Saturday, September 30, 2006
I'm thinkin' Rufus. Why Rufus? Well, a long time ago, there was a beer commercial on TV up here in Canadanistan with a an old deep south coon hound sleeping on the porch while his master and some buddies hung out and drank beer. I don't remember the lead up, but the punch line was, "he looks fast just lying there." This picture of Chelle's puppy reminds me of the dog from that commercial, and "Rufus" is just about the perfect name for some old deep south coon hound.
Of course, Chelle's pup is not an old deep south coon hound, and will actually grow up to look nothing like one, but look at him. I mean, just look at him! <sarcasm>He looks fast just lying there</sarcasm>.
OK people! For the second day in a row I see that I have failed to explain things clearly enough. If you want to suggest names for Chelle's new puppy, go to her blog and do so. I don't have any pull with her.
Friday, September 29, 2006
#32. For the first time there is an organic coffee available that has been specifically blended and roasted for enema use.
OK, people. After reading Raven's comment, I thought I'd better make a more detailed statement here. I came across the link to this company selling a coffee specially blended to be used in enemas over at Respectful Insolence. He was ridiculing the claims made by the company. In fact, he was pointing out that it's possible for a coffee enema to actually do some damage to your health. For more information, click on the link to Orac's place below for more information.
Please do not put coffee up your butt. I ask this, not only in consideration of your health, but my sanity. I beg of you, do not do this thing.
via. Respectful Insolence
tags: Blogs, Skepticism
Thursday, September 28, 2006
The 23rd edition of CarnivAOL will be published this coming Tuesday. Submissions are welcome from all AOL and AIM journalers. CarnivAOL is a blog carnival of the vanities. Visit the CarnivAOL blog for more information.
Tags: Blogging, CarnivAOL,
OK, it's been two weeks since I posted the iPod music meme. You managed to identify eleven of the twenty songs for which I provided the first line of lyrics. As well, several of you identified the artists for two others, but could not name the song.
As I said before, I am not surprised. Fully half of the songs were by Canadian artists, several of which are not widely known outside of the Great White North. Below is the entire list, with the first lines expanded to the first verse. I have included links to each artist's web page. Check 'em out.
I've been around the world
I've seen a million girls
Ain't one of them got
What my lady she's got
(AC/DC - Girl's Got Rhythm)
"When you cross that river
The trees they will bow down
The sky will open up to you
And the lark will sing your song
(The Rankin Family - The River)
She doesn't see the coming fall
She doesn't show no fear at all
Bring on autumn moon or the driving rain
I only hope I see her face again
(Great Big Sea - The Summer)
Hey You, you lost your only friend
You can't believe your broken heart will ever mend
But every mountain has its faces that'd make you want to stop
On this so unwelcome journey from the bottom to the top.
(Great Big Sea - Something Beautiful)
Our song used to be my lullaby
Now it’s just a tune from days gone by
Now it only haunts me in my sleep
And I soak my pillow when I weep
(Jacksoul - I Remember)
I don't believe it's all for nothing
It's not just written in the sand
Sometimes I thought you felt too much
And you crossed into the shadowland
(Robbie Robertson - Fallen Angel)
When morning comes to me
I see the eyes of Margaret
I see the eyes of Margaret
When morning comes around
(The Rankin Family - The Eyes of Margaret)
Got the devil in you
got the devil in me
Play a dangerous tune
come on dance with thee
(AC/DC - Rock Your Heart Out)
I only want what’s the best thing for you
And the best thing for you would be me
I’ve been convinced
After thinking it through that the best thing for you would be me
(Diana Krall - The Best Thing For You)
Oh, baby, it's cryin' time
Oh, baby, I got to fly
I've got to try to find a way
I've got to try to find a way
(Led Zeppelin - Four Sticks)
Today is gonna be the day
That they're gonna throw it back to you
By now you should've somehow
Realized what you gotta do
(Paul Anka/Oasis - Wonderwall)
Hear the sound of the falling rain,
Coming down like an Armageddon flame
The ones who died without a name
(Green Day - Holiday)
Easy selector cos I know that you're ruff
And the way you play ya tunes ya know you're musically tough
I catch your vibe and the way you carry on
An you feel say you wicked as you rock the session
(Skindred - Selector)
Lately I've been running on faith
What else can a poor boy do?
But my world will be right
When love comes over you
(Eric Clapton - Running on Faith)
Hear the screams of Center 42
Loud enough to bust your brains out
The opposition's tongue is cut in two
Keep off the street 'cause you're in danger
(Rolling Stones - Under Cover of the Night)
I have been blind, unwilling to see
The true love you're giving.
I have ignored every blessing.
I'm on my knees confessing
(Josh Groban - My Confession)
Soon our fortunes will be made, my darling
And we will leave this loathsome little town
Silver bells jingling from your black lizard boots, my baby
Silver foil to trim your wedding gown
(Paul Simon - Proof)
Doesn't matter what you believein
(Smashing Pumpkins - Cherub Rock)
Jamie’s on the bathroom floor she don’t know why
She’s shaking underneath the sink can’t feel a thing
She’d love to live a life she’s afraid of failure
With all the voices in her head
(David Usher - Alone in the Universe)
He sat down with his guitar in a distant place
When a man walks up and tells him
"Buddy there are some things you cannot say"
(Tom Cochrane - Brave and Crazy)
tags: Memes, Music
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Go to your 6th journal entry: Playing tourist downtown
Write down the 6th sentence: On two steaks, I saved ten dollars over what I would have paid at one of the major grocery chains.
Now, give 6 links which have something to do with this journal entry and/or sentence:
Argentina on two steaks a day
Police Say Woman Stole Two Steaks, Cheese
The Ballad of Bloody Thursday
Uncle Sam's 3-coin Register Bank
Grocery chains in food fight with Quebec government
How safe is your grocery store?
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Aren't we damn, self-deprecating Canadians enough to make you puke?
Weird Al Yankovic: Canadian Idiot Lyrics
Don’t want to be a Canadian idiot
Dont want to be some beer swillin’ hockey nut
and do I look like some frost bitten hosehead
I never learned my alphabet from A to zed
They all live on donuts and moose meat
and they leave the house without packin’ heat
never even bring their guns to the mall
and you know what else is too funny
their stupid monopoly money
can’t take ‘em seriously at all
Well maple syrup and snow’s what they export
they treat curling just like it’s a real sport
they think their silly accent is so cute
can’t understand a thing they’re talking aboot
sure they got their national health care
cheaper meds for prime rates and clean air
then again well they got celine dion
eat their weight in kraft macaroni
and dream of driving a zamboni
all over saskatchewan
Don’t want to be a Canadian idiot
We’ll figure out their temperature in Celcius
see the map they’re hovering right over us
tell you the truth it makes me kinda nervous
always hear the same kind of story
break your nose and they’ll just say sorry
tell me what kind of freaks are that polite
It’s gotta mean they’re all up to something
so quick before they see it coming
time for a pre-emptive strike
tags: Music, Humour
Monday, September 25, 2006
I'm going to wait until this Thursday - two weeks after a I initially posted it - to reveal the complete list. In the meantime, here are some hints for you.
#1) Seriously, people! I thought this was the easiest one on the list. Especially after the other, less well known song by the same band was revealed earlier.
#3 and #4) are also by the same band. Not the same band as #1, but the same as each other. OK, another hint, they are Canadian, and former East Coast Music Award winners.
#5) This soul artist opened the TD-Canada Trust Downtown Jazz Festival in 2005. His/their biggest hit was called "Can't Stop."
#7) This Canadian artist has another song - that has already been identified - on this list.
#9) Another Canadian. Married to Elvis. No, I'm not kidding.
#10) Give me a break, people. This is only one of the most influential rock and roll bands of the twentieth century. Their lead singer just released a new solo album. I thought this one was practically a gimme.
#13) No, I'm not surprised you didn't get this one. They're a relatively new band from the UK who I have profiled in this space before. They do not play Led Zeppelin songs or have an Elvis impersonator as their lead singer. Like anyone would.
#17) Used to have a partner. Never married to Elvis, but I'm pretty sure he's been to Graceland.
#19) Yeah, I didn't think you'd get this one either. Used to sing in a Canadian rock band, now a solo artist. If you push, you might figure it out.
Remember, Google is cheating! If you don't know 'em, come back on Thursday and I'll reveal the full list. Also, if you have done this meme in your own journal, leave a link so I can play along, too.
tags: Memes, Music
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Weekend Assignment #130: Tell us if you like or don't like baseball (which is Athena's favorite sport), and (as extra credit) if you played it as a kid (or would play it, if you were a kid now). Write it up in your blog or journal and then come back here and leave a link. Athena thanks you for your cooperation.Well, Athena, yes, I do like baseball. It is one of the most interesting sports out there, but, unfortunately, in this day and age of the need for instant gratification, baseball, formerly America's Game, has somewhat fallen by the wayside. Sports fans seem more attracted to NFL football, where they get to watch sweaty, three hundred pound men brutalize each other, and then, when they are finished, pat each other on the backside; or NASCAR, where they get to watch people with funny accents drive noisy cars in circles for hours, and if they are really lucky, smash 'em up real good.
Baseball is a game of subtleties, and people, in general, just aren't that subtle any more.
I played baseball as a child...a bit. My parents enrolled me in T-ball when I was very young. You know, the one where there are no pitchers, and the kids hit the ball off of tees set up at home plate? I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the final inning of the final game of the season. Bases were loaded, two out. Well, I don't remember that part, but it sounds more dramatic, doesn't it?
I was standing at the tee, trying to balance the batting helmet, so it didn't fall into my eyes, and hoist the bat high enough to get it on my shoulder at the same time, when the coach came out. He bent down and whispered in my ear, "hit it down the third base line, and run to first."
I swung as hard as I could, hit a blistering shot down the first base line, and ran to third. Game over. Season over. Baseball experiment in the Little household over. All of my friends went on to play regular softball the next year except me. I flat out refused to join.
Fast forward about eight years, and our local ball association has decided to start a baseball team. I say baseball as opposed to the softball they had been playing up to that point. All of my friends were very excited. We all called it "hardball," and considered it to be real baseball. My buddies convinced me to come out with them and try out.
In all fairness, I shouldn't have made the team. All the other kids had eight years of softball experience, and I had eight years of playing soft toss in the back yard with my Dad experience, with the occasional game of positions in the school yard thrown in.
You know what positions is, don't you? That's the game we used to play at recess and lunch in elementary school. There are four batters, and all the other players take up positions in the field. When a batter gets out, he dons his glove, and moves to the right field position. Every other player rotates around, with the catcher joining the batting squad. I'm pretty sure we called it something else back then, but I sure can't remember.
Anyway, I was the least talented kid on the field, but the coaching staff made a decision - with the permission of the league - to not cut any players, and run with a roster of twenty one or so guys. It was considered a developmental move, as it was our first year in the league.
Sure worked for me, because in subsequent years I did make the team, even though there were cuts made, and eventually went from part time right fielder to starting second baseman.
After a few years playing, I had to quit the team when I got a part time job. My new boss asked me if there were any nights I didn't want to work, and I named two nights a week, practice night, and game night. So he scheduled me those nights. I'm sure he got a kick out of it. Jerkwad.
So, Athena, to answer your questions, yes, I like baseball. Yes, I played it as a kid, and if I were a kid again, I'd like to think I'd play it again. Heck, I've been thinking of joining a local slow pitch league. I might just be playing it again next spring.
tags: Memes, Weekend Assignment, Weekly Assignment
Friday, September 22, 2006
During one of her daily classes a teacher trying to teach good manners,tags: Humour
asked her students the following question:
"Michael, if you were on a date having dinner with a nice young
lady, how would you tell her that you have to go to the bathroom?"
Michael said, "Just a minute I have to go pee."
The teacher responded by saying, "That would be rude and impolite.
What about you Peter, how would you say it?"
Peter said, "I am sorry, but I really need to go to the bathroom.
I'll be right back."
"That's better, but it's still not very nice to say the word
bathroom at the dinner table.
And you, little Johnny, can you use your brain for
once and show us your good manners?"
"I would say: Darling, may I please be excused for a moment? I have
to shake hands with a very dear friend of mine, whom I hope you'll get
to meet after dinner."
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Also, CarnivAOL has been published for this week. Yay!
tags: CarnivAOL, Humour
Actually, I don't mind so much. There's this other thing she does, too. We have this set of matching towels in the bathroom, and even though we have a whole linen closet full of other towels, she only ever wants the one set in there. Even on laundry day, she won't put a different set of towels out. She takes the towels that are in there, throws them in the washer; when that's done, she throws them in the dryer; and when that's done she puts them back in the bathroom. All told, the process takes about two hours or so, during which time, there are no towels in the bathroom.
So, if I go in to use the facilities, and wash my hands - which I do, because I'm a clean guy - I dry my hands on one of her housecoats.
tags: Misc., Humour
Monday, September 18, 2006
SEPT. 12 - NEW YORK — Brad Pitt, ever the social activist, says he won't be marrying Angelina Jolie until the restrictions on who can marry whom are dropped. "Angie and I will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able," the 42-year-old actor reveals in Esquire magazine's October issue, on newsstands Sept. 19.
Normally, I have no time for entertainment gossip news. I couldn't care less which recent co-star Jennifer Anniston is banging, or who Russell Crowe last clocked with a telephone. But, something about the above quoted news story made me pause.
Somewhere, in the deep, unused recesses of my mind, a little bell was ringing. Well, it wasn't really that clear, like a bell ringing. More like one of those little, silver dinner bells, except that whoever was ringing it had it all wrapped up in a napkin, so that instead of going, "ding, ding," it was going, "tink, tink." You know, one of those things you're not really sure you're hearing at all. Which I wasn't, really, because it was in my head.
I didn't think anything more of it until today, when I was doing a little bit of routine tidying of the computer. I was going through the 'My Documents' folder, deleting old pictures of kittens, and well endowed women, and Jackass videos that people insist on sending me via e-mail, when I came across a text document titled: Breakfast Television Psychic Predictions 20-06-2006, containing predicitons made on air by Toronto Psychic May Miller.
Suddenly, a light went on. It was so bright, that the guy with the dinner bell threw up his hands to cover his eyes, inadvertently hitting himself in the head with the little, napkin-wrapped package, which dropped to the floor. The napkin flipped open, and the bell rolled across the floor to the stairs, over the edge, and into the basement: "Ding, clank, thud, ding, smack, ding, flub, rattle, rattle, rattle."
What? That's what it sounded like. In my head.
Anyway, it reminded me of why that news article caught my subconscious attention. I had written about Toronto Psychic May Miller and her predictions back when she first made them, and again several weeks later. One of Toronto Psychic May Miller's predictions was that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie would marry before the end of the year. Now, I know the year's not over yet, but the above quoted news story would seem to indicate that an upcoming marriage is pretty unlikely.
Then again, Angie could well hit the proverbial roof after hearing those comments, and Bradley might end up popping the question and rushing to the altar in a contrition wedding ceremony in the very near future. You never know with women. We will have to just wait and see how this prediction by Toronto Psychic May Miller plays out.
Oh, and, apparently, J-Lo is still not pregnant.
tags: Skepticism, Humour
Sunday, September 17, 2006
The instructions are simple: change the color and/or boldface the shows you've watched at least three complete episodes of, and Bold and Italicize a show if you're certain you've seen every episode of it.
You can add up to three shows to the list, but keep them in alphabetical order.
3rd Rock from the Sun
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
American Idol/Pop Idol/Canadian Idol/Australian Idol
America's Next Top Model/Germany's Next Top Model
Babylon 5: CrusadeBattlestar
Battlestar Galactica (the old one)
Battlestar Galactica (the new one)
Beauty & the Beast
Beavis & Butthead
The Ben Stiller Show
Beverly Hills 90210
Boy Meets World
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Commander in Chief
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Dancing with the Stars
Dead Like Me
Degrassi: The Next Generation
Dharma & Greg
Doctor Who (new Who)
Doctor Who (series 1-26)
Dungeons and Dragons
Earth - Final Conflict
Escape From Planet Earth
Everybody Loves Raymond
Facts of Life
Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
Head of the Class
Hill Street Blues
Homicide: Life on the Street
I Dream of Jeannie
I Love Lucy
Iron Chef (Japan)
Iron Chef (USA)
Kath and Kim
La Femme Nikita
Laverne and Shirley
Law & Order
Law & Order: Criminal Intent
Law & Order: SVU
Little House on the Prairie
Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
Lost in Space
Love, American Style
Malcolm in the Middle
Mork & Mindy
My Favorite Martian
My Life as a Dog
My Mother the Car
My So-Called Life
My Three Sons
My Two Dads
Mysterious Cities of Gold
One Tree Hill
Parker Lewis Can't Lose
Pirates of Darkwater
Project Blue Book ("Project UFO" in UK)
Queer As Folk (US)
Queer asFolk (British)
Queer Eye For The Straight Guy
Sanford & Son
Saved by the Bell
Scarecrow and Mrs. King
Scooby-Doo Where Are You?
Sex and the City
Six Feet Under
Slings and Arrows
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Star Trek: Voyager
Star Trek: Enterprise
That 70's Show
That's So Raven
The Addams Family
The Andy Griffith Show
The Beverly Hillbillies
The Bionic Woman
The Book of Daniel
The Colbert Report
The Cosby Show
The Daily Show
The Dead Zone
The Dick Van Dyke Show
The Dukes of Hazard
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
The Golden Girls
The Greatest American Hero
The L Word
The Love Boat
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
The Mighty Boosh
The Office (UK)
The Office (US)
The Outer Limits
The Real World
The Six Million Dollar Man
The Suite Life of Zack and Cody
The Twilight Zone
The West Wing
The Wild Wild West
The Wonder Years
What Not To Wear (US)
What Not To Wear (UK)
Whose Line is it Anyway? (US)
Whose Line is it Anyway? (UK)
Will & Grace
Xena: Warrior Princess
If you wish to play along -- and if you're reading this, consider yourself so challenged -- the easiest way to do so is to copy the list above to TypePad or NotePad so that the boldface or italicized formatting will not copy with it, then you can adjust as necessary on your own blog.
In case you are wondering, the three I added were Project Blue Book, Millenium, and The Dukes of Hazard.
tags: Memes, Televison
Sunday, 9:15 P.M. - Edited to add: Just had a look at the list, and suddenly realised that Beauty and the Beast is that 80s show featuring Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman. I used to love that show.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Weekend Assignment #129: Write about something that makes absolutely no sense to you, or that you find almost impossibly ironic. This covers a lot of ground so let me make it simpler: Write about something you just don't get. You've rolled it around in your brain, you've thought about it, and it just doesn't add up. Yeah. Tell us about that thing. From the enduring popularity of talentless celebrities to people who put mayonnaise on their french fries (yes, I'm looking at you, Belgium), there's got to be something out there that makes you go, "huh?" Or, for the kids, something that makes you go "WTF?"You know what makes absolutely no sense to me? Virtually everybody grows out of their childhood beliefs in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, but the majority of people never grow out of their belief in God. The evidence supporting the existence of any of them is about the same. The stories about them, all three, are equally fanciful. In fact, the stories about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny tend to have fewer contradictions and internal inconsistencies than those about God. I mean, have you read The Bible? Yeesh! Yet something like 85% of the people in North America believe in a God they cannot see, smell, hear, taste, or touch. That absolutely makes me go "WTF?"
Extra Credit: There's a song playing in your head right now. Tell us what it is.
Extra Credit: Dear God, by XTC. (Actually, I far prefer the cover of this song done by Sarah McLachlan. It adds her hauntingly beautiful voice, and loses the new-wavy 80s groove. Much better.)
Dear god, hope you get the letter and...
I pray you can make it better down here
I don't mean a big reduction in the price of beer
But all the people that you made in your image
See them starving in the street
'Cause they don't get enough to eat from god
I can't believe in you
Dear god, sorry to disturb you but...
I feel that I should be heard loud and clear
We all need a big reduction in amount of tears
And all the people that you made in your image
See them fighting in the street
'Cause they can't make opinions meet about god
I can't believe in you
Did you make disease and the diamond blue?
Did you make mankind after we made you?
And the devil too!
Dear god don't know if you noticed but...
Your name is on a lot of quotes in this book
And us crazy humans wrote it, you should take a look
And all the people that you made in your image
still believing that junk is true
Well I know it ain't, and so do you
I can't believe in
I don't believe
I won't believe in heaven or hell
No saints, no sinners, no devil as well
No pearly gates, no thorny crown
You're always letting us humans down
The wars you bring, the babes you drown
Those lost at sea and never found
And it's the same the whole world 'round
The hurt I see helps to compound
That father, son and holy ghost
Is just somebody's unholy hoax
And if you're up there you'll perceive
That my heart's here upon my sleeve
If there's one thing I don't believe in...
There. Now it's in your head, too. Maybe it can do some good there.
tags: Memes, Weekend Assignment, Skepticism, Music
Step 1: Put your iPod /Tunes or MP3 player on random.
Step 2: Post the first line(s) from the first 20 songs that play, no matter how embarrassing the song.
Step 3: Post and let everyone you know guess what song and artist the lines come from.
Step 4: Strike out the songs when someone guesses correctly.
Step 5: Looking them up on Google or any other search engine is CHEATING.
OK, here they are. If you think you recognise one of them, identify it in the comments thread. I did modify the list a little bit. For example, when a song from the same band came up for a third time, I skipped it. As well, there were at least three instrumental tracks that I had to skip as well, for obvious reasons.
1. "I've been around the world."
3. "She doesn't see the coming fall."
4. "Hey you, you lost your only friend."
5. "Our song used to be a lullaby."
7. "When morning comes to me, I see ___________"
9. "I only want what's the best thing for you."
13. "Easy selector 'cause I know that you're ruff."
17. "Soon our fortunes will be made, my darling."
19. "Jamie's on the bathroom floor, she don't know why."
tags: Memes, Music
Thursday, September 14, 2006
1) The latest edition of The Skeptics' Circle has been published at Adventures in Ethics and Science. The Skeptics' Circle is a semi-monthly blog carnival focused on the topics of skepticism and critical thinking. Check it out.
2) CarnivAOL is accepting submissions for the next edition, to be published Tuesday, September 19, 2006. CarnivAOL is a semi-monthly blog carnival of the vanities focused on the AOL/AIM journals community. Check it out.
tags: Blogging, CarnivAOL,
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
With last year's squad falling short of the post season, nothing less than a run deep into the playoffs will satisfy the rabid Leafs' faithful. Many questioned the work of General Manager John Ferguson Jr. last year, but he preserved his own job by letting go of uber-coach Pat Quinn. Hiring coach Paul Maurice from the AHL Toronto Marlies was a risky move that, if the team fails to perform better this year, should result in the firings of both of them.
Are you listening, Maple Leaf Sports Entertainment? The Leaf Nation is watching you, and YOU'RE ON NOTICE!
via: You're On Notice! - The Stephen Colbert "On Notice Board" Generator
tags: Toronto Maple Leafs
Monday, September 11, 2006
Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughsI was thinking about the terrorist attacks of September 11th, and was reminded of the poem Fern Hill, by Dylan Thomas. Although the attacks were on America, the whole world has been changed by them. We were young and easy, happy and green. All that is over.
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes
After 9/11 time will no longer let us play and be golden. Now, we look over our shoulders with fear. We look at our neighbours with distrust. We look at each other with uncertainty.
The last one is the worst. Fear we can overcome. Distrust we can set aside. But uncertainty...that will eat you up inside. There is nothing worse in the world than not knowing. It's why we invented God in the first place.
In a post 9/11 world, people are no longer sure. Sure that they are safe in their homes, safe in their schools, safe in their jobs. And people want to be sure. Thay cannot live with the uncertainty that has entered our world. I believe that is why we are seeing such a strong resurgence in religion in the world these days. People are desperately grasping for something they can be sure about, and the church tells them they can be sure about God.
In a world where our certainty in our safety can be taken away by nineteen men with box cutters, we will take hold of any fantasy we can to try and take some certainty back.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea.
tags: Skepticism, September 11
Weekend Assignment #128:(ed: this link no longer goes anywhere) Share your thoughts about 9/11. You can remember back on what you were doing on the day or give some thought to how we think about it today. Thoughts personal, political or philosophical are all up for consideration. Tell us all what you think about when you think about September 11, 2001.A year ago I wrote this about 9/11 (numbers shown current as of September 11, 2005)
Total death toll in World Trade Center disaster-2752Almost exactly one year later, these are the headlines: No al-Qaeda tie.
Total American Death toll in Iraq War to date-1896 (if you add other coalition troops, that number reaches 2093)
Estimated Iraqi death toll-somewhere between 24,680 and 27,930
Amount of credible evidence that Iraq had anything at all to do with the September 11th terrorist attacks-
Globe and Mail - Saddam Hussein regarded al-Qaeda as a threat rather than a possible ally, a U.S. Senate report says, contradicting assertions President George W. Bush used to build support for the war in Iraq that he launched to counter a threat of weapons of mass destruction that were never found.When the United States first went to war in Iraq, there was much disillusionment and anger on the part of the American Government and people that Canada declined to join them in that endeavour. Our government's position has always been that the war in Iraq was never connected to the "war on terror." Five years later, I am as proud now as I was then to be a Canadian whose government is not participating in what has clearly been shown to be nothing more that a personal vendetta of George W. Bush.
The report discloses for the first time an October, 2005, CIA assessment that before the war, Mr. Hussein's government "did not have a relationship" with al-Qaeda operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi or his associates.
But that's all completely off topic. The weekend assignment was to recount our personal reminiscences of what we were doing on the day of the terrorist attacks against the people of the United States of America.
I was driving to work that morning when the radio announcers made some comment about a plane flying into the World Trade Center in New York. They had heard early unconfirmed reports of the incident, with no details available. I don't think they believed it had really happened, or perhaps thought it was some kind of light plane, and were making jokes about it; pilot of the plane deserves a Darwin award kind of thing. Then they went to a commercial.
As I was pulling into the parking lot at work, they came back from commercial in a much more sombre mood. Apologising for making light of the situation earlier, they indicated that it seemed to be much more serious, and suggested that anyone who was listening might want to get to a TV.
I sprinted into the store.
At the time I was working at an independent home electronics retail store selling upper end home theater systems, so I was surrounded by televisions all day long. I flipped on the double row of breakers in the back room to fire up the store, ran straight to the big-screen SONY in the front window, and turned it to CNN.It was less than ten minutes later that I saw, live, as it happened, the second plane fly into the second tower of the World Trade Center. I remember thinking that Hollywood special effects of planes and buildings blowing up were amazingly realistic after now having seen the real thing. I remember thinking that was a bizarre, and probably unsympathetic thing to be thinking. I remember having a tough time putting together solid, coherent thoughts for a while.
I thought back to the morning, fifteen years earlier, that I had stumbled groggily out of my bedroom and turned on the TV just in time to watch the Space Shuttle Challenger explode seventy-three seconds into its tenth lift off. Except that was an accident, and this, clearly, was not.
It was like the day the Earth stood still. For some reason I was alone that morning. The co-worker I usually shared the shop with on Tuesday mornings was late, or off, I don't seem to remember. [Edit: He just replied to the e-mail I sent him yesterday. Apparently, he was there that morning, but I have no memory of him. I was in a bubble.] The boss wasn't in either. I assume he had flipped on the TV before he left the house, and got caught watching there.
I pulled a chair out from the lunch table in the back room, and plopped it in the middle of the showroom floor, in front of the big TV. I stretched a phone cord as far as it would go, and put the phone out where I could answer it without running behind the counter. The phone didn't ring. No customers came into the store. There were no deliveries. For long stretches of time, there was no one else in the world but me and a fifty inch view of CNN. The world had suddenly become an unfamiliar place.
From time to time an employee from one of the other stores in the plaza would pop in during their break. They knew where to go to find a TV. For ten minutes we would silently share each other's company, and then they would go back to their jobs. As the door closed behind them it became as if they hadn't really existed; as if I had imagined them, like I was imagining the horrible things I was seeing on the television screen.
As the morning wore on, we started to see new footage, as it trickled into the news services from camera men in the field. Among the most dramatic was the shot of the first plane roaring overhead and smashing into the North Tower, caught by a cameraman filming a documentary about firefighters.
It seemed like hours of watching replays of the second plane slamming into the South Tower, and long range shots of people at windows begging for help, and , once or twice, those people giving up and leaping to their deaths rather than face the nightmare of smoke and fire behind them. In reality it was only about fifty-eight minutes before the steel reinforcing beams between the seventy-seventh and eight-fifth floors of the South Tower, weakened by the intense heat, gave out,and the entire building fell straight down, burying itself in its own basements. Twenty-nine minutes later, the North Tower suffered the same fate, and the world, which was already stranger than it had been when I got out of bed, became virtually unrecognisable. Like the new New York City skyline.
That skyline today, irrevocably altered by the events of less than two hours five years ago, is a metaphor for this new world we live in. You see it, and at first glance it looks the same, but something, something you almost cannot put your finger on, is missing. I look at that skyline, and there is a hole in it. I know there should be those two, iconic towers thrusting skyward, but I can't see where they are supposed to go.
There's a hole in the world, and the air is leaking out. I'm watching the news around the world, and it's hard to breathe sometimes. Can a new World Trade Center on the site plug the hole, and fix the world. Somehow I doubt it.
tags: Memes, Weekend Assignment, September 11
Sunday, September 10, 2006
John Barleycorn Must Die - TrafficKate also asked how strongly influenced our choices were by the music of our youth. I think an examination of the above list answers that question pretty conclusively. There isn't a song there that was released in the last decade, and nine of the ten are more than twenty years old. Heck, five of them are more than thirty years old, and two of those songs were released before I turned five.
The Last Resort - Eagles
Thunder Road - Bruce Springsteen
Brothers in Arms - Dire Straits
Dante's Prayer - Loreena McKennitt
Blinding Light Show - Triumph
Epitaph - King Crimson
Last Rendezvous ("Ron's Piece") - Jean Michel Jarre
The Peacocks - Branford Marsalis
Hoop Dancer - Bruce Cockburn
Note that if you were to ask me to list my favourite albums, or bands, the list would look significantly different. For example, Pink Floyd is probably in the top three of my favourite all time bands, based on their comprehensive body of work, but I can't think of a single song of thiers that I would even consider putting on the above list. My favourite albums of all time would definitely include In The Court Of The Crimson King, the album Epitaph is from, but I don't think any other song on that list would be represented.
What are your favourite songs?
tags: Memes, Music
Saturday, September 9, 2006
"NBC decided that this series would be most successful if we had sort of a monster of the week to sell. What's the monster this week? And so they put a monster show on the air the first episode, and I think it was a terrible mistake, because it was really not what we were about.''Sound familiar, Firefly fans?
Friday, September 8, 2006
AOL journals editor Joe has posted an entry called The Ultimate Blog Post?, in which he mentions an article at Wired News about blogging. The article satires some of the big name blogs by describing "the ultimate perfect blog entries" for them. For example, "the ultimate perfect blog entry" for Cute Overload is described as, "a kitten licking a puppy while the puppy licks a bunny." Awww, so cute!
So, here's the game. In the comments thread here, post your version of the quintessential Aurora Walking Vacation blog post. If there was something you could write that everyone who saw it would say, "hey, that's an AWV blog entry," what would it be?
tags: I have absolutely no idea
Some of the comics at xkcd.com are nothing more than silly, non-sequiter humour. Then, occasionally, they come up with something so topical it hurts.
tags: Humour, Skepticism
Thursday, September 7, 2006
In practice, e-mail alerts are intermittent, at best. While I still subscribe to e-mail alerts to inform me when new comments are posted in my blogs, I long ago gave up on reliably receiving new entry alerts for the AOL journals I read.
Not that that was the only problem I had with reading blogs. Only about a third of the blogs I read are AOL journals, so AOL's e-mail alerts did not cover two thirds of my daily reading list. At first, I simply bookmarked all my regular haunts in my favourite places folder, and checked them all every day.
How often do you update your blog? Every day? I know I certainly don't, and with a few exceptions, most of my reading list do not either. Clicking into every single blog on the list every day, when a significant proportion of them are not updated struck me as a huge waste of my time. As the number of blogs I read approached triple figures, that waste of time became significant enough for me to want to do something about it.
Enter the RSS aggregator, or feed reader.
Most blogs (certainly all AOL journals) publish a syndication feed along with the regular web page. The syndication feed carries a simplified version of each entry a blogger makes: the basic text, and sometimes images, without the more complicated html coding. So, for example, a blog's colour scheme, or other fancy formatting doesn't come through on the RSS feed.
A feed reader, or aggregator, is a piece of software that will save your list of feeds (blogs) and check them all for you, whenever you want, and tell you which ones have been updated since last you checked. It is then often possible to read those updated entries right in the feed reader, without clicking through to the blog itself. If you read a lot of blogs, this is an invaluable tool that will save you hours every week.
A year ago, feed readers were a somewhat esoteric luxury enjoyed only by the most geeky among us. It was a big deal when the new version of Safari, the Mac Internet browser, came with one built in. Being somewhat cautious about downloading new software, I went looking for an online solution, and found bloglines.com. Bloglines offers the ability to create a list of feeds, organise them into various categories, and check them regularly, by simply visiting, and logging into the website.
You can see what my list looks like by clicking on the link called My complete blogroll in the right sidebar of my main page. What you will see is a column on the left side of the screen with five main categories listed. Clicking on the little plus symbol beside a category name will expand the list to show the feeds in each one. Clicking on one of the blog titles will bring up the available feeds for that blog in the larger window on the right. Cool, huh?
You'll notice that some of the feeds are not blogs. I have subscribed to several web comics. As well, all of the online news services publish RSS feeds which you can subscribe to. I even receive updates of any new activity at Meanderingly, an online writing project I contribute to, which is a Wiki.
Some recent glitches at bloglines prompted me to go out and investigate other feed reading options, such as Mozilla Firefox extensions like NewsFox and Sage, and stand alone readers, like Feed Demon. Then, in researching this article, I discovered that most major web portals have now incorporated feed reading into their web pages. For example, if you visit your favourite AOL journal, and click on the link at the top called 'Get the feed.' you will see a box pop up offering to help you subscribe via one of six online feed reader options, including My AOL, Google, and My Yahoo!
Out of curiosity, I click on the Google reader link, and was immediately taken to a page that offered to let me use either Google Homepage, or Google Reader to subscribe. I clicked Google reader, went through a brief registration process, and boom, I was reading my favourite blog in an RSS aggregator. Neato!
Try it, you'll like it.
Tuesday, September 5, 2006
We had a particularly old-world Italian style dinner last night. The wife cooked up some fresh tomato sauce from tomatoes straight off the vine. Added that to some homemade pasta. Also, battered, fried, Sicilian pumpkin, and speducci (BBQed lamb skewers). Mmm.
Aperitif was some home made fortified wine made by my wife's uncle Mario that we brought home from Italy with us last year. It's a year old now, so we decided to open a bottle and try it. Yum!
First day of school, and Matt's off to Grade 7 this year. Although he won't admit it, he's looking forward to the year. His teacher this year is also the music teacher, and he's looking forward to joining the intermediate band. He started playing the saxophone at school last year, and has expressed interest in a local music enrichment program offered for grade six, seven, and eight students at the local high school.
tags: Misc., CarnivAOL