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Showing posts from April, 2008

Finally... answer to that endlessly annoying question "where do you find the time?"
I've been asked this question many, many times in my life. I've heard it phrased as a statement rather than a question even more often, viz.: "You have too much time on your hands".
Nope. Twenty-four hours a day, same as you.

Absolutely phenomenal article here.

How long did it take to create Wikipedia in its present form? About a hundred million hours, give or take.

Americans spend a hundred million hours every weekend watching commercials on television.

Think about that for a minute. Really think about it. Even a tiny redirection of cognitive resources would have staggering effects.
The article above suggests that media is, at long last, beginning to twig to the fact that people are no longer quite so happy at sitting in their couch's ass-divots, being spoon-fed. We want to produce our own media; we want to share the media we've produced. Reading between the a societ…

I've got gas...

I find myself rather viciously torn watching people tearing their hair out at the gas pumps.
On the one hand, I think gas prices are only just starting to become realistic. It was known and understood nearly four decades ago that oil reserves are not infinite. It should also have been obvious at that time if not earlier that China and India would not remain backwaters (albeit very populous backwaters) forever.
Robert Heinlein, in his 1980 work EXPANDED UNIVERSE, said that "oil is far too valuable to waste on personal transportation". At that time, he urged we begin work to take advantage of unlimited solar power available in orbit...R and D required on existing (1980) technology only. But "in orbit" means "space", and the American people have by and large decided there's nothing in space worth wasting time and money over. Of all the shortsighted mistakes America has made, that one may actually turn out to be the most costly.
Meanwhile, the world's …

The Not-so-Good Food Festival

Well, that was a disappointment.
Yesterday marked our fifth visit to the Good Food Festival. It was probably also our last.
Quite simply, this Festival is a shadow of its former self. Every year it has declined a little: vendors either downsize their displays, cut the value of their coupons in half, or disappear entirely. But at least until this year, we felt the $12 admission fee was more than worth it. Besides the swag-bag you get as you enter, containing twenty bucks worth of free merchandise and about that much in coupons, there are deals to be had all over. The highlight for us has always been the Reynolds kiosk: three for $5, mix 'n' match...but then they'd always throw in freebies. In our first visit we discovered Reynolds Release non-stick aluminum foil, which found a place on the Breadner grocery list right quick. Last year they introduced their Slow Cooker Liners to the Canadian marketplace at the Festival. I quickly fell in love with these things--cleaning the in…

Slaying the Demons

Today is 4:20, the national pothead holiday, and that means I'm supposed to do a column on grass. (Perhaps that should be "...concerning grass.")
Not gonna do it. (Although I'll be discussing smoking...)
I won't cover off weed today because (a) everyone else is doin' it and (b) I never have. Nothing against those who indulge--the idea of getting high, of perhaps losing control, doesn't appeal to me, is all.
I thought about doing a whiplash blog entry, whiplash being the kind of wild mood swings I get when I consider our future as a species. You've seen the doom and gloom often enough, I'd warrant; I haven't covered the positive stuff near as often, but it's out there. They've cloned bamboo, for instance...great news, as you can make damn near anything out of it and save most of the world's trees in the process. Between bamboo and, uh, hemp--shhh! Ken just said he wouldn't write about that!--we could solve a whole hell of a lot o…

More Music...

This one's dedicated to my stepfather, John McCallum.

This song damn near makes me cry every time I hear it. In some alternate universe the second verse would hold true. This video...Jesus, the man in it even looks just a bit like John at 21, the age he was when he first met me, and if you put Coke-bottle glasses on the kid...

I Have No Taste

My wife likes cheesy '80s movies, the cheesier the better. We're not talking the box office smashes like Ghostbusters and Footloose (though she likes those, too); we're talking about things like My Chauffeur. If you haven't seen it...keep it that way.
Me? I like bad music, or what's often described as bad music. While floating around Wikipedia today I discovered that Blender magazine (an offshoot of Maxim) compiled a list of "the 50 worst songs ever".
I can't say my favourite songs of all time are on that list, but I like most of them and really like a few. And let's just say I disagree with Blender's take on almost every one of them. In some cases ("My Heart Will Go On", "Follow Me", and "Your Body Is A Wonderland spring to mind), the song is bad through no fault of its own (or at least not much) but because it's been played several gajillion times on the radio. Actually, most of the songs listed here have been ove…


Sorry for the long run between posts. I've started three--on the housing collapse in the U.S., increased food prices, and Obama's "bitter" comment--and abandoned each of them halfway through when research showed others had covered all three topics quite well.

Okay, well, I can use the third one as a springboard, then.

I really must add to Lisa Van Dusen's already cogent synopsis of why "Bittergate" just might kill Obama's chances. I'm not so sure "bitter" is the problem. Here's the offending quote in all its glory:

"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not."
"And it's not surprising then they get bitter,…


Over at Dodosville, Peter has posted on a common theme of his: we're not special, none of us are, and our collective delusion that we are special is dooming us and quite a few of the species we share this little rock with.
Every time Peter says this, I counter with my own long-held assertion that yes, we are indeed special...but no more special than anyone else.

We both mean the same thing, I think, because it seems like most people are more than willing to hear how special they are, and always seem to fail to hear that they're no more special than anyone--or anything--else. And before long...Ollie (Toby Weeks) said it best in The Mist:

As a species we're fundamentally insane. Put more than two of us in a room, we pick sides and start dreaming up ways to kill one another. Why do you think we invented politics and religion?

But, you know..."special" has a different meaning. We use it as a euphemism for "retarded"--which, incidentally, is one of those word…

Flowing off in all directions...

This is the first time I've had two straight days off this year. Oh, the joys of working retail. Of course, I spent most of yesterday doing today's and tomorrow's work. Oh, the freakin' joys of retail.
Water on sale this week: 30-packs (15 L total) of other peoples' tap water for $2.97. Given that the national average price for tap water is $1.14/1000 L, 15 L for $2.97 is a rip-off of truly epic proportions. Which is probably why we sold 98 pallets of the stuff this past weekend...enough to fill an average swimming pool. And that's just one store.
It takes 17.5 kg of water to produce 1 kg of water bottle. Not to mention oil, which (of course) those bottles are made from. Oh, yeah, like that's sustainable.
Especially when up to 80% or even more of these bottles are not recycled.
(If you click here and look at the red counter at the top of the page, you'll see a running total of how many beverage bottles and cans are landfilled, littered, or incinerated in…

I'd Better Weigh In...

A recent study shows that "weight-ism" is more common than racism.
I'm shocked. Shocked, I tell you!
Furthermore, apparently fat women suffer the slings and arrows of outraged skinny people far more often than do fat men.
Holy...cow. I'd have never guessed.
I first wrote about this away back in July, 2004...shortly after this blog was born. I've touched on it several times since. This study, along with recent familial events (my wife, who is not just fat but morbidly obese, has joined a gym), has compelled me to revisit the topic.

You can tell me racist jokes and I'll laugh, because everyone's a little bit racist. You can tell me gay jokes and I'll laugh at them even though I'm as gay-friendly a straight man as you're likely to find. Blonde jokes, redneck jokes, religious jokes...none of it offends me. But fat jokes touch a raw nerve every single time, and have for as long as I can remember.
They start early. Fatty-fatty-two-by-four, can't-get-…

Going Moldy....

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