Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Fade to Noir

The blogosphere keeps going noir on me. Here are a few hardboiled links that have popped up in my last week of browsing:

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

In which I officially become critically acclaimed

Well, I'll be damned: I've been nominated for a Weblog Award under the category of Best Canadian Blog. Thanks, Guy Who Nominated Me.

Also, I did an ego-Google (sorry to have an ego), and found this at Ganesh and Gandhi:
Man Vs. Clown --- a funny guy who seems to work in an office. Nothing earth-shattering about this blog, just an intelligent, cynical take on the daily routine.
If blogs had book jackets, I could do worse than that for a back-cover blurb. (For example, my mom once told me I was "just like Hitler, but without the charisma.")

Monday, November 28, 2005

Thank God it's Monday

I'm taking a vacation day today. There are at least three good reasons to make a three-day weekend by taking Monday off instead of Friday:
  1. You keep casual Friday (jeans) and add an extra-casual Monday (no pants).
  2. If your workplace ends the day early on Friday, then taking Monday off means more time off (an extra half hour, in my case). That adds up.
  3. Instead of saying "See you Monday" on Thursday, you can spend Friday afternoon saying "See you next Tuesday," which is secretly fun to say because it contains a coded obscenity.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

You render the sun uncomely.

A friend and I dropped by The Only Cafe for a drink tonight. As I told the story of how I was bodychecked into a wall in Broadview station last night, drawn into an impromptu foot hockey game with a smashed-flat beer can, and awarded a penalty shot owing to my being "the honorary guy", an older man wandered in, sat down beside us, and ordered a Glenlivet on the rocks. The Only didn't have have Glenlivet, our charming waitress told him. Would he like anything else? "Glenfiddich!" he exclaimed with emphasis.

He received his whisky and began mumbling to himself after a while, first quietly, then steadily building in volume. Eventually, he was gesticulating, rending his clothes, and making scuttling motions across the table with his hand at the same time he was saying something about a crab. He was drunkenly reciting bits of monologues, weaving together a rich tapestry of references to various dramas from film and the stage and very probably interspersing it with some freestyled original material. It was like spending an evening with John Barrymore. This one-man stage show lasted at least a half hour, and was only briefly interrupted as he beat out a bongo solo on the table in accompaniment of Love's "A House Is Not a Motel", which was playing in the background. The man was a living graduate thesis in English literature, as mad and Shakepearean as King Lear himself. We were clearly in the presence of a literary genius and master thespian.* But oh, what a rogue and peasant slave was he.

"He isn't bothering you, is he?" the waitress asked us. Just then, he seemed to become aware of the people around him for the first time since receiving his Glenfiddich.

"You render the sun uncomely!" he intoned sonorously in her direction with a flourish of his hand.

"What?" she said, wrinkling her nose in confusion.

"He says you're pretty," I translated.

"Oh," she said, disappearing.

"You render the sun uncomely." I can't decide if that line is really slick or just really crazy. I guess it depends on whether you're drunk off your ass and wearing Adidas warmup pants with leather tasseled loafers when you say it.

*Coincidentally, an old Saturday Night Live sketch featuring Jon Lovitz's "Master Thespian" character is airing as I write this. Acting! Brilliant! Thank you!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Crying screaming ranting raving mad, if you were staying, boy would I be glad

My housemate Shanel moved out today and took her boyfriend Dan with her. I'll miss having a drunk Irish guy around to wash my dishes and a drunk Indian girl to knock over the stove while wrestling and to burst into my room and throw my shoes out the front door when I have visitors over. (That's "Indian" as in "Blood", and "Blood" as in "member of the Kainai tribe" and not "not a Crip", although she's not a Crip.) And I'll miss wondering what kind of offspring a drunk Irish guy and a drunk Indian girl might have, genetically and sterotypically speaking.

And what you might miss, in turn, is that Shanel has long been kind of a test audience for blog posts. The way it would usually work is that I'd wander out of my room during a commercial break, say something she would describe as random shit to her, and if she laughed, odd were I'd come back to my room and type it up. Now, quality control is out the window. But on the other hand, she was usually drunk and inclined to laugh at anything. So maybe the quality wasn't being controlled after all.

Whatever. They're good kids, and I'll miss having them around. Especially since they borrowed $20 to order Chinese food a couple of days ago and I'm still waiting to get it back.

I am Bob Rooney

I found this in the Wikipedia entry for Bob Rooney, a minor character from Married with Children:
He has many problems with his name, because it is often pronunced 'Bobrooney'. Bob's name is even spelled "Bobrooney" on his bowling shirt, supposedly because the clerk at the shop who provided the actors' costumes had misheard it as one word over the telephone!

The producer, Tim Weiskopff, had a theory that "in every neighborhood in the midwest of the U.S. there is one guy all the people in the neighborhood refer to with both his names" (e.g. "Charlie Brown").
I think Kim Weiskopf (the producer's actual name, despite what Wikipedia tells us) may have been on to something interesting. Although I don't live in the midwestern US, as I've mentioned, a lot of people also tend to call me by my first and last name as though they were a single word. I don't mind. The way I see it, it seems like good branding.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Loach

Of course none of you wanted to read about my spitting up something that looked like a blackened, sundried frog carcass. My friend Janet, however, is not like you. She was fascinated by the topic. What could it have been? she wondered. Maybe a piece of Black Bart gum from when I was a child? Or perhaps a loach?

I hadn't thought about Black Bart in years, and I'd never heard of a loach. Janet explained:

When I was a bad little girl in grade nine biology class I sat near the back (of course) next to this boggy looking fish tank. For weeks, I peered into it trying to see any sign of life. Finally, my efforts paid off when I noticed something really creepy swimming along the bottom in the murk. I told my lab partner and her and I became obsessed with this creature. Well, to be honest, we became obsessed to kill it. It looked like a piece of poo. So we started feeding it things which it ate. It started off innocently enough with old bits of gum, erasers, carbon tips from pencils. When we noticed that it ate them and really had no effect we took it up a notch and started feeding it various plastics and metals and there may have been even a chess piece.

One day the loach didn't move. It was dead.

A day or so later my dad comes home from school (he was a physics and biology teacher at my school) and he seemed really upset. He told me that the loach was dead, someone had been feeding it inappropriate things. Well, I put two and two together. If I had only known that it was my dad's favourite creature in the science department.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

How you doin'?

Here's my new default answer to the question "How are you?":

"Good and bad. They're making a movie based on my life, but the script is terrible."

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

In other news, the President is wanted for murder

Take a look at the bottom left-hand side of page 3 of today's edition of Metro and tell me why WeightCare founder Dr. David Macklin has a right to be extremely pissed off.

Return of the Friday Night Gods

Imagine a rock group that sounded like Paul Westerberg fronting the E Street Band, or, if you prefer, Bruce Springsteen fronting the Replacements. Imagine how the rock critics would eat that up. Well, that band was Marah, and the rock critics indeed gobbled them up hungrily. Their lyrics were great, and so was the music. Their first album, Let’s Cut the Crap & Hook up Later on Tonight, was very good. Their second, Kids in Philly, was one of the best of 2000, singlehandedly doing for Philadelphia what Springsteen did for New Jersey. Call it alt-country, call it roots rock, call it genre-hopping—it was stunning.

So why haven’t you heard of it? That’s what the Bielanko brothers wanted to know. By the time they started working on Marah’s third album, Float Away with the Friday Night Gods, they and the other guys in the band were tired of writing for rock critics, which is all right, but doesn’t pay the bills. They wanted to sell out. They wanted to be big in Japan (as Stylus put it, the aim was to make “a record that would make teenage Japanese girls go crazy.”) They got their hero Springsteen on board for a cameo guitar solo. They hooked up with Oasis producer Owen Morris, and indeed, lead single “Float Away” was an enormous, gloriously overproduced stadium rocker that out-Oasised Oasis. It was great, actually, but it wasn't Marah.

Critics hated it. Teenage Japanese girls ignored it. Oasis didn’t get too worried about it. Marah’s record company dropped them. Their bid for stardom was an unequivocable failure. What's a band to do?

Marah aren't dummies. They went back to what worked. In 2004, they used their own funds to record and release a fourth album, 20,000 Streets Under the Sky, which picked up right where Kids in Philly left off, and they put out a live album too. And in 2005, they've been busier than the proverbial Japanese beaver, with no less than three releases. If You Didn't Laugh, You'd Cry continues in the same vein and is being hailed by some as their best yet, as being comparable to the works of Springsteen and Bob Dylan. They put out a Christmas album—of all things—called A Christmas Kind of Town. And although it might seem as though the strategy was to pretend that Float Away with the Friday Night Gods never happened, Float Away: Deconstructed represents an apologia for that critically maligned album, using demos and live tracks to present the songs with the production stripped away to reveal the songcraft below. It was there all along, of course.

Let's cut the crap: I'm not going to tell you Marah is necessarily for you. Marah is not for everybody, nor should they be. They already proved that one conclusively. But if you're looking for damn good rock and roll music from a working-class band whose contract rider calls for twelve white tube socks and a tub of hummus, then this is your band. Hook yourself up with some Marah.

Because there's no song called "November Girls"

Here's an odd place I just noticed a Big Star song being used: A brief snatch of "The India Song" was used as intro and outro music for a segment on The Late Show with David Letterman called "Pat Farmer's What Are You Thankful For?" in which the stagehand of that name conducted streeter interviews about American Thanksgiving. (The number one thing people were thankful for? "Whore cheerleaders.")

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Baby Blackjack

My friend Erin thought for years that she got carsick. She thought this for years because her father always gave her Gravol before long car rides. Only when she had kids of her own did she realize the real reason why he was slipping her a little dimenhydrinate: to knock her out. (You've got to start early with this ruse. My own father once tried it, but I was old enough to know that I'd never been carsick in the past, so I politely declined his offer as unnecessary. Nice try, old man.) She's also mentioned that when she was a baby, he used to rub whiskey on her gums to help her get to sleep.

This is old-school parenting. Not just old-school, but hard-boiled; in Mickey Spillane novels, this is known as slipping someone a mickey. Let's not pussyfoot around what's going on: Someone is being surreptitiously drugged into unconsciousness, and in this case, that someone is a child.

Here's an idea for all those dads out there who like to play at being a private eye. Imagine a little leather bag filled with lead shot, with a handle at one end. It comes in your choice of brightly coloured designs. When your infant or toddler won't fall asleep, just bean him across the back of the head with it, and he's out like a light. This is the Baby Blackjack.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Breaking up is hard to dooby-dooby-do

I may have been too modest to mention it, but I happen to be the world's foremost expert on getting dumped by a certain girl I dated long ago who I'll call M----.* Over my university career, I distilled it to a science:
1. Roll eyes.
2. Throw up hands.
3. Exclaim "Again?!" in exasperated tone.
4. Stalk out.

Repeat as necessary.
Well, it would seem that the guy she recently broke up with could stand to learn a few tricks of the trade, as he went about it all wrong. The below is excerpted from an e-mail her friend sent me:
Did you hear about V----? How he cried on her voicemail....which was really sad, drove over to her house got on his hands and knees and begged her to take him back, then took off on his motorcycle and wiped out at the end of her street and had to go back to M----'s and peed himself. He needs to learn the art of being dumped by M----.
Wow. If only he'd threatened suicide and thrown up, he would at least have perfected the art of totally humiliating himself.

* For those keeping track, she appeared previously in my "Aristocrats" post along with the mentioned friend.

The Cadre!

Image hosted by

That dude on the lower right with the crowbar is easily the gayest thing I've seen in a while.

[Edit: Someone found this site today by Googling the words "homosexual clown gangbang". You know who you are.]

Thursday, November 17, 2005


A guy I know says he knows someone who works at the Ontario Science Centre, which is currently hosting Body Worlds 2: The Anatomical Exhibition of Real Human Bodies. The exhibit features cadavers preserved in plastic and displayed in a variety of poses. (While riding the subway in the morning rush hour lately, I've often been forced to stand facing a poster depicting a cadaver doing a handplant on a skateboard. I don't like having to look at that in the morning.)

Anyway, what I heard was that the heat was up a little too high and the cadavers actually began to sweat minute traces of blood and iron that were left in the tissue to add colour, and the staff were forced to close things down, lower the temperature, and sponge them off.

That's what I heard, anyway.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Van Hammer, Internet Stud

Way back when I was an intern at Profit magazine a few years ago, I was assigned to write a story about, a company that runs personals sites on the Internet, including and As part of my research, I interviewed the company president, who is the source of my oft-quoted maxim that the only three things that make money on the Internet are porn, gambling, and personals. He gave me a pre-made password and profile to look around one of the sites and test it out. (Since he's a Christian, the profile was pretty whitebread.) So I logged on to, saw what kind of women the site matched my cleancut profile up with, and then wrote my story.

Later, I decided to have a little fun by signing up with a new profile, one that was less "Wally Cleaver" and more "meat cleaver". I decided to take on the persona of Van Hammer, the handsome but sociopathic, hard-drinking, and chain-smoking soap opera star from Los Angeles. He was, in short, a complete asshole and almost certainly a date rapist as well. By way of illustration, here are my responses to the profile's short Q&A feature:

1. Describe the type of relationship you are looking for. What qualities would you like in this relationship or person?

I like to date women, and plenty of them. I believe Poison put it best when they said: Ain't lookin' for nothin' but a good time. Man, they rock.

2. Describe a little of your personality and character traits. (Are you funny, laid back, more serious, open, shy, etc.?)

I'm one cool customer. Okay, I do tend to fly into uncontrollable and violent rages sometimes. So, just don't cut me off in traffic, and we'll be fine.

3. What would be the perfect setting for a first meeting with a new friend or date? Describe it :-)

The back of my Trans Am.

4. What are your favorite activities? (Including sports, leisure, artistic/musical, etc.)

I like to hunt. Until you've brought down a bald eagle with an assault rifle, you're worse than a Commie and twice as UnAmerican.

5. Describe your religious/philosophical beliefs (if any)

I hate God. If I met him, I'd give him the butt-whipping of a lifetime and steal his girl.

6. Describe your current occupation. Do you like what you do? What is your dream job?

I'm a soap opera star. I love it, and how could I not? Chicks fall all over me, and I get all the blow I can snort.

7. Where did you go to school (i.e. high school or college/university, etc.)? What did you study? Did you like it? Would you like to do more?

School is for losers. The only thing I miss about it is shoving poindexters into lockers. Oh, and hanging out under the bleachers with my camera.

8. Where were you born? Have you ever traveled? If so, where? What is your ideal adventure?

I've been all round this great big world, and I've seen all kinds of girls. My ideal trip would be to the fleshpots of Bangkok, and then into international waters with the Olsen twins and a bottle of Rohypnol. [Note: this was in 2001. They were 15.]

9. What are some of your favorite movies, TV programs or books? What characters or actors do you identify with, if any?

You know that guy in American Psycho? That guy rules. Best movie ever and one of the few books I've read. It should be a weekly TV show.

10. What are some of your goals or dreams for the future?

I want to make even more money so I can buy and drive faster cars and faster women. Also, to smoke a cigar in a family restaurant and blow smoke right in a baby's face. That would be hilarious!

11. If you were granted one wish, what would you wish for?

To punch Martin Luther King Jr. in the face.

12. Is there anything else you would like to add? This is your chance to get in that last (but not least:-) bit of important info that you would like others to know.

I've got the best hair ever. You won't even believe this.
Now, when I used the Quickmatch feature with this profile, I was somewhat surprised to learn that it paired me with almost all the same women as had been compatible with the goody-goody profile I'd used earlier. I thought this was pretty astounding. My boss found the whole thing really funny (despite the fact that I did this on company time) and suggested that an article about the deficiencies of their matchmaking system would make an interesting piece for the National Post. (Of course, I never take good advice, which is why you're only reading it here years later.)

When I logged back into the website later, I had mail! And here it is. Take it to heart—I know I did:
From: toothfairy789
Subject:[ No Subject Specified]
Message: your way of thinking if way off key. you should be ashamed of yourself. life is about more than fast cars,fast woman and drugs. you will have a very short lived and lonely life if you keep this up. God is who created you and has given you choices and just because you made the wrong choices do not blame anyone but yourself. God will be the only one there for you when you decied to grow up and realize there is more to life. your profile was very suprising. people go on the net hoping to make friends or more find that special someone to help complete their life. you made such a joke of it all and lord help you. One day you will stand in front of god and have to explaine your actions. You can either change your ways or you will find yourself spending eternity in hell. There is a heaven and there is a hell. The choice is yours on which one you will spend eternity in. Hell is a never ending firey pit and heaven is where you will meet your maker. Your choice. You will be in my prayers. No matter what god will always be there for you. Please do not forget that. All you have to do is ask Jesus into your heart and be sincer and he will take your hand and will carry you in the tough times. GOD BLESS YOU
My friend Sofi’s response, on the other hand, was much more succinct:
Whoa. I think I'm in love with Van Hammer.
You know what? So am I, Sofi. So am I.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Sarah Silverman Day at Slate

Slate has a good three good articles about shock comic Sarah Silverman, whose beauty belies her extremely politically incorrect persona. I long thought of her as my ideal woman, until I realized she looks kinda like my little sister. Of course, if Ms. Silverman were to hear that, I have no doubt that she'd simply treat it as a setup for an extremely filthy punchline, and that's what I always liked about her in the first place.

"Danger" is another word for "thesaurus"

A skilled writer/editor friend of mine has now started an e-mail newsletter to pass along her wisdom. Among her advice is this: "Repeating words makes for boring text. Luckily almost every word has at least one synonym. When you need to find a substitute word, reach for a thesaurus or visit" It's sound advice, but it deserves a caveat. She does in fact give one, but I'll elaborate on the the theme:

A thesaurus can be a dangerous thing in the hands of a bad writer. Many is the lazy writer who has "paraphrased" quoted text in essays simply by running Microsoft Word's thesaurus and changing every word he or she could. They all got something different in the end, all right, but it was usually more different than it ought to have been.

Put another way, a vocabulary can be a precarious gadget in the talons of an immoral critic. Innumerable is the lethargic author who has "interpreted" extracted manuscript in treatises austerely by sprinting Microsoft Word's phrase book and shifting every remark he or she possibly will. They all dug up a thing poles apart in the closing stages, all accurate, other than it was customarily additional special than it have to to possess been.

You see the problem.

The problem with the thesaurus is that words are rarely exact synonyms. A writer must be aware that each may vary subtly in its nuances and shades of meaning. A literal example is that a thesaurus may list "navy", "indigo", "and "turquoise" as synonyms of blue, but they're all distinct kinds of blue with different tints, tones, and shades. In writing as in painting, artists benefit from having more colours on their palettes, but only if they choose from them precisely and judiciously according to a plan rather than randomly splattering the whole mess on the canvas.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Why I never got "the talk"

I was chatting with a friend online. "I'm reading smut," she said. "It's fun." I asked what kind. "Jackie Collins," she said.

I actually read a few Jackie Collins books as a kid. My mom had a couple, and it was made very clear that I was not allowed to read them, so of course I did. I also read Harold Robbins' The Carpetbaggers for the same reason. Quite a racy potboiler, that one.

Oh my god. I just figured out how my mom taught me about the birds and the bees.

(Come to think of it, there was also another time she forbade me from reading a book. "Son," she said sternly. "You are not to read this illustrated edition of Dr. Alex Comfort's The Joy of Sex. I am going to put this away in the crawl space downstairs. Next to where we keep the flashlight.")

Richie Rich sucks

Even today, more than half a decade after I moved out, a box of all the Mad magazines I collected throughout my childhood is very likely still sitting in the basement of my last student house in Kingston. Yet, even more than that lost treasure trove, I wish I still had a Richie Rich comic that is very likely still sitting upstairs in the bathroom.

That's ridiculous, you may be saying. Richie Rich sucks. Indeed it does. As a matter of fact, while searching online, I found a very good analysis of why and how it sucks. (Something else that sucks: Family Guy. This may be my new favorite blog.) Anyway, what I was searching for was one particular comic, a one-page gag that really exemplifies what's truly appalling about Richie Rich. Since I haven't been able to find it, I present the comic's script as I remember it (and I promise a bounty to anyone who can provide me a scan of it):

[Richie is walking on his estate with his asshole cousin, Reggie Van Dough. Richie's chauffeur Bascomb is working on one of the Rich family's luxury automobiles.]

Richie: Bascomb is the greatest mechanic in the world! He can make anything run!


Reggie [pointing at pile of rags]: Oh yeah?! Let's see him make that pile of rags run! Haw, haw!


Richie [whispering; pointing to pile of rags]: Uh, Bascomb...

Bascomb [wiping hands on rag (not from pile); steely look of determination]: I'll take care of it, Master Rich.


Bascomb [sternly; hands on hips]: Excuse me, sir, but I think it's time you moved along!

Vagrant [fleeing; very tattered and filthy]: Chee! Can't a guy find a place to sleep around here?!

Reggie [flabbergasted; sweat drops flying]: A TRAMP!!!

Richie [doubled over with merriment]: Yep! And Bascomb made him run! Ha! Ha!

So, yeah. The joke is that Richie Rich kicked a homeless man off his property.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Pride and Prejudice

A new film version of Pride and Prejudice is coming out. But there was a high-profile Bollywood version called Bride and Prejudice just last year. And not only was Bridget Jones' Diary an adaptation of the novel, but there was a straight-up BBC production of Pride and Prejudice also starring Colin Firth in 1995.

I think that, for now, we've seen just about enough of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

However, I would be open to seeing Stone Cold Steve Austin's Pride and Prejudice.

It should ideally consist of announcer Jim Ross screaming, "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife!" And then Austin should give the Stone Cold Stunner to Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet, and Vince McMahon, then stand on a turnbuckle and pour beer on his own face.

Monday, November 07, 2005

They oughta call it Philtrum Break

It's a scientific fact: Prison Break's Wentworth Miller is the hottest new hunk on television.

And yet, something odd is afoot here. For instance, I noticed a few weeks back he was the eye candy in a Mariah Carey video. But tonight, I noticed something almost as disturbing. Look really closely at that upper lip. Why, is that ... yes! It looks like a very small scar from a very well-repaired cleft palate.

Co-star Stacy Keach has one too. That's why he's worn the mustache since his Mike Hammer days. What's next? I wondered on an online forum. Is Joaquin Phoenix going to show up next in a cameo?

An answer came quickly: "Johnny Cash does sing for inmates...."

Of course: A Walk the Line crossover. I wish I'd thought of that. Well, I'm at least going to go ahead and officially dub our hero's complex escape plan a harelip-brained scheme.


In Flanders Fields, the profits grow?

Via Accordion Guy comes the news from Colby Cosh that Pierre Bourque has discovered that the Royal Canadian Legion owns the trademark on the familiar red plastic poppy and have forbidden unauthorized posting of its image online. Like this:

Image hosted by

They hate that. And in turn, all of the above hate them hating that. The Legion claims that if it doesn't protect the image, it could be co-opted by pretty much anyone. Messrs. de Villa, Cosh, and Bourque wonder: What's wrong with that? Shouldn't anyone who wants to commemorate the gallant sacrifice made by our nation's war dead be encouraged to proudly display this symbol? It shouldn't be anyone's property, they argue. And it's hard to disagree.

It is the Royal Canadian Legion that has co-opted this symbol, argues Cosh, who has vowed never to pay for or wear the Legion's precious intellectual property again. De Villa also finds this appropration inappropriate, and seconds his vow. Bourque ponders promoting the Royal British Legion's poppy at the expense of the Canadian one, as the former group actively encourages posting of its poppy.

There is another option, though: the white poppy, which has been promoted in the UK by the Peace Pledge Union and other groups since 1933 as an alternative to the red one. I'm not sure the PPU promotes careful spelling or website building; check out the rollover on the link to the white poppy page from its index page. But as a pacifist organization, it has a worthy goal: finding an alternative to war. Although the organizers of white poppy campaigns have long been careful to establish that they do not intend to denigrate the sacrifice of the dead, they've long been opposed by the Legion, which charges that they do just that. It wouldn't be surprising if the Legion's trademark on the poppy in fact had something to do with trying to quash the white poppy campaign.

But white poppy campaigns are still going, and if you happen to be able to get your hands on one, it might be an appropriate statement to make if you're against the commodification of the red poppy, not to mention war in general, such as the one of dubious merit that still seems to be going on in the Middle East.

Me, I'll take whatever poppy offers me a safety pin instead of a straight one, since it's fair to say I've spilled more blood trying to put on and wear conventional poppies than was spilled on all the battlefields of Europe during the conflicts of the last century. But I thought you might want to know your options.

(If anyone puts out a poppy dedicated to eliminating The War at Home, starring Michael Rapaport, I'll take one of those too.)

Friday, November 04, 2005

Endless bummer

Jay passed this along to me, though I kind of wish he hadn't: Once again, the members of the Beach Boys are squabbling. Mike Love of the Beach Boys is suing Brian Wilson over the release of Smile, the release of which he claims "shamelessly misappropriated Mike Love's songs, likeness and the Beach Boys trademark, as well as the Smile album itself".

Fuck Mike Love. I can't believe the gall of this classless piece of shit. In large part, he's the one who drove Brian to a nervous breakdown and is the reason Smile was scrapped and buried for 40 years. Legally, he's due his royalties for "Good Vibrations", the one song he contributed to on that album, and I'm sure he's getting his cheques, but morally, he deserves none of the profits from the miraculous, triumphant reconstruction of a masterpiece he nearly destroyed.

The Beach Boys were America's greatest band, the vision of one of rock and roll's greatest geniuses and the acknowledged peers of the Beatles. And Mike is the reason no one takes them seriously anymore. His turning the Beach Boys into their own cover band has made them a joke from the mid-70s up until the present day. His specific problem this time is with the free giveaway of a Beach Boys compilation that he claims will adversely affect sales of Beach Boys records, and I can see why he's got a problem with it: He's perverted the band into nothing more than a travelling jukebox that plays only the hits. He's not exactly going out there and playing "Anna Lee, The Healer". He's not trying to get people interested in album tracks or in selling the original albums, which would simply supplement that free hits compilation, not compete with it. He's just belching up the fun, fun, fun beach songs and the car songs for casual fans and old fogies chasing their youth. He just wants to move units of Endless Summer or whatever greatest hits compilation is currently in print, and the free giveaway compilation competes with that, and that hurts him in the pocketbook.

Fuck him. Mike is an asshole, a bully, and a pathetic has-been. He's filled his pockets long enough by dragging the band's name through the mud with a touring nostalgia act that is the Beach Boys in name only. You can't have the Beach Boys without a Wilson brother, but Mike's version of the Beach Boys doesn't even have Al Jardine, for God's sake. It's a karaoke act. It's a joke. Mike is a deluded jerkoff not just for thinking no one would notice he was bald if he simply wore a hat for 35 straight years, but also for believing he ever made anything more than a very limited contribution to the band, and, in that time, he's certainly long since squandered any goodwill he was ever due for his part. For all I care, Mike Love can just go get lung cancer and drown in a harbour.

* * *

Update: It seems SamuraiFrog beat me to the punch with a few choice words for Mike Love, which you should go read. (Spoiler: They are "shut the fuck up.")


Before you go home for work today, I'd like you to try this: Say "I love you" when ending a phone call to a co-worker. Just slip it in really quickly—"Okay, love ya, bye." It might not even sink in for a minute, and they'll be left staring at the phone, wondering if you really said it. And for extra fun, do it while someone is standing behind you waiting to talk to you and able to clearly read your call display and see whom you're talking to.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I usually like to stay out of celebrity spats, but ...

According to Popsugar, Madonna is accusing Gwen Stefani of ripping her off:
“She ripped me off. We work with a lot of the same people. She married a Brit, she’s got blonde hair and she likes fashion. But I don’t mind. I think she’s very sweet and talented.”
Yeah, Madonna did marry Guy Ritchie in 2005, and Gwen Stefani married Gavin Rossdale in 2002. But Gwen met Gavin back in 1995, and they began dating thereafter. Madonna didn't meet Guy until 1998. So the bit about Gwen ripping Madonna off by marrying an Englishman is out.

But Madonna's got Gwen dead to rights on the fashion business. Anyone who likes fashion is ripping off Madonna! And she's got her on the hair dye thing too. Anyone who dyes her hair blonde is ripping off Madonna!

And I guess Madonna can get Gwen on charges of ripping her off by becoming a musician, or by being born Italian and a female. And Gwen kind of ripped off Marilyn Monroe's look for the video for "Cool", but Madonna ripped off Marilyn Monroe's look way back when she did "Material Girl", so Gwen is obviously ripping off Madonna's ripping-off material.

Madonna should stop opening her dumb mouth and spewing out idiocy in that accent she ripped off from the English. And while we're at it, Guy Ritchie should stop ripping off that Cockney accent he's been faking for years. That's a funny thing: Trashy girl from Detroit that she is, Madonna is ripping off the high-born. Scion of the aristocracy that he is, Guy's ripping off the low-born. See? Opposites attract! And if either of them ever got real, they'd just switch places, and it'd still work.

In conclusion, Gwen is, at the very least, assuredly not ripping Madonna off by being sweet or talented.

Picking on my substitute little sister

"Who wants to get beat up?" I say, bounding into the living room and pretending to unleash a flurry of jabs at my housemate's belly, working it like a speedbag as she lies on the couch trying to watch TV.

"Go away," she whines, pouting.

I bend down and plant a light kiss on her forehead. The pout goes away.

"Wait. I screwed that up," I say. "That was supposed to be a head butt."

The pout returns.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The better way

It is a scientifically established fact that people are selfish and stupid and lacking in common sense. And this is never so true as when they are traveling place to place. It may be truest of all when they use public transportation, for were they smarter, they might be able to afford private vehicles of their own. Whether by common sense and decency or by pure utilitarianism, certain rules of commuting should be self-evident. They are obviously not. The following is a list of some guidelines that I wrote down a while ago, posted today in a message board discussion on the subject, and now reproduce here for good measure. I do all this for the betterment of public transit. Read and obey.
  1. Do not sit while a pregnant, elderly, or otherwise infirm person is forced to stand if you yourself are able-bodied.
  2. Do not, if you are able-bodied, quickly slip into a seat that someone else is chivalrously vacating so that someone less able-bodied can sit.
  3. Do not sit in the aisle seat while leaving the window seat empty. Move over so people needn’t climb over you.
  4. Do not sit in the aisle seat while turned sideways into the aisle. Your legs are taking up room that could be inhabited by those forced to stand. Face forward.
  5. Do not stand overly close to a pole, hugging it tightly with your body. Other people may need to hold onto it for support and would like to do so without brushing their hands against your face, your breasts, or the rest of your body. Leave a decent distance.
  6. Do not monopolize a seat made for two people by filling half of it with your bag or your packages.
  7. Do not wear giant backpacks while on a bus, streetcar, or subway. It gives you twice the depth that you think you have. This often makes it difficult to walk by you, and when you turn around, you often hit people with your pack.
  8. Do not peel an apple with a sharp knife on a crowded subway where people are being jostled around. Show some common sense.
  9. Do not sit in separate seats from a companion or companions and shout back and forth. Do not force people to sit in your midst because your group is spreading itself among several benches, surrounding them. Even if you are young men, sit together. It does not make you gay.
  10. Do not shout, period.
  11. Do not curse or use offensive language in such a way that others are unavoidably forced to listen to you.
  12. Do not smoke anywhere on the public transit system. This includes bus shelters.
  13. Do not spit either.
  14. Do not litter. Unless it’s a newspaper, which is probably okay, because other people will gratefully pick it up and read it.
  15. Do not leave a newspaper behind that you’ve blown our nose on or anything like that.
  16. Do not get in people’s way on the escalator. Walk left, stand right. If there’s no one in the way, by all means, walk on the right side. But never stand on the left side.
  17. Do not swing your arms excessively when walking up stairs or an escalator. It’s crowded and you might hit someone in the face or groin.
  18. Do not enter a train before people have a chance to get off. But …
  19. Do not take so long getting off a train that people trying to board might not have a chance to do so. Be ready, and move quickly.
  20. Do not bolt headlong into a subway to catch it at the very last second and knock people who have also just boarded over in the process. But …
  21. Do not board a subway and then slow your pace to a crawl as you decide where to go. Other people may still be trying to board.
  22. Do not waver indecisively between two or more seats as you board. Someone behind you might want to grab one before all the other seats suddenly fill up. Pick one, and sit down immediately.
  23. Do not stand in the doorway of the subway while traveling from stop to stop, obstructing other passengers from getting on or off.
  24. Do not clump around the door area in a crowd if you can get to the middle of the train with a minimum of effort. Other people further down the line may be prevented from boarding at all if you do this, and it’s all the more infuriating when they can see that there’s space on the train but it’s simply not being used.
  25. Don’t deface the public transit system with graffiti.
  26. Don’t listen to music without headphones (as with a boombox), or with headphones jacked up to a volume audible to all around you as a tinny hum.
  27. Do not conduct loud and lengthy cell phone conversations.
  28. Do not panhandle.
  29. Do not emit a palpable body odor, whether it be strong perfume or sweat, or that awful kind of halitosis where your breath smells metallic, like you’ve been eating pennies or something.
  30. Do not put your feet up on the seat and monopolize an extra space. Especially don’t take off your shoes and socks when doing so.
  31. Do not throw your arm over the back of the seat, whether it be around your significant other or just for the hell of it, if it means you’re sticking your elbow into the place where someone wants to sit in the seat behind you.
  32. Do not make it difficult for others to get around you on a narrow subway platform.
  33. Do not lean your head against the window and leave an ugly grease stain from your oily skin or your gelled hair.
  34. Do not, unless unavoidable, get on the bus or streetcar without having your fare ready.
  35. Do not throw yourself or others in front of the subway. Find a way to kill yourself or others that does not massively inconvenience commuters.

Internal dialogue

While I was trolling around the archives of that old Yahoo Group looking for the story in which I was terribly violated, I ran across this post, which was made around the same time. I repost it now purely to clarify that I have indeed been a moron for a while now.

* * *

You think your brain doesn't work? Here's what happened to me today.

Feet: Okay, we're getting near the crosswalk right now. Just thought you should know we're going to make an attempt to cross the street.

Hands: Right, we're getting out the house keys right now.

Brain: What? Why?

Hands: To unlock that little button we have to push to make the walk signal flash, of course.

Brain: What the hell are you talking about? Those keys are for getting into our house! You don't have to unlock the street to cross it!

Hands: Well, don't blame us! You should have told us that!

Eyes: Cool it, you guys! There's a guy over there who saw the key thing. He's laughing at us!

Feet: We'll be there in a jiffy!

Hands: Making fists, now!

Brain: No! Use the keys to gouge out his eyes!

Eyes: That's terrible! I can't watch this!

Brain: Okay, everybody, it'll just have to be a blind rage, then.

Hands and Feet: Yay! You're the best, boss!

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