Dear Tom,

I’m sorry I can’t be at the radio show today, but I’m participating in a sweating competition far away from Edmonton. I have the utmost faith that you will do a fantastic job of hosting the show today (is Zenko coming in with you?), but I just wanted to remind you to play Werner Frey. Have a nice show.

Love,

Craig

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The Bachelorette: Who’s Got Questions?

As we get underway with an extremely important episode of The Bachelorette – this being the last stop on Ashley’s Asian Quest for Love Tour* before everybody heads home to the good ol’ U-S of A – two contenders for her affection must be eliminated from from the game before next week’s round of good ol’ fashioned hometown meet the family-type dates. Ashley’s got some key questions she’s got to answer this week, like can she see herself waking up with this man**, are they compatible emotionally as well as physically, was she really the best choice to be the Bachelorette this season and, last but not least, “Really?”***

Do you love me yet?Of course, we the viewers of/readers of blogs about The Bachelorette have questions, too, like why have the one-on-one dates gotten so boring while the group dates have become so stupid and obnoxious and has anyone else noticed a distinct lack of helicopters on this show lately and how can anyone be quite so stupid and still get elevated to the lead position on a show like this and how on earth can I tell Constantine and Ben, the Ryan Smith Twins, apart? So maybe we should just get underway then.

First, either Constantine or Ben rides a steam train with Ashley to a village where they have a lantern festival like that one in Tangled. They make a lantern, have a forced conversation about love and their wishes for love, then eat dinner, then release the lantern and go home. I should point out quickly, for anyone who needs things to be this clear, that there are no roses on offer on the one-on-ones tonight, only on the group date. Then, either Ben or Constantine rides a scooter with Ashley through Taroko National Park. They share flirtatious talk, make out on a suspension bridge, have dinner and stay out all night, pissing off J.P.**** back at the hotel, causing him to have questions too, we are told.

Would a group date that J.P. goes on be a good time for asking those questions? It seems it would not, which is mostly okay with me as we’ve already got a bit of a backlog going that way. So then – about the group date? Lucas, Ames and J.P. heading down to a neighbourhood in Taipei that specializes in wedding photos. Each gets an uncomfortable-making monkey suit and a stupid backdrop they’ll be photographed in front of with their “bride”  – Lucas in a traditional Taiwanese wedding smock-thing, Ames in a bizarro powder blue suit with what appears to be a sheer, orange, ruffled blouse and J.P. gets your standard tuxedo – it’s up to each to do his best to not look like an asshole in the process. Ashley says this will make this whole experience of seeking a mate via process of elimination in a televised contest “so much more real.”*****

Should this really be so difficult? Good question. We get treated to some memories of last season’s equivalent small group date (on which Ashley acquired the rose via pout and freakout), which also involved a photo shoot wherein each woman was expected to be a good sport about 1) the wardrobe selections (Hey! How about topless?) and 2) standing around and watching the guy she liked make out with other women. So, as far as answering the question goes, on the one hand, nobody should go into this contest thinking they’re never going to be asked to look stupid and put up with some obvious emotional manipulation, but on the other hand, just because you go into a situation knowing what you should expect doesn’t mean it won’t be hard to deal with, but on the OTHER other hand, stop being such a goddamn bunch of sucky babies and get back to entertaining us! And anyway, the only consistently good sport in the whole batch of guys – Ames – didn’t get the date rose, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he gets sent packing in the next couple of weeks. Instead, J.P. gets the rose for griping about his week. Go figure, and don’t imagine that getting rewarded for pouting about shit doesn’t encourage them to pout about shit.

Finally Ryan gets the one-on-one date with Ashley he’s been waiting for, even if everyone else is a little ambivalent about the prospect. They start things off by reflecting on people praying in a temple – “Isn’t this crazy? Praying to all the different gods.”****** – and then spend some time reflecting on people doing Tai Chi before Ryan starts giving her a sales pitch for his business over dim sum, which is finally as much as Ashley wants to hear. Though he may, in theory, be the perfect guy for her, she explains, he is not, in practice, the perfect guy for her.

“You don’t want to come home with me and meet my family?” he asks. Well, NO, apparently not. Next thing we know, Ashley’s walking away from him, leaving behind no limo to whisk him away to the airport or wherever it is that once potential spouses who have since been discarded go. Poor Tigger, er, Ryan is left with nothing but a camera crew to zoom in and out at random on his hurt and dejected face as he wanders the streets of Taipei before eventually hailing a cab.

And that is just about that, though not quite because after all, there’s still one last cocktail party and rose ceremony to be had, right? Weeeelll…as Ashley explains to Chris Harrison, the process of ditching Ryan got her unblocked as far as who else she wants to ditch is concerned, and so she already knows what she wants to do. No need for a party, Ashley tells him, but, even though there are only three roses to give out tonight, as the class act and all-around emotional trainwreck that she is, she still wants to proceed with the ceremony. And yet, even after she sends Lucas packing, somehow it’s Ashley who winds up in tears (yet again), crying, “I never knew there would be this pressure!” Sigh. Really?

*Nowhere near as pornographic as it may sound, but you already knew that.

**Surely you understand by now: this man, that she’s on a date with right now, as opposed to that man, who she was already on a date with/will be on a date with later.

***Just a question I happened to notice her asking a lot of times this evening.

****Who is not anybody’s dad.

*****Which is surely another way of asking, “Aren’t you glad the producers didn’t choose a not-idiot to be the Bachelorette this season?”

******Well, not as crazy as praying to just one, but sure, a little crazy.

Come And Share The 68Comeback Times While We Can

This was the July 7, 2011, pre-Craig, Gabe and Sadie headingout to Ottawa for a coupla weeks, Summer Scorcher edition of the 68 Comeback Special. Enjoy it while you try (most likely in vain) to stay cool.

The Kiss-Offs  –  Let Me Find the Good in You

Jr. Gone Wild  –  Cosmos

k.d. lang and the reclines  –  Rose Garden

Idyl Tea  –  Awfully Nice Eyes (8 Track Version)

Amon Tobin  –  Surge

Dan Deacon  –  Wham City

Jim White  –  Combing My Hair in a Brand New Style

Avec Pas D’Casque  –  Spirographe

Ty Segall  –  The Slider

Black Mountain  –  No Satisfaction (Campfire Version)

Seun Anikulapo Kuti & Egypt 80  –  For Dem Eye

Doug Hoyer  –  Lakes of Mars

Yuck – Holing Out

Young Rival – The Ocean

Neil Young – Nothing is Perfect

Charles Bradley feat. Menahan Street Band – Heart of Gold

Neil Young – Opera Star

Bradley Boy Mac Arthur – Old 59

Kite Flying Robot – Airplane Nosebleed

Spoons – Numb

Iron Maiden – El Dorado

School’s Out for 68Comeback

Welcome to the list of the songs that was the June 30, 2011, First Day of Summer Holidays/Day Before Canada Day 68 Comeback Special Extravaganza! And tune in to the very end of the list where we’ve posted an Alice Cooper video just because.

New Radiant Storm King  –  Happy For the First Time In Weeks

BJ Snowden  –  In Canada

Fine Canadian Forces  –  Higher Love

Werner Frey  –  Come to Edmonton

Battles – Sundome

Jolly Boys – The Passenger

Doug Hoyer  –  Little Things

Tom Verlaine  –  The Deep Dark Clouds

The Blue Seeds  –  A World Left Behind

Neko Case/Nick Cave  –  She’s Not There

Booker T. Jones  –  Progress

the Fearless Freep  –  The Day Barely Starts

Bill Callahan  –  Baby’s Breath

Old Sins – My Own Hypocrite

El Rego – Vimado Wingman

Rebirth Brass Band – Shrimp & Gumbo

Anti-Social Music – Accordion Fold

Gang Green – Alcohol

Dub Vulture – Dubble Track

Panda Bear – Slow Motion

Black Oak Arkansas – Hot ‘n’ Nasty

The Bachelorette: Closure!

Poor Hong Kong. Let’s just say that, and leave it up to Hong Kong to get whatever closure it needs following this episode.

"Did I ever tell you about the time I got closure with Bentley?"

The episode opens with Chris Harrison at Ashley’s hotel room door, asking if she remembers that time when she told him she’d like to have the opportunity to get proper closure with Bentley. Yes, she remembers. She remembers that she and Bentley left off with a ‘dot dot dot’ which has made it all too difficult to properly focus on the suitcase fulla bachelors she’s brought with her halfway around the world. It cannot stand. The ‘dot dot dot’ must be exchanged for a full stop. Or a semicolon*, maybe, but probably a period would be for the best.

Well, never let it said that the producers of The Bachelorette will not move heaven and earth if doing so could result in more drama, or dramatic clips, at the least. Bentley is here, in the hotel, Ashley is informed. “Are you serious?” she asks.

“Yes! I’m not going to mess with you,” is his answer (insert Spockish eyebrow raise here). He gives her Bentley’s room number, some excellently obvious advice about closure, and takes his leave in that way that makes you say to yourself, “Oh GOD, I’m glad he’s not a bigger part of these episodes!”

So then it’s down to Bentley’s room, where Ashley stands around outside for a minute, then knocks.

“Who is it?” Bentley asks from inside the room**. He lets her in and they sit down on the most strikingly yellow couch anyone has ever seen, whereupon the two of them proceed to have an astoundingly inane conversation about NOTHING. He’s angling to try and get her to ask him to come back on the show while she’s angling to try and get him to say something, anything, that she could use to justify asking him to come back on the show. No luck. They just don’t communicate the way they once did. The feeling is gone, therefore, so is Bentley.

Phew! And not a moment too soon, either, because Ashley’s got a one-on-one date with Texan oilgoob Lucas, with whom she shares absolutely no chemistry whatsoever. They walk around some outdoor markets, staring at the lights of the city, which do include some pretty fancy lasers and whatnot. Lucas reveals that he’s never been to a big city like that before. Ashley feels good that she’s finally got closure with Bentley, but she doesn’t say anything then, or during dinner. Winding up on a boat, they finally get in that first kiss that nobody but Lucas has been looking forward to, and she gives him a rose. Am I selling this date short? Nope. Let’s move on.

The group dates on The Bachelorette seem to be evolving into what we’ve come to refer to them as in our house as Amazing Race Dates. That’s not really a compliment so much as a simple observation that The Amazing Race is a superior show to The Bachelorette. Last week, a spirited group date involving punching sent Ames to the hospital, but this week it’s safe. It’s dragon boat racing, at which Ames no doubt excels, having been on the rowing team at his Ivy League school for his entire undergraduate career***. The fellows are paired up – Ames and Mickey, Ryan and the Dentist, Ben and Constantine**** – and then sent out into the streets of Hong Kong to pull together their teams, which they all manage to do except for Ben and Constantine, who come back wearing silk robes instead, in the belief/hope that their robes will draw a team to them in the nick of time. It works, but their team is bad and they come in third, albeit with no Amazing Race-like consequences. After the race, everyone watches from a distance as two people get engaged down the beach a bit (sigh!), before moving the party along to someplace with an elevator (their hotel? I missed it!) for the last portion of the date. Ashley: kisses Ames in the elevator, kisses Ben on a balcony, feels relieved that she got closure with Bentley, but doesn’t say anything about it to anyone. Ryan gets the rose, which bugs the Dentist, whose entire reason for being on the show at this point is to hate on Ryan. Fair enough, I suppose, but has he ever seen this show before? Such behaviour gets old.

Last one-on-one date is with J.P., during which they do very little but have dinner in Zodiac Park. Ashley, feeling so relieved to have gotten closure with Bentley, finally does tell someone – J.P. – whose response is every bit as gentle and understanding as you’d want it to be from a potential mate when you reveal to them the idiotic secret you’ve been carrying around with you for weeks. Lotsa smooching to be had after that. Doesn’t J.P. have to be a bit of a frontrunner now?

But there’s an inadvertent hitch that comes as a result of this. After J.P.’s entirely reasonable reaction to her news, you almost couldn’t blame Ashley for being emboldened enough to tell all her other suitors the great news about her getting some closure with Bentley. That is, YOU almost couldn’t blame her. ALMOST. As for others, well, Constantine’s a little pissed. Clearly, he’s shocked to discover that, on a show devoted to finding and exploiting interpersonal attractions, Ashley found someone besides him who she’s attracted to. Lucas is also somewhat pissed. It seems that he too is shocked to discover that, on a show devoted to finding and exploiting interpersonal attractions, Ashley found someone besides him who she’s attracted to. That he’s standing there with a rose on his lapel, beaking off about his time getting wasted and getting the others riled up does not reflect well on Lucas. Did anyone notice that he didn’t show up in any of the ‘Coming Soon’ highlights from beyond next week? I digress…

Not to be outdone by either of them, the Dentist is quite pissed***** to discover that, on a show devoted to finding and exploiting interpersonal attractions, Ashley found someone besides him who she’s attracted to. “I don’t wanna play second-fiddle to anyone,” is what he says to the other guys (Oh yeah? well how do you feel about eighth fiddle?). To Ashley he just comes across like a guy who’s a  bit of a mean shit when he’s drunk. Recognizing and avoiding people like this is an important lesson for everyone to learn.

And Mickey, oh Mickey, he’s really pissed by the revelation that, on a show devoted to finding and exploiting interpersonal attractions, Ashley found someone besides him who she’s attracted to. Now, Mickey actually manages to feel put out enough to abandon the game outright, which is just as well from a sparing yourself the walk of shame point of view, because hey, especially now that he’s gone, we might as well be honest about Mickey and what his chances really were.

And speaking of finally being honest about a fella’s chances, the Dentist gets sent packing at the end of the rose ceremony. This news is good enough all on its own, but of course, the really great news is, Ashley finally got some closure with Bentley!

*But don’t even think about an em dash

**Don’t ever change, buddy.

***Just guessing

****Team Ryan Smyth

*****also, ‘pissed’ as in, really drunk

It’s Alright To Lose Your Heart, But Never Lose Your 68Comeback

This is the list of songs that was the June 23, 2011 68 Comeback Special show, made especially special by the return of Chad. We did it all for Chad.

Scud Mountain Boys  –  Cigarette Sandwich

Cigarettes  –  The Wrong Parts

Fucked Up  –  Serve Me Right

Firewater  –  When I Burn This Place Down

Islands  –  Kids Don’t Know Shit

Hüsker Dü  –  These Important Years

Ramones  –  I’m Against It

Hole  –  Pretty On the Inside

Battles  –  Inchworm

Thurston Moore  –  In Silver Rain With A Paper Key

Harris Eisenstadt  –  Judo With Tokyo Joe

Black Lips  –  Raw Meat

Dub Vulture Meets The Scientist – Rocket Snarl

Warped 45s – Widow’s Well

Falklands – Blackout Cloud

The Oxygen Ponies – Hope & Pray

Burrows – Hygenocide

Thin Lizzy – Johnny

Bebop Cortez – Man of the Year

Fist City – Demon Birds

Data Romance – The Deep

Radical Dads – New Age Dinosaur

Bill Callahan – Drover

The Bachelorette: “I Am The World’s Biggest Fucking Jackass”

From this day forward, NOT a rip-off.

Today, I am here for one reason and one reason only, and that is to say I’m sorry and from this day forward, I pledge to straighten up and fly right*. My attitude has been all wrong and it must change. And it will change. I promise. You’ll see.

See here: with eleven dudes – the most manageable number so far! – remaining committed to the prospect of falling in love with Ashley by the end of the season, why should it matter to me that she, and not someone better, is this season’s Bachelorette? The answer is, it shouldn’t. Ashley’s comparative undesirability to Emily, for instance, or second-placer Chantal, doesn’t appear to matter one tiny little bit to winemaker Ben F. As they wander through a Chiang Mai marketplace, eating street food, poking through tables of knick knacks and painting umbrellas, he does a perfectly admirable job of keeping his discontent to himself and coming across as a guy who could really and truly go through the motions of falling in love with her.

And it’s not just in the daytime, either. Even as he’s forced to spend more time with her into the night, trapped in a flower petal mandala with nothing to talk about but how his dad died but he’s totally ready to open himself up to love now**, Ben’s desire to hang around a little longer seems convincing enough to get him a rose and cue the musicians, dancers and fire breathers, so who am I to say anything about anything, right? So I’m sorry.

You might ask, as we ramp up to a kickboxing group date that’s been promised via the previews to deliver someone to the hospital, do I regret my anti-Ashley behaviour up to this point? Well, it’s a little acknowledged fact of The Bachelorette franchise that in their language, there is no actual word for ‘regret’. So even if you feel that under circumstances where, for example, the dudes are given a crash course in Muay Thai and then hustled into a ring in a public square in order to spar with one another, and there are enough black eyes and bruised joints to go around, but Ames actually winds up going to the hospital with a concussion, which is made worse by the fact that the show did not have so much as one first-aid type around to identify the symptoms of that concussion so that it falls to the rest of them to say, ‘Huh, there’s something really not right with Ames ever since he took those punches to the head’ and then finally do something about it, that the first half of this date was pretty regrettable, there’s no word for that in the language they speak on The Bachelorette. So if they don’t bother, then neither will I.

Poor Ames. They take him to the hospital and then everybody fucks off on him because they’ve still got a date to be on, and while there’s a bit of a cloud hanging over the little cocktail party and the occasional muttering of ‘Poor Ames’, he’s mostly regarded as having made a conscious decision not to attend this portion of it, which is made out to be his problem and nobody else’s. Ames manages to show up all the same, dressed all dapper with his brain still half-scrambled, but by then The Dentist has already not so subtly whined that he needs a little encouragement, a little positive reinforcement in this game, which Ashley has already correctly identified as a close approximation of herself last season*** and rewarded with the date rose for that reason. I got no love for that guy. This date was entirely unsatisfying.

Last date’s a two-on-one featuring William and Ben C. on a raft with Ashley, heading in the direction of a picnic. As we’re to understand it, William’s been a sullen prick since he made so stupid at the Ashley roast a couple of episodes back. He’s looking to redeem himself somehow, which he does by behaving like a sullen prick until they get to their picnic site and then jumping at the chance to take her aside and lie, saying that Ben’s been talking about how he can’t wait to get out of there and go home and clean up on the dating sites. This being high school and all, Ashley immediately sends Ben home after he fails to adequately defend or explain himself – this guy’s a lawyer? This is an unwise decision rooted entirely in the insecurity Ashley feels during every waking moment on this show****, but seeing as there’s so very little at stake here, we mostly just shrug and wait to see what happens when she and William get some alone time.

And what happens? In what should go down in The Bachelorette history as one of the all-time setups, Ashley reminds William about the time he told her he was basically a 30 year old boy. He takes the bait, acts all pleased that she remembered and then says all of the stupid things that a 30 year old boy, that is, a supposedly grown man with the intellectual and emotional capacity of a 13 year old, would say if he wanted to (or didn’t know he didn’t want to) own the line, “I am the world’s biggest fucking jackass.” And so he does, and alone he shall be for the rest of his life.

Needless to say, as enjoyable as we all find a date where both fellows get sent packing, Ashley finds a way to let it cast a pall over the evening’s closing party/rose ceremony. She just can’t get Bentley out of her head, she tells Chris Harrison. “Is that normal?” she asks Chris Harrison.

“No,” he answers with a bemused half-smile before half-lecturing her, half-narrating to us that she can’t fully move forward with any of the remaining guys while she’s living half-in the past with her only half-accurate memories***** of Bentley. He promises to see what he can do, but in the meantime, she’s got business to attend to. So Ashley goes out and doesn’t give Nick, the personal trainer, a rose. While he makes claims of personal devastation, now that I am fully on Ashley’s side, if she has given Nick no rose and he is no longer in the mix, then I cannot care about this. Nick will simply have to find love somewhere else.

*Dubbed reasons 1a and 1b respectively, so as not to wreck the whole ‘one reason only’ thing

**Even if it’s only with Ashley

***Yes, and this one, too.

****Gillian, my wife, made that call.

*****He doesn’t quite manage to reveal this, due to the fact that he and the people he works with are lying pricks. I’m not saying it would totally set her straight if he did, but fucking hell! How can he know what he knows and not reveal it at this moment?

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