12/29/2006

A Friday List (With Music)

Thanks to Justacoolcat for telling me what day it is today. A couple of days off work is all it takes to confuse me. Someone please make sure I remember to start drinking soon for New Year's Eve please.

1. Burning Bed - James Rosenthal (Frida soundtrack) - Didn't Frida invade one of your lists James?

2. Konichiwa Bitches - Robyn - no idea where this came from but it makes me laugh

3. Love Of My Life - Queen - We Will Rock You has just been cast for a Toronto incarnation and Ben Elton was on The Hour last night.

4. Shake Those Windows - Athlete - I don't remember this. Ah, it came from a Q magazine compliation cd. Nice though.

5. Down To Zero - Bettye Lavette - from her CD I've Got My Own Hell To Raise, I'm not sure I overall enjoy the song choices here but Bettye does give it a real go.

6. Who Knows Where The Time Goes - Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs

7. Brotha - Jill Scott - yes Jill?

8. I'll Be There - Martina McBride

9. America - Tracy Chapman - don't remember downloading this - I am old.

10.Let Me Roll It (Live) - Paul McCartney - I've always loved this song.

Hic.

Part of the reason shuffle is worth the ride: Following Edith Piaf's L'Accordeoniste, Golden Earring's Radar Love came on. Shifting gears is good for you.

12/28/2006

You Had Me At Hiiii-Ya!

I could say that I've gotten a lot of martial arts exercise during my recent festival of laziness but then I'd have to explain that this means I've pretty much just been laying around and watching Bruce Lee movies for a couple of days. Using the remote to backtrack and find the spot before you nodded off can be a real workout, just ask me. Can someone bring me more snacks please?

As a Christmas gift this year, I got the Bruce Lee Ultimate Collection on dvd. It includes Way of the Dragon which my Dad took me to see in the early '70s. It was a real treat to get to go to the movies with him since he was always working or busy. The only other time I recall him taking me to the movies was the summer that Jaws changed the way a lot of people thought about going for a swim.

The Bruce Lee dvds came with this story from John who bought the set for me:

I remembered you saying you'd seen the dvd set on the Top 20 wall at HMV. I went and had a look when I was there but didn't see it. So I asked the girl in the store for help. She spent a lot of time trying to find it in their computer system nothing was showing up. I said to her, I know the Jackie Chan dvd set is in your Top 20 so how can you not find it? She apologized after checking again and said, the only thing we have is a Bruce Lee set. I realized my mistake and felt like an idiot so I just said thanks and left. On my way out, I spotted it there on the wall. I went back later after I was done my other shopping and bought it.

Now, in addition to big screen Bruce being tied to a special memory for me, the dvds are tied to a funny story as well.

Way of the Dragon hasn't yet made it into the dvd player but when it does, no doubt I'll be transported back to when happiness was as simple as sitting next to my Dad in a darkened movie theatre.

12/25/2006

Extra Extra! Christmas Edition


This just in!

Jesus is no longer too cool for school




and he loves artists and Asians too!



What a pencil we have in Jesus!

12/22/2006

Christmas Pageantry

Thankfully, the annual Festival of Forced Frivolity at the office is finished. There's only one F word missing from that bunch.

Every year when the reindeer games start, I hope there'll be an old fashioned shunning and I'll get to be baby Rudolph. Instead, I find myself in the thick of things practicing my silent scream. Someone spent far too much time this year organizing a friendly competition for the work teams in my area. There were decorations, posters and streamers (let's hear it for the toilet paper!).

There were fun! little tasks designed to pit us against each other while learning about ergonomics. Whee! Listen folks, all I need to know about ergonomics, I learned from my Mom. Sit up straight! (Other useful training modules for the office I've been sentenced to: WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System) -- this course teaches you to not drink the liquid paper. And I don't get danger pay?!

The Christmas baking season was very competitive this year with several entrants vying for the ohmygodthatsthebestshortbreadIhaveevertasted award but sadly, they all tasted about the same making it very difficult to declare one person Ugly Betty Crocker.

Peals of laughter rang louder than the telephones and the same people who spent most of the year avoiding eye contact with me smiled so broadly that I marvelled at the elasticity of their near human faces.

Outside of the office and back in my neighborhood, poorly managed light displays blink in quiet desperation. Trees suffer from the indignity of randomly thrown strings of lights and metal forms are strangled by mini lights. You there, at number 42! Is that some sort of Christmas shrimp out front?

Another house down the street has lit up plastic figurines of Santa, the nativity and Frosty all side by each. I love a good mixed message, don't you? And then there are the newly popular inflatable figures, plump and friendly, glowing by night but flat and deflated during the day, laying about on lawns like part of a strange yet festive crime scene.

With many at this time of year railing against the over commercialization of what was meant to be a religious celebration, let me be the one to say Move over baby Jesus, Dale needs a new pair of shoes. If any of you are out there shopping and thinking of me, please keep my Golden Rule close to your heart -- One for you, Two for me!

And with that, Happy Holidays to the lot of you, you big bunch of bloggers.

Friday Random Ten, Six Weird Things and Danny Partridge in a Pear Tree

Because I'm finished work, I'm automatically out of bed way too early. Note to self: start drinking more or consider starting drinking now!

Without much further ado, here are the random ten songs shuffling their way through my brain first thing. Whether I'll be able to shake them and move on up a little higher is a whole 'nother thing. How's that for a rickety segue?

1. I Will Move On Up A Little Higher - Mahalia Jackson
2. I Was There When It Happened - Johnny Cash

The day really has started properly when you've got Mahalia and Johnny working the spiritual voodoo on you. Although I'm a naysayer on organized religion (except for the fun true crime aspect, the art and architecture, the live in heresy and all that cold hard cash), I love spiritual and gospel music.

3. AC/DC - Sweet

My brothers would be proud, Desolation Boulevard by Sweet was in heavy rotation during a portion of my young life and probably still is in theirs, not that there's anything wrong with that. I can probably scream along with most of the words to most of the songs on this album.

4. Johnny Sunshine - Liz Phair

I like Liz but in a sort of restrospective way, I don't know what I was doing when she was saving the world with this album but I wasn't there for her. I am now. I'm always late to the party. I had a chance to see The Smiths once and I hated them at the time. I didn't go. As soon as they broke up, I declared them genius and fell in love. I'm mildly retarded. But you knew that right?

5. Come On Home (Orchestral) - Everything But The Girl

Along with The Night I Heard Caruso Sing, these are the two EBTG songs that I never grow old of. This orchestral version finds Tracy at her tear your heart out Christmas-y best with an orchestra behind her but the real stunner is the acoustic version. The ...Caruso Sing number is sung by what's his name, the guy in the band.

6. Bionic - Melanie Doane

You're not bionic Melanie but you're sweet and sexy and funny and I love you in spite of the fact that creepy Gary Sinise is your #1 fan and I believe funded this cd. Thank you for my signed copy though. You were fantastic at the Taste of the Danforth that year. Remember that Lorena? Good times.

7. I Ain't Scared Of Lighting (Live) - Tom McRae

This wins for shortest song of the list at 1:58 and Tom's playing to a crowd in Toulouse and does a short French intro.

8. You Ain't Woman Enough - Loretta Lynn

Sing it Loretta.

9. The Struggle - Sheila Chandra

I have to be in the right mood or else all I want is to hear is The Last of Sheila. When she shows up on the right day though, it's like a little piece of heaven. Listening to Ever So Lonely and The Struggle make me feel all worldly.

10.Use It - The New Pornographers

Exactly. Use it tonight, teach me tonight, do something tonight!

I have a ton of Christmas music loaded in but not a one has shown up in my random lists the last couple of weeks. Doesn't mean I'm not listening to it! Thanks for the punky Christmas tunes again MellowLee!

12/21/2006

All The Time In The World

It's over.

I'm done.

I can breathe.

I'm finished work and don't have to go back until January. That's a whole year from now if my calculations are correct!

Now that I've freed up a whack of time, let's have a look at the to-do list I've been neglecting for months:

--clip toenails
--figure out which cans of stuff I'll never eat and donate to food bank
--cast aspersions
--begin Christmas shopping

Plenty of time. I'm on it.

12/18/2006

This Train Is Bound For Glory

When I'm sitting across from someone who I might best describe as a train friend, the last thing I want to hear is a clanging statement like ‘I have something for you’.
Two nights ago, the guy sitting across from me on the ride home smiled and said just that.  He wasn't a random guy touretting on me or anything, just someone I see often enough to make small talk with.

I have something for you. As I sat there with a wan smile threatening to slide off my face, he reached into his briefcase and pulled out a little cellophane Christmas bag. I thought you might like this he said, and handed it over.

Now, because everyone has such awful taste, I’m not always the best judge of whether someone is being sincere with a gift or not. I can usually manage to not laugh in their faces though and this is something I'm proud of because it's really really hard.

Open it! he urged. As I freed it from it’s tiny prison, I was relieved to hear him say Isn’t it hideous? I won it at a Christmas lunch thing at work. What am I supposed to do with something like that? I don’t celebrate Christmas, I'm Jewish for God's sake.

I told him it didn't have to be specifically tied to Christmas so much as winter but he insisted I take it home. I told him I would be checking with my priest on the policy about accepting Christmas gifts from Jewish people and get back to him.

As you can see, it has a lovely red glow. It takes batteries to perform this magic. What you cannot see is how absolutely cheap and horrid it really is up close. Shortly after this photo was taken, something very bad may have happened to it.

Last night, I saw my benefactor on the train again and he asked So how did things go with that angel?

Angel? I asked.

Yeah, you know the plastic angel I gave you?

I told him he had bigger problems than I thought if he figured old Frosty for an angel. It was a snowman I told him.


No, was it
?

Yes, it was.

Well, how am I supposed to know all this stuff? I don't celebrate Christmas.

I let him know that snowmen are generally considered secular. Then I told him I would be switching cars tomorrow night. I'm afraid some spiritual journeys are meant to be taken alone.

12/15/2006

North Pole Dancer

I've never looked more ridiculous than this.

If you'd like to as well, go here.

Thanks Justacoolcat and Bre.

Friday Ten(g)!

It's Friday and this is what I was told to listen to by the people inside my shuffle function music thingy.

As I sat on the train listening, I had a fleeting thought that maybe it was only Thursday and there I was in jeans and oh no, I'll look ridiculous at work. And then I remembered that I could wear pyjamas to work and still be more formally dressed than the folks I work with.

But it is Friday. And I'm old and forgetful. It's Friday and this is what I was told...you get it.


1. Violently Happy (Unplugged) – Bjork
2. Blue Caravan – Vienna Teng
3. Beware of the Boyz ft Jay-Z – Panjabi MC
4. Love Turns 40 – Vienna Teng
5. ‘S Wonderful – Joe Williams w/Count Basie Orchestra
6. You Don’t Own Me – Klaus Nomi
7. Everyone’s A Winner – The Meligrove Band
8. Christine – Siouxsie and the Banshees
9. Sparkling Diamonds – Nicole Kidman
10.Embarcacao – Kayah and Cesaria Evora

Just a few things

1. I'm glad I didn't know Bjork as a child, not that I purport to know her as an adult. She would have kept me in a state of emergency I'm sure.

4. Because everyone else's shuffle is doing it, I get two Vienna Teng songs this morning. This may be a reminder to listen to things I buy every now and then. She's lovely.

5. Joe Williams - if I could sing, I'd want to sound like you Joe - mellifluous and perfect. (and isn't it perfect that the first time I typed that sentence, I spelled mellifluous wrong?)

6. Klaus? That was some hacky shit, I can't promise you'll be voted through to the next round. I'm keeping other stuff of yours though. Poor Klaus.

7. Worth it just to hear the singer's Come On! mid-song (his mid-song stays on my mind).

9. Ah, Moulin Rouge - I love it when Nicole sings there may come a time when a lass needs a lawyer because right around the time she was recording that, the midget was divorcing her. She may need that lawyer again if the country husband can't clean up his act.

The rest of you know I love you in one form or another so shut up.

12/13/2006

The Agony and the XTC

Holly posted a link to a rather hilarious clip about this Aussie Kiwi guy posing as an atheist going door to door Mormon style. Have a read and a look.

The Legend of Bloggy Creek

Having been unable to leave comments on many of your blogs over the past couple of days has secretly made me happy. I don’t have time to read you right now. I'm busy contemplating starting my Christmas shopping.

I know, I know, it’s a bit early but every once in a while, you have to go against type.

Once all that is done, I’ll be back to rail against the Blogging Maniacs who dare keep me from you.

Like A Fat Kid On A Smartie

Twice annually, the building management here hosts a free breakfast buffet. One is for tenant appreciation and the other is for Christmas, presumably because Baby Jesus enjoys a nice croissant.

Set up on linen covered tables, it’s an elaborate affair replete with pastries, bagels and muffins, hot and cold beverages and live music! Baby Jesus likes badly rendered Top 40 and slightly jazzed up versions of off key carols.

Most of the people who work in this building earn much more money than they need but they still participate in the Running of the Slobs. Once the FREE FOOD light switches on, it’s stampede time!

Because people are greedy and horrible, they load up with as much food as they can carry, bring it back to their desks and then go head back to the trough for more. And more.

This year, a change in the process was initiated. Tickets were distributed, one per person. You should have heard the clamour --

Well that’s just stingy.

That’s ridiculous, a ticket for free food.

Why should I line up?

I’m not lining up for bagels.

Let me tell you, that line was longer than the one of people waiting to see how Blogger Beta pans out.

Every year when the Tenant Survey is distributed to everyone, I make it clear that I think that the food they keep serving to the fortunate should be donated to a homeless shelter or mission. This goes unheeded.

The only upside to the insanity is that I was able to scalp my ticket to a 270 pound coworker who was still a little peckish after breakfast.

I rule.

12/11/2006

That Ain't The Way To Have Fun Son

Dear Readers,

My previous post may have caused some confusion. In the comments section, I was asked if my mother actually sent me the 'card' with the wolf on it.

My friend Sandra left me a voice mail today saying her mother used to send her cards like that too.

Although I didn't intend to propagate that it was a greeting card, I may have.

The picture was of a gift tag, one that was on the ho-made fudge my mother sent to me via my sister who was here for the weekend.

At this time, I would like to ask your forgiveness and assure you of the one fact I do stand by - my mother actually is a wolf.

12/10/2006

Is She Trying To Tell Me Something?

When she's not making fudge or cutting out snowlfakes, is my Mom playing in a rock and roll band?

12/09/2006

Daddy Frank

I always loved the Merle Haggard song Daddy Frank; for me, it struck a balance between tragic and funny, my Dad's name happened to be Frank and it drove my mother half crazy when I'd sing along at top volume.

Although Dad wasn't blind like the Daddy Frank in the song, this might have been called into question if you ever caught sight of some of the hand cut Christmas trees he dragged out of the woods and into our childhoods.

It seemed like he'd be gone most of the day, trudging through the snow sometimes with one or two of us boys but always with the determination he was going to bring home a Christmas tree we could be proud of. He'd scout out wonderfully tall and noble fir trees, size them up carefully, choose one and fell it with confidence.

Once it was down where he could look at it, he'd hack some more off, proclaim that you couldn't find a nicer tree than that anywhere and the long walk home could begin. Up the tree would go against the outside of the house to allow it to release whatever it had picked up on the slide home and then Mom would poke her head out -- Oh Frank, are you blind? This is terrible. What? There's not a thing wrong with that tree at all! (at all would be run together and sound more like a-tall). How could you be gone that long and come home with this? Was it the only tree you could find? We'd all take sides on the debate as the tree got smooshed (technical term) through the door and up the stairs.

If he'd been there one year, Charlie Brown would have said oh shit and walked away. Even Dad knew he was going to have to put a plan into motion to hide the fact that the tree he'd brought home was practically see through for a lack of branches. He began boring holes in the trunk with his trusty hand drill and then whittled the ends from some of the cast off lower branches and planted them into the holes to fill in the many spaces.

From there, twine was wound round and round the branches and trunk until these new hires had no choice but to stay put. Even my mother had to admit, he'd made it look almost like it had grown that way by the end of it.

A few more yards of string and some nails and it was secured to the wall and we were in business. He was quite proud of his handiwork and once the angel was on top of the tree and lit, not much else mattered. The decorations and too many icicles went on and we all marvelled.

12/08/2006

Friday - Random Notes

It's time once again for a stroll through the random world of my iPod's brain.

I want to know why all the cool songs hide whenever anyone comes over to visit and only the Hungarian punk polkas and experimental screaming get through though.

1 I'm Your Villain - Franz Ferdinand me like tempo changes

2 Alone Again Or - Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs thanks again MJ!

3 This Love - Maroon 5 you all knew I was a bit of a maroon right?

4 Supervixen - Garbage bow down to me? Anything for you Shirley

5 Ohio - Neil Young should have been done long ago

6 Knock A Door Run - Arctic Monkeys cause all the time you're talkin' at me

7 Fire on Babylon - Sinead O'Connor I love the absolute intensity here

8 I Need A Man - Eurythmics is there anything better than crazy Annie?

9 Hey Ya - Outkast shake it like a pop hop polaroid

10 1979 - Smashing Pumpkins I don't really care if they get back together, is that so wrong?

12/07/2006

Just Like Honey

You may have noticed that posting has been spotty for a few days here at Passion of the Dale. I just figured -- enough with the complicated belts and bulky pads already! I need some light days.

Every year as it nears that magical time when Baby Jesus and the Mary Chain are getting ready for their appearance, the work pace seems to pick up, people get crazier and life is just way too hectic. This weekend for example, rather than shopping (mostly for myself), I'll be hosting my sister and niece and having a wonderful time while all sorts of other things pile up on my to do list.

As soon as I can though, I plan on putting my feet up, reaching for a Kringlor and enjoying the best the season has to offer.

In other news, I decided to tell my mother how much I secretly liked her paper snowflakes. I was worried that I was being too nice until she told me how my sister the nun just finished telling her how much she had always hated her decorative plate collection.

I am beginning to believe in balance.

How Blogger Is Like Cheap Hoop Earrings

Several years back, I went to a Pretenders concert where in between blistering away on her guitar, Chrissie Hynde kept fiddling with the big hoop earrings she had on. She went through a few numbers like this until she couldn't stand it anymore. In mid song, she tore them out of her ears and threw them into the crowd calling out You get what you pay for ladies without missing a beat and then finished off the song.

I tend to think about Blogger that way - you get what you pay for. I prided myself on not joining the fun of telling Blogger to go feck itself lately because I hadn't had too many problems with it really. But then, a few days ago, the thieving fecker ate most of my template leaving my page all forlorn. Order has been more or less restored but if I've inadvertently left you off my link list, it's not you, it's me.

Back to another Precious moment starring Chrissie Hynde -- at the same concert, the opening act was Iggy Pop. When Chrissie first came out, she said she just wanted to take a moment and kiss the ground that Iggy Pop walked on. And she did. She got down on her knees, kissed the floor and then rocked on. Cool.

12/03/2006

Diggin' On The Doc Of The Day

Because I'm an impressionable old fart young blogger guy, when people recommend things to me, I like to go off and find them quickly before I'm distracted by something shiny.

I love music documentaries and have found some real gems by listening to other good blogging folk.

Take our friend Bubs for instance: he sent me off Searching For The Wrong Eyed Jesus and this happened.

Urgh! A Music War was well worth the look too for some wonderful moments and those sparks I blame on the Shroom-Monkey.

Then, Holly had to do it; she brought me back to church through a little film called New York Doll. My only problem with church? I always lose faith in it.

In my last Friday random ten list, there was a song that got Johnny Yen asking if I'd seen the documentary called Dig! Barbara also said it was something to behold and so off I went to look for it.

Dig! is an odyssey that covers a seven year itch in the lives of two bands, The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols. It begins with both groups tripping over their raw potential as they preach respect and praise for each other but eventually, their plans for musical revolution get lost in a fog of drugs, ego, mental illness and the politics of the music biz.

One band takes a path the other can't possibly follow and everything manages to travel downhill and up at the same time. Singer songwriter Miranda Lee Richards, daughter of comic book artists Ted and Teresa Richards, makes a good point. She says that the 60s bands that were into drugs were famous first and not the other way around and this has a lot of bearing on the proceedings. She also gets an onstage seat during one of the frequent meltdowns by Massacre frontman Anton Newcombe.

The ending to this piece hasn't been written yet though and I'm not counting anyone out. I have seen a glinting and glaring devolution play out before my eyes with sadness, joy, violence and passion. I know, it's only rock n roll but I like it.

I rate Dig! 2 swift kicks in the head.

12/02/2006

St. Peter, Jesus and The Sloganizer

Peter over at Daydream Hallucination posted hilariously about a fun new product called Sloganizer.

You can read his post here and then go make your own fun here.

Now that I know Jesus loves Passion of the Dale, I feel pretty damned good.

Mommy, I Feel Memeish

I saw this music related meme on 43 Year Old Whiner's blog. Since he stole it from someone, I'm returning the favour.

Open iTunes/iPod or Windows Media Player. Go to your library and answer the following questions:

How many songs: 4974

Sort by song title:
First song: '39 by Queen

Last song: Ziggy Stardust by David Bowie

(nice coincidence considering they've worked together)

Sort by time:
Shortest: Outro by Rilo Kiley 0:04

Longest: O'Malley's Bar by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds 14:28

Sort by album:
First song: Murderer by Buju Banton - 'Til Shiloh

Last Song: Waiting by Sheila Chandra - Zen Kiss

Five most played songs:
The Charging Sky by Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins 44 times
Can't Stand It by Wilco 41 times
Mornings Eleven by The Magic Numbers 39 times
Leap of Faith by Delbert McClinton 32 times
Twin Cinema by The New Pornographers 28 times


First song that comes up on "shuffle":
The Island Where I Come From by Laurie Anderson

Number of items that come up when searching for:
"sex": 16

"death": 19

"love": 367

"you": 538

"me": 1128 *

"cry": 25

*As expected, it really is all about me.

12/01/2006

There Goes Johnny Yen Again

I really wish I had more time to read and write but work has a nasty habit of getting in the way.

I just wanted to take a moment to thank Johnny Yen for this post. As I said in his comments section, I've never laughed so hard at the dead in my life.

'ave a look.

Great To See You Again Friday!

Since yesterday was more like a Monday than a Thursday, today's hope is that Friday will remember the good things it's supposed to be about. My random ten helpers this morning from iTunes are here to help:

1. Rocket's Tail - Kate Bush
2. English Girl - Eagles of Death Metal
3. Run On - Moby
4. My Way - Herman Brood
5. I Was There When It Happened - Johnny Cash
6. Love - The Twilight Singers
7. The Envoy - Warren Zevon
8. Big Black Mariah - Tom Waits
9. Peachfuzz - Michelle Shocked
10.Down Like Disco - Dandy Warhols

Thursday remembrances: hoping to avoid papercuts from the paper snowflake love in, I stepped out not into the sensual world but the soggy and wet world while my umbrella was nestled happily in its little bed at home.

I stopped at the coffeeteria and picked up my usual. About halfway between there and work, I dropped the cup and it landed squarely on my caps of my shoes. No matter, Johnston & Murphy helped me out with their weatherproof yet stylish shoes.

When things start to fuck up so early in the day, I automatically become entitled to a BLT bagel and hash brown from McDonald’s. I got it back to my desk and they had given me the wrong thing - something with egg and cheese and sauce. I bit into it and threw it out.

I sat and waited for the phone to ring so I could unfairly (for them) tear someone’s head off. The phone didn't ring for hours. Maybe the day wasn't so bad after all.