Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Conference

Well, my first presentation is tomorrow. My second is on Saturday.

Ethan Zuckerman's talk today was truly fascinating. If you ever get the chance, listen to him. We have a lot to learn from him.

After his session, I took in Andrew Keen's rather intriguing interpretation of how the internet is killing our culture. He wrote the book The Cult of the Amateur. Since I haven't read the book, I will only say that I thought his ideas are worth thinking about. Perhaps I will have more to say if I can be motivated to read the book.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Week in Review (and it's not even over yet)

1) I was misquoted in a student newspaper (again!).
2) I had 2 flat tires.
3) There is a hole in my tire, which explains the busted tubes.
4) The spare tubes I bought from the dude are the wrong size.
5) A pipe froze in the house and I am now awaiting the plumber. This will mean wall destruction and mess and probably lots of money. Plus, I will miss part of the conference. The good news is that it should not interfere with my presentations, I hope.
6) I bought a rear rack for my bike and found out that two screws are missing. Plus, I am not sure it will fit over my fenders.
7) I have decided not to post the gorilla dream/story.
A Barracuda plus Gorillas

I was once a top notch fisherboy. Here I am with the barracuda I caught in the Atlantic, just off the coast of Miami, Florida. It put up quite a fight, but I prevailed in the end.

OK, so on to gorillas. Wait...I have to run to a meeting now. I'll have to finish that story later. They were really dream gorillas, so it's probably not what you hoped for anyway.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Two Flat Tires plus Gorillas

Half way to work on Monday, I got a flat tire. A quarter of the way to work today, I got a flat tire. On my way back home yesterday, I stopped at a local bike repair shop that I really hate because they are way overpriced, but I asked anyway. They wanted $20 to change a tube! I said I would do it myself. Later, as I walked towards home, I passed the place I recently bought my bike, and they said they would charge me the price of the tube, since I bought it there. I saved $15.00.

I watched the guy inflate the old tube, to find out where the puncture occurred so that he could inspect the tire for any glass or sharps. Trouble was, he must have missed some, for I go another flat. The same thing happened to me about 10 years ago when I bought my last bike, expect that I got three flats in one week.

Man was that ever a boring story. If you think you were bored reading it, think how I must have felt writing it. I am suddenly feeling overcome with hunger, so the gorillas will have to wait.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Up the Hill Backwards plus Gorillas

No, this is not about the David Bowie song. It is from a dream in which I saw a series of odd images. I was cycling in my dream, somewhere out of town by a river decorated with hula hoops. Hoops were everywhere, half in the water, half out, seeming to float in perfect equilibrium.

Soon enough, I greeted a former colleague, the one with an obsession with a particular TV show, the one who could really pass for a lion tamer. I was not too surprised, then, to see him with dozens of hula hoops and a bike trailer filled with stuffed animals. He was a circus on a bike. I wondered if he was adding hula hoops to the water or removing them.

At this point, I realized that I was no longer in Tdot, but in the town of my birth, attempting to cycle up a steep hill, carved out years ago by glaciation, leaving a misfit stream, not the broad river of hoops. As I cycled up the hill, I noticed that there were two women on tricycles in front of me. They were cycling up the hill backwards on the sidewalk with great speed, without turning their heads to check their bearings. Both were dressed in white, kind of like togas, each with one small shriveled breast exposed (the left, if you care).

When they saw me coming, they darted across the road in tandem, not checking for cars, not worried about curbs, never slowing down. They reached the other side with no problems and kept on their way to wherever it was they were going. I decided to cycle to my dad's place, just up ahead and around the corner. Although my grandmother's house was first, I cycled past, hoping to reach my dad's, but I never got there before I woke up.

OK, so the gorilla part will have to wait. And, if you didn't see yesterday's post, this is hilarious. Keep on clicking next.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Oh help!" gaped Peter, "It's Mr. McGregor!"

I appreciate those who find sexual innuendo in everyday things.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Friday Feast (on a Saturday)

My first feast

How many times per day do you usually laugh?

I have no idea. It depends who I am with and where I am. I rarely laugh at work.

What do your sunglasses look like?

Black frames, curved lenses that wrap a little around my head. Depending on who you ask, they either make me look scary, like the Terminator, or cool.

You win a free trip to anywhere on your continent, but you have to travel by train. Where do you go?

I'd like to take the train across Canada, through the Rocky Mountains.

Main Course:
Name one thing you consider a great quality about living in your town/city.

The amazing choice of ethnic restaurants.

If the sky could be another color, what color do you think would look best?

I'll agree with Running42K and say pale green.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Peter Heater

I guess that some memories are so deeply buried that they can never be recovered. Some long-forgotten memories come to the surface at unlikely times, like the other day, when I was eating lunch (some left over chicken curry that I had made), and I suddenly recalled a strange Christmas present my father once received from my aunt (my mom's brother's wife).

The adults in my family often exchanged gag gifts, probably because they are failures in the department of gift giving. It is far easier to choose something outlandish, than to risk giving something meaningful. There were a long line of such gifts: a t-shirt depicting a naked couple in a phone booth with the caption "your three minutes are up," an apron with a beer bottle opener attached to a fake penis, a ... maybe I should stop there.

One year, my aunt gave my father a "peter heater." If you are not in the know, this is sort of a sweater for one's penis. Imagine a woolen sheath, like a knitted condom, and you have it. There was no pouch for his pouch, by the way. Naturally, several things occurred to me, like, just why is he getting this gift from his sister-in-law? How did she know what size to buy? Maybe she made it? If so, how did she know what size to make it? I mean there is length and then there is girth.

Now, the real reason the gift was given is that everyone knew that my dad slept naked all of the time. The god news is that he did not model it for us. If he had, this memory would have remained buried forever and I would not be writing this post.

P.S. I am taking a PD day today, to do some PDish things.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I Can no Longer Tell Who is Crazy

I fondly remember the days when one could amble past a person speaking to themselves on the street and be certain, beyond any reasonable doubt, that said person was suffering from some sort of metal illnesses. I don't intend any disrespect to such folk. In fact, after so many years in Toronto, I am accustomed to the diversity of the population, which includes people talking to themselves in public. (Or, perhaps they are talking to God or the spirits or aliens? I am not sure).

I also became accustomed to that bag lady in the Annex, now long gone, The Penny Man near Bloor and Madison. You must remember his refrain: "even a penny will do." Where did he go? I also recall a rather articulate homeless man who hung out just west of Bloor and Spadina. I think his name was Giles? But, I am straying from my point.

The first time I saw someone walking down the street with some sort of wireless bluetooth headset linked to a cell phone, I thought he was crazy. Here we had a well-dressed man with a business suit, briefcase, nice hair cut (not as nice as mine, but nice), and he was muttering to himself, something about the stock market. And then I noticed a little ear piece and it all made sense to me. The old headsets were more obvious. A microphone wrapped partly around the face, and there could be no mistaking that it was connected to a cell phone. I still can't get used to these people on their bluetooth headsets because they look CRAZY!

Yesterday, I was confounded by a person at Spadina and Harbord. At first, I thought the woman was speaking to her god and then I thought, no, she must have a headset under her hat and then I thought, no way, she sounds loopy and then there was a bit of coherence. The longer she talked, the more confused I became. Is she or isn't she, I mused. Finally, she uttered the name of George Bush as a potential saviour of Canada - and, yes, I wondered which George she meant - but by that time I had my answer.

As I cycled away, it occurred to me that if we handed out fake bluetooth headsets to all of the self-talkers out there, maybe society would be more accepting of them?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

No Time

In a sudden burst of energy, no doubt brought on by waves of panic and anxiety, I am wrapping up work on my two upcoming conference presentations. As I often said as an undergrad: "anxiety breeds excellence." Soon, I will have evidence to confirm or deny that statement. But, I will have to await the verdict of those who choose to attend my sessions. People exiting in droves might be a sign that things are going poorly, but dozens of people left during Cronenberg's film Crash, and I thought it was quite good, so you never know. The good news is that I have co-presenters, so that gives me an odd sense of calm amid the anxiety.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Heath Ledger is Dead

I just found out. A drug overdose - either intentional or accidental - is suspected. CNN. MSNBC. Oddly, I have never seen Brokeback Mountain.
Target Me

Forgive me if I appear dumb, but what's the big deal with targeted advertising? If you are a Facebook user, you will have heard the fuss about its targeted advertisement program. If you are a Gmail user, you will have noticed that the advertisements to the right of your email messages are linked to the content of your messages. I can tell you, in all honesty, that I have never once followed an advertising link from any advertisement in Gmail or in Facebook (well, except for that one fraudulent ad on Facebook that I reported to them). It doesn't take too much self-control to ignore ads on the web.

If you want my opinion, I prefer targeted ads. If I could configure the web to only display ads that I like or that advertise products or services that are of interest to me, then that would greatly improve my online experience. Why do I need to see ads for the new Celine Dion CD, since I hate her music passionately? You could place advertisements for Hamburger Helper on every page of the entire Internet and I would never follow the link and certainly not purchase the product.

The same goes for junk mail and TV. I would absolutely love to streamline the flyers that come to my house, so that I could avoid Pharma Plus, Shoppers Drug Mart, Payless Shoes, etc. Give me flyers for Future Shop and Best Buy, please, but none of that other garbage. This would make me happy. And, on TV, I would be happy to be done with all of those ads for Viagra and Depends. Maybe later, but not now.

I suppose those opposed to targeted ads are trying to defend the weak among us who give in to temptation far too easily. And, the privacy advocates are trying to prevent companies from using shopping data to compile profiles of our shopping habits on the basis that this is an invasion of privacy. Sure, I can see that, but I'd rather have my privacy invaded than endure an endless stream of ads for stuff I am not interested in.

Frankly, what I buy is not that interesting, and if Nikon wants to market to me because I own a Nikon camera, that's just fine with me. What we really need is a Do-Not-Call list that is enforceable. I hate it when they call at dinner.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


I have a new mouse, or rat. I could hear the little bastard scraping and chewing in the kitchen while I waited for the blasted football game to end. I don't hate football, but I don't like it wreaking havoc with TV schedules. And, I really didn't care who won. I'm just glad I didn't have to play in that weather. And now, I will catch the finale of the Amazing Race.
On Monday

Demain, je vais à Hamilton avec quelques collègues pour une conférence. J'ai loué une voiture at je serai au volant. Je reviendrai au travail de l'après-midi.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Water Dreams

In last night's dream, I was tasked with returning two ducks to the wild. At first, I walked with them waddling at my feet in a pleasant dog-like fashion, but then we approached water and I soon found myself attempting to paddle along side them until we reached a designated point. Since I lack webbed feet (really), I had a hard time, especially since I was wearing hiking boots. Once I deposited the ducks in a place they seemed happy with, I attempted to make my way back on land, except that the land was suddenly flooded and I was forced, once again, to make my way through an expanse of flooded plains, just like the previous night's dream.

In that one, I was walking with a friend, and we decided to cut across some back yards of various houses to get where we were going more quickly. Soon, we found ourselves ankle-deep, then knee-deep, then waist-deep, then shoulder-deep in cold water. I took my wallet out of my pocket, placed it in a plastic bag, and held it above my head. I took my companion's valuable documents as well. Once we realized that we were wading through back yard pools, we simply climbed out.

I have not checked a dream dictionary to see what this means, because I am a little afraid to.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Truck Nuts!

This is hilarious and partly weird, but I have to tell you about it, just in case you missed it. For some reason, a company called Truck Nuts is marketing nuts for your truck. They seem to also be called Bumper Nuts. You have to visit Truck Nuts for a visual. If the welcome image isn't enough for you, feel free to check out not one, but two galleries. Prices range from $24.95 to $45.00 for the brass ones. For only $22.00 more, you get a nut hanger, which doubles as a lock.

Of course, all of this is not without some fallout. Last year, Maryland Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr. declared that he wanted to ban them. According to the Washington Post:
His bill would prohibit motorists from displaying anything resembling or depicting "anatomically correct" or "less than completely and opaquely covered" human or animal genitals, human buttocks or female breasts. The offense would carry a penalty.
Today, I learned that a Chesapeake lawmaker (Lionell Spruill) introduced a bill to ban them, but he has yet to find a co-sponsor.

I have two comments:

1) I am not sure I would hang them on my vehicle, but, I have to wonder what happened to these dudes' senses of humour. Are they going to try to ban male dogs next because one might get a glimpse of their testicles?

2) And, most importantly, why didn't I come up with the idea for Truck Nuts?

By the way, I am not in the library today. I am AWOL.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wild and Woolly (or, Tom Cruise is Nuts)

Of course, we already know that Tom Cruise is nuts, but here is more proof. Mind you, it is a bit of a challenge sitting through several minutes of nearly incomprehensible ramblings from Mr. Cruise, but if you give it a try, you'll quickly see that the rumours are true: he's not all there. So, have a look at this video that the Cult of Scientology is trying to suppress, presumably because it makes the Cult and Cruise look like idiots.

It's too bad, really, because he showed such promise in Risky Business. I thought he was a man's man, a real football kind of guy who likes music and women. It's so depressing to recognize that the guy is a flake. Damn you Mimi Rogers for introducing Tom to the Cult! And then there are the other famous Scientologists.

I understand why John Travolta made leap to the cult: after being forced to play Vinnie Bobarino for so long, you'd need some sort of religion. And, his career has been beset with such ups and downs, it must have weakened him severely. You could make the same argument about Kirstie Alley, what with the rapid weight gain and all.

I don't consider Katie Holmes to be a true Scientologist: she's more like a hostage.

I have to confess that I am truly surprised that Beck, one of my favourite musicians, is a Scientologist. There's no explanation for that. Thankfully, Jerry Seinfeld saw the light and escaped before any damage was done.

Someone needs to organize an intervention to deprogram Tom Cruise and free Katie. I'll help.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Clone this! and a Giant Rodent

Would you eat cloned meat or drink milk from a cloned animal?

I would not, but the FDA thinks it's OK. They see absolutely no difference between conventionally- reproduced animals and those made from ear cells. What's worse is that the FDA will not require that cloned products be labelled, just like genetically-modified foods. I think this is wrong. All of this means that if you want to avoid Frankenfoods, you have to stick with organic products. I am having fond memories of when food was food.

If that is depressing to you, then this should make you smile. The fossilized skull of a one ton rodent has been found in Uruguay. It was as large as a bull. It has been named Josephoartigasia monesi, or freakin' big rodent!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


OK, so I can't believe that no one had anything to say yesterday about my point that Messenger (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) arrived at Mercury yesterday. It has been 33 years since Mariner 10 arrived there on March 29, 1974. Until Messenger's arrival, it was the only spacecraft to have made the voyage. Messenger will make three flybys, and then be parked in orbit on March 18, 2011. In 2013, the European Space Agency will launch a mission to Mercury, due to arrive in 2019.

Oh, well, I guess no one is interested in this after all :-(

Monday, January 14, 2008

Random Stuff

Did you know that queen termites and sharks can live for 100 years?

From Reuters: "A Polish man got the shock of his life when he visited a brothel and spotted his wife among the establishment's employees. Polish tabloid Super Express said the woman had been making some extra money on the side while telling her husband she worked at a store in a nearby town." Makes you wonder what she thought when she saw him walk in.

I am elated that Jennifer is gone from the Amazing Race. Man, she is a piece of work.

Messenger arrives at Mercury today.

And now, I have to work on an upcoming presentation. I am behind and need to get in gear.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sunday Morning

From one of my favourite bands of all time. Happy Sunday morning.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


I am not sure how long this link will work, but check it out if you want to see a Polar bear cub sleeping, and snoring. It's very cute until he wakes up hungry, and then the screaming starts. It's from the Toronto Star.

Update: There's a story about the cub here.

Friday, January 11, 2008

On Giants

While leafing through The Book of Days: Oddities and Curiosities in the 365 Days of the Calendar, by Elizabeth and Gerald Donaldson (New York: A&W Publishers, 1979), I came across this statement for January 11th:
A human-like skeleton was found in 1613 entombed eighteen feet below the surface of a spot later called the Giant's Field in France. It measured twenty-five and one-half feet long and ten feet wide at the shoulders.
I wanted to believe this was true, so I did a quick web search and found a similar story, posted on Futility Closet:

January 11, 1613, some masons digging near the ruins of a castle in Dauphiné, in a field which (by tradition) had long been called the giant's field, at the depth of eighteen feet discovered a brick tomb thirty feet long, twelve feet wide, and eight feet high, on which was a gray stone, with the words Theutobochus Rex cut thereon; when the tomb was opened, they found a human skeleton entire, twenty-five feet and a half long, ten feet wide across the shoulders, and five feet deep from the breast-bone to the back, his teeth were each about the size of an ox's foot, and his shin bone measured four feet.

Kirby's Wonderful and Scientific Museum, 1803

And then, I found this, from Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine (by George M. Gould and Walter L. Pyle):
Near Mezarino in Sicily in 1516 there was found the skeleton of a giant whose height was at least 30 feet; his head was the size of a hogshead, and each tooth weighed 5 ounces; and in 1548 and in 1550 there were others found of the height of 30 feet.
There are other stories too of huge skeletons, lending credence to stories of Bigfeet or giants. Gould and Walter suggest, as others do, that the remains were misidentified and were probably mastodons or elephants, and possibly whales. What disappointment. I really wanted to believe this :-(

I guess this all makes sense when you consider that dinosaurs weren't really "discovered" until the 1840s, though fossils had been found before that. Humans from hundreds of years ago must really have wondered what animal these giants bones were from and, of course, they probably assumed a human-like being.

I like the idea that giants once roamed around, but I guess that didn't happen. Happy January 11th.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


10 posts in 10 days must be a record for me. So, in honour of this occasion, here is a list of the first ten things that came to mind when I thought of the number 10:

10 - Bo Derek was never a 10 (or an 11) in my book, but, just in case you are interested, I am a 10.

The Metric System - Ah, the simplicity of having everything based on tens. Too bad the USA is anti-metric.

Binary - Where 10 is 2 (and 111 is 7 and 10101 is 21...)

Powers of 10 - A film from 1977 that explores everything from the microscope to the cosmos. The Simpsons did a great riff on this in a couch sequence.

Letterman's Top Ten Lists - Sometimes hilarious and sometimes not so.

Number 10 Downing Street - Gordon Brown is such a boring name.

Ten New Songs - Not my favourite Leonard Cohen album, but still awesome. Leonard is a lyrical genius.

10 - The number 10, which follows 9 and precedes 11.

10 Commandments - Is it just me, or are some of these ridiculous?, especially: "For six days you shall labour and do all your work." Six days! I am agitating for a four day week.

Warp 10 - The unattainable maximum speed in the Star Trek Universe.

Did I miss anything?

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Internet is Destroying my Brain, etc.

Why should I bother to remember anything, if I can simply look it up? I remember how to tie my shoes, use a fork, and walk, but my brain is leeching terabytes of data. I could blame this on the aging process or maybe too much alcohol as a teenager, but I really think something else is to blame.

I am rarely away from the web for longer than a couple of hours. Everything I need is on the web (or in my library's collection of licensed databases). I can just look it up. I think I am right.

In other news, January 9 is Play God Day. I don't make this stuff up and I have no idea who does, but I am quite pleased that today is Play God Day. I just have no idea how to play God. If you have any ideas, please let me know.

In other other news, I give the first episode of jPod a B-. It suffered from the usual first episode deficiencies, by trying to do too much. Douglas Coupland's cleverness is apparent, but, for some reason, I am really tired of him, and his novels keep getting worse and worse. As for Alan Thicke, well, I am not sure what to say. He's always been too straight, or something, and now he is playing the opposite and I am unconvinced. This show will not make my must watch category, but I might tune in from time-to-time.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Yesterday's Propositions

Proposition Number One: At the bike shop, I added the numbers the repair dude threw at me. It added up to a lot of dough. He had a proposition: buy a new bike, as it will be not much more expensive than repairing the old. Out with the old; in with the new. Indeed, he had a sale, and as I did more math I came to the conclusion that he was right, especially since the bike in question was more than 30% off.

My bike is now ten years old and is showing its age. I have replaced the entire drive train 4 times and it needs that done again plus a new rear wheel, new bearings in the front axle, brakes, cables, tires... In fact, only the frame is still good. The salt and winter weather really kill bikes. I could take a course in bike repair, or invest in some good books, and attempt to repair the old bike. On the downside, it was slightly more money than the repair, especially with new fenders.

In the end, I did what Running42K did, and bought a new bike.

Proposition Number Two: My phone rang just as I left the shop and I found myself speaking to a dude from a certain University asking me if I would like to give $$$ (250, in fact) to them. The money was to be used specifically for the library. What's more, the University will double that $250. So, I would be giving the library $500 so it is sort of like a sale in reverse. I have already given that University thousands of dollars in tuition and I had just dropped some cash on a new ride, so I said nyet. Some day, when I am feeling old and benevolent, munificent even, I may open the wallet. I have three alma maters (is that the correct plural?) so this is always a tough decision. But, I feel that one ought to give back to the institutions that gave me so much, but not right now.

Proposition Number Three: I heard a "hi baby" and then a hand on my arm as I walked my new bike to the curb, getting ready to saddle up for the first time. I was eager to get her back to the house and look at her in familiar light, maybe get out my wrenches to remove the toe clips, gently fasten my bell to her handle bars, attach my headlight holder, and wonder if it is too soon to ride her in winter. It might be pushing her too much. The rain had started and I worried that she would get wet and start to rust. My mind was filled with these thoughts when I felt someone touch me.

I turned to see the hand of a haggard woman reaching out for me. She carried a mild look of desperation in her eyes, from what I could tell anyway. I mean, no one looks good under sodium vapor street lights. It's just as bad as when the lights are turned on after last call and the bar keepers are trying to close up the shop. Some people are clearly alarmed when they look at the person they have been speaking with. This women (clearly a street walker, or perhaps someone critically short of cash) was offering me a good time. This is not something one gets offered every day, but this is not the best part of town, it seems.

A couple of months back, a crazy women showed me her underwear, not by lifting her skirt, but by holding them like some sort of placard. They looked clean enough with no visible markings, but I was not quite sure why she did this. Did she want me to purchase them? Who can say? And, I should point out that they were huge, like my mother wore or wears.

I declined two of the three propositions and, as that fat man - whom I once inadvertently called Batloaf - sang, two out of three ain't bad.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Mechanical Failures and Other Disappointments

1) My bike exploded this morning. Well, I suppose that is a little dramatic. It ceased to function as it should. The pedals rotate freely, moving the chain around, but it's as if there is no chain at all because there is no drive. I have no idea why this is. I had to walk my bike half the way in today. Twice, for a few meters, things reverted to normal and I could cycle, but then it all collapsed again and I was left cycling in one spot, my legs spinning madly, not moving forward, until I almost fell sideways. Thankfully, it was warm, but ...

2) I overdressed today, despite knowing the temperature. I had to remove one layer and my gloves lest I overheat. I had expected to coast down the hills - the cool air teasing my hair - overcome with memories of driving my dad's small British convertible down the rural highways to my summer evening class in American History during my undergrad. This was not to be. And, anyway ...

3) Aren't we all supposed to be wearing jet packs by now? Where is mine?

4) What's the point of spending an entire hour watching the Amazing Race if everyone gets to stay on the show? I am not happy about the non-elimination legs. I could have done something productive with that hour, like sleep. I don't usually watch this show, but I am making an exception this time.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Colds Suck

I think I have sneezed about 146 times today, and used an entire box of tissues, or so it seems. That blows. It sucks and blows.

Saturday, January 05, 2008


I blame the soap opera Dallas for inventing the television cliffhanger. I could be wrong, but it was the first time I recall being left in the lurch all summer. It's not like I chose to watch Dallas. We had only one TV, and I was forced to watch whatever my parents watched. But, I am really not happy about cliffhangers, and now that I have finally seen all 22 Season One episodes of Jericho, I have to endure another cliffhanger. I also hate episodes that end with to be continued. That sucks big time. On the other hand, here is a really hilarious story that I know you will love. I must have laughed for 15 minutes straight the first time I heard it.

A man walks into a .... to be continued.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Saint Expeditus (My Real Patron Saint)

I know I said that my patron saint is Jerome (the patron saint of librarians), but I have found a more appropriate saint.

My quest for a better saint suggested several options. It could have been Augustine of Hippo, the patron saint of sore eyes, Wilgefortis, the patron saint of people seeking relief from tribulations, Sebaldus, invoked against cold weather and cold (the general state of my office), Rita of Cascia, the patron saint of lost or impossible causes, Saint Quentin, the patron saint of coughs and sneezes, Gertrude of Nivelles, invoked against mice and rats (but they are gone now from the house), or Christina the Astonishing, to protect me from insanity. I can't forget Veronica, the patron saint of photography. Surely, she has helped me.

But, I had to settle on Saint Expeditus, the patron saint against procrastination. Imagine being the patron saint invoked against an incurable affliction. His name seems strong enough to prod one on, to encourage anyone to get things done, but all I can do is laugh. Initially, I felt a tremendous urge to expedite all manner of things when I read the name Expeditus, but the hilarity of the name and the futility of attempting to correct this life-long disorder made me laugh.

All of this begs the question of what place, disorder, or occupation I should be named the patron saint. As you can see, the good ones are already taken (I knew someone I would nominate as the patron saint of flatulence), so perhaps I can hope to be chosen as the patron saint of cyclists. Of course, I would have to be canonized first, but that seems easy, given the way the Catholic Church hands out sainthoods. You'd think it was the Oscars. Oh, I suppose I would have to convert to Catholicism. That would painful.

It you will excuse me now, I am off to have a chat with Saint Expeditus.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

My Patron Saint

I should have taken this week off from work. I mean, practically no one is here. I have a distinct lack of motivation because the place is deserted. Sure, there are things to be done, but I have no interest in doing them right now. I want to go home and sleep and warm up after my cold cycle in this morning. So, instead of working, I am writing this and listening to Acme Plus from the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. I found this CD for only $5.99 at HMV. Amazing. I think I am contracting another cold. That sucks.

Did you know that Saint Jerome is the patron saint of librarians, archivists, translators and encyclopedists? I had no idea either. I am not sure why this is the case. In fact, check out some of his famous quotes:

"...though God can do all things He cannot raise up a virgin when once she has fallen..."

I think there is now surgery that will do the trick.

"I praise wedlock, I praise marriage, but it is because they give me virgins."

I am not sure that is true.

"Notice that it is good virgins who are spoken of, for there are bad ones as well."

I am beginning to wonder why he is my patron saint.

"Be not afraid that all will become virgins: virginity is a hard matter, and therefore rare, because it is hard..."

Probably true!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Monkey Crime/Monkey Prison

Did you know that there is a monkey prison in the Motibagh Bir Zoological Park in Patiala, India? Apparently, there is a monkey menace in India, and these violent, thieving primates are locked up, sometimes for life.

The Seattle Times reported:
Monkeys have invaded government ministries in New Delhi, ridden elevators and climbed along windowsills. Monkeys slapped students inside a girls school in a south Bengal suburb. A gang of monkeys in the city of Chandigarh ripped up lawns, broke flowerpots and yanked sheets off beds.

Some monkeys, mostly loners, have bitten people, injuring and even killing small children.
The good news is that killing monkeys in India is forbidden, so the country has resorted to a prison. I am not sure if this prison provides any hope of deterrence or rehabilitation (although some monkeys have been released for good behavior), but retribution would seem to be covered.

I am also not sure if there is any sort of legal process, or if these primates are considered guilty without trial after being arrested. Yes, they are arrested. I wonder if there will be a movement for monkey rights, as there was recently in New Zealand. Should they be read Miranda-type rights when arrested?

Sadly, part of this problem might be the fault of humans. Some people believe that thieves have trained monkeys to steal and some monkeys have been trained as guards. Later, these monkeys are abandoned when they become violent.

Personally, I think the idea of a monkey prison is stupid. Surely, they ought to make an effort to rehabilitate these monkeys, rather than locking them up.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

to everyone. Again, I am making no resolutions. I am resolutely anti-resolution. I wish you well on your resolutions, however.