Monday, May 31, 2010

Rihanna's a Slave

Madonna set the bar long ago with videos to such songs as "Papa Don't Preach," "Express Yourself," "Justify my Love," and "Erotica." And ever since, pop princesses have been trying to establish themselves by cloning the original -- even while the original has faded into a pathetic case of "look at me, I'm still relevant." It's like a lopsided game of one-upmanship where the newcomer ends up looking like the rodent chasing the fox. If the '80s were good for anything, it was originality.

Lately we've had Lady GaGa pulling off some artsy performance-type of S&M latex-clad crap and now Christina Aguilera is being chastised for making a comeback while mimicking said Lady with her latest single "Not Myself Tonight." Couple of points: Aguilera was "dirty" long before Lady GaGa was on anyone's radar, Aguilera is a million times more talented (vocally, at least), Aguilera is more accessible to the mainstream, and Aguilera isn't a tranny. She has durability and will be here long after GaGa's 15 minutes are up.

Now Rihanna is also guilty for trying to capitalize on some shocking imagery. Sure, she's also using latex and extreme makeup, and, yeah, she looks pretty hot in her video for "Rockstar 101," but as a black performer why is she using slavery and racist imagery with the black paint and chains? Also, I hate it when R&B artists put that token guitar-laden track on their albums. What, you think you're fooling anyone? I'm all for an artist trying to broaden their sound, but please give me an entire album of that sound -- you know, like Ice-T did with Body Count. So, contrary to what Rihanna is saying in this particular track, no, you're not a rock star -- so stop trying to look like Slash and put the dude who's featured on this single in your video.

And to conclude, I feel for the teenage boys who are growing up with the ubiquitousness of these erotic sadomasochistic images.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Samsung I7500

Samsung introduced the world to its first Google Android cell phone. As a Google Android piece of hardware, users of the Samsung I7500 will have total access to the entire suite of Google services, such as Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Google Calendar, Street View, and Google Talk. Unfortunately, those in Europe will have access to the Samsung I7500 (sometime in the second half of 2009) before we will in the U.S.; what really sucks, however, is that there isn’t an official drop date for the U.S. release.

Read my full review on the Samsung I7500 at

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Back in the Game

Dear readers (not that I have any),

I've been away for a while, not due to a windfall or tragedy, but due to a massive workload, a two-year-old daughter, and some laziness. My intentions are to get back in the game, make some interesting posts, and get a google ranking.

When I logged into my account, I was amazed to see that my last post was back in September and I can't believe that I actually went an entire and long winter without making one post. Since September I've gone to Windsor, Ontario, to celebrate Canadian Clubs birthday and taste some 30-year-old whisky; shortly after that I was off to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to live in a beer commercial come to life for three days courtesy of Alexander Keiths; and most recently, I was off to Mexico (Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta) to drink and learn about tequila made the Milagro way. While all that is fun and great, it was for work and I've had to perform as a journalist -- though I'm not one.

Ok, so now that we've established that I'm a professional drinker, I'll also let you know that aside from my job as an editor at the internet's largest men's lifestyle magazine, I've also been working toward establishing myself as a freelance writer. Yes, I have a long way to go, and I'm not really interested in making a "name" for myself, just in earning some supplemental income (aren't we all these days?).

So, since I've indulgently babbled long enough, I'll end this here and promise to post as often as possible (I know, I should make a schedule).

Rock on!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

CD Review: Metallica – Death Magnetic

Release date: September 10, 2008


I’ve been listening to Metallica’s Death Magnetic nonstop since receiving it as a gift—I had no intention of buying it despite the hype about how it was the groups return to its thrash metal roots.

For Death Magnetic, Metallica has brought legendary producer Rick Rubin onboard for the recording of Metallica’s first album on the Warner Bros. label. It has been reported in the New York Times that Rick Rubin informed the band that their ‘86 album Master of Puppets was their greatest achievement. If Rubin did in fact say this, I’m surprised that the individual egos that make up Metallica allowed him into the same building. How demoralizing must it be to have one of modern music’s greatest producers tell you that everything you’ve done in the last 22 years is subpar? And it’s true, with the exception of ...And Justice For All, in the last 22 years Metallica hasn’t been much more than crusty vomit on a toilet bowl’s rim or an excellent Nickleback or Creed.

It’s obvious that Metallica has made the effort to return to something resembling the Metallica that most of us appreciate the most, but not even Rick Rubin and his powers to resurrect dead careers (read Johnny Cash) was able to summon the inner metal heads of James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, or Kirk Hammett for Death Magnet. That’s why the cover of the album, which features an open grave, is fitting.

Death Magnetic’s first single, “The Day That Never Comes,” while compelling with its somber tone, is nothing more than a rehashing of Metallica’s famous “One” from Justice. Take a close listen and you’ll agree that the slow build and the general song structure are identical. Also, some of the vocal melodies and the second guitar riff on “The End Of The Line” sound an awful like a “Some Kind Of Monster” rewrite, only softer and with the inclusion of guitar solos.

Vocally, Metallica can be forgiven for missing the mark in the attempt to recapture their former sound--time is the enemy to any vocalist and there’s no way Hetfield could sound like he did 20 years ago. So, while James Hetfield sounds good, he doesn’t really sound any different than he did on St. Anger. Toddler Lars Ulrich, on the other hand, sounds like he’s still learning the drums and, again, sounds much the same as he did on St. Anger. Robert Trujilo, well, he’s there. The only member to make any major strides is Kirk Hammett, as there are plenty of guitar solos to make up for their complete absence on St. Anger. Still, Kirk Hammett couldn’t write a guitar solo to fight his way out of a wet paper bag. This is one of the major reasons why when reviewers state that this is a return to Metallica’s thrash metal days, and also why it bothers me when Rick Rubin gave the order to Metallica to envision that they were writing a follow-up to Master of Puppets–it can’t be done without Dave Mustaine. Mustaine, Megadeth’s driving force, is a giant guitarist next to the effeminate Hammett and he’s responsible for much of Master’s sound and style.

It’s pathetic that Metallica decided to continue the sad saga of The Unforgiven, but they did with The Unforgiven III, which opens with a thinly veiled rendition of Ennio Morricones “The Ecstacy of Gold.” Metallica has opened their shows with this griping score from the film The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, so how Metallica expected to get away with this, I don’t know.

I really wanted to like Death Magnetic; I really wanted Metallica to recapture the sound that established them. But as a supposed return to thrash metal, Death Magnetic falls short and Metallica fails.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Playboy Cover to Cover: The ‘50s

If you’re tired of the modern street-corner versions of beauty, such as Kim Kardashian, Tila Tequila or Vida Guerra, that are so prevalent in today’s cheap society, then you might want to do yourself the favor of picking up Playboy Cover to Cover: The ‘50s. Unlike the paper versions that introduced your dad to the wondrous curves of a woman’s body, Playboy Cover to Cover is a box set of DVD-ROMs that are driven by the powerful Bondi Reader software (Macs and PCs) and search engine, which allows users to navigate and locate any article, interview, feature story, piece of fiction or photo in a matter of seconds.

In much the same way as Rolling Stone Cover to Cover: The First 40 Years, Playboy Cover to Cover is a complete digital archive of every page of the epitomous magazine’s first decade of service. Because we like to read Playboy for the articles, we can now enjoy pieces by such literary luminaries as Jack Kerouak, Ray Bradbury, Ernest Hemmingway, and John Steinbeck. Don’t worry, however, if you’re not interested in reading;Playboy also included all their pictures from the era. Witness the resurrection of the legendary women who started it all: Bettie Paige, Jayne Mansfield, Marilyn Monroe, Bridgette Bardot, and more are all present and accounted for.

It doesn’t matter if you choose to organize the contents to your personal preferences or leave them as Playboy intended; Playboy Cover to Cover: The ‘50s offers a peek into a bygone era. Enjoy the Americana culture and show off your latest acquisition at your next cocktail party (which you learned how to throw proper from The ‘50s) – and don’t forget to enjoy the pictures.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dog Tags & Fashion

Normally I don’t care what an individual wears – be it a T-shirt with a strategically placed middle finger, an “offensive” phrase, revealing clothing or white socks and a suit. Yes, I’ll snicker and maybe make a joke to whomever I’m with if you’re dressed like a social leper, but it’s not usually done with malice; it’s more like pity. I’m not a style icon or even a metrosexual, but I like to think that I can at least assemble a decent looking closetful of clothes.

One fashion accessory that I have strong opinions (and they’re not very friendly) about is dog tags. There is no way in hell that anyone besides a military serviceman or a veteran should be wearing dog tags, and certainly not some 16-year-old douche who is so oblivious to the greater world around him that he thinks the conflict between Russia and Georgia is between Russia and the fourth state of the Union.

I’m frothing at the mouth about this because over the weekend and within two minutes, I saw two teens (who clearly didn’t know each other as they were back-to-school shopping with their respective mothers) exit a store proudly wearing their dog tags on the outside of their shirts. I also served in the US Army and have some understanding of the purposes, which can ultimately mean that a funeral is in your future, that dog tags serve – like informing a medic or doctor about your blood type, your religious preference and your service number.

I also know that a lot of men shed their blood, lost their sons, lost their fathers, became amputees, and even died for our freedom – which, yes, includes your freedom to wear dog tags whether you served in the military or you’re a self-absorbed fashion retard. But I just find it so disrespectful to those who’ve worn dog tags around their toes and to those who placed them there. Anyone who wears a dog tag without having earned the right to do so has about as much respect for his forefathers as President Bush has for being an American ambassador and representing our nation in a positive light to the rest of the world.

I don’t know if these kids think that wearing dog tags as a fashion accessory makes them feel empowered or if they think chicks dig it, but their ignorance deserves a punch in the mouth. They need to remember that those who’ve been initiated belong to the world’s biggest and greenest gang – the US Army... HUA! And to me, these kids look about as clueless as a 10 year old smoking cigarettes.

No blood; no glory.

Monday, August 18, 2008

D-Link Wireless N Router (DIR-615) – Reviewed

D-Link Wireless N Router (DIR-615) – Reviewed

First I have to mention that I recently purchased my first notebook. It’s an Acer and so far I’m happy with it; it’s not the most powerful machine ever created, but that’s not exactly why I bought it. The fact that I bought this new computer required me to setup a wireless network, so that I can continue to bring you these quality posts that have you hooked like a socialite is addicted to Starbucks from anywhere I take my notebook. And that brings me to the post (no, I’m not a Starbucks junkie), which is to discuss first impressions on the D-Link Wireless N Router (DIR-615).

This is my first foray into the wireless world and while it wasn’t hard, it was almost as bumpy as a Montreal road. FYI: Montreal is notorious for horrendous roads that often leave cars paralyzed on the side of the road and angry Frenchmen foaming at the mouth. I might be leading you up to a major disappointment here, kind of like how Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure left you feeling awesome while Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey left you feeling like warmed-over vomit, but that doesn’t change the way I feel about my first impressions of the D-Link Wireless N Router (DIR-615).

I’m not anything like David Lightman (aka Matthew Broderick) in Wargames, but I’m not a complete idiot when it comes placing a disc in a drive and following installation instructions. So, the D-Link website promises that you’ll have your “router up and running in minutes” and that you “don’t have to be a networking expert to get it set up.” Problem is that D-Link assumes that the average guy coming in off the streets understands wireless 101. This means that there is a slight encryption to the user manual and, also, everything in the text points to the “Wizard” that’s supposed to set up your new system, but seems to be AWOL at first glance. On a positive note, the installation on the PC and the hardware was very easy to set up – almost idiot proof. Still, the fact that I had to call customer service to get my notebook set up on the wireless network leaves something to be desired.

In the end, don’t look for the word “wizard” anywhere and working the system is a lot simpler than the language in the manual indicates.

As far as how I like the DIR-615? Well, I just got it set up yesterday and I’m too new to it to make a comment.