January 30, 2009

Christian Lander's satirical skewering of white American taste is not only hilarious bad sadly accurate. The pseudo-liberal pretensions, desires, and aspirations of the white middle class are put on trial here in a disarming manner. This has been met with some offense but I think Lander uncovers a great deal of truth through this list. Obviously, some of this is based on stereotypes and generalizations, but this is indeed the very point of the book. You can have a look at the list of 120 things white people like here. For best results make sure you read his astute comments on each category by clicking on them.

January 29, 2009

Essential '80s Tunes

My high-school years were 1984-1988 and I have such fond and powerful associations with the music of the era. I thought I would sharea few of what I consider to be the best '80s songs, those worth bringing to the desert island in the sky...

When in Rome-"The Promise" (1988)

Simple Minds- "Don't You (Forget About Me)" (1985)

OMD- "If You Leave" (1985)

Cindi Lauper- "True Colors" (1986)

A-Ha- "Take on Me" (1985)

Stevie Nicks- "Stand Back" (1983)

Michael Jackson-"Billy Jean" (1982)

January 23, 2009

Philosophy Grads Rule!

I always knew my degree in Philosophy was a worthwhile pursuit. It has served me very well in my career. But don't take my word for it. Check out this great article (scroll down to view).

[Illustration: Stephanie Wunderlich]

The Queen's of Winter

A few scenes of a very snowy, wintery Queen's University, my alma mater and workplace (photos by Greg Black)

January 22, 2009

From Homeless to Harvard

Ms. Murray will be speaking at the Kingston Boys & Girls Club on February 3, sharing her incredible and inspiring story. You can learn more about her story here.

January 21, 2009

Everybody Loves Hypnotoad


I stumbled across my 1988 high school graduation photo, and had a good chuckle. Thought I would share it with my faithful reader(s). Not sure what is growing out of one side of my head there...I think we called that a style back then. Check out the pretentious blurb alongside the photo. Ugh! Most folks actually thank and shout-out to people. Not me. I was much more interested in quoting Stephen King and Tennyson. Ah, the arrogance of youth.  I find it fascinating to study that photo, only because I don't recognize the face whatsoever. He is what I used to see in the mirror every morning, as I applied my mousse (no, grasshopper, I really didn't see the signs). He's a handsome little guy though, I'll give him that. But the eyebrows...are they really that big? 

None of us are seers, of course, and as I look into this face it's tempting to want to whisper a few pieces of widsom his way. He really has no idea of the adventures and misadventures he will be facing. He has not really been in love, and so he has not truly given of himself so that he loves another more than himself. He has not yet had his heart broken, so much so that he will lock himself away and mourn his momentous loss. A loss that can only be a first heartbreak, the seemingly epic rupture of the earth itself. He has not yet experienced real ectasy or intimacy. He knows nothing of the power of silence and the magic of speaking without words. He has not travelled more than 500 km from home. He has not yet been tested to his limits, nor seen the worst of himself.    

So tempting...but I won't risk telling him. He deserves all of his "firsts" both good and bad. He's a good kid. He gets caught up in his head a little too much but for the most part he stays true to himself. He's gone now, and I won't ever get him back. But what a journey to this place.

January 19, 2009

A Confession

Forgive me, U2...I don't really like your new single all that much. I know, I know...unbelievable. But I've been a hardcore fan for over 20 years so I think I am allowed to stray from the faith once in a while. Don't be too upset. It's happened before, actually, with "Elevation" and then "Vertigo". I really dislike those songs and always skip them when I'm listening to the albums that house them. Don't fret. I'm just more of a "Gone" and "City of Blinding Lights" kind of flock member. 

"Get on Your Boots" sounds like a demo of four different songs stuck together with a cliche U2 bridge. It pains me to say this to you, because I simply adore you. Perhaps it's ok for a fanatic to question those s/he follows...? I guess you are allowed a throw-away song, especially since you've given so many crystalline and enduring notes, but not for the first single in nearly 5 years. I would have accepted a slightly engineered "Mercy" with grace. Your single is a B-side oddity, a bubble gum wrapper. 

You are U2. I want you to sing about wars among nations with your heart on your sleeve and notes so pure they scratch the sky. I don't want to roll around the ditch with the miscreants. I don't want dirty. I want soundscapes and endless horizons and hope. Well...I am a patient and loving believer. I will await the rest with faith.

U2 "Get on Your Boots"

U2's first single off their upcoming album is now available at http://goyb.u2.com/.

(Turn up the volume and turn out the lights. You'll need to listen to it a few times to catch all of the layers and nuances)

We are One - U2 live in Washington

For your pleasure, the stunning performance of "Pride" & "City Of Blinding Lights" from yesterday's "We Are One" concert at the Lincoln Memorial is available here.

January 15, 2009

U2 No Line on the Horizon

U2 has announced the track list for their new album, No Line On The Horizon, and revealed the album cover today, too. (click image for larger version) The track list is as follows:

1. No Line On The Horizon
2. Magnificent
3. Moment of Surrender
4. Unknown Caller
5. I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight
6. Get On Your Boots
7. Stand Up Comedy
8. Fez – Being Born
9. White As Snow
10. Breathe
11. Cedars Of Lebanon

 "Get On Your Boots", the first single, will be world-premiered by Dave Fanning on 2FM on Colm and Jim Jim's morning show on Dublin's 2FM on Monday just after the 8 a.m. news. The album cover is a Hiroshi Sugimoto image.

Update: read the first review here

Kingston's annual job growth 8 times national rate

According to Statistics Canada, Kingston's job market jumped by 3,700 full-and part-time positions from December 2007 to December 2008. Employment growth in Kingston was a strong 4.8% -compared to just 0.6% nationally. 

Kingston showed significant gains under certain categories of jobs and losses in others. Apparently there was a 2,700 increase in educational services, including universities, colleges and school boards, as well as private services such as language and fine arts schools.

The accommodation and food sector was up 1,400 over the year. Yet retail showed a decrease of 2,200 jobs.

Professional, scientific and technical services experienced the second-highest rise at 2,000 jobs--although local firms are having trouble substantiating this last figure. 

These figures, if accurate, have come as a pleasant surprise to the Kingston Economic Development Corporation as well as local business leaders. 

January 14, 2009

Awkward News Network

Our top headlines today...

Ryan Seacrest high-fives a blind man

Skier bares all at Vail

Man wearing ski mask waits in line to hold up bank

McDonald's leaves part of Morocco off map

Couple withdraws $175K bank error

Canadian woman had no idea she was pregnant

6 year old boy drives car to school, mom asleep

Man throws chickens at people

Girl calls 911 to snitch on herself

January 6, 2009

They're ready for you...

I was interviewed on Queen's Radio CFRC on January 8. The program is called "Gender Bender" and I was invited to speak about the Queen's University Association of Queen's Employees which I have been involved with for the past 2+ years. You can now listen to a podcast of the interview (begins at 4:40, there's a commercial break, and then it continues) here.

January 3, 2009

Insider's Guide to the New U2

From "Q" magazine, an insider's peek at the new songs (click on photo to enlarge image)...