Sunday, July 31, 2005

July 31st

Wow, July is already almost over! Summer really is hastening on. So far I don't know how much I have to show for this season. Maybe some reading outdoors and a few patio excursions. I love summer, but it's going fast!

Saturday, July 30, 2005


Now you can be a real DJ with just two iPods! That's awesome!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Large Disorganized Handbag

I like to fancy myself a modern guy, the sort who understands why women think and act the way they do. I'd like to think that I understand how men and women differ in everything from movie tastes to ethical models. But there's one phenomenon that I'll be damned if I ever understand. That is the overly large and entirely disorganized handbag.

Now I'm not the neatest guy, in fact, I'm probably one of the least-neat people that I know, but the chaos induced by these things is difficult for even me to fathom. From what I can tell, these bags have one large main compartment as well as several smaller side pockets on the inside of them. As far as any sort of luggage goes, that's a fairly standard layout. That said, the way that some women use this space is deplorable. You'd think that it'd be easy to designate one pocket for change, another for kleenex, and another for smallish cosmetics, and so on and so forth.

You'd think that, but you're wrong. Everything goes everywhere! Apparently the goal of these things is to shovel as much random crap into every pocket as one can find. I'm going to see if Louis Vuitton has some sort of downloadable instruction manual for these things on their website. Maybe the manufacturer suggests that, for best results, use total fucking chaos.

There is another facet of these bags that you only witness when observing women standing in line at a shop while holding them. Apparently the manual also instructs the owner not to look in the bag at all until they are at the counter, ready to make a purchase. For best results, don't look for cash, change, credit cards, debit cards, chequebooks, beaver pelts, or any other sort of currency until the minute the cashier rings up your purchase. Evidently such behaviour voids the warranty on these bags.

Now once the bag is opened it appears that a fine mist of a substance that might scientifically be called "retard gas" is sprayed into the face of the owner. This slows their cognitive function to the point where they can't recognize their own wallet and therefore find it in their own handbag. Additionally, retard gas inhibits the ability to count change. As such, it is simply dumped on to the counter and stared at blankly. Everyone around the woman with the bag can tell that there is insufficient change for a given purchase (probably because it's all nickels and dimes), but the bag-owner in question will continue to stare blankly as if their befuddled expression might somehow increase the value of the money on the counter.

This process may continue for a minute or more (eternity in a lineup at a cash register) before any (grudging) attempt is made to locate a credit card or some other payment method. This process requires the bag lady to once again engage the labyrinth of her giant handbag.

Ladies, if you own one of these, ask yourself, what does this product afford you that you couldn't accomplish with a smaller purse-type thing, some pockets, or maybe just accepting that you don't need a whole box of kleenex everywhere you go.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Russians and NASA

So now that NASA has grounded the shuttle fleet again, you have to ask whether the whole program was worth it. I mean every time these things land, they need to be completely rebuilt. Two of them have failed with spectacular and tragic consequences. Given that only five of them were ever built, it means that 40% of NASA's shuttles have blown up. Meanwhile, Russia keeps sending up its trusty old Soyuz capsules. I have read that the Russians had some kind of shuttle program in the 1980s, but in the long run, never actually building one seems to have been the smart play. The shuttles maybe sexier and more media-friendly, but they are also expensive and apparently dangerous. I imagine that someone in NASA has got to be looking at some way of returning to using disposable capsules without it appearing to be an admission that the US was wrong with the shuttle program all along.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

A Grower...

I bought Apostle of Hustle's Folkloric Feel, oh, nearly a year ago now. Apostle of Hustle is essentially the solo project of Broken Social Scene's Andrew Whiteman. Initially I was put off somewhat by the roaring, churning sounds. Initially it seemed like sloppy sketches for some future Broken Social Scene project. That said, lately I've really started to find the tunes buried in all that noise. This album has been a tricky one to like, but I think at last it's started to win me over.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Shoot First...

Well now it appears that the London police shot and killed a man who was absolutely unconnected with July 7th, July 21st, al Qaeda, other assorted extremists, or anything else that has troubled London as of late. According to this article, his only crimes were wearing a coat and not knowing English so that he might be able to understand why a band of armed plainclothes men were chasing him. Given the number of both tourists and immigrants in London, what happened to Jean Charles de Menezes could happen any number of people. It's incumbent on the London police to fix this state of affairs, or people will simply start to stay away from London - as they should if they don't want to be shot by cops.

When Terrorists Attack

Bob Harris has an excellent post that pretty much sums up conventional wisdom on how to deal with terror attacks. I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry, read on:
However, we seem to have arrived at a series of sensible precautions:

Be very wary of anyone or anything random around you.

If you're on the street, and some random guy walks by, don't just be a victim -- protect yourself. Run.

Any random-looking package should be considered suspicious. Point these out to police when you see them.

Random buildings will be the terrorists' next logical target. Avoid them.

If you see any random object, alert others. Scream if you must.

And if confronted by any random situation, don't do anything random in response.

This will only make things worse.

Instead, go somewhere specific. Do specific things with specific people, and await rescue.

Feels much better to have a plan.
Yes, a plan...

Friday, July 22, 2005

Be Warned...

OK, I get a lot of lame ribbing about being tall and how I should be a basketball player. I'm used to it and it usually doesn't bother me, I understand that most people are just trying to make conversation. But the next time some short, really fat guy who doesn't know me says this thinking it's the funniest thing ever, well that bastard's going to get it. In that context it's gotten pretty damned annoying. He can expect something like, "Hey fatass, you're pretty fat, why aren't you a sumo wrestler - yeah that's right, in other words, you don't know me so fuck off. Nice originality by the way."

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Getting It (Much to My Surprise)

In today's Toronto Star there is a column by Pat Buchanan and he seems to actually get why terrorists don't like the West. The terrorists in al Qaeda and other associated groups don't like foreigners on their turf. That's pretty much it in a nutshell, and surprisingly I actually agree with Buchanan on something. Granted for Buchanan this would be a good reason to pursue his program of extreme isolationism (which I wouldn't support), but nonetheless, he understands what is happening. As any high school math student would tell you, understanding the equation you are trying to solve is often the most important part. At least Buchanan knows what kind of equation he is looking at whereas David Frum et al haven't even gotten that far with their "they hate us for our freedom" crap.

Not Getting It

Well there was this post by Atrios linking to this story about Rick Santorum. Apparently Santorum, a conservative Catholic is now undertaking to blame the victims of sex-abuse scandals in the church. In the past he has used the most tortured logic to blame this sort of thing on anyone other than the priests that did it and the bishops that did nothing. For him though, this is a new low, implying that 12 year-olds were somehow consenting. Any church (not just the Roman Catholics) that gets into this kind of scandal needs to accept responsibility and clean house. I know that some will point out that other religious organisations have similar rates of sexual abuse. That doesn't excuse it for the church! The standard of "we're about the same as everyone else" does not cut it, and it especially does not cut it for the church.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


It's too hot outside, and I can't think of anything to write inside. I was thinking, on a whim today, to take up painting again... I don't know, we'll see, another outlet is always nice.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Good News... Bad News

The good news is that there's going to be a live-action Transformers movie (shut up, this was the signature cartoon of my childhood). The bad news, stupid Michael Bay is going to ruin it- err, direct it I mean. Can anyone point to a Michael Bay film that wasn't a complete piece of stupid trash. His name is pretty much a warning sign that something is going to be complete garbage.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

London Bombings

It now appears that at least one, and possibly all of the bombers died in the attacks. This makes more sense to me than the previous reports that these weren't necessarily suicided attacks. After three decades or so of the IRA, I found it difficult to believe that someone could just leave a package on the underground without an arousal of suspicion. Even visiting London as a ten year-old boy, I was acutely aware that unattended bags and parcels were a very bad sign. The idea that Londoners somehow forgot this information in the intervening sixteen years struck me as unlikely.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Blatant Copy-Cat

So Live8 was on TV last week. I'm sure most of you are aware (given the TV ratings) that Paul McCartney and U2 kicked it off with Sgt Peppers. What may have been lost on many people though is that most of Macca's headshots gave a perfect view of Adam Clayton's amp settings. Being that I have similar amp I grabbed one of the screen caps and set things up the same way. It sounds awesome! Thank you Adam Clayton for your amp settings!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

What Century is it Again?

Apparently in Maryland you can have an all-white golf club. What's more, the governor decided to have a fundraiser at such a place.

Think Progress notes that in Maryland,
private clubs are allowed “to exclude women, Jews, blacks and other minority groups if its members so desire.”
It's astonishing to think that such a law is so explicit. I'm sure that you could have an exclusive club for any ethnic group, but the wording itself tells you who isn't wanted by the those in power. What is wrong with these people? Is Tiger not good enough for you? What about Vijay? I guess I can't understand the mentality of such a small mind that essentially says, "oh what a nice day for golf, I'm having so much fun out here on the course. Oh wait... Is that a black guy over there? Dammit Cletus, now my day is ruined!" Get a clue racists.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

It's the vitamins, stupid.

Tom Tomorrow has a fascinating post on the history of race. In it, it's revealed that the fundmental factor in influencing skin colour is vitamin D3. No, really, go read it.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

The Greatest?

Apparently according to the Discovery Channel, Ronald Reagan is the "Greatest American." Ever. Also in the top ten were Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Elvis, and Oprah. There other, more legitimate picks in the top ten, such as Lincoln, Dr. King, Ben Franklin, Washington, and FDR. But Bonzo, Bubba, W, Elvis, and Oprah? Come on. What about some others, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Thomas Paine, Noah Webster, Theodore Roosevelt, William Faulkner, Mark Twain, Miles Davis, and this is all just off the top of my head. The BBC did their own poll where Britons could vote on the Greatest American, guess who won that one?

Don't blame God...

In the Toronto Star today I read an article about some guy named Sam Harris who wrote a book called The End of Faith. In it, the author proposes that societies around the world more or less do away with religion entirely. His thesis suggests that then an era of enlightenment and reason may be ushered in where there is much less warfare.

Let me first say that religion has been a cause of all sorts of stupid atrocities. People have done some truly terrible things to each other in the name of religion. In that sense, I can see where Mr. Harris gets his idea. Where I think Mr. Harris is flawed is in his assessment that the evils that have come about in the name of religion are intrinsic to the nature of religion. Put another way, if tomorrow everyone decided to abolish organised religion, I still think that we'd have an abundance of things to fight over. At the same time, even in the absence of organised religion I think that humans have an infinite capacity to invent gods. The Soviets fought under the gods of central planning and command economy. Today the American right sets up the market economy as another sort of god, offer up everything for privatisation and deregulation and the market economy will provide salvation.

It's a cliche but I think Voltaire was on to something with his quote about it being necessary to invent God if he doesn't exist. With our new "gods" and our avarice and vaingloriousness I am quite confident that our human race will remain fully capable of continuing in doing stupid and evil things. Ultimately Harris' thinking is very 19th century in that one of the lessons of the 20th century is that reason is just as open to abuse as religion.


According to this article, it was none other than Karl Rove who leaked the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame to the US media. Where does this story go from here?