James Fearnley of The Pogues has a new band and it's magic

The Pogues gave rise to an entirely new genre of music: Paddy Punk. For better or worse (during an interview with Spider Stacey, I was told it was the latter), thousands of bands have attempted, with varying degrees of success, to ape the Pogues' sound. In my opinion, these pretenders to the throne may sound great but they can never hope to measure up, due to two factors: They lack Shane MacGowan's dark, poetic view of the world and James Fearnley's percussive accordion playing.

Here's the thing, though: unless he's singing or I've heard it before, I might not know that MacGowan wrote a particular pile of lyrics. But the moment I hear a tune being played I've no doubt that it's Fearnley minding the box. His sound rang in my ears throughout my teen years and continues to do so, today. Recently, Fearnley and a number of other notable musicians came together to form a new outfit, The Walker Roaders. From what I've heard so far, a whole LP from them should be a very fine thing.

From the band's Facebook page:

In the course of a widely celebrated thirty-year career, the sound of seminal London-Irish band The Pogues launched a generation of rowdy and explosive Celtic-Punk bands. James Fearnley, co-founder and long-time accordion player in that legendary group, has now teamed with two of its most notable devotees, Flogging Molly co-founder and Grammy Award-winning producer Ted Hutt and Dropkick Murphys’ multi-instrumentalist Marc Orrell, forming The Walker Roaders whose music splices anthems of Celtic-punk with the poetry of The Pogues.

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Brown bear rolls up on men snoozing in a field

Having a snooze on the grass in bear country is never a great idea, especially when the pair of assholes watching you get checked out by a bear prefer to film shit going down instead of yelling a warning. Read the rest

Mexican government seeks justice in wake of El Paso terrorist attack

Thoughts and prayers. Video games are fucking folks up. He's white so let's call it mental illness. Apologists for the far right talking shit. It's always the same song and dance anytime some asshole with a credit card buys an assault rifle to do what they feel entitled to do to innocent souls. As an outsider who watches terrorist acts like the one that unfold unfolded in El Paso this past weekend, one after another, it's a tune that I'm tired of hearing. I can't imagine how the citizens of your nation must feel. I mourn for your dead the way that I mourned for our own when a similar tragedy struck a few years back. Mourning and rising up in protest are all that we as citizens have available to us to give voice to our outrage.

That's not the case, however, where a grieving nation is concerned. During the El Paso terrorist attack, seven Mexican nationals were killed. Six were wounded.  Their nation's government, in their grief, has decided that it's had enough.

From Buzzfeed News:

Mexico's foreign minister on Monday called the mass shooting at a Texas Walmart that claimed the lives of eight Mexican nationals an act of terrorism against its citizens on US soil and vowed to take legal action.

Marcelo Ebrard, who had threatened to take action after the shooting, said the Mexican government will "definitely" launch legal action against the selling and distribution of assault rifles in the US, like the one used by the shooter in Saturday's attack.

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My Life on the Road — Staying Still

I've been back in Canada since May and I am certain I am losing my mind. It's a certainty that takes hold of me, every year.

We come home because we have to. As Canadians, we can only stay in the Untied States for a maximum of six months at a time. This past year, we stayed just shy of five months in the United States and, another two, down in Mexico. We drove back across the Canadian border with a few days left to spare. This dates-in-da-States wiggle room is important as I sometimes have to head south for work. I'd rather not get into dutch with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Being back in Canada for half the year is , a must if we want to hold on to our sweet-ass socialized medical care (which we totally do.) and for my wife to return to work. While she's a certified dive instructor, she also loves the land-locked gig she works for half of the year. We also come home because we want to. I have few friends and work remotely. Disappointment and distrust have left me happy in the small company of my partner, our pooch and a few well-chosen friends that I seldom see. My missus? Not so much. Community is important to her. Her sister's family—now my family—means the world to her. Reacquainting herself with her people, each year, brings her a happiness that I try hard to understand. I love to see her light up around her friends. Read the rest

Los Reyes is the stray dog documentary I never knew I needed

The summer of movies that Séamus willing to pay to see in an actual pay-forty-bucks-for-a-small-popcorn movie theater continues!

Bettina Perut and Iván Osnovikoff spent two years hanging out at the oldest skate park in Santiago, Chile, looking to gain a window into the lives of the folks who congregated their to skate their days away. The documentary they came away with, however, is arguably one million times better. They framed their film through the lives of two stray dogs, Football and Chola, that call the skate park home.

Sadly, I live in oil and cowboy country, just now. I'll likely have to wait to watch it once it hits DVD. Read the rest

The Outer Worlds is coming to the Nintendo Switch

I'd kill to see Fallout: New Vegas, Fallout 4, or any of the Borderlands games come to the Nintendo Switch. They're some of my favorite titles to turn to at the end of a long, stupid day when my brain is in desperate need of a bit of numbing. Sadly, so far as I know, there hasn't been a reliable peep on the possibility of a port for any of them. Happily, Engadget plopped out some news today about a game that could be the next best thing to the titles on my wish list.

From Engadget:

Obsidian had already revealed its Fallout-esque sci-fi RPG The Outer Worlds will debut on PC, Xbox One and PS4 October 25th. Sometime after that, it'll land on Switch too. Nintendo's console is less powerful than Sony and Microsoft's ones, and won't pack as much punch as a typical PC, so it remains to be seen how well The Outer Worlds will run on the hybrid.

For this version, Obsidian is teaming up with Virtuos, which has helped bring the likes of Dark Souls Remastered and Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age to Switch. There's no firm release date as yet for The Outer Worlds' arrival on Switch, but the UK eShop pegs the release date for sometime this year.

Obsidian was responsible for Fallout: New Vegas. From what I've seen in the trailer for The Outer Worlds, much of the humor of that old chestnut has made it alive into their space game. Read the rest

Robert Eggers' The Lighthouse looks amazing

I loved Robert Eggers' The Witch. It was a moody, masterfully shot masterpiece of slow-simmering tension, mistrust and the gentle hand that moves desperate people to make terrible decisions. I bought it and ripped it to watch on all the screens I own, as soon as it was released to video. Today I learned that Eggers' second film, The Lighthouse, first broke cover at the Cannes International Film Festival, a few months back.

The trailer for the movie dropped earlier today and holy crap, am I ever invested.

I've watched it a few time today and I'm sucked in further with every viewing. Read the rest

Scientists: hot pavement will burn you like something hot

Dehydration. Sun stroke. Quickly standing up from a vinyl chair whilst wearing shorts. There's lots of danger to be found on a scorching hot summer day. According to a team of Doctors from the University of Nevada, we can add another warm weather peril to the list: hot asphalt.

From Gizmodo:

The researchers, who published their study this April in the Journal of Burn Care and Research, took a look at cases from their own university’s burn center unit. Over a five-year span, they found 173 reported pavement-related burn cases. By cross-referencing the day’s recorded weather with the date of these cases, the authors also found that the vast majority (88 percent) happened when it was at least 95 degrees Fahrenheit outside. And once it was over 105 degrees, the risk of pavement burn got exponentially higher.

While these cases might represent only a small portion of burn injuries that warrant medical attention, the authors say they’re an ever-present worry in areas where the climate is constantly hot and sunny, like the Las Vegas desert.

If you're skeptical, ywhy not conduct a little field research of your own? On an insanely hot day, take off your shoes on your front lawn. Now, walk from the grass onto the sidewalk and on into the street. Stand there for five minutes. Feel that burn? Congratulations, you're now a scientist. The University of Nevada will no doubt be eager to hear all about your findings/blistered skin. As the study is quick to point out, pavement can grow hot enough to cause a second-degree burn to skin that comes into contact with it, in seconds. Read the rest

Welcome to The Grand Overlook Hotel

There are times in life when you're presented with something that you never knew you wanted but, once its in your head, you're certain you can no longer live without it.

That this isn't a real film has gnawed out a sizeable chunk of my soul. Read the rest

Mounties accidentally stream homicide press conference with Facebook's cat filter turned on

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police aren't known for their sense of humor—especially in instances where investigating a senseless murder. When it's a double homicide, you can taste the gravitas right through your television or laptop display. Last week, a British Columbia RCMP press officer of telling the world that two young travelers—Chynna Noelle Deese, 24, and Lucas Robertson Fowler, 23—were found to have been shot to death, near Highway 97: It's a strip of road that runs from B.C.'s border with Washington all the way up to the Yukon. The RCMP's detectives are on the case. Deese and Fowler's people were notified. Everything was being handled as professionally as possible.

Until Facebook stepped in with that stupid kitty cat video filter of theirs.

From The Daily Beast:

Canadian police held a somber press conference this weekend to deliver details on a double homicide, but viewers tuning in on Facebook Live were left baffled: The police officer speaking about the slaying was shown with cat ears and whiskers. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police in British Columbia later explained that an “automatic setting” on Facebook Live had accidentally been switched on when they were announcing news about the killing of an American woman and her Australian boyfriend. After re-recording the entire press conference minus the “cat filter,” Sgt. Janelle Shoihet apologized for the “technical difficulties” viewers experienced the first time around.

So, that's awkward and awful.

On the off chance that anyone reading this has any information linked to the case, you'd be doing society a good turn by contacting the Dease Lake RCMP detachment at 250-771-4111

Image via Wikipedia Commons Read the rest

Apple's contractors also listening to private conversations

Android apps are tracking your every move. Amazon is watching and listening. Google's watching you watch porn. Facebook is up all of our shit, all of the time. Perhaps it shouldn't come as any surprise that Apple, a company that's been flogging user privacy as one of the greatest selling points of their mobile devices, is listening in on many of their customers as well.

From The Verge:

Apple is paying contractors to listen to recorded Siri conversations, according to a new report from The Guardian, with a former contractor revealing that workers have heard accidental recordings of users’ personal lives, including doctor’s appointments, addresses, and even possible drug deals.

According to that contractor, Siri interactions are sent to workers, who listen to the recording and are asked to grade it for a variety of factors, like whether the request was intentional or a false positive that accidentally triggered Siri, or if the response was helpful.

According to The Verge, Apple admitted to The Guardian (I'd love to quite this stuff directly, but European copyright laws yadda yadda) that a 'small number' of user interactions with Siri are analyzed to improve the virtual assistant and to buff up the dictation abilities of Apple's various operating systems. They also note that less than 1% of all user interactions are analyzed in this manner and claim that when they do their picking through of our private conversations, the audio they're focusing on has no user information attached to it. Read the rest

Pillars of Eternity is coming to the Nintendo Switch this August

Despite the user interface issues with games like Wastelands 2 and Phantom Doctrine on the Nintendo Switch, I've still waited like a mook for Obsidian's Pillars of Eternity II to break cover for the console since late last year. The last time I checked on Amazon, it wasn't going to be available until New Year's Eve, 2019. So that sucks. In the meantime, Obsidian is throwing gamers a bone: if you didn't have the opportunity to play the original Pillars of Eternity a few years back, you'll be able to pick it up for the Switch, early next month.

The announcement was made by the company in a tweet, late last week:

I played the original when it was released for Mac, a few years back. It was pretty good! But I never got around to investing in the additional content that came out for the game. As Obsidian is releasing Pillars of Eternity as a complete edition for the Switch, I might be persuaded to pick it up to play through and see how it feels on a handheld.

Image via Flickr, courtesy of BagoGames Read the rest

Forever 21 tossed diet food samples into online clothing orders

When you're overweight, taller or shorter than average or otherwise physically different from the vast majority of folks, shopping for clothing sucks. Speaking from past experience, there's something dreadful about walking into a mall and knowing that only a handful of stores will carry clothes that not only fit, but flatter your body type. Even worse is sadness that passes through you in a change room when, having thought you'd found a pair of pants that should fit you, you discover that your size is not, according to the brand you're trying, is not your size. I don't dig shopping online—as much as I hate going out to shop, I hate having to repack something I bought and dislike to hand over the to the post office, even more. But I get it: it's convenient and, if you have any anxiety over walking into a crowded mall or don't feel comfortable with your body, being able to get stuff shipped to you might just feel better.

Until bullshit like this goes down.

From Jezebel:

Forever 21's online customers have begun opening the packages that land on their doorstep to find the clothing they ordered—and a diet bar that they most certainly did not. The fast-fashion retailer has started sending sample Atkins lemon bars, which proudly advertise three grams of carbs, along with online orders. It isn’t clear just which orders receive this unsolicited weight loss nudge, but judging from a growing number of complaints on social media, most of the impacted customers appear to have ordered from the company’s plus-size collections.

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Stefan Murphy's Dry Cider rings on about the sort of days I hope I had

I have a hard time remembering my younger years, but I want to believe that I had days like the one that Stefan Murphy (AKA The Mighty Stef and, from time to time, Count Vaseline) describes in Dry Cider. If you dig this song as much as I do, help a fella out by giving it a buy over at Bandcamp. Read the rest

Security company reports vulnerability in VLC, but it's already patched

VLC, the exceptional open-source media player that pretty much runs on everything, has been one of the first programs I install on a new computer or smartphone for years. It's simple, powerful and free—I couldn't ask for anything more. Well, except maybe not having it play host to a critical (See update below) security vulnerability Read the rest

Taika Waititi's got some great advice for writers and film directors

If you're a Taika Waititi fan, like I am, it's been one hell of a year. The What We Do in the Shadows TV series was absolutely brilliant. Last week, it was announced that he'd be directing the fourth Thor movie and, earlier today, the first trailer for Jojo Rabbit dropped. He's a writing and directing machine! If you've ever wondered what Waititi's creative process is like, then you'll want to dig into the insight offered up in this interview with the good folks at BAFTA.

My biggest takeaway: Keep writing no matter what. Force yourself to write and don't be afraid of blank pages. It's a grind, but no matter what you're scribbling about, you'll get there in the end.

Image via Flickr, courtesy of Activités culturelles UdeM Read the rest

Google's watching you watching porn

Friends, you're going to wish you were still making the scene with a magazine after reading this sentence: Google's web trackers are all up in your fap time and there's pretty much nothing (except maybe using a more secure browser like Firefox, read up on cyber security tips from the EFF, refusing to sign into a Google account and never going online without the protection of a VPN) that anyone can do about it. Read the rest

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