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Cranial Cleanse: Brain On Shuffle — Questionable Cerebral Activity.

August 29, 2011 Leave a comment

As per evolutionary theory, Nudists should either become extremely hairy to keep warm and technically devolve back into monkeys, shouldn’t they? The evolutionary theory, of course, being that creatures adapt to their surroundings to survive? Seems like instead of putting clothes on to keep warm (which they are refusing to do), their bodies/brains should automatically switch on the “grow more hair to keep warm” button. Maybe Sasquatch sightings are really devolved nudists? If they don’t devolve, maybe nudists will go extinct all together.

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Speaking of questionable brain functions, what’s the deal with the mass worm suicides when it rains? Who’s the idiot worm spearheading the campaign call for every worm everywhere to surface when it starts raining, and then shrivel up and die all over my driveway? These worms must be the cult leaders of the worm world. Also, who knew there were that many worms?

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From my freezer, 5 minutes ago. I could take this same picture of different bananas every month.

Why do people insist on freezing their rotten bananas? As good as your intentions may be, and as good as banana bread is, you know you’re never going to make it. So just throw them away when they go bad.

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Why do people want you to smell bad things? Why is it that whenever something smells bad, there’s always someone who says, “aww man, this smells awful! Hey, come over here and smell this!” It smells BAD, moron, what makes your brain think this is a characteristic I look for in things I wish to smell?

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How useless is the “let me know if you don’t get this” email message? How would you know you didn’t get it? Should I reply to a non-existent email to confirm my not having received the message?

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Yahoo! Answers might be the most useless page on the internet. Yahoo Wrong/Irrelevant/Speculative-at-best Answers would be a more accurate name for that website.

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anti-biotics, pro-biotics….. cripes, do I want biotics in my body or not??? Is there a neutral biotic?

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HD TV technology has made me realize how much makeup sportscasters wear on-air during broadcasts. Seems a little uncalled for, like when they make elementary school boys wear red lipstick and makeup to perform in school musicals.

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Quite the audacity by Shell, thinking they can change the index/middle finger v-shape peace sign to stand for their V-Power gas instead.  Look Shell, you’re worth a lot of money, but YOU CAN’T REPLACE PEACE WITH THE MOST EXPENSIVE GRADE OF YOUR GASOLINE.

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There should be a rule that u must have seen the movie “What About Bob?” before you’re allowed to use the term “baby steps” in conversation.

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Dear all news shows, just stop broadcasting and start syndicating The Daily Show instead of your stuff. It’s far better material.

Why Roberto Luongo is Like A Fax Machine, The Crustacean Job Crunch, and the European Style Excuse; amongst others.

June 2, 2010 4 comments

I’d like to take a moment to thank you folks, my loyal and/or re-routed from links on other websites’ audience.  Last month was again, an all-time high for reads, and marked the 10,000th read of this non-sense.  That’s a pretty low readership compared to other bloggers, but I think it’s pretty good for a guy who rattles off his random thoughts at 2 am 5 times a month.  It’s fun to see that people read this stuff, and voluntarily choose to come back again.  I’ve even had a few of you mention to me in person that you read and enjoy the blog, and that’s been pretty cool too.  So, thanks everyone!  I’ll do my best to continue to entertain you, (hopefully less often) stir up controversy, and generally thieve relatively unimportant moments of your life away from you that you’ll never get back :)

Alright, on with the show…

Mike Gillis tried to fax Luongo his termination, but got a busy signal. Oh well, only 11 more years...

 

Why on earth does faxing still exist?  It’s like laserdisc-like invention that we seemingly got too excited about too early, and then made waaaay too big of a commitment to.  It was a pretty revolutionary idea for its time, no question.  But by the time email rolled around and made it obsolete, every business in North America was still too proud that they had their shiny new fax numbers listed in the phone book, and weren’t willing to give them up.  And like the gasoline engine, or Robert Luongo’s 12-year strangling overpayment deal, we’re in too deep and/or just too proud to get out now.   

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After all man’s technological advancements and inventions, the power still goes out when it gets stormy. Can we solve that already?  We can broadcast a zillion useless channels to every TV on the planet, move ourselves with every form of transportation imaginable on and off the planet, and even create objects capable of leaving the solar system; but we can’t quite figure out how to keep the lights on when grey clouds roll in and it starts to rain.

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so, the iPad is basically just a big iPhone that doesn’t make calls? What do I need one of those for?  Of all the things I need to carry around that doesn’t fit in my pocket, is an oversized electronic rectangle one of them? 

Any iPad owners out there?  Are you happy with your purchase?  In 200 words or less, tell me why or why not, in the form of a comment. 

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We recently discovered water on the Moon & Mars, which we previously believed to be barren,  and found shrimp-like creatures living in frigid Antarctic  waters… Does anyone else get the feeling we don’t know as much about the universe as we thought we did?

How long until we start sending Honda Asimo’s to other planets to settle new civilizations?  And of course, how long until they become self-aware, and enslave the human race?

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Are we done using the “it’s European” excuse to wear ridiculous things skinny jeans, faux-hawks, and man-purses  in North America yet?  Can we just let the Europeans be the Europeans already??  Have we still not learned anything from Seinfeld???

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It’s unfortunate that misogyny is a negative word. Everyone likes massages, don’t they?

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Girls that have been told they look like their dad, or their brother, or some other male, probably shouldn’t get boy haircuts, right?

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Do you think the job market is as tough for crustaceans and other sea life as it is for humans?  Example: the Alaskan Pollock fish that are masquerading around as crab and being sold as imitation crab meat, just because they’re lower in cholesterol and cheaper; do you think they’re putting hard working real crabs out of work?  Yeah me neither.  The crabs are probably pretty pumped about not being swiped out of their existence and being boiled to death, I’d say.

The High School Reunion: Should I Stay or Should I Go Now? Did Facebook Already Kill The Need To?

April 13, 2010 16 comments

I’ve got to be careful about what I choose to write here, because I think I might inadvertently get myself de-invited. 

I while ago, I got the official (via Facebook) invitation for my 10 year high school reunion, set to go down this summer.  Good on the former students for organizing, apparently the school was ZERO help.  So with the class of 2000 set to ride again, I pose the following query for your dissection: The whole Facebook thing seems to have eliminated the need for high school reunions, hasn’t it? 

I mean, wasn’t the whole thing with the reunion to see and catch up with people you lost touch with over the last X amount of years, and catch up?  So, now with pretty well every human being on the planet having a Facebook profile, and certainly most of every grad class that ever, well, grad-ed (even those who took a little extra time)… well, haven’t we all been doing that very same catching up, and keeping IN touch with each other already, via Facebook, or email, or whatever?

For those who just wanted to see who got fat, who’s bald, who’s rich, who’s still on drugs, and/or who you think you have it better than, well, there’s an app for that all the magic of those mysteries can be solved with a few clicks on incriminating Facebook posts.  So that’s out.  Even if you just want to creep on pictures, and see every move everyone’s made over the last decade, well, that’s at your disposal too—as long as you’ve got that all important “Friend Request” approval.  You don’t even need to leave your house for that.      

And for those looking to show up and prove some point about what you made of yourself and how you’re back to extract revenge on all the people that picked on you by rubbing your accomplishments in everyone’s face, well, if you didn’t already know… YOU’RE THE REASON NO ONE WANTS TO GO TO THESE THINGS. 

Here’s a few direct quotes from people in the reunion group that I cut and paste from our reunion page; all examples of things I don’t want to deal with, nor conversations I want to become involved in, if I were to attend:

I think this past year was my best looking year”

“I’ll be at the grad reunion and be the shocker of it all”

“I neither got fat nor skinny. I got out of my Goth period and grew my hair long.”

“I wasn’t the smartest student…and some people may have thought I wouldn’t do much in my life… well I am happy to say I’m doing pretty good.”

So basically all the things that make you point out how late it is, or pretend you’re getting a call on your phone that didn’t ring, or remind yourself of what you left on the stove, or plugged in, or what’s burning down, or whatever else you can conjure up to exit that convo A-S-A-P.

Now, of course there are good, positive reasons to go.  There definitely is no replacement for seeing people in person when compared to online social networking.  There are a few good people that I would enjoy seeing, and hanging out with again.  Rekindle some old friendships, and re-connect with those who have managed to hermit themselves from technology.  Was there anyone that became famous in our class?  Hmm, might be interesting to find that out. 

Of course, there’s going to be people who’re only going to go if ______ goes, and then there’s a stalemate, and then no one goes.  And some people live really far away, and just can’t go.  I’ve been fortunate to stay good friends with the people of that group I care to keep in touch with most; and at times, I think that’s probably all I really need.

Look, high school wasn’t that bad for me, compared to some of the tortured stories I’ve heard from others.  I had some good times, and some good friends, tried to be a good dude, and also tried not to fail classes and get stuck there.  I think I learned a few things in class here and there, but math DID turn out to be useless just like we all contended; outside of calculating tips at restaurants of course.  I definitely had my insecurities, embarrassments, and jerks and idiots that I wish I never had to have dealt with; but I got out relatively unscathed.  Some stories I’ve heard are certainly of the kind of psychologically damaging material that has people paying shrinks to keep them from climbing to the top of a bell tower and opening fire.  I don’t recall crossing anyone in that manner, so I think my odds of getting shot are fairly low.  I can think of a few people whose odds are probably not in their favour though… remind again why we all want to get together with each other again?

So if we all know that eveyone’s got their issues buried somewhere down deep, can we just all agree that this thing’s not an opportunity to get revenge, or to continue being an idiot to people, or to take that last shot at love with the girl/guy you liked but were too shy to talk to, or whatever agenda you’ve been stewing in the crockpot for waaaay too long, and can we all just hang out like civilized adults that weren’t only brought together by the social bindings of a mandatory public education system?  Can we all just pretend that despite the social awkward life period of us all once being acceptance-seeking (just me?) adolescents that were forced to congregate in the same building for 5 consecutive years, that we actually want to be in the same place with each other this time for some reason?

 Or maybe should we all just go buckwild; have one side of the room for people who want to start fights, gloat, and get embarrassed by asking out the person you always wanted to date that still doesn’t want to date you roll the dice on a crack at romance, and the other side for all the people who are over themselves and their issues, and just wanna hang out and have a good time?      

Again, I hope I haven’t just lost my invitation.  I know I sound cynical, but surely I’m not the only one with these thoughts running through their heads. 

My invitation status is currently set as “Maybe Attending”.  Do you think I should go?  Why or why not?  Did you/are you going to yours?  Why or why not?  What’s your best high school reunion story?

NFL Inquiries, Trophy Triviality, and the Business that is Pro Football.

February 10, 2010 6 comments

A few thoughts on football before people’s caring about it completely drifts away until next season…

First, of course a tip of the cap to the Saints for winning the Superbowl.  I’m not anywhere near the first person to make this observation, but New Orleans was in need of something to celebrate since the Hurricane there.  Enjoy the “Lombardi Gras(awesome name)”, New Orleans!

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Now that we’re in the TiVO age, the Superbowl is the only television broadcast (possibly) in history that people will actually fast-forward the content in order to get to the commercials.  $3 million dollars for 30 seconds this year.  Here’s the best one that I saw:

So all the winners of any championship are on the field decked out in their new championship shirts and hats.  Obviously they had that stuff printed up prior to the win, and they must’ve made stuff for both teams (especially in a 1 game showdown for all the marbles, like in football).  So I’m wondering, where do all the printed shirts and hats go of the team that didn’t win the championship?  Is it carted off to be incinerated, as to not leave any evidence of its existence?  I’d love to get my hands on the 1993 Los Angeles Kings Stanley Cup Champions stuff that never made it to the public.

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The NFL recently adopted the use of captain’s C’s on their jerseys; ala the NHL.  In hockey, this identifies you as a leader, and affords you the ability to converse with referees during the game.  Hockey’s got C’s and A’s; but the NFL has developed some sort of Star Trek star ranking system.  Can any football fans out there clue me in on the responsibilities possessed by NFL captains, and how the ranking system works?

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The fact that headsets allow conversation between Quarterbacks, coaches, and team officials in the press box up top during games seems a little like cheating, doesn’t it?  Shouldn’t the players just play the game as they see it?  What happened to the well-disguised hand signals and mouth covering of baseball? 

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wait your turn, sir.

And finally, is there any more indication that the NFL is a business first, game second, than the fact that the team owner gets to hoist the Lombardi Championship Trophy first, ahead of team captains, and all the players?  I understand the whole “invested interest” thing, but come on man, those guys left it all out on the field to get their hands on that thing (also worked their entire lives to get to play at a level that’s nearly unobtainable by most humans).  Everyone tuned in to watch THE PLAYERS play football.  You paid a bunch of money.  You deserve the hoist too, but let the guys have their fun first.  Also, for how glorified the Superbowl has become, can we get them an adequately sized trophy?  Nothing says, “We’re the best in the world!” like a huge, two-hands-required, over-the-head-hoist, trophy. 

The Stanley Cup is a prime example; with all the engravings of past champs

Gretz, doin' it right.

 and additions of new sections over 100+ years of hockey.  You lift a lot more than that season over your head when you win it; especially considering you have to win 4 seperate 7 game series’ to get it.  The NFL’s just got a shiny football on a stick that you can lift with one hand.  And you can win it in one game.  Which would you rather win?

A Clean Conscience Over Artificial Success?: The Steroid Sublimination.

February 7, 2010 4 comments

 

With Mark McGwire’s recent tearful admission of steroid use throughout his baseball career after plenty of speculation, we’ve all gone and (rightfully so) pointed our fingers, called McGwire and other players who have admitted (or that we speculate) taking performance enhancing drugs, as cheaters; tarnishing world class baseball, and to an extent, world class athletics and their athletes in the process.

Now lets get one thing straight before we go any further; these guys are cheaters.  But that’s not the major point I’d like to discuss.

Before we factor in the advantage of performance enhancing drugs, can we at least admit that these athletes are simply talented individuals, gifted in their field?  McGwire made some good, or at least arguable, points throughout his admission interview.  When Bob Costas asked him if he believes he could have hit the record breaking 70 homeruns, or his 600 career homeruns, without the assistance of drugs, McGwire replied,

You mean, it wasn't the milk afterall?

Absolutely. I was given this gift by the man upstairs; to hit home runs.  I started studied pitchers. I started understanding how they try to get you out. During that, my swing was changing. I started off as a raw kid, who had the ability to hit from the back leg and hit wall-scrapping home runs. Over the years, as you saw, my swing became shorter and shorter, and I learned how to hit through the baseball…  The only reason I took steroids was for my health purposes. I did not take steroids to get any gain for any strength purposes… I’ve always had bat speed. I just learned how to shorten my bat speed. I learned how to be a better hitter. There is not a pill or an injection that is going to give me the hand-eye – or give any athlete – the hand-eye coordination to hit a baseball. A pill or an injection will not hit a baseball… As I look back now I can see why people would say [that I cheated]. As far as the God-given talent and hand-eye coordination and the genetics I was given, I don’t see it [as cheating]… I look at my swing and look at how it evolved over time.  That’s from a lot of hard work. That’s from many, many hours of hitting off the tee. I was the first one to the ballpark and the last one to leave… I just believed in my ability and my hand-eye coordination. And I believed in the strength of my mind. My mind was so strong, and I developed that on my own. No pill or no injection is going to do that.”

Former McGwire teammate, Jose Canseco, recently spoke via Twitter on the admission interview.  Though he claimed McGwire hadn’t been entirely truthful about what he said, he did make some agreeable sentiments, saying,

“Bat speed, timing, hand eye coordination, balance…. you either have it or you don’t.  Talent and hard work are key components to success as a professional athlete. Steroids do help, but you have to have the foundation.”

A 2008 documentary entitled  “Bigger, Stronger, Faster*” made some interesting points that many people may not know; such as Tiger Woods’ laser eye correction to 20/15 vision, which gives him an very unfair advantage over his competitors.  Of course, he’s really good at golf for a lot of good reasons, but this seems like an unnecessary loophole, doesn’t it?  Does he need to be talented, and have the ability to see the cup from the tee box 500 yards away?

I really believe that the best players in sports are simply better than the rest of the people on the planet at what they do.  On a level playing field, not a lot of people would be anywhere close to as good at baseball as McGwire, or as Woods in golf, or any other celebrated athlete.  Those guys are just better than you.  The players I feel bad for are the ones with that raw talent who stayed clean through their careers but were only potential major league fringe players at best, but get beat out by another player of the same talent level that didn’t stay clean, and had to watch a cheater fulfill his dream instead of him.  At least those guys will have marbles for nuts in the end.

But beyond pro sports, some people use drugs called Beta Blockers, like Propranolol, to avoid stage fright, tremor, performance anxiety, panic, pounding heart, cold/clammy hands, increased respiration, sweating, and other conditions that could cause less than optimal performance.

Many professional musicians use these anxiety reducing drugs to calm nerves and increase focus prior to performances.   So next time you’re auditioning for a spot in a band, and that guy who was no good last month suddenly gets awesome at his instrument and beats you out for a spot and becomes a big rock star while you stay home playing Guitar Hero, maybe there’s more to it?

Even students use them to improve test, homework, and school scores.  Wouldn’t you hate to think that someone got the last spot into a prestigious school, or won some sort of competition over you because they were on something, and you weren’t?

Some doctors and surgeons use the same stuff before performing procedures.  Wouldn’t you want your doctor at the top of his or her game before opening you up and playing with your life?

So the question is, are these people cheating too?  If we shine the spotlight so prominently on baseball players, pro wrestlers, bodybuilders, and other professional athletes; should we not hold people competing in entirely different fields of play accountable as well?  Where should the line be drawn?  Why can Arnold Schwarzenegger do steroids, gain fame, become a movie star, and eventually a governor; why can Sylvester Stallone beef up with HGH for the latest Rocky installment, be a hero and make a ton of money; why can countless other people in other professions put these same substances in themselves without a word of objection from anywhere, but as soon as Bonds or Sosa hit an absurd amount of homeruns, all of a sudden their reputation is tarnished forever and everything they do gets an * beside it?  Both sides are putting on a show to “set an example for the kids”, but isn’t it interesting which people become the bad guys and which carry on as they were when the truth comes out?

 

Elevator Rage Elevation, Ironic Trust, Chubby Chicken, and The Worst-Kept-Secret Service.

January 17, 2010 4 comments

 

Do we still have to call them the “Secret Service” if everyone knows about them and can easily identify them?  Considering they let random, un-invited people into Presidential functions, are they even performing

Don't even worry about fitness, they accept old fat guys too. They absorb bullets easier.

the “Service” portion of their title anymore?  Hilariously, you can even go to www.secretservice.gov and click “Who We Are” under the “About” tab, and presumably learn … who … they … are?  Isn’t that a secret too?  Also, don’t worry about being approached by a man in a trenchcoat in a dark alley one night who recruits you and makes yo give up your identity to join the service… all you have to do is click under the “Employment” tab.  Methinks this program is in need of a revamp…

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In a health-conscious age, What in the world was A&W thinking, calling some of their poultry items “Chubby Chicken”?  That’s right up there with calling your joint “Fatburger”, which I just learned, is partially owned by Queen Latifah.  Follow up with your own joke, if you can connect the dots.  There’s a couple of talent agents out there that need to be punched in the face for giving their clients the ol’ “No press is bad press” routine.

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Is it interesting to anyone else that after years of TV, radio and newspaper reporters hunting down stories, embellishing reports, and generally burying people to get their piece in print or on the evening news; that these very same news outlets are going under with the rest of the economy, and are looking for their federal governments to bail them out with the tax money they collect from the very same people that they slander (To be fair, of course their are many outlets that report correct, informative and unbiased material)  The very politicians they’re requesting funds from probably take some of the worst of it all.  Should we let them just fade away?  Probably not; but that’s not to say it wouldn’t be justified in some cases.

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Does it infuriate anyone else when they go into an elevator, select their desired floor, press the “door close” button ( –> <–), and the door DOESN’T CLOSE?!?!?  What in the world is the function of this button if it doesn’t perform the only logical duty its pictorial reference indicates?  Why install a button to tease people?  Is there a guy hiding in the rafters keeling over laughing every time someone presses the button and gets mildly annoyed while they have to wait for the elevator door to close on its own?

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For a culture that has been fuelled on paranoia of criminal activity for so long, there are at least 2 situations that seem to be impenetrable by fear of bad things happening.

First, the airport.  No, we’re still afraid of terrorists hijacking planes, BUT we sure don’t seem too worried about our luggage, do we?  We haphazardly bring it up to the agent, weigh it, tag it, drop it off like a first-grader at school, and send it on its way through that little door out to the back; and then trust that no one in a group of hundreds will steal our bags when we get to our destination and they come falling down the chute and onto a rotating conveyor belt that anyone can easily snag without question from an authority.  Usually, you get your bags; but we absolutely throw a tantrum when we don’t.  I do think the system moves luggage from a to b faster than a formal bag identification system would; but it’s at least interesting that we’ve allowed airlines to handle our possessions in this way for so long and never made much of a scene about it, isn’t it?

Second, the ski-resort outdoor ski/snowboard rack.  You’re up on a very public hill with hundreds of other people, you stop for lunch or some other reason, and prop your plenty expensive skis or board up against the rack; unlocked, without a care in the world.  You come back and hope that no one’s rode off with your $800 board and $500 bindings, or similarly priced ski stuff.  Seems to work though, I’ve still got all my stuff.

 

Math For Millions, Monopoly, Kelowna Cul-dEASE-Sac’s, Jay-Walkers, and Jail.

January 5, 2010 4 comments

I’m sorry I’ve been neglecting you for so long.  My excuse is that it’s been Christmas holidays, and now my wife and I are on vacation in Phoenix, Arizona visiting Justin Bourne (writer for the USA Today, Hockey News, and his own blog www.jtbourne.com), and his awesome fiance Brianna; where we have been stealing citrus tree fruit in large amounts(freshly stolen picked organic oranges, grapefruits, and lemons are incredible),  avoiding responsibility, and generally enjoying not being cold. 

 I also played the first game of Monopoly I’ve ever completed, and won (if you follow me on Twitter, my collected bounty was the right to abuse Bourne’s Re-tweets).  I then subsequently completed my second game the next night.  And lost.  Monopoly’s insane.  I bet you’ve walked away from more games than you’ve finished too.

Anyways, Happy New Year! Lets get on with the non-sense already… 

Is it really fair to require lottery winners to answer a skill testing question correctly in order to claim their winnings? Sure, anyone with a high-school math education SHOULD be able to answer them, but don’t you feel bad for the guy that matches all the numbers for a few million dollars, pencils in his answer, and then has his prize rejected because he got the question wrong? Or the lady who has been poor her whole life, scraped together her nickels and dimes to purchase a ticket, wins the big one, could set her and her whole family free of debt, and muffs the math question because she failed to recollect BEDMAS (Brackets, E… uh, oh) from her secondary school education 50 years ago? Are we really only allowing (moderately) intelligent people to win money? Smells like a discrimination lawsuit to me. 

Yeah, you did win, but as a result of this test, we don’t believe you are mentally capable of possessing this amount of money…” 

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Traffic circles have irked me for a long time. I hate them. They have no place in our cities. Sure they increase traffic flow, cause less accidents (except when they’re built too narrow, and a semi-truck approaches the first corner), and generally have nice potted flowers in the middle. But they just look so stupid. Who are we kidding; they’re Cul-de-Sac’s with multiple entry and exit points. Everyone knows Cul-de-Sac’s have one-and-the-same entry and exit, and only go at the end of small residential streets. Somehow, they are continuing to multiply in our cities. At last count, Kelowna was housing around 5 that I’ve seen. Something needs to be done, and quick.  Stop being so Euro, us! 

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Speaking of traffic violations, Jay-walkers. Hey guys, look, I’m one of you. I get crazy too some days, feel like breaking the law, and cross the street at un-marked areas frequently. I did it about 6 times this afternoon. But can I get a little hustle out of the rest of you? Even just swooshing your arms at an elevated speed to create the illusion that you’re running? You’re not on the white-dashed lines, we’ve established that, so you’re technically fair game out there. The audacity of the strolling jay-walker; casually, nonchalant, actually staring down a driver who has selflessly slowed down for this borderline community service candidate is absolutely mesmerizing. Don’t be a halfway jay-walker either. You’re either in or you’re out. You have no business floating on the yellow line waiting for the other side to grant you an opening. You gotta find a full street-width opening, and get ‘er goin. You simply cannot expect anyone to stop for you; treat it like it’s life and death (would you give me serious injury?). The only exception to this is the bumper to bumper traffic jam, in which the road has become similar to a parking lot. Frogger methodology may be invoked at the Jay-walker’s discretion in this scenario. 

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I don’t believe I could get drugs if I tried. I’d be terrified to even attempt it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not requesting them here; I’m just stating my inability to acquire them. People are doing them, all over the place. Smuggling, trafficking, drugs are certainly present pretty much everywhere. My home province is well known for them. Rappers rhyme about them, and I know people who have done them. But I’m now so far removed from those people, and utterly frightened to run into an undercover cop, be mauled by a drug sniffing dog, be caught on camera, and every other thing that would lead to a criminal record, jail time, and/or having my freedom to travel internationally revoked; that I shudder at the sheer schematics of me even endeavouring in obtaining them. That plus, I don’t need or want them for any reason. Please don’t offer me drugs.

My Encounters With the Hitman / Bret Hart Comes Full Circle.

December 30, 2009 4 comments

Hell has frozen over, and the swine have flown to Mexico for the winter.

The term “Never Say Never” has, well, never, been more appropriate.  Bret Hart is coming back to WWE TV. 

We all had childhood heroes, and Bret “Hitman” Hart happened to be one of mine.  Though I would find out much later in life through his 2007 autobiography, “Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling”, that he cheated on his wife a lot and dabbled in steroids; I looked up to the guy, or at least his on-screen persona, for most of my adolescence.  The “Hitman” character was a great role model (as far as wrestlers go); always standing up for what was right, never backing down from a challenge, the pursuit of excellence, teamwork, national pride, and all sorts of other BS that plenty of parents have a difficult time instilling in their children.  He even took a verbal stand against the sexual content appearing in WWE programs, knowing full well how many children tune into the show.

Though I saw him perform on TV plenty of times, I only ever got to see him wrestle live once at a non-televised “house-show” in Vancouver’s Agridome when I was in 7th grade.  We had seats pretty far back, but when I heard his entrance music start, I rushed up to the ringside barrier and was quite surprised how easily I got right to the front.  He was the WWF Champion at the time, so when he was coming around high-fiving all the fans around the ring, he had the title belt draped over his shoulder.  I remember as he drew closer to me that I was going to have to make a split-second decision over whether to slap his hand or touch the belt.  Citing in my elementary school educated mind that the belt had been with the likes of Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Randy Savage, Andre the Giant, and other legends, I elected to touch the belt.  As Bret moved onto the next fans beside me, I sort of remember getting a bewildered look from him.  Immediately, I knew I had made the wrong decision, and I’ve regretted it ever since. 

I encountered Bret again at the Molson Indy Vancouver in 1998 or 1999.  I can’t nail down the date for certain, but I remember I was still in school, and he was signing 8×10” glossy’s of him posing with the WCW US Title belt, which he held in both of those years.  My dad had gotten tickets to the race nearly annually through work.  While in the hotel, I caught on the news that Bret was at the event signing autographs, and starting the race, or something celebrity-ish.  After quite literally racing down to the track (pun) from the hotel with family in tow (actually, I couldn’t drive yet, so they were effectively towing me), I got to the end of the dwindling autograph line.  The security guard told me that he had already been signing overtime and was about to leave.  I tried my best to be a good, well-behaved fan for as long as I could, but it was to no avail.  My hero eluded me.

Right in between those encounters is where an event took place that makes this pending return to WWE TV so incredible.  The whole series of events is documented in a 1998 film called Hitman Hart: Wrestling With Shadows, a movie that accidentally uncovered the most dynamic real-life drama in the history of the wrestling business.  Around 1997, Bret’s contract was set to expire.  He resigned a 20 year deal with the then WWF to secure him in the company, and away from competitor WCW that had taken Hogan, Savage, and many other past-prime wrestlers and edged them out of the ratings war with.  Later in the year, McMahon informed Bret that the company was in “financial peril” and he wasn’t going to be able to make good on the contract.  Vince helped Bret negotiate a deal with WCW to commence at the expiry of his current contract at the conclusion of 1997.  There was concern on McMahon’s side that Bret, the then world champion, would bring the title belt to WCW TV and exploit it the way Alundra Blayze did when she took the WWF Women’s title to WCW and threw it in a garbage can during a live broadcast in 1995.  As Bret was given “reasonable creative control” of his character for the remainder of his contract, he and Vince worked out an “amicable” finish to his WWF run (Bret wore a “wire” in a backstage meeting), which would have him drop the belt gracefully on Monday Night Raw, the night after Survivor Series 1997; as he was having issues losing to his storyline and real-life nemesis, Shawn Michaels (yes, actually real fist-fights off-camera) in Canada as Bret’s character was currently a overtly Pro-

A moment of infamy.

Canadian one.  The Survivor Series match went down and concluded with an entirely different finish than was discussed; Shawn “beat” Bret after the referee said he submitted (he didn’t) and Vince himself ordered the bell rung.  After the match, Bret spit in Vince’s face, and destroyed a bunch of monitors and TV equipment.  A further backstage confrontation between Bret and Vince turned into McMahon walking out of Bret’s locker room with a black eye, woozy from being knocked out, and limping from a sprained ankle.  Needless to say, Bret hadn’t just left the company on friendly terms. 

In the last 12 years, Bret has still remained in the WWE realm.  The very next night after SS ’97, Shawn brought out a little person dressed as Bret to further humiliate him, and gloat about his title win.  A few years later, Shawn “apologized” on-camera for his part in the “Montreal Screwjob”; though he didn’t really say he was sorry.  Bret smelled a rat and declined his apology on his website.  Bret’s brother Owen died in 1999 while performing a ring entrance stunt that went wrong; Bret and his family sued the WWE, and seemingly further divided the already strained relationship. 

In 2005, Bret and WWE jointly produced a DVD collection chronicling Bret’s

A relationship on the mend.

 wrestling career.  It was a large success, and some would say that this partnership paved the way for Bret’s WWE Hall of Fame induction in 2006, where Bret appeared live, and gave a speech.  He declined to appear in front of the live audience the next night at Wrestlemania, citing that he wasn’t comfortable with it.  Interestingly, he stipulated that he didn’t want Shawn anywhere near the event or he would walk out.  Michaels obliged, and there was no incident.  This year, WWE teased a Hitman appearance at a Calgary event; they played his entrance music and introduced him, but the Canadian crowd was greeted by “American Hero” Sgt. Slaughter waving “Old Glory” instead.  And this brings us to the latest incident, where after Raw guest host Dennis Miller teased Bret’s return again, amongst internet rumors of Bret signing an on-camera contract, McMahon himself (with the aid of Michaels) announced that Bret will return to WWE as Raw’s guest host next week.  With his contractual obligations speculatively lasting until Wrestlemania, a Bret/Vince/Shawn storyline seems unavoidable.

So now I’m emotionally torn.  I’m thrilled that my former hero is returning to TV, but I’m concerned about the motives behind the comeback.  Bret suffered a career-ending concussion while in WCW, and a stroke while in retirement; so the odds of him actually involving himself physically are ultra slim.  He made a lot of money over his career, and I doubt he’s hurting for a payday.  So what’s the motivation?  He could be in it to help out his relatives of The Hart Dynasty.  But after all the years of sticking to his guns, and saying he’d never forget what happened to him or do business with WWE again, here he is.  Bret has been criticized for years about not being able to “move on” or “let it go”; is this maybe just simply the way to bring closure to a legendary, but expired, issue?  Has he finally been able to forgive and forget?  Should his fans do the same as well?

To those who follow wrestling, it’s no secret that Hulk Hogan is making his debut for TNA Wrestling on the same night; so clearly Bret’s return is in hopes of thwarting a ratings shift.  But contrary to the last few years of haphazardly tuning in to WWE due to uninteresting storylines and over-played feuds, I’m going to be absolutely glued to my TV come Monday.

Christmas Correctness, Head Protection Paradigm Shift, and The Santa Trust Betrayal.

December 22, 2009 3 comments

A few wintery-Christmas thoughts to tide you over for the yuletide season…

They look cool, but my heart tells me different.

I went up snowboarding for the first time this season with my older brother and my cousin.  Not for the first time recently, I, a non-helmet wearer, was outnumbered by helmet wearers.  It seems head protection is actually becoming popular, though helmets have been associated with lameness since social interaction was invented.  When I was growing up, the kids who had to wear helmets while riding their bike were always the brunt of jokes.  I was supposed to wear a helmet.  Usually though, my green head-shell would end up dangling off of my handle bars soon after I was out of house sight.  So despite all the bike safety workshops, jamborees, and parents trying to make it seem “cool” for kids to wear helmets; we all fought it tooth and nail.  Hockey, baseball, and contact sports?  No problem.  Everyone else has to, so no big deal.  Riding a bike near irresponsible motorists, or screaming down a hill at car speeds and taking jumps off of small cliffs… what are you insane? What if one of my friends saw me wearing a helmet?   

Protect my head? Wow, you’re a real loser man. Hey everyone, come look at the loser!

So here we are 1/10th of the way into the 21st century, and the paradigm has begun to shift.  I pose this question to you:

Are you a helmet wearer, or non-helmet wearer?  Why?

                                       ******************

Except for the real-life Scrooge’s out there, everyone loves Christmas.  Whether the religious background, the gifting giving/getting, time off work, family visits, or whatever, we all get wrapped up (pun) in the holidays somehow.  The whole Santa Claus thing is great fun, but have you ever stopped to consider what adults may be doing to children, psychologically, by lying to kids about a magical being that rewards them for being good at certain points in the year? 

Between Santa and the Easter bunny, we’ve created a whole folklore of deception around these  made up holiday icons; and then as the holders of kids’ established trust, we go and straight up lie to them to make them behave better.  The Easter Bunny’s pretty cut and dry; just the bunny hopping around with a basket of eggs.  But Santa’s got a home at the north pole, a workshop, wife, transportation, method of delivery, you can write letters to him and have “him” write back, “he” comes to the mall and you can sit on his lap and ask him for stuff (the good ones even have real beards), and even the local weatherman will report on the location of Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve as the Doppler radar “picks it up”.  Movies, TV, and other media outlets all present supporting evidence for kids teetering on non-belief like, “of course Santa is real” or Santa himself saying that he can’t fly his sleigh because not enough people are believing in him these days.  I don’t blame kids who believe in them way longer than they should. 

Look, don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of fun and kids love it.  But isn’t it just at least ironic that as adults of all denominations (moms, dads, uncles, aunts, older siblings, etc) work so hard to establish characters of these kids, we, the most trusted figures in the childhood, go and betray that trust so very early in their lives, for such a long period of time?  With the stigma attached to the stereotypical “rebellious teenager” who hates their parents, is it possible that some of their issues have something to do with broken trust?

I’m not saying shut down the whole Santa thing, but maybe there’s a better way to present the notion.  Ideas?

                                      ******************

The whole PC holiday greetings are getting a little out of hand, aren’t they?  Stores are actually banning their employees from saying Merry Christmas to customers; fearing offense and public backlash, leading to a drop in sales.  I grew up in Western culture, with North American institutions, celebrating Christmas, so Merry Christmas is natural to me.  Though the true meaning of Christmas is centered in Jesus Christ, you don’t necessarily have to be a Christian to say it.  I have no problem wishing someone a Happy Chanukah, Kwanza, or whatever they may be celebrate if I’m aware of it.  Quite frankly, I just don’t know/haven’t met anyone who celebrates those other holidays.  I’m sure they’re very nice people.  So am I supposed to only wish “Happy Holidays” as a blanket term in hopes of not offending people? 

Here are my questions to you.  What holiday do you celebrate over winter vacation?  What greeting do you prefer to say to others, and what would you prefer people to say to you?  Does someone saying “Merry Christmas” to you, actually offend you?

Merry Christmas / Happy (your winter occasion here)  everyone!

Spelling Bees, Button-Mashers, and the Mennonite Dress Code Dilemma.

October 14, 2009 15 comments

 

This is going to be the oldest sounding thing I’ve written, but regardless, the kids of today are going to unbelievably smart when they get to an age where they’re able to contribute to society.  That or, they’ll just keep being good at computers and video games.

My 3 year old niece and my 5 year old nephew know how to navigate the internet, and are showing me the how to beat levels on Super Mario Galaxy for Nintendo Wii. The other day I got beat in PS2 NHL ’08 Shootout by my friend Colin ( http://go-team-burritt.blogspot.com/ )’s 3 year old son (What kind of a controller uses shapes for button designations, anyways?  Screw you, Sony.).

Back in the day, adults were in awe of our generation.  In second grade, we

this machine taught me that typing f-u-n-d got you free money in SimCity.

this machine taught me that typing f-u-n-d got you free money in SimCity.

started learning to type on computerized keyboards and we were the lab rats used to figure out the first generation of black and white Mac computers.  Unfortunately for them, we spent more time figuring out SimCity and SimAnt than we did figuring out the things we were supposed to be doing, which I still can’t remember what they were.

Around the same time, I began my domination of the original Nintendo Entertainment System, which still is relatively uncontended.  Mario Brothers (all incarnations), Mega Man, Ninja Turtles, Batman, and plenty others fell to my

all kinds of awesome.

all kinds of awesome.

conquering fist and button-mashing thumbs in my basement.  But these young whippersnappers of today I tell ya, they’re getting good, and they’re getting good early.  I better start shopping for a strata.

***********

Ok, so you’re Amish.  Maybe you’re Mennonite.  Perhaps you just simply feel and believe that showing the skin on your arms below the elbow, and neck is

pass the curds and way please, Gertrude.

pass the curds and way please, Gertrude.

unacceptable.  Fine, you’re entitled to your belief set, whatever it may be.  But just because you’ve decided to a strict 17th century dress code style, does it automatically mean that your clothes and their style are stuck there too? Is a long sleeve t-shirt and jeans out of the question?  Are you locked into the bonnet-black dress-white apron look?  If it’s a matter of not supporting off-shore sweatshop manufacturing or something of the likes, that’s respectable.  But I’m sure there have been a few updates in sewing patterns that could pass as acceptable.

Also, why does it seem that the women in these societies seem to be more bound to these rules than the men?  I have a few Mennonite friends that I hope I am not offending by any of this; I simply want to pose a few questions that I do not know the answers to.  Please excuse my naivity and ignorance.

***********

I don’t think the format of today’s spelling bees are a fair way to determine a

That's Phonics with a P-H, homie.

That's Phonics with a P-H, homie.

spelling champion.  The contenders should not all have to spell different words.  If finalist 1 gets “tetrahydrozoline” wrong, and finalist 2 gets “schematics” correct, what has that proven?

In my spelling bee, all contestants would be locked in individual sound-proof booths until it was their turn (the claustrophobic need not enter the contest).  One by one, each player would spell the same word, and then return to their enclosures, until they were eliminated by their mistakes, and a legit winner was eventually crowned.  If ESPN and TSN are going to continue to cut out actual sports that deserve airtime for things like spelling bees and dog-shows, then they need to amp up the legitimacy.

 

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