Author Archives: cbattaglia

The first annual True North Star fake award for real music

Welcome to the first annual True North Star fake award for real music, where we celebrate some Canadian music I’ve enjoyed since I decided to create this award. First let me start by clarifying: this is not the Polaris Prize, where a bunch of music critics talk shit in gchat for months then host a gala event to which I’m never invited (jerks!).

The first annual True North Star fake award for real music is very much its own thing, embracing the same DIY spirit shared by many Canadian artists. Out of respect for their great work, I plan on donating to the charity of the award-winner’s choice using my personal credit card, and I won’t dispute the charges for an entire week.

Anyway, on to the music!

Jacques Greene – Feel Infinite

Greene has been honing his combination of UK house/garage (pronounced garridge) and R&B vocals since his first major EP release in 2010, and all that experience went into his debut album. Resting somewhere between the ambiance of a Jamie xx mix and the beats Disclosure wish they were making, Feel Infinite is an elegant and fun exploration of where the dancefloor is meeting pop music in 2017.

Curiously, Greene moved left Montreal – Canada’s electronic music mecca – to move to Toronto, where many forms of DJing are still considered witchcraft. I think this qualifies him as a trailblazer.

Project Pablo – Risk the Rip

Speaking of Montreal, Project Pablo made the move to Beaubien Ouest from Vancouver after the release of his stellar debut album in 2015, and the change of scenery appears to have emboldened his keen sense of rhythm and impeccable ear for simple, memorable melodies. Every time I play a Pablo track around people who don’t know him, they’re nodding their heads before they know it and asking me what we’re listening to. His sound is infectious, rendering listeners powerless to resist his chill vibes, and his latest EP might be his best work yet.

The highlight track is called Trash Town, which could mean his love affair with Montreal is on the wane, possibly due to all the garbage littering the potholed streets while corrupt city officials line their pockets with money meant for infrastructure upkeep and the police are… you know what? You do you, Montreal. Never change.

Marie Davidson – Adieux Au Dancefloor

Davidson’s third album positions her as a sort of francophone James Murphy, needling and prodding at the culture surrounding the dance and club music she’s been producing for years now. Speaking words over minimal techno with tongue firmly planted in cheek, Davidson displays a refreshing irreverence for the trendier European scenes like Paris and Berlin (side note: I still love you, Paris and Berlin, please let me into your cool clubs).

“I can hear you from the other continent,” Davidson teases during Good Vibes (Mocking Bird). If the other continent can’t hear her, it’s their loss.

The Courtneys – The Courtneys II

If you’re one of the many Canadians who believe music isn’t real unless there’s some sort of guitar involved, rejoice! There’s still something out there for you to enjoy in the form of Vancouver band The Courtneys, who deliver the same fun-in-the-sun lo-fi riffs and catchy choruses that we all thought went out of style a decade ago.

It’s almost impossible to separate new rock music from the nostalgia surrounding the genre’s heyday, but The Courtneys manage to keep things sounding fresh throughout their second album, which makes for a perfect road-trip listen.

Winner: Colin Stetson – All This I Do For Glory

The things Stetson does with a saxophone are unreal. He’s basically a one-man band, and he does it all with one instrument. He doesn’t even stop to breathe! I’m not sure where he sold his soul to become an otherworldly sax machine, but I would like the address if anyone has it. The first time you hear one of his tracks you might wonder who is playing drums, but that’s just him clacking the keys on the outside of his sax.

Stetson’s latest album is his most ambitious yet, playing with classical and electronic song structures and alternating between lengthy sonic journeys, uplifting interludes, and one pummelling track that sounds like it was ripped from the songbook of a metal band.

Rock on, Stetson. No one can sax like you.

Toronto loses when Wynne, Tory play politics with road tolls

Facing a growing transit deficit and a dearth of funding in Ontario’s biggest city, Toronto’s city council and the Ontario provincial government combined to deliver a solution that should satisfy nobody. Toronto mayor John Tory, who spoke out against road tolls in his days as an aspiring public servant, saw tolling two stretches of highway under city management as a way to raise some desperately needed transit funds, but Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne stepped in to override Toronto and instead offer another morsel of annual funding from the gas tax to all municipalities in the province.

It’s the kind of back-and-forth undercutting Ontario citizens have come to expect from our various levels of government. Toronto is billions behind in infrastructure improvements alone, thanks in no small part to a mayor who spent plenty of time bragging about saving billions without considering the consequences of his cutbacks, and a council that is gutless when it comes to implementing more-practical but less-popular revenue tools like taxes. The province is arguably worse off, saddled with a Liberal government that is still in power due to the incompetence of its opposition despite handling the energy file so poorly that provincial hydro bills are indistinguishable from mob-level extortion.

I don’t think Tory ever really wanted road tolls, just like I don’t believe Wynne’s concern about the finances of Ontario families. Tory’s boardroom background helped him see tolls as a way to leverage the province into giving Toronto more money, because the Liberal government is too afraid of losing votes in the Toronto suburbs next year. Sure enough, Liberal MPPs in ridings surrounding Toronto made the most noise about the potential tolls, forcing Wynne to pull the plug and spin it as a cost-of-living issue. If Wynne truly cared about that, reining in hydro bills (and giving back some of that $37 billion in overcharges) would go a lot further than quashing a small fee people would only have to pay on the Gardiner or the DVP. While many commuters use those roads on a daily basis, everyone uses electricity, and the personal financial benefits would be much more universal.

This isn’t to say that tolls and other user fees are the right way for Toronto to overcome its many financial shortfalls. Toronto is an obscenely wealthy city, in that it is home to the headquarters of many obscenely wealthy Canadian businesses and contains some of the country’s most luxurious neighbourhoods, from Forest Hill and Rosedale to the Bridle Path. Rather than tapping into that wealth, usage fees like road tolls will disproportionately affect people who live in less-affluent neighbourhoods further from downtown. And tolls don’t do much to incentivise alternative forms of transit, especially in corners of the suburbs where non-car transportation isn’t an option.

If Tory’s original toll plan seemed like a half-baked way to stir up some headlines and force the province to act, that’s because it was. If the response from Wynne’s Liberals comes off as a naked and impractical vote grab, that’s because it is. Other mayors in the province are laughing because of the extra money they will receive as a result of Tory and Wynne’s political maneuvering. Tory will likely cruise to reelection on the strength of his pragmatism being mistaken for genius following the disastrous Ford years, while Wynne and the Liberals have successfully dodged an electoral bullet the Conservatives would have probably misfired anyway in 2018.

And the only people who end up losing in all this are the citizens of Toronto. As usual.

Cody Hodgson and the Fallacy of Don Cherry

Don Cherry

Don Cherry loves good Canadian boys, especially good Ontario boys because he’s from Ontario and… it honestly doesn’t seem to go any deeper than that. Cherry routinely chides the Toronto Maple Leafs for not acquiring more local talent, and he did so again in a pair of Twitter rants about last week’s draft, where he calls professional leagues in Sweden and Switzerland “ice follies” and suggests the Leafs disappointed 40,000 kids who play in the GTHL by overlooking Ontario prospects.

But the most interesting part about Cherry’s rant isn’t what he’s saying, which is the same kind of illogical dog-whistle xenophobia he’s been pitching to ignorant hockey fans long before he started making his suits out of your grandmother’s curtains. Most Canadians are painfully familiar with his wrongheaded views about French-Canadians and European players. What made this rant truly interesting was how he avoided mentioning any draft-eligible Ontario players by name, and I think I know why.

Good Ontario boy Steven Stamkos was the consensus first-overall selection in 2008, and he has more than fulfilled expectations by maturing into one of the game’s top goal-scorers, but Cherry had his eyes on another Ontario product that year: Cody Hodgson. Granted, Cherry wasn’t the only one high on Hodgson, who was selected 10th overall by the Vancouver Canucks, but no one went as high as Cherry did when he was asked which player from the 2008 class would have the most impact.

“The guy I’m in love with is Cody Hodgson for Vancouver. Everywhere he’s been, he’s been a captain. I will say that he will be the captain of Vancouver Canucks someday. I’ve watched the kid. He’s got that I don’t know what it is about a captain, a leader. He will be the guy. Stamkos is automatic, don’t get me wrong. But Cody Hodgson, I hope to keep him. This kid’s going to be in the National Hockey League, sort of like a Steve Yzerman. I can’t say anything higher than that.”

Cherry’s effusive praise takes us on so many tangents: He’s watched the kid play! Future captain of the Canucks! YZERMAN! It wouldn’t be difficult to imagine Hodgson as some sort of hockey demigod after reading that. So, how did those lofty expectations pan out?

A nagging back injury delayed the start of Hodgson’s NHL career, but he produced 41 points in his rookie season and finished eighth in Calder voting. A trade to the Buffalo Sabres led to two more promising years and a fat contract extension (six years, $25.5 million) before his production dropped off a cliff. Buffalo bought out the final four years of Hodgson’s deal after a disastrous 2014-15 season and he only made it halfway through the season with the Nashville Predators last year before they placed him on waivers.

Predators general manager David Poile offered the most frank and damning assessment of Hodgson:

“We signed him to enhance our (offence) and it didn’t happen,” Poile said. “You look for other areas that maybe a player can help you — checking or penalty killing or some other area. Really, I think we were pretty honest with Cody and told him that he had to produce offensively, and he hasn’t.”

Poile is essentially saying Hodgson is not reliable on defense, can’t hit, and his offensive production is too inconsistent – the exact same kind of criticism Cherry leans on to stereotype Swedes and Russians. The only difference here is birthplace, which explains why Cherry has been eerily silent about Hodgson (a.k.a. the next Steve Yzerman) as unrestricted free agency approaches.

Hodgson had everything: a birth certificate with “Toronto” on it, the jawline of Liev Schreiber…

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…if only any of those things had any bearing on hockey talent or future success. Alas, they don’t, and neither does the opinion of Don Cherry.

The Only New Taxes Toronto Should Consider

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It should come as no surprise that four years of Rob Ford respecting taxpayers left Toronto in dire need of cash. The city has a massive repair backlog and a slew of unfunded infrastructure projects, including Ford’s legacy: a tiny subway extension in Scarborough with a cost eclipsing $3 billion. As much as Ford Nation wants to believe all budgetary shortfalls could be overcome with a combination of internal efficiencies, private partnerships, and shouting, more money will need to come from somewhere, and soon.

A report commissioned by the city recommends five new taxes to solve the problem. Actually, that’s four new taxes and one we already had – the vehicle registration tax – but repealed due to “war on the car” yadda yadda yadda. Along with bringing the vehicle registration tax back, the report also suggests a congestion tax for driving downtown, an alcohol tax because those fancy emulsified cocktails you’re drinking at a bar on Ossington aren’t expensive enough already, a parking tax because two vehicle-related taxes weren’t enough, and an amusement tax which I can only assume would be similar to Ticketmaster charging me an extra $5 on a $20 ticket.

But these tax ideas are boring and generic. They lack Toronto’s elusive personality and none of them hint at what makes this city such a unique place to call home. Instead, city hall should consider adopting new taxes that play to the city’s true strengths. Taxes like these:

Transit etiquette tax
Enforcing the unwritten rules of Toronto public transit will provide a steady source of revenue. TTC fare inspectors will note any passengers who make eye-contact with or attempt to speak to other passengers and bill them accordingly. Conversely, passengers who avoid all eye-contact during their journey will be eligible for a rebate.

Drake tax
Contrary to what the Toronto Raptors would have you believe, there is such a thing as too much Drizzy. This tax will apply to: adding Drake to the playlist of any bar, restaurant, or Jewish community centre; listening to Drake within earshot of six (6) or more people; and sharing Drake-based memes over Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms.

Internet tax
All residents and businesses will be charged an extra monthly fee for internet access, regardless of whether or not they have a connection or how slow and unreliable their connection is. All money collected will go to Rogers and Bell because they own all our sports teams so they kind of have us by the balls here.

Albino squirrel tax
Albino SquirrelIf Toronto ever needed a mascot, this little guy would be at the top of the list. People who frequent Trinity Bellwoods will be subject to a small fee to ensure the health and safety of everyone’s favourite anomalous rodent. Acorns will be the preferred form of payment.

PATH tax
There’s plenty to be gained by turning downtown Toronto’s underground network of food courts into a toll route for pedestrians. The only thing better than walking in circles underneath Brookfield Place for half an hour trying to find your way to Union Station is paying for the privilege.

Obvious consulting tax
Every time city staff want to commission a report by an external firm to tell them something they should already know, 100% the money budgeted for that report will instead go towards paying for things the city actually needs, like road repairs and competent city staff.

I will be forwarding my recommendations to mayor John Tory and the rest of city council once the accounting firm I’ve hired produces some unrealistically favourable revenue estimates for each of them.

The Notscars: Predicting winners that aren’t even nominated


Oscar predictions that stick to nominated films are boring. No one wants to read another forecast of a sweep by The Revenant or some contrarian making a sleeper case for Bridge of Spies. Besides, the films the Academy overlooks in each category make for a far more interesting list than the ones they spend hours honouring, as evidenced by the blinding whiteness of this year’s nominees.

None of the following films or people are nominated for these respective categories, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to win.

Best Picture

Sicario

Much like my best blockbusters of 2015 list, which was mistaken for my list of favourite films, Sicario is misunderstood. The action set-pieces are visceral enough to make viewers believe they’re the point of the film, but it’s much more than another pro-American war screed.

If anything, Denis Villeneuve’s dark tone poem about the war on drugs is an indictment of America’s militaristic foreign policy, which Sicario strongly suggests leads to an unending cycle of escalating violence and a normalization – even commodification – of said violence. The eventual rationale for all of the bloodshed in the film is akin to trying to put a genie back in a bottle by shooting the bottle (and the genie).

When Emily Blunt’s protagonist raises moral and ethical objections, she isn’t doing so as a woman out of her depth in a man’s world, but as a person with strong convictions baffled by the inhuman machinations that surround her. We should all be as concerned as her – and Sicario – about actions committed in the name of concepts like freedom and democracy.

Director

Denis Villeneuve – Sicario

The most exciting part about Villeneuve’s rise to mainstream prominence is how his distinct cinematic voice remains uncompromised. Sicario’s undercurrent of tension and dread was mapped out in his earlier work, from Polytechnique to Enemy and Prisoners.

No detail is spared pulling the viewer into a world ruled by misdirection and brutality. Take the scene where an American convoy of SUVs barrels through Juarez. You feel every bump in the road when you ride along with a Mexican police escort, you feel the anxiety when the convoy comes to a screeching halt at the wrong time, and by the time the scene is over you’re left wondering how moral complexity can feel this thrilling. If this is a land of wolves, Villeneuve is the alpha.

Actor

Idris Elba – Beasts of No Nation

I considered putting Jason Segel here because his work as David Foster Wallace in The End of the Tour deserves recognition, but #OscarsSoWhite, so I’ll go with the man who was called “too street” to be James Bond instead.

Yes, Abraham Attah gets top billing and his face on the poster for Beasts of No Nation, but the film runs on the energy of Elba’s onscreen presence. His potent combination of swagger and menace is all-consuming as cult leader and general of his child army, but he never loses sight of his character’s humanity, which makes his eventual downfall inevitable, tragic, and completely believable.

Supporting Actor

Benicio del Toro – Sicario

I could try to explain what makes this performance so timeless, but I’ll leave that to one of Benicio’s few lines from Sicario:

“You’re asking me how a watch works. For now, just keep an eye on the time.”

Actress/Supporting Actress

Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor – Tangerine

Tangerine is the most un-Hollywood film to come out of Los Angeles: a charming tale about a day in the life of two transgender prostitutes, set to trap music and shot on an iPhone. If that sounds like a complete mess to you, Rodriguez and Taylor deserve a lot of credit for grounding the film with painfully human performances that are equal parts honest and absurd, and always engaging.

Original Screenplay

Quentin Tarantino – The Hateful Eight

It’s not as though Tarantino is forging a new path with his latest film, in which he took many of the themes and ideas he has explored previously and crammed them into a cabin in a blizzard in the 19th century as part of a statement about the American dream. The Hateful Eight’s savage, lyrical dialogue works because for once Tarantino doesn’t seem like he’s trying to impress anyone (other than himself).

Adapted Screenplay

Donald Margulies – The End of the Tour

The End of the Tour is basically two writers in a car. It’s an interview at the end of a book tour. This film has no business being as poignant and touching as it is, and while a lot of that has to do with excellent performances Segel and Jesse Eisenberg, Margulies’ script captures the naturalistic flow of two articulate, flawed individuals trying to make sense of their worlds.

Documentary

Adam Curtis – Bitter Lake

Bitter Lake probably wasn’t even eligible to be nominated for an Oscar. It received no theatrical or broadcast premiere and was released exclusively online by the BBC, with no distribution or publicity outside of the UK. This is a problem, because Bitter Lake is a history lesson America desperately needs.

Taking its name from the location of the Quincy Agreement – when FDR traded security for oil with Saudi Arabia in 1945 – the archival collage documentary charts the course of Western foreign intervention (among other things) from the end of World War II to the 21st century, using Afghanistan as its fulcrum.


Bitter Lake (2015) – Adam Curtis Documentary… by forthedishwasher

Curtis has made a career out of shedding light on the hidden history of recent events, but none of his previous work feels as complete or as important as Bitter Lake. Do yourself a favour and watch it.

Foreign Film

Sebastian Schipper – Victoria

It’s easy to forget Victoria is one continuous shot over two hours long once the film sucks you into its dizzying world of Berlin nightlife and youthful overconfidence. The less said about the plot, the better. Just be ready for a trip.

The Greatest Oscar Trolls of All Time


We all love to hate the Oscars, and who can blame us? It’s an evening that combines the insider back-slapping of an awards ceremony with the suffocating cultural dominance of the Super Bowl, all glossed in a smarmy veneer of tradition and prestige. At least the Golden Globes offer the possibility of drunken celebrity antics as a distraction, but the Academy Awards are as self-serious as they are inescapable.

Despite all this hate, very few people receive that golden opportunity to share it with the world during the Academy’s special night. It’s not enough to simply be nominated or appear on stage; you have to actually win an award (or host the show) to have enough of a chance to tell everyone where they can stick their golden statuettes. Those who make it that far tend to have an affinity for the Oscars, either on merit (taste is a fickle mistress), or because they can’t ignore the career-bolstering prospects of winning one.

Unless your name is Marlon Brando, whose career needed absolutely no help when he won Best Actor for his portrayal of Vito Corleone in The Godfather. Instead of accepting the award (or even attending the ceremony), Brando sent Sacheen Littlefeather to lecture the film industry and America in general about the mistreatment of indigenous cultures. While Leonardo DiCaprio attached a similar message to the end of his Golden Globes acceptance speech for The Revenant, Brando’s grand gesture remains the gold standard of Oscar trolling.

None of these other examples reach Brando’s level, but they are all admirable efforts, each of which I will rate on a scale of 1-10 Brandos.

The Refusal Club

Brando wasn’t the only person to refuse an Oscar. He wasn’t even the first. Screenwriter Dudley Nichols refused to accept an award for writing The Informer in the 1930s in solidarity with the writers strike at the time, and George C. Scott famously refused in 1970 when he won for Patton, stating he didn’t feel he was in competition with other actors and referring to the ceremony as a “meat parade.”

Both of these refusals are admirable, but aside from the Scott’s meat parade comment, they lack the misanthropy and schadenfreude of a good troll, so I’m going to give them 5/10 Brandos.

Redgrave And The Z-word

Vanessa Redgrave got creative with her trolling when she won Best Supporting Actress in 1978, going after an issue close the heart of the film industry – the Israel/Palestine conflict – rather than the film industry itself. Redgrave’s open support of Palestinian rights put her at odds with many of her peers, and her nomination for a film that had nothing to do with the Middle East drew loud protests from the Jewish Defense League.

Redgrave was the first Oscar winner of the night. Apparently, she thought putting all her opponents on blast would set the right tone for the rest of the ceremony.

The highlight of Redgrave’s rant is the incendiary “Zionist hoodlums” remark, which is the kind of easy-bake troll phrase that would inspire millions of angry tweets if someone said it this Sunday. Regardless of whether or not you agree with Redgrave’s politics, getting up and saying those words in front of that audience takes some serious lady-balls, which is why I give this 8/10 Brandos.

Franco Phones It In

The Oscars are about as cool as Hillary Clinton, but they’re always finding convenient ways to ignore how hopelessly out-of-touch they are with young people. The Academy ignored the issue again in 2011 by picking two youthful actors out of a hat, selecting James Franco and Anne Hathaway as hosts and setting the stage for what can only be described as a high-art performance of longform Oscar trolling by Franco.

There’s no point of comparison for Franco’s career trajectory, aside from maybe a drunken sparrow with a clipped wing. His acting resume his filled with indie detours and vanity projects, and the list of colleges he has attended rivals his blockbuster filmography. Every time Franco is on the cusp of superstardom, he sidesteps it in a way that seems incredibly ill-advised, but follows its own internal logic. He’s basically a film industry Kanye West, only he gets more leeway because he’s white.

Franco entered the 2011 the Oscars as host and a nominee for Best Actor, with his starring role in that summer’s Planet of the Apes reboot looming on the horizon. Everything was looking up, which made it the perfect time for Franco to tear it all down and deliver a dismissive middle finger to those in the industry who saw him as the next mindless rom-com heartthrob or superhero action figure stand-in.

Or maybe he was really stoned. We’ll never know.

It’s not that Franco didn’t want to be there so much as he just wasn’t there at all. His demeanour suggests someone whose focus was far away from the teleprompter, or Los Angeles county for that matter. Franco mumbles while looking at his shoes, steps on punchlines, and glances around with a facial expression that’s equal parts bemused, bored, and blissful, all while Hathaway flails around in a desperate attempt to counter his apathy.

Refusing the hosting gig would have simply left the spot open for a young celebrity likely eager to make a good impression, but ostensibly buying into the Academy’s cynical appeal to coolness allowed Franco to sabotage the awards from the inside by becoming the living embodiment of dead air and leaving a massive hole in the proceedings when they needed him most.

9.5/10 Brandos.

The U.S. Presidential Campaign Needs More Candidate/Rapper Pairings Like Bernie Sanders and Killer Mike


My Canadian heritage has never prevented me from appreciating the spectacle of an American presidential campaign. Big money, bigger rhetoric, and very little concern for reality ensures a fresh sideshow south of the border every four years and I’m not one to turn down free entertainment.

Like any big American production, presidential campaigns can’t resist using celebrity cameos to generate interest among a wider audience. Think about it: nobody remembers anything about the 2012 Republican National Convention aside from that bit where Clint Eastwood mistook a chair for the president. 2016 is no different, with Bernie Sanders gaining the vocal support of Killer Mike – best known as one half of hip hop wrecking crew Run The Jewels.

Killer Mike is no stranger to political statements…

…but his involvement in Sanders’ campaign goes beyond any lyrical namedrop. Killer Mike has a six-part interview with Sanders on his YouTube channel and he spoke on the senator’s behalf after a Democratic party debate, marking the only time in history the spin room has ever been enjoyable.

If Sanders gains enough support to challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, it could (and should) send other candidates rushing to find their own hip hop sidekicks. I have no clue who each candidate would select, but I have a few ideas (Kendrick Lamar is disqualified because he is too tight with Obama to rep for anyone else):

Hillary Clinton / Nicki Minaj


Minaj and Clinton are two women trying to carve out a place at the top of their male-dominated fields (rapping and being president, respectively). That might be all they have in common, and Minaj isn’t quite on Team Clinton yet, but that’s nothing a little face-time and an undisclosed campaign consultant fee couldn’t fix. Forget Clinton and Sanders, the people want to see a debate (read: rap battle) between Minaj and Killer Mike.

Martin O’Malley / Meek Mill


Mill would be the perfect face for whining about how O’Malley isn’t getting enough attention. Maybe he could respond with a dis track on a mixtape released months too late to have any impact. Maybe both of these guys should stop picking fights outside their weight classes if they want to stop being pummeled. Just a thought.

Donald Trump / Watch The Throne


Watch The Throne is the ultimate luxury-rap album, and Trump could decorate his most ostentatious mansion with Kanye’s tweets about Persian rugs and Jay Z’s lyrics about art auctions. On this front, Watch The Throne seems like the ideal pairing for Trump and his epic comb-over. You’ll need to ignore all the divisive, xenophobic garbage Trump spews every time he opens his mouth, so just try to stay focused on the money.

Also, Trump’s brand of combination spray tan and hair dye comes pretty close to matching this album art:

Ted Cruz / Drake


The Canadian connection! Cruz will tap into Drake’s appeal in the American heartland and Drake will do the Hotline Bling dance at the 2016 RNC.

imgur.com


How could anyone say no to this?

Marco Rubio / Macklemore


I’m not sure why, but Rubio strikes me as the kind of candidate who would rap about mopeds if given the chance.

Ben Carson / Wu-Tang Clan


According to Carson, he was one of the founding members of the Wu-Tang Clan. He also beat the Russians into space and punched Godzilla back into the Pacific with his bare hands. Wu-Tang!

Welcome to High Parkdale

Today marks the release of the first of what I hope will be many journeys into the world of High Parkdale. This animated series has been in one stage of development or another for the better part of a decade, and it’s thrilling to finally have something to show for all those times people looked at me funny when I told them some friends and I were making a cartoon.

“Vintage Yard Sale” is a short scene with a limited scope and some rough edges, but it works as an introduction to these characters and their world. From the YouTube description:

Harry, Hamza, Elmore and Benny try to raise money by having a yard sale in their gentrified neighbourhood. Harry takes issue with the sale’s location and insists on using the proceeds for something responsible, but Hamza has his mind set on swindling neighbourhood newcomers out of enough money to purchase some brand-name accessories.

5 Hilarious Logos That Prove ECHL Teams Give No Fucks

The ECHL is the third tier of professional hockey in North America. It’s basically one step above that beer league at your local arena and franchises move or fold so often that one somehow ended up in Alaska despite the first two letters of the league’s acronym standing for “East Coast.” The loose, low-stakes nature of the ECHL is evident in everything from its pre-game ceremonies to these five team logos, which show how hilarious hockey teams can be when they give no fucks:

Evansville Icemen


This guy is stuck somewhere between a villain from that ‘90s Batman cartoon and a Wampa. If you thought hockey equipment smelled bad under a jersey, you definitely don’t want to get a whiff of the inside of that parka.

Florida Everblades


I think the alligator is supposed to double as a skate boot, which would be difficult to pull off, as anyone with experience wearing alligators will tell you.

Greenville Swamp Rabbits


The alternate version of this logo looks like Bugs Bunny’s half-brother Brett, who found his calling in competitive sports instead of smooth talking and carrot thieving. And I have no idea what’s going on with his stick.

Missouri Mavericks


This is all wrong. Why is the Disney horse so upset? And who thought it would be a good idea to give it skates and a stick? Horses + ice = bad news. It’s basic math, Missouri.

Orlando Solar Bears


Global warming never seemed so cool, even if the energy requirement for making ice in Orlando is part of the problem. At least now we know where the Coca-Cola bear spends his offseason.