Its complicated

It's Complicated

Since the beginning of December, I have been forced to use public transit (to read my feelings concerning the Toronto Transit Commission, please click right here).

While the TTC's incompetence, structural fragility, and employees' bad attitudes form the main reasons for my despite, riding in the subway the past few weeks has given me another reason: those ubiquitous posters for the movie It's Complicated, an example of which adorns the heading of this post.

Take a look at it. Take a good, long, hard look at it for oh, say, about 10 minutes.

Because that is what I am forced to do, twice a day for weeks now since the only alternative is to invade other passengers' personal space by staring at them instead.

The poster's key irritants? Obviously, the expressions on the couple's faces: Alex Baldwin's expression implies he is the happiest guy on earth although why this would be remains a mystery.

Bagging a post-menopausal Meryl Streep is hardly something to be cocky about, especially since (according to the IMDB) Streep is playing his ex-wife (therefore, its not like he has never "climbed that mountain" before).

Perhaps a third person (Steve Martin?) is giving him a blowjob under the covers? That would certainly make an interesting 'love triangle'.

Meryl Streep's expression- is she embarrassed? Confused? My guess is that either
a) she has just given the pompous jackass to her left a venereal disease.
b) she is suffering from amnesia, just like Goldie Hawn in the movie Overboard, and has just been forced to service a total stranger (as far as she can tell, anyway).
c) she is uneasy, since she is, in fact, slutting around.

Meryl Streep is such a fantastic actor (indeed, James Walcott specifically mentions her pealing laughs), anything is possible. I hope the answer is a), but I suspect the answer is c).

I guess I will have to watch the movie to find out!


there will be blood
There wasn't any blood

I just caught There Will be Blood, and believe me it is disappointing. No blood.

It wasn't even a good critique of early American capitalism, like Deadwood was.

Ok, there was a brief bit of blood on the floor in the final scene, but that was it.

I don't even recall seeing the famous "I drink your milkshake" scene.

PS I still have that Journey song in my head.


Glee-ful entertainment the whole family can enjoy

One of the best things about medical marajuana is that it allows one to pleasurably watch the same televisual entertainment more than once, or twice, or even three times.

I only mention this because this morning, the Sheraton Centre elevator was playing Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" (N.B. I had to look it up to find out who the band is).

"So what?", one might reasonably ask oneself.

Well, I had watched the first episode of Glee two nights ago but had totally forgotten that the climax of the episode was a duo rendition of "Don't Stop Believing", and furthermore it had been fantastic!

The one and only reality show I ever watched was "Survivor — Australia", so I have never seen any of the Idol series - American, Canadian, Portugese, Slovenian, or otherwise. I suspect that the sheer energy captured in the performance scenes on "Glee" is the same energy that has made the Idol series so popular over the years.

The song "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey is now stuck in my head, perhaps permanently:

Just a small town girl,
livin' in a lonely worrrrrrrrrld,
She took the late night train going annnnyywhere.

Just a city boy,
born and raised in South Detroiiiiiiiit,
He took the late night train going annnnyywhere.


I must be in a good mood because I came very very close to bursting into song as I was typing those lyrics...

To see a list of other tunes covered by Glee, click on this link right here.


Harper mails a letter
Stephen Harper mails a letter

In an effort to make myself post more oftener (sp?), I have decided to rename Fridays as "Foto Fridays". Every "Foto Friday", I plan to post an irritating photo of Stephen Harper.

The photo above, liberated from Rick Mercer is a prime example of a photo so galling it might permanently damage my gall bladder.

One possible explanation for this photo is that a sneaky member of the Papparazzi ambushed Mr. Harper as he innocently attempted to mail a letter. Ever gracious, even when having his privacy invaded, Stephen managed a forced grin for the camera.

The other possibility, which I believe to be the more likely of the two, is that this is yet another in a long, long line of staged photo ops with the PM engaged in everyday, all-Canadian activities such as pointing vaguely across a lake, pretending to listen as a guy points at some trees, or subjecting Nicholas Sarkozy to his corpse-like handshake.

I have built up quite the collection of ridiculous photos of Mr. Harper, and "Foto Friday" will give me the excuse to share them with you, my adoring public.


"Look on the bright side - how many people can say they had their wedding blown up by the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize?"

From Troubletown.




Last night I finally got the chance to see Superbad, a heart-warming buddy flick starring George-Michael Bluth as Evan and the younger, more irritating dopplegänger of Seth Rogen as Seth.

While George-Michael was good, and the two cop characters were certainly a big addition to the movie, I would have to say that what made the movie a success (the Napoleon Dynamite of 2007) was the supporting character of Fogell, A.K.A. McLovin.

Here is the dialogue for the critical McLovin scene, from the IMDB:

Fogell: Yo guys! Sup?

Seth: Fogell, where have you been, man? You almost gave me a goddamn heart attack. Let me see it. Did you pussy out or what?

Fogell: No noooo, man. I got it; it is flawless. Check it!

Evan: [examining the fake ID] Hawaii. All right, that's good. That's hard to trace, I guess. Wait... you changed your name to... McLovin?

Fogell: Yeah.

Evan: McLovin? What kind of a stupid name is that, Fogell? What, are you trying to be an Irish R&B singer?

Fogell: Naw, they let you pick any name you want when you get down there.

Seth: And you landed on McLovin...

Fogell: Yeah. It was between that or Muhammed.

Seth: Why the FUCK would it be between THAT or Muhammed? Why don't you just pick a common name like a normal person?

Fogell: Muhammed is the most commonly used name on Earth. Read a fucking book for once.

Evan: Fogell, have you actually ever met anyone named Muhammed?

Fogell: Have YOU actually ever met anyone named McLovin?

Seth: No, that's why you picked a dumb fucking name!

Fogell: Fuck you.

Seth: Gimme that. All right, you look like a future pedophile in this picture, number 1. Number 2: it doesn't even have a first name, it just says "McLovin"!

Evan: What? One name? ONE NAME? Who are you? Seal?

Seth: Fogell, this ID says that you're 25 years old. Why wouldn't you just put 21, man?

Fogell: Seth, Seth, Seth. Listen up, ass-face: every day, hundreds of kids go into the liquor store with fake IDs, and every single one says they're 21. Pssh, how many 21 year olds do you think there are in this town? It's called fucking strategy, all right?

Evan: Stay calm, okay? Let's not lose our heads. It's... it's a fine ID; it'll... it's gonna work. It's passable, okay? This isn't terrible. I mean, it's up to you, Fogell. This guy is either gonna think 'Here's another kid with a fake ID' or 'Here's McLovin, a 25 year-old Hawaiian organ donor'. Okay? So what's it gonna be?

Fogell: [grinning] ... I am McLovin!

Seth: No you're not. No one's McLovin. McLovin's never existed because that's a made up dumb FUCKING FAIRY TALE NAME, YOU FUCK!

The second critical scene for McLovin, A.K.A. Fogell:

Officer Slater: [talking to Fogell with Officer Michaels in the liquor store after a robbery] May we see your identification?

[Fogell uneasily hands over his fake ID]

Officer Slater: McLovin?

[Fogell is really nervous]

Officer Slater: [pauses] That's a cool name.

Fogell: [amazed that his fake ID worked] Wha... wha...

Officer Slater: Yeah, people have weird names nowadays. Once I pulled arrested this man-lady, and his legal first name was "Fuck".

Officer Michaels: He was Vietnamese, so it was spelled "Ph," but still that's pretty jarring to see on a drivers license.

Bonus: make your own McLovin ID!


When Happy Days jumped the shark

It wasn't when the Fonz literally jumped the shark, it was when Potsy sang the "Pump Your Blood" song which I believe was earlier in the same season.

In this scene, Potsy's final exam, The Fonz shows up to deliver words of wisdom, and to judge. The Fonz might be out of work, or working nights, or possibly he phoned in sick so he could be at Potsy's gig (although I sense The Fonz's employment was of the "no workee, no payee" sort).

Anyhoo, Fonzie shows up. It is like the ending of Bedknobs and Broomsticks!

Fonzie- you have got to stop hanging around so much with these high-school guys!

Courtesy of that bearded, overall-wearing, Bills-supporting weirdo Jaquandor, who, although he doesn't know it, I hold close to my heart.

If Jaquandor can thrive in the Great Satan, there is hope.


Room Service

Room Service


Stolen from the Globe and Mail.


Why the USA will never implement universal health care

From Lance Mannion:

The business of America is business. We don't make anything anymore. We don't build much of anything and we barely bother to keep what our grandparents built in repair. We grow less and less. We create fewer and fewer better mousetraps. And the only reason we make, build, repair, grow, and create the little that we do is to sell it at the highest possible price. Our economy is based on everybody doing business with one another. It's based on buying and selling. It's based on all of us looking at each other as potential customers, which is to say that it's based on all of us looking to take advantage of each other to make a profit of some kind.


You can say that Baucus and the other Blue Dogs have been bought off by the insurance industry. But it's probably more accurate to say that the insurance industry is rewarding them for understanding how things are supposed to work. Whatever the supposed issue Congress seems to be working on, the real job of government is to keep the buying and selling going. Baucus and the Blue Dogs and plenty of the so-called moderates set to bargain the public option away understand that it is in the nation's best interest to ensure that the economy, which is based on everybody being a customer or client first and a voter and a citizen, and a human being, not necessarily last but way down the list, thrives and grows. The way to do this is to make more customers.


Nobody expects the army to make a profit or the fire department or the highway department. No sensible person whose heart is in the right place expects our schools to make money. We don't make money off each other by protecting them from our mutual enemies or by saving them from burning buildings or by sending them out to work or to the store on safe, well-kept roads. We don't make money off each other---or shouldn't try to---by teaching each other's kids to read and do math. Why then did those people (us again) think they should make money off of keeping each other alive and well?

And the answer is because our economy is based on our treating each other as customers and commodities not as fellow citizens, not even as fellow human beings. If it fell to us to write the Constitution or re-write it, the preamble would be changed to "We the Consumers of the United States, in order to purchase a more perfect union, pay for the a criminal justice system, buy and sell the weapons and equipment necessary for the common defense, make money off of insuring domestic tranquility, get rich off of promoting the general welfare, and secure for those who can afford the high price we're going to charge the blessings of liberty for themselves and their lazy, arrogant, good for nothing but asserting their own status and special privileges progeny, do agree to this contract, please read the attached terms and conditions and check the box marked 'accept'."


english premier league
EPL Predictions

The 2009-2010 season of the English Premier League is about to begin. To see if I have learned anything at all from my countless hours wasted over the past 2 years playing Football Manager, I have decided to accept Paul Wilson's challenge and predict the top five finishers, as well as the 3 teams that will be relegated:

1. Manchester United
2. Chelsea
3. Liverpool
4. Manchester City
5. Arsenal
18. Burnley
19. Hull City
20. Portsmouth

There it is, now part of the public record.


Use a plausible excuse when you call in sick

Very appropriate information, especially for those of us who have a hard time using up all our sick days, banked or otherwise.

Stolen from Wired.


christie pits garbage

Day 14 of CUPE local 79 strike: I am starting to get bored...

I really enjoyed the first couple of weeks, since I regarded being on strike as a sort of "unpaid vacation".

Now, however, as we lumber towards the end of the third week, the honeymoon is over. I don't know what it is CUPE leadership are smoking, but I want some of it. Banking sick days instead of having short-term disability insurance is bullshit.

I think it is the 'old guys', that show up for every vote, and have Joe Hill up the wazoo, that have led CUPE 79 to this bad place.
A YouTube Miscellany

Batman vs. Penguin political debate:

Doogie Howser commercial piss-take:

Christian Bale rant (audio only):


Glasgow: Stop ringing the bus bell:


John Baird snarling

John Baird: whatta guy

Just in! The Toronto Star details a typical example of how the Conservatives plan to win over the voters of Ontario:

In an unguarded moment, Baird told aides Toronto stood alone in not meeting the technical criteria for federal cash, yet was complaining about Ottawa dragging its feet.

"Twenty-seven hundred people got it right. They didn't. That is not a partnership and they're bitching at us," he said.

"They should fuck off."

The federal minister overseeing the infrastructure program was overheard by a Star reporter after he mistakenly walked into a media room at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities convention at this British Columbia resort.

When his words were read back to him, he acknowledged his remarks.


A. Whitley Brown supports the troops

Via Dennis Perrin:


air conditioner

Does air-conditioning make people vote Republican?

Ted McClelland is a free-lancer who often writes for salon.com.

In an article published last summer, he addressed the question "Does air-conditioning make people vote Republican?"

His answer is yes:

Air conditioning offends my sense of Northern pride. They have a saying in Maine: "If you can't stand the winters, you don't deserve the summers." But the air conditioner allows Arizonans to enjoy a cool, lakelike breeze in the comfort of their living rooms, without ever having to buy snow tires. As one who has seen firsthand how the Sun Belt created a poor Yankee cousin called the Rust Belt, I blame the air conditioner for the decay of Detroit, Cleveland and Buffalo, N.Y. I blame it for the decline of the American labor movement. And I blame it for the election of George W. Bush, as well as the fact that we haven't elected a Yankee president in nearly 50 years. Honestly, I don't want something like that in my house. Especially if I have to pay for it.


Here's a little history. In 1924, when my grandmother was born in the small town of St. Petersburg, Fla., the state had 1 million people -- and six electoral votes. It was the least populous Southern state, a marginally habitable peninsula of humid swamps, hard-packed beaches, alligators, rum smugglers and Seminoles. As a girl, my grandmother kept cool by swimming and propping open her windows. As an 84-year-old woman, she lives in the Panhandle and keeps cool with an air conditioner.

"When I was young, I never had air conditioning, so I don't think I missed it," she says. "I went to the beach a lot. I even went on Christmas Day. Now, I couldn't live here without air conditioning. A lot of people tell me they wouldn't live here without air conditioning."

By "a lot of people," she means 15 million. That's how big the state has grown in my grandmother's lifetime. Florida now wields 27 electoral votes. Do some math. A state with six electoral votes is far less likely to screw up a presidential election.

Do a little more math, and you'll see that before air conditioning redistributed the country's population, the Florida recount wouldn't even have been necessary. In the 1940s -- the last decade before the air conditioner became a must-have home appliance -- Al Gore's states contained a decisive 291 electoral votes. As Hofstra professor James Wiley pointed out back in 2004, air conditioning "induced a major population shift within the country that eventually led to the Electoral College defeats of the Democratic presidential candidates in 2000 and 2004." In 2006, an AlterNet story tracked the migration as well.

Without air conditioning, Bush might not even have become a Texan. Right after World War II, his forward-looking father transplanted the Bush family from Connecticut to Texas, a move akin to the Corleones going to Vegas. (I'll bet he bought a window unit for the house in Midland, too.) If Poppy anticipated that air conditioning would swell his adopted state's population and move it into the Republican column, he was right. No state embraced A/C more avidly than Texas. As an official history of the invention put it, "a place like Houston could only be tolerable with air conditioning."

In 1966, Texas became the first state in which half the homes were air-conditioned. That same year, George H.W. Bush was elected to Congress -- from Houston. Coincidence? Or does air conditioning make people vote Republican? After all, the GOP's rise in the South coincides with the region's adoption of air conditioning.

In his essay "The End of the Long Hot Summer: The Air Conditioner and Southern Culture," historian Raymond Arsenault wrote that air conditioning made factory work tolerable in the South, reduced infant mortality, eliminated malaria and allowed developers to build skyscrapers and apartment blocks. Air conditioning industrialized and urbanized Dixie, lifting it out of its post-Civil War funk. No longer a poor, defeated colony, devoted to government aid and hating on Abe Lincoln, the South could fully indulge its conservative leanings.

Thinking outside the box, this Ted McClellan fellow.

By the way, he is also author of the travel book
"The Third Coast: Sailors, Strippers, Fishermen, Folksingers, Long-Haired Ojibway Painters, and God-Save-the-Queen Monarchists of the Great Lakes", which is also quite a 'refreshing' read.


Ronaldo on his way out

And I couldn't be happier. This greasy, winking, diving disgrace has been a blight on english soccer for far too long.

Hopefully, he will do a "Michael Owen" at Real Madrid, and ultimately be buried in an unmarked grave in a potters' ground, somewhere in Galicia.


Gorgeous George Galloway

George Galloway banned from entering Canada?

According to the U.K. version of the Sun (and if it is in the Sun, it must be true), U.K. Respect MP and former Celebrity Big Brother contestant "Gorgeous" George Galloway will not be allowed into Canada:

Border security chiefs have declared the Respect MP "inadmissable" because of his views on Afghanistan and the presence of Canadian troops there.

Mr Galloway is due to make a speech in Toronto on March 30, following a US lecture tour, but will be turned away if he tries to enter Canada.

The Canadian High Commission in London was last night contacting the MP’s office to inform him of the decision.

Canadian rules say he will be allowed in only if he has a special permit from immigration minister Jason Kenney.

But Mr Kenney’s spokesman said: “George Galloway is not getting a permit — end of story.

He defends the very terrorists trying to kill Canadian forces in Afghanistan.

In response, Galloway, (who in the past has explicitly not called for the assassination of Tony Blair) issued this statement:

"This decision, gazetted in Rupert Murdoch’s Sun, is a very sad day for the Canada we have known and loved - a bastion of the freedoms that supporters of the occupation of Afghanistan claim to be defending.

"This has further vindicated the anti-war movement’s contention that unjust wars abroad will end up consuming the very liberties that make us who we are.

"This may be a rather desperate election ploy by a conservative government reaching the end of line, or by a minister who has not cottoned on to the fact that the George Bush era is over.

"All right thinking Canadians, whether they agree with me over the wisdom of sending troops to Afghanistan or not, will oppose this outrageous decision.

"On a personal note - for a Scotsman to be barred from Canada is like being told to stay away from the family home.

"This is not something I’m prepared to accept."


A Pledge

In an effort to make the world a happier place, I pledge that from this day forward I will use the "Comic Sans Serif" font for all electronic communications, be they work-related or otherwise.


Why we fight

Ok, it is more "Why they fight", given than Canada is (until recently) more inclined to deploy the army against aboriginals, frenchies, or the snow rather than actual foreigners.

Still, this pep talk from a U.S. instructor to a bunch of Iraqi presumptive sepoys approaches satire. It could be a scene from an "Airplane"-level comedy.

Click and watch: (shorter version) you spineless bitches that are willing to take U.S. arms and training, yet seem reluctant to go 200 metres down that road and kick the asses of Iraqis that hate America. Pure fucking cowardice. (Stolen from Dennis Perrin):


A bit much?

Whilst passing through the CBC building at lunch today, on the hunt for a reasonably priced Bagel and Lox, I couldn't help but notice the towering visage of Rick Mercer dominating the main lobby.

A bit much, surely? He must be very full of himself if he's not embarrassed every time he walks by it...
Tony Blair's skull and a tomahawk
Famous author calls for execution of Tony Blair

George Macdonald Fraser isn't dead, after all. Here he is, writing under the nom-de-plume of Harry Hutton at "Chase me, ladies, I'm in the Cavalry" (quoted in its entirety, that is how much I like it):

Interesting piece in The Times about what Bomber Blair is up to these days. As you know, my campaign to have him hanged has yet to bear fruit, though these are early days, and after he resigned as PM he started looking around for new ways of “making the world a better place”.

The UN, the European Union, the United States and Russia appointed him Peace Envoy for the Middle East, and within a few months the locals were tearing each other limb from limb, much as I expected.

How did he do it? “I was on the phone to the Arabs, the Americans and the Israelis and the Americans the whole time,” he explains.

Even by his own standards, he has done a marvellous job as Peace Envoy. Really first-class.

In January 2008, J P Morgan Chase took him on as an advisor, plunging the bank into a crisis from which it may not recover. “Our firm will benefit greatly from his knowledge and experience", they said. Over the next year the share price halved and profits plunged by more than 80%, much as I expected.

Now he’s helping to modernise Rwanda. Woe to that land that appoints Blair to modernise it! His normal way of expressing concern and trying to help is to send the RAF to destroy their infrastructure. I don’t know what precise form the catastrophe in Rwanda will take –could be genocide, could be a plague of frogs- but it will come. And if the Americans ever ask his advice on resolving the financial crisis he may yet succeed in ruining us all.

I honestly believe him to be insane. And the fact that this very dangerous lunatic is still poking his nose into the Middle East shows that Blair remains one of the most serious threats to our national security, and that his arrest and execution should be matters of the highest priority.

Bravo, Harry Hotspur! You are keeping the dream alive. In the past I myself have called for the removal of Tony Blair, by any means necessary. (In retrospect, I prefer the 'tomahawk option', but then again tomahawks are hard to find these days.)

On the other hand, don't forget, my old chum Gorgeous George Galloway explicitly said he did not endorse assassination attempts on Tony Blair. At the time, I thought this a bit 'wet' of him but time seems to have shown his wisdom, at least in this matter.



biz nerds
Revenge of the Business Nerds

I was at the Sheraton Hotel at lunch today, and found that, once again, it had been over-run by business nerds, erm, that is to say, those young over-achievers from DECA Ontario. Dare to Dream!

They all look like Alex P. Keaton clones for a reason. From the 2008 DECA provincials website:

Be sure to be in proper business attire. Full business suit for males with dress socks and dress shoes. Blazer or business suit with dress blouse, or skirt with dress slacks with dress louse or dress sweater or business dress with stockings for females. No skirts shorter than 1/2” above knee. Hair off of face and dress shoes are required as well.

Note: these overly focussed youngsters don't have to carry around briefcases, etc., they do it because they want to.

I even saw one guy, who looked about 14 years old, wearing a yellow and orange bow tie! A bow-tie, for Crom's sake! He looked like Tucker Carlson, but on purpose!


I hate the fucking TTC

Today was the first day at my new job, based at Metro Hall, and it coincided with yet another epic snowfall, courtesy of that malignant old pisser Wotan. Which led, comme d'habitude, to massive incompetence on the part of the TTC.

Our old friend, the streetcar, is once again to blame. Would someone, anyone!, please explain to me why the TTC continues to run streetcars on 'snow days', A.K.A. when streetcars don't preform for shit, due to being continually blocked by parked vehicles so far away from the curb that streetcars are forced to grind (and I do mean grind)to a halt?

The upshot? I was forced, with one hip already replaced and the other well on its way, to walk the 5 km home over 10 cm of unevenly trampled snow.

I even felt a few new twinges of pain in my unreplaced hip, and was forced to stop half way home for 2 Smithwick's and a plate of bangers, mash, and baked beans. (My restaurant bills are killing me. Killing me! Even the simple peasant fare noted above added another 30$ to my burgeoning credit debt.)

At least this painful and infuriating experience gave me the excuse to start using my Volcano a few hours earlier than usual.

Please, Wotan, either give us a break with the weather or bring on Ragnorak.

I can't take this much longer!