Thursday, February 28, 2008

Strange Days

Not that he reads them, but I love the fact that comments are now enabled on Gord's columns, which means the people can really connect with the man to tell him what a twit he is.

The budget was on the man's mind today, specifically the lack of "investment" for automotive research in Windsor. He sympathizes with the plight of Essex Conservative MP Jeff Watson, calling him a nobody all the while ignoring that Windsor's been voting NDP for the last six years, so at least Watson's a nobody who gets to sit at the grown ups table.

What I find the most interesting are the number of commenters calling Gord out on the peddling the victim mentality to his readers. Which is something I in my dimness had never picked up on before, but it's absolutely true. Gord's been selling this 'Politicians/the university/ Toronto/Calgary/the tooth fairy done us wrong!' story for so long it's easy to remember it wasn't always like this.

Alls I know whenever I come home is that the city feels like it's dying from the inside out. This is something I've spoken about at length with friends from the area who have left and returned [hopefully one of them will be telling you her story soon]. But there needs to be a paradigm shift. If you're so set on Windsor as a "manufacturing" town, then look at what else you can manufacture. It's a global economy, if a company can move production to China where people work for seventeen cents a day and no bathroom breaks, they will. It ain't right, but it's good business, and it's a rare case where someone made good business doing what's right.

Also intriguing is the brewing class war that seems to be simmering under this dialog, voiced by a growing number people who have little to no sympathy for autoworkers losing their jobs.

From Janet:

I just read a letter in the Star. By Roger Brennan and he has the audacity to compare your unskilled labour to the likes of Doctors,teachers and pilots etc. Asking why they don't take a pay cut. What you people do in the factories is build cars, not save lives or teach the next generation, protect anyone, or have hundres of lives in your hands. YOU WORK IN A FACTORY.

Yowch. But Janet's feelings are indicative of what a lot of people feel. In response, we have [unedited] "To All Anti-Union Hacks":


I don't think anyone would begrudge people who are not book smart the chance to earn a decent living. But there are plenty of people out there who work in the service industry and make a hell of a lot less than CAW members, so I wouldn't go thinking you've got a pass with the working man.

These are interesting times we live in, Windsor. They're only going to get more so.

A Momentous Day

A commenter was kind enough to point out that this blog is the #1 Google search result for the phrase "Fatty Weiner Asshat", which is like, fourteen shades of awesome.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Injured in an Accident? Call Fatty/Weiner/Asshat Today!

Even if I wasn't taking it easy this week, Windsor, it's like the whole world is sort of on shutdown waiting for your return next week. Just as well I guess.

Curious about the global economic collapse we're all sliding towards? Allow stick figures to explain it to you.

Further proof evolution is starting to weed us out: a 19-year-old girl who's allergic to water.

So that poor girl will never experience the world's coolest swimming pools, all of which are uber awesome. I may hate undersea life, Windsor, but I love me a swimming pool.

Want to hear the songs allegedly used by the US military to make life difficult for detainees? Here you go.

Cracked strikes again with five books that make you stupider. Eckhart Tolle's omission surprising, as is Kevin Trudeau's.

Why did no one inform me of Zero Punctuation Reviews when we were deciding which console to purchase for our home?

Somewhere, a Conservative pundit will use this video to make a poorly supported point. And you know it.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

As We Wait to Use the Stove

While I'm sure many of you want me to post that video of Jimmy Kimmel having his revenge on girlfriend Sarah Silverman, I much prefer this video of a three-year-old explaining the intricacies of Star Wars.

Yes, three-year-old, the shiny guy does worry all the time.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Cruising on Auto

The Paper Trail would like to thank everyone who came to our redemption show last Saturday at The Chubby Pickle. Nice to know we're still capable of being a rock band.

The Paper Trail would also like to thank the staff of Passport Canada for their speedy and efficient service in dealing with applications. When I'm seated under a breezy palm tree writing short stories in a couple of weeks, I will have a daiquiri for you.

Casual break continues apace, which is just as well, since it seems to be a quiet night out there overall. Everyone seems to be lost in the Oscar hooha [none of which I watched, except for Stephen Cojocaru's typically maddening best dressed list].

Of course, there's also that thing of Pakistan inadvertently shutting down YouTube across the globe yesterday, which you can see explained on Ars Technica.

Chris Anderson, Wired editor and author of The Long Tail [just read it] posts a long rant to preface the release of his new book Free!, which posits a forward thinking look at how to make money providing things people can score for free online. It's a long, deep read, but worth the effort. Watch the video while you're at it.

I totally want to sleep in the bookcase igloo.

As someone who overall enjoyed the movie Juno, but threw up in my mouth a little everytime that overwrough dialogue got out of hand, I fully endorse the Diablo Cody backlash brewing online. Really, she was begging for it, and she probably knew it was coming anyway.

Men have been sweating in a ring for 30 minutes now, and I've been here with you. What the hell, Windsor?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Blogs Gone Wild!

Spring break, suckas! Know what that means? Nobody's watching what the hell I do around here, cause you're all gone to Cancun! As such, look for things around here to take a more relaxed approach next week [like they aren't already?].

So marvel at the wonder of the Carbonite Han Solo desk!

Gasp at the hilarity of a visit to the offices of MAD Magazine!

Feel inner peace at all the wonderful things Barack Obama has done for you! [hint: keep clicking!]

Furrow your brow as you decipher what the hell this man is talking about!

It only gets better from here, Windsor.

Tomorrow finds us back in your loving, smog-filled arms for about 18 hours as the Ictus band plays a quick set at The Chubby Pickle. With any luck, it'll be better than January's show. Not like it could go a lot worse. As always, we would love it if you came.

Stay sun-protected, kids.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Off the Wall

The following is the track list to a mix I made for a departing manager at the store, who loves black music enough to make me feel like home.

The Breakestra - Getcho Soul Together
Bobby Womack - Across 110th Street
Curtis Mayfield - Freddie's Dead
James Brown - Papa Don't Take No Mess
Eddie Kendricks - Intimate Friends
The Brothers Johnson - I'll be Good to You
Teddy Pendergrass - Close the Door
Bobby Caldwell - What You Won't Do For Love
Lenny Williams - Cause I Love You
Patrice Rushen - Remind Me
The Mary Jane Girld - All Night Long
Tom Browne - Funkin' for Jamaica
Michael Jackson - Working Day and Night
Rick James - Mary Jane
New Edition - Candy Girl

I mention this for two reasons.
1. I had to dig through Michael Jackson's back catalogue to find something unique to include.
2. We've been playing the 25th Anniversary Edition of 'Thriller' at work all this week.

Thriller was the first record I owned. My first grownup record, that wasn't Sesame Street or Disney Disco. It was a gift from my parents when I was five years old. I think they bought it for me because I was sick with a 24-hour bug or something, and they wanted to cheer me up.

As I was looking at the inner sleeve, soaking in the pictures Jackson had sketched for the interior, when I vomited all over the record. I suspect my earliest memory that I know happened is my soulcrushing horror at the thought that I had ruined my copy of Thriller. The record itself was fine, but to this day you can still see the brown patches of 25-year-old dried vomit on the inner sleeve, crinkling Paul McCartney's caricatured face into crispy, crunchy ripples.

Honestly, what happened to Michael Jackson? With all the press over Britney's continual decline, Jackson's own diminishing relevance is far more upsetting and deserving of coverage.

I mean, the man ruled the universe. Do you remember the glove? Making the music video an artform? The first moonwalk? When's the last time a dance made people lose their shit like that [if anyone mentions Soulja Boy they're getting their lawn set on fire]? That moonwalk lasted all of five seconds, and it's never been done better since. Chris Brown might have that whole routine memorized, but he still can't pull it off.

Nevermind that it was a rare moment when black music so aggressively targeted a white audience. Eddie Van Halen soloing on 'Beat It' was a ridiculous idea, but can you imagine the song without it? And we all knew who he was. My chubby ass had a poster on my wall and a purple 3/4 sleeve shirt with the above image heatpressed onto it. My parents had to deal with me trying to stand on my toes in the frozen food aisle at the supermarket, and you know damn well a few of yours did, too.

Yet today, two child molestation aquittals later, he's a punchline. That's incredibly saddening because so much of his unraveling seems to be his own doing. And I can't change that, but I can certainly remind you that the genius of the music will still make you jump off you ass like your chair's hot.

To that end, the lesser known second track on the album, one I forgot about until we started playing it.

Respect where due.

Bits o'This n'That

Gord's got a touching tribute to Mickey Renaud in his column today, where he admits, "And it pains me to admit I never saw him play." Which is understandable, given his busy schedule. Where could the city's #1 booster and cheerleader find time to watch the city's marquee sporting event in the last three years?

I honour the player, Windsor, and I applaud the idea to commemorate Renaud at the new arena, but I spit on manipulative drivel masquerading as journalism.

Also of local interest is the closing of the Turek Camera Shop, a downtown institution for over 40 years. Reasons cited? "Inkster, who has worked at the store for 15 years, said the state of the local economy, a downtown which is not conducive to retail, competition from large chains and a strong Canadian dollar all contributed to the decision to close the store." [emphasis mine].

Somebody remember that the next time someone thinks plopping some academic building in the core will make a world of difference.

It's like 4Chan* for university students! allows users to anonymously post whatever the hell they feel like, from the hot girl who looks like a bitch, to the guy in Soc who might be a gay basher, without any responsibility to the truth whatsoever! Hell, we should get in on that, since so many people think that's all the Lance does to begin with.

*For contextual purposes, an actual thread on 4chan for your amusement.

Questionable headline discusses that other favoured topic: Facebook's inevitable crash and burn.

Saw these popping up around the transit system. Apparently they're for the Ontario Colleges system, no doubt to remind people [and parents] that colleges are a valid and useful form of postsecondary education, in a world where university = teh awesome.

A fact that, as a member of the university community, I am obliged to remind you it totally is!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A High-Minded Post Discussing Crucial Social Issues

Will probably be drafted at some point. In the meantime, a little something known as Vagina Punch.

Oh Internet, you do so much for us.

The State of the World

The one day something interesting happens that I am witness to [the cleanup, anyway], and I don't have my camera on me. Such is the continuing comedy of my life, Windsor. Let's see if you're doing any better.

Well the federal Liberal finance critic assured an audience that federal finds for Essex Engine would be likely should the Grits win the next national election. Unclear whether that money would still make its way down if Brian Masse is re-elected.

Damn, it feels good to ride transit.

After primary victories in Wisconsin and Hawaii, Barack Obama has a target on his back from both sides of the political landscape, with Hillary Clinton and John McCain both taking their shots at him, primarily over his relatively short time in office.

Good, yet odd: Stanford University drops tuition completely for students who's families make less than $100K per year. I could totally go to Stanford. I guess you can do that when everyone else is paying $75K per year to go there.

Follow up: While Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf conceded defeat in the election, that doesn't necessarily mean he'll step down as prez anytime before 2012. Mayan calendar theorists, start your crazytalk.

Not that I've ever watched the show [I find it boring as hell] but some of you might be pleased to learn Mythbusters is taking the MacGyver challenge for its 100th episode.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

More Reasons Family Day was a Bad Idea

So apparently while we were all ignoring our families yesterday a number of somewhat significant events transpired.

#1. The format war between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD ended, with Toshiba announcing they are discontinuing the latter technology. PS3 owners everywhere are singing hosannas on the highest. The Warner Bros. decision to back Blu-Ray all but sealed the deal, but with Wal-Mart and Netflix taking the WB's cue, it was done like dinner.

#2. Lindsay Lohan got naked to recreate photos from Marilyn Monroe's quote-unquote 'Last Sitting'. Needless to say, link is NSFW, and presented purely for celebrity junkies, and not for pervs.

#3. The largest collection of recorded music [3 million records + 300,000 CDs] went on sale on eBay. Current price? $3 million. Current bids? Zero. As a collector, I would love that much space to fill with crap.

#4. Lance reporter Hannah Larking interviewed Brown Brigade at the Poverty Without Borders show [which is really just an awful name, implying that it endorses poverty and would like to see it expand as far as possible]. If you don't know, Brown Brigade is the project Dave 'Brownsound' Baksh moved on to after amicably leaving Sum41.

PS: If anyone has a source at the Magic Pony in Toronto, find out why the hell those Bord Headdress Fatimas haven't come in yet. Like seriously.

The State of the World, From a Starving Man

So how was Family Day?

I spent mine working, and learning that 'Family Day' actually means, 'Bring Your Kids to the Bookstore Cause You Don't Feel Like Talking to Them Day'. Good job, McGuinty.

Of course, Gord hated the idea, but Gord's become such a parody at this point he'd probably blame a pair of kittens for driving away the city's industrial base [I Can Has Greenlink?].

The major local news this week are good and bad sides of the same coin: local hockey. The sad news is obviously the sudden and shocking death of Spitfire Captain Mickey Renaud. Renaud couldn't be resuscitated after collapsing in his Tecumseh home. He was 19.

The other news involves Kingsville's bid to be officially recognized as Hockeyville by the CBC and score a preseason NHL game, a CBC broadcast and $100K in renovations for their local arena. See their entry vid and vote early and often here. It would make Lady Trail very happy, as she spent her formative years there.

After umm...essentially killing a guy in British Columbia with one, the RCMP is considering changing how tasers can be used. Good of them, isn't it?

Turning points for a pair of foreign leaders today as Fidel Castro resigns as President of Cuba and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf concedes defeat in his country's elections, giving that country a civilian government for the first time in eight years.

In my heady undergrad days when I had the time and luxury to sit around and talk about these things, I was fascinated by relationship between thought and language, and which comes first, so to speak. I actually started a lively and heated debate on an early message board in '97 hypothesizing how a feral boy who never heard human language of any sort would think. Would he develop his own language and think in that? Most people in the board disagreed, arguing that images were all that was necessary for human thought. If said feral boy knew what a tree looked like, he could think of a tree without knowing what it was called. As for his inner monologue, no one really had an answer for that.

So imagine my pleasure when cognitive research suggests some thoughts do require a form of language. Take that, 1997 internet!

Stories like this make me so much more excited to spend a week there next month.

More later!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Casual Friday

Doing my part to help you slack off in class: eyeball stickers.

So yeah, an errant satellite's going to be shot out of the sky by the US government, in an attempt to prevent it from spreading its toxic fuel in a populated area.

All you Campus Kiss lovers [you know who you are] may find interest in this [admiteedly informal] article examining how porn ruined sex: or, How About You Don't Come on My Face On the First Date? Obviously, the talk gets a little nsfw.

Blogger Sean Bonner reminds us why the internets continually gives us reasons to weep for the future of Western civilization.

Slate looks at how mobsters get their nicknames.

Oh, and you may have heard there's a new Indiana Jones movie forthcoming.

Yeah, That'll make me 14 again.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

That Thing That Happened

So. The Pub business.

Unless you've been under a rock since January, you know of the ongoing controversy surrounding the end of the Passa Passa event at The Basement on January 20. If you don't, peep here. And here. And here. And here. You get the idea.

The latest finds Ross Paul calling out the UWSA, saying they need to get a better handle on what happens at the Pub.

What's confirmed is that 26 cops showed up to the CAW Centre after reports of people fighting were radioed in, resulting in two arrests and alleged excessive force [as depicted in the videos].

Clearly, it's a tense time around the U of W and for good reason, but allow me to play the role of the Outsider for a moment, and offer an opportunity to step back and reexamine what happened.

1. Cops can be jerks sometimes. This is not new, we all know this. Sometimes they power trip, sometimes they profile and sometimes they overreact.
2. By acknowledging point 1, you acknowledge certain behaviour by members of law enforcement are to be expected. Was 26 cops a little over the top? Absolutely, and that sucks. But when that many cops bust into a room, with little to no grasp of the situation at hand, they're probably going to be a little rough whilst serving and protecting.
3. When you expect these behaviours, you understand what will set them off. The unfortunate truth of the world we live in is this: If a cop tells you to leave, and you don't, he's going to make you, one way or another. Their concern is the public safety, and if they think removing you from the building is in the interest of the public safety, you gonna be removed, regardless of how valid you think the reason is. Doesn't matter if it's the CAW Building you pay for. Campus Police Director Bob Cowper admits as much in the article of Feb. 8.

Now, don't misunderstand, Windsor: I think what happened to Bright Kyereme is reprehensible, and the sort of thing we like to think we as Canadians in a smaller city are above. And I'm certainly not saying he or anyone else "had it coming," I think he should absolutely file the formal complaint he's planning to. But as stated above, all the cops knew was that things were "out of hand" at the Pub, but not to what degree.

And all I'm saying is, when 26 antsy cops show up, things can get nasty. It's not fair, it is not just, and it also isn't surprising.

That said, the delay from the UWSA on this is disheartening, but I'm told it will be discussed at length at an upcoming council meeting, which may have been tonight for all I know.

Developing. Which you knew.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Best Day Commemorating the Beheading of a Catholic Priest Ever!

The Lance would like to take a moment to wish you the best this Valentine's Day, and don't forget, with all the accusations of racism and student government inefficacy, to tell someone you love them.

Meet the New Boss, and Other Stuffs

In case you missed it yesterday, and by now you would have missed the introductory press conference today, but Alan Wilderman, the University of Guelph's current VP Research will succeed Ross Paul as the University of Windsor's President and Vice Chancellor. Those interested can peep his vitals here and here.

Also on campus, tensions continue to simmer over the alleged police misconduct at January's Passa Passa event, with new student groups popping up every day and law profs openly criticizing both university administration and the UWSA executive, specifically William Ma, who declined to comment for the linked story. Why do these things always happen in February?

South of the border, it looks like it's official and Obama has surpassed Clinton in delegates for the Democratic nomination, for the moment at least.

Because it's slow in Denmark, and there wasn't enough hooha last time, apparently, Danish newspapers will be reprinting the controversial cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad, following the arrests of three men accused of plotting to kill the cartoon's author.

What people who thought they were cool and intellectual said about the internet in 1994. Dude, get off AOL, no wonder you're so irritable.

In light of the neverending snowfall around here, I would be remiss if I did not include the charming story of the idiot who stole a backhoe last night and used it to steal the coin machine at a car wash, never realizing that he was leaving tracks behind him.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Muffled Grunt from Under the Pile

I don't know about you, Windsor, but I got a metric tonne of snow falling outside my window. It's enough to make a man call in sick to work on principle alone. And yet, you wouldn't think it, but the Trail is a man of honour, and dammit, his ass will trudge through this mess to sell copies of Eckhart Tolle to the rich of Northern Toronto.

Oh, and I forgot to mention: City and Colour's Dallas Green and Muchmusic VJ Leah Miller were in the store on Sunday. She looks no better in person, FYI. Onward.

There's a couple of stories around campus today, pone you know about and one you might not. First, page 2 coverage in the Star for the accusations of police brutality stemming from the Passa Passa event last month at the Basement. Students say videos of the incident will be made public at a news conference at the Law building today.

Also being announced today is who's going to succeed Ross Paul as President of the University of Windsor. I'm curious to see who it might be, as he's going to have some large shoes to fill. In my experience, most people don't know how good they had it with Ross, compared to other university heads around the country. I'm thinking most people [school and city affiliated alike] are going to sorely miss him once he's gone.

Topical: Author Richard Florida has been writing for the Globe and Mail for awhile now, and today he writes about something we've heard about every so often: the role universities play in revitalizing declining urban centres. And guess what? While he's all for the academy playing a role in urban development [which will make Gordo happy], "[r]ather than pushing off the responsibility for generating growth and innovation to the universities, officials need to build better connective fibres."

Interesting to note for any of those still bitter about the university's decision who wants to use Florida to back their argument, two of the strongest examples he uses for integrating a university into a city core are art and design colleges, in Georgia and Toronto. Hmmm.

Oh, and robots still can't act.


Windsor, it is 12.23 in the goddamn morning, yet here I am, trying to give you something. Anything. To inform you or at least brighten your day. Thank God my colleague Mike Evans has put together a look at the Belle Isle Conservatory, one of the area's best attractions you probably didn't even know existed.

To bed!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Posted: The State of the World

Herbie Hancock wins album of the year? What kind of mess is that?

We're quick like bunnies today, Windsor. In an effort to make the gym at all this week [down 20-25, depending who you ask], I have to go before work. Meaning I have to shower there before catching the subway. Which strikes me as kind of icky, but I guess I'll have to deal.

Oh, and apologies about skipping Friday. I don't remember why, but I'm pretty sure it was a good reason.

Interesting: what's bad for Windsor is good for the navy, apparently, as hundreds turn out for a job fair at the HMCS Hunter over the weekend. Good for them if it gets some people some jobs, but man, I've known some people in the reserves in my time, and it was nothing but drugs and easy sex for them. Though perhaps that was just the sort of people I hung out with.

Rejected: Struggling search engine Yahoo! turns down a $44-million takeover bid from Microsoft, claiming the [unsolicited] offer undervalues Yahoo's worth. Looks like the software giant will have to find another means to combat Google.

Disappointed?: Kanye scored three wins himself, but not the elusive album of the year he wanted so badly. As for the show, Mr. West almost got a tear out of me during his performance, and who else could have told the producers to cut the music during his acceptance speech and got it done? As well, as much as I think Winehouse is overrated, her surprise at winning record of the year was so genuine, I was actually touched. I know, I'm going soft in my old age, Windsor.

Disgusting: we've officially effed up the oceans so bad that noxious materials have started to emerge.

Updated: Obama takes Maine, Clinton replaces campaign leader.

Confirmed: Press egalitarianism and stories about cows - two more reasons to go to Iceland.

Not Surprising: Japanese man charged under waste disposal laws for dumping 1000 porno DVDs in a vacant lot after his wife demands he move them out of the house.

Off! Lest you think I'm slacking Windsor, picture my fat ass on a treadmill. It's pretty amusing, actually.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

On the road.

And here I sit, in the staff room at the local Indigo books, stuffing my face with salad to give you your beloved updates. Such is the love and dedication I have for you, Windsor. But don't expect anything groundbreaking.

Mostly, some dumb videos.

Here, a young gnetleman has the brilliant idea to do pullups on a crane situated 100 stories up. Not for the squeamish.

Robots might one day rule us, but their entertainment products will suck.

Oh, and reports indicate that Bonnaroo will not feature the start of a tour with the reunited Led Zeppelin, but will feature a performance from the all female tribute act Lez Zeppelin. Which is actually cooler in some ways.

Cracked gives a double: The most annoying banner ads on the internet [most of which can be found on MySpace] and the nine most unnecessary greatest hits albums.

It's amazing how short a half hour really is. Back to work, y'all.

When You Work a Close, You Do It Quick Likes

But Trail, couldn't you have just woke up earlier?

Quiet, you.

So what's going on out there? Well, with the news that Essex aluminum is getting the axe, Gord is scared shitless about the future of the city, which took him long enough, to be honest. Though he brings up an interesting social stat in the column: moving companies suggest that there are 10 people leaving the city for every one coming in, yet immigrant and refugee demographics are skyrocketing for the city, mostly because the price of real estate is rock bottom there. What will the city look like in 10 years? Five, even?

Elsewhere, with all eyes a gaga over the US election, let us not forget the "election fever" quickly fomenting in Ottawa. The Conservatives have put Parliament on notice that three upcoming motions [the budget, extending the Afghan mission and a crime bill] will all be considered confidence motions. Meaning, if they don't pass, we go back to the polls again. The article has a dateline of when all this could go down.

Michael Moore tells Larry King he's "morally prohibited" from voting for Hillary.

In an effort to curtail vengeful feedback from sellers who get dissed on eBay [which was cited as the #1 reason why people were fleeing the service], the site is prohibiting sellers from posting negative or even neutral feedback about their buyers. Instead, the company will offer new ways to protect sellers when customers don't pay.

Just text HOLYNSS to get wisdom from John Paul II sent directly to your mobile!

Pure gossip: Will Smith may or may have not joined the Church of Scientology. In other news, since I need trash in my life, I've been reading that Tom Cruise bio on my breaks at work. Scary. That's all I'ma say.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Barack has a Posse

Shepard Fairey
is, was, and will always be awesome.

The State of the World

Search me, since I can't remember where, but I thought I heard some scuttlebutt recently about things getting a little rough at the Basement recently, and now the accusations be flying.

Allegedly two females in attendance at the Passa Passa event on January 19 got into it, with witnesses claiming a male police officer [campus or city isn't specified] slug one of the women in the face. Things got worse from there as security tried to clear the bar out, resulting in congestion by the coat check exit and ending in six arrests when people hung around in the main floor refusing to leave.

One of the arrested, third-year comm studies major Bright Kyereme, says the cops pummeled on him for over five minutes. A number of witnesses have come forward on record to back the allegations.

Peep the full story in the above link. I would love to see the minutes from the UWSA meeting where the incident was discussed, but they aren't on the website. Shock. And. Horror.

In other news, Volkswagen announced plans today to have a new minivan built in Windsor, which will add some work for Chrysler employees already building Dodge and Chryselr minivans, but won't be enough to replace the Pacifica, which got took off their plate last year.

Now what to do with all of those 'Out of a job? Keep buying foreign!' stickers...

And because the bitter always follows the sweet, the Essex aluminum plant is closing.

Over the border, Super Tuesday all but clinched John McCain the Republican nod, but nothing's been settled between Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama on the Democratic side. This will be a close one for awhile yet.

Ted Haggard, the Colorado preacher who got caught in a gay sex scandal last year and claimed he needed to be reprogrammed back to heterosexuality, quit the process yesterday.

Because really, when you're a billionaire, why not make plays at teenaged girls all day. Oh, because it's crazy illegal, that's why.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Breaking it Down

You know, Windsor, watching the American political process can be a tiring endeavour at best, and keeping track of all the nuances of the system is frustration defined.

Thank God there are porn stars out there to help us sort out these complicated issues.

The State of the World

Downtown business improvement association prez Larry Horowitz is having a bad 2008. Not only was there the issue with a certain campus project not being built downtown, now council has reversed its previous decision to force after hours clubs to close at 3 a.m.

Rather, they didn't reverse, they just deadlocked at 5-5, which means the resolution was defeated. The revote happened after a lengthy debate last night discussing a number of the criticisms of the plan expressed in this blog and other outlets.

"Where is the leadership and vision to move forward and make downtown great again?" asked Horowitz. "I'm disappointed. I feel we've lost the opportunity to make a statement that we truly care about a safe, vibrant downtown."

Be sure to take a glance through the comments thread on this story, it's getting pretty fun to watch.

Tomorrow night the Fifth Estate will be airing a documentary on last year's murder-suicide of WWE wrestler Chris Benoit. Specifically, the role brain damage might have played in how the tragedy unfolded.

Former wrestler Chris Nowinski, who instigated the research on Benoit's brain, claims Benoit had the gray matter of an 85-year-old with dementia, possibly the result of numerous concussions contracted in the ring. Interesting stuff, I'll try to catch it tomorrow night at 9 p.m.

Obviously all of our other favourite media outlets are balls deep in Super Tuesday coverage so variety's a little slim right now, but we'll sort all that out for you later tonight.

Take the Hemingway bet! Submit your life story in six words. Scared of failure, I didn't try.

Fifteen-year-old can be tried at Guantanamo, so says the US.

Clearly internet savvy woman takes out bank loan to aid in Nigerian land grift.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Comments on Art and Culture, With a Movie Review Buried Within

It is no doubt that I am officially an old man. This is not new. Neither is it new that I am cranky and crotchety and generally peeved about a number of things. At no point was this more apparent than at three points this weekend.

1. On Saturday when a video by MIA shook me out of what I was reading before I went to the gym. I had furrowed my forehead when her debut dropped a few years back but this latest offering made my eye twitch, and the following came forth from my lips:

"Jesus Christ, this singsong bullshit is what got everyone's drawers wet last year? You know, I don't give a damn if you wear shiny tights, I don't give a damn if you're from Sri Lanka, if this is the sound of the global village, I'm paving over the medicine hut to build a Starbucks. At least they play Feist there."

2. Also on Saturday, though in the evening when the spine of a bright yellow book with sharp typography I hadn't seen before jumped out at me from the shelf. It was a short story collection entitled 'No One Belongs Here More Than You' by Miranda July.

Now the name alone was enough to deflate my interest. Miranda July? Dreadful. Just walk around wearing sandwich boards that read 'I BE A SERIOUS ARTIST! SERIOUSLY!' to make the same point. Now, being fascinated with author photos like I am, I wasn't totally unsurprised to see that's essentially what Ms. July did.

OMG, could her eyes be any more doe-y? So fragile, so sensitive, begging the reader to look kindly on her precious little stories. Oh Miranda July, with your porcelain kewpie looks and your eschewing of quotation marks, save me from myself so that I may never know pain again.

Yawn. The jacket informs us that Miranda is the latest McSweeney's type to be wrapped up in post-ironic praise and trotted out for the hipsters to fawn over, which they are doing with alarming frequency. Hell, I've had an amazing anthology of love stories borrowed from work [which I will discuss at a more seasonal juncture] and imagine my surprise to find the young sprite alongside Alice Munro, Raymond Carver, Joyce and Checkov. And I think, "Preposterous! You have done nothing, yet you are trotted out with some of the greatest writers ever? Really?!

I've read a couple of July's short works by now, and while they aren't without artistry, I fail to see her as the visionary others want me to. To me, it just seems like a giant put on.

And lest you think I'm just a big dumb penis hating on a powerful woman's artistic endeavours, I'll have you know I flipped through Mark Danielewski's 'Only Revolutions' today and found it to be the biggest exercise in masturbation I'd ever seen committed to paper.

3. When I walked out of the theatre after seeing Juno. A few months ago I had posted the trailer to the film because I thought it looked pretty good and I wanted to give it some exposure. Turns out I didn't need to, as the thing became a mini cultural phenomenon netting Oscar nods for damn near everyone involved.

So what didn't I like? Well, put it like this: remember when Dawson's Creek and Scream and I Know What You Did... came out, and everyone was all gaga over the smart and sassy dialogue [written by Kevin Williamson] until someone pointed out that teenagers don't talk like that! Because by and large, they're stupid! That's kind of what I felt like when I watched most of Juno.

The script, by stripper/blogger/'journalist' Diablo Cody [tell Miranda we need her sandwich boards again] just seemed so utterly false to me for 2/3 of the movie. And this is nothing against Ellen Page, I thought she played the character brilliantly, I just thought the character was a turd 90% of the time. That and the adults were infinitely more interesting to me than the title character. Swear to God, Cera should have slapped that pipe out of her gob.

I mean, 'Wizard'? Who the eff says 'wizard'? And that line about the girl who smelled like soup getting big laughs? Mike Myers did that joke fifteen years ago. I wanted to like the movie, I really did, but it just didn't even click for me until she finally effing wised up and realized she didn't know everything. Which very well might have been the point but, as Lady Trail put it, 'she should have dropped that kid twenty minutes ago.'

Clearly, I am not the target audiences for any of these things, and perhaps that's the point I'm trying to make. I don't care. So all the Diablos and MIAs and Julys and Poseidons and whoever the hell else out there wants to ride a wave of buzz, knock yourself out. I've learned my lesson.

Next time I'm seeing 'No Country for Old Men.' Because books by reclusive septuagenarians are what it's at, sugah!

The State of the World

Aaaaaand, we're back. Unfortunately, Gord's gone back to bitching about the border and the "latte-sipping Toronto bastion" the McGuinty Liberals rule from.

Now that I enjoy. As though nobody in Windsor has ever drank a latte before. No, but I love the idea lifelong Windsorites have that gold falls from the sky in Toronto, all you have to do is reach out and grab it. I used to be that way too, my friends; I know that which I speak. But hear me now, as I was reminded of it again today: if you want to see poverty, ride the Bloor line. That's all I'm saying.

What with the traditional Catholic season of Lent almost upon us, most papers are running their human interest feature on the Polish heart attack catalysts known as paczkis, and The Star is no exception. I would love to gorge myself, Windsor, but I am officially now of the mindset that considers cheat foods in relation to how much treadmill time is required to burn it off. It ain't pretty.

Across the border the big story is on 'Super Tuesday,' the day where over 1,000 delegate votes for both the Republican and Democratic candidates will be up for grabs. By Wednesday morning, that field of four should be down to two, and then it's really on.

Somewhat related, workers in the sex industry report boosts in business during national political conventions, with the Republicans partaking more.

The Guardian takes aim at the current state of the media for laziness and reporting second hand news, something I would never dream of doing here.

Abortion doctor explains why he's stayed in the business for over 30 years after being picketed, shot and stabbed. It's a hell of a read, and one I don't feel like following with some story about something stupid. So there it is.

Friday, February 01, 2008

A Brief Indulgence

On January 31, 2006, I spotted a cute girl on an internet dating site, but opted not to message her, even though she listed Soul Coughing as one of her favourite bands.

On Februay 1, 2006, that same cute girl sent me a message on said internet dating site. I took it as a sign. Turns out it was a smart hunch. Not a day has gone by in the two years since that we have not talked.

I went from a binge drinking philanderer to a committed boyfriend who followed her to two cities and got a cat and a gym membership in the process. I wouldn't trade a minute.

Thank you, Nicole "Lady Trail" Bryant, for the greatest two years I have ever known in my life.

Regular operations will now resume. I apologize for the interruption.