Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Metrosexuals officially banished

This post is dedicated to Scott, who's been checking this page all day fruitlessly looking for updates, and who's instead been forced to endure my particular style of entertainment straight from the source, since I'm at his house.

Since 1976, Lake Superior State University's Banished Words List has been singling out words and phrases for being misused, overused, or just plain useless. I take particular interest in this list, since I'm the guy who got "killer app" banished back in 2002. (Surprisingly, this landed me in a Canadian Press story that ran on page 3 of the Ottawa Sun and in other papers nationwide. Now that I mention it, here's a site I just found that points out that I hate "diva" and fashionista" too. I didn't even know that was on the net).

Anyway, the list for 2004 is out, and "metrosexual" has been singled out as as the linguistic offender most notable for having been (in a phrase that surprisingly has yet to be banished) voted off the island. Also gone: "bling-bling", "punk'd", and "sweat like a pig".

Another notable target feeling the wrath of voters: "LOL". I'm happy to see this one banished, since it's certainly overused. Any time I play online poker, I notice one or two people who abuse the chat function by including "LOL" after every single sentence they type, as though they're constantly howling with laughter at their own wit. Even if they were being this hilarious, surely it's better form to simply raise an eyebrow like Oscar Wilde (or Mr. Spock) might have. There's even a well-known emoticon for this ( ;) ) and much as I abhor emoticons and think they ought to be banished entirely, people ought to at least get their irritating Internet abbreviations straight.

"Are you really laughing out loud?" I demand of these people. "Are the braying jackass sounds of merriment actually emanating from your mouth and throat right now?"

"lighten up LOL," they type back.

Whatever. Anyway, I'm serving notice right now that I'm going to get "offline" banished in next year's list. Not in computer contexts, mind you. That's fine. I'm talking about its use as a corporate cliche, like when you're in some big meeting, and someone asks something, and the boss responds, "Good question. I'll talk to you about that offline."

You're not online! What are you, a modem? Why not try "in private"? Or how about "later"? I'd even prefer "when the rest of these jerks aren't around." The use of "offline" in this sense reminds me of this idiot boss I used to have who referred to arming the security system as "downloading" the security system. It's wrong, it's idiotic, and pending approval by the bigwig linguists at LSSU, it's absolutely prohibited from now on.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Home Improvement's Wilson dead at 61

Actor Earl Hindman, best known for playing a neighbour who dispensed folksy wisdom to Tim Allen from behind a fence that obscured his face on the television show Home Improvement, died of lung cancer Monday. He was 61.

Funeral services will include an open casket ceremony. However, the casket will be open only enough to reveal the forehead, eyes, and bridge of his nose.

(Take another look at Hindman's IMDb profile. I like the fact that it has that "No Photo Submitted" graphic in lieu of a headshot.)

Monday, December 29, 2003

My holiday, in quotes

Thanks to Scott for the update, which pretty much sums everything up. I'm hampered by one of the world's slowest internet connections, which has kind of limited my updates (my paying attention to my family has contributed to this too). But here are a few statements and exchanges that stick out at me so far:

My mom [flipping stations]: Hey, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is on!
Me: I'm not watching Chitty Chitty Ga-- [cuts self off suddenly].
My mom: [snicker]


My mom: ... and what's worse than those energy-saver shower heads are the low-flow toilets. If you take a healthy dump, forget about it!
My stepdad: They're okay, if you stick a couple of bricks in the tank.
Me: Or you could hide a handgun in a Ziploc bag in there.
My mom [as though pointing out the patently obvious to a simpleton]: Everyone hides their gun in the toilet, Peter.


My mom [to my stepfather]: You're drooling on my couch. [raising voice to deliberately annoying level] Go to bed! Go to bed! Go to bed! Go to bed! Go to bed! Go to bed!


My mom [in lamenting tone]: I've spent my whole life telling someone to go to bed.


Me: You know, Sara, there's a whole gay neighbourhood in Toronto.
My eight-year-old niece, Sara [shocked]: Oh! That's bad! It's like [miming waving] "Hello, gay!" "Hello, gay!" "Hello, gay!" "Are you a lesbian?" "No, I'm a gay!" "Well, hello, gay!"

Holiday Update

Since Peter's on holidays, I'll throw in a little update in his absence:

Ummm... I rode the bus today. Some of the other people on the bus had unusual mannerisms. One lady kept looking at me.

I got some junk mail today. They spelt my name wrong. What made them think I wanted to buy a plot at a graveyard anyway?

I got mad at something I saw on television today. Some of the television shows that I watch aren't very good. A lot of them claim to be funny when they aren't.

I noticed a little something about the holiday season today. Lots of people really enjoy it. Then there are some others that don't like it at all.

Friday, December 19, 2003

This is your Ruddy Ruddy on drugs

Another quick update can be found here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

The gorgeous, flowing locks of Ruddy Ruddy

There's a new Ruddy Ruddy update here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Hey kid! Stop all the downloadin'!

Well, turn out the lights -- the party's over. We Canadians are getting nailed with a one-two punch aimed at halting music downloading (even though it's actually been deemed legal). As if it weren't bad enough that Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger get a chunk of your hard-earned money every time you buy a spindle of CDs through previously existing levies paid to SOCAN and distributed to Canadian artists, the government is slapping a hefty extra levy on recordable media, including MP3 players.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Recording Industry Association is getting ready to slap file sharers with lawsuits. Since leeching has been judged fair, they're targeting only uploaders, proving just in time for the holiday season that it isn't better to give than to receive after all.

My suggestion? Snatch up your new iPod before the price goes up by a cool 25 big ones. (Plus, the dollar's high right now, so it might not be a bad idea to do a little consumer spending.) And buy up a few spindles of CDs and go on a downloading frenzy of all the music you've ever wanted. It's not that it'll be illegal later; it's just that access to it might dry up with all the file-sharers getting run off the P2P networks. (It doesn't help that Kazaa Lite has been shut down either; former users are eventually going to have to deal with all the adware and spyware in the original version or just go elsewhere. One suspects this will hurt Kazaa more than they'd expected, since they may well lose the critical mass of users that made the whole enterprise worthwhile.)

Meanwhile, here's a song you can download, even though it tells you not to. Yeah, that's right -- somebody's mixed up a funky techno song based on Fensler Films' "I'm a computer!" G.I. Joe PSA.

And in related and even better news, I stumbled across a G.I. Joe PSA that I'd never seen before, and it's actually one of the better ones, if a little derivative of some of my other favorites. On the other hand, it offers some incisive commentary on the recent developments when it comes to file sharing, and I think Deep Six says it best: "What? You kids are fuckin' done!"

Monday, December 15, 2003

The music world is very good to me

The music world is very good to me, or at least is. They're telling me just about everything I want to hear Check out these headlines, which appeared pretty much all at once. Any one of them would be good news, but all of them together ... well, that's very good news indeed.

Morrissey Signs To Sanctuary

Wilco Wraps Up Yankee Hotel Followup For Spring Release

Pixies To Open For Red Hot Chili Peppers Next Summer?

Friday, December 12, 2003

One-Man Acoustical Jam

If anyone's wondering what to get me this Christmas, look no further; I want one of these. Cell phone jammers are already being used in theatres and hospitals to prevent inappropriate public yammering, and Canada is considering legalizing their use domestically.

Cell phone users have objected that they need their phones in case of emergencies, but let's get real -- we've gotten through emergencies for years without them. Not only that, but they can cause emergencies in hospitals, where their signals can interfere with medical equipment. As for theatres, if you're worried about an emergency, you can just leave the theatre's phone number and have the management page you if disaster strikes. Or you could just stay home. (That might not be a bad idea anyway, since disaster may well strike in the theatre itself.)

Of course, what I'd do with this thing is simply keep it in my pocket -- and they do make them pocket-sized -- until someone got particularly obnoxious and inconsiderate with his phone -- say, while sitting in a movie or a library or behind the wheel of a speeding car. Then, with a touch of a button, they'd suddenly get a bad signal.

This is possibly the most useful piece of "jamming"-type equipment for boomeranging offensive behavior back onto the culprit since "Rugged" Ronnie Garvin's "Hammer Jammer" shin guard, which was used to counteract Greg "The Hammer" Valentine's figure four leglock. That one, by the way, has been on my Christmas list since 1990.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Ruddy Ruddy doesn't live here anymore

Bad news: Ruddy Ruddy updates won't be appearing on this weblog anymore.

That's because of the good news: He's moving out on his own to his very own home on the Web. By popular demand (that is, Scott demanded it, and he's popular), I've started Ruddy Inc., a spinoff blog that will be your one-stop shop for all the Ruddy Ruddy-related news fit to print. It should be easier to keep track of when it's all in one place.

Remember this address: Or just click on the link to the right. Or, since I'll be letting you know on this blog when I update the other one, click on the link I provide then. Yeah, I sort of lied when I said that there won't be any Ruddy Ruddy updates on this blog anymore. But only little tiny ones.

Ruddy Inc. Part II

Just as I predicted would happen based on the invoice in the last package, Natural Resources Canada sent another piece of mail to Ruddy Ruddy: a huge manila envelope containing five copies of a kit titled "Climate Change: Are You Doing Your Bit?" The contents are:

- A letter from Minister of the Environment David Anderson and Minister of Natural Resources Herb Dhaliwal explaining that climate change has been called the most significant environmental issue that the world has ever faced.
- Fact sheets on climate change explaining its effect on Canada and the World, its "potential to have serious impacts [sic] on your health, and the science behind it. This information appears in virtually identical form online here, here, and here.
- An energy efficiency publications order form.
- A Car Economy Calculator and log that actually looks kind of practical.
- newsletter called "Think Climate: Change", which appears online here.
- A pamphlet called "Idling Is Killing Our Environment"

"Sending out all this junk mail is killing the environment," my housemate Shanel pointed out as we opened up the package together. "Sending five information kits to one person is killing the environment." I waited to see if she would fall silent and let a single tear fall down her cheek, since she is, after all, Native American. However, she merely continued, "But I guess since they think you're a company, you'll just give these to your employees."

That leads me to an announcement: Ruddy Inc. is now hiring. Applicants are asked to please e-mail resumes to

Apparently, the Rt. Hon. Mr. Dhaliwal must have passed along my address to the Rt. Hon. Mr. Anderson when they sat down together to write their letter to me, because Environment Canada also sent a package. That makes not one, but two government ministries that acknowledge Ruddy Ruddy as a solid, upstanding citizen of Canada. However, where Natural Resources Canada has addressed the mail to "Ruddy Inc.", Environment Canada just sent it to plain old Ruddy Ruddy.

Inside is something every Canadian knows, loves, and was bored insensate by as a child: Hinterland Who's Who. For the last 40 years, these educational vignettes have taught us about the little critters of our home and native land while demonstrating Einsteinian relativity by managing to make a 60-second television spot seem like an hour, all to a hauntingly familiar flute tune. While the big manila envelope doesn't actually contain the commercials, it does contain fact sheets on the American robin, bats, the Eastern grey squirrel, the great blue heron, the great horned owl, the herring gull, the raccoon, the ring-billed gull, the striped skunk, and the woodchuck.

And you know what? Now that it's not keeping me from watching Spiderman and Rocket Robin Hood, and now that I'm able to read it in pamphlet form while sitting on the can, Hinterland Who's Who is actually pretty interesting. For instance:

Skunks seem to be aware of the repulsiveness of their own odour and avoid scenting on themselves. They therefore avoid musking in confined spaces, and their dens have little of the skunk odour about them. Skunks may be carried in a burlap bag or a covered live trap, as long as they are not bumped or badly frightened.

Wow! Not only has Hinterland Who's Who taught me how to carry a skunk (and you never know when you might need to use that skill), but it's also taught me a little about its psychology -- namely, that the skunk is a particularly self-conscious animal. He knows he stinks, but he really tries hard to not stink so much. It almost makes me feel sorry enough for the little guy to not stuff him into a burlap bag and lug him around.

Once again, a useful service has been rendered to me by the government of Canada, and I'm happy to pay my taxes.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Ruddy Inc.

The comeback of Ruddy Ruddy continues with the arrival of the best-ever piece of mail. I arrived home today to find a manila envelope from Natural Resources Canada addressed to "Ruddy Inc."!

After making sure it wasn't from the Department of Justice (which might have been a bad thing), I was pretty pleased to see it, and I couldn't wait to get it open. Inside: five fact sheets on Climate Change in Ontario, each exhorting me to visit the Government of Canada climate change Web site. Information in the fact sheets is derived from "Weathering the Changes: Climate Change in Ontario", which can be viewed online here.

According to the sheet, one of the things I can do to help reduce the amount of energy I use at home and help reduced greenhouse gas emissions is to install a low-flow showerhead. Coincidentally, I'm actually having a new showerhead installed at this very moment, so the government is amazingly on top of things by sending this little reminder to me. This is why I pay taxes.

Another intriguing inclusion is the packing slip from St. Joseph Digital Solutions, which indicates that Julie Labonte from Natural Resources Canada sent this package to Ruddy Inc.; gives invoice, purchase order, and client numbers; and features the following items:

Catalogue No. and Description.................................Quantity.............Code
CLIMATE CHANGE IN ONTARIO (GOVERNMENT)................5.....................00...
CLIMATE CHANGE ARE YOU DOING BIT? (KIT)...................5.....................01...

Consulting the legend, one can see that "00" is the code for "Item shipped" and "01" is the code for "Back order, item to follow."

So, this intriguing piece of mail leads me to the following conclusions:

1. The government of Canada officially recognizes Ruddy Ruddy. Let me put that in capital letters: The Government of Canada. That means, in theory, the Prime Minister and the Queen.
2. Somehow, Ruddy Ruddy actually appears to have gotten incorporated. If so, that actually makes Ruddy Inc. a legal entity.
3. For the first time, someone's actually dared to sign her name to the junk mail sent to Ruddy Ruddy. I could actually call her up and get to the bottom of this.
4. It looks like I'm going to be getting more mail from Natural Resources Canada. It looks like five kits of some kind.
5. I have no idea how this might have happened, since you wouldn't think that the government would be buying up lists of names from bulk mailers. But it's pretty cool.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Best "New" Artist

The Grammys have no credibility -- everyone knows that. Any shred of credibility they might have had left after they finally got around to establishing an award for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance in time for the 1988 ceremonies (only about two decades after the genre was invented), only to give it to Jethro Tull over Metallica was surely stripped away by the controversy when Milli Vanilli won the award for Best New Artist a year later. I think we can all agree that one was a disgrace.

But it's not the fact that Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan didn't sing their own songs that makes it so shameful that the Recording Academy gave them the award. After all, who could have known? It's the fact that they were given the Best New Artist Grammy for their second album that makes a mockery out of the Grammys.

And they do this all the time. Just this year, Fountains of Wayne is nominated for the Best New Artist award, based largely on the success of their perfect power pop single "Stacey's Mom", which is catchier than the common cold. Much as I like Fountains of Wayne, Welcome Interstate Managers is their third album, so I can't justify their getting this award.

And you'll recall that Kid Rock was nominated for the 1999 award, despite the fact that he was on his fourth album and, in fact, had even released his debut album on a major label ten years earlier, before getting dumped.

Looking back at some of the other winners of the Best New Artist award:

- Shelby Lynne won the 2000 award, despite having released a whopping six albums to date. In fact, the album for which she won the award, I Am Shelby Lynne, was her comeback album after she got annoyed with the record industry and disappeared for half a decade.

- Lauryn Hill won the 1998 award on the strength of her solo debut, though she had already released two other albums as a member of the Fugees. That's kind of like if David Lee Roth had won the award in 1985 after leaving Van Halen.

- Paula Cole won the 1997 award even though she was on her second album. It's just that nobody heard of her until "I Don't Want to Wait" became the theme to Dawson's Creek.

- Jody Watley won the 1987 award after releasing her debut solo album, but she was a member of Shalamar from 1977 to 1984. Interestingly, Shalamar won a Grammy award in 1985 for "Don't Get Stopped in Beverly Hills," which was featured in Beverly Hills Cop. So that puts Jody Watley in the odd position of winning her Best New Artist Grammy after leaving a successful group who, by the time she won her award, had already won one of their own with a lineup featuring her replacement. However, Watley did, at least, make film history of her own by introducing the phrase "Hasta la vista, baby" to the world in her song "Looking for a New Love".

- Bob Newhart won the 1960 award for The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart. There's no real controversy here, I suppose, since it was his debut, and it was a smash hit. It's just really weird that the very first Best New Artist Grammy was won on the basis of a spoken-word comedy album.

In the interests of accuracy, the Recording Academy really needs to change the name of the Best New Artist award to something more fitting, such as the Best Artist That We Haven't Noticed Until Just Now award. Or, considering the subsequent career death of many previous winners (see the aforementioned Shelby Lynne and Lauryn Hill, as well as Hootie & the Blowfish, Marc Cohn, Arrested Development, the Starland Vocal Band, and Christopher Cross), the One-Hit Wonder award.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

But who I really wanted to vote for were Slik Toxik

Because Sofi is "the bee's knees", I like to help her out any way I can. So, I thought I'd use my limited bully pulpit to repeat a request she posted in the comments for an earlier post. Says Sofi:

"Everyone should go here: and sign up to take the poll and overthrow the legions of 14-year-old girls who will vote Avril and Raine and Nickelback the best of the year. Again."

To make it even easier for you, here's a more precise link. Now, go! Help Sofi out with this. She's got a good point, and she's a good girl, and she does nice things for you all the time. Don't be an ingrate.

One quibble with the poll, though: Mitsou is, and forever will be, the Sexiest Canadian Woman ever to be involved in the music recording industry, so she really should have been listed as a choice in that category. I mean, mon dieu, ce qui un travesty de la justice!

Friday, December 05, 2003

Ruddy Ruddy lives!

In the spirit of Space Moose, old Ruddy Ruddy has made a welcome return. When last we looked in upon the little fella, things weren't looking so good. It had been about a month since the last bit of junk mail had been sent to him, and the current one was just a bill attempting to extract payment for the Harlequin books nobody ever ordered. The future looked like it might bring another bill or two before those negative-billing lowlifes finally gave up, but it didn't look like any new business would be arriving on Ruddy Ruddy's doorstep.

Happily, at least one company seems to regard Ruddy Ruddy as alive and well, one we haven't heard from before, which would seem to mean that the name is still being enthusiastically bought and sold by direct mailers. Not content to merely throw the weight of their opinion behind the "Ruddy Ruddy is a girl" theory, Physique has further refined this theory to "Ruddy Ruddy is a girl with lustrous, curly hair." And they've sent samples of curl-defining spiral shampoo and spiral conditioner to back up their argument. Thanks, Physique!

Back to the negative billing thing for a second: It would seem that, in the good old US, at least, you're completely free to keep anything that a direct mailer sends you and you can just ignore the bill. The Maine Consumer Law Guide says:

Both Federal and Maine law prohibit anyone who sends you merchandise you did not order from billing you for it or from pressuring you to return it. By law, you may keep the merchandise and consider it a gift. Of course, if the merchandise is delivered to you by mistake, instead of to the person named on the address, you cannot keep it. Specifically, Maine law states:

Where unsolicited merchandise is delivered to a person for whom it is intended, such person has a right to refuse to accept delivery of this merchandise or he may deem it to be a gift and use it or dispose of it in any manner without any obligation to the sender.

So here's the question: What if the person named on the address is just you under a pseudonym? Can you keep it?

"Haw haw! Suck my mom's tits, buddy!"

It was a sad, sad day when Adam Thrasher laid down his pen and stopped updating his website with the comic adventures of Space Moose. It was even sadder when the website finally went offline, and miscreants such as I could no longer while away the hours trolling through the archives. But good news is at hand: A mirror of the old Space Moose homepage is now online. Though it's now attributed to one Mustafa Al-Habib, curiously enough (perhaps Thrasher's deliberately trying to gain the attention of anti-terrorist authorities or something; it wouldn't seem to be out of character), they're the same old strips and they're just as great as ever.

Keep in mind, this is offensive humour. Space Moose was pure, unbridled id, the sort who would anally rape his friends without malice. It's not the Family Circus. It's not even the Dysfunctional Family Circus. (Man, the Web was a great place to offend and be offended back in the late 90s. I still quote the second proposed caption to this strip on a regular basis.) Sure, it's kind of unseemly to be posting a link to the infamous Clobberin' time strip on the eve of the anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, but I do so to paint an accurate picture of the kind of controversy this strip could cause. This comic strips is not for kids, nor for most adults.

But that strip notwithstanding, it's offensive humour done well, and when Thrasher hit a home run, it was obscene comic genius. Check out some of my personal favorites to see for yourself:
- Fellatio Barn
- Heads up, ladies!
- Who's ready to kick some fucking ass?
- PhD in defecation
- 2-to-1 odds on PKU
- Extreme Space Moose
- Smash your ugly face in
- Aspects of cinema

Oh, and the title of this post? That's a nice bit of gloating from Space Moose as he laid down a winning poker hand that drove a suburban family into destitution. It doesn't quite make sense, but I still like to quote that one from time to time too. It's all in the attitude.

Silence is golden ... at least, mine seems to be.

I just wanted to point out that it's been more than a week since my last post, which was basically just a throwaway test post to make sure the comments box was working properly that I couldn't delete. (Until now, apparently. How the hell did I just do that?) And how many responses did that post get? Seventeen. With about a dozen more responses than any other post has gotten, it's the most active discussion in the history of this weblog.

Clearly, the best thing I could possibly do to build a thriving online community is to never try to actually become involved with it in any way.

Anyway, while I'm here, I just wanted to pass along something Jay pointed out to me: Someone is stealing Ruddy Ruddy's gimmick. This is an outrage!

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