Thoughts for a hot, slow Wednesday…


As we near the end of July, and the weather in Toronto remains really hot, dry and humid, I begin to find new and creative ways to get through the massive pile of work from my business, while also finding time to take care of things around the home and try to blog every once in a while…

Today was not one of those creative days.

I was stopped at a red light – thoughts racing through my head – which prompted me to take out a pen and paper and write some notes down, with the intention of turning those thoughts into a blog post…

Fast forward 3 hours, and those scribbles are just scribbles.

But I’m going to try to turn them into actual content momentarily, so bear with me, and please feel free to share your thoughts, or point out other Canadian blogs worthy of attention.

Here goes!

On the weekend we took in the BIG on Bloor festival which ran from Lansdowne Ave to Dufferin Ave., and it was great!  Loved the foods, the arts and crafts and the weather helped us enjoy the day (it was only 30 degrees Celsius that day).

We got down there on the TTC a touch early, so we found some Pokémon creatures, and grabbed a bite to eat at a wonderful Vegan restaurant called D-Beatstro.  Would love a place like this in our neighbourhood (once the Subway / LRT construction is finished in 6 years, of course).  The food was awesome, inexpensive, and there was a seating area in the back with games for the kids.

My only concern was what would I use to whiten my coffee without having any cream in the house?!?  I passed on the coffee and had water instead!

Then we walked, enjoyed, kept walking and walking and walking until we got to Bathurst St., where we made a mental note to come back to Honest Ed’s with the kids and headed home.

Big on Bloor was our compromise on a fun day out with 2/3rds of the family as we were going to take a day trip to lovely Aberfoyle, Ontario to visit the antique market.  That was put off for another day!

 

Other random thoughts:

I heard More than Words by Extreme on the 90’s on 9 station on Sirius XM radio which was proceeded by Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover by Sophie B. Hawkins.  Two great 90’s songs which reminded my of anything sung by Melissa Etheridge (Bring Me Some Water), or Be Your Shelter by Taylor Dayne, or anything from Jewel in the 90’s.

This got me thinking that there was a time – I swear there was – when Gary Sharone from Extreme was the lead singer for Van Halen!  I know a few years ago, I went onto You Tube looking for proof and there was zero proof.  I spoke to a friend in media who swore this never happened…

Anyways… Here is the uber popular (or not) Fire in the Hole from Van Halen with Gary Cherone from the uber popular (or not) Lethal Weapon 4.

Was there even a Lethal Weapon 4???  Crap.  Maybe it really didn’t happen after all…

What’s worse, is that here is “I Can’t Drive 55” singer Sammy Hager singing “When It’s Love” by Van Halen, with Gary Cherone…  It’s NSFW and it’s giving me a headache!

 

Speaking of Sirius XM, I used to LOVE channel 37, Octane, but now… Not so much!  They’ve started playing music which has a lot of screaming – something I would expect from the heavy metal station on channel 40, but something which I detest.  I think the program directors need to listen to 97.7 Hitz FM out of St. Catherines, Ontario and figure out how to mix new music, popular music and the classics… They do it best.

Another reason I love my Sirius XM Radio is because of the Jason Ellis show on channel 41, Faction.  He’s great, and over the past few months he has been getting better and better.  It has, however, always puzzled me as to what happened to Raw Dog, so today I finally Googled it and learned that he quit the show in 2013.  Oops.

I’ll end this blog post with a great video from Van Halen (with Sammy Hagar), Right Now.

Advertisements

Jazz.FM91 Jazz in July Concert Series – The Andrew Scott Trio: Tribute to Henry Mancini


Had the opportunity to see the Andrew Scott Trio and their Tribute to Henry Mancini at Hugh’s Room last evening as the JAZZ.FM91’s Jazz in July Concert Series kicked off.

The Andrew Scott Trio paid homage to one of the most versatile talents in contemporary music, Henry Mancini –  whom I heard a great deal of growing up because my father was a huge fan.  Who doesn’t like the Pink Panther theme, Peter Gunn theme, Moon River, Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Days of Wine and Roses?

The concert was, as expected, fantastic, and I’m not just saying that because the guitarist, composer and educator, Dr. Andrew Scott is a close and personal friend of mine, but because Dr. Andy, as I call him, is a Canadian jazz icon because of his talents and knowledge of everything jazz and music in general.  He has magical hands and fingers, a soothing voice and he now only wowed the crowd with his music, but with his knowledge.

Andrew-Scott-TrioMany times during the show, I wanted to sit back, close my eyes and let the music overtake me, but if I did that, I would miss the spectacle of watching Dr. Andy play.

The room was packed, the crowd was lively and very much into the music, and in awe of Andrew Scott’s immense talents.

A great time was had by all.

 

JAZZ.FM91 presents Jazz in July – The Andrew Scott Trio: A Tribute to Henry Mancini

 

Lemmy from Motorhead has died! His Life Comes with a Parental Advisory: Kids Don’t Try This At Home!


Here is an example of how parenting evolves as our kids get older;

Just before the new year came news that Motörhead frontman Ian Kilmister, simply known as “Lemmy” had died after a brief battle with an aggressive form of cancer.  Kilmister – famous for his handlebar moustache, villians cowboy hat, mutton chops and a mole on his face was 70-years-old.

As I sat down to write this post, I realized at that time that I was not a Motorhead fan.  I didn’t really like their “big” hit, “Ace of Spades” and to be honest, I really knew nothing about the band until they penned the theme song for then WWE superstar Triple H / Now CEO of WWE, Hunter Hurst Helmsley.

Doing some research I learned and interesting fact about Lemmy, that he was once a roadie for legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix, and that he formed Motörhead in 1975 after being kicked out of a band named Hawkwind.  I learned that Hawkwind was a space-rock outfit so warped, that their lead singer/poet once came onstage in a witch’s hat and attacked Lemmy with a sword.  I can’t see how he would have fit in with an outfit like that.

After all, Motörhead did okay for themselves, releasing 22 studio albums over 38 years.

But with all that what people were really talking about was the fact that Lemmy loved being on the road – claims he slept with over 1000 women – but he also claimed he was going to sell his facial warts on eBay (UGH!).  He loved the drugs and the booze and I remember reading somewhere that by 1980, his doctor told him, “You don’t have human blood any more. And you can’t give blood, either. Forget it, you’d kill the average person because you’re so toxic.”

He did “claim” in recent years to have given up his daily regimen of a bottle of Jack Daniels with Coke – in favour of vodka with healthy orange juice.

Yes, Lemmy passed away at 70-years-old, and by all accounts because of his partying and lack of attention to his health, its amazing that he did.  I feel it’s important to have that conversation with our children who hear about people like Lemmy and think that it’s okay to treat their bodies this way, because it’s just not true.

Word on the street was that Lemmy died sitting at home in front of his favourite video game.  He played rock music and he loved WWII memorabilia.  He might seem to be a rock g-d to adults who grew up thinking that was cool – but to the younger generation I think we owe it to them to also let them know both sides of everyone, and that as he aged, Lemmy had to cancel shows due to a hematoma, respiratory issues, and a heart condition for which he was fitted with a defibrillator.

Years of abuse caught up to him.  He forgot lyrics to songs, and walked off stage at concerts because he couldn’t do it anymore.

Fans of the band from back in the day and fans from their recent WWE success will mourn the musician and curious fans will read about Lemmy, the rock legend.  Hopefully there are articles about him which present both sides of the man and comes with a warning message to children…

Kids.  Don’t try this at home!

Thursday Thirteen: Short and Sweet. 13 Cool Songs about Woman.


mjc-2012-08-15-IMG_0996
mjc-2012-08-15-IMG_0996 (Photo credit: wiccked)

Not feeling very original today, lol, when I found this post sitting in my draft folder from April.  It was mostly complete, only missing the last three songs, which at that time seemed impossible… That was until SongPop came along. 

I love SongPop.

Too much.  I’m good at it.  REALLY good at it.  Every, every genre, I can hold my own and some I kick ass in and some make me laugh but I feel bad for new challengers because with the tournament format of this game I’ve only been owned by 2 or 3 people.  And by owner I mean losing all 10-15 games we play.  In most cases, it’s me winning all the games, and certainly winning the tournaments. 

Not that I’m keeping count, but in the 200 tournaments I have played, I would suspect that I have lost maybe 20 of them. 

But let’s move past SongPop (challenge me if you would like to lose) and onto the this week’s Thursday Thirteen.  So sit back, grab a box of kleenex, turn on iTunes and get ready to find your inner female.

Here are 13 cool songs about women.

13. “Beth” -Kiss. This 1976 tearjerker was a big hit for the rock group Kiss and although the name “Beth” was fictional, the song –  about band members missing their ladies while they were out on tour – was all true.

12. “Rosanna” – Toto – The song was written by David Paich, who has said that the song is about several girls he had known.  As a joke, the band members initially played along with the common assumption that the song was about Rosanna Arquette, who was dating Toto keyboard player Steve Porcaro at the time and coincidentally had the same name.  Hmmmm.  Had me fooled too.

11. “Sweet Caroline”- Neil Diamond. Although the identity of the “Caroline” in this 1969 song wasn’t discovered until 2007- when Neil Diamond revealed that the song was about Caroline Kennedy, who was 11-years-old at the time the song was recorded.  

10. “Angie” – The Rolling Stones. The “Angie” in this 1973 Rolling Stones hit song has always been speculated upon, with the most common story being that it’s about Mick Jagger’s rumored affair with David Bowie’s ex-wife, Angela.  Jagger never gave the story any credibility, though.  And since Stones guitarist Keith Richards had a daughter named Angela born in 1972 (she was also immortalized in the song “Dandilion”) it’s possible they just used the name “Angie” because they liked it.

9. “Diana” – Bryan Adams – The song, written in March 1984, was intended as a light, comedic song about the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer.  The song was not included on Adams’ Reckless album because Adams was worried about offending the royal couple so it was later released as a b-side on the single, “Heaven” which happens to be our wedding song.  Though the song is assumed to be about Diana and Prince Charles, the song never explicitly identifies the characters as such. Furthermore, is it never mentioned what Diana does (other than being a well-known celebrity), nor is Charles mentioned by name or title.  A royal connection is made, though, in that Diana is identified by the narrator as “the queen of all my dreams”.  Adams often performed the song during his live concerts up until the day of Diana’s death after which he retired the song permanently.

8. “Amanda” – Boston – This was the first single Boston released after a 7-year layoff and was their first and only #1 hit.  The song is actually very romantic, with Brad Delp singing about telling his girl “I Love You” for the first time.  “Amanda” was most likely chosen as a name because it scans so well, the perfect word to follow lines like “I’m gonna tell you right away, I can’t wait another day…”

7. “Billie Jean” – Michael Jackson – There are contradictory claims to what the song’s lyrics refer to. One suggests that they are derived from a real-life experience, in which a female fan claimed that MJ had fathered one of her twins.  Jackson himself, however, stated that “Billie Jean” was based on groupies he had encountered.

6. “Cecilia” – Simon and Garfunkel – Paul Simon who this song and suggested that it’s about St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music in the Catholic tradition, and thus the song might refer to the frustration of fleeting inspiration in songwriting, the vagaries of musical fame or in a wider sense the absurdity of pop culture.  The song is generally interpreted as a lament over a capricious lover who causes both anguish and jubilation to the singer.

5. “Nikita” – Elton John.  This song was about the Cold War from John’s 1985 album.

4. “Oh Sherrie” – Steve Perry.  The song was Perry’s biggest hit as a solo artist and written for his then-girlfriend Sherrie Swafford, who also appeared in the music video.

3. “Dirty Diana”- Michael Jackson. This song is quite different from most of MJ’s other songs as it’s darker and more seductive.  This song is about a groupie.

2. “Jenny/ 867-5309”- Tommy Tutone.  Snopes confirmed that the phone number mentioned in the song- 867-5309- has been a thorn in the phone company’s side for years.  But it has made for a very memorable song. For a good time, call.

1. “Venus” – Shocking Blue. A song about Venus which became the most popular when covered by Bananarama, however in their version they sing, “Venus was his name”.  Silly Bananarama…

Honourable Mentions:

“Maria” – Rage Against the Machine

“Judith” – A Perfect Circle

“Pamela” – Toto

“My Michelle” – Guns “n” Roses 

Thursday Thirteen: Our kids go Gangnam Style. We had hairy armpits.


My kids asked me to crank up the satelleite radio in the car last week when the K-pop song “Gangnam Style” by Korean rapper Psy came on.  My kids love the song that over 900 million people have viewed on YouTube and it got me thinking about a couple of things.  First off, what is “Oppa Gagnam Style” and secondly, what other songs made it huge internationally which were not in English. 

So I thought this week’s Thursday Thirteen should focus on the thirteen non-English songs that have “made it” over here in Canada in the past 50-60 years.  Surprisingly, there are not that many, Gangnam Style aside…  You should, however, recognize each song on this list and if you’re not sure about the song, head over to You Tube, watch the video, and you’ll be sure to recognize it.

Before we get to the list, however, for those of you who may not know, “Oppa Gangnam Style” is funny because it makes fun of the gangnam district – a very wealthy district in Seoul, South Korea – and how people who frequent that district are known for their frivolous spending of  their money and that they order people around.  These people really abuse their wealth and allow their children to go out partying, creating chaos wherever they go because they know their parents money is going to get them out of trouble.  It’s about the uber-privilidged and their bratty children.

On to the Thursday Thirteen…  Please sit back, take out the bell-bottomed jeans, hide away the 8-track, and check your armpits for hair and let’s go! 

13. Trio’s ‘Da Da Da’ (from the VW commercial)

12. Austrian Rock group Falco who had hits in Austrian with Der Komissar, and Rock Me

Gangnam_Style_PSY_28logo
Psy’s Gangnam Style

Amadeus

11. Los Lobos with the huge hit “La Bamba”

10. “Ich Bin Ein Auslander” (German for “I am a foreigner”, by Pop Will Eat Itself, from 1994.  

9.  “Numa Numa” by O-Zone

8.  “Bailamos” byEnrique Iglesias

7.  French-Canadian hottie, Mitsou, and one of her hits, “Bye Bye Mon Cowboy”

6. “Oye Como Va” by the legend Carlos Santana

5.  For the hard rock / heavy metal lovers, there is “Du hast” by Rammstein.

4.  The ’90s music scene saw the pop success of the Chanting Monks, who chanted in Latin

3.  Enigma’s “Sadeness (Part 1)”.  You know this song for sure…  

2.  “Bamboleo” by The Gypsy Kings

1.  “99 Luftballoons” by Nena.  Did you know that Nena was not the name of the woman who sang the song, but the name of the band?  And how many of you remember the German version video, where ts wearing either black or red leather pants, and a black tank top, and she danced with her arms over her head and for us prudish North Americans, all the talk was about her very natural hairy armpits. 

Honourable mention to:

“Macarena” by Los Del Rio, which is sung partly in English.

The Ole Ole Ole song they sing at soccer games.