Friday, September 30, 2005

A plan.

I think I'm gonna stop "chasing skirts" for a while.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

I love the autumn.

I don't write about baseball here too often, but I sure as hell spend enough of my brainpower thinking about it.

A lot of people ask me, "Why do you cheer for the Tigers? I thought you were Canadian, you traitor." Well, it may or may not be an interesting story. Judge for yourself.

The year was 1985. The Detroit Nine had just had a devastatingly good year, had just won their first World Series since '68, and Tiger Stadium would nearly shake itself apart nightly with all the noise generated fifty thousand screaming baseball fans made as it reverberated off the concrete walls and steel beams. (Sure, it meant someone was sitting behind a pole, but lemme tell ya, the last seat in the back row of the upper deck would be closer to the field than pretty much any seat in SkyDome.)

(And yes, I refuse to call it by its new name.)

An impressionable seven-year-old was growing up in a tiny town in rural southwestern Ontario. Because cable TV was not available there (and still probably isn't to this day), and satellite dishes were exceedingly expensive, we had an antenna on a tower behind our house. Owing to our location, we were half the distance to Detroit as we were to Toronto (a 90-minute drive vs. a 3-hour one). Consequently, the stations we picked up included WDIV, Channel 4... and they showed Tiger games.

I can still hear it echoing in the back of my brain, one of my first baseball-related memories... "Welcome, everyone, to Tigers '85. I'm George Kell, along with Al Kaline, and we've got a big, big ball game tonight against the Minnesota ball club." I recall the little cartoon they'd show at the very end... if the Tigers won, it was the cartoon tiger-in-the-circle chewing a bat ferociously to shreds; if they lost, it was a bandaged-up tiger meowing meekly, but following it up with a growl like, "Oh man, next time, those assholes are so fucking dead."

At the time, the Tigers and the Blue Jays were both excellent teams in the AL East. The rivalry was, I kid you not, along the lines of Red Sox-Yankees in terms of hatred. You either cheered for one or the other.

So I picked my logical "hometown" team, and have stuck by them through the years.

Oh, it was rough in the early '90s. I and one other guy were the only Tiger fans in my entire high school (minus my Grade 9 Science teacher who also cheered for them, and my Grade 11 Chemistry teacher who was an Indians fan). My friends all knew this, and when Joe Carter hit the home run to end it in '93, the first thought that went through my head was, "Aw, man, I'm never going to hear the end of this." Chad Clements was particularly vigorous, I recall.

(His was also the first curveball I'd ever faced. How do people hit those things?)

The year 1993 also happened to be the last season in which the Tigers won more games than they've lost. They were the winningest team of the 1980s... and the losingest of the 1990s. But the bad times didn't end with the year 2000; they've kept on losing right up until now. They nearly broke the all-time record for losses in a season in 2003 by losing 119 contests; I can proudly say I was in the stands for the last game of '03 as the Tigers beat the Twins 8-3. Alas, they are... hapless.

Yet, I still follow them. Quite vigorously. Right now I'm listening to the streaming radio broadcast of their 157th game of the year. Sean Douglass is pitching for the Tigers, and is doing a good job of stranding White Sox runners (as Nate Robertson did last night, in a nail-biting 3-2 win for the Bless You Boys).

Shoot, he just went 3-0 on Paul Konerko.

Anyway, the point is...

...hmm.

I think the point is, I love baseball.

And the Tigers.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Happy birthday!

The equation E=mc2 celebrates its hundredth birthday today.

Yay, relativity!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Father knows best.

To occupy Iraq would instantly shatter our coalition, turning the whole Arab world against us and make a broken tyrant into a latter-day hero... assigning young soldiers to a fruitless hunt for a securely entrenched dictator and condemning them to fight in what would be an unwinnable urban guerrilla war. It could only plunge that part of the world into even greater instability.
— George H. W. Bush, in A World Transformed (1998)

Hmm.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Why Kingston hates Queen's: Reason #415.

See that guy holding the liquor bottle in the white t-shirt and red hat? And see all those people around him?

They're on top of an overturned car in the middle of Aberdeen Street in the midst of Homecoming revelry. (Apparently it was later set ablaze.)

This may be going a bit too far, folks.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Phantastic photos.

I had my camera out on my desk today, because I realized I'd forgotten to download some pictures off it. So, I shall share with you the three that were on there. (Safe for work, by the way.)

1. The Coffee Tip

My friend Geoff and I have a bizarre fascination with what we like to call "Fake Coffee Times." Toronto has scores and scores of Coffee Time doughnut shops — I can't recall seeing any anywhere else — but if you've seen one, you'll know that their signs look a heck of a lot like the one above.

We have this theory, see. Like, Coffee Time had all these franchises, and they said, "Alright, to continue to use this brand, we're gonna charge you more." And a bunch of people were like, "Screw that!" So they changed their names and signs as minimally as possible in order not to get sued, but also in order not to spend too much on new signs. (Inside, these places look identical to old Coffee Time restaurants.)

The Coffee TiP (note how the "P" doesn't "hang below the line;" it's definitely a lowercase P, though) has long caused me to giggle. It's also exceedingly sketchy (and temporarily "closed for renovations"); for those in the GTA, it's on the northeast corner of Bloor and Crawford, right by Christie Pits. I recommend the corn muffins. Especially at 3 am after a hard night of boozin' at Sneaky Dee's.

Stay tuned for more Fake Coffee Times. Better yet, if you're in TO, drop me a line and tell me where your favourite is. I think a close second to this is "Coffee Lime," on Pape north of the Danforth.

2-3. Paint Test Strips

You're driving east on the 401, in the netherworld between Oshawa and Belleville, when... off in the distance... you see something peculiar.

PAINT TEST STRIPS!!!

Here they are as you drive over them (making really cool sounds with your tires):

And yes, I took these while driving. Don't worry, I had one hand on the camera, one on my cell, one on my Slurpee, one down my pants, two changing the CD, and three on the wheel.

On my many trips 'twixt TO and K-town, these signify to me that I'm getting close to my destination. It basically goes "cross the Rouge," "collectors merge in," "leaving civilization," "The Big Apple," "paint test strips," "Flying J in Napanee," and we're back.

Goddamn, I drive the 401 too much.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the little tour around my camera. Be sure to keep your arms and legs inside until the ride has come to a complete stop. Thank you, and be sure to tip your waitress; a lot of them have children, and a lot of those are mine. Good night!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

In New Orleans, life goes on.

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) — In a sign that things may be returning to normal in New Orleans, strip shows are back in the city's famous French Quarter.

Erotic dancers and strippers are entertaining crowds of police, firefighters and military personnel instead of the usual audiences of drunken conventioneers and tourists in Bourbon Street's Deja Vu club, which reopened this week.

It's the first strip joint to resume business, three weeks after Hurricane Katrina struck in the worst natural disaster ever to hit the United States.

"It's nice to get back to work, and all these men need some entertainment," Dawn Beasley, 27, a dancer at the club, said on Tuesday night. "They haven't seen anybody but their buddies for two weeks."

The crowd hooted and hollered as women peeled off their tops and gyrated, as customers tucked tips into their G-strings.

God bless America.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Sixty years.

On September 21, 1945, a girl who had turned 21 the day before, came from a town so small it appears on maps but just barely, and had to drop out of school in Grade 8 to help around the house, married a country-boy from a few miles away who was 25, spent a few years in the Air Force (even though, as the only son on the farm, he could've been exempted from conscription), and lived with his parents. They were unbelievably poor, had no place of their own... but were in love.

Today they celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.

And they say fairy tales aren't real.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Get Your Drink On.

This advice was heeded on Friday at Ritual, in the inglorious Clark Hall Pub. Three double-rye-and-cokes into the afternoon, I felt conspicuously sober. Then, they all hit me at once. The result: a very drunk J-man. At any rate, my new-school-year resoultion of "drinking more" is well on its way to being fulfilled. (Because, as Denis Leary suggested, "You gotta have goals.")

The Ear to the Ground Fest, originally scheduled for this past weekend at the Exhibition Grounds in Toronto, was cancelled because of venue-related issues. So, in lieu of forking out $50-ish worth of gasoline and heading on down to the GTA, I stayed in K-town and rocked out to the sounds of, among others, the Silent Film Soundtrack and Tomate Potate at the Grad Club. SFS, who I'd never heard before, was stupendous; I picked up their latest release and am quite happy with it. TP was at their effervescent best, whipping the crowd into a dancing-and-clapping frenzy and playing bass with a capo.

And that's when the randomness began.

Lang and her Gang decided that the Toucan would make a lovely aftermusic boozitorium, so we headed towards downtown. Picking up half-a-score of assorted revellers (including the head bartender at the Plaza, a local bastion of burlesque), we traipsed eastward down Brock Street.

En route, our brood was approached by an American-plated SUVs full of (ostensibly) American fellows, and were asked where "a good time" might be had in our fair burgh. (They also curiously asked if any of us had "voted Democrat," which led me to believe they were (a.) drunk, (b.) stupid, or (c.) most definitely American.) I believe we suggested Tir nan Og, and they drove off.

On to the Toucan we trundled, and we ran into many others in attendance at the show who Lang knew. Curiously, all of SFS and half of TP were there as well, lending a true post-show vibe to the gathering. Also present were hordes of CFRC personalities, and I finally managed to meet the hostess of the show that Lang and I co-hosted this past summer, who was also the Spinmeister of the Toucan that night. (She played a song by Curtis Mayfield which, of course, endeared herself to me for the rest of time.)

So, long story short, we took over half the place, intermingling amongst ourselves and making many acquaintances. A good time was had by all, to say the least.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Goddamn it!

Anyone ever hear of a little thing called autumn? You know... cooler temperatures and such? I've been waiting for about five solid months for temperatures that won't render me sterile, and they haven't come yet.

Gah.

I guess the good part of it is that the women on campus wear less when it's hot.

And this sure is a fine-lookin' campus.

So maybe it's alright.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Smarten up, Food Basics.

I don't really like straying from the Super C when it comes to getting groceries. Everything I want is there, it's laid-out intuitively, and the prices are right. Alas, today I had to head out to Food Basics on Bath Road, as I was going to check out dollar-stores to buy a teapot at the Frontenac Mall anyway. (Aside: where might one find a reasonably-priced teapot in this town?)

So... croutons.

I've blogged about them before. Shoot, I still get search-engine hits for the giant crouton picture I took and posted way-back-when. But grocery stores — and in this case, Food Basics — just can't seem to put them in the right place.

When I'm thinking about croutons, what am I thinking about?

Right. Salad.

So, I'm over in amongst the salad-in-a-bag (meh, couldn't be bothered to buy Romaine lettuce and radicchio separately), and where are my favourite little cubes of fried bread? Nowhere to be found.

"Alright, J," I think to myself. "Aisle 3 contains 'Salad Accessories' [I shit you not]. They're probably there."

Dressing, sure. Croutons? Not so much.

"Dammit! I have a meeting in 40 minutes, including a 25-minute walk to campus. I can't be searching all over for these damn things. Screw it."

(almost finish shopping, standing in the baked goods section of all places)

"Holy smokes, there they are!"

(Yoink!)

This is seriously bad floor-layout.

They oughtta hire me to rearrange things. And pay me in pistachios.

Man, I loves me the pistachios.

PS: If you want me to be occupied for a while, give me a mountain of pistachios.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Busy times... but not with school.

Yes, gasoline is expensive these days... but it's still not too bad, if you drive a Pontiac Shitbox like I do. (Four cylinders of pure rockin' power, y'know.) Ergo, a tank of gas came out to more than I'd ever paid before, but wasn't black-market-kidney-selling expensive. It just means I'll have to drink cheaper beer.

Friday night was spent eating and drinking and talking and chilling — pretty much my ideal plan for an evening, to be honest. I don't particularly care about shakin' mah groove thang, rampaging from bar to bar, or putting enough nose-candy into me to keep me awake for three weeks. Just get a beer into me and the conversation flowing. That's all I ask.

Saturday was spent at Canada's Wonderland with a crew from way way back; we all went to Waterloo together and survived the hell-on-earth that is the physics program there. We all seem to be slightly socially maladjusted from the experience, which gives one a slightly twisted sense of humour, including Howie shouting "Wheeeee!!!!!" at inopportune times like only Howie can.

There must be something funky that happens to wooden roller coasters near the end of the season, though... on the Minebuster, the track was so bumpy that I repeatedly bashed my knee into the place just in front of where your legs go, and I think I cracked a toenail as my feet got jostled around. I shouldn't really have to spend most of the ride wondering if I'd wake up the next morning covered in bruises.

That evening was spent at a place in Vaughan called Dave & Buster's. I received the worst food service I've ever had (took forever, lost appetizer, messed-up bills), and the attached arcade was suitable for a 15-year old with attention deficit disorder. I, on the other hand, am a 27-year old who can be amused with a ball of yarn for days on end. So, really not my style, but we had a good time nonetheless; it's not where you go, it's who you go with.

I woke up the next morning feeling like someone had worked me over with a crowbar, though. After a frosh week of running around like a GW jersey-ensconsced idiot, then traipsing around Wonderland all day, and not getting as much sleep as I should, I think my immune system was compromised, as I'm now suffering from my worst cold in years. Ragweed pollen may also be a culprit in my overall lousiness and malaise, as well.

Therefore, I shall shotgun an entire pitcher of orange juice tonight before an early, early bedtime. The radio show 8-10 tomorrow morning should be fun, though. (In K-town, 101.9 FM; outside, cfrc.ca for streaming audio.)

Friday, September 09, 2005

"Teflon Dubya" no more.

A thought occurred to me in the shower, which is incidentally where 74% of all my thoughts originate. (Most of the other 26% pop up during the eating of assorted breakfast cereals. Note to Kingstonians: sugary breakfast cereals like Froot Loops are on sale at the downtown A&P. Good deals.)

Since assuming office in 2001, the George W. Bush administration has faced challenges to its decisions and policies. Every time, they've managed to shift the focus of the allegations to someone or something else. And the answers are usually short, hence they're fit for the mainstream media consumption. To wit:

Real beef of al Qaeda: They hate freedom.
Dubya skips National Guard duty: Dan Rather faked things.
No WMDs: CIA is incompetent.
Insurgence in Iraq: We're making progress.
Abu Ghraib atrocities: Lynddie England did it herself.
Guantanamo Bay shenanigans: Gourmet menu, though. (Oh, and Geneva? Huh?)
No uranium from Niger: Do you know who Joe Wilson's wife is?

The list goes on. These are times when Dubya's nuts should've been squeezed in a vice by the media... but, the blame was shifted, talking-points were hammered home, and the public forgot that, e.g., George W. Bush went AWOL from his National Guard duty for eleven months, and this is an incontestible fact.

Enter the Hurricane Katrina fiasco.

Is there blame to be placed on the local and state authorities? Yes.

Do the feds deserve all the shit they've been catching? Maybe. Possibly. I don't know. But there's a good chance they're the media's chosen whipping-boys this time.

Here's where the difference lies. Every other time there's been a controversy where the White House may be to blame for something, they've managed to successfully distract the country with some load of lies they've spun into a plausible explanation (mostly by repeating the same phrase over and over, e.g. "war on terror").

But not now. The whole federal level — Bush and FEMA, principally — are getting dumped-on. They're the recipient of a ton of vitriol, instead of being the ones who dish it out, Karl Rove-style, on someone else. And since it really is playing well in the mainstream media right now, it doesn't matter who really is to blame for all this. Shoot, Ray Nagin could hold animal sacrifices in his back yard, and we'd all look the other way these days.

The media have decided: George W. Bush is to blame.

This is a first.

Can you blame us who have never supported Bush & Co. to pile-on a little more? This has been the first time in five years that a break has gone for us. Usually we're the ones with the solid statistics supporting our cause to no avail, because the average attention-span of an American mainstream media consumer is about the length of time it takes them to read a pie-chart in USA Today.

This one isn't going to slide off like "Rathergate" did.

And it feels so fucking good.

I just wish it didn't have to take unprecedented death and destruction for it to have happened, though.

Plan in effect.

It's been three days since I resolved to drink more, and things are going swimmingly. Tonight I didn't have any booze, but I think I used tonight's quota last night whilst crashing engineering parties in the Ghetto. I made a discovery that regular Laker beer isn't actually too bad, either on the tastebuds or the wallet, as a case ran a modest $26-ish and went down very quickly and easily. I think I've found my new best budget booze.

(I'm starting to think this blog will turn into a running commentary on the destruction of my liver.)

Things have been busy, but good-busy. I've been alternating things like handing out fake maps, writing dick-jokes and watergunning frosh with being a responsible graduate student and being a TA for courses that train teachers. Talk about "different hats."

This weekend I'm going down to TO to hang out with some old UW pals, one of whom lives in San Francisco and was nice enough to have me as a guest last March Break. There will be an entire Saturday spent at Canada's Wonderland acting exceedingly boorishly; if we get thrown out of the park for being assholes, we will wear it like a badge of honour. Nevermind the booze I will put into myself later that night.

One more thing, completely unrelated to the above... some really interesting things are happening in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the US government's response to it. If nothing else — and I really do mean this from a politically-neutral perspective, despite what I've said before — I hope this fiasco gets people to sit up and look more critically at what their leaders are telling them. I mean, if you automatically take what your president, prime minister, premier or governor says as gospel and don't try to cross-check it with what you're getting somewhere else, you're setting yourself up to be grossly misled. Well, with this load of fucknuts in charge of the States, you are.

(Alright, that was the partisan part. But I think you'll agree I held off quite a long time there.)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Watch this now.

Probably the best summary of the whole Katrina thing I've seen.

Video here.
Transcript here.

You're welcome.

Monday, September 05, 2005

The eve of destruction.

And no, I don't mean a certain GWer who likes to get drunk and wave her arms around and break things and speak German.

(Alright, I can't really vouch for those particular actions after she hits the sauce. But what I do know is that she enjoys scotch far more than I.)

No, what I mean is that I am on the precipice of another school year. Labour Day is a day off (but from what these days I'm not quite sure... getting up late and acting slothily has been sorta par for the course for the past year), and is the last day before classes resume, unless you're like me (these days) and are done all your courses. (Feel free to feel all sorts of jealousy.) Ergo, it is a time to look forward, set your course, and prepare yourself for the next few months.

From now until the end of April, my resolution is this:

I will drink more alcohol than I did last year.

I know what you're thinking. "J-man, what's going on? You're purposely looking to spend more money you don't have, turning your liver into a puddle, and tossing your academic life into the gutter?"

1. Drinking on a budget is eminently doable. It requires pre-drinking and a taste for cheap beers; priming myself with a six of fine Laker products will cost less than $7.50 and get me right fucked-up.

2. My days at UW were a bizarre frenzy of (a.) struggle for academic survival, (b.) trying to get a co-op job, and (c.) completely uprooting my life every four months and moving to a new city. Put that in the context of not turning 19 until well into second-year, and by the time "Diamond" Dave Johnson put that sash over my head, I came out of there with a degree and a squeaky-clean liver. Compared to most of the lushes at this place, I'm way, way ahead of the game. A little drinky-drink will just put me back into line.

3. For the next eight months, I have four academic tasks:
  • carry out the research I have already thought out thoroughly, and written in a formal proposal
  • be a TA for a couple of B.Ed. courses (and of course try to hook up as many nubile preservice teachers as time permits)
  • write my M.Ed. thesis and defend it
  • attend my graduation ceremony
Note that these did not contain courses of my own, with all their requisite "classes" and "papers" and "professor-bribing." Gee, think I can squeeze a little booze in there somewhere? I certainly think so.

Lest you think that my life between now and the end of April will be one giant bacchanalian frenzy, keep in mind that I'm a little older (and maybe a little wiser) than a good number of the people with whom I hang out with here. Seeing 20-year-olds act like morons tends to send me a little bit in the "responsible adult" direction.

Unless I'm full of liquor. Then it's gonna be "game on."

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Rehnquist croaks, Brownie sucks, and maps cause chaos.

A while ago, I mentioned how Pat Robertson, a fine Christian in his own right, was praying for God to bring the swift death of US Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, so that Dubya could stack it with more evolution-hating, gun-loving, Bible-thumping, closed-minded rednecks. Well, Pat got his prayers answered a little quicker this time, as Bill bit the dust last night.

(Damn, that language was a bit harsh.)

(Actually, no, it wasn't. So I'll just carry on.)

Replacing one conservative (Rehnquist) with another (anyone Bush appoints) seems, prima facie, to be a zero-sum game. But, even though the former Chief Justice once voted against the expansion of school desegregation ("desegregation decrees are not intended to operate in perpetuity"), and against the separation of Church and state ("a useful albeit misguided analytical concept"), and also dissented in the Roe v. Wade case.

But with conservatives these days — especially those looked-upon kindly by this Bush administration — geez, I dunno, I'm a little nervous up here.



Michael D. Brown, head of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), has come under some fire lately. The day after the levees gave way in New Orleans, he went on the record as saying something like, New Orleans is not filling up like a bowl, so chill already, when it actually was. And three days after the hurricane hit, he said on air (I saw it myself) that he'd only learned about people being at the Convention Centre that morning. Shoot, I'm a couple thousand kilometres away from The Big Easy, and I knew that already. Maybe "Brownie" (as Dubya called him during the staged media event in the hangar in Mississippi, with Coast Guard choppers in the background... hey... shouldn't those things be out rescuing people instead of making for a nice TV backdrop?) doesn't have CNN. At any rate, with bungles like those, you'd start to maybe wonder where they got this guy.

On NBC tonight, there was a story on Brown's background, and it's an interesting one. According to WikiPedia, he was the head of the International Arabian Horse Association from 1999-2001, but resigned after numerous lawsuits alleging problems concerning suspensions, and a tidy conflict of interest matter to boot.

Brown happens to be a former college roommate of Joe Allbaugh. As you might expect from this administration, Allbaugh was George W. Bush's campaign manager in 2000 (you remember, when he won the election by getting fewer votes than the other guy), who later (surprise, surprise) went on to head up FEMA. When Allbaugh left for a juicy private-sector job in '03, Brown got the nod to head up the Agency.

This past January, FEMA gave $30 million away to the victims of Hurricane Frances in Miami. This is the sort of thing FEMA is around to do; helping people cope with the aftermath of a disaster, be it man-made or natural. The problem is, Frances gave Miami a bit of wind and a little rain, but left it pretty much unharmed. Brown blamed $12 million of it on a "computer glitch," but I sure am curious what happened to the other... um... carry the two... round down that 0.43 of a penny... EIGHTEEN MILLION DOLLARS. Shoot, just think of all the whores and rum all that missing money would get me, or whoever the hell pocketed all that cash.

And now the shitstorm over FEMA's reaction to Katrina. (Shoot, they had military-style "ready to eat" meals in to Frances victims the next day.) Is it another case of, "Damn, they appointed one of their old drinking buddies to an important position only to have him/her bung it up completely at every possible opportunity but yet have the President claim they're doing 'a hell of a job'"? It just might be.



For the past two mornings I've woken up at an hour which once seemed normal, but now seems like the kind of torture you'd get if you were at Gitmo and had a nice tan. Yesterday it was to have a delicious, greasy, discounted breakfast with Tammy, but today was to give away the fabled "Golden Words fake campus maps".

The deal is, we approach cars at an intersection which clearly have a university-bound kid in them (usually with tons of stuff in the other seat in the back, and curiously often, a grandparent or somesuch is also there — why?), and show them a map. They roll down the window, you give them one, and chat them up a bit before the light turns green. The only catch is, some of the buildings' names have been changed (primarily residences), and phantom parking lots exist.

This is a funny, funny idea, and I laughed my ass off when I first heard about it a few months ago. Today was frosh move-in day, and it was time to hit the pavement, which we did at two locations around town. We put on our smiles and our GW jerseys, informed those people right-good, and told them to have a great day.

...until parents started flooding the phones at the AMS (student government here at Queen's) saying they'd gotten lost. The head StuCon (Student Constable; I really don't know what they do, but they're apparently a big deal) told some underlings to go shut us down, and we sure were surprised when two girls (blonde and in tight T-shirts; pretty much par for this place) showed up at our relatively remote location and kindly told us to screw off. Which we did, to A&W, for a delicious, greasy, soon-to-be-reimbursed (I hope) breakfast.

I personally think the shit it raised was awesome. Much worse shenanigans went on in the past; there's the story (perhaps apocryphal) of the banners hung by the 401 years ago that read "Thank you, fathers, for your virgin daughters". So what if a few people saw a bit more of Kingston than they originally would have? Shoot, it's a pretty picturesque town; tourists come here in droves. They should be so lucky as to have experienced the beauty of the waterfront, the uniqueness of our 1840s-era defense towers, and the sometimes-sketchiness of North of Princess.

Relax. Your kid's going to be here for the next four years. And s/he's going to be doing way worse stuff than misleading a few of gullible SUV-drivers for a little while.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Another country, another Jason.

We're all over the place, us Jasons, and we're mostly between the ages of 24 and 29, because everyone in the late '70s was doing too many Quaaludes to name their male children anything else. Seriously, there were, like, four of us in my Grade 4 class. I sat beside one. Poor Mrs. Copley. But I digress.

Jason Mulgrew is a blogger in New York City, and writes some really, really hilarious stuff. Most of the time he talks about drinking, various unmentionable bodily functions which all of us experience and carry out regularly, and assorted issues of a sexual nature. (That being said, it's likely "safe for at work," because there are no pictures, and really, is your boss going to take more than two-tenths of a second to read the tiny type on the page to pick out the word "boobie"? I doubt it, unless that boss is me. My eyes find words like that with a speed that would make a 'roided-up Ben Johnson envious.)

At any rate, in this article, he tackles the age-old question, "After how many dates is it appropriate to sleep together?" The short answer is, it's impossible to say. The long answer is informative and, dare I say, thought-provoking.



Do you know a warm front from a cold front? Can you work well with a blue screen? Are you mentally unstable? Then you may just be able to get a gig doing late-night weather on CNN. Think I'm kidding? See for yourself.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Help the hurricane victims.

Words fail to describe the situation in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. You've probably been inundated with enough images and stories from there the past few days as it is.

Now, you may be a broke-ass student like me, but chances are your city isn't underwater, which means you can help. If you're Canadian, go here to donate to the Canadian Red Cross. (Under "Fund Designation" at the bottom of the screen, make sure "Hurricane Katrina" is highlighted.)

They really need our support right now. So, instead of buying that new iPod, help out someone who needs food, water and shelter.

Thank you.

Gas prices.

I'm not usually one to bark about these, but something just ain't right here.

Hurricane Katrina hit the southern US a few days ago, and every time you hear news, it's worse than the previous day's. Now they're saying it could be months before New Orleans is even functional again.

There also happen to be some oil refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. Crude oil is pulled out of the ground and shipped to a refinery. The oil is then fractionally distilled, and one of the products is gasoline. This is then purified, additives are added (duh!), and it's put into a big truck and driven to your local gas station. There it sits in underground tanks, waiting for you to pump it into your own vehicle. This whole process — yanking it from the ground to burning it in your engine — takes a few months, top to bottom.

This means that we should have a Katrina-based gasoline shortage sometime between Christmas and Groundhog Day. Supply and Demand says we should see a spike in prices then.

Not now.

But because

a. oil companies are pricks
b. futures markets are batshit insane
c. people are stupid and will pay it
d. all of the above

the price of gasoline at my local Canadian Tire gas bar went from 97.9 to 124.9 overnight on Tuesday. Based on pure speculation. (Good thing I filled up Tuesday evening.)

There's no shortage now, and there won't be for months. But because of (d.) all of the above, oil companies were able to bend a continent over the table and sodomize it quite handily.