Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Drink up.

Seen in a text-based ad-sidebar on a newspaper's website (link not replicated to protect the stupid who might click on it):

Top Whole House Fluoride Water Filter
Kevin Trudeau reports that Fluoride is dangerous. Free Ship. On Sale.

You might remember Mr. Trudeau as the guy who was fined and later banned from doing infomercials for fraudulently hawking stuff on TV.

You might also know that a bunch of tinfoil-helmeted conspiracy-freaks, not unlike Col. Jack Ripper from Dr. Strangelove, are suggesting that the fluoridation of tapwater is a giant government conspiracy to make us dumb so we can be controlled more gooder by the people that like run the country and stuff and shit ya rite LOL WTF BBQ

. . .

. . .

Wow, that naturopathic herbal magnetic crystal colonic-irrigation really fixed me right up. Flushed the stupid right out of me. At any rate, if Kevin Trudeau says something, you can automatically assume, quite confidently, that it's patently false.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pandemics.

SWIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE
FLUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!

It's been a while since we've had a good, catchy (and catchy-sounding) potential-epidemic in this neck of the woods. I mean, sure, India gets an outbreak of bubonic plague now and again, but... well, it's been a few years since SARS, anthrax* or monkeypox, and CNN needs something to push. So, here we are.

This thing seems to be spreading faster than Paris Hilton's thighs, so I'm going to go on the record now to say I've always been pro-swine flu. Ever since it was first identified in northern Mexico, I've been saying this thing could be big — hell, it could be the biggest thing since that big Gnarls Barkley song, you know the one, the one where he sings all high and shit. The point is, if it gets really out of control, we all get to wear cool medical facemasks just like Michael Jackson and the Japanese do!

In conclusion, wash your hands.

* The band Anthrax, on the other hand, has a new album due out in June.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Jesus was a scientist.

If He wasn't, how could He have come up with this killer missing-link which fills in a heretofore-annoying gap in the evolution of pinnipeds?

I'm so glad we have a LORD who knows how to plant fossils in out-of-the-way places. He's so tricky! In a fun way, though. Figuring out the LORD's tricks is like playing a cosmic game of Clue.

"I've got it! It was the coelacanth... in the study... with a copy of the heretical On The Origin Of Species! Praise be to the One True God."

In the classes I teach, I'm trying to plant seeds of doubt in some subtle and not-so-subtle ways. For example, when we're talking about the late-19th century idea of "the ether" in our Grade 12 Physics class, I'll describe it as being this stuff "which is everywhere, inside and through everything, but undetectable, even if you went looking for it. You'll never find it in an experiment, but trust me, it's everywhere, omnipresent. Sound like a familiar concept to anyone?" It usually takes them a few seconds for the majority of them to catch on, but in the end they get what I'm trying to say.

As the years go by, the idea of religion seems more and more preposterous to me. It just doesn't make any damn sense. If there was/were a Divine Being/Beings out there, but which were deliberately hard to detect, why would it care if I believed the fairy tales, especially if I had been created to be so sceptical by this omniscient Thing out there? It's self-contradictory. And as for the whole "it's just God testing you" thing... really? You'd want to believe in a "trickster God?" That seems petty and insecure, two traits I wouldn't think would go too well with a Something that could do anything. God has everything and can do everything; why does It need me?

If there's a Great Scorekeeper In The Sky, I think Its view is much more long-term, big-picture. Am I a decent person? Did I do the right things, on balance? Whether or not I ate fish two Fridays ago, believe that some guy once built a 40-cubit-long boat, or never uttered* the words "Jesus Fucking Christ Already!" when a member of the Detroit Tigers bullpen blew another yet another lead (thank you Brandon Lyon) seems a little nit-picky.

* in case of Roman Catholicism, merely thinking the words will do just nicely, thank-you

Monday, April 20, 2009

Miss California isn't very progressive.

I've never really understood the appeal of beauty pageants.

When I was little, I had some idea that they were supposed to be glamorous and watched by many, but even as an 8-year-old whose interest in women was jump-started at an early age by none other than Alyssa Milano (when you're 8 and she's 13 and her TV dad is possibly "The Boss," well, that's a pretty irresistable combination), I didn't get it. It seemed pointless then, and it seems pointless now. Besides, these days, with pornography readily available at the click of a button via the Information Superhighway, the swimsuit competition seems more suitable for a church luncheon than prime time.

Beauty pageants try to give themselves a veneer of credibility by having the contestants answer various questions on various topics. But, as the geographically-challenged Miss Teen South Carolina showed a couple of years ago, that can turn out really badly; we all know that Susan Boyle wouldn't stand a chance in one, and we all know why (though she'd do well in the talent portion of the contest, I'd imagine). I normally don't care about (a.) beauty pageants or (b.) Perez Hilton — you may know of my general disdain for all things "celebrity" — but this weird confluence of the twain produced an interesting moment.

You see, the reigning Miss California (Carrie Prejean) was competing in the Miss USA pageant recently, and Mr. Hilton, acting in his capacity as a judge, asked Ms. Prejean if she believed same-sex marriage should be legal. Prejean's reply: "In my country, and in my family, I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman." Prejean lost to the eventual winner, Kristen "I Loves Me The Fags" Dalton, from North Carolina.

Prejean feels her answer cost her the crown. Her thoughts:

"It is a very touchy subject and (Hilton) is a homosexual and I see where he was coming from and I see the audience would've wanted me to be more politically correct. But I was raised in a way that you can never compromise your beliefs and your opinions for anything."

I don't normally mine the responses of (failed) beauty queens for interesting ideas, but there's a real corker buried in that quote. I'll go out on a limb here and suggest that Ms. Prejean is religious — why else would anyone want to hate the gays, anyway? — and that her position is based on the traditional, Christian, missionary-position view of relationships, and what they can and can't be.

To say that you "can never compromise your beliefs" strongly suggests, to me, that these beliefs shouldn't even be questioned, much less changed (i.e., compromised; see how the political right in the US is having a shit-fit over a bit of change that's gone on recently. For a lot of folks like that, "change" is synonymous with "capitulation"). Beliefs and opinions and ideas, though, should always be up for re-evaluation, especially based on new evidence that you receive. I don't want to toot my own horn here, but that's the Scientific Method in a nutshell.

In a related train of thought, this video is a great (if dense) examination of the idea of open-mindedness and willngness to change one's beliefs and opinions. The author/narrator is much better at winning these arguments than I ever could be, so I'll just defer to him and watch this instead.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A collection of little things.

I've been ridiculously busy at work lately (and it's going to get worse before it gets better). As a result, in my downtime I've been ridiculously lazy. It all averages out to something reasonable, I imagine, but a wise person once said, "Never attempt to wade across a river whose average depth is four feet."

People are having a lot of trouble with their Windows-based computers lately, I find — ECB had to earn her stripes and reformat her XP machine (it totally works now, and I am totally proud of her), my brother's been trying to install a printer on Vista for about a month now (I had a crack at it last weekend and didn't get anywhere), and ECB's friend C owns a laptop whose screen, very randomly, goes black (although the fan and hard drive are still spinning, the only remedy is turning it off and back on again). My laptop's a Mac and my desktop runs Linux, so... now is the kind of time when I get to hold shit like that over peoples' heads.

Facebook has again proven to me that the world, and even this Megacity, is really quite small.

I was listening to my music on shuffle sometime this weekend, and there was a song that I hadn't heard in a while and totally had it stuck in my head for the next day. But now that I want to go back and hear it again, I have absolutely no idea what song it was. Believe me, I've searched and searched — I think there was an X somewhere in the name or the artist — but, aside from going through every one of the songs on my hard drive (the thought did cross my mind), it'll just sit there, undiscovered. So I'll just listen to Spoon instead, 'cause they're pretty good too. Also solid: King Khan and the Shrines.

I really should transfer my March Break pictures from my camera to my computer. But hey, that's laziness for ya.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Snippity-snip.

Seen on a bumper sticker today:

BRING YOUR WHOLE BABY HOME
SAY NO TO CIRCUMCISION

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

This isn't going to win me too many friends amongst Canadian indie-rock fans.

I don't particularly like Wolf Parade or Arcade Fire.

It's not like I haven't tried them out. And it's not like these bands aren't talented, and prominent, members of a great scene — just listen to CBC Radio 3 anytime and you'll know that there are some fantastic artists out there, from Our Home On Native Land.

And yet, every time I try to listen to one of their songs... nothing really clicks for me. Wolf Parade seems a little too artfully-pretentious for my liking, and the Arcade Fire's singer has a voice that sounds like he's continually on the verge of crying.

I did manage to pick up my vinyl copy of Thriller from my brother's place on the weekend, though. I'm gonna go put that on. Peace out, bastards.

Dateline: My Couch.

Oh dear me, my couch is wonderful. It holds me up off the floor, it provides a suitable surface for many types of napping activities, and in a pinch it can even act as a temporary impromptu storage device for many different kinds of junk. Hooray for furniture!

Easter weekend for me was divided up into two very distinct parts:

1. Laziness and Music (Fri-Sat)
A wonderfully large chunk of Friday, and a decently large chunk of Saturday were spent in and around the ol' apartment, puttering-around and doing assorted stupid little things for which I haven't had the time lately; I also cleaned up around here. Saturday night found me at Everyone's a DJ, engineered by Matt Blair, who's set this thing up so well he didn't even need to be in the country for it to work flawlessly. I went on at 1:20 and played lots and lots of stuff with lots and lots of guitars.

"THE WORLD NEEDS MORE
GOD DAMN GUITARS."

JTL

2. Craziness and Family (Sun-Mon)
This is not to say my family is crazy; those of you who have met them know they're really quite sane. But they do live a fair drive away, which takes time and makes gatherings a bit awkward to arrange; it's not like I can be there in twenty minutes. That said, we had a lovely Easter dinner, complete with ham and a concoction my niece "helped" to make (Jell-O made with applesauce, and yes, it's as weird as it sounds, but it isn't actually as awful as it sounds, either). My brother and I froze our asses off in Detroit at the ballgame on Monday, but at least we picked up sweet Miguel Cabrera bobbleheads and we had stupendously-large burgers at Gar's Bar in Marine City, Michigan (pictures to come).

Like ECB, I wish I had something more to say... I'm out of bagels, is that news?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Two observations.

They're both baseball-related, so if you don't care about it, just go here instead.

Observation #1: Fernando Rodney Can Actually Throw Strikes

Wow, who knew? Not me.

Observation #2: Scott Rolen Has To Be Gay

You know how I know he's gay? Because his coming-to-the-plate music is FUCKING COLDPLAY.

A favourite topic of discussion at baseball games with friends is, if you were a major league baseball player, and you could pick music to be played as you strolled to the plate, what would it be? For me, it usually comes back to "It's Raining Men" by the Weather Girls, or "Mandy" by Barry Manilow; these picks are, obviously, for purely comedic reasons.

Scott Rolen, of the Blue Jays, made the following decision, at one point in the recent past:

Hey, you know what would be a good song to get me motivated to swing a club at a ball of yarn and leather and cork hurtling towards my body at over 90 miles per hour? A SHITTY SONG BY A BAND OF PUSSIES.

Either he has the greatest sense of humour of any baseball player in history (which I strongly doubt, having read Jim Bouton's Ball Four), or he is the lamest professional athlete this side of Rafael Palmeiro.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A short letter to Jim Leyland.

To: Jim Leyland (Manager, Detroit Tigers)
From: JTL (Long-Time Fan, Detroit Tigers)
Re: The Tuesday Night Shit-Show

Mr. Leyland,

I just wanted to drop you a quick line vis-à-vis that horrendous excuse for an eighth and ninth inning I witnessed approximately an hour ago.

Brandon Lyon is only your closer because I have a day job and turned down the offer. He barely had half a season in Arizona last year; the other half he did his best impression of an arsonist, pouring gasoline on an already raging fire time after time in the late innings. Dave Dombrowski needed a closer; I couldn't get a leave of absence from my gig, so he threw money at Lyon and, well, here we are.

Closers these days are pampered. They go three outs, except if their name is Mariano Rivera, and only if it's October. Translation: only the best closers in the game will go four or five outs, and buddy, you ain't got one of 'em.

Bobby Seay manhandled the lefty you sent him out to get (Travis Snider). He threw, what, three pitches? He may be a so-called "lefty specialist," but that doesn't mean he can't ever pitch to a righty (Marco Scutaro, who could never in anyone's dreams be mistaken for Mickey Mantle — hell, he's a poor-man's Mickey Morandini). The second you brought in Brandon Lyon, I knew we were finished.

That's why I left SkyDome, disgusted, after Scott Rolen hit that single to right that pushed the pinch-runner over to third. I didn't need to see the ending; I knew exactly what would happen, and it did. Mr. Leyland, you made the one-dollar hot dogs the best thing about tonight's game.*

Yours in disgust,

JTL

* I had three.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Brief but pertinent observations.

Milk is really expensive at Sobey's.

Severely thrashing a bar full of people on Buzztime (formerly NTN) Trivia is satisfying.

Britney Spears should stop singing.

You can really spend a lot on a hammer if you want to, but you probably don't have to.

Dollar-store soy sauce sounds like a good idea, but it's going to taste like shit. Spend the money for the real stuff.

Taking the TTC isn't so bad if you're not in a hurry, but if you are, life's probably gonna suck.

TV commercials are too loud.

You probably won't need a vase too often, but there'll probably come a time when you'll need one, at which point you'll wish you had one around.

Neil Young's After The Gold Rush album is really, really good.

That's all for today. Next time, we'll discuss the 51st way to leave your lover — the way that Paul Simon didn't want you to know about!