Friday, July 31, 2009

One-Sentence Random Thought #5.

Triumph is about a thousand times more talented than most mainstream rock bands today.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

This has gotta stop.

We have brains. We can make sense of things.

We can evaluate a situation, figure out a solution to it, and act upon it properly. Can't we?

Mom of dead girl: Sickness was test of faith
11-year-old died of undiagnosed diabetes as the family prayed for her

WAUSAU, Wisc. — The mother of an 11-year-old girl who died of undiagnosed diabetes as the family prayed for her to get better testified Tuesday that she believes sickness is caused by sin and can be cured by God.

Leilani Neumann told the jury in her husband's trial that she thought her daughter's March 2008 illness was a test of her religious faith and she didn't take the girl to a doctor because that would have been "complete disobedience to what we believe."

Dale Neumann, 47, is charged with second-degree reckless homicide in the 2008 death of his daughter Madeline Neumann, called Kara by her parents. His wife was convicted of the same charge this spring and faces up to 25 years in prison when sentenced Oct. 6.
Full story here.

Alright, folks. If you know me — and if you're reading this thing, you probably do, right? — I'm no fan of religion. But hey, you want to believe in transsubstantiation? You think that a guy in Saudi Arabia a dozen centuries ago was inspired by a divine being to write a book? You want to have a statue of a round-bellied Chinese guy that you rub for good luck? Think that maybe there's just a ghost in the sky who made everything and has your back? Knock yourself out.

This kid, Madeline "Kara" Neumann, had no choice but to believe the stories that her parents told her to believe. Do you know an 11-year-old that can make a sound decision about accepting or rejecting a ready-made set of morals and tales and characters, which sounds pretty complete to a large number of adults, let alone a pre-teen? I don't, and I doubt you do, either.

If she was born in Israel, she would've had a different set of stories which made sense. Different again if she was born in Côte d'Ivoire, Turkmenistan, North Korea or the jungles of Papua New Guinea. And yet, all those places seem to (a.) have a culturally-dominant set of stories which (b.) all claim to be true, yet because they're all different, (c.) all but one (or maybe zero) have to be right.

If she'd been born in some other place, or even just had parents in Wausau who had themselves believed in a different set of stories, Madeleine Neumann would still be alive today.

And that's fucked up.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I'm still here, bitches.

It's been a busy time around here since I got back from my Great Western Road Trip... but, unfortunately (for you (and probably me)), it hasn't been interesting in a "hey, that'd be great to write about and let everyone know!" kind of way.

For example, I have not done any of the following things in the past nine days:
  • eat a really magnificent steak
  • get arrested for speeding in my Ferrari on the DVP
  • become the Fifth Beatle
  • hold a memorial event in honour of the passing of Walter Cronkite
  • golf
  • place an intercontinental long-distance phone call
  • discover an asteroid on a collision course with Earth, or any other known planet
  • sing "Baby I Got Your Money" by Ol' Dirty Bastard in karaoke
  • paint a new "dogs playing poker" painting
  • drink tea, either hot or iced
  • attempt a coup-d'état in a Central American country
  • moonwalk
The list is, theoretically, endless. But I did play in a baseball tournament in Brantford while standing in a giant puddle at third base, kick Matt and Rik's ass in trivia, become mildly obsessed with this song, goof around with my cuter-than-cute niece, rip some carpet out of a friend's basement, get my car's oil changed, eat a few bagels, and discover a mysterious bruise for which I can not account.

You ever get those?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

One-Sentence Random Thought #4.

I haven't seen Ann Coulter in a while; I hope she's lying face-down in a ditch somewhere.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I reached my limit.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the open road... but four straight long-ass days of mile after mile after mile on the plains and prairies really wears on a guy. Sleeping in my own bed (and sleeping-in) was a gigantic treat.

If you know me, and you probably do, I'll post the more relevant pictures on everyone's favourite social networking site. But for now, I have to address the fact that my fridge is currently stocked with about 3 beers, a jar of mustard, and something in Tupperware which may or may not have evolved into a fully sentient being by now.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Driving, driving and more driving.

I'm currently in Minot, North Dakota, after 14 hours of driving.

Yeah, fourteen.

The last hour was spent driving westward from the Geographical Centre of North America (in a town called Rugby), with tornado warnings on the radio and some of the most ridiculous-looking lightning I've ever seen blasting across the sky. What you may not know about me is that, ever since childhood, I have been absolutely terrified of tornados... so, after thirteen hours' worth of blacktop today, I didn't need the last one to be spent hurtling across the prairie at eighty-five miles per hour, watching the miles to Minot tick down to zero and hoping I'd get there before the storms did. (I did.)

Yesterday in Milwaukee was actually pretty cool — as was my extended stay in Chicago. One thing I can say without reservation is that Americans, while they may be easily misled by a nefarious government, and while they may be crazily religious on average, and while they have a dangerously skewed view of the rest of the world (which they have been repeatedly told is inferior and doesn't matter anyway)... they sure are friendly folks.

Also, if you ever find yourself going to a Brewers game, bring a charcoal grill, sausages, your lawn chairs and a cooler with you to the parking lot: they tailgate before games, up to three hours before the first pitch. If you don't, you'll look dangerously out of place.

Monday, July 06, 2009

The male mind.

If you're a guy, you probably already know this, so just go here instead. I see the Leafs signed their first-round, non-Tavares draft pick.

If you're not, let me give you a little perspective into how the male mind works, through a situation in which I found myself about an hour and a half ago.

I'm in Chicago, visiting frequent site-commentor (and birthday-celebrator) ECB — I'm leaving tomorrow to head on to Milwaukee and points far, far westward shortly thereafter. I don't have a key for her place, so I've had to arrive back at the apartment after she gets back from wherever she is (today it was school) so I can be let in. As such, I spent an hour or so at a pub a short walk from her place, which served up delicious $3 pints of Rolling Rock, killing time whilst reading another excellent book by Bill Bryson, who is as prolific as he is talented.

There were three other guys in the bar; middle-aged, talking about sports and work and such, and a bartender who they all seemed to know quite well. I was just minding my own business, reading and sipping, when in walked this stunningly gorgeous late-twentysomething woman (who seemed to be a regular at the place as well, as she knew all the guys and the bartender as well).

As soon as I saw her, my brain did an immediate 180-degree turn. Suddenly, I was no longer just a dude, sitting at a bar and reading a book — I couldn't focus on anything but this woman. This makes no sense, for several reasons:
  1. I'm leaving town tomorrow morning.
  2. I overheard her say she's going out with some guy tonight.
  3. I can absolutely, in no way, ever get to know her better.
  4. And so on.
Yet, there was not one molecule in my brain-meat which didn't pay 1000% of its attention to this woman.

I pride myself on being a pretty logical person — I did a degree in physics, I've carefully thought-through my agnosticism, I'm a fan of the greatest sport and team that God has ever given mankind — but all that goes out the window pretty quickly when a set-o'-legs walks through that door. It makes no sense, but it happens.

Does it ever.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Ankles and food.

Day 3 here in Chicago... just paying ECB back for three months of squatting a couple of years ago. I think the score is evening up fast.

On my way back from the Cubs game on Friday — the Cubbies won on the always-exciting tenth-inning bases-loaded walk — I did something to my left ankle. I have no idea what I did to it... I didn't awkwardly step on a homeless dude, I didn't kick a dog, I didn't shove my foot into a shoe-polisher. All I know is that it hurts like hell, and when I ventured out yesterday to conquer a Chicago-style hot dog for the first time, I got half a block and had to turn around and hobble back. This blows.

However, I will not be denied this hot dog. I've heard good things about the tube-steaks in this town, and come hell or high water, I'm gonna get one; to quote the signs that Cub fans put in their windows, "It's Gonna Happen". There will also be some deep dish pizza, obviously, but apparently at a place other than Giordano's. Then, on to Milwaukee and some Secret Stadium Sauce, and of course Calgary.

Be kind to your ankles, folks. You need 'em for stuff.