May 31, 2005

I Wish He'd Just Geld Off

From BBC NEWS | Scotland: 'Head for Edinburgh' Geldof urges

In what can only be called an enormous abuse of power, Bob Geldof has urged one million people to descend upon the bonnie wee town of Edinburgh in July, for an "anti-poverty party".

Say, here's an idea: why not take all the money you'd spend organizing, throwing, and getting people to this so-called anti-poverty party, AND GIVE IT TO POOR PEOPLE!!!! That way, you'll actually be DOING something about poverty, and you won't be foisting one million people on a small city that is ill-equipped to handle it.

Oh, no, sorry, Geldof is "confident" that Edinburgh can handle two-and-a-half times its population visiting en masse. It must be that vast knowledge of urban planning and civil engineering that he has.

The protest is planned to coincide, roughly, with the G8 summit in Gleneagles. Said Geldof: "Scotland is a little miffed that this is happening on their own doorstep and they are not invited."

Actually, I'm a little miffed that some washed-up Irish new-waver has decided to act as a spokesperson for Scotland. GO AWAY, GELDOF! We don't want you or your million chums clogging up our infrastructure. I think this quote puts it most succinctly:

"Now there has been talk of up to a million people coming to Edinburgh but frankly it is difficult to conceive how they could all get to this area in the first place and where they could assemble in safety."

But, nah, don't worry! Geldof says it'll be okay!

The person behind the above voice of reason, incidentally, is none other than Ass Chief Constable Ian Dickinson. Yes, that's right-- the Ass Chief. And if you don't believe me, look at this screenshot:

I know 'Ass' is meant to be short for 'Assistant', but come on, chaps: let's have some punctuation!

Oh dear, I seem to have strayed a little off topic. My point: please ignore Bob Geldof. The only reason anyone should come to Edinburgh on July the 6th is if they plan to buy me lunch. Thank you.

May 29, 2005

Gay Rites

From the New York Times, via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: The Man Date

(or, "Everything you always wanted to know about homophobia, but were afraid to ask".)

New York Times writer Jennifer "8." Lee (the '8' stands for 'OCR gone WILD!') last month blew the lid off a scandalous new cultural phenomenon: the 'man date'. Lee claims rather self-importantly to have invented the phrase herself (which will no doubt come as a surprise to those of us who have been using the phrase in everyday conversation for several months now), and defines it as "two heterosexual men socializing without the "crutch" of business or sports" (sarcastic quotation marks not in original).

Lee then goes on to spout a homophobic truckload of trite 'rules' about what is acceptable behaviour for heterosexual men. Lee, of course, is not openly homophobic (hell, she probably thinks she's pretty progressive for writing about this stuff)-- but by formally (and completely uncritically) codifying these 'acceptable limits' of heterosexual behaviour, all she's doing is crystallizing out-dated and ridiculous ideas about what it means to be a 'real' man-- and, making it more difficult for straight men to form the sort of emotionally meaningful relationships with one another that the article claims are so important.

For instance (according to Lee), hetero guys shouldn't go to Italian restaurants together-- or, in fact, any restaurant that has a coat check or that serves mineral water. If you absolutely have to have a one-on-one meal with another guy, it should be at a bar or a steakhouse. Similarly, you should never cook for another male friend at home, unless you're grilling or deep-frying-- because we all know that only fags like to cook.

Now, assuming you're risqué enough to go to a bar with another man, make sure you only order beer or hard liquor. Wine is "risky" according to Lee, probably because it originated in Europe, widely acknowledged as the 'gayest' continent. Sharing a bottle of wine with another guy is completely verboten, because it is (quote) "odd".

Finally, if you want to see a movie with another guy, make sure it's rich in explosions or special effects, and if at all possible, leave an empty seat between the two of you.

I'm sorry, but if you need to leave two feet of space between you and your male friend just in case you spontaneously burst into homosexuality, you are pathetic. If you need to leave two feet of space between you and your male friend just in case other people might think you are homosexual, you are even more pathetic. You know you're straight. Your friend knows you're straight. So why don't you stop being such a fucking baby about it and enjoy each other's company?

Interestingly, although the ideal heterosexual man date for Lee involves two guys drinking lots of beer while watching a movie from opposite sides of the theatre and yelling to each other about sports and how much they like steak, not once does she advise against kissing, cuddling, or having sex with one another. So I guess those must be pretty hetero.

*Frustrated scream*

May 27, 2005

Conversations With Greatness XXXII

I've just realized that my dad has linked to me on his homepage. Take a good look at the picture of him there; it's what I'll look like in forty years.

Also, a hearty hello! to any linguistically inclined individuals who were just trying to find a good phonetics lecturer and accidentally ended up here.

May 26, 2005

Happy Bob Day!

According to Free-Egreetings.Net, today is Bob Day! Bob Day, as I'm sure you all know, is a traditional holiday for celebrating "the person who is the ultimate ok guy according to you".

Now, lest any cynical readers protest that this is just a transparent attempt by evil capitalist profit mongers to create new sources of revenue, I think you should take a look at the masses of other entirely legitimate holidays that Free-Egreetings promotes.

For instance, a week from tomorrow (June 3rd) is Egg Day, followed in short order by Cheese Day (June 4th). In fact, that whole weekend there is officially known as Omelette Weekend.

Unfortunately, I was out of the country on May 17th, so I missed out on celebrating Rubber Band Day, which commemorates the date on which the rubber band was first patented. Before that, bundles of toothpicks were just a crazy, unattainable dream.

I also missed out on Plant Something Day (May 19th), which may seem trivial but is vital if you want to enjoy Pick Strawberries Day on May 20th.

Happily, it'll be Love Conquers All Day on June 3rd (WHOA! The same day as Egg Day!), and if that doesn't work out, there's still time for Profess Your Love Day on June 9th (which is also Cuddle Up Day, if all goes as planned), and Sneak a Kiss Day on June 15th. The point is, by the end of June, you're bound to have had some action.

In addition, I appreciate that July 1st, in addition to being Canada Day, is also, apparently, 'International Joke Day'. Take that, Canada!

Finally, make sure to mark your calendars for July 14th-- not because it's Bastille Day (those French, freedom-hating bastards), but because it's Cow Appreciation Day! And if your cows seem a little too self-absorbed and ungrateful for all the attention, fear not! Two weeks later (July 28th) is Hamburger Day!

Now, I'm off to celebrate Bob Day with a commemorative float in the St Lawrence.

May 21, 2005

A Stroke of Bad Luck

Hi. Hello. I'm meant to be at the beach right now. Or at least sitting by the hotel pool drinking margaritas. Instead I'm in my hotel room, blogging.

See, I went for a walk this morning. Nothing fancy, just twenty minutes down the beach and twenty minutes back. Then I came back to the room to change into appropriate attire for sitting at pool (see above). Then headache and chills started. And nausea. So I crawled into bed and watched The Rundown on HBO. Inexplicably, this caused nausea to subside, but did nothing for fever or headache.

And thus, here I am, suffering from what I presume is mild heatstroke. On my last day in Florida. Boo. Thoughts that have come into my head as I've sat here convalescing:

Is God punishing me for reading Robert Reich's book about why Christian Fundamentalists are bad?

I wonder if the selection of pay-per-view porn here at the Hilton includes 'One Night in Paris'.

How many of these mini muffins could I fit into my mouth?

[Reading ingredients on bottle of Minute Maid Lemonade] What the hell is 'glycerol ester of wood rosin'? And wasn't 'Yellow #5' a Lou Bega song?

What would MacGyver do in my situation?

[Reading room service menu] 'Chunky Chicken Chunks'?

[Reading warning on side of Axe deodorant bottle: 'Not for intimate use'] What? 'Hey, baby. What say you and I light some candles, get a bottle of wine, and start deodorizing stuff?'

Actually, I could really go for some chunky chicken chunks about now.

Damn, I'm bored.


May 20, 2005

Conversations With Greatness XXXI

I saw Episode III today. I enjoyed:

a. George Lucas' continuing inability to write convincing dialogue, esp. during romantic scenes and scenes involving Yoda.
b. The requisite scrolling words at the beginning of the movie. The first full sentence is: "War!" That's it.
c. George Lucas' ham-fisted political allegory ("You're either with me, or you're my enemy." "Nothing is so absolute." Yarrgh. Move to Canada, you commie).

But gosh!, Ewan McGregor sure does a great Alec Guinness impression.

May 19, 2005

Boy, That Hearse

One of the people who lives down the street from my Florida house drives a hearse. And I think this bumper sticker is exactly the sort of sentiment that mourners would like to see as their dead relative is being propelled into the cemetery:

May 13, 2005

Conversations With Greatness XXX

Apologies for the lack of posting this week. The internet here is 38kbps dial-up and I throw my computer across the room with impatience before anything ever loads. I'll probably update early next week.

May 09, 2005

Because It's Been A While...

Seen on Netscape:

Are the two stories related, do you think?

"Fresh out of the operating theatre, Bush's newly virile dog went on a mad humping spree, impregnating several celebrities in the process. Garner is expecting a baby girl in February, while Affleck will be having twins at the beginning of March."

May 06, 2005

Going Into Labour

Yeah, you know what? I know I said I would write more when the election results came in, but then I realised that the election results are, in fact, not interesting in the slightest. Labour won, no surprises.

But I did like this comment by a reader on the BBC:

"I only found out what day the election was this morning from a neighbour when walking the dog! I didn't have time to vote this morning after I found out, and because I got home at 10:30pm didn't have a chance this evening either. Maybe they should have late opening? So I have voted in 0 out of 2 general elections, I wonder if I'll vote in the next one?"

Hmmm... I'm going to guess 'no'.

Conversations With Greatness XXIX

Today: Ben & Jerry's factory!

May 05, 2005

It Wasn't Me

Uh-oh, better link to this while it's still topical.

Also, there's a Formula One driver called Jenson Button? An F1 Button?! Why wasn't I informed?!

More later, as election results start coming in.

May 04, 2005

It's a Problem of Representation

Everybody always complains that the US coverage of international news is, uh, non-existent. But rather than be quick to judge (you know how much I hate doing that), I thought, on the eve of the British election, I would check just how non-existent its US news coverage was.

And, in fact, it was about as comprehensive as you could ask for. CNN had the story on the front page, and even the much-maligned Fox News had a link to a video story on its front page.

But on the MSNBC frontpage, there was not a link to be seen. "No problem", I thought. "I'll just click on their 'International News' link." Only they didn't have one! In between 'Business', 'Sport', 'Entertainment', 'Weather', 'Health', and even 'Blogs Etc.', they couldn't squeeze in a 'World' button:

Okay, okay, I eventually found it as a subheading in news. But even when I got to the 'International News' section, this is what I found:

Ahem. That is: Iraq, Iraq, Iraq, Iran, Iraq, Israel. And then, at the bottom: Tony Blair and Iraq. I also enjoy that their third headline is "Poll: Americans say war not worth it". Apparently 'international news' now constitutes asking Americans what they think of international politics.

It's fair enough, though. I think the topic they chose instead for their 'Special Coverage' section is far more relevant to the contemporary global political situation:

Sigh. I know we don't have an empire anymore, but are we really so unimportant that the Vietnam war continues to have more significant repercussions than who our Prime Minister is? Ouch.

May 02, 2005

Canadian Dollars

With the British election only 48 hours away, I thought I'd draw attention to the roguish scamps of British democracy, the Official Monster Raving Loony Party.

Some of my favourite bits from their manifesto:

"Tax credits will be paid to nice people. There will be a 'total bastard' tax for everyone else."

"The number 13 will be abolished due to its longstanding unpopularity. The bus to Acton North will now not have a number on it but not much else will be affected. Therefore if you see a bus with no number on it, it will be going to Acton North. Please remember this for future reference."

"We intend to make free university tuition available to all students named Grant."

"Anyone believing that their pet understands every word that they say to them will be asked to make the pet write a thesis to prove it."

As you may have guessed, the OMRLP is taken about as seriously in British politics as Ralph Nader is in American politics.

May 01, 2005

Mumbo Jumbo

From Netscape News: Thai Jumbo Queen says fat is beautiful

"NAKHON PATHOM, Thailand, May 1 (Reuters) . . . A Thai beauty contest celebrated women with a bit of flesh on Sunday
when heavy-weight contestants battled for the Miss Jumbo Queen crown . . . [which] allows full-sized women weighing over 80kg (176 lb) to show weight-conscious Thais that big is beautiful."

Wow, that's admirable. With all the media imagery of thin women that you see these days, messages like this are really important. Women need to be treated with respect no matter how much they weigh.

Say, is there any other reason for the Miss Jumbo Queen contest?

"The annual contest . . . aims to raise awareness and money for Thailand's dwindling elephant population."

Oh. That's a bit of an unfortunate association. Still, at least the connection between overweight women and elephants isn't made too clear, right?

"This year, 24 women participated in the contest at the Samphran Elephant Ground and Zoo."

Okay, okay. So they're 'celebrating the beauty' of overweight women by ogling them as they parade around in an elephant enclosure. But, I mean, look, it's not as if they're being degraded or objectified in any other way, okay?

"Judges also looked at other talents of the contestants who mesmerised hundreds of spectators with raunchy dance numbers and revealing costumes."

Naturally, by the way, the contest had no clear winner. It was a Thai. HA!