from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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    • A Book Review

      9 years ago


      Now Playing - LoadingReadyRun Podcast for April 13, 2010

      While I constantly find myself reading, I haven't written a book review in a while, but here's something that you folks should know about.

      Dirk Hayhurst's The Bullpen Gospels is a hilarious and compelling look at one year of Hayhurst's career in the minor league. It's a baseball book very different from what has been coming out recently, it's not out to throw guys under the bus, bring up steroid/drug scandals or anything like that. It's a simple story, well told.

      Now before you think I'm writing this review just for the baseball fans on my friends list like KittensMcGee, WarmSox or FNVicky (and for you three, it's a must-read), it's a really good book that I think even non-baseball fans would enjoy.

      Half the book isn't really about baseball, it's about how a guy deals with his broken family, and the fact that he might simply not be talented enough to go through with his dream. His career is stuck in the lower minor leagues, where he cannot make enough money to stop living on his grandmother's floor. Hayhurst started writing the book (which takes place in 2007) because he really thought he would be done with baseball, and the only way to wring some money out of his baseball career would be to write about it.

      The Bullpen Gospels is part memoir, part 'peek behind the curtain' at life in the minors, and part motivational book. If you folks are curious about the book, there are a series of blogs Dirk wrote for Baseball America (also in 2007) that feature some stories that have made it into the book, and some that haven't. My personal favourite of the blogs in the above link is 'Baseball Players Are Nothing Special.'

      Here's a hilarious interview from a couple of years back, where Dirk is clearly operating on a higher plane than his interviewer.

      To know the kind of guy Hayhurst is, and why you should care about The Bullpen Gospels, here are a couple of commercials that Dirk himself made, with recommendations from such luminaries as Optimus Prime and Iron Man.

      Dirk Hayhurst; A good guy, and a stellar book, check out The Bullpen Gospels wherever you can.

    • Must See Videos

      9 years ago


      Seriously, watch these.


      The Sandpit

    • Good times, all.

      9 years ago


      Now Playing - Help I'm Alive by Metric. This song would be even funnier with punctuation, such as Help: I'm Alive! (subtitle; A trapped miner story... actually a trapped Minor story would work, too). There's also the more unusual of Help... I'm Alive?? (subtitle; A Zombie's Comeuppance)

      Sorry for that little diatribe up there, it happens.

      I say good things because cool shit has been going down lately... and I'm not just talking about my dear miss QueenSpammy getting a free sandwich. Well, that too, I guess.

      It's also the birthday of two of my favourite ladies on here, so have fun, Lauren and Linnea (That's right, pretty birthday girls get their real names used! [Too many brackets this journal]). While the time we spend together is all too short, I enjoy it.

      In continuing good news, bestest buddy ever Microbe is now a suit, with a pretty cool job, so Ele and I now have to look for new friends. Please submit headshots and resume... if you're OboeCrazy, send more of those pics you sent me some time ago... Ele and I love them. *scandalous!*

      I got a job last night, and I start tomorrow working in market research. It's what I was doing when I first joined this site, and while it's not as many hours as I'd like (32-40 a week) the schedule is pretty flexible, so RvBTO won't be too much of a scheduling conflict.

      I also know that you folks are thinking that 32-40 hours is a week is full time hours, and it's close, but after being able to jump up and down from double decker buses for 50-70 hours a week for almost three years, I know I can do more, so I'm still going to try and find a second part time job... if any of you Toronto peeps know of something, let me know.

      So, what's going on well in your lives, folks?

    • Take Away The Right To Say Fuck...

      9 years ago


      ... and you take away the right to say "fuck the government." - Lenny Bruce

      Guy Earle was a comic hosting a weekly open mic night in 2007 at Zesty's in Vancouver. Three girls (already having had several drinks on the patio outside) come in at the end of a show and sit at a table right up at the front.

      Now, this usually isn't that bad, but two of the girls were dating and started kissing each other. This is usually something that is granted the highest of priorities, but Guy Earle tells the women 'thanks for respecting the show we're trying to put on here'.

      Things degraded on both sides, and of course, the comic won.

      ... or did he?

      Lorna Pardy is suing Zesty's restaurant for 20 thousand dollars claiming 'harassment and discrimination.' Now this is surprising for a number of reasons, especially in the fact that she wants to include the owner of the restaurant. She had to do that because, of course, Canadian stand up comics don't have an extra 20 grand just laying around. She is claiming that Guy Earle was an employee of Zesty's, and that the restaurant 'did nothing intervene and protect her during Earle's tirade.'

      First and foremost, comics are not employees, even a comic working a regular night at a bar is a freelance worker, and, as such, she can't sue the restaurant. I imagine as soon as this gets out of a 'human rights tribunal,' she will be unable to claim the restaurant in her suit.

      Secondly, the human rights tribunal doesn't even have any jurisdiction in the case, as any performance onstage is covered under the 'freedom of artistic expression' in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Problem is, the issue of jurisdiction isn't going to come up until the end of the tribunal

      If you're thinking 'wait... what?' you're not the only one. Here's a quote I could find from Earle's lawyer, Jim Miller;

      Miller had argued that such a course of action was "illegal" based on rulings by the Supreme Court of Canada and the B.C. Supreme Court. "I find this difficult because of my obligation as a lawyer to the courts. In 30 years of practice, I've never been in a situation like this." said Miller packing up his law bags.

      "This is high-handed; I can't consent to it, I'd be consenting to an illegal process, so I have to leave," he said.

      Ok quote time over... that's right, Earle's lawyer walked out in disgust. I like this guy.

      Earle's 'discrimination and hate speech' included basic comic heckler stuff like;

      You're only lesbians because you're both too ugly to fuck.

      Which one of you wears the strap-on?

      And of course, the classic of; Why do you have to be such a fucking cunt?

      I'm honestly glad that this happened in Vancouver, because in Toronto, New York, Montreal, or Chicago, Lorna Pardy would have been devoured alive by the rest of the crowd. The only great comedy city where I can see this happening is San Francisco, but I've never worked there, so I can't say for certain about the stand up crowds there.

      Want to hear Guy Earle's version of what happened? Here's the Youtube video.

      Lorna Pardy hasn't done any interviews or press about this, mainly because she can't answer the question of; If you were scared of the big, bad comic who was making fun of you, why didn't you leave? Instead of, well... trying to throw two glasses of water in his face.

      One thing I have seen in a couple of articles about the incident is that Pardy claims that another comic went over to her and said 'good for you... he was out of line.' If that actually happened, now that the case has national media attention and happened in MARCH OF 2007! why hasn't that other comic come forward?

      How come nobody for either Pardy of Earle has actually stepped up and said 'oh yeah, I was there, and this is what happened.' If the other comics on the bill hated Earle as much as any other comic at an open mic night hates the host (trust me, they do) why haven't they jumped at the chance to nail him to a wall?

      I take things like this seriously, because comedy was pretty much everything I did for four years, so you'll have to forgive me for getting a bit worked up, because this is important, and it's why I used a Lenny Bruce quote for the title of this journal.

    • From the Desk of Yonathon S. Lebow...

      9 years ago


      Now Playing - Fox by Millencolin This is my second favourite love song by Millencolin, right behind Botanic Mistress, which is a love song to a plant. So sad they never made a video for that one.

      Well hi there folks, BigNiceJohn checking in once again... and yes, the title is (mostly) my full name, but I skipped another initial. Seriously, I have a long name, but I ended up 'whitening' it when I started university. Like so many Jews, it was just easier, although it was a little weird going from being as known as Yoni all my life until 17, then switching to John. The switch was made easier by the fact that I had decided, even back then, that BigNiceJohn would be my online persona, a trend that has continued until this very day.

      Had a good day today, and I'm amazed at the difference how one government funded job agency can be so useless, and another one can be so helpful. My mind wobbles... but then again, sometimes it does that all on its' own.

      I have now firmly made the musical switch. Sometime in the spring and fall, my brain heads to the music it wants to hear for the coming season. Usually in Fall and Winter, my mind yearns for something a little harder, and it's not uncommon to see bands like Fear Factory, Megadeth, Deftones, and Beatsteaks, crop into heavy rotation onto my mp3 player. With Spring having finally really sprung here in Toronto, my brain craves nothing but good old punk, especially coming from Millencolin and Satanic Surfers, and throw in some Ska as well like The Planet Smashers and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

      My transitional periods are odd, though, coming into the spring, I tend to focus on more singer/songwriter stuff, such as our own Ed Norwood, Todd Snider, Eels, Johnny Cash, and even a great old guy like Harry Chapin (but NOT Cat's in the Cradle). For Fall I tend to like more hip hop in the form of Blackalicious, Black Star, (and Mos and Talib's solo work), and De La Soul.

      I'm musically kind of strange, I know, but I can listen to Pulley, Foo Fighters, Weezer, Bad Religion, and the Bouncing Souls any time of year... they transcend my seasonal music tastes.

      What kind of music do you want to listen to during spring training?

    • Oy

      9 years ago


      Now Playing - Ghosts on the Boardwalk by the Bouncing Souls

      Well, there are some new pics in my image section, I hope you like 'em. Going to Montreal was quite fun, as pretty much the whole RvBTO crew went up there (minus Audrey). Thankfully, my body decided to wait until after Ele and I got back before becoming violently ill with a stomach thing. During the trip, stomach issues felled Lukie, Ele, and BlawnDee for periods of time, so I guess it was only a matter of time before another one of us got sick.

      I'm mostly better now, though, thanks for asking.

      In my last journal, I asked for some questions, and while I didn't get many, I thought I might as well answer what I got.

      Jengaship asked; With your stand-up comedy days behind you, have you ever considered going into comedy writing as a career path? This has come up every now and then, and in fact, my dad actually offered to pay for a Second City writing course for a birthday present. I'm not sure how good a writer I would actually be if I had to write sketches of a tv show for a living, if only because I tend to jump around in terms of subject matter.

      I will always be writing, though, be it comedy, drama, or just whatever idea gets into my weird head. I do have the need to be creative and create worlds and characters, so if I ever do become a writer, you never know if it will be a comedy piece, or something more serious that gets me noticed.

      OboeCrazy inquires; If you had to be splattered with paint, what color would you want to be splattered with? I think green would be a good colour on me. It would make my eyes sparkle.

      Ragingterror wants to know; What is BigNiceJohn's drink of choice? So many ways to answer this one... so I will go with all of them. My favourite juice is apple. My favourite tea is green. My favourite pop is A & W root beer. My favourite beer is Rickard's Red. My favourite mixed drink is Rye and Ginger. In my advanced age, I do find myself gravitating more towards rye and ginger instead of beer when I drink. My preferred rye is Canadian Club.

      Elnea asks; Who questions their friends so much? I mean, what sort of friend grills their friends night and day? A curious one, I suppose. I realize, of course, that I'm not interesting enough to have tonnes of people asking me questions left and right, so I do like to give people a chance to pick up some BNJ facts every now and then.

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