Monday, February 26, 2007

Four things for a Monday.

1. Sexy CBC Newsworld Personalities

She's on every so often... but all too briefly. Her name is Sarika Sehgal. I know you've seen her.

Oga Nwobosi, you have been usurped as my Basic Cable Crush.*

2. The Bones of Jesus

A Canadian filmmaker made a documentary about people finding some people named "Jesus, son of Joseph," what translates/transliterates to "Mary Magdalene" and "Judas, son of Jesus" in a tomb together somewhere in the Middle East. DNA evidence suggests Jesus and Mary Magdalene weren't related but were probably spouses, based on how they were buried. Apparently a "Matthew" was in there, too.

You can see where this is going.

While flipping around the dial this evening, I came across Wolf Blitzer in his "Situation Room." He had on as a guest — surprise, surprise — some Catholic priest to talk about this issue.

And you can see where this is going:

Blitzer: "So, what if the DNA evidence proves that these are actually the bones of Jesus?"

(Seriously? Blitzer's expecting an answer like, "Gee, Wolf, I guess if science proves those were actually the bones of my Man the Saviour, I guess we're gonna have to close up shop"?! Puh-leeze.)

Predictable answer from priest: "Well, there's no way that's possible."

...thus proving that, even though you have a "Room," you may not be terribly good at creating "Situations" which help to solve any "Debates."

3. My Memory is Awful

I can't remember what I was going to write as my #3, but I remember thinking, "Oh, I know what my #4 will be." So, here it is.

4. Ron Sexsmith

I wish I enjoyed his music more, I really do. I realize he's a talented songwriter and an accomplished musician, and is a critical darling. But, try as I might, I just can't get into his music. Does this make me a bad Canadian? C'mon, man, I friggin' love Rush with all my heart! Doesn't that make up for it?!

* Sure, she's foxy... but she's actually a darn good anchor as well. I've never seen her flub a line. Rock-solid. Move over, Mansbridge.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

A conundrum.

Here's a question for all you folks. (For the record, I am in no way involved in this situation. Honest.)

Let's say you meet someone who really sweeps you off your feet: you have tons in common, you know how to make the other person feel great, and you really enjoy spending time together. But one of the people (either you or the other) is going to be leaving the country soon, and not returning for the forseeable future. And let's assume that one person moving to be with the other isn't a viable option.

The question is: would you have been better off if you'd never met that person in the first place?

Discuss.

(Again... I am not involved in this in any way.)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Won't get fooled again.

You know when you think a situation's perfect and going along just great and you get your hopes up that something awesome might come out of it, but you end up having read the situation the wrong way and it was actually just a mirage all along?

I did that back in December.

Recently, another very, very similar situation (as far as I can see) might be shaping up in the near future for me. And it's tempting to want to roll the dice again, it really is.

But I must resist. I can't get my hopes up again. It'd be ridiculous to be tricked twice in the same way. Because, as George W. Bush once said, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice... uh... y—you can't fool me again."

Monday, February 19, 2007

My problem.

Abbreviated version of what I wrote here before I realized it was too whiny: I'm awesome, but meeting women is difficult in this town.

In other news, Weezer's Pinkerton album: whoa, where have you been all my life?!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

This is fucking journalism.

In light of the nearly-two-year-long feeding frenzy that is the 2008 US presidential election campaign (it's begun already, by the way), Matt Taibbi's book chronicling his experience on the 2004 campaign trail, Spanking the Donkey: Dispatches from the Dumb Season, might just save your sanity by giving you desperately-needed perspective on the whole ridiculous shit-show. (If you've been anywhere near me in the last week or so, I've been gushing about this book to you. I apologize for the extra dose of Taibbi.)

The following passage was so good I had to reproduce it. It's in the chapter when he pits one journalist against another in a competition called "Wimblehack 2004" — basically, the crappiest journalist wins. (Bob Novak, who Jon Stewart has cheerfully nicknamed "Douchebag of Liberty", lost in Round 2 to Cal Thomas of the Chicago Tribune.) The excerpt was in a third-round match between Howard Fineman of Newsweek vs. Jill Zuckman, also of the aforementioned Tribune. Enjoy.

In his MSNBC "Web Exclusive Commentary" after the third debate, Howard Fineman made the observation — an observation widely commented upon in the broadcast media in subsequent days — that there were "no laughs but gasps" in the press room when Kerry brought up Dick Cheney's daughter in response to a question about whether homosexuals are born or made.

Now, I've been in filing rooms with that same crowd of campaign journalists Fineman is talking about. I can report that the campaign press will gasp at a lot of things: empty buffet trays, poor hotel accommodations (the cut-rate motel choices of the Dean campaign elicited astonishment among some regulars), the face of Dennis Kucinich, the presence of alternative media, the platform of Ralph Nader.

About the only time the national political press doesn't gasp is when the illiterate president of the United States stands up and for two fucking consecutive years says that we have to invade Iraq to prevent Saddam Hussein from attacking us with "weapons of mass destruction."

Then, they don't gasp. Then they stiffen up in their seats like altar boys and say, "Really? No shit, Mr. President? Call on me, Mr. President! I'll ask you how your faith guides you in this difficult time! How long should we let the inspections drag on, Mr. President? What about those goddamned French, Mr. President?"

The press room gasps at things like the Kerry lesbian-baiting ploy because it's the kind of vicious celebrity twaddle they're sensitive to, twaddle they consider themselves experts and authorities on. If someone makes what they consider a "mistake" on that turf, they dive on it like pigs converging on a watermelon rind. But if a politician drives the country off a cliff, they sit on their hands, waiting for Zogby and the Brookings Institution to give them their gasping cues. A gasp in the press room is as meaningless as a standing ovation at an Amway convention.

Damn yeah!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

A wide variety of nothing.

I decided I'd do a little worshipping at the Temple of Consumerism, otherwise known as the Eaton Centre (even though Eaton's went out of business about a decade ago). I had two things to acquire:
  1. A set of guitar strings for my electric

  2. A fitted baseball cap, size 7 3/8", Detroit Tigers, home (i.e., white Olde English "D", not orange)
The Eaton Centre is so gargantuan, so all-encompassing, that it's a tourist destination in its own right. It has four levels, two subway stations, and probably eleven Starbucks outlets. I even passed by a kiosk that sold hair extensions, called "Flhair" (cf. the word "flair"), some of which were of the clip-on (!) variety. So, I figured that my two, everyday, run-of-the-mill items I had to acquire should be a piece of cake.

Whoops! Not so fast.

Guitar Strings

Not one store in the grandiosity that is the Eaton Centre sells musical equipment. Not one! Can you friggin' believe it? I guess they're too full of retailers trying to sell shit to 13-year-old girls. I ended up buying a set at my local music shop.

The Tiger Cap

There's a store on the TTC-level floor that specializes in baseball caps of every conceivable variety, but they only seemed to have caps in the too-small (whose head is 6 3/4", anyway? Not even the late, great Herve Villechaize's head was that miniscule) and the too-big (maybe there's a large demand amongst hydrocephalics for baseball caps). So, I wandered around the mall like Moses in the desert, except Moses was looking for the Promised Land, and I was looking for a hat. Small difference there.

Sport Chek: The most disorganized cap collection I've ever seen. Also, zero selection... unless you want a ridiculous-looking Yankees cap with a black "NY" logo which, against a black background, can't be seen. Hey, idiots! A little contrast there would be a good idea!

Athletes World: If you're looking for baseball caps that say "G-Unit" on them, this is the place to go. But unless G-Unit recently put together a team in the National League, there shouldn't be G-Unit caps sold alongside those of the Houston Astros.

Athletes World Superstore: For being a "superstore," their selection was actually worse than their non-Super counterpart.

Foot Locker: A few caps here and there, but overall disappointing. Also plenty of G-Unit caps... man, I hope I get to see G-Unit in Spring Training this year when I head on down to Florida!

So, I decided to pound the Yonge Street pavement and hit up the multitude of sports apparel shops that line the street, in amongst the Stag Shop and Zanzibar and shady electronics stores. Eventually, on the fourth try, I struck gold at Pro Sports Locker, just north of Gerrard... giant selection, great deal (thirty bucks), and a friendly guy behind the counter. To quote George W. Bush, "Mission Accomplished."

But not without a lot of gnashing-of-teeth first.

God damn I hate shopping.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Rethinking.

I don't usually spend much time watching MuchMusic — save for "Going Coastal" and "The Wedge," it's all pure shit — but this caught my eye during "Much On Demand" this afternoon.

You see, when ordinary schmucks call/email in to request the latest moody, screamy track from Billy Talent (more like 'billy no talent' am i rite?), they can put a little message in a crawler at the bottom of the screen. This one today made me chuckle:

hey babe sorry i dumped you today

Odd, though... you'd think if someone was truly sorry about dumping their significant other on this day-of-all-days, they wouldn't go blabbing it, albeit anonymously, to a national television audience.*

However, the end result was that this person earned my respect for (a.) dumping their then-current romantic love interest, and (b.) having the stones to let the country know about it. Kudos, Mystery MuchMusic Watcher! This will go a long way towards me forving you to care enough about MuchMusic to send a message to your now-ex-whatever on one of their shows.

* An audience full of slack-jawed idiots with no taste in music... but an audience nonetheless. That's gotta count for something.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

So many people in the neighbourhood.

The title of this post is, if you didn't recognize it, also title of a song from Ween's 2003 album, Quebec. It's a strange song, as one would expect from The Deaner and The Gener.

Moving on:

I don't know too many people in my apartment building. This is Toronto, after all: nobody really talks to their neighbours (as opposed to the little town in which I grew up, where it is not an exaggeration to say that nearly everybody knew nearly everybody).

However, I do have occasional passing encounters with a few people in my building. Because I don't know peoples' names, I think up my own for them, based on what I know. So, I will now introduce you to the few people I know in my building.

Crazy Cat Lady, a.k.a. Crazy Downstairs Neighbour
Any woman who (a.) lives alone, (b.) is north of 60 and (c.) has three or more cats immediately gets called a Cat Lady. The "Crazy" part must be demonstrated, and let me tell you, this woman demonstrates. I've written about her before; poke around, I'm sure you'll find something.

Hot Black Lesbian
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: all the good ones are either taken or gay. This one is both, which is a shame. I think I've talked to her the most out of anyone in my building; we sometimes head out for work at the same time. (She's a teacher, too.) So close, yet so far.

Newfie Supers
They're a charming 60-ish couple, both with extremely thick Newfoundland accents. They're both under 5'5" tall. They generally run a tight ship, although my mailbox's hinges are still wonky after I mentioned it to them back in the summertime. My apartment is insect-free, though; gotta give 'em props for that.

The Guy From Melville's
You remember the TV show Cheers, right? You remember the seafood restaurant upstairs from the bar? You remember the weird, snooty owner of that restaurant? Yeah, well, his exact twin (right down to the slight British accent; except my neighbour's accent is, as I found out a couple of days ago, Australian, but it's a dead-ringer for British) lives on the second floor.

Cane Man
Why a guy who hobbles around with a cane, and not very ably at that, live in a multi-floored building with no elevator? And on the second floor, at that? Dude, seriously, check out something a little more ground-level. Trust me.

Crackhead
A friend of mine was over one day and saw Crackhead in the (very small) lobby, and described her to me as such. The name has stuck because I immediately knew who my friend was talking about, and also because this woman is as close to a genuine crackhead as this building gets (as opposed to crackheads-in-spirit such as Crazy Cat Lady).

Annoyed Québecoise
I've met her maybe 3 or 4 times since I moved in, which is odd because she parks right beside me. But, every time I've crossed paths with her, she's extremely annoyed, and usually at some other tenant in the building. Seriously, are all québecois/québecoises this easily miffed?

Mystery Cute Girl
Lives on the second floor... somewhere.
Approximately mid-twenties... -ish.
Had a very nice but short conversation... once.
Conclusion: due to her brief appearance and quick disappearance, she may have only been an example of a "tropospheric inversion," a warm-air phenomenon which causes random people to briefly become visible before vanishing forever.

So, that's my building (so far). Stay tuned for updates on other occupants as I discover them, including my next door neighbour who either has children or hyenas running around his apartment. (I can't quite tell yet.)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

A baseball junket for baseball junkies.

I realize this is a stretch, but...

March Break is coming up (the week of the 12th-16th), and I've got a hankerin' for some Grapefruit League baseball action. I've been poking around the 'net here and there (a great way to avoid marking quizzes) and managed to find some cheap flights out of Detroit, decently-priced car rentals, and hotels that won't quite break the bank (but probably don't offer room-service caviar). Leaving on the 11th, returing on the 15th. Probably flying into Tampa, chasing baseball teams around for the next three days, applying sunscreen liberally, drinking shitty American beer, and sampling some of the finest steakhouses that central Florida has to offer.

Having two people greatly reduces the cost: hotel rooms, car rentals, 2-for-1 deals at whorehouses, etc.

Contact me if this sounds like your thing. Be forewarned, though: the central focus of the trip will be baseball.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

That's the stuff.

You know when you hold a banana in your hand and you judge by its colour that it's gonna be a perfect, totally kick-ass banana? And then when you bite into it you're all, "Fuck YES, this is one goddamn perfect piece of fruit!"? That was me tonight. So I had two.

It truly is one of life's great moments.

...except if you hate bananas. Which, thankfully, I don't.

Teenagers say the darndest things.

Relayed to me by a colleague:

"A couple of my Grade 11's were chatting before class. One of them said, 'Man, my girlfriend's gift is gonna cost me so much on Valentine's Day.' The other one said, 'Yeah, same here. I hope she's gonna get nasty!' I had to remind them that I could hear them easily across the room."

Behold, the Leaders of Tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Rolling merrily forward.

I wish I had something exciting to write.

But alas, 'tis February. It's pretty much the least exciting time of the year. Every day sorta looks like the previous one: I get up at some early-ass time of the morning, haul myself to work, and come home to spend seven hours reorganizing my Christina Aguilera memorabilia collection.

...well, except for THAT day, which I'm actually not really dreading too too much this year, which is a change for me.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I still hate it plenty. I'll put a little extra hatred on it because this will be yet another one I'll be spending solo.

But:

A friend of mine bet me, back in the fall sometime, that I'd have some sort of romantic enterprise, either great or small, going by the time February 14th rolls around. "I have a hunch, and my hunches are almost always right about this sort of thing," this person said. The stakes: one (1) dinner, paid in full by the other. I even offered 2-to-1 odds.

What do you think I should get? I'm thinking surf-and-turf, even though I hate seafood. You see, I'll order me up a lobster, then before the cook can kill it, I'll scoop it up and dump it into Lake Ontario. And while it may freeze to death in the lake, I'll have the satisfaction that its life was prolonged a few short minutes because I'm ridiculously bad at attracting women.

I mean, hey, it's gotta be a benefit to something, right?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

I laughed my balls off.

Firstly, I must state that I have known about, watched, and thoroughly enjoyed Aqua Teen Hunger Force for over a year. Their bizarre antics, perhaps best personified by the characters known as The Mooninites (Ignignokt is the green one, and Err is the magenta one), have caused me to laugh myself stupid on many occasions.

So...

Turner Broadcasting, which owns the cable channel which makes and shows ATHF, pays some twentysomething artist to make a bunch of LED signs in the shape of Ignignokt and stick them up in various places in various cities around the country. These signs have been up in a bunch of cities for at least 2-3 weeks, in an example of "guerilla marketing."


Left: the sign, unlit. Right: the sign, lit up. Taken from eBay, where the current selling price is $1200.

A couple of days ago, some paranoid idiot in Boston saw one of these signs stuck up somewhere and thought something along the lines of, "Oh no! It's a Lite-Brite of a cartoon character giving me the finger! Quick, call the police, we're under attack!"

And then... chaos. Bomb squads called in, Homeland Security in a tizzy, subways shut down, traffic nightmares aplenty. Your basic full-scale, full-blown shit-show.

Read the ridiculous details here.

I can't tell these idiots apart.

I received the latest copy of Rolling Stone in the mail yesterday, and this is what I saw.


This is the "band" called "Panic! at the Disco". Mascara? Check. Haircuts? Check. Blazers? Check. Four privileged white suburbia-raised males? Check. Disaffected looks upon faces? Big goddamn check.

"Hey," I thought, "I've seen this before." Turns out I had — there's a band called The Killers — and here's the original photo that I once annotated as a handy guide for the layperson:


Note the similarities? Namely, everything about them? Yeah, I did too. "But J," my inner voice continued, "didn't these idiots just rip someone else off in the first place?" They sure did.


Now, I'm no musicologist, but I do believe Coldplay called "first dibs" on this look a few years ago (minus the mascara).

This is why I don't listen to the radio anymore.

Horseshit.

The UN is going to release its report on Climate Change tomorrow, and it's going to come to the same conclusion that every reputable climatologist already has:

GLOBAL WARMING IS REAL,
AND WE'RE CAUSING IT.

This is no newsflash, folks. Anyone who's anyone in the climatology game (i.e., the study of the Earth's climate) has been saying this for the past two decades.

But, in order to create some sort of TV-worthy air of debate on this, CNN and its ilk have been dredging up any idiot who's willing to be the Counterpoint to the overwhelming Point (which has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, and is in bold, uppercase letters above). Most of said idiots are geophysicists or hack journalists or economists or, well, not climatologists. It's like getting former Cosby Show actor Keisha Knight Pulliam to weigh in on the merit of Stephen Hawking's work on the evaporation of black holes:

Larry King: "Now, Ms. Pulliam, you have no background in particle physics, cosmology, the calculus of Einstein's gravitational field tensors or the intricacies of quantum thermodynamics, but you did play the adorable Rudy Huxtable."

Keisha Knight Pulliam: "That's right, Larry."

LK: "So, what do you think? Do you disagree with Mr. Hawking's assertion that, with the gradual but steady decrease in universal entropy, and the finite half-life of subatomic particles — even though the expectation value on these schmucks may be upwards of 10100 years — black holes will gradually disappear into a cold baryonic mess, or did the guy in the wheelchair get it right?"

KKP: "Hawking's out to lunch."

LK: "Okay, that was Keisha Knight Pulliam, who I must say has filled out quite nicely* in recent years. After the break we'll talk to Good Charlotte frontman Joel Madden — is he in cahoots with Nicole Richie? Stay tuned."

So, my pretties, do not be swayed by "experts" that some "reputable" TV shows might plunk down in front of a camera. If they say Global Warming isn't real, or isn't caused by us, they're full of the title of this very blog post.

* Holy shit, has she ever.