March 30, 2005

Feeding Frenzy

From BBC News | World | Europe: Doctors give Pope feeding tube

The Vatican has revealed that sickly Pontiff John Paul II is now being fed through a feeding tube inserted in his nose. The tube was inserted late Monday night following a highly secret emergency meeting of Congress, during which a controversial new bill was passed (An Act To Put A Feeding Tube In Someone, Somewhere, Dammit! Out Of My Way!). Shortly afterwards, a crack team of US Navy Seals stormed the Vatican and inserted the tube.

...I feel really sorry for the Pope. He's the leader of the Catholic world and yet is being treated like a baby. He can't feed himself, is forced to wear ridiculous outfits, gets applauded for doing the most insignificant of things ("Oh, look everyone! He's making the sign of the Cross! Awwwww!"), and is constantly being asked to speak even though he's clearly not capable of it at this point in his life ("Come on, Pope! Can you bless everyone? Can you? Who's a good Pope? Come on, let's bless the crowds!"). Give the guy some dignity!

Seriously, though. Give him a break. Are people really so insecure that they need to constantly see the Pope to make sure he's still alive? If they hadn't been wheeling him out onto that damn balcony every other day he'd probably be recovering much quicker.


March 26, 2005

Yeah, Probably

Killing time by watching MuchMusic this afternoon, my ears were bombarded with this:

"For Shakira, being sultry is probably part of her Latina culture."

Oh, is that why all the ethnographers want to go to Central America?

March 25, 2005

Conversations With Greatness XXIV

That was for all my pun-loving fans... You know who you are.

March 23, 2005

The Vagaries of McGill University

This week, McGill students voted against staging a second strike to protest the Quebec government trying to balance its budget.

I'm sorry, that was very editorial of me. Let me try again:

This week, McGill students voted against being big poop-heads.

Wait, no, one more time:

This week, McGill students voted against a second strike in protest of the Quebec government's attempts to turn education into a bastion of rich, capitalist scum.


This week, McGill students voted against holding a strike.

Phew! I am now fair and balanced. The results of the plebiscite were:

YES / OUI: 2390 (43.2%)

NO / NON: 3131 (56.6%)

Spoiled: 9 (0.2%)

I should point out that only 30% or so of the student body actually voted. In reality, there are far more than nine spoiled brats at McGill.

Man, this unbiased reporting thing is tricky!

March 22, 2005

Reasons I Love My Girlfriend, #3,445,121

Alison on Bush cutting short his vacation, to intervene in the Schiavo case:

"So it seems like with this, and the whole anti-abortion thing, his goal is to create a world that nobody wants to live in, and then force them to do so."


March 21, 2005

They're Being Kind of Hard-On Him

Oh, come on, people! You're just asking for it!

March 20, 2005


Has anybody else been struck by the uncanny resemblance between outspoken Florida Republican Mel Martinez, and that brave little nephew of Donkey Kong, Diddy?


Black hole update: researchers are now daring each other to pee into it.

March 19, 2005

Black Hole Update: Day 3

Scientists now believe that the supposed black hole in Brookhaven, NY, that has been sucking in an unusual amount of time and matter, is actually the lead researcher's 28-year-old son who is still living in the basement.

March 18, 2005

Conversations With Greatness XXIII

Black hole update: to try and further discern the nature of the apparent black hole, scientists are going to throw Stephen Hawking into it and see what happens.

March 17, 2005

...And Other Barenaked Ladies Songs

Sorry for my long silence, I've been studying like crazy for a midterm I had this morning. It seems that perhaps I shouldn't have bothered...

From BBC NEWS | Science/Nature: Lab fireball 'may be black hole'

Anybody who has read Bill Bryson's excellent book A Short History of Nearly Everything will hopefully remember the frankly alarming section about how physicists working with particle accelerators might accidentally create a black hole which could devour the earth.

Well... Oops.

Horatiu Nastase, a scientist at Brown University, has created what he thinks may be a black hole in New York state (my God, I feel like I'm writing a Douglas Adams novel). But don't worry: "even if the ball of plasma is a black hole, it is not thought to pose a threat" (emphasis mine).

NOT THOUGHT to pose a threat?!?!?!? You mean, they're not really sure? Does it seem like a bad idea to anybody else that physicists should be allowed to go around doing stuff willy-nilly that may or may not destroy the world, while in the meantime people in Britain need a license just to watch TV? Priorities, people!

Vinny! Please reassure me!

March 13, 2005

Raise Your Seatbacks, We're About to Bland

I was booking some flights this evening, and was more than a little amused at the different meal preferences I could choose from:

Is that for all their Puritan customers, do you think?

March 11, 2005

Conversations With Greatness XXII

I think I could make Marx and Engels bicker with each other forever.

March 09, 2005

Crowing Pains

From BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Film: Actor Crowe was 'al-Qaeda target'

Apparently it's al-Qaeda-related joke week here at exBostonian...

Russell Crowe, Antipodean actor and all-round hunktastic dreamboat, has revealed that he was the target of a sinister al-Qaeda plot to take "iconographic Americans out of the picture as a sort of cultural-destablization plan".

The fiends!

What I think is interesting is the following: the FBI alerted Crowe that he might have been targeted sometime towards the end of 2000. Which means that at FBI HQ that day, there must have been a conversation like this:

Superior: What have you got for me today, Jenkins?
Jenkins: Well, sir, we've picked up two major threats from the terrorist chatter.
Superior: Okay, what are they?
Jenkins: Number one, we think they might be planning to kidnap Russell Crowe.
Superior: GOOD GOD! Why would they do something so dastardly?
Jenkins: We think they're trying to destabilize our culture by depriving us of our most iconographic celebrities.
Superior: Well, we'll show them! Jenkins, I want you to put all our man-power on this, right away. There's not going to be any culture-destabilizing on my watch.
Jenkins: Yes, sir. [Turns to leave the room]
Superior: Jenkins, wait! What was the other threat you mentioned?
Jenkins: Oh, just some crap about trying to fly planes into the World Trade Centre, something like that.
Superior: Jenkins, don't waste my time with this nonsense.
Jenkins: Sorry, sir.
Superior: Now get out there and find Russell Crowe, dammit! We haven't a moment to lose!


March 08, 2005

Hopefully Hugh Grant Will Be Available...

I missed this at the time (thankfully, because I didn't have a blog in which I could have lambasted it back then), but in 2001 USA Today ran an article from which this excerpt is taken:

"CBS has been pitched a new romantic comedy about a couple who lost their spouses in the World Trade Center attacks, says network president Les Moonves, who hasn't ruled out the idea."

I think I'm going to send them my own pilot. It'll be called A Wedding and Almost Four Thousand Funerals. (And if you think it's tasteless to make light of the WTC attacks, well... That's the point, innit?)

[Int. scene: an implausibly large apartment in midtown Manhattan. Betty, a woman, sits on a couch in the middle of the room, reading. The door opens, and Sam, her partner in grief, enters]

Sam: Honey, I'm home!
Betty: Oh, Sam, I...
Sam: Hey, who are you calling Osama?

[SFX: audience laughter]

Betty: I wasn't calling you Osama, I was just going to say [enunciating clearly:] 'Oh . . . Sam, I'm glad you're home.' Do we really have to go through this every day?
Sam: I'm sorry, honey. It's just... Ever since I lost my first wife in the World Trade Centre attacks...
Betty: It's okay, Sam, I know how you feel. Remember, I lost my husband in the World Trade Centre attacks, too.

[SFX: audience 'awwww'ing]

Sam: But just imagine... If we both hadn't tried to sue the airlines for what happened, we never would have met.
Betty: Yeah, we were United by Airlines.

[SFX: audience laughter]

Sam: What's for dinner, anyway, sweetie?
Betty: Well, I thought we could have some roast ham and...
Sam: Hey, you called me Osama again! What did I just tell you about that?!
Betty: Dammit, Sam! I was just trying to say [enunciating clearly:] 'roast . . . ham . . . and . . . potatoes'.
Sam: Oh. Sorry.
Betty: Anyway, as I was saying, it's ham and potatoes for dinner. But that'll take a while, do you want something to snack on, now?
Sam: Sure, what is there?
Betty: Well, I picked up some hummus at the supermarket today...
Sam: [roars] HUMMUS?! That sounds like terrorist food to me!
Betty: Oh, Sam, a lot . . .

[SFX: audience laughter]

[Cut to: title sequence. Slow-mo clips play of the WTC towers getting hit by planes and collpasing, interspersed with clips of Sam and Betty doing characteristically hilarious things. The theme music, Kelly Clarkson's "Beautiful Disaster", plays throughout]


March 04, 2005

Conversations With Greatness XXI

Sorry I've been a little quiet this week, I'm feeling kind of strung out. Hopefully improv + party on Saturday will perk me up again.

March 02, 2005


From BBC NEWS | World | Middle East: Rice turns up the heat on Syria

In response, Syria turns up the heat on Rice. "We'll serve it with lentils", say officials

Question: how many times will I use what is essentially the same joke over the next four years? This Rice situation will get very sticky, indeed. In fact, I don't think there's a grain of hope that I'll stop; I've got this Rice punning thing down paddy.


March 01, 2005

In Memoriam

Alan Hankin, a professor at Emerson College, died today aged 56.

Professor Hankin had the always challenging task of teaching science to liberal arts students, most of whom believed that if something was worth knowing it had to fit on a TV screen. But that never stopped him from doing his job with incredible amounts of respect and genuine care for his students, to whom he was completely devoted. He would regularly wake up at 5am to make the commute to Boston for his morning seminars, and annualy managed the prodigious feat of spending a week on a boat on a field trip with his Marine Biology class. The year he taught my Honours seminar on evolution, he thought it so necessary that we visit the American Museum of Natural History, he single-handedly raised enough money so that 80 students could visit New York for the weekend without having to pay a cent.

His kind encouragement and gentle harassment ensured that I didn't laze and bullshit my way through four years of Emerson, and for that, as for everything else he did for his students, I am eternally grateful.

"There is grandeur in this view of life . . . Whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and wonderful have been, and are being evolved."
--Charles Darwin