Monday, February 25, 2008

Oh those wacky Conservatives.

I guess Harper & Co. are expecting the writs to drop pretty soon — after all, the Libs can only abdicate their responsibility as Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition on confidence-motions for so long. "You should shit or get off the pot," as Randall Graves might say.

As such, the Cons are ramping up their PR department with cheeky flyers. I got one a few weeks ago and was going send a snide response, but got lazy and didn't bother. Today, though, I found two separate mail-outs in my mailbox, and I couldn't help but think of sarcastic comebacks for both of them.

The first dealt with the $1200 "child care benefit," ostensibly so you, a parent, can get quality child care (assuming you can even find a space in a low-cost program; this tax rebate puports to help people who need the money)... instead of the government stepping in and doing its governmently duty of, y'know, doing shit for people like creating spaces. "Turn it over to the private sector," Stevie sez.

Stevie sends these out with a little check-box you can fill in (either beside "Let me keep my child care benefit" or "Lose my child care benefit;" I checked the latter), and instructions on how to fold them and send them back, no postage necessary. I imagine he sends these things out and expects to get whole bunch of them back saying, "Heck yes, Mr. Prime Minister/CEO, you are right as rain! That picture of Stephane Dion sure is unflattering!" After all, Stevie has a history of thinking everyone just, y'know, has to agree with him. ("Does not play well with others," I bet it said on his Bessborough Road Public School report card, time and time again.)

The other one talked about cutting the GST:

I could go through the math here in detail, or I could sum it up by comparing a cut in a consumption tax (e.g. any sales tax) to one of those "the more you spend, the more you save" slogans a furniture store might use. Long story short, a cut in the GST saves you more money if you spend more money, and rich people sure do spend more money than poor people. Also, things like investments and savings — which rich people can afford to do far more than poor people — aren't subject to these consumption taxes, so they save again. It's a "gap between the rich and poor grows wider every day" extravaganza!

...then again, Conservatives don't really give two shits about poor people anyway.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oscar blog, update #173.

I've been blogging here every ninety seconds during the broadcast, without fail — I've been getting some weird error messages, so I hope they've been coming through and not just disappearing. What a shame that would be!

Anyway, some French broad just waltzed off with Best Actress. This means the Future Mrs. JTL, Ellen Page, went away empty-handed.


In other news, The Bourne Ultimatum walked off with both Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. I guess the Academy wanted to stir up some real controversy this year, eh?

Let's talk.

Barack Obama wants to talk to the likes of Kim Jung-Il, whoever is the next leader of Cuba, and Mahmoud What's-His-Name* who leads Iran.


Not "bend over backwards for," not "give a billion dollars to," not "make sweet sweet leader-on-leader love with."

Just talk.

This is something that George W. Bush steadfastly refuses to do and, well, we've all seen what's happened to the US's international reputation in the past few years (that is, if he actually cares about it, which I doubt very much he does). You want to be perceived as a stubborn dickish moron? Say things like, "Ahhh don't talk ta turr-ur-issstsss."

Oh, and do it with a southern drawl, even though you were born in Conneticut, went to a highfalutin' private high school in Massachusetts, went to Yale and Harvard, and have a brother (a.) who goes by the name Jeb** who (b.) mysteriously has no southern accent.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that talking to fellow world leaders to see what makes them tick can only be a good thing. Sitting behind your desk and getting your opinions fed to you by your handlers, yes-men and corporate buddies is not a good thing.***

* I taught a kid last year whose parents were Iranian, and I asked him how to pronounce this guy's name. He told me, and it seemed easy, but now I totally forget.
** On Arrested Development, Michael Bluth's brother GOB goes by the name he does because those are his initials (his given name is George Oscar Bluth II). "Jeb" goes by the name he does because his given name is John Ellis Bush... which is another reason why I love AD.
*** Unless you're a Republican.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Oh baby.

Came in the mail today. Look at the date on that ticket.

I can almost taste the reasonably-priced beer I'm gonna sip while watching this meaningless game.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Well, now I have an answer.

I don't think I've ever transcribed an instant-message conversation before. But hey, as the person who invented tentacle-porn might have said, "C'mon, there's a 'first time' for everything."

JTL: hey [Female Friend (FF)], you're a girl, you might be able to help me out on this... how do i meet women?
FF: grocery stores, perhaps
FF: knitting bees
FF: the kitchen
FF: I would suggest the kitchen most, they're chained there so they can't get away

With friends like these, eh? Eh?

On surprise.

Surprise is a funny thing. We think it appears in our lives more often than it really does; if you sit down and closely examine something which takes you by surprise, more often than not you'll see that you could've seen it coming a mile away.

I'll give a few examples.

"Wow, Stephen Harper said something idiotic, right on TV!"
He's an idiot. Idiots say idiotic things.

"Can you believe it? Britney Spears is self-destructing!"
Being a media-whore will do that to you.

"I'm so hung over this morning! I totally didn't expect this!"
Did you "expect" to put back seven shots of J├Ąger and not feel it?

"Wow, she ended up totally not being into me!"
They never are; women are cockteases, and are out to destroy you.

"The Detroit Tigers won the American League in 2006!"
Actually, this one was a surprise.

Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is this: if you found any of the above actually surprising, you just aren't thinking hard enough. Life is not a mystery; it just happens to be a little random at times.

...but not random enough to instill honest-to-goodness surprise in you, on a regular basis.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

They're stuck in your head.

Now, stick 'em in someone else's.

In the Comments section, post three songs with which you're currently obsessed. Don't worry, I'll go first.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I love you, KEXP.

This radio station (website here) continues to blow my goddamn mind.

Check out this random set of songs on a random Saturday afternoon:
  1. The Transmissionary Six — Zero Gravity
    (a cool, laid-back songwriting duo)
  2. Brian Eno — Here Come The Warm Jets
    (music legend that never gets enough attention)
  3. Holy Fuck — Echo Sam
    (cracked-out Canadian band)
  4. Kultur Shock — God Is Busy
    (a mix of Gogol Bordello and The Ramones)
  5. Jane's Addiction — Mountain Song
    ("Been Caught Stealing" is good and all...)
Also, there was none of this annoying "bzzzzzzzzorrrt! You're listening to KEXP! Listen to the Morning Show with Bulldog and the Gimp every morning! KEXP! bzzzzzzzorrrrt!" between the songs either. God dammit I hate that.

And anytime a DJ says something like, "Coming up in a bit I have new stuff from Nada Surf, but first here's a band from Scotland, 'Sons and Daughters.' Enjoy.", they automatically endear themself to me.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Dates for Valentine's Day.

I'm going to have to double-check my calculations — I may have forgotten to carry a "1" here or there, and could've flipped a negative-sign — but I do believe I've spent every February 14th (a.) single, and (b.) dateless.

I was bound and determined, this year, to change at least one of those.

And I did.

It was surprisingly easy to change (b.), as I found out.

All I had to do was go to one of my local hangouts and look around for a little while, and pick-up like a mofo.

Top to bottom, maybe... I dunno... five minutes?

Jesus... if I'd have known it was that easy, I would've been getting dates left, right and centre.

Maybe because it's Valentine's Day, I dunno.

I don't want to jinx things, but I had one already tonight, and I gotta say, it was pretty sweet.

At any rate, behold: my dates.

Aside: You'll never guess who the #1 producer of dates is, worldwide. You will absolutely never, ever guess. Click the "Comments" link to see the answer.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

This is why I love Stephen Colbert.

During tonight's interview:

Colbert: [extremely long and detailed explanation about how God doesn't send people to Hell, people actually send themselves there]

Guest, who is a Professor of Theology: Well, you certainly learned well in Sunday School.

Colbert: I teach Sunday School, motherfucker.

...which he does.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Maintain professionalism. Maintain.

My job is ridiculous sometimes.

Submitted for your perusal/amusement/bemusement:

8:58 am

One of my students, R, comes into class a couple of minutes before the morning bell, mildly flustered. She is having what is known in the business as a "zipper malfunction" — she zipped her winter coat up all the way, and at the very top, part of the zipper separated and became stuck, while the teeth became unfastened from the bottom-up, leaving her coat stuck around her neck (and only her neck).

After a very awkward O Canada spent with the entire class giggling (including R and me), I went into our equpiment room and grabbed a set of pliers and a set of vise-grips, to work the thing loose. No dice; the thing was jammed in there tighter than a flock of grandmas at a clearance sale at Cardigans "R" Us.*

In desperation, I grabbed a pair of scissors and nimbly cut the stuck zipper loose, with minimal damage to the rest of the coat. I remarked that this was the sort of thing that an elementary-school caretaker has to do all the time (or maybe it was just mine).

9:09 am

The zipper unstuck and the morning announcements finally over, the class — 28 very active 14- and 15-year-olds — is still abuzz. In amongst the commotion, one of the students asks me, "Sir, have you ever seen '2 Girls 1 Cup'?"

Think about this for a minute.

How are you supposed to respond to this question? And quick, do it in three seconds.

. . .

Time's up. Responses are due... now.

. . .

Couldn't think of anything appropriate, could you? Well then, welcome to my world. I said, "Come on, keep it clean in here" — which means, of course, that I knew perfectly well what it was. Naturally, I didn't think this through before I spoke. Luckily, most of the rest of the class is pretty nerdy/geeky, so I doubt they caught on.

10:26 am

Explained to my second-period class what the definition of "addiction" is, and why my lack of caffeine so far in the day is giving me a major case of the blahs. Did a quick survey to see how many 14-year-olds in the room drink coffee or tea or neither; it was about a third for each.

In unrelated news, Starbucks stock shot up six points upon hearing this news.

11:08 am

"Sir, is this a cell undergoing mitosis?"

[I look in the microscope]

"That's actually a piece of dust."

11:58 am

Realized that a change in the scheduling of an assembly has totally screwed my lesson plans up for the next three days.

* * * * *

In other news, I rediscovered Yes' Fragile album. Wow.
* Love you, Grandma T!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Extremely short, extremely random music tidbits.

1. "Travelin' Band" by CCR is a really, really good song.

2. I teach a kid now whose first name is "Branavan" (he's brown, it's ok). Every time I see his name written on the class list, I (very unfortunately) start thinking of the song "Drinking In L.A." by crappy '90s semi-hip-hop group Bran Van 3000.

3. New album by Mars Volta? Extremely good. Less weirdo-electro-crazed-coyote effects, but still with their unique psych-prog-freakout-rock vibe. A shade below "De-Loused," which I'd put a hair below "Frances," but definitely above "Ampu," which I didn't much like at all.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Life is predictable and tends to roll merrily forward.

The calendar never lies.

It's early February: the skies have dumped their customary coating of white over the land, Spring Training is on the horizon — one more week until pitchers and catchers report to camp — and the yearly feelings of Fear and Loathing of the Fourteenth.

(And I'm not just talking about the birthday of Hugh Downs, Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion and Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas, although they occur on the same day as that, too.)

I truly do believe the number of us Valentine's-humbuggers is on the rise, though. What was probably once a genuinely sweet occurrence (e.g. my grandpa buying my grandma a dozen red roses for decades running) has turned into an Orgy of Pink in every drugstore, on every TV commercial, and at seemingly every other turn in every public space in this Great Frozen Land of ours.

Maybe it's because I'm not really "romantic" in the (stereo)typical sense of the word. I admit it, I'm a tough nut to crack at times — but that doesn't mean I don't have a sweet, gooey, nougat-filled interior like some of your more conventional dudes. And maybe it's because I've been single for an overwhelmingly large majority of my February 14ths (to the best of my recollection) which has resulted in a bit of a callous attitude towards the whole production.

Or maybe the whole thing is just a crock of shit.

Do we need a special day to tell a person you care about them? Honestly, do we need to designate 1/365th of the year (1/366th this time around) for this? And really, who was this Saint Valentine? I bet he was some sort of axe-murderer-pervert type who was into Barry Manilow records and needlepoint.*

So, there we go. February the fourteenth, I hereby disown you of the title of St. Valentine's Day. From now on, you will be known as "The Day The Music Died," even though that plane with Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper actually went down on the third instead.
* He's also the patron saint of beekeepers. I think I've made my point.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Ownership Society.

Own property! Oh yeah, and don't forget to vote for the conservative free-market capitalists!

Interesting article by Naomi Klein here, who's right on the money (as usual). I hadn't thought about the connection between the so-called "Ownership Society" directive put forth by the Bushies and the growth-and-collapse of the subprime mortgage market. But hey, it turns out they pretty much set the whole thing up for failure, years ago.

Bush & Co: Lend these schmucks money. They will buy houses.

Lenders: Um... are you sure about—


Kanye West: George Bush hates Black people.

JTL: Sorta. George Bush hates poor people, and a lot of poor people are Black. So yeah, you're kinda right there. Now, get back to making music I'll never hear.

Lil Jon: Yeah!

JTL: I wasn't talking to you.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The wheels are in motion.

Coming to a theatre near you, sometime in the future:

An Arrested Development movie.

You cannot know how pleased I am by this. Details? Get some here.

In other awesome news, a very special Yacht Rock #11 was made. I need more Bacon!