Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Farting Redux

I know, I know, I said I would never write another post on farting, but I realize now that I was premature in killing this topic. I recalled today that I once envied my childhood friend, Gordie, because he could fart-on-demand. Conversations with him went something like:

me: "Gordie, fart."
Gordie farts

me: "Fart Gordie fart."
Gordie farts

me: "Fart again Gordie."
Gordie farts

I thought it was all fun and games until he came for a sleepover. Anyway, there is some fabulous stuff out there, like:

- Gone with the Wind: More Thoughts on Medieval Farting. A Liberman - Scandinavian Studies, 1996 (pdf). It's interesting and very academic.

- Unabridged Dictionary of Fart Slang

- Urban Dictionary: fart, farting ...

And let's not forget the Flatulence Filter. This ought to win an award for best invention ever. In fact, I plan on giving one to my mother.

OK, so maybe this will be my last farting post.

By the way, I am still looking for answers to my question about librarians (2 posts down). Have a look.

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Monday, May 30, 2005

Child Labour in Toronto

This dude drove up my street with his three children running after the mini van, darting left then right and throwing bundles of flyers hither and yon. He bellowed at them to hurry up, to get moving, to pick up the pace. The kids ranged in ages from maybe 9 to 13 (it was hard to tell and I am useless at figuring out how old children old). The kids had to keep running back to the van to get more bundles from the open side door. I was amazed that he didn't drive over some little feet.

I know that many children choose to work, even some very young children, but this seemed wrong to me. Maybe I misread the situation, but I thought that this guy saw a good opportunity to make a quick buck at the expense of his (I think they were his) children. He acted like an impatient slave driver.

A few months back, I saw a similar situation. It was a woman with her daughter. They looked totally impoverished, but were delivering flyers from a shopping cart. Part of the problem is that these people are paid by the number of flyers they deliver, which explains why a childhood friend dumped hundreds of flyers near a river and collected pay for work he never did.

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Friday, May 27, 2005

A Question

What do you think about when you hear or read the word Librarian? Be honest.

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Thursday, May 26, 2005

My Evil Quotient

I thought that Gematriculator was cool, until I realized that it only scans the first page of your blog and not the archives. OK, so it's still cool. At any rate, this is my result:

This site is certified 29% EVIL by the Gematriculator

My March 2005 posts were 37% evil, while my March 2004 posts were 43% evil. What's up with March?

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Orchestrate This

The other day, I heard an orchestral version of Eleanor Rigby on CBC Radio Two. The world doesn't need that. Nor does it need the orchestral version of Tubular Bells or the orchestral Pink Floyd or the orchestral anything. I still remember that sinking feeling when I heard a musak version of Jethro Tull's Aqualung. Why can't they just leave the music as it is?

The exceptions might be Brian Eno's symphonic treatments of Bowie's Heroes and Low.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I've been Headhunted...I think

It could be a scam. I might reply and be told that I have to fork over a few grand as an up-front investment, but you never know. The funny thing is, I have received four "job offer" messages recently. Should I be suspicious?

Here's what tipped me off: the broken English that makes it sounds like that Nigerian fraud. One message told me that I simply need the following skills:

* Be able to check your email several times a day
* Be able to respond to emails immediately
* Be able to work overtime if needed
* Be responsible and hard working

I check my email continuously, even while sleeping. I often don't reply to email until days, and sometimes weeks, later. Overtime? Who needs it? I am neither responsible nor hardworking, but don't tell my boss.

Perhaps the most fascinating one was from a guy who wants me to work for his Lithuanian software company. I really don't see Lithuania as being on the cutting edge of software development. Nothing against Lithuania, I mean, they have a hard go of it, what with being in then out of the Russian Empire and then fighting with Poland over Vilnius.

I also got one of those crazy fraud emails from some dude with the unlikely name of Mr. Tang Karl Letian. Imagine being named after a famous drink?

My most recent guest post at Mister Anchovy. This double duty is wearing me down. Next time, I will levy a large fee :-)

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Monday, May 23, 2005

Professional Farting

My recent guest post on Mister Anchovy about Star Wars led, bizarrely, to a discussion about Lutefish and stinking shark meat. That, naturally -- and given my 14-year-old brain -- made me think of farting, or flatulence for the easily offended.

I was amazed to discover, in my inevitable Google search, an entry at Wikipedia on the Professional Farter. Wow, now here's something I learned about far too late in life. I could have been honing my skills from a much younger age. I can just imagine straining to achieve a B flat or an F major. I suppose chords are out of the question, unless you are in a choir of people with similar skills.

I have never known a Professional Farter, but I'd be happy to nominate a few individuals. I suppose I better not name names.

By the way, if you do a Google search for the phrase "professional farting," you get more that 550 results. Don't believe me? Try it yourself.

I promise never to make another farting post again.

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Sunday, May 22, 2005

Plastic Grass

Have you read about the synthetic lawn trend? This article gives a brief account. I have to get my two cents in on this one. It's not so much that I am opposed to fake grass: I am opposed to real and fake grass. There are better options. Keep reading and I'll give you my preferred choice.

I'll never understand the obsession with the perfect lawn. My neighbour is almost like Hank Hill, but without Hank's unintended humour. You could putt on his back yard. Spending that much time in pursuit of the perfectly-manicured lawn is stupid. It's an enormous waste of time. So, I offer my suggestion, one that really only has one downfall. I say, use sand.

Yes, if it were socially acceptable (and maybe it already is), I would turn my yard into a big sand box. This way, I could have impromptu games of beach volleyball (without the beach). I could build sand castles anytime I want to. You can relax without worrying about cutting the grass. Just stick a beach umbrella in the sand. It's like going to the beach without leaving home, except that there is no water, unless one gets a pool or a kiddie pool. As I am sure you can see, there are lots of possibilities.

On the downside, I am sure that the neigbourhood cats would use it as a giant litter box. Someone just needs to invent an anti-feline device.

PS: My latest guest post on Mister Anchovy.

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Friday, May 20, 2005


An actual conversation with my dad when I was 10 or 11:

Me: "I hate lima beans."
Dad: "Hate is a very strong word. I don't ever want to hear you say hate again."
Me: "I despise lima beans."
Dad: "That's better."

This is by way of saying that I worry that I am becoming my dad. I try not to over-analyze the things I say or do, or even the noises that I make (I yawned once and sounded exactly like my dad and I wondered if anti-depressants would be useful). I guess I just hope I am a good dad and never end up in a conversation like the one above, or this one, another real one from the same period:

Me (to my brother): "You're a pig."
Dad: "Hey, never call anyone a pig."
Me (to my brother): "You're a jerk."
Dad: "That's better."

P.S. My guest post on Mister Anchovy for today.

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Guest Posting

I'll be making some guest posts over at Mister Anchovy during the next week, providing that I can think of something to post. He is on a fishing trip and has asked The Great White Bear and I to fill in. That should be fun as long as writer's block doesn't kick in.

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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Eight Ponderables

1) Why would anyone knowingly eat edible petroleum products? You know, fake soft serve ice cream and that compressed faux whipped cream in a can.

2) Why would anyone drink the breast milk of a hairy 2000 pound animal? I'm talking 'bout milk, cow's milk that is and all of it's associated by-products, like frozen fat, I mean cream mixed with refined sugar and cottage cheese, which looks more like lumpy mucus.

3) If your girlfriend crosses the floor and joins the government, leaving your Alberta Party...I mean Reform Party...I mean Alliance Party...I mean CCRAP in the lurch, is your relationship over?

4) Why are Bridesmaid's dresses usually ugly? I think the Bride does this so that she looks better than her female friends.

5) Who invented the tuxedo and why? It's just an ugly thing.

6) I should like golf, being half Scottish and all, but I don't. I will admit that it is far more difficult than it looks and that playing it is immeasurably better than watching it, so I have to ask, why would anyone watch golf on TV? That has to be the most important question of the last 100 years.

7) There's a blog called Dating Help for Men. In a recent post, they have a "quick list of little things to look out for before you even attempt to go near a woman." These include such things like, oh, showering, brushing your teeth, using deodorant, etc. It seems to me that if you have to be reminded to do that, you don't deserve a girlfriend. Right?

8) What's the fascination with Star Wars and Lord of the Rings?

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

DeLillo, DeLillo, DeLillo, and some other things

I wrote, in a previous post, that "Don DeLillo is, without question, the greatest living novelist." I am not really sure if that is true, but I can say that he is in my personal top 5. This was confirmed for me again after reading Cosmopolis, although I will say that I have enjoyed some of his other books better. His masterpiece, White Noise, is so complex that it is like reading an encrypted sociological treatise. Underworld is simply a novel about everything, a novel so completely formed that the first thing I wanted to do when I finished it was read it again. It is long, dense, and fascinating.

The trouble is, it is difficult to move on. After DeLillo, many novels seem anemic. I am hoping that David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas will not pale too much in comparison.

Fractured penis?

I thought it was all muscle. A man lost a court case against his ex-girlfriend when she fractured his penis during sex. Seriously, You can read about it here.

May 18th

Today is International day of the internet and International day of Museums, and Visit Your Relatives Day. Just thought you'd like to know.

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Monday, May 16, 2005

Music Notes

I think it was on the drive back to the hospital to pick up mother and baby when I switched on the radio of the borrowed car, thanks to the neighbours across the street. The radio was already tuned to Q107 and so I decided to listen. It turns out that I was in the midst of the completely misnamed "80's Music That Doesn't Suck Classic Rock Weekend." Clearly, Q107 and I disagree on what music from the 80s sucked and what didn't.

Let me say that Queen's Another One Bites the Dust sucks with a capital S. For a moment, I felt like I was in a bizarro world, where everything bad was good. I had to change the station quickly, because the announcer promised that we would be subjected to KISS, from the unmasked era. Yikes. I also worried that they would play, inevitably, Van Halen's Jump, which I nominate as the song with the most infantile use of keyboards in musical history.

But that isn't the worst of the musical news. I was shocked and appalled to hear a The The song used in a Dockers TV commercial. I thought that only the dinosaurs were selling their songs. Frankly, I think it is far more fitting to hear Led Zeppelin selling Cadillacs. That makes sense to me.

This is the Day

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This is Samuel. See previous post for details. Posted by Hello

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Saturday, May 14, 2005

He's here

Just a brief update. Samuel David is here. He was born on Friday the 13th at 3:58 PM, weighing in at 8lbs, 7oz. He was "born in the caul." Everyone is fine. Pictures later.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

You are looking at the only baby picture of me in existence. My mother is about 85% certain it is me. After sifting through her photos, I think I agree: I am also 85% certain it is me. Being the fourth child has certain disadvantages. Photographic fatigue sets in, or maybe it's simply apathy.

I am reflecting on this on the day before I become a father for the second time. There will be an induction tomorrow, so the date seems certain. Other people with more than one child report a serious decline in photos taken of later children. I am making a mental note to keep the shutter moving, which shouldn't be hard, because I am interested in photography and have even taken some courses and spent much time in darkrooms.

The more important news is that I will be off work for the whole summer. And, while I don't expect posts to dry up completely, there may be fewer over the summer months. Oh, and I may even post some pictures.

Immediate concerns are:

1) training my four year old in the art of mixing gin and tonic
2) perfecting the art of secretly sleeping while sitting at the kitchen table
3) training my four year old in the art of making ice cold blender cocktails with rum
4) perfecting the art of sleepwalking, so that I can change diapers while sleeping
5) training my four year old in the art uncorking and serving wine
6) perfecting the art of sleeping while speaking to family and friends
7) training my four year old in the use of a barbecue, garden hose, and various gardening implements
8) perfecting the art of sleeping in the shower

I'll be in touch.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

More on Zombies & A Dream


BBC News has reported that there has been a small outbreak of 'zombism' near the border of Laos in North-Eastern Cambodia that is caused by a new strain of malaria that has a 100% mortality rate. The report goes on to say:

"After death, this parasite is able to restart the heart of its victim for up to two hours after the initial demise of the person where the individual behaves in extremely violent ways from what is believed to be a combination of brain damage and a chemical released into blood during 'resurrection.'"

Wow. It's a good thing that I posted something about Zombies yesterday. I know what to do now.

A Dream

In other news, I had a very strange dream. I am reluctant to post any more dreams here, for fear that someone may be secretly psychoanalyzing me. If you are secretly psychoanalyzing me, please send me a full report on what you have found.

I have to report this dream because it is by far the most disturbing dream I have ever had. Continue reading only if you think you can handle the shocking details. I dreamt that I won tickets to Cavalia. The alarming part is that I accepted the tickets. In reality, I would have laughed at the idea. One would have to pay me very large sums of money to sit through that &^%$. Even more horrible is the fact that when I went to the show, I discovered that it was 35 hours long! I had to endure 35 hours of Cavalia! That's a whole work week. Thankfully, I woke up at that point.

I wonder what it means.

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Monday, May 09, 2005

You Can Outrun a Zombie

Weekend viewing included The Night of the Living Dead (from 1968).

I learned that zombies (although they are referred to as ghouls, not zombies, in the film) move very very slowly. You can outrun them, probably outwalk them, and, if that fails, beat them about the head with a stick. They fight so ponderously that any failed boxer or average street pugilist could take them is one round. Oh, and if you're lucky enough to have a gun, just aim for the head. A few stones or rocks hurled their way might also slow them down, not that they really need to be slowed down any more.

That seems simple enough. Zombies suck...I mean bite. It goes without saying that you should not permit one to bite you. Whack it on the nose if it gets too close.

Perhaps later zombie films portray the living dead differently, but in this one, I really didn't see much danger. Of course, if you're scared speechless, and end up in some sort of stupor, you might have a problem.

I did appreciate the decidedly non-Hollywood ending. I hate to spoil the ending for you, but let's face it, this movie has been out for 37 years. Let me just say that happy endings, where everything turns out peachy, are far too common.

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Friday, May 06, 2005

"Gorgeous hair is the best revenge" - Ivana Trump

I was strolling on Edward Street, on my way to the misnamed World's Biggest Bookstore, when I heard a woman ask if I could spare any change. I had no change (honestly) and no bills (honestly - I was headed for the bank next). I shook my head and said "no."

"You have great hair," she said. Honestly. Now, my hair is looking fabulous: it has had a recent cut and so there is no more waking up looking like Gene Wilder, no more worries that the wind will whip up my hair, making me look like Daniel Richler. No worries that someone will shout out:

"Comb down his hair. Look, look! it stands upright,
Like lime-twigs set to catch my winged soul."

But the fact is that my hair is far too short to be great. I'm thinking that Tony Manero had great hair. Leon Trotsky had great hair. John Lennon had great hair. And then there's Albert Einstein, Divine, Dolly Parton, Jon Bon Jovi, Don King - they had/have great hair. Not me. I have seriously average hair.

"When you see fair hair
Be pitiful."

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Thursday, May 05, 2005

Some Age Milestones

In other words, when I started to feel old.

1) When the Playboy Centerfolds starting becoming younger than me (oh yeah, they were my dad's copies).

2) Every time I have to start checking off a different age category (18-24, 25-29, 30-34....) in surveys, etc.

3) When I finally matched my salary to my age in thousands.

4) When I got to be the age my brother was when he ran away from home.

5) When my parents retired.

6) When I visited my high school web page and discovered that 99% of the teachers I knew are no longer there.

7) When I visited the history department's web page at my undergrad school and found that 80% of the faculty I knew have retired.

8) When my grandmother turned 85.

9) When I had a child.

10) When I realized that I can no longer remember more that three or four names (including mine) in childhood class pictures.

11) When I calculated that my parents got married 50 years ago.

12) When I calculated how long ago I graduated from high school, my undergrad, and grad degrees.

13) When I said "thank God, I'm glad that's over" while cycling past U of T students waiting to write exams outside a gymnasium.

14) When I found my first grey hair.

15) When my dad bought red pants.

16) When someone told me that they have known me for a quarter of a century.

17) When I hurt my back lifting a BBQ and it has never been the same since.

18) When my doctor decided that a PSA test was required.

19) When I go downstairs to get something and forget what it is and then go back upstairs and remember and then go back downstairs and forget and then go back upstairs and remember and then go back downstairs and forget ...

And that's just for starters.

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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

International Man of Mystery

I am fairly sure that my father does not read my blog, so I feel secure in passing along a humorous anecdote. By the way, if you know my father, please do not tell him about my blog. I'll be pissed.

OK, so a while back (and I can't really remember when) my dad showed me his business card. He is retired, and so he printed some cards on the computer. I took the card from him and read, beneath his name:

Amateur Wine Maker, World Traveler, and Art Collector

By my unscientific count, there are at least three things wrong with that, but I'll stick to the obvious. Sure, he makes wine (you know, those boxes you get at Sam's Club - add yeast and go!); he likes to travel to the Caribbean annually, if he can; and, he has a penchant for wildlife prints (you know, Bateman and the like). He has no appreciation for the more abstract things in life.

So, it got me thinking that I should create a business card that represents my fantasy alter ego. I just have to figure out what that is. I'll take suggestions.

By the way, you know that the low carb food craze has gone too far when a restaurant starts to market a 15 pound hamburger called the Beer Barrel Belly Buster. Well, I suppose you'd have to hold the bun if you wanted the low carb option.

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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

That Sucks

I waited until the last minute and found out that I owe the government about $520 in taxes! I have never had an employer that has ever managed to deduct enough tax, and so I am always left having to pay something at the end of the year. That sucks. So, I am thinking of taking PayPal donations right here, but I fear no one would contribute. Would you?

Speaking of taxes, why hasn't the government created an easy and free way to file your taxes? Surely in the online era, they could create an online form where you pop in your data (much like those online tax services) and click. But, I guess this would put a lot of people out-of-work. That sucks.

Speaking of taxes, the right wing attack on the "tax and spend"' liberals is getting a little old. Yesterday's National Post editorial cartoon was Tweedle Tax and Tweedle Spend. The Tories seem to have forgotten that it was they who brought in the GST. They suck.

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Monday, May 02, 2005

Rhinotillexomania and Best of Zydeco Fish, 2004 (by request)

I swear that guy on Bay Street waiting for the bus and reading the National Post was digging deeper than any man has ever gone. Shocking, it was. If you have no idea what I am talking about, look up rhinotillexomania.

And now, because I was asked why I didn't summarize 2004, like 2003 (read it), here it is:

Ah, 2004. I wrote nothing in April or May, thinking that I would abandon the blog forever. But, in June, I brought this blog back from the brink. Here are a few pieces that are worthy of re-reading. You decide.

Downloading Music Sucks - I thought so then; I think so now.
The Worst Song - it was tough, but I have the answer.
Kinsey - not a movie review.
Lost in the Supermarket - on MP3 players and cabbage.
Just Say No - to the Free Flu Shot. Seriously.

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