Friday, March 26, 2004

The Media Guy

In the March 25-31 edition of Now, you’ll find a listing for the upcoming Henry Rollins spoken word show. The description in their Tip Sheet reads:

The Dead Kennedy and former Gap khakis model rants his way into Convocation Hall.

I seem to remember Rollins being in Black Flag.

Further to Now, they are about to offer home delivery for only 97 cents per week. I am curious to know what sort of person would pay for something that is free and located conveniently throughout the city. Also, Now stinks, so the thought of paying for it boggles my mind.

Onto "2" – a new magazine for couples. The launch was last night at the Drake, which is now home to every cultural event in the city, it would appear. Anyway, I’d like to stress that this is not a critique, per se, but the new magazine has 11 columnists:

Sex – Ask the Smug Marrieds – Food – Wine – Cars – Headhunter – Parenting – D├ęcor – Health – Plastic Surgery – Your Look

Some might consider this excessive.

Finally, I wrote about the Angele Yanor debacle for Terminal City:

Vancouver Sun Columnist Who Resigned Leaves Long Trail of Deception

Seventeen days ago, Angele Yanor resigned as a freelance writer for The Vancouver Sun after the discovery that she had plagiarized parts of a February 28 column about snowboarding. After a weeklong investigation by five Terminal City reporters and a team of researchers, further falsifications and plagiarism has been uncovered. The result is that at least seven more "Lucky Strike" columns written by Ms. Yanor since April 2001 reflect plagiarism and misstatements. The following is an abbreviated accounting of her journalistic trespasses:

Knocking on Heaven’s Back Door
January 17, 2004

PLAGIARISM In an article discussing the popularity of various methods of intercourse, Yanor claimed "Anal sex is the new black." This sentence was lifted from a Belle De Jour blog entry, the online diary of an anonymous London call girl.

FACTUAL ERRORS Yanor argues that blowjobs have become unfashionable. This claim is demonstrably false. Furthermore, Eleanor Roosevelt was not a Bukkake enthusiast, contrary to claims by Ms. Yanor.

Giving Big Thanks For Turkey Breast(s)
October 18, 2003

FABRICATIONS In a Thanksgiving Day column, Yanor claims to have attended a large sit down dinner at a well-heeled household, but became alarmed and disturbed when she discovered the turkey had surgically enhanced breasts. When reached for comment, the hostess stated that neither she, nor the turkey, have double Ds.

FACTUAL ERRORS As God as my witness, turkeys cannot fly.

Canadian Guys Stand on Guard For Me
July 5, 2003

DENIED REPORTS In her ode to our nation’s birthday, Yanor claims Canadian fellas find her "unbearably sexy." None of the 302 men contacted during the course of our research would confirm this designation.

FACTUAL ERRORS Canada day falls on July 1, not July 3 as reported by Ms. Yanor.

Getting Lucky With Green Beer
April 19, 2003

DENIED REPORTS In this ode to St. Patrick’s Day, Yanor claims to have bedded Lucky the Leprechaun, the plucky cereal mascot. When reached for comment, Lucky’s lawyer informed Terminal City that his client "has never, nor will ever, engage in sexual congress with Ms. Yanor." Furthermore, his semen is not, as reported, "magically delicious."

Sex Within the City
May 4, 2002

PLAGIARISM Yanor describes a wild night out on the town, replete with witty dialogue and shocking candor, courtesy of her three best friends: Charlotte York, Miranda Hobbs and Samantha Jones. Instead, these are the names of fictional characters from the television show Sex in the City.

FACTUAL ERRORS Yanor is friendless.

Twin Towers of Lust
September 15, 2001

FACTUAL ERRORS Mothra did not destroy the World Trade Centre; instead it was two planes piloted by terrorists.

Row, Row, Row Your Babe
August 4, 2001

PLAGIARISM In her column about the popularity of Dragonboat racing among single Vancouverites, Yanor describes an encounter with a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker, writing that, "Between the life jackets, partially, as if through some leaves, I had my first, unambiguous, clear-headed glimpse of Richard Parker. It was his haunches I could see, and part of his back. Tawny and striped and simply enormous. He was facing the stern, lying flat on his stomach. I began to stroke my paddles harder, hoping that Richard Parker was also a tiger in the bedroom." The first four sentences were lifted directly from Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, while the final sentence is clearly Yanor’s distinct brand of piffle. However, since Martel stole the tiger-in-a-lifeboat idea from Moacyr Scliar’s book Max and the Cats, we’ll call this one a draw.

Readers and news sources who know of defects in additional articles should send e-mail to retrace@terminalcity.ca

Sunday, March 21, 2004

The Streak is Dead

I thought I would be able to very comfortably live my entire life without ever buying a copy of Maxim. However, their current cover features Marge Simpson (well, half of them do, it’s a split run with Paris Hilton). To my credit, I am getting better at not emptying my wallet at the sight of Simpsons-related merch (I passed on the Psychology Today cover with Homer), but this is too stupidgood to pass up. And, as a bonus, I feel confident my girlfriend will not feel threatened by the Marge centrefold.

I promise to blog more this week. Honest.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Seen Elsewhere

banalysis: (buh.NAL.uh.sys) noun. Analysis that is commonplace, trivial, or trite.

Those wishing to explore this idea further should read Adam Sternbergh's Attack of the Navel-Gazers in the current issue of Toro, where he argues -- quite correctly -- that the National Post is responsible for every fourth-rate newspaper monkey in Toronto with a keyboard getting their own "column." Ergo:

For every compelling column I encounter, there must be at least three windy dispatches on the confounding gap between the sexes (oh, that wife!) or the vexing dilemmas of middle age (oh, these love handles!). Jammed between these, you'll reliably find at least one breathlessly related red-alert on the hot, new trend that portends some seismic societal shift.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

The Lost Four Minutes and Thirty-Three Seconds

I’ve been working part-time for GO since mid-January. This has made me very happy for reasons too numerous to mention. Today’s show was about silence, and due to space, we had to scissor the following sketch that I wrote. Enjoy, the silence.

Host: Hello I’m John Stein, the host of Listen Carefully, a CBC show devoted to exploring the border between the avant-guard and the terribly annoying. Brent Bambury has asked me to arrange for the CBC Orchestra to perform Cage’s most infamous, but least well known, and least heard work 4’ 33" -- which is four minutes and 33 seconds of silence, or, rather, four minutes and 33 seconds of the ambient noise produced when a group of musicians sit still for that length of time.

To help guide us through today’s performance, I’m joined by eminent musicology and scholar Mr. Nigel Fortnight. Good morning Nigel.

Nigel: Oh, thank you, thank you very much John. This is of course very unusual, commenting on a piece of music as it’s being performed live, somewhat akin to watching a DVD with the commentary track running. But of course, this being a radio broadcast, not only can you not see the orchestra, but well, in this particular case, you can’t hear them either.

Host: Right, now, what can the GO audience expect here today?

Nigel: Oh, well, that’s an excellent question, I’m glad you asked John. As it happens, I was privileged enough to witness the 55-piece CBC symphony orchestra perform a sound check just about an hour ago, and let me tell you, they are superb. I have not seen a grouping of talent, and enthusiasm like this in quite some time. No one is going to do absolutely nothing at all better than this bunch.

Host: Speaking of which, it looks as though the orchestra is ready to begin. Are you ready Nigel?

Nigel: Shhhh.

Host: Of course.

[Two or three seconds of silence. A muted throat clearing.]

Nigel: [In golf announcer whisper.] Oh, my, I did not expect this at all. Wielding the conductor’s baton today is Bruce Redlan, and he is waving it furiously, but of course, very, very quietly, at the brass instruments. To be so bold at such an early stage of the performance, to go directly to the horns is very surprising indeed. Traditionally, with a piece of this nature, you would perhaps begin with the woodwinds, maybe, maybe a viola, but starting so loud, as it were, so to speak, so forthright is very gutsy indeed. I’m interested, fascinated to see where he takes it from here.

[Some more silence, a bit of ambient noise.]

Nigel: Ahhh yes, one of my favourite parts of this work, it’s the ten seconds of silence – you really have to listen for this – it’s the ten seconds of silence that begins just at the one minute mark. Actually 59 seconds to be precise, ushering in the second movement of the piece, as it were. Now here it comes. Listen. Listen. Listen. Oh there it is. There it is. Marvelous. Absolutely marvelous.

Host: Now I see a rather young fellow sitting behind the piano. What can you tell us about him?

Nigel: Oh, that’s Robert Hersam, a virtuoso, very gifted. Former child prodigy, studied at Juliard and let’s just say it here now, let’s be honest, his job is not an easy one. He’s got 88 keys arrayed before him, 88, and any one of them, were he to touch any one of them, performance ruined. That restraint he’s showing, that patience, it is phenomenal. And I have to say I don’t envy his task here today. Not one bit.

Host: What do you say to people who have trouble appreciating this kind of musical subtly?

Nigel: Well, I do acknowledge that it is quite difficult for many people to find a way into this kind of performance. Myself, I have always been a firm believer in less is more, and never moreso than right now. Still, I would hate for people to think of this work as simply four and a half minutes of silence, but rather, imagine it instead as a song you just can’t hear.

Host: Hmmm. That’s interesting. Now I see a young woman with an orchestra triangle. What do we know about her?

Nigel: Oh, that’s Melissa Prenot. I’ve seen her play many times before.

Host: Don’t you mean heard her play?

Nigel: Well, yes. I mean, normally I would say heard, but in this particular case, I think we can both agree that "observing" is the right term. Oh. Wait. Listen. Did you hear that? Did you? Of course you did. How could you not? Gorgeous.

Host: How often is 4’ 33" performed?

Nigel: Well, as you might imagine, not that often. Cage first performed the song in 1952, on a piano, and the lid was raised and lowered to signify movements, as it were. After that, well, there wasn’t much silence for a long time. The late Frank Zappa covered the song in 1993 for Cage tribute album entitled A Chance Operation. And recently, well, this is a strange story, but in the fall of 2002, a British producer named Mike Batt inserted one minute of silence into the debut album of a classical group called The Planets. The idea was to separate the 12 tracks of the album from the four remixes also included on the CD. He called the divider song "A One Minute Silence." He listed the songwriting credit for the 60 seconds of silence as Batt and Cage, and a few months later he received a letter claiming copyright infringement, and, thus a request for royalties. In revenge, Mike Batt released "A One Minute Silence" as a single in September of 2002, and registered a number of copyrights on silent songs, including four minutes 32 and four minutes 34. Very cheeky.

Host: And we’re winding down here, a few seconds left, I think we’re almost done. Some parting thoughts Nigel?

Nigel: [FX: clapping] Bravo. Absolutely amazing. A note-perfect performance here today. Wow is all I can say. That chair creaking around the two minute mark, that was , well, it was what it was, the ventilation system turning on at three minutes and 51 seconds, I mean, let’s be honest, we were all sitting here, hoping for something like that but you just never can tell what might happen with a work like this. And an orchestra, a group of individuals, with a skill level such as this, they took whatever was thrown at them, quite frankly today and they just went with it. They integrated it and that’s what makes good great quite honestly. If silence is golden, then we have just witnessed a 24 carat affair here on GO.

Host: Thank you Nigel. Brent, back to you.

Friday, March 05, 2004

What the?!?

This is an actual email I received on Wednesday. I assure you that biggeworld.com continues to maintain its virulently anti-lipgloss stance.

Date: Wed, 3 Mar 2004 10:02:35 -0800 (PST)
From: Dora Casso
To: xbigge@xxx.xx
Subject: biggeworld.com ranked # 35 in Google for free gloss lip sample
X-Spam-Level: Spam-Level SSS

Hi there! Sorry for an e-mail out of the blue, but I just did a search for the term free gloss lip sample on Google and found biggeworld.com ranked 35. Since I publish a related website about Health - Beauty - Skin Care (it's strictly informational, so I'm definitely NOT a competitor of yours), I'd like to link to your site.

My site is one of the best resources for info in our category. Because of this great info, I get a pretty decent amount of visitors...so if I link to you, your site should get some nice traffic as well.

I think you'll see that my site is pretty clean and high quality. I consider my site a good product, and I only request to link to other quality sites. I would ask that you also link to my site in exchange. So you know, I've already linked to you and will keep it there for a few days until I hear from you. If you're interested in swapping links for good, please reply back so I can get you all of the pertinent information.

Thanks!

Dora Casso
RAC IM: 640187.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

That’s Not Gouda

I was trolling through The Believer website and found an interesting Q&A with Andy Richter. Here are the highlights. Every time I read the third and final excerpt, I laugh and shake my head simultaneously.

AR: Yeah, just because one movie with a submarine works, it doesn't mean that people are crazy about submarines and that's all they ever wanted. Something that I always try to remain aware of is the fact that it's really, really hard to do good stuff, to do good work. And it has to be rare. And it does kind of kill me too when people—I would occasionally look at the Internet discussion group when I was on the Conan show, or doing my show—and there's this thing, "How come there's nothing good on television?" And the answer is, it's because you're on the planet Earth. And it's because history is linear. What do you mean, there's nothing good on television? It's always been that way, and it always will be that way. It's like, how come when I get on the bus and there's a hundred people, there's only two who I feel like talking to? Because. It's because goodness is rare. Have you ever been to Lincoln, Nebraska? You know, whatever you and your irrelevant little pimple of friends want is so pointless considering the huge beast which the tiny pimple is on.

[…]

AR: One thing that really does irritate me is that I've seen articles since the show was canceled that say, "It just didn't find an audience," which is just such a lot of bullshit. And I know that's the way this town, the fucking retarded morons in this town and the way that some kind of bullshit line becomes the status quo, and it just gets this sticky kind of momentum where it's just, "Well, it just couldn't find an audience," and that's bullshit. You know, if you hire someone to bake pies and you're going to sell those pies, don't go and put them in the middle of an auto-parts store and not tell anyone about it. There was no advertising for our show, and it's become, "Wow, I don't know why those pies aren't selling. I put them between the windshield-wiper fluid and the oil filters. There just didn't seem to really be a lot of pie business. Whoops, that's too bad. I guess the pies suck."

[…]

BLVR: There was that one executive who personally fired Norm MacDonald from "Weekend Update" because he didn't think he was funny.

AR: Oh yeah, that guy, Don Ohlmeyer, he was a big scotch-drinking carnivore. Conan went to dinner with him once, and they went to a Mexican restaurant, and he ordered a big drink and nachos, and he said, "I want extra cheese on it. Put a lot of cheese on those nachos." And Conan said that the waitperson started to leave, and [Ohlmeyer] grabbed the person's arm, and said, "I want you to know that you cannot put too much cheese on those nachos." You know, I bet you could put too much cheese... I bet that even for him, you could put too much cheese on those nachos.