June 29, 2004

Pieces of Computer Information and People Whose Full Names Are Robert

First of all, let me just say that I was thoroughly disturbed this morning to learn of the Official Countdown To Hermione's 18th Birthday Website. I would just like to make it very clear that when I make inappropriate comments about the young Harry Potter star, I am being ironic and/or facetious, but am certainly not being a dirty middle-aged man who walks around wearing a Gryffindor scarf and composing creepy poetry.

Second, the best line I've seen on the Beeb for a while: "A US pastor supported by a clutch of young virgins is in the UK" (I've often wondered what the collective noun for a group of young virgins is).

Third, who doesn't like Melanie Griffith? And, consequently, who wouldn't want to visit her blog? (Look out particularly for Melanie speaking the names of the pages in a sultry voice.)

Speaking of celebrities, those of you still having trouble dealing with the end of Friends might be interested to know that Jennifer Aniston can currently be seen flogging Barclaycards on UK television (she joins Rowan Atkinson and Dudley Moore among the ranks of celebrities who have inexplicably agreed to advertise the credit cards). She claims the credit card is useful for dealing with the 'Ups and Downs' in life, which is, frankly, pretty disgusting, considering a recent interview she gave in which she claimed that she is not yet pregnant but is "having fun trying"

Hmm... I think I liked the snackfood post better.

June 28, 2004

. . . And Your Star Sign Can Predict Your Favourite Soft Drink

From Netscape Home & Real Estate: Junk Food You Eat Reveals Your Personality

According to an eight-year, 800-subject study conducted by very weighty psychologist Alan Hirsch, the type of junk food you prefer can reveal deep and meaningful truths about you as a person.

If you like pretzels, you're probably a flirt, according to the study (as in the pick-up line "Is that a pretzel in your pocket, or are you just pleased t--give me that f*cking pretzel, f*ckface!"). On the other hand, a penchant for potato chips means you're assertive and won't take no for an answer; and tortilla chips indicate a perfectionist (which explains why Mexico is in such good shape these days).

But, my two favourites are:

"Cheese curls mean you have great integrity and maintain a high moral ground."

. . . As can be easily proved by observing any of the world's millions of greasy-faced, orange-smeared philosophy students, and . . .

"Beef jerky means you're the life of the party. You're outgoing and gregarious."

There you have it, folks: the secret to social success is beef jerky. Introverts of the world, go! Go chew on over-processed meat and your problems will be solved!

This is why nobody has any respect for the social sciences.

June 23, 2004

It Must Be All The Guinness

From the Australian Herald Sun: Farrell's manhood cut

"SEXY actor Colin Farrell's manhood is reportedly so big it was considered too shocking for moviegoers.

The Irishman's nude scenes were cut from his new movie
A Home At The End Of The World because director Michael Mayer considered them too 'distracting'.

According to British tabloid
The Sun Farrell's appendage caused 'a stir' at test screenings.

'The women were over-excited and the men looked really uncomfortable,' the newspaper reported.

'It was such a sight it made it difficult to concentrate on the plot, so the decision was made to get rid of it,' the source said."

It made it difficult to concentrate on the plot?!?! What, is there just a constant, picture-in-picture shot of Farrell's penis for the whole movie?

I'm sorry, I really can't think of anything to say about this. I must be so captivated by the thought of Colin Farrell's giant cock, I am unable to concentrate on anything else.

No, wait. It's because this is too absurd for words.

June 22, 2004

Great Moments in European Sport

Commentary from a Euro 2004 football match, in which Denmark (red shirts) and Sweden (yellow shirts) got the 2-2 result that would send them both through to the next round:

"And they're all holding hands, now. Red and yellow are a blur. Scandinavia is orange tonight."

Gosh, how poetic!

June 21, 2004

An Open Message To Some Of My Former Schoolmates

Hello. Hi. How are you?

Yes, I'm just back for the summer. I've been away in Canada. No, not for a year out. Yes, I'm actually at university there. Why, yes; it is cool!

*Chuckle* Yes, I have picked up a bit of an accent. Please, tell me about it, like your seventeen compatriots already have. Indeed. Do I say 'have' with a Canadian accent? How trite.

So what are you doing now? Still at univeristy? Uh-huh. Mmmm. You know, I will have forgotten all this by the time I'm having this same conversation with the next insincere 'friend' that crosses my path. Oh, come now. You don't really give a shit either. You probably only remember my name because the hostess told you.

I'd offer to buy you a drink in order to maintain this veneer of cameraderie, but you seem to have had enough already. Then again, at least if you're drinking, you'll have to stop blowing cigarette smoke in my face.

Dear me, that is a short skirt! It's almost as short as your plunging neckline is low. By the way, I applaud your lack of bra. Very left-wing. Very Germaine Greer. Very . . . Oh! No, don't worry about it. An integral part of breaking in a brand new suit is having vodka-lemonades spilt down its front.

Look at that; you're coming on to me. How nice.

I have a girlfriend now, though. Almost three years. Yes, it is 'ages'. Too bad for you. Perhaps we could have had some time together if you'd told me you felt this way when we were at school. But I had no idea. When I asked you out and you said no, I thought that meant you weren't interested. You must have been playing hard to get. But now it's too late. So sad. Especially given that I've lost some weight and had a haircut since then.

What? Yes, I think that is Fraser. He does look great, doesn't he? I think-- oh, okay. See you later, then. It was wonderful to talk to you. Until next summer . . .

June 20, 2004

The Home of the English

I was in somebody else's apartment building the other day, and I was walking down the stairs on my way out, I couldn't help but notice the nameplate on one of the doors:

"Smith / Brown"

My God! I hope their first names are John and Mary.

Made me chuckle. Felt the need to share.

Voyage of the Dan

Given that one of my recent posts involved the confession that I had actually watched a few minutes of Like Mike, I feel I should probably preface this one by categorically denying that I have ever knowingly and/or willingly spent time or money engaged in watching that masterpiece of American cinema, Crossroads.

However, I did happen to see a trailer for said masterpiece the other day, and was horror-stricken to discover that the part of Britney Spears' father is played by none other than the undisputable vanguard of Canadian celebrity, Dan Aykroyd.

Why, Dan? Why?! There are already so many other Canadian celebrities out there disgracing their country! Eugene Levy (viz. below)! Matthew Perry (viz. The Whole Ten Yards)! William Shatner (viz. anything involving William Shatner, but particularly his singing career)!

I mean, maybe I'm romanticizing Dan Aykroyd's past roles. Perhaps he's never really been the wonderful comedic actor that he appears as in my head. But it seems like appearing in Crossroads would be a step down for pretty much anybody (including, interestingly enough, Britney Spears, which is quite a feat in itself).

Another call for puns: Aykroyd, anyone?

June 17, 2004

Department of Keeping Fingers Crossed

Seen in a story discussing an oversight at a hospital in New York state (emphasis mine):

"The hospital said it did not have records that medical instruments used for upper endoscopies or colonoscopies were properly disinfected for procedures performed from April 28 to May 10 . . .

The procedures involve inserting a flexible tube through the patient's mouth or rectum to check the upper or lower digestive system for abnormalities."

I really hope they have two different tubes...

June 16, 2004

A Gumpy Little Sod

Sorry about my lack of material lately, but I've been suffering from two afflictions: one, a severe case of home-for-the-summer-with-nothing-to-do-except-melt-my-brain-with-TV blues (which I think was a B.B. King song), and two, a severe case of dial-up internet access (which I'm sure was a B.B. King song).

Today: all about my little brother's French exchange partner, who is currently staying in my room (don't worry, I'm staying somewhere else . . .)

I'm sure that child protection laws prohibit me from posting little Philippe's picture online, so you'll have to take my word for it that he is the spitting image of the young Forrest Gump. He's got everything: vaguely crossed eyes, sticking-out ears, short dark hair, and, in the picture he submitted with his application, a button-down cotton shirt with enormous buttons and a wide collar, that's been (this is the best part) buttoned all the way up to the top.

He even, I have just discovered, has a goofy laugh. I'm tempted to introduce him to my ex-girlfriend Jenny and see if a lifelong, peas-and-carrots love blossoms between them.

Sigh . . . Somebody please employ me.


Oh, and when I came home today he was playing 'Sk8er Boi' on the piano. Obviously, the kid's teachers aren't doing a very good job explaining the whole "Anglophone culture is the work of Satan's minions" thing. Next thing you know he'll be eating at McDonalds and then the world will end.

June 12, 2004

Like Him? I Love Him!

One of the good things about being a man of leisure over the summer is that I get to catch up on my cultural education. Today, for instance, I was lucky enough to see one of the central plot-advancing scenes in Like Mike, in which Li'l Bow Wow discovers that he can, indeed, play like Mike.

Now, although I'm sure this is somewhat in contravention of copyright laws, this scene was so masterfully produced I felt I had to share it with you; so here's a transcript...

[Scene: a basketball arena. The home team are filing off the court for halftime; a sycophantic Eugene Levy greets each player as they pass]

Levy: Hi. How ya doin'? What? Why, yes, I did use to have standards! Hey there. Great game, etc., etc..

Star Player: Hey man, what's the deal? You can't just say 'etc., etc.'

Levy: Blow me, hotstuff. Now look here, I'm a stereotypical money-crazed manager who's in trouble because this team sucks. To fill some seats, you need to get out there and play some one-on-one with a fan during halftime.

SP: Naw, come on, man! I won't do it! For some reason I'm completely unwilling to play an extra five minutes of the game that I spend my life playing.

Levy: Too bad. Now we have a conflict about which we can make quasi-humorous banter later on.

[Cut to: seats in the crowd. Li'l Bow Wow sits next to a Chinese girl and a white boy]

Li'l Bow Wow: Man, racial diversity is pretty cool, huh?

Chinese Girl: You're damn right. If we play our cards right we can get a spot on a Benetton commercial!

White Boy: Ssshhh! He already used that joke in the Harry Potter post!

[Cut to: the basketball court. Eugene Levy stands with the Star Player, both of them flanking a barrel full of ticket stubs]

Levy: Now, to draw Li'l Bow Wow's ticket... The winner is... Section 4, Row 13, Seat 2!

[Cut to: Li'l Bow Wow]

LBW: Oh my God! That's me! Oh, this is so unexpected. I'd like to thank my family, the producers...

White bully [grabbing at the ticket]: It's my ticket now.

LBW: Hey, look over there!

White bully [Releasing ticket]: Wha...?

LBW: Psyche! White people are so dumb.

Chinese Girl: Wow, that little exchange really moved the plot forward.

[Cut to: the basketball court]

Levy: Hey, look! It's just some "dumb kid"! Ha! You'd better "let" him "score a few times"!

Star Player: Yo, man-- what's up with all the quotation marks?

Levy: I think it's fairly obvious that he has magic shoes and is going to thoroughly embarass you in a moment-- I'm just setting up some subtle irony for the viewers.

SP: Oh. Right on.

LBW: Oh my god! It's this team's star player! Swoon!

SP: Whatever, man. Let's get this over with.

LBW [interior monologue, with a glimmer of disillusionment in his eyes]: That's strange. I never imagined my hero being a jerk.

Anonymous off-screen voice: Hey, kid! Don't forget to tie your shoelaces!

LBW [bends down to tie shoelaces, whispering]: Make me like Mike. [Then, in normal voice:] Was that good? Was that-- Can we use that in the previews? Yeah?

[LBW and the Star Player begin to play; cut to external shot, where George McFly is playing chess against a computerized board]

George McFly: Curses! The wrong move! If only I could go back in time.

[Cut back to basketball court]

SP: Jesus, man, what the hell is George McFly doing here? I really need to fire my agent.

LBW: Don't worry, he's just my vaguely sleazy geek of a legal guardian. He's really good at seeming intangibly creepy.

SP: I'll say. Hey, was this movie made before or after Charlie's Angels?

[LBW runs past the star player to score]

Levy: Hey, that unlikely-to-be-good-at-basketball character is surprisingly good at basketball! If only he was an animal of some sort, we'd have a Disney movie on our hands.

[LBW scores again]

SP: Hey, Levy! Now I see what you were doing with that ironic dialogue before! Good call, man!

Levy: This is why you're the nondescript black actor and I'm the washed up comedian.

[LBW scores again]

SP: Shit, I just lost!

[Cut to the stands, and Chinese girl cheering with White boy; White bully is not in shot, but undoubtedly looks sullen]

[Cut to external shot and George McFly again]

George McFly: I'm so absorbed in my chess game with this computerized board, I am comically unaware of what is going on!

[Cut back to basketball court]

Levy: Say, I have an idea so Hollywood, it just might work!

[The End]


June 11, 2004


Something has been bothering me for several months. After I saw the first trailer for The Chronicles of Riddick, I really had to wonder: what the hell is Judi Dench doing in a movie with Vin Diesel? It seemed to me that Vin Diesel should not have been allowed anywhere near a Dame, never mind near enough to administer the mind-controlling drugs that were undoubtedly necessary to get Ms Dench into this film.

But then, I can be a bit of a snob, every now and then.

It turns out that the reason Dame Dench is in Riddick is because Diesel went all the way to London to personally woo her into the role. He explains: "I flew out to London and I saw a stage performance that she did with another lovely actress named Maggie Smith." Which still doesn't really explain why Dench did the movie, but is, I think, a good candidate for the most blithe description ever of Maggie Smith.

But why did Dench do the film? She provides a convincing answer: "Vin was chivalrous. He came to London and gave me flowers I couldn't take upstairs, they were so large. I never read the script."


Yikes! A week back in Britain and I'm an insufferable snooty-pants already. Sorry...

Fad Enough, Yet?

Funniest interview soundbite that I've heard in a long time:

"It's a fad. You know . . . It's-- It's been a fad for centuries and centuries."

Thank you, Daily Show!

June 07, 2004

A Tyrannical Rain

Take a look at the ten-day forecast for Edinburgh:

Now, I defy you to explain why I like it so much here.

June 05, 2004

What's The Matter, McFly?

In response to my previous post, Sean said:

"It would be cool if he was actually a Hen Man, though, don't you think?"

I'll let you decide:

June 04, 2004

An Unbearably Loud Tennis Racket

My God, what a pun. I could almost just leave it at that.

I have only been in Britain for a little over a day, and already I am sick to death of Henmania-- not, sadly, a widespread frenzy about female chickens, but rather a widespread frenzy about British tennis player Tim Henman. For those of you living outside these tiny isles (and therefore, quite rightly, completely unaware of who Tim Henman is), let me explain:

Every year, about this time, the British public goes slightly mad, because Wimbledon, that great British sporting event, is almost upon them. The sad thing about this great British sporting event is the conspicuous lack of great British sportspersons who take part (the last time a British man won Wimbledon was-- this is true-- almost seventy years ago). As a consequence, Brits will latch on to any vaguely competent and/or charming British tennis player that comes along, and elevate him to an almost godlike status; even if (and here's the annoying part) he's not even any bloody good!

. . . As is the case with dear little Tim. I'm sorry, Britain, I really am: but he's just not a great tennis player. He has no finishing power (a trademark Henman move is to win the first two sets and then go belly-up for the rest of the match); he's never won a major tournament; he's never even been in the final at Wimbledon!

And yet, every year, without fail, the media trots out all this guff about what a star he is, and about how it's "his year" (he's a little like the Chicago Cubs of professional tennis, except that they have actually won something in the past). What's particularly amusing is the way the press continue to justify these claims, even after years and years of losing, LOSING, LOSING!

For instance, the BBC came up with this intriguing (if convoluted) points system whereby Henman is actually ranked the second best player to have appeared at Wimbledon in the last ten years (Agassi, on the other hand, who has actually won Wimbledon, is ranked fifth under the same system). In a similar vein, this article claims that while Henman may not be a winner in the, you know, technical sense of the word, he is still a "winner" (in the twee, Disney sense) for making the most of his talent.

In short, I am tired of hearing about how great Tim Henman is. Please stop.

On a completely unrelated note, I saw the new Harry Potter today. It is laaaaame. Most of the film consists of the young 'stars' swanning about looking like spokespeople for United Colours of Benetton, spouting awkward dialogue from the sloppily adapted script. The boon of Daniel Radcliffe's looking like Harry Potter is slowly being eclipsed by the fact that he doesn't seem to be a very good actor, especially compared to Emma Watson who (all inappropriate sexual innuendo aside, for a moment) gives easily the best performance out of the bunch. Poor show.

Department of Brief, Simile-Based Jokes

President Bush met with the Pope today, awarding the pontiff the Presidential Medal of Freedom and praising his humanitarianism.

Man, I bet the Pope's never heard that before. He must be absolutely thrilled. For God's sake, why bother giving the Pope the Medal of Freedom? It's like giving Beethoven a Grammy.

June 03, 2004

It Must Be the Eye Shadow

I was standing in line at a store today, and in front of me was an old couple, bickering. I wasn't really listening until, suddenly, the man walked away and the woman called after him:

"Hey, do you want me to wait, or..." She then turned to me with a withering look and said: "Men, eh?"

Yeah, I hate those guys.

I have not slept in [looks at watch] 27 hours. And yet somehow, for some reason, I am writing in my blog. Why?

June 01, 2004

Control Me, Episode One

The challenge, issued by an anonymous Ken well-wisher, was as follows:

1. Go to end of Rainbow
2. Find pot-o-gold
3. Fedex pot of gold to ken
4. Report back on feelings of contentment/fight with leprechaun.

# posted by Anonymous : 00:14

1. I wasn't about to wait around for a rainbow to just appear (although it's the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in Toronto right now, so I probably wouldn't have had to wait for too long). A quick search on Google revealed that a Rainbow was easily reachable by subway (my God, is there anything the TTC can't do?), so the first chance I had, I hopped a train down to Union station-- from which the Rainbow was only a five minute walk:

Of course, this Rainbow did present some problems: namely, that it's conceptually a little tricky to specify where "the end" of a building is (since, strictly speaking, it 'ends' in every direction). Lacking any further guidance, I decided to go round to the back of the building to see what I could find.

2. Success! At the back of the Rainbow was a Dominion Supermarket, and a cursory look in its aisles yielded-- sure enough-- a pot of (African) Gold, pictured below:

There didn't seem to be any leprechaun guarding it (Dominion's been laying off staff, I expect), and the black woman at the cash register was quite happy to part with it . . . Although, upon seeing me (with my straight, white-boy hair) buying a pot of coconut oil hair conditioner, she did raise her eyebrow to the point where it had all but disappeared beyond her hairline (disappointingly, though, she didn't snap her fingers and say "Oh no you di'nt"; Deliver Us From Eva is wholly inaccurate!).

3. The FedEx website confirmed what I had feared from the start: FedExing the pot of gold to Ken would be both prohibitively expensive and logistically challenging. Instead, I opted for the good old-fashioned Postes Canada Post, and took another subway to Bloor and Yonge. This was a somewhat naive move, as it turned out; I expected (not unreasonably, I thought) that in the throbbing heart of a city that haughtily presumes itself the Centre of the Universe, there would be a glut of Post Offices awaiting my custom. It was not so.

I wandered aimlessly for fifteen minutes in my search, before stopping in a convenience store to ask directions. The woman at the counter said, immediately:

"Post Office? A couple of blocks down." She then added, brightly, "Next to YMCA!" (as if somebody like me would know exactly where the YMCA was-- the implication of which I'm not sure I liked).

As it happens, I found the YMCA fairly easily. But there was nary a Post Office to be found. Frustrated, I caught another subway back home and walked to the Post Office that had been a fifteen-minute walk away the whole time.

(On a side note, what kind of world are we living in when a person can pass EIGHT Starbuckses, and not a SINGLE Post Office?)

4. The package sent, I returned home to tackle the last part of the challenge. As I explained, there had been no leprechaun to fight with-- but on my way back from the rainbow I had passed an Irish pub, so I glared through the windows for good measure. This was surprisingly satisfying.

As, indeed, was the challenge as a whole. I became acquainted with a new and charming area of Toronto, spent several hours in the sun, got some much-needed exercise, and (best of all) gave a kindly black cashier a cute little anecdote to tell at parties. Hoorah!