November 30, 2005

'Saint No Joke

I should probably be saving such gold material for a comic strip, but...

Adrienne's writing her final paper for her sociology theory class. She's supposed to be comparing Emile Durkheim and Georg Simmel, and asked for advice. I suggested she start by listing their Simmel-arities, which I think we can all agree was probably the most helpful thing I could have said.


Today was Saint Andrew's day, which is obviously significant to me for more than one reason. So, uh, happy, somewhat belated Saint Andrew's Day.

November 29, 2005

Wooden Scandals

Alison and I were watching the trailer for Memoirs of a Geisha the other day, and she was complaining that it stars none other than Hollywood Stock Asian Actors A, B, and C: the young chick from Crouching Tiger, the old chick from Crouching Tiger, and the dude from Crouching Tiger. We both agreed that that would be bad enough, but even worse: they're all Chinese actors, when geisha were, of course, Japanese.

According to Netscape Celebrity, director Rob Marshall (of Chicago fame) defended his choice of actors:

"[emphasising] that he was not trying to create an accurate picture of the Japan of the 1930s and that he felt he had chosen the best actors for each role, regardless of nationality."

"You know," said Marshall. "I picked the ones that looked most Asianest. Also, I felt it was important for the main characters to be able to break into kung fu at any moment, just in case."

Outrage in both Japan and China has been widespread: the Japanese are angry that the central geisha in the film is played by a Chinese actress, and the Chinese are angry that Chinese actors are helping to portray a country that occupied them during World War 2. One Chinese blogger said of Ziyi Zhang (the young chick):

"She's sold her soul and betrayed her country. Hacking her to death would not be good enough."

He added: "Can I keep my blog now, Mr State Censor?"

Zhang, however, sees no problem with the movie's casting. "I am really grateful to Rob Marshall for giving us this incredible chance to show the whole world Asian actors' ability," she explained. "We can do so much more than people think," she said, apparently in response to earlier requests by reporters that she rub them rong time.

The Kyoto Traditional Musical Art Foundation was fairly stoic about the film, with one official saying: "It's just entertainment, so what can we do? Hollywood has always done things like ignoring history... So what if geisha never really battled with Godzilla? I'm just glad none of them were played by Tom Cruise."

The scandal continues.

November 28, 2005

Let Me Present For You...

...The top ten reasons I hate student presentations.

10. When the professor says something like, "All presentations must be limited to five minutes," what he/she really means is, "Please, talk for as long as you like, and I won't interrupt except occasionally to suggest that perhaps you should start wrapping up sometime soon."

9. People who think that, "And I was like, okay, whatever!" is a valid critique of an established theory.

8. People who spend hours putting together a flashy PowerPoint presentation and then 'present' it by simply reading from the slides.

7. When people say, "Oh, jeez, sorry, I've gone way over time, haven't I?", they really mean, "Let me conclude by rambling for a further ten minutes." (Each successive time that a person says this during one presentation exponentially increases how irritating it is.)

6. People who expect you to sit through their ten minute presentation, and then skip out of class without listening to anybody else's.

5. Students who have been taught that extemporaneous presentations are the best, and so come in with no notes and blether without any structure or coherence for ten minutes.

4. Students who think that, "A brief summary of your research," means, "A detailed play-by-play of every sentence you used in your twenty page research paper."

3. Professors who think to themselves, "Now, class lasts two hours, so I guess I should schedule five thirty-minute presentations and a ten minute break after the first hour."

2. Speakers who are unfairly judgmental.

And, of course...

1. Speakers who are ugly.

(Obviously, that last one is a joke. Really, I hate anyone who's ugly.)

(Obviously, that was also a joke. Ugly people are okay by me!)

(Obviously, that was also a joke. Physical appearance shouldn't be used as a grounds for social categorization.)

(Obviously, that wasn't a joke. And see how much worse it sounds not to end on a laugh?)

(A laugh.)

November 25, 2005

Conversations With Greatness LV

November 24, 2005

Fighting Fire With Fire

Headline seen on the BBC: Jordan calls for war on extremism

Hmm... Now there's a bizarre concept.

News Flash From the Dark Ages

From BBC News | Wales: Drunk consent rape case scrutiny

A man charged of rape in Swansea has been acquitted, after the judge ruled that (quote) "drunken consent is still consent."

Oh, right, that's why drunken people are allowed to decide for themselves whether or not they can safely drive home— because their judgement is not even in the slightest impaired.

If you think that's bad, listen to the rest of the story...

"The alleged victim told the court that there was "no way" she would have agreed to have sex in a corridor.

But when questioned by the defence, she acknowledged that she could not remember anything and therefore could not definitively say if she consented to sex or not."

Now, I'm sorry, but this is just the most pathetic, appalling pile of putrid crap I have ever heard. I realise that in cases where the victim has only had one or two drinks, there's a little bit of uncertainty over whether or not they can be said to have given informed consent or not— but this poor girl was so catatonically drunk that she can't even remember any sex having happened! I don't think that, in such a state, she would have been capable of making a particular good judgement about anything, and, whether or not she "consented" at the time, the alleged rapist should be sent to jail for being such a self-centred dumb-ass as to have sex with someone who could barely stand up.

But I think the worst part (other than that the woman actually said "I feel like I am to blame") is that not only did the defense make such a disgusting case, not only did the judge buy it, but the prosecution bought it too, and abandoned the case! I mean, what the hell?!?!?! 'Oh, gee, you're right. I hadn't thought of that. Drunken consent is consent. I feel like such a fool.'

*Andrew's head explodes*

*Andrew is late for class*

November 23, 2005

He Helped Kerry The Verdict

From Netscape News: John Kerry Elected ... Jury Foreman

The Associated Press reports that John Kerry was recently selected for jury duty in Suffolk county, Massachusetts, which, among other things, means that John Kerry is totally biting my style.

[Digression: I loved my Boston jury duty experience for one reason, and one reason only: they show you an educational video when you get there about the civic importance of jury duty, starring none other than the Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, Margaret H. Marshall. Justice Marshall has trouble pronouncing her 'R's, which is a pretty unfortunate speech impediment to have when you have to use the phrase "Evewy Amewican is guawanteed the wight to twial by juwy" on a regular basis. Yes, I am immature, but you try sitting in a courthouse for five hours.]

Not only was Kerry selected to serve on a jury, he was even elected foreman-- and, according to the AP, "his fellow jurors
said the state's junior senator was a natural leader."

Kerry acknowledged the not insignificant irony of the situation by smacking the other jurors in the face with a flip-flop.

" 'I just found him to be a knowledgeable, normal person,' said Cynthia Lovell, a nurse and registered Republican who says she now regrets voting for President Bush in last year's election."

Whoa, wait, there's a registered Republican in Massachusetts?

I just thought of a pun:

Q. What food is constitutionally guaranteed to all citizens of the United States?
A. Soup de jure!

November 22, 2005

Annals of Dipshittery, Part 1

Tuesdays have emerged this term as my "get nothing done" days, thanks to class, improv, and post-improv shenanigans insisted upon by Gil. Today's even worse because after that I have the Sociology Students' Association fun night-- so I really have no free time from 2:30pm onwards.

But I was feeling enterprising so after my first class this morning I rushed home to do some laundry ('enterprising' really means 'out of clean underwear'). About fifteen minutes after my load in the washing machine was supposed to have finished, I entered the laundry room and was somewhat bewildered to see both washing machines still running with a full timer, and my clothes nowhere in sight.

"Is that still running?" I asked, perplexed, to the other guy in the room.

He stared at me with a feckless look on his face for a few seconds, then finally let the following sentence lumbering out of his mouth:

"Oh, shit, man. I'm, sorry. I didn't, even, check, if there, was, anything, in there."

Anyway, long story short, I had to spend ten minutes wringing out the three towels (God, why did I have to be washing towels? Damn you, towels, and your cursed absorbency!) that were in there, not to mention everything else, and loaded them into the dryer, where, 80 minutes later, my clothes are still soaking wet.

And do you know what I really can't get over? When I went back to add extra time to the dryer, the same guy whose boneheaded incompetence caused all these problems in the first place, actually GLARED at me for monopolizing the dryer! I mean, fuck! I'm sorry if I'm inconveniencing you, dipshit, and I know you're probably running late for your Moron Club meeting, but don't glare at me because YOU got MY clothes wet.


November 20, 2005

He's Very Enterprising

From Netscape Celebrity: Shatner Wants to Sell Kidney Stone

"WILLIAM SHATNER is hoping to persuade medics who removed his kidney stone to hand it over so he can sell it on auction site eBay."

He claims it will become the 'ultimate piece of Star Trek memorabilia'-- clearly overlooking the remnants of Leonard Nimoy's now infamous botched circumcision.

I can't decide if this is creepy, disgusting, or both.

By the way:

November 18, 2005

Conversations With Greatness LIV

November 17, 2005

My New Baby

I am now the proud owner of an iMac G5. As I understand it, the standard practice nowadays is to give my progeny its own blog. I don't think I'll be doing that (like I don't spend enough time blogging!), but several people have already expressed a wish to abuse our friendship and come over purely to ogle and/or drool on it, so if you'd like to join in, feel free.

Funny story: so, buy my computer, bring it home, unpack it from the box, am quivering with excitement.... And realise that the crappy, crappy management in my building didn't put any three-pronged sockets in my room. So I had to go out and buy a 30-foot extension cord to run out into the living room where there are three-pronged sockets. Hoorah industry standards!

Also, the AirPort wasn't working in my room, so I had a gander on Google and discovered that the "Interference Robustness" option in AirPort preferences, which is completely undocumented but certainly sounds like it would help the problem, has actually been the thing causing all my AirPort problems since I moved in. Apparently all it does is increase the sensitivity of the antenna so that other signals aren't accidentally picked up, but in so doing reduces the overall range significantly. Turned it off, and now the wireless is working beautifully.

And now, I'm late for class, as usual.

November 15, 2005

Quadruple Entendre

From the website of the Worldwide Association for Sexology:

So, I didn't know this, but apparently 'Documents' must be a euphemism for female genitals.

I clicked through to the WAS website while looking at another article (for blog material only, I might add), on how your diet can affect your sex life. The article quotes a Dr Mulhall, who discusses healthy eating "from an erection standpoint."

Clearly, these people don't employ enough male college students to proofread their materials.

PS. How creepy is this?

November 12, 2005

Alba Cross

From Sky Showbiz: Jessica's Sexy Maid Woes

In a recent interview with Zoo magazine (one of the most tit-filled, 'non-pornographic', weekly magazines in Britain, for those of you not familiar with it), movie star Jessica Alba complained about the nature of the parts she gets offered:

"The scripts I get are always for the whore, or the motorcycle chick in leather, or the horny maid."

Hey, genius! If you don't want to be typecast as a whore, stop agreeing to do interviews with skin mags!!!

"I get all those screenplays that start, 'Tawnya is in the shower. The water streams down her naked, perky breasts.' Somehow I don't think this is happening to Natalie Portman," said Alba, referring to the star of the wildly successful Star Wars prequels— widely known in the industry as 'Ugly McSaggyboobs'.

Alba finished the interview with a pout and an angry flap of her arms, saying: "Waa-waa-waa, poor me, I'm so hot."

November 11, 2005

Conversations With Greatness LIII

I accidentally wiped my iPod last night. I don't have a back-up of what was on it. *sob*

November 10, 2005

You've Heard of 'Must-See TV'...

Seen— where else?— on Netscape:

"Must-have sex"... I sure hope they're not talking about rape.

[Edit: Wow, that was pretty offensive, even by my standards.]

[Edit: I just realised that my thesaurus lists 'rape' as a synonym for 'have sex with'. How appalling is that?!]

Actually, they're not taking about rape, and by 'they', I mean Laura Snyder, who writes pretty much all of the sex articles I end up making fun of, here. I often find myself wondering what kind of sex life she has ("Honey, there are seven things you could be doing better"), if, indeed, she has time for one in between all her prurient list-making.

A smattering of must-have sex:

"Must-Have Sex #2: Surprise Sex
While five hours of passionate lovemaking can be lovely, sometimes five minutes of super-hot sex is what really satisfies your cravings. Blindside your baby when they least expect it."

You know, just rugby tackle them to the ground as they're going into a job interview, something like that.

"Must-Have Sex #5: Sleepy Sex
. . . An incredible - if not quite conscious - experience."

Incidentally, you can combine this with the above suggestion, if you rugby tackle them hard enough.

"Must-Have Sex #6: Make Up Sex
. . . Sometimes it's worth just picking a fight for it."

Wow, these actually all involve rugby tackling.

"Must-Have Sex #8: Rough and Tumble Sex
Giving - or getting - some tough love . . . is a surefire sexual fire starter."

I mean, seriously. I never realised the untapped sexual potential of rugby.

Kind of makes you wonder about rugby players, doesn't it?

November 09, 2005

Dictionary Corner

I've been doing an Italian assignment all day, and have been staying sane by amusing myself with my Italian-English dictionary.

By chance (I was looking up 'build', okay?), I noticed that the translation offered for 'busty' is dal seno prosperoso, which literally means 'of flourishing bosom'— not exactly a faithful reproduction of tone, eh?

More generally, though, I'm always amused by what the editors of my dictionary seem to think students will be needing to translate (it's a college dictionary). For instance, 'postmodern' isn't in there (because students never use that word), but 'Amnesty International' is (in translation, it's Amnesty International, said with a comically Italian accent).

Likewise, 'Walkman' and 'Tampax' are both translated (as Walkman and Tampax respectively), but 'Game Boy', for instance, is not. And though 'Durex' has an entry, rather than just being translated as Durex, it's listed as 'preservativo' (a word which no self-respecting Italian student would use and still expect to have use for one— it's about equivalent to saying 'prophylactic').

And, a proposito of product name translations, I was a little surprised to see that the iPod Nano doesn't have a different name in Italy; nano literally means 'dwarf'.

Oh, and there is apparently no translation for 'an offer you can't refuse', which I think casts doubt on the historical accuracy of the entire Godfather trilogy.

November 06, 2005

Doe Boy

Evidently, one of my neighbours is having a Monty Python marathon; I keep hearing laughter, Sousa, and tinny, falsetto screeching through the walls.

I spent the weekend here (yeah, that's right):

It's a beautiful little log cabin (actually, it's a pretty freakin' huge log cabin), settled atop a grassy hill, by a private lake. The next nearest sign of civilisation is Groundskeeper Angus (hmm, Simpsons rip-off, anybody?), a few minutes drive away; another few minutes from there is the little Quebec town of Lost River (which is so terrifyingly tiny, even Google can't find it).

Saturday night the Habs were playing, and since the cabin has no TV, we ventured into 'town' to see if the local bar was showing it. We pulled into the parking lot and were more than a little disturbed to see a full row of pick-up trucks, one of which had a dead deer lying in the back. This was clearly not a place I was going to fit in wearing my H&M overcoat.

When we walked in, there wasn't quite that stereotypical lull in music and/or conversation that one sees in movies about precocious city folk visiting rural bars, but boy!, could those people stare! Old men with hunting knives strapped to their belts lolled around the room, gulping from quart-sized bottles of Labatt, and looking us over from underneath worn trucker hats. The bartender watched us incredulously as we picked a table and sat down. The fatigues-clad drunk at the end of the bar belched. The hockey game played quietly on a small TV in the corner of the room.

Then, they evidently decided we weren't interesting enough, so they cranked up the karaoke system and watched with glee as my drunken friends professed, Man, how much they Felt Like Women. This seemed to go over well with the management, who were soon digging out all the karaoke CDs they could find, and bringing them earnestly to our table. Soon, the regulars even began to join in the singing, and all was well again in Lost River.

The Habs won, as it happened, though by that point we had all pretty much stopped watching. We thanked the remaining stragglers for their hospitality, and retired to the parking lot for a spirited bout of drunken dead deer poking.

*contented sigh*

November 04, 2005

Conversations With Greatness LII

November 03, 2005


Alison, your rant about PMS was so convincing that I'm going to go ahead and steal it for this post...

A recent survey shows that misconceptions about PMS are surprisingly widespread. For instance, 78% of men surveyed believe that PMS is a normal part of the menstrual cycle, 21% of men surveyed believe that PMS can be inherited, and a very confused 6% of the men surveyed believe that PMS is contagious.

More worrisome was the result that almost one third of all adults surveyed believed women 'suffering' from PMS were irrational and unstable, while fully one fifth believed they were less creative and incapable of making a rational decision. One fifth of men also believed that women with PMS were unattractive and less sexy, which possibly explains why those same women acted "hostile" towards them.

One tenth of all adults claimed that a world without PMS would be "like winning the lottery", and a further fifth believed that a world without PMS would be a happier one (!!!!!!).

All of this would be very compelling if it weren't for the fact that PMS isn't even a real damn thing! Modern biomedicine, with its irritatingly overzealous tendency to explain everything through physical pathology, created the idea that women are affected by a mysterious and unexplainable ailment prior to their period, despite the fact that in many women the so-called 'symptoms' of PMS are not related to any physical changes in the woman's body.

Instead, the suggestion that such a syndrome exists leads women (and men) to selectively explain any behaviour they perceive as 'abnormal' in the week (or more) leading up to their period by invoking PMS, regardless of any epidemiological evidence or lack thereof. I need hardly point out that all human beings can be unexplainably moody, hostile, and irascible at any time of the month, and in most cases this has nothing to do with any kind of medical problem. The idea of PMS merely provides a convenient and spurious framework for explaining irritability when women don't act as they're expected to.

Furthermore, by establishing irritability as a medical pathology (do you see how ridiculous this sounds?), the onus is on women to (a) 'fix' themselves (by never being in a bad mood), and (b) submit to any number of bizarre and completely unfounded treatments proposed by their doctor to 'cure' the 'syndrome' that they don't even have! When men are in a bad mood, do they have to go the doctor? Are they told there is something physically wrong with them? Of course not!

(Besides, if somebody told you that all your behaviour was completely baseless and irrational for a quarter of every month, you'd probably be in a bad mood more often, too.)

In the meantime, women are actively blamed for reducing world happiness, because of a presumed medical problem that doesn't exist and that, in any case, they are told they have no control over (because it has few clear causes or treatments).

So enough of this bullshit, already, okay? Women have every right to be in a bad mood at any time of the month, as they see fit. It doesn't mean they're incapable of rational thought or physically malfunctioning, it just means they're in a bad mood. Jeez!

[Edit: I should add that this argument doesn't only apply to behavioural changes: women experience many of the physical 'symptoms' of PMS at other times of the month, too. Bloating, especially, can occur in men and women at any time, for no apparent reason-- but PMS arbitrarily pegs off a week or more of every month and labels any bloating that occurs during that week as symptomatic of a larger disorder. Because of the idea of PMS, women who get bloated before their period one month will think "Oh, I must have PMS," even if they're really bloated because of bad Chinese food. Then, the following month, even if there's no bloating, the woman is more likely to think, "Oh, I had PMS last month, so I'm probably in a bad mood this month because of my PMS," even if the woman never 'had' PMS in the first place!]


PS. Immoral.

November 02, 2005

Is Nothing Sacred?!

Jesus. It's bad enough that I had to turn on that irritating word verification on my comments, to avoid automated spam-bots leaving advertisements. Now there's apparently a real-life, blood-sucking marketing asshole out there, personally leaving adverts in my comments section (probably more than one, actually, especially if this is any indication).

Well, two can play the internet abuse game, so I'd just like to say a few random words now, that have no relation to anything:

racist Nazi bigoted evil homophobic evil racist supremacist bigots.

Have your own fun with Google! Just copy, amend with your own adjective, and paste the following code on to your own webpage/blog/etc.:

<a href="">[---your adjective here---]</a>.