Sunday, August 30, 2009

It's here.

The calendar still says August, but everything everywhere is screaming "Autumn!". I dig it, though... a friendly, jacket-inducing chill in the air, baseball pennant races making fans follow scoreboards with renewed intent, and the knowledge that a new season of Big Bang Theory is just around the corner!*

* * * * * * *

A friend and I checked out Buskerfest last night, down on Front Street between Yonge and Jarvis-ish. I can honestly say that, when I got up yesterday morning, I did not have the following thought: "Today I will watch a man pass his body through a tennis racket, a toilet seat, and a squash racket." There's not much in this life about which I'm certain, but that's gotta be right up there on the list.

* * * * * * *

People say Bob Dylan isn't much of a singer. While that fact is certainly true, in the end it doesn't really matter. Also, I stand by the fact that, if all he'd ever written in his career were "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Like A Rolling Stone," he'd still be considered one of the greatest songwriters in history. I mean, people know who Don McLean is, and he really only had one song that anyone knows.

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I'm going to have the 11:40-midnight slot at the September edition of everyone's favourite rotating-DJs night in Toronto, Everyone's a DJ, on Saturday the 12th at Disgraceland (on Bloor just west of Ossington). I've already figured out the first song I'm going to play, and I can guarantee that, if you know it, you'll wonder if I'm sane or not. Come on out and see what it is, why dontcha?

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The ancient Greeks thought that, for someone to truly be your soulmate, they had to be the same gender as you... which explains all the homosexual quasi-pederasty. As weirdly as that turned out in practice, there might be something to it: I mean, think about how differently men and women think and act and behave. When I get together with my guy-friends and talk about women, they know exactly what I think and why. That doesn't happen when I talk to female friends. Ever.

* * * * * * *

That being said, I still can't get enough of that kooky gender. To quote Homer Simpson, "They look great, and they smell even better."

___________________
* This show is friggin' terrible. As someone (a.) who has studied Physics a great deal, and (b.) who has eyes and ears and can watch/hear this show, it's just offensively bad on every imaginable level.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stuff other people wrote.

First off, Blogger tells me this is my 910th post, which means I really don't have a life, I suppose. Anyway, to quote The Beatles, this post is "the one after 909."

(It's not my favourite Beatles song — these days it's "You Never Give Me Your Money" off Abbey Road — but ever since I learned the version on Let It Be was recorded at the rooftop concert, I have a new appreciation for it. And, I don't mind that the bass is a little out of tune.)

(...as much.)

* * * * * * * * *

Krusty: "You're the best thing to happen to this business since—"
Lisa: "Mitzi Gaynor?"
Krusty: "I was gonna say cheap Korean animation, but sure."

* * * * * * * * *

I haven't thought too much about Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock" lately, until it struck me that there's a really peculiar line in it:

Number forty-seven said to number three,
"You're the cutest jailbird I ever did see.
I sure would be delighted with your company,
Come on and do the jailhouse rock with me."

I'm not entirely sure what incarceration was like back in the late 1950s, but I'm pretty sure the jails were then as they are now: single-gender.

* * * * * * * * *

Torn from the headlines:

SPCA exec's dog dies after being left in hot car
The 16-year-old dog dies of kidney failure after being left for four hours

RICHMOND, Virginia — An executive for an anti-animal cruelty group says her 16-year-old blind and deaf dog died after she accidentally left him in her hot car for four hours.

Robin Starr, the CEO of the Richmond Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, says she didn't realize "Louie" was in the car until noon. Starr's husband, Ed, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch he put the dog in her car as she got ready for work Aug. 19. She often took the dog to work with her.

Whoops. But, I'm reminded of the Scottish band, Dogs Die in Hot Cars, and their song "I Love You 'Cause I Have To," which is a pretty good tune.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's (almost) all over now.

People have been asking me lately, "So, are you ready to go back to work?"

My first instinct is to cringe a little bit and say, "C'mon, it's still August, don't bring me down!" But, you know, I do get paid to do a job, so I might as well go on back in and do it. Besides, while some of the kids (and a few of my colleagues) drive me a little bit crazy now and again, I actually do genuinely enjoy my job. It's a very social job in some ways (I spend all day interacting with people), but a very lonely one in others (I'm the only one in the room who was alive before the Berlin Wall fell)... but, as I've said before and I'll say again, dull moments are a rarity.

I popped into the ol' schoolhouse yesterday to pick up a few things and see who was around. It turns out that one of our vice principals got a principal gig somewhere, which is strange because he was only a VP for maybe two or three years. This may not seem like a big deal, but let me tell you, after having been in situations where the principal/VPs weren't terribly supportive/proactive/useful, administrators can make a huge difference in how a school feels and behaves. They have the ability to set the tone, for better or worse.

This year is going to be insanely busy. I'm teaching a course I've never taught before, for which there's no textbook — I'm taking this afternoon to try to begin to wrap my head around it — and two more that I haven't taught in a couple of years. Add my co-department-head duties on top of that, and union-representative stuff, and I might be able to come up for air sometime in November.

But hey, I've never been one to shy away from a challenge. Grad studies in education? Bring it on. Position of responsibility in a medium-to-large-sized high school in the largest city in the country? Sure, no problem. Eating a 96-ounce ribeye steak called "The Ol' 96er," bones and all, so my family's dinner was free? Give me a fork.*

It's been an eventful summer, in a lot of ways. And while I'm certainly not looking forward to 6:30 mornings and mountains of marking, this ol' roller-coaster is about to leave the station, and I'm all buckled-in for another trip. Let's go.

* This may or may not have only been in the Dan Aykroyd/John Candy film, "The Great Outdoors."

Saturday, August 22, 2009

One-Sentence Random Thought #8.

David Frum is a smarmy traitor douche.

Also, here's a list of random thoughts, all of which are (a.) better than the above, and (b.) entirely true.

Monday, August 17, 2009

One-Sentence Random Thought #7.

So I finally said, "The environment can just eat a big back of dicks for all I care," and mounted the air conditioner in the living room window.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The rumour mill.

Curious about how rumours like "Death Panels" come about? The likes of Sarah Palin and Charles Grassley don't just come out of nowhere, you know... here's a bit of background on how these kinds of things get started.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Right-wing protestors are terrible.

Man, this right-wing health-reform protest thing just won't go away. Mind you, they shouted down Arlen Specter's town-hall meeting, but people in New Hampshire at Barack Obama's dealie were as well-behaved as a group of hand-picked Republicans at a Bush-Cheney '04 rally.

Stephen Colbert and his Formidable Opponent (who was also Stephen Colbert) debated the merits of this kind of protest on the Report last night, with predictably hilarious results. He showed how, at these rallies, protestors often just shout what they want to shout, and don't bother listening to the other side; they'll get up and, in unison, start shouting the Pledge of Allegiance (which has always sounded an awful lot like the Lord's Prayer to me, in terms of feeling and cadence).

This isn't democracy; it's a mob which has no interest in debate (or democracy, for that matter). They concoct stories about Death Panels and governments selecting your doctor and asking you how you want to die... I'll quote Sarah Palin's gobbledeygook resignation speech: "In honour of the American Soldier, would ya quit makin' stuff up?"

In the spirit of (un)informed debate, let me present a couple of photos snapped at right-wing rallies, infiltrated by some communist socialist atheist traitors to God and Country. At an anti-health-care-reform rally:*

Look closer, though, at stripey-shirt guy in the middle:

I can't say if it is or it isn't, but doesn't this guy's sign make you want to find out, just a little bit?

But, on the not-quite-so-funny side of all this, right-wing protestors are using death threats against their representatives in Congress, and sipping the same Kool-Aid as violent anti-abortion groups and Tim McVeigh (the guy who blew up that building in Oklahoma in the '90s). See the clip here.

* Yes, that guy second from the left is wearing a stars-and-bars Confederate Flag shirt. You can't see it at that resolution, but it's actually a Lynyrd Skynyrd t-shirt, whose song "Sweet Home Alabama" not only slams Neil Young, but asks, "Now, Watergate does not bother me, does your conscience bother you?" Yeah, actually, it kinda does. Then again, nobody ever really proclaimed Alabama as being terribly progressive, except when it comes to matters of seceding from the United States, which they tried once. I don't think that turned out terribly well, though.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Obamacare in Canada.

As you probably know, there's a debate in the US about the future of their health care system, dubbed "Obamacare" by pundits on the right: a partial slide towards a Canadian-like single-payer government-supported universal system.

Now, you may think that the few crazed yahoos that show up to these "town hall" meetings — all full of Glenn Beck-isms and instructions from FreedomWorks (a right-wing activism group which has ties to the pharmaceutical industry, among others) about how to turn a democratic debate into a one-sided screaming match which is perfect for TV news which deals chiefly in sound-bites and rage, giving the viewing public the false impression that there's actually a sizeable chunk of Americans that want to retain the current system which has left 49 million people without health insurance — are out to lunch. But, let me tell you what happened to me yesterday, under our Red Soviet Canuckistan Proletariat Health Care Plan.

I went to my local Forced Death Clinic (FDC; Mondays are reserved for people whose surnames are A-L; Tuesdays are M-Z, and for the rest of the week it's all euthanasia, all the time), and was told that the doctor that the government chose for me was out for the day. Now, because I can't go to any other FDC other than the one I'm allowed to go to — your FDC is originally chosen for you at your birth by the Ministry of Love (MiniLove), so you can't really move away from it, although some people (like myself) apply for a Special Geographic Transfer (SGT) because I agreed to teach the False Theory of Evolution (FTE) in a government-monopoly public school — I had to wait around for an Emergency Appointment Permit (EAP).

So, because my EAP came through for a FDC all the way up in North Bay, and MiniLove scheduled it for 3:45 in the morning, I had to drive all the way up to North Bay. I asked MiniLove for permission to get a hotel room so I could get some sleep; I was denied, because my EAP wasn't filed under a Extra-Special SGT (ESSGT). Fortunately, the last time I taught FTE, I let a Gay-Married Couple (GMC) perform an abortion in my classroom while urinating on a picture of Jesus Christ (JC) and praising the name of Charles Darwin, so a guy at MiniLove let me get a room at the Howard Johnson at the last minute.

I showed up to the North Bay FDC at the appointed time, and a cold, recorded voice told me to go into the second waiting room, strip buck-naked, and wait for Government-Appointed Dr. Jellyfingers to do his thing. After having to answer "no" in a high-pitched voice to the question, "If you do not want to be executed by the government tonight, clearly say the word 'no' in a high-pitched voice" (it's just standard practice), Dr. Jellyfingers proceeded to give me a full physical including, puzzlingly, a Pap test. (I'm still not quite sure how they pulled that one off.)

Just think... all this fuss for a scratchy throat! Gee, I wished I lived in the States.

Monday, August 10, 2009

One-Sentence Random Thought #6.

I learned over the weekend that a childhood friend of my mom's, who spent some time growing up in England (the friend, not my mom), used to go to school with Ringo Starr's first wife, which means that I am four degrees of separation from The Beatles.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

An open letter to the Toronto Transit Commission.

Dear Mr. TTC,

I had the misfortune of being a person in Toronto last night who was attempting to get home to their apartment in a different part of Toronto, because that's where I live. The idea of paying $25 for a taxi did not appeal to me, and as a bit of a lefty bleeding-heart post-capitalist utopianist, I surmised that public transportation would be the most socially-responsible and environmentally-friendly way of schlepping my drunk ass home.

In case you are unaware of the laws of this province, bars stop serving alcohol at 2:00 am. Now, since the stated objective of a bar is to serve alcohol, most patrons will in fact leave the bar at said time (also known as "last call"), as their night out is probably drawing to a close. In this city, that often means a trip on some sort of TTC vehicle.

Also, in case you have never been south of Davisville in your life, the downtown area has many, many establishments that stop serving alcohol at the aforementioned time. This means there are many, many people wanting to use your service, beginning at approximately 2:00 am and ending some hours later. Most of these people live outside of downtown, owing to the lower rent, fewer vermin infestations, and a marked decrease in the number of batshit-insane people roaming the streets asking if you're the Second Coming of Charles Nelson Reilly, found therein.

I realize that, in the early 1990s, last call at bars was 1:00 am; having the last subways leaving Bloor/Yonge at 1:50 am made sense. However, since the Rae adminstration, the subways end at the same time, but people are out later. Subways can carry a much greater number of people, in comparison to buses, even if they are run at 10-minute intervals.

So, when I try unsuccessfully to board a Bathurst bus headed north because it was packed, and then decide to go up to Bloor to catch a bus that (I hoped) would come by more frequently, only to have to wait in front of Honest Ed's for half an hour to eventually be able to squeeze into one of your wheeled vehicles in the middle of the night, and then to have a fight break out between two drunk, angry, crowded riders three feet in front of me, which caused the bus to be delayed for several minutes (neither rider shown the door for their transgression, which leads me to believe that Elton John was right, and that Saturday night is indeed "right for fighting," especially on a bus) — not to mention the unexplained ten-minute stoppage at Jarvis for no apparent reason other than "I'm the bus driver, and I like to sit here and watch the pretty lights change colour, wheeee!!!" — and then have to wait twenty minutes to transfer onto the Pape bus northbound so I could get within an eight-dollar cab ride back to my apartment because Bayview apparently isn't a major-enough street to get anything close to reasonable bus service at night, I'm gonna be pissed off that it took me two hours to get from Bathurst/Dundas to Bayview/Davisville.

I could have walked it faster. I probably could have crab-walked it faster, as well.

I'm just glad I used a free day-pass that a friend gave me, so it didn't cost me anything (save for the cab ride at the end).

You suck,

JTL

PS: Do you know anyone who might be able to hook me up with some cheap slugs that I could use to fool subway turnstiles? That would rule. Thanks in advance.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Breaking Gubernatorial News.

I know nobody reads blogs during the summer — less so on a long holiday weekend — but maybe you're at the cottage and you have one of your iSmartPhoneBerrys or something strapped to your hip at all times because you're a gigantic d-bag like most people are these days, suckling at the electronic teat 24 hours a day, unable to put the goddamn thing away for a simple meal at a restaurant on the Danforth while I read my George Plimpton book and wait for my scrambled eggs.

But, Sarah and Todd Palin might just be getting a divorce.

In conversation with ECB (who initially told me about this story), we concluded that this can't be the only reason Palin resigned the governorship. There's this, of course, and the multi-million book deal, and the fact that David Letterman made a joke about one of her daughters that she took the wrong way... but that can't be it. There has to be something more, something really juicy — ECB suggested that maybe she'd had an affair with an intern (the National Enquirer suggests both Sarah and Todd each had affairs).

Oooooooh, I got it! Maybe one of her kids (Tripp, or Trigg, or Stick, or Splork or something) is actually not Todd's! Maybe that's the scandal a-brewin'. Stay tuned.