Wednesday, January 31, 2007

All the Lonely People

Given that this is a new initiative for us here at The Lance, a lot of space has been given to the nature of blogs; what they are, what they should be and what they represent. It's a hot topic these days, and every so often another scholar comes along to toss in his two cents so we can all marvel at his intellect.

Today's contender is the University of Calgary's Michael Keren, who recently published a book all about the blogosphere. According to him, we bloggers are a parade of sad and lonely people, who can only connect with other individuals over 1s and 0s:

"Bloggers think of themselves as rebels against mainstream society but that rebellion is mostly confined to cyberspace, which makes blogging as melancholic and illusionary as Don Quixote tilting at windmills," said Keren in a press release.

For those unfamiliar, the Quixote reference is a common phrase used to described a futile endeavour. In the book, Quixote believes he's jousting with giants, when those "giants" are in fact windmills. Not talking down, Windsor, but some of you are business majors.

Regular readers of this blog will know I'm not the sort to embrace the utopian vision of some of my more optimistic peers when it comes to the blogosphere. So I do agree with parts of Keren's idea. But it seems, from the snippets quoted [full disclosure: haven't read the book, probably won't. I refuse to pay $27.00 for 196 pages] that his perception of blogs is flawed, and that's what dooms his argument.

Blogs are not a genre. They are a medium, they are the means by which the information is transmitted, not the information itself. "In the blogosphere, the death of an aging cat is on the same emotional level as an earthquake in Pakistan," writes Keren. Well, on a blog for cat lovers yeah, it is. But a news junkie is not about to consult the cat lover's blog for news on an earthquake in Pakistan. Blogs are some of the most targeted information delivery systems in history, they allow people to further customize the type of information they take in. If people don't want to experience any emotion from the earthquake in Pakistan, they won't go to blogs that cover the story with a level of emotion Keren deems acceptable.

If Keren wants to talk isolation, he shouldn't be looking down his nose at the people who write blogs. He should be looking at the people who read them.

What say you, Windsor? Comments open, as always.

The State of the World

Nothing happened in Windsor today. That is all.

Aww, look at all this paper!
If you didn't notice it last week, the minimum wage went up a big fat quarter to a whopping $8.00/hr. Which is good, since it's my anniversary tomorrow, and I'd kind of like to take her somewhere nice.

But all you min-wage hustlers better enjoy it, because the Liberals say it's the last increase you'll be seeing from them.

I read it. It wasn't a sexy book.
The Peel region Catholic School Board has pulled David Guterson's novel "Snow Falling on Cedars" from high school libraries after receiving a parental complaint over the book's sexual content.

Reps for the school board say the book hasn't been outright banned, but that it won't be accessible until it's undergone a review by a board committee, something no one interviewed for the article could remember happening before. The process could be completed in as little as two weeks.

Another tough loss for art in its constant battle against the children and what's best for them.

Dick visible from space
Too amusing not to mention. Two years ago a pair of nogoodnicks pulled the old 'weed killer sprinkle' to burn the image of a giant penis on their school's grass.

And in this high-tech world of satellite photography for one and all, you can see it for yourself on Microsoft's Virtual Earth. Amazing.

Marketing stunt for Aqua Teen Hunger Force mistaken for terrorism.

Oops: Police apologize for tossing rape victim in jail for two days.

I can't lie: If I stumble across it on Sundays, I have to watch Pocoyo. It's just too damn cute. Thankfully, the interwebs are spreading the love.

Did you enjoy National Gorilla Suit Day?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sometimes, The Trail likes to steal

Back in the day, Detroit Free Press columnist Bob Talbert (R.I.P.) used to start of his week with a series of random thoughts that had been occurred to him the week previous. You're on notice, Windsor: I'm stealing the gimmick. Told you I'd be grumpy.

  • So, some music magazines want me to believe that Lily Allen is going to save music as we know it this year. Why I choose to read some music magazines after they selected My Chemical Romance as the best record of 2006, I don't know. But I fall prey to hype as much as everyone else, Windsor, so I have perused. One good song. Yup. That's it. If you're going to save music as we know it, your one good song better be damn good. 'Fraid that ain't it, Lily. But it's fun in a disposable, forget about it in two weeks sort of way.
  • Speaking of My Chemical Romance, I've noticed a certain disturbing trend amongst some would-be arena rockers lately: The Springsteen Grab. That is, to blatantly reach for the musical heights achieved by The Boss. "When You Were Young" by The Killers is the most obvious attempt, and one I believe the band has even acknowledged. And MCR can prance around in their marching band outfits and try to make me believe Gerard wants to be Freddie Mercury, but it's all Bruce. Know how I know? Chimes. If you hear chimes, it's a Springsteen Grab, and it needs to stop. There is only one Born to Run.
  • It would appear the annual Lance spoof issue was loved by all who saw it, and has gone off without a hitch. Well, maybe not without one hitch...
  • Going back to tonight's earlier post on Daniel Radcliffe starring in Equus, I do seriously wonder if [literally] shucking off the Hogwart's robe is the best way to break free of them. As the linked article said [I'll paraphrase, since I know none of you read the links I work so hard to search out]: it's a London stage production, meaning the number of people who will get to see Danny's *cough* range will be miniscule in comaprison to those who've seen him playing Quidditch, so is it really worth it? It's a hell of a risk, though I do hope it pays off for him. PS: The creepier poster I saw in The Toronto Star today can be seen here. Man, does he love that horse.
  • The always informative Popwatch also alerts us to two interesting facts about the best movie I watched on a plane this year, The Departed. One: a sequel is in the works, which is bizarre considering the rather thorough ending. Two: the film was based on the Chinese flick Infernal Affairs. Scorsese gets his Asia love on! Awesome!
  • Speaking of Scorsese, scratched another off the "How Have I Not Seen This Yet?" list when IFC showed Taxi Driver on Sunday. Man, I would have loved that movie when I was 16. That souds unfair, I know, but come on, it was one of Marty's first films and it feels like it. And that whole, "A rain's gonna come and wash this filth away," thing would have been devoured by me at my most misanthropic. Which I guess is why it's a classic. It'll always be needed.
  • Excited for the weekend, Lady Trail's gonna take me to Queen's library, which I can't believe I haven't ventured out to yet. I've got my booklust back [it comes and it goes], yet can't afford to buy all the books I want. When I'm here alone for three weeks in March, I imgine I'll be there quite a bit. I'll probably try to fool some co-ed into thinking I'm a Grad student.
Hey, I never said it was going to be groundbreaking journalism, Windsor. These are just the things that pop in at 11.30 at night. Til tomorrow, my loves.

The State of the World

Enjoy me now, Windsor. When that second post goes up tonight I will be grumpy, but I do it because I love.

Suspect in Atkinson shooting to stand trial

Locally, the major story seems to be that Nikkolas Brennan, the 19-year-old charged in the shooting death of Windsor Police Officer John Atkinson will stand trial for first degree murder. Brennan is also facing related weapons and drug trafficking charges.

Environmental commissioner canned

Top news from Ottawa seems to be the firing of federal environment commissioner Johanne Gelinas, apparently from crossing the line between doing audits and suggesting policy.

The firing comes as tense discussions on all things environmental are the flavour of the month in the House of Commons, with climate change the hot issue this season.

Sorry, y'all there's way more fun quickies out there today.

I will never be regular again: bananas may be gone in 10 years.

In the interest of fair and balanced: if you recall a mention a while back of the latest miracle cancer drug, an actual scientist examines the data and presents the other view.

Media watch: coverage on American networks of genocide in Darfur vs. 'Runaway Bride.' Clooney, step your game up.

Official: Police reuniting for Grammy's. If 'Every Breath You Take' is the only song they do, I'm cuttig someone.

How much can every game for the Nintendo Entertainment System fetch on eBay? See for yourself.

Arty: Equus is a play famous for it's comments on spiritual emptiness as it is for the presence of naked wee-wees on stage. So what will people think when Harry Potter stars in it? PS: That poster is scuuuury.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Under the deadline

Sometimes, Windsor, The Undertaker wins the Royal Rumble, and you're happy to be a wrestling fan again. He's undefeated at Wrestlemania, did you know that?

All right, all right.

It's Monday, you know what that means. Flotsam!

Big news o' the day is the release of Vista, the new Microsoft OS. I'll refrain from offering any comment on that fact, one because I lack the technical knowledge, and two because the news doesn't really concern me. I have no intention of using Vista, if I can help it. Though the last time I heard any word, most observers were recommending you Windows lovers stick with XP.

FAIR AND BALANCED: Longtime Windows user looks back on his switch to Mac, and it ain't all roses and lemonade.

Robocop teaches Roman history.

I like to think I'm a liberal minded type of guy, but even I question whether a 12-year-old can fully understand and defend acting in a rape scene for a movie.

Learn why the world misses Bill Hicks. Learn where The Trail got his gimmick from.

Something for Rogers. No, I will not explain further.

Beaten to the punch: The best response to the Second Life phenomenon, ever.

Back to the working world tomorrow, Windsor. I'll holler at you in the evening hours.

The State of the World

Chomsky to fulfill dreams of many

Collective wood throughout the Comm Studies department as it's announced that the man himself, Noam Chomsky, is coming to Windsor to speak at a conference examining the staying power of his and Edward Hermann's Propaganda Model. Hermann will be at the conference as well, but the big love-in will be Chomsky's solo address at the Cleary on May 17. Throw on your Che t-shirt and get your tickets now.

Windsor opens purse strings even further
No doubt you can read a more throrough write-up in the Lance this week, but Rossy Ross gave his State of the University address this past Friday, highlighted by increased investment in the fledgling medical program, as well as a retooling of investment in the engineering building, from $57 million to $120 million. Damn. Arts students report weeping, gnashing of teeth.

Tories target Dion's qualifications
In an attempt to hold on to their minority government and dodge an early election, the Tories have taken it upon themselves to release a series of negative ads against newly minted Liberal leader Stephane Dion.

The ads, debuting on the Superbowl [of course] attack Dion's environmental policy and try to paint the mostly unknown Dion as an indecisive newbie.

Said Secretary of State for Multiculturalism Jason Kenney, "We want to demonstrate the only thing green about Stephane Dion is his inexperience as a leader," which The Trail has to admit is a hell of a soundbite.

Did America overreact to 9/11?
The LA Times has a rather brave Op-Ed piece from David Bell, a history prof at John Hopkins asking if 9/11 was really that bad. He argues that while it was a devastating attack against America, when placed in the context of history, the reaction to it has been disproportional.

"[I]t is no disrespect to the victims of 9/ say that, by the standards of past wars, the war against terrorism has inflicted a very small human cost on the United States. As an instance of mass murder, the attacks were unspeakable, but they still pale in comparison with any number of militlary assaults on civilian targets of the recent past, from Hiroshima on down."

It's a valid argument, but such semantic hair splitting is rarely appreciated in the modern American media landscape. Especially when Bell comments that even when the number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq are added to the casualties of 9/11, it still doesn't exceed the number of Americans killed in auto accidents every two months.

Good luck, Prof. Bell. They're gonna tear you apart if they can.

No. 6,765 in our ongoing "Why I Don't Get America" series: angry parents get "An Inconvenient Truth" pulled from seventh grade classroom. Said one parent via email: "You will not teach or show that propagandaist Al Gore video to my child, blaming our nation -- the greatest nation to ever to exist on this planet -- for global warming."
This is actually a refreshing perspective. Typically, oppostition to the movie stems from the disbelief that global warming exists. This parent believes that it exists, but that it's a sign of Christ's imminent return.

Irony defined: TV crew doing story on dangers of driving on thin ice, drives on thin ice. You know where this goes.

Odd: The place where Wikipedia articles go to die.

The Straight Dope explains what all that gibberish in Steve Miller's "The Joker" actually means, including what the hell a "pompatus of love," is.

This was a damn good State of the World, I think.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Winding the World's Spring

Back from Vancouver, I take the opportunity to reaquaint myself with what I like about Kingston. I want to swing by Rockit to see if they're carrying the new Dunny series, maybe grab a cup at Coffee and Company.

It's wretchedly cold in Kingston, -32 or so; 'tooth pain cold' as we refer to it. The second you step outside the inside of your nose hardens and your knuckles feel ready to split apart at any moment. It's looking like a bus day; so much for exercise.

No luck at Rockit, so I stroll down to the coffee shop and get my large styrofoam tub of sludge. I opt for no-sugar sweetener and nonfat milk in an effort to be marginally healthier. It's all about baby steps, right? The endeavour only manages to give the coffee an aftertaste of donkey piss. But it's hot, and it's warming my insides, so I can choke it back.

I grab a corner table and settle into the book I had bought for the flight out west: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. By Murakami. Big surprise, right? It's widely regarded as his best book, and came up during a recent blog post, plus it's over 500 pages and I was in the mood for something substantial. It's a typically Murakami book: normal guy gets thrust into sinister world lurking beneath the surface of normalcy, where even the most mundane facets of our lives take on an air of menace.

I'm reading a passage on soliders slaughtering tigers in a zoo in Machuria during the end of World War II [killing of zoo animals was apparently a fairly common practice during wartime. Nicole later tells me there's a play on the subject, but she can't remember the title]. So the deaths of the big cats are what I'm immersed in when I hear another customer enter the coffee shop talking loudly.

After glancing up it becomes clear that he's talking to himself, but that's not the odd part. The odd part is that he appears to be carrying on a complete conversation with someone else, in his head. The other person responds to comments and questions, but what he exactly says remains unclear.

"Yeah, you can't go outside where you live, right? It's not safe to walk the streets at night, huh?"
"Yeah, I live in Kingston, I like it there, it's nice."

He also has one eye that looks straight up to the ceiling, and one that stares more or less ahead, not that it matters since he's staring at the ground. I have my notebook with me, so I pull it out and start scribbling down what he's saying, as best as I can hear. And as I glance around the shop, I realize that no one else seems to notice this guy, or if they do, they're using all of their willpower to ignore him.

At this point my phone starts buzzing. It's Nicole.
"Hey, where are you?"
"I'm at C&C. You're home early."
"Yeah, I'm skipping my evening class. Are you hungry?"
"Little bit. Look, babe, can I call you back? Or just see you when I get home? There's some nuts guy a couple tables over and I'm trying to write down what he's saying. I don't want to miss anything"
"Huh? Nuts, like how?"
"Just talking to himself. But it's a really involved conversation with another person in his mind. Like, he's playing both parts."
"Weird. OK, then, when you coming home?"
"Half hour, 45, I'd guess. You good til then? You don't have to wait for me if you're hungry."
"No, I can wait. I'll see you when you get home."

We say our goodbyes and hang up. I start to question what's actually happening here. This is too f*cking odd for no one else to take notice of, I say to myself. Not even a worried glance from the staff. He might be weird, but he can't be that nuts. He might have a handsfree cell phone set up and I can't see it from this angle.

I glance up to check this suspicion and find him staring directly at me with his one good eye. I immediately turn back to my notepad, but I know his eye is still on me. And he's talking.

"Oh that's too bad, someone....somebody died? Your sis....your mom's sister died? A few years ago? Oh, I'm sorry to hear that."

My mother's sister did die a few years ago. It was the first, and to this point only, completely unexpected death in my family, and we still live with the fallout of it now. He's still talking.

"Look, take this phone number...I don't want to see anything happen if those guys come back, so take this number, it's for the police station."

A wave of dread rolls over me at that moment, and I know with complete and utter certainty that I have to get out of there immediately. I toss on my jacket as soon as I can and bolt past the guy without a look and take off in the freezing cold for the nearest bus stop. I call home on the way. She picks up but my phone's dying so I just tell her I'll be getting home shortly.

As I wait for the bus, as I ride the bus, as I speed walk through Kingston Centre back to our building, sucking frigid oxygen into my lungs, the dread never leaves. "Get home," it tells me, "as soon as you can." I've got my keys out before I finish crossing John A. and make a mad dash for the elevator. I storm into our apartment to find Nicole on the couch playing Guitar Hero and asking why I look out of breath.

True story. Swear to God.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The State of the World

Playlist ain't working. No idea why. Computers = tools of the devil.

Faculties still a man's world

A study co-authored by a UofW prof shows that men still outnumber women on most university faculties, but Windsor is doing better than many.

Using numbers from StatsCan, professors Janice Drakich and Penni Stewart found that even though female enrolment continues to rise, the percentage of women faculty tops out around 31 per cent. Windsor does slightly better at 34 per cent.

Gov't and Arar reach settlement

The government of Canada has reached a settlement with Maher Arar, the Canadian engineer wrongly deported to Syria where he was imprisoned and tortured.

While details have not been fully released, sources told the Globe and Mail Arar will net at least $10 million for his suffering, an acknowledgement of the role the government played in Arar's ordeal.

From the forgotten file
Remember that whole 2004 sketchy election count in Ohio? You know, the one that won Bush re-election. Yeah, two of the ballot counters were convicted for rigging a recount.

But that's all in the past, man. We need to look at the now! Terror, terror, terror, 9/11, 9/11.

That last statement just landed me on the no-fly list.

Rolling Stone thinks Al Gore is primed for a presidential comeback.

The Guardian says there can be no war on terror, just like there can be no war on drugs. Wasn't that established five years ago?

Next time you feel like mocking the Starbucks slinger, remember: they have health benefits.

Follw up: apparently more than one school is f*cking stupid enough to post racist party pics on Facebook.

U.S. troops get go ahead to take out Iranians operating in Iraq.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Taking the Year Off

Lance News Editor Ryan Rogers checks another goal off his life list: meeting former Kids in the Hall star Dave Foley. Photographed at the Coast Plaza Hotel in Vancouver.

There's a scene in the movie Misery between the local sherriff and his wife, who is trying to tidy her husband's catastrophic desk. The sherriff sees what she's attempting and immediately stops her. When she asks why, he informs her that he has a system. It makes sense only to him, but he has a system.

That's sort of what it's like in The Trail's brain when he's trying to decide what to include in the morning post. While it may seem as though I just toss random shite on the page, I am usually thinking about what you would find interesting, Windsor, and I try to include at least one local, national, global and ridiculous item.

Thing is, though, from a national standpoint, there seems to be only one thing going on. Pickton, Pickton, Pickton. It'll catch major or minor ink every day for the next year at least, and frankly, I don't think this is the place for it. A grisly murder trial is a tad beyond the scope of what's done here. If you need your fix, there's hundreds of outlets you can peruse. This will not be one of them.

From Wired: Forty two questions we don't know the answers to. Not included: how caramel enters Caramilk bar.

Boy's scream kills 443 chickens.

Donald Crowdis is a 93-year-old blogger. The other day he talked about dying.

All the places in Japan you can't go to, filthy gaijin.

Keep your roommate from stealing your beer money by hiding it in a safe that looks like a shitty pair of a drawers.

The State of the World: Return to EST Edition

Debate over Capitol continues
Windsor City Councilor Alan Halberstadt is urging the city to take over the Capitol Theatre, which has been struggling financially in recent months.

Halberstadt believes the city would be losing a valuable asset if council ultimately opts to just turn its back on the building: "Certainly, with all the other bad publicity downtown is getting these days, I don't think city council can afford to just say, 'OK, shut your doors.'"

The Cap's been in trouble since 2005, when lagging bingo business left the building with a loss of $138,000.

"Citizenship?" "Canadian." "Nope."

The CBC has discovered that hundreds of Canadians who applied for passports due to the new restrictions on U.S. air travel have discovered they are not in fact Canadian.

Under an obscure provision in the Citizenship Act, from 1947 to 1977, anyone who was outside of Canada at the time of their 24th birthday and did not sign a proper form immediately lost their citizenship.

Now, thousands of Canadians, some who have lived here for decades, are discovering they had their citizenship revoked without their knowledge.

Fpr their part, the government is trying to scramble to fix the problem, and grant the 'lost Canadians' landed immigrant status, a process that could still take up to eight months.

Computers are ruining out lives
A recent study by Kelton research found that most people in committed relationships [65 per cent] spend more time with their computers than with their spouses or partners.

The study also found that people waste an average of 12 hours a month fixing problems with their computers.
If you heard this from your wife, you're in good shape. If not, it's all downhill from here.

Does the Unabomber own the copyright to his ramblings?

iTunes ruled illegal in Norway.

U.S. unveils new weapon: heat ray.

Solve a Rubik's cube in seven steps.

White people hold Martin Luther King Day party, dress up like Aunt Jemima and wear shirts that say 'I Love Chicken.' Careful what you put on Facebook, kids.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Life and Times of Dale Coffin

Those of you who follow the UWSA closely, or who have seen this week's issue, know that nothing on campus happens without the knowledge or participation of General Manager Dale Coffin. The Godfather of Students has his hands in everything that goes on at the University of Windsor, from the highest offices of Chrysler Tower to the lowest booth of the Thirsty Scholar.

But don't think that Coffin's impact is limited solely to the UofW. No sir, a man of his power and influence cannot be restricted to one tiny campus. As these photos illustrate, look closely and you'll see Coffin's reach goes farther than anyone could expect.

No matter what it is, all matters great and small, if you look deep enough, you'll find the trademark cowlick of Coffin.

Fear the cowlick, Windsor.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The State of the World

All Eyes on BC
Front page space reserved across the country today for the start of the Robert Pickton trial in New Westminster B.C. Pickton's being charged with the murders of a total of 26 women, however the current trial deals only with the deaths of six.

It's the first time the media will be able to report on details of the case, as soon as the information is heard by the jury. Some American media outlets have already published details of the case online, adding a new wrinkle to the trial's proceedings.

Murder-suicide ends in train death

Reports from Toronto of a 36-year-old woman stabbed to death, apparently by her boyfriend, who then killed himself by stepping in front of a train.

Police say they recieved a call from the male, George McCleary, informing them he had killed his girlfriend and where her body could be found. McCleary then drove to the east end of Toronto and threw himself in front of an oncoming train.

People who knew the couple of course thought they were both lovely and mild-tempered people, and that McCleary never showed any inclination towards violent anger.

Round one officially on
Hillary Clinton has announced the creation of her Presidential Exploratory Committee, essentially announcing her intention to run for President in 2008. This now finalizes many a Republican's nightmare scenario of a woman vs. a black man for the presidency.

Woman wins fight with boyfriend by putting baby in oven.

Airline removes incessantly crying child from flight.

HD porn not as good as it seems.

No one really likes Audioslave: Rage Against the Machine to reunite at Coachella.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Cake vs. Bhangra

With nothing of super interest to the staff taking place at the conference on Saturday, most of us kind of followed our own devices: Some of us went to the Vancouver Aquarium [otters rule!], some of us napped, I myself took the opportunity to aimlessly wander the streets. It was a fine afternoon, and I'm warming up to you as a result, Vancouver, but I don't know if I'm in love yet.

After a fabulous dinner at The Boathouse, we caught the remainder of the night's keynote at the hotel [more on that later], and hailed a cab for the night's festivities.

The plan was to catch a burlesque show at the Croatian Cultural Centre, which we did. The centre was one of those multiple ballroom type buildings [think Caboto] that run multiple events on the same night. So in addition to the burlesque show, there was a party for the local young Indian population of Vancouver. It was like those nights that student groups run at the Thirsty Scholar on Fridays, just on a much larger scale.

On the whole, the burlesque show was pretty mediocre. Even the Windsor affairs I've seen had more variety, with singers and poets and pointless 'art' pieces. Hey, at least it's different. The show last night was just striptease after striptease, and with the exception of one or two performers, it seemed like the same act over and over.

Once the show's over, we grab our coats from coat check and notice that the side exit to the
Croatian Centre's other ballroom is wide open with no security. From where we were standing, we could hear that the music had changed from the mid-90s R&B that had been playing when we arrived, to bhangra. So we figure what the hell, we'll sneak in.

Imagine our surprise to discover the music was coming from a live band. Imagine our surprise the next morning to discover that we had stumbled into the official afterparty for the Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration, featuring superstar live bhangra act DCS.

Let me tell you something: those Indian kids know how to party. Before I snuck into that ballroom, I had no idea what "wilding out" actually was. I know now. And I think...I was a little afraid. Of how much I liked it.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Dear Van City,

Sometimes my friends and I discuss the concept of the dry-crush. For those unfamiliar, the dry-crush is the attraction you have on one individual or type of woman, coupled with the knowledge and complete acceptance that you will never be with them.

For The Trail, his ultimate dry-crush will always be the badass girls. The very first feature I ever wrote in The Lance chronicled this very fact. Goth girls, rockabilly girls, pierced and tattooed, the works. They just completely enthrall me whenever I pass one on the street. But in all my years as a single man, I've never attempted to chat one up, for one simple reason: I know I have nothing to say to them. Based on the women of said type I've been fortunate enough to know in my life, I know that those women are damn nice to look at, but I just don't get them [yeah, yeah, People are People, bladibla, I like Depeche Mode too]. Our interests and attitudes are just too different to get along for any extended period of time.

Last night, as I sat in a bar on East Hastings watching some band have a xylophone/kazoo duel-off, I realize that you might be my dry-crush city, Vancouver.

I acknowledge, my time with you has been brief, and I'm looking forward to our second date today, but the first date was a tad inauspicious. Sitting in that bar was like being dropped in a Mystery Machine video, circa 1995. You looked exactly like I expected you to look like, which is in no way a bad thing, but I just don't get you, yet. You don't make sense to me yet, but I am trying, Vancouver. Lord, I am trying. I know there are things to love about you, I have encountered them.

Your beauty, for one. The sun's shining today, which changes the whole atmosphere. Your subtitled Korean soap operas on local television. Your endless Japanese markets and restaurants, I like those especially. Any town where I can buy this:

freshly made for the low, low price of $5.57, has got to be good.

So I'm keeping an open mind, my dear. I'm looking forward to getting lost in you today, and discovering what surprises you might want to show me. Just don't expect me to go down to Hastings and Main again.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Can You Get Paid to Blog?

The million dollar question, and the one discussed at the session I attended this afternoon. And when the hour was over, I was reminded of Reverend Lovejoy's response to Ned Flanders when Ned asked if God was punishing him.

"Ooooh, short answer 'yes' with an 'if'; long answer 'no' with a 'but'."

The consensus among the panelists seemed to be that there is money to be made in the practice, but that it's not a lot, and it doesn't come as a direct result of blogging itself. It would appear, judging from the discussion, that the romantic notion of making fat dollars of cash to blog your thoughts on a myriad of topics is simply not true. All three of the panelists, while bloggers, practice other disciplines, be they hosting radio shows or as communication consultants with other companies [I was reminded of Boingboing editor Xeni Jardin, who these days spends more time as a talking head on television than making posts on the site].

Panelist Robert Ouimet [who was instrumental in starting CBC Radio 3], compared it to the hustle of freelancing; think of your blog as your portfolio, and use it to spin out into other writing gigs. Kind of like when magazines put the brief bio at the end of your piece: "Jordan Ferguson is a Windsor-born blogger currently residing in Kingston, Ontario." That sort of thing.

Ultimately, the panel agreed that blogging is a means to an end, but not an end to itself. You can use it springboard into other jobs, but it's never going to pay your bills on its own.

At least, not right now. For all the hoopla about the massive growth of online publishing, there aren't that many doing consistent, well though out posts, and less doing actual reportage and investigative [one reason why the panel benefited from having Sean Holman on it]. But that segment of the blogosphere is growing at an ever-increasing rate, and as it does, the more value the medium has to the people pulling the purse strings.

Unfortunately that idea quickly snowballs into a Moebius-strip of ethical hell [ie: who do you take money from, and for what?], and it's already starting to rear its ugly head. Panelist Darren Barefoot introduced me to the idea of Coles' Notes: company pays $250 or so to have their product reviewed by blogger. Blogger and split the cash, blogger writes brief review. Blogger is under no obligation to be favourable in review, he or she can write whatever he or she wants. So is this unethical? At this stage, I'd say no. And if someone wants me to review the newest season of Aqua Teen Hunger Force when it comes out, I'd be delighted to receive it for free.

To my surprise, judging by the audience in the room, blogging is still an unknown universe for a lot of people. Questions ranged from the aforementioned ethics debate to matters as simple as how to write everyday, or how to get more varied voices on the blogosphere [a ramble for another time]. I don't know how those kids felt when they left the room, but I felt cautiously optimistic. Like Ouimet said, blogging is a just a hustle like any other facet of journalism. Mayhaps I should get my ass out on the block.

The State of the World: Time Change is Killing Me

Alleged brothel owner just a widdle gerl
That's what she told the infamous Karen Hall of the Windsor Star, anyway. Vancouver native Lisa Ann Taylor was in town yesterday for a show at Cheetah's in an attempt to make some quick cash for her growing legal bills, stemming from allegations she ran drugs and sold sex from her Georgia home.

Taylor [stage name Melissa Wolf], a former Penthouse Pet of the Year, expressed her dismay at having to take the stage again in her forties: "The magazine and movie layouts started to come to a screeching halt when I turned 40, so do I really want to be up there now, when I've got some 18-year-old girl behind me?"

Well played, Madame Wolf.

U.S. and North Korea reach "agreement" over nukes
Following three days of dialogue between the U.S. and North Korea in Germany this week, statements from Pyongyang's Foreign Ministry suggested the two nations had started to make progress on the tense disagreement over the North's nuclear program.

The U.S., obviously, has no idea what Korea is talking about.

Spy coins don't exist
One thing we didn't report about here but which made a bit of a stir last week was that one about the Canadian "spy coins" containing radio transmitters.

As it turns out, the whole thing was a crock. I don't know which is more incredible: The fact that they released that hooey in the first place, or the fact that they admitted they were wrong. Meh.

The Apple honeymoon is over, as iPhone hangover causes stock prices to fall five per cent.

I have neither the smarts nor the inclination to attempt it, but I link because I respect: Hackers create and import custom songs for Guitar Hero II.

An informal study finds Wikipedia reads at fairly high level. With most newspapers reading at a high school level, could Wiki be more useful if it dumbed down?

Only because it's kind of funny, kind of cute, and I'm still a tad melancholic from the trip: Things My Boyfriend Says.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The State of the World: Who Gives a Crap, I'm in Vancouver Edition

Gonna be quick today, Windsor. It's a busy day and I'm tired as hell. But yes, the commute was fine. I watched The Departed on the flight. Quality all the way on that one.

Pervy priest says it's victims' faults.
Cause you know, it totally is. Or so says 84-year-convicted molester Rev. Charles Sylvestre. The convicted met with a Crown Attorney of his own accord to be interviewed. According to Sylvestre, the victims conspired against him to be abused by him. Gotta love that logic.

U.S. turned down offer from Iran
Iran offered up a package of concessions to the States back in 2003, including cutting funding to militant Lebanese militias and helping to stabilize Iraq, but had it turned down, according to
senior officials interviewd by the BBC.

The article is quick to point out that the 2003 offer closely mimics what Washington is asking out of Iran now.

Families of assaulted teenage girls suing MySpace.

FYI: O'Reilly on Colbert Report tonight. Look for postgame in a later post, provided I don't pass the hell out from jetlag.

Bird uses lit cigarette in nest construction. Hilarity ensues.

Empty nest retirees take applications for new daughter after old son moves out. Swamped with responses.

More later. Dunny party, w00t!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Give it up for the most cliched title for a travel post, ever!

Obviously posting will be a little sporadic until Thursday night, maybe Friday morning, as the crew head out to Van City for a long weekend of media philosophy, networking and public drunkenness.

First stop, Dunny Azteca trading party! w00t!

Pictures, posts, and perhaps vids will be plentiful, I'm sure, so check back often.

Man, just looking at that picture makes me nervous. Safest way to travel, safest way to travel....

The State of the World: Fear of Flying Edition

Confession time: Not the best flyer in the world, Windsor. I hide it well, but it stresses the hell out of me. So hopping on some 30-seater by myself tomorrow morning is not my idea of fun. Safest way to travel. Safest way to travel.

Lube up, smokers
The University is looking at implementing new restrictions on smokers in an effort to remove crowds of them from building entrances, where they tend to congregate.

The new rules would limit smoking to designated outdoor areas a minimum of 10 metres from public buildings. Proponents of the rules also hope they will further encourage students to quit smoking. Interested parties can peruse the proposal here.

That's all well and good, but there's a surefire way to deal with smokers that I think the school should look into. The next time you see someone smoking, you take a gun, and you shoot them, right in the head. That'll learn 'em. I mean, it's them or you, right?

The Environment is so '07
Proving that dammit, the Tories are serious about this whole environment thing, Natural Resources Minister Gary Lunn announced the federal government is investing $230 million over four years to develop ways to produce clean energy.

It's believed to be the first in a series of announcements to come this week regarding the environment. Clean coal technology and cleaning up oil sand production top the list of priorities for the announced funding.

Does it not seem more and more like Rona Ambrose was set up to fail?

New Scientist tells us of a cancer-killing wonder drug.

Five-year-old goes door to door looking for help after parents are shot dead in the family car.

Muslim women can stay cool this summer, thanks to the burkini.

Teenage girls who post swimsuit pics on MySpace? Completely normal.

How to get noticed on Google.

Regular listeners of the old Lance Podcast already know the answer to this question.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


The beautiful Coast Plaza Hotel, where young journalists from all over Canada will meet for the 69th National Confernce of Canadian University Press.

Got the business on my mind, Windsor, as I prepare to enter the den of world changers and idealists for the third year running. Not that world changing and idealism are necessarily bad per se; I just find it difficult to keep my late-20's cynicism in check around the dew fresh and doe-eyed.

But on the whole, I'm looking forward to reconnecting with all I love about my chosen profession. It feels like I've been separated from it for too long, isolated in my little blog world. It's the one downside of this whole experiment no one ever talks about: because most of us seem to spend so much time scouring cyberspace for things of note or amusement, redistributing the news instead of reporting on it, there's a bit of disconnect there. I'll be eager to cast it aside for a few days between gorging on coastal sushi and buying vinyl rabbits.

So what's on the agenda for the week that The Trail will be attending. Well, Dan Savage had to pull out of his speech, so that's a no-go, but there's a few bright spots left on the programme:
  • The Evolution of Media and What Lies Ahead with Alfred Hermida, Tech Editor of the BBC's website.
  • Storyville: Finding Good Copy when Given a Lousy Assignment with freelance writer Tom Hawthorn.
And the two that relate to me on a personal level:
  • Blogging and Sharing Information with Sullivan Media prez Paul Sullivan
  • Getting Paid to Blog, a panel with editor and publisher Sean Holman, blogger Darren Barefoot and Crawford Killian, a Comm prof from Capilano College.
Clearly, I'll be at the last one with bells on. Throw is Keynotes from Jian Ghomeshi, Dave Foley and Nardwuar the Human Serviette and it's looking to be a fabulous time.

And not just for me, but all of you as well! Yes, reunited with my 'stronger than blood' street gang of a family at The Lance, posting will be fast and furious [I have a reputation to maintain here]. Magic happens at the National Conference. Don't believe me?

Peep this classic from last year's conference in Toronto. I present to you the first ever video created by the staff of the Lance, first broadcast on The Lance Podcast [which can still be accessed, email if you want to know how]:

You have no idea how long it took me and Hollywood to do that last year. Oh, the days before iMovie. I wouldn't trade you for anything.

The video itself is too damn long [interview could have been trimmed by a good three minutes. Hey, we were new], but if you look closely at the beginning, you can see the handsome moustache The Trail grew for the week. Aside: I met Lady Trail a scant two weeks or so later, and still had the moustache. Thankfully, she still wanted to date me.

PS: I've seen mockups of this year's parody issue. If you think you know what we're capable don't. You'll find out next week.


The State of the World

Strippers not out of woods yet

The City of Windsor isn't giving up on license fees for exotic dancers. After the practice was ruled discriminatory by the Ontario Court of Appeal last week, city council has hired an Ottawa lawyer [to the tune of $10,000] to ask the court for a leave of appeal. If granted, someone from the city's legal department will argue on its behalf.

Mayor Eddie says since the fees were first suspended in 2005 when the matter went before the courts, the city has lost about $150,000 in revenues.

Who knew strippers gave that much to the city?

High ranking ministers preaching the word in China
International Trade Minister David Emerson and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty are in Beijing this week to play nice with China after a tense autumn with harsh words from both Canada and China over each others' human rights records. Emerson is looking to improve tourism from China in Canada, as well as ensuring protection for Canadain investors in China.

Obama pondering presidency
The distinguished gentleman from Illinois, Democratic Senator Barack Obama, has officially announced he's forming a 'Presidential Exploratory Committee'. While not officially declaring a candidacy, it is widely considered the first step before doing so.

We like Barack. But we like him purely on charisma, and not based on anything he says, because he says the same things lots of other Democrats say. He needs to develop his own political identity away from the party line to even think he might have a hope in hell of winning over middle America. Or of withstanding the tank that is Clinton.

But if he wins, will he play this in the Oval Office?

Told you someone would get canned for it: radio station responsible for water drinking contest that killed a Sacramento woman fires 10 employees.

How many Starbuckses is too many Starbuckses? And seriously, what the hell is the plural of that? People commonly use the same for both singular and plural. So Starbucks is like moose or deer? Weird.

Black recognized as hip colour this season. You mean there was a time when it wasn't?

So you saw Happy Feet, and now you're worried about the penguins, what with all this global warming and whatnot? Don't worry, they'll be fine.

Monday, January 15, 2007

It's Monday. Must be Flotsam.

Don't front. I could so take you on Guitar Hero. If I don't break my knee.

UK graf boy-turned-media prankster-turned-high art darling Banksy has opened an online store. And everything's free. So milk a decent printer and get some art.

Plan your summer now: the 20 most hyped movies of 2007. Related: Thirteen novels that would be impossible to film, and who should try.

Continuing, because we love countdowns: The 25 best martial arts moments on film. Normally I wouldn't link to anything from Maxim, but they mentioned Crippled Masters, so whoever wrote that obviously knew their stuff. Jet Li makes three appearances, furhter proving that he is the man, and worthy of the mancrush The Trail has on him. Videos included.

Amusing: This piece of the Simpsons done manga-style has been getting loads of attention online, so much so that the artist has scored some work with Matt Groening's comic book company.

Followup to the earlier story on the woman who died drinking too much water. How is drinking too much water dangerous? This is how.

Hugh Laurie won a Golden Globe tonight. Life is good.

You can keep your fancy shmancy new systems. PS2 outsold them all. Which reminds me, Final Fantasy awaits.

The State of the World

Today is Martin Luther King's birthday. Respect that. I wonder what he'd think of things today?

Hey, it snowed. Front page!
When I was in J-school my photography prof [Uncle Paul, as he like to be called] used to tell us that weather pictures were some of the best you could take. People love weather, apparently. So the return of winter on what is traditionally the slowest news day of the week makes it the top story.

you look. By the way, I'm in Vancouver on Thursday. Won't that be fun?

Someone is so fired
Sacramento woman dies in water drinking contest. The contest, sponsored by a local radio station, encouraged contestants to drink as much water as they could without going to the bathroom for the longest period of time, with a Nintendo Wii on the line. The 'Hold your wee for a Wii" contest claimed the life of 28-year-old Jennifer Strange, who was found dead in her home last Friday. Cause of death? Water intoxication.

More ammo for "pro-family" types
There's been a shi*tstorm flying in some circles ever since Ontario courts gave three people equal parental rights, a lesbian couple and the child's biological father.
The side for thinks there's nothing wrong with it, how can more love for the child be bad, etc. The side against rails against any retooling of what it means to be a family, that oh-so-most sacred of institutions.

The pisser is, I'm inclined to agree with the side against. Not because I'm against any family retooling, I could care less about that. It just seems like there's a potential snowball effect here. Three parents are awesome, okay fine. What happens when that kid's dad marries another woman? What's her role? Her title? And what happens in the worst case scenario and people split up? Divorce is hard enough on kids when two parents are involved. What happens when there's three or four?

And what happens shoud the unthinkable happen, and someone renounces their homosexuality? Then it's a whole new ball of wax.

PS: Gotta love that NYPost headline, eh?

World's first test-tube baby has baby herself.

Two hundred people drop pants on the number six subway.

The NYTimes says the iPhone will make you its prisoner.

Etiquette: Should you give money to street kids when traveling?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Things I forgot to mention

Behold the above, Windsor, and tremble at what my life has become. Final Fantasy XII is on the verge of defeating me. I finally caved and bought the strategy guide, and it's the size of a damn phone book. To me, that = quality, but it's still damn intimidating. But this entry isn't about that. It's about the title.

First and foremost, I totally forgot about this until it came up in a conversation with EiC D'Arcy today. You may or may not know that the format wars of the future, while early, are in fact upon us. HD-DVD vs. Blu Ray. And the major and minor movie studios are picking sides. Many have sided with HD-DVD; Sony, one of the major Blu-Ray developers, is gambling the PS3 on their technology [it doubles as a Blu Ray player, accounting for part of the outrageous price tag]. Make no mistake, this is the new VHS vs. Betamax. But there is one segment of the entertainment industry that has not chosen a side yet. Until now.

The porn industry is going HD-DVD. Reports state the decision was made because HD-DVD is cheaper to make. But another reason seems to be because manufacturers of Blu Ray discs were threatened by Sony with the rescinding of their production licenses if they were caught putting porn on Sony's technology. So the porn industry, not being ones to take slights lying down, seems to be standardising on HD-DVD.

This is large, people. Porno is a huuuge industry, and as the article linked points out, their decision to adopt VHS decades ago is now looked at as one of the reasons for that format's eventual dominance over Betamax. So keep the PS3, but you might want to eBay any other players.

In other news, for what is possibly the only time in my life, I scooped BoingBoing on the 'dead birds falling from the skies' stories from earlier in the week, by a whole eleven hours or so, heh. Peep those datestamps, y'all. While I am a little proud, I am in no way bragging, because it will never happen again. Ever.

Now, if you'll excuse me Windsor, my man Common is on Leno tonight, and I have no intention of missing it. Have a good weekend.

The State of the World

Ahluwalia one step closer to being next great PM
Windsor student and UWSA Council Chair Balinder Ahluwalia is one step closer to starring in the CBC's new show The Next Great Prime Minister, making the cut from 25 to 10. There's still one more cut to go before he makes the show. Again, this is awesome. If you see him, tell him so.

B.C. willing to intervene for sextuplets
Tensions rising out west as the B.C. government has gone on record saying they will step in if they feel the health of the prematurely born Vancouver sextuplets is jeopardized in any way.

The parents of the babies are Jehovah's Witnesses, a faith that believes God forbids blood transfusions, a procedure often needed by premature infants.

This is all still hypothetical, of course, but has the potential to be tres messy, should things play out that way.

Like Coke? Head to Ireland
Irish scientists conducting an examination of 45 randomly selected used banknotes found traces of cocaine on all of them. Some had high levels, suggesting they were used in the snorting of the drug, others low, suggesting they were kept in pockets with the drug.

One newspaper said the study shows there is "something rotten at the heart of Ireland's economic boom." Well, duh.


U.S. Air Force staff sergeant relieved of duty after showing goodies in Playboy.

Ronins and ninjas helping British police.

NYTimes says Justin Timberlake's new movie has "much the same entertainment value you get from watching monkeys fling scat at one another in a zoo." Yoweeeouch.

African lion shows gratitude to woman who saved it from abuse with hugs and kisses.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The View From the Road

To follow up on the earlier cribnotes definition of DRM, what I forgot to mention was that a lot of the rules in place to enforce limits on content reproduction and distribution originate from the States [primarily the Digital Millennium Copyright Act] and don't apply to we Canadians.

Not that our legislators aren't trying to play catch up.

The current Heritage Minister is one Bev Oda. She looks after all matter cultural and artistic. Fortunately, she received campaign contributions from Universal Music, the Canadian Motion Pictures Distributors' Association and the Canadian Recording Industry Association, so she's familiar with these matters, and of course she has some ideas on what changes need to be made to Canadian copyright laws.

Canadian Press is reporting that observers close to the file say the Tories will increase protection of the film and music industries to the degree that even ripping a CD to your computer [a CD you paid for] would be open to legal action.

Said consumer advocate Howard Knopf, "[Media companies] want complete control. They want to tell you what you do with your hardware, what you do with your hardware and what you do with your software." not good. Unscrupulous downloading notwithstanding [cause you can't argue it's not stealing, regardless of how much you love it], these rules will give record labels license to sue you for making a mix of your favourite CDs for the car. Nevermind if you bought every CD that contributed to said mix, that's irrelevant.

If you want to make your voice heard on this issue, you can find Oda's contact information here. Mauril Belanger, the Liberal Heritage Critic, can be reached here, and NDP Critic Charlie Angus can be found here.

If you do decide to take up the fight, please remember to keep it rational. Whatever kicks you might get telling a politician off are outweighed by the damage you would do to the dialogue.

Moving on...

In what has to be a new high point for bloggers everywhere, the Media Bloggers Association, a nonpartisan organization of over 1,000 members, has won two court credentials to rotate among its members. The passes will be busted out for the first time at the trial of Scooter Libby, the former aide to U.S. VP Dick Cheney, who's facing criminal charges over his alleged involvement in revealing the identity of a CIA agent. So good news, right? Bloggers are being taken seriously in the field of journalism!


On the flip side of the blogger credibility coin, we have the story of Spocko. Spocko is a blogger who got peeved at the things hosts on a San Francisco right-wing radio station had to say about people like U.S. Senator Barack Obama, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and, well, Muslims. He got so peeved that he began publicizing the sort of speech that came out of this radio station [KSFO is you keep track of these things]. From there, a campaign was organized to email companies who advertise on KSFO and get them to pull their ads.

It worked.

So what happens then? ABC, who owns KSFO, sends Spocko a cease and desist, claiming his use of material publicly broadcast on the radio station was in violation of copyright. The C&D gets sent to Spocko's ISP, who take down his site.

Spocko has since gotten the support of the Electronic Frontier Foudation to help with his legal needs, and is back online.

Are you noticing a pattern here? The media giants threaten the little guys who are operating fully within their rights, and our politicians are giving them the power to keep doing it.

As my man Ice-T said, "Freedom of speech, just watch what you say." Better add "how you say it."


Two items of business:

1. Playlist has been updated with new tracks. The Sprites are still there because they're too fun not to be. It's also set on a shuffle to start whenever a reader arrives, with what I hope is an unobtrusive volume. If it bugs you that much, click the pause button. If it really bothers you that much, drop a line. I worked on it too damn hard to let it just sit there.

2. With the new fancypants Blogger, we can now add labels to entries, and entries can be sorted according to label. So I've done you the favour of labeling all the videos, which not gathers them all on one page, which can be found by clicking here. Video archive will still be updated on the side menu.

That is all.

The State of the World: Stupid Cogeco Edition

Word to the wise, Windsor: stay away from Cogeco's phone/cable/internet deal. I don't know what they hell they're doing, but our service has gone out for hours every morning this week. Thus, even on my day off, you get your SotW in the afternoon.

Prez on high profile trip
Uncle Ross is packing his bags for a trip to India with Premier Dalton McGuinty and Trade Minister [and local MPP] Sandra Pupatello, along with reps from other schools across the province. The goal of the trip is to increase investment from Indian companies in Ontario institutions.

Ross said he'd like to see the trip result in even more faculty and student exchanges with the country. Windsor already enjoys the highest concentration of Indian students of any similarly sized university.

You know they're trying, and that's what's important
Staying on campus, DailyNews is reporting the results of the 2006 National Survey of Student Engagement [or 'Nessey' survey] are in, and that you all know how hard the administration is working to make things better around there.

The main bullet point seems to be that most of you would rate your experience at Windsor as 'good,' and that most of you would 'probably' go there again if you had to do it over. This is the only second year Windsor has participated in Nessey, so any in depth examination of the numbers is kind of flawed, since there's only one year of data to compare it to.

Anyone who wants to check out the results can download a PDF here.

Everything you watch is owned by the Aspers
Today's installment of 'Media Consolidation Theatre' features the purchase of Alliance-Atlantis by CanWest Global for $2.3 billion. The buy gives Global ownership of an additonal 13 channels including the Food Network, Showcase and all the specialty Showcase channels.

The purchase basically leaves the Canadian media landscape with two behemoths, CanWest and Bell-Globemedia, which owns CTV, CHUM/CityTV and the Globe and Mail.

Can even David Beckham make soccer a viable spectator sport in the U.S.?

Dream match: Colbert to appear on O'Reilly, O'Reiily to appear on Colbert.

Bush disturbed by video of Hussein execution.

Threadless, trendiest online t-shirt retailer in the universe, moves offline.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The State of the World

Sorry kids, those old hip-hop vids can kill an hour like nobdoy's business.

Former VPUA vying for PM
A sort of pleasant surprise to see former UWSA exec, current council chair and my man Balinder Ahluwalia catching some ink on the front page of the Star's website in a piece about his audition for the CBC's upcoming show 'The Next Great Prime Minister.' Balinder made the top 25 after the field was narrowed from over 5,000.

I admit, I feel a little bad about the fact that he still considers his loss to LaPorte two years ago his most crushing defeat. Though he never said it to me, word on the street had it he felt he got the shorter end of the stick in that year's inaugural edition of HackOrama [I thought he and LaPorte got equally vicious lashings].

At any rate, I honestly hopes he makes it. He's charismatic as hell and an outspoken champion of Windsor, and who wouldn't want to see that displayed on a national stage. Good luck, B.

Polar Bears: endangered, or delicious?
In one of the weirder lectures to come through town, Dr. Lee Foote from the University of Alberta's department of renewable resources, will examine both sides of a controversial argument brewing over polar bears.

One side says the bears should be reclassified and protected by government agencies. The other says hunting them should be permitted and that said hunt is actually an important and necessary aid to human welfare.

Dr. Foote will be looking at the pros and cons of both sides in a lecture at Canada South Science City [930 Marion Ave] at 7.00 p.m. Thursday.

Fingers crossed
Top story worldwide is obviously George Bush's speech Wednesday night, in which he pledged another 20,000 troops to Iraq, with the intent of a more cooperative effort between Iraqi and American forces to subdue insurgents, and a renewed focus on preparing the Iraqis to handle things themselves sooner rather than later.

Part of my new year's resolutions is to cut back on the U.S. politics, but this is of global concern, unfortunately. With the recent airstrike in Somalia, coupled with Bush's firm rhetoric against Iran, I'm starting to lose my optimism for 2007.

Cisco sues Apple over iPhone trademark. But they'll probably be okay.

Remember that old show Homicide: Life on the Street? It was set in Baltimore, which I thought was an odd choice to locate a show, until I read this. Thirteen murders in ten days is some scary shit.

Florida man arrested for raping the wife of a man who owes him money. Or rather, for raping who he thought was the wife of a man who owes him money.

Frig, you thought our cigarette labels were brutal? Australia may have topped them [not for squeamish].

There is no roadrage in Japan. Unless you bump into the Yakuza.

The Return of the Flotsam

Nothing like working away when all of a sudden Firefox decides to shit the bed on me. And they say Macs are more stable, psssh.

Anyhoo, when the browser crashed I was in the process of telling you that it's been a while since we looked at some of the things that keep the internet good, stupid and useful all at the same time, so why not cross a few off the list.

And at the top of the list: monkeys punching dinosaurs as art project.

Did you know there's a super secret members' only club in Disneyland? And you're free to apply for membership? Might take you seven years to get in, but it looks like it'd be worth it. Lots of pics and info there.

Youtube Roundup:

This clip of Dave Brubek reminds me why I need more jazz in my life. Those cats could wear the hell out of a suit.

I have no idea what's being advertised here, but who gives a damn?

For Julie the Sports Editor: Links to tons of classic, old school hip-hop videos. Sorry for killing your productivity today. And mine, for that matter.

Special full inclusion: If Bruce Campbell tells me I need Old Spice, gaddammit I need Old Spice.

And finally, let us close this update with the one site I should have known existed long before tonight: Cats that look like Hitler.


Now I'm no expert, but I'm willing to bet one of the world's leading physicists isn't advocating we all create a new world utopia in the trees. Perhaps the Kingston Whig-Standard meant planets?

You know, when I have a typo, it's only seen by the 20 of you who come here regularly, not an entire city. Remember children, spellcheck will always get you in the end.