Saturday, March 31, 2007

I might actually buy DVDs...

...if they had outtakes like this on them.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Things you may or may not already know.

- Karl Rove = a sucka mc.

- Hilary Clinton = Big Brother.

- Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles = Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
Upon TMNT's first arrival in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and Germany, the name was changed to "Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles" (or TMHT, for short), since local censorship policies deemed the word ninja to have excessively violent connotations for a children's program.[11] Consequently, everything related to the Turtles had to be renamed before being released in the UK. The lyrics were also changed, such as changing "Splinter taught them to be ninja teens" to "Splinter taught them to be fighting teens."

The policies also had other effects, such as removing Michelangelo's nunchaku (which were at the time banned from appearing in even 18-rated movies) and generally toning down the usage of all the turtles' weapons. After many seasons of never using his nunchaku, they eventually disappeared entirely, replaced by a turtle shell shaped grappling hook called the "Turtle Line".

By the time of the 2003 TV series, these censorship policies had been abolished, and no changes have occurred in the content of the show. The name "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" remained unchanged for the 2003 show. As a result, in the UK, the 1987 program is still called Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles and the 2003 program is called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Math lesson: OVER!

[h/t to jewandimproved for that last one]

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Shame Jonathan Franzen, shame...

Oprah has selected Cormac McCarthy's The Road for her book club and McCarthy has responded by... deciding to give his first ever television interview.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Headline watch...

From the Globe and Mail: Calm descends as Quebec leaders pledge co-operation

Okay, it was an exciting election, but it's not like OH MY GOD PANIC ON THE STREETS OF MONTREAL!!>!>!>>!!??!

Yeah, so, anyway, feel free to go make fun of my headlines now.
ADQ and you.

Uh, any Quebecois who are a little nervous about the ADQ's ability to run the province might not want to look at the crazy disco clock on their web page. It once counted down to election day, but now it's flashing 55jours!66jours!77jours!88jours!00 jours!!! Lucky those seven or so seats didn't swing the other way, no?
Yowza yowz-yowz!

What an insane election. Yes, Tiger, I guess this is what I was squeamishly hoping for. But be careful what you vote for, because you just might get it, right?

Monday, March 26, 2007

Is anyone dying to find out the results of the Quebec election?

I know I am, but I can't really stay up all night here in London to find out. I guess when I wake up the results will be known.

I feel kind of bad for hoping the ADQ will do well, since the party's hard-line stance on "reasonable accommodation" has even put off my conservative friends. Perhaps it's Machiavellian of me, but I think a strong ADQ showing could shake up the old verities of Quebec politics. Three of my anglophone friends back home in Montreal are voting Quebec Solidaire and a know a number of folks on the West Island who are voting ADQ; it's just a pleasure to see them not grudgingly line up in fear behind the Liberals for once, to get involved in the debate with the rest of the society.

I'm not hoping for a right-wing Quiet Revolution, but it would be nice if every party could adopt the "autonomist" point of view of the ADQ and then go on to debate actual issues. I'm a bit of an autonomist myself, if it means decentralized federalism without the hyperbolic grievances, which is what I'm taking it as anyway.

Whew! Time change. It's just one hour, but it really tires you out and makes you groggy. And really, what can I speculate about that hundreds of other bloggers who are actually in the country haven't already?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Bicycle lift.

I can't decide if this crazy invention is brilliant or ridiculous.
Aussie of the Week.

Amy, my journo buddy who has has a cool blog here. She's essentially done the exact same thing as me; she looked at her mid-twenties life, saw a lack of property ownership, and decided that it was a good time to quit her good job and take off on an adventure across the ocean in London.

I hear a lot of unearned anti-Australian sentiment here, so that's why I've decided to institute this Aussie of the Week award. If by some chance I forget to award this again, however, just assume it's gone to Cate Blanchett.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

I said, a tuna on rye, not awry tuna.

I prefer OptimusCrime's line introducing these photos, actually: "In Soviet Russia, canned herring eats you."

Friday, March 23, 2007

Lamest excuse ever.

Why did Conrad Black take the corporate jet on holiday? Here's the answer:
There were security reasons for Lord Black to travel on a corporate jet: his high-profile support for America and Israel could make him a terrorist target, according to Mr Genson.
The moment I read this, I thought, "He's gonna lose." This ain't a defence, it's an arms race.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Guardian blog-mania!

So I'm thinking I'm all special, writing on the Guardian website, and then who should appear on Comment is Free today but one Sarah Lesniewski by name writing about how Gordon Brown's new budget fails women.

Anyway, a) small world and b) Canadians are taking over Guardian Unlimited. Watch out!
The Long Tail.

Take a look at the comment just added to this Fringe Festival preview post from June 13, 2003. The guy is upset that I dissed his show... almost four years ago!

(And yet, what can I say: S/he's right. I ended up feeling bad about that post and haven't made a list of Fringe shows NOT to see again - at least not until I've actually seen them.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

What if I were a member of the Arcade Fire?

I imagine this alternative-universe me in my first post over at the Guardian's music blog.

Eagle-eyed readers may notice some of my handiwork in today's Fresh Links post, too. It was a Brit who contributed the link to the CBC, though, I swear.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The weirdness of the Internet continues.

If I can't even misplace a French-English dictionary forever in this brave new world, I'm not likely to be able to escape running into exes online, now am I? Time to deal with it: The Internet has flattened time and there is no way to escape from your past anymore.

Of course, the idea that you can lose your past was always a myth. As per Faulkner, "The past is never dead. It's not even past." That should be Google's motto.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Note to self.

If you're going to use a placeholder while you're preparing a document for the Web, try to use something that doesn't include the words "poo" and "ass" just in case you accidentally hit "launch". [via thoughtinterrupted]

No, seriously. I've typed in much worse stuff as placeholders in my time. This really is a memo to myself.
The problem with the information superhighway.

Is that sometimes you get too much information. You know, you learn things you'd rather not learn. But it's like a car crash - you look even though you know very well you shouldn't.

Yeah, handing someone with a broken heart the Internet is like a putting a pitcher of beer in front of an alcoholic.

Google, you fiend. MySpace, you traitor. Facebook, you cad.

Thank God I don't have a Blackberry is all I can say. There'd be no escape.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

When Irish eyes are smiling... Bwaa-ha-ha!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Pride and prejudice.

From a Guardian article yesterday on Conrad Black's trial:
Jury selection began with a panel of 100 candidates. Lord Black watched intently as judge Amy St Eve questioned each candidate about their prejudices towards millionaires, lords and Canadians.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Annals of Interpretation.

A correction from the New York Times:
The Critics’ Choice column on Monday, about new CDs, misstated some lyrics sung by Jay Farrar on “The Search,” a new album by Son Volt. The first lyric quoted is: “I can’t stand any more indecision,” not “I can’t stand any more decisions.” The second one is: “We’ll know when we get there if we’ll find mercy,” not “We’ll know when we get there. We’ll find mercy.”
[via Regret the Error.]

Monday, March 12, 2007

'The living will never outnumber the dead.'

A myth blasted.
Why blog when you can comment? Math and Avril edition!

Over at this post on Andrew Coyne's blog, I blather about the Monty Hall problem and how it doesn't apply to Deal or No Deal:
Just a note for those who might try to apply this logic to Deal or No Deal: don't. I had a long argument with a drunk statistician (full disclosure: I was also drunk) about whether you should switch briefcases at the end of Deal or No Deal, ie. when there is only the briefcase you chose at the beginning of the game and one other left. The Monty Hall problem logic does not apply because Howie Mandel does not open the briefcases and does not know where the $1 million is.
The statistician said I was wrong, but a) she was drunk and b) I had this confirmed by probability dude Jeffrey Rosenthal at U of T when I interviewed him about Deal or No Deal last spring. Also, she was just wrong. Alas, there was a group of people around and all sided with the statistician, because a) I was drunk and b) she's a statistician. It was a very frustrating evening because, though the statistician was very attractive, I would not let it drop. It was almost as bad as the time I was nearly arrested after a quiz night where I got a question "wrong" by answering that Canada was a non-European monarchy. Arrested because... well, let's not get into it.
Point being: JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE IS A STATISTICIAN OR A QUIZMASTER DOES NOT MEAN THEY ARE ALWAYS RIGHT. Or, something like that.
I am not drunk at this particular moment, just FYI.
Meanwhile, over at this post on Zoilus, I defend Avril Lavigne's new video for Girlfriend:
See, I didn't see it as nerdy vs. cool, but conservative vs. rebellious. But it can be read either way. that's the problem, teen styles that seem obviously conformist to adults often seems "alternative" to teens - and vice versa. Nerd can be cool or outcast depending on perception, likewise black-haired rocker chick. Is it even possible to identify outcasts anymore? Isn't teen culture as fragmented as the rest of the culture ?

Back to the video, what's interesting to me in the double-casting (triple-casting, if you consider the omnipotent narrating blonde Avril) is that now the song is about Avril's inner battle to be "your girlfriend," which apparently means dying your hair black and behaving like a hoodlum. She wants to get you in the portapotty for a quickie, but her prissy/nerdy self is unable to, so she has to fight that restrained part of herself off. It's a coming of age story, in a way.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

For those of you who pay attention to this sort of thing...

... as, apparently, I do now, Arcade Fire's Neon Bible entered the charts at number 2 in the U.K. It was unable to unseat the Kaiser Chiefs' album, but it did knock Take That down a peg. The Fire-heads over at NME have deemed this a disappointment.

In the meantime, nobody cares that Nelly Furtado has another top 10 single here.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Conrad Black Fan Club.

I should note -- given the ho-hoing over the fake Support Conrad Black web site -- that there is a bona fide Facebook group for those who are fans of C.B. and "who oppose America's current envy-driven witch hunt of the wealthy and successful." It is organized by a bona fide supporter of Black's and has, as of this posting, 138 members. (Despite my last post, I am not one.)

So, just to say, it's not all Ha-ha-Connie-we-were-just-foolin' out there on the Interweb.
Mario Dumont and the ADQ.

Yeah, it's the weekend and I'm catching up on my Canadian news. I enjoyed Konrad Yakbuski's profile of ADQ leader Mario Dumont in the Globe and Mail and thought I'd point you to it. Of interest:
[Dumont]'d be sitting in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet now if he hadn't chosen instead to fight on as ADQ Leader.

“I know Quebec and I know Quebec politics. I don't know federal politics and frankly I'm not really interested in learning it,” Mr. Dumont shrugs during an interview on his campaign bus. “But I know Stephen Harper and I voted for him... In the ridings where the Conservatives were elected, the proportion of Adéquiste organizers was, let's just say, very high. We're the same people. Their people are our people.”
Also, a good clarification of the ADQ's "s'affirmer sans se separer" position:
...Mr. Dumont now aims to create the “autonomous state of Quebec” within Canada. He has come full circle from the 1991 Allaire report – adopted by the Quebec Liberals, of which Mr. Dumont was then one, but shelved by Mr. Bourassa – calling for exclusive authority for Quebec in 22 jurisdictions. Full circle, he concedes, but with one important difference.

“The Allaire report was formulated as a grocery list and a knife to the throat [of English Canada],” Mr. Dumont explains. “Our autonomist position is not formulated as a grocery list or a knife to the throat. But the basic philosophy is the same.”
I am very curious as to the outcome of this upcoming election... I'm not a huge fan of Dumont's policies, but I think everyone would benefit if the ADQ gained official party status. I do wonder if they're gaining any traction in the West Island.
'I have never been happier to be Canadian.'

Conrad Black has penned his pre-trial address to the plebes. For a man who is "not afraid", this column sounds an awful lot like a man's farewell address, his last words before the guillotine. Especially the part where he thanks his family (including ex-wife), colleagues, fellow parishioners (!), and all his supporters. (It is, admittedly, his last column in the Post until the trial is over, but still...)

I fear Conrad's bravado is failing. His one over-the-top reference in this column is a run-of-the-mill fictional one("...like Transylvanians heaping garlic on the resting place of Count Dracula..."), not a historical oddity; it's less ostentatiously phrased than some of his old ripostes to detractors. He actually writes, "I have never been happier to be Canadian." He sounds like he wants to be liked, like he's actually been hurt by all the grave-dancing. He's human, of course, so in a rational way I don't doubt he has been hurt and deeply; but Black without his pluck and armour... it's a sadder sight than I thought, someone larger than life suddenly becoming life-sized.

Maybe I've just been manipulated by him, maybe I'm just a sucker for the Canadian-vs-American angle, but I've kinda (secretly) started to root for him. If Black wins, he can go back to being the bombastic aspirant we love to hate, the cartoon mustache-twirling villain of journalism. A deflated Tubby is no fun; we all learn a lesson about, I don't know, hubris or something, but then the party's over.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Mille millions de mille sabords!

Steven Spielberg is making a Tintin movie! Could this be even more awesome than Indiana Jones IV?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I'm sticking with Virgin Mobile for now...

... but thanks for selling me this song, T-Mobile.

- In other music-listening news, I finally caved and bought the new Amy Winehouse CD, Back to Black. Yes, the actual, physical CD.

Anyway, so I'm sitting at home here with my strep throat, digesting my first dose of penicillin and listening to track 3, Me & Mr Jones (no, not Mr Jones and Me, though that was a great sing-along in grade 9), and I'm wondering to myself, "I wonder what the lyrics are?"

So I head to the Interweb and start to Google and then realise -- Oh my god! This CD comes with a "lyrics booklet" and all the lyrics are printed there just for me!

CDs, man. The wave of the future.

The lyrics in question (or questionable lyrics) that I was looking for are, FYI: "What king of fuckery is this?"

She's great. If you're in North America and they're not all hep to this cat yet, try this on for size.
Baudrillard writes his own epitaph.

From The New Yorker
, Talk of the Town, Nov. 28 2005:
A middle-aged man in the second row who had been snapping photographs of Baudrillard with a tiny camera raised his hand.

“I don’t know how to ask this question, because it’s so multifaceted,” he said. “You’re Baudrillard, and you were able to fill a room. And what I want to know is: when someone dies, we read an obituary—like Derrida died last year, and is a great loss for all of us. What would you like to be said about you? In other words, who are you? I would like to know how old you are, if you’re married and if you have kids, and since you’ve spent a great deal of time writing a great many books, some of which I could not get through, is there something you want to say that can be summed up?”

“What I am, I don’t know,” Baudrillard said, with a Gallic twinkle in his eye. “I am the simulacrum of myself.”
[Link via Pottsy]

UPDATE: The Guardian's obituary is pretty good and includes this Baud-acious quote: "The Matrix is surely the kind of film about the matrix that the matrix would have been able to produce." (Shock and) Awesome!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Simulacrummy.

Farewell, Jean Baudrillard! I loved you in university; I couldn't stand you afterwards; I once swapped a Gmail address for one of your books... I'll miss you and am looking forward to the Onion parody obit.

Monday, March 05, 2007

My favourite first 11 words of an article so far this year.

"A group of five Chinese unicyclists have shocked the circus world..."

Unicyclists of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains... Ba-dum-dum.

In other news, I have a raging fever and a sore throat. So if that's not funny to anyone else, I apologize.