THE OFFICIAL BLOG OF THE LANCE, THE UNIVERSITY OF WINDSOR STUDENT NEWSPAPER:
NEWS, REVIEWS AND COMMENTARY, COURTESY OF THE PAPER TRAIL

Friday, June 29, 2007

Our Home and Native Land



















I bet you didn't know that.

The long weekend is upon you, and I'm sure you're busy putting the beer in the cooler and MapQuesting directions to the cottage, but I need to bum you out for a moment, Windsor.

You see, there is another sad news story from the world of quasi-sport. Champion hot dog eater Kobayashi has injured his jaw, and will likely be unable to compete for his seventh consecutive win at the world hot dog eating championships on Coney Island next week.

The news comes shortly after the champ's all time record [53 hot dogs in 12 minutes] was smashed by American Joey Chestnut, who's a lock to take the title if Kobayashi can't compete.

But if you expect me to believe that goofy white boy will ever be as cool as the man who took part in this, you'll be waiting a while.



May you eat as many hot dogs as you can handle this weekend, Windsor.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The State of the World

Ground breaks on medical building
If you hurry, you can still catch the groundbreaking for the new medical building at 10 a.m. in the parking lot south of the Toldo building. Go see where your tuition increase is headed.

Stay out of Puce
StatsCan latest numbers are revealing that crime rates in small urban areas are higher than large urban and rural areas, and that murder rates are highest out in the country.

Although robbery and car theft were way higher in the big city. So apparently all those K-town thugs I make fun of around here might actually be packing.

Can you sue a person who doesn't exist? Of course you can
So this is a new one. Perhaps you have heard of author JT LeRoy? A few years back he released a novel and a short story collection based on his experiences growing up in foster care and as a transgendered truck-stop prostitute. The books created a bit of a sensation upon their release and the rights were bought up by film production companies.

Now, JT LeRoy doesn't exist. It's a pseudonym created by a woman named Laura Albert. So one of the production companies who bought the rights to her book Sarah sued her their money back, and won [appealing, obviously].

But what the film company was mad about was that the author didn't exist in real life. But does that matter, when the book they paid for was a work of fiction, and never purported otherwise? Slate says no.

Briefly
A number of valid reasons to tweak your Facebook privacy settings.

MSNBC news anchor refuses to lead with Paris Hilton. Hats off.

It looks like the worst Photoshop ever, but it's actually...a zorse.

So, your son gets raped by the nanny, and the nanny gets 45 years in jail. All good. Yet I'm still confused why you would tell the judge, "He's got game. It's what you'd expect from a seasoned, world-class child molester." Bizarrrrrre.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

No Words

Been trying to wrap my head around this one all day, Windsor, and it still makes no sense. An hour before RAW started I caught wind of Chris Benoit's passing, when I saw that his wife and son were also dead, I think part of me knew things would turn out bad, just not this bad.

But I settled in to watch the three tribute regardless, with highlights from his career and thoughts from some of the wrestlers, ending with his win at Wrestlemania XX, standing with Eddie Guerrero, holding his title belt high.

The details were out by the time the show ended, and clarified today: Benoit killed his wife and son over the weekend, and then hung himself on Monday afternoon. Suddenly the tributes were gone, his merchandise removed from the website. Rightly so.

I realize I never knew the man but it felt like I did. I was WWF all the way back in the '90's, but he was the only reason I turned to WCW, just to see if he was wrestling. His character was always no-nonsense and low-gimmick: a brawler who let his actions in the ring speak for him. He was my favourite wrestler working today. To hear the guys talk about him on the show last night only enforces the idea that he was his own gimmick. So to learn he was capable of such horrific violence [seven-years-old for God's sake] saddens me in a way I have a hard time expressing.

I want to remember him as the man of integrity who walked away from a big money payday with WCW because the company was making him hate what he loved. I want to remember him as the technical wizard who could make any putz they put him in the ring with look like a million bucks. I want to remember him as the man who always put the business above himself, and worked to make sure the younger generation of workers could carry it on. But I know that's not possible anymore.

You dumb, dumb son of a bitch.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Monday, Monday

In a rare display of mercy from the CTC, your beloved Trail was graced with three days off in a row, to spend however I wished. Friday was spent meeting the Lady and her former coworkers for lunch downtown, followed by a long overdue conversation with Lance EiC D'Arcy Bresson. We talked about a number of subjects, none of which were related to the newspaper or this blog, but that's how that goes.

Saturday was spent cleaning the apartment and wallowing in our own filth, although I did make some awesome pancakes for the two of us [word, Aunt Jemima's on sale at Loblaw's. Go now].

Sunday the Lady apparently had plans in her head, so we went back downtown so she could pick up her Shakespeare action figure that she ordered from Minotaur [possibly the coolest shop in Kingston] because she wanted it for her classroom. We then went for lunch at Tango [sirloin/brie sammich for her, mango/lime chutney burger for me] and enjoyed some patio dining.

What we were really looking forward to was feeding the ducks in Confederation Park [because we're 80, as our friend Christina tells us]. It's pretty packed by the waterfront along the inlet, but we scootch down to the shore and toss a couple breadcrumbs to the ducks.

Suddenly, it's Hitchcock. Seagulls amass on the scence for any scrap of bread they can find, divebombing the poor ducks as we try to swat them away. I decide I've had enough [by anxiety around birds only second to my anxiety around the undersea world], so I stash the day-old dinner rolls we had brought into her purse and head for higher ground. Smart idea, as the seagulls just went into her bag and pulled out a roll, then took to the air squawking and fighting each other in a sphere of flapping and feathers. Good times.

Links!
Not that you needed this to tell you [at least, I hope you didn't], but that 'Secret' thing is just a fad.

Shudder in horror at dead soda pops from years gone by [Pepsi Fire? Really?]

Look at this lineup, and tell the Lady and I what day we should try to make it.

Did I not tell people that this horrible 'Vince is Dead' angle the WWE was running would go horribly awry? Son of a bitch.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The State of the World v. Pancakes

The news wins. Barely.

Really? Really?!The article states that the case has sparked a public outcry. Allow me to join it. $340,000 worth of mental distress because you found a dead fly in your Culligan bottle?! Are you effing kidding me?! The trauma got so bad you were plagued by nightmares and only got four hours of sleep a night? Really? Man, on a humid day you can inhale more bugs walking down Wyandotte, but your delicate sensibilities were put off by a single fly floating in the water. Really.

And when the decision was rightly overturned on appeal, you further appeal to the Superior effing Court? Really?! You know what kills me, Windsor, and maybe one of you can fill this in for me: no where does it say he even drank any of the water. Maybe, maybe if he drank some of it, I would have a momentary lapse of judgment and feel a twinge of sympathy. Since I don't know, I'm inclined to encourage you to harden the f*ck up.

The Trails are never going on vacation
Air Canada has decided that they no longer have the space for people to bring their pets with them when they fly. With the recent regulations on gels and liquids, the airline says people are packing more, which takes up more space. Pets will now have to fly on a separate cargo plane.

Yeah, JackJack the Supercat loses his shit if you take him into the hallway outside our apartment. There's no way he's getting on a cargo plane sober.

Muslim women in Britain straining tolerance
According to the Times [of New York, not London], an increasing number of Muslim women in Britain have embraced the veil, and are performing their daily tasks in the niqab, a head to toe black garment with only a slit for the eyes. And it's freaking people out.

Wrote one columnist, "It says that all men are such brutes that if exposed to any more normally clothed women, they cannot be trusted to behave — and that all women who dress any more scantily like that are indecent. It’s abusive, a walking rejection of all our freedoms.” Tony Blair even called the niqab "a mark of separation."

Said one young woman who wears a niqab, “For me it is not just a piece of clothing, it’s an act of faith, it’s solidarity.” Debate continues among the Muslim community as well, and you can peep that in the article.

BrieflyStraight women: not all gay guys want to be your friend.

The Guardian gives you all the Glastonbury goodness you need. Related: Banksy pisses people off by constructing a replica of Stonehenge out of portable toilets. God I love that man.

Family gives 10-month-old a nice glass of gin. Child complains everybody got they cups, but they ain't chipped in. Ahh, jokes for me, Windsor.

A call for a return to civility when insulting others. Example: No, you cannot have $300,00 over a dead fly, you fawning tickle-brained measle.

And now, pancakes!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Only Thing Between Me and Dinner is The State of The World

PSA
Just a heads-up that as of today the stretch of Walker Rd at Grand Marais will be out of action for the next 16 months or so as construction begins on an underpass.

As if Walker wasn't enough of a treat to drive on.

PSA II
All my new alumni peeps who want to relive the magic of their convocation can peruse UWindsor's photo galleries here.
Toronto does something right
Common sense prevailed at Toronto city council last night as Mayor David Miller did an about face on the issue of ribbon-shaped decals supporting the troops on the backs of fire engines, ambulances and other city vehicles.

Miller said the recent deaths of three more Canadians in Afghanistan helped him decide his course of action: "It's more important to make that statement than worry about the timing of the campaign." Miller's motion was passed unanimously, 39-0.

And if NATO chief
Japp de Hoop Scheffer has his way, those decals will be staying on for the foreseeable future.

Briefly
A comparison of Transformers when they were good, and now.
Turns out being able to do what you want with merchandise you paid for is good for business.
Related: Lawyer calls on Recording Industry to take the Bush twins to court for giving their dad a mix CD on Father's Day.

Why risk getting busted for boinking your 16-year-old student when you can quit your teaching job and marry her instead?

Social justice is totally out as a major. There's still time to make this happen before you hit the road, Ross.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Wednesday Waste of Time

Bringing you the usual assortment of interesting, yet wholly unnecessary items.

ITEM THE FIRST: Score one for mob rule, as an angry crowd in Texas kills a man after the car he's riding in hits a little girl. Oh yeah, it wasn't even the driver they killed. They started on him, after he got out to check on the kid, but when passenger David Morales got out to try and help, the crowd went berserk on him. Incidentally, the kid was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

ITEM THE SECOND: Shake your head in bemusement at the would-be car thieves who were foiled by that most subtle of robbery deterrents: the stick shift.

ITEM THE THIRD: An interesting, if long, blog post that gives a synopsis of this book by the evolutionary biologist Sarah Hrdy. Turns out any sane, rational woman can kill her own child. In fact, it may be an evolutionary trait, and completely predictable if certain conditions are met.

ITEM THE FOURTH: For the animated among you, a pair of hits. Yahoo says the Simpsons movie is not generating any discernible internet buzz. Also, the fabulous Brothers Chaps of Homestar Runner have turned down both Comedy Central and the Cartoon Network to keep it real on the web.

ITEM THE FIFTH: If you've been heretofore unaware why Homestar Runner is awesome [though in this day and age, how could you], here's but one example.

ITEM THE SIXTH: I'm not even that much of a fan of the movies, but I swear my child will have this.

I'm sure this post will get added to as the night progresses. Happy Hump Day, Windsor.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The State of the World

No surprise here
Council has opted to cancel this year's Busker Fest, officially. The $40,000 set aside for this year will carry over to 2008, which council promises will be off the hizzy, as it were.

While I suppose it's a good thing that they aren't opting to half ass it with two weeks planning, it doesn't make it any less disheartening that it came to this in the first place.

Abortion doc's killer gets life+10
In Buffalo, NY, anti-abortion activist James Kopp was sentenced to life in prison plus ten years on federal charges stemming from the shooting death of a doctor who performed abortions.

Kopp told the court he never meant to kill Barnett Slepian, only to hurt him. Which makes it okay, I guess.

Reason #26,745,758 to hate Toronto
The city of Toronto is facing some criticism for removing 'Support Our Troops' stickers from the backs of over 300 emergency services vehicles.

The move is backed by fire and ambulance chiefs, who say they have received complaints that the yellow ribbons support the war in Afghanistan, and the city shouldn't have an opinion on the war.

Actually, support the troops means support the troops. You can hate the war all you like, but for God's sake, it's not like they're there by choice. All a sticker does is give you a reminder amid the millions of thoughts running through your head that y'know, there are sons and daughters over risking their lives. A yellow ribbon =/= I <3 military actions.

Briefly
You ban the high five, you ban freedom.

For all you people who misuse the word 'irony,' peep the correctitude.

I know some ugly people who are going to get a lot more ass thanks to this.

The Houston Chronicle becomes my favourite newspaper, for covering the things that matter most to me.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Divergent Paths Meeting in the Middle

Y'see, Windsor, when blogging doesn't pay enough to cover all of one's quality of life, one needs to take a second job. And when one does that, one is out of the house until 6.00 p.m. Ideally. Take into account that groceries needed purchasing [cause there are three meals in a day, and the Trail household was only equipped to handle one of them] and one doesn't get home until about 6.45.

Put groceries away, check messages and emails and it's about 7.15, and laundry needs doing, because when one works in a warehouse in the summer, one dare not rock the same pair of drawers twice. So one fires in the laundry, which is the basement. Once that's going, one returns upstairs and starts poking around looking for news, most of which is boring and not up to the calibre typically presented here.

Once one figures that out, one has to go put the laundry in the dryer. Do that, return upstairs, hang the items that need hanging and sit back down at the computer, rather terribly irritated and grumpy at 8.14. The dryer items will be done at 8.55, so there's not enough time to think about preparing a dinner that can be eaten like a human being and not devoured without chewing like some pig-bird hybrid. And there's still the blogging to do, so one makes a decision.

The news can bite one's ass. Moving on...

Can I hate some guy's memoir about his dead wife? Yes. Yes I can

Is there anything more disappointing than being completely and utterly let down by a piece of art that you should, by all measurements, adore?

Yet that was the spot I found myself in on Sunday afternoon as I finished Rob Sheffield's memoir Love is a Mix Tape. I should have loved every word of this book. It was custom made for me and all my interests.
  1. True story? Check.
  2. Set during the 90's, when I myself came of age? Check.
  3. A love story about a bookish, clueless nerd triumphing in his search for love with a kick ass girl? Check.
  4. Boy endures and overcomes tragedy when his young wife drops dead of a pulmonary embolism? Check.
  5. Steeped in a love of music, and posits that the mixtape is the greatest form of human expression in history? Check.
  6. Cover blurb from Chuck Klosterman? Check.
Yet I found myself forcing myself to get through it. Why? Well, to be fair, I had just finished Joan Didion's Year of Magical Thinking, another memoir about losing a spouse, and after Didion's skilled and subtle voice, it was probably unfair to think Sheffield's tale of woe would resonate at the same emotional level.

Additionally, and this is equally unfair, I know, but I just didn't care for the wife he lost. As a reader I couldn't connect to her, since Sheffield chooses to focus on the quirkier aspects of her personality, her so-90's fashion and hair choices, the spazzy non sequiturs she would blurt out [on their wedding night, which they conclude at the local dive bar, she asks out of nowhere if Mel from the old sitcom Alice was gay. This is supposed to be endearing, I think], all of which reminded me of the worst parts of my young adulthood. So her death had no impact on me as a reader. I mean, I felt bad for the guy, losing his wife and all, but I wished I could have awkwardly shuffled away and left him to his grief, not be stuck with him for another 100 pages.

What sucks is there are interesting facets to their relationship. Rob's an Irish guy from the northern U.S., and Renee's an Appalachian badass from the South. There are hints of the culture shocks that they both endured, but none are expounded upon to any great degree.

But the mortal sin, the most criminal offense, the act that killed this book dead in the water for me, was the fact that for a guy who claims to exalt the mixtape as much as Sheffield, his mixtapes are godawful.

Every chapter of the book begins with a mix tape to sum up the themes of that chapter, and it's not even the weak song choices he puts on them, it's that he violates the rules.

Windsor, I take mixtapes very seriously [as you can tell, no doubt], and believe there are certain rules to making them well. Sure, you can just toss a bunch of songs on your mix with no regard for mood or genre, but they would suck. To wit:
  1. NO DUPLICATIONS!: If I make a mixtape that has 'Empty Souls' by the Manic Street Preachers on it, no mix I make for myself will have that song on it again. And if I make a mix for someone else that has that song on it, it will not appear on any other mix I give them, because they already have it. I swear, Sheffield runs at least three that have 'The Comfort Zone' by Vanessa Williams on it. Good song, but damn, enough is enough.
  2. CONSISTENCY!: If I put that Manics song on a mix, every other song on that mix will be as complimentary as I can make it, in instrumentation, style, bpm, the works. A mix should be a little envelope that wraps around the listener's head and holds them there until the mix's conclusion. It shouldn't jump from Ray Charles to 50 Cent to Tammy Wynette. Control your ADD. If you want to put Tammy Wynette on the mix, then I'm sorry, you have to make a whole new country mix. It's the rule.
Those two rules should inform every mix tape. Sheffield just looks like he tosses them together, which I'm positive he doesn't, I'm positive he agonizes over the undertaking as much as I do, I just can't believe he wouldn't know the rules.

Can I recommend the book? Not to anyone my age. But if any of you young'uns want a competent look at life when Nirvana ruled the world, it might be worth a look.

It's time for RAW. I'll holler at you in better spirits tomorrow, Windsor. Be well, do good.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Housekeeping



















On our brief trip to Ottawa last month, I was left with one all consuming question as we left: what the hell does a drunk unicorn have to do with our country?

Anyway, probably overdue, but there are new songs on the playlist. Think of it as my 'Sweating My Ass Off in Nothing But My Drawers as I Type the Nutritious Blogs For You' mix.

Life without A/C is getting to me. Anyhoo, it's set to start when you get here, volume's on the top right corner of the player.

Back to Bob Barker's last day on The Price is Right as I do dishes.

The State of the World: Early Edition

Council bumbles along to save BuskerFest
Granted, I was never the most ardent follower of local politics when I was at home, and it's only decreased now that I'm on the road, but I have to wonder sometimes why you all aren't rioting in the streets.

First they fritter away the Capitol Theatre, and now they're scurrying to find a way to keep the Buskers Festival, a summer institution since the mid-90's. Promoter Ken Brandes, who's handled the festival since 1998, walked away when council took their sweet time budgeting funds for the fest. So now our choices are nothing, or a substandard effort cobbled together in two weeks. I wonder which result we'll end up with?

Perhaps I'm just some useless bleeding-heart who should busy himself with the border file and the economy, you know, the things that really matter, but I remember how it felt to stumble upon the Busker Fest every year, the energy in the air as I pushed through the crowds to watch some guy cut oranges in half with a samurai sword off someone's chest. These events put the sense of community back into the city, and provide a happy distraction from things like the border file and the local economy, for one night at least.

Freedom Fest, I smell your numbered days.

Harper unaware of Afghan detainee treatment
The Globe reports today that the Harper government paid no mind to human rights issues concerning detainees in Afghanistan until they were reported in the pages of said newspaper.

According to a written response to NDP defence critic Dawn Black from Foreign Affairs Minister Peter McKay, "The human rights reports are not normally copied to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, nor is the Minister briefed on their content."

You know, I'm not saying Harper shouldn't pick fights with China on human rights, but he might do well to remember this before he goes storming in.

Justice dept. tries to exclude bloggers from free press law
An interesting freedom of the press issue is coming up in the States, as another 'shield' law designed to protect journalists is coming under fire from Justice Dept. officials for being too broad and protecting too many.

There are 49 states with some form of 'reporter privilege' on the books to protect reporters who don't reveal confidential sources, but those laws offer no protection against federal authorities. The law under debate now would provide such protection.

What's interesting is the number of times the debate swerved to the topic of whether the law should affect bloggers. Critics argued such protection would allow people to use blogs to avoid legal action for publishing sensitive information.

NY Times columnist William Safire offered this positively progressive opinion: "Whether you're a blogger or whether you're The New York Times or CBS or The Wall Street Journal, if what you are doing is aimed at informing the public, then you're a journalist, whether you get paid for it or not."

Thanks for that, Bill. Wanna hook a brother up with a reference?

Briefly
Mom lets kids drink beer at son's party, collects keys and lets no one leave, faces two years in jail. Remember parents: never be cool.

Rocketboom brings us the charming tale of a camel bookmobile in Kenya.

The simple sentence that will keep other people's children from annoying you.

Remember: if you're going to openly enjoy the murder of an anti-Syrian Lebanese parliamentarian, make sure the mic's off.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The State of the World

Cap and Gown season begins
Congrats to all members of the graduating classes of '07. May your convocations be relatively short and painless.

Related, you may have seen in last week's issue of The Lance that one of the Honorary Doctorate recipients is the Mayor of Amsterdam. I smell a hell of an afterparty, Windsor.

Hippies are so pessimistic
With all the flak global warming gets, no one thinks about the potential upsides: lower heating costs for northern homes, expanding forests, quick shipping routes through the arctic. Global warming might be just what the chillier climes could use, according to a Yale study.

Yes, there's the frightening spectres of floods, hurricanes and complete global catastrophe, but damn, try to see the silver lining, peoples.

Knowledge is power
You no doubt have noticed that things have gone to hell in the Gaza Strip again. Middle Eastern ethnic and political struggles have never been The Trail's forte as it were, but The Guardian has a quality Q&A to help you [and me] understand the roots of this latest round of conflict.

Briefly
British study says Daddy's Girls date men just like their fathers. Papa Trail-in-law horrified.

Following a sweeping police raid of Toronto gangs this week, one specialist in youth gangs offers his libertine suggestion: legalize drugs.

Thirteen-year-old boy breaks 10 year vow of silence. Even though the piece clearly states he talked to his brother throughout that time, well that doesn't sell papers, does it? Unrelated: reading that article brought me to this article, which had a headline too funny to ignore.

Following up the discussion on coddling students, American school board threatens to hold back over 2,000 students if they rack up over 19 unexcused absences. Said the Board of Education Prez: "These kids shouldn't be advancing -- end of discussion." My hero.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

La Random

#1. WWE Ladder Match 3-Disc set. Bresson, I depend on you to keep me abreast of these things, and you have utterly failed me.

#2. Driving to return our latest batch of movies to Classic Video last night, we round the corner to discover a giant black SUV taking up most of Clarence Ave. The Lady deftly manoeuvers around it and says, "Hey, it's Dalton McGuinty." I crane my neck to get a view of the side entrance to the Sheraton, "It is Dalton McGuinty!"

Attempts to get tackled by the Premier's security were foiled by our inability to find a parking space and get back around in time. But what an odd sighting on a Tuesday night.

#3. She'll have watched it by the time I post this, but as penance for not waking her up when I saw it was on, I humbly give you the link to Rufus Wainwright's interview on The Hour last night.

#4. Yes, I know how damaging it is for me to give my girlfriend eleven minutes of RufusWainwright and George Stromboulopoulos.

#5. As someone who plays music, and enjoys music, music hasn't been giving me back much love lately. Maybe it's the shoddy radio in K-Town, maybe it's MuchMusic, maybe it's T-Pain, I don't know, but I find it very excited to get excited about new music these days.

Then Queens of the Stone Age descend from heaven again, and all is right with the world. Like, really right with the world.

#6. Having just finished the novel, The Lady and I are going to watch 'Wonder Boys'. I suspect it will be a lovely way to spend an evening. I hope yours is as enjoyable.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Whose World is This?

















If nothing else, living with Lady Trail has been enlightening as to what is expected of today's students. Imagine my surprise, Windsor, when I discovered that high school students don't get late deductions anymore.

Seriously. If you're assignment is due today, June 12, and you don't hand it in, your instructor cannot penalize you if you hand in the next day, or the day after, or any day before the instructor hands back the assignment to the rest of the class. So if the teacher hands it back on June 19, and you submit yours on that day, she still can't penalize you.

This, Windsor, is balls. And it's another example of something of an issue that's been popping up with greater frequency over the past year: the hell that coddling our children hath wrought.

The Toronto Star's been running a series of articles this week on that very subject, and the argument goes something like this: Parents exert so much energy ensuring their children feel special and pressuring educators into doing the same that it's created a generation of kids who on one hand think they can do no wrong and deserve to have whatever they want handed to them with the minimum of effort.

Or, on the flip side, some kids go all Kanye West and use their arrogance and high esteem to become super achievers, and are subsequently burnt out and confused over why they bothered in the first place.

I'm not suggesting that the F-bomb needs to be brought back at a K-8 level, but what good does it do to tiptoe a kid who makes no effort through high school with a 50 pass in every class? What does it teach young adults about taking responsibility for themselves if their professors are constantly checking up on them to make sure they hand their work on time? How do they think their bosses are going to treat them? Do they think if they show up late and don't do the work required that their employers will check up to make sure they're okay, or pay them the bare minimum? No, they'll get shitcanned, as they should.

When I was about four years old I took one ill-advised gymnastics class. The Trail has always been a bit chonk-ay, Windsor, so cartwheels and trampoline aerial tricks weren't exactly my speed. But I could flip over onto my back with the best of them. So when the class was over, lo and behold, I got a little certificate heralding me as the best somersaulter in the class.

But guess what? I ain't no gymnast.

What say you? You're the generation they're talking about. Is the world yours, or have you been coddled right into delusion?

Monday, June 11, 2007

The State of the World

Councilors trying to save Busker Fest
A pair of Windsor councilors are displaying a brain in their heads by petitioning Council to find a way to keep the International Buskers Festival.

Bill Marra and Ken Lewenza Jr. are asking the city to find alternative ways to put on the show, despite a lack of corporate sponsorship and a tight city budget.

Said Marra, "This is a no-brainer. It's a family event that brings average folks, aunts, uncles, parents and children downtown. We have to find a way to make it happen."

Interesting to see the article cite K-town as a shining example of Busker festival efficiency. Like two sides of the same coin, I tell you.

Poll shows most want troops home
It would appear that most of you want to get the troops the hell out of Afghanistan by early '09, according to latest poll numbers.

You can sift through the numbers yourself if you're so inclined. I'm not one to put too much stock in any survey that's supposed to speak for the country and only uses 1,000 people to do it.

Equal rights for jerks
Everytime I see the little human rights' activists getting in each other's faces on campus protesting whatever the cause celebre is this week, I am without fail overwhelmed by my desire to do something to take the piss out of them. I can't help it, it's my ass-gene.

I might not hold up a sign reading 'Equal rights for robots,' but something along those lines, you know?

But it might be good that I haven't. Apparently you can get arrested for that sort of thing.

Briefly
Keep ya' head up, Windsor. If this town can make it happen with your exact resources, there's no reason why you can't.

The end of the muffintop? Clearly these journalists have not had lunch in the CAW caf recently.

Charges tossed out in consensual teenage oral sex case. That is, dude was in jail for getting some from a 15-year-old when he was 17. Moral judgments left to the reader.

EDIT: Charges no longer tossed.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Casual Friday: The Mindstate





















There are few things better than getting up early and enjoying a temperate Kingston Friday with the woman you love, and that's exactly what your man did today, Windsor. The Lady and I were up early, had breakfast with a friend before enjoying a leisurely morning and afternoon reading and browsing our favourite shops on Princess St.

The two of us were seated on a city bench splitting a roast beef and horseradish mayo sandwich when a pair of sloppily dressed girls in their late teens walk past, and one of them is on a tear:

And then Kelly turns to me and is like, "You're a bitch!" and I'm like, "Excuse me?" Like, don't fucking walk up to me like you know me like that, cause you don't, whore.

"You know what?" I said, turning to Lady Trail, "Don't be a joke. Is that too much to ask of people? All I ask is that people not be a joke. If you're stupid, that's fine, be stupid, but have some fucking dignity about it."

LT smirked at me like she usually does when I'm having an outburst, and we finished our sandwich.

"Man, I need to go on a rant on the blog. I haven't gone on a rant in ages. That used to be my bread and butter."
"No, you haven't. But you haven't been exceptionally angry, either."
"I know. What happened?"

What did happen, Windsor? The sad fact is, I really don't have that much to complain about right now. The weather's been beautiful, the dog-ear chopper got served with charges, Paris Hilton went back to jail, Chrisette Michelle's album is dropping soon, reading quality books blocks out the elderly ramblings of my coworkers at the CTC; things are positively jinkies.

Though I'm sure that particular problem will be remedied after my first week living in Toronto. Look forward to my new travelogue video series, "I Hate it Here." [note: Lady Trail hates it when I make jokes like that.]

But why think about that now. I need to find a way to the coast to check out the Osamu Tezuka exhibition in San Francisco. But for now, I'm going to go watch am icky movie from an Asian country that is sure to continue to erode my fragile moral character.

Enjoy your weekend, y'all.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Return of the Random

It occurs to me that the flotsam has been getting terribly neglected around here lately, what with all the reviews and such. Perhaps we should remedy that.

--I am deeply saddened to learn that the woman behind the delicious taste of Captain Crunch cereal has passed away. Seriously, she's an American hero as far as I'm concerned.

--Wired brings us a gallery of horrifying Russian arcade games. Surely contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union.

--Giant robot baby will eat your soul.

--Moms braving the world of Facebook. In related news, I'm thinking of doing the same myself, despite my ongoing and outspoken hatred of the "service". If I do, you can bet it'll be the most boring Facebook ever.

--Lastly, something I doubt many of you will fully appreciate, but made me laugh too hard to ignore: Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing, reinterpreted with Fisher Price Sesame Street toys. It is appropriately NSFW.



Enjoy your Thursday night, Windsor.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Under Construction




















Only so many hours in a day, Windsor, so the bulk of today's blogwork will be done behind the scenes.

But I can't neglect you entirely, so read why MADD closed their local offices; learn about 'circle sentencing,' where offenders and victims determine punishments for crimes; a from the ground report on Bob Barker's last day on The Price is Right; and check out that short story collection I was asked to contribute to. You need Acrobat Reader to see it, but does anyone really not have that on their computer, yet?

Comments are open, tell me how much I suck.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The State of the World: Bored to Tears




















Pardon the lolcat, been getting a tad text-heavy around here lately.

PS: Windsor? You're boring today. Step it up.

Green Party gives up the goods
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May revealed her party's environmental plan, which includes a carbon tax [which would further hike the price of gas about 12 cents a litre], investing in low carbon technologies like electric vehicles and retrofitting buildings to high levels of energy efficiency by 2025.

May urged Prime Minister Harper to adopt her party's strategy: "Please steal these ideas," she said.

May acknowledged the difficulty in meeting the targets her party has proposed, but likened it to other challeneges laid out by public leaders in the past, such as JFK's pledge to put a man on the moon. Wait, what?

Iraqi college grads wary of future
The NYTimes has an awesome piece up on Iraq's latest batch of postsecondary grads, who started their studies either just before or after the American invasion. No surprise, most want out.

"Staying here is like committing suicide," said one 25-year-old medical student. The story and accompanying video are most definitely worth ten minutes of your time. Welcome to the world outside, graduates.

One forward, two back. Business as usual.
Quick follow-up to yesterday's piece on growing tensions between Russia and the States, The W spoke to reporters in Prague, assuring Russian officials that they have nothing to be concerned about regarding the proposed missile shield the U.S. wants to set up in Eastern Europe.

Said the prez: "My message will be: 'Vladamir - I call him Vladamir - you shouldn't fear a missile defense system. As a matter of fact, why don't you cooperate with us on a missile defense system?'"

He then criticized Russia [and China's] democratic shortfalls in a speech to human rights activists. That should go over well.

Off to tend to my chronic whooping cough. Til tomorrow.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The State of the World and Bonus Movie Corner Double Feature

June has early contender for 'Crime o'the Month'
Twenty-four-year-old Gregory Wuss [must have been eaten alive in middle school] was apprehended and charged over the weekend for breaking into a downtown bar and stealing beer.

That's it. Just beer. He was caught by an employee and fled the scene before being nicked on Windsor Ave. Really? Criminal charges for stealing beer? Really? Almost reminiscent of that episode when Homer is looking for the last peanut under the couch and is dismayed to find a $20 bill instead.

The perfect excuse for internet commerce
We rarely discuss business around here because, well, nothing bores me more, perhaps. Yet one cannot help but marvel at the loonie's staggering rise, with speculation that it could par the U.S. dollar fueling the ascent, according to analysts.

The loonie closed at 94.48 cents U.S., up about a quarter of a cent.

What this means, is that if ever there was a time for me to hit eBay for vinyl rabbits, it is now.

Party like its 1962
I've been woefully neglectful of my world politics lately so I somehow missed that the U.S. and Russia are back to sniping at each other. The States would like to set up missile defense bases in Eastern Europe. The increasingly spooky Russian President Vladamir Putin responded by saying if such plans succeed, Russian missiles will train at European targets.

The two sides will meet at the upcoming G8 summit, but U.S. officials don't expect any significant improvement in relations at that time.

Schedule change
In lieu of 'Briefly' today I'd thought I'd do a quick roundup of the flicks seen this past weekend, albeit in a much shorter fashion than I typically do.

#1. Lady Vengeance
Late last year I did a movie review for Old Boy, the second in Korean director Park Chan-Wook's 'Vengeance Trilogy,' along with Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and the film under review here.

If Sympathy was a surprisingly depressing look at the unsatisfying nature of revenge, and Old Boy was a greatest hits of all that's good [and bad] with contemporary Asian cinema, Lady Vengeance comes off like the work of a director caught up in his own hype, more concerned with form than content.

The story sounds great: Young woman gets caught up with manipulative child killer, serves over a decade in prison for his crimes and becomes an angel in prison, in part to speed up her release, but also to ensure she can use her former cellmates on the outside. She hunts down her nemesis but finds she can't kill him. So she contacts the families of the killer's victims and let them decide what to do with him.

Sounds awesome, right? Unfortunately, Park is so concerned with jerky chronology and artiness that the whole thing just crumbles under the weight.

Watch Sympathy to understand Park's talent. Watch Old Boy for a decent action flick with some good twists. You can skip Lady Vengeance altogether.

Oh, Asia. You've been letting me down so much lately. I'll have to grab some Zhang Yimou films to get this taste out of my mouth.

#2. Knocked Up
The Lady had wanted to see it, and the pedigree of The 40-Year-Old Virgin was certainly enough to give it a look. We can do this one quick.

It's funny, but not 40YOV funny. There were no standout moments we were reciting afterward.

Paul Rudd is the best part of any scene he is in.

Seth Rogen cannot support a whole movie as a leading man. Sorry, dude. I like you, your lines from Virgin are the ones we still say to this day, but it just wasn't firing on all cylinders for me.

It's worth a look, but catch it on cheap night.

Now, to shower.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The State of the World: Casual Friday

It was a lovely, if long ceremony, thank you for asking. Although if there was one thing I noticed above all it was the following:

Ladies, you do not need to look like you are going to the club at your convocation. While fun to look at, I still stand on the side of decorum. I hope you learn some before taking on a class of your own. The young lads have a hard time paying attention with rigid members.

Dudes, you're not safe, either. Shorts and sandals? Don't be that guy. That guy was played out the last time he appeared in a late-90's teen drama. That guy couldn't show up for work on time when he got a real job. That guy works with me in the warehouse now. Don't be that guy.

On to the news.

--Interesting to see Coun. Halberstadt get a spanking from Lewenza Jr. for a blog entry, of all things. While I can certainly understand Lewenza's position that Halberstadt's original wording suggested the city was looking to settle for less on the border issue, as the Talented Mr. Schnurr points out, the city's been sending that message for a while now.

Oh, Ken Lewenza. I could tell you stories, Windsor. But I won't. You wouldn't believe me anyway.

--So Canada has apparently gotten tough on movie bootleggers to the point that theatre owners can do more when they see you with a camera besides like, politiely asking you to leave. I have to wonder, in this high tech world we live in, who is still buying bootlegs? If you can't leave BitTorrent on before you go to bed, that's just lazy.

--Apparently underwater ruins were found off the southern shore of Okinawa in 1995. I can't prove it, because I refuse to look at all of the photos. You know that stuff gives me the heebies. Though Lady Trail has perused them and says she's not so easily convinced.

--In what I'm sure will be a delight to a number of people on campus, watch Lance EiC D'Arcy Bresson transformed from his strapping virile self to a festering, brain chasing zombie.

--There's a drought on in Tampa Bay. So why are people getting yelled at for having brown lawns? Oh, Florida.

In other sad news, I suspect my Playstation has officially died. If that is indeed the case, I'm going to Wal-Mart, buying one of them cheapie slimline PS2's and a baseball bat. And I'm coming home, disconnecting the old piece of junk and going 'Office Space' all over its busted ass.