Monday, January 30, 2006

Walk away Renee

I read this morning that Joaquin Phoenix survived a car accident unharmed after his brakes failed. The headline read "Oscar contender Phoenix flips car, walks away". I've always liked the sound of that in news stories. Walked away. It seems to imply disgust—just throwing up the hands, walking off, and not looking back. Unshaken, but shaking the head in annoyance. Getting simply fed up and stalking off. You know what? Fuck this shit.

That's how you react to a near-fatal situation: with a certain annoyed sangfroid. My older sister did something similar once, although it was a decidedly more hot-blooded reaction. She had just bought a used car and was driving it home on the 401 at highway speed, when one of the wheels flew right off and she nearly crashed. Her husband, who was driving behind her with their two kids, was horrified to watch her nearly make their children motherless, with him powerless to save her. But she managed to pull over to the side of the road safely, and by the time he rushed over to her, trembling, she was already out of the car, cursing and kicking the shit out of it. She wasn't shaken up at all—just incredibly pissed off.

When I heard about it later, I just thought, Yeah, that sounds like her. She always did have the worst temper I ever saw. She's never been the type to just walk away.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Should you beat up retarded kids?

I notice that someone found this blog via a Google search on "should I beat up retarded kids". I know Google is God now, but I had no idea people were actually coming to it seeking guidance on moral questions. And I find it interesting that the petitioner doesn't seem to have a specific retarded kid in mind, like perhaps that one particular little shit who's really been getting under his skin, but instead just wants to know if beating up retarded kids is something he should generally be doing.

Well, having some experience in this matter, allow me to weigh in: As faithful readers might have already guessed, the answer is an emphatic yes. You definitely should beat up retarded kids.

Let's get physical with physicists

If you ever have to put a scare into a scientist, a good way would be to have your goons take him to the roof of a tall building, and then ask him, "How do you like the view from up here? How would you like to see it coming at you at 9.8 m/s2?"

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Another ^public service message

Much as some local typists seem addicted to the deplorable habit of hitting the space bar countless times when the Tab key is better suited to the job, I frequently see documents in which the Enter key has been pushed at the end of each line. To be fair, this can also happen when the text has been cut and pasted from another source, but sometimes it occurs through sheer lack of sense. If this has happened to you, you know what a pain it is to go through a long document manually and delete all these extra carriage returns.

In the spirit of the Shift+F3 trick I shared a while back, here is a simple way of fixing this automatically in Microsoft Word using the Find and Replace command (Ctrl+H):

0. Hit the Show/Hide Paragraph button on your toolbar (it looks like this: ¶) to reveal all carriage returns. Or go to Tools > Options and make sure there's a check mark beside "Paragraph marks" in the "Formatting marks" section. This is step zero because I always have the paragraph marks showing. It's not necessary, but it helps.

1. Find and replace " " with " ". That is, replace all the double spaces with single spaces. Repeat until all the double spaces are gone. This is the first thing I do with all documents.

2. Find and replace " ^p" to "^p". This deletes any extra space before a carriage return. Make sure the "p" is lower-case.

3. Find and replace "^p" with " ". This replaces each carriage return with a space.

4. If you wish to separate each paragraph with a blank line, find and replace " " with "^p^p". If you wish to mark each new paragraph with a tab, find and replace " " with "^p^t".

I make no guarantee that your document will be perfect at this point, but it should be looking much better than it was.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The NKOTB Syndrome

Submitted for discussion: Lenny Kravitz is to men what Jennifer Love Hewitt is to women: celebrities who provoke near-universal looks of disgust among those of the same sex by the mere mention of their names, for reasons that are hard to articulate but boil down to jealousy of their adulation by the opposite sex (who are invariably surprised by the vitriol aimed toward them) combined with an accurate critical judgment of their mediocrity.

The foolishness of Wicked Wisdom

If any actual wisdom can be gleaned from Jada Pinkett Smith's new heavy metal band, Wicked Wisdom, it's this: Never let a girl name your heavy metal band, and particularly not one who's already a celebrity and kind of self-important. You'll end up saddled with a painfully sincere, meaningful-sounding expression of positivity like "Wicked Wisdom". There's an embarrassing lack of irony in the name "Wicked Wisdom".

Heavy metal should not be wise. Heavy metal should be dumb. Heavy metal musicians should be either total morons or smart guys winking and pretending to be morons. Mötley Crüe is the perfect heavy metal name. It's a name that says, "We like to party, and we have no idea how to spell or use umlauts."

Monday, January 23, 2006

The return of Ruddy Ruddy

Look: I got an interesting piece of mail for Ruddy Ruddy worth posting about.

Election fever

If you're Canadian and eligible to vote, make sure you get out to the polls today and vote. If not out of any sort of civic duty, then do so simply because it purchases you the right to bitch about the results. I say this as an NDP voter, of course. No matter what happens, I'll be saying, "Don't blame me! I voted for Layton."

As I've said before, I'm voting for Layton because he has the best mustache. It's very sharp. My mom, on the other hand, was surprisingly taken with Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe, who she says came off best in the debates, and although there's no way either of us would actually vote for him if we even could, he does exude a certain Gallic cool. But either one is much more dashing than the grimacing rictus of the perpetually uncomfortable-looking current Prime Minister, the right hemmorrhoidal Paul Martin.

As for Stephen Harper? He's creepy. He's plastic-looking, and, as my old pal Justin says, he's got rape-eyes. He looks like an android built for the sole purpose of relentlessly raping anything in its path. But as he seems poised to lead his party to victory, let me be the first to say this: All hail Prime Minister Rape-Bot.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Work-shirking tip

I found a good way to avoid work. Someone came to me with an emergency, so I threw a spare T-shirt over her head and ran away in the confusion.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Why it is easy to sell things to my housemate over the phone

[The phone rings. Brain-Damaged Toula picks it up.]

Brain-Damaged Toula: Hello? [long pause] Hello?

Toula's guest: Wrong number?

Brain-Damaged Toula: It's a telemarketer.

Toula's guest: So hang up.

Brain-Damaged Toula: It's a recording.

Toula's guest: You can't hang up on a recording?

Brain-Damaged Toula: If I hang up, it'll just be on my machine and I'll have to listen to it again. I might as well do it now.

Friday, January 13, 2006

They're a regular couple of Peter Lynns now

Toward the end of university, I put on a little weight. It happened gradually enough that I didn't notice. Scott, Mike, and other friends did, however, and instead of pointing it out, they simply made my name a slang term for a fat guy. What good friends. Finally, I figured out I was fat. "Why didn't you tell me?" I asked.

"We did," Scott said. "We said you were getting to be a real Peter Lynn." As if I'm supposed to know what that means.

What I do know, however, is that much has been made recently about the fact that Vince Vaughn isn't as lean as he was back in Swingers.

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This is Vince a few years ago.

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This is Vince more recently.

But have you seen his pal Jon Favreau lately? That guy has gotten really fat. Judging by last night's episode of My Name is Earl, he's at least 300 pounds.

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This is Jon back in the day.

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This is Jon more recently.

No wonder he moved behind the camera where the likes of Peter Jackson and Michael Moore reside.

I think Vince isn't gaining weight so much as simply trying to stay in proportion to Jon, perhaps to keep Jon from noticing he's put on weight. He is a good friend. But beware: This cannot be allowed to continue.

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This is a life-size effigy of a cow sculpted out of butter. This is also you, Jon Favreau, in only a few years. Take my word for it.

Atomic clock radio

It turned out I needed to install the new power supply after all when I got home last night and my computer wouldn't work. I unplugged everything, took off the side panels, and started yanking wires. The wire running from the old power supply to the motherboard wouldn't come loose. I pulled it, I jiggled it, I rocked it, and I fiddled with the little clasp. Sweat poured down my face as I attempted to dislodge it without shattering my motherboard. It stayed stuck. It turned out in the end that all I had to do to get it to let go was say the magic word.

"Motherfucker!!!" I screamed at it.

It came loose, and I threw my head back and howled in triumph like a Klingon warrior making his first kill. I installed the new power supply and booted up the computer. The clock said it was 4:26 a.m., so I had to reset it. I've been late for work twice this week, so I wanted the correct time. I headed over to a website with the official U.S. time according to their official atomic clock, and I set my computer clock.

Then I looked over at my clock radio. It said the same thing. My clock radio keeps the same time as the official U.S. atomic clock. It's like I have an atomic clock radio. I may have to apply for a patent on the idea of the atomic clock radio and rush it into production. It would be the perfect gift idea for the scientist on your list next Christmas. If I were a scientist, I would definitely want an atomic clock radio.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

My doppelgängers

I may never have been a tall man, but I did have two things going for me: A 28-inch-waist and a ardently admired head of hair. (A little guy named Sotaro who sat behind me in my classical studies class in first year proclaimed himself a "big fan" of my hair.) Now that hair is much diminished and I'm increasingly described as "stocky".

Consequently, I've had a growing fear for the last few years of one day being compared to Seinfeld's George Costanza. Finally it happened. "You know you you remind me of?" my friend Krista said. "George Constanza." I made an anguished noise. "Oh, I didn't mean physically," she said. "Personality-wise." I was relieved. Then I was upset again because George Costanza actually had a pretty loathsome personality.

But at least I don't look like him. So while I've dodged that bullet, I have been compared to a few famous faces from time to time. I present to you my celebrity doppelgängers:

Image hosted by Photobucket.comI used to get compared to Bruce McCulloch of The Kids in the Hall fairly often. Fair enough. He's actually my favorite Kid, and I do grant a certain superficial resemblance. Plus, the hair was similar, and I used to dress kind of like him and even walk like him. I played this up once by going to a costume party dressed as his character Gavin.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comMy ex-girlfriend used to say I resembled adult film actor Peter North. Sadly, she only meant that I looked like him from the neck up. I mentioned this supposed facial resemblance the other day. "Who's Peter North?" my innocent co-worker Julie asked. "A really ugly porn star," she was told. I can't win.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comIn my last year of university, it occurred to me that it was my last shot at growing my hair long before entering the working world and eventually going bald, so I did. Around this time, people started saying I looked like David Spade. Needless to say, I cut my hair. Yet, I still get this comparison from time to time. When pressed, people say the similarity is in the personality. This is obviously worse than the George Costanza thing.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comOne odd evening, Jay and I found ourselves cast into the unlikely role of gigolos by two of his female co-workers whom we met in a bar and who insisted on buying us drinks and paying for us to play pool. One of them told me that I looked like Kevin Bacon, "only better looking." It should be clear to you now that she was six degrees away from sobriety. I suppose she was right about there being a resemblance around the nose, though.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comI was once told I looked like a much shorter version of Bill Nye, the Science Guy. I don't get it. However, while reading the Wikipedia entry on Bill Nye, I read that he announced his engagement on The Late Late Show last month. I, on the other hand, remain single. The logical consequence of this is that despite his handicapping himself by wearing a bowtie, Bill Nye is more attractive than I am.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comNo one has ever agreed with me on this, but I personally think that before I cut my hair, I looked just a little bit like Christopher Guest circa his run on Saturday Night Live in 1984–1985. This may, however, be just some sort of weird subconscious manifestation of my longtime desire to mate with Jamie Lee Curtis, to whom he has been married since he was on SNL. If you hear about anyone murdering him and wearing his face as a mask Hannibal Lecter-style, it's probably me.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comVia ChampagneMinimalist, I discoved a site called MyHeritage that lets you upload a picture of yourself and then searches a database to find out what celebrities you look most like. I uploaded a picture of myself taken a couple of Christmasses ago that I'd always thought was a fairly good one even though I was deliberately fattening myself up like a prize hog in order to win a body transformation contest at work when it was taken. But to my horror, MyHeritage said I looked like slovenly murdered Dutch film director Theo van Gogh.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comWanting to regain some self-esteem, I uploaded a picture of myself taken during the contest, at a point when I'd lost 41 pounds and cropped my hair to an eighth of an inch and theoretically looked the best I've ever looked in my life. Not so, said MyHeritage. I looked like Billy Corgan, it said. Despite all my rage, I still look like a guy with a head so egg-shaped that his grey matter is yellow.

You can see now, perhaps, why I have not allowed any pictures of me to be posted on the web.

I'm thinking, why is Superman dead?

The bad news first: The Superman Origin Comics that Jay Pinkerton and I did have been removed from both my blog and his.

And now the good news: That's because they've found an exclusive online home at Jay's new employer, Cracked magazine, which has bought the rights for its website, Congratulations to Jay on both his new gig and his excellent comic-selling skills. Please go here to read the comic.

You'll note a few minor changes. "Superman", for instance, is now known as "Stupendous Man". This is, of course, in the best tradition of Cracked magazine parodies. (Which is to say that it's in the best tradition of Mad magazine parodies. Cracked, you will recall, was an off-brand version of Mad for years, although its recent relaunch aims at a more mature audience.) It's also for legal reasons. Not that I'm afraid of DC's lawyers. I'm more afraid of Marvel's lawyers. Daredevil, for instance, is a truncheon-wielding vigilante by night and a lawyer in his civilian identity of Matt Murdock by day. You don't want that guy on your bad side. You're screwed either way.

But enough about that. Please go here to read the comic.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I have two fans

I got home the other night and noticed my computer was claiming it was 10:38 a.m. Moving the mouse around, I quickly deduced that it was frozen. I moved my hand around back. It was burning up. Sure enough, the power supply's fan, which had been roaring like a B-52 bomber as of late, had all but conked out; it was revolving at about 1 RPM. I blew into it to try to dislodge some of the dust clogging it up. It stopped working entirely. I shut down the computer.

Knowing that I'd never be able to get down to the computer stores on College St. before they closed on a weeknight, I called my friend Tyler, who lives nearby, and asked him to pick one up for me on the way home the next night. He did, and met him a short time later to pay him back the purchase price in beer and fajitas. When I got home, I was too stuffed to install the new power supply, so I just went to bed.

When I got home tonight, I switched on the computer, figuring I could at least check my e-mail before melting the CPU. Now the fan is working perfectly. The computer purrs as quietly as a kitten, and it's cool as a corpse.

Now I've got an extra power supply that I don't really need. I'm prepared for when this one eventually does conk out, I suppose, but I know I'm just going to misplace it or eventually mistake it for a broken part and throw it out.

So basically I'm complaining because my computer is working perfectly. I guess this makes me one of those glass-half-empty guys.

Edit: The computer locked up when I posted this and the following message. Have I spoken too soon?

Zombie attack on Mount Royal

"... and in the end, the zombie attack was actually a lot of fun for everyone!" I said.

"That’s great!" my acquaintance said. "You have some great stories. You should be invited to every party."

"I am," I said.

"You’re never at the ones I’m at."

"Well, of course not." I said. "The parties you go to are lame."

His face fell. Was this perhaps too mean a thing to say to someone who was just trying to pay me a sincere compliment? And was it even remotely justified considering how few parties I actually go to? Is this why I go to so few? And more importantly, what was that bit about the zombies?

Let me start explaining this way: A few months ago, I was telling my friend Sascha about an amazing coincidence. "My friend e-mailed me a link to a newspaper story about the zombie attack in Montreal, and it turned out that another friend of mine was actually the one who wrote it!" I said.

"Oh, wow! Cool!" she said. Then confusion clouded her face. "Wait ... what?"

As you can see, when you've got a story about a zombie attack, I think it’s best to just casually throw a reference to it out there to pique curiosity. I did it to poor Sascha, and I did it yesterday when I was telling the aforementioned co-worker about my arch-nemesis, Medieval Club Guy. He’d heard of middle-aged people reliving their youth, but never young people reliving the Middle Ages, but in fact, there are whole communities of folks who do. Some like to don hosiery and simper. Others strap on armour and whale away on one another with swords. "As a matter of fact," I said, "my old pal John MacFarlane* wrote a newspaper story about the zombie attack on a bunch of those guys for the Montreal Gazette just a few months back."

His face clouded with confusion. "Wait ... what?"

I must admit some confusion myself. I thought I had passed along the tale, but it would seem not. You should definitely read John's account for yourself. It’s his story to tell, and he does it well. But I’ll summarize it.

A group of as many as 200 people regularly meet to do battle in Mount Royal park in Montreal. It’s kind of like that old Tom Hanks exploitation movie, Mazes and Monsters: A bunch of people who would normally meet in a dank basement to play Dungeons and Dragons take things to the next level with something they call "larping" (live-action role playing), which basically seems to consist of whacking each other with sawn-off hockey sticks and garbage-can lids. This at least gets them out in the fresh air and sunlight. And although the fighting is about as real as pro wrestling, there is a similar element of danger. One of my history teachers had us do something similar in high school, and a guy nearly lost a thumb. This is kind of cool for a history class. But as a weekend hobby, it is, from a certain viewpoint, nerdy in the extreme.

A group of indie-music-listening hipsters thought so, and, organizing their attack on an online message board, they resolved to drive these poindexters back to their dank basements where they belonged. However, they undertook this mission with considerably more panache than, say, a bunch of frat boys, who usually occupy the ecological niche of the natural enemy of nerds. They dressed up as zombies, going all-out with gory, Tom Savini-level makeup jobs and tattered clothing, and ambushed two armies of larpers already doing battle in the park. Here, I will quote John (who I’m sure had something to do with the story besides just writing it, by the way, being an indie-music-listening hipster himself):
It might be expected that the medievalists, having never experienced an intrusion into their Sunday reality, would have been stunned when a small army of dishevelled zombies staggered out of the woods toward them. But this was not the case.

"It was like they had been waiting for this moment for their entire lives," Guay said.

"They formed a battle line and charged," said Kate Irvine, 20, another message board regular and spectator. "They didn't stop and look confused even for a second."
Medieval club guys and zombies battled it out for over an hour, with no small amount of brain-eating and undead-turning taking place. And in the end, as I said, the zombie attack was actually a lot of fun for everyone. Sure, the larpers were nerds, figured the indie-music-listening hipsters, but they themselves had enjoyed the whole thing immensely, and hey, they were indie-music-listening hipsters, and that’s merely another kind of nerd anyway.

There’s a lesson in there somewhere, but I don’t know what it is. Good story, though.

* You may know John MacFarlane as editor of the magazine Toronto Life. That said, I'm actually talking about a different guy with the same name who founded the now-defunct website Good Magazine.

Legal advice needed

If a telemarketer calls me, can I get in any trouble if I turn it into an obscene phone call? It seems like this might be a better way to get on the do-not-call list than actually asking.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Three things I got angry about today for no real reason

  1. Disgruntled restaurant workers who spit in customers' food instead of at least having the guts to pretend to accidentally spill hot soup on them. (shaking with rage)

  2. Laura Secord ranking behind Celine Dion and Shania Twain in the "Greatest Canadian" poll conducted by the CBC in 2004. (strong language)

  3. Lake Huron and Lake Michigan being considered separately as Great Lakes, when hydrologically speaking, they actually make up a single lake with two large lobes connected by a comparatively narrow strait. (eye rolling)

Transitory manners

I’ve mentioned the general lack of manners among passengers on the bus. What I may not have mentioned is the general lack of manners on the part of the bus itself. There’s a series of decals on the windows of the buses of the TTC and Mississauga Transit that’s bugged me for a long time.

The first one says, “Please move back – Thank You.” The last part is written in an italicized cursive font, but that’s not what bugs me. What bothers me is that saying “Thank you” as part of your request is presumptuous. It presupposes compliance and sends the message that it’ll waste the supplicant’s time to bother to send a thank-you note later when the arduous task of giving thanks can simply be disposed of up front. I personally sign my written requests with the message “I shall be obliged.” Then I follow up with a thank-you message later, because that's how I roll.

The second one says, “A little further back. PLEASE!” This one sounds like it’s really losing its patience. With those capital letters, it’s yelling. Plus, it says “further” when it should say “farther”, since we’re talking about actual distance and not just quantity or degree. Stop, take a breath, and read The Elements of Style before yelling at the passengers any further (not farther), bus decal makers.

The third one says, “Thank You for moving back.” Now I do have a problem with that italicized cursive font. It just seems sarcastic after the rudeness of the previous one.

What was really beyond the pale, though, was the sequence of decals I saw on a bus a few weeks back. I assume that the windows had been taken out for some kind of servicing and then replaced in the wrong order. So the very back window, flush against the back wall of the bus, said, “Please move back – Thank You.” Moving through several inches of stainless steel is extremely difficult, if not impossible. This is an obviously unreasonable request, and as such, quite rude.

Monday, January 09, 2006

I just typed in the URL for my blog, and the hit counter stood at exactly 60,000 pageloads. What are the odds?

Rumours I'm starting

Good pal and fellow blogger Jay Pinkerton isn't nicknamed "Jay" because his given name is James. Rather, it's for an ugly, hook-shaped scar that vaguely resembles the tenth letter of the alphabet, which was carved into his forehead by thugs over an unpaid gambling debt. He didn't really like the nickname when we first started calling him that.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

I Fingered Bob Kane

The previous post about the Batman thing was perhaps a little unclear, so this is the full story as I understand it:

A while back, my friend Jay Pinkerton and I did a comic parodying the Batman origin story, which became quite popular online. Jay mentioned to me a couple of days ago that it had resurged a bit in popularity, so I Googled it to see what people might be saying about it.

I found a quiz put out by RaW, the BBC's literacy group. In one category of questions, you're supposed to match actors to the roles they played. For example, for a picture of Ian McKellen, the answer reads "Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien). And for a picture of George Clooney, the answer reads "Batman, Batman and Robin (Jay Pinkerton and Peter Lynn). So it does seem that we're being credited as the creators of Batman, which is, as I said, a fairly questionable claim for a world-renowned broadcasting organization to make.

My theory is that one of two things happened. The first possibility is that the writer who put the test together did a shoddy job of research by just picking the first names he found on a Google search for "batman origin". As of this writing, we're the number one hit, oddly enough. It's pretty funny that anyone looking for Batman's origin story is led to our version instead of the original. I credit the extremely simple and obvious title of our comic: "Batman Origin Story". I'm going to do this with everything from now on. No more clever titles.1 Simple titles lead to massive hits by web searchers.

It's kind of like what the creators of Friends did when they gave all the episodes names like "The One Where Ross and Rachel Kiss". Even if you didn't know the title, you still kind of knew the title. It's not like on Star Trek, where an episode could be called "The Savage Curtain" and you'd have no idea it was the one with Abe Lincoln. They should have called it "The One With Abe Lincoln".2

But I digress. The second possibility is that the person who wrote the quiz was a fan of our Batman Origin Comics who decided to amuse himself by crediting us in place of Bob Kane and Bill Finger, the actual creators.

Not that it's the first time Bill Finger got robbed of credit for his contributions, thanks to Bob Kane, who hogged all the glory; according to Wikipedia, "being Fingered" has thus become the slang for being denied credit for one's contributions to a story or character. An example of this is that although Jay takes pains to give credit where it's due, most people online nevertheless seem to believe that he's the sole author of the Batman Origin Comics.3 This sometimes leads to situations in which people correctly praise his comedic genius but incorrectly cite bits that I wrote to prove their case, which is annoying.

But I've decided that I deserve the credit for Batman—the real Batman—if only to make up for the fact that I've been Fingered for years by the entertainment industry, which keeps stealing my ideas. They're bad ideas, ones written as jokes, but nevertheless, I've been repeatedly astonished to see them actually come to pass. I can think of three examples immediately:
  • Macaulay Culkin starring in a live-action adaptation of Richie Rich
  • Adam Sandler remaking The Longest Yard and featuring a Burt Reynolds cameo
  • Patrick Swayze making a hip-hop record
Entertainment industry, you owe me something for my terrible ideas. Pay up. Until you do, I'm going to continue taking credit for Batman even though it's patently obvious at a glance that I wasn't even alive during the 1930s. I've already put it on my resume. And everywhere I see that "Created by Bob Kane" credit, I'm going to scratch it out and write "Created by Jay Pinkerton and Peter Lynn."

Actually, I guess I'll write "Created by Jay Pinkerton, Peter Lynn, and Bill Finger." He's owed that.

1. After this post. I promise.
2. "The Savage Curtain", in which Kirk and Spock team up with Abe Lincoln and Surak to fight four notorious villains from history, should not be confused with "The Savage Garden", in which Kirk and Spock battled a shitty Australian pop duo.
3. We've concluded the actual credit is more like 70:30 in favor of Jay on the Batman and Superman Origin Comics, both of which were his idea and none of which would be possible without his stunning Photoshop work. Also, credit is due to Steve Ely for reminding me about the story of Bill Finger.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Life truly is like a box of chocolates: It's an empty experience full of disappointing twists of fate

I just finished off the top layer of a box of Pot of Gold chocolates, a deluxe package contained in an attractive metal case. That's it for the upper deck, I thought. Time for the lower deck. My jaws slavered in anticipation as I lifted out the plastic tray in anticipation of round 2 of marachino cherries and hazelnut bouquets.

Below that was a protective corrugated paper liner. I took that out.

Below that was a second protective corrugated paper liner. I took that out too.

Below that was yet a third protective corrugated paper liner. I impatiently took that out too.

Below that, staring back at me, was the bottom of an empty metal box.

What the fuck?! You only get one layer in a box of chocolates now?

She is Spartacus II

The end of Janet's account of her first Girl Guide revolt clearly set up a sequel. Here, now, is the story of that second uprising.
Well, the second girl guide revolt happened at a 'Girl Guide Sleepover'. I never really understood the purpose of these sleepovers. It always happened at either a church in Huttonville, or in Brampton. We were always told to bring sleeping bags and a pillow and a change of clean underwear. This clean underwear was a major hang-up for one of the leaders. In fact, she concoted some story that if you don't change your underwear you will get 'crotch rotch'. First off, to my knowledge everyone changed their underwear, as we were girls, not boys and tended to favour good hygiene. But this one leader told us that our crotches could get infected, turn black, and bits would fall off. Clearly, the woman was sick. Anyway, so here we all were- approximately 40 girl guides in this dank musty church basement. After the sing-a-longs, prayers, and barfy 'friendship tea' which i'm certain was piss with a sprinkle of cinnamon in it we were told to get to bed. Everyone got into their sleeping bags and tried to sleep. I couldn't. Maybe it was the piss tea, or maybe it was the chatter and the drunken laughter coming from the church kitchen. From where I was situated, I got a clear view of the leaders in the kitchen. They were eating chips, cookies and chocolate and drinking something that looked very much like Rye. That night I had a cold hot dog and the 'friendship tea', so naturally, I was enraged. I whispered to the girl next to me that I was going to go to the bathroom and get some air. As I was getting up, I suddenly thought how funny it would be to stage another revolt. I sat back down and whispered to the girl next to me to tell the person next to her and so on, to meet in the bathroom. As I slithered out the door I looked back and saw the message being passed to all of the guides in the room. At first no one moved. Then suddenly one brave girl crawled towards the door, then another, then another, and before I knew it, the room was emptying out. We broke the lock that led into the main church area and headed towards the belfry. We didn't know where the washroom was, so the belfry was a good a place as any to hang out.

So there we all were -- 40 of us, in our Scooby Doo and Smurf pajamas smoking cigarettes that one girl pulled out of her pocket, shivering, hanging out in the belfry and stairway. As with the other revolt we got to work practicing our spitting and swearing and 3 girls were busy engaging in a slapping fight. It was a great time. Unfortunately, we were a little noisy and the church was in a residential area, and before we knew it, the leaders were running out of the church onto the lawn and screaming at us. Supposedly a neighbour had called, or shown up at the church.

We were in big trouble.

After everyone had returned to the church basement we were forced to sit up all night with the lights on and discuss God, Jesus, and the Virgin Mary. Another round of friendship tea was forced on us, and a lecture on self-control from the minister who showed up first thing in the morning. Again, no one told the leaders that I had staged the mini-revolt, but I was beginning to get the feeling that they suspected me and the one black girl in the group (who was entirely innocent). After all, I wasn't blonde, happy, or friendly, and my badge sash was the saddest thing anyone ever saw.

The next and final revolt (as I got kicked out of Guides for that one) occurred a few months later at camp. It involves a three fingered retarded boy and draining a pond.

Okay, but I'm not taking the heat for the nipples on the Batsuit ...

I'm not quite sure what to make of this, and can only assume it has something to do with our Batman Origin Comics, but according to these two PDFs I found online, Jay Pinkerton and I appear to be credited as the creators of the film Batman and Robin in a quiz put out as part of the BBC's RaW literacy program.

Edit: Steve Ely corrects me by pointing out that the BBC appears to be actually crediting us as the creators of the Batman character, which is one of the more outlandish claims that I can recall a major news organization ever making.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Mousetrapped again

It seems like around this time last year that I had to explain to Brain-Damaged Toula and her idiot boyfriend how to set a mousetrap. Yet, as I type this, they're once again out in the kitchen trying to insert the bait under the trigger plate instead of on top of it like you're supposed to and trying to bait it after setting it, which just causes them to get startled and stung when they set it off and it snaps shut on their fingers. Morons.

I think I'm going to roam around outside the window and knock over the garbage cans while wearing a fur coat so I can convince them they need to set a bear trap. That'll learn 'em.

The devil she knows

The remarkable thing about my decade-long friendship with my good pal Janet is that it has endured in spite of her apparently sincere and long-held belief that I am the Devil.

Janet was and is the best friend of a girl I dated in university. At the time, I was the owner of a luxuriant head of hair, which radiated outward from two points on the back of my head, rather than the usual one. This is known as a double crown, and according to Janet, who was horrified when she noticed it, it is also the Devil's Mark. (I didn't have the heart to show her my third nipple.)

Based on this, she leapt to the reasonable conclusion that I also had a two-pronged phallus, an attribute the Devil also purportedly possesses in order to commit both fornication and sodomy simultaneously. She once demanded in front of a long line of people waiting to get into a local bar that I disprove her accusation by taking out my genitalia for all to see. I didn't take the bait, though. I knew that if I only had one prong to show, she would simply accuse me of using my infernal powers to change my form.

Another time, my girlfriend called me and invited me to their house. When I came through the front door, Janet leapt out of the shadows. She was clad all in black and wearing a beret, and she was aiming a squirt gun at me. It was filled with holy water filched from the cathedral a block away. She squirted me in the face a few times.

"Agh! Stop that!" I said.

"Why? Is it burning, Devil?"

"No," I said. "It's annoying!"

Eventually I asked why we got along so well if she thought I was the Prince of Darkness. She just shrugged. "The Devil is a charming man."

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Kraft Krap

Dear Kraft Foods,

I admit that it may be odd that my theology is informed mainly through television commercials, but I have a few questions about heaven as it is portrayed in your ad campaign for Philadelphia Cream Cheese.

The first topic about which I am curious concerns the female angel who appears in these commercials. Am I right in assuming that since she is in heaven she must be dead? If so, what did she die of? Was it an accidental death, or did she have health problems? When she died, was she as young as she appears? Or did she die in a much older state and revert to a younger appearance? Or is it the case that she simply always existed as an angel?

Second, I am also curious about her manservant. Does slavery exist in heaven? Is he forced to serve as a manservant because he sinned in life? Or is it the case that although he willingly lived a submissive lifestyle, he was a virtuous man, and his eternal reward is that he is allowed to serve this heavenly dominatrix?

I'm a little confused about how this all fits together, and I would definitely appreciate some answers to these queries so that I can be better prepared for the afterlife.

Best regards,

Peter Lynn

"Kraft - Online Team2"
To: "'peterjlynn[at]yahoo[dot]com'"
Subject: RE: Your Comment/Question
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 17:18:51 -0500

Hi Peter,

Thank you for visiting

We appreciate your interest in our advertisement. Unfortunately, we do not have any more information to share with you on the subject. Thank you for contacting us.

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Anne-Marie Truong
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