Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A brutalist's dictionary

"Peter, should this be 'inhumane' with an 'e' here, or should it be 'inhuman' without the 'e'?"

"'Inhuman', without the 'e'."

"What's the difference?"

"Well, 'inhumane' means 'not humane'—cruel or monstrous in a moral way. 'Inhuman' means 'not human'—animal-like or monstrous like an actual monster. If I were to stab you in the gut with my pen right now, I would be inhumane. But if I were to turn into a werewolf and eat you, I would be inhuman."

"I see. Thank you." [slinks off]

Can You Say ... Hero?

This has been making the rounds lately, but if you haven't seen it, here it is: A YouTube video of Mr. Rogers testifying before the US Senate.

One of the few work-safe things on describes the situation thus:

In the late 1960s, the U.S. Senate was considering cutting in half an important twenty million dollar grant for so-called "public broadcasting". Fred, not yet famous with adults, was invited to speak and submit a paper at the hearing. He would plead his case -- what makes public television different, why his program differs from cartoons and violence elsewhere on the dial -- and he would do so before the notoriously gruff and impatient Senator John O. Pastore [D] from Rhode Island. Pastore was the first Italian American elected to the United States Senate in 1950.

Senator Pastore: All right Rogers, you got the floor.

Fred Rogers: Senator Pastore, this is a philosophical statement [motioning to a text copy of the essay he'd submitted] and would take about ten minutes to read, so I'll not do that. One of the first things that a child learns in a healthy family is trust, and I trust what you've said, that you'll read this. It's very important to me, I care deeply about children, my first--

Senator Pastore: [interrupting] Will it make you happy if you read it?

Fred Rogers: I'd -- just like to talk about it, if it's all right --

Senator Pastore: [interrupting] Fine.

Fred Rogers: This is what I give. I give an expression of care every day to each child, to help him realize that he is unique. I end the program by saying, "you've made this day a special day by just your being you. There's no person in the whole world like you, and I like you just the way you are." I feel that if we in public television can only make it clear that feelings are mentionable and manageable, we will have done a great service.

Senator Pastore: [After a long pause] I'm supposed to be a pretty tough guy. This is the first time I've had goose bumps in the last two days.

Fred Rogers: Well I'm grateful. Not only for your goose bumps, but for your interest in our kind of communication.

Fred spoke for about six minutes total, taking the time to recite lyrics from one of his songs.

Fred Rogers: Know that there's something deep inside, that helps us become what we can. For a girl can be someday a lady, and a boy can be someday a man.

Senator Pastore: [visibly misty and touched] I think it's wonderful. That is just so wonderful. Looks like you just won the twenty million dollars.

Spontaneous applause thundered throughout the courtroom. By that time, National Educational Television (the precursor to PBS) had already started broadcasting Fred's programs nationwide in black and white. MisteRogers made its debut on February 19, 1968. Eventually the show would be in color, Mister Rogers would be split into two words, and the set and furniture would be updated -- but only by small degrees to prevent emotionally sensitive children from becoming confused. Senator Pastore died in 1994.
As a chaser, here's one of my favorite pieces ever to appear in Esquire, Tom Junod's profile of Fred Rogers. It's called "Can You Say ... Hero?"

I can. Mr. Rogers was my childhood hero. Something about him really unnerved my mom back then, as though the soft-spoken manner was just a facade, and someday he'd reach his hand right out of the TV screen and molest me. But by all other accounts, he really was as good and decent and gentle as he appeared—a true rarity. More than one person called me mean yesterday. One even called me "a brutalist", and in fact, recent testing indicates that I'm 85% brutal. But I'll bet some of that other 15% of non-brutality came from something Mr. Rogers said that sunk in. He's still my childhood hero.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Jar Barf

I saw this on Conan a while back and laughed myself sick at its simple, childish hilariousness. I even went online to NBC's website to see if it was there, but no dice. I figured I'd never see it again, until Susan at Unnecessary Dramatics posted it. Bless her.

Monday, May 29, 2006

No wonder people spit on them.

Man, the TTC sucks.

Update (3:22 p.m.): Ace public transit blog Transit Toronto reported at 2:48 that the wildcat TTC strike is over. Given the three-hour estimate that I've heard it takes to get the system running gain, service should be restored by around a quarter to six, which happens to be when I leave work. So I should be fine getting home, which is a relief.

This strike totally caught me offguard. I only found out about it when a friend of mine who lives a block from my house and works a block from my office called to offer me a ride. I actually made it into work 45 minutes early, although I missed a half hour of sleep and felt like I'd been run over by a bus all morning, so that didn't necessarily translate to greater productivity.

I convinced a co-worker that the phrase "wildcat strike" was derived from incidents in which workers were unable to report for duty because they'd drank too many bottles of the discount beer Wildcat. The Phrase Finder has the real origin, but suffice it to say that a wildcat strike is an illegal one.

So what was so important that TTC workers were willing to break the law? The most contentious issue is that some workers are being forced to move to the night shift (although the 1982 Henry Winkler/Michael Keaton comedy Night Shift leads one to believe that working the night shift is a very amusing situation). Another issue cited is that of driver safety in the face of increasing incidents of physical, verbal, and expectoratory assault. To back this up, one of the new girls in the office actually used to be a fare collector and says a crackhead once spat in her face. That's not cool, though I can't hear about this sort of thing without thinking of Bernie Sanford's words to Ricky in Trailer Park Boys:
You have crossed a line with me. I've had guys throw barbecues at me. They've broken the windows out of my car. They've cursed and sworn at me. But the bottom line is: I ain't sugar! And if the right hook comes out, crazy motherfuckers like you get knocked out! Don't you look me in the eye, boy! I ain't got no candy for you! No candy ... except the right hook!
Assaulting and spitting at TTC staff is obviously inexcusable. But people are pissed off after years of declining service and escalating fares. This illegal strike has cost the TTC workers a lot of sympathy. But don't believe me. Tell 'em, Harper's Index:

Janitors employed by the TTC: 87
Subway track movers employed by the TTC: 91
Janitors the TTC proposes to move to the night shift: 53
Subway track movers the TTC proposes to move to the night shift: 53
Membership of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113: 8500
Commuters who use the TTC daily: 800,000
Todays' temperature, adjusted for humidity: 35°C
Remaining amount of sympathy for TTC workers from many commuters: 0
Amount ($US) NYC's transit union was fined for an illegal strike last December: 2.5 million
Days NYC transit union leader Roger Toussaint was ordered jailed for contempt: 10
Number of illegally striking air traffic controllers Ronald Reagan fired and permanently barred from federal service in 1981: 11,359
Odds faced by TTC transit workers in a knock-down, drag-out rumble with commuters, if it comes to it: 94:1

Friday, May 26, 2006

Even more things I shouldn't have said

  • "You know what’s worse than the beer farts? The Molson mudslide. Last Sunday morning, it looked like a parade route after the horses had gone by."

  • "I bit into that Boston Cream donut and the filling shot all over my face. It was like a Bukkake Cream donut."

  • "Man, it smells like a horse farted grilled cheese sandwiches in here."

Thursday, May 25, 2006

TTC rider, just see what you've done

Last night, I was telling a friend about the TTC Rider Efficiency Guide. I figured it'd be up her alley, as she's the sort who hates the crowds on the subway so much that she takes the 97 Yonge bus instead, which takes longer but is less crowded. That strategy is in fact specifically mentioned in the site's list of Unorthodox Tips for Riding the TTC, so I figured she might like to see what else is there. You might too.

I have a few tips on the subject myself. Let me add three more based on today's trip home.

First, low-floor buses suck. They have far fewer seats, and more of the seats they do have are sideways. (Sideways seats suck because jerks put their feet up on them, and also because you get jerked from side to side when sitting in them.) I really didn't mind climbing up and down those two extra steps to get on and off. And if you're less able-bodied, is it an improvement not to have to climb up those steps to get on if you have to stand throughout your trip because you can't find a seat? If you are the head of the local transit commission, please don't buy any more low-floor buses.

Second, if you're commuting by bus from Mississauga to the subway, you have a couple of options. You can get off at the intersection of Dundas Street and Aukland Road and walk down a block to Kipling Station, as the girl sitting in front of me did. Or you can just stay on until the end of the line and get on the subway at Islington Station, as I did. When I sat down on the subway, who was sitting across from me? The girl who had been sitting in front of me on the bus. So there's no real advantage to getting off at Kipling. It doesn't allow you to steal a march on the rest of the suckers on the bus, and it doesn't even allow you to avoid the creepy guy sitting behind you for very long.

And third, don't be like the guy who got on when she got off, the guy with the sunglasses who was stretching his legs out and putting his feet up on his cooler as though it were an ottoman. For one thing, wearing sunglasses on the subway makes you look like a douchebag. Seriously, dude, you're underground. There's no sun. Knock off the too-cool-for-school act. And for another thing, don't stretch your legs out and put your feet up on your cooler as though it were an ottoman. That definitely makes you a douchebag.

Ideas for parties

I had some ideas for parties you could have:

Beach Party Massacre
I’ve actually done this one. Back when I worked at the school paper at university, we were racking our brains to come up with a theme for an upcoming party. I was usually no help at this, considering I usually came up with an excuse to just wear a bathrobe no matter what the actual theme was. But this time, someone suggested, “Beach party.” Everyone said, “Eh.” Then I added, “… massacre.” And everyone said. “Yeah!” It was a hit. “Beach party massacre” is a great theme. Whether you go with a shark attack idea or a serial-killer-on-vacation format, with skimpy beachwear and gory makeup, what’s not to love?

Future Retro
When I was a kid, I loved the TV show Quantum Leap, in which Sam Beckett traveled back in time from the amazing year 1999 to right all kinds of historical wrongs. Now that it’s 2006, my favorite thing about Quantum Leap is to look back at the outlandish shiny suits that his buddy Al used to wear, and say, “Hey, remember that? Remember when we all wore those shiny suits all the time? Boy, I can’t believe that was ever the style! What were we thinking?” (No one ever seems to get this joke. They always seem to take it as though I’m saying, “Hey, remember that show Quantum Leap? That guy had shiny suits!”) The point is, we live in the future, in the incredible 21st century. We’re supposed to have the flying cars and robot maids now. It’s fun to look back on an earlier, simpler time, a time when we were supposed to have just gotten the flying cars and robot maids. (There’s even a term for this celebration of romanticized earlier depictions of the future: retro-futurism.) So throw on your shiniest jumpsuit, throw in a copy of Prince’s “1999”, and throw down on the dance floor.

Night of the Batmen
The idea here is that everyone comes dressed as either Batman or Batgirl. No Robins, no Jokers, no Catwomen, no Huntresses, and certainly no Wonder Women. This defeats the point. This is not a DC Comics party. It is a Batman party. Batman is a solitary, grim, brooding figure. It is not normally a lot of fun to hang around with Batman. Therefore, to see multiple Batmen all happily mingling and generally having a sense of community is a refreshing and ironic change of pace. Besides, the Batman costume is all latex and sexy and fetishistic, so if you can’t have fun with that, you might as well be out poisoning a city reservoir. What actually brought this to mind was that Jay started a thread on his forum a couple of days back called “Throw a Batman Party”, which brought on a sense of déjà vu until I remembered that I actually started this post in February and then set it aside in the draft folder. Now I’m glad I did, because thanks to Jay’s post about a Google ad he’d found, I now know that there are all kinds of Batman-related party favours you can buy. Add a copy of Prince’s Batman soundtrack, do the Batusi, and go from there.

An artifice which glorifies the Lord

Henceforth, I'm going to just start making up Scripture to back up my points. All I've got to do is get good at talking the talk so I can sound old-timey when I improv. Everyone will give me credit for being learned in the Bible, and really, no one's going to bother to look any of my references up. I'm pretty Jack Van Impe has been making up all his impressive rapid-fire Scriptural references on his TV show for years. And why not? After all, "an artifice which glorifies the Lord is a truth unto itself" (Proverbs 22:6).

See? I made that up. And it's better than the real Proverbs 22:6 ("Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."), which, according to a Salon report, some fundamentalist Christian parents are now using to justify disciplining their children by beating them with quarter-inch plumbing supply line.

As you may know, I favour correcting behaviour via a nonviolent term of incarceration in a child-sized plastic hamster ball called the Sphere of Discipline. After all, is it not written "Suffer not children the rod, but, with clarity of purpose, imprison them within the orb"?*

*It is not.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I am the Smartass!

I already said I'm not a big fan of all those online tests that infest blogs everywhere, but I jumped at the chance to take the Personality Defect Test (found via Joey "Braggart" deVilla). Ever since I broke up with my last girlfriend in university, I've missed having someone around to point out my personality defects. There's always my annual performance review and my trips home for the holidays, but they don't come often enough. Here's the result, which should surprise no one.
You are 71% Rational, 85% Extroverted, 85% Brutal, and 71% Arrogant.

You are the Smartass! You are rational, extroverted, brutal, and
arrogant. In fact, you could very well be the anti-Christ, as you are
almost the exact opposite of everything Jesus was supposed to be. While
Jesus says love your enemy, you say love beating the crap out of your
enemy. While Jesus raises the dead, you raise hell. While Jesus walks
on water, you tend to sink. You probably consider people who are
emotional and gentle to be big pussies who are obviously in lesser
stature than you. You have many flaws, despite your seeming
intelligence and cool-headedness. For instance, you aren't very nice.
In fact, you're probably an asshole. And you are conceited and
self-centered. Not only that, but you are very loud and vocal about all
this, seeing as how you are extroverted. There is no better way to
describe you than as a "smartass", I'm afraid. Perhaps just "ass" would
do, too. But that's a little less literary and descriptive. At any
rate, your main personality defect is the fact that you are
self-centered, mean, uncaring, and brutally logical.

To put it less negatively:

1. You are more RATIONAL than intuitive.

2. You are more EXTROVERTED than introverted.

3. You are more BRUTAL than gentle.

4. You are more ARROGANT than humble.


Your exact opposite is the Emo Kid.

Other personalities you would probably get along with are the Capitalist Pig, the Braggart, and the Sociopath.



If you scored near fifty percent for a certain trait (42%-58%), you
could very well go either way. For example, someone with 42%
Extroversion is slightly leaning towards being an introvert, but is
close enough to being an extrovert to be classified that way as well.
Below is a list of the other personality types so that you can
determine which other possible categories you may fill if you scored
near fifty percent for certain traits.

The other personality types:

The Emo Kid: Intuitive, Introverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Starving Artist: Intuitive, Introverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Bitch-Slap: Intuitive, Introverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Brute: Intuitive, Introverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Hippie: Intuitive, Extroverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Televangelist: Intuitive, Extroverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Schoolyard Bully: Intuitive, Extroverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Class Clown: Intuitive, Extroverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Robot: Rational, Introverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Haughty Intellectual: Rational, Introverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Spiteful Loner: Rational, Introverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Sociopath: Rational, Introverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Hand-Raiser: Rational, Extroverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Braggart: Rational, Extroverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Capitalist Pig: Rational, Extroverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Smartass: Rational, Extroverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

Be sure to take my Sublime Philosophical Crap Test if you are interested in taking a slightly more intellectual test that has just as many insane ramblings as this one does!

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 51% on Rationality
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 87% on Extroversion
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 92% on Brutality
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 82% on Arrogance
Link: The Personality Defect Test written by saint_gasoline on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Let the record show that I was only one cup of coffee removed from being a Sociopath. I was considerably less extroverted when I first got into the office. I'm not surprised I wouldn't get along with an Emo Kid, though. Ever since the latest issue of Blender came in, I keep getting the urge to punch that main guy from Fall Out Boy. It might be the eyeliner. But it might also be because he reminds me of this guy.

Anyway, the whole reason I'm posting this is to call your attention to the ad on the second page of the test, which is more intriguing than the test itself. Here it is:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

What the hell is that?

Update: Kitty was just complaining that the British Library's website wasn't intuitive or user-friendly. If the British Library's website took this test, it would have low Intuition and low Extroversion. Its potential results would include the Robot, the Haughty Intellectual, the Spiteful Loner, and the Sociopath. Kitty says this sounds about right.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Good ol' Jake

Back home, I used to have this neighbor named Jake, who was a 72-year-old American WWII vet. He was a good guy, but being of a different generation, he wasn't always so politically correct. One time we were having a beer in the only bar in the little hamlet of Rockport, which was on the ground floor of a bed-and-breakfast run by two gentlemen who'd lately relocated there from Toronto. Jake was regaling me with stories about how he and his buddies from the navy used to go ashore on leave and go gay-bashing.

"Hey, remember that rainbow flag hanging over the door?" I asked. "Did you know what it means?"

The colour drained out of Jake's face as I told him, and he looked around nervously. But did he stop going there? Hell, no. It was the only bar in Rockport after all. And he seemed to get used to things. After that, I'd hear him tell stories that started "Me and George went down to the gay bar again last night," without so much as blinking an eye.

But man, he still didn't get any more politically correct. I spent a summer helping him renovate his house. We tore that sucker down and built it back up again. One blazing hot day, we were doing some really menial job. He stopped, wiped his brow, and said, "Boy, this is nigger work."

Then he paused to reconsider, and said, "This is worse than nigger work. This is nigger-Chinese work."

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Time for spring cleaning

When you walk into your house and think, Man, it smells like a horse farted grilled cheese sandwiches in here, it's time for spring cleaning.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Pilot error

Set aside a spare hour to enjoy these over the long weekend: A couple of failed TV pilots, courtesy of YouTube. Blame the dopes in suits at the networks for not realizing how awesome they are.

Lookwell, created by Conan O'Brien and Robert Smigel, and starring Adam West as a former TV detective show star turned real-life amateur sleuth.

Heat Vision and Jack, directed by Ben Stiller and starring Jack Black and the voice of Owen Wilson as a superintelligent ex-astronaut on the run with his best friend, a sentient motorcycle.

Bonus: These two mash-ups by Party Ben are the best I've heard in a while, and I've been listening to them all day: Death Cab for Cutie's "Soul Meets Body" vs. Madonna's "Hung Up" and the Pussycat Dolls' "Don't Cha" vs. Veruca Salt's "Seether". They're catchier than avian flu.

Still more things I shouldn't have said

  • "Man, now that your diet is over, you'll be able to leave a nice fatty floater for the first time in months."

  • "The blossoms on the trees outside have this really nauseating stench. It smells like John Wayne's semen."

  • "What? No, I'm fine. I mean, I'm going to completely spaz out in a moment and snap this needle off in my arm, but right now, I'm fine."

Thursday, May 18, 2006

"My taste includes both snails and oysters."

Here's a little something WFMU's Beware of the Blog enthusiastically calls the "best homoerotic fight seen [sic] ever" (the misspelling can be forgiven on account of their excitement). There are other strong contenders for that title (cf. Patrick Swayze in Road House and 50 Cent in Get Rich or Die Tryin'), but it's all naked, sweaty, glistening torsos, and it's got to be seen to be believed. You can cut the sexual tension with a knife. (In fact, the one guy has a knife. And he licks the blade while gazing at his opponent. Paging Dr. Freud!) Watching it, you start to want these two guys to just fuck each other and get it over with, and there's a moment where it looks like they're actually going to start kissing.

Then some dame shows up and ruins the whole thing. Not only does she totally cockblock our hero, but at the end, after dispatching the villain, she looks up at him and tosses off a (semi-) witty one-liner, as is de rigueur in action movies, which forces our poor hero to visibly rack his brains for a moment before finally offering up a considerably lamer bon mot of his own. Quite a sad end to what could have been a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Must Love Jaws

For those of you who have dated sharks, and for those who merely love them, allow me to present the trailer for Must Love Jaws.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Not getting the concept

Well, here's a guy I want to kick in the face: some copywriter named Ray Del Salvio who’s started a campaign to get “concept” listed in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as a verb. (Here’s a Slate article on him, and here’s the hub of his linked blogs promoting his campaign.) As Bill Watterson said, "verbing weirds language," and it always seems to be the people in marketing who weird the language the most. But in this case, according to the Slate article, even other copywriters frown upon his use of "concept" as a verb and deny that it's common practice. (One senior copywriter says if he heard a junior writer use it, he'd take that person aside and explain that it wasn't proper English.)

And moreover, it seems the rest of his writing skills aren't up to snuff either. The Slate article quotes him as referring to his correspondence with a Merriam-Webster editor as "Kory and I's conversations". It's depressing to think that this guy introduces himself at parties as a professional writer, and yet, is apparently unaware of the pronouns my or our. "Kory and my conversations" would probably be more on the mark, since the possessed entity is shared by both people, but I could also see the argument for "Kory's and my conversations." It's much more elegant to recast the sentence into something like "our conversations" or "my conversations with Kory", though. Don't try to use I's as a word, kids, unless you's the b'y that builds the boat and you's the b'y that sails her.

(However, on a related note, don't be afraid to use the word me. A lot of people say things like "The b'y caught the fish and brought them home to Lizer and I." These are people who got their knuckles rapped too many times for saying things like "me and Lizer", and now they're overcorrecting, based on the idea that "Lizer and I" is the polite and correct form in all cases. You and Lizer are the objects in this sentence, so "Lizer and me" is in fact correct, as is "me and Lizer", if you want to be a little ruder about it. When in doubt, check by taking the other person out of the sentence. Is it "to I" or "to me"? It's obviously the latter. And while you're at it, don't be overusing myself under the misapprehension that it's a more elegant form of me. Myself is a reflexive pronoun. What that means is that the only person who can do something to yourself is you. Can the b'y catch the fish and bring it home to myself? No. However, I can give myself a headache worrying about these things.)

Anyway, what this jobber Del Salvio is missing, as the Slate article observes, is an understanding of how dictionaries work. You can't campaign to get something in. Dictionaries are descriptivist. They describe how we use words, without making much judgment on whether or not we're using them correctly. (That's what usage guides are for, and Merriam-Webster publishes one of those too as a separate book). So, don't worry, Ray. If enough people are using the word as you say they do, it'll eventually get in and prescriptivists will be a little sadder about the inexorable weirding of the language. But for God's sake, don't get pushy and try to shove English downhill with a petition, you tool.

Monday, May 15, 2006

For the record, "God" is a little presumptuous for my tastes.

Though we both kind of disapprove of internet quizes, Jay sent this grammar quiz along, figuring you folks might like seeing how I did. I should point out, however, that a couple of the questions are matters of style rather than grammar, and couple are matters of taste. That notwithstanding, it appears that I'm in the 1% of test-takers who got all the questions right. At least, it didn't tell me I got any wrong, and the below would seem to indicate some sort of infallibility.

How grammatically correct are you? (Revised with answer key)

You are a GRAMMAR GOD!

Congratulations! If your mission in life is not already to preserve the English tongue, it should be. You can smell a grammatical inaccuracy from fifty yards. Your speech is revered by the underlings, though some may blaspheme and call you a snob. They're just jealous. Go out there and change the world.
Take this quiz!

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| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

Insert "Peter Lynn"; "old forum post"; "new blog entry"

In lieu of new content today, here's a series of five-year-old forum posts that I ran across the other day:

From: Peter Lynn
Date: Thu Sep 13, 2001 9:01 pm
Subject: Maybe I really am too picky, but...

…It annoyed me to sit and listen to my managing editor
use "impact" as a verb. He should know better than that.


From: "Scott Feenstra"
Date: Thu Sep 13, 2001 10:10 pm
Subject: Re: Maybe I really am too picky, but...

It annoyed me to sit and listen to ___________ use ____________ as a
___________. He should know better than that.

- Peter
- his thoughts
- post to this forum


From: Peter Lynn
Date: Fri Sep 14, 2001 4:48 pm
Subject: Re: Maybe I really am too picky, but...

--- Scott Feenstra wrote:
> It annoyed me to sit and listen to ___________ use
> ____________ as a
> ___________. He should know better than that.

- Mark McGuire
- the World Trade Center bombing
- excuse to halt Major League Baseball play and prevent Barry Bonds from breaking his home-run record

- every other lazy player of Major League Baseball
- the World Trade Center bombing
- excuse not to play Major League Baseball

- Ben Affleck
- attack on America
- way to boost sagging rentals of "Pearl Harbor"

- Banting and, to a lesser extent, Best
- insulin
- way to treat diabetes

- Lee Harvey Oswald
- President John F. Kennedy
- place to store his bullets

- the Honky-Tonk Man
- a shot to the head with his guitar
- way to unfairly steal the Intercontinental championship from Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat

- My grandpa
- The phrase "From hell's heart, I stab at thee!"
- The handwritten greeting on my birthday card

- John Denver
- The World Trade Center
- The finish line of his thrilling airplane race with JFK Jr.

- Victorian gentleman John Merrick
- "The Elephant Man"
- nickname, when he wasn't really even all that overweight

- Eric Stoltz
- "Mask"
- title for a drama about a facially deformed teen when I just wanted to kick back and enjoy the Jim Carrey comedy I thought I was renting

- "Hogan's Heroes" star Bob Crane
- his untimely murder
- reason to stop making the amateur gay pornography I so love

- Jesus Christ, the King of Kings
- a painful death by execution
- way to expiate the sins of man

- that old man on the subway
- his blindness
- tearful reason I shouldn't take his wallet and whip him with a broken car antenna

- Wilson from "Home Improvement"
- a fence
- adequate substitute for the Witness Relocation Program after providing the testimony that put John Gotti away

- my stepfather
- back and buttocks
- place to put out cigarettes

- Rev. Jesse Jackson
- Civil Rights Act of 1964
- excuse to vote and drink out of the same water fountain as I do

- Scott's cousin with Down Syndrome
- The word "was"
- means of indicating the subjunctive mood

- the teenage runaway I picked up hitch-hiking
- combination of pain, fear, and hunger
- his only companion after I locked him in the old well out back

- Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy (D-Mass.)
- the constant harvest of healthy livers from Indonesian children
- excuse not to give up the bottle

- Scott Feenstra
- mad-libs
- method of "dissin'" me

Friday, May 12, 2006

More things I shouldn't have said

  • "Chris gave me a titty-twister so bad I'm lactating."

  • "Maybe you girls think you know a lot about raising your kids, but when mine need to be punished, I'm just going to lock them in a giant hamster ball like David Blaine. 'Get into the Sphere of Discipline!'"

  • "Man, I just had a rough time on the can. I thought I was going to have to get Bobby Brown to come over and pull a dookie bubble out."

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Hare Ribbin'

This has nothing to do with the below, but check it out. Jesus. This is the Bugs Bunny you don't see anymore: a stone cold murderer.

R.I.P. Kizzy

You always poked your head right next to mine and annoyed me with your stinky breath every time we went in Scott's car, but you were a good dog.

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I'm glad I'm not this copy editor

From today's Metro:

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Was he lewd? Was he rude? He was both! He was "lude"! (Also considered: "rewd".)

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Office etiquette tip: Whassup

Remember the Budweiser "Whassup" ads from a few years ago? The "Whassup" thing is so over, right? The Wayans brothers parodied it in the first Scary Movie back in 2000, so that means that old horse must have been stone dead about six months before they got around to beating it, right?

Wrong. There's still one time when it's not only permissible, but even appropriate: When someone's having an unnecessary speakerphone conversation at the office, it's only polite to sneak up behind him and give your regards to whomever he's speaking with by screaming a head-shaking, tongue-wagging "Whassup!"

Monday, May 08, 2006

Friday's lesson: Keep away from Michelle

(Note: I got my 100,000th page load this weekend. That's what happens when you have a couple of free days to sit around and hammer that F5 button.)

Friday night, I was at my fencing practice. Because there weren't many people there, our club president decided to coach a line exercise, which is pretty much what you might guess: You form a line, and each person takes a turn doing a short exercise with the coach, then you go to the back of the line and wait your turn again.

I'd already had my turn, so I was standing and waiting while this Romanian girl named Michelle was having her turn. She hadn't been out to practice for at least a year, so she was really rusty, and on top of that, she's left-handed, which made the exercise a little more complicated. So the coach spent a little extra time with her, having her do the exercise over and over until she started to get it right. Finally, she was done. She walked straight over to me, ripped off her mask, and with an upset look and a quavering voice, hissed, "You keep the fuck away from me!"

I was caught, as they say in fencing, off guard. "What?"

"You were making a joke about me and making me screw up," she accused. I hadn't been. Not at all. Maybe I come off as, in my friend The Other Peter's words, "a bit of a smarmy bastard", but I wouldn't do something like that at the club. If someone's not getting something right, my instincts is to help, not to mock. I thought about it, and the only thing I might have been doing is nodding my head in approval when she did something correctly. Basically, the only thing I might have been doing is giving some positive reinforcement.

I told her this. She calmed down. "Good," she said. "We're on the same page then."

I'm pretty sure we're not on the same page, actually. I don't think we're even reading from the same book. But I think she was right the first time anyway. If someone tells you to keep the fuck away from her, you probably should. Either you're doing something to provoke this reaction and you should cut it out, or you're not doing anything at all and she's crazy as a shithouse rat. The less reason someone has to tell you to keep the fuck away, in fact, the better the advice it probably is. So I think I will keep the fuck away from this Michelle.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Physiognomy ignominy

Today's Metro had this article excerpted from this month's issue of Elle Canada. I can't find an HTML version at either site, so here's an image of it yanked from the PDF version of Metro.

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Non-Canadians and/or the politically apathetic might not know why this article had me laughing out loud on the subway. I'll let the Wikipedia article on Belinda Stronach tell you why:
In 2004, she entered the race for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada, which she lost to Stephen Harper. In the 2004 federal election, she was elected Conservative MP for the riding of Newmarket—Aurora, north of Toronto. On May 17, 2005, she crossed the floor of the House from the Conservatives to the governing Liberals. It was simultaneously announced that she would join the cabinet as minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and minister responsible for Democratic Renewal.
This was a huge cause célèbre. Not only did a very high-profile politician switch allegiances, but in so doing, she simultaneously severed her relationship with her boyfriend, Conservative deputy leader Peter MacKay, who was blindsided by her defection. Criticism from the media and right-wing politicians was loud and heavy (and in some cases, notably that of my former MPP Bob Runciman, quite unnecessarily sexist).

That Canadian face definitely was previously unknown to the American face reader. I'm not sure if the article is also making an ironic statement by excerpting her verdict on Natalie Glebova. A beauty pageant queen usually comes across more saccharine sweet than ball-busting bitch, but you never know.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Today's notes

  • Last night, just a block away from my house, I saw a policeman get off his bicycle and walk up onto a porch to knock on the door. I immediately wondered how much trouble I'd be in if I just jumped up his bike and furiously pedalled away. I bet it happens more than you'd expect. It's too funny not to.

  • I'm collaborating on a new comic with Jay. I wrote some stuff for the script, then I slept on it. I awoke refreshed, with the feeling that I had plenty of new ideas. Then I realized that while I did have plenty of new ideas, they were all for the script of an unrelated zombie movie that my subconscious is apparently planning to write.

  • Instead of signing things today, I'm autographing them. So, instead of writing "Peter Lynn", I'm writing, "To my biggest fan, _____, Stay classy, Peter Lynn".

Monday, May 01, 2006

To the moon, Alice

Here's a sad thought: For a woman to be perfectly suited to a man, her ideal age is supposedly half his age plus seven years. For example, if he’s 20 years old, she should be 17. If he’s 30, she should be 22. If he’s 40, she should be 27.

This means that the ideal woman for a man ages at a slower rate than he does, which means it’s impossible for her to remain his one ideal partner throughout their entire lives. That is, it’s impossible unless she slows down her aging process by spending most of her time in a spaceship traveling at near-light speeds. But what kind of relationship is that?

Stephen Colbert is definitely getting audited this year

I was all set to post something about our favorite blowhard newsman's speech at the White House Correspondents Association dinner, in which Stephen Colbert unleashed a merciless roasting of President Bush right to the latter's increasingly red-faced and tight-lipped face. Thankfully, Slowly Going Bald has saved me the trouble and included links to the video to boot. Do yourself a favour and watch it. It's an exhibition of brass balls and cutting satire that'll go down in history, and unless you were watching C-SPAN over the weekend, you missed it.

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