Saturday, July 31, 2004

Former Child Actor Dot Net

Wil Wheaton has a web site with lots of stuff. I am not really sure why I am passing this on. I am not a fan, I did not like his character in Star Trek: TNG, and I don't find his site that interesting. But, he does like Radiohead and the Pixies, so that's cool. And, I guess it's not his fault that the Trek writers gave him such a lame ass character. I often wonder if the sneer was an act, or if that was his default expression.

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Friday, July 30, 2004

Canadian Idol

Let me just say that I know the show is silly. It's ridiculous. My only excuse is that it's summer. I would never watch a show like this in winter. The results show is the worst, mostly because of the opening "number" which is cheesy, juvenile, and profoundly embarrassing. Personally, anyone who wins this talent contest is doomed.

I finally clued in to the show's demographic. Judging by the results, the viewers are either middle aged women or adolescent girls or both. How else can one explain the fact that Joshua Seller, the person with weakest, most nasal voice, and a disturbing resemblance to the Greatest American Hero, has made it into the final eight? On the other hand, Kaleb Simmonds was placed in the bottom three. He is light years ahead of anyone else in terms of voice and musicality. Those 2 million Canadian viewers are voting by looks alone. It's a popularity contest, not a music contest.

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Thursday, July 29, 2004

TV on DVD

Since acquiring a DVD player a while back, I have been frequenting the DVD sections of various stores. In case you aren't aware, studios seem to be releasing everything in their archives on DVD. I have heard that studios are raking in buckets of cash from DVD sales. You can fins such things as the season one of the Flintstones and the Jetsons and even Wonder Woman (not that I would buy those, mind you). But, I am happy that Seinfeld is coming out. And, I am happy that the first season of Millennium is out. That was a brilliant show. I still cannot believe that Fox cancelled it, but then they have cancelled lots of shows that I like, such as Firefly, which is also out on DVD.

I recently bought the first season of MASH on DVD, mostly because I got it for an insanely low price. There are few special features on it: no retrospectives, no commentaries, and no other bonus stuff or fluff. The best thing about this DVD set is that you can watch the episodes without that insidious laugh track. Oh, and you get to see the episodes uncut. In syndication, networks cut out bits here and there to permit more advertising space. You will see scenes or parts of scenes that you may not have seen before.

I do think that many of these releases are a bit pricey. If you wanted all nine seasons of the X-Files (and let's face it, who wouldn't) you'd need to fork out about $900 plus tax. That's crazy.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Bedside Reading

Beside my bed are two books: a novel by Robert Bell and Freud's Introductory Lectures on Psycho-Analysis: A Course of Twenty-Eight Lectures Delivered at the University of Vienna (authorized English translation of the revised edition, Feb 1929). The pages are aging and a bit smelly. This book, along with The Interpretations of Dreams (again, in a very old edition) has been on a book case for years. Suddenly, I am drawn to them. I am not sure how far I will get.

Funny, the Blogger spell check wanted to replace Freud's with fraud's. Should I take that as a sign? Oddly, it accepted Freud.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Mountain Gorillas

Did you know that there are fewer than 400 mountain gorillas left? They live in the mountain jungles of Zaire, Rwanda, and Uganda. Poaching and war are the causes. In other words, we are the cause. Sadly, they are candidates for the Frozen Ark project.

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Monday, July 26, 2004

Road Rage

I am sick of road rage. Last week, I was walking across Yonge Street near Dundas. A car was about to turn right in front of me. It seemed to me that he was not going to stop, so I stopped. He slowed, then I began to walk, then I thought he wouldn't stop after all, so I stopped. Finally, he stopped. I stared into the windshield, but I really couldn't even see who was in there because of the glare. When I passed the passenger side of the car, I got a verbal barrage from the two people (a man and a woman). It went something like "fuck you; fuck off; fuck you; fuck off." What's wrong with people?

A year ago, I was riding up Dovercourt Road, south of Dundas. The road was narrow, and my backpack brushed the side mirror of a rusting pickup truck. I emphasize the word "brushed." In truth, I considered stopping and saying something to whomever was in the truck, but it just seemed ridiculous. Anyway, it was very busy, and so I was past College before they caught up to me.

Rubber tires squealed on the pavement. Two guys, whom I can only describe as microcephalic mesomorphs, jumped out of the truck. I was called, within the space of less than a minute, a fag, a faggot, a fag with glasses, a faggot with glasses, a stupid fuck, an asshole, a piece of shit, a jerk, a girl, a fuck head, etc., etc. (believe me, there were many more names). They clenched their fists. They told me that if they had "hit" me, I would have called the police. They threatened to call the police. All the while, they inched closer and closer.

It was the most obscene display of road rage I have ever seen. Why can't people treat other people the way in which they would like to be treated? Is that so hard?

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Friday, July 23, 2004

Canadian Idol

I know you've been waiting for this. In my defense, I have to say that I got hooked again after watching the early shows. There is a good deal of comedy in these auditions. I only watch two reality shows, so that's not too bad, is it?

Brandy Callahan is out, and it is clear that the vote had nothing to do with talent. She is a better singer than Joshua Seller and Manoah Hartmann (not to mention Shane Wiebe). Trouble is, she is short and overweight. So, Canada is clearly voting for the attractive people first. It's a shame.

The show is ridiculous and anyone who wins should remember that it is a popularity contest based largely on how you look, rather than talent, not that there's too much of that in the show. If this show goes into a third season, I'll pass. Believe me.

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Thursday, July 22, 2004

The Worst Song

I thought of entitling this entry "The Worst Song Ever Written", but I haven't heard them all. I also thought of "The Worst Song I have ever Heard", but I have heard lots of pure shite, and I don't know the titles or artists. So, this is called the worst song.

I was forced to thrown out entire genres, either because every song is terrible or because I know too little about them. For example, I am not qualified to comment on Country and Western, beyond the fact that I hate it (especially so-called new country by the likes of Shania Twain) , with the notable exception of The Streets of Laredo and a few Hank Williams Jr. songs.

All Hip Hop is now garbage. How can you take a genre seriously when most of its artists take the opportunity to turn their videos into television commercials? I know too little about gospel and jazz. Let's forget about easy listening. The whole thing is a joke.

So, I guess this should be The Worst Song that I am Familiar With, of The Worst Song with which I am Familiar. There are lots to choose from. A few things spring to mind immediately. These include Delta Dawn, Tie a Yellow Ribbon, Raise a Little Hell, anything by Olivia Newton John, all Disco, the entire top 40, all Spice Girls songs, and anything by Hanson, the Backstreet Boys, Styx, or Abba. Let's not forget the whole raft of teen stars, like Britney Spears, Debbie Gibson, etc.

So, here it is: my opinion of the worst song ever. Oh, I should say that I almost chose the jingle in the MarineLand TV commercial. They have used the same insipid piece of music since I was in diapers. Enough already. OK, so here it is... Oh, I should say that I almost chose We Will Rock You/We are the Champions by Queen. Both songs are embarrassing. Oh, and I almost choose Paradise by the Dashboard Lights by Meatloaf. Let's just say that he is a better actor than singer. I hate it. Also, I was this close to selecting Common People by Pulp. OK, so here it is: Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen.

Someone (you know who you are) told me that the song was never meant to be taken seriously. The problem is, those rabid Queen fans didn't understand, and they do take it seriously. These are probably people who think that they hate Opera and yet like this song for its ridiculous pseudo-operatic moments. Fans praise Freddy Mercury for his voice, which, let's face it, was not that good. I could go on, but I won't. I hate the song.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Texas and Sex Toys

This is hilarious. A Texan mother was recently charged with obscenity after selling a vibrator to her customers and explaining how to use it. It is legal in Texas to sell sex toys, as long as they are described as novelties. If instructions are provided, it is a criminal offense! The woman had faced up to a year in jail after she sold a vibrator at a private party to two undercover police officers posing as a married couple. Clearly, Texas police have nothing to do. The charges were eventually dropped because the country attorney felt that the case was a waste of resources.

Geroge W. Bush was Governor of Texas, so that explains a lot.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Eleanor Rigby

After letting the book sit with me for a while after finishing it, I can say that I did not like it. I don't see the book as a particularly literary effort. Douglas Coupland could be a good writer, but this book won't help to convince the unconvinced.

The most troubling part for me is the voice. The protagonist (Liz Dunn) is a fat woman who tells the story in the first person. The problem is that she has such a masculine voice. In fact, she has Douglas Coupland's voice. He can't seem to hide it very well. Her son (Jeremy) also has Douglas Coupland's voice.

The ending, which I gather is meant to be a surprise, is not so much a surprise as it is ridiculous.

It may seem like I am being harsh on Douglas Coupland. In truth, I have enjoyed some of his books. In Evelyn Waugh's The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold, the protagonist remarks (and I paraphrase): "All writers have only one good novel in them. The rest is just professional trickery. " I wonder if Douglas Coupland would accept that argument.

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Saturday, July 17, 2004

Quentin Tarantino & Leonard Cohen?

It's true. Dance me to the End of Love, starring Mr. Tarantino. It's odd, but interesting. http://aarongoffman.com/danceme/

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Friday, July 16, 2004

I am at work, at my desk listening to Bruce Cockburn's In the Falling Dark. It's the new Deluxe Edition. I wish I could afford to replace all of my Cockburn CDs with these new ones. I picked up two, mostly because of the excellent price at Sam's. Sam's, by the way, used to be a good record store, before its bankruptcy. It's just not the same. Oddly, my credit card statement lists Sam the Record Man as Same the Record Man. I want to tell them that it is not the same, but would they listen? Anyway, the benefits of remastering are clear, and there are bonus tracks. I wish that someone would remaster the Leonard Cohen back catalogue and improve the inserts. I'd like better liner notes. Of course, then I would feel compelled to buy all the CDs again. I already have many on vinyl. If there is one defense for illegal downloading, it would be that many consumers have purchased their favourite artists many times on different formats, and in remastered editions. I have four copies of King Crimson's Discipline, for example, in various formats and editions. Surely, I have paid enough? Still, I have not downloaded any music illegally.

Trivia: my favourite web site is www.space.com.

Do you like bunnies? Do you like Cartoons? If so, be sure to check out Angry Alien Productions. They have 30 second re-enactments of Alien, the Exorcist, Titanic, and The Shining featuring cartoon bunnies. Really.

On a more serious note, I recommend Librarians Against Bush.

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Thursday, July 15, 2004

Ouch

Associated Press has reported that "An Englishman who shot himself in the groin after drinking 15 pints of beer and stuffing a sawed-off shotgun down his trousers was jailed for five years Tuesday for illegal possession of a firearm." I'd say shooting himself in the groin is punishment enough.

Saddam the Novelist

Saddam's new novel (his fourth) is entitled "Get Out, You Damned". His other are called "Zabibah and the King", "The Fortified Citadel" and "Men and a City". "Zabibah and the King" is set to become a twenty part television series, for Iraqi TV, despite the fact that his work has been called naive and superficial. Evidently, Saddam was writing this novel while he ignored defense preparations. Instead, he predicted that he would lead an underground movement hat would defeat the Americans. Clearly, he was delusional.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Library School

OK, so here is my opinion of the Library Science program (at a large unnamed North American, ALA-accredited library school). It sucked. I can't believe that it is a masters level program. I think that it was largely unacademic and boring.

Maybe I feel this way because I have a "real" masters degree (call me a snob if you must). Maybe it's just that the program was filled with busy work, work that was not very challenging. Maybe I don't know what I am talking about. It just seems to me that it was really not quite up to the standard of other masters programs. I know that some people will disagree with me. That's fine. This is just my opinion.

I recall one guy in the program referred to the MLS program as the "back door to academia." He might have been correct.

And now, on a completely unrelated topic, the only complaint I have ever had with Seinfeld is the pronunciation of the word clitoris. I know that there are two accepted pronunciations: one with the accent on the first syllable ('klit-&-r&s), and the other with the accent on the second (kli-'tor-&s), which makes it rhyme with Dolores. The latter just sounds stupid to me.

That's it for today.

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Monday, July 12, 2004

Cunnilingus and Psychiatry

I think that the Sopranos is one of the best television shows of all time. We have just watched the first two seasons on DVD, with seasons three and four waiting. It is both hilarious and violent. You should watch. My favourite line so far has to be: "Cunnilingus and Psychiatry brought us to this." Of course, you'll have to watch to understand the statement.

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Sunday, July 11, 2004

Union of Concerned Scientists

"UCS is an independent nonprofit alliance of more than 100,000 concerned citizens and scientists. We augment rigorous scientific analysis with innovative thinking and committed citizen advocacy to build a cleaner, healthier environment and a safer world."

This organization is fabulous. Check it out.

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Friday, July 09, 2004

I have seen people riding bikes and talking on cell phones, holding umbrellas, and using a PDA. Today, I passed a woman holding a cup of coffee. She looked a bit unstable, gripping her handle bars with one hand while she balanced her coffee in the other hand. It seems to me that both hands should be on the handle bars.

I figure if we want to get to Mars, we need to employ the best engineers possible. To me, that group must be toothbrush engineers. I swear that design improvements in toothbrushes rivals any other area. A new brush is described as "3-d brush and a measured toothpaste dispenser." Or, this: "A Glasgow dentist has been awarded £75,000 to develop a new toothbrush handle that increases control and cuts joint strain." Go here for a description of the fluid dynamics of sonic toothbrushes. Of course, another choice might be razor design. I am still waiting for a five-bladed razor.

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Thursday, July 08, 2004

Multitasking

So, I stopped at a red light this morning, and, of course, a dozen cyclists raced through the intersection anyway. I had to pass them all again, and the same thing happened at the next traffic light. Anyway, I looked to my left and there was this guy behind the wheel of a Subaru shaving with a rechargeable electric razor. His rear view mirror was tilted so that he had a good view of his chin, and not the road behind him. Banning cell phones while driving might not be enough. It reminded me that I once saw a woman applying makeup while driving. Actually, I have seen women applying makeup in cafeterias, on the subway, and walking down the street. That just seems wrong to me.

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Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Weird. I just saw a guy walking down Yonge street eating raisin bran (with milk) out of a huge Tupperware (TM) container. This was at 1:00 in the afternoon. I've always felt that cereal was best consumed at home. That's why I have never (unlike Jerry Seinfeld) ordered cereal in a restaurant, although I did have a dream once in which I ate a chocolate bar with a knife and fork.

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Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Not all Cyclists are Idiots

Would it be fair to judge all automobile drivers based on the actions of a few, or even on the habits of taxi drivers? It seems to me that I, as a cyclist, am being prejudged every time I am on the road. Bad cyclists drive me crazy too, but I realize that not all cyclists are terrible and have no respect for the rules of the road.

It annoys me that a cop tried to ticket me for making a rolling stop at a stop sign when drivers do that all of the time and when most cyclists fail to even slow down. I made a right turn on a red light today, so slowly that I had to put my foot down. Pedestrians were walking faster than me, and this guy on the sidewalk said: "that's a red light." He must have issues with cyclists.

A few moments earlier, someone asked me for spare change. I said "sorry", and then she said: "no one in this city has any fucking manners!" The most amazing thing was that she articulated her i-n-g. She said fucking, not fuckin' and that made me almost wish that I had a few cents to give her.

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Sunday, July 04, 2004

More on Douglas Coupland

From my journal, Sept. 3, 1996:

"I finished Shampoo Planet some time ago. It was alright. It had its moments, to be sure. I have nothing much to say about it beyond that."

I am half way through my advance copy of Eleanor Rigby. I should just say ditto, and be done with it.

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Saturday, July 03, 2004

Thumbs Up!

I am sure we all remember those images of Iraqis greeting US tanks and giving them the Thumbs Up. The western media interpreted this gesture as a sign that the US troops were liberators. It turns out that thumbs up in the arab world (and other places) is equivalent to giving someone the finger. The US Army's Defense Language Institute thinks differently. It says "Middle Easterners of the Arabian Peninsula adopted this hand movement, along with the OK sign, as a symbol of cooperation toward freedom." I don't buy that explanation, especially given what has happened in Iraq since.

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