April 30, 2006

But Is It Unsanded?

From The Seattle Post Intelligencer: Macs are virus targets, some experts warn

"Apple officials point to the company's virtually unvarnished security track record and disputed claims that Mac OS X is more susceptible to attack now than in the past."

'Do you see this track record? Not a lick of varnish! It just gleams all by itself!'

April 29, 2006

The 'X' stands for 'X-otic Other'

From Business Week: Microsoft to launch Windows XP in Africa

Jesus, doesn't Africa have enough problems?

"The Microsoft system 'operates on lower-cost personal computing hardware' and 'is designed for entry-level PC users in Africa— with extended help and assistance functions for first-time users, and locally relevant screensavers and wallpapers', the Redmond, WA-based company said in a statement."

I shudder to think what a bunch of Seattle programmers think is "locally relevant" for 'Africans', that extremely homogenous group of 840 million people spread across sixty-one countries and several conflicting cultural groups.

My money is on lions.

April 28, 2006

Conversations With Greatness LXXVII

April 26, 2006

Prescaught In The Act

From BBC NEWS | Politics: Prescott admits to having affair

"Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott [aged 67] has confessed to having had an affair with one of his secretaries.

The MP for Hull East said he regretted the relationship with Tracey Temple, 43 [!!!!], which had ended 'some time ago'."

Gross. Gross gross gross. As if the mental image of John Prescott having sex wasn't disturbing enough already, it was with someone a quarter of a century his junior?

In a statement, Prescott said (for real, this isn't one of my editorial fictionalisations): "I have discussed this fully with my wife Pauline who is devastated."

Okay, now for the editorial fictionalisation: "Hooooo-boy, is she devastated! I haven't seen so much weeping since the last time someone had a mental image of me having sex. It was rough, I tells ya."

Prescott, of course, is most famous for his unconventional campaign tactics in the run-up to the 2001 general election, during which he responded to an egg being thrown at him by leaping into the crowd with a "mad glint" in his eye and punching the culprit in the face.

I really love it when the line between my editorial fictionalisations and reality becomes this blurred. To wit, please enjoy this quiz I made (I just gave you the first answer for free!).

April 25, 2006

Putting The Pap In Paperboys

From The Washington Post: Paperboy Has Gone the Way of the Milkman

"WASHINGTON -- A young teen riding his bike at dawn reaches into his shoulder bag, grabs a tightly folded newspaper and deftly throws it to the front steps."

Whoa, a newspaper discussing newspaper delivery? That is crazy-ass meta.

"It's an image as American as apple pie, but the paperboy has gone the way of the milkman."

What the hell is this garbage? And why is it in the Washington Post?

"Today's papers usually arrive by anonymous drive-and-toss."

The drive-and-toss, of course, is slightly worse than the smash-and-grab, but relatively innocuous compared to the far more dangerous hit-and-run.

"In the 1950s, Henry Petroski earned the then-lucrative sum of $20 a week delivering the Long Island Press each afternoon and Sunday morning. The job taught him how to deal with people and money, as well as how to fold a paper.

'It wasn't that easy; the first few times the paper would open in the air and would fall apart," said Petroski, now a Duke University professor and author of a memoir,
Paperboy: Confessions of a Future Engineer."

HA! So what you're suggesting is, being a paperboy as a kid will make you a prestigious university professor as an adult? Wow, that is such a fatuous connection to make, I don't think anyone could ever top it.

"President Truman, actors John Wayne and Bob Hope, and baseball star Willie Mays all had paper routes when they were young. So did TV journalist Tom Brokaw, cartoon great Walt Disney and investment whiz Warren Buffett."

HOLY TOLEDO! That is a mega-whammy of a slam dunk of a home run! We had better get kids delivering papers again posthaste, or the moral and intellectual fibre of America will unravel disastrously around us!

"[Stacey] Rufe, 34, never knows where to expect her paper, or even what paper she'll get… She said she's received The Financial Times, The New York Times and The Korean Times, many times in lieu of her preferred Post.

Yes, she can call the Post to complain, but 'If I knew who my carrier was, I could call him,' she said."

"I mean," continued Rufe, "Without a proper, local paperboy, you really lose that valuable, community-building feeling you get from yelling the crap out the neighbour's kid. It's just not as much fun complaining to some anonymous telephone operator somewhere-- you have to be able to see the tears welling up in their eyes."

Seriously, if anyone can explain to me what journalistic merit this article has, I would love to hear from you.

April 24, 2006

And What Is The Deal With...

From All Headline News: Skydiver Killed After Chute Fails To Open

Well, come on, how else is a skydiver going to die? I mean, what other story would they ever print? 'Skydiver Killed After Massive Heart Failure'? 'Skydiver Killed After Run-In With Angry Tobacco Lobbyist'? 'Skydiver Killed After Eating Bad Sushi'?

April 23, 2006

Comedy Of Errors

From The Daily Telegraph (Sydney): Rape claim

...Which, by the way, is the most stolid and uninformative headline of the year, so far.

"A MAN who claims he mistakenly had sex with "the wrong woman" after entering a dark bedroom at the home of a Sydney magazine editor was yesterday committed to stand trial for rape.

Paul John Chappell, 31, was invited back to the editor's Bondi flat after they met during a night out."

However, Chappell was "pretty drunk" and the magazine editor refused to have sex with him. Chappell, undeterred, got up to use the bathroom and then returned for a second try; except, allegedly, that he became disoriented and stumbled into her flatmate's bedroom by mistake.

"He got into bed with the flatmate and initiated sex, allegedly believing she was the other woman.

The flatmate participated because she thought it was her own boyfriend who had come to bed after falling asleep in the lounge."

The flatmate had gone to bed around 2am, and "The next thing I remember was waking up to someone having sex with me… I assumed straight away that it was [my boyfriend]," she explained. "I mean, he's always trying to force himself on me while I'm asleep-- he's so romantic! And there's this other thing he does-- oh God, it's so sweet-- where if he wants oral sex he just kind of smiles at me and pushes my head towards his crotch. Swoon."

"To her dismay, she later turned on the light and realised it was Chappell, not her boyfriend, in the bed.

'I was totally gutted…' she said."

Ha! I love Australian slang's capacity to make everything sound like only a minor inconvenience: "What's that, mate? You were just backing out of your driveway and ran over your ninety-year old grandmother, and she was taking her crippled puppy for a walk and let go of the leash and it hopped out into the main road and a schoolbus swerved to avoid it and crashed into a ditch killing everyone inside except for the one suicidal kid who actually wanted to die? Strewth!"

The woman, hysterical, ran out of the room, waking up the rest of the house and forcing Chappell out the door. A date will be set for his trial next week, although the judge in charge of the case admitted it "may well be a difficult case for the prosecution… The defence team already has a strong line-up of expert witnesses, including one 'Mr Party' of Montreal, Canada."

April 22, 2006

Fun Du Chapitre

Last night Adrienne and I threw our last party together (*sniff*), an end-of-term, improv-sponsored, farewell blowout for McGill Improv's five departing members:

When I say improv-sponsored, I mean we used some of the leftover cash from our various events this year to buy three cases of beer for the assembled masses. I love student organisations.

The absolute most entertaining part of the night, though, came not from any of our invited guests or from the net effect of so much alochol, but rather from 'Mr Party', which is what we dubbed this drunken fellow (centre) who staggered in from the street in a foggy stupor, totally by himself and without any clue as to what was going on or where he was supposed to be:

Eventually, after he had wandered around the apartment for a few minutes, we took him out into the lobby to see if we could find his friend's name on the intercom. The so-called 'Pamela' he alleged to be visiting was not listed (ie. did not live in the building), so instead (and I'm not totally proud of this) we told him that she lived upstairs, walked him into the stairwell, then left him there and ran back to our apartment, locking the door behind us.

And we thought that would be that, but people were going to and fro so that they could smoke outside, and the door didn't stay locked for long. After ten minutes, Mr Party had stumbled back in-- only now he was dressed in just his underwear (and even that came pretty close to coming off a couple of times):

We walked him back out into the lobby (after letting him startle several of our guests for comic effect) and then went upstairs to see if we could find his clothes-- which were obligingly strewn about the landing one floor up. But when we came back down to redress him (pun most certainly intended), he had disappeared again-- not, this time, into the apartment, but into the elevator, where he was standing, befuddled, and watching the doors slide open and shut on the ground floor.

So we got his clothes back on and sent him off into the night on his merry way. Please, Mr Party, if you're reading this: let us know that you got home safely.

The party, incidentally, was quite, quite awesome, and I, like Gil, would like to tell everybody who's been here for me this semester that you are loved and appreciated more than I could possibly express in blog form.

All the other pictures from the night can be found here. Aren't you proud, mom and dad?

April 21, 2006

Conversations With Greatness LXXVI

Had to happen sooner or later.

April 20, 2006


Do we have a source on this?

April 18, 2006

Race You To It

From ABC News: LA Woman Hospitalized With Bubonic Plague

"LOS ANGELES, Apr 18, 2006 (AP)— A woman was hospitalized earlier this month with bubonic plague, the first confirmed human case in Los Angeles County in more than two decades, health officials said Tuesday."

First case in two decades? I thought black death was pretty common in LA.

Ho, snap, no I didn't.

April 17, 2006

Mass. Transit


So, my weekend in Boston was really, one of the most incredible weekends or vacations I've had in a long time.

The drive down was a little stressful, thanks to a late departure, last-minute route change, and the usual incompetence and retardedness of the United States government (because of whom we got to sit at the border for almost ninety minutes while Maryam was intensively questioned and put into a databank somewhere, just because she happened to be born in Iran). I think I am without a doubt on some kind of terrorist watchlist now, simply because I drove an Iranian over the border-- for some reason they had to take my name and US address, as well as all her details. Of course, I was probably already on a terrorist watchlist, anyway, because of the two (TWO!) false positives that the explosives-detecting machine at Logan airport has made on my shoes over the years.

But from there, things got progressively more and more freakin' great. We spent Friday afternoon wandering around Harvard Square and surrounding Cambridge with Eileen (cf. this post) and her friend Jessie. We got to visit a couple of my old haunts, and also do a couple of things that I'd never managed to do while I lived in Boston-- most notable of which was wade through a giant heap of clothes (literally) at The Garment District. Then in the evening Adrienne, Maryam and I hit up my old neighbourhood, saw John Kerry's house, had a drink at The Sevens, and ended the night with a pajama-jammy-jam back in Weymouth.

The highlight of the trip, though, was the Swink screening. The movie was excellent (including a really fantastic original score by Jay McCarrol), and it was nice to see director Chris again (if briefly). In fact, my only complaint was with the barstaff at the after party, who refused to accept my British driving license as valid ID. I tell you, there is something seriously wrong with a country where a twenty-two-year-old can't buy a drink at a bar, especially a twenty-two-year-old with as much designer stubble as me (I mean, if not shaving for a few days can't get me served, all it's really doing is getting me put on terrorist watchlists).

We capped off Saturday with a trip to Bukowski's, an endearingly dingy bar near the Pru. I almost got KBed by the bouncer there, too, but like a true Bostonian he eventually caved, saying he didn't wanna be a buzzkill and making me promise that I wouldn't get into any bahroom brawls (as if I would, in my favourite Gap sweater). Then I had the seminal experience of driving through road closures in downtown Boston on a Saturday night, with Adrienne drunkenly belting out the words to 'I Will Survive' along with the radio.

Say, do you think being on a terrorist watchlist means I get to meet Kiefer Sutherland?

And now, to bed.

April 14, 2006

Conversations With Greatness LXXV

Just managed to slip it in before the end of Friday...

April 12, 2006

Annals of Retarded Research, Vol. 233,557

From Netscape What's New:

"You're in the grocery store, mindlessly stocking your cart. You notice a child--all alone and wandering down the aisle. Get a good look at that kid's parents and chances are they're ugly."

Man, you're telling me. Why are people like that even allowed to have kids?

"That's the controversial conclusion reached by social scientist Andrew Harrell, director of the Population Research Laboratory at the University of Alberta…

'Unattractive parents are less likely than attractive parents to supervise their children closely,' Harrell told The Edmonton Journal. 'They have their own personal concerns and they have less time to be attentive to their children... They are in such physical and psychological misery they are not there'."

Harrell (pictured left) first conceived of his theory after his own complexion, ruddy as an alcoholic whaler, left him so oblivious to the world around him that he accidentally pummelled a three-year-old in the kidney with a meat tenderiser.

Harrell's "study" showed that 16 percent of 'ugly' parents lost sight of their children at least once, compared to only 10 percent of attractive parents (of course, nowhere does anybody report what the margin of error is, though typically in samples of this size it's about 3 percentage points either way-- so both groups could theoretically lose sight of their children 13 percent of the time).

"I'm appalled. We've always believed it was a failure of shopping carts, but it's the parents, crappy parenting."

Harrell then corrected himself: "Crappy, UGLY parenting."

Plans to extend the research in the future include studying whether or not fugliness has a similar effect on parenting.

April 11, 2006


So, I know I already did my post about being done with school, but today I am ACTUALLY done with school-- no more classes to go to, no more exams to sit, no more papers to write. All that stands between me and a degree is handing in my thesis tomorrow and walking across a stage in June.

Also, today, my friend Eileen is coming to visit (she was supposed to get here around 8 or 9pm, but didn't think she needed her passport to cross the Canadian border so had to wait around in Port Authority for her parents to fax her a copy of her birth certificate, instead). She probably won't arrive until 2 or 3am, so I've got LOTS of time to blog...

I haven't seen Eileen since I lived in Boston, and even then not since the beginning of my sophomore year. We had a nightly engagement to watch the midnight episode of the Simpsons, which was about as college as I've ever been. We always watched in her room, because even though she disliked her roommate enough to switch rooms halfway through the semester, she disliked my roommate even more (ever since he creeped her the hell out by kinda sorta sexually harassing her one night).

Anyway, seeing her is going to be a real blast from the past, made all the more intense by the fact that she's going to be driving down to Boston with me and Maryam this weekend. I planned the trip to coincide with the screening of my friend Chris's directorial debut, at which I imagine I am going to see about fifty Emerson kids who I haven't thought about in three years. Chris and I also had a regular engagement at Emerson-- I would always think about how much I wanted to hang out with him and then tell myself I wasn't cool or funny enough to do so.

Actually, our regular engagement involved playing NBA Jam on his second-hand Sega Genesis, so it's kind of weird that I'm going to be seeing him again now, having just bought myself a PlayStation2 and a copy of the Sonic Super Happy Mega Collection Plus (or something similarly Asian-sounding). I think the universe is trying to send me signals that I left Boston a little prematurely.

I have been considering moving back there next year, especially since my chances of getting into grad school are getting smaller every day (I know! What the hell is up with that? I mean, I killed myself keeping my GPA at 3.94 while at McGill, and for what? Rejected from grad school, rejected as valedictorian... I ask you, what is a high GPA good for if not for those two things? All employers are going to look at is whether or not I have a degree, and, as they used to say at Emerson: 'D spells Degree'.) Anyway, I'm not exactly sure what I'd do in Boston, and I really only have two or three friends there now, but it would at least be an easier move than London, which is my other possible destination for next year.

I like the idea of London because, speaking of the universe sending me signs, five of my favourite people in the whole wide world will be converging upon London next year, so I'd be in very good company. Then again, I'd also be in London, the city I've always claimed to hate and sworn never to live in. I'd feel like kind of a sell-out.

Incidentally, as I left my last exam today, my stats professor told me I probably should sell out-- I can make a lot more money doing market research than being an academic. Of course, he's a little cynical.

It's a strange, strange world.

April 10, 2006

I Am Going Straight To Hell...

From The Washington Post: Falling Tree Kills Deaf Italian Tourist

I guess this finally answers that age-old question: if a tree falls with nobody around to hear it, it does make a noise! (That noise is: "Mamma mia, cosa stai facen—SPLAT.")

April 07, 2006

Conversations With Greatness LXXIV

Why would somebody take the time to leave this comment?

April 06, 2006

Revisionist History

I just came from my last class as an undergraduate. My professor told me I looked unusually relaxed, and when I told her why she said congratulations and shook my hand.



CWG tomorrow, as usual, but probably a while before I'm back up to regular posting frequency-- barrage of visitors and trips over the next ten days.

April 03, 2006

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

This is an oddly suggestive headline:

The story is about the hit off-Broadway play, 'The Lieutenant of Inishmore', whose star Kerry Condon will be replaced by actress Alison Pill when the show moves to Broadway next month. The producers had hoped to get budding stage virtuoso Jennifer Intrauterine Device, but sadly she had other commitments.

And how about that fancy, feathered highlight bubble, eh? No more hard edges in my screen grabs!


In other news, I got a bill from McGill today that included a $60 "graduation charge". Is it just me, or does that positively scream, "Yeah, and what the fuck are you going to do about it?" There had better be an open bar at the ceremony.

April 02, 2006

Intentional Misinterpretation For Comic Effect

This article, originally from Readers' Digest and pinched by Netscape, lists "the five things you should never buy used", which it says are:

1. Cribs
2. Computers
3. Digital cameras
4. Plasma screens
5. Appliances

Now, frankly, I may have slightly different priorities than the folks over at Readers' Digest, but my top five things you should never buy used would look more like this:

1. Underwear (I mean, Jesus, hello?!)
2. Hypodermic syringes
3. 'The Keeper' (well, okay, I wouldn't personally buy that at all, but still...)
4. Disposable cameras
5. Rice

Man, I should go work for Letterman or something.

April 01, 2006

Relativism Gone Mad

Can any of you brainy financial types explain this headline to me?