February 28, 2007

Neophilia Gone Mad

Okay, so when I first started at McGill, they had just opened a new student residence building. Its creation had been a fairly rushed affair and they hadn't managed to come up with a suitably sycophantic official name for it by the start of term (eg. "Trudeau Hall", "Molson's Big Penis Building", etc.), so it was affectionately and haphazardly dubbed "New Rez" by the student body.

Well, the name stuck, and I suppose nobody had made a big enough donation to warrant a dedication, so the university officially unveiled a sign outside that identified the building simply as "New Residence Hall".

Okay, so fair enough, we'll give them that one, it's kind of charming. But I noticed yesterday that the recently opened music building has been signposted as "New Music Building", which I think is really beginning to take the piss.

I mean, don't they realise that they're going to continue needing new buildings as the university expands further? They can't just keep slapping the word "new" in front of everything and hope for navigational clarity. Don't they have ANY imagination? It's not like Montreal has any shortage of musicians after which the building could be named, or even McGill Alums. What about "Leonard Cohen Music Building"? "Steven Pinker Music Building"? "Creepy, Illegal LSD Experiments Music Building"? "Arcade Fire Music Building"? Even "Molson's Big Penis Music Building" would be a start.

I'll tell you this much, the alumni association is getting nothing from me this year.

February 27, 2007

What Is The Deal With...?

From Newsvine: Text Messages Land Teacher In Hot Water
MURRAY, KY. — A middle school teacher trying to buy pot was arrested after she sent text messages to state trooper [Trevor Pervine] instead of a dealer, police said.

At first, Pervine thought the messages were from friends playing a joke, Kentucky State Police spokesman Barry Meadows said . . .

Authorities say Ann Greenfield, 34, arrived at the meeting point and found Pervine and other law enforcement officers waiting for her.

"She learned her lesson. Program your dealers into your phone," Meadows said.
Oh, is that the lesson? Thank you Mr Police Spokesperson. I'm sure glad that media training course left a lasting impression on you.

It is really great being back in Montreal, though I must say that I don't think much of the newly redesigned Parc-Pins interchange. It lacks all the whimsy of its predecessor, and robs pedestrians of some much needed wind shelters for the Ghetto-Plateau schlep.

Anyway, I'm off to poster for Vaganza, but not before trying to awkwardly scam a free coffee from Alison at work.

February 23, 2007

Conversations With Greatness CXIX

On reflection, yes, going out drinking the night before my transatlantic flight was a GREAT idea.

February 22, 2007

Highly Offensive

From Newsvine: Wyo. Worries About Attracting Offenders
CHEYENNE, WYO. — Wyoming, with its wide-open spaces and crisp, clear vistas, is starting to worry it has made itself too attractive in one respect: Convicted sex offenders from out of state are moving in, apparently because the laws are less restrictive.
Okay, get, ready, this story contains a triple whammy of double entendres (eat it, Gil!):
"We don't want to become the playground for sex offenders," Attorney General Pat Crank said.
Or provide them with any playgrounds at all. BLAM!
The word is out among ex-convicts that Wyoming has some of the nation's loosest restrictions on sex offenders
Or the loosest something, anyway. ZOWIE!
Some out-of-state sex offenders might be moving to Wyoming because the oil and gas boom has created lots of jobs.
You know, manual jobs. KAPOW!

To combat the influx of sex offenders, some politicians are attempting to enact stricter laws. Their efforts, however, are meeting with some opposition.
The few lawmakers who oppose some of the bills warn that the measures could backfire by driving sex offenders underground, making it harder for them to go straight, and swamping the registry with hundreds more names . . .

"I don't want to dilute the effect of the sex offender list" by including, for example, someone convicted of statutory rape along with child molesters, said Republican state Sen. Bruce Burns.
Oh, yeah, you wouldn't want to get people who have sex with minors mixed up with child molesters. That would be a disaster. Christ, what does he think statutory rape is? Non-consensual sex with a statue?

Also, interesting factoid from this story: Wyoming is home to the King of Pathos.
Wyoming also lacks a standardized system for accepting convictions from other states. That means authorities must obtain court papers on each sex offender before determining the corresponding Wyoming crime and deciding whether that person must register. That can cause long delays, because only one person is in charge of such efforts.

"It becomes daunting," said that person, Bob Brackett, program manager for the Wyoming sex offender registry.
Okay, I am late for work. Montreal TOMORROW!

February 20, 2007

What The Hill?

Sweet freakin' Jesus alive! My broadband just got connected, a mere 151 days after I set it up! Now, if you'll excuse me, I have about eight bazillion hours of downloading to go catch up on.

February 19, 2007

This Is Not A Teste

From The New York Times: With One Word, Children’s Book Sets Off Uproar
The word “scrotum” does not often appear in polite conversation. Or children’s literature, for that matter.

Yet there it is on the first page of “The Higher Power of Lucky,” by Susan Patron, this year’s winner of the Newbery Medal, the most prestigious award in children’s literature…

The inclusion of the word has shocked some school librarians, who have pledged to ban the book from elementary schools, and reopened the debate over what constitutes acceptable content in children’s books.
Okay, don't worry, I'm sure the author can just say something normal and reassure all the worried parents that she's not the creepy sex fiend they think she is.
“The word is just so delicious,” Ms. Patron said.
Lady, you are really not doing yourself any favours.

February 18, 2007

More From the Hotscot Archives

Part two of my continuing efforts to make up for lack of actual blog entries by posting things I wrote years ago… Today, another piece of faux journalism written in response to the Supreme Court's 2003 ruling that a Texas anti-sodomy law was unconstitutional.

Washington, D.C.— In the wake of the historic supreme court ruling regarding gay rights, the United States media has been gripped by an epidemic of vaguely unsettling, mildly obscene headlines.

“Supreme Court Supports Gay Sex,” proclaimed USA Today, while the Boston Globe announced that the “Texas gay sex ban” had been struck down.

“I think the whole thing is very healthy,” explains MSNBC Gay Sexpert Gary Jones. “For years there has been something of an embargo on the use of the term ‘gay sex’ in the press. This just gives us all an opportunity to vent some steam.”

“Gay gay gay! Sex sex sex!” remarked the editor-in-chief of Newsweek in an interview with Connie Chung during her primetime special, ‘Gay Sex and You: How Will the Supreme Court Ruling Affect the Country?’.

Some conservative journalists are afraid, however, that the recent glut of gay sex references may act as a watershed, marking the beginning of a new, dirtier media. “Before long,” says Houston Chronicle Lifestyle Editor Hank McGraw, “we’ll be seeing headlines like ‘Butt Love on the Rise’, or ‘Congress Passes Ass-Fucking Bill’. Nobody wants to read about anal intercourse over Sunday brunch.”

Gay rights activists are cautiously optimistic about the recent trend. “I think it’s probably a good thing,” says Peter Smith, head of the organization Gay Rights Now. “I mean, look what happened with the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. Whole generations can now converse freely and comfortably about oral sex, blowjobs, cocksucking, you name it. With any luck, gay sex could be the new fellatio.”
Adrienne made two great jokes yesterday! Let's all give her a round of applause.

February 16, 2007

February 15, 2007

Cheap Shot

From BBC News: Serbian village venerates Rocky
A tiny village in Serbia says it will construct a statue of the film character Rocky to ward off decades of bad luck . . .

The idea came from Bojan Marceta, a village resident, when he saw the latest Rocky film "Rocky Balboa".

"I felt as if Rocky has come from our village, he had to fight to win his place in society," he told B92 radio.
"Also," added Marceta, "His English is comically broken and barely intelligible, just like ours."

Dustin is coming to Vaganza which, including me, brings the number of creepy McGill Improv alumni trying to recapture the glory of their youth this year up to three! (Not counting the usual crowd of Bryan, Chris Dye, Vinny, etc.) It is going to be a crazy good time and I am so excited I will probably wet the bed tonight, if I can even get to sleep at all.

One week til Montreal!

February 14, 2007

Typo of the Week

From Newsvine: Zoo Tours Cash In On Hot Monkey Love
Valentine's Day is the time of year when zoos around the nation seek to woo a new adult audience with risque tours that couple champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries and candlelight dining with impressive facts about how animals do the wild thing . . .

Zoos charge about $50 per person for the tours, and crowds are kept deliberately inmate.
"Gosh, I didn't know you felt that way, warden."

Then again, maybe it's not a typo. I'm sure inmates are always looking for creative ways to have sex in captivity. (Indeed, the Lesser-Known West African Soap-Dropping Monkey (cercopithecus showerklutzius) has long fascinated the prison population.)

Internet, be my Valentine!

February 12, 2007

Phoning It In

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has launched an impassioned bid to officially join the ranks of Republican douchebags who equate Iraq withdrawal with supporting al Qaeda. Speaking without any apparent relevance, authority or invitation about Barack Obama's recent plunge into Democratic Presidential candidacy, Mr Howard remarked:
[Mr Obama's Iraq plan] will just encourage those who want to completely destabilise and destroy Iraq, and create chaos and a victory for the terrorists . . . If I were running al-Qaeda in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008 and be praying as many times as possible for a victory not only for Obama but also for the Democrats.
In an unusually direct response, Mr Obama organised a conference call to rebut Mr Howard's attack, the transcript of which has miraculously appeared on this blog.

Obama: Is everyone dialled in?

All: Yes.

Obama: Okay, I'll turn it over to our neutral, third party moderator to kick things off.

Stephen Harper: Thank you, Barack. Participating in today's call are myself, Mr Obama, Prime Minister Howard, Australian MP Cameron Thompson, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and The Rock. I think we're all aware of Mr Howard's initial statement, so shall we skip straight to your rebuttal, Mr Obama?

Obama: I would note that we have close to 140,000 troops on the ground now, and my understanding is Mr Howard has deployed 1,400, so if he is (ready) to fight the good fight in Iraq, I would suggest that he calls up another 20,000 Australians and sends them to Iraq.

Harper: The moderator recognises a wicked burn on Mr Howard.

Downer: I hate to disappoint people who don't agree with John Howard and me and the Australian Government, but it's a free world and we are entitled to a point of view.

Howard: Yes, quite right. I also have some satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed I'd like to share.

Obama: Mr Moderator, I would like that last remark stricken from the record. It is, like, so 2006.

Harper: It is so struck. Mr Howard, please refrain from using cultural references that only bloggers still remember.

Howard: Well, there goes my Ashlee Simpson lip-syncing analogy.

Thompson: I think John Howard is absolutely correct when he says that Barrack Obama's policy is not just wrong, it is I think fundamentally evil.

Howard: Well, now, come on, I never used the word evil.

Obama: It was pretty well implied by the "if I were al Qaeda I'd be praying for Obama" remark.

Harper: Mr Obama, I think we can all agree that implication plays no part in political debate.

Obama: Why are you guys even talking? Do you think Americans care what the Australian government says about me? Most of them probably think Australia is the name of an anti-depressant. Plus, I mean, come on, "al Qaeda wants Obama elected?" What next? "Obama is a flip flopper?" "Swift Boat Veterans Against Obama?" Why is it always the same old tired garbage?

Downer: [glum sigh]

Howard: I think that your plan is wrong. Why shouldn't I be entitled to say so?

Obama: Because, you are abusing your position as a world leader to crowbar your piddling opinions into the media and further muddle what is already a grotesquely manipulative dialogue on the "issues".

Harper: Piddling? How do we feel about that?

Thompson: I think we can safely say that it is fundamentally evil.

Howard: Its tone is a little insulting.

Obama: Okay, fine, consider it retracted.

Harper: Hey, I'm the moderator here, I'll tell you when something is retracted.

Obama: You brought it up in the first place!

Harper: Mr Obama, please refrain from directing exclamation marks at the moderator.

Obama: You know what, I think I'm done. Can we wrap this up?

Harper: Closing remarks anyone? The Rock? You've been fairly quiet.

The Rock: No, thank you, Stephen. I'm just happy to have been invited.

Harper: Okay then. Many thanks to you all for participating in this frank and enlightened exchange of ideas.

[End transcript]

[Editor's note: I think it's clear this entire transcript, other than the portions with a link attached, is a satirical fabrication and in no way should it be taken as representing the real opinions of any of the people mentioned. Except for The Rock, who genuinely was happy to be invited.]

February 09, 2007

February 08, 2007

More From the Annals of SNOW CHAOS!

Don't worry, I'm not planning to dwell on how ridiculously people take the snow here every time we get some winter weather – but this time I really couldn't resist. From BBC Wales and BBC UK:
Sennybridge in the Beacons was one of the worst places hit with 7cm (3in) of snow falling and overnight temperatures plummeted to -4C (25F) . . .

People who must travel are advised to take warm clothes, food, water, a torch and a spade.
Amnesty International was quick to condemn the government's advice, pointing out that slavery was abolished hundreds of years ago and that most people are perfectly capable of digging themselves out of a little snow with a good shovel.
Leader of the Commons Jack Straw admitted the UK coped badly with snow . . .

He said: "It is extremely important we upgrade our efforts all the time to defy the weather which after all, notwithstanding a day's snow, is much more moderate than many other countries who frankly are able to cope a bit better."
Straw concluded by smacking his fist in his hand and shouting ebulliently: "We're going to buy some salt, people!"

Montreal in two weeks!

February 07, 2007

Overheard in London

I (and others) went for a liquid lunch at work today, and witnessed the following (highly amusing and politically incorrect) conversation while at the pub. It began when somebody ordered a pint of 'Honey Dew' beer:

A: Did you say Honey Jew?
B: No. But I think that's a cocktail.
A: No, it can't be.
B: Why not?
A: Because, it would upset the Jews.
B: Not necessarily. It might be a cocktail that entices more people to become Jewish.
A: Well, that would upset the Muslims.


February 06, 2007


From FT.com: Hu meets match in S Africa
President Hu Jintao of China arrives in South Africa on Tuesday for the most serious and frank exchange of ideas on his 12-day tour of Africa. . . .

While South African officials are confident that today’s meeting will be extremely cordial, President Thabo Mbeki did recently warn that Africa should beware of falling into a “colonial relationship” with Africa.
"That would probably make Wolfowitz's head explode," explained Mbeki. "Besides, who wants to have Africa as a colonial dictator? Those people can't even run their own damn country!"

Yeah, the FT needs a proof reader.

February 03, 2007

Out On a Limb

Was shopping for jeans with my brother today, and saw this innovative new product design at Next:

That's right! I don't want any of your cheap imitation perpendicular leg jeans! Man those things are uncomfortable.

February 02, 2007

Conversations With Greatness CXVI

I arrived in Edinburgh for the weekend yesterday, only to be struck down almost immediately by the most miserable flu I have had in years. :-(

PS. Yeah, Boston is kind of stupid.

February 01, 2007

Factoid of the Week

From The Observer:
A recent survey by Coldiretti also found that Parmesan is the most shoplifted item in Italy, accounting for 10 per cent of goods stolen from shops.
That can't possibly be true, can it?

Speaking of national stereotypes, I loved this quote from French writer Olivier Todd on the new smoking ban:
"There will not be a revolution . . . Those who enjoy cigarettes after a meal or after making love can still do so."
See, while Brits and Americans are harping on about what rights people have in public places, and the relative health benefits of quitting smoking, and all that, the French cut straight to the point: as long as they can still have a post-coital cigarette (which, let's face it, is probably about a pack a day for most Frenchmen), they're happy. Vive l'amour.