Friday, September 29, 2006

The State of the World

Before we begin can I just say, Belinda? You can do so much better.

Fight over guns on Great lakes heating up
A number of polticians on Canada's side of the border are voicing concerns over a recent decision by the U.S. Coast Guard to arm some of its vessels with large machine guns and run training exercises on the Great Lakes.

The Coast Guard says the guns are to deter any water borne terrorist threats coming across the border. Canadians point out there haven't been any water borne threats on the Great Lakes since the War of 1812. Windsor MP Joe Comartin said his biggest concern was environmental; when removing lead from the Lakes has been a concern for years, but leaving bullets on the lake bed could reverse recent trends that have been making the Lakes healthier.

RCMP chief says handling of Arar case a terrible mistake
But not worth resigning over. That would just be silly.

The division of Press and State
So U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with the editorial board of the New York Times on September 25. It mostly served as an interview, with some discussion of how press coverage affects the government's relationship with its opponents [ie: when the Times publishes a hot scoop, what does that say to enemies about the admin's ability to keep info classified?]

Anyway, who cares about any of that. The one thing that the blogoverse has jumped all over is the following exchange:

SECRETARY RICE: [snip]...there is information that corporations keep confidential; it’s in their boardrooms. But somehow, when it’s the United States Government that is dealing with life and death...[snip]...we’re not supposed to keep anything confidential. And so I --

QUESTION: Well, that’s taking it to extremes.


QUESTION: And we – this paper has kept some of your secrets for you, too.

SECRETARY RICE: I understand that and I appreciate that.

Emphasis mine. So what does that mean? Well, it depends on whether you interpret the comment to refer to Rice's personal secrets, or speaking to something larger. At any rate, it's an odd thing for both sides to admit in a public meeting. Hell yeah it was public, here's the State Department transcript.

And, because we're fair and balanced here on the Lance blog, here's a list of sotries author Eric Boehlert says the NYT ignored, held or tossed for the Bush administration over the years, most notably the [Pulitzer winning] NSA wiretapping story, published in December 2005, after being held since October 2004.

Dissecting the Albom
Sports writer turned author Mitch Albom gets positively roasted over at Slate. Bryan Curtis takes the Detroit Free Press columnist to task essentially for writing the same book over and over again ever since Tuesdays With Morrie put him on the national consciousness. "He is a huckster evangelist for the soccer-mom set," writes Curtis. Yowch.

Also on Slate, an examination of the cash cow that has become social networking sites. Rupert Murdoch bought MySpace for $580 million, and now Yahoo! is seducing Facebook for $1 billion. Daniel Gross says it feels eerily similar to the boom and bust of late '90s dotcoms. He doesn't draw any conclusions, merely points out what's the same and what's different, and it makes for an interesting quick read if you're into that sort of thing.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The State of the World

Enrolment numbers set record
Well, 17,000 of you started classes this September, setting a record for University of Windsor enrolment, all but ensuring that a Bachelor's degree is the new high school diploma. Way to ruin it for the rest of us.

Despite the boost in numbers, it wasn't as large as other institutions, and Ross is concerned Windsor will lose out on some funding, due to some provincial budget restructuring. School officials meet with provincial politicians tomorrow to discuss it. Long story short: even with an average tuition increase of four per cent, the UofW could still be short of cash.

Hit the road to support the Lancers
The UWSA is offering students a bus to London's TD Waterhouse stadium [looks like they had no trouble finding a naming sponsor for their stadium] to see the Lancers take on their arch-rivals the Western Mustangs. Thirty bucks gets you transport, admission to the game, a t-shirt, and even snacks.

Pretty good deal to me. Email Tweeny at or stop by the UWSA office on the second floor of the CAW Centre to reserve a spot. Not only will the game be televeised on Cogeco, but the College Sports Television Network will be broadcasting the game to a national U.S. audience, calling it a 'great Canadian matchup.' It's the first time the network has broadcast a Canadian collegiate event. So get off your asses and go, people!

Top Mountie faces tough questions
RCMP Chief Giuliano Zaccardelli will go before a House of Commons committee today to examine why the mounties so badly mishandled the case of Maher Arar, an innocent Canadian who, after being apprehended by U.S. authorities following a mountie tip off, was deported to Syria where he was imprisoned and tortured for a year.

MPs will be grilling Zaccardelli not only on the RCMP's role in the debacle, but his own willingness to adopt the recommendations of Justice Dennis O'Connor's inquiry report. The Tories are standing by their man, with Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day pledging support, but the Post is quick to compare the situation to George W. Bush's public endorsement of former FEMA director Michael Brown, who was fired days later anyway.

The continued joy that is American media-watching
MSNBC commentator [and possible Trail hero] Keith Olbermann is a highly outspoken critic of Republicans and President Bush. He does it with the same vigor that is Fox News' bread and butter, which makes him an anomaly in the "liberal media." We linked to one of his commentaries yesterday.

Well, he got a letter the other day. It was threatening. It contained a white powdery substance. So he called the police, and took measures to make sure everything was copacetic. He did not make an issue of it, he did not make the story public.

However, the NY Post got wind of the story. That would be the Rupert Murdoch-owned NY Post. Rupert Murdoch who also owns Fox News. So the Post reports on the incident. And makes fun of it. Under the headline 'Powder Puff Spooks Keith,' the story goes on to imply that Olbermann was being overly concerned by going to the hospital after he was told the powder was soap: '...doctors looked him over and sent him home. Whether they gave him a lollipop on the way out isn't known.'

Needless to say, that's f*cking disgusting. At any rate. From that link you can follow a trail of blogs on the subject, all with similar outrage and quick to point out that, while sending threatening fake anthrax letters to people is apparently ha-ha funny, it's also a federal offense in the states, and was considered a form of terrorism a scant five years ago. But anyway...

I'll be further discussing my disappointment with American media later today in my heartwrenching breakup note to Anderson Cooper.

A cautionary tale

It's a habit of some to fall asleep on the couches outside of the Lance offices.
It's been going on for years, from solo acts who pass out between classes to spooning couples cuddling the day away. And we at the Lance are tired of enduring it. Notice has been served.

Man, someone has to introduce me to that fox in the glasses. That chick is smokin!


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Culture

I think it gets taken for granted by a lot of bloggers that their audience is completely plugged in to the wired. While that may have been the case once, I don't know that the rule holds anymore.

What I mean is, even a year ago, the people who were reading blogs were the ones who already knew the weird and odd things that make life online so interesting. People who read this blog nowadays may have no idea what Second Life, or a meme, or Technorati is. I'm still trying to figure out if increasing your level of web-savvy is something I should be trying to do on this blog.

For years, I've been fascinated by 'the camgirl,' that is, regular girl who teases or gets full on naked all in the name of a few DVDs off of her Amazon wishlist. There's even a few Windsor students out there [which is probably the universal indicator that a trend has cracked the mainstream]. But for those of us who are even a little hardcore online, camgirls are just a fact of life, they're passe. But wold it be worthwhile for to further discuss it for the benefit of this audience?

I'm still wondering what possesses a young girl to just take off their clothes for anonymous strangers on the internet. These girls would balk at working in a strip club, but have no issue booking 'private shows' for online viewers. And that might be something I look at some more in the coming days.

Continuing to bring culture into your life:

--UK-based street artist Banksy recently held his "Barely Legal" exhibit in LA, which may or may not have been his first in North America. Supertouch has a boatload of pics from the VIP reception. He painted an elephant. Brad Pitt was there. For a street artist show. The mind boggles. Click the link, feel the realness. Me, I'd kill for that painting of punk rockers lined up to buy 'DESTROY CAPITALISM' t-shirts at 30 bucks a pop.

--Who doesn't love Maurice Sendak? Seriously. If you've never read "Where the Wild Things Are" you have no soul. Honestly. Don't even comment, I won't read it.

Anyhoo, he has a new book out, and he talked to NPR about it.

--Somewhat related, it's Banned Books Week! Every year the American Library Association celebrates artistic freedom by compiling and distributing a list of those books that have received the most challenges from good hearted souls who want to tell you what you can and cannot read. To celebrate the 25th anniversary, the ALA has gotten together a list of the most challenged books of the 21st century. Topping the list? OBVIOUSLY Harry Potter. Also of note: Catcher in the Rye still got enough complaints to crack the top 10 for 2005. Mindblowing.

--James Jean is a phenomenal artist who's been wowing geeks on comic book covers for years. While best known amongst that community, he's also all but established as a commercial artist, having done work for Nike, SPIN and Men's Health. His delicate linework and gift for layout are damn near unparalleled, and he's now blogging fulltime.

--A French museum is holding an exhibit of artwork that inspired Disney artists and animators. This slideshow offers pics of the original artwork along with the Disney work it inspired. It's in French, but still pretty damn cool.

So there! Never let it be said The Trail didn't try to bring you bastards some culture. But just so I don't lose you completely: Screech made a sex tape.

See you tomorrow!

The State of the World: Evening Edition

Everything went fine, thank you.

Harper goes hissy on former PM
Stephen Harper responded to criticisms on the war in Afghanistan from former Prime Minister Paul Martin with what could best be described as...heat.

Martin, the guy who sent the troops over there in the first place, said the mission has become too focused on combat, and not about rebuilding the country, which was the original intent of the mission.

"We're doing the defence," said Martin, "but are we doing...the amount of aid that I believe was part of the original mission? The answer unequivocally is that we're not."

Replied Harper, "When you make those kinds of decisions as a prime minister [to deploy the troops] you have to be able to take responsibility for them and stick with them. The fact that Mr. Martin is unable to do that...illustrates why he is no longer prime minister."

Raaawr. Pull back the claws, kitten. You won. Remember?

Related: the President of Pakistan thinks Canadians are a bunch of babies.

Canadians crack Mona Lisa smile
A pair of Canadian scientists, using some sort of lazer voodoo, have concluded that the Mona Lisa was a new mother when DaVinci painted her in the 16th century.

Using a technique that allowed the researchers to "peer through" layers of paint revealed the Mona Lisa was wearing a thin gauze veil commonly worn by pregnant women and new mothers at that point in history.

The Mona Lisa has been previously identified by historians as Lisa Gherardini, wife of a Florentine merchant and mother of five.

Oooh, relevant!
A top aide for Republican congressman Charles Bass has been forced to resign over false postings he made on liberal blogs, intended to make voters think the race was not competitive, in essence to distract Democrats from the race.

Administrators of the blogs in question traced the posts back to the House of Representatives computer server, and to Tad Furtado, who worked in Bass's office. Reverse IP lookup, fabulous tool, no? According to the blog admins, posing as supporters of Democrat candidates on liberal blogs in order to criticize those same candidates has become a more popular tactic lately.

On a somewhat related note
While no one has mentioned it yet, it is not out of the realm of possibility that someone could make the criticism that the news portion of this blog skews a little U.S. I don't like it anymore than you do, Windsor, but the sad fact is that our southern neighbors are the most powerful country in the world, and what's going on there invariably impacts us in some form, directly or indirectly. Hence why I take such an interest on what goes on there.

On that note, have a gander at MSNBC's Keith Olbermann's tirade reacting against the Bush administration and the Bill Clinton/Fox News interview from last week, where Clinton was bascially asked why he didn't do anything to stop Osama bin Laden, and subsequently snapped on the reporter asking the question [you can find it on YouTube].

Besides, I always find it fun when a journalist goes off. It's no better than Fox News, but it's nice to hear it from the other end of the political spectrum, since liberals are so known for their docility.

The State of the World

Will come a little late today, kids. Daddy's got some job interviews today, so he'll be occupied. Look for a double up later this evening. Okay? Okay.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Kingston, Ontario: The Trail's Kind of Town

It's a light, late afternoon in Coffee and Comapny. The dinner hour, most people are at home with their families or the news and a TV tray.

One of the staff has popped in a cute complilation of Postal Service covers. The Shins doing "We Will Become Silhouettes." Iron and Wine's aching rendition of "Such Great Heights." The concept's trite, a little too English-undergrad for my usual tastes, but it's fitting today.

Some conversational debris gets tossed over the planter separating the nook I'm presently writing in from the rest of the lounge.
"I'm first and foremost an actress," says one young woman to an older man I believe might be a prof or director or God knows what. At any rate, Windsor, you know how I feel about self-labelers.

Inexplicably, the soundtrack has shifted to 'Lump,' the debut single from late 90's footnote The Presidents of the United States of America.

Time to go home.

Todays thought on blogging, from cultural critic Terry Teachout:
"Blogging makes it possible for writers to commit instantaneous worldwide libel without having access to traditional print media. That's a hugely serious development whose implicaions we're only beginning to suspect."
Now there's an aspect I don't think anyone's been exploring yet.

There's been other notable tidbits as I make my way through the Klein and Burnstein book, none of which I really feel like fully exploring at the moment. Author Ayelet Waldman notes the sex segregation that occurs in the blogosphere, with most blog communities catering to women more open to the emotional aspects of life, where the men typically opt for snark. Waldman acknowledges that snark is often the easiest way to get to maximize one's signal to noise ratio, but questions its overall usefulness. Discuss.

The always indispensible BoingBoing alerts us to a sort of Marmaduke renaissance taking place online, with two links on the unfunniest single panel comic (worse than Family Circus, even) in the same day:

1. A sort of open-sounce project dedicated to making Marmaduke funnier.
2. My preferred link, since I'm oh-so-postmodern: A detailed explanation of what's occured in that day's Marmaduke comic. Since they can be hard to decipher.

Finally, while I know my protoge has made Trail-approved comment on the baffling 'tights-under-skirt' trend you pretty young things insist on continuing, some of you need visual aides, so allow me to explain why I find this particular trend so heartbreakingly laughable.


Honestly, I saw some indie queen walking down Princess yesterday who thought she was just the ish in her long crocheted top, thick belt, tights and heels. I think she may have had a pair of those white plastic framed sunglasses the kids are all about these days.

Bitch, please. Peg's been rocking that look since you were in diapers. And the difference is, she knew she looked ridiculous. Respect that.

Do you have any idea how hard it was to find a decent picture of Peg Bundy? I thought this was the information age, people?!

The State of the World

Prof finds 'pecker alive and well
Best headline ever.

Windsor ornithologist Daniel Mennill has published recently that the ivroy billed woodpecker, thought extinct, is still alive and living in a thick Florida forest along the Choctawatchee river.

Mennill has collected hours of audio from the area that contain what he believes is the distinctive "double knock pouncing pattern," and "trilling trumpet call" of the woodpecker, though he acknowledges that getting a photo is now the top priority, and he will be returning to Florida in January with that goal in mind.

Tough break, stoners
So the Harper Tories have outlined some of their budget plans for the next year, and it basically includes cutting $2 billion from programs the Conservatives have ruled unnecessary or just plain didn't like.

The news came at a press conference yesterday where Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told reporters the $13.2 billion surplus built up by the Liberals would be used to pay down the national debt, and even signed a giant cheque to symbolize the process, because the Tories know how much journalists love visual aids.

Some of the programs getting the axe include: the GST rebate for foreign visitors, which allows them to get back GST they pay while in Canada [the Canada Revenue Agency says on three per cent of visitors take advantage of it]; the Court Challenges Program, which funded litigation costs in the name of equal rights [said Treasury Board Prez John Baird, "I just don't think it made sense for the government to subsidize lawyers to challenge the government's own laws in court."]; and medicinal marijuana research.

Critics say the spending cuts look more like an ideological hit list than an attempt to cut spending.

Why American Media Sucks
In four pictures.

Gourmet on a budget
The Trail realizes that sometimes it's not always the easiest thing to prepare a healthy yet delcious meal when you're living on your own [a lesson he's learning himself lately], but he's always here to help you stay right, Windsor. So, with that in mind, enjoythis little tip.

How to cook salmon in your dishwasher.

Tell me that wouldn't impress the hell out of a lady. She probably thinks you can't cook to begin with, and then you pull this trick out? It'll certainly keep things exciting.

If only The Trail had a dishwasher.

Off to look for work, Windsor. Talk to you tonight.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The State of the World

Short and sweet today, or did you people not notice I posted a 2,000 word entry at 12.41 last night?

Goodall visit underway
Dr. Jane Goodall, possibly the most well known name in primatology, is on campus this week, and will have a tree planted to commemorate her visit. The ceremony will take place outside the campus computer center at 11.30 a.m. today. Can't make it? For ten bucks you can attend her public lecture "A Reason to Hope" at the Caboto Club tonight at 7 p.m. Get tickets at the CAW Centre Info Desk.

College/Cleary deal boosting downtown investment
Mayor Eddie Francis says the transfer of the Clearly Center from the city to St. Clair College is resulting in a number of investors eager to develop in the downtown core.

St. Clair's new campus at the Cleary will bring up to 1,000 students downtown everyday, and Francis said investors want to take advantage of the new traffic, including a new tenant for the Daimler Chrysler building.

You mean the Keg isn't enough?

School fire not consdered hate crime
A fire at an Ottawa Islamic school on the first day of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, has been ruled as arson, but not as a hate crime. The school board chairman disagrees with the assessment, obviously.

Musical preference, smarts linked
Admit it, Windsor. You know what runs through your head when you see the gangstas rolling down the street in daddy's caddy. It's the exact opposite of what runs through your head when you see someone chilling with a string quartet. You know you do it, even though it's baseless and stereotypical.

Or is it?

A British study concluded that test subjects with the highest level of education were also the main fans of opera, jazz and classical. Who can refute science?!

Honestly, what possesses someone?
It's been far too long since we had a good ole story about some psycho slicing a pregnant woman's stomach open and stealing her fetus.

If you felt your life was lacking for it, here you go. It takes all kinds, Windsor.

If you need a pick me up after reading that, here's every Simpsons episode online, for free.

The previous link is officially considered by Lance Sports Editor Julie Sobowale to be the greatest thing I have ever posted.

You may want to hurry, though. I gots a feeling the cease and desist is coming sooner than later.

Sundays are for self-indulgence

4.23 on an overcast Kingston Sunday.
I’m in one of those coffee shops that dances along the fence between arty and upwardly mobile. Exposed air ducts and free wireless Internet, that sort of thing.

Today’s favourite Kingston phenomenon is the tendency for people to wear their Queen’s gear out in public. You know, if you’re of a certain age, or doing certain things like, I don’t know, reading an economics textbook, it’s probably a safe bet you go to Queen’s. I don’t know why you would feel the need for all the extra promotion. It’s like being that guy who goes to a concert wearing a t-shirt advertising the performing artist. Don’t be that guy.

So what brings me down here on a Sunday afternoon, other than my affection for scribbling away in cafes in all my tortured artist glory?
Congdon, obviously. It always comes back to Amanda Congdon.

For as much ire as the woman arouses in me, the former Rocketboom host always seems to uncork a flood of opinions, on a myriad of topics that grow progressively larger in scale the more I think about them. Today’s flow looks as follows:

TitlesThe RevolutionPublic EnemyReal World Futurism

Bear with me, Windsor. This could take a while.

So Ms. Congdon has finally completed her bounceback from being unceremoniously canned from RB. She’s going ahead with her previously planned move from NY to LA, and is wisely using the trip to kickstart a new videoblogging effort, Amanda Across America.
There’s only a handful of episodes up at the moment, but the more you watch, the harder it becomes to disagree with RB co-founder Andrew Baron’s alleged comment that he “created Amanda.”

So the catalyst for all this rambling came in last Friday’s episode, when Congdon stopped by an exhibit of works by the artist Pia Lindman. Congdon’s attempts at art criticism notwithstanding, the best moment comes when Congdon approaches Lindman for an interview. The initial exhange breaks down like this:
“Can you tell me a little bit about your project?” asks Congdon. “I’m a videoblogger.”
“A video….?” Lindman responds.
“A videoblogger.”
“Ohhh,” says Lindman in that, ‘How precious!’ tone your parents used when you told them you wanted to be a fireman astronaut cartoonist superhero when you grew up. Another person in attendance promptly screws with the lighting, and the scene shifts to Congdon plotting her interview strategy with typical bug-eyed enthusiasm.

ANYWAY… I have this thing, Windsor, a problem, another one of those idiosyncratic tweaks that makes The Trail The Trail you love.
I hate self-labelers.
I believe there are some titles or labels that can only be bestowed by others, or when certain criteria are met, such as getting paid [though that’s not the be all, end all]. It’s just a thing I have. Despite getting paid to write/edit/blog for the better part of three years, I still hesitate to classify myself as any sort of professional. Now maybe that just speaks to personal insecurities that Congdon lacks, but I do believe there are certain rites of passage people have to go through before they earn the right to claim their membership in a certain profession. I don’t feel I’ve endured those rites, so I don’t claim membership.

Put it another way: I’m making my way through Samuel Freedman’s Letters to a Young Journalist right now, despite my aversion to works titled “Letters to a Young [insert noun].” Again, one of those tweaks you love.
In the book, Freedman mentions that he doesn’t trust any “journalist” with polished shoes, because if you were a real reporter, you would be out on the streets and getting your shoes dirty. The fact that I’ve spent more time at a desk than on the streets lately prevents me from considering myself a reporter, which is a distinction I think a lot of bloggers fail to make.

The Revolution

Congdon irritating me this time just reminds me of all the other ways Congdon has irritated me in our short, one-sided relationship. The biggest reason being that Amanda is one of these “Death to MSM!” newjacks who thinks the Internet has changed the world on a much larger scale than it actually has. It’s an easy position to take when your primary audience is the people who already feel that way.

Two examples:
This editorial from her Rocketboom days championing the cause of a neutral intarweb for everyone. She does a good job of breaking down why net neutrality is just the ginchiest, I mean, is there anyone who wants their Internet access to look like their cable-tv package? Not so much. But about two-thirds through, her argument falls to pieces.

“What if,” posits Congdon, “the world was hit with another tsunami-level catastrophe? And what if your Internet provider….blocked Craigslist during the midst of the disaster because they wanted you to use their less effective, less popular classified site?”

Umm, call me a dinosaur, but if I lose everything I have in a f*cking tsunami, Internet access is the last thing on my mind. Who gives a shit if I can’t get on Craigslist, if I need a tent that badly, maybe I’ll pick up a goddamn newspaper? I don’t need to connect to the world when I’m living under a tree on the side of the f*cking mountain, I need to find something I can kill and eat.

The other example comes from her Unboomed phase, where she laments a Wall Street Journal article which argues most bloggers and citizen journalists are just using their online efforts to finagle a gig in the MSM.
Congdon takes issue with the claim, obviously, but is smart enough to retort that most web “amateurs” just want to get paid what they’re worth for the work they do. And who can take issue with that? But she can’t resist a chance to get snarky, because vanity always wins.
“You're afraid, Old Media, just afraid. And that's totally legitimate. Media is moving in beautiful and scary and exciting ways. Look at new media (NM) as a challenge, not a threat.
Or, coming at you from another angle, let us in cuz we are coming in anyway. You know it, man. So let's find ways to co-exist in harmony.”
Yeah, man! Stop trying to hold us down! Why won’t you just let us live! All we wanna do is liiiivvvvvve!

Three entries later she mentions that she’ll be doing some work with a “well known news outlet.” Well known news outlet? That sounds positively Old Media! Jiggy!

Public Enemy
Not so much a non sequitur on the awesomeness that is “Flavor of Love” as much as a reappreciation of the group’s 1988 hit “Don’t Believe the Hype,” because that’s what all of this hoopla comes down to. What we have here is a group of small, but oh-so-vocal people who think they speak for the downtrodden masses when they don’t.

Two glib examples spring to mind from events this past summer: One, X-men 3’s last minute inclusion of the line, “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!” Innocuous on its own, but layered with Internet meta-awareness for people who have seen the viral cartoon it was lifted from. But most people haven’t seen the cartoon. Everyone I know who saw the movie in a theatre last summer told me that audiences reacted only slightly. Certainly not the sort of uncorked, ‘oh no they didn’t!’ cheers the filmmakers were surely hoping for.

Need more? Four words: “Snakes on a Plane.” Months of Internet hype. Bloggers invited to the premiere! The glass ceiling between armchair producers and the Hollywood elite smashed! Opening weekend take of $15 million! Oops.

I could tell you what I think of that, but blogger Heidi MacDonald did it much more succinctly.
“In the end, it proves something we’ve been saying for a while: The [I]nternet is NOT real life. You must market to the real world too. Sure there’s a nice little world in a bottle that we all like playing in, but as much as it pains us to admit it, not everyone reads blogs all day.”
This is certainly an odd position for a blogger to take, and I know I’ve been as guilty as anyone of trumpeting the cause, but I think you’ve learned by now, Windsor, though The Trail believes in the potential of blogs, the blogosphere is not some sort of free speech utopia. Before blogs, there were zines. Before podcasts there were cassette tapes, and before vlogs there were home movies.

Don’t believe the hype.

Real World Futurism
“Damn Trail, you talk about this shit a LOT.”
I understand that, Windsor, but sometimes the stars align, your cryptex gets unlocked and it gets crystallized in a way you hadn’t considered before. So what did it this time? That book pictured above. It’s called to me for months, and I figured being alone in a strange city was as good a time as any to start reading again.

In it, the authors trumpet the value of what they call “real world futurism.” That is, an optimism for what technology can do to improve people’s lives, but a realistic expectation of how those changes will take place: “It would not happen all at once as many then-experts, drunk on the Internet bubble, then thought…change would come in fits and starts amid confusion, chaos, and the fog of business warfare.”

Ohhh, so that’s what I was trying to say all this time.

Real world futurism informs a lot of what’s in the book, specifically when the authors criticize what’s wrong with blogs and the mindset of the new media upstarts, such as:

  • There may be a growing number of people who get their news online, but they still get it from CNN, the New York Times or the Globe and Mail.
  • The very bias that the MSM gets scolded for, is praised in blogs and other forms of citizen journalism, because those biases are real; they’re believed by the content providers, they’re not being dictated by some corporate owner. They foster trust, because they create a dialogue between reader and writer, but they are still there. Make no mistake, new media is just as biased and opinionated as old media.
  • No bloggers [this one included] actually report on anything. We commentate on and link to the people and institutions that do. You’d be hard pressed to find a blogger with scuffed shoes. If you do, it’s because they can’t afford to buy new ones.
For all the criticism leveled against it, and whether you believe it or not, the mainstream media functions on the premise of providing the reader with a fair presentation of the news of the day, and leaving it up to the reader to develop their own opinions. Blogs function on providing one interpretation of that news, but also demand a sort of blind loyalty to that interpretation, which is not healthy to the dialogue.

As much as the newjacks want to disparage the tenets of Old Media, the things they teach you in j-school, like how to order a story, how to make it flow, how to write a lead, how to write, PERIOD, are sorely needed in the blogosphere. But that’s not the point.

The point is something I came to in the midst of shooting my second video, and something the authors of blog! seem to agree with: that even when it’s biased, or ill-researched, or plain ol’ crap, it’s necessary, because that’s what truly defines a free press:
“What the world is coming to, of course, is what we were always taught it was supposed to be in the first place --- a democratic society in which everyone has a voice…not that every voice will be smart, or right, or even polite. Not that every voice would be truthful or used for positive purposes. Just that we would all have a voice.”
The maxim says “freedom of the press is limited to those who own one.” Now, everyone does.
So what are you going to do with yours?

Friday, September 22, 2006

ZOMG! Homecoming!

It's homecoming weekend! Does that mean anything to you people? Do you even know what homecoming is meant to represent?

Don't worry, none of your fellow students do either.

Now while The Trail isn't suggesting you run out, tip a car and set it on fire, he would suggest that maybe you get out there and show a little spirit. Your football team is undefeated, and this weekend's game against Mac will likely be they're biggest challenge yet. So show them you support them, dammit.

I suspect there may be bonus weekend thoughts before Monday. Got some things swirling in my head that can only be sorted with the aid of a long afternoon scribbling in a notebook drinking overpriced coffee. And NOT smoking cigarettes, dammit.

At any rate, have a good weekend, y'all.


The State of the World: Casual Friday Edition

Still in the midst of tech hell....but slowly surfacing

Mr Harper goes to New York
As mentioned yesterday, Stephen Harper gave an address to the United Nations yesterday, though it's only scored ink in Canadian papers, since the world media doesn't give a crap unless you call Bush a drunk or affirm your love for the Jewish people.

It's all what you would expect, with talk of staying the course and highlighting how Canada's efforts in Afghanistan are supported by the U.N., unlike that other middle Eastern conflict.

Brits prefer long life, free of sex
A quick note from Australia alerts us to a poll that shows a majority of Britons would give up sex, willingly, if it meant they would live to 100.

Surprise to no one, more women are willing to make that particular sacrifice than the men.

Burglars flee scene after discovering severed heads
A crew of Austrian robbers got quite the shock when they broke into a dentist's apartment and discovered a chest filled with mummified heads.

The dentist kept the heads for research. Research for what, who the hell knows? Police are currently investigating whether any regulations were broken in the storing of the heads.

Branson pledges $3 billion to fight against global warming
Billionaire Richard Branson, he of the Virgin group, has promised to donate 100 per cent of the profits from his travel firms [air and trains, among others] to the fight against global warming.

Based on projected profits, the final amount could reach up to $3 billion.

Branson's pledge is the most recent in a new phase of billionaire philanthropy, including Bill Gates ongoing efforts through his foundation, and the recent announcement that Warren Buffet was donating $37 billion to various charities.

Today's useful information
How to escape from a sinking car. Stop living in fear of swerving into the river.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Not built for the tech life

All I want to do is make a video, Windsor. That's it. But iMovie doesn't do what I want it to do, at least not as intuitively as it thinks it does, and I'd rather get submerged in the features of Final Cut, where at least I can manipulate audio the way I would like. Oh the travails of the technological age.

So what's shaking out there tonight?

--As someone who may [or may not] have gone cold turkey on cigarettes yesterday, the last thing I want to read about is Japan's etiquette for smokers. The link has another link to a Flickr stream of the whole series of happy suggestions.

Christ I want a cigarette.

--In news that will be heartbreaking to, umm, someone I'm sure, Horatio Sanz was booted from Saturday Night Live. He says in the post that he's decided not to return, but after already denying rumours that he was cut earlier in the summer? Come on, now. Either way, this means I won't get to continue watching him laugh at his own jokes before he delivers the punchline. Pity.

--Who the hell is Rachel Ray? And why does everyone want me to give a shit about her?

--Somehow I missed until now that Haruki Murakami has a new short story collection out. But he does. And there was much rejoicing.

--There is now a video for 'White and Nerdy', the Chamillionaire parody by Weird Al we linked to last week. Guess what? It's genius. Why is Donny Osmond there? Who cares.

--Muchmusic, in its continuing quest to become MTV, is forcing a whack of new shows down our throats. My favourite is 'Music is My Life,' which judging from the lineup should be called, 'Crappy Music is My Life.' Hey kids, maybe you wouldn't be bulimic and would feel better about yourself if you stopped listening to Simple Plan? I never started listening to Simple Plan and I feel great!

--X-Entertainment, that haven of useless crap, and the pre-YouTube #1 spot to find commercials for all the favourite things of your youth, is counting down the best Halloween candy on the market this year, including such oddities as Reese's Pumpkin Patch Cups and Fear Factor licensed gummy worms. Frightening and fascinating.

The clear winner is obviously Spooke Cats Peeps. Peeps always win, it's the rule of the universe. You doubt me, Windsor? Put one in the microwave, you'll know the truth.

Gonna try to get me a retail job at the local Toys R Us tomorrow. Seriously, if you have to work retail, is there anywhere better than Toys R Us? MILFS + the joy I get from telling children they can't have something because it's out of stock = 1 happy Trail. See you in the a.m., Windsor.

The State of the World

Just what we need
If there's one thing the Windsor Spitfires experience was missing, it was beer. In the stands.

Now, I've been to enough Spitfire games to realize I didn't want to make a habit of going to Spitfire games, and the one thing people there don't need is the luxury of getting hammered in the stands. If they want to get loaded that bad they can go to the lounge and do it, but that takes too much work, so most of the time they don't. But I've been accused of being no fun before.

The Voice of Windsor was kind enough to let us know that yesterday's Bjork lecture was canceled and rescheduled to Monday, even though there was absolutely no mention of it on the UofW website. Anyhoo, same time, same place, just now on Monday.

ID card threatens to divide US and Canada, says Harper
PM Stephen Harper told an audience at the Economic Club of New York this week that the U.S. plan for border crossers to carry an identification card "threatens to divide us at exactly the time we should be collaborating more closely on global economic and security challenges."

The comments received a round of applause from those in attendance.

Harper appealed to the members of the audience to do what they could to ensure the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative is, "implemented only in a pragmatic manner and only on a realistic timetable."

Harper will speak to the United Nations today on Canada's military efforts in Afghanistan.

Venezuelan President refers to Bush as the devil
While I don't really care what Hugo Chavez thinks or does, apparently everyone else on the frigging planet wants me to, so here's a news story on it, here's a video of it, and here's a the full transcript of the speech. Decide for yourselves.

Oh! God! Yes!
McDonald's is considering offering its breakfast menu all day long. The best thing to happen to me since the invention of the McGriddle.

Bite me, Spurlock, they're delicious.

One last note on the joke of Hussein's trial
The judge who was accused of bias in Saddam's trial was removed and replaced with another. Hussein's defense team greeted the news by taking their ball and going home.

When greeted by the news that he would be given court appointed counsel, Saddam threw a hissy fit before being escorted fromt he courtroom. This is why I never got along with type-A personalities.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Late night flotsam

Something unexpected has happened, Windsor. I've discovered television.

You may be surprised to hear it, but I rarely if ever followed network television. My TV has always been used for at most, three things: VH1, WWE Raw and GTA: San Andreas.

But living with a lady who enjoys her some reality tv has been a revelation. Tonight alone gave us The Biggest Loser [look at that blubber fly!], Iron Chef America [the dude made noodles out of fish using a meat bonding enzyme. Fresh!] and America's Next Top Model [who knew catty bitches were so entertaining!].

I'm thrilled, and disgusted by what I've become, all at the same time. Other fun of note:

--To celebrate the 35th anniversary of what is possibly Japan's greatest contribution to society, the cup noodle, the Nissin company has teamed with anime legend Katsuhiro Otomo [AKIRA] for a new series of films/advertisements. They're calling it the Freedom Project, because what says freedom more than a rehydrated noodle soup made from combining tap water and boullion in a styrofoam cup?

--You know Pandora, correct? The essential website that suggests you new music based on your current tastes, and streams it for you on a customized player, right? Well, as fabulous as it is, it can sometimes lose steam after a few hours. Worry not, the fine folks at Technophilia bring you '15 ways to get more out of Pandora.'

--For the ladies, Craigslist San Francisco gives us a listing for a guy who will fix your computer if you let him touch your boobs [via BoingBoing]. It has since been removed.

--Also from BoingBoing, and notable for all of us who are into this sort of thing, videoblogger and indie journalist Josh Wolf is going to prison, after refusing to hand over footage he shot of a San Francisco protest that was demanded by the FBI. The footage shows a cop getting assaulted at the protest. The video in question can be found incorporated here, which if you're a rational leftie like myself, is quite irritating [anarchists apparently think 'terrorism is 'f*cked up.' Wowwww.']. But we hope for the best for Josh, who is suffering what we all secretly worry about.

--More on Wolf's video. I've made no secret of the impact Heath and Potter's The Rebel Sell has had on my outlook towards most of the dirty hippies and collegiate revolutionaries who try to bring down the globalized capitalist system. Before that book, I'm sure I would have watched that video and and been outraged. Now it just makes me sick. What you have is a group of people who wanted to hold a demonstration. A demonstration they could have held legally with no hassle if they had gone through the proper channels and obtained the proper permits and clearances.

But that's no fun, is it?

Hell no, son! These are anarchists, man! So they just do what they want. So the cops show up to clear them out because they're causing a traffic hazard. Which they are, such as the guy who's dropping newspaper boxes in the middle of traffic lanes. Then all hell breaks loose, and the next thing we see, completely out of context, is a cop restraining a protester and getting yelled at by a crowd that's surrounded him.

Now, like I said, the clip is completely out of context. We have no idea what lead to this altercation. The video wants us to think the demonstrator was placidly handing out daisies when he was tackled by the OPPRESSOR. Because anarchists never get belligerent when cops show up, noooo, no, no, no.

And somewhere in all of this, a cop got beat up, and Wolf is going to prison. For what? Anarchists, tell me please, what did this accomplish? What did it do, short of making a handful of San Francisco commuters late for something? Spray painting 'This Isn't Beauty' on a bus ad for a fashion magazine isn't tearing down anything, and isn't waking up the sheep to the tyranny of capitalism, but you know what it is?

BORING. F*cking boring.

--Best rumour I heard today? My love, my muse, my sweet, sweet Kelley Tamburo actually got the boot, suspended for all the naughtiness she pulled as Arts Society prez last year. And while the Academic Integrity Judiciary Panel reports are all public, they don't mention names. But man, that four year suspension handed down for 'Impersonation' sure sounds right, don't it? As I said, just a rumour.

An erection-inducing rumour, but a rumour nonetheless.

The State of the World

Before we begin...
You shold know that today at 4.00 p.m. in room 139 of the music building, music professor Charity Marsh will be giving a free public lecture entitled, "Fracturing Myths of Nostalgic Interpretations of Home: Representations of an Icelandinc Landscape in Bjork's Homogenic."

How can you not go to that?

Feds looking to fix RCMP
Ottawa is looking to find a way to fix the RCMP following a 'devastating' inquiry report that found the mounites passed 'erroneous and damaging intelligence' to the U.S. on Maher Arar.

In 2001, Arar was spotted talking to the subject of an ongoing terrorism investigation, which had him placed on the watch list. The next year, the U.S. arrested Arar, called him an al-Qaeda suspect and shipped him to Syria where he was jailed and tortured for a year. The report found that had the mounties adhered to pre-existing guidelines on how to gather and share information, Arar might never have been arrested.

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales claims his country did nothing wrong, and was legally deported under American Immigration law. Never mind that according to the inquiry report, Arar's immigration hearing was held in the middle of the night without a lawyer present. Meh.

PM defends plan to scrap gun registry
Stephen Harper is standing by his plan to scrap the federal long gun registry, claiming that it harasses farmers more than stops dangerous criminals.

The Liberals claim Harper is determined to create a gun culture in Canada. Harper says there are alternative ways to prevent people from shooting up school cafeterias.

White House told scientists to downplay climate change
You'll have to watch an ad to read the whole article, but Salon claims emails exist proving the Bush administration told top scientists to downplay the connection between powerful hurricanes and global warming, specifically, that they micromanaged media requests with top members of the scientific community.

The finest moment comes when a member of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration denies interviews were subject to government approval. He's then shown his own emails which say the opposite and replies, "If you already knew the answer, why did you ask the question?"

The mind boggles, Windsor.

The kids love that extreme stuff
Has it really been a decade since Tickle Me Elmo made his appearancce on the toy landscape, with all the hysteria that followed?

Yes it has, Windsor. And Fisher Price knows such an anniversary is far too lucrative an opportunity to pass up, and they're making sure they have something on store shelves this Christmas.

Tickle Me Extreme.

Oh yes, Windsor. Elmo now clutches his stomach, falls to the ground, damn near has a stroke, all for the enjoyment of your three-year-olds. The stampedes at WalMart this November will be unlike any seen before it. Seriously, though. Watch the video in the link. Ridiculous.

You know how people always say they want their children to have more than they did growing up? F*ck that, my kids are getting exactly what I had growing up, cause I didn't have it too bad. Yeah man, a Tonka truck, some Transformers, ColecoVision, what more will the little buggers need?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Who is Sugar Balls?

I was actually going to give you all some classic Trailism on the whole dress code, homie-cover o'The Lance fiasco, but open source office suites are being a pain in my ass. So, since it will likely take overnight for me to...*cough* "acquire" the software I need, you get some random news and notes before I pass out.

--My bunnies are completely displayed. Needed something to act as a riser, so I popped down the street to the local [read: only] comic store in town and grabbed some plexiglass containers designed for cards. They work beautifully. But that comic store was fuuuugly. Attention, geeks: do not go to Action Packed Comics in Kingston! Unless you want to play Magic: The Gathering. In that case, knock yourself out.

--Wow, shocker! Jay Z comes out of retirement. Never saw that coming. Still, in the album per year cash cow that is hip-hop, three years out of the game is a lifetime. That is, if you take away the mixtape appearnaces and cameos on Beyonce records. Why do I care? Aside from hoping he can make a classic on par with The Black Album, I care because he's calling the album 'Kingdom Come'. After Mark Waid and Alex Ross' graphic novel. See, in the book, Superman feels like the world has passed him by, that people want something a little more edgy than the big blue boy scout. So he leaves. Retires. The problem is, the 'heroes' he leaves in charge are self centered little pricks who end up blowing up Kansas. So he comes back, to put them in their place and take control. So, is Jigga coming armed for war? We can only hope. I'm still pissed he patched things up with Nas.

--In honour of the [now over] Talk Like a Pirate Day, my fellow music charlatans of the sea tell me that by going to this Google search, replacing "band" with the name of the artist you want [keep the quotes] you can find folder after folder of music. I tried it, and after while [it can get a little confusing], it seems to work. So pillage and plunder to your hearts content my lovelies, without the potential trail left by p2p software.

--Not that I give a crap, but if you're into that sort of thing, it appears that The Lost Experience, the interactive online scavenger hunt that accompanied the hit television show has turned a corner, and the whole backstory to the show has now been revealed. The Hanso Foundation, the significance of 4, 8, 15, etc, the Dharma Initiative, it's all there, and detailed in [SPOILERS AHOY!] this video. Don't make a damn bit of sense to me, but I'm sure this news will give many people erections. Even the women.

--Cracked, which has somehow become a quality humour magazine in the vein of National Lampoon, and is no longer a cheap MAD ripoff, highlights five stand up comedians who have lost it and can't hack it anymore. Will provide insight, albeit limited, on how say, Steve Martin went from 'The Jerk' to 'Shopgirl'.

And with that, Windsor, the bed, she beckons. Hopefully sometime tomorrow I can get my stuff together and comment on the current controversy, but I'd like to read what people are saying first. Believe it or not, I actually do like to inform myself before opening my yap.

Sleep sweet, my beloved Rose City.

The State of the World

Show your support for Dawson College
Members of the community wishing to show their solidarity for the students of Dawson College are invited to a special event tomorrow.

At just before 12:41 p.m. in the Student Centre commons, there will be a moment of silence followed by brief remarks from UofW President Ross Paul and UWSA President Justin Teeuwen. Those in attendance will also be given the opportunity to sign a banner that will be sent to Dawson.

Aren't you sorry you voted down the U-Pass now?
Windsor city council has approved a new Transit Windsor bus terminal that will feature a slick contemporary design, but costs $1.5 million more than expected.

The total cost of the project, which will go up on Chatham Street West at Church Street, will be $7.5 million, with the city's total commitment at $3.5 million.

The proposal passed 6-2, with councilors Dave Brister and Jo-Anne Gignac voting against.

Oh dear
For the second time in three years, a neo-Nazi party has won elected seats in a German regional parliament, cementing fears that the NPD are now a permanent part of German politics.

Though nowhere near a majority with only 7.3 per cent of the vote, the small electoral victory is unsettling for the German people at large, as the people who voted for them made their own choice, not because they were duped by a smooth-talking bunch of racists.

Said German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, "Whoever voted for this party, knew what they were doing."

The Pope has a point
Continuing our coverage of papal backlash, writer Jeff Israely [let's not make too much of the name, shall we?] argues in the latest issue of Time that Pope Benedict XVI's comments on Islam, while poorly worded, may have been true.

Israely writes that while Benedict could have avoided the backlash by explicitly stating he did not agree with the Byzantine emperor he was quoting, what he was actually talking about in his lecture last week was true.

In his lecture, Benedict looked to discuss one of the key differences between the Christian and Muslim view of God: Christian's believe God is intrinsically linked to reason [the Greek notion of Logos], and Islam's view that God is transcendent, and that God's "will is not bound with any of our categories, even that of rationality." The risk in that, Benedict said, is that irrational acts of violence may then seem justified to someone who believes it to be God's will. Israely believes such discussion may actually strengthen interfaith understanding. Decide for yourself.

When L. Ron comes back, he's gonna be piiissssed
My girlfriend has a subscription to Rolling Stone. Which means I therefore have a subscription to Rolling Stone [it works both ways people, she gets my subscription to SPIN].

A few months back I read an extensive expose on everything you ever wanted to know about Scientology. It was a hell of a read, and for someone like me who really didn't know anything about it, it was quite the opener.

It's now up online, so you can check that bad boy out for yourself. Of course, you can get the Coles notes version by watching this episode of South Park. Hey, it's your call, Windsor. I just like to give you options.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Swedes are Trying to Kill Me

There's a scene in Douglas Coupland's jPod where the main character mentions IKEA to his mother. She reacts to the name with disgust, claiming assembling a bookshelf from the store almost ended her marriage.

I now know what she was talking about.

One end table, one bookcase, two mounted shelves, a wall hanging and $300 later, the apartment is just about all we would like it to be, even though I nearly gave myself an embollism trying to put it all together. I know what anybody surveying the scene would have thought, as I attempted to snap the bottom two corners of our new EXPEDIT bookcase together.

Going through her mind: Would he just stop being so f*cking stubborn and ask me for help?
Going through his mind: Would she just leave me the f*ck alone so I can rage and be done with this?

Needless to say, Windsor, it was an eventful Sunday. Such are the joys of domesticity.

Thankfully, Kingston did not burn down while we were away, although there were 8,000 people on Aberdeen Street that night. Riot cops, triage tents and video surveillance were all on hand to keep things under control, none of which the university will shell out a dime on, because they consider it a community concern. Nothing to do with the university when its students require tens of thousands of dollars in extra policing because those same students rioted last year. Not a school concern at all.

But hey, at least we beat 'em. Go Lancers!

In other news, if you know anyone who could use a burned out journalist/blogger with better than verbal communication skills, let me know.

Lastly, a couple words about comments, since I've been asked. If you read the site, yes, I wouldn't mind hearing from you in the comments. I've tweaked up a site meter, but I really have no idea who swings by and who doesn't. You don't need to have a blog to leave a comment, we are anonymous comment-enabled, but I would appreciate if you left a name of some sort if you do.

So let me know you're out there, Windsor. It gets lonely in cyberspace.

The State of the World

Feds target low interest loans, penis enlargement
According to federal Industry Minister Maxime Bernier, the government has a role to play in stopping spam emails.

Having just seen the 2005 report from the National Spam Task Force [seriously? There's a Task Force for that?], Bernier told reporters Sunday that yes, the government should step in and do something.

What that might be exactly, is anyone's guess.

"I just want to be sure that the thing that we're going to do, it will be something that will solve the problem. The question is, what can we do? And I'm not sure right now. Maybe the market will decide in the end."

Everytime I think I've seen the best quote...

Pope regrets people were offended by calling Muslim prophet evil and inhuman
Pope Benedict XVI took a moment in his weekly prayers for pilgrims this week to comment on a violent backlash that's been taking place in the Muslim world stemming from remarks the Pope made during a lecture last week, where he quoted a dialogue between Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologos and a Persian scholar.

"Show me just what Mohammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached," he quoted the emperor.

The Pope said he was "deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries," to his lecture, but did not apologize for saying them, leaving many Muslim leaders dissatisfied.

"Sorry for the reactions..." I thought they got rid of the infallibility thing?

Man finds car in parking lot. Seven months after parking there.
Eric King was reunited with his Ford Focus last week, after misplacing it seven months ago. Turns out King parked it on a residential street and forgot the name. After searching for a few hours, he took a bus home. He returned to the area ten times, but was unable to find it.

Authorities notified King of the car's location when it was reported abandoned by neighbourhood residents who each thought the other owned the car.

Besides a dead battery, the car was fine, and started on the first try with a jump.

You knew this was coming
The President of Kazakhstan has ordered his government to launch a propaganda campaign against the fictional documentarian Borat.

Advertisements will run in leading newspapers denouncing the upcoming film "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan" in the weeks leading up to President Nursultan Nazarbayev's visit to America to meet with George W. Bush.

This isn't the first time Kazakhstan's government has clashed with Borat, and the actor who portrays him, Sacha Baron Cohen.

Last year, Cohen was threatened with legal action for a skit where Borat goes to a country bar and gets a roomful of cowboys to sing, "throw the Jew down the well / so my country can be free."

Friday, September 15, 2006

Week One

After a week of life in Kingston, there are a couple of things I've noticed.

1. This is a big smoking town. Typically whenever someone passes me on the street while I'm smoking, I try to stash the butt behind my back, blow upward, the works. Probably makes no difference, but I like to try to minimize my impact on other peoples' lives, anyway. Makes no difference here. Everytime, the person I'm trying to protect is already sucking back a DuMaurier.

2. The entire city is like Neverneverland. Walk through downtown, and you really get a sense of how essential Queen's is to this town's existence. No one is over 30, I swear. Everywhere you look, Twentysomethings. Riding the bus, walking the streets, working in the shops. All young adults. It gets a little disconcerting, to be honest. Or fabulous, when you're a dirty old man like The Trail. Take your pick.

Other than that, Windsor, there really isn't much to talk about, yet. Managed to find an utterly brilliant video store downtown, with an extensive foreign film section and enough Japanese, Chinese and Korean flicks to keep me busy until Christmas. Trust me, for a guy who;s only previous way to see these movies was to buy them when he came across them, it's a revelation. Started negotiating the transit system, so I can at least get downtown and to the mall with no difficulty [and really, what else does a stranger in a strange town need?]

There's one thing about K-town, though. Don't let the pics fool you, this place is nice. Like, pleasant. Quaint, almost, with it's towers and awnings and hanging signs and little paths that lead to back alley patios, and barely any homeless people. And yet the student neighbourhood has always been known as "The Ghetto." I actually heard that today, walking up Princess. When asked where he was going, a young man said, "Home, back to the ghetto." That's so precious, Windsor. Some of these kids need to come for a walk down to the West side. [because it is the best side]. Sandwich and Prince would be enlightening, I'm sure.

Unfortunately we're going to miss all he homecoming excitement in favor of a Saturday at IKEA and dinner with friends in Toronto. The apartment should get finished up the way we would like it on Sunday, and then it'll be off to pound the pavement to look for some for of gainful employment to round out the pockets and keep food in the belly. If you've seen my belly, you know that takes a lot. Once it's completely done, I'll give you the grand tour, but until then, remember this:

If you don't have a glass case filled with bunnies --- you ain't no big dog.

Be well, Windsor. Do good. See you Monday.

The State of the World

Dawson shooting aftermath
Canadian media is working overtime to present you with a full picture of Kimveer Gill, the 25-year-old who opened fire in a cafeteria at Montreal's Dawson College, killing one student and injuring up to 20 [depending on the report].

All the CanWest papers have the same stories. A feature on slain student Anastasia DeSousa. Excerpts from Gill's blog [welcome to the technological age], where he described how he would take revenge on the 'wretched world.' right down to the weather. Comments from members and owners of, the goth version of MySpace. has also been connected to a triple murder in Medecine Hat, Alta. and the murder of a Toronto 12-year-old boy. Of course, the goths say they can't be held responsible for what individuals do on their site. The Star also has a story on Heather Lewenza, a 25-year-old Windsor woman who was in the Dawson cafeteria at the time of the shooting.

Oh, and Canadian media? Could you, you know, STOP running those photos of Gill pointing a gun into the readers face? You're only giving him what he wanted, and that's the last thing I'm inclined to do.

Ford breaks out the hatchet
Ford Motor Company announced an extensive restructuring that will see the Essex Engine plant shut down, a move that will remove 600 jobs from the city. Get your buyouts while you can.

UN slams US for 'dishonesty' regarding Iran's nuclear capabilities
The International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN's watchdog group on all things nuclear, said in a letter released this week that a congressional report published by the United States contained "serious distortions" of the IAEA's conclusions on Iran's nuclear activities.

According to the letter, the U.S. report claims Iran has enriched uranium to weapons-grade status, when the IAEA had only found small quantities of uranium at much lower stages of enrichment.

Some are claiming a sense of deja vu, as this clash is very similar to the one between the U.S. and the IAEA leading up to the Iraq war in 2003. You remember that one. The U.S. claimed Saddam Hussein had WMD's. The U.N. said he didn't. Well, you saw how that turned out.

Humanities Week coming to campus
One of the coolest things the University of Windsor does every year is Humanities Week, an event aimed at reminding you that in this oh so tech and specialized knowledge world, the humanities are what make us what we are.

The full schedule of events can be found in the link above, but some the highlights include:
  • Sir Martin Gilbert, British historian and official biographer of Winston Churchill will discuss Churchill's response to the Holocaust on Sept. 18, at 7.30 p.m. in the Assumption Church Chapel.
  • Philosophy prof Jeff Noonan [who my girlfriend tells me is tres chaud, in his glasses and all black attire] will hold a 'Philosopher's Cafe' on the second floor of Patrick O'Ryan's Irish Pub [25 Pitt St East] at 8 p.m. on Sept. 19. The topic is 'Philosophy and Fear'.
  • Nicole Markotic, new faculty member in English, will give a 'Literary Quickie' on Sept. 22 at 12 noon in the main floor reading lounge of the Leddy Library.
Seriously, the HRG does some of the coolest stuff on campus, so you should make an effort to get out to their events. You won't regret it.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

EXTRA: The Word on the Street

As preparations are currently being made to launch a demonstration at the Pub tonight, do you want to know what Windsor students really think of the Pub's new dress code? We've got it for you, straight from the streets.

As I've said, this is a slippery issue. Best exemplified by the girl who stopped short of saying "it would probably look nicer if there weren't peopl--," then backpedals to say she doesn't care.

Needless to say, Pub night's gonna be a fun one tonight.


The Lance Sitdown

Next in our series of recurring video features is "The Lance Sitdown," where we take a few moments to chat with notable people from all aspects of life in Windsor.

Up first, Windsor hip hop act MicLordz. These cats have been putting it down for the Rose City for years, with no signs of slowing. Check them out at

As always, if you have opinions or questions on how we're doing here, or who should be the next Lance Sitdown, leave us a comment below or drop us a line at


The State of the World

Spicoli not above the law

Health officials are investigating whether or not to charge actor Sean Penn, who was photographed earlier this week smoking at a news conference during the Toronto International Film Festival, in clear violation of Ontario's indoor smoking ban.

Health officials said they first have to examine whether the hotel the news conference was hosted in had done everything it could to communicate the area was smoke free. If it had, then Penn would face the charges.

If charged, Penn faces a $305 fine, which oddly enough, is the amount he finds in the dryer after doing his laundry, so that all works out.

Montreal gunman leaves behind chilling website
Montreal is still reeling following a shooting that occured Wednesday at the city's Dawson College that left five injured and two dead, including the assailant.

While not officially identified by police, several unofficial sources have ID'd the gunman as 25-year-old Kimveer Gill. Most stories today concern Gill's website, which contained a number of photos of Gill with guns as well as typical trenchcoat mafia rhetoric such as filing 'the world, and everything in it,' under 'dislikes'.

Seriously, if you want to stick it to the world that you think has done you so wrong, why don't you live, and succeed in it? That'll shock people way more than being some f*cking post-Columbine footnote. What a waste. What a joke.

Canada will be fine, even if U.S. goes to pits
According to the Bank of Canada, an economic slowdown in the United States would not spell disaster for Canada, as increased worldwide growth would keep the Canadian economy healthy.

Said Paul Jenkins, the bank's senior deputy governor, "You've got to really do the global add-up, you can't look at just what's happening in the United States."

According to the International Monetary Fund, Canada has the most flexible economy of all countries other than the U.S., however Jenkins noted that fact doesn't mean it's all smooth sailing for Canada, citing the need for a national securities regulator.

The continuing farce that is Saddam Hussein's trial
In case you forgot, former Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein has been on trial for the past few months for genocide, stemming from 'Operation Anfal,' a 1987 effort to suppress a Kurdish revolt in northern Iraq. The prosecution in the trial claims that 180,000 people, many of them civilians, were killed in the operation.

The latest hiccup in the trial came after the Chief Judge told Hussein that he did not believe the former leader was a dictator, but that 'people around you made you [look like] a dictator.'

The comment only further incensed a beleaguered prosecution team, who is already calling for the judge's dismissal because it feels he is biased towards Hussein.

Hussein has frequently been allowed to make outbursts in court, the most recent calling Kurdish witnesses 'agents of Iran and Zionism,' and threatening to 'crush your heads.'

Who says we can't impose a western sense of justice in other parts of the world. Seems to be working like a charm.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Shadow of Aberdeen

This weekend the Lancer football team will be the visitors at Queen's University's homecoming game. But as this year's homecoming draws closer, members of this campus community are reminded of the previous year.

All everyone around Kingston is thinking of this week is the Aberdeen Street riot. I had never heard of it, Windsor, but apparently a crowd of 6,000 people, some students and some not, tore up Aberdeen Street, a couple blocks from the Queen's campus. Overturned a car, pelted cops with beer bottles, lit fires; you know, all the best parts of mob mentality.

Most of the prestigious Queen's students chalked up their reprehensible behaviour to alcohol, some claim students were just retaliating against an overreaction by Kingston Police trying to suppress the disturbance, but the memories still linger. The story made news all over the Ontario [most notably in the Toronto Star, with its accompanying photo of a black male who didn't even attend Queen's], and downtown Kingston is covered with PSA's reminding students that maybe, you know, getting hammered and setting some shit on fire isn't the best idea. There's even talk that the cops might be packing tear gas this year. As a last resort, obviously.

So....Queen's can set a street on fire, and they always sit on top of the Maclean's rankings, but we have an entrance requirement of 73% and we troll the bottom. Such is the way the world works, Windsor.

I mention this for two reasons: one, it might be worth the trip to support the boys; two, why is homecoming never that exciting back home? Queen's starts riots, we can barely fill the stadium. Come on, Windsor, it don't get no grimier than us, we can do better. Knock over a trashcan or something. But that's it. Edgy but safe, I always say.

Hopefully Monday afternoon's post won't be on a hundred students getting gassed and arrested. But with an entire city holding its breath waiting for something to happen, aren't they just courting disaster?