The Night Canada Was Closed

Tragically Hip - Canada is ClosedSo August 20th has come and gone, and with that date came the last concert of The Tragically Hip.

Tragically Hip 1For those who aren’t familiar with Canada’s greatest rock band, let me give you a quick history lesson. The Tragically Hip is a band who came around in the late 1980’s and hit the country with one rock anthem after another. Not only were the songs catchy, but the lyrics were heavy and introspective and thought-provoking and many of them told important stories. If that was all that the band was known for, that might be enough for a pretty decent career.

Gord DownieHowever, frontman Gord Downie was one of the most eclectic and electrifying singers in the entire world. He could sing a song with passion and force, but then ad-lib incoherently non-stop in a manner that made you think he was either stoned out of his mind or legitimately insane.

There’s a very fine line between insanity and genius, and after 20+ years of amazing music I’d dare say that not only is Downie genius, he’s become Canada’s unofficial poet laureate and the band has unofficially become “Canada’s Band”, delivering the soundtrack for our country.

So why am I writing a story about a rock band? Well…as mentioned this past Saturday saw them play was is more-than-likely their final concert. Why? It’s not about them splitting up or retiring. No, word came out a couple of months ago that he was diagnosed with a terminal form of brain cancer.

Long-time readers of my blog already know that my mother passed away a few years ago from cancer, and while the disease has eventually ravaged her entire body it all started with a brain tumor. So needless to say, this story hit me pretty hard.

I’ve been a fan of The Hip (as their commonly known to by their fans) since I first heard New Orleans is Sinking back in 1989. And for me, this song NEVER gets old…

Album after album came out over the next decade and I always found at least one song I could crank up, which is probably similar to how a lot of Hip fans felt. I was fortunate enough to see them three times in concert over the years and even saw a Tragically Hip cover band (called Little Bones) twice during that period, as well. So yes…I would consider myself a very big fan of theirs.

Tragically Hip 2When word of their final concert came out that it would take place in the band’s hometown of Kingston, Ontario, the country’s biggest independent entertainment company (CBC) said that they were not only going to show the concert live on television (and unedited by commercials!!), but they would also show it simulcast on their YouTube channel, their website, and their radio stations across the country. CBC reported yesterday that over 11.7 million people watched the concert on Saturday night (in comparison, the opening night of the Rio Olympics garnered 2.4 million viewers).

Once the information came out about the live broadcast of the concert, towns and cities across the country scrambled to set-up viewing parties so fans could show their love and respect for this incredible band. While just under 7,000 fans packed the the Rogers K-Rock Centre in Kingston to watch it in person, over 20,000 fans packed Springer Market Square a few blocks away. In my home city of Halifax, Nova Scotia over 5,000 fans packed the downtown’s Grand Parade to enjoy the concert on three big-screens.

Halifax - HIP

As the concert came to an end, I teared up. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’ve been near-tears in the days since (and while writing this post). There is just something about Gord Downie and the influence he has had in my life over the past 25+ years added to the way brain cancer has affected my life that combines to make me extremely emotional. It was actually during the song Grace, Too that it really hit me like a ton of bricks. Near the end of the song, Downie screams in anguish. During this performance, though, he seemed to be letting out all of the pain and hurt and frustration and anger and sadness that he was holding inside of him. He screamed out “NOOO” over and over…as if it were a big F*CK YOU to cancer. But in the end he realized that this wasn’t a battle he could win, and the emotion simply overtook him. The link below goes to a video of this part of the song…

Grace TooThe photo at left should really tell the story. Knowing how cancer affected my mom, I can only imagine just how this disease is affecting someone so full of life and innovation and art as Gord Downie. All-in-all, it was simply gut-wrenching to watch, but also empowering in a way.

At the end of the day, Canada was closed on Saturday night…and I don’t know if the country will ever be the same again.

But there will ALWAYS be the music.

#FUCKCancer #InGordWeTrust #ThankYouGord #TheHip #TheTragicallyHip

The Tragically Hip’s final setlist:

“50 Mission Cap”


“Wheat Kings”

“At the Hundredth Meridian”

“In a World Possessed by the Human Mind”

“What Blue”

“Tired As F*ck”


“My Music at Work”

“Lake Fever”

“Toronto #4”

“Putting Down”

“Twist My Arm”

“Three Pistols”

“Fiddler’s Green”

“Little Bones”

“The Last Of The Unplucked Gems”

“Something On”




Encore 1

“New Orleans Is Sinking”

“Boots or Hearts”

“Blow at High Dough”

Encore 2

“Nautical Disaster”


“Grace, Too”

Encore 3

“Locked In The Trunk Of A Car”

“Gift Shop”

“Ahead By A Century”

Tragically Hip 3

Why Do I Love Entertainment So Much?

As you may know by reading my blog over the past five+ years, I’m a big fan of all things “entertainment”.  I’ve written about movies and television series and music and celebrities numerous times. It was only last week that I realized why.

National EnquirerWhile listening to the local morning radio show, Sunshine and I overheard the hosts talk about how their parents used to read The National Enquirer when they were younger. I’m said, “My mom used to buy the National Enquirer and Star Magazine every single week.”

Sunshine replied with, “Well now you know why you’re so crazy about entertainment.”

I had never really thought about it before, but she was right (she loves hearing me say that, too). Finally, at 42 years of age I realized why I was so bloody interested in all things Hollywood when I have zero connection to the entertainment business at all: my mom!

feedlyI mean, my feedly playlist has some sports and local news and blogs thrown in for good measure. But it’s almost 75% entertainment stuff from Buzzfeed or Screen Rant or WWTDD or TMZ. I used to watch shows like Entertainment Tonight religiously when I was younger (i.e. pre-internet). Now it all makes sense.

It’s silly, really. I guess that makes me no better than the ladies that gather around my aunt’s table to gossip about the people of my hometown, only it’s me interested in the gossip of celebrities and people I don’t know at all.

Hey…there are certainly worse things that could have been passed down to me from my mom.   🙂

Muppets Most Wanted – movie review

muppets-most-wantedThe entire family was looking forward to the Muppet sequel. We loved The Muppets so much that we bought the blu-ray and have watched it repeatedly over the past couple of years. Songs from the soundtrack have been played in the home and in the car for family trips. Everything about the movie starring Jason Segel and Amy Adams was fantastic.

We decided to wait on watching Muppets Most Wanted. Neither myself or Sunshine are much for crowds, much less crowds full of screaming children. So we decided to wait until the long Easter weekend before venturing out to catch a matinee with the kids. Thankfully, there were very few people in the theatre so we were able to not worry about distractions.

Because I had heard that the movie hadn’t done very well in theatres, my expectations were lowered quite a bit going in. I sat back and did my best to make sure what I had heard and read didn’t affect my enjoyment of the flick.

The movie actually started with a Monsters University short, Party Central, which was pretty entertaining. I love the synergy between Pixar, the Muppets, and Disney. I think there are a myriad of options and possibilities for numerous forms of entertainment using those properties down the road.

Muppets Most Wanted was about how an agent, Dominic Badguy (played to perfection by Ricky Gervais) wanted to sign the Muppets immediately following the first film. The agent, however, was actually an evil mastermind who was Dominic Badguyworking for the most dangerous frog in the world, Constantine. Apparently, the only way to tell Constantine apart from Kermit was a mole on Constantine’s face. Other than that, the two frogs were identical and Badguy was looking to kidnap Kermit after breaking Constantine out of jail so that the two could switch places and they could be master thieves on the run! Or something like that…

It’s the Muppets, folks…you need to suspend disbelief on a number of things.

There are a lot of inside jokes and humour that only parents may catch or understand. That’s okay, though, because the Muppets have always been like that. It’s actually one of the best things about their old television show and what has helped them endure over the years.

Jean Pierre NapoleonAlong the way, we’re introduced to numerous entertaining characters including Tina Fey in a really fun role as Nadya the GULAG prison guard and the brilliant Ty Burrell as Jean Pierre Napoleon, a French Interpol officer who ends up working with Sam the Eagle (who now apparently works for the CIA). I not only really enjoyed their characters, but was impressed by the singing in their two “solo songs” in the movie.

In fact, other than the initial song about sequels (ugh), the majority of the music was catchy and entertaining…especially “I’m Number One”, “I’ll Get You What You Want”, “The Big House”, and the really unique “Interrogation Song” (I didn’t even realize they were singing at first…just a really well-done number). While not as good as the first movie, the songs were still entertaining enough for me to have downloaded the soundtrack once I got home.

Throw in some crazy-fun cameo appearances (a singing Danny Trejo? Really?) and a ton of references to their original series and you’ve got a pretty fun movie from beginning to end.

Two frogsThe problem, though, is living up to the expectations set by the last film. They even note in the opening number that sequels aren’t normally very good (not a great sign when you’re starting to watch a movie). But The Muppets was such a fantastic movie, there simply wasn’t any way that Muppets Most Wanted would ever live up to the hype.

And it’s a shame, too, because the movie…on its own…is quite good. It’s silly, it’s fun, and it’s entertaining. Is it great? No, but it’s still better than the majority of “adult comedies” that are out there right now.

If you haven’t seen it yet and are worried because of the poor box office, then you’re missing out on some fun. Just don’t expect it to be nearly as good as the first movie and you’ll be fine!

Muppets Most Wanted

Would You Rather…?

I found a post on recently that made me think about what’s important in life. If given the opportunity, what would be more important to me?

By all means, feel free to play along at home.

Would you rather…

Your own private island or your own private jet?

Would you rather?

My problem is that I’m trying to work the analytics through in my brain. Would the plane be more expensive to run on a regular basis than the costs involved in running a private island? Would it be more difficult to travel back and forth to the island than it would to arrange travel around the world on my own plane? I’m more of a traveler than a sit-on-the-beach guy, so I guess I’d probably go with the private plane.

The ability to never have to sleep or never have to exercise?

Would you rather?

Without question, I’d much rather not have to exercise. I enjoy sleeping and I don’t know if I’d have much more of a fulfilling life if I didn’t have to sleep…plus the fact that I wouldn’t mind having some rock-hard abs…so this one is an easy choice for me.

Be able to stop time or be able to travel through time?

Would you rather

When you really think about it, this is a really tough one. I would love to have moments stopped in time so I could truly cherish them, but I’ve made so many mistakes in my life that I’d like to travel back in time in order to correct a few things. The problem with that? I’ve seen Back To The Future too many times to realize that anything I did in the past could forever change my present…and right now, my present is looking pretty darn good.

Free tickets anywhere in the world or free tickets to any event in America?


As many of you already know, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I think having free tickets to travel anywhere would be a chance of a lifetime. There may be times when I’d love to see something like the SuperBowl, but I’d rather share in a trip with my wife than attend a sporting event without her (believe me…she wouldn’t want to go).

A grand estate in the countryside or a penthouse in the city?


I know what Sunshine would prefer, but now that I’ve had the taste of city living I don’t think I can ever go back. There’s just something about living in a city that keeps the blood pumping and gives you excitement that you just can’t find in the quietness of the countryside.

Have the world’s fastest internet or the world’s fastest car?


I’m actually quite happy with the internet speed I’ve already got. I’m also not much of a “speed demon”, either. In fact, after the unfortunate Paul Walker accident recently, I’m even more wary of traveling at super-fast speeds. I guess I’d go with the internet option, then.

Be the world’s greatest athlete or the world’s greatest actor?


I always wanted to be an actor. I’ve never been much of an athlete. This one’s pretty easy for me. I’d much rather end up being Harrison Ford than Michael Jordan.

Get screamed at by Gordon Ramsay or get criticized by Simon Cowell?


LOL…this one cracks me up. I’d love to get BOTH, actually. This one’s a toss-up.

Hang out with the cast of Friends or the cast of Seinfeld?


As much as I’ve got a MASSIVE crush on Jennifer Aniston, this one’s an easy choice for me: Seinfeld all the way. I mean, can you imagine the fun discussions or the laughs to be had? Good times!

Live in a world where lightsabers exist or hoverboards exist?


I can only imagine the damage I could do to myself with an actual lightsaber. I’d turn it on and probably cut off a limb by accident. No thanks. I’d rather try my luck at a hoverboard, instead.


What about you? What would YOUR choices be?

A Lesson In Reality Morality

As some of you may know, I’m a massive reality television fan. In fact, my viewing habits over the years have gravitated from CSI and Seinfeld to X-Factor and Property Brothers. I don’t know why, but when it comes to television I simply find reality to be much more entertaining than fiction.

Over the years, the only program I can recall watching faithfully over the past ten years (other than Survivor) has been Big Brother. I had always said that the ONLY reality game show I could ever see myself on would be Big Brother. Heck, they just announced a month or two ago that they were FINALLY going to start casting the Canadian version of Big Brother and I got a bit excited (the fiance said “no”…so I guess I”ll just have to remain a couch fan for now).

So this season of Big Brother started off a little bit bland. Sure, there were twists (four previous Big Brother players were brought in to be “coaches” to a team of players where the winning player would get $500,000 and the winning coach would get $125,000), but overall things didn’t really get interesting until the coaches entered the game as players (you KNEW that was going to happen).

Dan Gheesling is a high school football coach who won Big Brother in 2008. He  was brought back to the house as a coach and jumped at the chance to play the game one more time. As the game continued on, he dodged the occasional bullet but eventually found himself on the block and was pretty much guaranteed a trip to the Big Brother “jury house” (i.e. the final seven players who would vote to decide who wins the money).

While going through a 24-hour isolation penalty of sorts, Dan came up with one of the most incredible plans ever devised inside the house. This plan, though, would also mark the direction Dan’s game would take over the remainder of the summer.

I can’t begin to adequately describe how “Dan’s Funeral” played out if you don’t follow the show. Just trust me when I say it was the single-most incredible game-play I’ve ever seen on pretty much any reality show.


As he was saved from the chopping block, he began to lie more and more to prevent himself from going back up. He swore on his wife…he swore on family heirlooms…he swore on the bible. And each week he would cause the back-stabbing eviction of somebody blindsided and thinking they were safe from eviction for yet another week.

Dan ended up making it to the end (honestly, I think he was brilliant in how he played everybody off each other). He was brought to the final two by an uber-fan named Ian who didn’t have great social gameplay, but had won competitions when it was required. Dan even lied in order to make it to the final two, admitting that he wouldn’t have taken Ian if he had been given the opportunity.

In the end, Dan lost as he only got one vote from the evicted house guests. They were absolutely appalled by Dan’s gameplay and immoral actions with lying and back-stabbing. Even though Dan apologized and said that he did whatever he had to do in order to make it to the end of the game, they didn’t feel his gameplay warranted winning $500,000.

So at the end of the day, can anything be learned from this? Is it as simple as saying “no bad deed goes unpunished”?

No, I think it’s more complex than that. Y’see, the most interesting part of Big Brother is the human element. It’s seeing how people act in a confined space without any contact with the outside world. It’s seeing the things people will say and do in order to win a large sum of money.

Anybody who follows Dan’s website, Twitter, or Facebook page knows that he is a positive, honest, trustworthy individual who is admired by the kids that he coaches and by those who know him as a person. He played an incredibly dirty game full of lies and deceipt because he wanted, ultimately, to benefit himself and his family.

Does that justify how Dan played the game? I guess it’s all in how you look at it.

Before you sit back and judge a person for how they play the game in one of these reality shows, also take a close look at the person behind the gameplay. Dan never sat back and trash-talked his house mates. He never reveled in the sorrow of others. He simply did what he felt he needed to do in order to win the game.

Tackling a wide receiver just after he catches the ball is no big deal when you’re playing football. Tackling someone as they’re crossing the street in front of a convenience store is slightly illegal. What’s the difference? You’re doing one of those things in the context of a game where the other takes place in “real life”.

Does this now justify how Dan played the game? To me, it does. Nobody got hurt. In fact, when all was said and done the worst injury caused by Dan’s play was a bruised ego. So many players on these shows talk about how they don’t want to “sell their soul” for money and want to play with integrity, but does that really mean anything? If the only thing hurt is their feelings, why should they feel superior to somebody else because they didn’t play a “dirty game”?

At the end of the day, reality television isn’t really reality. Any thoughts on morality need to be kept out of reality television and kept into reality.

Congrats, Dan. I was a fan previously, but now I’m on the Team. #TeamDan

Is it wrong…?

…that this whole “Lindsay Lohan goes to jail” thing makes me laugh?

Awww...Lindsay's going to jail? BOO F*CKING HOO!!

So here’s the deal: this air-head no-talent jobless bimbo has done NOTHING but party since initially being placed on probation back in 2007.  From what I can tell, she’s had all of two photography sessions that could constitute being called “work” and has had all the time in the world to attend ONE alcohol education class each week.


It was noted in court that Lohan had missed SEVEN classes in the last 27 weeks.  This would be understandable (possibly) if Lohan was a regular working actress, but with the exception of a few bit parts she’s not….at all.

Don’t believe me?

  • I Know Who Killed Me (2007)
  • 4 episodes of Ugly Betty (2008)
  • Labor Pains (2009)
  • Machete (2009)

Ummm…that’s it.


And here is Lohan’s quote to the judge today that explains her reason for not attending her COURT-ORDERED classes:

“I wasn’t expecting any special treatment aside from the understanding that I have to provide for myself, I have to work. My schedule is, unfortunately, very different. Having said that, I did do everything I was told to do and did the best I could to balance jobs and showing up.  I’m not taking this as a joke. It’s my life, it’s my career.” – Lindsay Lohan, 07-06-10

Are you f*cking kidding me??  Do you remember just a few months ago when Lohan didn’t appear for a MANDATORY COURT APPEARANCE because she was too busy partying it up over at the Cannes Film Festival?  A warrant was actually issued for her arrest because of it!!

Listen…I don’t want to sound like I’m just a hater here.  I’m just sick and tired of seeing this bimbo constantly flaunt her celebrity in the face of the legal system and think that she’s untouchable simply because she’s famous. And before you begin getting upset at me and telling me that she’s a person, too…just click here and take a look at what she had written on her middle fingernail all day long while in court.

Yes…this arrogant b*tch had the nerve to have “f*ck u” written on her fingernail.

A lot of other celebrities could learn something by the example laid down today.

Anyway…I’m just glad this judge finally dropped the hammer down on Lohan.  Hopefully this finally teaches her a lesson.  If nothing else, hopefully she’ll FINALLY admit that she has a problem and legitimately seek the help that she absolutely needs.

Hey Lindsay…Dr. Drew is probably still waiting to help you.

Ankle Biter knows how to “Jam”!

I wish I could really give a good explanation to why my 3-year-old son has developed a man-crush on all things Michael Jackson, but I can’t.  He loves the dancing, he loves the beats, and he loves the songs.

I shot this last weekend.  I fully anticipate this dancing routine to grow and develop over time.

You never know…So You Think You Can Dance could be in his future!