"I think that the closer you are to a flame and the more you see people getting burned, the funnier you get, if you’re at all human."

If you were a fan of The Wire — and if you weren’t, you should probably just stop talking to me now — Vice Magazine has a very long, very interesting interview with David Simon, the show’s creator. It takes a while to get through, but it’s excellent. Simon sees the hypocrisy and senses the frustration around him with great clarity, so you’ll get to read things like this:

“There’s not a lot else that can produce mass wealth with the dexterity that capitalism can. But to mistake it for a social framework is an incredible intellectual corruption and it’s one that the West has accepted as a given since 1980—since Reagan.”

And this:

“What do they think group insurance is, other than socialism? Just the idea of buying group insurance! If socialism is a taint that you cannot abide by, then, goddamn it, you shouldn’t be in any group insurance policy. You should just go out and pay the fucking doctors because when you get 100,000 people together as part of anything, from a union to the AARP, and you say, ‘Because we have this group actuarially, more of us are going to be healthier than not and therefore we’ll be able to carry forward the idea of group insurance and everybody will have an affordable plan…’ That’s fucking socialism. That’s nothing but socialism.”

Just be warned, though: if you haven’t watched the entire series yet, there are spoilers aplenty.

"Because, brother, when you were good, you were the best we had."

The Wire is dead. Long live The Wire.

I agree with the critics who say it was the best show on television during its run. Each of the first four seasons was the best show I’ve seen related to whatever topic they were portraying that year: police, blue collar workers, politics, schools.

If you haven’t watched it, I beg you to go rent season 1; by the time you finish watching season 4 the final season should be available on DVD.


So while my toe does appear to be broken — or at least really badly sprained, ’cause it’s the color of an angry plum right now — it’s more or less stopped hurting. I might actually try running on it tomorrow or Wednesday if I can get it into my new shoes without hurting.


If you have ten minutes and thirty-five seconds to spare, I recommend downloading and listening to “Ghost Blues” by Ladyhawk.

[tags]the wire, broken toe, saucony running shoes, ladyhawk, ghost blues[/tags]

Banality, thy name is blog

I have absolutely nothing interesting to say. Haven’t looked up from work long enough to do anything, let alone read anything. Last night I did work while I watched the hockey game, and stopped long enough to watch the latest episode of The Wire (which, by the way, holy crapmonkey!) and then go to sleep. Gonna be the same tomorrow.

Heeeeeeeere Friday Friday Friday…C’mere boy.

[tags]the wire[/tags]

In which my sinuses resume negotiations with my brain

I’m starting to feel ever-so-slightly better. I went to work today but I was still in pretty bad shape and my boss sent me home. I was about to enter a meeting room full of executives and had I gotten them all sick I would’ve been personally responsible for at least $0.50 off our stock price. Nobody wants that.

Tonight rather than doing work (did that already), doing schoolwork (nothing to do until the 27th) or watching a movie (Nellie’s not in the mood) I think I’m just going to…wait for it…read a book. Like, a book book. Not a textbook. I’ve been reading Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine since September but [overshare] the only time I really have in which to read it is when I’m on the can [/overshare] so it’ll be nice to just sit quietly and read a book…on a couch.


We watched episode 3 of The Wire last night. Every episode is producing classic moments (e.g., the look Bunk gave Fremon last night) and the tension took a big jump last night at the end of the episode, so I just can’t wait for what’s coming. Seven more episodes just doesn’t seem like enough to pack it all in.

[tags]the shock doctrine, the wire[/tags]

"I left my thimbles and socialist reading material at home."


Wow, three days without blogging. That’s probably a record. I can explain: busy Friday, busy Saturday and today I feel like ass.

Friday I was at work until about 7:30, and by the time I got home all I really had the energy to do was eat and watch Friday Night Lights and The Wire.

Yesterday we intended to see There Will Be Blood but when we got to the theatre we found that the new Eye Weekly film listings had lied to us. No wonder Torontoist hates them. No other showtimes worked so we had one last meal at the Biryani House in Roy’s Square. It’s closing in two weeks (moving just around the corner onto Hayden Street) to make room for 1Bloor. Mmmmm…samosas and pakoras and shrimp masala…tasty. After lunch we walked back down Church street, cleaned up a little and waited for CBGB to arrive. They joined us for dinner and a couple of tasty drinks at Smokeless Joe (hence the picture above), then back at ours for a bit.

All was going well until I woke up this morning stuffed up, with a sore throat and a pounding sinus headache. Last night I had nothing; by this morning I was deep in the throes of a cold. Shitty. I feel very unpleasant right now. As such we did next to nothing all day; I have no energy. My day has been limited to lots of basketball, football and movies.


The first movie we watched today was Stranger Than Fiction (imdb | rotten tomatoes) which, based on the ads, I’d all but dismissed as typical Will Ferrell clowning. It was, in fact, very funny, clever and sweet. Ferrell is so good at the subtle humour he showed here and in Winter Passing that it kills me to see the ads for crap like Semi-Pro. A few times in this movie I laughed out loud, and I rarely laugh at Will Ferrell movies.

We also watched Marie Antoinette (imdb | rotten tomatoes) this evening. The first half was interesting, but it completely lost steam in the second half. It was like watching a dessert cart being paraded around…it looks lovely and inspired at first, but after you stare at the same sweets for two hours it loses something. I didn’t think I’d enjoy it that much to begin with; Sofia Coppola had me in the first half, but lost me again in the second.

I forgot to blog last week about Italianetz (imdb | rotten tomatoes), yet another foreign entry at a past film festival that I wanted to see. The story was about a Russian boy set to be adopted from an orphanage by an Italian couple (hence the title) but who worries that he has a mother somewhere that, should he go to live with another couple, he’ll never see again. The plot takes him on his search for her, but the real star was Russia itself: a dirty, drunken, stormy, barren, corrupt plain of despair…that one little boy refuses to give up on. Worth watching, if you can tolerate the dodgy subtitle translations.

[tags]friday night lights, the wire, there will be blood, eye weekly, torontoist, biryani house, 1bloor, smokeless joe, stranger than fiction, marie antoinette, italianetz[/tags]

"No one wins. One side just loses more slowly."

There was a great article about the upcoming final season of The Wire in last Saturday’s Wall Street Journal. It talks about th…wait, where?

In the post-“Sopranos” world, “The Wire” is more central to HBO’s strategy than in years past. The network’s looking to the series to retain subscribers at a time when many in the industry say it’s on shaky ground. In many ways “The Wire” is HBO’s closest cousin to “The Sopranos” — they’re both gritty dramas and they’re loved by critics. (Slate’s Jacob Weisberg has called “The Wire” “the best TV ever broadcast in America.”) It doesn’t hurt that the season will be premiering in early January, against other lineups weakened by the writers’ strike — much of what’s being scheduled is reality television and reruns. “The stakes are higher this time,” says Brad Adgate, a media analyst with ad-buying agency Horizon Media. “The golden age of HBO is over, back when they had ‘Sex and the City,’ ‘Six Feet Under’ and ‘The Sopranos.’ ”

Named for the wiretap that a special police unit uses to listen in on members of a Baltimore drug ring, the show’s title doubles as a metaphor for viewers’ experience of listening in on worlds they’re not usually privy to. When the show first aired in 2002, it focused on a police investigation. In the four subsequent seasons, the program’s scope has spiraled out to include the stevedores’ union, local politics, the school system and the media — in short, it’s a portrait of a struggling American city.

I can’t say it often enough: if you’re not watching this show, start. What with the writer’s strike right now, there’s no better time to pick up the best show on TV today.

[tags]the wire, wall street journal[/tags]


Here I thought taking some time away from the MBA would be nice and relaxing, but with work being what it is and with Christmas just around the corner, it’s still loopy. Still, anything’s better than reading about the effect of tax shields on corporate financing decisions.


Do you love yourself? Do you love good music?

If you answered yes to both of those, then ask yourself this: have you listened to Spoon‘s Kill The Moonlight? If you haven’t, then you were probably mistaken about the first two questions. Really, it’s one of the best collections of music I’ve ever heard. If you haven’t heard it, I can’t really give you a good reference point for comparison, even if you’ve heard other Spoon albums. Just do yourself a favour: go download it. At first you’ll only like one or two songs, but soon they’ll all grow on you.


I have signed up for The Movie Network and am planning to cancel my Zip account. It’s just not cost effective; I’m paying $15/month and not watching any movies. TMN, on the other hand, gives me a lot more immediate variety (as opposed to variety that I have to order) and access to TV shows that we want to see in real-time like The Wire and Dexter. Some day — like when the MBA is finished — we may go back to Zip, but for now it’s going bye-bye.

[tags]spoon, kill the moonlight, tmn, zip.ca, the wire, dexter[/tags]

Is it spring yet? How 'bout now? How 'bout now?

January’s gonna be a big month for me, TV-wise. Two of the best shows on the air — The Wire and Battlestar Galactica — start their final seasons.


Tonight was a welcome break from schoolwork…a night off to just relax, watch hockey and not think about school. It’s short-lived, though: I have an assignment due Monday which I’ve not started yet, so the next five days will be spent in a finance textbook.


I’m enjoying Brijit, a handy new service that summarizes recent magazine content in 100 words or less, and assigns a rating (though they they arrive at their ratings I’m not sure).


Because we can’t help ourselves and we can’t wait to go back (and also because some things require booking way in advance) we’ve already begun planning our Rockies trip in the spring. I bought a book about the interior of BC the other day; I think, after a few days in Yoho (hiking the Lake O’Hara region again) we’re going to drive to Whistler, and then on to Vancouver. I want to go NOOOOWWWWWWW!!!!

[tags]the wire, battlestar galactica, brijit, rockies, yoho, lake ohara, whistler, vancouver[/tags]