Monday, June 28, 2004

Today, I earn my right to bitch about the federal government for the next five years or so

Screw the secret ballot thing -- I just got back from voting for Jack Layton. I like his moustache, I like his politics, and I like the fact that he and I drink in the same bars, so I voted for him despite my usual desire to screw over my old college chum Matt "Transient Orange" Blair, who worked for the NDP campaign. Besides, I took an online poll recently that matched my answers to questions about various issues to those of the leadership candidates, and I turned out to be 100% in agreement with Layton (mysteriously, the candidate with whom I was second-most simpatico was Gilles Duceppe, leader of the separatist Bloc Quebecois party). Polls are still open in Ontario, so only time will tell if I backed a winner, but I do know that my house had 100% voter turnout, and that all four of us voted for Layton.

I always like voting. Not only is my chance to prove what a solid citizen I am (despite the fact that I spit my gum out on the sidewalk on my way to the local voting station, instead of in a garbage can), but it's pretty much my only chance to talk to old people, who generally are pretty interesting and have nothing better to do all day but man the polling stations. For instance, one of them was telling me that he was an extra in Reefer Madness and that newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst was instrumental in driving the hemp industry out of business in order to protect his own interests in the pulp and paper industry. Though he was representing the Liberals as a scrutineer, you'd almost have thought he was there on behalf of the Marijuana Party. (Speaking of fringe parties, the Marxist-Leninist party [aka the Communist Party] is inexplicably leading the race for a seat in Mississauga right now.)

But it's being able to vote for Layton that makes it even better this time, because from now on, as long as he's around, I'll be able to mention that I voted for him. Invariably, some patronizing git will point out to me that you don't vote directly for a party's national leader under the Canadian parliamentary system -- it's not like the United States, where you specifically cast a vote for the president. And then I can point out that I was able to vote directly for Layton because I live in the riding of Toronto-Danforth, where he was running as a local candidate for parliament.

My old Member of Provincial Parliament, Bob Runciman, was a high-level figure (solicitor general) in the previous Progressive Conservative provincial government, but there wasn't much to be proud of because he introduced boot camps for young offenders before eventually having to resign after the government violated the Young Offenders' Act by indentifying the mother of a former inmate. This time, however, it's a rare pleasure to be able to vote directly for a prime ministerial candidate -- especially one who I like -- even if he's not going to win that job. (Who knows if he'll even win the MP job? I just saw the early results, and the Liberal incumbent, Dennis Mills, was out in front. But it was something like 702 votes to 540, so it's too early to tell. Meanwhile, the sitting Prime Minister, Paul Martin, is losing to the local Bloc Quebecois candidate.)

Another reason Canadian elections are fun: I just saw CBC anchor Peter Mansbridge on TV standing in front of a door saying, "This is the Prime Minister's office." Then he knocked on the door, listened, remarked "Nobody home," and then just opened the door and walked right in and hung around for a while, pointing out stuff. You just don't get that in the United States.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

An old army trick

Maybe I need more sleep or maybe I need more carbs, but I've decided that a fun thing to do before performing any exceedingly simple task is to slyly say, "Here's a trick I learned in the army." Try saying it the next time you're in your workplace kitchen, then simply rinse out your coffee cup and leave. Either you raise people's expectations only to leave them unfulfilled, or you leave your audience wondering what it missed in your obviously deceptively simple action.

An exciting time for heaven

It's been an exciting couple of days to be watching the heavens. Yesterday, the first private space flight in history took place, boldly going where no non-government-funded spacegoing venture had ever gone before. That's just amazing news -- some serious Zephram Cochrane-type business. Here, I picture 63-year-old test pilot Mike Melvill at the helm of SpaceShipOne, popping in a CD of Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride" as he punches his way out of the atmosphere, just like old James Cromwell did while making his historic flight in the Phoenix in Star Trek: First Contact.

And keep your eye on heaven, because it looks like pro wrestler Marty Jannetty is headed there too: The former Midnight Rocker became a born-again Christian on Sunday. Assisting with Jannetty's baptism was none other than his erstwhile tag-team partner, the also-recently born-again Shawn Michaels. Here, I picture Shawn superkicking a caught-offguard Marty, then seizing him by collar and belt and forcibly dunking him into the baptismal pool, just as he hurled him through Brutus Beefcake's barbershop window all those years ago.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

The LiveJournal of Anne Frank

The LiveJournal of Anne Frank is in as obviously bad taste as it sounds (let's just say it's not just a faithful reproduction of the original like the online Diary of Samuel Pepys), but God help me, I love this animated gif that someone posted in the comments depicting Hitler eating a watermelon.

Update: The animated gif seems to have disappeared. However, if you click on the link to it, it does currently provide you with a decidedly non-work-safe picture. (I discovered this at work, unfortunately.)

Monday, June 14, 2004

Bye-bye Beulah: A good band is easy to kill

Aw, crap -- Beulah has announced plans to break up in August. And just this morning I was listening to The Coast Is Never Clear and thinking about what an amazingly good record it is, and how great these guys are in concert. Please, please, please play Toronto one more time before you call it quits, guys.

While I'm on the subject of Beulah, ever notice how the chorus of "Popular Mechanics for Lovers" sounds like that old Coca-Cola jingle "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony)"? You can quite easily switch up the lyrics: I'd like to teach the world to sing / He would never take a bullet for you.

It might be a good thing that Beulah never got commercially huge, actually, since those serial plagarists Oasis got nailed for $A500,000 when they ripped the same song off for "Shakermaker". If anybody sued Beulah now, though, they'd probably be lucky to get a few concert T-shirts and Miles Kurosky's pocket lint.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Russian rasslers revere Reagan

There's been a lot said this week about the passing of former US President Ronald Reagan, but one viewpoint has been missed: that of the villainous Russian professional wrestlers of the 1980s. Until now. Nikolai Volkoff, Krusher Khrushchev, and Ivan and Nikita Koloff eulogize the beloved president here. Russia might have been the "Evil Empire" to Ronnie, but these bad guys remember him fondly nonetheless.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

My Conversation with Castaly

Here's a little something I saved from some time ago (c.1996) that I thought was pretty funny. It's a conversation I had in a chat room with some fellow by the name of Castaly. It was a day that would change my life forever.

Castaly: What are you doing?
Testmeat: What's that?
Castaly: What are you talking about?
Testmeat: I'm talking about all sorts of things.
Castaly: I want to join, okay?
Testmeat: Join my conversation?
Castaly: Yes!!!
Testmeat: Please feel free.
Castaly: Thank you!
Castaly: You are very interesting.
Testmeat: Why, thank you!
Castaly: Where you came from?
Testmeat: Originally?
Castaly: Of course.
Testmeat: I bas born in Brockville, Ontario, Canada. And where did YOU come from Castaly?
Castaly: China.
Testmeat: Really? That's quite far from where I am.
Castaly: Yes, but I have some folk in Canada.
Testmeat: Are you in China now?
Castaly: I am in China now.
Testmeat: Fascinating. I've never been to China but I once shoved an entire slice of pizza into my mouth all at once.
Castaly: Pizza not a Chinese food.
Testmeat: No. No it's not. But isn't it an interesting story?
Castaly: Yes. English is my second language. My mother tongue is Chinese.
Testmeat: Well you're certainly more comfortable with English than I am with Chinese.
Castaly: You are very happy now.
Testmeat: Uh, yes. I am somewhat happy, thank you.
Castaly: May I enjoy it?
Testmeat: Ummmm... Okay.
Castaly: Tell me soon!
Testmeat: What would you like me to tell you again?
Castaly: Now I'm very happy too!
Testmeat: Excellent. We sure are happy, right?
Castaly: "Test meat". Hummm... Do you like eat?
Castaly: There are all kinds of food in China.
Testmeat: If I was in China I'd put all of the food in my mouth.
Castaly: How large of you stomach!

And that was the last I ever heard from Castaly. I wonder what he's up to today?

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