Friday, April 28, 2006

Recent things I shouldn't have said

"I went out for beer and nachos last night, and I just took a dump so bad I think I've got to go see a psychiatrist."

"I'm such a hypochrondriac. I thought I tore my hip flexor, but it turned out I just had a pimple."

"You know what might sell well? A Realdoll the size and shape of an 11-year-old."

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A Coyle of shit

Found on, a message board for native Canadians in a post about the land dispute at Caledonia:
[...] the effort made by Indian Affairs to intervene, fell apart when Haudenosaunee Clan Mothers dismissed the appointment of Michael Coyle who was named as a fact finder. The one fact he found very quickly when he met with them, was that he was not welcome and was told to leave.
Owned! And from a post at
Ottawa sent an independent mediator, Michael Coyle of the University of Western Ontario, last week. The women sent him packing, “There’s the Eastern Door. Now get out!”
Maybe they'd have tossed any mediator out. But you know, I happen to have met this guy, and I bet that you don't get to be a clan mother without being considered one of the wise women of the tribe, and a wise woman can easily sniff out a total shitheel.

Monday, April 24, 2006

I'm not dead, Jim

I’m cannibalizing a comment I left at Jaime Weinman’s Something Old, Nothing New so I can put it up for discussion here. In a post about the recently announced upcoming Star Trek movie, which will concern the first meeting of Kirk and Spock at Starfleet Academy and will have new actors in those roles, he writes this:
What I'd really like to see, actually, is a revival of the original Trek with new actors in the original roles, but taking advantage of the modern TV series' ability to do real character growth and development. The original series, being done like an anthology show with continuing characters -- the default format for a drama series at the time -- could never really develop the characters; anything Kirk and Spock learned about each other in one episode could never be carried over to the next episode, because every hour was completely self-contained.
As one of the rare fans who'll argue that Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was the best Trek series because it introduced extended story arcs and took character development to a new high, I'm with him except for one thing: What I want is a revival of the original Trek with the original actors in the original roles ... sort of.

The future of entertainment is in computer-generated recreations of the younger and/or living versions of old and/or dead actors. It's been inevitable ever since Humphrey Bogart was in that Diet Coke commercial. Once we can get over the uncanny valley that still makes things like the Final Fantasy movie so creepy to look at, the computerized version is going to be even better than the real thing. CGI actors will work cheaper (although you'll have to pay a licensing fee to the estate), they don't age, and they do their own stunts. You can really push around CGI actors.

And what could be more appropriate than to let Star Trek be the first to embark on this bold new mission? They already did it once with Star Trek: The Animated Series, which chronicled the continuing adventures of the starship Enterprise in cartoon format. And the concept is also very familiar to Trekkies since Trek characters have long been using their holodecks to recreate Moriarty, Dixon Hill, Buck Bokai, Leonardo Da Vinci, and any other fictional character or historical personage they can think of. And the franchise tread similar territory with the Deep Space Nine episode "Trials and Tribble-ations", which juxtaposed new footage of the DS9 actors with footage from the original series episode "The Trouble with Tribbles" to incorporate them into the storyline. There's no reason you couldn't also juxtapose actual living actors with a CGI Kirk and Spock, by the way, and I imagine there are a bunch who were weaned on Star Trek and would jump at the chance to cameo as a doomed redshirt.

A special-effects-driven series like Star Trek is going to be largely computer-generated anyway, and even if you don't get it right, so much the better. The original Star Trek never looked quite right anyway, with its blue-screen backgrounds, foam rocks, and model spacecraft on strings, so a new show would benefit from a lower standard of perfection.

Besides, it's not like the acting quality could really suffer in the process either. A CGI Shatner couldn't really be any worse than the original. In fact, he'll be better. At least a CGI Shatner will never make a disastrous attempt at directing a Star Trek feature film.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The five-month callback

"Has anyone ever told you that you render the sun uncomely?" I asked the waitress.

She burst into laughter. "Yes!"

I am the master of the five-month callback.

(I just realized that the first person who commented on that previous post was the wife of Serge Bielanko of Marah, whom I've mentioned are awesome. Go look at her site. He's a lucky, lucky man.)

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Happy birthday, Roast Beef!

On this day, an intersexed kitten named Cassandra Kazenzakis was born. You may know him better as Roast Beef. And if you don't, then you need to go here and here.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Whole lotta shakin' going on

My mom mentioned a story at Easter that I don’t think I’d ever heard before, because I can’t imagine forgetting it.

Before he retired, my dad was a landlubber employee of the Canadian Coast Guard, a technician who tested navigational aid equipment—lights, solar panels, and other things like that. He worked at CCG Base Prescott, which was a century-old building on the town’s main street that used to be an ammunition factory. I remember it had one of those vacuum tube message systems, a manually operated freight elevator instead of a normal passenger elevator, black rotary telephones, and ashtrays everywhere.

One day my dad had to test this new wind-powered generator, so he installed this big turbine up on the roof, where the wind was. As soon as it went online, though, it started violently vibrating the entire building, which turned out not to be structurally sound enough to avoid being literally shaken to pieces. Worse, the design incorporated no means of turning the generator off. (“Your father was always very brilliant in some ways,” my mom says. “But he didn't always think about consequences.”) The building had to be evacuated, and the police had to cordon off the streets around the base as the turbine’s blades of doom whirled the juddering building closer and closer to complete collapse.

My dad telephoned my mom in a panic. “What am I going to do?”

“Why don’t you just throw something big into it and destroy it?” my mom suggested.

My dad was aghast. “But it’s a hundred-thousand-dollar generator!”

“What’s more expensive?” my mom asked. “The generator or the building?”

So in the end, my dad did throw something huge into the generator and destroyed it before it could destroy the building. A couple of years later, though, the building was demolished anyway, and a modern new headquarters was constructed in its place, a decision surely strongly influenced by this incident. Before that, however, my dad ended up getting moved offsite to a new facility on a few empty acres of fieldland way down a dirt road by the garbage dump two towns over, where he could conduct his experiments without endangering anyone.

There are some lessons in there about planning, problem solving, and sacrifice. But at the very least, there's also always this: No matter how badly you mess up at work, you can at least take consolation in the thought that at least you didn’t cause the destruction of the entire building. Unless you did, in which case, at least you’re not alone.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Once around the block

On the ride in this morning, my bus driver drove around the block for absolutely no reason.

For the first half of the trip, it looked like he was going to just drive back to the station with a full load of passengers, but after the third turn, it was apparent he was just going in a circle. My guess is that he’d just kind of zoned out earlier and found he couldn’t make a left turn because he was in the wrong lane, and he didn’t have any choice but to just go around and try again.

I can relate. I picked a bad time to zone out last night: while a waiter was grinding fresh pepper onto my food. He asked if I wanted some, I said sure, he started grinding away, and then my soul completely left my body. (I wasn’t contemplating any weighty matters; I was just thinking about ordering another beer.)

“Enough?” he asked.

“What? Oh, yeah. Sorry,” I said, snapping back to this plane of existence. “How long was he grinding pepper onto my food?” I asked my friend Elizabeth after he left.

“A long time!” she said.

I took a bite. She was right.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

On a magic carpet ride

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to my old girlfriend Michelle. Here’s how it went:

Michelle: I’m so tired. I got up at 3:00 a.m. this morning.

Me: Why so early?

Michelle: No reason. Then I had a steak for breakfast.

Me: Really? Did you have steak and eggs? Did you go out for breakfast?

Michelle: No I just fried up a steak. Then I flew to work on my magic carpet!

Me: Oh. I see.

I bring this up because I’ve mentioned a few occasions recently in which I’ve taken advantage of the gullible, so I thought I should point out that I’m susceptible to being duped too. Then again, it’s not like I was swallowing a ridiculous whopper in this case. But then again, I should really know better than to ever believe Michelle when she’s talking about what she had for breakfast.

Years ago, she decided that she wasn’t a very good liar, so she’d better practice. She figured she’d start by fibbing about the most trivial, harmless, banal things possible. So she’d casually mention that she’d had cereal for breakfast. Then, later in the day, she’d crack up. I’d ask what she was giggling about, and she’d say she’d really had an English muffin.

Weird little chick, but I suppose that’s probably what I liked.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Elements of Spam

McSweeney's—man, how long has it even been? Tyler forwarded me an article from there a couple of weeks ago, and I was astonished to realize the droll literary humour site still existed. As with the Onion, I used to check McSweeney's faithfully, but my interest eventually petered out as the schtick wore thin.* (It’s not humour for gauche philistines who like to actually laugh. It's humour for sophisticates who like to cock an eyebrow, smirk slightly, and think, How amusingly clever.)

That notwithstanding, I'd be remiss as a copy editor if I didn't pass along a link to this article custom-written for my demographic: "The Elements of Spam". It's quite enjoyable for those who enjoy this sort of thing.

*While I wouldn't actually go out of my way to read the site anymore, I realized this morning that McSweeney's—being bloglike—just might have an RSS feed, and this seems to be true. This makes for the ideal way to read McSweeney's: to have each new and somewhat pretentious humour piece automatically delivered to your RSS reader of choice, to be read, skimmed, or ignored completely at your leisure. Also, this is a good Achewood strip that refers to McSweeney's.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Three notes

  • Not that I expect to need it, but just in case, I've decided on my gay porn name: Gaylord Ramsbottom
  • I bet there are a lot of Chinese academics who have more letters after their names than in their names.
  • After you sneeze really hard, it's fun to clutch your side and groan, "Oh! My stitches!"

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Unhelpful suggestions offered to Katherine for a cover blurb for her company's new book on the Marquis de Sade

  • "de Sade? Not bad!"
  • "120 Days of Awesome!"
  • "The name on the marquee says de Sade!"
  • "If you don't pick up this book and become a Sadist right away, you're a masochist!"
  • "Reading this book isn't like getting brutally sodomized ... but it's the next best thing!"
  • "The most perverted book available anywhere!"

King Capote

About a week ago, Tyler mentioned to me that he'd rented Capote and King Kong. He didn't mean to rent King Kong; he'd just tried to catch out the video store for not having any copies of King Kong for rent as guaranteed, which would have meant he'd be entitled to a free substitute pick, which he was going to use to get Capote, the movie he really wanted to see in the first place. Only, the video store did have a copy of King Kong after all, and then, with his bluff called, he was on the hook to rent it along with Capote. He didn't have to get Capote, but again, it was the movie he really wanted to see in the first place. So burn on Tyler. He didn't know when he was going to find the time to watch both King Kong and Capote.

That's when I got an idea: Wouldn't it be better for Tyler—and wouldn't it make for a better movie in general—if King Kong and Capote were simply combined into one movie? I want to see a 50-foot-tall, fey, white-suited author rampaging through New York City in a mincing fashion. I want to see King Capote climbing up the Empire State Building with murder defendant Perry Smith clutched in one hand and a martini in the other, whining in a high-pitched lisp about not being able to finish his book.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Three generations, one car

Me: Hey, is that your MP3 player? What's on it?

My niece [sorting through songs]: Green Day ... Jessica Simpson ... you'll have to read that one. I can't say it.

Me: "Shake Ya Ass". You can't say that?

My niece: I'll get in big trouble.

["Shake Ya Ass" pumps through car stereo, which is connected to MP3 player by a patch cord. Meanwhile, in the front seat ...]

My mom: Green light, Jennifer.

My sister: It just turned! What, you want me to take off like a racecar driver?

My mom: I don't want to get peeped at. I live in mortal terror of being peeped at.

My sister: You haven't fuckin' lived until you've been peeped at, ma. Then you can give 'em the finger!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

I keep getting these guys mixed up

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Dane Cook

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Swedish Chef

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Brian Stack Q&A

Here's a great, very long Q&A with Brian Stack. Who's he? Just a writer from Late Night with Conan O'Brien that I always find hilarious in bit parts such as Hannigan the travelling salesman and Artie Krendall, the crooning ghost. I post this mostly because I'm only halfway through and I'm terrified of accidentally crashing the computer or something and losing the link, but you might enjoy it too.

Interesting doppelgänger moment

I was watching an old episode of Saturday Night Live from the lamented 1985/86 season this weekend and was astounded to see Bruce McCulloch in a bit part in a short film. I knew he used to write for the show (and he likely wrote that short film, for that matter), but I never knew he'd ever been onscreen. The premise was that it was a public service announcement in which Anthony Michael Hall's buddies try to talk him into doing something unsavory. At the end, he just screams "No" and flees, and then we see that he's running screaming from an army recruiter.

I was so blown away by seeing Brucio on SNL that I just put my finger on the real significance of this moment: For the only time I can think of, two of my supposed celebrity doppelgängers were onscreen together.

I bet it was really eerie for Anthony and Bruce to meet. It must have been like staring into a mirror. A mirror over which a picture of some other guy neither of them knew had been pasted.

It's Tom Darby's birthday!

Who's Tom Darby, you ask? Just some guy I went to school with.

(I make this joke every year.)

(I always remember Tom Darby's birthday because it's three days before mine.)

Monday, April 03, 2006

Stern gets stern

Howard Stern is pissed at his fans because they haven't all followed him to satellite radio. "It's insulting to me that everyone hasn't come with me. I take it personally," Fox quotes him as saying in an Entertainment Weekly interview. (I know, I know—Fox News, Peter? But the link is worthwhile if only to see how the article is interrupted for an ad with the promise "Story continues below", only to wrap up with a single eight-word sentence after the break. Talk about your widows and orphans.)

Get over it, Howard. Surely you had to realize that a certain segment of your audience listened to your show because there wasn't anything better on, but they're certainly not going to pay for the privilege. I know this sounds like some guy twenty years ago saying that paid-subscription cable television will never catch on so long as you can still use your rabbit ears for free, and it may well sound idiotically lacking in vision in retrospect, but nobody wants to pay for radio.

The Michigan Rag

Here's a great bit from the entry on Michigan J. Frog from TeeVeePedia,'s April Fool's Day faux-Wikipedia redesign:
As a mascot for The WB, Michigan J. Frog was an unusually prescient choice: He presaged financial ruin for his backers, and proved to be lively and entertaining only when no one was watching.

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