's not Baby Spice anymore

P.S. You'll need an e-mail address and password to make any use of that first link. Use "popwherry@popwherry.com" and "popwherry." Sneaky, huh? Go there. Now.
Copiers
So let's get this out in the open. Did loyal friends of PopWherry, Liss and Tab, mean to start their separate Stars profiles the exact... same... way?

Tab in Eye: You say you want a revolution? Don't get Torquil Campbell started.

Liss in NOW: You say you want a revolution? Yeah, yeah. We all want to change the world. And if you're gonna start talking about destruction, well, er, you can count Stars in.

Freaky. Somebody's got some splaining to do.

In related news, Mary Dickie profiles the beloved Stars here for the Sun. And we'll be at their Saturday show. See you there?

Update I... 2:15am EST...
Oh. And Lorraine Carpenter in Chart too.
Vaguely Relevant
The Strokes' Is This It just went Platinum (100,000 units shipped) in Canada.
Kicking Ass
We've been sick and miserable and full of self-hate lately. How sick and miserable and full of self-hate, you ask? Well, so sick and miserable and full of self-hate that we've only been able to croak but the slightest of greetings to the Rock N Roll Nigga despite the fact he works not 50 feet from where we sit and currently write. We shall move to correct this soon enough (and for those who took part in our first-ever Year-End Canadian Bloggers Poll... we'll have those results soon enough).

But, ladies and gentlemen, over the last few days we have known great discomfort and whining. We have seen the common cold and the unruly mess it can make of a soft, weak-willed kid of privilege. It is now a time to heal. To make ammends. To be honest. And so, we have a confession to make: Simply put, we think we might sorta like John Mayer.

No, seriously. Sure, his music is still beyond help - patronizing and arrogant. But his column in Esquire is periodically entertaining. His appearance on Chappelle's Show was rather humorous (he even got to jam with ?uestlove). Jay-Z loves him. Kanye's collaborating with him. He's raising money for homeless New Yorkers with AIDS (though making clumsy statements about being gay in the process). And now he's got his own TV show (which we haven't seen, but which we imagine is probably mildly humourous).

And just as we were considering all this, he gets a shout out from Miccio (who is, as the site says, "right").

The evidence is beginning to mount.

But oh the guilt. Oh the fear that we will be shunned by our peers. Tarred, feathered and shamed as unworthy of breath.

Still. It could be worse. We could pass our days listening to this. Or this.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Diss
Jody Rosen sticks up for Gwen Stefani on Slate.
An Escape From Them
Salon's Thomas Bartlett considers the year in music here. (And over here he's got a blog.)

There's always so much to quibble with over these pieces. So we'll refrain. Sort of.

His contention that pop music avoided the political (with the exception of Eminem's Mosh) seems a bit odd. Or maybe Green Day's Grammy nominations are still ringing in our ears. Or maybe we've just been listening to Rufus Wainwright's new disc too much tonight. Or maybe we just spent the year with the wrong music.

In any event, Bartlett describes the year in music as conservative. When we have our say (whenever the fever subsides), we'll probably go with tiring.

Everything this year - or at least everything we otherwise enjoyed this year - seemed to come with baggage - political, ironic and otherwise. And we're pooped. Which is probably why we keep thinking back to this.
Agnus Dei
PopWherry's crack research team (thanks Tab) digs up the Toronto Star's review of the latest from Riviera Regime (see below). Make of it what you will.

RIVIERA REGIME
Thugz Of War (landmine-entertainment.com)
When you hear the term gangsta rap, it's mostly just a lot of talk. But as
the title track suggests, MCs Klee Magor and Benny Brahmz rap for real about
how they met up in the Israeli military and actually know the business end
of AK-47s and M-16s. They sound like the Sopranos of Jane-Finch with
profanity-laced tracks like "Don't F--- Wit Us" and "Dat Murder Sh--," which
includes an extremely violent video on their website, in which they appear
to be chopping up some poor dude in a bathtub who dared to mess with them.
It's all jokes for the 40s, blunts and ho's crowd.

Monday, December 13, 2004

It's Not Safe To Be Naked
A little late getting to this, but reports from the Star and Sun concerning the fatal stabbing of a Seneca College student over the weekend at what eye's listings tell us was the Riviera Regime CD release featuring Daniel, Code Blue Crew, Vicoking, Top Prospects and Reggalatorz Sound Crew.

Google only otherwise finds Riviera Regime protesting weapons in space.

Those who know better are welcome to enlighten us.

Update I... 12:04am EST...
Over at the relatively new eye blog, Stuart B. quite rightly makes the connection between this and the death of Dimebag. To wit:

Like celebrity deaths, these sorts of isolated, random incidents have a tendency to happen in groups, creating the illusion of a trend (you can picture the Toronto Sun headline: Club killers! Are your children safe?) and prompting calls for more extreme security measures/regulations.

A weekend of stabbings in Toronto? The illusion of a trend? You don't say. And what about when kids with knives meet the dangerous holiday party season?

Somewhere in anonymity, Tipper Gore is nodding in agreement. No one loved a good 'scary youth trend' more than the former second lady.

Her cause was rock music - of the sort Dimebag and Pantera used to play. And she would certainly hold Dimebag's death as proof that heavy metal is a corrosive influence on the impressionable mind (though nearly twenty years after the famous witch hunt, wouldn't this incident also prove the ineffectiveness of her central contribution to the fight - the Tipper Sticker?)

From beyond the gave, Dimebag would probably beg to differ. Because completely absent of any 'trend,' his death offers the far more dangerous and frightening of possibilities - the completely random, nearly impossible to prevent, act of a lone nut job.

For the first time in the history of rational thought, we defer to someone in the music industry:

"I don't think you can let the actions of one lunatic affect the industry as a whole," said O'Toole, who manages The Stone Pony, famed as Bruce Springsteen's stomping ground in Asbury Park, N.J. "You can't let the nuts win." (emphasis ours, obviously)

(That, of course, being deliciously ironic because it's essentially the same argument presented at times of great warning by the Bush administration about ensuring those other nut jobs don't win.)
Dead Sexy
Avril's teen sex skit from MadTV here (rather large file on account of the terrible Chewbacca impersonator).

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Weekend Reading
Best of 2004 picks from The UK Times and Boston Globe
Ten Best Gigs/Deaths from The Guardian
Best of Classical 2004 from The NY Times and Boston Globe
Jake Shears (Scissor Sisters) on his year in music
Garry Mulholland on Britain's Year in Music
Sean O'Hagan on Bob Dylan
John Peel on death metal
Jason Anderson on Death from Above 1979
Carl Wilson on digital music
Martin Longley on The Bad Plus
Alexandra Gill on Vancouver's Middle English rapper
Brad Wheeler on holiday music
Lloyd Sachs on jazz box sets
Six decades of Number One
Nellie McKay: Doris Day Avec Attitude
Bloc Party: Next Year's Franz Ferdinand
Devendra Banhart: Freak Folk's Pied Piper
Steven Duffy: Reinventing Robbie Williams
Faithless: In a Tokyo typhoon
Throbbing Gristle: Reunited
CanRock 101 with Prof. Bidini
CanRock Hall of Fame to Winnipeg?

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Return Of The Mac
So. We're in London (Ontario). And... uh... that's it.

Things here are rainy and cold. The university kids are getting drunk. The Junior A hockey team keeps winning/tying. All is right with this end of the world.

Can anyone out there speak to what's going on in the local music scene? Is there anything (beside the House of Miracles) that we should know about? Is there any reason we should stay here for Saturday night? Actually, come to think of it, what was the last decent band to come from the Forest City?

Anybody?

If nothing else it was nice to be back within range of CHRW for an afternoon. Those kids do good things. And sound awkward and adorable in the process. Cheers.

Update I... 12:57am EST...
Well fuck. Death from Above 1979 was at Call the Office tonight. Shiiiit.

Update II... 1:00am EST...
Hey. London has its own music awards now. How bout that.

Thursday, December 9, 2004

Converge
Maybe it's the fault of this fever we're currently trying to drown in various fruit juices, but we'd swear we, like, just heard Feist's Let It Die on The O.C. Could this be the coolest thing to ever happen? Ever?

Vaguely related:
O.C. to feature H.L.A.
Singer/songwriter guy recommends Feist for little sisters
RIP Dimebag
Former Pantera guitarist shot and killed on stage

Update I... 9:18pm EST...
No one mourns quite like the men of heavy metal mourn.

"A sad fucking day for sure, some miserable 20 something fuck killed a legend. A man who inspired so many to rip and thrash. Pantera was and still is my favorite group and Dimebag was the one who inspired me the pick up the axe, the bottle and the joint and just fucking RIP!... To the dumb fuck who did this I hope you rot in hell you miserable scumbag!"
-Doug Sabolick, A Life Once Lost

"I think it's insane and scary and most of all sad that this had to happen. How lame. Hearing about this sort of stuff pretty much pisses me off!"
-Cory Brandon, Norma Jean

"There are a lot of counterfactuals involved in senseless deaths like that of Dimebags. What if it had been one of our shows? What if there are more people than we know capable of such atrocities? What if it had been me? But these 'what-ifs' only come about after a period of reflection. The more sincere questions are the most immediate. Mine was this: 'Why did Pantera break up in the first place?'"
-Keith Buckley, Every Time I Die

"I'm speechless. This is totally unreal. Dimebag is a f---ing legend and this is total bullsh--."
-former Rob Zombie/ Ozzy Osbourne bassist Rob Blasko Nicholson

News and reaction from MTV.com here, here, here and here.

(P.S. Above quotes are not posted to mock.)

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Yeeaaaaahhh??? Nooooooo!!!
We haven't yet formed an opinion of the Yay or Nay variety on Crunk. But we're getting a kick out of the backlash — as mentioned by Carl and furthered in the Village Voice.
Finding. Meaning.
Yesterday we were talking with one of you about ethics in arts/entertainment journalism. Right on cue today we got a package from the Comedy Network promoting one of their imported shows — complete with t-shirt, coffee mug, shot glass and two tiny bottles of booze. Needless to say we're now very drunk.

Anyway. We imagine that you, like us, woke up this morning, wondering: "But what do these Grammy nominations mean?" Well don't you worry your pretty little head, answers are aplenty:

The Star: "The erstwhile conservative body appears to have yielded to contemporary urban music."
The Globe: "Hip-hop was less dominant over all compared with last year and West's spiritually tinged album bucked hip-hop trends and the rap orthodoxy as much as it embraced them."
Canadian Press: "Canadian talent isn't as strong in R&B and hip hop, arguably the hottest genres currently heard in the U.S."

And Jay has the tour de force press release from 60 Minutes touting an interview with The Kanye this evening. Says 60 Minutes: "Evangelical Christianity is flowing into the mainstream now more than ever. Rappers and rockers are making hits and making money while spreading the gospel to national audiences... But their success doesn’t come without criticisms, and rapper Kanye West, who became a part of this seismic shift in American culture, tells correspondent Bob Simon, why he feels that using the word Jesus in songs offends some people as much as using the n-word would offend others."

(That last bit would seem to be refuted by his own success, no?)

Tuesday, December 7, 2004

The Last Thing We'll Ever Say About The Grammys. Ever.
So Diana Krall's album, The Girl In The Other Room, got Al Schmitt a nomination for Best Engineered Album and Timothy LiPuma a nod for Producer of the Year. But not a single mention for Krall herself.

Surely one of you anti-Krall crusaders can help us understand that one.
Linear Narrative
Urgent message sent out by Universal Music at exactly 1:38pm EST today:

If you haven't seen the
Eminem
"Like Toy Soldiers"
video
tune into Muchmusic today at  NOON.
Sorry. Your Gammy Is Dead.
We're back. Just in time to report that the Grammys are not Jew-friendly. Apparently. Because what we need right now are more Grammy categories.

Also: Notes from our second favourite press release of the day (our first is coming up in a second). This one announcing the selection of this year's official Grammy artiste. To wit:

In his own words, Sturman's work is about the manifestation of being fearless in the expression of light; about connecting with people and places around the world; and about breaking down boundaries by embracing an international consciousness. He travels the world seeking out unique and inspirational subjects to feature in his improvisational and intuitive style of visual art.

Us too.

Monday, December 6, 2004

More Weekend, Less Literacy
The Detroit police force has a four-man singing group. They sang the national anthem before Sunday's Lions game. The name of this true blue boy band: Peaceful Authority.

Just thought you should be aware of that.

On a side note, we just want you Americans to know that we adore you. You allow us into your country regardless of the fact we lack the proper credentials. Later, when searching our backpack upon entrance to an athletic venue, you exuberantly ask us about the state of our career. And then you proudly broadcast Neil Diamond on your radio stations. Cheers to you.

Otherwise, we haven't much to contribute. We haven't read much of anything. Though we did find this - a rare crystal meth story that has absolutely nothing to with Rufus Wainwright - interesting. We haven't read much else though.

In the meantime: As we've argued rather passionately with others, the Gwen Stefani record is good. Great, even. Though it sags noticeably in the middle. But the first five tracks save the thing. (We're still piecing together our feelings about that friggin' bizarro Ebony & Ivory thingy at the end.)

Also: To prove his newfound maturity and conformity, Eminem has been publicly embracing his baby papahood. When American Idol Fantasia decides to voice her defiance and individuality, she records Baby Mama. Surely this means something.

And finally: As we've come to expect, the new Snoop record is challenging. Not least because of this.

Saturday, December 4, 2004

Phase One
A busy weekend in Windsor/Detroit beckons. Some play. Mostly work though. So Weekend Reading might be a little late. In the meantime, a few things.

Brian Wong (in Chart) and Torontoist (who stood beside us on Thursday night) with reviews of Feist. The latter pines for a little Feist/Martha Wainwright action, but we're more interested in a Feist/Keren Ann pairing ourselves.

Here is us on U2, Bob Marley and God (theirs and everyone else's). And, for the sake of argument, we've added a comment option to our Best Of list for the year - a tally we expect to add to after a weekend spent strapped to some earphones.

Finally, we must ask: What exactly did Michael Lewis and Billy Beane do to the Toronto Star? For the past year the daring duo of Geoff Baker and Richard Griffin have gone out of their way to tar and feather Beane's baseball management theories as detailed in Lewis' Moneyball. And Friday there came this.

What starts as an argument that the Oakland Athletics' trading for high-priced star catcher Jason Kendall is a sign that the Moneyball philosophy - a stats-oriented concept designed to maximize every dollar spent, avoid paying too much for flashy big names and find hidden and under-utilized gems - is a failure, turns into a rather scattershot denouncement.

Boston, for instance, with its "Moneyball GM" Theo Epstein is held up as a sign that the philosophy doesn't work because A) Theo spent money and B) He placed some emphasis on defence. The first Beane has never been able to do, something that prompted him to employ a different strategy. And the second Moneyball outlines as a secondary consideration.

Fair enough. But didn't Boston also finish third in the Majors in Moneyball-endorsed walks (second if you remove the San Francisco Giants from the equation on account of Barry Bonds)? Didn't that help them lead the league in on base percentage (a previously neglected number popularized by Beane and Moneyball)? Didn't they succeed while upholding the Moneyball philosophy that stolen bases present an inefficient risk (finishing 21st in stolen bases)?

It stands to reason that those who have money are going to spend it. And it stood to reason that as Beane's theories were dissected, they would be adapted and adjusted. But neither of those eventualities debunk all of what Beane has put to use in Oakland. Beane, to our knowledge, has never said he has no interest in star players with expensive contracts. In fact, we think he's said quite the opposite.

Ironically enough - since Beane's theories were meant to eliminate such things - all of this is rather subjective. The Blue Jays, for instance, bombed this year. That could be blamed on any number of things, but maybe it proves that Moneyball doesn't work. Then again, a year ago when the Jays looked to be on the rise, Moneyball was the source of their newfound powers. So who knows? 2005 will be the rubber match.

A good test would be to poll team executives and see how many, regardless of budget, have adjusted, if even slightly, their management philosophies in light of Moneyball. You'd have a hard time getting anyone to make any sort of concession, but this corner is willing to bet that a large number, maybe even approaching a majority, have done so.

But we can't prove anything. So how's this? In the spirit of throwing out anecodtal arguments to see what sticks... The Boston Red Sox have always had money. They've always had talent. But they installed a "Moneyball GM" in Theo Epstein. And hired the great grandfather of Moneyball in Bill James as a senior advisor. And then this year, where so many other managers and experts had failed, the Red Sox, for the first time in like 317 years, won a World Series.

Hmm.

(Sorry. Don't be scared music geeks, we'll get to debating the various wonders of the new Ludacris record soon enough.)

Friday, December 3, 2004

He Didn't Just Say
Apparently there's a new cut of Eminem's Mosh video that depicts Dick Cheney's robotic heart suffering some sort of malfunction. Followed by some sort of overthrowing of the government. Meh. We're more scandalized by the fact that he's become a priest.

Seriously. He's now an honourary priest of the Raelians (ie. "The world's largest Atheist, non-profit UFO related organization" - so kinda like the Polyphonic Spree).

According to the Raelians: "This title is not given often, and only given to public figures not afraid of jeopardizing their careers for their standing up for peace..."

Apparently it was the original cut of Mosh that convinced the Raelians of his priestliness. Says Rael himself: "This is wonderful. It will help reach millions of young people, who are otherwise uninterested by politics because they see the lies and hypocrisy coming from Washington, remember the truth about violence. All violence."

No word yet on whether he will now be able to clone himself. Or officiate gay marriages. Both of which would probably drive Red State dwellers to spontaneously combust.

In vaguely related news, before Eminem kisses 7-year-old girls, he always asks permission. And his record still isn't very good.

Update... Saturday, December 4th at 12:03am EST...
MuchMusic just so happened to air the new version not 10 minutes after we posted. The new ending does in fact feature a Dick Cheney heart attack. Possibly even two. All while Eminem leads an altogether peaceful interruption of Bush's State of the Union. Meh. Certainly not worthy of the Drudge. One big question to be answered though: When Eminem's minions bum rush the show, there's one, rather smallish, politician who turns to cheer them on. Who is that supposed to be? What sort of maverick politician would ever encourage such unruly behaviour? Who could truly call himself a man of the discounted, unheard and under-sized? Our best guess: Dennis Kucinich.
Wellwood
You probably like us better when we're snarky and irreverent, right? Wait. You do like us, right?

In any event, some fun bits pulled off the satelite:

Nick on Jessica: The best stocking he ever stuffed. This makes sense only if you disregard that he waited a hell of a long time to get that, er, stocking.

Optimus Crime is counting down to Jebus' birthday with some vaguely hip Christmas music (who knew such a thing existed).

Pitchfork approves of the new Stars record. And we, for once, agree with them. Especially the part about Evan Cranley working his b-ass. (Sorry, we'll never use that term again.)
Humming To Myself
An over-abundance of praise is as deadly as scorn, so we'll refrain from going on at great length about Feist. But really. She is a whole other kind of wonderful. Rarely seen so many people in love.

Not to go all fucking hippie here or anything but a friend of ours - another in too long a line of 20-something friends of ours suffering from some form of disillusionment - is trying really hard to popularize the term, "life breather." Sort of like whatsnername in Mean Girls who wants everyone to say "fetch." Anyway. We like the phrase and the idea behind it: fucking off to just about anywhere other than wherever "here" is to actually, you know, indulge in that which has absolutely nothing to do with paying rent.

We raise this only because we can think of no better hero of this newly-minted movement than Miss Feist. Surely she has to pay rent. But otherwise she seems completely free of expectation. Hers and ours. Completey in control. But entirely free of restriction. Brilliant that.

Anyway. Other, less pretentious, reviews of last night's show from: Chromewaves and Shot. While For The Records went to Keren Ann.

P.S. k-os was there...
P.P.S. So was Emily Haines.
P.P.P.S. And Globe scribe Robert Everett-Green. Taking notes.

Thursday, December 2, 2004

Mr. Harmon, please retrieve your child
We have an announcement to make. After months of deep introspection, we've decided that if you don't like the Killers, you're no friend of ours.

Such a tiny, perfect little band. All very ridiculous. Weren't quite good enough last night to make us forget we'd paid 30 bucks for a 50-minute set. But we'd still rather listen to them than the Pixies.

Just saying.

P.S. k-os was there. But then again, k-os is everywhere. No really. Think about it. Take a minute. Matter fact, take four B.
P.P.S. He was hanging with newish MuchMusic VJ Matte. Maybe Kheaven was helping Mr. Babel with his flow. Sample rhyme from his official bio: "I cut with precision on a sharp exacto mission. My style was so nice they had to check me out twice." Not bad. But he's certainly no Kish.
P.P.P.S. See you all at Feist tonight(?).

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