Thursday, November 29, 2007

Odometer's rollin' over.

Whenever the essentially-random day of the year rolls around which happens to be the day on which the doctor slapped your ass and told your mom what gender you are, reflection is invited — nay, expected — so I'll indulge in some, if you don't mind. Random thoughts follow.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

We have a preservice teacher in our department for the next couple of weeks. She went through high school in the first group of kids in the four-year curriculum; that is, she was the younger half of the "double cohort." My first year of teaching was '00-'01, and in that year, the first 4-year kids were in Grade 10. I taught Grade 10 Science that year, and I vividly remember several kids in that class, including one who had ADHD and drove me crazy nearly every day; he is the reason I will never name a child of mine Tyler.

Well, that and the fact that Tyler is a ridiculous name.

Anyway, this means that the preservice teacher we have at the moment is the same age as Tyler. And that freaks me out a bit.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

On the other hand, aging isn't so bad. As I've mentioned before, our culture has this "let's worship youth and try to stay young as long as possible" thing going on, which is ridiculous. Have you talked to young people lately? They're a pretty dumb lot, on the whole. (It's not their faulty, though. They're just young. They get smarter.)

* * * * * * * * * * * *

You know how people are all, "Holy cow, I'm x years old. It seems like just yesterday I was in high school/university/college/terrorist training camp." I don't feel this way. I think back ten years, to when I was turning 20 and in my third year of university — I was a young, naive child. I didn't know shit about shit. And when I think about all the people I've met, places I've gone, important things I've learned and the myriad ways I've grown both personally and professionally, 20 seems like eons ago.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

I talked to my folks on the phone tonight — maybe they knew I planned on being thoroughly incapacitated tomorrow night — and my mom reiterated something I've heard her say before: "Your 30s will be better than your 20s. Your 40s will be better than your 30s. And your 50s will be better than your 40s." I have a feeling she's right; moms usually are about these sorts of things.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

They say you're only as old as you feel. I feel like I'm still a kid at times, but can act very grown-up should the situation call for it. I find Jackass hilarious, but own cuff-links. I goof around with my students, but have well-thought-out pedadogical reasons why that's a really important thing to do. I love AC/DC, but can get lost in Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain.

So, if I was to try and put a number to how I feel... I'd say I feel about 22.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My niece the bassist.

Geddy Lee she ain't. But c'mon, she's only two and a half.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Media conglomeration.

I'm watching the City-TV news, and one of the sports guys did a segment on how people thought the Leafs are doing lately (in a word: crappy). They showed him popping into a radio announcer's booth; this fellow was a popular host on Fan 590, a sports-talk AM station.

City-TV (and all its affiliates across the country, including all the "A-Channel" stations) and Fan 590 are owned by Rogers Communications, which also owns 680 News (an all-news radio station). Rogers also owns Rogers Sportsnet, which shows Blue Jays games; Rogers also owns the team, and the building they play in. (He was nice enough to rename it "Rogers Centre" from "SkyDome," which was a name that some kid submitted in a contest back in the late '80s to name the stadium.) Rogers also supplies cable-TV service to everyone in Toronto who has it, not to mention the community-access channel that occupies Channel 10.

So, conceivably, you could have this situation:
  • you go to the Rogers Centre to watch the Rogers Blue Jays
  • your mom watches the same game at home on Rogers Sportsnet
  • on the JumboTron at the end of the game, they show you the Rogers 680 News traffic report
  • on the drive home, you listen to the Rogers Fan 590 postgame call-in show
  • once home, you turn on your TV which is connected to Rogers Cable
  • you watch highlights of the game on Rogers City-TV
  • Ted Rogers personally tucks you in bed
Alright, maybe that last one isn't quite plausible (unless you're Mrs. Rogers). You have to ask yourself, though: is this alright? Should one company be able to own all these media outlets? Obviously, when it comes to something as frivolous* as sports, it doesn't really matter.

But let's say you have an important matter of public interest, and one company owns a whole whack of media outlets, all masquerading as separate entities. ("Wow, I heard that Stephen Harper is a great PM from 680 News, Fan 590, and City-TV! He must be doing a great job.") As a result, one editorial board's set of opinions get spread all over the place, and other voices don't get heard as a result.

This phenomenon began in the US in the '90s, with the relaxation of ownership rules for different media outlets in the same market. Nowadays, the CRTC doesn't give a rat's ass how much stuff one company owns, so long as the CanCon rules are followed.** I say, we should all give a rat's ass.
________________________________

* Yeah, I realize I'm a huge baseball fan. But Noam Chomsky's point is well-taken here: "Sports are pushed as to distract us from asking questions about the real issues."
** I pulled out of my driveway this morning and was flipping around the dial... when who should I hear but Triumph. Fuck yeah!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Dubya lets his fingers do the walkin'.

Here's President "Curious" George Bush, kickin' back in his sweet pad on Fakesgiving (i.e., American Thanksgiving), calling some US soldiers who are marooned in Iraq. Man, does he look relaxed.


He should be relaxed; he's not getting his ass shot-at by dozens of people, angry about some assholes inviting themselves into their country and making it a shithole.

It's "the least I can do," said Boy George.

...well, it's good to know he's doing the least he could do.

I bet those soldiers appreciate the least.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Incidentally, it's not as if he sat by the phone and called up, like, every fourth soldier stuck in that godforsaken quagmire. He called:
  • 3 people in the Army
  • 2 people in the Marines
  • 3 people in the Air Force
  • 2 people in the Coast Guard
  • 2 people in the Navy
So, to help out US troops in Iraq, in this war-without-end, a miserable debacle which has caused nearly 4000 American deaths (and likely several hundred thousand Iraqi civilian deaths), something 4 of 5 Americans disapprove of...

George made
twelve phone calls.

Shit. Frequent site-contributor ECB made more calls than that trying to find an apartment in Chicago, and she didn't even send hundreds of thousands of people to fight an illegal war.

Happy Fakesgiving, by the way.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hey you.

Yeah, you.

Wanna come drinkin'?

I turn 30 on Friday, November 30th. This means it's my "champagne birthday." It also means I must get stupendously drunk and forget that I'm a year closer to my death. Drink up, assholes!

I'm guessing this get-together will be somewhere on Bayview, south of Eglinton — that is, within stumbling-distance of my apartment. You are invited if you:
  • drink
  • don't drink, but enjoy watching people drink and/or paying for other peoples' drinks
  • can read this
  • can't read this, but are smart/wily enough to trick someone into reading this to you
  • have a pulse
  • don't have a pulse, but are confident that paramedics can "zap your ticker" after you finish your beer
  • ...okay, fine, the beer after that one
  • know me
  • don't know me, but are
    1. a supermodel
    2. who wants to experience my renowned "nineteen seconds of drunk screwin' and then J passing out" routine
    3. and won't mind if I call you "Doris" during our vigorous lovemaking, regardless of your actual name
So, all in all, it should be a magical evening. If this sounds like a worthwhile way to spend a Friday night, you know how to contact me.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

On aging.

I'm getting close to 30. As such, I'm thinking about age a lot these days.

Two things come to mind.

The first is something that my Grade 3 teacher, Mrs. Johnson, said many years ago. She was talking about getting older, and mentioned her "laugh lines" around her eyes. Specifically, she said, "People say laugh lines are a bad thing. But, you know, that just proves you've laughed a lot in your life, and I think that's a pretty good thing." Wise words.

The second is our culture's maddening obsession with youth.

There are places in this world where age and wisdom are revered, even celebrated. Some cultures actually look up to their more senior citizens, because they have experiences that may just be useful from which to learn. You know, there are these things called "learning stuff" and "figuring shit out," not to mention "useful things that other people should know." Heard of that?

Meanwhile, we're trying to look younger, act younger, screw younger, and have parts of us replaced so they actually are younger. Also, there's much more pressure on women to conform to this standard than there is on men... which I suppose works well for me, but not so much for the ladies. And that kinda sucks.

In conclusion, young = dumb. Why would we want to be dumber than we already are?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Taxes.

Recently, Little Stevie Harper and Close-Set-Eyes Dalton McGuinty sat down and had a chat. It went a little like this:

McGuinty: "Hey man, we couldn't help but notice that you're running a giant surplus. We get a lot of our money from you guys, and we fund cities, and their bridges are crumbling, so... care to share the wealth a bit?"

Harper: "Suck my cock, Dalt."

I dunno, maybe Stevie used slightly different language... but that's what the sentiment was.

* * * * * * * * * *

I forget exactly where I heard it recently — it very well could have been from David Miller, the mayor of Toronto — but I've been looking at taxes a little differently lately. If memory serves (as it seldom does), Miller phrased this thoughts along the lines of, "By getting more revenue through taxes, we can really unlock the potential of this city, to do things to make our residents' lives better" (emphasis mine).

Think about it. Let your mind wander.

If we (a.) had all kinds of money, and (b.) a government that was willing to spend it on programs for their citizens — instead of being preoccupied with shouting "TAX CUTS, BITCHES! TAX CUTS!" every chance they got — just think about all the stuff we could do. Here's what jumps to my mind:
  • building oodles of affordable and/or sliding-scale and/or free housing, taking people off the streets
  • supplementing low-wage-earners' salaries to make sure they had enough to have a decent life
  • helping businesses become more environmentally responsible through new technologies
  • pumping tons of cash into schools to make them more useful and relevant for the kiddies*
  • revamping the health care system so that its disparate parts actually work with each other
  • building high-capacity public transit systems (e.g. LRT lines in most major cities), and making fares so cheap (and service so ubiquitous) that you'd be a fool not to ride them
...and so on.

Am I crazy here?
_________________
* I'll take care of this one, thanks.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Dubya talks to soldiers.

"Y'see, Lance Cpl. Bradford? Ah'm pushin' ya 'round in yer new wheelchair. Naw, don't say yer guvernment never did nuthin' fer the troops! 'Course, now yer a double ammm-puh-tee and yer blind. But hey, ah'm the President! Ain't that cool?"

"Ah'd shake yer hand, Spec. Yarosh, but ah'm a straight-shooter, so I'll just tell ya that your fake arm and your burned-up skull kinda freak me out."

"Green exercise balls, Sgt. Downs. That's the key to winnin' this War on Turrurr. These green balls're gunna smoke them turrrurrrisssts outta their holes. Oh, and sorry 'bout them legs."

What a fucking tool. See the whole ridiculous set of pictures here.

I feel sorry for American soldiers, I really do.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

A quandary.

A few times in our lives, we're faced with a choice which affects the way we look at the world, how we go about our day-to-day business; in short, a so-called "paradigm shift." The question is this:

CD or (legal) download?

You see, the Sadies have a new album. I like the Sadies; they're always a great time. They're not a huge band, so I'm more inclined to pay for their good work than to steal it. (Seriously, do the Rolling Stones need any more cash?)

Anyway, on the Yep Roc Records website, I can download the thing for $10... or I can buy the CD for $15, plus $5 shipping. I know what you're thinking: "Dude, c'mon. Download and burn it." But, it's not that easy.

I really, really enjoy having a CD in my hands. I like inspecting the artwork, perusing the lyrics, combing through the thank-you's to see if they snuck someone in there like Don Knotts. But is it worth the extra dough — in this case, ten dollars, plus tax? Tough to say.

Your input would be greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

You got ears.

So, let me get in there and wiggle around once a week.

You see, I have a radio show again.

When I was back at Queen's, I co-hosted a weekly radio show. That was a lot of fun. A few years before then, I co-hosted a show with a friend on a tiny station at the Glendon College campus of York University, which is just up the street from me.

Because it's in the neighbourhood, and because they have giant gaps in their schedule, getting a decent time slot on the Glendon station is a piece of cake. So, I asked, and I got a show on Wednesday evenings.

I did my first show on the Glendon station before the Queen's thing. As such, I didn't realize how lousy Glendon's equipment and music library actually were; in fact, its entire music library is now off-limits to me, as it's being re-catalogued (at least I think that's the story the station manager gave). But now that I've had a taste of the Good Life, it's tough to go back to squalor.

However, I attempt to make a silk purse out of this sow's-ear once a week, from 11pm to midnight on Wednesdays. All the tunes I play are out of my own musical collection... which is alright for now, I guess.

You can listen to the show by going to the station's website and following the "Listen Live" link.

See you on Wednesday.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Oh, hey, nevermind.

I found my sunglasses.

I forgot them at Dave's.

I have them now.

Thanks for looking, though.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

C'mon, Joel.

Joel Zumaya is an interesting fellow.

He's a relief pitcher for my Detroit Tigers. He's 23. He throws hundred-mile-per-hour fastballs which dive and dart into impossible-to-hit locations. And he has a propensity for injuring himself in extremely strange ways.

During his rookie season, 2006, he was sidelined for a month or so because he strained his wrist playing by playing Guitar Hero. Now, I've played Guitar Hero — and briefly considered buying some sort of video game system so I could play it at home, it's that addictive — but when your job involves taking very good care of everything below your shoulder, you may want to limit yourself to a couple of hours a night.

Early in the 2007 season, he was warming up in the bullpen before coming into a game, when he ruptured a tendon in his hand. He didn't do anything; he just threw the ball weirdly and something ripped inside his hand. So, there he appeared on TV, walking from the bullpen down into the depths of a baseball stadium, clutching his right hand with his left, having hurt himself without appearing in the game. That knocked him out for a good two months, and the Tigers struggled without him.

In the past few days, with the fires raging in southern California, Joel was at his offseason home with his parents. His father currently has a broken leg, so he was getting some stuff out of the attic when a heavy box fell directly on his right shoulder. Joel is right-handed, so this is a big deal. He will be out until the middle of next season.

We have to ask ourselves this: Is Joel Zumaya a danger to himself? Should we lock him in a padded room between games, and for the entire offseason? This humble blogger says yes.