September 25, 2003

Just Like the Man Said

I'm not even a month into studies at my new university, when the academic world is rocked by the news that reknowned scholar and fun-loving guy Edward Said has passed away. For me this carries special significance as Said was the first author I read in my first year at my first university. And, as I leave Emerson behind, it seems particularly poignant that the man who, in my mind, will forever characterize my first semester there, should pass away. Ah, symbolism. *sigh*.

So, I feel spurred into reflection. What has life at my new university taught me so far?

1) I was wrong when I said (quote) "Beer! Whenever I want! This is what college life is meant to be like." Evidently, college life is meant to be a gruelling and perpetually sleep-deprived microcosm of natural selection, where only the fittest survive and others suffer and perish beneath oceans of reading.

2) Man, this Marx guy sure gets around.

3) Even at one of the most prestigious and selective educational institutions in North America, there are still idiots. In fact, there are idiots everywhere. Maybe I'm one. A sobering thought.

4) Even at one of the most prestigious and selective educational institutions in North America, there are still jerks. In fact, there are jerks everywhere. Maybe I'm one. A sobering thought.

5) A rigorous liberal arts education hampers creativity. Maybe I'm one. A sobering thought.

6) After joining an improv troupe, I can authoratatively say that improvisational comedy is everything I hoped and dreamed it would be-- even if I do keep getting stuck with the creepy Russian guy who doesn't seem able to think on his feet (cf. 3).

7) I need to stop finding things to complain about; it's great here.

8) I am a metaphorical fly, caught in the world wide web... Let this be a lesson to you all: even the death of an influential academic is not a good excuse to spend half an hour writing a blog when you have 80 pages of reading to do.

And on that note... to the library!

Isn't It Ironic?



Not even two years after being awarded a Global Tolerance Award by the Friends of the United Nations, Alanis Morrissette ended a concert in Lima, Peru, last weekend with the phrase: "THANK YOU, BRAZIL!"

Oh dear.

September 22, 2003

Domestic Disputes of the Mbuti Pygmies

From an article in American Anthropologist:

"He first brought the issue up simply by accusing her of cooking badly, and slapping her so hard that an old widow intervened, hitting Baumbao on the back with a burning log. Then everyone agreed that Tabakali was indeed a bad cook but that Baumbao knew that when he married her." (Turnbull 1965:201; quoted in Begler 1978:583)

I question the educational value of making anthropology students read this, but I certainly am grateful for the diversion.

September 19, 2003

Incisor Trading

From Netscape News: Woman Says She Found Tooth in Can of Soup

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A woman who says she found a human tooth in a can of Campbell's soup has filed a lawsuit against the company . . .

[The woman's Attorney] Irvin said he has spoken numerous times to officials at Campbell Soup Co. about settling the matter. They were unable to reach an agreement, and Irvin this week filed a civil lawsuit against the company in Utah's 3rd District Court.

The suit asks for unspecified damages on behalf of [the woman] and her son.

"Here's a woman who can't eat soup, her family can't eat soup. And to be honest with you, I haven't eaten soup since this happened,'' Irvin said.

Hey, genius! Why don't you make your own damn soup? With all the time you've spent harassing Campbell's, you could have several gallons by now. God, do I have to think of everything?

September 17, 2003

Department of Depressing Updates

Yesterday, 68% of the Seattle electorate voted against the propsed 'latte tax'. The voters also voted decisively in favour of another proposed law, the so-called "Bend Over, Low-Income Families, We're Going to Finish the Job" act.

If I wasn't feeling so despondent, I would make a pun about *frothing* at the mouth about the *latte* tax. Nyuk nyuk.

September 16, 2003

Espresso Drinkers Should be Shot

.....aaaaaaannnnnnddd.... kerplunk. My faith in the human race has just fallen again.

Lawmakers in Seattle have proposed levying a 10 cents tax on all espresso drinks sold in the city, with all the proceeds going to send poor, under-privileged children to pre-Kindergarten education projects that they otherwise wouldn't have access to. Sounds admirable, doesn't it? Finally redistributing the horribly skewed wealth in society.

Sadly, the proposed law is being met with strong opposition from Seattle's coffee drinkers, many of whom are wholly against the tax, calling it "unfair" and "silly".

For God's sake, you greedy, snivelling little, caffeine-obsessed yuppie wieners. You are already playing $3 a drink (and upwards!) for what is essentially a lot of warm milk. Don't tell me that somebody who can afford to pay at least $1000 a year on COFFEE(!!!!) is really going to notice an extra 10 cents. Starbucks could probably arbitrarily hike its prices by ten cents and you wouldn't complain, but if the government does it, to pay for education for children, well, NOOooo!, we can't have that, can we?!

It's going to children! Children! Poor, cute little babies! Will you really begrudge a cute little baby 10 cents? Shame on you!

Sigh. This world is going to the dogs.

Is it a Gaggle of Bostonians or an Enclave?

A strange thing happened to me the other day.

There I was, in Canada, at a party, surrounded by . . . Canadians? Well, no, actually. As I listened to the conversations going on around me, I started to notice that most of the people there seemed to be from America. So I turned to the guy sitting next to me, who knew them all, and asked how many people at the party actually Canadian.

And he looked around the ten or so people in the room at the time, and said: "Three."

Which I found a bit staggering, really. That I should move to Canada and go to a Canadian university and get invited to Canadian university parties and yet still be surrounded by an group that was statistically speaking almost three-quarters American seemed almost unbelievable.

Stranger still, three or four of them were from Boston. Boston! I was in the company of Bostonians! Are they following me? (Well, probably not, seeing as I moved here a good two years after they did.) One of them even, upon hearing from where I'd transferred, said, "Hey, cool! 88.9 rocks!" Which seemed like such astoundingly esoteric knowledge that I promptly opened another beer.

And that, sadly, was the most interesting part of the night. Still, better than being surrounded by New Jerseyites (sorry, Evan).

September 14, 2003

Finally, a Political Bill I Can Understand!



California Governer Gray Davis has enlisted the help of several high-profile democrats, such as former vice-President Al Gore and former President Bill Clinton, to help him in his campaign running up to the California recall election in October.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, in response, stepped up his own campaigning strategy of skirting issues and flinging movie slogans at the public, remarking to California fire fighters on Sunday: "Let's stop the Davis-Bustamante administration. Let's terminate them. Let's say, 'Hasta la vista, baby' to those guys."

Quite.

September 09, 2003

Close Your Eyes, George: More Anti-Americanism!

One of my classes this term has a quiz scheduled for November 26, which is the day before American Thanksgiving. The professor announced yesterday that he realized that might be inconvenient for some people (ie. all the Americans who come to Canada to escape extortionate tuition fees), but that since it isn't a Canadian holiday and rescheduling would be difficult, he is leaving it as is, and anybody who wishes to go away for American Thanksgiving will just have to miss it.

Fair enough, I thought. After all, we are in Canada.

But apparently, this was just too outrageous for the Americans in the class. I heard one boy standing outside talking to a friend:

"Man, what's with that whole Thanksgiving thing? He's so anti-U.S. I don't know what his problem is."

"He's Italian, that's his problem."

"I mean, he says it's not a religious holiday, but it kind of is. Seriously, I think I'm going to write a letter to someone."

Hey! Fucktards! A non-American in a country other than America failing to observe an American holiday does not constitute anti-Americanism, and even if it did, you're hardly going to create sympathy for your cause by resorting to racism. Perhaps, if you'd really like the day off, you might consider letting all Italians in the US have the day off for, variously, Liberation Day (April 25th), Labour Day (May 1st), or Anniversary of the Founding of the Republic (June 2nd). And don't forget to give the Canadians Canada Day.

Also, a few fun Thanksgiving facts for you to mull over:

1) Several people throughout history have failed to recognize Thanksgiving as a legitimate holiday, among them Thomas Jefferson. Perhaps you should boycott $100 bills.

2) Thanksgiving was officially sanctioned by Congress as a legal holiday, not a religious one, in 1941. And although Thanksgiving had been celebrated regularly before that (ever since Lincoln proclaimed it a national holiday in 1863), it was nothing to do with religion, but rather the result of a 40-year letter-writing campaign by a magazine editor who evidently really liked turkey.

Phew... I'm sorry, I don't like to go off on rants like this (really, I don't). But anti-Americanism is, I think, a genuine problem at times (although not in this situation), and it scares me that Americans like our poor, put-out friend above should be allowed to travel to other countries where they can only, through their arrogance, make matters worse.

Here endeth the sermon.

Goodbye, Debt!

From Netscape Money & Business: "U.S. Readies Colorful New $20 Bills

WASHINGTON, September 9 (AP) - The first of America's greenbacks to be colorized - the $20 note sporting splashes of peach, blue and yellow - will start appearing next month in cash registers, ATM machines and wallets."

SWEET! I've long wished that money would just appear in my wallet!

September 08, 2003

"Gimme Gimme Gimme!"



President Bush last night asked Congress to provide him with an extra $87 billion dollars in pocket money to continue the war in Iraq. The President argued the extra funding was necessary to continue the war against terror, saying that before September the 11th, America had been living with "false comfort in a dangerous world". Bush then added, "Ooooooo-oooooO! The terrorists are coming!"

Ahem. Sorry, sir.

September 03, 2003

Hmmm..

I have just noticed that the ads at the top of my page are advertising:

a) kilts
b) Scottish woolen goods

My already enormous respect for the Google gods has just grown a little.

And God Said... Let There Be Blog!

So, here I am, after a very busy *checks last post date* Christ, two weeks, almost. Sitting in my new apartment for the first time, really, just looking around and taking it in. And mulling over what select pieces of miscellany to share with the Internet today.

Item: my new place is basically finished. It took a lot of time and effort (oh, and money. Did I mention the money?), but it is now furnished, decorated and clean. Well, it's not actually clean yet. But it will be. Guests, descend upon me!

Item: I spent seven hours standing in line last week waiting to get a McGill ID card. I expect you will have some difficulty imagining how it feels to stand in a line for seven hours, so let me assist you. Imagine the line for Space Mountain at Disneyland. Now multiply that by eight. Now take away the fun ride at the end and replace it with an irate Quebecois woman. Voila. I can't believe I actually spent from breakfast to dinner standing in a line. And you know what? It's not even a good picture!

Item: I am a retard. Last night I went out to buy milk and didn't bring my keys. Leaving house + forgetting keys = not a fun way to spend an evening. In the end I had to crash on someone's couch and go to my 8:30 class this morning without showering and in the same clothes I'd been wearing the day before, which is a pretty great way to make a first impression, let me tell you.

Item: I got a mini-statement from an ATM last night and at the bottom it said: "Royal Bank: Canada's Most Trusted Corporation" (or something similar). Why on earth are they advertising on the bottom of their mini-statements? They already have my money. I mean, literally, they actually have all my money. What more do they want from me? I don't know why banks bother advertising at all, really. It must be so difficult. I mean, most adverts have a product. With banks it's just: "Banks-- We take your money. That is all."

Item: What sort of university sells its students beer for two dollars a cup? I'll tell you. The best damn university in the world! Somebody should get Mr Emerson up here to learn a few tricks.

Item: According to his away message, Evan Bindelglass is desksitting at 132 and wants visitors.

Item: Uh... Man, Florida is hot.

Item: This is the end.