May 29, 2004

Michael Moore, Eat Your Heart Out

I just got back from seeing the new Roland Emmerich film, New York Is The Victim of a Tidal Wave 2 (sorry, The Day After Tomorrow, rated PG-13 for, this is absolutely true and I love it, "Intense Situations of Peril").

Actually, joking aside, it wasn't that bad. As well as the hallmarks of a good summer blockbuster-- famous landmarks being razed, totally unbelievable yet gripping action sequences, schmultz by the bowlful, Dennis Quaid-- it also has (gasp!) a meaningful subtext. Sure, the political commentary is a little gaudy in places (the US government, led by a clueless Southerner and his Dick Cheney-lookalike VP, ignores the Kyoto Protocol until it's-- oh no!-- too late), but at least it has political commentary that is relevant, straightforward, and accessible; instead of being an un-releasable piece of hate-mongering narrated by a scruffy man in a baseball cap.

It may not win any awards, but for dealing with contemporary social problems subtly (take note, Mr Moore), I would heartily recommend it-- especially if you live in Canada because, believe me, there is nothing like a cinemaful of Canadians howling with bitter laughter at political irony involving Americans.

May 27, 2004

Whoosh! Bam! Kablammo!

A triple-whammy of blog:

1. I have never watched The Bachelor, nor do I read Us Weekly or In Touch Magazine. Nonetheless, I found the following pretty amusing:



Covers from this week's edition of both magazines...

2. In my ongoing quest to slowly sap Alison's sanity, I have to say that Emma Watson (aka. Hermione, from the Harry Potter movie series) is pretty hot.

3. Two challenges have thus far been issued in response to my 'Control Me' post, below. Both will be attempted. Watch this space.

May 25, 2004

Control Me

Three things happened to me in the past few days:

1. I found out that the gallery in which I was planning to work over the summer has decided not to hire me after all (apparently, the managing director has his eye on some sweet young thing who he's hired instead).

2. I got four comments on one of my blog entries, proving that I have a real (if modest) readership.

3. Nothing interesting happened to me, so I posted nothing.

So, I have a proposition for you, my (few) readers: since I now have relatively little to do this summer, and since I don't want to stop posting to my blog, and since you're all so adept at leaving comments... I am, in the style of a Burger King chicken, at your disposal.

Leave your suggestions, orders, and desires as comments to this post, and I will very seriously consider carrying out all but the most illegal and expensive of them; I will then post humorous write-ups of subsequent events right here (although I do, of course, reserve the right to ignore you).

So go, have fun. Tell your friends. Control me.

May 22, 2004

...And He Would Teach Them All About Love

Time magazine this week published a small story about 'Refuel', a new Bible targeted at teenage boys and packaged like Maxim (for those who thought the New Testament wasn't ironic enough already...). Obviously, however, not everyone is a fan of the magazine. A spokesperson for the publisher explains:

"The main criticism we get is that we have trivialized scripture by putting images of girls on the same page . . . But if Jesus was here today, he'd be hanging out at the Clinique booth with teen girls."

May 21, 2004

Ottawa Man Lives With Parents, Describes Everything As 'Cool'



But look on the bright side: at least you didn't come off as sounding pretentious!

Don't worry, Ottawa Man. We still love you.

ps. I happen to like very much what's in the above speech bubble-- but I fully realize that there are (perhaps) about three other people who might get it. So if anybody has any other suggestions, I'd be happy to execute them (the suggestions, that is, in the sense of 'to carry them out'; I may not take criticism well, but I certainly won't be beheading anyone).

May 19, 2004

Flour Power



Prime Minister Tony Blair was the victim of an attack in the House of Commons earlier today, when two male protesters launched condoms full of purple flour at him from the public gallery.

The two male protesters belonged to the organization 'Fathers 4 Justice', a group that campaigns for fathers' rights. A spokesperson for the group explained their position: "Mothers are awarded child custody in four out of five divorce hearings, but we believe that in most cases fathers are at least as mature and responsible as mothers are-- and what better way to demonstrate this maturity than by throwing a condom at the Prime Minister?"

Okay, fine... He didn't say any of that.

Meanwhile, At the Dept. of Homeland Security...



Come on, people! You're just asking for it!

May 16, 2004

Christ!

I found a leaflet on the ground last week entitled "Repentance: Door of Mercy". It begins rather dramatically with the line: "Do you know that you have been found guilty of sin by a Holy God, and sentenced to death?" (Gosh! I didn't even get a letter or anything!), and winds up by explaining that it was, in fact, me personally that crucified Jesus, and that I had better apologize to Mr Christ straight away.

But I decided not to rant in my blog about how pushy Christians are.

Then, this morning, I was reading about Rebecca St. James, a Christian rock star (false idol, anyone?) who rather haughtily claims that she "feels sad" for Britney Spears for being such a harlot and having condemned herself to a fiery hell (I may be paraphrasing slightly).

But I still decided not to rant in my blog about how pushy Christians are.

Finally, this afternoon, as I was standing outside a Toronto subway station saying goodbye for the day to my girlfriend, I leant forward to give her a kiss-- and a priest promptly popped up behind us (literally) and said loudly: "There's a church round here you know! Because if you're not married, there's no . . . " [at this point trailed off, as if the very act of saying 'physical relations' was too repugnant for his righteous soul, and merely wagged his finger at us as he walked off].

Well, I know I should turn the other cheek and all that, but since I'm apparently doomed to eternal damnation already anyway, I have a few choice words for the kindly reverend (and although I realize that he probably doesn't read my blog, I presume God can pass on the message for me):

Where the hell do you get off, anyway, you nosy, arrogant busy-body? How do you even know I'm Christian? In fact, how do you even know we're not married? YOU DON'T, you're just a pushy, judgemental zealot who gets off on the power trip of publicly shaming people under the guise of a moral crusade. So hey, the joke's on you, asshole, because I'm pretty sure the Bible also says you should love thine neighbour and judge not lest ye be judged-- which means you're just as impure as I am. And you know what else? There are so many horrendous, contemptible, atrocious things that are wrong with this world, it's really very sad that you think you're doing a good deed by chastising two people for nothing more than being in love. So go ahead and judge, if you must-- but keep it to yourself, because I don't want to hear it, and next time I'll push you down the f*cking subway station stairs.

She's Going To Advertise iPods

Coldplay frontman Chris Martin and overrated actress Gwyneth Paltrow yesterday announced the happy arrival of their first child, a daughter whose bewilderingly cruel name is Apple Blythe Alison Martin (my Scottish readers will no doubt be amused to see that this quite obviously makes the girl A BAM!).

In a statement, Martin said the couple were "900 miles over the moon", adding: "We'd like to see the Beckhams beat this. 'Apple' isn't even a bloody name!"

"I was hoping for a boy," said a tired Paltrow. "I wanted to call it 'Chair'."

Sigh...

May 15, 2004

Olsen Family Fun

I know people have been counting down the Olsen twins' eighteenth birthday for quite some time now-- but given that June 13th is a mere twenty-seven days away, and given that Mary-Kate just announced on SNL that "it's only four weeks 'til we're legal!" (classy, by the way), I thought it was about time to remind everybody of...

The Top Ten Reasons Why You Shouldn't Have Sex With the Olsen Twins

1. Believe me, by the time you find them, they will already have the clap.
2. If you wait another three weeks, Lindsey Lohan will be eighteen too-- and she's way hotter.
3. They've touched Steve Guttenberg.
4. You will be a walking cliche for the rest of your life.
5. They filmed a movie in Rome two years ago. The age of consent in Italy is only fourteen. You do the math.
6. Ashley is sooo fat.
7. Mary-Kate is, uh . . . a klingon.
8. They were in a movie called How the West Was Fun.
9. Unless you plan to marry them first, you'll go straight to hell.
10. The Make-a-Wish Foundation has dibs on their virginities, anyway.

Edit: 11. Because I just think it would be really really funny if they turn eighteen and nobody has sex with them.

May 14, 2004

Middle East Side Story



Makes me laugh.

May 13, 2004

Secretary of Ironic Legal Defense


(It's times like this I wish I was better at Photoshop...)

US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld today made a surprise visit to Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, reminiscent of President Bush's own surprise visit to Baghdad last thanksgiving, only without the turkey and gleeful cheering.

Rumsfeld dismissed allegations that he was in Baghdad to cover up the prisoner abuse scandal. "Don't be ridiculous," said the Defense Secretary. "Like I would need to fly all the way to Iraq to cover something like this up."

The trip comes at a new low point in the ongoing torture saga, with claims being made of more secret interrogation bases throughout the Arab world, prisoners being turned over to non-US officials in other countries to avoid legal rights, and Members of Congress showing digust at new pictures from Abu Ghraib.

Regarding the new pictures, Rumsfeld said that he was willing to release them to the public, but the lawyers were advising against it, remarking: "Come on people, don't be Rumsfeld-hating! It's all the laywers fault! Don't you just hate lawyers! Hey, hey: what do you call ten laywers buried up to their necks in sand? Not enough sand! Geddit?!"

Interestingly, the lawyers feel that the pictures shouldn't be released as it might cause unnecessary humiliation to the Iraqis depicted therein, and thus be a breach of international law regarding the treatment of prisoners (a sensitivity that will no doubt be highly praised by human rights groups).

Meanwhile, back on this side of the world, author Tom Clancy has defended Rumsfeld, writing on alt.books.tom-clancy:

"The hysteria in the news media is a little disproportionate. The Arab culture places a higher value on body-modesty than, say, Hustler magazine, but what it comes down to is that some Arab prisoners were embarrassed, and gratuitously so. To do that is contemptible, but it is not a major felony under American criminal- or even common-law."

. . . Which just goes to show that even best-selling novelists can sometimes miss the point entirely (and anyone who's ever heard Garcia Marquez talk about auto-maintenance will, I'm sure, agree with me).

May 11, 2004

Tabloid Browsing

Today, I thought I would explain (for the benefit of those readers not familiar with the British media), exactly how British newspapers work.

For example, take this breaking scandal about the American beheaded on camera, apparently in retaliation to all the allegations of torture in Iraqi prisons. The Telegraph, as you can see, has gone with a no-nonsene, just-the-facts presentation, showing merely a picture from the tape with a modest headline.



...The Mail has treated the story in a similar vein, albeit with a slightly more dramatic headline...


...While the Independent, as always, is reserved and stoic.


And then, of course, there's the venerable Daily Star-- which has gone with the classic 'Posh Spice and Girl in Bikini' spread (but do note the small mention the beheading gets in the corner...)


Thus concludes today's lesson.

May 10, 2004

Department of Slashingly Vicious Editorship

I feel for fiction editors, I really do. Having taken two fiction classes at a university where almost half the students had a verbal SAT score below 600 (British readers: they didn't writed very good), I am all too aware of the pain that comes from reading bad creative writing. Like the Gucci-wearing fashion queen (attending the $32,000 per year university) who wrote (uncovincingly, for some reason) about gang warfare and murderers. Or the guy who I called 'Pretentious Andre' (because frankly, with a name like Andre, you've got to be either pretentious, or a seal), who handed in postmodern drivel about soap and nosebleeds.

Anyway, the point is, I know how trying it is to read bad fiction. Still, I feel the Strange Horizons Fiction Submission Guidelines are a little harsh. They detail about thirty different plots that they will more-or-less categorically not read, for example:

"1. Person is (metaphorically) at point A, wants to be at point B. Looks at point B, says 'I want to be at point B.' Walks to point B, encountering no meaningful obstacles or difficulties. The end."

Or:

"10. Someone calls technical support; wacky hijinx ensue.
a. Someone calls technical support for a magical item.
b. Someone calls technical support for a piece of advanced technology.
c. The title of the story is 1-800-SOMETHING-CUTE."


Actually, they're not so much harsh as they are hilariously sarcastic. Excellent.

Tuppences

After finally struggling through the bewildering process of adding Haloscan comments to my blog, Blogger has decided (in order to spite me, I can only assume) to add built-in comments. Sigh... Basically, all this means is that I've gotten rid of the few comments that had already been left and started again from scratch. Deal with it.

Oh, and I also made everything look pwettier.

May 08, 2004

Jay-Z Collaborates With Prince



Prince Charles met with Jay-Z and several other 'urban' music stars on Friday, in advance of a benefit concert being given by his trust for under-privileged children.

The Prince informed Jay-Z that despite not being very familiar with the urban music scene, he did still like some of the music-- a somewhat contrite performance compared to a similar event for the Trust three years ago, during which the royal tried his hand at some impromptu DJing, urging bemused onlookers to "dig that crazy rhythm", before enquiring of them: "Are you insane?"

Completely true, I swear. When it comes to the royal family, the jokes just write themselves.

May 03, 2004

Boy, I'd Like to Transmit Her Neurons

The other day, I was reading the fascinating book Right Hand Left Hand by Chris McManus, and came across the following quote:

"D-serine seems to modulate one of the sexiest neurotransmitter systems discovered in recent years." (p.143)

My first thought was that this was one of those times where geeky scientists had decided to give a newly discovered type of particle a funny name (ie. 'the sexy'), but what came up in Google when I typed in 'sexy' was absolutely shocking and had very little to do with neurotransmitters, let me tell you.

My second thought was that either Chris McManus, or the people who study neurotransmitters, or both, need to get out more.

My third thought was that I should write about this in my blog.

My fourth thought was to wonder exactly what the "in recent years" part of the quote meant. Does that mean that far sexier neurotransmitter systems were discovered in the 50s? Or merely that the other recently discovered neurotransmitter systems have been a bit frumpy?

My fifth thought was: "I wonder how long it'll be before I see a D-serine-regulated neurotransmitter system on the cover of Maxim."

And honestly, that was about when I stopped thinking about it.