Monday, February 27, 2006

The Great Outdoor Fight

The comic Achewood is always great, but to quote Lyle, the current story arc about the Great Outdoor Fight has got me so pumped I could play a trumpet with my cock. If you're not up to speed, start the story here and watch man destroy man at the Great Outdoor Fight.

Also: While I'm passing on links, this entry at The Rhetorical Letter Writer made me laugh myself sick.

Also also: The same evening I write that I'm "so pumped I could play a trumpet with my cock", my little sister mentions over MSN that she's just spent the last two hours reading my blog. Remember, it was only a quote! And, uh, all that other stuff I've mentioned in the last few months that I wouldn't want Mom reading about was also actually done by someone else. Crap. Having your sibling discover your blog is like having your sibling discover the porno movies you were in. Although I did learn something about her that I didn't know:
9000 channels and nothing on.... says:
Congratulations, by the way, on creating Batman [Note: she's referring to this.]
Ruddy Ruddy says:
Thank you!
Ruddy Ruddy says:
I was proud of that.
9000 channels and nothing on.... says:
You beat the kite guy [Note: she's referring to this guy.]
Ruddy Ruddy says:
Thank god.
Ruddy Ruddy says:
I hate that kite guy.
9000 channels and nothing on.... says:
I hate the famous transvestite with my exact name....that whore
Ha! I'm guessing she means this one. I've certainly seen better. [Work-safe. honestly. It's only Wikipedia.]

Thursday, February 23, 2006

What's my sign, girl?

It's always nice when strange women are thinking of you. Without knowing it, Heather over at Champagne Minimalist has managed to guess my zodiacal sign (which is the same as hers).

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Three-Minute Mysteries for Epistemologists

The local constabulary was stumped. Moments before the party was to have begun, Colonel Maynard had been found with a stab wound in his back. He lay in front of the buffet table, which held a large ice sculpture of a heron, although its long, sharp beak had been broken off and was missing. No murder weapon could be found, although a still-warm hairdryer was discovered plugged into a nearby electric outlet. The chief inspector was about to write the death off to natural causes, when Professor Harris, head of the local university's philosophy department, broke in. "There are your murderers, Chief!" the professor exclaimed, pointing at the caterer and the hairstylist. "Arrest those men!"


Answer: First, the professor believed that the caterer and hairstylist were the perpetrators. Second, it was in fact true that they had murdered the colonel. Third, the professor's belief was justified—that is, it was caused in a reliable way, given the circumstances, having been the only possible conclusion of a process of deductive reasoning that took the physical evidence of the crime as its starting premises. The generally agreed-upon definition of knowledge is that it consists of justified, true belief. Thus, since Professor Harris had a belief concerning the identity of the murders that was both justified and true, he can say that he "knew" this.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Peter Lynn: World's worst party conversationalist

Speaking of kids and badly misconstruing the nature of their existence and parentage, this was me at a party the other night. I surely won't be invited back.

Some guy [to a girl I had been talking to]: [mumble, mumble, something] your daughter.

Me: Oh, you have a daughter?

Girl: I had one when I was 14. She was adopted.

Me [somehow not understanding]: You adopted a baby when you were 14? How is that possible?

Girl [looking slightly upset]: Someone else is raising my baby now.

Me: So they let you adopt her and then just took her away again? That seems really cruel.

Girl: I really don't think they would give a 14-year-old a baby.

Me: Well, don't get me wrong, but if they're just going to take her away again, maybe they shou—oh. Oh. Oh, God. I see. Oh, I'm really sorry.

Girl: It's okay.

Update: I managed to get the other foot in my mouth today. More in the comments thread.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

That eureka moment

The Ecuadorean girl at my bus stop asked me the other day about the puzzle I was doing. It turned out her command of the English language didn't include the word sudoku, which is of course because it is not an English word. I defined it as "a Japanese* number puzzle designed to make me feel stupid", adding that I hadn't had "that eureka moment" yet. Her face clouded with confusion again at the word eureka, which she'd also never heard. Her bewilderment deepened when I unhelpfully defined it as "a Greek word to say when you're running around naked", before explaining about Archimedes discovering the law of buoyancy while in the bath.

This came to mind because I just saw my bank teller have a cute little eureka moment. Starting today, you have to preregister the companies to whom you make payments at the Royal Bank. Now that Rogers has bought Sprint in Canada, my cable and phone bills (which I haven't bothered to consolidate) are now apparently sent by the same company, but when she was trying to register them, it turned out there are seven similarly named subcompanies all owned by Rogers from which to choose, which would have been confusing even if this hadn't been the first day.

After a couple of moments of deliberation, she figured out which company was supposed to go with my cable bill. Beaming triumphantly, she wrote "Done!" on my stub and started to hand it back. Then, obviously pleased with herself, she added "Well" to the front of that.

So now my cable bill stub has "Well Done!" written on it, which makes it look like I'm being graded on my prompt and full payment. She might as well have added a letter grade.

*I'm aware that sudoku was invented in the US and merely popularized in Japan before being reimported, but ironically, I didn't mention this because I thought it would confuse the issue.

Those who like the wee lads and lassies, like them a lot

Image hosting by PhotobucketFrom the There Is Too Such a Thing As Bad Publicity Department:

The angry Scottish guy from the Alexander Keith's commercial has been arrested on child porn charges, instantly achieving the unthinkable feat of leapfrogging past Canadian Tire Guy as the most reviled Canadian TV commercial spokesman. That dude's going to have to become a serial rapist to take his title back.

Talk about dumping the pride of Nova Scotia all over the place. Obviously, this guy's career as a comic actor is done now that he's joined those dudes from the Bay City Rollers in the Scottish wing of the Gary-glitterati. There's always a chance he could pull off Pete Townshend's "I was researching a book on child abuse" alibi, of course, even though that's only a notch above "We were ... uh ... rehearsing for a play at the local community centre" on the scale of excuse believablity.

And needless to say, Labatt, the maker of Alexander Keith's, has pulled the commercials, but I imagine the damage is already done to the 186-year-old brand. The inevitable price drop notwithstanding, I know I won't be able to buy a Keith's without the fear of someone standing up and shouting, "You chose the beer of a child pornographer!" like in the old "Child Molester's Jam" sketch by the Kids in the Hall.

If there's one positive thing to come out of this (besides seeing a child-porn ring getting busted up, which I suppose is a boon), it's that we might see an end to the proliferation of commercial pitchmen and hack comics just doing Scottish accents in lieu of actual material for the foreseeable future. I've been waiting for someone to kick that crutch out from under Mike Myers for a while now.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Let's make our own eggcorns

The next time you want to discuss something frankly, instead of saying "Let's lay all our cards on the table," try saying "Let's lay all our cocks on the table."

If anyone is perplexed by this, look slightly irritated at the interruption and say, "Dude, it's just an expression."Then try to steer the conversation back to the point at hand. If pressed, roll your eyes and insist that people have always said this and construct a folk etymology that explains that lining up against a table and laying your penes on it for comparison is an obvious metaphor for a frank discussion.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I like a good flag-burning as much as anyone, but I don't get this.

As a Canadian, I secretly get a warm feeling every time someone sets the Stars and Stripes alight. (This is literally true. You might not know this, but many of us get through our long, cold winters by heating our houses with furnaces that run on American flags.)

That said, I was confused by the photo in this story I saw in today's issue of 24 Hours:

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No, it's not the errant apostrophe in the caption that's bothering me. It's that these Pakistanis are burning the American flag when it was actually the Danish who published the Islam-themed cartoons that have everyone in such a hubbub. I don't know. Maybe it was just reflex. Maybe they didn't have a Danish flag laying around.

Or maybe it's just something they always do when there's a whole bunch of them hanging around and the mood seizes them to do something but they don't know precisely what to do, so they just do something that they ordinarily enjoy doing even if they know it's not quite right.

Here's a similar example: When the Toronto Blue Jays won the 1993 World Series, I was in my first year at Queen's University, whose students are generally acknowledged as having far too much school spirit for a Canadian university. When Joe Carter's championship-clinching homer flew over the left-field fence, seemingly the entire population of the Queen's Ghetto poured out into University Avenue for an impromptu street party. The celebration was raucous. It was joyous. And then it happened, as it always does when that many Queen's students get together:

Everyone linked arms in a big circle, did that little kicking can-can dance, and sang a rousing rendition of the school song, the Oil Thigh:
Queen's College colours we are wearing once again,
Soiled as they are by the battle and the rain,
Yet another victory to wipe away the stain!
So, Gaels, go in and win!

Oil thigh na Banrighinn a'Banrighinn gu brath!
Oil thigh na Banrighinn a'Banrighinn gu brath!
Oil thigh na Banrighinn a'Banrighinn gu brath!
It was odd, even awkward if you stopped to think about it. It made no sense. What the hell did Queen's University have to do with the Blue Jays? Nothing. We'd played no part in the World Series win. Hell, with the lone exception of one outfielder, no Canadian had had anything to do with it. But the situation seemed to call for something. We were brimming over with vague pride, we and happened to have a song celebrating a sporting victory. So we sang it. Close enough.

That's what this is like.

Monday, February 13, 2006

May God have mercy on this shark

Let's just agree that Snakes on a Plane is not only the most brilliant high-concept four-word pitch in the history of movies, but also the best title ever. It was actually only the working title, but when they tried to change it, star Samuel L. Jackson put his foot down. "We’re totally changing that back," he said. "That’s the only reason I took the job: I read the title." And he's right. It sums up everything. You know what you're getting. "You either want to see that, or you don’t," says Jackson. A poster on the IMDb message board insists that the movie must contain at least one instance of Sam Jackson shouting, "There's a muthafucking snake on this plane!" I think every single line of dialogue should consist of Sam Jackson dropping the MF bomb and shouting some variant of the film's title. Because it's the best title ever, for what is guaranteed to be the best movie ever. It just doesn't get better than Snakes on a Plane.

Clearly, it's a race for the silver at this point. But I think I might have hit on a contender while trying to combine an old girlfriend's two favorite genres of scary movies. Are you ready? Here it is:

Shark Exorcism.

A great white shark is possessed by the Devil and terrorizes a small seaside community. A lone priest must don mask and scuba tank to do battle beneath the waves against powerful, unearthly forces. A town's future—and a shark's soul—hang in the balance. This summer ... may God have mercy on this shark. Shark Exorcism.

Friday, February 10, 2006

How imprudent

Image hosting by PhotobucketAn observation: I was reading the "Dear Prudence" advice column at last week and noticed that it was Margo Howard's last time writing for the column before moving on to a new advice-giving gig at Yahoo! News. Today, I noticed that they're spotlighting the column, which is now written by Emily Yoffe, with the words "Introducing Slate's New, Improved Dear Prudence".

So I clicked on the new column. What's new and improved? They don't say. The only thing that seems to be different is that it's a different Prudie writing it. This seems like a bit of an unnecessary dig at the old and, by implication, inferior one (who I thought was just fine and has the distinguished pedigree of being Ann Landers' daughter). I'm guessing she didn't leave on good terms.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

My phone number is not 416-564-5462

Whoa. I just had to give out a fake phone number. Like a girl.

I was just riding home on a streetcar on College St., getting ready to transfer to the Spadina subway, and immersed in a sudoku puzzle as I stood. Someone behind me tapped me on the shoulder just before the streetcar stopped. I let him by. The streetcar stopped. I got off, got on the subway, and transferred to the Bloor line, all the while concentrating on my puzzle.

Someone slipped into the seat beside me and tapped me. I took off my headphones.

"Sorry about earlier," said a young guy with a close-cropped head under his ball cap, a chinful of stubble, and a bit of toothpaste caked next to his mouth.

"What happened then?"

"I tapped you."

"Oh, that's okay."

"I just wanted off."

"Yeah, me too. We just hadn't stopped yet, I thought."

"I'm Patrick," he said, extending his hand.

I shook it. "Hi, Patrick," I said.

"My last name is like the french fries."

"The french fries?"


"Oh. Heh. Yeah."

"What's your name?"

"Uh. Peter."

"Hi, Peter," he said, shaking my hand again. "Are we friends?"

"Yeah. Sure."


"Sure, why not?"

"Can I buy you a coffee sometime."

"Uh. Okay."

"Good. Do you write essays?"

"No, not for a long time."

"What do you do?"

"I'm an editor. So I correct spelling and things like that."

"I work for McCain sometimes."

"Oh, really? Doing what?"

"Coming up with new food products."

"Yeah? Like what?"

"I can't say. Or someone might steal my ideas."

"Got it. That's smart of you."

"Have you ever been to Germany?"


"I want to go."


"To the Wall."

"Oh, is that still up?"



"Would you go?"

"Yeah, sure."


"Yeah, why not?"

"I have a German friend."

"Oh, good."

"He's depressed."

"Oh, that's too bad. What about?"

"I don't know."

"When was the last time you saw him?"

"A long time ago."

"You should go see him."

"Yeah, that's a good idea." He paused. "I'm on privileges."

"What kind?" I asked, although I suspected I knew where this was going.

"From the hospital."

"Which one?"

"The psychiatric hospital."

"Oh. that's good."

"Would you like to go to Vancouver?"

"Sure. Why not?"

"I'll go with you."

"Hey, great."

"Do you have a phone number?"

"I do."

"May I have it?"

"Sure." I tore off the top of my sudoku and wrote down a fake number. "Here."

"Can you write 'Peter' on it, or should I?"

"No, I'll do it." I took it back, wrote "Peter" down, and handed it back. "Well, this is my stop," I said, getting up. It actually was. Thank God.

"Okay," he said. "Nice meeting you."

"You too."

"Sorry about earlier."

"No problem."

"Sorry about tapping you."

"No problem."

"Have a good night."

"I will," I said. "You too." I got off the train, put my headphones back on, and walked up the stairs, all the while resisting the urge to shudder.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

There, but for the grace of Muhammad, go I

Image hosting by PhotobucketI read a headline at "Bush urges end to cartoon violence". I was elated. Finally, in our time, we might see an end to the horrifying spectacle of cats having their faces blackened by sticks of dynamite shoved into their mouths by mice. To coyotes crushed under boulders. To ducks having their beaks spun around their heads by shotgun blasts.

As it turned out, although animated mayhem might somehow be expected to be one of the president's pet subjects, he was actually speaking out against the global crisis over the printing of anti-Islamic cartoons in a Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten. It seems crazy. Personally, I don't get enraged by cartoons now that Lennie Peterson has retired the execrable The Big Picture. Yet, the current uproar has resulted in a boycott of Danish goods by Muslim consumers, withdrawal of ambassadors from Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, and the deaths of 10 people so far in violent demonstrations. I wouldn't be surprised to hear of a fatwa calling for the deaths of the cartoonists and the publishers of Jyllands-Posten.

The funny thing I just realized: This could have been me.

Back in university, when I used to write for the satirical rag Golden Words, I used to draw a cartoon called The Blasphemy Corner that dealt with religious themes. I think the title really overstated the case most of the time. Some notable exceptions aside, it wasn't really that blasphemous; rather, it was just some gentle fun being poked at bible stories. It gained a pretty enthusiastic following (probably more because of their ability to épater le bourgeois than because they were particularly hilarious), and I still occasionally get requests to scan them and put them online. In fact, a few crappy scans are online, and can be seen here. I've never bothered with the rest because it seems like a lot of work to digitally republish a lot of my juvenalia that I don't really think is particularly great anymore.

Some people sure liked them, though. For example, my girlfriend at the time loved them enough to show them off to her parents. Why she thought this was a good idea, I'll never know. Her mother is a super-devout Roman Catholic. In recent years, she's taken to worshipping a water stain on a wall at her cathedral that looks like the Virgin Mary. So you can imagine how much she liked them. She talked her daughter into breaking up with me, and to this day, those parents hate my guts.

The Blasphemy Corner was also the source of my very first complaint letter, which was published in the Queen's Journal. I was so proud that I clipped it out and saved it for years. Continuing the theme of complainants sending letters criticizing Golden Words to any paper but Golden Words, which was certain to respond with mockery and character assassination, the next complaint letter went right to the Kingston Whig-Standard. I saved that one too.

Another situation that comes to mind didn't stem from a cartoon, although it easily could have: We published an editorial critical of the elevation of Toronto's own Aloysius Ambrozic from archbishop to cardinal on the basis that he'd made some pretty misogynist and homophobic remarks. The day it published, three strapping young Catholic lads showed up at our offices to discuss the issue, ruddy with fury. So what did I do? I locked myself in a room with them and stubbornly debated theology with them until they got sick and tired of it and went home. In retrospect, this was a pretty foolhardy thing to do, as it could have gotten ugly.

Case in point: A couple of years before I was editor, Golden Words published "Jew-W", an issue parodying anti-Semitism that was itself taken as anti-Semitic and managed to get into the national media, an impressive feat for a student newspaper with a circulation of 8000. The lesson learned from this was twofold: First, a fire like that can spread faster and further than you'd think. And second, stick to making fun of Christianity, which is hardly an oppressed minority in this country. It's not necessarily right, but it's safe ground, like making fun of white people or men.

So it's not outside the realm of possibility that a Blasphemy Corner ridiculing Islam might have caused some problems. It's not likely, and it seems like egoism even to imagine such a thing as embassies being set aflame on my account. But if trouble like this can come out of Denmark, of all places, tucked up out of the way up there as it is, it can happen anywhere. And a fatwa I don't need.

Irony, thy name is—ouch!

It's hard to believe, but I've actually managed to physically injure my sense of irony.

Monday night at fencing practice, an opponent managed to nail me really hard a couple of times in the back of my sword hand. (I call this my "zero parry". It's funny if you're a fencer.) It was a little tender for a while, but it didn't hurt at all by the next morning, and I didn't seem to have any sort of impaired function.

That is, I didn't until today, when I tried to make those little "air quotes" with my fingers to indicate irony. Suddenly, my right hand was in crippling agony.

So, no air quotes for me. If I'm going to be sarcastic, I have to do it purely through tone of voice. But the problem is that my usual tone of voice is already such that everything I say comes out sounding a little sarcastic without my intending to. (It's always been a problem in my love life.) So I really do need air quotes to express sarcasm, and I have no choice but to be completely sincere until I heal up.

Believe me, now that I have had the misfortune to become one of them, I have gained a serious sympathy for the disabled. I mean that. I have no choice but to.

Update: I solved the problem by making two signs, one with an opening quotation mark and a note reminding me to hold it in my right hand, and one with a closing quotation mark and a note reminding me to hold it in my left hand. "It was a pleasure talking to you," I told the girl I was talking to when I got the idea, holding up the signs at the fourth word. She frowned and walked away.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I gave myself a botched haircut

Okay, so here's the deal with my head:

As heir to my father's dubious legacy of alopecia and cheapness, I've been cutting my own hair using electric clippers for a while now. On Saturday, I needed to give myself a quick trim before heading out of town. I buzzed my head down to an eighth of an inch as usual. Then I took a quick moment to admire my bald head and suddenly hirsute back and shoulders, and practiced my imitation of George "The Animal" Steele. Then I jumped in the shower.

When I got out, I noticed in the mirror that I'd missed a little strip of hair in the back. No problem. I grabbed the clippers out of the medicine cabinet to even things out with a quick swipe.

What I hadn't noticed, though, was that the little plastic guide comb had fallen off, exposing the metal cutting blade. Suddenly, the part of my hair that had been too long was too short. I had to buzz my whole head again to even things out, then take another shower.

So I'm rocking more of a skinhead look than usual because I'm a moron. On the other hand, I actually ended up meeting a cute girl later that same day who happened to dig the dome. So it worked out in the end.

I can't stop laughing at this hockey sweater

From a thread at Double Minor about the ugliest hockey jerseys:

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Monday, February 06, 2006

Team Semenex shoots off all over MvC

You'll never guess who replied to the post about Semenex: Team Semenex! Let's see what those cum-guzzlers have to say for themselves:
While it is understandable that clowns probably don't get much action, oral or otherwise,1,2 for the rest of us vaginal and oral sex are both enjoyed... and often together. (I'll pause as you recover from the shock such a revelation surely must have caused you.)3 Thus, as we had received questions from our customers re: whether Semenex might affect sperm potency, we were happy to reply.4

Now, as reading skills are apparently also in demand among those with a predeliction for white face paint,5 if you can find "pineapple Kool-Aid" or any other "fruit drink" capable of sweetening your load... buy it! However, as repeatedly stated and explained at our product website,6 Semenex main ingredients are 9 times more concentrated than in Nature.7 Thus, while obviously more expensive than "Kool-Aid",8 yet $1.83 per daily serving is a lot less expensive than going to the store and buying ingredients equivalent to nine 8-oz. glasses of pineapple, banana, celery, broccoli, and strawberry juices.9 And that doesn't include Semenex' additional ingredients.10
  1. Okay, Peter here. I've got to ask: Do I come off on this site as a man or a clown? Because the name of the blog is "Man vs. Clown". I'd kind of think that if anything, it sounds like an anti-clown site. I guess it depends if I usually seem more antagonistic or defensive. If it's the former, I'm the man who is against clowns. If it's the latter, I'm the clown, and you're all out to get me.
  2. You'd be surprised how much action clowns get. Sex TV even did an episode on it. And according to this site, a clown fetish is called "coulrophilia".
  3. I am shocked. How is this possible? You'd have to have a vagina in your mouth. I suppose Linda Lovelace did set a precedent for this in Deep Throat in the role of a woman with a clitoris in her throat. And actually, a lot of men with goatees look like they have vaginas for mouths. Guys, please, if you haven't already, shave your goatees. It's not 1994 anymore.
  4. I still don't get it, though. If you're trying to knock up your wife, you should be putting all that sperm in her vagina, not her mouth. But kudos to Semenex for answering these customers' concerns, even if it's disheartening that this was evidently a question asked frequently enough to merit inclusion in a FAQ. Kudos to them also for keeping such close tabs on the blogosphere, actually. I'm so impressed I'm giving them another free ad.
  5. Ooh, burn! Except misspelling "predilection" kind of undermines the jab at my reading skills.
  6. If they've told me once, they've told me a thousand times. Why can't I get it through my thick skull?
  7. What's with the capitalization of "Nature"? Who's writing this, Francis Bacon? Did they develop Semenex by placing Nature on the rack in order to force Her to yield Her secrets?
  8. Are these sarcastic quotation marks denoting that they aren't actually talking about actual Kool-Aid?
  9. To be perfectly honest, Semenex does sound at least as good as V8.
  10. I.e., a rich source of protein to be added by the user immediately prior to serving.

Google Maintenence

I tried to log into Blogger a few minutes ago, and I got a screen that looked like this:

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Here's a close-up I made of this screenshot while waiting for the scheduled outage to be over:

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Nice typo, bitches!

Mayonnaise and Mendeleev

From my younger sister, who still not-so-fondly recalls the time we polished off a bottle of soy sauce, only to notice afterward that the expiration date had passed seven years before, comes this handy bit of household science: The Table of Condiments That Periodically Go Bad.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Workplace etiquette tip

The next time you knock on someone's closed office door, and he or she says "come in", before you enter, call though the door to ask "Are you decent?"

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The amazing Kresky

The Rockford Files' position as my favorite '70s detective show is of course unassailable. But my favorite fake '70s detective show is now Kresky. This fan site is an incredibly well-done deadpan parody (discovered via Jamie Weinman's excellent blog, Something Old, Nothing New). It's so convincingly done that one can only conclude that the show must have at least aired in a parallel universe, if not in ours.

P.S. I'm totally stealing the name of a minor character I saw in the episode guide to be my new drug dealer name: Good Time Billy Ray. This is, of course, not to be confused with my pimp name, Silky Jones.

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