November 29, 2006

Random Thought For The Day

What happens when a guy with dreadlocks starts to go bald?

November 27, 2006

Coup Coup

From Newsvine: Peters Meets With Bainimarama in Fiji
SUVA, FIJI — New Zealand's foreign minister met Fiji's military commander Monday to try to avert a coup in the troubled South Pacific country, but Australia's top diplomat said a takeover by the armed forces still appeared imminent.
See, this is what you get when you put Eighties pop stars in charge of armies.

And, um, of course Australia's top diplomat thinks a coup is imminent:
"I think a coup is very likely to occur," [Australian Foreign Minister Alexander] Downer told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio. "I think it's going to be very difficult to stop him."
Downer then added, "They haven't got Brains, any of them, only grey fluff that's blown into their heads by mistake."

Speaking of jokes about people's names, the New Zealand Foreign Minister's spokesperson is called James Funnell, which I think is probably the most appropriate name a spokesperson could ever have (except, obviously, for Spokesperson).

November 25, 2006


Yet another reason why Wiki is better than Britannica:

I wonder how many times that link has been used by someone who actually was looking for the album instead of the criminal sanction.

November 24, 2006

November 23, 2006

Jack The Ripa

More on the tumultuous Ripa-Aiken-Fisting affair, from Newsvine: Walters: O’Donnell - Ripa Feud Is Over

I would like to make it clear that I was not so fascinated by this story that I decided to go looking for more information on it. Rather, it clawed its unwelcome way back into my already sobbing consciousness by appearing on my AP news feed, of all places.
NEW YORK — Barbara Walters said Wednesday all is now "well with the world" following a flare-up earlier this week between Rosie O'Donnell and Kelly Ripa on "The View." Ripa called in to the ABC daytime talk show after co-host O'Donnell accused her of making a homophobic comment to Clay Aiken, a guest host on "Live With Regis and Kelly.” . . .

O'Donnell said Tuesday on "The View": "If that was a straight man, if that was a cute man, if that was a guy that she didn't question his sexuality, she would have said a different thing."
Like what?! “Oh, you! Run your fingers all around the inside of my mouth, you deliciously straight man who I don’t know very well! I don’t care what anyone says, I’m going to use my tongue to caress the manly creases of this hand, right here on national television! What the—? Don’t fucking touch me, Philbin.”

Ripa denies her remark was meant to be homophobic:
"He's shaking hands with everybody in the audience. I mean, it's cold and flu season. That's what I meant," she said . . .

"I understand cold and flu season," O'Donnell replied. "I'm just saying from where I sit as a gay person in the world, I have to tell you, that's how it came off to me."
O’Donnell sits on the board of The Association of Vaguely Outraged Celebrities. Its other members include Jason Alexander, Patricia Heaton and Lewis Black, and its meetings are always hilarious.

I’m not really going to comment on Ripa’s alleged homophobia except to say that even if she was alluding to a sex act, there is nothing particularly homophobic about doing so. I mean — what the hell? — like if Aiken had had his hand up a vagina all day then Ripa would have been fine with having it rubbed in her face? It’s only homophobic if you’re a moron who believes that it makes you a bigot to imply a gay person has a sex life.

Also, does anyone else appreciate the captivatingly vapid symmetry in the fact that the cast of The View watches Regis and Kelly, and the cast of Regis and Kelly watches The View?

November 22, 2006

Annals of Improbable Headlines

From Taser-happy Cop's History Was One Reason for Tasers at UCLA
Terrence Duren, an 18-year veteran of the UCPD . . . hasn't had the smoothest career in law enforcement. He came to Westwood after being fired from the infamous Long Beach PD. A few years after being hired by UCLA he was accused of using his nightstick to choke a fratboy and the university asked the UCPD to fire Duren, but he was only given a three month suspension.
This is one of those stories that I really love, where every time you think you've reached the peak of horrifying insanity, it just keeps going. To wit:
In late 2003 Duren shot a homeless man, Willie Davis Frazier, Jr., in a Kerckhoff Hall bathroom.
Pretty kooky, right? WRONG!
During a 2004 preliminary hearing in which Duren testified against Frazier, the officer carried a Machiavelli book into court, "The Prince", which argues that the ends justifies the means.
Okay, now give us one last slam dunk.
"Did you know that this was Tupac's favorite book?" he asked.
LAist, by the way, is my new favourite website, with such journalistic gems as: Kramer Goes on Racist Tirade at the Laugh Factory:
The cellphone-camera/handycam starts rolling as soon as [Seinfeld's Michael] Richards screams "Fifty years ago we'd have you hanging upside-down with a fork in your ass," then continuing "You can talk, you can talk, you're brave now motherfucker! Throw his ass out, he's a nigger, he's a nigger! He's a nigger!" And he didn't even say it in a funny way.
And how's this for a headline: Kelly Ripa Alludes to Clay Aiken's Fisting Rumours.

The problem is, I find it hard to come up with punchlines when the stories themselves make me laugh so much. How can I improve on Kelly Ripa alluding to fisting? That's comic gold!

I have to go to bed.

November 18, 2006

Did She Snowboard Past a Stoned Asian, Too?

I'm at home for the weekend, and then working Monday and Tuesday in my firm's Edinburgh office, which I guess makes this my first official business trip. I am such a grown-up. It's sickening.

But it is really nice to be home. I haven't been able to stop smiling all day.

I was down at my dad's place for my brother's birthday party this evening, and picked up the latest issue of my high school's "Here's What Been Going On At Your Child's School This Year And Oh By The Way Would You Like To Donate Some Money?" magazine. There was a little essay in it by a fifteen-year-old girl who had been on a school exchange to Vancouver this year, and she had this to say about it:
I took part in the Canadian exchange 2006. I went with another girl in my year to live with a family in Vancouver for a month in the Easter holidays . . . I did so much there, ranging from ice hockey to tree hugging.
Yeah, that just about sums up Vancouver, alright.

November 17, 2006

November 16, 2006

Middle Yeast

From BBC NEWS | Middle East: Seven dead in Iraq bakery attack
In continuing violence, gunmen killed nine people in an ambush on a bakery in the east of the capital.
I think any attack on a bakery is kind of a de facto ambush, given how much most people would expect a bakery to be the target of sectarian violence.
The attack left pools of blood on the floor as people tried to flee in panic.

"The gunmen stormed into the bakery and killed workers while they were baking. They had done nothing bad," the Associated Press news agency quoted an unnamed man outside the store as saying.
"Nothing bad at all," the man continued. "It was totally kneadless violence." Realising the insensitive double entendre he had just made, the man quickly remarked, "Dough!" Then, with a sheepish grin, he shrugged his shoulders and added, "I guess I'm really on a roll, here."

Yup, I went there.

November 15, 2006

Tomb Much Information

In the mail today:
Dear Mr Ladd,

Many of you will know that since January Councillor Sue Tritton has been fighting, along with myself and local councillors Liz O’Malley and Marilyne MacLaren, to have John Livingston’s Tomb beside 1 Chamberlain Road re-opened.
Yes, you thought (hoped?) we’d forgotten, didn’t you?
It had been sealed shut and fenced off by the owners of 1 Chamberlain Road, who claimed to own the tomb and garden.
...And who, let’s be honest about it, are probably total pooheads.
They subsequently lodged a planning application to seal the tomb off permanently with railings and appealed to the Scottish Executive when the Council was unable to make a decision . . .
The national parliament, of course, has nothing better to be doing with its time.
The Scottish Executive has now decided that they cannot erect railings in front of the tomb. The reporter said, “The section of railing immediately in front of the tomb . . . shall not be constructed.” This is great news.
(That ellipsis is in the original, by the way.)
An official from the Parks Department has visited the site and discussed the matter with the owners of 1 Chamberlain Road.
...In what I can only imagine was a hilariously awkward conversation.
I hope this will bring an end to this unfortunate saga and that local residents can enjoy this popular local amenity again.
You are fucking nuts, do you know that? I walked past that damn tomb every day on my way to school for six years, and never once did I see anyone “enjoying” it. Not only is “amenity” a stretch of the imagination, ”tomb” is a stretch of the imagination— it is a glorified patio with a plaque. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to visit it, never mind wage war in the national legislature over the right to traipse in and out of it at ones leisure.

On the other hand, now that I know the Scottish Executive is open to ridiculous demands on its time, I have a few letters I’d like to send.

November 12, 2006

Time To Call In The Paddy Wagons

From UCLA AsiaMedia: CHINA: Villagers 'were manipulated'

I've been doing some research at work over the last few weeks into human rights in China, among other things. In the process, I came across this news item:
Dongzhou used to be a sleepy fishing village, but last week the community of 30,000 in Shanwei, Guangdong province, was transformed into the latest epicentre of China's social revolution.

For more than a year, Dongzhou villagers have complained that the local government had taken away their land for the construction of a coal-fired power plant . . .

Then on December 5, villagers said, Shanwei police began to search for their leaders using the excuse of looking for drug dealers. They claimed the first one taken away was Li Zelong . . .

Fearing that more police would come to arrest their representatives, Dongzhou residents, backed by their counterparts from their neighbouring village, stormed a wind-power plant in Shigongliao on December 6 with clubs, pipe bombs and fish bombs -- a concoction of fertiliser soaked in kerosene capped in a glass bottle with a fuse and detonator.
My God, that's terrible! They must have had a pretty serious set of grievances against this new power plant to go to such extremes.
Another concern among villagers was that the coal-fired power plant would cause serious pollution and ruin the village's fung shui. They also pointed out that the chimney was too short.
I never realised that bad fung shui could lead to pipe bombings. I guess I should start paying better attention.

Search Referral Fun Time!

PS. I thought some of you might like to know (ahem, Mariana and Dustin) that I'm now getting search referrals from "look at my tits".

And the stalwart "cock in pussy" is still providing about a third of all my search engine traffic. Sigh.

Google clearly has a very low opinion of me.

November 11, 2006

Fan Mail

By the way, in response to my post about the IT policy at work, I received the following email, which I found so hilarious I simply had to share it.
Oh poor hotscot, fallen among humourless and politically correct minions of Mammon! No “derogatory comments, statements, jokes, pictures or messages relating to gender, religion, race, colour, ethnic background, national origin, age, sexual preference, marital status, family responsibilities, pregnancy and disability”? Shock and horror. I guess this means that you couldn’t, in your lunch-hour at least, write and post:

“I’m writing this to let you know that I can’t stand the rancid smell of fermented soybeans coming off a certain quasi-male, pseudo-Buddhist, bigotedly and allegedly Caucasian black. What’s more, the pathetic Berber background and highly dubious Laotian citizenship of this 87-year-old transgendered bisexual divorcé[?é], who ‘supports’ no fewer than fourteen sadly undernourished children, all afflicted by foetal alcohol syndrome, from three previous disastrous marriages and is showily pregnant yet again, alas!, despite, or as a result of, being blind as a bat, really get on my tits. Ha ha! [See attached picture]”

I pity you in your deprivation. “O Commerce: what crimes are committed in thy name!”, or something.

An Anonymous Sympathiz/ser (and Member of the RSPCB)
The author is a charming linguist [sic] from Toronto, who has been a regular correspondent and occasional editor of mine for at least ten years (and a friend of the family for even longer). His daughter used to babysit for me while my dad and stepmother were at ante-natal classes, and we'd play an absurd hybrid of Scrabble and Balderdash, where any word was acceptable as long as you could supply a convincing definition.

All this to say, if you ever wondered where I get my insufferably intellectual wit from, you need look no further.

November 10, 2006

Conversations With Greatness CIV

Wednesday night's Daily Show featured another gag that I had made here the same day without knowing it. So apparently I no longer even need to watch the Daily Show, I can just sit at my computer giggling to myself. Why didn't they hire me when they had the chance?!

November 09, 2006

Why, MCA?

From The Globe and Mail: Gym, Jews don't see eye to eye

(You’ll have to register to read the full story.)
MONTREAL -- It has turned into a clash between skin and Scripture -- and it's pitting a group of spandex-wearing fitness buffs in Montreal against an Orthodox sect of observant Jews.

Last spring, a local YMCA in Montreal installed four frosted windows in one of its exercise rooms to accommodate a neighbouring Hasidic synagogue and religious school. Its devout members complained that their teenaged boys were being distracted by the exposed flesh of women doing their Pilates, aerobics and other activities.

But now the windows have opened up a rift over whether the institution went too far to accommodate a minority. Some Y members have circulated a petition demanding the opaque windows be removed . . .

"It's like getting us to wear a veil. Since we represent temptation, we're being asked to hide," Renée Lavaillante, who started the petition, said yesterday. "We shouldn't have to hide in order to exercise in Quebec. We're a secular state, and shouldn't hide ourselves for religious reasons."
After a moment of thoughtful silence, Ms Lavaillante added, “LOOK AT MY TITS, JEWBOY!”

My God, don’t these exhibitionist wonks have anything better to do with their time than harass the local Jewish community? The synagogue paid for the new windows in full, so it’s not like they’re actually imposing anything on anyone— the Y members can continue to do exactly the same exercise, in exactly the same place, wearing exactly the same skimpy outfits that they always have. The only difference is that now children can’t ogle them! Tell me why this is a bad thing? If it were just a normal school at which parents had complained about their children being exposed to scantily clad women during recess, would anybody be comparing it to the freakin’ hijab? (I mean, sure, that would never happen, because it’s Quebec and porn is practically part of the curriculum, but still.)
As [Serge St-André, director of the YMCA branch] discussed the issue inside the weight room, a Y member walked up to say he objected to the windows.

"We can't let ourselves be imposed upon by extremist religious groups,” [said] Outremont resident Robert Dolbec.
Extremist religious groups?! Are you retarded?! There’s a difference between extremism and orthodoxy; for instance, you are not an orthodox dipshit, you are an extreme dipshit.

I mean, look, I’m all for secular society, but this isn’t secularism; it’s pointless insensitivity, of the cartoon Mohammed variety. Don’t make light of people’s religious beliefs and then hide behind some twisted piffle about defending liberal society. You’re just being irritatingly self-righteous and gratuitously offensive. Did you know that this entire community sends its children to the Laurentians for three months out of the year so that they won’t be exposed to all the flesh bouncing around Montreal all summer? And you feel put out by some frosted windows? Learn some tolerance and shut the hell up.

I don't rant enough anymore.

November 08, 2006

Democrats Be In Tha House!

So, everyone knows, by now, the big story coming out of the United States… Britney and K-Fed are getting a divorce! OMFG!

Also, I believe there was an election of some sort.

I think this is my favourite quote from the coverage:
According to exit polls, about half of those who voted for Democrat Bob Casey said they did so out of dislike for Senator Santorum rather than support for Mr Casey.
So, a resounding victory for Democratic ideals, then.

Actually, my favourite quote is from the transcript of this press gaggle from Tuesday:
Mr Snow: Let me tell you what will be going on with the President today . . . He'll be having dinner with Brad Freeman and some members of staff. Karl Rove and a few others will be up in the Residence tonight. The President will be making phone calls. . .

Q What do you mean by phone calls? You're talking about to the winner --

MR. SNOW: He'll be talking to candidates, typically what you do on election night.

Q Can you quantify how many calls, to how many candidates?



Q Can you tell us if the President voted for your predecessor's mother?
The White House Press Corps resorts to 'your mom' jokes?! I should send them my CV!

Finally, yes, I am fully aware that my post about the reaction to Saddam's sentence was more or less a carbon copy of a Daily Show gag on Monday night. But, in my defence, I wrote mine before the Daily Show had even finished filming, so if anything Jon Stewart owes me a beer.


Thanks to the new IT policy at work, I no longer have access to webmail. Blogger still works, though, so I thought I’d take a closer look at the acceptable use regulations and see if there was anything that might get me in trouble.

Well, blogs aren’t specifically mentioned, but I think this probably covers mine:
The following is not permitted: . . .

Derogatory comments, statements, jokes, pictures or messages relating to gender, religion, race, colour, ethnic background, national origin, age, sexual preference, marital status, family responsibilities, pregnancy and disability.
Too bad for them they don’t mention occupation, because boy do I have some choice words about bankers now that I can’t check my email during my lunch break.

Also, doesn’t that “and” at the end of the list mean that I just can’t make jokes about all of those things at the same time?

Also, pregnancy?

November 06, 2006

Baghdad Ass Up

Seen on the Beeb:

The caption reads:
As predicted, Shias in Baghdad hailed the verdict, but in Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, supporters vowed to avenge him.
Oh, yeah, I can really see the difference.

It's A Bare Cop

From Man removes sharp handtool from rear at gunpoint

Which, incidentally, sounds like it should be a cryptic crossword clue.
EL CERRITO, Calif. - A police encounter with a naked man near the El Cerrito BART station turned into an arrest on suspicion of carrying a concealed weapon Thursday.
Now, really, how can you arrest a naked dude for carrying a concealed weapon? That'll never fly in court.
Passersby called officers about 7:50 a.m. to report that a naked many was lying on a tree stump beside the Ohlone Greenway path, exposing himself and masturbating.

Police saw John Sheehan and arrested him on suspicion of indecent exposure.
Officers led him to the nearest street. Before putting Sheehan in the back of his car, Sgt. Paul Keith asked him if he had anything on him that police should know about.

Sheehan replied that he had hidden a screwdriver in his anal cavity, Horgan said.
Unsure about what to do, police called for a fire engine.
I can't stop laughing at this line, no matter how many times I read it. I just have this mental image of a bunch of cops standing around scratching their heads over it.
Cop 1: Well, I mean… Who should we call about this? A doctor? A handyman?
Cop 2: I have my rabbi on speed dial.
Cop 1: I guess it's really more of a medical thing.
Cop 3: You know, something similar happened to my brother once.
Cop 1: Well, what did he do?
Cop 3: I think it just came out on its own, eventually.
Cop 2: What about Johnny Knoxville?
Cop 1: It just seems like the sort of thing I would call a doctor for, if it were me.
Cop 2: Or a hooker.
Cop 3: Actually, now that I think about it, maybe my brother used pliers.
Cop 1: We're supposed to use pliers to get it out? That sounds kind of painful.
Cop 3: No, the pliers were what was stuck.
Cop 1: Oh. Gross.
Cop 3: Wait, wait. What if this guy were a tree, and the screwdriver were a cat?
Cop 1: Of course!
Cop 2: Oh, sure, pick his crackpot idea.
Sorry, I've been getting a little scatological in my story selection lately, haven't I?

November 03, 2006

Conversations With Greatness CIII

I had a bit too much to drink last night, and this morning I remarked to the bloke who sits next to me at work that I was feeling a bit rough.

"To be honest, mate," he said, "I could tell you were hungover from the moment I walked in."

Oh. Thanks.

"You know, I mean, you have this whiteness about you, and tiredness, especially around your eyes."

Please, don't stop.

"And you have that blotchy, drunken, red, blotchy skin, you know?"

Yeesh, did you have to use the word 'blotchy' twice? That's just cold.

November 01, 2006

A Pressing Matter

From EU imposes tariffs on ironing boards from China and Ukraine
The European Union imposed tariffs of as much as 38.1% on ironing boards from China and Ukraine, seeking to shield British, Italian and Polish producers from imports that represent about half the EU market . . .

EU ironing-board makers suffered “material injury” because “low-priced, dumped imports from the People's Republic of China and Ukraine increased dramatically,” the Brussels- based European Commission said today in the Official Journal . . .

The EU imported about 4.1 million ironing boards from China and Ukraine in 2005, according to the commission, which said EU manufacturers sold half that number in the bloc last year.
I don't really have much to add to this, except to say:

(a) The EU has way too much time on its hands.

(b) Do we think that six million ironing boards is a surprisingly large or a surprisingly small number? My first instinct was large ("six million per year?! Are there really that many people in Europe who don't already have an ironing board?"), but on reflection I think maybe it's kind of small ("only six million? Do all the kids leaving for college still send their clothes home to be ironed, or what?").

(c) What do you think six million ironing boards looks like?