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purrfect-ass1Even superheroines, those paragons of unrealistic and unattainable bodies whose depictions in comic books have permanently skewed the expectations of generations of fanboys, aren’t immune to feelings of insecurity, with many of them too distracted to fight the criminals, evil geniuses, and superpowered thugs that plague our fair cities each and every day.  Worrying that their skintight leather, lycra, or nylon costumes are unflattering means that many of our most gorgeous heroines are opting for fatigues, capes, and even business suits to hide their justice-delivering figures.  When will this madness end?  Not soon enough for this reporter, who holds on to cherished memories of superheroines of ages past who thought nothing of fighting for The American Way in high heels, short skirts, and push-up bras.

Steven PageFounding member, principle songwriter and the closest approximation the band has to a sex symbol Steven Page has announced that he will be leaving The Barenaked Ladies after 20 years. The still chubby-faced but slimmer (thanks to a recent “regrettable” and “one time only” heroin fling) singer/songwriter/Kraft Dinner lover has been working on home demos and hopes to enter the studio soon. Ed Robertson, spokesman for the suddenly talent-challenged band, wishes his former partner the best of luck and swears there are no hard feelings: “Life goes on, you know… we’re very busy with our own new album, which hits stores in May. It’s called ‘Turn the Page’.”

harper_obama-300x222Canada and the United States share the world’s longest undefended border and the biggest trade between any two nations on Earth, but although both belong to NAFTA, issues of unfair trade practices occasionally arise.  Disputes have occurred in recent years over protectionism and charges of illegal subsidies in critical industries.  Although both countries benefit from close economic ties, a potential new rift is brewing over a growing deficit between the long-time allies, and President Barack Obama’s visit to Ottawa today only served to highlight the serious gap in political charisma between the two nations.  “I haven’t seen this kind of an imbalance since the days of John F. Kennedy,” one grizzled CBC veteran confided, “and even then, at least Diefenbaker had that wild hair and crazy look in his eyes… he was like some ornery granddad who might pick any occasion to spout off on how things were better in the good old days, and tell you to get off his goddamn lawn.  Lord, I miss the 60s.”  The charisma deficit is so wide that Canada, which once held its own against the US with leaders like Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien proving eminently quotable and unpredictable, had to beg Obama to make his first foreign trip as President a short visit to Canada in order to inject an emergency stimulus of star power into the disengaged nation.  “I never would have used the word ‘charismatic’ to describe Paul Martin,” one political observer mused, “but somehow, Stephen Harper has even less magnetism… he’s like a black hole of charisma: not even light can escape.”

wrestler_2In a sign that Mickey Rourke’s bad-boy days aren’t entirely behind him, the Academy Award nominee has proposed that the tight competition for Best Actor be settled by an old-school wrestling match.  “This promises to be one of the toughest races Oscar has seen in years,” said the star of The Wrestler, the best-reviewed but least honoured movie of 2008, “and it only seems fair that the eventual winner should really have to earn the title.”  The category has everything: Pretty Boy Whose Looks Overshadow His Talent (Brad Pitt), Pure Talent Whose Intensity Intimidates Everyone (Sean Penn), Guy Who Everyone Has Seen In Some Movie But Couldn’t Name If Their Lives Depended On It (Richard Jenkins), and Dude Who Played Dracula and Skeletor (Frank Langella).  Rourke sees his best chance coming down to a sheer test of physical strength and stamina: “Fight Club?  C’mon–who couldn’t beat up Edward Norton?”  Little does he know that Richard Jenkins was a Green Beret before making his big-screen debut in the 1985 western Silverado.

angry-christian-bale-screams-shoutsThis recording of Christian Bale screaming at the lighting guy on the set of the Terminator movie is everywhere, and completely overblown. I’m sure many of us have had arguments at work which we’d be embarrassed to have made public, and thank God no one was recording us. Hell, I’ve had protracted screaming and cursing fits at inanimate objects on plenty of occasions–I’m glad no one was taping last week’s rant when I accused Microsoft Excel of being completely unprofessional.  At least the lighting guy could defend himself.

100_04432Dakota Fanning was a guest on The Late Show with David Letterman tonight, discussing her new movie “Coraline”. She walked out wearing shorts and showing a lot of leg–she’s fourteen folks–and Paul and the Band played “Young Girl” as her entrance music, with no comment by anyone. “Young girl, get out of my mind, my love for you is way out of line… you better run girl–you’re much too young girl.”  There’s a largely overlooked tradition of bandleaders and ballpark organists playing songs that subtly mock the guest or opponent, because no one’s paying attention to the music.  Mr. Paul Shaffer, you are a genius.

Ms. Fanning’s latest project is playing Cherie Currie opposite Kristen Stewart’s Joan Jett in the new movie The Runaways.

george-bushchad-kroeger3It’s probably going too far to say that George Bush won’t tolerate criticism (his supporters are another matter); he simply for the most part ignores it. If he acknowledges criticism it’s most likely to respond that history will be his judge. Likewise, Nickelback can point to the charts or album sales in response to criticism of their music as juvenile and banal. Don’t believe either George Bush or Nickelback: you are totally justified in believing they suck.

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