July 31, 2004

If At All Possible, Get A Live-In MacGyver

The British government has recently launched a website called Preparing For Emergencies, something along the lines of Tom Ridge's "Duct tape, DUCT TAPE, DUCT TAPE!!!" campaign in the States a year or two ago. However, the government was rather comically unprepared for launching the site, forgetting to register http://www.preparingforemergencies.co.uk, as well as the official .gov.uk address.

Consequently, a bitter anti-Labour student snapped up the domain and posted a marvellous parody of the site (by the "HM Department of Vague Paranoia"). It includes such handy hints as: "If you are trapped in debris, try not to die", and "Reduce fire hazards in your home. Children are the worst fire hazards."

And do visit the real site, too, just so you can appreciate how masterful the execution is.

July 30, 2004

But Can You Jabberwock the Wock?

As Lewis Carroll might have said (were Lewis Carroll an unemployed twenty-year-old deprived of DSL for four weeks): O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

I discovered today, to my delighted surprise, that the housesitters at my dad's place have finished their term. Basically, what this means, is that for the whole of the coming weekend, I have free reign in the house and (in between all the raucous parties, booze and hookers, obviously), I can use the internet at sensible speeds for as long as I like!

Expect a fuller report once I've returned with my laptop, and a clean pair of pants.

July 29, 2004

The Future of Must-See Thursday

I was talking to Alison today about who she'd had pictures of in her locker at high school, and one of the people was Courtney Love. Now, being the wonderful conversationalist I am, I instantly dropped in the interesting fact that Courtney Love has just been sentenced for her most recent binge/assault/general state of debaclitude. To this, Alison replied, "Hey, maybe she'll get to go visit with Martha." And that got us both thinking: what we have here is a sitcom pilot.

So, without further ado, an excerpt from the forthcoming primetime hit All's Fair in Love and Martha (with thanks and, I suspect, apologies to Alison)...

[Scene: a prison cell. Courtney Love is sitting on the edge of her bed, trying to look cool and grungy. Martha Stewart enters.]

Martha: Courtney, what does 'shank' mean?

[Love rolls her eyes, while the audience laughs raucously]

Courtney: Why?
M: Because one of the ladies out in the yard said that if I ever came near her again she would [air quotes] shank [end air quotes] me. Is it some kind of prison hug?

[More gleeful audience laughter]

C: No, it means you offered to make personalized stationary for her one too many times.
M: Oh, that reminds me, can we sign Christmas cards today?
C: Fuck, no! Fuck Christmas cards! Fuck Christmas! Fuck the man! [Love does 'rock hands']
M: My, what is that gesture you keep doing? Are you [air quotes] shanking [end air quotes] me?
C: I'm not signing any of your damn Christmas cards, nark.
M: Come now, don't be like that! Look, I made them with little tinfoil spaceships, just for you!
C: Why the hell would I want Christmas cards with space-fucking-ships on them?
M: They're from Star Trek. You know, like your husband.
C: Like my fucking husband?!
M: Oh, dear, your grief must have driven you to denial, you poor darling.
C: What does my Goddamn husband have to do with Star Goddamn Trek?!
M: Wasn't he in Star Trek, dear?
C: Fuck, no!
M: But then why are you always talking about Kirk?
C: It's KURT, bitch! Not Captain fucking Kirk!
M: Oh! What a relief! I did think he was rather old for you!
C: Christ, I need a drink.
M: I can make some Tang, if you like!

Come on, NBC: make me an offer!

July 28, 2004

Department of Large Male Siblings

If my non-Montreal readers can bear the insufferable in-jokes for just a little longer...

Further proof that Google knows everything about everyone: within hours of mentioning the name 'Jerry' in my last post, the Google-powered 'relevant' text ads at the top of my page were advertising the following:

Spooky, eh?

July 25, 2004

Weapons of Crass Distraction

...Please pardon the hopelessly overused pun.

Saw the following on Netscape today:

...But, predictably enough, couldn't be bothered clicking on the link to find out.

In other, slightly more surreal news, Magic Johnson last week opened a new Starbucks location in a notorious LA suburb. Which, if nothing else, means that you can now get straight espresso out of Compton.

Anyway, the real reason I came online in the first place (and the reason for that punny title), is that I felt the need to warn you all about a grave danger facing your social life and/or sanity: the TV show 24 on DVD. I never watched the show when it was on TV, but after having discovered that my mother has seasons one and two, complete in disgustingly decadent packaging, I thought I'd sit down and see if it was any good or not. I have barely left my couch since. It is, frustratingly, utterly gripping. Oh, sure, it's mindless entertainment, but it's so well edited and so well paced, I just cannot bring myself to stop watching.

So, in short, if you have anything important that needs doing in the next few days, do yourself a favour and don't go anywhere near a 24 box set. Jerry, this means you.

Jung At Heart

I just had a dream that John Kerry came to my house and ate one of my cats. Do you think this means I shouldn't vote for him? Other interpretations are welcome (especially, as always, those involving puns).

July 24, 2004

Kevin Bacon, Eat Your Heart Out

I'm sure there are a lot of lovestruck guys out there who think the world revolves around their girlfriends, but I feel that I have a particularly good case for it.

My belle is working at a gourmet food store this summer with a girl called Chela (is that how it's spelt? Who knows? This is why we need to make foreigners more American*). Chela knows a girl from Ottawa who happens to be the sister of my friend Dan Beirne. Dan is also friends with another Ottawan called Sean, who, in his formative years, was acquainted with a third Ottawan called Jocelyn-- who, strangely enough, is moving in next year with none other than... my girlfriend.

(*A joke, for God's sake!)

Now, one coincidence like that is hardly surprising, especially in Canada, where everybody knows everbody else and the hockey players make doughnuts. But Alison (the gf) is invovled in more than just that one. She's dating me (obviously), and I am moving in next year with a girl called Adrienne. So far so good. Last year, Adrienne lived with a girl called Danielle, who was friends with another girl called Rachel, who was in the dance program at the Etobicoke School of the Arts, as was a girl named Gill, who was Alison's roommate last year (we might also note that Danielle went to school with a guy called Mike, who lives across the street from my cousin, who is the reason I met Alison in the first place; Danielle also frequents a pub in her neighbourhood, in which my cousin used to work as a short-order cook).

As if that wasn't bad enough, the archaeology professor who Alison had in first year (a delightful man named Andre Costopolous) does summer fieldwork in Finland, where, last year, he was assisted by a young woman called Eve. Eve, rather unbelievably, is my third cousin. And so, we're back to Alison again.

All of which was probably terribly dull for you, but I, for one, am a little disturbed.

July 21, 2004


Have you heard? Our society is changing! Gasp! At least, that's what Newsweek says this week, in what is essentially the same article that Newsweek has been running every few months for the last three years: the iPod is fundamentally changing the way people consume music (the title of the article, by the way, is 'iPod Therefore I Am', which might seem kind of witty, except that I'm sure they used the exact same gag when the iMac had its five minutes of fame).

Well, I'm sorry, but I have bad news for all the iPod worshippers who insist on spouting this masturbatory bullcrap: the iPod is not fundamentally changing anything, and it's not going to anytime soon, either (with the possible exception of Apple's share prices). As Newsweek so astutely notes, the iPod "seems centered on big cities and college towns" (gee! I wonder why that is!)-- and at $400, it also seems likely to stay that way. Apple will never (if past performance is anything to go by) lower their prices to the point where iPods are easily available to all-- so even if MP3 players (note the distinction) eventually change the way people consume music (and I'm still skeptical), the iPod is just a toy for the rich and famous.

Ironically, the article pegs the iPod's real appeal without ever really giving it much attention: it's a big, fat, status symbol. I may as well admit to owning an iPod, at this point. But I also fully admit that the thing I love most about my iPod is, simply, that it's so damn cool. Yes. I am shallow. So are the other three million people who own them (not to mention the people who buy the white headphones and plug them into-- sacrilege!-- a normal Walkman). The iPod Mini, especially, is solely a status symbol-- almost by design. It's under-specced and over-priced compared to other MP3 players, and yet people are snapping them up like they were going out of fashion (which, oops!, give it a few more months and they probably will be).

What really gets me is drivel along the lines of: iPods give their owners "membership into an implicit society . . . 'When my students see me on campus with my iPod, they smile,' says Professor Katch, whose unit stores everything from Mozart to Dean Martin. 'It's sort of a bonding'." I'll be honest with you. When I see a fellow iPod owner, I do not feel proud, or spiritually connected to that person in any way. I feel embrassed that we've both been suckered into the same stupid, expensive fad (especially if I happen to be, say, sipping a Starbucks latte or shopping for sand-blasted jeans at the Gap).

So, to reiterate: the iPod is a gimmick. It is not a revolutionary device. I am tired of hearing that it is. Please stop rubbing my face in the fact that I am just as bad as the people who say "It's almost as if my iPod understands me." Jeez!

July 18, 2004

Department of Pointless Comparisons

(Tenuously) from Netscape Money & Business: Money Buys Happiness, But Not Sex

"Great sex at least once a week is worth $50,000 in happiness, while the emotional lift of a long-lasting marriage is worth $100,000. A divorce will cost you $66,000 of happiness."

What the hell does that even mean?! (And incidentally, don't some divorces just cost you $66,000, period?)

July 17, 2004


From Netscape News:

"In an interview with ABC news, [Martha Stewart] . . . compared her plight to that of anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela."

Yes, that's right, Martha. You're going to spend years in prison following prosecution because of your radical views (you may think I'm being sarcastic, but anyone who has ever seen what the woman does with popcorn will agree that she is pretty out there). Then, when you get out of prison, you will be awarded the Nobel Prize (for Encouraging Upper-Middle-Class Americans to Waste Money On Stupid Materialistic Shit That Contributes to the Absurd Opulence of the United States).

On a side note, the article also notes that the judge presiding over the case received 1500 letters expressing support for Stewart, from all across the country. In a country of 280 million people, is that really so impressive?

July 13, 2004

Teenage Girls, Watch Out!

I'm going to be in Dundee for a few days, so even fewer posts than usual. But, frankly, the comments on that last post were at least as funny as anything I've written for a while, so I invite you all to write the damn blog yourself.

Dundee, incidentally, has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe. The city's official motto (as I'm very fond of telling people) is "Dundee: City of Discovery".

July 06, 2004

And Get Some Free Happiness With Every Nightgown

Just noticed that there's a new store in my neighbourhood here. It's called Rose's Revival, and purports to sell "lingerie and well-being" (whether or not in that order, it doesn't say). I can't help but feel that the lingerie half of the business is really going to lose out.

Customer: Hello. I'd like some lingerie, please.
Clerk: Certainly, ma'am. Would you like some well-being with that?
Customer: I . . . Gosh . . . I suppose so. Does it come in a D-cup?
Clerk: Here you are.
Customer: Oh! Oh, wow. That's something special. Way better than a thong.
Clerk: Yes, I hear that a lot.

I should take Alison.

July 04, 2004


Hello, all. I know my entries here lately have been lacking in both quality and quantity, for which I apologize profusely-- and for which I can only blame (as I have before) my extended, unintended vacation, and my lack of a reliable DSL connection at home. Things will pick up again, of that I am quite sure.

In the meantime, I've started a new blogging project that requires very little in the way of either social contact or copious amounts of time spent on the internet. It's called #644 and it's all about music. It's obviously nowhere near as good as Said The Gramophone (Sean, you are my hero), but it is, at least, sufficiently different from STG that unflattering comparisons can (hopefully) be kept to a minimum.

Anyway, check it out if you're interested-- and keep checking back here, too, because I'll continue to post humorous diatribes on a wide range of topics. Or something.

July 02, 2004

Entertaining Things Seen On MTV

1. Dave Navarro clapping politely as Carmen Electra accepts the MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss (with Owen Wilson and Amy Smart), celebrating her victory by kissing Snoop Dogg and Paris Hilton.

2. An advert for Ribena's latest promotional campaign. In association with Shrek 2, Ribena are giving a few lucky kids the chance to win... a donkey. I swear up and down to you I am not making this up. They will win a real live donkey that lives in one of three 'donkey sanctuaries' (am I really typing this?) up and down the British Isles.

3. A bunch of middle-aged men pretending to be rappers. Oops, no. That was The Beastie Boys (no offense intended-- I was just surprised at how old they looked. Are they really going on forty? Good God!).

That is all. MTV is rarely that entertaining.

Sending Children Down Your Spine

Marlon Brando died yesterday. Francis Ford Coppola was quoted as saying that Brando "would hate the idea of people chiming in to give their comments about his death," so I won't.

As I was coming out of my flat earlier this afternoon, the five-and-a-half-year-old who lives upstairs went running past. While I stood, locking my door, he shot down a couple of stairs, stopped, turned, and ran back up to where I was and tapped me on the arm. He then said:

"I can whistle, you know, and I'm only five and a half!"

The overwhelming cuteness and non-sequitiritude of which so stunned me, all I was able to utter in reply was: "Uh... Good for you."

On the other hand, while I was making myself breakfast the other morning, another little boy (could have been the same one, for all I know) was playing out in the communal garden, and suddenly started shouting, "Fuck you Fuck you Fuck you Fuck you Fuck you Fuck you Fuck you," at the top of his lungs. It was quite extraordinary how many times he managed to squeeze the word fuck into a minute. Almost as extraordinary as the fact that the only person who seemed to be trying to subdue him was one of the girls he was playing with.

So basically, what I'm trying to say is... Uh... Good for you.

July 01, 2004

Growing Ever More Boring

I notice that Apple has just posted a webpage where you can learn all about the next in their line of feline operating systems, Mac OS X Tiger.

Now, look here, boys. I appreciate a catchy name as much as anyone, but don't you think it's about time you gave the whole 'fierce cats' thing a rest? Jaguar was pretty cool, Panther not so much... and Tiger? Thumbs down, I'm afraid. There's nothing, when it comes to wildcats, anyway, quite as prosaic as a tiger (well... maybe a lion). I mean, really-- it's just getting tired now.

What's going on in world events right now? Who knows? Without my trusty DSL connection, I can't be bothered to find out, either. How did that whole Iraq handover thing go? Do democracy and peace reign there, now? What about the Canadian elections? Euro 2004? Farenheit 9/11? Sigh...