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

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Quick Hit SOTW

While I'd love nothing more than to watch the parade of slutty cats, slutty nurses, slutty angels and slutty physicists downtown tonight, alas, I will be at work. Maybe one of my coworkers will dress up as a slutty Edith Wharton or slutty Virginia Woolf.

I kid, I kid.

Evening Shade



















This is what I look at as I wait for the train to come home after the late shift. An hour later I come home to a beautiful and sleepy woman who I haven't seen or talked to all day asking me if I'm coming to bed. Do you know how hard it is to tell her no, I need to put something on the blog? But I do it because I care, Windsor. Just not enough to give you a super real entry.

Enjoy the Ninja Parade


Ninja Parade Slips Through Town Unnoticed Once Again

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The State of the World: Late Night Special

Oooh, we're on afternoons tonight Windsor, so Daddy's got a long day ahead of him. But he still gets up early to give you the news you need, and not because the Editor-in-Chief woke his ass up at 10.00 a.m.

The Tuesday Sports Report
Honestly, the WWE has now so botched this 'viral video' campaign it's pathetic. The latest suggests the audience 'break the code'. You better hope these have nothing to do with Jericho, because if they do, guess what, the code was broken a month and a half ago, and all you've done is piss people off.

Matchwise, the show was a C. It seemed like there was a lot of wrestling on the show, yet it also seemed like I was out of the room for most of it. And if that scenario at the end with Vince looking all crazy-times as he told Regal next week would have DX for one night only ends up with Vince trying to make HHH and HBK's lives a living hell again, well hey, I guess that kind of worked last year when they did the exact same thing.

The young have no respect for tradition
Everyone knows the best part about Halloween, especially in Windsor, is the excuse it provides women to dress provocatively. So how dare you, Globe and Mail, for giving coverage to a trend that eschews such a tradition in favour of more clever and conservative costuming?!

I'm so upset I don't think I can make a snarky comment.

Rotting bodies with icky pictures
Keeping with the spooky for a moment,have a gander at Tennessee forensic anthropology professor Bill Bass's Body Farm. According to the article, before the farm's creation in 1981, information on human rate of decomposition was woefully inadequate. Now we have forensic entomology, which looks at the bugs that infest in the rotting corpses. Huzzah! [Site includes some pics that may not be good for the squeamish].

Briefly is really brief
Speaking of bugs, I need to try and tackle the dishes before work, so you get the best of the crap this morning. Take your pick, Windsor: the dog who got tagged by graffiti, or the British politician who quipped in public that he hoped arts grants wouldn't be going to "one-legged Lithuanian lesbians."

Monday, October 29, 2007

Dear Blogger, I Still Hate You

And WWE, if Chris Jericho does not appear on my television screen between the hours of 9.30 and 11.30 on channel 53 [68 for you, Windsor], I am seriously going to flip.

You know, Windsor, sometimes you see things on the ebay and you think to yourself, 'That is something I would like to have. It is currently very cheap. I shall bid on it with a low maximum.,' because even though you like the item in question, you're convinced that the Crazy McMoneybagses out there will spend far more than the item's worth in order to obtain it so you bid, but don't actually expect to win.

Yeah, don't do that. Cause then you find out that you won the thing, and while it will make a fine addition to the glass cases of doom, you now owe a guy in Minnesota $40. Sure is weird to see the Canadian price a lower number than the American, though. I mean, that's never happened before. Weird.

Courtesy Lance Sports Editor and all around Superfox Ryan Rogers we have an amusing if familiar fashion writeup from Maddox or Tucker Max or another of those 'I'm an arrogant asshole on the Internet' types. Why can't they have the class of The Trail, Windsor? Though I agree with most everything mentioned in this article, the author forgot tights. Tights are the f*cking scourge of the fashion world for three years running. Make. It. STOP.

A third grader in Sacramento sent Apple CEO Steve Jobs some ideas for her beloved iPod nano. Apple's legal department sent her a cease and desist letter.

The head writers of Robot Chicken offer you tips on how to arrange your action figures. Note of clarification: The Trail collects art toys. Yes, there is a difference.

As Halloween approaches, there will be lots of talk about a potential zombie apocalypse. You may be tempted to consider such talk a bunch of hooey. Don't speak too soon.

Laundry and a potential Jericho sighting awaits! To the morning, Windsor!

Dear Windsor,

I had crafted you a loving news post earlier this evening, then restarted Firefox to discover it didn't post. I am irritated, and the news can bite me. It's 6.30, you should have watched the news by now anyway. Stupid stuff later.

Sincerely,

The Trail
Blogger licks my arse.

Friday, October 26, 2007

On Radio, Seven Months Late

Damn, sorry about that Windsor, but the life, she gets away from you sometimes, and getting to IKEA on the subway is an adventure in itself.

Skimming a piece on CJAM's pledge drive over on Daily News today, I saw a comment by News Director Ryan Solomon mentioning a reformat over at Detroit NPR station WDET. A quick jaunt to the website shows how accurate that is. Syndication city over there. And that means Liz Copeland is off the air.

I've mentioned before that I generally love everything about Detroit radio. It's a love that was forged in the hopeless black of midnight shifts at an Amherstburg gas station, and the one show that got me through the night was the Liz Copeland show.

If you knew her husky voice and flawless musical selection, there's nothing more I can say. If you didn't know her, I could never do her justice. She was without a doubt the best radio show I've ever heard, and the standard I measure all others by. In the years since I stopped staying up late, Johnny in the Morning on KEXP is the only show that has come close. But that sort of show works better in the night, when it seems like the world has abandoned you, and the radio is the only thing that connects you to the rest of the world. It's a very intimate communion between host and listener. And like every boy who heard her, I had a bit of crush on Liz.

Thankfully, the internet means nothing is ever gone forever, and Liz continues doing her thing online. The last week of her WDET show are archived online [check EVENTS]. I'm listening to her final show as I type this. Copeland was the sort of host who could play a block of songs that reminded you why you loved music in the first place [like the Stevie Wonder/Ray Charles/Jamie Liddell block I'm currently enjoying]. You can't ask for more than that.

I know I'm late in raising my glass, Ms. Copeland, but thank you for getting me through night after night, as I mopped the floors and filled the pop coolers. It might not have been the best years of my life, but I will always remember you fondly. The late night airwaves will realize how much they miss you in the months to come.

First Big Sonic Heaven, now this. Damn.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

People are stupid

But you knew this already. In fact, not just people, but television networks, because I just tried to look at something on Comedy Central and got redirected to the Comedy Network, which did not have what I wanted. Ain't that some bullshit? Lines are getting drawn, people, don't get it twisted. But again, we're here for stupid people, so let's enjoy this week's trio, courtesy of a number of referrals.

I enjoy this one because the guy getting dragged by the truck thinks he's so cool until the inevitable happens.



Do they not teach the little geniuses to stop, drop and roll in school anymore?



This one, I really have no words for. I think this is cool to teenage girls, specifically black teenage girls. Not being a black teenage girl, I am mystified. But to post something like this either makes you extremely courageous, or an asshat. Take your pick.



To put it in context, this is who those boys are trying to impersonate. Key difference: they can pay women to pretend they like them, instead of humping furniture.

Just doing my part to distract you from midterms for 15 minutes, Windsor. You're welcome.

The State of the World

UWindsor's loss is St. Clair's gain
Frustrated by the smoke-and-mirrors, carnival barker style of UWindsor admin [Just wait and see! We've got surpsises in store!] regarding the location of the new engineering building, Mayor Eddie's gone running back to the arms of St. Clair College President John Strosser, to look at expanding on their previous success at the former Cleary Centre.

Said Eddie, "My sense is that the engineering campus is not going downtown. I don't expect it, based on the conversations I've had," which sucks for him, since he played a role in getting the university to pursue such an ambitious project in the first place, and was part of the team that pitched the project to the province.

Admin vaguely mentioning other projects for downtown like a law or social work school, only to take them off the table, isn't helping Eddie's mood.

"We were given false hope that this was do-able, and then, after checking the numbers, we were told it was not do-able because their financial numbers didn't add up," he said.

Wasn't working in tandem with the city to improve each other's image a key point of Uncle Ross' State of the University a few years back? Whatever happened there?

In Politics
Stephane Dion smart enough to know that sending Canadians to the polls again over a tax cut wouldn't be the best move. Good for him.

Provinvially, John Tory corrects the mistake he should never have made in the first place and drops the faith-based school funding policy, with strong support to stay on as leader. Not bad for a guy who didn't get elected.

The party's over
Despite the unfortunate detail that everything you post there, including your photos, becomes their property, Facebook was an enjoyable little exercise in vanity, partly because of the ad-free nature.

You may have noticed sometime after the doors blew open to non-students that the Effbook started running some tastefully placed ads down the left margin. Then came word the site was going to offer advertisers a way to target users based on whatever they put as their interests. Now, the stake through the heart of Facebook 1.0: Microsoft wants a cut, and gets one for a cool $240 million.

Clearly, when things get too corporate, the masses flee [read: MySpace]. So where we headed to next?

Briefly
You may have heard recently that Dumbledore got outed by created JK Rowling. Bill O'Reilly is obviously not pleased.

The Dumbledore outing has also made life hell for this dude. Honestly, the mind boggles.

Watch them spiderweb Halloween decorations. They catch more than bugs.

Republican presidential hopeful says financial aid for students should be linked to a degree's 'worth'. Suck on that, philosophy majors.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fun with books! And other things with words on them.



















A rare look at The Trail collection. And our living room, oddly enough. I know, it's about what you expected.

I forgot to mention it yesterday, but if anyone wants to buy me that giant coffee table retrospective on Takashi Murakami [he of Kanye's 'Graduation' album cover]. I will love you forever. Only $85! Ha!

What else is out there?

Staying with books for a moment, my growing TTC love leads me to this book of every rapid transit map in the world. Six months ago I wouldn't have known what I'd have ever done with such a thing, now I can't stop thinking about it.

This one actually took me a minute before I realized it was hysterical.

This flier scores an epic win for its creator, and for its subject.

Real Life Edit: Our upstairs neighbour is an opera singer, and we were told that he does rehearse in the house, but not very often. As I write this, I can hear him upstairs. I don't know about you, but that's pretty effin cool.

One book I've been asked about multiple times since I started working for Heather is Foreskin's Lament by Shalom Auslander. I'd never even heard of this memoir about a regular guy trying to grow up within the confines of orthodox Judaism, but the people tell me it's really good. Bookslut has an interview with the author up with this very second.

Speaking of Bookslut, you should really go there as much as humanly possible.

I think that's all you get right now. Really, you people need more? Why don't yo ujust order some amazing yet reasonably priced clothes from Gama-Go and leave me alone for tonight. Or tell me what you're reading, so I can get better in tune with the people who come in and ask vague questions like, "I need a compelling read for my daughter," or "My husband likes boy books." Incidentally, I suggested Heather O'Neill and Douglas Coupland for the former, and Ian Rankin for the latter. I'm new, give me a break.

The State of the World

It's Wednesday
Which means the homesite's gotten its weekly facelift. This week we've got further details on last week's Globe and Mail University Report Card and how Windsor fared, the annual CJAM pledge drive, and the scoop on this weekend's Windsor Zombie Walk. Arrrgh, yo.

Engineering centre site to be revealed....soon
UWindsor admin tell us the location of the new Engineering Centre should be announced sometime in the next six weeks. Officials have two meetings with architects on Oct. 29 and Nov. 12, and expect to announce the location after those consultations are complete. Uncle Ross refused to be any more specific.

The engineering still requires $20 million in fundraised money to pay for the building, which has a budget of $110 million.

Tory not getting the boot, yet
After a disastrous election day earlier this month, provincial Conservative Leader John Tory still has strong support to stay on as leader, but only if he abandons his faith-based school funding program.

"That's the pivotal question here this morning: Is John prepared to say it's a mistake," said Conservative MPP John O'Toole. "I mean, he's got to get in touch. People have spoken. It's not about our own personal views all the time."

For his part, Tory's not making any decisions until he meets with his caucus and other party members.

Briefly
Law enforcement officials discouraged from attending coleslaw wrestling events. Coleslaw wrestling? Really?

Wearing a mask on Halloween will get you arrested. Wait, what?

Chinese moon mission exceeds expectations, does not explode.

Making the full circle from the start of this post: Police in Lansing, MI feel they are adequately prepared for a zombie attack.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Updates from various arenas

Working in the literature retail industry, I find it amusing that I can now get a sense for somebody solely on what books they're looking for. When you come in looking a little blue with a list asking for 'Mind Over Mood' and 'Women Who Think Too Much,' your life story is pretty much on display.

Prep work for Nanowrimo continues apace. Took some unexpected money and grabbed some Moleskine notebooks [the Cadillac of stationary! Hemingway used one!] so I can scribble my little thoughts away. Plus I sucked it up and paid the license fee on Scrivener, so I've been amassing notes on the various topics I'll need at hand. Seriously, yo. The program kicks ass. I know I go on and on about the damn thing, and I promise this is the last time, but if you use a Mac and need to organize a lot of documents, it's a godsend.

Oh the pretension, Windsor! You know you love it.

In wrestling last night, there were really only two things worth mentioning, maybe three: 1. The suggestion that SAVE_US will be explained next week. 2. Candice Michelle's sick bump. 2(a) Jeff Hardy's continued rise.

1. Despite my initial hope for the program, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that WWE creative has botched the 'viral video' idea. A video of the same thing with one new snippet of info every week for like, a month? It could have gone in so many directions, you could have made t-shirts, 'hacked' the company website for an hour on a slow news day, anything. Instead, a 20 second clip every week. Blah. I'm thinking X29 in the latest vid equals 10.29, which happens to be next Monday's date and is the first RAW after CyberSunday. Here's hoping x29 gives me some Y2J.

2. Candice Michelle should thank God she got off so easy. A broken clavicle sucks, but that bump she took last night off the turnbuckle was the sickest botched spot I've seen since Joey Mercury got his face busted open in that ladder match a couple years ago. You gotta remember, this is a woman who didn't have to get so involved in the business. She was essentially a model who did a few matches now and then. I don't think it was her dream to be a wrestler, but she wanted to do better work, and started training harder to put on better matches. Her injury is an unfortunate reminder that for all the 'fakeness' of wrestling, if you land face first on the mat, you can get effed up. Here's hoping for a speedy recovery.

And someone tell Beth Phoenix you don't move somebody with a potential head injury. Yeah, they needed to finish the match, protect the business, etc., but she could have gone for the cover in the corner, without dragging Candice to the middle of the ring.

2.(a) Jeff Hardy can actually talk on the stick a little bit! Who'da thunk? For some reason I really like the idea of him and Kennedy working a program. Not as much as I like Jeff and Shelton Benjamin, but Shelton's been forsaken by creative lately. With Jeff/Kennedy, HBK/Orton and HHH/Umaga, you've got three interesting feuds at the top of the card. More good feuds = better show = happy Trail. And happy Trail is the most important component of that equation.

In conclusion, kitten VS. toilet paper.



Cats and the internet. The best thing since peanut butter met chocolate.

The State of the World as Dinner Cooks

I want to live in Cheetah Town
Everyone knows the best part of living in a larger city is the may it segments into distinct neighbourhoods within it. The best example in Windsor is Walkerville, home to what is possibly The Trail's favourite three blocks of real estate in the whole city [of course, everything I loved there might be closed now. It's been awhile].

Anyhoo, last night city council approved a progress report by a community strategic plan which suggested, among other things, renaming certain parts of the city in an effort to better define 'place' in the city. Suggested example? Renaming Walkerville "The Distillery District."

Obviously some are not impressed. Ward 3 Councillor Fulvio Valentinis told council he's already received a number of phone calls from residents wary of the idea. To be continued.

Reminder
The UWSA byelection is currently ongoing, and it's online only. Voting's open til Thursday, and try to do your part, will you? Tweener will be pouting for days if turnout's down on his watch.

Canadian Gangster
Not too often you hear about a wily Canuck knee deep in the workings of organized crime, yet that appears to be what we have in Vito Rizzuto, the 'Godfather of Montreal,' who even behind bars managed to run drug and money laundering rackets across the Atlantic, according to Italian authorities.

Rizzuto is currently serving a 10-year sentence in Colorado after pleading guilty to racketeering charges in connection with the murders of three Bonnano family captains. Which is, you know, evil, but still pretty badass.

Briefly
That pillar of journalistic excellence, The British Broadcasting Corporation, examines whether it's OK for the disabled to go to brothels.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez unveils glass memorial statue of Che Guevara. I said it's made of glass. You see where this is going.

Happy Birthday to the planet Earth, which is a spry 6,010.

"I'm not afraid of a panda, I know karate." Guess how this ends.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Taking a Personal Day



















The view from the bridge on St. Clair Ave. as I walk to and from the station every day. I live around the corner from that, which in this city is pretty dope.

1. I don't use this forum for personal correspondence, but I wanted to take a moment to sincerely thank Lady Trail's parents for the birthday gift. It was wholly unnecessary but completely appreciated.

Guess that means I'm official now, eh Windsor?

2. Kylar, while I would love to make the jokes about the profs on campus who may or may not have developed a reputation for fraternizing, I could hang out in front of Dillon with sandwich boards that said 'PLEASE SUE THE LANCE!' and reach the same end result. Patience, young one [That is not meant to imply any fraternizing profs could be found in Dillon Hall --Ed.].

3. For the people who come here and don't care about personal messages, watch Stephen Colbert on Meet the Press yesterday, and decide whether the whole thing was a failed experiment.. Opinion [if commenths threads are any way to judge] seems to indicate, yes. Yes it was.



Up at five a.m. whoooo!

The Return of the Evening Edition

Waking up at 5.00 a.m. may be teh suck, but leaving at 3.00 p.m. is teh win!

Whither Monday Night Karaoke now?
Or was that Tuesday nights? Clearly I never went there. Anyhoo, sad news for some as another one bites the dust. The Alcohol and Gaming Commision shut down the Bridge Tavern on October 11 for serving booze without a license [story runs ten days later, thanks Windsor Star *thumbs up*].

Judging by the financial details reported in the article, don't look for it to reopen anytime soon.

One for the word nerds
Saw this on the ol'Daily News, thought I would share for all my word loving peeps: Philadelphia based poet Ron Silliman will be doing a free reading this Thursday at 7.30 p.m. in Salon C of the Ambassador Lounge in the CAW, as part of the Transparency Machine Event, co-sponsored by UWindsor and Wayne State. Described, thusly:

The Transparency Machine Reading Series invites poets to discuss their work in the context of other texts they select. The seriesengages poets in discussion about the practice and theory of writing poetry. It aims to offer readers and writers a multi-dimensional experience of the shapes and sounds of contemporary poetry by inviting leading and emerging innovative practitioners of the art.

Yikes! Sounds thrilling, I know, but it does seem like a cool event. And Sillman's a blogger! If you're interested, those aforementioned 'other texts' selected by the poet can be found here

Thanks again, media
Scientists at the University of Copenhagen say they've neutralized HIV in samples. Why has this not been more widely reported? Analysis would have been nice, too [see, it's not just us].

Briefly
UCLA psych prof says student-faculty fraternizing is A-OK. There are at least three jokes about Windsor profs I could make here, but you all know them anyway.

The latest in quick reference guides sheds light on all those pesky religions that are making things so tense these days

The days of ad-free Facebook are long gone, with the biggest thing since Google AdSense.

Twenty-four-year-old mourns the loss of his 82-year-old wife. Uh-huh.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Notes from a Dirty Old Man




My birthday present from Lady Trail. Three signed prints by the husband and wife duo known as Kozyndan. They all have bunnies. This makes them awesome. PS: I'm too lazy to resize them nicely.

Depressing things about being 30.

You realize you will likely never be an astronaut, let alone a fireman or ninja.

The musical accompaniment that plays as you get out of bed, including popping knees, cracking backs, and your own symphony of grunts.

Teenagers scare the living shit out of you.

Technology that you used to manipulate with little effort becomes a pain in the ass [eg: my new digital camera that I can't get to charge via USB for the life of me].

Urinating. All the time.

Awesome things about being 30.
You start to not care what people think of you, and being comfortable with yourself. For reals this time.

Teenagers are hysterical. Seriously, eavesdrop on them in the Devonshire foodcourt sometime. They have no frigging clue.

You're old enough to be respected for being firm in your beliefs and not taking crap, but young enough to be considered confident, not crazy.

Best thing? Only six more years til I can legally sleep with people half my age!

Working 7-3 tomorrow kids, your updates come in the evening, but they will come. Now, perogies!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I Have Nothing to Say to You People

Ha! No really, I don't. I have Mama Trail demanding my attention every five minutes for some tech related "emergency" [latest crisis: how to disable the touchpad on her laptop], a sucky kitty mewling incessantly while trying to spend quality time with Lady Trail as well as preparing for my first day at the new job tomorrow. Glamorous!


So you get some videos, the first of which is a trailer for the one film I'm actually rather interested to check out at this weekend's Toronto After Dark film festival. It's called Alone, and it involves a woman being haunted by the ghost of her formerly conjoined twin. Hokey as hell, right? Yet this trailer looks icky!



And if you remember the infamous Klingons v. Furries bowling night out in Atlanta last month, enjoy this entirely two minutes too long document of the event. I can't make this stuff up, people.



And with that, ironing!

PS: As of tomorrow morning at 7.17 a.m., I am officially 30 years old. So any smug a-holes who have been stopping by over the last year to deride what I put here by saying, 'Aren't you like, 30?' Yes, a-hole. Yes I am.

The State of My Apartment: Dirty

And I'd like to give Mama Trail at least the illusion that I know how pick up after myself, so let's get a move on, kids.

Windsor makes primetime for a night
A mention in the Throne Speech appears to have undone years of federal neglect, as Eddie is downright "buoyant":

"They could have mentioned any other project but they chose to highlight the Windsor-Detroit corridor," said the mayor.

The corridor was mentioned in connection with the Building Canada Plan, which was actually first announced earlier this year.

Windsor NDP MP Brian Masse feels the mention was a way to put pressure on the province to make a greater commitment to the border.

"It's always nice to be mentioned, but what is needed is real action," said Masse.

Liberals hold their tongues on Throne Speech
Staying with the Throne Speech, despite how bad he wants to, Liberal Leader Stephane Dion will not oppose it, which keeps Canadians from heading into another election.

“The Throne Speech we heard yesterday, with all of its weaknesses, has to be assessed in light of the fact that Canadians don't want another election right now. They want parliament to do its job,” Mr. Dion told Parliament.

“We are determined to make parliament work, in keeping with Canadians' wishes.”

I doubt the move will win them any points, but being the catalyst for another election would have been disastrous.
Newsflash: You paid more for tuition
Tuition went up this year, but not as much as it went up last year, according to StatsCan. The agency says you paid 2.8 per cent more this year, down from 3.2 the year previous.

Obviously, Ontario fees went up 4.4 per cent, because we do things big over here. The article also informs me that one of the biggest tools of the lower fees movement, the decade-long Quebec tuition freeze, ended this year, with that province's fees topping the list of increases at 4.8 per cent. Things are rough all over, I guess.

Briefly
As if you didn't live in perpetual fear enough, Bush starts with the WWIII talk.

Wittle ktty survives 20-minute cycle in washing machine. Awwww.

This guy hates your parents. Related: the comments thread is pretty hysterical [may be unavailable due to traffic].

Things are getting rough at the Dunkin Dounts.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Party Winds Down

















Ask anyone who was a regular reader here last year, this blog ran hot and cold according to one clear life condition: When The Trail had a day job v. when The Trail did not have a day job. I'm sure we'd all agree that things are considerably better around here when The Trail does not have a day job.

But Daddy has bills. And while Lady Trail is a teacher, and makes considerable contributions to the continued ownership and upkeep of our quiet midtown home, it is unfair to have her do it alone.

So I am sad to announce that starting Friday, things around here will move to the much more hectic and fancy free posting style of Dayjob Trail, as I begin working shifts at Canada's favourite bookselling corporation. You'll still get twice a day, and the fact that I won't come home dirty and with broken feet ought to make things a little easier than last year's tenure in 'the warehouse'.

But it's not all weeping and gnashing yet. You'll still get one more day of unemployed Trail tomorrow, and hell, who even knows how many shifts they'll give me? Yeah, I know, bookstore at the holidays, right? Anyway, to conclude tonight, I give you the best thing I saw on the interwebs today, The Cinnamon Challenge.

The gist is that word got out it was impossible for a human being to eat a spoonful of cinnamon. Never ones to back away from a challenge, young people everywhere are now downing tablespoons of the stuff to try and be the first. None have succeeded. No one knows why, but this is apparently an impossible task to perform. And I in no way encourage any of you to try it. But we can watch other people.



PS: If you are a writer using a Mac, I once again heartily recommend Scrivener. It's what I'll be using for Nanowrimo this year, and it's an organizational godsend. Good thing the demo will last me the month, natch.

Super Condensed

Daddy's gotta take a life day today, Windsor, as not only do I have an orientation for my new retail job this afternoon at 3.00 [which means at least an hour on the train there and back] but Mama Trail is coming to visit this weekend. It's the first time she's been to visit our home anywhere, so you know I'll be cleaning my arse off.

Oh, and she gets in tomorrow afternoon. So let's make this quick.

--Wednesday means mothership update, and you can get the scoop on the provincial election, the UWSA by-election, and former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson's speech on campus tomorrow night. I had no idea she was coming. Nobody tells me nothing. And still, no opinion section. Somebody piss off the law rep.

--The Throne Speech was last night, which kicks off the current year of Parliament. The speech still has to be accepted by the opposition, or Parliament falls and we go to the polls again. The Bloc and the NDP have both stated their intent to vote against it. That leaves the Liberals with the deciding decision. Both Liberal leader Stephane Dion and Deputy Michael Ignatieff expressed dissatisfaction with the speech, but hinted that they won't vote against it, to save Canadians another election. Dion will make his announcement at 3.15 today.

--The Star has what appears to be Monica Wolfson's notes reporting UWindsor has $108 million in debt, or $7,522 per student, which places it in the lowest ratios of the thirteen schools in the study. I don't know what study it is, as its never mentioned before or after the lede paragraph, but it may be related to this story listed right above it. Honestly, the Star website is awful for this sort of thing. Posting some vague, two paragraph piece with no detail, only to post a more fleshed out version two hours later.

--And in stupid, Florida stripper enthusiasts dissatisfied with peeler sent to private party, express said dissatisfaction by shooting her manager.

More later. Now? Dishes.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The State of the World. Well, Campus Mostly

Not like you forgot, but...
UWindsor is looking for a new President. Yes, Uncle Ross will be leaving us come July [I'm sad too, Windsor] and the search is on for his replacement. This is not new, You've read this story many times.

I only mention it because of Willie Ma's quote in the latest piece, regarding tuition:

"It's an issue across the province," Ma said. "We have to lobby our administration, but it's really an issue that's been ongoing for a long time. There are other issues that we are working with the university to make the school a livable place."

That almost sounds...pragmatic?! Good for you, Will, I didn't think anyone in that office had it in them.

Also in campus news
The Health Fair is tomorrow. Scoop up all the free condoms you can.

It begins
The Globe and Mail's University Report Card is online for this year, and UWindsor has scored a respectable B+ overall, which is actually the same I think it's always received. I'll leave it to Natasha to crunch the numbers in an upcoming issue of the Lance [cause it ain't my job anymore] but I'll let you know that Windsor scored highest on things like Faculty knowledge and availability, and pisspoor on things like, well, anything to do with food.

To be fair, the Report Card has always been MacLean's dumber stepbrother, with its laughable sample size [43,000 in total, and how many of those were from Windsor?] and its insistence on ranking when the differences between schools are minute. Windsor's numbers can be found under 'Medium sized'.

Honestly, Windsor, I've been watching these surveys and rankings come down the pipe long enough to know that the only thing that really matters is what you think of your education. Just you, that's it. And if Windsor's got a less than stellar rep, you're the only one who can undo that when you get into the work world and show the opinion makers you actually learned something here.

Briefly
Latest reason to avoid Florida: avocado trees that electrocute.

Dreamed of owning Hitler's globe? Now you can!

Making the McGriddle look like a fruit salad.

The internet was here in 2001. And there were websites then, too. Popular ones. So whatever happened to the top sites of six years ago? It doesn't look good for Geocities.

Glutton for Punishment

















Three years ago a friend of mine suckered me into joining her in the exercise in madness that is National Novel Writing Month [or NaNoWriMo]. For the unfamiliar, the gist is simple.

30 days, 50,000 words. That's it.

It doesn't have to be good, or even coherent, the important thing is that it gets written. The event serves as a way to impose a deadline on yourself, so you no longer sit around saying, 'One day I'll write a novel.' Make it today, and earn the bragging rights by doing it in a month.

The first time, I shat out 51,000 words of thinly [and I mean thinly] veiled autobiography that liberally robbed from Dave Eggers and was maybe, if I'm generous, 0.04 per cent readable. That was the easy year. So easy, I ended up doing it in a week, because I procrastinate.

As you can see by the new graphic on down and to the left, my dumb ass is planning to do it again. And this time, I'm going to make it good. Rather, I'm going to try. I'll keep you updated from time to time.

If any of you are as dumb as I am, click the graphic over there to get to the NaNo site [a Windsor sub-community has already popped up] sign up and start praying. The insanity starts November 1.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Happy Blog Action Day

So nobody decided to tell me that today is Blog Action Day, the one day of the year when every blogger on earth spends ten minutes devoted to a single issue. Surprise to no one, this year's issue is the environment.

Now, I am hardly a scholar on this issue, but I'm all for solidarity, so I'll do my part for the movement and share with you all a video The Lady and I took a look at last night.



The discussion rages in the comments thread to this video, as well as in the videomaker's own responses mentioned in the description. Right or wrong, the dude cares, and has devoted quite a bit of time and energy towards promoting the discussion on the Global Climate Crisis, so good on him.

The State of the World: Condensed

Nothing like a shady Internet connection to start the week off right.

Newsflash!

54 arrests = success!
If I may start with a brief note on my former home, if there's one thing the people of Kingston shudder at year after year, it's the Queen's homecoming. Two years ago, things got out of in hand, in the "torched police car" variety, so the whole city holds its breath as the Aberdeen street party gets underway every year.

This year saw 6,000 revelers on a two block stretch of road, with 54 arrests made, but no rioting! So all in all, a good night.

Tipping is irrational. Also, Radiohead.
Let it be known that Lady Trail is a much better person than I am. This does not surprise you. The reason I refer to specifically is her attitude towards tipping. As a woman who waited tables, she has an understanding of servers that I do not. Once I realized that tipping 30 - 40 per cent would not incline the waitress to sleep with me, it became a chore to squeeze 15 per cent out of me.

According to economists, this makes perfect sense. Because really, the practice of paying more money than you are legally bound to, is kind of stupid. This conversation is popping up again due to the fact that people are paying for that Radiohead album when they are under no obligation to do so. The NYTimes looks at why that is.

Briefly
Woman who brandished baby as weapon in fight with boyfriend facing five years mandatory. I enjoy that upon hearing this, she fell to the ground like she was surprised.

Remember: tasing is only funny when it happens to mouthy college kids. Otherwise it can have serious consequences.

As though you need to be reminded, but don't post details of your small get together on YouTube.

Globalization means Asian youths no longer have 10 minutes to brew a cup of tea. Thank you Starbucks.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Thank You India: The Trail vs. The Darjeeling Ltd.

























Full disclosure: I am not the world's largest Wes Anderson fan, probably for the same reason I can't hang around indie kids for too long: they're so busy being artsy they lose sight of things like, I don't know, coherence.

That said, Rushmore was still pretty good, and The Royal Tennenbaums is now sitting in the DVD library, brought back from Windsor and awaiting a perusal.

The Lady and I caught a matinee of Anderson's latest effort, The Darjeeling Ltd. this weekend, and to put it briefly, I'm still not convinced. But first, a story.

Sometime within the last decade a friend's cousin decided to to go get spiritual and work at an orphanage in India. Upon his arrival, he became intoxicated with his surroundings and felt deeply touched on a spiritual level. He wanted more, he wanted to obliterate himself in Eastern exoticism. He noticed the Ganges river nearby and headed off for it. He gradually picked up speed until he was running full bore towards it. He was pulling his short off when one of the locals stepped in front of him and put his hands up.

"What are you doing?" he asked.
"I'm going to go bathe in the Ganges," he said.
"No, you're not," said the stranger.
"Why not? It's the holy river, I want to experience it."
"Look," said the stranger, "that river is filled with shit and dead bodies. You do not want to go swimming in the Ganges river."
My friend's cousin paused for a moment, and agreed.

I once saw this sort of thinking referred to as the "Thank You, India" syndrome. Affluent to middle class, spiritually lacking Westerners hop a plane for somewhere exotic, looking for a deeper meaning in the other, only to discover that other place is much more complex than they considered.

If there's one thing The Darjeeling Ltd. does well, it's depict this syndrome. The three brothers, abandoned by parents who either died or just flaked out, convene on a train in India at elder brother Francis' request. Francis has recently been in a traffic accident that's left him bruised and bloodied, but with a new appreciation for all life's mysteries and a desire to reconnect with his siblings. Which of course doesn't happen, despite all the care Francis and his beleaguered assistant Brendan put into the carefully plotted, laminated daily itinerary. Of course, it's not until they abandon trying to find any sort of enlightenment that it falls into their laps, via some deus ex machina summoned out of nowhere.

The film looks beautiful. The camera angles are inventive at times, and the colours are lshush and deep. But I don't know that pretty colours and interesting camera angles are enough to sustain a 2-hour movie. Says the guy who's sat through countless hours of meandering Japanese cinema.

Viewer's note: despite the very polite request at the movie's start to watch the short film Hotel Chevalier, Canadian viewers are out of luck, as it's only available through iTunes, and the American store at that. So if you want to see it, you'll have to go hunting. Though I really don't know how much light it'll shed.

In the theme of X-Play, The Darjeeling Limited gets a three and a half............out of five. The half is for letting me know one of my favourite pieces of unknown music is Alexis Weissenberg's version of Debussy's Claire de Lune. So thanks for that.

See you Monday.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Put on Your Polos, It's Caj Fri State of the World

--First things first. As I'm sure you've gathered, The Trail is a bit of a wrasslin fan. And while I normally stick to the WWE, I'll watch whatever I can find. I watched Ring of Honour's last PPV at my parents' house over Thanksgiving [finally caught some work by Bryan Danielson. Verdict: Good, but I don't get the hype] and with TNA finally getting two hours on Spike, I'm more inclined to catch at least some [as long as the Lady can catch Grey's at 9.00].

Now I used to catch TNA back home when they were running weekly $10 PPVs. I remember enjoying it because it gave exposure to a lot of these younger hungry guys who I'd never see in the WWE. Guys like Christopher Daniels, AJ Styles, my beloved Samoa Joe actually putting on wrestling matches longer than four minutes. As TNA has become a viable alternative for dissatisfied workers from the WWE, TV time becomes more valuable, and what used to go to Jay Lethal and Chris Sabin now goes to Christian, Rikishi, Sting and Kurt Angle.

The point is, I'm disappointed that some of the younger guys seem to be getting pushed down the card again, when the cool thing about TNA for me was that there were no class divisions. Maybe it was my own unfamiliarity, but it never seemed like there were jobbers to me, I honestly never knew who was going to win each match beforehand. Everyone was a contender. With the influx of 'marquee stars', it becomes more obvious who's going to be looking at the lights.

Maybe I just don't get why Windsor's own Petey Williams is jobbing out every time I see him. Why is a guy who can do this...



...lying on his back every week? Meh. Anyway, if you prefer actual wrestling to 25 minutes of Vince jibber jabbing every week, check it out Thursdays @ 9.00. Moving on.

--It may have been a couple years later than some would have hoped, but Al Gore has staked a place in history as the recipient of the Nobel peace prize. Technically, he shares the prize with the UN Panel on Climate Change, but for most in the West, this is all about Al.

So he [depending on who you ask] lost the election, wins the Nobel Peace Prize and has become one of the more beloved public figures in North America. While the guy who beat him for the presidency has America mired in a neverending conflict in the Middle East and nurses some of the lowest approval ratings of any sitting president. Fair trade, I guess.

--Honestly, it may be one of the funniest things I've ever seen on the internets, but there is no way I can ever embed it on this blog. But I will link to it with the following caveat: Contains nudity, coarse language, mature situations and is most definitely NSFW. If none of those things particularly bother you, enjoy. If those things do bother you and you watch it anyway, you forfeit your right to complain.

--Brave new world: How to properly cite weblogs in academic papers.

--The acceptable way for you to discipline your toddler is to deny him privileges. Not dangle him out of the window of your SUV. Mom looks pretty happy about it, though.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Science scares the shit out of me

When you drown, the burning in your chest as you inhale water and your airway seals shut lasts about 90 seconds. After that, you gain a sense of tranquility. That's the oxygen deprivation.

Hanging can take the longest. You'll lose consciousness in seconds, but actual death could take up to 15 minutes.

Provided the executioner is skilled, decapitation is actually one of the more pleasant ways to go. However, you may retain consciousness for up to seven seconds after the spinal cord is severed.

These facts and many more found in New Scientist's Death Special.

I did not link to this because I turn 30 next week.

In closing, the best baby Halloween costumes ever. Circle of life, rich tapestry, etc.

And somewhere between cat litter and Video on Trial, there was the State of the World

Former hostage speaking this weekend
For a different perspective on the war in Iraq, you could do worse than stopping by James Loney's public lecture this Sunday at 3.00 p.m. at Assumption Chapel.

Loney, a UWindsor alumnus, was working with the Christian Peacemakers when he was abducted and held hostage for four months.

Now, as a warning, there'll be a fair bit of Jesus included in the whole affair, but if you'd like to hear about things from someone who was there instead of a pundit, I imagine this would do the job.

A'burg body identified
Police have identified a body found in Amherstburg last week as 42-year-old Windsor man Stephen Joseph Deneau. Police are treating the death as suspicious, and anyone with information is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 519.248.8477.

Thank you voters, have a holiday
As mentioned last night, Dalton's Liberals utterly demolished the competition, proving Ontario voters prefer lying to giving money to faith based schools.

For his part, McGuinty celebrated by announcing the creation of a new statutory holiday for the third week of February, Family Day. Don't it just warm your cockles, Windsor?

On the other side of town, John Tory's trying to figure out the most graceful way to exit the Conservative Party, having dragged down Conservative support in the popular vote and losing his own seat to the Liberal candidate. The Globe says Tory will be meeting with party members to discuss his future. I'd say it involves a hook.

Briefly
In case you forgot, the chickenlegged devil known as Ann Coulter? Still crazy.

Remember the Klingon v. Furry bowling showdown from a couple weeks ago? Here you go.

Even if you're a judge, and even if the lawyer has has a nice butt, that does not make it okay to use your outside voice to point it out.

Madonna close to leaving label, using concert promoter to distribute albums. 47 A&R guys just jumped out a window.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

La Random

Sorry for the delay childrens, but Daddy had an evening interview at Indigo Yorkdale again, and let me just say, should management Google my name, I can think of no better retail experience I would like to have.

I find it interesting that a year after I wrote about him, I still get a considerable amount of traffic from people looking for info on Peter Rigo and his Dominion Christian Centre. I've never found out if anything of note happened since, either with the centre or with the charges against the Brun del Re family. If anyone does, let me know.

In the age of 16-bit I was a dyed in the wool Sega-boy. I liked the controller better, I liked the headphone jack, I liked that I could stick a hunk of plastic into it and play 8-bit Sega games, all of it. But the wonder of torrents has recently brought the SNES into my life again [not for the first time, mind you], and damn if some of those classics don't play as well today as they always did. You all are lucky I tore myself away from Yoshi's Island long enough to write this.

The best part about going home for the holidays is hanging in the parents' basement and going through the stuff you want to keep, but left behind. Before we moved to Toronto, I gathered up my extensive VHS collection of anime, thinking there might be a spot for it. No dice, so it's now in the basement here. Last weekend I brought a box of books I had left, since our shelf space is considerably greater. Having the books here now means I get to reacquaint myself with them, notably some old graphic novels I forgot I owned, namely the criminally overlooked It's a Bird by Stephen Seagle and Teddy Kristiansen. A semi-fictional memoir of how a guy who doesn't believe in Superman as a concept is asked to write his comic book, and how he works out the Man of Steel's relevance while dealing with his own family issues. It's a cool ass book, and I'm glad I found it sitting behind the couch.

That, and Watchmen. I've read it a billion times, but it's always amazing. Go read it before they make it into a serviceable movie that doesn't do the book any justice.

Oh, and the Liberals won a majority. In the end, Tory couldn't even win his riding. Yikes.

To the morning.

The State of the World

The Mothership Connection
If it's Wednesday, that must mean the mothership's gotten a makeover. The centrepiece of this week's issue is an extended interview with writer and historian Tariq Ali, who was in town last week for Humanities Week. While the piece still contains all the 'preaching to the choir' moments on the wars with Iraq and Afghanistan that ran in the Star's article, it's buried at the bottom. The bulk of the piece centers on Ali's life and his current thoughts on the state of capitalism and political developments in Latin America. A veritable smorgasbord for all your leftist tastes.

Also, get the scoop on Uwindsor's retooled online student services portal and a writeup of DJ royalty Carl Cox's appearance at the Boom Boom Room, among other things.

And what happened to the Opinion section? Nobody got nothing to say anymore?

It's Election Day
Just doing my part to get you to the polls. Because it's quite a chore, apparently.

That Time Again
Any minute now the flawed Globe study should come out. From there, it's only about a month until the behemoth of Maclean's drops down on all of us. So the state of universities in this country are on the minds of many, and the usual war drums are being thumped again.

Today's is the sorry state of provincial funding for Ontario schools, which has still not caught up to the average of the rest of the country. While the fact's old, the argument's new.

With more and more students heading to university [because it's been drilled into them it's their only hope for a successful career], current predictions have enrollment numbers jumping by about 120,000 by 2021. Or, as the piece puts it, "That's the equivalent of adding another University of Toronto, Queen's and Waterloo to our system." And to deal with this continued surge in students, universities need the cash to accommodate them. Something to think about.

Briefly
The connection between Monty Python and mixed-member proportional representation.

Jewish writer decides to grow a Hitler mustache.

Taiwan holds national parade to remind public, China, how badass it is.

Smart!: Texas car dealer markets vehicle with air conditioned seats under the slogan 'Tired of wet backs?'*

*--Hey Canada, 'wetback' is a slur for Hispanics. Just so you know.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

In the Spirit of the Season, We Talk of Families

















1. My mother's side of the family was always the fun side. My mother's sister was a fearless woman who spoke her mind regardless how appropriate it might have been, but there was never any question how much she loved us. My three cousins were fixtures in our house, the oldest becoming a monument in my life during my adolescence.

Four years ago a mix of death, mental instability and loyalty split us apart. We went our way, they went theirs. One attempt at a reconciliation went nowhere, so that was it.

2. Conversely, my father's side of the family, seven brothers in total, had nothing to distinguish it from a paint roller or the lid on a paper cup of coffee. They were functional, perfunctory, factual: these people are your family. Nothing inherently good or bad about it, it just is what it is. The lone exception being my grandmother, who passed three years ago, named Madonna but nicknamed 'Dude', which became funnier after I fell in love with The Big Lebowski. As a result, I now refer to her as The Dude when telling stories about her.

The Dude was clearly the glue that held us all together. When she was still alive and we could take her for granted, gatherings among the whole family only happened because we knew it would make her happy. When she died, I'm sure I wasn't the only one to wonder what it would mean for the family. To my surprise, we haven't fallen apart. The loss of my mom's side has probably made my family appreciate my Dad's side more.

3. Even when The Dude was still alive, there was one brother who seemed the odd one out. He and his family rarely appeared at family functions. They had done well for themselves, which didn't easily mesh with the blue collar sensibilities of the rest of the family. Over time a very clear dividing line was set: there was them, and everyone else.

In 2006, two years after we put The Dude to rest, when my uncle made the rounds to each of the other six, reaching out because he felt cut off from every one. Surprise was not the word for what he was greeted with [my mom was in shock for hours afterward]. Everyone explained why things had gotten to where they had, with my uncle making a commitment to change.

4. Which is why I found myself walking up to my uncle's home on Saturday night for Thanksgiving dinner with the rest of the family, 25 of us in total. He and his wife cooked all the food, brought out all the best china and crystal, and ensured everyone who wanted one had a beer in their hand. I don't think I'd been in my uncle's house since I was 10. After dinner, the women cleaned up the kitchen [how positively traditional!] while the men sat on the back patio. It was then I was reminded of this story.

The Dude, like any good Catholic woman, birthed seven boys in about 15 years in a three bedroom house in Amherstburg. My father was dead in the middle, three older then him, three younger. Obviously seven boys could get into trouble, but my dad and his brothers were revered and reviled for the sort of shenanigans they could pull. Like this.

The two oldest boys decided it would be funny to freak The Dude out. So they took their baby brohter, who was maybe two-years-old at the time, tied a rope around his ankles, and lowered him out a second-story window. My grandmother, who was washing dishes in the kitchen, heard the next door neighbour hollering, 'Dude! They're gonna kill that kid!!!' and looked up to see her youngest swaying in the window upside down.

And this was before video games.

As my cousins and I laughed with horror, the perpetrators played down the danger of the stunt, as the baby boy, fast approaching 50, smiled sheepishly and shrugged his shoulders.

Sometimes, Windsor, families are kind of all right. Hope your weekend was fun and filling.

The State of the World

Welcome back.

UWindsor reminds country of its existence
That divisive ad campaign undertaken by UWindsor is moving to a grander stage, with prominent ads in major Canadian newspapers, as well as banner ads on sites like MySpace, MTV.ca and Muchmusic.ca.

"The ads are targeted not only at a general audience to raise the university's profile and enhance its image among opinion leaders," says Jennifer Barone of the Public Affairs and Communications Office.

I can only assume 'opinion leaders' = people who fill out the reputation survey for the Maclean's rankings. Anyway, not people all over the country can say 'When did they switch the colours to blue and green?'

Check out some of the ads here.

In case you forgot
There's an election tomorrow. If you still need informing, you can get caught up on the referendum here. If you need things like polling stations and candidate names, Elections Ontario will cover that.

Don't worry, I'll remind you again on Wednesday.

And in case you were wondering, numbers currently predict a second Liberal majority. Oh, and Tory knew the faith based school funding thing was a powderkeg of bad will three years ago, but felt the need to try anyway. Attaboy.

The Tuesday Wrasslin Report
Last night's show centered around two things: did Chris Jericho return, and will they be able to keep what little momentum they have now that Cena's out for six months?

The answers are: no, and I think so, thanks to three letters.

As much as I'm dying to see Jericho come back, I'm glad he didn't do it an No Mercy. When done right, these viral type programs can really generate a sustained interest, and two weeks is too short a time. That said, I think they need to vary it up next week, incorporate other media. Have William Regal talk to some stagehand in the back wearing a SAVE_US shirt or something. I speculate they use Jericho as an option in the Cyber Sunday main event, along with HHH and that other guy who returned last night.

If there was a more desperate time for Shawn Michaels to return, I don't know what it would have been. But the look on Lady Trail's face when his music hit was priceless, as was the 'Oh sh*t' expression on Randy Orton's. Smart move to have him come out in his Texas gear with beard, instead of his usual suit or jeans and t-shirt. Sent the message he was mad. For the first time in months, they have me excited to see next week's show.

Matchwise, I'm happy Umaga got to save some of his character by demolishing HHH, and Kennedy/Jeff Hardy was probably the highlight of the night, but still not enough to eclipse the returning HBK.

Briefly
Florida town infested with giant lizards [why does the URL contain an old Taco Bell ad slogan?].

Learn about Finland. No real reason, I just think Finland gets overlooked as a nation.

Getting yelled at by teachers can lead to early sexual activity in girls. Wait, what??

The dumbass o'the day for October 9: This guy!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Live! Tonight! Again!

























Yes, that's right you little heathens, the Fabulous Ictus Band makes its return to the Rose City tomorrow night at 11.30ish at the Avalon Front [300 Ouelette]. Many moons ago the FFIB played a show there, and it was hand in glove time. We've been back many times since, and it's our belief that there is really only one place in Windsor to see us. Something about the dark and cool atmosphere seems to suit our brand of dark and cool metallic rock. And as an added bonus, we're opening for ourselves. The joys of finding an opener.

So if you've been waiting all year to shake my hand or spit in my face, stop by. I really don't care which it is, you'll have paid cover either way. No one gets in for free, suckas!

Since my bandmates are a bunch of paranoid loons [I can say that because I know they read this blog] I'll be incommunicado from now until maybe Monday, Tuesday at the latest. I'll be on a Guelphbound train by mid morning and entertaining myself offline until we pile up and head back down. Net access could be sketchy the remainder of the weekend, but I'll see what I can do.

But if I don't talk to you, have a wonderful Thanksgiving, enjoy the time with the fam, and we'll be back here waiting for you when you get back. Like a warm, texty quilt.

The State of the World

The beautiful thing about the technological age we live in is that now your mother can harp on you via instant messenger. Hail, future!

You people are out of control!
So says today's edition of the Star. Residents on Askin, Randolph and Rankin [many current or former UWindsor faculty] say they've never seen such rowdiness in 45 years, and are baffled as to what's causing it, though some are speculating the elimination of OAC means you buggers are getting to campus at a younger age and need to drink at house parties instead of bars.

Clearly, no one is going to stand for this, though no one knows what to do, aside from sending the cops down, which is probably all you can do.

For his part, UWSA Prez William Ma says he wants to work with residents, maybe establish a 'town and gown' committee similar to other university towns.

"I would feel frustrated if I had commotion going on next to me," he said. Commotion! Isn't he adorable? What next, ruckus? Hoopla? Brouhaha?

For their part, in Kingston, the student ghetto was called the student ghetto for a reason, because only students lived there, with the exception of one house. And aside from that one street party in 2005 where a couple cars got flipped and set on fire, it's worked out fine!

If there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that transparency in government is a good thing.

Harper dares opposition to take a swing at him
So when Stephen Harper begrudgingly held a press conference yesterday, and mentioned that if his Throne Speech gets passed in two weeks, he'll consider any further votes on his agenda confidence votes [which would dissolve parliament if defeated], it was clear as crystal that despite all his claims to the contrary, the man feels he can get at least another minority, so he's baiting the opposition to send Canadians to the polls.

“Obviously, if we don't get approval, the opposition will force an election. That's not my preferred course of action, but if they force that, we'll be ready for it." Yep, bullying tactics like that are about as transparent as you can get.

In the only business I care about
You may have noticed earlier this week when music blogs all over the wired collectively poo'd themselves at the news that not only was Radiohead nonchalantly releasing a new album for digital download on their website next week, they were leaving it up to the fans to pay what they wanted.

To clarify: you could go to Radiohead's website, download the album legally, and not give them a dime. Or give them whatever you think the album's worth. The UK band joins Prince and Nine Inch Nails in actively encouraging fans to acquire their music for free.

Which has some pundits declaring the album dead. For reals, this time. While it's true, album sales are hardly cash cows for most bands [touring is where the real money's at] Kanye's recent sales are proof it's still early to ring the death knell on traditional album sales. For large portions of people, digital distribution is too much of a headache, and there are many people who will never know that Radiohead album ever existed. But at the same time, there's a reason Musicworld and HMV started carrying video games, dig?

Developing.

Briefly
Fertile strippers make more cash.

Run for your lives, men: girlfriend kills partner over porn stash.

The London tube wins best public transit of the year. Again. The Trail is confident if Windsor Transit can get the 1A to take you from downtown to Devonshire in under 90 minutes, they'll be a serious contender next year.

Pope Benedict's official autobiography authored by cat.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

16 Bits on a keyboard is teh suck

I could lie, Windsor. I could tell you that I've been searching and searching for fun and compelling content for you and haven't found anything. I could tell you I had this mammoth, genius post worked out before Firefox took a shit and I lost it. I could tell you any number of things Windsor, but they would all be lies.

The truth is, I've been sitting around playing Super Nintendo emulations on the computer. And since I've been up way too late writing long entries the last couple nights, I'm taking it light tonight. So here, enjoy the pinnacle of stupidity, the sure sign the humanity is devolving at an alarming rate: the flaming slip n'slide.



This is what straight men in their early 20s do when there are no women around.

The State of the World

The mothership connection
It's Wednesday, so that means the Lance website gets its weekly facelift. This time out, we've got stories on the continued search for Uncle Ross' successor, an explanation of the referendum on the electoral process going on in conjunction with the current provincial election, and a look at the phenomenon of microblogging, the practice of making posts no longer than 200 characters. After last night's monster post, it's something I'm seriously considering.

Let down and hangin' around
Without question, the marquee event of this week's Humanities Week was the appearance of historian, author, and eminent expert on all things Middle East Tariq Ali. Digression time.

At the 2005 national conference of Canadian University Press, the marquee speaker was Harper's Magazine editor Lewis Lapham. It's all anyone could talk about and when we took our seats in the hotel ballroom, the excitement was palpable. And then the man came out, and most of us at The Lance were totally underwhelmed. All Lapham basically did was come out in front of a room full of young journos and other assorted lefties and Bushbash. Which is fine, but it's not reinventing the wheel and it doesn't exactly challenge the audience. I swear, most of the questions in the subsequent Q&A were of the 'This is what I thnk, please tell me I'm right, Mr. Lapham' variety.

I was reminded of that night as I read the Star's recap of Ali's lecture last night. To wit:

Ali said that in a post 9-11 world, the United States has tried to "remake the world in their own image," but its mission is failing because of violent resistance in Iraq and continuing problems in Afghanistan.

Really? I'd never considered that.

"This war has made Iran a regional power," Ali said, reminding the audience that U.S. interest in that region of the world is largely motivated by the desire to protect the oil reserves.

So the war's about oil, huh? Hadn't heard that before. I'm hoping Star reporter Sonja Puzic took what she thought were the more scintillating quotes for her story, and that such tired points were not the bulk of Ali's argument. The boss tells me we'll have our own article on Ali coming next week. I hope it tells me something I haven't seen on The Daily Show for three years.

That said, I'm still pleased Ali appeared, because UWindsor needs to step its game up when it comes to public lectures.

Good news out of N.Korea?
An early story we saw yesterday offered some vague claims about North Korea reaching some sort of agreement in the ongoing six party talks concerning its nuclear program. Details are now emerging that North Korea has agreed to disable its reactor by the end of the year, in return for heavy fuel oil and getting off the US terror list.

Of course, no details of how the promises will be implemented, but we take what we can get around here.

Briefly
Ice Cube once asked, 'Why more n**gas in the pen than in college?' Turns out he had his facts wrong.

Staying with the theme: fifth grade teaching tool uses the n-word to teach the children history.

Threats of severed penis are acceptable grounds for divorce.

That orgasm ringtone was questionable to begin with, but for God's sake, turn it off if you're in court.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Continental Drift

Despite being what is for all intents and purposes a news blog, I’ve made a conscious decision not to be overly political or bang the war drums too much. You don’t have to be here long to realize my own political leanings tilt left, but I tend to stay away from the sort of sociopolitical criticism that so many others bloggers deal in, better than I ever could, preferring instead to inform while lampooning worthy targets. But something I saw earlier this afternoon pulled out the final block of my hard leftism, and all my delusions of radicalism collapsed like a game of Jenga. But to get to that story I need to tell you this one.

During last month’s unfortunate yet amusing altercation with He Who Shall Not Be Named, the adversary accused me of displaying “willful ignorance”. While I still maintain I was exhibiting a blithe disregard, the comment made me briefly consider how I view most of the teacup tempests that rally the campus rabblerousers into action, and why it is I no longer care. And I realized the reason I no longer care is because most of the causes celebre on campus miss the forest for the trees.

Continue reading this post.
Back in February I wrote a piece nobody read looking back on the Great Dress Code Controversy of ’06. In it I wrote that the true tragedy of the scandal was not that the UWSA or pub management implemented an inherently racist policy, but that they refused to acknowledge the policy had any racial element. They were baffled that anyone would see the policy as racist, and quickly heaped the blame on The Lance for blowing it out of proportion. They saw no fault in themselves because they defined racism in such limited terms: as long as they weren’t dropping n-bombs or hanging nooses from the rafters, they couldn’t be racist, as though those were the only parameters of prejudice.

To me, the issue isn’t that last year’s council was blowing things so magnificently, it’s that they didn’t realize they were doing it. I don’t care that the UWSA is predominantly white from year to year, I care about why so few minority students bother to run. I don’t care if there was a conflict of interest over the new UWSA website, I care about why most students want to keep their head down and attend classes and not be bothered. Is that willful ignorance, or a refusal to participate in the narrow-minded discourse the liberal activists present? I suppose the things I care about are harder to summarize on a placard.

My discontent with the left has been brewing since ’99, when I first puzzled over the protesters at the Seattle WTO Conference, most of whom didn’t seem to know why they were there in first place. Talk of vague notions of anarchy further discouraged me, mostly because the people espousing the revolution the loudest, never had any ideas on what to do next. Longtime readers of this blog know Heath and Potter’s The Rebel Sell was a sort of watershed for me, articulating all the things about the left and the counterculture that made me antsy [in brief: they’re all sound and fury; they continually undermine themselves by engaging in pissing matches of ‘who’s more radical’; and they perpetuate the culture they rail against as much if not more than the pathetic sheep they want so desperately to liberate].

But still I clung to my notions of liberalism: I believe in gay rights and a woman’s right to choose, separation of church and state, make love not war, all that. So I must be a liberal, right?

Then a column in the National Post turned me onto this. It’s an interview between CBC host [and uberactivist] Avi Lewis and Somali author/politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali. A former Muslim who became atheist following the 9/11 attacks, Hirsi Ali has become an outspoken critic of Islamic society and a supporter of America, positions that are hardly in vogue on the left, and have Lewis’ feathers ruffled from the start. He’s not about to let something as offensive as support for America get time on his show unchallenged [he says as much at the video’s start].

So he challenges, arguing that evangelicals in America are as condemnable as Islamic fundamentalists, and that the plight of Muslims harassed at airports are equivalent to the violence suffered by Muslim women under sharia law. And Hirsi Ali, calmly and eloquently, tears him apart. Some choice exchanges:

Lewis: You live in the United States of America. This is a country where evangelical Christianity has ascended to the highest ranks of power; where conservative social values drawn and justified by the Bible are imposed on people every single day.

Hirsi Ali: I think you’re exaggerating.

Lewis: They shoot abortion doctors in the United States of America. Homophobia is rampant.

Hirsi Ali: When abortion doctors in the United States were shot, the federal government reacted to it by going after the perpetrators, putting them on trial and jailing them. When in Iran, two men went after a woman and a man holding hands and shot them, they were acquitted by the Supreme Court. That is the core difference. Never confuse Islamic sharia and the Muslims who really mean it with those extremist Christians living in the United States. Extremist Christians…in any other Western society face the rule of law and are dealt with accordingly.

Lewis quickly changes the subject. You really should watch the whole clip, but I’ll give you one more gem.

Hirsi Ali: My point is not so much when the Democrats are in power everyone is happy or that when the Republicans are in office everything is bad. It’s that both Republicans and Democrats and the majority of Americans fortunately feel that they can run for office, they can get power---

Lewis: As long as you’re staggeringly rich, totally connected, in the pockets of your donors, you can do anything you want in America.

Hirsi Ali: In America you can come with nothing…and become very wealthy.

Lewis [laughing]: Is there a school where they teach you these American clichés?...I’m so upset that I’m losing my cards here. I can’t believe you just said that.

Hirsi Ali: …I read about democracy and I lived in countries that had no democracy…so I don’t find myself in the same luxury as you do. You grew up in freedom and you can spit on freedom, because you don’t know what it is not to have freedom.

I believe the kids call that PWNAGE.

Now Windsor, I agree, it does suck that Western, peaceful Muslims have to worry about getting held up at airport security or being put on terror watch lists, but to suggest that their plight holds a candle to the struggles of people on the other side of the world living in legitimate fear for their lives under the threat of real violence, is the sort of arrogance the liberal West typically deplores.

Lewis’ patronizing filled me with such anger, all my issues with hard liberalism crystallized into one shiny kernel, and I threw it away, gone, ghost.

If I’m no longer a liberal because I demand an alternative to mass-market consumer culture, instead of incessant saber-rattling, so be it.

If I’m no longer a liberal because I can simultaneously believe in democracy while condemning the imposition of it by force, oh well.

If I’m no longer a liberal because I’m a monotheist who disagrees with large portions of all forms of organized religion, c’est la vie.

And if I’m no longer a liberal because I no longer want to be affiliated with the Avi Lewises of the world, fine. Take my card, my devil sticks and my foot bag, I’m relinquishing my membership.

So who’s gonna be the first to tell me I’m spectacularly missing the point?